The Forgotten

Name: The Forgotten
Year: 2004
Rating: PG-13
Running Time (minutes): 91
Description: A grieving mother, Telly Paretta, is struggling to cope with the loss of her 9-year-old son. She is stunned when her psychiatrist and her husband tell her that she has created eight years of memories of a son she never had. But when she meets the father of one of her son’s friends who is having the same experience, Telly embarks on a mission to prove her son’s existence and her sanity.
Stars: Julianne Moore, Dominic West and Christopher Kovaleski
Genres: Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

It wasn’t bad, certainly not as bad as Rotten Tomatoes claims it is. The only huge flaw came when Julianne Moore says to her sidekick: ‘Do you think your daughter is still alive?’ And then he goes, ‘Maybe, yeah, I dunno,’ in such a ridiculously uninterested manner that it was laughable. But the plot itself was quite interesting and I liked how they kept up the tension till the very end. The very last scene, however, ruins it. Julianne Moore is great as usual, but, also as usual, tends to overplay the frantic part. But what’s worse, Moore being frantic or telling Moore at the very end that – spoiler alert! – the aliens did it? If you’ve got Julianne Moore as your protagonist, put a little thought into it, for God’s sake.

James Horner’s score is effective and at times quite moving (the opening cue, for instance). I didn’t really like the electric guitar, but the Inception-like dreamy sound effects at the end were quite interesting.

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The Grand Budapest Hotel

Name: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Year: 2014
Rating: PG
Running Time (minutes): 100
Description: The Grand Budapest Hotel recounts the adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend. The story involves the theft and recovery of a priceless Renaissance painting and the battle for an enormous family fortune – all against the back-drop of a suddenly and dramatically changing Continent.
Stars: Ralph Fiennes, F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalric
Genres: Comedy

Pretty good! Ralph Fiennes is amazing and the dry humour throughout the film really worked thanks to him.

The score had some very nice, contemporary cues.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Name: Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull
Year: 2008
Rating: PG-13
Running Time (minutes): 122
Description: During the Cold War, Soviet agents watch Professor Henry Jones when a young man brings him a coded message from an aged, demented colleague, Henry Oxley. Led by the brilliant Irina Spalko, the Soviets tail Jones and the young man, Mutt, to Peru. With Oxley’s code, they find a legendary skull made of a single piece of quartz. If Jones can deliver the skull to its rightful place, all may be well; but if Irina takes it to its origin, she’ll gain powers that could endanger the West. Aging professor and young buck join forces with a woman from Jones’s past to face the dangers of the jungle, Russia, and the supernatural.
Stars: Harrison Ford, Cate Blanchett and Shia LaBeouf
Genres: Action, Adventure

Uh, well… It was all right, I guess. Not as bad as Temple of Doom, but certainly not better than any of the others either. I really did not like Mutt though, got a problem with that? Always says obvious things. It was nice to see Marion again, Harrison Ford was great, but Mac was just a bit stupid and thank God Cate Capshaw didn’t return. The plot as a whole became too supernatural for me to be believable as well. Oh, and if Irina is Russian, why exactly does she talk to the skull in English at the end? Aren’t we supposed to revert to our native languages when we’re under pressure?

The score had good moments. Mutt’s theme is really nice and hearing the old themes again, especially the father-son theme, was great. Also liked the new variations on the Raiders March at the very end of the credits. I did think that the recording lacked some reverb, but overall the performance was great.

Overall, I think I shouldn’t have watched all the films in a month, it all became a little too repetitive in the end. Nevertheless, my order of preference is: 3, 1, 4, 2.

Inferno

Name: Inferno
Year: 2016
Rating: PG
Running Time (minutes): 121
Description: Academy Award winner Ron Howard returns to direct the latest bestseller in Dan Brown’s billion-dollar Robert Langdon series, Inferno, which finds the famous symbologist on a trail of clues tied to the great Dante himself. When Langdon wakes up in an Italian hospital with amnesia, he teams up with Sienna Brooks, a doctor he hopes will help him recover his memories. Together, they race across Europe and against the clock to stop a madman from unleashing a global virus that would wipe out half of the world’s population.
Stars: Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones, Irrfan Khan
Genres: Action, Adventure, Crime

Pfffffffff… I feel out of breath and exhausted. What an insanely fast-paced film. The first half wasn’t bad, especially the first half hour, though I quickly became tired of the fact that the whole thing is basically a nightmare from which we don’t seem to wake up. Felicity Jones and Tom Hanks are good, but they don’t seem to get a chance to think for, like, two seconds. As the story unfolded, I slowly lost interest. How did Sienna die, or did she die at all? Who is Buchard and who does he work for? I have no idea anymore because I didn’t get ten seconds to just relax and understand anything. Flashback, cut to another scene, flashback, chase, vision, flashback, action… Everything was a blur. The provoste is good, but the love story between Langdon and Zimsky feels unnecessary. If they had cut that out and allowed the remainder of the plot ten minutes more airtime, or twenty, things would have been so much better. As a movie, it’s tolerable at best, as a book adaptation, the ending sucks.

And the score… I had already heard bad things about its over-reliance on electronics. I was surprised to find I actually liked some of them, though the low frequencies are way too over-emphasised, as always. Zimmer apparently also doesn’t realise that you could score a religious sub plot using choir and orchestra: not everything needs to be synthesized.

Also, it’s ridiculous how every single action receives huge sound effects. Opening a canister does not sound like a canon, putting down a cup of coffee does not make you jump.

Christ, I’m still feeling hyperactive.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Name: Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade
Year: 1989
Rating: PG-13
Running Time (minutes): 127
Description: Three years after he recovered The Ark of the Covenant, Jones recovered an artifact that he found as a kid, the Cross of Francisco De Coronado from treasure hunters. Now, Jones discovers the history of another biblical artifact called “The Holy Grail”. He was also informed that his father, Henry Jones, is missing. Jones has to find his father who is looking for the Grail and will become involved in the search of the Holy Grail along with his father, as well as fighting the Nazis to reach it.
Stars: Harrison Ford, Sean Connery and Alison Doody
Genres: Action, Adventure

Wow, I never expected it to be THAT good! Where to start? The whole thing sounded so much better overall, you’d think they made the other two films thirty years ago. Though the story is at times absurd for non-religious people, it was much more compelling and interesting than the first two. Actually, I’d rather just pretend Temple of Doom never existed. What a drag that was compared to this one. This entry was also much more light-hearted and even funny at times. Sean Connery really hash an enormoush speech defect, good gracioush.

But the best aspect was undoubtedly Williams’ fantastic score. The holy grail theme is just magnificent. This was the first time that JW moved me so deeply, I just couldn’t get enough of those solemn brass chords. Then the theme heard in ‘Scherzo for Motorcycle and Orchestra’… I love it when Williams uses trumpets and oboes playing triplets at the same time. Then the Nazi theme… I’ve been watching a lot of Williams films this month: three Indy movies and Born on the Fourth of July, and then I also listened to a bunch of Boston Pops albums of his music. Now I’m officially hooked on his scores and this one had better have a good album representation.

Oh, and I also liked the London accent of the audio-describer.

PS. I Love You

Name: PS. I Love You
Year: 2007
Rating: PG-13
Running Time (minutes): 126
Description: Holly Kennedy is beautiful, smart and married to the love of her life – a passionate, funny, and impetuous Irishman named Gerry. So when Gerry’s life is taken by an illness, it takes the life out of Holly. The only one who can help her is the person who is no longer there. Nobody knows Holly better than Gerry. So it’s a good thing he planned ahead. Before he died, Gerry wrote Holly a series of letters that will guide her, not only through her grief, but in rediscovering herself. The first message arrives on Holly’s 30th birthday in the form of a cake, and to her utter shock, a tape recording from Gerry, who proceeds to tell her to get out and “celebrate herself”. In the weeks and months that follow, more letters from Gerry are delivered in surprising ways, each sending her on a new adventure and each signing off in the same way; P.S. I Love You. Holly’s mother and best friends begin to worry that Gerry’s letters are keeping Holly tied to the past…
Stars: Hilary Swank, Gerard Butler and Harry Connick Jr
Genres: Drama, Romance

It’s amazing how a summary can seem to promising, but that you end up turning the film off after six minutes because its absurdity simply isn’t acceptable.

Born on the Fourth of July

Name: Born On The Fourth Of July
Year: 1989
Rating: R
Running Time (minutes): 145
Description: The biography of Ron Kovic. Paralyzed in the Vietnam war, he becomes an anti-war and pro-human rights political activist after feeling betrayed by the country he fought for.
Stars: Tom Cruise, Raymond J. Barry, Caroline Kava
Genres: Biography, Drama, War

Hmm… I suppose that there’s a great movie hidden inside these 2 hours, but there’s way too much scenes that really don’t advance the story in any way. I appreciated the film in the beginning, but after he returned from the war, it took the main character like an hour to realise that the entire Vietnam thing was a total hoax and meanwhile I was bored to death. The argument with the parents and the subsequent Mexico part was very touching, but all the unnecessary scenes throughout the film made the whole thing a lot less powerful than it could have been.

Williams’ score is great. I just love how the main theme (strings section part) contains just one minor chord. It perfectly describes the two parts of the war (glory and utter failure) and how they are balanced in the film. Overall, the music was rather repetitive, but with such a great theme, it was hardly a problem.

Add to that the fact that the volume of the audio description was way too soft and that some scenes were badly described…

And now I’m going to the bathroom to take a shower. It’ll do my country a lot of good and I’m sure I’ll feel more glorious, honourable, worthwhile and prepared to fight and serve my people after a good shower. Fuck the world, fuck the war, fuck all of you, fuck communism!

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Name: Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom
Year: 1984
Rating: PG
Running Time (minutes): 118
Description: Set in 1935, a professor, archaeologist, and legendary hero by the name of Indiana Jones is back in action in his newest adventure. But this time he teams up with a night club singer named Wilhelmina “Willie” Scott and a twelve-year-old boy named Short Round. They end up in a small, Indian, distressed village where the people believe that evil spirits have taken all their children away after a sacred precious stone was stolen. They also discover the great mysterious terror surrounding a booby-trapped temple known as the Temple of Doom. Thuggee is beginning to attempt to rise once more, believing that with the power of all five Sankara stones they can rule the world. Now, it’s all up to Indiana to put an end to the Thuggee campaign, rescue the lost children, win the girl and conquer the Temple of Doom.
Stars: Harrison Ford, Kate Capshaw and Jonathan Ke Quan
Genres: Action, Adventure

Interesting premise. First half was good, second half was dead boring. Jesus, what a waste of time that was. Did this film win an award for ‘most screams in one film’? Also, you can only have so many insects and disgusting meals in ten minutes before it totally loses its effect. Willie was sometimes nice but mostly annoying. Really liked Harrison Ford in this one.

Only the romantic cues of the score appealed to me and the recording badly needs some reverb.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Name: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Year: 2016
Rating: PG
Running Time (minutes): 123
Description: All looks lost for the Rebellion against the Empire as they learn of the existence of a new super weapon, the Death Star. Once a possible weakness in its construction is uncovered, the Rebel Alliance must set out on a desperate mission to steal the plans for the Death Star. The future of the entire galaxy now rests upon its success.
Stars: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Alan Tudyk
Genres: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

I really enjoyed it. I only think that too many good people died rather quickly and really didn’t like K2: the voice was just… off. Use C3-PO, but don’t try to replace him, it doesn’t work. Felecity Jones’s character and performance was terrific, I really need to watch her in Inferno as soon as I can. And even though I’m not a fan of the current political correctness obsession that requires everyone to force minorities into every single film, I liked Chirrut and demand to know where I can sign up for Jedi training… and why J.K. Rowling hasn’t provided an answer to the question: (How) can blind people use a wand?

And now a word about the score. I haven’t been following the debate at all on this one, but my answer to ‘is Giacchino the next John Williams’ is definitely YES. While I found that the thematic references to JW’s scores didn’t suffice (why use only the first half of the Force – AND WHERE IS THE MAIN TITLE FANFARE?!?), most of the score sounded like something JW could have written. Jin’s theme is great. To write such music in such a short amount of time is impressive and even though I generally don’t like frantic JW action music, I’m embracing it these days just because I’ve totally had it with Hans Zimmer’s style popping up literally everywhere (including in a Belgian travel documentary). But someone needs to tell Giacchino about reverb.

Bolt

Name: Bolt
Year: 2008
Rating: PG
Running Time (minutes): 96
Description: Bolt, an American White Shepherd, has lived his whole life on the set of his action TV show, where he believes he has superpowers. When separated from the studio by accident, he meets a female alley cat named Mittens and a hamster named Rhino. Along the way, he learns that he doesn’t have superpowers and that the show is not real.
Stars: John Travolta, Miley Cyrus and Susie Essman
Genres: Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Family

Fun little movie.

And I just love John Powell’s music for these kinds of animation films. Orchestral, unpredictable, heroic, funny… Great composer.