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…)
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.