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10/10: An all time fav
9/10: It was Fantastic
8/10: It was great
7/10: It was good
6/10: It was decent
5/10: It was average
4/10: It was dull
3/10: It was poor
2/10: It was bad
1/10: All time time least fav
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Shichinin no samurai (1954)
Kurosawa's iconic masterpiece
Kurosawa is rightfully held in high regard as a master of cinema and one of the most critically lauded filmmakers of all time. And yet, we seem to forget that many of Kurosawa's films had wide mainstream appeal to audiences, especially Seven Samurai. It is a masterfully crafted film with a great ensemble cast, but it's also just so entertaining. If you want an introduction to classic world cinema, there's no better place to start than Kurosawa's opus.
Det sjunde inseglet (1957)
A portrait of faith and mortality
Undoubtedly one of Bergman most well known a regard of masterpieces, The Seventh Seal certainty deserves it's distinction. The film masterfully conveys it's themes and ideas through striking Middle age imagery and great performances. It is all encompassed by the legendary Max von Sydow as the Knight and Bengt Ekerot, who's performance is with out question the definitive personification of Death.
Giù la testa (1971)
Leone's take on the Zapata western
This film sometimes feels forgotten about when compared to Leone's previous westerns. But it still has much of the same iconography and style that made those previous films great. It has some great character dynamics in an unique setting making it worth checking out.
La Belle et la Bête (1946)
Accept the fantasy before you
The film famously makes a request to the audience right at the beginning. To embrace a child like wonder and accept the conventions of a story emended with such fantasy. As an adult a lot of that childish wonder is lost. It's easy to look at something fantastic and dismiss it. But that wonder and fantasy is exactly what the film sets out to achieve. It's a delicate balance that the film excels at.
By all metrics a true Hollywood classic
The consensus is that Jaws marks the beginning of the summer Hollywood blockbusters. When the big studios began making big budgeted genre films with mass appeal. Of course that's what make's the film great, a simple high concept premise with memorable characters. Chief Brody, Hooper, and Quint aren't overtly complex characters, they're just regular people with unique experiences. Each has their own distinct and contrasting personality and are so endearing to the audience that you don't notice that the film barely shows the shark. Of course the film isn't without some thematic depth but it's all wrapped in an entertaining package with masterful direction of Spielberg. It's exhilarating, suspenseful, and exciting.
Yoidore tenshi (1948)
A great introduction for Kurosawa and Mifune
By this point in his career, Kurosawa had already developed a mastery of his craft that features many of the hallmarks found in his later masterpieces. While this film in particular is noted for bring both Kurosawa and Mifune together, it is Takashi Shimura's role as the abrasive but helpful doctor that truly brings in the film together. It's a great one.
A frustrating film that had has its moments but also has a lot of wasted potential
This movie has left I, and many other fans, divided and conflicted. The film simultaneously has many great elements and ideas but is nonetheless heavily flawed in its execution. Of course the whole discourse on human characters and story has become tiresome, especially when fans want to throw the whole series under the bus to defend this film. I find this to be especially disingenuous given Michael Dougherty's comments and approach leading up to the film.
He wanted the story to matter, to be grand epic and mythical. The only problem is that he's trying to do way too much. It has the superficial façade of a classic Godzilla film, but not enough of the substance and culture that made them memorable. The thing that made the original Godzilla films (the early 60s films in particular) special was their approach. While they were made as entertainment films, the filmmakers to care to occasionally add a message and a touch of humanism. They were not always successful, but they had an earnest soul that endeared them to fans what is sill makes them enjoyable all these decades later. Even Martin Scorsese is a fan of those early films, which he described as, "pictures that haunted the imaginations of young moviegoers like myself".
You can tell Dougherty's imagination is haunted by Godzilla, he loves the character and understands that the iconography of Godzilla can be used to tell a meaningful story. But he seems to be a tad too preoccupied with fan-service and botches a lot of the themes he sets out to explore, particularly the environmental ones. Of course even in terms of entertainment value the film ends up lacking, as the monsters are obscured by particular effects and the battles aren't choreographed well. Its frustrating because I really wanted to like this movie since it had the potential. And that's my biggest issue with this, and most Godzilla films post the 1970s. I don't want so-called "love-letters" to the old films. Rather I want to see these modern films improve and build on previous ones by using all the recourses at their disposal that originals never ever had. But instead the film it settles for superficiality. On a more positive note, the soundtrack from Bear McCreary is excellent, skillfully blending classic themes with new ones.
Kong: Skull Island (2017)
An entertaining adventure that gives Kong the opportunity to take-up a new role
What I really appreciate most about Kong Skull Island is that the film is not another remake. For as great a character Kong is, most of his Hollywood films have been about telling the same story from 1933. This film gives the character the opportunity to escape that distinction and do something new.
It also marks the beginning of the MonsterVerse series. Legendary makes a shift in tone when compared to the 2014 Godzilla film as Jordan Vogt-Roberts deliberately focuses on entertainment and spectacle. And it is really well done stylistic entertainment. While the human characters are decidedly utilitarian, Kong himself is given lots of personality. Much like the original Kong film, it values spectacle and by that metric it is quite successful.
A respectful if flawed interpretation that is nonetheless well made
I can vividly remember the hype and anxieties surrounding Legendary making a new American Godzilla. Would they get it right? Would it be good? The result is a film that has the ingredients to be great although falls short in execution. The film's greatest success is in Godzilla's character, choosing to characterize him as a natural and eternal force of nature. While I'll always prefer Godzilla as a menace, for a big budget Hollywood blockbuster that meant to able to general audiences it works.
Of course the human characters have been a point of debate for years. The ideas behind them are interesting although the actual execution is severely flawed. The first act does a great job in building up character and developing suspense only for the momentum to be lost with the removal of a certain character. It really handicaps the middle act although the climax is admittedly exciting and well done. Had the film not teased the action so much this probably would have been more forgivable although I do appreciate the restraint Edwards showed. The overall film is well made and has a grand sense of scale that makes one feel like you are truly caught in the midst's of the grand natural struggle. The film definitely has it's moments and I do appreciate this film for what it did as both a proper adaptation and as a good gateway entry for new fans.
Gojira: Fainaru uôzu (2004)
A messy sendoff that nonetheless has its moments
This is one of those movies where I am perpetually tore on. It's one of those Godzilla movies that I enjoyed when I was younger but has lost its luster over the years. In terms of both story and as a celebration of the character's history it is a mess. Given Kitamura's affinity for the 70s films it might seem reasonable to refer to the movie as a through back to the late Showa era, although the film's significant influence from Hollywood is reminiscent of the Heisei films. Godzilla is pretty badass in this film, mowing down foe after foe, which may be a good thing or a bad thing depending on who you ask. I will say that I definitely appreciate the film for being for such a unique an stylish romp and when it works, it works.
Interesting ideas for a decent result
Megaguirus often gets the short end of the Millienium Films as it is typically seen as a porotype for the story seen Masaaki Tezuka's later film, Godzilla against Mechagodzilla. The latter film certainly proves superior as the story in this film feels aimless at times. Perhaps a symptom of franchise fatigue that this entry comes of as rather dull and unremarkable though there are things to appreciate. Megaguirus is an interesting opponent for Godzilla and the original soundtrack is fantastic.
Gojira ni-sen mireniamu (1999)
An enjoyable return to form.
Coming off of the heels of the much maligned 98 film, Toho quickly brought back the true King of the Monsters. Of course a consequence of this fast tracked production is that the film contains a lot of interesting ideas that would benefit from more exploration. Indeed the main thing working against most of Toho's Godzilla films is not budget but time. The 90s Gamera films had around half of the budget of the Godzilla films but are widely considered to be superior. And while to the veteran Godzilla fan this film might not be a standout, it is definitely a welcome return to form with enough creativity and entertainment to be worth checking out. Also, while many fans consider the American cut to be superior, I enjoy both the Japanese and American about as equally.
Brother From Another Planet
This is another fun episode with an alien mascaraing as Ultraman an featuring a guest appearance from Yoshio Tsuchiya. The episode also gives more time for Hayata and Hishino to directly interact. Alien Zarab has a cool design and the fight between the two Ultraman is fun.
Girl Shy (1924)
A wonderful Harold Lloyd classic
Silent films are a real treat in that the best films offer a window in the ingenuity and creativity of filmmakers in the early era of film. With this film Harold Lloyd blends his trademark comedy with a stronger focus on character and romance. It's simple but Harold Lloyd and Jobyna Ralston have a charming onscreen chemistry that accentuates much of the film's comedy.
Gojira vs. Desutoroiâ (1995)
It isn't a perfect finale but it manages to deliver some emotion
Giving room for the inevitable American remake, Toho finally brings the series to a close. Depending on who you ask, the film is either an emotional sendoff or a tad too shallow of a conclusion. The emotion of the film really relies on how much you are attached to the character of Godzilla. It definitely ties to tie itself to the original by the returning character of Emiko, but she isn't given a proper resolution. Destoroyah, while a cool monster, takes away from Godzilla and falls into the overly referential to Hollywood aspects of the Heisei era. Still when Godzilla takes centerstage in the finale the emotion works.
Gojira vs. Supesugojira (1994)
Not one of the Heisei's finest but still decent.
This one is probably considered by fans as one of the lesser 90s films. Knowing that Toho was essentially buying time for the American film, it's easy to see why they resorted to a Godzilla vs another Godzilla story. I personally enjoy SpaceGodzilla as a villain and have a soft spot for the music. It's not perfect as the plot goes on tangents and the action is at times overbearing but I find some enjoyment out of it.
Gojira vs. Mekagojira (1993)
One of the more interesting of the 90s films.
Out of the latter Heisei movies, Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla II is perhaps the most satisfying entry. I personally like the introduction of an infant Godzilla. Not only does it allow for a personal connection to develop with our protagonists, but it also gives a more understandable motivate for Godzilla. The whole "Life vs Artificial Life" isn't explored enough but the film has enough substance to enhance the action.
The Lawless Monster Zone
One of the most action packed episodes of the original series that does a great job of putting the Science Patrol through the ringer. It also marks the arrival of iconic monsters such as Red King and Pigmon.
Gojira vs. Mosura (1992)
Embodies the issues with the Heisei seires.
This film would have to be one of the Godzilla films I care out the least, especially from the Heisei era. It exemplifies a lot of the issues of the rest of the Heisei series by relying a bit too much on the past as well as talking more conspicuous influences from Hollywood. Right from the beginning the movie's opening sequence makes an overt reference to the original Mothra vs. Godzilla and a plot that lifts much inspiration from the original Mothra. But it lacks the humanism of those original films and the message presents itself in a rather ham-fisted manner. The characters are decent but pale in comparison with the likeable charisma of those from it's 1964 predecessor. The effects also aren't up to snuff with Mothra being far too stiff when compared to the original Showa version. And the battle between Godzilla, Mothra, and Battra doesn't have the same excitement and creativity as its predecessors. At the very least the score from Ifukube is fantastic, remixing and enhancing his previous compositions with a bombastic and ethereal quality. The film had potential but failed to build on those that came before it.
Gojira vs. Kingu Gidorâ (1991)
Defining the Heisei series
Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah really solidifies much of the trappings of the rest of the Heisei series. It starts the trend of relying on old familiar foes and taking more overt influences from Hollywood. The last two films were promising in that, despite their faults, they were seeking to create new stories and explore new themes. That's not to say the film is bad or doesn't have things that are enjoyable. For as loosely developed and convoluted the story is at times, the action really excels and some of the effects work is impressive (even if at times Ghidorah is a little too stiff). Ifukube returning to the series is also an added plus. It's also a pleasure to see Yoshio Tsuchiya return bringing in some pathos to his role. It's not one of the films that I prefer but it's still decent fun.
Uchû daikaijû Dogora (1964)
An interesting monster for an average film
As a whole, Dogora is one of the least remarkable films from Toho's golden age of science fiction and monster movies. The premise is a creative one, mixing gangster crime elements with an imaginative monster unlike anything seen before. Perhaps it's a consequence of director Honda and writer Sekizawa having already made two Godzilla films that same year (which are both classics) that there wasn't enough time to develop this story. Despite a great, if repetitive soundtrack, and a cool monster, the film isn't all that memorable.
A strong start to one of the Ultra series finest.
The Return of Ultraman is often considered to be the best of the Showa Ultraman series and this is evident from the first episode. Of course, at the helm of the episode is Ishiro Honda who, despite his animosity towards television, makes a strong impression establish MAT and Goh's humanity.
The original kaiju fairy tale
The original Mothra is on par with the original Godzilla as one of the finest films in the genre. In many ways it's more enjoyable than the original Godzilla with a greater focus on fantasy and a more optimistic tone. Of course being a lighthearted doesn't mean the film can't have some social commentary. While made as an entertainment picture, there is a touch of social critique regarding commercial greed and colonialist exploitation through a villain who seeks to profit off of the twin fairies. To quote Steve Ryfle, "it's lighthearted fun with a touch of the serious".
Screenwriter Shinichi Sekizawa makes Mothra a sympathetic creature to the point in which despite the destruction she causes the audience wants her to triumph. The characters are simple but really likable, played by some of Toho's finest actors at the time. The effects work blows the original Godzilla out of the water with incredibly detailed miniatures and a grand sense of scale. The wirework on Mothra is extremely well done as her limbs and wings wiggle with life. Yuji Koseki delivers a score that gives the film a Hollywood feel that emphasizes the fantasy with beautiful melodies from the fairies. Mothra is less of a monster movie and more of a fairy tale. A fantasy with heart with an undeniable influence on the genre.
Gojira tai Mekagojira (1974)
A bombastic and colorful romp that introduces an iconic foe.
As an overall whole, this is one of Fukuda's least refined works, as the characters and action elements are not as effective or as entreatingly colorful as in his prior work. But it's still really fun. The alien villains are in enjoyable in both their ape form and human disguises. The action overall action is really great with Teruyoshi Nakano being given a higher budget to deliver on his specialty of pyrotechnic explosions. The battles are exciting and accentuated by the grand bombastic score by Masaru Sato. Every Sato Godzilla score is unique and and this film has some of his best work. While there are other Mechagodzilla films that I prefer, this is a good debut for one of the series' most iconic character.
Les parapluies de Cherbourg (1964)
An absolutely beautiful symphony of emotion.
A small detail that I love about The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is right in the beginning when Guy leaves the mechanic shop to meet with Geneviève. A discussion of film versus opera comes up in which one of the coworkers expresses their dislike of opera due to all the sing. It's a little self aware jab at the audience from Demy about not being open minded to musicals. Of course being a musical isn't all what makes this film great, although it does accentuate it. indeed it's the story and emotion conveyed through it's melodies that makes the film absolutely beautiful and bittersweet.