Light, humorous, fun. This movie does not try to be good in the conventional sense, but appeals to a specific audience who will enjoy watching these big name comedians do their thing in a high-budget, over the top adventure loosely referencing the Book of Revelations. Recommended? This simple-minded comedy is one of a kind and achieves exactly what it sets out to do. (more…)
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.
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.