Monday 10 December 2018

Movie review: A Star Is Born (2018)

[Post published by Liviu, on Liviu's [Personal] Blog]

Nota bene: for other movie reviews, click for the dedicated page with movie reviews.

A Star Is Born (2018)

[IMDB; en.wikipedia]

I have mixed feelings on this movie.

Both entertaining and boring.
It's good, but not great as I've been expecting :))

Coherent and consistent storyline at first glance.
Quite a lot of drama, although rather superficial.
No twists and turns.
Overall, the story drags too many times because it actually is linear, predictable and a bit boring.

Must note that I expected better songs (you can check the soundtrack [en.wikipedia; IMDB] for yourself!)
  • only The Shallow really sticks in my mind :)
  • Maybe It's Time and Always Remember Us This Way are really good & well performed, they are almost great, but not great enough to stick in my mind :D

Lasts too long. 90 minutes would have been enough for the story it tells.

Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga do a good job: they act well, sing well and definitely there's some chemistry going on there.

I feel rather upset that the whole team could have achieved much more with the movie, could have done better etc., but somehow they waste (or at least are unable to capture) all that huge potential.

Certainly better than the hyped La La Land (2016) [Liviu review] in all respects and certainly deserves more Academy nominations and more Academy awards.


Worth watching for sure. It's good, but not great as I've been expecting :)) One can safely watch it on TV; no need for the full cinema experience.

Friday 26 October 2018

Movie review: Bad Times at the El Royale (2018)

[Post published by Liviu, on Liviu's [Personal] Blog]

Nota bene: for other movie reviews, click for the dedicated page with movie reviews.

Bad Times at the El Royale (2018)

[IMDB; en.wikipedia]

Everything is great up to Billy Lee's (played by Chris Hemsworth) arrival at the El Royale:
  • Entertaining movie, keeping the audience focused on the story at all times
  • Coherent & Consistent storyline
  • Really smart storyline with a few twists and turns
  • Great acting
  • Great post processing

...and then Billy Lee (Chris Hemsworth) arrives (accompanied by a cheap / second hand gang :D) at the El Royale:
  • Everything breaks and
  • The story stops making sense, drags, turns unnecessarily violent etc.
Look, I can understand (I really do!) the story has reached a deadlock and they really need another character at this point in order to push things forward… but they should have done it differently!

... but God is there watching - this joke regards the characters of Father Daniel Flynn (i.e. Jeff Bridges playing a fake priest), respectively Miles Miller (Lewis Pullman) looking for redemption :D - and He wants this to get very close to a great movie, so He makes the scriptwriters kill Billy Lee (Chris Hemsworth) - hooray! :) - and the story is back on track :) and everything ends beautifully and they all succeed in making a almost great movie :))

Reminds me to some extent of Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight (2015) with respect to the story style and story telling style, characters and acting, post processing etc.


Almost a great movie. Worth watching. It would have been even better if it wasn't for Billy Lee (Chris Hemsworth)! :))

Wednesday 24 October 2018

Movie review: Mile 22

[Post published by Liviu, on Liviu's [Personal] Blog]

Nota bene: for other movie reviews, click for the dedicated page with movie reviews.

Mile 22 (2018)

[IMDB; en.wikipedia]


Coherent & Consistent storyline.
Many twists and turns - more than enough to please me :)

Lots of action. Lots.

Indeed, average special effects... However, I do understand all they do is shoot weapons (and these special effects are cheap and have become boring by now :D), but they do get it right, i.e. it all does feel real, so I'm pleased about it.

Fast paced. Really fast paced.
That's how you do an action movie! Congratulations!

Great acting. All actors work really well together, there's like this lucky chemistry between them.

This whole great combination (story, action, acting, cinematography, post processing etc.) keeps the viewer focused at all times.

Why do critics rate it so poorly? Dunno. Don't care. I guess we have to agree to disagree just like regarding the overhyped La La Land (2016) :)

As a side note, it reminds me of 16 Blocks (2006) [IMDB].


Awesome movie with respect to story, action, acting etc. Definitely worth watching. I totally recommend it.

Monday 10 September 2018

Movie review: The Nun (2018)

[Post published by Liviu, on Liviu's [Personal] Blog]

Nota bene: for other movie reviews, click for the dedicated page with movie reviews.

The Nun (2018)

[IMDB; en.wikipedia]

First half: thriller.
Second half: horror.
Both well done. Congratulations!

Coherent & Consistent storyline. Kind of slow paced, though.
Follows the usual framework / pattern of a well done horror movie. Probably that's what makes it so predictable :) So don’t expect any twists and turns or to be surprised in any way :)

Entertaining most of the time. Keeps the viewer focused on the story.

Funny at times - yeah, it has several really funny moments :))

However, it does drag at times - must note that the movie feels a lot longer than its actual 96 minutes :)

Good acting, special effects, cinematography etc.

I enjoyed it. To be honest, it's been much better than I expected :) Hey, probably it's been the most entertaining horror movie I've seen in the past year...

Congratulations to Romania! Principal photography has taken place in Romania (outsourced to Castel Film as I understand it). The story is said to take place at Carta Monastery. Also, there are several Romanian actors starring in the movie, the most important being Ingrid Bisu (Sister Oana).


Worth watching. Time well spent.

Sunday 22 July 2018

Movie review: The Equalizer 2 (2018)

[Post published by Liviu, on Liviu's [Personal] Blog]

Nota bene: for other movie reviews, click for the dedicated page with movie reviews.

The Equalizer 2 (2018)

[IMDB; en.wikipedia]

Mixed feelings about it. A lot of mixed feelings :)

The story starts well, is consistent & coherent at first... but then loses steam, gets boring & straightforward & the fight becomes much too personal.
Ok, the most stupid "too personal plot" I can remember has been in Spectre (2015) [IMDB] - Oberhauser's father protects the young orphaned Bond, which turns Oberhauser into a criminal master mind, oh come on, really?

There are some unanswered questions in the end:
  1. Who has vandalised Fatima’s garden? Why? Will they return?
  2. Does the gang Miles attempts to join (and McCall rescues him from) retaliates at either Miles or McCall?
  3. Why is the Brussels family killed?
    • Well, the way I understand it is the man has infiltrated the agency (York says this at some point), so I speculate he has been investigating the wrongdoing of York and his team of bad assassins and Susan would have figured it all out eventually. Basically York has decided to go evil inside a good hearted agency :)
    • Wikipedia says McCall's former team turned into freelance assassins after his "death" and the Brussels job was a contract of theirs and Susan would have have figured it all out, so they killed her.

The action & special effects keep coming throughout the movie. All good with that. I wish to have watched a bit more action starring Denzel Washington, but maybe it’s just me who always demands more action with the actors they like :)

Although I don't remember at first hand what the story has been in the first Equalizer - ok, I read the summary and now I remember it :) - I can remember the feeling of watching something a bit different. Not the case anymore - The Equalizer 2 is ok, but ordinary enough to be in the same pack with other action movies.

Denzel Washington used to be different (and he still is), but now he resembles too much other less skilled (and lower quality) action heroes like Jason Statham (who I like) or Dwayne Johnson (who I like less) :)
Denzel and The Equalizer movie series have great potential, but somehow the current instalment misses it.


The movie is worth watching, but I just wish it would have achieved more than it actually does :)

Monday 16 July 2018

Movie review: Sicario: Day of the Soldado (2018)

[Post published by Liviu, on Liviu's [Personal] Blog]

Nota bene: for other movie reviews, click for the dedicated page with movie reviews.

Sicario: Day of the Soldado (2018)

[IMDB; en.wikipedia]

Well done, overall. Good job!

Coherent & Consistent storyline, displaying a couple of nice twists & turns.
The first third and the last third of the story - excellent.
The middle third - boring; the story drags by focusing on the teenage girl etc. Basically, either the writer lacked the inspiration, or some "well paid decision maker" butchered the script due to some marketing reasons, dunno. Either way, the middle third is kind of junk.

Good cinematography.

Good acting.
Benicio del Toro (as Alejandro Gillick) and Josh Brolin (as Matt Graver) do a good job. Unfortunately, they share little screen time together.
Although none of the actors really shines, they all complete each other...
Given (1) the screen time which is very well balanced among all characters/actors and (2) the very good directing and postprocessing, the overall acting/performance seem a lot better than the sum of all raw performances, just like in Den of Thieves (2018).

I totally loved the sound & soundtrack - simple, yet powerful; the bassline gets into you.


All in all, a good watch. Time well spent. I recommend it.

Monday 18 June 2018

Movie review: Hereditary (2018)

[Post published by Liviu, on Liviu's [Personal] Blog]

Nota bene: for other movie reviews, click for the dedicated page with movie reviews.

Hereditary (2018)

[official site; IMDB; en.wikipedia]

Horror movie? Well, there are some scary moments, but just a few. It tries so hard to build tension and momentum, but kind of fails most of the time and certainly doesn't exploit it when it gets it right.

Storyline? Kind of inconsistent & incoherent.
Paranoid. Psychotic. Insane.
Maybe it makes sense to some viewers, dunno.

Feels as if has been written by someone mentally ill and addresses a mentally ill public.

Feels as if the writer has treated their own trauma and obsessions by pouring them carelessly in the script.

The story made sense to me, i.e. I could finally fully grasp its logic, the next day (after a good night's sleep :D)... but it still is rather inconsistent & incoherent...

So slow paced... really slow paced... slower than slow :))

Stupid, maybe?

Implements the classic European philosophy/vision on life (that I personally reject) of intense pessimism, sadness, depression, confusion etc.

Cheap & Boring special effects.

So little sound... I could call it a "half silent movie" :)
There's actors voices and that's about all the sound there is :))
No soundtrack whatsoever. There are some other sounds from now and then :) but that's not a soundtrack:))
Nota bene: the soundtrack in the trailer is kind of all the soundtrack that I can remember... it's like they've put in the trailer all the real soundtrack they have in the movie :))

Look, I understand the movie looks, sounds and feels the way I've described it because that's the way they wanted to make it: cinematography, post processing, soundtrack etc. - I do understand & feel & appreciate their work & effort, but I just don't like it, it just doesn't touch me...

Oh, and what's with the huge IMDB rating?!


Hereditary (2018) feels as a waste of both time and money to me.

Monday 28 May 2018

Movie review: Deadpool 2 (2018)

[Post published by Liviu, on Liviu's [Personal] Blog]

Nota bene: for other movie reviews, click for the dedicated page with movie reviews.

Deadpool (2016) [Liviu review] has been awesome and funny... and I’ve been looking forward for the sequel, remember? Well, they've done the sequel - half to please me, and 2/3 to annoy me - yeah, I run at 116% by default :))

Deadpool 2 (2018)

[official site; IMDB; en.wikipedia]

Awesomely funny jokes & situations, from the start and after the end (oh, those brilliant hidden scenes that have opened so many options for continuing the story!).
... and I’m done with the good parts of the movie :))

What’s bad? Well, everything else :))

Inconsistent & Incoherent storyline.
It’s mostly a collection of (yeah, I’ve told you, but I need to repeat it) awesomely funny jokes & situations, but so badly glued together.
Besides, why on Earth would any writer make the same mistake as in Mechanic: Resurrection (2016) [Liviu review] of creating a shallow/inconsistent/stupid love story in order to get the action going? However, I must note that Deadpool 2 makes better use of the love story throughout the movie and opens the option of using it in the next installments of the franchise... but still is a shallow/inconsistent/stupid love story.

Cheap background & really cheap special effects: looks as they’ve collected the leftovers from other movies. I mean the leftovers that nobody else wanted. The left leftovers. :))

Uninspired soundtrack - adds no value whatsoever to the movie - could be that they acquired it for free when collecting the left leftovers special effects? Hmm, that makes so much sense...

Poor cinematography - by poor, I mean there's nothing special about it; probably they let Firefist and Dopinder handle the camera alternatively - in that case, congratulations, good job!

Acting is ok, I guess. Given the awesomely funny script and the overall quality of everything else, it’s kind of hard to make the difference between bad acting and [the effort of doing] funny acting.

$110 million budget [en.wikipedia]? 'r you kidding me? What for? I hope more than half has been used to advertising the movie or they've been money laundering... :))

There’s no reason to watch it at the cinema, really. One might watch it on TV and get the entire cinematic experience.


Entertaining, awesomely funny jokes & situations - that's worth watching for sure.
... and just close your eyes and turn off your ears when there's nothing funny. Easy, right?

Hope they get it better in the third installment of the franchise! I'm not sure I want to watch the third installment...

Saturday 3 March 2018

Review de teatru: Criminalii @Cuibul Artistilor (Bucuresti)

[Post published by Liviu, on Liviu's [Personal] Blog]

Cuibul artistilor e o idee/treaba interesanta.

Am fost Sambata, 24 Februarie, la piesa de teatru:


[Facebook event]

Comedie. Simpatica piesa.

Actorii sunt fie inca studenti, fie proaspat absolventi. Pun suflet, isi dau silinta, le iese bine / fac o treaba foarte buna. Ok, mai au si de progresat, dar inceputul e foarte promitator.

Singura problema ar fi durata piesei - aproximativ 1 h - mi se pare cam putin. Am avut senzatia ca in scenariu/joc au aparut intreruperi de ritm. Fie s-a sarit brusc in unele locuri peste niste lucruri, fie in alte locuri s-a stat prea mult etc.

Cine vrea, la intrare primeste si un pahar de vin sau de apa.

Pret: e cu intrare libera, nu esti obligat sa platesti. Totusi, e frumos ca la iesire sa faci o donatie in cutia special amenajata, daca oamenii au facut totusi efortul de a organiza totul etc. - ei recomanda 15 ron.


Piesa interesanta, jucata bine. A meritat.

Monday 29 January 2018

Movie review: Den of Thieves (2018)

[Post published by Liviu, on Liviu's [Personal] Blog]

Nota bene: for other movie reviews, click for the dedicated page with movie reviews.

Den of Thieves (2018)



Smart and coherent storyline, which develops nicely over time.

Resembles some other movies I've watched:
  • Triple 9 (2016) [Liviu review]
    • All bad guys die in Triple 9, while here only Donnie Wilson (O'Shea Jackson Jr.) manages to escape.
    • The same as bad guys in Triple 9, Ray Merrimen (Pablo Schreiber) pretends taking a shot at 'Big Nick' O'Brien (Gerard Butler) so he gets shot to death.
  • The Usual Suspects (1995) [IMDB]
    • Important details unravel somehow the same over time.
    • Donnie Wilson (O'Shea Jackson Jr.) is a small replica of Keyser Söze by the way he manipulates everyone.
  • Hell or High Water (2016) [Liviu review]
    • The general attitude; the mix of irony and drama.
    • Just as Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges) loses his partner in the end and gets upset about it, so does 'Big Nick' O'Brien (Gerard Butler) lose a member of the team and is sad about it.

Whenever the story is about to drag something happens and it takes off again.

Really funny at times.

Action and special effects - enough to keep it going and keep one focused on the story. Could have used more, of course :)

Drama - enough to engage the viewer, while not get one bored.

Rather average acting skills when analyzing each performance alone - all actors try pretty hard to do a good job, but can't quite rise to a high level... However, the screen time is very well balanced among all characters/actors, which makes the overall acting/performance seem a lot better than the sum of all raw performances.

Very good directing and postprocessing - raises the overall quality of the movie, enhances the overall acting, makes the story seem interesting at times when it might not be etc. - I have this feeling they've done a lot of magic with somewhat limited resources.

With a better cast, they could have produced a classic. Imagine for starters Jeff Bridges or Russell Crowe playing 'Big Nick' O'Brien (Gerard Butler), Tom Hardy playing Ray Merrimen (Pablo Schreiber)...


Worth watching for sure.

Sunday 14 January 2018

Movie review: Molly's Game (2017)

[Post published by Liviu, on Liviu's [Personal] Blog]

Nota bene: for other movie reviews, click for the dedicated page with movie reviews.

Molly's Game (2017)

[IMDB; en.wikipedia; Molly Bloom (author)]

The first 2/3 of the movie is funny, fast paced, daring, very entertaining...

... but then, although still entertaining, the movie
  1. starts dragging a bit at times and
  2. focuses on clearing Molly's name:
    • she's an angel,
    • she's so innocent,
    • she's got a good soul,
    • she's a champion,
    • she's not greedy,
    • she has made little money and has declared all of them to the IRS because she wanted everything to be legit,
    • she protects her clients' privacy with the price of her own freedom (why? oh, because she doesn't want to see their families ruined when their dirty secrets get exposed!),
    • she had no idea what she has got into and with whom when organizing high stakes poker games etc.
    Oh, come on! Really? I get she has a lot of dirt about a lot of important and/or wealthy people, including Hollywood celebrities, but the hard effort to clear her name is just too much... What should I do? Pity her? Cry as if I'm watching soap operas? :)) Donate money to her so she does not starve to death? :))

    The only thing I'm buying is she has not offered sex for money, because it's obvious it would have been bad for business.

Coherent storyline.

Very good acting.
Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba do a great job.
Out of the other actors with little screen time, I'd mention:
  • Kevin Costner, who uses his screen time to the full - excellent play! Best of all.
  • Michael Cera - strong impact on the story - I think he portrays Tobey Maguire
  • Chris O'Dowd and Brian d'Arcy James, who are so funny...

Follows the Hollywood pattern of a movie targeting the Academy Awards. I'd predict it gets nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Jessica Chastain), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Idris Elba), Best picture, Best Adapted Screenplay.

Nota bene: I bet Idris Elba gets nominated at the Academy Awards, also given his performance in The Mountain Between Us (2017) [IMDB], which I haven't seen, but, given the trailer and the story etc., I speculate it provides excellent performance from both Elba and Winslet and targets the Academy Awards...


Worth watching. Entertaining.
I wish the last 1/3 of the movie were as good as the first 2/3.