Posted on 1/06/14 10:03 PM
Amadeus, sad and depressing. As highly fictionalized it all is, I cannot help but relate to the pro(an)tagonist. It is a sad truth that those who are born talented often go ahead and revolutionize what ever field they choose (in this case an Art so alien to me it's essentially pseudo-art), while leaving us normal folk to play 'catch-up'. Forman captures this intellectual angst wonderfully. Perhaps I'm biased since this has in fact troubled me greatly very recently, yet there is no doubt Amadeus is a strong film.
I was very impressed with my personal devotion to two antagonist'. Forman's direction does, in a solid fashion, capture all. However, in direction it rarely surpasses a great level and for me anyway, remains on just a good level, which is fine surely, but one always hopes to be blown away.
The performances for the most part were satisfactory, yet often hammy. A few actors simply just didn't fit their part in style and accent? Question mark is used because I wasn't sure whether Forman was trying to emulate an accent of the period or not, it seemed to vary greatly. But nevertheless, Abraham did a great performance. Not sure whether he deserved the best actor award though, I'd have to compare it with other's of the time.
Overall, solid film that I really enjoyed. Sadly, there were many stretches of just 'good' and rarely was there 'brilliant' stuff, which is nothing bad of course, but simply prevents a much higher appreciation. But underwhelming openings aside, I was swept into the drama and very much liked it all.
Posted on 1/06/14 10:03 PM
"Welles's accidental semi-autobiographical film stops trying to tell a good story, but tells a story perfectly."
Is this the greatest film of all time? Well to answer this question we have to understand the type of person who watches this film. When someone out of the blue decides to become a film critic, of course they rummage through various critic's lists and polls', searching to see what 'the best' is. And of course it results in Citizen Kane, a towering figure in film. From here our young critical prodigy will watch the movie, and have two attitudes as the credits role, they will either chant, "I have no idea what was going on, but that was brilliant!". This is the predominant attention seeker of the critical world, going for 'the best' and going with the crowd, lying to themselves, for Citizen Kane is extremely dull for a first time viewer, and in all honesty, I did the same as many; I smiled and gave the full thumbs and waved, taking the glory of being smart. And of course, there is the other type of reaction, the "There wasn't a single gun in that whole movie! I'm gonna tell everyone how wrong they are and violently attack how boring this movie is, and tomorrow, oh and I gotta host my Avatar appreciation party tomorrow..."
It's a real shame that this common reactions of a first time reviewer, they either fall into a state of denial and lie to themselves, or become a massive cock, to which will result in the stroking of his ego till the grave. Luckily after two years experience I thought I'd tackle this colossal film once again, and I was overwhelmed. Citizen Kane is really quite intimidating in all manner for up and coming filmmakers. Many call this film influential, I on the other hand see it as a dream crusher, especially when you realise Orson Welles made a movie about himself and was just given the award for best of the business, leaving us wannabes to cower in our rooms, crying yourself to sleep as unworthy, and thereby settle for being an egotistical prick, hence my writing this. When you look at this film closely, there is so much method into every single shot being done, every shot is trying to say something, or trying to convey a point, then pull out your magnifier and look even closer and your sure to see even more to the point of bring you to tears, because it reminded you of the bully teasing you about his superior muscles. The mere idea of writing an essay on this film puts my brains into shambles.
The film is a story of a newspaper tycoon (based upon William Randolph Hearst), brought up in an adopted family of huge wealth. For reasons I never quite grasped from the film (feel free to explain below), Charles Foster Kane is taken from his family, at their will for some pay, and then taken into the world of privilege, where he takes whatever he wants, and he chooses a small newspaper. It opens with a news reel, telling all there was to know, then follows a reporter trying to learn the meaning behind his final word, "Rosebud".
Within all fairness, the film's story is a rather dull one, certainly understandably causing criticism amongst any modern audience, untrained in appreciating film. Yet in its entire plot, were told in such ingenious ways, brilliantly breaking conventions of the era in which it was made, and giving modern films a run for its money. What Welles does is effectively casting away the whole story of the film, but tells of a man, Charles Foster Kane. Often [i]Citizen Kane[i/] seems to be well aware of itself being a movie, the viewer is constantly aware that it is in fact a movie being watched, and Welles plays with this. Welles's accidental semi-autobiographical film stops trying to tell a good story, but tells a story perfectly.
Now in a film I believe to be as close as you get to perfect, the weakest part of the film is its performances. The acting is shockingly mediocre, of course Welles tried to bring many newcomers to the industry, and for many it's their first. Now that's all well and good for a small independent film, a mere launch pad for future talents, but Citizen Kane IS film. It is perhaps the most important and powerful film to ever be made, and its unfortunate that the acting lacks any dynamic aspects, not to say its bad, but its small actors in a huge film.
However, Welles's performance, although not exactly a great one, is certainly a powerful performance, fitting the grandeur of the film. In a sense the second-rate performances are a part of Kane's success, as I had said the film is much like a documentary, or template on a perfect film, than it is an actual film. Once this is established, mediocrity is acceptable to keep the spotlight in the correct place.
Oh dear me, now to try explaining the genius in Welles's direction would be nothing but an understatement. It's as if every shot of this film was telling a story of its own, pushing boundaries on how something could be shown. Ultimately, the direction is perhaps the best to ever be contributed to the cinema, and it's Welles's direction, which carries the film to a completely different style of film, where it is more or less a handbook, than a film. Ironically direction will be my short coming of my review, since to even begin o explain the direction would result in an essay I neither have the time nor ability to complete.
Overall, Citizen Kane is quite possibly the greatest film ever made. Although film is far too subjective to ever draw a conclusion to this title, Kane has won enough lists and polls to fill the shoes of an invisible film, an enigma. However, to call this film flawless would be completely wrong, for it has many problems, especially in its performances, yet perhaps all intended. It would be wrong to say the film is flawless, but it would be quite accurate to say Citizen Kane has the most control and awareness of any other film. The only real problem I had with this film is it lacks an emotional touch, which perhaps is the reasoning for many disliking this film; as brilliant this film might be, I can hardly find myself visiting it again anytime soon. Welles has effectively made a documentary of film, and how to do it, which was all achieved at the young age of 26. It was from then on Welles proved that he had perhaps told his own future, making Kane a chilling autobiography.
Comments/votes preferred on RT, but My Blog: http://movieswithjhone.blogspot.com/2011/10/citizen-kane-1941.html
Posted on 1/06/14 10:03 PM
This film starts off, which seems rather sensless and stupid, but its ditorted plot starts to come together about half way through, revealing a masterpiece of comedy-action. This films comedy is versitile- suiting satire, action and even makes a rape scene funny.
Posted on 5/22/13 03:26 PM
This is one of those great movies you rarley come by.
This silent yet thrilling film that packs quite a laugh, as Buster Keaton chases the north and is chased by the north, during the civil war in America and also throws in a danzal in destress.
Excellent movie, also funny how he's on the south's side(the losers).
Posted on 5/22/13 03:26 PM
Night of the Living Dead, the king of all cult films. It is arguably the best zombie movie ever, although I prefer Dawn of the Dead. This is launched George A Romero's zombie legend, and many sequels, that do not have anything to do with each other, except the fact that the zombies are a growing epidemic. This movie was really good, and has the characteristics where I would say "I would have been proud to have directed this movie."
The plot follows Barbra and Johnny as they visit their father in the cemetery (if you have not picked-up on it, his grave). As they are at the cemetery, a zombie attacks them, and Barbra manages to escape to a barn house. Ben who arrives by a car then later on joins her. They start to barricade and discover other survivors, and that is the story. They try to last the night listening to the radio, boarding-up the windows, escape attempts and arguing.
The plot may seem simple, but is very interesting. This film is notorious for an ultra-low budget, and bad acting. Now just to start-off, the direction in this movie was excellent. It may be bad quality black and white, but the cinema photography/direction really made the film interesting, and created some memorable scenes. One of them is when they look out the window and see two or three zombies walking on the grass towards them. It has an eerie effective look.
Now the acting, I must say it was not that bad. Barbra was horrible, but luckily she faints early on and we do not see much of her (feminist have even said that this was offensive to women, because she was useless, they do not know when to stop do they). Ben, I thought he was fantastic (well not compared to Kevin Spacey in American Beauty), but it was not horrible, and he deserves more. The rest of the cast were fairly good, some were bad, but a few were good. So do not expect really bad acting, it is not regular here.
This film was very watchable, it is not all just in the barn, and nothing else. They have a radio, and the radio was done very well. The television was done professionally, and I really feel this makes it a good film, despite flaws. Now the zombies; sure they do not run around with missing limbs and big holes in their heads, but for what they had then, they were creepy and well done. They were done, with no ridiculous occurrences. So as far as films go, this is probably as likeable as it gets and great replay value.
Overall, a really fun and enjoyable cult classic, that is not so bad it is good, it was never bad in the first place. It also has a very chilling ending that, at first annoyed me, but I have grown to admire. The best part about this film is that whenever you watch a zombie movie, something really stupid always happens. Like in Dawn of the Dead, the biker goes on the heart monitor, with zombies all around him! (In addition, he is ripped out, with his arm still in the monitor). In Dawn of the Dead remake, a zombie gives birth to a zombie. In 28 days later, we just see a person naked for no reason. Something always seems to happen that is really stupid, but in here no, it is fairly grounded. Another problem with most zombie movies, is that people are never scared enough, they run past zombies like nothing, but in here they seem to be scared properly. I would recommend to any zombie movie lover, cult film lover and general movie lovers. If you are a fan of horror, this is a staple movie.
Posted on 5/22/13 03:25 PM
Twelve Angry Men, this was nothing short of a masterpiece really. This film is famous for having only one setting, a jury room, with the exception of three minutes either inside the courtroom, or just outside the building. The mere fact that one location (not a very exciting location for that matter) would be there throughout the whole movie may makes some people think that it would be boring. I bet that the minority who give this film a rotten review, really rely on the film being boring. I personally don't find many films boring. The film was far from boring really. This film was absolutely flawless. The plot was great, yet very realistic. The acting was superb, one of the best group of acting I have ever seen if not the best. This film is a hallmark in films, and how people interact with each other. Some may say it is a courtroom drama, but to me it is not about the case, but it is the ultra-realistic observation of men under pressure, a psychological drama, where men are put under the microscope and examined in their vulnerability.
The film follows a jury who are deciding a case of an eighteen year-old boy who killed his father. At first eleven out of the twelve men don't think twice about saying he is guilty, yet one man (Fonda, whose name is not said to the end, which I can't remember now) says that he is not guilty. He isn't sure, but says that they should talk about it, instead of sending him to the chair after five minutes of discussion. They all say why he is guilty, yet soon, the man manages to make some men think twice, and they start to look at the case in great detail. The film follows heavy observation as how the men interact and how they get to their end decision. There is a lot of disagreeing in the film, arguing, therefore it gets its very clever title, Twelve Angry Men. Although I would dare say a couple keep their 'cool'. I must add that as well as the famous location, I found that the beginning of the jury room was shot in a single frame for about ten minutes, with quite a lot of movement and dialogue; I was really impressed and thought I would add that.
This film for me was perfect. The plot, or murder case was heavily detailed, yet realistic and it was not obvious in which way the jury would go, contradicting evidence. It was amazing to see such a clear case turn into a mess of credible and non-credible testimonies and evidence. It makes you wonder sometimes if juries do not think the case through, and see the evidence as indisputable.
The acting in the film, well as I said it was probably the greatest gathering of acting I have ever seen. The actors themselves are rather unknown to me, the only one I heard about was Fonda, but I would be lying if I said it was not his daughter whom made learned of him. I would compare this gathering to the likes of the godfather. Each character is perfect in their detail, each having their own sort of back story, or way of thinking. This is as developed as you can get. The characters all move around the room in a different, yet realistic way. All the actors seem to be in character throughout the whole film, which includes the ten minute single frame. They all walked around the room, starting conversations with each other, walking and doing something that seems like what their character would do when they are not talking, or are of particular importance at the time. The characters all have a different take on evidence, either a very biased way where they take their own beliefs and experiences into the evidence, or if they look at it specific through a non-biased manner.
The talking and plot, despite being about the same thing, does not get boring. Perhaps some would not like the film, as a fourteen year old; I am one of the very few people in my school that would even look at a black and white film. I dare say I found probably be the only one who would enjoy this film, as they would not listen to the talking, yet wait for an explosion all some CGI. That is the main problem with the film. If you cannot appreciate dialogue in a film, then this will have absolutely no appeal to you. Those who love films and listen will love this film.
Overall, I loved this film. The film is not only a favourite, yet said to be a masterpiece over a great majority. The film has absolutely perfect characters, perfect acting and perfect plot. The only problem this film has is if the viewer of the film has a problem with attention. The5efore the incapable viewer would find this tedious, but no person who appreciates dialogue should find a flaw. I would recommend this to a select few, but would be sure that the return would unanimous in praise. Twelve Angry Men is a must-see for any movie lover, and a personal favourite.
Posted on 5/22/13 03:24 PM
Das Boot, I must say where has this been all my life? I have never heard much from this film, and was really just suppose to be some filler movie that would have no review. I must say this is one of my favourite movies of all time. This is also one of my favourite war movies. If you do not include Dr. Strangelove as a war movie, then this is my favourite war movie. This is most definitely a masterpiece.
The film follows the crew of a German U-Boat in 1942. It is basically just the life that live while on it, and how they deal with enemy ships. The film does not really have a protagonist, but it is focused mostly on the ships lieutenant, captain and chief. The plot does develop; they face enemies and life threatening situations. I won't go into full detail, but there is even a time when they all have to put their emergency oxygen tanks on, so the submarine does not run-out of oxygen.
The plot is perfectly crafted, showing the hard claustrophobic life on a submarine, to epic battles and violence. The plot may be a bit slow for some though. The acting is superb, all the actors, and cameos do perfectly. One thing about Das Boot, which is just grand, is the cinema photography. In such cramp little areas, the camera managed to follow men through tight areas, and capture all the action. So that was excellent, and the camera man kept-up with all the men as they ran and jumped through the little doors and corridors.
There are not many problems with this film. The only problem really was that it had no memorable scene. It was a great film, but a reason for not being as well known is probably that it has no memorable scene, like the shower scene in psycho. Another problem some may face with the film is that the main characters are German Nazis. They are generally disliked in modern society, and I feel some will dislike the film for that fact. There are moments in the film where they bad mouth Churchill. A good thing is they do not glorify Hitler a great deal, so it is not a propaganda film. I actually found myself having deep empathy for these men. This film shows you that the German men had emotions, and in the end, they believe what they were doing were the right thing. If they had taken over the world, most people would probably love Hitler, so really you need to look at it from another perspective and see that these men are just normal men, with different beliefs, but in the end both believe it is the right thing. So in the end I found myself going for the men, forgetting their long-term motives.
Overall, this film is genuinely suspenseful and sad at times. The film captures life in a submarine perfectly; as you watch the men slowly deteriorate in health and some in the mind. This film is a wonderful masterpiece and I absolutely love it. It would be recommended to all movie lovers who can handle subtitles, and can handle soe length in their films.
Posted on 5/22/13 03:24 PM
To Kill a Mockingbird, one of my absolute favourites, I just really adore this film too bits. This was also one of the very first films to get me into critiquing of film. Shortly after watching the abomination Avatar, I sought refuge for a great film. To Kill a Mockingbird is the film I found in great depression and anger. In fact, this used to be my favourite, and I stand sternly defending the fact that this is one of the best. This is also one of those rare films that breaks the curse of a film critic. After awhile of critiquing, one will often find themselves no longer enjoying movies, but searching for negatives, so you can tear it apart soon after. Alternatively, we will look carefully for the great aspects of the film, so we can give it great commendation later on, to express our love of films. Yet we forget to enjoy the movie, we say that we enjoyed it, but really, we sat there with a straight face analysing every step of the film. So like The Godfather, Donnie Darko and American Beauty. I was really excited about my viewing of this film, as the ABC was kind enough to play a decent film, opposed to those modern yuppie channels hell bent on showing us the latest generic action blockbuster. The channels intent on stealing our money and controlling our weak minds so we all bow before Friedberg and Seltzer, with their evil overlord Michael Bay! Anyway...
Moving on from my rant about how they plan to take over our minds with High School Musical and its endless amount if sequels and clones! No sorry I should continue. The plot, well the film is based upon Harper Lee's novel of the same name. The film follows Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck) as he defends an African American man during the 1930's on the rape of a white woman. It is also set in a rural southern town! Does it get any worse for Atticus? Well apart from the horrible circumstances, Atticus himself cops a bit of bad reception from the town's people. Therefore, that is what one usually reads on the summary of the DVD case. Yet there is a whole sub plot, which many might argue to be the main plot. It also follows Atticus's two children Jean 'Scout' Louise (Mary Badham) and Jem (Phillip Alford). It shows their hardships and the lead up to the court case. Yet it is mainly them just playing during the summer, having their first days of school and dealing with the local maniac Boo Radley (Robert Duvall, don't get too excited he is in it for about ten minutes).
Therefore, like a recent film I saw, the plot is heavily off task. In fact, we do not get to the court scene, or fully understand what is happening over an hour in. Nevertheless, I liked this aspect, I actually enjoyed this a lot. The fact that it took out the time to develop its characters, as far as characters goes there is no more development needed. Therefore, all the characters are well set up and in the end. We enjoy this slow ride and hopefully get a heavy emotional experience from it. Yes I will admit it, this is one of the more boring movies one will come by, so those will a short attention span, save me the argument and do not watch it. The plot is clever, suspenseful and provides us one of the greatest scenes and stories to ever grace the theatre. The courtroom scene is one of mighty proportions and is about forty minutes in all. I will get into one the greatest scenes later on though.
Well let us get to the basics, before we delve into our deep analysis (well mine). The acting is solid, fantastic even. We have Gregory Peck's mind-blowing performance. It is not common for to be known as one of the greatest performances ever. Harper Lee expressed her liking of his accurate portrayal. Yes, he also won the academy award for best actor. His performance is just so natural and impressive; well I think you get the picture. To the two children, it is basically those three as the protagonist, but more or less Scout. Anyway, the children are great, yes I realise they are not perfect, but these are child actors! As we, all know that almost all child actors are little monsters that get a decent script, and destroy the film with bland emotionless dialogue and horrible facial expressions! Yet these children seem like actors who do a great job. While I will admit Scout's performance is weak compared to the others, we must remember it is a debut film for the young child, and she does a great job, despite her tedious voice. Jem on the other hand brings a very dominate and stern performance for such a very young age, and I can only commend him for it. The support cast does a great job, while it is not the ensemble like The Godfather; we have almost no weakness, and definitely no obvious ones that destroy the movie.
The direction and cinema photography for this film was nothing of a great stand out. Although I must say the opening, say was beautifully shot and nothing short of impressive. Yet it is no Pans Labyrinth, yet we must remember this was a black and white from the sixties, and I feel Mulligan made this a very interesting film. Yes I realise many will find this boring, but for what it is, he manages to construct this into something watchable.
The most impressive scene in this film, as well as the majority of cinema history was the courtroom scene. It is both powerful and effective. This is what really cements this as one of the greatest films, and again is one of the best scenes ever. No, it is not all single tracking shot, but the scene is around forty minutes. I have read about a film, Russian Ark, being all shot in one tracking shot for the entire film, which is right all the ninety-six minutes. Anyway, this scene depicts the case of Tom Robinson the African American up for trial of the rape of the daughter of the local white trash. This is a long scene, which is tense in all the sense. Atticus defends a man against all of the town's people's wishes. There is no spoiler behind this, just watching this the man is quite obviously innocent, yet the people side with the local white trash. Yet Atticus says a mighty defence that only makes you want to pause the movie, go to the hat shop, buy one, and return to your living room so you can continue playing the film and tip your hat to his excellence. He is not AfI's greatest hero for no reason, just who would have thought it would be a lawyer.
This film is generally considered great, and the general consensus is that this is a classic and landmark in cinema, yet some say otherwise. Therefore, for this part I wish to defend all your criticism. The main criticism I have come by is that this is too different to the novel, and no I have not read the novel yet. Well I detest this belief greatly, first off, I would like to sat Harper Lee was very happy with the film, so do not call up that card again, but I will indulge you. When we watch a movie, one must not question its origin. Otherwise, ne would criticise Battleship Potemkin's intention, some might say its Red Army propaganda! I also bring up The Shining, yes I have seen the film, and read the novel. I can tell that Kubrick got this novel and basically hacked it up and took only what he wanted for his liking, so I can understand why King would be, oh let's say unhappy about this. Yet we must remember Kubrick made a great film, and the fact it is not accurate to the novel is irrelevant. Therefore, this is not a film-novel comparison, so lay-off the film for that aspect and appreciate what is there as a film.
Another point of criticism is Scout's well voice. There is no doubting she is annoying, but Marlon Brando's Vito Corleone also had a distorted and sometime annoying voice, so...
This film stays true to its origin and makes an effective stance upon intolerance. Instead of showing how or why you should be intolerant, like many of those films they show us in school to stop future Nazis. It shows us the fallout of intolerance, and how ignorant those who are intolerant. Atticus is a learned observer of upon the savage; imbeciles that mindlessly blame the 'black man' and feel the need to wear ghost costumes. Therefore, that in my opinion is what this film does, although it does give those Southerner's a harder time. Yet there is no denying the courtroom showcases this, without being too violent like other films. The two children a merely innocent vessels who watch their father attempt the impossible, while they deal with less important matters. Although Atticus does seem to have a slave called Carolyn, I am not completely sure that she is a slave; he is awfully nice to her. Maybe we should just pretend that she is a friend of the family...
Still there is no doubt this film stands firmly against intolerance. It gives a less violent in your face perspective of racism and this in many ways is more effective.
Overall, what makes a great film? Well we have the general idea, yet very few have succeeded and many have failed. I may self-wish to be one of those who succeed, yet the amount of ambition in today's modern era is actually more competitive than many think. One thing that is even harder is to make a great adaption, and this is a great adaption. It does not only enhance one of the greatest novels ever, but is able to stand on its own feet as one of the greatest films ever. It also is the great take upon racism and intolerance, with all technical excellence to support it.
Posted on 5/22/13 03:24 PM
A tragic masterpiece, this is a prime example of Neo-Realism. The film follows Antonio Ricci, a poor man living in Rome. The film shows the post-war life of Italia, in a harsh, realistic fashion. The film does not fail to make an impact, despite being over sixty years old.
Ricci manages to get a job, which will be able to pay for all his living expense, for his wife and his two children. The only requirement for this high paying job is that he has a bicycle. After he manages to get one by selling his own things, it is stolen on his first day of work. It then becomes mission, to find the bicycle, or he will lose his job, and fall into poverty, well the only way he can afford food. Ricci's son Bruno helps him out as they search for the bicycle.
Lamberto Maggiorani, who is not a professional actor, but a steelworker, plays Ricci beautifully. Bruno (Enzo Staiola), who was played remarkably, was his son, neither of them had any past training, or experience.
This film was a remarkable experience, and is definitely worth the hype. The ending is a reminder of the sad realistic world we live in.
Posted on 5/22/13 03:24 PM
One of the greatest films of all time. This film goes deeply into the characters thoughts, making a highly developed character, rare in films. The film follows a distorted plot,which works perfectly. A film that is rivalled by no other.
The ending leaves many shocked. Some say that it was a fantasy, some say that everything that happened was literal. Was the last taxi driver for Betsy a dream, his dying thoughts?