The Bourne Legacy

A CIA operative attempts to escape his pursuers and uncover the mystery surrounding him in an expansion of the universe from Robert Ludlum’s novels.  Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz and Edward Norton star in this action mystery that didn’t push the right buttons of critics to be able to score a high rating.

6.9/10 – IMDB

61/10 – metacritic

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The Bourne Legacy excels in the well choreographed action scenes, the impressive sets and stunts, yet the consensus is that this is also the downfall of the film. The poor script was apparently made up for by the lead actors, according to a review sourced from IMDb:

” Jeremy Renner is a talented actor with serious range and complexity. However, the character he plays is not much of a character and the script that he has to work with is riddled with cliché after cliché.”
– IMDb user, midnighttheater (NYkid)

However, at least one professional reviewer seems to disagree:

“Disappointingly, Bourne never resurfaces in this less-than-satisfying series reboot. The film is more a talky, convoluted, action-starved two-hour subplot.”
– Lou Lumenick, New York Post

Reviews range from praise towards the actors  to bashing of the script. The downfall of the move seems to be it’s lack of substance in the plot. It has been described simply as an action movie without action, and the mystery surrounding the Jason Bourne replacement is nothing more than as Lumenick puts it; a sub-plot.

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User reviews:

Critic reviews:


Rabbit Hole

Staring Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart,Rabbit Hole is one sad and beautiful film that manages to show the grief and loss in an extremely  delicate way.The tension between the charaters seems both so heavy and so light,which can be best illustrated by the following lines in the film.

Becca: Does it ever go away?
Nat: No, I don’t think it does. Not for me, it hasn’t – has gone on for eleven years. But it changes though.
Becca: How?
Nat: I don’t know… the weight of it, I guess. At some point, it becomes bearable. It turns into something that you can crawl out from under and… carry around like a brick in your pocket. And you… you even forget it, for a while. But then you reach in for whatever reason and – there it is. Oh right, that. Which could be aweful – not all the time. It’s kinda…
[deep breath]
Nat: not that you’d like it exactly, but it’s what you’ve got instead of your son. So, you carry it around. And uh… it doesn’t go away. Which is…
Becca: Which is what?
Nat: Fine, actually.

Although it would feel painful watching the charaters stuck in the deep and endless shawdow of the past,the film is definitely worth seeing.

Let’s pick some reviews and see what other people think of this movie.

“The film has some dark comedic moments to lift the tension but for the most part it’s a pretty hard hitting drama. The acting is all outstanding, especially the two leads, and the film is smartly written as well as nicely directed. Some might be afraid to watch it because of it’s dark depressing subject matter but it does manage to find a little small ray of hope in the darkness. Of course there’s no happy endings here but it has some nice commentary to deliver on life and coping with tragedy.”
– IMDb user, Hellmant

“So ‘Rabbit Hole’ must be admired for keeping one’s interest despite the lack of a tangible, visible antagonist. Nonetheless, I urge everyone to read A.O. Scott’s excellent review of ‘Rabbit Hole’ in the New York Times who recognizes that Becca and Howie are not “grounded in any recognizable social world”. Rabbit Hole is a story of obsession (in this case, a working out of grief). Since they are so obsessed (and we as the audience are made to focus so much on this obsession), we find out little about the details of the characters’ lives outside this focused conflict. Hence the portraits of the principal characters should be viewed as somewhat limited.”
– IMDb user, Turfseer

“John Cameron Mitchell’s Rabbit Hole is a heart-breaking, somewhat depressing film that deals with one of the worst tragedies a couple can face. It is also one of the best films of the year. Here we get an inside look at how individuals deal with grief in their own ways. Some handle it better than others, but it is always there, waiting to remind them of their devastating loss. This is the story of such a couple who desperately want to move beyond their pain.”
– Jeff Beck,

“Rabbit Hole doesn’t achieve the level of catharsis Mitchell aims for: As much as we come to know and sympathize with Becca and Howie, something about them remains artificial and unknowable. You can’t imagine that they were ever happy, even before they lost their son, because they never quite register as real people. But on a larger, thematic level, Rabbit Hole is absorbing and hugely compelling, a thoughtful portrayal of the myriad ways in which we learn to deal with the unthinkable. You just have to learn to bear the weight.”
-Rene Rodriguez,

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Critic reviews:

You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger

Just saw Woody Allen’s latest film You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger,and a question of mine was raised—what’s left of Woody Allen.It seems that Woody Allen is the old man who has nothing to say at all,but still wants to say something.In a word,You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger is just boring.

There only two things that I like about this film.

1.Freida Pinto,the lady who is always in red in the film.

Im not a big fan of Freida Pinto,and the role she plays in the film is  not chanllenging.Despite of all that,I,from the persepective of a fashion lover,just love how she displays all those red dresses in a really elegant and fresh way.It is just amazing that she handles all the red clothes so effortlessly.

2.The part where the aurthor Roy stole the manuscript of his friend who he assumed had died in a car accident and  claimed that it was his work.However,there was a mix-up with another friend who has died.

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It more or less reminds me of Match Point and keeps me wondering whether Roy would get away with it.Woody Allen’s wit emerges again in this part though the trick has been used.

However, let’s see what the audience and reviewers say about it.

The audience:

“My love for Woody Allen’s genius as seen through his movies just keeps getting deeper and deeper. First off, the casting here is phenomenal, it just couldn’t be better. I couldn’t stand at least two of these actors before seeing them in this Woody film but now they rate, (in my book anyway), that being Ms. Pinto and Mr. Benedaras. The two elder British actresses here blew me away as did Naomi Watts as usual. Her beauty, capacity, and craft are just amazing. Not to mention Anthony Hopkins who is flawless thru-out. Also, I cannot help noticing how each new movie Woody Allen releases carries with it something from a previous one, be it a song, a concept or some colour, sort of like a musical concept album that all ties in somehow. It is so deep in fact, that I am starting to feel the effects of some kind of spiritual occult power that Woody Allen possesses. He is THAT good! At its base though is always an incredible innocent humor, the one quality that makes all the harsh ugly realities of life enjoyable and worth living. This film isn’t anything new or unique but it is another piece of the jigsaw in one of the most beloved Director’s valuable creative archive. Thank you Woody for giving us a reprieve in this abyss of suffering!!”
-IMDb user, lanzarishi

“Gemma Jones & Anthony Hopkins star in this unhappy little melodrama of life after marriage. Is the grass really greener on the other side? Did I make a mistake? Can I do better than this? It’s difficult to have a lot of sympathy for any of the characters as they seem, and are, out of touch with reality. Unfortunately, most of the characters in this film have little more than their daily tedium to offer in the world. It’s discouraging to realize that most of us have delusions about life having more to offer us than what we’re getting and if we just make the right choices, we can change that, but oh, those right choices can be as deceptive as our delusions about them. At what age do we have to just give up and accept the fact that our lives are not going to get any more fulfilling than they are. It’s easy for Allen to say, because he has had great success making his delusions a reality – and making himself rich along the way. Imagine how much more depressing this movie could have been if he’d been in it too!”
-IMDb user, bgreig

“After reading several unfavorable reviews of “You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger,” from various media critics, one can only feel pity for these humorless, dyspeptic, dunderheads who also panned “Vicky Christina…,” and “Match-point,” both of which were brilliantly entertaining and dramatically absorbing. ‘Stranger’ offered a wonderful cast, as always, at the top of their form in a frothy romp with certain, sardonic overtones, all of which made this Woody Allen entertainment exceptionally enjoyable. In an era when film comedy has been reduced to numskull offerings for adolescents and adolescent men, Allen has come up with (gasp!) sophisticated comedies and dramas since he began shooting in Europe.”
-IMDb user, grg-gilbert

Professional reviwers:

“How many times do you want to watch the same Woody Allen movie? What’s your tolerance threshold for repeat visits back to his couch? Because from this point forward, if it’s not about crime and punishment like Match Point or Cassandra’s Dream, if it’s yet another wheel-spinning, unfunny comedy of manners about fancy people and their aimless romantic rootlessness and casually hurtful affairs, then I’d just as soon sit out the remaining joyless chapters. Someone alert me to the moment when the aging director writes a script that demonstrates he’s got more to say than everything he’s already said before, sparks back to life and changes up his game.”
– Dave White,

“The phrase “young Woody Allen” carries, alas, a reminder of its opposite. Older Woody Allen, still re-seeking the elixir of genius. The response to You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger is, let’s hope not. Not if he/she is any one of Antonio Banderas, Josh Brolin, Freida Pinto or the other weirdly un-back-storied immigrant Thamesiders – even London has an identity (doesn’t it?), it isn’t just a black hole sucking in the deracinated – who people a plot about fortune-telling, love, marriage and generational tension.

The dialogue resembles first-draft efforts in a creative-writing class – “One way or another I want to move on with our lives” – while the voice-over narration is preppy, arch, overemphatic. When I saw the words “Tin Ear Production Company” in the end credits, I wasn’t sure if it was a joke or a piece of authorial honesty.”
– Nigel Andrews, Financial Times

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User reviews:

Critic reviews:

Did ‘The Lucky One’ hit the jackpot?

‘The Lucky One’ is the seventh on screen adaption of author Nicholas Sparks’ novels. Directed by Scott Hicks, this film strives to accompany other Sparks’ adaptions that have hit the big time, including the likes of ‘The Notebook’, unluckily, however, it falls just a little bit short.

It follows the story of one Sergeant Logan Thibault (Zac efron), a U.S Marine who has just returned from his third tour of duty in Iraq, with one troubling secret. He believes a photo he found of an unknown women kept him alive through multiple near death experiences. Walking across country until he finds the women he’s looking for, it turns out to be Beth (Taylor Schilling) a single mother who owns a family-run local kennel. Things are much more complicated then they appear with the involvement of her villainous ex-husband, however the spark between them promises hope that there is more to the relationship then luck. The plotline is modest and doesn’t require much attentiveness to comprehend the happenings on screen; it does however provide a blissful and sweet spoon-fed helping of sentimental romance.

At first it is a little difficult to accept the teenage heartthrob Zac Efron as a muscly army man with stubble and tattoos, but for a majority of the time we legitimately believe his tortured soul act. Co-staring him as the romantic interest is Taylor Schilling. She portrays Beth gracefully, if not occasionally falling into the cliché damsel in distress, making us convinced that she is indeed a complicated young mother looking for something more to life. However, any hesitations about the acting in this film are diminished when we meet the very adorable golden haired boy, Riley Thomas Stewart, playing Schilling’s son, Ben.

Though do the professional critics and public have the same view?


“The Lucky One isn’t the best Nicholas Sparks adaptation, but it’s not the worst. It makes for yet another harmless romance that excels because of the chemistry between its two leads.”
– Jeremy Lebens (We Got This Covered).

“If you are inclined to say, ‘they had me at Zac Efron’ then the hunky actor and his scene-stealing boxer briefs will likely make any logic in this screenplay superfluous.”
Bruce Bennett (Spectrum – St George, Utah).


“The Lucky One” is your run-of-the-mill Nicholas Sparks drama, no more, no less.”
Christopher Haskell (super reviewer for Rotten Tomatoes).

“Zac Efron is proving himself an actor of some versatility and it’s his screen presence that makes this watchable. Otherwise it’s the usual Nicholas Sparks adaptation which means lots of chicken-soup-for-the-soul philosophy, greetings card platitudes and hopeless contrivances.”
– Daniel Parsons(super reviewer for Rotten Tomatoes).

In the end this film isn’t going to be Oscar worthy by a long shot, but it does provide a sweet escape for those hopeless romantics at hearts.

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Snow White and the Huntsman

A twisted fairy tale starring Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron, boasts magnificent scenery, stunning visual effects and a remake of the classic fairytale of Snow White; and yes, the seven dwarves do make an appearance.  However, the  news isn’t all good with reviewers unanimously giving the recent movie average ratings.

6.3/10 – IMDB

57/100 – metacritic

Three star actors

The downfall of the film is accredited by most to the lead role of Kristen Stewart, whom was apparently unable to fill the role of Snow White. One interesting review is quoted:

“Stewart may not have the stuff of Disney princesses past, but she’s fine if a tad out-shined by Theron’s truly electric performance.”
– Richard Propes, The Independent Critic

This critic review of Snow White and the Huntsman sums the movie up well:

” The CGI effects are so slick that they undercut the movie’s shock value, and the action moves too quickly to instill a real sense of fear, but this is still visually impressive, with spectacular make-up, costumes, and cinematography. “
– Tal Rosenberg, Chicago Reader

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Critic reviews:

Audience spotlight: Apocalypse Now

Apocalypse Now is a 1979 film by Francis Ford Coppola that is widely regarded to be one of the best films ever made, having won many awards, as well as being selected for preservation by the National Film Registry. While this film is less of an “art-film” compared to the films in previous Audience spotlights, it still breaks many film conventions that traditional war films employ, instead relying on surrealistic imagery instead. Such films would probably be hated by anyone that is not an avid art lover, but like the audience spotlight for 2001: A Space Odyssey, the scores were surprisingly high, sitting on 8.6 out of a possible 10, averaged from 836 user reviews. Perhaps we underestimate the average viewer’s capacity to appreciate films with an avant-garde slant? Or were the less artistically inclined viewers attracted by some other shiny new movie?

Lets pick out a few random reviews:

“Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now” is not a Vietnam War film. Do not confuse it with one. It is set to the back drop of the war, but it is a metaphorical exposition on the deteriorating effects that war has on the human psyche. It is also one of the most audacious films ever made, produced, or even conceived (second to the Lord of the Rings trilogy. To call it a masterpiece would be an understatement of proportions as ambitious as the film’s production levels.”
– IMDb user, ramstar22

“This movie changed the art of film making, telling a complex story in a powerful new way. The film mixes brutal realism with fantasy, intercutting a modern war with strange scenes full of technicolour smoke. The film uses music not as a score laid in later, but as a practical part of the scene playing from speakers, radios etc. Coppola uses a classic piece of literature as inspiration, taking scenes and characters, and putting them into entirely different surroundings. That is a tricky and brave thing to do. Then he takes a superstar, Brando, pays him a fortune, and films him so that you can barely see his face. The pure guts that such a move requires is astounding, and it works beautifully. This movie belongs in the top ten.”
– IMDb user, jande9

One thing that is clear from these user reviews is that they appreciate the movie for its ambition. They make note of its innovative storytelling methods and its artistic value first and foremost, though they can admire its ambition in other areas such as in its conception and production. These users value the film for what it tries to be, and it appears that there are many more users that agree with them.

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Links to further reviews and the movie trailer:

User reviews:

Movie trailer:

Audience spotlight: 2001: A Space Odyssey

2001: A Space Odyssey is a 1968 film by Stanley Kubrick, that is widely acclaimed among critics, as well as being regarded as one of the most influential films ever made. This film can be classified as an “art film” to an extent, with minimal plot and character development, instead choosing to focus on visual imagery to convey the story. The result is often ambiguous, and highly subjective; Kubrick himself refused to give a detailed explanation of the ending, preferring to leave it to viewer interpretation.

What critics like is not necessarily what the audience likes however, as critics have a tendency to prefer nuances and depth to anything they watch, while the average moviegoer tends to be more accepting of shallower movies – ask how many people enjoyed The Tree of Life for example. However, looking through the user reviews on IMDb tell a different story. As of writing, the score sits on a very respectable 8.4 out of a possible 10, averaged over 1471 user submitted reviews. Perhaps this movie got lucky to have attracted the avid art loving crowd? Has the fact that this movie was initially released in 1968 given audiences enough time to warm up to it? Or were the haters drowned out this time round?

What is even more interesting is that a fair proportion of the critics weren’t so amiable to the film when it first came out, yet it regularly ends up in top-ten lists in many critics lists. It appears that time has made a film “better” in both the critics and audiences’ eyes.

Let’s take a look through some random user reviews, again from IMDb:

“Bluntly, 2001 is one of the best science-fiction films made to date, if not the very best. Stanley Kubrick was a genius of a film maker and this is one of his very best works. And although it is misunderstood by many, and respectively underrated, it is considered one of the best films of all time and I’ll have to agree. Back in 1968, no one had done anything like this before, and no one has since. It was a marvel of a special effects breakthrough back then, and seeing how the effects hold up today, it is no wonder as to why. The film still looks marvelous after almost forty years! Take note CGI people. Through the use of large miniatures and realistic lighting, Kubrick created some of the best special effects ever put on celluloid. This aspect alone almost single-handedly created the chilling void of the space atmosphere which is also attributed to the music and realistic sound effects. I can’t think of another film where you can’t here anything in space, like it is in reality. Not only is the absence of sound effects in space realistic, it is used cleverly as a tool to establish mood, and it works flawlessly.”
– IMDb user, Manthorpe

Clearly quite a glowing review. According to this review, 2001: A Space Odyssey is “one of the best science-fiction films”, and that Stanley Kubrick is a “genius”. This user is by no means alone:

“Sometimes reading the user comments on IMDB fills me with despair for the species. For anybody to dismiss 2001: A Space Odyssey as “boring” they must have no interest in science, technology, philosophy, history or the art of film-making. Finally I understand why most Hollywood productions are so shallow and vacuous – they understand their audience.”
– IMDb user, Simon Booth

This user goes even further, making sweeping generalisations about any user that does not appreciate 2001: A Space Odyssey. In the first paragraph, this reviewer attacks these users, claiming that they make him disappointed in the human race and that they must not have any appreciation of science, technology etc. A little too harsh?

Given that 2001: A Space Odyssey is an old movie, released in 1968, to mixed reactions from critics and audiences alike, how can we explain its highly revered status today? We can only speculate, but our best guess is that perhaps this film, like any other pieces of art, need time to be digested; they need to be experienced over and over again, before the significance sinks into the viewer. Given that the year is 2012 – a good 44 years since the film was first released, we can certainly say that there has been more than enough time to digest the film and appreciate it for what it is.

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Links to further reviews and the movie trailer:

User reviews:

Movie trailer:

The Final Curtain Call for the Boy Who Lived

Since 2001 the ‘Harry Potter’ film series has been captivating millions, both young and old, with its stunning and innovative visual effects, enthralling plot and endearing characters. This phenomenon is now about to come to an end, aiming to give its loyal fan base an ending that’s more bang then fizzle.

The final instalment to this epic series, ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2’, centres on Harry’s final adventure to save not only the wizarding world, but the muggle world as well without losing everything he holds dear.  His mission is to find and destroy the final Horcruxes, with the help of his trustworthy companions Ron and Hermione, before his showdown with the evil Lord Voldermort. As the film series  gets progressively darker,  this final film continues along that line with the complex development of characters and some of the most frightening battle scenes yet. Though the final book by J.K Rowling was split into two parts for the final instalments, there are some holes in the storyline which, unless you’ve read the books, could become confusing. This is made up for, however, with the seamlessly effortless flow until the final scene, which does not fail to exceed expectations with quality acting, scriptwriting and incredible setting.

Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Emma Watson (Hermione Granger) and Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) have become, with no understatement, national treasures and international superstars thanks to their roles in ‘Harry Potter’. They have again proved their worth as budding young actors , learning from their very experienced fellow cast member including the likes of Alan Rickman (Severus Snape) and Maggie Smith (Minerva McGonagall). Each comes into their own to deliver a unique and pure deliverance of their roles. As public figures that a generation has grown up with, they have fostered a sentimental relationship with their followers that will endure for many years to come. These are no one trick ponies.

But what do the professional s and audience think of the film? :


“This is a massive, tent pole, franchise movie with impeccable good taste- its most essential, surprising and exhilarating ingredient.”
CJ Johnson (ABC Radio Australia critic).

“Deeply moving and perfectly phrased at every turn, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 bids adieu to a little piece of history in first-class style, and a beautifully heavy heart.”
–  Katherine Monk (Vancouver Sun critic).


“Ten years comes to a close in grand fashion. Two hours of stand up and cheer, break out the Kleenex cries, and closure on a series of movies that captured a generation or six. Easily the most action packed of the movies and in reality it’s just the final act of a very long movie”
– John Manard (Rotten Tomatoes audience review).

“The first movie captured everything and more from the casting, special effects and the telling of the story of the boy who lived. The next six movies all did a fantastic job translating the tale but usually with a lot of details removed. That didn’t ruin any of the movies but I was happy to know the deeper meaning of each film; and since this series of books landed on the best sellers lists again and again I knew I wasn’t the only one privy to the extra information. If I had reviewed the first seven movies they probably would have averaged 8 out of 10 for me. Each one helping us delve deeper into the wizardly world of Harry Potter. Every character, spell or creature compelled us to follow the path to the next movie (book). So today when my son and I went to see the final chapter I was a little sad to see it come to an end. However, let me say, they saved the best for last”
‘Tired of Previews’ (super audience reviewer for Rotten Tomatoes).

Overall, I believe that this movie has paid homage beautifully to a generation of movie-goers who will nurture a love for these iconic films that will last far longer after the end credits role. As J.K Rowling rightly predicted, “…there won’t be a child in this world who won’t know his name”.

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Links to further reviews and the movie trailer:

New York Times review:

Rotten Tomatoes review:

The official movie trailer:

500 Days of Summer

I simply love everything about this interesting,smart and frensh movie – 500 Days of Summer.Most importantly,it tells us that there are still plenty of fish in the water and makes us reflect ourselves and think about what this complicated thing – love is.

Then,what is love?Is there such a thing called love or is love just like Santa Claus?And when do we know that we are in love?It is likely that we are just trying to look for some sort of comfort and convice ourselves that he/she is the one.And most of of us tend to remember good things and avoid looking back and thinking about the bad things.Just like Rachel Hansen points out in the movie “Just because she likes the same bizzaro crap you do doesn’t mean she’s your soul mate”.Then what makes a soulmate?If the two sharing the same weirdest thing in the world still dont make them soulmates,then do our soulmate still exist?Probably,just probably,there are no such things as love and soulmate.Anyway,since there are still plenty of other fish in the sea,there is no need for us to hurry.And since there are no soulmates,we could just save all the trouble and settle for the less – after all,probably we just need a shelter and a company.Love is exhausting,the male protagonist in the movie has suffered a lot since the relationship didnt go well.He cries for the girl and smiles for the girl.Everything is about the girl.Do we really need to go through all this crap just to find the so-called soulmate?Apparently,the girl who doesn’t want to be named as anybody’s girlfriend becomes someone’s wife real soon.

Anyway,back to the film.What I enjoy most about this movie is the cultural signifers.For example,Joseph Gordon-Levitt wears T-shirts for Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart” and “Unknown Pleasures”, and The Clash’s “London Calling” albums.In addition,The Smith’ ‘Louder Than Bombs’, The Jesus and Mary Chain’s Psychocandy’ and Public Image Ltd.’s ‘Album’ can been seen in Tom’s childhood room.Hopefully,this movie could revive some cool  culture.

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Another thing that I really like about this movie is the fashion.The clothes that Summer wears in the movie is as refreshing as the summer breeze.Obviously,most girls today would consider being skinny and wearing trendy clothes as fashionable.But what Summer shows us in the movie is vastly different from any other so-called IT girls’ style.The way she dresses is simple but cute and sweet.And with the 1960s haircut.everything Summer wears seems so effortlessly chic.For me,this is what fashion is about.Trend will fade soon but style will be enternal.What I am hoping to see in today’s fashion secne is something inspirational and not cliche.

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At last,most lines of the movie is beyond witty and memorable.And I would like to share some of them with those who havent seen the movie yet

Tom: Paul, seriously…
Paul: Did you bang her?
Tom: No.
Paul: What, hum job? Hand job?
Tom: Man, no. No jobs. I’m still unemployed. We – we kissed.

Summer: I named my cat after Springsteen.
Tom: Cool… what was his name?
Summer: Bruce.

Tom: This is lies. We are liars. Think about it. Why do people buy cards? It’s not because they want to say how they feel. People buy cards because they can’t say they feel or are afraid to. And we provide the service that let’s them off the hook. You know what? I say to hell with it. Let’s level with America. Or at least let them speak for themselves. Right?

Summer: I’ve never told anybody that before.
Tom:I guess I’m not just anybody.

Tom: It’s these cards and the movies and the pop songs, they’re to blame for all lies and the heartache, everything.

Summer: We’re just friends.
Tom: No! Don’t pull that with me! Kissing in the copy room? Holding hands in IKEA? Shower sex? Come on! Friends my balls!

Audience spotlight: The Tree of Life

Few movies have been as polarizing among average moviegoers than The Tree of Life, an art-house film by Terrence Malick that breaks quite a few conventions of many films. The result is often vague and near incomprehensible at times, but is nonetheless beautiful, offering stunning cinematography.

In this audience spotlight, we take a look at some of the many varied responses to this film by users on IMDb.

“One of the most pretentious pieces of pseudo-intellectual garbage I have ever seen. The photography is great, however that is not what a film is about. The whole film turns around a guy and his relation with is father and the burden of his brother’s death. really simple story, with no need for mental masturbation over two and one half hours. I’m willing to bet that in the near future no one will ever remember this film. This film gathered another award: my life’s greatest cinematic disappointment. Cannes’ boys are lowering their standards, I think. Instead of this i suggest you guys rent “the fountain” because it has far better photography and a much, much nicer story.”
– IMDb user, Pekman

Given that this user went as far as labeling this film as “mental masturbation”, it is safe to say that this film’s esoteric nature has potential to offend. Not too surprising, since moviegoers presumably pay for the privilege of watching a movie, and feeling that it has gone to waste can bring out some strong reactions. According to this user, this film is “pseudo-intellectual garbage” and called it his “greatest cinematic disappointment”. This user certainly isn’t alone, as a quick look through the user reviews will show many that share his sentiments:

“After seeing this movie, I sincerely cannot comprehend all the hype and the excellent reviews that it has attracted. The only way I can explain such good reviews is that whoever wrote them have either been generously paid to do so or were high on dope while doing so. This was the first time ever I have felt so angry about wasting my time and money watching a bad movie…

…I would compare the movie to those useless pieces of contemporary art that depict a monochromatic shape in the middle of a canvas, and attempt to convince us that there is some deeper bulls**t meaning to it. I am particularly angry at all the reviewers that rated this movie so well. This movie is a total rip-off!”
– IMDb user, nema_jhurry

“I find it ridiculous that there are so many posts defending this film. It seems there are so many people out there who are fully ready to take in pointless stories and label them “deep” (by which they mean ‘made no sense whatsoever, which must mean its beyond our grasp’)”
– IMDb user, ElyssaWinn

Clearly, the sentiment among these users is that the movie should not have been showed, as it is nothing more than meaningless and pretentious, as well as being a waste of money. This is not to say that there are people that like the film, however. Some users have defended the film:

“Normally, in describing a film one says this is the story of… da da da da. But this film is NOT a story in any but the crudest sense of the word. It is an impression… an impression of a childhood – perhaps Malick’s own childhood, which becomes, through Malick’s poetry, an impression of childhood itself… of being tactile, of feeling the love of one’s parents, of experiencing the arrival of a sibling, of learning to walk… of a thousand things that we take for granted, but are wonderful and shape us more than we can imagine. It is by far the most brilliant evocation of rural childhood that, as far as I can remember, the cinema has ever given us.
– IMDb user, Michael Open

One thing that is clear from this user’s review is that he can look past the fact that The Tree of Life is not a traditional film, and that it is meant to be an evocative piece. According to this user, what makes this film great is the way in which it evokes emotion, like true art should.

So why the polarity? Clearly, anything that challenges or goes contrary to norms will surely be controversial, and in the case of The Tree of Life, it appears that the people that could not enjoy it were the ones that could not accept it’s non-traditional structure; it doesn’t resemble a film, and hence they could not appreciate it for what it was. The users that could enjoy it were the ones that could put this aside and were willing to have an open mind.

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