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Falling Down (1993)

Falling Down (1993)

What does it take to bring a man to the breaking point?

A little warm weather? A traffic jam? An annoying fly? A school bus full of unruly kids who throw stuff out the windows? Unjustly inflated prices? An immigrant who hasn't learned your language? An impolite customer experience? A broken marriage? A lost job? A daughter who doesn't want to see you anymore?

For Michael Douglas - in-movie name still unknown, great movies do things differently like that - I'm not sure where the breaking point was, but that's where this movie starts, and we follow him on a walk through the city as he tries to get home, and give a snow globe to his daughter on her birthday.

Meanwhile a police officer is just about to retire. He's on his last day at work when the news come in that someone assaulted a a shop owner with a baseball bat, that someone was involved in a drive-by, that a shop owner's ended up dead... their ways collide at the pier, in one maybe not so fierce but tense and conclusive showdown, and that's the movie.

It's still bad-ass after all this time.

They paint the city in realistic colors. The golf club green; the rest of it sunny but dusty and cluttered, a paradise of poverty and unfair fates, which eventually brings our main character past the point of no return.

The pacing's calm, but never dull. The dialog's never wasted. The glimpses into the mind of a man who goes so over the line... makes you realize this could happen to just about anybody. What if that was me? What if that was my neighbor?

Maybe not really, but it doesn't feel exaggerated. They might not show the full transformation within the runtime of this movie, but it feels like they nail the essentials. The moment that really counts. The turning point. And that feels like one just about anyone could work their way up to. Though maybe they wouldn't handle things exactly as this guy did...

There's not a wasted minute in this. Everything is so balanced and well-timed. And the thing I like maybe most of all - that makes it feel all the more authentic somehow - is that it all takes place in a day. Just like any other. No excess darkness. No excess anything. And with a very linear progression. There's no break. No night's sleep. No moment of rest after which everything changes - or your perception of it changes. However many days it took for them to film this it's impressive they managed to make every day seem like just the one.

I watched this movie years back too, just recently watched Foo Fighter's Walk video, and had to see this again.

And it still stands. It's still the best executed breaking point movie I've ever seen. It should be up there in IMDB's Top 250. Maybe not the top top but somewhere there. And it better never be falling down.

 rated 5/5: friggin awesome

Dead Man Walking (1995)

Dead Man Walking (1995)

For Lee Robbins and Thelma Bledsoe...

If you wonder who those two people were, Thelma Bledsoe was director Tim Robbins' maternal grandmother, and Lee Robbins his paternal grandfather, who died during the filming of The Shawshank Redemption. One of the reasons Robbins dedicated this film to them is that they helped put him through college. Source.

The movie's a death row story, about a convict, a nun, and the world of hurt they go through together on their path to redemption.

Or rather his redemption. Her learning. Their mutual bonding and individual departure. It's some real shit. Slow but emotional.

I'm impressed with how effortless the soundtrack seems. It comes and goes but never takes over; never feels out of place.

The events are slow. There's a lot of dialog. Not a lot of action.

I think I tried to dislike this just a little for the religious touch, but how can I hate a message of love like this one. Or of a nun who doesn't preach, but does her job, no matter how taxing. I wish more leaders were like her. She reminds me of Mother Theresa. Selfless. Maybe a little naive. At first. Not when it's all over. Not halfway through either.

The movie feels authentic. Sad and authentic. Sad but true.
The mishaps and misunderstandings we go through. The luck of lack thereof we have, and how our lives can turn around in just one bad moment... not that I relate to the bad moment here depicted. Not that I've ever been totally out of my mind on drugs and booze. Not that I ever grew up in that kind of household. Luck's been on my side, but it's a movie you immerse yourself in regardless.

As the credits role I'm struck by the realization that you immediately know it's the nothing-after-the-credits kind too. Whenever did that become a rarity? Whenever did entertainment take over and the essentials of film get so lost? It's like when they stopped respecting the finality of the end they somehow lost an essential part of what a movie is.

That's all. Great watch. Already said it.

 rated 5/5: friggin awesome

Noah (2014)

Noah (2014)

Powerful, powerful movie.

It's a pre/post-apocalyptic epic, telling a saga I'm sure you've already heard of before, now in modern form, starring the girl I'll maybe always recognize most as Hermione from Harry Potter (as long as she's young at least), with Russell Crowe and Anthony Hopkins no less! Ray Winstone's a good villain too, and Jennifer Connelly a good wife.

I immediately wonder if Russell is religious. I wonder if I would've rated this higher if I was. I then wonder if I'm not a bit too judgmental for wondering. With Russell in particular I feel like he'd be up for acting a memorable role no matter what, and this certainly is a memorable role, so why should I be judgmental if he isn't?

And it is a good movie, to say the least. Religious theme or no.

Actually maybe it is as good as it is for that particular reason.
It's old testament style savage, with albeit a little blurry also powerful special effects, a creative flare with the filming (I love the Big Bang bit in particular), and a welcome mix of more fantasy-like elements along for the ride, like the Golems - formerly beings of light.

I like how they tie all these elements together. How the Fantasy elements feel real somehow, and the religious seem all the more fantastic at the same time - be that a good or bad thing in regards to really having faith.

I didn't love the ending, though I feel I should have. It was powerful too.
I loved the rest, though I can't seem to give it top score for some reason, possibly a bias I just can't shake; possibly an ending that dragged on a bit/didn't feel as well-paced and wholesome as the rest of it, but it was great, and I didn't expect it.

It feels almost on par with other somewhat special case iconics like The Book of Eli (all the more for the religious theme there) or The Cell. Just a bit. Maybe for the style and creative approach. And power.

Actually scratch The Cell, it's not similar at all, it just came to mind.
Maybe this really reminds more of this. With a little Lord of The Rings, and a little random post-apocalyptic fantasy movie.

 rated 4.5/5: almost awesome

Frozen 2 (2019)

Frozen 2 (2019)

Find your strength.

Face your fears.

Have I become a sucker for fairy tails and love stories or what?! I'm not crying you're crying. Just some onions here. Just sweating through my eyes. Just practicing for an important role. And rock and role.

Seriously though this movie is good. Powerful. Beautiful. Mysterious in an awesome, epic, adventurous kind of way... even if the cast's sometimes so limited you wonder how she (that'd be Elsa) can really be Queen of anything. What's a kingdom without more people?!

Also feels like the music's sometimes overpowering the song, but that's... pretty much the only real complaint I have here.

The constant proposals may be cheesy, Olaf may be punny in a not always funny way, but the special effects are amazing, the monumental moments are gripping, the magic with flare for flipping, the prospects daunting, the memories haunting, and when it's all over I'm left both inspired and wanting.

My own little adventure. A fantasy like this one. That sparkles shines and glistens.

If you want to be taken for a roller coaster, and left with a little uplifting?

Watch this one.

 rated 5/5: friggin awesome

(more…)

Frozen Fever (2015)

Frozen Fever (2015)

For some reason I thought this one was called Frozen Christmas, and was going to say it'd have been better to call it Frozen Birthday.

Cause that's what it is. Elsa celebrating Anna in song and dance in whimsy, celebratory festive fashion with the cast y'allreadyknow.

It's a nice little short. Well-animated. Well-voiced. A not too particular but not bad, uplifting little Birthday trip with a red thread that's easy to follow. Literally.

 rated 3.5/5: not bad at all

A Frozen Christmas 3 (2018)

A Frozen Christmas 3 (2018)

This one was really not what I was expecting.

Forget a story, it's more so a collective showcase of song, accompanied by oftentimes badly animated either Christmas or snow-related characters, like Santa, a bunch of reindeer homies, black and white gingerbread (we call them peppercookie though) figures, a polar bear with swag, a penguin, a few other similar apparitions... sometimes they're backed up by a simple, snow-based backdrop, a town, or a cozy in-house scene with actually thoroughly atmospheric fireplace and Christmas setup.

It feels a bit simple though... Christmas entertainment on a budget. I could see myself enjoying this in the same way I'd enjoy a performance at school if my kids were in it, if I had any, but as it is... not really what I had in mind.

Why am I watching a Christmas-themed animation in the first place though now that Spring approaches in all its sunlit splendor?

Who knows. It's an uplifting little dose this one but: nothing remarkable or dope.

 rated 2/5: decent

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