Marty (1955)

Marty Movie Review

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Marty Movie Review

Marty is a 1955 romance film directed by Delbert Mann and starring Ernest Borgnine and Betsy Blair. It is one of the best films of all time.

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You don’t like her. My mother don’t like her. She’s a dog.

And I’m a fat, ugly man. Well, all I know is I had a good time last night.

I’m gonna have a good time tonight. If we have enough good times together,

I’m gonna get down on my knees. I’m gonna beg that girl to marry me.

If we make a party on New Year’s, I got a date for that party.

You don’t like her? That’s too bad!

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Marty Movie Review

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The film is about a bachelor butcher who gets pressured to get married by his friends and family as he is 34. One day, he meets a girl with similar problems and the two establish a romantic connection. Now where do I even begin with the praise for one of my favorite movies ever? First of all, this is one of the truly rare Hollywood films that deals with “ugly” people and regular folks with regular professions and problems and that makes it truly special. It is even more special for its time as back then these kinds of “small” films just did not exist.

Secondly, the film is just so damn realistic as it perfectly showcases the constant annoying behavior from parents and family when it comes to getting married. America got past this, but most parts of the world still have this problem so the film remains hugely relatable. The third great thing about it in terms of storytelling is its subplot which is beautiful. Usually movies that have these smaller stories suffer, but this one only got richer and deeper as it showcased in such a sweet, tragic way how getting old is terrible for a single/widowed mother.

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Marty Movie Review

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Marty is one of the best protagonists ever in a film. Yes, he is that great. Relatable and realistic, sweet and caring, but not too great a person, he seemed like a real person to me and is the heart and soul of the entire film. Clara is simply a wonderful person and I just loved her awkward, shy personality and her heart was always in the right place.

These two make one of the best romantic pairs ever in a film leading to possibly the best movie romance of all time. Watching them together is a priceless experience. How they met was very much like the movies and their entire date is so romantic and beautiful that it definitely is very cinematic. However, it is also realistic as it showcased in such a sweet manner the beauty of falling in love while also showing the darker side to it in the reactions of family and friends. Him talking constantly and then eventually her starting to talk, him awkwardly paying compliments and her being awkward when it comes to kissing… all of it was beautiful to me. It brought a smile to my face and I was even on the verge of happy tears as that’s how gorgeous this film is.

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Marty Movie Review

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Mary’s mother is such a great character too. Again grounded in reality and quite funny at times. Angie is very annoying, but again a realistic character and I loved how Marty eventually came to realize that his friends were holding him back. A great arc. Catherine is so funny and she made me laugh quite a bit and the scenes between the two old women were very heartwarming.

The acting is fabulous here. Ernest Borgnine gave his career best performance for sure and he absolutely excelled in a role that was seemingly not suited for him. His performance is subtle and the reason why Marty seemed like a real person lies in his incredible performance. Truly one of the greats in movie history. Betsy Blair is also excellent in a very charming role and I just loved her smile. She was so wonderful here. The fact that they cast people that look like their roles instead of the usual great looking actors pretending to play ugly people is admirable. And all of the others did a great job, but these two were the film’s soul.

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Marty Movie Review

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Let’s talk about the humor. Marty is a romance above all and certainly not a romantic comedy as it is too serious in tone for that classification. However, the film is still incredibly funny. Whenever they asked him when he was going to get married, those moments were both funny and frustratingly relatable. I loved the two old women and both were quite humorous and they made me laugh the most. And of course that line about marrying a girl that is half your age cracked me up as it was such a hilarious, stupid line of dialogue and the funniest and most memorable quote here.

So Marty has it all. The film is so well directed by Delbert Mann and even though some find it to be TV quality when it comes to cinematography, I thought it looked fine and some scenes were quite cinematic and it felt like a movie to me. It is a great example of an indie film as it surely was for its time and that is what makes it more realistic, applicable and ultimately better than most 50s films. The pacing is excellent and the film flies by how fun it is. It is incredibly emotional and sometimes I wanted to cry honestly. Its dialogue is top-notch and the character development is, as I said, stupendous.

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Marty Movie Review

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Marty was nominated for eight Oscars and it won four. Betsy Blair should have won for Supporting Actress, but I am so glad that the film won in four major categories. Director and screenplay are much deserved and Ernest Borgnine was thankfully rewarded for one of the best male performances ever. It won Best Picture as the shortest and sweetest film to ever win that award and one of the best. It is one of my top twenty favorite films of all time and a film that I am going to watch for decades to come.

With very relatable and important issues explored, such a great humor with many hilarious lines and one of the best romantic pairs ever in a film, Marty is truly the best romance film of all time. Ernest Borgnine gave one of the best male performances ever and Betsy Blair is also great. They are wonderful together and the film is so sweet, so indescribably beautiful that it almost moved me to tears. The dialogue is top-notch, the characterization is very strong and the film is very realistic and heartwarming leading to one of the best films of all time and one of my personal favorites. A classic for the ages.

My Rating – 5

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2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

2001: A Space Odyssey Movie Review

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2001: A Space Odyssey Movie Review

2001: A Space Odyssey is a 1968 science fiction film directed by Stanley Kubrick. It is the genre’s best film and in my opinion one of the best films ever made.

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Open the pod bay doors, HAL

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2001: A Space Odyssey Movie Review

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In this movie review I am not going to talk about the story in-depth as I have already done that analysis in my review of the book. But let’s compare the two works. I guess I am in vast minority, but I think I actually prefer the book. The movie is absolutely fantastic, but some elements, especially the main character and the plot itself, were slightly better in the novel.
But Clarke and Kubrick are both geniuses and this movie is the quintessential example of how to properly adapt novel into visual medium such as film, it is actually a better example than ‘The Shining’ which is another Kubrick movie which was perfectly adapted from the Stephen King book. Whereas the novel is much better explained and detailed, the film is just the opposite – it doesn’t give many explanations and it leaves many things unanswered and to the viewers to analyze themselves. That is why this film is such an admirable work of art, wonderfully ambiguous, timeless and always fascinating to behold. The book and the film are the same at their core, but are so different in approach and that is why I loved what Kubrick did here.

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2001: A Space Odyssey Movie Review

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I thought that Bowman, Poole and Floyd were all better in the book, but here they aren’t particularly important and that is why they aren’t as much developed. In the ambitious scope and context of this epic story, characters are almost irrelevant which is why I liked that approach even though I would usually criticize it. The performances from its far from famous cast are pretty good too.
HAL 9000 is absolutely magnificent. It is interesting how the only non-human character in the movie is better developed, more flawed and in the end more human than the humans themselves which is an interesting conversation point. But whatever you take away from it, you just cannot deny the power of this character who is in my opinion one of the best villains ever in a film and probably even the very best. Calculated, yet so human, he is also very creepy and all of the scenes with him are so powerful with the lip-reading sequence being the most memorable. Complex and fascinating, HAL truly is an unforgettable creation.

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2001: A Space Odyssey Movie Review

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2001: A Space Odyssey is one of the most cinematic films in film history. And that is in and of itself a pure miracle because the book seems so unfilmable and the story seems that it could only exist in the literary form. That is why Kubrick’s direction here is probably the best of all time, it is that great! Without any doubt, this is his magnum opus and that says a lot as his filmography is truly phenomenal. His direction here is always consistent, artistic and epic and he is the person most responsible for the existence of this masterpiece. He was such a talented individual.
Naturally the special effects are the most memorable aspect here. Wow, not only is this movie the best looking classic film, but I would go so far as to call these effects the finest ever created in a film. I have actually read how it was made and it is still mind-boggling to me that this film came out in the sixties. The ship, the planets and the overall space is just visually stunning. There are many scenes here that contain such jaw-dropping visceral beauty that it overwhelms your senses entirely. The cinematography and the effects work in line to create one of the best looking movies of all time.

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2001: A Space Odyssey Movie Review

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I constantly use those superlatives, but this is just that powerful a movie. And it is another strong proof that some movies have to be watched many times in order to fully understand them. When I watched 2001 the first time, I actually disliked it. When I watched it the second time, I found it to be very good, but kind of boring. But upon third viewing and on the big screen, I was riveted throughout the whole running time, I was fascinated by its sheer magnitude and now I deem it to be one of the best films of all time. It is in fact now in my top ten films list, sitting at the seventh spot for now and it may only move further to the top as I definitely intend to watch it every couple of years for the rest of my life.
This wouldn’t be such a strong artistic achievement hadn’t it been for the score. Using classical compositions, Kubrick again managed to create a timeless masterpiece. I loved how wonderfully the music accompanied the action on screen and that creepy score accompanying the monolith scene was just astonishing to behold and immensely unnerving.

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2001: A Space Odyssey Movie Review

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As I said, it is a timeless film. Mainly because it uses spacesuits, the ship and especially the production design that feel so futuristic and definitely timeless instead of the usually timely portrayals in other science fiction films of this period. The furniture and the sets are just magnificent and couple that with those accomplished effects and you have the movie that looks and sounds great even in this 21st century and do believe that it is going to stand the test of time for many centuries and millennia to come.
Now I have to touch upon my favorite sequences. I adore that opening with the apes. Now I do love ‘Planet of the Apes’ from the same year, but this is how you make apes that look realistic and fantastic to this day. The transition from the bone to the space object is stunning and the next unforgettable scene is of course the monolith scene which is unforgettable in its creepiness. I loved all of the scenes with HAL 9000 and the entire ending is jaw-droppingly beautiful and artistic. I loved the ambiguity about it. I still do think that those who haven’t read the book would have a hard time understanding the film, but I’ve read the book myself and I love both of these works so much.

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2001: A Space Odyssey Movie Review

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The dialogue is sparse, but phenomenal. I loved that this was almost a silent film in many ways and I loved its ambitious approach. The film deals with so many things from artificial intelligence to extraterrestrials to weapons to space exploration, but it is above all one ambitious and timeless look at the never-ending human quest for knowledge. In its plot and scope, it is almost universal and all-encompassing which is why it is a quintessential science fiction film whether you love it or not.

With the best special effects ever created, one of the best villains ever, splendid production design, stunning cinematography, beautiful score and absolutely fantastic direction from Kubrick, 2001: A Space Odyssey truly is a timeless masterpiece and undoubtedly a work of art. It encompasses all of the essential science fiction themes and that is why it is the quintessential genre film. Ambitious in scope and plot, epic in feel and filled with many scenes that are overwhelming in their majesty, 2001 is a marvel to behold and it is indisputably one of the best films of all time.

My Rating – 5

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King Kong (1933)

King Kong Movie Review…………………………………………………..

King Kong Movie Review

King Kong is a 1933 fantasy adventure film which is one of the finest blockbusters of all time.
This is such a classic movie. I first watched it about six years ago and after seeing it now for the second time, I fully stand by my original 5-star rating as it truly is as flawless as blockbusters can be. A marvelous movie by all accounts.
The story and the overall jungle setting of the film along with the dinosaur creatures is obviously influenced by ‘The Lost World’ which is such a good silent adventure flick. But King Kong managed to make even better, full use of such a premise and I honestly think that it is mostly immaculately executed.

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It was beauty killed the beast

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King Kong Movie Review…………………………………………………..
I loved the first act which is a perfect build up to the action, so well done and engaging. This is a monster movie done right as it introduces you to its characters in a natural manner and those characters are not ridiculously underdeveloped but are quite memorable.
Robert Armstrong is amusing as this highly business-oriented director of exotic movies. He is likable, yet realistic. I respected the movie for showcasing how box office was important even during the 30s and that Hollywood is just one giant business. He got some of the funniest lines as well.
Fay Wray is quite memorable as one of the screen’s first scream queens. She was stereotypical and too hopeless, but this role needed such a weak female character so that wasn’t a big problem for me. Bruce Cabot is immensely funny as this overly misogynistic redneck and I really liked their relationship.
But King Kong is the name of the movie and he is undoubtedly the true star here. That Beauty and the Beast dynamic was quite interesting and I really liked his behavior and that he seemed genuinely clever at times. His death is definitely felt and is the most emotional scene in the film.

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King Kong Movie Review………………………………………….
So I loved that ending and that famous quote is unforgettable to this day. The entire Empire State Building sequence is thrilling, beautifully executed and realistic. That scene is one for the ages. But the second act is probably my favorite as the jungle scenes were a lot of fun and the movie shines the most in the adventure department. It is wrongly classified as horror when in reality it is an adventure film with fantasy elements and what a glorious, old-fashioned adventure it is.
The action is so well executed and quite believable. The reason why I consider it as a full-on blockbuster despite its age is that it has quite a lot of action in it plus it is a giante spectacle that truly needs to be seen on the big screen and I am so glad that I did that.
King Kong features quite possibly the best special effects of any 1930s film. The stop-motion work done by Willis O’Brien truly is one of the finest of all time. The Pteranodon looked real, the Tyrannosaurus and the Brontosaurus both looked phenomenal and of course Kong himself is marvelous. His jerky movements only further brough the necessary realism as that large a creature would be really slow. But his face and fur are absolutely fantastic. This movie looked spectacular for its time, but it still looks pretty good even by today’s VFX standards.

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King Kong Movie Review…………………………………………………..
The film’s humor surprised me as it is pretty good and I laughed a couple of times. The dialogue is simple, yet extremely memorable and the editing is so deft that the movie flies by, but is never rushed too. The score is pretty good and fitting to the action as well. It truly is a wonderful experience.
With simply amazing special effects, memorable characters, excellent humor, highly recognizable dialogue and superb imagery, King Kong truly is an undisputed classic which has aged like fine wine and is phenomenally entertaining to this day. It is such a wonderful adventure which features quite a lot of unforgettable sequences, great action scenes and such a memorable ending leading to one of the best blockbusters of all time.

My Rating – 5

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Lion (2016)

Lion Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

Lion Movie Review

Lion is a 2016 drama film directed by Garth Davis and starring Dev Patel, Sunny Pawar and Nicole Kidman. It is one of the year’s best films.

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Every night I imagine that I’m walking those streets home

and I know every single step of the way, and I whisper in her ear – I’m here

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Lion Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

It follows a true story of an Indian boy from a small village who, while waiting for his brother on the street, boards a train and accidentally ends up in Calcutta. Eventually, he gets adopted by an Australian couple and he decides to search for his village and his mother with the help of Google Earth.

The story is so powerful, human and extremely emotional that I was blown away by it. The fact that it is real and that it did in fact happen only bolstered its power to me. Those final images of the real people were so moving to watch. This is one of the rare movies that made me cry and I almost never cry watching movies. That’s how powerful it is. But the reunion scene just made me tear up how wonderful and emotional it was. Truly one of the best scenes of any 2016 film.

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Lion Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

I loved the film’s structure. Some may say it is problematic that the second half is more dramatic and slower than the first one, but I liked that quite a bit. To me the second half is even stronger than the first one as I thought that his journey as a small child maybe could have been trimmed down a bit. But I still was fascinated watching it. He truly had a crazy, difficult life and following him from one city to another, encountering many bad people and terrible poverty and situations on the street was devastating to behold.

But I loved the second half. It featured excellent dialogue and it just phenomenally put into perspective the issue of adoption. When Kidman’s character makes that speech why she chose to adopt, well, that is probably where the movie shines the most in terms of sophistication and message. She tells us that having biological children is actually a very selfish decision as you bring a child to an overly populated planet when you can help a child that is already born and struggles in poverty and is parentless.

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Lion Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

The movie showcases how difficult and emotionally exhausting adoption can be which is here best exemplified in their second adopted son Mantosh who is very problematic as he has self-harm and anger issues. As Saroo states – by adopting them, she also adopted their previous, troubled and difficult histories. Yes, the movie truthfully showcases both the pros and cons of adoption, but it still ends it on a positive note, by telling us that it is still a beautiful, human thing to do and I was just inspired by that sentiment.

I loved the characters, so well realized and having read the interviews, it is evident that real Saroo and others are happy with this adaptation which is another proof of its greatness. It is faithful. He was great here, but I liked his girlfriend quite a bit too and their relationship was well developed. Everyone else was excellent, but the highlight is Sue naturally as she is such an inspirational person and a beautiful soul whom I respect a lot.

The acting in Lion is as great as the various accolades have been telling us. Rooney Mara and David Wenham are quite good, but Priyanka Bose was superb in the mother’s role. I dislike Dev Patel personally, but I couldn’t deny how superb he was here, delivering a very good, respectable performance.

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Lion Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

However, Sunny Pawar is so underappreciated here. He gave such an amazing performance for a child actor and he even stole the show from Dev Patel as he was more memorable in the first half. A very underrated child performance once again. But to me Nicole Kidman is easily the standout actress here. Wow, she was fantastic and she definitely delivered the year’s finest supporting performance. She was subtle when needed and emotional when the dialogue and the scene demanded. Her speech sequence is really something special.

Lion is also beautifully made. The cinematography here is absolutely stunning and is the year’s best looking and best shot movie. Whether in India or in Australia, it was beautiful to witness, but also realistic in its sequences. I loved that it didn’t shy away from Indian problems such as child sex trade and slavery, both presented here.

As for the direction, it is very good and especially great given that it is a directorial debut for Garth Davis. The film features a terrific script which is not only moving, but thematically rich and it features realism and a great message regarding adoption. It truly is an inspirational movie, but also a universal one as almost anyone can relate to the search for parents, coming from a poor area etc.

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Lion Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

I found the dialogue to be terrific as well with a couple of excellent lines and many thought-provoking discussions. The film is also very well edited which was quite an accomplishment having in mind its difficult to adapt structure. Lion was always riveting to me and never at all slow. It is almost perfectly made and I rarely say that. Really, there is nothing wrong with this movie, at least nothing comes to my mind right now when writing this review, though that may change upon second viewing. But for now, it is a great movie that deserved much more accolades than it got and it is quite possibly the best 2016 has to offer.

Emotional, smart, realistic and just so powerful, Lion is a masterpiece of a film. It features such terrific performances with Nicole Kidman being particularly outstanding, it is beautifully shot, so well edited and directed and it features excellent, thought-provoking dialogue and a great message. It showcases both the pros and cons of adoption, but that eventually it is a beautiful decision. Everyone can relate to this movie as Saroo’s journey is amazing and heartbreaking and it is all the more powerful having in mind that it really happened. It is one of the rare movies that made me cry and it is in my opinion the very best film of 2016.

My Rating – 5

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A Boy Named Charlie Brown (1969)

A Boy Named Charlie Brown Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

A Boy Named Charlie Brown Movie Review

A Boy Named Charlie Brown is a 1969 animated comedy drama film directed by Bill Melendez. It is the first Peanuts feature film and actually one of my favorite animated films period.

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Well, I can understand how you feel.

You worked hard, studying for the spelling bee, and I suppose you feel you let everyone down,

and you made a fool of yourself and everything.

But did you notice something, Charlie Brown?

The world didn’t come to an end.

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A Boy Named Charlie Brown Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

I love this movie so much! To me it was such an almost perfect way to transition from specials to a feature and surely enough, this film is better than the majority of specials themselves, at least when it comes to my opinion. They managed to include as much of the classic Peanuts characters and humor and situations as possible and thus becoming a quintessential Peanuts outing.

I loved that it focused on the spelling bee instead of sports as that made it much more enjoyable for a non-sports fan like me. Every spelling bee scene was just terrific. Another highlight is Lucy’s scene in psychiatric booth, that was genius. To me this film is far from perfect and surely it does have too much musical numbers in it and the first act is sorely lacking in comparison to the rest of the film, but the rest is so great that I forgive those flaws.

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A Boy Named Charlie Brown Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

Of course the ending makes this movie. Wow, rarely have I seen a better conclusion in an animated film. Charlie Brown loses the game and closes in his room and refuses to ever come out. Linus comes in and tells him that he failed, but the universe didn’t come to an end because of it. That line in a nutshell is the reason why I respect this series as a whole. It never sugarcoats, but actually truthfully explains to children that they may continue losing and that winning is uncertain, but it isn’t the end of the world if you lose and that you should continue trying. A fantastic message in such a brilliant, wonderful ending.

Let’s talk about the characters. Charlie Brown is excellent! Rarely has he been this good in a special before or after. I loved that Peter Robbins voiced the character and I loved that he was at his angriest and most depressing mood here. He was relatable and you root for him throughout the entire movie.

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A Boy Named Charlie Brown Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

Peppermint Patty was surely missed here, but all of the others are here thankfully. Lucy is as hilarious as ever and some of her lines and moments made me laugh out loud. Snoopy was solid, but not as great as the others were. But thankfully this time around his scenes did not take as much screen time as they usually do. Schroeder and Sally are well used, but Linus is one the highlights in one of his best roles ever. I loved the emphasis on his security blanket and he is so endearing here, but he is also there for his friend which made him even more lovable.

A Boy Named Charlie Brown has a couple of songs in it so let me touch upon all of them. The Star-Spangled Banner was out of place and Failure Face is forgettable, albeit being a great scene, but I Before E is very catchy and a great way for children to learn spelling, Champion Charlie Brown is solid and the titular number is certainly quite charming and endearing. The songs are actually quite solid here, at least half of them are.

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A Boy Named Charlie Brown Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

The animation is really good and as pleasant as usual with the character designs being faithful and top-notch. The voice acting is of the best variety and using the best of the earlier voices. The score is quite good and the film is stupendously well made in terms of the technical aspects. It is not only well directed, but also polished in its shots and so deft in its editing as it is never slow and never rushed, it lasts for just the right amount of running time. It is always wonderful to watch, the dialogue is as clever as you would expect from the series and the humor is some of the best of the entire series as it made me laugh more than a couple of times with many hilarious parts. I loved its skillful tone too as it balanced light tone with humor and serious tone with drama and messages beautifully. It is overall a tremendously well realized movie and one of my favorite Peanuts stories and one of my favorite animated features as a whole.

A Boy Named Charlie Brown managed to bring everything you want from Peanuts to the table and it did that beautifully. The humor is excellent and some of the lines were hilarious, the characters are superbly utilized with Charlie Brown, Lucy and Linus being the highlights, the film is very well made technically and of course the standout is the final scene which features such a respectable, truly great message for children and it was a beautiful, brave way to end the movie.

My Rating – 5

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My Man Godfrey (1936)

 My Man Godfrey Movie Review………………………………………………………….

My Man Godfrey Movie Review

My Man Godfrey is a 1936 screwball comedy film directed by Gregory La Cava and starring William Powell and Carole Lombard. It is definitely one of the finest screwball comedies.

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Godfrey loves me! He put me in the shower!

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 My Man Godfrey Movie Review………………………………………………………….

The story is about a socialite who hires a homeless man to be her family’s butler. She eventually falls in love with him, much to his dismay. The script here is so stellar and just perfect. Not only do you have a very entertaining and funny story populated with highly likable or amusing characters, but you still have a satire on class relations and truly its social commentary is not only smart and funny, but relevant to this day, thus only further adding to its timeless quality.

My Man Godfrey features absolutely amazing character development, truly an example of how to properly develop characters in a film. Almost all of them are likable, memorable and even funny plus they all felt like genuine human beings and I’ve felt in the end that I’ve just met them. Everyone gets a moment to shine.

Godfrey is fantastic and he carries this entire movie, the same goes for Irene and the two are such a charming couple. I loved his seriousness and elegance and how it clashed well with her childlike and energetic personality. Cornelia is quite memorable as this cold and manipulative brat and their father is very likable. And of course the mother is such a hilarious personality and she made me laugh the most. I liked Molly quite a bit as she’s so sweet to everyone, but only Carlo is the weak link as I felt that he was unnecessary for this movie and that is the only flaw I can find here, but a minor one nevertheless.

The acting is just marvelous with everyone delivering a terrific performance. Alice Brady steals every scene she’s in with a comedic gold of a performance and Gail Patrick is beautiful and memorable. Carole Lombard delivered her finest performance of her career in Godfrey as she’s just a force to be reckoned with. But to me William Powell is the most outstanding of the bunch as he’s one of my favorite comedy actors. Here his seriousness clashed well with the craziness of the others and his facial expressions are just priceless.

My Man Godfrey features probably the best humor of any 1930s films and that is in and of itself a major accolade. Everyone made me laugh and most especially Brady, Lombard and Powell’s characters. So good. The humor is so strong, yet also smart and sophisticated propelled by such a great dialogue. The facial expressions of Godfrey and over-the-top antics from the crazy family were the highlights. Such a memorable and hilarious crew of characters.

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 My Man Godfrey Movie Review………………………………………………………….

My Man Godfrey is brilliantly made as there isn’t a single flaw in it in terms of the execution. The direction from Gregory La Cava is simply great, the acting is exceptional and the editing is stellar. Truly nothing felt rushed nor prolonged. It lasts for just the right amount of time and is always absolutely compelling to watch.

The script is so good, but it is the dialogue that is one of the standouts. It is as brisk and as sophisticated and biting as you would expect form a 30s screwball comedy which is why it thoroughly succeeds in this genre and why it’s one of its finest representatives. It is also one of the very best that 1936 has to offer and shame on Academy for not nominating it for Best Picture.

Speaking of the Academy, it was nominated for six Oscars. I do not agree at all with the nod to Mischa Auer as his character is the weakest link as I’ve said above, but I thoroughly agree with other nominations with Powell, Lombard and Brady’s performances all being deserving of the nomination. The same goes for the director and the script, but it is ridiculous that it didn’t win any and it just goes to show how clueless they often were during this decade.

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 My Man Godfrey Movie Review………………………………………………………….

The tone is great as it shifts to dramatic and serious at just the right times. The themes and message are evident and of course the film looks good and works perfectly as a chamber drama and a theatrical one as it revolves almost entirely in one house and it makes use of that setting so well. And I have to say that the movie is so charming and so romantic as its romance is so well developed and so wonderful. I loved the ending where she chased him and made him marry her. Hilarious and beautiful.

With such a stellar script, sophisticated and hilarious dialogue, phenomenal humor as the movie consistently made me laugh and such outstanding performances from Alice Brady, Carole Lombard and William Powell, My Man Godfrey is an undisputed classic and one of the finest screwball comedies that is always funny and charming, yet smart and so polished technically too. It features characters that are all memorable, likable and funny and the film is almost flawless in execution and just brilliant.

My Rating – 5

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Ringing Bell (1978)

Ringing Bell Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………….

Ringing Bell Movie Review

Ringing Bell is a 1978 anime film directed by Masami Hata. It is such an underappreciated, masterful move that is one of the finest animated films I’ve seen.

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Someone has to die so that someone else can live. That’s the law of nature

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Ringing Bell Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………….

The film is about Chirin who is an adventurous little lamb. After the wolf kills his mother, he goes after him and requests that he teach him how to become strong like him. He eventually becomes a very strong ram and the two live together and kill mercilessly, but when asked to kill the sheep in his home place, he struggles to do that and confronts the wolf. Yes, that is the plot here and, needless to say, it isn’t a children’s film despite it being categorized as such. It is not only very violent and mature, but also incredibly deep and sophisticated.

I admired its sophistication. The film shows us the wilderness in an extremely realistic manner. This is not your typical Disney animal feature. In fact, it can’t be more opposite to that. It shows you how life truly is for these animals and I loved how it makes a statement telling us that only the strong can survive in nature and the weak are destined to either death or a life full of fear and suffering. That is hard to accept, but truthful.

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Ringing Bell Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………….

But what took me entirely by surprise is the territory to which the movie went in its third act. I never expected it to go that dark and deep. Chirin basically becomes a wolf in his way of life and behavior. However, when he decides not to kill the sheep and confronts and kill the wolf, the other sheep won’t accept him back to the barn as they fear him and they don’t recognize him. He has become something entirely different – not a wolf, not a sheep. And that is the major theme in this film – you can change the inevitable and you can try to become someone you aren’t supposed to be, but that is not going to work out as you can’t fight against nature.

In Chirin we have someone who just doesn’t want to sit back and wait for his death and that is very relatable which is why he’s such a strong character. His journey from an innocent lamb to a strong ram and an almost mythical like creature is so well executed that it is believable and emotionally rewarding. Woe is such a great mentor in a typical anime fashion and I loved that he took his time deciding that he wants to teach him. That was much more realistic than I thought it would have been done. The relationship between the two is so strong and it is as if you are witnessing something truly unique, one of a kind and special unfold before your eyes. And the entire movie feels like that. I also liked Chirin’s mother and her death was of course devastating to watch.

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Ringing Bell Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………….

Ringing Bell is technically phenomenal and superbly animated. The animation here is simplistic, but still exceptional. The character design in particular was the highlight as all of the animals looked very real. The lambs looked sweet and innocent and the wolf and adult Chirin looked so powerful and majestic, not to mention menacing. The backgrounds are also nice and the film is very smooth and polished with some really striking imagery. There were a couple of sequences here that were just breathtaking and so commendable in their apparent artistry and sheer power.

The highlights for me were the death of Chirin’s mother which was very well done and of course that ending is so powerful. I loved the symbol of the ringing bell and that is a perfect title to this movie. That ending was so mystical and a perfect conclusion to this authentic movie. Woe’s death was also really powerful and every scene between those two was just phenomenal. You can easily see the admiration the wolf has for Chirin as he shows some real strength and perseverance and Chirin sees Woe as a father figure and that may seem odd, but was done really well here that it becomes understandable.

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Ringing Bell Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………….

Let’s talk more about those themes of Ringing Bell as I only touched upon them before. Overcoming your weakness is one theme very well explored here, but then you have the laws of nature and how unforgiving and cruel it truly is which is a great lesson for kids and I really would show this movie to children despite its awfully dark tone as it has a lot to teach them. Another great theme here is revenge and how it can destroy your life and overcome you to the point of an obsession. You have the loss of innocence and the turn from childhood to adulthood. And I loved its message about pain. It tells us that life is cruel and it can be quite awful, yes. But by surviving the more darker chapters of your life, you only become stronger which is best described here by ‘the fangs of your heart’. The film is just so deep and layered that it really took me by surprise.

The score is breathtaking! That theme song is just so good that I was just moved by it immensely. The score is awesome, the sound effects are great and that theme song is perfect with or without lyrics/singing. It is also a great showcase of the universality of this movie. It feels Japanese in some areas, but it mostly feels universal in that everyone can appreciate it, no matter the nationality. And that is something that most Japanese and American animated films fail to accomplish.

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Ringing Bell Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………….

Ringing Bell is tonally perfect, going from cute and innocent to dark and violent deftly. The action/fight sequences are so well realized and some of its images are unforgettable. It is thoroughly unpredictable and oh so authentic. The dialogue is amazing in that so much is said in so little lines. The emotion is powerful to the point of being overwhelming and truly I felt overpowered after I finished watching it. That is the effect only true masterpieces can accomplish and Ringing Bell is that masterpiece. It is one of the best animated films of all time and easily the most shamefully underappreciated.

Mature, dark and so honest and just real, breathtaking in its music and oh so unforgettable in its imagery, powerful in its characters and so deep and sophisticated in its themes, Ringing Bill is just fantastic in every aspect. It is a film that deals with the cruelty of nature, the dangers of anger and revenge, the need to overcome your given nature and weaknesses, grief and sorrow and the loss of innocence and it deals with all of those issues in the short running time of 47 minutes which is beyond impressive and achieved by using such powerful dialogue. Its characters are strong and mystical, the animation is phenomenal, the score is beautiful and the tone is admirable. It is one of the best animated films of all time and undoubtedly the most shamefully underappreciated. I was deeply affected by this movie and only true masterpieces can have such an effect on you and I am deeply saddened and frustrated that I live in the world where this film has been seen by just a handful of people.

My Rating – 5

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The Cranes Are Flying (1957)

The Cranes Are Flying Movie Review………………………………………………………………………….

The Cranes Are Flying Movie Review

The Cranes Are Flying is a 1957 Russian war romance film directed by Mikhail Kalatozov and starring Tatiana Samoilova. It is a masterpiece of Russian cinema.

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Look! Look! The cranes are flying!

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The Cranes Are Flying Movie Review………………………………………………………………………….

It follows a young woman during WW2 and how she struggles when her boyfriend goes to war. This film manages to transcend its admittedly simple and predictable storyline with a perfect execution. Everything here is phenomenal, but what is the most admirable is how anti-war the picture is. I loved its critique of patriotism as well as war in general. The war here is portrayed as damaging to each and every person and that nothing good can come out of it.

That is why it succeeds as a great anti-war film, but also succeeds as a strong romance because this couple is so charming to watch and root for. The tragedy is evident from the beginning, but still deeply impactful. My favorite sequence has to be that ending which was just magnificent to behold. Veronika learns that Boris truly is dead when the soldiers return and the juxtaposition of her devastated face surrounded with joyous people happily reunited with their loved ones was just so powerful, brilliant and heartbreaking. But it then ends on a high and still optimistic note when she gives the flowers to the people around her and gazes upon the sky to see the titular cranes that are the symbol of their everlasting love so greatly established in the movie’s opening scene.

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The Cranes Are Flying Movie Review………………………………………………………………………….

The character development is very strong. Tatiana is such a phenomenal character and a very strong, admirable female protagonist for the time. Her coping with uncertainties over Boris’ fate was so well realized and I found her to not just be a helpless woman waiting for her man, but a strong woman who meanwhile worked at the hospital and never lost hope.

Boris is also really good, excellent for the little screen time that he got. The two are such a great couple which is important for the movie to work. Fyodor Ivanovich is very likable and of course Mark is despicable and I liked how they dealt with him in this movie. That entire subplot worked against all odds.

The Cranes Are Flying benefits from terrific acting across the board. Aleksey Batalov is really good and Vasili Merkuryev is excellent, but of course the standout is Tatiana Samoilova who didn’t start off as strong, but as the movie progressed, became better and better until delivering in spades during the third act. She is beautiful, charming and she managed to carry the entire movie on her shoulders which is so commendable.

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The Cranes Are Flying Movie Review………………………………………………………………………….

Another thing that makes The Cranes Are Flying a classic is its look. The movie is absolutely gorgeous to watch. The cinematography from Sergei Urusevsky is so strong that it manages to become the most memorable aspect of the entire film. The camera movements in the outdoor sequences are phenomenal, both regular and handheld. The imagery is superb and that crane scene is amazing and beautiful, both in the opening and ending.

The film is so polished not just in its cinematography, but also in the direction which is very strong, acting and of course editing. It is masterfully edited with each and every scene lasting for just the right amount of running time. The movie is never abrupt, never dragging and never dull. It is involving from start to finish owing to that superb editing.

The tone is great as it’s wonderfully lightweight and romantic at first and then serious and dark and still ending on a positive, moving note. That ending was heartbreaking, but wonderful and it almost made me cry how powerful it was. The movie isn’t original, but it is so fantastic in almost every way that I thoroughly enjoyed it despite me being somewhat tired of World War II movies. But when you have a movie done this well, you can’t help but appreciate it.

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The Cranes Are Flying Movie Review………………………………………………………………………….

The film is also realistic, it is well established in its characters and all of its plot points and some scenes are visually very intriguing including that supposed rape scene which is very authentic in its look. The dialogue I loved and I respect the movie for its great sentiment. The score is also quite good and the emotion is so strong that it starts to become overwhelming later on, positively so of course. The movie has that timeless quality to it and is just such an undisputed classic that is so far my favorite Russian film.

With deft editing, excellent direction, amazing cinematography from Sergey Urusevsky and such a strong performance from Tatiana Samoilova, The Cranes Are Flying is an undisputed Russian classic that is so moving, heartbreaking and powerful. It is a film that is perfect in almost every way, it succeeds as such a great anti-war film as well as a beautiful romance and it has such a breathtaking ending scene that almost made me cry. A masterpiece.

My Rating – 5

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The Little Mermaid (1989)

The Little Mermaid Movie Review

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The Little Mermaid Movie Review

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The Little Mermaid is a 1989 animated musical fantasy film directed by Ron Clements and John Musker. It is the 28th entry in the Disney canon and it is undoubtedly one of the very best Disney films of all time.

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The human world is a mess.

Life under the sea is better than anything they got up there.

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Let’s talk about the story. It is one of the most well crafted and most entertaining of any Disney film. I loved the beginning with that music instantly reminding you that you are about to witness something special. I also really liked the choice to not feature Ariel in its first scene as that led to a great development of other characters. The relationship between Ariel and King Triton is wonderfully established in the first act and the romance between her and Eric developed quite smoothly in a very satisfying sequence in which she saves him from drowning. That whole prolonged sequence is absolutely fantastic.

Next we have that famous scene in which Ursula gives Ariel her legs.  This is probably my favorite sequence in the entire movie for many great reasons – it is perfectly executed from beginning to end, the visuals are gorgeous, the imagery and the overall tone of the sequence is suitably dark and Ursula is just fantastic.

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The Little Mermaid Movie Review

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I really found the scenes with human Ariel to be excellent as well. They somewhat slowed the movie, but in a good way as they were romantic and this was the time where I started to genuinely care and root for her to succeed in her task and that is a testament to how likable this character is and how great the script is. The romantic sequence where the two almost kissed is another highlight.

And now we come to the ending. I have to say that it isn’t my favorite part of this movie for some obvious reasons such as Ursula’s demise which is disappointing and a somewhat too rushed final scene. All of those moments were pretty good, but they weren’t as great as was the rest of the movie. But I still liked the action here as it was dramatic and mostly powerful.

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The Little Mermaid Movie Review

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With the plot now out of the way, let’s talk about the characters. The Little Mermaid is such a classic for various reasons, but one of the big ones is character development. The movie is blessed with such a great characterization and many not only memorable, but also extremely likable characters. Let’s start with our heroine – Ariel. I just adore Ariel. She is to me the cutest and most beautiful Disney princess of them all, but she is also one of the most charming ones too. She is so endearing and so wonderful. I rooted for her the entire running time as I was so invested in her story and I found her so lovable that I wanted her to be happy. That strong reaction rarely happens to me which is why this is such a masterpiece.

King Triton is just superb and he, along with Sebastian, is the finest character here in terms of complexity and development. He is never made a one-note bully father type as he showed emotion and evident care for his daughter from the first moments, but his conflict and eventual sacrifice is all the more powerful because of that strong connection between the two that was established before. And that brings me to my next point – the relationship between King Triton and Ariel is the emphasis and basically the heart and point of this movie. Most people criticize The Little Mermaid for being sexist in its rushed and one-note portrayal of romance, but the romance is not the point here and many miss that. The major and most important storyline here is that father-daughter relationship and the growth that Triton gains. He has to learn to let go and to give some freedom to his daughter and let her make her own choices and all of that is beautifully explored and just so touching to watch.

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The Little Mermaid Movie Review

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Now, Sebastian is amazing. I don’t know why, but many people fail to recognize the strength of this character as he is without a doubt the best Disney sidekick ever in my opinion. Only Baloo from the ‘The Jungle Book‘ can compete with him. Sebastian the crab is a departure from the silly sidekicks that were usual for Disney Animation of the time and is instead realized in the vein of Jiminy Cricket from ‘Pinocchio‘. He is never just the servant of Triton and is never just the sidekick. He genuinely cares for Ariel and he wants her to be happy and he also learns to let go and be more relaxed and more fun. I just loved that Triton/Sebastian/Ariel dynamic and it is so strong that it drives this whole film.

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The Little Mermaid Movie Review

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Ursula is one of the strongest Disney villains because she is original in her appearance, but also genuinely charismatic and posing some real threat. If it wasn’t for that disappointing death of hers, she would have been one of the very best Disney villains, but she ended up being near the top of the list because of that. But she is still excellent, very menacing and extremely memorable. Flotsam and Jetsam are quite solid henchmen, but are fairly underused.

I wasn’t such a big fan of Flounder as he was never really utilized and is just there to be cute. Also, apart from that first act, he is quite underused later on. But Scuttle is absolutely hysterical! He is easily the funniest character here as his advice and false knowledge of human things led to many hilarious moments. Chef Louis is okay and those scenes with him and Sebastian are definitely fun and pleasantly childlike, but I still found them to be detours and almost unnecessary to be honest.

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The Little Mermaid Movie Review

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Prince Eric is quite solid. He isn’t that well developed, but as Disney princes go, he is quite good. I liked the romance between the two. Yes, I get why some would take fault with it as it truly is troublesome that Ariel practically changes her species to be with the person that she’s just met. However, on the other hand, people fail to notice that the film is progressive in featuring a princess who chases after the prince and not the other way around. That made her character a strong female character and it was refreshing to see a more active Disney princess. It definitely ushered into a new era of more progressive female characters for Disney. But as I said, I liked the romance between the two and, although rushed, it isn’t as contrived as it could have been and it is genuinely sweet and romantic at times.

The Little Mermaid’s animation is splendid. It isn’t as great as the one in ‘Beauty and the Beast’, but it’s still phenomenal and gorgeous to the eye. I loved the character designs and the imagery is fantastic. It was so great to go under the sea and Disney took us there in a suitably adventurous, very detailed manner. Ursula is my favorite character in terms of design, but Ariel is, as I said, simply beautiful and all of the animals are really well animated as is the underwater scenery. The film also has a great color palette with dark colors replacing the lighter ones at all the right points.

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The Little Mermaid Movie Review

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The soundtrack is brilliant! The Little Mermaid has to be my favorite Disney film in terms of the songs as there are so many songs here that I just love. Fathoms Below is okay, but forgettable. It does set the mood well though. Les Poissons is also solid and satisfying for that scene, but also forgettable and not that great. As for the big ones, Poor Unfortunate Souls is the weakest one, but it is still a very solid villain song that perfectly accompanies that amazing sequence.

I just love all three major songs here. Under the Sea is so incredibly catchy. Yes, it is childish, but more childlike than childish and it is again a perfect song for that scene in terms of storytelling and characterization. Yes, The Little Mermaid absolutely succeeds as a musical because it understands what the songs are supposed to do – be fun, catchy and memorable, but also drive the plot forward and help develop the characters more. In Under the Sea we get a great look at Sebastian and his Jamaican accent is quite amusing.

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The Little Mermaid Movie Review

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Kiss the Girl is a perfect romantic song. This film also succeeds in having different songs of different styles and tones. Poor Unfortunate Souls is a villain song for a darker and more mature scene, Under the Sea is a more childlike and innocent one etc. Kiss the Girl serves the romance of the movie, it flawlessly accompanies its beautiful sequence, it is not only catchy, but also wonderfully sung and it is just wonderful to listen to.

And the finest song here has to be Part of Your World. It is a perfect Broadway-like, serious song and the most impressive piece of music to be had here. The music is just splendid and the song is impressively sung by Jodi Benson, but the lyrics are the standout aspect here as they are so well written and serving the plot and the main character perfectly. For all of those reasons, it is one of the best Disney songs ever in my opinion. And it also accompanies the sequence which is even poetic in nature. The song and its lyrics have a couple of hidden meanings. It reminds us that we humans also share the same problems that Ariel has and the juxtaposition of our understanding of ourselves and hers of us is brilliant. But it succeeds because it gets us to the heart and soul of Ariel and it perfectly showcases her wander and awe of the upside world.

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The Little Mermaid Movie Review

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The Little Mermaid is a technically polished movie. It is well directed and so well acted with Jodi Benson, Pat Caroll and Samuel E. Wright being the major highlights. The imagery and animation are splendid, the details are evident and the score is great. It doesn’t just have great songs, but it also has a great score and an excellent use of the wordless composition of Part of Your World. The tone is deft, ranging from comedic to serious to darker to romantic at just the right moments. It is also wonderfully paced and mostly not rushed. The dialogue is good, the film is memorable and also quite powerful at times. It has such a big heart and such a strong emotional approach being one of the most emotionally investing Disney flicks. And of course, its humor is great. It isn’t present as much, but when it’s there, it is so good and it made me smile and laugh a couple of times. But I’ve held the smile on my face throughout the entire running time because this is just that beautiful a movie. It possesses such a strong fairytale feel to it and it just draws you in its world and in its story and never lets go due to a great world building and excellent script. It most certainly is one of the best Disney films of all time.

With beautiful animation, great humor, excellent score, strong emotional investment and many powerful sequences, The Little Mermaid is an undisputed classic that has such lovable and incredibly well developed characters, excellent script, such a great varied tone to it and an absolutely fantastic soundtrack that is Disney’s finest to date with so many amazing songs with Part of Your World, Kiss the Girl and Under the Sea being the highlights. But the movie also has such a big heart, it also possesses such a strong, welcome fairy tale feel to it, the character interactions and relationships are superb and the film is very romantic as well. For all of those reasons, The Little Mermaid is a masterpiece and one of the best musicals ever made while also being one of the very best that Disney Animation has to offer and one of the finest animated films of all time.

My Rating – 5

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The Vanishing (1988)

The Vanishing Movie Review

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The Vanishing Movie Review

The Vanishing is a 1988 Dutch thriller film directed by George Sluizer and starring Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu. It is an amazing movie that is undoubtedly one of the best modern thrillers.

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The best plans can be wiped out at any moment by what we call fate.

I confess, that saddens me

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It is about the disappearance of a young Dutch woman and her lover’s obsessive search for her which leads him into increasingly dangerous territory. This film is deceptively simple, but is quite sophisticated when you think about it. I just loved its plot as it is thankfully devoid of any ridiculous and unrealistic trappings of the genre leading to such a grounded in reality film that feels real from start to finish.

The Vanishing is psychologically deep and so disturbing. The characters are so well developed and the conflict of the main character is wonderfully presented to us. His dilemma near the end is so dramatic whereas his relationship with Saskia is really well realized for such a short period of time in its beginning. She is likable and the two are great together and you get why her disappearance destroyed him afterwards. But I just loved those scenes with his coping with it, his obsession and the eventual chase of the killer. That was all done in such a terrific manner.

I loved everything about Raymond Lemorne. The movie is at its finest when dealing with his character. He is portrayed as a seemingly harmless person and I really found that to be great as it shows us how the biggest murderers can be seemingly normal and family men as everyone else. But I really enjoyed the flashback structure as it is superbly employed into the narrative here. It is never boring and it gives you everything you need to know about the character and the eventual crime.

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The Vanishing Movie Review………………………………………………………………..

As for said crime, this is the perfect example of a perfect crime and how some crimes and disappearances never get resolved as they were so perfectly executed to begin with. And that makes the movie all the more disturbing and scary as it shows us that it can happen to any of us, anytime and anywhere. That is one of the reasons why I increasingly felt unease as the movie progressed. I was also shocked by its ending and not only that, but the movie impacted me so much that I was clearly shaken even after watching the film. And that is a true testament to the power of this thriller – when it impacts you so much that you feel that impact even after watching it.

The ending is awesome and The Vanishing is one of the first movies, I think, to use that scenario. But the whole dilemma near the end and the eventual frightening conclusion is so disturbing and so horrifying that it is one of the scariest endings ever which is really saying a lot because the film is not a horror one. I loved that about this movie. It is a thriller, but the one with a spectacularly great atmosphere that is better than most horror movies that rely even more on it. The whole atmosphere is so creepy and the film was always very strange and unsettling which is so admirable given that you basically know what happened from the start. I felt unease throughout the whole running time and that is why it succeeds in spades.

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The only flaws I could think of here are twofold. First of all, I wanted more scenes from the protagonist’s point of eye instead of the murderer’s. And secondly, that beginning was great, but I felt that the promise he makes to her that he will never abandon here was just too on-the-nose and too convenient having in mind the next plot point was her disappearance. But even those two flaws are basically me nitpicking as this film is so great and so powerful in almost all of its aspects.

The Vanishing is a technically stupendous work. The acting is excellent with each and every performance being very good and the directing from George Sluizer is just so superb. But the biggest accomplishment here is the editing. This film is expertly edited and crafted with the film’s running time being perfect and its flow being smooth. Each and every scene starts and ends at just the right time and it just feels so polished and professional.

The cinematography is also excellent and the film is so well filmed with some of the shots and takes being amazing. Its thrills are definitely there, but they are more psychological in nature and the film benefits from that more sophisticated approach a lot and it never has any violence in it whatsoever which is so commendable. The tone is great, serious and thrilling, but also poignant and tragic at times with that last shot being just heartbreaking and disturbing at the same time. I really liked its dialogue as it had some really interesting lines in it and it was always clever and sophisticated. The Vanishing really is very smart.

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The Vanishing Movie Review………………………………………………………………..

Its script is just phenomenal, but the execution of it is even more so as the film is wonderfully simplistic on the surface, but actually much more complex than it seems. And the film is quite unpredictable in its very ending and even though we know that the outcome will be bad, the film is great for it. Why? Because it never uses the annoying structure of twists and turns and crazy scenarios that the genre is famous for and settling for more serious, more realistic and thus much more disturbing approach. In those ways, the film ended up being original even if it may not seem like it at first. Overall, this Dutch film is a masterpiece of suspense and one of the best films of the eighties that I’ve seen so far.

With a great script, expert editing, a terrific flashback structure, good characters and a powerful ending, The Vanishing is an absolutely spectacular film that benefits from such a realistic approach to it with a great emphasis on psychological horror instead of stupid violence and twists and that is why its impact is even more heightened. It is such an atmospheric, increasingly disturbing movie that is also sophisticated and never even slightly disappointing. It is without a doubt one of the finest modern thrillers I’ve seen, a film that left me shaken and disturbed.

My Rating – 5

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