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Cinderella Man (2005)
A wonderful bio-pic of famous boxer James Braddock, the Cinderella Man who went from riches to rags and back to riches again. He inspired many individuals who were impoverished as a result of the Great Depression by giving them a sense of hope since he overcame poverty.
It's really hard for me to say if this is better than "Rocky" or not. I believe both are the same. My only gripe about the film is the profanity and abuses of deity. Other than that, everything is cool. Still, the jumpy camera angles during the fight scenes nearly gave me vertigo.
I'm surprised boxers like James Braddock survived because of poor padded equipment and lack of adequate medical care.
Sands of Iwo Jima (1949)
Excellent war movie!
Marine Sgt. John Stryker (John Wayne) is a tough-as-nails sergeant when drilling and disciplining his recruits, among them an educated college boy (John Agar), a hyper Italian kid who learns how to properly fold the U.S. flag, and a rival who was demoted because of Sgt. Stryker. This film, along with history itself, makes for good watching.
Through "Sands of Iwo Jima," we learn about the rough context of war; either kill or be killed. These young Marines, most probably right out of high school, were putting themselves into situations where they could be coming home in a body bag....and this film captures the bravery of these young men.
This movie should be watched once a year on Memorial Day or V-J Day to commemorate the sacrifice of these bold warriors.
This is one of the most disturbing films I've seen...and it isn't even that graphic. However, it is a good film, considering it is one of Ingmar Bergman's masterpieces. But still, it is on the list of films that I never want to see again due to disturbing content.
That said, it's an excellent example of learning the aspects of sin and forgiveness in the Christian faith. A young, virgin girl is raped and her father enacts bloody revenge on the perpetrators - yet the father asks for forgiveness as he wills himself to forgive his daughter's rapists. This film should spark some serious conversation about sin and forgiveness.
301, 302 (1995)
Disturbing, disgusting, and just really, really gross
I've seen better horror films than this (and trust me, I haven't seen many of them). This movie is like an Asian version of "The Green Butchers," a Danish horror flick. It's a cross between "Psycho" and "The Little Shop of Horrors." It's also really gross.
A divorced gourmet chef moves in to an apartment #301 and for some reason, can't understand why her neighbor, in apt. #302, won't eat and won't experience the pleasures of sex. This is a dark comedy with an extremely grim.
Let's put it this way. I never want to see this film again. My mom told me to see it since she thought it was good. This is the last time I take my mom's word on foreign cinema (which she really dislikes for the most part).
Brilliant piece of work
One of Michael Caine's first films is one of the best I've seen of his work so far. "Zulu" is the rendition of how a British army garrison defended their fort against Zulu African warriors. Better than Gillo Pontecorvo's "The Battle of Algiers" and Jean-Jacques Annaud's "Black and White in Color," the film gives a realistic view of battle without the "bad white man" stereotypes.
This movie should be seen by history buffs, historians, college students, film students, and anyone with an interest in British/African history. It's a great piece of work. It's not totally historically accurate but it's a good watch. Rent this or if you're lucky, catch it on TCM or AMC someday.
La victoire en chantant (1976)
Good but not great
This movie, "Black and White in Color" tells the story of a French colony in Africa affected by the German threat during WWI. Desperate for manpower, the local French officials recruit unwilling native Africans to fight against a professional German army without any knowledge of modern warfare. This proves to have disastrous consequences.
Thanks to the brainchild of a young geographer named Hubert Fresnoy, France is able to defend its African colony against the German threat. The movie is vivid but rather dull in some parts. Gillo Pontecorvo's "The Battle of Algiers" is a much better film despite running slightly longer.
With the death of Josef Stalin in 1953, Sergei Eisenstein was free to make the last half of his "Ivan the Terrible" biopic, drawing upon the similarities and parallels between Stalin and Ivan. And there are a LOT of similarities.
Ivan is depicted as a tyrant who only rules in his name and not for the people of Russia. His hatred for the boyars, or Russian nobles, is blatant as he revealed that they ruled in his name when he was a kid (his parents died, leaving him as the sole heir). Stalin was the iron fist kind of dictator, killing those who he thought were a threat to his position. Both came up with a secret police to keep watch over any traitorous activities. The film was made in 1958, 5 years after Stalin's death (after his death, the horrible crimes that he committed when he was in power were revealed) which is no coincidence.
What I don't understand is how Eisenstein chose to have some parts in color and others in black and white for this film.
Ivan Groznyy (1945)
The first part of this two part movie series by Sergei Eisenstein is simply slow and tedious but still quite captivating. What surprises me is that Ivan is depicted as the defender of Russia (in the first part only) when in fact, he was merciless to whom he considered a threat to his throne and the Russian state.
I believe the reason for Ivan's less-than-accurate portrayal is because of the scrutiny that Stalin had on society, especially filmmakers (the first part was made in 1945). Obviously, director Sergei Eisenstein wanted to stay alive to make more films.
In my opinion, the second half is better.
Aleksandr Nevskiy (1938)
This is a rather interesting biopic of Russian, historical folk hero Alexander Nevsky, the guy who saved Russia from Germany - twice. This handsome young dandy is actually a prince of the entity of Novgorod who enjoys the simple life by living in a small cabin as a fisherman. However, when Russia is threatened by Germany a second time, he springs into action as a leader.
The battle scenes are a little amateurish but considering the time and the resources made available to director Sergei Eisenstein, they are quite revolutionary. "Alexander Nevsky" was probably used in Soviet propaganda during the second World War due to the conflict between Russia and Germany. The battle tactics used by Alexander in the film remind me of another great military leader: Alexander the Great.
The Big Heat (1953)
Excellent crime drama
Glenn Ford and Gloria Grahame make an excellent "couple" in this film about corruption, greed, and murder. Lee Marvin is equally wonderful as Vince stone, a gangster with a nasty short fuse.
What surprised me about this movie was the sexual overtones. I'm surprised that they had this in the movie due to the super strict standards of the 1950s, however, knowing Fritz Lang and his films ("M" and "Human Desire"), it really isn't surprising at all. Thanks to AMC, I didn't have to rent "The Big Heat" (in fact, I never even heard of the film until I looked it up in the TV directory in my local newspaper).