Movies reviews

  • The Man from Earth

    Watched on

    7

    An impromptu goodbye party for Professor John Oldman becomes a mysterious interrogation after the retiring scholar reveals to his colleagues he never ages and has walked the earth for 14,000 years.

    Review

    The Man From Earth is a strange movie. It is a really low-fi science-fiction movie but without anything you'd normally expect from the genre. There are no explosions, no scenes set in outer-space and no time travel or post-apocalyptic setting. But what there is is ideas, and plenty of them.

    Set pretty much entirely within the protagonist's living room the story revolves around him confessing to his intellectual colleagues that he has explored the earth for over fourteen thousand years. What follows is a 12 Angry Men style discussion, with questions, answers and opinions.

    Deeply philosophical, profound and intellectually moving. If you like movies that make you think, if you like movies with a message about our species, life and death, religion, the unknown possibilities of life, this film is for you. This is the type of film that'll linger for a while.

    IMDB comment by Sixu

    This is exactly how I felt as I journeyed with those in the movie as they listened to the revelations which were suddenly thrown upon then. There were a few times where I wished I could be part of the movie, I wanted to ask questions, listen to the answers and be part of the conversation.

    However, the movie is a let down in a few areas. Firstly there is the acting which is definitely sub-par, some of the dialogue was hollow and the delivery was embarrassing in places. I like a movie which is nice to look at, however, this movie features a very bland, Dogme style cinematography with some very awkward shots and composition.

    I still recommend this to those who like conversational movies, those which you can discuss the ideas with friends for hours. The concepts will stay with you and haunt you when you've got a moment to contemplate on life.

  • Juno

    Watched on

    9

    Faced with an unplanned pregnancy, an offbeat young woman makes an unusual decision regarding her unborn child.

    Juno

    Review

    Juno has been touted as the best ‘indie’ movie since Little Miss Sunshine and the amazing box office success has confirmed this.

    Juno is a young girl who has found herself in the ultimate caper; being a pregnant teenager at high-school.

    The movie deals with issues such as teenage pregnancy, high-school dymanics and adaoption all in an extremely quirky, witty yet intelligent way. The acting is pretty much flawless and every line is poetically crafted and delivered. I think this movie requires multiple viewings to fully appreciate everything on offer due to the subtly, cleverness, quirkiness and multiple-levels of the humour.

    I have seen this movie twice and both times I loved it – I could even watch it again. This is a hallmalk of a remarkable movie which is exactly what Juno is.

    I hope Juno will win the Oscar for “Best Original Screenplay” this year just like Little Miss Sunshine did in 2007.

    You should go see this movie. Nine out of ten.

  • Knowing

    Watched on

    5

    A teacher opens a time capsule that has been dug up at his son's elementary school; in it are some chilling predictions -- some that have already occurred and others that are about to -- that lead him to believe his family plays a role in the events that are about to unfold.

    Review

    I was unsure whether I wanted to watch Knowing, which was marketed as some sort of sci-fi “end of the world” movie. In the end I did, but I wish I hadn't. Here's why…

    The main reason why I was skeptical about this movie was the leading man – Nicolas Cage, whose recent movies have been barely watchable at best. Firstly, there was the terrible remake of the British classic The Wicker Man followed by the awful comic-book adaptation Ghost Rider. I thought Next was OK, but that was probably down to the Philip K. Dick sci-fi story and a relatively strong supporting case. Most recently Cage starred in Bangkok Dangerous, a Hollywood remake of Thai movie of the same name, which was directed by the same people – the Pang Brothers. After this movie I questioned why I would continue to watch movies in which the advertisement campaign focused around Cage as the draw.

    The only reason which I think made me watch this movie was it's director – Alex Proyas. Proyas made a name for himself with The Crow, a cult-classic gothic comic-book movie, then in 1998 with Dark City, a gritty noir-style science-fiction movie featuring a creepy city-controlling cult who can stop time and re-arrange the city streets. Unfortunately, Dark City has remained relatively unknown, as it was released around the time of the Matrix which was extremely successful and featured the same gritty existential sci-fi themes. Proyas last directed I, Robot which was relatively well-received with the public, featured high production values and a starring man in Will Smith – this is the same formula followed by Knowing but with no where the same effectiveness.

    Some of the special effects were very good, such as the plane crash which can be seen in the trailer and the final disaster scenes. The premise of numbers successfully predicting information such as the disasters shown in the movie is an interesting concept, but I felt this was completely under explored. However, the acting by Cage was what I'd come to expect from recent performances – very poor, wooden and forced. The final third of the movie felt apart for me. I was especially irked by the religious overtones, which were totally overdone in the final scenes. There were a few other strange scenes which annoyed me – especially some unintentionally comical dialogue and actions, therefore I can not recommend the movie.

    I hope Alex Proyas continues to make sci-fi movies, as there seems to be a definite drought in this genre. But I feel he may be better suited to darker and lower-budget style of movie making, so I hope we see him return to that.

  • Waltz with Bashir

    Watched on

    9

    An Israeli film director interviews fellow veterans of the 1982 invasion of Lebanon to reconstruct his own memories of his term service in that conflict.

    Waltz with Bashir

    Review

    Waltz with Bashir is a harrowing seminal-documentary tale of a man's journey to regain the memories he has blocked about a horrific period in his life - the 1982 Lebanon War. The story is told from the perspective of Ari Folman, the writer and director of the movie, but more importantly, the man who is trying to recall his memories from the war. You following Ari as he talks to colleagues who were with him during the war as he tries to piece together more and more of the horrendous memories he has long forgotten.

    The movie culminates in the final and most disturbing missing memories Ari's mind is withholding, those of the Sabra and Shatila massacre. I found the final scenes truly horrific, and like the main protagonist, I could forget what I had just witnessed - however, in forgetting or ignoring difficult memories such as these only lead to further wars and terrible acts of terrorism. Movies like these are a great way of making sure these memories are never forgotten and even though these events are distressful and sickening they should never be allowed to be simply forgotten.

    I would highly recommend this movie as an interesting portrayal of the personal and mental toll war can have. However, beware, although this movie is animated it is very graphic and the overall tone and message is extremely dark.

  • Gone Baby Gone

    Watched on

    10

    Two Boston area detectives investigate a little girl's kidnapping, which ultimately turns into a crisis both professionally and personally. Based on the Dennis Lehane novel.

    Gone Baby Gone

    Review

    Gone Baby Gone is the theatrical directorial debut by well-known actor Ben Affleck, and what a start in the new vocation it is. I found very little fault with Ben Affleck's direction – the only issue I had was the open-endedness of the night-time shoot-out scene at the quarry lake. But it was the strength of the script and Ben Affleck's younger brother, Casey, whose performance which shined in this movie.

    The movie progressed at a reasonable pace, with the introduction of a range of well written and unique characters. This type of characterisation can really make a story more believable, and elevate movies from good to brilliant — something I felt this movie was.

    There were a few twists and turns throughout, none of which I expected. Minor conversations and seemingly irrelevant pieces of information are referenced later, for climatic scenes. All the information is given to you, but like the private detective within the story, you have to make sense of them to solve the puzzle.

    The amazing thing about this movie was the amount of complex but detailed themes and conflicts presented thoughout. There were many moral and legal issues put forth by both numerous characters and the overall story. And these are just the ideas I noticed during my first viewing — a testament to a good director and script.

    Not since Requiem for a Dream (another masterpiece I highly recommend) have I watched the last fifteen minutes of a movie with my hand over my mouth, starring wide-eyed in awe of what has just happened and in anticipation of the decisions and resolution to come.

    After leaving the cinema my mind started racing. I was trying to think how I would have handled the situations the lead character was faced with, and whether I would have made the same final decision. This movie is emotional, engaging and enthralling — I can't recommend it enough.