Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion (1970)

Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion Movie Review

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Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion Movie Review

Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion is an Italian crime film directed by Elio Petri and starring Gian Maria Volonte. It is a solid, but not really a great film.

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Your fingerprints are all over here

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Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion Movie Review

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It follows a top police officer who kills his mistress and then tests whether the police would charge him for this crime. He begins manipulating the investigation by planting obvious clues while the other police officers ignore them. Needless to say, this premise is very intriguing and the film is smart and certainly relevant and important in its subject matter.

I don’t know if the choice to follow the action/plot form his perspective was great, but it did give us an interesting, original for its time narrative and structure. I thought that Gian Maria Volonte’s performance in the lead role was really good and his character is memorable for sure. But others are not nearly as memorable and the women are overly stereotypical and typical female characters from the seventies cinema.

Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion is very well acted and certainly well directed by Elio Petri, but the film doesn’t sound or look all that great as both the score and the cinematography are not the greatest. It won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, but I haven’t seen the other nominees so I cannot comment whether or not it was deserved. To me it is mostly a solid and at times even fascinating film, but far from great and certainly a lost potential as the premise definitely had tremendous promise for greatness.

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Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion Movie Review

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Its main problem was an overly sexual approach and that the film was very much a product of its time in almost every way. The first half was very good, but the second half lost me in some scenes and whereas at first it was quite believable, as it further went on and he got away, I thought that the film became more and more hard to buy and ending up being unrealistic. That is only my opinion, but I just felt like something was off here.

Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion is certainly very well acted, directed and its premise is excellent and it gives us a really interesting angle to a regular crime flick, but it is still a product of its time in some scenes, it is technically not the greatest and it became more unbelievable as it progressed leading to a solid film which had the potential to be much better.

My Rating – 3.5

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Buddy’s Lost World (1935)

Buddy's Lost World ReviewBuddy’s Lost World Review

Buddy’s Lost World is a 1935 animated short film from the Looney Tunes series. It is a pretty typical Buddy entry.

It is obviously a parody of ‘The Lost World’ and it is infinitely inferior to that classic silent feature. It has some good scenes such as the ending and some scenes are filled with solid mysterious atmosphere, but it is more often than not too slow paced, dull and Buddy himself has certainly run out his course.

I also found the animation to be problematic. This premise and setting need superb animation, but this one is rather choppy, uninspired and decidedly so-so. The score is very good and memorable, but the sound quality is otherwise quite poor. I liked the dinosaurs, but the cavemen looked and acted too silly.

Buddy’s Lost World is weakly animated and never as great as the setting and its source needed.

My Rating – 3.4

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The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

The Manchurian Candidate Movie Review

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The Manchurian Candidate Movie Review

The Manchurian Candidate is a 1962 political thriller film directed by John Frankenheimer and starring Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, Janet Leigh and Angela Lansbury. It’s overrated.

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It’s a terrible thing to hate your mother.

But I didn’t always hate her.

When I was a child, I only kind of disliked her

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The Manchurian Candidate Movie Review

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I have almost the same opinion of The Manchurian Candidate as I have of another 60s political thriller ‘Z’. Both are competently made films and very well acted, but both are dull. But this one isn’t frenetic but rather opposite – it is excruciatingly slow paced, uninvolving and ultimately it bored me so much. Political movies should appeal to everyone including non-fans such as myself and this one failed miserably at that.

The story has its moments, but it is mostly not great, certainly not deserving the praise that it received. It truly is one of the most overrated films from this period and of course it came from probably the weakest film year ever which is 1962. It also isn’t really a thriller, but it’s also not a drama. It has a conflicting nature to it and was to me just too static to enjoy.

Janet Leigh is very memorable and beautiful here. Laurence Harvey is also quite solid. Angela Lansbury as the villain killed it and she is the standout here and probably the only legitimately great reason to see this movie as her performance is truly remarkable as is her character. But all of the other characters are throwaway, dull entities for whom I never cared about at all.

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The Manchurian Candidate Movie Review

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The Manchurian Candidate is well shot, but lacks score which was critical to sell those thriller sequences and thus it fails as a political thriller. It looks nice, but should have also sounded nice. The performances are very good, but John Frankenheimer’s direction not so much. It felt unprofessional and ultimately a problem the movie never overcame. The pacing is, as I said, beyond sluggish and the runtime is actually way too long as it is slightly over two hours but the plot never needed that much time. In the end, this is one giant overrated mess that isn’t a bad movie per say, but it is so weak and riddled with flaws that it frustrated me along with being a highly tedious experience.

The Manchurian Candidate is very well acted with Angela Lansbury giving a standout, memorable performance, but the film is overlong, static in quality, so incredibly dull and never at all engaging or thrilling and thus it fails as a thriller and it is one very overrated film in my opinion.

My Rating – 3

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The China Plate (1931)

The China Plate ReviewThe China Plate Review

The China Plate is a 1931 Disney Silly Symphony film. It’s an elegant, charming offering.

It is set in China and it basically follows a young couple falling in love. The first act is dull and basically consists of dance sequences. But afterwards, the film really becomes better and better and even ending as one of the better films from this period. I liked the dragon part, the father is also memorable and the final sequence where the camera moves to reveal that the story came from the titular plate is beautiful and inventive.

The score is solid and the character design is actually better than most of its contemporaries, though the movements still needed some work as they are far from polished. The animation is splendid and I loved some of the wonderful imagery here. They for once did not stereotype Asia and the film is thus much more enjoyable.

The China Plate has a weaker first part, but afterwards the story gets better. The animation is very good and the film is charming and ends wonderfully.

My Rating – 3.6

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Life (2017)

Life Movie Review

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Life Movie Review

Life is a 2017 science fiction horror film directed by Daniel Espinosa and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson and Ryan Reynolds. It is a pretty solid sci-fi horror flick.

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I know what I feel is not rational,

not scientific. I feel hate.

I feel pure fucking hate for that thing

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Life Movie Review

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So the six-member crew of the International Space Station discovers the first evidence of life outside Earth and they take the sample from Mars to the station to study it, but it eventually develops into a bigger creature and starts killing everyone. Of course Life is a very unoriginal film as it is very much an ‘Alien’ film with some traces of ‘Gravity’ in it as well.

That unoriginality’s obvious and baffling and the biggest problem the movie just never overcame. Another problem is the plausibility of the film’s plot as sometimes the alien acted way too cleverly and was basically indestructible to the point of it becoming ridiculous. And of course the ending is beyond obvious and I saw it coming from miles away.

However, I still liked Life despite all of these shortcomings because it is such a fun film. Yes, its thrills are definitely predictable and somewhat typical, but I have to say that I felt them as I was captivated by the film and I don’t know if the film was that competent in the horror/entertainment department or if I am just that big a fan of sci-fi horror flicks but at the end of the day I enjoyed watching it immensely.

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Life Movie Review

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This cast of actors and actresses is surely remarkable. The film is very diverse and I liked that as it wasn’t on-the-nose but was well played out and thankfully the black man did not die first. His character is quite good, though a bit typical of a scientist. But him being in a chair was refreshing to see.

Hiroyuki Sanada did a nice job, but his role wasn’t as memorable as the rest here were. Olga Dihovichnaya is much more memorable and her character is wonderfully competent and brave. Rebecca Ferguson did a great job in her very good role and it is nice that she got this gig after killing it in ‘Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation’. She is quickly becoming a talent to watch.

Jake Gyllenhaal is as great as he usually is and I really liked his performance and his character here. As for Ryan Reynolds, he plays himself and is good in the role, but I didn’t like that he had to die first as he was the funniest, most energetic person here and that energy was afterwards lost. Plus it really was ridiculous that they killed off their biggest star so soon.

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Life Movie Review

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Life looks great owing to terrific special effects. The alien creature or Calvin looks fine, but unoriginal as an octopus-like alien has been seen before (‘Arrival’ first comes to mind). But at least he did not look like Xenomorph. I liked learning more about his physiology but apart from those scenes and a couple of solid discussions, the film is never really clever or sophisticated and it relies almost purely on horror spectacle. The ship looked great, the action was excellent and so well executed and accompanied by a very good score that it eventually succeeds as a good, if not great genre flick.

Life is an entirely unoriginal sci-fi horror flick that also has an obvious ending, but it is still a solid and incredibly entertaining ride with very good genre thrills and it is fun to watch and really flies by. I also found its score and special effects to be excellent and its cast is obviously great with everyone doing a very good job in their roles. It is far from great, but it is a perfectly solid, competent genre film.

My Rating – 3.5

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My Green Fedora (1935)

My Green Fedora ReviewMy Green Fedora Review

My Green Fedora is a 1935 animated short film from the Merry Melodies series. It is a very fun little flick.

This short can be considered to be a sequel to ‘Country Boy’ as it features Peter Rabbit again. And although inferior, it is still a very good film that has a slow start and is nowhere near as funny or as entertaining as it could have been, but the ending is actually very amusing and the entire film is cute.

It is again kind of like a Disney Silly Symphony film as the resemblances are evident and are definitely there such as a predator attacking the protagonist’s sibling and him having to save the baby and the entire chase was very much in the aforementioned series’ vein. That is where the movie shines as the gags at the end are fun and I really liked the chase and how the film used the underground tunnels so well. The weasel was pleasantly smart for a villain.

My Green Fedora isn’t great, but it is just fun and amusing enough to succeed as a Disney-like film.

My Rating – 3.8

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Hunter x Hunter (Phantom Troupe arc) Season 3 (2012)

Hunter x Hunter Season 3 Review

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Hunter x Hunter (Phantom Troupe arc) Season 3 Review

The third season of Hunter x Hunter is so weaker from the previous two that it was honestly a big disappointment for me.

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What is important is not that I live,

but that the spider lives

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Hunter x Hunter Season 3 Review

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Now that doesn’t mean it is bad. It is certainly very good but just so far from the level of greatness exhibited in the previous two arcs. And that stems from personal taste and not objective opinion as I personally dislike the gangster genre and Phantom Troupe is admittedly a gangster arc, very much so a crime/thriller season.

It is executed admittedly very well, but I still disliked that it featured so little fights, humor and it was filled with too many characters and some never really got enough to do. I want Leorio to return as he is here, but quite barely. Gon and Killua have their moments and are good, but the focus is pulled away from them this time around which was an okay choice having in mind that ‘Heavens Arena arc’ was all theirs.

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Hunter x Hunter Season 3 Review

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Now I have a twofold opinion of Kurapika’s role here. On the one hand, it is definitely great to have a bigger emphasis on his quest of revenge and this is certainly a very well told story that ends in a satisfactory manner. But on the other hand, he is almost too capable and smart here and he has always been the least interesting of the foursome protagonists so I wasn’t thrilled to see him get an entire arc for himself.

Let’s talk about the Phantom Troupe members in detail, one by one. Chrollo as the boss is surprisingly tame and forgettable. Feitan and Franklin even more so. Machi and Nobunaga are much more memorable and they have their moments. Uvogin was definitely very memorable and I liked his fights quite a bit and of course Pakunoda is one of the standouts here. Her ability to read minds is well realized and her unappealing, far from beautiful face is an interesting choice rarely seen in anime.

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Hunter x Hunter Season 3 Review

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Both the Royal and the Nostrade family are solid with Melody being the standout as such a different, very fascinating female character and I loved the addition of music as a strong power to the show. Hisoka is as cocky and as showy as usual and I liked all of his scenes even though they weren’t too long.

So in the end, Phantom Troupe arc is far from great and the crime angle, though very well executed, was boring to me personally and this season was much duller and slower paced from the rest. I do think that it has too many characters in it, but at least half of them are very memorable and this saga ended really well despite starting unpromisingly. Overall, it is a very good arc, but a disappointment as the first and the second one were infinitely better.

Worst Episodes: A Shocking Tragedy, Chasing and Waiting, Fortunes Aren’t Right and Beloved and Beleaguered.

Best Episodes: Defend and Attack, Buildup to a Fierce Battle, Pursuit and Analysis and Assault and Impact.

My Rating – 4.3

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Snow White (1916)

Snow White Movie Review

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Snow White Movie Review

Snow White is a 1916 silent fantasy film starring Marguerite Clark. It is a very good early adaptation of this famous fairy tale.

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If these are pig’s tails,

then that is a pig’s heart

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Snow White Movie Review

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First of all, let’s talk about the elephant in the room and that is of course the fact that this movie influenced Walt Disney and impressed him so much (it was the first movie that he has ever seen) that he was inspired to make his own version. It’s a shame that this film is famous just for being Walt’s vehicle when it is a good movie in its own right.

Comparing the two, I of course loved Disney’s version much more as I just adore that classic film, but it was somewhat disappointing seeing how much he took from this film. The dwarfs mining and meeting Snow White, her cleaning the house and them washing up one of the dwarfs were all the scenes that Walt basically rehashed.

But other than that, it is very much a thing of its own. For example, it has much more characters in it and the entire first third is different. That first third is a major flaw of the movie. I still thought that it was good, but just not as good as the rest of the picture and it made the film feel odd structurally speaking as the action started way too late in its run plus those many characters introduced in the first part serve no purpose later on in the story.

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Snow White Movie Review

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But I still loved how this Snow White was much more faithful to its source material than the usual adaptations and sure enough, we have a poisonous comb here as well as Snow spitting the apple and thus managing to survive, all of the elements from the original fairy tale.

I personally really liked this Snow White as she is charming and likable which is a testament to Marguerite Clark’s performance which is very strong and certainly quite charismatic. The dwarfs themselves are solid, but not as memorable as they should have been and the entire film needed more humor as it is childlike in approach, but never funny which was a problem to me.

Prince meeting her earlier was well realized and he was solid, but the villain is great and it was interesting that we actually got two villains here as the Queen gets the help from Witch Hex who is a very memorable creation. The sequence with pig tails is actually a standout one as it is pretty gross and so well executed technically with excellent effects for its time.

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Snow White Movie Review

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But I would have liked to have seen the Queen die or get some sort of punishment and that overly happy ending was unfortunate. The film is very entertaining, but overly frenetic to the point of being abrupt in approach as some scenes seem to be cut in their progress, but that is because this isn’t a complete version and thus I shouldn’t judge the movie too much for it. As it stands, it never reached greatness, but it was competent and quite good from start to finish and it is ultimately a successful adaptation of this fairy tale.

The 1916 version of Snow White is famous for influencing Walt to make his own classic version and though he clearly took a couple of scenes in its entirety, this film is actually quite different otherwise as it follows the original fairy tale much closer. Even though the first third was problematic, the film is mostly very competently made with a charismatic turn from Marguerite Clark, good villains and a couple of standout scenes leading to a quite successful early adaptation of this famous fairy tale.

My Rating – 4

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Along Flirtation Walk (1935)

Along Flirtation Walk ReviewAlong Flirtation Walk Review

Along Flirtation Walk is a 1935 animated short film from the Merry Melodies series. It is a film that has its moments, but is mostly subpar.

First, let’s talk about those moments. The game featuring a scoring system where the hens punch a hen who pushes out eggs was a genius idea and a hilarious scene. And the highlight is the peacock love making sequence with the bird making faces at how much he enjoys it being one of the most adult, sexual moments in the entire series so far.

But other than that, the game that was introduced was for the most part rather boring and it brought an entire film to a halt. I was bored immensely and I wish that the game was as original as its scoring system was, but it was not and was rather difficult to follow. Another problem is the animation which is two-color again, but for some reason, rather off-putting this time around and definitely cheap and blurry in its quality.

Along Flirtation Walk has two hilarious gags, but other than that, the film is dull and very weakly animated.

My Rating – 3.4

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Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008)

Hellboy II: The Golden Army Movie Review

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Hellboy II: The Golden Army Movie Review

Hellboy II: The Golden Army is a 2008 fantasy superhero film directed by Guillermo del Toro and starring Ron Perlman. It is a satisfactory, improved sequel.

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We die and the world will be poorer for it

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Hellboy II: The Golden Army Movie Review

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Yes, I have to say that I liked this film much more than I liked its predecessor which was just an okay movie for me, but this one was quite solid although still far from the director’s best works. The reason why I liked it is because it is much lighter and less serious in tone and because it is basically a fantasy film in tone and setting.

It is a fun film which features a bunch of memorable set pieces. The visual effects are more than stellar and I agree with critics that the mix of old and new in their execution is actually quite interesting and pleasing. The score is forgettable, but del Toro’s direction is good and the film is visually dazzling enough to compensate for its many flaws.

One of Hellboy II’s flaws is naturally the character development. The acting is definitely very solid, but the characters are once again highly forgettable and overly abundant. Hellboy himself has some good moments, the rage parts being the best, but I thought that the rest of the characters never really got enough to do and some, such as Jeffrey Tambor’s character, were really shortened this time around.

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Hellboy II: The Golden Army Movie Review

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Hellboy II also features very odd pacing. I found the action scenes overwhelming and I was bored with them and I liked the fantastical parts much more as those were filled with fascinating creatures and highly memorable set pieces. But the first act was dull and the second act had its problems. The third is definitely the best part of the entire film as it is much more entertaining and memorable than the rest of the film.

It is weird but I would say it is almost too much taken from the comics. The style is great, but sometimes both of the films were even too stylish and although some scenes are pleasantly mysterious with great world building, they were offset by too much action in other scenes.

Hellboy II: The Golden Army still has overwhelming action and pretty weak character development, but it is ultimately an improvement over the original with a much more entertaining plot with a good fantasy angle to it and a lot of great set pieces, interesting creatures and great visuals.

My Rating – 3.5

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