Today, Barcelona will meet Juventus in the biggest football match of 2015; the Champions League Final. The truth is, the final can only be a casual sporting event and irrelevant in the grand scheme of things for us fans, who feel the urge to spectate this moment. We take for granted that for everyone associated with Barcelona and Juventus, this very Saturday could end up being the pinnacle of their careers. I’d like to focus specifically on the players and managers in light of some great work that’s been done in these two clubs. (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.
Captain America: The First Avenger: Engaging, inspiring, heartwarming. Action scenes are brilliantly put together, backing up a main character who truly demonstrates what it means to be a hero. Recommended? A worthwhile film for those who love comic book and action movies.
Forrest Gump: Simple, engaging, heartwarming. The touching screenplay is only further brought to life by Tom Hanks’ performance as the lovable lead character on his self-approving journey through life. Recommended? A must see film that will inspire all audiences.
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy: Funny, light-hearted, entertaining. Despite a poor technical effort, certain poorly thought out moments and one particularly grotesque scene, an overall good laugh courtesy of a few reputably hilarious actors. Recommended? As a great source of escapism and a good laugh, but not to be taken too seriously.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: Abstract, quirky, entertaining. The unique approach towards creating this film following in style with graphic novels redefines “comic book film”, though certain plot transitions make the story somewhat confusing at first. Recommended? While particularly noteworthy for the style of direction, the romantically based storyline may not appeal to certain audiences.
Hugo: Imaginative, playful, artistic. While the storyline is quite slow in the beginning, the plot takes a more inspiring turn during the second half; the entire film backed up with beautiful art direction that could draw anyone to this simple Parisian train station. Recommended? Despite being labelled a “children’s” film, the meaning is transcendent of age.
The Ides of March: Intriguing, intense, a bit confusing. While the tension and cutthroat nature of the modern political scene is well captured, the heavy and monotonous dialogue makes the film overall slow and a bit confusing, especially the first half. Recommended? Interesting as a political film, but otherwise not worthwhile.
Star Trek: Adventurous, light, entertaining. Although the storyline can be a bit confusing at times, the film sports a lot of action with huge efforts in the special effects department paying off; with a plotline deep enough to be noteworthy, but light enough to be enjoyed casually; and a cast who takes this piece from nerdy guilty pleasure to mainstream blockbuster. Recommended? While this film probably won’t go down in history as a classic, it is still worthwhile checking out.
Midnight in Paris: Funny, puzzling, thought-provoking. The beauty of Paris is well captured, the cast is stellar, and the story is as enchanting as the city itself; and with a writer/director like Woody Allen, a potentially dry and tedious storyline is more entertaining with subtle humour and mildly absurd dialogue. Recommended? Although this film probably isn’t a must see, it is a fun and worthwhile film to see.
Ce qu’il faut pour vivre (The Necessities of Life): Emotional, dramatic, eye-opening. The story manages to be both heart-warming and heart wrenching at the same time, and the symbolism portraying Tiivii’s journey to recovery throughout the film manages to remain subtle, yet effective. Recommended? This film is definitely worth checking out, as there is a little something in here for everyone.
A Bug’s Life: Funny, playful, entertaining. Imaginative and punny in the typical Disney Pixar style, as well as the typical great animation and storyline. Recommended? For kids and kids at heart; and anyone who is or once was a fan of Disney Pixar films.
Green Street Hooligans: Unsettling, gripping, emotional. A raw and gritty look into the dark side of the British “football” community; and despite a repulsive first few minutes, this film bears a decent plot and a cinema rarity of well filmed street fighting sequences. Recommended? While viewers outside the soccer community may appreciate this film as well, one would have to be quite sadistic to really enjoy it.
Troy: Emotional, violent, epic. Despite some historical and literary inaccuracies, the new perspective of the Trojan War allows viewers to distinguish for themselves who the good guys are, all the while fascinated with brilliant art direction, effects and soundtrack. Recommended? While this film will not help with a history class, it is still a must see, for there is something here for everyone.
Edward Scissorhands: Whimsical, heartfelt, original. The story of one of the most misunderstood characters shines through mediocre film making and an unsettling suburban setting, with expectant brilliance from the likes of Johnny Depp. Recommended? An overall enjoyable film worthwhile watching.
The Shining: Tense, intriguing, captivating. While slow at times, especially towards the beginning, this film has a building anxiety about it that does not stop until the very end, showcased through the evolving insanity of Jack Torrence, brilliantly portrayed by Jack Nicholson. Recommended? This thriller is unlike most others, which is all the more reason to watch it.
Skyfall: Intense, unpredictable, entertaining. This film combines classic Bond elements with a storyline equally accessible for those watching James Bond for the first time; with an unpredictable opening sequence, fantastic action scenes and a respectably humbling and humanizing side to the iconic character. Recommended? For both those who love Bond and who are unfamiliar with it, this film is enjoyable and impactful all the same.
The Great Escape: Slow, but clever and intriguing. This film can be divided into two parts: the first half dragging on with not much action and, for the most part, forgettable dialogue; and the second part exciting and suspenseful, leaving viewers waiting to see what will become of their favourite characters. Recommended? The last ninety minutes of this film are worthwhile sitting through the gruelling first part.
Pretty Woman: Fun, romantic, hilarious. Despite being branded as a “chick flick” (though to be honest, it is one), this film is very entertaining, thanks to the likes of Julia Roberts’ lovable and humourous spin on the broke prostitute, a catchy and well pieced together soundtrack and the story resembling an 1980’s My Fair Lady. Recommended? A good laugh and a great date night movie.
The Descendants: Slow, tragic, intriguing. What the film lacks in pace, the emotional journey taken by the characters and overall calming beauty of the Hawaiian scenery and soundtrack make up for completely. Recommended? This film is worth seeing at some point in life, but nothing to rush to see.
The Prestige: Clever, mysterious, thought-provoking. Typical of Christopher Nolan, this movie promises a well thought out plot, great filmmaking, and likeable characters, subject only to minor flaws in the plot. Recommended? A good story, probably to be seen more than once.
Cloud Atlas: Intense, confusing, overwhelming. This film is a mix of high class production and unreachable goals, combining inconsistent hair and make-up work and visuals with a plot that boasts interconnectivity throughout human eras, but rarely delivers more connections than actors portraying different characters in different eras; if there is a deeper relevance behind this film, it is not a clear one. Recommended? While this film provides a complete and utter mind-freak, its ultimate impact is more perplexing than explanatory.