Name: Nights In Rodanthe
Running Time (minutes): 97
Description: Adrienne Willis, a woman with her life in chaos, retreats to the tiny coastal town of Rodanthe, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, to tend to a friend’s inn for the weekend. Here she hopes to find the tranquility she so desperately needs to rethink the conflicts surrounding her — a wayward husband who has asked to come home, and a teen-aged daughter who resents her every decision. Almost as soon as Adrienne gets to Rodanthe, a major storm is forecast and a guest named Dr. Paul Flanner arrive. The only guest at the inn, Flanner is not on a weekend escape but rather is there to face his own crisis of conscience. Now, with the storm closing in, the two turn to each other for comfort and, in one magical weekend, set in motion a life-changing romance that will resonate throughout the rest of their lives.
Stars: Diane Lane, Richard Gere and Christopher Meloni
Genres: Drama, Romance
I was first going to write that I really liked it except for the teenage daughter and the letter-writing, but then the ending came, which sort of ruined it. It was touching, but I’d have preferred another conclusion. Diane Lane does have an attractive voice.
The score was rather interesting. One romantic dialogue was scored with a cello solo, which really worked, so I then hoped that their first kiss would receive some grand orchestral music, but that didn’t happen at all. It got percussion. There were nice romantic moments, but they could have been more.
Name: Mr. And Mrs. Smith
Running Time (minutes): 120
Description: A bored married couple is surprised to learn that they are both assassins hired by competing agencies to kill each other.
Stars: Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Adam Brody
Genre: Action, Comedy, Romance
Turned it off after 10 minutes.
Name: The Maze Runner
Running Time (minutes): 113
Description: Thomas wakes up in an elevator, remembering nothing but his own name. He emerges into a world of about 60 teen boys who have learned to survive in a completely enclosed environment, subsisting on their own agriculture and supplies. A new boy arrives every 30 days. The original group has been in “The Glade” for three years, trying to find a way to escape through the Maze that surrounds their living space. They have begun to give up hope. Then a comatose girl arrives with a strange note, and their world begins to change. There are some great, fast-paced action scenes, particularly those involving the nightmarish Grievers who plague the boys.
Stars: Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Will Poulter
Genres: Action, Mystery, Sci-Fi
Not bad at all, though I don’t understand how people can be stuck in a maze for three years and then hate someone who’s finally willing to do something about it. Also don’t understand how the doctor committed suicide and then survived, but I’ll be interested in the sequel. The score’s dramatic parts are way better than its brainless action cues. Also, why in the world does everything need to thump, bang and clang these days? Even when you configure your speakers in such a way that all the low frequencies should be filtered out, half of it still sounds like an earthquake.
Name: I, Robot
Running Time (minutes): 115
Description: Set in a future Earth (2035 A.D.) where robots are common assistants and workers for their human owners, this is the story of “robotophobic” Chicago Police Detective Del Spooner’s investigation into the murder of Dr. Alfred Lanning, who works at U.S. Robotics, in which a robot, Sonny, appears to be implicated, even though that would mean the robot had violated the Three Laws of Robotics, which is apparently impossible. It seems impossible because… if robots can break those laws, there’s nothing to stop them from taking over the world, as humans have grown to become completely dependent upon their robots. Or maybe… they already have? Aiding Spooner in his investigation is a psychologist, Dr. Susan Calvin, who specializes in the psyches of robots.
Stars: Will Smith, Bridget Moynahan and Bruce Greenwood
Genres: Action, Mystery, Sci-Fi
Pretty good. The sound effects were nicely distributed across all the channels. The score worked but was unmemorable. Will Smith’s ‘aaarghs’ did sound all the same.
Name: Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them
Running Time (minutes): 123
Description: Holding a mysterious leather suitcase in his hand, Newt Scamander, a young activist wizard from England visits New York while he is on his way to Arizona. Inside his expanding suitcase hides a wide array of diverse, magical creatures that exist among us, ranging from tiny, twig-like ones, to majestic and humongous ones. It is the middle of the 20s and times are troubled since the already fragile equilibrium of secrecy between the unseen world of wizards and the ordinary or “No-Maj” people that the MACUSA Congress struggles to maintain is at risk of being unsettled. In the meantime, the voices against wizardry keep growing with daily protests led by Mary Lou Barebone and fuelled by the increasing disasters ascribed to a dark wizard, Gellert Grindelwald. At the same time, by a twist of fate, Newt’s precious suitcase will be switched with the identical one of an aspiring No-Maj baker, Jacob Kowalski, while demoted Auror Tina Goldstein arrests Newt for being an unregistered wizard.
Stars: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol
Genres: Adventure, Family, Fantasy
I finally got around to watching this with audio description. When I watched it in the cinema with my family and without AD in November, I liked it. Now I love it. The story is excellent. My only tiny remark would be that I have some questions about the whole Obliviation plot at the ending, but I won’t say more, only that this film is so good that I’m almost prepared to forgive David Yates’s less enchanting entries in the Harry Potter series.
James Newton Howard’s music is absolutely brilliant. If you want a fantastic film score and are wondering where to find it, seek no further. What I truly liked about this one is that, for the first time since Goblet of Fire, we’re finally getting some magical music again. The MACUSA theme is glorious, the creatures receive stunning musical identities and then I haven’t even mentioned Newt’s heroic theme. I only don’t understand why Hedwig’s Theme randomly appears when they enter a zoo.
One final note about the audio description: Although it was very nice to finally listen to it, it affects the volume of the music too much. Example: Tina and Newt arrive at the American Ministry for Magic while the enchanting music builds and builds, but the dazzling orchestral spectacle that follows gets completely lost in the mix. Oh well, I’ll just have to watch it without AD one day.
Name: Dead Man Walking
Running Time (minutes): 122
Description: A convicted murderer on Death Row and the nun who befriends him. Through the portrayal of finely drawn characters and their interactions as the days, hours, and minutes tick down to the condemned man’s execution, powerful emotions are unleashed. While Matthew Poncelet and Sister Prejean desperately try to gain a stay of execution from the governor or the courts, scenes are intercut from the brutal crime, gradually revealing the truth about the events that transpired. In addition to her temporal help, the nun also tries to reach out spiritually and assist as a guide to salvation.
1995 Oscar Winner!
1995 Oscar Best Actress: Susan Sarandon
Stars: Susan Sarandon, Sean Penn, Robert Prosky
Genres: Crime, Drama
What surprised me most was how I hated the guy on death row at the start, but felt more and more emotional as the story unfolded. Still finding it hard to sympathise with him, but that didn’t make the whole ordeal more bearable. The score is sufficient, but I honestly don’t understand why it sounds to Eastern and there should have been more music.
Name: The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Running Time (minutes): 142
Description: We’ve always known that Spider-Man’s most important conflict has been within himself: the struggle between the ordinary obligations of Peter Parker and the extraordinary responsibilities of Spider-Man. But in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Peter Parker finds that his greatest battle is about to begin. It’s great to be Spider-Man. For Peter Parker, there’s no feeling quite like swinging between skyscrapers, embracing being the hero, and spending time with Gwen. But being Spider-Man comes at a price: only Spider-Man can protect his fellow New Yorkers from the formidable villains that threaten the city. With the emergence of Electro, Peter must confront a foe far more powerful than he. And as his old friend, Harry Osborn, returns, Peter comes to realize that all of his enemies have one thing in common: Oscorp.
Stars: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx
Genres: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
I don’t know… Was it bad or passable?
First of all, everyone really has dumb lines in this movie. Villains would be so much more convincing if they didn’t feel the need to say things like ‘It’s time to meet your destiny!’ all the time. A romance would be much more believable if the girlfriend didn’t state matter-of-factly: ‘I am breaking up with you, now.’, or if Spider-Man didn’t “write” ‘I love you’ and then added: ‘It says I love you because I love you.’ for good measure. Oh, and why exactly does Electro hate Spider-Man? I still didn’t figure that out. When Spider-Man tries to say cool stuff, it’s weird. When he starts crying into Gwen’s shoulder one moment after that, it’s weird too. Especially in the final scene, Spider-Man really comes across as an emotionally imbalanced person. At one point, he asks his aunt to tell him everything about his dad and that it’s okay that it’ll hurt him. The poor woman then utters three sentences and it already proves to be too much for our superhero. The actor who plays Harry sucks as well and the number of villains is just over the top. Where do they keep coming from?
Hans Zimmer’s score was better than I thought it would be. I’ve been going through an anti-Zimmer phase over the past few months, so was already happy to discover that the score wasn’t written in D minor. The main theme is good, but I don’t see the point of composers re-inventing musical identities that have already been established. James Horner’s theme was brilliant, why not use it? Also, the entire score sounded as if it was being played by a computer. What’s wrong with a traditional orchestra?
Running Time (minutes): 113
Description: Wealthy, brilliant, and meticulous Ted Crawford, a structural engineer in Los Angeles, shoots his wife and entraps her lover. He signs a confession; at the arraignment, he asserts his rights to represent himself and asks the court to move immediately to trial. The prosecutor is Willy Beachum, a hotshot who’s soon to join a fancy civil-law firm, told by everyone it’s an open and shut case. Crawford sees Beachum’s weakness, the hairline fracture of his character: Willy’s a winner. The engineer sets in motion a clockwork crime with all the objects moving in ways he predicts.
Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Ryan Gosling and David Strathairn
Genres: Crime, Drama, Mystery
Pretty great! Excellent story, effective though unmemorable score. And blimey, the audiodescriber had a glorious Oxford accent.
Name: Catch Me If You Can
Running Time (minutes): 141
Description: An FBI agent tracks down and catches a young con artist who successfully impersonated an airline pilot, doctor, assistant attorney general and history professor, cashing more than $2.5 million in fraudulent checks in 26 countries.
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks and Christopher Walken
I had already watched this one years ago, but hardly remembered any of it. Nice film, but at times a little disjointed and too fast-paced. The only really problematic aspect was the parents: I just don’t really understand the character of his dad and particularly his mum, and I certainly don’t get why Brenda’s father apparently thinks it’s totally cool that his girl marries a shady character when that girl was banished from the house for years. Then Tom Hanks briefly mentions Frank’s dad is dead, his mum just has another child without telling him anything about it… That’s just strange. The score is great. I just love that ‘Joy Ride’ theme so much.
Running Time (minutes): 104
Description: Catwoman is the story of shy, sensitive artist Patience Philips, a woman who can’t seem to stop apologizing for her own existence. She works as a graphic designer for Hedare Beauty, a mammoth cosmetics company on the verge of releasing a revolutionary anti-aging product. When Patience inadvertently happens upon a dark secret her employer is hiding, she finds herself in the middle of a corporate conspiracy. What happens next changes Patience forever. In a mystical twist of fate, she is transformed into a woman with the strength, speed, agility and ultra-keen senses of a cat. With her newfound prowess and feline intuition, Patience becomes Catwoman, a sleek and stealthy creature balancing on the thin line between good and bad. Like any wildcat, she’s dangerous, elusive and untamed. Her adventures are complicated by a burgeoning relationship with Tom Lone, a cop who has fallen for Patience but cannot shake his fascination with the mysterious Catwoman…
Stars: Halle Berry, Sharon Stone and Benjamin Bratt
Genres: Action, Crime, Fantasy
Okay, uh, what was that? I’d have liked it if the company had accidentally turned her into Catwoman with one of their products, but this… Senseless action, stupid plot twists (cats reviving humans, for God’s sake…)… I just kept watching because it’s too late to start watching anything else. This was really ridiculous. Sharon Stone’s husband has the worst fake British accent I’ve ever heard. Pff, waste of time.
One interesting note about the audio description: they used a woman for the story, but a man to read the credits. Nice touch.