Catch up reviews pt. 2

As i said in my last post, i have a lot of movies i watched that i want to review. I also want to start reviewing anime shows i’ved watched. For these i will link to there profile on instead of imdb, as i feel they provide better info for them. Here is the second batch.

Cyrus-This movie is very character driven, as there are only 4 important characters and the plot isn’t all that intricate. Thankfully, the main actors all perform rather well in this, and make it worth watching. Although i will note that while it technically is a comedy, its not really a laugh fest. This didn’t really bother me(Funny People was similar in that aspect, and that is one of my favorite movies) but i realize different people have different tastes.

My only real complaint is with the directing. Usually for most low budget indies, they try there best to make it look professional. In this one, it seemed like the director was trying to draw attention to how low budget it is. Now, i realize that in certain cases this can help enhance the feel/realism of a movie(The Wrestler is a good example of that effect) but in this one it just felt distracting and unnecessary.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona-Unlike most of Woodys films, the director doesn’t actually appear in it. However, like most of his movies(from what i’ve seen anyways) it is very chatty, which is fine. But what brings this movie down imo is the voiceovers.Its just there is too much of it, and because the movie already has a lot of dialogue it the combination is just too much.

The performances in the movie are all good, but Rebecca Hall gives a particularly impressive performance as a a woman conflicted between her lovers.

They Came Back– There have been many movies about the dead coming back, but not like this. This takes a slower and more thoughtful take on the familiar “dead coming back to life” premise. They don’t come back as flesh eating zombies, or vampires. They just seem odd. The main human characters all have varying reaction to seeing there loved ones come back to life, which makes each of them feel like they have a purpose in the story. They are all well acted, and none of them feel extraneous.

But imo the ones who really stand out are the actors playing the undead. They are played with an eerie clam, and you never know quite know what there thinking. The nuanced, low key acting manages to keep your attention without becoming over the top. Of the actors playing the undead, Jonathan zaccai gives a particularly notable performance, seemingly demanding your attention every time he is on screen.

This is a slow paced movie, but it managed to hold my attention all the way through. There was a certain plot point that was left a bit too ambiguous for my liking, but overall i loved this movie

Strange Days– This is actually one of my dads favorite movies(he also happens to like Angela Basset in this). One thing i noticed(besides Ralph Fiennes having a striking resemblance to Bradley Cooper back in 1995) is how timely it feels. At times it was hard to believe that this wasn’t made recently. One of the subjects the movie talks about is how people like watching other peoples lives. If the current obsession with reality television and excessive coverage of celebrities is anything to go by this movie was on to something.

This is particularly noticeable in the beginning, where a lot of the dialogue feels like it could apply to society today. In fact it almost feels overbearing in its message in the beginning due to this. But overall, i think this is a well written thriller with a message behind it for the intelligent viewer. Ralph also does a great job in the lead role.

Death Note(The anime series, not the movies)– This is in essence a extremely well done take on the familiar power corrupts theme. One thing i really like about this show is that it takes into account how complicated morality can be, which imo makes it more realistic. While i did not approve of Lights actions morally, i understood where he was coming from. And the cat and mouse game between L and Kira is riveting to watch. I highly recommend this one

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26 Responses to Catch up reviews pt. 2

  1. Stevee says:

    Oh gosh, I wanna see Strange Days. I only just discovered we had it at the shop last week, thanks to my new obsession with Ralph Fiennes. Love him.

    Vicky Cristina Barcelona is an okay movie, and you’re right, Rebecca Hall does give an impressive performance. As always.

    The direction of Cyrus really bothered me too. There was too much unnecessary zooming in and out…it looked very cheap.

    • Yeah, if you like Ralph you will definitely want to see Strange Days. Not that he is the only reason to see it, but its a plus ;P

      And i found Rebeccas performance in Vicky more notable than her performance in the Town to be honest.

      And i’m glad you agree with me on Cyrus

  2. Ipodman says:

    I am on board with Death Note… but I’ve only seen the live action movie and not the anime!

  3. DEZMOND says:

    TRANGE DAYS was a nice film, especially having in mind it was shot quite a long time ago, as you said.

    I try to avoid Woody’s films since he is just too much for me, but he has one film which I actually loved – MATCHPOINT with Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Matthew Goode. I love it because you would never guess it was directed by Allen.

  4. Vicky Cristina Barcelona had me looking for Allen but he was nowhere to be found. haha. I liked Matchpoint and Scoop, but this one, I think you hit the nail on the head…the voiceovers got to be too much. But Scarlett is in it, so I enjoyed watching her. Penelope Cruz actually annoyed me in the film a bit.

  5. Ronan says:

    What is Death Note about?

    • “During just another normal day, Light Yagami stumbles upon a black notebook known as the Death Note. This notebook belongs to a shinigami, Ryuk, having the ability to kill anyone who has their name written in it. As the new owner of the Death Note, Light’s true desires surface, yearning to cleanse the world of evil by murdering a large number of criminals. When the world begins to notice the existence of this unknown killer, legendary detective L is brought onto the case; starting a war between “Kira” and L. Whoever is able to find out the other’s identity first will be the one to survive.” That is from the link

      And btw i think you would like “They Came Back”.

  6. Joel Burman says:

    You have seen some good movies lately. I like both Vicky Barcelona and Cyrus and I don’t agree on Curys looking low budget. Sure they don’t move the camera around in it which kind of makes it feel a little old fashioned but I liked the pacing.

    • We will have to agree to disagree about the look of Cyrus, as i just personally found the directing really distracting. However the pacing and overall story was enough to make up for it imo.

  7. Novroz says:

    Nice reviews of movies I have never heard of…Thank you Julian, I will see which I can find.

    I have seen Death Note (of course, the manga is one of my all time favorite)…however the movie was great when talking about L is involve. The actor who played Kira sucks terribly. He couldn’t captured the emotion correctly. The eyes of innocent and full of calculation was lost in him. When Light acted as Kira he supposed to have a full of calculation look and when he let Ryuk go to do his plan, he supposed to have his innocent look back…but no, Fujiwara failed badly in doing that. Matsuyama was brilliant as L, I have no complain about him.

    Although I have to admit that I enjoy the fact that the movie didn’t drag the story to N and M, it finished with L.

    • I am glad to bring some unknown movies to your attention. I’ve seen a mix of unknown and well known movies, it is just this batch ended up focusing on the lesser known ones.

      Just to be clear, i was talking about the Death note anime series not the movie. I’m not sure if that was apparent in the review or not(I am going to edit it to make that more clear)

  8. Custard says:

    I haven’t seen any of those films Julian….I shall go and hang my head in Shame!!


    Happy Monday my friend!

  9. rtm says:

    Nice job Julian, I really enjoy reading this short reviews. I know I’ve said this last time you did this that you’ve inspired me to do the same, clearly I’m such a slacker, ahah.

    Coincidentally, I had just seen Strange Days not too long ago but haven’t been able to review it. It’s quite interesting, not entirely enjoyable as a whole but the performances are great. Though I think Ralph is super hunky in this, it’s Angela Bassett whom I like the most out of the cast. I just generally like and respect her a lot (LOVE her in Waiting to Exhale).

    Oh Rebecca Hall is in VCB? I didn’t know that. I like her in all I’ve seen her in so far, she comes across very sympathetic. I might check it out on account of her.

    • Well i have a bunch of movies i’ve seen that i didn’t review(And 1 tv series)

      And yeah, Strange Days is not what i would call a pleasant movie. And my dad is happy to hear your love for Basset, although he isn’t satisfied with most of her movie choices(He wishes she would do more tough girl roles like in Strange Days)

      And if you do decide to check out VCB i would love to hear your opinion on it.

      Btw, i was thinking about asking you for advice on something. It seems that i didn’t make it apparent enough in the post that i was referring to the Death Note anime, not the movies. Do you think there is a coding thing i can do to make that more clear(Like maybe having it a different color or something)?

      • rtm says:

        Oh, totally agree w/ your dad about Basset doing better roles. I often say that I wish she had been cast as Storm in the X-Men series as she’d have been way more cool and compelling than Halle Berry! But in general I’d love to see her in something like SALT or Wanted, to me she’s more believable as an action chick than scrawny Angelina Jolie! Plus she is beautiful as well as strong… I should blog about her one of these days 🙂

        Hmmm, I got it right away that Death Note is an anime… I mean, you had it in parenthesis! Well, maybe making the text bold and in a different color would help clarify it more.

        • If you do make a post about her i will be sure to send a link to my dad (:

          And i actually added the parenthesis after the first few replies. But yeah, i was thinking about doing a color code to separate movies, tv shows, anime shows, and anime movies.

  10. Andina says:

    Vicky Christina Barcelona is a good movie, a little more perspective about relationship that I never knew before. Penelope Cruz gave a very good performance. I did not know until couple of weeks ago that she is married with Javier Bardem.

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