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|Index||116 reviews in total|
145 out of 185 people found the following review useful:
We Hate This, That's the Catch, 19 June 2000
Author: tedg (tedg@FilmsFolded.com) from Virginia Beach
This is great film-making. I have never experienced greater skill with sound
editing. The acting is terrific, the writing crisp and intelligent. The
conception deeply nested. Why has the viewing public discarded this film?
Usually the answer is that the film is a poor evocation of the book. It is, of course; films are fundamentally different beasts than books, so the closest one comes is to have congruence of story. But the story is the least important element of either fine books or movies. No intelligent viewer looks for sameness in an adaptation.
I think the reason is simple. We are happy to accept war as heroic. Deep down, that's what we believe; whether as an inescapable fact of evolution or of chauvanistic indoctrination. Against this backdrop, we apply the stuff of our apparent convictions: that war is funny (MASH, the escape movies) or grossly brutal and confusing (Platoon, the first part of Pvt Ryan-- which then reverts to the noble). We just cannot accept the view that war comes from stupidity and selfishness, because it convinces that we, all of us every one is at root stupid and selfish.
This movie is so good, it convinces of that fact, and that's why no one wants to watch it. So no one is convinced. That's the catch.
119 out of 149 people found the following review useful:
Don't buy or rent the VHS or Laser editions of this movie!, 24 December 2004
CATCH-22 was filmed using a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.35:1 (an image almost two-and-a-half times wider than it is high). Every inch of the picture area was used by the cinematographer for important information. If you watch the horrible, cropped pan-and-scan version, which is all you can get on either VHS or Laser Disc, you are missing close to 40% of the intended picture area and a great deal of important stuff! I've seen this desecrated version and, be warned, you will not even understand the final flashback revelation because it is not even in the frame!! People who can't stand those "black bars" on the top and bottom of the screen are going to miss the entire point of this movie!! Rent or buy the DVD, which is widescreen and restores all this critical image area. Do not judge this film if you can't see it all. I have to wonder how many of the previous reviews here are based upon the unbelievably butchered VHS version.
75 out of 96 people found the following review useful:
Funny yet disturbing. . ., 17 December 2000
Author: enddust from Rockville MD
I recall hearing Catch 22 author Joseph Heller state that he started
the book by writing the ending first and then working on the beginning and
so on, back and forth. I'm not sure if he was telling the truth, but the
book is certainly based on his own experiences as a bomber pilot in WWII
the book/movie's nonlinear, stream of consciousness structure is an obvious
demonstration of the randomness and madness of war. An earlier post said
that this movie reveals that at heart wars occur because people are selfish
and stupid, and I think that is correct. Even though this movie is funny it
reminds us of this unpleasant fact, so we avoid the movie
Made back in the early 70s during that brief period when Hollywood actually made intelligent and artistic first-run movies, the film is an excellent piece, from its all star ensemble cast to its writing and pacing. The movie is also a sad reminder of how shallow and simplistic and adolescent movies are today. Even fine films like Saving Private Ryan have much less complexity and trust their audience less to contemplate the possibility of an amoral and senseless universe. The mythic characters, comic book pacing, and sacred three act narrative structure and tight endings--even sad ones--that tie up all the loose ends and make us feel good about ourselves and our country are the order of the day. And with this new administration look for more movies that pat ourselves on the back rather than question. ..
43 out of 47 people found the following review useful:
But wait, there's a catch...., 6 November 2004
Author: George Mejia from Melbourne, Australia
The first time I watched this movie, I was about 13 years old, and I
loved it. Over the years I have watched this movie on more than one
occasion and I still loved it. It inspired me to read the book, I
watched it again, and guess what, I still loved it.
The movie like the book has a non-linear time line which may confuse some people, but if you concentrate you will have no problems following the story (even on the first viewing). The structure of the film is what gives it such a high re-watch value, each time you watch you'll find something new about it.
The stellar cast, give performances which vary in quality, with some of the smallest roles being extremely entertaining, but overall the ensemble delivers the goods. The direction is tight given the complex structure and the amount of material covered in the book.
This film always gets compared to *M*A*S*H*, which is also a good film, but I find Catch-22 provides more laughs while delivering, the more serious, anti-war message.
If you haven't watched this movie yet, I highly recommend it.
44 out of 51 people found the following review useful:
Can a crazy person realize he's crazy?, 26 December 1998
Author: chaz-18 from kansas
An all-star cast is showcased in this WWII farce centered around a B25
bomber squadron in the Mediterranean.
Alan Arkin shines as Yossarian, a bombadier who realizes the hopelessness of ever completing the number of missions required to be rotated out of harm's way; his commanding officers (Balsam and Henry) are constantly upping the number once anyone gets close. Yossarian decides his best bet is to try for a medical disqualification for flight under the grounds that it's insane to fly these missions, and since he's flying them, he must be insane. But the flight surgeon (Jack Gilford) declares anyone who realizes the insanity of the situation must, by definition, be sane, and therefore must continue to fly.
Lots of interesting side plots, such as War Capitalist Milo Minderbinder's (Jon Voight) excursion into, among other ventures, Egyptian cotton and Natley's (Art Garfunkel) discussions of lasting societies with an old Italian.
Austin Pendleton is perfectly cast as the son-in-law of General Dreedle (Orson Welles), a hulking figure of a man whose personal B25 is equipped with whitewall tires. When the General orders a moaning (after glimpsing the thigh of the General's female assistant) Richard Benjamin to be "taken out and shot", Pendleton's character admonishes him, "Dad! I don't think you can do that!" then whispers why into 'Dad's' ear.
A thoroughly enjoyable movie that may take more than one viewing before all the subtle humor begins to sink in.
30 out of 35 people found the following review useful:
underrated but important film, 23 June 2004
Author: shepardjessica from sparks, nevada
I don't think even Orson Welles could match the brilliance of Heller's
novel, but Mike Nichols made a wonderful film with mostly a top-notch
cast. Alan Arkin is perfect as Yossarian. He is justified paranoia
incarnate! Anthony Perkins embodies Chaplain Tappman as no would could
and Jon Voight oozes the shallow charm of Minderbinder. The opening is
incredible from the cinematography by David Watkins to the sound
quality. In a book of this scope, you simply cannot include all of the
incredible characters, but M.A.S.H. came out earlier in the year and
stole the thunder from all anti-war films, comedy or not.
This film didn't receive a single Oscar nomination, even for acting, in a tough competitive year, but come on! This is a 9 out of 10.
34 out of 43 people found the following review useful:
One of the best movies ever made!, 27 August 2003
Author: andy46032 from Indianapolis
I, for one, had NOT read the novel before viewing Catch-22, and I absolutely LOVED it! I believe it ranks as one of the best films ever made! It certainly ranks with Carnal Knowledge and the Graduate as the best pieces of work Mike Nichols ever made. Alan Arkin gives by far the best performance of his entire career. The rest of the cast is nearly perfect. It is a long movie, and moves at a very quick clip. Like 2001: A Space Odyssey, it begs to be viewed again and again. I love the close-up photography, which adds to the sense of claustrophobia & combustibility of the "insane war" situation of the characters. There are no panoramic vistas of Italy here. In fact, Italy has probably never looked so ugly in a movie. I love the way the action moves from scene to scene based on the thoughts of the characters, rather then strictly chronologically -- a technique Quentin Tarantino has utilized throughout his more recent career. Unlike most of the rest of you, I love the pacing. I love the hilarious, fast-paced first hour of the film, and then I love the slower, somber, horrific second hour. Later, I read the novel, and while it's certainly true that everything in the novel could not possibly have been used in the movie, I prefer to judge the movie strictly on its own merits. It seems as though most of you prefer to compare the two. I always like to see the movie first. Case in point: I believe I liked the World According To Garp so much because I had never read the novel before -- I had no preconceived notions of what the characters looked like, or how they should behave. Then, when I read the novel, I realized that all the action of the book could not possibly have been used in the film, but the film gave me a good, solid basis from which to begin reading the book. Was the movie is "good as the book?" Of course not. Is it ever? Was To Kill A Mockingbird as good as the book. Again, of course not. But didn't you love the movie anyway. Same with Catch-22. NOT comparing it to the book, but comparing it strictly to every other movie I've ever seen, it ranks as my favorite war movie of all time, my favorite comedy of all time, my favorite film of 1970 (a year full of good movies), and one of my favorites, period. It is a classic. Rent it. Watch it over and over again. It's well worth it!
33 out of 43 people found the following review useful:
"You are a very weird person, Yossarian", 22 January 2001
Author: jhamann_2002 from Cross Plains, WI
Like many movies, the reading of the book for background information is
really helpful here, but not mandatory. For 1970, it has the biggest and
best crew of stars probably ever offered on film. It's unfortunate that
university graduates from pre-1980 have heard the expression "Catch-22"
haven't watched the movie or read the book.
During one part of the story, Yossarian, the lead bombardier, finds out that they are going to bomb an Italian village that has no stragetic interest to the US war effort. He decides to drop his bombs on the Mediterranean Sea, and since he's the Lead Bombardier of his Army squadron, everyone else has to follow suit. The General, General Scheisskopk (check out what that means in German, folks) wants to court marshall him, or shoot him. His Colonels dissuade him from doing this, give Yossarian a medal and promote him to avoid the negative publicity which would happen if this information got the press.
This movie has many ironic experiences shown, including the horrors of war. The cinematography is excellent and the movie is well worth watching. Yossarian is the anti-hero who goes through many adventures that young people should see before entering service.
19 out of 23 people found the following review useful:
Great moviemaking, 3 April 1999
Author: José Emilio González Matos (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Books are books, and films are something else. Though I enjoyed reading
Joseph Heller's novel, I was impressed with this adaptation, when I first
saw it in a movie house, especially for its splendid use of the Panavision
format. Although now I miss the wide-screen, the impression of high quality
filmmaking has not diminished after the years, when I have seen Catch 22 in
The adaptation by Buck Henry opens the discussion on films based on books: Henry has preserved Heller's spirit, that is --for me-- the most important thing to do when one adapts a work from another source. And Mike Nichols' excellent direction asserts the autonomy of the cinematic author, who is free to create a different work of art from a literary source.
I must add that all the discussion seems rather strange, for no one knows how Heller's book will be appreciated in the 21st century...
For me, Marcel Dalio's cameo as the Italian blind man makes sense for the whole film, with his reflection on political and economic empires. Everybody is very good in this film (among the best, Jack Gilford, Alan Arkin, Orson Welles, Jon Voight and Bob Balaban), and my only regret is that Paula Prentiss' funny recreation of Nurse Duckett is seen only briefly.
19 out of 24 people found the following review useful:
Two stories in one frame. Very well composed scenes, 24 October 2006
Author: Vishal Agrawal from Mumbai
A bombardier is desperately trying be thrown out from the B25 squadron
based at Italy on the basis or insanity. The commanding officer keeps
increasing the number of missions. Another man is trying to come out
rich from the war. A general walking around with a Mistress and
distributing medals. Another man holds conversation about the history
and future of all great civilizations with an old Italian. A very nice
film based on the novel by Joseph Keller of the same name.
There are lots of things which grabs your attention. It seems narration is incoherent in the novel(I have not read it) and Mike Nichols has tackled it beautifully. He made this film right after Graduate and so he is in great form. Some of the shots are long and very well composed i.e the first shot. The scene starts from the runway and camera almost goes inside a room. Phenomenal!! Humour is very weird. Its not regular comedy. almost every scene has something or the other going on the background. So basically you are watching two stories at any given point in time i.e when Capt. John Yossarian is sitting on a tree and the whole egg episode. Finally I liked Orson Welles on the screen. He is damn funny when he says "are you waiting for a kiss? move back".
Extremely relevant and intelligent film. Acting is top class. Camera and music is brilliant. Someone wrote in his review that after watching a film like this you understand the futility of patting one's self on the back films like 'Saving Private Ryan' and 'Band of Brothers'. I think that's one of the best statement I read about an anti-war film. I think this movie is about people who make war and not about war. This is in the same line as 'Paths of Glory' and 'Full Metal Jacket' which holds people responsible for our sorry state and not just point fingers or glorify war hero's. A must watch for film student and self educating type people. 9/10.
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