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Fare (2016)
Technically Competent and Sufficiently Performed, But the Story is Where It Collapses
1 March 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Fare is the directorial debut of Thomas Torrey, who also wrote the script and played the protagonist. It's not a complete disaster, but even at one hour and fifteen minutes, the film feels like a writer's crisis.

The first minutes set the stage with Torrey (Eric) driving a couple of customers as a ride-share driver; of course the one customer that is of any significance is the one with whom he shares a philosophical -- and out-of-place, and rather unrealistic, to be honest -- conversation. Bits of the conversation become material for another key scene with Patrick, who is sleeping with Eric's wife and happens to get on his car (yeah, unlikely, but however unlikely, it's possible, I guess). By far this conversation between the victim and the villain(?) is the most intriguing sequence out of the entire film, and it sort of gets interesting when Eric's wife unexpectedly joins the conversation.

From there, however, it all goes downhill. There's no need to go into detail what transpires afterwards; it suffices to say that the film's final act feels like a writer just giving up because he can't come up with anything interesting. Still, the film is a technically competent one with decent performances.
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Prometheus (I) (2012)
What It Lacks in Plot, It Compensates in Suspense and Philosophical Depth
6 June 2012
It would be hard to compare this to Scott's introduction of the Alien species, but if I have to, I would say it lacks the kind of horror that Alien brought and its suspense falls flat, though not by much.

What it manages to do more than the first installment is that it adds a layer of philosophical, constantly in pursuit of the origins of mankind, and ultimately mortality. The visuals no doubt outmatched the original, thanks to modern technology, but the effects seem to be behind similarly foreign planets settings like Avatar.

The suspense is maintained since the arrival at the planet of our makers, and most would expect countless answers flooding in as the plot unfolds. That is not really the case. In fact, there are questions left unanswered. One thing is for sure, it is an enjoyment, though not the same kind when you are watching the original, and it seems to promise a sequel, which I will gladly watch should it come.
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Big Miracle (2012)
Big Miracle: Culturally Rich, Adequately Emotional Despite the Occasional Clichés
1 June 2012
A film that takes place in Alaska, and offers great insight into the local culture, that's what Big Miracle ends up being. It is also fairly edited into cut scenes of appropriate length and relevance, with the insertion of layers of sentiments undoubtedly sufficient to please viewers. The performances differ, from character to character, along with the fact that screen time is quite split on account of a diversity of characters with different personality, but interestingly united under a shared purpose, to save three whales in great danger. It is not what you call an epic adventure, but it wields that kind of sweetness and authenticity to appeal. Notwithstanding the clichés that happen here and there, the film still remains a solid family experience and a great in-depth coverage of an alternate landscape and an alternate lifestyle in the Alaskan culture.
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Battleship (2012)
Battleship: Heated Action Coupled with Disappointing Story
28 May 2012
Another of Hollywood's great investment down the drain. A brief review is sufficient to sum up the entire movie.

There is no way one can deny the intense action and visuals going on, though the diversity of landscapes remains lacking, as most of the run-time displays a vast oceanic war between, well, battleships. Aliens' high-tech shape-shifting energy-emitting battleships versus the navy, to be precise. This is easily compared to recent The Avengers, which is definitely more story-driven and well-written, more commercially successful, and brings a higher degree and greater variety of action. Battleship falls flat in every single aspect in the match.

In other words, it is a Transformers-style effortless writing of a script that disappoints. Unoriginal and cheesy and a cookie-cutter action sci-fi, if you want to put it that away. If you are going to the cinema to watch this for the pure action, it may still be worth your money. However, if what you seek is something beyond, if what desire is a refreshing and creative plot-line, don't bother.
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Iron Sky (2012)
Iron Sky: Journey to the Moon Packed with Action and Hilarious Moments
28 May 2012
Boy, do we miss Mars Attacks!.

Iron Sky is a joint production from Finland, Australia and of course, Germany (The Nazis never get old in movies, sci-fi or not), a short journey to the dark surface of Earth's moon, a tale about a secret base constructed by the Nazis who fled to the Moon after losing the Second World War. There is no disappointment in the comedic aspect: it is a package comprising sidesplitting ideas, stereotyping-made-funny moments and sometimes comedy in pure action.

Mars Attacks! had a ridiculously stars-filled cast and criticism on acting is out of the picture, but Iron Sky proves that a well-written comedy may not need that. It is established as something equally funny and it has action - intense spaceship action on both our home planet and the frigid side of the moon.

In a comedic way, it also sets forth its message appropriately, and adequately in a way that it still maintains its nature of a light and action-packed comedy.

All in all, it is a great piece of science fiction filled with action and some silliness.
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Notes from the Heart Healer (2012 TV Movie)
A Single Mother's Journey to Reflection and Reconciliation
24 May 2012
Notes from the Heart Healer is a light family film that attempts to discuss family ties and relationships between total strangers. It is a small-scaled TV movie that describes the journey of a single mother in a moderate pace and an appropriate tone throughout. The film begins with a dilemma of a single mother whose husband is no longer around, and sets off a journey to ultimate reflection and reconciliation.

Violet is a desperate mother of very young age, sick and has just been terminated from her employment. She comes up with a difficult decision - leaving the infant with someone who can care for him - and it is one that drives the drama into motion. What follows is an intact combination of dramatic elements and a sentimental trip from loss to being found.

Peyton and King, a newly married couple, are given the characters of total strangers, yet they remain also two main backbone characters that move the film forward as they are left with the responsibility of temporarily taking care of the abandoned child. Peyton is also facing her dark past, and is herself in a dilemma no easier to extricate from than Violet.

Violet eventually meets with Peyton, and they together form another intriguing relationship as more is revealed about Violet's family and her husband who is not here to help take care of his own child. It also brings out the husband's father, and ergo it leads to another troubled relationship between him and Violet.

Notes from the Heart Healer is a movie made for TV that is both moving and mind-stimulating, devoid of unrelated silliness or a pace too slow, and, pulls itself together by its meaning and emotional effect despite the lack of top-class acting.
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The Dictator (2012)
The Dictator: Nothing More...Nothing Less
23 May 2012
Sacha Baron Cohen appears as the dictator Aladeen of his own dictated country, and as usual, it is a film similar to Borat, a successful comedy full of sidesplitting moments. It is the usual style of this writer-actor, translating the "wrong" ideas into constant laughter. Unfortunately it is a film that offers no clear message and seemingly over the journey of the entire film there is not much learned; the Dictator is still the same old Dictator, though he claims he understands more.

Anyway, it is still a pure comedy that shines with nicely written jokes, funny one-liners, and racism and sexism made laughable. To fully appreciate a film like this, all moral standards must exist, but it is a film that is asking you not temporarily care less about such rules.

There is no much in depth to say this film. It is a great comedy because it is funny. It is by no means a good drama not because it lacks the elements in its making, but because it wasn't intended for this to be a drama. So accept the fact that this is all comedy, and enjoy the fun that probably can only last through a one-time, yet worthwhile watch.
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Me Again (2012)
Learning to Cherish the Things You Have
22 May 2012
True, it is a story about a man learning a profound lesson through a trek of uncommon experiences. True, these experiences are somewhat supernatural and explained in the miracle-from-God cheesy style. And true, such experiences are by no means innovative and can be considered a fairy-tale enchantment. Still, it is a little gem that illuminates in a miniature yet successful way, thanks to its essential message, its gradual and managed delivery and its surprisingly good transition from what feels like misplaced pieces of chaos to a complete conclusion with an apt reflection.

The start of the film is the end of the film, though nothing is revealed (nothing but the message that it is going to be a family film classified within the usual formula and that it will end happily). The lessons learned and the process are indeed experienced through watching the story that fills the gap. Rich starts as a disoriented mid-aged man who has lost his purpose in life and prays in the hopes of being someone else, anyone other than himself, and for your convenience, indeed, what he gets is what he wishes for. The twist is that it happens uncontrollably. Rich begins to be able to control different individual, some seemingly being predetermined, while others feel completely random. Through stepping into others' shoes and viewing with different eyes, Rich slowly learns and grasps the meaning in life, along with other significant messages about family and love, and his marriage most noticeably. He decidedly turns his disadvantage into determination and strives for a new life and a place back to his family whom he misses. As the transitions between different living beings increase and the randomness seems to set in, a sense of unconstrained chaos arises, causing the film to be slightly off its track, but it is ultimately satisfying to see a nice conclusion and relation and at least some degree of relevance in the things and ideas involved.

The performances are mediocre but in no way hinder the development of the plot line and the display of message. The closure has the ability to strengthen the film and reinforce ideas, and conclude in a satisfying style and in a proper tone. All in all, the story is organized well and everything has the closure it deserves. Amid the silliness there are quite a few heartfelt and hilarious moments that adds a foundation of sentiments to this well-developed indie production.
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Big Fish (2003)
An Admirable Art Form
19 May 2012
You can say Big Fish is a queer kind of theme for the great plot and little stories it comprises, but undeniably it is a genuine piece of art that continues to amaze viewers in personal ways for each individual. It is the kind of film that is distinctively moving, special, and special in different, varying ways for different people.

On the surface, it is a son's penetratingly emotional journey to reconcile with his father. It depicts a story that reconnects a parting relationships, and experiences that inspire. The tone is light and easily manages to pull the audience in, without the usual cheesy elements. The film starts and ends with a big fish, and in between are uncountable stories that are intriguingly touching and inspirational.

There are no easy words to describe such a vivid experience that can only be experienced first-hand through directly viewing the bittersweet journey of a man's life and the underlying reflections.
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Engaging Drama Set on a Truly Beautiful Island
16 May 2012
The Diary of Preston Plummer was set on an island of great scenery and filled with the beauty of nature, gradually inserting elements of crime into what starts as a drama or romance.

Preston has just graduated high school, and meets Kate in a party. He takes her home and she asks for a favor - to drive her back home where her parents' hotel are - which he accepts. The true greatness of the countryside sets in, and at the same time we learn about Kate's family and her grandpa. Grandpa meets Preston, talks without making much sense, fills the conversation with seemingly inexplicable riddles and a plethora of unanswered questions. The story begins as develop, as both the romance and the secrets in this family are revealed. Preston becomes determined to look for the truth, and things come to a conclusion as the matters are settled.

This is an above average drama and delivers viewers a satisfying experience throughout. It is a love story, but one that has deeper layers, one that digs deeper into family secrets, which soon incorporate into the romantic relationship going on between the two young lovers. It is engaging enough to keep the audience attentive and entertained for a relatively short span of 80 minutes. But it is effective in bringing about its messages about greed and family relationships. On top of that, it is an unusual love story set in a different environment, which is refreshing with comforting music and the bless of nature.
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Gibson Plays Hero in a Peculiar Prison
14 May 2012
Mel Gibson returns as a hero, though not one as multilayer as in the ancient Braveheart. "Get the Gringo" takes place in a slum in Mexico, or as the film states, a prison, despite many unanswered questions concerning its origin or development over time. It does not really matter in a story that shines with interesting characters and well-crafted plot-lines.

It is a character unlike the army leader portrayed almost 20 years ago in the film that earned Gibson his two Academy Awards, for this time it is a hero that robs and kills, but not necessarily out of justice. Gibson handled the character well nevertheless, and this side is shown right at the beginning, in a scene during which police vehicles chase Gibson who has just stolen some random rich guy and tries to rush past the barricade which symbolizes the border. As the story unfolds, we get to know him better. The character Gibson is assuming is one of exceptional intelligence and immense patience. It is, however, unclear when it comes to his sentimental side until he meets a mother and her child in "jail", where he befriends them and understands the situation raging about and matters up to a more personal level.

The story is interesting and the excitement exists from the beginning to the end; it is truly hard to look through the entire film and find a single moment which is considered boring for me. The narrating is great, the performances good, and the emotions satisfactory. The corrupted moral values do not in any way degrade this nice little movie; after all, it is a crime thriller and revolves around a criminal whose hands are not forced. What perhaps could have made the film better is more depth on the emotions, which definitely constitutes a more profound experience for viewers.
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Smitty (2012)
Plays by the Rules, But Still a Decent Coming-of-age Story
28 April 2012
"Smitty" is the typical kind of movie that fits perfectly in the general formula of movies. It is a family movie that combines the elements of tales about animals and coming-of-age themes. It is a movie that plays it safe but still manages to provide viewers with a pleasant experience and a lesson to learn.

Brandon Tyler Russell plays Ben, a 13-year-old teenager who under certain circumstances has to move in with his grandfather whom he has never met before in his life. In the countryside, amid a small town, farms and beautiful landscapes, among a number of interesting characters, Ben begins to learn about the past of the relationship between his grandfather and his mother, and comes to understand people and himself better.

He later meets his dog, adopted from a lost or abandoned animal shelter, and also Smitty, a mid-aged store-owner who befriends him and whose guitar appeals to him. Relationships between characters are clearly shown, and storytelling techniques are simple but effective. Its simplicity along with the plot pull the audience into the feelings in the tale, which include family relationships, human-animal relationships, growing up and a taste of life in the farms.

Overall, it is a great film for a whole family to sit down and watch on a weekend. The story is simple, moving and carries certain messages.
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The Return (2003)
For Me...This Movie Generates Mixed Feelings
28 April 2012
So I've just sat through 2 hours watching Vozvrashchenie, or The Return, and my opinions are two-sided. There are things that I loved and enjoyed and things that I didn't like so much. But overall, this is definitely an interesting film to catch and inspires its viewers.

The performances are perhaps what make this movie so special to me. As a father and his two sons meet for the first time in twelve years, emotions are changing every minute, and with all kinds of unexpected and strange things that happen on a road trip, the plot is rendering the emotions subject to more sudden and drastic fluctuations. With an amazing cast, those emotions are shown as reasonable and heartfelt as they could be. The father is like a mystery close and far, touching them at times and drifting away at other times. The sons have different attitudes and feelings toward their unfamiliar father, and yet between the two brothers, it is another kind of relationship, some brotherhood nicely and believably displayed.

Two more things that I liked are the cinematography and the background music. The scenes are visually beautiful, and the scenery about and on the island is simply incredible. With great cinematography, its elegance is shown, including the stillness and variations of the environment which are equally appealing to the eye. The music that runs in the background, though not often in existence, serves its function to enrich the experience and caters for the surroundings well when it needs to.

It is a story that intrigues, that's for sure. The mystery about the father and his rather unknown identity raise the tension as the story develops into further limits. The unpredictability impresses, and it makes the story hold itself together and clutch its grip till the conclusion.

What I didn't appreciate that much is perhaps the ending. Yes I've seen incomplete endings before, yes I've seen movies with vaguer endings, but I guess this movie is not one of those, for its ending can be considered somewhat complete, if you look differently. For me, what fails to bring the film to a satisfying closure is likely its message. It's certainly open to free interpretation, but still there are unanswered questions that even if answered, will not weaken the effect of the ending. You'll have to watch the movie to see what I mean. Perhaps you won't find that a problem at all. Perhaps that's how you like it. Either way, if you ask me for a description or review for Vozvrashchenie, or The Return, I would say it is a movie that combines an interesting family-centered or more precisely a father-and-son relationship and an unusual adventure in the wilds, which is done in excellent cinematography and background music, and is a gem when it comes to the aspect of acting.
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A Drama Highlighting The Consequences Of Hatred
25 April 2012
I just felt I needed to write a review for this film since there wasn't any. I'm not sure if I understand the background and all the issues mentioned thoroughly.

From what I saw, "The Wooden Gun" is a drama that takes place after the WWII, focusing on a group of kids in a neighboring fighting a "war". Shown to the audience is the aggravation of a conflict and the intensification of violence involved. As the story develops, there is a tinge of doubt here and there, but seemingly never sufficient to melt away the hatred.

The tone is not a serious one but the movie does get serious at certain points and it can be at times. The result of the conflict is mentioned, but the conclusion or reflection is openly stated, leaving room for the viewers' own understanding.

The plot is developed in an appropriate pace. What perhaps hurts the film a little are the acting and some unrelated content. But overall it is still an enjoyable movie and makes people think, though it may not be top of its class when it's put next to similar works.
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Excellent Thriller Set In The Beauty of Nature
23 April 2012
This is an excellent film with many factors contributing to its success.

Original And Creative Story: The story is captivating, original and of great creativity. To be honest, it is really hard to find a thriller as good as this set in the relaxing environment of the countryside where there are only herbs and fields extending to seemingly nothingness.

Well-organized Script: The script is amazingly written, managing to provide viewers with relaxing yet thrilling surroundings as the plot unfolds. The way of handling the emotions is balanced and masterful, especially the emphasis of the beauty of nature.

Great Cinematography: The scenery is just breathtaking, as rarely do we have the chance to enjoy a crime film in such a beautiful environment. The open fields and the sky, and the variation of weather conditions are designed and inserted appropriately.

Powerful Performance: The cast has done a great job handling such a script with twists and unexpected happenings, as well as transitions of emotions and states. The younger actors are more deserving of the praise, but the adult cast members are equally brilliant.

All in all, "I'm Not Scared" is a rare film combining the beauty of nature, the nature of mankind, and the innocence of youth. Behind the curtain, it lies a compelling crime thriller that is never devoid of tension and thrills.
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Compelling Drama That Shines
23 April 2012
Murmur of the Heart is an astonishing work of drama combining the elements of coming of age and sexual initiation. Realistically told is the tale of a 15-year-old boy from a well-off family learning about love and sex and growing up in general.

What makes the film more successful than other similar work, I think, is the appropriate setting of the tone. It is adjusted to a moderate level to prevent a too light or heavy script. The performances, especially the leading actor playing the protagonist, are promising and multilayer.

There is much to discover and explore in this drama. The journey of Laurent Chevalier should not be missed for lovers of this genre.
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The Fire That Burns (1997 TV Movie)
Subtle Drama about "Love"
22 April 2012
When it comes to an overall impression of this film, amid an organized story and compellingly emotional performances, it is still not absolutely satisfying, for it loses its grip when the film ends.

The story mainly depicts the relationships of two friends of quite an age difference and a priest in a strictly-run boarding school. It is a movie that takes the subtle approach when tackling sensitive topics. The film uses characters of difficult purposes and thoughts to discuss "love", and the difference between a healthy friendship and a improper one.

The subtlety sets in when ideas are sometimes expressed vaguely through the kind of talk you would expect from priests. The religious overtone veils the story as the plot nears its end, with relatively lengthy scenes of half-debate and half-reflection, bringing to movie to a closure. The ending is quite abrupt, though I account it challenging to end it any other way.

"The Fire that Burns" is along the lines of relationships and forbidden feelings, with religious overtones and philosophical as well as moral concerns. It is a simple story, but with an incredible depth of sentimental strength.
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Polisse (2011)
Sophisticated, Profoundly Sentmimental
20 April 2012
"Polisse" is a pleasant experience for me. The themes covered in this 2-hour film are more than you can imagine. There's marriage, sexuality, child abuse, romance and workplace disputes. Perhaps that's what makes the film so special and rich in content, as the audience is faced with a different issue case after case, and inserted between are relationships between the police force of the Children Protection Unit (CPU) in Paris.

It is inevitable that the amount of the problems revealed throughout the film makes it almost impossible to bring closure to every storyline. In fact, what the movie focuses on tackling is simply letting viewers get a glimpse at the problems, not at all emphasizing on resolutions. The lacking closure may be a setback to some, but "Polisse" remains a complexly structured film that manages to successfully cover as many themes as possible in a down-to-earth approach.

Another plus of the film is the well-portrayed emotions and the outstanding performances from almost every single actor involved. There is no certain climax if you ask me, for the emotional outbursts are probably where the climaxes are for me, and thankfully they appear in the most unexpected moments, backed up by realistic performances that move the audience.

"Polisse" is a nice little movie from Cannes, with an all-round description of the quotidian things of a certain CPU unit in France. While the themes stretch much further from the sole purpose of the unit, the main idea throughout stays constant, led by cases regarding children, no matter it is about child abuse, or pedophiles, or even separation of parents and children. One thing should be stated clearly though: There is no clear ending to this movie; basically it is just a detailed description of daily occurrences, and life always goes on unless one's dead.
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An Unconventional Gem
20 April 2012
It is movies like this that reminds me of the sweetness of little films off the mainstream. And this very film, it is one that captures innocent adolescence and somewhat touches moral standards. But to put it simply, it is intriguing story-telling that really moves me.

This is not a standard film. There is hardly a way to compare, nor is comparison required if you ask me. My sole impression is that it is a feel-good and relaxing movie, mostly comedic with seemingly unrelated silliness, yet it also possesses the qualities of an inspiring drama: family relationships and coming-of-age themes, and perhaps more if you're eager to look further. Other than that it is a heartfelt comedy, not one of those laugh-out-loud ones, but one that manages to bind loose and scattered things and thoughts into a bittersweet experience, and a truly interesting tale of Henry James Herman, or Jesus Henry Christ if you like.

The backdrop of the plot is the extraordinary abilities of Henry, and from there it evolves unpredictably and fast to a reunion of Henry and Audrey, who he believes is his sister. And of course it continues.

The performances are not exceptionally surprising but the power of story has made that problem minor, as my love of the film emanates from the bravely unconventional story than from the acting.

Movies like this need to be made. For people who enjoy something different and relaxing from time to time, this film is not to be missed.
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A Man's Story of Proving Himself Innocent
20 April 2012
"Man on a Ledge" is a well-directed thriller that revolves around a man and his family striving to prove something through unusual means. The focus is upon Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington), a convict who has escaped from prison, only to stand on a ledge of a downtown building. Then enter another storyline, as Joey Cassidy (Jamie Bell) and Angie (Genesis Rodriguez) are working on stealing a diamond. Indeed, the connection is soon revealed, and the purposes become lucid and explicable.

Being inserted as the plot unfolds is in-depth explanation of a more complex background, or if you like, what happened in the past. This, however, is taken care of in a casual manner as the information is revealed through only dialogue but not actually designated scenes.

There is not much to surprise you in this film -- it is just a story as it is told, a story about a man willing to break the rules to prove his innocence which the law has failed to grant. And, in the optimistic view, it is a story well-told, with mildly exciting scenes here and there and a decent concluding climax.

As unrealistic as the approach seems, it is a well-written story to be enjoyed. In some way it should be able to grasp your attention; the main problem perhaps, is that at some times it works better and at other times the entertainment is simply not as strong.
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Sons (2006)
Chasing Justice, Hiding Secrets
15 April 2012
Sønner presents us a profound controversy of doing what is right and hiding what is wrong. Starting at a subtle tone the movie establishes the theme and the story by introducing the mid-aged man who has been having sexual relationships with teenage boys in the neighborhood. Lars, a 25-year-old who works at a swimming pool as a lifeguard, has the intention of bringing this man to justice.

As the secret unfolds, which I won't spoil here, the twist inserts a different layer into the film, unraveling a more personal story. Often in movies do the characters find themselves reluctantly between seeking justice and maintaining a secret. The conflict arises when only one can be done.

Actors have given outstanding performances as the plot nears its climax. Overall, the performances are beautiful and realistic.

It's all about what to believe and whether you are afraid, and thus, what to choose. The fear of exposing a secret is well depicted, and the actions that follow are reasonably organized in a way the film can truly be viewed as a real-life experience. That adds to both to the storytelling and the sentimental values of Sønner.

In another viewpoint, the movie is also about hesitation, and letting go of and accept the past. It is also about revenge and anger, which give the film an emotional angle that attracts the audience.

Sønner is a beautifully directed and acted movie. Its captivation lies in its realistic portrayal, and also in its organization and message. The theme is undoubtedly dark but it is still a gem to enjoy.
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Inspiring Story about Racism
14 April 2012
There is no need to remind you of the dark nature of this story. It's intense and violent throughout; the profanity is perpetually spread. But for those who admire the film, they admire in another angle. This is an interesting film that makes me reflect and inspires the way we think about this society.

American History X is a story depicting a profound relationship between two brothers, and the family as a whole. It is a story about racism, a story of bravery and redemption. It shows the truth: sometimes it takes experiences to see the light, and sometimes it takes time and strength to overcome your past and mistakes. But it is also cruel in a sense, though it is the ultimate truth: even if you try so hard, your mistakes can still haunt you and the ones around you.

Edward Norton shines like a diamond for his performance as the big brother with a dark past who strives to prevent his little brother from walking down the same path. Frankly it's easily one of the most outstanding performances I've ever seen in movies.

This film has depth which one must explore and experience by himself. For those who can stand the intensity of the movie, it is definitely a gem to catch and remember.
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Project X (2012)
"Teenage Hangover" Isn't As Hilarious and Successful
16 March 2012
Movies like this, there is probably not much acting or storytelling to be taken into account when rating. You just enjoy it, or you don't. In terms of commercial success or entertainment, this does seem to only earn a place far under the "Hangover" series.

While the theme and genre remain highly comparable to the "Hangovers", the location does not. Basically, a party gone out of control in a house wraps up the entire movie. So considering that it all takes place in a house in the suburbs, it is pretty crazy already. The gradual progression from a plain fun party to complete chaos either draws your attention and appeals to you, or it does not.

"Project X" adopts a camera-style filming. In other words, you see through the cameraman's eyes. In a way, the somewhat "Chronicle-style" display does enhance the excitement through consolidating a reality. This technique, nevertheless, still fails to interest a certain group of the audience with regular complaints regarding "undirected" cinematography.

Despite the insanity that unfolds, the background stays simple: Three high-school kids organize a party for one of the kids on his birthday. It is the usual emotional transition from fear and doubt to the "what the hell, let's have fun" thought. The "love interest" aspect was handled casually and does not interact much with the rest of the movie. It probably serves its purpose by bringing closure to this wild-party movie.

It is understandable teenagers may be interested in a movie like this. (I am a teenager myself.) This is probably the most ridiculously out-of-control party that most can never experience. While it proves to be great cinematic experience for some with its decent box-office performance, "Project X" slightly disappoints as an addiction the genre of comedy due to its lack of attractiveness and genuinely entertaining and engaging moments.
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ATM (I) (2012)
Serial Killer and the ATM
13 March 2012
So this is a horror or thriller. It is a wise choice for this movie to go without a wide cinema release. It does not really have the horror element and it can only be said to be mildly thrilling.

The title says it all. It's about three people trapped in a remote ATM and encounter a killer. I don't know if it's just me, but the first 30 minutes when I noticed the constant popping up of the CCTV footage and our title character performing aggressively, I made attempts to guess the ending, and I was right. I'm not going to spoil it here, but I promise it is not going to be a twist or stunt that blows you away. And in movies like this, it is often frustrating to watch when you know what is going to happen anyway.

While the plot does not have serious errors, the story is an overall unsatisfactory work. The acting is not top-class but okay, but the plot development and the ending are not pleasant from where I stand.

I've seen worse thrillers, but still I do not recommend this. There are better choices.
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John Carter (2012)
So Not-Avatar: Average Disney Feature
8 March 2012
Just returned from a special screening and if not for the free tickets I would probably never have watched this. Now that I've sat through the entire movie (though I had the intention to leave near the end), I've confirmed my judgment.

By no means can I call this a failure of Disney, partly on account of Disney's nature and partly because there aren't really obvious errors to speak of. "John Carter" presents itself as a feel-good movie, and somewhat it is, but everything is just not enough.

Having sat through the first 30 minutes or so, the six-lettered word "Avatar" already surfaced, and I knew then that it was going to be hard to sit till the end. I couldn't help having a sense that the movie is trying to be the new "Avatar" (perhaps it's just me), a fact which I instantly realized was impossible, when I thought of the two names Disney and James Cameron, and made a little comparison (that didn't take long).

"Avatar" isn't my favorite kind of movie, but a part of me was truly stunned, at least by the visuals. I can't say the same for this Disney fantasy on Pandora (oh wait I forgot it's Mars). I have never been much of a critique of predictability, but I have to admit "John Carter" gives us an average fairy-tale-like childhood story of a prince and a princess. The short and apparently planned mention of humanity and wars is not about to save the sorrow of the script. I found it hard to sit through two whole hours, slight because of, I've got to admit, the fact that I knew what would happen, but more because I really dislike this kind of prince-saves-princess-and-marries-her story with seemingly effortless thinking. It is definitely not a story that loses the elements of organization and structure, but it is one that is all too familiar and certainly will not interest a wide array of viewers.

And the visual effects, they are good, but not good enough. A dull desert setting with little beauty to witness really, and visually this is nothing compared to other fantasy movies like "Avatar" and "Harry Potter". Cinematography is far behind the standard in works like "War Horse". But I did survive through the IMAX 3D version of the movie, and I promise it doesn't lack action scenes. So if it's the intense fighting and chasing scenes you're looking for, you can still go for it.

The pace of the movie seems moderate and reasonable, while the ending undoubtedly falls flat.

If it's a fairytale and some action you're looking for, this is still an acceptable choice. But there really isn't much more to offer. And while I'm still wondering what the US box office of this will be (expect a sequel if it performs well), I'm praying that the next big thing from Disney will be better than this.
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