Gareth Bale seems unsettled at Real Madrid, as per ESPN, and he is reportedly eyeing a return to the Premier League. Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and his former club Tottenham Hotspur. The question to ask right now is where he will fit best rather than where he will go, and just for the sake of comparison I’ve added Liverpool and Arsenal to the mix. (more…)
An all time classic game occurred at Anfield as Juan Mata’s brilliance sparked Manchester United to a 3-1 win over Liverpool. The game ended up grabbing more headlines than the Spanish El Classico between Barcelona and Real Madrid, which is a very impressive feat. What I must say, though, is that the Northwest Derby was one of the most bizarre matches I’ve ever seen.
First off, it was tactically tight. United came out of the gates ready to win, but their Merseyside rivals were no pushover. Louis Van Gaal’s men lined up in a 4-3-3 with Juan Mata cutting in from the right wing and Ander Herrera pulling the strings from midfield. Marouane Fellaini was deployed in a left central midfield role that allowed him to absolutely destroy Liverpool’s defence with his aerial ability, strength, and surprisingly, his running between the lines. (more…)
Strange, clever, unique. This movie perfectly combines strong storytelling with virtuosic filmmaking to bring the strong and colourful characters to life in a vibrant, but elegant fashion. Recommended? Birdman sports both traditional and eccentric elements which could make it enjoyable for a wide variety of audiences.
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s directing brings the edge that makes this otherwise overwrought and predictable story come to life in a brilliant way. (more…)
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.
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…)
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.
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.