• Dream House (2011)

     

    Advertised as a horror movie with the charismatic Daniel Craig, the talented Rachel Weisz and the beautiful and charming Naomi Watts, this film sounded highly promising to me but it didn't manage to pass above an average quality. The acting of Daniel Craig is quite convincing but the other two ones sadly don't get enough screen time in this short flick. Let's also add that this movie is not scary at all. What we have here is rather a mix between a predictable psychological thriller and a fluffy drama.

    The movie itself is surely twisted and keeps you watching it until the end. On the other side, it also tries so hard to impress that it gets quickly predictable and redundant. Truly suspenseful or gripping scenes are therefor missing throughout the entire slow paced psychological thriller that lacks of true highlights apart of the acting and maybe the final twenty minutes.

    If this film had been released twenty years ago or so, it would have hit harder but these days the story isn't all that original anymore. Just like this, I could easily mention you more than a handful of easily better and more gripping movies with quite similar so called twisted story lines: Lost Highway (1997), Fight Club (1999), The Sixth Sense (1999), Memento (2000), A Tale Of Two Sisters (2003), Identity (2003), Hide And Seek (2005), Shutter Island (2010) and so on and so forth. The movie makers should seriously invent something different than always the same stories with little variations.

    I would only recommend this film to fans of Daniel Craig and those who really collect and want to watch all movies of this genre. Anybody else should head for any other example I've mentioned above and will get a better and especially more original entertainment.

     

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  • The Bourne Legacy (2012)

     

    As a big fan of the Bourne franchise, I was expecting this movie with mixed feelings. I was afraid this movie would only be a rehash of the solid trilogy and give us more of the same but on a lower level than usual. On the other side, I was looking forward to see a new chapter around the conspiracy legacy as I felt that there were still some things left to say and see after the last film.

    In the end, I got a mix of both positive and negative expectations. Let's start with the bad points. The story in here really is nothing new and quite predictable from the beginning to the end. There are no twists and there isn't as much sweating action and tension as in the first three movies. I would have liked to see some more innovation in this movie with a more profound script. Even though the character of Jason Bourne is mentioned throughout the flick, I would have liked to see a closer connection to this unfinished story line but maybe that's something that may happen in the future as this new film clearly is a start of a new series if there are no unexpected pitfalls. I might also add that the movie had nevertheless a couple of lengths to get kicked off in its first two thirds. Some people say that the new movie ended when it really started to get intense and that the finish happened to be rather abrupt. This is true as I would have liked to see some sort of a more developed epilogue to this film.

    Now, let's point out the positive elements. First of all, the acting of the two main actors is surprisingly good and you really believe these characters. They are maybe not as charismatic as a Franka Potente and a Matt Damon but it's a quite close call. Apart of that, the settings for the new movie are as stunning or even better as in the first three flicks. The chosen locations are the winter world of Alaska, several cities in the United States of America and Manila in the Philippines. I really liked the survival elements of the first third of the movie, the character development that occurred in the second part of the flick and the incredible chasing scenes through the streets and on the rooftops of the city of Manila. Even though the chase was a little bit overlong with around twenty minutes of literally called running time and even though the chase lacked of a true final highlight, I was really impressed by these diverting moments that kept me on the edge of my seat until the end.

    To keep it short, this movie will divide the fans into two camps. Some might find this beginning of a new era useless and not unique enough to survive. Others will be pleasantly surprised to see a movie that features all the trademarks people liked so much about the franchise. This flick won't win any prices for innovation but it's quite entertaining and makes you want more after the fast paced ending. I was critical and still have some negative things to point out but in the end there were much more positive than negative elements in this movie and I'm looking forward for a possible sequel.

    On this level, the Bourne flicks might maybe one day get the same degree of appreciation as the James Bond franchise if Hollywood carries on to write more intriguing screenplays around this phenomenon.

     

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  • Omertà (2012)

     

    Omertà is inspired by a legendary French Canadian series of the same name and lives some sort of revival this summer with a quite well done feature for the cinemas. The movie convinces with gripping characters that are portrayed by some of Quebec's best actors which are the charismatic, old and tough Michel Côté who shines as he nearly always does or the cool, dynamic and eternally young Patrick Huard. Next to this, many other famous actors appear in this movie like René Angelil who does a truly convincing job as mafia boss in this flick.

    While the acting of the mentioned actors is flawless, I didn't like the performance of Rachelle Lefevre who is one of the main actress. It's not that she played a rather unsympathetic character who happens to be quite arrogant, bullish and naive because this was probably part of the script but she frequently switches from French to English in her over the top performance which is a quite annoying thing. I know that there are a lot of people around Montreal that are bilingual but it's quite uneasy when those people suddenly switch from one language to the other without any reason and don't seem to be rather skilled any of them.

    Concerning the story, there are a couple of lengths in the beginning and you already begin to expect your usual crime flick centered around an undercover investigation. By the end, there are more and more surprises though and the story gets as intense as the excellent acting is. Of course, there are a couple of elements that happen to be predictable if you now the genre well but this film definitely doesn't lack of ideas. There are always some lovely surprises here and there and especially the ending is quite courageous. I was very pleased by the great last half hour of the movie while more mainstream orientated cinema fans might be a little bit disappointed of what happens in here. There is a lot of action, murder and treason in the last third of the movie that permanently keeps the tension high and you on the edges of your seat.

    In the end, what we have here is one of the best Canadian movies of the year until now. The movie convinces with a more than solid acting as well as a good average story that evolves to a truly addicting movie towards the end. If you care for Canadian movies and French Canadian culture, you should not miss this film. I'm looking forward to watch this movie again and would recommend a purchase for your home cinema which might be more efficient than a walk to the movie theatres.

     

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  • Identity (2003)

     

    Identity is a very well done American psycho thriller that convinces with a very solid acting, a couple of interesting characters and a very dark atmosphere as the whole movie plays during a dark and rainy night.

    The locations and the general story offer nothing new and play with some stereotypes but have a certain cheesy charm.

    The movie will though grip you after a few moments and not let you go until the end as it has a very fluid pace. The film is full of surprising events and many red herrings that keep you guessing until the end who is the one behind the brutal murders among ten very diversified persons that have randomly met in a cheap motel as it seems.

    The very twisted ending will divide the viewers into two groups. Those who like original psycho thrillers with weird conclusions that request some reflections and are not that easy to understand will definitely like the final which is rather hard to predict. In fact, the ending leads to two conclusions and one of it was very easy to predict for a genre connoisseur as I am but the second and more important part is quite impossible to find out.

    Those who like more traditional crime movies with police investigations and many clues that finally lead to the murderer in the end might find the ending too complicated, too difficult to understand and overall too weird.

    Personally, I liked the ending as it left me one some reflections and thoughts. It's simply different from what you're used to and I like this experimental courage of the script writers. This doesn't mean that the ending is complete nonsense or as surreal as David Lynch movie, it's still all rather logic to explain.

    If you are a fan of dark psycho thrillers and the famous "Ten Little Indians" concept and if you're not afraid of movies where you need to do some additional intellectual efforts to understand everything, you will definitely adore this flick that has no truly visible weak points apart of it short length and a couple of stereotypes that are introduced in the beginning.

     

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  • Safe House (2012)

     

    If you have seen conspiracy flicks like "Enemy Of The State", "The Bourne Identity", "XIII", "Unknown" and so on and so forth, you really won't be surprised by this movie. The story presents nothing new and is about the usual stereotypes: the good one turn out to be the bad ones, the bad ones turn out to be the good ones, the weak ones turn out to be the strong ones and so one. I think you get what I mean. The movie has no big surprises after all.

    But if this kind of movie is well done, it can still merit a rating of eight points. I only give six point five and for this site seven points because of the mediocre camera work that was shaking and irritating at some points of the movie.

    The rest of the film is quite decent. The locations are interesting and the movie takes place in Cape Town in South Africa and not in Europe or North America. The fighting and action scenes are very well done and with the visual and sound effects in cinema, it's a pleasant entertainment to watch this movie for sure. It's a good flick to change your mind, to relax and to take a break from your everyday life for sure. The acting is also rather good with two strong lead actors that are a very cool Denzel Washington and a sympathetic and determined Ryan Reynolds.

    The only little flaw is that I would have liked to know more about both characters, especially about their past and what really led them to do what they actually do in the movie.

    The movie simply has not the greatest script to stand out among many other similar flicks but it's still a good film. I would suggest you to rather watch the movies I talked about in my introduction or classics like "I As In Icarus" but if you have seen and liked them all, you will surely appreciate this work, too.

     

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