Beauty and the Beast (2017)

Beauty and the Beast Movie Review…………………………………………………….

Beauty and the Beast Movie Review

Beauty and the Beast is a 2017 musical romance film directed by Bill Condon and produced by Disney. It stars Emma Watson, Luke Evans and Dan Stevens.

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My dear Belle, you’re so ahead of your time.

This is a small village, and it’s small-minded, as well.

But small also means safe.

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Beauty and the Beast Movie Review…………………………………………………….

This 2017 version is a remake of the 1991 classic Disney animated film which is regularly cited as one of the best animated movies ever made. So naturally this adaptation was a risky venture and some may say even unnecessary. However, the end result is quite good so to me it was worth it. I liked most of the things and I truly hated just a couple of aspects so I ended up liking the film overall despite it being naturally inferior to its predecessor.

The plot isn’t as rehashed as everyone has been saying. Definitely some scenes are just way too repeated, but because those are classic scenes, you basically couldn’t do it any other way. So I am here only going to talk about those different plot points as we all know the overall story from the original film.

The beginning was a nice idea as it showed us how the prince was turned into a beast. However, they didn’t do it in the best way possible and the scene felt too safe and tame as is the whole flick, but more on that later. I have to say that I almost disliked the first act of the movie as it was mostly just repeated from the original with nothing new added to the table.

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Beauty and the Beast Movie Review…………………………………………………….

What I liked is that we got too hear the backstory for the Beast, but the highlight was Belle’s backstory. That entire Paris sequence was beautifully conceived and executed. It was emotional and a perfect way to both progress their relationship and reveal to Belle what happened to her mother. That explanation was definitely good, but more often than not, I actually really disliked the film’s talkative, explanatory approach as they had the need to spoon-feed to their audience literally everything (how the two learned how to dance for example) and thus they lost the simplicity and sophistication of this tale and the original movie.

How Maurice got blamed and proclaimed a madman was changed and actually for the better as it was much more believable. The same goes for Agathe as I really liked her mysterious presence throughout the whole film. And the objects turning into anthropomorphic state was another good idea well executed. Overall, I liked these changes, but they were too minor and I would have liked to have seen more sophisticated additions and themes.

The characters are great. Belle is as great as before and the same goes for Gaston who is even funnier and more memorable here. Sometimes the feminist approach with Belle was too on-the-nose, but she was mostly too likable to dismiss. Beast to me was the only truly weaker character as I thought he was too timid and his design was thoroughly unappealing to me personally. Quite poor CGI there. But I have to say that the various romantic scenes that they added for the two were great and they helped strengthen their relationship even more.

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Beauty and the Beast Movie Review…………………………………………………….

Maurice is different than in the original film, but still quite good and likable. LeFou being gay is an interesting and fitting choice, but it backfired as they didn’t do anything with it. They raised the roof for him being the first gay Disney character and I thought that those elements here were too much played for laughs and ultimately disappointing. But I liked his relationship with Gaston and how he eventually turned to the good side, that was great.

Lumiere and Cogsworth and solid and they provide some quite good laughs, Mrs. Potts is also solid albeit infinitely inferior to the original version and Madame de Garderobe and Maestro Cadenza were good new additions.

The acting in Beauty and the Beast is superb. The casting is top-notch as everyone looks the part, even Dan Stevens who is too physically unappealing for the prince, but he was like that in the original too and he gave a good performance. I love Emma Watson, I always have and I am glad that her career is as strong as ever nowadays. To me she was weaker at first, but as the film progressed, she became much more confident and ended up being great in the role. She blended in this movie beautifully as she was just born to play this role. She became Belle and I adored her.

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Beauty and the Beast Movie Review…………………………………………………….

But Luke Evans is great as well. He managed to bring both the comedic and the serious to the role and he both looked the part and played it superbly. All of the other actors and actresses did a very good job with the exception of Ewan McGregor whose French accent is just horrible.

Now is the perfect time to talk about the songs. This is the first movie in this live-action adaptation era for Disney that is a true musical and I liked that, but to some extent. Musically speaking, it is infinitely inferior to the original and it just makes you appreciate the 1991 film even more. But I still liked that the songs were there as it was pleasant to experience them again and in live-action treatment.

Belle to me felt somehow too long and Emma Watson’s singing, although good for an actress, is ultimately subpar and I missed Paige O’Hara here. Belle Reprise is never as grandiose as it was before. Be Our Guest is actually pretty solid, although definitely too muted. I never liked Gaston so I didn’t like it here either, but The Mob Song is quite good and serves its purpose well. Something There was pretty good and quite comedic which I liked.

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Beauty and the Beast Movie Review…………………………………………………….

All of these songs from the original are actually rather fine, but the titular song is just so bad that it thoroughly took me out of the movie. Not only did they change the song and added new instruments, they also slowed it down significantly and the entire sequence was just so poorly filmed that it was totally ruined in my opinion. I was actually quite mad for what they did here.

As for those new songs, How Does a Moment Last Forever is brief and effective and Days in the Sun features mediocre lyrics, but is a solid and somewhat catchy tune, although ultimately too forgettable. Evermore isn’t great, but it is perfectly solid with good lyrics and excellent singing. It is also accompanied by memorable castle imagery. All three of these new songs are far from great, but still turned out better than I expected.

Beauty and the Beast is a visual feast for the eyes and that is where the film shines completely. It becomes such a magical experience and you witness a fairy tale unfold right in front of you. Even the 3D was pretty solid with some good, popping moments. I loved the costumes despite Belle’s iconic dress which felt cheap, but all of the others were great and they transported you to its time period wonderfully. The same goes for the imagery and the special effects, both terrific. The score is also very good and I thought that the pacing is solid. The film is long, but it never felt like it which is a testament to how entertaining it is.

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Beauty and the Beast Movie Review…………………………………………………….

As I said, the Beast didn’t look terrifying and was even scarier in the animated film and that was so disappointing. They should have gone with a much darker and atmospheric tone. But if there is one thing the film does better than the original, it has to be the humor which is so great. I laughed out loud quite a lot as more than a couple of lines were so clever and hilarious. The comic delivery from the actors was excellent. I actually held a smile on my face throughout the whole running time as I was having such a great time and despite its many shortcomings, I think the critics were too harsh to this movie and it is actually quite good, if far from great.

The 2017 Beauty and the Beast is a magical experience despite it being expectedly inferior to the original. Of the songs, the new ones were pretty solid in my opinion with Evermore being the best; both Belle and Be Our Guest were solid, but the titular song was totally ruined with so many incredibly poor choices being made. The characters are great, the casting is top-notch with Luke Evans delivering a strong performance and I adored Emma Watson here. She became Belle which was awesome to witness. The plot changes were minor, but quite good and even though the film should have been darker, I liked its improved humor with many funny lines and the film is a visual feast for the eyes with great costumes and effects. It is ultimately far from great, but still a satisfactory and pleasant remake.

My Rating – 4

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A Man and a Woman (1966)

A Man and a Woman Movie Review………………………………………………..

A Man and a Woman Movie Review

A Man and a Woman is a 1966 French romance film directed by Claude Lelouch and starring Anouk Aimee and Jean-Louis Trintignant. It is a solid and beautiful, but very problematic film.

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If I had to go through this again, what would I do?

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A Man and a Woman Movie Review………………………………………………..

The film is about a young widow and widower who meet by chance at their children’s boarding school and whose budding relationship is complicated by the memories of their deceased spouses. Now to me it is obvious that this premise is great and pretty interesting as I have never seen a similar plot in a romance flick before. I thought that definitely made the film feel original.

However, the execution is quite troublesome. Mostly the director Claude Lelouch is here to blame as this is an excessive movie with obvious style over substance problems. Everything is polished, beautiful and artistic to the point that it becomes too much and even overly abundant, especially because it hurts the plot as it rarely focuses on it. But mostly the structure with the flashbacks was incredibly off-putting as I personally dislike such an approach in a movie. Yes, it benefited from it a couple of times, but more often than not, it was hurt by it.

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A Man and a Woman Movie Review………………………………………………..

The character development is okay, but having in mind that this is in a way a chamber piece, it definitely needed to have been much stronger. Both of them are quite likable, but not as interesting as they should have been as they never quite carried the movie. But I liked the performances as Jean-Louis Trintignant is quite good and Anouk Aimee deserved her Oscar nomination as she had some great, emotional scenes in the third act.

Of course A Man and A Woman is a beautiful looking movie. The cinematography is magnificent and I loved its experimental approach to it as it regularly shifts from color to sepia to black-and-white. That is rarely done in cinema and here it was executed wonderfully. It made the movie much more special. The score is also superb and naturally its theme song is beautiful and I loved that it was used often.

The film features a couple of solid and definitely interesting discussions, but the dialogue still left me unsatisfied as it wasn’t as sophisticated or as involving to carry the entire movie. But to me those flashbacks are the major reason why it disappointed me a lot as they were excessive and sometimes honestly quite boring with all of those racing scenes being just so dull and overabundant.

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A Man and a Woman Movie Review………………………………………………..

The highlights are certainly the beginning and naturally its entire third act which was just beautiful to behold. I loved the sex scene – so emotional, dramatic and ultimately an important plot point. There you see the best examination of this particular subject matter. But the ending itself is where the movie shines as it uses its superb score and cinematography to sell that beautiful ending where they reunite at the train station and the results are so stellar that they elevate the overall movie to much greater heights. But still it is an overrated film that is solid and never great. It did not deserve its four Oscar nominations and two wins and only the actress nod was deserved in my opinion.

A Man and a Woman is a solid, but deeply troublesome film that is ultimately a quintessential example of style over substance. It has a great and interesting premise that is unfortunately well utilized only in its couple of scenes, the flashback structure is quite off-putting at times and the dialogue and characters are never as great as they needed to have been. The cinematography is magnificent as is the score and the ending is definitely beautiful, but the entire film is inherently flawed and in the end overrated.

My Rating – 3.5

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Mädchen in Uniform (1931)

Mädchen in Uniform Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………

Mädchen in Uniform Movie Review

Mädchen in Uniform is a 1931 German drama film directed by Leontine Sagan. It is truly a one of a kind film that is one of the most memorable and different movies from this period.

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What you call sin, I call the great spirit of love,

which takes a thousand forms

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Mädchen in Uniform Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………

I really respected this movie and it just fascinated me with its many intriguing aspects. So it is a love story between a teacher and a student and it is thus one of the first lesbian films ever. That is of course revolutionary. But the film is also interesting for revolving around female boarding school and having no male characters whatsoever. And to me the most interesting thing is its attack on Nazism. The teachers are obviously overly strict and harsh and I thought that parallel was really well accomplished and certainly ahead of its time.

I liked the characters quite a bit, all memorable and realistic. The relationship at the center of it is strong and there are a couple of sweet, romantic moments to be had here. But it was still a bit creepy to me personally as the age difference is vast and Manuela is basically a child at the ege of fourteen. That made the movie provocative even for this time in my opinion. But having in mind when it was made, I guess 14 wasn’t considered that young for that time period. I liked the headmistress, her final moment was revelatory and so powerful in its subtleness. And of course the girls are all great and I loved how they wanted to help Manuela.

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Mädchen in Uniform Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………

Mädchen in Uniform is a very well acted with all around excellent performances and very well directed feature. One of the things that impressed was its use of sound which is quite professional and advanced for the time when the sound just arrived and most filmmakers struggled with it. The dialogue also impressed me as it was grounded in nature and always more subtle than on the nose which it easily could have been with its provocative plot.

The only thing that bothered me here is its running time which is just way too short. I guess that some scenes are probably lost as it seemed like it watching the version I’ve watched, but still the film felt way too rushed and abrupt. Had it been longer, it would have been much more effective as this way it ended up somewhat hurting the character development in particular.

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Mädchen in Uniform Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………

Mädchen in Uniform has a bunch of memorable lines and scenes in it. To me the first act is somewhat inferior, but the rest two are great and there lie a lot of great scenes. Of course the final sequence is just amazing, so well executed and I just loved its meaningful, emotional conclusion. But the arrival of the princess was also really well done and Manuela’s confession was great as that scene was powerful and so dramatic in style. The whole movie is great and a further proof of how excellent German cinema was in the twenties and early thirties. It is easy to see why it got banned as it is revolutionary even for this age and I respected it all the more for it. Such a fascinating, unique film.

Mädchen in Uniform certainly has too short running time, but it is otherwise such a great movie. It remains provocative and intriguing even today as its subject matter and its many themes are fascinating, different and ultimately so well explored. The film is superbly made across the board, but its dramatic as well as subtle approach is terrific, the strong emotion is evident and there are many unforgettable scenes here leading to one of the best German films of the thirties and definitely one of the most interesting and authentic movies from this period.

My Rating – 4.5

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The Way We Were (1973)

The Way We Were Movie Review……………………………………………………………………………

The Way We Were Movie Review

The Way We Were is a 1973 romance film directed by Sydney Pollack and starring Robert Redford and Barbra Streisand. It is a solid and sometimes moving, but too slow movie.

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Your girl is lovely, Hubbell

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The Way We Were Movie Review……………………………………………………………………………

The story is pretty basic here and only a couple of its scenarios were interesting and different. For example, the entire political aspect to it was an interesting and new thing to add in a romance film. But it is still problematic. To me that aspect was overwhelming, yet constantly underutilized which was frustrating. I thought that sometimes their relationship and their quarrels did not make much sense. But I still liked that she is a politically active woman leading to a pretty strong female character for its time. As for the highlights in terms of the sequences, of course the ending takes the cake for being the most beautiful and emotional scene in the movie, very well done and quite unforgettable.

I liked the characters and their relationship was mostly sweet and engaging to follow. She is much more memorable as a character and quite interesting at times whereas he is a pretty ordinary guy in my opinion. As for the acting, Robert Redford has never been a great actor as I never really liked him in any movie, but here, even though he pales in comparison to his female co-star, he is still pretty good and gave one of his better roles for sure. But of course this is Streisand’s vehicle and she carries this movie entirely on her shoulder, giving a powerful and terrific performance. She certainly deserved her Oscar nomination.

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The Way We Were Movie Review……………………………………………………………………………

The Way We Were is famous for its titular musical number that is played in the beginning and the end of the film. I liked it and it fitted the movie quite well, but it was still a typical and not quite memorable seventies song. But the score as a whole is pretty good and it lifted some emotional scenes really well.

I thought that most of the dialogue here felt unrealistic and not that great with only a couple of lines being resonant and memorable. The characterization is strong, but most of the supporting characters were entirely forgettable and I thought that the movie should have had only these two. The script is also problematic. Sometimes I thought that some plot points rang false and overly melodramatic.

But the biggest problem is its pacing which is awfully slow and the running time definitely needed to be trimmed down a bit. The film is emotionally engaging, but because it was so long and not cinematic enough, it wasn’t as romantic as it should have been with the exception of a couple of great, exceptional moments between them. Sidney Pollack’s direction isn’t the greatest and, as I said, the movie never felt particularly cinematic and powerful. That is why their romance was never as epic as the film tried to portray it. It felt too small and definitely the cinematography needed to have been better. In the end, it is a solid film, but not as great as a sum of its parts.

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The Way We Were Movie Review……………………………………………………………………………

The Way We Were is romantic and sometimes quite moving with a beautiful ending, Barbra Streisand gave a great performance, the characterization is strong and the score is quite good, but the film isn’t cinematic enough, the pacing is awfully sluggish and it is just never as powerful as it thinks it is. It is a solid, but very flawed movie.

My Rating – 3.5

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Your Name (2016)

Your name Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

Your Name Movie Review

Your Name is a 2016 romantic fantasy anime film directed by Makoto Shinkai. It is his weakest film so far without any doubt.

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Your name is…

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Your Name Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

It tells the story of a young man living in Tokyo and a young woman living in the countryside who suddenly start switching bodies on a regular basis. The premise itself was awfully weird. Odd actually as it isn’t particularly appealing. It led to a lot of overly sexual and typical teenage humor which I did not appreciate at all.

But the major problem here is most certainly the romance. We’ve seen this type of romance countless times before as Makoto Shinkai is basically repeating himself here. We’ve seen the theme of star-crossed lovers and beautiful, distant romance before and done much better, especially in his ‘5 Centimeters Per Second’. This is basically a rehashed idea with only the switching of the bodies part being new. But because I found that aspect to be too odd, I ended up not really liking the overall story.

But there are some exceptions to that. Certainly some scenes were way too good that even a non-fan like me has to admit their greatness. Some of the dreams were quite moody and intriguing and the last sequence in particular is very charming and a sweet and romantic way to end the movie.

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Your Name Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

The characters are solid, but not as great as the script demanded them to have been. The supporting characters are all forgettable, but the central duo is likable and their romance is sweet and emotional, albeit not nearly as well developed as I would liked to have seen.

The animation in Your Name is definitely its strongest aspect. The overall animation is so polished and professional, but the scenery is the highlight. Some of the imagery at display here was just gorgeous to behold and I loved the use of both country and city in its settings. That was important for the story and really well utilized visually too. I especially liked its pleasing color palette and a couple of sequences were even jaw-dropping in their beauty.

The soundtrack is pretty solid. The songs aren’t well incorporated whatsoever into the story, but they are catchy and memorable. But they added to this movie feeling like a TV show instead of a film and that feeling I just could never shake and it really bothered me.

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Your Name Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

The voice acting is good and the directing from Makoto Shinkai is pretty good as usual. He does repeat himself here, but at least the film flows well and is well directed as a whole. I found the film’s structure to be naturally important for the film itself, but it was still awfully annoying at times as I strongly dislike the dream structure as a whole. That is why I just could never connect and get into this movie and even some scenes felt boring to me. I definitely can see the appeal here as some scenes are very strong, the romance is pretty memorable and it can be quite sentimental and epic at times, but neither of those aspects were particularly well developed to me personally which is why I found the movie to be just solid and nothing more than that. It is certainly his weakest film so far.

Your Name is by far the weakest film from Makoto Shinkai so far. Yes, the animation is beautiful, its romance is memorable and a couple of sequences are certainly charming and moving, but even though I can definitely see its appeal, I could never get into it personally. The film is way too derivative of his previous works, the dream structure is annoying, the plot as a whole is pretty uninspired and it never felt like a movie to me, but rather like a rushed anime TV show. In the end, it is one seriously overrated anime film that hugely disappointed me.

My Rating – 3.5

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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 very good, but somewhat 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 is problematic a bit 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 a bit. But I still liked that in a way as it led to a commentary on how careers are nowadays more important than personal relationships and that was on point.

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. But some of those homages were sweet and some choreography was great. The film is a visual feast for the eyes which is why it should be seen on the big screen which I did twice myself.

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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. But it does have nice and moving lyrics for sure.

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 a special scene to open the movie and very interesting and 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 sometimes made it seem more of a nightmare and a tragedy instead of a truly feel-good and touching romance. But it still felt tragic and heartbreaking in its ending which is why the film is going to become a romance classic in the future.

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

The direction from Damien Chazelle isn’t the greatest and I think his ‘Whiplash’ is 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 mediocre at times that I was baffled at how Linus Sundgren managed to get nominations for his work here. Some shots were fine, but some were just weak and so poorly conceived that they hurt their scenes which needed better and more inspired shots. But some scenes such as the planetarium one were just beautiful to witness and the film is a visual marvel at times. In the end, I realize that this film is a crowd pleaser and it does leave you in a great mood which is why I understand its appeal and it is a very 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 very good, but far from a truly great movie. 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 and the cinematography is frequently quite mediocre at times. 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 somewhat of a sexist movie that should leave men offended. That led to their relationship being more toxic than truly beautiful. But still because it is visually dazzling and so authentic and beautiful at times, it is a very good movie that should become a classic in the future.

My Rating – 4.5

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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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