Blade Runner (1982)

Blade Runner Movie Review

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Blade Runner Movie Review

Blade Runner is a 1982 neo-noir science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Harrison Ford. It is one of the most overrated films from this genre.

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I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe.

Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion.

I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhuser Gate.

All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.

Time to die

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Blade Runner Movie Review

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I have to say that upon second viewing I confirmed my dislike for this film. And I don’t mean dislike in a sense that I hate it. I don’t. It is not a bad movie by all means and it is actually rather solid. But having in mind that it is so acclaimed and is considered to be the best science fiction film of all time along with ‘2001’, I do not consider it nearly as great and I am definitely not a fan of it subjectively speaking.

The main problem here is that it isn’t a science fiction film at its core. It is just as much a neo-noir, if not even more. And that’s a problem for me not only because I prefer pure sci-fi cinema, but also because I just wasn’t a fan of the crime angle here. The action was overwhelming, the storyline was too convoluted and not in a good way and sometimes it felt that the movie was just going through the motions, going from one plot point to another, almost like a video game.

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Blade Runner Movie Review

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Another aspect I dislike is the pandering to men. I dislike eroticism in movies and here everything was done to please the male viewer as you have this giant emphasis on women’s bodies and nightclubs and prostitutes. That took away from my enjoyment of the film as it was not connected and not really necessary for the overall story and almost came as a detour.

Whereas I dislike the neo-noir elements strongly, I love the sci-fi elements in Blade Runner and it truly is a smart film, at least from time to time as it sadly focuses little on those elements or certainly not as much as it needed. The entire idea of these Replicants who have shorter lifespan, but the emotional capacity of humans is excellent and I did see an early shade of ‘Ex Machina’ here. The film explores quite well what it means to be human and the A.I. versus human. That ending is just beautiful, highly emotional and it just leaves your breath away. It’s a shame that the rest of the movie wasn’t as glorious as that finale was.

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Blade Runner Movie Review

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But the characters are quite weak here except for Roy of course who is excellent and so well acted by Rutger Hauer. He’s the standout here. But Rachael is not all that well developed and Rick Deckard is a very boring protagonist. I have never been a fan of Harrison Ford and here he gave a fine performance, but he wasn’t great and a different actor would have been much better for this material.

Blade Runner admittedly has superb technical aspects and that is where it shines honestly. The visuals are mesmerizing and the color palette and the overall design of the buildings and the overall city is highly memorable and the film oozes future in its every scene. It does succeed as a futuristic movie even today, let alone during the eighties. The dialogue is good when it needs to be which is unfortunately rarely as it has too much action and crime in it. The emotional involvement is strong and the score is simply iconic to this point, gorgeous and highly moving and timeless in quality.

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Blade Runner Movie Review

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Now I can confirm that upon second viewing I am still not a fan of Blade Runner and it is one of only a few acclaimed science fiction films which I deem to be very overrated. Certainly the score is highly iconic, the visuals are mesmerizing, the sci-fi elements are great and its ending is simply remarkable and immensely moving in its score and emotion. But unfortunately the rest of the movie is not as great with an unfortunate emphasis on neo-noir instead of science fiction. The crime elements are weak here, the action is overwhelming, the characters are mostly bland and boring and the film is mostly just a blockbuster masquerading as serious science fiction when it is regrettably intellectual just in a couple of scenes.

My Rating – 3.5

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Predator 2 (1990)

Predator 2 Movie Review

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Predator 2 Movie Review

Predator 2 is a 1990 science fiction action film starring Danny Glover. It is the second entry in the Predator franchise.

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It’s all right! I’m a cop!

I don’t think he gives a shit!

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Predator 2 Movie Review

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I actually liked this sequel. It isn’t a great film and certainly the original is so much better, but it is a pretty solid film nonetheless that surprised me how fun it ended up being. It surely deserves its cult status as the critics were overly harsh to it in the first place. Again it is nothing great, but as sequels go, it is above average.

The movie at first annoyed me as the first act was very frustrating as it started abruptly and Jamaicans and Colombians were pitted against each other in the streets of Los Angeles in the near future. That felt entirely unrealistic, stupid and not to mention racist. Also, I wasn’t the biggest fan of taking the action to the streets in the first place.

But I eventually warmed up to the idea as it felt different from the original and I guess having a jungle again would have been repetitive and rehashed. But because the city was so well utilized for its action, the end result was quite solid and worthy. The movie was a bit too violent, but I liked how this Predator was again very competent and such a great villain.

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Predator 2 Movie Review

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The characters and actors are forgettable besides Danny Glover of course who is very good in the lead role and honestly a surprisingly solid substitution for Arnold Schwarzenegger. He was a bit too heroic and competent, but again that is necessary if you want to take on this creature and he did fight him really well and the final third was honestly very entertaining and I loved it. It certainly made the movie much better than it would have been without it.

Predator 2 has some great action scenes. Not as inventive or as fun as in the first movie, but still pretty solid and again his gadgets are very well utilized in the fights. But let’s talk about that very interesting, thought-provoking even ending.

So he found his way into the creatures’ spaceship and after killing the Predator in a great fight, others arrive to take his body and they give him a pistol as a trophy. That reminded me a bit too much of how Arnie was deemed worthy and thus spared in the original, but it still worked here and it was a great scene as it showed us that the Predators have been hunting humans on earth for at least three centuries as the pistol is from 1715. That was interesting as well as the Xenomorph skull Easter egg which showed us that they have been killing them as well. A lot of interesting hints were given here.

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Predator 2 Movie Review

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Predator 2 is weakly paced and again the film is so uneven as some parts work stupendously but others felt either racist or annoying or even dated. The police was forgettable as were those gangs and those humans who wanted to use the Predator for his weapons were overly typically in their goal. But the film is quite entertaining and even intriguing at times that it does succeed as a pretty solid sequel in the end.

Predator 2 is very annoying in its first act. The war on the streets felt stupid, unrealistic and even racist. And the setting of Los Angeles was unappealing to me at first. Eventually, I warmed up to this idea as the city got utilized in the action scenes so well. Danny Glover is very good as the hero here and the final act was excellent and very intriguing in its imagery and Easter eggs. So it is in the end a flawed, but definitely quite a solid, fun sequel.

My Rating – 3.5

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Predator (1987)

Predator Movie Review

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Predator Movie Review

Predator is a 1987 science fiction action film directed by John McTiernan and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. It is such a good, memorable action flick.

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You’re one ugly motherfucker!

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Predator Movie Review

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I loved that the film revolved around an Central American jungle as that was a very good, interesting setting for an action film. The plot is simple, but good. The men get taken down one by one by an extraterrestrial creature. Now the main reason why I really enjoyed the film lies in its structure. So it basically follows an action video game structure where you have a lot of the stealth elements, many fights and even with the full-on boss fight at the end. A very interesting choice that paid off significantly.

So let’s talk about the characters. They are the weakest part of Predator, I have to say. Very weak, underdeveloped and basically disposable. The protagonist is your typical Arnold Schwarzenegger macho guy and he is so underutilized and we do not learn anything about him. I liked how smart he is along with being physically strong, but still he was shallow even for the genre standards and I continue not being a fan of Arnold’s acting.

Carl Weathers is much better, but even his character is boring. Anna is memorable, but typical. I also liked Billy Sole and the film is interesting for being very diverse as it has two African Americans and even one Native American in its cast. Mac is the best of the bunch as a relatably scared member of the team and he got some really moving moments.

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Predator Movie Review

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But this is all about the Predator and he is the most unforgettable part of the film. I love this creature. Now the Xenomorph from ‘Alien’ is still much more original and even more formidable an opponent in my opinion, but Predator is interesting for being an extraterrestrial human and not an animal while also strongly relying on technology. His gadgets are a lot of fun and so well utilized, I liked his “ugly motherfucker” face and of course his vision is so great. All of the thermal sensor scenes were my favorites as they so effectively built up suspense.

Now Predator does have a less memorable first act, but the second and third ones are great. There is too much action here and not enough calmer moments, but still this is as great of an action film as they come as the action is exhilarating in quality and so perfectly executed almost in every scene.

The highlight is definitely the ending. It was a prolonged fight, but very well choreographed and very well thought out as the two tried to best each other with incredibly entertaining results. I loved how smart the protagonist’s tactics were, but still not too smart and the film ended really well. The action was also realistic as one Predator couldn’t have possibly killed all of these people and he did get hurt and eventually killed.

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Predator Movie Review

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The film is so well filmed and its jungle setting is a lot of fun and perfectly used for bigger suspense. I also thought that the film was mostly very lean and deft in direction and pacing. The score is also excellent, very effective and memorable. So I liked this movie much more upon my second viewing and it truly was a great start for the franchise and it gave us an unforgettable alien creature.

Predator has very weak and underutilized characters, but apart from that, it is actually as great of an action film as you can possibly get. The jungle setting is used to great effect, the score is memorable and the action sequences are so well thought out and all are a lot of fun and exhilarating in quality. Its action video game structure is interesting and the standout is of course the creature himself who is unforgettable and so well imagined with his look and his many gadgets and weapons.

My Rating – 4

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Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)

Planes, Trains and Automobiles Movie Review

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Planes, Trains and Automobiles Movie Review

Planes, Trains and Automobiles is a 1987 comedy film directed by John Hughes and starring Steve Martin and John Candy. It is one of the decade’s finest comedies.

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You wanna hurt me? Go right ahead if it makes you feel any better.

I’m an easy target. Yeah, you’re right, I talk too much. I also listen too much.

I could be a cold-hearted cynic like you… but I don’t like to hurt people’s feelings.

Well, you think what you want about me; I’m not changing.

I like… I like me. My wife likes me. My customers like me.

‘Cause I’m the real article. What you see is what you get

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Planes, Trains and Automobiles Movie Review

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Two guys sharing time together during their prolonged trip home where they have problems with each mode of transportation is a very simple, yet ingenious idea for a movie executed superbly here. This is basically a toad trip film, but much deeper than most of the similar flicks.

John Hughes surely is one of my favorite directors, but I was pleasantly surprised to witness that he was as great at an adult comedy as much as he was great at teen movies. It’s a shame that he didn’t do more of such movies, but at least what we got here is a classic for the ages.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles is a funny movie, at times even hilarious. Its humor is subtle and great and the kind of humor which relies on situations and facial expressions and I love that. The actors did most of the heavy lifting here, but the humor is also great thanks to such a smart script and truly terrific dialogue, courtesy of Hughes of course.

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Planes, Trains and Automobiles Movie Review

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Steve Martin is phenomenal here and this is probably his best role ever. I am usually not a fan of him, but here he was so relatable and even funny and a great dramatic counteract to Candy who is also excellent here and better than usual. The film made me love these two actors whom I usually did not like and that is a testament of how great it truly is. Their dynamic is gold and their chemistry is absolutely terrific. This is a great example of how comedic performances can be just as strong and should be just as treasured as the dramatic ones.

But the movie is great because it also has a lot of heart at its core. The ending is lovely, but most of the scenes between the two really were terrific and some were heartfelt such as Candy’s honest speech about his personality. The two counteract each other so well as they are so different, but I still could see how they would become friends so I bought that plot progression even though it was typical. The film counteracts the comedic scenes with some great dramatic stuff so well and that is why it is such a classic.

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Planes, Trains and Automobiles Movie Review

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Now the movie is not without its flaws. Some of the scenes in the second half, mostly in the car, and that extended action scene were not as interesting as the rest of the film and the ending is naturally too emotional. Sweet, but emotional. And of course the realization that Del doesn’t have a family or a house came as no shock to me as it was quite obvious. But the movie is so well paced, directed and really well scored that it ultimately rendered those minor flaws unimportant.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles is a rare 80’s comedy that really works and that truly is a classic for the ages. John Hughes gave us a different movie than usual for him here and thus proved his greatness, but Martin and Candy’s performances are also top-notch as is the excellent dialogue and script which balances the humor with a lot of drama and heart. Nifty and thoroughly pleasing, touching and funny, this film certainly is a genre gem.

My Rating – 4.5

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Aliens (1986)

Aliens Movie Review

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Aliens Movie Review

Aliens is a 1986 science fiction action horror film directed by James Cameron and starring Sigourney Weaver. It is a good, but far from great sequel.

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Get away from her, you bitch!

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Aliens Movie Review

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First, I’ll state the positives. I really liked the film’s emotional approach. It made the movie quite relatable and very touching in certain scenes. The choice to basically give Ripley a new daughter after she’d lost her own really paid off in terms of characterization and emotion. Ripley here is at her best and this is one of the best action heroes of all time as she is badass, but also human evidenced by her post-traumatic stress disorder and at first unwillingness to go back.

Sigourney Weaver killed it here and entirely deserved her Oscar nomination. She truly became Ripley and cemented her status as a strong action heroine in the process, in my opinion the strongest one ever. I really liked Newt as she’s such a cute, yet also brave and capable kid and the interactions between the two were wonderful.

Vasquez is underdeveloped, but quite funny at times and quite memorable as this butch private. I really liked how they made Bishop a hero now as Ash was the villain in ‘Alien’ and having the android be the villain again would have been repetitive. But Burke just isn’t all that compelling as the new villain, though solid for sure.

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Aliens Movie Review

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There are a lot of memorable scenes to be had in Aliens. I naturally loved the line “Get away from her, you bitch!” That scene stole the show and Weaver’s delivery is priceless. I also really liked the portrayal of the queen, very memorable and it led to more world building for the series and was honestly a natural choice given the creature’s design and reproduction.

So Aliens is a good film, very good indeed. But what is it that leads to it not being great? Well, in short the answer is two words – James Cameron. Let me explain. I have never been a fan of this director and this movie really cements that feeling for me. I love the Alien franchise and this movie would have been great with any other director, but Cameron brought his typical approach to it and ruined it in my opinion.

I am talking about the action. It is just overwhelming. The choice to turn an Alien film into action and not horror film was not a particularly good one in the first place and the execution is even worse. There are some great action set pieces here, for sure. But whereas the original film was so calm and thus all the more effective, this one is overly bombastic and the second half is just ridiculously fast paced and filled with spectacle. It definitely ruined the suspense and enjoyment for me.

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Aliens Movie Review

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I also found its first half a bit too long and slow. It was prolonged in order to strengthen the character development, but they weren’t all that successful with it given that we only have a couple of well developed, strong characters here. The ending is also ridiculously rehashed from the first film. The editing is surely not the greatest and I don’t know why the Academy nominated it. As for its other six nominations, they are all pretty much deserved as the effects are definitely terrific, but I thought the score wasn’t as memorable this time around.

It seems that Mr. Cameron thought that bigger is better evidenced by this film’s overabundance of action scenes whereas the original was so wonderfully restrained in that department. And that is why I honestly cannot comprehend how anyone could deem Aliens to be better than Alien. It does have an excellent performance from Sigourney Weaver and Ripley here is at her strongest, I love Newt and their relationship brought a lot of heart to the film which also features some memorable scenes and funny lines. It is a good film, but it just never reached the greatness that its predecessor reached and Cameron is to blame of course.

My Rating – 4

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Gandhi (1982)

Gandhi Movie Review

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Gandhi Movie Review

Gandhi is a 1982 historical biographical film about India’s leader Mohandas Gandhi, it is directed by Richard Attenborough and it won Best Picture in 1983.

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The only devils in the world are those

running around in our own hearts,

and that is where all our battles ought to be fought

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Gandhi Movie Review

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This is the film that, like ‘Chariots of Fire’ the year before, won Best Picture and did not deserve that at all. This is the story that is of course important and always relevant, but the major problem I have with it is of course the extended running time. There is no need for 3 hours here and it highlights how the movies that win Oscars are usually very long which is super frustrating and needless. It starts off great but it quickly gets boring, repetitive and simply tiresome.

The character development is weak here, except for the main character understandably, not one of them stands out. And the direction and of course the editing and pacing are incredibly troublesome. As is the plot development and characterization.

But, why I think that, unlike ‘Chariots of Fire’, Gandhi is nonetheless not a mediocre movie? Well, largely of course due to incredible Ben Kingsley who is masterful in the role, he literally embodied and became the man. And all of the performances are good. I especially liked the character development of Gandhi in that he is not portrayed as a God-like figure, but a human with his troubles and problems and that is crucial to his character’s success along with of course Kingsley’s powerhouse performance. Also, the first act with about 40 minutes or so is absolutely excellent and very engaging and well done. It is interesting to watch and an incredible history lesson and an origin to the movement. It is unfortunate that it all went downhill afterwards when it clearly started off incredibly strong with a lot to offer. The movie turned out definitely disappointing because it had a lot of potential.

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Gandhi Movie Review

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The first act is very good and the character development of the lead character is superb along with a powerhouse performance from Ben Kingsley, but Gandhi nevertheless ends up being an incredibly disappointing and troublesome film because the editing and pacing are problematic due to unnecessarily long running time, the film is incredibly boring and tedious afterwards and it all just went downhill after the first half which is a real shame because it could have been a great film. It is all a solid and watchable fare, but very flawed and problematic nevertheless.

My Rating – 3

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Chariots of Fire (1981)

Chariots of Fire Movie Review

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Chariots of Fire Movie Review

Chariots of Fire is a 1981 sports drama film and Best Picture winner for the year.

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If I can’t win, I won’t run

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Chariots of Fire Movie Review

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This film is incredibly mediocre, I have to be honest. And boring as it can be. This is why the Oscars are a big joke. This film actually won Best Picture. That is ridiculous. In an incredibly weak year for movies and 1981 is definitely one of the weakest, Chariots of Fire is one of the most forgettable as well.

The story is simplistic, clichéd and everything you would expect from an Oscar bait. It consists of boring dialogues and even more tedious running. I literally wanted to fall asleep because it was dreadfully dull from start to finish.

The characters don’t help. They are so one dimensional and so thin and flat that you do not care for any one of them. The same can be said for acting which is nothing to write home about.

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Chariots of Fire Movie Review

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As for the technical side, it is the only saving grace here. The direction, the cinematography are all okay, but the score is of course iconic with a theme that is not only catchy and easily recognizable, but also one of the most memorable and finest scores ever in a film. I wish a better and worthy film would have gotten this treatment with this superb soundtrack.

With boring and flat characters, uninspired and weak story, awfully boring and dreadfully dull tone and overall bad approach, Chariots of Fire is a joke of a Best Picture winner and one of the worst ever to win the ‘coveted’ award. It is solidly made and the score is absolutely terrific with an extraordinary theme, but everything else in this movie falls apart, it is tedious to watch and it is one of the most overrated films of the eighties that proves how incredibly weak dramas were in this decade.

My Rating – 2.5

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The Last Emperor (1987)

The Last Emperor Movie Review

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The Last Emperor Movie Review

The Last Emperor is a 1987 biographical film directed by Bernardo Bertolucci and it won nine Academy Awards including Best Picture.

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This isn’t a school; it’s a prison. A real prison

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The Last Emperor Movie Review

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This is another 1980s Best Picture winner that not only did not deserve the honor, but it also is not a good film, rather a mediocre one. It is better than ‘Chariots of Fire’, but it is worse than ‘Gandhi’.  This is another not so much relevant story that spans decades and that is told in three hour long running time which is again totally unnecessary.

The characters are forgettable and the acting is literally nothing to write home about. But the tone and pacing is so slow and the movie is definitely incredibly boring and dreadfully uninteresting. I literally almost fell asleep watching it. Nothing ever happens, nothing interesting or mildly intriguing and that is why it was a total waste of time.

Granted, the technical aspects are solid here. The cinematography is good, but the production design is of course excellent and quite remarkable as is the costume design. However, the direction and of course the editing is pretty mediocre and does not stand out.

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The Last Emperor Movie Review

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This movie is not only overlong and tedious, but also too incredibly old-fashioned and dated in its approach which is just too casual and straightforward. There is no energy or investment shown here, not to mention that the character development is awfully weak and the emotions are not present at all. The message and point here also escaped me leaving me to the conclusion that this a cold, pointless movie without a doubt.

The Last Emperor has good production and costume design, but great technical aspects do not make movies good. The story is boring, the tone is tedious, the character development is literally non-existent, the emotional investment is definitely lacking, the running time is expectedly overblown, the direction and acting are nothing to write home about and the film lacks any message, point, emotion and energy in its execution whatsoever. It is again a testament to how bad Academy’s choices were in this decade leading to what is arguably an overrated, overlong and dreadfully uninteresting movie that is best to be forgotten.

My Rating – 3

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Out of Africa (1985)

Out of Africa Movie Review

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Out of Africa Movie Review

Out of Africa is a 1985 Oscar-winning period drama film directed by Sydney Pollack and starring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford in the lead roles.

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Perhaps he knew, as I did not, that the Earth was made round

so that we would not see too far down the road

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Out of Africa Movie Review

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This movie is again all the same as with ‘Chariots of Fire’, an overhyped and awarded film when it actually didn’t deserve any of the awards. The story is so typical, standard and without any lack of charm, passion or energy in its awful execution and direction. Everything moves at awfully slow pace with weak editing and it is never ever interesting or engaging to watch.

The characters are so-so and the acting is fine, but both of the actors have given much better performances. They never do anything spectacular here that would earn them nominations. Plus Streep is incredibly annoying with her fake and overly theatrical Danish accent. And unfortunately the movie did not know to make use of its setting as well. There are some interesting sequences with the lions, but unfortunately they never used Africa as much as they should have.

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Out of Africa Movie Review

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The movie has good technical aspects, there is no doubt about that. The cinematography is absolutely splendid as is the costume design and of course the beautiful scenery. Also the score is quite remarkable with a very beautiful music throughout the whole film that evokes natural imagery in the head. Unfortunately, all the technicalities are spent on this mediocre story and boring characters when in reality it did not deserve this treatment which again draws comparisons to ‘Chariots of Fire’. I have to compare the two constantly because I cannot emphasize enough how the Academy screwed this entire decade. And yes, the dramas were incredibly weak in the eighties but there are still those that deserved it a lot more than such films like these two. It is a shame that they chose them as winners and I think that they have definitely been regretting those decisions ever since.

Out of Africa has magnificent cinematography, beautiful music and great scenery, but it is in the end a very mediocre film thanks to a boring story, tedious characters, annoying Streep’s accent and a lack of any energy and charm in its execution and direction. Consequently, it did not deserve Best Picture, it did not deserve any of its nominations besides the technical ones and it nowadays has the critics ratings it deserved to have at the very first place because it really is a mediocre film.

My Rating – 2.5

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Platoon (1986)

Platoon Movie Review

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Platoon Movie Review

Platoon is a 1986 Vietnam war film directed by Oliver Stone. The movie is one of the most famous of the type and it got Best Picture.

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Excuses are like assholes, Taylor, everybody got one

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Platoon Movie Review

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It follows one platoon in the Vietnam war and as the story, it is very weak. The film is obsessed with action, there is action sequence after action sequence and it quickly gets annoying. It should have gone into some war themes instead of that.

Also the realism of the film in terms of violence is excellent because it shows the truth, but is nonetheless very appalling and impossible to watch at times. And as for the characters, they are so-so and pretty underdeveloped and it definitely is a flaw. The film should have had good characterization and some themes and dialogue in order to be successful.

The scenes with all the characters just relaxing and having fun, while too long and even serving as a detour, are the highlight here bringing some necessary character development and heart which the rest of the film fails to bring. And one thing I noticed is how both whites and blacks get along well and the scenes with them hugging not only show the friendship but also serve as a powerful message against racism which is subtle and that is great. Hollywood should take notes from this film and they should make more films like this, just showing the races interacting together in a positive manner instead of making biographical and historical films about racism. This is way more powerful, subtle and professional. That is the biggest praise I can give to this movie.

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Platoon Movie Review

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As for the acting, it is solid, but nothing quite remarkable as is the direction. The editing is okay as is the cinematography, but nothing from the technical aspects screams excellent and nothing stands out which is problematic.

It got Best Picture but it did not deserve it because as this type of film goes, ‘The Deer Hunter’ and ‘Full Metal Jacket’ are a lot better films that are superior in almost everything.

Platoon has some nice character interactions and it is realistic and grounded in its approach, but it lacks character development, it lacks any plot and themes and message whatsoever, it is not that well made and it is all around a very disappointing, overrated and lackluster films that is also immensely inferior to some other great Vietnam war movies.

My Rating – 3

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