Notorious (1946)

Notorious Movie Review

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Notorious Movie Review

Notorious is a 1946 noir spy film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant. It is one of Hitch’s best films up to this point.

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A man doesn’t tell a woman what to do. She tells herself

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Notorious Movie Review

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The story is interesting in that it is obviously a spy plot. This is a noir film with strong spy elements which was definitely interesting to see. I personally loved the spy elements and although the film doesn’t have that high of a rewatchability factor, it compensates for that by featuring a bunch of unforgettable, extremely memorable scenes that went straight into film history.

One of those scenes is naturally the prolonged racy scene between the two actors which is famous for being the longest kiss scene ever filmed during the classic studio age of Hollywood. The two have great chemistry and are amazing actors so that was for all the better. Another great scene is the ending, very well done and highly memorable. And of course the highlight has to be the key sequence as it is beautifully shot and highly suspenseful. The film isn’t as suspenseful and thrilling as his best works, but it comes close.

Ingrid Bergman is as great as she mostly was and she here gave a compelling, wonderful performance playing such a great and competent female character who obviously lead to this being such a great woman’s picture. But Cary Grant is also terrific and he surprised me with this highly unusual, dramatic role for him. He went against typecasting and it paid off significantly. The two are wonderful together. And of course the delightfully villainous turn from Claude Rains adds another strong performance to the film.

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Notorious Movie Review

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Notorious is beautifully directed by Alfred Hitchcock and this is surely his best directorial effort until this point in time. His direction is so sophisticated and fantastic that it lifts the material significantly. The script is very good, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes it wasn’t as involving and to me the entire first half was a bit boring and less engaging than the rest of the picture. That is why this is one of his better, but not one of his best films.

The great thing about Notorious is that it wonderfully capitalized on the end of war and brought us a Nazi-influenced film that isn’t set in World War II but just afterwards so that led to its unique, different appeal. The score is excellent and I thought that the cinematography was splendid. The film is simply put brilliantly shot and that amazing cinematography only brings to more suspense during those essential scenes such as the stellar sequence which is absolutely amazing to behold from beginning to end.

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Notorious Movie Review

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I also really liked its characters and they were all very memorable and so well acted by their actors and actresses. The movie is slower, but elegant and polished in its approach. I definitely did not love it upon a revisit as much as I loved it during my first watch, but I still think that it is his best 1940s film after ‘Suspicion’ and ‘Rebecca’. Definitely one of his most stylish and sophisticated outings.

Notorious is slower paced in the first half, but thrilling in the second one. It features many simply unforgettable sequences such as the stellar scene, the prolonged kiss and the ending. It is brilliantly directed by Hitchcock, so wonderfully acted by Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant who appears in a different role than usual for him and it is so suspenseful in some scenes and so exquisitely shot that it is one of the director’s best directed, most elegant and most stylish films.

My Rating – 4.5

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Buddy in Africa (1935)

Buddy in Africa ReviewBuddy in Africa Review

Buddy in Africa is a 1935 animated short film from the Looney Tunes series. It is a pretty dull entry.

It is one of those African shorts where it isn’t stereotypical in the natives’ portrayal per say, but it is so boring and doesn’t utilize on the fun of its setting at all. The only really good thing here is that Buddy was voiced by a child for a change and that led to a much more endearing than usual character.

But other than that, this short doesn’t have much to offer. The dance the natives give us is so dull and takes too much of the running time, the ape conflict near the end is rather abrupt and pointless and the entire film is so weakly animated and the quality of the video was the lowest so far as it hasn’t received restoration thus far.

Buddy in Africa is weakly animated, dull and doesn’t utilize on the African setting whatsoever.

My Rating – 3.2

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Transparent Season 3 (2016)

Transparent Season 3 Review

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Transparent Season 3 Review

The third season of Transparent is another strong season for this very good series that is actually an improvement over its predecessor.

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I’m sorry I’ve been such a shitty parent

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Transparent Season 3 Review

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Let’s go through each and every character and what happened to them here. So Maura is strong here and I liked how a great focus was once again put to her journey. I don’t know what is going to happen with her as in the last episode it is hinted that she is probably going to abandon her journey to womanhood and that is troublesome as it is so obviously a plot ploy to keep Tambor to play the lead as he is a man and cannot play a woman no matter what. That is problematic and the reason why his casting was troublesome from the first moment.

But even though I disliked that choice, I liked her episodes quite a bit actually. Her breakup with Vicki was so well executed as the two just were not a good fit from the beginning. I loved their final argument. I also really admired that she finally acknowledged her terrible parenthood to Josh and of course the flashback episode into Maura’s childhood was excellent. Visually arresting, moving and so well acted by a trans child actor, that episode was a success all around and one of the best the series has done of that type.

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Transparent Season 3 Review

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Sarah continues to be obnoxious. Her BDSM part with Pony is somewhat ridiculous and underutilized and her relationship with spirituality and Raquel is all wrong and I did not like that storyline to be honest. She is a mess as she has always been, but at least her relationship with Len deepens and complicates once again and those scenes were the best concerning her character.

As for Josh, Rita’s death was an obvious plot device as they just did not know what to do with his character. He continues to be a mess just like Sarah is and his relationship with his son is well established and that final moment between the two was certainly tragic, but I thought that this story was prolonged too much and it thankfully ended finally. His episode with Shea is interesting and I liked their adventure and conversations, but it ended in a typical, though true to character fashion.

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Transparent Season 3 Review

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Ali is problematic. She is the most likable and happy that she has ever been and that is great for her, but not for us viewers as she is easily the dullest part of this season. She basically has nothing to do here apart from having relationship issues with Leslie who is such an obnoxious character whom I dislike more and more as the episodes go by. I would love to see Ali dump her in the next season to be honest.

Shelly, surprisingly enough, was the finest part of this third season and that I did not see coming. Her flashback was as great of an insight and even more important than Maura’s was in the same episode and I liked her growing confidence and it all led to that wonderful final sequence in the final episode where she sang beautifully to her family audience. Her relationship with Buzzy ended and I really liked Buzzy’s deceiving nature and it seemed realistic to me as there are a lot of men that are perfect seemingly, but are actually deceiving and broke. I loved her story here and she truly is the most tragic character on the show if you ask me.

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Transparent Season 3 Review

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Rabbi Raquel is also very strong here and I really liked the examination of her faith and how  shaken it became. A very complex character beautifully played by Kathryn Hahn who continues to be the best actress in Transparent which is no easy task as everyone is great here. Jeffrey Tambor is excellent as usual and Judith Light is especially strong during this season. Transparent truly is an exceptionally well acted, directed and edited series.

So this third season is a success despite its couple of obvious shortcomings such as Ali’s wasteful storyline, but I loved Maura, Raquel and especially Shelly here and this season is surprisingly poignant and filled with a lot of emotionally resonant and even tragic scenes. It is uneven, but so well acted and another strong addition for this great show.

Worst Episodes: When the Battle Is Over and Life Sucks and Then You Die.

Best Episodes: To Sardines and Back and If I Were a Bell.

My Rating – 4.3

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Season 3 (1989)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Season 3 Review

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Season 3 Review

The third season of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is the weakest so far with not enough great episodes to compensate for those mediocre ones. At 47 episodes, it is also the longest season.

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If I had hands I would cover my ears,

if I had them!

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Season 3 Review

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Beneath These Streets is one of the better episodes here with a good emphasis on lesson learning for the four turtles whereas Turtles on Trial is also a pretty good episode that features for once the turtles in the news.

Attack of the 50-Foot Irma is absolutely ridiculous and campy in the worst way possible. I actually like Irma, but here she is beyond obnoxious. As for the Maltese Hamster, it is solid and mysterious, but mostly forgettable.

Sky Turtles is also very forgettable despite a rather promising premise. The Old Switcheroo is pretty terrific. By switching Shredder and Splinter, the episode manages to become incredibly entertaining and funny in the best TMNT manner possible. It’s one of the best episodes of this season for sure.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Season 3 Review

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Burne’s Blues is pretty solid and I liked the emphasis on Burne and Vernon for once, but The Fifth Turtle, although solid, features such an obnoxious new kid character who really hurt the episode.

Enter the Rat King is a very good episode and a good introductory story for Rat King who is probably one of the most memorable TMNT villains, if the most campy. Turtles at the Earth’s Core is good and interesting, but surprisingly not as fun given the premise.

April Fool isn’t great, but it does feature a pretty different use of April who steals the show here and I liked the storyline actually. Attack of the Big MACC has its moments, but its titular character is rather annoying.

The Ninja Sword of Nowhere has a pretty good mythology and for once a more menacing turn for Shredder leading to a solid outing. As for 20.000 Leaks Under the City, it is again nowhere near as entertaining as the premise demanded.

Take Me to Your Leader is awesome for finally giving as an in-depth analysis of the turtle dynamic and what we get is a pretty stellar, well written story. Without Leonardo as their leader, the turtles fight and thus we see how essential he is to the team, but also how different each of the turtles are. Four Musketurtles, on the other hand, features an obnoxious Leonardo who thinks he is in 17th century France which leads to very annoying dialogue.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Season 3 Review

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Turtles, Turtles, Everywhere is a typical product of this show which features a pretty implausible, ridiculous situation. Cowabunga Shredhead is also silly and rehashed, but actually kind of fun.

Invasion of the Turtle Snatchers features an interesting dynamic between Donatello and Rocksteady and a good use of the aliens whereas Camera Bugged again features a solid alien storyline with a pretty strong April part.

Green with Jealousy features a love potion which of course leads to the turtles falling in love with Irma to very campy, annoying results. Return of the Fly is solid, but unremarkable and I do wonder why this character is so underutilized and constantly punished.

Casey Jones: Outlaw Hero is excellent. It gives us the first ever look at Casey Jones who is a very important character in the TMNT lore. He is a lot of fun with his manner of speech and he is cool and capable in a fight. This particular episode is also very good in terms of storytelling and humor. Mutagen Monster is ridiculous and it has far too many jokes about cows in it.

Corporate Raiders from Dimension X again features such a terrific use of Casey Jones who killed it here, but the entire brainwashing storyline is superbly well crafted and with particularly memorable Shredder. Pizza by the Shred is another great episode where Michelangelo works as a pizza boy for Shredder and the mix-up proves to be a lot of fun.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Season 3 Review

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Super Bebop & Mighty Rocksteady is unremarkable as it again gives us these two idiots who are becoming more and more idiotic throughout seasons. Beware the Lotus has a good use of Lotus as this female ninja warrior but her and Leonardo’s infatuation was not needed.

Blast from the Past is a pointless, tedious filler whereas Leatherhead Terror of the Swamp introduces us to a new villain who is a mutant alligator named Leatherhead. He has some good lines but is repetitive in using them.

The Turtle Terminator is again ridiculous in its plot and I don’t bye people saying the word turtle all the time, so silly. The Grybyx is also pretty forgettable in its plot and alien too.

Michelangelo’s Birthday is predictable, but it does give us a rather endearing Michelangelo whom you gotta love here. The Making of Metalhead is one too many of these robot episodes in my opinion.

Usagi Yojimbo is the name of this episode and the newly introduced rabbit ronin who is interesting, but again too silly of a character and too comic-booky. Case of the Hot Kimono is inconsequential and mostly too silly to be taken seriously.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Season 3 Review

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Usagi Come Home has a solid use of Usagi, but too predictable outcome in terms of its ending. Leatherhead Meets the Rat King is overstuffed with too many plot points and not enough action.

The Gang’s All Here should have been much better given the premise and that is a regular flaw with this entire season. The Missing Map again features that obnoxious kid Zach and thus this is not one of my favorites.

The Great Boldini is forgettable and uninspired and of course Mister Ogg Goes to Town is absolutely ridiculous as its titular character is beyond silly and stupid. Cartoonish to the point of ridiculousness.

Shreddeville has one of those typical cartoon alternate storylines, but a rather good execution of a tired premise really helps it in the long run. Bye, Bye, Fly is again too unforgiving to Baxter which is troublesome.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Season 3 Review

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The Big Rip-Off is a solid first part of the three-episode finale, but The Big Break In is much more memorable and in my opinion the highlight is The Big Blow Out which features a lot of fun action and a great conclusion to this entire arc.

Overall, the third season of TMNT has its many weak and ridiculous in story episodes and too many silly new characters, but it has its great episodes that prevent the show from becoming mediocre and keep it fresh. It is a weaker season, but ultimately solid when taking all episodes into consideration.

Worst Episodes: Attack of the 50-Foot Irma, Four Muskerturtles, Green with Jealousy, Super Bebop & Mighty Rocksteady, Blast from the Past and Mister Ogg Goes to Town.

Best Episodes: The Old Switcheroo, Take Me to Your Leader, Casey Jones: Outlaw Hero, Corporate Raiders from Dimension X, Pizza by the Shred and The Big Blow Out.

My Rating – 3.6

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War of the Worlds (2005)

War of the Worlds Movie Review

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War of the Worlds Movie Review

War of the Worlds is a 2005 science fiction film directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning. It is a pretty weak, troublesome remake.

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Lightning never strikes in the same place twice

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War of the Worlds Movie Review

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It is a remake of the eponymous 1953 film and is in my opinion so much weaker in comparison. It has not a single ounce of fun and wonder that the original possessed. It is a pretty dark in tone, sluggish in pace and ultimately uninvolving movie that is one of the director’s weakest efforts.

Now I get what Steven Spielberg was trying to do with this movie. He was basically making a family drama film and the alien invasion is just the backdrop to that emotional, character-driven drama. But in my opinion that concept is not great in this example as he thus managed to make a War of the Worlds film that isn’t really a War of the Worlds movie. He could have taken any other catastrophe and it would have been better that way. There was no need to take the source material of this caliber and not use it to the fullest degree.

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War of the Worlds Movie Review

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So that is the problem of this movie in a nutshell. It tries to be two things – an alien invasion sci-fi film and a moving family drama, but fails at both of those fronts as both parts are lacking tremendously. We get to see the alien ship near the end and that was interesting, but other than that, the entire first half almost seemed like a different movie how much it strayed from science fiction and when it got to aliens, it mostly copied the original in those scenes.

But why does it fail as a family drama? Well, it does succeed to a degree in it as it has some nice scenes and solid characterization, but the character development needed to have been exceptional to sell this premise and it just isn’t plus the emotionally resonant scenes come too few and far in between.

Tom Cruise is reliably good as Ray and he definitely is the best part of this film, both the actor and the character and his journey. Rachel is cute but forgettable and Robbie is your typical teenager who is just there to represent teenage angst. These are fine characters, but far from great and sometimes they weren’t particularly interesting to follow and the movie did not make me invested in them enough to care.

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War of the Worlds Movie Review

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War of the Worlds has solid special effects, but overly abundant action sequences which are solidly executed, but take away too much of the runtime. The movie definitely features a very weird pacing. The direction and acting are solid, but the cinematography is awful. It features such terrible retro color palette that feels grainy and overly dark to the point that it made the entire movie less exciting. So it started off strongly and it has its moments, but this is mostly a weak remake that fails to improve upon the already flawed original.

The 2005 version of War of the Worlds is a weak remake that is so much inferior to the original 1953 film. I get what Spielberg was trying to do here and the movie has its moments, but it rarely succeeds as an alien invasion film or as a family drama as it does not contain enough sci-fi thrills and the family drama is not deep enough to carry it through. Its color palette is also pretty hideous and it hurt the movie tremendously.

My Rating – 3

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Buddy’s Bug Hunt (1935)

Buddy's Bug Hunt ReviewBuddy’s Bug Hunt Review

Buddy’s Bug Hunt is a 1935 animated short film from the Looney Tunes series. It is a pretty solid entry.

This is obviously influenced by Alice in Wonderland with all the shrinking presented here. I liked the concept and thought the execution should have been better. The third court act is very interesting and different than usual and Buddy is much more memorable here than he is usually.

But the film is still very weakly animated which is super frustrating as this story needed great animation. I also found the entire film to be awfully rushed and abrupt in many of its scenes. It is a concept that could have benefited from a longer running time for sure. But this way, it remains a different, pretty authentic Looney Tune, but not greatly executed and disappointing in the end.

Buddy’s Bug Hunt is weakly animated and executed, but fun and solid in its concept.

My Rating – 3.4

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Where Are My Children? (1916)

Where Are My Children? Movie Review

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Where Are My Children? Movie Review

Where Are My Children? is a 1916 silent drama film directed by Lois Weber and starring Tyrone Power, Sr. It is a flawed, but very good early social drama.

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Where are my children?

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Where Are My Children? Movie Review

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This early drama is very social and deals with an important issue of adoption that was during this time talked about a lot and even sensationalized. The film itself takes the stance against abortion, but it does advise for birth control pills. And I guess that may seem outdated, but I honestly liked that stance as it would be ideal if abortions wouldn’t have to be committed and that women do not get pregnant in the first place.

So Where Are My Children? is thus very modern and actually pretty admirable a film as it deals with its important subject matter in a pretty good, subtle manner instead of the overly melodramatic and emphasized tone that plagued most of the 1910s movies. Yes, the third act here was certainly overly dramatic, way too much, but the rest of the film stayed away from that tone fortunately.

Where the film fails is in the character development. Yes, all of the actors and actresses did a very good job in their roles with everyone delivering strong, subtle performances, but the characters themselves are way too forgettable and underutilized and it’s a problem as this script demanded stronger characterization. It also has way too many characters.

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Where Are My Children? Movie Review

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The film is way too short as well. An hour was just not enough for this type of story so the end product felt extremely rushed in my opinion. So the pacing is problematic, but the movie is very well shot and superbly directed by Lois Weber (if it was her as she went uncredited). The dialogue is also superb and especially the intertitles as they weren’t overly abundant or too rarely used, but in just the right amount. I also liked the urgency in its tone in the first half and how the film is a product of its time, yet relevant today as well. It is one of the better films of 1916 for sure.

Where Are My Children? has weaker characterization and way too short running time, but in dealing with its subject of abortion, the film manages to be very modern and certainly admirable for its time. It is mostly very subtle, very well acted and well directed leading to a movie that felt engaging and modern a century later.

My Rating – 4

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The Clock Store (1931)

The Clock Store ReviewThe Clock Store Review

The Clock Store is a 1931 Disney animated short film from the Silly Symphonies series. It is a pretty basic short.

Basically the film revolves around a titular clock store where various clocks and watches come to life and share a dance routine. In the end, the two clocks fight through an organized boxing match. That last fight was solid and fun and the film is stupendously well animated, but it is such a boring slugfest to sit through until that last third.

I just was so bored by all of the dance sequences. They took more than half of the movie and were so dull in their routine and displayed no variety whatsoever. I also thought that its score, though good, became a shore afterwards as it was repeated way too much until it became dull too. A very typical early Silly Symphony this is.

The Clock Store has to offer some splendid animation and a good fight, but it is otherwise a typical early entry in the series with so many dull dance scenes.

My Rating – 3.3

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Wonder Woman (2017)

Wonder Woman Movie Review

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Wonder Woman Movie Review

Wonder Woman is a 2017 superhero film directed by Patty Jenkins and starring Gal Gadot and Chris Pine. It is such a good, unexpectedly competent movie.

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I will fight for those who cannot fight for themselves

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Wonder Woman Movie Review

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This movie is so good because it succeeds in various areas. It has a good backstory and fun action and thus succeeding as a pretty remarkable superhero flick which is wonderfully old-fashioned and traditional which I adored. It also surprisingly enough succeeds as an exceptionally strong romance film as the relationship between these two is simply fantastic. And in my opinion it is a pretty competent World War I picture in its own right. So you have three movies in here and all are very good.

Diana Prince is simply great. I finally realized why so many people love this character as this movie showcases that brilliantly. She succeeds in large part thanks to Gal Gadot whose performance, although far from great, is actually pretty solid for an amateur actress. But her charm and evident charisma carries this entire movie through and she is so wonderful and with such an infectious smile. I loved her here, but the character development is superb for her. She learns throughout the movie the true nature of humans and how complex they are and thus becomes much more mature instead of idealistic and naive which she was before.

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Wonder Woman Movie Review

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Chris Pine is excellent, though obviously typecast, as Steve Trevor and is very funny and energetic in the role. Their romance develops naturally, it is sweet and playful and his eventual death is impactful and proves to be essential for her winning the battle against Ares. The power of love is here repeated in a similar fashion from Harry Potter, but it still works.

Robin Wright’s Antiope is tough and memorable, Doctor Poison is also pretty interesting and of the comic reliefs, all of them are typical, but solid nonetheless. I honestly thought that Ares was a solid villain in that old-fashioned sense and he was pretty competent and tough to beat which was great. But I do think that her realization that there was no Ares and that humans are responsible for the war was so fantastic that the movie would have been better had it stayed in that more realistic and character-driven territory. But that realization sequence still remains the best of the entire movie.

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Wonder Woman Movie Review

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So Wonder Woman is very well acted and superbly directed by Patty Jenkins who deserves everything she gets after this movie. Her direction is the reason why it is so good as she took the cues from previous superhero movies of the last century such as ‘Superman’ and made the movie feel old-fashioned, yet modern at its core.

Another problem besides the last bombastic act is the action. It would have been terrific had it not been for the extensive use of slow-motion which really got on my nerves. I guess some of it was cool, but it became overly abundant and annoying quickly and the action is otherwise so well executed that the choice to slow it down and make it “cool” hurt it in the long run.

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Wonder Woman Movie Review

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The score is absolutely amazing and her theme is brilliant. I thought the humor was excellent and the film made me laugh quite a number of times. I loved some of its hilarious lines and the playful, more innocent tone made it a winner in my book as most superhero films today are way too dark and serious. Its anti-war message is very strong, it makes use of a less popular war superbly and I just loved how emotional, human and ultimately powerful it was. It truly is the only worthy DCEU flick thus far that can for sure rival the best of the MCU.

Wonder Woman has more than a typical bombastic ending and the extensive use of annoying slow-motion really hurt the action in the long run, but other than that, this is such a great, stupendous superhero flick which I adored and which was hugely entertaining. Its playful, comedic tone is refreshing, it has a wonderfully old-fashioned approach to the genre, it is emotional and with a very strong anti-war statement, the music is simply fantastic with her theme being instantly recognizable, Gal Gadot is so charismatic and wonderful in the role and the movie succeeds as a superhero, World War I and even a strong romance film.

My Rating – 4

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Into Your Dance (1935)

Into Your Dance ReviewInto Your Dance Review

Into Your Dance is a 1935 animated short film from the Merry Melodies series. It is a rehashed, dull entry.

To me this short felt rehashed as it was obviously influenced way too much by ‘I Haven’t Got a Hat’, but it is infinitely weaker in comparison to that great entry. Here we have various animals try their hand at singing and the man in charge of it all gets annoyed with everyone and in the end chases the final contestant who is a stuttering dog.

Yes, that doesn’t sound great and the execution is also not great. The titular song isn’t as great and as catchy as most songs had been up to this point in the series and although the film is well made, animated and it isn’t bad, it is still lacking in gags and only the angry boss can be funny with others failing to make you laugh.

Into Your Dance is too typical and lacking in real gags. It is a Merry Melody that is far too forgettable and underutilized.

My Rating – 3.3

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