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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Tangled (2010)

Tangled Movie Review

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Tangled Movie Review

Tangled is a 2010 animated musical fantasy film directed by Byron Howard. It is Disney’s 50th feature film and probably their finest modern effort.

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Go. Live your dream.

I will.

Your dream stinks. I was talking to her

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Tangled Movie Review

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This is the story about Rapunzel, but it of course differs from the original fairy tale as is usual for Disney. The storytelling here is excellent, the film felt like a fairy tale, much more so than most modern fairy tale films, and most importantly, it was very charming and incredibly entertaining to watch. It is engaging from the first to the last moment and it just flies by how fun and wonderful it is.

Tangled is the kind of Disney film that I like and I want. This is the movie that Disney would not make anymore as they unfortunately moved to more modern flicks which are not as great as this one because they are not as warm or as timeless. Tangled mixes the old with the new even better than what ‘The Princess and the Frog’ did.

I will later talk about the diverse animation, but in terms of pure storytelling, this is classic Disney 101 and something that we did not get after this movie unfortunately. You have a fantasy and you have modern action set pieces and more modern humor, but you also got a wonderful romance at the center of it and most importantly – magic. It is an enchanting, gorgeous film above anything else.

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Tangled Movie Review

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Let’s talk about each of its great characters and yes, they are excellent and the characterization here is truly phenomenal. First off, Rapunzel. Wow, I adore her! Honestly, she is my favorite Disney Princess after ‘The Little Mermaid’s Ariel and I adore Ariel. What a wonderful character and a textbook example of why this movie is better than overrated ‘Frozen’ or ‘Moana’.

Rapunzel is never a feminist character who doesn’t need a man. She gets her man and she gets her romance, but she remains incredibly strong and a positive role model nonetheless. She is bright and energetic, spunky at times and immensely charismatic and charming. I love her and she is the heart and soul of this film. She represents the greatness of the concept of a Disney Princess.

Flynn Rider isn’t as great, I have to say. He reminded me too much of Aladdin. However, he is still very funny, very charismatic and ultimately a very memorable, competent Disney Prince. His change in heart is typical, but done really well. The romance between the two is honestly probably my favorite Disney romance ever, they are quite possibly the best couple out of them all. They dislike each other at first, but eventually become friends and then partners. This all sounds familiar, but the execution is so good that it doesn’t matter. The interactions between them are top-notch and very modern. Again the mix between modern and old-fashioned is put to great use in their relationship.

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Tangled Movie Review

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This film doesn’t have that too many characters which is great as those that we do get are so well developed. The entire Snuggly Duckling pub bunch was a lot of fun and they were very endearing. As for Maximus, he is honestly a bit overrated and your typical over-the-top Disney sidekick that was meant to bring in the vast audiences. He is still good and at times quite hilarious with his humor, but he behaved too much and too obviously like a dog. Pascal was honestly the better of the two as this wonderful chameleon pet of Rapunzel’s. His facial expressions were priceless and I like that both of them are mute.

Now, Mother Gothel. Oh, where do I even start with her. She is one incredibly manipulative and extremely intelligent woman. How she tricked Rapunzel was brilliant and every plan she orchestrated fully worked and she never, ever made a single mistake. She is a big presence in the movie and a force to be reckoned with. The exploration of domestic abuse is actually quite strong here and brave to do for Disney. Without any doubt, she is one of the best Disney villains of all time and one of the most underrated ones.

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Tangled Movie Review

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Tangled features such a unique, different and ultimately refreshing type of animation. Yes, this is computer animation and the characters are your typical CGI characters. However, the film also includes hand-drawn animation into its mix and the results are more than stellar. Probably because it is too difficult to do and thus they did not do this again, but this proved how potent the mix of these two mediums could be as they complimented each other so well with both of their strengths. The backgrounds were particularly effective in recreating the fairy tale, historical feel to it with the influence being the wonderful paintings from Jean-Honore Fragonard. The film is rich in detail, fluid in execution and enchanting and unique in its style.

Tangled is a fantasy romance, but also a musical. It has only five songs, but I have to say that this soundtrack is very underrated and actually better than ‘Frozen’s soundtrack as it doesn’t rely on just one musical number. So let me comment upon each of the numbers.

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Tangled Movie Review

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Healing Incantation is short, but enchanting and it works in the context of the story so well. I loved that for once Disney utilized singing actually as a power which was interesting and smartly convenient. I loved all of the hair’s properties and how it looked. I forgot to mention above, but her hair was so difficult to pull off that they employed a new program for it and thus the film became the biggest budgeted animated film in history which is quite interesting.

When Will My Life Begin? is easily the weakest song in this soundtrack, I have to say. It does work as the “I wonder” princess song, but it is still too forgettable, too much like a modern pop song and although the sequence showcases her hobbies and talents extensively, the song itself is bland.

Mother Knows Best is a Broadway number in style, the one that uses that style the most here. It isn’t catchy and it isn’t great, but it works for Mother Gothel and is a very good vehicle for her manipulations and her deceiving character. It is in the end one of the better Disney villain songs.

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Tangled Movie Review

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I’ve Got a Dream is so entertaining! It is the kind of song that we haven’t seen a long time from the studio, the one in which sidekicks sing and it is meant to be one giant, fun, endearing affair. It showcases the heart and quirks of each of its characters and is one of the most purely enjoyable and lovable scenes in the flick. The lyrics are excellent and the song is funny and catchy.

I See the Light is naturally the standout song here. It is too modern, yes. But it does have very good, fitting lyrics for the characters and story. It is beautifully song, it is a grand romantic duet the likes of which we haven’t seen since ‘Aladdin’ and it is both catchy and sweet. It was accompanied by the movie’s most romantic and visually gorgeous sequence which just transfixed me in the state of awe just like some of the company’s best movies have a tendency to do.

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Tangled Movie Review

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Some of the problems of the movie include an overreliance on humor and sometimes a tendency to replicate ‘Shrek’ a bit too much in its style. Actually the humor is frequently excellent and sometimes laugh out loud funny (“Oh look, you’re here too” and “Your Dream stinks. I was talking to her” instantly come to mind), but the movie was the best when it was less funny and less contemporary. And its beginning and ending offered a somewhat annoying voice over narration.

So I stated that the lanterns sequence is one of the best as is the pub one. My other favorites include the cave scene and that action set piece in the canyon. The film has too much action at times, but this one set piece was absolutely magnificent and so well thought out. And of course I loved the ending which was beautifully made and incredibly touching and timeless in its silent approach. Watching her reunite with her parents was heartfelt.

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Tangled Movie Review

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The voice acting is very good with both Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi being excellent while Donna Murphy was suitably menacing and dark. The pacing and direction are both pretty good as is the dialogue with a lot of funny lines. All in all, it is the best Disney Revival film for me.

With gorgeous and very unique animation that mixes traditional and computer animation with the style of Jean-Honore Fragonard’s paintings, a very good soundtrack with a couple of terrific songs such as I See the Light and I’ve Got a Dream and many memorable, heartfelt moments, Tangled truly is a modern Disney classic. It is touching, it is also very funny and highly romantic and enchanting. But the reason why it works so well lies in its characters: Rapunzel is so wonderful and one of my favorite Disney Princesses, Flynn Rider is a lot of fun and Mother Gothel is so menacing, manipulative and smart that she’s one of Disney’s finest villains. It is ultimately the best Disney movie of the 21st century so far and so much better than either ‘Zootopia’ or ‘Frozen’.

My Rating – 4.5

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Whisper of the Heart (1995)

Whisper of the Heart Movie Review

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Whisper of the Heart Movie Review

Whisper of the Heart is a 1995 romantic drama anime film directed by Yoshifumi Kondo. It is one of the best films that Studio Ghibli has to offer and one of my personal favorites.

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It’s not easy to live your own way. You can’t blame anyone but yourself

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Whisper of the Heart Movie Review

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Let’s first talk about the story. The movie is interesting for being one of the rare Ghibli films with no fantasy elements whatsoever. The Baron fantasy sequences were actually figments of imagination of the main character. They are fantastical, but not real. Still, those were wonderful and they complimented the storyline really well. They are a textbook example of how animation can sometimes suit the genre of drama much better than its live-action counterpart.

This is a wonderful movie which is exceedingly romantic and sweet. I just adored it and watching it was such a beautiful experience for me. The romance between the two is exceptional and it develops at the perfect pace. The entire story with how they meet and how they were reading the same books was just so romantic and wonderful that I ate it up.

But whereas Whisper of the Heart succeeds incredibly as a teen romance, it succeeds even more as a pure drama. And what drama this is! Honestly, this was the deepest and most thought-provoking film I’ve seen in quite a while. I saw this movie around five years ago, but I am more mature now, so I respect it much more upon second viewing.

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Whisper of the Heart Movie Review

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I am currently at the most unpredictable and dangerous moment in my life. I am trying to find a job online, but it is moving at a slow progression and I am very anxious about finishing faculty so this movie was just perfect for me. I watched it at the most perfect time possible and thus I connected with its characters enormously.

It is a very smart, incredibly sophisticated story about two teenagers who chase their dreams but are yet not ready for a job. The line from Shizuko’s father about high school was pitch-perfect in its honesty and truthfulness – you can follow a different path than the default one given to you by your country and the entire world, but that path is going to be incredibly difficult and it is in the end not worth it. It is a sad, terrible truth that the movie made clear and with that I am struggling in my life right now.

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Whisper of the Heart Movie Review

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And another great line is how wanting to do something is not the same as preparing constantly and bettering yourself so that you can manage to get that job and secure your future. Life is difficult and getting a job and growing up is so hard and Whisper of the Heart gets that and is probably the most honest teen movie out of all of them as it teaches us those great messages in a very urgent manner.

Let’s finally talk about these characters, these great characters. Surely the parents are sweet and respectful and Yuko is a great friend to our main heroine, but honestly this movie is mostly just about Shizuko and Seiji and that was great. It’s a phenomenal chamber drama in a way. He is at first a bit too unlikable in a forced way, but he became much more likable and sweet later on and of course their relationship is very strong and heartwarming.

But Shizuko is amazing and I loved her. She is one of Ghibli’s finest heroines as she is so well developed and although a good girl, she isn’t overly kind and she seemed very realistic to me. Her troubles are so well established and her interactions with everyone were top-notch, but it is her love for books that was awesome to witness, her wild imagination was beautiful and her constant struggle with herself and her own dreams led to such a terrific character development and complex dilemmas.

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Whisper of the Heart Movie Review

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Whisper of the Heart is gorgeously animated! The character animation and designs are nothing spectacular, but the landscapes are excellent and for once we got a Ghibli movie set in a city. That was refreshing to see and Tokyo is perfectly animated. I loved that final scene which was gorgeous and of course the antique toy shop is the visual highlight as it is superbly detailed and immensely charming. The movie is not fantastical, but it compensates that with an astonishing attention to detail to everyday objects and the city itself.

The movie is superbly voice cast and the acting was excellent. Yoko Honna was just marvelous in a great role. As I said before, the dialogue is phenomenal and the script itself is absolutely spectacular. It favors drama and emotion over spectacle and fun and that was very refreshing. It is in line with ‘Only Yesterday’ as these two are two realistic, contemporary dramas rarely seen in animation and both are some of my favorites from the studio, both honestly quite underrated.

I do realize that the final scene was a bit too sentimental and it surely was overly emotional, but I still liked it, especially for its gorgeous setting and animation. The score is fantastic and Take Me Home, Country Roads is one my favorite songs of all time and seeing how it was a perfect theme for the movie only further strengthened my love for it.

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Whisper of the Heart Movie Review

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The fantastical sequences should have been shorter and sometimes the movie struggled with its pacing, but it was mostly top-notch in terms of both technical aspects and story/characters/emotion. I loved the shop and the cat, the grandpa was wonderful and my favorite scenes were the ones in the antique shop and the library. A very charming, atmospheric movie this is.

With superb character development and one of the studio’s finest heroines, wonderful animation fueled by a meticulous attention to detail, a perfect use of one of my favorite songs and a top-notch script, Whisper of the Heart truly is one of the best Ghibli movies and one of my personal favorites as I connected with it on so many levels. Thematically rich and incredibly smart and truthful in dialogue and its statements, the movie speaks to me on a personal level. Gorgeous in its romance and deep in its drama, you just can’t get a better animated teen drama than this one.

My Rating – 4.5

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Time After Time (1979)

Time After Time Movie Review

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Time After Time Movie Review

Time After Time is a 1979 science fiction romance film directed by Nicholas Meyer and starring Malcolm McDowell. It is such a good, underrated genre flick.

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We don’t belong here.

On the contrary, Herbert.

I belong here completely and utterly.

I’m home

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Time After Time Movie Review

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I really liked this movie. The plot is so silly, but it works honestly. H. G. Wells, a famous British author, builds a time machine, but unfortunately Jack the Ripper uses it first to enter into the 20th century and now it is up to Wells to stop him. There, he befriends and ultimately beings a romantic relationship with a modern woman.

The thing with this movie is that it is most definitely a romance at its core as much as it is a science fiction film. This is light sci-fi, almost fantasy like, as it is thoroughly unrealistic and simplistic, but I liked it nonetheless as it was so well executed and in such an effervescent, pleasing manner. But the romance sells the movie in my opinion as it is so incredibly strong, stupendously so as it came out of nowhere and really made a splash and difference.

Wells is such a well developed, extremely likable character and this portrayal of this famous author is heroic, yet respectable. Amy Robbins is such a wonderful character. She isn’t extremely strong and independent, but for the seventies, she is very strong and that juxtaposition of these two very different characters is familiar by now, but it works because it is so well developed and their romance truly was touching and wonderful.

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Time After Time Movie Review

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There are basically three characters in this movie, the three that matter anyway and I loved that as it led to greater characterization. Jack the Ripper is truly fantastic as he was very creepy at times and ultimately such a superb, effective villain and a great take on this famous killer.

But no matter how terrific these three characters are, I have to say that I wasn’t a fan of their actors. They are not A-listers and it shows. All three of them did a good job admittedly, but none of them stood out as great and sometimes they brought the characters down with them just a bit.

Rotten Tomatoes states that “they are clearly having fun in their roles”, but in my opinion they were enjoying the roles too much and thus the performances are not as serious. Malcolm McDowell did the best he could, but he’s still far from great. Mary Steenburgen was also not great and David Warner sometimes sold his scenes entirely, but at other times he wasn’t as good.

Time After Time also is weakly directed by Nicholas Meyer, but other than the direction, the film is actually very well shot and superbly realized in effects as that time machine looks great for its time and its very early use of computer effects was quite stupendous for 1979.

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Time After Time Movie Review

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The dialogue is excellent, snappy and funny at times, elegant and polished at other times. The film really does feel that it has two 19th century Englishmen in it owing to excellent attention to detail both in hairstyles and clothing, but also in dialogue and line delivery. And most importantly the score which is amazing how wonderfully traditional it is.

The film is romantic and sweet, but also really thrilling at times. I did not like its climactic ending all that well, but I liked that the two ended up together, I loved all of the scenes between the two and the beginning is very charming as was the whole film which certainly needs to be seen by more people.

Time After Time has weaker acting and direction plus the ending was not my favorite. However, this is still a very good sci-fi romance film with three superbly developed characters, a lovely romance that worked so well and a really well crafted, hugely entertaining story. It is so charming both in its wonderfully old-fashioned score and in dialogue that I’ve had a great time watching it.

My Rating – 4

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The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir Movie Review

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The Ghost and Mrs. Muir Movie Review

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir is a 1947 fantasy romance film directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz and starring Gene Tierney and Rex Harrison. It is such a beautiful movie.

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You must make your own life amongst the living and,

whether you meet fair winds or foul,

find your own way to harbor in the end

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The Ghost and Mrs. Muir Movie Review

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The story is great and it is something that only could have been made during the forties as they were really into ghost stories during this decade. A young widow comes to a haunted house and there she befriends a ghost seaman. Eventually the two develop feelings for each other and that leads to many obvious problems.

The highlight was that beautiful third act. I rarely love the endings from the forties that portray a passage of time, but this one was done really well and it told us surprisingly quite a lot given that we only get a handful of scenes over a great period of time. Great writing right there. And the finale is indescribably beautiful and perfect, I loved it!

But I also loved the film’s exploration of different genres. It is atmospheric at first, sort of like a horror film, then it delves into comedy for a couple of scenes with some really funny banter between the two and it eventually leads to heartbreaking and at last heartwarming drama. But it is above all a fantasy romance and rarely have the two genres coalesced so perfectly into each other as evidenced here.

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The Ghost and Mrs. Muir Movie Review

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Rex Harrison definitely gave a very typical voice here, but still he was very charismatic and highly likable. I really enjoyed him and his performance. George Sanders was typically typecast here and I honestly really disliked his role and his part of the story as it was obvious from the first moment how it would end and it came as sort of a detour to the film, a rushed and unnecessary detour. That is the only thing I disliked in The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.

Mrs. Muir herself is great and such a fine character so wonderfully portrayed by Gene Tierley. This has to be her career finest performance as I have never seen her be this great. She is beautiful and the camera surely does love her, but she is also very competent in the role, very complex and ultimately she gave possibly the year’s best female performance.

The relationship between the two is just wonderful. This is one of the rare romances that honestly gave me the feels. I rooted for the two end up together so strongly which is a rarity for me, but the writing and the dialogue are so good and their relationship is so sweet that I fell in love with both of them almost immediately. It is one of the best love stories from this period without any doubt, it’s both moving and timeless in quality while also being fueled by its fantasy aspect to give it that extra layer of awesomeness. It is a better movie than ‘Ghost’ in my opinion.

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The Ghost and Mrs. Muir Movie Review

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As I said above, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir is so well written and having some excellent lines of dialogue and great quotes, but above all it is superbly directed by one of my favorite directors Joseph L. Mankiewicz and he excelled here and gave this movie such a polished feel. The cinematography is simply stunning and it led to the only Academy Award nomination for the movie (ridiculous).  I loved the house, the effects and the beach scenes were the best. And the score is so incredibly moving and atmospheric in quality that it fuels the more emotional scenes to even greater heights.

Beautifully scored, gorgeously shot, so well directed and fueled by Gene Tierney’s wonderful, powerhouse performance, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir is an underrated, marvelous fantasy romance that I simply adored. It is so well written and it has such a beautiful ending, but its romance is so elegant and lovable that I was fully invested in it. It shifts genres so well and it is such a moving, even poetic film that really needs to be appreciated more.

My Rating – 4.5

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Bucking Broadway (1917)

Bucking Broadway Movie Review

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Bucking Broadway Movie Review

Bucking Broadway is a 1917 western romance film directed by John Ford and starring Harry Carey. It is a solid, but very flawed movie.

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Helen and I, we’d like to get married

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Bucking Broadway Movie Review

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First let’s get the negatives out of the way. A girl leaves the cowboy for a rich city slicker but eventually realizes that she has made a mistake and gets back to him. How many times have we seen this exact scenario played out in the movie? Countless is the answer.

This triangle was boring and the story is beyond slight and melodramatic. I was definitely not a fan of it despite it having some really wonderful romantic scenes that I liked. I wished that it had more of that instead of a cliched melodrama.

Bucking Broadway is apparently restored to full length, but I do not buy that. The film feels ridiculously rushed at times and I do not blame the movie, but I honestly think that some segments are missing. I am most positive of that.

So let’s get to the good stuff. Although the characters are highly typical and regular, the actors are anything but. Harry Carey is very memorable in the main role and quite sympathetic whereas Molly Malone also gave a surprisingly strong, subtle performance. Overacting was not present here which is admirable given that this is 1917 we are talking about.

The film has a wonderful romance and I loved that gift he gives her and the significance of it and the ending was nice, although that fight was getting on my nerves how silly it felt, not to mention overlong.

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Bucking Broadway Movie Review

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Bucking Broadway looks beautiful thanks to stunning cinematography. Really, some of the shots here were just amazing to behold and it truly felt like a glorious early western with beautiful desert landscapes. It was all the more great watching it in HD. I also liked its spare use of intertitles and I have to commend John Ford for his abilities. He was only 23 years old during this year and this was one of his first movies and he just knocked it out of the park completely with such a superb, competent direction and this movie truly signaled the arrival of a great director.

Bucking Broadway’s overly familiar and cliched story, a melodramatic approach and typical characters do not take away from how gorgeous its cinematography is and how terrific the direction is. It has its romantic and lovely moments, but mostly this was just a solid film that still brilliantly signaled the arrival of John Ford who really excelled here.

My Rating – 3.5

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Chocolat (2000)

Chocolat Movie Review

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Chocolat Movie Review

Chocolat is a 2000 romantic drama film directed by Lasse Halstrom and starring Juliette Binoche, Johnny Depp and Judy Dench. It is a charming flick.

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Very good… but not my favorite

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Chocolat Movie Review

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I did enjoy this film quite a bit despite its many deficiencies. It truly is a charming, wonderfully light-hearted and genuinely endearing film and there is no denying that. Its romance is subtle and fine, but I loved that it wasn’t all that romantic which I expected and the classification into romantic comedy is quite wrong with this one.

It is basically a drama with some comedic and romantic elements, but it is mostly a family drama that is very simplistic and although it deals with a very interesting premise, it is also problematic. In portraying the troublesome relationship between religion and food, the movie succeeded a lot. But they should have explored the opposite side of over-indulging in the food pleasures and the movie is quite irresponsible in that regard. But at least it showed the first side so well.

What is the biggest problem is Chocolat’s over-reliance on clichés. I was really bothered by that. It isn’t too romantic which is great, but it is so predictable from beginning to end that I read almost the whole scenes and even the lines before seeing them. The dialogue truly needed some work in this one.

Juliette Binoche is excellent in the main role. The character herself could be too annoying at times, but she played her so well in one of her most memorable roles. Johnny Depp is also good and surprisingly understated. Judy Dench is, well, as awesome as ever, but Alfred Molina’s performance here isn’t one of his best in my opinion.

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Chocolat Movie Review

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The plethora of various, colorful characters provided some solid, though highly rushed and sometimes unbelievable drama. The film works best as a charming period piece and as a food flick as it truly is one of the best movies about food ever. I myself dislike chocolate and even my mouth was watered by this sumptuous, almost erotic chocolate imagery.

The direction is pretty mediocre for me as is the editing, but at least the film sounds good with a very good score and it looks great with excellent cinematography and superb town scenery. Chocolat is in the end a very endearing, but definitely too simplistic film that did not deserve those Oscar nominations apart from the acting nods.

Chocolat is sumptuous and almost erotic in its portrayal of food, but even though it explores one side of this issue, it doesn’t bother with the opposite side which ultimately rendered the movie too simplistic. It features very good performances and is such a charming, endearing flick, but it’s also way too predictable and cliched to be enjoyed more.

My Rating – 3.5

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Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974)

Ali: Fear Eats the Soul Movie Review

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Ali: Fear Eats the Soul Movie Review

Ali: Fear Eats the Soul is a 1974 German film directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder and starring Brigitte Mira and El Hedi ben Salem. It is one of the finest movies from German cinema.

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But when we’re together,

we must be nice to each other.

Otherwise, life’s not worth living

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Ali: Fear Eats the Soul Movie Review

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Yes, this film is absolutely great and one of the best films I’ve seen recently. I adored it. The relationship that develops between an elderly German woman and a much younger Moroccan migrant is so incredibly moving to witness while also being surprisingly grounded in reality. The film’s subject matter of racism and xenophobia along with forbidden love makes it a timeless work which is going to be relevant as long as there is prejudice in this world.

It starts somewhat out of the blue, but I loved how they met and how the relationship established and grew was subtle and so well executed with only the marriage seeming somewhat abrupt and unrealistic. As I said, the film is realistic for showing us that love knows no boundaries but still portraying such a relationship as it would be in real life – very difficult and seemingly insurmountable as the two are much too different.

And certainly he starts cheating on her and surprisingly she accepts it as she’s well aware of her age. That conversation and that dance and the whole final scene is beyond beautiful to witness. I thought it was a perfect happy ending which still wasn’t as happy as to be unrealistic.

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Ali: Fear Eats the Soul Movie Review

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The two are wonderful. He is very likable and she is one of the most wonderful and sympathetic female protagonists ever in a film. Yes, you just have to love Emmi Kurowski. And that stems for the most part from Brigitte Mira’s absolutely amazing performance. She carries the entire film on her shoulders and she delivered one of the best ever female performances in a film. El Hedi ben Salem is good, but much inferior in comparison to her.

Ali: Fear Eats the Soul is a drama, but a beautiful romance above all with quite a lot of romantic scenes. Sometimes I wish the two were closer and the film was more sensual, but I guess the lack of that was to be expected given the age gap. As for its dramatic aspects such as the prejudice, I really liked it but with some reservations.

To me the film excelled at portraying how hateful and prejudiced people can be and how they are good to you only when they use you. The most intelligent part of this script is the portrayal of her neighbors as the most hateful. The film showcases how out of jealousy and unhappy life stems the biggest hatred of them all which is definitely true and well realized here. But the problem is that sometimes the film wanted too much to portray each and every man or woman in her surroundings reacting to her relationship and eventual marriage. That led to a couple of very forced scenes in terms of their execution.

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Ali: Fear Eats the Soul Movie Review

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The movie is so well directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder and no matter how problematic he was in his personal life, he was a great director. He is such a great director that I know I want to check out some of his other films as well. I loved this film and it is one of Germany’s best movies ever.

Ali: Fear Eats the Soul features such a great direction from Fassbinder and such a fantastic performance from Brigitte Mira who here gave one of the finest female performances ever in a film and created one of the most wonderful protagonists in the process. The film is sweet and touching but also very realistic in its third act and it explores hatred and prejudice really well and is timeless in its subject matter. It is one of the best films from the seventies and one of the biggest classics to come from Germany.

My Rating – 4.5

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Splendor in the Grass (1961)

Splendor in the Grass Movie Review……………………………………………………….

Splendor in the Grass Movie Review

Splendor in the Grass is a 1961 romantic drama film directed by Elia Kazan and starring Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty. It is one of the best films of its year.

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Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendor in the grass,

glory in the flower,

we will grieve not; rather find strength in what remains behind

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Splendor in the Grass Movie Review……………………………………………………….

Splendor in the Grass reminded me of ‘Picnic’ which deals with a similar subject matter and both are truly great movies. The film is set in 1928 and follows a girl who suffers from a nervous breakdown after her boyfriend cheated on her and did not want to have sex with her. The movie treats its issue in such a deep, tragic way and you really feel empathy for its characters.

Of course the time and place were simply too conservative, but sexual repression unfortunately was an issue until quite recently. I felt that myself a couple of times in my life which is why this movie was so relatable to me personally. It showcases the problems of society and how it treats sexuality as a taboo when it is a beautiful thing while also showing us how terrible parents can be when it comes to raising their kids.

Deannie is a wonderful protagonist who is tragic, but has a genuine arc and plot progression as she ends up becoming smarter and much more mature which was wonderful to witness. Bud is also a sympathetic character and the relationship between the two was beautiful and seeing them get separated was heartbreaking in that touching ending. His sister is another tragic, bold and different character. Of course her mother is such a realistic character depicted in a grounded in reality manner and his father is also painfully realistic. These two are responsible for ruining their kids’ lives and it was difficult watching them succeed in it.

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Splendor in the Grass Movie Review……………………………………………………….

The film is superbly acted all around, but Natalie Wood is truly a standout actress here. Warren Beatty is also really good, but just not as great as she was here. She entirely deserved her Oscar nomination (the film also deserved to win for Best Original Screenplay and it should have been nominated for Best Picture) as her performance is powerful and especially admirable for her young age.

Splendor in the Grass is extremely sensual owing to the main actors’ evident appeal. Warren is handsome and Natalie is beautiful and charming. Together, they share some pretty steamy scenes for its time and the entire film is very modern as it deals with a subject matter rarely touched upon previously in Hollywood. It is also one of the first truly modern teen movies.

The poem is beautiful, I loved the ending and that bathtub scene is another highlight as it is so tragic. The film definitely could have been a bit shorter as some scenes needed to be trimmed down a bit as they are slower and not as necessary, but the film owing to its big length succeeds at becoming an epic romance for the ages.

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Splendor in the Grass Movie Review……………………………………………………….

It is a beautifully made film. The Technicolor is so good, the film is not well paced, but it is so well directed by Elia Kazan who truly was a superb director. The two actors weren’t as great at first, but they eventually became better and better until giving very admirable performances in the end. The dialogue should have been subtler, but it is still solid and sometimes quite memorable. Its emotion is felt as the film moved me a lot.

Splendor in the Grass is one phenomenal teen romantic drama which deals with its subject of sexual repression in a tragic and very dramatic manner. The performances are very good with Natalie Wood being fantastic, it has a wonderful ending and a couple of tragic scenes while being moving and relatable throughout its runtime. It is a movie that was very modern and sensual owing to its two very good looking actors and thematically bold plot for its time and it should be regarded better nowadays.

My Rating – 4.5

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Marty (1955)

Marty Movie Review

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Marty Movie Review

Marty is a 1955 romance film directed by Delbert Mann and starring Ernest Borgnine and Betsy Blair. It is one of the best films of all time.

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You don’t like her. My mother don’t like her. She’s a dog.

And I’m a fat, ugly man. Well, all I know is I had a good time last night.

I’m gonna have a good time tonight. If we have enough good times together,

I’m gonna get down on my knees. I’m gonna beg that girl to marry me.

If we make a party on New Year’s, I got a date for that party.

You don’t like her? That’s too bad!

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Marty Movie Review

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The film is about a bachelor butcher who gets pressured to get married by his friends and family as he is 34. One day, he meets a girl with similar problems and the two establish a romantic connection. Now where do I even begin with the praise for one of my favorite movies ever? First of all, this is one of the truly rare Hollywood films that deals with “ugly” people and regular folks with regular professions and problems and that makes it truly special. It is even more special for its time as back then these kinds of “small” films just did not exist.

Secondly, the film is just so damn realistic as it perfectly showcases the constant annoying behavior from parents and family when it comes to getting married. America got past this, but most parts of the world still have this problem so the film remains hugely relatable. The third great thing about it in terms of storytelling is its subplot which is beautiful. Usually movies that have these smaller stories suffer, but this one only got richer and deeper as it showcased in such a sweet, tragic way how getting old is terrible for a single/widowed mother.

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Marty Movie Review

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Marty is one of the best protagonists ever in a film. Yes, he is that great. Relatable and realistic, sweet and caring, but not too great a person, he seemed like a real person to me and is the heart and soul of the entire film. Clara is simply a wonderful person and I just loved her awkward, shy personality and her heart was always in the right place.

These two make one of the best romantic pairs ever in a film leading to possibly the best movie romance of all time. Watching them together is a priceless experience. How they met was very much like the movies and their entire date is so romantic and beautiful that it definitely is very cinematic. However, it is also realistic as it showcased in such a sweet manner the beauty of falling in love while also showing the darker side to it in the reactions of family and friends. Him talking constantly and then eventually her starting to talk, him awkwardly paying compliments and her being awkward when it comes to kissing… all of it was beautiful to me. It brought a smile to my face and I was even on the verge of happy tears as that’s how gorgeous this film is.

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Marty Movie Review

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Mary’s mother is such a great character too. Again grounded in reality and quite funny at times. Angie is very annoying, but again a realistic character and I loved how Marty eventually came to realize that his friends were holding him back. A great arc. Catherine is so funny and she made me laugh quite a bit and the scenes between the two old women were very heartwarming.

The acting is fabulous here. Ernest Borgnine gave his career best performance for sure and he absolutely excelled in a role that was seemingly not suited for him. His performance is subtle and the reason why Marty seemed like a real person lies in his incredible performance. Truly one of the greats in movie history. Betsy Blair is also excellent in a very charming role and I just loved her smile. She was so wonderful here. The fact that they cast people that look like their roles instead of the usual great looking actors pretending to play ugly people is admirable. And all of the others did a great job, but these two were the film’s soul.

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Marty Movie Review

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Let’s talk about the humor. Marty is a romance above all and certainly not a romantic comedy as it is too serious in tone for that classification. However, the film is still incredibly funny. Whenever they asked him when he was going to get married, those moments were both funny and frustratingly relatable. I loved the two old women and both were quite humorous and they made me laugh the most. And of course that line about marrying a girl that is half your age cracked me up as it was such a hilarious, stupid line of dialogue and the funniest and most memorable quote here.

So Marty has it all. The film is so well directed by Delbert Mann and even though some find it to be TV quality when it comes to cinematography, I thought it looked fine and some scenes were quite cinematic and it felt like a movie to me. It is a great example of an indie film as it surely was for its time and that is what makes it more realistic, applicable and ultimately better than most 50s films. The pacing is excellent and the film flies by how fun it is. It is incredibly emotional and sometimes I wanted to cry honestly. Its dialogue is top-notch and the character development is, as I said, stupendous.

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Marty Movie Review

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Marty was nominated for eight Oscars and it won four. Betsy Blair should have won for Supporting Actress, but I am so glad that the film won in four major categories. Director and screenplay are much deserved and Ernest Borgnine was thankfully rewarded for one of the best male performances ever. It won Best Picture as the shortest and sweetest film to ever win that award and one of the best. It is one of my top twenty favorite films of all time and a film that I am going to watch for decades to come.

With very relatable and important issues explored, such a great humor with many hilarious lines and one of the best romantic pairs ever in a film, Marty is truly the best romance film of all time. Ernest Borgnine gave one of the best male performances ever and Betsy Blair is also great. They are wonderful together and the film is so sweet, so indescribably beautiful that it almost moved me to tears. The dialogue is top-notch, the characterization is very strong and the film is very realistic and heartwarming leading to one of the best films of all time and one of my personal favorites. A classic for the ages.

My Rating – 5

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