Favorite movies of 2018


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This year around was a bit tough, so I will be short with my list of favorite movies and TV series.


I just want to mention first that I had a bit more fun with Television this year thanks to mainly 3 series: Better Call Saul (best of the best!), The Romanoffs and Westworld.

And now the list with several comments:

  1. Annihilation – I watched it in the very beginning of 2018, but nothing got closer to perfection after that. Truly the best one, encompassing every possible current topic! Just a bit dark and unforgiving 🙂
  2. Blindspotting – a perfect and very fresh movie! Loved it from every angle!
  3. Loro – Italian cinema never disappoints me! Great and very provocative!
  4. Eight grade – very gentle and modern experience which touched me as a father.
  5. Isle of dogs – best animation of the year, no doubt.
  6. The Favourite – Best characters and acting in cinema this year!
  7. Sorry to Bother you – fresh and innovative, I really enjoyed this piece.
  8. The man who killed don Quixote – my kind of movie, although not the best editing and direction. Still, I felt really good receiving such an experience from Terry Gilliam!
  9. A star is born – best music, very good adaptation and direction. Best supporting actor in 2018!
  10. Everybody knows – the warm experience and depth of relationships kept me interested and also taught me something.
  11. BlackKklansman – I had to put it in the list. There are some scenes where I laughed out so loud, that it really hurt.

In the end – you can’t really beat that picturesque scene, depicting 2018 for me 🙂 Wish all the best to everybody for the new 2019!


A star is born in love


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You can’t hide anything from love. And you can nurture talent with love.

a star

Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut just hit theaters and I couldn’t resist to see it ASAP.

It really stands up to its name and already amassed glowing reviews. It’s a very emotional tale of a singer in his twilight years finding and helping the love of his life become a star singer, but also his better side.
I was struck about how this motion picture dug deep into viewers hearts and how iconic the characters were made to look and sound like. And I think that phrase from Cooper “When you have a question, you gotta ask it.” is really emoting from this movie. This script is already shot 3 times during 3 different eras of American cinema and I gotta say, this one is without doubt the truest.

Lady Gaga is over performing herself, expressing all her character on the screen. Bradley Cooper has created and brought to screen a very “burnt” depiction of a man in fame. And it struck my heart in so many chords that I have to say this is one of the best movies of the year.
It has a very original soundtrack, which involves you even deeper. Wonderfully shot characters which evolve and yet stay true to their nature. A film about music, life, relationships, but above all – love.

I had two very eclectic moments in the movie. The first one was when Bradley Cooper’s Jack apologizes to Bobby for his insult. The reaction from Sam Elliott’s character was so empowering and so proudly emotional that I will remember it for a long time. A person can really relate to such a conversation and intuitional moment.
The second, of course, is the last scene song transition from the concert to the piano. A very general and yet intimate moment of affection and compassion. The production quality is indeed present and I believe that we’re seeing a very good director coming forward.

At the end of this review, I’d like to say that it’s for movies like this that we have a passion for cinema and music. These two interconnect very intensely and the past decade has proven that we can do much better in life, in relationships and in knowing ourselves, if we just allow these art forms of expression flow through us and let us just be out there in the space between us.

You were never really here


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A movie with particularly clear and finalized title, which I was expecting to be very good. It actually amazed me…


This performance by Joaquin Phoenix is truly astonishing, as he really immerses in the character. The lead indeed deserved to get the best actor won at “Festivalle de Cannes”. I saw so many shades of human fright and terror in him, so much humane aspects, that I really now admire his traits. I had some reservations before, but he has brought the craft to perfection.

And with such a beautiful and unique script, this thriller can’t really be avoided.
The used before “hitman rescues a girl” trivia is known to us, but the direction by Lynne Ramsay has quite the perfect execution of every small detail. I believe you can’t really be spoiled, as the structure of the movie follows some well known patterns by “Taxi driver” and “The Professional”. What really depressed me in a good way were the pacing (the movie is only 1:30 hour long), the finest details (those hallucinating episodes!!!) and the overall weight of the film. I cannot really stress out how much I enjoyed seeing two human beings, who were enemies a moment ago, singing the same song!

The cinematography of this masterpiece is very diverse. The shots aim from various angles, always pointing out both important and contradicting emotional values. I liked very much the use of music in this movie. There are a lot of messages about the current American culture and what it is obsessed with, and they are enhanced by every word in a song in the background. We have a nice mix of old time hits with modernistic sound.

I liked also the homages to Psycho and other easter eggs in this small, but full of matter film. Movies have to be inventive, but also have to show that the craft has developed from and been influenced by other masterpieces.

Character development is important, steady and fulfilling. The audience craves for a moment to breathe and it gets it only with the last words in the film.
When I start to compare this movie with others, I can only say that every inch of it is genre perfect and the last bit of spice which I always need to give a film 10/10 is there. You cannot anticipate it, you cannot think of it, you just feel it. A perfect movie about human beings, which are capable of utmost violence and at the same time crazy-incidental altruism. Much like nowadays hurry-to-grave lifestyle on our 7 billion planet.

The cinema of last two-three years has steadily grown its reconciliation branch. We must talk to each other about every possible problem between us. Every possible way that we can. Every time that we can. Time is important, we don’t have that much of it.



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This year I decide to publicize my predictions/my wishes for the Oscars, before the event.


Best Picture – The Shape of Water
Best Director – Guillermo del Toro
Best Actor – Gary Oldman
Best Actress – Frances McDormand
Best Supporting Actor – Willem Dafoe
Best Supporting Actress – Laurie Metcalf
Best Original Screenplay – Get Out
Best Adapted Screenplay – Call Me by Your Name
Best Animated Feature Film – Coco
Best Foreign Language Film – The Square
Best Original Score – The Shape of Water
Best Original Song – “This Is Me”
Best Sound Editing – Dunkirk
Best Sound Mixing – The Shape of Water
Best Production Design – Blade Runner 2049
Best Cinematography – Blade Runner 2049
Best Makeup and Hairstyling – Darkest Hour
Best Costume Design – Phantom Thread
Best Film Editing – Dunkirk
Best Visual Effects – Blade Runner 2049

I hope that at least Willem Dafoe and Blade Runner get the attention they need. Shape of water is by far the most recognizable film of the last year.

An ode to Mother!


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Officially “Mother!” comes to the top of my 2017 movies list, next to “Blade Runner 2049”. I watched a lot of good movies this year, but the only one to come near these two is “Wind River”. Alas, I still haven’t watched enjoyed the biggest hit this year “The Square” and a lot of other hidden gems like “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri”, “Loveless”, “Lady Bird”, “Shape of water” and “The Florida project”. Yet, I believe that namely “Mother!” will remain as the most unique movie of this year!


Hence forth, please be aware, my post might include some spoilers.

I’ve waited a lot to watch “Mother!” at last. I’ve had some doubts that it will be too artsy and too tough on my nerves, but yet again I trusted myself and challenged my intelligence.
I believe that to every viewer of this movie the director should go and say: “You’re going to watch a dialogue between “Mother Earth” and “God”. And this will NOT be a spoiler. This will help a lot of people to view this film the way it should be seen – a deep conversation about our humanity , meaning of life and our place on Earth.

Outright I should say that Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem are truly magnificent actors in this film. Their performances are INCREDIBLE! And such is the script and direction of Aronofsky. His deeply emotional way of reflecting on universal topics and translating them to the audiences in painfully creative manner really brings his art forth.

And what a home this filmmaker builds in front of us! The house is also a main character in this film. The constant transformations of the interior and exterior mirror thousands of years of life on Earth. We, viewers have to be indeed grateful for the intimate way visuals change in the movie. I really loved the way the director shows us particular details and how they represent greater ideas. Matter and mind are more or less the same in this film.

The sound and cinematography are compelling and add to the whole cosmic experience. I can’t say who can express better such topics than Aronofsky. All the allusions to the Bible and to the state of our modern society are on point and the realism with which these topics are represented is truly astonishing. At the end of the movie, when things get really heated the poetic part steps back in order for us to see and hear the crescendo of our interpersonal relationships. It is certain that the author has some messaged to the role of God on Earth and they are firmly stated, no matter if we agree with him or not. Also, “mother Earth” is represented with deepest emotions and care. The intrusion of our humane nature onto this place we call home is visually represented in a striking way.

This movie is an experience, not a mere entertainment product. At some point it is a survival to watch it and stay with it. But it truly will mesmerize every viewer who goes into the theater to learn and absorb new ideas and viewpoints. I can only recommend to watch it in solitude because it is a compelling masterpiece.

Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner


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“Blade Runner 2049” is out and it might be even better than the old one…


Ok, so first of all I’d like to say that I very much like the 1982 first “Blade Runner” by Ridley Scott. But I don’t think it’s flawless. Actually it was a very good attempt at mixing film noir and sci-fi, maybe the best example to date. But it had actual blank spots in some characters and plot wise it was nearly, but not completely perfect.

Having said this, I am really happy that a script like Blade Runner’s got a sequel and I must say – a rather good sequel. In fact I am very happy that again Denis Villeneuve has proven himself an able director and a true visionary with an own voice and soul, beautifully presented on the silver screen.

To be able to give you an idea of what a movie you should expect to see, when you go to “Blade Runner 2049”, I will tell you that maybe you must not think of the original as the thought provoking film many people think it is. At least not in the way I see it. To me this title is really a mixture of a perfect example of genre movie. A detective story, a sci-fi story, a humanistic story, an internal cosmos story.

Blade Runner was never about logical and consequential plot and it never feeds its themes to the viewers directly. But it is subtle. Subtle in its character development, it its relationships intricate details, in the way the story asks questions, but does not provide always answers. Story wise this new movie is minimalistic, and though it has its small problems in some side scenes and decisions seen in them, the film is a lesson in presentation and evolution of characters. I am personally touched by the way Villeneuve shows us the relationship between Joe and Joi. It is realistically unnatural how we humans can accept AI and its manifestations. And the human brain works on so many levels that it seems even we cannot absorb what is possible and not, what is real and what is not. These thin visual and mental lines are for me one of the life threads of this film. Actors playing (mainly Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford) do a stunningly good job. Almost all supporting actors and actresses fill this unreal world with life and rhythm. So overall I can say – the teams behind the script and the technological representation of ideas on the screen have done a magnificent job.

What it means to be human. What makes us happy. What puts meaning into our hearts and minds. All these questions are asked anew. The difference is this time, I feel much more connected to “K”, than I did before to Deckard. The lead character has a very hard path, but it is filled with wondrous happenings, which I believe come from very personal experiences behind the script. The connection between “K” and Joi, between Deckard and “K” are thought provoking and really a master class in cinema. I dare not say more about them, as I have to learn how these beautiful constructions work, so that I can dissect them and implement them in real life better. It is amazingly beautiful to witness such depictions of humanity in characters whose sole existence is so robotic and meaningless. I am truly astonished of the actors’ play, of the emotions behind the gestures and words. Genius!


So, I better get to the other astonishing part of this movie – the futuristic look and sound of this film. Again the creators Roger Deakins (cinematography), Hans Zimmer, Benjamin Wallfisch (music), David Doran, Bence Erdelyi, Lydia Fry (art direction) have done a perfect job. Also costumes, set decoration and makeup are on a very high level. One can feel the future when witnessing this movie. It is so real and ambient.

So I really appreciate this gift from Villeneuve and recommend it to anyone with a taste for cyberpunk, thrills and sci-fi. But most of all, I wish that we all could learn more about how important it is to do our work with passion and everlasting hunger for individual creation and love for freedom in expression. A tour de force!



It is simply the truth


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The new “IT” screening gets pretty much everything right…


From the shocking rip off of child’s arm to the true realization of what it means to grow up, the 2017 movie is true to the King’s novel and closer to the viewers’ hearts.

I’m not a big fan of horror movies and of King’s books, but went to see this film knowing that it will most probably scare me. And it did spectacularly.

First I will mention the only two problems which I have with this movie and why I rate it 8/10.
– too many jump scares. Too often frightening scenes follow one after another and this takes out a bit of the positive impression which those moments should create;
– horror movies are rarely perfect examples of cinematography. Of course there are some non-believable moments in the movie where some characters take some “stupid” decisions which are not logical. Also the bullying in the film goes way ahead of itself. But sometimes in reality children tormenting other children indeed is brutal.

Now to the more interesting themes of the movie and its execution.
First I’d like to mention that this film is shot beautifully creepy. I can’t think of any technical error or edgy 3D episode in it. Also, the music score is subtle and supporting, at times it takes the lead, but without leading the viewer too much above the actual feeling being presented on the screen.
The cast is great – from Bill Skarsgard to Sophia Lillis – all actors are great. The supporting characters, representing the children’s respective parents are also true embodiments of the certain problematic topics which usually ruin the psychology of a child.
The screenplay by Chase Palmer and Cary Fukunaga (True Detective anyone?) is respectfully following the book with only some scenes from the book missing (sewer scene between the teens!). So overall everything which compiles a good film is obviously here.

And most importantly – the film directly transmits to the viewers the deep message of fear overpowering, proper upbringing importance and teenage character development.
We see the exact moments when most of the main characters challenge their deep fears and fight them off. And step by step, as in real life, Bill, Ben, Beverly and the others become their own role models. Such growth is very harsh to the character of a minor, but it impacts influences his/her life more deeply and complete. Because once a person repeats the act and defiance against a deepest fear, the result is no longer what is desired, but also transforms into ambition, integrity and pure devotion. All virtues of a truly realized man or a woman.

And perhaps this is why Stephen King’s books are so popular – you can’t fake life, you can only represent it the best way you can. After all – human’s imagination is only a result of the perception of reality.

Better Call Saul season Finale


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I didn’t want to go with a distant title…and I want to be short.


So, yeah. Season 3 ended. And I liked it much better than the previous two. Why? Because decisions had more consequences. And yes – Chuck’s character got more fleshed out, Gustavo Fring is back and our main character continues to break down.

But more importantly this show is certain that it doesn’t explicitly want to reach to everybody. I think that everybody must reach for a meaning in it. It entertains me with the facts which I find in it, which provoke in me compassion and understanding. I relate to Better Call Saul namely because it is lifelike. And this really is the only show consistently giving us reasons why our lives are normal and we must take a moment every now and then and consider the consequences of our actions and thoughts.

Excellent storytelling in the making here. Great characters, incredibly detailed situational storytelling. I can’t help but feel that when you create such an artwork, you put so much effort in it, but if you don’t have that talent part behind it, it will surely be dull. And Vince Gilligan and company are surely doing it with amazing skills. This show must surely get a 4th season coming soon!

Diagnosis Ambition


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I have been waiting 3 months to watch “A cure for wellness”. And it’s been worth it…to some extend.


This movie is really an original story about 3 different topics – workaholism, egocentrism and family. Interestingly enough we follow those themes in three narratives – personal, professional and historic.

But before speaking about story and characters, I have to stress out how many other valuable sides this art piece has. First of all – the scenery, landscape and background of the events is majestic. The haunted spa/sanatorium among splendid nature views is the perfect set for this fantastic horror drama. Also you should know that some of the filming locations are also spooky in real life (example: Beelitz Sanatorium).
Also, the music is a nice addition to the moody feeling coming from this movie.
But mostly I was impressed by the cinematography. Almost every shot’s perspective and angle was perfect for me. We see the story through all kinds of visual points. And it makes more involved in the film overall. Excellent positioning of the takes and precise length of each movement of the camera. This for me is very important as we tend to see it less and less in modern cinema.

As for the actors and play – they were all splendid. From DeHaan’s first cocky and later frantic acts to each of  Volmer institute’s staff members who expressed precisely the radiation of fanatic followers – it was all unexpectedly beautiful and impressive. Mia Goth and Jason Isaacs of course are the other two main characters who provide an unsettling background to our main character. As a person who has some contact with German culture, I’d like to express how on point was the feel of weird perfection coming out of this supposed sanatorium.

Let’s now focus on the story. I had some feedback before the movie, so I expected a turn of events more in the direction of workaholism and modern societal anxiety. But I found out the movie to influence me more on a personal level. Although the “A cure for wellness” focuses mainly on the fantastic history of the place and people who own it, I was touched by the concrete stand this art piece took on the influence of professional competitiveness and ambition on the personal and family life of each individual.

Also I have to point out the perfect beginning scene in this film. It represents for me the whole idea behind this grinning movie. Although it’s an over 2 hour long piece, to me it doesn’t drag at all. I wanted to find answers all the way, all the time. Some of them were left unanswered by the end of it, but still it was a demanding and obsessive experience.

So, back to the story – a corporate hunt mingles with personal tragedy and historic fantastic elements. The body horror part of this movie I leave to the fans of such things. I just wanna say that it was bloody impressive and stressful. Which is a good thing for this genre. And although the film turns to the fantastic madcap performances towards the third act, I will remember it mostly for the iconic first and second parts.

The main character is an unscrupulous professional who’s only family turns out to be his work. I was deeply impressed when the staff at the sanatorium asked De Haan’s character for a personal contact and he referenced only his office (having lost both his father and mother). Not only that this is a great set up for his confrontation with the main villain in this story, but also connects with the audience through an subconscious level. I personally prefer to take in this film as a wink to the influence which hard work and painful ambition has on personal and family life. History knows not only real life creepy spas, but more importantly broken lives of many families. So Verbinski’s goal is clear here.

The movie is clearly entertaining and captivating on many levels and I truly recommend it to all drama and horror fans. But as always I try to take out as many personal and long term conclusions from a movie. And this art piece is rich with meaningful messages and great character examples. Visually stunning work which is irresistibly obsessive with its lovecraftian way of saying “keep your mind at work, but leave your heart always at home”.

The Shell is better than the Ghost


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The cinema is an incredible way of art, because it always relies on good storytelling first. And after that on visuals, sound, design, performance, etc. It is surely a mix of them all, but the essence is and will always be to relay an important set of messages through an impressive story. And this is the reason why improvisation will always be a milestone in creating good movies. Because repetitiveness is always going to go into oblivion.

For example “Ghost in the shell” – the anime movie from 1995 will always be this cornerstone in the lives of many young before and now not so young people. It is an essential part of my life too. And I can’t just pass on seeing what Rupert Sanders has done with these incredible set of characters, with this great set of ideas and story.


You see, people get inspired by stories which tell them something new to them, which teach them something they don’t know about themselves and about the surrounding world. And at the same time these valuable fiction pieces show that we’ve had this valuable information in ourselves all the time. We just had to dig deep and find it. To acknowledge it. To accept its existence and then to use it in our lives. To be better people, to live a happier and more fulfilling life. This is the kind of art piece the original “Ghost in the shell” is. At least to me. So it’s important to stress out what a big task this director took.

Now, I want to say that I truly believe that cinema is an eternal form of creation because it refreshes itself by inspiring the film community within. This anime is a beautiful example for this. I cannot give a better example for film inspired by GitS than “The Matrix”. There we see a seamless transition of groundbreaking ideas from one form (mind) to another. This is the living tissue of cinema itself. Ideas about information flow, purpose of life in cybernetic society, gender identity and the future of the human soul flourish from anime to movie life the first breath of a new born baby! And this is exactly what I love.

So seeing the new Scarlett Johansson’s new movie was a test. An awaited test, but still a test. And it performed more or less as expected. The story was dummed down A LOT. I don’t even want to speak about it. It was interesting to see the script writers discussing a fresh look into Motoko Kusanagi’s origins, but this idea seemed not thought in details enough. The performances of the actors weren’t bad. But the characters are part of the flawed story. So yeah – it wasn’t a very good movie.

But it was a decent one, because…they did hire some of the best design, music and graphic artists available on the market. And the atmosphere, sound, costumes, CG were GREAT! It sure looks expensive, but it is for a reason. I really enjoyed what WETA did in this movie. These people put up so much effort into interpreting and creating from the original content, that I want to recommend watching the movie if not for something else, than just for their work. It is worthy of appraisal. And let’s not forget Hong Kong…the main landscape which inspired the original is seen in this movie as well. A future city it still is!

So overall I would like to ask you all – do you prefer to have a shiny shell or a thoughtful ghost? I personally prefer to have both!