Friday, December 20, 2019

The Rise Of Skywalker

There is so much I want to say but just can't say.

The bottom line is you should go see this movie. I didn't really know what to expect but I left that theater with a huge smile on my face and a lot of excitement. You think I'd be bummed out to see it end but I'm practically ecstatic! Screw the 53%, you have to make the decision for yourself. I've only gathered four reviews from YouTube reviewers that I watch and two were negative while two were positive, but in the end it is your own personal opinion that tips the scale. I really, really enjoyed this movie! If a movie can make my jaw drop more than a handful of times then clearly they did something right, and I was shocked quite a few times actually but not out of anger or disbelief. I was overjoyed with 99% of the story choices they made, the 1% I didn't like well...I bet you already know what it is. And every story and character decision they made worked very well, now I can see some people walking out of this movie howling betrayal and calling bullshit, but I have some sage advice that even rivals Master Yoda's. It's a movie chill out. You don't have to agree with everything they did and that's fine, but to possibly walk out of this movie feeling it was a waste of time and effort would be lying to yourself. There's lots of good things in this movie. The story is very much focused on Rey and Kylo, each building their own power and the power of their allies in a battle for the galaxy with twists and turns throughout. I love what they did with Rey and making her much more powerful after gathering the Jedi books and even is being taught by Leia. That's so cool! The first like five minutes of the movie, it could have been longer because I was so swept up in it, was just almost pornography to my eyes and ears with the screaming engines of TIE Fighters, the rising of Star Destroyers, and Kylo Ren being everything I wished him to be. You knew how to make me very happy Mr. Abrams and I have to say thank you for it. I'm actually really happy one of my ideas for Star Wars being handled by Disney was actually done, they take bits and pieces of previous expanded universe stories and just tweak them to fit the new storyline they made. I've been asking for that since 2016, and they have a goldmine to use! Even with horrible expanded universe stories there are still strong aspects you could take and utilize. So the story is great, the characters and their interactions are very strong now more than ever, the action actually has weight and tension because it's the last movie and if Monstervision has taught me anything, anybody can die at anytime. It was bittersweet seeing Carrie one last time and did get me emotional on numerous occasions, but the way they handled her was great and I'm just happy to have seen her one last time. It's such a shame we've lost so many beloved actors of this franchise but as long as we remember them they're never really gone. I really enjoyed the dive into both Jedi and Sith religions, and maybe it's just because I've been brushing up on the Book Of Sith but there was a lot to take in. I feel this movie is so much more for the hardcore Star Wars fan and maybe not so much regular audiences, because some crazy stuff goes down and to a fan I know this has been done before and I really enjoy seeing it on the big screen, but to your average moviegoer it might be a tough pill to swallow and they'll have questions and complaints. I get it, it's understandable. But the film explains many aspects and the answers you don't get can still be reached. It's just a matter of opening yourself to accept the answers and the truth of the matter. I wasn't disappointed at all and had a great time to the point where if I died tomorrow I'd be alright knowing I got to see the end of my favorite movies ever. But now the question remains, where does this rank? Now this will be just the Skywalker saga so no TV shows, no spinoff movies, just Episodes I-IX. Here we go.

9. Attack Of The Clones
8. The Phantom Menace
7. Return Of The Jedi
6. Revenge Of The Sith
5. The Last Jedi
4. The Force Awakens
3. The Rise Of Skywalker
2. A New Hope
1. The Empire Strikes Back

So let it be written. So let it be done. 4 stars, a solid 8.5/10 maybe even a 9/10, a must see before the end of the decade. This will be a day long remembered for those who remember, for those who will never forget, and for a whole new generation who will experience it for the very first time.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Long Have I Waited...

I'm not ready. I know in my heart I'm not. And yet I am. It's strange, I've already kind of went through this almost 15 years ago with Revenge Of The Sith which is the only Star Wars movie I recall seeing in theaters though I'm sure I saw the re-releases in 1997 and The Phantom Menace in 1999. I thought it was over after that. No more Star Wars. It wasn't a dark age, new comics, video games, and shows were being released but when it came to movies it truly was the end. Now I know Lucasfilm will continue making other Star Wars movies but just the fact tomorrow is the conclusion to the story I have been watching since I was 2 or 3 years old is a strong thing to come to terms with. I was much more accepting of it strangely as a teenager, because it wrapped the story up but now since The Force Awakens I get to experience my own trilogy on opening day one after the other. No joke, I never saw all the prequels in theaters, I owned Episode 1 on VHS, I rented Episode 2 before I even owned it, and only saw Episode 3 in theaters. So this is much more my trilogy in many ways than the prequels of my youth. I was excited to hear that Disney was gonna make more Star Wars movies and I didn't mind that a new movie was coming out every year. Yes you could argue it's the mother of all cash cows but they put resources and time into each of the movies, and while some were not stories that needed to be told they were fun regardless. I really enjoyed The Force Awakens and still do, I took it for what it was and appreciated a humble start to a new slate of films. Granted you read the concept story for it and it is a wild trip that I wouldn't mind seeing, but I understood why they did it that way. The Last Jedi, I didn't hate but I did have conflicted thoughts on it that I needed to see again to form a solid opinion on. I liked what they did with Luke, Snoke was interesting and while it does suck we couldn't have Andy for the full trilogy I could accept he was a stepping stone for Kylo, I totally crush on Rose because let's face facts Kelly Marie Tran is a precious creature, and it no doubt will shatter my heart to see Carrie one last time. This will be the most emotional movie for me, though Revenge Of The Sith did hold great joy and victory in my eyes. PS. I do support Reylo, I want it! I want it so bad! A semi-Jedi/semi-Sith relationship would be so cool. We've seen such relationships before, and I feel it would make for an interesting dynamic. I hope Kylo becomes a full fledged Sith that's his big journey, through every movie he gets closer to that status. I still am fully behind the Empire and the First Order and forever will be, I swear it will be a joy to see a Victory class Star Destroyer crewed by First Order officers and stormtroopers. I just want them to win. Would the world end if the Empire won in the end? It's better than supporting terrorists and rebel scum who should all be shot in the back. I think they mixed the titles up, it should have been The Force Awakens then The Rise Of Skywalker then The Last Jedi. Just think about it. It makes sense, not only if you read all the titles together but storywise. The force awakened in Rey, Luke Skywalker rised from grumpy hermit to Jedi legend, Rey is the last Jedi in this final movie. Come on! At least I could have hope that Kylo and dark Rey would win and rule the galaxy! This some bullshit. But regardless I just expect a celebration of the Star Wars universe in this final movie with an ending that can fully end the chapter and close the book on this story. I'm still waiting on what happened to Thrawn and I was really hoping he would pop up in this but it seems unlikely, and likewise I've heard tale of Ahsoka Tano maybe coming into play. I'd flip right the hell out over that let me tell you now. Man even if dark Rey is just a nightmare or a vision I've been saying this since the first movie, she needed a double bladed lightsaber, and especially after the lightsaber splits I thought she would make her own lightsaber, not duct tape that thing together! Oh well, I'm excited and happy to see a new Star Wars movie tomorrow and it will be our final review of this year and this decade. I'm still reeling from that thought process but until next time friends.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

The Star Wars Holiday Special

Well how about that, two birds with one stone. You get a holiday special and something Star Wars before Episode 9.

What....was that? I can't even believe I just watched that. I have lived for almost 25 years and only now have just watched the Star Wars Holiday Special. I don't even know what to say. What can you say about it? Do I describe the special or talk about it's impact that surprisingly is still felt today? Well why not both. We really got to dig into this. So this special was conceived by George Lucas to help Star Wars remain in the public consciousness, which sort of baffles me because it was released just one year after Star Wars came out and honestly who could forget Star Wars? And I'm talking in 1978, no retroactively thinking. Do you know how much money that film made? It was only the highest grossing film ever, and won several Academy Awards, with an armada of merchandise and one hell of a fanbase that stretched the world over. It was said that when George watched the finished product he couldn't believe it and said it seemed like a cheap cash grab, and memorably went on to say if he had the time he would track down every known copy and smash it with a sledgehammer. So how did it garner such an unparalleled hatred in the Star Wars community that would make the prequels look like some of the finest films ever made? Well the story centers around Chewbacca and Han trying to get to Chewie's home planet (before it was called Kashyyk) to celebrate a traditional Wookie holiday known as Life Day. We mostly spend the special though with Chewie's family, which doesn't sound like a horrible idea until you realize the special doesn't even have subtitles or a translator on standby to fill you in on what the Wookies are actually saying. Some people say it's ear bleedingly bad, but I didn't have much of a problem with it and strangely enough there's multiple vignettes peppered throughout the special because, whoopsie daisy someone lost the plot, so pretty much 85 to 90% of the special is just pure filler. It's not even good filler with worldbuilding aspects and interesting characters that you can grasp from such moments. And to be honest, our main cast don't look that well, Harrison was dragged into it, poor Mark looks like a Ken doll though it is serendipitous to hear how comfortable and good he sounds as a voice actor, and Carrie dear sweet Carrie you can sing honey but that was hard to sit through. What sidetracking filler is there you might ask? Well, there's holographic circus performers, a cooking show by what looks like the evil stepmother from Cinderella, a moment that should never have been created let alone televised and was flat out stated by the producer to be soft core porn, an instructional video to create a radio transciever, a very 1970s looking cartoon, an odd yet very enjoyable I guess short musical with Bea Arthur, oh yeah and a Jefferson Starship music video. I would just like to say, WHAT THE F***?? And guess what, apparently the writer of this special did a lot of cocaine and you know what, I couldn't tell! Everything just gels so impeccably well! Oh sweet baby Yoda, save me. Okay. Breathe. First of all, if you are a fan of 70s television you will recognize the three guest stars of this programme, Art Carney, Harvey Korman, and Bea Arthur, all very talented and funny people. So what cracking material were they given here? Well Harvey Korman dresses as a woman during the cooking segment and plays a faulty replicant in the instructional segment, and I can safely say is wasted tremendously. Art Carney plays a friend of Chewbacca's family, and honestly he seems like he's trying but this writing is just ass. Bea Arthur is the best part of the special period just as a barkeep of a cantina on Tatooine, and I won't lie I loved her segment. In fact, there was quite a bit I enjoyed! Bea Arthur as a bartender on Tatooine sounds like the biggest waste ever, but it works for me, I fully believe her in the part and she's actually pretty funny, it feels like a real bar and just has nice little moments to it, and even when they burst into a musical number (For some weird reason?) I still have a blast with it. And yeah, let's talk about Jefferson Starship previously known as Jefferson Airplane, I honestly and truthfully want this band to be a really real thing in the Star Wars universe. It is totally random and out of nowhere, but damn do I like that song. I really dig the cartoon segment too, it has such a unique art style and is probably the most well known part of the special. It introduced the character of Boba Fett for the first time ever, and really kickstarted his popularity, and I totally get it now! I always really liked Boba Fett but I seriously have much more appreciation and love for the character now. No wonder he caught on so much with fans, badass look, great voice, cool personality, rides a frigging aquatic dragon lookin' thing, is flat out called the best bounty hunter in the galaxy by Lord Vader himself, he's pretty amazing for such a short appearance. So yes there is stuff to enjoy here but man do you have to put up with some absolute fluff to get to it. I was honestly shocked at how much stuff you see in this special that is brought up in the future of the series. The Wookie houses are identical in art style to today's, several of the aliens in the cantina we continue to see in the series that weren't in the original Star Wars, that cool cattle prod thing Boba Fett used is in The Mandalorian, and Chewbacca's family and Life Day are still considered canon by Disney. It's a part of this amazing pop culture dynasty, and while is not exactly the most highly acclaimed piece of Star Wars media even I can't condemn it too much. Beyond that one scene, which shall never be spoken of or even slightly mentioned by anyone or I will feed your carcass to a Rancor, I didn't hate it all that much. It truly is a coked out, rambling, incoherent, and the most worthless piece of fluff ever conceived but you know what? I'd still rather watch it than The Phantom Menace or Attack Of The Clones. Phantom Menace had Darth Maul and the climactic duel. Attack Of The Clones had Christopher Lee clones? This had Jefferson Starship, Bea Arthur, and even a few nice moments between characters. It's not very good, but I can live with it. I give it, 1.5 stars so check it out if you're morbidly curious. The whole thing is on the Youtubes, and if you got an hour and a half to spare and just want to laugh and make jokes, give it a shot. I think I'm so burnt out right now, I don't even care. I just gave an okay review to The Star Wars Holiday Special. I think it's a good thing I only have one more review for the year. Tune in next time for the end of the Skywalker saga and a final chapter to my childhood.

Friday, December 13, 2019


Happy Friday the 13th everyone!

It was a toss up between this and Black Christmas this year, but I felt Krampus was much more the Christmas movie than a horror film with a Christmas backdrop. It's definitely an unconventional Christmas movie but certainly one that shouldn't be dismissed. Our old friend Michael Dougherty returns to give us another great holiday film, centered around a young boy named Max who feels that Christmas isn't what it used to be and with the arrival of his relatives feels very disillusioned with the holiday and rips his letter to Santa into shreds, which causes the arrival of the mirror universe equivalent of Santa Claus the eponymous Krampus. Yes, I know Krampus is very much a deeply rooted historical figure in Europe like Saint Nicholas but I'm a geek, I make Star Trek jokes, so sue me. As far as my knowledge goes this was a very average movie in the eyes of both critics and audiences, if anything it fits the Trick r' Treat status being a cult classic film that slowly gets more of an audience each year. I'm not entirely sure what people expected this movie to be but I really liked it! It's not a straight up horror movie, it's PG-13, it has a bit of emphasis on comedy, while it starts going down to the wire early on in the movie there's not much in terms of scares. It's more like a Gremlins situation, where the creepy stuff is there but it's never focused on. I can see that upsetting major horror fans, and I can see people really not enjoying the Christmas aspect, it does fall inbetween genres but if you're in the right mindset and just want to see a well made, creative, and interesting movie that goes against the grain of this particular time of the year then give it a go. There's a lot to like in the movie and I really have no qualms watching it every December. I love the family interactions in this movie, they hit that so spot on and it really does feel like a situation countless individuals face, seeing relatives during the holidays that you could honestly live without seeing. And yeah, if I had some stereotypical redneck relatives coming to my house for Christmas I'd be in a less than jolly mood too, but as the movie goes on and when push comes to shove you can see they don't hate each other and find common ground with each other, they're still family and after saving each others asses a few times they start getting along. I think the actor who plays Max is really good, and does fit that 10 year old headspace especially concerning the Santa thing, and the relationship between him and the grandmother is actually very nice. I like the fact we see Krampus a bit throughout the movie and isn't just pure buildup until his appearance before the end, it's a great design and certainly carries a strong presence to the very end. Again, major respect for the director only using CG when necessary, there's lots of practical effects and costumes used for Krampus and his minions, and they all look fantastic with each having a unique design and are memorable. I absolutely do say this is a Christmas movie, not only do the visuals always have some aspect of Christmas in them, whether it be snowmen, gingerbread houses, decorations galore, and enough snow to go around, but it has that Christmas spirit to it. Because as it turns out, what truly summons Krampus is the fact that only when people have no hope, are greedy, self-absorbed, and have no love or respect for the season does he appear. All of which told fantastically in a straight up stopmotion story by the grandmother, so it does reinforce that you need to keep the spirit of Christmas alive. It's actually warranted in this movie, I gave some serious good grief to A Christmas Carol over the fact that most iterations have Scrooge basically scared into loving Christmas, but here it makes sense because Krampus is the exact opposite of Santa Claus and will take away the things you love most instead of give. They handle it very well and there's always a chance of redemption. Which leads me to the ending, which I won't spoil of course, but you can have your own interpretation of it. It's not ambigous but you can see it one way or another. I really like this movie and it should have more fans, it's very different absolutely but if the decision came where I either had to watch Krampus or some bullshit Hallmark movie which is the exact same movie that every Hallmark movie is, I'm picking the one with killer gingerbread men. Final sum up, Krampus has a place in the holiday season for me, and perhaps you should think on the words "You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout, I'm telling you why" more carefully in the future. 4 stars, 7.5/10!

I'm being torn apart. I know what I have to do, but I don't know if I have the strength to do it. Will you help me?

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

The Snowman (1982)

One of the best Christmas specials in my opinion.

I needed something nice after I broke last time, and I was actually quite surprised I haven't reviewed this yet. The Snowman is a special based on Raymond Brigg's storybook, and is actually one of the few pieces of animated media where there's no dialogue much like the storybook it is based on. There's been two versions as far as I know, one with zero dialogue and one oddly enough with an introduction by David Bowie, and while I've only ever seen the silent version I am curious to know the context of his narration. The story opens in a countryside village where a young boy upon seeing December snow decides to make a snowman with whatever items he can gather, and at the stroke of midnight the snowman comes alive and a friendship is quickly kindled. It is such a simple story but one everybody can immediately understand the emotions and mindset of, but it is told so impressively. Again, no dialogue whatsoever, but the animators did such outstanding work you can tell every emotion presented to you as the boy and his snowman spend time together. I'm always floored by the visuals in this movie, with a rough almost sketch-like animation style that mimics the illustrations of a storybook perfectly. I have no idea how in the world they did this animation but it looks spectacular! The colors and environments are bright, colorful, and have such an atmosphere to them. It feels like a cozy country home during winter, it feels like a beautiful snowy filled night, not very many films can accomplish such an effect to make you feel a part of this world. The animation only gets better as the film goes on, with some of the most memorable visuals I've ever seen in a Christmas special. The music is great too being unbelievably beautiful and calm to very upbeat and fun. It doesn't even clock in at a full 30 minutes, but you get a complete and surprisingly emotional story. I just adore this special. There I said it, I actually enjoy a Christmas special and don't have anything sarcastic or mean spirited to say. It's a Christmas miracle, I might actually be redeemed and stop being a Grinchy Scrooge. Cue J. Jonah Jameson laugh. Goodnight everybody! 4 stars, check it out!

Monday, December 9, 2019

Elf: Part 2

Is the movie done yet?

So James Caan has a cunning plan to dispose of his son, uh I mean keep his son busy while he works. So he sends him down to the mail room. Okay. Why not. So he gets down there and mistakes bourbon for syrup, and proceeds to have a deep out of body conversation with one of the workers. Cause I guess bourbon makes you high as a kite. You know I tried bourbon once, it tasted like a bar of soap and it was the most horrible thing I ever drank. Speaking of which there's a magic potion that if you drink it you forget about this movie. It's called cyanide. Just screw it, you know. Why try? Why am I talking about this movie? Well cause I need to assassinate it that's why. But what do I care, my life is a lie. What was I talking about? Oh right, so Zooey kisses Buddy and I screamed at my television for a few seconds, I think I blacked out cause I opened my eyes and Peter Dinklage was standing before me (Peter Dinklage whyyyyy???). He's my hero in this movie, he's intelligent, knows what he needs and can do, and beats Buddy the elf. You know I never watched Game Of Thrones but if there's a scene where Peter Dinklage shanks somebody I wish he did the same to Buddy. So we have our big tiff between father and son, cue the mopey dopey sad times music, move along! I got stuff to do, I got places to be, I have dreams and aspirations but here I am. Talking about Elf. Ffffffun. James Caan then throws a pitch meeting, and I'd pay so much money to see Kathy Bates whack fools in the ankles with a sledgehammer right now, and the decision soon comes up: Actually do your job and not risk putting your family into poverty or help find the person you hated and knowed of for only a handful of days and reconcile with him? Yeah I'd wander around the streets of New York City aimlessly too in literal freezing temperatures. Plot twist, I wouldn't. So miracle of miracles, coincidence of coinkydinks, Santa crashes in Central Park and Buddy quickly finds him. I don't know how to feel about the fact that Santa was about to whack Buddy with a tire iron, and I don't mean hit I mean sleeping with the fishes kind of whack, but he quickly employs his help to find the engine for the sleigh. Cause apparently in this bullshit f***ery universe the reindeer don't fly due to a badass warlock named Winter, but simply on Christmas spirit so Buddy finds his dad and brother who just so happened to come across the engine minutes after Santa smashed down, well thank the baby Jesus for that, and they return the engine back to the sleigh before the Nazgul, I mean Central Park Rangers can get them. Seriously all I heard was the Ringwraith theme when they were on screen. Now that would be cool, "Give up the engine half-elf." "If you want it, come and claim it." , and then they stab him with a Morgul blade and they all lived happily ever after. PS. Shame on you movie for your clear and misleading factual information, for the Central Park Rangers never stepped in to the Simon and Garfunkel concert it was a peaceful and great event which you should definitely check out, and the little fact that it didn't happen in 1985! It happened in 1981! You had Wikipedia in 2003, use it! Got to move on, we're so close, oh my God we're so fricking close. So Daniel steals Santa's list to jumpstart some Christmas spirit, even though Santa himself says that Christmas spirit is about believing and not seeing, which is automatically proven wrong as he reads the list on live television news. At least Polar Express got it right. Oh sweet Christ on the cross I forgot about this, the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear. I could argue that for the next millenia, and while I do enjoy Zooey's singing in that earlier scene this is way too corny and schmultzy for me. I mean really? She stands on a horse carriage and sings Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town and everyone slowly joins in, not only in the crowd but everyone who is watching it on TV. Thanks, I hate it! But it works, hurrah, and Santa goes off to I guess deliver more toys with Buddy tagging along and leaving all those people most important to him to live on without him. Because that makes sense. And they never saw each other again, the end. Hey wait....they stole Santa's stuff! Yeah, Daniel steals the list, James Cann steals his coat and hat in the most feeble attempt at subterfuge in human history, and he never gets them back! That poor man is going to freeze to death in the winter air. Congratulations, you killed Christmas you f***ing utter disappointment. This is the worst movie I've ever seen in my life. It's worse than The Room, it's worse than Fifty Shades Of Grey, Transformers 2, Expendables 3, Battlefield Earth, and all the Twilight movies. Yes it has little touches here and there that I don't honestly mind and kind of like, but when you stack them up it's like a gnat's wing compared to an obelisk of garbage. The performances are fine, but the story and script is what makes this movie so heinously anus, it doesn't look all that nice, the attempts at comedy are nonexistent in my eyes, and it is god awful. It's one of the worst films I have ever had the displeasure of seeing, I never want to see this movie again for as long as I live. It's all there, black and white, clear as crystal! You get nothing! You lose! Goodnight! 1/10, half a star, if I could give less I would.

Elf: Part 1

Death is better. Death is at least a charming figure that I could have tea with. There is no such enjoyment in Elf.

I hated this movie! Hated, hated, hated, hated, hated this movie! Hated it! Hated every simpering, stupid, vacant, intelligence-insulting moment of it! Where do I begin with this blight upon my life? You know...there was a time when I was young, innocent, and wholesome and I kind of liked Elf. But as time passed and I was subjected to endless viewings of it during the holiday season at school because there's clearly no Christmas classics at all, there is only Elf, screw A Miracle On 34th Street, screw Home Alone, screw Polar Express, screw A Christmas Story, or Die Hard, or It's A Wonderful Life. Actually f*** that movie. But my point is it got old, and it got old fast. This movie is over 15 years old and it has been haunting my holiday season for too long. I do not recommend this movie. I do not urge anybody to ever watch it. I do not feel happiness in my soul. I could end the review right here, but I'm really just getting started. The title seems like the most boring ass, unimaginative title in motion picture history. The Room is weird, but the movie mostly takes place in one room, it makes sense. Elf. Elf? I mean you only said the word 5,020 times in the course of 90 minutes so might as well call the movie that. I think there's actually a horror movie called Elves, I'd much rather watch that. Okay I seriously got to go through this movie point by point, beginning to end cause I just can't summarize how ungodly bad this movie is. Now I will be clear, I will not lie, I will not exaggerate, I will not even twist my words and simply tell you how I felt watching this movie. And here we go! I will say the opening credits are not a half bad recreation of the Rankin & Bass Rudolph special but the music couldn't be more bland and forgetful if it tried. We're told through the most superflous and unreliable narrator played by Bob Newhart (Just why Bob?) the story of a baby that lives in an orphanage and after Santa visits with weird creepy ass music playing. Pause. What is with this trend? Have you ever noticed in live action movies where Santa is an actual real figure and when he first appears the music gets all ominous and creepy? What the f*** is that? Shouldn't it be a joyous occasion that we see Santa Claus? Are you deliberately trying to scare children? This happens way too often and I'm sick of it. Resume. So the baby somehow breaks out of his crib and crawls into Santa's bag of toys and is never discovered or noticed until he crawls out of the damn thing when they're back in the North Pole. And instead of returning the baby, or Santa willingly and lovingly adopt him as the heir to the Claus legacy, he shoves it off on his slave labor who are happily brainwashed into endlessly working without compensation for him for several centuries, to raise the boy. They then give him a name found on the very diaper he wears which is Buddy, and so ensues a montage of Buddy growing up in the care of Bob Newhart until he becomes a fully grown Will Ferrell fresh from SNL. He's not a very good elf, and never questions why he's 4 times the size of every individual save for Santa and a snowman in this town, and I guess there's no color or festive decorations in the North Pole because every single building looks like the house from The friggin' Babadook. It's all cold and miserable gray. Because that is clearly what I think of when I think of where Santa lives. In fact the only color really is the elf's costumes, even outside it's just 90% white and I feel like I'm going blind while looking at it. Also I see you fake trees on your clearly plastic stands. You couldn't cover that shit up? Ugh, anyway. Pretty soon Buddy overhears someone spill the beans about his species and for some weird reason sets out on a mission to find his dad. Hwhat?? When did this happen? He finds out, freaks out, Bob tells him the backstory of how he came to be, then he starts talking to Santa about New York City and how his dad is on the naughty list which is just hammered home in case you didn't get it with James Caan turning down a nun for wanting books for apparently orphans. Why not just have him steal candy from a baby and kick a blind man's dog, I don't think we got the picture!! Urgh moving on, so I guess he's going to find his dad because he needs closure? He wants to meet him? Wants to redeem him perhaps? I have no clue. At this point I hit the alcohol but unfortunately I was almost out of milk so I only had four white russians. Anyway, so he meets the snowman from Rudolph who I have to admit doesn't do a bad impression of Burl Ives before leaving the North Pole. And I absolutely die of laughter when the little stop motion animals start crying when he leaves, I know that probably makes me Satan's most treasured follower or whatever but I don't care, it's hilarious! We're then treated to another montage that I'm sure you could start a drinking game for, trust me you'll need it, as Buddy makes his way to New York City. And instead of dying from exposure or contracting rabies from a trash panda, he makes it to the big city. I will also say the film doesn't have a bad soundtrack, oh not the Christmas songs those are still horrible, but just other music they use is quite nice really. Cue another montage of him wandering around New York City, got to pad that run time Johnny! At least he gets hit by a car, that kinda made me laugh. He soon finds his dad and how can I say this? Uncomfortable doesn't really cover the way I felt in these scenes, more like and I'm probably only going to say this once but I cringed quite a lot in this movie. It was very difficult for me to look at the screen for periods of time. No movie has ever done this. I could review Salo tomorrow and have an easier time watching that. What happens next? Uh, James Cann tells him to f*** off, he goes to Gimbels cause why not go sell out a department store like Miracle On 34th Street (The only part I didn't like about that movie.), he meets Zooey Deschanel (Why Zooey?) and acts like a weirdo that you should cross the street to avoid, stays up all night to decorate I guess a Christmas shop in preparation for "Santa", creeps on a girl singing in the shower (I hate the scene, but love the singing.), I encounter another cringey scene with his dad that makes me contemplate quitting reviews forever, and we finally meet "Santa". I legitimately feared for a child's life, this guy was psychotic and very aggressive. Kill this movie with fire. Buddy gets thrown in prison and somehow does not become a bottom bitch, and is picked up by Caan and gets a DNA test done. The results are in, in the case of 30 year old Buddy, you ARE the father! Will give credit to the little girl in the waiting room, she is adorable and I would die for her. I don't even care that she is in this movie, I'd guard her with my life. We soon meet James Caan's family with Mary Steenburgen as his wife (Mary whyy??) and Daniel Tay as his second son and he attempts to integrate with the family but with soul crushing failure and will have to wander the wilderness and die. Oh wait. That's my nature documentary script, sorry about that. They accept him cause of course they do. Even I was surprised at the goodness that was spaghetti and syrup though, like you get half a point just for that movie, even though how does he not get the diabeetus from all that crap? So what's the story at this point? Reconnect with a family he never knew and by the looks of it has barely began since Daniel Tay is like, nine in this movie. There's no plot or drama, there's nothing to be invested in, I'm just watching a grown man in tights bullshit about with no entertainment in sight. Great. Happy Christmas to me. Apparently Mayor Ebert from that asshat Roland Emmerich's Godzilla is in this movie, now that's a stamp of quality if I've ever seen one. Back to the story. So Buddy and Daniel lolligag about and I'm concerned no one's pointing out how strange it is that a grown man in an elf costume is with a young boy, so I guess bad touch goes on the list of things that don't exist in this movie. He asks Zooey out on a date and for reasons even the celestial beings don't know, she accepts. Montage! I can't remember how many pills I took at this point. Who's mucking with my fedicine??

Continued in part two.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Blackadder's Christmas Carol

Finally, a story for me.

Ah, we really do need more specials like this in the world. If you haven't watched the Blackadder series I highly suggest you do and I shall attempt to review all 4 series next year, but regardless you can still very much enjoy this story. In old London town lives a one Ebenezer Blackadder, the kindest and most wonderful man in the city who is so generous and affable that Queen Victoria herself wishes to reward him with a small fortune, but that night he is visited by the Spirit Of Christmas himself and is shown the past, the not so long ago past, and the far too distant future where he witnesses versions of himself which are cruel, cunning, and self absorbed. I am on board with this premise if you could not tell already. Yes there is Christmas celebratory matters, but it's done in the most self centered and glorious fashion so I will give it a pass. I also have no issue telling you that the comedy is far more effective when it's sarcastic and insulting. But the performances from Britain's comics are what makes this special work so damn good. Rowan Atkinson is brilliant as Blackadder and in every series of the programme I've seen him in makes me laugh even more than the last, he's a great comedic actor that can perform both silent comedy and dialogue heavy comedy. Tony Robinson is the perfect foil for the comedy, if only just to be the world's punching bag. I almost feel sorry for Baldrick but like I said, almost. Miranda Richardson, Hugh Laurie, and Stephen Fry are only in the history segments but what little time they do have they certainly don't waste and made me laugh loud and hard. In fact if you look at the cast list, chances are you know 90% of these people, their reputations speak for themselves and are better known now than ever. This is a Christmas tradition of my own like Tokyo Godfathers and A Very Murray Christmas, and I love it a great deal. To see such utter contempt for stupid people sets my soul alight with glee. Seriously, these people are complete asses that take advantage of kind and generous individuals and don't nearly get the comeuppance they deserve. It's a complete inversion of the Charles Dickens' tale and it's just so nice to hear someone agree that bad guys have all the fun. And now I will share a lovely Christmas sentiment for those whom you just don't like, "May the yuletide log slip from your fire and burn your house down.". Tis' the season my friends. 4 stars, 8/10!

Next week though will not be jolly or gay. And the more I think about this next week, the more I think of how much it will hurt me. But if I don't do it now it will haunt me for another year, and that is something I cannot stand in the least. Next week....ugh, I hate even typing it. Elf.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

A Christmas Carol (1984)

Christmas a humbug indeed.

As far as my opinions go, this and the Alastair Sim Chriatmas Carol are the only one worthy of watching, that and Scrooged too. I originally thought that this was a theatrically released film but it was shown as a TV movie here in the States, and it was only in theaters in the U.K. so I was half correct. And I can safely say that George C. Scott's performance alone is worth seeing this tale again. He's an actor I have great respect and admiration for, and his take on Ebenezer Scrooge is so different yet so welcome. Essentially dropping the curmudgeon miser, and instead potraying him as a tired man with a dark sense of humor and a great intelligence about him, that clashes very well with the spirits. Christmas Past is very kind and wise, starting to break down the barriers of Scrooge's emotions and this leads to Scott's incredible acting all through facial expressions, you can just see him hold this contempt for his father and his wistful nostalgia for his childhood years. It's a really wonderful sequence. Christmas Present surprised me, he's still very jolly and truthful but there is this undercurrent of anger and a strong dislike of Scrooge, it's just something you never see in the adaptations. Christmas Future is genuinely terrifying, again going for a more shroud like appearance with a gangly decrepit hand, but the sounds it manifests are what really made my skin crawl with fear. It really did unnerve me and made my eyes grow in grim anticipation. The film has a great atmosphere like last time, the lighting is amazing, the sets are well made, and it does have that unearthly disquieting mood when it needs to. The 1951 version might objectively be the best, but the 1984 version is my favorite if all down to George C. Scott's unbelievably good performance. He was such a commited and talented actor that brought so much to each part and I just love this Scrooge. 4 stars, check it out! Next time, the Christmas Carol story done right with humor abound.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

A Christmas Carol (1951)

Alright, let's do this.

Here we are again, frabjous day callooh callay the Christmas season is here, and it is time to dismay. Which is exactly why I am taking my Christmas break early and there will be hardly any holiday cheer at all. My gift to you. But let us move on to other things. This may be the best version of Charles Dickens' story about a horrible old miser who has no love for Christmas or other people, a man I can respect, who is subjected to a fever dream of ghostly apparitions peer pressuring and coercing him through fear to like the thing that he hates. Truly the feel good movie of the year. And while many actors, some would even say too many actors, have taken on the role of Ebenezer Scrooge I personally feel Alastair Sim is the best of them all. Not only does he look like the Scrooge I see in my mind and not just another well known actor's face, but his performance alone is the reason one should see this movie. It is remarkable how he plays both sides of the coin, from a scowl of pure disgust at holiday cheer to the purest and joyful smile in the world. But what really sold me that he was the very best like no one ever was is the transition between one to the other, I fully believed that he truly did change and become a better person through the spirit's action rather than be terrified into submission of the holiday spirit. It's just little moments of pure body language and no dialogue at all that made you feel that he did regret the things he said and did, and slowly begins realizing his own faults and makes choices to better himself. This film treats Scrooge more like a human being than an archetype that needs to change, that there is both good and bad in his past and present and that it's his decisions that shape the future of those around him. That's pretty amazing, and something I've never truly felt in the countless adaptations I have seen in years gone by. All the actors do very well, and they do take minor liberties with the story, but it creates a much deeper and interesting film. I actually do recommend you watch the film in pristine black and white rather than the colorized version, it paints a sometimes ghastly picture with quite a bit of atmosphere and unease. This is essentially a ghost story and it feels as such, with a prime highlight being when the Ghost Of Christmas Future appears, all you see is a pale hand that just looks icy cold to the touch. No cloak, no shadow, no bodily form, just the hand of perhaps Death itself. It's incredibly effective and while a more basic form of the shadow of Christmas yet to come, is one of my favorites. I originally thought this film was much older, around the 1930s but it came out in the 50s, though I don't know why I thought that. At less than an hour and a half, it is worth your time to see a great performance that might very well change your outlook on this done to death story. Next time we look at the George C. Scott version from 1984!

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Monty Python And The Holy Grail

I needed to end this month on a high note.

Hey man it was either this or Schindler's List and I didn't exactly want to contemplate suicide tonight, so we're off on an adventure! This was the first Monty Python film made after Flying Circus ended and I do still like this one the most though I enjoy all their films. Probably because this was not only the first thing Monty Python I ever witnessed but if I had to pinpoint it, this might have been when I dipped my toes into british comedy and now I prefer it above all else. I was probably far far too young to watch this movie and truly get the humor, I was about 14 when I bought it on video yet I still very much enjoyed it. The story concerns King Arthur as he gathers knights and travels across Britain to you guessed it, be shouted at by frenchmen, I mean search for the holy grail. I swear Monty Python could be the most difficult type of comedy to talk about, because it relies on absurdist humor but even then there is a method to this madness put on screen, it truly is their own style of comedy because who else does it, let alone pull it off besides them? Nobody. I'm not even sure I could explain the jokes and why they are so funny, it really is something you must see. Now I will say my favorite bit in the movie is probably the intermission, I always forget it's there but it just makes me burst into laughter everytime. That or the opening, I mean talk about a tone setter. Do I really need to touch on cast here? It's the majority of main stayers and bit players from Flying Circus playing multiple parts sometimes even in the same scenes, and they are wonderful. I think John Cleese has the best roles in my opinion, and while he is not the main focus of the journey he gets the most enjoyment out of me, though of course I believe every actor is great in this film. But boy did they go through hell on this shoot, Scotland is gorgeous at times in this movie but man are you victim to the weather and elements out there, yet through all of that they made a great movie. It does show the saying art through adversity is applicable to all genres and films, it sounded quite miserable and horrid during the production but the entertainment value is high with many a quotable line and memorable scenes. You can tell this was a very low budget film but they used it to their absolute advantage and it if anything improves the film! Just the fact they couldn't afford horses so they trot through these areas with coconuts banging together makes you laugh throughout the movie. It's just so well crafted with some jokes that are set up at the beginning and don't get payed off until the end, true not every bit of comedy makes you laugh uproariously but I can't think of an instance where it fell flat either. Is it an epic comedy? Yes I do believe it so, and you should be ashamed of yourself and taunted a second time if you haven't seen it yet. 4 stars! I'll let you be the judge though on the true best Monty Python film, because well comedy is subjective.

On second thought let's not go to Camelot, tis' a silly place. Pie day with the family though, yes please!

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Once Upon A Time In The West

I figured a little gunfighting wouldn't hurt this month.

Once Upon A Time In The West is quite possibly the best western I've seen. I've seen my fair share from several decades, actors, and directors, and while I do still have a soft spot for The Dollars Trilogy nothing really hit this big of a scope or sense of drama in those movies. Which is funny because Sergio Leone directed both so regardless of which I prefer, Leone is the best western director in my eyes. After finishing The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly he didn't want to do another western but was actually forced into it by american production companies so he could make his next project, which is a bit rubbish because I would trust the man and his vision and just have him make the damn movie. But what we got is one of the most acclaimed and loved westerns of all time. Set around a collected ensemble cast, a young woman named Jill has returned to Texas to start her new life with her husband and children before learning of them being murdered by a group of mercenaries hired by a railroad tycoon who wants her land. Meanwhile a man has a vendetta against one of the mercenaries and is trying to track him down, while a wanted fugitive is sort of a wild card interacting with the three major players. They being the woman Jill, the hired killer Frank, the stranger known only as Harmonica, and the fugitive Cheyenne, but make no mistake this is Jill's movie. Every character dynamic is interesting no matter who you pair them with, the performances are excellent, and the story is in no rush and takes it's time with these characters. The film clocks in depending on the cut, either a little less than two and a half hours and one pushing almost three hours. Stick to the almost three hour version. I think the biggest reason why this might be favorite western is the performances, Claudia Cardinale is a wonderful lead and there wasn't a moment I was rooting for her, she just has such a compelling story I mean her family was massacred and she's just trying to pick up the pieces and move on, and she doesn't take any nonsense from quite frankly very vile and horrible men. She's just such a great actress and handles the material flawlessly. Charles Bronson is awesome as per usual as Harmonica, exuding an icy cool persona and his motivation and arc is more of your typical western fare but done great and his eyes just stare into your soul. Speaking of eyes, a surprising heel turn for Henry Fonda the leading man of that time and place in the world being a cold blooded killer probably ruffled some feathers back then, but I'd be lying if I said he wasn't really damn good in that role. And last but certainly not least, Jason Robards as the criminal Cheyenne is perplexing, if only just because I can't make heads or tails on where he stands, he's a criminal but doesn't really cause trouble and is simultaneously horrible and yet oddly amicable with Jill, you don't really know what his game is or his goals. But everybody else has very clear cut and intertwining goals, Jill's family was killed by Frank, Harmonica is seeking vengeance on Frank, Frank I guess took over Cheyenne's men, and Cheyenne and Jill have a bizarre relationship. Everything kinda fits but I think Cheyenne just does what he thinks will get him ahead in life, which clears up his character a bit. I belive this was Segio Leone's first time making a film in America, so it's not his standard spaghetti western style. There's gorgeous shots of the desolate West slowly being modernized by the ongoing train, the framing on people's faces always make their eyes center of the frame like if you were staring at them face to face, the action while not as prevalent as you would think is still done well and of course the final standoff is something to admire, and since it's a longer film it takes the time to focus on these characters which is what really pushes this film above all other westerns for me. Now there's nothing wrong with a western that has lots of shootouts and chases, and that's probably why For A Few Dollars More is easily my favorite of The Dollar's Trilogy because there is an emotional anchor and substance to Douglas Mortimer's character that makes you like him even more. Now that's not saying Clint Eastwood is boring in those movies, or has nothing going for him because he does but it's not really in the foreground, he's more the constant in those changing films. This movie takes a more dramatic weight to it, which is evident solely by the score done by Ennio Morricone. Just listen to Jill's theme, it honestly moved me to tears, this is his best piece of music above all others. Though Ecstasy Of Gold is so good even Metallica plays it before every show, Jill's theme is beyond outstanding and even if you don't watch the film you have to listen to the song. The best title I found for it is, C'era Una Volta Il West and man is it hard not to get a bit choked up, but even beyond just that single piece of music every character's individual themes are excellent. What can I say? The man was brilliant! And you know what, this movie was an unexpected choice for me but I'll never regret watching it. 4 stars, 8.5/10, a must see for any western fan or lover of great movies.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Tokyo Story

Of course it's from Japan. Do you really expect anything else from me?

This is a very different japanese film, much more in the vein of Ikiru than my usual love of kaiju and samurai films, but it's certainly worth tracking down and viewing. This is a slice of life film with two elderly parents visiting their children in Tokyo and spending time with them. It's not a very complicated plot but it's such a rich film in character interactions and performances. You may notice very quickly the film has a unique set up of framing, each shot is not levelled as if you were standing but as if you were sitting, it's about a waist high shot which makes sense because much of the film takes place in the home of these characters and they are generally sitting on the floor as they converse with their family. Also something I noticed is there are lots of shots from a certain point of view, we see characters talk directly into the camera which puts us in the viewpoint of another person, it's not a usual over the shoulder set up. So it's definitely unique in style but the reason why it's so good is because well, it's very relatable. It's very common, family members from out of town are coming to stay for a few days, everyone can immediately recognize that so it really doesn't take that much for you to identify with and enjoy the story. The characters feel like a real family, and I identified a lot with them and very much enjoyed their company as if I was invited into their home. I can't name too many movies that accomplish such a feeling. It's just such a nice film with some fine dialogue concerning life, the future, children, and most important family. And it brought to mind many memories of my own family, which simultaneously deepened my enjoyment of the film and yet made it somewhat difficult to watch. There was a strong bond between an in-law Tomy and our main couple Shukichi and Noriko that brought back floods of memories with my grandparents, just the level of happiness and love that she had for them and always wanted to spend time with them struck very deeply with me. And the final conversation between Tomy and Shukichi is very meaningful and an open expression of emotion, it's definitely the highlight of the film. It's good to see a movie like this, it's nothing big, it's nothing complex, it's just about life and life is pretty interesting. Which is ironic because one could say life is very big and complex and they would be correct, but just to see a down to earth, simple but lovely little slice of life from one family amongst billions is never a bad thing to experience. A wonderful movie that deserves a full 4 stars, 8/10, I definitely recommend it. But what film from Japan haven't I loved and recommended? Yes, I'm heavily biased and have a soft spot for that island but it's always been there in some form or fashion since the beginning.

Next week will just be 2 reviews, but I'll try to go out on a high note.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

To Kill A Mockingbird

Dear God I love my job sometimes.

I finally did it, I finally scratched another one off the list. To Kill A Mockingbird, it's the easiest film to talk about and yet so difficult to talk about. Do I even need to say I loved it? Do I even need to say it is one of the best films I have ever seen in my entire life? Of course not. Granted I knew next to nothing about the film, aside from it's one of the best films in american cinema and the line, you probably know the line. That's it. But I never allow such expectations, because you simply can never hear such praise of a film and set that as the benchmark, you must watch it for yourself and judge if it is indeed one of the greats or not. It truly is. It took maybe 5 minutes after the opening credits to where I was ready to be taken on this reminiscent journey of a young girl whose father is a defense attorney and is tasked with defending a black man named Tom who allegedly raped a white woman. But the courtroom scene is not the focus, it doesn't even start until a bit less than an hour before the film ends. The focus is on the young girl Scout, her memories and experiences of that time in her small town, and Mary Badham could not have been better in this role. I adore Scout to the moon and back, she's funny, she's inquisitive, she's a bit of a tomboy, and if I'm being absurdly real with you she is straight up future daughter goals for me. I cannot believe we got such a good performance from such a young girl, just 9 years old and was nominated for an Oscar. Hell to the yeah! But the most integral part of her story and her world is her father, Atticus Finch and it really does show. They have a great relationship together and you can tell he's a great dad and a very respectable and stand up guy. Gregory Peck is so godforsaken good in this movie, he just nails it he absolutely nails it! People have brought up to my knowledge only recently, that is Atticus Finch truly a good person? Does he truly believe in his defendant's innocence or did he just accept the case just to add another notch to his belt if he was acquitted? Was he possibly rascist? In my eyes, no. Granted the story is told from Scout's point of view, she has an immeasurable love and respect for her dad so could the case be made that she was just trying to make her dad seem better than he really was? I haven't read the book, but dear lord is it on my list now, but the film version of Atticus does not seem that type of person. He never judges people, he flat out tells Scout not to use the ugliest and most derogatory word in history though she's by no means a bad kid, he takes the time to visit Tom's family, and is clearly affected by the case. No spoilers of course, but I got choked up not once, not twice, but three times and I don't even know why. I was so heavily engrossed in the story and these characters that by the time the trial started I seriously could not sit still, I had to just pace around my living room I got that into it. It has been a good long while since I got that involved in a film. It's not a film renowned for it's technical aspects, it's shot well and everything, but the reason the film still has that punch over 55 years later is because of the story and the performances. There's one scene and it's genuinely making me well up right now, where Scout meets this young man named Boo who is kind of a recluse and there's a lot of bad talk about him and she's been trying to see him for the whole film, and they finally see each other just went right through me. Not a line was spoken, he's barely on screen for maybe 5 minutes, and he never even says a word. It's just a visual performance by Robert Duvall, and that is some of the best acting I've seen yet. It tells you everything without saying a single solitary word. This movie made me remember why I love to watch movies, why I love to write review after review, week after week, year after year. It is because of just little scenes like that. It means the world to me. And I feel like such an unbelievable idiot for not seeing this film earlier in life. I really want to give it a 9/10 guys, I really do. An 8/10 is a disservice! It's a 9/10, 4 stars, if I forced my thumb to go up anymore it would break. This is mandatory viewing. Now you don't have to take everything I say to heart, just see the movie and judge it for yourself, you may not give it a 9/10 and that is fine, but regardless just see it. I gave so much disdain and hate for It's A Wonderful Life, and people just eat that movie up and I'm fine with that. Different opinions are okay, but you still need to see the movie for yourself so you can give your own input on it. Like God dang it, I want to watch it again! Right now!

I'll be back tomorrow, it's high time we get some foreign films in this month.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Taxi Driver

Took me long enough.

Yes I finally saw Taxi Driver, and damn that was a friggin' good movie. It was everything I expected and yet gave me even more. So our story follows a man named Travis who gets a job as a cab driver, and we slowly work our way through his mind and persona as a less than mentally sound person, as he tries to find some meaning in his life among the grimy streets of New York. I totally see the many aspects of this film in Joker now, but did it damage either film for me? Actually no, they are two different stories just with similar elements between them, it honestly reminds me a lot of Star Wars and The Force Awakens. Indeed there are many similarities in structure and moments, but there's enough new material to truly merit a original film. But it certainly didn't make me hate Joker or see this movie as something I've seen before, it still pulled me into the seedy streets of New York City with a man who has no purpose or real end goal and yet attempts to do something with his life. Robert DeNiro was ridiculously good, and this was right whenever he got very famous after appearing in The Godfather Part 2, but just the way he carries himself, his speech tendencies, and general outlook on life really hooked me and I wanted to see what was going to happen next. A lot of attention was drawn to a then 12 year old Jodie Foster as an appropriately aged 12 year old prostitute named Iris, and she is absolutely great with a surprisingly nice and somewhat even charming relationship with Travis. I can't even put it into words properly, they just really struck me as two people who would get along and even be friends. That is so damn bizarre, but it's true! Their screen chemistry is great together, but Travis has eyes for only one lady named Betsy played by Cybill Shepherd who is a campaign aid for an upcoming presidential candidate Senator Palpatine, I mean Palantine. I just kept calling him that through the whole movie, I'm a nerd, what do you want from my life? They hit it off for a bit, but it was simply not to be but it's a great look into Travis' mindset and mannerisms. The ending really blew me away, mainly just because I had zero idea as to how this would end. Is he going to assassinate a promising future President? Is he going to help out Iris and make her life better? You really have no idea until right before the credits roll and even then you can kinda judge for yourself. I absolutely loved that, because I do not see Travis as a delinquet killer, he saves a man's life, attempts to help a young girl get out of a bad spot and really genuinely says what she needs to hear, yeah he's a bit awkward and blunt, but certainly not evil. It's such an interesting film that made me know exactly what I was in for by the time the opening credits rolled. It's a stylized intro that brings us into this world that's all too familiar and was just part of the urban landscape at that time and place in the world. There's a lot more color and everyday visuals than you would expect, it's not all filthy back alleyways, rundown buildings, and murky visuals through the windshield of a cab. It really and truly does subvert your expectations, now more than possibly ever. This was Bernard Herrman's final movie score, and it takes a very slow and even kinda lovely jazz score which is a bit of a contrast to the content, but it works so well. A surprise to be sure, but a welcome one from one of the greats. From Citizen Kane to Taxi Driver the man was a marvel. And hey, Scorsese did damn good directing this from perfomances to visuals and beyond, and it really wouldn't surprise me if people still said this was his best film. Bottom line, it's a great movie and I was thoroughly impressed. An easy 4 stars, 8.5/10, a true must own for any cinematic junkie.

Next time we hit one of the biggest and most acclaimed films from one of the best books ever written. So long.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Ford Vs. Ferrari

Not my usual fare, but interesting nevertheless.

I'm just not a car person, I can appreciate designs for a car but it's a practical machine first so why did I go see this movie? Because I have gearheads in my family, yet I must admit despite me not knowing anything about the technicals of cars or the story about Ford making a racecar to best Ferrari at a race in France, I liked the movie. I felt Matt Damon and Christian Bale had great screen chemistry together and the relationship their characters had was fun and really good. It was truly the driving force of this movie for me (no pun intended of course). I'm not a person who has a liking for loud noises, but the racing segments were shot great and I was able to see everything with crystal clarity, so I must really thank the director and camera men for doing such good work and of course the stunt drivers have nerves of steel, not many people can take a job where you deliberately crash a car for a living so I have mad respect and admiration for such people. I think the best part of the movie was the relationship between world renowned driver Ken Miles and his wife Molly, they really just brought a smile to my face and I thought they were amazing in every scene even if not in close proximity to one another. I was surprised how the film looked, there is some damn good shots in this movie with the driving scenes in the city at night time looking fan-friggin'-tastic, with one quiet scene having such a gorgeous atmosphere and was a bit moody and it was easily the best scene in the film for me. It's entertaining, I have to say it's faithful and told the story straight if only just because I have no grasp of any real historical facts so for all I know this is could be 100% Grade A nonsense, but it was a good movie. Maybe not entirely my scene but trust me it could have been worse, so I was happy to see it regardless. I give it 3 stars, a solid 7.5/10, if you are any type of car fan chances are you've seen it already but it's worth the time even if you're curious about a slice of automobile history.

This might be the last new movie for awhile, I will truly try to see the Mr. Rogers movie this weekend but things have went ever so slightly south which sucks man. I wanted to see The Lighthouse and Jojo Rabbit but it will have to wait for now. I don't think I can do as many reviews now. Not just quit here and now, but scale it back from 3 to 2 reviews a week. I really don't want to but hard times be here man. Hopefully December will be better but I'm seeing Star Wars even if I have to sell other people's kidneys, just saying.

Thursday, November 14, 2019


Yes the film that usurped Citizen Kane as the quote unquote best film ever. How was it?

I very much enjoyed it, I feel it was indeed the best of the Hitchcock films I've reviewed this week, and it kept me interested until the very end. Jimmy Stewart returns again as a detective who suffers from acrophobia and after watching his partner die decides to return, but his friend asks for his help in watching his wife. The reason? Well, I'd rather not say. Needless to say it builds intrigue and mystery very quickly, and you're constantly throwing ideas out to what the cause of this strangeness really is. Well I was half right. Honestly a movie hasn't screwed with my brain this much since Perfect Blue, and that movie is a trip and a half, I still need to watch that movie like 4 more times. But anyway, so the mystery part of it was great. What surprised me is this movie didn't get a lot of praise when it premiered, critics felt it was lackluster and audiences made the film about triple it's budget, so it wasn't a bomb but it was not so well loved. Whereas now, people view it as the best of all Hitchcock's works, but I'm still on the fence about that. I thought Jimmy Stewart was great in this movie, still bringing his usual stamp of invested and fun acting while bringing even more to the table. But man did Kim Novak steal this show and run laughing with it to the bank. Holy hell's bells, she is fantastic! This is an excellent performance, and she is able to bring such emotion and unearthliness to this part. Easily the best part of the entire movie for me. This is certainly one of Hitchcock's more artsy films, evident immediately from the opening credits and seen throughout the course of the film through lighting, shot placement, and of course effects. The effects are done incredibly well and really does make you feel uneasy and a bit off center, I myself suffer from acrophobia and get vertigo more than 10 feet off the ground, so it was effective for me. But I think it's the story, this ever expanding mystery, an inner struggle within our main character that really is why it's so well received and loved today. I'm very happy I finally had a chance to see more films and wasn't disappointed with any of them, though Psycho still holds a strong place in my heart I can say Vertigo is in fact the best Hitchcock movie I've seen to date. He really was a one of a kind director that tapped into his own fears and demons and brought it into the lens of a camera, able to make entertaining and wonderful cinema that will be watched for decades and decades to come. Every movie with a twist is owed a great deal to Psycho, every suspense scene is compared to his films, most everyone will agree he is a fantastic director, and I'm one of those people. Does it surpass Citizen Kane in terms of filmmaking and story? Eh, it's debatable but Citizen Kane just speaks to me more. Regardless, this film gets an easy 4 stars, 8 if not even 9/10, and two thumbs way up from me.

Well next week we look into some more classics that I have yet to see. Hey I got a lot of stuff to watch, cut me a break.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Rear Window

I'll definitely say I liked it more than North By Northwest.

So I finally watched Rear Window, does it hold up to the expectations? I have to yes. I knew the basic premise of a world travelling photographer who is wheelchair bound after an accident and has taken a hobby of looking out the window and observing the neighborhood before he suspects someone of murder and subsequently tries to prove it, but beyond that I knew hardly anything about it except for the cast. I loved Jimmy Stewart in this movie, he has such a likable charm to him and is a very compelling lead, and his interactions with Grace Kelly never failed once to bring a smile to my face. She was a lovely lady in life, and most everyone who worked with her said she was a great actress which I agree with. Raymond Burr was surprisingly scary even though I mostly know him for his lifelong career of defense attorney Perry Mason and reporter Steve Martin from the immortal american edit Godzilla King Of The Monsters, but this was done before both and he brings such a strong uneasiness and on just two occasions made my blood run a bit cold. Absolutely great cast, and a damn good story, but I really feel this movie could never be replicated again even in 100 years time. Hitchcock knew exactly how to direct this, and more importantly what to show. A very good portion of this film is seeing things through a point of view shot, you never see any actors observing the small neighborhood, you just see different people across the courtyard interacting in their own apartments. It really does feel like you're sitting in that wheelchair and observing all the things going on. It's absurd how well constructed the set was for the apartments, and the fact that each resident has their own story and personalities must seriously be recommended, I absolutely loved this movie for that. It's so difficult to explain because it really is so intricately constructed and each shot is there for a purpose, that it would take all day to fully explain why it works so friggin' well. Bottom line, watch it. It is well worth your time and money even if just for a one time viewing, it's easily one of Hitchcock's finest films that I will watch time and again. 4 stars, 8.5/10, and we got one more movie with Mr. Stewart. Will it be the best of them all or will it fall flat? Somehow I doubt it at this point.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

North By Northwest

Yes, I finally get to see more Hitchcock films.

North By Northwest is a really good movie, I had a terrific time with it and I do recommend it if you have the time. The story follows an advertisment agent who gets mistaken for another type of agent in the field of espionage, who soon digs deeper and deeper into finding the real agent who everyone keeps mistaking him for. What follows is a very good thriller adventure story with great actors and a more light Hitchcock story. I feel Hitchcock did a great job with this movie, he wanted to just make a very entertaining movie that wasn't as dark or heavy as his other films, and it's very apparent early on. The dialogue is spot on with particular love going to Cary Grant who is already a fantastic lead but now given such sharp dialogue with a perpetual snarky twist makes him endlessly enjoyable to watch. James Mason returns once more as the villain, and while he is more in the background and not seen doing much his acting is still spot on. I felt Eva Marie Saint was the perfect addition to Cary Grant, both being very direct and charming and she kind of kept me guessing as to which side she was on for a little while. One surprising cast member I didn't recognize was Martin Landau, in the earliest role I've yet to see him in, as a henchman for the villain and I honestly loved him, at first I thought it was David Carradine until I looked it up, and man does he have a great physicality and threatning persona in this! Now I will say there isn't much of a mystery or even a twist to the plot, everything is very cut and dry and doesn't take much inference on the audience's part, the film explains the agent and you can tell immediately who's the good guys and who are the bad guys. And I honestly don't have a problem with that, this is more the movie you just sit back and enjoy for the performances and the set pieces. The film looks great at times, even when you know it's a painted backdrop it's such a beautiful painted backdrop you just don't really mind. Everyone brings up the crop dusting plane scene, and yes it was very good and held tension nicely, but the ending felt abrupt and I personally liked the version or perhaps homage of that scene in From Russia With Love better. Speaking of which, I wouldn't be a bit surprised if elements of this film influenced the James Bond series, seeing as how this movie came out 3 years before Dr. No while the book series by Ian Fleming was going on for about 6 years by the time this movie came out. It's interesting to think of such a famous and loved spy thriller that was made before the mega franchise that is James Bond was even created. Regardless, I very much enjoyed this movie and wouldn't at all mind picking up a copy on video in the future, and I'm sure you'll dig it too. A solid 8/10 from me, and I'll be back tomorrow with our first James Stewart film.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Doctor Sleep

Yeah, that's about right.

I really wasn't expecting much from this movie, and to be honest it sounds like a bad idea. It's basically a sequel to The Shining directed by Stanley Kubrick, but since it had some literary roots before it was a film it doesn't seem as bad. It's a good movie, maybe not a movie you absolutely have to see but if you like more cerebral stories or are just a big fan of Stephen King, then you should check it out. The story starts out very disconnected and fragmented, following Danny Torrence all grown up and helping a young girl with the same gifts from a band of people who are kind of a cross between immortals from Highlander, and the Dementors from Harry Potter, able to literally suck all the shining out of individuals and further boost their own power. I like our leads, I mean I've yet to see a bad Ewan McGregor performance and he does quite well in this, able to be a mentor figure to this mystical power to a young child. Wait this sounds a bit had something to do with wars amongst the stars. Oh well it'll come to me later. But I feel Kyleigh Curran did a great job and was a really damn good leading actor for one so young and is kind of a badass in this movie, I was rooting for her and Ewan the whole way! Villains on the other hand are sort of blah, we only really know two of them and even then we don't actually know much about them beyond, ooooh spooky eyes because they are eeevillll! But they do the job fine and dandy, and if anything bring new levels to the world that Stephen King has woven. It certainly elicited reactions from me, from unnerving creepiness to flat out exclamations of amazement. They go there, with full out mental power battles and it really is spectacular mainly because I just haven't seen much of that in any media beyond Doctor Strange and the last few bits of Arkham Knight. But it's friggin' cool and I loved it. And no I haven't seen Inception yet (Yeah yeah, I'll get to it one day.) so it was just great fun to see, I actually caught myself tilting my head as the camera did all these weird movements, it's never disorientating but it does kinda make you feel a bit weird. It dips very lightly into actual Shining territory until the end and while others may bitch and moan about it having to use the film as a crutch, I greatly enjoyed it and they showed amazing attention to detail and honestly some of the actors looked identical to the original cast. Hell I almost feel tempted to go home and watch it right now but I actually want to sleep tonight so I will decline, and give this movie a 7/10. May not be essential viewing but it's a decent story that gives you some entertainment. Pretty good movie, and worth seeing at least once. Short review I know, but we got more to talk about this week from another well known director into the fray of suspense and thrillers.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Eyes Wide Shut

Okay, fine. This was the best one.

Yes Stanley Kubrick's last film is a wonderful and surreal piece of cinema that I personally feel is needing of more love. Shot over a record breaking (and still holding I believe) shoot of 400 consecutive days, Eyes Wide Shut is a bizarre movie but one I highly recommend regardless. Our story focuses on a married couple played by then real life married couple Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, who've hit a rough patch after disclosing some private and honestly rough truths about each other's love life, leading to a strange and surprisingly deep dive into their relationship and the most batshit freaky party quite possibly ever crafted in movie history. Now a lot of people have written this film off as just arthouse porn, but I couldn't disagree more with that, yes it fully warrants that R rating and nearly got a NC-17 rating cause God forbid you show a nipple even though all the more smutty scenes and topics couldn't be less erotic if they tried. The film is about a relationship and raises some big questions, is love truly equal, can love be pure lust and vice versa, what if you decided to do something to hurt your partner because you were jealous, should you feel guilty for thinking about other people besides your partner? While yes the case could be argued it is very much in the eye of the beholder, and I certainly have no issue with that, the film is very much more loose in terms of story progression and characters. Not to say they are horrible characters and the story is an absolute dumpster fire, but it's difficult to pinpoint. I felt the performances from our leads in particular Nicole Kidman were spectacular, and I know we can make jokes about Tom Cruise but honestly he handles the material with enough charm and understanding of drama to pull off a very good performance. The film's visuals are absurdly gorgeous, with colors so bright they practically glow, the camera glides and sways through the scenes, the film has a surreal dream like quality that can dip into sheer nightmare fuel when it wants to. I'm honestly and truthfully concerned about my dreams tonight. So the visual style and cinematography get 10/10 from me, if not even higher! The music combines lovely jazz pieces, wonderful classical compositions, and a quite chilling theme heard throughout the film. There was just so much to appreciate and love, and it floors me that the final cut was shown to the studio just 4 days before Kubrick passed away due to a heart attack. The man was a visionary director, who took on projects from all genres and sources and made unforgettable cinema, and while Eyes Wide Shut may not be my absolute favorite (that distinction goes to A Clockwork Orange) it hits the number 2 spot easily. A beautiful and marvellous looking film that took risks to show a struggling relationship in it's own entirely unique way. It reminded me a lot of The Graduate and how it brings up that not every relationship can have a happy ending, and that love is one of the most complex of emotions and can't be fully described. That's why I have seen so few romance movies that I genuinely loved, because there is depth and, complex and muddled thoughts and emotions that go into such a thing. This may have been a very brief review but this is a film you simply have to experience because talking about it no matter how much in depth cannot replicate the effects. Rent it, buy it, steal a copy from your movie buff friend, I don't care how just go see it. Stanley Kubrick, my hat is off to you. 9/10, 4 stars, a must see movie for any movie fan!

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Full Metal Jacket

Man. This was a tough one for me.

Now I'm not going to get into the politics and situations as to why in the name of human sanity this f***ing country stuck around in a war like Vietnam. I could. But I'm not going to. I will simply say that this film did nothing but reinforce my personal beliefs on it. Full Metal Jacket is a fine movie, made well over a decade after the war was over and I appreciate what the film intended and more importantly accomplished. The few war movies I have seen do not sugar coat anything and just tell it as it is, and that is exactly what it should do but with this particular movie it goes one step further and visually tells you about the dehumanizing effects of a war. It's really tough to talk about something both in film and real world conversation that destroyed millions of lives. However, Stanley Kubrick did it right and it's not a character study, it's not a film documenting a real life platoon, it just shows us the course of one soldier from boot camp to the middle of the war. No ending where he survives the war and gets to go home, the film ends in the aftermath of one conflict amongst hundreds if not thousands. It really does put it all into perspective, I'd be terrified beyond words to live in the 1960s at my age now and some people bitch and moan about today's state of the country but the 60s was an entire different beast. But it's not just the story, the performances are what either makes or breaks your film in such a context and they are spot on. Matthew Modine is something else, playing a soldier who states multiple times that he joined the Marines to kill and yet you never even see him pull a trigger, it is a fascinating and great performance and really is what sold me on this being one of the best war films if not films period. Vincent D'Onofrio is....shit, he's good. That's all I can say. Jesus H. Christ if that man didn't get any kind of award nod I'm going to have a problem. And I can almost say 110% that even if you haven't seen the movie, you can quote R. Lee Ermey in this movie, and I get it! It's a great performance that he barely had to even act in, the man was practically born to verbally rip you to shreds though he was a nice man and held a lot of respect in life. The film looks damn good at times, and is shot more traditionally than in Kubrick's usual style though it does creep in here and there, the music is used sparingly and effectively to perfect build and tension, and the use of slow-mo makes you feel every impact. I think the film was trying to convey this sense of abhorrent desensitized violence, and it really does get under your skin because some of the soldiers are just plain f***ed up. I've yet to meet a person who was pro-war, but even then I'm sure this film would change their stance pretty damn quick. It's not a film to entertain, but more to just make you question human nature. It's certainly worth your time and money easily, but there is more to it than one hell of an opening monologue and some very quotable lines. 8.5/10, can our final Kubrick film top two already great films? We shall soon learn.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019


Ohhh my God, I picked a doozy for the first real review of the month.

I am kinda speechless after watching Lolita. I don't even really know where to begin. I kinda loved it! I know that is so weird to say but, I really loved Lolita! I had a ball watching this movie and enjoyed it on multiple levels, and I will admit I have not read the novel so I had no frame of reference for anything. I just knew it was a controversial book that was adapted into a well known and slightly controversial film. Yes, it is the story of a middle aged man who becames infatuated and obsessed with a young teenage girl but the story goes well and far beyond this taboo relationship. In fact, the movie surprised me quite a bit but in the best way possible. First of all, I didn't know it was a black and white film which was a nice change of pace and it really does look nice. The second and most huge of the surprises was how funny this movie was, I was laughing way more than I ever thought possible with a film like Lolita, but I guess it shouldn't have been too much of a shock since Peter Sellers is in the movie but it is genuinely funny and I think that is what tipped this movie from a good movie to a pretty grand movie. Last but not least are the performances, now I fully expected decent performances but it gave me so much more than that. James Mason is great, I know this couldn't have been an easy role to take considering the subject matter but the film isn't exploitative and he handles the dramatics very well, and I honestly could just listen to him talk for hours, he just has a great voice. Peter Sellers brings his usual absurd and arguably camp perfomance which easily made me just crack up, his delivery and more importantly his dialogue is so odd and yet so damn funny. That's the best way I can describe the comedic tone to this movie, very odd but still makes you laugh. In fact, you'll know by the end of the first scene whether or not you'll like this movie. But I have to give so much credit to Sue Lyon as our eponymous character. Oh my stars, she is brilliant! Brilliant! For an actress who was 15 during the production she handles this performance just right, she's funny, she can be a bit of a wise ass, she's a totally real teenager, and I wish so badly I could divulge into her character arc but it would be a huge detriment to not only her acting but the latter parts of the story. Needless to say I was very impressed and genuinely loved how they potrayed her. I feel a lot of people assume the film is as smutty as the book, but you honestly don't see anything and for good reason. The film would probably be banned if they explored it more and even today it can be viewed as this taboo, video nasty, sort of forbidden film though all of the more ahem, mature aspects have to be inferred into and are never fully spelt out. It's not this film that advocates in favor of such a relationship and says it's totally fine, it's not. Truthfully, hand over my heart, it plays like a drama about just two people in a relationship. The age of Lolita is hardly ever brought up, and the film incorporates a passage of time element so you're never really sure of her age, and the uh...physical aspect is only brought up once. Now I'm not saying it's good or right, the film just potrays this form of relationship in a different light and could be told today without the age difference and still hold up. I won't spoil anything minor or major, but really pay attention to how Lolita and Humbert differ from each other as the film progresses. There's a genuine growth, and the ending for Lolita is a very happy one with her life at a pleasant place with a bright future. It's such a different film and deserving of the praise it has gathered since it was released in 1962, and I do urge more people to see it and to simply judge it on it's merits rather than preconceptions. It just isn't the film you suspect. 8/10!

Friday, November 1, 2019

Mad Love (1935)

I would be an utter hack if I didn't ressurect my horror movie reviews for just one more day. Because Halloween can never be over.

Mad Love is a very well done film, combining both the creepy performance of Peter Lorre with the directing abilities of one of the most acclaimed cinematographers in history Karl Freund. The film concerns a brilliant surgeon played by Lorre who gets entangled in a love triangle between an actress and her pianist husband, who after a train accident must use the hands of a killer to repair the piano player's hands. Colin Clive returns once more here bringing yet another commited and great performance, while Frances Drake I honestly feel doesn't have to act much when interacting with Lorre and while it is a simple role she plays the part well. But of course the reason the film is still so well known is because of Peter Lorre, and this was his first american film after starring in Fritz Lang's M leading him to have two classic horrific roles under his belt and lead to many more in the future. The man is a great actor, able to be both unsettling and yet still relatable, being a frustrated man who while a genius in his medical field is very awkward and blunt in social situations and only wants to be accepted by the woman he loves. It is one of many tragic romances in the horror genre, he is able to profess his love but recieve little in return which leads to a eventual spiral into madness which is handled incredibly well. Yes, the idea of an executed killer's hands causing a normal sane person to commit murders is far fetched and bordering on silly, and while it does clash with the realism of the picture it doesn't harm the film. However in the case of a secondary character who is there solely to lighten the mood and create comedic relief, is a sin against nature and while horror movies can have a light joke here or there, what is the point of making a horror movie if you throw in a comedic character to keep people from feeling tense and scared? It sort of defies the purpose of the genre. One mistep aside, the director behind this is amazing. Karl Freund is no stranger here either, he directed The Mummy just 3 years prior and has been a pioneer in film working on Metropolis, All Quiet On The Western Front, and of course some ventures into horror, his style is visually interesting and always does something you just never saw in films at that time. The lighting, blocking, and framing is excellent with lots of craftsmanship and imagination. The film even took me for not one but two loops with one genuinely making my jaw drop because it was unexpected and worked within the story, which always gets a film at least one point on the scale. It may noy be high tier golden age horror material but is far from a footnote in the genre, and actually a remake that is more well known than the original and in fact was remade more or less three more times throughout the years. So obviously there is an interesting story to tell, but I'm willing to hedge my bets on this being the best version. Love makes you do crazy things, and if reviewing horror movies after Halloween is wrong then I most certainly never want to be right.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019


It wasn't quite what I expected.

I still took a rather demented enjoyment in viewing Midsommar, though I was expecting pure experimental trippy visuals with a loose story structure and was more about the experience than the story. But I got a visually interesting movie that may not deliver much on horror but how it affects you on a deeper level could possibly elicit strong emotions. Personally at the end I was on the verge of tears and yet I can't explain why, it has a...cathartic ending if that's the right word choice. But we need to talk story first! A young woman Danni suffered a great tragedy concerning her family and has decided to join her boyfriend on a trip to a remote community in Sweden, where once more ideologies though this time modern clash with Pagan customs and rituals. There's a lot of emphasis on miscommunication and strained relationships in this film, apparently the director made this after he had a break up so take from that what you will but it's interesting regardless. Yet very much in The Wicker Man it never pulls punches and just shows two sides, in fact I almost dare say the people in the community are without a doubt right in their actions because shock of all shocks, the american college kids are negative nancy asshats who just want to eat shrooms and get laid so forgive me if I side with the nice villagers. And truth be told they honestly seem like supremely nice folks, they're not judging or cruel, nor wary of outsiders or just wish to do bad things. They are kind, compassionate, easy going, incredibly sympathetic to other's emotions, and are not even slightly antagonistic. They only take action when symbols and objects of great worth in their religion are defiled and their simple rules are not followed. I get it! I totally get it, I have great respect and humbleness to any religion and would never tread on the toes of people who have pride and faith in it, probably because I'm a decent human being but whatever. Bottom line, I like that little village. Once again it was fascinating to see other customs and rituals, and never once did the film get dull for me. Now granted it is a two and a half hour movie, but it gives you time to get situated, relax, let down your guard then hit you with something gruesome! I was expecting terrifying psychological effects on our main characters because of the actual drug use in the film but nothing too out there occurs. It's more like if you took The Wicker Man, added some Hannibal zest, and just a tiny little bit of Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas, that's the best way for me to describe it. The film was distributed by A24 who if you honestly look at their filmography you can determine what film this will be, this is the same company who released The Lobster, Killing Of A Sacred Deer, Lady Bird, Under The Skin, Swiss Army Man, and their newly released film The Lighthouse which I fully intend to review as quickly as possible. So quite a few movies I've reviewed in the past, and most of them are very strange yet original film ideas and this movie is no exception. You won't be getting horrified screams or questioning of your own mental faculties out of this film, but it's interesting nevertheless and should be given a shot. I'm definitely looking forward to reading other people's emotional state by the time the credits rolled. And that is sadly the last review of this month, it truly breaks my heart that October is so near ending and yet barely has felt like it's just started. I had a wonderful time this year, and yes I will definitively say The Wicker Man is the best film I saw all month and I genuinely hope you've checked some of these movies out and enjoyed them as much as I did. But what's coming for November before the season which shall not be named on this most hallowed of all months begins? Difficult to say, but there's always something to talk about and worth watching. All my love and best wishes to the monsters, ghouls, slashers, and costumed trick or treaters in the days to come. I hope you have the happiest of Halloween's.

Friday, October 25, 2019

The Wicker Man (1973)

Oh thank the flippin' celestial beings this film wasn't a complete and utter failing of cinema.

I have no issue saying The Wicker Man is a great if not even excellent movie, and I knew it was going to be in less than 10 minutes into the film. All of my complaints with the atrocity that is the remake have been remedied and made great, every aspect of the filmmaking process must be applauded. It's a very 1970s looking film in terms of production, but the editing, cinematography, and overall look of this film is a feast to the eyes. It is gorgeous at times and knows exactly how to build the proper atmosphere and mood. The music also was a surprising but regardless highly entertaining aspect of the film, to the point where one could argue it's a musical but it's just so nice to listen to you don't even mind, it honestly reminded me of more slow folk songs like Scarborough Fair by Simon & Garfunkel. I feel the less I say about plot the better, however for a brief synopsis, a police officer is called by an anonymous letter to investigate the disappearance of a child on a remote island and the subsequent investigation of what follows. And boy howdy did the mystery aspect actually work this time, mainly because no one is clearly a shifty eyed suspicious batshit crazy cultist, but I digress. I was genuinely interested to see such a clashing of ideologies, because our policeman Seargant Howie is a very faithful Christian and has endless problems trying to get over the fact that all the inhabitants on Summerisle believe in Pagan rituals and the old gods, it's handled well and while it is a product of a more closed minded time you must know that during such a time period this sort of thing was greatly unheard of. In a predominantly Christian world, Paganism was just too out there to comprehend and rarely seen but the film doesn't pick sides and just shows one ideology against another. Yeah, there's some stuff in the movie even I was slightly confused at but really when you get right down to it all religions are a bit crazy so I greatly appreciate that it's not deviant or sacrilege with these Pagan customs but just another way of life. Which is expertly personified by Lord Summerisle played by Christopher Lee who has went on record to say this was his most favorite role to the point where he worked for free and even pitched in money just to see it get made. Such dedication is not found nowadays. Edward Woodward is a very fine lead, who has intelligence and manners but still has limits and is simply trying to be a good police officer. You get a great feeling of this town and community, not so much in geography but the spirit of the place, it was shot entirely in Scotland and it looks spectacular. Several shots are worth having framed, there is such a precise and dedicated craftsmanship to these shots, they knew exactly how to shoot this movie and what they wanted to achieve with it. It does warrant the R rating but mainly just for some nudity which I'm sure was almost razed to the ground by protests claiming it was pornography, but it's just there to show a difference of culture and views. I love this movie, I seriously need to get my hands on a physical copy as soon as possible, and I dare even say this is the best film I've reviewed this month. This is easily a 4 star, 8/10, highly recommended movie you should treat yourself to watch. It's always interesting to see customs and traditions held by people that you never get to see, and I was always an open minded individual so it was just fascinating to watch this movie even if everything isn't completely accurate. I'm so just absolutely thrilled and so appreciative I got to see this movie, I can't even explain in words how happy I was to see such a expertly made and wonderfully executed film after the unspeakable shitstorm of a betrayal that the remake was. Watch this movie and do the world a favor and perhaps burn the copies of the remake. You might fall into good graces with somebody out there.