An American in Paris (1951)

An American in Paris Movie Review………………………………………………………

An American in Paris Movie Review

An American in Paris is a 1951 musical film directed by Vincente Minnelli and starring Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron. It is one of my favorite musicals.

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I’m a concert pianist.

That’s a pretentious way of saying I’m… unemployed at the moment

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An American in Paris Movie Review………………………………………………………

I really love this movie, but even I have to admit that its plot is lacking. Let me elaborate. I usually really dislike love triangles in a film and find them stupid and dull, but here it was surprisingly handled really well and I mean in a comedic and light manner. That was great. But what wasn’t so great is how the film just ended, in an instant. It was abrupt, sort of unrealistic and just disappointing overall.

The first half is all great and I had no complaints there from the storytelling department. But the second half features another very problematic development and that is Jerry going after Milo after breaking up with Lise. That made him unlikable and of course Milo eventually got screwed over. Yes, she approached him aggressively, but he gave her false hope and that made his otherwise very sympathetic character somewhat unlikable. The film was definitely unfair in its treatment of Milo.

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An American in Paris Movie Review………………………………………………………

But even though the plot is so troublesome in a couple of scenes, that is basically the only problem I have with this film as otherwise I find it to be fantastic. Jerry Mulligan is mostly very likable and such a charming man. Lise is quite endearing and the relationship between the two is great and they are lovable together. Adam has his comedic moments and even Henri can be funny at times. And I liked Milo quite a bit and found her to be a very progressive female character for her time.

I found the acting to be pretty good. Oscar Levant is quite good and humorous at times and Nina Foch is very good with Georges Guetary being the weak link here. Leslie Caron is very likable and I honestly think that Gene Kelly should have been nominated for his performance here which is very strong and charismatic. His dancing is out of this world, but he is also very likable and very professional in his acting as well.

An American in Paris features some of the best dance sequences to ever come from Hollywood. Truly sometimes the film reached not only greatness, but pure artistic achievement. It felt like watching musical art in its highest form. Gene Kelly is such a great dancer and some of his movements here were just incredible to behold. But the choreography of these scenes as a whole is gorgeous and the film is just breathtaking technically.

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An American in Paris Movie Review………………………………………………………

As for the songs, they are solid. Some are great, others are forgettable. Concerto in F for Piano and Orchestra totally felt like a detour as a song and overall scene, ‘S Wonderful is light and serves its purpose, but the lyrics are mediocre and all of the other songs are mostly forgettable. Not bad, but not great either.

But Embraceable You is pretty solid and Love Is Here to Stay is such a pleasing, fitting song for the most romantic sequence in the film. But of course my favorite is I Got Rhythm. I just love this song. It has fun lyrics, it is immensely catchy and enjoyable plus it is accompanied by the most childlike and effervescent scene in the movie.

An American in Paris naturally looks gorgeous. The entire last segment featuring the titular number was just breathtaking to behold. It was long, but never boring as those dances and choreography are the most memorable thing from the entire film. And I liked that it was a dream sequence, very fitting to it in style.

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An American in Paris Movie Review………………………………………………………

The film is solidly edited and really well directed by Vincente Minnelli, but the highlights are the cinematography and the costumes. The film’s camera angles and shots are perfect and so inspired and rarely has Hollywood seen better costume design than in this movie. Wow, beautiful to watch. It is one of the rare movies that benefit from being in color and truly the Technicolor here is gorgeous. I loved its artistic side not only in music, but in paintings as well. It is a very sensual and great looking film. It is a proof how strong visually can a film be and that essentially it is a visual medium. The production design is just amazing and some of the scenery here was both exceedingly wonderful and highly memorable. And its humor is just fabulous and it frequently made me laugh out loud. It deserved all of its technical awards and I think I am in the minority here, but I honestly think that it deserved to win Best Picture in a very strong year. It is definitely one of my personal favorites from this genre.

Some plot points certainly felt troublesome and the ending is abrupt, but other than that, An American in Paris is a fantastic film. Gene Kelly is so charismatic and likable in his role and Leslie Caron is quite endearing. The film is very romantic and exceedingly charming in almost every scene with a nice dose of excellent humor, but the highlights are its technical aspects – the costumes are some of the best ever put on film, the choreography is amazing, the dancing is phenomenal to behold, some songs are very catchy and the film is beautifully shot and such a great feast for the eyes. Visually dazzling and even artistic, it is definitely one of my favorite musicals.

My Rating – 4.5

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Contempt (1963)

Contempt Movie Review…………………………………………………………………..

Contempt Movie Review

Contempt is a 1963 French drama film directed by Jean-Luc Godard and starring Brigitte Bardot and Michel Piccoli. It is such a good film that left a big impression on me.

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I’ve noticed the more we doubt,

the more we cling to a false lucidity,

in hope of rationalizing what feelings have made murky

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Contempt Movie Review…………………………………………………………………..

It follows a dissolution of a marriage because of lack of trust. Now the reason why I liked this movie is that it is both a talkative and a visual experience and I love both. There is a conversation between the two that lasts for more than thirty minutes and that is probably the highlight of the entire film, so realistic and natural that scene felt. But there is also a sense of space as it is so well utilized in every scene and objects almost became characters in their own right.

I found the film’s parallel to Odyssey really well done. Contempt has such an overwhelming melancholy tone to it that it does leave a big impact on the viewer, at least it did to me. It is even artistic at times and surely it is one of the rare Godard films that are less pretentious and more engaging and truly artistic. His direction here is very strong.

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Contempt Movie Review…………………………………………………………………..

The film does succeed as a romantic tragedy and I really liked both of the protagonists. It seemed at first that they argued over nothing, but because I myself can be very jealous, I understood her character and why she acted that way. It was a great showcase of how jealousy and lack of trust can ruin an otherwise strong relationship.

Of course the film is phenomenally acted. Everyone did a good job, but Michel Piccoli and Brigitte Bardot carry the entire film on their capable shoulders. He is very good, subtle and his performance is strong and realistic whereas she is so charismatic and memorable in possibly her greatest and most famous role. The film showed her naked butt too much, but despite me not liking nudity in a film, this was mostly well done and more truly sensual than overdone. She is a beautiful woman, but she also could act and her performance here is a proof of that. And she was definitely very endearing in some sequences.

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Contempt Movie Review…………………………………………………………………..

Contempt has its problems. It is overall too slow and seemingly about nothing. And the first fourth or so is very mediocre. I really disliked that beginning as the shooting of the movie proved to be a bad way to start the film, cold and unappealing. But thankfully those kinds of scenes became much better later on.

Contempt is beautifully made. The score is very strong and its theme repeated throughout the whole picture is fantastic and so melancholic, perfectly fitting its tone. The editing is also pretty good. The film is slow, but it is paced well and it is actually the kind of slow movie that isn’t boring, but that just demands patience and it rewards you afterwards with an emotional ending. It is a film that is layered and that becomes much better after you’ve seen it when thinking about it thoroughly.

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Contempt Movie Review…………………………………………………………………..

The cinematography is also superb. Everyone talks about the colors used here that represent the colors of the American and French flags and certainly that was an interesting choice, but I myself admired its scenery the most. The Italian seaside brought a lot of memorable imagery to it, the one that is fitting to its story as it felt again poignant and also timeless, fitting to Homer’s work. The film sounds and looks great and its camera movements are so polished. Overall, I really liked it and it is one of the films that surprised me how good it is as I didn’t expect much going to it.

Contempt is a rare Godard film that is less pretentious and more truly artistic which is why I liked it quite a bit. The camera movements and the imagery are stunning, Brigitte Bardot and Michel Piccoli are charismatic and memorable leads, the film’s parallel is well incorporated and the overall story felt at first simplistic, but is actually poignant and clever. It has a very weak beginning, but it is mostly a wonderfully melancholic, sensual and frequently beautiful film that stays with you long after you’ve seen it.

My Rating – 4.5

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La La Land (2016)

La La Land Movie Review……………………………………………………..

La La Land Movie Review

La La Land is a 2016 musical drama film directed by Damien Chazelle and starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. It is a good, but extremely problematic movie.

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They worship everything and they value nothing.

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La La Land Movie Review……………………………………………………..

It is about a musician and an aspiring actress who meet and fall in love in Los Angeles. The plot is good, if clichéd at some points. It is a very interesting movie, I have to say. Some parts felt incredibly uninspired and basic, but others felt very original. That imaginary ending certainly was authentic and one of the most authentic and overall best scenes of any 2016 film. Rarely have I seen something quite like this sequence.

But the fact that she all of a sudden was discovered and became this hugely popular actress felt laughably unrealistic. And I did laugh at that development honestly. But overall the film is good and well plotted. I especially liked its first half. I actually loved its first half as it was pretty charming and romantic and flowed smoothly. But the second half ruined all of that with a couple of very unfortunate character as well as plot choices.

Let’s talk about the characters. I guess of the supporting characters only Keith was remotely memorable as the movie mostly focuses on the main two characters which was fine. Keith was quite sympathetic and John Legend did a good job in the role. Sebastian is very likable. I didn’t connect with him as I honestly dislike jazz so I did not understand his passion for it, but other than that, he was a very likable, sometimes quite endearing man.

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La La Land Movie Review……………………………………………………..

The choice to have him be so sympathetic ultimately hurt the movie as Mia is anything but. Wow, I did not see this coming. She is such a bad, absolutely horrible human being that I honestly am baffled at the majority of audiences and critics and how they missed that. I guess I am not as puzzled by it because the filmmakers made her as sympathetic as possible, but it was all just a facade. Rarely have I seen a more irredeemable protagonist in a movie.

What she did to Sebastian was horrible and when you think about it thoroughly, she basically ruined his life. She only thought about herself and her needs and she manipulated him and ruined his dream of becoming a star. That isn’t the problem here as there are bad people in this world and they need to be portrayed on the screen. The problem is that they presented her to be more of a victim than him and basically took her side. That was just appalling to witness and made the movie unlikable and sexist. Again, they masqueraded it well, but for anyone smart enough to figure it out on his/her own, the film is sexist and I honestly think that straight men should be offended by it.

The acting is great. Emma Stone is great in a difficult role. And even though I thoroughly disliked her character, I admired her performance which was excellent and at times even truly great. She deserved all of the accolades for it and it should prove to be a career-defining role for her. As for Ryan Gosling, he isn’t as great, but he was still very good and he sold his more emotional scenes as well. He not only was very likable here, but also gave a worthy performance.

La La Land is a musical so let me touch upon its songs. Overall, I found the choreography to be frequently quite weak and the singing is actually rather mediocre at times. The same goes for the dancing. If you want realism, this is great for you. But I want professionalism so it wasn’t as thrilling to me personally. Plus the various homages to the 1950s classic musicals felt more like uninspired and overly nostalgic rip-offs than respectable homages.

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La La Land Movie Review……………………………………………………..

I really liked some songs, but I really disliked a couple of them too. And again my dislike for jazz hurt the chances of me liking the soundtrack more. I do not understand the hype and the accolades for City of Stars and Audition as these two are by far the weakest numbers here. I really disliked them as they are bland, forgettable and utterly dull. So overrated. City of Stars is badly choreographed and Audition is kind of a detour and it slows the movie down significantly.

I liked Start a Fire quite a bit, very catchy. But my favorites are definitely Another Day of Sun and Someone in the Crowd. The first one is quite like a detour as the entire scene was an interesting, but out of place sequence for an opening, but the song itself is catchy, breezy and a lot of fun. But Someone in the Crowd was awesome. I liked it a lot as it was not only catchy, but was an all around charming scene and the tune here is very memorable and very entertaining.

To me La La Land succeeds more as a romance than as a musical as half of the songs are weak. I guess the third act destroyed their romance, but watching it start and blossom was pleasant and the film is surprisingly romantic. It is actually one of the most romantic films of the decade. But because this relationship is so toxic and just plain unhealthy, it hurt it in the long run and it made it seem more of a nightmare and a tragedy instead of a truly feel-good and touching romance.

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La La Land Movie Review……………………………………………………..

The direction from Damien Chazelle isn’t the greatest and I think his ‘Whiplash’ is much better than La La Land. And let’s talk about the other technical aspects, most of which troublesome. The costumes are pretty great and the score is naturally good, but the editing is awful as the film’s second act felt a bit prolonged and honestly quite boring in some spots. But to me the cinematography is the worst aspect of it. It was just so bad and mediocre at times that I was baffled at how Linus Sundgren managed to get nominations for his work here. Some shots were just so bad and so poorly conceived that they hurt their scenes which needed better and more inspired shots. In the end, I realize that this film is a crowd pleaser and it does leave you in a good mood which is why I understand its appeal and it is a good movie overall, but it is so troublesome in so many areas that it is never a masterpiece that it was proclaimed to be.

La La Land is a good, but far from a great movie. I understand its vast appeal, but to me it was so problematic in so many areas that it baffled me why not enough people realize that. The film is very charming and its first half is actually great, Ryan Gosling and especially Emma Stone gave remarkable performances, the ending is certainly something special, some scenes are quite romantic and I really liked some of its songs with Someone in the Crowd being my favorite, but City of Stars and Audition are overrated, dull and bland numbers that I really disliked, the cinematography is frequently quite poor and the film feels unnecessarily nostalgic in its various homages. But the biggest offender is the main character. The film managed to get around the fact that she is such a horrible human being and that is why most people just did not see that and she basically ruined his life when you thoroughly think about it. There are people like that in the world and they need to be portrayed on the big screen, but the film is problematic as it took her side and thus became a sexist movie that should leave men offended. That led to their relationship being more toxic than truly beautiful.

My Rating – 4

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The Big Parade (1925)

The Big Parade Movie Review…………………………………………………………………..

The Big Parade Movie Review

The Big Parade is a 1925 World War I film directed by King Vidor and starring John Gilbert. It is a very good, respectable silent film.

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I don’t understand a word you say…

but I know what you mean.

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The Big Parade Movie Review…………………………………………………………………..

The film is about an idle rich boy who joins the US Army’s Rainbow Division and is sent to France to fight in World War I. He becomes a friend of two working class men, experiences the horrors of trench warfare and falls in love with a French girl despite the two not speaking the same language. The plot is quite strong and I of course always respect a war film that is strongly anti-war in its sensibilities and message.

I loved its romantic as well as comedic elements, but I have to say that the film felt weakly structured and too much different in styles and tones. It starts off comedic then goes romantic than dramatic and then action-oriented with war elements. The action sequences are stellar, but not as involving as these other elements are.

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The Big Parade Movie Review…………………………………………………………………..

The highlight is the romance. The character development could have been stronger, but the acting is quite strong with John Gilbert being superb and Renee Adoree being quite endearing. The two are so charming together, so wonderful that they perfectly lift those scenes to even greater heights as they were already beautifully conceived. The scene in which they sit together and laugh warmed my heart and I loved it so much.

The Big Parade is of course well directed by King Vidor and he is naturally such a great director, but I found the film to be a bit too long and not as engaging as it needed to have been. It wasn’t boring, but just not as involving as I hoped. The editing is fine, but I would have cut off some scenes as they weren’t necessary to the overall picture.

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The Big Parade Movie Review…………………………………………………………………..

I just loved the visuals in the film. It was beautifully shot with terrific camera movements and absolutely gorgeous scenery at times. I loved the imagery of war and of course parades and various large groups of soldiers. Those were terrific. But once again, those more intimate, rustic sequences were the standout ones, so charming, wonderful and heartwarming and so well shot and constructed. The use of intertitles is also very strong and they use just the right amount of dialogue. The score in the version I’ve seen was great, but again the visuals were the highlights, so polished and crisp. It made the experience much more enjoyable. The film is overall flawed, yet very good with a timeless quality to it as it aged remarkably well. It needs to be seen by everyone being one of the better films about the much less popular of the two World Wars.

The Big Parade is overlong, not entirely involving and sometimes not as well constructed, but it is a very good anti-war film with excellent action sequences, beautiful cinematography with some wonderful imagery and excellent direction and acting. But the highlights were those romantic scenes which were heartwarming, funny and immensely charming.

My Rating – 4

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Happy Together (1997)

Happy Together Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

Happy Together Movie Review

Happy Together is a 1997 Chinese romance film directed by Wong Kar-wai and starring Leslie Cheung and Tony Leung. It is a very good, poignant film.

It follows a Hong Kong couple who visit Argentina hoping to renew their ailing relationship. The two share a very tumultuous relationship full of abuse and breakups. Now frankly this plot is nothing remarkable nor is it original. And we’ve seen relationships and characters like this before in a number of movies. But the film is still very good as it makes the most use of its situations and characters and, thanks to Wong Kar-wai’s direction, it becomes an understated, elegant work.

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Turns out that lonely people are all the same.

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Happy Together Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

If I have to be honest, ‘In the Mood for Love’ is to me a much better crafted movie. I know this is the first movie to be released, but the aforementioned movie has a much more memorable ending which is very similar here, but never as epic. The score is the reason why this movie is inferior as it is never as beautiful as it was there.

But that ending is still strong and this is the first time we see the director tackle with his signature style of mixing romance and moving human drama with powerful landscapes, good music and an otherworldly atmosphere. And he did once again mostly a great job here and did elevate this familiar material in the process. In the hands of a different director, this would have been a standard romance. But in the hands of Wong Kar-wai, it becomes something much more than that.

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Happy Together Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

I loved Happy Together’s theme of loneliness. It beautifully showcases romantic yearning, but also a yearning for home country and both are the strongest forms of loneliness, both very well utilized here. As for the characters, both are typical, yet very well developed and you really feel like you met them. The relationship between the two is so strong and I like that it ended on a sad note as a happy ending here would have been out of place.

The subplot with Chang definitely feels like it is tacked on suddenly as that literally happened because the director had to fill in space because Leslie Cheung was away and couldn’t film during that time. But even though it does feel far from obligatory, it is still very beautiful and this character is so tragic and I just loved the scenes with him and Lai.

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Happy Together Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

Happy Together is exceptionally well filmed and well paced as well. It is another slow, but deliberately slow paced movie from the director, but it is still very involving and never boring to watch which I admired. But even though the cinematography is strong and I loved its use of black and white and found it to be polished and esthetically pleasing, I still had trouble with its presentation of Argentina as it was portrayed as too poor and dirty. The acting is one of the strongest aspects here with everyone doing a great job, but of course Tony Leung steals the show and delivers another great performance. He truly is a great actor. And I liked that the film was very erotic, but never too much and it was more sensual in quality. It isn’t a great movie, but it most certainly is very good and quite respectable at times.

Happy Together does have a familiar story and characters, but Wong Kar-wai lifted this material with an expectedly terrific direction, the film is emotional and very sensual, I really liked its subplot, the ending was satisfying and it deals with tumultuous relationships and loneliness in a very realistic and heartfelt manner. 

My Rating – 4

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Ghost (1990)

Ghost Movie Review…………………………………………………………

Ghost Movie Review

Ghost is a 1990 romantic fantasy thriller film directed by Jerry Zucker and starring Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg. It is a pleasant, authentic blockbuster film.

It follows the woman in jeopardy, the ghost of her murdered lover and a reluctant psychic who assists him in saving her. The plot here is incredibly original and never have I seen something like this in a movie before. Basically it is a romance, it has a chick flick gene to it, but it is also a thriller in most of its parts while being a fantasy and even a comedy and horror in the process. Needless to say, the film’s very diverse genre mix makes it very unique.

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I love you. I really love you.

Ditto.

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Ghost Movie Reviews…………………………………………………………

Now of course it doesn’t always work and it is stronger in some genres than in others. For example, not every fantasy element here worked and truly the object moving could have been better utilized with the Subway Ghost becoming ridiculous whereas he was before pleasantly creepy in the only horror scene in the movie. As for its thriller elements, they are solid and are definitely well executed, but that is the element that reveals its age the most.

The romance here is strong, not as strong as it needed to be because they couldn’t quite develop their relationship with the little time they got. But it was still pretty moving and epic. What I didn’t like was its ending, the previous scenes leading to it were pleasant and romantic, but the ending itself I found to be overly emotional in a typical romantic comedy manner.

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Ghost Movie Review…………………………………………………………

Ghost surprisingly enough succeeds as a laugh riot the most as it is just so funny and so inherently amusing in many of its scenes. Whoopi Goldberg and her Oda Mae Brown are the reason why this movie is so good and so incredibly entertaining. She is absolutely fantastic and deservedly got an Oscar for this wonderful role. She is much better than both Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze and much more memorable. The relationship between her and Sam Wheat is excellent and I just loved their scenes and her character who is so funny while still being caring.

Ghost has solid effects for its time, but now some of them are admittedly cheesy. The mythology here is solid. It is never as explained as I wished them to have been, but still for a blockbuster like this, the plot is actually really well crafted. The editing I found to be exceptional as the movie is never rushed and never boring. It is actually the most purely entertaining film I have seen in a long time. Its screenplay isn’t as sophisticated and some of the physical humor and action was over-the-top, but most of it was fun and charming instead of obnoxious.

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Ghost Movie Review…………………………………………………………

The characters are strong. The villain reveal was expected, but he was still a solid villain. And I found the tone to be really good as the film is definitely very lightweight and humorous, but never too much and it knows when to be serious and sad. The score is absolutely fantastic and that theme that was repeated throughout was really beautiful. The dialogue is solid, but in the romance department, it can be too maudlin. And the romance between the two is definitely solid, but never as great as the script demanded it to be. But the film is so good in so many areas that I’ve had a great time watching it.

Ghost is overly emotional in its ending and sometimes a bit silly, but the film is such a terrific, one of a kind, hugely entertaining experience with such an intriguing mix of thriller, fantasy and romance, but its humor is also very strong and that is actually the best part here with Whoopi Goldberg being amazing and she easily steals every scene she’s in. 

My Rating – 4

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The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964)

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg Movie Review……………………………………………………………

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg Movie Review

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is a 1964 musical film directed by Jacques Demy and starring Catherine Deneuve and Nino Castelnuovo. It is such a wonderful, charming experience.

This is the kind of film that perfectly showcases how you can make an original film out of clichéd parts. And truly the story here is very familiar. You have a young, incredibly beautiful couple who are deeply in love, but he goes to war and the two are tragically separated for two years. Then she gets pregnant with his baby and has to choose whether or not to wait for him or go with a different a man.

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Stop crying. Look at me. People only die of love in movies

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The Umbrellas of Cherbourg Movie Review……………………………………………………………

This entire plot is somewhat of a rip-off of the Russian classic ‘The Cranes Are Flying‘. However, the approach to this movie is entirely different. Not only is it effervescent, but so light and energetic. It is a movie that any musical fan would most certainly appreciate. And yes, that is another interesting thing about it. The entire film is sung, literally every line of dialogue is sung as a song and you have a major theme repeated throughout the film.

Another authentic aspect to it and the one thing that I found to be the most admirable in it has to be that ending. The two meet at the gas station where he’s working years later and it’s Christmas and the snowflakes are a gorgeous backdrop to the sequence that unfolds in the most heartbreaking, nostalgic manner. They choose to go live their separate lives with their new families and this ending is just so emotional and even poetic in its nature as the combination of beautiful music and superb scenery make it a winner in my book.

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The Umbrellas of Cherbourg Movie Review……………………………………………………………

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is such a great musical. You don’t have any full-fledged songs here, but you’ve got an unforgettable theme in I Will Wait for You which is just such a gorgeous theme and one of the best of its time. It perfectly accompanied its somewhat epic story through a continuous use of it and it never felt overly used as it was utilized perfectly in every scene.

The music is beautiful, but so are the people in it. Both Catherine Deneuve and Nino Castelnuovo are so charming and they are such a handsome, pretty couple. Both are just so beautiful to watch and rarely have I seen a prettier couple in any movie. But Catherine Deneuve also gave a terrific performance that ranks as one of her best in a very impressive filmography.

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The Umbrellas of Cherbourg Movie Review……………………………………………………………

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg has its problems. The tone in particular is troublesome as the movie just doesn’t know how to treat serious issues. For example, there are two deaths in the film’s third act and one is so abruptly handled and the other is just barely mentioned. But I liked the humor quite a bit as it stemmed from the characters singing even in the most mundane of actions which was sometimes hilarious. And of course that cinematography is gorgeous and I really found its colors to be fascinating. The film is so colorful and vivid with extremely bright colors that it made the movie feel very much alive. You have the color of pink repeated throughout which was quite interesting and the clothing matching the house wallpapers was especially interesting and it made for quite an involving experience.

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The Umbrellas of Cherbourg Movie Review……………………………………………………………….

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is a gorgeous film. The music is wonderful with I Will Wait for You being such a fantastic theme and the colors are vivid and extremely bright and those two factors made this movie such an interesting experience. It is a great example of a film that manages to transcend its familiar storyline and typical plot points with its refreshing approach – this time in the form of a musical and in its heartbreaking, immensely beautiful ending. The tone struggled at times, but the acting pair here is so pretty and the film is such a moving visual as well as auditory experience and it’s ultimately quite unforgettable.

My Rating – 4.5

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Hiroshima mon amour (1959)

Hiroshima mon amour Movie Review………………………………………………………………..

Hiroshima mon amour Movie Review

Hiroshima mon amour is a 1959 French romance film directed by Alain Resnais and starring Emmanuelle Riva and Eiji Okada. It is an expectedly overrated film.

It follows the conversations of a French-Japanese couple about memory and forgetfulness and it showcases their differing opinions of the war. Now, I usually like talkative movies, but this one bored me and annoyed me because I was just never invested in either of these people and I found most of their conversations to be not particularly interesting.

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Sometimes we have to avoid thinking about the problems life presents.

Otherwise we’d suffocate

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Hiroshima mon amour Movie Review………………………………………………………………..

Both of them aren’t that likable. They are solidly developed as they are the only characters in the movie, but they are far from great nonetheless. The acting is pretty good. Eiji Okada is quite good in his role and of course Emmanuelle Riva is excellent in the main role.

Hiroshima mon amour continues my frustration with the French New Wave as I really find most of the movies from this movement to be very overrated. All of these movies are evidently solid, but so far from great that I don’t get the praise that they get.

This movie serves as a romance during World War II. It is a drama, but above all a romance and it somewhat succeeds in that department as it has its sweet moments. However, the characters aren’t memorable which is why I wasn’t invested in their relationship and thus the movie failed in my opinion.

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Hiroshima mon amour Movie Review………………………………………………………………..

The reason why it is still a solid film is because technically it is phenomenal. The cinematography is the standout aspect here, so gorgeous, so refined and giving us some amazing shots. I loved its black-and-white visuals as they brought almost a haunting quality to it. The film is also well edited and solidly directed, but I found Alain Resnais’ direction and approach here to be pretty pretentious. The entire movie is definitely pretentious and I got that feeling constantly and it wasn’t pleasant. In the end, Hiroshima mon amour is a solid film that has its merits, but is so boring and ultimately overrated.

Hiroshima mon amour is another French New Wave movie that is solid, but immensely overrated. It has its merits including the acting and especially the cinematography which is fantastic, but the film is so boring, so pretentious in its direction and approach and featuring characters for whom I did not care about and the conversations that were mostly quite dull.

My Rating – 3.5

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The Cranes Are Flying (1957)

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

The Cranes Are Flying Movie Review

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

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Look! Look! The cranes are flying!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Rating – 5

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In the Mood for Love (2000)

In the Mood for Love Movie Review………………………………………………………………………………

In the Mood for Love Movie Review

In the Mood for Love is a 2000 Chinese romance film directed by Wong Kar-wai and starring Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung. It is such an amazing, truly beautiful piece of cinema.

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He remembers those vanished years.

As though looking through a dusty window pane,

the past is something he could see, but not touch.

And everything he sees is blurred and indistinct

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In the Mood for Love Movie Review………………………………………………………………………………

The plot is simplistic, but excellent in its simplicity. I actually loved how simple it was and that subtler and less convoluted structure worked wonders for me as it led to a creation of such a timeless picture. And it truly is a one of a kind experience and a film for ages. It is so well told and so tender and heartwarming that I don’t know how anyone can dislike it.

I loved the time period and how it was brought to live wonderfully and with a great eye for detail. Everything here looks gorgeous, but I will talk about those technical aspects later. Now, let’s deal with the romance. What is there to say that hasn’t already been said? In the Mood for Love gives us a romance that lacks in energy, excitement and fireworks, but that is what I liked about it as it gave us a slower, more subtle, but still passionate relationship that was breathtaking to follow.

The movie works wonders as a romance, but it also succeeds as a tragedy and melodrama because its third act is so poignant, but again beautiful. Yes, beautiful is a perfect word for almost everything about this movie as it truly is like that. I just loved that final scene at the ruined monastery site. In fact, it is one of the best endings I’ve seen in quite a while. It perfectly utilized the ancient tradition into its storytelling and consequently contributed to that timeless quality I’ve talked about. It is not only visually arresting, but also poetic in nature as it ends with such beautiful quotes written at the end that just moved me on an emotional level.

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In the Mood for Love Movie Review………………………………………………………………………………

In the Mood for Love starts slower and ends on a heartbreaking note. It unfolds the newfound romantic relationship between the two in such a realistic and absolutely perfect way that I can’t imagine it being better executed. And it succeeds in presenting this relationship as sort of a perversion as it is basically cheating and the filmmakers shows us that really well with the two meeting in secret as the society of the time wouldn’t accept that.

Su and Chow are wonderful to watch together, but also apart, even more so than together as we can see the love they share together on their faces when they aren’t with each other. Those little touches were terrific. But it wouldn’t have succeeded had it not been for the great acting. Wow, these two actors are absolutely magnificent. What Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung did here is nothing short of fantastic as they both gave such pleasantly subtle and natural performance with just superb facial expressions and expressive looks. Watching these two was great as they were so realistic and just amazing. Some of the best acting I’ve seen in a while.

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In the Mood for Love Movie Review………………………………………………………………………………

Wong Kar-wai directed this movie with style and great care. Truly his direction here is top-notch and this is one of the best directed films of its time. It is also the finest film of 2000 that I’ve seen, at least so far. The cinematography is excellent as the film is so well filmed with every shot being spectacular to watch. It also has that artistic vibe to it that never felt pretentious and forced, but rather natural and pleasing.

The tone is great as it shifts from romantic to melodramatic deftly. It has evident emotion and it is eventually heartbreaking while at first being heartwarming and charming. Such a romantic movie. The dialogue is great and the editing is so good. It is so tightly edited and every scene lasts for just the right amount of time. It is visually magnificent as well and some filming choices here were so artistic and authentic with the camera movements being the standout element.

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In the Mood for Love Movie Review………………………………………………………………………………

In the Mood for Love has its problems including the characterization which could have been a bit better, a somewhat inferior first act when compared to the other two and the decision to have many cheating partners is a bit frustrating as the more regular and simpler solution would have been much better overall. But despite those flaws, this film is terrific and one of the best of its time.

In the Mood for Love is not only wonderfully romantic and breathtakingly poignant, but also pleasantly subtle and so well filmed with excellent cinematography and some amazing shots. The direction from Wong Kar-wai is just terrific, the performances from Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung are spectacular and the film is imbued with such a great timeless quality to it, excellent simplicity and an evident artistic and poetic nature. In the Mood for Love is beautiful.

My Rating – 4.5

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