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Captain Phillips (2013)
Everything gonna be OK
That's the phrase which Muse (played by newcomer Barkhad Abdi) repeated four or five times. And indeed, everything went OK (well, awesome actually) for this film.
The truth is despite the good critic I had read, I wasn't very sure if it was a good idea to watch it. However, the result was unexpectedly good, a fact that partly improved my opinion for modern Hollywood.
The film offered great direction, screenplay and cinematography. It had a really good tempo, even though some people might get a little bored near the ending. Nevertheless, I believe that 'Captain Phillips' is a must just because of the performances. Tom Hanks reaches another peak in his career (perhaps another Oscar nomination?), while the four Somali pirates added a lot. Especially Barkhad Abdi delivers a compelling portrait and I hope this is the beginning of something beautiful.
Down by Law (1986)
Worth the time
Being the first Jarmusch film I was about to watch, I really didn't know what to expect from 'Down by Law'.
As a Roberto Benigni fan, I expected it to be quite amusing. And it was. It had a subtle humour, which worked for me, even though it was in low amount. However, I found out that Tom Waits and John Lurie performed great too. I actually believe that the good chemistry among the actors is what makes this movie enjoyable. Also the cinematography and Jarmusch's direction were very interesting.
Perhaps the only drawback of 'Down by Law' is its lack of a true plot. Their escape should be just a little bit more detailed (Jarmusch didn't intend to give us many technical details about it, but I think he should). Of course if he focused only on that, he would ruin it.
All in all, this movie contains good acting and some strange climate, which makes it a nice one to watch. However, some may find it boring. I wasn't enthused, but I definitely recommend it to a real cinephile.
I had heard many good critics about this movie and Haneke's works in general, so I expected a great masterpiece. Well, the truth is it was one...
First of all, the cinematography and the narration put you in the cold climate of the film from the very first moment. Haneke's slow-paced direction was outstanding, while the whole cast (especially the kids and Burghart Klaußner) must be applauded.
However, there is just one thing preventing me from adding this film in My Top 50 Films. And this is the lack of catharsis, or at least of the disclosure; Haneke should reveal who did all those crimes, even if he decided not to "punish" the culprits.
Without a doubt, 'The White Ribbon' is a must-see film. Despite the little hole that he story leaves, I believe this is the greatest German movie I've seen so far.
Kingdom of Heaven (2005)
Quite Good, but...
It is actually inevitable not to compare 'Kingdom of Heaven' with 'Gladiator', Scott's most successful historical film. And that's why I'm going to write this review by contrasting those two movies, despite not being a great fan of 'Gladiator'.
Technically and aesthetically 'Kingdom of Heaven' is rather inferior, even though I really liked the cinematography. The battles are not that impressive and the story is not very interesting. It also lacked a powerful protagonist; Russel Crowe's performance was phenomenal, while Orlando Bloom acted just fine.
On the other hand, I have to praise the rest of the cast: Edward Norton (even behind his mask!), Ghassan Massoud, Eva Green, David Thewlis, Jeremy Irons and Brendan Gleeson added a lot to this movie. Also, and that's important, I found the film's message to be much deeper than 'Gladiator'.
All in all, 'Kingdom of Heaven' is an enjoyable film. However, you won't be poorer if you don't watch it.
Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970)
To tell you the truth, I expected 'Two Mules for Sister Sara' to be a mediocre movie, only trying to take advantage of Eastwood's success with Sergio Leone's film. However, it came to become one of my favourite westerns, even though I've seen a handful of them.
Despite its naivety, the film has a good screenplay. Eastwood played well, but MacLaine offered without a doubt the best performance. The music, composed by Ennio Morricone, was magnificent.
The movie was perhaps too talky for a western, giving us some memorable quotes though. Also, many goofs were present, including the dynamite usage, downgrading the overall result.
I definitely recommend 'Two Mules for Sister Sara' to Eastwood and western fans. From my point of view, it surely isn't a masterpiece, but it is good work, long forgotten.
Il grande silenzio (1968)
Good job, Sergio!
I really didn't know what to expect from this film, since I was quit disappointed by Corbucci's other masterwork "Django". However, I was intrigued by the last scene's reputation and the good position of the film in the 'Empire's 500 Greatest Movies of All Times' (#386).
The setting of this film is really genius: a mute gunslinger; a town in the snows; a bunch of starving outlaws; a black widow seeking revenge. These facts alone are enough to consider "Il Grande Silenzio" a fine spaghetti western. Without a doubt, Kinski serves the best performance in the movie, as a cold-blooded bounty hunter. Morricone's music is once more great, adding a lot to the final result.
Unfortunately, though, some aspects of the film prevent me from giving it 8 or 9 out of 10. First of all, I feel Trintignant wasn't the best option, although I recognize it's hard to steal the show without a word to say. Like in "Django", the protagonist's romance fell flat. The sheriff's role also seemed a little bad, not because of the actor's performance, but because of his silly obsession with Loco.
All in all, "Il Grande Silenzio" offers everything a good spaghetti western has (except the sun of course). It is a classic and therefore can't be missed.
As a Stephen King, I looked forward to watch this film. In fact, I was intrigued by the fact that it is the only film adapted from a King book that has won an Oscar, even though not being that well-known as "The Shining" or "The Green Mile".
First of all, the plot is brilliant in its simplicity. Kathy Bates did indeed a great job with her role, while Richard Farnsworth was a quite good supporter. I also found James Caan to perform much better than I expected and this was a nice surprise.
I haven't read the book (yet), but I suspect that King gives more information about Wilkes' personality and her past and that's something I would like to see in the movie.
Dances with Wolves (1990)
Only one word: Harmony
I beforehand knew that 'Dances with Wolves' ain't a typical western. However, I didn't know what exactly to expect.
First of all, the direction is great, being Costner's first attempt. The performance of Costner, Greene and Grant added a lot to the movie, while the cinematographer wasn't awarded an Academy Award for nothing. However, the most important reason why everyone should watch and remember this film is its message; white man's madness has destroyed ancient cultures and spoiled Mother Nature.
McDonnels's role wasn't bad, but she seemed to try too hard. The somewhat abrupt ending is something I didn't like, too. What is more, I believe the movie could be much more powerful in some scenes.
This film is an all-time classic western and one of the best costume dramas.
The Departed (2006)
With Scorsese being my favourite director and some really talented actors participating, I simply couldn't wait to watch this film.
Perhaps the greatest advantage of 'The Departed' is the performance of the actors. All - I mean all - performers did great, including those with lesser roles, such as Anthony Anderson and David O'Hara. I can't imagine this film with other actors. The music once more added a lot to a Scorsese project, with 'Shipping Up to Boston' becoming a mob classic.
The story itself was simple, yet excellent. However, I found it really hard to follow the plot some times and this is a serious disadvantage of the movie. And it is perhaps the only reason why this film isn't included in my Top 20 Favourite Films.
Some people say 'The Departed' is overrated. What I got to say is that it's a film you have to watch multiple times to understand its magnificence.
The Last of the Mohicans (1992)
Good, but overrated
As a Daniel Day-Lewis fan, I really looked forward watching this movie. Having heard good critics about the film, I actually expected many things; electrifying performance by Day-Lewis, a nice cinematography and direction, strong side characters, impressive battles. However, after the film ended I found it hard to vote.
The film wasn't bad at all. At some extend it did have what I expected, but in a lesser degree. None of the characters had a real depth and that lead to the actors to just perform 'alright'. Duncan and Magua were perhaps the most interesting characters of the story. The British officer was in love with a woman who never wanted him and even died for her, while the Huron warrior was driven by vengeance and it was revealed that his mind was closer to that of the 'White Man'.
I also found the writing to be quite shallow. Most important of all, Hawkeye and Cora's romance felt flat - it felt like there was no chemistry between the two. And after all, there is almost no memorable quote from this film.
Without a doubt, the soundtrack was the movie's only flawless part; magical.