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The Seven Year Itch (1955)
Unfulfilling, but quite frankly above its time
Billy Wilder is of course one of the greatest directors of all times. His dramas and comedies have been cheered on as one of the greatest in their genres. He is also a dear director for me, because he has influenced me quite a lot with my taste in films. To this day, 'Double Idemnity', 'Sunset Blvd.' and his masterpiece 'Some Like it Hot', is treasured in my DVD collection. But for some reason, I tried to miss 'The Seven Year Itch'. I don't know why. It just seemed weak than the other ones. Oh sure, I knew that the iconic Marilyn Monroe image was in the film. But I just never felt like it. However, I have finally watched the film. And yes, I was a bit disappointed.
The film just seemed like there was no climax, no beginning, not even a middle. It just wen straight on. There was no sense of fulfillment in any part of the film. This is not what I see in Wilder, considering that his films boomed with moments that would engrave themselves in the minds of others.
With that said, I think that's the only flaw of the film. Sure it's a big one, but the rest of the film is just so good. Tom Ewell's paranoid husband and Marilyn Monroe's iconic blonde beauty performances shine through. They use it for so many hilarious moments, mainly two scenes like the piano bench scene, and of course the crazy imaginations.
Also, what I admire in Wilder is that his humor is quite above his time. Usually in these days, the humor would be too corny for the taste of the modern world. I don't mind, but I can still see that it my annoy some people. 'The Seven Year Itch', is almost self-aware. It knows what kind of film it is that it's almost too smart for words. There is a scene where the Tom Ewell character is at it again with his paranoia in front a man who he thinks is having an affair with his wife. He then points out that there is a blonde in the kitchen, and then he loudly acclaims, "Maybe it's 'Marilyn Monroe'."
For me, pop-culture references started with Wilder in cinema. He was one of the first directors to do it. I still find certain moments, especially the moment I just depicted, as some of the blooming of the pop-culture humor.
The film is on the whole,decent and well-made. No, it cannot be a masterpiece because there isn't really a perfectioning feeling or fulfillment. It's simply what it is, an entertainment piece. that's all there is too it.
They Live (1988)
Before you read the review, remember that I'm not a B-movie fan.
They Live (1988): While not the most subtle of social commentaries, 'They Live' succeedingly gives us an entertaining experience mixing nice action, right amount of horror, a touch of 80's campiness and dark humor. John Carpenter still knows what he should be doing and he does it well. The thing is, is it well executed. That is another problem.
I couldn't help but to think that the film feels like a video game. Definitely a good video game, but video game as it is. It feels very simplified, and the last part of the film is only action oriented, with no smart plot points except one which is so contrived that you could have seen it miles away.
The main character is filled with charisma, recalling the quotable line 'I have come here to chew bubble gum and kick ass.', but he lack actual characteristics that could make him a three dimensional character. He is simply awesome and good at fighting, there isn't really much to it than that.
Considering the main character, the other characters don't really have any personality. The only motivation they have is to survive and that's it. Even to the more concentrated supporting characters don't have personality.
There's also a very pointless scene in the film where the two main characters fight because one of them is trying to convince the other that the aliens exist. While it starts all fun at first, it becomes very boring as it is simply the same moves done again and again. Thankfully, that's the only scene that has that feeling. But oh what an annoying scene.
But definitely, it's not a bad film. It's reasons are direct and straight forward, easy enough to understand and truthful. The media is quite frankly controlling the world into a very unworthy of a place and we all know that many people are simply blending into the background of the world, not trying to get out of the blue and make another color. The commentary is one of those themes that I relate to a lot.
With that said, the film is definitely not good. But if you like those 80's camp-fest Sci-fi films, you're in for a treat. It's just that it's not my thing.
Wendy and Lucy (2008)
Michelle Williams in her best performance
Wendy and Lucy (2008): There was a reason why 'Marley & Me' was mediocre. While it drew a nice draft of a life of a dog and a couple, it never went deeply into their conflicts. It always ended up with sappy jokes and over sentimental moments. All in all, while the things that were happening on the screen was realistic, it didn't feel realistic. 'Wendy and Lucy' is the total opposite. It didn't go throughly into the life of Wendy. It does not go into jokes or sentiment. And yet, it feels far more deeper and realistic than the other 'dog is a man's best friend films'.
The film is not really about the dog Lucy, but about Wendy. We know nothing of her, except that she is going to Alaska and that she has a dog. She thinks of nothing else, but that she wants to go to Alaska, that she has some car trouble and that she needs to find her dog. This is the only determination that character has through out the film and that is why the story goes on.
And the film talks about nothing else but that. Now, how authentic is that. Here's a character who doesn't have a fortune, who always gets kicked in the ass by reality. This is a character who seems so hopeless. This is the kind of character that we want to see to survive and to get what she wants. Unfortunately, she does not get the happy ending, as she, considering her financial status, leaves the dog behind with a man who seems to be rich (We never know for sure). And when she leaves the dog, we are so pain-struck that all you can do is to break down in tears. This is not sentimentality, but the tears we get from the sadness of such authentic dread.
These kinds of loners are everywhere in the film. There are a bunch of people who make a fire and sit around it, while traveling and making comfort for themselves. There are teenagers walking down the street, talking about their tired mothers. Most memorably, there's a man who could be a serial killer, talking to Wendy in the night about how much he hates this town, how he killer more than 700 kids and how both of them were lost in the world. The film is full of them, simply to show that Wendy's not alone.
Michelle William's performance is the reason why Wendy is such a great character. She is quite like Jodie Foster is 'The Silence of the Lambs'. She is small, pretty young girl with a determination and a goal. But who doesn't really have a good reality. Williams is going for bigger things I hope, in the future.
The only problem of this film is that it's too short. But it's not a flaw. It simply means that I wanted more of the film. I wanted to see what happened to the characters. These are such deep through beings in the world. The film is so authentically brilliant that I could've sworn, I though I heard a dog bark when Lucy barked on screen.
Experience 101 with Lars Von Trier
Idioterne (1998): As I watched the film, I told myself a thousand times, this is definitely a Von Trier film. It is strange, it is provocative, and of course there are scenes where people are actually having sex, no not faking, but actually having sex. Von Trier is one of the few people who can bring such images into a film and make it into a strangely enigmatic film.
To be precise, Lars Von Trier wrote the film. However, the activities that are in the plot are just a bit too important.
The film has two things. One, it is a great experience. This film could have been Paosolini's 'Salo', in which I hate because even though there is perfection all around, the film is simply a bit too hard to enjoy because of the over the top violence. 'Idioterne' however, is actually quite fun to watch. I can see how some of the moments in the film might have been controversial, but it doesn't go to the extent of being disturbing. It isn't too sexual. It is simply a fun film.
The other thing is the theme of the film. Beneath all the chaos, there is still a theme. The problem is, I do not understand the film yet. I simply had such a compelling experience that I haven't really thought about the film. It is so hard to think while watching this film.
But let's try. The film is about a group of people intentionally being idiots because they think that it is deep to bring out the inner idiot that is inside everyone and pass around. But that's when it came to themselves and people they didn't know. In the end, when they came back to their original life, they realize how silly they're actions were and how embarrassing it was. But for some reason, a lady who just came into the group, spassed around the moody house in which her family lived. Of course, everybody thought she was insane, but she didn't care. She was the only one who could pass, and she was only in the group for 2 weeks.
I can simply say that the film is trying to say that everybody does have an idiot inside of them. It's just how you control it. And I can easily see how much conversation and theories can come out of the film.
But for me, it's more of an experience film. It usually was with Palme' Dor nominees. The film is quite a lot of fun. It may disgust you, it may alienate you. However, I had so much fun. I will admit, I was quite alienated myself. But no matter, that simply means that the film is not perfect.
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)
Sometimes it's not about the theme.
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953): The film has one element that had dated, and that's the theme. The film is trying to give a light study at women and men when it comes to sex and marriages. Unfortunately the descriptions aren't really correct to these days standards.
But the thing is, is this a film about themes? Is this a film that is trying to give us a correct study? I don't think so. The movie is more about the screwball comedy, the music. And of course, the absolutely brilliant performance done by Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe.
Howard Hawk's directing skills shows in this film too, with fast witty dialogue and some brilliantly directed scenes, such as the 'Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend' musical moment, which might have been one of the greatest musical sequences I have seen in my whole life, and which also had a Minelli styled color effect to it.
We must also thank the acting. The funny thing is, Jane Russell was supposed to be the lead of the film, and Monroe just a supporting performance. And yet, Monroe shines through the whole film. There was once a saying, that Monroe can brighten any scene that she is in, and that is quite true. Every time she comes into the scene, there is going to be something about the scene in which you just can't help but to smile. This is her second best performance in her whole career, the best being her performance in 'Some Like it Hot', which is another film that she brightens up even though it's in black and white. The reason her performance is great in this film is that she has made the iconically clichéd character, the dumb blonde. Anna Faris, Paris Hilton, they have all mastered that character, and they have Monroe to thank for. Of course, that doesn't mean Jane Russell did a terrible job, with her snappy delivery, her brilliant dancing, and of course, the scene in the court room where she does a satire of Monroe's character, slow talking, trying to be sexy character.
The film has of course, dated a bit, with a theme that doesn't really hold up in this time (With 'Some Like it Hot', the theme was that men and women can never become each other, so love is the only way. We can see that the theme is still holding up to this day with films like 'When Harry Met Sally'). But there is one thing that will stand the test of time in the film, and that's the simple image of Monroe herself. With the humor and the brilliant directing all wrapped up around her and Russell, this film will last a long time as a delightful screwball comedy.
How to Marry a Millionaire (1953)
A nice time killer
How To Marry A Millionaire (1953): The first five minutes of the film shows us an orchestra, playing some lovely music from a Howard Hawks film, and then it simply disappears. And at the end of the film, it ends with the orchestra playing some music. Now let me ask you this, is this whole scene supposed to do anything with the plot, no. Is it long, meaningless and pointless, and just simply looks good? Yes.
That's basically the problem of the whole film, it has so many scenes that doesn't have to do anything with the film, that could've just been edited. Take another example from the scene with the fashionable clothing, the first four clothes are okay, because we see the three main characters modeling, and the actual main character scowling at the man who came to see them because she saw him before, thinking that he's a pimp. We could've easily ended the scene there. But then it went on to show us the rest of the 12 clothes that weren't shown. It goes on for more than 2 minutes and it is quite restless. These are the kind of scenes that fills the film, long, pointless, just scenes that are not interesting, but are nice to look at.
But let's take another look and ask this question, is it funny? Yes, it is quite funny. The film is quite modern with its humor. Although there is that feeling of 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes' from the whole story, but the characters aren't like that and definitely not the humor. This might be one of those films, right next to Wilder's movies, as the films that gave inspiration for modern humor. Take the scenes with Marilyn humor with the poor eye sights (Probably the first time Monroe actually tried to be funny). Take the scene with the hot dog dream from Loco. Take another scene with the main character Schatze as she keeps saying no to the pimp every time he calls her, and yet she always go out with him, and in the end, falls in love with him. These are quite funny moments, and the film is full of it.
The performances are quite strong to, although this film as commercialized with the image of Marilyn Monroe with the beautiful image of her is a tight red dress, the film is quite frankly Lauren Bacall's film, who played the main character Schatze (Who turned out to be the lucky one from the three girls). There is a boldness to her expression, such determination. With Monroe and Grable, who played the other two girls, while nice performances, they only felt like your average pretty blonde character. They didn't have any personality (Except Monroe, who is always an exception). Bacall however, had such presence that brings focus to her character. For the first time, there was a performance that shined far more than Monroe's performance in a film that had Monroe in it, and that performance was done by Lauren Bacall.
The film is quite fun to watch and it's entertaining. But it is still annoying in the aspect of it being a bit of a filler at times. But other elements come by it, and it stands as a decent film
Sci-fi films are loved all around the world these days. 'The Matrix', 'Donnie Darko' and my personal favorite 'Brazil'. But here comes another film by director Christopher Nolan who finished 'The Dark Knight' 2 years ago and now is ready to do another movie. The critics and the audiences loved it. While I consider it as the worst Christopher Nolan film ever. And here's why.
Now I must say that I don't think this is horrible. There are quite a lot of good things in this movie. First of all, the special effects are amazing. There's this scene where the other side of the street starts to bend and it meets the other side of the street. Cars are driving upside down and all those crazy things are happening. It was awesome. Second, the music is ground-breaking. There's always this big boom that comes out in the movie and it just makes your heart rattle. Third, the premise is brilliant. The idea of going into a dream and stealing somebody's thought is a premise that only Christopher Nolan can write. It is amazing at those points and I could've liked it.
But there is one big problem I had with this movie. And that was the acting. The acting was horribely bland. It has no taste and I just think that the acting starts to get boring. Leonardo Dicaprio's acting has hardened as time went by. He was amazing in one of his first movies 'What's Eating gilbert grape' which is one of my favorite movies of all times. And of course I had a problem with Ellen Page who I thought was so good at acting after I watched 'Juno'. But no, she is so boring in this movie too. The characters doesn't help much. There is not a bit of character development is this movie. And I want good characters when I watch a movie.
On the whole, I don't think this movie is terrible. It has its bad and good. I think he should go back to this days of 'The Dark Knight'. I know a lot of people loves this movie but for me, it's the worst Christopher Nolan film ever. But it's worth a watch if you know what a good movie is. I give it 6/10!
I Am Number Four (2011)
I Am Number Four (2011)
We have seen a whole lot of movies that had overly pop cultured references. Such movies like 'Sky High' and 'Percy Jackson and the Lighting Thief'. And as you can see, they're not really good. However, 'I Am Number Four' was something different. Something that was actually way better than the average pop culture movie.
First of all, this movie has a lot of problems. The jokes in this movie are overly pop cultured. There is this scene where this kid uses a gun from another planet (don't ask) for the very first time and he shoots a bad guy right in the stomach and kills him. It might have been okay if he just said wow but he said 'I play a lot of XBOX' to the girl next to her. I cringed from the pop culture. Every single joke in this movie is just unbearable. Some teenagers might laugh but for me it was stupid. There is another thing that I hate from movies and that is sudden characterization changes (a la 'Legally blonde'). There is this bully-like character that turns good in the last part of the movie. But if you think about it, there was not one incident that should be the reason for this change. He definitely wasen't a bad kid but he wasen't really nice. Maybe I missed something so check that part out. And finally, this movie has dozens of plot holes. A lot of the movie doesn't make sense. You get frustrated later.
I can imagine that from all the things I said, you might think that this movie is horrible. But..........................
There is a lot of things that is good too. First of all, the action sequences are amazing. The lazers and the special effect was to die for. There was only one moment of the film that might make some people have some seizures but besides that, it's pretty cool. The actors were very good. They're your average pop cultured characters but if I should know better, they're amateurs and they did a good job. The make up of the villain was disturbingly good. And I liked how comical the characters were.
In the end, it turns out that it was a series but let me tell you that the final battle is a little bit weak. But on the whole, it's a very entertaining movie and it's worth your watch. I'm glad that I watched it on the big screen. I give this movie 7/10!
In the Mouth of Madness (1994)
One of the most original horror movie in years.
I always thought John Carpenter was good but this is just genius! This movie is so original that you just can't predict anything. It has a complex story compared to other horror movies and it has a great dialogue. The effects scared me so much. The premise in brilliant, making a story about a fiction novel slowly becoming a reality and all of a sudden we learn that it was reality all along. If I pick a down side it comes from a scene where the main character rips the cover of books to make a map. I think that was too much. Still, everything was awesome in this movie. It's not a great film but it is a great horror movie. A total must see for movie buffs. Long live John Carpenter!!!
A classic but not original...
'Gremlins' is a monster film which we can always remember and love. But is it really good? Well, here's the thing. This movie has a great idea of finally using gremlins as the monster. They also use them so well that the gremlins are the most likable character (except the leader who's a total pain in the neck). It's also a film which kids and adults can watch with no problem because it's a children's Christmas film and at the same time it's also monster horror movie. Like 'Home Alone', this movie becomes one of those films that becomes a must see on'Christmas' too. It's one hell of a film.
The problem of the movie is that it has no originality. It's all about people not believing that there was a monster and they get the monster destroying the whole town. Wait! Where have I seen that idea before? Hmmm... Oh wait a minute! 'Frankenstien'! And there are a whole lot more movies like these too. And it doesn't really help the movie to survive in the movie world. Still, it's really entertaining and it has all the cool clichés. So it's definitely a must see for movie buffs or Christmas lovers!!!!