donderdag 31 december 2015

Top 5 Thursday: Movies I Watched for My Challenge (December 2015)

This is the last top 5 Thursday of the year 2015, and the last list for my 100 Movie Challenge 2015. I saw some new one and some really good ones. Many of the films I watched this month ended up in my favorites 2015 movies list. Here is my top 5 of films I watched for my challenge in December.

5. Moon
Especially a great one man show by Sam Rockwell. I knew I was going to like this, it’s a really good film.

 4. The Lobster
A bit weird, but maybe that’s why I love it so much. It’s definitely not for everyone, but you should give it a try.
3. Ex Machina
You except a certain thing, but you get something completely different. A surprising film, great performances, worth your time.
2. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
I have been waiting for this movie for so long, we all have. And it was exactly what we hoped for. Great balance between nostalgia and an interesting new story. And that scene on the bridge, we all know it…… nooooooo!
1. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
I loved everything about this movie. Such a heartfelt, realistic and honest film.
They Almost Made the Top 5: Krampus, Rollercoaster, Mean Creek, Some Kind of Wonderful

woensdag 30 december 2015

Top 10: Favorite Movies of 2015

It’s that time of the year. Ranking all the movies from 2015 that I saw. Off course I cannot see every single movie, so there are probably some films you will be missing. And some movies that I know I will love, like “The Revenant”, “Spotlight”, “The Hatefull Eight” and “Creed” aren’t on this list because they haven’t been released yet in The Netherlands. This list is based on the Dutch theatrical releases, which also explains why there are possibly movies on the list that officially came out in 2014. Here are my 10 favorite films of 2015 (also check out my honorable mentions)!

10. Inside Out
Okay, just when we thought Pixar and Disney were running out of ideas, they brought us “Inside Out”. A smart and bold movie, with a great message. Exploring the inner emotions of a child combined with a race-against-time adventure. Great!
9. The Martian
“The Martian” is a movie I had expectations for, but I got even more than I expected. It was heartfelt, interesting and really funny. Matt Damon gives away a great performance and Ridley Scott finally directed another great film.
8. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2
This movie is probably on the list because I’m a fangirl, I love the books. And this final chapter gave me exactly what I wanted. This is my second favorite film of the franchise and a good ending to the movie series.
7. The Lobster
It’s a weird story: single people are taken to a hotel, where they have to find a partner within 45 days. If they fail, they are turned into an animal. Colin Farrell’s character choses a lobster. And it’s exactly this unconventional story that I love. Farrell is an actor I either love or hate in a movie and in “The Lobster” he is phenomenal. Definitely not a movie for everyone, but at least give it a try.
6. Ex Machina
I can best describe “Ex Machina” as a mix of “Blade Runner” and “Her”, but then I would still not do it justice. It’s such a strong film, with only three characters. Oscar Isaac and Domhnall Gleeson are great, but Alicia Vikander is the star. This is a movie where you expect one thing and get something completely different.
5. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
The movie we’ve all been waiting for. We were all afraid that it was going to be bad, but it was AWESOME! J.J. Abrams found the perfect balance between nostalgia and a great new story with both old and new characters. Off course Han, Leia and Chewbacca, but also newbie heroes Rey, Finn and Po, droid BB-8 and villain Kylo Ren. And that scene on the bridge…… Nooooooo!
4. Sicario
After “Enemy” and “Prisoners” I had high expectations for “Sicario”. And director Denis Villeneuve did it! “Sicario” is a terrific thriller, with Emily Blunt as the big star. She is amazing in this film.
3. Birdman
Unfolding across two hours of backstage theater drama that play as a single take, it’s an almost impossibly complex technical achievement. And then Michael Keaton’s big comeback as actor Riggan, who once played a superhero and is now aiming for something higher. A cinematographic masterpiece.
2. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
This movie was great for us movie lovers, because of all the pop culture references. But this is also a movie that comes straight from the heart and ends up in our hearts as well. Such an honest, real film that grabbed me and touched me.
1. Mad Max: Fury Road
When I saw “Mad Max: Fury Road” in theaters it totally took my breath away. More than 30 years after leaving Max in the wasteland, George Miller returns to his signature series. I didn’t expect much at first and I left the theater overwhelmed. “Mad Max: Fury Road” is an incredible cinematic experience. A ride everyone has to take at least once in their life.
Honorable Mentions: Big Hero 6, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Jurassic World, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, Straight Outta Compton

Top 10: Worst Movies I Watched for My 2015 Challenge

After all the awesomeness of my movie challenge, here is the crap pile. I really saw some shitty movies. This is list is also a warning for you, to never watch them. EVER!

10. American Sniper
This was not so much a terrible movie, but a huge disappointment. Director Clint Eastwood made an overly patriotic film, that was never interesting.
9. De Verbouwing
Based on a novel by Saskia Noort. The book is almost always better, also in this case. For a thriller the movie didn’t have many surprise element, where the book did. And the movie becomes more and more unbelievable once we go towards the end.
8. Magic Mike XXL
There something about stripper men…. I just don’t find them appealing, it doesn’t work for me. Where “Magic Mike” was still bearable, this just isn’t. It misses the humor from the first film, it’s boring and it drags.
7. The Amazing Spider-Man 2
In the two and a half hour runtime it’s mostly rough love scenes and action sequences full off special effects. Electro is the main villain, but doesn’t contribute much. Not even to mention Rhino, whom I found ridiculous and he was only it for a few minutes.
6. Graveyard Shift
A film based on a Stephen King story. We know that they sometimes aren’t that good. Well, “Graveyard Shift” is one of them. I simply don’t remember much of the movie, which is never a good sign.
5. A Nightmare on Elm Street (remake)
Where I enjoy the original film, the remake of “A Nightmare on Elm Street” is terrible. One of thoses movies where I’m still asking myself why they had to remake it. Some scenes where just literally copied from the original, with bad acting. And the acting in the original isn’t all that great, this is even worse.
4. The Legend of Hercules
“The Legend of Hercules” offers you theatrical fights and lots of muscles. Director Renny Harlin focusses on the love story, but it doesn’t work. Hercules fights for love and peace, but comes off as an aggressive beast instead of a hero. movie has nothing more to offer then spectacular scenes and an overkill of slow motion. The story is not convincing and the acting isn’t great either.
3. Fifty Shades of Grey
Okay, this is the worst movie of 2015. I can’t believe I actually made it through this film. For a movie about sex, it’s really not that sexy. I already hated the books, that were based on “Twilight” fan fiction. I think that’s already reason enough to not go see it. This movie sucks.
2. De Overgave
Okay, so this is basically the Dutch “Fifty Shades of Grey” and even worse. Yes, that’s is possible. I;m not even going to talk about it anymore.
1. Movie 43
Shame on all the great actors that took part in this horrendous film. It’s a terrible film, not even funny. Boooooh!
Dishonorable Mentions: Devil’s Knot, Quicksilver Highway, Stone. Single White Female, Entourage

Top 10: Best Movies I Watched for My 2015 Challenge

I had a lot of fun with my movie challenge this year and I’m definitely going to start one in 2016. But first I’m going to share my ten favorite movies that I watched for my challenge. Please note them, because if you haven’t seen them yet, you must. Also check my honorable mentions, the movies that almost made my top 10 list.

10. Sicario
After “Enemy” and “Prisoners” I had high expectations for “Sicario”. And director Denis Villeneuve did it! “Sicario” is a terrific thriller, with Emily Blunt as the big star. She is amazing in this film.

9. My Neighbor Totoro
I love the movies by Hayao Miyazak. “Spirited Away” was already amazing, but “My Neighbor Totoro” I liked even more. Such a great animation, especially if you look at it with a creative and artistic perspective like me.
8. 12 Angry Men
A movie set in only one location and it keeps you on the edge of your seat the entire runtime. This a movie like no other, the don’t make ‘em like this anymore.
7. Short Term 12
A movie that felt so realistic and honest. I could feel it through my entire body. It’s not a movie for the people who want spectacle, but a small Indie film that touches you and makes you feel.
6. The Guard
“Hot Fuzz” meets “In Bruges”, what a great crime comedy “The Guard” is. And I loved Brendan Gleeson in this film. He could finally show what he’s made off. His unconventional character, who you should actually dislike, is really hard to hate.
5. Birdman
Unfolding across two hours of backstage theater drama that play as a single take, it’s an almost impossibly complex technical achievement. And then Michael Keaton’s big comeback as actor Riggan, who once played a superhero and is now aiming for something higher. A cinematographic masterpiece.
4. Enemy
“Enemy” was a complete mind fuck. What sounded like a standard thriller, is anything but that. The movies leaves you with a lot of questions and chills all over your body. And that final scene scared the bejesus out of me.
3. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
This movie was great for us movie lovers, because of all the pop culture references. But this is also a movie that comes straight from the heart and ends up in our hearts as well. Such an honest, real film that grabbed me and touched me.
2. Psycho
An instant classic that I was pretty ashamed of never seeing before 2015. And I can now understand why it’s such an amazing film. What a great horror film by mastermind Alfred Hitchcock. Movies like this are underappreciated nowadays. Not by movie nerds like me by the way.
1. Mad Max: Fury Road
When I saw “Mad Max: Fury Road” in theaters it totally took my breath away. More than 30 years after leaving Max in the wasteland, George Miller returns to his signature series. I didn’t expect much at first and I left the theater overwhelmed. “Mad Max: Fury Road” is an incredible cinematic experience. A ride everyone has to take at least once in their life.
Honorable Mentions: Frozen, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Big Hero 6, Kingsman: The Secret Service, Take Shelter, St. Vincent, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Deux Jours, Une Nuit, Mud, Jurassic World, Inside Out, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, Gosford Park, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, Funny Games, The Drop, The Conjuring, The Evil Dead, The Martian, Moon, The Lobster, Ex Machina

100 Movie Challenge 2015 - # 169: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Director: J.J. Abrams
Genre: Science Fiction/ Action/ Fantasy/ Adventure
Runtime: 135 minutes
Year: 2015
Starring: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Harrison Ford, Peter Mayhew, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson, Mark Hamill, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Max von Sydow, Greg Grunberg, Warwick Davis, Gwendoline Christie, Ken Leung, Simon Pegg

Description: Three decades after the defeat of the Galactic Empire, a new threat arises. The First Order attempts to rule the galaxy and only a ragtag group of heroes can stop them, along with the help of the Resistance.
Review: With new additions to many great franchises, like “Jurassic Park”, “Mad Max”, “The Terminator” and now “Star Wars”, 2015 has become an iconic year. Not every franchise found the right balance between nostalgia and an interesting new story. I’m so glad “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” turned out this good.
Off course there is the nostalgia, by bringing back Han, Leia and Chewbacca and seeing the Millenium Falcon makes our hearts skip a beat. And it’s clear that writer Lawrence Kasdan and director J.J. Abrams know the original trilogy very well. This is all combined very well with a good new story and new characters. I loved BB-8, the droid. He had a bit more character then R2-D2 had.
Stormtrooper Finn, X-wingpilot Poe Dameron and Jedi fangirl Rey are all great characters and are a breath of fresh air. They form an unusual yet diverse group of protagonists. Epecially Daisy Ridley as Rey. She was the star of the film, what a great discovery. The main villain is Kylo Ren, who seems to pay tribute to Darth Vader. He is a strong and believable villain. Captain Phasma isn’t though, she doesn’t get enough screen time to convince us.
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is a great film, the movie we’ve all been waiting for. And we got exactly what we wanted and hoped for. Definitely a 2015 favorite.

Rating: 4,5/ 5

dinsdag 29 december 2015

100 Movie Challenge 2015 - # 168: Ex Machina

Director: Alex Garland
Genre: Drama/ Science Fiction
Runtime: 108 minutes
Year: 2015
Starring: Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, Alica Vikander

Description: A young programmer (Domhnall Gleeson) is selected to participate in a groundbreaking experiment in artificial intelligence by evaluating the human qualities of a breathtaking female A.I.

Review: We meet computer programmer Caleb. He wins a competition to spend a week in the house of boss Nathan. What starts as a great week in a futuristic house in an idyllic environment, turns out to me so much more. Caleb is asked to test Ava, a robot made by Nathan. the start of an interesting relationship.
One of the central themes is the human emotion. Emotions can blind you and that’s what happens in “Ex Machina”. It makes you think about a combination of “Blade Runner” and “Her”.
“Ex Machina” is more a psychological thriller though. Nobody can be trusted and that makes sure of an interesting starting point. The acting is also great, especially by Alicia Vikander. Her role is very convincing and director Alex Garland couldn’t gave chosen a better actress for the part. Domhnall Gleeson and Oscar Isaac also give away great and solid performances. Isaacs is so diverse. “Ex Machina” has a great buildup, strong acting, topical themes, good visuals effects and a strong story. Definitely a movie to check out.

Rating: 4,5/ 5

maandag 28 december 2015

100 Movie Challenge 2015 - # 167: The Lobster

Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Genre: Comedy/ Drama/ Romance/ Science Fiction
Runtime: 118 minutes
Year: 2015
Starring: Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Ben Wishaw, Léa Seydoux, John C. Reilly, Olivia Colman, Ashley Jensen

Description: In a dystopian near future, single people, according to the laws of The City, are taken to The Hotel, where they are obliged to find a romantic partner in forty-five days or are transformed into beasts and sent off into The Woods.

Review: “The Lobster” tells the story of a near future, where singles are taken to a hotel. Here they have to find a life partner within 45 days. If they fail, the guests are transformed into an animal of their choice. The choice of newly divorced David is a lobster.
The hotel has lots of rules, one even stranger than the other. With “The Lobster” you can count on a big dose of absurdism, dark comedy and pessimism. Is a strange film, but so good.
The acting is phenomenal. Colin Farrell is an actor I either love or hate in a movie. In “The Lobster” he is brilliant. This also goes for Rachel Weisz, John C. Reilly, Léa Seydoux, Ben Wishaw and Olivia Colman.
“The Lobster” is an unique movie, not only because of the bizarre theme but also how director and writer Lanthimos mixes so many different genres. From light sci-fi to dark comedy, satire and a little bit of romance. And the cinematography is amazing. Lathimos also makes you think, because even if it might sound absurd, is our society really that different from the people in the hotel? There are many people desperately seeking for a partner, what makes it that two people spend the rest of their lives together? Are we looking for a relationship because others expect us to or because of love?
“The Lobster” is a movie that exceeded my expectations and us one of the best movies of 2015.

Rating: 4,5/ 5

zondag 27 december 2015

Movie Trailer Sunday (219)

Here are this weeks trailers.

Description: A young civil war veteran (Scott Eastwood) is forced on a desperate journey to save his kidnapped wife (Camilla Belle).
Director: Lawrence Roeck
Starring: Scott Eastwood, Camilla Belle, Walter Coggins, Danny Glover
Trailer: Trailer "Diablo"
Comment: Scott Eastwood is beginning to look more and more like his dad.

Everybody Wants Some
Description: A group of college baseball players navigate their way through the freedoms and responsibilities of unsupervised adulthood.
Director: Richard Linklater
Starring: Zoey Deutsch, Glen Powell, Tyler Hoechlin, Ryan Guzman, Wyatt Russell, Dora Madison, Blake Jenner
Comment: Meh....

I Saw the Light
Description: The story of the country-western singer Hank Williams (Tom Hiddleston), who in his brief life created one of the greatest bodies of work in American music. The film chronicles his rise to fame and its tragic effect on his health and personal life.
Director: Marc Abraham
Starring: Tom HIddleston, Elisabeth Olsen, David Krumholtz
Comment: Probably worth a watch.

Description: A group of people trying to cross the border from Mexico into the United States encounter a man who has taken up border patrol duties in his own racist hands.
Director: Jonás Cuarón
Starring: Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Gael Garcia Bernal
Comment: Looks pretty good.

A Perfect Day
Description: A group of aid workers work to resolve a crisis in an armed conflict zone.
Director: Fernando León de Aranoa
Starring: Tim Robbins, Benicio Del Toro, Olga Kurylenko
Comment: I love both Tim Robbins and Benicio Del Toro!

donderdag 24 december 2015

Top 5 Thursday: Harry Potter Characters

I did this before, I ranked my favorite Harry Potter characters. But I’m a little older now and I reread and rewatched all the books and movies. My opinion has changed and I have adjusted my top 5. Here are my favorite characters from the Harry Potter series.

5. Minerva McGonagall
As the head of Gryffindor house and Deputy Headmistress of Hogwarts, Professor McGonagall can be strict and disciplinary. But she can also be kind, the one who sometimes lets you get away with a bit of mischief. And that’s why Minerva McGonagall is so endearing and loving.
4. Neville Longbottom
Neville Longbottom is the quintessential dimwit-turned-hero. When we first meet him at Hogwarts, Neville is shy, introvert and simply not that good at magic. He is loveable. While he begins to show loyalty and signs of bravery early on, it isn’t until Neville’s fifth year and his participation in Dumbledore’s Army, that we see him truly come into his own.
3. Remus Lupin
Hogwarts has had many teachers for the Defense Against the Dark Arts, but Remus Lupin was very different from Quirrel and Lockhart. Lupin is a kind and caring presence in Harry’s life. While Dumbledore was already looking out for Harry, Remus Lupin was a much more available source of comfort. The fact that Lupin is also a werewolf gives his character an extra dimension, when we see this thoughtful, warm man works to control the monster he turns into.
2. Hermione Granger
Hermione Granger is Harry and Ron’s best girl-pal. She is so much more than just a token throw-in for female readers/ viewers to identify with. Hermione is very logical, upright and good. And while she is first painted as a brainy do-gooder who always plays by the rules, it’s fun to watch Hermione develop into so much over the course of the series. She remains the voice of reason, but she’ll break the law without hesitation if it’s for the greater good.
1. Sirius Black
Sirius Black had been sentenced to the prison of Azkaban for murdering twelve Muggles, but Black is in fact an innocent man. Sirius was a close friend to James and Lily Potter, so much they named him as Harry’s godfather. While he maintains a sort of edgy, rebellious appeal, it’s the father/ son relationship that begins to develop between Sirius and Harry that endears the character to me.
They Almost Made the Top 5: Ron Weasly, Dobby the House Elf, Rubeus Hagrid, Mad Eye Moody, Albus Dumbledore, Severus Snape, Luna Lovegood, Ginny Weasly, Fred & George Weasly

woensdag 23 december 2015

100 Movie Challenge 2015 - # 166: Krampus

Director: Michael Dougherty
Genre: Horror/ Comedy
Runtime: 98 minutes
Year: 2015
Starring: Adam Scott, Toni Collette, David Koechner, Allison Tolman, Conchata Ferrell

Description: A boy who has a bad Christmas ends up accidentally summoning a Christmas demon to his family home.

Review: ‘Tis the season. Getting ready for the holidays, spending time with your family, Christmas gifts. But in this film Santa isn’t coming to town. There is a myth that tells us about a creature named Krampus. He comes to punish you. Krampus is a beast with big horns and hooves. He’s not alone, because he has some little helpers. And they are no cute elves.
The film starts with the theme solidarity, or actually the lack of it. Aggressive shoppers, unthankful children and an anti-social family. There is a big contrast between the family whose house we’re visiting, and the family that is coming over for Christmas. One is very sympathetic, the other really unlikeable.
The film introduces us to the characters and then Krampus arrives and all hell breaks loose. The visual effects are very good. Only impossible shots are made with the help of a computer. There aren’t a lot of digital touches.
Director Michael Dougherty made the small Halloween film “Trick ‘r Treat”, a horror comedy. “Krampus” is in that same genre. The film has a strong fundament, is original and sometimes a bit gory. It doesn’t shy away from controversy, because even kids aren’t safe in this horror film. The movie is never scary though. I can best describe the film as “Christmas Vacation” meets “Gremlins”.
The movie is called “Krampus”, but Krampus himself isn’t in the film that much. His helpers are more present and cause more damage than Krampus. There is also one point in the movie where I thought the movie ended. That was actually the perfect ending. Sadly that’s not the issue here, because there were two more scenes. One of them was not necessary.
Overall “Krampus” was a fun horror comedy that I highly enjoyed. Maybe this will be the go to movie for the next Christmases.

Rating: 3,5/ 5

100 Movie Challenge 2015 - # 165: Sixteen Candles

Director: John Hughes
Genre: Drama/ Comedy/ Romance
Runtime: 93 minutes
Year: 1984
Starring: Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Michael Schoeffling, Joan Cusack, John Cusack

Description: A young girl's (Molly Ringwald) "sweet sixteenth" birthday becomes anything but special as she suffers from every embarrassment possible.

Review: Samantha Baker only wants a few things for her sixteenth birthday: a big party, a car and a boyfriend. She gets nothing instead, because her parents completely forget about her birthday. This all because of her older sister’s wedding. Sam is about to have the worst day of her life, so she says.
“Sixteen Candles” is filled with all the teenage suffering. Small boobs, braces, parents that don’t understand you, first loves. The movie is pretty predictable. Don’t expect Oscar worthy performances or very original jokes.
Eventhough it’s not the most original film, “Sixteen Candles” is a teen comedy that I really enjoyed and an ultimate ‘80s film.

Rating: 3/ 5