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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Lady Bird (2017)

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Lady Bird Movie Review

Lady Bird is a 2017 coming-of-age film directed by Greta Gerwig and starring Saiorse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf. It is a hugely overrated film.

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The only thing exciting about 2002 is that it’s a palindrome

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Lady Bird Movie Review

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The film basically follows the life of a 17-year-old girl and especially focuses on her turbulent relationship with her mother. Now I liked that relationship and it was very well done, but it was obviously the highlight of the film so they should have focused entirely on it as the rest could just never compete.

The rest of Lady Bird is your typical coming-of-age flick – she experiences her first sex, she is hanging out with her best friend, she is attending a theatre production and she is getting ready for university. All of those things are everyday things that most of us get through meaning that the film should be universal but it just wasn’t in my opinion.

It was meant just for teenage girls and those girls like Lady Bird herself which is why someone like me couldn’t possibly love this film. Its limited appeal hurt it in the long run. It was too detailed and it focused on all the uninteresting things such as theatre and complicated relationships with her friends and school life. The film just wasn’t deep enough, it was rushed and it never explored any of its themes properly.

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Lady Bird Movie Review

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The protagonist could be annoying at times, but overall she is a very well developed and utilized character. Kyle is quite boring and Danny’s problems are well explored but somehow his story felt like a detour and it wasn’t really needed here. Of course Marion is excellent and very realistic as this tough, complicated mother. As I said, their relationship steals the show and I wished that the film relied more on the two of them and it would have been much better.

I am not a fan of Saiorse Ronan if I am to be honest. However, I couldn’t deny that here she gave such a strong performance that she entirely deserved her Oscar nomination. Her performance in ‘Brooklyn’ is much inferior to this one. Some of her scenes are just wonderful to witness. And of course Laurie Metcalf also stole the show with her terrific, nuanced performance in an interesting role and she also deserved her nod.

Nonetheless, apart from those two nominations, the rest of its three nominations are ridiculous to me. Of course the Best Picture nomination is ludicrous as the film is just solid and so far from great that I do wonder why it got 99 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes when it is such a standard teen flick. But the screenplay nod is even worse as the film is quite weakly scripted and Greta Gerwig shouldn’t have been nominated as well.

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Lady Bird Movie Review

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I am a big fan of her as an actress, but as a director I’m not. Unfortunately she did not make a smooth transition and this film is quite clearly a work from the debut director. Her direction is very problematic as the film felt rushed and oddly paced and structured and her only strength is that she got two excellent performances from these two ladies, but other than that, the film is very weakly directed and when it was over, I asked for more as what I got was just not enough to deem it very good, let alone great.

Lady Bird features two terrific, deservedly Oscar nominated performances from Saiorse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf and the relationship between the two is so well realized and it steals the show here, but the rest of the film is uninteresting and your regular coming-of-age flick with nothing new to offer. The film is rushed and it thus doesn’t explore its themes to the fullest extent plus Greta Gerwig’s direction is not great. It’s a solid, but incredibly overrated film which is immensely inferior to much better and criminally underrated ‘The Edge of Seventeen’.

My Rating – 3.5

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From Up on Poppy Hill (2011)

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From Up on Poppy Hill Movie Review

From Up on Poppy Hill is a 2011 anime drama film which is Studio Ghibli’s 17th film. It is directed by Goro Miyazaki and it’s definitely one of their weakest outings.

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There’s no future for people who worship the future,

and forget the past

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From Up on Poppy Hill Movie Review

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Now we have the flaw and the boarding house storyline here. That is one story. The other one is familial drama about rediscovery and ancestry. To me both did not work honestly. So let’s first talk about the former. It is overly Japanese and by that I mean that it is a historical drama which does not give you enough context and I myself am not acquainted with the boarding houses and that part of Japanese history and I was thus lost in this story and plus not all too interested too.

As for the familial drama, it is moving and sweet for sure. However, there is no denying that From Up on Poppy Hill is basically one giant Japanese soap opera. Certainly a Ghibli soap opera is better and smarter than other soap operas, but at its core it remains a soap opera and those I dislike tremendously which is why I had a huge problem with this story.

The first twist was typical and the second twist was more interesting, but it brought us back to where we started off. And the whole intertwined family history and discoveries of their ancestry were just way too soapy for my personal taste.

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From Up on Poppy Hill Movie Review

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I also did not care all too much for these characters. I have to be honest – none of them were interesting to me. The adults are all basically just plot devices and rarely anything more than that. As for Umi and Shun, they are endearing and certainly a lovely couple, but that “will they, won’t they” as well as “are they related or not” drama ruined their otherwise sweet relationship. The voice acting is admittedly terrific and pretty resonant, but the characters themselves leave a lot to be desired.

If there is one thing From Up on Poppy Hill does so right is its animation which is to be expected from the caliber of the studio. I loved it. The attention to detail is overwhelming and does it recreates its 60s period so well, I really liked how polished it looked and the highlights include the sea scenes, the houses and mostly the boarding house which looked splendid and filled with a lot of detail.

Another aspect which resonates strongly here is of course the score. It is absolutely lovely and actually quite different than most other Ghibli scores as it feels tonally and stylistically different and unique and thus I appreciated it even more. The theme that repeats throughout the entire runtime is gorgeous and so charming.

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From Up on Poppy Hill Movie Review

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The film is sweet at times and emotionally resonant, but not fulfilling owing to its soapy drama. The dialogue is as good as it can be, but the script is just very weak and troublesome and I cannot imagine how anyone could have this movie in their favorites when it comes to Studio Ghibli. It is in my opinion their worst film of all time which is not to say it is bad as they have never made a bad film, but it is just only okay and nothing more than that which is super disappointing.

From Up on Poppy Hill is beautifully scored and gorgeously animated, but every Studio Ghibli film has amazing animation and score and that is to be expected from their caliber. But other than those great aspects and a couple of moving scenes, this film is easily their worst with uninteresting characters and a story which is simply a giant, implausible soap opera and unfortunately never anything more than that.

My Rating – 3

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It (2017)

It Movie Review

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It Movie Review

It is a 2017 horror film directed by Andy Muschietti and based on the titular novel written by Stephen King. It is a fantastic movie.

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This isn’t real enough for you, Billy?

I’m not real enough for you?

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It Movie Review

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Yes, the hype is absolutely real and then some with this one. I could not believe how great this movie is, honestly it is an instant classic. So I was looking forward to it a lot having in mind that I am a tremendous fan of the source material which is one of my ten favorite books for sure. This film is so faithful for the most part that I adored it.

This film is very creepy and scary. That is one of its problems as it is very much a modern horror movie with a classic story, but with a full-on execution meaning that scares come and go pretty much non-stop which at times meant that it felt forced and just too much. I would have liked to have seen less action to be honest.

However, that action and those scares are just marvelous. They are actually fantastic from beginning to end. I absolutely adored all of them and they really felt serious, dark and honestly scary. This film is real horror unlike countless other horror films and it can genuinely frighten, disturb or at least unsettle you. I was honestly unsettled throughout the whole runtime and I always felt danger while watching it and you just never get a moment to breathe here.

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It Movie Review

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Violence toward children is genuinely the worst crime there is. And yes, the film went there and some scenes were too much in my opinion. I am talking about the girl with her torso ripped in half and of course the scene with Georgie’s death was unfortunate. I really disliked that scene which was done much better in the original 1990 version. They did not need to go there as it is already an iconic scene and the gore was awful and unnecessary. I was disturbed, but that also may be the point here. They felt the need to show how horrible Pennywise truly is so that we as the audience realize the danger the kids are in and I get that, but still that was excessive to me.

But apart from that scene and the sink scene which employed a lot of blood, the film usually stayed away from gore and it mostly focused on real scares including some jump scares, but mostly just the lines from the clown were creepy and especially his movements, transformations and facial expressions. The house scene is one of my favorites as it employed getting separated trope superbly for once and of course the entire final battle was absolutely amazing.

Let’s talk about the characters. It is based on the greatest Stephen King novel and the characters here are his creations and he is the one responsible for their greatness, realness and complexities. However, the film is so well adapted and faithfully that I also give the credit to the writer and the director in adapting all of them so wonderfully to the big screen.

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It Movie Review

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Bill is one of those Harry Potter-like protagonists. He is a regular hero, but his ark is so stupendous as is his willingness to save his younger brother that he still remains one of the film’s best characters. A character that is usually boring, but was here so well developed and terrific.

Pennywise is excellent. The two clowns from this version and the previous one are different but are actually both great. The previous one looked better as this one was too CGI, but this version is definitely creepier mostly because they employed so perfectly his childlike way of talking which was very creepy. Many lines of his dialogue were just so scary. And what I also loved about him is his development. He is portrayed so well here that you see why he needs to feed on children and their fear because otherwise he would starve to death. The portrayal of a hungry, frustrated, endangered animal was quite fascinating.

Ben is interesting as the only fat character here and he brought a lot of heart to this film. Yes, they took his library knowledge from Mike and thus Mike ended up being less developed. But still I really liked Mike as he was very brave and the strongest kid in this group and his confrontation with Henry Bowers was just awesome. As for Ben, I really liked him and how he became the part of this gang. And of course the triangle between him, Bill and Beverly is one of the best triangles I’ve witnessed and it is also great here.

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It Movie Review

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Speaking of her, I loved how they teased her for looking pretty much like Molly Ringwald. That was an awesome reference as it not only hints on the resemblances between these two, but also the inherent resemblance between this film and those 80s teen movies from Hughes both stylistically and character-wise. I loved Beverly. She was one of my favorites here as she stole the show quite a lot from the boys and I loved that she was the bravest one along with Bill. The film is sexual at times, but mostly realistically so and even though she is sexy and the boys look at her all the time which is realistic, she is also badass and they are still for the most part friends and such a phenomenal team.

Of course her relationship with her predatory father was tragic to witness and he truly is the biggest villain in the movie after Pennywise as he was honestly very scary and disturbing but in a more real way and that juxtaposition of real and fantastical scares worked tremendously in favor of the movie. I would go so far to say that the clown may function as a metaphor, as a projection of each of their parents as each one of their parents is either abusive or distant and something is off with every one of them. A very interesting theme that was hinted upon here.

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It Movie Review

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Speaking of abusive parents, I really enjoyed Eddie. His relationship with his abusive mother is very well explored and I loved how well he was established and his coping with this placebo issue was so well executed. He is to me the most likable kid out of them all, I loved him. Richie is definitely annoying with his sexual, immature humor, but again his scene where he decided to help his friend was one of the standouts here, so fantastic! Stanley was also very well developed, complex and his troubled relationship with Bill is so well hinted here. And of course Henry Bowers is phenomenal as this leader bully and how Pennywise used him was terrific too.

It’s final scene with the agreement and the hand holding was absolutely beautiful and it almost brought me to tears. The movie is so incredibly emotional, stupendously so for a horror film. It is frequently moving and consistently heartwarming and at times even funny mostly because of those kids. Yes, these actors are amazing. The characters were superbly written and the script is phenomenal across the board, but they would not work had there not been for these talented kids who knocked this one out of the park. Every one of them gave a phenomenal performance with the highlights being Jaeden Lieberher and Sophia Lillis who were absolutely amazing in very complex and difficult roles.

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It Movie Review

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It features a timeless tale of friendship and how these children’s bravery and sticking to the group and willingness to resolve this horror themselves as the adults are helpless. The story is beautifully crafted and the film is long, but incredibly entertaining from beginning to end. Even though it relies a lot on the action and scares, it finds just enough time for proper characterization and storytelling, not to mention emotional investment, and that is what makes it a future classic and one of King’s finest cinematic adaptations.

Technically speaking, the direction should have been better. Andy Muschietti did a good job, do not get me wrong. But a more skilled director would have made this a masterpiece. But the score is great and the cinematography is excellent, not to mention the attention to detail as it recreated the late eighties superbly with hairstyles and clothing. Stylistically and thematically speaking, this is very much a teen movie, but a horror one at its core and one of the best horror films of all time.

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It Movie Review

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The hype is real. It is a fantastic cinematic achievement! This is a very scary, disturbing and unsettling movie that sometimes was too gory, but the non-stop scares really exhaust you and you are constantly on the edge. The danger and the terror is palpable. But the story is phenomenal and so faithfully, beautifully adapted from its majestic source material and the film is frequently touching and incredibly moving with a lot of unforgettable scenes. The characters are awesome, all so well developed and they work as a team so well not just because the script is great, but mostly because these young actors absolutely killed it in their roles and every one of them was magnificent. They share a great chemistry and dynamic. So the film is not only very scary, but also filled with a great attention to detail and so well filmed, highly emotional and with excellent character development and storytelling. It is an instant classic and one of the best horror films of all time.

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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The Poor Little Rich Girl (1917)

The Poor Little Rich Girl Movie Review

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The Poor Little Rich Girl Movie Review

The Poor Little Rich Girl is a 1917 silent film starring Mary Pickford as an 11 year old who is unhappy in a rich family mansion and wants to have some fun.

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Now you’ve spoiled  the best fight I’ve ever had

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The Poor Little Rich Girl Movie Review

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The plot is pretty simple and it is the biggest weakness of the film because it is way too simplistic. The subject matter is very ordinary. However, it is rarely done in movies so it is pretty intriguing. It is also very entertaining and involving from start to finish. But it is filled with very bad dialogue and some lines are simply laughable. Regarding the dialogue, the film seems as if it was made by a teenager. It is probably the biggest and most inexcusable flaw in the whole picture.

But the film is very unique in some aspects. The fantasy elements in the third act are very interesting visually and are well executed and they conclude the story perfectly. There is also something not a lot of people talk about and those are of course the intertitles. The intertitle design here is phenomenal and incredibly inventive. Especially in the sequence where she yells and her words literally come out of the doorknob as in comics. That is a wonderful touch. It, along with the humor, helped add a modern feel to this very old movie.

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The Poor Little Rich Girl Movie Review

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Speaking of humor, it is quite good and even charming. The sequence where she plays with the children is very endearing and the bathroom sequence is simply hilarious and very well executed. The humor adds a certain childlike and innocent flavor to a film and it fits the overall story perfectly. The whole movie is incredibly fast paced and entertaining so it is quite ahead of its time.

The characters are pretty well developed and the main character is very likable and effervescent. And the acting is fine across the board. It is of course questionable that they chose Mary Pickford to play an 11 year old child whereas she was 25 at the time. I understand how some would fault that choice, but I liked it anyway because Hollywood does that often (Judy Garland as Dorothy comes to mind immediately as a great example) and it is understandable that they choice her because she was such a commodity at the time and she is a wonderful actress. She played the part very well and her acting abilities and charisma are evident.

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The Poor Little Rich Girl Movie Review

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The editing along with the dialogue is the film’s greatest weakness. It is so fast paced, so incredibly rushed and the running time is very short, clocking in at just around an hour, that the whole film and story feel contrived and very rushed. I know that the fast pacing may feel modern and may satisfy today’s audiences, but I however found it as a flaw because it is too fast, the same way ‘The Thief of Bagdad’ is fast at times. It somehow diminished the effect of the whole movie which is a shame.

In the end, The Poor Little Rich Girl is incredibly entertaining and engaging, very funny and sweet, Mary Pickford is charming and her character is very likable, but the story is filled with so many questionable dialogues and bad lines, the pacing is awfully fast and feels rushed and contrived, it is also very short and it is full of these flaws that certainly affect the movie. But it is so charming and above all entertaining that it can be forgiven to some extent and the movie can be enjoyed by today’s audiences to a great extent which is an incredible and admirable achievement for the filmmakers.

My Rating – 3.5

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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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The Breakfast Club (1985)

The Breakfast Club Movie Review………………………………………………………..

The Breakfast Club Movie Review

The Breakfast Club is one of the most famous coming-of-age films directed by John Hughes and released in 1985. It is regarded as a classic in this genre by many and I have to agree with that sentiment.

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We’re all pretty bizarre.

Some of us are just better at hiding it, that’s all

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The Breakfast Club Movie Review………………………………………………………..

The story is simple. It follows five teenagers bonding while in detention and getting past stereotypes. And yes, it seems clichéd and awfully familiar in the beginning, but the movie somehow progresses past that point and becomes its own thing in the progress. The five characters definitely are regularly seen stereotypes, but that is also the point the movie tries to make, there is more to a person than just a label given to him or her by the others. That is a perfect message in a satisfying and entirely endearing conclusion that can bring a smile to your face. It is a wonderful statement that rings true and is very relevant and relatable, which is incredibly rare for the genre.

The pacing and editing are excellent. It starts off perfectly, fast-paced and introducing you to all of the characters in a great way. Then it goes to many comedic elements, then to action sequences in the hall and afterwards to singing parts ending it all in a bonding, hard-hitting drama. The soundtrack is superb and of course Don’t You (Forget About Me) is a very memorable, famous song which is catchy and fits the mood and story of the film wonderfully.

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The Breakfast Club Movie Review………………………………………………………..

The tone is masterfully done, shifting from comedic to serious sequences smoothly with great direction, editing and script. As for the humor, it is charming with some scenes which are truly funny and serve to counteract those dramatic sequences to have come and that would come later. And both dramatic and comedic moments are delivered in evident realism with realistic characters and situations and the dialogue that is grounded and simplistic because that is the way teenagers talk in real life.

Acting is not the greatest, but given the fact that most of the cast were actually teenagers or young unknown actors, it turned out to be rather good and even stupendous at some points. And I have to add that the authentic factor is a great plus in this film because there are so many iconic sequences, especially the conclusion, the beginning and of course the dance and singing sequence which is a wonderful comedic and light moment that is so endearing and eases you a lot for those difficult dialogue sequences to come. The movie is definitely extremely memorable.

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The Breakfast Club Movie Review………………………………………………………..

And there are of course the characters, all of whom superbly developed, realistic and, most importantly, very likable. All are stereotypes, but all of them are more than that which we learn in the third act. Bender is a typical problematic teenager, a criminal and with the tendencies to constantly impress everyone around him. He is a typical character, everyone knew someone like him from school, and he is great in giving speeches and of course as a comic relief. Andy is my least favorite character, an athlete abused by his parents and although he has his moments including the dancing sequence, he is largely forgettable. Brian is the geek and his relationship with parents is truthful and poignant. Claire as the most popular and beautiful girl is also an archetype of course, but her character arc is wonderful near the end and she definitely influenced Angela’s character from ‘American Beauty’. Ally is the outcast, introverted and rarely speaking till the end. And she is definitely the most relatable and fascinating character to me because I was like that in school, extremely shy. She is the most likable and warm character here. The character development overall is amazing here which is necessary for this kind of film and thankfully the filmmakers realized that and made it happen.

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The Breakfast Club Movie Review………………………………………………………..

The final scene with the emotional dialogue is wonderful. And it feels forced in some parts of it, but is nevertheless a mature and insightful approach to a mature subject matter. All of the characters get their moment to shine here and it all gets so warm and relevant owing to excellent script, direction and characterization. It is a wonderful conclusion to an endearing movie.

The Breakfast Club is forced and clichéd at times, but this is an 80s classic that deserves its status and is one of the rare movies from that period that aged remarkably well. It has superb and likable characters, charming humor, excellent screenplay and moving ending. It is overall a stupendous film and one of the finest genre movies of all time.

My Rating – 4.5

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The Edge of Seventeen (2016)

The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review…………………………………………………….

The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review

The Edge of Seventeen is a 2016 teen dramedy directed by Kelly Fremon Craig and starring Hailee Steinfeld and Woody Harrelson. It is one of the year’s better films.

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“I am an old soul.

I like old music and old movies and even old people.

Bottom line is that I have nothing in common with the people

out there and they have nothing in common with me”.

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The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review……………………………………………………..

I really liked this movie despite its obvious shortcomings in terms of storytelling. The script is actually very well written, but some parts of it were too typical and obvious such as everything surrounding the protagonist’s brother for instance. But I liked that it was mostly sophisticated with many great scenes of which the highlights were the calmer scenes with the protagonist as well as the happy ending which is just beautiful in its subtle approach and execution.

The character development is surprisingly great. I loved Mr. Bruner, but I would have liked to have seen more scenes from him. Darian is not my favorite and the mother was also clichéd, but Krista is fine and of course Erwin Kim is such an interesting, different boyfriend than usual. I loved that he was Korean and that his profession is animation.

But naturally the highlight is Nadine who is the main and most fascinating character of the bunch. Now, teenage angst is a familiar subject matter by now. But what differentiates her from the others is her more reserved nature. And watching her have trouble connecting with other people and especially in huge parties made me connect with her as she is so similar to the teenage version of myself. That is why the movie was relatable and all the more powerful to me.

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The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review……………………………………………………..

The acting is top-notch. All of the actors and actresses did a really good job, but Woody Harrelson is as likable as ever and he gave one of the year’s better supporting performances. Hailee Steinfeld is so good! It was so great watching her six years after ‘True Grit’ and realizing that she is still great and even better than before which is a rarity for child actors. Her performance here is so great and believable that it is one of the year’s best female performances for sure. So underrated.

I would have gone with less of that typical friend dating a brother thing, but all of the other subplots worked great with the highlight being the exploration of her character and her problems. The way she overcame them was emotionally rewarding to follow and that is why the ending is moving. The script is deft here and the direction is surprisingly strong for a newcomer.

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The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review..……………………………………………………

The editing is also terrific as it is such a well paced and always very involving flick. The Edge of Seventeen also features excellent dialogue with some of the lines being clever and some being immensely relatable. Some of the things she said seemed to come right out of my mouth when I was that age. I also really liked its humor which was surprisingly pretty dark and edgy for a teen movie. And of course the movie is very emotional at times, but never overly sentimental which I hugely appreciated. Yes, it could have been more original in some spots, but it is so well made and so relatable and dramatic that it is one of the better teen films that I’ve seen, from any age. It is also one of the best that 2016 had to offer as a whole.

The Edge of Seventeen could have been more original in some plot points which felt obvious, but other than that, this film is one of the better teen flicks that I’ve seen. The dialogue is strong, the acting is terrific with Hailee Steinfeld being so great and the ending is wonderfully subtle and emotionally rewarding. The character development is fantastic and the main character was so well realized and some of the things she said were very similar to what I would have said at that age. That is why the film was relatable and all the more powerful to me personally.

My Rating – 4.5

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Pretty in Pink (1986)

Pretty in Pink Movie Review……………………………………………….

Pretty in Pink Movie Review

Pretty in Pink is a 1986 teen romantic comedy directed by Howard Deutch, written by John Hughes and starring Molly Ringwald. It is a really charming movie.

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I just want them to know that they didn’t break me.

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Pretty in Pink Movie Review……………………………………………….

Now, first I have to say that this is nowhere near the quality of ‘The Breakfast Club’ and ‘Sixteen Candles, two movies that I just adore. It is more in line with Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’ as the plot is fairly simple and clichéd, but the film does most with it anyway. Some parts of the film weren’t as great and some were even dated, but most were terrific and my favorite has to be the entire third act which was just beautiful to behold. So romantic, charming and it just brought a smile to my face. And the entire movie felt like a pleasant teen journey.

The characters are pretty good, but some parts felt false. The entire conflict that arose between Andie and Jack in that he was too rich for her was just ridiculous and not believable at all. They did the most they could do with it, but it was still somewhat silly. And I have to say that I didn’t care for him that much. Duckie was at first quite annoying and I didn’t know if he was supposed to be gay or nerd or in love with her and the last option came to fruition eventually. Even though the two were obviously better off as friends, I still wished that she chose him instead. But that ending with him telling her to go after him was both funny and endearing.

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Pretty in Pink Movie Review……………………………………………….

The performances are really good as usual. Harry Dean Stanton is solid and Jon Cryer, though annoying, is quite good in his role. But as usual, Molly Ringwald stole the show as she portrayed such a wonderful character once again and her performance was expectedly great.

Certainly there is something missing in Pretty in Pink and that something is the direction. Howard Deutch is just not John Hughes and although he wrote the script, I wished that he directed the film too as it would have been much better that way.

The film is still competently made, don’t get me wrong. But it is just never as sophisticated as you would come to expect from Hughes’s movies. The script is the major problem as it just felt overly standard and typical. The execution is actually excellent and it thoroughly lifted the material, but I still wished for a couple of more clever lines of dialogue as well as a good conflict.

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Pretty in Pink Movie Review……………………………………………….

But the humor made Pretty in Pink as enjoyable as it is. It is that kind of wonderful and endearing humor that seems realistic and charming instead of forced and I love that. There are some scenes here that were so heartwarming and funny at the same time that I smiled and laughed and was having such a great time. The silly clothes, the prom and of course the soundtrack all brought that very pleasant 80s tone to it and made it a very moving experience. It is far from a great movie or anything like that, but it is competent and lovable enough that I consider it very good and satisfying for the most part.

Pretty in Pink is lacking in comparison to ‘The Breakfast Club’ and ‘Sixteen Candles’ as the script is fairly typical and the conflict rang false, but it is such a lovable movie that I enjoyed it a lot nevertheless. Molly Ringwald is as likable as ever, the third act was so wonderful and the movie is well acted and made while consistently being endearing in its humor and characters.

My Rating – 4

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