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Average User Score: 7.4Jan 31, 2018The current wave of the movies based on recent historical events relevant to modern American continues. Many of them have been good, but „OnlyThe current wave of the movies based on recent historical events relevant to modern American continues. Many of them have been good, but „Only the Brave“ feels clearly like the best one yet.
It’s about about the work and personal lifes of forest fire-fighting crew in Arizona, everyday heroes who do important work that most of us would consider too exhausting and inconvenient.
„Only the Brave“ has been aimed for awards season, of course, but it is a quality movie in its own right. Literally everything in it is done extremely well. It has suspense, variety, a multifaceted approach to the lives of its main characters,
In addition to some magnificent-looking great fires, it’s a real actors’ movie, which means that enjoying the performances is big part of the thrill.
And the cast is exemplary: Josh Brolin, Miles Teller, Jeff Bridges, Taylor Kitsch, James Badge Tale, et al. As you can guess by the names, the acting is really solid all around.
The best surprise was to see Teller in refreshingly different role, from low-life addict to responsible young man. I almost wished that he wouldn't change, the performance is that enjoyable.
There’s even room for small but well-written female character, and Jennifer Connelly attacks it with fire and conviction, so another Supporting Actress Oscar (or at least nomination) following „A Beautiful Mind“ shouldn’t be out of the question.
What looks like decorative character on paper has been turned into a beautiful and strong person who feels very real and really stands out among all the goodness the movie has to offer already.
Basically, „Only the Brave“ is 133 minutes of competence porn, Real Men and some Real Women doing What’s Necessary for the good of everybody.
But it’s done in a way that feels always real, gripping and emotionally relatable, so we can call it the best Hollywood has to offer.
And there’s not gonna be a dry eye in the house when this ordinary heroes epic reaches to its end. Go see it. It really is that good.… Expand
Average User Score: 4.6Jan 31, 2018Three overburdened young moms try to meet and then rebel against the challenges of „Super Bowl for moms“ – a perfect Christmas.
It’s a sequelThree overburdened young moms try to meet and then rebel against the challenges of „Super Bowl for moms“ – a perfect Christmas.
It’s a sequel to „Bad Moms“ released in 2016 summer which turned out to be quite a breakout hit, earning over 180 million cinema dollars against the 20 mil budget.
Ah, the grrl power comedies, the cute but mostly unfunny younger sister of American mainstream comedies which were kickstarted by 2011’s hit „Bridesmaid“, and Hollywood’s eager wish to prove that women can be funny too.
Well anybody can funny, of course, but you can’t really create a noteworthy all-female comedy without decent script and performances, and/or actresses’ ability to improvise, and this is where the new grrl power comedies fall short usually.
„A Bad Moms Christmas“ is a good example of this. Like many mainstream comedies, it has enough of everything to get the ball rolling, but the result feels so humorless and lacking that you will probably start checking your watch/phone before it reaches midpoint, at latest.
One problem is the generic screenplay, the other is the fact that despite all the talent involved, the story centers on three leading ladies, two of which are not good enough performers to carry this movie.
Mila Kunis and Kristen Bell are always decent supporters but they lack the acting range and presence to justify carrying a comedy. I am not even sure that they have enough star power to justify lead parts in a budding comedy franchise.
So it’s up to third lead Kathryn Hahn to do most of the the heavy lifting, and she’s solid as usual, being able to entertain, display some acting chops and create emotional connection with the audience.
All the other players are relegated to the sidelines, and have little screen time or almost nothing interesting to do. But they do it well, so I am gonna name them all:
* Christine Baranski, Susan Sarandon, and Cherly Hines as the bad moms of the bad moms visiting for Christmas – all veteran actresses, all giving much better performances than Bell and Kunis;
* Jay Hernandez, Peter Gallagher, Justin Hartley, Lyle Brocato – various love interests of bad moms, mostly there for decoration. Hartley is surprisingly memorable as male stripper with golden heart.
The introduction of his character, an affectionate conversation during balls and anus waxing, is probably the best part of the whole movie, both warm and funny. I was as surprised as you probably are reading this.
* Wanda Sykes, Christina Applegate, Cade Mansfield Cooksey – quick comedy reliefs, little screen time but a great value to the whole movie. If „Bad Moms 2“ will make you laugh at all, then it would probably happen thanks to them.
I’ve seen some good modern christmas comedies, such as „Elf“ and „The Bad Santa“, but this is not one of them. „A Bad Moms Christmas“ is just never funny.
The first hour is watchable but unremarkable, the remaining 45 minutes are just too cliche-y and frankly boring to care.
Also, I was surprised to find that "Bad Moms 2" is rated R in the U.S. cinemas – for crude sexual content and language throughout, and some drug use. Because compared to possibly every other modern raunchy comedy I have seen, it sure feels meek and mild. They even manage to make the promising end-credits dance number as unsexy as possible.
So... Avoid it, till it reaches Netflix or something, or when you desperately need some comedy you haven’t seen yet.
By the way, Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, the writing-directing team behind the franchise, are already planning the spin-off „Bad Dads“.
Probably gonna be as hollow and sackless as, say, „Horrible Bosses“. I am surprised if they will not try to bring in Jason Sudeikis or Jason Bateman, the charming crownprinces of sackless modern comedy movies.… Expand
Average User Score: 6.9Dec 28, 2017A couple's (Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem) tranquil existence in their majestic home is tested when uninvited guests started arriving atA couple's (Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem) tranquil existence in their majestic home is tested when uninvited guests started arriving at the door.
It doesn’t matter if you liked the trailer or not, „mother!“ is so unlike a regular movie that a regular review couldn’t do it justice.
In fact, I wouldn’t even know how to write one about it. So I don’t, and try to jot down my most direct thoughts indeed.
What is „mother!“ exactly, you probably ask while watching writer-director Darren Aronofsky’s latest. Is it just an artsy (horror) movie? A political movie (some notice and center on its alleged pro-environment, anti-patriarchy or anti-immigrants message, for example)? A spiritual movie (biblical or otherwise)?
Based on the comments by the man himself, which I have read online, I get the feeling that it can be any and all of them, depending on what you are prepared to see.
But first and foremost it sure is artsy, so be prepared for 121 minute chaotic joyride which may look and feel like horror but is more about experience than belonging to a genre, or, indeed, telling clear coherent story.
Aronofsky’s works are usually difficult to summarize, and „mother!“ continues the tradition.
I happen to think that „mother!“ is best understood and appreciated as a story of act of creation, be it in the shape of biblical allegory or human being’s spiritual awakening (two versions of the same thing if you ask me).
In social dancing, there’s a saying that woman is the picture and the man is the frame. It’s probably due to my background as a social dancer, but „mother!“ worked for me using that lens exactly.
I saw that act of creation needs both, frame and picture (content). Both are important and can’t exist without each other, both are in some ways necessary to tear down the old and bring in the new. And both can be good or bad, depending on our viewpoint.
If, for some reason, you can’t quite appreciate „mother!“ as spiritual or artsy movie, there’s also other angles to consider, at least for movie lovers. Aronofsky’s latest echoes of different genres, directors and works.
For example, I was reminded of Alejandro González Iñárritu’s „Birdman“ and „The Revenant“, for how the camera is almost always up close and personal, in your face. Or „Tree of Life“ for general feeling and approach to storytelling. Or some southern gothic stuff, even Sofia Coppola’s „The Beguiled“. Or even Michael Haneke’s „Funny Games“, for setup and how it begins to evolve.
But beyond all the comparisions one can come up with, it’s fresh and original work on its own.
The long last chapter – I will call it the creation section – is especially outlandish and defying easy descriptions, for both what happens on screen and how it’s directed. It’s so chaotic, always changing and yet majestically orchestrated that I just can’t find words. Everything is in motion, everything is shattered. It’s cool.
I liked the actors too. Lawrence is in her top form, as somebody living through a personal nightmare, plus camera almost always up close and personal. Bardem stays on the background, he’s cool but not among the most interesting players here.
Then there are intriguing turns from Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer, a long-lost American sweetheart from 1980-90’s. We also see Domhnall Gleeson, Brian Gleeson, Kristen Wiig…
I like the comment of this one critic that „mother!“ is easy to respect and hard to like, but I managed to do both.
It’s too difficult to recommend, but do Aronofsky’s movie need recommending at all? Based on his earlier works, you already know whether you are intrigued to see it or not.… Expand
Average User Score: 4.0Dec 28, 2017No matter how fine their taste, I believe that anybody can enjoy an occasional B-movie now and then. The opinions differ only on what makes aNo matter how fine their taste, I believe that anybody can enjoy an occasional B-movie now and then. The opinions differ only on what makes a good one.
The president of the USA, far-reaching conspiracy, the world in danger, a few good (wo)men doing what is right, impending big disaster – if these keywords fit your cup of B, then „Geostorm“ may have what it takes to entertain you for 109 minutes and leave a good aftertaste.
When the network of satellites designed to control the global climate starts to attack the planet instead, it's a race against the clock to uncover the real threat before a worldwide geostorm wipes out everything and everyone.
Most of the story actually takes place in space, so considerable part of the visual effects budget has been spent to show us the International Space Station, satellites and the big cold void that we like to call the universe. And after having your fill of „cosmos porn“, there are big natural disaster scenes to fall back on.
The disasters dominate the promoting materials but are actually in minority, and mostly mercifully short. They look awesome but are not essential to the story and thus tend to even somewhat disrupt the general atmosphere and flow. Especially near finale, which is mercifully short too. Because good entertainment should always know when to end and not stretch over two hours or something.
Starring Gerard Butler – the unsung hero and go-to guy to any self-respecting B- or generic movie – who is joined by a surprisingly large and impressive cast including Jim Sturgess, Abbie Cornish, Talitha Eliana Bateman, Adepero Oduye, Ed Harris, Andy Garcia, Alexandra Maria Lara, Daniel Wu, Eugenio Derbez, and Amr Waked.
It’s also worth noting that almost all major female characters are written as strong individuals and don’t rely on their looks (although they do look good of course).
This approach is something that freshens and updates the general vibe reminiscent of the big dumb 1990’s movie that the director and co-writer Dean Devlin became really famous for originally, meaning „Independence Day“. Back then, of course, he was just a writer and co-creator with Roland Emmerich, here he debuts as director too.
But cool actors, strong female characters and even big-budget special effects will only get you so far, when the movie is lacking the most essential of elements: heart.
And „Geostorm“ has a lot of heart, which is the main reason I liked and enjoyed it so much – in spite of its weak storytelling where things mainly happen because they are ought to, not develop naturally.
It’s a minor miracle that despite all the unrealistic-ness and cheesiness of the story – it's a B-movie, after all – the actors are so spot on, full of heart and conviction that you just have to buy all this what’s happening on screen.
This is probably thanks to Devlin’s brilliance at putting together this kind of big cheesy thing. It was about time he started directing too!
Leading star Gerard Butler, in some movies just a poor man’s Aaron Eckhart, is in especially good form, a shining example of how to breathe life into otherwise generic material, and grab us along with the ride.
If you think that spouting all these silly lines and making it feel believable must be easy, as it seems for him, then you should try acting for youself.
In a way, his charismatic work here feels as much an achievement as Matthew McConaughey’s in „Interstellar“ which is actually not the weirdest association if one was to compare the central themes of the two movies. But if this comparision seems too out-there, there are also parallels with many apocalyptic blockbusters from „Armageddon“ to „The Day After Tomorrow“.
So… I liked it. „Geostorm“ is certainly cheesy, but it does what it does really well. Go catch this!… Expand
Average User Score: 4.0Dec 28, 2017One of the year’s worst-reviewed big name project has arrived. It’s another Scandinavian murder thriller – to sate the demand the producersOne of the year’s worst-reviewed big name project has arrived. It’s another Scandinavian murder thriller – to sate the demand the producers hope exists.
Starring Michael Fassbender as famous but alcoholic Oslo cop – sorry, elite squad’s lead detective – out to catch an elusive serial killer.
If you like the „Millennium“ series, be warned: no strong female characters here. It’s all about watching the sweet but curiously expressionless face of Fassender dragging himself through mounds of snow to try and stop the killings.
The critics seem to not like the poor "Snowman" at all: 8/100 at Rotten Tomatoes, 23/100 at Metacritic. Users are comparably cold: 22/100 and 2.3/10, respectively. Don’t worry, the movie’s not actually that bad. It’s just not a gripping one.
The story unfolding on the screen is so pedestrian and lifeless that you have to be a fan of the genre, or Fassbender, to get some joy out of this.
The makers can’t hold the suspense even though there are always new murders to fall back on. Actors can make the story watchable but the result fails to ignite. I can’t even think of anything interesting to say about this.
The teenagers in the cinema, or the majority of the audience, seemed to like it though. I heard them discussing the most blood-curdling scenes later. It is true that the movie offers some not-PG-friendly blood and violence.
The impressive cast includes Charlotte Gainsbourg, Chloë Sevigny, Rebecca Ferguson, Jonas Karlsson, J.K. Simmons, Val Kilmer, Toby Jones, David Dencik, James D'Arcy, Jamie Clayton, Michael Yates, Ronan Vibert, Adrian Dunbar. If only they had something interesting to do … Kilmer at least looks interesting, like he escaped from botox clinic after series of unsuccessful experiments.
Based on a novel by Norwegian crime-writer Jo Nesbø. It is the seventh entry in detective Harry Hole series, and the first one made into a movie.
Director Tomas Alfredson has said that the production of "The Snowman " was rushed. He joined it late and reckons that up to 15% of the screenplay was not filmed. In addition, the location filming in Norway was shortened so that the production could move to London, which compromised story. So now we know.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.1Dec 28, 2017A humble businessman (Jackie Chan) seeks justice when his daughter is killed in an act of terrorism. A conflict ensues with a governmentA humble businessman (Jackie Chan) seeks justice when his daughter is killed in an act of terrorism. A conflict ensues with a government official (Pierce Brosnan) whose past may hold clues to the killers' identities.
What would you like to see less: yet another spy / government / secret ops action or yet another action movie which has a geriatric leading man because they don’t want to retire just because of the old age.
Well, in this case, you get both. But „The Foreigner“ has a secret weapon – Jackie Chan. Yes, he’s 63 now but Asians age well and he can still kick it, seemingly effortlessly.
It’s not mostly just clever editing, body doubles and special effects too, Chan’s proud to be able to do the physical stuff himself, just like he has always done.
The amount of ass-kicking has dried out a bit – the first fight only occurs about 45 minutes into the near two hour movie – but you’re still gonna have fun watching Chan doing the brawl.
For variety’s sake, there’s also a hefty amount of explosions, shooting, and political intrigue, because you can’t have shady government thriller without it.
Ex-Bond Pierce Brosnan as the nemesis is not bad either although he sounds like a lecturing schoolteacher most of the time, which makes the result feel cheesier than it has to.
But this is still a Jackie Chan movie, so some cheese factor is expected, starting with the fact that most of the events wander somewhere in the nowhereland between believable and ridonculous.
Then again, the dialogue and the motivation of characters stay on the serious side, which compensates for some of leap of faith the viewer has to take to enjoy all this. This is a not often seen kind of action movie where the dialogue sounds actually pretty good too.
Much is happening, too, even considering the 114 minute length which honestly seems too long for this kind of entertainment.
There are political and personal intrigues, a bunch of secondary characters doing something or other, surprises and even a bizarre but cool Rambo style section in the woods.
Oh, and the rumors about Chan showing his acting skills here are true. Despite the importance of kicking ass, this is a rather complex role dealing with irreparable loss, regrets and getting old.
I recall that Arnold Schwarzenegger’s latest screen role could be summarized with the very same words, but his performance isn’t half this moving, and the movie („Aftermath“, 2017) kind turned out to be a stinker as well. Sorry, Ahnuld!
Ultimately, I rather enjoyed my time with Jackie Chan who does not try to conquer the West anymore and thus rarely appears in our cinemas.
„The Foreigner“ will not leave a burning and lasting impression but there’s lot to like about it, even if it would benefit from being 20 minutes shorter. There’s so much going on that some of it will feel a big half-baked retrospectively. Or maybe there's just too little of Jackie Chan for a Jackie Chan movie.
By the way, the director Martin Campbell was the first to offer us Pierce Brosnan as James Bond in 1995 („Goldeneye“), plus „Casino Royale“ which is my favorite 007 movie of all time.
He did the two Zorros with Antonio Banderas as well – not to mention 2010’s „Edge of Darkness“ which didn’t turn out to be much of a comeback for Mel Gibson after all. And then there’s „Green Lantern“, of which the less said the better…… Expand
Average User Score: 7.1Dec 28, 2017Noah Baumbach, one of America’s indie films’ most acclaimed auteurs, is back to tell us yet another story of defective family andNoah Baumbach, one of America’s indie films’ most acclaimed auteurs, is back to tell us yet another story of defective family and relationships.
His latest was snapped up by Netflix and boasts an impressive cast including Dustin Hoffman, Adam Sandler, Sigourney Weaver, Adam Driver, Ben Stiller, Emma Thompson.
It’s about elderly father and his three adult children still competing for his affection, and the result is typical Baumbach joint, meaning slow tempo, not much happening, a whole lot of talking, and emotionally distant style.
You may not “get” it at all - and feel that there’s a curious vacuum of interesting stuff happening - or slowly learn to embrace the world he has created, which usually happens when one watches a Baumbach movie.
Critics seem to love it - indeed, “Meyerowitz” seems to be among his most acclaimed works yet - and I have liked most of Baumbach’s movies. But this time, I just couldn’t take it.
For most of its 112 minute length, it felt like a limp and soulless exercise in doing something in Baumbach style, not something that he really did.
The story comprises of three chapters, of which the middle one is close to something that could be called intriguing.
The first chapter lasting 30 minutes feels just empty, and the last is so and so, partly interesting, often just pretentious in a bad way (brothers fighting and public speaking). Yes, the movie has its own distinctive atmosphere but it wasn’t enough for me this time.
When Larry David started creating „comedies about nothing“, and managed to create a whole new modern movement of screen stories not clinging to certain genre, he always found ways to captivate and entertain us. “Meyerowitz” could be called drama about nothing, and it feels just boring.
The movie has brought a lot of acclaim to Adam Sandler in one of the leading roles, proving once again that he’s an able enough actor and can do serious stuff if he wants to.
Funny thing is, every time I watch another typical Adam Sandler comedy, I think: he can do this kind of thing forever and still be liked but doesn’t he want to do something more original, more serious… something more?
And then again, the only serious movie starring Sandler I really have dug was the first, 2002’s „Punch Drunk Love“. All the next ones are just… underwhelming. Not bad in any significant way, just not that interesting either. It’s not his fault, of course, but still… funny.… Expand
Average User Score: 6.9Dec 28, 2017If you were surprised by the recent news that NBC’s „The Office’s“ pretty boy John Krasinski is gonna be the next Jack Ryan, then you haven’tIf you were surprised by the recent news that NBC’s „The Office’s“ pretty boy John Krasinski is gonna be the next Jack Ryan, then you haven’t possible seen his against-typecasting projects such as „13 Hours“ or, say, „Promised Land“.
This one is a modern war movie about American elite soldiers in Libya at its most dangerous times, defending unofficial CIA base from local militants.
Krasinski doesn’t kick ass here yet – as Jack Ryan, he has to, surely – but he can shoot bad guys from afar as well as the next guy. Also, tallness and beard help to make a real man out of boyish-looking man, no?
Kidding aside, he looks the part – which is good because this is mostly what the screenplay expects from the stars here. This, and couple of video calls to families, to show their human side.
It’s directed by Michael Bay, so you can expect two things: a lot of explosive action and the movie being longer than needed.
At 144 minutes, the never ending war porn does get tiring, especially as the story stays on the shallow side. We don't get to see anything from Libyan side. Maybe the original cut lasting four hours would be deeper and richer content-wise.
So it gets too monotonous for my taste – all shooting and no strong story – but I am not particularly interested in modern war movies, so I may not the best judge of „13 Hours“ and its qualities.
But the other critics don’t seem to like it much either (50/100 from Rotten Tomatoes, 48/100 from Metacritic), so this does say something. Probably. The site users are kinder: 7.3/10 from IMDb, 82/100 from Rotten Tomatoes, 6.8/10 from Metacritic.
What is surprising, is that Bay managed to pull all this off for paltry 50 million USD budget. These days, he’s more used to directing movies three-four times more expensive, due to the man devoting his life for „Transformers“ franchise.
By the way, „13 Hours“ is based on a true story, and a book that was written about it. Filmed in Malta and Morocco.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.7Dec 28, 2017A girl (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) survives a car accident and wakes in a nuclear shelter run by older man (John Goodman) who claims thatA girl (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) survives a car accident and wakes in a nuclear shelter run by older man (John Goodman) who claims that something major has happened overground and they can only survive by down here.
There’s another survivor as well (John Gallagher Jr.), who seems more together mentally, but still agrees with the owner…
„10 Cloverfield Lane“ was released in March 2016, and got a wide release, so there’s good chance that you have seen it already or heard about it.
For those lucky ones who still have a chance of seeing it fresh, I am not gonna write much.
Watch it and enjoy, because this is a movie lover’s delight – original, tightly written and well played thriller that builds suspense and keeps you guessing till the very end.
Most of the story takes place in underground shelter with just three actors yet it never feels like a play. It’s a proper movie, and strikingly good one at that.
Freakin’ loved it! Would have been a tight one even without…… Expand
Average User Score: 7.2Dec 25, 2017Two couples (Jason Schwartzman and Judith Godrèche / Adam Scott and Taylor Schilling from „Orange Is the New Black“) make a playdate whichTwo couples (Jason Schwartzman and Judith Godrèche / Adam Scott and Taylor Schilling from „Orange Is the New Black“) make a playdate which grows into something more than sipping wine and watching the children play together.
Found this little indie thing in Netflix, watched it to see Scott and Schwartzman who have a habit of appearing in comedies that I like (in addition to many generic movies but whatever, I like those dudes).
„The Overnight“ is not really a drama nor comedy but a tale of relationships: what makes us get together and stay together.
Despite the promising topic and pretty cool promos, It does not really go anywhere. There's no suspense of any kind (surely a killing blow to any movie about relationships) and the approach is too improvisational (a lot of dialogue, mostly just talk-talk-talk without any memorable lines or highlights).
But hey, I saw my dudes and it’s over quickly, in 83 minutes.
Exec produced by the Duplass brothers which gives you strong hint about what to expect from the general vibe.
Written and directed by one Patrick Brice, whose only previous movie was horror „Creep“. Whatever this means.… Expand