MovieMeditation's Cinema Reviews

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Hello all Mofo's,

And welcome to my cinema review thread. I've have decided to make this a regular thing as I love doing reviews and it seemed as there was at least some kind of interest for me to keep going! ...So this is how it goes down in this thread:

My reviews will mainly focus on new movies playing at the theatres, have yet to be released on digital and physical l platforms, or have yet to hit theatres entirely. That way I can give you fresh new reviews that might inspire you to go see an exciting new film or stay home and watch Mean Girls instead. Your choice! My reviews are taken from the danish website I review on, and I've translated, rewrote and rearranged them in english so they are here for you to enjoy without the need of a dictionary or chunky google translate.

I've also decided that from time to time I will do a special movie-related post to spice things up a bit in here. As it's the case with my reviews as well, I will usually make a post of things 'coming up next' so you'll know if it's worth checking in here again to catch all the fun!

I chose to do this because another forum expressed interest, and personally I thought it would be cool idea and a quicker way to make lengthy, thorough and detailed reviews that can reach out to a wider audience... I'm looking forward to share more exciting reviews and movie-related stuff with y'all!


Everybody enjoy...


Cinema Reviews

1. Boyhood (2014)

2. Mr. Turner (2014)

3. Gone Girl (2014)

4. Nightcrawler (2014)

5. Birdman (2014)

6. Whiplash (2014)

7. Inherent Vice (2014)

8. Jurassic World (2015)

9. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

12. Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation (2015)

14. Furious 7 (2015)

15. Everest (2015)

16. Black Mass (2015)

17. Sicario (2015)

18. The Hateful Eight (2015)

20. Manchester by the Sea (2016)

21. IT (2017)

22. Elemental (2023)

Retro Reviews

10. Before Sunrise (1995)

11. Before Sunset (2004)

13. Before Midnight (2013)

19. The Cranes Are Flying (1957)


Movie Review: Boyhood (2014)

Capture the moment...

Director Richard Linklater has managed to keep his patience-level extraordinarily low during more than 12 years of complicated and dedicated film production. By using tremendous patience and above all a targeted vision Linklater has composed a drama, which in remarkable manner surpasses former ultra-ambitious projects from his respected filmography; films such as the beloved ‘Before’ trilogy, the far-from-lazy 'Slacker' and the crazy unique mind-trip 'Waking Life'.

All of Linklater’s films are often an impressive medley of thoughtful discussions, authentic life images and unpolished moments of the world we live in. The film 'Boyhood' is certainly no exception, and it almost seems as if these elements are allowed to play out even more freely and naturally than previously seen. ‘Boyhood’ is an absolute dream project for someone like Richard Linklater.

The Story
The film follows the six-year-old boy Mason (Ellar Coltrane) and his rough upbringing from a messy childhood to independent adulthood, a period that extends across twelve years. Along the way, life itself vicissitudes drastically around him with several father figures, and a biological father (Ethan Hawke), who’s never really been a consistent part of Mason’s and his sister's life. But as Mason grows up he develops a certain control of the old problems, establishes new acquaintances, and above all, forms his very own life experiences. All this takes place by means of periodic moments in Masons life, which helps the audience to understand his journey and understand his personality. 'Boyhood' is a magnanimous life journey on film, but is it equally successful in its execution as it is impressive in its engineering?

There is absolutely no doubt that expectations around this expansive and daring film project was soaring even before the premiere of the film. Due to the slightly unusual approach where the story of the film is told in real-time in a period over 12 years, it is not difficult to imagine the curiosity arising solely out of this element. Therefore it’s not really a necessity to be a solidarity fan of Richard Linklater or of the dramaturgical genre to feel just a little little bit interested. Surprisingly enough, all this overwhelming publicity and the relevant unfulfilled expectations unfortunately suffered as a barricade for the overall success of the film with the mainstream audience. People will understandably be curious about what might be hiding behind this immensely positive reception that ‘Boyhood’ has received from critics all around the globe, and of course, if the film will answer the big mysterious question of the day: was 12 long years really that necessary?

Despite all these expectations and the film's sky high level of ambition it's basically a perplexingly small and intimate film, with a story that is quite far from what the publicity might seem to tell you. 'Boyhood' is not an attempt to be a tension filled and intense drama about a boy's complicated upbringing, but rather a film that tries to capture life's realistic and most precious moments all the way from child to adult. The film is about moments in life, not necessarily periods, and there are no annoying writings that pop up on the cinema screen along the way, to provide information about where we are in time – because that is completely irrelevant – as an audience we should feel the moments, not be informed about them. This film is consequently not just simple pretentious and pitiful nonsense with "style over substance", even though some might be tempted to believe just that. The style here is to strengthen the substance of the story, not overshadow it.

For a film with such a youthful title as 'Boyhood' it’s a surprisingly mature expansion of Richard Linklater's wide talents in story telling, which appear smarter and more sophisticated here, respectively, than in previous works – a great and astonishing pleasure to attend! The film is even maintained on a natural and comfortable level throughout, and despite the 165 minutes of playing time, the film is never boring since there’s always a constant evolution in time, with the characters, and in the outside world. And because of that it’s not an obligation to have been a boy to be able to relate or enjoy the film's undeniable qualities. The focus of the film is as much on what happens around Mason, such as the evolving technology, culture and politics.

The film's true midpoint in all this is, however, still the main character’s life and upbringing and there are both dark and light periods to discover in Mason's life. Usually it’s the actual story of a film that provides the thread of coherence from start to finish, but in this case it is a person, in which ‘Boyhood’ succeeds exceedingly well. One can say that there are a few well-known clichés to find; such as the father who comes and goes, the mother undergoing numerous divorces and relationships, and bullying by school pupils as well as by the strenuous siblings at home. But then one might also conclude that all this has become clichés for a reason? It's something a wider audience will understand and relate to themselves, and counting 12 years of dealing with adolescence and adulthood boiled down to a running time of 165 “short” minutes, we can assume that it’s hardly unknown and incomprehensible situations we wish to be portrayed in this film?

So please do overwhelm us with the honest childhood and what we remember most from the time period of the film. Fill us with the wizarding literature recitation in the pleasing company of Harry Potter, the old nostalgic video games and consoles, earlier versions of well-known computer brands and other gadgets and the joy of the time when technology wasn’t as dominant – and that's exactly what director Richard Linklater does so astoundingly well. 'Boyhood' is a film consisting of periods, experiences, moments, life, development, maturity, and more. If only one is engaged enough then you will also become interested enough in the character's life as time passes by. You feel with them, and you understand them. Linklater almost has the power to make his audience feel like some sort of a passive parent, who sit securely and a tad restless in the cinema seats, while their cinematic adoptive son is being sent out into the big world... And it has to be said, that is something that requires great humanistic understanding and especially great talent.

The Acting
Back in 2002 when Linklater launched his major life project there was a need for a bit more than just his own faithful dedication. He needed people, both in front of and behind the camera, to go with him on this long journey. A functioning film crew with technical standards is a necessity but what if one chooses to leave the project? Yes, then that person can easily be replaced by someone else without any major problems. This, in turn, is virtually impossible with the main characters in the film. They simply need to be one-hundred percent dedicated to the project's 12-year duration if the end result is to function.

So it was quite a task when fetching actors to the project – especially for the role of the boy Mason. And when the full cast finally was found you could only hope that nobody turned around and left mid-way during the production. Especially the youngest actors must have been a challenge since you would have to gamble heavily on the fact that they wouldn’t grow up and become terrible actors. But Linklater has thankfully had the right amount of professionalism and luck to actually end up with a project that just shines so beautifully when finally witnessed in its finished form.

All the acting performances are very aesthetic and realistic across the board and especially Ethan Hawke does a sublime job in the role of Mason's biological father. In between, some of the children achievements seem a bit debatable and the level of standard can change from scene to scene, though it is often satisfactory. Richard Linklater's own daughter, Lorelei, may not be the next big female breakthrough in the film industry, but this specific selection did make the burden a little lighter and the process more straightforward for the hard-working director.

The Technical Aspect
Certainly one of the most fundamental elements of a film of this calibre is based on the visual and editing aspect. It is important to have a natural approach to every scene, and the camera must be present in the film but without being a distracting factor. Furthermore the technical aspect mustn’t feel like a pointless provision of moments but as a part of them. The atmosphere must be caught when it’s there and not least in the right way.

With 'Boyhood' all these mentioned factors are certainly not absent. There has clearly been thought about every single element throughout, especially in regard to the editing which liquidly moves its focus from one periodic milestone to another. The transitions are a mixture of perfect image composition and editing, which contribute to the natural shift from past to future. As an audience you’re quickly and easily becoming immersed into the story and you’ll rarely notice the longstanding gaps that occur between scenes.

Life periods in the film rarely feel forced or misplaced but just as forthright and authentic as is the case in real life. Richard Linklater has said that the film somehow acts as a "time-lapse photography of a human being" which describes the film and its purpose extremely precise. A worthy presentation of the film and its technology will be virtually impossible, and I would argue that the following quote from the film describes it in the best possible way: "Any dipshit can take pictures. But it takes a real genius to make art."

The Soundscape
Just as with the visual side of the film the soundscape is just as beautiful and charismatically rounded every time we come to a different moment in Mason’s life and is yet again in the need of creating a new and appropriate atmosphere. The music is certainly not constantly present in the film but the timing is carefully chosen and tones are never pushed involuntarily into frame. But when the music is finally there it’s in a way that ensures a full atmospheric blast and provides for the complete ambiance of the film.

There’re also some scenes with on-screen music, which are there to lift and further confirm the natural approach taken to this particular story. Especially because Mason's father is a little musically involved himself, and because of that it works great, and it's a smart way to ensure plenty of rhythmic tones in the film without it ever appearing as a false method to seduce the audience. That’s another well-deserved thumbs-up for Richard Linklater and his phenomenal 'Boyhood'!

SHORT SUMMARY Richard Linklater has planted twelve fruitful trees and let them take root in life’s most treasured moments. He has maintained his focus throughout the process and ultimately once again proves his worth as an innovative master of the art of film. If even possible, this is the director's largest and most far-ranging project yet, and quite possible his most intimate and complete film to date. A masterpiece that is completely its own and which I hope will be seen and loved again 12 years from now. A film about the passage of time deserves to be taken up again as time passes by, and 'Boyhood' is certainly no exception...

overall rating:

The thing isolated becomes incomprehensible
Now, that's a review! I've been meaning to watch Boyhood and now you definitely made me even more curious!
Well done!

Very nice review. Love the format, and loved the movie. Not as much as some but currently sits at my second favorite of the year.

Thanks to you both! I very much appreciate it

Yeah definitely go watch it neiba, but remember it's not your typical kind of flick, but then again, you've read the review so you should have an idea now of how it is. did you like any previous Linklater films?

Seanc, as long as you dig the review I'm fine haha. But talking about the film, I completely understand people not loving it, liking it or even remotely enjoying it. It's all a matter of taste after all. But I'm glad you loved the movie as well though!

Chappie doesn't like the real world
I can't read your review yet because I haven't seen it, but congrats on starting a review thread. Hopefully you review something I have seen soon so I can comment.

Just so you know I don't do spoiler-heavy reviews and in fact don't spoil anything. So if you want to you could easily read it, Godoggo, and just get a bit more excited about it until you see it.

But of course that's completely up to you!

The thing isolated becomes incomprehensible
Thanks to you both! I very much appreciate it

Yeah defiantly go watch it neiba, but remember it's not your typical kind of flick, but then again, you've read the review so you should have an idea now of how it is. did you like any previous Linklater films?
I saw the Before Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight trilogy. I liked them very much, specially the first two! I really like his way of writing!

Chappie doesn't like the real world
Just so you know I don't do spoiler-heavy reviews and in fact don't spoil anything. So if you want to you could easily read it, Godoggo, and just get a bit more excited about it until you see it.

But of course that's completely up to you!
It's not about actions being revealed that I worry about it's just that I've found the less I know about a movie going in, the more I am able to just experience without any preconceived notions or having to stop myself from comparing what so-and-so thought about a particular element of a film to what I'm thinking about it. It's just easier for me to immerse myself in a film without constantly disagreeing or agreeing with people in my head. Therefore I have a no reviews until I've seen it rule.

It's not about actions being revealed that I worry about it's just that I've found the less I know about a movie going in, the more I am able to just experience without any preconceived notions or having to stop myself from comparing what so-and-so thought about a particular element of a film to what I'm thinking about it. It's just easier for me to immerse myself in a film without constantly disagreeing or agreeing with people in my head. Therefore I have a no reviews until I've seen it rule.
Well I can only say I very much agree with your opinion!

I almost never read a review until I've seen the movie and if I ever do it'll be the main page for the movie on IMDb and therefore nothing but impersonal figures. Same goes with trailers. No footage from the movie except for maybe a teaser.

With Nolans Interstellar I didn't read or watch anything. It's always nice to go in to a movie like that! I certainly respect your choice

THANKS cricket! And yeah it did take a good while to write, and I had to do double work because of translating it all into english.

But I used google translate so I had a foundation and then went through it line by line so there weren't any nonsense and all sounded smoothly and diverse in english as well.

But the finished result turned out great and it's pretty cool and neat to have both versions of the review I think.

Exceptional review, MM. JayDee will probably break out in a cold sweat when he sees it.

I've liked the majority of Linklater's films, so my expectations for Boyhood are pretty high.

I admire how much time and effort you put into your review. Hopefully you'll provide us with many more in the future!

Movie Review: Mr. Turner (2014)

"Who in the world is Joseph Mallord William Turner? An artist you say? Well why not just make a film about Pablo Picasso or Leonardo De Vinci?"

The point is in fact, that the British Mr. Turner was an exceptional and gifted artist, who unfortunately took an unnecessary stream of negativity and despair upon himself, in connection to his controversial and unconventional methods and works. Since then, he has achieved the noble respect of which he deserves, especially as a historical milestone in the form of "the painter who elevated the art of reproducing landscapes".

Director Mike Leigh has in relation to this pictured his own dedication needed for a project of this relatively large calibre; a truly unique chance to study and examine the artist Mr. Turner as the mortal and flawed human being that he was, whom in contrast, was also able to create epic and spiritual works of art that seamlessly distilled the world that we live in.

The Story
The film is about the British painter J.M.W. Turner (Timothy Spall) and the last 25 years of his life as the villain and hero, respectively, of the great but uneven “heavenly space” of the world of art and expression. We follow Mr. Turner through brush strokes and brush strikes, all the while he travels through his motherland's most beautiful and inspiring areas – trips, that not only stimulates his artistic side but also his humanistic. His heart definitely beats for art, but along the way Mr. Turner stumbles upon other qualities, which likewise speaks to the ardent artist's heart. But if it so happens that the stubborn artist stumbles upon the true love of his life, it is far more important to him, if the British people ever truthfully express the love they have for him. But is Mr. Turner indeed a fantastic artist or an artistic fraud?

With 'Mr. Turner’ Mike Leigh leads his audience deep into the portrait of a misunderstood and controversial artist who must fight persistently to attain recognition for his qualities as a painter and as a person. But it is far from an easy goal to accomplish, for behind the artist’s distinguishable dull mannerisms and short-of-word responses lies a great deal of well-hidden feelings, which crave deeply for the proper guidance. Occasionally we get to see these darker sides, which results in a constant character development that never fails to take surprising and interesting twists and turns throughout. For although the shapes and shades in the foreground of a painting are definitely a joy to behold, it is more about the hidden personal and defective characteristics further beyond, which boosts the painting up to a considerable higher level – and that is exactly the case with this focus of this film.

This film is very much an imperfect cutwork of the man behind the brush, carefully placed in the 1800s British beauties of the landscapes. The story of the film is not constructed by using the classic storytelling templates, with carefully selected and shortened periodic clips from the largest and most important highlights of Mr. Turner's life. Instead, the audience will feel a more natural and slightly unsystematic approach to the story, of which the essence of the biographical narrative casts its focus on capturing the atmospheric force of which said periodic life images have the ability to deliver. It doesn’t always work, but it creates an interesting focus for the film in which Mr. Turner dominates and therefore controls the core of this very story. The narrative is maintained further by the dialogic period-mix of the film, consisting of old expressions and new initiatives, and together it provides a playful and nuanced balance to 'Mr. Turner ' as a whole.

Honestly, it is not really important to find out if he ever wins the British people over, or if the film ever takes a tragic dramatic turnaround to create fast-and-forced compassion. We follow Mr. Turner, as the man he just happened to be, and along the way we create our very own thoughts and ideas. Will he ever sort out all of his family problems, will the endless evolution of art ever pass him by, and is he truly an astoundingly pathetic or graceful person? The only answer to this is to fall comfortably down in the cinema seats so you can experience and reflect on Mr. Turner as a person, as a painter, and as a product of cinema.

The Acting
If I by any chance left you behind in a slightly brooding condition in the previous paragraph, in connection to the fact that the story of the film actually works reasonably well, without neither being linear or straightforward in its approach, then the following statement is one of the main reasons why. 'Mr. Turner’ is first and foremost a magnificent actors assembly, not necessarily consisting of the highest ranked names of the so-called ‘A-list’, but rather performances of which could definitely be looked upon as worthy of that category. Everybody provide the film with the very best they have learned, no matter if that means acting out performances of comprehensive or understated fundamentals and gesticulations; and it is really hard to point a crooked finger towards the "sinner" of this film, as there honestly isn’t one.

First off, let's get the following out the way; Timothy Spall’s sophisticated “tour de force” of a masterful performance, playing the role of Mr. Turner, is a career-high landmark for the actor. A man full of insufficient words and suppressed emotions, where even a little rumbling and mumbling can accommodate the same expanded diversity as a thesaurus. Spall assigns his character with a sincerely unique angle of which is neither square, rectangular, or in any shape or form within the semi-traditional outer edges of acting. It’s the highly sought-after “golden section” of acting, where the limited amount of space between over- and underplaying a character creates the perfect workstation for an actor of this capability. Timothy Spall was born to play the role of Mr. Turner.

Although the focus point lies in the hands of the title character, all of the surrounding performances are, to say the least, just as important and works just as well. Marion Bailey as Mrs. Booth serves as a wonderful companion throughout the film, especially because of the fact that she simply oozes with life and a heart-warming personality, no matter if the world treats her well or poor. Joshua McGuire gives a surprisingly controlled performance, in which a character of unbearable and slimy modality, can be safely placed in the category "charming and annoying" – a category involving two words rarely present in the same sentence but all the same still unite effortlessly under the impressive supervision and control of McGuire.

The Technical Aspect
'Mr. Turner' feels exactly like a living painting from start to finish. A visual wonder, in which the modern digitization of film puts its focus on a more classical narrative and comes out the other side as a pure success. Director and cinematographer have mutually decided, that the benefits of digital film production possess the needed capacities of grasping the life and colours of the film, and practically lift them off of the silver screen. Every scene is like a painting, in a quite literal sense, in which the director utilizes windows and doorways throughout ‘Mr. Turner’, to give the audience the feeling of looking directly through framed works of art – and it works tremendously!

A picture is worth a thousand words; this film is shot at 24 frames per second; and consists of a duration of approximately 150 minutes – in that case, we are left with more than 9,000 individual illustrations, fluently strung together, which in the end has created this year's perhaps most beautiful film. So if the film itself isn’t your preferred cup of tea, then you can always lean back in the comfortable seats and experience the immersive and stunning colourful images by themselves – they are truly worth it.

The Soundscape
The soundtrack doesn’t come off as lively and broad as the visuals, but in turn it is the simplicity that triumphs this time around. The talented composer of the film, Gary Yershon, has taken a step towards much bolder decisions with the musical tones of ‘Mr. Turner’, and has purposefully chosen not to march toward neither the happy nor tragic. Instead, he has played around with the idea of a simpler soundtrack, used to set the atmospheric and moody undertones that have the ability to illustrate all of the many tonal shifts in the film. The music is almost like a pending tone of mystery, which alludes to both the peaceful as well as the prodigal. Personally I was still missing some kind of variation, but one must nevertheless bow down to the courageous and successful execution, of something that might as well have been a thick and noticeable brushstroke too much…

SHORT SUMMARY Mike Leigh has drawn a rough portrait of a true and truly misunderstood artist; and with the "roughness" follows great pleasures, but the structure and length is arguably not one of them. Had the story been a tad more focused and the duration around half an hour shorter, we would still have gotten beautiful images, great performances, and a satisfying and respectful film about J.M.W. Turner. That said you should not miss out on the experience, as this marvellous work of art in itself is only just one gob of spit away from being perfect.

overall rating:

Never heard of Mr. Turner or the man on which it's based, and even after reading your review my interest in the film is pretty much non-existent, but I appreciate the time and effort you put into your review, MM.

To answer your question about which film you should review next, I choose Nightcrawler. Just don't spoil the mystery of the film for me since I've yet to see it.

If you read my review and didn't became insterested I made a poor effort of my job.

- And don't worry, I never spoil anything in my reviews if I end up reviewing Nightcrawler.