Violent, slow, satisfying. The overlong sequel to Tarantino’s revenge story picks up where the first left off, and while the final product is artistically pleasing, it falls short in its pacing, exploits both cheesy and drawn out dialogue and sports hateable male characters (and not for the reasons you want to hate them). Recommended? It is good in the context of finding out what happens next and a fair stand-alone film, but it not as engaging as the original. (more…)
Big (1988): Funny, playful, entertaining. This loveable and humourous story is beautifully brought to life with clever dialogue and its childlike, but not juvenile approach, even where efforts in the editing department failed. Recommended? A good laugh, especially for those who need to remember to stay young at heart.
V for Vendetta (2005): Exciting, scary, engaging. This film creates an unsettling plot by using relative simplicity in its production and an intricate but accessible story with mysterious characters and plot twists around every corner. Recommended? For those looking for a thrill.
Armageddon (1998): Entertaining, funny, emotional. What begins as a fun action/adventure flick evolves into a deeper statement about love and friendship with some appealing visual effects throughout. Recommended? Pretty good for an apocalyptic film.
Top Gun (1986): Cheesy, light, fun. The flight sequences are very well filmed, especially for their time, and the soundtrack adds even more to this testosterone-fuelled journey through this elite flight school. Recommended? This movie is more or less a masculine and funnier version of An Officer and a Gentleman.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012): Stunning, quirky, fantastical. Even though this movie feels quite long at times and the story abuses the concept of “Deus ex Machina”, the beautiful imagery and consistent development of the fun characters make this overlong prequel fun to watch. Recommended? This film is worth a chance for both fans and skeptics of The Lord of the Rings series.
Once (2006): Unique, engaging, simple. This film really makes the most out its low budget, adding to how little the main characters have and focussing more on the beautiful soundtrack that was written by the actors themselves for the movie. Recommended? While it may be difficult to understand for anyone who is not attune to heavy Irish accents and dialect, this indie film has a lot to it and should be seen, even if only just for the music.
Oz the Great and Powerful (2013): Cheesy, adventurous, beautiful. This overly modern and partially miscast prequel does have well-executed imagery and visual effects to its claim, as well as some meaningful underlying themes. Recommended? This movie may have been easier to take seriously if it had either not been directly associated with the original film or felt less like Oz was travelling through Tim Burton’s Wonderland in the daytime.
Capote (2005): Informative, interesting, simple. Philip Seymour Hoffman drives this film with his stunning performance as the classic American author, though the general film plot is not as strong as the story of the characters within it. Recommended? This is a must-see movie in the Philip Seymour Hoffman filmography, though some may find it bland or boring.
21 Jump Street (2012): Humourous, fun, questionable. For every funny gag or enjoyable character, there is an equally unfunny and unenjoyable one as well, though the story is quite relevant, especially for a remake. Recommended? A reputable comedy, but not a masterpiece.
Gravity (2013): Intense, different, entertaining. There is no major storyline in this movie, just a surprising amount of character development and a triumphant production effort. Recommended? A beautiful work of art, though more experimental than a feature film.
Dallas Buyers Club (2013): Interesting, emotional, entertaining. This film has great acting and production, all while building on the underlying development of the main character and showcasing a part of history probably unknown to most. Recommended? This movie is proof that there is no such thing as being set in your ways and that it is never too late to embrace a more positive side of yourself.
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013): Chaotic, explicit, funny. While this seems like an overlong and overly inappropriate biopic at first sight, Scorsese takes audiences inside the mind of antihero Jordan Belfort and poetically shows the side effects of his destructive lifestyle and ambitions. Recommended? A crazy ride and fascinating journey, but it is definitely not meant for everyone.
Zero Dark Thirty (2013): Heavy, dramatic, relevant. As the only real action was during the last half hour of the movie, it feels quite long and arduous at times; nevertheless, this film tells a passionate and somewhat exciting story about one person’s drive to get her job done. Recommended? Bigelow and Boal’s respective talents are reflected well in this film, but if interest in this film is sparked only for its historical relevance, it is noteworthy that a great deal of it is fictitious.
The Lego Movie (2014): Fun, hilarious, unique. The animation that went into this movie is stellar, the humour and references are well thought out, and the story manages to encompass both depth and personal empowerment while being a parody of absolutely everything, even including an unexpected ending that changes everything an audience may have thought about the movie before. Recommended? This movie provides a good laugh, a decent story and a nostalgia trip for Lego lovers.
American Hustle (2013): Vintage, wordy, humourous. This film has great acting and a vibrant, well recreated 70s vibe; it is also noteworthy that this movie about a conman is set apart by its lack of excessive violence, bad language, nudity and drug abuse, and that which is here is either intended for artistic or comedic purposes. Recommended? This movie can be a bit slow at times, and the motives unclear; anyone could enjoy this movie, but not everyone will.
The Croods (2013): Funny, heartwarming, entertaining. The beautiful animation is the focus of this film, bringing a colourful and fresh look to the Stone Age, and while the characters can be a little annoying and inconsistent at times, the overall story is relatable and fun. Recommended? This movie is quite fun and should be taken open-mindedly.
Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003): Graphic, artistic, exciting. Different cultural elements clash throughout the movie, usually successfully, and other than a few questionable moments, the story is quite intriguing, leaving enough mystery to keep viewers hooked until part 2. Recommended? This action flick comes off as indirectly comedic most of the time, but it is overall a fun mystery.
The Conjuring (2013): Intense, frightening, artistic. This horror film has a strong premise and high production value, and the fact that it is based on a true story only makes it more thrilling. Recommended? Not for the faint of heart; director James Wan does not rely on cheap thrills and uses suspense and surprise to spice up his 1970s style horror film.
Divergent (2014): Emotional, fascinating, intense. Where book to movie adaptations often try to replicate characters and major events, this one focuses on creating the world and animating sentiments and themes; in addition, the story is very forward in regards to gender roles, allowing ability and mentality to drive actions as opposed to superficial physical stigmas. Recommended? This adaptation was far from perfect, but the last half hour alone shows a great amount of character growth and strength.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014): Mysterious, exciting, emotional. With its numerous plot twists and exciting action sequences, Marvel’s latest cinematic story is much darker than some of the others, but manages the perfect balance of action, humour, drama and his classic juxtaposition of an old fashioned man in a new and changing world. Recommended? This movie has both fun action and an interesting story; it will be interesting to see where Marvel’s Cinematic Universe goes from here.
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.
Moneyball (2011): Slow, insightful, inspiring. The story takes a long time to pick up and could have used some humour to carry it into the second half, but it gives a fascinating perspective into the game behind what baseball spectators see. Recommended? For anyone interested in baseball or a good underdog story.
American Psycho (2000): Gory, confusing, psychological. Christian Bale’s talent is the best part of this movie, which otherwise manages to be unique from other serial killer films by having no tangible ending and a plot that takes so long to develop that viewers must sit through never-ending unintelligible rants and blatant misogyny to get there. Recommended? For those who enjoy films whose explicit content outweighs the overall plot.
Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010): Humorous, fantastical, quirky. Despite a few minor inconsistencies and a few blunders in the special effects, the story and adventure present Ancient Greece in an accessible and interesting way for young people. Recommended? To people of all ages with a basic knowledge of Greek mythology who wish to indulge in such an interest.
In the Heat of the Night (1967): Slow, mysterious, interesting. While the pace could have used some work, the mystery itself is quite intriguing and the overall tone shows viewers the everyday struggles for Blacks in 1960s USA. Recommended? For those who like classic cinema and/or mystery stories.
The Iron Lady (2011): Insightful, confusing, dark. Meryl Streep does a fantastic job as Margaret Thatcher, but that is the highlight of this monotone and often pessimistic film. Recommended? Not the best, but worth a try.
Jurassic Park (1993): Stunning, imaginative, unintelligible. The bizarre science and stupid decisions comprising the first portion of the movie border disaster film cliché, but the action shots and exemplary special effects make this movie an adventure like no other. Recommended? Don’t watch this for the story, but for the incredible accompanying visuals.
The Black Cauldron (1985): Enchanting, dark, forgettable. Certain elements of this film are signatures of Disney, though some of the characters are exaggerated, and the film is neither as timeless nor memorable as the true Disney classics. Recommended? Not bad, but a complete childhood does not require this film.
Paranorman (2012): Hilarious, unique, entertaining. The variety and depth in the humour and story allows the content to resonate among different generations. Recommended? Even though it’s an animated film, the movie is definitely meant for young adults.
Identity Thief (2013): Funny, interesting, entertaining. Behind the often excessive attempts at humour and sometimes illogical decisions is a good message, loveable characters and lots of laughs. Recommended? Not a 5 star movie, but a good laugh nonetheless.
Psycho (1960): Scary, dramatic, exemplary. Classic films like this show that horror films can have a deep plot and good character development. Recommended? Psycho is like a history lesson for fans of horror movies.
Reservoir Dogs (1992): Mysterious, excessive, violent. The movie has a good premise and structure, but unfortunately, Tarantino’s obsession with cramming as much explicit and unnecessary content as possible into his films elongates the film and makes it irritable at times. Recommended? This film would be most enjoyed by those who share the director’s fetish for explicit content and nonsense.
Rear Window (1954): Witty, mysterious, predictable. Hitchcock manages to maintain tension and suspense without gore and horrific gags, but with clever use of dialogue and implications. Recommended? A very good drama that is also funnier than expected.
Pitch Perfect (2012): Funny, light, entertaining. Despite some plot holes and excessive jokes, the one-liners and some of the musical numbers make this film memorable. Recommended? Good laugh, but this film’s main appeal is to women and music students.
White House Down (2013): Intense, humourous, entertaining. Despite being riddled with clichés associated with “American-action-disaster” films, the humour and action sequences are enjoyable. Recommended? Not the best movie, but the pure escapism makes it fun to watch.
The Impossible (2012): Gripping, emotional, frightening. The reality that this film is based on a true story of recent events takes this tale of disaster and survival to new depths, though beyond the story, viewers are captivated by breathtaking visuals and mature performances. Recommended? A powerful film, not for the faint of heart.
Jaws (1975): Scary, dramatic, engaging. The plot holes do not detract from the film that proves that Stephen Spielberg can make horror movies seem classy. Recommended? Anyone who is not afraid of sharks will be after seeing this.
Despicable Me 2 (2013): Hilarious, fun, entertaining. If the well-cast voice actors aren’t enough, this comedy is a laugh a minute, focussing on but not overplaying the humourous aspects that audiences loved in the first movie and introducing new ones as well. Recommended? Don’t think, just watch it!
Gandhi (1982): Fascinating, inspiring, slow. Some parts of this 3 hour historical piece seem to drag on, but Ben Kingsley gives an incredible performance and audiences can learn a lot about Gandhi’s unique methods for fighting injustice. Recommended? For anyone interested in learning more about this historical figure.
Back to the Future (1985): Light, entertaining, humourous. Alongside feeding fantasies of time travel, a good crop of characters and a loveable story, this film crosses over into many different genres, allowing a varied audience to appreciate and enjoy it. Recommended? This one is truly a classic and a must see.
The Fifth Element (1997): Strange, dramatic, artsy. This dystopian action drama is quirky and questionable at first, but the eccentric characters prove to be oddly entertaining amongst the vivid visuals and simple story. Recommended? For those interested in an everyday SciFi action film.
The Terminator. Suspenseful, action-packed, entertaining. While somewhat predictable, the visual effects and non-stop action ensures that there is never a dull moment, not to mention expectant brilliance from Scwarzenegger and Cameron. Recommended? A definite must-see.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Action packed, humorous, overall entertaining. Well written screenplay, great characters and incredible visual and sound effects. Recommended? A great adventure film that everyone can enjoy.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Exciting, a bit confusing at times, but engaging. A bit slow at times (not surprising for a 3 hour film) but good action sequences and a more or less comprehensible story. Recommended? Worth giving a shot.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Mysterious, witty, fun. A bit more far-fetched than the original series (yes, it’s possible), but stays true to the general tone, and who knew Harrison Ford still had it? Recommended? For old fans and new ones alike.
Dumbo. Adorable, fun, classic. A bit slow in some parts, but the overall lovable nature of the film and songs make this film enjoyable. Recommended? If deprived of this film as a child who watched Disney movies, this is one to check out.
The Dark Knight. Suspenseful, engaging, entertaining. While the true impact of the storyline does not click until the very end, the tedious wait is filled with phenomenal action sequences and some quirky albeit well-portrayed characters. Recommended? This film is only truly appreciated if seen after Batman Begins. Both are must-sees.
Casablanca. Quite slow, but heartfelt and mysterious. While rich in dialogue (including multiple timeless quotes), not much action and poor sound recording make this film difficult to sit through at times. Recommended? More as a novelty than a must see film that one would take something from.
The Godfather. Slow, but equally interesting and quite brutal. While the main plot is not incited for a while and many of the characters (though well portrayed) lack discernible traits, the film is well produced and still manages to be more or less engaging. Recommended? A worthwhile film, but not to be watched half-heartedly.
Howl’s Moving Castle. Imaginative, inspiring, but confusing. While most of the film includes lovable characters and good adventure, the last half hour involves bleak decisions and, while clearly resolved, leaves much to question. Recommended? For those with a strong imagination and a love for childlike adventure.
Inside Man. Intriguing, clever, engaging. The perfect blend of intense action and thought provoking (though accessible) mystery. Recommended? For sure, especially for fans of hostage movies and cop shows, though most audiences will enjoy this one.
From Paris With Love. Action packed, unpredictable, shocking. What the film lacks in its general dialogue, it makes up for in brilliant fight and chase sequences, as well as John Travolta’s unnecessarily crude but entertaining character. Recommended? For fans of action and explosions, because that’s what makes this film worth watching.
Proof. Funny, thought provoking, heartfelt. Story is flawed at times, but the film has an appealing quirkiness about it that some may find entertaining. Recommended? Not a must see, but worthwhile watching, especially for those who enjoyed A Beautiful Mind.
The Dark Knight Rises. Intriguing, dark (no pun intended), and for the most part unpredictable. Incredible action sequences and well thought out plot line with an outstanding conclusion. Recommended? A worthwhile conclusion for those who enjoyed the first two.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Shocking, tragic, emotional. Terrific acting takes this film with a debatable and often difficult to understand storyline to new heights. Recommended? Doesn’t live up to the hype, but overall worth the time.
Pulp Fiction. Violent, disjointed, profane. Good directing and well produced, but much of the film seems like an attempt to add as much explicit content as possible to one film while maintaining a basic plot line; with a twist that seems like its supposed to be an all revealing truth, but plays out more informative than shocking. Recommended? While this may have been ground-breaking in its time, it is not life-changing.
Se7en. Sadistic, intense, shocking. Climactic ending is incredible, but the plot until then is slow and much like any other insane serial killer flick. Recommended? For those who can stomach brutal crime scenes and testimonies.
Driving Miss Daisy. Wordy, funny, heartwarming. Difficult to understand dialogue at times, but the story shines through with lovable and well portrayed characters. Recommended? A surprisingly entertaining film that anyone can relate to.
Sling Blade. Gripping, emotional, ironically heroic. Story is incredibly heartfelt and acting displays characters in places far beyond the social norm, creating a heart wrenching but brilliant plot. Recommended? This film can be a tearjerker for some, but a must see for everyone.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Graphic, engaging, tragic. Brilliant music and acting bought out the best of the story, though the killing scenes were gory beyond necessity. Recommended? For fans of musicals and horror films alike, though not for the weak of heart.
Cabaret. Quirky, slow, but fun. Catchy songs, and a carefree vibe to the film, but perhaps there was too much carelessness when devising a plot for this one, as there really was none. Recommended? Perhaps as background noise at a party, but not worth committing 2 hours of life to.
The Silence of the Lambs. Disturbing, intriguing, brilliant. Greatest closing movie line: I’m having an old friend for dinner. Recommended? Definitely, especially a must-see for the horror audience.
Moulin Rouge! At times confusing, hectic and overly artistic, but a good story and all around entertaining. Worthwhile for the music especially. Recommended? Only if you don’t mind musical cheesiness and pure expressionism.
Rent. A bit slow because of all the songs, but heartfelt and touching. Brilliant soundtrack and memorable characters make this film what it is. Recommended? Yes, but only for the musical audiences who won’t complain about too many songs. A must-see for anyone pursuing a career in the arts.
Black Swan. Psychological, disturbing, and a bit hectic at times. Great story and technical elements with an ending disturbingly relatable to anyone obsessed with perfection. Recommended? Not for the faint or innocent of heart.
The African Queen. Fun and somewhat clever, but climaxes at the beginning, slows down and doesn’t quite pick up again. Recommended? Not for everyone, or most at that, unless you crave an overrated classic.
Bridesmaids. Very funny, decent acting, but that was about it. The opening alone was unnecessarily trashy, as well as many pointless characters. Recommended? Only for a good laugh, not to be taken seriously.
Fight Club. A bit confusing, but surprisingly intriguing and very clever and concise storyline. Surely an ending unpredictable, at least to some extent. Recommended? A definite must-see, possibly more than once.
The Hangover. Funny, crude, and surprisingly suspenseful. Haven’t seen a comedy with this much mystery in a while, and Zach Galafinakis (if I spelled it right) was very entertaining. Recommended? Yes, but to be seen alone or with friends, not family.
How to Train Your Dragon. Fun, inspiring, heartwarming. Minor Hollywood typicalities, but overall well-made and meaningful. Recommended? Definitely great for the whole family.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Somewhat funny, but very slow. A lot of unnecessary and time consuming content and outdated foreign humor (unless you are familiar with British comedy). Recommended? Not unless you crave stupidity and escapism.
Run Lola Run. Mysterious, action packed, thought-provoking. A bit repetitive, but the fascinating premise makes up for it. Recommended? Only if you know German, French, or don’t mind subtitles.
127 Hours. Gruesome, emotional, inspiring. Much more exciting than one may think. A good length as well. Recommended? A definite must see, if you can stand James Franco’s desperate and disgusting measures.
Gone With the Wind. Tragic, enchanting and above all lengthy (almost 4 hours!). Characters are emotionally gripping, but suspense and excitement only kicks in at the last 90 mins. Recommended? A bucket list item, but take a break every half hour.
Inglourious Basterds. Gory, disturbing, but brilliant nonetheless. Three most noteworthy aspects: acting, direction & screenplay. Recommended? Only for those who can stomach blatant genocide and graphic killing.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Suspenseful, dramatic, but a bit slow. Tennessee Williams is a master with words, but leaves little action in this film for an audience to feast their eyes upon. Recommended? As a background film, not one to commit time to sitting and watching.
Tangled. Fun, humorous, clever. Not as enjoyable as the classic Disney films, but despite minor flaws, overall enjoyable. Recommended? For the Disney-obsessed child in all of us.
Country Strong. Tragic, a bit slow, but very heartfelt. Great soundtrack and acting, but somewhat predictable as well. Recommended? Not for the country music haters, but a definite yes for everyone else.
Batman Begins. A bit slow at first, but overall concise, feasible and entertaining. Special acknowledgement for visual effects and fight choreography. Recommended? Definitely worthwhile.
Airplane! Funny, spontaneous, unpredictable. Though the comic effects are outdated and may seem “fake”, the intended outcome prevails. Recommended? If you liked Scary Movie, you’ll love this. If not, you may still like it.
Taken. Brutal, suspenseful, action packed. Short film, but edge of your seat thrills throughout the majority of the film. Recommended? For a definite thrill.