Bosko in Dutch (1933)

Bosko in Dutch ReviewBosko in Dutch Review

Bosko in Dutch is a 1933 animated short film from the Looney Tunes series. It is a solid and interesting, but uneven entry.

I will first state the problems here. For a self-proclaimed Dutch title, there isn’t anything Dutch in it until the second half of the film. That was a problem. Actually the entire first half in and of itself is problematic as it basically sees Bosko ice skating accompanied with typical music of its time and that was just not particularly entertaining.

But the second half is so good that it saves the movie. I loved the use of Dutch shoes, I loved Bosko and Honey and their dance sequences were charming and I really liked the final action sequence because of just one thing which is that help sign. That was such an unexpectedly inventive and funny moment that was the defining part of the entire film.

Bosko in Dutch has a weaker first half, but the second half is charming and quite inventive in its one very amusing moment.

 My Rating – 3.8

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The Circus (1928)

The Circus Movie Review………………………………………………………………

The Circus Movie Review

The Circus is a 1928 silent comedy film directed by and starring Charlie Chaplin. It is isn’t one of his best works, but it is still quite a good, expectedly endearing flick.

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Where’s the funny, man?

Bring on the funny, man

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The Circus Movie Review………………………………………………………………

The ringmaster of an impoverished circus hires Chaplin’s Tramp as a clown, but discovers that he can only be funny unintentionally, not on purpose. That is the plot here along with the romantic subplot in which Tramp falls in love with a girl who eventually chooses another man. Now the plot is minimal here and that is why the film is much weaker than Chaplin’s greatest works. There isn’t anything sophisticated here, not a message nor an abundance of themes. It is just a solid plot which is fine and actually quite charming at times, but I still expected more from it.

The characters are pretty good and the Tramp is as great and as lovable as usual. I loved the romantic subplot which was quite endearing and so well done. And I of course respect Chaplin’s talents as he not only directed and acted in this movie, but he produced it, wrote it and even composed it, adding afterwards an opening song in the beginning. He truly was one very hard working and talented individual and it is great that the movie ended up being good in the end despite its by now famous problems during production such as the studio fire and him being sued by his former wife for sexual harassment.

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The Circus Movie Review

 

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The Rose of Versailles (1979)

The Rose of Versailles Review……………………………………………………….

The Rose of Versailles Review

The Rose of Versailles is a 1979 historical shōjo anime directed by Tadao Nagahama and Osamu Dezaki. It is such a fantastic, beautiful show that I just loved.

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For twenty years you were the only one that I saw and thought about.

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The Rose of Versailles Review……………………………………………………….

The Rose of Versailles focuses on Oscar, a girl raised as a man to become her father’s successor as leader of the Palace Guards. Oscar is proud of the life she leads, but becomes torn between class loyalty and her desire to help the impoverished as revolution brews among the oppressed lower class. We also follow her conflicting desires to live life as both a militant and a regular woman as well as her relationships with Marie Antoinette as well as her best friend and future lover Andre.

In terms of storytelling, the series is phenomenal, so well written with such a stellar and sophisticated script. In terms of the themes, it isn’t as rich, but it deals with an interesting subject matter and a variety of interesting storylines and tones. Firstly, it is a historical show that examines France before the Revolution and it ends with it in its final couple of episodes. The only problem I’ve had here is that the series in my opinion didn’t focus as much as it should have focused on the poor and the ordinary people and sometimes it seemed to justify Marie’s actions a bit too much, but other than that, it succeeds thoroughly as a compelling historical drama that perfectly made me acquainted with this period and battles. The action was great and I really liked the conflicts, the battles and especially the politics in it, so well done.

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The Rose of Versailles Review……………………………………………………….

But The Rose of Versailles succeeds as a tragedy and a romance just as much. It is so purely romantic at times that it was just beautiful to witness. I loved how it explored what it means to be a woman and the conflicts that arose with Oscar and her entire story was just magnificent to behold. The series is so brutal, so heartbreaking and just striking more frequently than it is just dramatic that is should be classified as a tragedy more than anything else. The final two episodes are probably my favorites. A lot was crammed in there, but watching Andre’s death followed by Oscar’s was just heartbreaking and it almost made me cry. But the conclusion to the story with the deaths of all the nobles felt was so powerful to watch and stupendously well executed. The finale itself felt elevated because of its emotion and a sense of closure. Rarely does a show manage to do the finale well and this one does it just right and then so.

Now let’s talk about the characters. The character development is absolutely amazing in this anime. There is literally not a single character here that was underdeveloped or annoying. Everybody serves its purpose and all of them are mostly either perfectly sinister or very likable. Oscar Francois de Jarjayes is just splendid. She is a rare protagonist that steals the show as I usually do not like main characters as much as I like the supporting ones. But Oscar is a one of a kind personality. She wants to be a soldier and she is one meaning that her character is probably the first tough and feminist character in anime as she dates back to the seventies, but she is also surprisingly well developed and real. Watching her conflicting nature was emotionally rewarding and dramatic. And the couple of womanly displays that we got to see from her felt all the more rewarding. Interestingly androgynous, yet beautiful, noble, powerful and yet flawed and caring, she is a perfect example of how to do badass female characters right.

Andre is almost as good. It was a great twist to see that he had been seeing Oscar as a woman the whole time and whether as friends or as lovers, their relationship was truly something special. His blindness was very well handled and his eventual death was just as heartbreaking as her death was. The two are such a fantastic, wonderful couple and I just adored them.

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The Rose of Versailles Review……………………………………………………….

Fersen was quite solid and I liked his role and of course Rosalie is terrific and her story was epic, moving and you just root for her the whole time. I cared for her a lot and her relationship with Oscar is another strong one. Truly all of Oscar’s interactions were great. Marie Antoinette is a memorable person. I admired that they stayed true to the historical figure, but I also liked that they humanized her as that made her brutal end tragic, yet justifiable. I would have liked to have seen more from Louis XVI as he was ridiculously underutilized, but Madame du Barry was such a strong presence during the first half of the series. A terrific, memorable villain who got her powerful and quite emotional conclusion as well. I loved their ability to make the most of even the most despicable people and that they made you care for them and either pity or feel sorry for their terrible faiths. Duchess of Polignac is another terrific villain and her daughter Charlotte’s story was beyond tragic and it left me heartbroken. And of course Alain is such a sweet soul and a great, important character from the second half of the anime.

The Rose of Versailles is amazing in its technical aspects as well, it truly is a great show and one of the best anime series I’ve seen so far! The animation is splendid to behold. The character designs were realistic and admirable for it, but the imagery is memorable and sometimes even powerful. But where it succeeds the most is in its freeze frames. Whenever the action froze in the most important sequences, we got truly accomplished images that were just beautiful and even artistic in style. It is groundbreaking looking for its time and so polished, yet almost poetic in nature at times and with greatly choreographed movements and action as well.

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The Rose of Versailles Review……………………………………………………….

The score is just as great! I love the opening theme which is catchy and with great lyrics, but it also has excellent sound effects and some truly wonderful and fittingly moving themes and pieces of music accompanying the more important parts of the episodes and story. I found the editing to be mostly great as well as the direction and voice acting. Truly an accomplished series. The only flaw is that sometimes the more political episodes weren’t as strong and some episodes are weaker than others leading to an uneven in terms of investment show, but both in terms of the technicalities and in terms of emotion and plot, it succeeds in spades. It will probably remain one of my favorite anime shows long after this time.

The Rose of Versailles is such a great anime. It is uneven at times, but it is accomplished in score, gorgeous and even artistic animation and excellent direction, scenery and editing. It succeeds both as a historical drama as well as a tragedy and romance with such raw and heartbreaking emotion, many truly powerful scenes, a great and investing story and terrific characters with Oscar being one of the best protagonists of all time.

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Worst Episodes: Fly! An Austrian Butterfly!, Fersen Departs for the Northland, Suddenly, Like Icarus, The Necklace Shines Ominously and The Watchword is “Au Revoir”.

Best Episodes: Oscar, the Destiny of a Rose, Sun Sets, Sun Rises, The Secret of the Angel, Now the Time of Encounter, Farewell, My Sister!, A Minuet of Unrequited Love, On the Night of Passionate Vows, His Smile is Forever Gone! and Adieu, My Beloved Oscar.

My Rating – 4.6

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The Big Heat (1953)

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The Big Heat Movie Review

The Big Heat is a 1953 noir film directed by Fritz Lang and starring Glenn Ford and Lee Marvin. It is a predictable, yet memorably dark movie.

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The main thing is to have the money.

I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor.

Believe me – rich is better.

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Obviously the big problem here is the script which is overly familiar and I’ve seen some of the scenes here multiple times before and after. The pot itself is fine, though definitely standard, but it is executed well and professionally written. However, the problem is the overall predictable nature to the movie. It is so predictable that almost its every plot point is expected. I saw the ending, I knew who was going to die and who is bad and the best example of this predictability lies in the scene where the protagonist’s wife dies. Yes, it is done and filmed well, but everybody would realize what is going to happen in barely a minute there.

I liked its characters. The Big Heat is famous for turning the femme fatale aspect on its head by making the man be fatal for all the women who meet him. That was definitely original and great. I really liked Bannion as he is a complex, memorable noir protagonist and him coping with his wife’s death was really well done. Debby is terrific and she stole the show here as the most interesting and even fascinating character. As for the villains, they are fine and dangerous, but I thought that the decision to reveal them so early was done for better and for worse.

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This isn’t an A-list cast of actors, but they still did such a good job. Gloria Grahame is very good, Lee Marvin is memorably villainous and Glenn Ford was mostly really good and competent in a somewhat difficult role. Of course Fritz Lang’s direction is terrific and it is so great seeing that the director of ‘Metropolis’ could tackle noir along with science fiction. He truly was a great director.

The Big Heat is fascinating for its mature tone and that is its greatest and most authentic accomplishment. It is certainly the most memorable aspect of the entire film. The scene where Vince tortures Debby and throws hot coffee on her face, thus permanently ruining the entire side of her face is certainly the most violent scene that I have ever witnessed in an older film. It is definitely the most memorable part of the film and although too violent, I actually liked it as it raised the stakes for sure.

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But having her get her revenge and doing the same to him later on was a great choice and a further proof of how strong and feminist the women in classic Hollywood movies were. These were great female characters who were strong and capable, but in a realistic manner. I loved Debby. But I also liked that it was an emotional film, subtly emotional in its protagonist’s problems. The ending is so sweet and I adored that speech about his wife that he gave to Debby, so beautiful. The film is also superbly edited as it is deft and doesn’t waste any scene, but also doesn’t rush the story. I just wished that it wasn’t that predictable as it would have been superb, but it is still very good this way and a proof of how talented Lang really was.

What hurt The Big Heat in the long run is the entire predictability of its plot with almost every plot point being expected, but this noir is still so well made, so well directed by Fritz Lang and so well acted that they managed to lift the material to much greater heights. I loved its emotional approach with a couple of beautiful and moving scenes, but the highlight are its memorable characters and most especially its incredibly dark approach with a couple of unforgettable brutal scenes that are not excessive, but help raise the stakes significantly.

My Rating – 4

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The Hole (1962)

The Home ReviewThe Hole Review

 The Hole is a 1962 Oscar-winning animated short film which was directed by John and Faith Hubley. It’s an overrated film.

It features two construction workers at work in the bottom of a hole on a construction site discussing the possibility of an accidental nuclear weapons attack. It is one of the most talkative Oscar-winning shorts and it surely was interesting that it was structured as one giant, prolonged discussion. Some lines were quite interesting.

But most of that discussion was not as interesting as it should have been and not particularly smart or compelling. The voice acting is good, but the ending is subpar and the film is pointless in a way. The animation is its worst aspect as it is so mediocre not only in character designs, but also in imagery which felt choppy and unfinished.

The Hole is an interesting, but mostly failed experiment with choppy animation and not particularly compelling discussions.

 My Rating – 3.2

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Waking Sleeping Beauty (2009)

Waking Sleeping Beauty Movie Review………………………………………………………..

Waking Sleeping Beauty Movie Review

Waking Sleeping Beauty is a 2009 Disney documentary film directed by Don Hahn. It showcases the history of the Disney studio in the 80s and 90s with an emphasis on the beginning of the renaissance.

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I just don’t think anything is quite as magical as a Disney cartoon fairy tale.

There’s just nothing like that.

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Waking Sleeping Beauty Movie Review………………………………………………………..

I love this topic naturally as I am such a huge fan of Disney animation. The Disney Renaissance is truly a special period for the studio and for the American animation as a whole. I love all of the movies released there and although I would have liked to have seen the later Renaissance entries here as well, I still loved that I got to see the makings of ‘The Little Mermaid’, ‘Beauty and the Beast’, ‘Aladdin’ and ‘The Lion King’, four of their biggest movies.

That footage was fascinating and although I knew a lot of this stuff already, I still loved seeing it on the screen. Jodi Benson’s recording of Part of That World is definitely one of the highlights and of course watching those real lions in the studio was so much fun. I also liked that they showcased their rivalry during the eighties such as Don Bluth and Spielberg and we even got to see some 80s movies here such as ‘The Black Cauldron’ and ‘The Great Mouse Detective’. It is always tragic seeing how the former hurt the studio when it is such a solid film and of course the jokes about the latter’s title were so amusing.

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Waking Sleeping Beauty Movie Review………………………………………………………..

It was interesting learning a bit more about the studio’s troubled history. Of course Waking Sleeping Beauty glorifies a bit too much their own work, but that is understandable as they’ve had such enormous success during the nineties. Of course seeing the Oscar nominations and seeing that ‘Beauty and the Beast’ ended up in the Best Picture race was so emotionally rewarding and such a huge feat in the history of animation.

You learn a lot about Michael Eisner and Roy Disney’s roles which were very important and Roy always seemed so nice to me. But I also learned a lot about Frank Wells and his death was tragic. Jeffrey Katzenberg was well portrayed here and not in an overly toxic manner which they could have done, but thankfully did not. He remains a controversial, but still important figure for Disney and that was well portrayed here. And of course the movie wonderfully showcases the importance of Howard Ashman’s input and his untimely death truly remains tragic and you only can imagine how much more he could have done for Disney had he lived more.

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Waking Sleeping Beauty Movie Review………………………………………………………..

Waking Sleeping Beauty uses archival footage and interviews instead of new interviews and that was truly such a unique and different angle to a documentary feature. Very interesting and it ultimately worked really well for the film. However, the movie remains very troublesome for relying too much on archival footage of the filmmakers and animators and not enough on the films themselves. They should have showcased and emphasized the films more and how they were made and it would have been much more entertaining and much better. But the ending is really moving and the movie was so insightful and a great history lesson for an animation fan like myself so I forgive them for those flaws.

Waking Sleeping Beauty definitely should have focused more on the films themselves instead of relying so much on the filmmakers and animators, but it is still such an insightful and fascinating look at the Disney Renaissance and a big reminder of how important and great that period was. The movie showcased really well the troubled history of each film as well as the various troubles with the studio executives and animators plus it is a unique documentary that relies entirely on archival instead of new interviews.

My Rating – 4

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Swiss Army Man (2016)

Swiss Army Man Movie Review…………………………………………………….

Swiss Army Man Movie Review

Swiss Army Man is a 2016 comedy drama film starring Daniel Radcliffe and Paul Dano. It is an original and sometimes moving, but mostly ridiculous movie.

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You can’t just say anything that comes into your head,

that’s bad talking.

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Swiss Army Man Movie Review…………………………………………………….

It is about a man who, just as he is attempting suicide, sees a corpse wash shore and developed a friendship with it as it is half-alive and possesses a couple of interesting powers. Now the originality here is undeniable. However, there are two kinds of original works. One is admirable and groundbreaking whereas the other is bad or silly. This one falls in the latter category. It is just such a silly premise that you can’t take it seriously and some of its plot points were just too ridiculous to excuse.

Swiss Army Man has its strengths on the other hand. One is the emotion. Most of it is unearned and because the plot is silly, it doesn’t quite get through. But some of it felt genuinely moving and sweet. I liked the relationship between the two characters, it was a nice friendship. Another good aspect in this movie is its score. I just loved this score as it is uplifting, inspired and sometimes even magical. It thoroughly managed to lift some of the scenes to much greater heights because of it.

Daniel Radcliffe continues his quest into weird and odd territory with this movie and he is solid in it, but again probably a waste of his talents. Paul Dano is much better utilized and he was actually rather likable here where he is usually unlikable to me.

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Swiss Army Man Movie Review…………………………………………………….

The direction is okay, but the editing is not and the film felt too slow and not enough happened in it to justify its somewhat long running time. It is too simplistic and the ending, although fun, is probably more ridiculous than the rest of the movie which really says something. Some of the imagery was memorable, but most of it was too hippie and silly. As for its humor, it is horrible. It basically consists of farts and talks about bodily fluids which is why the dialogue is also terrible. Those two destroyed what could have been a much more interesting and better movie.

Swiss Army Man is a ridiculous movie. Some of it was sweet and moving, the performances are good and the score is actually very good, but the film is original in its plot but in a negative way as it was overly silly and sometimes even stupid and the juvenile humor and dialogue hurt it the most in the long run.

My Rating – 3

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Time Bandits (1981)

Time Bandits Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

Time Bandits Movie Review

Time Bandits is a 1981 family fantasy film directed by Terry Gilliam and starring John Cleese and Sean Connery. It is such a frustrating, disappointing film.

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Dead? No excuse for laying off work.

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Time Bandits Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

Now I obviously dislike Terry Gilliam as I do not care for most of his movies and that is why I didn’t like Time Bandits as well. He infuses this movie with his signature and very annoying style and thus ruins what could have been a great family fantasy flick with interesting time travel elements.

The biggest problem is its lack of identity. The film tries to be both a family fantasy adventure and a bizarre, odd comedy for adults and you can’t have it both ways. Some parts were admittedly funny and some scenes were very interestingly conceived and intriguing in imagery and mythology, but for the most part both of these movies failed in my opinion.

That is because the fantasy elements were mostly overly campy and filled with a ridiculous villain and many silly characters such as those dwarfs. Not only silly, but the characters are also annoying and some are even plain unlikable.

As for its comedy, it fails in that regard as well owing to its obvious Pythonian style. And having in mind that I do not like ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’, I naturally disliked that that humor was present here too. So disappointing and not to mention really not fitting to this story.

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Time Bandits Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

Time Bandits does have some inspired scenes with awesome imagery and great effects for its time. Its first half contained some clever dialogue and funny lines. And the overall film is certainly original in plot and characters, but done for better and for worse. I just had such high expectations for this film and it left me feeling cold and even bored. In the hands of any other director, this would have turned out great, but in the hands of Terry Gilliam, it ended up being another frustrating experiment.

Time Bandits is such a frustrating movie and another proof that I strongly dislike Terry Gilliam’s style. It does have some interesting scenes and imagery and you can’t deny its originality, but it is tonally inconsistent as it tries to be both a family fantasy flick and an odd, bizarre comedy and it just never succeeds in either of those areas as the humor is overly Pythonian and the fantasy elements and characters are silly.

My Rating – 3

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Bosko’s Woodland Daze (1932)

Bosko's Woodland Daze ReviewBosko’s Woodland Daze Review

 Bosko’s Woodland Daze is a 1932 animated short film from the Looney Tunes series. It is imaginative, but not as great as it could have been.

Bosko is out in the woods with his dog Bruno and falls asleep while the dog plays around. He has a nightmare and eventually wakes up. The nightmare itself had a couple of very memorable moments in it, but should have been much longer in length. The film does have an odd structure and a thorough lack of focus which is something the series has been struggling with from the start.

I loved Bruno, he was so endearing here, albeit not as well utilized as he usually is. The dream was memorable and of course the conclusion is amusing. I loved the animation here which is very imaginative and with some striking imagery. The score was also really good. The film is definitely authentic, yet disappointing as it could have been much better had it had a bit of focus.

Bosko’s Woodland Daze lacks in terms of the structure, but is quite intriguing in its imagery and sometimes endearing.

 My Rating – 3.7

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Three’s a Crowd (1932)

Three's a Crowd ReviewThree’s a Crowd Review

 Three’s a Crowd is a 1932 animated short film from the Merry Melodies series. It is such an inventive entry.

This is an innovative cartoon as it consists of various literary characters popping out of their books and becoming alive. Alice is pursued by Mr. Hyde until Tarzan eventually saves her from him. I loved the animation here, very well realized. The character designs were top-notch and all of these famous characters look great. I also really liked how they were portrayed and the action was fine.

But it is still a disappointing short because there isn’t enough of literary characters used and they could have had some more memorable ones. The score is also not great and the humor is lacking. I found the titular number to be a pretty forgettable song that was used a lot, yet was weak.

Three’s a Crowd features one of a kind storyline, but the execution is not the greatest owing to a weak humor and score.

 My Rating – 3.8

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