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AllErica SchoenefeldRuben Schönefeld

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Chariots of Fire

Reviewer: Ruben Schönefeld
Date: 2018-11-07

Sorry to burst your bubble, but there are no chariots, let alone chariots of fire. There's no fire at all, not even an Olympic flame and torch, because those didn't get added to the Olympic Games until later. What this movie does have is the famous Vangelis song that has since been used in so many other movies whenever a slow motion scene was required. Overall, the movie is just a bit too long and slow and I would have rather seen the movie makers concentrate on either Harold Abrahams' or Eric Liddell's story alone, rather than switching back and forth between the two.

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Far and Away

Reviewer: Ruben Schönefeld
Date: 2018-11-06

So much has been said about Tom Cruise's attempts at sounding Irish, so I don't need to make any more fun of how bad he sounds. And while he rides a motorbike in practically every other movie he's in (I usually avoid his movies, so I may be wrong about this), but because this is set in the past, he will have to make do with a donkey and he looks like an idiot on it. It's also interesting that at the beginning when he's still in Ireland and has Nicole Kidman's character ram a pitchfork into his leg and he's got trouble walking, except when he all of a sudden seems to have forgotten and fights a guy, just to fall back down again after. I wish they had talked a bit more about where the land of the Oklahoma land rush actually came from and how bad the cheating was. Overall, it would have been a better movie without Tom Cruise, but that's usually the case.

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A Most Violent Year

Reviewer: Ruben Schönefeld
Date: 2018-11-05

I wish there was enough time in the movie to go into more detail about how exactly the fraud was happening in the heating oil market in 1981's New York. Also, was Abel's company really that much better and more honest than the others? I also think that the movie was taking a couple weird shortcuts towards the end, especially in how exactly Anna hid away that much money and why she waited so long to tell Abel. But after all that, this was still a great movie with a great story. I was particularly happy with Elyes Gabel's performance as Julian and his descend into paranoid madness.

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My Life as a Zucchini

Reviewer: Ruben Schönefeld
Date: 2018-11-05

Sometimes, short movies fail to go into too much emotional depth, but at just a little more than one hour, it's surprising how much this little Oscar nominated movie was able to fit. Despite the fact that this is an animated movie, it may not be the best fit for children, with topics like alcoholism, abuse, murder and suicide seen through the eyes of children in an orphanage. It's really well made with a lot of attention to detail, so I can highly recommend it.

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Mother!

Reviewer: Ruben Schönefeld
Date: 2018-10-31

With Darren Aronofsky, you already know that not everything is as it first appears, but the very beginning of the movie already gives away a lot of how it's ending. What starts out fairly slow with a couple of people at the house quickly goes crazier and crazier, which seems to be exactly the environment needed for "The Poet" to be creative. It's not specifically explained, as few things are in this movie, how "Mother" is fused with the house that she's first renovating and then destroying in an endless circle, so you may be as confused about it as I am. I think this movie is just a bit too confusing for me to give it a good grade, but it was well made and both Jennifer Lawrence as well as Javier Bardem, Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer are nice picks for their roles.

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The Legend of Paul and Paula

Reviewer: Ruben Schönefeld
Date: 2018-10-22

While this may have been the best movie to come out of East Germany in 1973, it's certainly not going to be for everyone. Keeping up with German movie traditions, protagonist Paula dies at the end, or at least the voice-over hints at this. Before all that, Paul and Paula's relationship has more ups and downs than can be expected from sane partners. The psychedelic dream sequences induced by alcohol or more illicit substances were just a bit surprising for a movie that came out of a tightly controlled country.

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Annihilation

Reviewer: Ruben Schönefeld
Date: 2018-10-22

There are a couple of gory scenes with mutated animals, most notably what could be called a bear, but beyond that, this is just a very smart story. Unfortunately, this movie did not perform well enough at the box office to justify to the studio to continue making the second and third part of the three-piece novel. It's a great movie to watch on the big screen, with beautifully shot scenes and colors.

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Brooklyn

Reviewer: Ruben Schönefeld
Date: 2018-10-17

Being an immigrant myself, I'm happy that my experience has been a bit easier than Ellis Lacey's move from Ireland to New York in the 1950s. Some of the special effects are a bit klutzy for a movie that was released in 2015, but the story makes up more than enough for this. Saoirse Ronan's performance is stellar and so honest and believable, you may get the feeling that this is a documentary about her life. Jim Broadbent as a catholic priest helping recent and not so recent Irish immigrants in New York is so calm that I would almost want to join his congregation.

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Lady Chatterley

Reviewer: Ruben Schönefeld
Date: 2018-10-14

This movie was award winning (2007 Cesar Award for Best Film), but I wasn't on the jury so I can't say what they liked so much about it. But maybe it was simply the best movie out of the ones in competition. This Lady Chatterley adaptation is, at almost three hours, extremely long. It is overall also a very quiet movie, so it was difficult to sit through without falling asleep. I'm no director or editor, but there are so many pointless scenes in this movie that not only advance the story but they also interrupt the flow of the story. Maybe it was just the particular version that we had, but it also didn't look and sound like a movie made in this century, with the picture quality of a worn-out VHS tape.

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Cocktail

Reviewer: Ruben Schönefeld
Date: 2018-10-12

I don't know if this movie would have been better if it wasn't for Tom Cruise in the lead role of alcoholic self-centered Brian Flanagan, but I doubt it. The only redeeming quality this movie has is that at the very end, Brian seems to realize that life is better if he's not an asshole, but until you get to the end of the movie, you have to suffer through his behavior.

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Scared Straight!

Reviewer: Ruben Schönefeld
Date: 2018-10-11

A wonderful project that kept at least a few teenagers out of prison by having adults in prison tell them how bad it really is inside. The particular copy of the movie that I got had follow-up interviews with both the prisoners and the former teenagers to hear more about the impact this experience had on them over the years.

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I Feel Pretty

Reviewer: Ruben Schönefeld
Date: 2018-10-09

This one was really a bit of a surprise for me. There's more of a message in here than you may expect from a comedy. It's all about body image and expectations and at the same time, provides many laughs.

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Brad's Status

Reviewer: Ruben Schönefeld
Date: 2018-10-09

Together the earlier movie "While We're Young", this movie might give you the feeling that Ben Stiller was out to make some serious films just to show he can play the middle aged guy with regrets about opportunities missed. I wonder if this was on purpose. I was bored with this one and felt a bit cheated because in the end I still don't know where the son will go to college.

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The Circle

Reviewer: Ruben Schönefeld
Date: 2018-09-14

A social network that collects too much data on their products, err, customers and takes over more and more of their lives and gains a lot of influence on politics at one time probably sounded pretty far fetched. These days, watching it only a bit more than a year after its release, my reaction was mostly in the range between "oh yeah, and?" and "oh well". I can't really connect with any of the characters.

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Knockin' on Heaven's Door

Reviewer: Ruben Schönefeld
Date: 2018-09-08

To get this out of the way first, this movie stars Til Schweiger and while that usually means you'll miss half of the movie's dialogue, the mumbling isn't as bad in this one. The story is quite good too, with Martin helping Rudi reach the ocean before both of them die from their newly diagnosed cancers. Of course, this isn't going quite as straight forward. For the action scenes this movie tries a bit too hard to be "Hollywood", but that doesn't take too much away from the fun.

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