John Carter (2012)

John Carter (2012)

(spoilers!)

John Carter is a decent, messy movie that throws too many things at the audience while offering too few really appealing aspects to make it worthwhile. It wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be but it certainly wasn’t really anything special either. The effects move from interesting to obvious, the acting is okay at best as no one really stands out, the plot is convoluted and the movie’s mood also alternates between pathos, comedy, action brawl and sci-fi standard. It is amazing yet again how a movie can be made for hundreds of millions of dollars, developed over decades and still leave such a little mark, not only in film history (besides being seen as a disastrous flop), but also for the audience. I can hardly imagine remembering much of this movie in a year or two.

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Future Template: Snowpiercer (2013)

Future Template: Snowpiercer (2013)

In Future Template I want to look at stories that depict our future and analyze the pattern that most of them follow and what this tells us about our culture.

(spoilers ahead)

Snowpiercer is a fascinating and breathtaking science-fiction movie that has an intriguing premise which is explored to the fullest. The movie works so well because you feel how the filmmakers really dig into their idea, which makes the movie very rewarding since you never know what to expect next. From the outside it looks like some B-movie but the production values are excellent as the cinematography and the visual effects really work well. The acting is great, too, all the way through. Chris Evans might be at his best here, Tilda Swinton is just amazing, Ah-sung Ko is really good too and besides all the other great people here, Ed Harris and Alison Pill have short but very striking moments too. This is a fun, clever and exciting movie.

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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

(spoilers!)

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has an appropriately silly title for a movie that is so bad, it could easily work as an unintentional comedy or a drinking game or a thesis on how not to make a comic book movie. It is that bad, one of the worst movies I’ve seen in a cinema in a long time. Granted, I expected not to like it but had to see it anyway, mainly because its predecessor Man of Steel was one of the kickstarters for this blog. I’m not sure BvS:DoJ can solicit as deep an analysis as Man of Steel did, but there is plenty to discuss anyway. But let me stress one more time: this movie is really, really bad, worse than Man of Steel, incompetently bad and a really bad sign for DC’s attempt at creating a movie universe. And I say that as a confessing comic book and superhero fan. This movie is stupid, incoherent, annoying, laughable and boring. I’ll keep my bets on Civil War and X-Men: Apocalypse even more than before.

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Behind These Castle Walls, Part IV: Dumbo (1941)

Behind These Castle Walls, Part IV: Dumbo (1941)

We're still in the 40s with our Disney movies and now we get to the famous elephant who is known for the slur everyone else uses for him. That is a good indication for the weirdness of this movie. It is a movie I had seen before. For its short runtime, it is not very entertaining and feels stretched anyway. It also does not have the same artistic skills the previous movies have shown.

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Spotlight (2015)

Spotlight (2015)

(minor spoilers)

Spotlight is not your typical Best Picture Oscar-winner because it is not flashy or fancy, neither in its filmmaking nor its acting, but it is a really good and important movie. The performances are all great, nuanced and authentic with not one overpowering the others but simply being believable. Tom McCarthy is a director who doesn’t get enough credit for his style. There are scenes where the camera and the editing do very subtle things that are incredibly effective. The movie certainly takes its time but is never boring for a second because every scene has a purpose and adds to the overall picture and message. Some people call it “boring” or “old-fashioned”, which is not true in either case. It is a compelling piece of cinema that does exactly what it needs to do. I highly recommend it.

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Ex Machina (2015)

Ex Machina (2015)

(spoilers)

Ex Machina fulfills the expectations I had after reading and hearing so much about it in the last couple of months. It continues Alex Garland’s streak of writing thought-provoking stories that challenge common perceptions we have about ourselves and our society. The movie uses amazing performances (Isaac, Vikander and Gleeson are all excellent), impressive visual effects and its gorgeous locations to generate a very effective movie that is intriguing from beginning to end. Just when you think it becomes too conventional it takes an extra turn at the end to become even more than we thought. It might not be an absolutely amazing movie (it’s not Looper), but it nevertheless is very good.

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