Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

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Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 is a 2017 neo-noir science fiction film directed by Dennis Villeneuve and starring Ryan Gosling. I prefer it over the original.

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Pain reminds you the joy you felt was real

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Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

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The storyline here is very difficult to comprehend at times which was mostly a good thing. The film features a very complex and detailed narrative and it flows really well. For an almost three-hour long project, it never felt like it and it honestly was never at all boring which I did not expect at all and was thus very pleasantly surprised. It is a slow movie, but a positive slow-burn experience with great build-up and a very intriguing mystery to it.

The problem with Blade Runner 2049 is that it just never has any scene that is astounding and awe-inspiring as that ending from ‘Blade Runner’. That scene was better than any scene in this film. Another thing that the original gets better is the emotional investment. This film is emotional, but never as moving as the original.

And of course thematically speaking, it also fails in comparison as it is much less deep and thematically rich and complex. Plus the first movie’s message about individuality fares much better than this film’s anti-individuality, nihilist approach. Thematically, the two movies are so different which was weird to witness.

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Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

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But in terms of technical aspects, characterization and story, Blade Runner 2049 is better than the original and thus a better film, but not by far and it is definitely slightly overrated as it’s far from a great film. As for the story, I liked most of it, but the highlight was the twist near the end which literally deconstructed one of the biggest clichés of any genre film and I admired the heck out of it.

I really liked K as he is such a well developed, very likable hero whom you like to root for. Deckard is also quite memorable here and Luv is definitely such a badass female villain who stole the show in her every scene. I really disliked Jared Leto and his character here, totally not needed. Harrison Ford actually gave one of his finest and most emotionally charged performances here and the same can be said for Ryan Gosling who is the star and soul of the entire movie.

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Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

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Blade Runner 2049 truly is a cinematic achievement in every sense of that word and I am so glad that I saw it on the big screen. The direction from Dennis Villeneuve is absolutely terrific and after this film and terrific ‘Arrival’, he truly emerges as a talent to follow when it comes to serious, hard science fiction.

The acting is strong across the board as is the directing and the script is stellar, but the visuals are simply mesmerizing. The score is very good although not great and the sound design is particularly effective, loud and it builds the atmosphere so well. But the highlight is the cinematography from Roger Deakins which is stunning and couple that with high-tech gadgetry and cars, timeless special effects and such outstanding, artistic sets and high fashion and you’ve got a positive assault on the senses.

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Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

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It has such awesome atmosphere which is felt from the beginning and it transports you to its world so beautifully. Truly the film felt like a work of art and in that department it trumped the hard science fiction and noir elements to it which again led to a more visually and audio driven than truly clever or deep film.

Blade Runner 2049 is much inferior to the original when it comes to deep emotion and rich themes, but when it comes to storytelling, characterization and especially technical aspects it is much better than the first film. What it lacks in truly memorable scenes and thought-provoking ideas, it more than compensates with superb performances from Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford, very strong characters with a kickass female villain and great atmosphere and sound design. It also has such an admirable twist that basically deconstructed one of the biggest genre clichés. It is not a science fiction classic, but it is a work of art as evidenced by amazing cinematography, such competent direction, high fashion, fun technology and absolutely outstanding set design. In the end, I prefer it over the original, but it is still an overly praised film which is consistently good and engaging despite its long runtime, but rarely truly great.

My Rating – 4

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Blade Runner (1982)

Blade Runner Movie Review

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Blade Runner Movie Review

Blade Runner is a 1982 neo-noir science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Harrison Ford. It is one of the most overrated films from this genre.

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I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe.

Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion.

I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhuser Gate.

All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.

Time to die

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Blade Runner Movie Review

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I have to say that upon second viewing I confirmed my dislike for this film. And I don’t mean dislike in a sense that I hate it. I don’t. It is not a bad movie by all means and it is actually rather solid. But having in mind that it is so acclaimed and is considered to be the best science fiction film of all time along with ‘2001’, I do not consider it nearly as great and I am definitely not a fan of it subjectively speaking.

The main problem here is that it isn’t a science fiction film at its core. It is just as much a neo-noir, if not even more. And that’s a problem for me not only because I prefer pure sci-fi cinema, but also because I just wasn’t a fan of the crime angle here. The action was overwhelming, the storyline was too convoluted and not in a good way and sometimes it felt that the movie was just going through the motions, going from one plot point to another, almost like a video game.

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Blade Runner Movie Review

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Another aspect I dislike is the pandering to men. I dislike eroticism in movies and here everything was done to please the male viewer as you have this giant emphasis on women’s bodies and nightclubs and prostitutes. That took away from my enjoyment of the film as it was not connected and not really necessary for the overall story and almost came as a detour.

Whereas I dislike the neo-noir elements strongly, I love the sci-fi elements in Blade Runner and it truly is a smart film, at least from time to time as it sadly focuses little on those elements or certainly not as much as it needed. The entire idea of these Replicants who have shorter lifespan, but the emotional capacity of humans is excellent and I did see an early shade of ‘Ex Machina’ here. The film explores quite well what it means to be human and the A.I. versus human. That ending is just beautiful, highly emotional and it just leaves your breath away. It’s a shame that the rest of the movie wasn’t as glorious as that finale was.

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Blade Runner Movie Review

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But the characters are quite weak here except for Roy of course who is excellent and so well acted by Rutger Hauer. He’s the standout here. But Rachael is not all that well developed and Rick Deckard is a very boring protagonist. I have never been a fan of Harrison Ford and here he gave a fine performance, but he wasn’t great and a different actor would have been much better for this material.

Blade Runner admittedly has superb technical aspects and that is where it shines honestly. The visuals are mesmerizing and the color palette and the overall design of the buildings and the overall city is highly memorable and the film oozes future in its every scene. It does succeed as a futuristic movie even today, let alone during the eighties. The dialogue is good when it needs to be which is unfortunately rarely as it has too much action and crime in it. The emotional involvement is strong and the score is simply iconic to this point, gorgeous and highly moving and timeless in quality.

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Blade Runner Movie Review

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Now I can confirm that upon second viewing I am still not a fan of Blade Runner and it is one of only a few acclaimed science fiction films which I deem to be very overrated. Certainly the score is highly iconic, the visuals are mesmerizing, the sci-fi elements are great and its ending is simply remarkable and immensely moving in its score and emotion. But unfortunately the rest of the movie is not as great with an unfortunate emphasis on neo-noir instead of science fiction. The crime elements are weak here, the action is overwhelming, the characters are mostly bland and boring and the film is mostly just a blockbuster masquerading as serious science fiction when it is regrettably intellectual just in a couple of scenes.

My Rating – 3.5

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Strangers on a Train (1951)

Strangers on a Train Movie Review

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Strangers on a Train Movie Review

Strangers on a Train is a 1951 thriller noir film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Farley Granger and Robert Walker. It is one of the director’s better films.

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Poor unfortunate girl.

She was a tramp.

She was a human being. Let me remind you that

even the most unworthy of us have a right to

life and the pursuit of happiness.

From what I’ve heard she pursued it in all directions

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Strangers on a Train Movie Review

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The story of two strangers who meet on a train and arrange to exchange murders is a very intriguing one and not to mention highly original and unlike any other story in thrillers. But the reason why this story works so well is because it is not as implausible as it might seem at first. The psychopath Bruno kills Guy’s girlfriend, but Guy doesn’t want to complete “the end of his bargain”. That made the movie much more plausible and entertaining as it led to more suspense.

The film is not perfect and it isn’t one of the greatest Hitchcock films. It is one of the better ones, but not one of the best ones and that’s mostly because it doesn’t hold quite as well upon second viewing as some of its flaws crept up on me only now. One of those flaws is the ending. It is very intriguing in its setting and really well executed, but too much of a spectacle. Also, some scenes were obvious and sometimes Bruno wasn’t the smartest guy he claimed to be. And the film is very much a repeat of ‘Rope’ in terms of the villain and the themes and I have to say that ‘Rope’ is the more accomplished of the two.

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Strangers on a Train Movie Review

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But still Strangers on a Train is a very good, competent film which benefits from many unforgettable scenes. I absolutely loved that hall scene where Bruno stands why Guy passes by in a car. That was visually arresting. The tennis match was well utilized into the suspense and the story, the cigarette case in the sewer was stupendously filmed and I loved the scene at Bruno’s house.

The characters are very well established and especially their motifs. Both Bruno and Guy are excellent and especially Bruno is such a memorable villain. Robert Walker played him so well and it’s a shame that he passed away at such a young age of 32 two months after this film’s release. All of the actors did a good job, but as in ‘Rope’, I again am not a fan of Farley Granger. This role fits him, but his performance once again left a lot to be desired.

Strangers on a Train succeeds the most in its technical aspects. The striking black-and-white photography is stunning here and the film is so suspenseful and visually remarkable in some scenes that it definitely belongs in the noir genre as well as the thriller one. The cinematography is so exceptional that it manages to create a very suspenseful atmosphere. The dialogue is also terrific and I really liked the film’s humor.

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Strangers on a Train Movie Review

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Yes, Hitchcock was very talented at humor too which not a lot of people realize. The humorous scenes here are rare, but they are definitely there and some lines of dialogue and facial expressions honestly made me laugh.

So the film is a very entertaining mix of light and dark, serious and comedic and it is delightfully atmospheric and dangerous from start to finish, not to mention highly authentic in premise and also in execution. It’s flawed, but certainly one of the director’s most purely fun flicks.

Strangers on a Train has its flaws such as the ending which wasn’t my cup of tea, but it surely is one of Hitchcock’s better films which features a highly memorable villain and a very authentic and fun premise wonderfully executed. There are a lot of unforgettable moments here and the film succeeds the most in its striking black-and-white cinematography, an amusing sense of humor and a suspenseful atmosphere.

My Rating – 4.5

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Notorious (1946)

Notorious Movie Review

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Notorious Movie Review

Notorious is a 1946 noir spy film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant. It is one of Hitch’s best films up to this point.

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A man doesn’t tell a woman what to do. She tells herself

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Notorious Movie Review

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The story is interesting in that it is obviously a spy plot. This is a noir film with strong spy elements which was definitely interesting to see. I personally loved the spy elements and although the film doesn’t have that high of a rewatchability factor, it compensates for that by featuring a bunch of unforgettable, extremely memorable scenes that went straight into film history.

One of those scenes is naturally the prolonged racy scene between the two actors which is famous for being the longest kiss scene ever filmed during the classic studio age of Hollywood. The two have great chemistry and are amazing actors so that was for all the better. Another great scene is the ending, very well done and highly memorable. And of course the highlight has to be the key sequence as it is beautifully shot and highly suspenseful. The film isn’t as suspenseful and thrilling as his best works, but it comes close.

Ingrid Bergman is as great as she mostly was and she here gave a compelling, wonderful performance playing such a great and competent female character who obviously lead to this being such a great woman’s picture. But Cary Grant is also terrific and he surprised me with this highly unusual, dramatic role for him. He went against typecasting and it paid off significantly. The two are wonderful together. And of course the delightfully villainous turn from Claude Rains adds another strong performance to the film.

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Notorious Movie Review

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Notorious is beautifully directed by Alfred Hitchcock and this is surely his best directorial effort until this point in time. His direction is so sophisticated and fantastic that it lifts the material significantly. The script is very good, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes it wasn’t as involving and to me the entire first half was a bit boring and less engaging than the rest of the picture. That is why this is one of his better, but not one of his best films.

The great thing about Notorious is that it wonderfully capitalized on the end of war and brought us a Nazi-influenced film that isn’t set in World War II but just afterwards so that led to its unique, different appeal. The score is excellent and I thought that the cinematography was splendid. The film is simply put brilliantly shot and that amazing cinematography only brings to more suspense during those essential scenes such as the stellar sequence which is absolutely amazing to behold from beginning to end.

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Notorious Movie Review

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I also really liked its characters and they were all very memorable and so well acted by their actors and actresses. The movie is slower, but elegant and polished in its approach. I definitely did not love it upon a revisit as much as I loved it during my first watch, but I still think that it is his best 1940s film after ‘Suspicion’ and ‘Rebecca’. Definitely one of his most stylish and sophisticated outings.

Notorious is slower paced in the first half, but thrilling in the second one. It features many simply unforgettable sequences such as the stellar scene, the prolonged kiss and the ending. It is brilliantly directed by Hitchcock, so wonderfully acted by Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant who appears in a different role than usual for him and it is so suspenseful in some scenes and so exquisitely shot that it is one of the director’s best directed, most elegant and most stylish films.

My Rating – 4.5

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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.

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Women make the best psychoanalysts until they fall in love.

After that they make the best patients

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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.

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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.

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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

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Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

Shadow of a Doubt Movie Review

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Shadow of a Doubt Movie Review

Shadow of a Doubt is a 1943 psychological thriller noir film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Teresa Wright and Joseph Cotten. It is such a flawed, yet respectable movie.

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He thought the world was a horrible place.

He couldn’t have been very happy, ever.

He didn’t trust people. Seemed to hate them.

He hated the whole world. You know,

he said people like us had no idea what the world was really like

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Shadow of a Doubt Movie Review

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It is about a teenage girl who learns that her uncle who has just come to visit their family is actually a murderer. This plot is quite standard and there is nothing truly original here. The same goes for some of its execution, mostly the first half. I just knew everything that would happen as the story is predictable and you know from the start that he is the criminal.
But still that aspect of the darkness lurking beneath the light is quite fascinating here. The movie is incredibly dark and that is why it is probably the only noir film from Hitchcock, a sort of noir as it has some of those elements for sure. This idyllic little town seems great at first, but then we witness how seedy some of its parts are and of course we realize that the man who seemed wonderful and kind at first is actually a cold, calculated killer.
I liked his character quite a bit and I honestly liked Charlie too. She was a bit too naive and good-natured, but that perfectly clashed with her uncle’s personality and all of the scenes between the two are terrific. I loved the final scene in the movie as it showcases how despite everything some people just cannot stop loving their relatives and I really liked the ultimately positive look on life that was present in that final line.

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Shadow of a Doubt Movie Review

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As for the other characters, they are solid, but overly abundant. I liked her bookworm sister, quite funny at times. The mother is also memorable and of course Charlie’s love interest is quite likable and the two are wonderful together. As for those two men constantly talking about possible murder methods, I do not know what to think of these two. Their conversations fit the story of the film and they are quite a fun, goofy duo, but they seemed too comedic and I do not know if this movie needed two full comic reliefs.
Shadow of a Doubt is really well acted with Joseph Cotten delivering such a strong performance. I am glad that they haven’t chosen William Powell. I love him to death, but he isn’t suited for this role and Cotten is. As for Teresa Wright, she was always such an underrated actress whom I loved here. She gave a strong performance and was immensely charming and beautiful.

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Shadow of a Doubt Movie Review

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Hitchcock directed this movie really well. It truly is one of his better films from this period, but to me not one of the best. I really do think that it should have been shorter in length and some scenes were overly extended. The film is really well edited despite the first half. It took too much take to get there. And of course that train scene was awfully convenient and rushed. But despite those flaws, it is still such a well shot, directed and made movie which also features excellent dialogue and some memorable scenes with the library sequence being beautifully shot and so atmospheric. The film is thrilling despite its predictable nature.

Shadow of a Doubt is definitely too predictable in plot, it takes its time to get ther owing to a slow start plus the train sequence is rushed and awfully convenient. However, the story is pretty well told, the characters are memorable and really well developed, I really liked its interesting themes, the cinematography is gorgeous and some scenes are very memorable and so well conceived. Teresa Wright and Joseph Cotten are also phenomenal. It is in the a very good film, but I do not share Hitchcock’s sentiments as it isn’t my favorite movie of his, not by a long shot.

My Rating – 4

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The Big Heat (1953)

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The Big Heat Movie Review

The Big Heat is a 1953 noir film directed by Fritz Lang and starring Glenn Ford and Lee Marvin. It is a predictable, yet memorably dark movie.

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The main thing is to have the money.

I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor.

Believe me – rich is better.

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Obviously the big problem here is the script which is overly familiar and I’ve seen some of the scenes here multiple times before and after. The pot itself is fine, though definitely standard, but it is executed well and professionally written. However, the problem is the overall predictable nature to the movie. It is so predictable that almost its every plot point is expected. I saw the ending, I knew who was going to die and who is bad and the best example of this predictability lies in the scene where the protagonist’s wife dies. Yes, it is done and filmed well, but everybody would realize what is going to happen in barely a minute there.

I liked its characters. The Big Heat is famous for turning the femme fatale aspect on its head by making the man be fatal for all the women who meet him. That was definitely original and great. I really liked Bannion as he is a complex, memorable noir protagonist and him coping with his wife’s death was really well done. Debby is terrific and she stole the show here as the most interesting and even fascinating character. As for the villains, they are fine and dangerous, but I thought that the decision to reveal them so early was done for better and for worse.

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This isn’t an A-list cast of actors, but they still did such a good job. Gloria Grahame is very good, Lee Marvin is memorably villainous and Glenn Ford was mostly really good and competent in a somewhat difficult role. Of course Fritz Lang’s direction is terrific and it is so great seeing that the director of ‘Metropolis’ could tackle noir along with science fiction. He truly was a great director.

The Big Heat is fascinating for its mature tone and that is its greatest and most authentic accomplishment. It is certainly the most memorable aspect of the entire film. The scene where Vince tortures Debby and throws hot coffee on her face, thus permanently ruining the entire side of her face is certainly the most violent scene that I have ever witnessed in an older film. It is definitely the most memorable part of the film and although too violent, I actually liked it as it raised the stakes for sure.

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But having her get her revenge and doing the same to him later on was a great choice and a further proof of how strong and feminist the women in classic Hollywood movies were. These were great female characters who were strong and capable, but in a realistic manner. I loved Debby. But I also liked that it was an emotional film, subtly emotional in its protagonist’s problems. The ending is so sweet and I adored that speech about his wife that he gave to Debby, so beautiful. The film is also superbly edited as it is deft and doesn’t waste any scene, but also doesn’t rush the story. I just wished that it wasn’t that predictable as it would have been superb, but it is still very good this way and a proof of how talented Lang really was.

What hurt The Big Heat in the long run is the entire predictability of its plot with almost every plot point being expected, but this noir is still so well made, so well directed by Fritz Lang and so well acted that they managed to lift the material to much greater heights. I loved its emotional approach with a couple of beautiful and moving scenes, but the highlight are its memorable characters and most especially its incredibly dark approach with a couple of unforgettable brutal scenes that are not excessive, but help raise the stakes significantly.

My Rating – 4

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Out of the Past (1947)

Out of the Past Movie Review………………………………………………

Out of the Past Movie Review

Out of the Past is a 1947 noir film directed by Jacques Tourneur and starring Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer and Kirk Douglas. It is said to be one of the greatest noir films of all time and I have to agree with that assessment.

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Nothing in the world is any good unless you can share it.

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Out of the Past Movie Review………………………………………………

Now the plot here is superb. The only problem with the plot and the entire movie is that it is overly convoluted in a typical noir fashion. I understood most of it, but some of the scenes in the second act of the film were too entangled and not properly explained. It also has a lot of twists and turns and a lot of characters, but it manages to be satisfying in most of those areas.

I loved each and every character here. The film features terrific character development and superlative acting leading to fully realized characters with the protagonist in particular being amazing. Kathie I found to be one of the most effective femme fatale noir personalities and she never disappointed. Whit wasn’t as good, but was well incorporated into the storyline.

Kirk Douglas is solid in his role which is his earliest role I’ve seen. Jane Greer also played it really well and she manages to exude that mystery and danger around her wonderfully. But Robert Mitchum shines above both of them and gives one of the definitive performances in a noir film. He is so suave here, so handsome and cool, yet so tragic and sad which is evident in his eyes. He is such a memorable presence and his character is very complex owing to such a great, subtle performance that is one of his greatest.

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Out of the Past Movie Review………………………………………………

Whereas Out of the Past features a weaker second act, the first and third one are stellar. I loved how Kathie and Jeff met and those sequences were very romantic and so well shot, but the ending is even better. In fact, it features one of the most memorable ending scenes of the period. I loved how the story ended and although dark, it was essential for this kind of story and you have a great final moment where Jeff’s girlfriend asks about him and if he was going away with Kathie during his last moments. That was so heartbreaking to watch and the entire film is very poignant.

Out of the Past features great twists and excellent character motivations. It truly is a splendid script. But the dialogue is even better and as brisk and clever as you would expect from this type of film. The same goes for its technical aspects which are all terrific. The cinematography is so good and some of the shots are quite inspired, they really contribute to the overall atmosphere which is expectedly dark, moody and melancholic. The score is also great and some of the imagery is very memorable with those scenes in Mexico being the highlights.

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Out of the Past Movie Review………………………………………………

Everything is so well done here, including the film’s themes. It showcases how a woman can ruin a man and this is probably one of the most extreme examples of that, even for noir standards. But it also shows us loneliness in the main character who is one of the most moving and memorable protagonists of any 40s flick. The film grew on me as I at first didn’t love it that much, but after I have watched it entirely and after thinking about it a bit, I started to appreciate it and it truly is one of the best noir films out there.

Out of the Past is very difficult to understand and too convoluted in the second act, but the first act is so well done and the third act is tragic and simply unforgettable. It features one of the finest protagonists of its time period with Robert Mitchum being so memorable in this great role, but it also has superb cinematography, very good story and a very poignant tone to it leading to one of the finest noir films.

My Rating – 4.5

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Sweet Smell of Success (1957)

Sweet Smell of Success Movie Review…………………………………………………………………….

Sweet Smell of Success Movie Review

Sweet Smell of Success is a 1957 noir film directed by Alexander Mackendrick and starring Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis. It is a solid, yet very disappointing film.

It is about a powerful newspaper columnist who uses his connections to ruin his sister’s relationship with a man he deems unworthy of her. Yes, on paper, the film seems great. And the premise definitely is powerful and important in a timeless manner. However, the execution is far from great leading to a film that has a lot of lost potential.

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I’d hate to take a bite outta you. You’re a cookie full of arsenic

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Sweet Smell of Success Movie Review…………………………………………………………………….

The problem here is that I just never really connected with either of the characters and I never found either of them particularly interesting and they should have been as the script demanded it. The character development is strong, but not immensely strong. But the acting is definitely excellent. Burt Lancaster is so good as is Susan Harrison, but it is Tony Curtis who shines in one of his career best performances.

In terms of storytelling and memorable scenes, only the third act is excellent and a true highlight as it is so dramatic and so emotional. But everything that came before it was frankly a bit dull and never that memorable. The film is well directed, certainly very well acted and it features some pretty good cinematography, but I had trouble recognizing it as a noir film. Yes, it obviously has some of those elements as the film is dark and deals with a serious subject matter and unlikable characters, but rarely does it really look it that way and it is more of a crime thriller than a full noir flick of its day.

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Sweet Smell of Success Movie Review…………………………………………………………………….

And certainly that was a problem to me as Sweet Smell of Success felt modern in every way which I don’t like as I prefer old-fashioned noir of that era. So in the end, even though it is important, dramatic and well made, I didn’t connect with it, I rarely felt anything and I just found it to be one of the most overrated films of its genre.

Sweet Smell of Success has a very important story, good character development, it is well made and so well acted plus the third act is very dramatic and intense, but everything that came before it wasn’t as great, the film isn’t that great of a noir film as it was too modern in my opinion, way too underutilized, a bit cold and ultimately overrated.

My Rating – 3.5

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Key Largo (1948)

Key Largo Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………

Key Largo Movie Review

Key Largo is a 1948 noir crime film directed by John Huston and starring Humphrey Bogart, Edward G. Robinson and Lauren Bacall. It is such a disappointing and uninspired movie.

A bunch of gangsters are holding some people hostage in a hotel while the storm is brewing outside. Yes, that’s it. That’s the plot of this movie. And needless to say, it is uninspired, unoriginal and lacking in identity. Not only did I find it typical, but also frankly boring as it was filled with not that great dialogue and clichéd characters.

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When your head says one thing and your whole life says another,

your head always loses

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Key Largo Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………

Yes, the characters here are so clichéd and so ordinary and none of them sticks out. Rocco is the most typical and annoying of the bunch and Frank is a solid, but forgettable protagonist. Gaye is the standout, but unfortunately Nora Temple got little to do here.

Yeah, Lauren Bacall has such a short role here that it really caught me by surprise as this is their famous movie, but in reality only Bogart is memorable in it. And Bogart is as great as ever as he is always a great actor and delivering a great performance even in his lesser movies. Edward G. Robinson is also expectedly good. However, Claire Trevor as Gaye Dawn absolutely steals the show here which is very interesting as she’s got so little actual scenes. But her character is heartbreaking as this woman who is poorly treated by her husband and that scene in which she sings that is so incredibly powerful and that basically earned her an Oscar, an Oscar that is rightfully deserved as this supporting performance is the most memorable aspect of the whole movie.

Key Largo is admittedly well acted, well directed and mostly well edited. All of its technical aspects are good and some of the imagery here is quite striking owing to a very interesting setting. The hotel and the storm provided some great scenes visually and I really enjoyed that sweet ending. But the dialogue is so annoying that it made me bored. The movie is so dull to watch as it never has anything truly interesting or unique in it.

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Key Largo Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………

Key Largo also bothered me with its classification. Just because the movie is made in the forties doesn’t mean that it is a noir flick as it isn’t. Yes, it is partly noir, but it is above all a gangster flick and that’s one of the reasons why I didn’t like it as much because I dislike that genre. I admired its emotion and its technical aspects, but everything else is so subpar. And the movie unfortunately comes way behind the classic Bertie Higgins eponymous 1981 song that is inspired by this movie and which is one of my favorites. It was such a shame that the movie didn’t live up to it, at least for me it didn’t.

Key Largo is very well made, visually pleasing, sometimes emotional and it has such a great performance from Claire Trevor who deserved her Oscar here, but the movie is so dull, so uninspired and typical and filled with really forgettable characters that it disappointed me a lot.

My Rating – 3

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