Intense, entertaining, frightening. In the newest film revival of the classic monster, the writers put some new and unexpected twists on the story, allowing Godzilla to take come to life in a very different way and with modern day level special effects to back him up. Recommended? Those who watch this movie for its fearsome nature and special effects will be pleasantly surprised, but those who believe that this will be anything more will be disappointed. (more…)
Fun, quirky, entertaining. This perfectly cast movie has questionable directions throughout in terms of plot, but like its focal subject, it is oddly addictive and makes for a good source of escapism. Recommended? This type of humour is not for everyone, but anyone who can make it through the first half-hour will likely enjoy the rest of the movie. (more…)
Tense, dramatic, emotional. Some of the characters come off annoying at first, but they develop and move well throughout the movie, backed with poignant dialogue and beautifully crafted imagery. Recommended? An ideal movie for showcasing the strength and layers that exist beneath every human being. (more…)
Romantic, emotional, dramatic. This film is quite a downer, especially upon realizing that it is essentially an elderly lady dying for two hours, but it is made special by the unwavering love and support behind all of her husband’s actions and the elegant dialogue and perspective filming. Recommended? This drama is a bit slow at times, but those who can relate to this story will really appreciate it. (more…)
Big (1988): Funny, playful, entertaining. This loveable and humourous story is beautifully brought to life with clever dialogue and its childlike, but not juvenile approach, even where efforts in the editing department failed. Recommended? A good laugh, especially for those who need to remember to stay young at heart.
V for Vendetta (2005): Exciting, scary, engaging. This film creates an unsettling plot by using relative simplicity in its production and an intricate but accessible story with mysterious characters and plot twists around every corner. Recommended? For those looking for a thrill.
Armageddon (1998): Entertaining, funny, emotional. What begins as a fun action/adventure flick evolves into a deeper statement about love and friendship with some appealing visual effects throughout. Recommended? Pretty good for an apocalyptic film.
Top Gun (1986): Cheesy, light, fun. The flight sequences are very well filmed, especially for their time, and the soundtrack adds even more to this testosterone-fuelled journey through this elite flight school. Recommended? This movie is more or less a masculine and funnier version of An Officer and a Gentleman.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012): Stunning, quirky, fantastical. Even though this movie feels quite long at times and the story abuses the concept of “Deus ex Machina”, the beautiful imagery and consistent development of the fun characters make this overlong prequel fun to watch. Recommended? This film is worth a chance for both fans and skeptics of The Lord of the Rings series.
Once (2006): Unique, engaging, simple. This film really makes the most out its low budget, adding to how little the main characters have and focussing more on the beautiful soundtrack that was written by the actors themselves for the movie. Recommended? While it may be difficult to understand for anyone who is not attune to heavy Irish accents and dialect, this indie film has a lot to it and should be seen, even if only just for the music.
Oz the Great and Powerful (2013): Cheesy, adventurous, beautiful. This overly modern and partially miscast prequel does have well-executed imagery and visual effects to its claim, as well as some meaningful underlying themes. Recommended? This movie may have been easier to take seriously if it had either not been directly associated with the original film or felt less like Oz was travelling through Tim Burton’s Wonderland in the daytime.
Capote (2005): Informative, interesting, simple. Philip Seymour Hoffman drives this film with his stunning performance as the classic American author, though the general film plot is not as strong as the story of the characters within it. Recommended? This is a must-see movie in the Philip Seymour Hoffman filmography, though some may find it bland or boring.
21 Jump Street (2012): Humourous, fun, questionable. For every funny gag or enjoyable character, there is an equally unfunny and unenjoyable one as well, though the story is quite relevant, especially for a remake. Recommended? A reputable comedy, but not a masterpiece.
Gravity (2013): Intense, different, entertaining. There is no major storyline in this movie, just a surprising amount of character development and a triumphant production effort. Recommended? A beautiful work of art, though more experimental than a feature film.
Dallas Buyers Club (2013): Interesting, emotional, entertaining. This film has great acting and production, all while building on the underlying development of the main character and showcasing a part of history probably unknown to most. Recommended? This movie is proof that there is no such thing as being set in your ways and that it is never too late to embrace a more positive side of yourself.
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013): Chaotic, explicit, funny. While this seems like an overlong and overly inappropriate biopic at first sight, Scorsese takes audiences inside the mind of antihero Jordan Belfort and poetically shows the side effects of his destructive lifestyle and ambitions. Recommended? A crazy ride and fascinating journey, but it is definitely not meant for everyone.
Zero Dark Thirty (2013): Heavy, dramatic, relevant. As the only real action was during the last half hour of the movie, it feels quite long and arduous at times; nevertheless, this film tells a passionate and somewhat exciting story about one person’s drive to get her job done. Recommended? Bigelow and Boal’s respective talents are reflected well in this film, but if interest in this film is sparked only for its historical relevance, it is noteworthy that a great deal of it is fictitious.
The Lego Movie (2014): Fun, hilarious, unique. The animation that went into this movie is stellar, the humour and references are well thought out, and the story manages to encompass both depth and personal empowerment while being a parody of absolutely everything, even including an unexpected ending that changes everything an audience may have thought about the movie before. Recommended? This movie provides a good laugh, a decent story and a nostalgia trip for Lego lovers.
American Hustle (2013): Vintage, wordy, humourous. This film has great acting and a vibrant, well recreated 70s vibe; it is also noteworthy that this movie about a conman is set apart by its lack of excessive violence, bad language, nudity and drug abuse, and that which is here is either intended for artistic or comedic purposes. Recommended? This movie can be a bit slow at times, and the motives unclear; anyone could enjoy this movie, but not everyone will.
The Croods (2013): Funny, heartwarming, entertaining. The beautiful animation is the focus of this film, bringing a colourful and fresh look to the Stone Age, and while the characters can be a little annoying and inconsistent at times, the overall story is relatable and fun. Recommended? This movie is quite fun and should be taken open-mindedly.
Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003): Graphic, artistic, exciting. Different cultural elements clash throughout the movie, usually successfully, and other than a few questionable moments, the story is quite intriguing, leaving enough mystery to keep viewers hooked until part 2. Recommended? This action flick comes off as indirectly comedic most of the time, but it is overall a fun mystery.
The Conjuring (2013): Intense, frightening, artistic. This horror film has a strong premise and high production value, and the fact that it is based on a true story only makes it more thrilling. Recommended? Not for the faint of heart; director James Wan does not rely on cheap thrills and uses suspense and surprise to spice up his 1970s style horror film.
Divergent (2014): Emotional, fascinating, intense. Where book to movie adaptations often try to replicate characters and major events, this one focuses on creating the world and animating sentiments and themes; in addition, the story is very forward in regards to gender roles, allowing ability and mentality to drive actions as opposed to superficial physical stigmas. Recommended? This adaptation was far from perfect, but the last half hour alone shows a great amount of character growth and strength.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014): Mysterious, exciting, emotional. With its numerous plot twists and exciting action sequences, Marvel’s latest cinematic story is much darker than some of the others, but manages the perfect balance of action, humour, drama and his classic juxtaposition of an old fashioned man in a new and changing world. Recommended? This movie has both fun action and an interesting story; it will be interesting to see where Marvel’s Cinematic Universe goes from here.
Footloose (1984): Fun, light, entertaining. This generation-defining classic has a lot more depth than one would expect, even with an upbeat 80s pop playlist for a soundtrack. Recommended? An ideal 80s style film.
The Great Gatsby (2013): Beautiful, tragic, engaging. Despite some poorly executed artistic work, this adaptation captures the superficiality of the era and depth of its characters, making good use of its eclectic but suitable soundtrack. Recommended? Baz Luhrmann makes this timeless 1920s literary classic accessible to a modern society almost a century later and such efforts deserve to be seen.
Ginger & Rosa (2012): Dry, simple, disturbing. The acting was quite good, but the story takes a very long time to develop into a climactic but lacklustre conclusion, and the movie overall could have benefited from a consistent score. Recommended? This is not for a sit down movie night.
Moonrise Kingdom (2012): Interesting, strange, unpredictable. There are many aspects of this movie that are disturbing in one way or another, but the unique stylistic elements and sparse but well placed humour make this a unique and quirky treat. Recommended? This is an entertaining piece, but definitely not meant for those of the same age group as the main actors.
Et maintenant on va où? (Where do we go now?) (2011): Funny, interesting, intense. This movie has a simple storyline that rests on major issues and recurring themes that mould together and come full circle by the end, creating an experience that is humourous at first and becomes quite serious and emotional as the plot thickens. Recommended? A fascinating, but somewhat upsetting film.
Flight (2012): Intense, dramatic, humourous. There are a few dry spells during the middle section of this film, but they do not take away from the frightening action sequence and character development of Whip Whitaker, brought to life fantastically by Denzel Washington. Recommended? Although it may be a bit slow at times, the story is very engaging and entertaining for mature audiences.
Rebelle (War Witch) (2012): Emotional, disturbing, graphic. This gruesome look into the Congolese war captures the struggle of the child soldiers with the actors’ captivating performances, as well as the beautiful visual work and good direction overall. Recommended? An engaging journey that will teach as much as it entertains.
El labarinto del faunto (Pan’s Labryinth) (2006): Artistic, quirky, entertaining. This fantasy adventure is brought to life by the intricate visual effects and art direction, as well as the characters who are all meant to invoke emotion from the audience at some point in the movie. Recommended? This is not for the faint of heart, but fun nonetheless.
Anna Karenina (2012): Beautiful, emotional, reflective. The unique visuals and art direction are well-executed, although confusing at times, and the story has its fair share of both good moments and irrational turns. Recommended? This would be best for those who would appreciate romantic dramas.
The Intouchables (2011): Inspiring, emotional, humourous. For such serious undertones, this uplifting film has a comedic side and very likeable characters, telling a story of friendship, growth and redemption. Recommended? A must see film.
End of Watch (2012): Intense, dramatic, entertaining. The plot blends realism and drama very artistically and builds up strategically to an emotional, hard-hitting end, despite a few off-putting moments. Recommended? This deep journey offers a new and welcome perspective on the life of cops in south L.A.
She’s The Man (2006): Funny, engaging, light. This movie is nothing short of a laugh a minute with its surprisingly well thought out plot, save a few subpar actors and characters and some teen drama fluff. Recommended? The perfect light comedy during a stressful time.
Hitchcock (2012): Witty, informative, engaging. While it lacked a vintage vibe that would have helped to make it feel more like an event in the 1960s, the perspective shown on that part of the legendary director’s life is fascinating and beautifully brought to life by the characters around him and cleverly placed humour. Recommended? For anyone who has seen and enjoyed Psycho, this movie provides an interesting insight on the making of the film and its pop cultural impact.
12 Years a Slave (2013): Emotional, disturbing, intense. Few films are ever of such high quality in most every aspect, acting, directing, writing, production design, music; this is by far one of them. Recommended? This movie may be too harsh for more sensitive viewers, but deserves every accolade that it is likely to come across in the months to come.
Captain Phillips (2013): Intense, emotional, engaging. After a weak opening, the real push behind this film comes when the action kicks in and the excitement lasts right through to the end of the film. Recommended? Definitely one of 2013’s gems.
Home Alone (1990): Humourous, fun, entertaining. This family comedy maximizes laughs where action is absent and has a great score to back it up. Recommended? A modern Christmas classic.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004): Mysterious, engaging, unique. Where this movie lacks in production value, it makes up for in the overall story and acting and grows more intriguing as it goes on. Recommended? A fascinating story worth watching.
Frozen (2013): Enchanting, magical, entertaining. The fantastic soundtrack and dazzling animation bring to life this imaginative story with loveable characters and thoughtful themes and undertones. Recommended? This modern tale deserves to be among Disney’s classics.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013): Exciting, emotional, dramatic. This movie takes a while to take off, but once it does, there is a great deal of action, character development and transformations from cheap superficiality to deep struggles. Recommended? All sequels should be able to recover from the issues with their prequels like this one.
Good Will Hunting (1997): Fascinating, profound, inspiring. Far more crude than it needs to be, but an overall interesting story with likeable characters and a strong moral base. Recommended? A feel-good journey worth watching.
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002): Epic, beautiful, adventurous. While difficult to understand for those with no prior knowledge of the story, the visual effects and artistic work are magnificent. Recommended? The Lord of the Rings trilogy is not just a series of films, but an experience worth taking.
Frankenweenie (2012): Dark, emotional, quirky. Two classic stories are expertly moulded into one film with interesting characters and a truly heartwarming story. Recommended? The darker overtones may not appeal to children, but the film is still quite entertaining overall.
Django Unchained (2012): Graphic, intense, entertaining. There is a lot of depth behind this intricate storyline, and the exceptional actors bring colourful characters to life above vivid visuals and a fitting soundtrack. Recommended? Not suitable for anyone under 16, but truly worth watching.
Back to the Future Part II (1989): Engaging, confusing, disappointing. While the first movie sets up the sequel well, the result is a complicated hodgepodge where the loveable characters from the first movie make stubborn and irrational decisions, leading up to an unsatisfying ending. Recommended? For those seduced by first one who are hungry to see what comes next.
Monsters University (2013): Cute, funny, entertaining. This prequel to the Pixar classic gives audiences a look at how the dynamic duo came to be, and while it isn’t one of Pixar’s best stories to date, it is still a fun film with loveable and funny characters. Recommended? Mostly for children and children at heart.
The Aviator (2004): Biographical, visual, slow. The acting in this film is stellar, specifically the performances by Leonardo DiCaprio and Cate Blanchett, but the plot moves far too slowly and a bit unclear, since it focuses on a great many aspects of the life of Howard Hughes. Recommended? Anyone who knows about the life of Howard Hughes or is interested in it would enjoy this.
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003): Emotional, slow, beautiful. The grand conclusion to this adventurous trilogy is a little trying and confusing at points, but the overall visual masterpiece and ultimate closing is as timeless as it gets. Recommended? Since all 3 movies tie into each other, it is probably best to watch them all as close together as possible, so that the storyline is clearer.
Back to the Future Part III (1990): Engaging, satisfying, entertaining. The Western theme behind Marty’s final time-travelling adventure comes across as more of a parody at times and strays away from the more serious undertones of the previous films, but the sense of adventure makes this movie fun. Recommended? A decent conclusion for those who enjoyed the first two.
The Brothers Grimm (2005): Dark, conflicting, sparse. Matt Damon and Heath Ledger try to bring the most out of their characters in this poorly constructed screenplay combining unnecessary themes and bland supporting characters. Recommended? Not worth it.
The Mummy (1999): Exciting, adventurous, cliché. A typical American archaeological classic in the shadow of Indiana Jones proves to be very entertaining with impressive visual effects. Recommended? This movie is a lot of fun.
Side Effects (2013): Dramatic, mysterious, slow. This movie takes a while to pick up, but once it does, it makes its audience think and has some pretty intense moments, courtesy of standout performances from Rooney Mara and Jude Law. Recommended? This mystery film is interesting, but not very exciting.
Scarface (1983): Slow, violent, overhyped. The final action scene is very exciting, but the rest of the almost 3 hour film is dry and a lot of the plot is unclear. Recommended? Not as good as it’s hyped up to be.
Jodaeiye Nader az Simin (A Separation) (2011): Dramatic, emotional, engaging. The movie is entertaining from start to end, filled with many pressing themes and an underlying mystery that brings out everyone’s secrets by the end. Recommended? An interesting story worth seeing.
Planes (2013): Predictable, light, lacklustre. This movie boasts some nice scenery and a few laughs, but Disney’s latest attempt at a merchandising cash-grabber shows no originality in its story, characters or humour. Recommended? Amusing and fun for kids, but ultimately not very memorable.
The Truman Show (1998): Funny, clever, interesting. This philosophical plot is set apart by the humour and personal connection made to the protagonist. Recommended? A fascinating eye-opener for television lovers.
Pretty in Pink (1986): Humorous, feminine, fun. The quirky characters are entertaining in an otherwise typical high school movie, complete with a booming 80’s vibe. Recommended? This light-hearted comedy is not fantastic, but enjoyable nonetheless.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012): Dramatic, emotional, dark. The themes and symbolism underlying this movie add a sense of depth beyond the average high school film, sparing no breathtaking moments, coupled with amusing characters and a well-assembled soundtrack. Recommended? The plot is very heavy and can be overwhelming at times, so it is best to not watch this alone.
The Butler (2013): Informative, slow, engaging. The acting and make-up work salvage an otherwise dry storyline and poorly executed production effort. Recommended? Not regrettable, but not a spectacular biopic.
Goodfellas (1990): Exciting, intriguing, entertaining. The colourful characters and dangerous lifestyles that they lead manage to stay amusing without being too much, and even though the story is a bit confusing at times, it is coherent and all ties together. Recommended? Thoroughly engaging from start to finish.
The Omen (1976): Unsettling, intriguing, engaging. The effects and action are a bit outdated, but despite some plot holes, the mysterious storyline and eerie score help to build suspense and maintain a constant level of tension throughout the film. Recommended? A decent thriller, great for a movie night with friends.
Moneyball (2011): Slow, insightful, inspiring. The story takes a long time to pick up and could have used some humour to carry it into the second half, but it gives a fascinating perspective into the game behind what baseball spectators see. Recommended? For anyone interested in baseball or a good underdog story.
American Psycho (2000): Gory, confusing, psychological. Christian Bale’s talent is the best part of this movie, which otherwise manages to be unique from other serial killer films by having no tangible ending and a plot that takes so long to develop that viewers must sit through never-ending unintelligible rants and blatant misogyny to get there. Recommended? For those who enjoy films whose explicit content outweighs the overall plot.
Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010): Humorous, fantastical, quirky. Despite a few minor inconsistencies and a few blunders in the special effects, the story and adventure present Ancient Greece in an accessible and interesting way for young people. Recommended? To people of all ages with a basic knowledge of Greek mythology who wish to indulge in such an interest.
In the Heat of the Night (1967): Slow, mysterious, interesting. While the pace could have used some work, the mystery itself is quite intriguing and the overall tone shows viewers the everyday struggles for Blacks in 1960s USA. Recommended? For those who like classic cinema and/or mystery stories.
The Iron Lady (2011): Insightful, confusing, dark. Meryl Streep does a fantastic job as Margaret Thatcher, but that is the highlight of this monotone and often pessimistic film. Recommended? Not the best, but worth a try.
Jurassic Park (1993): Stunning, imaginative, unintelligible. The bizarre science and stupid decisions comprising the first portion of the movie border disaster film cliché, but the action shots and exemplary special effects make this movie an adventure like no other. Recommended? Don’t watch this for the story, but for the incredible accompanying visuals.
The Black Cauldron (1985): Enchanting, dark, forgettable. Certain elements of this film are signatures of Disney, though some of the characters are exaggerated, and the film is neither as timeless nor memorable as the true Disney classics. Recommended? Not bad, but a complete childhood does not require this film.
Paranorman (2012): Hilarious, unique, entertaining. The variety and depth in the humour and story allows the content to resonate among different generations. Recommended? Even though it’s an animated film, the movie is definitely meant for young adults.
Identity Thief (2013): Funny, interesting, entertaining. Behind the often excessive attempts at humour and sometimes illogical decisions is a good message, loveable characters and lots of laughs. Recommended? Not a 5 star movie, but a good laugh nonetheless.
Psycho (1960): Scary, dramatic, exemplary. Classic films like this show that horror films can have a deep plot and good character development. Recommended? Psycho is like a history lesson for fans of horror movies.
Reservoir Dogs (1992): Mysterious, excessive, violent. The movie has a good premise and structure, but unfortunately, Tarantino’s obsession with cramming as much explicit and unnecessary content as possible into his films elongates the film and makes it irritable at times. Recommended? This film would be most enjoyed by those who share the director’s fetish for explicit content and nonsense.
Rear Window (1954): Witty, mysterious, predictable. Hitchcock manages to maintain tension and suspense without gore and horrific gags, but with clever use of dialogue and implications. Recommended? A very good drama that is also funnier than expected.
Pitch Perfect (2012): Funny, light, entertaining. Despite some plot holes and excessive jokes, the one-liners and some of the musical numbers make this film memorable. Recommended? Good laugh, but this film’s main appeal is to women and music students.
White House Down (2013): Intense, humourous, entertaining. Despite being riddled with clichés associated with “American-action-disaster” films, the humour and action sequences are enjoyable. Recommended? Not the best movie, but the pure escapism makes it fun to watch.
The Impossible (2012): Gripping, emotional, frightening. The reality that this film is based on a true story of recent events takes this tale of disaster and survival to new depths, though beyond the story, viewers are captivated by breathtaking visuals and mature performances. Recommended? A powerful film, not for the faint of heart.
Jaws (1975): Scary, dramatic, engaging. The plot holes do not detract from the film that proves that Stephen Spielberg can make horror movies seem classy. Recommended? Anyone who is not afraid of sharks will be after seeing this.
Despicable Me 2 (2013): Hilarious, fun, entertaining. If the well-cast voice actors aren’t enough, this comedy is a laugh a minute, focussing on but not overplaying the humourous aspects that audiences loved in the first movie and introducing new ones as well. Recommended? Don’t think, just watch it!
Gandhi (1982): Fascinating, inspiring, slow. Some parts of this 3 hour historical piece seem to drag on, but Ben Kingsley gives an incredible performance and audiences can learn a lot about Gandhi’s unique methods for fighting injustice. Recommended? For anyone interested in learning more about this historical figure.
Back to the Future (1985): Light, entertaining, humourous. Alongside feeding fantasies of time travel, a good crop of characters and a loveable story, this film crosses over into many different genres, allowing a varied audience to appreciate and enjoy it. Recommended? This one is truly a classic and a must see.
The Fifth Element (1997): Strange, dramatic, artsy. This dystopian action drama is quirky and questionable at first, but the eccentric characters prove to be oddly entertaining amongst the vivid visuals and simple story. Recommended? For those interested in an everyday SciFi action film.
Hors de Prix (Priceless) Funny, romantic, hectic. While the beginning involves many plot turns that don’t seem to make sense and the many of the main character’s decisions seem irrational, the story picks up as the main characters learn the real tolls of the rich life, and the light-hearted nature of this film makes it very enjoyable. Recommended? Mostly for those looking to wind down with a good laugh (and also don’t mind reading subtitles if necessary).
X-Men: Fascinating, humorous, entertaining. The plot is very well developed and all aspects of the special effects were executed with class, all showcasing interesting characters never afraid to exhibit a witty one-liner. Recommended? A movie that can be both this much fun and serious at the same time has a little something for everyone.
Shutter Island (2010): Freaky, suspenseful, clever. While certain events towards the beginning of the film seem unintelligible, the plot takes many interesting plot turns and the mysterious and the quirky characters make this film even more entertaining. Recommended? Every minute of this film should be viewed with the utmost attention to details.
Inherit the Wind (1960): Profound, humorous, insightful. The performances of both Spencer Tracy and Fredric March are superb in this film adaptation of the real life Monkey Trial of 1925, a story that brilliantly displays the early stages of the evolutionism vs. creationism debate and the importance of higher thinking. Recommended? This film is an inquisitive journey for atheists, agnostics and believers alike.
Dances with Wolves (1990, Special Edition): Historic, heartfelt, captivating. While the first hour could be greatly condensed as to quicken the pace, the respectable acting and storyline are complimented by stunning visuals and effects. Recommended? While the extended version is quite captivating in itself, the added content may prove unnecessary for some, but this film is definitely worth seeing.
The Green Mile (1999): Dramatic, emotional, tragic. A truly great screenplay complete with memorable characters that will be loved and hated, on their journeys to truth and justice. Recommended? This is one film that definitely should not be overlooked.
Iron Man 3 (2013): Intense, funny, entertaining. As with the previous Iron Man films, the actors fit their roles perfectly and add some spice to boot; but unlike the previous one, the story is full of action, exciting plot turns and a genuinely interesting plot. Recommended? A big improvement over number 2, possibly the best one in the trilogy.
Citizen Kane (1941): Artistic, mysterious, boring. The filmmaking is clearly exemplary for many films to come, but the majority of the film consists of 2 hours chronicling the details of the life of Charles Kane which are indifferent to the purpose and outcome of the film. Recommended? This film would probably only be of interest to fans of classic cinema, as there is not much here for everyone else.
French Immersion (2011): Hilarious, light, disjointed. While the storyline is quite sparse, it produces enough laughs to make up for it, like any good comedy should. Recommended? For anyone with, at the very least, a basic knowledge of Canada, Quebec and the French language.
Saving Private Ryan (1998): Intense, gory, impressive. The effects and visuals that make up this film are of the class that has given Spielberg the positive reputation that he has today, and while a serious and respectful tone is maintained throughout the film, writer Robert Rodat cleverly adds some humour and quirky moments as well. Recommended? This wartime epic is an adventure well-worth the experience.
No Country for Old Men (2007): Violent, slow, unclear. The direction and acting in this film are both well done, but the simple storyline is far too drawn out and, for the most part, lacks cohesion. Recommended? Not the most exciting film out there, but worth a try nonetheless.
American Beauty (1999): Tragic, emotional, dramatic. Some of the subject matter is a bit unsettling, but the emotions and thematic depth coupled with Kevin Spacey’s amazing performance make for a thoroughly engaging movie experience. Recommended? A must-see film, especially for anyone who believes that their life is empty.
Philadelphia (1993): Engaging, informative, emotional. This movie tackles major issues and prejudices in a unique way, setting it apart from similar attempts, and the main characters are both strong, respectable and well-portrayed. Recommended? This is definitely worth watching.
The Wrestler (2008): Brutal, emotional, mediocre. The story and growth of the main character and Mickey Rourke’s performance are the driving forces behind this film, for despite some depth, the overall story is dry and excessively explicit. Recommended? Not bad, but not great either.
Babel (2006): Mysterious, emotional, profound. While a bit confusing and disjointed at times, the theme of universal connectivity adds to the depth and experiences of the characters in all of the stories. Recommended? Babel has a good moral that can only be truly understood by actually seeing the film.
City of God (2002): Disturbing, intense, insightful. A horrific and gripping look into the ugly side of Brazil, graphically detailing the dangerous lives of young people involved with drugs, war and violence. Recommended? Anyone who enjoys American films exploiting extreme gang violence and drugs should try their hand at this, bearing in mind that the scariest thing about this movie is that it’s based on a true story.
Catch Me If You Can (2002): Clever, fascinating, long. The reputable cast and director make watching this true story that much more enjoyable, though the opening scene should have either been cut or played on more. Recommended? A little dry in spots, but entertaining nonetheless.
Babe (1995): Adorable, heartwarming, entertaining. The touching premise and subtle, but effective visuals bring the film to life, but the ending is a bit of a copout. Recommended? Must be seen by all animal lovers.
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009): Strange, incoherent, colourful. Somewhere deep down in this film lies a lesson about greed, but it is only reached after peeling through layers of poor storylines, unclear mumbling and the good visuals that hold this film together. Recommended? Beyond the merit of being Heath Ledger’s last film, it is more confusing and questionable than anything else.
Invictus (2009): Interesting, accessible, engaging. An appropriate and insightful look at one aspect of Mandela’s efforts to move his country away from the apartheid, and Morgan Freeman is perfect as Nelson Mandela. Recommended? Definitely worth seeing.
Gladiator: Brutal, emotional, slow. Despite a touching storyline and great visuals and behind the scenes work, the film progresses at a crawling pace and is probably much longer than it needs to be. Recommended? The visual effects and fight scenes in this film are well worth the tedious wait.
Life of Pi: Engaging, stunning, heartfelt. The adventures of Pi Patel aboard a lifeboat in the Pacific Ocean translate to screen in a much more entertaining fashion than it could have been, combining an emotional story of gain and loss with beautiful art direction and visual effects. Recommended? The technological advancements in the making of this film are well worth seeing in 3D.
The Towering Inferno: Intense, disastrous, reflective. While the first hour of this film is quite slow and the storyline is typical of any average disaster film, audiences can grow to appreciate the characters as they follow in their journey to escape or rescue those trapped in the blaze. Recommended? Mostly for those who enjoy disaster films.
My Week With Marilyn: Light-hearted, funny, insightful. Michelle Williams and Kenneth Brannaugh are brilliant in their portrayals of Marilyn Monroe and Sir Lawrence Olivier respectively, but while the story of the hardships and difficulties surrounding Monroe during the making of The Prince and the Showgirl shows audiences the dark side of the classic icon’s life and career, the simplistic nature of the film means that darker scenes in the film lack a certain emotional depth. Recommended? Not a must see, but well worth the time watching.
Brave: Funny, playful, adventurous. While the story and characters are somewhat predictable and unoriginal in comparison to past Pixar films, the humour and classic moral undertones make this film both entertaining and enjoyable, with a fitting soundtrack typical of Disney’s classics. Recommended? A fun family film worth watching.
A Few Good Men: Thought-provoking, intense, inspiring. The simple but fascinating storyline is coupled with well-timed humour and brilliant performances from the main cast, notably Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson; however, what makes this film unique is its ability to create an atmosphere that is intense, entertaining and mature without following in suit of similar films by exploiting excessive violence or sexuality. Recommended? This film can be appealing to a variety of audiences who definitely will not regret seeing it.
Bon Cop Bad Cop: Funny, dark, mysterious. This film is your typical cop drama, complete with intense crime and filling of justice, though the film is entertaining mainly because of the humour and fun characters. Recommended? While this movie can be enjoyed by either Anglophone or Francophone audiences with the proper substitutes, it would be most appreciated by bilingual viewers.
Les Misérables (2012): Beautiful, emotional, engaging. The length and pace of this film is trying at times, though that does not take away from the rich storyline and amazing performances from the cast, specifically Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway. Recommended? A breathtaking film that must be seen to be believed.
Argo: Intense, dramatic, engaging. The film is entertaining from the very beginning and keeps up until the end, and the fact that it is based on a true story only compliments the audience’s emotional journey and Ben Affleck’s unique directing. Recommended? A definite must-see and contender for this year’s Oscar for Best Picture.
Die Hard: Engaging, action-packed, entertaining. An inventive take on your typical corporate heist with intense action sequences and memorable one-liners from Bruce Willis. Recommended? This movie truly deserves to be the classic that it is.
Iron Man 2: Bland, pointless, unimpressive. The superb visual effects, enticing chemistry between Robert Downy Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow, and segue into the epic Avengers film could not salvage the slow filler used as plot and circular character development (or lack thereof). Recommended? Watch the other Marvel films, but this one is not a must-see.
Hotel Transylvania: Hilarious, fun, light-hearted. A fresh perspective on the classic monsters of cinema and pop culture history, which manages to create character-specific jokes without being too cheesy, as well as subtle jokes for older audiences as well. Recommended? This is a movie that the whole family will definitely enjoy.
The Departed: Violent, mysterious, engaging. Although this movie takes a while to pick up, the action scenes are entertaining and the storyline makes viewers question morals and reliability of authority. Recommended? A good film for a night of escapism, though this is to be watched only when viewers can be fully attentive.
Silver Linings Playbook: Funny, emotional, light-hearted. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence are perfect as their respective characters, and the story, while altered greatly from the book, teaches audiences transcending messages about trust, second chances and happy endings in a quirky and entertaining way. Recommended? A definite must-see, though not to be compared too much to the book, since much of it has been refocused.
Monsieur Lazhar: Heart-warming, slow, bland. Despite being only just over 90 minutes long, the movie feels longer than it needs to be, and the story could have used a bit more humour to feel less dry and bring out more personality and likeability from the characters. Recommended? This film feels like it should be life-changing, but it’s not really so.
The King’s Speech: Informative, slow, inspiring. While this film is mainly held together by strong performances from Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush and a genuinely interesting storyline, the lack of action and visual appeal make this film quite dry at times. Recommended? While aspiring actors should note Colin Firth’s performance, most viewing audiences may not have the patience to sit through a film as uneventful as this.
Wreck-It Ralph: Inventive, emotional, fun. Despite this film being centred around the sometimes overused themes of acceptance, redemption and outcasts, Disney manages to once again take its viewers to a unique world not often seen in film, this time a nostalgia trip for fans of classic video games, with memorable and original characters voiced by perfectly cast actors. Recommended? This can be a fun family film, especially entertaining for fans of arcade games, but also an uplifting triumph for all the so-called “glitches” in the world.
Red: Funny, action-packed, entertaining. While the build-up for this movie is way too long, some of the character development really doesn’t make sense, and the storyline is very unclear at times, the movie is very well made and the purely fun nature of this film makes it enjoyable, especially when it includes scenes like those with Helen Mirren firing a machine gun. Recommended? The purely escapist nature of this film makes it a fun movie to watch.
The Hurt Locker: Intense, shocking, predictable. This movie was very thoughtfully made in regards to effects, cinematography and overall production, but could have used more variation in regards to pace, plot events and mood. Recommended? While this film may feel like insufferable wartime propaganda at times and may not be the most enjoyable thing out there, this raw and jarring view into the War in Iraq is worth seeing.
Terminator 2: Judgement Day: Suspenseful, violent, captivating. Despite a major plot hole that should have changed the motives of the main characters entirely, the story and themes behind it are fully engaging from start to finish, and the visual effects are phenomenal, especially for a film released in 1991. Recommended? Both of James Cameron’s Terminator films are worth experiencing.