cinemachaser (movie reviews)

→ in

Your friendly neighborhood film critic
Like I said when I first joined MoFo, I own a blog where I write reviews about all the new stuff that comes out in the cinema world, and also about some older flicks, whenever I have the chance to watch or rewatch them. However, since the blog is in my native language, I will translate into english and post my reviews here, no links or advertising whatsoever. Hope you'll find them useful.

I basically analyze the plot, the cast, the acting and the overall "feel" of the movie, rarely introducing opinions on the music, the CGI or other tangential aspects.

I give "marks" or "notes", scaling from 1 (worst) to 10 (best), just like we do here in our schools. The minimum number for a movie to "pass" my class is 5. You'll get used to my style in time, it's nothing that hasn't been done before.

I'll start posting tomorrow. Hope you all have a good time in this thread!

Your friendly neighborhood film critic

Man of Steel

It's really incredible how America manages to reinvent the concept of this legend after decades and decades they used the image on all fronts in showbiz. With Man of Steel, they have revived one of the old heroes, a symbol and an emblem for many generations: Superman.

I'll start by saying how mature is Zack Snyder, who left behind the bombastic and violent style of 300 and created a mature film, irreverent and sensitive. The Man of Steel tells the original story of the hero, his family, of how he got here and how he became our best friend and support. It's a story that links two worlds and passing through multiple timelines to finalize once and for all the who and the why. We learn how he assumed the role of Clark Kent, how he got to meet Lois, how he defeated his worst enemy and his own fears. I'll risk a little, saying that Man of Steel is all that was missing to make sense of this franchise.

In the cast we find big names and actors less known. Cavill plays a decent Superman, young and strong, just as we all imagined him. Crowe does not appear much, but when he does, he leaves a good impression. But the best score, in my opinion, is made by Shannon, who plays Zod. Rarely have I seen a villain more motivated and more serious. Excellent role worth remembering over the years. We also have veterans Laurence Fishburne and Kevin Costner, Diane Lane and Amy Adams, who plays an atypical Lois, but who brings a fresh view on this character.

The film is long, action scenes abound, pleasant fragments interspersed among serious drama describing in detail the hero and his own dilemma. It's complex, combining special effects with portions suggesting a real film, not a "superhero flick". I thought it was one of the few movies that exceed their condition, outstripping itself.

Indeed, 3D is again absent, but CGI combines sublimely with wonderful music by Zimmer, who gave sound to The Dark Knight series, whose creator had a word to say here, even if only in the role of producer. Nolan has stuck his tail in here, but for admirable results. I have nothing to reproach to this movie, because I have not had my expectations exceeded in the cinema for a long time.

To conclude, I will try to explain why I think Man of Steel is so good, maybe even more than all the films of its generation and gender. Firstly because Superman is the only superhero that exists, who was like this, his human identity being the one adopted. It's an unusual character who shows us what lies beneath his famous red cloak. The film itself is carefully crafted, taking the time to expose the subtle story of Superman, excellently metaforizing the hero with any human being. Grudgingly said, but who was unable to see beyond the epic battle scenes and the special effects, will never enjoy the true value of this film. Because, above all, more than the jokes and frivolous spirit of Iron Man, more than the seriousness of The Dark Knight, Spidey's childness and over the many tales and stories of the X-Men, Man of Steel has a soul, so I'll grade it with an open heart with 10/10, wishing you a pleasant viewing!

Your friendly neighborhood film critic

21 & Over

It's not a secret that they do not make comedy like old times. Perhaps the lack of ideas, perhaps because of generational change (either spectators or actors). I pressed Play without the thought that I will get much, and indeed it was. 21 & Over is nothing new in this field, lost somewhere in the sea of ​​mediocrity that has become the Hollywood comic film.

From the first scene, I disliked one of the protagonists immensely. He plays a restless, forced, exaggerated character, and all this not in a good way. It's just nasty. Miles Teller in his name, this little actor, obviously overwhelmed, tries, along with a friend, to organize a party for a former high school classmate, at the age of 21 years old. From here the film takes on the same and the same path that is the template of all comedies in recent years. Drinking a lot, doing things which would never happen in a real world, excessive and unnecessary vulgarity and a general agitation that has no end, purpose or meaning. Between all these "drunken adventures" we discover some connections, poorly drawn, between the three friends, but they remain superficial and do not change the chaotic film.

Of course, not everything is so black as it seems. Some scenes are really funny (Randy, attention to his character), the link between Casey and Nicole looks pretty real, and the actress is quite agreeable enough to make us forget some scenes we would not want to watch. The music, again, it's good, it's really very good. The fact that Lost fans will revisit a character based on one played in the series, will definitely be a pleasant surprise.

So what to expect from the 21 & Over? Many passages and references to sex, vomiting, and other similar occupations students have, to a variety of insults more or less well placed, three characters quite faint and generally a shallow film. It's a comedy not so good as we would want it to be. However, given the small appreciations that they earn and also because it's not longer than it has to be, I'll give it a 5/10. Enjoy!

Your friendly neighborhood film critic
Monsters, Inc.

If Monsters University appeared this year, I thought seeing, for the first time, Monsters, Inc., which was an animation not so publicized as the Ice Age or Madagascar series, but I found that t is at least as good. A great film with great voices, a nice message and good jokes.

The story follows a couple of monster friends that live in a town fueled by screaming children. More scares, more energy. Original and unique idea. A "young human", a cute and innocent girl, enters this mysterious universe, forever changing the world of monsters and their perception of our world. We see a lot of colorful characters and a tight action, solid, meaningful and soulful.

The voices that give life to the little monsters are first hand. John Goodman and Billy Crystal, starring Steve Buscemi as the villain, Jennifer Tilly as Celia and a little girl named Mary Gibbs naturally gives a special feeling to the character that she plays. Boo is the little intruder, instantly reaching the hearts of audiences through her simple and nice way of being.

I liked this film very much, being a fan of the cartoon genre. Monsters, Inc., however, is a little more than a fun drawing. It has intelligent dialogues with essence, well-defined characters and a very nice ending, wearing a seemingly simple message that will definitely get where it was intended. Disney and Pixar create, with this film, not just a source of entertainment for children, but rather a film for all ages, for the whole family, worth watching more than once and certainly rising to the level of the best animations of the last two decades. I have not found a lot to reproach, that is why I will grade it with 8/10. Enjoy, whether you see it with your kids or by yourself!

PS: I recommend seeing this first part before going to the cinema for Monsters University, even if the latter is a prequel.

Agree with you about seeing Monsters Inc first, you certainly would not be lost during University but I think many of the gags have more context if you see Inc first.

I am the Watcher in the Night
Surprised by your Man of Steel review but it's very well written none the less and great to see you enjoyed Monsters Inc. Can't wait to watch the prequel.

Your friendly neighborhood film critic
The Girl Next Door

Yesterday I saw again a film that is almost 10 years old, which I had forgotten completely. The Girl Next Door is a so-called comedy about a young high school graduate, who falls in love with the girl that recently moved into the neighborhood, who is hiding some unbelievable secrets under all her innocent facade. One of these is that she starred in adult films. So a good idea for a juicy comedy. Wrong. Let's see why, though.

First, the movie is not funny. Maybe that's a good thing, after all, allowing the viewer to take seriously the fragments that want to be taken, without being distracted by all sorts of jokes. Indeed, the film was and is known as a comedy, but I wouldn't rush putting it in that genre. Throughout the action, which is outrageously long, we have different situations and meet different characters that we can radically change the comic vision upon. Of course, that's the situation, but the comic language is virtually nonexistent, and it makes me think that The Girl Next Door wanted to sell only an image, a concept, the end result being far from the original plot.

The cast stars Emile Hirsch, an actor that I personally do not like at all, and Elisha Cuthbert, a nice young woman, playing quite well, who seems a good choice for this role. She has an aura around her that inspires you exactly the character in the script. The two fall in love, etc. Nothing new under the sun. I noticed and liked the role played by Timothy Olyphant, who I always considered an underrated actor. You will see a splash of color in the entire film gear.

So what to expect from The Girl Next Door? A good idea, quite unique, with the twist tied around the XXX domain, a few characters worthy to remember and a semi-comedy that takes way too much for what it has to say. Could have remained as one of the great comedies of the 2000s, but, unfortunately, it failed to become an above average film. 6/10, Enjoy!

PS: Most of you will have this reaction when you see Elisha Cuthbert:

Your friendly neighborhood film critic
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

It seems like magic is a leitmotif in Hollywood these days, so, willy-nilly, I watched The Incredible Burt Wonderstone. I've never been caught by this film, but the cast weighted heavily in the choice of watching it. However though, I wasn't left with too much to tell, as I actually expected.

The film tells the story of a couple of magicians who reach the heights of glory, but success and routine change them, affecting their personal lives and their friendship. Feeling threatened by the new wave of contestants appeared on stage in Vegas, they need to regain glory, resorting to methods more or less traditional. Sounds pretty attractive, but do not get your hopes too high.

The cast is, indeed, on a big day: Steve Carell and Steve Buscemi play the two magicians, Jim Carrey is in the role of their enemy, gorgeous Olivia Wilde is the assistant and only friend of the protagonists, and, in a surprise role, James Gandolfini (RIP) as a hotel tycoon from Las Vegas and the main sponsor of the magicians. Special names on the poster, no part worthy to remember. Maybe, just, Carell and Carrey, whose humor, unfortunately, does not have the old progressive breath.

The film becomes increasingly attractive as the minutes pass, and that's a plus, the fact that the film passes imperceptibly, with the first hour scrolling down like a quarter. We have several relationships between characters that exceed the limit of credibility, we have a simple message, but a lot of common sense, we have a few magic tricks will rip a smile from us. What we don't have, however, is a comedy that lives up to the names it shows. We haven't got a first class film, sorry to say. The entertainment goes off with pressing the Stop button, so I can not give it more than 6/10, noting that it is worth watching just for the few positive aspects listed above.

You are being way more kind to this film than I was. I didn't laugh once until the end credit scene. Big disappoinment as I love Carell.

Your friendly neighborhood film critic
Europa Report

The latest title in the field of low-budget sci-fi thrillers, Europa Report, has sparked enough controversy, dividing both moviegoers and critics alike, into two camps. Some felt it was good to very good, others on the contrary, they perceived it as crude and superficial. I watched it knowing exactly what to expect, and the result was as I predicted.

I'll start by saying that low-budget films, shot with a dubious camera, the ones that want to be "revealed-video-after-the-tragedy", however shocking or any idea would they have, are not able to raise at the level of a classic film, proper-made. All that this genre tried was, more or less, sooner or later, a fail. Paranormal Activity series has continued what The Blair Witch Project started, and now with Apollo 18, SF flicks have taken the forefront of the genre.

Europa Report is a short story about a team of scientists went on a mission to the Europa moon, in order to find signs of extraterrestrial life. Nothing new, just an overused idea. Obviously, on the natural satellite they will meet all kinds of obstacles that make it difficult for them, including a mystery that will be revealed only in the end. Most of you will be disappointed, however. The film does not present anything new, in my opinion.

In the cast we find an actress from my country, Anamaria Marinca, who is widely known for her role in 4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days. And here she has a decent score, with an important character to play, I daresay essential. Otherwise, some other small actors who pass through the movie, appearing on the allegedly placed cameras from the spacecraft. You know the recipe, so no Oscar expectations for cinematography, editing or image. Also, the effects are clearly of the worst. For SF, be it low-budget, they spent very little on the special effect aspect. The cheap feel abounds throughout the film, even in the highlight scenes. Even the message, something that briefly translates into "sacrifice vs. discovery ", is poorly designed and poorly presented.

So after an hour and a half, we're not left with much from Europa Report. It's certainly just another sci-fi that will disperse in the sea of ​​mediocrity that has receiving for years new and new titles. As its precursor, Apollo 18, was, in more than two years we will surely find Europa Report forgotten somewhere on a dusty shelf from the DVD stores. 5/10, enjoy!