The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

The Manchurian Candidate Movie Review

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The Manchurian Candidate Movie Review

The Manchurian Candidate is a 1962 political thriller film directed by John Frankenheimer and starring Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, Janet Leigh and Angela Lansbury. It’s overrated.

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It’s a terrible thing to hate your mother.

But I didn’t always hate her.

When I was a child, I only kind of disliked her

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The Manchurian Candidate Movie Review

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I have almost the same opinion of The Manchurian Candidate as I have of another 60s political thriller ‘Z’. Both are competently made films and very well acted, but both are dull. But this one isn’t frenetic but rather opposite – it is excruciatingly slow paced, uninvolving and ultimately it bored me so much. Political movies should appeal to everyone including non-fans such as myself and this one failed miserably at that.

The story has its moments, but it is mostly not great, certainly not deserving the praise that it received. It truly is one of the most overrated films from this period and of course it came from probably the weakest film year ever which is 1962. It also isn’t really a thriller, but it’s also not a drama. It has a conflicting nature to it and was to me just too static to enjoy.

Janet Leigh is very memorable and beautiful here. Laurence Harvey is also quite solid. Angela Lansbury as the villain killed it and she is the standout here and probably the only legitimately great reason to see this movie as her performance is truly remarkable as is her character. But all of the other characters are throwaway, dull entities for whom I never cared about at all.

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The Manchurian Candidate Movie Review

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The Manchurian Candidate is well shot, but lacks score which was critical to sell those thriller sequences and thus it fails as a political thriller. It looks nice, but should have also sounded nice. The performances are very good, but John Frankenheimer’s direction not so much. It felt unprofessional and ultimately a problem the movie never overcame. The pacing is, as I said, beyond sluggish and the runtime is actually way too long as it is slightly over two hours but the plot never needed that much time. In the end, this is one giant overrated mess that isn’t a bad movie per say, but it is so weak and riddled with flaws that it frustrated me along with being a highly tedious experience.

The Manchurian Candidate is very well acted with Angela Lansbury giving a standout, memorable performance, but the film is overlong, static in quality, so incredibly dull and never at all engaging or thrilling and thus it fails as a thriller and it is one very overrated film in my opinion.

My Rating – 3

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Z (1969)

Z Movie Review

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Z Movie Review

Z is a 1969 Algerian political thriller film directed by Costa-Gavras. It is one of the most overrated foreign films of the sixties.

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Always blame the USA,

even if you are wrong!

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Z Movie Review

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I am not the biggest fan of political thrillers and this movie just wasn’t engaging enough to overcome my apathy for this particular genre. I realize that this story is very important, not to mention highly relatable even to this day, but the way it was presented was frustrating and honestly quite off-putting at times.
The movie deals with a lot of characters and not one of them is remotely memorable and you will most definitely forget about them pretty shortly after seeing it. The acting is fine, but I wanted less characters and better character development.
Z’s pacing is horrible. It is at times quite dull and boring, yet also frequently annoyingly frenetic to the point of becoming boring in and of itself. I dislike a lot of action and this action, although it happens in real life, is executed with such annoying directorial choices and especially off-putting cinematography that it frustrated me quite a bit.
Z is also very much a product of its time. Whether through cinematography, direction or those genre thrills, the movie is obviously dated. I can see how great it must have been for late 60s and early 70s audiences and critics, but its power is blunted by now.

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Z Movie Review

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Z received the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and it is the first foreign movie to also be nominated for Best Picture and needless to say, I disagree with that wholeheartedly. It is an extremely overrated movie that is just okay and nothing more than that.

Z is one of 60s most overrated foreign films which deals with an important story, but presents it in a very off-putting manner with sometimes sluggish, yet at times also frenetic pacing. It is never as engaging as it should have been, it is very dated and a total bore from start to finish.

My Rating – 3

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Chimes at Midnight (1965)

Chimes at Midnight Movie Review

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Chimes at Midnight Movie Review

Chimes at Midnight is a 1965 historical film directed by and starring Orson Welles. It is a pretty solid, but expectedly flawed effort from the director.

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There lives not three good men unhanged in England,

and one of them is fat and grows old

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Chimes at Midnight Movie Review

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I usually dislike Orson Welles’ movies, but this film is more in line with ‘Touch of Evil’ than ‘The Magnificent Ambersons’ meaning that it is a solid film, certainly not bad, but again far from great. What I admired about it is its subject matter and especially its attention to detail. Falstaff has always been the finest Shakespearean creation and he was very well depicted here. Orson Welles’ performance in that role was also commendable.

But the movie was just never as engaging as I expected it to have been. The dialogue is difficult to comprehend, but that was expected from the time period and was actually the movie’s plus. But the minus is how the film was tough to follow in terms of storytelling and characterization, both quite weak. The film is rushed in beginning and mostly weirdly paced and it is filled with too many characters thus making the story quite difficult to follow at times.

Chimes at Midnight  is technically superb if you discount the sound of course which is quite poor in its quality and odd. But the cinematography is excellent, his direction is solid and the acting is very good. The dialogue is excellent and I wish the script was as great. It gave us too many ideas and characters and plot points for one movie.

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Chimes at Midnight Movie Review

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It looks magnificent in its crisp black and white photography and superb historical imagery. The battle at the middle of the movie is actually stupendous. It doesn’t last for too long, it is very memorable and superbly shot and executed. Its attention to detail is its biggest asset as everything is meticulously recreated so you feel as if you walked into a Shakespeare play yourself. The set design, the actors, the imagery and the dialogue all work in line to help transport you to this period. But because the script and characters are problematic, it ended up being just solid and a waste of great talent.

Chimes at Midnight is superb technically speaking if you discount its frequently poor sound. The dialogue is excellent, the cinematography is splendid, the acting is very good and the attention to detail is overwhelming and quite commendable. But the script is not the greatest, the characterization should have been better and the film is tough to follow at times and oddly paced leading to a solid, but problematic effort.

My Rating – 3.5

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Splendor in the Grass (1961)

Splendor in the Grass Movie Review……………………………………………………….

Splendor in the Grass Movie Review

Splendor in the Grass is a 1961 romantic drama film directed by Elia Kazan and starring Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty. It is one of the best films of its year.

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Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendor in the grass,

glory in the flower,

we will grieve not; rather find strength in what remains behind

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Splendor in the Grass Movie Review……………………………………………………….

Splendor in the Grass reminded me of ‘Picnic’ which deals with a similar subject matter and both are truly great movies. The film is set in 1928 and follows a girl who suffers from a nervous breakdown after her boyfriend cheated on her and did not want to have sex with her. The movie treats its issue in such a deep, tragic way and you really feel empathy for its characters.

Of course the time and place were simply too conservative, but sexual repression unfortunately was an issue until quite recently. I felt that myself a couple of times in my life which is why this movie was so relatable to me personally. It showcases the problems of society and how it treats sexuality as a taboo when it is a beautiful thing while also showing us how terrible parents can be when it comes to raising their kids.

Deannie is a wonderful protagonist who is tragic, but has a genuine arc and plot progression as she ends up becoming smarter and much more mature which was wonderful to witness. Bud is also a sympathetic character and the relationship between the two was beautiful and seeing them get separated was heartbreaking in that touching ending. His sister is another tragic, bold and different character. Of course her mother is such a realistic character depicted in a grounded in reality manner and his father is also painfully realistic. These two are responsible for ruining their kids’ lives and it was difficult watching them succeed in it.

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Splendor in the Grass Movie Review……………………………………………………….

The film is superbly acted all around, but Natalie Wood is truly a standout actress here. Warren Beatty is also really good, but just not as great as she was here. She entirely deserved her Oscar nomination (the film also deserved to win for Best Original Screenplay and it should have been nominated for Best Picture) as her performance is powerful and especially admirable for her young age.

Splendor in the Grass is extremely sensual owing to the main actors’ evident appeal. Warren is handsome and Natalie is beautiful and charming. Together, they share some pretty steamy scenes for its time and the entire film is very modern as it deals with a subject matter rarely touched upon previously in Hollywood. It is also one of the first truly modern teen movies.

The poem is beautiful, I loved the ending and that bathtub scene is another highlight as it is so tragic. The film definitely could have been a bit shorter as some scenes needed to be trimmed down a bit as they are slower and not as necessary, but the film owing to its big length succeeds at becoming an epic romance for the ages.

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Splendor in the Grass Movie Review……………………………………………………….

It is a beautifully made film. The Technicolor is so good, the film is not well paced, but it is so well directed by Elia Kazan who truly was a superb director. The two actors weren’t as great at first, but they eventually became better and better until giving very admirable performances in the end. The dialogue should have been subtler, but it is still solid and sometimes quite memorable. Its emotion is felt as the film moved me a lot.

Splendor in the Grass is one phenomenal teen romantic drama which deals with its subject of sexual repression in a tragic and very dramatic manner. The performances are very good with Natalie Wood being fantastic, it has a wonderful ending and a couple of tragic scenes while being moving and relatable throughout its runtime. It is a movie that was very modern and sensual owing to its two very good looking actors and thematically bold plot for its time and it should be regarded better nowadays.

My Rating – 4.5

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Eyes Without a Face (1960)

Eyes Without a Face Movie Review………………………………………………………………..

Eyes Without a Face Movie Review

Eyes Without a Face is a 1960 French horror film directed by Georges Franju and starring Pierre Brasseur and Alida Valli. It is a very strong, truly memorable horror movie.

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My face frightens me.

My mask frightens me even more

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Eyes Without a Face Movie Review………………………………………………………………..

It is about a doctor who goes out of his length to help his daughter get a new face after she got disfigured in an accident. This is pretty much something that could come up from the mind of Rod Serling and surely the film reminded of a lengthy Twilight Zone episode. And naturally, being a huge fan of the show myself, I ate it up and I loved this film.

Yes, I agree with the critics in that the film is very contemporary today given all the fuss around cosmetic surgery and it was executed in a way that it can be creepy and disturbing even today. A very admirable, timeless horror film this is. I loved the story, its poetic elements are strong and the film’s ending is simply beautiful and emotionally rewarding.

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Eyes Without a Face Movie Review………………………………………………………………..

The acting is very strong and both Pierre Brasseur and Edith Scob did a very good job, but it is Alida Valli who stole the show here and proved how great of an international actress she was. She killed it in such a great, villainous role and her acting is a great mix of theatrical and subtle. Her character and the doctor are both great and I loved how Louise eventually rebelled and her story is so strong.

Eyes Without a Face isn’t a perfect film as its flaws are pretty obvious. The surgery sequence is a bit too gross and overly sensational in approach and in my opinion the third act was filmed in an awkward manner and some scenes were either unnecessary or not at all well paced. But other than that, the film is great and it is a shame that the French rarely made horror movies as this was a proof that they could be great at them.

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Eyes Without a Face Movie Review………………………………………………………………..

So I loved the atmosphere and of course the film is so well acted, directed, filmed and particularly scored as its score is gorgeous and very memorable. The entire film is poetic and artistic, but still containing strong horror elements. The dog attack scene at the end was brutal and the surgery scene is highly unapologetic as well leading to one of the most brutal horror films of its time. Those two scenes and the ending are my favorites. Of course I loved the make-up effects and that mask and especially the new face looked very real. The only scene that rang false was the stabbing moment which was silly and laughable how stupidly it was filmed, but the effects are stellar and the film is otherwise very much ahead of its time. It is again a proof of how great a year 1960 was when it comes to horror and it’s one of the best French films of the period, much better than those infinitely overrated dramas of the time.

Eyes Without a Face is a bit too gross in its surgery sequence and the third act was badly paced, but the film is otherwise such a stellar, ahead of its time horror film that is both artistic and emotional in approach, but also horrific and filled with great genre thrills. The acting and direction are great, the effects are excellent, the score is gorgeous and the film is very memorable owing to a bunch of unforgettable sequences such as the aforementioned surgery one, the dog attack scene and the ending which is beautiful.

My Rating – 4.5

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2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

2001: A Space Odyssey Movie Review

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2001: A Space Odyssey Movie Review

2001: A Space Odyssey is a 1968 science fiction film directed by Stanley Kubrick. It is the genre’s best film and in my opinion one of the best films ever made.

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Open the pod bay doors, HAL

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2001: A Space Odyssey Movie Review

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In this movie review I am not going to talk about the story in-depth as I have already done that analysis in my review of the book. But let’s compare the two works. I guess I am in vast minority, but I think I actually prefer the book. The movie is absolutely fantastic, but some elements, especially the main character and the plot itself, were slightly better in the novel.
But Clarke and Kubrick are both geniuses and this movie is the quintessential example of how to properly adapt novel into visual medium such as film, it is actually a better example than ‘The Shining’ which is another Kubrick movie which was perfectly adapted from the Stephen King book. Whereas the novel is much better explained and detailed, the film is just the opposite – it doesn’t give many explanations and it leaves many things unanswered and to the viewers to analyze themselves. That is why this film is such an admirable work of art, wonderfully ambiguous, timeless and always fascinating to behold. The book and the film are the same at their core, but are so different in approach and that is why I loved what Kubrick did here.

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2001: A Space Odyssey Movie Review

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I thought that Bowman, Poole and Floyd were all better in the book, but here they aren’t particularly important and that is why they aren’t as much developed. In the ambitious scope and context of this epic story, characters are almost irrelevant which is why I liked that approach even though I would usually criticize it. The performances from its far from famous cast are pretty good too.
HAL 9000 is absolutely magnificent. It is interesting how the only non-human character in the movie is better developed, more flawed and in the end more human than the humans themselves which is an interesting conversation point. But whatever you take away from it, you just cannot deny the power of this character who is in my opinion one of the best villains ever in a film and probably even the very best. Calculated, yet so human, he is also very creepy and all of the scenes with him are so powerful with the lip-reading sequence being the most memorable. Complex and fascinating, HAL truly is an unforgettable creation.

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2001: A Space Odyssey Movie Review

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2001: A Space Odyssey is one of the most cinematic films in film history. And that is in and of itself a pure miracle because the book seems so unfilmable and the story seems that it could only exist in the literary form. That is why Kubrick’s direction here is probably the best of all time, it is that great! Without any doubt, this is his magnum opus and that says a lot as his filmography is truly phenomenal. His direction here is always consistent, artistic and epic and he is the person most responsible for the existence of this masterpiece. He was such a talented individual.
Naturally the special effects are the most memorable aspect here. Wow, not only is this movie the best looking classic film, but I would go so far as to call these effects the finest ever created in a film. I have actually read how it was made and it is still mind-boggling to me that this film came out in the sixties. The ship, the planets and the overall space is just visually stunning. There are many scenes here that contain such jaw-dropping visceral beauty that it overwhelms your senses entirely. The cinematography and the effects work in line to create one of the best looking movies of all time.

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2001: A Space Odyssey Movie Review

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I constantly use those superlatives, but this is just that powerful a movie. And it is another strong proof that some movies have to be watched many times in order to fully understand them. When I watched 2001 the first time, I actually disliked it. When I watched it the second time, I found it to be very good, but kind of boring. But upon third viewing and on the big screen, I was riveted throughout the whole running time, I was fascinated by its sheer magnitude and now I deem it to be one of the best films of all time. It is in fact now in my top ten films list, sitting at the seventh spot for now and it may only move further to the top as I definitely intend to watch it every couple of years for the rest of my life.
This wouldn’t be such a strong artistic achievement hadn’t it been for the score. Using classical compositions, Kubrick again managed to create a timeless masterpiece. I loved how wonderfully the music accompanied the action on screen and that creepy score accompanying the monolith scene was just astonishing to behold and immensely unnerving.

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2001: A Space Odyssey Movie Review

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As I said, it is a timeless film. Mainly because it uses spacesuits, the ship and especially the production design that feel so futuristic and definitely timeless instead of the usually timely portrayals in other science fiction films of this period. The furniture and the sets are just magnificent and couple that with those accomplished effects and you have the movie that looks and sounds great even in this 21st century and do believe that it is going to stand the test of time for many centuries and millennia to come.
Now I have to touch upon my favorite sequences. I adore that opening with the apes. Now I do love ‘Planet of the Apes’ from the same year, but this is how you make apes that look realistic and fantastic to this day. The transition from the bone to the space object is stunning and the next unforgettable scene is of course the monolith scene which is unforgettable in its creepiness. I loved all of the scenes with HAL 9000 and the entire ending is jaw-droppingly beautiful and artistic. I loved the ambiguity about it. I still do think that those who haven’t read the book would have a hard time understanding the film, but I’ve read the book myself and I love both of these works so much.

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2001: A Space Odyssey Movie Review

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The dialogue is sparse, but phenomenal. I loved that this was almost a silent film in many ways and I loved its ambitious approach. The film deals with so many things from artificial intelligence to extraterrestrials to weapons to space exploration, but it is above all one ambitious and timeless look at the never-ending human quest for knowledge. In its plot and scope, it is almost universal and all-encompassing which is why it is a quintessential science fiction film whether you love it or not.

With the best special effects ever created, one of the best villains ever, splendid production design, stunning cinematography, beautiful score and absolutely fantastic direction from Kubrick, 2001: A Space Odyssey truly is a timeless masterpiece and undoubtedly a work of art. It encompasses all of the essential science fiction themes and that is why it is the quintessential genre film. Ambitious in scope and plot, epic in feel and filled with many scenes that are overwhelming in their majesty, 2001 is a marvel to behold and it is indisputably one of the best films of all time.

My Rating – 5

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War and Peace (1966)

War and Peace Movie Review………………………………………………………..

War and Peace Movie Review

War and Peace is a 1966 Soviet war drama film directed by Sergei Bondarchuk. It truly is an epic, but also wildly uneven work.

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Uncertainty, that’s what one fears most

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War and Peace Movie Review………………………………………………………..

It is based on one of the most famous and acclaimed novels ever written and it succeeds as a pretty admirable adaptation of it. It is famous for being the Soviet movie with the biggest budget and that money definitely paid off as the movie is gorgeous to behold. The cinematography in particular is phenomenal and every shot is great and some are even stunning. The camera movements are polished and the imagery, of the battles in particular, is frequently impressive.

I also loved that it was both a war picture and a costume drama. The costumes are exquisite and I found the interiors to be terrific. The dance sequences were some of my favourites here. I also really liked the score and the film is all around technically impressive and ambitious in scope and certainly epic in its tone.

But where War and Peace struggles is in its storytelling and characterization which is why it is definitely a respectable, but still somewhat forgettable and uneven work. Because it is divided in four parts and because of its staggering running time of seven hours, it is naturally uneven, weakly paced and edited. Some segments are better than the others.

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War and Peace Movie Review………………………………………………………..

Andrei Bolkonsky is the first and best part for sure and all of the others failed in comparison to it. Natasha Rostova was just overly melodramatic in my opinion. The entire movie suffered from many typical plot points and plot progressions and an overall feeling that it is at its core a style over substance. The characters are also unimpressive. Some are very well developed, but none of them left a bigger impression on me and I have to say that all of them are immensely forgettable, at least to me personally. It received the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and although not particularly deserved, it is still one of the better films to win that award during the sixties.

War and Peace is a pretty good film that is style over substance and naturally wildly uneven both in pacing and in storytelling, but it is epic in tone and scope, visually arresting and filled with great imagery, well scored and mostly such an admirable war and period piece that it managed to transcend its many obvious flaws.

My Rating – 4

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Planet of the Apes (1968)

Planet of the Apes Movie Review…………………………………………………….

Planet of the Apes Movie Review

Planet of the Apes is a 1968 science fiction film directed by Franklin J. Schaffner and starring Charlton Heston. It is one of the best blockbusters of all time.

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Take your stinking paws off me, you damn dirty ape!

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Planet of the Apes Movie Review…………………………………………………….
I absolutely love this franchise and even though I like the current trilogy of films a bit more, I still absolutely love and admire this original film as it truly is a classic. It remains a true sci-fi classic and it came in the year of ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ which goes to show that 1968 was probably the best and most influential year for this particular genre.
The story is simply phenomenal. I guess it can be a bit too preachy at times as was the norm for 50s and 60s SF movies, but it is mostly clever with its religious metaphors and the commentary on society. I really liked those courtroom drama sequences as they were very entertaining and sophisticated.

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Planet of the Apes Movie Review…………………………………………………….
Of course I have to talk about the ending. I loved the entire interrogations, scientific conversations as well as that very intriguing first act, but the finale remains the best and most memorable scene of the film. When he realizes that this has been Earth all along and that humans had gone extinct and been replaced by apes, the line “You maniacs” becomes truly impactful and tragic which is why it is even better than that famous “stinking paws” line (the entire movie is so damn quotable). That ending features one of the smartest and finest twists ever in a film and it remains one of the best and most unforgettable ending scenes of all time.
Let’s talk about the characters. The black guy of course died first which was beyond frustrating, but Dodge was a total bore regardless. Landon was better and his and Taylor’s arguments were quite solid. Of course Taylor is a memorable protagonist and I mostly really liked him. Nova was frustrating as this typical sex object and nothing more than that. Of the apes, Zira is naturally so likable as is Cornelius, but the standout is Dr. Zaius whose calculated mannerisms make him a perfect villain for this story.

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Planet of the Apes Movie Review…………………………………………………….
Planet of the Apes is very well directed and the performances are quite good, especially that of Charlton Heston who here gave one of his best performances in one of his most memorable roles.
As for the costumes, those apes are obviously people in costumes and they aren’t great. It doesn’t help that the brilliantly looking ‘2001’ came in this same year, but I thought some of the voices weren’t the best and I didn’t like some of their movements, mostly the kissing. However, this is a sixties film and they look nice for its time. I still liked their designs and I liked that the film made use of not just chimps, but also gorillas and orangutans. I liked that hierarchy.
But even though it makes sense for the production expenses, I still found big problems with this ape society. They obviously reached the equivalent of human 19th century owing to carriages and uniforms, but why then would they live in such terrible looking, ancient buildings? That made no sense whatsoever.

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Planet of the Apes Movie Review…………………………………………………….
But the film is still technically strong, though a bit campy at times. I’ve only had problems with costumes, society and sometimes on the nose themes, but the film is otherwise terrific and not only is it so well edited and paced, but always riveting to watch as it just flies by. I like that it is a blockbuster of its time nonetheless owing to its high level of action as those scenes were so well executed and exciting. The cinematography is beautiful and these real locations were fitting and chosen superbly. And of course the score is just marvelous. Very evocative in tone and simply unforgettable. It truly is a superb film which is highly rewatchable as I loved it the second time just as much as I did the first.
Planet of the Apes is such a marvelous movie. The themes aren’t subtly incorporated, but they are still clever. The story is riveting, sophisticated and filled with many great scenes such as that awesome twist ending which is one of the best in film history. The characters are memorable, the action is exciting, the cinematography is beautiful and the score is so memorable. Along with ‘2001’, it came in 1968 which is probably the best year for sci-fi ever and it definitely remains one of the best blockbusters of all time.

My Rating – 4.5

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Closely Watched Trains (1966)

Closely Watched Trains Movie Review……………………………………………………..

Closely Watched Trains Movie Review

Closely Watched Trains is a 1966 Czech drama film directed by Jiri Menzel. It is a pretty overrated movie.
It is about a sexual awakening of a young man working at a train station in Czechoslovakia during World War II. A weird premise and the execution is just the same. I actually think it is pretty original because of that, but that originality isn’t usually great in this instance.

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A woman is nature’s finest jewel

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Closely Watched Trains Movie Review……………………………………………………..
First and foremost, the sexual aspect. That is what the whole movie is about and I do admire the film for tackling such brave subjects such as premature ejaculation in the sixties no less, but it still felt dated because of that. There are some nice sensual scenes here and there, but the emotion is missing almost entirely plus the character development is pretty weak.
But the war stuff was frustrating to me. I am pretty tired of WWII movies by this point and I unfortunately I have to say that this movie suffered because of that as it’s one of a few movies that just did not have to revolve around this time period at all. Maybe I am missing some context, but to me it felt almost pointless and such a needlessly clichéd approach.
Closely Watched Trains is very well acted and directed. Although the script isn’t great, the dialogue is pretty good and I liked how strongly the film relied on the visuals. I liked that as the cinematography is truly fantastic here.
There are a lot of phenomenal shots to be had here and the camera movements are top-notch. I liked its imagery at times and I really liked its score as well. It was fitting to the story and quite memorable.

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Closely Watched Trains Movie Review……………………………………………………..
In the end, I guess it is a solid film. Certainly not my cup of tea, but I realize how critics were taken aback by it. It is original and visually wonderful, but that just wasn’t enough for me. That is why it is in my book a 3.5 movie and a low one honestly. And of course it didn’t deserve its foreign Oscar at all.
Closely Watched Trains has very good cinematography and it is an interesting, original film in terms of storytelling, but it is pretty dated in my opinion, the character development is quite wek and it isn’t emotional enough leading to a very overrated foreign film.

My Rating – 3.5

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A Man and a Woman (1966)

A Man and a Woman Movie Review………………………………………………..

A Man and a Woman Movie Review

A Man and a Woman is a 1966 French romance film directed by Claude Lelouch and starring Anouk Aimee and Jean-Louis Trintignant. It is a solid and beautiful, but very problematic film.

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If I had to go through this again, what would I do?

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A Man and a Woman Movie Review………………………………………………..

The film is about a young widow and widower who meet by chance at their children’s boarding school and whose budding relationship is complicated by the memories of their deceased spouses. Now to me it is obvious that this premise is great and pretty interesting as I have never seen a similar plot in a romance flick before. I thought that definitely made the film feel original.

However, the execution is quite troublesome. Mostly the director Claude Lelouch is here to blame as this is an excessive movie with obvious style over substance problems. Everything is polished, beautiful and artistic to the point that it becomes too much and even overly abundant, especially because it hurts the plot as it rarely focuses on it. But mostly the structure with the flashbacks was incredibly off-putting as I personally dislike such an approach in a movie. Yes, it benefited from it a couple of times, but more often than not, it was hurt by it.

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A Man and a Woman Movie Review………………………………………………..

The character development is okay, but having in mind that this is in a way a chamber piece, it definitely needed to have been much stronger. Both of them are quite likable, but not as interesting as they should have been as they never quite carried the movie. But I liked the performances as Jean-Louis Trintignant is quite good and Anouk Aimee deserved her Oscar nomination as she had some great, emotional scenes in the third act.

Of course A Man and A Woman is a beautiful looking movie. The cinematography is magnificent and I loved its experimental approach to it as it regularly shifts from color to sepia to black-and-white. That is rarely done in cinema and here it was executed wonderfully. It made the movie much more special. The score is also superb and naturally its theme song is beautiful and I loved that it was used often.

The film features a couple of solid and definitely interesting discussions, but the dialogue still left me unsatisfied as it wasn’t as sophisticated or as involving to carry the entire movie. But to me those flashbacks are the major reason why it disappointed me a lot as they were excessive and sometimes honestly quite boring with all of those racing scenes being just so dull and overabundant.

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A Man and a Woman Movie Review………………………………………………..

The highlights are certainly the beginning and naturally its entire third act which was just beautiful to behold. I loved the sex scene – so emotional, dramatic and ultimately an important plot point. There you see the best examination of this particular subject matter. But the ending itself is where the movie shines as it uses its superb score and cinematography to sell that beautiful ending where they reunite at the train station and the results are so stellar that they elevate the overall movie to much greater heights. But still it is an overrated film that is solid and never great. It did not deserve its four Oscar nominations and two wins and only the actress nod was deserved in my opinion.

A Man and a Woman is a solid, but deeply troublesome film that is ultimately a quintessential example of style over substance. It has a great and interesting premise that is unfortunately well utilized only in its couple of scenes, the flashback structure is quite off-putting at times and the dialogue and characters are never as great as they needed to have been. The cinematography is magnificent as is the score and the ending is definitely beautiful, but the entire film is inherently flawed and in the end overrated.

My Rating – 3.5

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