Categories
Film Review

The Batman (2022)

IMDB link
Running time: 2h 56min
Directed by Matt Reeves
Written by Matt Reeves, Peter Craig, Bob Kane (created by: Batman)
Starring Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Jeffrey Wright

How many live action Batman films have been made by now? Not too many, it seems, since they still draw audiences. In The Batman, Twilight star Robert Pattinson gets to put on his emo face as he takes on an even bigger emo, the Riddler, played by Paul Dano (There Will Be Blood (2007)). Despite its problems, the film is decent — until the final third, that is, where it falls off a cliff in quality.

Categories
Film Review

The Last Emperor (1987)

IMDB link
Running time: 2h 43min
Directed by Bernardo Bertolucci
Written by Enzo Ungari (initial screenplay collaboration), Mark Peploe (screenplay), Bernardo Bertolucci (screenplay)
Starring John Lone, Joan Chen, Peter O’Toole

The Last Emperor tells the biographical story of the last emperor of China, Puyi (1906-1967) of the Qing dynasty. The film is based on Puyi’s autobiography from 1964, and won 9 Oscars, including Best Picture. While The Last Emperor is undoubtedly a good epic/drama and has some impressive cinematography, I do not think the movie is as great as the 9 Oscars make it sound. The story is quite fascinating, especially since it is based on real history (though obviously dramatized to some extent), but the film does not manage to make the viewer (or at least that was the case for me) care enough about the characters to become engrossed.

Categories
Film Review

The Big Short (2015)

IMDB link
Running time: 2h 10min
Directed by Adam McKay
Written by Charles Randolph (screenplay by), Adam McKay (screenplay by), Michael Lewis (based upon the book by)
Starring Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling

When Wall Street, the Murican Mecca of Money, screws up big time and thus attracts more negative attention than usual, Hollywood is often ready to capitalize on the unfortunate events. While the movies about the suits, the banks, the hedge funds, and the coke-fueled parties are primarily entertainment, they also contain social commentary and are more adult-oriented than most of what the mainstream film industry has to offer; Oliver Stone’s aptly titled Wall Street (1987) and Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) being some of the best examples. The Big Short does not pale in comparison to these two; it is both quality entertainment and a chilling look into the greed that ru(i)ns everything for short-sighted short-term profit.

Categories
Film Review

Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One and Part Two (2021)

IMDB link for part One, IMDB link for part Two
Running times: 1h 25min & 1h 27min
Directed by Chris Palmer
Written by Jeph Loeb (based on the graphic novel by), Tim Sale (based on the graphic novel by), Tim Sheridan (screenplay)
Starring Jensen Ackles (voice), Josh Duhamel (voice), Naya Rivera (voice)

Batman: The Long Halloween is an animated entry in the cinematic DC universe, split into two 1.5 h parts. While the first part is actually quite decent, and both films have a nice art style, the second part drags the whole down by being painfully mediocre.

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Film Review

Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)

IMDB link
Running time: 2h 28min
Directed by Jon Watts
Written by Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Stan Lee (based on the Marvel comic book by)
Starring Tom Holland, Zendaya, Benedict Cumberbatch

What do you get when you cram years and years’ worth of different iterations of a comic book superhero and his villains into the same film? In the case of Spider-Man: No Way Home, a pretty decent popcorn flick.

Categories
Film Review

Beavis and Butt-Head Do America (1996)

IMDB link
Running time: 1h 21min
Directed by Mike Judge, Mike de Seve (segment director), Brian Mulroney (segment director)
Written by Mike Judge, Joe Stillman, Brian Mulroney
Starring Mike Judge, Bruce Willis, Demi Moore

Beavis and Butt-Head (original series 1993-1997, 1st revival 2011, 2nd revival 2022?) was (is?) MTV’s popular animated show about a pair of teenaged dingleberries who love to live, laugh, and love. To be more precise, they love (indicated by their perennial penchant for chortling obnoxiously) the notion of “scoring” — while they have significant difficulties in achieving this lofty goal themselves. Everything is a joke to them, rated from “sucks” to “rules”, even if they do not quite understand the joke; and with nothing being sacred, the show was able to make fun of a wide variety of topics. As the series quickly became a success, a movie was inevitable, and in 1996 Beavis and Butt-Head do America saw the light of day — and now, in the summer of 2022, there is also a sequel that has just come out. Beavis and Butt-Head was clearly a product of the 90’s, but it has proven it has staying power — does the 1996 movie, though?

Categories
Film Review

Kindergarten Cop (1990)

IMDB link
Running time: 1h 51min
Directed by Ivan Reitman
Written by Murray Salem (story), Herschel Weingrod (screenplay), Timothy Harris (screenplay)
Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Penelope Ann Miller, Pamela Reed

In 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger was one of the biggest stars in Hollywood, having appeared in action films such as Conan the Barbarian (1982), The Terminator (1984), and Predator (1987). He had also branched out into comedy with Twins (1988), and, some would say, also Commando (1985), which I have already reviewed. Kindergarten Cop is a family-friendly affair in which John Kimble (Arnold) has to work undercover as a kindergarten teacher in pursuit of a dangerous criminal. Of course, when you put the tough guy with a funny accent in the middle of tiny humans, hijinks will ensue.

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Film Review

Drive (2011)

IMDB link
Running time: 1h 40min
Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn
Written by Hossein Amini (screenplay), James Sallis (book)
Starring Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston

Drive is a competently made, stylized, somewhat artistic, and (relatively) low-budget drama/action/thriller that was very well-received with both critics and audiences. I like it, and I think it deserves its reputation, but it is not quite as good as some claim; it has a good cast, great direction, and it is visually fantastic, but it does not quite manage to reach greatness.

Categories
Film Review

Dune (2021)

IMDB link
Running time: 2h 35min
Directed by Denis Villeneuve
Written by Jon Spaihts (screenplay by), Denis Villeneuve (screenplay by), Eric Roth (screenplay by), Frank Herbert (novel)
Starring Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya

Frank Herbert’s Dune from 1965 is one of the most well-regarded SF novels of all time. David Lynch’s 1984 adaptation is widely considered weird and flawed. How, then, does Denis Villeneuve, who has made a name for himself as a director of somewhat artistic, critically acclaimed, yet commercially succesful films in recent years (Prisoners (2013), Sicario (2015), Arrival (2016), Blade Runner 2049 (2017), etc.), do with the material?

Categories
Film Review

The Matrix (1999)

IMDB link
Running time: 2h 16min
Directed by Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski
Written by Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski
Starring Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss

The Matrix (no relation to John Matrix of Commando (1985)) is one of the most influential films ever made, and not only in the genres of action and scifi. It was a huge hit that shaped the landscape of film-making and teen fashion trends for years, and spawned a franchise that got its latest entry in 2021 — not to mention all the memes. But does The Matrix have the same impact and remain as watchable as it was in 1999? Not quite, in my opinion, but it is still a monumental piece of action cinema that cannot be dismissed from the conversation about the greatest of the genre. During the years since its release, it has been endlessly viewed, analyzed, discussed, and reviewed. There is not much to say about the film that has not already been said, but I will give my two cents on it anyway.