It’s been a long while (almost two years in fact), since I posted a movie review.  It’s not that I haven’t seen any good movies in this period, but more of the fact that I tend to sound repetitive when I write these.  Watch that, this one is awesome, etc.

Last night I’ve watched “Citizenfour“, and I have to say I’m shaken by that documentary.   And I’m not a privacy or security freak, and I was somewhat familiar with Edward Snowden’s story.  This film, while portraying his personality, is not so much about him, as it is about the state of affairs.

As a non-US citizen, I have very little interest in what the US government is doing.  I don’t particularly care if someone is recording my Internet traffic, Google searches, or the phone calls I make.  I’m not worried about ending up “on the list”, or anything like that.

But not everyone is like that.  I do understand how government surveillance can be used, how data can be analyzed, and how pressure can be applied.  And I do share the point of view that the balance of power between the government and the people is way off (and not only in the US), and that we are beyond the point of any meaningful individual resistance.  It’s just that I don’t do anything about it, and Edward Snowden did.

For me personally, quite a few things were new in this film.  It was interesting to learn about the variety of NSA and CIA programs, the depth of their rich, and the technology that is in place already.  Some of it does sound like science fiction future, but is in fact very possible.   The stuff about security access in the NSA, drone video feeds, data gathering, analysis and search, with real time notifications, etc – all that was insightful.

The other side to the movie that I found interesting was the whole process that was used to expose these documents.  There is in fact no framework as to how such things can be done, what should and shouldn’t be published, how things can be verified, etc.  The move to remove his own bias and pass on the responsibility onto the journalists was interesting.

Overall, I think that the more people see this movie, the better.  The issues raised are very important and we should know about them.  It doesn’t only affect criminals or terrorists or Americans.  It affects everyone.  In particular everyone who has a phone, or a computer with an Internet connection, or a credit card.  After all, there are 1,200,000 people on the US watch lists, and from what I understand, this list is growing fast.


In the loop

In the loop


It’s been a really long time since I saw a comedy which was funny in a smart way.  Yesterday however I had excellent time watching “In the loop“.  It’s political, satirical and smart.  No toilet humor, no teenage sex humor.  It’s modern, yet it stays away from references that won’t be understood ten years down the road.  There are a few familiar faces in the cast, but not too much.  And, there is plenty of awesome English swearing, which, though, can be understood.

Overall, 5 out of 5.  Highly recommended, unless swearing upsets you.

Transformers : Dark of the Moon

Yesterday, I went to see “Transformers : Dark of the Moon“.  I’m not a big fan of 3D, but my wife convinced me that that’s the only right way to watch this movie, so I agreed.  And I’m glad I did so.

If you like 3D movies, or transforming robots, or action movies, or any of the previous Transformers’ films, or Michael Bay work in general, you absolutely must see this film.  And do so in 3D – even for those who don’t like 3D, it is an excellent experience.

As for the film, Michael Bay broke the measuring ruler once again.  He is off the scale.  The film is bigger, larger, and more than any other film I can think off.  It has everything previous Transformers had, and more.  And of the things that previous Transformers had, it has more.  More robots, more fights, more shooting and explosions.  More space travel.  More special effects.  More 3D. More, more, more.  It has so much of everything that I would walk away happy half time into the film.  But when the whole thing was over I really was amazed as to how much went into it.

On top of that, both of the items that somewhat annoyed me in the previous Transformers movies were corrected in this part.  First was Megan Fox.  I don’t know why everybody is so fond of her.  I don’t find her beautiful, or smart, or a particular good actress.  She’s out and Rosie Huntington-Whitley is in.  She wouldn’t be my first choice for the role, but she is definitely an improvement on Megan Fox.  Secondly, in previous Transformers, robot transformations and robot fights were too fast.  There are too many details to notice them all and they were often done and off the screen before my curiosity was satisfied.  In this part,  there are more details, more fights, and more transformations.  Also, there are a few excellent slow-downs – important moments are slowed down to a crawl with a few humorous touches added.

Actually, I have to mention humor separately.  This part is not as serious as the previous ones.  There are plenty of funny scenes, situations, and jokes all over the film.  I couple of times I was even laughing out loud, which is a rare occasion.

Overall, I think the film provides all the entertainment you could put into a movie and more.  It pushes the boundaries of sci-fi cinematography and visual effects. And for that I will of course give it a 5 out of 5.

Boston Legal

I just finished watching all five seasons of “Boston Legal“.  As it often happens with me and good TV series, when I start watching I don’t stop until I’ve seen all of it.   Too bad there won’t be any further episodes.  However, now I am interested in “The Practice” which were TV series preceding “Boston Legal”.

While I got hooked from the first season, I’d have to say that the second and the third seasons are the best of all.  Fourth and fifth are pretty good too, but they vary from episode to episode.  Second and the third seasons don’t.

“Boston Legal” is about lawyers.  I do realize that law system in real life is probably very very different from what is shown here.  But the purpose of this TV series is entertainment, not precise documentation.  And as far as entertainment goes – “Boston Legal” does splendid.  There are many characters, picturing a variety of human quirks.   There is plenty of humor.  And what I consider even more important – there is plenty to think about.  The setup provides for a plethora of cases, which can be argued both ways, and in this TV series many many problems are explored from a number of different viewpoints.  Really, anything goes – abortion, capital punishment, corruption, politics, family values, religion, racism, disabilities, and more.

On top of that, there is something in here that is rarely seen in other TV series – examples to follow.  Not one, but several characters show what a decent human being is, what friendship, loyalty, and humanity are; how one should behave oneself in difficult situations, and how one could correct own mistakes.

With all of that, I can’t rate it anything less than 5 out of 5.  Highly recommended.

The Company Men

I have recently seen an excellent corporate drama – “The Company Men“.  It’s not your average office romance or Wall Street con action.  It is a film about people.  People, who find themselves in the middle of crashing economy, like we experience now.  And even though people in this film are a bit richer than average, they are still deeply affected.

In the beginning, I was a bit skeptical.  I thought, it’s the poor people who suffer the most and who deserve the most attention.  But soon I discovered that I was wrong.  Not wrong maybe, but inaccurate.  It is true that poor people are affected the most.  But if you think about it for a moment – each and every one of us has a certain level of life, certain things that he values, certain wants and needs, certain little things.  And when outside circumstances make you lose those things that you enjoy and value so much, you do feel depressed, disoriented, confused, and sometimes angry.  And it doesn’t matter what those little things are – an extra pint of beer with friends, furniture in your house, or private jet flights.

One other important topic this film brings up is mutual respect and kindness.  Certain types of connections are well exposed and explained.  Support for local workforce, ethical business practices, corporate goals beyond pure financial benefits, are just some of the topics of this film.

What I particularly enjoyed, was how light the film felt despite all seriousness.  I think a lot of it was due to brilliant cast and good acting.  Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper, Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Costner – all make this movie so much better.

Overall, while this film doesn’t necessarily fit into my definition of masterpiece, I really enjoyed it and catch myself thinking a lot about it.  That, in my book, is worth a 5 out of 5 rating.  Strongly recommended.

True Grit

Without waiting for local cinemas to catch up with the rest of the world, I got my hands on a copy of “True Grit” – a new movie by Coen brothers, of who I am a big fan.

Every film they do is different from every other, and is a masterpiece of its own.  “True Grit” follows the pattern.  It is a western, with beautiful and authentic cinematics, colorful characters, excellent acting, and simple, yet unique story telling.  The story itself is simple and straightforward – there are no twists as such.  But it tells the story of people with character, courage, and will.  It tells the story of the days that have long past, yet which is applicable to modern days.  It shows people who lived in a very different world, yet were so similar to us.

A 5 out of 5 from me and a recommendation for home collection – you’ll want to see it this movie more than once.


Everything has pros and cons, including such things as being sick and staying at home.  One of the benefits of such a situation is loads of time.  Being sick means you can’t really work productively or focus at length on any more or less complicated issue.  But you might just have enough brain power to watch TV series in bed.

It’s a been a while now that I’ve heard plenty of good about “Weeds“, but somehow I didn’t have the time or will to start watching yet another TV series that is on the air for several years.  Now seemed like a good time.  So I got myself all six seasons.  I got hooked from the first episode, which appeared like very light, entertaining comedy, with a pro-legalize twist to it.  What followed was way more than that.

All six seasons are done to the same level of quality, which is quite rare.  There is entertainment and fun to it.  But there are also characters that I couldn’t help but want to follow.  And there was even more than that.  Under an almost grotesque story setup, hidden is a very broad view of the drug problem in our society.  The story takes the characters through all sorts of situations, involving starting and expanding a drug business, ethics, society, legal and financial issues involved, government control, drug business relations with other crimes, corruption, and even a diverse exploration of how the problem varies between three different countries and states.  Without being too documentary or focusing too much on any specific issue, these TV episodes show how broad the problem is and how many areas it covers.

I wasn’t thinking much about all that while watching episode after episode. Maybe I was still too sick for that.  Or maybe I just didn’t have the full picture.  But once I finished with all six seasons, I can’t stop but think about it.

Despite your interest in drugs and legalization issues, I strongly recommend this show.  It is funny.  It is social.  It is about family.  It is about the current state of economy.  It is kind and considering.  And it tries to show the world from slightly different perspective without pushing a lot of agendas.   My rating is 5 out of 5.  Well done.  Can’t wait for seasons 7.


A few days ago I watched “Fargo” once again.  I saw it before, but couldn’t help falling asleep somewhere in the middle.  Thanks to many pints of beer beforehand.  This time though I was hooked and watch it through. And I really enjoyed it.

Like most other Coen brothers’ films, this movie is funny and sad, easy to watch, but with something to think about.  It is an atmospheric masterpiece with splendid visuals.  The soundtrack is great as well.   Lots of good acting.  And somehow, while having very simplistic appearances an slow pace, this film feels rich and enriching.

5 out of 5, highly recommended.

The Town

I went to see “The Town” in the movies on weekend.  Too bad my experience was spoiled by the total failure of surround sound in the cinema and by a power cut due to the thunderstorm, two minutes before the end of the movie.  But I still liked the movie so much that I downloaded a copy and watched it in the comfort of my own home (really, are there any other options left?).

Before I say anything else, I have to do a disclosure.  I am biased here.  Crime is one of my favorite movie genres in general, and bank robberies, con artists, and heist schemes are among my top interests in movies.

With that, I am now free to say how awesome this movie was.  First of all, it’s a great story with great characters.  Not particularly original, but still great.  It got a slightly screwed up ending, but by now we should be probably get used to them anyway.  Still.  There is plenty to see – action, acting, drama, tough guys, car chases, gun fights, hot girls, Boston accent, and more.

Overall, I’ll give it a 5 out of 5.  But you still remember, that I’m biased, right?


Being a big fan of action comedies, I’ve been waiting for this one – “Red“.  Thanks to a whole bunch of trailers on YouTube, I knew pretty early that I’d love this film.  And indeed I did.

It’s exactly what it promised to be, and even a bit more – funny, action packed, with brilliant cast, and so on and so forth.  Even the story is not totally stupid, like in most action films.   And it gives you something to think about.  Even though that’s really not the point of the film.  The point is entertainment, and the movie tackles that in a great way.

Overall, a 5 out of 5.  I had a blast.