Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close

Name: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
Year: 2011
Rating: PG
Running Time (minutes): 129
Description: A troubled young boy, Oskar, is trying to cope with the loss of his father. Oskar starts lashing out at his mother and the world. Until a year later, he discovers a mysterious key in his father’s belongings and embarks on a scavenger hunt to find the matching lock, just as he used to when his father was alive. On this journey he is bound to meet a lot of people and learn a lot about himself and his family, but will he ever find the lock?
Stars: Thomas Horn, Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock
Genres: Adventure, Drama, Mystery

The first half I enjoyed (for want of a better word), but then I really started wondering why on earth I didn’t turn it off (or why someone didn’t kill that damn kid). Basically for Desplat’s marvellous music. Hated the kid, and what on earth is so extremely loud and incredibly close, his pervasive voice? Needless to say, Tom Hanks is brilliant and Sandra Bullock was certainly good too, but that kid…

E.T.

Name: E.T.
Year: 1982
Rating: PG
Running Time (minutes): 115
Description: Elliot is your normal boy, until one day, when he meets a little lost alien. Elliot decides to keep the alien, in which he gives the name E.T. Elliot works with E.T. in trying to find him a way to get back home. Elliot must make the difficult sacrifice. Whether to help his new friend or to lose him? Whatever the decision is, Elliot must keep him hidden, as someone else is out to look for him.
Stars: Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore and Peter Coyote
Genres: Adventure, Drama, Family, Fantasy, Sci-Fi

Loved ET, didn’t like Elliot. I also thought lots of scenes had awkward transitions. The audio-describer was too busy enjoying herself (which was quite cute at times, especially in the ending) to explain everything clearly, namely:
– Why did the doctors/government/police/etc know where ET was? What were they tracking all the time?
– Do aliens invade the house only to leave ET lying in that bath? No, apparently that were te doctors.
– And why on Earth does Elliot become sick as well? Makes no sense.

The main theme by John Williams is of course brilliant, but there’s another motif that really resembles the Imperial March from Star Wars an awful lot, the government theme I think. One does not simply plagiarise oneself like that! I also don’t like how Williams tackles emotional scenes. Apart from the flying theme, the entire finale didn’t move me at all, just like the music when Elliot talks to ET at a critical moment and it’s not the first time Williams fails me when it comes to emotional music. He’s great at majesty, but when it comes to feelings, his music just never works for me.

Elysium

Name: Elysium
Year: 2013
Rating: PG-13
Running Time (minutes): 109
Description: In the year 2154, two classes of people exist: the very wealthy, who live on a pristine man-made space station called Elysium, and the rest, who live on an overpopulated, ruined Earth. Secretary Delacourt, a government official, will stop at nothing to enforce anti-immigration laws and preserve the luxurious lifestyle of the citizens of Elysium. That doesn’t stop the people of Earth from trying to get in by any means they can. When unlucky Max is backed into a corner, he agrees to take on a daunting mission that, if successful, will not only save his life but could bring equality to these polarized worlds.
Stars: Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley
Genres: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi

Not bad… But the ending is totally ridiculous, as if they couldn’t get Max to that medbay… And I hate Jodie Foster. Is Silence of the Lambs the only film where she doesn’t play a bitch?
Interesting score though, a blend of Patrick Doyle, Hans Zimmer/Remote Control Productions and… something else.

Diamonds Are Forever

Name: James Bond 07: Diamonds Are Forever
Year: 1971
Rating: NR – Not Rated
Running Time (minutes): 120
Description: James Bond’s mission is to find out who has been smuggling diamonds, which are not re-appearing. He adopts another identity in the form of Peter Franks. He joins up with Tiffany Case, and acts as if he is smuggling the diamonds, but everyone is hungry for these diamonds. He also has to avoid Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd, the dangerous couple who does not leave anyone in their way. Ernst Stavro Blofeld isn’t out of the question. He may have changed his looks, but is he linked with the heist? And if he is, can Bond finally defeat his ultimate enemy.
Stars: Sean Connery, Jill St. John and Charles Gray
Genres: Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Meh… A few good jokes, but at times I was unable to follow the plot because of the sloppy audio description, which was surprising because Helen Vasey usually does a good job.

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes

Name: Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes
Year: 2014
Rating: PG
Running Time (minutes): 130
Description: A growing nation of genetically evolved apes led by Caesar is threatened by a band of human survivors of the devastating virus unleashed a decade earlier. They reach a fragile peace, but it proves short-lived, as both sides are brought to the brink of a war that will determine who will emerge as Earth’s dominant species.
Stars: Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Andy Serkis
Genres: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi

Very good story. But Caesar’s speaking abilities are too advanced: at least his ‘no!’ from the first film was impressive. The score never impressed me: the final cue was horribly anti-clamactic, though the end credits music is perfect for annoouncing a sequel.

Dances With Wolves

Name: Dances With Wolves
Year: 1990
Rating: PG-13
Running Time (minutes): 181
Description: John Dunbar is dubbed a hero after he accidentally leads Union troops to a victory during the Civil War. He requests a position on the western frontier, but finds it deserted. He soon finds out he is not alone, but meets a wolf he dubs “Two-socks” and a curious Indian tribe. Dunbar quickly makes friends with the tribe, and discovers a white woman who was raised by the Indians. He gradually earns the respect of these native people, and sheds his white-man’s ways.
Stars: Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell and Graham Greene
Genres: Adventure, Drama, Western
1990 Oscar Best Picture Winner!

Slooooooooow. Loooooooong. Teeeeeeedious. If they had left out half of the scenes, no one would have noticed anything and the ending isn’t worth the wait. The score had some very nice moments, but the action cues were somehow disappointing.

Cloudy With a Chance Of Meatballs

Name: Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs
Year: 2009
Rating: PG
Running Time (minutes): 90
Description: Flint Lockwood thinks he’s a genius. But none of the things he invented are things that make sense or are useful. However, he has the support of his mother but when she dies, he’s left alone with his father who thinks he should give it up. When the community that he lives in, is in an economic crisis because their primary source of income a sardine cannery was shut down, Flint decides to try his latest invention, a machine that can turn water into food. But something goes wrong and the machine ends up in the atmosphere. Later it starts raining food. And so the shifty mayor tries to use this as a way to help their community. But when Flint sense something’s wrong with the machine, the mayor convinces him to ignore it. But as Flint predict chaos ensues.
Stars: Anna Faris, Bill Hader and Bruce Campbell
Genres: Animation, Comedy, Family, Fantasy

Not bad at all. Good story and sound effects, but Anna Farris could have done a better job playing Sam. And Mark Mothersbaugh’s score was really excellent!

Cinderella

Name: Cinderella
Year: 2015
Rating: G
Running Time (minutes): 105
Description: A girl named Ella (Cinderella) has the purest heart living in a cruel world filled with evil stepsisters and an evil stepmother out to ruin Ella’s life. Ella comes one with her pure heart when she meets the prince and dances her way to a better life with glass shoes, and a little help from her fairy godmother, of course.
Stars: Lily James, Cate Blanchett, Richard Madden
Genres: Drama, Family, Fantasy

Felt like an idiot watching it (age issues, you know) but nothing beats Patrick Doyle’s gorgeous score in glorious 5.1 surround sound: magic it was.

Everything dramatically slows down after the ball, which was rather rushed, but at least my mind is empty now and that was all I was expecting. Helena Bonham Carter exceded my expetations as well: something in her voice doesn’t agree with me, I had preferred Julie Walters to be the fairy godmother and I just keep thinking of Bellatrix every time I hear her. Lily James is too bland and her ‘I forgive you’ to the stepmother is laughable and unconvincing. Stellan SkarsgĂ„rd was as good as always and Holliday Grainger is one nasty piece of work (that’s a compliment).

Shadow Dancer

Name: Shadow Dancer
Year: 2012
Rating: R
Running Time (minutes): 101
Description: Set in 1990s Belfast, an active member of the IRA becomes an informant for MI5 in order to protect her son’s welfare.
Stars: Clive Owen, Andrea Riseborough, Gillian Anderson
Genres: Drama, Thriller

It’s a good story, but the way it was told just isn’t my thing. Hardly any music, let alone Irish music, a barely functional score, doom and gloom etc. Didn’t understand the ending either and it was really weird that the protagonist suddenly started kising the undercover agent fron no apparent reason. Also surprised how any IRA member could decide to turn against the IRA in two minutes.

Changeling

Name: Changeling
Year: 2008
Rating: R
Running Time (minutes): 141
Description: Los Angeles, 1928. A single mother returns from work to find her nine-year-old son gone. She calls the LAPD to initiate a search. Five months later, a boy is found in Illinois who fits the description; he says he’s her son. To fanfare and photos, the LAPD reunite mother and son, but she insists he’s not her boy. The cops dismiss her as either a liar or hysterical. When she joins a minister in his public criticism of the police, they in turn use government power to silence and intimidate her. Meanwhile, a cop goes to a dilapidated ranch to find a Canadian lad who’s without legal status; the youth tells a grisly tale. There’s redress for murder; is there redress for abuse of power?
Stars: Angelina Jolie, Colm Feore and Amy Ryan
Genres: Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Sickening. Why did I watch that? It wasn’t bad, but too harrowing. Angelie Jolie is terrific (her ‘Did you kill my son?!’ gave me goosebumps) and it was a nice surprise to see Michael Kelly play such a different role. Colm Feore’s performance was noteworthy as well, while Clint Eastwood’s score is barely functional. Leave composing to composers.