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.