Whisper of the Heart (1995)

Whisper of the Heart Movie Review

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Whisper of the Heart Movie Review

Whisper of the Heart is a 1995 romantic drama anime film directed by Yoshifumi Kondo. It is one of the best films that Studio Ghibli has to offer and one of my personal favorites.

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It’s not easy to live your own way. You can’t blame anyone but yourself

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Whisper of the Heart Movie Review

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Let’s first talk about the story. The movie is interesting for being one of the rare Ghibli films with no fantasy elements whatsoever. The Baron fantasy sequences were actually figments of imagination of the main character. They are fantastical, but not real. Still, those were wonderful and they complimented the storyline really well. They are a textbook example of how animation can sometimes suit the genre of drama much better than its live-action counterpart.

This is a wonderful movie which is exceedingly romantic and sweet. I just adored it and watching it was such a beautiful experience for me. The romance between the two is exceptional and it develops at the perfect pace. The entire story with how they meet and how they were reading the same books was just so romantic and wonderful that I ate it up.

But whereas Whisper of the Heart succeeds incredibly as a teen romance, it succeeds even more as a pure drama. And what drama this is! Honestly, this was the deepest and most thought-provoking film I’ve seen in quite a while. I saw this movie around five years ago, but I am more mature now, so I respect it much more upon second viewing.

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Whisper of the Heart Movie Review

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I am currently at the most unpredictable and dangerous moment in my life. I am trying to find a job online, but it is moving at a slow progression and I am very anxious about finishing faculty so this movie was just perfect for me. I watched it at the most perfect time possible and thus I connected with its characters enormously.

It is a very smart, incredibly sophisticated story about two teenagers who chase their dreams but are yet not ready for a job. The line from Shizuko’s father about high school was pitch-perfect in its honesty and truthfulness – you can follow a different path than the default one given to you by your country and the entire world, but that path is going to be incredibly difficult and it is in the end not worth it. It is a sad, terrible truth that the movie made clear and with that I am struggling in my life right now.

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Whisper of the Heart Movie Review

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And another great line is how wanting to do something is not the same as preparing constantly and bettering yourself so that you can manage to get that job and secure your future. Life is difficult and getting a job and growing up is so hard and Whisper of the Heart gets that and is probably the most honest teen movie out of all of them as it teaches us those great messages in a very urgent manner.

Let’s finally talk about these characters, these great characters. Surely the parents are sweet and respectful and Yuko is a great friend to our main heroine, but honestly this movie is mostly just about Shizuko and Seiji and that was great. It’s a phenomenal chamber drama in a way. He is at first a bit too unlikable in a forced way, but he became much more likable and sweet later on and of course their relationship is very strong and heartwarming.

But Shizuko is amazing and I loved her. She is one of Ghibli’s finest heroines as she is so well developed and although a good girl, she isn’t overly kind and she seemed very realistic to me. Her troubles are so well established and her interactions with everyone were top-notch, but it is her love for books that was awesome to witness, her wild imagination was beautiful and her constant struggle with herself and her own dreams led to such a terrific character development and complex dilemmas.

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Whisper of the Heart Movie Review

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Whisper of the Heart is gorgeously animated! The character animation and designs are nothing spectacular, but the landscapes are excellent and for once we got a Ghibli movie set in a city. That was refreshing to see and Tokyo is perfectly animated. I loved that final scene which was gorgeous and of course the antique toy shop is the visual highlight as it is superbly detailed and immensely charming. The movie is not fantastical, but it compensates that with an astonishing attention to detail to everyday objects and the city itself.

The movie is superbly voice cast and the acting was excellent. Yoko Honna was just marvelous in a great role. As I said before, the dialogue is phenomenal and the script itself is absolutely spectacular. It favors drama and emotion over spectacle and fun and that was very refreshing. It is in line with ‘Only Yesterday’ as these two are two realistic, contemporary dramas rarely seen in animation and both are some of my favorites from the studio, both honestly quite underrated.

I do realize that the final scene was a bit too sentimental and it surely was overly emotional, but I still liked it, especially for its gorgeous setting and animation. The score is fantastic and Take Me Home, Country Roads is one my favorite songs of all time and seeing how it was a perfect theme for the movie only further strengthened my love for it.

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Whisper of the Heart Movie Review

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The fantastical sequences should have been shorter and sometimes the movie struggled with its pacing, but it was mostly top-notch in terms of both technical aspects and story/characters/emotion. I loved the shop and the cat, the grandpa was wonderful and my favorite scenes were the ones in the antique shop and the library. A very charming, atmospheric movie this is.

With superb character development and one of the studio’s finest heroines, wonderful animation fueled by a meticulous attention to detail, a perfect use of one of my favorite songs and a top-notch script, Whisper of the Heart truly is one of the best Ghibli movies and one of my personal favorites as I connected with it on so many levels. Thematically rich and incredibly smart and truthful in dialogue and its statements, the movie speaks to me on a personal level. Gorgeous in its romance and deep in its drama, you just can’t get a better animated teen drama than this one.

My Rating – 4.5

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Underground (1995)

Underground Movie Review……………………………………………………………….

Underground Movie Review

Underground is a 1995 comedy drama film directed by Emir Kusturica and starring Miki Manojlovic, Lazar Ristovski and Mirjana Jokovic. It is a pretty solid, yet overrated movie.

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Once upon a time… there was a country…

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Underground Movie Review……………………………………………………………….

Underground (or Podzemlje in Serbian) follows an epic story between two friends and it follows Yugoslav history from the beginning of World War II until the beginning of Yugoslav Wars. With this movie, my opinion of Kusturica continues to be the same – he is an incredibly talented filmmaker and even an artist, but he just couldn’t quite make a movie work as a whole. Underground is impressive in its ambition, but that also proved to be its downfall as he just couldn’t realize the whole movie in the best way. The result is a film that is sometimes quite inspired and even artistic, but sometimes quite excessive and ridiculous.

I liked the characters and although they were too crazy, at least they were memorable. Ivan is too goofy, yet very likable. Natalija is unlikable, but well developed. And Petar and Marko are over-the-top, but certainly memorable. The performances here are very good with Lazar Ristovski and Miki Manojlovic delivering the best ones.

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Underground Movie Review……………………………………………………………….

Now, as I said before, Underground is just overly excessive in its ridiculousness. That is why its success as a black comedy is questionable and it succeeds much more as an epic war drama. Some of its over-the-top craziness was fun and some scenes definitely made me laugh and were one of the kind, but most were too silly and just too much.

But the film is worth seeing and experiencing for a couple of sequences that are just jaw-dropping in their beauty and authenticity. For one, the character’s realization when out of the bunker that Yugoslavia is no more was just heartbreaking to witness as you could see the sadness in his eyes. That scene was beyond tragic and unforgettable. I loved the first scenes of the movie at the zoo as they perfectly hooked me in the story. I really liked those crazy sex scenes. And of course I loved its imaginative ending which was just beautiful to behold. Watching all of the friends and family, both living and dead, on some sort of separated island celebrate a wedding was emotional and actually a very original, fittingly surreal way to end the film.

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Underground Movie Review……………………………………………………………….

Underground is more style over substance, but what style this is. Of course the pacing isn’t great as the film is very long and it is difficult to edit plus his first cut was even longer, but his direction is very good and sometimes quite inspired plus the acting is excellent. I loved the cinematography here as some shots were brilliant and some of the imagery was unforgettable and very authentic. There are actually a lot of the scenes that are memorable here and that is why the film succeeds. It is very diverse, different and crazy that it stays with you. The emotion is strong and although I would have strengthened the relationships between the characters more, they were still fine and the film is very ambitious in presenting the history of the country through decades using quite memorable historical footage. I also found its dialogue to be very good, excessive once again, but memorable and sometimes very realistic with a couple of hilarious lines. All in all, it is overrated and not the director’s best, but still a solid and ambitious, if not entirely successful experiment.

Underground is style over substance and Kusturica was too much influenced by Fellini. The direction is strong, the acting is also very good, some of the scenery and shots are unforgettable and the film is admirably ambitious, but its ambition was also its downfall as it is a very uneven work with some inspired and even artistic scenes, but many too ridiculous and over-the-top moments. Because the film is so epic, ambitious and sometimes unforgettable in a couple of very authentic sequences, it succeeds, but it is still uneven, flawed, too excessive and frankly overrated.

My Rating – 3.5

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Pocahontas (1995)

Pocahontas Movie Review……………………………………………………………………….

Pocahontas Movie Review

Pocahontas is a 1995 animated historical musical romance that is the 33rd Disney animated feature film. It is a pretty good and underrated Disney entry.

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Still I cannot see if the savage one is me.

How can there be so much that you don’t know?

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Pocahontas Movie Review……………………………………………………………………….

The film follow a Native American woman named Pocahontas and her encounter with Englishman John Smith as he and the other settlers arrive on the continent in search of gold. The story itself I really liked and I realize the criticism leveled at it in terms of historical inaccuracy and that is valid. However, that is usual for Disney films and that’s why I didn’t find it that problematic. The lack of humor is definitely troublesome, but I mostly liked that the film is so serious and mostly realistic as we haven’t really seen a real historical Disney flick before. There aren’t that many fantastical elements here and I liked that. It succeeds as a period piece in my opinion and of course as a musical, but it doesn’t quite succeed as a romance, but more on its songs and romance later.

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Pocahontas Movie Review……………………………………………………………………….

Let’s talk about the characters. Pocahontas herself is quite boring to be honest. In fact, she is one of the dullest Disney princesses because she’s just so underdeveloped and somewhat forgettable. I liked her playful nature at first, but then she was too serious later. She is a tough and respectable female character, but that is also a problem as she was to me a bit too great and flawless.

As for John Smith, he is much more realistic and memorable than her and although far from great, he is definitely solid. And now is the perfect time to talk about their relationship. Well, it is both good and bad. It is great for being somewhat realistic and more serious than usual for Disney and I just loved that they didn’t end up together and this is the only somewhat sad ending in a Disney movie which is very commendable. However, the two lack chemistry which is evident from their first scene and they just needed more spark and fun in their scenes together.

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Governor Ratcliffe is a somewhat typical Disney villain who is obese, ugly and obsessed with gold, but I mostly liked him, especially how he mostly satisfied as the bad guy. Chief Powhatan is a strong, if underutilized figure, Thomas is pretty good and very likable, Nakoma is sympathetic as Pocahontas’s friend and Kocoum was annoying to me. Grandmother Willow is such a wonderful motherly presence and a rare, but strong fantastical inclusion here. As for the animal sidekicks, they are quite frankly not great. Flit didn’t get much to do and Meeko was oaky, but his scenes with Percy the pug went on for too long. This is the movie that didn’t need animal sidekicks and these two are cute, but totally unnecessary and disappointing in humor.

Pocahontas benefits from some gorgeous animation. I do get why some people may not like this movie, but nobody really can deny its artistic and musical merits. And the animation is one of its strongest suits. The colors are so pleasant and very authentic as we’ve never really seen the use of red so much before. The movie looks fluid and sometimes even poetic, especially during some of the musical sequences. The character design is pretty good and the humans look quite solid and realistic.

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Pocahontas Movie Review……………………………………………………………………….

And the reason why Pocahontas entirely succeeds as a musical film is because it has such an awesome soundtrack with excellent songs as well as a terrific score. The Virginia Company is so cool! It is the song that I picked upon only upon my third viewing, but I now realize how incredibly catchy and wonderfully fitting to its time period it is. This movie definitely benefits from a strong attention to detail as it looks and sounds like 17th century and Steady as the Beating Drum is another strong case for it.

Listen with Your Heart is intriguing and well scored, but If I Never Knew You is boring and I just strongly dislike Mine, Mine, Mine and it’s the only mediocre song here. But of the big three, all are pretty good. Just Around the Riverbend is a bit overrated to me, but its sequence is so well constructed and it serves as a very good plot device. Savages is phenomenal. It is one of the darkest and purely evil songs in the Disney canon thanks to some really striking words. It is such a great villain song. I really liked the reprises of all of the songs too.

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Pocahontas Movie Review……………………………………………………………………….

But of course the highlight has to be Colors of the Wind. This is undoubtedly one of my favorite and one of the best Disney songs of all time! The scene alone is gorgeous both in its animation and in its poetic feel. The lyrics are just beautiful and it has such a strong environmental message as well as being a great plea for tolerance and a good case against ignorance. But it is also beautifully sung by Judy Kuhn and it’s such a catchy, moving and grand musical number.

As I said before, the score is also great. In fact, it might just be better than the songs as it is that good! The Colors of the Wind theme at the end is just breathtaking and it propels that scene to even higher levels. Speaking of that scene, I adore it and it’s to me one of the finest ever Disney endings. Nobody died and the conflict was stopped, but Pocahontas and John Smith say goodbye to each other and that was definitely such a sad moment. But watching her run to the cliff and then say goodbye using her Native American hand language and seeing him use it too was just beautiful and the fact that it was followed by that perfect score and gorgeous animation just adds to its incredible quality. I also really liked the use of nature in this film and how the leaves flew by in this scene. I thought that said movement was a bit overused before, but in this scene it worked to its fullest advantage.

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Pocahontas Movie Review……………………………………………………………………….

The cinematography is excellent, the pacing is a bit slow, but thankfully the movie wasn’t boring, at least not to me. The voice acting is quite good, but the humor is very weak as I stated before and it’s one of the movie’s biggest detractors. But I really liked its time period and setting along with its protagonist. It is very rare for a Hollywood film to revolve around Native Americans and I found Pocahontas to be very respectable of these people as they were very well portrayed. And I loved that it didn’t take sides as it showed how hostile both groups were to one another. It is quite artistic at times and mostly quite sophisticated, if a bit too straightforward at times. Its emotion is evident and strong, but the dialogue should have been better. And of course its message is important and well conveyed. In the end, it isn’t one of the strongest Disney movies and it is weak when compared to most of the other Renaissance entries, but it is still a pretty good, respectable feature that is definitely underrated.

Pocahontas is at times overly serious, its humor is quite weak, the use of animal sidekicks is mediocre and the characterization overall isn’t the greatest, but I still find it to be a pretty good, sometimes even admirable film that is quite underrated as well. Its animation is just gorgeous and at times even artistic and contributing greatly to a somewhat poetic quality to the movie. It succeeds as an interesting period piece, but mostly as a great musical as the songs are amazing, the score is just terrific and it has one of the best ever Disney endings in a scene that is so powerful and breathtaking.

My Rating – 4

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The Pebble and the Penguin (1995)

The Pebble and the Penguin Movie Review……………………………………………………………………….

The Pebble and the Penguin Review

The Pebble and the Penguin is a 1995 animated musical comedy film directed by Don Bluth. It is one of his weaker, but not the weakest entry.

It follows the mating rituals of Adelie penguins in Antarctica. The plot itself is a strange mix of musical and buddy comedy and it doesn’t particularly succeed in any of those genres. It is a so-so film that is far from bad, but also far from particularly good and is just in the middle. That is why it is still far from Don Bluth’s worst works as both ‘A Troll in Central Park’ and ‘Rock-a-Doodle‘ are definitely worse movies than The Pebble and the Penguin.
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You’re either the greatest romantic hero of all time…
or you’re the stupidest penguin who’s ever lived!
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The Pebble and the Penguin Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………………..
Hubie is such an annoying creation. Wow, he really got on my nerves. And having in mind that he is the main character, that certainly was troublesome. Rocko is much better and some of his humor was solid, but unfortunately their relationship and most of their interactions felt derivative and not at all inspired. Marina is boring and all female penguins here are stupid and are just reduced to a love interest status. And Drake has his moments, but is mostly a forgettable villain. Jim Belushi and Tim Curry are the highlights of the cast as they were quite memorable in their roles.
 
The Pebble and the Penguin continues the tradition of well animated Don Bluth works. Yes, it is weaker than usual, but still the colors are nice and some of the sequences are even beautiful with the underwater ones naturally being the standouts. The character design of some of the characters, especially female and villain penguins, felt odd to me. But the movie is mostly good looking and pleasant.
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 The Pebble and the Penguin Movie Review………………………………………………………………………. 
The film as a musical is so-so as most of its songs are forgettable. Forgettable, but not dull as they were much better than some of his previous efforts. The Good Ship Misery is okay I guess as a villain song, but it is seriously lacking in terms of lasting appeal. And the others are not even worth mentioning about. But of course the highlight has to be Now and Forever which is easily the finest song here and the only one that is truly good. It’s such a good, even underrated song that greatly benefited from Barry Manilow’s involvement, catchy lyrics and such a phenomenal opening sequence accompanying it. That opening is easily the finest scene in the movie.
 
The Pebble and the Penguin admittedly succeeds as a children’s movie and it has that nostalgic quality to it which even I who hasn’t grown up with it definitely felt. It is even a guilty pleasure in certain moments. But mostly, it is a subpar, forgettable and too childish flick that is admittedly never boring, but it is also never memorable at all and it rarely has something really good in it.
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 The Pebble and the Penguin Movie Review……………………………………………………………………….
The humor is also forced and annoying. This buddy comedy is never original and never adds anything new to the genre. But the entire plot is the biggest failure here as it is so anarchic and dated, especially in its treatment of female characters and love. The dialogue is also very mediocre. This is the movie that best exemplifies the worst tendencies of the director – copying Disney, but never doing it right and just making a far inferior film than most that Disney has to offer.

The Pebble and the Penguin is a so-so movie that is far from the worst Don Bluth movie owing to some solid animation, a good opening scene and such a good song in Now and Forever, but most of the other songs are subpar, the characters are very annoying, the film is dated in its portrayal of female characters as just love interests and the movie is too childish to be enjoyed more.

My Rating – 2.5

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Clueless (1995)

Clueless Movie Review

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Clueless Movie Review

Clueless is a 1995 teen comedy film directed by Amy Heckerling and starring Alicia Silverstone, Brittany Murphy and Paul Rudd. It is a really funny, quite good coming-of-age flick.

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He does dress better than I do,

what would I bring to the relationship?

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Clueless Movie Review………………………………………………………………….

Clueless is an iconic teen movie and while I certainly wouldn’t call it great, I found it to be pretty good nonetheless. It unfortunately falls prey to the conventions of the genre in its third act, but everything that came before is really good and quite funny. And the film isn’t stupid as it touched upon some issues with sophistication and it also presents its subjects with care and realism. I liked the makeover aspect of the storyline, but I overall really liked the parody tone to it and I found its humor to be great. And even though it definitely loses its steam near the end, the film is for the most part incredibly entertaining and fun to watch.

Let’s talk about the characters. Now frankly, the characters here are mostly teenage clichés, but that is okay as the movie makes fun of those clichés and it mostly gives us good development for its characters. I really enjoyed Cher as she is such a memorable, funny main character. And yes, her transformation at the end was obvious and way too clichéd, but at least she did not change as drastically as these movies usually go. She changed a lot, but there were traces and hints at that throughout the first half of the film and I really liked that.

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Clueless Movie Review………………………………………………………………….

Dionne I did not care for at all as she is not well utilized nor particularly likable. Tai is also a solid character and a realistic one, but quite annoying, more and more as the movie progressed actually. As for Josh, he is again a good guy archetype, but I have to say that I somehow liked him and the relationship between the two is so clichéd, but frankly I got some enjoyment out of it for some reason, maybe because the two were charming together. Mel is good as the father, Amber is typical but brings some fine moments and Christian is again a clichéd gay character, but still somewhat different and interesting in some scenes. All of the characters are solid, but the interactions and the relationships between them are some of the highlights of the film.

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Clueless Movie Review………………………………………………………………….

Clueless is a really funny movie. I enjoyed its humor quite a bit and I honestly laughed a lot while watching it. Some of the highlights are those scenes with the teachers and the whole first act or so was really funny, energetic and just a lot of fun. And Cher made me laugh the most as she is undoubtedly the funniest person here. The movies manages to be hilarious at times mostly due to its dialogue. Yes, the dialogue is absolutely terrific with just an abundance of riches in terms of memorable quotes and lines. I just loved the tardiness speech and also Cher’s speech in her assignment was hilarious. Those moments in the classroom were absolutely hilarious. But there are also a couple of snarky remarks between the girls that were so funny and that robbery sequence is just hysterical. Cher’s line – “He does dress better than I do. What would I bring to the relationship?” is so funny and easily my favorite line of the film. And as for that driving test scene, that was just priceless. Clueless truly benefits from its quotable dialogue.

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Clueless Movie Review………………………………………………………………….

Let’s talk about the acting. It is really a shame that none of these actresses had a big career as they are all great here. Alicia Silverstone is the revelation as she is so good at such a young age. She is charismatic, likable and so talented and she played the part wonderfully. Brittany Murphy is also excellent, Stacey Dash is fine as well and of course Paul Rudd is as likable as usual.

I liked the score quite a bit in Clueless, it was fitting for it and well incorporated. I liked its attention to detail in terms of clothes and technology. The tone is problematic as it does become too romantic and dramatic all of a sudden near the end in a typical genre fashion. The direction is also not that good as is the pacing as the film loses its steam near the end and significantly slows down. But it was so energetic and fun at first. It does have its heart, but most of its emotion is forced and clichéd. But it is an evidently memorable entry in the teen genre, very quotable and so much fun that I honestly overlooked most of its big flaws.

Clueless definitely loses its steam and succumbs to the conventions of the genre in its third act, but it is otherwise a really good, energetic and incredibly entertaining coming-of-age flick with such a charismatic and memorable turn from Alicia Silverstone, clichéd, but well developed characters, terrific humor with many funny scenes and an absolutely fantastic dialogue with many quotable and hilarious lines.

My Rating – 4

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The Usual Suspects (1995)

The Usual Suspects

The Usual Suspects Movie Review

The Usual Suspects is a 1995 famous crime thriller directed by Bryan Singer and starring Kevin Spacey. It is one of the most popular thriller films with one of the most memorable twist endings and villains in film history. And besides all those distinctions, it really is a great film.

It follows the interrogation of a cripple con man who is the only survivor of a ship massacre. And the less I say, the better as the movie should not be spoiled to anyone. It is such a riveting and above all intriguing and incredibly well crafted story that unfolds in the most atypical fashion possible. And that is its strongest achievement. It is one of those rare films that uses a different structure of a plot and a very different execution. It tells a story in a very different and unusual way. But unlike the films such as ‘Memento‘, it succeeds in that approach entirely and is used as a genuine plot device rather than a gimmick. The story here is incredibly well imagined and so memorable and smart.

Now, for its twist ending. It is for me the biggest weakness and the biggest strength the film has. First off, it entirely relies upon it. And secondly, I am one of the people who actually got it from early on. I genuinely predicted the outcome from the movie’s early stages and because that twist is the movie’s highlight and most important thing story wise, that is why it kind of disappointed me as I was not genuinely surprised. And that is the only flaw I have with this film along with its unimpressive and somewhat dragged first act.

But what a twist ending it is! Without spoiling anything, there is more to it as well and it should prove genuinely shocking and unexpected to most people. It also seems like a real plot progression or should I say conclusion unlike most twist endings that are just used for the shock value. The movie unfolds and ends in a most impressive and most satisfying way that I couldn’t imagine any other ending. The finale alone is so incredibly powerful and instantly recognizable.

Now, the characters. Dean Keaton has a great story act. Agent Kujan is a very grounded character and a great counteract to Kint. But apart from them, the other characters are not as memorable or as interesting which was a small problem to me. But The Usual Suspects still has one of the best and most awesome villains ever portrayed in a film. He is genuinely frightening, poses real threat and is phenomenally depicted. But it is the other characters’ stories about him and their reactions to his presence that lend to the movie’s dramatic and even horrific feel with some genuinely unnerving moments. The villain is definitely the biggest reason why this movie works so well.

The acting is absolutely superb. Kevin Spacey is of course just amazing and he has such a strong screen presence and gives such a powerful and impressive performance in a very difficult role. Chazz Palminteri is also terrific and Gabriel Byrne did a good job as well. None of the actors here disappoints. The direction from Bryan Singer is excellent and this is his first phenomenal movie and the one that showed off his talents the most. The cinematography is wonderful but it is the deft editing that is its strongest technicality. The score is also really good and tense at times as is the whole movie. The Usual Suspects is not only clever and incredibly sophisticated and well crafted on each and every level, but it is also so realistic and oh so intense and powerful. It is also immensely authentic and memorable, it’s filled with evident originality and excellent dialogue. It is also a perfect mix of thriller and crime with a distinct noir feel to it which is a nice touch.

The film received two Academy Awards, one for Original Screenplay and one for Best Actor for Spacey. Both are so deserved that I couldn’t see any other film taking those awards. But it’s a shame that it wasn’t nominated for Best Picture and that is just an endless testament to the Academy’s obvious clueless abilities in determining the best film of the year. It is not only one of the best films of the nineties but also one of the finest thrillers ever made.

With deft editing, incredibly sophisticated and engaging script, wonderful performances all around and filled with many intense and so memorable moments, The Usual Suspects truly is one of the best thrillers of all time and although I predicted the outcome from early on and that lessened the impact of the twist ending for me, it is still an incredible twist and the movie has one of the most powerful villains of all time. It is instantly recognizable with an authentic plot structure that is used as a genuine plot tool rather than a gimmick, but it is above all a riveting and sometimes even frightening thriller that deserves its iconic status without a doubt.

+ Deft editing and excellent direction and acting.
+ Sophisticated and riveting script.
+ One of the best villains of all time.
+ It has many intense and even scary moments.
+ One of the best endings of all time with a powerful twist.
 
– I predicted the twist and it relies too much on it.
– The beginning is less impressive.
For:
– Pure thriller fans.
– Kevin Spacey fans who gives one of his best performances.
– Crime fans.
Not for:
– Those who don’t follow the movies carefully as it demands your utmost dedication.

My Rating – 4.5

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Braveheart (1995)

Braveheart

Braveheart Movie Review

Braveheart is a 1995 historical war film directed by and starring Mel Gibson. It is about William Wallace, a 13th-century Scottish warrior who led the Scotts to battle against Edward I of England. The film received an Academy Award for Best Picture and it also won 4 more Oscars.

First, I will admit that I am usually not a big fan of historical and especially war films. I find the battles and action sequences of those very boring and usually too extended. However, in Braveheart, although still very much extended, the action is unexpectedly entertaining to watch and follow. The story is also very well handled along with all of its historical intricacies. And it has very nice dialogue and the sequences with just planning, conversations and of course the speeches are the highlights this time around. As for the running time, it is long, but I wouldn’t call it overlong as the movie is filled with so many plot points and battles that it needed such a long running time. And that is great as usually movies clocking in at three hours are too prolonged and slow, but this is not such a film thankfully. But still I found the battles too prolonged and many times it seemed that the movie was coming to a close when in fact it wasn’t. That was also very weird.

The characters are solidly developed, but nothing too remarkable. William Wallace is okay, but is somewhat bland as these heroic protagonists usually are. Of the characters, King Edward is definitely the standout as he was very well depicted and wonderfully portrayed by Patrick McGoohan. As for Gibson at the center, he gave a serviceable performance, but he wasn’t particularly great nor memorable and that is problematic having in mind his huge role here.

However, on the other hand, his directing here is really good and I don’t mind his Oscar win at all because he made this movie epic with great scope and some powerful imagery. The movie does look very polished and professional. The cinematography is gorgeous and very satisfying at times, most evidently in the battle sequences where you get the right camera angles to follow the action properly. The action is really wonderfully done here and although too prolonged, it is very engaging and entertaining to watch. The score is one of the highlights as well as it is so powerful and just moving. It lifted the movie through many extraordinary scenes and it gave it a perfect medieval feel as the music is so beautiful and fittingly very medieval in nature.

I also liked the romance here as it is never cheesy and although understated, it was nonetheless done right. And the movie is emotionally investing with some rather warm and also heartbreaking moments. And of course the ending is superb and very memorable. I just wish that it had better acting and better developed characters. But it is mostly well edited which is quite an accomplishment for this long a film. The humor is the weakest point here. It is sometimes funny, but it is mostly too juvenile and just doesn’t belong here in my opinion. And the movie isn’t particularly smart as well as it does have some unbelievable and unrealistic scenes. And it is predictable, but it is worth following nonetheless as the approach is so professional and transcending all the weaknesses in an admirable way.

As for its Oscars, it did deserve Sound Editing, Makeup and Cinematography and Directing I would also say is much deserved. As for Best Picture, ‘Apollo 13′ is definitely a better choice and it should have won, but regardless of that, it is definitely the second best of the slate that year.

It does have some unrealistic scenes, the characters are not well developed and the humor is juvenile, but Braveheart transcends those weaknesses thanks to a really engaging, never boring story despite its long running time, excellent direction, terrific cinematography, nicely executed action sequences and very powerful score.

My Rating – 4

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The Bridges of Madison County

The Bridges of Madison County

The Bridges of Madison County Movie Review

The Bridges of Madison County is a 1995 romantic drama movie based on the novel of the same name directed by Clint Eastwood and starring himself opposite Meryl Streep.

It is about a lonely married woman living in Iowa who one day meets a National Geographic photographer and the two start having an affair. This story is indescribably cliched and overly familiar. The slow pace did not bother me personally, but the overall cheesy and overly sentimental nature of the film did bother me a lot. But the lines are even worse with some being incredibly pathetic. Also, the never-ending crying in the second half got on my nerves immensely. I also did not like how unrealistic it is. The start of a relationship may be realistic as it slowly progressed, but the connection they created for such a short time seems a bit hard to believe.

But that story is bearable to some degree mostly thanks to strong acting and excellent characters. There are only two major characters here and those are the two lovers Francesca and Robert. He is grounded both in his personality and behavior. But it is Francesca who is the standout here as she is so incredibly sympathetic and realistic. Her suffering and her problems ring true and her relationship with Robert is nicely portrayed, especially in some earlier dialogue. Clint Eastwood gave a pretty good performance here, possibly one of his best as he was never a particularly great actor, but it is Meryl Streep who naturally shines here in her very difficult role full of emotion. She portrayed her character in an honest way with a lot of emotional investment and great naturalistic approach. She is one of the highlights and one of the reasons to see this movie and she most definitely deserved her Oscar nomination.

The dialogue is so-so. It has some lines near the end that are just inexplicably cheesy and those ruin the film, but there are some that are very smart and observant. I also like the clever approach with characters which is mostly seen in her husband’s depiction which is understandable and full of sympathy. The movie shows sympathy for all its characters and it shows this difficult situation from all angles and that was really refreshing. And it is tender at times, but unfortunately is mostly overly emotional.

The movie somewhat hinges on its immaculate technicalities. And yes, I am mostly talking about the directing and cinematography. Eastwood did an incredible job as a director here and it is one of his most professional, neat films he directed. And the movie looks really good with some beautiful town and nature scenery with the sequences on the bridge being very effective. The tone is too emotional, but the romance is mostly really appealing and although overly cliched and cheesy, it is well acted and moving.  I did not mind the pacing here, I thought it is a deftly edited film that has slow pace, but never too slow and the lengthy running time is justified as it perfectly creates the epic quality and scope of their romance. There is little humor here, but that humor is solid. It has a nice score as well. And while The Bridges of Madison County is highly predictable, it is still worth watching for its fine subtleties and excellent performances.

The Bridges of Madison County has terrific performances from Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep who steals the show, the scenery is beautiful as is the score, it has a nice epic scope to it and it is sometimes very smart, but the romance at the center of it is too unrealistic and of course incredibly cheesy and cliched. It is very well acted and superbly directed, but it’s still too familiar and too sentimental to be enjoyed more.

My Rating – 3

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