Westworld (1973)

Westworld Movie Review…………………………………………………..

Westworld Movie Review

Westworld is a 1973 science fiction western thriller film directed by Michael Crichton and starring Yul Brynner. It is one of the best sci-fi films of the seventies.

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No matter what you do, he’ll always be one step ahead of you!

You haven’t got a chance!

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Westworld Movie Review…………………………………………………..

I absolutely adored this movie. It is the best film I’ve seen in a while and it just might actually be one of the best ten or twenty sci-fi films of all time. Yes, it is that good! And I did not expect that at all and now I am so intrigued that I would like to see a TV show that they have just made, but because it is a typical sensationalist, overly violent show like every other today, I unfortunately cannot and won’t watch it which is beyond frustrating.

This story is amazing. It is about an amusement park which consists of Roman World, Medieval World and the titular Westworld. In all three of these areas, visitors get the full treatment which is super realistic and detailed. Androids that look extremely like humans serve them and visitors can have sex with them, fight them etc. But when a sort of computer virus spreads, all androids start acting strangely, they rebel and eventually attack and kill humans. Such wonderful mayhem ensues.

Westworld is one of those movies where I instantly realized that a book author directed it and surely enough Michael Crichton, an author, is the director. And although some may find that problematic, I loved his direction here as he brings such high level of detail that regular movie directors could just never do. That is why the world building here is absolutely spectacular. You have all three of these areas utilized properly and I was fascinated by all of them and it was great that I got to witness each three. That I did not expect.

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Westworld Movie Review…………………………………………………..

And it is all so well thought out, not to mention extremely well executed visually. The special effects are so great and advanced for its time. I loved that Gunslinger’s viewpoint which, when broken, went pixelized and there we witness the first ever use of CGI. That is simply groundbreaking. And the androids themselves look phenomenal.

I know this is nitpicking, but I disliked the blood in this movie which was so obviously fake and with such a ridiculous light colour that was honestly quite funny. And as for the story, the only problem I’ve had is the fact that the androids can be distinguished from humans by looking at their hands as that is the only body part that the scientists did not fully perfect yet. Are you kidding me?! You make a perfect android that looks entirely like a human and has face and hair that are totally realistic and yet somehow the hands are the only parts that you cannot make properly. That was really ridiculous and just a plot contrivance as it was obviously convenient for the characters to know who is and who isn’t human by looking at their hands.

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Westworld Movie Review…………………………………………………..

But other than that and the fact that the second act definitely has a couple of slower and even repetitive scenes (there are too many scenes with the scientists for sure), I absolutely loved Westworld and I wanted a longer running time and more exploration of this enormous and beautifully conceived world. It is definitely one of the rare movies that entirely deserve sequels and TV shows as it is that big and rich with ideas.

It was an interesting turn of events that the more bravado character died and the goofier one survived and turned out to be a protagonist. That was unexpected. I still didn’t love both of them, but they were quite good nonetheless. But the Gunslinger steals the show and seeing Yul Brynner in this fun role just brought a smile on my face as I am a big fan of his and he was perfect for this role and he delivered in spades.

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Westworld Movie Review…………………………………………………..

Westworld is a science fiction film at its core, but most certainly a western too and a thriller with some strong horror elements as well. There are many great scenes here, but my favourite one has to be the entire chase sequence near the end as it was thrilling to behold and I loved especially the moment when Peter hid from the Gunslinger by standing beneath the flaming torch and thus fooling the villain’s infra-red scanners. Such a clever and thrilling scene. And the score was tremendous here, quite effective and spooky.

Westworld is one of the most original sci-fi moves that I have ever seen. It is such a unique mix of sci-fi, western and thriller with a story that is just fascinating to behold, rich in detail and propelled with amazing world building. It truly is one of the rare movies that entirely deserve many sequels and TV shows. I loved the score and special effects, Yul Brynner is superb, the chase scenes are filled with thrills and the film is consistently entertaining, clever and absolutely phenomenal.

My Rating – 4.5

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Saboteur (1942)

Saboteur Movie Review……………………………………………………

Saboteur Movie Review

Saboteur is a 1942 spy thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Robert Cummings and Priscilla Lane. It is one of his most underappreciated films.

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Don’t you know I can see a great deal farther than you can?

I can see intangible things.

For example, innocence

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Saboteur Movie Review……………………………………………………

I have to say that the conspiracy plot here is highly typical. We’ve seen this premise with man accused of crime that he didn’t commit done many times before and it is his usual theme. It isn’t that unpredictable and rarely does it contain truly original scenes in it.

However, it still surprised me with its quality as the execution of this story is so good. This is without any doubt one of the most purely entertaining films from the Master of Suspense. I’ve had such a great time watching it and it is both fun and charming.

The beginning and ending are important, but not the best. The entire middle section of the film is where the movie shines. I loved the high adventure and the relationship between these two characters and the highlights are the river scene and of course the whole extended sequence with the circus performers was so authentic, highly interesting and a blast to watch.

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Saboteur Movie Review……………………………………………………

The characters are solid. Pat and Barry are both archetypes, but still realized really well and highly sympathetic. I loved their interactions and they are a great couple. Priscilla Lane and Robert Cummings are certainly B-actors and their performances aren’t the greatest, but they are still very charming and serve as great eye candy.

Saboteur is technically a very well made film. The cinematography is so good and it contains a lot of memorable scenes with unforgettable imagery. Of course the last scene with the Statue of Liberty is such a memorable climax, although too typical for Hitch. The sound is strong and I liked its lack of score as it fits the plot.

In terms of it being a thriller, it is a solid one with some chases and fights being quite fun to watch, but still I expected more thrills and danger from it and there were too many obvious scenarios in my opinion. The film is definitely too influenced by some of Hitchcock’s previous works and it never quite achieves to be its own thing, no matter how entertaining it is.

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Saboteur Movie Review……………………………………………………

The spy elements are solid, but still not the greatest. I liked that the film doesn’t have any score as it didn’t need it at all. As for its dialogue, it is pretty solid and actually quite funny at times. Saboteur surprised me with its high amount of humor at times. The director is more than capable of making funny movies which is why I think that he definitely should have tried to make a comedy in his career, but unfortunately he never did. Saboteur is funny and actually very charming in both its story and couple. I found the villains to be overly typical, but that entire party sequence found good use of them and was a memorable part of the film. The flick flows really well and is fun and involving to watch from beginning to end which is why I think that its status is definitely underserved as it is better than a lot of his previous movies. Very underrated and it really caught me by surprise.

Saboteur is one of Hitchcock’s most underrated and most unabashedly entertaining films. It certainly is not original, the acting isn’t the greatest and the beginning and ending are typical, but the entire middle section was so much fun with excellent scenarios, a memorable romantic pair at its center and with so many unforgettable and immensely entertaining scenes populated with memorable characters and imagery.

My Rating – 4

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Nocturnal Animals (2016)

Nocturnal Animals Movie Review………………………………………………………..

Nocturnal Animals Movie Review

Nocturnal Animals is a 2016 thriller drama film directed by Tom Ford and starring Amy Adams, Jake Gylenhall, Michael Shannon and Aaron Taylor-Johnson. It is a surprisingly solid film.

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Susan, enjoy the absurdity of our world.

It’s a lot less painful.

Believe me, our world is a lot less painful than the real world

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Nocturnal Animals Movie Review………………………………………………………..

I liked the plot here quite a bit. It was a very original concept and idea to do a story within a story and this explains the relationships of its characters in the main story. Although that story within a story definitely felt too thriller and gangster-like to me personally, it started off in a really interesting manner and was overall solid. And the main story is the highlight, very well done.

However, the film is a mess regardless of its originality. The film is a giant wasted potential as the execution of its ideas and its concept is never great and is at times even quote mediocre. The editing in particular is very poor and the stories do not mash well together and the transitions are never as smooth as they should have been.

I respect Tom Ford for his idea, but I found his direction to be problematic. It lacked sophistication and the film is never as polished as it should have been and it thoroughly lacks focus. That is why the film is ultimately very flawed, but because I had very low expectations for it to begin with and I dislike thrillers, it was still a pleasant surprise that I liked it as much as I did.

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Nocturnal Animals Movie Review………………………………………………………..

The characters are good, but not as great as the plot needed them to have been. I found the main relationship to be solid at best. And I have to say that all of the characters in the story within a story felt somewhat archaic in their presentations and ultimately uninspired.

The acting is one of Nocturnal Animals’ strongest attributes. Everyone speaks about Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Michael Shannon’s performances and they are fine, but they aren’t the highlights here, at least not to me. The highlights were Amy Adams and Jake Gylenhall, both giving very underrated performances. She is quite good, although she was better in Arrival, but that just goes to prove what an incredible year she had in 2016. But Jake is really good and his character I found to be the most likable and relatable.

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Nocturnal Animals Movie Review………………………………………………………..

From a fashion designer’s point, I expected the cinematography to be much better as the film was overly dark looking. The editing is awful as previously stated and although the dialogue is solid, it was typical at times. The film also needed to be more emotional as I never really connected with either of its characters. Yes, the elements for a strong drama were there, but the film ultimately never succeeds either as a drama or as a thriller as it is only somewhat successful at both of those things. But because the film was so original and because some of its scenes were quite memorable and very interesting to see, I found it to be a pleasant surprise and a solid attempt overall. I think that Tom Ford is talented, but definitely needs more experience.

Nocturnal Animals is an immensely original idea with an intriguing concept to it, the acting is all around superb, some scenes are quite interesting and it is ultimately a solid film, but it is a wasted potential as it could have been much better as the editing is quite mediocre, the film lacked focus, the transitions were poor and its characters are typical.

My Rating – 3.5

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Foreign Correspondent (1940)

Foreign Correspondent Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………………

Foreign Correspondent Movie Review

Foreign Correspondent is a 1940 spy thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Joel McCrea, Herbert Marshall, George Sanders and Albert Bassermann. It is a disappointing movie.

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I’m in love with a girl, and I’m going to help hang her father.

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Foreign Correspondent Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………………

It is about an American reporter who tries to expose enemy spies in Britain who are involved in a conspiracy in the prelude to World War II. Now the plot is solid, if a bit too of its time. I liked the movie, but it is just solid and being solid isn’t what’s expected from The Master of Suspense. The major problem in terms of storytelling lies in its convoluted nature. I couldn’t get invested in it because there were too many convoluted plot points, not great twists and turns and it was overall needlessly complicated.

Another problem lies in the character development and the acting. None of these characters were remotely interesting or memorable, at least not in my opinion. They are all solid and they are at least somewhat developed, but they just felt typical. Of the actors, everyone did a solid job, but none of them stood out which is weird as this is a really good cast of actors. It basically had no time for either of them to properly get their due and that is exactly what happened here.

If there is one thing Foreign Correspondent got right, those are the technical aspects. Wow, does this movie look great!. The cinematography is amazing and everything looks splendid with memorable imagery. The set design in this movie is brilliant, unforgettable and instantly recognizable from the windmill to the streets to the airplane.

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Foreign Correspondent Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………………

Definitely the action is very well utilized, but to me it was still overabundant and too much like a modern instead of classic thriller and I am always up for more classic. That is one of the reasons why it disappointed me. The pacing is awfully frenetic and yet at times dull. Very uneven as is the entire picture. The direction from Hitchcock is also problematic. It is obviously quite good, but not as great as you’d come to expect from him as the entire film doesn’t run as smoothly as his other efforts and sometimes it felt to me that it was a pretty weak sum of some great parts.

That is this movie in a nutshell – works great many times as a singular scene, but when taken into context, it mostly falls apart. Now watching it after so many decades, it definitely is interesting as it was made just at the cusp of World War II and it does feel urgent. I also really liked is global feel as it makes use of various locations and nations in it which was a refreshing change in pace for the pictures of the time as was its emphasis on outdoors sequences. Some of the scenes are thrilling and intense, but I wished that more of them were like that. It definitely is more a spy than a thriller flick and its spy elements are certainly better utilized.

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Foreign Correspondent Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………………

In the year of ‘Rebecca in which it came out, it is infinitely inferior and it is one of his lesser works. It is still a solid movie, but not up to his standards. As for its Academy Award nominations, Albert Bassermann’s nod was deserved and of course the visual effects, cinematography and art direction are awesome here, but the nominations for Picture and screenplay were ridiculous to me as the year was too strong for its inclusion in those categories.

Foreign Correspondent looks amazing with absolutely spectacular cinematography, just brilliant and unforgettable set design and great effects, but it is ultimately just a solid movie which is not what you’d come to expect from The Master of Suspense. The script is problematic, the film is overly convoluted, the pacing is all over the place and the characters are forgettable. It is one of Hitchcock’s weakest 1940s efforts.

My Rating – 3.5

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Rebecca (1940)

Rebecca Movie Review……………………………………………

Rebecca Movie Review

Rebecca is a 1940 mystery film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Joan Fontaine, Laurence Olivier and Judith Anderson. It is such an authentic mystery.

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Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.

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Rebecca Movie Review……………………………………………

Now of course Rebecca is an accomplished movie on many grounds, but I’ve had an interesting history with it. When I watched it for the first time, I thought it was just solid. Upon second viewing, I thought it was really good and now, upon my third viewing, I really changed my mind and now I think it is a great film by all means. It really grew on me and I have always respected the films that become better and better every time you see it and this is a great example of that phenomenon.

Rebecca is above all else a great story. It follows a young woman who becomes the second wife of an aristocrat and comes to live in his mansion. But she can’t escape the ghost of his previous, deceased wife whom the servants absolutely adored. It is a testament to Hitchcock’s ingenuity that we never see Rebecca in the film and yet we feel like we met her as she is always present in the conversations between the characters. That created such a weird, even creepy feel to the movie.

I really liked both of the main characters and their relationship is strongly developed. Favell is another strong, sneaky character played wonderfully by typically cold and malicious George Sanders. He was perfectly cast for this role and he delivered in spades. But of course Mrs. Danvers is the true standout character and she is one of Hitchcock’s most menacing and unforgettable villains. Some of her scenes were extremely creepy and atmospheric and I loved that her fascination with Rebecca drove her every move.

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Rebecca Movie Review……………………………………………

Judith Anderson is suitably theatrical in the role and this is the best type of theatrical performance, the one that fits and lifts the role. She gave such an outstanding performance that should have brought her a supporting Oscar. Laurence Olivier is quite good, but Joan Fontaine deserved her Oscar nomination and she maybe even should have won. Despite a couple of overly emphasized moments, she mostly excelled in a difficult main role. The acting in this movie is truly top-notch.

Rebecca succeeds as a gothic tale in spades. It is actually one of the finest mystery films that I have ever seen as it is just always riveting to watch and wonderfully atmospheric. The plot unfolded in a really well crafted and structured manner and all of the twists and turns were satisfying and clever.

I have rarely seen a better looking movie than this one. The cinematography is excellent and some of the imagery here is just unforgettable and I will remember some scenes for years to come. But the art direction is just stunning as the house Manderley is absolutely magnificent to behold with its gothic look and we explore many of its parts leading to it becoming a character in its own right. The score is also fantastic and of course the direction from Hitchcock is brilliant.

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Rebecca Movie Review……………………………………………

Let’s talk about some of Rebecca’s flaws. Now I still stand by my original assessment that this is not one of Hitchcock’s best films. It is on the list, but certainly not in the top five. And it did not deserve to win Best Picture in an especially strong year for film, ridiculously strong actually. In many other years, yes, but here it was undeserved.

The pacing in particular is troublesome. It takes its time to get there owing to a slow start and some of the scenes were a bit too long in my opinion. The third act of the film I really liked, but it still felt like a different movie with its courtroom drama elements and I can’t help but wonder what this movie would have turned out had the story remained the same as it was in the first half. I definitely liked the conclusion and the ending is particularly striking, but it did have a bit too many twists in it and the final twist, although good, is a bit too convenient.

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Rebecca Movie Review……………………………………………

But it is mostly a very good, respectable film that is even artistic in its look and very original and memorable in its story. It is one of the most successful gothic mysteries ever put on screen. It was nominated for eleven Oscars but only won two and the cinematography win is much deserved. But production design as well as both of the actresses should have also won in my opinion.

Rebecca isn’t well paced, but it is such a strong mystery that is one of the finest ever put on screen. It isn’t one of Hitchcock’s best, but it comes close with top-notch performances, an unforgettable and creepy villain in Mrs. Danvers, very involving and well crafted plot and many memorable scenes that stay with you. It is also one of the finest looking black and white films thanks to some brilliant imagery, an even artistic look to it and amazing production design. Atmospheric and authentic, it is a thoroughly delightful gothic mystery.

My Rating – 4.5

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Ghost (1990)

Ghost Movie Review…………………………………………………………

Ghost Movie Review

Ghost is a 1990 romantic fantasy thriller film directed by Jerry Zucker and starring Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg. It is a pleasant, authentic blockbuster film.

It follows the woman in jeopardy, the ghost of her murdered lover and a reluctant psychic who assists him in saving her. The plot here is incredibly original and never have I seen something like this in a movie before. Basically it is a romance, it has a chick flick gene to it, but it is also a thriller in most of its parts while being a fantasy and even a comedy and horror in the process. Needless to say, the film’s very diverse genre mix makes it very unique.

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I love you. I really love you.

Ditto.

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Ghost Movie Reviews…………………………………………………………

Now of course it doesn’t always work and it is stronger in some genres than in others. For example, not every fantasy element here worked and truly the object moving could have been better utilized with the Subway Ghost becoming ridiculous whereas he was before pleasantly creepy in the only horror scene in the movie. As for its thriller elements, they are solid and are definitely well executed, but that is the element that reveals its age the most.

The romance here is strong, not as strong as it needed to be because they couldn’t quite develop their relationship with the little time they got. But it was still pretty moving and epic. What I didn’t like was its ending, the previous scenes leading to it were pleasant and romantic, but the ending itself I found to be overly emotional in a typical romantic comedy manner.

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Ghost Movie Review…………………………………………………………

Ghost surprisingly enough succeeds as a laugh riot the most as it is just so funny and so inherently amusing in many of its scenes. Whoopi Goldberg and her Oda Mae Brown are the reason why this movie is so good and so incredibly entertaining. She is absolutely fantastic and deservedly got an Oscar for this wonderful role. She is much better than both Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze and much more memorable. The relationship between her and Sam Wheat is excellent and I just loved their scenes and her character who is so funny while still being caring.

Ghost has solid effects for its time, but now some of them are admittedly cheesy. The mythology here is solid. It is never as explained as I wished them to have been, but still for a blockbuster like this, the plot is actually really well crafted. The editing I found to be exceptional as the movie is never rushed and never boring. It is actually the most purely entertaining film I have seen in a long time. Its screenplay isn’t as sophisticated and some of the physical humor and action was over-the-top, but most of it was fun and charming instead of obnoxious.

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Ghost Movie Review…………………………………………………………

The characters are strong. The villain reveal was expected, but he was still a solid villain. And I found the tone to be really good as the film is definitely very lightweight and humorous, but never too much and it knows when to be serious and sad. The score is absolutely fantastic and that theme that was repeated throughout was really beautiful. The dialogue is solid, but in the romance department, it can be too maudlin. And the romance between the two is definitely solid, but never as great as the script demanded it to be. But the film is so good in so many areas that I’ve had a great time watching it.

Ghost is overly emotional in its ending and sometimes a bit silly, but the film is such a terrific, one of a kind, hugely entertaining experience with such an intriguing mix of thriller, fantasy and romance, but its humor is also very strong and that is actually the best part here with Whoopi Goldberg being amazing and she easily steals every scene she’s in. 

My Rating – 4

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Elle (2016)

Elle Movie Review…………………………………………………………

Elle Movie Review

Elle is a 2016 French psychological thriller film directed by Paul Verhoeven and starring Isabelle Huppert. It is such a difficult, very frustrating movie.

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A woman who’s read:

“The Second Sex” will chew you up… And spit you out

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Elle Movie Review…………………………………………………………

It is about a businesswoman who gets raped by an unknown assailant and stalks him back. First, let’s just say that I really enjoyed the first half of the movie, especially the first third or so. It was very intense and sometimes genuinely creepy, but never done in a disgusting manner and they never crossed the line which I appreciated. It started off so good that I really had big hopes for it.

But everything changed in its infuriating second half. The film became so transgressive, violent and just so frustrating both in its character decisions and a message or a lack of it to be exact. There are a lot of unrealistic and totally ridiculous plot points to be had here. First, you have the fact that she never called the police despite being raped. What sane woman would go after the assailant on her own?? That was absolutely ludicrous.

Then you have her casually flirting with the guy who eventually turns out to be the criminal himself in a very obvious twist. Why would she do that when she should watch out for all men around her boggled my mind. But then the biggest offender goes to her eventual decision to not turn him to the police and allow her to be raped once again. She is such an awful female character and a terrible role model.

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Elle Movie Review…………………………………………………………

Elle is definitely well made and its dramatic and even creepy tone leads to a lot of intense moments. It succeeds as a solid, investing thriller in the first half, but then it goes to full ridiculousness in a typically annoying psychological thriller fashion and it becomes this very dated and obviously silly movie that seems to have come out in the nineties instead of today. It is well directed and acted, but for all of those reasons stated above, I was frustrated and it disappointed me immensely.

Elle is very well acted and directed with a terrific and intense first third, but it nonetheless ended up being such a frustrating experience and a typically silly psychological thriller. The film is so implausible and even just plain ridiculous in many of its plot points and so transgressive in its very unfortunate, terrible female character that it infuriated me.

My Rating – 2.5

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The Lady Vanishes (1938)

The Lady Vanishes Movie Review……………………………………………………………………

The Lady Vanishes Movie Review

The Lady Vanishes is a 1938 thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Margaret Lockwood and Michael Redgrave. It is such a good movie that is one of the director’s best early efforts.

It is about an English tourist traveling by train who discovers that her elderly traveling companion seems to have disappeared. All of the others deny her existence and she, along with her new friend, search the train for some clues. The premise alone here is incredibly original and fascinating even. And thankfully the execution is mostly great as well. The film is very entertaining and almost riveting at times.

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I never think you should judge any country by its politics.

After all, we English are quite honest by nature, aren’t we?

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The Lady Vanishes Movie Review……………………………………………………………………

I really liked Iris and Gilbert and the two are such a phenomenal couple and they serve as a very fun detective duo two. Miss Froy is such an endearing old woman and what is most admirable here is the choice to make her a spy and a great one despite her age. I loved that. And all of the other supporting characters are quite memorable and most of them are important for the story which is commendable.

I found the acting to be great. Both Michael Redgrave and Margaret Lockwood are so charming together and both gave excellent performances. But May Whitty is even better as wonderful Miss Froy. The Lady Vanishes benefits from some tremendous technicalities including of course the direction from Hitchcock which is finally great as his earlier 30s efforts aren’t as great as they could have been. But here he proved what a remarkable artist he is and that will be best seen in his later works.

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The Lady Vanishes Movie Review……………………………………………………………………

The pacing is also excellent despite that first act. Yes, the first act is in my opinion the major flaw of the picture as it is just so incredibly slow, dragging and just way too extended. We basically get over twenty minutes before the train departs and that is just a waste of time. But thankfully the rest is deftly edited with the film flowing smoothly and being very involving all the time.

The cinematography is excellent with some really polished camera movements. The train is such a great setting and is utilized superbly as we get to explore the majority of it. The lack of a score troubled me before, but upon second viewing, I have to agree with Hitchcock’s decision. Yes, that did lead to a more realistic feel to it and it definitely wasn’t necessary. The dialogue is as playful and as fun as you would come to expect from the director. And the film is not only very authentic, but also very memorable with the most unforgettable sequences being the disappearance sequence which is so intriguing and even creepy, the last action sequence which is so well executed and the scenes with the two investigating were awesome.

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The Lady Vanishes Movie Review……………………………………………………………………

The Lady Vanishes is interesting for being a comedic thriller and I don’t know what I think about that. On the one hand, the humor is pretty good at times and the energy is palpable. But on the other hand, it does significantly diminish the seriousness and the realism of the movie as some scenes are too humorous. But the film still mostly succeeds as a thriller, but most of all, as a great spy film as those elements were very interesting and well crafted. The ending made me smile a lot as it was so wonderful and a beautiful conclusion. In the end, it has its problems, but it’s still the finest 1930s Hitchcock film with only ‘The 39 Steps‘ being able to compete with it, but that one is also inferior to it.

The Lady Vanishes is definitely too comedic in tone and the first act is just needlessly extended, but the film is mostly great with excellent performances and characters, a palpable energy to it, very intriguing spy elements, an authentic and intriguing premise and a very well crafted, consistently involving storyline. It is without a doubt Hitchcock’s finest 1930s film.

My Rating – 4

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The Shallows (2016)

The Shallows Movie Review………………………………………………………………………

The Shallows Movie Review

The Shallows is a 2016 survival thriller horror film directed by James Collet-Serra and starring Blake Lively. It is a surprisingly really well crafted and good movie.

It follows a surfer who gets stranded 200 yards from the shore and must use her wits to survive a shark attack. Now this movie of course has a very derivative story and every one of these shark attack movies suffers from that. But it still manages to transcend it with the overall capable execution and some good characterization and subplots.

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Get out of the water, shark!

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The Shallows Movie Review………………………………………………………………………

I loved the main character. Nancy is quite solidly developed, especially for this type of film. She is a medical student who dropped off her studying when her mother got ill. But when she comes in contact with this prehistoric dangerous creature, she changes her outlook and becomes a stronger person. I liked that subplot. And I found Blake Lively’s performance to be pretty good. Not great, but definitely serviceable.

The problem I’ve had with her character is the problem I have with every (mostly female) protagonist in horror flicks. She is just overly capable and lucky to the point of being extremely unrealistic. And especially how she killed the shark in the end seemed just way too implausible and convenient. That entire third act did have giant blockbuster sensibilities to it, something that the movie usually stayed away from earlier.

The Shallows is such a good movie that is flawed, but mostly really satisfying for some obvious reasons. One is its fun nature. The film is so thrilling and so entertaining that I was enthralled from start to finish and its short running time definitely came to an end really quickly for me.

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The Shallows Movie Review………………………………………………………………………

Its technical aspects are also exceptionally strong. The film is well acted and really well directed, but also very well paced and structured. The cinematography is fantastic with excellent action sequences with great camera movements. The scenery is gorgeous and some of the imagery is highly memorable with the whale carcass immediately springing to mind.

And that brings me to my next point. The movie manages to have really interesting imagery and animals in it. Not only do we have the dead whale in it, but also dolphins and of course that jellyfish sequence is really intriguing. But the standout is naturally Steven who is such an endearing and memorable seagull. He is so good and serves as such a great companion to Nancy that he really is such a fantastic supporting character in his own right. I loved everything about him and every scene of his was the highlight for me.

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The Shallows Movie Review………………………………………………………………………

The Shallows is unrealistic for having that unnecessary action near the end, but also for having one shark chase Nancy for such a large portion of time. That was very unrealistic and the shark behavior here is so wrongly portrayed. But this is still a horror movie and a blockbuster for the most part which is why those things can be forgiven. It is mostly a really fun and incredibly well crafted movie that I enjoyed it immensely and found it to be stupendous in almost every way.

The Shallows is unrealistic in its shark behavior and especially in its heroine being typically overly capable/lucky, but the movie is so well crafted, edited, acted and executed with some highly memorable imagery, such a superb supporting character in Steven seagull and a good backstory to the main character. It manages to transcend its derivative storyline thanks to all of those reasons, leading to such a highly satisfying, stupendous and thoroughly entertaining ride.

My Rating – 4

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Sabotage (1936)

Sabotage Movie Review…………………………………………………………………..

Sabotage Movie Review

Sabotage is a 1936 thriller spy film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Sylvia Sidney and Oskar Homolka. It is one of the weakest entries in the director’s filmography.

 

It follows an agent who hides a time bomb in a delivery package to blow up London. Not only is the execution of this plot mediocre, but the story itself is never memorable or intriguing at all. I just was never invested in it. It isn’t a boring movie per say, but it also isn’t particularly involving and it is never riveting.

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Wilful destruction of buildings or machinery
with the object of alarming a group of persons or inspiring public uneasiness
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Sabotage Movie Review…………………………………………………………………..

The spy elements here were quite boring and standard and the thriller elements were lacking to the point of this basically being a spy flick, way more so than a thriller. I was so disappointed by the choice to not have any signature intense scenes that we have come to expect from the master of suspense.

 

All of the characters here are quite forgettable. Neither of them stands out and I only liked Mrs. Verloc as she was the most interesting and most relatable character. And Sylvia Sidney also is the best actor and easily gave the finest performance. The choice to kill Stevie was incredibly unnecessary and that sequence was ultimately so subpar when it should have easily been the highlight of the movie.

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Sabotage Movie Review…………………………………………………………………..

Sabotage is definitely well filmed and it has some very interesting scenes. The cinema setting in particular was great for me and I just loved the inclusion of the Silly SymphonyWho Killed Cock Robin?‘ as that not only warmed my heart, but was also clever as it fitted thematically to the story.

 

Sabotage is solidly scored, but never original at all in its story or characters. And the tone is also odd as it feels comedic at times while mostly being serious and it never strikes the balance. The film is well paced and it has just the right amount of running time and doesn’t feel short. But it never has any momentum to it and not even the ending felt big. That was weird for the director as even his worst movies (‘Murder!) have that suspenseful and memorable ending, but here that was unfortunately lacking. But it isn’t a bad movie, it is perfectly okay. It’s just that comparing it to other 1930s Hitchcock films, it is easily one of the weakest.

Sabotage is well made and it has some quite interesting scenes in it, but it is mostly lacking in terms of suspense, the plot is neither memorable nor authentic, the characters are forgettable and it is so uneventful and never particularly riveting. It is very weak and oddly not suspenseful for the master of suspense.

My Rating – 3

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