Silent Running (1972)

Silent Running Movie Review…………………………………………………….

Silent Running Movie Review

Silent Running is a 1972 science fiction film directed by Douglas Trumbull and starring Bruce Dern. It is a solid, respectable film, but very flawed too.

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There is no more beauty, and there’s no more imagination.

And there are no frontiers left to conquer

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Silent Running Movie Review…………………………………………………….

The genre films in the early seventies reflected on the current climate with hippies and environmentalism and thus we get Silent Running which is similar in themes to ‘Soylent Green’ from the same period. But the two films are still rather different in storyline and both are quite solid, but far from great.

It is a respectable film that can be very heartwarming and sweet at times. Its environmental and solitude themes are well explored and in the protagonist’s actions you can see just how much he cares for the plants and animals. It is a beautiful message, but unfortunately sometimes it was executed weakly with very preachy and on-the-nose dialogue typical of its time. The flick is very much a product of its time which is both a good and a bad thing.

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Silent Running Movie Review…………………………………………………….

Bruce Dern is very good in this role. It is very interesting seeing him here when he was decades younger than he was in ‘Nebraska’ and he still had the same mannerisms and the manner of speech. I liked his performance quite a bit and he was very likable in a role which easily could have turned out bad and cheesy.

Douglas Trumbull directed the movie really well and the special effects here definitely are very good. His effects work on ‘2001’ and ‘The Andromeda Strain‘ is admirable and I am glad that he could also direct. The effects here are very good and some of the imagery is quite memorable and intriguing. I loved the look of the dome and freighter and the robots also looked really good and were quite cute (definitely reminding me of ‘WALL-E’). Visually, the film did not age at all in my opinion as it still looks very solid.

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Silent Running Movie Review…………………………………………………….

Where Silent Running failed is in its pacing which was overly sluggish and the execution of the entire plot wasn’t the greatest. Some parts are rushed, others drag too much. The third act is emotional for sure, but still too slow and the second act is uneventful and certainly the weakest of the three. To me the film tried to be thoughtful and cerebral, serious sci-fi, but it only half-succeeded in that as the dialogue never managed to support such an approach. Most of the lines were too preachy and some were even silly. Had they worked more on the dialogue, the film would have been both smarter and more emotional but this way it ended up being just solid and certainly a bit dated at times.

Silent Running is a solid science fiction film with very good special effects, a respectable message, a fine performance from Bruce Dern and a couple of moving scenes, but the film is overly contemporary filled with at times quite preachy and silly dialogue and the pacing is rather sluggish resulting in a solid film which should have been much smarter and much better overall.

My Rating – 3.5

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Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973)

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

Battle for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

Battle for the Planet of the Apes is a 1973 science fiction film that is the fifth and weakest entry in the original Apes franchise.

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All knowledge is for good.

Only the use to which you put it can be good or evil

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

This is by far the weakest of the original five Apes movies and thankfully they stopped here and made no more Apes movies in the seventies. Here we follow the ultimate war between apekind and mankind and eventually the two learn to peacefully coexist. I loved the ending and it was a sweet way to end the franchise, but the plot is otherwise badly told and the movie is boring and cheap as hell.

Yes, by this time the franchise totally shrank its budget. And here it was obviously noticeable as the ape costumes are pale comparisons to the original, very cheap and mediocre. The entire movie is as dreary and cheap looking in visuals as ‘Conquest of the Planet of the Apes’ looked which is why these two are the only admittedly weak films in this franchise.

But Battle for the Planet of the Apes isn’t even passable as the characters are dull and uninspired and the acting is so bad. The actors here speak their lines with utmost boredom and the end result is hard to listen to. The plot had potential and it could have been an awesome conclusion to this story, but because of some plot holes and inconsistencies in plot details, I was frustrated with it.

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

It has a couple of good moments such as the ending and when Caesar looks at the recordings of his parents for the first time. Those two scenes were moving, but other than those two, the film is boring and too action oriented plus that action is very weakly executed and the titular battle definitely needed a bigger budget as it looked uninspired and not exciting at all. For all of those reasons, this sequel is the only Apes sequel that is mediocre and not even okay which was very frustrating to witness.

Battle for the Planet of the Apes has a couple of nice, moving scenes and the ending is good, but this sequel is easily the worst in the original Apes franchise with weaker costumes, mediocre acting, weakly executed battle scenes and such a poor execution of a promising story.

My Rating – 2.5

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Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown (1977)

Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown Movie Review

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Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown Movie Review

Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown is a 1977 animated adventure comedy film directed by Bill Melendez. It is the third Peanuts film.

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“Why can’t I have a normal dog like everybody else?”

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Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown Movie Review

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Now this is going to be a personal review as always. I realize that non-fans of this property would find this movie boring, but I am a big Peanuts fan and I honestly liked it a lot. That is why I give it four out of five instead of 3.5 or even lower as most would rate it. It is a low 4, but still a four.
Yes, the overarching plot here involving the rafting competition between the Peanuts gang and the bullies is typical and actually only serves to provide the gang to go on this great, fun adventure. But that is why I didn’t have a problem with it. Yes, it was rushed in its execution (especially in the ending), but that is unimportant as it gave us such a fun, spirited and highly cozy adventure which I just adored. I love when the entire gang is on an adventure together and this movie gave me that in such a wonderful fashion.

Let’s talk about the characters. Charlie Brown himself is as good as usual, although not utilized as much this time around. But the beginning and ending where he is left alone and Snoopy provides him a ride are typically brutal and memorable sequences for him. Linus is thoroughly underutilized here and I expected more from Lucy as well, but Sally got some funny lines and Peppermint Patty is here at her best and I loved her interactions with the entire gang, especially Chuck.

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Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown Movie Review

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As for Snoopy and Woodstock, they are actually superb in this flick. Their shtick can usually get old pretty quickly, but this time around they never got dull despite the prolonged screentime because they have some wonderful gags here and they work great together. Their relationship is probably the best utilized in this particular movie.
Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown has a pretty weak animation which is actually cruder than usual and that is problematic, but the scenery is beautiful and, as I said before, I loved the river setting here. The highlights were the rafting scenes which were incredibly entertaining and the cabin scene which is the most charming in the film.

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Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown Movie Review

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It is a very weakly edited flick with such a mediocre first act, but the rest of the film is so effervescent that I liked it a lot nonetheless. It isn’t as good as ‘Snoopy, Come Home’, but it is still a worthy addition to the Peanuts filmography which actually turned out much stronger than I expected. These films are definitely worthy and some even better than the specials themselves.

The first act is certainly not the greatest and the entire storyline here is weak and just an excuse to have a fun adventure with the gang, but what an adventure it is. I loved its setting, the character interactions are very good and it is such a charming and wonderful Peanuts flick that I honestly liked it a lot despite its many obvious shortcomings.

My Rating – 4

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Solaris (1972)

Solaris Movie Review

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Solaris Movie Review

Solaris is a 1972 Russian science fiction drama film directed by Andrei Tarkovsky and starring Donatas Banionis. It truly is an interesting, accomplished film that is the director’s finest.

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We don’t want to conquer space at all. We want to expand Earth endlessly.

We don’t want other worlds; we want a mirror. We seek contact and will never achieve it.

We are in the foolish position of a man striving for a goal

he fears and doesn’t want. Man needs man!

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Solaris Movie Review

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In my opinion Solaris is equally a science fiction film and a psychological drama as it definitely uses both of the elements abundantly. There are some thriller/horror elements in it as well, but those are rare. It succeeds in both of those areas, but to me it is great as a science fiction tale as it is very serious, scientific and filled with such wonderful, truly atmospheric thrills that add a lot to its already unique experience.

I liked its characters and the film is great for being basically a chamber piece as it follows just a couple of characters and thus they become fully developed and their dilemmas are fully explored. The most memorable two are obviously Hari and Kris Kelvin. Hari (or should I say the alien version of her) is very intriguing as we see her become a genuine human being and highly emotional one whereas previously she was just a cold, calculated visitor. Her dilemmas and her entire arc really reminded me a lot of Ava from ‘Ex Machina’.

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Solaris Movie Review

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But Kris is the highlight as he felt like a real person and watching him go through a number of emotional states was dramatic and emotionally rewarding. The relationship between the two is great and certainly quite fascinating. But a lot of the character success stems from the performances of these two talented actors. Natalya Bondarchuk is great in a very emotional role, but it is Donatas Banionis who steals the show here as his performance is very subtle and admirably natural.

Solaris is obviously a very slow movie and there are some scenes here that are extended needlessly to an excessive, frustrating amount of running time. However, it is still for the most part an engaging and even immersive movie which is a testament to how strong the script is and how sophisticated the dialogue is. There isn’t a lot of dialogue here, but the second half featured much more lines than the first one and all those discussions were very interesting and clever.

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Solaris Movie Review

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So the pacing is slow and the film relies heavily on ambiguity and open interpretations. As far as arthouse pictures go, I have to admit that Solaris is one of the few that I actually really like and even admire. That is because the film is so interesting and so visually dazzling that it entirely transports you to its setting, story and most importantly atmospheric mood and it never lets go. It thus exponentially decreases the level of boredom which easily could have been high with this slow pace.

The film is technically very accomplished. The cinematography here is gorgeous. Some of the shots are absolutely astonishing and the camera perfectly follows the action on screen with a great eye for detail. But the imagery is stunning. I loved the interior of the ship, very memorable. I loved the images of the planet itself and surely its ambiguous and simply unforgettable ending is the standout sequence as it is beautiful and wonderfully mysterious. It is one of the best endings in a science fiction film undoubtedly.

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Solaris Movie Review

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The film is sometimes overly artistic, pretentious and too slow with the highway scene being the worst example of all that, but it succeeds as an art film because there are quite many scenes that work tremendously in that context. For example, the painting scene is truly something special and quite beautiful, but also creepy in score. The film’s score is very strong and the sound design is excellent. In the end, it does feel similar to ‘2001’ in some areas, yet it is very much its own thing as most of it is different and original. Tarkovsky’s movies are definitely not my cup of tea, but Solaris is the one film from his that I truly admire.

Very difficult to follow at times and immensely slow, but immersive and unique, Solaris succeeds on many levels – as a thrilling sci-fi story, a showcase for acting and an intimate human drama. With beautiful cinematography, complex and philosophical story, positively ambiguous ending, creepy and alienating atmosphere and an assured direction from Tarkovsky, Solaris is undoubtedly one of the best films both 1970s and science fiction have to offer.

My Rating – 4.5

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Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972)

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

Conquest of the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

Conquest of the Planet of the Apes is a 1972 science fiction film which is the fourth and very disappointing entry in the Planet of the Apes franchise.

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Destiny is the will of God.

And if it is man’s destiny to be dominated, it is God’s will that he be dominated with compassion and understanding.

So, cast out your vengeance.

Tonight, we have seen the birth of the Planet of the Apes!

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

Yes, this one disappointed me a lot. So basically the story here is that Caesar who is the son of Zira and Cornelius leads the ape rebellion against humans. Apparently apes have become pets in the future which is beyond ridiculous. The rebellion itself is well handled and I loved the speeches at the end of the film as they were so powerful, but the film is stale stuff nonetheless and obviously a product of its time.

I am of course talking about the decision to turn this entry into a parallel on the Civil Rights Movement from the time. And although that metaphor fits this series like a glove, it was still presented in a particularly aggressive and obvious manner that it took away the enjoyment of the movie. It thoroughly lacks subtlety.

The characters are also very forgettable and not one of them is even remotely memorable. Caesar is solid, but not the greatest. He as the main character should have been much better developed. And the humans are pretty weak.

Conquest of the Planet of the Apes also has weaker costumes owing to a decreased budget. The cinematography is particularly poor and it leads to a pretty dreary looking movie. That frustrated me a lot. The ending is good, but the beginning is weak and the film is admittedly quite boring and never as entertaining as the previous entries were.

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

I realize that its story is important and applicable to the real world and the film is quite dark and serious but it isn’t well executed both technically and in the storytelling department and that is why it fails to elicit strong emotion and reaction from the viewers. It is a passable, weak film that is unfortunately the first Apes film that isn’t particularly good. And that is a shame as this story had a lot of potential. But at least we got ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ decades later and that movie dealt with this subject infinitely better.

Conquest of the Planet of the Apes is admirably more serious, darker and with a very good premise, but the execution is so weak with a great third act, but the rest of the film is pretty dull. The cinematography is poor leading to a dreary looking film, the characterization is very weak and the film is never particularly entertaining leading to the first unfortunate misstep in the Apes franchise.

My Rating – 3

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Fantastic Planet (1973)

Fantastic Planet Movie Review……………………………………..

Fantastic Planet Movie Review

Fantastic Planet is a 1973 French animated science fiction film directed by René Laloux. It is the best animated sci-fi film ever made.

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What a shame we can’t play with her anymore

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Fantastic Planet Movie Review……………………………………..
The story is fascinating and incredibly original. Blue giant humanoid Draags rule the planet Ygam and they use human Oms as pets until they eventually rebel. Needless to say, the film deals with a lot of interesting themes such as the relationship between different species, ignorance, racism and yes, even genocide.
It isn’t only sophisticated in script, but also very engaging and simply riveting to watch. It is one of the most purely imaginative and fantastical sci-fi films that I have ever seen. The level of detail exhibited here is just meticulous. The world building is extraordinary and I in the end felt that I have just set foot on this planet myself. That is how inviting this movie is.
That vastness and variety of space is beautifully conveyed through the use of absolutely fabulous hand-drawn animation with such a wonderful comic-stip sensibility to it that I just adored it. The character design is some of the the best that I have ever seen and of course the film is psychedelic and weird at times, but always beautifully animated and filled with a high level of detail that I believed this planet entirely.
The harshness and brutality of the Ygam planet is so well established as all of its animals are dangerous and all of the plants are carnivorous. The designs of all these creatures is weird, yet incredibly authentic and unforgettable. The color palette is also fantastic and the use of blue is overwhelming and interesting.

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Fantastic Planet Movie Review……………………………………..
I loved everything about Draags. Their way of living is pretty interesting. I loved their method of learning, very advanced. How they used Oms as pets raised many ethic questions about keeping smart species as pets, but I have to say that the relationship between the two species isn’t established as properly as it should have been. Some plot holes are irritating. How the Draags did not realize that Oms can speak? How did they not realize sooner how intelligent they were? All of these questions are never answered and they remain pretty obvious plot holes.
But as I said, I loved their technology and I really liked every ritual that was present here with both species. I would have gone with less nudity, but I guess it was required and the sexuality/mating element definitely was important for the story.
The character development is weak in Fantastic Planet as it doesn’t bother with creating fully personalized Draags or Oms. However, this is one of those sci-fi stories that do not need individualized characters as it is epic and deals with the whole two species and thus it does not require fully realized individuals in it. The voice acting is very good and believable. But I have to say that the mouth movements weren’t well synhronized with the dialogue and that is the only apparent flaw in an otherwise stellar animation.

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Fantastic Planet Movie Review……………………………………..
Speaking of dialogue, I definitely wanted more of it, but what we got was still great and some discussions are very interesting here. Fantastic Planet is awfully short and its ending is just way too abrupt, but I liked that it ended on a positive note and to me the highlights were the intriguing beginning, those lessons as well as the exploration of the planet. Those adventurous scenes were the standouts. Despite it being short, the editing is actually very deft and of course its score is very evocative of its mood which is dreamlike and strange. René Leloux directed this movie brilliantly and he surely is one of my favorite animation directors. I would definitely call this movie a work of art.
With beautiful, stylistic hand-drawn animation, extraordinary world building, an admirable attention to detail and such an imaginative, yet thematically sophisticated story, Fantastic Planet is also very dreamlike and strange accompanied by such a great score and phenomenal creature designs. Consequently, this artistic French classic is one of the best that both animation and science fiction have to offer.

My Rating – 4.5

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Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970)

Beneath the Planet of the Apes Movie Review………………………………………

Beneath the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

Beneath the Planet of the Apes is a 1970 science fiction film starring James Franciscus and Charlton Heston. It is such a good, extremely underrated sequel.

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Glory be to the Bomb, and to the Holy Fallout

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Beneath the Planet of the Apes Movie Review………………………………………

According to the mediocre reviews and lack of popularity for this flick, I honestly expected the worst and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it is actually a good film. Of course it is much inferior to the original ‘Planet of the Apes’, but it isn’t a bad film and is even a four star movie to me personally. Needless to say, it is awfully underrated and needlessly trashed.

So another astronaut crashes on Earth in the post-apocalyptic future looking for Taylor who is missing and disappeared from the face of the planet. Now obviously it started off quite similarly to the first movie and I thought this was basically going to be a rehash and was quite annoyed.

However, it turned out to be just the opposite and vastly different from the original in the end that I really liked it. The film really begins when Brent escapes from the apes and stumbles upon the underground tunnels where he discovers humans with telekinetic powers. At first, I was taken aback by this and did not know what to think of this new development.

But eventually I really liked it. Of course it is too timely and dated by now with all this atomic bomb storyline, but I liked the twist with those humans that turn out to be mutants with severely burned skin. Apparently radiation has destroyed their skin, but also gave them telekinetic powers. I love those powers and they were really well executed. Those scenes were some of the best here.

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Beneath the Planet of the Apes Movie Review………………………………………

Beneath the Planet of the Apes is definitely a weird movie. It can be too weird at times, it starts off pretty weakly and I disliked that we had to see the ending to the first movie again. Some of the fights were also too campy and poorly executed and naturally, owing to a lesser budget, the effects are much weaker this time around. Some of the apes look pretty horrendous and the make-up is vastly inferior to the original.

But still I liked it quite a bit despite those obvious big issues. James Franciscus looks good, but is hardly another Charlton Heston. Speaking of whom, I liked what they did with his character and they handled well Heston’s unwillingness to appear in the sequel by reducing his role significantly, but still naturally. I would have liked to have seen more Zira, but those mutants were so interesting that I didn’t mind it that much.

The ending I found interesting and I liked that they went there as destroying the entire planet with a bomb was a pretty bold idea for the film’s ending. Following suddenly three groups and two groups of villains was very entertaining and to me this sequel succeeds wonderfully in expanding this already great world even more and visiting the underground tunnels was a lot of fun and quite fascinating. Those scenes with mutants were all my favourites, so well done.

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Beneath the Planet of the Apes Movie Review………………………………………

The action is weakly executed and the film is never as artistic or powerful as the first movie, but mainly because I lowered my expectations significantly, I still enjoyed it quite a bit. And don’t get me wrong – it is a good movie for sure, certainly a stupendous sequel that I wonder why it fared so poorly with the critics and fans.

Beneath the Planet of the Apes is such an unfortunately underappreciated sequel that is of course never comparable to the great original as its action and effects are too campy plus the acting is not the greatest, but they refreshingly took a different direction with this sequel and taking the action to the underground tunnels was intriguing and a lot of fun. I really enjoyed that new development, the mutants are memorable and the ending is bold. It is such a fun, ultimately successful sequel that expanded an already vast, wonderful world.

My Rating – 4

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Westworld (1973)

Westworld Movie Review…………………………………………………..

Westworld Movie Review

Westworld is a 1973 science fiction western thriller film directed by Michael Crichton and starring Yul Brynner. It is one of the best sci-fi films of the seventies.

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No matter what you do, he’ll always be one step ahead of you!

You haven’t got a chance!

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Westworld Movie Review…………………………………………………..

I absolutely adored this movie. It is the best film I’ve seen in a while and it just might actually be one of the best ten or twenty sci-fi films of all time. Yes, it is that good! And I did not expect that at all and now I am so intrigued that I would like to see a TV show that they have just made, but because it is a typical sensationalist, overly violent show like every other today, I unfortunately cannot and won’t watch it which is beyond frustrating.

This story is amazing. It is about an amusement park which consists of Roman World, Medieval World and the titular Westworld. In all three of these areas, visitors get the full treatment which is super realistic and detailed. Androids that look extremely like humans serve them and visitors can have sex with them, fight them etc. But when a sort of computer virus spreads, all androids start acting strangely, they rebel and eventually attack and kill humans. Such wonderful mayhem ensues.

Westworld is one of those movies where I instantly realized that a book author directed it and surely enough Michael Crichton, an author, is the director. And although some may find that problematic, I loved his direction here as he brings such high level of detail that regular movie directors could just never do. That is why the world building here is absolutely spectacular. You have all three of these areas utilized properly and I was fascinated by all of them and it was great that I got to witness each three. That I did not expect.

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Westworld Movie Review…………………………………………………..

And it is all so well thought out, not to mention extremely well executed visually. The special effects are so great and advanced for its time. I loved that Gunslinger’s viewpoint which, when broken, went pixelized and there we witness the first ever use of CGI. That is simply groundbreaking. And the androids themselves look phenomenal.

I know this is nitpicking, but I disliked the blood in this movie which was so obviously fake and with such a ridiculous light colour that was honestly quite funny. And as for the story, the only problem I’ve had is the fact that the androids can be distinguished from humans by looking at their hands as that is the only body part that the scientists did not fully perfect yet. Are you kidding me?! You make a perfect android that looks entirely like a human and has face and hair that are totally realistic and yet somehow the hands are the only parts that you cannot make properly. That was really ridiculous and just a plot contrivance as it was obviously convenient for the characters to know who is and who isn’t human by looking at their hands.

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Westworld Movie Review…………………………………………………..

But other than that and the fact that the second act definitely has a couple of slower and even repetitive scenes (there are too many scenes with the scientists for sure), I absolutely loved Westworld and I wanted a longer running time and more exploration of this enormous and beautifully conceived world. It is definitely one of the rare movies that entirely deserve sequels and TV shows as it is that big and rich with ideas.

It was an interesting turn of events that the more bravado character died and the goofier one survived and turned out to be a protagonist. That was unexpected. I still didn’t love both of them, but they were quite good nonetheless. But the Gunslinger steals the show and seeing Yul Brynner in this fun role just brought a smile on my face as I am a big fan of his and he was perfect for this role and he delivered in spades.

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Westworld Movie Review…………………………………………………..

Westworld is a science fiction film at its core, but most certainly a western too and a thriller with some strong horror elements as well. There are many great scenes here, but my favourite one has to be the entire chase sequence near the end as it was thrilling to behold and I loved especially the moment when Peter hid from the Gunslinger by standing beneath the flaming torch and thus fooling the villain’s infra-red scanners. Such a clever and thrilling scene. And the score was tremendous here, quite effective and spooky.

Westworld is one of the most original sci-fi moves that I have ever seen. It is such a unique mix of sci-fi, western and thriller with a story that is just fascinating to behold, rich in detail and propelled with amazing world building. It truly is one of the rare movies that entirely deserve many sequels and TV shows. I loved the score and special effects, Yul Brynner is superb, the chase scenes are filled with thrills and the film is consistently entertaining, clever and absolutely phenomenal.

My Rating – 4.5

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Midnight Express (1978)

Midnight Express Movie Review………………………………………………….

Midnight Expres Movie Review

Midnight Express is a 1978 crime drama film directed by Alan Parker and starring Brad Davis and John Hurt. It is a deeply xenophobic, but also very powerful movie.

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Catch the midnight express.

It’s a prison word for… escape.

But it doesn’t stop around here

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Midnight Express Movie Review………………………………………………….

Billy Hayes tried to smuggle hashish out of Turkey, but was caught and sentenced to 30 years of prison so that they can make an example out of him. There he encounters horrible conditions and authorities until eventually managing to escape five years later. Now this is a story of a real man and this really happened which brings me to my first negative point – the movie utterly fails as a biopic.

It is difficult to judge this movie as we have a great fictional movie here and an awful biographical one. As a biopic, it is horrendous as it is beyond exaggerated and sensationalized to the point of becoming absurd and caricaturist. Rarely have I seen this high level of xenophobia which is exhibited here as all Turks are portrayed as awful human beings, dirty, lawless and plain horrible as if coming from the Dark Ages. That was so problematic and it took me out of the movie entirely.

But I tried to watch this as a fictional movie and that way, it actually is great. It is great because I rarely do like crime films and they are not my cup of tea, but even I could see how powerful this movie is. The story is well told, the pacing is excellent and the film is frequently brutal, but also very powerful and definitely unnerving, but a in a good way. I loved the prison break scene, but my favourite scene is the ending which is just such a deeply emotional, beautiful scene that perfectly wrapped up the entire film in my opinion.

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Midnight Express Movie Review………………………………………………….

I liked the characters and I especially liked how they interacted as a group in prison and they were such a great group. Brad Davis isn’t as great and a bigger actor was needed for this movie, but he was still pretty solid in this very difficult role and he was quite physical and sensual. John Hurt is excellent as Max and gave the finest performance here.

Midnight Express is phenomenally made with excellent direction from Alan Parker and terrific cinematography. Some scenes definitely were too repulsive such as that beat up of Rifki, but the film is mostly a harrowing and very dramatic and powerful tale that leaves you unnerved instead of disgusted which was great. But I still wanted a message as they almost portrayed his actions of smuggling drugs as totally innocent and minor.

Where Midnight Express shines is in its score. Wow, what a beautiful score. Rarely do you see such a fantastic score in a crime flick, but here I was blown away by it. That is why that ending scene is so majestic as it is accompanied by that Midnight Express Theme which is one of the finest themes of this decade. It is moving and simply gorgeous.

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Midnight Express Movie Review………………………………………………….

So I liked this film a lot. I liked the characters and I also liked the dialogue. It flowed really well and was never at all boring or slow. It was quite riveting and one of the finest prison films for sure. But I still deem it irresponsible as it is basically one giant hate letter to Turkey. But regardless of that, it caught me by surprise how powerful and dramatic it was.

Midnight Express is very difficult to judge. You have two movies here – one is very good and the other one is horrendous. As a biopic, it fails miserably as it is such an exaggerated, sensationalist portrayal of a real story and rarely have I seen such horrible, shameful xenophobia which was certainly portrayed here and the film is basically one giant hate letter to Turkey. But watching it as a fictional movie, it is actually stupendous. The performances are very good, the film is so well made and it is such a harrowing and unnerving movie that is frequently even powerful with many superb and memorable sequences. It is also accompanied by such a phenomenal score with a gorgeous theme. So in the end I’d say this is a good film, but an irresponsible one nonetheless.

My Rating – 4

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Saturday Night Fever (1977)

Saturday Night Fever Movie Review………………………………………………………

Saturday Night Fever Movie Review

Saturday Night Fever is a 1977 musical drama film directed by John Badham and starring John Travolta. It is one of the year’s finest films.

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There’s ways of killing yourself without killing yourself.

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Saturday Night Fever Movie Review………………………………………………………

What surprised me about this film is the script. Yes, it does revolve a lot around the disco club and it follows preparations for and the eventual disco competition, but it is also so much more than that. It is at its core a drama film much more so than a musical.

Tony Manero is such a great protagonist, a realistic man from this period. His frustrations with his family as well as friends are so well explored and you definitely feel sorry for him. The film is very emotional and some of his scenes are great such as the penultimate and very moving scene when he drives around the city.

The parent’s favoritism of one child is so well explored and in his brother’s story, you also witness the mother’s refusal to accept his decision to leave priesthood. It is a raw, honest and still relevant portrayal of the parents’ unwillingness to accept their children for who they are and to accept their different life decisions.

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Saturday Night Fever Movie Review………………………………………………………

In Stephanie, you’ve got an exploration of pretentiousness and I really liked the relationship between the two plus it ended on a very heartwarming note. Annette as this deeply insecure girl is another strong character. And of course Bobby is a tragic character and especially evocative of this time period when abortion and promiscuity was at the highest level.

John Travolta gave quite possibly his career best performance here and certainly deserved his Oscar nomination. He surprised me with his performance here as he is charismatic and he sold both his dancing as well as his emotional scenes. John Badham’s direction is very good and the film is so well shot with the disco sequences being the immersive highlights. It is also well paced, but I myself didn’t like the first half as much as the second one as it definitely was inferior and more familiar in story. And the protagonist was fairly annoying and typical at first.

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Saturday Night Fever Movie Review………………………………………………………

Saturday Night Fever also succeeds as a strong musical owing mostly to its killer soundtrack. This soundtrack is so great that it is in my opinion one of the finest in film history despite it being not original as all of the songs were released prior to the film’s release. But it uses some of the best disco songs and thus it becomes essential for every fan of this genre.

Most of the major hits from Bee Gees are used here. Stayin’ Alive was a perfect choice to open the movie and that opening sequence is highly memorable and it instantly hooks you in the story and its main character. How Deep Is Your Love is also great, If I Can’t Have You is used at just the right time in the story and matching its scene fittingly and the major highlight is Night Fever as it provides the most eclectic and fun scenes in the movie.

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Saturday Night Fever Movie Review………………………………………………………

The soundtrack is great, but the songs are utilized superbly within the story and the cinematography is so good that it transports you wonderfully to its time period and setting. The disco scenes are so beautifully shot with some gorgeous shots and imagery. It has a great attention to detail from the songs to the clothes and it is a quintessential seventies movie when it comes to it being representative of its period and I loved it for that.

Saturday Night Fever is a stupendous movie. Thanks to its terrific attention to detail, great cinematography and a killer soundtrack filled with great disco hits, it succeeds as a strong musical. However, it is in the drama department where the film shines through as its characters are very strong and their issues are so well explored. From promiscuity and abortion to frustration with your current life to the parents’ selfish expectations for their children, this is one surprisingly thoughtful and clever script. Couple that with its many highly emotional scenes and you’ve got one of the best films from this period.

My Rating – 4.5

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