The Big Sick (2017)

The Big Sick Movie Review

…………………………………………………

The Big Sick Movie Review

The Big Sick is a 2017 romantic comedy drama film directed by Michael Showalter and starring Kumail Nanjiani. It is a hugely overrated movie.

………………………………………………….

For your files. Your X-Files.

That’s your favorite show, huh?

The truth is out there!

………………………………………………….

The Big Sick Movie Review

………………………………………………….

In this world obsessed with political correctness, of course a movie about the relationship between a Pakistani man and an American woman is going to receive acclaim. But this was in concept basically ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’, just less comedic and more dramatic in tone. So it isn’t particularly original and although I am honestly quite interested in this subject matter, it was unfortunately not well utilized at all. Let’s just say that this isn’t ‘Ali: Fear Eats the Soul’.

The Big Sick has its moving parts and it also has a pretty observational approach in dialogue and script as at times it really understands this issue and the speech that Kumail gives to his parents was spot-on. It is a delicate subject and it was mostly dealt with smartly and subtly.

However, the movie was a slog to sit through. It wasn’t dull per say, but it was unnecessarily long. Two hours was surely not needed for this very simple story. The movie should have been simpler in the plot, runtime and its number of characters.

Speaking of characters, Kumail Nanjiani is a pretty good actor, but I am just not a fan of him. I liked his character though and I have to say that he gave a pretty good performance. As for his girlfriend, really not a fan. I understand where she was coming from, but she still seemed like a bitch to me and was too cruel to Kumail. And the fact that she is in a coma for the majority of the movie certainly doesn’t help her matter.

………………………………………………….

The Big Sick Movie Review

………………………………………………….

Her parents were a bit too over-the-top, especially the mother. They were fine, but they took too much of the runtime without a doubt. Kumail’s parents were much more interesting, especially in the role reversal of mother and father in a way.

The Big Sick is definitely well acted and mostly well scripted with good dialogue, but it’s a film that never establishes a proper identity. Let me explain. By introducing darker themes such as parental disownment and girlfriend in a coma, it became way too dramatic/melodramatic and the tone was just never properly established. The film never, ever decided whether it’s a romantic comedy or a drama which was problematic to say the least.

The Big Sick is a solid, but highly troublesome movie. It is very well acted, sometimes quite observational and with a particularly strong dialogue and even the script. Some of the conversations were superb. However, the two-hour runtime was just unnecessary, Emily was very unlikable to me and the film never decided whether it wants to be a drama or a romantic comedy and thus the end result is one giant mish-mash affair.

My Rating – 3.5

Share

Blood and Sand (1922)

Blood and Sand Movie Review

…………………………………………………

Blood and Sand Movie Review

Blood and Sand is a 1922 silent drama film starring Rudolph Valentino. It is a solid, engaging, but thoroughly predictable film.

………………………………………………….

But out there is the real beast – a beast with ten thousand heads!

………………………………………………….

Blood and Sand Movie Review

………………………………………………….

It is about a handsome matador who is lured by a vamp woman and cheats on his wife. Eventually, he feels sorry for what he did and she forgives him the moment before his death from the hits from the arena. Yes, this storyline is extremely cliched, predictable and overall your typical sappy and melodramatic silent movie. Almost all of its plot points came as absolute no surprise for me and that took away from much of the enjoyment of the picture.

However, whereas Blood and Sand is immensely cliched, it is still so well crafted, directed and overall really well made that it mostly managed to transcend that typical storyline. The film not only is very well directed by competent Fred Niblo, but it is also very well paced as the runtime of 80 minutes is just right for this kind of story and it never felt either rushed or dragging.

………………………………………………….

Blood and Sand Movie Review

………………………………………………….

It is also very well shot. I really liked those bull fighting sequences. They were stock footage, but definitely cleverly used footage as it felt realistic to me. Every setting in the movie was well utilized. Of the favorites, the ending, although typical, was moving and very memorable. I loved the final line about the arena crowd and I simply adored all of the vamp sequences.

Yes, I loved Nita Naldi here! She even stole the show from Valentino at times with her great rendition of the vamp persona beautifully established by Theda Barra in ‘A Fool There Was’. She is not on the same level as her performance is not the greatest, but she and her character were just a lot of fun and she excelled at portraying this seductive, dangerous woman. I loved her looks, facial expressions and walks – all incredibly amusing.

Lila Lee is forgettable as is her character Carmen. This is said to have been Rudolph Valentino’s finest film performance and I can see that as he is excellent here. In that one fighting scene between him and Naldi, both were quite poor, but otherwise both did a good job. He is still utilized as “the Latin lover” here but thankfully he also gave a very good, competent performance which ranks among his best, if not the very best.

………………………………………………….

Blood and Sand Movie Review

………………………………………………….

So Blood and Sand is a solid movie, very fun at times and mostly really well crafted. I enjoyed watching it on the big screen as it really looks fine and I can see that it was basically the major blockbuster from 1922 for better and for worse. I have to say that the dialogue was weak and overly straightforward and it lent itself too much to melodrama. Also the overreliance on intertitles was unfortunate as I prefer my silents less talkative and less descriptive and more driven on the visuals.

Blood and Sand is immensely cliched and predictable in its familiar storyline and the overreliance on intertitles is unfortunate, but the film transcended its obvious flaws thanks to a very good direction, some very memorable scenes and shots and Rudolph Valentino’s competent performance that ranks among his best. But Nita Naldi honestly stole the show for me with her vamp character who was just a lot of fun.

My Rating – 3.5

Share

The Last Command (1928)

The Last Command Movie Review

…………………………………………………

The Last Command Movie Review

The Last Command is a 1928 silent drama film directed by Josef von Sternberg and starring Emil Jannings and William Powell. It is one of the better movies from this director.

………………………………………………….

He was more than a great actor – he was a great man

………………………………………………….

The Last Command Movie Review

………………………………………………….

Actually the storyline here is very original and unlike anything I’ve seen before really. A past German general comes to Hollywood to work as an extra but owing to post-traumatic stress disorder, he starts to believe that the movie battle in the film is real leading to his nervous breakdown.

I liked the story despite its uneven execution. The first act is excellent and the ending is naturally amazing, superbly acted and so incredibly emotional. It is also grand and very cinematic. But I agree with Movies Silently that the middle section honestly felt subpar in comparison. It was dragging, it was uneven, not as interesting and the flashbacks weren’t all that well incorporated into the picture. Plus of course it has those typical silent movie trappings in its ending where he dies. A nervous breakdown would have been enough for me and dying felt a bit too melodramatic.

………………………………………………….

The Last Command Movie Review

………………………………………………….

So the film is famous for being the vehicle that brought Emil Jannings his Academy Award for Best Actor, the first ever given and the only one given to a German which is quite interesting. And oh boy, did he deserve it! This has to be one of the finest silent movie performances by an actor as it is so great. It is aggressive, but it works in the context of the medium and the story. He portrays such an admirable, heroic and immensely likable character and his every smile, fear and anger is beautifully portrayed and of course his final scene is marvelous to behold.

Evelyn Brent is also quite likable and charming in her interesting role and I really liked the romance between the two. These are all very well developed, interesting characters for sure. And of course we have William Powell here in one of his early roles. Seeing him in a silent movie was weird as he is much more suited for talkative movies, but he nonetheless was superb in this one as he gave a very good, competent performance. I continue to be his big fan.

………………………………………………….

The Last Command Movie Review

………………………………………………….

The Last Command is a very uneven movie. Some scenes are just breathtaking in quality and so unforgettable but others are exactly the opposite – dull and forgettable. The movie is weakly edited and the flashback structure was intriguing, but not at all well utilized. But still the acting is so great and the story is moving and dramatic that it succeeds as a worthy Oscar-nominated movie. Best Original Story nomination was quite deserved. And it is in my opinion one of the better Josef von Sternberg movies. Nowhere near as great as his masterpiece ‘The Docks of New York’, but still better than most of his follow-up projects.

The Last Command is a very uneven movie with a troublesome middle section, but the first act is great and the ending is of course magnificent and so powerful in emotion. The flashback structure is not well utilized, but it was intriguing and the storyline is very interesting and quite original in a way. It is most famous for being Emil Jannings’ vehicle. He is absolutely marvelous here, unforgettable and his performance is so superb that he thoroughly deserved the first ever Academy Award for Best Actor.

My Rating – 4

Share

Whisper of the Heart (1995)

Whisper of the Heart Movie Review

…………………………………………………

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.

………………………………………………….

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

………………………………………………….

Whisper of the Heart Movie Review

………………………………………………….

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.

………………………………………………….

Whisper of the Heart Movie Review

………………………………………………….

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.

………………………………………………….

Whisper of the Heart Movie Review

………………………………………………….

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.

………………………………………………….

Whisper of the Heart Movie Review

………………………………………………….

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.

………………………………………………….

Whisper of the Heart Movie Review

………………………………………………….

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

Share

Sadie Thompson (1928)

Sadie Thompson Movie Review

…………………………………………………

Sadie Thompson Movie Review

Sadie Thompson is a 1928 silent drama film directed by Raoul Walsh and starring Gloria Swanson. It was a great vehicle for Swanson.

………………………………………………….

Make the best of things today, it’s bound to be worst tomorrow!

………………………………………………….

Sadie Thompson Movie Review

………………………………………………….

Yes, she absolutely shines in this movie which surely features one of her very best performances. She is likable, eclectic and simply beautiful. I loved her hairstyle, her overall look and dresses, but her performance is strong as it isn’t overly theatrical and she employed great, emphatic facial expressions which were essential tools for silent movie performances and here she excelled at them. Whenever she was on screen, she stole the show.

The overall plot of a “fallen” woman whom “moralists” try to “fix” and cure from her prostitution, drinking and smoking is certainly very much of its time. It is still strong, but not as strong as it could have been with a different, more tragic ending. This happy ending was a problem to me in this particular case.

But the film still flows well and is engaging despite the first act which is somewhat less memorable and less interesting than the second and third one. As for the other characters, they are all quite memorable and Lionel Barrymore of course did a very good job in the role of Davidson.

Sadie Thompson is great for its serious, dramatic scenes which were so well filmed with mostly excellent dialogue, great acting which was very important here and of course emotionally investing approach. Those scenes in the prison were easily the best of the bunch here, so well done and quite powerful. I wish the whole movie was as powerful as those magnificent scenes were.

………………………………………………….

Sadie Thompson Movie Review

………………………………………………….

It looks great. The score is solid, but it is its cinematography that really takes it to the next level as its scenery is very well incorporated into the picture and its mood in particular. I loved the setting and the editing was also mostly good. It is a shame that the last reel is missing in parts. The film earned two Oscar nominations – for lead actress and cinematography – and both were very much deserved.

Sadie Thompson is less memorable in the third and first act, but the second one was phenomenal with superb dialogue, many great dramatic moments and some quite emotional scenes. But the Oscar nominated cinematography and Gloria Swanson are the highlights as the film looks great and she gave such a fantastic performance that is probably her career best one.

My Rating – 4

Share

The Grapes of Wrath (1940)

The Grapes of Wrath Movie Review

…………………………………………………

The Grapes of Wrath Movie Review

The Grapes of Wrath is a 1940 drama film directed by John Ford and starring Henry Fonda. It is a good, but disappointing adaptation.

………………………………………………….

Rich fellas come up an’ they die, an’ their kids ain’t no good an’ they die out.

But we keep a’comin’. We’re the people that live. They can’t wipe us out;

they can’t lick us. We’ll go on forever, Pa, ’cause we’re the people

………………………………………………….

The Grapes of Wrath Movie Review

………………………………………………….

I am a huge fan of this novel and I was frustrated that the movie just never could compete with it, ever. It is so inferior that it never comes close to capturing its greatness. This is a very good film, don’t get me wrong, but I expected much greater things from it and thus I am incredibly disappointed. I guess my expectations were always going to be too high.

So let’s compare the two. The major problem here is the running time. You just cannot stuff a 600-page book into a 2-hour movie. I’m sorry but you just can’t do it. And from that poor choice stems the majority of the film’s problems.

So the first half or maybe just the first act was actually very faithful to the novel and most of those scenes were excellent and very dramatic and emotional. But afterwards, the movie lost me. It was still a good film, but it was simplified a bit too much and there are a lot of the great scenes that were entirely omitted such as the humorous scenes, many Casey’s monologues, most of the camp plot points and the ending. This ending was quite good and moving, but still that poetic ending from the novel is much preferable.

………………………………………………….

The Grapes of Wrath Movie Review

………………………………………………….

Let’s talk about the characters. Tom is quite good, though not great here. Ma is excellent but a pale imitation of her book counterpart. Pa was actually more memorable here, but Rosasharn, the children and Casey were all much weaker. I guess they are well developed for a movie, but certainly not fantastic and they deserved a better treatment.

The acting is truly excellent. That is the greatest thing about this The Grapes of Wrath for sure. Jane Darwell is particularly strong and Henry Fonda is definitely terrific in the main role. I did not picture him this pretty, but still he delivered a great performance. And the most admirable thing is that they cast lesser known talent and it paid off significantly as this family should not be played by Hollywood stars.

The Grapes of Wrath is technically outstanding. That is where it shines as it beautifully recreated the scenes that I imagined while reading the book and it gave them the life of their own. I adored its imagery and the cinematography is particularly striking and accomplished. John Ford’s direction is also terrific and he was a great fit for this material as both Steinbeck and Ford were concerned with more common folk.

I also liked its score and its attention to detail. The film is also well paced and edited as it flows really well and is engaging from beginning to end. But as I said, it was just too simple for me to enjoy and the great, clever dialogue was mostly absent here as they never had the time to include a lot of the most moving and striking lines and scenes from the novel.

………………………………………………….

The Grapes of Wrath Movie Review

………………………………………………….

I do continue to get frustrated by Hollywood’s insistence to make shorter films from very long novels and this movie is a great example of that and how even if it is very good as a whole, that short runtime just hurt it tremendously to no repair. Still, it did deserve all of its Oscar nominations and wins even if it is far from the best films of 1940.

The Grapes of Wrath is technically superb with excellent cinematography, great direction from John Ford and terrific performances from Jane Darwell and Henry Fonda, but it is a movie that was undone by its stupidly short running time and thus many of the greatest plot points from the novel were missing here. It is a good, emotional movie, but overly simplified leading to such a frustrating adaptation.

My Rating – 4

Share

Day for Night (1973)

Day for Night Review

…………………………………………………

Day for Night Movie Review

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

………………………………………………….

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

………………………………………………….

Day for Night Movie Review

………………………………………………….

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

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

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

………………………………………………….

Day for Night Movie Review

………………………………………………….

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

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

My Rating – 3

Share

Baby Face (1933)

Baby Face Movie Review

…………………………………………………

Baby Face Movie Review

Baby Face is a 1933 Pre-Code drama film starring Barbara Stanwyck. It is undoubtedly one of the finest and boldest Pre-Code movies.

………………………………………………….

That’s what I’m telling you! Exploit yourself!

Go to some big city where you will find opportunities.

Use men! Be strong! Defiant! Use men! To get the things you want

………………………………………………….

Baby Face Movie Review

………………………………………………….

The film is about an attractive young blonde who uses sex to advance in life, most importantly financially. This is a very interesting movie with a fascinating subject matter. It strongly relies on Nietzsche’s saying that basically if you want to survive, you need to use other people before they get to use you. That was an interesting, if harsh message and I think that still applies to this very day which is why the film was surprisingly honest, especially for its time.

So the movie definitely ended up being incredibly feminist in portraying this powerful, cold-hearted woman who gets everything she wants and literally destroys every man she got in contact with. Now a fatal woman was a very typical concept for this period, not only in the forties with the femme fatale craze, but also in the early thirties with all the sex movies. But this one was different because it took that concept to the extreme ending in the movie that probably was the most responsible for bringing the Hays Code to Hollywood. That alone makes this one a curiosity and a historically important picture.

………………………………………………….

Baby Face Movie Review

………………………………………………….

But the word curiosity is a bad word for classic movies as it usually means that the film was interesting for its time, but not really powerful today and I do not deem this movie to be anything like that. Quite the contrary – the film was incredibly entertaining and very powerful to me and I honestly was surprised by its quality.

Lily Powers is as great and unforgettable of a heroine as you could possibly have in the early thirties, certainly one of the best. Barbara Stanwyck killed it in this role which is quite possibly her most complex out of all and probably her finest performance too. She plays a very interesting, complex character and I liked how she became cold and manipulative because of the circumstances of the time. That made that happy ending where she turned to the better a bit more palatable, even if it still somewhat came out of nowhere and the movie maybe would have been better with a darker finale.

Other actors did a good job, but they were basically just pray for her which is fine as the movie should have and did rely on her character alone for the most part and it worked tremendously in its favor. But I have to mention Chico who is a black female character and the movie handled her really well, the best they could during the period and I was glad for that. A really progressive film for sure.

………………………………………………….

Baby Face Movie Review

………………………………………………….

Baby Face has its problems. One is that ending, as I said above. But a bigger problem is its runtime. Again, the movie was typical for the early 30s in lasting for just about 75 minutes and thus it felt rushed at times and way too short. Honestly, that led to an extremely entertaining movie that flew by how fun and sweet it was, but still the pacing was too brisk.

But otherwise it is very well directed and also scored as that score was used sparingly, but correctly at just the right times and it was quite a lot of fun. The film features very good dialogue, some quotable lines and its sexual scenes were highly memorable, if tame for today’s audiences. But for me, they were just right.

Baby Face is too short, but thus incredibly entertaining and it flies by how immensely fun it is. This is a highly curious movie that probably was the one film most responsible for the bringing of the Hays Code to Hollywood owing to its very sexual and bold story, but it is a movie that is still powerful and engaging to this day with a very interesting story and message, a lot of highly memorable scenes and such a complex, fascinating female protagonist beautifully played by Barbara Stanwyck who probably gave her career best performance here.

My Rating – 4.5

Share

Pom Poko (1994)

Pom Poko Movie Review

…………………………………………………

Pom Poko Movie Review

Pom Poko is a 1994 fantasy drama anime film from Studio Ghibli and directed by Isao Takahata. It is one of the weaker, but still underrated Ghibli films.

………………………………………………….

They used their balls as weapons in a brave kamikaze attack

………………………………………………….

Pom Poko Movie Review

………………………………………………….

So this is basically another nature tale where environmentalism is the prevailing message. This time around we follow raccoon dogs who have the power to transform into anything and are forced to transform into humans and live in their society as their forests are getting destroyed. So they do try to hammer this message a bit too much and for some that would be a deal-breaker, but I didn’t mind it too much as it is a very important message and people and children should be aware of this problem.

This is a very interesting film in that it very much seemed like a live-action film. Let me explain. Its running time is two hours and the film is sprawling, ambitious and rich in themes and characters which are all rarely seen in animation. That was a two-edged sword however. It was admirable in ambition, but it was also probably too long and some scenes in its middle section felt either repetitive or even unnecessary. There were too many details and plot points in my opinion.

………………………………………………….

Pom Poko Movie Review

………………………………………………….

But the story in Pom Poko still worked and these raccoon dogs were very interesting as they have the power to transform and all those transformations were beautiful and interesting to watch. I loved how the humans were realistically portrayed in all their actions and yes – the ending killed me. It  affected me emotionally as it truly is a beautiful, poignant scene. Watching them live as humans and miss their forest home was devastating, but still that final scene where Shoukichi gathers with his companions was so touching and the fourth wall breaking finale was also devastating.

So Shoukichi is a memorable, likable protagonist, Oroku is a lot of fun and old Seizaemon is great. Now most of these characters are underutilized as you got too many of them, but still they all felt like a big family thanks to a lot of emotional connection, excellent interactions between them and fun humor. I loved their relationship with humans too. The voice acting is also pretty good per usual.

………………………………………………….

Pom Poko Movie Review

………………………………………………….

So let’s talk about the animation. Firstly, the character design. Let’s first address the elephant in the room – those giant balls. Yes, these animals have giant balls that in the movie they use to fight the humans in the end even. So yes, it felt weird, but if you are used to anime, you would not mind it like I did not. In fact, it was quite funny to me and it is the most memorable thing about the movie for better and for worse. Love it or hate it, it is bold and the overall character design is actually excellent as they have three forms and they shift from realistic to anthropomorphic to transformed so smoothly and all the forms are beautiful.

The overall animation is very competent and actually great. I loved the natural landscapes, but the city imagery was also very memorable. That scene where you witness the destruction of the hill for the placement of the city was truly heartbreaking. The animation here is so polished and so beautiful as a whole that it honestly doesn’t stay too much behind their more well known, earlier efforts. The parade sequence is particularly dazzling to witness.

………………………………………………….

Pom Poko Movie Review

………………………………………………….

Pom Poko also has a very strong score which accompanies those emotional scenes so well and I really liked it personally. The pacing is problematic, but the direction from Isao Takahata is very strong per usual as he is one of my favorite anime directors for sure. But I have to say that I really did not like the narration here.

The dialogue overall is excellent here and the movie is smart, but that narration kidified the movie a bit too much and it was just so unnecessary and extremely overwhelming as it took up a lot of the movie. But the humor is honestly quite solid and the film is charming and poignant enough that it overcame those many flaws and it is in my opinion quite underrated and possibly better than overrated ‘Porco Rosso’.

Pom Poko is a flawed, but solid and ultimately even underrated Ghibli film. Its narration truly is overwhelming, the film may be too weird for some in regards to the character design and it was too long and the middle section dragged a bit, but still this is a very moving, rich tale with a strong environmental message, likable characters, accomplished animation and such a poignant, truly touching third act.

My Rating – 3.5

Share

L’Atalante (1934)

L'Atalante Movie Review

…………………………………………………

L’Atalante Movie Review

L’Atalante is a 1934 French drama film directed by Jean Vigo and starring Michel Simon, Dita Parlo and Jean Daste. It is a solid, but highly overrated movie.

………………………………………………….

Don’t you know you can see your beloved’s face in the water

………………………………………………….

L'Atalante Movie Review

………………………………………………….

This is another overrated French movie in the world filled with such titles. It obviously influenced the French New Wave and thus is important, but because I am not a fan of the aforementioned period, that hardly mattered to me. The film should have been much more romantic and is basically just a drama in the end which was a problem.

The story itself is very standard and although some parts are memorable, most of it was highly usual and the film moved too slowly and was slight overall in terms of storytelling and felt long even for its very short runtime.

Definitely the highlight is the underwater sequence which inspired Kusturica’s ‘Underground’. Another highlight is that erotic, sensual scene which is very original and progressive for its time. It is unlike any other scene in 1930s film and it thus needs to be respected.

The characters in L’Atalante are very dull and mostly far from memorable. They serve their purpose, but these three ultimately did not interest me personally and I was not invested in their story. I liked some of the conversations here as the dialogue was solid, but the film still needed more substance.

………………………………………………….

L'Atalante Movie Review

………………………………………………….

The visuals drive this French flick to much greater heights and again that is a testament to it being the forerunner of the French New Wave decades before it even started. Jean Vigo directed only two movies and made a name for himself in movie history. I wouldn’t go that far to call him great, but he did have a distinct and interesting style nonetheless.

As I said, the cinematography is stunning. The film is so well filmed and some shots are superb. I liked its setting so well and it is explored really well. The score is also quite solid and fitting in style to the plot. So the film sounds and looks excellent, but at its core it is pretty shallow.

L’Atalante is another overrated French movie with excellent cinematography, good score and some superb shots and a couple of very memorable, original sequences, but the film is slight in terms of characterization and storytelling and it was mostly boring even for its short runtime.

My Rating – 3.5

Share