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All reviews - Movies (11) - TV Shows (1)

American History X review

Posted : 2 years, 3 months ago on 26 March 2015 02:58 (A review of American History X)

I cannot recall having seen a film in which the two leading actors deliver such stunning performances as those given by the two Edwards - Norton and Furlong - in this powerful but often bleak and brutal movie. I simply cannot understand why neither seems to have won a major award for his portrayal. The film itself is not quite of the same quality as its leading performances. But it is nonetheless a frequently riveting and thought-provoking watch.

"American History X" tells the story of the problems of racism and neo-Nazism in modern-day Los Angeles. Derek Vinyard (Norton) is a young white working-class man who spends three years in prison for the manslaughter of two black men whom he killed violently when they tried to break into his car in the middle of the night. At that time, Derek was the leader of a local skinhead gang that promotes and supports white supremacy. While serving his prison sentence, Derek undergoes a philosophical conversion. He leaves the penitentiary with radically different ideas and is determined to put his past racism behind him and to move on. That, though, proves to be not an easy task. And, while Derek was in prison, his younger brother Danny (Furlong), who was also a racist skinhead, was on the horns of a dilemma. He found himself torn between an attachment to the ideas of his black high-school principal and those of a local neo-nazi leader.

"American History X" is a very good film. The difficulties that Derek faces in trying to turn his life around and those experienced by his brother in deciding whether to hunt with the pack (the neo-Nazis) or to plough his own more responsible furrow are very effectively portrayed. The film contains a number of very powerful scenes, not least the one in which Derek kills one of the car thieves. Despite its horrific nature, it is not gratuitous. What prevents the film from being a great one is that there is an element of preachiness about it. In addition, some of the characters' motivation is rather too simplistic. The film asks us to believe that Derek's racism sprang largely from a homily delivered during a family meal by his father about the evil of positive discrimination on behalf of black people. (Admittedly, the circumstances of his father's death also proved to be a factor.) And I was not convinced that Derek's friendship with a black prisoner and the influence that the latter had on him would have resulted in his reforming his ideas in quite the easy way in which the film suggests. Despite those weaknesses, "American History X" is a very good film that is well worth watching. 8/10.


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25th Hour review

Posted : 2 years, 3 months ago on 26 March 2015 02:56 (A review of 25th Hour)

25th Hour is a movie that I just came across one day and decided to rent it, I noticed that it had Edward Norton in it and figured that I would just give it a shot. I absolutely fell in love with Edward Norton when I saw American History X, he immediately became one of my favorite actors. I couldn't believe how much I fell in love with this movie, it's honestly one of my new favorite movies, it's intelligent, intense, and greatly written. Edward Norton pulls off an incredible performance and truth be told I couldn't believe he didn't get a nomination at least for this movie, I don't know 25th Hour just didn't get enough notice, but this is a great movie and a very moving story.

Monty Brogan is walking the streets of New York with Doyle his dog. He goes to his old school where he meets up with his teacher friend Jacob Elinsky and discusses a get-together at a local club planned later that evening. Elinksy then calls Frank Slaughtery who is working as a Wall Street trader. Brogan then goes home to his girlfriend Naturelle and they discuss the fact that this is his last night before prison. Brogan has been busted for being a drug dealer, and he is looking at seven years in Otisville prison. Brogan visits his father James at his Irish pub, and his father blames himself for Monty getting into the position he's in. Brogan and his father then discuss whether it was Naturelle who tipped off the police about him. The group later meets at the club, Jacob runs into one of his students, Mary who we see before complaining to Jacob about the grade of one of her papers. She goes with them into the club. Frank and Naturelle also discuss how Monty got to this position, but Frank accuses her of not doing anything because she got used to a fancy life. Monty and his partner Kostya then go to speak to a group of Russian mobsters, run by Uncle Nikolai. Nikolai gives Monty some tips on how to survive in prison. Then it is revealed who really was the traitor that tipped the police about Monty.

25th Hour is also the movie that introduced me to Rosario Dawson and I have to tell you that I fell for this girl immediately, she's a great leading actress who has a strong presence on the screen. In fact the entire cast is something to admire in this movie: Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Anna Paquin and Barry Pepper. Then we have this incredibly intense scene that is one of my favorite in movie history, when Edward Norton is in the bathroom and goes off blaming everyone else for his problems then finally breaks down and just says "F you, you had it all and you screwed it up", that scene went from funny to intense to just plan sad. This was also the fist movie that also brought up the pain and aftermath in New York after 9/11, the opening scene was in fact showing the lights that represented where the towers once stood and you really felt the pain and emptiness of New York. Honestly I would say this is Spike Lee's best film, it's not bitter or over the top and made this film perfectly. If you have the opportunity to see this movie, I highly recommend that you take it, it's such a terrific story and is one of the most effective of 2002.


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The Silence of the Lambs review

Posted : 2 years, 3 months ago on 26 March 2015 02:53 (A review of The Silence of the Lambs)

Young FBI agent Clarice Starling is assigned to help find a missing woman to save her from a psychopathic serial killer who skins his victims. Clarice attempts to gain a better insight into the twisted mind of the killer by talking to another psychopath Hannibal Lecter, who used to be a respected psychiatrist. FBI agent Jack Crawford believes that Lecter, who is also a very powerful and clever mind manipulator, has the answers to their questions and can help locate the killer. However, Clarice must first gain Lecter's confidence before the inmate will give away any information.


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Limitless review

Posted : 2 years, 3 months ago on 13 March 2015 03:44 (A review of Limitless)

Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper) is standing on a penthouse balcony with killers losing in on him and he's about to throw himself off. We'll clearly come back to this scene later. We flash back to Eddie as a scruffy loser who can't write and leeches off his girlfriend Lindy (Abbie Cornish) to get by. Everything changes when he takes drug given to him by his ex-wife's brother Vernon. NZT-48 is a brain enhancing drug that improves reflexes, memory, concentration and heightens his senses and makes the camera lose its blue filter. Buzzing on the drug, he cleans up his apartment and gets to work writing his book all through the rest of the night. The following morning he is back to normal but now has large chunk of his book written.

Eddie goes to Vernon's apartment to get more of the drug. He seems oblivious to fact that Vernon looks rough and roughed-up. Vernon knows he's after more NZT-48 but first he make Eddie go a few errands for him. When Eddie gets back Vernon is dead with a bullet in his brain and the apartment has been ransacked. He calls the police to report the murder then desperately hunts for the drug . Luckily Eddie finds a large stash of the drug with a pile of money and pockets both as the police arrive.

We then get a montage of Eddie being smart, competent and popular, hanging with around loose women in exotic locations and driving fast cars. He wants to be rich and powerful and can't make money fast enough so he turns to a dodgy Russian moneylender ( I thought the drug was supposed you smart). With that money he really starts getting into his stride, making large amounts on the stock-market. This brings to him to attention of rich powerful people, such as Carl Van Loon (Robert De Niro) the boss of a energy company who is really impressed with Eddie's ideas and arranges another meeting the following day ( I wonder if his humourless no-nonsense persona is a side effect of growing up with that hilarious name).

Eddie starts seeing the downside of NZT-48 – his supply is starting to run low and he getting withdrawal symptoms and he hasn't even found out who makes it. He has blackouts where he may have killed a woman. He blows it big time at his meeting with Van Loon. The Russian moneylender has also got a taste for the drug ( thanks to Eddie forgetting to pay him his money – that must the 'Smart' drug at work again) and he's on Eddie's back for more. Whoever killed Vernon is now after him too. And the blue filter is back on the camera

I did enjoy watching this film but it didn't really go anywhere that was too surprising and the ending was just a cheat. For someone who is apparently limitless his ambition seem so restrained and conventional. It seems that drug turns off the part of the brain that stops people being arrogant megalomaniacs. The mention of the "humans only use 10% of their brain" nonsense is just a lot of rubbish and really wasn't needed for the plot all. Google is a good friend to writers doing research and a terrible foe to all those that just can't be bothered. Bradley Cooper was okay as Eddie but then I didn't like Eddie as either arrogant selfish genius or a self-pitying loser. Robert De Niro was great especially the scene where he's giving Eddie a real dressing down. Anna Friel is in the film as Eddie's ex-wife Melissa which is really not a big part. She does okay with what she given to do.


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Law Abiding Citizen review

Posted : 2 years, 3 months ago on 13 March 2015 03:43 (A review of Law Abiding Citizen)

Law Abiding Citizen was a fairly entertaining watch for me, mainly due to the masterful performances from Jamie Foxx and Gerard Butler. I really dug the opening to Law Abiding Citizen, because not only was it powerful but eye-opening as well, seeing Gerard break down over what happened to his family was heartbreaking. What bugged me about Law Abiding Citizen was it's annoying inconsistency with its pacing. It really seemed to drag on at a few points by being too talky, and it left me looking at the clock to see how much time was left. Also I had trouble feeling sympathy for Gerard or Jamie's characters because of them were quite selfish in many ways. Gerard's took it way too far to prove his point to the point where I stopped feeling sympathy for him, I don't believe in killing innocent people. Jamie's character was always in it for himself, not really thinking of what Gerard wanted and became more and more stubborn through the film until the end. The ending itself just seemed to be all thrown together, and as a result I didn't get the payoff I wanted.

Performances. Jamie Foxx is excellent as Nick. He's ruthless with a good heart at the same time, though his increasing stubbornness and his unlikable character at times had me having problems relating to him. Gerard Butler gives one of the most intense performances I've seen in a while. While I didn't agree with his actions and therefore it ruined some of the experience for me, his performance was nothing short of outstanding, and I especially loved his confrontations with Jamie at the prison.

Bottom line. Law Abiding Citizen has it's entertaining moments, but its too inconsistent for my liking. It had a promising start, and the potential was there, I just couldn't relate to the movie as a whole. It's worth a look to pass the time, just keep your expectations low.


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Law Abiding Citizen review

Posted : 2 years, 3 months ago on 13 March 2015 03:43 (A review of Law Abiding Citizen)

Clyde Shelton's family is brutally murdered. The ones responsible are caught. However, because of improper procedure, the D.A., Nick Rice only has circumstantial evidence. So he decides to get one of them to testify against the other. When Shelton learns of this, he is not happy. Ten years later, the one who was convicted is being executed but something goes wrong; his execution goes awry and he suffers. They learn that someone tampered with the machine. And the other one is found dead, killed in a gruesome manner. Rice suspects Shelton, so he has him picked up. At first, Shelton agrees to a plea agreement with Rice but changes his mind. It appears that Shelton is not done, it appears he blames the whole system and is declaring war on it going after everyone involved with his family's case. So Rice has to stop him but Shelton is way ahead of him.


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Hamam in Amersterdam review

Posted : 2 years, 3 months ago on 11 March 2015 12:49 (A review of Hamam in Amersterdam)

Plot Summary

Showing one plot summary

A story of a egyptian young man who decides to travel amsterdam to achive his dreams


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WWE SmackDown! review

Posted : 2 years, 3 months ago on 10 March 2015 08:00 (A review of WWE SmackDown!)

This is the first program I wanted to watch with my brand new TV: as often with me, I evolved from Stone Age to XX century at once: for example, my computer went from Windows 95 to XP. There, I leave a 15 inches TV to a full 47, so my screen gets nearly 8 times bigger!

I choose this wrestling show to welcome it for several reasons: I remember that my grandfather watched the french broadcast a very long time ago, that my father watched it on Canal + on Saturday nights (Hulk Hogan, Andre the giant,..) and now it's a hobby that I share with the kid. In fact, that's him who falls first with cards and I followed him. One year ago, I couldn't name any wrestlers whereas now, I can recognize Bastita, Undertaker, Mark Henry,CM Punk… It's a good show for kids because they are introduced with the violence of the world on a light dose and with morality: there are rules for the fights and you can tell why there are bad guys and good guys! Those wrestlers are role models for kids and I applause when I see they participate in reading challenge (actually, our sports models in France go to hookers!).

In addition, it is scripted like a show, with cliffhangers, suspense, comedy and artistic wardrobes and names! On a different level, I admit that I envy those wrestlers because they are strong, in perfect health while my body is weak and tired. I have always fantasied about having my soul in a bigger, taller body just to see if people would behave differently. That would be a great experience to define what are we? To go back to the ring, if the fights are great (and sometimes funny), it's a pity that it isn't more sports oriented. I don't understand how the games are chosen, how many belt are there and we can't figure how many fights, win, loses have made the wrestlers.


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The Best of Me review

Posted : 2 years, 3 months ago on 9 March 2015 10:54 (A review of The Best of Me)

The trailer of The Best of Me received relatively strong criticism since the day it was released. As an avid reader of Sparks' books I couldn't hold myself from watching the official adaptation of The Best of Me. I will make it clear that The Best of Me is a contrived romantic drama which offers nothing special. It is yet another white poor guy meets a rich girl with biased father drama.

It will not be wrong to state that we have seen this before in The Notebook. But, this time it is so close that you will be surprised to see how Sparks is ripping himself off. The movie seems so artificial that at a certain point the fake drama galore and unnecessary stereotyping seem monotonous and dreary. Michael Hoffman gives his best but still the end product is an excessively exaggerated drama which doesn't transcend a certain level.

Michael Hoffman disappoints this time. His grasp over emotional sequences seemed lackluster in this adaptation. He also failed to demonstrate a lively on screen chemistry amid Sandra and Dawson, the lead protagonists. Their on screen chemistry is a perfect example of contrived romantic schmaltz. The Best of Me left is plagued by a tacky concept and awful execution.

On the acting front, Liana Liberato and Luke Bracey act in an unrealistic way as younger versions of Amanda and Dawson. They completely fail to realistically play the passion that the story demands. Their relationship doesn't rise above teenage hormones. Seriously, does it even sell now? The teenage on screen depiction of Amanda and Dawson was so numb that fine actors like Michelle Monaghan and James Marsden, as older Amanda and Dawson, couldn't bring the movie to a level that one desired. James Marsden gives a fine performance. Marsden can radiate a cornucopia of feelings from his expressions only. He is a very fine actor. Michelle Monaghan portrays herself as Amanda in a scintillating way. Her performance was full of passion but still not at par with her previous works.

It is Gerald McRaney who gives a winning performance as Tuck. He proved it once again that he is a venerable actor. McRaney's role in The Best of Me is essential to the plot of movie, but not a memorable one though.

Overall, it is a poorly handled movie with convoluted narrative and meandering plot. But, in a film dragging close to two hours and making you feel each minute, The Best of Me ends up being a lot of oversight with barely any insight.

Skip it if you can! Watch it if you are a die-hard fan of Nicholas Sparks. It won't harm you either.


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The Best of Me review

Posted : 2 years, 3 months ago on 9 March 2015 10:53 (A review of The Best of Me)

Box Office

Budget: $26,000,000 (estimated)
Opening Weekend: $10,003,827 (USA) (17 October 2014)
Gross: $26,761,283 (USA) (9 January 2015)


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