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Rating History

Lawrence of Arabia
11 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes


[color=black][font=Arial]I could go on and on about what a great movie this is. About how everything is perfect. The acting, the writing, the music (the music!), the epicness, the direction, the editing, the cinematography (my god it's beautiful). That would be boring, though. Instead I'd like to explore Lawrence for a bit as a character. Even though the film get's everything else right, the thing that gives it that little push over the cliff is Lawrence himself. [/font][/color]

[color=black][font=Arial]For me, the thing that sets LoA apart from some of the more recent epics, is the believability of the main character. Maximus was able to unite the Romans because he was good at killing people, William Wallace was able to unite the Scottish by giving rousing speeches. Okay? Lawrence unites the Arabs by promising and then doing the impossible. The film nearly canonizes Lawrene, but it also unflinchingly looks at his flaws and makes no apologies for them. We see that Lawrence is an extraordinary man, but he is still just a man. [/font][/color]

[color=black][font=Arial]Contrasted against Lawrence in a Kubrickesque three way conflict are the Arabs and the British Generals. Both seem to see little value in human life. The Arabs, 'savage' as they are, have a method to their madness. Their are rules and laws in the desert. Everyone knows them, and anyone that doesn't follow them pays the price. Anyone caught drinking water from a well that belongs to another tribe is shot on sight. This may seem harsh, but in the desert water [i][font=Arial]is[/font][/i] life. Also, the Arabs kill anyone too wounded to ride away from battle. This is actually a necessity. If any of the wounded are captured by the Turks they would be horribly tortured and then killed anyways. Almost worse is that they rot and die in the desert. It turns out that killing them quickly is the humane thing to do. Finally, if someone falls behind in the desert, they are left there. Better to have one dead than try to rescue him and have two dead. On the other side of this are the generals. Individuals mean little to them. Groups and armies are what's important, yet they view the Arabs as the savages. The only interest they have in Arabia is their ability to own it when the war is over. Lawrence is seen as almost angelic when compared to these two. He sees every life as being important. Even suffering disgusts him. He shows this by risking his own life by doing the impossible. He turns around and rescues Gasim, who had fallen behind on the Sun's anvil. It is after this heroic act that Lawrence becomes a leader for the Arabs and shows them that he is worth fighting and dying for. [/font][/color]

[color=black][font=Arial]Eventually, Lawrence has to abide by the Arab rules. When he does so he assumes the role of both Arab and general. On the eve of the day that Lawrence was to overtake Aqaba, Gasim, the man Lawrence saved, kills a member of the Howeitat tribe. The Howeitat want retribution, but the Harith will not allow Gasim to be killed by a member of the Howeitat tribe nor will they kill him themselves. Lawrence ends up executing Gasim because he belongs to neither tribe. He steps into the Arab role by following the laws of the desert, and also steps into the generals role by sacrificing the individual so that the tribes will remain a powerful army that can overtake Aqaba. [/font][/color]

[color=black][font=Arial]After the execution, Lawrences face is a reflection of his inner turmoil. He did what had to be done, but it was a terrible price to pay. We find out later why he was so upset at the execution. He enjoyed it, which made him feel worse for doing it. He has a touch of shameful sadism along with his prideful masochism. While Lawrence will stand fearless and stare death in the face, he cowers at the thought of confronting his inner demons. [/font][/color]

[color=black][font=Arial]This is a recuring theme. While he believes himself, and is sometimes treated, as immortal, he finds that he is still human when tortured by the turks. His masochism does him only so much good as the turks mercilessly whip him. He turns his back on the Arabs afterwards. Not for fear of being tortured again, but for what he might do or say if tortured. [/font][/color]

[color=black][font=Arial]In the end, we see Lawrence assuming the dual roles again. As an Arab, he leads the tribes to conquer Damascus. Once there, his Arab role does not work, because he is not one. He falls back on the role of the general which does not work either. As the Arabs argue amongst the tribes and Lawrence sits back helpless, you can't help but think of the repeated line from the generals, "Thank God I'm not a politician." Lawrence could lead the Arabs in war, but fails to lead them in peace. [/font][/color]

[color=black][font=Arial]Eventually, Lawrence is able to shed both roles, but with a bit of sadness. The last scene explains it all. As Lawrence is being driven through the desert on the first part of his trip back to England his driver talks of home. We see from Lawrence's face that home for him is actually the desert, which echos Ali's line from earlier in the film. I think you are another of these desert loving English.[/font][/color]

Blade Runner
Blade Runner (1982)
12 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

[size=3][color=#000000][font=Times New Roman]It took me a long time to ?get? [i]Blade Runner[/i]. I first watched it in my early teen years. I understood some of the story, and was probably doing something else at the time and I missed a lot of details. A few years later I re-watched and picked up a few more details. A few years later, another re-watch, and all the details came together. It left me thinking for a while. I just watched it again, and it?s still sprouting ideas in my brain. [/font][/color][/size]
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[size=3][color=#000000][font=Times New Roman]Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) is a blade runner. Blade runners are a unique kind of police officers that track down and kill ultra-realistic androids, or replicants. Replicants are used on space colonies as workers, and are forbidden on earth. A group of replicants, led by Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer), rebel and steal a ship, which they use to get to Earth. They try to blend in with society while Deckard begins his hunt.[/font][/color][/size]
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[size=3][color=#000000][font=Times New Roman][i]Blade Runner [/i]is a technical marvel. It is hard that it is 23 years old. The special effects shots are still amazing to behold. Watching it is almost like a breath of fresh air. Predating CGI, the film is full of model shots and mattes.[/font][/color][/size]
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[size=3][color=#000000][font=Times New Roman]The actors all do a fine job in the film, but special attention should be paid to Rutger Hauer. The man simply takes over every scene that he is in. He gives a performance filled with subdued menace. It?s like looking at a perfectly tranquil pond, but knowing that there are hundreds of bloodthirsty alligators just below the surface. You?ll often times find yourself feeling just a bit uncomfortable watching it, and not realizing why. You get the feeling that he is barely containing some primal animal urge at all times, and when this urge is fed it is a spectacular show. [/font][/color][/size]

[size=3][color=#000000][font=Times New Roman]If there is one quibble I have with the movie, it would be the score. At times it is amazing. It brings an extra level of tension to the film and fits in with the action perfectly. At other times it?s just a bit too 80?s. There is an overuse synthesizer, which dates an otherwise timeless film. It would be interesting to hear the score done by an orchestra. [/font][/color][/size]

[size=3][color=#000000][font=Times New Roman][i]Blade Runner [/i]is an excellent film that gets better with each viewing. There is a great bit of style to it, but it helps rather than hinders, and never overshadows the substance. 10/10[/font][/color][/size]
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[font=Times New Roman][size=3][color=#000000]The real meat and potatoes of the film raise a lot of questions. The following is spoiler laden, to try and bring up some of the more interesting things about the film. If you haven?t seen it, do so as quickly as possible. The film is 100% Tycho approved. [/color][/size][/font]

[font=Times New Roman][size=3][color=#000000]Spoilers ahead, consider yourself warned. [/color][/size][/font]

[font=Times New Roman][size=3][color=#000000]I watched the DC of the film, I heard no voice-over and the ending wasn?t happy. The ?big? question usually associated with the film is if Deckard was a replicant or not. I?m not content with listening to what Ridley Scott says. He says that Deckard is, but in the [i]Blade Runner [/i]universe it?s still debatable. Why does Deckard have a background as one of the best blade runners, is his end date almost due? Why isn?t he strong and agile like the other replicants is he an outdated model?[/color][/size][/font]
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[size=3][color=#000000][font=Times New Roman]One of the other interesting parts of the film was when Deckard?s boss is briefing him on the mission. He says that 6 replicants had escaped, and one of those died. He then briefs Deckard on the other four replicants. Doing the math, that leaves one replicants unanswered for. Again, this was explained as a mistake by Scott, but within the film it spawns a lot of questions. Could Deckard be the unaccounted for replicant? Are they just using him to track down the others, and then retire him once his mission is completed? In the end, this argument seems to fall apart, but I had a good time thinking about it. [/font][/color][/size]
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[size=3][color=#000000][font=Times New Roman]I?ve never read the basis for the movie, [u]Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep[/u] by Philip K. Dick, but I have read some of P.K.D?s short stories. The film seems to themes that Dick used often in his stories. The most notable was social deviation and the resulting fear of it. Thinking about it a little bit, I came to the conclusion that movie could be seen a reference to the McCarthy era. Replicants were the communists, they looked and acted just like the general public (Americans) but were a hidden danger to society. Special agents (McCarthy) were used to find and test these people and get rid of them. This is just a mildly amusing interpretation I came up with and don?t really believe it, but it is a bit interesting. I began researching a bit about P.K.D and found that he was a bit of a social deviant himself and was a communist sympathizer. [/font][/color][/size]

Miller's Crossing
12 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

[left][font=Times New Roman][size=3][color=#000000]I feel I was forced to do this by Dade. Curse that crafty devil.[/color][/size][/font][/left]

[size=3][color=#000000][font=Times New Roman]The Coen Brothers. Oh, what wonderful webs they weave. The Coens often make movies with multiple twists and turns. It?s easy to get confused when viewing films like this, but the Coens create such a tight story that there?s little worry of this. Miller?s Crossing is probably their best work. When it starts you have no idea how it will end. [/font][/color][/size]

[size=3][color=#000000][font=Times New Roman]Tom (Gabriel Byrne) is Leo?s (Albert Finney) top advisor. Leo is a prohibition era crime boss. Casper (Jon Polito) is a rival crime boss. Casper wants to whack Bernie Bernbaum (John Turturro). Bernie is Verna?s (Marcia Gay Harden) brother. Verna is sleeping with Leo. After that things get complicated. [/font][/color][/size]

[size=3][color=#000000][font=Times New Roman]Tom is exceptionally bright, and manages to find himself in the middle of a gang war. He eventually starts playing all the angles which leaves a trail of stories that don?t quite add up, but Tom is able to adapt to any new situation that arises. He just has to think about it. He?s a hard man to read, and we have no way of knowing the reasons for his actions, or how he plans on untangling the knot he keeps getting himself into. [/font][/color][/size]

[size=3][color=#000000][font=Times New Roman]My only complaint about this film is the shortness of Steve Buscemi?s cameo. Everything else is perfect. The actors are amazing. Somehow the Coen?s manage to squeeze the most compelling, nuanced filled roles out of their actors. They are a joy to watch. [/font][/color][/size]

[size=3][color=#000000][font=Times New Roman]An excellent film, and one I?ll watch over and over again. 10/10

Edit: I forgot one of the most important things.

The thing that launches this film from greatness to excellence is the addition of the Coen brothers' special blend of dark humor. They have a style to there humor that you become aware of after watching a few of their films. There are a few really funny moments that almost make you feel bad for laughing. [/font][/color][/size][size=3][color=#000000][font=Times New Roman]Almost. It's not as funny as [i]The Big Lebowski, [/i]but it's not supposed to be. The dark nature of the jokes let the film become deadly serious in an instant.

Paths of Glory
12 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

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[font=Times New Roman][size=3][color=#000000]I?ve liked everything I?ve seen from Kubrick. [i]Paths of Glory [/i]is often overlooked in his filmography; falling out of the spotlight to make room for the likes of [i]2001, Dr. Strangelove, [/i]and [i]A Clockwork [/i][i]Orange[/i][i]. [/i] It?sprobably his second best film, and it?s one of the best if not [b]the[/b] best anti-war film. I had seen it years ago, and my memory of it was foggy at best. As a result, watching it recently was almost like watching it for the first time. I was pleasantly surprised. [/color][/size][/font]

[size=3][color=#000000][font=Times New Roman] During the first world war in France, an order is passed down to Colonel Dax (Kirk Douglas). He and his men are to capture the ant hill, a strategic structure that the Germans have held for over a year. Colonel Dax knows that his men are too tired and worn out to take the ant hill, much less hold it once it?s captured, but has to follow the orders. The mission is so important that Dax?s General, General Mireau (George Macready) oversees it. To the surprise of no one the mission turns out to be a complete failure. Those that weren?t gunned down in no-man?s land retreat and a whole group of Dax?s men never even left the bunkers. General Mireau is furious and wants a sacrifice to set an example that failure will not be tolerated in his troops. Three men are picked from Dax?s troops to be court-martialed for cowardice. Dax, who was a lawyer before the war, decides to defend his own men. [/font][/color][/size]

[size=3][color=#000000][font=Times New Roman] As with most movies, the basic plot is simple enough, but there are enough back stories and sub plots to keep the movie twisting. You aren?t sure what will happen to the accused until it actually happens. [/font][/color][/size]

[size=3][color=#000000][font=Times New Roman] One of Kubrick?s trademarks is the concept of a three way conflict, and [i]Paths [/i]is no different. The French army is in a struggle with the German Army, but more important to the story is the struggle within the French army of the soldiers versus the generals. The three court-martialed soldiers had fought bravely against the Germans, and would rush fearlessly into battle and almost certain death; they are reduced to shambles in front of their superior officers when faced with their fate. [/font][/color][/size]

[font=Times New Roman][size=3][color=#000000]Much of the film is shot in ways to juxtapose the way both the soldiers and generals live. The opening scene shows General Mireau?s office. It is grandiose, filled with fine art, a bar, and antique furniture. The camera follows the general around as he talks to General Broulard. At the end of the scene the two generals walk away from the camera as it pans out, showing just how huge the room is. The next shot is of the bunker on the front line. It is very long, but is barely wide enough for someone to lie down across it, and there are hundreds of men living in it. The surroundings are also wonderful contrast beliefs of the characters. The generals are surrounded by beautiful environments much of the time, but care nothing for their soldiers. They only think about their own careers. Colonel Dax is in the bunkers most of the time, and his room is bare and bleak, but he has a lot of compassion for his men, and fights as hard as he can to spare their lives. [/color][/size][/font]

[size=3][color=#000000][font=Times New Roman][i]Paths of Glory [/i]is an excellent movie, and is worthy of numerous viewings. It?s a hard movie to classify. It?s more of a drama set during a war then a war film. There is only one battles scene, which is great. The bulk of the movie is really a character study of the accused men, and those accusing them. [/font][/color][/size]

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Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle
12 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes


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[size=3][color=#000000][font=Times New Roman]The stoner comedy. A sub-genre whose movies divide the movie going public into three categories: former and current stoners adore them, fans of good cinema abhor them, and hypocrites enjoy them. Coming from the former stoner category, I could find a lot to relate to with this and probably enjoyed it more then I should?ve. [i]Harold and Kumar[/i] was made solely for the first category of people, and as a result it is very very stupid and clichéd but I laughed anyways. [/font][/color][/size]

[size=3][color=#000000][font=Times New Roman]Harold is a smart number cruncher. At the last minute on a Friday Harold is given a project to do that needs to be accomplished by the next morning. His boss should?ve done this work himself, but he?s too busy trying to get laid that night. Harold is also hopelessly in love with an attractive woman that lives down the hall, but can?t bring himself to talk to her. Kumar is applying to graduate medicine school. He?s incredibly intelligent and assured to get a job until he purposefully blows the interview. He doesn?t want to become a doctor, and is only going to the interview so that his dad will keep paying for his rent. When the pair meet up later at their apartment, they promptly smoke up and are faced with the dilemma that plagues all those that partake in the weed. The munchies. They are at an impasse in the decision of what they should eat, when they receive an epiphany in the form of a commercial for (you guessed it) White Castle burgers. They traverse on a trip to take in the tantalizing treats. What follows is a bizarre adventure that subjects the duo to impossible, but funny, situations and introduces them to a carnival sideshows worth of interesting characters. [/font][/color][/size]

[size=3][color=#000000][font=Times New Roman]The end of the film should hold absolutely no surprises for anyone that has seen a movie in their life. The movie isn?t called Harold and Kumar Almost Make it to White Castle, you know how it?s going to end. The characters make the necessary realizations about themselves, and those who have wronged the duo unjustly along the way get their just desserts. It also has one of my favorite cameos/dues ex machinas in a comedy (My favorite belongs to Lance Armstrong showing up in [i]Dodgeball[/i]). All told this is a passable comedy that had enough laughs to keep me interested, and a few jokes that caught me off guard. 6/10[/font][/color][/size]