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Member's Reviews

Vertigo , a review by Dragonfire


Vertigo



One of Alfred Hitchcock's greatest cinematic achievements, Vertigo, celebrates its 50th anniversary with an all-new 2-disc Special Edition DVD! Set in San Francisco, Vertigo creates a dizzying web of mistaken identity, passion and murder after an acrophobic detective (James Stewart) rescues a mysterious blonde (Kim Novak) from the bay.

Recognized for excellence in AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies, this dreamlike thriller from the Master of Suspense is as entertaining today as it was 50 years ago. Featuring revealing bonus features and a digitally remastered picture, Vertigo is a "great motion picture that demands multiple viewings" (Leonard Maltin's Classic Movie Guide).

My Thoughts

This one is a bit...darker and more twisted than most of the other Hitchcock movies that I've seen.  That darkness works for the story, but it probably won't appeal to some people, even people who have liked other Hitchcock movies. 

The movie starts off showing a traumatic event that causes John to leave the police force.  He has an idea to slowly get use to his fear of heights to get over his vertigo, but his attempt to stand on a step stool doesn't end well.  When he is first approached by his old school friend Gavin about following his wife Madeline, John isn't interested and he tries to leave it by making suggestions of other people who can handle the job, but Gavin is insistent that John has to be the one to take the job.  John should have listened to his instincts, but he ends up being taking the job.  Gavin is worried that his wife has some sort of mental problem and he says that he needs more information before having her committed.  John spends some time following Madeline, lurking around while she does a few somewhat odd things.  After he saves her, John is pulled further into a bad situations and obsession develops.  The mystery - tied to exactly what is going on - works well and there is a good amount of suspense.  The tension and suspense do build slowly.

Scenes that deal with John following Madeline do move a bit slower, but that is needed to fully set up everything.  Things are more complicated than they seemed at first, and the time is needed to fully set up everything.  It doesn't take John long to develop an obsession with Madeline.  A few things that happen probably should have raised a question with him, but he is so far gone in his obsession that he misses those hints that things are not right.  There seems to be come resolution in the middle of the movie, but then more is revealed when John sees Judy, a woman who looks like Madeline, only with darker hair.  From the second he sees her, he isn't acting fully rational, and his obsession is in full swing.  As things progress, he slides further into the obsession, acting in more questionable ways.  I think the movie is more about John's breakdown.

The characters, especially John, are more complex and there are all sorts of flaws in them.  John's fear of heights is a believable problem, as is how it impacts his life.  He starts off as a likable character, but as the movie progresses, he does some things that make it a bit harder to like as more of his flaws come out.  That does make him a realistic character.  Madeline is a bit of a mystery and that does work well with what is going on in the movie.  Once Judy is introduced, more comes out about her and her motivations are understood more, but she also makes some bad decisions.

This movie is very good and entertaining, though it is far from a happy movie.  The ending is more bleak than the endings in several other Hitchcock movies, though from some things I've read about other Hitchcock movies, he wanted to go in different directions with some of them - I'm mainly thinking of Suspicion and how he was forced to change the ending. 

I still haven't seen all the extras on the DVD I have.  I did watch the foreign censor ending - or whatever it was called - again.  Hitchcock had to make the alternate ending to show the movie in some foreign countries.  I can't remember which ones at the moment.  That ending does tie up something else a bit more, but I think the original ending fits the movie better even though it is clearly darker and bleaker.



I went with 4 when I first reviewed the movie..now I'm thinking more of 4.5 or even 5.  I'm thinking I wasn't in quite the right mood to watch it the last time, so the slower build up didn't work as well for me then.

I posted a review on Epinions back in November of 2008, when I watched this one the first time I did an alphabet marathon.  I also posted about the movie here then too.

Vertigo



(From Alfred Hitchcock Marathon on July 20th, 2010)

Member's Reviews

Arcadia of My Youth, a review by Danae Cassandra




Arcadia of My Youth (Waga seishun no Arcadia)
Year of Release: 1982
Directed By: Tomoharu Katsumata
Starring: Makio Inoue, Kei Tomiyama, Reiko Tajima, Reiko Mutoo, Yuriko Yamamoto
Genre: Science-Fiction, Action, Anime

Overview:
Renowned Manga author Matsumoto Leiji's greatest creation, Captain Harlock, comes to the big screen in this magnificent film.

Set against the conquest of Earth by an alien empire, and drawing parallels to the post-WW2 occupation of Japan, Captain Harlock, together with those who will become his lifelong friends, battle against tyranny no matter what the cost.

As they fight the evil Illumidus Empire, the message of the film shines through: that one must stand up for one's beliefs, even when everyone else believes that slavery and suffering are preferable to the sharper pains endured by those who fight for freedom.

My Thoughts:
Old-school classic anime film that's still well worth watching.  Yes, the hand-drawn animation style looks dated, but so does most any animation from the 80's.  Don't be put off by this, there's a good story here and a lot of good things to take a way from this film. 

War is hell, but even an enemy may be a man of honor.  Collaborators, who prefer safe slavery to a fight, shortsightedly refuse to see that what the enemy does to others will come to them as well.  Valor, courage, honor and integrity are worth dying for.  Stand up for your beliefs; stand against tyranny.  Never submit to subjugation.  A life worth living is one you believe in; follow your dream.

This is a pretty rare DVD these days, so good luck getting a copy of this film to watch, but if you like space opera, sci-fi, or anime and ever get the chance, grab on.  You won't regret it.  It's subtitle only, though, so skip if you don't enjoy subs.

I live in freedom under my flag.

Bechdel Test: Fail

Overall: 4/5

(From Within My (Mom's) Lifetime Marathon on November 7th, 2015)

Member's TV Reviews

24: Season 7, a review by DJ Doena



Last weekend I watched the extended version of 24: Redemption and then the seventh season of 24.

The movie while still in "real time" was a nice change of pace with that african location and not having to save the world but just a group of orphans. That was a good idea and well done if you ask me.

The seventh season is a different matter. Don't get me wrong, I did really like it. It was way better than the fourth and fifth season and I'd say the show has turned upwards again since the beginning of the sixth season.

Let me first describe what I didn't like and then go to the good parts.

The season had many elements every previous season also had and that makes it somewhat predictable.
First and foremost, nobody trusts Jack and they only get in his way - everybody should know by now that Jack is always right.
Then there's this huge threat by "the man" that is resolved precisely after 12 hours and is replaced by the threat of "the man behind the man". So once the big bad is identified you know that he will be dead by half-time and the true evil will appear.
Then there's Jack's superior who makes always the wrong or the slow decision and is either killed this season or the next. The only exception to this rule was James Morrison's character Bill Buchanan who was introduced in the fourth season as Jack's new boss.
And then there are two conspiracies within the government, one on a political level and one on the personal level in close proximity to the president.

All the above applies also to the seventh season.

But they also made some changes. The two most important are the decommissioning of CTU and to give Jack a new (female) partner.
No one really knows why they did it - after all, CTU saved the day at least six times before, but they did. Bill was retired, Chloe a stay-at-home mom and Jack was on the run. Now he's back and he has to testify about his actions in front of a Senate hearing - which of course lasts only until the next crisis arises.
Jack only works in an advising capacity with FBI agent Renee Walker who is totally against methods such as torturing that have been used by the CTU and Jack. But this wouldn't be 24 if that resolution would survive the first contact with the enemy. Still she tries to restrain Jack and is actually getting through to him.
And we have a new president, a woman this time. And I really like her. She reminds me a lot of the late President David Palmer and that's a good thing in my book.
I also think that this was the first time I liked Kim Bauer and her behaviour. She's certainly grown as a person.
Another moment that I thought was impressive was when Jack changed his shirt and Renee could see all the scars that he has "collected" over the years and when it dawned to her what he himself endured (the scars the Chinese gave to his hands at the beginning of the sixth season were gone though - I assume it was a make-up decision to "forget" them or he would have to wear them all the time).
And the last thing I'd like to add is the topic of this year's longest day: That they questioned the reasonability of private army companies like BlackStarckwater and pointed out the danger that they represent.

The seventh season had an end that could have served as series finale but since there will be an eighth sure I am sure that I will tune in.

(From 24: Season 7 on September 16th, 2009)