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John Wick (lebillet.ch)

John Wick (2014)

Violent, intense, artsy. The fight scenes are choreographed and executed well, but all of the fancy artistic elements added to this movie seem to reiterate the superficial storyline. Recommended? John Wick is a fun action movie where not much thinking is required to watch it.

Photo Credit: IMDb

Photo Credit: IMDb

For a great deal of time, there is an intense feeling that something great is going to happen. The story starts off so simply and builds up like there is a twist of the proportions of movies like Fight Club, The Usual Suspects or even Kill Bill. The positive critical reception that this movie received upon release fueled this feeling even more. But as the movie goes on, there is nothing universal or deep that runs underneath and the story can only really be taken at face value. Sure there’s some love, vengeance, loyalty, family values and forgiveness in the mix, but these themes only go skin deep.

The one element of this movie that was impressive beyond all others was the action sequences. The combat scenes ranged from shooting to chases to hand to hand combat and all were driven by a sense of intensity. The visual effects and art direction were also impressive, as the wide variety of places added to the confrontation and action in each scene.

Also notably well-done was the sound effects and editing. The editors and mixers knew what to emphasize where and often let actions ring louder than words, not that there was much to be taken from that which was said. The music was eclectic, but fit the scenes of the movie well. Overall, the artistic elements of this movie were well thought out and executed, probably as a means of masking what lacked everywhere else.

The acting in this movie runs along the same continuum as the quality of the rest of the film. Keanu Reeves held his own in his role as the title character, but he typically delivers in roles that don’t require him to speak much or show a lot emotion. The cast also included big names like Willem Dafoe, Adrianne Palicki and John Leguizamo, all of whom did what they could to bring out their one-dimensional characters.

John Wick is thoroughly a fun and exciting experience with an unfortunately predictable story. There is so much potential for something clever and surprising that would take the story out of its action/revenge flick mold, but the fact that the plot in this film is so easy to call and the production was overly flashy (including “creatively” bolded and placed subtitles for Russian dialogue) degrades the quality of the film substantially.

Photo Credit: geek-lantern.com

Pacific Rim (2013)

Fun, simple, forgettable. While the story is not very original or interesting, the focal point of this movie is the visual effects which were completely on point here Recommended? This movie is fun and should only be seen in a fashion that will best portray the stunning imagery.

Photo Credit: IMDb

Photo Credit: IMDb

The only real reason to see this movie is for its special effects. From the aliens to the robotic sequences, from the ocean floor to outer space and down to the centre of the Earth, the effort put into the visuals for this movie left for a true success. The fight sequences alone make this movie worthwhile. If not for the visuals, this movie would be no better than the average 80s second rate science fiction movie, for here, the flawed storyline is supported by effects that actually look realistic. (more…)

Photo Credit: myviewscreen.wordpress.com

Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Dark, serious, fun. The tone follows in trend of the post-Avengers Marvel movies being darker than the original ones, and while the story and characters lacked in certain areas, the visual effects were the true focal point of the movie. Recommended? This movie could be enjoyed by fans of the Marvel franchise or action/fantasy movies in general.

Photo Credit: IMDb

Photo Credit: IMDb

The most impressive element of this movie by far was the special effects and artistic production. The visual effects team created the illusion of multiple worlds and heavy destruction in each one. While many of the effects in the first Thor movie were unrealistic and suffered from lens flare, the technology has finally caught up and the results were beautiful in the landscapes, destruction and the galactic creatures. It was also interesting to see an American film where the destruction was focussed in London, England as opposed to New York. (more…)

Photo Credit: designedbyhollywood.com

World War Z (2013)

Exciting, mysterious, far-fetched. The action kicks in early and the tense nature of the film holds through right until the end. Recommended? This thriller is quite fun to watch.

Photo Credit: IMDb

Photo Credit: IMDb

The story is probably a lot better than many uninformed skeptics might believe it would be. (more…)

Photo Credit: toutlecine.com

Air Force One (1997)

Predictable, fun, entertaining. This movie offers no more than the average action movie in terms of plot or development, but it still has some exciting moments and is fun to watch. Recommended? This is a movie which viewers should know exactly what they are going to get out of it. (more…)

Photo Credit: moeatthemovies.com

Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004)

Violent, slow, satisfying. The overlong sequel to Tarantino’s revenge story picks up where the first left off, and while the final product is artistically pleasing, it falls short in its pacing, exploits both cheesy and drawn out dialogue and sports hateable male characters (and not for the reasons you want to hate them). Recommended? It is good in the context of finding out what happens next and a fair stand-alone film, but it not as engaging as the original. (more…)

Photo Credit: dvi43.com

Facebook Movie Reviews 101-120

Photo Crdit: IMDB

Photo Crdit: IMDB

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).

Photo Credit: IMDB

Photo Credit: IMDB

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.

Photo Credit: IMDB

Photo Credit: IMDB

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.

Photo Credit: IMDB

Photo Credit: IMDB

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.

Photo Credit: IMDB

Photo Credit: IMDB

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.

Photo Credit: IMDB

Photo Credit: IMDB

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.

 

 

Photo Credit: IMDB

Photo Credit: IMDB

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.

Photo Credit: IMDB

Photo Credit: IMDB

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.

Photo Credit: mediafilm.com

Photo Credit: mediafilm.com

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.

 

Photo Credit: IMDB

Photo Credit: IMDB

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.

Photo Credit: IMDB

Photo Credit: IMDB

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.

Photo Credit: IMDB

Photo Credit: IMDB

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.

Photo Credit: IMDB

Photo Credit: IMDB

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.

Photo Credit: IMDB

Photo Credit: IMDB

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.

Photo Credit: IMDB

Photo Credit: IMDB

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.

 

Photo Credit: IMDB

Photo Credit: IMDB

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.

Photo Credit: IMDB

Photo Credit: IMDB

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.

Photo Credit: IMDB

Photo Credit: IMDB

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.

 

 

Photo Credit: IMDB

Photo Credit: IMDB

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.

Photo Credit: IMDB

Photo Credit: IMDB

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.