Dersu Uzala (1975)

Dersu Uzala Movie Review

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Dersu Uzala Movie Review

Dersu Uzala is a 1975 Soviet-Japanese adventure biopic directed by Akira Kurosawa. It is a long, but pretty good film.

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How can man live in a box?

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Dersu Uzala Movie Review

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This is a co-production between Russia and Japan and I liked seeing these two great countries join forces and create this epic. Akira Kurosawa is a great director and he directed this film so well. His direction and the titular Asian character bring the Asian flavor to the film which revolves in Russian Far East with Russian actors. I really liked that mix.

The friendship that develops between a Russian man and this native is heartwarming and very strong. Their explorations of the harsh region are so great and it was very interesting seeing the various different conditions from fog to snow. This is very much a film about nature and the power of it and of course I admire movies that promote that.

The two main characters are very good and I really loved their friendship. The actors also gave such strong performances. But other characters are quite forgettable. The film deals with Dersu’s aging very well and in terms of the themes, it is a familiar, but well realized film.

Dersu Uzala looks absolutely magnificent. It sounds great thanks to excellent score and superb sound design, but the various natural landscapes are beautiful to witness and the film relies heavily on its very harsh and alienated atmosphere and setting to great effect. It is an old tale of man versus nature but well crafted nonetheless.

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Dersu Uzala Movie Review

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The problem with Dersu Uzala is naturally its running time which is just way too long. Two hours would have been enough and I would cut those thirty minutes from it. Sometimes the film was slow and uninvolving and although it is a slow-burn, it still would have hugely benefited from stronger pacing and a shorter runtime. It got the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and I don’t mind its win as it is actually one of the better winners from the seventies.

Dersu Uzala is certainly overlong and it is quite a familiar tale, but well told with a strong friendship between its main characters, excellent direction and great atmosphere thanks to superb sound and wonderful cinematography. It is slow, but moving and it utilizes its interesting setting so well.

My Rating – 4

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McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)

McCabe & Mrs. Miller Movie Review

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McCabe & Mrs. Miller Movie Review

McCabe & Mrs. Miller is a 1971 western film directed by Robert Altman and starring Warren Beatty and Julie Christie. It’s a disappointing movie.

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That man never killed anyone in his life

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McCabe & Mrs. Miller Movie Review

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This movie disappointed me on multiple fronts. It is still a solid, well made and mostly quite moving film, but because it did not decide what it wants to be, it ended up being very uneven and ultimately a letdown. It never became the big romance that it promised its audience and it focused too much on those typical western elements so for the self-proclaimed “anti-western” movie, it is surprisingly traditional in style and execution.

Julie Christie did a really good job per usual and Warren Beatty is also excellent. Their romance is sweet and it is a shame that we did not get to spend more time witnessing their relationship. For a movie called McCabe & Mrs. Miller, it is surprisingly devoid of their relationship and she is particularly wasted. As for the other characters and actors, they are fine but very forgettable.

McCabe & Mrs. Miller is so well shot. I liked its score and although the song repeated throughout sometimes led to a bit pretentious scenes, I still liked that number and its somber tone. But the cinematography is excellent and frequently even superb and I really liked how this movie looks and sounds.

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McCabe & Mrs. Miller Movie Review

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It has its very sweet moments, its tale of business and big companies is well told and it is mostly a well made movie, but it was honestly boring to me because it relied too much on business and not enough on its more fun elements such as the romance. The attention to detail is great, but sometimes the film was boring with its business details. The entire second half is very prolonged and the film definitely felt slow and too long as a whole and thus it ruined the experience for me.

McCabe & Mrs. Miller is very well shot, scored and acted with some moving scenes and a well told story, but it is overlong, sometimes honestly very slow and boring and it has a lack of focus and an uneven tone. It is solid, but very disappointing.

My Rating – 3.5

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Amarcord (1973)

Amarcord Movie Review

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Amarcord Movie Review

Amarcord is a 1973 Italian comedy film directed by Federico Fellini. It is another one of his overrated movies.

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I want a woman!

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Amarcord Movie Review

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The plot here is non-existent. It is supposed to tell the tale of 1930s Fascist Italy and suppressed sexuality, but it just never is that smart or with any kind of message to it. ‘Splendor in the Grass’ does suppressed sexuality wonderfully, but this one doesn’t even try.

It is again just an excuse to show the director’s obsession with sex. Most of the film features very annoying sexual excursions and the worst offender is the scene where an older woman forces her breasts on a younger guy. That was just horrible to witness and pure pornography in my opinion.

It doesn’t even help that the characters in Amarcord are awful. Yes, this is the kind of film that tries to sell its “weirdness”, but these people aren’t weird or colorful, they are just very annoying and disgusting. None of them is remotely memorable and all of them really got on my nerves.

So the film definitely looks good, I will give it that as the cinematography is frequently excellent, but it sounds horrible with all of that frustrating yelling. Everyone here yells or screams and you do not get a single calmer moment, let alone an emotional one. The structure is typical and to call it a comedy is ludicrous as nothing here ever is funny.

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Amarcord Movie Review

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Federico Fellini truly is one of the most overrated directors who ever existed. His films were basically an excuse to transport his sexual fantasies on screen and when you really think about him, he is just an annoying, sexually charged teenager.

Amarcord is another one of the director’s overrated films. It isn’t funny, it isn’t smart and its characters aren’t colorful or interesting. They are just super annoying and unlikable with all the yelling. The film was just an excuse for the director to put his sexual fantasies and experiences on screen and when you really think about it, Fellini was just a very immature, horny teenager who never grew up.

My Rating – 2

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Time After Time (1979)

Time After Time Movie Review

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Time After Time Movie Review

Time After Time is a 1979 science fiction romance film directed by Nicholas Meyer and starring Malcolm McDowell. It is such a good, underrated genre flick.

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We don’t belong here.

On the contrary, Herbert.

I belong here completely and utterly.

I’m home

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Time After Time Movie Review

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I really liked this movie. The plot is so silly, but it works honestly. H. G. Wells, a famous British author, builds a time machine, but unfortunately Jack the Ripper uses it first to enter into the 20th century and now it is up to Wells to stop him. There, he befriends and ultimately beings a romantic relationship with a modern woman.

The thing with this movie is that it is most definitely a romance at its core as much as it is a science fiction film. This is light sci-fi, almost fantasy like, as it is thoroughly unrealistic and simplistic, but I liked it nonetheless as it was so well executed and in such an effervescent, pleasing manner. But the romance sells the movie in my opinion as it is so incredibly strong, stupendously so as it came out of nowhere and really made a splash and difference.

Wells is such a well developed, extremely likable character and this portrayal of this famous author is heroic, yet respectable. Amy Robbins is such a wonderful character. She isn’t extremely strong and independent, but for the seventies, she is very strong and that juxtaposition of these two very different characters is familiar by now, but it works because it is so well developed and their romance truly was touching and wonderful.

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Time After Time Movie Review

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There are basically three characters in this movie, the three that matter anyway and I loved that as it led to greater characterization. Jack the Ripper is truly fantastic as he was very creepy at times and ultimately such a superb, effective villain and a great take on this famous killer.

But no matter how terrific these three characters are, I have to say that I wasn’t a fan of their actors. They are not A-listers and it shows. All three of them did a good job admittedly, but none of them stood out as great and sometimes they brought the characters down with them just a bit.

Rotten Tomatoes states that “they are clearly having fun in their roles”, but in my opinion they were enjoying the roles too much and thus the performances are not as serious. Malcolm McDowell did the best he could, but he’s still far from great. Mary Steenburgen was also not great and David Warner sometimes sold his scenes entirely, but at other times he wasn’t as good.

Time After Time also is weakly directed by Nicholas Meyer, but other than the direction, the film is actually very well shot and superbly realized in effects as that time machine looks great for its time and its very early use of computer effects was quite stupendous for 1979.

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Time After Time Movie Review

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The dialogue is excellent, snappy and funny at times, elegant and polished at other times. The film really does feel that it has two 19th century Englishmen in it owing to excellent attention to detail both in hairstyles and clothing, but also in dialogue and line delivery. And most importantly the score which is amazing how wonderfully traditional it is.

The film is romantic and sweet, but also really thrilling at times. I did not like its climactic ending all that well, but I liked that the two ended up together, I loved all of the scenes between the two and the beginning is very charming as was the whole film which certainly needs to be seen by more people.

Time After Time has weaker acting and direction plus the ending was not my favorite. However, this is still a very good sci-fi romance film with three superbly developed characters, a lovely romance that worked so well and a really well crafted, hugely entertaining story. It is so charming both in its wonderfully old-fashioned score and in dialogue that I’ve had a great time watching it.

My Rating – 4

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Day for Night (1973)

Day for Night Review

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Day for Night Movie Review

Day for Night is a 1973 French drama film directed by Francois Truffaut. It is another overrated French movie.

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An actress who won’t appear in a bathing suit is ludicrous!

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Day for Night Movie Review

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Jesus, how many more French movies are over-praised up to this point. I am just baffled at the majority of the input from this country and why Hollywood loves it so much. I honestly have no idea and it annoys me.

Here we have another dull and ultimately pretty shallow movie which tries to give us the entire filmmaking process as it follows the making of the movie and everything that goes with it, but it is so concerned with the love affairs and relationships between its characters that it becomes a tired, boring telenovela that rarely has anything to do with the film business itself.

The actors did an okay job, but nobody really stands out. The same goes for its characters. There are too many of them and not enough stay in your mind. I do think that some stories here and some scenes were interesting and even had great conversations and interesting points to state, but most of them were not like that and I was ultimately bored.

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Day for Night Movie Review

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Day for Night is well filmed and overall well made, but overlong and another one of those French movies that are obsessed with too many details and not enough heart or genuine story at its core. Francois Truffaut made much better movies than this one and the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film win was just thoroughly undeserved in this scenario.

Day for Night has a couple of interesting scenes, but most of the film was one giant, boring telenovela with too many forgettable characters and an over-reliance on soapy elements and not enough story. It is a very overrated film that did not deserve its Oscar at all.

My Rating – 3

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Don’t Look Now (1973)

Don't Look Now Movie Review

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Don’t Look Now Movie Review

Don’t Look Now is a 1973 British horror film directed by Nicolas Roeg and starring Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie. It is such a strong, effective movie.

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This one who’s blind. She’s the one that can see

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Don't Look Now Movie Review

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It is about a grief-stricken couple who lose their child and go to Venice where the man begins to have visions of her and of his future. Having recently been to Venice, this movie was a really rewarding experience for me as it utilizes on the Venetian setting magnificently. Venice here is unlike any portrayal in any other film as it is creepy and filled with danger and ominous presence.

The movie features very strong drama about grief and it is an effective horror film. I disagree with the notion that it is a thriller because it has supernatural stuff, quick editing and a creepy twist that all belong to the horror genre. It could have been even scarier, but still the film features excellent atmosphere and a respectable final twist which is simply unforgettable. That entire final chase is so well filmed and it stole the show here.

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Don't Look Now Movie Review

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Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland are both superb in their roles. They gave excellent performances and in my opinion the relationship between the characters seemed honest and real and the troubles they go through are so well explored. I liked their conversations and the evident care for each other and I even did not mind their infamous sex scene. It may have been controversial in filming, but in the movie itself it is actually rather mild, at least in my opinion, and it serves its purpose at reestablishing the strength of their relationship.

Those two older women also serve the plot so well and are basically a plot device, but a strong one nonetheless with a couple of standout sequences. Of course the dwarf is unforgettable and very creepy and I really liked all of the supernatural scenes in the movie. The twist worked so well, it was well explained and in particular the scene where he sees his wife on the boat is the most unsettling and brilliantly crafted.

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Don't Look Now Movie Review

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So Don’t Look Now is excellent in its mystery and the ending explains it so well with a great use of quick editing. Sometimes the editing was too on-the-nose and there was too much cutting in the movie, but for the most part it did work well and the film did have that more urgent feel to it owing to that technique.

The use of the color red is familiar by this point and that point, but it was surprisingly effective and solidly used nonetheless. The cinematography is truly excellent and, as I said, Venice looks splendid. I loved seeing its different streets and canals explored here and they are put to great horror effect, especially the churches, the water and those smaller streets. Nicolas Roeg directed this movie magnificently and he is the man responsible for the overall competence of the film which is a further proof of how amazing 1973 was for horror with the likes of ‘The Wicker Man’ and ‘Leptirica’ as well.

Don’t Look Now utilizes its Venetian setting to amazing horror effect with wonderfully shot and superbly explored narrow streets and canals while also benefiting from an interesting editing technique and great ominous atmosphere. The performances from Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie are excellent, the film is so well crafted across the board and its mystery is beautifully crafted and ending on a high note with such an effective, creepy twist.

My Rating – 4.5

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The Goodbye Girl (1977)

The Goodbye Girl  Movie Review

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The Goodbye Girl Movie Review

The Goodbye Girl is a 1977 romantic comedy film directed by Herbert Ross and starring Richard Dreyfuss, Marsha Mason and Quinn Cummings. It is a solid, charming flick.

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If you were a Broadway musical,

people would be humming your face

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The Goodbye Girl Movie Review

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As is almost always the case with most romantic comedies, this one is also extremely cliched and predictable in its storyline and from beginning to end. There is nothing original or interesting that happens here in terms of the plot points and that was certainly a problem the movie never overcame.

But still it is an enjoyable film because it does the first part of its genre name right – it gives us romance. The comedy is lacking and despite a couple of amusing moments, the film is rarely really funny and never hilarious. It is more dramatic than comedic, especially in the first half.

But the romance worked for me. I did not think that these characters were all that great, but the interactions between them were interesting and playful and I loved the romantic parts of the film. The ending is too cliched, but sweet, the dinner is lovely and the entire falling in love part is so well done and actually highly effervescent.

Richard Dreyfuss plays an especially likable, charming man and I really liked most of his actions and sentences. He really sold this movie. The character is great, but the actor did a great job himself and honestly his Oscar win is not all that surprising when you think about it. He is the sole reason to see this film.

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The Goodbye Girl Movie Review

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Especially because Marsha Mason isn’t all that great in her role which is definitely too unlikable for way too much of its running time. That is also what Ebert said and this is probably the first time that I entirely agree with his review. However, Quinn Cummings is much better and she deserved her Oscar nomination as she portrayed this memorable girl so well.

The Goodbye Girl is weakly made, very weakly. The direction is so mediocre as is the cinematography and the film looked too stagy. The editing is also weak and I have to say that the first act is very unappealing, not at all engaging and frankly even a bit annoying as the characters are frustrating and unlikable at first. Later the movie improved quite a bit, but eventually it settled into being just a solid rom com and nothing more than that. Its Best Picture nomination was thoroughly undeserved.

The technical aspects are nothing to write home about, the story is of course cliched and predictable and Marsha Mason is unlikable in The Goodbye Girl, but Richard Dreyfuss is great and very likable in such a charming role. And the movie itself is often very pleasant and sweetly romantic leading to a solid and better than average romantic comedy.

My Rating – 3.5

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Eraserhead (1977)

Eraserhead Movie Review

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Eraserhead Movie Review

Eraserhead is a 1977 weird movie directed by David Lynch and it is one of his most famous films. And yes, it is weird and that is what defines it.

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In heaven, everything is fine

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Eraserhead Movie Review

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I strongly disliked this movie. Everything in it was very annoying and unlikable. It is weird in a negative sense. The story concerns a man who fears parenthood and has nightmares regarding the disfigured baby. And this could have been good, but it is executed poorly and it becomes a disgusting and awfully gross to watch.

The direction from Lynch is pretentious. This movie is as pretentious as they come. The imagery and visuals are the only good points here. And the effects are of course great. But all those technical aspects don’t help much when they created this very unlikable and disgusting world.

The character development in Eraserhead is non-existent. All of the characters are poorly developed and also highly unsympathetic. The acting is nothing to write home about too. Everything in this movie is barely touched upon and underdeveloped. And the running time is also incredibly short, but it may be a good thing here because of the bad quality. I really wanted it to end as quickly as possible how boring, stupid and unlikable it was.

The only good thing here are the technical aspects, of which the cinematography is the highlight. The director really has a knack for black-and-white cinematography and it suits his imagery and sentiment the best.

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Eraserhead Movie Review

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Eraserhead is, it has to be mentioned, boring as it can be. There are many prolonged and dragged sequences that don’t add much to the already short film and those are just tedious and indescribably dull. The whole movie is boring despite its running time which is really saying something.

This is probably his worst film and it is pronounced usually as one of his best which is insane having in mind how ‘The Elephant Man’ has everything this movie doesn’t have a bit and it is a shame to see how he made such a bad film before that classic. And it just adds to show how 1977 is such an incredibly weak year in film. So weak with just a handful of classics.

With a bunch of boring and awfully extended sequences, non-existent character development, so-so acting, many disgusting scenes and with a lack of heart or point to it, Eraserhead is an overrated and definitely a bad film which is visually good and it has great cinematography, but that’s just it. Everything else is highly annoying and unlikable leading to what is probably the director’s worst film.

My Rating – 2

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Alien (1979)

Alien Movie Review

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Alien Movie Review

Alien is a 1979 science fiction horror film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Sigourney Weaver. It is one of the best blockbusters of all time.

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It’s a robot! Ash is a goddamn robot!

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Alien Movie Review

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This is the movie that started it all, not just this franchise, but also the entire sub-genre of horror with aliens and set in space. To me the movie is great because it is such a phenomenal mix of science fiction and slasher horror. The slasher subgenre is usually not great, but here it was executed in the best way possible and there is not a single big flaw I could find in this movie so that is why it gets the perfect rating from me.

The pacing is where this movie shines among other things. It basically has a sci-fi first half and an all-out horror second half and it works wonderfully. I loved how slow paced it was at first as it led to such a perfect build up to exciting, scary action later on. The mystery of the derelict had remained a mystery until it was answered in ‘Prometheus’ and ‘Alien: Covenant’ and I have to say that I loved this movie for being more mysterious and ambiguous in quality. I also loved the more simplistic and elegant approach that led to its timeless appeal.

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Alien Movie Review

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Ripley is one of the best ever female action heroes, there is no denying that. She might even be the very best. She is tough, but believably so as she has her panicky and more human moments here as well. I love her character and she is one of the main reasons why the original series was so great. Sigourney Weaver is naturally awesome in her most famous role and she plays Ripley so well on all levels.

Dallas is the most forgettable member of the crew, but Lambert is pretty solid. I liked how she was more emotional than Ripley and the portrayal of these two very different women was very realistic and a great choice. Brett is just there to die as is Kane, but they aren’t fully disposable and their deaths are felt.

Parker is a memorable character and not just a token black man. He was more realistic than most of these crew members and I liked that. Of course Mother as this computer on the ship is quite memorable, but Ash is one of the best characters here as this android who was ordered to bring the alien specimen back to Earth. The twist reveal was great and unexpected when you watch it for the first time and he is such a phenomenal secondary villain here, so well played by Ian Holm. So Alien definitely has better than average character development for a horror flick.

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Alien Movie Review

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The alien himself is pretty outstanding. Now I could see in one scene that it was a human in a suit playing it, a dancer more specifically, but other times it was much more convincing and for this time those effects were brilliant and almost seamless. It was definitely the best choice for that time and it paid off significantly. It looks great and sounds great and that is why the movie aged like fine wine.

I loved that it was just one Xenomorph here and again that is why this movie is so brilliant and timeless in its simplicity. It posed real threat and only Ripley stopped him and the way she did that was so well executed and perfectly believable. Despite that typical “let’s split” behavior which is so annoying, this horror film is otherwise pretty clever and the characters almost never made mistakes.

The scares are definitely there and are definitely felt. The first half is mysterious and atmospheric in quality and the second one if quite creepy at times with just the right mix of jump scares, atmospheric thrills and monster action. The highlights are the scene where the creature jumps from Kane’s chest and the whole twist ending was definitely unforgettable. I also loved the scenes on the planet with the mysterious alien as well as Xenomorph eggs. And of course Ash’s reveal is pretty awesome too.

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Alien Movie Review

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Alien is beautifully made. The direction from Ridley Scott is outstanding and this is his magnum opus without any doubt. It is magnificently edited and visually arresting with great effects and I loved how the ship looked as well as the alien and the android. It looks awesome for a 1979 film. And of course it sounds great thanks to such a good score and brilliant sound effects that only further heighten the tension. It truly is an undisputed genre classic.

Alien is a timeless masterpiece, the best sci-fi horror film and one of the finest blockbusters of all time. Ash the android is such a great character as is Ripley of course who is so well played by Sigourney Weaver in her most famous role. The film is mysterious and atmospheric in its first half and so intense and creepy in the second half. The direction, acting, story and thrills, brilliant editing and amazing special effects all add to such an unforgettable experience.

My Rating – 5

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The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972)

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie Movie Review

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The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie Movie Review

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie is a 1972 French comedy film directed by Luis Bunuel. It is an overrated, plotless film.

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You’re better suited for making love than for making war

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The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie Movie Review

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This is such a typical Luis Bunuel work and it is one of his weaker ones in my opinion. It shows all of his excesses and problematic qualities in one frustrating package. I get that it has the theme of hypocrisy but it wasn’t executed well at all.

It seemed that it had no plot at all. It was just an excuse to feature a surreal, farcical adventure with a bunch of friends who want to have dinner together but are always interrupted. It had potential as it deals with interesting themes, but only the first act was interesting and the other ones were either dull or annoying.

Some segments worked but others did not. I liked some of the sexual stuff here, but some was frustrating. As for those surreal dream sequences, they were okay, but far from the director’s best. He shows again with this movie that he was great as a short subject director and not as feature director as ‘An Andalusian Dog’ remains his best effort.

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The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie Movie Review

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The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie is well acted and mostly well made, but overlong and frankly boring in some scenes. Its type of humor is so obviously French in its situational and odd comedy and it mostly did not work great. I didn’t smile, let alone laugh, once and thus this is a failure for me as comedies are supposed to make you smile. It received the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and it is not the worst film to get that award, but is one of the weaker ones.

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie is your typical Luis Bunuel film which relies too little on plot and makes no sense for the majority of time. Some segments worked, but most did not and the film was even annoying at times. It is your typical French comedy that isn’t really funny and is rather overrated.

My Rating – 3

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