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Listen to Me Marlon (2015)
What an extraordinary man
Listen to Me Marlon is a fantastic documentary about one of the best actors in the history of film. A treat for every film lover and everyone who enjoy learning and getting to know about genius people who changed and revived things in their field of work and were never afraid to be themselves.
The narrator of this film is Marlon Brando himself. The audio material was taken from hundreds of hours of private recordings that he made and were never released to the public before. It was wonderful listening to some of the things he said about acting, life itself, his views on Native and African Americans, film business, success, his troubled youth and many more. I believe thet every person who is thinking of trying to get into acting should see this. Grat film about a great man.
Lady Bird (2017)
Good film with great performances
Lady Bird is definitely one of the best coming of age films made recently. The Edge of Seventeen from 2016 could be put in the same category but this one is still better in my opinion. It will really hit close to home with everyone who live and grew up in a place where not much happens and can't wait to leave it and enter the world of excitement to try to live to the fullest someplace else.
The thing that sets Lady Bird apart from most coming of age stories is that it feels much more realistic. The characters are wonderfully written, you really care for them, feel what they are feeling and you sympathise with them. The struggle of teenage years and how difficult these times are for the parents as well, falling in love and getting heartbroken for the first time, applying to colleges in a family that is struggling financially are all themes that Lady Bird covers with great authenticity. Saoirse Ronan shines in her role and is proving once again that she is one of the best young actresses working today. The supporting cast really deliver as well.
If you love stories about young people growing up, you like films that make you feel something and are full of witty dialogue and real characters, you should not give this one a miss.
Min lilla syster (2015)
My Skinny Sister bravely tackles a very serious mental disease that is more and more common in our society nowadays. The film does not explain the disease itself, where, when and how it starts but merely focuses on what life is like when a close family member gets severly affected by it and that is the painfully realistic part. Nothing is held back and strong performances from the entire cast might be quite painful or sad to watch for everyone who are all too familiar with eating disorders. We know that the pressures from the media and society are particularly harsh on girls and young women since we live in a youth and beauty obsessed culture. What parents and siblings go through is extremely difficult due to the fact that it is a very challenging disease, it is unfortunately still a taboo, it may take years to recover from it and even then it may only be dormant and come back again someday.
The film is very well made and if you get a chance to see it, do not miss it. Eating disorder is a topic that people should know more about in order to be able to help someone who is dealing with it in a better and more prepared way.
Inspiring and well done
Kenny is a very well made documentary about a football legend Kenny Dalglish. The film does not only present his life story as a player and manager but also goes quite deep to show what he was like as a man, husband, friend and a father. One other great thing that this film managed to do is to give a viewer the idea of what football really means to people, the loyalty, how it brings them together in difficult times, how it lifts spirits, gives hope, brings joy and makes everyone forget about their problems for those 90 minutes. It is truly a magnificent sport and not many sports, if any, can compare to that. Even in the darkest of times such as the Hillsborough tragedy in Sheffield which will never be erased from the memories of those who lost someone as well as football fans all around the world, you will see how people and an entire city can come together to support each other and how long the road to recovery is sometimes.
Recommended to everyone, not just football fans and Liverpool supportes but to everyone who would like to have a better understanding of what football is all about and what Kenny Dalglish is like as a character and as a man of inspiration.
Hollow in the Land (2017)
Hollow in the Land is quite an entertaining film. It will appeal to everyone who love watching small, low budget indie films. You also might like it if you enjoy films that have a darker, melancholic feel and are mostly character and performance driven. The story explores feelings of love, guilt, bravery, dedication and vengeance. If you live in a small town where everyone knows or want to know everything about each other then you will be able to feel a story even better in my opinion. The performances are good, characters feel real, the story is gripping, pace is even and there are some nice twists. I know Hollow in the Land did not receive many positive reviews so I suggest you see it and decide for yourself, you might be surprised.
Pitch Perfect 3 (2017)
Fun though not as good as the first two
Bellas are back for the third time and while the film is fun to watch, it does not bring anything different and original than the first two. The girls are still likeable, funny and portrayal of their characters is still on form. What you might miss is the wit, the level of good singing performances and some great song choices from the first two films. They are not bad in this one but they are not that great either.
Nevertheless, Pitch Perfect 3 is in my opinion still a good choice for a nice relaxing, feel-good film where you can rest your brain a bit. The nice thing about all Pitch Perfect films is that they are what they are and are never trying to pretend to be something else.
Brad's Status (2017)
It may speak to many
Brad's Status is quite a nice surprise. It will appeal to people who like character dramas, stories of ordinary people dealing with real everyday problems, doubts and thoughts that we all have at some point of our lives. What do I have to show for at this time of my life? Is this it? Where did all the passion go? The film also has a nice message that despite all these questions and feelings of being lonely and useless, we are often actually much better off than we think and our problems barely exist in comparison with other people's struggles. The awkward father and son relationship was nicely presented as well and I believe quite a few people might find some parallels with their own lives. Even though the film is quite slow, it still draws you in pretty quick and is well acted. Definitely recommended.
Inspiring story nicely presented
Breathe is an inspiring and heartwarming story about a man diagnosed with the disease that forever changed his life and the lives of people around him. It is impossible to imagine being trapped in your own body and still somehow stay positive, motivated and change the lives of the people who are equally unfortunate..
Claire Foy and Andrew Garfield did a great job, as well as the supporting cast. The film could maybe have a bigger emotional impact and leave viewers with a bit more after watching it. Breathe is still a solid film with nice photography, pace and the story itself.
Recommended to everyone who like drama film, love stories and films about the triumph of the human spirit.
The Mountain Between Us (2017)
The Mountain Between Us will not particularly move you or make you realise anything particularly new about life. The problem with the film is how unrealistic it is. Two people survive a plane crash and are exposed to snow, cold, starvation, injuries, dehydration for weeks and somehow they still look pretty fresh at all times. There is not even any weight loss apparent.
Both Kate Winslet and Idris Elba give solid performances though and the chemistry between them is somewhat manegable. The romance part and the ending are predictable as well. The pacing of the film is not that bad in my opinion and the story never drags despite the film being almost 2 hours long.
It is a type of film to see on a rainy Sunday afternoon when you want to space out a bit and relax.
Taxi to the Dark Side (2007)
Difficult but essential viewing
Taxi to the Dark Side is a very difficult documentary to watch but I believe it is essential to see it nevertheless. It seems like the rumors about torture in Guantanamo Bay have always been around but when you see what was going on in such detail, it will make your blood run cold.
This film is yet another proof in which we can see how corrupt and diabolical some politicians can be, I think it is honest to say that the ones shown in the film are borderline psychopaths. The fact that they have so much power is terrifiying and sad. Another sad thing is how untouchable they seem and people in lower ranks and postions always pay the price for their actions and are used as scapegoats.
Be prepared for this one since it is anything but an easy watch. It is a very well made documentary that points out serious matters that the world should see. It will not leave you cold and it will make you think hard about human nature, morality etc. I believe it will have an especially strong effect on all American viewers since they lived under the government that allowed these atrocities. Here you can see all of their true colors.
Strange and disturbing
Mother! is not an easy film to watch. Even if you had your fair share of art-house, offbeat, daring and disturbing films, this will still be hard to like.
It is difficult to dilute the content to the point it would be at least a bit clear. It offers many themes and it could be anything from the desperate need and power of love, obsession with fame and the madness that surrounds it, the purity of new life, it could be anything but unfortunately it feels like nothing. Another problem is that Mother! never grips or pulls you in and consequently the film drags and feels much too long. The acting is the only bright thing in my opinion.
It will be no tragedy if you give this one a miss.
The film is OK, performances are fantastic
The story of stronger is inspirational and heart-warming. It realistically showed how difficult it is to deal with such tragedy, the time it takes to move on and the impact it has on friends and family. It also shows how we can draw beams of light from the darkest of places.
What makes Stronger worth seeing are the performances from the entire cast. Jake Gyllenhaal, Tatiana Maslany and Miranda Richardson definitely stand out and deserve all the praise there is.
I also have to agree with some of the fellow reviewers here when it comes to depicting American patriotism and the American way of dealing with things, it went a bit too far, especially towards the end. I have nothing against patriotism, I believe we should be all proud of our countries and roots but also stay within the limits of not going overboard.
Again, worth seeing for the story itself and the performances.
Ferrari: Race to Immortality (2017)
Another treat for motor racing fans
Another great documentary about motor racing and Formula 1 after McLaren and Williams, two films that also came out this year. Ferrari: Race to Immortality takes place in the mid 50's and tells the story of Enzo Ferrari, his complex character, his famous racing team and the drivers with emphasis on two great British masters of the wheel, Peter Collins and Mike Hawthorne.
The film is beautifully made, the archive footage of the races and cars are great. The story is told through interviews and narration by Enzo Ferrari, fellow drivers, wives and girlfriends. Drivers back then were a special breed of people, their determination, passion and love of racing is hard to understand sometimes but it is also hard not to find it beautiful and inspiring. They lived their lives on the edge and to the fullest, basically trying to cheat death every time they drove those cars. They were warriors, gladiators, stars and gentlemen. It is impossible to compare Formula 1 of today to those times, it almost seems like a completely different sport.
The film has quite an emotional punch as well, many young lives tragically ended, families lost sons, brothers, fathers and husbands in their pursuit of speed and dreams.
Strongly recommended to all motor racing and Formula 1 fans regardless if you are a Ferrari supporter or not, I believe you will not regret it.
Detroit is not an easy film to watch, lots of violence and racism with certain scenes that will make you blood boil. It is a very gripping viewing experience despite the film being over 140min long. The acting from everyone involved was commendable as well.
Racism and police violence in Detroit at that time are a fact and there is no point denying that. Everything reached a boiling point with the riots. Looting and destroying public property is not the right answer, neither is the inappropriate response from the police. Detroit shows a specific event during the riots. The white police officers are shown as cruel and terrible people and black people and two white girls are the victims which is absolutely correct in that case. It is important not to fall under the influence of stereotypes or generalisation when watching this. Some will say Detroit tried to show white police officers too negatively. The ones in this film rightfully deserved it. Despite some dramatisation, it is the truth. Detroit is not trying to generalise here, the race does not define whether a person is good or bad, that is within people, no matter what they do or where they come from. But in the event shown in the film, white did abuse the black, racism was present in those times and is still present today all over the world. There is no use in pretending otherwise.
I would recommend the film but see it with an open mind.
Tragic story from a rough place and time
I believe Gook should not be overlooked. It is a film that will not leave you cold-hearted no matter what you think of it. It is set in Paramount, 1992 just before and during the riots in South Central, Los Angeles. The storyline is very simple but it never loses momentum or becomes dull. Not many films show what it was like there during those rough times since we so often only see the glamorous side of the city presented to us by the film industry. But not everything was and is always sunny in California.
The riots were fueled by the anger of people that the justice system failed. Some might say that there are too many stereotypes presented in the film whereas I think its goal was to depict to what extremes things can go where people find themselves stuck in a place that rarely offers an escape into brighter future and others only see them as lost causes and are left on their own. You can find good and bad people everywhere but unfortunately not everyone are equal which might cloud someone's perception of things.
I would recommended it if you are looking for something different, very well acted and gripping. The direction is good and the film works well in black and white. Do not read too many reviews prior to watching it, I think it stays more fresh that way..
Monsieur Lazhar (2011)
Monsieur Lazhar is one of those little gems you wish to come across more often. The story is simple, beautiful and human. It is labelled as comedy/drama which is not exactly correct. It has all the elements of a serious drama, there are some jokes in between but it is hard to see it as a comedy.
The film nicely shows what it is like to be an immigrant far away from home, the sacrifice, uncertainty and sometimes not being accepted for being different. It also realistically shows how to deal with loss and tragedy, how adults deal with it, how children deal with it and how they can help each other.
The performances are brilliant all around, all the kids were really amazing and Mohamed Fellag who portrayed Mr. Lazhar really captured his character. The film is accompanied by beautiful recurring piano music that additionally adds to the power of this film.
Recommended to everyone looking for something outside Hollywood production, something moving and beautiful.
The Man Who Wasn't There (2001)
Neo-noir at its finest
The Man Who Wasn't There will hit the right spot with everyone that love dark, melancholic films with tragic stories. The choice to shoot it in black and white was perfect, it sets the right atmosphere and almost feels like the dark colors are a character itself.
It is a slowburner but you will not be bored for a second, the Coen brothers paced it masterfully. No need to for many words when it comes to acting, you can not expect disappointment from a cast of that caliber. You will sympathise with the protagonist, a character of few words stuck in a small place, a job he does not particularly like, a cheating wife and no light on the horizon for the future. When he finally decides to do something about it, that goes wrong too and we get a typical but great film-noir story. He is an embodiment of thousands and thousands of people who might be going through the same thing when every day feels the same and who see dark clouds even on sunny days. Beethoven's beautiful piano music fits perfectly as well.
Good story, great acting, technically flawless, neo-noir filmmaking at its finest, I believe you will not be disappointed.
Jesus Camp (2006)
This will send shivers down your spine
Jesus Camp is definitely one of the most disturbing documentaries you are ever going to see. It is practically impossible to grasp how this is possible in the 21st century. A true example how religious fanaticism blinds certain people completely.
I am not religious and do not believe in God but I respect everyone that does since it is a personal choice and if faith helps someone and brings good things to their lives it can be a nice positive thing. On the other hand, the actions of the religious right as shown in this film are absolutely heartbreaking to watch. Young children being brainwashed, exploited and forced with political ideas, this will not leave you cold for sure. Their parents carry a huge blame too for sending them into such environment. When people who were raised Christian say that that those kind of camps that turn kids into some sort of a religious army are dangerous, you need no further proof how sickening it all is.
The film is well made, it will grip you from the very first moment and will not let go. Do not watch it if you are looking for something relaxing and plan to have a nice, calm evening, you need to be prepared for this one.
Really fun to watch
Zombeavers is a typical B-movie slasher with gorgeous looking girls, immature boyfriends and killer beavers. It will appeal to everyone that enjoy comedy/horror genre, although this film does not offer any real horror but it does manage to be funny and entertaining. The story, of course, is absolutely ridiculous but Zombeavers never pretends to be anything more than it is. The writing is actually quite witty, the opening scene with Bill Burr will definitely make you laugh and the acting is just right for this type of a film. I believe that it deserves a higher rating and I would recommended it to anyone that is into this type of films with knowing exactly what to expect and have a few laughs along the way.
Logan Lucky (2017)
Give it a chance
Logan Lucky did not receive many stellar reviews on this site but I would recommend it nevertheless. If you are looking for a serious heist film with serious characters you are not going to like this. But if you would like to see a fun film with offbeat humour that does not take itself too seriously, about a group of hillbillies trying to pull of a super challenging robbery and where everything is over the top, from the story to the characters, than look no further. It has some good jokes, great performances from Daniel Craig and Adam Driver and a great soundtrack. Give it a chance if you would like to relax and have a few laughs on the account of the protagonists of this film.
Murder on the Orient Express (2017)
Agatha Christie fans might be disappointed, others who don't know the story might like it
Murder on the Orient Express is a classic detective novel by Agatha Christie released in 1934 featuring the famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. There have been quite a few film adaptations of the novel, the most known probably directed by Sidney Lumet in 1974.
Everyone who have read the novel might not be too excited about this film version. Kenneth Branagh does a good job playing the famous detective but if you are used to David Suchet's Poirot, better prepare yourselves to see something different here.
The film itself is very well made, the photography is beautiful, as well as the costumes, all the acting stars do not disappoint and the story is nicely presented. When closing credits start rolling it says "Based upon the novel by Agatha Christie" and I think it is important to keep that in mind. It is simply a version of the story and the detective imagined by the director and the writer of this film so not every single detail from the novel is followed. With that being said, it is still a nice viewing experience. I would especially recommend it to all of you not familiar with the story, I believe you will enjoy it.
Happy Death Day (2017)
Good for a fun beer & movies night
Happy Death Day is probably not going to become a cult classic of any sorts but if you like horror/comedy type of films you might like it. It starts of quite seriously and looks like it is taking the direction of a typical on college campus slasher. After a while it takes a nice turn and becomes much lighter and that is when some of the comedy elements kick in. It also had a few twists which was a nice surprise. You are not going to avoid any clichés by watching it since it has them all, good looking bitchy sorority girls, a handsome college professor with an English accent and a good-hearted shy kid.
One thing I could not get out of my mind while watching it is how similar to Before I Fall it is. It is a drama/mystery also released this year and the premise is almost the same although Before I Fall feels more serious.
Do not take Happy Death Day too seriously, relax and you should have fun watching it. I believe that was the main intention of everyone involved in making it.
Grand Prix (1966)
Way ahead of its time
What an incredible achievement considering that Grand Prix came out in 1966. The racing footage has not been surpassed to this day more that 50 years later which puts the film way ahead of its time. There were a few racing films with sometimes decent stories made over the years but the actual racing scenes never felt right or real. They definitely do here. It is absolutely exhilarating watching those cars speed down those classic race tracks such as Spa, Monza and Monaco. The drivers in those days were true gladiators and had to have much more between their legs than drivers nowadays. The sound of the cars and the entire film is fantastic as well. The story itself is not that great and some acting feels a bit wooden. It is enough to hold the film together and the real stars are those beasts of a car anyway.
Essential film for every Formula 1 and racing fan. Try to watch it with really good headphones or great speakers, relax and fell the roar of the engines!
Some Freaks (2016)
A good story
Some Freaks is a love story between two people who are essentially outcasts in their environment. You will enjoy it if you are looking for something that is different from most mainstream romantic stories.
Some people argued that being overweight or wearing an eyepatch does not make a person a freak and that the film presented the idea of that in a false way. The two main characters are not freaks because of their physical appearance but probably perceive themselves as ones in my opinion. It is hard to feel normal when your peers push you away and you keep hearing mean comments wherever you turn. The need to change and belong may become a necessity even if that means suppressing your personality and becoming like people you actually do not like. The characters are in that age where they care what other people have to say about them, they might pretend to be strong but everyone at that age cares, those who actually do not are rare and quite blessed.
All of that was portrayed well in my opinion. It is true that there are some clichés present but it does not distort the message of the story which is the most important thing. Hats of to all the actors for doing a wonderful job as well.
Definitely recommended if you are looking for a love story that feels a bit more real that most of them out there.
I believe that every fan of The White Stripes and music in general will appreciate this documentary. It offers an in-depth look of the band on their tour of Canada, capturing great live performances as well as interesting interviews.
This film is perfectly shot, the combination of black and white and color footage was great, the tempo is perfect and it is emotionally charged as well. If you are a true fan of the band you will already know most of the things talked about in interviews, but if you are not, I am sure you will still be interested to hear how Jack and Meg approach their music, what inspires it, how they work on stage because it seems quite different from the approach of many other musicians. Jack White is definitely one of the most original and inventive musicians of his generation and listening to him being interviewed is always a treat.
I might sound a bit overexcited but this truly is a beautiful documentary about two interesting, grounded, real and beautiful people. Unfortunately I never had a chance to see The White Stripes play live so seeing this meant even more. All you music lovers out there will enjoy this for sure.