Five Easy Pieces (1970)

Five Easy Pieces

Five Easy Pieces Movie Review

Five Easy Pieces is a 1970 Oscar nominated drama film starring Jack Nicholson and Karen Black. It is one of the better and more underrated drama films of the seventies.

The story is about a man who hears that his father is dying and goes home to see him bringing along his girlfriend. The premise is nothing spectacular when you hear about it, but it is executed so well and it has such a smart and wonderfully crafted screenplay. However, here is one major problem I have with the film and that is the editing. It is very weird and problematic. The first third is so dragged and there isn’t a point to have half an hour before learning about his father except for the film to introduce its characters. And on the other hand, the last third is definitely rushed which is a shame because the film really starts to become interesting later on. But that is the only major problem here in an otherwise outstanding film. That first third is somewhat weaker, but second third is superb with excellent character study and some fine humor, while the last third is a terrific conclusion with a very memorable and smart ending. Of course the story is superb with not a single cliché used which is quite an accomplishment.

The characterization here is thankfully remarkably good because the script necessitates it. The protagonist is highly unlikable and even obnoxious at times, but while that is a problem at times, it is also the film’s strength because it is very realistic and relevant in his portrayal. His relationship with all the other characters is remarkable and very well executed. And his scenes with Catherine and his sick father are also wonderful. Rayette is his very stupid, redneck girlfriend and although she is weak and not the brightest, her care for him is evident and she is sympathetic, although pitiful at times. Catherine as his affair girlfriend is very well developed as well along with the protagonist’s sister. But there are also two characters that shouldn’t be forgotten and those are the two women who they pick up while driving to his father’s home. One woman in particular. She is simply hilarious with her hippie attitude and obsession with filth and her constant repeated phrase after a long speech – “I don’t even want to talk about it” – is extremely funny and delivered perfectly. Her character is a comic highlight bringing some very nice humor to an otherwise serious film.

All those well developed characters needed great actors and they got them. Each and every performance in this movie is phenomenal. Karen Black is excellent in her very demanding role and all of the family members are wonderfully acted as well, but this is of course Jack Nicholson’s movie and he absolutely nails it, giving probably his best performance ever. He is so natural, so professional that he brings depth to his character and is a standout in the whole film.

It is technically a fantastic film as well. The tone is well handled and the direction is excellent. The film is filled with emotion but also realism which is great. And the dialogue is, along with the script, very realistic and clever, perfectly delivered and executed. Apart from the editing, the technical aspects are great.

All in all, Five Easy Pieces is weakly edited, but it is filled with superbly developed characters, very good screenplay, fantastic acting across the board, fine direction and it is above all a terrific character study and a great vehicle for Nicholson’s acting abilities. It is one of the very best films of 1970 that honestly should have won Best Picture because it is clearly the best among the nominees.

My Rating – 4,5

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Gandahar (1988)

 

GandaharGandahar Review

Gandahar is a 1988 French animated science fiction film directed by Rene Laloux and it is one of the most underappreciated and unfortunately underrated animated movies I have ever seen.

It tells the story of Sylvain who after witnessing an attack on his people by the automatons is sent to investigate and meets a race of deformed mutant beings who offer their help to defeat the Men of Metal. This is such a fascinating story with an authentic and well written script. It is enthralling literally from start to finish and it is a beautifully created world thanks to some incredibly strong world building at play here. It starts off somewhat abruptly and the second half is a bit inferior to the first one, but it is otherwise a feast for the eyes and a remarkable experience mostly thanks to excellent and beautifully imagined story as it really is stunning. The attention to detail is evident here as well as the craftsmanship that went into the production. But the whole story is such an original and riveting one that the whole film flies by and it leaves an impression for sure.

As for the character development, it is solid but not great. Sylvain is your typical hero meaning that he is the one who is destined to save the day, noble and strong. Airelle is quite solid as his love interest whereas the villain is pretty memorable and quite malicious. As for the Deformed, they are the standouts here as their development is the biggest and the emotional investment is the largest. You can feel their pain, you can understand them and they are portrayed in a grounded way and also with a lot of care and detail which is evident in their language as well as of course the terrific character design. The characters are not the strongest, but this is an epic science fiction story that does not need powerful characterization and that is why I do not consider that a big flaw.

Now, the animation. Wow, what an artistic and beautiful animation this movie has. It is indescribably beautiful and although it may feel dated to some and more reminiscent to the decade of the seventies, I enjoyed that old-fashioned feel to it very much. But it’s stunning not only for its color palette and artistic quality, but also for its truly exceptional meticulous approach with lots of incredible details and extraordinary and truly authentic character design with each and every character wonderfully conceived and beautifully fitting to the world presented here. Apart from the amazing story, the animation is the biggest contributor to Gandahar’s extreme quality.

As for other technical aspects, they are all masterful. The voice acting is absolutely superb with not a single weak performance. The score and sound are also good as is of course the direction from Rene Laloux. But the approach here is absolutely audacious not only because it has such a serious and mature tone to it, but also because it is harsh and very violent at times. The action sequences are very well executed as well. The whole picture is not only original and highly imaginative thanks to its stellar script but also very memorable and powerful and daring in scope. I also have to give kudos to the cinematography and of course the imagery as it is undeniably terrific with so many intriguing and entirely breathtaking images and production design presented. The dialogue is also clever and mature fitting within this serious world.

When comparing it to other French animated films, it is not one of the very best, but it is certainly near the top of the list. I also have to mention ‘Fantastic Planet’ as it is evidently influenced by that movie and it is quite similar in both its psychedelic imagery as well as the epic scope and mature tone of the story. But honestly it is not that inferior to the aforementioned classic which brings me to this point – Gandahar is an incredibly and frustratingly underseen and underrated movie. It is certainly one of the most underappreciated animated movies of all time which is a real shame given its evident quality which it has in spades.

With fascinating, authentic and riveting story, mature tone, superb world building and absolutely breathtaking and truly artistic animation with a lot of care and evident detail, Gandahar is not only well crafted due to its amazing technical aspects, but also wonderfully imagined thanks to its stellar script and it is undoubtedly one of the most underrated and shamefully forgotten animated films of all time.

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The Incredible Hulk (2008)

 

The Incredible Hulk

The Incredible Hulk Review

The Incredible Hulk is a 2008 superhero film directed by Louis Leterrier starring Edward Norton in the title role and it is the second feature film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

It follows  the Hulk as he attempts to cure himself while he also has to fight one soldier who becomes somewhat of a similar creature later on. The plot in this movie is so by-the-numbers and incredibly typical and predictable. It has a somewhat stupendous first act but it later progressively got worse with a rushed villain origin story as well as annoying and pretty weak fight sequences in the last act. However, the appearance of Tony Stark in the ending scene is a nice touch and an excellent introduction to The Avengers. But overall, this story seems too ordinary, too standard and it never rises above that level unfortunately.

As for the characters, they are mostly solid, but again rather forgettable. Bruce Banner is a passable protagonist, but you never quite get to know/care for him in spite of some solid romantic sequences with him and Betty. Speaking of Betty, she is a typical damsel in distress and a typical superhero’s girlfriend, never managing to move away from that distinction. The Abomination has a rushed plot arc, but he is quite strong physically and he posed a bigger threat to the main character than most of the other Marvel villains which is ridiculous when you think about it but that is how it goes.

The acting is okay and everyone does his or her job with fine performances, but there is a reason why Marvel replaced Edward Norton with Mark Ruffalo and it is evident when you watch The Incredible Hulk. He just never has his moment to shine, he gave a respectable but a forgettable performance and he never quite fits into this role. As for the other actors, they are all fine, but again nothing too remarkable and not worth higher praise.

The action in this movie is solidly executed, especially in the first half, but it gets too much like a comic-book in the second half and it is overwhelming. There is way too much action and nowhere near enough story or character development in here. But surprisingly the directing is quite good here and stupendous to say the least definitely helping the movie rise above the average status. The pacing is also good, but the score is forgettable and the visual effects are nothing spectacular. The cinematography is a big problem as it is rather poor and always of course too dark to see a thing which can get super frustrating.

Comparing the movie to other MCU films, it is one of their worst definitely, but it is not bad for sure and it is certainly better than Iron Man 2. It is the worst MCU film after ‘Iron Man 2’, but it is not bad because whatever you think of Marvel, they have yet to make a totally bad movie.

With so-so special effects, poor cinematography, too much action and not enough story, The Incredible Hulk is very flawed indeed but it does have solid characters, entertaining plot, some very good sequences,  a fairly good direction and a pretty good villain. It is one of the worst Marvel movies, but it is not bad, it is passable and it is definitely better than Iron Man 2.

My Rating – 3

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The Omen (1976)

The Omen

The Omen movie review

The Omen Review

The Omen is a 1976 horror film directed by Richard Donner and starring Gregory Peck who plays a father who learns that his son is the son of the devil and after more and more people start to get killed, he goes to stop it.

The story is fairly simple and very indicative of its time meaning that it is rooted deeply in Christian themes, imagery and score. But this movie manages to stand on its own mainly due to its incredible detailed and meticulous approach. From the animals being nervous around the child to the number 666, from the chilling music to the nurse, from the graveyard to the creepy dogs, everything in this film filled with excellent detail mainly due to a well written, masterful script. The beginning is excellent as it introduces you to the characters perfectly, then the sequences with the priest are thrilling and of course the nurse is superb and creepy along with the dogs. But after the final act is magnificent with one of the most disturbing endings in horror history as well as one of the most memorable that stays in your memory long after you’ve seen it. Along with the ending, what struck me the most is definitely the photographer’s part in the story mainly thanks to the incredibly horrifying pictures that foresee the characters’ deaths. That was a nice touch and one of the biggest contributors to its scary nature.

The characters are well realized. The photographer is excellent as I mentioned before and Mrs. Baylock is of course the most memorable and most terrifying character here. All of her sequences are beautifully executed creating a malicious character in the process. The child is of course one of the highlights, but the mother is forgettable.  Robert Thorn is naturally the finest character here because not only is he realistic in his behavior, but you can also feel his pain and sympathize with him for all the horrible things that are happening to him and his family. That is all due to excellent emotional investment which is great because this film could have easily been cold.

However, there is one major problem regarding the characters and that is that they are badly acted. Yes, the acting is the biggest and the only problem I have with The Omen. Everyone is pretty mediocre in their roles. Yes, the child and of course the nurse are great, but the mother is bad and unfortunately Gregory Peck is not that strong. He is usually a great actor, but this is sadly one of his worst performances definitely hurting the movie in the process.

All of the technical aspects are absolutely superb. The pacing is excellent and it helps the movie’s polished feel.  The imagery is very memorable and creepy creating the great chilling atmosphere that the horror picture possesses in spades. Also the script is so professional and devoid of clichés and predictability which is evident in The Omen’s unhappy conclusion. And the movie is memorable in the great way because it has so many sequences that are authentic and that stand out. Also the realism factor is evident with everything happening being very grounded in its approach and execution. The cinematography and of course the directing are both incredible, but there is one aspect that stands above the rest and that is expectedly the score. What a score this is! It is so striking and powerful, excellent due to its religious, almost a cult feel and it is not only memorable, but also very well connected to the plot and extremely creepy, greatly contributing to the film’s scares.

As for the scares, this is a horror film done right. It has a wonderful atmosphere and music, excellent script and great character moments that are horrifying. The film is not scary in the most literal sense of the word, but it is chilling and creepy, definitely making you feel unease. The head decapitation sequence was too much for me, but everything else is wonderfully done and done to the right extent. It achieved the perfect tone and approach in that it is not mild, but also not too modern with too many jump scares.

With solid characters, excellent script with meticulous approach and truly striking and memorable conclusion, The Omen is one of the finest horror films of the decade for sure. It does have a pretty weak acting, but this movie achieves to be creepy thanks to truly frightening and powerful score, chilling atmosphere, memorable imagery and some very creepy sequences. It is a very professional and authentic movie that is one of the most polished and well executed horror pictures.

My Rating – 4,5

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The King and the Mockingbird (1980)

The King and the Mockingbird

The King and the Mockingbird

 

The King and the Mockingbird is a 1980 French animated film directed by Paul Grimault and it is one of the most famous and most highly regarded among all of French animation and that is for good reasons.

It is about a self-centered king who wants to be with shepherdess, but she is in love with the chimney sweep. They get on the run and he pursues them in a series of tunnels and passages in his castle. The film is very smart and satiric in its portrayal of king and his ruling. And the plot flows smoothly, is very engaging and quite entertaining and very well realized. The second act is the best here because it benefits from strong animation and terrific imagination propelled by extraordinary world-building thanks to a beautifully conceived castle with all of its rooms and passages. And the action sequences are nicely executed and quite entertaining. However, while the first act is solid if nowhere near the quality of the second, I found the third act to be quite flawed with definitely too much action and a bit rushed ending.

Apart from too much action, the problems present in the film are twofold. First, the emotional investment is non-existent and second, the character development should have been way better. The character of the king is wonderfully realized, but all of the other characters are quite bland and flat which definitely hurts the movie. I also think it is weird that most of the time they do not talk, but sometimes they do which is strange. They should have either gone with the whole talking or whole silent mode. But the character that does talk is the mockingbird and he is, like the king, well developed. But his character really got on my nerves because he was so annoying with an obnoxious smile and behavior.

As for the animation, it is in my opinion one of the highlights of the movie. People think that it is dated, but I do not agree. I think of this film as ‘The Iron Giant’ in a way that the use of old-fashioned animation from earlier times is warranted. In the case of the aforementioned film, it is a conscious choice to fit with the movie’s theme and story’s timeline whereas in the case of The King and the Mockingbird, it is because they filmed it for three decades. But I do not forgive them only because of that troubled production, but I honestly find the animation superb here. The colors are vivid, the style is beautiful and it created a whole great world wonderfully. It really is even artistic at times and an excellent proof of how wonderful French animation can be.

The direction is very good as is the approach and the tone of the film. It is also smart and wonderfully depicted and illustrated with great imagery. But it is above all very engaging and has some charming factor to it and a style and story that distinguished itself from most other animated movies. It is very authentic and original, while also at times being incredibly artistic and beautiful.

The King and the Mockingbird has its flaws including the lack of emotional investment, problematic third act with too much action and somewhat weak characterization, but it has style and beautiful animation in abundance with quite authentic and original plot and story to it, it is very smart, it has superb world-building, it is very entertaining and charming and thanks to all these reasons, it is rightfully called a classic and one of the finest that French animation has to offer.

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Back to the Future (1985)

Back to the Future

Back to the Future movie review

Back to the Future is a 1985 sci-fi comedy film directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd. It is one of the most well regarded and fondly remembered blockbusters from the eighties and there are many good reasons for that.

The story is about Marty McFly played by Fox who goes back in time to 1955 where he finds his mother infatuated with him and he has to make his parents fall in love or he would cease to exist. I don’t like when this film is referred to as science fiction when obviously in reality it is not. It has a science fiction element to it that drives the plot and having an element of the genre and being that genre entirely is not the same thing. But it is in the end such a clever approach for this film. It is in essence a comedy, it can even be called a romantic comedy, but it is for the most part a straight comedy with a sci-fi element that drives the story, the same way ‘The Bishop’s Wife’ or ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ are not fantasy films, but rather films with fantasy elements. It is a powerful mix that turned out to be great, especially in this decade where such family films thrived. And it is a family film and that is a bit problematic to me because I wanted a bit more serious film, but this movie is anything but serious. I would have been more happy with a bit more mature approach with more edge to it. But it is definitely a marvel for the whole family to enjoy.

The plot also has a definite potential incest story in it, the same way ‘A New Hope’ has it. It is weird, but it thankfully never goes fully into that territory but rather providing some comedy with it. As for the science fiction parts, they are great and are executed perfectly with solid effects. And the story is definitely original and quite authentic for a blockbuster with a great mix of genres, a playful and comedic tone to it as well as a huge heart at the center of it all. The time travel aspect is well executed with no evident plot holes. It is well constructed and smart, well connected and edited. As for the ending, it is absolutely a perfect conclusion to the story with excellent ending for all of the characters with a superb closing line by Doc as well. It is one of the most memorable ending sequences for sure.

The characters in Back to the Future are wonderfully developed and are the biggest reason why the film succeeds and is great to watch to this day. Marty is great as the protagonist, usually I do not like main characters as they are mostly too good a person and too heroic, but Marty is more realistic and definitely a likable person. As for Doc, he is of course excellent with his crazy persona, Einstein like appearance and he provides a bunch of terrific lines. He is a very good character, if slightly overrated. As for Lorraine, she is too sexual and annoying at times, but George is great as an unlikely nerdy father rarely portrayed in movies.

The acting is excellent all around. Michael J. Fox gives a standout performance here propelling his career, whereas Christopher Lloyd is of course iconic as Doc playing his goofy nature in a good way, if at times a bit too theatrically. As for the directing, Zemeckis proved here that he can be a great director when he is trying his best and it is unfortunate that he progressively got worse as his career moved forward. As for pacing and editing, they are problematic. It takes too much time to start and the ending is also too dragged and dressed in a typical high action, blockbuster clothing. The imagery is fine as are the costumes. The clothes in the film are so good and memorable. The sound and score of course are great while the tone is playful, comedic and with a lot of imagination, but also a bit too silly and childish at times. As for the humor, it is good with some funny moments, but never that funny and engaging.

Back to the Future has excellent and very memorable and wonderfully realized characters, smart and imaginative plot that is a great mix of genres, it has great performances from its talented cast and it is always a charming, entertaining and entirely fun film to watch. It can be too silly and childish at times and the pacing should have been better, but it is mostly a very well executed and directed film that is as enduring now as it was back in 1985 for many good reasons.

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The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (2015)

the-spongebob-movie-sponge-out-of-water

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water is a 2015 animated comedy film directed by Paul Tibbitt and it is based on the famous TV series and is the second film of the franchise.

The plot follows SpongeBob and his friends who team up in order to retrieve the formula of their favorite meal. The film is split into first two thirds which are animated and the final act which is live-action. I liked the animated part much better not only because it has much better humor but also because the third act is overstuffed with action and the superhero element to it is so typical and an obvious move from the franchise to get on the superhero bandwagon as it is extremely popular nowadays. But it definitely hurts the movie as it is very expected, typical and nothing to write home about. But the rest of the film is pretty solid and a passable diversion mostly thanks to excellent characterization which the series has always had and a pretty okay humor.

The characters here are as well developed as in the TV show and better than in their last feature adventure. SpongeBob is okay but I was never the fan of him, but Patrick is of course as dumb as always and Mr. Krabs as obsessed with money as ever before and although he somehow did not get much attention, he was still good in those sequences he was in. Squidward has his very memorable moments, but the emphasis is not on him which is a shame. As for Plankton, he is stupendous here and his relationship with SpongeBob is definitely the highlight of the whole movie because they took some departure from his usual character, portraying him in a more positive light, while still concluding his as the villain. However, Burger-Beard the Pirate is very annoying, a very typical and weak character and he is quite frustrating throughout the whole running time mainly because the performance from Antonio Banderas is too goofy and not the greatest. He is also too similar to Jack Sparrow, he’s probably the worst aspect of the picture and he gave the worst performance in a film which has quite solid acting from the others as expected.

The animation is quite good and I appreciate the fact that more than half of the film is done in traditional animation instead of computer generated imagery. But those sequences in the final act are done in CGI and it is not particularly good, it is very unlikable and not pleasing to the eye, but I guess they have done the best they can with not easy to animate aquatic characters. But I wish the whole movie were just hand-drawn animated, but that is hard to get these days which is super sad.

The movie has too much action and it gets immensely and sometimes overwhelmingly fast-paced which shows that it is intended for smaller children. Also the humor, while solid and has some good lines and funny moments, is mostly not that memorable with a bunch of failed attempts at laughs. The editing and directing should have been better and the script should have been more original and not more of the same. And the approach should have been more mature and it should have offered something for adults as well.

It is incredibly overstuffed with action sequences which can get pretty overwhelming, the final act with CGI and action is pretty weak and the humor is hit-or-miss, but that humor can be good at times with a couple of funny moments, the animation is solid when done traditionally and it is overall a passable diversion and it should prove excellent for children leading to this SpongeBob movie being definitely an improvement over its so-so predecessor.

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The Sword in the Stone (1963)

The Sword in the Stone

The Sword in the Stone

Released in 1963 between the ultimate classics ‘101 Dalmatians’ and ‘The Jungle Book’, The Sword in the Stone is often forgotten because it cannot be compared to those masterful films, but that is a shame because it is quite good in its own right and a very endearing and fun film which has its strengths and which is one of the most interesting experiments for Disney Animation.

The story follows Arthur, the future king of England, who gets some classes from Merlin the wizard who teaches him some valuable lessons for his future ruling. The plot is very evidently and deftly split into three acts with the middle part being the strongest, whereas the beginning is very well executed with an introduction to the legend with the famous Disney book opening led by a very good and underrated song which sets the mood perfectly thanks to Middle Ages feel to it. Then, after Arthur’s meeting Merlin which is well done, the lessons start and although they slow the movie’s pace, they are the movie’s biggest strength in my opinion because those sequences create the perfect playful tone and contribute to the character development the most.

The ending is of course extremely memorable and pulling of the sword is beautifully executed and being followed by excellent and truly humorous conclusion with a great Merlin line about what movies are and how he tries to explain it to Arthur. However, the whole third act is definitely rushed and I have to say that it feels contrived and some would say pointless, even creating a prequel feel to it and that is because the movie follows his lessons, but refuses to show him use it later on. That is definitely a flaw, but it can be observed in a way that it is not necessary and it is not the point of the movie, but rather the point being the journey and as I said already, a prequel feel and creating of a legend is probably the purpose here which is why I don’t hold them against it so much for that choice.

The character development in this film is stupendous and one of the movie’s strongest points without a doubt. Merlin is absolutely fantastic as a competent, incredibly wise, but also funny and sometimes irritable and clumsy old man. His character is such a blast to watch that I definitely consider him as one of the most underrated creations in the entire Disney cannon. Arthur is weak and quite bland, being definitely the most boring character here which once again goes to show Hollywood’s endless tendency in portraying tedious protagonists.

But Madam Mim is absolutely enthralling as a villain here. Yes, she is somewhat of a joke, but the whole movie is meant more for children, so it was expected. But she is definitely strong both in terms of characterization and magical powers which is evident in the duel with Merlin which is easily the most recognizable and the most powerful sequence of the whole picture. Everything in that scene is perfectly executed from the animation to the imagination to the character choices and action. It is a perfect vehicle for their powers and a great way to teach kids zoology.

After Merlin, the finest character has to be Archimedes the owl. He is a textbook example of how great a Disney sidekick can truly be with a distinct and very realistic and rarely portrayed irritable and boring personality, good character design, superb relationship and interaction with Merlin and inherent charm and in the end endearing factor he has. He certainly brings both humor and heart to the film and is one of the most underrated Disney sidekicks for sure which is again a real shame.

The animation is problematic because it again showcases the more restrained approach both in style and quality which Disney was doing during the whole decade of the sixties due to budgetary issues and it definitely shows. However, even though it is somewhat weak and of course nowhere near the quality of earlier classics, I still find it enjoyable, it doesn’t detract from the experience and it has a nice color palette and feel to it. It is nothing to write home about, but it is also not bad to me, it’s quite solid and serves its purpose.

The soundtrack is the biggest problem The Sword in the Stone has. Yes, the title song is quite stupendous and sets the mood and is even underappreciated a bit, but pretty much most of the other songs are very forgettable which definitely hurts the movie. Higitus Figitus is too silly and childish, A Most Befuddling Thing is bland and just serves as a plot device and Mad Madam Mim is quite mediocre. That’s What Makes the World Go Around is the standout both thanks to the charming sequence and somewhat catchy lyrics, but it is once again a plot device and the strongest song in a pretty weak soundtrack which is really not saying a lot. Yes, this is probably the worst soundtrack during Walt’s era and a huge problem for the film. They either should have created better songs or removed the whole musical aspect to it entirely.

The direction is pretty solid and the dialogue is quite sophisticated. The movie also has a very reverent approach to its source material and the tone is excellent, witty, playful and childlike. The humor is absolutely superb and, along with the characters, it is the reason why this film works. And yes, the movie is one of the most childish Disney films that is definitely intended for smaller audiences, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. On the contrary, I find its childlike innocence, playful nature and warm characters and humor intriguing and a nice experiment for Disney and a very different film from their previous features.

With a plethora of likable characters thanks to superb characterization, truly charming humor and a plot that is endearing and very engaging with a childlike and playful nature, The Sword in the Stone does have not so memorable animation, the editing is not the strongest and the soundtrack is one of Disney’s worst, but it is still a very heartwarming and fun film with some very memorable sequences and excellent humor. It has its flaws, but it is also quite good and certainly one of Disney’s most underappreciated works.

 

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Cool Hand Luke (1967)

Cool Hand Luke Movie Review

Cool Hand Luke  Movie Review

Cool Hand Luke is a 1967 prison drama film directed by Stuart Rosenberg and starring Paul Newman in the title role. It is one of his most famous roles.

The plot follows Luke who is a prisoner in a chain gang who won’t commit to the system. The story is very familiar and it never rises above it, unfortunately. But what hurts the movie most is the second half where nothing really outstanding happens, instead there happen only clichés and expected ending. But the first half is pretty good with of course egg eating contest being the highlight of the whole picture because it is very well executed, energetic and fun to watch. And also very memorable.

The characters are solid, but ultimately forgettable. Luke is okay as the lead, if a somewhat typical heroic figure of a protagonist. But Dragline, although crucial to the story, was very annoying in my opinion and the film, again expectedly, never explains how the two got to be friends after he beat Luke to oblivion in the first act. That is some typical Hollywood problematic script which is too unrealistic and in the last act too inspirational.

As for the acting, it is of course phenomenal. Paul Newman gives one of his most memorable and finest performances definitely earning his Oscar nod whereas George Kennedy earned his win for playing his somewhat unlikable character in a great way delivering a stupendous performance.

The directing from Rosenberg is nothing to write home about and I honestly think that in the hands of another, more suave and  more professional director, this could have turned out to be a great film. But unfortunately that was not the case and he somewhat lessened the film’s overall impact. The movie is well shot, but the cinematography and scenery also never quite distinguish themselves from other films of the type. The editing should have been more brisk and the score is not memorable. The technical aspects definitely hurt the film the most after the predictability of the last act.

When comparing it to other similar films, Cool Hand Luke falls flat. I am talking about ‘I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang’ which is a very similar film with a similar final act and structure, but it  is executed so much better, is so much more memorable and overall more entertaining and better made. And that is unfortunate because this movie with a bit of care could have been much better and even compared to the aforementioned film, but that did not happen leaving the movie’s impact quite blunt.

Cool Hand Luke has solid characters, some very memorable sequences, great first half and a terrific performance from Paul Newman and George Kennedy, but the second half is unfortunately too predictable, too inspirational and typical, the directing should have been better and the technical aspects all fall flat. It is a solid film, but ultimately the one which fails when compared to other films with similar story and structure.

My Rating – 3,5

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Mega Man (1987)

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Mega Man Review

Mega Man is a 1987 platform game which is regarded as a classic and one of the best video games of the decade for all the good reasons.

The gameplay is what drives this game and what propels it to the masterpiece status. Everything about it is so professional, polished, fun and authentic and very groundbreaking for its time. The choice it gives you with the level select option is such an advanced and groundbreaking feat which distinguishes it from all the other games of the decade where you are destined to use cheats if you want to finish the game. That is one of the biggest strengths here along with its overall gameplay which is fascinating. First off, it is wonderfully executed with challenging enemies and frustratingly difficult bosses. This is one of the hardest games I have ever played and it is notorious for its awfully difficult levels and bosses.

Secondly, the level designs are absolutely stunning and executed in such a way that you can often times masterfully get passed some point only in a certain way thus achieving the perfect difficulty level, at times even making you feel it is unbeatable. It is so professional and perfectly done. Also, the power-ups are excellent and sometimes necessary for the progress, especially in the boss arenas. And the bosses are extremely hard, almost all of them bringing the difficulty level to an extreme.

Next, the visuals. The graphics are top notch. Absolutely phenomenal all around. The movements are polished, the animation and character design is superb and the color palette is excellent. The graphics is incredibly advanced when comparing it to other games of 1987. But the soundtrack is terrific, no doubt about that. The themes and tunes in almost every level are easily recognizable and catchy in a great way, as only the classic games were. It definitely helped the game’s replay ability factor.

The story is my only complaint here, a small complaint. I know that most platforms, especially from that time, have those archaic plot lines and very thin stories, but this one is even thinner. I would have liked to have seen some personality in the title character who is very likable in the graphics department, but lacking in the storytelling department. But that is only a minor complaint in an otherwise outstanding game and because that does not matter much in this genre, it can easily be forgiven.

In the end, Mega Man is a classic, a masterpiece and one of the best platformers of all time and easily one of the most difficult as well. The graphics is superb, the music is charming, the gameplay is fantastic across the board and the difficulty level is excellent leading to what is arguably one of the finest video games of the decade and one of the most advanced games of its time that still holds up to this day how awesome it is.

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