Friday, May 31, 2013

Thunderball (1965)

Rating: 75%
Film number four of the James Bond series, here's my review for Thunderball.

Plot: SPECTRE is once again up to no good as they hijack a NATO nuclear bomber bomber and hide the bombs inside holding a ransom of 100 million pounds before bombing a city. So it's up to James Bond to try to find the bombs by meeting the mistress of the villainous Emilio Largo and try to discover where he has hidden the bombs.

Okay this film falls into the decent category of the Bond films because while it still hold out in being James Bond, it isn't quite as well done as From Russia With Love and Goldfinger. I mean it has a good story...once you figure out what it is, and it has a good villain, and Sean Connery still does a great job being James Bond. But when I say the story is good one you figure it out, I really mean it's hard to figure out. Throughout the first hour ish or so of the movie, I had trouble understanding what was really happening. I mean I'll start to get it as it went on, but so much was done in a way that made most of it really confusing. There's also other people who found the underwater battle during the climax to have gone a little too long and...yeah as enjoyable as the battle was,  it did seem to keep on going for quite a while.

And that's my review for Thunderball. It's not one of the best Bond films, but it's still an enjoyable movie to watch with all its action, romance and young Sean Connery being awesome.

Goldfinger (1964)

Rating: 90%
Here's the third James Bond movie, Goldfinger.

Plot: After destroying a drug laboratory, James Bond is assigned to observe a bullion dealer named Auric Goldfinger. He starts by starting a relationship with one of his employees, Jill. But when Goldfinger find out, he has her killed by having his assistant Oddjob cover her in paint which kills her by 'epidermal suffocation'. Later Bond and the British Intelligence learn that his true plan is to smuggle gold internationally, so Bond has to find out how and - you guessed it - stop him.

This is another great film of James Bond. While it stops focusing on SPECTRE, it give us a new and rather unique villain and an also interesting sidekick. Oddjob especially I've more or less have been familiar with before because of the video game Nightfire where I learned about his special weapon, but apparently during the end of this movie, he ended up giving us a little more of what makes him quite the person for Bond to go up against. As for Goldfinger himself, he has especially been ranked # 49 in AFI's 100 Heroes and Villains list. And while I'm not totally sure I understand why he's such a great villain, especially considering what his master plan more or less turned out to be, I still can tell what makes him so popular. Despite whatever issues I have with his plan, it was still rather unique for someone whole has a love for gold and what he intends to do with it. Though honestly I would've liked to have seen more of him having Oddjob killing people with gold paint. I just thought that was fairly creative and I wished that I saw more of that. As for everything else, the story and action were very well done and the story especially seemed to have a big impact on the series as a whole. How that's the case, I"m not completely sure, but obviously that's something that I'll find out about as I go further into these films. Also this is the film where we are given that laser scene. In other words, if you are wondering how so many TV shows especially have been making a big cliche out of a villain trying to dispose of a secret agent or other kind of hero by strapping them to a table and firing a laser that's working its way trying to kill the hero, this is the film that started it all. Other impacts this film made are the classic line "A martini shaken not stirred"  (which I think was more or less already said in the first movie by Dr. No, but I guess the way Bond said it worked well enough to make it a thing) and also the song Goldfinger which has become a very memorable song that they even played in the last Academy Awards.

And that's y review for Goldfinger. It have us very memorable villains, great action and story, and a classical quote and song that makes it one of the best Bond film to apparently a lot of people.  

From Russia With Love (1963)

Rating: 85%
Alright so here's the second James Bond movie, From Russia With Love.

Plot: The leader of SPECTRE, No. 1 plans to steal a Lektor cryptographic device from the Soviets, so he assigns No. 3 a.k.a. Rosa Klebb who was an ex-SMERSH operative to the case and she hires
Donald "Red" Grant as an assassin in order to murder James Bond in the process for defeating Dr. No. Meanwhile, Bond is assigned to Istanbul to recover the device from a soviet cipher clerk named Tatiana Romanova unaware that she is also an unwitting pawn for Klebb.

Now this is more like it. Because similar to many certain sequels in the past like Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Aliens, and The Empire Strikes Back, this film just took the concept of the first film and gave us the same things but with things being done so much better. Because now we get so much more into the world of James Bond by going more into SPECTRE, finally getting all sorts of gadgets from Q - on top of finally being introduced to the man himself - the story was bigger, the action was better, had a great last 20 minutes or so to finish the movie, it was just a very well made movie. I will admit that it has some issues like on how this is all over a decrypting device that they don't really go into too much details to what makes it so important other than the fact that everybody wants it and how while still a likable character, Tatiana's importance and characteristics kind of seemed to have gone down hill during most of the remainder of the film after she gave Bond the device. But both issues I personally found to be rather minor compared to everything else.

And that's my review for From Russia With Love. While it does have some issues, it's still a great film that took all the elements of James Bond and successfully brought it all to the next level making it very enjoyable and so far my favorite film from the series (though I definitely expect it be be replaced because come on, I still have only 21 more films to go.)

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Dr. No (1962)

Rating: 75%
So as plenty of you have no doubt notice, I like to review a lot of franchises. And after Skyfall came to theaters and became such a hit, I noticed that when it comes to the James Bond movies, I've realized that I've never seen a James Bond movie a day in my life. I mean I've seen clips from some films here and there, but on a whole I barely know anything about James Bond aside from one video game and tons of parodies like Austin Powers and certain episodes of all sorts of tv shows like Jimmy Neutron. So for a good portion of my future reviews, I'm going to review all 23 James Bond from Dr. No to Skyfall. So let's begin this new review marathon with - what else? Dr. No.

Plot: When a British agent that is stationed in Jamaica is murdered, the British Intelligence assigns James Bond to investigate. During his investigation, he finds out that an evil scheme is happening in Jamaica, all done by the works of the evil Chinese scientist, Dr. No. So it's up to Bond to try to find out what his scheme is and stop him.

Okay for the first James bond film, I wasn't blown away per say, but in terms of getting the character introduced this film does its job well. James Bond is this clever, skilled secret agent who seduces/just charms a whole bunch of women and saves the world a lot. I really am not quite sure how else to describe him since he's a character we all know or very familiar with considering how popular he is over the years. But it's enjoyable to see this character in action nonetheless after knowing just the basic idea about him. And the really intriguing thing about the actor who plays him is that it's Sean Connery...I say that because let's face it, how often do any of us own or even watch a film or show where he's young? But I digress. The action and special effects considering its time are pretty good the story is nice and... that's kind of it. I hate to say it, but this is kind of one of these films from a franchise where I watch it and go "well alright then." Under the exception of having a gajillion gadgets and stuff like that, this film does have all the elements that you'd expect from a James Bond movie, but I don't think I found it particularly interesting other then giving us a really good way to introduce the characters and a tiny bit about the evil forces of SPECTRE. But it still had action, suspense, romance and what not that even if it's not too big of a film for me, is still an enjoyable film to watch and a good film to start off the 23 film of Bond...James Bond.      

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)

Rating: 10%
...let's just get this over with.

Plot: America and Soviet Russia are on the brink of nuclear war. And after receiving a letter written by a concerned schoolboy and some advice from Lois Lane, Superman come up with the plan to rid the entire world of nuclear weapons. At the same time, the Daily Planet is taken over by a tabloid tycoon named David Warfield who make his daughter Lacy the new editor. The changes upset the employees of the Planet including Lois, but to top it all, Lacy for some reason becomes interested in seducing Clark Kent. Meanwhile Lex Luthor escapes and decides to take his revenge on Superman once and for all by creating a superhuman named Nuclear Man.

Now to be fair, I liked the general kind of story that they more or less made as a whole. At least with it specifically being once again about Superman fighting Lex Luthor and someone that also has superhero strength that is trying to best him. Believe it or not, I personally kind of liked this movie better then the last one in a sort of putting up with the bad stuff kind of way. Because despite just about everything else I'm going to say about it, they still went back to giving us Lois Lane, Lex Luthor and some other super villain and other stuff that are what we generally want in a Superman movie unlike Superman III. So in a twisted way, I kind of needed to see this movie after the third one and I'd like to imagine some fans might've needed it too in the same demented way back when this film was in theaters. But despite how pleasant The Quest For Peace might have slightly been because of what happened on a grand scale, it's still a horrid piece of crap as a film. In fact we are actually talking about a film that is so bad that even the guy the played Superman in the first four film, Christopher Reeve regretted making it. He openly said that "Superman IV was a catastrophe from start to finish. That failure was a huge blow to my career." What could have happened that was so bad? Ugh, where do I start? Well the whole plan to rid the world of nuclear weapons makes no sense. When Superman announces this to the United Nations, everyone acted okay this, and yet people still kept on firing missiles. There's several other things wrong with that, but I think the biggest one seems to be at just how unrealistic it is that they are letting Superman go with this plan. Also the put way to much with the story. I mean on my plot paragraph, I mentioned three things that more or less happen in this movie and they do not balance out at all. In fact there are a couple other plot devices (if you can call them that) that I didn't mention that are just thrown in at random points in the movie and once they are gone, they are never seen again. The effects and the editing are also terrible with flying scenes that you can easily tell are poorly done and there are shots that are either reused or fast forward or re-winded at certain points in the movie. And there are a whole bunch of plot holes that would take too long to explain.

And that's my review for Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. You might appreciate the fact that it's Superman fighting Lex Luthor and other super villains like I did after seeing the third movie, but other then that, you are left with a dumb plot that has too many side stories, some of which go nowhere, terrible effects and editing, and is altogether a terrible movie that I would not recommend in the slightest.

Superman III (1983)

Rating: 20%
*starts to play the movie and then remembers the original cover* ... sonofva-

Plot: Gus Gorman is a man who keeps getting unemployed until he discovers that he has a talent for computer programing. When he salami slices his employers payroll, he's brought to the CEO Ross Webster and his sister Vera who decide to use his skills to their advantage to rule the world financially. Meanwhile Clark Kent returns to Smallville for his high school reunion and begin to share affection with his old childhood friend Lana Lang.

This is where I begin to count my blessings about the comedy from the first two movies. I mean the first 5 ish minutes of the film is nothing but practically every slapstick joke you can think of with poorly done title sequences. And then you have Gus Gorman played by Richard Pryor. Now I've heard that he was a great comedian in his time, and I"m sure that's very true. But ever since I first saw the cover to this movie with Superman carrying him and he's giving some comedic surprised face, I knew that this movie was going to be the farthest thing from the genuine Superman movie. And for the most part, I was right. A very good majority of the movie was just Ross Webster's schemes which leads to a whole bunch of moments of Richard Pryor trying to be funny and failing. In fact I can imagine my parents or more likely my ex-boss trying to convince me that he really is funny and probably showing me youtube videos or something to try to prove it to me. Because nothing he was doing was very original or amusing and the fact that he was in this movie for so long doesn't help. Also the fact that the real villains in this movie are a couple of rich people who want to be even richer is just sad. We got from the first two movies having Lex Luthor and General Zod - two of the greatest comic book villains of all time, to this. See the major downplay here? But thankfully, as right as I was about Pryor's part in the movie, most of the moments where we actually get Clark Kent/Superman were a little enjoyable. Because most of the first half of the movie whenever there was Superman, we more or less got what we would actually expect to see. And personally I really liked the moments between Clark and Lana. Okay maybe that view is a little biased what with watching the first couple of seasons of Smallville where Lana's one of the main characters, before really getting into the Superman movies or even the animated show. But it still was an interestingly different turn when it came to the romance and stuff like that, and so I ended up enjoying it. But then there's the second half of the movie when Superman gets corrupted or something and...while you could debate that it's interesting too, I'll just say that I wonder if it's partly to blame for the dance scene in Spider-Man 3 and the birthday party scene in Iron Man 2.

And that's my review for Superman III. You might still enjoy the moments with Superman like I did, but it's still a horrid downplay from the first two movies with uninteresting villains, heavy focus on comedy and Richard Pryor just failing to entertain you in anyway.

Superman II (1978)

Rating: 75%
Okay so my friend Meg let me borrow her copies of the first three sequels to Superman. So with all of them seen, let's move on with this Superman marathon so to speak with Superman II.

Plot: Shortly before Krypton was destroyed, Superman's father, Jor-El sentenced the criminals General Zod, Ursa and Non to be banished into the phantom zone. Years later, the phantom zone is shattered by a shock wave from a hydrogen bomb from Earth and so the group is free and also now has the powers of superman because of the Earth's sun. So they start to take over the world and - what else? It's up to Superman to stop them.

The rating for this movie was a little hard to do cause as a film I'm not sure if it's better or worse per say then the first. Because on the whole, it is a good film and another example of a well made superhero movie. But I feel things are kind of balanced (for lack of better term) between what they did better, and what they did worse then the first Superman movie. Now what's good about this movie is that it still genuinely acts and feels like it's Superman. The action is good, the characters are developed very well to how the characters are suppose to be from the comics, and they have some pretty good villains for Superman to face. Is General Zod the way he's suppose to be in the comics? Well I can't say because I don't read very much Superman comics, but from what I know they give us who General Zod basically is as one of the main enemies of Superman. And who knows how in the world he's going to turn out in Man of Steel. For what the film particularly did better, there was more action, and best of all for me personally, we got way more into the relationship between Superman and Lois Lane. I know I didn't really mention this in my review for the first film, but I sort of felt like there could've been a little more between them besides that moment when they're flying together. But here, their relationship is one of the main focuses of the film and what they did with it I really enjoyed. But again, the amount of things that were done better were kind of balanced with what was done worse. One example is the humor to this film. When I reviewed the first movie, I mentioned that one of my main issues to it was how Lex Luthor was acting like a silly childish villain with his sidekick Otis and other moments in the film that kind of downgraded him as a character. Now thankfully we see the last of Otis before we went really far into this movie, but that didn't save the movie from having any less ridiculous humor. Again like I basically said for the first movie, I know that this is for kids, but they really needed to cut the humor down a notch. In fact there's a moment where Zod and his companions are causing terror all over Metropolis, and the makers of the film decided to just go into just slapstick comedy for the people of the city rather then making it serious as to what the villains are doing. I'm not exactly saying that there shouldn't be any comedy at all to this movie, but how they gave us it just ruined some moments. The second example of how things were worst in this movie I won't say because it's at the very end of the movie, but apparently I'm not the only one who had this major issue so... yeah if you see this movie for the first time, beware of the ending.

And that's my review for Superman II. Some things were done better, some things were worse, but ultimately we still have a very good Superman movie that was loyal to the comics, devoted with their characters and debatably is as equally entertaining as the first movie.

Monday, May 27, 2013

X-Men (2000)

Rating: 75%
Okay now that we have a prequel that may as well doesn't exist out of the way, let's get to the actual trilogy of X-Men.

Plot: When a teenage girl named Rouge accidentally absorbs the life force from her boyfriend while kissing him, she runs away in fear of hurting her family with her mutant powers. She comes across another mutant named Wolverine, and they both get attacked by Sabertooth only to be rescued by the X-Men. The X-Men bring them to the X-Mansion where they meet Charles Xavier who leads them and uses the mansion as a safe haven for mutant to control their powers. Meanwhile, an evil mutant named Magneto is planning a scheme against non-mutants leaving the X-Men and Wolverine to try to find out what it is and stop him.

While it's not the greatest superhero movie that I've seen, it does hold out pretty well as a first film. It has a very nice pace, good character development, and it had a plot that helped give us a very basic yet smart way to introduce us to the X-Men and what it generally is as a comic book series. It also has some great casting choices with Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, Ian McKellen as Magneto and my personal favorite, Patrick Stewart - also best known for being Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation - as Professor Charles Xavier. All these actors along with the rest of the cast play their roles very well, displaying just about exactly how many of us imagine the characters in the comics. It also had good action ( well...considering it's time and stuff anyway I guess) nice effects and it has some good design choices when it came to stuff like the costumes with the heroes and villains. The one issue I would have with this film is the climax. I'm not sure if this is the best way to explain it, but despite its action and build up, what they came up with just didn't really work as something really big that's happening during the very end of the film. I mean I guess they do a decent job at it as a whole, but I feel like what they did with Magneto's scheme and how they used - or did not really use some of the members of the X-Men just didn't make the whole thing big or dramatic enough to work.

And that's my review for X-Men. Despite my issues with the climax, it still was a very well casted film with smart character development and pacing that helps the film more or less stand out on its own as a way of giving us the X-Men and otherwise giving a clear basic introduction to them for audience members who don't know them from the comics.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)

Rating: 35%
So The Wolverine is coming out this summer, so to prepare for that I started going through a bunch of X-men stuff. In fact i just finished going through the entire X-men cartoon from the 90's a couple of days ago. So now I'm going to start watching the movies. And since I already reviewed X-Men first class back when it came out (you can see it for yourself. It's one of the reviews from June of 2011) I'm going to start the reviews for the X-men movies with a particular movie that everyone seems to hate; X-men Origins: Wolverine.

Plot: In 1845, James Howlett discovers his mutant power of having bone claws coming from his hands when he kills the groundskeeper that kills his father. The groundskeeper turns out to be his father, and so James runs away with the groundskeeper's son Victor. The apparent brothers spend the next century fighting all the wars from around that time and eventually joins a black ops team for mutants. James leaves the group due to their disregard for human life, and leaves, but when Victor comes back years later and kills his girlfriend, he swears revenge.

This film is can be roughly summed up in two words: clumsy and redundant. Among the X-men/X-men related films, this particular movie is often known to the the worst with people acting like it doesn't exist and automatically considered as non-canon to the X-men film franchise. The soul reason to that is the story. This film is made to be basically give us Wolverine's past with how he came to be. Now granted some people may find that interesting, but the problem is that we already know about it. X-Men 2 already gave us his past, so there was no real reason to make a movie out of it. In fact some critics like Roger Ebert and Scott Mendelson asks why we should even care about the guy and state that this film makes Wolverine less interesting since we already know everything about him. Ultimately, the film may as well be considered as an excuse to get more big action scenes of Wolverine and throw in a bunch of other heroes and villains from the Marvel comics. Now all this is great with the action scenes because they may not be particularly memorable, but they are pretty awesome to watch. With throwing a bunch of heroes and villains into the film on the other hand, it's pretty stupid. A lot of them are there for no real reason other then to just be there and sometimes even the more used characters turn out to be very stupid or kind of rape the actual characters they're based off of. One example that stands out for me personally is The Blob and how they over do what he is. I know the idea of the character is that he's really fat while also being indestructible, but they over did the fat part in a way that makes him look just disgusting. The Blob is a big round guy in the comics - there can me doubt about that. But he's also a little imitating in the comics to the point where he's even a crazy cannibal in the Ultimate Marvel comics. So that's just stupid that they tried to make him appear more funny in a rather disgusting ay then more what he's like in the comics. The second example is probably the most hated and talked about with this movie: Deadpool. Deadpool is one of the greatest mercenary/anti-heroes in the Marvel comics or comics in general. Along with having an interesting story and being a bad-a, he's also famous for being very funny with how he's always talking and tends to break the fourth wall in his comics. But in this film, Deadpool is rarely seen and doesn't really talk. He starts being talkative a little bit in the beginning, but during the end of the film, he is unable to talk at all. Despite some of the action and his abilities, that has come to piss a lot of fans off to no end. All I truly hear from people when it comes to talking about ANYTHING that has to do with this movie is "They ruined Deadpool" this and "It's fricking retarded that they didn't allow Deadpool to talk" that, and complaints about Ryan Reynolds just because he's the guy who played the character and things just easily got worse for him when he did Green Lantern a couple years later. I wouldn't exactly blame Reynolds considering how little they gave him to do in the first place, (though you'll get no argument from me about Green Lantern whether it has to do with Reynolds or not), but regardless I side with all the fans that said those things. Granted, I'm not exactly a devout reader of the Deadpool comics or anything like that, but I know the guy well enough that I know the standard as to how he should be in film or TV, and what they did in this film doesn't come close. Now I won't say every character was used stupidly, Wolverine was awesome, Gambit turned out to be in this movie and I think they did his character pretty well, and it was pretty awesome to see Professor X during the end. But on a whole, this was not a great film when it comes to giving us new characters to get to know form the Marvel universe X-men or otherwise. Lastly, I will say coming back to the plot that while some points were interesting, but a lot of what happens - like what they do with the relationship between Wolverine and Sabertooth - gives us a lot of holes about how all that connects to the X-Men trilogy. Ultimately, this is why people prefer X-Men First Class over this movie as an actual canon prequel to the trilogy. Because while there are some issues with that film too, it stays true to its propose as a prequel and even truer in some ways with their characters like Emma Frost and The Beast.

And that's my review for X-Men Origins: Wolverine. It has its fun action scenes and does a decent job with a small amount of characters like Gambit. But otherwise it's a clumsy movie that does a extremely poor job with most of the characters and gives us a story that everyone already knows with some extra "information" on the side that just gives it a whole bunch of holes making the film redundant as a movie and as something that is suppose to have any part in the X-Men films. So you may enjoy it anyway with the action and stuff, but it really is an unmemorable movie that's not really worth watching.  

Friday, May 17, 2013

Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

Rating: 90%
*Captain Picard impression* Critic's log stardate 15375.9 (or 2013.137 if you prefer the reboot kind of stardate). It has been four years since the Star Trek reboot brought the franchise back from the grave, and at last we have come to its much anticipated sequel. Was it everything we hoped for as a sequel and a Star Trek movie? That's what this review's for. So... *Benedict Cumberbatch voice* shall we begin?

Plot: Set around a year or so after the first movie, Starfleet encounters a new menace when former Starfleet agent John Harrison bombs a Starfleet instillation in London. When James Kirk and his crew discover that he's hiding in the Klingon homeworld Kronos (or Qo'noS), Starfleet sends them there to hunt down Harrison.

This is a whole lot better then the first movie. Not only did they give us a story that's more layered then the first film, but they go deeper into the characters - Kirk and Spock especially were more developed, which I think is a plus compared to the first movie - the action was bigger and was much more creative in some special moments, and best of all, it felt more like Star Trek then the first reboot movie ever was. There was more things from the Star Trek universe that appeared in this film like Klingons and Tribbles that helped make fans feel much more at home. Some fans may dislike some of the references that they use during the second half of the film especially, which is where unfortunately the opinions of everyone who has seen the movie differ just like with the first reboot movie. In fact some references might be particularly predictable and cheesy at times. Thankfully I for one am fine with the references, but I understand enough to completely not hold it against you if you're one of those people who do. But the best performance came from Benedict Cumberbatch as John Harrison. Not to say that he wasn't in the film quite a lot, but I still wanted more of him. He gave such a tremendous performance from the way he fights, the facial expressions he used, and of coarse his his ever-so deep and menacing voice. I wouldn't say that everything was what I wanted from that guy, but even so, he was a great villain, easily one of the best Star Trek villains there is. And I will also add that the use of lens flares is much smaller then what we got from the reboot. There are at least 2 ish shots where they over use it for sure, but the whole thing was barely used in this film in my opinion. 

And that's my review for Star trek Into Darkness. It's not perfect, but it's bigger, better more complex and developed then the first reboot movie, it's a great film to watch altogether. 

Here's my video review for the movie:

Ben-Hur (1959)

Rating: 85%
Alright this is the last winner to review from the 50's, and the first among the three movies to tie with the most Oscars alongside Titanic and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Here's my 450th review, Ben-Hur.

Plot: Judah Ben-Hur is a wealthy Jewish prince and merchant in Jerusalem. When his old childhood Roman friend Messala comes back to Jerusalem as a tribune, he asks Judah to help capture Jewish citizens who criticizes the Romans, but Judah refuses angering him. During a parade for a new governor, a tile falls from the roof of Judah's house and lands on the governor. Even though Messala knows that it was an accident, he condemns Judah to the galleys and imprisons his mother and sister as a way to intimidate the Jewish population. Judah swears to one day have his revenge against Messala.

This was a great epic movie. It was big, it was intelligent, the art direction and costume design are excellent, it's characters were very well acted, and the story was grand with so many layers to it that it just is remarkable as to how much happens in this 3 1/2 hour long film. Charlton Heston did a great job playing as Judah Ben-Hur giving us such a great big journey that he goes through, he deserved winning Best Actor for his role. This film is also best known for its chariot race sequence which is a scene that you can probably tell that George Lucas copied off a fair bit on when he made the Podracing sequence for Star Wars Episode I: the Phantom Menace. But who can completely blame him for wanting to copy off a scene like this. It was exciting, epic, had great editing, and some spectacular action that at some points was a bit more extreme then you'd think it would be when it came to some of the stunts that they pulled but where no less greatly done. I also really like how the events of the story more or less collide so to speak with the life and death of Jesus. I know some people dislike how the film does that like British film critic John Pym who called the film a "four-hour Sunday school lesson". And I get why considering how it has a sort of Christian theme behind it, but I don't think that makes the film a big torture for people who dislike the Christian faith. To me, while I enjoy it a lot being a Christian myself, I would think that it's not a torture for people who aren't like me considering how most of the moments that have to do with Jesus are generally during the beginning and the end and most of them aren't that very long and are done very smoothly and aren't forced. So if you hate that there's some sort of Christian anything in this movie for whatever reason, I understand. But in my opinion, the makers of the film created this movie in a way that places the Jesus moments in the film in a way that's very basically and placed in reasonable parts that makes it so it isn't forced or is trying to shove the Christian faith down your throat or whatever. If there's one flaw I will admit for sure with this movie, it's that it is probably a little bit too long. Not to say that it needed to the shorter by a huge amount, but maybe a couple scenes needed to be shorter then others.

And that's my review for Ben-Hur. It gave us a grand story with a great leading character, a chariot race sequence that is still memorable today, it may be a little too long and might have issues for you depending on your faith or your personal view of Christianity, but is otherwise a great movie that has little mystery behind being tied for winning the most Oscars with Titanic and The Return of the King.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1976)

Rating: 95%
Another film that I've seen a little of but up till now have never fully watched, here is my review for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

Plot: McMurphy is a recidivist anti-authoritarian criminal who is transferred to a mental institution for evaluation. Even though he doesn't appear to have any mental illness, he tries to avoid hard labor to make his sentence in a more hospital environment. But in the mental institution, he encounters and starts to befriend his fellow inmates and begin to have a power struggle against the head administrative nurse, Nurse Ratched.

Boy this is such a great film. There's so much that they put into the story and they use their characters very well. You get interested in them very easily as the film goes on from Billy to Taber (played by Christopher Lloyd who had his debut in this film). But honestly, the real focus and entertainment of the film is Jack Nicholson and Louise Fletcher as McMurphy and Nurse Ratched. Their on going battle against each other just gets you more and more with McMurphy always trying to escape or fighting against Ratched's rules and Ratched having control over the patients is both suspenseful and sometimes enraging. I say enraging because of Nurse Ratched as a character and how she takes control of the institution. It's no wonder that she's #5 in AFI's top Villains. Even from the little bit of this movie that I saw years ago, I knew and witnessed enough from what I saw that I hated her guts like no one's business. As you go further and further into the movie your desire to strangle, torture, beat, or stab the daylights out of her for how cruel and cold-hearted she can be. We're talking Delores Umbridge from Harry Potter kind of hate ladies and gentleman, and it's not pretty. But thankfully with her, there's also McMurphy who is always trying to get the other patients away from her control. From stealing a hospital bus to bringing girls and booze to the hospital, he was a great opposite of Ratched.

And that's my review for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. It's a great film that has a great cast and a great story with a lovable hero and a extremely hated villain. It's a great film to watch if you haven't seen it already and it deserved to win best picture during its year.

Cavalcade (1933)

Rating: 50%
Okay so back to the older winners, this one I had trouble finding online or at the library, but luckily my brother had a VHS copy. How did he do that? genuine idea.

Plot: The film revolves around a an upper-class British family, the Marryots and their servants, the Bridges. Between 1901 and 1933, we take a look at what they all go through during many historical events around that time.

Honestly, this movie was just meh. I mean the acting was good for what it was worth, just didn't age well. There's all this death, life and love from all of these characters while Britain it self goes through things like the Second Boer War, the death of Queen Victoria, the sinking of the Titanic, and World War One. And honestly, it's not all that particularly interesting. It's not to say that it was completely boring or anything like that - the acting was good for what it was, and there are some characters you actually care about a tiny bit - but the characters are a little too simple and the story is very loose when it comes to bringing these historical events into the story and having anything to do with the characters. Most of the events like Queen Victoria's death or the sinking of the Titanic are close to never really brought in. Thinking more about it, I guess all that made sense back in 1933 where all these events are something everybody knew back then, but some of these things were over 100 years ago or less. And some of us might not be familiar with or have even learned some events from school or something like that. I mean I've learned a lot of things in school over the years but I never knew there was a Second Boer War, or even a first for that matter. I wish I knew more, because they bring it up so bluntly that we don't even know which war it was. All the characters say is "We're going to war!" and "we won" and that's almost all of what they gave us with that.

And that's my review for Cavalcade. I don't doubt that it was a great movie to have back in its time, but it has aged to be a film that has characters that are too simple and are often not all that interesting, and lacks real effort in bringing the characters and the historical even together very well. It has its little nice moments, but is otherwise not the greatest among the best picture winners.

Platoon (1986)

Rating: 95%
Only two winners left from the 80's, so now it's time to review Platoon.

Plot: The story focuses around Chris Taylor who volunteers to fight in Vietnam. He is assigned to Bravo Company where he meets a culturally diverse group of soldiers lead by Sargent Barnes and Sargent Elias. Throughout the film, Taylor witnesses the terrors of Vietnam from the enemy and sometimes even from his fellow soldiers.

I was surprised to eventually learn that Oliver Stone directed this movie out of his own personal experiences in fighting Vietnam himself. But then again you can tell by how this movie turned out. It covered so many things that happened to soldiers in Vietnam. I mean sure there's all the blood and gore and fellow soldiers dying like any war film, but then you have the misery and horror of venturing the jungle, soldiers searching and destroying villages, soldiers having a feud against another and what have you. And the acting is great - my personal favorites were Charlie Sheen as Taylor and William Dafoe as Sargent Elias - and the battles where very epic and of coarse, give a very dark and suspenseful look at being in the battle lines as a war film naturally should. 

And that's my review for Platoon. It has great acting, well done action, and thanks to Stone's knowledge of the war based on his own experience, it's a much deeper and harsher look at what the soldiers in Vietnam went through.   

The French Connection (1971)

Rating: 90%This one I've only seen the beginning of but never fully finished, but thankfully my brother came up from college and owns the movie. So here is finally my review for The French Connection.

Plot: Based on a true story, Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle and Buddy "Cloudy" Russo are New York City detectives who try to track down the source of heroin coming from Europe. After tracking on a hunch from Doyle, they discover mob members who are agents in bringing heroin to New York from France. So it's put to them to try to find the source and put a stop to them.

What can I really say? It's a very good  thriller movie. The story is very well written to the point where the film won best adapted screenplay, it's historically accurate to what happened (at least that's what the National Film Registry says. I mean I don't know the real story, but if they called it that, then that's what it is), and it has memorable performances - most notably Gene Hackman as Doyle. AFI has ranked Doyle #44 on their 100 Heroes & Villains. And for the most part I can see why. Despite his personal problems he is willing to do whatever it takes to arrest drug dealers and bring them to justice. There are one or two moments where I feel he takes that a little too far, but nevertheless I understand AFI's choice for #44. This film is also known to have one of the most famous car chase sequences in film history. Doyle chasing the hit man was a great chase scene - it made the scene epic, it was very well edited and it had a pretty good payoff in the end. I also liked how Alain Charnier was as a villain. The end of the subway scene especially kind of makes it a little wonder that Doyle so desperately wants to catch this guy.

And that's my review for The French Connection. It's a great thriller with a great, story, great chase scene, a hero who I do question a little but at the same time understand why is so loved in the film world and is altogether an enjoyable movie and it's little wonder that it won best picture.   

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Gandhi (1981)

Rating: 95%
With only a couple more winner from the 80's to go, let's review another particularly great film: Gandhi.

Plot: The story begins in 1948 where Gandhi is assassinated. The film then starts off 55 years earlier where 24 year old Gandhi begins to realize how the British laws are biased against Indians after he is thrown off a train South African train for being an Indian sitting first class. So he starts a non-violent protest campaign for the rights of Indians in South Africa. After the campaign succeeds for the most part, he goes back to India and eventually agrees to start a non-violent campaign for India's independence from the British Empire.

Wow. Where do I begin with reviewing this movie? I mean as a whole the movie is great with giving us a long but deep and remarkable tale, about this man, but... let's be honest, the real heart of this film is just Ben Kingsley as Gandhi. His performance is what really makes this film so mind blowing. Just how he shows us Gandhi as a man of non-violence and trusting in love and truth and how he reacts to things like his own people fighting either the empire or themselves or whenever he get arrested, or what have you. When you look back at the movie as a whole after you've seen it, you become amazed at how much of Gandhi's life Kingsley give you. And...well really there's nothing else much to say about him. Everything else in the film was greatly done to help Kingsley bring the tale of Gandhi to life. Frankly, the only thing close to a down is that it is pretty long, but they give so much to the story that I'm not completely sure what should've been left out.

And that's my review for Gandhi. Everything aside from Kingsley was right on the dot with bringing us what was happening around that time, but it's Kingsley's performance that really brings it to life making Gandhi a great film to the point where it's very little wonder that it won best picture.   

Ordinary People (1980)

Rating: 80%
Okay next on the 80's we have the first one that won from that decade, so here's Ordinary People.

Plot: The film revolves around a high school boy named Conrad and his parents. After the death of his older brother Buck, Conrad has attempted suicide and has been in a psychiatry hospital for four months before going back to school and joining the swimming team. Meanwhile his mother tries to live life as if the death of Buck never happened by trying to keep the family as it once was while his father has trouble trying to connect with both of them. Eventually, Conrad begins to see a psychiatrist to try to deal with post-dramatic stress disorder and survivor's guilt from his brother's death.

I don't want to start by just saying that with a good movie considering how simple that is to say...but I can't help it. It was. It had a nice story, the characters were very well acted, it was deep and sad and it was just...really good. They very clearly displayed what each character goes through after Buck died and it really shows how the rest of the family is tormented by it. Timothy Hutton as Conrad especially gave out a performance that make it very little wonder that he won an Oscar for his performance... except that his Oscar was for supporting actor and not leading. I say that because personally I felt he was the real main focus of the story. I mean Of coarse Beth and Calvin are part of the main focus of the story, but Conrad was more the person to pay attention to in my opinion. He was there when Buck died, he's the one that tried to commit suicide and is seeing a psychiatrist, he's trying to make things a little better for him at school with quitting the swimming team and starting to date a girl he likes, all while still being haunted and tortured by the stress and guilt of his brother's death. So with all that, I felt he was the main leading character and not really anyone else. But that's just my view on it. And even if he isn't, Beth and Calvin were still very good as the leading roles. Calvin especially I liked during the very end. One of the things I remembered really liking when I last watched the end of this film up till now was his last scene with Beth. I just really liked his monologue when he was talking to her - it was just really well written to me and he acted it out in a way the really went deep into who her character is and how he feels about it.

And that's my review for Ordinary People. It had a good story, great performances, a little bit questionable as far as who are the leading or supporting roles but is altogether an enjoyable film.  

The Great Gatsby (2013)

Rating: 65%
The classic F. Scott Fitzgerald book becomes another movie...I'll just leave it at that until after the plot paragraph.

Plot: Nick Carraway moves to New York working as a bond salesman. He lives in a small house in Long Island next to the large mansion of a mysterious millionaire named Gatsby who throws great big parties regularly in his home. Eventually Nick meets and befriends Gatsby himself, where he learns that he is secretly asking Nick to help him meet his married cousin Daisy with whom Gatsby has had a past with.

I read the actual book The Great Gatsby back in my junior English class back in high school. While it wasn't the most wonderful thing I ever read, it was still enjoyable for the most part...especially comparing to other books we read that year that I didn't really give a rats for like The Bell Jar and The Catcher in the Rye. So when I learned that another film based on the book was coming out, I was interested to see how it was going to turn out. But as the day of it coming out came closer, I learned from one of my best friends Meg, that the director of the movie also the one who directed Moulin Rouge. From there I had a very good idea at how the director, Baz Luhrmann was going to structure this movie; almost just like Moulin Rouge, he was going to make the first hour or first half of the movie have all the crazy visuals, dancing, super quick cuts on the editing, be very huge and energetic and seems like it's not going to stop at all, and then the rest of the film is where we get the real meat in the story with the drama and romance and so on. And you know what? That turned out to be almost exactly what I got when I went to see this movie. The first half of the movie is almost all about the parties at Gatsby's mansion with these pop songs slightly mixed with actual jazz that is ridiculous to play considering the time period the story takes place at, but you tap your feet to the rhythm to them anyway. And even with the scenes that are as far away from Gatsby's mansion as possible the editing has all these quick cuts. In fact the editing is a lot like how Doug Walker pointed out the editing in the beginning of Moulin Rouge in his video review where he even created a game called "Find the Shot that Lasts More Then Five Seconds." I actually ended up playing that game during one of the scenes in the first hour that didn't have squat to do with Gatsby's parties. And you know what? It's the same freaking deal! There were scenes like when Nick, Daisy and Tom are just having dinner or when Gatsby was just taking Nick out to lunch where there were little to no shots that were even longer then 3-4 seconds.  In both of those scenes there's no reason for that to happen. The dinner scene was just introducing Tom and Daisy and giving us a little more about Nick's life and the drive to lunch was Gatsby telling Nick almost everything about him. Those scenes should've been nice and slow in terms of editing, but instead they're acting like we need to see the scenes in practically every angle imaginable. But like I also predicted, the rest of the movie is where the editing does slow down to a more normal rate and we focused more on the romance, drama and altogether emotion that leads us to the REAL story of the film. And I'm pretty glad that I was right about that as well as all the partying and crap from the first hour of the film. Because the rest of the film is what I was really looking forward to with this movie, and not only did they do it, but they did well. In the rest of the film, we get great performances from the cast such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton and of coarse Toby Maguire. Jeremy Jahns said in his review to the movie that DiCaprio was a good choice to be Gatsby because just because he is DiCaprio, you immediately want to root for him. I'm not a die hard fan of DiCaprio, but looking back, yeah he has a point. DiCaprio did give us a rather touching performance that made me root for Gatsby a little bit more then I did when I read the book or saw the other movie with Robert Redford. Mulligan and Edgerton also did great job with their performances as Daisy and Tom with displaying just about exactly how I remember the characters. Toby Maguire as something of a mix. I mean as a whole I thought he did great too, but the problem is he wasn't exactly groundbreaking as far as he goes as an actor. I personally did somewhat hope that he would considering he hasn't really done anything after the Spider-Man movies. I mean the latest movie I've seen of him up till now was Brothers, and that was back in 2009. That movie was one of the earliest movies I reviewed too, that was 27th, 28th review...and here I am roughly 415 ish reviews later...yeah. So with that said, I hoped that we would get a little more for him. But even though he didn't exactly blow me away, he also wasn't terrible or was a pain to watch, he just gave a nice enjoyable performance, and for now, that's fine too...again, for now. And also we get a little more of the symbolism of the story. While I don't remember everything from the book (I mean come on, junior year in high school was over 5 years ago) I do remember some of the most memorable symbolism that Fitzgerald gave. And I honestly think that with most of them, the movie played them out a lot better then I thought they would with things like the green light next to Daisy and Tom's house. Even with the rest of the film however, it does have some noticeable problems that have to do with the movie as a whole. One is that it's too long - I think it should've been maybe about 20 minutes shorter, (especially with all the party stuff) and there was some development to the story that was left out. George, Myrtle and Jordan play a fairly big factor into the book and halfway through the film I couldn't help but notice how George and Myrtle especially were very downplayed in their roles. Does it make sense that they were? ...I guess, but if a guy like me remembers the book just from reading it in high school, chances are that fans of the book are probably not going to like that.

And that's my review for The Great Gatsby, it has its unnecessary similarities to Luhrmann's directing from Moulin Rouge with focusing on just great visuals and dancing and super quick editing during the first hour and then getting to the deep part of the story with the rest of the film. But what comes out from the film altogether is a film with great performances, good loyalty to the book (as far as I know) and visuals that are indeed good that altogether makes this version of The Great Gatsby a film that's not exactly something I would buy on Blue-Ray, but I had a pretty nice time seeing it.  

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Terms of Enderment (1983)

Rating: 85%
Okay so going back to the 80's with Terms of Endearment.

Plot: Aurora has a close love-hate relationship with her daughter Emma over the years that Emma has been growing up. When Emma graduates high school, she immediately marries her boyfriend Flap and moves in with him. Through the years afterwords, Aurora and Emma stay in contact talking about each others lives as Emma and Flap raise a family and Aurora becomes interested in her neighbor who is a retired astronaut.

This was the winner that I watched just about right after Midnight Cowboy. And thank heavens that I watched a movie like this after seeing a movie that I found to be rather unpleasant. Not only was the plot very nice and somewhat simple, but it was very well acted, fairly well paced and it had a very nice cast - Jack Nicholson especially was a nice addition and it isn't entirely surprising that he won supporting actor for his performance. But what really makes this film so enjoyable is the second half of this movie or somewhere around the very end to be sure. I won't give anything away of coarse, but it's very moving and heart-string pulling, and it also was an unexpected but in my opinion a rather unique and smart direction that the movie went from the first half or so.   

And that's my review for Terms of Endearment. It's a very nice film that is very well acted with a great cast, moving second half or so, and is altogether just a very enjoyable film that I would recommend. 

Midnight Cowboy (1969)

Rating: 45%
Okay so it's the last best picture winner from the 60'

Plot: A Texan named Joe Buck travels to New York to become a male prostitute. Things go unsuccessfully as his naïveté gets the better of him with his small amount of costumers, he starts to lose money dramatically. But then a polio-crippled con man named Ratso cons him of $20 but later convinces Joe to stay at his place and be his manager, helping him to make a name for himself.

Yeah. I know it's probably really shocking to rate this movie so low, but trust me, if with wasn't for Jon Voight - but mostly Dustin Hoffman, or how this film worked in terms of story telling with its occasionally noticeable symbolism or story-telling with its editing, or if the movie in general wasn't any more X-rated, I wouldn't hesitate to rate this movie much lower then I did. If any of you have read my reviews for movies like Borat, and ESPECIALLY Hangover Part II, then you know that I can have a very seriously low tolerance when it comes to having nudity or sexual content in some of the most undeniably disturbing ways imaginable. And the fact that this was X-rated - the first and currently only winner to be X-rated at that - don't really help the film for me. I don't give a rats that they eventually re-rated it to just R, they rated it X first and I am sticking to that rating. Because yes, this film had ways of being pretty bad when it comes to its sex scenes or sometimes just scenes in general. So with that said, this film was by no means the highlight of my day when I saw it. However, as much as I dislike it, I do have to give it points to how good it is as a film. Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman gave out great performances - Dustin Hoffman especially was someone who I enjoyed and looked forward to the most when I was watching this film..I mean come on, it's Dustin Hoffman! And I admit that the editing worked really well with some of the symbolism or all around subtext to what was happening in some of the scenes... even when some of it is harder to understand then others and it can be a little confusing to know for sure what is real and what was just Joe or Ratso's imagination or one of Joe's flashbacks. And otherwise, the film plays out its grit very well with displaying the urban American life in New York.

And that's my review for Midnight Cowboy, you may enjoy it for its performances from Voight and Hoffman, and otherwise how well its made as a film, but otherwise, it's just X-rated disturbing, making it hardly the best thing I've ever scene and is not recommended for people who have even half the low tolerance I have for sexual content in this disturbing kind of nature.  

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Chariots of Fire (1981)

Rating: 80%
Ah yes. This british film with this ever so classic musical score. Here's my review for Chariots of Fire.

Plot: Based on a true story, the film revolves around two men, Harold Abrahams and Eric Liddell. Both men are runners from the University of Cambridge - Harold tends to experience anti-semitism from the staff at the college while also being unbeatable in the national running competitions, but is also falling in love with a woman named Sybil in the process. Meanwhile, Eric is a missionary who was born in China but is patriotic of his family's homeland of Scotland. His devout sister disapproves of his running but he believes that it's a way of glorifying God. And so the film tells both of their stories about their personal lives and troubles in trying to make it to the Olympics.

This is a nice sort of simple film. The characters are well acted, you care about what happens, they set up the time period very well and they're just telling some very nice stories. If I had a favorite of the two stories, I would have to say the Eric storyline is the best. Okay maybe it does have a little bit to do with him being a missionary which is cool for me as a christian, but even biased as it admittedly sounds, he just had a more interesting story all around. Harold's was good too with the little bit or romance and having an encouraging couch (who I didn't realize that, that was Ian Holm until I saw the cast list...stupid mustache razza frazza...), but it's nothing too completely new as far as a sort of sports storyline goes. He has a goal, has an encouraging coach, fall in love with a girl, it's all not that original. But Eric is more interesting with how he had this conflict with racing and his faith. It just made him a more interesting character as well as how he would also quote bible verses and have a really cool sermon or two during the film. Anything else to say is how easily memorable the score to this film is. Just the instrumental theme alone is so memorable with how it has been used in other films like Madagascar and Bruce Almighty.

And that's my review for Chariots of Fire. It was a nice time it had enjoyable characters - Eric was my favorite, but Harold was good too - it was well made, had a memorable score, it's a good film to enjoy all around.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Annie Hall (1977)

Rating: 60%
Okay so this is the one that defeated Star Wars IV: A New Hope for best let's see why I gave it the rating that I gave it.

Plot: The film revolves around the comedian named Alvy who talks about his relationship with a woman named Annie. We go through the story about their relationship while they also discuss Alvy's life in the past.

Okay so this film is a super big deal for film in general. It's ranked #31 in AFI's greatest films in american cinema, it's placed #4 on their list of top comedy, critics love it, it goes on and on and on. But sadly I was not as entertained as apparently everybody else is. *audience boos* Yeah... does it help that I at least don't think it was an oscar screw-up in having this film winning entirely? *audience just stares in pure disapproval* Umm...I guess not. I don't know, I guess it's just not my kind of movie. I mean if the comedy is making just about making everyone laugh...well...great, but it doesn't really work for me. Most of the jokes I can kind of understand as to what would make people laugh at the very least, but close to none of them were the kind of comedy that would make me really laugh. I'll like some certain jokes like the 'mental subtitles' and that little cartoon sequence where Annie's appearing as the Wicked Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, but that's kind of it. But I still give it a positive review because comedy aside because I can definitely see and kind of agree to some of the other reasons why people are singing so many praises to this particular film. It has a rather unique style with things like Alvy occasionally breaking the fourth wall for things like talking to passing bystanders about love and how some guy form a movie theater misinterpreted a film, and it touches on some themes in some interesting ways. Some of it has to do with things like life in Manhattan or life as a jewish male (or something like that), but it also primarily talks about love that I found to be interesting. I wouldn't say that I agreed with every single aspect of what he was talking about when it came to love especially, but for the most part, what Alvy concluded when it came to it was a good way to look at love for the most part.

And that's my review for Annie Hall. It's a nice film with it's unique style and ways of tackling themes like love, and if you haven't seen it, you might succeed where I did not in really being entertained with the kind of comedy that it has. But for me, it was good for how it was different as a film but not much for me otherwise. I'm glad that I saw it for what it's worth, but considering it's not really the kind of film for me, I honestly don't really plan on seeing it again.

An American in Paris (1952)

Rating: 75%
Okay so only two more winners left from the 50's. So let's move to only one left with An American in Paris.

Plot: Jerry is a WWII veteran who decided to stay in Paris to try to gain a reputation as a painter after the war. A society woman named Milo takes him under her wing as support for his art, but is actually interested more in him personally then his art much to his ignorance. Meanwhile he falls in love with a woman named Lise whom he met at a restaurant. Lise begins to love him too, but is also in a relationship with a French singer named Henri who is also an associate of Jerry and his friend Adam.

Okay I'll be honest. The story did turn out to be way more development then I thought. Because when I first looked into the cover, I thought it was going to be just this very simple romantic movie about a guy who moves to Paris and just happens to fall in love with some woman. Which...yeah it kind of is, but it's not quite as simple. I didn't even know it was a musical, but here we are, and all in all it's a nice film altogether. It has a nice cast with Gene Kelly just before he did Singin' In The Rain and is also Leslie Caron in her debut, the story is very nice, the romance was interesting, and it had some pretty good musical numbers. The songs that stand out the most would be I Got Rhythm, Tra-la-la (This Time It's Really Love) and 'S Wonderful. I Got Rhythm just helped top off how fun it was for Jerry trying to teach the little kids english, Tra-la-la (This Time It's Really Love) was...just plain fun, and 'S Wonderful is the most recognizable of all the songs. I've heard it plenty of times over the years and not only is it nice to know part of where it came from (it originated in a musical called Funny Face back in 1927, but it also was included in this film among a couple of others.) And they performed that particular song very well. Heck I kind of wanted to sing along, they pulled it off that well for me. Now this film is without its flaws. But if there's one issue I really had, it's how it did have moments where it focused more on just the big musical numbers then on the actual story. Which most of the time is alright what with it being a musical and all, but it did have a couple of moments where it was just all about the music for quite an amount of time. My main example for this is the An American In Paris ballet during the very end of the film. It felt a little too long for me and I think the focus on it kept us from getting a really well thought of ending - because without spoiling anything, I thought they could've done the ending a lot better.

And that's my review for An American in Paris. It has a fun cast, memorable music, a good story that all around makes it another enjoyable musical film from among the films that won best picture.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Tom Jones (1963)

Rating: 55%

Plot: The story begins with Squire Allworthy coming home from a trip to find a baby in his room. Thinking that his barber and one of his female servants had the child out of lust, he banished both and takes the child as his own naming him Tom Jones. From there the story is about Tom Jones all grown up with all these sorts of adventures of wooing or sleeping with women and eventually traveling to London and who knows what.

Again I say; what that frick? I may not have seen all of the best picture winners yet, but I think this one is easily the most messed up kind of movie to win. And comparing to all the really bit best picture screw ups from Broadway Melody to Shakespeare in Love, that's saying a lot. While just about all of the other best picture winner are romantic comedies, thrillers,  romantic drama, and heaven knows what else, I really can't believe that at some point in the past, one of the winners is a comedy in this specific kind of style. Tom Jones is a comedy that starts off with a silent movie kind of sequence but is afterwords just this story film that is otherwise just a story based off a book apparently with even points where Tom Jones and a couple of other characters break the fourth wall. It's still a little fun enough to be something of a meh film - because while this film is hardly laugh out loud hysterical and doesn't really go over the top... like at all, it has its moments in being a little amusing with some of its jokes and its performances somewhat - but even so, it's still just a meh kind of movie, and it just is a marvel for me that a movie like this was even nominated let alone won best picture. I mean how it won, I have no idea. I understand that it's something of an adaption of some book, and it became such a huge deal in England...and...that's just it. I don't really know for sure why it won, I guess enough people thought it funny that the academy decided to make it the winner.

And that's my review for Tom Jones. It really is just some meh kind of comedy movie that even if it was something of a talk of the town back in it's day (at least in England for all we know for sure), but it doesn't really hold out to the point where people like me are just scratching their heads that this movie won best picture.

Friday, May 3, 2013

A Man of all Seasons (1966)

Rating: 75%
Okay this is the third to last best picture winner from the 60's.

Plot: The film surrounds around Sir Thomas More back around the time of Kind Henry VIII in England. It begins with Cardinal Wolsey asking him to support his attempt in helping Henry VIII obtain a divorce from Catherine of Aragon, but More refuses. As a result, the council and even Henry VIII himself try to convince him to give his support. Meanwhile a young acquaintance of his named Richard Rich tries to think of ways to bring him down along with Thomas Cromwell.

This was just a nice movie for me honestly. As far as story goes, it's definitely nice because I do like the general tale about Henry VIII and his wives, which is what I particularly enjoyed a lot about the movie Anne of A Thousand Days. So naturally, a movie that has a little bit to do with that part of history would be interesting. And to an extent, it was. I'm pretty sure I never really even heard of Sir Thomas More from either when my mother would play this book on CD about Henry VIII or when I was studying about Europe in my history class during my senior year in high school. So it was a little nice to learn a little something from during the time between Henry VIII was working on divorcing Catherine of Aragon and a little after he married Anne Boleyn. But that doesn't necessarily mean I completely enjoyed the movie with little to no doubt whatsoever. Because putting all of that aside, I thought it was just an okay movie. It's wasn't that big of a film as far as an adaption from a play or otherwise, and not a lot of characters really stood out - except for Robert Shaw as Henry VIII who gave a performance that was good but a little different from how I interpret the person, especially when it came to his laugh which made me think more of Robin Hood from The Adventures of Robin Hood back in 1938. Also I will admit that the choice of cast was very interesting with having actors like Orson Welles and John Hurt.

And that's my review for A Man of all Seasons. It's nothing special to me as a film, but it did still give a story that's set around the time of Henry VIII that makes it interesting enough to be a decent film to watch at the very least. 

Iron Man 3 (2013)

Rating: 90%
IRON MAN 3!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Plot: After the events of The Avengers, Tony starts to have a lot of anxiety from the battle against the Chitauri and is starting to have doubts as to whether or not he can continue to protect Pepper. Meanwhile The Mandarin is bombing places and terrorizing America so Tony decides to stop him and...I'll just stop there.

Honestly I really enjoyed it. It was not exactly every single thing that I wanted out of this movie but for the most part I would say it's pretty close. The plot was more complex then I though and the pacing was really well done. They actually put so much into this movie that I'm kinda having a hard time believing it's only 2 hours and 10 minutes long, because it felt around 20-30 minutes longer then that with everything they gave us with this film. It's kind of something that I feel I should be careful about when it comes to watching this movie. It's basically like what Jeremy Jahns more or less said in his video review for this movie; it's not a film that you just watch without a care, it's more a film you have to watch if you truly want to get invested in it. The performances were just as you suspected them to be with Robert Downey Jr, Gweneth Paltrow and Don Cheadle. The performance on Mandarin...just wasn't what I hoped it would be. If you want to know more about why I feel this way, feel free to check it out on my spoiler video which I have a link to at the end of this review, but let's just say that if it wasn't for the rest of this movie, my faith in it almost crashed and burned because of Mandarin. And that's actually the sole thing about watching this movie for the first time because as much as I want to say otherwise, it's not necessarily for everybody. Because there's things about the Mandarin along with a couple of other things that divide everyone as to whether or not they liked the movie or hated it. So for big loyal fans of the comics especially, I do say that it's possible you might not like this movie as a result. It's not for sure - I mean I read the comics and I though the rest of the film made up for some of the big issues - but depending on how you take this movie, it's definitely possible.  But otherwise the film was very well done. It was dramatic, suspenseful, dark, even funny at a lot of points. In fact I'd say this is both the darkest and the funniest of the Iron Man movies. Sometime they do overdo it with the jokes, but otherwise they were very well done and they altogether made me laugh more then I thought this movie would. And this film is definitely the best in terms of showing what Iron Man really is in the comics. It is predictable and sometimes has a plot hole but they aren't a terribly big deal. And I'll finish with adding that it had really well done action and the last 15 minutes or so of the movie I personally liked.

And that's my review for Iron Man 3. It has certain things that makes it not for everyone, and it can be predictable and have a plot hole here and there. But on the whole, those issues are very minor when comparing with it's great plot, very well done drama, mostly well delivered comedy, and is dark in such a way that makes Iron Man 3 the closest out of all three movies to really hit the nail with how the comics are. It's the second of it's kind as far as being an actually good third superhero movie (with The Dark Knight Rises being the first), I'm most likely going to want it on Blue-Ray for Christmas, it's a great film to watch and I'm pretty glad that I finally saw it.

video review:

spoiler video:

In The Heat of the Night (1967)

Rating: 85%
...I got nuthun for a good intro.

Plot: Mr. Colbert who was a wealthy man from Chicago ends up murdered in Sparta, Mississippi where he was planning to build a factory. While looking for the killer the night he was killed, one of the police officers find an African-American named Virgil Tibbs waiting at the train station with a lot of money and so arrests him as a suspect. Tibbs however turns out to be a homicide detective from Philadelphia, and so his chief tells him during a phone call to help Chief Gillespie in solving the murder. So Tibbs and Gillespie go on an uneasy partnership in finding clues to find out who murdered Colbert.
Okay how do I begin with explaining this movie? It had really well done performances, it took a look at racism on quite a different angle, and it did have a mysterious case that was interesting. And like Driving Miss Daisy, it's the performances that stand out the most. Rod Steiger I can understand to him winning best actor as Chief Gillespie, but I'm surprised Sidney Poitier wasn't even nominated as Virgil Tibbs. Because really he was the real memorable character in the film. I mean heck, he's so good of a character that he even is ranked # 19 on AFI's top Heroes and Villains list. He does just a great job at being such a focus to the story from how he lays it out to when he slaps Endicott. And of coarse he has the most memorable line: "They call me Mister Tibbs!" Yeah, so if you remember the line from The Lion King "They call me Mister Pig!", that's how they came up with that line. So with all that said, why wasn't he even nominated? Part of me thinks maybe they thought other performances were somehow better in the academy's eyes, but part of me also wonders if it has to do with the whole take on racism thing... I don't know how for sure, I'm just thinking as I go along. 

And that's my review for In The Heat of the Night. It had a different angle on racism from that time, interesting murder case, and above all, it had performances that was really well done. But fact is fact, while Steiger got the Oscar, that didn't stop Poitier's Virgil Tibbs from being one of the most memorable, heroic characters in the history of film.