The Cranes Are Flying (1957)

The Cranes Are Flying Movie Review………………………………………………………………………….

The Cranes Are Flying Movie Review

The Cranes Are Flying is a 1957 Russian war romance film directed by Mikhail Kalatozov and starring Tatiana Samoilova. It is a masterpiece of Russian cinema.

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Look! Look! The cranes are flying!

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The Cranes Are Flying Movie Review………………………………………………………………………….

It follows a young woman during WW2 and how she struggles when her boyfriend goes to war. This film manages to transcend its admittedly simple and predictable storyline with a perfect execution. Everything here is phenomenal, but what is the most admirable is how anti-war the picture is. I loved its critique of patriotism as well as war in general. The war here is portrayed as damaging to each and every person and that nothing good can come out of it.

That is why it succeeds as a great anti-war film, but also succeeds as a strong romance because this couple is so charming to watch and root for. The tragedy is evident from the beginning, but still deeply impactful. My favorite sequence has to be that ending which was just magnificent to behold. Veronika learns that Boris truly is dead when the soldiers return and the juxtaposition of her devastated face surrounded with joyous people happily reunited with their loved ones was just so powerful, brilliant and heartbreaking. But it then ends on a high and still optimistic note when she gives the flowers to the people around her and gazes upon the sky to see the titular cranes that are the symbol of their everlasting love so greatly established in the movie’s opening scene.

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The Cranes Are Flying Movie Review………………………………………………………………………….

The character development is very strong. Tatiana is such a phenomenal character and a very strong, admirable female protagonist for the time. Her coping with uncertainties over Boris’ fate was so well realized and I found her to not just be a helpless woman waiting for her man, but a strong woman who meanwhile worked at the hospital and never lost hope.

Boris is also really good, excellent for the little screen time that he got. The two are such a great couple which is important for the movie to work. Fyodor Ivanovich is very likable and of course Mark is despicable and I liked how they dealt with him in this movie. That entire subplot worked against all odds.

The Cranes Are Flying benefits from terrific acting across the board. Aleksey Batalov is really good and Vasili Merkuryev is excellent, but of course the standout is Tatiana Samoilova who didn’t start off as strong, but as the movie progressed, became better and better until delivering in spades during the third act. She is beautiful, charming and she managed to carry the entire movie on her shoulders which is so commendable.

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The Cranes Are Flying Movie Review………………………………………………………………………….

Another thing that makes The Cranes Are Flying a classic is its look. The movie is absolutely gorgeous to watch. The cinematography from Sergei Urusevsky is so strong that it manages to become the most memorable aspect of the entire film. The camera movements in the outdoor sequences are phenomenal, both regular and handheld. The imagery is superb and that crane scene is amazing and beautiful, both in the opening and ending.

The film is so polished not just in its cinematography, but also in the direction which is very strong, acting and of course editing. It is masterfully edited with each and every scene lasting for just the right amount of running time. The movie is never abrupt, never dragging and never dull. It is involving from start to finish owing to that superb editing.

The tone is great as it’s wonderfully lightweight and romantic at first and then serious and dark and still ending on a positive, moving note. That ending was heartbreaking, but wonderful and it almost made me cry how powerful it was. The movie isn’t original, but it is so fantastic in almost every way that I thoroughly enjoyed it despite me being somewhat tired of World War II movies. But when you have a movie done this well, you can’t help but appreciate it.

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The Cranes Are Flying Movie Review………………………………………………………………………….

The film is also realistic, it is well established in its characters and all of its plot points and some scenes are visually very intriguing including that supposed rape scene which is very authentic in its look. The dialogue I loved and I respect the movie for its great sentiment. The score is also quite good and the emotion is so strong that it starts to become overwhelming later on, positively so of course. The movie has that timeless quality to it and is just such an undisputed classic that is so far my favorite Russian film.

With deft editing, excellent direction, amazing cinematography from Sergey Urusevsky and such a strong performance from Tatiana Samoilova, The Cranes Are Flying is an undisputed Russian classic that is so moving, heartbreaking and powerful. It is a film that is perfect in almost every way, it succeeds as such a great anti-war film as well as a beautiful romance and it has such a breathtaking ending scene that almost made me cry. A masterpiece.

My Rating – 5

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Muscle Beach Tom (1956)

Muscle Beach Tom ReviewMuscle Beach Tom Review

Muscle Beach Tom is a 1956 animated short that is the 101st Tom and Jerry cartoon. It has some great gags, but is ultimately not as great.

Muscle Beach Tom benefits from some pretty good humor. The opening gag with the cats working out at the beach was phenomenal and visually brilliant. And some of the gags with Tom later on were also solid. I also really liked the plot here and, although stuffed with too many characters, I liked that it had a lot of different things happening in it.

But the problem continues to be the animation. I just don’t care for Cinemascope and here it definitely reduced the quality of the animation and it just looks odd to me. Also, the third act felt subpar when compared with the previous two acts and Tom and Jerry entries of this period continually struggle with focus and energy. This one definitely needed more of those two.

Muscle Beach Tom has some excellent gags and a fine use of all of its characters, but the animation is subpar as is the third act.

My Rating – 4

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Der Fuehrer’s Face (1943)

Der Fuehrer's Face Review

Der Fuehrer’s Face Review

Der Fuehrer’s Face is a 1943 Disney animated short that won an Oscar. It is a very good, famous film, but far from a great one.

Donald Duck has a nightmare in which he is working in Nazi Germany. Yes, this is a propaganda film and I have to say that I always tend to dislike propaganda pictures, no matter which side they take. And this was also troublesome, but I still really liked it as you can’t underestimate its quality and appeal. Donald is absolutely hysterical here as he always is, but he’s also relatable and you feel for the little fellow. His nervous breakdown was well realized and his various frustrated lines here were funny.

The film is quite funny for sure, but it’s also really well crafted with such a good three-act structure and excellent editing. The title song is so catchy and instantly recognizable and the sound effects are great. As for the animation, it is absolutely fantastic, bringing us some of Disney’s most artistic sensibilities as some sequences are quite inspired, especially the later ones. The character design is done in caricature excessively, but the overall animation is fluid and terrific. I had the problem with its ending in which he wakes up and is happy to be living in the USA, that was overly patriotic to my liking. But other than that and the film’s nature, it definitely is a respectable film that earned its status.

Der Fuehrer’s Face is a propaganda, but a propaganda done right with awesome animation, very good humor, a superb use of Donald Duck and a really well crafted plot.

My Rating – 4.3

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Animal House (1978)

Animal House Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………………….

Animal House Movie Review

Animal House is a 1978 comedy film directed by John Landis and starring John Belushi. It is one of the most overrated comedy films ever.

I just really disliked Animal House. There is nothing here to be worthy of its classic status. The plot is typical and the 80s had much better teen comedies than this. It is also way too long, clocking in at almost two hours which is just too long for a comedy film, especially this slight one.

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Dad! Mom, Dad, this is Larry Kroger.

The boy who molested me last month. We have to get married

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Animal House Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………………….

I was bored immensely by it. The humor is so weak. The entire film isn’t horrible as it is somewhat competently made, but the humor is its biggest problem and when a comedy fails to make you smile, let alone laugh, it fails as a film. This type of humor just further proves how mediocre the seventies were for the genre. It is a stupid anarchic comedy consisting solely of ridiculous dialogue that is never funny, stupid yelling and a lot of sexism to boot.

I’ve had a major problem with its representation of women which is just horrible. I don’t have a problem when comedies are sexist if they are funny, but this wasn’t funny at all. In fact, it was painfully unfunny which is why that was a problem to me.

The movie also seemed like a product of its time, but not in a good way. I really dislike this decade, always have and always will. And Animal House is representative of its worst tendencies, presenting people in an animalistic way and that I just wasn’t fond of. It is such an awfully dated movie.

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Animal House Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………………….

Needless to say, I found it to be incredibly overrated. In fact, it just might be more overrated than ‘Airplane!’ and that is really saying something! It is one of the least funny comedies I’ve seen, one of the dullest ones as well and it just goes to show that I don’t care for this period at all.

Animal House is such an awfully dated, plain unfunny and dull movie that has such a dated, really mediocre humor in it, unlikable characters and some of the worst tendencies of its very frustrating decade. It is undoubtedly one of the most overrated comedies of all time.

My Rating – 2

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Nurse-Mates (1940)

Nurse-Mates ReviewNurse-Mates Review

 Nurse-Mates is a 1940 animated short from Popeye the Sailor series. It is a sometimes funny, but ultimately troublesome entry.

Olive leaves the baby to Popeye and Bluto to take care of him together. This duo taking care of a baby of course does lead to some pretty amusing moments and surely the highlights are some of the lines spoken by the two with Bluto’s line about once being a baby himself being so funny. Also, some of the clothing gags when they tried to dress the baby were so inventive and funny.

However, everything else here is subpar. Swee’pea continues to be a pretty annoying character and I honestly never really liked his episodes to begin with. Another problem here is that the short is only occasionally funny. And of course that ending is just so frustrating. Not only is it far from a proper ending for this story, but it’s also one of the weakest in the series’ history in my opinion.

Nurse-Mates does have its humorous moments with some of the lines being funny, but the ending is weak and the entire short needed more work.

 My Rating – 3.8

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Mickey’s Ultimate Challenge (1994)

Mickey's Ultimate Challenge Game Review………………………………………………………………………………

Mickey’s Ultimate Challenge Game Review

Mickey’s Ultimate Challenge is a 1994 puzzle video game. It’s an awfully short and easy, but still very charming experience.

Mickey is reading a book of fairy tales and is transported in a dream to a fairy tale land where he must help five people with their problems and then climb the beanstalk and wake up the giant. Now because the game is awfully short, I will describe each and every of its five games in detail.

Horace Horsecollar’s challenge is sorting books. Here you have to jump from one book to another searching for the books with letters. The goal is to jump on every lettered book in the correct order which is unknown. I liked this challenge quite a bit. In fact, it is one of the most difficult mini games here and one that is probably the most interesting.

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Mickey's Ultimate Challenge Game Review………………………………………………………………………………

Donald Duck presents you a board where you have to move the potion bottles into a magic mirror and of course there are usually only a couple of ways to do this. This is a typical logic game, but the one that isn’t particularly original or difficult.

Picture Matching is a card matching game where you have to match all of the cards with each one having one correspondent. It is a very well known game, but the one that was here well utilized and always fun to play.

The pipe challenge is a typical memory game where you have to repeat the correct combination of notes. I found this one to be the most boring challenge as I never really liked this game to begin with.

And naturally Goofy’s challenge is the most memorable and difficult one of all. You have several attempts to guess the correct tools in his toolbox and what is great here is that it contains three games in it with varying difficulty and the last one was pretty hard to beat.

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Mickey's Ultimate Challenge Game Review………………………………………………………………………………

Next, you have to exchange the items that you gathered from each of these people to the right owner. Then the beanstalk appears, you climb it and you have to wake up the sleeping giant by playing a puzzle game where you have to sort a ruined puzzle. I loved that game as it was somewhat difficult and very entertaining.

As I said before, the biggest problem in Mickey’s Ultimate Challenge is its difficulty level. It is just way too easy. It is great for children, but it would prove too easy for adults. And that is why I loved this game as a kid, but now I finished it too quickly. Not only is it easy, but it’s also way too short. It can be beaten in about fifteen minutes. Yes, it’s that short! Needless to say, it has zero repeat value and I think that it could have been a great game had it been at least thrice longer.

But it is still a very endearing experience, the one that is always entertaining in most of its games. The animation I loved as the graphics looked phenomenal, very polished and wonderfully cartoony which is a perfect fit for a Mickey Mouse video game. The scenery is great and the score is also pretty good with all of the sounds being solid. The controls are simple, but effective. The plot is typically simplistic for this type of game, but still sweet and solidly incorporated. I liked the level design and how the game progressed, but its short running time definitely hurt it in the long run.

Mickey’s Ultimate Challenge is definitely way too short and awfully easy, but it’s so charming, the games here are varying in their type and most of them are fun, the animation is pretty good and the entire experience is an endearing, albeit short one.

My Rating – 3.6

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The Lion King (1994)

The Lion King Movie Review…………………………………………………………………..

The Lion King Movie Review

The Lion King is a 1994 animated musical comedy drama film directed by Rob Minkoff. It is the 32nd entry in the Disney canon and one of their better, if not best efforts.

The plot here is very interesting. It is basically a modern retelling of Hamlet, but the one set in Africa and major characters are all lions. So, the story itself is naturally not original because it is the same as Hamlet, but the mix of the setting, characters and the plot is definitely authentic and I have to say that the execution of said premise is also admirable.

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Oh yes, the past can hurt. But from the way I see it,

you can either run from it, or learn from it

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The Lion King Movie Review…………………………………………………………………..

Let’s talk about that beginning. I will talk even more in-depth later on in the soundtrack section, but now I’ll just say that it is not only Disney’s best beginning sequence, but also to me probably the finest opening scene of any film of all time. It is that spectacular! Watching those animals come to Pride Rock to see the newborn, future king was just epic, gorgeously animated, accompanied by a perfect song and it’s just impeccable on every level.

It is the shame that the rest of the movie never reached that quality. Don’t get me wrong, it is a very good movie, but far from great owing to some very obvious problems, but more on that later. I liked all of those earlier scenes as they were great build-up and yes, the death scene is shocking, brutal, effective and oh so unforgettable. It is one of the most mature moments ever in a Disney film.

I really liked the mystical elements introduced in the second half, the conflict was great and the third act is really well done. But the romance doesn’t work and the humor takes over too much of what has before been an inarguably very serious movie.

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The Lion King Movie Review…………………………………………………………………..

The Lion King features some pretty good characterization. All of the characters here are really well defined. Simba is great as an adult and watching him face his past was done in a mature, emotional and dramatic way. He has a great arc. However, him as a kid I thoroughly disliked. I just found him to be an annoying brat of a cub and he quite frankly got on my nerves. Thankfully, he became much more likable once he grew up.

Nala is pretty solid and she is a well realized, mostly likable female character. But the relationship between the two is so problematic and now is the perfect time to talk about that. First off, their eventual romance is so rushed and it is evidently shoehorn into the movie for those who like some romance in their movies. But it just doesn’t belong and this is the Disney movie that thoroughly did not need any of it. But an even bigger problem lies in the nature of their relationship. Let’s just say it ain’t pleasant. They started off as friends during childhood and, once mature, they suddenly developed romantic feelings for each other?! That is just so wrong, underdeveloped and not the brightest idea on the part of the filmmakers, that’s for sure.

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The Lion King Movie Review…………………………………………………………………..

Mufasa is a great father figure to Simba and their relationship is awesome. I loved how warm, yet imposing he was and it was a great mix in his personality. The ghost sequence is amazing and so emotionally investing. And of course his death was tragic.

Scar is a difficult character. On the one hand, he is responsible for his brother’s death which makes him one of the most brutal Disney villains. But on the other hand, he is utterly stupid. This is probably my biggest flaw in this movie – after killing Mufasa, he talked to Simba and told him to run away and then ordered hyenas to kill him. Him not wanting to have blood on his hands and do the hard work is a stupid argument as he himself killed his brother in the previous scene. And I get that they needed to make Simba think that he is responsible and it’s done for the plot’s sake, but that still doesn’t justify the high levels of stupidity expressed here. And he destroyed Pride Rock which was another stupid movie. Another thing that bothered me are his overly effeminate mannerisms as that is a clichéd approach to Disney villains. But what I liked was his sense of humor which was dark and amusing and I liked that he was smart in planning leading to a very troublesome villain that is at times simply great while at other times being quite stupid.

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The Lion King Movie Review…………………………………………………………………..

Shenzi, Banzai and Ed are very solid henchmen, sometimes funny and sometimes quite dangerous. And I liked that they killed and ate Scar which is very mature for a Disney film, albeit (thankfully) never shown. Zazu is somewhat annoying, but suits the plot and leads to some great interactions with the rest of the characters. Rafiki I just loved. He is one of the best aspects of the movie. He is mysterious and almost mystical and I just really enjoyed all of his scenes. A shaman character so perfectly utilized here.

Timon and Pumbaa are admittedly very funny, energetic and such a great, fun and amusing duo for sure. Their care for Simba is sweet and their relationship is great. But again they are the problem here. Them arriving on the scene meant a huge shift in tone from dark and serious to comedic and goofy and that was oddly achieved. Also, for a movie that is very timeless otherwise, these two aren’t as they are the products of their time with their various movie references and that was so disappointing to witness, the same problem that ‘Aladdin’ shares.

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The Lion King Movie Review…………………………………………………………………..

The animation is very good. I wouldn’t call it artistic as there are rare brilliant parts here, but it looks very polished, very pleasant and mostly masterfully done. The character design is quite good and they move in a realistic manner, the backgrounds are excellent and Pride Rock is such a great animated place, iconic to this point. The film truly does have some solid set pieces and a greatly utilized setting.

The Lion King’s soundtrack is one of the best ever for Disney because it has just five songs in it and all of them are good. Some more so than others, but most are even great. This movie again makes the mistake of having too many songs in the first half and almost none in the second one. But at least the songs are great.

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The Lion King Movie Review…………………………………………………………………..

Hakuna Matata is my least favorite of the bunch. I frankly even dislike this song to some degree as it is very annoying in tune, too simplistic and repetitive. But it does establish the characters of Timon and Pumbaa very effectively. I Just Can’t Wait to Be King lacks in terms of the lyrics and singing, but in terms of the tune and score, it’s terrific and so catchy and fun.

Be Prepared is such a superb villain song and probably the finest Disney villain song. It is menacing in tone and visuals which are so memorable, the lyrics are great, it is important in terms of storytelling, it is very catchy and so well sung. Can You Feel the Love Tonight is a classic. Yes, Elton John’s version is better, but the one in the movie is pretty good too. I am not a fan of this particular plot development, but the scene itself is very memorable and well executed, the song is greatly romantic and it is unforgettable.

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The Lion King Movie Review…………………………………………………………………..

And of course the best song is Circle of Life, regarded by many to be the best Disney song ever. Although I don’t share that sentiment myself, I still admire the heck out of this song. It is perfectly written with some really poetic lyrics, again that whole sequence is a miraculous one, the singing is great and the chorus is breathtaking, so catchy while also being epic in tone which suits the overall tone of the movie. So phenomenally done and a masterpiece by all means.

The Lion King has some very memorable imagery as I said before and it is a very well directed and very well edited movie. Its pacing is very good and it never feels rushed or dragged which is commendable. I have to talk about the score now. I just love this score so much! It might be even better than the songs which says a lot. It is to me the finest score ever composed for a Disney feature which again is hugely telling. King of Pride Rock is one brilliant piece of music. That theme is so majestic and grand in tone, simultaneously being emotional and fittingly dignifying for a lion. It is the theme that I listen to constantly and I admire it immensely. The ending is amazing just because of it alone.

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The Lion King Movie Review…………………………………………………………………..

The tone is not well mixed and I have to say that it did not need most of the humor. Some humor is great, but some isn’t with the topical references being annoying. The action is very well executed and again majestic. The dialogue is mostly pretty good. The film is mostly realistic and impressively serious in tone. It is also emotionally powerful and sometimes quite moving. In the end, The Lion King isn’t one of my favorite Disney movies as it is pretty flawed, but its quality cannot be underestimated and it is near the top of my list.

Epic, majestic and powerful, The Lion King is also impressively mature and certainly quite authentic. It is so well animated, very well edited and it has such a great soundtrack with Circle of Life naturally being the highlight and the score is even more powerful with King of Pride Rock being just a breathtaking piece of music. It does have its very obvious flaws ranging from a very problematic romance to an evident stupidity of its troublesome villain, but the character development is so good, the emotion is strong, it’s epic in scope and it has probably the best opening scene of any film ever. It isn’t one of my favorite Disney movies, but it surely is very good and very admirable.

My Rating – 4.5

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Busy Buddies (1956)

Busy Buddies ReviewBusy Buddies Review

Busy Buddies is a 1956 animated short that is the 100th Tom and Jerry cartoon. It is such a disappointing episode.

The parents go out and leave Jeanie to look after the baby, but she is irresponsible and it is up to Tom and Jerry to do the task themselves. The plot is typical and the babysitter is such a clichéd female character. The problem here is that the film is just not funny and it is never particularly exciting. We’ve seen this before and nothing here is memorable.

The presence of an adult is interesting and I really liked that the duo teamed up here. Of course that ending where the mischievous baby winks to the audience is the highlight and the film does have its moments, but given its premise, it should have been much better executed.

Busy Buddies has a great ending and a somewhat interesting premise, but the humor is lacking and the film also lacks energy in its execution.

My Rating – 3.8

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The Passion of the Christ (2004)

The Passion of the Christ Movie Review…………………………………………………………………….

The Passion of the Christ Movie Review

The Passion of the Christ is a 2004 historical drama film directed by Mel Gibson and starring Jim Caviezel. It is a controversial film that polarized me as well.

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Forgive them, Father. They know not what they do

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The Passion of the Christ Movie Review…………………………………………………………………….

It depicts the last days of Jesus, but mostly focuses on his torture. And there naturally lies a problem. Let me elaborate on this. While I honestly admire the film for showing his torture as in this case it should be showed because it is so important and thus it achieves realism, I still disliked its immense violence and found it to be needless. The film should be violent, but not this violent as it crossed the line for me as was the case with many people.

But the bigger problem is that the film relies too much on that torture and rarely deals with other aspects of the story which is why it is such an oddity. I wouldn’t call it a documentary, but I certainly wouldn’t call it a live-action movie either. His trial and torture should have been emphasized, but the film should have never become just that and thus it lacks in terms of the storytelling, emotion and message.

Yes, The Passion of the Christ is far from a religious movie. And it is certainly not a good thing when you make a movie about Jesus and not make it religious. There are some religious overtones here for sure and they are mostly well handled, but those still came few and far between. It needed a strong message about tolerance and love instead of honestly being too hateful at times. And I never felt anything spiritual in it.

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The Passion of the Christ Movie Review…………………………………………………………………….

The acting is really strong, but I still found the actor choice to be troublesome as both the actor and the characterization felt wrong and too harsh for a man that should be calmer and gentler. But everyone did give a pretty good performance which is commendable as they spoke in dead languages.

And now we come to the best part of this movie, the one that is the most admirable aspect of it and that is its usage of dead languages – Aramaic, Latin and Hebrew. I just adored that as usually bit Hollywood productions like this tend to use English, but this one used the correct languages and it felt all the more real for it.

And surely all of the technical aspects in The Passion are splendid. The photography is really good as are the make-up effects. The costumes are authentic for the time period and the actors felt like real people from that time. The direction from Gibson is expectedly strong and the film is overall really well made.

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The Passion of the Christ Movie Review…………………………………………………………………….

I liked the dialogue in it and the pacing is mostly good, but the flashback structure was frankly clichéd and annoying. It wasn’t a good approach at all. The tone is too hateful instead of being optimistic, at least in its ending. It is a giant hate letter to all mankind, but the emphasis is on the word hate and it never makes a statement or teaches you something. It is a very authentic and sometimes admirable movie, but it is also too violent and too slight to be enjoyed more. It left a polarizing effect on me as I neither hate it nor love it.

The Passion of the Christ is a very polarizing movie. On the one hand, you’ve got awesome technical aspects from the costumes to the acting to the direction and of course the use of original languages is so commendable. On the other hand, you have a movie that is realistic in its violence, but still too violent to the point of being exploitative. But the biggest problem is its hateful tone, a lack of a strong story and the movie’s unwillingness to make a strong statement or to have anything truly spiritual in it as the movie about Jesus needs those things. So in the end, I respect it to some degree as it is authentic, but I also find it to be too problematic in too many areas.

My Rating – 2.5

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Rendezvous with Rama (1973)

Rendezvous with Rama Book Review………………………………………………………………………..

Rendezvous with Rama Book Review

Rendezvous with Rama is a 1973 book written by a science fiction legendary author Arthur Clarke and it is set in the 2130s and it’s about an alien ship called Rama that enters into our solar system and the exploration of it.

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The Ramans do everything in threes

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The story is fascinating and is so wonderfully told and beautifully conceived that you easily get fully invested in it. The attention to detail is magnificent and it is probably the finest aspect about this book that lifts it to new levels. I especially liked his description of Raman architecture and overall the whole planet. The highlight is when you learn what the aliens look like with wonderful descriptions of tools and weaponry and it is a plot point that is a very satisfying pay-off. Also his whole comparison with Earth’s counterparts is also fantastically done and helps you understand the unknown. I liked his alien design, the ship and everything in it which is incredibly original, authentic and not like anything else in the genre.

The best part for me was the introduction of biobots. That is the most fascinating and truly exciting thing that happens half way through and it just demands your attention with excellent writing, beautiful descriptions and creative story and design of the creatures. As for the themes, that part has a very important theme in it which I found incredibly thought-provoking and honest. And that is the way we humans are so full of ourselves and also scared that we think we are important in the universe when in fact we are not. It is so beautifully explored here through some thought processes of the characters and also in the extraordinary ending which is not also striking in its theme but also a perfect, non sensational and all around extremely satisfying conclusion to a whole story which I wouldn’t want to have been any different. Such a great ending that is one of the best there is in science fiction.

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Rendezvous with Rama Book Review………………………………………………………………………..

I honestly had a couple of problems with the book and that is mostly in the slow pacing of the first half and some blockbuster aspects to the later half. The build-up was definitely too long and something big should have happened a bit earlier. And the whole bomb plot point later in the book was not like the usual Clarke and I found it too sensational, action-oriented like a movie, and definitely not fitting to the overall tone of the book which is incredibly peaceful and also wonderfully realistic and free of any blockbuster clothing to it. But those are two minor flaws in the otherwise outstanding piece of sci-fi literature.

I read that critics somewhat complained when the book came about his writing style and lack of character of development. And that to me is ridiculous. Yes, the characterization is always weak in his books which was also the problem with ‘2001’ and I would have liked to see just the protagonist better developed, but not everyone else and it is totally not necessary. That is the point here – the humans are not important to the story and fleshing them out would harm the feeling that this book induces how much we are not relevant in the universe.  The story is so ambitious and large in scope that the characters are irrelevant to the whole picture. As for the writing, it is a ridiculous accusation and it could have only come from amateurs who didn’t understand the book. The writing is the author’s best asset. He writes in such a realistic manner which is due to his scientist background. He writes almost like a documentary, straight-forward and realistic, full of scientific details and explanations. And this genre is called hard science fiction just because of that. A real scientist wrote the novel, a man who knows what he’s talking about and to me the read was fascinating just because of that and because I am a huge fan of space and astronomy. The subject is phenomenal here and he wrote it all in a great way.

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Rendezvous with Rama Book Review………………………………………………………………………..

The tone is great, very slow and almost meditative which fits the plot perfectly. There are a couple of really powerful quotes here and the beginning and ending are superb and doing what they should do, introducing you to the book and concluding the story perfectly and in a memorable and very satisfying way. And I found the story captivating and the future thought out here excellent and he’s very realistic in depicting it with excellent politics and the solar system is half populated which is also somewhat realistic and a great read.

Comparing it to ‘2001’, I would say it is more interesting to read, but is inferior because it has more problems and it is not as epic or as ambitious. But I find the fact that ‘2001’ got a film adaptation, whereas Rama didn’t  quite odd and unexpected because Rama is so much more prone to adapting to a film and I hope it will someday get a proper film treatment because it undoubtedly deserves to.

In the end, Rendezvous with Rama has some minor problems, but it is such a captivating and fascinating novel with an intriguing story, an incredible attention to detail, excellent writing, wonderful themes and an extremely satisfying ending that it is definitely one of Clarke’s best novels and definitely one of the most realistic and engaging stories in all of science fiction.

My Rating – 4.8

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