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Modern Times (1936)
Chaplin was a genius filmmaker.
This was my first Charlie Chaplin film. Granted, I'm not sure if it was the best place to start, but, I don't regret starting here.
Chaplin has an odd ability among actors, the ability to make an audience smile and laugh. Even when he doesn't appear to be trying to, Chaplin can, and will, put a big goofy grin on your face. I say it's odd for this reason: We're not laughing AT him, we're laughing for him. With him. We want him and the girl to get married, to have a happy life together. They need each other, and we, as the audience, need them to need each other. I think it's odd indeed that we can feel so deeply for a man who never speaks. It's odd and wonderful.
Now onto the actual subject of the movie.
What Chaplin does with the story is beyond brilliant. The Little Tramp lives in a world of whirring gears and blaring buzzers; a world where the only sounds are those of electronics. Machines are taking over and the Tramp has to deal with it. Then, in the final act of the film, the Tramp gives in, he enters this new world, he becomes a part of it even: He speaks. But it's like your grandfather trying to use a computer for the first time, it's a mess; his "speaking" ends up being a mess of gibberish, words from different languages thrown together randomly to form some strange, beautiful sounding poem. But, like your grandfather trying to use a computer, just at the end he turns back to the old ways: Pantomime and intertitles.
He can't give himself over entirely; maybe next time, but not this time. Next time, yeah, yeah, next time.
It's a beautiful film about technology and humanity; love and hope.
Review of the 2010 "Complete Metropolis" Restoration.
The "complete Metropolis" isn't so complete. There's still a good five to ten minutes missing, which, sadly, may never be found. But if Metropolis is one thing, besides being a terrifically made film, it's a lesson in persevering. It seems to be the film that just won't die, no matter how hard those stupid Nazis tried to kill it.
Fate seems to have intervened with this movie, saving it from a state of incompleteness through a series of very odd circumstances. And beyond all of that, it's a good film too. Fritz Lang was way ahead of his time when he made it; the special effects stand out especially, particularly the scenes of the lusting eyes and the flood. It's groundbreaking stuff.
There were some cornball moments, which stemmed from the classical-style acting used in silent films, which made the film feel a bit more dated than what it probably should.
But those cornball moments don't matter, it's Metropolis, it's a Fritz Lang masterpiece, and finding those missing 25 minutes was like finding the Holy Grail. By restoring this film a very important piece of Cinema was recovered; like the movie or not, it's hard not to see the magnitude of the event.
I already wanna' watch it again.
Doesn't feel, or look, like a Kubrick movie. ie, it's not very good.
It's not good...it's just not good. The plot is a giant mess, the lighting is, to say the least, inconsistent, and the acting, oh boy. Yeessh.
Apparently though, we have this movie to thank for the control-freak Stanley Kubrick that is now the stuff of legends. But that's what happens when you make a director like Kubrick mad, he sets out to gain complete artistic control over his projects.
So, the movie itself gets one star, but, because it helped to bring about control-freak-Kubrick it gets another two stars. Therefore: 3 stars.
Practically destroys every thing intelligent about Alien.
Alien is a brilliant film. The atmosphere, acting, direction, and story progression are near perfect. Aliens, however, is the near opposite. The movie is one absurd action scene after another; which culminates in Sigourney Weaver's character, Ripley, fighting a giant alien while operating a mech suit. The entire movie was just ignorant.
But, as bad as everything was, there was one thing, one thing, that really, really made me mad: Aliens seems to disregard everything we learn about the "monster" in Alien. In Alien, there was no way to stop the thing, it was a tank, and if you got within a few feet of it, you were probably going to die. Not in Aliens though. In this movie the creatures (now dubbed Xenomorphs) are mowed down like deer. That's not the creature I remember. I remember that thing being unstoppable.
Overall, all James Cameron accomplished with this flick is to make me respect Alien, more than I already did. I love Alien. I wish Aliens had remained in Jim's brain though, along with Avatar.
Hotaru no haka (1988)
A well crafted film that lacks anything resembling hope.
I have this belief that there are certain "rules" movies are suppose to follow. One of those "rules" is the build and release of emotion. It goes back to Hitchcock talking about a bomb being hidden under a desk: We show two people talking while cutting to short shots of the bomb. This builds emotion.
But, the bomb can't go off. If the bomb goes off there isn't a release - just an explosion. All of that tension stays built up inside of you.
That's my problem with this movie, no matter how gut-wrenching, sad or even realistic it is, it has a fatal flaw. The audience, in my opinion, is never given a moment to release the tension - just an explosion.
This movie, following Hitchcock's example, is a series of tension building moments, followed by small, quiet, extremely depressing explosions.
But, maybe the intent of the movie was to build emotion/tension and not release it. Maybe that was the point.
Christopher Nolan is NOT Stanely Kubrick. He's Christopher Nolan.
There are quite a films in theaters that you can go see right now. But Inception is the only one that you need to see.
Inception is a brilliant piece of film-making. It shows Nolan's ability to handle multi-layered subjects without losing control of himself or the film. The story is told in a whirlwind, nonstop manner but without sacrificing intelligence for all of the flair and style. You will be on the edge of your seat from the word go and you will remain there long after the movie is over.
At the time of writing it is 11:15 at night. My showing of the movie ended at 9:28. I'm still thinking about this film. In fact, the only other film that has ever stuck with me like this was also directed by Christopher Nolan: The Prestige. The Prestige, in fact, is my favorite movie of all time.
Or it was. Inception tops it in every way. Where The Prestige is slow and methodical, Inception is a lightening joyride for the senses (including the intellect). Where The Prestige ties up in a nice little bow, Inception leaves you with things to wonder about. Where some people claimed The Prestige seemed to break its own rules, Inception does not.
Christopher Nolan has, in the past, been compared to Stanley Kubrick. That's wrong. Christopher Nolan is Christopher Nolan, and he keeps consistently proving that fact.
He is the most talented director working in the industry today. Period.