The Breakfast Club (1985)

The Breakfast Club Movie Review………………………………………………………..

The Breakfast Club Movie Review

The Breakfast Club is one of the most famous coming-of-age films directed by John Hughes and released in 1985. It is regarded as a classic in this genre by many and I have to agree with that sentiment.

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We’re all pretty bizarre.

Some of us are just better at hiding it, that’s all

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The Breakfast Club Movie Review………………………………………………………..

The story is simple. It follows five teenagers bonding while in detention and getting past stereotypes. And yes, it seems clichéd and awfully familiar in the beginning, but the movie somehow progresses past that point and becomes its own thing in the progress. The five characters definitely are regularly seen stereotypes, but that is also the point the movie tries to make, there is more to a person than just a label given to him or her by the others. That is a perfect message in a satisfying and entirely endearing conclusion that can bring a smile to your face. It is a wonderful statement that rings true and is very relevant and relatable, which is incredibly rare for the genre.

The pacing and editing are excellent. It starts off perfectly, fast-paced and introducing you to all of the characters in a great way. Then it goes to many comedic elements, then to action sequences in the hall and afterwards to singing parts ending it all in a bonding, hard-hitting drama. The soundtrack is superb and of course Don’t You (Forget About Me) is a very memorable, famous song which is catchy and fits the mood and story of the film wonderfully.

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The Breakfast Club Movie Review………………………………………………………..

The tone is masterfully done, shifting from comedic to serious sequences smoothly with great direction, editing and script. As for the humor, it is charming with some scenes which are truly funny and serve to counteract those dramatic sequences to have come and that would come later. And both dramatic and comedic moments are delivered in evident realism with realistic characters and situations and the dialogue that is grounded and simplistic because that is the way teenagers talk in real life.

Acting is not the greatest, but given the fact that most of the cast were actually teenagers or young unknown actors, it turned out to be rather good and even stupendous at some points. And I have to add that the authentic factor is a great plus in this film because there are so many iconic sequences, especially the conclusion, the beginning and of course the dance and singing sequence which is a wonderful comedic and light moment that is so endearing and eases you a lot for those difficult dialogue sequences to come. The movie is definitely extremely memorable.

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The Breakfast Club Movie Review………………………………………………………..

And there are of course the characters, all of whom superbly developed, realistic and, most importantly, very likable. All are stereotypes, but all of them are more than that which we learn in the third act. Bender is a typical problematic teenager, a criminal and with the tendencies to constantly impress everyone around him. He is a typical character, everyone knew someone like him from school, and he is great in giving speeches and of course as a comic relief. Andy is my least favorite character, an athlete abused by his parents and although he has his moments including the dancing sequence, he is largely forgettable. Brian is the geek and his relationship with parents is truthful and poignant. Claire as the most popular and beautiful girl is also an archetype of course, but her character arc is wonderful near the end and she definitely influenced Angela’s character from ‘American Beauty’. Ally is the outcast, introverted and rarely speaking till the end. And she is definitely the most relatable and fascinating character to me because I was like that in school, extremely shy. She is the most likable and warm character here. The character development overall is amazing here which is necessary for this kind of film and thankfully the filmmakers realized that and made it happen.

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The Breakfast Club Movie Review………………………………………………………..

The final scene with the emotional dialogue is wonderful. And it feels forced in some parts of it, but is nevertheless a mature and insightful approach to a mature subject matter. All of the characters get their moment to shine here and it all gets so warm and relevant owing to excellent script, direction and characterization. It is a wonderful conclusion to an endearing movie.

The Breakfast Club is forced and clichéd at times, but this is an 80s classic that deserves its status and is one of the rare movies from that period that aged remarkably well. It has superb and likable characters, charming humor, excellent screenplay and moving ending. It is overall a stupendous film and one of the finest genre movies of all time.

My Rating – 4.5

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The Edge of Seventeen (2016)

The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review…………………………………………………….

The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review

The Edge of Seventeen is a 2016 teen dramedy directed by Kelly Fremon Craig and starring Hailee Steinfeld and Woody Harrelson. It is one of the year’s better films.

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“I am an old soul.

I like old music and old movies and even old people.

Bottom line is that I have nothing in common with the people

out there and they have nothing in common with me”.

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The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review……………………………………………………..

I really liked this movie despite its obvious shortcomings in terms of storytelling. The script is actually very well written, but some parts of it were too typical and obvious such as everything surrounding the protagonist’s brother for instance. But I liked that it was mostly sophisticated with many great scenes of which the highlights were the calmer scenes with the protagonist as well as the happy ending which is just beautiful in its subtle approach and execution.

The character development is surprisingly great. I loved Mr. Bruner, but I would have liked to have seen more scenes from him. Darian is not my favorite and the mother was also clichéd, but Krista is fine and of course Erwin Kim is such an interesting, different boyfriend than usual. I loved that he was Korean and that his profession is animation.

But naturally the highlight is Nadine who is the main and most fascinating character of the bunch. Now, teenage angst is a familiar subject matter by now. But what differentiates her from the others is her more reserved nature. And watching her have trouble connecting with other people and especially in huge parties made me connect with her as she is so similar to the teenage version of myself. That is why the movie was relatable and all the more powerful to me.

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The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review……………………………………………………..

The acting is top-notch. All of the actors and actresses did a really good job, but Woody Harrelson is as likable as ever and he gave one of the year’s better supporting performances. Hailee Steinfeld is so good! It was so great watching her six years after ‘True Grit’ and realizing that she is still great and even better than before which is a rarity for child actors. Her performance here is so great and believable that it is one of the year’s best female performances for sure. So underrated.

I would have gone with less of that typical friend dating a brother thing, but all of the other subplots worked great with the highlight being the exploration of her character and her problems. The way she overcame them was emotionally rewarding to follow and that is why the ending is moving. The script is deft here and the direction is surprisingly strong for a newcomer.

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The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review..……………………………………………………

The editing is also terrific as it is such a well paced and always very involving flick. The Edge of Seventeen also features excellent dialogue with some of the lines being clever and some being immensely relatable. Some of the things she said seemed to come right out of my mouth when I was that age. I also really liked its humor which was surprisingly pretty dark and edgy for a teen movie. And of course the movie is very emotional at times, but never overly sentimental which I hugely appreciated. Yes, it could have been more original in some spots, but it is so well made and so relatable and dramatic that it is one of the better teen films that I’ve seen, from any age. It is also one of the best that 2016 had to offer as a whole.

The Edge of Seventeen could have been more original in some plot points which felt obvious, but other than that, this film is one of the better teen flicks that I’ve seen. The dialogue is strong, the acting is terrific with Hailee Steinfeld being so great and the ending is wonderfully subtle and emotionally rewarding. The character development is fantastic and the main character was so well realized and some of the things she said were very similar to what I would have said at that age. That is why the film was relatable and all the more powerful to me personally.

My Rating – 4.5

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The Circus (1928)

The Circus Movie Review………………………………………………………………

The Circus Movie Review

The Circus is a 1928 silent comedy film directed by and starring Charlie Chaplin. It is isn’t one of his best works, but it is still quite a good, expectedly endearing flick.

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Where’s the funny, man?

Bring on the funny, man

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The Circus Movie Review………………………………………………………………

The ringmaster of an impoverished circus hires Chaplin’s Tramp as a clown, but discovers that he can only be funny unintentionally, not on purpose. That is the plot here along with the romantic subplot in which Tramp falls in love with a girl who eventually chooses another man. Now the plot is minimal here and that is why the film is much weaker than Chaplin’s greatest works. There isn’t anything sophisticated here, not a message nor an abundance of themes. It is just a solid plot which is fine and actually quite charming at times, but I still expected more from it.

The characters are pretty good and the Tramp is as great and as lovable as usual. I loved the romantic subplot which was quite endearing and so well done. And I of course respect Chaplin’s talents as he not only directed and acted in this movie, but he produced it, wrote it and even composed it, adding afterwards an opening song in the beginning. He truly was one very hard working and talented individual and it is great that the movie ended up being good in the end despite its by now famous problems during production such as the studio fire and him being sued by his former wife for sexual harassment.

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The Circus Movie Review

 

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Swiss Army Man (2016)

Swiss Army Man Movie Review…………………………………………………….

Swiss Army Man Movie Review

Swiss Army Man is a 2016 comedy drama film starring Daniel Radcliffe and Paul Dano. It is an original and sometimes moving, but mostly ridiculous movie.

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You can’t just say anything that comes into your head,

that’s bad talking.

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Swiss Army Man Movie Review…………………………………………………….

It is about a man who, just as he is attempting suicide, sees a corpse wash shore and developed a friendship with it as it is half-alive and possesses a couple of interesting powers. Now the originality here is undeniable. However, there are two kinds of original works. One is admirable and groundbreaking whereas the other is bad or silly. This one falls in the latter category. It is just such a silly premise that you can’t take it seriously and some of its plot points were just too ridiculous to excuse.

Swiss Army Man has its strengths on the other hand. One is the emotion. Most of it is unearned and because the plot is silly, it doesn’t quite get through. But some of it felt genuinely moving and sweet. I liked the relationship between the two characters, it was a nice friendship. Another good aspect in this movie is its score. I just loved this score as it is uplifting, inspired and sometimes even magical. It thoroughly managed to lift some of the scenes to much greater heights because of it.

Daniel Radcliffe continues his quest into weird and odd territory with this movie and he is solid in it, but again probably a waste of his talents. Paul Dano is much better utilized and he was actually rather likable here where he is usually unlikable to me.

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Swiss Army Man Movie Review…………………………………………………….

The direction is okay, but the editing is not and the film felt too slow and not enough happened in it to justify its somewhat long running time. It is too simplistic and the ending, although fun, is probably more ridiculous than the rest of the movie which really says something. Some of the imagery was memorable, but most of it was too hippie and silly. As for its humor, it is horrible. It basically consists of farts and talks about bodily fluids which is why the dialogue is also terrible. Those two destroyed what could have been a much more interesting and better movie.

Swiss Army Man is a ridiculous movie. Some of it was sweet and moving, the performances are good and the score is actually very good, but the film is original in its plot but in a negative way as it was overly silly and sometimes even stupid and the juvenile humor and dialogue hurt it the most in the long run.

My Rating – 3

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Time Bandits (1981)

Time Bandits Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

Time Bandits Movie Review

Time Bandits is a 1981 family fantasy film directed by Terry Gilliam and starring John Cleese and Sean Connery. It is such a frustrating, disappointing film.

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Dead? No excuse for laying off work.

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Time Bandits Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

Now I obviously dislike Terry Gilliam as I do not care for most of his movies and that is why I didn’t like Time Bandits as well. He infuses this movie with his signature and very annoying style and thus ruins what could have been a great family fantasy flick with interesting time travel elements.

The biggest problem is its lack of identity. The film tries to be both a family fantasy adventure and a bizarre, odd comedy for adults and you can’t have it both ways. Some parts were admittedly funny and some scenes were very interestingly conceived and intriguing in imagery and mythology, but for the most part both of these movies failed in my opinion.

That is because the fantasy elements were mostly overly campy and filled with a ridiculous villain and many silly characters such as those dwarfs. Not only silly, but the characters are also annoying and some are even plain unlikable.

As for its comedy, it fails in that regard as well owing to its obvious Pythonian style. And having in mind that I do not like ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’, I naturally disliked that that humor was present here too. So disappointing and not to mention really not fitting to this story.

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Time Bandits Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

Time Bandits does have some inspired scenes with awesome imagery and great effects for its time. Its first half contained some clever dialogue and funny lines. And the overall film is certainly original in plot and characters, but done for better and for worse. I just had such high expectations for this film and it left me feeling cold and even bored. In the hands of any other director, this would have turned out great, but in the hands of Terry Gilliam, it ended up being another frustrating experiment.

Time Bandits is such a frustrating movie and another proof that I strongly dislike Terry Gilliam’s style. It does have some interesting scenes and imagery and you can’t deny its originality, but it is tonally inconsistent as it tries to be both a family fantasy flick and an odd, bizarre comedy and it just never succeeds in either of those areas as the humor is overly Pythonian and the fantasy elements and characters are silly.

My Rating – 3

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20th Century Women (2016)

20th Century Women Movie Review………………………………………………………..

20th Century Women Movie Review

20th Century Women is a 2016 comedy drama film directed by Mike Mills and starring Annette Bening, Elle Fanning and Greta Gerwig. It is such a peculiar film.

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Whatever you think your life is going to be like,

just know, it’s not gonna be anything like that.

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20th Century Women Movie Review………………………………………………………..

When I say peculiar, I mean to say that I just do not have a definite, clear opinion of it and that rarely happens to me. But there is just a lot to love and a lot to hate here. To me the story mostly falls in the latter category as the film felt aimless in my opinion with no statement or message present whatsoever. We just follow the lives of these people, but only in 1979 and that timeframe meant that the film was too narrow and it somehow tried to be more epic in scope, but it failed.

Dorothea is the best and most realistic character here, but all of the others were too weird. Jamie was to me quite annoying and plain unlikable, Abbie was a typical Greta Gerwig character and one of the rare instances where I found her just repeating herself and Julie is also quite familiar and actually also unlikable. That is definitely a problem here as all of these people are pretty annoying for most of the running time. But the acting is definitely quite good with Annette Bening stealing the show and delivering a strong performance in a demanding role.

I liked the dialogue quite a bit, but 20th Century Women still felt overly feminist to me personally as some lines were ridiculously aggressive. Some conversations were great, but others felt unrealistic and just plain silly.

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20th Century Women Movie Review………………………………………………………..

The movie is a dramedy, but to me nothing was funny here and it works much better as a drama. The emotion is problematically conveyed here. The first half in particular was overly sentimental and it just wasn’t earned back then when we hadn’t yet known the characters or their stories, but the second half is much better and it has some moving parts there. All in all, I liked this film to some degree, but it was mostly too weird and annoying for my taste.

20th Century Women is very strongly acted across the board plus it features some moving scenes and quite interesting conversations, but the first half was overly sentimental, most of the characters are very unlikable and so annoying and the film is mostly too aggressive in its themes, weird in its characters and ultimately somewhat aimless in plot.

My Rating – 3.5

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Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Guardians of the Galaxy Movie Review…………………………………………………….

Guardians of the Galaxy Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy is a 2014 superhero film directed by James Gunn and starring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana and Dave Bautista. It is one of Marvel’s finest films.

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Nothing goes over my head.

My reflexes are too fast, I would catch it.

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Guardians of the Galaxy Movie Review…………………………………………………….

I love this film. To me the film gets better with repeat viewings and truly after the third time I’ve seen it, I bumped the rating from 4 to 4.5 as it truly is one great blockbuster film that should go down in history as one of the best, certainly one of the best of its decade.

The story is pretty good. I still think that the infinity stones explanation is weak and not good enough as it should be better explained having in mind its importance for the entire MCU, but I loved how separate this film feels from the rest of the universe as it truly works as a standalone film. The story isn’t particularly original as it has typical building up team and motivational speech themes, but it presents those in comedic manner which is why even those clichéd scenes succeed. And because the settings are great, it succeeds as a pretty good space opera in its own right.

Star-Lord is great. He is the guy Indie should have been as he is both cocky and likable at the same time. Not to mention very funny at times. Gamora is dull and is the most boring and lifeless character here. But Drax the Destroyer is superb and one of the funniest characters here. His endlessly quotable stupid lines are hilarious.

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Guardians of the Galaxy Movie Review…………………………………………………….

Groot is very good and of course endearing, but Rocket is very underrated as he is one of my favorites here – so memorable, funny and with a great backstory. I loved every backstory to each of the characters. Ronan the Accuser is actually one of the best Marvel villains so far as he actually posed some threat and was capable all around. And I didn’t have a problem with how he was beat as this is a comedy after all. All of the other characters are also solid and of course we finally got to see a bit of Thanos here.

I liked the performances and Chris Pratt is truly very charismatic and likable in the main role. It is easy to see why this jumpstarted his career. Dave Bautista is silly and unprofessional, but he works in the context of the character. And Bradley Cooper did a surprisingly good job in his voice performance. The film is also quite well directed by James Gunn and so well edited.

Guardians of the Galaxy also looks cool with a good use of dark and colorful imagery. I liked its various planets and the special effects are pretty good. But of course the score is superb as it utilizes on the seventies hits so well with a couple of scenes being so entertaining.

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Guardians of the Galaxy Movie Review…………………………………………………….

The action is certainly overwhelming and the third act once again succumbs to the usual blockbuster, grandiose territory, but for the most part, the action is pretty good with good fighting scenes, although not the best that Marvel has done so far. The humor is naturally so good with almost all of its characters being very funny and memorable. They work great as a team as they are so cool and infectiously dynamic together. Drax, Rocket and Star-Lord got the biggest laughs out of me, but even the smaller characters such as the one played by John C. Reilly got some big laughs here and there. In the end, Guardians of the Galaxy is Marvel’s best film after ‘Doctor Strange’.

Guardians of the Galaxy is one of Marvel’s finest films with the third act not being the greatest, but it is mostly superb and so incredibly entertaining leading to one of the best blockbusters of the decade. The characters are unforgettable, they work great as a team, the humor is fantastic with many hilarious lines, the action is solid and the movie works great both as a comedy and as a space opera.

My Rating – 4.5

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Snoopy, Come Home (1972)

Snoopy, Come Home Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

Snoopy, Come Home Movie Review

Snoopy, Come Home is a 1972 animated family comedy film directed by Bill Melendez. It is the second full-length Peanuts film and it is such a sweet, very enjoyable flick.

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What an independent dog.

He comes and goes as he pleases,

but I have to stay home and fix his supper

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Snoopy, Come Home Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

Here Snoopy goes to see the girl who was his previous owner and is now sick in hospital. Charlie Brown gets sad because of his absence. This is definitely one of the most emotional Peanuts stories as the film is so depressing and very serious. It deals with its subject matter in an admirably realistic tone which I loved. Especially its second half and of course the ending were so moving and this is one of the best Snoopy stories for sure.

Yes, he is awesome here. Although not as funny as he should have been, I still liked that he was serious and so dramatically and emotionally utilized for once. He is the most mature and most loving here and his cries at his farewell party were just so heartwarming. Charlie Brown is also great and I just loved the emphasis on their loving relationship. I would go so far to say that this just might be their best outing yet.

But the problem with this movie is that it is overly serious. Yes, I loved that, but it still needed humor in it and unfortunately it only has a couple of somewhat funny moments, but certainly not enough. That was very troublesome to me as I’ve come to expect great humor from the Peanuts gang.

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Snoopy, Come Home Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

And because it focuses so strongly on Snoopy and Chuck, we unfortunately do not get to see the others from the gang particularly often. Yes, they are there, but they just serve to support Charlie Brown and nothing else. It was interesting seeing Lucy be good and caring to him, but that was still unbelievable and unrealistic having in mind how awful she usually is. Woodstock has his moments of course, but Peppermint Patty and Sally are seriously underutilized with only Linus being good and reliable as Charlie Brown’s friend. As for Snoopy’s girl owner, she is sweet, but just a plot device nonetheless.

Snoopy, Come Home isn’t a musical, but it has a couple of songs in it which was problematic as almost all of them were dull and uninspired. The Sherman Brothers wrote the songs and that was unbelievable to me as most of them are so underwhelming and I wonder why they didn’t do a better job having in mind how they killed it in Disney’s ‘The Jungle Book’.

All of them are forgettable and even No Dogs Allowed! is forgettable and underutilized with only its accompanied humor being good. But the titular song Snoopy, Come Home is phenomenal. It is the only great song here, so catchy, so beautifully sung and so melancholic that it works wonders for both the plot and their relationship.

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Snoopy, Come Home Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

The film is solidly animated, albeit it is nothing great except for a couple of really interesting scenery in some sequences. Even though the first act has some overly prolonged Snoopy scenes, the film is mostly well paced and quite involving to watch. I liked the dialogue and I found the script to be surprisingly thoughtful and mature. And of course the flick is very emotional which was great. In the end, it is most certainly not up to par with ‘A Boy Named Charlie Brown’, but as a second film, it is still surprisingly respectable and mostly satisfactory.

Snoopy, Come Home is overly serious with not enough humor and it needed to focus more on the rest of the Peanuts gang, but the focus on Snoopy and Charlie Brown brought a lot of very emotional scenes and it is probably their best story yet. The songs are subpar with the exception of its titular song which is great, the film is surprisingly mature and thoughtful and it features many heartwarming scenes leading to a mostly satisfactory second Peanuts film.

My Rating – 4

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The Man Called Flintstone (1966)

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

The Man Called Flintstone Movie Review

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

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

Yeah, they end up out of it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Rating – 4

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Mulan (1998)

Mulan Movie Review……………………………………………………………………

Mulan Movie Review

Mulan is a 1998 animated musical historical comedy film that is the 36th Disney animated feature film. It is a very strong, sometimes admirable Disney effort.

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The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.

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Mulan Movie Review……………………………………………………………………

This is a historical film in the rein of ‘Pocahontas’ where she may or may not have lived and the film took liberties adapting this story which is a famous Chinese story. And I loved the change in setting. This is basically a Chinese Disney film where all of the characters are from that country and some of the animation as well as the actors are also Chinese and I just loved that authenticity about it.

The plot itself is very good. The conflict is great and I found the film to be a solid historical as well as war picture, but mostly excelling in the drama and sometimes comedy department. It is a pleasant mix of genres in a typical Disney fashion and it succeeds in most of its areas. The highlights were of course the musical numbers, the sequence where Mulan cuts her hair is just so inspired, some of the action sequences are excellent, especially that with the avalanche, and of course the entire third act is beautiful and such an emotionally satisfying conclusion.

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Mulan Movie Review……………………………………………………………………

Fa Mulan is such a strong female main character and is actually one of the most, if not the most, feminist Disney princesses. She is brave and a great person who brought change, but unlike Pocahontas, she is actually very well developed as a character and is both likable and sometimes genuinely charming. Captain Li Shang is also very good and I liked him and the relationship between the two. I know that it maybe would have been better had they stayed just friends, but even though it was a bit rushed, the seeds were still solidly planted for their future romantic relationship.

Now Mushu is your typical Eddie Murphy animated character that came even before his Donkey persona in ‘Shrek’. Although a typical goofy sidekick, I mostly really liked him as he was quite funny at times with a larger than life personality and a good heart. Grandmother Fa is actually funnier than Mushu as she is one of the most underrated Disney supporting characters. She isn’t present a lot in this movie, but whenever she was on screen, she killed it with hilarious lines.

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Mulan Movie Review……………………………………………………………………

I liked the Emperor of China in the third act and the villain Shan Yu, although disappointing in the ending, was a solid presence overall with a great menacing look and voice to him. And his animal henchman in the form of a falcon is very cool. But even though all of these characters are quite good, the problem with Mulan is that all of the other male characters as their fellow recruits were quite forgettable and not one of them stood out. That was unfortunate.

The animation in Mulan is quite good with a couple of reservations. The overall visuals are stellar and the film looks like a Disney film, but with strong Asian influences spread throughout too. I loved some of the interiors as well as the imagery, very striking. I also liked the costumes and the movements were well choreographed and the flick is well filmed. My one issue with it is the character design. Some characters such as Mulan and Mushu look really good, but others such as all of those recruits did not look that great. I don’t know why, but some of the character designs here did not personally appeal to me. And I found the fact that most of those men were either skinny or fat or entirely incompetent to be very unrealistic and frankly stupid given the historical period in question.

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Mulan Movie Review……………………………………………………………………

Now let’s talk about the soundtrack. It is another good Disney Renaissance soundtrack with a couple of absolutely terrific songs in it, but more importantly a fantastic score. Yes, the score is absolutely phenomenal and most of the scenes were fittingly dramatic in their score or fittingly Asian as well. But Mulan’s Decision stands out as one of the finest compositions that Disney has ever put out as it is just such an iconic, powerful and instantly recognizable theme perfectly incorporated into its scene and story.

There are only five songs here and to me only two stood out as True to Your Heart is catchy, but a typical end-credits song that is forgettable and doesn’t have a context to it, Honor to Us All is a solid movie opener but is overall bland and not memorable and A Girl Worth Fighting For is actually quite catchy and fun, but overall not great.

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Mulan Movie Review……………………………………………………………………

But of course Reflection and I’ll Make a Man Out of You are just superb across the board. The former is such a beautiful song accompanied with a great scene, imagery and character drama and it is a perfect vehicle for Mulan to help us connect with her emotionally. It has great lyrics, excellent singing and is catchy, but powerful and moving as well. But the latter is the standout musical number which is unlike any other Disney song and that works in its favor. It is overall such a great and important scene that is one of the best montages that I have ever seen, but the lyrics are excellent and the song even manages to incorporate otherwise boring recruits in it solidly. It is such an entertaining song that is just infectiously catchy to sing along and very original and exciting.

Mulan features some really good voice acting in it and everyone did a good job. And of course the singing is great. But it is also very solidly paced and always entertaining to watch and dramatic. It features a great message and is one of the most feminist Disney movies out there, but is done right instead of preachy. Mulan truly is a great role model for girls. The dialogue is also really strong and some of the lines here are actually quite inspired. And the film was emotionally rewarding, especially in its ending.

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Mulan Movie Review……………………………………………………………………

But there is one problem here that prevents it from being a classic and that is why it is inferior to most of the other Renaissance films and is only better than ‘Hercules’ and ‘Pocahontas’. I am of course talking about the humor. Now the humor is okay and sometimes even quite good, don’t get me wrong. But I just did not find it necessary for this particular film at all. This is the type of film that should have been very serious and somehow Disney put a lot of the humor in it and that signature touch of theirs did not connect in this instance as good as it mostly connects. Some of the characters are too goofy and only Mushu and Grandmother Fa have their comedic moments whereas others are forgettable and some scenes were too lighthearted. But all in all, the film is mostly satisfying and was a wonderful experience.

Mulan is too comedic and goofy at times and some characters are forgettable, but Mulan herself is such a strong female role model, the animation is quite good, the score is excellent, the message is strong and the action is solid. It features a good story, a great Chinese setting and feel to it and two fantastic songs in Reflection and I’ll Make a Man Out of You.

My Rating – 4

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