Movie Review – Logan

Logan_05perfect end to this series

may contain small spoilers

In the near future, a weary Logan cares for an ailing Professor X somewhere on the Mexican border. However, Logan’s attempts to hide from the world and his legacy are upended when a young mutant arrives, pursued by dark forces.’ (IMDb) (by James Mangold, 137 min.)

This was such a treat and one I wasn’t expected at all. I laughed, I cried, I shrieked in horror and I felt pumped by all the action scenes. Needless to say this movie left me with a lot of feelings and that, for me, is usually a sign that it was a great movie. To me anyways.

I wasn’t very familiar with the history of Logan and this specific Comic. I knew it existed, but for me it didn’t fit in my world of the X-Men. It was different. It told a much darker story, with an older Logan and I wasn’t ready for that. But now, seeing Hugh Jackman getting older and taking on the same role over and over again, his character not aging, but him, as an actor definitely getting there, I felt ready for this story. And apparently so did Marvel and the world.

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It was the right time to tell this story and to show us this part of the world. It does give us an entire new character to get to know and love, and probably follow, in Laura. And on this they played well. Because we still have the fierceness from Wolverine, but she’s different in a way. I found her part really interesting and I can’t wait to see what else she will bring to this world.

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I found the entire story interesting. It was a bit weird at first to hear them talk about their friends and colleagues in the past tense, but they gave us enough time to get used to it, before throwing us into the story and the action. And when the action started, man, it didn’t stop.

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I found the new, older, less improved, less perfect Wolverine a real treat on screen. He had so many layers and with his sickness, his dark thoughts, his job, the way he handles this kid that stepped into his life, he became a much more interesting character to follow. The way he handled all kinds of situations and the way he dealt with death in this film, showed me a Logan worth saying goodbye to. Because this movie is a goodbye. Don’t get me wrong, (no spoilers); but I cried several times in this film.

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Every character got their beautiful goodbye in this film, their final scene in this world. And it touched me. It was like saying goodbye to characters that grew with me, that made me grow to the person I am today. So when the credits rolled, it was like a gigantic chapter of my life got to an end and I turned the last page of this book.

The end was bittersweet. Saying goodbye to old favourites and welcoming new characters, new possibilities… 8/10 stars. Definitely earned.

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New Trailer Reviews (#4)

2:22

A different kind of Groundhog Day

Michiel Huisman is gorgeous and he is probably the only reason I will go see this movie. There, I said it, now I can continue with my review. This movie sounds strange. The story is just so confusing and when I read the synopsis on IMDb, it doesn’t match at all with what we get to see in this trailer. I think they can do great things with this premise (an ominous pattern of events repeat itself in exactly the same way every day, ending at 2:22), but I’m afraid that when it’ll be to difficult to follow or to understand, we won’t be hooked enough to care how this movie ends. I think for me, the make or break it, will be the second trailer where hopefully it’ll be explained a bit more. We’ll see. I don’t think this is a movie I will catch in cinemas.

Blade Runner 2049

They’re back !!

Ryan Gosling… Jared Leto… Harrison Ford… Need I say more? This with direction by Dennis Villeneuve… It’s going to be amazing. I loved the original. I enjoyed the story, the way it was told, the cinematography. The use of colours, the duality between the colours and the greyness/darkness. I have a feeling this will be the same with this new movie. I hope he uses the same style and genre, but make it his own, so we can have the same character development we had in Arrival. I’m excited.

The Gifted – Fox

The X-men come to a tv-screen near you

This looks so great. I honestly didn’t know they were putting this show up. I was transfixed on any news on Netflix and their Marvel stories, that the idea of my favourites (the X-men) coming to television this fall completely passed me by. And then I saw this trailer. And now I’m excited. I hope it has this Heroes-vibe to it, but with the X-men background. I hope they don’t overdo it too much as to lose the look and feel of what makes X-men so special. I’ll definitely be checking this one out when it comes out.

Battle of the Sexes

Emma Stone vs Steve Carell

Yes, this movie has finally a trailer. And it looks amazing. Emma Stone is gorgeous and so real as Billie Jean King. And Steve Carell looks as his best self as this goofy Bobby Riggs. I can’t wait to see their fighting and knowing what (at least) Emma Stone went through as physical training for this part, I know both of them are so dedicated to this story. This is one great story and one I can’t wait to see as a film.

The Breadwinner

Animation at it’s best

The production company behind Song of the Sea and The Secret of Kells bring us this new movie with Angelina Jolie as producer. If you watch the trailer you find their style so much in what they do. I loved Song of the Sea so much. It is to date my favourite animated feature. I was transformed by the story, the images, the music… I can’t wait to see what they’ll do with this story. One set in an entire different world from theirs and what they’re used to. But I do think they’re the perfect vessel to tell this story. Because it will be told with dignity and beauty. A must-see for me.

What do you think? Are any of these films on your watchlist? And which ones will you be seeing in cinemas?

Movie Review – Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

a movie made by a fan for the fans

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by Gareth Edwards

‘The Rebel Alliance makes a risky move to steal the plans for the Death Star, setting up the epic saga to follow.’ (IMDb) (by Gareth Edwards, 133 min.)

This was the surprise of 2016 for me. I did not suspect I would like this as much as I did. I did go into it a bit reluctant, because I just didn’t know what to expect. Would I love it? Would I hate it? I heard it was a bit different and I didn’t know if I could handle it.

When the movie started, I kept waiting for the scroll and the Star Wars Theme to come, and then it didn’t. For the first 15-20 minutes I just couldn’t connect to it. It felt like Star Wars, but it wasn’t Star Wars. Don’t get me wrong. There were a lot of resemblances and little nods to the old movies (the blue milk, the back story of Jyn, Tarkin…). But the beginning felt like a completely different movie, and it bothered me until I thought why? Why am I making this into a Star Wars Movie? It’s Rogue One, and from the moment I let it go, I enjoyed every minute of it.

 

The story was so fun. Starting with introducing a lot of characters. (I mean, a lot) Setting up the story and the stakes and then the last third of the movie (when it really let go of all the different references to the other movies) just knocked everything else out of the park. It was so action-packed with an incredible ending (kuddos for that ending), great character-evolution and a perfect standalone film in the Star Wars Universe.

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Felicity Jones is great as fierless Jyn and it is refreshing to start the story with a character who already got into all the mess and fighting. When we meet her, she’s in jail and kicks ass from the start. K-2SO is so freaking funny. He’s a new favourite of mine and gives the rather dark story, a lighter touch. A lot of this is thanks to Alan Tudyk. You feel the passion for the character in his play and tone. Cassian was a little harder for me to warm up to though. From the start his character was portrayed as a sort of spy and assassin and some of his choices seemed a bit off to me. Also the way he treated Jyn in the beginning kept me with an odd feeling.

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Saw Gerrera was another character that was screaming with references to the other movies. The sound his machine makes sounds a lot like Darth Vader. The way the camera moves around him did make him a more important character than he actually was. I would have liked to see more of him and what drove him to his actions. Maybe learn a bit more of his background and his reasons.

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What surprised me most was the technical abilities that you can see in this movie. Tarkin is completely made with motion-capture and then they recreated his face. I didn’t see it at all in the movie. It wasn’t until afterwards that I looked up how they made it happen and it quite astonishing. When you know how they made it all possible, you notice it a little bit, but it doesn’t scream in your face (like in some other movies). And what also was a nice nod, and one I did notice, was that they used some unused footage from ‘A New Hope’. I recognized some characters from that movie and I did feel satisfied I noticed it.

In the end, it was a movie I really enjoyed. One that got really interesting from the moment it let it’s heritage loose and went its own way.

8/10 stars

Movie Review – Kubo and the Two Strings

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by Travis Knight

Beautifully animated

‘A young boy named Kubo must locate a magical suit of armor worn by his late father in order to defeat a vengeful spirit from the past.’ (IMDb) (by Travis Knight, 101 min.)

The studio that brought us Coraline, Paranorman and The Boxtrolls, comes to us with a new tale. I must be honest, when I saw the trailer the first time, I didn’t connect this movie with Laika Studios. The animation style did stir a memory within me. But it is so much more colorful than the other movies they put out, that I didn’t immediately make the connection.

The moment I started this movie though, I was smitten. I was spellbound. Kubo, a young boy, lives with his mother in a small village. Only rule: he has to be home before dark. He takes care of his mother and goes to the village to tell stories and earn money. Until one day, he stays in the village after dark and strange and powerful forces find him. From there starts his adventure to find a magical armour to help vanquish the evil forces trying to capture him.

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The entire story is beautifully told and tells the story of family bonds, of courage and strength. It’s the story about how far a person goes to save the people he loves. It’s a story about the power of memories. It’s a universal story, told many times before you might say, but the way they go on to tell the story is unique. Young Kubo is helped in his search by a monkey and a beetle, that will have an important part in his travels, but they also are important part of his past, as we will learn at the end. The story does never stand still and after each action points there comes another, evolving into a story that keeps you on your toes from begin to end.

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The technique used to make this movie is one of a kind and it is what Laika Studios is known for. After the first 10 minutes you just forget it is made with stop motion and you lose yourself in the colours and the style. I think they especially outdid themselves with the Origami bits. They feel simple and real, yet are full of feeling and easy to understand. The monkey, Kubo, Beetle, the leaves, the origami… it all is full of detail and I especially liked the skeleton they encounter at one point.

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I think this is the best movie Laika Studies put out to date, and this is saying much as Coraline is one of my favourite movies. It is a film for all ages, with a beautiful design and everyone can read this movie in a different way, which is perfect if you like discussing movies with friends or family.

8/10 stars

Oscars 2017 – What a Night

The winners for the Oscars have finally be revealed and what a show it has been. In this post I want to talk about the winners, the losers and off course THAT mistake.

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First of all, let’s start with this mistake. For the first time, correct me if I’m wrong but to my knowledge there has never been anything like that in the past, the wrong name has been called out as the winner. When the time came to announce the winner for Best Film, presenter Warren Beatty looked over to Faye Dunaway because of what he read. He then told the entire world that La La Land had won. The entire group came up on stage and when the producers were making their speech, somebody ran on stage to say they made a mistake. Jordan Horowitz (one of the producers) immediately understood what was happening and called the makers of Moonlight (the actual winners) on stage and congratulated them with their win. Huge respect though, to the makers of La La Land, they were really classy about their loss and praising Moonlight for their win. If you think about how big the Oscars are, you’d think they would have made all possible measures to ensure that such mistakes can’t be made. But mistakes are human, and makes us what we are. I’m sure that this is a moment that we’ll never forget and that’ll go in history as the first big blunder the Oscars made.

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Now the winners. You can find the entire list right here and I must say that I’m quite happy with how it turned out. Off course I would have liked to see La La Land win a bit more, but all the nominated movies are great as well and overall I think the right people won. So let’s start.

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by Barry Jenkins

Moonlight by Barry Jenkins was the winner of the biggest award of them all: Best Motion Picture of the Year. The story about a young black man growing up gay in a rough neighbourhood in Miami took the world by storm and it finally payed of by taking home the biggest award of all. It competed in this category with other great films like La La Land; Fences; Arrival; Hidden Figures; Lion; Manchester by the Sea; Hacksaw Ridge and Hell or High Water.

Though the best movie went to Moonlight, Damien Chazelle did win his Oscar for Best Achievement in Directing this year, becoming the youngest director to ever receive that recognition. Competing next to other directors such as Barry Jenkins, Dennis Villeneuve, Kenneth Lonergan and off course Mel Gibson, I would say that Damien Chazelle really stood out here. These are all names, I’m afraid to tell you, I didn’t hear of before except for Damien Chazelle (because of Whiplash, my favourite film I saw in 2016) and Mel Gibson (Braveheart, my favourite film of all time). I’m excited to see what they all bring us in the future.  

 

On the side of the actors I do believe the rightful actors won. Emma Stone was marvelous as Lead Actress in La La Land and finally got rewarded for it. Nathalie Portman, Meryl Streep, Isabelle Huppert and Ruth Negga were great as well, but Emma Stone just shone that little much brighter this year. The same could be said from the other side. Casey Affleck (winner of Lead Actor) pulled a performance of a lifetime and you can feel the roughness and the deepness with which he portrayed his character that no other actor could equal. Big respect to Ryan Gosling, Denzel Washington, Andrew Garfield and Viggo Mortensen for all their performances. They all are great performers being rewarded for their work.

 

Viola Davis walked away with pride over her win as Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role for her part in Fences and Mahershala Ali took the same award home for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. Both put down unmistakably brilliant performances and were rewarded for it. Octavia Spencer, Naomie Harris, Michelle Williams and Nicole Kidman should all feel proud for the work they put down. This is another category where there’s just one actress shining just a little bit brighter. The same can be said for Dev Patel, Jeff Bridges, Michael Shannon and Lucas Hedges.  

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by Kenneth Lonergan

It was also a great year for interesting and powerful stories. So it didn’t come as a surprise that Moonlight ran away with the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. Adapted by Barry Jenkins from a story by Tarell Alvin McCraney, it is indeed the story of a lifetime. Other screenplays nominated were Hidden Figures (based on the book by Margot Lee Shetterly); Arrival (based on the story ‘Story of your Life’ by Ted Chiang); Lion (adapted from the book ‘A Long Way Home’ by Saroo Brierley) and Fences (based upon the play by August Wilson). Best Original Screenplay went to Manchester by the Sea (written by Kenneth Lonergan), beating out The Lobster; Hell or High Water; 20th Century Women and La La Land.

It is in the music-categories where La La Land took home most of its awards. Best song (for City of Stars) and Best Score both went to La La Land. The soundtrack, written mainly by Justin Hurwitz, is full of catchy songs, powerful ballads and overall feel-good music. Other nominees for Best Song were ‘How Far I’ll Go’ from Moana; ‘The Empty Chair’ from Jim: The James Foley Story; ‘Audition (The Fools Who Dream)’ from La La Land and ‘Can’t Stop the Feeling’ from Trollz. In the category for Best Score we can also find the scores for Moonlight (by Nicholas Britell); Jackie (by Mica Levi); Passengers (by Thomas Newman) and Lion (by Dustin O’Halloran and Volker Bertelmann).

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La La Land, by Damien Chazelle

Best Animated Feature of the Year went to Zootopia. Here I must say, it was a surprise for me. I honestly thought Kubo and the Two Strings would win or My Life as a Zucchini. These three, together with Moana and The Red Turtle, are all great stories and deserving to win. But I do like to see Disney win, so I’m glad with the turnout and it was a great film so that explains it as well.

The more technical categories are always the least known, the ones where we don’t know the names of the nominees, or at least I don’t know them. Which is unfortunate because they are as much a part of the film and the film experience as the directors, actors and screenwriters. Here I’m unfortunately only going to speak about the movie, as I mentioned before, I just don’t know their names. Best Cinematography went to La La Land, beating out Moonlight; Silence; Arrival and Lion. All 5 films are marvelous, beautiful and just breathtaking. They all could have won in my opinion. Best Achievement in Film Editing went rightfully so to Hacksaw Ridge. I just saw this film the other day and was blown away by how they told the story and how it was put together. Beating out La La Land; Moonlight; Arrival and Hell or High Water, this editor (John Gilbert) is one to watch.

Hacksaw Ridge also took home the award for Best Achievement in Sound Mixing, beating out Rogue One; Arrival; 13 Hours and La La Land. Best Achievement in Sound Editing went to Arrival. Other nominees in this category are Hacksaw Ridge; La La Land; Sully and Deepwater Horizon. Rogue One; Kubo and the Two Strings; Deepwater Horizon and Doctor Strange got beaten by The Jungle Book in the category for Best Achievement in Visual Effects. Best Production Design went to La La Land, beating out Hail, Ceasar!; Arrival; Passengers and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. This last movie, another story set in the world of Harry Potter, took home the Oscar for Best Achievement in Costume Design, beating out Jackie; Allied; La La Land and Florence Foster Jenkins. The biggest surprise here was Suicide Squad’s win in the category for Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling. Star Trek Beyond and A Man Called Ove were also nominated in this category.

Best Live Action Short Film went to Mindenki by Kristóf Deák and Anna Udvardy. Best Documentary Short Subject went to The White Helmets by Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara. Piper went to win the Best Animated Short Film, beating out Pear Cider and Cigarettes; Blind Vaysha; Pearl and Borrowed Time. Best Foreign Language Film of the Year went to The Salesman, making this the second win for director Asghar Farhadi after A Separation. Toni Erdmann; A Man Called Ove; Land of Mine and Tanna drew just a bit too short to walk away with this award. Best Documentary Feature went to O.J.:Made in America. Other nominees here were Life; Animated; Fire at Sea; 13th and I Am Not Your Negro

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If we take all these together we can say that we had a beautiful year in films. Some strong stories, feel-good movies, some new talent and also finally recognition of actors who have been around for a long time. With it’s six wins, La La Land took home most of the awards, but after missing Best Motion Picture of the Year to Moonlight, it can be seen as the loser of the night. I wouldn’t go so far. Moonlight is definitely a story of a lifetime and one we shouldn’t and (after these Oscars) definitely won’t, but we need La La Land as well to make us dream, as so many other films did before and will in the future. 

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The Impossible (Movie Review)

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An account of a family caught, with tens of thousands of strangers, in the mayhem of one of the worst natural catastrophes of our time. (imdb)

This movie, oh well this movie. This movie took me through so many emotions. It’s just crazy. It takes you along to the story of a family on holiday, that are caught in the tsunami of 2004. It’s actually an extraordinary story. A family of five lost each other and the entire movie they are searching for each other and hoping that the others are still alive.

From the beginning of the story I was stressing because I knew the tsunami would come. The director decided to give us 10-15 minutes of movie where we meet the characters, with sometimes that type of music who builds the stress of the moment, until of course the water comes. That sequence was beautifully made. You really had the feeling it was real and that you were in the middle of it. I was always fascinated with being under water and I always feel free every time I see underwater shots. But this time I felt claustrophobic and all the shots really captured how they must have felt when the tsunami hit.

Each and every performance of this movie was remarkable and left me crying. Naomi Watts had such a difficult and physical demanding role and her connection with the actor who plays her eldest son (Tom Holland) is remarkable. Also the other boys gave amazing performances and where cute as a button. The entire movie you’re just rooting for them to find each other and to survive this catastrophe.

The only thing that I don’t understand is why the director decided to make his characters white and british, while the real family was Spanish. I can’t quite grab that fact. I really think that the story would be as strong with Spanish actors and characters. I’m sure the director has his reasons.

Another thing that bothered me a little bit, was at the end of the film where Naomi Watt’s character Maria is in surgery. The sequence in the water then, really felt made for me. It was a little bit to much made in special effects. I think the emotion of that moment would have been stronger, if the shots were less treated with special effects.

After throwing away all my tissues I used up watching this movie, I’m definitely falling in love with this story. So 4 out of 5 stars. Definitely earned.

Zero Dark Thirty (Movie Review)

 

ImageA chronicle of the decade-long hunt for al-Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin Laden after the September 2001 attacks, and his death at the hands of the Navy S.E.A.L. Team 6 in May 2011. (IMDB)

 

OMG, this movie was amazing. Is amazing. It literally blew my mind. Even though everybody’s knows the story and the ending… you’re just drawn into the story and you keep hoping it all ends right. 

 

The whole movie is so compelling, because of Jessica Chastain. She’s amazing as Maya. In the beginning she’s reluctant about the way the American soldiers torture their prisoners. But the entire movie she starts growing and becomes so obsessed by capturing Ben Laden that at the end we get the feeling that she doesn’t know if it was all worth it. Killing one specific man.

 

The story is based on true events. Kathryn Bigelow and her team researched their material. And the result is that we get a documentary-feel, but with kick-ass performances. She makes a 10 year chase into a two-hour movie, with only the most important parts of the chase and those events that had a big impact on Maya’s life.

 

 

 

Jessica Chastain, wasn’t the only one who left a big impact on the movie. Next to Kathryn Bigelow’s directing and the editing that left us breath-taking; Greig Fraser (DOP) gave us the impression that we were in the middle of the action. This is an amazing movie, made great by so many people. 

 

4,5 out of 5 stars.