Let me preface this review by saying: ignore the star rating above. Stars are a good tool for some film reviews but for this film, I had a difficult time deciding how I would rank this. There were many things I liked and some things I disliked about this film, and they can't really be captured by a numerical ranking, so the stars are quite irrelevant for this review, I just put them there because I had to and for a general idea of my opinion of this film. Eli Roth's 2013 film The Green Inferno is a gritty, disturbing, unsettling, and graphic film that will certainly upset most, if not all, of its viewers. The film has extremely graphic violence that is done very well (the gore effects look great) but it is extremely unsettling and over the top. The film lacks any theme aside from the obvious "environmentalist horror" theme which reflects upon how we as humans are destroying the planet (this is shown through the main characters' goals and protests against deforestation and such) which lies on the surface. This film basically hints at saying "just leave the amazon alone" as its theme but when you look deeper into why this film was made, the meaning makes more sense. First off, please note that this film is very similar to the films of Quentin Tarantino in the respect that the point of the film being made is that it is a love letter to a certain branch of cinema. Where Tarantino's Kill Bill (2004 - 2005) films were love letters and homages to classic martial art exploitation and spaghetti western films of the '60s and '70s, The Green Inferno is simply an homage to, specifically, the Italian cannibal exploitation films of the late 1970s and early 1980s. The film is clearly paying respect to classics such as Jungle Holocaust (1977), Cannibal Holocaust (1980), Cannibal Ferox (1981), Eaten Alive! (1980), Cut and Run (1985), and more. Chances are if you have seen and enjoy these wonderfully gory Italian flicks, you will understand this movie's existence better and will probably really enjoy this film. But aside from being a love letter to cannibalistic cinema, what was the point of this film? Does it say anything? As I mentioned earlier one of the themes is obviously tackles activism and environmentalism but that is a very shallow theme. One of the deeper themes of this film, I would say is basically ripped straight from Ruggero Deodato's 1980 controversial classic Cannibal Holocaust, where, in the last lines of the film, the main character asks himself something along the lines of: 'who were the real monsters?' (not a direct quote at all but it was in the same vein and archives the same message/purpose). We see that even though the college students are in the Amazon for a decent purpose (at first), some of the students (specifically the despicable Alejandro) are almost just as "savage" (not a word I like to use but is used for the lack of a better word) as the cannibalistic tribe. Alejandro is played excellently by Ariel Levy and at first, he seems like your average college student who wants to make a change in the world. But once he is confronted and in danger, he starts to sabotage his classmates' plans to escape the village and even goes so far as to attack and do irrational things to the other characters to ensure his survival. His actions blur the lines between who is the real monster, the cannibalistic tribe, or the selfish sadistic students like Alejandro. Now, this theme is much less apparent than in Deodato's classic film but I would argue that it is still very relevant in Roth's homage. Now that the themes have been established and it is understood why this film was made, it is time to review what the positives and negatives of this film are. I'll begin with the positives. Roth takes a somewhat stale concept that was perfected in the 1980s by Italian filmmakers and refreshes it. It isn't the most original plot or writing but I feel that Roth and the writers of this film did an excellent job taking this old and dated concept, and moving it into the modern age with technology and the university setting and characters. The film is very well shot, the cinematography is beautiful especially the establishing helicopter shots of the Amazon. As I said earlier, the film is very well written and I think that it is also very well-paced. While I was squirming in my seat and biting my nails, I was not thinking 'man, this movie is way too long" or "this is really boring". The film does a good job of establishing its characters and their goals and progressing the story in an interesting way. It never feels completely dull or bloated. As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, the gore effects are top-notch. I haven't seen any behind-the-scenes footage nor am I an expert but these effects seemed practical and they worked excellently and delivered the extreme gore expected and commonly associated with these sorts of films. Next, some things that were ok, inconsistent, or could use some work. For one, the acting is not great. Don't get me wrong, there are some great moments of acting and overall it isn't terrible, but it is very inconsistent. In some scenes, the acting is brutal and very realistic but in other scenes the line delivery is awkward or the actors blocking/body language choices are just stiff and dull. Yes, this film is very graphic and disturbing but at least we finally got a solid, modern cannibal flick that didn't harm any real animals. The verdict, if you enjoy disturbing films, grindhouse films of yesteryear, or just love Eli Roth's other works like Hostel or Cabin Fever, then definitely don't miss The Green Inferno. Otherwise, maybe this film isn't for you. Proceed with caution.
After recently watching the first Highlander film (from 1986) and being filled with the Scottish spirit, I was excited to see where the series would go. I had heard from many sources that Highlander 2: The Quickening was a huge let down from the original and that it was, in fact, a horrible film. But I always brushed those comments aside because I usually enjoy a good, brainless, fun action film from the '80s and '90s. I didn't get my hopes up at all though since I saw the 0% score on Rotten Tomatoes but I thought maybe it might still be at least somewhat enjoyable. How wrong I was. Not only is this film terribly made from almost all perspectives, it's not even enjoyable to watch in the slightest. The film is filled to the brim with "comedic" scenes that just made the film seem overly stupid and the overall feel of these little scenes did not work well at all with anything else in the film. It even makes the film seem a little cliche and out of date today since many of the later '90s action flicks also incorporated this awful, non-fitting, non-funny, off-beat comedic relief such as Judge Dredd in '95 and Demolition Man in '93 among others. The movie's biggest problem though is its infamous multiple plotlines that barely go together at all, most of which are just forgotten and never resolved or mentioned again, almost as if the only purpose of starting that plotline was to get a fight scene or a "funny" moment that just throws the pace of the film off. But, these multiple plotlines don't just make the film nearly 2 hours, they make the film incomprehensible. Nothing makes sense in this film, and while there are many things that don't make sense in the '86 film, at least that one resolved its plotlines and had a unique charm, which I will get to later. Sean Connery's character was completely decapitated in the first film just to pop up randomly in this one without any explanation. The entire time travel plotline was completely ripped from Cameron's '84 masterpiece The Terminator down to the imagery and shot framing that was used. The terrible plotlines also lead to many consistency errors that would take all day to list. The plotlines just make a massive blob and mess of a film that clearly was just a bunch of people throwing whatever ideas first came to mind into the script. The main plotline isn't even interesting or intriguing at all (this is the ridiculous ozone layer plotline for those who can't tell due to the hundreds of plotlines in this film). I just felt that with all these plots, there was so much that could have been cut out to shorten the runtime and just make the film easier to follow and more enjoyable to watch. I kept catching myself saying "that could be cut out" which doesn't lead to a good film. Some smaller problems with the film would be that in some scenes the music didn't fit at all, especially the runaway train scene. The set was very generic-looking for an '80s-'90s sci-fi dystopian film and compared to some others, like '90's Total Recall, looks bland and boring. The costumes were also very bulky and ridiculous and I would expect that from a film like this from this time but this was especially bad. Some of the editing was also very awkward and terribly structured. There were way too many cuts in certain scenes, specifically the runaway train scene, and in some of the fighting sequences the actors were out of frame preventing the audience from seeing the action. Also, there were way too many explosions. There seemed to be an explosion every two seconds and it just got very boring and annoying after a while. What makes this film especially bad is that it takes many of the mysterious things that made the '86 movie charming and interesting and just completely abuses them and takes their charm away. Another thing this movie lacks is the charm of the original. I missed the chemistry between Connery and Lambert, the bagpipe music (which makes an appearance in this film [The Quickening] and is, as said above, misused and doesn't fit entirely aside from reminding us of the good cinematography and images of Scotland in the '86 movie), the cinematography which was quite impressive for an '80s action film I must say, and just everything that made the first installment fun, interesting, and memorable. The acting was also not good especially from Ironside who seemed to be trying really hard to be an over-the-top Jack Nicholson (failing miserably, sadly). Lambert was ok in this film, he gives a much better performance in the '86 one and so does Connery. Connery was one of the few things I liked about this movie, he really did bring the mood up and the few scenes he shared with Lambert (and the suit tailoring scene) were fun and memorable, but other than that he seems to be completely wasted in this movie. The only other positive thing I have to say about this film is that in the opening sequence there was some good camera movement, sweeping across the opera house but again, it just seemed to drag on and extend the runtime. In a word, the best and shortest way to describe the horrendous waste of time that is Highlander 2: The Quickening is... messy.
When I first heard of There Will Be Blood, I heard of all of its 2008 Oscar nominations and wins. When I asked around about the film I got very different opinions. Some people I asked said they hated the film and said it was "one of the worst and pointless films they had ever seen". Yet many other people I asked said "it is one of the best films I've seen..." so I didn't really know what to expect going into this film if anything my expectations were low. The film blew me away in almost every way possible. The cinematography is absolutely stunning, especially the shots of the major gas blowout. But basically every shot in the film is beautiful. The music is very memorable and fits the film perfectly and really builds tension in many scenes. Daniel Day-Lewis gives one of the best performances on film. He is absolutely mesmerizing in every scene he is in. Paul Dano also gives an amazing performance as the false prophet and the tension between him and Day-Lewis is amazing to watch and creates major intensity in the film. The actor's blocking is excellent as well and there are a few scenes where the power dynamics shift a lot and create a very memorable scene (this is the confrontation scene). The characters also create this weird feeling in the audience where you don't want to like them, but deep down you can relate to them. You can relate to them because the people in this film have a deep desire and are willing to do anything to get what they want. This is relateable to a certain point, I think most people can relate to having something that they really want, just maybe not to this extreme point. The plot is great and this film is a great character study but the only reason I didn't give it 5/5 was because it did drag in a few places. Even though I think this film is a masterpiece, I can understand why people do not like it. The film is very dark, tackling themes of greed, abuse, paranoia, and more which doesn't necessarily make it a bad film, just maybe hard to watch or non-enjoyable for some viewers. Overall, There Will Be Blood is a masterpiece in filmmaking and deserves the praise it gets, a definite must-see.
Let It Snow is one of the most basic, generic films I have ever seen. There is nothing special or interesting about it and I doubt I'll remember it come morning. The plot is very thin and the characters are terribly developed and don't really do anything and the multiple plot lines didn't really work because the film would focus on one couple for way too long and by the time the audience was back to a different couple everything seemed very dull and forgotten. The acting was average but the one girl who played the character Julia was actually surprising and was probably the most interesting part of the film. Technique wise, this film was just boring and pointless. There was nothing special about the camera movement except the fact that the filmmakers decided to use the same pan shot several times in a row (it wasn't even an interesting shot and it was really annoying and seemed really lazy to have that many times in a row). There also wasn't any good lighting through the film aside from one shot at the end but the lighting was very distracting because it was obvious that the filmmakers were trying to cover up the fact that it was shot in a studio. The comedic relief also really didn't work for me it was just kind of stupid and wasn't very funny, just out of place. There were also many consistency errors in the film. Overall the film was just very dull and, while it did entertain, it seemed to drag and it's awful cliche characters really just brought the film down.
Martin Scorsese's epic biography about Howard Hughes is a very well made film that audiences will remember for a long time. The movie is really good when it comes to engaging the viewers, the production design, setting, costumes, etc. were absolutely breathtaking and Scorsese does a great job creating a world that the audience can be engaged in. The acting in this film is incredible especially from Leonardo DiCaprio who delivers an amazing and memorable performance and Hughes, but there are also many other actors who also steal the show such as Cate Blanchett who does a wonderful job as Kathrine Hepburn. John C. Riley, Jude Law, Alan Alda, and Alec Baldwin also all deliver great performances and, even though they all had smaller roles, they really help push the film forward and keep it entertaining. The film also has great cinematography and some really nice landscape shots, especially in the opening when they are in the desert. There is also some cool lighting like in the scenes when DiCaprio is in his projector room and the red light goes off while an image of a western film is playing over the wall in the background. The film also does a good job developing characters and making viewers feel for them. The film has some funny moments, some depressing moments, some disturbing/harrowing moments, and even some inspirational moments. I also really enjoyed the way the film was edited, there were many scenes where fast/short cuts and close-ups were placed together in a way that portrayed a part of the story that was happening really well. Take the bathroom scene for example where Hughes is washing his hands. The scene is edited so well that it shows how obsessive and isolated he is. When first writing this review, I was stuck between giving this movie 3 stars or 4 stars, as you can see I decided to give it 4 stars because the positives outway the negatives by a long shot. But this film is not perfect. Sometimes, more toward the middle of the movie, the film starts to drag and the plot seemed to get a little convoluted. Both of these things cleared up a little later in the film, but in the middle, I felt a little confused and bored. Another con to this film would be some of the aerial shots have not aged well and look cheesy today, but I can understand that this was made 15 years ago and I also understand that it must have looked good then, I'm just saying that today some of the shots look cheesy. But overall, The Aviator is a must-see film for any cinephile or anyone looking for a great film about a legendary filmmaker and pilot among other things.