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|906 reviews in total|
This movie is hilarious. It is also an excellent musical. Thus, the movie gives you laughs and song; can't go wrong with that combination. There is chemistry between Clark Gable and Marion Davies, who play the title characters. Gable's comedic ability is once again evident. He was a great comic actor. As for Marion Davies, no could have done her role better. The story is amusing; Roscoe Karns again shows that when he came to comic roles, he was among the best. The story itself is amusing and endearing. Every character is likable. The movie depicts working class people in a positive, upbeat way. The entire supporting cast is excellent, especially Allen Jenkins. As entertainment, this movie delivers. The movie gives you laughs, music, a wonderful plot, and characters to whom the audience can relate. If that isn't enough, then maybe watching movies isn't for you.
Let me tell you why this movie is good: It shows that Joan Crawford and Clark Gable were great comic actors. There is no question that if I Love Lucy had been re-casted with Crawford and Gable as Lucy and Ricky, the results would have been hilarious. Also, Franchot Tone gives one the more hilarious performances as Gable's news reporter chum and rival. Tone would have played an extremely amusing Fred Mertz. The story is so upbeat and so amusing that it is virtually impossible to find anything about it to dislike. The story has snappy dialog, farcical plot, engaging characters and excellent cinematography. Any movie that features Crawford, Gable and Tone running around France and getting into all kinds of silly trouble is a movie that will entertain.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is a somber movie about a tragic story. A man, Chris Kyle, dies, tragically, after repeatedly risking his life for his country. While he is alive he is nagged by his wife who is becoming increasingly hysterical and pressuring him to stop going to war, which just drives him away. His job was to methodically kill the enemy, which included women and children who were combatants. That was the nature of the enemy he was fighting. At no time does Kyle derive any joy from doing his job. But he believes in what he is doing and has the full support of his commanders who acknowledge his bravery. Of course, the question is: who exactly are the Americans fighting? And should they even be there? Interestingly, in the movie, Kyle is not the only sniper. The insurgents have a sniper too and he is looking for Kyle. It's too bad that the movie does not tell the audience more about the other sniper. It seemed that Kyle's biggest problem was not the nature of his duties, but the conflict he had with his wife over her unwillingness to support him in his mission. Bradley Cooper carries this movie; his performance as Chris Kyle is outstanding. He brings a combination of strength and pathos to the character. If any character in the story has emotional problems, it is his wife, played with great skill by Sienna Miller, whose behavior becomes increasingly hysterical. Being a mother of two children, her fears are understandable. She does not want to lose her husband and the father of her children. But her mannerisms in the movie are so shrill as to give one cause to wonder: what was worse for Kyle, his complaining wife or an fanatical enemy? At some points in the story she is literally screeching at him and Kyle does not know what to do. That the war itself may be unjust or unnecessary takes a back stage. Hence, in the movie Kyle is dealing with two wars: one in Iraq and the other at home. How many wars is a soldier supposed to fight?
This movie is all build up with no resolution. The story is about two
men: an American prisoner of war, Louis Zamperini, and a Japanese
prison guard, Mutihiro Watanabe, who torments him. The movie devotes a
lot of time telling the audience about Zamperini but provides almost
nothing about Watanabe, thus transforming the latter into a stereotype.
Watanabe's actions come off as gratuitous violence; why he targets
Zamperini is specifically targeted is never fully explained, and in
order for the story to make sense, an explanation is required. The
movie is crammed with violence; everything about this story is violent.
All the principals are violent. It's war. Watanabe has some kind rage
which he vents on Zamperini. The best part of the movie are the scenes
depicting how Zamperini and his fellow airmen survive after their plane
ditches in the ocean. The challenges they faced were truly harrowing.
But after they are "rescued" by the Japanese, Zamperini becomes a
punching bag for the disgruntled Watanabe who has no use for Americans,
and especially Zamperini, who was the enemy. Zamperini did not deserve
to be mistreated. The question is: why exactly did Watanabe target
Zamperini? That question the movie does not answer.
This movie is wonderful. It features Joan Crawford singing and dancing, and she could sing and dance well. That alone makes this movie special. Clark Gable also is cast as a stage director who's all business, his gruffness of course a cover for a guy who really cares about people. The movie has a definite anti-rich people slant, with Franchot Tone playing a playboy who uses money to act out his selfish whims, which only hurt others. Theatrical people are portrayed in a most positive way - as hardworking, dedicated, and talented. The musical numbers are snappy and entertaining, especially the finale. The movie features Fred Astaire in his first major role and Moe, Larry and Curly - The Three Stooges whose characters figure directly in the story. But what makes this movie succeed is the presence of Joan Crawford. She dominates the movie and demonstrates why she is one of the premier actresses in the history of cinema.
For a film that was made eighty years ago, it stands up well to the test of time, meaning that the movie not a complete antique. It's a road movie and it deals with themes that will resonate with a contemporary audience. Many of the scenes are hilarious, especially those involving Mr. Shapely, played by Roscoe Karns. The movie has snappy dialog, a fast-paced story, excellent development of the principal characters, and a good upbeat ending. Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable give outstanding performances which reveal their skills as comic actors. The hitchhiking scene cannot fail to provoke laughter. The movie presents a story format that sets the standard for a genre of road movies. The movie also highlights the emergence of an America dominated by the automobile and tied together by roads and highways. Figuring in the story are gas station attendants, motel owners, bus drivers and bus stations, all part of the newly emerging automobile age. A movie of this kind could not have set in a pre-auto culture. This accounts for the movie's contemporary feel. Clark Gable so dominates this movie that it is virtually impossible to imagine anyone else playing Peter Warne. Yet, what makes the movie succeed is its straightforward storytelling about people who want to be break free from the social conventions that are denying them happiness. This is a wonderful and beautiful movie.
The story is good: an aging politician wants to win re-election but only by his rules, which are outdated. The acting is good: Spencer Tracy gives a strong performance as the aging politician; the other cast members also give strong performances. The problem with this movie is that the entire movie looks like it's being performed on a stage, which makes the story and characters seem even more contrived. The movie relies on portraying characters as caricatures than in providing character development. Hence, the bad guys, i.e., the bankers, are portrayed as surly and obnoxious, while the good guys, i.e, Skeffington's friends, are portrayed as the salt of the earth. The movie's message is clear: because of television, politicians are losing touch with the public and playing to the camera is now more important than maintaining contact with the people. Winning an election today means having to be glib. As a drama, the movie tries to evoke a sense of nostalgia for a time when politicians interacted directly with the people and when what counted the most for political success was not celebrity status but who he was as a person.
What is this movie about? A simple question yet one that defies an answer, for to answer this question means that this movie has a plot, something that is not the case. In an avant-garde way, this movie is refreshing. Instead of trying to actually tell a story, the production staff dispenses with a plot and relies on the skill of the cast to entertain the audience, and to an extent, this unique approach works. Jaoquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon and Josh Brolin are entertaining. Of the three, Brolin's performance is the most comical. He plays a caricature of a hard-boiled city homicide/robbery detective. The movie's main problem is that these quality performances are not matched by an equally coherent story. Just because the main character is a pot smoking substance abuser doesn't mean that it should be presumed that the audience is in the same cloudy state of mind. Phoenix demonstrates a talent for slapstick and deadpan comic acting. Marijuana use figures heavily in the story (that is, what is supposed to pass as a story). If this is supposed to send some kind of social message to the audience, i.e., that marijuana use is cool, then this movie will be a favorite and Phoenix your new Hollywood icon. But if all the pot smoking, inane dialog, contrived histrionics, and general silliness becomes too much, remember: the actors are funny, so have yourself a laugh.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie is not an updated version of the 1956 movie The Ten Commandments. Instead it offers a new interpretation of the biblical story of the exiting of the Hebrews from Egypt. This movie tells the story not as a biblical epic but as an action/adventure. Instead of being a morality tale, with forces of good and bad clearly delineated, the story rather is about who will win in a struggle for power. Throughout the movie, Moses' actual identity remains ambiguous. Even Moses himself is never certain of it. What he is certain of, however, is that his foster brother, Rameses II, tried to kill him. And this is where this movie and the 1956 movie diverge the furthest. Whereas in the former Rameses is portrayed stereotypically as the personification of evil, in this movie his character is much more developed. This movie portrays a Pharaoh who in many respects is a victim of circumstances. The plagues, which are a result of divine intervention, are now presented as result of natural occurrences. The question is: at what point will Rameses connect these plagues to his policy toward the the slaves? In the 1956 movie the audience knows why Rameses is being punished: he has incurred the wrath of the Lord. In this movie, such a connection is at best tenuous. In this movie God's messenger is represented as a child. This has significant psychological meaning. Moses feels guilty over having left his family, and so when communing with the child, he is in effect communing with his son, Gershon. This implies that Moses is psychotic. As for Rameses, once he decides that the slaves are more of liability than an asset, he frees them. Moses wins but his victory is qualified because now he has to take on the responsibility for guiding an entire nation, which means he can become another Pharaoh. This fear is not unfounded because his political legitimacy ever fully established. Indeed, his mental state is always a question. As for Rameses, he is left vanquished, but his kingdom, though battered, still intact. Who really wins is a coin toss. As for the performances, Christian Bale turns in a masterful performance as Moses. It is impossible to fairly compare his performance with that of Charlton Heston's. Except for the name, both portray two entirely different characters. The same applies to Joel Edgerton's excellent portrayal as Rameses II. Edgerton's Rameses is complex, three-dimensional person who is neither wanton nor corrupt, but is driven to extreme measures by circumstances beyond his control. The most dramatic moment in the movie is when Rameses's son dies. Here Rameses, and Neferteri, are in torment, their loss so profound as to defy words. Later on Rameses, not without justification, asks Moses, what kind of people can worship a god that kills children. Moses can only reply that Hebrew children did not die which evades the question and just further infuriates Rameses and gives cause to wonder who's worse, Moses's or Rameses?
This movie is only mildly humorous. The plot is goofy but not that funny. Why this movie is so tepid is a subject that is open to debate. After all, it is not a cheaply made production. It has a wonderful cast and has solid cinematography which is meant to intensify the excitement. Maybe it has to do with the essential banality of the story. Comedy of course does not have to be high brow; low brow can work too. This movie chooses the low brow approach and the result is low brow. If one is a fan of low brow humor, then this movie should prove entertaining. Yet such a result is not assured. The story is a cross between a Three Stooges short and Abbott and Costello, but lacks the sharpness and originality of both acts. In short, this movie offers no new or innovative comedy routines but rather a tired rehashing of standard low brow fare, hence it's mild humor. The movie attempts to be raunchy but comes off as gratuitously distasteful, which by its very nature is not humorous.
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