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Sherlock Jr. (1924)
Certainly not Keaton's best
I'm afraid that the legendary "Sherlock Jnr" has left me cold. It just not as good as Keaton's other movies (Our Hospitality, Steamboat Bill Jnr, The General) which doesn't feel as forced as this one. It's not that I have anything against surrealism but from the beginning of the "surreal" part of the movie (i.e. when he enters the cinema) the movie just stops being good (not that the beginning was all that great as well).
Sure, there are great parts (like when he jumps into an old lady's stomach) but eventually they don't amount to much. I'm sorry, I really wanted to love this movie but it just does not stand on its own like most of Keaton's silent movies.
The Star of Christmas (2002)
Starts out great but fizzles...
Bob the Tomato is trying to produce a play (co-written by Larry) only to find that their opening night competition is a small church play. So they plan to sabotage the their competition. Oh yes, and the opening night is Christmas Eve.
The Star of Christmas has everything you'd want and expect from Veggietales videos: Silly songs, obnoxious humor, French Peas and a Christian message. Even some of the setpieces are great like the rehearsals for the play, and Larry and Bob's attempts to escape from the "hands" of Moyer the Destroyer. Or, in fact, the usual lines like that ring with silly humor. The Star of Christmas delivers up to a point.
Then the producers attempted one final "comic chase scene" in a rocket powered motorcar. This unfortunately fails to be funny and seems rather desperate for laughs. In all honesty the movie could have done without; it adds very little to the story. In the scene there are great moments but they don't help.
Other than that, the Star of Christmas is great entertainment. 7/10
Shichinin no samurai (1954)
The First 30 minutes is shoddy...
I struggle (always) to get through the shoddy, slightly boring and occasionally badly shot 30 minutes of this movie. I don't know why (entirely) I feel this way about it, but it's just not engaging. Is it shoddy film making or am I just an idiot? There are funny moments (like the trial - by - knocking - on - the - head) and brilliant moments (when Kambei shaves his head) but they are few. On the whole the first part of the story is just shoddy.
The rest, however (from them leaving for the village) is pure movie magic. I can't even describe how brilliant the rest of this movie is. It's pure movie magic. This is certainly on of the BEST MOVIES EVER MADE. It deserves all the acclaim it receives. There is barely an equal.
Kurosawa is definetely the greatest director ever born.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)
It's an Opera, in the good sense!!!
This is an underated classic, and some critics agree. Roger Ebert gave it Four Stars, which is the highest they'd give. Off course it's a flawed masterpiece, considering those idiotic singing gargoyles.
But the songs (except the one sung by the gargoyles) are brilliant (if you listen to the words), the score is brilliant, the animation WOW! And it has a spiritual side. True faith vs corrupted faith. Esmeralda, the gyspy, in her song "God Bless the Outcasts" attains a simple faith while Frollo (Frodo? hahaha) thinks himself perfect. The words of the afore mentioned song strikes upon one of the principle of Christianity; Christ was an outcast.
Despite the spiritual side, it goes more for a humanistic message that is in itself an important one.
But this is Disney at it's darkest so I don't think very young children should watch this. It might upset them.
The Lion King (1994)
I'm very angry at Disney for adding that dumb song "Morning Report" to the movie. It's just plain stupid. It is one of the worst songs ever to make it's way into a Disney musical. Next the Seven Dwarfs from "Snow White" is going to do an Eminem Song in a Special Edition of the Classic. Ugh! I just wish Disney would stop fidgeting George Lucas-like with their movies!
The Theatrical Release of The Lion King is an all time classic. It's hard to access on the DVD, but it's far better than the Special Edition. The Special Edition is an inferior version that makes me sick...
Electrocuting an Elephant (1903)
Boy, talk about a gratuitous documentary. Imagine the pre-production scene that happened!
Edison: "Hey, an elephant killed some people, LET'S ELECTROCUTE IT BEFORE CAMERA!"
"Really, Mr Edison, is it decent?"
"WHO CARES! ELECTRICITY! ZAP! ZAP! ZAP!"
Seriously, this is a very odd piece for PETA to use in their campaign for animal rights. I'm not a very PETA-person, but I'm with them on electrocuting elephants, which Edison surely should have been. This is a very disturbing piece of work, especially when you see that the shock did not kill the poor animal.
Another childhood favourite...
"Around the World with Willy Fogg" is basically just Verne's "Around the World in 80 Days" anime-style with one or two characters added and Fog's named changed to something easier on the tongue.
This is one of my favourite childhood tv-series'.
Everybody (oh well, next to everybody) know the story, and if you find this series watch it. It's dated but despite the artistic licence with the story is true to Jules Verne's spirit of adventure. The English version even has a great song. You'd have to be very stuck-up not to like it.
Oh yes, everybody's animals too. So this is a nice little anthropomorphic spin on the tale.
Prizzi's Honor (1985)
Good acting! Good characters! Good director! And still it's a flop!
Prizzi's Honor has won a lot of acclaim and I was really looking forward to watching it. I expected something relatively entertaining either as a Mob Drama or a dark comedy. A Mob Drama it was, but it was not entertaining and it certainly wasn't a dark comedy, even thought it marketed itself as one.
I'm sorry, but with a few exceptions ("Why didn't he catch the baby?") it was really just a very boring unfunny movie with a strange ending. I'm sorry, but I'm one of the few who just doesn't "get" Prizzi's Honor.
John Huston has made better movies. Far better movies. I'm certain most of his bad stuff is better than this...
Akira Kurosawa Strikes Back!
After spending a decade (or so) in solitary confinement from the Japanese Film Industry Akira Kurosawa returns to make his semi-masterpiece "Kagemusha", which he called a dress-rehearsal for "Ran", made in 1985.
Kagemusha is, probably, the best example of cinematic overkill where nobody actually cares. Cinematic overkill is when someone constructs a complex multi-layered movie, stage epic-battles, introduce likeable and complex characters without having a very complicated message. The message of "Kagemusha" is simply this: If you pretend long enough to be something else you'll become it. Too simple, maybe, for what's delivered.
Not that "Kagemusha" is a bad movie. It's haunting, it's spectacular and it's just great. I keep thinking about it over and over. I can't get it out of my head. Simply put "Kagemusha" is a masterpiece, albeit one up for debate. Not all Kurosawa fans would like it, but that's they're business. Personally, this is one of the movies currently that I'd really like to see again.
PS: Thank goodness for George Lucas and Francis Ford Copolla who funded this movie.
Sigh. So much for that idea.
Without a doubt "The Two Towers" is a magnificent epic motion picture even that will go down into the list of Classic Movies. It's bound to pop up on several top-100 movies list and will probably end up in my DVD collection.
(!! SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS !!)
There's only one problem. THIS IS NOT THE STORY TOLKIEN WROTE! The story was changed too much. What's with Aragorn falling from a cliff into a river and getting saved by Trigger, the world's smartest horse? Pah! Pooh! Ack! What about the Uruk-Hai Orc yelling "Looks like meat's back on the menu, boys?" Ugh! Eeek! Pooh! And let's not forget that when they made Faramir mean they made him BORING! And why wouldn't Treebeard want to fight while in the book he clearly wanted to?
Because Peter Jackson either does not understand the intricacies of the book or he just ignored it.
Not too mention some of the changes brought into the book ONE MASSIVE inconsistancy. When Faramir takes Frodo and Sam to the besieged city (which was obviously inspired by "Saving Private Ryan") one of the Ring Wraiths attempt to seize Frodo. The inconsistancy lies in the fact that he has been spotted. So this is how it works; if the Black-Riders Ring Wraiths know, the Sauron Knows. If Sauron knew the Ring was so close then he would have send all his forces to that spot to capture Frodo and the Ring. Since, in the movie, this didn't happen, we now have something that does not make sense. The Dark Lord would have guessed what they were up to and would have tried to stop them.
Another major problem is the fact that Jackson threw out all of Tolkiens subtleties and blew everything out of proportion. (Although the part where the Ents rampage through Isengard is still a great view! Ha!).
Sigh. "Fellowship of the Ring" had it's forgivable faults. "The Two Towers" is almost unforgivable.