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Worst big blockbuster since "Venom"
"Birds of Prey" was directed by Cathy Yan, starring Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Ewan McGregor. After Harley Quinn and the Joker have split up, she joins forces with The Huntress, Black Canary and Renee Montoya in order to save a young pickpocket who stole a diamond from Black Mask.
This is Yan's first big feature film and some of the action is actually well choreographed. Unfortunately that's pretty much all the praise I can give the movie. The action is not horribly edited, however it gets very repetitive very quickly and is simply unnecessary violent.
After Todd Phillips' "Joker" grossed over one billion dollars at the box office and was nominated for eleven academy awards (most likely winning 2 or more on Sunday) it was obvious for DC to create an R-Rated Universe that is more suited for adults as an equivalent to Marvel's MCU. The problem about Birds of Prey is that it doesn't understand why the gruesome depiction of violence and the controversy about the movie worked for Joker.
Whether you liked Joker or not it was safe to say that Birds of Prey was highly unlikely to be able to hold up to Joker's hype and its themes about a descent into madness. As a result I went in with quite low expectations, because this movie was being dumped in February most likely with the intention to have its opening weekend overlap with Oscar night and therefore generating as much hype as possible for DC after Joaquin Phoenix's performance in Joker is going to win Best Actor.
Even though I kept my expectations low I was left disappointed with almost every decision of the movie. There is a scene in the first ten minutes of the movie where Harley Quinn jumps on someone else's legs, breaking them. That was the moment I was done and the first of many moments to come that left me shaking my head. The direction, the cinematography and the editing definitely had their moments during some action scenes. The score is decent and the performances are alright, but could have been better if it weren't for very poor writing. The screenplay is neither funny nor is it refreshing or entertaining.
I could go on and on about how much I despise this movie and how much it blatantly failed to match Scorsese's influence on the Joker movie and at one point even calling the villain "The Godfather", absolutely disgusting. I would not recommend this movie to anybody.
Amazing finale to a great franchise
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" was yet again directed by David Yates and is the second part of the seventh instalment of the franchise. In order to finally defeat Lord Voldemort, Harry Potter and his friends have to find and destroy the remaining four Horcruxes. Little do they know that the Dark Lord is in possession of the strongest wand to ever be created - the Elder Wand.
This is it, the big finale everybody has been waiting for for nearly ten years and it delivers. All the previous movies have set this up to be the big showdown the series deserved. The only thing that feels lacklustre is its pasting. At times this film can feel a little rushed, as there is still a lot to cover (the destruction of four Horcruxes) over the rather short runtime (at least for a Harry Potter movie) of merely two hours. This is just a minor issue I have and is probably a result of some other movies not contributing as much to the set up of the finale as they could have. Nevertheless this is still a brilliant ending to the franchise and overall an amazing movie.
Great first part of the big finale
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1" was once again directed by David Yates and is this first part of the seventh instalment in the Harry Potter franchise. After Harry has learned about the dark magic of Horcruxes that Voldemort used to split his soul into seven pieces, he and his friends are left to find the remaining five in order to have a chance to defeat the Dark Lord once and for all.
The decision to split the seventh book into two movies was very good and actually helped the material, as there was still a lot to tell. This is a great first part to the big finale that is the second part. It is a very slow character driven story, however unlike its predecessor "Half-Blood Prince" this film has great humour, emotional moments and good story-telling even during the first and second act. There really is not much to complain about this film, however in the end it is yet another drag to the last entry of the franchise.
Sadly one of the weaker movies in the series
"Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" was once again directed by David Yates. During his sixth year at Hogwarts Harry discovers a book that is "Property of the Half-Blood Prince", meets an old friend of Dumbledore, Horace Slughorn and learns more about the past of Lord Voldemort.
What this movie succeeds in, is the last buildup required for the final entries. It expands the backstories of both Albus Dumbledore and Severus Snape and explores the past of Horace Slughorn and Tom Riddle. Most of this comes together in an emotional third act.
Otherwise, I would consider this to be one of the weaker and for sure Yates weakest Harry Potter movie. I understand that it is a very slow pasted film, however there really is not much that happens in the first two acts, which led to the finale of the movie not quite hitting as hard as it could and should have, at least for me.
Amazing entry and very important movie to the franchise
"Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" was directed by David Yates and is the fifth instalment in the Harry Potter franchise. This movie shows how much Harry has grown, as he and his friends have to stand up against authorities that try to takeover Hogwarts.
After the launch of this movie, Yates was chosen to direct the other three Harry Potter movies and the newer Fantastic Beasts films. This was a great decision, as "Order of the Phoenix" is exactly the movie it had to be. After the gritty ending of "Goblet of Fire", Harry Potter nearly being expelled in the beginning of this entry and Umbridge taking control of Hogwarts things are looking really bad. Therefore, Harry and his friends form an army to defend themselves against both Umbridge and the Dark Lord.
This movie features great writing and acting and amazing direction and cinematography especially in the finale which features the first big battle between "Dumbledore's Army" and the worshipper of the Dark Lord.
Least favourite in the series
"Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" was directed by Mike Newell and is the fourth instalment in the Harry Potter franchise. It follows Harry and depicts his struggle with the Triwizard Tournament and the adolescent challenges of his everyday life.
The rating on this movie is lower than it should be, as this is by no means a bad movie. However ever since I was a child, growing up with these movies, this has always been (and still is) my least favourite entry. I simply dislike everything about this movie, except for the ending. The way the characters behave, as they face troubles in their youths, the decisions they make, the plot and especially the humour. The films predecessor (Prisoner of Azkaban) is my favourite of the entire franchise with its dark and adult themes. This movie dealing with the characters adolescences feels like a huge step back in terms of character development and storytelling. This story should have been told before PoA and it continues to annoy me every time I rewatch it.
Even though I don't like the movie overall I got to admit that the finale is great. It's the midpoint of the series and therefore finally displays the first showdown, which has been build up to for four movies.
The best in the entire series!
"Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" was directed by Alfonso Cuarón and is the third entry in the Harry Potter franchise. After the second movie, "Chamber of Secrets" felt just as childish and very similar to its predecessor, the decision was made to hire a new director for the next instalment. This was not only justified but also much needed for the series, as this is the first movie that is a lot more dedicated to its characters and generally feels much more suited for adults through its dark themes.
This flick features amazing cinematography, unbelievable art-direction with immaculate framing and scenery, great performances by the entire cast and probably Steve Kloves' best screenplay of the entire series. What stands out most about this movie though is Cuarón's inspiring direction and how everything comes together greatly in this transcendent cinematic adventure.
I haven't seen "Y Tu Mamá También" yet, but I am a big fan of Cuaron's work so far. His work in this movie is great, however he still improved significantly in his later projects. His (at least in my opinion) best work so far and science-fiction masterpiece "Children or Men", his space adventure bursting with groundbreaking cinematography "Gravity" that led to many oscars for its technical achievements, including best director and his latest feature "Roma", which Cuaron did not only get his second oscar as a direction, but also for his production and as director of photography.
Anyways, back to the subject. "The Prisoner of Azkaban" is not only my favourite Harry Potter movie by a long shot, but it is actually so good, that it can easily hold up with the best of the genre. This is probably due to its dark and gritty themes, which make the movie feel so adult like. This is actually the reason why the next film "Goblet of Fire" is my least favorite of the entire series, but more on that in my next review.
A good sequel to the franchise
"Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" was once again directed by Chris Columbus. It is the second movie of the franchise and compared to the first one it doesn't have to dedicate a lot of it's time on introducing us to the wizarding world of the Harry Potter universe, as it has already been set up. Therefore it can use its entire run time to expand on the first entry.
The story is a lot darker than the previous one and for the first time there is at least a slight feeling that our characters are in real danger. Furthermore the movie improves a lot on its visual effects and has a score and both costume and production design that are just as good as in the first one.
Although the movie has a lot it improved upon in its details, I still think that this film is the worst entry in the franchise. This is due to a rather poor story, which is somewhat darker than the first, however it doesn't capture the magic as well as the beginning of its predecessor and ends up just as unsatisfactory.
Like I have mentioned in my review to "the Philosopher's Stone" these two movies (compared to the later instalments) struggle to find an adult-like ending. This could be a result of the age of our lead characters, however it is very likely that the director and the whole crew behind the project just didn't know how dark of a story they can tell and get away with it.
Overall this movie just seems very similar to the first one, in some ways its better and in some ways its worse. I just really appreciate the decision to have a new director handle "the Prisoner of Azkaban", as it is considerably the best entry in the franchise.
Great first entry to the wizarding world
"Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" was directed by Chris Columbus and introduces Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter, Rubert Grint as Ron Weasley and Emma Watson as Hermione Granger. It is the first movie in the franchise, therefore it has to dedicate a lot of its run time to building up the Harry Potter universe and the wizarding school of Hogwarts.
Columbus directed this movie beautifully, however especially the costumes, the production design of both Diagon Alley and Hogwarts and of course the enchanting score by John Williams are timeless. In addition, compared to some dated visual effects during the quidditch match, the practical effects are hand-made and therefore still look really good.
Every time I re-visit the world of Harry Potter I am immediately met with 90 minutes of amazement as something magical unfolds in front of my eyes. On rewatch this can feel a little long and time consuming, however what I dislike most about this first instalment is actually the last 30 minutes. Similar to the second entry in the franchise "Chamber of Secrets", the movie ends with a lot of exposition heavy scenes and fitting to the age of out main characters, quite childish.
Knives Out (2019)
Unique vision on the murder mystery franchise
"Knives Out" was directed by Rian Johnson, starring Daniel Craig and Ana de Armas as its lead roles. Harlan Thrombey, the grandfather of the Thrombey family (played by Christopher Plummer) is murdered in the night of his 85th birthday. After a week two detectives and private investigator, Benoit Blanc are hired to unravel this murder mystery.
What makes this Whodunnit work is Johnson's holy original take on the genre. The first and third act are told in a familiar way. However the second act has a very unique turn to it, as the audience gets a lot of information that is usually revealed much later.
As far as concerns, there aren't that many. There were a few side characters that felt a little unnecessary to the plot and the movie shares a lot of its big reveals through (needed) exposition.
Aside from that, Johnson has written and directed a beautiful and original vision to the genre. I would recommend this film to anyone who enjoys crime thrillers or to someone who knows to appreciate a compelling story.
One of the best, if not the best movie of the year
I was looking forward to this movie all year, since i didn't like Roma (the international film front-runner and winner of 2018) as much as others did. This might just be the best foreign language film I have ever seen, with Portrait of a Lady on Fire (my personal favourite movie of the year) being one of the runner-ups.
This film was a transcendent cinematic experience for me, as Bong Joon Ho, the director of the movie makes it seem like its a walk in the park to go through the different genres in film. Movies are my favorite form of art and Parasite is just that: The Definition of Art. Lets go #Bonghive 🍯
Great contribution to the science-fiction genre
Imagine a world, where your life is determined based on your genetic sequence. A world, where people that are born through in vitro fertilization compete to have the highest IQ and acquire the best health in order to survive the longest. These motives are featured in the world of the movie "Gattaca", where naturally born babies are recognized as In-Valids, whereas babies born in a test tube are so-called Valids, who are the genetically superior race through physical and mental advantages.
The protagonist of the film is Vincent Freeman (Ethan Hawke). He is an astronaut who can't pursue his job, as he is born an invalid, therefore being unqualified for this job with the genes he was born with. However, Vincent does not give up and gets in contact with Jerome (Jude Law), who has been paralyzed in an accident but has the right genes for the job. They have an agreement, in which Vincent takes on Jerome's identity to fulfill his dreams, as long as he remains Jerome's lifestyle.
As director Andrew Niccol's story unfolds, the movie follows two different story lines. Vincent has to be extremely careful to not be exposed of not being Jerome. Meanwhile, a murder happens at his workplace. This leads to a detailed investigation, in which Vincent is accused of murdering the mission director. The story lines connect, as Vincent and his co-worker Irene Cassini (Uma Thurman) pursue a relationship and flee the investigation together.
The film mainly focuses on the story of Vincent. However as the movie comes to an end it reveals that it has much more to offer than that. The Science-Fiction drama deals with the idea of humans only being separated by their genes. A division between naturally born In-Valids and humans that are created in a test tube to be the genetically "perfect" human, which are the so-called Valids is clearly visible. Although the technology of genetic engineering was not as good in 1997 the movie portrays concepts, like the "perfect" human, that are, with the technology from today, not to unrealistic anymore.
Nowadays, it is not a lack of technology that does not let us create perfect humans, but much more ethical questions, like "Would it be right to play with nature's creations and therefore interfering with god?" The movie leaves us questioning: If parents were able to create a perfect baby, would they want to?
"The Matrix" of Animated Movies.
There are no words for this movie. It has story development, character depth, plot twists, pop-culture references, great comic relief moments, a new level of creativity - everything.
Not only does "Into the Spider-Verse" refer to the Spider-man comics and to previous Spider-man movies, it also builds new plot lines on top of already existing ones and therefore not just copying existing stories.
This is my favorite superhero movie. Neither "Infinity War" nor "The Dark Knight" can reach this genius piece of art (IMO).
You can't describe this movie. It is a must-watch for not only every marvel fan, but also for every movie fan and especially for the ones who are sick of the repeating story arcs in superhero movies. Believe me, you've never seen a movie like "Into the Spider-Verse", because there is none like it. I highly recommend watching it, you will not regret it.
P.S.: Even the post credit scene is hilarious.
When Harry Met Sally... (1989)
One of the greatest Rom-Coms there is
With Friends being one of my favorite TV-Shows, I really loved this movie, as the stories have a lot in common. The great screenplay has resulted in several very memorable scenes and quotes throughout the movie, which are related to in hundreds of movies and TV-Series since.
Probably the best first entry of a (planned) trilogy there is
"The Fellowship of the Ring" is one of the greatest Fantasy movies of all time. I have not read the "Lord of the Rings" books, probably because I'm not a fan of books. However, after seeing movies like "Lord of the Rings" or shows like "Game of Thrones" I could imagine myself actually reading "Lord of the Rings" or "The Song from Ice and Fire."
"The Fellowship of the Ring" is probably the best first entry of a trilogy there is. It introduces all the main characters, but does not lack in the epic scenes whatsoever (e.g. The Mines of Moria).
Everything else is just as great in this movie. The direction is incredible, the visual effects used are state-of-the-art and the landscape shots of New Zealand are just plain awesome.
Great second edition to the franchise
"The Two Towers" is usually referred to be the worst entry of the series. I still think the movie is great, but I can only agree. However, facing off against "The Fellowship of the Ring" and my personal favorite part "The Return of the King" is almost impossible. So don't get me wrong the movie is still great, just not quite as good as the other two.
What probably makes "The Lord of the Rings" the greatest trilogy of all time (maybe besides the original Star Wars trilogy, but even this trilogy lacks, as "A New Hope" has suffered a severe drop in quality throughout the years and "Return of the Jedi" being the least favorite of most people, as many don't like the Ewok story line) is that they were all shot simultaneously. So even though "The Two Towers" is the weakest entry, it still fits in great, as the transition throughout the whole story is very smooth.
Just as "The Fellowship of the Ring", the direction, the visual effects and the landscape shots are still awesome, but "The Two Towers" lacks the great story introduction of "The Fellowship of the Ring" and the endless climaxes of "The Return of the King."
A Star Is Born (2018)
"A Star is Born" (2018) - the fourth adaptation of the "Rise and Fall" story.
Bradley Cooper plays Jackson "Jack" Maine, a country singer who suffers from a severe alcohol and drug addiction. After a show he visits a bar where he discovers Ally (Lady Gaga), a waitress who enjoys performing a song once a week, since her big dream was to become a singer. Falling in love with her, Jack invites her to a gig to perform "Shallow", a song Ally has written. At first she is to shy to even show up, but as Jack starts playing her song she has enough courage to sing it with him. But as one star is born, another starts to fade.
What makes the fourth and probably best installment of "A Star is Born" work is the amazing direction of Bradley Cooper and the stunning acting and singing performances from both Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. And "Shallow", my god what an incredible song.
No part of this movie is as strong as its first third, which climaxes with Jack and Ally performing Shallow on stage. You can see the courage building up on Ally's face, as Jack starts playing Shallow - incredibly well acted, especially by Lady Gaga - what a scene.
The second third is still great. It highlights Ally's career taking off and Jack's personal issues becoming more and more of a problem, which results in their relationship breaking apart step by step.
The last third is definitely the weakest, as both the musical part and the storytelling take a big hit. The ending is better than the rest of the last third, but it is still unable to reach the quality of the first hour and a half, at least in my opinion.