Unbreakable (2000)

Unbreakable Movie Review

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Unbreakable Movie Review

Unbreakable is a 2000 superhero thriller film directed by M. Night Shyamalan and starring Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson and Robin Wright. It is a mediocrity.

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Do you know what the scariest thing is?

To not know your place in this world, to not know why you’re here.

That’s… that’s just an awful feeling

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Unbreakable Movie Review

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I really disliked this movie and it is the director’s most overrated films that thankfully never reached more than its mild cult status. The plot is such a mish-mash of ideas bundled together into an incoherent mess that it thoroughly annoyed me. I guess I am frustrated by superhero movies pretending to be something they are not and this one is certainly guilty of that.
It is some sort of a superhero film, but it also tries to be a drama and a thriller and it fails miserably in every one of those genres and tones. Yes, it is that weak. The story certainly had potential, but it was ruined by awful execution, bland characters and one of the most obvious twist endings ever.
The characters are so bland and dull that they got on my nerves. The performances are solid, but Jackson’s character is an obvious villain from the start, the wife is boring and the main character is entirely forgettable and almost like a non-existent entity and a shell of a person. The romantic scenes were thoroughly unnecessary and they just plodded an otherwise boring and slow movie.

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Unbreakable Movie Review

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Yes, Unbreakable is so slow that it bored me to death. Nothing ever happens in the first half and whenever it tries to be serious, it just manages to bore. It is a pretentious mess for which Shyamalan is certainly the one to blame as the script and dialogue are admittedly okay. I was bored and frustrated immensely by this movie and it is one of the worst films I’ve seen recently.

Unbreakable had potential as the premise and dialogue are admittedly okay, but the characters are ridiculously bland and dull, its twist ending is beyond obvious and it is such a pretentious and thoroughly unsuccessful mix of genres which was very slow and extremely boring to watch.

My Rating – 2.5

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Split (2017)

Split Movie Review

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Split Movie Review

Split is a 2017 thriller horror film directed M. Night Shyamalan and starring James McAvoy and Anya Taylor-Joy. It is such a stupendously good horror flick.

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The broken are the more evolved

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Split Movie Review

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It follows a man with a multiple personality disorder (he has 23 personalities and a potential 24th) who kidnaps and imprisons three teenage girls in an underground facility. The plot is pretty good and actually very original. This disorder is tailor-made for the horror genre and I am glad that Shayamalan realized that and made such a good use of it.

I thought the first half was excellent, very intriguing and quite suspenseful. I really liked all the different scenarios and it was a lot of fun watching all those different personalities emerge. However, the second half disappointed me. I did like the ending as it connected this movie with ‘Unbreakable’ so well and left a lot of room for a possible sequel to both movies. But what I didn’t like is the film’s refusal to show us the other personalities and not just the eight or so out of 24. That was a missed opportunity.

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Split Movie Review

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I also didn’t like some of the typical horror trappings that prevailed in the third act. Of course the protagonist survives and she was the toughest physically of the three and the other two girls were typical disposable teenagers so they had to die. I also disliked those flashbacks as they were kind of pointless.

So the girls I disliked more or less and that old lady psychologist was also frustrating because she was too much of an idiot and I really didn’t want her to die. But Kevin is great and he more than made up for the troublesome female characters. Such a fascinating character, so well established and developed. Of those different personalities, Hedwig is the most memorable and of course The Beast was quite menacing.

James McAvoy gave one of the year’s finest performances in Split. He is absolutely fantastic and again proves how hugely underrated and talented he is. He sold every single personality here and was believable in every single one of these roles. He killed it in such a difficult, multiple-part performance and is the standout of the whole movie. I also liked Anya Taylor-Joy here, but she was much weaker than him for sure.

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Split Movie Review

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So Split is pretty well directed and is actually my favourite of the director’s films. The dialogue is solid and the film deals with a lot of interesting issues and even though it doesn’t quite manage to explore all of them, it still provides for a rich, intriguing and clever experience. It succeeds as a pretty good thriller and it is even more so a thriller than a horror as the second half really didn’t feature enough scares, but at least the first one had some pretty atmospheric scenes. It doesn’t quite utilize on this winner premise to the fullest degree, but it succeeds more often than not and it was mostly a pretty satisfactory little film.

Split definitely is a missed opportunity in its second half as it doesn’t showcase more of those 23 personalities plus it suffers from some typical horror trappings there, but the first half is very good and the ending is quite interesting. The premise is amazing and the main character is so fascinating plus the movie deals with some interesting issues. But the biggest reason to see it lies in James McAvoy’s performance which is absolutely fantastic and he crushed it in such a demanding role, proving how talented and underrated he is in the process.

My Rating – 4

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Spellbound (1945)

Spellbound Movie Review…………………………………………………..

Spellbound Movie Review

Spellbound is a 1945 noir mystery thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Gregory Peck and Ingrid Bergman. It is a pretty good, interesting Hitchcock experiment.

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Women make the best psychoanalysts until they fall in love.

After that they make the best patients

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Spellbound Movie Review…………………………………………………..

Now I have read that Hitchcock himself dissed the movie decades later and truly the film isn’t a favorite nowadays. But I disagree with that notion. It is certainly far from his best works and it isn’t a great film, but it is still a pretty good film which is pretty on par with most of his other 40s efforts.

The movie is criticized for being dated, but to me the film is pleasantly old-fashioned in its approach and I loved personally the emphasis on traditional mystery and a strong reliance on psychology. Whether or not the film is scientifically accurate is a non-issue as movies, especially thrillers, aren’t supposed to be scientifically correct. I personally really liked the theme of psychoanalysis here and it was very well explored and even fascinating to hear about.

The film is a bit too cozy and less ambitious and dangerous than his usual fare, but that meant that it was original and different. The mystery is so well established and I loved the path to untangling it. It is a well written, mysterious and atmospheric film that works great as a noir mystery with some good thriller elements.

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Spellbound Movie Review…………………………………………………..

There are three highlights here. One is the dream sequence done by Salvador Dali. That was of course authentic and unforgettable visually. Another is of course the childhood flashback which is beautiful and such a great, important moment. And the third is that ending with the gunshot being fired at the audience being very inventive.

Gregory Peck is very good in Spellbound, but Ingrid Bergman is the standout here. She gave such a strong, subtle performance and she should have been nominated for her work here. She plays such a strong female character who is a doctor and who eventually saves her man. That is why the film is not sexist as some remarked, but rather opposite than that and modern.

Spellbound has some evident problems. One is the pacing which is at times slow. The entire first half should have been trimmed down a bit and some scenes are too slow and even dull. I also didn’t quite follow the murder storyline quite as well as the childhood drama one. It was a bit too convoluted.

But other than that, it is a very good film. One of the character highlights is Alex Brulov played so well by Michael Chekhov. His somewhat sexist and full of himself character was a lot of fun and he made me laugh a couple of times.

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Spellbound Movie Review…………………………………………………..

The film features very strong dialogue. Some of it wasn’t as great, but most of the conversations and discussions were very interesting and even fascinating in subject. The film has such an interesting psychological, dreamlike quality to it emphasized by gorgeous cinematography and many excellent shots and beautifully constructed sequences. Hitch’s direction is very strong here. The film isn’t as good as ‘Lifeboat’ or ‘Shadow of a Doubt‘, but it is better than overrated ‘Foreign Correspondent’ and it is a very underrated 40s effort from the director.

Spellbound is sometimes too convoluted and it drags in some scenes, but it is mostly a very intriguing, different kind of noir mystery with a strong emphasis on psychology. Gregory Peck and Ingrid Bergman are an excellent pair here with her in particular delivering a very strong performance. The film is intriguingly dreamlike in quality fueled by gorgeous cinematography and a couple of unforgettable sequences such as the gunshot ending, the childhood flashback and a weird dream scene done by Salvador Dali. It is a pretty underrated Hitchcock film.

My Rating – 4

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Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

Shadow of a Doubt Movie Review

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Shadow of a Doubt Movie Review

Shadow of a Doubt is a 1943 psychological thriller noir film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Teresa Wright and Joseph Cotten. It is such a flawed, yet respectable movie.

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He thought the world was a horrible place.

He couldn’t have been very happy, ever.

He didn’t trust people. Seemed to hate them.

He hated the whole world. You know,

he said people like us had no idea what the world was really like

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Shadow of a Doubt Movie Review

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It is about a teenage girl who learns that her uncle who has just come to visit their family is actually a murderer. This plot is quite standard and there is nothing truly original here. The same goes for some of its execution, mostly the first half. I just knew everything that would happen as the story is predictable and you know from the start that he is the criminal.
But still that aspect of the darkness lurking beneath the light is quite fascinating here. The movie is incredibly dark and that is why it is probably the only noir film from Hitchcock, a sort of noir as it has some of those elements for sure. This idyllic little town seems great at first, but then we witness how seedy some of its parts are and of course we realize that the man who seemed wonderful and kind at first is actually a cold, calculated killer.
I liked his character quite a bit and I honestly liked Charlie too. She was a bit too naive and good-natured, but that perfectly clashed with her uncle’s personality and all of the scenes between the two are terrific. I loved the final scene in the movie as it showcases how despite everything some people just cannot stop loving their relatives and I really liked the ultimately positive look on life that was present in that final line.

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Shadow of a Doubt Movie Review

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As for the other characters, they are solid, but overly abundant. I liked her bookworm sister, quite funny at times. The mother is also memorable and of course Charlie’s love interest is quite likable and the two are wonderful together. As for those two men constantly talking about possible murder methods, I do not know what to think of these two. Their conversations fit the story of the film and they are quite a fun, goofy duo, but they seemed too comedic and I do not know if this movie needed two full comic reliefs.
Shadow of a Doubt is really well acted with Joseph Cotten delivering such a strong performance. I am glad that they haven’t chosen William Powell. I love him to death, but he isn’t suited for this role and Cotten is. As for Teresa Wright, she was always such an underrated actress whom I loved here. She gave a strong performance and was immensely charming and beautiful.

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Shadow of a Doubt Movie Review

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Hitchcock directed this movie really well. It truly is one of his better films from this period, but to me not one of the best. I really do think that it should have been shorter in length and some scenes were overly extended. The film is really well edited despite the first half. It took too much take to get there. And of course that train scene was awfully convenient and rushed. But despite those flaws, it is still such a well shot, directed and made movie which also features excellent dialogue and some memorable scenes with the library sequence being beautifully shot and so atmospheric. The film is thrilling despite its predictable nature.

Shadow of a Doubt is definitely too predictable in plot, it takes its time to get ther owing to a slow start plus the train sequence is rushed and awfully convenient. However, the story is pretty well told, the characters are memorable and really well developed, I really liked its interesting themes, the cinematography is gorgeous and some scenes are very memorable and so well conceived. Teresa Wright and Joseph Cotten are also phenomenal. It is in the a very good film, but I do not share Hitchcock’s sentiments as it isn’t my favorite movie of his, not by a long shot.

My Rating – 4

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Lifeboat (1944)

Lifeboat Movie Review

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Lifeboat Movie Review

Lifeboat is a 1944 thriller drama film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Tallulah Bankhead among others. It is such an underrated Hitch entertainer.

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Dying together’s even more personal than living together

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Lifeboat Movie Review……………………………………………………

It is set on a lifeboat which contains survivers from a sinking ship during a naval attack in World War II. One of the people on the boat is German so the conflict naturally arises. This is one of those limited space movies and Hitchcock’s take on it is quite inspired which was expected from his caliber. The movie is consistently engaging and works as a great chamber drama while also being a triller.
The character development is quite stupendous. Some characters are weaker and less interesting such as Alice and Hume, but others such as Ritt and Gus are quite memorable. But of course Kovac and Connie are the standouts and I just loved their dynamic. The movie is surprisingly sensual for a Hitchcock film. She is such a great character, very competent and complex, fuelled by Tallulah Bankhead’s absolutely terrific performance. She should have been Oscar nominated for this role in my opinion.

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Lifeboat Movie Review

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There is one problem in Lifeboat and that is its treatment of Germans. I realize that it was pretty different and even too positive for that time, but for now not so much. Willi is too much of a villain here and it is totally ridiculous that anyone on a boat surrounded by Americans would think he has a chance against them. I did not like that at all. Gus’s murder raised the stakes, but it was still unnecessary and I felt bad for him.
But there is one person that is suprisingly for its time very well treated here and that’s Joe. Yes, Hitchcock was obviously not a racist for including this character. Joe is very likable and sympathetic and the rest of the group treat him nicely and with respect. It is great seeing a black character portrayed in such a wonderful manner during the 40s.

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Lifeboat Movie Review

 

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I liked almost all of its parts. Some scenes in Lifeboat were less interesting than the others, but most of them are very engaging thanks in large part to such excellent characterization and superb dialogue. I loved the dynamic between the group and they honestly felt like such a wonderful group of people. I liked the ending and to me the humor, especially with Connie, is excellent. It needed more thriller elements, but as a drama Lifeboat excels.
Lifeboat is one of the most underrated Hitchcock films. Yes, it may be unrealistic at times and some characters and scenes are less interesting than the others, but it benefits from very strong acting (Tallulah Bankhead is so good here), a terrific set of characters and an intriguing drama and dilemmas brewing between those well-rounded characters. It is also authentic in its setting meaning that not many films of the era revolve on the boat. It is flawed, but it’s an entirely involving, very good and an unfortunately forgotten film from the master of suspense.

My Rating – 4

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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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