The Big Heat (1953)

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The Big Heat Movie Review

The Big Heat is a 1953 noir film directed by Fritz Lang and starring Glenn Ford and Lee Marvin. It is a predictable, yet memorably dark movie.

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The main thing is to have the money.

I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor.

Believe me – rich is better.

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Obviously the big problem here is the script which is overly familiar and I’ve seen some of the scenes here multiple times before and after. The pot itself is fine, though definitely standard, but it is executed well and professionally written. However, the problem is the overall predictable nature to the movie. It is so predictable that almost its every plot point is expected. I saw the ending, I knew who was going to die and who is bad and the best example of this predictability lies in the scene where the protagonist’s wife dies. Yes, it is done and filmed well, but everybody would realize what is going to happen in barely a minute there.

I liked its characters. The Big Heat is famous for turning the femme fatale aspect on its head by making the man be fatal for all the women who meet him. That was definitely original and great. I really liked Bannion as he is a complex, memorable noir protagonist and him coping with his wife’s death was really well done. Debby is terrific and she stole the show here as the most interesting and even fascinating character. As for the villains, they are fine and dangerous, but I thought that the decision to reveal them so early was done for better and for worse.

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This isn’t an A-list cast of actors, but they still did such a good job. Gloria Grahame is very good, Lee Marvin is memorably villainous and Glenn Ford was mostly really good and competent in a somewhat difficult role. Of course Fritz Lang’s direction is terrific and it is so great seeing that the director of ‘Metropolis’ could tackle noir along with science fiction. He truly was a great director.

The Big Heat is fascinating for its mature tone and that is its greatest and most authentic accomplishment. It is certainly the most memorable aspect of the entire film. The scene where Vince tortures Debby and throws hot coffee on her face, thus permanently ruining the entire side of her face is certainly the most violent scene that I have ever witnessed in an older film. It is definitely the most memorable part of the film and although too violent, I actually liked it as it raised the stakes for sure.

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But having her get her revenge and doing the same to him later on was a great choice and a further proof of how strong and feminist the women in classic Hollywood movies were. These were great female characters who were strong and capable, but in a realistic manner. I loved Debby. But I also liked that it was an emotional film, subtly emotional in its protagonist’s problems. The ending is so sweet and I adored that speech about his wife that he gave to Debby, so beautiful. The film is also superbly edited as it is deft and doesn’t waste any scene, but also doesn’t rush the story. I just wished that it wasn’t that predictable as it would have been superb, but it is still very good this way and a proof of how talented Lang really was.

What hurt The Big Heat in the long run is the entire predictability of its plot with almost every plot point being expected, but this noir is still so well made, so well directed by Fritz Lang and so well acted that they managed to lift the material to much greater heights. I loved its emotional approach with a couple of beautiful and moving scenes, but the highlight are its memorable characters and most especially its incredibly dark approach with a couple of unforgettable brutal scenes that are not excessive, but help raise the stakes significantly.

My Rating – 4

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An American in Paris (1951)

An American in Paris Movie Review………………………………………………………

An American in Paris Movie Review

An American in Paris is a 1951 musical film directed by Vincente Minnelli and starring Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron. It is one of my favorite musicals.

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I’m a concert pianist.

That’s a pretentious way of saying I’m… unemployed at the moment

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An American in Paris Movie Review………………………………………………………

I really love this movie, but even I have to admit that its plot is lacking. Let me elaborate. I usually really dislike love triangles in a film and find them stupid and dull, but here it was surprisingly handled really well and I mean in a comedic and light manner. That was great. But what wasn’t so great is how the film just ended, in an instant. It was abrupt, sort of unrealistic and just disappointing overall.

The first half is all great and I had no complaints there from the storytelling department. But the second half features another very problematic development and that is Jerry going after Milo after breaking up with Lise. That made him unlikable and of course Milo eventually got screwed over. Yes, she approached him aggressively, but he gave her false hope and that made his otherwise very sympathetic character somewhat unlikable. The film was definitely unfair in its treatment of Milo.

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An American in Paris Movie Review………………………………………………………

But even though the plot is so troublesome in a couple of scenes, that is basically the only problem I have with this film as otherwise I find it to be fantastic. Jerry Mulligan is mostly very likable and such a charming man. Lise is quite endearing and the relationship between the two is great and they are lovable together. Adam has his comedic moments and even Henri can be funny at times. And I liked Milo quite a bit and found her to be a very progressive female character for her time.

I found the acting to be pretty good. Oscar Levant is quite good and humorous at times and Nina Foch is very good with Georges Guetary being the weak link here. Leslie Caron is very likable and I honestly think that Gene Kelly should have been nominated for his performance here which is very strong and charismatic. His dancing is out of this world, but he is also very likable and very professional in his acting as well.

An American in Paris features some of the best dance sequences to ever come from Hollywood. Truly sometimes the film reached not only greatness, but pure artistic achievement. It felt like watching musical art in its highest form. Gene Kelly is such a great dancer and some of his movements here were just incredible to behold. But the choreography of these scenes as a whole is gorgeous and the film is just breathtaking technically.

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An American in Paris Movie Review………………………………………………………

As for the songs, they are solid. Some are great, others are forgettable. Concerto in F for Piano and Orchestra totally felt like a detour as a song and overall scene, ‘S Wonderful is light and serves its purpose, but the lyrics are mediocre and all of the other songs are mostly forgettable. Not bad, but not great either.

But Embraceable You is pretty solid and Love Is Here to Stay is such a pleasing, fitting song for the most romantic sequence in the film. But of course my favorite is I Got Rhythm. I just love this song. It has fun lyrics, it is immensely catchy and enjoyable plus it is accompanied by the most childlike and effervescent scene in the movie.

An American in Paris naturally looks gorgeous. The entire last segment featuring the titular number was just breathtaking to behold. It was long, but never boring as those dances and choreography are the most memorable thing from the entire film. And I liked that it was a dream sequence, very fitting to it in style.

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An American in Paris Movie Review………………………………………………………

The film is solidly edited and really well directed by Vincente Minnelli, but the highlights are the cinematography and the costumes. The film’s camera angles and shots are perfect and so inspired and rarely has Hollywood seen better costume design than in this movie. Wow, beautiful to watch. It is one of the rare movies that benefit from being in color and truly the Technicolor here is gorgeous. I loved its artistic side not only in music, but in paintings as well. It is a very sensual and great looking film. It is a proof how strong visually can a film be and that essentially it is a visual medium. The production design is just amazing and some of the scenery here was both exceedingly wonderful and highly memorable. And its humor is just fabulous and it frequently made me laugh out loud. It deserved all of its technical awards and I think I am in the minority here, but I honestly think that it deserved to win Best Picture in a very strong year. It is definitely one of my personal favorites from this genre.

Some plot points certainly felt troublesome and the ending is abrupt, but other than that, An American in Paris is a fantastic film. Gene Kelly is so charismatic and likable in his role and Leslie Caron is quite endearing. The film is very romantic and exceedingly charming in almost every scene with a nice dose of excellent humor, but the highlights are its technical aspects – the costumes are some of the best ever put on film, the choreography is amazing, the dancing is phenomenal to behold, some songs are very catchy and the film is beautifully shot and such a great feast for the eyes. Visually dazzling and even artistic, it is definitely one of my favorite musicals.

My Rating – 4.5

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Ordet (1955)

Ordet Movie Review………………………………………………………………

Ordet Movie Review

Ordet is a 1955 Danish drama film directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer. It is a disappointing film from a usually great director.

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I believe a lot of little miracles happen secretly.

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Ordet Movie Review………………………………………………………………

I really liked the plot in Ordet. It is a fascinating examination of religion and the power of spiritual belief. The ending, although definitely out there, was intriguing and ultimately quite powerful. Some of the other scenes such as the famous poster sequence in the fields were also memorable in imagery and quite fascinating.

But it is ultimately just solid and never great mainly because of the pacing. The film is dreadfully slow which troubled me and thus I was rarely engaged in the storyline thoroughly. It takes its time to get there owing to a slow start and the final third, no matter how powerful, still came too late in the game.

The acting is great, but the character development should have been better. They are solidly developed, but not great which they should have been as this is obviously a chamber piece which needs the characters more than anything else.

Although I really disliked its sometimes overly static approach with too much dialogue and not powerful but somewhat not essential and lacking dialogue, I liked a couple of quotes and lines nonetheless and I really liked the visuals here. Whenever the film went out of the house, it was great to watch and quite fascinating. It of course benefits from an interesting take in terms of the cinematography.

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Ordet Movie Review………………………………………………………………

Ordet definitely looked interesting and was superbly shot. It was also really well directed and it was all around great in terms of the technical aspects. However, the script, though definitely sophisticated, was never as well utilized in the execution which felt disappointing and led to a film being more of a visual and interesting than a truly thought-provoking and spiritual experience. That all led to Ordet being a solid, but in the end very disappointing and dull movie. Carl Theodor Dreyer disappointed me here and ‘The Passion of Joan Arc’ and ‘Day of Wrath’ were infinitely better.

Ordet is a solid, but disappointing film. The direction from Carl Theodor Dreyer is expectedly strong, the cinematography is inspired with some of the shots being quite intriguing and the film is clever and very interesting, but because it was so slow paced and lacked focus, it never utilized its premise particularly well and ended up being more of an intriguing than a truly spiritual experience.

My Rating – 3.5

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Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes Movie Review…………………………………………………………………..

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes Movie Review

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is a 1953 musical comedy film directed by Howard Hawks and starring Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell. It is such a fun, crazy movie.

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Don’t you know that a man being rich is like a girl being pretty?

You wouldn’t marry a girl just because she’s pretty,

but my goodness, doesn’t it help?

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Gentlemen Prefer Blondes Movie Review…………………………………………………………………..

Yes, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is one of those classic movies that feel way too modern for its age and surely, owing to its infectious energy, weird humor and strong sexuality, it can be enjoyed immensely by today’s audiences. I admired its energy and the film was entertaining from beginning to end. Its oddball nature was perfect and the sexual aspects were so funny and delightfully cheesy.

Marilyn Monroe here proves that she was actually a very good actress. She gives such a great performance, full of charisma, vigor and charm. She was very good and of course beautiful. But to me Jane Russell was the real star here. Don’t get me wrong, both women are great, but she is more memorable and quite underrated here. She stole the show and her more down-to-earth, but still funny character was terrific. The two are so great together. The men are all fine, but these two women are the real stars.

What I found really interesting about Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is that vibrant, over-the-top sexuality. Rarely do we see women lust over men in such an evident and strong manner and this is the fifties we’re talking about. So crazy and weird. Watching Jane Russell in particular was such a delight as her obsession with handsome men perfectly clashed against Monroe’s obsession with rich, older guys.

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Gentlemen Prefer Blondes Movie Review…………………………………………………………………..

The film to me is very good, but never great as it somewhat loses its steam in the second half resulting in the film that is much funnier and much better in the first half. And that whole shenanigans with the jewelry could have been better executed. The movie was also way too superficial at times and way too entertaining. I wish that it featured some sophisticated moments along with the fun ones and we never really get to see some sort of a commentary here which is a real shame.

But it does succeed as a comedy because it can be quite funny at times and even hilarious. It also succeeds as a musical because, let’s be honest, these songs are so good and so catchy that everyone can enjoy them. Anyone Here for Love? isn’t that memorable as a musical number, but with that infectious energy and a great turn from Russell, it becomes unforgettable. The imagery there is also truly one of a kind as we watch her being so happy surrounded by those handsome sportsmen. Bye Bye Baby is a great number as it is so catchy and just a lot of fun. But of course the real highlight has to be Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend which is not only catchy and entertaining, but also technically brilliant and filled with awesome costumes and a superb set.

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Gentlemen Prefer Blondes Movie Review…………………………………………………………………..

It is weird that the film was directed by Howard Hawks as this is most certainly far from his usual style, but he proved how great he was when he made it so good anyway. The editing is mostly great, the film is consistently engaging, the acting is so good and the film is so well made with some gorgeous Technicolor at display. Overall, it isn’t great, but as these kinds of comedies go, it is pretty special in its own right.

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes isn’t particularly sophisticated, but it is such a fun and funny film that feels so modern owing to its awesome mix of strong sexuality, weird and over-the-top humor and an infectious energy. Marilyn Monroe is so good here, but Jane Russell is even better and the two are such a great duo. The film is such a good comedy, but also a great musical as it is filled with many catchy songs and so well choreographed musical numbers. It’s unabashedly light and fluffy, but fun and charming nonetheless.

My Rating – 4

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The Seven Year Itch (1955)

The Seven Year Itch Movie Review………………………………………………………………..

The Seven Year Itch Movie Review

The Seven Year Itch is a 1955 romantic comedy film directed by Billy Wilder and starring Marilyn Monroe and Tom Ewell. It is one of the director’s weakest works.

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When it gets hot like this, you know what I do?

I keep my undies in the icebox!

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The Seven Year Itch Movie Review………………………………………………………………..

It follows a man who is away from his wife and is experiencing the titular psychological term. He meets a beautiful woman and the two hang out and talk for days. The director himself stated that this was “a nothing film” because he couldn’t film it as he should have those days – with a lot of sex and infidelity. But as I usually dislike those, I found this approach satisfying and I really liked that he didn’t cheat on his wife and how the girl actually told him some wise words near the end. I liked that he realized what a fool he was and hurried back to his wife, I liked that their relationship was mostly a fun friendship.

What I didn’t like here is the film’s approach in terms of storytelling. This is one of those movies that is lost potential, it gets half of the scenes right and half very wrong. I was frustrated watching its obvious bad choices unfold in front of my eyes. I am of course talking about the film’s structure and humor.

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The Seven Year Itch Movie Review………………………………………………………………..

The film uses way too many imagination scenes and although they are quite funny and amusing at first, they become annoying as the movie progresses. The same can be said about the protagonist. Richard Sherman is the kind of character that is at first sympathetic and even likable, but he is best used in small doses and here he is at the center of the entire movie and that was just too much and he very quickly got on my nerves. I wished for more Monroe as she was much more sympathetic and memorable.

The other problem, again concerning the structure, is the film’s unwillingness to go into theatrical territory. It should have focused entirely on these two characters and it should have revolved around one room. It is that kind of story and that talkative and narrow approach would have worked wonders here. But unfortunately they put in many other supporting characters and all of them are forgettable and they hurt the movie a lot.

Tom Ewell gives a good performance, but is annoying as a comedian. Marilyn Monroe is as childish and foolish as ever, but it was fascinating watching her give a couple of really smart lines too and she was as amusing and as pretty as ever.

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The Seven Year Itch Movie Review………………………………………………………………..

The comedy in The Seven Year Itch is troublesome. Some of the moments and lines made me laugh and the sexual humor is very funny, but the film is more often than not annoying instead of funny with an excessive use of the protagonist and his dated humor. In fact, the entire film is very dated when you think about it and its age can be seen from the get-go. The pacing is problematic, but the film looks good and the Cinemascope suits it really well and suits its star wonderfully. I liked this film and it was solid, but it was more disappointing than satisfying unfortunately.

The Seven Year Itch is one of those movies that were very contemporary for its time, but are now obviously immensely dated. The film features good performances, a solid relationship between the two stars and is quite funny and charming at times, but it is more annoying than funny with a protagonist that becomes more and more annoying as the film progresses. The movie also should have focused entirely on the two, it should have had a theatrical approach in its production with less characters and the imagination sequences were overly abundant. It is in the end solid and amusing, but a giant mess nonetheless.

My Rating – 3.5

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Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959)

Plan 9 from Outer Space Movie Review……………………………………………………………

Plan 9 from Outer Space Movie Review

Plan 9 From Outer Space is a 1959 science fiction film directed by Ed Wood and famous for being cited as one of the worst films of all time and it really is a ridiculous movie.

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Perhaps, on your way home,

someone will pass you in the dark, and you will never know it…

for they will be from outer space.

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Plan 9 from Outer Space Movie Review……………………………………………………………

I had to watch this movie out of curiosity. I usually stay away from bad movies, but this one is so famous (for all the wrong reasons) and it is a cult movie so I needed to see it for myself. And it truly is a mediocrity. The plot here is just so stupid that watching it was most definitely entertaining, but consistently silly.

What is even sillier is its dialogue. Some of the lines spoken here are just ludicrous and I can’t understand why anyone would green light this idea and let these ridiculous lines be released intact, that is mind-boggling to me. The acting is also pretty bad. Some of it is passable, but most of the performances here are absolutely horrible. The characters are all really campy and those undead such as Vampira are beyond campy.

Plan 9 from Outer Space is funny, but I am afraid unintentionally funny and that was obvious. Some of the lines here really cracked me up and that a movie like this exists is truly a phenomenon, especially for its time. Now some of the imagery here is memorable, but of course the movie’s budget was too small for this type of story to be told. It needed many shots with great special effects in it and most of the effects here looked mediocre, even for its time.

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Plan 9 from Outer Space Movie Review……………………………………………………………

The costumes are also incredibly campy and its campy horror tone and those costumes are probably the driving factors that led to many of today’s audiences embracing it as a fun movie. But it wasn’t as fun to me as I expected it to be and its short running time was felt. The ending in particular is absolutely unbelievable to witness and the overall plot made no sense, the characters’ actions were stupid and the horror sequences were laughable. But it is a memorable movie with the opening and closing speeches in particular being unforgettable.

Funny but unintentionally so, Plan 9 from Outer Space truly is as bad as everyone says it is. The costumes, effects and horror sequences are beyond campy, the plot is stupid, most of the performances are poor and it is above all an immensely silly movie with the dialogue that contains many absolutely ridiculous lines.

My Rating – 2

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Sweet Smell of Success (1957)

Sweet Smell of Success Movie Review…………………………………………………………………….

Sweet Smell of Success Movie Review

Sweet Smell of Success is a 1957 noir film directed by Alexander Mackendrick and starring Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis. It is a solid, yet very disappointing film.

It is about a powerful newspaper columnist who uses his connections to ruin his sister’s relationship with a man he deems unworthy of her. Yes, on paper, the film seems great. And the premise definitely is powerful and important in a timeless manner. However, the execution is far from great leading to a film that has a lot of lost potential.

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I’d hate to take a bite outta you. You’re a cookie full of arsenic

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Sweet Smell of Success Movie Review…………………………………………………………………….

The problem here is that I just never really connected with either of the characters and I never found either of them particularly interesting and they should have been as the script demanded it. The character development is strong, but not immensely strong. But the acting is definitely excellent. Burt Lancaster is so good as is Susan Harrison, but it is Tony Curtis who shines in one of his career best performances.

In terms of storytelling and memorable scenes, only the third act is excellent and a true highlight as it is so dramatic and so emotional. But everything that came before it was frankly a bit dull and never that memorable. The film is well directed, certainly very well acted and it features some pretty good cinematography, but I had trouble recognizing it as a noir film. Yes, it obviously has some of those elements as the film is dark and deals with a serious subject matter and unlikable characters, but rarely does it really look it that way and it is more of a crime thriller than a full noir flick of its day.

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Sweet Smell of Success Movie Review…………………………………………………………………….

And certainly that was a problem to me as Sweet Smell of Success felt modern in every way which I don’t like as I prefer old-fashioned noir of that era. So in the end, even though it is important, dramatic and well made, I didn’t connect with it, I rarely felt anything and I just found it to be one of the most overrated films of its genre.

Sweet Smell of Success has a very important story, good character development, it is well made and so well acted plus the third act is very dramatic and intense, but everything that came before it wasn’t as great, the film isn’t that great of a noir film as it was too modern in my opinion, way too underutilized, a bit cold and ultimately overrated.

My Rating – 3.5

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Hiroshima mon amour (1959)

Hiroshima mon amour Movie Review………………………………………………………………..

Hiroshima mon amour Movie Review

Hiroshima mon amour is a 1959 French romance film directed by Alain Resnais and starring Emmanuelle Riva and Eiji Okada. It is an expectedly overrated film.

It follows the conversations of a French-Japanese couple about memory and forgetfulness and it showcases their differing opinions of the war. Now, I usually like talkative movies, but this one bored me and annoyed me because I was just never invested in either of these people and I found most of their conversations to be not particularly interesting.

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Sometimes we have to avoid thinking about the problems life presents.

Otherwise we’d suffocate

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Hiroshima mon amour Movie Review………………………………………………………………..

Both of them aren’t that likable. They are solidly developed as they are the only characters in the movie, but they are far from great nonetheless. The acting is pretty good. Eiji Okada is quite good in his role and of course Emmanuelle Riva is excellent in the main role.

Hiroshima mon amour continues my frustration with the French New Wave as I really find most of the movies from this movement to be very overrated. All of these movies are evidently solid, but so far from great that I don’t get the praise that they get.

This movie serves as a romance during World War II. It is a drama, but above all a romance and it somewhat succeeds in that department as it has its sweet moments. However, the characters aren’t memorable which is why I wasn’t invested in their relationship and thus the movie failed in my opinion.

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Hiroshima mon amour Movie Review………………………………………………………………..

The reason why it is still a solid film is because technically it is phenomenal. The cinematography is the standout aspect here, so gorgeous, so refined and giving us some amazing shots. I loved its black-and-white visuals as they brought almost a haunting quality to it. The film is also well edited and solidly directed, but I found Alain Resnais’ direction and approach here to be pretty pretentious. The entire movie is definitely pretentious and I got that feeling constantly and it wasn’t pleasant. In the end, Hiroshima mon amour is a solid film that has its merits, but is so boring and ultimately overrated.

Hiroshima mon amour is another French New Wave movie that is solid, but immensely overrated. It has its merits including the acting and especially the cinematography which is fantastic, but the film is so boring, so pretentious in its direction and approach and featuring characters for whom I did not care about and the conversations that were mostly quite dull.

My Rating – 3.5

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The Thing from Another World (1951)

The Thing from Another World Movie Review………………………………………………………………

The Thing from Another World Movie Review

The Thing from Another World is a 1951 science fiction horror film directed by Christian Nyby and starring James Arness. It is a pretty good, classic sci-fi film from the fifties.

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Watch the skies, everywhere!

Keep looking. Keep watching the skies!

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The Thing from Another World Movie Review………………………………………………………………

Let’s first say that I am a huge fan of 1982’s ‘The Thing’ which is a remake of this film. That film is to me great, but this one is inferior. It is still pretty good, but not great. However, what is interesting here is that the two movies don’t have as much in common as you would assume. The alien here isn’t a shape-shifter as it is in the original book and the remake. Instead, it is a plant-like creature with reproductive qualities.

Also, this film is much more a sci-fi film than a horror film and frankly that was a problem for me. Its science fiction elements are very good, but it is lacking in the horror department as the atmosphere is solid, but never great and the film mostly doesn’t even try to be menacing.

Another thing that differentiates it from the remake is a much larger emphasis on science and that I really liked. What I didn’t like, however, is the lack of genuine, traditional suspense that made John Carpenter’s version such a classic. But this one succeeds as a good sci-fi because each and every conversation about the creature is very good and scientific.

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The Thing from Another World Movie Review………………………………………………………………

The Thing from Another World has very good, pretty solidly developed characters. I liked the overall team and I liked how they worked together. But I have a big problem with Dr. Carrington’s character. He is very much a product of his time, but an annoying one. I really dislike when in these 50s genre films a scientist/doctor clashes with the other men and military. Here that was done to an extreme as the doctor doesn’t care about the casualties as long as he gets to examine the alien and make contact with him. That was an unrealistic, too crazy characterization and a very unfortunate overgeneralization of scientists.

But the acting is pretty good and The Thing is overall a really well crafted movie. Its first half is somewhat slower, but the second one is excellent and much more memorable. The running time is short, but just enough for this plot and the film is well structured. I liked the creature design and I really liked those plant pods and every scene involving the alien examination was the highlight to me.

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The Thing from Another World Movie Review………………………………………………………………

The score is also pretty good as is the direction from whoever it came as the film is controversial in that area as nobody knows for sure if Christian Nyby or Howard Hawks directed it. I liked some of the imagery here and this entire concept is excellent and I especially liked that it happens on the North Pole which is a very intriguing location for a movie, especially for a 50s movie. That choice does lead to a more unnerving atmosphere and it fits the story perfectly. The effects and make-up were also excellent for its time and the movie is definitely technically superb in almost every way. It’s just a shame that it has that clichéd doctor character and that the horror elements were pretty much reduced. But I still liked it quite a bit and it is one of the better genre films of the decade.

The Thing from Another World does have a very clichéd doctor character plus the horror elements should have been much more emphasized, but this is still a pretty good sci-fi film with excellent technical aspects, intriguing location, interesting alien choices and a superb second half. It isn’t as great as the remake, but it’s still a good film in its own right.

My Rating – 4

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Forbidden Games (1952)

Forbidden Games Movie Review………………………………………………………………

Forbidden Games Movie Review

Forbidden Games is a 1952 French war drama film directed by Rene Clement. It is a solid, but ultimately very overrated film.

It is basically about children and how they react to the war by playing cemetery games. It is about children’s innocence and the devastation of war. I respect its themes and it is an endearing film, but I’ve seen this type of film countless times before and here I got nothing new. It is a tired World War II storyline that is pretty ordinary and clichéd.

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Forbidden Games ………………………………………………………………

The biggest problem here is the film’s pacing which is slow and the film’s structure. The film has a pretty good beginning and a great ending, but everything that came in the middle was dragging and frankly just dull. It is obvious why the movie is problematic in that way. It is because it is clearly designed to be a short film, not a feature. And the filmmakers had originally intended it to be a short and it shows. It is just prolonged for the sake of a feature and thus it becomes repetitive and boring.

Michel and Paulette are the two major characters here and they are fantastic. Watching the two of them interact together was just wonderful and they are really adorable children. The movie succeeds mostly just because of them as they are very strong and likable child characters. The same goes for the acting. Georges Poujouly and especially Brigitte Fossey gave superb performances, really commendable for children.

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Forbidden Games Movie Review………………………………………………………………

Forbidden Games is a technically accomplished film. Everything here is really well done. The direction from Rene Clement is strong, the acting is, as I said, very good and the film looks great. The cinematography is excellent and some of the imagery here is quite memorable. The movie is also emotional and devastating in its ending. But the tone is all over the place and the editing is just problematic. The film’s structure is troublesome in that it focuses on children, but also on adults and thus it ended up being uneven and more often than not tedious. It should have just focused on children and it should have been short-length. In the end, Forbidden Games is solid, but overrated.

Forbidden Games is a solid film with excellent child performances, some very endearing moments and the film looks good, but it is overrated as the editing is problematic as is the film’s structure, the entire second act is pretty boring, the plot is ordinary and the film would have been much better had it been a short instead of a feature.

My Rating – 3.5

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