Busy Buddies (1956)

Busy Buddies ReviewBusy Buddies Review

Busy Buddies is a 1956 animated short that is the 100th Tom and Jerry cartoon. It is such a disappointing episode.

The parents go out and leave Jeanie to look after the baby, but she is irresponsible and it is up to Tom and Jerry to do the task themselves. The plot is typical and the babysitter is such a clichéd female character. The problem here is that the film is just not funny and it is never particularly exciting. We’ve seen this before and nothing here is memorable.

The presence of an adult is interesting and I really liked that the duo teamed up here. Of course that ending where the mischievous baby winks to the audience is the highlight and the film does have its moments, but given its premise, it should have been much better executed.

Busy Buddies has a great ending and a somewhat interesting premise, but the humor is lacking and the film also lacks energy in its execution.

My Rating – 3.8

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The Passion of the Christ (2004)

The Passion of the Christ Movie Review…………………………………………………………………….

The Passion of the Christ Movie Review

The Passion of the Christ is a 2004 historical drama film directed by Mel Gibson and starring Jim Caviezel. It is a controversial film that polarized me as well.

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Forgive them, Father. They know not what they do

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The Passion of the Christ Movie Review…………………………………………………………………….

It depicts the last days of Jesus, but mostly focuses on his torture. And there naturally lies a problem. Let me elaborate on this. While I honestly admire the film for showing his torture as in this case it should be showed because it is so important and thus it achieves realism, I still disliked its immense violence and found it to be needless. The film should be violent, but not this violent as it crossed the line for me as was the case with many people.

But the bigger problem is that the film relies too much on that torture and rarely deals with other aspects of the story which is why it is such an oddity. I wouldn’t call it a documentary, but I certainly wouldn’t call it a live-action movie either. His trial and torture should have been emphasized, but the film should have never become just that and thus it lacks in terms of the storytelling, emotion and message.

Yes, The Passion of the Christ is far from a religious movie. And it is certainly not a good thing when you make a movie about Jesus and not make it religious. There are some religious overtones here for sure and they are mostly well handled, but those still came few and far between. It needed a strong message about tolerance and love instead of honestly being too hateful at times. And I never felt anything spiritual in it.

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The Passion of the Christ Movie Review…………………………………………………………………….

The acting is really strong, but I still found the actor choice to be troublesome as both the actor and the characterization felt wrong and too harsh for a man that should be calmer and gentler. But everyone did give a pretty good performance which is commendable as they spoke in dead languages.

And now we come to the best part of this movie, the one that is the most admirable aspect of it and that is its usage of dead languages – Aramaic, Latin and Hebrew. I just adored that as usually bit Hollywood productions like this tend to use English, but this one used the correct languages and it felt all the more real for it.

And surely all of the technical aspects in The Passion are splendid. The photography is really good as are the make-up effects. The costumes are authentic for the time period and the actors felt like real people from that time. The direction from Gibson is expectedly strong and the film is overall really well made.

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The Passion of the Christ Movie Review…………………………………………………………………….

I liked the dialogue in it and the pacing is mostly good, but the flashback structure was frankly clichéd and annoying. It wasn’t a good approach at all. The tone is too hateful instead of being optimistic, at least in its ending. It is a giant hate letter to all mankind, but the emphasis is on the word hate and it never makes a statement or teaches you something. It is a very authentic and sometimes admirable movie, but it is also too violent and too slight to be enjoyed more. It left a polarizing effect on me as I neither hate it nor love it.

The Passion of the Christ is a very polarizing movie. On the one hand, you’ve got awesome technical aspects from the costumes to the acting to the direction and of course the use of original languages is so commendable. On the other hand, you have a movie that is realistic in its violence, but still too violent to the point of being exploitative. But the biggest problem is its hateful tone, a lack of a strong story and the movie’s unwillingness to make a strong statement or to have anything truly spiritual in it as the movie about Jesus needs those things. So in the end, I respect it to some degree as it is authentic, but I also find it to be too problematic in too many areas.

My Rating – 2.5

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Rendezvous with Rama (1973)

Rendezvous with Rama Book Review………………………………………………………………………..

Rendezvous with Rama Book Review

Rendezvous with Rama is a 1973 book written by a science fiction legendary author Arthur Clarke and it is set in the 2130s and it’s about an alien ship called Rama that enters into our solar system and the exploration of it.

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The Ramans do everything in threes

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The story is fascinating and is so wonderfully told and beautifully conceived that you easily get fully invested in it. The attention to detail is magnificent and it is probably the finest aspect about this book that lifts it to new levels. I especially liked his description of Raman architecture and overall the whole planet. The highlight is when you learn what the aliens look like with wonderful descriptions of tools and weaponry and it is a plot point that is a very satisfying pay-off. Also his whole comparison with Earth’s counterparts is also fantastically done and helps you understand the unknown. I liked his alien design, the ship and everything in it which is incredibly original, authentic and not like anything else in the genre.

The best part for me was the introduction of biobots. That is the most fascinating and truly exciting thing that happens half way through and it just demands your attention with excellent writing, beautiful descriptions and creative story and design of the creatures. As for the themes, that part has a very important theme in it which I found incredibly thought-provoking and honest. And that is the way we humans are so full of ourselves and also scared that we think we are important in the universe when in fact we are not. It is so beautifully explored here through some thought processes of the characters and also in the extraordinary ending which is not also striking in its theme but also a perfect, non sensational and all around extremely satisfying conclusion to a whole story which I wouldn’t want to have been any different. Such a great ending that is one of the best there is in science fiction.

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I honestly had a couple of problems with the book and that is mostly in the slow pacing of the first half and some blockbuster aspects to the later half. The build-up was definitely too long and something big should have happened a bit earlier. And the whole bomb plot point later in the book was not like the usual Clarke and I found it too sensational, action-oriented like a movie, and definitely not fitting to the overall tone of the book which is incredibly peaceful and also wonderfully realistic and free of any blockbuster clothing to it. But those are two minor flaws in the otherwise outstanding piece of sci-fi literature.

I read that critics somewhat complained when the book came about his writing style and lack of character of development. And that to me is ridiculous. Yes, the characterization is always weak in his books which was also the problem with ‘2001’ and I would have liked to see just the protagonist better developed, but not everyone else and it is totally not necessary. That is the point here – the humans are not important to the story and fleshing them out would harm the feeling that this book induces how much we are not relevant in the universe.  The story is so ambitious and large in scope that the characters are irrelevant to the whole picture. As for the writing, it is a ridiculous accusation and it could have only come from amateurs who didn’t understand the book. The writing is the author’s best asset. He writes in such a realistic manner which is due to his scientist background. He writes almost like a documentary, straight-forward and realistic, full of scientific details and explanations. And this genre is called hard science fiction just because of that. A real scientist wrote the novel, a man who knows what he’s talking about and to me the read was fascinating just because of that and because I am a huge fan of space and astronomy. The subject is phenomenal here and he wrote it all in a great way.

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Rendezvous with Rama Book Review………………………………………………………………………..

The tone is great, very slow and almost meditative which fits the plot perfectly. There are a couple of really powerful quotes here and the beginning and ending are superb and doing what they should do, introducing you to the book and concluding the story perfectly and in a memorable and very satisfying way. And I found the story captivating and the future thought out here excellent and he’s very realistic in depicting it with excellent politics and the solar system is half populated which is also somewhat realistic and a great read.

Comparing it to ‘2001’, I would say it is more interesting to read, but is inferior because it has more problems and it is not as epic or as ambitious. But I find the fact that ‘2001’ got a film adaptation, whereas Rama didn’t  quite odd and unexpected because Rama is so much more prone to adapting to a film and I hope it will someday get a proper film treatment because it undoubtedly deserves to.

In the end, Rendezvous with Rama has some minor problems, but it is such a captivating and fascinating novel with an intriguing story, an incredible attention to detail, excellent writing, wonderful themes and an extremely satisfying ending that it is definitely one of Clarke’s best novels and definitely one of the most realistic and engaging stories in all of science fiction.

My Rating – 4.8

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Why, Charlie Brown, Why? (1990)

Why, Charlie Brown, Why ReviewWhy, Charlie Brown, Why? Review

Why, Charlie Brown, Why? is a 1990 animated television special and the 33rd entry in the Peanuts series. It is the most serious entry so far.

Linus befriends the new kid in school Janice, but she gets cancer and we follow him coping with the situation. Yes, this special surely is groundbreaking when its mature subject matter is concerned and not just for this series, but for animation in general. And although I would have liked for them to not constantly introduce new characters for just one episode and it does get too emotional at times, this was mostly well handled.

I loved Linus here and it shows him at his most compassionate. Janice is so adorable and you can’t help but feel for her. The entire cancer story is so well executed with so much care and some needed detail to teach the children watching the special. As for Lucy, she was awfully mean this time around, but still funny. And Sally was really funny in the first act. Snoopy also has his moments. Those comedic moments with these three characters help soften an otherwise very depressing special. And I have to say that that ending was just indescribably beautiful and wonderful.

Why, Charlie Brown, Why? is humorous, but mostly commendably mature and its subject matter is so well handled here.

My Rating – 4.3

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Dreamgirls (2006)

Dreamgirls Movie Review………………………………………………………………………

Dreamgirls Movie Review

Dreamgirls is a 2006 musical film directed by Bill Condon and starring Jennifer Hudson, Jamie Foxx and Eddie Murphy. It is such a good, really entertaining musical.

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That’s right Curtis.

You stopped me once, but you’ll never stop me again

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Dreamgirls Movie Review………………………………………………………………………

It follows the history of blues music through the eyes of a girl group The Dreams and their manipulative record executive. It is interesting for being a movie that is influenced by real life (the band Supremes in this instance), but is just largely influenced and never a biopic. It is a fiction film. And that is one of the curiosities, but also one of the problems to me as I thought that it would have been much more powerful had it been a biographical picture.

But the plot is still so good. Yes, it isn’t particularly inspired, but it works in its simplicity as the characters are memorable and the emotion is evident. The relationships are also really well established and the drama was so well executed. It is a musical with a huge emphasis on songs of course, but I still liked its story and the film was very entertaining to me.

Curtis Taylor is a realistic and important character as there are a lot of manipulative people like him in this business. I liked Deena a lot, Jimmy was fun and Effie is naturally the highlight as she is to me the main character and the reason why the movie works. She is so relatable and sometimes even tragic and is such a strong female character in general.

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Dreamgirls Movie Review………………………………………………………………………

Dreamgirls benefits from such a great ensemble cast and truly all of its performances are excellent. Beyoncé Knowles is surprisingly good and effective in her role, Eddie Murphy is over-the-top, but solid and Jamie Foxx is really good. But of course Jennifer Hudson is the standout. She gave such a powerhouse, truly fantastic performance and she not only sang wonderfully, but also emoted beautifully and was just a force to be reckoned with.

Let’s talk about the songs. Dreamgirls does have sometimes overly long songs and a majority of the numbers here feel too similar and some are forgettable. However, it succeeds as a musical because the energy is infectious and most of the songs are good with some being great. Move is really good, Cadillac Car is surely a lot of fun, Family is so strong and emotional, Dreamgirls is a memorable and catchy number and one of the highlights is And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going. That song represents a lot of things that are great about this movie – the song drives the plot and serves not only as a strong musical number, but also as a plot point. It moves the plot forward, it establishes its characters and it is driven by emotion as well. All of those things good songs and good musicals are supposed to do which is why Dreamgirls succeeds in this genre.

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Dreamgirls Movie Review………………………………………………………………………

It is well edited, but for the most part as some parts do drag a bit. The film is very moving, I really liked the dialogue and the film looks great from the photography to the set design. The tone is light, but emotionally powerful and dramatic at times. It totally deserved its Supporting Actress Oscar even if I would classify Hudson’s role as the main one. The song choices would not coincide with mine, but all of the other nominations are deserved and it was weird that it wasn’t nominated for Best Picture despite having so many nominations. But it is such a good and fun flick that pleasantly surprised me.

Dreamgirls is simplistic and it sometimes drags, but it is musical film that thoroughly succeeds owing to its evident energy and so many good numbers that are not only great as songs, but also manage to move the plot forward and establish its characters while also being emotional which was a commendable feat. It also has a powerhouse performance from Jennifer Hudson, it is emotionally powerful and it is just so incredibly entertaining.

My Rating – 4

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Wimmin Is a Myskery (1940)

Wimmin Is a Myskery ReviewWimmin Is a Myskery Review

 Wimmin Is a Myskery is a 1940 animated short from Popeye the Sailor series. It is a very interesting, if flawed entry.

Popeye proposes to Olive, but she turns him down in the morning after having a really bad dream in which she has trouble maintaining his troublemaking kids. Yes, the dream structure is overused by now in the series, but this is a great new use of it as we’ve never seen anything quite like it. It is refreshing in being told from Olive’s perspective and in showing their future together.

The ending is priceless with Popeye’s title line being hilarious. And the entire cartoon is so well executed with some good action as well. But the problem lies in the kids. They are just the same not only in personality, but also in animation and that bothered me a lot. But I still adored the usage of spinach here in a very funny and memorable gag involving the kids.

Wimmin Is a Myskery has flawed kids, but the dream structure is well executed, the ending is priceless and the film is authentic and funny.

 My Rating – 4.1

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WEEKEND INSPIRATION #7

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town Movie Review……………………………………………………

WEEKEND INSPIRATION #7

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Here’s a guy that’s wholesome and fresh. To us, he looks like a freak. Do you know what he told me tonight? He said when he gets married, he wants to carry his bride over the threshold in his arms… I tried to laugh, but I couldn’t. It stuck in my throat… He’s got goodness, Mabel. Do you know what that is?… No, of course you don’t. We’ve forgotten. We’re too busy being smart alecks. Too busy in a crazy competition for nothing?

 

Longfellow Deeds – Mr. Deeds Goes to Town

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Trainspotting (1996)

Trainspotting Movie Review………………………………………………………………………….

Trainspotting Movie Review

Trainspotting is a 1996 crime film directed by Danny Boyle and starring Ewan McGregor. Such an expectedly overrated movie.

As is the case with most of these movies about drugs, I disliked this one too. It is basically just like every other film of this genre and it never has anything that differentiates it. So uninspired, so typical and so dull.

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Personality, I mean that’s what counts, right?

That’s what keeps a relationship going through the years.

Like heroin, I mean heroin’s got a great fucking personality

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Trainspotting Movie Review………………………………………………………………………….

Another problem is the lack of a clear message. Instead of being anti-drugs, the movie never even touches upon that issue in that way. That’s not to say that it glorifies drugs because thankfully it does not, but it also never presents it as a big issue that it is. It is ambivalent and that’s a always a huge problem for me.

Trainspotting’s saving grace is its acting. Everyone here does a really good job with Ewan McGregor in particular being phenomenal. In fact, he did such an admirable job that I bought him in this role which at first I felt was not fitting to him, but he proved me otherwise. The direction from Danny Boyle is also solid as is the editing, but I still continue to dislike his movies as there’s only a couple from his filmography I genuinely liked.

Trainspotting isn’t disgusting all the time, but when it is, it’s just awful, repulsive and plain unwatchable from the last couple of violent scenes to that sickening toilet scene which was just too gruesome too describe. It was a totally unpleasant experience that was made all the more unnecessary given its lack of a clear-cut message.

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Trainspotting Movie Review………………………………………………………………………….

It is well paced and its running time is reasonable. The structure is also solid and those technical aspects are the reasons why I consider it to be mediocre instead of just plain bad. But this is still such a, needless to say, hugely overrated movie and I expected that given its subject matter which is why I wasn’t disappointed in it. But I still continue to find Danny Boyle and his movies too much praised when in reality they are mostly so ordinary.

Trainspotting is technically well made with good editing and a particularly strong performance from Ewan McGregor, but the plot is typical and uninspired and it is so repulsive and plain disgusting in some sequences and that’s made all the more unnecessary given its evident lack of a clear-cut message. Such an overrated, troublesome and unpleasant crime film.

My Rating – 2.5

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The Egg and Jerry (1956)

The Egg and Jerry ReviewThe Egg and Jerry Review

The Egg and Jerry is a 1956 animated short that is the 99th Tom and Jerry cartoon. It is such a filler episode.

The Egg and Jerry is basically a remake of ‘Hatch Up Your Troubles‘ and let’s just say that it’s a remake on the technical side. In terms of plot and action, it is basically the same which was such a lazy choice from the filmmakers. It does look and sound good, but what’s the point if it is a rehash of the previous cartoon.

What is good here is that it reminded me of how interesting this entry was. I love that ending as it was so funny and intriguing watching the woodpecker use mathematics to hit Tom. But even though this was fun to watch, it is still too similar to the original which is why it fails as a remake, at least for the most part.

The Egg and Jerry is technically good, but too similar to the original to be counted as a fine remake.

My Rating – 3

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Feriss Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

Feriss Bueller's Day Off Movie Review……………………………………………………………………………..

Feriss Bueller’s Day Off Movie Review

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is a 1986 teen comedy film directed by John Hughes and starring Matthew Broderick in his most iconic role. It is quite a good, if far from great movie.

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Life moves pretty fast.

If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it

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Feriss Bueller's Day Off Movie Review……………………………………………………………………………..

This film basically follows one-day structure as a high-school slacker successfully spends a day off from school. Needless to say, that isn’t particularly ambitious thematically speaking. But it does what it sets out to do really well. It is basically a celebration of teen youth and having fun in those years and I liked that. Yes, I wanted some responsibility from the protagonist and a moral message at the end, but this was still a different and interesting approach in making him successfully ditch school for one day and not get punished. The emphasis here is on pure fun and I get that. It’s just that I wanted something more from it as I’ve come to expect big emotional scenes and a clever script from the director.

Ferris Bueller is an iconic character for good reasons. He has a memorable personality and although not particularly well established for a main teen character, that was still a good choice as it pained this sort of myth around him. Everyone knew guys like him in high school and he represents that part really well. Cameron is really good as his troubled, hypochondriac friend and I have to say that I liked his emotional scene at the end, despite it feeling a bit too overplayed.

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Feriss Bueller's Day Off Movie Review……………………………………………………………………………..

The problem with this movie is that the female characters aren’t as strong this time around. Sloane is charming and kind, but that’s about it. She’s far from memorable. And Jeannie I really, really liked and that ending in which she finally decided to help her brother go back to the house was wonderful and such a great ending for her character. However, the part with Charlie Sheen I disliked and found it to be pointless and not a good development for her.

Edward Rooney as the Dean represents the best and worst qualities of the movie. He was absolutely awesome in the first half as the humor there was so good and those comedic scenes between him and his secretary were top-notch. However, I really disliked what they did with him in the second half. He basically came to Ferris’ house to finally catch him and that was just stupid. Not only do I dislike the use of childish slapstick humor that the movie devolved to, but the problem that still maintains is why the hell would he be so obsessed with Ferris. That was not well explained and just childish.

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Feriss Bueller's Day Off Movie Review……………………………………………………………………………..

It may seem like I’m giving a harsh time to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, but I really liked the movie, quite a bit actually. It’s just that it does seem very unrealistic at times as I do not see this plot happening ever in real life. It also has that annoying 80s cheese in it that it’s too energetic and naive and thus leading to a product of its time to some degree. But even though it was childish, the movie is mostly pleasantly childlike and of course a lot of fun. It is very entertaining consistently and their adventure is well worth following.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is very well directed as usual, but as I said, of his big three movies, ‘The Breakfast Club‘ and ‘Sixteen Candles‘ are much better. But this is still a good movie that is efficient in its humor for the most part and the characters are well developed. The script isn’t ambitious, but is well rounded up and its simplicity was mostly a good thing as the execution of the plot was great.

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Feriss Bueller's Day Off Movie Review……………………………………………………………………………..

The soundtrack is excellent, the use of Chicago is splendid and I really liked their adventure in it. The second half is weaker than the amazing first one, but it does have an admittedly awesome, unforgettable ending. Breaking the fourth wall is well utilized here for the most part and it’s memorable. The film is definitely quite authentic in its approach and it looks and sounds different than usual for the teen genre. The dialogue is great, the pacing is excellent and the film is involving from beginning to end.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is admittedly a product of its time as it is too naive, childish and unrealistic, but it mostly succeeds in its simplicity as it is a lot of fun. The structure of the movie works, the characters are very memorable, the humor is mostly quite good and the highlights are the first and last act. It is charming and entertaining, but still far from the director’s best works.

My Rating – 4

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