It Comes at Night (2017)

It Comes at Night Movie Review

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It Comes at Night Movie Review

It Comes at Night is a 2017 horror thriller film directed by Trey Edward Shults and starring Joel Edgerton and Christopher Abbott. It is a solid genre flick.

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You can’t trust anyone but family

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It Comes at Night Movie Review

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This is a very typical post-apocalyptic/disease story. We’ve seen this done before and many times actually. So the film definitely doesn’t have anything original in it. But I have to say that it is so well made for the most part that its unoriginality eventually didn’t matter and it ended up being quite engaging and respectable in its own right.

The ending was most certainly too brutal, sometimes illogical and just too much of a spectacle whereas before the film was quite restrained. So I liked it before that third act much more as it was mostly just a well acted and directed drama with some good horror and thriller elements.

Joel Edgerton is once again in a mixed-race marriage as he was in ‘Loving’ and he is once again quite admirable and here he sold the show with his very strong performance in the most demanding role. He truly is an underrated actor. Christopher Abbott is solid, but he doesn’t do anything great here as the role was typical for him. And the women are mostly forgettable. It was an interesting choice to do the movie from their son’s perspective even though sometimes it did not pay off as he wasn’t the most well developed or interesting character here.

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It Comes at Night Movie Review

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It Comes at Night is very well directed by its up and coming director Trey Edward Shults. He definitely did a good job with this movie. The horror elements with the unexplained disease were suitably icky and awful, but it also succeeds as a thriller in other scenes. The setting is overly familiar, but well utilized and the film is mostly very well shot and overall well made that it overcame its many flaws. It’s also moving at times.

So the movie is solid. Not great, but perfectly solid in the line of ‘The Witch’. It is famous for splitting the critics and the audiences, but I side with the critics more on this one as it most certainly isn’t a great movie, but it isn’t bad, there’s no question about it.

It Comes at Night is a typical post-apocalyptic/disease horror thriller flick so it’s pretty unoriginal. It compensates that unoriginality with competent direction, cinematography and performances, especially the one from Joel Edgerton. The ending was too over-the-top, but before that the movie was an engaging, well executed horror drama and I definitely side with the critics on this one. It isn’t great, but it most certainly is not a bad movie.

My Rating – 3.5

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Zodiac (2007)

Zodiac Movie Review

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Zodiac Movie Review

Zodiac is a 2007 thriller mystery film directed by David Fincher and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr. and Mark Ruffalo. It is a pretty good, if not great movie.

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I… I Need to know who he is. I… I need to stand there,

I need to look him in the eye and I need to know that it’s him

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Zodiac Movie Review

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This 70s manhunt for a notorious killer who left clues for the police remains an infamous, never unsolved case and it was always ripe for a movie. And this film proves that and it proves how Fincher was perfect for it as he imbued it with excellent atmosphere, reliably stellar direction and a very well crafted mystery.

So Zodiac is a good movie, sometimes even very good. But it’s not great and it’s far from the director’s best works owing to the one and one thing only which is of course its running time. Two hours and forty minutes was just too much for this story and the film felt very prolonged, it dragged at certain parts and some scenes were unnecessary or dull. This runtime affected the movie a lot unfortunately.

Jake Gyllenhaal is very good as usual in the lead role and it was interesting seeing Marvel’s Ruffalo and Downey both here. The actors did a really good job in their roles and the characters are pretty solid, but they aren’t as great as the script and prolonged runtime demanded.

Now Zodiac is a truly terrifying movie. It doesn’t have enough action scenes, especially in the second half, but the first one featured a couple of truly horrific scenes and actually all of the killings we witnessed were so scary and creepy in how they were filmed and how we never see the killer. Such great choices.

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Zodiac Movie Review

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The cinematography is also pretty stellar. I usually dislike grim looking movies, but here I actually loved it because it complements the story and it sets the mood perfectly. It recreated the 70s decade so well with a great attention to detail, but the score, great atmosphere and especially superb cinematography sold those crucial creepy scenes. The mystery itself also provided a couple of terrific scenes, great twists and turns and I enjoyed its ambiguous ending and how faithfully they recreated this whole case.

Zodiac features good performances from its talented cast, reliably strong direction from Fincher, superb cinematography, a good mystery and a couple of truly terrifying murder sequences, but it needed more action in my opinion and it was ultimately undone by its needlessly prolonged running time. It’s a good film, but far from the director’s greatest works.

My Rating – 4

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The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)

The Talented Mr. Ripley Movie Review

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The Talented Mr. Ripley Movie Review

The Talented Mr. Ripley is a 1999 psychological thriller film directed by Anthony Minghella and starring Matt Damon, Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow. It’s a mediocre movie.

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I always thought it would be better

to be a fake somebody than a real nobody

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The Talented Mr. Ripley Movie Review

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After hearing for months how great of a movie it is and it does have a big status, I finally decided to see The Talented Mr. Ripley for myself and I was surprised at how much I disliked it and how overrated it is. It’s a shame that this great cast was wasted on such a ridiculous story and Anthony Minghella once again directed the movie poorly.

Yes, the story is just bad, there is no other way to say it. It feels as if you are watching two very different movies haphazardly put together and both are not good. The first one makes no sense whatsoever and the second one is your basic thriller with a man taking the identity of the other man he’d killed. There is nothing original in it at all.

But I have to talk about the first half as it is the more frustrating one. So basically you have Dickie who is an impossibly good looking and charismatic guy whom everyone loves and he invites Tom to spend some time with him and his wife and as they spend more and more time together, Tom starts to develop feelings for Dickie, but he turns him down and in that argument on the boat, Tom kills him.

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The Talented Mr. Ripley Movie Review

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What?! What is exactly going on here and what is the point?! I have no idea honestly. This is such a poor attempt at a mainstream gay romance or bromance or whatever that I was infuriated with it. The actions from the characters make no sense, I did not get their relationship at all and why they acted like they acted and I did not buy Tom suddenly becoming a killer.

Now Jude Law is very memorable and this is one of his better roles. He looks good and he gave a very good performance. But Paltrow is unfortunately entirely wasted on such a poor character and in my opinion Damon gave one of his weakest performances here. Now the first act of this movie was intriguing and I liked it, but everything that came afterwards was ridiculous and cliched. I deem it overrated and silly.

Only Jude Law is memorable and quite good in The Talented Mr. Ripley whereas Gwyneth Paltrow was entirely wasted on such a poor character and Matt Damon gave one of his worst performances. The film felt like two entirely different movies put together and neither one is good. The second half is your typical thriller whereas the first half made no sense whatsoever in its ridiculous story and character actions and a stupid relationship. It’s such a foolish movie.

My Rating – 2.5

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Timecrimes (2007)

Timecrimes Movie Review

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Timecrimes Movie Review

Timecrimes is a 2007 Spanish science fiction thriller film directed by Nacho Vigalondo. It is one of the best sci-fi films of the decade.

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Because Hector 3 told me

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Timecrimes Movie Review

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I have been seeing this title for quite some time on best sci-fi movies lists and I was intrigued and set out to find out for myself whether or not its status is warranted. And oh boy, did it thrill me! This has to be one of the best science fiction films of the 2000s, if not of all time, as it is just that good.

It is a great example of how fantastic an indie, small-budget sci-fi can be. This movie has only one big set which is the time machine and other than that, it has nothing and it uses its forest setting and creepy bandaged look to great, creepy effects. It does have some strong horror elements, but it is above all else a terrific thriller that can keep you on the edge of your seat almost from start to finish.

Timecrimes has great thrills, but it also features a terrific time travel storyline and it is probably the ultimate time travel movie that American films should take notice of. I did admittedly have trouble in its third act understanding the film, but once I did, it was brilliant to behold. The twist with Hector 2 is breathtaking, but the twist with Hector 3 makes it all the more complicated and ultimately admirable.

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Timecrimes Movie Review

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It is admirable because the film is fueled with a marvelous, unprecedented attention to detail and I personally think that it made no mistake whatsoever. This premise is extremely difficult to execute, but its thorough and phenomenally thought out execution made all the difference. It is the kind of movie that you should watch extremely carefully and you should not take your eyes off of it for a single second or you’d miss an important detail or two.

That makes it especially prone to more viewings and surely I can’t wait to watch it again. Its structure means that it rewards us the viewers for paying attention as when the plot starts to repeat for the second and eventually even the third time your patience is rewarded appropriately.

Hector makes for a fine protagonist and I liked the scientist as well, played by Nacho Vigalondo himself who directed this movie with style in abundance. He is the reason why Timecrimes is such a big success as his direction is so strong and the film’s editing is absolutely spectacular. I just wish that the women in the film weren’t as helpless and the woman in the forest definitely had too cruel of a fate.

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Timecrimes Movie Review

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The aforementioned forest is beautifully utilized and it was the perfect setting for this movie and I liked how it used sound to great creepy effect. The score is fantastic and very disturbing and it accompanies those horror scenes so well. The film is truly a one of a kind experience and it gives time travel flicks a great name, that’s for sure. It is also one of the better Spanish movies I’ve seen.

Nacho Vigalondo directed Timecrimes superbly and he is the one responsible for its greatness the most. The editing is phenomenal and the film is a textbook example of how great small-budget sci-fi can be as it uses its setting, high-concept and disturbing score to great effect. It has its great horror scenes, but it is above all a terrific thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout its running time. It is the ultimate time travel movie which should be watched extremely closely as it is filled with an incredible amount of detail and the fact that the film’s execution is so well thought out makes it an especially rewarding experience leading to one the genre’s best films of the 2000s.

My Rating – 4.5

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Colossal (2017)

Colossal Movie Review

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Colossal Movie Review

Colossal is a 2017 fantasy thriller film directed by Nacho Vigalondo and starring Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis. It is one of the year’s most underrated films.

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Hi. She’s the monster; I’m the robot

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Colossal Movie Review

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The film really should not be talked about in detail as the story is so unique that it should be experienced by everyone without spoilers. It is one of the most original films that I have ever seen and its offbeat nature just blew me away. It seemed like something anime would do and seeing it in an American film and realizing that it is not based on anything previously published or released makes all the difference. It is the proof that originality is still possible, even in this day and age.

It juggles its tones so well and it truly is very diverse in terms of the genres. I do not agree that it is a dark comedy, but it does have some of those elements. It also has some drama as well as really well realized horror elements. But it is at its core a fantasy thriller in my opinion. The film starts as a drama, then suddenly becomes a full-on fantasy and it afterwards introduces strong thriller elements with its villain. It is unlike anything I’ve seen before.

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Colossal Movie Review

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Of the highlights, I absolutely adored its ambiguous ending as well as the final fight which was so well thought out and with a great twist. The film has exceptional attention to detail and they truly did the most they could do with this premise. Some of the chases felt unrealistic and to me the film has a plot hole or two (why not call the police or at least retain the villain in some way), but those plot contrivances are to be expected of any crazy and original idea and most of the movie had no such problems.

Dan Stevens is good in the role, but this is the show between Jason Sudeikis and Anne Hathaway. Him I did not buy in this role as his comedic background was not perfect for a very dramatic, serious role. He is still good, just not great. But the character is so well written and memorable. Anne Hathaway, on the other hand, entirely stole the show here and delivered one of her best roles to date in such a phenomenal, really strong and heroic female role.

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Colossal Movie Review

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Colossal is so well made. The direction is good and the script is out of this world. Its attention to detail and its dialogue are both terrific and the movie is actually pretty smart. It actually explores two things really well. One is the nice guy facade which women do know a lot about and the other is a quest to beat alcoholism which is the main theme of the film. Every woman should see this movie in my opinion as its heroine is great and the troubles she faces should prove relatable to them.

The score is forgettable, but I did like its special effects. Humble, yet very well done and the two creatures correspond well to the two characters. I liked their designs quite a bit. The film can be surprisingly funny at times while also being genuinely dark at other times. It is always a riveting ride and truly one of the most underappreciated films of 2017.

With absolutely amazing and actually quite thematically rich script, excellent characters and a superb performance from Anne Hathaway in such an admirably heroic female role, Colossal is simply unlike any movie I’ve seen before. It juggles its tones and different genres so well to create a well thought out and incredibly offbeat story that is not only incredibly entertaining, but also very deep. It is one of the most underrated films of 2017.

My Rating – 4.5

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Rope (1948)

Rope Movie Review

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Rope Movie Review

Rope is a 1948 thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring James Stewart, John Dall and Farley Granger. It is one of the director’s best films.

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Good and evil, right and wrong were invented

for the ordinary average man, the inferior man,

because he needs them

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Rope Movie Review

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Rope is quite a masterpiece. It surely is one of his most underrated films that should belong on any top ten lists. The film reminded me of ‘Seven’ in its exploration of experimental murder and their thought that they are superior to others and that intellectually inferior do not deserve to live. A truly clever script and the film deals with the psychology of its characters so well. Perfect murder, morality and Nietzsche’s superman concept are so well explored.

Its limited set of characters is great as all of them get good roles. Mrs. Wilson is your typical nosy housekeeper and she was quite funny at times. Kenneth is okay but more forgettable and Jane is memorable. That triangle was well set up. David’s father also had some good moments and in my opinion Mrs. Atwater is really funny with her quirks and smiles.

Phillip and Brandon are so obviously a gay couple that it is interesting how the movie got past the Hays Code. Their relationship makes the movie very interesting and different for its time period and even now as we do not see it all that often. Phillip’s more nervous behavior and the fact that he has guilt over the murder perfectly contrasted the more cold and calculated behavior from Brandon. A very interesting dynamic.

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Rope Movie Review

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And of course Rupert is great as this sort of detective and I liked how smart he was but that it was believable how he came to the realization that they committed a murder by analyzing the room thoroughly. Farley Granger and John Dall gave pretty good performances, both facial and physical, but of course James Stewart steals the show as his performance is truly terrific per usual.

Rope naturally features amazing cinematography, the best of its kind. It is ‘Birdman’, but done right. Yes, some bit parts definitely felt like cuts and were noticeable, but the film is mostly incredibly well shot and its long take is beautifully arranged and frankly very commendable and inspired. It is a character in its own right and some of the camera movements were very subtle and I loved how it panned the room and showcased the items related to the murder. The rope and especially chest were some of the best used Hitchcock items ever.

The only problem in the movie is that the ending wasn’t as perfect as the rest of the film was. In my opinion, it was riveting and exciting, but the taking of the gun and the prolonged conversation about the murder were somewhat unrealistic. And the film definitely should have been longer.

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Rope Movie Review

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But the finale is absolutely perfect. By showing us how they wait for the police to arrive instead of the police retaining them, the film managed to be incredibly suspense and those final moments were all the better for that choice. I loved the dialogue in this film, very smart. It is one of those talkative movies which are confined in space and the discussions are all that matters. This particular apartment is beautiful, its New York cyclorama is truly extraordinary and the Technicolor is wonderful here. As his first color film, it is technically polished and great. Hitchcock directed the movie stupendously and it truly is his first masterpiece.

With absolutely amazing cinematography with a groundbreaking, accomplished use of a long take, excellent performances, a superb use of its talkative and confined space approach, greatly explored psychology of its characters and smart themes along with an admirable attention to detail, Rope is one of Hitchock’s greatest and most underrated films that is always riveting, different and unique.

My Rating – 4.5

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Black Sea (2014)

Black Sea Movie Review

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Black Sea Movie Review

Black Sea is a 2014 British thriller film directed by Kevin Macdonald and starring Jude Law. It is about a group of people going on an underwater expedition in search of treasure.

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What’s the sea bed like?

It’s like butter made of dog shit

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Black Sea Movie Review

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Every aspect of this movie is underwhelming and hugely disappointing. I expected much, much more from its intriguing and entertaining premise. The story never realized its potential and the characters are all extremely forgettable and incredibly poorly developed. But what is the worst is the thriller aspect because all of the action sequences are pretty uninspired and even annoying at times with all the yelling and cursing. If the film focused more on the adventure instead of stupid action and thriller, it would have turned out much better.

The saving grace is the acting which is quite solid and even stupendous. Jude Law is remarkable here in a role different for him than usual along with his new look. And the rest of the cast did an okay job. But the performances fail to be memorable because they act the characters which are quite poor and forgettable.

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Black Sea Movie Review

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As for the pacing and entertainment factor, it is low. The movie could have been extremely engaging, but it is rather tedious in the end. The direction is also pretty ordinary, never rising above that level. As for the cinematography and imagery, they are all weak. Having in mind it is underwater, Black Sea somehow managed to not get that to full use, instead using poor photography and very dark approach with sometimes too bleak picture to see.

Black Sea has quite solid performances and a great premise, but that premise never gets proper treatment as the end product is tedious instead of entertaining, poorly filmed instead of having striking imagery, it has poor characters which are all forgettable and the action and thriller sequences are all annoying and weak. it is a huge disappointment overall and a failure on many levels.

My Rating – 2.5

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Frequency (2000)

Frequency Movie Review

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Frequency Movie Review

Frequency is a 2000 science fiction thriller film starring Dennis Quaid. It is a film that had potential, but is ultimately just okay.

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I’m still here, Chief

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Frequency Movie Review

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Yes, the film’s plot and approach are obviously influenced by ‘The Sixth Sense’ in some capacity and overall it isn’t all that original when you think about it. You have a son calling his dad from the future to save him from his certain death and then that changes everything and leads to some pretty grand consequences.

It’s a typical time travel storyline that is implausible and mostly just used for the thrills which is why the movie succeeds much more so as a thriller than as a science fiction work. The film has its heartwarming moments between father and son, but it also has some overly sentimental scenes and the entire baseball angle was just cringe-worthy to me. And the ending is of course hilariously silly in a bad way.

Jim Caviezel gave a pretty solid performance and Dennis Quaid is expectedly competent in this fine role. Definitely the acting is one of the film’s strongest points, but the direction is uninspired which is to be expected from an unknown director.

Frequency is also very weakly paced and goes on for too long. It is a somewhat entertaining film that is fun and exciting at times, but only in the middle as the ending is ridiculous and the beginning is way too slow and frankly very dull. I also found its crime angle very boring and typical and it did not add anything new to the table.

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Frequency Movie Review

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The movie definitely struggles at its tones and approach and I am afraid that it mostly failed in its execution. It is a passable entertainment that is sure to please sci-fi thriller enthusiasts, but I myself was disappointed as I expected much bigger things from it and ultimately did not get it. It is one of those genre flicks that are perfectly fine, but too forgettable and typical to leave a lasting impression. A definition of a three-star film for sure.

Frequency is definitely very well acted, it is exciting and thrilling at times and some scenes are heartwarming, but some are also overly sentimental, it never succeeds as a science fiction film and is much better off as a thriller plus the beginning is dull and the ending is silly leading to a fine, but forgettable and unoriginal genre film.

My Rating – 3

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The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

The Manchurian Candidate Movie Review

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The Manchurian Candidate Movie Review

The Manchurian Candidate is a 1962 political thriller film directed by John Frankenheimer and starring Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, Janet Leigh and Angela Lansbury. It’s overrated.

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It’s a terrible thing to hate your mother.

But I didn’t always hate her.

When I was a child, I only kind of disliked her

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The Manchurian Candidate Movie Review

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I have almost the same opinion of The Manchurian Candidate as I have of another 60s political thriller ‘Z’. Both are competently made films and very well acted, but both are dull. But this one isn’t frenetic but rather opposite – it is excruciatingly slow paced, uninvolving and ultimately it bored me so much. Political movies should appeal to everyone including non-fans such as myself and this one failed miserably at that.

The story has its moments, but it is mostly not great, certainly not deserving the praise that it received. It truly is one of the most overrated films from this period and of course it came from probably the weakest film year ever which is 1962. It also isn’t really a thriller, but it’s also not a drama. It has a conflicting nature to it and was to me just too static to enjoy.

Janet Leigh is very memorable and beautiful here. Laurence Harvey is also quite solid. Angela Lansbury as the villain killed it and she is the standout here and probably the only legitimately great reason to see this movie as her performance is truly remarkable as is her character. But all of the other characters are throwaway, dull entities for whom I never cared about at all.

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The Manchurian Candidate Movie Review

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The Manchurian Candidate is well shot, but lacks score which was critical to sell those thriller sequences and thus it fails as a political thriller. It looks nice, but should have also sounded nice. The performances are very good, but John Frankenheimer’s direction not so much. It felt unprofessional and ultimately a problem the movie never overcame. The pacing is, as I said, beyond sluggish and the runtime is actually way too long as it is slightly over two hours but the plot never needed that much time. In the end, this is one giant overrated mess that isn’t a bad movie per say, but it is so weak and riddled with flaws that it frustrated me along with being a highly tedious experience.

The Manchurian Candidate is very well acted with Angela Lansbury giving a standout, memorable performance, but the film is overlong, static in quality, so incredibly dull and never at all engaging or thrilling and thus it fails as a thriller and it is one very overrated film in my opinion.

My Rating – 3

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Z (1969)

Z Movie Review

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Z Movie Review

Z is a 1969 Algerian political thriller film directed by Costa-Gavras. It is one of the most overrated foreign films of the sixties.

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Always blame the USA,

even if you are wrong!

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Z Movie Review

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I am not the biggest fan of political thrillers and this movie just wasn’t engaging enough to overcome my apathy for this particular genre. I realize that this story is very important, not to mention highly relatable even to this day, but the way it was presented was frustrating and honestly quite off-putting at times.
The movie deals with a lot of characters and not one of them is remotely memorable and you will most definitely forget about them pretty shortly after seeing it. The acting is fine, but I wanted less characters and better character development.
Z’s pacing is horrible. It is at times quite dull and boring, yet also frequently annoyingly frenetic to the point of becoming boring in and of itself. I dislike a lot of action and this action, although it happens in real life, is executed with such annoying directorial choices and especially off-putting cinematography that it frustrated me quite a bit.
Z is also very much a product of its time. Whether through cinematography, direction or those genre thrills, the movie is obviously dated. I can see how great it must have been for late 60s and early 70s audiences and critics, but its power is blunted by now.

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Z Movie Review

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Z received the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and it is the first foreign movie to also be nominated for Best Picture and needless to say, I disagree with that wholeheartedly. It is an extremely overrated movie that is just okay and nothing more than that.

Z is one of 60s most overrated foreign films which deals with an important story, but presents it in a very off-putting manner with sometimes sluggish, yet at times also frenetic pacing. It is never as engaging as it should have been, it is very dated and a total bore from start to finish.

My Rating – 3

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