Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)

Howl's Moving Castle Movie Review

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Howl’s Moving Castle Movie Review

Howl’s Moving Castle is a 2004 fantasy anime film directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It is far from the best that Studio Ghibli has to offer, but still a solid film in its own right.

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I don’t cook!

I’m a scary and powerful fire demon!

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Howl's Moving Castle Movie Review

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I actually liked this one much more upon second viewing as I really did not care for it the first time around. But watching it now, I could certainly appreciate it more. The storyline is admittedly quite good and I particularly loved that it is an alternative historical film. This is early 20th century for sure, but with magic added as a bonus.

The story is fascinating, magical, endearing and as imaginative as you would come to expect from the studio. I loved the magical elements and I really liked some of its themes with aging being particularly well explored.

However, the major problem I’ve had with it is that it is undercooked. The narrative is very problematic as it doesn’t give us too many answers to some really crucial questions such as whether or not Sophie is a witch, Howl’s origin story is left unexplored as is his entire relationship with Suliman.

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Howl's Moving Castle Movie Review

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To me the film just happened and it gave us way too many characters and way too many plot points that some were seriously shortchanged. That is the problem of the script but also of the action as the runtime is more than long enough for it to develop properly. But the action is frequently quite overwhelming that we do not get to spend enough time with some characters and story points.

I liked Sophie quite a bit. She has excellent development and growth in this film and is a likable protagonist for whom you root for. Howl is also very good and interesting as this man obsessed with looks and young age. The relationship between the two is moving and one of the film’s highlights.

The Witch of the Waste is excellent and I ended up liking her quite a bit. Underutilized for sure, but she is at first excellent and memorable as a villain and then quite sweet as their companion. Calcifer is a cartoon character in his appeal and design, but a good one nevertheless and having fire literally be a character was interesting and he was so well animated and very endearing.

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Howl's Moving Castle Movie Review

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Markl is sweet, but entirely underutilized unfortunately. But his relationship with Sophie is heartwarming. Madame Suliman is memorable as the film’s greatest villain, but once again entirely underdeveloped. The voice acting is superb and everyone did a great job across the board.

Howl’s Moving Castle features brilliant animation. Yes, that is certainly one of the standout aspects here. I loved seeing for once the early 20th century in a fantasy flick and the attention to detail is so meticulous that I was transported to that era from the first moment. The costumes look great, the hairstyles, the various imagery is highly interesting and in particular the interiors looked awesome with the castle itself being so well imagined. This anime surely is beautiful to look at.

To me the highlight in terms of the scenes was the beginning and especially the transformation scene which was very intriguing and wonderfully reminded me of fairy tales. The film is very much a Japanese fairy tale which I loved of course. The ending with the imposed end credits was not my cup of tea, but each scene in the house was wonderful and Howl and Sophie’s scenes were all heartwarming.

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Howl's Moving Castle Movie Review

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The action is very well executed even though it is overwhelming. The pacing is frenetic for sure and the film should have been much calmer as its runtime demanded it. Miyazaki’s direction and vision are reliably strong, but he was influenced by ‘Spirited Away’ a bit too much and the film never is comparable to it. The score is also not as memorable as some other scores from the studio. In the end, I liked the film, but it is way too flawed to be considered in the top half with Ghibli’s biggest classics.

Howl’s Moving Castle is admittedly much better upon second viewing and it features excellent world building and attention to detail. I really liked its historical period and the magical elements. The two main characters and their relationship are strong and the animation is magnificent and beautiful to look at. But this is still one of the more flawed Ghibli films with overwhelming action and a problematic narrative that leaves too many things unanswered and too many characters underutilized. Miyazaki was influenced by his ‘Spirited Away’ a bit too much and this is obviously a pale imitation of that classic film.

My Rating – 3.5

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Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)

Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope Movie Review

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Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope Movie Review

Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope is a 1977 science fiction fantasy film directed by George Lucas and starring Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher. It is the very first installment in the massively popular blockbuster franchise.

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May the force be with you

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Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope Movie Review

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So the story concerns the Rebel Alliance led by Princess Leia who attempts to destroy the Death Star. Luke Skywalker comes into the mix when he comes into contact with the droid who possesses some valuable information. The story is very good and interesting and it begins basically when ‘Rogue One’ ends. That film is a prequel to this particular story.

The storytelling is very good here. The film does not attempt to have any serious themes, message or deeper meaning or emotion and that is fine as it knows what it wants to do and it doesn’t stay away from that. However, the main problem with the entire film is the excessive amount of action employed.

That is why A New Hope is an enormous influence on future filmmaking for better and for worse. It just has way too much action. For example, the entire third act with the battle scenes in particular was just way too long and it honestly bored me pretty quickly. It also employed some detours when the three were on the ship and it definitely needed a tighter, more involving and less action oriented narrative and approach.

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Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope Movie Review

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Let’s talk about these famous characters and actors. Luke Skywalker is as boring and as bland as most of these blockbuster heroes are. He is just a bland, tiresome entity and I dislike him quite a bit. That also stems from Mark Hamill’s very mediocre performance, at least in this movie he was very weak.

Han Solo and Princess Leia are much better and much more memorable. Certainly this was typecasting as Harrison Ford always plays these cocky, charismatic characters, but this was one of the first, before the Indiana Jones franchise and thus I like him more than Indy. He can be funny, but still too arrogant for my taste.

Leia definitely is underutilized here, but excellent. She is basically a Disney Princess in a way, especially now that Disney owns this franchise. I like her quite a bit as she is competent, action oriented and brave while still retaining her womanly attributes, beauty and royal behavior. The interactions between these three were quite strong and Carrie Fisher is great in her signature role.

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Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope Movie Review

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Peter Cushing is solid as the villain and of course Darth Vader is iconic in terms of blockbuster villains and unforgettable and menacing in each one of his scenes. In my opinion this Obi-Wan Kenobi is not great because Alec Guinness obviously disliked being on the set, he did not understand the role and thus we got a very confused performance.

As for those cutesy characters, I still do think that they were just blatantly added for the appeal to the children everywhere, even in this first entry. Chewbacca is particularly forgettable and the worst costume effect of them all. C-3PO and R2-D2 are a fun couple with an interesting dynamic. The former is feminine and very talkative while the latter is cute and mute. They are definitely an interesting duo, but again overly utilized in too many scenes.

A New Hope has some of the best special effects of the older blockbusters, that goes without question. What they pulled off here was remarkable. The sets look great, the space battles and spaceships are awesome and so cool and of course the costumes and the practical effects are so detailed and carefully designed that they mostly aged remarkably well and they added realism to the picture that CGI is not capable of.

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Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope Movie Review

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That is why George Lucas should be respected for this film. He brought an entire new universe to the audience and they were captivated back then and still to this day. It is a mish-mash of older ideas, but an original mix nonetheless. It has way too much action and weak pacing, but one of the best scores in film history for sure as that iconic John Williams opening remains legendary and the rest of the pieces are pretty terrific themselves. It is a good first entry, but the second one is much better.

A New Hope is an extremely influential blockbuster for better and for worse as it brought the wonder and epic majesty of space operas to the world but it also brought too much action which is in this film overwhelming. It also has some detours and the pacing is bad which is why its successor is so much better. But still the film features some great characters, that iconic, legendary score from John Williams and extraordinary special effects which mostly aged remarkably well. The beginning and the ending are the highlights, but most of the third act with that overlong battle bored me leading to a good, but far from great first entry.

My Rating – 4

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Rear Window (1954)

Rear Window Movie Review

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Rear Window Movie Review

Rear Window is a 1954 mystery thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring James Stewart and Grace Kelly. It is one of the best films ever made.

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We’ve become a race of Peeping Toms.

What people ought to do is get outside

their own house and look in for a change

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Rear Window Movie Review

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It follows a professional photographer who injured his leg and is bound to a chair until it heals. He spends the majority of his type spying on various neighbors from his apartment until he comes to suspect that one of them is a murderer.

So the film is very much a mystery but also a strong suspense thriller in its third act. As a mystery, it fully works because I was intrigued from the beginning and I wanted to know what happened and is this man truly a murderer. It features an abundant amount of detail and I loved how we got to solve the mystery along with Jeff. Very well realized.

But it is maybe even stronger as a suspense flick because that third act is downright thrilling to behold. Of course the ending is great, but to me the highlight was following Lisa go into the murderer’s apartment. That was inventively shot, unforgettable and simply riveting to watch. The tension there was so palpable that I even got goosebumps.

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Rear Window Movie Review

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But where Rear Window truly succeeds and is remembered the most is in its themes. It is the ultimate picture about voyeurism as it explores it to the fullest degree. It never goes too far, but just right. It portrayed the loneliness and boredom of people so truthfully while giving us a wonderful glimpse at a 1950s neighborhood.

And as many have pointed out, the film is very feminist which was not expected from Hitchcock who honestly did not portray women all that well usually. But here the women are actually active in solving the case, even going so far as to go into the murderer’s apartment to look for clues. So the man stays bound to his chair, while the women investigate and go into action. That was fantastic to witness in a 50s movie.

So let’s talk about these women. The film really has only four characters and thus all four are superbly developed and highly memorable. It is a wonderful indoors, confined chamber flick and probably the best example of such a film.

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Rear Window Movie Review

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Stella is very funny and is the comic relief in the film which is usually very serious and dark, but she provides the much needed humor and some of her morbid lines were so funny. Thelma Ritter did a phenomenal job in this role and she ought to have gotten a seventh nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

Lisa is simply fantastic. She at first seemed like a typical younger love interest, but eventually proved to be anything but. She is very strong, capable and brave while still remaining elegant and ladylike. Grace Kelly probably gave her finest performance here and she simply shines in all of her scenes.

Raymond Burr is memorable and creepy as Lars Thorwald who is not too much in the film, but is always a very intense presence. And Jeff is awesome and a very complex main character who is never portrayed as too heroic which was a nice change in pace. James Stewart here gave one of his best performances and that really says a lot for a man of his caliber. His performance is brilliant and extremely powerful and nuanced.

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Rear Window Movie Review

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Rear Window is a glorious achievement technically speaking as well. The dialogue is playful, smart and outstanding with a couple of funny as well as observant lines. Hitchcock’s direction is amazing and this is his very best film in my opinion which says a lot as he’s the best director who ever lived. Here he not only showed that he is the master of suspense, but he also showed his deft hand at structure and inventive storytelling. The scene where we follow each neighbor and we witness a woman preparing dinner for an imaginary guest is one of the best sequences of all time and an incredibly moving, powerful piece of filmmaking.

The film is the most inventive thriller of all time. The cinematography here is of the best in film history as each shot is beautiful, elaborate and immaculately conceived. The camera moves elegantly to capture every single moment that matters and the camera can be said to be the character in itself here. We become Jeff as we follow the action through his binoculars and thus this is the ultimate ‘put in the protagonist’s shoes’ movie.

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Rear Window Movie Review

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The score is nice as well and the film looks and sounds great throughout its whole runtime. It lasts for just about the right time and is consistently riveting from the very first to the very last moment. Nothing is wasted or rushed here and every single scene matters. It truly is a masterpiece and an almost flawless film which currently sits at number seven on my all-time list.

With not a single wasted or rushed scene, immaculate camera work, highly inventive storytelling and many brilliantly conceived, highly suspenseful sequences, Rear Window is also thematically observant and very sophisticated with phenomenal dialogue and a couple of highly memorable lines. Grace Kelly probably gave her finest performance here and this is also one of James Stewart’s best works which says a lot for the actor of his caliber. The film is also admirably feminist, especially for its time. Palpably intense, brilliantly authentic and almost flawless, Rear Window is in my opinion one of the ten greatest films of all time.

My Rating – 5

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Flight of the Navigator (1986)

Flight of the Navigator Movie Review

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Flight of the Navigator Movie Review

Flight of the Navigator is a 1986 family science fiction film starring Joey Cramer. It surely is one of the better family sci-fi films out there.

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Correction, I need the SUPERIOR information

in your INFERIOR brain to fly this thing

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Flight of the Navigator Movie Review

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It follows a 12-year-old boy who gets abducted by aliens and ends up on Earth 8 years later. It is a very interesting, somewhat original tale which was very involving to watch and, thanks to its short runtime, quite entertaining and consistently well paced and even riveting.

It has some typical 80s trappings such as some goofy moments and humor, but it manages to be better than most of its family counterparts thanks in large part to the inclusion of science fiction elements. Sci-fi family films are rare and this one manages to be a pretty strong SF film in its own right and a particularly strong, wonderful film for children.

It only has a handful of memorable characters as it mostly relies just on David the protagonist. His family is sweet and I especially liked his brother and their relationship was strong and very realistic. Sarah Jessica Parker was just around 20 when filming this movie and it was very interesting seeing her so young in a role and she did a really nice job as charming Carolyn.

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Flight of the Navigator Movie Review

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David Freeman is a charming, likable kid. He should have been a bit better developed, but he is so endearing that I ended up caring and rooting for him. Joey Cramer’s performance is frequently weak, but he is definitely charismatic and likable in the role that he managed to overcome his lack of strong acting abilities.

Max is problematic and the only problem in the film. Now I admittedly really liked him at first, but I ended up being annoyed at the choice to have him upload David’s memories and thus he got some speech patterns and voices of humans. Those were way too goofy, overloud and annoying. Because the new voices were childish, their relationship, at first strong and moving, was later somewhat robbed of its impact. They are still a great duo, but I just wished that he retained that old robotic voice personally.

Flight of the Navigator has a bunch of memorable sequences such as every flight sequence which were all wondrous in quality and the ending is very sweet of course. I loved the aliens’ scene and they mostly looked really well. I could see that they were puppets, but the one he took to take care of was the highlight in terms of the design. The film is somewhat slower in first half and more dramatic with the latter half becoming full-on science fiction. I liked that quite a bit and that structure and pacing were excellent here.

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Flight of the Navigator Movie Review

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This charmer undoubtedly features some of the best special effects of any 80s film. Wow, does it look great. The creatures looked fine and cute, but the robot looks great and especially that spaceship looked amazing and how it flew and moved around was very realistic. This is early CGI and having in mind that it holds up so well even today definitely is remarkable. But it does open itself for future remakes which they are making as I am typing this. The score is incredibly beautiful as well and the film’s strong technical aspects really propel it to a classic status.

Flight of the Navigator is at times a bit too goofy, but mostly a remarkable family science fiction tale. Max and David are memorable characters, the flight sequences are wondrous in their quality and the ending is very sweet. Thanks to its imaginative plot, beautiful score and simply outstanding CGI (certainly some of the best of the 80s), this flick remains endearing and moving today just as it was back then.

My Rating – 4.5

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Tol’able David (1921)

Tol'able David Movie Review

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Tol’able David Movie Review

Tol’able David is a 1921 silent drama film directed by Henry King and starring Richard Barthelmess. It is at times strong, but ultimately not great film.

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I’m tol’able…

Just tol’able

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Tol'able David Review

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It is a tale about a boy who is sick and tired of being called a boy and wants to prove himself as a man and he eventually does do that through revenge. Now let’s first state the positives and then I am going to go through the negatives. First off, the first half. It is excellent and certainly the highlight of the film.

It was just a very cozy, atmospheric and moody film at those points and I almost felt that I visited the countryside during the twenties. That is how atmospheric and full of detail the film is. It felt almost poetic in its quality.

That is mostly due to the technical aspects which are superb across the board. Richard Barthelmess did a good job in the main role and the others are memorable as well. The direction is also solid. But it is the cinematography that is the highlight and some scenes are highly memorable both in action and in scenery.

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Tol'able David Movie Review

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However, the second half ruined all of that for me. That is when the movie suddenly went into overly dark crime territory that did not suite this film particularly well. It just wasn’t executed in the most interesting or dramatic manner and I lost my interest especially in that third act.

The overall story is admittedly good for its time, but is now rather typical and archetypal, especially in the main character’s goal. It has its western and crime elements, but both were underutilized and it remains strongest as a period drama. So I did like it and I did find it to be charming, but quite flawed and disappointing in the end.

Tol’able David is especially strong in its first half as quite a charming, detailed and atmospheric countryside drama with excellent cinematography and some very memorable scenes, but the second half employed a typical crime angle and to me it was much less interesting overall.

My Rating – 3.5

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Logan Lucky (2017)

Logan Lucky Movie Review

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Logan Lucky Movie Review

Logan Lucky is a 2017 heist film directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring Channing Tatum, Adam Driver and Daniel Craig. It is a weak, overrated movie.

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Is it twenty or is it thirty?…

We are dealing with science here!

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Logan Lucky Movie Review

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This is such a regular, familiar and typical heist flick that I do not understand why it got such great reviews. Had it not been for Steven Soderbergh’s name, it would not have received the same rave reviews. I honestly believe that.

So it is a regular heist but this time it is pulled off by rednecks from the South. That is a fun gimmick, I will give them that. And the film could be funny at times, but still far from the classification as a comedy.

However, the problem here is the acting which is very problematic. I could see that they were all just acting as the Southern accents did not sound right to me and they were overly exaggerated in execution.

Channing Tatum and Adam Driver are both not great and these are two of their weakest performances. Only Daniel Craig was at least somewhat good and memorable and he was underused. All of the others were very weak.

The characters in Logan Lucky are definitely fun and the film could be amusing at times. However, it is filled with so many characters that almost all of them are left underdeveloped and underutilized.

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Logan Lucky Movie Review

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Logan Lucky is definitely well made, well shot and with the heist being well executed and fun. The humor is solid and the dialogue is frequently amusing. The direction is also pretty good. The film should have been shorter in length, but it is definitely pretty entertaining overall. It is just that the film is never anything above that, but it least it doesn’t try to be anything more which I guess is a good thing in the end. I just found nothing deeper in it, even emotionally speaking.

Logan Lucky is definitely entertaining with good dialogue, fun characters and it is mostly very well made and amusing. However, it is a basic heist flick and nothing more or deeper than that. It has too many underdeveloped characters and not enough substance to make it stand out from the crowd.

My Rating – 3

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Three Colors: Red (1994)

Three Colors: Red Review

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Three Colors: Red Movie Review

Three Colors: Red is a 1994 French Polish mystery film directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski. It is a solid, but still overrated film.

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I feel something important is happening around me.

And it scares me

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Three Colors: Red Review

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The main problem I’ve had with Three Colors: Red is the implausibility of its plot. It just seemed almost impossible to happen. I admittedly liked some of its thought-provoking themes and the film definitely can be smart in certain scenes with particularly strong dialogue, but the plot remains problematic.

Not only do the two main characters meet so coincidentally, but they also continue to have really unbelievable experiences and most of the film was actually quite difficult to buy in terms of actually happening in real life.

I did think that Kern and Valentine were well developed, but not the best. The acting from both Jean-Louis Trintignant and Irene Jacob is very strong and they both gave such good performances. But the direction from Kieslowski continues to be the problem for me.

He just does not direct his films in the most interesting fashion. I do think that the story, though implausible, is interesting on paper, but in execution it wasn’t as the film is once again very slow and at times even boring. It lacks energy in both character interactions and dialogue.

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Three Colors: Red Review

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Three Colors: Red is undoubtedly in the middle when it comes to this Three Colors trilogy. It is infinitely better than ‘Three Colors: White’ but I would say that ‘Blue’ definitely is the best of the bunch. Overall, this one is solid, but again highly overrated.

Three Colors: Red is another overrated entry in this trilogy which definitely has an interesting plot, but that story is also highly implausible in too many of its plot points. The characters and acting are strong, but the film is again not particularly involving to watch. It is obviously better than White, but inferior to Blue.

My Rating – 3.5

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Lolita (1962)

Lolita Movie Review

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Lolita Movie Review

Lolita is a 1962 drama film directed by Stanley Kubrick and starring James Mason, Shelley Winters and Peter Sellers. It is another one of Kubrick’s phenomenal films.

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I want you to live with me and die with me and everything with me!

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Lolita Movie Review

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Now obviously this is based on a much more graphic and controversial novel and the film, owing to its severely censored time period of release, is much milder in approach. But because I dislike sensational and graphic approach, I ended up loving this movie. It is very subtle in its approach and it implies and alludes much more than it shows and that was great to witness and it made the movie much more sophisticated in my book plus it eased the watching experience.

The acting is fantastic across the board with only Shelley Winters being too over-the-top and theatrical in her performance. But Sue Lyon definitely gave a stupendous performance at such a young age and she was perfectly cast in the role.

But of course the highlights are Peter Sellers and James Mason. Peter Sellers plays multiple characters in a way and that is his usual shtick and he excelled at each role. He portrayed such a crazy, different kind of character and it fully worked. But James Mason is the standout here in the most difficult role. He portrayed obsession, madness and paranoia all so well in such a nuanced and very hard role. His performance here is certainly one of the better ones from the sixties as it is that great.

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Lolita Movie Review

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I loved Lolita for being a chamber drama. It basically only has four major characters in it and thus all are very well fleshed out and complex entities. Of course the relationship between Humbert and Lolita is the highlight and I appreciated how most was implied and not shown there.

The dialogue is certainly one of the major highlights when it comes to this picture. I do think that the film was a bit too long clocking in at two and a half hours and some scenes could have been reduced a bit, but the film is so involving and so fascinating in the banter between the characters and various crazy, sexual or even funny conversations that it flew by at least for me as a lover of talkative films. This is a great showcase once again of how marvelous Hollywood once was at creating smart, fast and sophisticated dialogue.

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Lolita Movie Review

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Lolita is also really well shot and some shots are marvelous to behold and so interesting in their execution, not to mention highly memorable. I adored its beginning and how that was also the ending. I personally love that structure the most and here the film benefits from making you believe that only Sellers is involved with Lolita and then you realize that it is the opposite until the ending pulls a rug underneath you and you realize that both were involved. I liked that twist and the third act was very memorable. The score is also quite good and of course Kubrick’s direction is marvelous and this is certainly one of his most underrated films.

Lolita is undoubtedly one of Kubrick’s most underappreciated works. It features stellar performances from Sue Lyon and Peter Sellers, but it is James Mason who is simply fantastic in a very difficult role as he portrayed madness, obsession and paranoia all so well. The film is a fascinating chamber drama that is very involving to watch despite being so long owing to superb characterization and truly terrific, sophisticated dialogue. The movie implies more than it shows and I loved that approach.

My Rating – 4.5

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Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

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Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

Murder on the Orient Express is a 2017 mystery film directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh with the ensemble cast consisting of Michelle Pfeiffer, Daisy Ridley and Judi Dench among others. It is a stupendous, very underrated adaptation.

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My name is Hercule Poirot

and I am probably the greatest detective in the world

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Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

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I really enjoyed this film and it took me by surprise how good and competent it actually is. Kenneth Branagh is the major person responsible for the quality of this film as he is both an actor and a director here and he excelled at both roles. He directed the movie so well and added such a cinematic feel to it which was quite welcome and that made it a worthy trip to the theatre.

His Hercule Poirot is so much better than Albert Finney’s one and thus this movie is so much better than the previous overrated version. His acting and characterization here is the definition of changing yet staying the same. The core of the character remains the same – eccentric, meticulous and very elegant – but he is now also very funny and quite energetic as well. And thus his Poirot is different, original and the character just worked and felt alive without ever being a pale imitation of its former self. And Branagh here is absolutely amazing and definitely awards worthy as his performance is unbelievably strong, emotional and real.

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Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

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But all of the others did an amazing job as well. Murder on the Orient Express is one of the rare movies which not only relies on an ensemble cast but also gives each of its actors and actresses a lot to do and they all gave absolutely terrific performances. Let’s start with Pfeiffer who really excelled here and surprised me how good of an actress she can be. She is fragile, tortured and emotional here and probably stole the show from the rest of the cast.

Penelope Cruz is also much better than she usually is, Willem Dafoe is also good but underutilized and the same goes for Judi Dench. Johnny Depp was really miscast as Ratchett. He just was not suitable for this pig and murderer of a man. Derek Jacobi and Josh Gad are both excellent and quite emotional. I liked that Arbuthnot was a black man here and that it was very well explained how he became a doctor in that racist period.

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Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

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Daisy Ridley also surprised me with her very strong performance and also how she looked so well and real in this thirties period which brings me to the technical aspects. Wow, is this film gorgeous. Istanbul looked fantastic and I loved how cinematic the film felt owing to many beautiful wide shots and interesting filming choices where not all scenes were filmed in the train, but also outside in the snow. The costumes looked exquisite and again awards worthy as is the score which is frequently quite moving and accompanying the emotional scenes so well. The attention to detail is amazing as the film recreated the 30s period so well.

This film has its many problems. Poirot again yells a lot and although the film’s first act is very good and the third act is emotional, dramatic and with phenomenal dialogue, the second act is really problematic as it is slower in pace and too many plot points from the book were changed. I did not love the pandering to the American audience by introducing unnecessary action sequences which were to me highly annoying here. But other than that, it is a very strong adaptation.

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Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

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The 2017 adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express is much better than the previous overrated version thanks to such a lovely cinematic approach with excellent wide shots, beautiful locations, exquisite costumes and moving score. The attention to detail is amazing as the film recreated the thirties period so well. The second act is definitely problematic as it’s too action oriented and different from the novel, but the first is very good and the third is excellent and quite emotional with great dialogue. Its ensemble cast is great and every actor gave a strong performance with the highlights being Michelle Pfeiffer, Josh Gad and Daisy Ridley. But the reason to see it lies in Kenneth Branagh’s involvement as he not only excelled in the director’s chair but also gave a stupendous, awards worthy performance and a new, different and ultimately commendable version of Hercule Poirot.

My Rating – 4

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Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Review

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Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Review

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is a 2017 science fiction film directed by Luc Besson and starring Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevigne. It is an expectedly passable blockbuster.

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A soldier will always choose death over humiliation

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Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Review

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The story is pretty much the story of ‘Avatar’ once again but the source material came before that movie so it cannot be considered to be a rip-off. But still it is uninspired and although at times moving, it was mostly not particularly engaging.

The main problem with this movie is that it relies on action and VFX way too much and although it tries to have a strong story and well developed characters, it fails because it is a misguided effort. Yes, the script is very confusing and hastily written. I did not understand most of the plot points that were going on as they were either rushed or glossed over. It doesn’t help that the dialogue is very cliched and frequently stupid.

As for those characters, they are highly unlikable. To me both Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevigne actually gave solid performances, but their characters are the worst. They are such an unlikable, insufferable even couple that I could not get past them at all. He is overly arrogant and she is too cold. Rihanna is surprisingly solid and very likable in her role and Clive Owen’s character is a typical villain for this type of movie.

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Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Review

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Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets definitely has amazing special effects, some of the best of 2017. Not only is it very pleasing and colorful in quality, but the alien creatures are all very well imagined and fun. The world building is extraordinary and it is a shame that it is so frenetic in action and pace as I wanted to explore this world a bit more.

The score is very good, but Luc Besson’s direction is weak. The action is mostly a lot of fun and very well executed, but overwhelming to the point of becoming exhausting at times and the movie is overlong. No matter how intriguing, it ended up being a lost potential in every manner.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets has amazing special effects, pleasingly colorful look to it, extraordinary world building and overwhelming but mostly fun action. However, it is an expected lost potential owing to a misguided, confusing and very badly written script, mostly terrible dialogue and particularly unlikable main characters.

My Rating – 3

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