100 DAYS 5.5/10

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5.5/10

This Disney-Touchstone-esque romantic comedy will likely be of interest to those wanting to see something from Taiwan. It’s cute & predictable with a layer of movie phoniness. Screenwriter/producer Weiko Lin spoke after the screening and said that the style of this movie is a hybrid of Western & Taiwanese sensibilities. This may be the first Taiwanese movie I’ve seen, so I don’t know how this one compares. Production values are fine, but the contrived polished product just isn’t my thing. Put the words 100, days, and trailer into a Google search to get a taste. This movie can be seen through COMCAST Xfinity from now until 12/31/14.

by Jonathan of ForeignFilmcast.com

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THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES 7.0/10

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7.0/10

We finally made it. “The Hobbit” 3, the last one. To let you know where I’m coming from, here’s my Tolkien backstory. I read “The Hobbit” as a kid. It was a HUGE hardcover with great color illustrations. I have warm fuzzy memories of that reading experience, but remember few details. Of the “Lord of the Rings” movies, I think I saw two out of three. I remember liking part 1, but I don’t think I was watching many movies in those days, so I didn’t manage to keep up with the trilogy. I belong to the camp of people who think that the “Hobbit” story would be most entertaining as a single movie, rather than three. If you were interested enough in this trilogy to spend hours on parts 1 and 2, then you’ll likely want to finish off the story. I wouldn’t recommend watching 3 without seeing 1 & 2. If you’re on the fence about committing to “The Hobbit”, stream the first 60 minutes of part 1 and call that a taste test. These movies are full of CGI and battle, often with our heroes prevailing over throngs of apparently intimidating enemies, giving many scenes a video game flavor. The acting is often solid and the New Zealand landscapes often stunning.  Someone is bound to make an abridged fan edit of the three movies. That could be a good thing.

by Jonathan of ForeignFilmcast.com

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INHERENT VICE 5.0/10

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When I watch a movie, I generally hope for something that I find fun, something I find interesting, or something that I feel teaches. Unfortunately for me, this movie didn’t score well in any of these three categories. The internet makes it clear that many out there appreciate this film more than I do, so I feel a bit like I’ve seen (or not managed to see) the emperor’s new clothes. This is my first Paul Thomas Anderson experience, so I can’t compare it with his previous work. I give a thumbs-up for set design, staging, and cinematography in establishing a stylized 70s world. The acting was fine. However, I did not develop a significant connection with the characters and their experiences. I didn’t much care what happened to them and I didn’t think the movie was very funny, though I heard laughter in the crowd. Much of the plot was lost upon me, in part because in the beginning, there was much chat about characters I didn’t yet know and in part because I nodded off a few times. (DISCLOSURE: Although it was a midnight screening, if the film had engaged me, I don’t think I’d have napped.) Though many will enjoy this movie, I don’t know how you’d determine whether or not you’re likely to be in that group. My best guess is that you’ll like this if you tend to be a P.T. Anderson fan.

by Jonathan of ForeignFilmcast.com

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Uzumasa Limelight (Uzumasa raimuraito) – 9.0/10

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9.0/10

Haneke’s “Amour” meets Hazanavicius’ “The Artist” in a Kurosawa scenario. Even though there are parts that feel repetitive and most of the movie’s look seems like video, the story is so strong, so honest and has so much to say that makes the audience forget about its faults and connects them emotionally. The theme is similar to “Birdman” in many ways; the Iñarritu’s film has greater performances, is more splendorous, sophisticate and pretentious;  “Uzumasa” has more heart.

by Oscar Rodriguez Gorriz

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THE IMITATION GAME 7.5/10

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7.5/10

I have mixed feelings about these “based on a true story” flicks. On the one hand, everything that happens seems much more important because the story is “real”. On the other hand, this dramatic magnification feels like a cheat, since much dramatic license is usually taken. That said, I liked this one. The story drew me in, Cumberbatch’s acting is strong, the vintage imagery was easy on the eyes, and afterward, I cared enough to read up on the historical inaccuracies. Some of the plot elements felt contrived, yet this viewing was more a pleasure than the formula-feeling trailer had lead me to expect. If an Alan Turing biopic sounds appealing, check this one out– then read up on the facts as we know them.

by Jonathan of ForeignFilmcast.com

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[REC] 4: APOCALIPSIS – 4.0/10

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4.0/10

The biggest letdown of this franchise is the unexpected and unnecessary tonal change from one entry to the next. This is a typical action/thriller/zombie flick that lacks thrills, scares or innovation in the genre. By using characters from each previous film there was a magnificent opportunity in the script but yet the filmmakers do nothing with it and throw a generic survival story. On the positive side Pablo Rosso delivers great cinematography and the make-up department does a competent job handling the zombies/possessed. Again, if only they would’ve stuck to what worked in the first two films instead of milking every possible genre into one franchise, but anyway the door is left open for the next installment: “[REC] 5: A Musical Under The Sea”.

By Enrique López Oropeza

PADDINGTON – 9.5/10

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9.5/10

Charming, funny and innocent, Paddington is one of the best family films in a long time. It benefits mostly by a great cast, colorful visuals, an important message and the most charming furry lead of the year. You’ll leave the theater a little more british and asking for a Paddington bear this christmas.

By Enrique López Oropeza

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