Puss ‘n Toots (1942)

Puss 'n TootsPuss ‘n Toots Review

Puss ‘n Toots is a 1942 animated short which is the sixth in Tom and Jerry filmography. And although very disappointing in its conclusion, it is still great up to that point.

Mammy gets a new female cat and Tom is instantly infatuated by her and tries to impress her. But he gets in a chase with Jerry instead. Now, this is an interesting example of a newly introduced character but done for better and for worse. Spike was introduced much better in ‘Dog Trouble‘. Toots is here a flawed character, cute and interesting for Tom, but still she ended up being underused unfortunately. That is most evident in the ending where she just doesn’t get to do anything and even doesn’t add anything to the table.

But the two are on the other hand great. This is probably the most violent short yet as the two really hit it on with some very hard punches and gags thrown in. And that was great as it was very funny but also a great exchange as both got a lot with Tom of course getting the most at the end. It also starts off pretty well and some action moments here are superb and quite memorable. The highlights were Jerry’s facial expressions in the first half and his signature walk in the end. The humor is good as is the animation and of course the music. It is just uneven a bit at times and, as for that racist scene, it is bad, but I forgive it as it was the forties.

Puss ‘n Toots is very uneven at times with a disappointing ending and underused character of Toots, but everything else here is superb including the chase sequences between the two, some very memorable moments and it is also the most violent short yet which is great.

My Rating – 4

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Heaven Can Wait (1943)

Heaven Can Wait

Heaven Can Wait Review

Heaven Can Wait is a fantasy romantic comedy directed by Ernst Lubitsch and starring Gene Tierney and Don Ameche. It is such a humorous and pleasant film with a lot to offer.

It is about an old man who, once he dies, has to prove that he belongs to Hell by telling his life story. It is a very interesting but above all endlessly charming flick. It is an interesting experiment that worked in my opinion. And I am talking about the genres on display. You have a romantic comedy which is in the center with over three fourths of the movie. And that romantic and comedic story spans decades which is also interesting and a structure of a biopic. I usually dislike these films that spans decades as they often suffer from weaker character development and a lack of focus. But this was refreshingly an entirely different story. I for once enjoyed such a structure as all the characters are immensely likable and the focus is never lost with the subplots working wonderfully into a coherent whole. All that romantic comedy is tied together with its fantasy elements which are of course the beginning and the ending. And those are also superb and so funny and effervescent. And they make the movie all the more enjoyable.

But what I liked most about it is its humor and of course inherent charm and suave direction which is expected from the director. The humor is such an interesting one – old-fashioned, but sometimes with a more playful and sexy tone to it as well and that mix of modern and traditional works wonders here. The funniest parts are in the film’s first parts and to me the most hilarious and most charming part is with Martha’s parents who are so funny, but also sympathetic and so realistically portrayed. And that breakfast scene they share may seem like a filler at first, but is anything but as it adds the most humorous scene to the movie.

The character development here is absolutely astounding. Each and every character is so incredibly well developed but also so grounded in reality and always likable which is the best mix possible. Henry is one of the strongest protagonists from the forties in my honest opinion. Yes, he is that good! His endless infatuation with women is a quality that would usually put me off, but here I liked it as he was a romantic as well and so suave, while also being a good and kind-hearted human being. He is the soul and the heart of this movie and one of the biggest reasons why the whole film works so well.

Martha is also such a wonderful character, so likable and charming. And her parents, as I said before, are so realistic and hilarious. And Hugo, who is the grandfather of Henry, is such a lovable old man and the relationship between the two is so well done. All of the relationships here are superb and most of the characters get their moments to shine.

The acting is amazing. Don Ameche gave a good performance, but could have been better nonetheless. Gene Tierney is superb really and Charles Coburn is once again absolutely spectacular in his role. Most of the actors did such a terrific job and they brought a lot of charm and chemistry to the table.

The movie has a couple of flaws. Don Ameche could have been better, I wished for more fantasy elements and not all parts are as memorable. And it can get a bit obvious and a bit unrealistic with the relationship between the two lovers, but they are still a great couple to follow with some heartbreaking but also moving scenes. It has its flaws, but it is still an incredibly strong film.

Heaven Can Wait is also technically polished with a great directorial style from Ernst Lubitsch and this is one of my favorite movies from him. It also looks good with some nice scenery and interiors. They brought the different time periods in a great way and the movie is incredibly well paced for such a film. It spans through decades, but is never boring which really took me by surprise. It was endlessly entertaining to me from start to finish which is such a feat for this structure. The dialogue is also sophisticated and sexy and I like how it ended on a high-note. It is also a very emotional, but always comedic film with many memorable moments. It surely is one of the very best films of a very weak year.

Heaven Can Wait is an immensely entertaining, charming and comedic film with a great structure, fine mix of genres, absolutely superb and likable characters and some incredibly moving scenes. It has its flaws, but it is mostly an incredible film which is always engaging, at times very funny and filled with such inherent charm, great directing and acting and a plethora of lovable characters.

My Rating – 4.5

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Head over Heels (2012)

Head over Heels Head over Heels Review

Head over Heels is a 2012 British stop-motion animated short nominated for many awards including an Academy Award. It is such a wonderful film.

It is about an old couple who after years of marriage have grown apart from each other with the wife living on the ceiling and the husband living on the floor. And eventually they make up and start living together again. It is an incredibly artistic but also emotional and just sweet short. It perfectly explores a failed marriage in later years with a great metaphor and the ending is just so emotionally rewarding and perfect in every way.

The animation is splendid. The details are evident and I also liked its muted colors a lot. But the stop-motion is so beautiful to behold here, very charming and even artistic at times with excellent character design as well. And the score is also pretty good. The world building is also great and the overall idea is so unique and beautifully executed.

There are a couple of small flaws I’ve had with Head over Heels. First is that the characters, although very sympathetic and even effervescent, are still not that memorable or well developed. And the second problem is the pacing which is at times a bit slow and the running time should have been a bit shorter. But those are just small flaws in a usually superb flick.

Head over Heels is a very emotional, authentic and artistic look into failed marriage with superb themes, such a wonderful ending and pleasing animation.

My Rating – 4.4

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Laura (1944)

Laura

Laura Review

Laura is a 1944 noir film directed by Otto Preminger and starring Dana Andrews and Vincent Price. It is one of the most well regarded noir films for good reasons.

It follows Mark, a detective investigating the murder of a beautiful and highly successful woman. It then of course turns out to be a complicated murder mystery with a lot of twists and turns. It is an incredibly well crafted movie with a nice beginning, thrilling ending and the middle parts which are the best, full of carefully established shots and details. I found the mystery intriguing, but it works as noir wonderfully thanks to a lot of atmospheric thrills with great cinematography. And it has a smart and meticulous approach to it with very well developed characters, superb use of flashbacks and well realized relationships between the characters.

Mark is a great central character with excellent screen presence and a realistic depiction. Laura is also excellent, Ann is memorable and Bessie is a typical, but sympathetic maid character. Shelby has his moments, but it is Waldo who is the best with very well depicted calculated manner and his character is explored best with his well explained reasoning and relationship with other characters.

The acting is one of the finest aspects in Laura. Dana Andrews is really good with great charisma, voice and even humor. He brought a lot to the table and his character I liked a lot. Vincent Price is also very good as is Gene Tierney. But Clifton Webb is superb and although I am not familiar with his other work, he proved his greatness here, delivering a powerhouse performance. The acting is terrific across the board.

Now, there are a few small problems I’ve had with the movie. First off, the story may seem ordinary, but just at first. Secondly, Dorothy Adams gives such a weak performance in the role of Bessie with an over-reliant emphasis on over-acting. I know that the role is written in such a way, but it was still highly unnecessary.  And the third problem I have with Laura is its mystery and twists. I literally predicted 90 per cent of the plot twists and turns along with the murderer. It was kind of obvious to me who the murderer is and what would happen, but that maybe more because of me having seen a lot of movies than for the predictability of the plot. But those are all minor flaws in this otherwise superb movie.

It is an incredibly well directed film. Otto Preminger did a superb job. But it is above all such a deftly edited and paced movie with never a rushed or prolonged scene. Everything in this movie is so beautifully calculated and executed. The photography is very good and I liked the humor that is present at times and is so good. It was refreshing but sophisticated and at times quite funny. And the whole film is incredibly sophisticated with such an astonishing dialogue, clever and witty. The character motivations and relationships are well handled and the acting is magnificent. It is a technically superb movie, there is no doubt about it. And I liked the romantic aspects as well. And although somewhat predictable, Laura is still a very well crafted mystery with great technical aspects and both a brain and a heart.

It came out in 1944 and although nowhere near the quality of ‘Double Indemnity‘, it is still one of the very best films of that year. And I also think it is one of the best noir films. It is not one of the very best, but still one of the better ones I’ve watched.

Laura is such a great noir film with a well crafted plot, sophisticated dialogue, superb acting across the board and well depicted relationships and motifs of the characters. It may be predictable at times, but it is still an incredibly well directed and shot movie with a lot to offer and it is one of the finest noirs out there.

My Rating – 4.5

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Dog Trouble (1942)

Dog TroubleDog Trouble Review

Dog Trouble is a 1942 animated short that is the fifth in Tom and Jerry filmography. And although somewhat disappointing at first, it got a lot better later on.

It is rather disappointing plotwise in the first act with somewhat familiar and expected action on screen. However, it all changes once the two form an alliance against the dog. Yes, this is the first appearance of Spike the dog and one of the rare instances where the two protagonists unite with each other. That was so interesting and new and although it was done first and better in ‘The Night Before Christmas’, this pairing still has a lot going for it, especially the fact that they both unite in order to save themselves from Spike with some very entertaining and charming results.

The ending is also very satisfying with the two again forming a rivalry and the chase continues. It was a perfect finale. And both Tom and Jerry are excellent in Dog Trouble, both have their moments. And it is notable for having the first appearance of Spike who proves to be a solid foe for the two.

The animation is also good as is the score. The action was underwhelming at first, but it got better later on and the humor, while still lacking, is present with some fun parts to it.

Overall, Dog Trouble starts off in a weak manner, but it quickly gets better with a great and interesting partnership formed between the two and a really satisfying finale.

My Rating – 4.1

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Magic Mike (2012)

Magic Mike

Magic Mike Review

Magic Mike is a 2012 comedy drama film directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring Channing Tatum and Matthew McConaughey. Although by no means a good film, it is still solid nonetheless.

It follows 19-year-old Adam who, guided by a professional Mike, enters into male stripping. It is a basic story that benefits from some interesting approach. First off, by having in focus three characters and all three of them interconnected, the movie manages to be always interesting and deftly handled. But I absolutely loved its third act. The dialogue between Mike and his love interest Brooke who is also Adam’s sister is superb. It is the time in the film where we finally get the themes and the examination of its subject matter. And I absolutely adored its conclusion which is perfect and so charming and sophisticated.

However, the other parts of the movie are not so good unfortunately. The whole first half is just filled with endless stripping sequences which are not only prolonged but also get in the way of the story and themes. And also some of the character moments and arguments were obvious, typical and just tired. It starts well and it ends wonderfully, but the whole middle part needed some work.

The characters are okay in Magic Mike, not too memorable or well developed, but still quite solid for this kind of work. Mike is a realistic character and his moments in the later parts are all memorable and even heartbreaking.  The same goes for Adam and I also liked Brooke a lot and the relationship between the two was really sweet. Dallas is too over-the-top but still entertaining.

The acting is quite solid. Channing Tatum is surprisingly good in his role and he brought some really well done scenes. Matthew is once again larger than life and very memorable and Cody Horn is quite solid. Everyone here did a solid job, nothing too remarkable, but still the acting is more than passable.

The directing from Steven Soderbergh is quite good and the scenery is really beautiful to watch along with the choreography in the stripping sequences. The humor is also surprisingly good and not only refreshing for being present, but also with some really funny moments. The score is forgettable but the use of songs during the routines is well realized.

The tone in Magic Mike is well handled ranging from comedic to dramatic. It also has its warm scenes with the emotional investment being quite present in its last third, although a little shallow and cold earlier. It is also wonderful to look at with great imagery and good-looking people everywhere. As for the script, it has its smart and relevant moments, but is overall lacking and could have been much more sophisticated and should have brought more of the problems of stripping and more social commentary. But it is very grounded in approach and somewhat of an important movie and even a cautionary tale. And it is definitely a memorable film and even authentic to some degree given its new and different subject matter.

Magic Mike is quite a solid film. It is not as sophisticated as it should have been, it is predictable and it should have had more dramatic and meaningful moments, but the third act does have some nice dialogue, a very charming ending and fine character moments. It is also solidly directed and acted with an interesting subject matter and the movie does look good and is quite entertaining and even funny. It could have been much better, but it is still a surprisingly good film with its fair share of memorable moments.

My Rating – 3.5

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Gerald McBoing-Boing (1950)

Gerald McBoing-BoingGerald McBoing-Boing Review

Gerald McBoing-Boing is a 1950 animated short that is adapted from a Dr. Seuss story and received an Oscar. It is a very charming flick.

It is about a boy who instead of speaking real words, speaks only through sound effects. It is an authentic and very odd story, but the one with a great message at the end. The ending is very convenient and a great conclusion for this story. It is also emotional at times and very well crafted with never a dull or rushed moment.

The characters are good. The title character is solid, but I wish they made him more sympathetic. The parents are also well realized and the voice acting is quite good.

The major problem I have with it is definitely its score and sound effects. I get that they had to make them more loud as it is fitting for this kind of story, but it was still overly emphasized and just made the dialogue harder to hear. But the animation on the other hand is very pleasing. I found its style really charming. Some may find it cheap, but it was done on purpose and it really creates this great atmosphere and feel of a comic-strip. The colors and everything about it is so pleasing to the eye and I liked it a lot. And it deserved its Oscar in my opinion as it is a really good film.

Gerald McBoing-Boing may have a weird score, but it has such a charming animation with great style, likable characters and very weird, but authentic and well crafted story with a satisfying conclusion.

My Rating – 4.3

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Thunderball (1965)

Thunderball Movie Review

Thunderball Movie Review

Thunderball is a 1965 spy film and a fourth entry in the Bond series starring Sean Connery and directed by Terence Young. It is a lesser entry in the franchise.

The plot is once again too convoluted to be enjoyed properly. This entry has the most characters yet and that really is troublesome as most are never properly explored and are rushed. It has too many characters to remember and it is way too complicated and fast-paced. It is an ordinary story that has a pretty interesting beginning but the resolution and the middle parts are all lacking.

Thunderball‘s major assets are the underwater sequences. They take approximately a fourth of the running time and are the most intriguing aspect in the film. I liked the underwater photography very much and the action below was satisfying. But some parts, especially with sharks, are too naive and hard to believe. And the overall action apart from underwater scenes is not particularly interesting or that well executed.

The characters are okay, but still forgettable. Bond is good again and I liked his humor pretty much. Emilio Largo is quite a solid villain and their cat-and-mice subplot is entertaining. But the other characters are all forgettable and there are too many female characters here with not one of them being particularly memorable or well developed or even useful to the story.

But I liked the humor a lot. It is along with underwater stuff the sole reason to see this film. It has some unbeliavably funny moments with James Bond himself being quite comedic. Its sexy and playful humor was present before and it is once again present here and I hope the future films will have it as well as I find it fitting for this type of a franchise.

The acting is solid. Claudine Auger is okay as Domino and Adolfo Celi is pretty good as Largo. But it is of course Sean Connery who once again shines in the title role and is the standout character and actor. He gives a fine performance and is a great Bond.

Thunderball is weak technically speaking which is a reason why I found it forgettable and inherently flawed. It is so dark too many times and it lacks the kind of cinematography and use of exotic locations that the franchise was famous for before. It just has some pretty intriguing underwater scenes, but everything else is lacking. And the beaches are fine but again no cool cities or famous landmarks. The direction is weak and the pacing is all over the place. The gadgets are overused but I still liked them overall and I found most of them fun. The humor is also excellent as is the acting. But it isn’t as suave or as confident as before both in tone, action and execution. Comparing it to other Bond films, it is one of the weaker ones and it disappointed me even more than ‘Goldfinger’.

Thunderball is a weak film. It has cool underwater sequences, excellent acting and the humor is pretty good, but it is lacking otherwise both in terms of plot which is forgettable and action which is not that well executed or that memorable. It is a disappointing and very flawed entry.  

My Rating – 3

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Men in Black 3 (2012)

Men in Black 3

Men in Black 3 Review

Men in Black 3 is a 2012 science fiction comedy film starring Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones and Josh Brolin. It is the final and in my opinion the finest entry in the trilogy.

J must travel back in time to 1969 to prevent Boris the Animal from killing the younger K. It is undoubtedly the most fun and endlessly entertaining film in this franchise. I liked almost all of its parts and the story was genuinely the most interesting and the most intriguing. And the ending, although too convenient and possibly containing a plot hole, is still incredibly satisfying and emotionally rewarding while also answering questions and fitting into the whole story arc wonderfully. And the whole movie feels like that. It answers questions and fits into the franchise rather than just being a cash bag.

The humor is also pretty good. The highlight for me is the whole ethnicity problem for J when he goes back in time with those moments being the funniest. And Will Smith is genuinely funny in this one and is the film’s soul without a doubt. As for the other performers, Tommy Lee Jones is still good and while Josh Brolin as his younger self isn’t exactly on his level, he still did a perfectly fine job. And the casting director did a great job here as Josh looks so similar to Jones thus being  a perfect actor for the role both physically and performance-wise as he impersonated him rather well.

The characters are quite good with J being of course the standout. But K is also superb and you learn a lot from his younger self. Boris the Animal is too campy in my opinion but Griffin is the highlight as this new fascinating character. Nervous, talkative and with great abilities, he really brought a lot to the table in my opinion and was the most fascinating aspect of the movie.

The reason why I think it is better is that it is overall much more imaginative and better filmed than ‘Men in Black II‘ while also being much more entertaining and more humorous than ‘Men in Black‘. It is weird for me to say it, but it is much better than both of those movies and it is such a huge accomplishment for the filmmakers to manage to trump both predecessors after such a long break as ten years passed from the last part. It is a rare and admirable feat of the last entry in the franchise being the finest.

It still has its problems including the campy villain and the typical drawn-out action sequence in the end. Also the editing is too rushed at times and the film is wildly uneven in terms of pacing and quality scenes and humor. The effects are really good, the newly added creatures are great and the movie is imaginative and really well crafted. I also liked its attention to detail as it wonderfully transports you to the time period with excellently used music. It is also emotional in its relationship between the two and it is overall much more satisfying and warm this time around. And I liked its inventiveness in the action sequences. It is a well acted and well crafted movie without a doubt.

Men in Black 3 has the most interesting and emotionally rewarding plot this time around with excellent performances, great effects and really good humor.  It is still wildly uneven and the villain is too campy, but this is a rare instance of a third movie being the best entry in the trilogy, trumping its predecessors in both humor and entertaining story. It is such a pleasant surprise.

My Rating – 4

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Fraidy Cat (1942)

Fraidy CatFraidy Cat Review

Fraidy Cat is a 1942 animated short which is the fourth in Tom and Jerry filmography. And although somewhat disappointing in the end, it still has its many moments.

It follows Jerry’s scaring of Tom with making ghost-like figures. Now, the beginning is absolutely hilarious and a perfect start for the film, but the ending disappointed me as it was typical with Mammy coming in to punish Tom. Everything before it was genius and new which is why that typical conclusion did not appeal to me.

But it is hilarious. The moment when Jerry laughs at him in the beginning is very funny, but the highlight is when Tom catches him and when he realizes what’s going on. That was the most hilarious and perfectly executed moment. And I also liked the introduction of the cat’s nine lives in a visually appealing scene.

Jerry is fantastic in Fraidy Cat with many funny moments and excellent body gestures. However, Tom is just in for the torture throughout the whole thing and I expected a lot more from him.

Fraidy Cat has many hilarious and well executed moments with the beginning being excellent and Jerry being very memorable, but the ending disappointed me and I wanted more from Tom which is why it had a lot more potential.

My Rating – 4

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