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My iz Kronshtadta (1936)
Surprisingly Well-Done and Very Interesting To Watch
Despite the fact that it was shot in 1936 and for many it is an example of Stalinist cinema, it is different from may films of the era and by the way, it is much better. There are several assets in this movie, shot wholly in stark black and white. 1. The plot. It is seemingly old, trite and banal - Civil War in Russia, 1919, near St. Petersburg, a group of Bolshevik sailors battle the White Guard and lose, then some very tragic events follow, then the main hero escapes and then there is a sort of revenge. But, the way the events are shows is very fresh, fast, cool and often humorous. 2. Warm humor permeates the movie throughout and thus saves this seemingly dark, tragic, dramatic work of pomposity. The depiction of several heroes is very deeply sympathetic and decent. 3. There are no rough and ready cloches here - even the Reds are shows as normal people with all the drawbacks, while Whites are suddenly even depicted with bigger amount of realism, even some empathy and realism. 4. The execution scene is probably The best ever shot in Soviet cinema of the whole period. 5. The film in fact was a revelation and paved the way to similarly great movies of 3 decades later. Highly recommended
Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970)
Deliberately Slow And Very Subdued
I have heard much and quite controversial points of opinion about this movie, that is a clear precursor to a grand, albeit long one, named Pearl Harbor. What Pearl Harbor has galore, Tora misses or does not have at all. One thing that strikes immediately is a very slow tempo of this 1970's version. In fact, this is way too slow, and this leads to a drag and then to a boredom. Another obvious moment that stands out is a deliberate detached, withdrawn, subdued and hushed attitude to all the procedure. It seems that we witness some cold, steady spectacle of death, but with no real compassion or misery. The whole attack scene is shown with all sheer reality, brutal honesty and shocking detail, but still it is done so that we feel not much but some detachment off the suffering. As if we see the whole war through a thick pane of glass. One huge drawback is a relatively weak performance by almost all the actors, and it often hurts and leaves a gaping Why on our lips. What else can we say? Watch this as a real curio and a example of later Pearl Harbor kitsch to come, with all its prolonged battle scenes and hammy love line, and also watch this as a curious instance of a decent but still underdeveloped movie with a great potential but missed details here and there. Sad, it could have been a better film.
Ocean's Eleven (2001)
Certainly The Best Of All Three Parts
Some films have this uncanny knack to be great from the very start and for ever. They were fresh, funny and cool at first, they remain great all years throughout. Soderbergh made this brilliant masterpiece back in 2001, and even now this movie is watched with a real pleasure, as it goes on with a gusto, excellent tempo, mesmerizing music and impeccable sense of humor. This is a remake that is way better than its Frank Sinatra original. Here, the shining cast of excellent stars make this film a real treat and a real chef-d'ouevre to digest at any time. George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Andy Garcia, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, among many, made this film such a tremendous trip. The soundtrack is a huge winner, too, with all that cool jazz, dance tunes, Presley's hits and lounge tracks, adding much to the seemingly nonchalant and brisk beat of the movie. The suits, the sets, the stunts are all jaw- dropping. Beautiful, lovely film that already stood the test of almost 15 years and will stay so for sure. Highly recommended.
It Is An Absolute Muddy Flop, Terrible Like No Other
Why? Anybody can explain how this mind-boggling, brain-eating, sense- devoid, style-galore, acting-non-existent, dross galore, vapid, cloudy, senseless, silly, corny, dud, stupid joke of a film ever made it onto big screen? De Palma was never my favorite, here he proved to be The epitome of a terrible bad tats once again. Acting? I love both gorgeous Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace, they're sweet, cute. talented ladies. Here - no acting, no style, no deep feelings, no nothing. They play so unbelievably bad that my jaw dropped. The plot? Nothing. Just many good settings and no action, no suspense, no tempo, no twists, no real idea. It seems that the script was being written just in course of making the film and thus it delved into some idiotic hues of comedy, thriller, some vapid erotica and some silly long, overblown frames with long look into the camera, false pretensions and senile jokes. Erotica? Nope, even such two beautiful ladies did not attract us here, they are both cold, stiff, playing like amateur teens on a prom night. Music? The worst case just like when something kinda tragic is about to occur, a loud burst of pathetic strings goes Booom! Bah-baaah! Silly. This is probably The worst film I saw in 15 years, I feel so miserable and also wanna laugh - wow, such awful blobs still happen. Never watch this. Never.
El Cid (1961)
A Big Epic, That Gets To A Big Sour Dud
I love Chralton Heston's roles. He was the very essence of a masculine, clever, smart, superb actor who could perform almost every role he got his hands to. He was absolutely mesmerizing as Moses in Ten Commandments, he was good in many other movies. Here he is not bad, to be honest, the thing is he cannot save this plodding dud of a film from mediocrity that it slowly plunges to in a course of endless 3 hours. The plot seems to be very trite and smacks more of a Shazam Orient Fables than that of a real history. Another big (I mean it B/I/G) mistake was Sophia Loren as a main female part. She is a fish out of her element here completely. The poses, the looks, the smiles, the faked sufferings all betray lack of depth and lack of genuine feeling. She is not even that attractive to be cool just for her looks. To sum it up, this is a rather middle-of-the-road effort, with all the mistakes and prolonged scenes that add more to drag and help not to develop.
Field of Lost Shoes (2014)
Mesmerizing Masterpiece About VMI Cadets, War And Romance
Yes, it was worth the wait. I had been expecting the great movie, and I have gotten this. Everything is good about this movie - actors (with Jason Isaacs and David Arquette staying power), music, the setting, the tonality, the mood, the pace, the message. Deep, anti- slavery motif is strong throughout, and even those young Southern cadets from VMI are not all pro-slavery men, they just defend Virginia the way they could. The poignant scene of the pre-battle talk of General John C. Breckenridge with 7 cadets is a real gem of the movie and it underlines the tragedy to come, as the next day was that battle. The battle is depicted with all that urgent brutality, mud, blood, mercilessness, honest severity and terrifying chilling accuracy. There is no beauty in men killing each other and shelling to shreds. There is no fun in dead enemy and joy in lost comrades. The characters of President Lincoln, General Grant, General Siegel are all well drawn and only add much to the spellbinding truthfulness of the story. It has the elegance of Gods And Generals, deep tragedy of Glory, warm humor of The Blue and The Gray, grandeur of Gettysburg, and I am sure this work will stand the test of time well. Highly recommended
Big Expectations, Rather A Moderate Impression
I had been waiting for this movie for long time, as I am a drummer of sorts myself, I like music, I like drumming films, and this one seemed to be a great achievement. After all, there are all those raving reviews and blazing cheers made to this spectacular piece of cinematography. Well, yes, I have watched it, and what I can say? It is very over-rated. Yes, both Simmons and Teller seem to give very impressive performances, and yes, Teller is A Good drummer with neat stroke, precise beat, gentle swing and delicate accents. But then, he does not convince as an actor. The love story is the biggest disappointment and the greatest weakness of the film. It simply passes by. leaving me cold and unaffected. Was that dubious drumming achievement worth losing a beautiful girl? It was not. Simmons is surely the crowning top of the production, but then, he is too sadistic, too dry, too pedantic or a jazz aficionado, he seems more like a drill sergeant than a genial conductor. The final solo? To long and too drawn out for a satisfying coda. Kinda cool, but tiresome and yup, dragging. It is a film for a single watch and quick oblivion.
Public Enemies (2009)
Nay, it was not exciting to sit through unimaginably slow 2 hours and watch a very repetitive sequence of shooting / talk / shooting / talk scenes. Johnny Dillinger? Oh yeah, he was a true people's hero, wasn't he? Johnny Depp? Oh, he is a truly great actor, is he not? Not in this slow, sad, painfully silly movie that does not hold, excite, make think or else. Nor does that wake any sympathy or compassion to any killed character. They are all schematic, shallow, vapid, dragging, plodding sketches with no blood or brain. Too much blood is here, but it is not necessary, and all those endless shoot-out scenes do not add anything to a slow sleepy tempo. And that shaky camera, and all those heroic faces. Funny. Bale, Crudup, Kotillar - good names, but bad roles. No real breath, no life. No empathy, no nothing. Just a slow pace and dull view. Do not watch this. Even for fun. Waste of time.
A Bridge Too Far (1977)
An Absolute War Materpiece
I cannot believe I never knew about this astounding war movie. A Bridge Too far is an excellent, excellent film with a very tight plot, superb suspense and very strong message, without a the typical modern-day sweet happy end. The film describes the actual September 1944 Holland invasion that went not too good for the Allies. The cats is all star-studded and shines all the film throughout, with all the best cast in small, but significant roles - Dirk Bogarde James Caan Michael Caine Sean Connery Edward Fox Anthony Hopkins Gene Hackman Hardy Krüger Laurence Olivier Robert Redford Maximilian Schell - among many. The film leaves no open ending, with a message that is clear and clean - war is terrible, and there are no good deaths. A Bridge is shot very much in The Longest Day or A Battle Of Britain style, where all the actors speak their languages, and the subtitles are of great help. The 3 hours of the length may seem a bit too long for some, but for war film fans this work flies like a lightning and gives almost not a second to breathe. Very tense tempo helps and adds much to the splendid work of cinematography. Highly recommended
Fight Club (1999)
Simply The Worst Film Of All Time
Chuck Pallanick is a real piece of worst writing ever existing on this planet. This is one fact, admit it. The Fight Club flick is a real decent screening of his terribly writing on to a silver screen. This is The worst film of all time in all instances, in all possible scenarios. Point. No arguing here. Nothing, simply nothing in this unimaginable horrific piece of manure gives any redeeming feature or any clue. Dirt, mud, muck, slime, blood, vapid acting, hollowness, emptiness, nihilism and a total waste of 120 minutes. Just. Terrible. It is so. Edward Norton gives a weak delivery, Brad Pitt does not help, too, and Helena Bonham Carter is simply awful. This is the key-word - awful. The whole Fincher's flick is just awful mess. Rating - must be minus 1000, but here 1- The Worst