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For a three minute short film it surely packs a lot into it. This magnificent short film doesn't waste a second. If you are willing to focus you will be brought into this film immediately and that disturbing feel will set over you. Even with no dialogue, black-and-white, and a small set Christopher Nolan crafts this amazing 3-minute short film that will likely please any fan that is willing to watch it.
With the 50th anniversary one night re-release showing of West Side Story I was able to see this film for this first time. Based on the original, hugely successful 1957 play under the same name, this film is built off of the basic premise of Romeo & Juliet, William Shakespeare's story of star-crossed lovers whose love is challenged by the rivalry of their families, the Montague's and the Capulet's, respectively. But in place of a family feud there is racial contrast and prejudice between two gangs, both belonging to the same turf on the West Side. Perhaps the commentary that this story provides on racial differences is why it has lasted so long (George Chakiris, who plays the leader of the Sharks, has stated something similar). The film is shot beautifully, featuring both stage sets and urban, inner-city shots of Manhattan and the West Side of it that provides the backdrop for the film. The acting is immaculate, sending two supporting actors off with Oscars for their achievements. In total the film was nominated for 11 Academy Awards and won ten of them (Best Writing-Adapted Screenplay was not won), making it the only musical to have won that many awards before and since its release. Being that this is a musical and it features both song and dance it should be mentioned that a special Honorary Award was presented to Jerome Robbins, choreographer-director of the original play, (and co-won an Oscar for Best Director) for his "Brilliant Achievements in the Art of Choreography on Film." I was most amazed at the feel of the film. The way it was shot, the way the camera was positioned, the way the actors stood is so well done in a way that makes you feel as if you are a member of an audience who is watching the play take place before you. It made me feel as if watching it there was an audience of people sitting behind the camera. That feel is carried out also in the way that it is edited, notably the transitions from scene to scene; and especially the way that they achieved an editing style that I found similar to the way a spotlight might work on stage. This film is truly a cinematic achievement, worthy of its legacy and the many awards that it received. Occasionally the pacing may hurt the film, but after a few moments you are pulled out of that dullness and put back into catchy songs and impressive dancing/acting, the dramatic scenes, the astonishing use of color, and the overall commentary that the film provides.
Like many times when I go to see a movie I try to avoid knowing what the film is about before I watch, assuming I have heard good things or someone I like is involved. With "The King's Speech" I did just that and I couldn't have been more pleased. It is no surprise that this film has a dozen Oscar nominations. Based on historical events, the director crafted a flawless film that is a worthy foe to "The Social Network." The acting is superb and the believability that each actor/actress adds to his or her role makes the movie even more enjoyable to watch. While I found that the story is simple, it is still very enjoyable, and it could be described as powerful, especially to people with certain handicaps. You become engulfed in the film with the amazing sets and the magnificent acting. The dialogue is witty and is likely to keep you pleased throughout and watching the actors/actresses in conversation feels real, as if I was actually there. The amazing acting, combined with the simple story, along with the clever dialogue will likely please any viewer, as well as any history-lover (although note that the film is not 100% historically accurate). Simply flawless.
Talk about an experience. Actor Martin Sheen suffered a minor heart attack at age 36 after reaching his breaking point with this film. Having not seen the original cut ("Redux" contains 49 minutes of additional footage) I cannot compare, but from what I have been reading it seems like some were disappointed at the slower pace of the film but others enjoyed the additional footage that added to the film. This film is a classic and achieves greatness on all levels, whether it be the overall principal photography; the editing; memorable music score (notably "Ride of the Valkyries"); and even the classic script containing incredible characters and the dialogue that comes with them. "Apocalypse Now" tells the tale of American Special Operations veteran Captain Willard (Martin Sheen) sent on a mission upriver to terminate a rogue American Army Officer (Marlon Brando), in Francis Ford Coppola's modern retelling of Joseph Conrad's novella (published 1902) "Heart of Darkness" set in Vietnam during the midpoint of the war. The film is regarded as not only the greatest Vietnam-era war film, but also one of the greatest films of all time and once you see the film you will understand why. The locations, acting, and art direction that this film uses feels legitimate and all too real, making it all the more chilling and unnerving. While the 202-minute run time of the "Redux" seems long, the film flows by in a way that makes you not want it to end. To call this film "incredible" is too much of an understatement. You experience the film and you are brought into it in a way that makes you cope with, hate, and love the characters throughout its immense (but well worth it) run time. With the mix of action, drama, comedy, and mystery there is no way you cannot enjoy this film Coppola masterpiece. Watch the film, experience it, and you won't be disappointed.