The Cat and the Canary (1927)

The Cat and the Canary Movie Review………………………………………………..

The Cat and the Canary

The Cat and the Canary is a 1927 silent horror film directed by Paul Leni and starring Laura La Plante and Creighton Hale. It is a pretty good, but not great horror flick.

………………………………………………..

That clock hasn’t struck in twenty years – since the old man died!

………………………………………………..

The Cat and the Canary Movie Review………………………………………………..

The plot is very good and actually quite detailed for a horror film. The movie has a very mysterious and atmospheric quality to it while consistently being a lot of fun. I liked most of the developments here and of course the monster is very memorable and with an interesting, scary for the time look to him.

The Cat and the Canary is a very modern film for better and for worse, certainly hugely influential. That means that the film is very atmospheric and actually scary in a way as it features very modern storytelling and even an early use of jump scares which was certainly unusual for a 1920s horror film.

However, there is also a bad side to its influential and contemporary nature. I am of course talking about an incredible amount of action scenes and a very frenetic pacing which is certainly modern, but I do not like that which is why the film suffered from it. A slower pace and a longer running time were definitely needed this time around.

………………………………………………..

The Cat and the Canary Movie Review………………………………………………..

As for its humor, it is solid. The film is never truly funny and its mix of horror and comedy is problematic, but certainly original for the time and actually quite interesting. It led to a film that never took itself too seriously which was a departure from other horrors of the time and that makes it more memorable and admirable.

Creighton Hale is the only funny actor here as his character is very amusing. He was definitely modeled after Harold Lloyd. But others aren’t all that interesting and the female characters here were not as strong as the male ones are. But Laura La Plante is very memorable in her role and certainly the acting in this movie is quite strong as everyone was fun and gave pretty stellar performances. It’s a shame that it has too many characters and not that great development for them, though solid for this genre for sure.

………………………………………………..

The Cat and the Canary Movie Review………………………………………………..

I particularly liked The Cat and the Canary’s technical aspects and those sell this movie in my honest opinion. The old dark house trope here is well utilized owing to a superbly looking house filled with a great attention to detail. And its rooms and corridors are well explored thanks to the fine work of Gilbert Warrenton whose cinematography work here is truly phenomenal. The film is definitely spooky and fun and even though I liked the build-up more than the actual conclusion, the overall storyline was certainly pretty good and meticulously crafted and told. To me the intertitles were the most memorable thing about this film as they are some of the most inventive of any silent film featuring such a clever way to compensate for the lack of sound by having letters enlarge and come at you and even having vibrating letters to increase tension. The effect was achieved tremendously and it strengthened the film in the process to being quite remarkable.

The Cat and the Canary has too many characters and it is influential and modern for better and for worse as it is fun and having a lot of jump scares and modern thrills while also being too action oriented and frenetic in pacing. But the plot is well told and quite detailed actually, the cinematography is stellar, the humor and acting are solid and the strong, spooky atmosphere is achieved through the use of some of the most clever and inventive intertitles in any silent film.

My Rating – 4

………………………………………………..

Share

Logan (2017)

Logan Movie Review

………………………………………………………………..

Logan Movie Review

Logan is a 2017 superhero film directed by James Mangold and starring Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart and Dafne Keen. It is such a great, competent movie.

………………………………………………………………..

This is what life looks like: people love each other.

You should take a moment…

………………………………………………………………..

Logan Movie Review

………………………………………………………………..

I really liked the story here. Yes, most of it was a regular road trip, crime drama flick, but the film delivers in so many memorable, powerful sequences. To me the first half was a bit better than the second one, but the second one is also very good with its fair share of moving and brutal scenes. And yes, the movie defies genre conventions as it cannot easily be classified. It is to me more a crime drama than a superhero film, but I liked that it was still at its core a superhero and X-Men movie and it never forgot that.

As for its R-rating, I definitely was appalled by some scenes and I generally dislike overly violent movies, but it did make the film feel more real and realistic plus most of those gross moments were thankfully very quick and did not last for too long. But what I liked most about its brutality is that it is raw and brutal in its emotion as it’s basically a tragedy with so many heartbreaking, truly horrific scenes and such a high death count.

………………………………………………………………..

Logan Movie Review

………………………………………………………………..

The character development is simply fantastic. Wolverine has never been better before and this is his ultimate and most important movie. He is here such a great character owing to the mix of pure animal and human emotion in his portrayal. Such a complex character. The same goes to Charles Xavier who was so great here, not only heartwarming, but also funny at times. The relationship between the two is so moving.

Let’s talk about Laura. So good. She also had some emotional moments near the end, but for the most part, she was such a badass female child character with genuine animalistic behavior and instincts. She was definitely the most memorable and fun addition here. Caliban wasn’t particularly memorable, but the villains are so good and of course X-24 is such a creepy, superb villain whom I just loved.

………………………………………………………………..

Logan Movie Review

………………………………………………………………..

The acting is top-notch. Dafne Keen is another strong child actor as there has been quite a few in recent years. She delivered such a strong, stupendous performance. But Patrick Stewart and Hugh Jackman are simply amazing. Stewart should definitely receive an Oscar nomination for this role and some of his speeches were so heartwarming and beautiful to hear. He sold all of those emotional moments. But we knew of his greatness, what I did not expect is the raw and moving work that Hugh Jackman put in his performance. He really delivered here and gave a perfect performance in his swansong for the series.

I loved the action in Logan. It was too detailed, realistic and brutal, but so well executed with such great camera movements and excellent fighting. The film was so entertaining and even riveting in its action and almost all of those scenes were perfectly executed.

………………………………………………………………..

Logan Movie Review

………………………………………………………………..

But the film is not just action. In fact, it is mostly a drama and it has a lot of slower and more subtle scenes which I loved. Of course its emotion is devastating and so strong. I thought the deaths were expected and although the final sequence was beautiful and so well made, I was much more moved by Charles’ death than Logan’s. That was mainly because that entire scene was just so original and unexpected that it was the highlight of the movie. I was honestly a bit scared watching X-24 and the scene not only had such a great, beautiful speech, but it was cut so unexpectedly by that baffling stab. It was quite unsettling, tragic and overall such a crazy scene that really worked.

Logan is very well made technically. I loved its spare usage of special effects, that was refreshing to witness. I liked its diverse genres and I loved the overall tone of the movie. It is so dark and tragic, but it manages to have some laughs in it as well. It is a surprisingly funny movie with its fair share of hilarious moments. Charles was particularly amusing with his smartass remarks. Watching a superhero movie that is both light and dark in almost equal measure just made my day.

………………………………………………………………..

Logan Movie Review

………………………………………………………………..

The dialogue is very strong, the script is smart and it has a couple of smart metaphors and observations. The running time is long, but it never felt boring and was in fact surprisingly well edited and structured. It tied in so well with the other X-Men films, but it still works so great as a standalone film. And even though ‘First Class’ and ‘Days of Future Past’ are still better in my opinion, Logan is just behind and that was a great achievement.

Although definitely too violent, Logan is a very realistic, moving and sometimes even genuinely tragic and heartbreaking movie. The character development is absolutely fantastic, the performances from Patrick Stewart and Hugh Jackman are so good, the humor is quite strong and the film’s action is so well executed, but also never overwhelming. It is such a well edited, clever and emotional film with a couple of truly moving and beautiful sequences that are hard to forget leading to such a phenomenal, genuinely different superhero outing that simultaneously works great as an X-Men and as a standalone movie.

My Rating – 4.5

………………………………………………………………..

Share

Marty (1955)

Marty Movie Review

………………………………………………………………..

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.

………………………………………………………………..

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!

………………………………………………………………..

Marty Movie Review

………………………………………………………………..

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.

………………………………………………………………..

Marty Movie Review

………………………………………………………………..

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.

………………………………………………………………..

Marty Movie Review

………………………………………………………………..

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.

………………………………………………………………..

Marty Movie Review

………………………………………………………………..

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.

………………………………………………………………..

Marty Movie Review

………………………………………………………………..

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

………………………………………………………………..

Share

Eyes Without a Face (1960)

Eyes Without a Face Movie Review………………………………………………………………..

Eyes Without a Face Movie Review

Eyes Without a Face is a 1960 French horror film directed by Georges Franju and starring Pierre Brasseur and Alida Valli. It is a very strong, truly memorable horror movie.

………………………………………………………………..

My face frightens me.

My mask frightens me even more

………………………………………………………………..

Eyes Without a Face Movie Review………………………………………………………………..

It is about a doctor who goes out of his length to help his daughter get a new face after she got disfigured in an accident. This is pretty much something that could come up from the mind of Rod Serling and surely the film reminded of a lengthy Twilight Zone episode. And naturally, being a huge fan of the show myself, I ate it up and I loved this film.

Yes, I agree with the critics in that the film is very contemporary today given all the fuss around cosmetic surgery and it was executed in a way that it can be creepy and disturbing even today. A very admirable, timeless horror film this is. I loved the story, its poetic elements are strong and the film’s ending is simply beautiful and emotionally rewarding.

………………………………………………………………..

Eyes Without a Face Movie Review………………………………………………………………..

The acting is very strong and both Pierre Brasseur and Edith Scob did a very good job, but it is Alida Valli who stole the show here and proved how great of an international actress she was. She killed it in such a great, villainous role and her acting is a great mix of theatrical and subtle. Her character and the doctor are both great and I loved how Louise eventually rebelled and her story is so strong.

Eyes Without a Face isn’t a perfect film as its flaws are pretty obvious. The surgery sequence is a bit too gross and overly sensational in approach and in my opinion the third act was filmed in an awkward manner and some scenes were either unnecessary or not at all well paced. But other than that, the film is great and it is a shame that the French rarely made horror movies as this was a proof that they could be great at them.

………………………………………………………………..

Eyes Without a Face Movie Review………………………………………………………………..

So I loved the atmosphere and of course the film is so well acted, directed, filmed and particularly scored as its score is gorgeous and very memorable. The entire film is poetic and artistic, but still containing strong horror elements. The dog attack scene at the end was brutal and the surgery scene is highly unapologetic as well leading to one of the most brutal horror films of its time. Those two scenes and the ending are my favorites. Of course I loved the make-up effects and that mask and especially the new face looked very real. The only scene that rang false was the stabbing moment which was silly and laughable how stupidly it was filmed, but the effects are stellar and the film is otherwise very much ahead of its time. It is again a proof of how great a year 1960 was when it comes to horror and it’s one of the best French films of the period, much better than those infinitely overrated dramas of the time.

Eyes Without a Face is a bit too gross in its surgery sequence and the third act was badly paced, but the film is otherwise such a stellar, ahead of its time horror film that is both artistic and emotional in approach, but also horrific and filled with great genre thrills. The acting and direction are great, the effects are excellent, the score is gorgeous and the film is very memorable owing to a bunch of unforgettable sequences such as the aforementioned surgery one, the dog attack scene and the ending which is beautiful.

My Rating – 4.5

………………………………………………………………..

Share

Alien: Covenant (2017)

Alien: Covenant Movie Review……………………………………………

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Alien: Covenant is a 2017 science fiction horror film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Katherine Waterston and Michael Fassbender. It is the sixth installment in the Alien series.

……………………………………………

One wrong note eventually ruins the entire symphony

……………………………………………

Alien: Covenant Movie Review……………………………………………

I really liked this movie. The storyline is excellent and it hooked me in from the beginning. It should have gotten much better audience reaction and reviews as, although flawed, it is a very good, competent entry in the Alien series that further explores its themes and answers some of the questions in an intriguing manner.

The film serves as the sequel to ‘Prometheus’, but it becomes an Alien film almost entirely in the second half. I myself liked that approach, but I do know that it may turn some people off. The entire first half is a science fiction and the second half is pure horror and both are so well executed. The arrival on that odd planet where plants grow but animals don’t, the discovery of the ship and what happened to Elizabeth Shaw and that great engineers sequence were all very fascinating to watch. The film has a well realized mystery and atmosphere to it.

……………………………………………

Alien: Covenant Movie Review……………………………………………

As for the second half, it has its flaws. The ending’s twist with Walter turning out to be David was well executed, but it was so obvious from the moment he got on the ship that it frustrated me. That ending was excellent and a great way to end this movie and tease the next one, but it was still so expected. And another flaw I’ve had with it is that the film was too bloody and gory at times and it again falls into clichéd horror traps such as only a handful of people surviving and of course people just being plain stupid. Not only do they touch everything on the planet which is beyond ridiculous once again, but they also go to pee or freshen up and leave the group. Why do horror characters continue to be this stupid is beyond me and it really annoys me.

But turning to the positive side, Alien: Covenant is a very interesting and different horror film for introducing couples in its storyline. That introduced a different working dynamic to this team and I do not know why it took for the horror filmmakers so long to do this as in my opinion it is a very obvious and more productive step. By having everyone with their partners in space, they are bound to work better and in happier conditions. Even though this idea should have been better exploited and the film is very low at romance frustratingly, it still has some very heartwarming and of course heartbreaking moments where people lose their loved ones.

Daniels is a Ripley rip-off to a degree, though much more emotional. I have to say that I really liked her character because she was more realistic. She is super confident and the toughest person here, but also the most emotionally fragile which made her more relatable. Tenneessee was very forgettable and the most forgettable person on the team actually. I liked the interracial couple and the gay couple was also interesting and Lope has his moments, but they were so briefly seen as a couple that I did not get the point in introducing that aspect to this plot.

……………………………………………

Alien: Covenant Movie Review……………………………………………

Katherine Waterston is excellent here as she was in ‘Fantastic Beasts’, but Billy Crudup is even better and very natural in the role of Oram who is such a great character. He is for once a different kind of captain who at first is shy and not at all confident in the captain’s role and that was very interesting to see. Such a lovable character. And of course David is excellent per usual. Walter is good and the two fighting and kissing were two very memorable scenes, but it is David becoming this pure evil, calculating and God-like villain that was so amusing to watch and quite creepy at times. Michael Fassbender is awesome in a dual role and proves again that he is one of the best actors working today.

Alien: Covenant is visually arresting as it has stupendous production design and very good special effects. I loved the aliens’ designs and their different attributes and forms were well explored. They truly are physically perfect killing machines. The fact that they maybe are smart is hinted upon and I would love to see the answer to that in the next installment.

……………………………………………

Alien: Covenant Movie Review……………………………………………

The gore is overwhelming, but at least the horror/action scenes were so well executed and the film is consistently entertaining. To me the film works much better with the two prologues seen before it as they introduce you to the plot and characters so well and I wish studios would do more of these prologues than regular trailers. The film is pleasantly dark and creepy in atmosphere and some of its themes and very tragic scenes so it was quite uncomfortable at times, thus succeeding as a horror flick. I prefer ‘Prometheus’ in the end, but this was still a very good, satisfactory Alien entry.

Alien: Covenant again features all of those horror trappings that annoy me so much with the group getting separated being stupid and everyone touching everything on the planet being ridiculous by now, but it is still a solid ‘Prometheus’ sequel and a very competent Alien film that is pretty creepy and atmospheric at times while also being dangerous and mysterious from start to finish. Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup and particularly Michael Fassbender were great in their very good, interesting roles, the storyline is very intriguing and the idea of couples in space is very interesting.

My Rating – 4

……………………………………………

Share

Silent Running (1972)

Silent Running Movie Review…………………………………………………….

Silent Running Movie Review

Silent Running is a 1972 science fiction film directed by Douglas Trumbull and starring Bruce Dern. It is a solid, respectable film, but very flawed too.

…………………………………………………….

There is no more beauty, and there’s no more imagination.

And there are no frontiers left to conquer

…………………………………………………….

Silent Running Movie Review…………………………………………………….

The genre films in the early seventies reflected on the current climate with hippies and environmentalism and thus we get Silent Running which is similar in themes to ‘Soylent Green’ from the same period. But the two films are still rather different in storyline and both are quite solid, but far from great.

It is a respectable film that can be very heartwarming and sweet at times. Its environmental and solitude themes are well explored and in the protagonist’s actions you can see just how much he cares for the plants and animals. It is a beautiful message, but unfortunately sometimes it was executed weakly with very preachy and on-the-nose dialogue typical of its time. The flick is very much a product of its time which is both a good and a bad thing.

…………………………………………………….

Silent Running Movie Review…………………………………………………….

Bruce Dern is very good in this role. It is very interesting seeing him here when he was decades younger than he was in ‘Nebraska’ and he still had the same mannerisms and the manner of speech. I liked his performance quite a bit and he was very likable in a role which easily could have turned out bad and cheesy.

Douglas Trumbull directed the movie really well and the special effects here definitely are very good. His effects work on ‘2001’ and ‘The Andromeda Strain‘ is admirable and I am glad that he could also direct. The effects here are very good and some of the imagery is quite memorable and intriguing. I loved the look of the dome and freighter and the robots also looked really good and were quite cute (definitely reminding me of ‘WALL-E’). Visually, the film did not age at all in my opinion as it still looks very solid.

…………………………………………………….

Silent Running Movie Review…………………………………………………….

Where Silent Running failed is in its pacing which was overly sluggish and the execution of the entire plot wasn’t the greatest. Some parts are rushed, others drag too much. The third act is emotional for sure, but still too slow and the second act is uneventful and certainly the weakest of the three. To me the film tried to be thoughtful and cerebral, serious sci-fi, but it only half-succeeded in that as the dialogue never managed to support such an approach. Most of the lines were too preachy and some were even silly. Had they worked more on the dialogue, the film would have been both smarter and more emotional but this way it ended up being just solid and certainly a bit dated at times.

Silent Running is a solid science fiction film with very good special effects, a respectable message, a fine performance from Bruce Dern and a couple of moving scenes, but the film is overly contemporary filled with at times quite preachy and silly dialogue and the pacing is rather sluggish resulting in a solid film which should have been much smarter and much better overall.

My Rating – 3.5

…………………………………………………….

Share

Spellbound (1945)

Spellbound Movie Review…………………………………………………..

Spellbound Movie Review

Spellbound is a 1945 noir mystery thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Gregory Peck and Ingrid Bergman. It is a pretty good, interesting Hitchcock experiment.

…………………………………………………..

Women make the best psychoanalysts until they fall in love.

After that they make the best patients

…………………………………………………..

Spellbound Movie Review…………………………………………………..

Now I have read that Hitchcock himself dissed the movie decades later and truly the film isn’t a favorite nowadays. But I disagree with that notion. It is certainly far from his best works and it isn’t a great film, but it is still a pretty good film which is pretty on par with most of his other 40s efforts.

The movie is criticized for being dated, but to me the film is pleasantly old-fashioned in its approach and I loved personally the emphasis on traditional mystery and a strong reliance on psychology. Whether or not the film is scientifically accurate is a non-issue as movies, especially thrillers, aren’t supposed to be scientifically correct. I personally really liked the theme of psychoanalysis here and it was very well explored and even fascinating to hear about.

The film is a bit too cozy and less ambitious and dangerous than his usual fare, but that meant that it was original and different. The mystery is so well established and I loved the path to untangling it. It is a well written, mysterious and atmospheric film that works great as a noir mystery with some good thriller elements.

…………………………………………………..

Spellbound Movie Review…………………………………………………..

There are three highlights here. One is the dream sequence done by Salvador Dali. That was of course authentic and unforgettable visually. Another is of course the childhood flashback which is beautiful and such a great, important moment. And the third is that ending with the gunshot being fired at the audience being very inventive.

Gregory Peck is very good in Spellbound, but Ingrid Bergman is the standout here. She gave such a strong, subtle performance and she should have been nominated for her work here. She plays such a strong female character who is a doctor and who eventually saves her man. That is why the film is not sexist as some remarked, but rather opposite than that and modern.

Spellbound has some evident problems. One is the pacing which is at times slow. The entire first half should have been trimmed down a bit and some scenes are too slow and even dull. I also didn’t quite follow the murder storyline quite as well as the childhood drama one. It was a bit too convoluted.

But other than that, it is a very good film. One of the character highlights is Alex Brulov played so well by Michael Chekhov. His somewhat sexist and full of himself character was a lot of fun and he made me laugh a couple of times.

…………………………………………………..

Spellbound Movie Review…………………………………………………..

The film features very strong dialogue. Some of it wasn’t as great, but most of the conversations and discussions were very interesting and even fascinating in subject. The film has such an interesting psychological, dreamlike quality to it emphasized by gorgeous cinematography and many excellent shots and beautifully constructed sequences. Hitch’s direction is very strong here. The film isn’t as good as ‘Lifeboat’ or ‘Shadow of a Doubt‘, but it is better than overrated ‘Foreign Correspondent’ and it is a very underrated 40s effort from the director.

Spellbound is sometimes too convoluted and it drags in some scenes, but it is mostly a very intriguing, different kind of noir mystery with a strong emphasis on psychology. Gregory Peck and Ingrid Bergman are an excellent pair here with her in particular delivering a very strong performance. The film is intriguingly dreamlike in quality fueled by gorgeous cinematography and a couple of unforgettable sequences such as the gunshot ending, the childhood flashback and a weird dream scene done by Salvador Dali. It is a pretty underrated Hitchcock film.

My Rating – 4

…………………………………………………..

Share

Island of Lost Souls (1932)

Island of Lost Souls Movie Review……………………………………

Island of Lost Souls Movie Review

Island of Lost Souls is a 1932 Pre-Code science fiction horror film starring Charles Laughton. It is a very intriguing film that isn’t as great as it should have been.

……………………………………

Mr. Parker, do you know what it means to feel like God?

……………………………………

Island of Lost Souls Movie Review……………………………………

Based on the famous H. G. Wells novel, it is about an obsessed scientist who is secretly conducting experiments on animals on a remote island. He imagines that he is God as he makes humans out of animals with mixed results. I agree with Wells in that the film relied too much on horror thrills and not enough on science fiction themes and message. Those are still there, but not emphasized as much. The story is so fascinating and dark that it’s a shame that the movie never quite reached its fullest potential.

So this is obviously a Pre-Code movie and it just might be the sickest and most perverse Hollywood film of the thirties. And that is not just because it’s a horror film and as it features half-human, half-animal creatures, but because it also has a lot of nudity and it deals with the subject of bestiality. It is one hell of a crazy movie and that is why it sticks with you. It’s original and different.

……………………………………

Island of Lost Souls Movie Review

……………………………………

So Island of Lost Souls has its thrills and the element of surprise and it is almost a sensational picture as you cannot believe what you’re seeing even after 80 years. It certainly benefits from having this famous and risqué source material as a script. But the film is never as horrifying as it should have been, at least it wasn’t to me. Do not get me wrong, it is very atmospheric and well made, but just not as scary as ‘Freaks’ was from the same year.

The biggest problem are its characters and acting. Charles Laughton is a great actor but this just isn’t one of his best performances. I don’t know if it was him or the director, but some of the choices were weird and he was at times great, but at times too campy and that same sentiment can be applied to the whole movie which is at times too silly and campy with its costumes. Some costumes are great for its time, but others are not and you can definitely see that it’s a man in a costume.

But I still loved Laughton’s Dr. Moreau as he’s such a fascinating, powerful villain. The main character is boring and Richard Arlen is so bad in the main role. Really his performance is very off-putting here. But Lota is a memorable and tragic character and I really liked her story and I wished to have seen more from her.

……………………………………

Island of Lost Souls Movie Review……………………………………

The film is too fast paced with the transitions not being smooth. It is certainly too short. But that also may be its advantage as it thus felt quick, precise and even urgent in its tone. The short running time is a two-way street here. Overall, Island of Lost Souls fascinated me and it truly is a bizarre, unforgettable experience, but it ended up being just good and never as great as the material demanded.

Island of Lost Souls is a truly bizarre, very risqué Pre-Code horror film that deals with themes such as bestiality and the entire storyline is crazy and it provides an unforgettable experience. The acting is troublesome as Charles Laughton isn’t as great as he usually was here and Richard Arlen is quire mediocre, but Laughton’s villain is still great and the film is very entertaining and though too short, it also felt urgent in its tone and dangerous in its atmosphere. It is a fascinating film, but just not as great as it should have been.

My Rating – 4

……………………………………

Share

Ivan’s Childhood (1962)

Ivan's Childhood Movie Review

…………………………………………………

Ivan’s Childhood Movie Review

Ivan’s Childhood is a 1962 Russian war drama film directed by Andrei Tarkovsky. It is a very good directorial debut for Tarkovsky.

…………………………………………………

If a well is really deep,

you can see a star down there

even in the middle of a sunny day

…………………………………………………

Ivan's Childhood Movie Review

…………………………………………………

The story isn’t particularly original as contrasting the innocence of childhood with the horrors of war has been done before. ‘Forbidden Games’ has already done that exactly a decade ago from this film. But why this film is better than the aforementioned French film lies in its approach and execution which is as good as it could have been.

The story is well told, the film is dramatic and also quite atmospheric at times. The ending is striking and quite tragic and the use of flashbacks is put to some pretty good use here and isn’t as annoying as usual as I dislike that approach for the most part. But here that structure is solidly organized and the film flows really well apart from a couple of more boring sequences.

…………………………………………………

Ivan's Childhood Movie Review

…………………………………………………

Where the film fails is in the titular protagonist. Ivan is an unlikable brat, at least that’s how I saw him. If he was more likable, his eventual death would have been much more tragic to me. And all of the other characters aren’t all that well developed expect for Galtsev who is solid. But Masha’s role isn’t clear here. Maybe he wanted to portray how difficult it must have been for women in the army back then, but that entire sequence with her in the woods was well realized and interesting, but not that important in the context of the overall story.

But the acting is very good and everyone did a really nice job in their roles. Nikolai Burlyaev did such a good job at such a young age, he delivered a very strong performance in a pretty demanding role. As for Tarkovsky himself, this is one competent debut, there is no denying that. What I liked about Ivan’s Childhood is that it is less pretentious and artistic than his later films and that was good. It is much more straightforward and engaging than usual for the director.

…………………………………………………

Ivan's Childhood Movie Review

…………………………………………………

Ivan’s Childhood’s biggest strength has to be the cinematography which is amazing. The film is so beautifully shot that it is one of the finest looking black and white films of the sixties for sure. The sets are intriguing and well utilized and the black and white photography is stark and artistic. Some of the imagery such as the woods and especially the boat sequence near the end were striking and unforgettable. The camera movements and shots here are so polished. So the film is mostly style over substance, but it has a well told story and some great dramatic sequences so it succeeds as a pretty good debut for Tarkovsky.

Ivan’s Childhood has a couple of unnecessary sequences and the titular protagonist isn’t as likable as he should have been, but this is a very good debut for Tarkovsky as Nikolai Burlyaev delivered a very strong performance, the story is well told and pleasantly straightforward and the film is so beautifully shot with some striking imagery and its exquisite visual quality is surely its standout aspect.

My Rating – 4

…………………………………………………

Share

Treasure Planet (2002)

Treasure Planet Movie Review…………………………………………………

Treasure Planet Movie Review

Treasure Planet is a 2002 animated science fiction film which is the 43rd Disney animated feature. It is a solid, but very flawed film.

…………………………………………………

Look at you! Glowing like a solar fire.

You’re something special, Jim. You’re gonna rattle the stars, you are!

…………………………………………………

Treasure Planet Movie Review…………………………………………………

The film is basically a modern retelling of Treasure Island, but set in space. That is a high-concept idea of mixing old with new that is pretty clever in my opinion, but it’s a shame that it was never executed to the fullest degree. It never utilized on its great potential. In my opinion, Disney copied Star Wars too much here with all the robots, space adventure and weird alien designs. The film is engaging to watch and sometimes quite charming, but it’s just never as adventurous as it should have been.

The characters are a mixed bag here. Some work, others not at all. Jim Hawkins is a solid hero as he is more modern than usual for Disney. I also liked that he wasn’t as heroic and as good as usual and that was refreshing. He is definitely an even more modern version of Aladdin. John Silver is excellent and he is the finest character here without any doubt. I loved his accent and his constant shifting from good to bad was very interesting to follow. The relationship between the two again reminded me of ‘Aladdin’. In that film Al and Genie were best buddies and their friendship seemed like a bromance. Here it is exactly the same and although not done as well, they are still a very charming, wonderful duo and the heart and soul of this film.

…………………………………………………

Treasure Planet Movie Review…………………………………………………

Delbert Doppler is a hit-or-miss character who still could be funny at times and Captain Amelia is a tough female character and of course Emma Thompson killed it in the role, but the two just weren’t as well developed as they should have been which is a shame as both had potential. But their pairing was fun. And even though I liked Emma in this role, it was still too obvious that it was her and to me the voice casting here should have went to the unknowns.

Mr. Arrow is underdeveloped, but his death was still pretty tragic. Jim’s mother is typical, but still it was great that finally a Disney hero has a mother and the fact that his father did not die but left them was also pretty refreshing. Scroop is a pretty striking spider villain and some of his scenes verged into horror territory which was an interesting and ultimately successful approach. Morph is so cute and I loved all of his scenes. His design is interesting and he’s a wonderful sidekick. The same cannot be said for B.E.N. who is such an annoying robot that is an obvious rehash of C3PO from Star Wars that it was quite shameful. His jokes did not work and he was so annoying and unnecessary that he totally ruined the second half of the movie.

Treasure Planet is beautifully animated as it features a very pleasing mix of hand-drawn animation with computer generated imagery. The use of Deep Canvas from ‘Tarzan’ is also put to good use. I loved the looks of the different aliens and especially of the ship itself. The color palette is gorgeous as the extensive use of blue and purple was great as it led to a pretty interesting looking and different film.

…………………………………………………

Treasure Planet Movie Review…………………………………………………

But it’s such a shame that, as I said in my review of ‘Atlantis’, Disney just never managed to properly make an ”anime” film which is basically what they tried here. The attempt is certainly admirable, but only half-successful unfortunately.

As for its score, it is excellent and its theme is very uplifting and memorable. Whenever it appeared in the movie, it lifted those scenes emotionally. And its basically only song I’m Still Here is an interesting departure for Disney as it is a rock song for once. I liked it personally. It isn’t great, but it is catchy and serves its purpose in terms of emotion for the relationship between Silver and Jim.

…………………………………………………

Treasure Planet Movie Review…………………………………………………

Treasure Planet isn’t as emotional as it should have been overall and only the main duo provides charm and emotion here. The humor is hit-or-miss. The film is awfully frenetic in pacing and the action is solid, but certainly overwhelming. The film is not well edited at all and the entire second half is rushed and not as great as the build-up demanded it to have been. Overall, it succeeds as a solid and even underrated in a way sci-fi tale (similar in quality to underrated ‘Titan A.E.’), but it is still far from great and another proof that Disney never quite managed to make a successful movie when it departed from fairy tales and animal pictures.

The bromance between Jim Hawkins and John Silver is interesting and charming, the visuals are frequently mesmerizing and the film features a fine mix of new and old ideas. But it has too much action, it is badly paced and the supporting characters are not as memorable. It was also influenced by Star Wars a bit too much. So Treasure Planet is in the end a solid and admirable sci-fi effort, but a very flawed one indeed.

My Rating – 3.5

…………………………………………………

Share