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Black Sea (2014)
Tense and Captivating
I must admit I went to watch this movie because of Jude Law. I am a fan of his and his superb acting and I was not expecting much from the overall plot. People being trapped in a submarine with gold dangling practically in front of them does not sound like anything too novel. I'd seen such movies before and I was pretty sure I knew what was gonna happen. But... wow. Just wow.
It turned out that I loved every minute of it and wished there was more at the end of the movie. The acting was excellent by every actor, the plot very well done. I loved the humor parts and the sad parts and even the ones that show you just how unhinged and cruel people can be. This one is definitely worth watching. I could not pick myself off the seat or tear my eyes away from the screen. It also managed to pleasantly surprise me quite a few times.
Another bonus points I can give is for the Russian parts. As someone who is fluent in Russian, I always feel like being stabbed with a dull knife when Americans or British try to speak Russian and only succeed in butchering it completely. This was not the case in this movie, fear not. I highly recommend watching this!
I am not much of a history person and I don't often watch biographic movies but Simon Bolivar is one of the most interesting historical figures so I've made sure not to miss out on this one.
I've enjoyed the movie a lot from the beginning to its end. While at some points I felt the movie was a bit stretched out, that is the only complaint I am gonna have. The landscapes used for filming were beautiful, the costumes, make-up and hairdo looked so realistic and reminiscent of that era I was quite surprised, the plot had enough twists and turns and, most importantly, the acting was superb. I loved the way Simon Bolivar and his peers were portrayed and the constant inner battle of the legendary general and later president that was shown throughout the movie. This film was all about the man that he was and the man he became hardened through loss and war.
Beautiful, Touching and Shocking
One of the most amazing movies I have seen in a while. It really touched me deep showing a different kind of a story and making me actually think on the matter quite a bit. The acting is great and the songs are moving, funny and heart-wrenching. The singers are all great and have amazing voices. I was a bit leery of watching it at first when I heard of S. Gomez starring (not a fan of hers or her voice) but her role wasn't the main one so it was all good in the end.
If you love music, you will love this one. Also, the plot twist in the middle of the movie was so unexpected I was floored. All in all, a very touching and sincere story.
Before I Go to Sleep (2014)
Fast Paced and Very Well Done
As someone who had previously read the book and was pretty much amazed by it, I was both very eager for and quite wary of this movie. On the one hand, I wished to see one of my favorite books come alive. On the other, I feared the actors and director might not pull it off.
I must say it was much more amazing than I expected it to be. Everything was very fast paced and there wasn't a minute left for the audience to sit and ponder on what might be happening. All my attention was on-screen even though I knew what was going on and the ending would not shock me into a stupor (which is one of the main minuses when you have already read the book). Still, the acting was superb and I was truly surprised and stunned by Firth whom I've never quite believed capable of pulling such a demanding role. Hands down to him and his colleagues for doing such a great job on this movie. This one is gonna go to my favorites and I'm not even sure if I like the movie or the book more.
Either way, I believe this is one of those rare occasions when a book-turned-movie has been done purely great.
Gone Girl (2014)
Enrapturing and thrilling
As soon as I heard the first monologue at the beginning of the movie, I knew it was gonna be awesome. And it was everything you might want from a thriller.
I am not about to spoil anything, so I will keep this short. The characters were done very well and the acting was superb, even from the supporting actors. I've always enjoyed movies with Ben Affleck but I must say he really shone in this one. The plot has enough twists to make your head hurt with trying to catch up and the way the movie is structured is interesting and serves its purpose well.
If you are wary of the rather intimidating length of the movie (2.5 h might seem a bit long for some), do not fret. When the credits roll, you will be sitting there surprised it passed so soon.
The only drawback I found in the movie was the ending itself. I felt it did not do justice to the overall plot and the development of characters. I needed something more and felt slightly disappointed.
Overall, this is an amazing psychological thriller and a must see for everyone who is fond of this genre.
The Lincoln Lawyer (2011)
Mind-bending, mind-twisting and mind-blowing adventure
When I go to watch a thriller, this is exactly what I expect. The plot keeps twisting and turning, not giving a chance to rest one's mind and the characters are compelling and intriguing. There is enough action and behind-the-scene plotting to keep you on the edge of the seat, to keep you guessing and trying to crack the mystery yourself.
The acting, in my humble opinion, is superb, especially that of the main villain. When the villain wraps you around his finger and makes you believe he is not the villain at all, that is what I call a win hands down.
While some may find the general idea of the good guy always outwitting his adversaries one way or the other pretty much repetitive throughout the movie, it is not the outcome that counts but the road taken to achieve it.
How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)
One of the best sequels ever
I don't really like watching sequels as they are most often disappointments. However, this is definitely not one of those.
It is a compelling adventure and a rocky emotional roller coaster telling the tale of true friendship. I have enjoyed it to the last minute and while the inner child in me might have hoped for a slightly different ending, the harsh truth remains harsh as ever: there's always a winning and a losing side.
Overall, however, the movie is outrageously funny and uplifting, yet, a bit heart wrenching in all the right places. Definitely one of the motion pictures I'll be showing to my kids in the future.
The Employer (2013)
Entertaining, yet disappointing
I was quite enthusiastic of watching this movie when I learned of it. The plot reminded me heavily of a similar movie titled Exam. Thus, I was expecting a similarly thrilling emotional and psychological ride. I did not receive it.
While the movie was entertaining to watch, I could not be helped but be irritated by some of the most illogical actions the characters took given their seemingly high intelligence. Overall, I could pretty much guess what would happen next and the ending was very very disappointing. I could think of at least three different endings that would have been much more intriguing, plot-twisting and unexpected.
To sum up, entertaining for while it runs on the screen, but nothing mind-blowing and leaves you rather frustrated at the end.
I am giving this movie a 6 in thanks' to the great job done by the actors. While I do not wish to downplay the performance of Russel Crowe as the main character Noah (his acting was truly heavy with emotion, indecision and human doubt) or Anthony Hopkins who had more presence in the movie than all the others put together, despite the fact he had the least time on the screen, I've felt like the movie was mostly saved by Logan Lerman, Emma Watson and Jennifer Connelly. All the other characters or members of Noah's family were simply not memorable and lacked depth.
I believe this is due to the fact that we all know the turmoil experienced by Noah and, thus, it was the stories of these young people who had to live by the decisions of their father and adoptive father respectively that touched me the most. J. Connelly does a wonderful job as the supportive mother and Emma Watson really grew in on me throughout the movie, her own tragedy very touching and her cunning mind being pivotal to the hardest decision Noah had to ever make.
However, it was the story of Ham played by Logan Lerman that captivated me the most and made me experience a true roller coaster of emotions and feelings. To me, his performance was the best of all and most surprising, coming from such a young man as I only remember him from the Percy Jackson movies. This was a very different role and I was truly amazed. I believe he was the only character in the movie who had dared to actually question God's will, the essence of human and manhood, the very concepts of innocence and sin... he was also the one to actually say it aloud that the Great Flood had taken the innocents together with the sinners. This was exactly what I was expecting of the movie - the eternal battle of what is right and wrong, the perception that among the evil in this world there is good, too, and that the innocents are mostly buried underneath the sinners, judged and forced to suffer for the sins of others.
To my heavy disappointment, Ham was the only character to even come close to these philosophical questions and, truth be told, the most realistic human depiction and the only character I truly felt for during the entire movie. All the others got overshadowed and the actions and decisions made by them were difficult for me to perceive and sympathize with. I grew up in a supportive family and seeing Noah ignore his own children while instead he should have gone and supported them, talked them through, let them make their own decisions, was a truly alien concept. While I understand he had his own battles and was blinded by his heavenly mission, I just could not relate to him.
Other than the spectacular acting, I can also applaud some pretty original ideas presented by the directors. I adored the story of the Fallen Angels, I thought it was truly original and those were the characters I rooted the most for. It touched me seeing the heavenly beings punished for their compassion and thrown into mud literally. Also, I give the directors credit for answering the question on how the bloody hell did Noah feed all those animals? I was disappointed though, for the animals were never shown in detail, even though they were the most important beings on that ship. I would have liked to have seen more focus on the different species and animals, especially now that the technology truly allows to bring them to life. Also, the movie lacked what I was expecting the most - how the tragedy touched all those people who had lost their lives. In the end, the directors had doomed the entire world showing only the darkest of humans, as if Noah and his family were the only innocent ones. How about others? The babies? The children? I would have liked to see their stories, even if briefly. This was what I was expecting when I watched the movie but the directors ignored this all together.
Also, despite the stunning visuals and effects, I could not help but find certain scenes silly and funny instead of emotional or inspiring. I am not sure what went wrong with the movie in the end, but it was disappointing to me in everything except for a few performances pulled by great actors. If you think this movie will bring forth certain philosophical ideas or try to show how the Great Flood and God's decision to destroy the world had affected all humanity in general, you are wrong. You will only get a story of one man who is too blinded to come close to the true questioning of the Creator's or his own decisions.
The uncomfortable truth
At some point in the movie, I was starting to be afraid of the word transcendence or any word with the root 'transcend' for that matter. I still think this is one of the scariest movies I've seen, topping any horror show the Japanese could think of (and Japanese horror movies are the best hands down). The scary factor of this movies lies not in the spooks but the harsh truth shown and the never ending doubt.
That being said, I had expectations for his movie and the ideas it professed. While it did not turn out the way I imagined it would be, the movie was fantastic in all senses of the word and touching just where it needed to be. It brushed on such topics as humanity, the soul, emotions and feelings, and that Line we all draw somewhere. What is the price we pay for stepping over it? Where does the right turn into wrong? While I would have liked for the movie to be a bit more philosophical upon that, it does leave you wondering and guessing for the truth.
I am not saying it did not have plot holes, overrated clichés used time and time again in the movies or incomprehensible science with little explanations to back it up. There truly were scenes where I was straight out wondering if the Avengers were gonna swoop down any minute now and take care of everything. The next minute I was already pondering if, mayhap, the views in the screen were not so far-fetched, after all. Back in the days, there were fiction movies of men landing on the Moon and then those movies became documentaries. Contemporary technology is advancing at a rapid pace, too rapid for anyone to keep track of. You can never know for sure. And isn't that a frightening thought?
My hope is that if humans ever reach the level of advancement shown here in Transcendence, they still find time to sit down, watch this masterpiece and learn from it.
Need for Speed (2014)
While there are hundreds and thousands of movies out there about fast cars and hot-headed drivers who were once scorned and then got out for revenge, this movie... oh, wait, actually, this is another one of those.
Still, I picked to watch it simply because who doesn't like fast cars and hot guys in that order? Please do note I am female, at this point. I am also a huge fan of NFS video games, so I decided not to miss the movie, even though I was not expecting much.
That said, you will not find an amazing or puzzling plot, it is pretty much linear and very predictable. The characters are also not that well developed and do not tend to stick in your mind long after movie. All in all, it gives you nothing of value except two good hours of great visuals, beautiful cars you can only ogle at in movies or games, amazing action sequences and some pretty nasty car stunts, though, sadly, not too much of those. Still, I did find myself enjoying those few hours quite a lot, despite the plot full of holes and the totally needless sappy romance thrown in for good measure.
So, if you can turn a blind eye to the lack of plot and are a fan of NFS, sleek cars, street racing and crazy velocity, you will find this movie pretty satisfying. If not, well, it will most probably be the longest two hours of your life.
Touching and captivating
I do not know if it is my inner child, my love for all things fairy tale, my honest believe that no one is truly born evil or any other of the little quirks of my personality, but this movie has been one of the best I've seen over the recent years. I was mesmerized from the very first moments and I could no longer let go.
I love fairy tales and the different ways that they can be interpreted, including the back stories the characters might have. So, when I first heard of Maleficent, I had very high expectations. I must say, the movie and the acting have exceeded all that I've been expecting. Maleficent is a very complex character and I've been overjoyed to see her truly come alive in the big screen. A. Jolie is perfect for the role and I cannot imagine anyone else doing as a great job as she has.
I laughed and I cried throughout the entire movie. I was truly touched by the story of Maleficent, the idea behind it, the drive and the priceless acting. It is a beautiful rendition of the classic tale, taken from a completely different angle.
While I would not recommend it to the youngest of us due to the general concept and the cruelty (albeit a very truthful depiction of human nature, still slightly harsh to watch), I am positive everyone else will enjoy this original version of Sleeping Beauty and will be captivated by the magnificent acting of A. Jolie as well as other actors right to the very end.
The Lego Movie (2014)
Everything is awesome!
I did not have high expectations for the movie but hey... it totally proved me wrong! A wonderful surprise it was. I was genuinely laughing and giggling throughout the entire movie. The characters were quirky and the whole world was so Lego-inspired I could only imagine how much time it must have taken to design everything. I was brought back to my own childhood and my own little collection of Lego. I also loved the idea behind everything. As I do not wanna spoil anything for anyone who hasn't yet seen it, I will not go into detail. I will only say this - it was lighthearted and funny, yet slightly touching and with a great moral behind all of it. If you are slightly doubtful whether to watch it or not, just go for it and relax cause... everything is awesome!
P.S. I just can't help it, the song and the beauty of it is simply stuck in my head XD Whoever thought it up was a true to God genius.
After the Dark (2013)
I admit I had very high expectations for this movie, simply because I love riddles and movies that stimulate one's brain. Sadly, it was a huge disappointment.
At the beginning, the movie seemed pretty promising and I rather enjoyed it till about the middle. That's when things started taking the turn for the worse. For all the logic that movie tries depict, it truly lacks that very same logic badly. There were so many absolutely illogical and dumb scenes I can't even begin to name them. What was a highly interesting scenario with great potential became just another one of these movies you are likely to forget pretty soon.
I enjoyed it while it lasted, with the exception of the ending (I'd rather they just deleted it all together), and the acting was pretty great, too. Over all, it's entertaining to a certain degree but don't expect anything mind-blowing. The movie doesn't live up to what it promises.