Movie Reviews

In the last month or so I probably watched more movies than I usually do in one year. Here are short movie reviews:

School Ties, with Brendan Fraser, Matt Damon, Chris O’Donnell [1992]
Football games, discrimination against Jewish people in the 90s in the USA. Fancy prep school! Brendan Fraser portrayed the charismatic David Greene *little swoon*, who gets scouted for his football skills and gets a scholarship to the prep school. He hides the fact that he is Jewish though. I love the camaraderie between the boys and how they stick up for each other (until the truth comes to light, of course). I especially love the crank scene. My cousin, my sister and me all groaned when Sally made the entrance because a pretty girl among boys is bound to stir up trouble, right? And she didn’t even stick around in the end. And the actors are all so young! Seeing young Matt Damon and Chris O’Donnell was weird but in a good way. Matt Damon’s character, Dillon, is not totally unlikable. He suffers from the pressure put on by the family, the school, and maybe even fellow students. But yeah, he’s a prick.

Scent of a Woman, with Al Pacino, Chris O’Donnell [1992]
I think this is a famous movie? But I had no clue that this one also starts at a prep school. This time, Chris O’Donnell (playing Charlie) is the scholarship student instead of the rich roommate (see School Ties). To earn money during the Thanksgiving holiday, Charlie takes up the job of looking after a retired and blind colonel (played by Al Pacino). But when the colonel insists on them going to NYC for a list of things to do, Charlie’s quiet everyday life is thrown out of water. Meanwhile, he gets to know the colonel and his plans better. And all the while Charlie is struggling about the impending doom concerning a prank he witnessed – does he confess that he knows who the prankers were? Or does he keep silent? Either way there would be consequences. Impressive acting on both Al Pacino’s and Chris O’Donnell’s part, and a memorable ending. (The last thirty minutes of the movie I was all worked up about how the movie would end.)

Vertical Limit, with Chris O’Donnell [2000]
Since my cousin had developed a celebrity crush on Chris O’Donnell, we watched another of his movies – this time when he was thirty years old! The movie was very scary to me – both the nature’s force and humans’ greed and malice. The movie had me sweaty-palmed for its entire length, and in the end I had to wonder whether it was worth to rescue one human life only to lose four more in the process? In German law it is forbidden to weigh human lives and their worth… but it’s so sad, the way they died. They were courageous and it was their choice, but I can’t help but grieve.

Closer, with Jude Law, Julia Roberts, Clive Owen, Natalie Portman [2004]
Dan’s such a child -_- Loved Natalie Portman’s acting, though. And weirdly enough I developed a crush on Clive Owen’s character, Larry. The key theme that binds these four characters is sex, or sexual desire. While there is no explicit sex scene (it’s all told by the characters themselves in retrospective) the movie works with the sexual pull inside the viewers. It also asks the question as to how sex and love and lust are related to each other. The time jumps between the sequences were in a way annoying because I had to wait till I could figure out what the heck happened in those three untold years.

Love in the Afternoon, with Audrey Hepburn and Gary Cooper [1957]
Funny, sweet, sooooo pretty! She really is like a fairy, isn’t she? Ariane’s father was hilarious, too.

Sabrina, with Audrey Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart, William Holden [1954]
Another hilarious and cute mood-lifter.

The Quiet Man, with John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara [1952]
Gorgeous backdrop of Inisfree, with a nosy and loving community, old-fashioned costumes, fiery tempers.

…And Justice for All, with Al Pacino [1979]
Another impressive acting, Al Pacino! My aunt showed me the movie since I will be working in the field of law. Law and legal system are something that are supposed to work together to find out the truth, and to protect the innocent. But all that gets tangled and goes sometimes even under due to procedures and corruption. Although I’m hoping to never work in the criminal laws’ area (but then again, I am reminded of Judge Sotomayor’s words and how civil cases can be more dangerous) …And Justice For All is a movie that will remind me of the laws’ real objective again.

Runaway Jury, with John Cusack, Rachel Weisz, Dustin Hoffman, Gene Hackman [2003]
Another courtroom drama, this time a civil matter. Since the U.S. legal system operates on the jury system, it makes sense that both parties – plaintiff and defendant – will try to influence the jury’s opinions. Sigh. Dirty business, all this.

Begin Again, with Keira Knightley, Adam Levine, Mark Ruffalo [2013/2014]
Watched this one in the cinema with my sis. I had my usual Keira moments (but her acting was better in this one) but it is a fun movie with lots of music and producing & recording of it. The ending also felt rather open and real.

Divergent, with Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Zoë Kravitz, Kate Winslet, Ansel Elgort [2014]
So I had too much time during the flight, and to chase away the boredom, I decided to peruse Korean Air’s selection of movies. Lo and behold, there were even three movies I was interested in, but I narrowed it down to two because all of sudden I didn’t have enough time.
Divergent was the first one I watched because I craved the adrenaline. Oh, and adrenaline I got. My hands were constantly clammy because jumping from moving trains! Jumping down from a tall building! Sliding down from 20 or 30 storeys building! Combat lessons! Fear landscape! The movie changed some details but I liked those changes for the most part. The casting was a mix of good and meh, but I especially like Tris, Christina and Jeanine’s casting. Tris was a bit too put together to fit my picture of book-Tris, Christina’s jealousy was missing (which I didn’t mind), and Theo James is almost too sexy to be the Four in my head. That asshole Peter’s role was almost nonexistent (well, his name didn’t get mentioned that often so I was wondering which of the snotty guys was Peter). The setting was awesome though – Chicago with its broken buildings, high fences. Colorful clothes for Amity, black for Dauntless, gray for Abnegation, blue for Erudite, and Candor – hm, I forgot.
I did miss the Dauntless-born initiates, esp. Uriah, though. Like, they were just one of the many.

The Fault in Our Stars, with Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Nat Wolff, Laura Dern [2014]
This is the truest book-to-movie adaptation I have ever seen. Almost nothing was changed. Perfect casting, great acting. It had its sticky-sweet moments (such as the restaurant scene, or the Anne Frank House scene), but the actors really brought Green’s dialogues to life, and I had tears streaming down my face in the airplane. My seatmate must have been weirded out by me but I don’t really care. There were times I wished I was watching the movie at home because I just wanted to sob loudly and I couldn’t. Damn it. The TFiOS movie burst the emotional dam I had been building in July, and I felt free and daring again. And fearless. And grateful.

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