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.

………………………………………………………..

Uncertainty, that’s what one fears most

………………………………………………………..

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.

………………………………………………………..

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

………………………………………………………..

Share

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.

…………………………………………………….

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

…………………………………………………….

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 courtdroom drama sequences as they were very entertaining and sophisticated.

…………………………………………………….

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.

…………………………………………………….

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.

…………………………………………………….

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 sre 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

…………………………………………………….

 

Share

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.

……………………………………………………..

A woman is nature’s finest jewel

……………………………………………………..

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 clich├ęd 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.

……………………………………………………..

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

……………………………………………………..

Share

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.

………………………………………………..

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

………………………………………………..

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.

………………………………………………..

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.

………………………………………………..

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

………………………………………………..

Share

The Shop on Main Street (1965)

The Shop on Main Street Movie Reeview…………………………………………………….

The Shop on Main Street Movie Review

The Shop on Main Street is a 1965 Czechoslovak war drama film directed by Elmar Klos and starring Ida Kaminska and Jozef Kroner. It is such a good Oscar winning film.

…………………………………………………….

I’m your Aryan and you’re my Jewess… understand?

…………………………………………………….

The Shop on Main Street Movie Review…………………………………………………….

It is about the Aryanization program during World War Ii in Slovakia. The plot is in my opinion very strong, but not as well told. Let me explain. It has way too many characters and a clear lack of focus as it shifts from one supporting character to the other and only around the half of the movie starts the real story and the most important one.

I really liked the scenes between the protagonist and his wife, but of course the major strength of the film lies in its third act where he is conflicted whether or not to hide or expose an old Jew lady to the authorities because he would otherwise be proclaimed a Jew-lover. Those last moments were so dramatic, so difficult to watch and heartbreaking that they stay with you after you’ve seen it.

The Shop on Main Street is of course stupendously well acted. It was nice seeing that Ida Kaminska was nominated for Best Actress at the Academy Awards for a Slovak film as that would never happen these days. And she deserved it as she was magnificent here. But Jozef Kroner is very good as well in a very difficult main role. I liked his character a lot as he was sympathetic and I liked his wife, some of the scenes between the two were very charming. But other characters are all forgettable and not well used in the story unfortunately.

The Shop on Main Street is very well directed and very well scored. The score is repetitive, but definitely memorable. Some of the shots are marvelous and I really liked the fantastical sequences too. Those were quite memorable with their white coloring. The same goes for the romantic scenes which are wonderful.

…………………………………………………….

The Shop on Main Street Movie Review…………………………………………………….

The editing is not good as some scenes are prolonged and the film doesn’t run smoothly. But even though it could have been much better executed as a whole, it is still a very good, respectable film that deserved its Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film for sure. It is also one of the better films of a very weak year for film.

The Shop on Main Street isn’t well paced and it lacks focus as there are too many characters and subplots in it, but the film is otherwise very strong not only in score which is good, acting which is terrific and cinematography which is quite polished, but also in its main characters, some very charming scenes and the third act which is very dramatic, unforgettable and quite heartbreaking leading to one of the better war dramas.

My Rating – 4

…………………………………………………….

Share

The Man Called Flintstone (1966)

The Man Called Flintstone Movie Review………………………………………………..

The Man Called Flintstone Movie Review

The Man Called Flintstone is a 1966 animated spy comedy directed by William Hannah and Joseph Barbera. It is a spin-off of the show and it is mostly really good.

………………………………………………..

Well, that’s what always happens to guys who want to take over the world.

Yeah, they end up out of it.

………………………………………………..

The Man Called Flintstone Movie Review………………………………………………..

Here Fred must become a spy as a spy that looks entirely like him is wounded so he along with Wilma and the Rubbles goes to Paris and Rome to stop the master criminal. This is a spy comedy and a musical. I will later talk about the songs themselves, but let’s talk about the actual story. I thought it was very good. Of course when you adapt a sitcom to a film, you can’t really retain that sitcom feel in feature length, but some scenes did manage to do that regardless.

It is one of those typical gangster plots from the original series, but this time around it is actually better than most as it focuses on spy activities which is much more interesting. It serves as such a wonderful and fun spoof of the contemporary James Bond films and it does manage to bring that 60s Bond feel to it really well.

………………………………………………..

The Man Called Flintstone Movie Review………………………………………………..

As for the characters, I found them really well utilized. I wanted more from Wilma and Betty, but they were still solid and even the kids themselves were more likable than usual. I also adored Dino in the beginning, his one and only scene is so amusing. Of course Fred is awesome and I just loved that he was a hero here, really likable as always. Barney is also terrific and the duo managed to get some excellent action scenes near the end. Ali and Bobo are funny as these silly, incompetent henchmen, Tanya is memorable if typical, Rock Slag is really well used in the story and Green Goose is a memorable goofy villain. I loved that the voice acting employed the same actors from the series and Mel Blanc and of course Alan Reed were as stellar as expected.

The Man Called Flintstone is beautifully animated. I just loved its animation. As it usually happens with TV-to-film adaptations, the quality of the craft is increased for the big screen which is evident from its first moments. That entire opening sequence is so good and it instantly hooks you in the story while showcasing its visual splendor. The attention to detail is even greater than in the show at times with such a great use of animal mechanics and prehistoric machinery. Very inventive and fun to watch. But some of the imagery, especially of the two cities, is so charming and beautiful and I liked the color palette a lot.

………………………………………………..

The Man Called Flintstone Movie Review………………………………………………..

Now I mentioned that it is a musical and there lies its only big problem. I just wish that it stayed just a spy comedy as they had enough material for a feature movie, but somehow they wanted to duplicate Disney’s formula and thus put a number of songs in it. Some are fine, but more often than not, they were distracting and did not help progress the storyline but rather significantly slow it down and they almost serve as a detour.

The titular opening number is a blast! It is the only great song in this weak soundtrack as they perfectly created a Bond type song both in imagery and in lyrics and style. Spy Type Guy is okay, but nothing special. Team Mates is such a filler that was there for no special reason at all. Pensate Amore has good imagery, but is otherwise forgettable. The Happy Sounds of Paree is catchy, but also not memorable. As for (Someday) When I Am Grown Up, it felt too childish as the kids sing it and totally out of place. The songs here are too psychedelic and of its time in a movie that is otherwise a pleasant sixties adventure.

………………………………………………..

The Man Called Flintstone Movie Review………………………………………………..

The movie is very good regardless of its songs and a lack of stronger humor as the screenplay is stupendous actually – clever and interesting. The characters are also well utilized, it is solidly paced and very well directed. The highlights to me were the opening scene, the entire action sequence near the end and of course those scenes in the two cities and the restaurant were quite charming. It is a flawed, yet mostly satisfying Flintstones experience that was such a fittingly endearing swan song for the show.

The Man Called Flintstone is rarely on the same level of quality of the show as the humor isn’t that strong and the soundtrack is quite weak as the songs serve as a detour/filler instead of progressing the plot, but the film is otherwise very satisfying with an improved, beautiful animation with a great attention to detail, it is sometimes very inventive, the characters are well utilized and the plot is a pleasant spoof of Bond movies leading to a fittingly endearing swan song for the series.

My Rating – 4

………………………………………………..

Share

Contempt (1963)

Contempt Movie Review…………………………………………………………………..

Contempt Movie Review

Contempt is a 1963 French drama film directed by Jean-Luc Godard and starring Brigitte Bardot and Michel Piccoli. It is such a good film that left a big impression on me.

…………………………………………………………………..

I’ve noticed the more we doubt,

the more we cling to a false lucidity,

in hope of rationalizing what feelings have made murky

…………………………………………………………………..

Contempt Movie Review…………………………………………………………………..

It follows a dissolution of a marriage because of lack of trust. Now the reason why I liked this movie is that it is both a talkative and a visual experience and I love both. There is a conversation between the two that lasts for more than thirty minutes and that is probably the highlight of the entire film, so realistic and natural that scene felt. But there is also a sense of space as it is so well utilized in every scene and objects almost became characters in their own right.

I found the film’s parallel to Odyssey really well done. Contempt has such an overwhelming melancholy tone to it that it does leave a big impact on the viewer, at least it did to me. It is even artistic at times and surely it is one of the rare Godard films that are less pretentious and more engaging and truly artistic. His direction here is very strong.

…………………………………………………………………..

Contempt Movie Review…………………………………………………………………..

The film does succeed as a romantic tragedy and I really liked both of the protagonists. It seemed at first that they argued over nothing, but because I myself can be very jealous, I understood her character and why she acted that way. It was a great showcase of how jealousy and lack of trust can ruin an otherwise strong relationship.

Of course the film is phenomenally acted. Everyone did a good job, but Michel Piccoli and Brigitte Bardot carry the entire film on their capable shoulders. He is very good, subtle and his performance is strong and realistic whereas she is so charismatic and memorable in possibly her greatest and most famous role. The film showed her naked butt too much, but despite me not liking nudity in a film, this was mostly well done and more truly sensual than overdone. She is a beautiful woman, but she also could act and her performance here is a proof of that. And she was definitely very endearing in some sequences.

…………………………………………………………………..

Contempt Movie Review…………………………………………………………………..

Contempt has its problems. It is overall too slow and seemingly about nothing. And the first fourth or so is very mediocre. I really disliked that beginning as the shooting of the movie proved to be a bad way to start the film, cold and unappealing. But thankfully those kinds of scenes became much better later on.

Contempt is beautifully made. The score is very strong and its theme repeated throughout the whole picture is fantastic and so melancholic, perfectly fitting its tone. The editing is also pretty good. The film is slow, but it is paced well and it is actually the kind of slow movie that isn’t boring, but that just demands patience and it rewards you afterwards with an emotional ending. It is a film that is layered and that becomes much better after you’ve seen it when thinking about it thoroughly.

…………………………………………………………………..

Contempt Movie Review…………………………………………………………………..

The cinematography is also superb. Everyone talks about the colors used here that represent the colors of the American and French flags and certainly that was an interesting choice, but I myself admired its scenery the most. The Italian seaside brought a lot of memorable imagery to it, the one that is fitting to its story as it felt again poignant and also timeless, fitting to Homer’s work. The film sounds and looks great and its camera movements are so polished. Overall, I really liked it and it is one of the films that surprised me how good it is as I didn’t expect much going to it.

Contempt is a rare Godard film that is less pretentious and more truly artistic which is why I liked it quite a bit. The camera movements and the imagery are stunning, Brigitte Bardot and Michel Piccoli are charismatic and memorable leads, the film’s parallel is well incorporated and the overall story felt at first simplistic, but is actually poignant and clever. It has a very weak beginning, but it is mostly a wonderfully melancholic, sensual and frequently beautiful film that stays with you long after you’ve seen it.

My Rating – 4.5

…………………………………………………………………..

Share

A Boy Named Charlie Brown (1969)

A Boy Named Charlie Brown Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

A Boy Named Charlie Brown Movie Review

A Boy Named Charlie Brown is a 1969 animated comedy drama film directed by Bill Melendez. It is the first Peanuts feature film and actually one of my favorite animated films period.

……………………………………………………………..

Well, I can understand how you feel.

You worked hard, studying for the spelling bee, and I suppose you feel you let everyone down,

and you made a fool of yourself and everything.

But did you notice something, Charlie Brown?

The world didn’t come to an end.

……………………………………………………………..

A Boy Named Charlie Brown Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

I love this movie so much! To me it was such an almost perfect way to transition from specials to a feature and surely enough, this film is better than the majority of specials themselves, at least when it comes to my opinion. They managed to include as much of the classic Peanuts characters and humor and situations as possible and thus becoming a quintessential Peanuts outing.

I loved that it focused on the spelling bee instead of sports as that made it much more enjoyable for a non-sports fan like me. Every spelling bee scene was just terrific. Another highlight is Lucy’s scene in psychiatric booth, that was genius. To me this film is far from perfect and surely it does have too much musical numbers in it and the first act is sorely lacking in comparison to the rest of the film, but the rest is so great that I forgive those flaws.

……………………………………………………………..

A Boy Named Charlie Brown Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

Of course the ending makes this movie. Wow, rarely have I seen a better conclusion in an animated film. Charlie Brown loses the game and closes in his room and refuses to ever come out. Linus comes in and tells him that he failed, but the universe didn’t come to an end because of it. That line in a nutshell is the reason why I respect this series as a whole. It never sugarcoats, but actually truthfully explains to children that they may continue losing and that winning is uncertain, but it isn’t the end of the world if you lose and that you should continue trying. A fantastic message in such a brilliant, wonderful ending.

Let’s talk about the characters. Charlie Brown is excellent! Rarely has he been this good in a special before or after. I loved that Peter Robbins voiced the character and I loved that he was at his angriest and most depressing mood here. He was relatable and you root for him throughout the entire movie.

……………………………………………………………..

A Boy Named Charlie Brown Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

Peppermint Patty was surely missed here, but all of the others are here thankfully. Lucy is as hilarious as ever and some of her lines and moments made me laugh out loud. Snoopy was solid, but not as great as the others were. But thankfully this time around his scenes did not take as much screen time as they usually do. Schroeder and Sally are well used, but Linus is one the highlights in one of his best roles ever. I loved the emphasis on his security blanket and he is so endearing here, but he is also there for his friend which made him even more lovable.

A Boy Named Charlie Brown has a couple of songs in it so let me touch upon all of them. The Star-Spangled Banner was out of place and Failure Face is forgettable, albeit being a great scene, but I Before E is very catchy and a great way for children to learn spelling, Champion Charlie Brown is solid and the titular number is certainly quite charming and endearing. The songs are actually quite solid here, at least half of them are.

……………………………………………………………..

A Boy Named Charlie Brown Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

The animation is really good and as pleasant as usual with the character designs being faithful and top-notch. The voice acting is of the best variety and using the best of the earlier voices. The score is quite good and the film is stupendously well made in terms of the technical aspects. It is not only well directed, but also polished in its shots and so deft in its editing as it is never slow and never rushed, it lasts for just the right amount of running time. It is always wonderful to watch, the dialogue is as clever as you would expect from the series and the humor is some of the best of the entire series as it made me laugh more than a couple of times with many hilarious parts. I loved its skillful tone too as it balanced light tone with humor and serious tone with drama and messages beautifully. It is overall a tremendously well realized movie and one of my favorite Peanuts stories and one of my favorite animated features as a whole.

A Boy Named Charlie Brown managed to bring everything you want from Peanuts to the table and it did that beautifully. The humor is excellent and some of the lines were hilarious, the characters are superbly utilized with Charlie Brown, Lucy and Linus being the highlights, the film is very well made technically and of course the standout is the final scene which features such a respectable, truly great message for children and it was a beautiful, brave way to end the movie.

My Rating – 5

……………………………………………………………..

Share

The Haunting (1963)

The Haunting Movie Review……………………………………………………………………

The Haunting Movie Review

The Haunting is a 1963 British horror film directed by Robert Wise and starring Julie Harris. It is a respectable, yet mildly disappointing horror picture.

……………………………………………………………………

A closed mind is the worst defense against the supernatural

……………………………………………………………………

The Haunting Movie Review……………………………………………………………………

It follows a small group of people investigating a purportedly haunted house. The movie is more psychological instead of paranormal and nothing supernatural ever really happens here. That is okay and I respect that as it led to better character development and more realistic, emotional driven drama.

However, I still found the film problematic because those psychological elements weren’t the best realized. I am of course talking about the narration. The protagonist’s thoughts are expressed to us almost all the time through a series of inner monologues. And although that classical, book-like and elegant approach felt interesting at first, it quickly wore off its welcome as it became repetitive and the film relied too heavily on it. I would have cut off at least half of those monologues.

Another problem is the acting. Surely the characters are very well developed and actually admirable for a horror flick. And the actresses did a really good job with Julie Harris in particular giving a terrific performance. But the actors are so bad and mediocre that they easily overshadow them and because the women are so good here, you could easily see how weak the men are with Russ Tamblyn in particular giving a horrible performance. Instead of being scared, he wore that stupid smiling face of his throughout the whole movie and successfully killing the suspense when he was on screen.

……………………………………………………………………

The Haunting Movie Review

…………………………………………………………………..

But The Haunting is so technically innovative and just fantastic that it lifted those major mistakes and helped make the movie much more enjoyable than it could have been without them. The cinematography is just stupendous and some of the shots were absolutely spectacular. I just loved the imagery in this movie, the crisp black and white photography and the haunted house itself which was beautifully envisioned and superbly well utilized.

I loved that staircase which was very memorable and intriguing. I loved the outdoors shots at the house and its various rooms and corridors were so well established and used to create suspense. The film is quite suspenseful at times and I liked the paranoia and the going mad aspect of it, so dramatic and creepy. It is the kind of realistic horror film that is more sophisticated than truly scary.

……………………………………………………………………

The Haunting Movie Review……………………………………………………………………

I also respected the dialogue in The Haunting. Some of the conversations regarding the house itself as well as the supernatural were quite interesting to listen to and I loved the conflict that was present between the two women, but all of them interacted really well with one another. I liked the ending and both the score and the sound effects were superb. The direction is also excellent and the editing is deft leading to such an all around polished feature. I just wished that it was more scary and that it had less monologues in it.

The Haunting has a frustrating overabundance of inner monologues in it and the performances from the male actors are quite weak, but the women did a really good job, the film is quite suspenseful at times and it is above all such a genuinely terrific visual experience with beautiful cinematography, phenomenal imagery of the house and a couple of striking atmospheric sequences.

My Rating – 4

……………………………………………………………………

Share

Havoc in Heaven (1964)

Havoc in Heaven Movie Review……………………………………………………………….

Havoc in Heaven Movie Review

Havoc in Heaven is a 1964 Chinese animated adventure film directed by Wan Laiming. It is a flawed, yet such an admirable, artistic endeavor.

……………………………………………………………….

I humbly beg your Majesty to bring this monkey fiend to justice

……………………………………………………………….

Havoc in Heaven Movie Review……………………………………………………………….

It follows Monkey King who rebels against the Jade Emperor of heaven. Now in terms of storytelling, this isn’t the greatest film. Of course I was fascinated by its story and mythology as China has a rich history. I loved those intriguing fights and scenery. But it just didn’t captivate me as much as the visuals did and sometimes it wasn’t that easy to follow and isn’t all that well crafted.

The characterization is solid, but also not particularly remarkable. The characters are good, but not as memorable. Only the Monkey King is a memorable, interesting creation. He is a major figure in Chinese literature and mythology and this incarnation was pretty solid. The voice acting I also found to be pretty good.

The film succeeds as an action-adventure flick because it is so adventurous in its tone and charming while also featuring terrific action sequences. I absolutely loved the fights here as they were tremendously well choreographed, epic and exciting. Those scenes were some of the highlights of the film.

……………………………………………………………….

Havoc in Heaven Movie Review……………………………………………………………….

But where Havoc in Heaven shines is in the animation. Wow, is this a beautiful movie! The animation here has to be the best that sixties had to offer, at least it is in my opinion. What Chinese animators did here was nothing short of miraculous. They took this great material and did the best they could with it, bringing polished and professional animation to the picture.

The colors are so bright and pleasing here, wonderful to witness. The movements were wonderfully well executed and of course the scenery is just fantastic. Some of the imagery here was actually mesmerizing to behold with the highlights being heaven scenes as well as the fight choreography. Also some of the underwater stuff was great too. This wasn’t the easiest film to animate, but they managed to do a great job which is commendable. Not only that, but I would also call this animation a work of art as it truly felt like a moving picture and a beauty to behold. The animation fascinated and captivated me and I wish that the rest of the movie was as great.

……………………………………………………………….

Havoc in Heaven Movie Review……………………………………………………………….

Havoc in Heaven is pretty well edited and paced, but I watched the shorter version of one and a half hours so I wouldn’t know if the longer, two hour version is better or not. This one was polished, superbly well directed and well paced. The score I also found to be respectable and the sound effects in particular were awesome and realistic. They perfectly accompanied the fight sequences, creating wonderful scenes in the process. But despite its great technicalities, I again found the plot and particularly the dialogue to be lacking as it isn’t as sophisticated as its visuals are. Also, the movie was never particularly entertaining and sometimes it was a bit dull to me. I wish that the characters and the plot were stronger as it would have made this film a classic, but it is still a respectable, sometimes wondrous piece of filmmaking that somewhat deserves its praise as the finest Chinese animation of all time and it deserves the second viewing as I intend to do one day.

Havoc in Heaven is definitely lacking in terms of storytelling and characterization plus it isn’t particularly engaging, but it is a wondrous achievement technically as the sound effects and score are superb and of course the visuals are dazzling. It has such a beautiful, absolutely jaw-dropping stylistic animation that I would absolutely call a work of art. The visuals propel this movie to greater heights making it a respectable, albeit flawed effort.

My Rating – 4

……………………………………………………………….

 

Share