Average User Score: 7.5Sep 3, 2014In the opening scene, a man confesses to a priest that he will kill him next Sunday. As the priest is getting his matters together in one week, the audience gets to know more about him, his mass, and his town.
In Calvary, all characters are troubled. The priest have had his midlife crisis which led him choose the path priesthood. His daughter is suicidal, depressed, and feels abandoned by his parents. The sack's marriage is in a free fall. The young beauty in the town is becoming uncontrollably promiscuous, the banker is devoid of emotions for his family and friends, the young boy has violent thoughts.
The only untroubled character is the young widow even though she has faced a calamity recently. She knows how to cope, move on, and live. Her faith is genuine and authentic, even more so than the priest. Unlike the priest, she did not turn to God for help after she had a crisis. She believes genuinely and wholeheartedly, which makes her unbreakable and unshakable.
Everything in this movie is set up correctly, introduced at a proper time, and adds to the movie in a later time. His dog, his daughter, the local bar, the church, etc. Each one unveils a crucial point about one of the characters and keeps the audience engaged.
Calvary is not just a movie about a priest who may die in a week. It is more a movie about the unfairness of life and randomness of death. All the touched themes in Calvary make it a movie worth watching.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.8Sep 1, 2014“How to train your dragon” is the story of a furious dragon, Toothless, and a genius dragon fighter, Hiccup. Dragons constantly raid Hiccup's town, steal the live stock, and set the houses on fire. Hiccup's father is leader of the town, a legendary dragon fighter, and Hiccups role model. Hiccup craves to be like his father but he lacks the essential skills to fight dragons. He is clumsy, cowardly, and weak. Still he relentlessly practices to become a dragon fighter even though nobody takes him seriously.
“How to train your dragon” is the story of a young boy searching for his identity; searching for who he wants to be and how to become it. It is a story of perseverance. It shows when traditions and conventions are hindering you, they should be changed or abandoned. When Hiccup fails to become a dragon fighter by following the traditional and conventional methods, he questions their authenticity, meticulously examines them, refines them, or even completely rejects them and devises new unorthodox ways. The myths fascinate him in the fantasy world but do not blind him in the real world.
“How to train your dragon” is full of sublime messages and themes but it is not a heavy handed movie for the elite. Quite conversely, it is an extraordinarily fun movie to watch, a movie that even toddlers can enjoy. The graphic design is phenomenal, soundtracks are captivating, dialogues are fluid and seamless, and it has a remarkable story to tell. This is indeed one of the best achievements in the history of animations.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.4Aug 31, 2014“The Fault in Our Stars” is the love story of Hazel and Augustus, two teenagers with terminal cancer who meet in a support group. It is based on a book by the same title written by John Green.
Hazel, played by Shailene Woodley, and Augustus, played by Ansel Elgort have two completely different characters. Hazel is very pessimistic, depressed, asocial, and melancholic. Augustus is optimistic, cheerful, convivial, and funny. As their love story progresses their characters change. Hazel starts to see bright sides of the world and Augustus gives up his super ambitious dreams and becomes more realistic.
Not every director is brave enough to step into the territory of showing the daily life of terminally ill people but this territory is also easily manipulative. Josh Boone should be praised for his courage for directing “The Fault in Our Stars” and puts many engaging moments and a good takeaway message in the movie but it does not mean his work has no shortcomings.
The main problem with the movie is the poor script adaptation. The movie relies less on the visual presentations and more on Hazel's monologues to narrate the story. Instead of seeing events in the movie, we mostly hear them (or we see them and then unnecessarily hear them). A better script adaptation could have transformed more of the oral narrations into more engaging visual narrations. Moreover, cliché sentences like “I love you” and “You are beautiful” appear in the movie over and over without adding anything new to the story. The ultimate message of the movie is excessively highlighted with excessive dialogues and performances.
The second problem with this movie is far-from-perfect performances. The supporting actors and actresses in the movie pull out good performances but the leading actor and actress are not convincing. The Augustus' ever-present smile and his never-disturbed coolness feels unreal and sometimes annoying. Still, it seems the script is to blame here. Performances are not the only part of the movie that feel fake and unreal. The whole story about Hazel and Augustus's last wish and how they consummate their love is so fake that I couldn't help but to keep closing my eyes through it.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.4Aug 30, 2014Hiccup, the main character of the movie, lives in a small viking town called Berk. Thanks to his studies and constant analysis of dragons, people of Berk now a lot more about dragons and understand them better. They are living peacefully with tamed dragons until a group of dragon hunters arrive from a neighboring place. From then the story gets twisted and we unpredicted events unfold.
Hiccup constantly pushes to solve the problems with conversation and dialog unlike most vikings in his town who are ready to fight and use violence. He relentlessly engages with the “enemies” and keeps a discourse with them. He constantly studies them and tries to understand them.
There are two strong themes in the movie that made me love it. The first theme is the relation between humans and animals which symbolically represents the relation between any two group of adversaries: two races, two ethnicities, followers of two religions, or even two nations. Through the movie, when a group studies and understands the other group, animosities subside, mutual respect flourishes, and the common cores of both groups bind them together. In the call for understanding other groups, this movie implicitly asks us to throw away all the preconceptions and dogma and look at them, judge them, and treat them fairly and justly.
The second strong theme in the movie is Hiccup's constant search for his identity. He is confused about who he really is and why he is different from all other vikings. But he also ceaselessly searches and seek what he wants to do with his life. He is fearless when he faces challenges and new experiences.
How to train your dragon 2, is a phenomenal movie, the kind that you have wait years for to come and the kind that will fill you with joy whenever you remember. It is extremely fun to watch with an amazing story and unbelievable cinematography. It is a kids movie for adults. After watching this movie, all you want to do is flying and pondering on the questions that it touches.… Expand
Average User Score: 5.9Aug 28, 2014Thomas, played by Mathieu Amalric, is a play writer who cannot find a good director to direct his plays. Hence, he decides to direct his own play but he becomes frustrated when none of the auditioned actresses is capable of pulling out the main role. Sitting alone late at night in a theater, a new actress, Vanda, played by Emmanuelle Seigner, walks in as he is about to close and leave. Vanda seems to have no idea what the script is about and is old for the role but Thomas auditions her.
As they read more of the play, Vanda's talent shows up. She incrementally gains control over her performance, stage, and even Thomas, who is the director and ultimate arbiter. As the audition progresses, the line between reality and the theatrical performance blurs out. The events in the play find ties to the events in the real life of Thomas and he hands over control of the stage to Vanda who emerges as goddess.
Toward the end of the movie, Thomas finds a change to gain the control back and drive the audition (and his real life which is completely intermingled with the play at this point) but Vanda cunningly flips the role and retain the control.
The power dynamics between Vanda and Thomas are interesting subjects to ponder on but the movie does not give any clue on what they mean. Deciphering of hidden messages in the movie is left completely to the viewer. Questions about this movie can linger in your mind for days after watching it.
Performances in Venus in Fur are great and the blurring of reality and fantasy is interesting but the movie is lofty for the general audience and pointless for the critics. I cannot imagine what type of audience may enjoy this movie.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.8Aug 26, 2014Joel, played by Jim Carry, skips work and goes for a walk on a beach in a cold winter day. He meets Clementine, played by Kate Winslet, and falls in love with her while both are unaware of a common past that connects them together. In their relationship, Joel and Clementine experience love, happiness, intimacy as well as hate, sadness, and insecurity.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is not a just love story, it is spectacular take on why we love and hate others, why we remember and forget, and why we make connections and we break up. Joel shares his most intimate and private moments of his life with Clementine to stay connected to her, moments that makes him feel embarrassed, weak, or insecure (for example, the flashback to the bird scene). These little details in their relationship seems unimportant in short run and their efforts to stay connected seems futile because they are not changing anything immediately. In the long run, however, these trivial moments are the main reason behind their behavior, decisions, moods, and emotions (for example , Jim Carry decision to take a different train). The more they open up and the more private moments they share, the stronger the bond between them becomes.
This movie complements the Joel and Clementine story with other characters' stories who are experiencing similar problems in their relationships. The development of their story makes this movie even more engaging, and extremely fun to watch. Kirsten Dunst' character and her relation with her colleagues, particularly, questions morality of certain actions that seem innocuous and helpful in first glance but can have unintended consequences.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.0Aug 25, 2014Boyhood is a movie shot with the same cast over 12 years. As the main character grows from a kid in elementary school into a young adult, he understands himself and the world around him and gains more control over it. While the idea of growth is a fascinating subject, this movie fails to build an engaging story around it.
In Boyhood, milestone moments in life are overshadowed by mundane events. High school graduation is overshadowed by a talk with a friend after graduation ceremony. Marriages and divorces are overshadowed by talks over dinner table. The movies seems to be very valuable for the director, Richard Linklater, and the cast who helped with the script and the mundane moments that are overemphasized seem to have personal connections with the cast. If you similar connections with similar moments in life, you will love the movie, otherwise there is not much to love in Boyhood.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.4Jul 19, 2014Life Itself is a documentary about the life the legendary film critic, Roger Ebert. The movie is based on his autobiography, which is also titled "Life itself". The movie is full of intriguing and personal moments in the life of Ebert and events that led to his death.
Growing up outside USA, I never watched Ebert's TV shows ("Sneak Previews" and "At the Movies") and I never read his critics (on Chicago Sun-Times). This movie shed some light on Ebert's life and showed me why he was such an influential figure. But at the same time, I could not care about Ebert more than any other successful professional person I know. The movie shows what an exceptional critic Ebert was, and at the same time, shows he was not very different from any other ordinary man.
If you like cinema and history of it or if you like movies about movies, Life Itself is the right movie for you. Otherwise, Life Itself can be boring and you will leave the theater asking your self "Why should I care about Ebert?"… Expand
Average User Score: 7.3May 24, 2014Ivan Locke , played by Tom Hardy, drives one night from Birmingham to London. During his trip we hear him making phone calls to his colleagues, family, and his mistress. The story never leaves the car and we see nobody else , which makes the movie dragging every now and then.
The film explores many aspect of modern life, humanity and even up to a certain point, ideas such as free will and fate.
Ivan Locke is a professional civil engineer who is working on a big construction project. He had an affair with a woman in the past who is giving birth to his baby on the night that the story of the movie takes off. Locke is driving to London to be with his mistress and his newborn baby.
Locke's struggle to fix things is a symbolic representation of what we, human beings, struggle with in life: the desire to have control over what happens around us and to us, the desire to fix and compensate for our mistakes in the past, the desire to have a happy family, the anger that we carry with us from our parents because they weren't responsible enough or because they made terrible decisions that immediately and significantly affected us and it seems they do not care.
Locke is talking to his dad—or to his own past—in the rear mirror of his car. He is constantly instructing and lecturing his dad that he will and fix everything. Locke is self driven, firm, and assiduous. Nothing can stop him, neither his boss, nor the long ride, nor the drama of his family. He chooses where to go and how to go and forces everything follow.
Locke's story and his journey in the end, is also the story and journey is the story and journey of his father, and why his father did what he did. The movie leaves you with the this question that “How the Ivan's father was like?” Was the a reckless irresponsible man who didn't care what would happen to his family and kids. Or was he really self driven yet mired in troubles---like Ivan who has to make wrong decisions despite what his will.
Locke's drive and his adventure also raises this question that, as humans, how much should we fight to determine our destiny, or should we let it go, should we just give up and kneel to the merciless forces of destiny and fate, which are not under our control. And if yet, to what extend should we fight back and sacrifice?… Expand
Average User Score: 8.1May 15, 2014Nebraska is indeed the best movie of 2013 and one of the best movies of all times. It is beautifully shot, solidly directed, and admirably acted.
On the surface, Nebraska is the story of a senile man who thinks he has won a million dollar prize and he wants to travel to Nebraska to claim his prize. But in reality, Nebraska is a review on the meaning of the relationship between a father and his soon. It is the story of a road trip that reveals many unseen sides of the father to his son and vice verse.
Nebraska reminds us that dignity and respect are universal values that everybody deserves to have. It's also a harsh criticism of greed and wanton. It is fun to watch, it is tough provoking, and every time you think about it, you will like this movie more.… Expand