Fantastic Planet (1973)

Fantastic Planet Movie Review……………………………………..

Fantastic Planet Movie Review

Fantastic Planet is a 1973 French animated science fiction film directed by René Laloux. It is the best animated sci-fi film ever made.

……………………………………..

What a shame we can’t play with her anymore

……………………………………..

Fantastic Planet Movie Review……………………………………..
The story is fascinating and incredibly original. Blue giant humanoid Draags rule the planet Ygam and they use human Oms as pets until they eventually rebel. Needless to say, the film deals with a lot of interesting themes such as the relationship between different species, ignorance, racism and yes, even genocide.
It isn’t only sophisticated in script, but also very engaging and simply riveting to watch. It is one of the most purely imaginative and fantastical sci-fi films that I have ever seen. The level of detail exhibited here is just meticulous. The world building is extraordinary and I in the end felt that I have just set foot on this planet myself. That is how inviting this movie is.
That vastness and variety of space is beautifully conveyed through the use of absolutely fabulous hand-drawn animation with such a wonderful comic-stip sensibility to it that I just adored it. The character design is some of the the best that I have ever seen and of course the film is psychedelic and weird at times, but always beautifully animated and filled with a high level of detail that I believed this planet entirely.
The harshness and brutality of the Ygam planet is so well established as all of its animals are dangerous and all of the plants are carnivorous. The designs of all these creatures is weird, yet incredibly authentic and unforgettable. The color palette is also fantastic and the use of blue is overwhelming and interesting.

……………………………………..

Fantastic Planet Movie Review……………………………………..
I loved everything about Draags. Their way of living is pretty interesting. I loved their method of learning, very advanced. How they used Oms as pets raised many ethic questions about keeping smart species as pets, but I have to say that the relationship between the two species isn’t established as properly as it should have been. Some plot holes are irritating. How the Draags did not realize that Oms can speak? How did they not realize sooner how intelligent they were? All of these questions are never answered and they remain pretty obvious plot holes.
But as I said, I loved their technology and I really liked every ritual that was present here with both species. I would have gone with less nudity, but I guess it was required and the sexuality/mating element definitely was important for the story.
The character development is weak in Fantastic Planet as it doesn’t bother with creating fully personalized Draags or Oms. However, this is one of those sci-fi stories that do not need individualized characters as it is epic and deals with the whole two species and thus it does not require fully realized individuals in it. The voice acting is very good and believable. But I have to say that the mouth movements weren’t well synhronized with the dialogue and that is the only apparent flaw in an otherwise stellar animation.

……………………………………..

Fantastic Planet Movie Review……………………………………..
Speaking of dialogue, I definitely wanted more of it, but what we got was still great and some discussions are very interesting here. Fantastic Planet is awfully short and its ending is just way too abrupt, but I liked that it ended on a positive note and to me the highlights were the intriguing beginning, those lessons as well as the exploration of the planet. Those adventurous scenes were the standouts. Despite it being short, the editing is actually very deft and of course its score is very evocative of its mood which is dreamlike and strange. René Leloux directed this movie brilliantly and he surely is one of my favorite animation directors. I would definitely call this movie a work of art.
With beautiful, stylistic hand-drawn animation, extraordinary world building, an admirable attention to detail and such an imaginative, yet thematically sophisticated story, Fantastic Planet is also very dreamlike and strange accompanied by such a great score and phenomenal creature designs. Consequently, this artistic French classic is one of the best that both animation and science fiction have to offer.

My Rating – 4.5

……………………………………..

Share

The War of the Worlds (1953)

The War of the Worlds Movie Review…………………………………………

The War of the Worlds Movie Review

The War of the Worlds is a 1953 science fiction film that is one of the most popular genre films of the fifties.
It is of course based on the eponymous novel written by H. G. Wells and even though I respect the author, a lot of the things have changed since 1898 so of course this material is going to be dated by today’s SF standards. And that is why they chose to adapt it differently and add that Cold War/atomic bomb aspect to it, but I am afraid that they again made it the product of its time.

…………………………………………

“We know now we can’t beat their machines.

We’ve got to beat them”

…………………………………………

The War of the Worlds Movie Review…………………………………………
The aliens attacking Earth for resourses is a conventional, archetypal sci-fi premise, but here it is executed in the best way possible so I didn’t mind it as much. And even though the religious overtones in the ending are overly aggressive and came out of nowhere, I still liked that twist ending and it was the best and most interesting way to finish the movie.
The War of the Worlds is a blockbuster, I don’t care what anyone else says, blockbusters existed way before 1975. Here you have a lot of action, but also some necessary humor as well as the epic tone to it along with some post-apocalyptic sequences. And I liked that about it. Watching a 1950s blockbuster was an interesting experience and a lot of fun. No matter what you think of it, you cannot deny its huge entertainment factor.
What the movie gets wrong is the characters. The character development is truly mediocre and this is one of those movies where you don’t care for the human characters and you just wanna follow those aliens. I guess Dr. Forrester is fine as the lead, though highly clichéd, but Sylvia is just awful. Oh my god, did I hate her character! She is basically a screaming, annoying bitch and one of the 50s weakest, most frustrating female characters for sure. The acting is also not the greatest and sometimes it is quite poor.

…………………………………………

The War of the Worlds Movie Review…………………………………………
But the film has some good characters that appear in very small roles such as those rednecks who get killed by the Martians first. They were so funny and they made me laugh honestly. The scene in the beginning where a man looks at his friends’ cards while he’s on the phone is also very funny and that goofy humor was present quite a bit in the film and I liked it a lot.
On a purely scientific level, the film is ridiculous. The Martians are the aliens which is beyond stupid and why would they destroy even the buildings is beyond me. But this is one of those fun sci-fi movies, blockbusters that are meant to be entertaining and watching it as such, it succeeds in spades.

…………………………………………

The War of the Worlds Movie Review…………………………………………
The War of the Worlds is a technical marvel for its time. Truly the special effects are groundbreaking. I liked the aliens’ design a lot and they were portrayed convincingly. And I admired the choice to have them shown in just two scenes and only once fully. Certainly some scenes are too campy, but for its time the movie is actually pretty advanced and you can see how expensive it must have been. The ships look fine and those cameras and electric eye also movie convincingly. The score is also very good and the sound effects are particularly terrific and memorable. The film is also very well edited and consistently engaging throughout its whole, quite short running time.
The War of the Worlds is certainly dated in its archetypal concept plus the human characters and acting are quite poor, but the film is a lot of fun and it succeeds in spades as an entertaining 50s blockbuster with some pretty good humor too. The special effects are outstanding for its time, the sound is great and the movie is fun enough that you can forgive it for its many flaws.

My Rating – 4

…………………………………………

Share

Iron Man 3 (2013)

Iron Man 3 Movie Review………………………………….

Iron Man 3 Movie Review

Iron Man 3 is a 2013 Marvel superhero film directed by Shane Black and starring Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow. It is one of their most underrated movies.

………………………………….

My armor was never a distraction or a hobby, it was a cocoon,

and now I’m a changed man.

You can take away my house, all my tricks and toys,

but one thing you can’t take away – I am Iron Man

………………………………….

Iron Man 3 Movie Review………………………………….

The plot itself isn’t the greatest, albeit it has its great scenes. I found the third act to be over-the-top and bombastic in a typical blockbuster fashion, but other than that, the film was mostly restrained from action and actually quite engaging. I liked its humor as usual and I especially liked the interactions between the characters.

Tony Stark is probably the best he’s ever been in this movie because not only is he funny and Robert Downey Jr. is as charismatic as usual, but here he also has a human side to him, he is vulnerable and watching him struggle with the events that happened in ‘The Avengers’ was the standout aspect of the entire film, very moving and serious.

………………………………….

Iron Man 3 Movie Review………………………………….

I loved Pepper Potts, here she is very likable and the two probably have the best and most memorable scenes in this movie. Watching the two together was so much fun. Aldrich Killian is a typical, boring and such forgettable villain that he isn’t even worth talking about more. Maya Hansen is solid, but ultimately forgettable. Harley is such a likable kid and I loved the scenes between him and Tony and I have to say that I really liked what they did with Mandarin. Most fans were angry, but to me it was much more interesting to have this twist that he is just an actor and not a bad guy, very clever and refreshing.

The performances are as good as usual and the direction from Shane Black is surprisingly good. I say surprisingly because I disliked his other movies. I found the film’s humor to be quite good, but I also admired its more serious and dark and emotionally devastating tone which was new for the MCU.

Iron Man 3 is very well made and shot. The dialogue is as brisk and fun as usual. The special effects are quite good and some of the imagery and locations are memorable and very well used. I really liked some of the action, but to me some action sequences were overloud and typical. It also had too much action in some scenes, especially in the second half as the first half is surprisingly restrained for a superhero flick.

………………………………….

Iron Man 3 Movie Review………………………………….

The villains are possibly the major problem that prevented me from enjoying this movie more. They are all bland and extremely forgettable. The same goes for some of the action as stated above. But other than that, I really liked the characters here, all very well used, and I have to say that I found the overall film to be a memorable, pretty involving and mostly very satisfying entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I do get why most people dislike it, but to me it comes right in the middle in this trilogy. It is of course inferior to the first ‘Iron Man‘, but it is miles above the quality of mediocre ‘Iron Man 2’ and it is overall one of the better, if not the best Marvel movies to date.

With very good imagery and special effects, an interesting story and an excellent twist, terrific acting, strong characterization and so well utilized characters, Iron Man 3 has absolutely mediocre villains and some of its action was dull and overlong, but it is mostly very satisfying and quite underrated and is the most human and probably the most tonally serious Marvel movie yet and it is a worthy third entry in this trilogy.

My Rating – 4

………………………………….

Share

Do the Right Thing (1989)

Do the Right Thing Movie Review………………………………………………………………….

Do the Right Thing Movie Review

Do the Right Thing is a 1989 drama film directed by and starring Spike Lee. It is one of the best films about racism that I have ever seen.

………………………………………………………………….

It ain’t never too hot or never too cold for fuckin’!

………………………………………………………………….

Do the Right Thing Movie Review………………………………………………………………….

It is about the racial tension in a Brooklyn neighbourhood where on the hottest day of summer a tragedy strikes. This is one of those movies that deserve to be proclaimed important by critics as it surely is a textbook example of how to properly do a movie about this subject matter. It is probably the most realistic film I’ve seen where everyone is racist – both blacks and whites. That honest, brutally honest approach is what sets this film miles apart from the rest of the similar flicks. And it is made in a way that you never know what to think. I didn’t know who was guilty of starting this conflict and that was great. That uncertainty is palpable and again realistic as in real life conflicts are never black-and-white, but much more complex and difficult to grasp.

As for the characters, my thoughts are twofold. On the one hand, I certainly respected the movie for portraying characters that feel like real people and sure enough, this entire neighbourhood is recreated and portrayed in such a manner that it almost feels real and as if you are watching a documentary. That was certainly admirable.

………………………………………………………………….

Do the Right Thing Movie Review………………………………………………………………….

But on the other hand, the film deals with too many characters and thus none of them are as memorable or as well developed as they needed to have been. Mookie and Sal are the best and their relationship is quite strong. Their moment at the end is certainly my favourite scene in the movie – the one that showcased that the two ethnicities can get along after all. But Italians are still stereotyped here along with those minor black characters and thus they all blend in the crowd a bit too much.

The acting is excellent. Certainly Danny Aiello gave the best, deservedly Oscar nominated performance, but the others are all pretty good too and Spike Lee is pretty solid for a director. But his direction is very strong as the film is phenomenally directed and put together. The editing is fantastic and I loved how the film flowed well and perfectly led to the tragedy owing to a great build up.

Do the Right Thing isn’t a comedy to me. There are some funny scenes in the first half, amusing and filled with really well painted, memorable minor characters (Mother Sister and Da Mayor are such a charming duo), but it never made me laugh or chuckle and I would still call it just a drama. Another problem here was that climactic third act. It was needed and very dramatic and difficult to watch in a good way, but it still lasted a bit too much and the entire film has too much yelling, cursing and is just too loud.

………………………………………………………………….

Do the Right Thing Movie Review………………………………………………………………….

But it truly is a shame that it wasn’t nominated for Best Picture when it easily should have even won in that year. It is one of the rare movies with the subject of racism that is also a very good movie in its own right and not just an important film. ‘In the Heat of the Night’ is another one of those that comes to mind.

Do the Right Thing is a rare film with the subject of racism that is not only important, but also very good in its own right. The film portrays realistic characters, the direction from Spike Lee is superb and the build up in the first half is so good that it deftly led to the brutal conflict that arose in the second half. This is the film that portrays racism from both sides, it treats its subject matter in a brutally honest manner and is executed in a way that you never quite know who is to blame for the conflict which is exactly how real life works and why this film is so important and admirable in its realism.

My Rating – 4.5

………………………………………………………………….

Share

Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and Don’t Come Back!!) (1980)

Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and Don't Come Back!!) Movie Review……………………………………………………………….

Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and Don’t Come Back!!) Movie Review

Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown is a 1980 animated family film which is the last and to me the weakest of the first four Peanuts feature movies.

……………………………………………………………….

The last time you went away, big brother,

your team won three games in a row

……………………………………………………………….

Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and Don't Come Back!!) Movie Review……………………………………………………………….

I don’t know about this one. I have to admit that I wanted to give a four star rating to every Peanuts sequel and unfortunately I just can’t do that this time around as this is a solid film, but definitely weaker than all the rest of the Peanuts entries.

Charlie Brown along with his friends goes to the French country side where he was invited by a girl to stay in the chateau. Eventually, the mystery is revealed – Charlie Brown’s grandfather helped the baron during World War II. That’s it, that is the story here.

Naturally it is interesting and the mystery is handled well, I guess. Plus the setting is a lot of fun. But it isn’t suited for a Peanuts adventure and I just always had the feeling that it lacked the entertainment factor almost entirely. There are some gags here and there, but the film is mostly devoid of humour and adventure, but rather settles on this mystery. So disappointing.

Another disappointing thing about Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown is its very narrow set of characters. I mean a Peanuts movie without Lucy isn’t a Peanuts movie in my book. And Sally is basically not here either. Of those characters that went on this adventure, Charlie Brown is the most disappointing as he is never the loser he is supposed to be here. In some scenes he is pathetic and funny, but mostly he is too dull.

……………………………………………………………….

Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and Don't Come Back!!) Movie Review……………………………………………………………….

Linus is also pretty forgettable. Pierre has his moments and that girl Violette is likable, but also forgettable. Peppermint Patty and Marcie, but mostly just Patty, save this movie. The highlights were all of Patty’s sequences here for sure. The one where she is sitting with Chuck in the class and tormenting him is hilarious and of course the final scene where Snoopy kisses her is also very funny. Marcie is an expectedly great sidekick too.

Speaking of Snoopy, surprisingly enough, he is another one of the highlights here. He and Woodstock of course. The duo has some surprisingly hilarious scenes here and none of them stall the movie as usual, but add a lot of the charm and pleasant humour to the table. The airplane scene is the funniest, but then again each scene with these two was very good this time around.

……………………………………………………………….

Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and Don't Come Back!!) Movie Review……………………………………………………………….

Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown is well directed and edited. Some of the lines cracked me up and as I said the characters here are half-good as half of them deliver, but the other half is thoroughly lacking. I liked the French and chateau setting quite a bit and I liked the journey to there with the driving and flying sequences being a lot of fun. And the mystery is fine, but I wanted this flick to be more of a comedy adventure and it too many times failed in that department. So it ended up being a solid flick, but easily the weakest of all five Peanuts features.

Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown has some very funny sequences, the mystery is interesting, the setting is nice and Peppermint Patty stole the show this time around along with Snoopy, but all of the other characters were lacking in my opinion and the film is rarely as adventurous and as comedic as I would have liked leading to unfortunately the weakest Peanuts feature.

My Rating – 3.5

……………………………………………………………….

Share

Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970)

Beneath the Planet of the Apes Movie Review………………………………………

Beneath the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

Beneath the Planet of the Apes is a 1970 science fiction film starring James Franciscus and Charlton Heston. It is such a good, extremely underrated sequel.

………………………………………

Glory be to the Bomb, and to the Holy Fallout

………………………………………

Beneath the Planet of the Apes Movie Review………………………………………

According to the mediocre reviews and lack of popularity for this flick, I honestly expected the worst and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it is actually a good film. Of course it is much inferior to the original ‘Planet of the Apes’, but it isn’t a bad film and is even a four star movie to me personally. Needless to say, it is awfully underrated and needlessly trashed.

So another astronaut crashes on Earth in the post-apocalyptic future looking for Taylor who is missing and disappeared from the face of the planet. Now obviously it started off quite similarly to the first movie and I thought this was basically going to be a rehash and was quite annoyed.

However, it turned out to be just the opposite and vastly different from the original in the end that I really liked it. The film really begins when Brent escapes from the apes and stumbles upon the underground tunnels where he discovers humans with telekinetic powers. At first, I was taken aback by this and did not know what to think of this new development.

But eventually I really liked it. Of course it is too timely and dated by now with all this atomic bomb storyline, but I liked the twist with those humans that turn out to be mutants with severely burned skin. Apparently radiation has destroyed their skin, but also gave them telekinetic powers. I love those powers and they were really well executed. Those scenes were some of the best here.

………………………………………

Beneath the Planet of the Apes Movie Review………………………………………

Beneath the Planet of the Apes is definitely a weird movie. It can be too weird at times, it starts off pretty weakly and I disliked that we had to see the ending to the first movie again. Some of the fights were also too campy and poorly executed and naturally, owing to a lesser budget, the effects are much weaker this time around. Some of the apes look pretty horrendous and the make-up is vastly inferior to the original.

But still I liked it quite a bit despite those obvious big issues. James Franciscus looks good, but is hardly another Charlton Heston. Speaking of whom, I liked what they did with his character and they handled well Heston’s unwillingness to appear in the sequel by reducing his role significantly, but still naturally. I would have liked to have seen more Zira, but those mutants were so interesting that I didn’t mind it that much.

The ending I found interesting and I liked that they went there as destroying the entire planet with a bomb was a pretty bold idea for the film’s ending. Following suddenly three groups and two groups of villains was very entertaining and to me this sequel succeeds wonderfully in expanding this already great world even more and visiting the underground tunnels was a lot of fun and quite fascinating. Those scenes with mutants were all my favourites, so well done.

………………………………………

Beneath the Planet of the Apes Movie Review………………………………………

The action is weakly executed and the film is never as artistic or powerful as the first movie, but mainly because I lowered my expectations significantly, I still enjoyed it quite a bit. And don’t get me wrong – it is a good movie for sure, certainly a stupendous sequel that I wonder why it fared so poorly with the critics and fans.

Beneath the Planet of the Apes is such an unfortunately underappreciated sequel that is of course never comparable to the great original as its action and effects are too campy plus the acting is not the greatest, but they refreshingly took a different direction with this sequel and taking the action to the underground tunnels was intriguing and a lot of fun. I really enjoyed that new development, the mutants are memorable and the ending is bold. It is such a fun, ultimately successful sequel that expanded an already vast, wonderful world.

My Rating – 4

………………………………………

Share

The Breakfast Club (1985)

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

The Breakfast Club Movie Review

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

………………………………………………………..

We’re all pretty bizarre.

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

………………………………………………………..

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

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

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

………………………………………………………..

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

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

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

………………………………………………………..

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

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

………………………………………………………..

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

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

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

My Rating – 4.5

………………………………………………………..

Share

Blonde Venus (1932)

Blonde Venus Movie Review……………………………………………………………….

Blonde Venus Movie Review

Blonde Venus is a 1932 Pre-Code drama film directed by Joseph von Sternberg and starring Marlene Dietrich, Herbert Marshall and Cary Grant. It is such an underrated film.  

……………………………………………………………….

My name’s Taxi Belle Hooper.

Taxi for short.

Do you charge for the first mile?

……………………………………………………………….

Blonde Venus Movie Review……………………………………………………………….

It is crazy how this movie is hugely underappreciated. Mordaunt Hall himself trashed it in his original 1932 review and most of the reviews I checked out were mostly quite negative. But to me it is honestly one of the director’s best films as it still possesses that visual quality to it and strong sensuality, but it also has a strong story, characters and especially emotion. It is a full package which I just adored.

Dietrich plays Helen, a woman who goes to great lengths to secure the money for her husband’s operation from a serious disease. But when her husband comes back and finds out about her affair, he banishes her and she takes her son and runs away until eventually giving in to the police.

The ending is where the movie shines and it is certainly my favourite sequence. The two spouses reunite over her singing a lullaby to their son as the song reminds them of how they met and what a strong pair they are. That was such a beautiful sequence that may be too happy and standard to some, but I found it to have a great message as I think she particularly belonged home with her husband and child and I would feel the same way if she was a man. I am trying to say that the film isn’t sexist at all. And I loved the beginning and how important that scene was for the whole film thematically.

……………………………………………………………….

Blonde Venus Movie Review……………………………………………………………….

Marlene Dietrich stuns in Blonde Venus and she actually gives one of her finest performances in this wonderful vehicle for her. Her acting is great, her facial expressions are superb and of course she is absolutely gorgeous and again we see her every feature emphasized to great effect thanks to some superb camera work. The cinematography here is amazing and is an essential part of the entire film.

Her character is great, human and complex and I also liked Ned and Nick. Nick has that typical rich villain thing going for him, but he still helped Helen a lot so I wouldn’t call him a villain at all. But Cary Grant unfortunately did not get much to do in this movie and this is basically one giant supporting performance, but this was only the beginning of his career and he was still charismatic and memorable. Herbert Marshall, on the other hand, was almost as great as Marlene was. He has always been a very good actor, but I just never witnessed such strong acting from him that he delivered here in spades. The last sequence in particular features superlative subtle, emotional work from him.

The movie is very sensual not only owing to its gorgeous cinematography, but also thanks to its two leads who are very nice to look at. They are such a charming, wonderful couple whom I just adored. As for the musical numbers, I guess they were fine and certainly quite racy and provocative as this is so obviously a Pre-Code picture, but they took too much running time in my opinion and slowed the movie down significantly.

……………………………………………………………….

Blonde Venus Movie Review……………………………………………………………….

Blonde Venus definitely has a weaker first half and takes its time to get there, but when it gets there, it somehow becomes the total opposite and this time rushed in pacing. So yes, the editing is all over the place here and that was the biggest hurdle the film never overcame. But other than that, it features a great script; it serves as a good message film, a great acting vehicle and a great proof of Sternberg’s strong directorial style.

Blonde Venus has too many musical numbers plus the editing is all over the place, but the film is very sensual owing to such a terrific cinematography and its two charming leads. But it is one of Joseph von Sternberg’s best films because it isn’t just style over substance as it also features a strong script, very good character development, great performances from Herbert Marshall and Marlene Dietrich in two of their best roles and such an indescribably beautiful, perfect conclusion.

My Rating – 4.5

……………………………………………………………….

 

Share

Westworld (1973)

Westworld Movie Review…………………………………………………..

Westworld Movie Review

Westworld is a 1973 science fiction western thriller film directed by Michael Crichton and starring Yul Brynner. It is one of the best sci-fi films of the seventies.

…………………………………………………..

No matter what you do, he’ll always be one step ahead of you!

You haven’t got a chance!

…………………………………………………..

Westworld Movie Review…………………………………………………..

I absolutely adored this movie. It is the best film I’ve seen in a while and it just might actually be one of the best ten or twenty sci-fi films of all time. Yes, it is that good! And I did not expect that at all and now I am so intrigued that I would like to see a TV show that they have just made, but because it is a typical sensationalist, overly violent show like every other today, I unfortunately cannot and won’t watch it which is beyond frustrating.

This story is amazing. It is about an amusement park which consists of Roman World, Medieval World and the titular Westworld. In all three of these areas, visitors get the full treatment which is super realistic and detailed. Androids that look extremely like humans serve them and visitors can have sex with them, fight them etc. But when a sort of computer virus spreads, all androids start acting strangely, they rebel and eventually attack and kill humans. Such wonderful mayhem ensues.

Westworld is one of those movies where I instantly realized that a book author directed it and surely enough Michael Crichton, an author, is the director. And although some may find that problematic, I loved his direction here as he brings such high level of detail that regular movie directors could just never do. That is why the world building here is absolutely spectacular. You have all three of these areas utilized properly and I was fascinated by all of them and it was great that I got to witness each three. That I did not expect.

…………………………………………………..

Westworld Movie Review…………………………………………………..

And it is all so well thought out, not to mention extremely well executed visually. The special effects are so great and advanced for its time. I loved that Gunslinger’s viewpoint which, when broken, went pixelized and there we witness the first ever use of CGI. That is simply groundbreaking. And the androids themselves look phenomenal.

I know this is nitpicking, but I disliked the blood in this movie which was so obviously fake and with such a ridiculous light colour that was honestly quite funny. And as for the story, the only problem I’ve had is the fact that the androids can be distinguished from humans by looking at their hands as that is the only body part that the scientists did not fully perfect yet. Are you kidding me?! You make a perfect android that looks entirely like a human and has face and hair that are totally realistic and yet somehow the hands are the only parts that you cannot make properly. That was really ridiculous and just a plot contrivance as it was obviously convenient for the characters to know who is and who isn’t human by looking at their hands.

…………………………………………………..

Westworld Movie Review…………………………………………………..

But other than that and the fact that the second act definitely has a couple of slower and even repetitive scenes (there are too many scenes with the scientists for sure), I absolutely loved Westworld and I wanted a longer running time and more exploration of this enormous and beautifully conceived world. It is definitely one of the rare movies that entirely deserve sequels and TV shows as it is that big and rich with ideas.

It was an interesting turn of events that the more bravado character died and the goofier one survived and turned out to be a protagonist. That was unexpected. I still didn’t love both of them, but they were quite good nonetheless. But the Gunslinger steals the show and seeing Yul Brynner in this fun role just brought a smile on my face as I am a big fan of his and he was perfect for this role and he delivered in spades.

…………………………………………………..

Westworld Movie Review…………………………………………………..

Westworld is a science fiction film at its core, but most certainly a western too and a thriller with some strong horror elements as well. There are many great scenes here, but my favourite one has to be the entire chase sequence near the end as it was thrilling to behold and I loved especially the moment when Peter hid from the Gunslinger by standing beneath the flaming torch and thus fooling the villain’s infra-red scanners. Such a clever and thrilling scene. And the score was tremendous here, quite effective and spooky.

Westworld is one of the most original sci-fi moves that I have ever seen. It is such a unique mix of sci-fi, western and thriller with a story that is just fascinating to behold, rich in detail and propelled with amazing world building. It truly is one of the rare movies that entirely deserve many sequels and TV shows. I loved the score and special effects, Yul Brynner is superb, the chase scenes are filled with thrills and the film is consistently entertaining, clever and absolutely phenomenal.

My Rating – 4.5

…………………………………………………..

Share

War and Peace (1966)

War and Peace Movie Review………………………………………………………..

War and Peace Movie Review

War and Peace is a 1966 Soviet war drama film directed by Sergei Bondarchuk. It truly is an epic, but also wildly uneven work.

………………………………………………………..

Uncertainty, that’s what one fears most

………………………………………………………..

War and Peace Movie Review………………………………………………………..

It is based on one of the most famous and acclaimed novels ever written and it succeeds as a pretty admirable adaptation of it. It is famous for being the Soviet movie with the biggest budget and that money definitely paid off as the movie is gorgeous to behold. The cinematography in particular is phenomenal and every shot is great and some are even stunning. The camera movements are polished and the imagery, of the battles in particular, is frequently impressive.

I also loved that it was both a war picture and a costume drama. The costumes are exquisite and I found the interiors to be terrific. The dance sequences were some of my favourites here. I also really liked the score and the film is all around technically impressive and ambitious in scope and certainly epic in its tone.

But where War and Peace struggles is in its storytelling and characterization which is why it is definitely a respectable, but still somewhat forgettable and uneven work. Because it is divided in four parts and because of its staggering running time of seven hours, it is naturally uneven, weakly paced and edited. Some segments are better than the others.

………………………………………………………..

War and Peace Movie Review………………………………………………………..

Andrei Bolkonsky is the first and best part for sure and all of the others failed in comparison to it. Natasha Rostova was just overly melodramatic in my opinion. The entire movie suffered from many typical plot points and plot progressions and an overall feeling that it is at its core a style over substance. The characters are also unimpressive. Some are very well developed, but none of them left a bigger impression on me and I have to say that all of them are immensely forgettable, at least to me personally. It received the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and although not particularly deserved, it is still one of the better films to win that award during the sixties.

War and Peace is a pretty good film that is style over substance and naturally wildly uneven both in pacing and in storytelling, but it is epic in tone and scope, visually arresting and filled with great imagery, well scored and mostly such an admirable war and period piece that it managed to transcend its many obvious flaws.

My Rating – 4

………………………………………………………..

Share