The Penalty (1920)

The Penalty Movie Review………………………………………………………

The Penalty Movie Review

The Penalty is a 1920 silent crime film directed by Wallace Worsley and starring always great Lon Chaney. It is a very good, entertaining movie.

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Everything comes to him who waits

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The Penalty Movie Review………………………………………………………

It follows a man played by Chaney who got his legs mistakenly amputated as a kid and now seeks revenge on the doctor who ruined his life. This is an obvious Chaney vehicle and he absolutely killed it in this role. The film itself isn’t one of his very best and ‘The Unknown’ is certainly much better, but it is one of his best performances as he is so great here.

His character is complex and villainous and creepy and crazy but also with a touch of sentiment and sympathy. He had to hit all of those notes and he did it masterfully, not to mention that he was torturing himself physically in order to play a legless man. Such an admirable devotion from one of the greatest actors who ever lived. The other actors here are much weaker in comparison to him.

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The Penalty Movie Review………………………………………………………

The plot is interesting and The Penalty is basically an early all-out crime film and I honestly liked it quite a bit. It should have been more memorable and it never fully utilized on its awesome premise, but still it remains a hugely entertaining, even emotional at times crime flick that is satisfactory and quite modern. Anyone looking for fun and quick silent flicks should definitely watch this one. It perfectly debunks the old, annoying myth that silent films are boring.

My favorite sequences are all of the romantic parts with the two leads and I loved the piano scenes. The secret passage and everything around it was so well conceived. And of course the ending is moving and tragic. The film is interesting for featuring Blizzard as an antagonistic character while also having all of the other characters be absolutely horrible as they show no empathy whatsoever to his condition. That led to such an incredibly dark emotionally and thematically film that it took me by surprise.

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The Penalty Movie Review………………………………………………………

The Penalty features very good intertitles that are never overly abundant or sparse and they explain the plot and fuel the characterization very well. The acting is great, but so is the directing from Wallace Worsley. He isn’t Tod Browning, but he still did a very good job. This was the film that introduced the masses to the power of Lon Chaney and it did that remarkably well. I thought it was solidly paced, but some of the middle parts were much less interesting than the rest of the film. And it is well shot and with a very good eye for detail. Overall, I liked The Penalty a lot, but I didn’t love it as much as I wanted to.

The Penalty has its weaker parts and it isn’t as great overall as it could have been, but the premise is awesome and this crime flick features a crazy, incredibly dark thematically and emotionally storyline and filled with questionable actions by its characters. The reason to see it of course lies in the performance from Lon Chaney which is absolutely phenomenal. He had to physically torture himself while also portraying a very complex character and he still did a masterful job. This is certainly one great vehicle for one the best actors who ever lived.

My Rating – 4

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The Freshman (1925)

The Freshman Movie Review……………………………………………………..

The Freshman Movie Review

The Freshman is a 1925 comedy film starring Harold Lloyd. It is a good, but archetypal and overly influential film.

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I’m just a regular fellow and I want you to step right up and call me Speedy!

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The Freshman Movie Review……………………………………………………..

I am talking about its plot. The freshman tries to become popular by joining the football team and eventually wins the respect from everyone. Needless to say, it is a very clichéd, exceedingly so premise and execution. I get that it was the first of its type, but its influence is mostly bad when it comes to college and especially sports movies and that is why I disliked its plot even more.

But it still has its great scenes and is a good film, just not as great as the critics say it is. The extended sewing sequence is absolutely fantastic and the prime comedic moment in the movie. Perfectly delivered and constructed, not to mention quite unforgettable. The first speech at college was also very good and the scene in which he realizes he is unpopular and they have been mocking him all along is actually quite touching.

Harold Lloyd is very good here. He gave a good, competent comedic performance and he even got some emotional moments as well. This is nowhere near the quality of his ‘Safety Last!’, but at least it comes close as he excelled in the nerdy roles which is best exemplified here. I also liked his girlfriend and especially the coach who was a memorable supporting character.

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The Freshman Movie Review……………………………………………………..

The Freshman is very well executed in action and although I wanted much more gags and action parts, those that we got are still excellent. The football part in the end is well executed, but I disliked it the most and that is what ruined this movie to an extent in my opinion. However, his first football practice is amazing and I just loved the scene in which he fools the angry dog and takes the ball close to him. Very good comedic stuff very well executed in terms of action.

So the film can be quite funny at times when it doesn’t rely on that stupid dance and clichéd sports stuff. Most of his gags worked and the film is surprisingly modern and hugely influential for better and for worse. It is a good influence when it comes to characterization which is very strong and humor which is mostly very satisfactory, but it is a bad influence when it comes to clichéd and entirely predictable storytelling.

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The Freshman Movie Review……………………………………………………..

I found the intertitles to be excellent in The Freshman which is a surprisingly well edited and paced flick, especially for its troubled time. The runtime is short and sweet, the film is well shot and memorable in imagery and it is consistently entertaining and a lot of fun from start to finish.

The Freshman is a highly influential college comedy flick for better and for worse. It is clichéd and entirely predictable in its plot with a very annoying ending, but the characterization is very good, Harold Lloyd is excellent in the main role, it has a couple of memorable scenes filled with funny gags and the film is so well made and a lot of fun that it transcends its obvious script problems.

My Rating – 4

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Splendor in the Grass (1961)

Splendor in the Grass Movie Review……………………………………………………….

Splendor in the Grass Movie Review

Splendor in the Grass is a 1961 romantic drama film directed by Elia Kazan and starring Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty. It is one of the best films of its year.

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Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendor in the grass,

glory in the flower,

we will grieve not; rather find strength in what remains behind

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Splendor in the Grass Movie Review……………………………………………………….

Splendor in the Grass reminded me of ‘Picnic’ which deals with a similar subject matter and both are truly great movies. The film is set in 1928 and follows a girl who suffers from a nervous breakdown after her boyfriend cheated on her and did not want to have sex with her. The movie treats its issue in such a deep, tragic way and you really feel empathy for its characters.

Of course the time and place were simply too conservative, but sexual repression unfortunately was an issue until quite recently. I felt that myself a couple of times in my life which is why this movie was so relatable to me personally. It showcases the problems of society and how it treats sexuality as a taboo when it is a beautiful thing while also showing us how terrible parents can be when it comes to raising their kids.

Deannie is a wonderful protagonist who is tragic, but has a genuine arc and plot progression as she ends up becoming smarter and much more mature which was wonderful to witness. Bud is also a sympathetic character and the relationship between the two was beautiful and seeing them get separated was heartbreaking in that touching ending. His sister is another tragic, bold and different character. Of course her mother is such a realistic character depicted in a grounded in reality manner and his father is also painfully realistic. These two are responsible for ruining their kids’ lives and it was difficult watching them succeed in it.

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Splendor in the Grass Movie Review……………………………………………………….

The film is superbly acted all around, but Natalie Wood is truly a standout actress here. Warren Beatty is also really good, but just not as great as she was here. She entirely deserved her Oscar nomination (the film also deserved to win for Best Original Screenplay and it should have been nominated for Best Picture) as her performance is powerful and especially admirable for her young age.

Splendor in the Grass is extremely sensual owing to the main actors’ evident appeal. Warren is handsome and Natalie is beautiful and charming. Together, they share some pretty steamy scenes for its time and the entire film is very modern as it deals with a subject matter rarely touched upon previously in Hollywood. It is also one of the first truly modern teen movies.

The poem is beautiful, I loved the ending and that bathtub scene is another highlight as it is so tragic. The film definitely could have been a bit shorter as some scenes needed to be trimmed down a bit as they are slower and not as necessary, but the film owing to its big length succeeds at becoming an epic romance for the ages.

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Splendor in the Grass Movie Review……………………………………………………….

It is a beautifully made film. The Technicolor is so good, the film is not well paced, but it is so well directed by Elia Kazan who truly was a superb director. The two actors weren’t as great at first, but they eventually became better and better until giving very admirable performances in the end. The dialogue should have been subtler, but it is still solid and sometimes quite memorable. Its emotion is felt as the film moved me a lot.

Splendor in the Grass is one phenomenal teen romantic drama which deals with its subject of sexual repression in a tragic and very dramatic manner. The performances are very good with Natalie Wood being fantastic, it has a wonderful ending and a couple of tragic scenes while being moving and relatable throughout its runtime. It is a movie that was very modern and sensual owing to its two very good looking actors and thematically bold plot for its time and it should be regarded better nowadays.

My Rating – 4.5

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Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

Grave of the Fireflies Movie Review………………………………………

Grave of the Fireflies Movie Review

Grave of the Fireflies is a 1988 anime war drama film directed by Isao Takahata. It is Studio Ghibli’s second film and one of the most heartbreaking animated films ever.

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Why must fireflies die so young?

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Grave of the Fireflies Movie Review………………………………………

It follows two siblings as they try to survive during the final months of World War II. It is a very serious film and is actually one of the most mature animated films of all time as even live-action war films rarely are this tragic. To me the film does not have a high rewatchability factor and surely I do not plan on seeing it again soon as three times is quite enough for now. Watching it for the third time, I was again overwhelmed and even disturbed and the film is definitely better to be taken in small doses which is not a problem as some films are too tragic to be watched many times and this is such a film.

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Grave of the Fireflies Movie Review………………………………………

The film is so deep and heartbreaking in its ending and that wouldn’t be achieved had it not been for the previous two awesome acts. Grave of the Fireflies acquaints you with its two protagonists so well and it gives you many touching, sweet and even beautiful moments before overwhelming you with tragedy later on. And that was essential as it made the tragedy all the more powerful and everyone should feel it.

I am one of the rare people who did not cry during this film, but it came pretty close to making me cry. I loved its structure with the same beginning and ending. The highlight was definitely the burning of the body sequence as it is so terrible and fueled by that haunting score, it manages to totally crush you. The same goes for the scene where she wants to eat rocks out of despair and of course the part where we see Setsuko run around their place and disappear like a ghost. Those three scenes are so horrible, but they are not cheap and manipulative because, again, they were earned through some extensive character work and built emotion before.

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Grave of the Fireflies Movie Review………………………………………

I am talking about the firefly scenes, especially the one where they find a bunch of them. Visually arresting and simply beautiful in every way, that was the only truly happy scene in the entire film and it made the rest of it feel like an even bigger nightmare. The quote about fireflies dying so quickly is also deep and truly phenomenal as the film’s theme. Fireflies area  a great metaphor here, but the visual detail of that box of candies was an even better and smart touch as it came at just the right parts in the story and it always felt important. To me it just might be the most memorable thing about the entire film and that says a lot.

Seita is excellent and Setsuko is so sweet. I just loved their relationship and it goes to show how terrible it is for parents to have children with big age gaps as the responsibility of parenthood befalls to the older child and he becomes a third parent in a way. But it also shows us how beautiful that can be and truly Seita’s love for Setsuko and her dependence on him is truly moving to witness. They share a great, evident bond and the huge power of this movie mostly stems from that bond.

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Grave of the Fireflies Movie Review………………………………………

There aren’t a lot of supporting characters in Grave of the Fireflies as we only see their aunt get a significant role and she is good at first, but becomes horrible later on. She seemed realistic, but my only gripe with the movie is the fact that that farmer did not want to give Seita food even after he told him his sister is gravely sick. That felt unrealistic in my opinion as even the biggest piece of shit person would help two children, not to mention during wartime. But maybe I am mistaken. However, that part still felt not real to me personally.

Their father dying in a battle and of course their mother dying in front of our eyes was a terrible thing to witness. That scene with her entirely bandaged was just horrible and one of the most disturbing and maybe a bit too realistic scenes in all of anime, not to mention animation. But it was still needed as Seita needed to get used to the horrors of war quickly. It shows us how the effects of war can be horrible to children and pitying the innocence of children against the horrors of war has been done before, especially in the world cinema of the fifties and sixties (‘Ivan’s Childhood‘ and ‘Forbidden Games‘ immediately spring to mind), but it was never done in this great a manner and this just might be the best war drama ever made as it is that strong.

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Grave of the Fireflies Movie Review………………………………………

Grave of the Fireflies is technically superb as the voice acting is excellent and Isao Takahata’s direction is amazing and he certainly is one of my favorite anime directors. The score is so powerful and haunting in quality that it propelled those tragic scenes to even more difficult to watch and exhausting parts. Its theme is truly gorgeous and unforgettable as it sticks with you long after you’ve heard it. The editing is also great as the film is slow, but never boring. As for its animation, it is awesome as the beauty of fireflies is definitely brought home in that arresting scene, but the war horrors are also conveyed well through the use of realistic details. I loved the look of the characters and in particular its attention to detail and color palette were great.

With many simply horrible to witness sequences that stick with you long after you’ve seen it, Grave of the Fireflies truly is a deeply tragic, devastating film that is all the more powerful as the emotion in the last third is earned thanks to its great character work, build up and many beautiful bonding scenes between the two siblings portrayed before. The animation is excellent and the direction from Isao Takahata is superb and he is one of my favorite anime directors, but it is its score imbued with a haunting quality to it that makes those tragic scenes even more unbearable to watch. It truly is one of the best animated films of all time and it might be the finest war drama ever made.

My Rating – 5

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Hunter x Hunter (Hunter Exam arc) Season 1 (2011)

Hunter x Hunter (Hunter Exam arc) Season 1 Review………………………………………………….

Hunter x Hunter (Hunter Exam arc) Season 1 Review

Hunter x Hunter is a 2011 adventure anime series directed by Hiroshi Kojina. It is one of my favorite anime series and I loved the first season so much.

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The art of hunting is aiming for the moment

when the target is busy hunting its prey!

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Hunter x Hunter (Hunter Exam arc) Season 1 Review………………………………………………….

I will later talk about the first season and touch upon some of its 26 episodes and the overall story arc, but first let’s talk about each and every character. Gon is such a great protagonist even though he is way too reminiscent to Goku. His cheerful and childlike personality is infectious and heartwarming and I really liked him in the first season. His interactions with his friends are excellent and he is such a wonderful kid.

Killua is interesting. At first, he seemed to be similar to Gon, but eventually we see his very dark side as he comes from the family of assassins. I wanted him to be closer to Kurapika and Leorio, but at least his and Gon’s friendship is wonderful and a lot of fun. Kurapika is a bit too calculated and forgettable when compared to the other three in this team, but he is still a good character though for now not as great as they are. And Leorio is a typical anime goofy sidekick, but done right as he is very amusing and I hope that he becomes stronger in the later seasons as he is trailing behind his friends too much for now.

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Hunter x Hunter (Hunter Exam arc) Season 1 Review………………………………………………….

Hisoka is excellent! Smart and incredibly powerful, yet also calm and crazy at the same time, he is the perfect villain for the show and his scenes were some of my favorites in season one. And his appearance is different than usual and interesting. Hanzo is very good, though not used too much in the season and Ponzu is very good and smart as the only female examinee. The examiners are all memorable and fun and the monsters and creatures we see by now are interestingly designed and quite memorable.

The Hunter Exam Arc is amazing and almost perfect (more on its flaws later). I just love all media that showcases schools/competitions/exams and thus I was loving every second of this saga and I hope to see at least some of its aspects in later arcs as well. The anime started off quickly and it instantly hooked me in. The fog part of the exam was so entertaining and Majority Rules was even more amusing (Tonpa is so well utilized there and he truly is annoying yet quite a memorable and well realized character).

Of course the fourth phase is the highlight as I just loved every minute of it. The episodes there are so well edited and constructed that it just might be the most important and perfect part of the entire anime, but I will have to wait to be sure of that. Hisoka and Gon’s scenes were absolutely spectacular in their intensity and I loved how he spared him and let him live to become stronger and fight him someday. Leorio had to be helped a bit too much which was my minor issue, but I loved how everyone worked together here.

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Hunter x Hunter (Hunter Exam arc) Season 1 Review………………………………………………….

The tournament started off great, but the decision to not show us the entirety of it was a very poor call and my only major issue with this entire arc. It ended off abruptly and not in the most satisfactory manner possible. And I wasn’t all that thrilled with the Killua’s family storyline at the end, but at least it had its great scenes and was an essential story when it comes to his character. His family is memorably crazy and sinister and although it started off a bit slowly, that part still ended in a good way and the tease for the next arc was awesome and I cannot wait to watch it.

The animation in Hunter x Hunter is excellent and fluid. I loved the imagery which was diverse and authentic while always being unforgettable. The world building is superb, but having in mind that the show is about hunters, the animals were not present as much in this first arc but I guess that will change in the next seasons. But the overall setup to the show was great, this world, its rules and everything I just loved and there are so many interesting details to be had here. It surely is a lot of fun to watch and finally I found an anime that is as fun and as charming as Dragon Ball was in its heyday.

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The score is excellent and the opening theme is definitely catchy and a lot of fun. The action is very good and sometimes even exhilarating, but I want much more of the fights and I hope I will get them later on. But for now those that I got were so well executed and hugely entertaining. The pacing of The Hunter Exam Arc is mostly great as is the dialogue and of course the humor is phenomenal. The anime mixes darkness with humor so well, but when it is funny, it is hilarious and the “tranny” part was so funny and of course the joke about Leorio’s age just killed me. The two fillers were unfortunate, but thankfully there will be no more.

All in all, The Hunter Exam arc is truly spectacular and one of the best seasons of any anime. If the rest of the show is this great, I am going to love every second of it. The storyline is carefully thought out here and filled with great action, humor and excellent characterizations. The exam phases are all excellent, the rules are interesting, this world is just wonderful and this season is almost perfect and it would have been perfect had it not been for a couple of evident, but small flaws.

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Worst Episodes: Trouble with the Gamble, Baffling Turn of Events, A Dangerous Watchdog and The Zoldyck Family.

Best Episodes: Hope and Ambition, Showdown on the Airship, Solution is Majority Rules, Scramble of Deception, Defeat and Disgrace and Can’t See if You’re Blind.

My Rating – 4.9

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Planet of the Apes (2001)

Planet of the Apes Movie Review……………………………………………….

Planet of the Apes Movie Review

Planet of the Apes is a 2001 science fiction film directed by Tim Burton and starring Mark Wahlberg. It is such a bad remake that is certainly one of the director’s worst films.

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Never send a monkey to do a man’s job

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Planet of the Apes Movie Review……………………………………………….

I really disliked this film. It serves as a remake to the classic 1968 original, but not only does it butcher it, it also doesn’t know its own identity. It at times tries to emulate it by copying its scenes, but at other times it tries to change things and the result is wildly uneven and, needless to say, very messy.

I don’t know what Tim Burton was thinking when making this film, but it ended up being one of his worst movies as it is so bad. The storyline is so inexcusably complicated, but convoluted in a bad way as I never knew what the hell I was watching. It tried to be romance at times, but it failed. It mostly remained a boring, overly action oriented blockbuster film that is just action and almost nothing else throughout the majority of its running time.

The only good things about the film are the costumes which are very good and look more realistic and polished then before obviously and the effects are fine. The film isn’t terrible, but it is still bad and a two-star film in my opinion as it trades story and themes for action and campiness as yes, some scenes are so silly that I it baffled me what I was watching.

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Planet of the Apes Movie Review……………………………………………….

It is overly dark both in its cinematography and in its approach and although it starts off somewhat promising, it quickly becomes bad, thoroughly uninvolving and completely misguided to the point of having to turn off your brain if you want to at least finish it off. The ending is ridiculously convoluted and to me just stupid. And let’s talk about Mark Wahlberg. Oh boy. I have to agree with most of my YouTubers in that his performance here is truly bad and his puppy expressions and always the same face and tone of voice hurt this film tremendously. The others aren’t too great either, but he totally butchered it as the protagonist.

Tim Burton’s remake of Planet of the Apes is such a butchered, misguided and thoroughly unappealing effort that I was surprised that he made such a bad movie as his movies are usually very good. The costumes are admittedly very good, but Mark Wahlberg’s performance here is so bad, the film is overly dark and action oriented and the plot is one giant incomprehensible nonsense leading to one of the director’s worst films and one of the worst remakes I’ve seen.

My Rating – 2

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The Cat and the Canary (1927)

The Cat and the Canary Movie Review………………………………………………..

The Cat and the Canary

The Cat and the Canary is a 1927 silent horror film directed by Paul Leni and starring Laura La Plante and Creighton Hale. It is a pretty good, but not great horror flick.

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That clock hasn’t struck in twenty years – since the old man died!

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The Cat and the Canary Movie Review………………………………………………..

The plot is very good and actually quite detailed for a horror film. The movie has a very mysterious and atmospheric quality to it while consistently being a lot of fun. I liked most of the developments here and of course the monster is very memorable and with an interesting, scary for the time look to him.

The Cat and the Canary is a very modern film for better and for worse, certainly hugely influential. That means that the film is very atmospheric and actually scary in a way as it features very modern storytelling and even an early use of jump scares which was certainly unusual for a 1920s horror film.

However, there is also a bad side to its influential and contemporary nature. I am of course talking about an incredible amount of action scenes and a very frenetic pacing which is certainly modern, but I do not like that which is why the film suffered from it. A slower pace and a longer running time were definitely needed this time around.

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The Cat and the Canary Movie Review………………………………………………..

As for its humor, it is solid. The film is never truly funny and its mix of horror and comedy is problematic, but certainly original for the time and actually quite interesting. It led to a film that never took itself too seriously which was a departure from other horrors of the time and that makes it more memorable and admirable.

Creighton Hale is the only funny actor here as his character is very amusing. He was definitely modeled after Harold Lloyd. But others aren’t all that interesting and the female characters here were not as strong as the male ones are. But Laura La Plante is very memorable in her role and certainly the acting in this movie is quite strong as everyone was fun and gave pretty stellar performances. It’s a shame that it has too many characters and not that great development for them, though solid for this genre for sure.

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The Cat and the Canary Movie Review………………………………………………..

I particularly liked The Cat and the Canary’s technical aspects and those sell this movie in my honest opinion. The old dark house trope here is well utilized owing to a superbly looking house filled with a great attention to detail. And its rooms and corridors are well explored thanks to the fine work of Gilbert Warrenton whose cinematography work here is truly phenomenal. The film is definitely spooky and fun and even though I liked the build-up more than the actual conclusion, the overall storyline was certainly pretty good and meticulously crafted and told. To me the intertitles were the most memorable thing about this film as they are some of the most inventive of any silent film featuring such a clever way to compensate for the lack of sound by having letters enlarge and come at you and even having vibrating letters to increase tension. The effect was achieved tremendously and it strengthened the film in the process to being quite remarkable.

The Cat and the Canary has too many characters and it is influential and modern for better and for worse as it is fun and having a lot of jump scares and modern thrills while also being too action oriented and frenetic in pacing. But the plot is well told and quite detailed actually, the cinematography is stellar, the humor and acting are solid and the strong, spooky atmosphere is achieved through the use of some of the most clever and inventive intertitles in any silent film.

My Rating – 4

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Eyes Without a Face (1960)

Eyes Without a Face Movie Review………………………………………………………………..

Eyes Without a Face Movie Review

Eyes Without a Face is a 1960 French horror film directed by Georges Franju and starring Pierre Brasseur and Alida Valli. It is a very strong, truly memorable horror movie.

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My face frightens me.

My mask frightens me even more

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Eyes Without a Face Movie Review………………………………………………………………..

It is about a doctor who goes out of his length to help his daughter get a new face after she got disfigured in an accident. This is pretty much something that could come up from the mind of Rod Serling and surely the film reminded of a lengthy Twilight Zone episode. And naturally, being a huge fan of the show myself, I ate it up and I loved this film.

Yes, I agree with the critics in that the film is very contemporary today given all the fuss around cosmetic surgery and it was executed in a way that it can be creepy and disturbing even today. A very admirable, timeless horror film this is. I loved the story, its poetic elements are strong and the film’s ending is simply beautiful and emotionally rewarding.

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Eyes Without a Face Movie Review………………………………………………………………..

The acting is very strong and both Pierre Brasseur and Edith Scob did a very good job, but it is Alida Valli who stole the show here and proved how great of an international actress she was. She killed it in such a great, villainous role and her acting is a great mix of theatrical and subtle. Her character and the doctor are both great and I loved how Louise eventually rebelled and her story is so strong.

Eyes Without a Face isn’t a perfect film as its flaws are pretty obvious. The surgery sequence is a bit too gross and overly sensational in approach and in my opinion the third act was filmed in an awkward manner and some scenes were either unnecessary or not at all well paced. But other than that, the film is great and it is a shame that the French rarely made horror movies as this was a proof that they could be great at them.

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Eyes Without a Face Movie Review………………………………………………………………..

So I loved the atmosphere and of course the film is so well acted, directed, filmed and particularly scored as its score is gorgeous and very memorable. The entire film is poetic and artistic, but still containing strong horror elements. The dog attack scene at the end was brutal and the surgery scene is highly unapologetic as well leading to one of the most brutal horror films of its time. Those two scenes and the ending are my favorites. Of course I loved the make-up effects and that mask and especially the new face looked very real. The only scene that rang false was the stabbing moment which was silly and laughable how stupidly it was filmed, but the effects are stellar and the film is otherwise very much ahead of its time. It is again a proof of how great a year 1960 was when it comes to horror and it’s one of the best French films of the period, much better than those infinitely overrated dramas of the time.

Eyes Without a Face is a bit too gross in its surgery sequence and the third act was badly paced, but the film is otherwise such a stellar, ahead of its time horror film that is both artistic and emotional in approach, but also horrific and filled with great genre thrills. The acting and direction are great, the effects are excellent, the score is gorgeous and the film is very memorable owing to a bunch of unforgettable sequences such as the aforementioned surgery one, the dog attack scene and the ending which is beautiful.

My Rating – 4.5

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Alien: Covenant (2017)

Alien: Covenant Movie Review……………………………………………

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Alien: Covenant is a 2017 science fiction horror film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Katherine Waterston and Michael Fassbender. It is the sixth installment in the Alien series.

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One wrong note eventually ruins the entire symphony

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Alien: Covenant Movie Review……………………………………………

I really liked this movie. The storyline is excellent and it hooked me in from the beginning. It should have gotten much better audience reaction and reviews as, although flawed, it is a very good, competent entry in the Alien series that further explores its themes and answers some of the questions in an intriguing manner.

The film serves as the sequel to ‘Prometheus’, but it becomes an Alien film almost entirely in the second half. I myself liked that approach, but I do know that it may turn some people off. The entire first half is a science fiction and the second half is pure horror and both are so well executed. The arrival on that odd planet where plants grow but animals don’t, the discovery of the ship and what happened to Elizabeth Shaw and that great engineers sequence were all very fascinating to watch. The film has a well realized mystery and atmosphere to it.

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Alien: Covenant Movie Review……………………………………………

As for the second half, it has its flaws. The ending’s twist with Walter turning out to be David was well executed, but it was so obvious from the moment he got on the ship that it frustrated me. That ending was excellent and a great way to end this movie and tease the next one, but it was still so expected. And another flaw I’ve had with it is that the film was too bloody and gory at times and it again falls into clichéd horror traps such as only a handful of people surviving and of course people just being plain stupid. Not only do they touch everything on the planet which is beyond ridiculous once again, but they also go to pee or freshen up and leave the group. Why do horror characters continue to be this stupid is beyond me and it really annoys me.

But turning to the positive side, Alien: Covenant is a very interesting and different horror film for introducing couples in its storyline. That introduced a different working dynamic to this team and I do not know why it took for the horror filmmakers so long to do this as in my opinion it is a very obvious and more productive step. By having everyone with their partners in space, they are bound to work better and in happier conditions. Even though this idea should have been better exploited and the film is very low at romance frustratingly, it still has some very heartwarming and of course heartbreaking moments where people lose their loved ones.

Daniels is a Ripley rip-off to a degree, though much more emotional. I have to say that I really liked her character because she was more realistic. She is super confident and the toughest person here, but also the most emotionally fragile which made her more relatable. Tenneessee was very forgettable and the most forgettable person on the team actually. I liked the interracial couple and the gay couple was also interesting and Lope has his moments, but they were so briefly seen as a couple that I did not get the point in introducing that aspect to this plot.

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Alien: Covenant Movie Review……………………………………………

Katherine Waterston is excellent here as she was in ‘Fantastic Beasts’, but Billy Crudup is even better and very natural in the role of Oram who is such a great character. He is for once a different kind of captain who at first is shy and not at all confident in the captain’s role and that was very interesting to see. Such a lovable character. And of course David is excellent per usual. Walter is good and the two fighting and kissing were two very memorable scenes, but it is David becoming this pure evil, calculating and God-like villain that was so amusing to watch and quite creepy at times. Michael Fassbender is awesome in a dual role and proves again that he is one of the best actors working today.

Alien: Covenant is visually arresting as it has stupendous production design and very good special effects. I loved the aliens’ designs and their different attributes and forms were well explored. They truly are physically perfect killing machines. The fact that they maybe are smart is hinted upon and I would love to see the answer to that in the next installment.

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Alien: Covenant Movie Review……………………………………………

The gore is overwhelming, but at least the horror/action scenes were so well executed and the film is consistently entertaining. To me the film works much better with the two prologues seen before it as they introduce you to the plot and characters so well and I wish studios would do more of these prologues than regular trailers. The film is pleasantly dark and creepy in atmosphere and some of its themes and very tragic scenes so it was quite uncomfortable at times, thus succeeding as a horror flick. I prefer ‘Prometheus’ in the end, but this was still a very good, satisfactory Alien entry.

Alien: Covenant again features all of those horror trappings that annoy me so much with the group getting separated being stupid and everyone touching everything on the planet being ridiculous by now, but it is still a solid ‘Prometheus’ sequel and a very competent Alien film that is pretty creepy and atmospheric at times while also being dangerous and mysterious from start to finish. Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup and particularly Michael Fassbender were great in their very good, interesting roles, the storyline is very intriguing and the idea of couples in space is very interesting.

My Rating – 4

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Silent Running (1972)

Silent Running Movie Review…………………………………………………….

Silent Running Movie Review

Silent Running is a 1972 science fiction film directed by Douglas Trumbull and starring Bruce Dern. It is a solid, respectable film, but very flawed too.

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There is no more beauty, and there’s no more imagination.

And there are no frontiers left to conquer

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Silent Running Movie Review…………………………………………………….

The genre films in the early seventies reflected on the current climate with hippies and environmentalism and thus we get Silent Running which is similar in themes to ‘Soylent Green’ from the same period. But the two films are still rather different in storyline and both are quite solid, but far from great.

It is a respectable film that can be very heartwarming and sweet at times. Its environmental and solitude themes are well explored and in the protagonist’s actions you can see just how much he cares for the plants and animals. It is a beautiful message, but unfortunately sometimes it was executed weakly with very preachy and on-the-nose dialogue typical of its time. The flick is very much a product of its time which is both a good and a bad thing.

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Silent Running Movie Review…………………………………………………….

Bruce Dern is very good in this role. It is very interesting seeing him here when he was decades younger than he was in ‘Nebraska’ and he still had the same mannerisms and the manner of speech. I liked his performance quite a bit and he was very likable in a role which easily could have turned out bad and cheesy.

Douglas Trumbull directed the movie really well and the special effects here definitely are very good. His effects work on ‘2001’ and ‘The Andromeda Strain‘ is admirable and I am glad that he could also direct. The effects here are very good and some of the imagery is quite memorable and intriguing. I loved the look of the dome and freighter and the robots also looked really good and were quite cute (definitely reminding me of ‘WALL-E’). Visually, the film did not age at all in my opinion as it still looks very solid.

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Silent Running Movie Review…………………………………………………….

Where Silent Running failed is in its pacing which was overly sluggish and the execution of the entire plot wasn’t the greatest. Some parts are rushed, others drag too much. The third act is emotional for sure, but still too slow and the second act is uneventful and certainly the weakest of the three. To me the film tried to be thoughtful and cerebral, serious sci-fi, but it only half-succeeded in that as the dialogue never managed to support such an approach. Most of the lines were too preachy and some were even silly. Had they worked more on the dialogue, the film would have been both smarter and more emotional but this way it ended up being just solid and certainly a bit dated at times.

Silent Running is a solid science fiction film with very good special effects, a respectable message, a fine performance from Bruce Dern and a couple of moving scenes, but the film is overly contemporary filled with at times quite preachy and silly dialogue and the pacing is rather sluggish resulting in a solid film which should have been much smarter and much better overall.

My Rating – 3.5

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