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Gilda (1946)
7/10
Hayworth Shines as Gilda
2 February 2023
After seeing the famous head toss scene countless of times through the years I decided it was time I finally checked out Gilda and see what else this film had to offer. Rita Hayworth doesn't disappoint and makes every scene she's in worth watching. Glenn Ford is not her equal here, but he is enough. Unfortunately though, the story is fairly basic and really offers the audience no surprises. That's a shame because Rita isn't the only thing that looks good here. All the supporting characters offer at least a bit of interest and the sets and lighting all look good as well. I think this is a case of a performance outshining the film. Stil, Gilda is very much worth checking.
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5/10
In The End it's A Triangle of Averageness
2 February 2023
I'd heard some good feedback about Triangle of Sadness and decided to check it out. The direction and style of storytelling felt kind of unique and interesting at first, as did the characters involved. Unfortunately, it wasn't very long before the pace started to feel a bit slow, and then kind of drawn out. The action at times feels like slapstick and overdone, but not in the kind of good, funny way but rather crude and at time unnecessarily so. I don't think Triangle of Sadness has what it takes to be a really good film, but with some prudent editing it could have been greatly improved. If your curious then definitely check it out for yourself and see what you think.
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6/10
Great Elements but Results Unsteady
2 February 2023
As always, I was optimistic and curious going into a Wes Anderson film viewing. It employs many of his usual cast such as Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Ed Norton, Tilda Swinton, and Jason Schwartzman, plus a few new faces, specifically the two young leads. Everyone is talented and the kids do breathe some life into the proceedings. As for the usual adult cast, all of which are very talented, they and their characters just didn't create the depth of personality and interest required to make Moonrise Kingdom wholly engaging. I think it is due to a combination a weak script and direction. While watching Moonrise Kingdom I was liking what I was seeing visually but emotionally I just wasn't drawn in. Despite its shortcoming Moonrise Kingdom is still worth checking out if your curious.
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7/10
Beautifully & Well Lit Society
25 January 2023
Dead Poets Society received a lot of praise upon its original release, and at first glance it's easy to see why: a very solid cast all around and backed up by strong performances. A beautifully groomed private prep school with lots of visual attention to all those little details that make the place and this film so visually inviting and rich. The main message it extolls is to 'fight/resist conformity and be yourself'. All of which I can get behind. Unfortunately, this story has been told countless times, and while this film may look better than many of the others with the same story, it doesn't really bring anything new, except of course for looking very, very good. It knows all the cliched touching points to push at exactly the right times throughout. All of this is to say that while Dead Poets Society disappoints on several levels, it is still worth checking out if your curious.
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High Noon (1952)
7/10
High Noon Rolls Along
25 January 2023
High Noon has received high praise over the years and even to this day it is still highly regarded by many. As such, i did have certain expectations coming into my viewing. On the plus side the exterior shot ands cinematography are very well done and visually interesting and striking. The basic story is basic but still solid, and the time/clock device works well . My reservations with High Noon is that it all seems a bit static. The newlyweds Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly don't really have sufficient chemistry for a couple so recently married. Cooper does an adequate job but other than being good with pensive glances and expressions, he doesn't really breath an additional personality into his character. I ultimately found High Noon disappointing, but it is still worth checking out.
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Pinocchio (1940)
8/10
Never Stop Wishing Upon Stars
24 January 2023
I recall seeing Pinocchio as a kid and not fully understanding everything I saw, but that I still liked it. Seeing it again as an adult, I now fully understand all of the film and still find it a special film. It's not necessarily for the youngest of children but most kids and adults will be able to find some bits of magic in Pinocchio. The animation and quite good and the world the story inhabits is visually rich and interesting. The handful of tunes are bright and effective and facilitate the story well. As for the little boy/puppet Pinocchio, he's not dislikable but yet the way he's written and played he's also not a character that you develop strong feelings for either, although he is on some level a very relatable character. Nevertheless, this early Disney animated film is definitely worth checking out.
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Triple Cross (1966)
5/10
Triple Cross Fails to Take-Off
18 January 2023
With an interesting cast (Plummer, Schneider, Brynner) set amidst a WWII spy/drama/action film, I was very curious to check it out. Triple Crown starts somewhat slowly, but never manages to pick up speed or any momentum. It's very minimal on the most important accounts - drama, action, suspense, intrigue. As other reviewers have mentioned the material is handled with a light touch, ala James Bond. But nothing really works here. Even the solid cast turns in lackluster performances (although Gert Frobe must be excluded from this statement as he does give a solid performance and actually manages to elevate most of the scenes he is in). Perhaps it was the direction, I'm not sure. One thing I am sure of is that even though Triple Cross seems to have a lot going for it, it only manages to disappoint.
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5/10
This Wonka Vehicle Not So Sweet, or Interesting
17 January 2023
I have to admit that I had somewhat elevated expectations for this version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Tim Burton, Johnny Depp, moderns special effects capabilities all would suggest something potentially special. Unfortunately, the results are kind of dreary and muddy. One of the main weaknesses is the lack of character development with the children, they're not very clearly written and as such we don't develop particularly strong feelings for or against them. As for Johnny Depp, I guess he does an OK job but for me it didn't feel authentic. Depp has talent but for me he was not able to create an authentic character in his depiction of Wonka.
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Super Size Me (2004)
6/10
Super Size Me is Kind of Super
17 January 2023
So the non-stop issue of obesity and food health/junk food/fast food is coalesced into Morgan Spurlock's Super Size Me. I aplaude the idea and intent of this film. Spurlock does a fine job of speaking to the many different angles that this topic touches on and in a humorous and at times interesting way. Seeing as it's just one film and a small team working on this vast topic, there are of course many valid points and concerns not really addressed here, and that's understandable, in particular since is meant to deal with a somewhat serious topic with humor. For all the answers it provides it creates two questions. Perhaps that's a good thing because he clearly want to audience to think, or rethink their views. Despite quite a few holes, Super Size Me is still a film worth checking out.
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Ratatouille (2007)
8/10
Ratatouille is Kind of Special
17 January 2023
Ratatouille tells the improbable story of an aspiring young chef in training with little confidence and a talented rat helping one another learn a few things and make some moments of magic along the way. Set in the high end restaurant kitchens of Paris, France the film has an old-world, indie film look and feel to it. The performances across the board are all pretty solid. The score is a perfect match and lends itself wonderfully to the action. While I appreciated and enjoyed Ratatouille immensely, the final notes didn't hit me quite to the degree that I was expecting. I'm not sure but think part of that might have been that the scripting of the rats was just a bit too 'contemporary' and out of synch with all of the other elements and overall feel of this film. Just a hunch, but regardless Ratatouille is most definitely a film worth checking out.
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Finding Nemo (2003)
8/10
Nemo Brings the Joy & Laughter
17 January 2023
I had modest expectations going into my viewing of Finding Nemo, and those expectations were completely upended by this totally charming film. All of the performances are on-point, DeGeneres in particular shines bright. I won't rehash the story specifics here as that's already been done by many others but I will say that for the most part Finding Nemo moves along at a brisk pace as we follow a clown fish's journey to find his lost son. Along the way we meet many interesting characters and unique and dazzling sea creatures. In the end it's a fun adventure film with lots of heart and very much worth checking out.
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King Kong (2005)
7/10
This Kong Has Good Looks
17 January 2023
Yet another Hollywood retelling of the classic giant gorilla story. I was actually kind of curious to check this one out and am happy that I did. It really does look great and the script adds much onto the original story, sort of a more is more attitude. For the most part that extra stuff does work, like the dinosaurs were great fun, while some of the native elements were unnecessary and seemed to slow things down a bit rather that add to the proceedings. As such, I think it could have been a much more effective final result with some prudent editing, 20-25 minutes worth by my calculations. Nevertheless, this King Kong is a must see for overs of the genre and for everyone else it's still worth checking out.
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3/10
Planet of Dinosaurs is Quite a Slog
17 January 2023
I'm always up for a good dinosaur film, and so naturally I had to check out 1977's Planet of Dinosaurs. As I went into my viewing I wasn't aware that it was made in 1977. It wasn't until after that I realized this. It came as quite a surprise as it seemed much older during the actual viewing as it was so crudely executed. It's a bit challenging to faithfully describe how in many ways this film was just so poorly done. The acting was definitely sub-par. But I'm not sure if it was intentional or not. And this was the persistent question going through my mind throughout the entirety of this film. The one good thing it had going for it were the dinosaurs. They were actually quite well done. Unfortunately, everything around them was disappointing.
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6/10
Price is Priceless
16 January 2023
The Last Man on Earth has a very interesting premise and I was immediately drawn to it, along with the fact that it starred the wonderful Vincent Price. It does start off strong enough as he appears to be the last man on earth. As the action progresses though we see the main character make one odd choice/decision after another, which considerably cuts down on the credibility and relatability of it all. Yes, things do kind of take a solid upturn towards the final section of the film but by that time it has a lot to makeup for. The story is definitely interesting and as always, Vincent Price does a fine job and this is a film all of his fans will want to check out.
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Elizabeth (1998)
7/10
Unique Take on the Virgin Queen
13 January 2023
I'm familiar with my English history and can agree that yes, there are historical inaccuracies in Elizabeth's script and storytelling. What I do not agree with the the degree that some seem to feel these inaccuracies are to be held against the film as a whole. This film is not pretending to be a documentary or even a wholly accurate telling of Elizabeth and her court. This is a creative and imaginative story based on a historical figure and the word she inhabited, and as such the many artisans working together as a team crafted something truly unique to their specific vision, and one that I found to be original and interesting. The film looks great, the setting/scenery is fully supportive of the story, and the performances or generally solid across the board, in particular Cate Blanchett. Elizabeth is worth seeing for what it is, one artistic teams vision of what Elizabeth's reign might have been like.
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6/10
Shakespeare as Light Entertainment
12 January 2023
Shakespeare in Love was highly successful during it's original run, and while I didn't love it to the same degree many others did, nevertheless I did enjoy it and consider it worth seeing. Revisiting it years later I do still consider it a pleasant film but not in the way I did originally. Really considering all the elements this time around I felt the story/screenplay was just slightly above average and not as witty or comical as first thought. I now think the real reason this film was so well awarded was in large part because of the cast. They all do a fine job not just of bringing their characters to life, but in elevating the script to a degree that a lesser cast could not have. In addition, I found the interior lighting to be far too aggressive for the time period to the point that it was distracting. Despite my slightly reduced opinion of Shakespeare in Love I do still find it mildly entertaining and worth checking out if your curious.
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Argo (2012)
8/10
A Story worth Telling And Seeing
8 January 2023
I actually wasn't even sure what Argo what about but when a friend suggested it, but I just went for it. I'm really glad that I did because even though I was alive during the whole Iran hostage crisis I do not recall any of this fascinating part of history (I was only 10 at the time). It's a really good story and for the most part that film tells the story well and in a way that is both interesting and entertaining. A diverse cast all deliver solid performances. As one would expect suspense with a story of this nature, the film and solid direction are successful in delivering that suspense and through it all there is just enough levity to keep it from becoming oppressive. Argo is a film worth checking out.
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Crash (I) (2004)
6/10
Crash Packs An Obligatory Punch
8 January 2023
Crash has many things to recommend it - a solid and diverse cast all of who deliver worthy performances. The film also looks quite good, with solid editing and sequencing. The story/stories are ones worth telling for sure. The thing holding all of these things back from being a great film is the execution. All of the various stories seem to wrap themselves up just a little too conveniently, weakening them at the same time. The messaging is right but it feels to obvious and pandering, too heavy and unrelenting. This film is in desperate need of some levity to help the viewer actually digest and take it all the messaging in manageable doses. Despite the fact that it seems to be trying too hard, it is still worth checking out if your curious.
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7/10
Good Will Comes Close
8 January 2023
Good Will Hunting has some solid elements going for it and at times it does hit its marks fairly well. Looking at the casting, Robin Williams gives an unusually restrained performance and turns in some of his best work. Stellan Skarsgard is solid as well. Matt Damon does the best he can here but I can't help but feel his is simply miscast and not truly believable in this role which could have been better served by another lesser known, grittier actor. As for the story, its fairly predictable and doesn't really give us many surprises. Despite a few issues Good Will Hunting does manage to be somewhat effective and is worth checking out.
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8/10
The Great Escape Entertains
8 January 2023
I saw The Great Escape as a kid and absolutely loved it. I revisited it again recently (40 years later) and while I still enjoyed it, it was a considerably different experience. Even as a youngster I could see that they didn't really show much of the grisly, cruel, inhumane aspects of the war. As an adult I see that they didn't really show any of those aspects of the war and made the POW camp seem . . . Not so bad. In addition to having plenty of humor, it does also have moments of sadness and suspense and scenes of death, but on the whole handles those elements with a light touch and never lingers on those darker scenes. That's OK though because The Great Escape still works as a fun and highly entertaining WWII film which I still enjoyed and still recommend checking out.
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Run Lola Run (1998)
8/10
This Lola Knows How to Run
4 January 2023
Run Lola Run is a fresh, pounding, and a fun film that takes you to places you never expected to go, or even saw coming. There isn't much time for the star Lola to think because all she know is that she doesn't have much time and has to act fast. In a packed city she figures it will be quicker to go by foot and not get caught up in traffic, so she seems to be running a lot during this film. It's all good because the viewer is there with her every step of the way, internally urging to not tire and to run faster. All the while the story does get you to really think and consider what's going on and how timing and chance are seemingly beyond our control, and yet maybe not? Either way, Run Lola Run is fun and definitely worth checking out.
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7/10
With this Queen it was Never Going to Be Smooth Sailing
4 January 2023
I remember seeing the African Queens on t.v. Several times during my youth and just loving it. Bogie, Hepburn, and the adventure of it all was just great. I I will never forget the leeches scene, that one always got me.

Having seen it again 40+ years later I still enjoyed it considerably. Although not as unconditionally as I did the first several times. For starters both of the lead characters are a bit one dimensional, which i attribute to the script . . . Mostly. Huston has done some great work but for me his work here is somewhat pedestrian. They're in the wilds of Africa sailing down the river to blow up a German vessel during WWII and it all felt a bit tidy for me. Nevertheless, Bogie, Hepburn and The African Queens still entertains and is worth checking out.
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7/10
This Translation Gets Murky
4 January 2023
Lost in Translation is an interesting film by Sofia Coppola. As usual I won't get into the retelling of the details of the story as that's always thoroughly covered by the vast majority of reviews here. Generally speaking though the two principal leads are Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson. They are presented as lost souls, adrift in their own lives and by chance happen to connect while they are each visiting Tokyo and its their relationship/connection that they forge during this random and brief time that is the focus of the film. Both Murray and Johansson do good work here and Murray in particular creates a real, believable character that the audience can relate to. Or I should say those of us who have actually felt lost and adrift at some point in our own lives. If that is the case then you might also connect with Johansson's character instead, or perhaps in different ways to both of these characters. It's a film that can be prudent with its dialogue but not with its feeling and emotions. This film is definitely not for everyone, it will be too slow, or the feeling that nothing really happens. However, for the rest of us who have also felt lost and adrift it will be an interesting, relatable, and entertaining experience. You know who you are and if you should see this film.
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7/10
Suicides Worthy of Reconsideration
4 January 2023
When I first saw The Virgin Suicides during its original release, I thought it was a good looking film but suffered from the 'style over substance' syndrome. Having revisited recently I have changed my mind.

What does it all mean and how is this film to be viewed. I initially thought it was all and really only about the girls, but years later I realize it's more about the boys/now men. The whole thing is told exclusively from their perspectives. And one that is but distant memories/recollection from their youth. As such the viewer really must take these decades of distance between the events and the retelling into consideration and accept that the narration is suspect. It is suspect not only for the many years time, but it's basically teenage boys experiences with beautiful and captivating girls as the objects of those memories, told by the now adult teenage boys. The girls are so mysterious to the boys and the audience because teenage boys know nothing about teenage girls, and even though they are now adults they still don't understand them. The story is a combination of how things happened, along with how now decades later, they would have actually liked things to have played out. As such this makes a lot more sense and clarity to the story and one that I finally find to be interesting and worth checking out.
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7/10
A Lot of Skin in This Mystery
3 January 2023
Mysterious Skin is a unique and interesting film. This story handles challenging societal topics very openly and visually, and for the most part all of that is well done. Exactly how much of that to include in the film to propel the action and tell a story is the question one might ask, and some viewers may take issue with.

This was one of my first film experiences with the actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt and I think he really gives a wonderful performance here, very solid. Brady Corbet the other male co-lead also turns in a solid performance. The story can feel a bit dark and heavy at times, which is fine as life itself can be very dark and heavy at times too. Mysterious Skin will not be for everyone but for those curious it is worth checking out.
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