Author Topic: Antares' Short Summations  (Read 128156 times)

Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #285 on: August 28, 2013, 04:10:24 AM »
Gate of Hell (1953) 78/100 - This has to be one of the most beautifully shot films I've ever had the pleasure of viewing. From the opening battle scenes to the suspenseful climactic ending, this is a Technicolor wet dream. Supposedly, the film and the color process used to make this film had the undesired effect of fading extensively as the years went by. I don't know how they did it, but this has to be one of the most stunning re-masterings you'll ever see. It's as if someone painted with a color diversity as vibrant as a Crayola 64 pack. I'm harping on the sumptuous cinematography because the story itself, kind of plods along at a somewhat tortoise like pace. There's the usual amount of over exposition early in the film and although it only clocks in at 89 minutes, kind of feels forced at times. But this is all rectified by the hauntingly beautiful and tragic ending to the story. Machiko Kyô is really the only stand out performance, but I was surprised to see the the main lead was played by the same actor who portrayed the vengeful kabuki actor in An Actor's Revenge. He holds his own, but this would have been a plum role for Toshirô Mifune as he would have played the maniacal tendencies in Morito with much more range and screen presence. If you thought the cinematography in both Kagemusha and Ran was excellent, then do check this film out. You'll be surprised that it rivals those two beautiful films.

What the color coding means...

Teal = Masterpiece
Dark Green = Classic or someday will be
Lime Green = A good, entertaining film
Orange = Average
Red = Cinemuck
Brown = The color of crap, which this film is
« Last Edit: October 04, 2013, 12:40:15 AM by Antares »

Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #286 on: August 28, 2013, 04:11:34 AM »
Far from Heaven (2002) 70/100 - This was a serviceable film, but after it was done, I didn't feel anything for the characters. The cinematography was very vibrant, as if the director was trying to capture the feel of one of those 50's technicolor melodramas like Peyton Place or Giant. But the screenplay kind of felt forced, especially when two hot button topics are highlighted. To me, this film kind of felt like The Donna Reed Show meets East Side, West Side. It has all the look of a squeaky clean 50's environment, but is peppered with enough angst and guilt to make it appear smarmy. And for me, it doesn't quite work. If it had chosen to go down one of the paths, instead of the two divisive elements, it probably would have rung truer for me. My wife really liked it and I trust her thoughts and opinions on films, so I'll have to revisit this one again.

What the color coding means...

Teal = Masterpiece
Dark Green = Classic or someday will be
Lime Green = A good, entertaining film
Orange = Average
Red = Cinemuck
Brown = The color of crap, which this film is

Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #287 on: September 13, 2013, 01:03:26 AM »
Umberto D. (1952) 89/100 - At first, I wasn't sure if I was going to make it through this film. The main character, Umberto, is a surly septuagenarian who I found no feelings for right from the start. But then, after Umberto saves Flike from the dog pound, and its inevitable consequences, I started to see the human side of this lonely, desperate man. I could step inside his shoes, because I have no children, my wife is six years older than me and I've passed the half century mark in age. What if my wife dies first? I'm not very close to my sisters. Will I be discarded by society and its ever changing feelings towards its elder population? This movie puts it all on the plate, and it does it very well. I don't think it is a film that I will re-visit very often, because quite frankly, it scares the shit out of me on a personal level. But overall, I'd highly recommend it.

What the color coding means...

Teal = Masterpiece
Dark Green = Classic or someday will be
Lime Green = A good, entertaining film
Orange = Average
Red = Cinemuck
Brown = The color of crap, which this film is

Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #288 on: September 25, 2013, 03:13:02 AM »
Roxie Hart (1942) 75/100 - Lots of fun and surprises in this film. First, I didn't realize that this was directed by William A. Wellman, a director known more for his drama films. Also, I didn't know that this was the inspiration for the musical Chicago. Ginger Rogers, an actress I'm embarrassed to say I don't know or have seen many films by, is outstanding in the title role. At times, she kind of goes over the top a bit, but the character tends to lend itself to being flamboyant, so it works. Wellman does an adequate job with the material and the pacing, but I kind of wonder what this film would have been like if say Preston Sturges or Howard Hawks had directed it. I think it would probably be better remembered today, alongside the more famous screwball comedies of the era.

What the color coding means...

Teal = Masterpiece
Dark Green = Classic or someday will be
Lime Green = A good, entertaining film
Orange = Average
Red = Cinemuck
Brown = The color of crap, which this film is

Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #289 on: October 02, 2013, 12:00:06 AM »
The Big Parade (1925) 85/100 - After finishing this film I finally came to realize why I love silent films so much. Not being tied to a sound stage and studio, the films of this era had a realism that would disappear in Hollywood until after the Second World War and the advent of hand held cameras. The battle scenes in this epic film definitely rival those of Wings and All Quiet on the Western Front, two seminal war films made just a few years later. But you never, ever hear much about this movie. I can't understand this because Gilbert was a much bigger star than either Buddy Rogers or Lew Ayres, and this film has all the realism of those two much more famous offerings from the same time period. Hopefully now that Warner Bros. have released it in a new pristine DVD offering, more people will see this very entertaining blockbuster of the silent screen. After I finished watching the film, I went on the web and did a little research on the film, and its actors. Sadly, three of the principle leads would have their life cut short by tragedies. John Gilbert would suffer a heart attack, brought about by years of increasing alcoholism, at the age of 38, after his career was sabotaged by Louis B. Mayer, Renée Adorée would die from tuberculosis at the young age of 35 and Karl Dane (Slim) would commit suicide after countless calamities befell him after his career had waned.

What the color coding means...

Teal = Masterpiece
Dark Green = Classic or someday will be
Lime Green = A good, entertaining film
Orange = Average
Red = Cinemuck
Brown = The color of crap, which this film is

Offline Piffi

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #290 on: October 02, 2013, 12:03:37 AM »
I really enjoy reading your reviews! Alot of great older classics. Giving me some great ideas =)
We'll Always Have Paris.


Thomas

Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #291 on: October 04, 2013, 12:38:00 AM »
I really enjoy reading your reviews! Alot of great older classics. Giving me some great ideas =)

Thanks for the response. Lately I've been hesitant about posting them here because it seems like I'm the only one writing nowadays, with Jon being MIA. If you're into old, classic films, here's a link to my Top 100 of all time, it's loaded with films from the Golden Age.

Also, if you're interested, here's another link to a thread on another forum, where we showcase a forum member's Top 100 each month. Those who participate have to watch at least one film that's new to you, and write a review before the month ends. It's very enlightening and entertaining at the same time. We've been doing it for eight months now, and it's lots of fun.

Offline Piffi

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #292 on: October 04, 2013, 11:59:49 PM »
hey, dont be! ;) i really enjoy reading your reviews and other reviews. Gives me great ideas! So dont stop please. I write once i watch a movie. But havent had any time lately to watch any. Hopefully this month i will be able to check out a few. And thanks for the cool links. I checked it out, and there was a few titles i want!
We'll Always Have Paris.


Thomas

Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #293 on: October 09, 2013, 06:04:33 PM »
Libeled Lady (1936) 79/100 - I avoided this film for years because I've never much cared for the acting "talents" of Jean Harlow. Plus, I made the mistake of thinking this was a drama, not a comedy. When it was about to start on TCM, Robert Osborne mentioned that it was considered a screwball classic, so I decided to give it a shot. Turned out to be a well scripted farce with great performances from Myrna Loy, William Powell and Walter Connolly. Harlow and Tracy's performances both felt a bit forced. I know that Tracy is considered one of the all time greats, but just like his mistress, Katharine Hepburn, the early performances tend to show an indulgence in over exuberance in delivery of lines. I don't think he really got it right until he made Captain's Courageous two years later. Getting back to the film, I'm surprised that this hasn't been remade because its premise is timeless, especially in a society today where even the slightest misfire by someone is grounds for litigation.

What the color coding means...

Teal = Masterpiece
Dark Green = Classic or someday will be
Lime Green = A good, entertaining film
Orange = Average
Red = Cinemuck
Brown = The color of crap, which this film is
« Last Edit: February 07, 2014, 01:06:38 AM by Antares »

Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #294 on: October 09, 2013, 06:50:01 PM »
Finding Neverland (2004) 3.5/5 - My childhood years were spent on athletic fields, and not much time was spent playing fanciful, imaginative role playing games with other children. So it may come as no surprise that I have never read Peter Pan nor seen Disney's famous animated film of the same name. But after watching this rather creative and fanciful tale of the story's creation and creator, I'm probably going to give it a whirl. Granted, the historical aspects of the screenplay are dubious at best, but by the end of the film, I was bawling like a baby. There are moments that tend to drag just a bit, but it is all worth it once you get to the end of the story. There are two truly priceless moments that come towards the end of the film and should been seen by anyone who enjoys a creative twist to telling a story. The first comes when the author sets aside 25 tickets on opening night for selected children from an orphanage to come and see the play. They are randomly seated throughout the theater, and their presence is at first, looked upon with a sense of disdain by the entirely adult, upper class patrons who are there. But as the play begins, their spontaneous moments of giddy joy, break down the icy veneer of the adults, and for the remainder of the play, help to revert the adults to an earlier, innocent time in their lives, and this makes the play's opening night a success. The other moment deals with the death of a character, and due to being a an important spoiler in the film, I won't go into it. But it is used as a transition to a beautiful and touching scene involving the author and one of the children who was the inspiration for Peter Pan's character in the book. It takes place on a park bench and serves as a defining moment, not only in the author's life, but in the child's life also. As I said earlier, by this moment in the film, not only was I was shedding copious amounts of tears over the subject matter, but also at how beautifully created these scenes were projected. Some will probably say that it was all blatantly manipulative, and maybe it is, but I feel sorry for these people, because it is done so magnificently. I gave it a 3.5 rating out of 5, but it's a high 3.5. I would have rated it higher, but at times, the film become a little too fanciful and it can be a little too saccharine. But that being said, I recommend it to anyone with a powerful or creative imagination, it can make you feel young again.

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #295 on: October 09, 2013, 06:50:49 PM »
The Ides of March (2011) 3/5 - Maybe it's just me, but I like my political films to have a little bit of bite to them. And that is what is sadly missing from this film. It's all a little too neat and the story just doesn't suck you in the way a good political drama should. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti are great as usual, but the other actors are pretty blah and seem to be just going through the motions. Maybe this is what Clooney was looking for, but it makes for a rather ho hum film.

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #296 on: October 09, 2013, 06:53:29 PM »
The Bunker (1981) 3.5/5 - Sandwiched in between the performances of Alec Guinness and Bruno Ganz was another TV adaptation starring Anthony Hopkins. As with the Guinness version, you get only a fleeting glimpse into the mindset of Adolf Hitler. For the most part, both portrayals only showcase the bi-polar aspect of Hitler's personality, and really only shine when he's throwing a fit. One wonders, when watching, how an entire nation of people could be hypnotized by someone so unstable. With Bruno Ganz's interpretation, you get a sense of the beguiling and charismatic nature of Adolf Hitler, especially when he's talking to Traudl Junge. But like Alec Guinness before him, Anthony Hopkins only shines when he's losing control, berating his general staff. The depiction of the events in this version does add a sense of gloom and desperation that is lacking in the previous story, and therefore keeps your interest throughout its duration. But once again, as with the Guinness version, it is only viewable as a comparison piece to the far superior Der Untergang.

Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #297 on: October 09, 2013, 06:54:55 PM »
Keeping Mum (2005) 3/5 - I love the Brits sense of humor, it can be so dark, cynical and witty. Keeping Mum is in this vein, and although it does bring forth a chuckle from time to time, the laughs are few and far between. Maggie Smith is great as the psychopathic 'Mary Poppins', but the rest of the cast really doesn't have much to do. Rowan Atkinson is really wasted here, as he is only given a few brief moments where he chimes in with a bit of slapstick. But I will give a nod to Tamsin Egerton, who I have never heard of or seen before, but is an amazingly beautiful young woman.

Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #298 on: October 09, 2013, 06:56:05 PM »
20,000 Years in Sing Sing (1932) 3/5 - Of the films I've seen starring Spencer Tracy made prior to his Oscar winning role in Captain's Courageous in 1937, he comes across as trying too hard put a specific spin towards the characters he's playing. It comes across, at times, as awkward or amateurish and it is full display in the Michael Curtiz film 20,000 years in Sing Sing. I can't quite put my finger on it, but he doesn't seem believable for a second as the tough hoodlum sent to prison by a back stabbing accomplice. The film itself, is pretty straightforward and doesn't deviate from the prison films of the time. The only saving grace has to be Bette Davis as Tracy's love interest Fay. This was probably her first starring role and she makes the most of it. Nowhere to be seen is the grande dame persona she would emanate in future films and it is refreshing to watch her in her unfettered glory. This is the Bette Davis that I like, not the Margot Channing diva that she would become just a few years later. I also have to give a nod to Arthur Byron as the sympathetic warden. When people write about the films of the golden era, they all tend to mention the main stars. But what makes most of these films golden, is the supporting cast of great character actors. This is something that I feel is sorely missing today from mainstream films. Today, all of the supporting cast are all so plastic, interchangeable Stepford facsimiles. Actors such as Byron, Thomas Mitchell, Donald Meek, Roscoe Karnes and Gene Lockhart gave film making it's rich depth.

Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #299 on: October 09, 2013, 07:21:35 PM »
Bridesmaids (2011) 1/5 - FFS, I wish they would just cancel Saturday Night Live so that the world wouldn't be subjected to the unfunny solo ventures of their lame alumni. My wife and I did not once, even blurt out a mild chuckle during this piece of shit. Trying excruciatingly hard to be The Hangover on estrogen, this plodded along like a string of endless, cringe worthy skits from that long since banal show. I really felt bad for Jill Clayburgh, what a way to end a career. I can guarantee that I won't be watching any sequel that springs forth from the pen of Kristen Wiig. She may not be as unfunny as Amy Poehler, but she's just as one dimensional.