Porky’s Garden (1937)

Porky's Garden ReviewPorky’s Garden Review

Porky’s Garden is a 1937 animated short film from the Looney Tunes series. It’s a solid entry.

This is one of those Looney Tunes flicks which basically give Porky the time to shine and he really did shine here quite a lot. He is memorable, his voice has finally become great and iconic and he continues to be such an endearing presence. The others are never as memorable as he is here.

The entire plot is pretty fun and amusing although ultimately the gags weren’t as funny as the premise demanded and the film should have been longer. I loved that ending and the entire scenarios were quite entertaining. The film is pleasantly energetic and crazy though definitely undercooked and rushed.

Porky’s Garden is one of the more entertaining, though rushed, Looney Tunes with such a great emphasis on Porky Pig.

My Rating – 3.7

Share

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006)

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest Movie Review

…………………………………………………

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest Movie Review

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest is a 2006 fantasy swashbuckler film directed by Gore Verbinski and starring Johnny Depp. It is a very good, strong sequel.

………………………………………………….

There will come a time when you have a chance to do the right thing.

I love those moments. I like to wave at them as they pass by

………………………………………………….

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest Movie Review

………………………………………………….

Critics pinpoint the plot as very weak here, but I disagree. Certainly it takes the backseat to the action and spectacle, but it is still a solid story which further broadens this world and mythology. I liked its adventurous side, but to me the fantasy elements were the strongest this time around as the titular chest was a superb plot device and those odd-looking animalistic humans are very interesting both visually and tonally as they bring some darkness to this franchise.

Let’s talk about the characters. Jack Sparrow is even more fun and funny in this installment and Johnny Depp once again excels in this role. Some of his facial expressions were priceless. Will continues to be very boring, but at least the inclusion of Bootstrap Bill as his father led to some moving family drama.

Elizabeth was honestly much better this time around as she is much more proactive here and she is even in on some of the action. Keira Knightley is still unlikable in the role, but the character is getting better. James Norrington is quite solid and I liked that he got away with the chest eventually which was an interesting turn of events.

………………………………………………….

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest Movie Review

………………………………………………….

Tia Dalma is your typical voodoo priestess and nothing new honestly but Davy Jones is absolutely terrific and such a great addition to the cast. I did not see Bill Nighy anywhere owing to seamless special effects work and the character is fun but also serves as a rather compelling villain.

Dead Man’s Chest definitely is filled with too much action and it is more robust than its predecessor, but still I prefer this movie as it is thus more fun and funnier. That action is silly, but also very well executed and consistently entertaining and humorous. The part with the cannibals was boring and overlong honestly, but I liked everything after that. It sets up the sequel so well while being a solid middle entry in the trilogy in its own right.

The highlights were all of the scenes with Davy Jones along with the ending and of course the island sequence was the standout as it was the most entertaining with that fighting on the wheel and chase for the chest being the most memorable. Everything in those scenes is overblown (too much action, humor and too many characters), but it works as it is pleasantly humorous in approach, charming and it doesn’t take itself seriously which was refreshing.

………………………………………………….

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest Movie Review

………………………………………………….

The film features reliably excellent score and terrific sound effects, deservedly Oscar nominated. The film actually won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects because it was a weaker year for effects, but still it deserved to win as those creatures are blended seamlessly with the real actors and locations. What it lacks in dialogue and story and also emotion, the film more than compensates with effects, action and humor and I have to admit that I prefer it over the original.

Dead Man’s Chest again has overlong runtime, excessive action and too much overblown spectacle, but I honestly prefer this installment over the previous one because it is much more entertaining and much funnier with Jack again being so amusing. The fantasy elements are very good, the film sets up its sequel so well and it has many memorable, fun scenes fueled by seamless special effects and beautiful locations.

My Rating – 4

Share

The Fly (1980)

The Fly ReviewThe Fly Review

The Fly is a 1981 Hungarian Oscar winning animated short film that is quite intriguing.

The film follows one fly who comes into a house during an autumn day. Basically the hook here is that the film is filmed as if through the eyes of the fly and the camera work fits the view of the fly. This is a very interesting experiment mostly well executed and it is, needless to say, one of the more original Oscar winners in the animated short category.

I wanted a longer runtime and even more of the fly’s lifecycle such as feeding or reproducing, but the film still showcases how they fly so well in its very fittingly hectic cinematography. I liked the dark ending quite a bit, that house looked splendid and the sound design is superb as well as the animation which is awesome in its fittingly subdued colors.

The Fly definitely is short, but a deserved Oscar winner with fittingly subdued animation and hectic camera work.

My Rating – 4.1

Share

The Beguiled (2017)

The Beguiled Movie Review

…………………………………………………

The Beguiled Movie Review

The Beguiled is a 2017 period piece directed by Sofia Coppola and starring Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, Kirsten Dunst and Elle Fanning. It’s a very good, but still flawed film.

………………………………………………….

What have you done to me, you vengeful bitches?!

………………………………………………….

The Beguiled Movie Review

………………………………………………….

The film follows a girl school in Virginia during the American Civil War in 1864. A Union soldier arrives wounded on their estate and they nurse him back to help, but the problematic dynamic develops between the man and the women all resulting in tragedy eventually.

That is the story here and it is a film that is simplistic at first, but more thought-provoking and complex after the end when you are left pondering who was right and who was wrong. To me the problem here is that the film isn’t as deep or as emotional as it should have been and the film only skims the surface of this very interesting men versus women subject. It’s a feminist film, but not as accomplished as one would hope.

All of those problems stem from Colin Farrell’s character, at least in my opinion. He did an excellent job and definitely gave such a strong supporting performance. But the character Corporal John McBurney is highly troublesome because he is at first portrayed as too nice and polite and thus his transition to the darker side felt somewhat unrealistic. And, spoiler alert, because I did not buy his ascent into madness, I was left feeling sorry for his death and feeling that the women were not fair to him which is exactly what the movie did not need me to question.

But the women are all excellent and very well developed for such a short screen time. Nicole Kidman is excellent in a typical role for him, Elle Fanning is unlikable but necessary and Kirsten Dunst is one of the highlights here as she gave a very strong performance in such a good role. Everyone did a really good job honestly.

………………………………………………….

The Beguiled Movie Review

………………………………………………….

So The Beguiled basically showcases how the women of 1864 needed to be smart to deal with men as they were oppressed back then. It also shows the power of female maturity and sexuality in a very strong, realistic manner. All of that is due to Sofia Coppola’s involvement as her directing here is superb and the highlight of the film along with a good, slow pace with menacing atmosphere and such strong visuals as the costumes and both the interiors and exteriors look lovely.

The Beguiled has one problem and that is Colin Farrell’s character. He actually gave a very strong performance, but the character was portrayed awkwardly and thus the ending of the film felt problematic to me. But other than that, this is a very strong film which looks great thanks to lovely costumes and interiors. It is so well acted across the board, Sofia Coppola’s direction is superb and it is a slow-burn movie with interesting themes and effectively conveyed menacing atmosphere.

My Rating – 4

Share

Speaking of the Weather (1937)

Speaking of the Weather ReviewSpeaking of the Weather Review

Speaking of the Weather is a 1937 animated short film from the Merry Melodies series. It is a solid flick.

The problem with this entry is that it isn’t all that original to begin with. For somebody who watches this first, it would seem highly authentic but for animation fans like myself, it actually is a rip-off of many earlier Merry Melodies and Silly Symphonies where book characters come to life.

Regardless of that, this is still a fun short in its craziness. Certainly its pace is overly frenetic, but that led to a very entertaining film which is filled with countless interesting gags and many memorable moments such as the one at the ending and the caricatures of Garbo and Gable are typical, but funny. In my opinion, the parody of ‘The Thin Man’ and William Powell stole the show here as it was a very amusing plot point.

Speaking of the Weather is unoriginal, but well animated, scored and a lot of craziness and fun.

My Rating – 3.5

Share

Best and Worst Films from September 2017

……………………………………………………….

Best and Worst Films from September 2017

 

 

Best Films from September 2017:

 

3. Talk to Her

September was a solid month for me with the best movies I watched mostly being in its second half. ‘Lepa sela lepo gore’ is an honorable mention for this list and the third place definitely goes to Talk to Her which is in my opinion the best Almodovar film. It is a one of a kind story of two men who befriend each other while their girlfriends are in a coma. The film is very complex both emotionally and thematically and a work of immense power and originality.

Talk to Her Movie Review

 

2. It

It is one of 2017’s best movies for sure. I have been a fan of the novel ever since I read it around ten years ago and finally I got a worthwhile and faithful movie adaptation. The strengths of this movie are twofold: one is its terror and it truly is one of the most frightening movies that I have ever seen and another one is its extremely strong character development which coupled with awesome performances across the board led to amazing character dynamic and emotion.

It Movie Review

 

1. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

And the best movie from September is literally the last movie I watched on the last day of this month and that is The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. This is just such a brilliant film. It features terrific performances from James Stewart, John Wayne and Lee Marvin in the roles that fit each of them like a glove. It also has excellent humor and evident heart at its core. But it is the strongest thematically speaking as its story of politics, the legend becoming a fact and the modernization of the Old West is rich, deep and clever and fueled with a powerful message about the necessities of physical confrontation.

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance Movie Review

 

Worst Films from September 2017:

 

3. A Ghost Story

I’ve also seen some real stinkers during September and one of them is definitely this pretentious mediocrity. It is not as bad as the rest of the movies on this list are but it is still a mediocre affair. A Ghost Story squanders its awesome premise on terrible, pretentious execution and it is just such a pointless bore to sit through.

A Ghost Story Movie Review

 

2. Amarcord

Amarcord is one of Fellini’s worst movies and that says a lot as he has more than a couple of crappy films in his filmography. This one shows all of his excesses such as the obsession with sex and vulgarities and it is such an overly loud, pointless and pretentious film that is at its core a movie about nothing more than just immature yelling and sex.

Amarcord Movie Review

 

1. Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem

Of course the number one goes to this infamous flick which is by far the worst entry in both Alien and Predator franchises. Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem is infinitely worse than its admittedly silly, but fun predecessor. It is a bad movie by all means with dull action, stupid characters and absolutely horrible cinematography as you cannot see a thing here. I did not expect much in terms of storytelling here, but I at least expected to be entertained and instead I was bored. That is why this first spot is more than deserved for the likes of this nothingness.

Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem Movie Review

Share

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance Movie Review

…………………………………………………

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance Movie Review

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is a 1962 western film directed by John Ford and starring James Stewart, John Wayne and Lee Marvin. It is one of the finest westerns of all time.

………………………………………………….

This is the West, sir.

When the legend becomes fact, print the legend

………………………………………………….

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance Movie Review

………………………………………………….

This is an incredible film with a phenomenal story. Its clash of two stars and true legends was not just done for the sake of being cool, but for the sake of the story too. This is one of those westerns which transcended the limitations of the genre and thus ended up being a masterpiece and a classic for all ages. It transcended that with a great story with many clever themes beautifully explored.

It is at its core a story about the modernization and the democratization of the Old West. It is also about politics as it has quite a lot of politics in it – early politicization of the region is well explored and the rise to political power is also very well conveyed along with the legend becoming a fact phenomenon. It is in fact one of the best political movies that I have ever seen.

………………………………………………….

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance Movie Review

………………………………………………….

But the one thing that I took away the most from it is its message about the importance of adaptability. The film showcases how Stewart’s Ranse had to learn how to use a gun and how to defend himself in order to beat Liberty Valance. Despite all his modern, civilized views, he still had to resort to physical confrontation. And I loved that message which may be transgressive, but it is real and truthful. In the real world, even in today’s more organized  and lawful society, if you get attacked on the street, no law can protect you in those few minutes and you need to defend yourself physically. It is an important message as it rings true for all eras.

John Wayne is excellent as Tom Doniphon and James Stewart is actually more prominent here and as usual very reliable in the role of Ranse. The casting here is top-notch and just perfect. Wayne plays an old-fashioned man, a redneck whereas Stewart plays a more modern gentleman. But both are great men inside and that’s what matters the most in the end. The casting was great and their performances are perfect leading to such an interesting and highly well developed relationship and dynamic.

………………………………………………….

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance Movie Review

………………………………………………….

Liberty Valance is a memorable villain and Lee Marvin is also very well cast as this villainous, aggressive bandit. He is over-the-top, but delightfully so and all of his scenes are quite amusing and he definitely had a memorable menacing presence. Hallie is also excellent, especially for a female in a western flick. I loved how she yearned to learn how to write and read and her relationship with both of her men was superb. And the other characters are your regular goofy sidekicks, but still highly likable and fun, not to mention diverse as you get the stuttering fellow here as well as the drunk and the fatso obsessed with food. All of them really bring a lot to the table in terms of the humor.

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance has a lot of heart at its core. The ending is truly emotional and simply perfect and unforgettable. I loved all of its more romantic scenes not just with Hallie but also with the notion of nostalgia for home. I loved that ending, but the gunfight is also one of the highlights – short but sweet. The political gatherings were excessive, but mostly very well done and I loved the teaching parts as well. The flashback structure is just amazingly executed here as the beginning gets you interested instantly and the entire story is a flashback that explains everything so well. I have always loved this “beginning is the end” structure and here we got one of the best such examples.

………………………………………………….

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance Movie Review

………………………………………………….

The film is gorgeously shot and although the color photography is preferable for this genre and still nobody knows exactly why Ford didn’t do that, I still liked this black-and-white photography and some scene such as the gunfight hugely benefited from it. The score is also quite good and I have to say that even though that twist at the end was a big cop-out, it was still well done and should be obvious as Stewart always played these great men who would never shoot anyone, whether good or bad. The directing from John Ford is stellar, the film is never boring or rushed and the dialogue and humor are both quite solid with a couple of memorable lines and more than a couple of truly funny lines.

………………………………………………….

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance Movie Review

………………………………………………….

With excellent direction from John Ford and with absolutely top-notch casting with John Wayne, James Stewart and Lee Marvin all being perfect for their roles and every one of them excelled at them, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance also has a big heart at its core, very strong humor and dialogue and it is a film that favors story over action as it explores the modernization of the Old West, the politics of the 19th century and the phenomenon of the legend becoming a fact. I also really admired its transgressive but very truthful and important message that sometimes the law cannot help you and you have to resort to physical confrontation. Smart, funny and moving with a great flashback structure to it, this film truly is one of the best westerns of all time.

My Rating – 4.5

Share

Get Rick Quick Porky (1937)

Get Rick Quick Porky ReviewGet Rick Quick Porky Review

Get Rick Quick Porky is a 1937 animated short film from the Looney Tunes series. It is a very solid flick.

I will not talk about the storyline as it is very convoluted to talk about, but actually rather well crafted and with quite a big number of characters, all quite memorable. It is a get rich story of course, but the one which is done really well and despite being again too convoluted and too fast paced, it is mostly very entertaining and I loved most of its plot points.

The music is very good and the animation is solid. Some of the gags are excellent such as the last one with the gopher. He is a very memorable trickster here and the dog is quite cute. John Gusher is memorable, if typical as this evil businessman weasel and Porky is very good here. Gabby is solid here, although not as much used as in his previous two outings which is a shame as this is his last cartoon.

Get Rick Quick Porky is fast and has too much going for it, but the characters are memorable and the action is great.

My Rating – 3.8

Share

Blade Runner (1982)

Blade Runner Movie Review

…………………………………………………

Blade Runner Movie Review

Blade Runner is a 1982 neo-noir science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Harrison Ford. It is one of the most overrated films from this genre.

………………………………………………….

I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe.

Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion.

I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhuser Gate.

All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.

Time to die

………………………………………………….

Blade Runner Movie Review

………………………………………………….

I have to say that upon second viewing I confirmed my dislike for this film. And I don’t mean dislike in a sense that I hate it. I don’t. It is not a bad movie by all means and it is actually rather solid. But having in mind that it is so acclaimed and is considered to be the best science fiction film of all time along with ‘2001’, I do not consider it nearly as great and I am definitely not a fan of it subjectively speaking.

The main problem here is that it isn’t a science fiction film at its core. It is just as much a neo-noir, if not even more. And that’s a problem for me not only because I prefer pure sci-fi cinema, but also because I just wasn’t a fan of the crime angle here. The action was overwhelming, the storyline was too convoluted and not in a good way and sometimes it felt that the movie was just going through the motions, going from one plot point to another, almost like a video game.

………………………………………………….

Blade Runner Movie Review

………………………………………………….

Another aspect I dislike is the pandering to men. I dislike eroticism in movies and here everything was done to please the male viewer as you have this giant emphasis on women’s bodies and nightclubs and prostitutes. That took away from my enjoyment of the film as it was not connected and not really necessary for the overall story and almost came as a detour.

Whereas I dislike the neo-noir elements strongly, I love the sci-fi elements in Blade Runner and it truly is a smart film, at least from time to time as it sadly focuses little on those elements or certainly not as much as it needed. The entire idea of these Replicants who have shorter lifespan, but the emotional capacity of humans is excellent and I did see an early shade of ‘Ex Machina’ here. The film explores quite well what it means to be human and the A.I. versus human. That ending is just beautiful, highly emotional and it just leaves your breath away. It’s a shame that the rest of the movie wasn’t as glorious as that finale was.

………………………………………………….

Blade Runner Movie Review

………………………………………………….

But the characters are quite weak here except for Roy of course who is excellent and so well acted by Rutger Hauer. He’s the standout here. But Rachael is not all that well developed and Rick Deckard is a very boring protagonist. I have never been a fan of Harrison Ford and here he gave a fine performance, but he wasn’t great and a different actor would have been much better for this material.

Blade Runner admittedly has superb technical aspects and that is where it shines honestly. The visuals are mesmerizing and the color palette and the overall design of the buildings and the overall city is highly memorable and the film oozes future in its every scene. It does succeed as a futuristic movie even today, let alone during the eighties. The dialogue is good when it needs to be which is unfortunately rarely as it has too much action and crime in it. The emotional involvement is strong and the score is simply iconic to this point, gorgeous and highly moving and timeless in quality.

………………………………………………….

Blade Runner Movie Review

………………………………………………….

Now I can confirm that upon second viewing I am still not a fan of Blade Runner and it is one of only a few acclaimed science fiction films which I deem to be very overrated. Certainly the score is highly iconic, the visuals are mesmerizing, the sci-fi elements are great and its ending is simply remarkable and immensely moving in its score and emotion. But unfortunately the rest of the movie is not as great with an unfortunate emphasis on neo-noir instead of science fiction. The crime elements are weak here, the action is overwhelming, the characters are mostly bland and boring and the film is mostly just a blockbuster masquerading as serious science fiction when it is regrettably intellectual just in a couple of scenes.

My Rating – 3.5

Share

The Barnyard Concert (1930)

The Barnyard Concert ReviewThe Barnyard Concert Review

The Barnyard Concert is a 1930 Mickey Mouse cartoon. It is such a dull entry.

This is another one of those Disney flicks which are obsessed with music, this time around it is the music of classical variety. That is great and I liked how it was animated and how the instruments were used, but still it gets pretty boring very quickly as it is rather repetitive in its action.

It also has no gags, at least I did not notice them. The film should have had more humor and Mickey himself is rather forgettable this time around and not that well animated with weaker character design than usual. So this is the kind of film which is obviously a product of its time and it is isn’t particularly entertaining in this day and age.

The Barnyard Concert is one of the weaker Mickey Mouse shorts with too much repetitive music in it.

My Rating – 3.2

Share