The Shop on Main Street (1965)

The Shop on Main Street Movie Reeview…………………………………………………….

The Shop on Main Street Movie Review

The Shop on Main Street is a 1965 Czechoslovak war drama film directed by Elmar Klos and starring Ida Kaminska and Jozef Kroner. It is such a good Oscar winning film.

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I’m your Aryan and you’re my Jewess… understand?

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The Shop on Main Street Movie Review…………………………………………………….

It is about the Aryanization program during World War Ii in Slovakia. The plot is in my opinion very strong, but not as well told. Let me explain. It has way too many characters and a clear lack of focus as it shifts from one supporting character to the other and only around the half of the movie starts the real story and the most important one.

I really liked the scenes between the protagonist and his wife, but of course the major strength of the film lies in its third act where he is conflicted whether or not to hide or expose an old Jew lady to the authorities because he would otherwise be proclaimed a Jew-lover. Those last moments were so dramatic, so difficult to watch and heartbreaking that they stay with you after you’ve seen it.

The Shop on Main Street is of course stupendously well acted. It was nice seeing that Ida Kaminska was nominated for Best Actress at the Academy Awards for a Slovak film as that would never happen these days. And she deserved it as she was magnificent here. But Jozef Kroner is very good as well in a very difficult main role. I liked his character a lot as he was sympathetic and I liked his wife, some of the scenes between the two were very charming. But other characters are all forgettable and not well used in the story unfortunately.

The Shop on Main Street is very well directed and very well scored. The score is repetitive, but definitely memorable. Some of the shots are marvelous and I really liked the fantastical sequences too. Those were quite memorable with their white coloring. The same goes for the romantic scenes which are wonderful.

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The Shop on Main Street Movie Review…………………………………………………….

The editing is not good as some scenes are prolonged and the film doesn’t run smoothly. But even though it could have been much better executed as a whole, it is still a very good, respectable film that deserved its Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film for sure. It is also one of the better films of a very weak year for film.

The Shop on Main Street isn’t well paced and it lacks focus as there are too many characters and subplots in it, but the film is otherwise very strong not only in score which is good, acting which is terrific and cinematography which is quite polished, but also in its main characters, some very charming scenes and the third act which is very dramatic, unforgettable and quite heartbreaking leading to one of the better war dramas.

My Rating – 4

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Rogue One (2016)

Rogue One Movie Review…………………………………………………

Rogue One Movie Review

Rogue One is a 2016 science fiction action film directed by Gareth Edwards and starring Felicity Jones, Diego Luna and Donnie Yen among others. It is the first film in the Star Wars anthology series and is overall very disappointing.

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I’m one with the Force, and the Force is with me.

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Rogue One Movie Review…………………………………………………

It follows Jyn Erso, the daughter of a man who designed the Death Star, and her quest to retrieve his plans for destroying it. Now, the story itself is the problem here as it is overly simplistic and of course it demanded so much action which we unfortunately got in abundance. The story is not only overly simplistic, but sometimes even quite weakly crafted and not to mention very slim as a whole. The action comes first in this movie and that was a big disappointment.

Now I really liked the first half of Rogue One. Actually, I loved it and I’ve had such a fun time watching it. It was not only entertaining, but also very well made, sometimes even funny and genuinely adventurous and involving. But that all changed in the second half which became everything but. Suddenly the story was sidetracked for action and it was non-stop action after action to the point that I became honestly very bored with the whole affair. It was overloud, overly bombastic and almost seeming like a video game. There is way too much war in it.

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Rogue One Movie Review…………………………………………………

Let’s talk about the characters. As a team, I really liked them and in fact, they served great as a team and the dynamic was excellent. However, each of them fails individually as none of them feels like a well developed, real individual, but rather as shallow figure that serves to the story instead of the other way around.

Jyn Erso isn’t as annoying as she was in the trailer, but she was still quite weakly developed and forgettable. Her becoming a leader of the rebellion really wasn’t well handled and it felt rushed. Cassian had his moments, but was overall not memorable. Bodhi and Baze are both very underutilized and Saw Gerrera was very problematic. His relationship with Erso was important here as it was accentuated a lot, but here you have a great example of Hollywood failing at emotion. You have a scene with the two of them reuniting and crying and it was all supposed to be very emotional, but I was just never moved at all because I don’t know these people as the film failed to establish them as proper human beings and not just as toys that serve the story.

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Rogue One Movie Review…………………………………………………

The villains I found to be really good and some were quite menacing and strong. Vader was very well used in his two sequences and Erso’s father had some excellent moments too. But I was so disappointed with their treatment of Chirrut. Here they got a really cool, badass character and they just used his action skills in a couple of scenes and that’s it. Tremendously disappointing. Really the characterization is super weak here which is my major gripe with the movie and the reason why ‘The Force Awakens’ was a better film.

The acting is, on the other hand, very strong. This was obviously Political Correctness 101 as there isn’t a single white man in the team, but that didn’t bother me, it only bothered me that they were weak as characters. But the actors did a really good job. Felicity Jones is quite good, although her American accent isn’t the greatest and is sometimes noticeable. Mads Mikkelsen and Forest Whitaker sold their emotional scenes with very good performances and of course the presence of Donnie Yen is always welcome.

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Rogue One Movie Review…………………………………………………

Donnie Yen is actually quite funny in this movie as is K-2SO. He is a very solid robot who is actually one of the series’ best – very funny and very likable. But unfortunately, only those two provided the humor and just rarely. The film was otherwise too serious. Now the action is overwhelming, but is actually very well executed undoubtedly. And of course the special effects are terrific. This is one of the year’s best looking movies and everything looks great from the scenery to the weapons to even the CGI of some of the characters. It was crazy to me that Tarkin was a giant effect and not a real person as the actor had died a long time ago. Really groundbreaking effects right there. The sound effects are too loud, but the score is really good and its theme that was repeated throughout was actually great.

The special effects are excellent, the score is terrific and the acting is very good in Rogue One as is its first half which is so great, sometimes even funny and genuinely entertaining and well made, but the second half is so weak with non-stop action after action that bored me to death. But the reason why ‘The Force Awakens’ was better lies in the characters as this movie has surprisingly weak character development and here you have a textbook example of where Hollywood usually fails – you have these big emotional scenes and you are supposed to be moved, but I just wasn’t as I don’t know these people as they aren’t developed as genuine human beings but rather as tools in service to the story. So disappointing.

My Rating – 3.5

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Hacksaw Ridge (2016)

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………………

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge is a 2016 war biopic directed by Mel Gibson and starring Andrew Garfield. It is one of the year’s best films and the biggest, most pleasant surprise.

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I don’t know how I’m going to live with myself if I don’t stay true to what I believe

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Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………………

It follows an American pacifist combat medic who refuses to carry or use weapons of any kind to stay true to his faith and eventually saves more than fifty wounded people by carrying them himself and thus becoming a hero. This is one of those old-fashioned movies that could have come out during the fifties, but that here is a good thing as rarely today do we get great war movies as well as religious pictures.

This one succeeds at both of those fronts. It is such a strongly spiritual movie that I was just blown away at how emotional and powerful it is, yet understated and never sensationalized. This is probably one of the most spiritual movies that I have ever seen. But it succeeds as a war picture too because the action is terrific along with the technical aspects and the film perfectly transports you to the action and helps you realize the suffering as well as the bravery of the soldiers there. So good.

It also succeeds as a biopic as it tells you everything you need to know about Desmond Doss without ever making the whole affair sappy or overly sentimental. He is an important person in history and I am glad that he got the movie treatment and such a great one at that. He is one of the most admirable and purely good men who ever lived and a role model for everyone.

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Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………………

The other characters are pretty good as well. I really like Smitty and following their rivalry and eventual friendship was emotionally rewarding, yet realistically portrayed. Sergeant Howell is also pretty good, albeit the character we’ve seen before and done better in ‘Full Metal Jacket’. Vince Vaughn is solid and Luke Bracey is so good in this minor, but important role. Hugo Weaving as the father is also terrific and Teresa Palmer as his girlfriend is quite solid. I wanted more from their relationship in the second half, but the first half, although traditional, was still romantic and well done.

But Andrew Garfield is just fantastic in the main role. He was always believable and not only is his Southern accent strong, but he sold even the most difficult and emotionally exhilarating moments beautifully. It was a difficult role and he got a lot of screen time, but he excelled in it and gave his best performance yet and quite probably the best male performance of the year.

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Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………………

Now Hacksaw Ridge isn’t perfect. I wanted more of a closure in its third act. I absolutely loved the interviews of real Desmond Doss, that felt authentic and fitting. But I still wanted more of a fitting finale to this story as the film just sort of ended. It was abrupt. And the second problem is the action which felt highly exaggerated in violence at times. I know that is necessary for a war flick, but it still felt overly gory and violent in a couple of disgusting scenes.

But the action is overall very good and again the film transports you well into the battle arena. The film is technically polished and not only well edited, but also stupendously well shot. It is one of the best shot films of the year with some highly memorable and authentic imagery. But the direction from Mel Gibson is also one of the year’s best, so strong and so professional and I am glad that he is back with this movie in a big way as he deserves it. He showed what a knack for traditional storytelling he has one more time.

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Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………………

So Hacksaw Ridge definitely deserved all of those nominations that it received and it is one of the year’s best films for sure. It is also one of the better war films that I have seen which says a lot. But what says the most about its quality is that I liked this movie so much despite being bored personally by World War II flicks. But here he found a new, previously not that well explored angle and brought us a fresh WW2 picture which is a huge accomplishment.

Hacksaw Ridge is the most pleasant surprise of 2016. It is overly violent at times and the conclusion needed more closure, but other than that, this is one of the best films of the year and one of the better war films that I have ever seen because Gibson found a new, previously unexplored angle to a regular war picture. His direction is fantastic, the film looks gorgeous, it is emotional and always understated, it is very spiritual and it features one of the best performances of the year from Andrew Garfield who was just phenomenal here.

My Rating – 4.5

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The Big Parade (1925)

The Big Parade Movie Review…………………………………………………………………..

The Big Parade Movie Review

The Big Parade is a 1925 World War I film directed by King Vidor and starring John Gilbert. It is a very good, respectable silent film.

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I don’t understand a word you say…

but I know what you mean.

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The Big Parade Movie Review…………………………………………………………………..

The film is about an idle rich boy who joins the US Army’s Rainbow Division and is sent to France to fight in World War I. He becomes a friend of two working class men, experiences the horrors of trench warfare and falls in love with a French girl despite the two not speaking the same language. The plot is quite strong and I of course always respect a war film that is strongly anti-war in its sensibilities and message.

I loved its romantic as well as comedic elements, but I have to say that the film felt weakly structured and too much different in styles and tones. It starts off comedic then goes romantic than dramatic and then action-oriented with war elements. The action sequences are stellar, but not as involving as these other elements are.

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The Big Parade Movie Review…………………………………………………………………..

The highlight is the romance. The character development could have been stronger, but the acting is quite strong with John Gilbert being superb and Renee Adoree being quite endearing. The two are so charming together, so wonderful that they perfectly lift those scenes to even greater heights as they were already beautifully conceived. The scene in which they sit together and laugh warmed my heart and I loved it so much.

The Big Parade is of course well directed by King Vidor and he is naturally such a great director, but I found the film to be a bit too long and not as engaging as it needed to have been. It wasn’t boring, but just not as involving as I hoped. The editing is fine, but I would have cut off some scenes as they weren’t necessary to the overall picture.

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The Big Parade Movie Review…………………………………………………………………..

I just loved the visuals in the film. It was beautifully shot with terrific camera movements and absolutely gorgeous scenery at times. I loved the imagery of war and of course parades and various large groups of soldiers. Those were terrific. But once again, those more intimate, rustic sequences were the standout ones, so charming, wonderful and heartwarming and so well shot and constructed. The use of intertitles is also very strong and they use just the right amount of dialogue. The score in the version I’ve seen was great, but again the visuals were the highlights, so polished and crisp. It made the experience much more enjoyable. The film is overall flawed, yet very good with a timeless quality to it as it aged remarkably well. It needs to be seen by everyone being one of the better films about the much less popular of the two World Wars.

The Big Parade is overlong, not entirely involving and sometimes not as well constructed, but it is a very good anti-war film with excellent action sequences, beautiful cinematography with some wonderful imagery and excellent direction and acting. But the highlights were those romantic scenes which were heartwarming, funny and immensely charming.

My Rating – 4

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Underground (1995)

Underground Movie Review……………………………………………………………….

Underground Movie Review

Underground is a 1995 comedy drama film directed by Emir Kusturica and starring Miki Manojlovic, Lazar Ristovski and Mirjana Jokovic. It is a pretty solid, yet overrated movie.

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Once upon a time… there was a country…

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Underground Movie Review……………………………………………………………….

Underground (or Podzemlje in Serbian) follows an epic story between two friends and it follows Yugoslav history from the beginning of World War II until the beginning of Yugoslav Wars. With this movie, my opinion of Kusturica continues to be the same – he is an incredibly talented filmmaker and even an artist, but he just couldn’t quite make a movie work as a whole. Underground is impressive in its ambition, but that also proved to be its downfall as he just couldn’t realize the whole movie in the best way. The result is a film that is sometimes quite inspired and even artistic, but sometimes quite excessive and ridiculous.

I liked the characters and although they were too crazy, at least they were memorable. Ivan is too goofy, yet very likable. Natalija is unlikable, but well developed. And Petar and Marko are over-the-top, but certainly memorable. The performances here are very good with Lazar Ristovski and Miki Manojlovic delivering the best ones.

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Underground Movie Review……………………………………………………………….

Now, as I said before, Underground is just overly excessive in its ridiculousness. That is why its success as a black comedy is questionable and it succeeds much more as an epic war drama. Some of its over-the-top craziness was fun and some scenes definitely made me laugh and were one of the kind, but most were too silly and just too much.

But the film is worth seeing and experiencing for a couple of sequences that are just jaw-dropping in their beauty and authenticity. For one, the character’s realization when out of the bunker that Yugoslavia is no more was just heartbreaking to witness as you could see the sadness in his eyes. That scene was beyond tragic and unforgettable. I loved the first scenes of the movie at the zoo as they perfectly hooked me in the story. I really liked those crazy sex scenes. And of course I loved its imaginative ending which was just beautiful to behold. Watching all of the friends and family, both living and dead, on some sort of separated island celebrate a wedding was emotional and actually a very original, fittingly surreal way to end the film.

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Underground Movie Review……………………………………………………………….

Underground is more style over substance, but what style this is. Of course the pacing isn’t great as the film is very long and it is difficult to edit plus his first cut was even longer, but his direction is very good and sometimes quite inspired plus the acting is excellent. I loved the cinematography here as some shots were brilliant and some of the imagery was unforgettable and very authentic. There are actually a lot of the scenes that are memorable here and that is why the film succeeds. It is very diverse, different and crazy that it stays with you. The emotion is strong and although I would have strengthened the relationships between the characters more, they were still fine and the film is very ambitious in presenting the history of the country through decades using quite memorable historical footage. I also found its dialogue to be very good, excessive once again, but memorable and sometimes very realistic with a couple of hilarious lines. All in all, it is overrated and not the director’s best, but still a solid and ambitious, if not entirely successful experiment.

Underground is style over substance and Kusturica was too much influenced by Fellini. The direction is strong, the acting is also very good, some of the scenery and shots are unforgettable and the film is admirably ambitious, but its ambition was also its downfall as it is a very uneven work with some inspired and even artistic scenes, but many too ridiculous and over-the-top moments. Because the film is so epic, ambitious and sometimes unforgettable in a couple of very authentic sequences, it succeeds, but it is still uneven, flawed, too excessive and frankly overrated.

My Rating – 3.5

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The Great Escape (1963)

The Great Escape Movie Review…………………………………………………………

The Great Escape Movie Review

The Great Escape is a 1963 war film directed by John Sturges and starring Steve McQueen. It is such an overrated, overblown movie.

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I haven’t seen Berlin yet, from the ground or from the air,

and I plan on doing both before the war is over.

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The Great Escape Movie Review…………………………………………………………

Yes, this is one of the most overrated movies I’ve seen recently. It is supposedly one of the greatest films of 1963 and yet it ended up being one of the weakest in a very weak year for film in the first place. It is about 50 POWs who escape from the war camp during World War II. It is fictional in many of its details and people, yet this really happened so basically it mixes fiction and reality.

Now, the major problem here is that the film is overly reliant on action. Basically the entire second half is one giant action sequence and that bored me to death. I like war movies that are more in the drama category and this one is representative of the worst tendencies of war pictures.

Another problem is the first half which is too light and comedic and just slow. Owing to its two tonally different halves, the film is very uneven and odd in its structure. But it is always tedious, from beginning to end, and rarely have I been bored as much as during this movie. The running time is so overblown and it desperately wants to be the next epic classic and it just isn’t and it never will be in my opinion.

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The Great Escape Movie Review…………………………………………………………

Now The Great Escape is obviously very well made. Some of its humor is quite solid and the action, although overwhelming, is well executed. The acting is very good and Steve McQueen is memorable in the lead role. The direction is not the greatest and the pacing is of course very bad, but the film looks good as the cinematography is fine and the overall attention to detail are evident. But if it was half the length that it ended up being, it would have been much more entertaining and maybe even a classic that it desperately wanted to be. But this way it ended up being one giant, overrated bore.

The Great Escape is obviously well made, sometimes interesting and well acted, but the film is structurally odd as it is very different in its two halves – the action is boring and overwhelming in the second half whereas the first half is slow and dull. It is one of those war movies that rely on action instead of drama and its running time is overblown beyond a shadow of a doubt. All in all, it is one giant overrated snoozefest.

My Rating – 3

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Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Captain America: The First Avenger Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

Captain America: The First Avenger Review

Captain America: The First Avenger is a 2011 superhero war movie directed by Joe Johnston and starring Chris Evans. It is the fifth entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

This film is Captain America’s origin story and it follows him fighting in World War II and then it closes off with him joining the Avengers team in the present. Now obviously this is a highly typical origin story seen countless times before. Beat by beat, you know everything that is going to happen here and nothing is ever surprising or new.

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Whatever happens tomorrow you must promise

me one thing – that you will stay who you are.

Not a perfect soldier, but a good man.

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Captain America: The First Avenger Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

But I have to say that the film is so well made and technically well put together that it wasn’t boring watching this typical story that easily could have been very dull. I liked how it introduced us to this character and how it tied into the MCU as a whole with that ending which was solid. I absolutely adored that it was a period piece and to me they brought forties to life beautifully and it was particularly memorable watching it just for that reason alone. It was a different time period than what is usual for Marvel and that made it intriguing.

I liked Steve Rogers quite a bit here. Though bland and typical, I admired what he represents and there are some really good messages and lines in this movie concerning true heroes. Red Skull is never as weak as most of Marvel villains are as he posed some solid threat here and there, but his goal and overall characterization was way too cartoony and familiar. Bucky Barnes is solidly introduced here, though I admittedly never cared for him that much. But Peggy Carter is easily my favorite character in this movie. She is never too much of a feminist despite somewhat being written that way, but I liked how strong of a female character she is, both physically and emotionally, and I loved most of her scenes as well as the relationship between the two.

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Captain America: The First Avenger Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

Captain America: The First Avenger is the weakest film in the character’s trilogy as both ‘The Winter Soldier’ and ‘Civil War’ are much better and much more memorable movies. That is the biggest offender here – the film is just forgettable and you easily forget it once you’ve watched it. It is the worst quality a movie could have.

But it also has infuriatingly weak action that really hurt it in the long run. For a superhero movie, action is incredibly important and you have to nail it in order for it to work. But here it is uninspired and frankly boring. Some of the earlier sequences are fine, but the entire second half is never as entertaining as the first one and that is mainly owing to that dull action and war sequences which are never exciting and the fights aren’t that well executed.

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Captain America: The First Avenger Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

I definitely enjoyed its first half and despite its problems, it was actually pretty engaging and even charming to watch at times. Its themes and dialogue were solid and I liked some of the imagery here and the costumes and attention to period detail are all good. The score is also solidly retro and the film is pleasantly old-fashioned, but it is a weaker MCU film for it is too uneven.

Captain America: The First Avenger is very well made with a different and interesting time period for Marvel, solid characters, some very good lines, a solid villain and the first half is very entertaining, but the second half is boring and the film is ultimately a forgettable MCU entry owing to its typical origin story and very uninspired action sequences.

My Rating – 3.5

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Momotaro’s Divine Sea Warriors (1945)

Momotaro's Divine Sea Warriors Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

Momotaro’s Divine Sea Warriors Movie Review

Momotaro’s Divine Sea Warriors is a 1945 anime film directed by Mitsuyo Seyo that is the first ever anime feature. It is technically fine, yet troublesome in plot.

Yes, the plot here is very problematic and not just for the obvious reasons. But let’s state the obvious. This is a shameless propaganda movie and its anti-American and anti-west sentiments are so emphasized that it was painful to watch. It was just straight propaganda. The ending in particular is just unbelievable. How they depicted and drew Americans is so crazy and offensive, but having in mind the bad state between the two countries at the time, it is understandable. But still, this was too much.

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Tomorrow, the final page will be turned in our fight against the enemy

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Momotaro's Divine Sea Warriors Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

However, an even bigger problem for me was its lack of a clear structure. The story is just non-existent and the majority of it is very poorly and oddly edited and structured. When you read the plot afterwards, you realize that the movie does have one. But that isn’t clear while watching it, again owing to that mediocre structure. The entire first half for instance consists of just the scenes of animals being taught how to read and work. It’s only in the second half that the film starts to have a more defined storyline.

The lack of character development also bothered me and none of these characters is remotely memorable or even developed in the slightest. Momotaro himself is such a typical hero type and all of the animals don’t get much to do and they all blend in together as they’re so similar.

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Momotaro's Divine Sea Warriors Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

The score is also solid and the one song that we have here is pretty good and catchy. But the editing is so troublesome, the film is dull and slow, even for its slight running time, and I just found its political aspect overly emphasized and the lack of characterization and strong plot troublesome. It is historically significant, but there isn’t much more to it other than that.

Momotaro’s Divine Sea Warriors is historically significant as the first ever anime film with very good animation and pretty good score, but it is otherwise weak as the plot is lacking, the structure is odd, the character development is very weak and its propaganda approach is overly emphasized. 

My Rating – 3

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Incendies (2010)

Incendies Movie Review……………………………………………………………

Incendies Movie Review

Incendies is a 2010 Canadian mystery drama film directed by Denis Vileneuve and starring Lubna Azal. It is an immensely overrated film.

Incendies follows two Canadian twins who travel to their mother’s native country in the Middle East to uncover her hidden past, tied in with a bloody civil war. This plot is just beyond ordinary, it is so forgettable and we’ve all seen it million times before. I liked that it started off as drama, but it eventually became obsessed with war later on and those war elements were so boring.

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Death is never the end of the story. It always leaves tracks

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Incendies Movie Review…………………………………………………………………..

The film is awfully melodramatic as well. Its plot is hard to buy as it is pretty difficult to happen and too convoluted. The characters are nothing to write home about and all of them are as thin as paper and none of them felt like human beings and that’s a problem when the movie heavily relies on them. The acting is also just passable.

Incendies isn’t a bad film as there isn’t anything truly terrible in it and it’s competently made and looks good, but there isn’t anything truly great or even good in it too. It’s all just such a tiresome, really typical affair that bored me to death. Yes, this is without a doubt the dullest movie I’ve seen in a month, maybe even months as it is just so lifeless and so long and so incredibly boring. Nothing ever happens here that remotely interested me and I was just waiting it to finish the whole time.

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Incendies Movie Review…………………………………………………………………..

I continue to have a problem with Denis Vileneuve. I just don’t understand how his movies got as much recognition as they received. They are so ordinary, so typical and nothing differentiates them from other movies of their genres. But this movie might even be more overrated than ‘Sicario’ if that’s even possible. I gave him my patience and now I’m pretty much done with him and I have no interest in his movies anymore.

Incendies is such an overrated movie that isn’t bad, but isn’t particularly good either. It is such a basic story told in an ordinary way with totally underdeveloped characters and not a single plot point being remotely interesting. I was bored immensely by it and I have no interest in Vileneuve’s work anymore after watching three of his biggest movies which were all to me a giant waste of time. Such an overrated, uninspired director.

My Rating – 3

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Forbidden Games (1952)

Forbidden Games Movie Review………………………………………………………………

Forbidden Games Movie Review

Forbidden Games is a 1952 French war drama film directed by Rene Clement. It is a solid, but ultimately very overrated film.

It is basically about children and how they react to the war by playing cemetery games. It is about children’s innocence and the devastation of war. I respect its themes and it is an endearing film, but I’ve seen this type of film countless times before and here I got nothing new. It is a tired World War II storyline that is pretty ordinary and clichéd.

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Forbidden Games ………………………………………………………………

The biggest problem here is the film’s pacing which is slow and the film’s structure. The film has a pretty good beginning and a great ending, but everything that came in the middle was dragging and frankly just dull. It is obvious why the movie is problematic in that way. It is because it is clearly designed to be a short film, not a feature. And the filmmakers had originally intended it to be a short and it shows. It is just prolonged for the sake of a feature and thus it becomes repetitive and boring.

Michel and Paulette are the two major characters here and they are fantastic. Watching the two of them interact together was just wonderful and they are really adorable children. The movie succeeds mostly just because of them as they are very strong and likable child characters. The same goes for the acting. Georges Poujouly and especially Brigitte Fossey gave superb performances, really commendable for children.

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Forbidden Games Movie Review………………………………………………………………

Forbidden Games is a technically accomplished film. Everything here is really well done. The direction from Rene Clement is strong, the acting is, as I said, very good and the film looks great. The cinematography is excellent and some of the imagery here is quite memorable. The movie is also emotional and devastating in its ending. But the tone is all over the place and the editing is just problematic. The film’s structure is troublesome in that it focuses on children, but also on adults and thus it ended up being uneven and more often than not tedious. It should have just focused on children and it should have been short-length. In the end, Forbidden Games is solid, but overrated.

Forbidden Games is a solid film with excellent child performances, some very endearing moments and the film looks good, but it is overrated as the editing is problematic as is the film’s structure, the entire second act is pretty boring, the plot is ordinary and the film would have been much better had it been a short instead of a feature.

My Rating – 3.5

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