Mini-reviews #1

So, let me level with you guys. I see a ton more movies than I really let on. I like to keep things in recent DVD/Blu-Ray releases, but I also watch much older movies that I would love to discuss, but don’t think it will need a full review.

So, here’s a stop-gap for that: Mini-reviews. Small paragraph or two about films I have watched recently, but in the essence of seeing more movies, I do a quick blurb. So, here we go.

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Brick is a weird, but enjoyable film. Starring Joseph Gordon Levitt as a high school outcast/noir typecast detective, the film chronicles his findings about what happened to his ex girlfriend.

The film feels like an average noir film with a decent screenplay that’s given a twist that gives just enough to make it better than average. Levitt is good, but the real star in the film is Nora Zehetner, who plays the semi-love interest, troublesome damsel that is a noir speciality.

Otherwise, a good movie for those who like noir films. Or, if you haven’t watched good noir and liked this film, Kiss Me Deadly and The Third Man are calling your name.

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I had a weird reaction to Inside Out. Yes, the movie does an outstanding job of representing the emotions and psyche of people (and kids).

The thing is: anyone with a passable knowledge of mental health are not going to get anything out of this and will merely think it’s clever.

It’s a fun movie with an excellent conceit, but it’s no Up.

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Beasts of No Nation is a hard watch. Telling the story of a young boy who gets trained to be a child soldier by a cruel, but charismatic commander, played by Idris Elba, the film does a lot to shock and discomfort you, while giving really nothing to get you attached in any way to the film.

The performances are good, but the film’s slow pace doesn’t makes it a hard watch not just by its content, but by its droning pacing.

Side note: Elba’s performance is good, no doubt, but it isn’t the performance that exclaims a person as a “must watch” person when it comes to film. Do I think he’s a great actor? Yes. Did this deserve a nod for his performance? No.

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In what has to be one of my favorite performances in a movie, Burt Lancaster as morally bankrupt columnist J.J. Hunsucker is a performance that has to be seen to be truly appreciated. Dark, twisted, morbid and coolly manipulative and destructive, it’s a performance that owns a movie, even when he’s not on screen. Simply an incredible performance.

As for the rest of the movie, Tony Curtis gives a great performance as well and the movie is a delightfully dark song of whip-smart dialogue and a movie about the use of morality in modernity: it’s a classic that you should watch.

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And finally, the main movie I will recommend to anyone. The Fault in Our Stars is an emotionally uplifting, then devastating movie that made me smile, then sent me to tears by the end of the film. Not since Million Dollar Baby that a movie has created an uplifting tragedy that swiftly strings both lines and creates a story that is not only loving, but realistic in its heartfelt way.

The movie does this by not sugar coating, while making the romance sweet enough to swallow. The leads, Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort, create one of the best couples in film since Doctor Zhivago and The Before Trilogy.

Yes, it’s a teen movie. Yes, it’s a weepie. But it’s an incredibly potent love story that I would recommend to anyone.

Simply put, I love this film.

So what do you think? Agree? Disagree? Like the format? Let me know on the comments!

Mini-Reviews #1

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