Cries and Whispers (1972)

Cries and Whispers Movie Review

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Cries and Whispers Movie Review

Cries and Whispers is a 1972 Swedish drama film directed by Ingmar Bergman and starring Harriet Andersson. It is his most overrated film.

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It is early Monday morning and I am in pain

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Cries and Whispers Movie Review

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This truly is the worst example of everything that is bad and pretentious in Bergman’s films. The story here with the sisters watching their third sister on her deathbed certainly had potential, but it was executed in such a blatantly pretentious manner that any momentum was lost.

Some say it is a horror, but to me it is just a movie that is filled with ridiculous actions by these women, some are silly and others are disgusting, but most are unbelievable. The performances are certainly strong, there is no denying that, but they could not help overcome the mediocrity of these characters.

Everyone talks about how Cries and Whispers is wonderfully shot. I totally disagree. To me the cinematography here is of the worst kind, yes I am serious. By using red in the most expected scenes, Bergman manages to dumb down the entire movie and I don’t know why the critics think this is super smart when in reality it is the most simplistic use of color ever in a film. Even Disney’s use of blue for good and red for bad is more complex than this simplicity.

This is one of those movies that are all about psychology, this time about the female psyche as Bergman was for some reason obsessed with women. But this is a much weaker woman’s picture than an already very overrated ‘Persona’ as the women here are unlikable, unrealistic and the psychology here is thoroughly stupid and the movie is your typical self-proclaimed “artistic and smart masterpiece”.

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Cries and Whispers Movie Review

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It was somehow nominated for five Academy Awards which is a rarity for foreign films. I am baffled at why the Academy choose to honor this movie out of many other truly great foreign films. Almost every of its nominations is awful with Picture and Director being the most undeserved and the cinematography winning is just a horrible choice.

Cries and Whispers is Bergman’s most overrated and worst film that shows all of his worst tendencies such as a pretentious approach and story which is otherwise not at all smart, unbelievable and ridiculous actions by its unlikable characters, bullshit psychology plus the use of color is so simplistic that the Academy’s choice to honor this cinematography is just baffling to me.

My Rating – 2

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Little Dutch Plate (1935)

Little Dutch Plate ReviewLittle Dutch Plate Review

Little Dutch Plate is a 1935 animated short film from the Merry Melodies series. It is a very funny cartoon.

Yes, it helps a lot when you have some great gags in your cartoon. This story is otherwise quite tired and typical with the villain chasing the girl, but because it is hilarious in its two scenes, it manages to compensate for that wonderfully. I am of course talking about the head switching part when the girl suddenly finds the villain hot with the new head and the ending with the bird from the clock shooting its annoying nemesis. Both moments made me laugh and were ingenious in their inventiveness.

It’s a shame then that the story is otherwise so straightforward and uninspired. But thankfully the animation is very good even if the score is forgettable. The film is set in the Netherlands and that is a welcome change in pace and seeing everything Dutch here was certainly a lot of fun.

Little Dutch Plate is typical in story, but so hilarious in its two great gags that it ultimately succeeds as a good short.

My Rating – 3.8

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The More the Merrier (1943)

The More the Merrier Movie Review

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The More the Merrier Movie Review

The More the Merrier is a 1943 Oscar-nominated comedy starring Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea and Charles Coburn. It is interestingly a screwball comedy and although it took me some time to recognize that it is, the film definitely belongs to the subgenre which is very welcome and refreshing having in mind 1940s rarely featured those films.

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You’ve been shushing me for 22 months now.

You’ve shushed your last shush!

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The More the Merrier Movie Review

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The story is about Connie Milligan who takes in her apartment a roommate, an old and warm man named Benjamin Dingle who afterwards invites a young and handsome Joe Carter to the mix in order to introduce them to each other and of course hilarity ensues in a typical screwball manner. The story is very interesting because it incorporates housing problems during WW2 and it manages to make fun of those situations which is wonderful because the period from 1942 to 1945 is filled with serious war films or flat out propaganda movies making this one a pleasant surprise and some light fun.

However, the movie is very weird because it is very polarizing in its execution, especially in the humor department. The jokes are sometimes very dated, while at times very good and quite modern. The More the Merrier has a wonderful first act which is the strongest and it goes downhill from there with predictable ending filled with maybe too emotional approach. And the slapstick is the part of the humor which is not the greatest and some repeated phrases also definitely hurt the movie. It is the kind of humor that is beautiful of course, but because it is sometimes not well executed and it has typical plot progression, it cannot be compared to the much better screwball comedies of the thirties. Those are some major problems that affect it for sure, but it is such a charming, effervescent, spirited and overall fun film that it can be forgiven in the long run.

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The More the Merrier Movie Review

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The characterization here is simply wonderful. All of the characters are very likable and wonderfully developed which is evident in the sense that you feel you have just met them when it’s over. And their chemistry, jokes and overall relationship with each other is beautifully executed and it can bring a smile to your face watching this strange, but lovable group together. The protagonist Connie is especially sweet and her character is such a charming and wonderfully flawed person that you easily get to love her.

The acting is magnificent, each and every performance is so good. Charles Coburn is phenomenal as Mr. Dingle, a character that is not easy to act and that could have easily been turned into too goofy persona, but he manages to make it work. Joel McCrea is also quite good and although he is not as good as the rest, he still serves his purpose and gives a respectable performance. But of course Jean Arthur is the star here, a standout and quite probably the very best thing about this movie. She is simply radiant, she glows every time she is on screen, she steals the scene and she gives a powerhouse performance. It is weird that the Academy honored Coburn whereas she is much better. Jean is beautiful, professional and charming and she shines in her wonderful lead role.

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The More the Merrier Movie Review

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The dialogue is mostly good, sometimes it’s weak, but it is at times very well done. The direction from George Stevens is excellent as usual and the editing and pacing are superb which is rare for any movie. Yes, some of the slapstick sequences in the beginning are too prolonged, but it is overall a very well edited film which moves at a smooth pace and is never boring.

Although it is sometimes annoying, the ending is predictable and too emotional and the humor is hit-or-miss, but when it is good, it’s very funny with some charming situations and lines. The characters are extremely likable and well developed, the story is fun and the acting is superb all around with Jean Arthur giving a powerhouse performance absolutely shining in her lead role. It is weird and at times quite polarizing, but The More the Merrier is mostly a good and above all entertaining film that is beautifully charming bringing a smile to your face and it is wonderful and refreshing to see a good screwball comedy from the forties.

My Rating – 4

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Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865)

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Review

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Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland Review

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is an 1865 classic fantasy novel written by Lewis Carroll. It is such a quintessential family fantasy novel that is a timeless joy to this day.

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It’s no use going back to yesterday,

because I was a different person then

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Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Review

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It is probably the first work in the nonsense subgenre where the plot is seemingly nonsensical and where everyone is acting crazy. Its story is so well known by now that I don’t need to summarize it. Of its various film adaptations, none of it managed to match its quality, only the Disney version which is to me even better than the novel.

Let’s talk about each and every chapter. Chapter One – Down the Rabbit Hole is such an undisputed perfect opener and I love everything about it. The way it starts off is riveting, Alice is well introduced, The White Rabbit is so much fun and of course those size cakes are great.

Chapter Two – The Pool of Tears is very engaging once again and very atmospheric, but even though I liked the mouse character, I found it to be forgettable compared to the rest and this chapter is quite uneventful.

Chapter Three – The Caucus Race and a Long Tale is so much fun and it is the first chapter that showcases Alice not fitting in this crazy world and others being frightened of her in an amusing way.

Chapter Four – The Rabbit Sends a Little Bill is phenomenal as the titular character is so memorable and Alice’s situation here is unforgettable.

Chapter Five – Advice from Caterpillar features this awesome character who is easily one of the best ones in this book. His riddles are entertaining and he is such a unique, odd creature and the plot point with size here is one of the highlights.

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Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Review

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Chapter Six – Pig and Pepper has a great introduction to The Cheshire Cat, but I really disliked The Duchess as her character is quite forgettable and pointless.

Chapter Seven – A Mad Tea-Party gives us so many classic parts and characters. The March Hare and The Mad Hatter are amazing and so funny, this sequence is so authentic and brilliant in its craziness and it is probably the best chapter of the entire book.

Chapter Eight – The Queen’s Croquet Ground finds us meeting this crazy queen and she is an awesome villain. The game is great, the suspense is evident and it is such a great point in the book that I wish that it happened later on, just like in the movie.

Chapter Nine – The Mock Turtle’s Story has its moments, but the characters here are very forgettable and the chapter feels like a filler.

The same applies to Chapter Ten – Lobster Quadrille which is basically the continuation of the previous chapter.

Chapter Eleven – Who Stole the Tarts has many great developments and is such a great build-up for the finale and I liked the king character, quite a bit actually.

Chapter Twelve – Alice’s Evidence is awesome! It is such a great action packed final chapter. I loved the various testimonies, I loved the chase where the cards chased her and the ending is so satisfying.

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Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Review

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The dialogue is the highlight of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland naturally. it is so clever and sophisticated and it is the reason why I deem it to be a book for adults more so than for children. The poems are great, the riddles are memorable and it utilizes the English language in such a great way.

I wish that some parts weren’t filler-like and some characters weren’t forgettable, but most were memorable, the plot here is mostly spectacular and of course unforgettable and it is just such an influential novel that deserves praise centuries after its release. To me it is uneven and far from perfect, but I still really enjoyed it as it is such a memorable, amusing read.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is uneven in terms of the pacing as some parts do feel like filler, but it is mostly such a terrific book filled with a memorable storyline, crazy and amusing characters, great humor, superb dialogue and excellent writing. It deserves its classic reputation.

My Rating – 4

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The Poor Little Rich Girl (1917)

The Poor Little Rich Girl Movie Review

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The Poor Little Rich Girl Movie Review

The Poor Little Rich Girl is a 1917 silent film starring Mary Pickford as an 11 year old who is unhappy in a rich family mansion and wants to have some fun.

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Now you’ve spoiled  the best fight I’ve ever had

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The Poor Little Rich Girl Movie Review

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The plot is pretty simple and it is the biggest weakness of the film because it is way too simplistic. The subject matter is very ordinary. However, it is rarely done in movies so it is pretty intriguing. It is also very entertaining and involving from start to finish. But it is filled with very bad dialogue and some lines are simply laughable. Regarding the dialogue, the film seems as if it was made by a teenager. It is probably the biggest and most inexcusable flaw in the whole picture.

But the film is very unique in some aspects. The fantasy elements in the third act are very interesting visually and are well executed and they conclude the story perfectly. There is also something not a lot of people talk about and those are of course the intertitles. The intertitle design here is phenomenal and incredibly inventive. Especially in the sequence where she yells and her words literally come out of the doorknob as in comics. That is a wonderful touch. It, along with the humor, helped add a modern feel to this very old movie.

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The Poor Little Rich Girl Movie Review

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Speaking of humor, it is quite good and even charming. The sequence where she plays with the children is very endearing and the bathroom sequence is simply hilarious and very well executed. The humor adds a certain childlike and innocent flavor to a film and it fits the overall story perfectly. The whole movie is incredibly fast paced and entertaining so it is quite ahead of its time.

The characters are pretty well developed and the main character is very likable and effervescent. And the acting is fine across the board. It is of course questionable that they chose Mary Pickford to play an 11 year old child whereas she was 25 at the time. I understand how some would fault that choice, but I liked it anyway because Hollywood does that often (Judy Garland as Dorothy comes to mind immediately as a great example) and it is understandable that they choice her because she was such a commodity at the time and she is a wonderful actress. She played the part very well and her acting abilities and charisma are evident.

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The Poor Little Rich Girl Movie Review

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The editing along with the dialogue is the film’s greatest weakness. It is so fast paced, so incredibly rushed and the running time is very short, clocking in at just around an hour, that the whole film and story feel contrived and very rushed. I know that the fast pacing may feel modern and may satisfy today’s audiences, but I however found it as a flaw because it is too fast, the same way ‘The Thief of Bagdad’ is fast at times. It somehow diminished the effect of the whole movie which is a shame.

In the end, The Poor Little Rich Girl is incredibly entertaining and engaging, very funny and sweet, Mary Pickford is charming and her character is very likable, but the story is filled with so many questionable dialogues and bad lines, the pacing is awfully fast and feels rushed and contrived, it is also very short and it is full of these flaws that certainly affect the movie. But it is so charming and above all entertaining that it can be forgiven to some extent and the movie can be enjoyed by today’s audiences to a great extent which is an incredible and admirable achievement for the filmmakers.

My Rating – 3.5

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The Garden of the Finzi-Continis (1970)

The Garden of the Finzi-Continis Movie Review

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The Garden of the Finzi-Continis Movie Review

The Garden of the Finzi-Continis is a 1970 Italian drama film directed by Vittorio de Sica. It is an overrated film for sure.

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Children are usually prisoners to grownups

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The Garden of the Finzi-Continis Movie Review

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Nothing about its plot interested me whatsoever. It is basically a historical piece set in the years leading up to World War II. I’ve seen this type of thing countless times before and its tale of anti-Semitism and friendship never really brought anything new to the table. The movie definitely has its sweet and even charming scenes, but is mostly a harmless, but pretty forgettable and uninspired effort from a great director.

Yes, it is weird that Vittorio de Sica made this film as it doesn’t have the strength of his other works which is probably because this is one of his last films. And that tiredness definitely shows in the finished product. The film is solidly directed and solidly acted, but never great in either of those areas.

The Garden of the Finzi-Continis is actually very well filmed and the titular garden and most of the imagery and shots were actually pretty good. The film is cozy for sure. But it relied way too heavily on relationships and sex and I just did not care for these people and their convoluted relationships thus did nothing for me.

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The Garden of the Finzi-Continis Movie Review

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It is one of those great examples of how books and films are just too different in style and execution. I almost immediately knew that this was based on a book and of course I was right. There are just too many characters here and none of them are properly developed, there are also way too many plot points and the storyline is not all that exciting and is too convoluted but in an unnecessary manner.

This material may have been great for a book, but it was never fitting for a film and no matter how well de Sica made it, he never managed to overcome that huge hurdle. The film is definitely very overrated as it did not deserve its Oscar at all.

The Garden of the Finzi-Continis is well made and filmed with some charming scenes, but is one of the most forgettable foreign Oscar winners thanks to a plot that was just never a material for a film, quite dull characters and a very boring execution.

My Rating – 3

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Is It Always Right to Be Right? (1970)

Is It Always Right to Be Right? ReviewIs It Always Right to Be Right? Review

Is It Always Right to Be Right? is an Oscar winning animated short film from 1970.

It was directed by Lee Mishkin and narrated by Orson Welles. It is basically a political message film that pleas for understanding and cooperation between different types of people and races. The narration is solid and the film is powerful and beautiful in its message and timely even today.

However, I found it to be very weakly animated. It uses way too much live-action in it and the animation that was here was awfully simplistic and uninspired. The color palette is also unappealing. It is a film that speaks well, but doesn’t look good and its emphasis on politics instead of filmmaking is problematic and I myself have never liked that. That’s why it didn’t deserve its Oscar at all despite being important in message.

Is It Always Right to Be Right has a good narration and a wonderful message, but politics came before art in this one unfortunately.

My Rating – 3.5

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2010: Odyssey Two (1982)

2010: Odyssey Two Review

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2010: Odyssey Two Review

2010: Odyssey Two is a 1982 science fiction novel by Arthur C. Clarke. It is a sequel to ‘2001’ and it is a very good, at times brilliant book which is still not fantastic.

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Whether we are based on carbon or

on silicon makes no fundamental difference;

we should each be treated with appropriate respect

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2010: Odyssey Two Review

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I won’t describe the plot here as it very complicated and needs to be read to be fully understood, but I will say that it is again very well written by Clarke whose writing is always phenomenal and filled with great descriptions as well as scientific approach. I found the entire storyline to be very interesting and actually quite different from its predecessor which is commendable.

The parts about Europa were fascinating. I did not like that the Chinese were so clichéd in their depictions, but at least the Russians were very well depicted. I loved how the Russians and the Americans worked together here, so wonderful to witness. But back to Europa, I was always fascinated by this planet and here those chapters certainly did not disappoint.

David Bowman was interestingly utilized, but I wish HAL was more memorable. The entire last third was stellar with a superb Jupiter disintegration sequence which was amazing to behold. And of course its very intriguing epilogue was simply fascinating, incredibly authentic and a perfect way to end the novel.

So I loved the first third and I adored the last one, but I honestly did not love the middle parts. That is mostly because the pacing was sluggish there, some of the chapters were admittedly quite boring and it relied too heavily on its characters where the characterization here was clunky from the beginning.

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2010: Odyssey Two Review

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It is actually pretty good for sci-fi standards, but not needed in my opinion plus it has way too many characters. Floyd is very good as the protagonist and I liked that he was back for this installment. Dr. Chandra certainly has his moments. And that’s about it as the others, although perfectly fine, are not great plus the romantic entanglements here were thoroughly unnecessary in my opinion.

Comparing it to ‘2001’, 2010 is definitely weaker, but not by large as some parts here are so exhilarating and so incredibly original and satisfactory that they rival its predecessor successfully. To me the book succeeds as a sequel because it is different from the original while still managing to give us some answers about some of the great questions asked before. It achieves that perfect balance between new and old and I liked it although I can definitely see why the fans of ambiguity would not like it themselves.

I can’t wait to read the sequel as this ending here definitely opened a lot of possibilities for a sequel which was great as it felt nuanced and natural instead of forced. Rarely have I read such a powerful epilogue such as this one here.

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2010: Odyssey Two Review

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2010: Odyssey Two is very oddly paced, but it is so well written and so fascinating in its plot and memorable in its imagery that I was enthralled more than a couple of times while reading it. I just wish that it was a bit tighter and it would have been awesome, but this way it ended up being very good and at times even great, but not amazing I’m afraid.

Nuanced and rich in terms of storytelling and fascinating in its imagery and especially the epilogue, 2010: Odyssey Two succeeds as a sequel to one of the best novels ever as it gives us some answers to the questions posed before while still giving us some new things. And although the characters are far from great and the middle parts are somewhat dull, this sci-fi work is still more than satisfactory and capable enough that it succeeds in spades as a great sequel.

My Rating – 4.6

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Blade II (2002)

 Blade II Review

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Blade II Movie Review

Blade II is a 2002 superhero horror film directed by Guillermo del Toro and starring Wesley Snipes. It is an improvement upon its predecessor.

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What do you really think?

They’re gonna fuck us the first chance they get

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Blade II Movie Review

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Yes, I definitely preferred Blade II over ‘Blade’. It certainly does have all of the problems of the original and surely enough, Wesley Snipes’ performance is as weak and mediocre as it was in the original and the plot is almost non-existent. Actually the plot is worse here as it is much more convoluted with too many characters and plot points.

I liked the villains, but overall the characters were quite weak. And the acting is nothing to write home about. The approach is actually kind of interesting. Whereas the original was all about action, this is also filled with action, but it definitely also has evident horror sensibilities as it is much more gory and disgusting this time around.

That is mostly because this is the product of Guillermo del Toro who has always preferred horror. And he is most definitely the sole reason why Blade II is an improvement as his direction definitely leads to a better put out and looking film. I liked the special effects and the film looks and sounds fine (though it relied too heavily on aggressive music but that fits the story for sure), but the action is just fantastic.

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Blade II Movie Review

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Blade II needs to be seen just for the action and nothing else because it is still a three-star movie to me, definitely a stronger three, but still I gave it that rating as the plot and characters are just so mediocre. But the action is actually stupendous and definitely worth a watch.

I loved the fighting style of Blade and all of his fights were excellent, beautifully choreographed and just a lot of fun. It certainly felt too much like a video game, but for gamers, this should prove a big treat. Some of the set pieces were excellent and some action scenes were so phenomenally executed and so entertaining that they could rival the work of the MCU.

Blade II still has very mediocre characterization, weak acting and the story is not only subpar but also way too convoluted this time around, but Guillermo del Toro’s involvement led to much better direction, special effects and mostly action which is actually terrific in its execution and a lot of fun leading to a sequel that trumps its predecessor.

My Rating – 3

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A Cartoonist’s Nightmare (1935)

A Cartoonist's Nightmare ReviewA Cartoonist’s Nightmare Review

A Cartoonist’s Nightmare a 1935 animated short film from the Looney Tunes series directed by Jack King. It is a truly phenomenal entry.

Finally we get a truly great Looney Tunes entry after quite a while now. A cartoonist (anonymous) draws Beans and a monster but falls asleep and has a dream where the monster escapes along with other monstrous creations of his and other animators and throws him into a pit. Beans arrives and saves him and after waking up, he rewards him with ice cream. This plot is, needless to say, incredibly original and inventive and unlike anything I’ve seen thus far in cartoons.

It can be understood to be some sort of criticism of animation conditions during the period, but whether or not it has any deeper meaning to it, it remains a great cartoon owing to its inventive, one of a kind storytelling. I thought that it could have been even more inventive in execution and somehow the dream twist didn’t work for me, but it did lead to that great finale with ice cream. Beans is quite likable here and I am looking forward to seeing more from him. The action is great and the animation is fantastic here with a superb cave-like imagery and excellent atmosphere evoked.

A Cartoonist’s Nightmare is one of the best Looney Tunes so far owing to excellent animation, atmosphere and most importantly such an authentic plot.

My Rating – 4.4

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