You are here:  Ronen Recommends

Ronen's Rating System:

***** A must watch
**** Worth seeing
*** If you must watch a movie and there is nothing else out there
** Don’t bother
* It’s so bad its almost good... not... These are films I walked out on, or just fell asleep
(K: stars) Rating by my children. As they are easy to please, would typically be higher than mine...


Movie Review: Watchmen (2009) ***

Admittedly, I am not a follower of the Watchmen comic so if you are, it may have a whole different meaning for you. Here is what I liked about the film – its dark edge and the fact that the superheroes have a dark side and are not all good. The visuals were mostly striking. The idea of the parallel reality (or alternate history) was interesting.
Here is what I didn’t like about it – it felt like it was trying to squeeze a lot of the comic’s history into a feature length, running over two hours as a result, which felt too long. So on one hand it didn’t really achieve the aim of the length while on the other hand, it made the film feel like it is never going to end. Would have been better to devise a two-part movie in which each part can stand on its own – one focused on the history, making it a present, and a second movie with the end plot as the main course. Also, some parts were very typical comic stuff while others were breaking away from the comic and I felt, as a viewer, that it is throwing me off the movie’s own logic and reality. Finally, too much was going on in terms of relationships yet nothing stuck with me after the film. Good intentions, but I feel a miss on the execution.

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Movie Review: Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs (2009) ****

Given it’s a children movie I gave it 4 stars. As for myself, I would have settled for 3 stars. Yes, it’s a cute movie, well-intended, very well executed – the animation, action scenes, plot flow and character voices. Yet, some things were missing or not right. The plot is overly formulated and the message didn’t click, at least not with me – that a son needs to fail before he can earn his father’s acceptance. The rest was pretty straight forward and fine, which made it a little boring – the usual theme that it’s okay to be different and that there is no free meal – eventually one has to pay the bill… There may have been also a hidden message about our over-consuming society, where XXL is the new L… If so I give the filmmakers extra points for it. But all in all the kids will love it and the adults will too, or at least not suffer much like in so many other children movies these day…

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Movie Review: Gran Torino (2008) *****

I happened to see this film more than once (which is a rarity for me) and I enjoyed it the second time as much as I did the first. I just love this movie. I actually like most of Clint Eastwood’s movies of recent years. Eastwood, in my book, reached a level of mastery which put him on the top together with other masters of cinema such as Bergman, Hitchcock, and Kurosawa. Flags of Our Fathers, Letters from Iwo Jima and Gran Torino stand out in that category.
In Gran Torino Eastwood took the old bitten-up Western genre, and modernized it on multiple levels, adding into the mix immigrants, gangs, old age, religion and even a final standoff scene with a twist. There are plenty of comical moments but ultimately Eastman shows that patriotism is not about foreign-phobia but rather about opening up to others – different as they may be, and protecting their rights under the most basic principles upon which this great country was founded; a fact too often forgotten by those who take it for granted.

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Movie Review: Ed Wood (1994) ***

Ed Wood, much like the main character it portrays, is sort of an oxymoron of a movie… Well played by Johnny Depp and directed in a visually compelling style by Tim Burton, it faces a difficult task – presenting the story of bad filmmaking with passion second to none… Walking this thin line proves to be tricky and not always successful. What holds the film somewhat together is its humanistic angle. In a fake world made of customs, makeup and fiction – science and horror, Burton made a wise choice portraying the special relationship between the young Ed Wood and the end of the line Béla Lugosi, wonderfully played by Martin Landau.

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Movie Review: Elling (2001) ***

In a nut-shell (literally) – this Norwegian film is about two mentally unstable characters, with Elling being one of them, who are released from a mental institute onto a regular town apartment in Oslo, arranged for them by the Norwegian government (“at the tax payer’s expense?!” will no doubt frown Americans watching this movie) , in an attempt to rehabilitate them back into society. The film follows their everyday little struggles to adjust. Although well thought out, not over-acted, not over-complicated, and at the same time spreading occasional little hints that abnormalities are what make society what it is, in all frankness, I just didn’t care enough… The film was nominated for an Oscar and was, I believe, well-received. On the positive side I turn to side with the NY Times Critic bottom line: “Elling believes so fervently in humanity that it feels almost anachronistic, and it is too cute by half. But arriving at a particularly dark moment in history, it offers flickering reminders of the ties that bind us.”

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Movie Review: Young@Heart (2008) ****

A likeable documentary (how can you not like a bunch of grandparents performing Talking Heads songs?...) even if somewhat obvious in its message, yet still inspiring. You will have, most of the time, an amused smile on your face and a song in your heart.

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Latest Comments

    Re: Logan (2017) ***

    I agree about the relationship with Logan and Charles - added a lot of depth, especially with the next...

    -- ed

    Re: Eye in the Sky (2015, UK) *****

    Great Review Ronen!

    -- Scott

    Re: Top Five (2014) ***

    wonderfully expressed review and very accurately describing the movie...

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    Re: Begin Again (2014) ***

    such great performers - would have expected more of.... very disappointing to hear....

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    Re: Waltz with Bashir (2008) *****

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    Special effects are more than ever present even in drama movies, its almost normal that an action thriller...

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    Re: The Real Dirt On Farmer John (2005) ***

    Interesting though i was expecting more of the film.

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    Re: Midnight Run (1988) *****

    great movie indeed

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    Re: The Bounty Hunter (2010) *

    wont bother then

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    Re: Stardust (2007) *****

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this movie :-)watching Robert De Niro in a dress what could be better.Enjoy

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