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Gae-in-eui chwi-hyang (2010)
Superb story except for ending
This was a stellar series. I have seldom watched anything that gave me as much true enjoyment. Right up till the ending...
The first 2/3 were pure heaven. Gae In mistakenly assumes Jin Ho is a homosexual, and he allows her to continue thinking that so that she will feel comfortable renting out a room to him. The two overcome their differences, becoming friends, and eventually develop romantic feelings for each othermuch fun ensues. This section of the series had endless amounts of charm, warmth, comedy, and romantic tension. It always kept me guessing and avoided clichés like the plague.
Then, in episode 11, the cat came out of the bagJin Ho was not gay, he loved Gae In, and wanted be loved by her. At first I thought, "This is good; we get to enjoy seeing them together." However, I found that "Personal Taste" lost a lot of its peculiar charm at this point it became another when-will-they-have-sex story. Still, it gained another kind charm. It became the story of a man and woman who were trying to make their relationship work, about two lovers who were trying to figure out how deal with past wounds and personality flaws, about two people respectfully combating parental disapproval, about a man lovingly waiting for sex until his woman was ready. Again, the series steered clear of clichés.
And then we spent the last three episodes on a completely unnecessary clichéd plot twistguy decides he should convince girl not to care about him, so guy treats girl worse than he ever treated his enemies.
One of the things that made this series really great was the way Gae In and Jin Ho argued. They would get upset and say things they didn't mean, but then later apologize. It was realistic and compelling, but in the end the creators threw this away with both hands.
Another thing that was great in this series was that Jin Ho spent a lot of time teaching Gae In to respect herself and not let people trample on her. However, in the end Gae In goes to Jin Ho and finally sleeps with him, though he has treated her like dirt, saying "I will trust you no matter what, even if I get hurt." This completely went against everything that came before. I personally think that it is good to wait until marriage to have sex; however, I realize I am in the minority. Still, the series had led me to hope that the consummation would at least be happy and loving, but it was just sad and depressing.
To add insult to injury, the creators left most of the subplots hanging in order to spend three episodes on this ghastly cliché, and then wound everything up quickly, saccharinly, and unrealistically. A very, very poor finish to a great story.
Yes, I understand this is a romantic comedy, but there is no law stating that romantic comedies have to be dumb; and this one had constantly shown itself to be so much more. A sad waste of excellent writing and acting.
So, if you read this and think you are like me, you might want to stop watching this series after the first 20 minutes of the 11th episode.
The Greatest Show on Earth (1952)
A Truly Good Film
This film has the reputation of being the least deserving of the "Best Film" Academy Award winners, and that may be true (though I personally think "Oliver!" deserves that designation). However, don't conclude from that that this is a bad movie. In fact, it is a very good movie.
At the end of the day, "The Greatest Show on Earth" succeeds primarily because it's good entertainment. Cecil B. DeMille knew how to do spectacle, and there is plenty here to please the senses: fun songs and costumes abound and the circus tricks bear up even by today's standards.
The film's many solid casting choices don't hurt either. Charlton Heston is perfect as the brusque workaholic circus manager, succeeding in remaining likable and sympathetic. Betty Hutton tackles the extremely difficult task of being girlish, enthusiastic, and breezy without being annoying. Both Hutton and Gloria Grahame provide some good drama and are thoroughly convincing as circus performers. Dorothy Lamour provides some nice comic relief, and James Stewart is (of course) right on target, giving a melancholy aspect to the tale. It's a pity the creators thought it necessary to have Cornel Wilde fake a French accent; otherwise, his performance is quite good.
It's also refreshing to see actors (especially from this time period) doing their own stunts, actually touching the animals, and otherwise throwing themselves into their roles.
While the romantic subplots flirt dangerously with cheesiness, they do succeed in building genuine romantic tension.
My biggest complaints are the stock villains and the deus ex machina resolution of one of the love triangles.
Still, this is good solid entertainment. Movie lovers will find plenty to interest them including Jimmy Stewart shown exclusively in clown makeup, Charlton Heston's first star role, and cameos from Bob Hope and Bing Crosby.
How to Train Your Dragon (2010)
Right to My Heart
I loved this film, and I do not say that often. It just reached out and grabbed me.
This is a film that sparks the imagination. The views of mountains, trees, and ocean went right to my heart; and the characters were so well realized I can easily imagine them going about there lives off-screen. The jokes were hilariousI'm still laughing.
And the music! I'm surprised more people aren't talking about the music. This may just be one of the best movie scores of our time. Whether or not it will be fully appreciated when showcased in a family film is in doubt; but, hey, you can only shake your fist at life's unfairness for so long. Not only does the score perfectly compliment each scene (I really don't think it was ever off, even a second!), it's breathtakingly beautiful. It is definitely worthy of an Academy Award nomination.
This film has a wonderful tenderness to it, and it is just plain joyful! Thank you, DreamWorks!
Gentleman's Agreement (1947)
A mediocre film
I was extremely disappointed in this film.
The acting was unconvincing, and the message of the film"this could be everyone's century"is glib and sweet enough to give one cavities.
The dilemma between Gregory Peck's and Dorothy Maguire's characters could have been intriguing but it is so bogged down by a too-sappy-for-words love story that it never gets the chance.
I can see that back in the 1947 this film would have been daring, which is probably why it won the Best Picture Oscar. But the historical value of the film did not save it for me. By the standards of what makes a classic, this film never manages to be more than mediocre.
The only good things about this film are the scenes between Philip and his secretary (June Havoc delivers her shockingly hypocritical lines perfectly) and the fact that we get to see the handsome Gregory Peck a lot.
Mrs. Miniver (1942)
A Mixed bag
I have to admit I was disappointed by "Mrs. Miniver," probably because of this film's excellent reputation.
For about the first third of the film I was wondering why it was called "Mrs. Miniver" when the story focused on so many of the other charactersI think the film is more of an ensemble piece. The first third of the film, though not exactly boring or irritating, was predictable and rather bland. The whole show is pretty slow until Helmut Dantine shows up and gives a truly stirring performance as a German flyer.
And then Mrs. Miniver herself was disappointing. Geer Garson's character is noble, but Garson plays it in such a stagey, overdone way that Mrs. Miniver seems less real woman and more glamorous actress. (Garson's obviously false eyelashes and showy outfits don't help.)
On the other hand, there is much to appreciate in this film. This film is obviously historically valuable. The Vicar's sermon is well-worth seeing/hearing and is insightful and moving even by today's standards. The scene with the family in the bomb shelter makes one feel one has some idea of what it is like to go through an air raid. Not to mention the way this film influenced Americans about joining the war.
One of the biggest praises I can give this film is that unlike many of its peers it (eventually) creates genuine suspense and genuine surprise. Most movies from this time period are rather predictable to modern audiences (not that that makes them necessarily bad), but not "Mrs. Miniver." So, on the whole it's a mixed bag, but ultimately worth seeing.
Good for a Christian Film and a Good Message
It is a crying shame that Christian films are justly associated with bad acting and tame stories. Lack of budget and properly trained actors are a big part of the problem. And this film is no exception.
That said, if one is able to look past this film's less-than-perfect presentation, the makers of this film hit upon a subject that I think can touch anyone. The issues discussed in the film are real, and I think many people will find the themes genuine moving.
Also (never let it be said I am unfair) this is one of the best Christian films out there. The film strains itself in its desire to stay inoffensive and most of the comedy is painfully overacted, but in general the acting is quite passable. One finds oneself caring about the characters and appreciating the enthusiasm the makers of the film had for the subject.
There is meat to this film. And you can be moved by it, if you approach it with an open mind.
Hedda Gabler (1981)
My Western literature teacher had us watch this movie for class, and I was quite impressed. The acting is excellent: Diana Rigg was a perfect Hedda and everyone else was great too. The set and camera-work work wonderfully for telling the story (the setting is crucial to "Hedda Gabler"-they allow the audience to be close up and personal with the characters. The costumes were also lovely-Rigg looks amazing in every scene. The only problem I can see is the Isben mentioned in his stage notes that George Tesman was supposed to be fair (as is Thea Elvsted)and Ejlert Løvborg was supposed to be dark (as is Hedda) to emphasize the difference between the two sets of characters. I recommend this to anyone who is a fan of the play.