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: 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?
Name: The Imitation Game
Running Time (minutes): 114
Description: Based on the real life story of legendary cryptanalyst Alan Turing, the film portrays the nail-biting race against time by Turing and his brilliant team of code-breakers at Britain’s top-secret Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park, during the darkest days of World War II.
Stars: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode
Genres: Biography, Drama, Thriller
Oh, my goodness. I don’t even know where to start.
Okay, I’ll start where one should start. The music. After the obligatory logos had passed, the score immediately started out with glorious piano notes. Alexandre Desplat clearly wanted only one thing: to tell us a story. And oh, did he succeed. This was one of those rare films that I would have loved even if it had been horrible because of the excellent music. But at that time, the truly spectacular main theme hadn’t even announced itself yet. The rest of the score was slightly more subtle, but I’ll probably remember this one forever. I always thought Desplat overuses the piano, but from now on I’ll shelve that objection.
The film itself is also fantastic. It was nice to finally hear what Cumberbatch really sounds like as I’m only familiar with him impersonating Smaug in The Hobbit. And saying that Keira Knightley was brilliant would be stating the obvious.
Great film. Not long, but it doesn’t have to be to tell its moving story.
Name: The Grand Budapest Hotel
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
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.
Name: The Hunger Games – Mockingjay, Part 1
Running Time (minutes): 123
Description: With the Games destroyed, Katniss Everdeen, along with Gale, Finnick and Beetee, end up in the so thought “destroyed” District 13. Under the leadership of President Coin and the advice of her friends, Katniss becomes the “Mockingjay”, the symbol of rebellion for the districts of Panem.
Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth
Genres: Adventure, Sci-Fi
It’s blatantly obvious that they made this film for one reason only: money. And I think that’s just shameless. If you make two good films, there’s no need for such a violent decline. I felt like I’d seen everything before: Katniss crying, Katniss upset, the Capitol destroying buildings, Snow being angry, and the way they treated Katniss like a kind of Pavlov experiment was quite cheap, to say the least, and boring if you do it three times. The score had good moments and Katniss’ song was very moving.
Name: Still Alice
Running Time (minutes): 101
Description: Alice Howland is a renowned linguistics professor happily married with three grown children. All that begins to change when she strangely starts to forget words and then more. When her doctor diagnoses her with Early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease, Alice and her family’s lives face a harrowing challenge as this terminal degenerative neurological ailment slowly progresses to an inevitable conclusion they all dread. Along the way, Alice struggles not only to fight the inner decay, but to make the most of her remaining time to find the love and peace to make simply living worthwhile.
2014 Oscar Winner!
2014 Oscar, Best Supporting Actress, Julianne Moore
Stars: Julianne Moore, Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart
Very moving, though I thought the main character’s decline was handled badly. One moment she was searching for words, the other she didn’t know anything anymore. The score was very subtle, but extremely effective.
Name: Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes
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.
Running Time (minutes): 165
Description: Filmed over 12 years with the same cast, Richard Linklater’s Boyhood is a groundbreaking story of growing up as seen through the eyes of a child named Mason (a breakthrough performance by Ellar Coltrane), who literally grows up on screen before our eyes. Starring Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette as Mason’s parents and newcomer Lorelei Linklater as his sister Samantha, Boyhood charts the rocky terrain of childhood like no other film has before. Snapshots of adolescence from road trips and family dinners to birthdays and graduations and all the moments in between become transcendent, set to a soundtrack spanning the years from Coldplay’s Yellow to Arcade Fire’s Deep Blue. Boyhood is both a nostalgic time capsule of the recent past and an ode to growing up and parenting.
Stars: Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke
2014 Oscar Winner!
2014 Oscar, Best Supporting Actress- Patricia Arquette
Pretty good and at times very touching.
Name: Testament Of Youth
Running Time (minutes): 129
Description: A British woman recalls coming of age during World War 1 – a story of young love, the futility of war, and how to make sense of the darkest times.
Just couldn’t enjoy this, romance aspect was boring and don’t like Kit Harington anyway.
Name: Jakc Ryan – Shadow Recruit
Running Time (minutes): 105
Description: A new version of the saga of CIA analyst, Jack Ryan. It begins when Ryan was attending the London School of Economics; and 9/11 happened. He would then enlist in the Marines and would go to Afghanistan. Which is the start of a series of extraordinary events.
Stars: Chris Pine, Kevin Costner, Keira Knightley
Genres: Action, Mystery, Thriller
Once again, I disagree with Rotten Tomatoes. It wasn’t bad at all. Not great, but certainly good. Except for the fact that all Russians love women and vodka. And the ending is really, REALLY rushed and handled EXTREMELY badly (horrible music editing!). Kevin Costner was good, but I’m not really sure if Keira Knightley with an American accent is a good thing or not. Oh well, she’s an excellent actress anyway.
As for Patrick Doyle’s score, this project was a waste of his time. The two great pieces he wrote for this film were cut short to such an extent that it’s laughable. Scratch that, it’s tragic. At times you still hear Doyle’s mannerisms during emotional moments, but… it’s just not him at all most of the time. Very unfortunate.
Also, a few technical points on the audio description: the dialogue was softer than the AD and music, which didn’t always make for nice listening. Also, the narrator kept announcing things before they happened, don’t really like that either.