oxana's Recent Reviews
A silly yet funny movie about animal testing, searching for the keys to eternal life and a man discovering how he's failing as a husband and a father - by becoming a dog.
While certain parts of the film had outrageously unrealistic animal animation/action (and human, too, in places), the story stayed honest and grounded for the most part. There were a few "laugh out loud" parts, but otherwise the jokes and narrative were harmless and a little lame. Still, the story kept itself together surprisingly well and although the ending was mildly disappointing in how clever it wasn't... The whole experience was an enjoyable movie, for sure.
Robert Downey Jr. was delightful as the big bad of the movie.
oxana's Favorite Movies
It is extremely difficult to review one of your long-time favorites. This is the movie I've seen most times in a movie theater (a total of 6 times I believe), and no matter what I write in this review, it won't be enough to explain my love for this film. The story is split into two directions, one following Frodo and Sam's journey towards Mordor and their less than shaky relationship with Gollum/Sméagol, whom they manage to get as their guide to Mordor. Personally, in the books or in the movies, I've never really cared for Frodo's journey; my heart always lay with the Three Hunters (Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli). Nonetheless, as we follow Frodo's desperate struggle to take the One Ring to its doom - while avoiding it falling to the hands of its true Master - we get to meet Faramir, son of Denethor and the brother of Boromir. The first glimpse at Gondor's demise leaves little hope that when the final attack comes, they would survive (but more of that in the next movie...). Sam's outbursts kind of annoyed me in this film; sure, I get the hate and distrust he feels towards Gollum, whom Frodo is pitying and trying to help. It puts a strain on the relationship between all of them, which in the darkness of Mordor will twist itself into something far worse... Quite well balanced with the Frodo/Sam scenes we have the primary focus of this film: Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli are pursuing the Uruk-hai who took Merry and Pippin in the end of "The Fellowship of the Ring". As Saruman's deceit deepens, and he prepares to attack Rohan, Merry and Pippin have an important part to play - in their own way - while the Three Hunters are unexpectedly joined by an old friend and move onto Rohan to release its king from Saruman's grasp. Besides David Wenham as Faramir, we get to see new, wonderful characters: Karl Urban as Éomer, Miranda Otto as Éowyn, Bernard Hill as Théoden... I could go on... The epic battle of Helm's Deep is grim, dark and it is clear from the beginning that their hopes of winning are not very high. Not even with the addition of Galadhrim to join them (Craig Parker as Haldir returns, and I'm glad to see him, although heartbroken to see him go as well...). The battle scenes are brutal and thrilling. Legolas and Gimli's contest puts some lightness into it, although it is a grim race. "The Two Towers" is more action packed than "The Fellowship of the Ring". Perhaps that is why I like it so much better than the first movie. If one has to complain about something, it is the rather random scenes with Arwen. Sure, we should not forget her, and they sort of fit in, but also disrupt the balance of certain scenes. Not to mention the scene with Galadriel and Elrond; by that time the union of the two towers had been gone over at least twice by several others, and it felt like a stale repeat of what is going on - only with a slight twist. It is unlikely anyone watching the movie and paying attention would have forgotten who exactly is working with whom. This is an epic movie, though. Beautiful scenery, amazing score, incredible details... It all creates a world much like our own, and at the same time, nothing like ours. And again, if you can get your hands on the extended version - hold onto that.
I've seen this movie four time by now, so I think it is time for some kind of review. (One of said viewings was in 3D, my first ever, and I must say I much more prefer the old-fashioned 2D version since 3D made the action scenes - especially the Hulk - appear very blurry an threatened to give me a bit of a headache. As a fan of the previous Marvel movies, the last of which I checked out in order to enjoy the Avengers experience to the fullest (Iron Man, Iron Man 2, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America), I appreciated the finer points of story telling and jokes that took a lot from the other parts in the series. There were plenty of references, I think, and I cannot imagine how well some of the jokes land or character chemistries work without prior knowledge of what they're based on. I haven't read the comics (although I fully intend to get my hands on them somehow), so I cannot say how "accurate" this was (or any of the previous films), but all I can say is that the cast chosen to play this unruly team of Earth's Mightiest Heroes is fantastic. I'm a Tony Stark fangirl, no denying it, but damn! the others really don't make me yawn with boredom and wait for Robert Downey Jr.'s next appearance on screen: they stand very well on their own. Period. And Mark Ruffalo IS the Hulk. Period on that too. Watching him twist his hands and smile and try to back away into the shadows is adorable and in a way breath-taking in its own way, because we all know what's lurking inside him, and it's almost a shame when he turns into a green rage monster. Almost... Perhaps the best feature to the movie is indeed the strife between the heroes, who are not compatible in the slightest, but as heroes tend to, they work together pretty well to avert a crisis when they face one together. Still, the classic fights between team-mates almost beat seeing them destroy a few (hundred) enemies. The camera work, set design, lighting and colors are all perfect. They create a world, a very real one, and give it its own signature. The music, too, when you notice it, melts perfectly to the background, other than in those moments when it rises higher, giving the scene more depth, more kick. Tom Hiddleston as Loki is, for a lack of a better word, a bit disturbed, but executes his part as a villain pretty well. He's determined, and he is one step ahead of the team the whole time, although the petulant child is peeking out from between his teeth every now and then, waiting to be allowed to throw a temper tantrum. And it works. The story progresses nicely, weaving the heroes together (the only small minus is Thor's rather sudden appearance, and although we can see where it's coming from, and dragging it out may have not worked very well, it still seems like a shortcut). There's plenty of humor, for which I love Joss Whedon; this reminds me a lot of his movie "Serenity", with its pace and light-heartedness, but total seriousness as well. It's a fine balance, and it absolutely works. All in all... this is fast rising to be one of those movies I wouldn't mind seeing several times a year, or perhaps a month, just to keep the smiles and laughs coming.