Call Me by Your Name (2017)

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Call Me by Your Name Movie Review

Call Me by Your Name is a 2017 coming-of-age romance film directed by Luca Guadagnino and starring Timothee Chalamet and Armie Hammer. It’s a very overrated movie.

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We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things

faster than we should that we go bankrupt by the age of thirty

and have less to offer each time we start with someone new.

But to feel nothing so as not to feel anything – what a waste!

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Call Me by Your Name Movie Review

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So the film is about a 17-year-old boy named Elio who enters a romantic relationship with Oliver who is much older than him. This all happens during the eighties in Northern Italy. Basically the film is your regular, old-fashioned romance but just with added gay characters. And by regular and traditional, I mean that it is very much an Oscar bait movie and an extreme case of it.

The film relies so much on its beautiful scenery for one. Another point is that it is sprawling, overlong and very deliberately paced. And of course you get those typical “artistic” and “weird” scenes such as the last scene as well as the peach scene which is more ridiculous than anything else. And also the titular scene annoyed me. Whenever it tried to be deep, the film failed miserably and was actually more funny than sophisticated.

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Call Me by Your Name Movie Review

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That is not to say that Call Me by Your Name is a bad film. It is perfectly solid but I expected greater things from it given all the hype that it received. It is in no way better than all the famous gay movies that came before it and even in 2017 we got a better gay film in ‘God’s Own Country’ in particular.

What I liked here is its first half which was deliberately paced but not boring, it was filled with good attention to detail and it chronicled their growing feelings and sexual confusion and repression so well. But the second half ruined all of that for me as it became very slow and boring plus it was never as romantic as it promised us.

So the two characters aren’t particularly likable to me personally, but the acting is undeniably phenomenal and the biggest reason to see the film. Armie Hammer is excellent here and very sensual and charismatic in the role. He was superbly cast here. Timothee Chalamet is also very strong in his first major role. He killed it and gave a very nuanced, complex and powerful performance which was deservedly Oscar nominated.

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Call Me by Your Name Movie Review

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Michael Stuhlbarg is also terrific and should have been nominated as well. He was superb and wonderful in that major scene where the father has a talk with his son about romance and life. That scene is honestly fantastic and the only truly deep, sophisticated part of this entire film. It stole the show for me and was perfect in every way.

Call Me by Your Name doesn’t state clearly enough that this is the eighties and that is why they are hiding their feelings. Some of the scenes here are very unrealistic and highly cliched for this type of film. The filmmakers made it seem too universal when in fact it is a very specific film. By that I mean that it is a film about two gay men living in 80s Northern Italy who are rich, artists and scientists and who have had very specific life experiences. Nothing about this film spoke to me as relatable or universal and that’s why I was distanced from it emotionally.

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Call Me by Your Name Movie Review

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There is no denying that the film is gorgeous to look at as the Italian scenery is lovely and some of the scenes are beautiful to behold and very well shot and constructed. The direction from Luca Guadagnino is also solid and the score is definitely very strong. I also really liked the tone of the film and some scenes are undeniably effective in what they are trying to accomplish. But some are silly and pretentious or even preposterous. The film is too slow to be enjoyed more and too much of an Oscar-bait made for gay people and especially women alone with no universality to it whatsoever. And it needed much more dialogue in it. These are smart people so why do we not hear them talk more??

Call Me by Your Name has undeniably gorgeous scenery, a strong first half, one very powerful scene and terrific performances from Timothee Chalamet, Armie Hammer and Michael Stuhlbarg. It’s a solid film. However, it’s far from great as it’s basically an extremely overrated and incredibly obvious Oscar-bait with too many silly, pretentious and even preposterous scenes, an extremely slow pace and a tendency to focus on scenery and sensuality instead of dialogue and true romance. Watching this film felt like watching a three-hour 80s Oscar bait and it is just a very specific film with a very limited appeal.

My Rating – 3.5

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God’s Own Country (2017)

God's Own Country Movie Review

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God’s Own Country Movie Review

God’s Own Country is a 2017 British drama film directed by Francis Lee and starring Josh O’Connor and Alec Secareanu. It is a very strong, effective film.

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I want us to be together

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God's Own Country Movie Review

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It follows a young sheep farmer in Yorkshire who is lonely and thus drinks a lot and has casual meaningless sex. But when a Romanian migrant worker arrives, the two start a relationship and he has to change in order to stay with him. Now apparently this story is familiar and I’ve seen similar films before which is why this one never felt original in most ways.

But it was still effective emotionally speaking because it is so well acted and nuanced in its execution. I definitely craved for more dialogue because I am a dialogue-driven person, but still the calmer, mostly wordless approach worked as the film is meticulous in detail, subtle in its facial expressions and very sophisticated that you do understand everything that is going on between these two without them speaking too much.

Marin and Deidre serve their purpose and are very good, but this is the movie that mostly centers just on its two protagonists. I found both Johnny and Gheorghe to be somewhat typical characters and not all that unique, but their relationship is so well developed, so realistic and even deep that they ended up being very interesting to watch.

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God's Own Country Movie Review

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Alec Secareanu is definitely terrific in his role and very nuanced, but I found Josh O’Connor to be the better of the two and basically the focus of the film is mostly on him. He gave a powerful, very underrated performance that is grounded and complex.

God’s Own Country is a country film and thus it has its gruesome scenes. It’s a very interesting film that manages to be both disgusting and beautiful at the same time. The best example of that is when Gheorghe skins the dead lamb and puts the wool on another live lamb to make it warm. The scene is at first overly disgusting and just horrible to watch but then it quickly becomes sweet and simply beautiful. Very weird and I guess it worked as life can be both wonderful and cruel.

But still those animal birth, skinning etc. scenes were too much for me and they did not need to be that detailed. The same goes for the sex scenes. They are mostly too raw, coarse and unromantic but I guess that was the point – to show us how rednecks have sex. That made the film very realistic. That’s how I would describe it best – a realistic, but sometimes too detailed film.

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God's Own Country Movie Review

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The film definitely showcases what’s it like being a gay person in a small village and it did that in a very subtle manner which I appreciated. The highlights are the romantic moments between the two and the final conversation which is moving. The script is sophisticated and the pacing is very good. The direction from Francis Lee is absolutely superb and for a debut he did a remarkable job and is probably the most promising new director of 2017.

God’s Own Country is too crude and raw at times with some of the animal scenes being too disgusting, but that definitely made the film very realistic. I like more dialogue in a film, but still this calmer, mostly wordless approach worked very well here as the performances from both actors are terrific and their interactions are nuanced and thus you understand everything that is going on without them speaking too much. The film is very well scripted but so superbly directed by Francis Lee in one terrific directorial debut.

My Rating – 4

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120 Beats per Minute (2017)

120 Beats per Minute Movie Review

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120 Beats per Minute Movie Review

120 Beats per Minute is a 2017 French drama film directed by Robin Campillo. It is a flawed, but very strong, emotionally resonant film.

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Either we’re dead or we’re alive

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120 Beats per Minute Movie Review

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The film is set during the early nineties and it follows the HIV activists and their movement while also focusing on a romance between two men and the eventual death from AIDS of one of them.

The problem with this film is that its structure is rather odd, unappealing and it just doesn’t work all that well. Basically you get two movies here as one is about this romance and eventual tragedy so it is a pretty personal story whereas the other is a docudrama which is the opposite of that as it focuses on the whole movement and portrays the politics behind it.

Now I liked that story to a degree, but there is no denying that it was overlong and too much like a documentary. Some of it was fascinating, but some of it was boring. But the romance works perfectly and I enjoyed it quite a lot.

Sean and Nathan are such well developed, likable, realistic characters so well acted by their actors and so well written too. Their relationship is stupendously portrayed as you follow it from the beginning to the very end and some moments between the two are highly moving and the final scene is heartbreaking for sure. I just wish the whole film was as personal as that storyline.

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120 Beats per Minute Movie Review

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120 Beats per Minute is weakly paced, edited and with an excessive runtime. That is not to say that the film was boring. Quite the contrary is the case actually as it was a very engaging story for me and quite interesting to watch. But there was no need for two hours and twenty minutes here and those twenty minutes could have easily been cut in some parts.

I really liked all of the performances here and the film is very well shot, scripted and with very strong dialogue. It also gives us a lot of facts about the AIDS pandemic and everything about this disease. It follows a horrible time in history filled with chaos and despair and it does portray it realistically. It is thus a very important history lesson and also a very emotional film to watch.

120 Beats per Minute is basically two movies combined into one. One is a docudrama which closely follows the politics and the organization of the ACT UP activists and that one is overly factual and although solid, it is not as interesting as the second storyline which is a heartwarming and eventually tragic romance which is so well crafted and emotionally resonant from start to finish. Overall, the film is overlong and messy, but very well made, interesting and important in its subject matter.

My Rating – 4

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The Wind Rises (2013)

The Wind Rises Movie Review

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The Wind Rises Movie Review

The Wind Rises is a 2013 historical romance anime film directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It is one of Studio Ghibli’s worst films.

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Airplanes are beautiful, cursed dreams,

waiting for the sky to swallow them up

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The Wind Rises Movie Review

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Yes, this one is pretty weak for the studio’s standards. When I first watched it, I thought it was solid, but now upon second viewing, I find it only okay and nothing more than that. The film is about a plane designer during the thirties and WWII and the fact that this movie is a failure overall is honestly pretty baffling to me on two fronts.

Firstly, you would think that for a director who is literally obsessed with aircraft and flight that he would at least make one great movie during his career in regard to that subject matter. But as evidenced by this film and also ‘Porco Rosso’, he never managed to make use of his greatest hobby and turn it into an all-time classic which is a shame and a puzzle to me. But maybe that is exactly why this film failed because it has too many of those airplane details that are nowhere near as interesting to us than they are to Miyazaki himself. The mechanics of flight bored me here.

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The Wind Rises Movie Review

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And secondly and more importantly, I cannot understand how he did not utilize on this particularly effective premise. You’ve got a guy whose dream is to make aircraft and he ends up making them for war purposes and the movie could have given us his personal dilemma and the struggle between art and profit/bad usage and the question of whether or not he did the right thing. But the film never gave us any of that and what we got are instead are endless boring conversations, overly detailed plane descriptions and too many dream sequences.

The character development is pretty weak. Jiro is pretty bland for a protagonist and not particularly interesting or likable. But Nahoko I definitely liked quite a bit. She is charming and very likable. The relationship between the two is actually the strongest point of this film and whenever it centered on romance, the movie was charming and pretty good. But as a historical or war drama, it failed on multiple levels. The other characters are all forgettable, but the voice acting is certainly very good.

The Wind Rises is gorgeously animated, there is absolutely no denying that fact. This is actually one of the best animated Ghibli films in quite a while as its animation is frequently breathtaking, very detailed, consistently polished and beautiful to watch plus above all else it is colorful and very pleasing to the eye. The clothes, the sky, the planes, the flights and especially the various imagery on that hill and some interiors are all lovely to behold.

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The Wind Rises Movie Review

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This film is extremely boring. I have to be honest and say that. Not only does it last for two hours, but it is also extremely slow paced and uneventful with not too interesting conversations and a very standard historical storyline that doesn’t delve deeply enough into its themes. That is why the film bored me tremendously and it is actually one of the dullest animated films that I have ever watched.

The Wind Rises has simply breathtaking animation with frequently gorgeous imagery and the romance is quite appealing. However, everything else is either standard or mediocre historical period piece. The film features a very intriguing premise, but it never delves deeper into its themes as the characters are bland and the conversations are mostly uninteresting. It is one of the worst Studio Ghibli films and frankly one of the most overrated and dullest animated films that I have ever seen.

My Rating – 3

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Professor Marston and the Wonder Women (2017)

Professor Marston and the Wonder Women Movie Review

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Professor Marston and the Wonder Women Movie Review

Professor Marston and the Wonder Women is a 2017 biopic directed by Angela Robinson and starring Luke Evans, Rebecca Hall and Bella Heathcote. It surprised me with its quality.

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She is beautiful, guileless, kind, and pure of heart.

You are brilliant, ferocious, hilarious, and a grade A bitch.

Together, you are the perfect woman

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Professor Marston and the Wonder Women Movie Review

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Yes, this film is so good. It is one of the films from 2017 that surprised me the most for sure. It is about the creator of Wonder Woman and the inventor of the lie detector. The film does showcase the invention of the lie detector really well and those scenes were fascinating. Some of the Wonder Woman creation scenes were rushed, but mostly it was very interesting witnessing the creation of an icon.

But where the film’s biggest strength lies is in its main story which is actually not about what Marston created but actually about how he lived. So basically he had ménage à trois with two women. He was married to his wife when another woman came to their lives and they both fell in love with her and she did as well. They eventually started a relationship and a marriage of sorts.

Now the reason why this film is so strong is because it converted me from a non-believer into a believer when it comes to this type of relationship. It shows us how if all three persons love the other two, the relationship could work and it actually did work for these three.

It is unconventional, but still they are very charming and wonderful together and their dynamic was infectious and a lot of fun. Having in mind that this happened all the way back in 1930s makes the three of them trailblazers in a way. The film is provocative even today and I can only imagine how provocative they must have been back then.

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Professor Marston and the Wonder Women Movie Review

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Luke Evans is very good here and he gave a pretty good performance and is very charismatic and sensual in this role. A very memorable presence and Marston himself was truly an iconic feminist and way ahead of his time.

But the women are actually better here as this surely is a picture about women and the celebration of women. Bella Heathcote is so good as shy, endearing and lovely Olive and Rebecca Hall is superb as funny, energetic and somewhat bitchy Elizabeth. I loved the lesbian scenes here and I bought that all three love each other owing to excellent performances from all three of these actors. They all deserve bigger careers after this picture without a doubt.

Professor Marston and the Wonder Women has its flaws. It is overly rushed in its third act as some of the comic-book sequences were rushed for sure. The kids were also underutilized and too unimportant. The entire second half is somewhat abrupt as the film should have definitely had a longer runtime.

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Professor Marston and the Wonder Women Movie Review

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But it is still one of the better films of this particular year and it took me by surprise how good it is. The screenplay is one of its biggest strengths – very subtle, smart and sophisticated while always being fascinating. The dialogue truly is amazing and probably even a bigger highlight here. I also loved how the film looked and its use of the color yellow in particular is terrific. Who would have guessed that the film about Wonder Woman would end up being better than the actual ‘Wonder Woman’ film.

Professor Marston and the Wonder Women is somewhat rushed in its third act, but such a stupendous biopic nonetheless. It was interesting to witness the creation of Wonder Woman and the invention of the lie detector, but inarguably its biggest selling point is its sophisticated and brave handling of ménage à trois. The film is very sexy, dynamic and continually intriguing while being propelled by very strong performances from Luke Evans, Bella Heathcote and especially Rebecca Hall.

My Rating – 4.5

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To Catch a Thief (1955)

To Catch a Thief Movie Review

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To Catch a Thief Movie Review

To Catch a Thief is a 1955 romantic thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Cary Grant and Grace Kelly. It is one of his lesser, but more entertaining and charming flicks.

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So this is where you live?

Oh, Mother will love it up here!

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To Catch a Thief Movie Review

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Its main problem is the story which is a lot of fun but too low-key and lacking in tension and conflict. It lacks in the area of tension mainly because it is about burglars which is a lot less dangerous than murderers and thus the film is devoid of the director’s usual atmospheric and thrilling sequences.

But it does succeed as a romance far more so than a thriller. That is because the relationship between the two characters is very dynamic, fun and memorable. I loved some of their romantic scenes. Kelly and Grant truly shared a great chemistry here that even a long age gap did not hurt the movie too much. They were perfectly cast together and it’s a shame that they did not film more movies.

Grace Kelly is as elegant and as beautiful as she always is and here she is in one of her more glamorous appearances with the various wonderful gowns and dresses. She played this fun and funny girl so well.

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To Catch a Thief Movie Review

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Cary Grant is of course reliably great and believable not only in romance but also in action scenes. He was a great choice for this type of more fun and light-hearted movie. Other characters are unfortunately not as memorable and Danielle is solid and the twist was fine, but obvious and it needed more build up in my opinion.

To Catch a Thief has a lot of great scenes. The highlights include the entire car chase sequence as well as their picnic, the first meet up of the two and the action on the roof was a lot of fun and should have been extended more in my opinion as the film desperately needed more thriller, action elements to go with all the glamour and romance.

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To Catch a Thief Movie Review

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It is well directed by Alfred Hitchcock but this is obviously one of his more casual, laidback films where he didn’t stretch his imagination and skills too much. That is fine and the film is solid, but just not one of his more memorable works. It is well edited and stupendously shot with a great color and a lot of memorable imagery. The score is also really good and the costumes are splendid. It is such a glorious feast for the eyes that its lack of substance can be forgiven.

To Catch a Thief is definitely one of Hitchcock’s lesser works thanks to a lack of substance, more thriller elements and an absence of danger and high stakes, but the film makes up for it due to a highly glamorous feel that it has thanks to beautiful costumes and splendid locations so gorgeously shot in VistaVision. The dynamic and chemistry between Kelly and Grant are superb as well and they add a lot of playful charisma and charm to this very fun, but flawed outing.

My Rating – 3.5

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The Illusionist (2006)

The Illusionist Movie Review

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The Illusionist Movie Review

The Illusionist is a 2006 historical fantasy romance mystery film directed by Neil Burger and starring Edward Norton. It is a pleasantly old-fashioned film.

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Everything you have seen here has been an illusion

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The Illusionist Movie Review

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Yes, this film is a very unique mix of genres. It is above all else a mystery, a historical mystery set in 1889 Vienna but it also has very strong romantic and fantastical elements as his “illusions” are never properly explained and are thus to me fantasy. It achieves that awesome mix really well while also being stupendously traditional in its approach. They just don’t make mysteries like this anymore and this is one of the rare examples that sometimes these can happen so naturally I liked every second of it.

It follows a romance between a magician and his childhood sweetheart but eventually she disappears after the fight she had with her set to be husband Prince Leopold. The mystery of what happened to her and who killed her is actually very intriguing and I wanted so badly to see it resolved that I found the ending itself not that rewarding.

It was actually a really solid twist and a fine conclusion, but it came off as awfully rushed which was to be expected owing to the film’s oddly established structure. Basically you get the mystery around an hour and ten minute mark and the movie’s runtime is about an hour and forty five minutes. So the first half is way too prolonged and the second half is awfully rushed when that mystery should have been emphasized and elongated much more.

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The Illusionist Movie Review

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Edward Norton is quite good in The Illusionist, but not great and another actor maybe would have done a better job. Jessica Biel is solid in her role and Rufus Sewell is not that great as Prince Leopold. I also had a big problem with him acting guilty in the scene with an inspector. It was an obvious method to distract the audience from the actual solution. And in my opinion Paul Giamatti was by far the highlight here in such a great, complex role as an inspector and he gave such a strong, evocative performance in terms of emotion and facial expressions.

My favorite scenes are the ending which was rushed but very interesting and all of the magical scenes were naturally a lot of fun and visually arresting. The scenes with Paul Giamatti, all of them, are magnificent and he is the standout actor and character here. But the very best sequence is the mystery itself which was so gorgeously filmed and in such an intriguing, authentic manner as the viewpoint is that of a neighbor and thus we as the audience look through his eyes at this odd incident. Very clever and offbeat.

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The Illusionist Movie Review

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The Illusionist is beautifully shot and gorgeous in both cinematography and costumes as well as the interiors. It looks and sounds good with a pretty good score, but pacing is just all over the place and in my opinion the direction from Neil Burger is very weak and a bigger, better director would have made a difference for sure. But it is still a pleasing, very engaging film that mostly did work.

The Illusionist has problematic pacing, the direction from Neil Burger is quite weak and the structure of the film is very odd as the mystery begins only at the half-mark and thus the first half is prolonged and the second one is awfully rushed. However, this is still such a pleasing, wonderfully old-fashioned mix of genres with the fantastical elements being intriguing and a mystery being very well thought out and fascinating. The movie also looks and sounds good with pretty good performances among which Paul Giamatti stole the show with such a terrific performance in such a great role.

My Rating – 4

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The Piano (1993)

The Piano Movie Review

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The Piano Movie Review

The Piano is a 1993 New Zealand historical romance film directed by Jane Campion and starring Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel and Anna Paquin. It is an extremely overrated movie.

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Undo your dress. I want to see your arms. Play. Two keys

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The Piano Movie Review

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It is about a mute piano player who tries to regain her piano after it is sold. She is in a loveless arranged marriage, but meets another man and the two start a passionate romance. I honestly found the story not all that interesting to begin with and, needless to say, not particularly authentic. Its mid-19th century period and the setting of New Zealand make the difference, but other than that, it is a regular story.

My main problem with The Piano is that it is not romantic. At least it wasn’t for me. It relies too much on erotic scenes and those scenes weren’t as erotic or as romantic as the movie thinks they are. Everyone talks about how incredibly romantic and sweet the film is, but I never felt anything whatsoever and to me it the atmosphere was too cold to make me feel anything.

There are some good scenes such as the ending and some of the piano scenes were quite wonderful, but most of it was honestly not great. The cutting of the finger plot point was unnecessary and too gruesome and the film was obvious in its storyline and character relationships from beginning to end and highly predictable.

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The Piano Movie Review

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This may be the most controversial thing about my review, but I have to be honest and I have to say that even the acting is overrated. I don’t mean to say that these actors were bad, they were definitely quite good, but to me not as great as the showering praise they received would make you think.

Holly Hunter gave the best performance, but her character is too underdeveloped to lead to an amazing performance. So it wasn’t her fault, but the character’s fault. And that is why I don’t blame the actors as the character development here is quite weak. Harvey Keitel is fine in a different role for him, but not great. Sam Neill is typical and Anna Paquin did a good, but not great job and I just really disliked her character. She betrayed her mother and that was just glossed over which was to me highly problematic.

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The Piano Movie Review

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The Piano is definitely well shot, but mostly too dark and its atmosphere is too depressing. The film is well edited and paced, but it was still boring to me in its first half and I found some of the scenes in the second half rushed. It is well scored, but the direction from Campion is quite weak. It got eight Oscar nominations and three wins. The actresses deserved the nominations, but not the wins. And all of the other non-technical nominations were not deserved at all. It is one of the most overrated films from this period.

The Piano is the definition of an overrated movie which is okay, but far from great and I just don’t get the praise that it gets. Almost everything here is just okay and even the acting is not great and Holly Hunter and Anna Paquin did not deserve their Oscars. All of the performances are fine, but not great as the character development is so weak and most of the characters are unlikable. It is a well shot and scored film, but I just never felt anything as it was too cold for me so it utterly fails as a romance. It is a quasi-romantic, quasi-artistic film.

My Rating – 3

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Lady and the Tramp (1955)

Lady and the Tramp Movie Review

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Lady and the Tramp Movie Review

Lady and the Tramp is a 1955 animated romance film which is the 15th Disney animated feature film. It is a classic film which is flawed, but immensely charming.

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Now, here you are-a, the best-a spaghetti in-a town

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Lady and the Tramp Movie Review

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The story here is, like most dog pictures, animated or not, pretty straightforward and simple, but it serves its purpose and is a joy to watch. There is sometimes a lack of goal and the pacing can be slow as it drags at some parts, but the protagonists more than make up for it. They are incredible, both their relationship and their evident chemistry. Their romantic sequences are the highlight of the film.

There is the spaghetti scene which is incredibly romantic and simply charming with a wonderful animation and propelled by an outstanding song. It is inarguably the most famous scene in the whole film and one of the most iconic romantic moments in film history. Everything about that scene from the visuals to the setting to the characters to the music is perfect. The movie just stops there and leaves you overwhelmed with emotion and charm.

But the scene where Tramp shows her the town and the opposing theme of life with humans versus life in the wild is greatly explored here and is such a great look at those very different types of lifestyles. It is a standout scene with charming animation that works both as a plot device and a character study.

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Lady and the Tramp Movie Review

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Lady’s interaction with the humans is also very well done. From the moment she arrives, the first night where she does not want to sleep alone up until the changes in her life when the baby arrives, all those things are realistic and done in a great manner. And her intention to save the baby from the rat is very endearing and heartwarming as well as her naming of her owners. The film does dogs really well from the movements to the behavior. It shows why they are so beloved and that is why this film is one of the essential dog pictures for dog owners and why upon more viewings and after having dogs myself, I appreciate it much more than before.

The third act is definitely too bombastic and they did not need to add all that tension when the film’s simplicity was so elegant before. And the rat was ridiculously villainous. But there are some great scenes in there with Jock and Trusty and the finale was beyond sweet.

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Lady and the Tramp Movie Review

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The zoo sequence is definitely a detour as it dragged way too much and it has animals that are all dated stereotypes in their representation. The beaver is typical and forgettable and scenes such as this really weigh the movie down in my opinion.

The characters in this movie are mostly well developed, especially the protagonists. Lady is very kind, romantic, caring and of course, as the name suggests, very ladylike and polite which is thanks to her being raised by humans. Tramp is very friendly, cunning and of course mischievous and laid-back, the qualities he earned from living on the streets. Their juxtaposition is typical of romantic comedies but timeless and with the fun twist that they are dogs.

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Lady and the Tramp Movie Review

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Jock and Trusty are the sidekicks here and their care for Lady and their friendship is very endearing. They can be repetitive and too old-fashioned, but still highly likable. As for the human characters, they serve their purpose, but the dogs are the focus here. But Tony as this Italian guy who befriends Tramp and gives him food is wonderful and I liked him a lot. As for Aunt Sarah, she’s your typical old lady who hates dogs.

Si and Am are the Siamese cats and they are probably the worst part in this movie thanks to their annoying voice and song and very racist overtones. They are clearly meant to be some sort of villains here because the movie has no real villains and that is perfectly fine because it does not need one (and the addition of these two as well as the rat at the end was obviously unnecessary), but those two are awful, especially nowadays because every Asian and of course cat owner could (and should) easily get offended by them.

The animation in Lady and the Tramp is still nowhere near the quality of that of ‘Pinocchio’ or ‘Snow White’, but it is still one of Disney’s best owing to some incredibly beautiful and artistic sequences including a wonderful stylistic opening. It is colorful, but not garish, with great outdoors cinematography as well as excellent character design.

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Lady and the Tramp Movie Review

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This is the kind of hand-drawn animation that is honestly timeless in quality, very artistic and highly effervescent in style which accompanies the mood of the film so well. Bella Notte scene and the night sequences are just gorgeous whereas the winter opening seems to be coming from a beautiful postcard. And the CinemaScope widescreen format definitely led to a different looking, authentic film experience.

The score is overly loud and repetitive for my taste, but the songs are solid. What is a Baby/La La Lu is just a plot device and not much of a song although that scene where Lady is intrigued by the newly arrived baby is definitely one of the film’s most wonderful moments.

Peace on Earth is a solid opening for the film and it has such a charming, old-fashioned Christmas spirit to it. The Siamese Cat Song is very annoying. I already criticized this scene a lot so I am not going to repeat myself, but I will just say that the song itself is also highly annoying in tune and with awful voices.

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Lady and the Tramp Movie Review

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He’s a Tramp is definitely catchy as well as a great plot device. It is a very amusing scene which is pretty risqué for a children’s film and honestly quite funny too. The tune itself is really well sung by Peggy Lee and quite memorable and hilariously seductive with a good use of barking as backup vocals.

Bella Notte is arguably a classic Disney song, beautifully sung and very romantic. It is the standout scene in the movie which I talked about before, but the song itself is gorgeously sung with such a strong voice and I loved the classic opera feel to it. It is the most traditional of all Disney songs and certainly one of the best from this period. A beautiful ballad.

So the soundtrack is solid but more along the lines of the movies from the same decade, notably ‘Peter Pan’, and nowhere near as close to something like ‘Snow White’ or later Renaissance films. But the songs do not matter here as there is no strong emphasis on them which is evident in their small quantity.

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Lady and the Tramp Movie Review

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Lady and the Tramp is weakly paced, but well directed with excellent voice acting and with pretty strong dialogue and although the humor is sometimes repetitive and too innocent, it was mostly solid nonetheless with some amusing moments. The film is simplistic, elegant and the charm is off the roof in this one. It is the kind of movie most suited for dog owners and children and its somewhat limited appeal led to it being one of the better, but not the best Disney films.

Lady and the Tramp is a very flawed, but still immensely charming and wonderfully romantic Disney classic. The pacing is problematic, some scenes felt like detours and the third act employed unnecessary tension and conflict. But the animation is one of Disney’s best with many absolutely gorgeous, even artistic sequences and the soundtrack is pretty solid with He’s a Tramp being amusing and Bella Notte being such a beautiful ballad which accompanies one of the most iconic romantic scenes in film history. In the end, this is a film most suited for dog owners as it is a definitive classic for them owing to its very realistic portrayal of dogs’ movements and behavior and a pretty detailed look into their lives.

My Rating – 4

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7th Heaven (1927)

7th Heaven Movie Review

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7th Heaven Movie Review

7th Heaven is a 1927 silent romance film directed by Frank Borzage and starring Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell. It’s a wonderful, classic movie.

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You mustn’t be afraid. I’m never afraid.

Never look down – Always look up.

I always look up. That’s why I’m a very remarkable fellow!

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7th Heaven Movie Review

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I really like this film and it is one of quite a high number of films that prove how extraordinary 1927 film year was. This is one of the better romances that I’ve seen as it is such an enjoyable, immensely romantic tale of the relationship between an abused prostitute and a low-class worker.

The film is set in 1910s Paris and the reason why it is a great, but flawed movie lies almost entirely in its ending. So basically he goes to war (WWI) and that was a typical, not particularly engaging development and afterwards she gets the word that he’s dead, but he eventually comes back and they reunite. Needless to say, this felt unbelievable, overly melodramatic and maudlin to the point of being ridiculous.

But that is the only big flaw in an otherwise stellar picture. The film features such likable, endearing characters and that is why I felt their connection as they are so charming together. This is in no small part due to a great chemistry and interactions between its two stars.

Charles Farrell deserves more respect as nobody talks about him whereas everybody talks about Gaynor. He is very charming and charismatic here owing to his very good performance as well as his good looks. But of course Janet Gaynor steals the show and this was surely an amazing year for her (‘Sunrise’ is also her movie). She is endearing and she played the part so well that I bought the transition in her character. Both of them were great and especially superb when together.

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7th Heaven Movie Review

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7th Heaven is a gorgeous movie technically speaking. It features absolutely amazing, accomplished set design and that staircase climb is one of the most visually striking sequences in all of silent cinema. The way the camera moves there to follow the action is breathtaking. Ernest Palmer’s cinematography here is simply stunning.

The direction from Frank Borzage is terrific and he surely did a magnificent job here. The score in the version I’ve watched was also excellent and I have to say that the intertitles were my cup of tea here. Not too sparse or overused, but just the right amount and with pretty good dialogue. Certainly some lines were too cheesy, but some were beautiful. The film is also very well paced, it flows so well and is engaging from the first to the last moment. It is such a charming, old-fashioned romance that anyone can enjoy it.

My favorite scenes apart from the aforementioned staircase scene are the first meeting of the two as it was very well done, the wedding dress scene is wonderful and of course the standout is the entire scene where she arrives and their scenes in the apartment were all phenomenal. I loved the view, I loved the interiors and its set design really contributed to such a romantic atmosphere within the film.

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7th Heaven Movie Review

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7th Heaven was the most nominated film at the 1st Academy Awards with five nominations. Gaynor won for Best Actress and that was much deserved as she had an awesome year there. I wouldn’t say that directing and writing wins were deserved, but I don’t mind as the script and direction here truly are excellent. And the nods for Picture and Art Direction were also highly deserved.

7th Heaven is one of the most visually dazzling and accomplished silent movies with superb direction from Frank Borzage and absolutely gorgeous set design as those wonderful sets really contribute a lot to the film’s romantic atmosphere. It has many unforgettable scenes with the staircase climb sequence being the visual highlight. Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell are both wonderful here and this is such a beautiful, immensely romantic movie that not even its overly melodramatic, maudlin ending could hurt it.

My Rating – 4.5

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