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The Artist (2011)
Why won't you talk, George?
The Artist 2011 Michael Hazanavicius
In 1927, The Jazz Singer became the first film with synchronized dialogue. A few years later, "talkies" became popular and silent films died. Not too many actors made a successful transition from silents to talkies, and often those were comedic actors like Laurel and Hardy or Charlie Chaplin. Silent film acting was a different style. With no audible dialogue and no way to convey tone of voice and subtlety, actors had to rely on facial expressions, hand gestures, and overacting. Some actors didn't simply struggle to make the transition, but rather refused to do so. Such is the case of actor George Valentin in The Artist. The film opens, not coincidentally, in 1927. George (Jean Dujardin) is a nice guy, but proud and somewhat egotistical and cocky. He helps out an attractive young actress, Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo). Peppy's star gradually climbs while George's fame suddenly crashes at the advent of the talkies. Meanwhile, George's unhappy and bored housewife (Penelope Ann Miller) leaves him and he goes broke. He becomes suicidal, and Peppy tries to save him. There is almost no audible dialogue in this movie and very little sound save the accompanying orchestra music. It is shot perfectly like the silent films of old. There is one wonderful scene in which the music stops and George is attacked by the ordinary sounds of setting a glass on a table, his dog barking, laughter, the wind. He is overwhelmed by this. It's the best scene in the picture. The cast is wonderful and includes character actor James Cromwell (L.A. Confidential, The Green Mile, and dozens of others you've surely seen) and John Goodman (the most underrated actor in Hollywood). Not sure why Malcolm McDowell was put in a 30 second role. There isn't really anything wrong with this movie except for there really is no time and place to enjoy it. It may have been best enjoyed in the theater. If you have a very short attention span, you might have trouble watching it. There are a few humorous moments, but nothing that will make you laugh out loudly. It's a highly original movie and I think that's why it won so many awards. It is so different from anything else that Hollywood is pumping out nowadays. But despite practically no flaws in this movie, it's hard to give it a super high rating and that's mainly due to the pure entertainment factor. It would make a great companion film with Sunset Boulevard (1950), Mel Brook's Silent Movie (1976), or any actual silent movie. I give it 7 out of 10.
The Babe (1992)
an underrated gem
This is probably my favorite movie involving sports. John Goodman gives a stellar performance. Babe Ruth is definitely one of the greatest characters our country has ever known and I wish I could've been alive to see him play. I think this film, although at times historically inaccurate, gives a good picture of both the complexity and the simpleness of Babe Ruth. As Braveheart has shown us, a movie doesn't have to be historically correct to be good and entertaining.
Another comment mentioned how the dying child in the hospital and Babe promising to hit two homeruns was cliche, but that actually happened and all other times that has been portrayed in films and stories it was taken from the actual event. I think that scene is important to the film to show more about the character of Ruth. As for the child living and showing up years later to give Ruth the ball back, I do not know whether that actually occured.
As in Raising Arizona, The Big Lebowski, Bringing Out the Dead, and Fallen, John Goodman shines in this film, one of the most underrated actors out there. I really enjoyed the shot where Babe was yelling on top of the dugout and the crowd was screaming behind him and throwing lemons. My one complaint is that maybe they could've shown more about Babe's death, what happened to him after he retired from baseball...I think he had another coaching job and he made a few post-career appearances at Yankee Stadium before his death. The life of Babe Ruth is really an epic and the filmmakers could've stretched the running time of the film even a little more. Overall great film, whether you like baseball or not. 9 outta 10.
Looney Bin or Brewery?
This is one of those classic comedies that everyone has to love. Right? Well, not everyone loves this movie, but I do. I have three roommates, two of which had never even heard of, let alone seen, Strange Brew. About a month ago I popped it in for them, thinking they would think it was a stupid movie. They loved it, they said it was maybe the funniest movie they'd ever seen. Although, I disagree with that, I must certainly say it is funny.
The plot of the movie is stupid...an evil brewmaster plans on taking over the world by putting something in the beer that will allow him to control those who drink it. It's up to Bob & Doug and friends to stop him. If the movie had a better plot and more funny characters other than Bob & Doug, it would've been an easy 10 out of 10. However, I had no reason to like any of the other characters or the plot. I was just left yearning for Bob & Doug to be back on the screen whenever they were off.
Like so much comedy, their comedy is stupid yet brilliant at the same time. Just the little things they do and say are hilarious. "Give 'em a jelly, he likes jelly. Hey, jelly donut comin'." "In case she sues for whiplash, I don't know you I'm just a hitchiker." 8 outta 10
This movie is downright creepy. The first time I seen this movie I thought it was ok...but I recently saw it again and I liked it better this time...The cannibals in this movie are almost vampire like in that they, after eating human meat, become like monsters and crave it even more. I thought Robert Carlyle did a bang-up job. I do think the script has some holes in it but it is an overall good flick...why? Mostly because it is original....there aren't too many movies that take an indepth look at cannibalism. The music was good too, I didn't like it at first and didn't think it belonged, however, towards the end the same song that they kept playing again and again became almost scary and really very creepy. This one ranks up there with "Alive" as one of the best movies about cannibalism.
The Mountain Men (1980)
Brian Keith is great!
I bought this movie for $5 before I even seen it...I like westerns so it wasn't that big of a risk for me. Although this movie has a few lame parts here and there, it is a quite entertaining story about furtrapping, friendship, and even a little romance. There aren't enough movies out there about furtrappers or this extremely adventurous era of our country's history.
Brian Keith's character(Frapp)in the movie was the best part. He is a rough and tough "Injun" fighter who loves whiskey and cuss words. He provides some comic relief and is the most memorable character in the movie. Heston does an okay job as well. My favorite line in the movie is after the Crow Indian says "You give us gifts and we go in peace." and Frapp says "You can go in dog s***!"
Easy Rider (1969)
Hippies Use Side Door
I think this film is an American masterpiece...to me it's actually not overly entertaining, it just says so much and so little at the same time. I never liked hippies, but this movie emphasizes how poorly America treats people who are different and it made me appreciate the counterculture movement much more. The really ironic part of the movie is how Wyatt was nicknamed Captain America and had his chopper all decked out in red, white, and blue. While watching this film, I really wanted them to retaliate and kick some redneck butt, but that wouldn't have made the film as strong as it is. I really liked Jack Nicholson in this film...he added some comic relief and he drinks Jim Beam in a pint bottle just like I always do. Combine all of that with a mean soundtrack and excellent photography direction and you get a film that everyone should see, especially young people. The documentary on the making of the film is very interesting...if you like this movie and don't own it yet, go buy the DVD, the documentary is on there.
American History X (1998)
This movie reminded me so much of a short story that I read in high school. It's about a homeless man who wanted a place to stay for the winter so he decided he would go to jail. Warm home, free meals. So he went around doing all these crimes and turning himself in. But the cops would never buy it or throw him in jail...Finally at the end he goes into a church and he decides he's going to change his life. Tomorrow he would make himself presentable and try to get a job and everything...and then the cops come in the church and arrest him for loitering! Furlong's character is a lot like the bum in that story in that in the end he decides to change his life and he gets it anyway. I could some up the end of the movie in two words: "too late" Anyways it's an excellent movie. It shows true tragedy in American youths.
Watch it twice!
Frailty is a very good and pretty well thought out film. You may need to watch it twice to take it all in and understand it 100%, but even if you do understand it the first time watch it again anyhow. Question everything when you watch this movie, there is no clear cut case of right and wrong within. Even though the two films are really nothing alike, I couldn't help but be slightly reminded of the Usual Suspects.
Mulholland Dr. (2001)
This move=poster child for say no to drugs
I may have a SPOILER in here, so I'll warn before hand. David Lynch must have been on some good stuff to have written this. It seems to me like something that someone on acid started writing and then handed it to the drunk to add a scene or two...and so on. I feel that I am a fairly intelligent person, I am a college student with a 3.57 GPA, but after watching this movie I still had no idea what it was about. I got my Bettys and my Dianes and my Ritas and my Camillas all confused. I have no idea what the two guys at the restaurant have to do with the movie or what the deal was with the two elderly people from the airport. For a second I thought I had it figured out. I thought that Rita (or so she's called) had amnesia, but she was really Camilla Rhodes an actress for whom Diane was in love with. Diane came into the picture posing as Betty because she wanted Camilla to love her and not the movie director...but, then why didn't Coco and the neighbor lady recognize Betty as Diane, if Coco was the director's mother. And who was the Cowboy or the dude who shot the other guy and the woman by accident and the janitor (which was the most entertaining scene of the movie, and that includes the lesbian scenes). Who was the other Camilla Rhodes and the crippled mob guy with the goofy head...Not one darn thing made sense in this film. This movie is a lot like a music video from the band Tool (if you are familiar with that) in that a lot of stuff is going on and you don't know if it actually has a meaning or if someone just said 'it would be cool if we put that in there.' However Tool videos are slighty more entertaining than this movie...I gave it a 2 out of 10. This movie would probably be cool if you were doped up on mushrooms but I'm not that kind of person.