The Heiress (1949)

The Heiress Movie Review

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The Heiress Movie Review

The Heiress is a 1949 drama film directed by William Wyler and starring Olivia de Havilland and Montgomery Clift. It is such a good, dramatic movie.

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Yes, I can be very cruel.

I have been taught by masters

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The Heiress Movie Review

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It is about a naive woman who falls in love with a handsome young man and decides to marry him despite the objections of her emotionally abusive father who suspects the man of being a fortune hunter. This is not a terribly original story, but it is applicable nonetheless and certainly timeless. It is relevant to this day and this issue is very well explored in this movie.
I like these melodramas from the forties even though I guess they did not age well according to many people. Here the change in Catherine’s personality is certainly not handled well and it was overly rushed and even over-the-top. But I still liked it in terms of storytelling no matter how weakly it was executed. It lead to a much more interesting and memorable film than I expected it to have been given its previously standard story. But the ending twisted my expectations and it was unpredictable and very fascinating.

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The Heiress Movie Review

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The Heiress features stellar performances from its superb cast. Of course Olivia de Havilland is so great in one of her best roles that rightfully garnered her an Oscar win. But Montgomery Clift is also really good in an atypical role for him and to me Ralph Richardson shouldn’t be forgotten in this acting conversation as he delivered such a great performance in a very interesting role. All three of them are terrific.
Despite the lack of subtlety and sometimes apparent over-the-top approach in the last third of the film, it was still a memorable and very dramatic and even dark turn of events. I loved that ending which was beautifully conceived and is the most unforgettable sequence of the entire film. But I also liked all of those scenes between the romantic duo as it featured terrific acting from both of them with Clift being surprisingly subtle in his role.
It deals so well with the troublesome father-daughter relationships and the father is certainly the most fascinating character here as they never made him too good, but the fact that he knew what was going on and wanted to help his daughter, but also emotionally abused her and definitely was unsensitive to her led to such a realistic and complex character who stole the show for sure.

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The Heiress Movie Review

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William Wyler of course directed the film superbly and it is also very well shot and edited with never a dull moment. I loved its sophisticated dialogue and the script is mostly fantastic. It was nominated for eight Academy Awards and won four. It deserved all of the wins and noms, but I wish that Ralph Richardson had won for Supporting Actor. Regardless, it remains a memorable and very involving film which is certainly one of the best of 1949.

The Heiress is definitely rushed and over-the-top in its third act, but still featuring a very interesting and unpredictable turn of events. It is such a well told and relevant story imbued by excellent direction and of course terrific performances from Montgomery Clift who is admirably subtle in his role, Olivia de Havilland who is phenomenal and deserved her Oscar and even Ralph Richardson who shouldn’t be forgotten as he wonderfully acted the most fascinating character in the film.

My Rating – 4.5

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2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

2001: A Space Odyssey Movie Review

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2001: A Space Odyssey Movie Review

2001: A Space Odyssey is a 1968 science fiction film directed by Stanley Kubrick. It is the genre’s best film and in my opinion one of the best films ever made.

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Open the pod bay doors, HAL

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2001: A Space Odyssey Movie Review

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In this movie review I am not going to talk about the story in-depth as I have already done that analysis in my review of the book. But let’s compare the two works. I guess I am in vast minority, but I think I actually prefer the book. The movie is absolutely fantastic, but some elements, especially the main character and the plot itself, were slightly better in the novel.
But Clarke and Kubrick are both geniuses and this movie is the quintessential example of how to properly adapt novel into visual medium such as film, it is actually a better example than ‘The Shining’ which is another Kubrick movie which was perfectly adapted from the Stephen King book. Whereas the novel is much better explained and detailed, the film is just the opposite – it doesn’t give many explanations and it leaves many things unanswered and to the viewers to analyze themselves. That is why this film is such an admirable work of art, wonderfully ambiguous, timeless and always fascinating to behold. The book and the film are the same at their core, but are so different in approach and that is why I loved what Kubrick did here.

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2001: A Space Odyssey Movie Review

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I thought that Bowman, Poole and Floyd were all better in the book, but here they aren’t particularly important and that is why they aren’t as much developed. In the ambitious scope and context of this epic story, characters are almost irrelevant which is why I liked that approach even though I would usually criticize it. The performances from its far from famous cast are pretty good too.
HAL 9000 is absolutely magnificent. It is interesting how the only non-human character in the movie is better developed, more flawed and in the end more human than the humans themselves which is an interesting conversation point. But whatever you take away from it, you just cannot deny the power of this character who is in my opinion one of the best villains ever in a film and probably even the very best. Calculated, yet so human, he is also very creepy and all of the scenes with him are so powerful with the lip-reading sequence being the most memorable. Complex and fascinating, HAL truly is an unforgettable creation.

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2001: A Space Odyssey Movie Review

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2001: A Space Odyssey is one of the most cinematic films in film history. And that is in and of itself a pure miracle because the book seems so unfilmable and the story seems that it could only exist in the literary form. That is why Kubrick’s direction here is probably the best of all time, it is that great! Without any doubt, this is his magnum opus and that says a lot as his filmography is truly phenomenal. His direction here is always consistent, artistic and epic and he is the person most responsible for the existence of this masterpiece. He was such a talented individual.
Naturally the special effects are the most memorable aspect here. Wow, not only is this movie the best looking classic film, but I would go so far as to call these effects the finest ever created in a film. I have actually read how it was made and it is still mind-boggling to me that this film came out in the sixties. The ship, the planets and the overall space is just visually stunning. There are many scenes here that contain such jaw-dropping visceral beauty that it overwhelms your senses entirely. The cinematography and the effects work in line to create one of the best looking movies of all time.

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2001: A Space Odyssey Movie Review

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I constantly use those superlatives, but this is just that powerful a movie. And it is another strong proof that some movies have to be watched many times in order to fully understand them. When I watched 2001 the first time, I actually disliked it. When I watched it the second time, I found it to be very good, but kind of boring. But upon third viewing and on the big screen, I was riveted throughout the whole running time, I was fascinated by its sheer magnitude and now I deem it to be one of the best films of all time. It is in fact now in my top ten films list, sitting at the seventh spot for now and it may only move further to the top as I definitely intend to watch it every couple of years for the rest of my life.
This wouldn’t be such a strong artistic achievement hadn’t it been for the score. Using classical compositions, Kubrick again managed to create a timeless masterpiece. I loved how wonderfully the music accompanied the action on screen and that creepy score accompanying the monolith scene was just astonishing to behold and immensely unnerving.

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2001: A Space Odyssey Movie Review

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As I said, it is a timeless film. Mainly because it uses spacesuits, the ship and especially the production design that feel so futuristic and definitely timeless instead of the usually timely portrayals in other science fiction films of this period. The furniture and the sets are just magnificent and couple that with those accomplished effects and you have the movie that looks and sounds great even in this 21st century and do believe that it is going to stand the test of time for many centuries and millennia to come.
Now I have to touch upon my favorite sequences. I adore that opening with the apes. Now I do love ‘Planet of the Apes’ from the same year, but this is how you make apes that look realistic and fantastic to this day. The transition from the bone to the space object is stunning and the next unforgettable scene is of course the monolith scene which is unforgettable in its creepiness. I loved all of the scenes with HAL 9000 and the entire ending is jaw-droppingly beautiful and artistic. I loved the ambiguity about it. I still do think that those who haven’t read the book would have a hard time understanding the film, but I’ve read the book myself and I love both of these works so much.

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2001: A Space Odyssey Movie Review

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The dialogue is sparse, but phenomenal. I loved that this was almost a silent film in many ways and I loved its ambitious approach. The film deals with so many things from artificial intelligence to extraterrestrials to weapons to space exploration, but it is above all one ambitious and timeless look at the never-ending human quest for knowledge. In its plot and scope, it is almost universal and all-encompassing which is why it is a quintessential science fiction film whether you love it or not.

With the best special effects ever created, one of the best villains ever, splendid production design, stunning cinematography, beautiful score and absolutely fantastic direction from Kubrick, 2001: A Space Odyssey truly is a timeless masterpiece and undoubtedly a work of art. It encompasses all of the essential science fiction themes and that is why it is the quintessential genre film. Ambitious in scope and plot, epic in feel and filled with many scenes that are overwhelming in their majesty, 2001 is a marvel to behold and it is indisputably one of the best films of all time.

My Rating – 5

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Solaris (1972)

Solaris Movie Review

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Solaris Movie Review

Solaris is a 1972 Russian science fiction drama film directed by Andrei Tarkovsky and starring Donatas Banionis. It truly is an interesting, accomplished film that is the director’s finest.

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We don’t want to conquer space at all. We want to expand Earth endlessly.

We don’t want other worlds; we want a mirror. We seek contact and will never achieve it.

We are in the foolish position of a man striving for a goal

he fears and doesn’t want. Man needs man!

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Solaris Movie Review

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In my opinion Solaris is equally a science fiction film and a psychological drama as it definitely uses both of the elements abundantly. There are some thriller/horror elements in it as well, but those are rare. It succeeds in both of those areas, but to me it is great as a science fiction tale as it is very serious, scientific and filled with such wonderful, truly atmospheric thrills that add a lot to its already unique experience.

I liked its characters and the film is great for being basically a chamber piece as it follows just a couple of characters and thus they become fully developed and their dilemmas are fully explored. The most memorable two are obviously Hari and Kris Kelvin. Hari (or should I say the alien version of her) is very intriguing as we see her become a genuine human being and highly emotional one whereas previously she was just a cold, calculated visitor. Her dilemmas and her entire arc really reminded me a lot of Ava from ‘Ex Machina’.

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Solaris Movie Review

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But Kris is the highlight as he felt like a real person and watching him go through a number of emotional states was dramatic and emotionally rewarding. The relationship between the two is great and certainly quite fascinating. But a lot of the character success stems from the performances of these two talented actors. Natalya Bondarchuk is great in a very emotional role, but it is Donatas Banionis who steals the show here as his performance is very subtle and admirably natural.

Solaris is obviously a very slow movie and there are some scenes here that are extended needlessly to an excessive, frustrating amount of running time. However, it is still for the most part an engaging and even immersive movie which is a testament to how strong the script is and how sophisticated the dialogue is. There isn’t a lot of dialogue here, but the second half featured much more lines than the first one and all those discussions were very interesting and clever.

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Solaris Movie Review

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So the pacing is slow and the film relies heavily on ambiguity and open interpretations. As far as arthouse pictures go, I have to admit that Solaris is one of the few that I actually really like and even admire. That is because the film is so interesting and so visually dazzling that it entirely transports you to its setting, story and most importantly atmospheric mood and it never lets go. It thus exponentially decreases the level of boredom which easily could have been high with this slow pace.

The film is technically very accomplished. The cinematography here is gorgeous. Some of the shots are absolutely astonishing and the camera perfectly follows the action on screen with a great eye for detail. But the imagery is stunning. I loved the interior of the ship, very memorable. I loved the images of the planet itself and surely its ambiguous and simply unforgettable ending is the standout sequence as it is beautiful and wonderfully mysterious. It is one of the best endings in a science fiction film undoubtedly.

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Solaris Movie Review

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The film is sometimes overly artistic, pretentious and too slow with the highway scene being the worst example of all that, but it succeeds as an art film because there are quite many scenes that work tremendously in that context. For example, the painting scene is truly something special and quite beautiful, but also creepy in score. The film’s score is very strong and the sound design is excellent. In the end, it does feel similar to ‘2001’ in some areas, yet it is very much its own thing as most of it is different and original. Tarkovsky’s movies are definitely not my cup of tea, but Solaris is the one film from his that I truly admire.

Very difficult to follow at times and immensely slow, but immersive and unique, Solaris succeeds on many levels – as a thrilling sci-fi story, a showcase for acting and an intimate human drama. With beautiful cinematography, complex and philosophical story, positively ambiguous ending, creepy and alienating atmosphere and an assured direction from Tarkovsky, Solaris is undoubtedly one of the best films both 1970s and science fiction have to offer.

My Rating – 4.5

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The Avenging Conscience (1914)

The Avenging Conscience Movie Review

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The Avenging Conscience Movie Review

The Avenging Conscience is a 1914 silent drama film directed by D. W. Griffith and starring Henry B. Walthall. It is one of the most underrated silent films.

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She fears something more than

mere mental derangement

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The Avenging Conscience Movie Review

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Yes, the status of this film is unfortunate. It isn’t talked about a lot these days which is a big shame as the film is so good. It is one of the most underappreciated early films which is actually one of the best films from the director as now only ‘Broken Blossoms’ comes to my mind as being a better picture of his.
It is about a man who is in love with a girl and wants to marry her, but his uncle objects to that. Out of desperation, he decides to murder his uncle and conceals the body in the fireplace. He loses his mind and starts imagining religious scary symbols, but eventually it is all revealed to have been a dream and the film ends happily.

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The Avenging Conscience Movie Review

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That is the story of The Avenging Conscience and, needless to say, it is hugely original and highly authentic. It is actually one of the most memorable and certainly weirdest silent flicks I’ve seen so far and its weirdness is expected as it came from the mind of Edgar Allan Poe.
Its first third or so felt a bit too heavy handed in my opinion. It was fine, but not a proper introduction to the story. All of the crime stuff and imaginary scenes were terrific and there lie the most unforgettable scenes of the film. As for its twist ending, I can understand that some may find it to be overly happy and like a cop-out, but it was still satisfactory to me personally and I didn’t see it coming. Plus the dream structure is definitely very unique, especially for its usually straightforward period in film history.
I liked the characters and the performances are also pretty good. Naturally Griffith‘s direction is awesome and he is the man responsible for this entire film being so great along with Poe’s writing of course. I loved how adapted it is and how cinematic the film is. It is one of the most purely entertaining and cinematic movies from the teens.

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The Avenging Conscience Movie Review

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The Avenging Conscience’s technical aspects are one of a kind. The cinematography is stunning with some of the imagery being unforgettable. The shots of insects are some of my favorites, but the scenes with Jesus and of course the devils were the major highlights.
The special effects are truly something special here. So professionally done and highly authentic. They definitely help sell the movie’s fantasy scenes ans help make it stand the test of time as this movie really did. It feels interesting to this day, not to mention original and incredibly entertaining.
It definitely has its flaws, but I liked that it was both a fantasy and a thriller at times while also being a crime flick. But it is in the end mostly a melodrama, but a truly intriguing one that fascinated me from start to finish. It is certainly one of the best 1910s films I’ve seen so far. Such a stupendous movie.

The Avenging Conscience is such a unique and entertaining film which I loved from beginning to end. Its twist ending may seem like a cop-out, but it was unexpected and interesting. The entire storyline is so authentic and the film’s technical aspects are amazing with Griffith’s direction being superb and the cinematography being unique and filled with weird imagery and superb special effects. It is in the end one of the most cinematic and sadly underappreciated silent films.

My Rating – 4.5

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review…………………………………………………..

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a 2017 superhero film which is the fifteenth entry in the MCU. It is a pretty good, but inherently problematic flick.

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“He may have been your father, Quill,

but he wasn’t your daddy”

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review…………………………………………………..

First, the story. What I liked about it is that it is very engaging and the entire film is immensely entertaining and a lot of fun. It also found good use of each of its characters which is a great accomplishment as its set of characters is so large. Each one of them got their proper due and their moments to shine and to me they were very well incorporated into the overall storyline which was impressive. And of course I loved its setting. I will talk more about the plot’s deficiencies later on.

Star-Lord isn’t as funny as he should have been and that was definitely a problem. He is good as Peter Quill here but totally fails as Star-Lord. But the theme of fatherhood is really well explored here and I loved his relationship with both of his fathers. The fact that he lost both of his fathers here is commendable and very dark, albeit predictable. So he is very good here as a dramatic character, but just not good as a comedic one.

Gamora is as boring as ever and their relationship lacked spark. But I loved her relationship with Nebula who is excellent here and such a tragic character. Drax the Destroyer is the opposite from these two as an entirely comedic character. Sometimes the film relied too much on his jokes, but he was mostly really funny and enjoyable.

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review…………………………………………………..

Yes, Baby Groot is adorable. I have to be honest. The film again relied too heavily on his cuteness, but again his scenes with Rocket were so funny. Speaking of Rocket, he is a bit too mean here, but still memorable and fun to me personally. I just loved Mantis! She is just such a sweetheart and I hope that she joins the Guardians team as was hinted here.

So let’s talk about Ego. I disliked him in the end. He had potential, but he basically became a clichéd superhero power-hungry villain in the end. And that is one of my major problems with Guardians 2. I thought that the twist with him being evil was so obvious and the entire storyline was very predictable from start to finish. I liked that he led to good development and emotional scenes for Peter Quill, but Ego himself is so typical and ultimately boring. Some of his lines were as subtle as an earthquake.

And my second and bigger problem is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’s sentimentality. It is overly sentimental to the point of being pathetic. Okay, it is great that all characters got their moments, but those moments were extended and became scenes and that was not right. Everyone was crying, everyone has a hard life and a set of problems and each one of them got their extremely emotional sequence. This is the reason why the film is so unsubtle and the big reason why the first Guardians was so much better.

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review…………………………………………………..

But the actors all did a really good job with Kurt Russell being admittedly very good in a weak role. The dialogue is weak, but the performances are good. The film is long, but is so fun that it never overstays its welcome. And I loved the special effects here as they were gorgeous and that entire Ego’s planet felt alive and it was very well explored and simply fascinating. The designs are beautiful here. The score is interesting and I guess I know why they chose calmer and more country oriented songs to fit the more dramatic mood, but I would have liked to have heard more fun songs regardless. The humor is pretty good, albeit not as good as it was in the original.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is overly sentimental – frequently even unbearably so – and extremely predictable, but still a lot of fun and it never overstays its welcome. The special effects are gorgeous and that entire planet felt alive and was fascinating to watch, the performances are quite good, the humor is solid and each character got their moment to shine.

My Rating – 4

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The Box (1967)

The Box ReviewThe Box Review

The Box is a 1967 Oscar-winning animated short film directed by Fred Wolf.

An old bearded man wearing a raincoat walks into a bar and sits down, placing a mysterious box next to him. The other patrons try, with varying success, to find out what’s inside. That is the premise here and it is quite interesting. It is the kind of old-fashioned cartoon that works well today as it did for its time and it is fun and charming.

It has a couple of good gags that rely on fun facial expressions and the animation is solid as the character designs are particularly memorable. But The Box is still not that worthy of an Oscar winner in my opinion as it isn’t as funny as it should have been, it is overly short and I did not get the point of its titular box at all.

The Box definitely has its amusing moments, but it is too short, too simplistic and not as funny as it could have been.

My Rating – 3.7

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Why Do I Dream Those Dreams (1934)

Why Do I Dream Those Dreams ReviewWhy Do I Dream Those Dreams Review

 Why Do I Dream Those Dreams is a 1934 animated short film from the Merry Melodies series. It is a charming flick.

So this entire dream structure of the short has been seen before in the Merry Melodies series and nothing here is particularly original. The humor is also non-existent and the film isn’t at all memorable. But it is still solid owing to its ending in particular which is rather sweet in its imagery and happy conclusion.

I liked the score as well as it is very upbeat and a lot of fun. I thought that the first half wasn’t the greatest, but the second half is pretty good and much more memorable. Why Do I Dream Those Dreams isn’t an inspired Merry Melody, but it is better than most of its type and it is quite satisfactory.

Why Do I Dream Those Dreams has a typical structure, but a good ending and such a fun musical score.

 My Rating – 3.4

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Blind Husbands (1919)

Blind Husbands Movie Review……………………………………………..

Blind Husbands Movie Review

Blind Husbands is a 1919 silent drama film directed by Erich Von Stroheim. It is a pretty good, very memorable movie.

Litte I know of the world – but

one thing she needs: Love

It is about two spouses who arrive to the Alps, but when the husband has to leave, his wife cheats on him. Eventually, the two men fight on top of the mountain and the man accidentally dies while the two reunite happily. So yes, there are some troublesome plot points here for sure. I did not think that the Lieutenant had to die at all. That was unnecessary and the way he died was way too unusual. And the woman should have had more trouble for what she did.

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Blind Husbands Movie Review……………………………………………..

But I still really liked this story and especially that ending. The message here is that neglected wives are bound to cheat at some point and that their husbands should love them more. That reunion ending was very sweet and the carriage leaving with the two of them inside provided a very charming imagery for the ending. I also thought that they didn’t treat the subject of adultery as sensationally as they could have done and thus the movie ended up being rather modern for its time.

The character development should have been stronger in Blind Husbands, but the acting is solid. I don’t know about Erich Von Stroheim. He directed this movie superbly and this truly is one hell of a feature debut, but he should have cast someone else in the Lieutenant’s role instead of himself. He is okay, but not great. Only Francelia Billington is excellent here as her performance is pleasantly subtle and professional.

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Blind Husbands Movie Review……………………………………………..

Blind Husbands is very well filmed and it is truly a fascinating silent film for its outdoors imagery. Rarely have I seen a silent film revolve on the mountain and I was thus pleasantly surprised. The cinematography is superb and some of the imagery is quite striking. The entire third act featured many excellent shots and very good action. A spectacle for sure.

The first act is a bit boring to be honest. It should have been more eventful and more character-driven. The second act is pretty good and the third has some problems, but is so entertaining that I liked it a lot. I wanted more of those sexual sequences, but those that we got are pretty good and actually racy for its time. I loved that cottage as well. Those scenes were so cozy. The entire movie is very cozy, but also containing a definite sense of danger in the atmosphere.

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Blind Husbands Movie Review……………………………………………..

So I liked Blind Husbands quite a bit even though it isn’t the best film of 1919. I thought that it definitely should have been more sensual and the first act is lacking as I said before, but it is still so dramatic, filled with solid attention to detail and visually dazzling that it comes as sort of a spectacle and blockbuster from this period which is intriguing in and of itself.

Blind Husbands is weaker in first act and it could have been even better overall, but it is still a very entertaining and interesting film about adultery. The second act is a lot of fun and the third is a spectacle. The film is very cozy, but also atmospheric accompanied by excellent imagery and superb cinematography that utilized its mountain setting so well. And the ending is romantic and sweet leading to a very good and interesting directorial debut from Erich von Stroheim.

My Rating – 4

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A Fool There Was (1915)

A Fool There Was Movie Review

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A Fool There Was Movie Review

A Fool There Was is a 1915 silent drama film starring Theda Bara. It is such an entertaining, weird movie.

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Kiss my, My fool!

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A Fool There Was Movie Review

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Theda Bara here plays a vamp character. She is a woman who seduces an old rich married man and destroys his life entirely. I have to say that I liked this story. I do get how today’s audiences wouldn’t like it as it is overly melodramatic and certainly sexist toward both sexes (women are sexual predators and men are weakly minded prey). But I watch it in context and to me it was pleasantly weird and even funny at times in its over-the-top overtones. I also think personally that they portrayed just one type of man and woman and certainly the movie doesn’t state that’s how all men and women are.
I would have liked to have seen more from the other characters such as his family, but the two leads are very good. She is particularly great and probably the most evil woman in all of silent film. Edward Jose is solid, but of course Theda Bara steals the show as this incredibly devilish and almost cartoony character who is a lot of fun. She definitely is overly theatrical, but it entirely suits this role which is why I think she is magnificent here and it is such a shame that most of her movies are now lost. Watching her in this movie, you can clearly see a star as she truly was around 1915.

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A Fool There Was Movie Review

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A Fool There Was is a hugely entertaining movie which flew by how fun it was to me. Of course I loved the dialogue and that famous line “Kiss me, my fool!” proved to be so influential and is certainly a major highlight here. But of the scenes, the ship sequence is just the best, I loved it so much. Watching Theda Bara’s character seduce Jose’s character by pretending that she dropped something and then lifting her skirt… well that was hilarious and definitely one of the most memorable scenes in all of silent film.
It does have its flaws and I sadly changed my mind regarding the rating. I wanted to give it a 4.5, but then I lowered the rating to 4 because when I thoroughly thought about it, there are certainly too many issues to be had with this film besides that sexist aspect which I did not mind at all.
One is that is it, as I said before, shamelessly melodramatic and sometimes a bit too over-the-top. But the biggest problem lies in the running time and pacing. Sixty seven minutes was just way too short for this particular story and the film is paced very badly. It is so fast that it is ultimately rushed. It was ridiculous seeing the scenes just fly by one by one.

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A Fool There Was Movie Review

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But I still really enjoyed A Fool There Was mainly because I finally saw Theda Bara and wasn’t disappointed as she really was a star. I think the film is well acted and directed, but also well shot and both the dialogue and the script are quite good here. But its weird tone and its strong villain are what makes it unique and quite unforgettable.
Featuring unforgettable Theda Bara in such a deliciously devilish role,  A Fool There Was is a lot of fun as this weird and over-the-top movie. It can definitely be too theatrical and the pacing is awfully fast, but it is well acted and directed with such an entertaining story, memorable dialogue and many very interesting and fun scenes.

My Rating – 4

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Star Maker (1937)

Book Review: Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon………………………………………………………

Book Review: Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon

Star Maker is a 1937 science fiction novel written by Olaf Stapledon. It is a pretty admirable, yet frustratingly uninvolving book.

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Either God is the universe,

or he is the flavor of creativity pervading all things

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Book Review: Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon………………………………………………………

It describes the history of life in the universe. It tackles philosophical themes such as the essence of life, of birth, decay and death, and the relationship between creation and creator. So obviously it deals with very fascinating and ambitious themes and it truly is one of the most ambitious and all-encompassing sci-fi novels that I’ve read. The relationships between different alien civilizations and the importance of them is probably the best established and most important theme. But the relationship between the creator and the creation was simply a fascinating read and to me the book serves as a great proponent of agnosticism.

But as I said above, this is a very difficult read. I am not only saying that it is tedious and it truly is like that in most of its second half. Very slow. But I also want to say that it features a pretty problematic approach to its storytelling. So Star Maker is basically a documentary, a non-fiction book in its style of writing. But it isn’t as it isn’t real and it is fictional in its story. And that duality was frustrating and not at all welcome here. I guess he wanted to be even more ambitious, but it wasn’t needed as this was always going to be a hugely ambitious SF work.

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Book Review: Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon………………………………………………………

Some of the highlights here include the various alien species and the descriptive passages there are excellent, the ending, the beginning is very intriguing and the entire first half was pretty great to me. But the second half became too documentary-like and thus it went off the rails in my opinion.

Star Maker is a dull read that isn’t too long as this is an epic story, but it should have been written in a more accessible manner for readers. Arthur Clarke also writes hard sci-fi with a lot of science talk in it, but he phrases his sentences in a shorter, easier and more accessible manner so that is why I prefer his writing much more. Olaf Stapledon is a visionary and probably the grandfather of all hard science fiction and I respect him for the plethora of ideas here, but the execution is not as visionary and, much like most of the books from his time, his writing is too difficult, to entangled and with way too long sentences in my opinion.

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Book Review: Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon………………………………………………………

He is the best at describing some phenomena and different civilizations, those passages were great. But whenever he got into the politics, he lost me a bit. The characterization is not the greatest, but also not that necessary to begin with which is usual for this genre. So the story is great and the lack of dialogue did not bother me at all, but this particular approach itself is very troublesome and it was a major turnoff to me personally.

In the end, Star Maker is a respectable, truly monumental work of science fiction in its admirable ambitiousness and a variety of interesting themes and ideas explored. But Stapledon’s writing is not the most interesting and his approach is too much like a documentary. It is a book that I respect a lot, but it was quite a difficult read nonetheless.

My Rating – 3.6

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