Interstellar (2014)

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Interstellar, an outer space survivalist story directed by Christopher Nolan and his brother Jonathan, with whom he co-wrote the screenplay, is evidently a movie designed to challenge and explore the deeper meaning behind life. The Nolan brothers take the audience into the farthest of mysteries of space and time, where they assure us that love joins gravity as a force that operates across interstellar distances. The earth may die, but love will triumph.

Interstellar begins when the earth is deteriorating, nitrogen is increasing and oxygen is decreasing after a world-wide crop failure. The earth has been ravaged by an environmental disaster forcing humanity to abandon all dreams of discovery in order to focus on basic survival. Former NASA pilot Cooper, played by Matthew McConaughey, a widowed father of two, is now a farmer tasked with growing the last remaining sustainable crops – corn. When Cooper is reunited with Professor Brand, the commander of a hidden underground NASA station, he offers to send the favoured pilot on a mission with his ambitious crew, to retrace the flights of astronauts who were sent several decades ago to discover planets capable of sustaining human life. Cooper leaves behind his two children on earth to board the Endurance, in a final resort, large scale attempt to rescue the human race.

Interstellar is an imaginative, exciting and fast paced redundant puzzle of galaxies and dramatic tension. Interstellar is rooted in the love between a father and his daughter, but offers surprisingly spectacular high-minded science fiction scenarios and compelling visuals. But a heavy-handed mix of personal sacrifice and theoretical physics doesn’t leave much room for subtle storytelling or memorable action. Christopher Nolan relies on lengthy scenes where characters explain complicated physics and philosophical ideas to educate the audience and ruminate on humanity in the face of death and destruction.

Matthew McConaughey ensures his lead character is likeable as well as relatable and evidently manages to keep exposition-heavy scenes engaging throughout the entire film. The supporting cast, including Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain and Casey Affleck, drive the tension relief and draw focus towards sentimental values and emotions amongst the extravagance of space discovery and human survival. Interstellar’s storytelling masterstroke comes from adherence of relativity and the perception of time and space. Interstellar may not offer traditional entertainment value to balance the scientific theorising, however, the five-dimensional movie experience will leave you overwhelmed and thrilled the entire way through. Interstellar is a satisfying next instalment in Christopher Nolan’s well-respected career, and a very thought-provoking film masterpiece.

★★★★☆

The Immigrant (2013)

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The Immigrant isn’t just set in the past, but feels like it’s been rediscovered from another time. The latest film from award-winning director James Gray ignites outdated modes of film making and highlights the perfect details behind a luckless Polish woman’s difficulty in attaining the American dream. The intelligence, maturity and honesty of this work is outstanding and a little bewildering to say the least.

Upon arrival at Ellis Island, Ewa is immediately separated from her beloved sister Magda, ignored by her uncle and threatened with deportation back to Poland. All seems hopeless for Ewa until Bruno comes along with the promise of boarding and work at his theatre, which quickly proves as nothing more than a high-class brothel. However kindness arrives in the form of a charming travelling magician who falls for Ewa, meanwhile causing Bruno to become immensely jealous.

The Immigrant has a melodramatic edge to it, but there remains something too fragile and tense about the actress in the role. The film delivers a performance that’s quite integral and charming, but also surprisingly forceful. You can never predict the behaviour and emotions of characters intertwined in the thick plot. The immigrant is almost a fatuous love story in a world haunted by fear. Bruno and Orlando are grown men with weapons, but their devotion to Ewa doesn’t make their actions feel any less immature. For such a gorgeous, thoughtful film, The Immigrant is more of an intellectual experience than an emotional one – mainly as a result of Ewa’s commiserating but never quite heartbreaking problems.

The Immigrant is a simple love story in an undoubtedly terrifying adult world of hate, fear and abandonment. The film unfolds at its own pace, building slowly, perhaps even tediously towards its emotionally relieving conclusion.  Such an incredible movie – and so cold too.

★★★★☆

The Book Thief – Courage Beyond Words (2013)

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The Book Thief is a very successful novel written by Markus Zusak that captured the hearts of over eight million readers worldwide. Director Brain Percival has undeniably captured the same courage, irony, horror and humanity of the original pages in this stunning film adaptation. The Book Thief is an impactful historical drama filled with impressive performances, comedic relief and tear-jerking scenes that will have you fumbling for a tissue.

The Book Thief is set in War stricken Germany between 1939 and 1943 and is narrated by Death, who illustrates with perplexity the seemingly strange way humans conduct themselves. Death tells the story of nine-year old Liesel Meminger, who he introduces when her younger brother dies on a train to the fictional town of Molching, Germany. A kind and affectionate working-class painter, Hans, and his strict but caring wife Rosa adopt Liesel into their childless home. Hans instantly commits to teaching his grief-stricken daughter to read and write after an incident at school labeling the girl as illiterate. With all the constant horror surrounding her, the bright girl manages to escape in words and language, all the while learning to read, write and smuggle books.

Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson are well cast as Rosa and Hans Hubermann. Geoffrey Rush brings his usual command of humor and dramatic authority, making him one of the most sympathetic characters. He constantly radiates kindness, consideration and encouragement, especially towards Liesel. Emily Watson captures the dark and relentless character of Rosa with stability and domination, making her a personality hard to fall in love with. Rosa is sharp-tongued, rigid and impatient to all those around her, a clear reflection of the original novel character. Ultimately the undeniable horror of losing her home and her loved ones exposes Rosa’s inner warmth and fondness for her infuriating husband and adopted daughter.

The film delivers quality acting, mesmerizing settings as well as humor weaved carefully throughout the heartbreaking events. Overall, The Book Thief is a rewarding and emotional film with heart, celebration of language and a reminder that in times of utter madness there is always a silver lining.

Last Vegas – It’s Going to be Legendary (2013)

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I haven’t posted in a while but now that the New Year has begun I’ll be posting a review every Monday for all of my readers. Thank you again for your support!

Starring four legends like you’ve never seen them before. Last Vegas stars well-known Academy Award winners Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Michael Douglas and Kevin Kline. If you loved The Hangover and The Bucket List than you might look fondly upon Jon Turtletaub’s indulgent, high-concept comedy about a group of rapidly aging childhood best friends living it large in Sin City.

Faded Brooklyn buddies Billy, Archie, Sam and Paddy reunite in Las Vegas after 58 years of friendship to celebrate the much-anticipated wedding of their ring leader Billy. He’s a long-lived bachelor who has finally decided to get hitched with a fair-skinned beauty half his age, not surprising when you notice his coppery skin, silk shirts and mostly invisible insecurities. The old buddies embark on a weekend through the fantasy world of modern-day Las Vegas, whistling at young girls by the pool, gambling and drinking alcohol to their heart’s content.

Morgan Freeman plays the wily gentleman Archie, a naturally gifted gambler who struggles with his health to the point where he’s not entirely intact with his sons family. Robert De Niro smiles rarely, so naturally he’s cast as the killjoy of the group. De Niro reveals his tough side once again and proves that despite his age, he’s still got it. Michael Douglas is cast as the privileged, charming old dimwit who’s terrified of growing old. Kevin Kline elevates the film with his provisional failure, carrying the notion that he is terribly worn down. Kline manages to downplay every scene and line, timing punchline moments to advance his character’s wit. Thankfully, a soulful performance from Mary Steenburgen, an older night club singer, provides the film with at least a little heart. I suppose the film would have had edge if the characters had really been prepared to misbehave.

Despite the frequent humorous moments, Last Vegas isn’t a film I am fond of neither a film that I would recommend you watching.There are extraordinary scenes that I won’t describe, except to say they were terribly written, ridiculous but somehow painfully funny. The film faded from my memory instantly once the credits rolled, much to say that Last Vegas is simply a mockery of previous successful films based in Sin City, like The Hangover.

Last Vegas is a ninety minute picture with a few bright moments, starring the actors you like in a comedy of unmeasured proportion.

★☆☆☆

Gravity – Don’t Let Go (2013)

Just in from Academy Award winning director Alfonso Cuaron comes this outstanding Science fiction thriller. With no stronghold of fantasy, the film is simple and engaging throughout. Gravity is outstanding from a cinematography perspective complete with raw acting and perfect tone. But at the same time the story line is fairly slow, lacking pace and often sub-plots. The film is attractive yet alarming, elaborate yet gigantic and specific yet astronomically engaging. It’s directly a survival story set in outer space with no glamour, aliens or automated robots, just pure humanity.

Gravity opens with a speck in the darkness that grows into an exceptionally vivid shot that seemingly lasts forever. The Earth’s spectrum is captured from over 500 km in outer space where there are a number of trained astronauts working tirelessly in a space station. The focus shifts primarily to a skillful medical engineer by the name of Dr. Ryan Stone who is busy fixing an exterior spacecraft malfunction. A veteran astronaut on his final mission accompanies her out on the spaceship, clowning around and cracking jokes. All of a sudden the pair are informed of debris traveling from a nearby space station propelling towards them. The rest of the film is their detailed struggle for survival.

Gravity only features two living and breathing actors, Just in from Academy Award winning director Alfonso Cuaron comes this outstanding Science fiction thriller. With no stronghold of fantasy, the film is simple and engaging throughout. Gravity is outstanding from a cinematography perspective complete with raw acting and perfect tone. But at the same time the story line is fairly slow, lacking pace and often sub-plots. The film is attractive yet alarming, elaborate yet gigantic and specific yet astronomically engaging. It’s directly a survival story set in outer space with no glamour, aliens or automated robots, just pure humanity.

Top 5 films starring Jim Carrey

It’s official that ‘Dumb and Dumber To’ is filming for release in 2014 so I thought it would be a good idea to roll back in his rich film history to discover his top five! I have to add that choosing from Jim Carrey’s best flicks was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do!

5) Fun with Dick and Jane (2005)

Dick and Jane are living a peaceful life until Dick (Jim Carrey) loses his priceless job after receiving an important promotion that caused his wife to leave her job. There is no money and the house is in foreclosure.

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This hilarious family flick is full of non stop laughter moments and heart warming lines. Jim Carrey is outstanding as the wannabe awesome father and husband and his behavior on screen is … unique.

Jane Harper: We might be in a little bit of a pickle, dick.

4) The Mask (1994)

A simple Bank Clerk with a totally normal life is transformed into a maniac super-hero with limited self control when he wears a mysterious green mask.

A hilarious film with an overflow of memorable scenes that will go down in film history. Jim Carrey pulls this role off with such intensity, insanity and stupidity. There is no one else capable of putting on such an incredible performance quite like Carrey.

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Mask: Hold on, Sugar! Daddy’s got a sweet tooth tonight!

 3) Liar Liar (1997)

 

A lawyer with a steady career and a slowly disappearing family can’t lie for exactly 24 hours due to a small birthday wish at his son’s birthday party. He’s unprepared, unreliable and undesirable, but he’s desperate to set things straight and to win back his family while he’s at it.

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There are so many laugh-out-loud moments throughout the film and its easily a movie I can watch anytime, any day. Jim Carrey is so bubbly and expressive, especially when the wish is granted and he can’t control himself. This film is definitely on my favorites list!

Fletcher: Here goes: I sped. I followed too closely. I ran a stop sign. I almost hit a Chevy. I sped some more. I failed to yield at a crosswalk. I changed lanes at the intersection. I changed lanes without signaling while running a red light and *speeding*!

Cop: Is that all?

Fletcher: No … I have unpaid parking tickets.

 

 2) Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994)

 

A goofy detective who specializes in the treatment and care of animals goes in the search of a mascot dolphin who mysteriously disappears right before the teams big play-off at the Super Bowl. Ace must pile the clues together to figure out the culprit, and prove himself to the Police Department.

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Jim Carrey puts on quite an extraordinary performance as Ace Ventura, the funny detective dedicated to the protection of animals. His love and respect for animals brings many puns to the film and constantly keeps the audience guessing.

Ace Ventura: If I’m not back in five minutes … just wait longer.

1) Dumb and Dumber (1994)

The long, cross-country adventures of two good hearted yet incredibly stupid best friends. They catch themselves in situations that only they themselves can weaver out of.

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I’ve seen this movie a good thousand times. Everything about this movie is so hilarious, laugh-out-loud funny and outrageous! It’s everything you love about comedy mashed together. Jim Carrey alongside Jeff Daniels are a perfect pair that steal the spotlight and bring this movie it’s fantastic history. Watch out for the sequel ‘Dumb and Dumber To’ where the magical pair will reunite.

Harry: Just when I thought you couldn’t possibly be any dumber, you go and do something like this … and totally redeem yourself!

JIM CARREY! THANK YOU FOR SO MANY LAUGHS :’)

JC

 

The Notebook – Behind every great love is a great story (2004)

I decided to review a fairly old romance, however this movie is my one of my favourite films of all time. Everything about this film is magnificent and no matter how many times I watch it, it still brings tears to my eyes.

Young lovers Allie Hamilton and Noah Calhoun find themselves in a fast tracked passionate summer romance and, after years of separation created by Class differences and the World War, the lovers unexpectedly reunite. The film is distinctly photographed and the simple filming techniques create a thrillingly atmospheric twist on ordinary romance.

In nowadays time in a nursing home, a man named James Garner desperately tries to rekindle the memory of a woman who is suffering from Alzheimer’s by reading a notebook to her every single day. The story tells the story of two young lovers by the names of Allie and Noah, who accidentally fall in love despite their different backgrounds and beginnings. She’s a rich girl with class and nobility and he is a dirt poor mill worker.

Rachel McAdams who plays lovestruck Allie Hamilton is unbelievably real and graceful and her counterpart Ryan Gosling is a handsome, incredibly vulnerable charmer who easily wins the heart of every female audience member.

This film follows a straightforward love story pattern, based on the best-selling novel by Nicholas Sparks. You will find the exquisite sunset, birds drifting through the sky, rain filled romantic evenings, but at its core it has wonderful performances that bring depth, courage and beauty to the filming masterpiece.