Porco Rosso (1992)

Porco Rosso Movie Review

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Porco Rosso Movie Review

Porco Rosso is a 1992 animated adventure comedy film directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It is one of the weaker Studio Ghibli offerings that still has a lot to offer.

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I’d rather be a big than a fascist

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Porco Rosso Movie Review

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The subject of aviation is naturally very dear to Miyazaki, but somehow he never really knew how to utilize all that strong love for it. ‘The Wind Rises’ was problematic and Porco Rosso is no exception. It is a film that is just solid and I’d come to expect much more than solid from this director.

So the film is about an Italian World War I ex-fighter ace who was transformed into an anthropomorphic pig. The film is interesting for being the only Miyazaki film that is very realistic and could have happened in real life, everything except the curse part of course. Its Italian location is interesting and unique for the studio and I love the 30s decade so this was pleasant for me naturally.

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Porco Rosso Movie Review

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But I have to agree with the director himself who stated that he made an adult movie for children. And that is exactly the major problem of Porco Rosso in a nutshell. It is realistic, it has politics and history in it and yet somehow the movie is not serious as it tries to be fun and funny. It is fun and funny at times, but this tonal inconsistency just felt off for me and ultimately the movie did not work as much as it could have had he decided on just one consistent tone.

I found its first act somewhat abrupt as it starts in a rushed way and it did not introduce me to its characters and its world properly. The third act of the film is where it is at its silliest and most childish and although amusing, it felt too silly in contrast to everything that came before it. The second act is easily the best one as it features some strong characterization, humor and wonderful drama.

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Porco Rosso Movie Review

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Porco himself is very memorable and I really liked his character as he is a departure from the usual heroes from the director, or should I say heroines. His story is excellent and I loved the hint at the end that his face may be restored to human. Fio is such a wonderful, subtly feminist character and she is a lot of fun and has some great energy. The relationship between these two is the heart and soul of the film.

Donald Curtis is somewhat typical as an antagonist and again that fight at the end was silly, but Madame Gina is memorable as a love interest and I really enjoyed the love story in this movie and I even found this triangle to be pretty solid.

Porco Rosso is so well animated. It isn’t quite on par with the previous Ghibli films as it isn’t as artistic and the backgrounds are sometimes lacking, but the designs of the characters are so good, especially that of the protagonist, and the film is pleasing in color and quite endearing. The flight scenes are so well executed and I loved the attention to detail that went into the animation of airplanes. It is evident from this movie how much Hayao loves aviation.

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Porco Rosso Movie Review

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The score is also stupendous. It isn’t as memorable as say the score from ‘Grave of the Fireflies’ or ‘My Neighbor Totoro’, but it is very fitting to the story and feel of the movie, not to mention the locations, and I loved how fun and retro it felt.

The movie is well paced and edited in spite of that somewhat rushed first act. It otherwise flows really well and the direction is as strong as usual. I also thought that the dialogue is quite solid and I loved the conversations between Fio and Porco and his origin story is so well told. So the movie is not one of Ghibli’s strongest and it is more in line with ‘Kiki’s Delivery Service’. Still, it is endearing and charming enough that I can’t criticize it too much.

Porco Rosso is a problematic movie. The animation is as wonderful as usual for the studio, the characters are memorable, I loved the relationship between Fio and Porco, the locations of the film are different and interesting and the film is so well scored and charming and endearing for the most part. However, I have to agree with Miyazaki himself that this is an adult film for children and it thus felt odd both conceptually and tonally. It struggled with its tone too much, the first act is somewhat rushed and the third act is silly leading to one of Ghibli’s more humble offerings.

My Rating – 3.5

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When I Yoo Hoo (1936)

When i Yoo Hoo ReviewWhen I Yoo Hoo Review

When I Yoo Hoo is a 1936 animated short film from the Merry Melodies series. It’s a fun cartoon.

I did not care for its first half all that much as it was too much build up and not enough substance. The film is not overlong, but the first half is uneventful and that problem hurt it in the long run as it is otherwise a very solid, fun Merry Melody.

I really enjoyed the second half and that rooster fight was hilarious and so well executed both visually and in terms of choreography and of course humor. It is such a funny fight and ending and it compensated for a humorless first half. I also really enjoyed its animation as it is very pleasing with good character designs. The score’s also quite solid.

When I Yoo Hoo is weak in first half, but so amusing and funny in its fight in the second half.

My Rating – 3.5

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Season 6 (1992)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Season 6 Review

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Season 6 Review

The sixth season of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is more of the same with a couple of standout episodes, but with most of them being quite mediocre.

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I can see now why they call her Shreeka

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Season 6 Review

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Rock Around the Block is pretty solid and fun, it is also filled with a surprising amount of well executed action. However, the drama around the Technodrome felt silly and it did not belong in this particular season. Krangenstein Lives! is actually a pretty good, hilarious episode with all that funny banter between Schredder and Krang plus seeing Krang overpowered was awesome. The only downside to this episode is Michelangelo’s unnecessary video game subplot.

Super Irma is, needless to say, awful. Seeing Irma in a full-on episode and with superpowers was just incredibly campy and annoying. It was awful in premise and it is bad in execution. Adventures in Turtle-Sitting is a rehashed episode where the turtles become toddlers and it was boring once again.

Sword of Yurikawa is absolutely phenomenal! It is one of the best episodes so far in the series’ run as it finally gives us great action and a well crafted storyline that actually is entertaining and interesting. The twist with Splinter being the ninja was well handled and the fight scenes here were superb. Return of the Turtleoid is okay, but honestly a bit forgettable.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Season 6 Review

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Shreeka’s Revenge is the second greatest episode of this season and although campy, it is mostly positively campy and just a lot of fun with its memorable villain and some entertaining action scenes. Too Hot to Handle finds Vernon bonding with his nephew and of course both him and his nephew are too obnoxious too handle for one entire episode.

Nightmare in the Lair is a messy episode, but then again seeing Krueger in TMNT was quite amusing and this episode’s weird, horror-like atmosphere and approach was quite original for the show. Phantom of the Sewers is one Phantom of the Opera episode too many.

Donatello Trashes Slash is definitely entertaining and Slash is much more menacing here, but the episode should have been better given its great ingredients. Leonardo is Missing is one of those taken identities and chaos ensues episodes and this one is pretty tired.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Season 6 Review

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Snakes Alive! is actually a very good episode as finally we witness a flaw and weakness to Leonardo as he has a fear of snakes. Him learning to fight that fear with the help from Splinter was some good dramatic stuff. But Polly Wanna Pizza is quite silly in its premise and forgettable in its use of the titular parrot.

The final two episodes of the season are very weak. Mr. Nice Guy is quite ridiculous as it sees Raphael suddenly become obnoxiously nice. I’ve seen this type of episode before and it has always been too silly and cartoony. Sleuth on the Loose is even worse and actually obnoxious in Agatha Marbles’ character who annoys the heck out of me, but at least this is her final appearance. Thank God!

So in the end, the sixth season of TMNT has its absolutely terrific gems of episodes and is mostly entertaining, but most of the episodes here were either barely passable or even mediocre and bad with too many campy, silly outcomes and annoying guest characters.

Worst Episodes: Super Irma and Sleuth on the Loose.

Best Episodes: Sword of Yurikawa and Shreeka’s Revenge.

My Rating – 3.4

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Alien 3 (1992)

Alien 3 Movie Review

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Alien 3 Movie Review

Alien 3 is a 1992 science fiction horror film directed by David Fincher and starring Sigourney Weaver. It is such a mess of a movie.

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Treat a queen like a whore and a whore like a queen. You can’t go wrong

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Alien 3 Movie Review

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It is weird that this is David Fincher’s directorial debut as it doesn’t feel like his movie at all. I guess he did try his best here as the direction is not as bad as the film is, but it remains his only black sheep and the black sheep of the franchise too. Such a disappointing mediocrity.

So what went wrong here? Apparently the studio put too many delays and deadlines to the picture and Fincher could just not save it and he later even disowned it as his movie which really says a lot about its quality. And the entire movie does feel exactly like that – rushed, misguided and lacking any identity and purpose.

So here Ripley crashed on a planet which is basically a prison for violent male inmates and the plot revolves around her interactions with the inmates and especially her romantic relationship with the doctor and only around the mid mark do we finally see the Xenomorph itself. That was odd as the build up here did not serve the purpose as it had no relation to the plot of the second half at all.

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Alien 3 Movie Review

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There are some good scenes in Alien 3 for sure. I liked the ending with Ripley’s sacrifice, really well done, and some of the action scenes in the third act and the drama of it was interesting. I loved the revelation that Ripley houses the queen herself and the scanner look at it was very disturbing. But other than those scenes, the rest of it is overly dreary, grim and boring mess.

And the characters are ridiculously forgettable and dull with the only exception being Doctor Jonathan Clements so well played by Charles Dance. Honestly, at first the relationship between the two was to me not welcome, but later it grew on me. And of course Ripley is again heroic and continues to be a strong presence.

But the decision to kill off Clements so early in the movie was to me a slap in the face as what was the point of developing his character so much if he was going to be one of the first ones to die. Absolute idiocy. And do not get me started on the movie’s decision to kill off Newt and Bishop. I realize that they did not want them here, but still that was beyond stupid and not a great thing to do to ‘Aliens’. And the result is the movie having too little characters. Well, there is an entire prison of them, but they are all just standing there and doing nothing.

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Alien 3 Movie Review

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Alien 3 definitely looks good with pretty strong cinematography and directing. It is also very well acted and the creatures look fine themselves. But they are not all that well utilized and the film isn’t scary at all and it needed to have more atmosphere and thrills in it. And the sci-fi elements are also non-existent. It truly is the first mediocre entry in this franchise.

Alien 3 is well directed, well shot and it has a couple of memorable scenes such as the ending and the embryo scan, but it is otherwise one giant mess with entirely forgettable characters, many ridiculous decisions in terms of storytelling, a build up that serves no purpose as it has nothing to do with the Xenomorphs themselves and a lack of any genuine thrills. It surely is the black sheep of the franchise and of David Fincher’s filmography.

My Rating – 2.5

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Shanghaied Shipmates (1936)

Shanghaied Shipmates ReviewShanghaied Shipmates Review

Shanghaied Shipmates is a 1936 animated short film from the Looney Tunes series. It is a pretty forgettable short.

This entry revolves around the ship and it unfortunately never really utilized on that awesome setting. Surely, it does have a couple of solid gags and the animation is pretty good. Some scenes are memorable and it is overall a solid film. But nothing stands out as particularly funny or exciting and I’ll forget about it pretty soon.

Porky Pig himself is pretty underutilized and forgettable here which is of course a shame as he is usually so funny and great. The same can be said for the other ship characters as they are really not all that well developed and there are too many of them and not enough stand out. Overall, it is one of the weaker Looney Tunes from this period.

Shanghaied Shipmates is one of the weaker entries in this period owing to forgettable characters.

My Rating – 3.3

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Black Mirror (2011)

Black Mirror Review

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Black Mirror Review

Black Mirror is a 2011 British science fiction anthology series directed by Charlie Brooker. It’s an admirable, but very flawed effort.

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Jerking off. Jerking off to porn or something?

Well, everyone does that. The fucking pope probably does that

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Black Mirror Review

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So having in mind that this is an anthology series, its format is pretty long with episodes ranging from anywhere between 40 to even 90 minutes. And thus far we’ve had just 13 episodes put in three seasons. So I will put all of the first three seasons in this one review. So here we go.

The National Anthem is definitely gross in its premise where the prime minister has to have sex with a pig in order to save the life of a princess. But the ending where it is revealed that the terrorist had released her before the televised event and nobody noticed definitely gave us a strong message while also ringing true.

Fifteen Million Merits is very disappointing. The premise is familiar and the execution isn’t all that great. Its emotional approach saved it along with a particularly strong performance from Daniel Kaluuya of ‘Get Out’ fame.

The Entire History of You is one of the strongest episodes for sure and the best of the first season. The story of a man suspecting his wife of cheating on him with one of his friends is certainly overly familiar by now, but the technological twist on it is great as it seemed realistic and in the particularly close future for our society and that is what this series does best, portraying a very immediate and striking future. Toby Kebbell was exceptional in the main role.

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Black Mirror Review

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Be Right Back is so touching and heartbreaking. Again nothing too original, but watching the girl bring back her dead boyfriend, first just his voice and afterwards as a robot, was a very emotional experience with a tragic, yet great message.

White Bear is one of the worst episodes here. It is overloud, overly violent and although the twist was fine, the premise of a guilty person being punished too harshly will be done much better in the third season.

The Waldo Moment is overly simplistic in its politics, even for me who doesn’t know a whole lot about politics. Its cartoon character is memorable, but the execution is too typical and simple for it to really work.

White Christmas is intriguing, but also overly sexual and intended too much for men, but Jon Hamm excelled in portraying the main character and this role fitted him like a glove.

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Black Mirror Review

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Nosedive features a phenomenal performance from Bryce Dallas Howard who carried the entire episode on her shoulders. but the story where people are obsessed with ratings too much is executed in an overly simplistic manner which is a regular problem of Black Mirror.

Playtest has a couple of absolutely scary, great moments executed with terrific effects and atmosphere, but it is too aggressive and ultimately did not utilize on its video game premise all that well and it had way too many twists in it.

Shut Up and Dance is a major improvement over White Bear. It perfectly showcases how you can punish the guilty too much and it portrays potential pedophilia strikingly and brutally. The episode is thrilling, so well executed and with a brutal ending.

San Junipero is most certainly the best Black Mirror episode so far! I just adored it. Watching the two girls fall in love and realizing that they have been in virtual reality all the time and are in fact old women was just such an emotionally rewarding, beautiful journey and I loved its world where you can enter a certain decade you want. The ending is wonderful.

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Black Mirror Review

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Men Against Fire is awfully typical in its zombie-like storyline and I just did not care for it too much and it’s one of the weakest episodes for sure.

Hated in the Nation is more of the same. It is relevant in its exploration of social media, but again too straightforward and simple, not to mention overlong.

In the end, I really like Black Mirror. It is a tonally diverse, stupendously well acted and thematically rich show that explores our near future so well with great messages and ideas, but it fails in comparison to ‘The Twilight Zone’ as it isn’t as smart or as striking.

Worst Episodes: Men Against Fire and Hated in the Nation.

Best Episodes: Shut Up and Dance and San Junipero.

My Rating – 3.9

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Hunter x Hunter (Election arc) Season 6 (2014)

Hunter x Hunter (Election arc) Season 6 Review

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Hunter x Hunter (Election arc) Season 6 Review

The sixth season of Hunter x Hunter is another disappointing season, but nonetheless a solid conclusion to the series.

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You should enjoy the little detours to the fullest because

that’s where you’ll find the things more important than what you want

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Hunter x Hunter (Election arc) Season 6 Review

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This was pretty much on par with Chimera Ant arc. Election arc has its great episodes, especially the ending, but it doesn’t really have a strong story arc as a whole. Most of it felt like a detour and not particularly engaging and certainly not exciting.

I wish it had more characters in it and somehow it only provided closure for Gon as the rest felt underutilized which was a problem from the entire second half of this big show. Most of the characters here were either forgettable or they did not get their proper due.

But Gon was great and I just loved that ending as I said above. Him meeting his father Ging was great, but the entire conversation they have in the last episode was excellent not only in the explanation it gives us about this world and its creatures and that they came from another world, but also because it was a satisfactory, heartwarming conclusion to this story and it was wonderful seeing them meet at last, though certainly not particularly complex thematically.

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Hunter x Hunter (Election arc) Season 6 Review

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The season has great animation and score per usual, but the action is not there and it is in pacing and tone a lot more boring than is usual for this anime. It is a pretty short and though consequential season, it’s still slight in terms of characterization and storytelling.

So in the end, this was a pretty solid and heartwarming, yet still slight and far from great season that concluded the anime well, but certainly not in the grand fashion. I liked Hunter x Hunter but I was endlessly disappointed in its second half of its run as the first one was just amazing and the rest of it just never caught up unfortunately.

Worst Episodes: Plea and Favor and Needle and Debt.

Best Episodes: Defeat and Reunion and Until Now and from Now.

My Rating – 3.5

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Best and Worst Films from July 2017

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Best and Worst Films from July 2017

 

 

Best Films from July 2017:

 

 

3. The Outlaw and His Wife

Because of my trip to Italy during this month, I’ve seen less movies than usual, but I have still seen a couple of genuinely great movies and thus it was tough choosing this last spot in the best list. I had to sacrifice ‘Tillie’s Punctured Romance’, ‘Colossal’ and ‘Village of the Damned’ and I chose instead this Swedish silent classic. The Outlaw and His Wife is emotional, very influential and visually arresting with some beautiful natural landscapes leading to one of the best films from this era.

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2. Timecrimes

I absolutely loved this movie. Timecrimes is one of the most authentic science fiction films recently and one of the decade’s best for sure. This Spanish flick features such a fantastic time travel story and it surely is a textbook example of how to this story concept. It is so meticulous in detail and so well thought out that it needs to be seen very carefully to be fully understood. Couple that with great sound and many terrific twists and you’ve got one great chiller.

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1. War for the Planet of the Apes

Although not quite as fantastic as ‘Rise’ or ‘Dawn’, War for the Planet of the Apes is still a glorious conclusion to the best trilogy ever in movie history. I loved its war elements and how thankfully they weren’t overwhelming. The villain is great and the story takes a surprising and not as expected turn in its third act. It concluded this great trilogy beautifully while so wonderfully tying it to the original Apes franchise. It is emotional and deep and it almost made me cry and not to mention that it is filled with quite a lot of instantly recognizable, unforgettable sequences.

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Worst Films from July 2017:

 

 

3. The Talented Mr. Ripley

I’ve seen just a couple of mediocre movies in July but they are so weak that they all had to be on this list and this foolishness of a movie easily earned this third spot. You have two movies here – one is a cliched thriller and the other one is a ridiculous bromance/romance of sorts that did not make any sense in its character interactions whatsoever. It is such a ridiculous, overrated film.

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2. A View to a Kill

A View to a Kill is somewhat fun, but as silly and as campy as you would come to expect from this series during the eighties which was easily its worst period. There are a couple of silly characters here including that horrible villain and the acting is just some of the worst with a couple of poor performances.

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1. Blade: Trinity

Ryan Reynolds is the only saving grace in this movie which is otherwise a bland, campy affair with too much action but the one which is weakly executed and dull. This is easily the worst of the Blade trilogy and the only one that doesn’t have any memorable action sequences whatsoever. It is dark, boring and silly.

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The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)

The Talented Mr. Ripley Movie Review

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The Talented Mr. Ripley Movie Review

The Talented Mr. Ripley is a 1999 psychological thriller film directed by Anthony Minghella and starring Matt Damon, Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow. It’s a mediocre movie.

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I always thought it would be better

to be a fake somebody than a real nobody

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The Talented Mr. Ripley Movie Review

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After hearing for months how great of a movie it is and it does have a big status, I finally decided to see The Talented Mr. Ripley for myself and I was surprised at how much I disliked it and how overrated it is. It’s a shame that this great cast was wasted on such a ridiculous story and Anthony Minghella once again directed the movie poorly.

Yes, the story is just bad, there is no other way to say it. It feels as if you are watching two very different movies haphazardly put together and both are not good. The first one makes no sense whatsoever and the second one is your basic thriller with a man taking the identity of the other man he’d killed. There is nothing original in it at all.

But I have to talk about the first half as it is the more frustrating one. So basically you have Dickie who is an impossibly good looking and charismatic guy whom everyone loves and he invites Tom to spend some time with him and his wife and as they spend more and more time together, Tom starts to develop feelings for Dickie, but he turns him down and in that argument on the boat, Tom kills him.

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The Talented Mr. Ripley Movie Review

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What?! What is exactly going on here and what is the point?! I have no idea honestly. This is such a poor attempt at a mainstream gay romance or bromance or whatever that I was infuriated with it. The actions from the characters make no sense, I did not get their relationship at all and why they acted like they acted and I did not buy Tom suddenly becoming a killer.

Now Jude Law is very memorable and this is one of his better roles. He looks good and he gave a very good performance. But Paltrow is unfortunately entirely wasted on such a poor character and in my opinion Damon gave one of his weakest performances here. Now the first act of this movie was intriguing and I liked it, but everything that came afterwards was ridiculous and cliched. I deem it overrated and silly.

Only Jude Law is memorable and quite good in The Talented Mr. Ripley whereas Gwyneth Paltrow was entirely wasted on such a poor character and Matt Damon gave one of his worst performances. The film felt like two entirely different movies put together and neither one is good. The second half is your typical thriller whereas the first half made no sense whatsoever in its ridiculous story and character actions and a stupid relationship. It’s such a foolish movie.

My Rating – 2.5

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The Barn Dance (1929)

The Barn Dance ReviewThe Barn Dance Review

The Barn Dance is a 1929 Mickey Mouse cartoon. It is such an unusual, singular entry.

So basically here Mickey wants to dance with Minnie but fails as he is so clumsy and eventually she leaves him for Pete. Now this was obviously made before the characters were firmly established and thus we have Pete who is good and well-mannered and Minnie who is actually pretty mean. The entire cartoon is way too mean spirited in its ending as she left Mickey devastated.

But that also makes it different from the rest of the entries in the series and I really liked seeing Mickey’s more human and flawed side. The score is pretty good and the animation has a couple of tricks up its sleeve too. I am talking about its delightfully surreal gags which were quite typical for the late twenties. I loved tying the knot on her leg and Minnie literally extending her nose to Mickey. The literal, exaggerated approach to the facial expressions and telling emotions here was quite unique and very funny.

The Barn Dance is too mean spirited, but memorable in its uniqueness with some superb, inventive gags.

My Rating – 4.2

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