Sleight (2017)

Sleight Movie Review

…………………………………………………

Sleight Movie Review

Sleight is a 2017 fantasy drama film starring Jacob Latimore. It is an okay, but very disappointing indie flick.

………………………………………………….

So, she’s a lot cooler than you?

………………………………………………….

Sleight Movie Review

………………………………………………….

Its plot actually had some potential and is rather interesting. It mixes drama with fantasy elements and is basically a drug movie but with a magical twist as its protagonist is a magician. It is implied that his powers are real at the end. I liked those magical elements, but they were sorely underutilized and ultimately disappointing in context to the whole movie despite having some memorable moments.

And its drug part is as typical and as annoying as you would come to expect from “black people selling drugs in order to support a family member” premise. Entirely unoriginal and only the magical element was new and exciting but it also fell through unfortunately.

Jacob Latimore is memorable in the role and quite good and all of the actors did a solid job, but the characters themselves are quite boring and typical stereotypes and nobody managed to stick through. And the direction by its new director isn’t the greatest as expected.

Sleight is well edited and paced and it is not boring and its running time is manageable, but should have been used for better things as the film was sometimes repetitive and I also thought that some scenes and plot progressions felt unrealistic and the film was not brutal enough which is weird to say coming from a guy who hates violence, but here the film was too non-violent given the premise.

………………………………………………….

Sleight Movie Review

………………………………………………….

I felt like that throughout the whole time watching the movie and the stakes were never as high as they needed to have been. There are some memorable scenes here such as all those magical moments, but most of it was forgettable and uninspired leading to one of the weaker films of the year and one of the more disappointing indie films.

Sleight is well acted and quite interesting in its premise, but underutilized and familiar in its execution with uninspired drama elements, dull and forgettable characters and too many typical scenes. A disappointing indie flick.

My Rating – 3

………………………………………………….

Share

Let It Be Me (1936)

Let It Be Me ReviewLet It Be Me Review

Let It Be Me a 1936 animated short film from the Merry Melodies series. It is a solid entry.

This chicken triangle seemed familiar to me and the use of hens and roosters in a sexual manner was quite cliched by 1936. So the plot isn’t all that original or interesting despite having its good moments such as that memorable gag at the end. But the humor is otherwise pretty lacking.

But the score is quite good and I really liked the inclusion of Bing Crosby’s persona and his voice and mannerisms were memorable and I liked that song repeated throughout. I also really liked the animation here which was solidly polished and with a very good character design, particularly strong for this era.

Let It Be Me has its moments and excellent character design, but a familiar plot and a lack of humor.

My Rating – 3.8

Share

The Thin Man (1934)

The Thin Man Movie Review

…………………………………………………

The Thin Man Movie Review

The Thin Man is a 1934 mystery screwball comedy film directed by W. S. Van Dyke and starring William Powell and Myrna Loy. It is one of the very best films of this year.

………………………………………………….

Waiter, will you serve the nuts?

I mean, will you serve the guests the nuts?

………………………………………………….

The Thin Man Movie Review

………………………………………………….

The Thin Man is basically a mystery film with strong screwball comedy sensibilities and I liked that mix of genres as it was quite authentic and different. It led to a very singular and memorable film experience. But I still wanted more comedy elements as the mystery part was a bit too overwhelming to me and the first act is rather slow and uninvolving.

But the film later becomes much more entertaining, especially when Nick and Nora enter the picture. They are such wonderful characters and I loved the portrayal of a spousal detective team as that led to many great laughs and such a fun dynamic.

Myrna Loy and William Powell are just fantastic here as is expected of their caliber. Powell here proved how versatile he was as Nick is much different than Godfrey from ‘My Man Godfrey’. He talks much more and is a big drinker. He excelled in this role as his timing is great, he got a bunch of great lines and he was consistently funny.

But Loy should not be forgotten as well as her performance is just as great and just as essential to this movie. Her various frowns and funny facial expressions made my day and I just loved some of her hilarious lines. The two bickering and playing around was just a lovely and funny sight to behold and they’ve got some great chemistry and it is easy to see why this series got five more movies after this one.

………………………………………………….

The Thin Man Movie Review

………………………………………………….

I also loved Skippy as Asta who is their wire-haired fox terrier. The little guy did such a great job and he was very well trained and he is the third most important character here. He even stole the show from the married folks in some scenes. The highlights are him helping Nick solve the show, hiding from the intruder and of course the ending with him protecting the view with his paws while the two have sex is just one of the great endings in comedies, simply brilliant.

As for the other highlights, I loved Nick punching Nora, very smart and memorable. And of course the car scene is hilarious. There are some really hilarious lines to be had here owing to superb, brisk and very smart dialogue which should be followed carefully in order to be understood entirely.

The Thin Man definitely has a weaker mystery. It is good, but not great and is too complicated and should be watched more than once in order to be understood properly. The first act is definitely not my favorite and even though the ending is highly memorable and I liked how the crime was resolved, there are too many characters here in this puzzle and not all are memorable.

………………………………………………….

The Thin Man Movie Review

………………………………………………….

But it is very well filmed and directed and the pacing is mostly quite good with only some scenes being rushed, but others are excellent and I loved those montages and quick cuts as they brought a sense of urgency to the picture. The film is one of the rare great ones from 1934 which was a very weak movie year and it deserved its four Oscar nods, but Myrna Loy should have definitely been nominated too.

The Thin Man has a less involving first act and sometimes the mystery part was overwhelming, but it was still pretty well written and well resolved. The screwball comedy part is where the movie shines with a superb brisk dialogue and many unforgettable scenes such as the car scene, the punch scene and the brilliant ending. William Powell and Myrna Loy are such a fantastic duo and their infectious dynamic and many hilarious lines made this movie along with Skippy the fox terrier who stole the show himself with a couple of funny and instantly recognizable hijinks.

My Rating – 4.5

………………………………………………….

Share

The Gallopin’ Gaucho (1928)

The Gallopin' Gaucho ReviewThe Gallopin’ Gaucho Review

The Gallopin’ Gaucho is a 1928 Disney short film featuring Mickey Mouse. It is the second film in the series.

This is a much weaker film than ‘Steamboat Willie’ which was to be expected, but still I expected a much better film than what we got here. It does have a very adult and mature tone to it with drinking included and I liked that. Mickey is quite memorable here and the swashbuckler approach is very pleasing. Minnie is also memorable as is Pete as the villain.

But the film is weakly animated and scored and it doesn’t wholly utilize on its premise and setting with only the rhea being quite memorable. The plot itself is rather simplistic and the action is forgettable. The gags are also lacking and the film is just not particularly funny or entertaining.

The Gallopin’ Gaucho has good characterization, but weaker action and particularly humor.

My Rating – 3.7

Share

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Season 5 (1991)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Season 5 Review

…………………………………………………

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Season 5 Review

The fifth season of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is an improvement over the previous one, but still weaker than the previous three seasons.

………………………………………………….

They call themselves civilized

and yet they don’t even have television

………………………………………………….

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Season 5 Review

………………………………………………….

My Brother, the Bad Guy introduces us to Shredder’s brother and that was interesting. We have seen his mother before and that was a better episode, but this was still very well crafted, different than usual and one of the season’s best episodes. Michelangelo Meets Mondo Gecko is one of those episodes where Mickey meets one of his idols and is forgettable in its typical plot.

Enter: Mutagen Man is another one of those mutagen episodes and we have had plenty of them by now and this one is pretty much more of the same. Donatello’s Badd Time is one of the worst episodes of this bunch with a ridiculous and campy use of annoying hick characters and a stupid plot.

Michelangelo Meets Bugman Again says it all It is a repeat and rehash of the previous storyline and nothing more than that. Muckman Messes Up is actually a very good episode with a fine use of the new mutants, fun action and entertaining storyline.

………………………………………………….

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Season 5 Review

………………………………………………….

 

Napoleon Bonafrog: Colossus of the Swamps is a solid episode with such a memorable, fun and villainous Krang whereas Raphael Versus the Volcano is also pretty solid with a funny humor and a great use of my favorite turtle.

Landlord of the Flies is another one of those Baxter Stockman episodes and it is okay, but again I want some meaningful plot progression for this character. Donatello’s Duplicate we’ve seen before in concept, but still it was a fine idea to show us just how valuable he is to the green team.

The Ice Creature Cometh should have been more memorable given the fun setting and monster while Leonardo Cuts Loose is great for featuring Casey Jones, but there was not nearly enough of him here unfortunately.

Pirate Radio is one of the worst parts here with a ridiculous and annoying use of rock music and a stupid plot. Raphael, Turtle of a Thousand Faces is perfectly fine and fun, but far from the greatest Raphael storyline in my opinion.

Leonardo, the Renaissance Turtle is so forgettable that I can hardly remember watching it and Zach and the Alien Invaders is not as annoying as the usual Zach episodes, but still he frustrates me and he totally is such a brat.

………………………………………………….

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Season 5 Review

………………………………………………….

Welcome Back Polarisoids again features those creatures in a pretty weak and admittedly dull story whereas Michelangelo, the Sacred Turtle is campy and silly in its premise too much for its own sake.

Planet of the Turtleoids is actually a pretty good finale for this season. Part 2 is better than Part 1, but still this is such an entertaining story and those new turtles are really memorable and well explored along with a good conflict and a pretty solid humor.

Overall, this fifth season of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is better than the previous season with a couple of truly fun episodes, but most stories here are rehashed from previous seasons and either dull or forgettable.

Worst Episodes: Enter: Mutagen Man, Michalangelo Meets Bugman Again and Pirate Radio.

Best Episodes: My Brother, the Bad Guy, Muckman Messes Up and Planet of the Turtloids: Episode 2.

My Rating – 3.5

………………………………………………….

Share

Ranking Guillermo del Toro Films

………………………………………………………………

Ranking Guillermo del Toro Films

Guillermo del Toro’s filmography is solid, but not great. Most of his films are just solid and his shift to American films was unfortunate as his Spanish efforts are much better and more unique, but still some of his films are so good and one of them is my favorite modern movie of them all. His style with grotesque designs and a reliance on insect imagery makes all of his movies easy to identify and unique. Here is my ranking of all nine of his feature films so far.

 

 

9. Blade II

I am not the biggest fan of the Blade franchise and thus this second entry in the trilogy gets the last spot on this list. It is as shallow and as weakly plotted as you would expect from the franchise, but still it is the best entry in this trilogy thanks to del Toro’s involvement which brought a lot of fun visuals and great action to the table. It is his worst, but not a bad movie at all.

 

8. Hellboy

I am not a fan of this franchise too unfortunately. And the first movie is the weaker of the two for sure. It does have its interesting visuals and characters, but it was mostly too dull to me as I just was not engaged properly. It also never really utilized on its interesting mythology and different characters particularly well.

Image result for hellboy 2004

 

7. Pacific Rim

Now I do usually dislike robots and mecha media and surely this movie is filled with too much action and its second half is just incredibly boring with action after action with no plot whatsoever. But the first half is actually quite solid and I really liked the film’s visuals as well as Idris Elba and Charlie Day’s characters. That’s why Pacific Rim ultimately was better than expected for me.

Image result for pacific rim

 

6. Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Hellboy II: The Golden Army still has a weak plot and some dull characters and it is again not as entertaining as it should have been, but it is an improvement over its predecessor thanks to very strong VFX work with great creature designs and some fun action sequences and excellent mythology.

Image result for hellboy II

 

5. Mimic

I really liked Mimic and it is an underrated film. It has quite dull characters and weaker performances, but it is a solid film which utilized on del Toro’s obsession with insects in a big way and we get great insect monsters here along with a superb horror atmosphere and some exhilarating action sequences. It’s a flawed, but fun movie.

Image result for mimic movie

 

4. Cronos

Now Cronos is the director’s movie that disappointed me the most as its dialogue is quite weak and the film unfortunately succumbed to typical genre territory in its third act. But before that, it was a pretty good movie with an admittedly authentic, detailed and very intriguing plot and a really interesting take on the horror genre.

Image result for chronos film

 

3. The Devil’s Backbone

The only flaw in this movie is that it was never as atmospheric or as creepy as the premise needed it to have been. But other than that, it is one of his best movies thanks in large part to its emotionally resonant story with many touching moments. The visuals are also expectedly great and the film is overall superbly scripted and shot.

Image result for the devil's backbone

 

2. Crimson Peak

And yes, Crimson Peak gets this very high second spot because it truly is  great film and del Toro’s most underrated one unfortunately. It does have its too repulsive moments, but the entire story is so well crafted and meticulous in detail that I loved it nonetheless. But it succeeds the most because it is just so atmospheric and creepy in its visuals with a great gothic feel to it. I found it mysterious and authentic. A great return to form for the director.

Image result for crimson peak

 

1. Pan’s Labyrinth

Sad and touching, visually arresting, beautifully scored and so authentic and dark in its story, Pan’s Labyrinth is just such a classic movie for the ages with one of the best ever film villains in disturbingly competent Captain Vidal. It has a bunch of unforgettable scenes, memorable characters and a great, different approach to the usual fantasy format while also being very strong as a war drama. It is simply a beautiful movie that I watched three times by now and it gets better and better after each viewing. A masterpiece by all means.

Image result for pan's labyrinth

Share

Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

Pan's Labyrinth Movie Review

…………………………………………………

Pan’s Labyrinth Movie Review

Pan’s Labyrinth is a 2006 fantasy film directed by Guillermo del Toro. It is one of the best films of all time and one of my personal favorites.

………………………………………………….

But captain, to obey – just like that –

for obedience’s sake… without questioning…

That’s something only people like you do

………………………………………………….

Pan's Labyrinth Movie Review

………………………………………………….

The story is brilliantly crafted and the shift from war/historical drama to dark fantasy is always conveyed smoothly and in a slick fashion. That’s why the film is great as both a war drama and a fantasy and it really wouldn’t be as phenomenal had it relied on just one of those genres. It is the ultimate Spanish Civil War movie as it captures the brutality of its soldiers and all of the shootouts so well while giving us an unforgettable villain in the process, but more on him later.

Pan’s Labyrinth is a dark fantasy, a very dark one indeed which means that it isn’t really suited for kids and only adults should watch it. It is the finest adult fairy tale ever conceived and one of the all-time best in the fantasy department. What I loved about it is its attention to detail in the modern recreation of a fairy tale.

The tasks obviously come from all those classic fairy tales, but the brutality and the grotesqueness of its creatures is particularly great as it also is faithful to the mature tone of all those fairy tales and is in line with del Toro’s vision. The look of the creatures and the use of insects here are his trademarks. So the film is phenomenal for the fact that it feels like an adaptation of an ancient fairy tale, but is in fact an entirely original work which just goes to show how talented and creative this man really is as he also wrote the script for the movie.

………………………………………………….

Pan's Labyrinth Movie Review

………………………………………………….

Ofelia is such a great protagonist. She is your archetypal fairy tale hero, but always competent and brave. Her sacrifice in the end was touching and her plight in the entire film is hard to watch. I loved Mercedes. She is a kick-ass female character and the only one who genuinely managed to stop and hurt Vidal and thus she is the bravest person here. All of her scenes were filled with intensity and simply brilliant.

The Faun is very well imagined and I loved his uniquely grotesque and different design. The Pale Man is even more memorable as this child-eating monster with eyes on his hands. His design is absolutely fantastic and so authentic. I also loved those fairies and the scene where the two were eaten was devastating. And of course that giant toad was a short, yet memorable presence.

………………………………………………….

Pan's Labyrinth Movie Review

………………………………………………….

And now we come to Captain Vidal. What is there yet to say besides that he is one of the greats. He is a calculated and brutal villain, but never quite becoming a cartoon villain as he was realistic to me and I could see that he could have been a real figure. There were people like him, dictators, and thus the movie is all the more hard-hitting. His presence is felt in every scene, he is creepy and powerful and he never made a mistake which I also loved. He is one of my favorite villains ever and one of the biggest reasons why this film is such a classic.

The acting is of course magnificent. Ivana Baquero did such a terrific job in the main role and for a child, she was absolutely superb and she sold her every scene. Maribel Verdu is also competent and she did a great job in such an admirable female role. The voices of the creatures and monsters were all terrific as was the narration. And of course Sergi Lopez was amazing in the villain’s role and he brought him to life in such a grand style with excellent facial and voice work.

………………………………………………….

Pan's Labyrinth Movie Review

………………………………………………….

Pan’s Labyrinth is visually dazzling. It is a dark film, but here that approach was warranted given the tone and still it could be well seen. The cinematography is absolutely terrific with some of the camera movements bringing a lot of intensity to the scenes. Of course the shaving scene is so well filmed with that clock approach, but I liked every one of its brutal scenes as they were so well filmed and they knew when to show us the whole thing and when not to show us.

The film is brutal and sometimes too painful to watch, but only in a couple of its scenes and even though I dislike violence, here it was crucial for the plot and especially its villain and thus I didn’t mind it. Some of the imagery here concerning the fantasy elements was fantastic and I loved that bright ending. I also loved the use of the forest and the house, both looked great.

………………………………………………….

Pan's Labyrinth Movie Review

………………………………………………….

Of course the effects are excellent. As I said above, the creatures look very original in their grim and somewhat creepy designs and all are brought to life so well and they meshed superbly with the screen actress. The film’s editing is just brilliant and so tight that every scene here lasted for just the right time and nothing at all was either rushed or prolonged. That is why the movie is consistently involving from beginning to end.

Pan’s Labyrinth features an unforgettable score which I never forgot from the moment I heard it. The whole film has great sound effects and great score, but Pan’s Labyrinth Lullaby is just such a gorgeous theme which really stuck with me long after seeing the film for the first time. It gives power to all of the scenes that use it, especially the emotionally rewarding ending and its melancholic and beautiful tone just gets me every time.

………………………………………………….

Pan's Labyrinth Movie Review

………………………………………………….

My favorite scenes are the ending, the labyrinth chase, the demise of the villain, the Pale Monster and Mercedes hurting Vidal. The film’s tone is dark and mature, but there is light in its ending which was necessary to break all that brutality and darkness. The direction from Guillermo del Toro is just brilliant and this is his magnum opus and better than any other movie he’s made by a mile. The film is memorable and original with such a great dialogue and story and it’s also so emotional and simply powerful in every way. It is my favorite movie from the 2000s and an undisputed classic.

With superb visuals and authentic creature designs, such a great score with an unforgettable melancholic theme, excellent performances across the board and many instantly memorable sequences, Pan’s Labyrinth is Guillermo del Toro’s magnum opus which features a fantastic and very dark original story and one of the best film villains ever in Captain Vidal. Whether as a drama or as a fantasy, the film is consistently engaging and superbly crafted in every way. It is simply an immaculate achievement and one of the greatest films of all time.

My Rating – 5

………………………………………………….

Share

Plane Dippy (1936)

Plane Dippy ReviewPlane Dippy Review

Plane Dippy is a 1936 animated short film from the Looney Tunes series. It is a pretty good, but not great short.

This is the second Porky Pig film and by that I mean that he is the star and not just a supporting character. But it fails in comparison to ‘The Blow Out’ as it isn’t as funny and it doesn’t focus on him solely. Beans’ inclusion wasn’t all that memorable in my opinion and the same goes for the other characters and the entire second half.

Whereas I really liked the first half, the second one with the plane fight was interesting, but too long and not as funny as it should have been. But Porky is excellent and here we first see the mention of his name and we even get his full name in hilarious fashion. That introduction scene with the stuttering stole the show for sure.

Plane Dippy is definitely fun and sometimes funny, but not as funny or as memorable as it should have been.

My Rating – 3.9

Share

Chocolat (2000)

Chocolat Movie Review

…………………………………………………

Chocolat Movie Review

Chocolat is a 2000 romantic drama film directed by Lasse Halstrom and starring Juliette Binoche, Johnny Depp and Judy Dench. It is a charming flick.

………………………………………………….

Very good… but not my favorite

………………………………………………….

Chocolat Movie Review

………………………………………………….

I did enjoy this film quite a bit despite its many deficiencies. It truly is a charming, wonderfully light-hearted and genuinely endearing film and there is no denying that. Its romance is subtle and fine, but I loved that it wasn’t all that romantic which I expected and the classification into romantic comedy is quite wrong with this one.

It is basically a drama with some comedic and romantic elements, but it is mostly a family drama that is very simplistic and although it deals with a very interesting premise, it is also problematic. In portraying the troublesome relationship between religion and food, the movie succeeded a lot. But they should have explored the opposite side of over-indulging in the food pleasures and the movie is quite irresponsible in that regard. But at least it showed the first side so well.

What is the biggest problem is Chocolat’s over-reliance on clichés. I was really bothered by that. It isn’t too romantic which is great, but it is so predictable from beginning to end that I read almost the whole scenes and even the lines before seeing them. The dialogue truly needed some work in this one.

Juliette Binoche is excellent in the main role. The character herself could be too annoying at times, but she played her so well in one of her most memorable roles. Johnny Depp is also good and surprisingly understated. Judy Dench is, well, as awesome as ever, but Alfred Molina’s performance here isn’t one of his best in my opinion.

………………………………………………….

Chocolat Movie Review

………………………………………………….

The plethora of various, colorful characters provided some solid, though highly rushed and sometimes unbelievable drama. The film works best as a charming period piece and as a food flick as it truly is one of the best movies about food ever. I myself dislike chocolate and even my mouth was watered by this sumptuous, almost erotic chocolate imagery.

The direction is pretty mediocre for me as is the editing, but at least the film sounds good with a very good score and it looks great with excellent cinematography and superb town scenery. Chocolat is in the end a very endearing, but definitely too simplistic film that did not deserve those Oscar nominations apart from the acting nods.

Chocolat is sumptuous and almost erotic in its portrayal of food, but even though it explores one side of this issue, it doesn’t bother with the opposite side which ultimately rendered the movie too simplistic. It features very good performances and is such a charming, endearing flick, but it’s also way too predictable and cliched to be enjoyed more.

My Rating – 3.5

………………………………………………….

Share

Westward Whoa (1936)

Westward Whoa ReviewWestward Whoa Review

Westward Whoa is a 1936 animated short film from the Looney Tunes series. It is a pretty forgettable short.

This is basically one of those countless 1930s “Indian” cartoons where the protagonists battle the Indians in a deep jungle somewhere. There is nothing here that is worthy whatsoever apart from a solid use of its characters and some good moments from Porky. Other than that, I was bored.

The animation is also unremarkable and the score is not the greatest. I found the action on screen solid, but ultimately forgettable. I liked the ending, but everything else was boring. This is definitely one of the weakest Looney Tunes from this period and I cannot wait for the more emphasis on Porky Pig.

Westward Whoa has its moments, but is mostly dull, forgettable and ultimately quite weak.

My Rating – 3.2

Share