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Film Review

Stargate (1994)

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Running time: 1h 56min
Directed by Roland Emmerich
Written by Dean Devlin, Roland Emmerich
Starring Kurt Russell, James Spader, Jaye Davidson

Stargate was a hugely successful 1994 sci-fi/action/adventure blockbuster that spawned multiple television shows and launched director Roland Emmerich’s career in Hollywood into high orbit. I used to love Stargate SG-1 (1997-2007), the first and most successful series based on the film, but while I liked the original Stargate movie just fine when I was younger, I was never really that into it. And now, having rewatched it in 2021, after more than 20 years since I saw it, I can confidently say that the movie holds up only partly, and whatever liking I had to it has faded. Stargate is a big, dumb movie aimed at young boys, and I have outgrown it.

Categories
Film Review

The Kindergarten Teacher (2018)

IMDB link
Running time: 1h 36min
Directed by Sara Colangelo
Written by Sara Colangelo, Nadav Lapid
Starring Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gael García Bernal, Ato Blankson-Wood

The Kindergarten Teacher is an artistic psychological thriller/drama where a kindergarten teacher (duh) discovers one of her young students is a blossoming genius poet. No one else seems to quite appreciate the boy’s talents, greatly frustrating her and eventually leading her down a dangerous path. The film relies heavily on Maggie Gyllenhaal, being mostly a character study of this troubled and increasingly exasperated woman. As it progresses, the story gets more and more crazy as the lead character gradually loses her inhibitions and respect for laws and boundaries.

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Film Review

The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

IMDB link
Running time: 1h 50min
Directed by Wes Anderson
Written by Wes Anderson, Owen Wilson
Starring Gene Hackman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Anjelica Huston, and many others

The Royal Tenenbaums is a classic comedy that most film buffs will have felt obligated to watch by now, but which I, for whatever reason, had not actually sat down and viewed until recently. I knew it by its reputation, and that if I wanted to pretend to be knowledgeable about cinema, it was something I should get around to. 20 years after its release, I am glad that I finally got to experience it. The Royal Tenenbaums is definitely a great film, worthy of the praise it has been given. It is an eccentric comedy about eccentric characters that get into peculiar, hilarious, and sometimes tragic situations while dealing with eachother. Great writing, directing, and acting result in a deliciously humorous concoction that even a somewhat cynical viewer such as I can appreciate without caveats. Something that is rare for me: I ended up actually caring about these weird, flawed characters, and what happens to them.

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Film Review

Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

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Running time: 2h 2min
Directed by David O. Russell
Written by David O. Russell (screenplay), Matthew Quick (novel)
Starring Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro

Silver Linings Playbook is a movie I heard much about but never watched before now. From what I gather, it seems to be well liked by both audiences and critics. The film is a strange mix of drama and romantic comedy, which partly works, and partly, in my opinion, does not. Former teacher Pat (Bradley Cooper) is down on his luck trying to connect with his estranged ex-wife, but gradually finds a more meaningful connection with smoking hot but utterly crazy neighbor Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence). What happens by the end of the film you can probably guess already. But you almost certainly cannot guess what happens before that, because it, like the two main characters, is nuts.

Categories
Film Review

Carlito’s Way (1993)

IMDB link
Running time: 2h 24min
Directed by Brian De Palma
Written by Edwin Torres (novels), David Koepp (screenplay)
Starring Al Pacino, Sean Penn, Penelope Ann Miller

Carlito’s Way is a flawed, but still very good classic crime/gangster film from a competent crew of filmmakers. The story centers around a former criminal’s attempt at trying to change his ways and escape his past. Will he succeed and escape into the sunset or not? In the opening of the movie, which shows the very end, we find out right away that he most likely does not, having just been shot. Carlito’s Way is a tragic tale of crime with film noir elements, which seems to sometimes struggle with the tone it’s going for – at times it is serious, mature and nuanced, but at others it undermines this by presenting itself as just flippant entertainment.