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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

WAY DOWN EAST



A sweet country girl named Anna(Lillian Gish) gets tricked by a lustful wealthy womanizer named Lennox Sanderson(Lowell Sherman). He fakes their marriage, leaves her when she has a baby and her baby dies in the poor conditions she lives in. Anna goes to work on the farm and at the farm is a young farmer named David (Richard Barthelmess) who loves her, however, Anna doesn't want to be with him due to her past.


The great silent actress Lillian Gish brings a wonderful performance. Her facial expressions (Just like in her films) make you feel for her and root for her throughout the film. Her character is really so lovable and innocent that you just have to feel the pain she's feeling. This is indeed one of her best performances.Now the supporting cast are all memorable, even the ones who show for a short time. In fact, there are a few romantic sub plots with other characters when Anna starts to work on the farm. I'd love to point them all out but I'll just talk about her love interest and the villain. David is like a Prince. Love at first sight, romantic moments, saves the girl and the end. His character isn't bland but he is predictable but back in the day, most love films were like that and there are a lot of good scenes with him and Gish together. My favorite scene is when they're in a field of flowers by a waterfall. The villain is not someone who's threatening, he's just an asshole. What makes the performance and villain so good, is his facial expressions. Every time you see him, he has that sinister classy look and a perverted face that shows his lust for woman. The characters are all good.



The music in the film is good. Most of the time, the music would just loop the same tune or play a public domain song but there are scenes where the music plays a big part. One of my favorites with the music is when the villain tells her the truth. There's very little dialogue going on in the scene and just by listening to the dramatic music, you can tell that argument between them is intense. Instead of showing subtitles of her telling the villain about the baby, the music plays "Rock -A-Bye Baby" to indicate that she has a baby coming and to me that makes the scene more effecting. The music also gives the scenes with her and David a good romantic feel and I love the eerie music for when ever you see the villain. The film also has a good narrative structure and makes it easy for the viewers to follow. However, I do question why did the film start going by chapters and then stop? Oh and yes the film is very long but don't worry (Like "Birth Of A Nation") it's a two act film.


D.W. Griffiths directing is always impressive and this film has a good amount of it, but his best scene and the part that many people remember is the climax.The climax takes place on a frozen river during a snow storm, she lies unconscious on a frozen pond, the Ice breaks and there's an ice-flow heading down a waterfall and David has to save her. This scene is what makes the movie. It has a thrilling score, the suspense builds and builds and it looks realistic. It's one of the best climaxes to ever be put on film.

The film is well told, has good acting, a decent score, nice characters and a climax that tops the whole film. One of D.W. Griffiths best films.

RATING 5/5


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

COURAGEOUS



This is an independent Christian drama. The film focuses on the lives of four police officers and an immigrant.  That's pretty much the basic plot, when I heard about the film, it sounds like a nice film but I began to wonder if this film is going to be good as people say it is or is it just a corny film that kind of forces religion.ON WITH THE REVIEW...


The characters, are they good and do their actors give a very moving performance? I'll say this about the acting, the acting is very suttling and is not really done dramatic or over dramatic, it's just natural and suttle. So yeah, it's nothing special but it matches the films tone and atmosphere. The character Adam (Played by also the director of this movie Alex Kendrick) is a father who doesn't spend time with his kids and after the loss of one of his children, he has to connect with his only remaining kid. That's a character I really felt for throughout the whole film and the scenes when he thinks about his child is really sad and moving. The character Nathan is a very courageous character cause he had to go through life without a father and he'll risk his life to save his children. His best scene is when he's in a fancy restaurant with his daughter. The Immigrant Javier is a character who I loved throughout the film and always has me hoping that he can get a job to support his family.  The other characters such as Shane and the rookie cop David are good characters too but I didn't find them as interesting or as moving as the ones I just mentioned.

The film itself is good but it's nothing epic, it's just decent. The cinematography, score, the action and the acting, are nothing great, just decent. The scenes that are emotional (Epically the scenes of the Adam missing his child) are really good, the speech at the ending is very moving, the characters are all at least likable and some of them are identifiable. The film does have a good look on life and god but for some reason I feel like the film can get either corny or boring. It has a good message but at the same time, I feel like there's a piece of the puzzle missing. I guess I can also say that this film feels more like a film made for TV or for a school maybe even Church.

So is it good or bad. Well it's defiantly watchable and the good stuff I mentioned are really good. I guess I was expecting this film to wow me like the religious film "7th Heaven" but I guess maybe I was expecting to much. Is it something I see again or put in my movie collection, maybe but this film is more of a love or hate film. It's not a fancy or a big named film but it is still enjoyable.

RATING 3/5

Sunday, January 27, 2013

TROPIC THUNDER


 An action film based on a true story starring a couple of big named stars is doing very poor and is going off schedule. The director meets the guy who wrote the story and he suggests to send the actors to the actors to the jungle where the enemy is and film it there with hidden cameras. The film mostly satires Vietnam War movies.

 
 Our three main stars, Ben Stiller, Jack Black and Robert Downey Jr. do a hilarious and tremendous job at playing these characters. Ben Stiller as the Sylvester Stallone type of actor who's in crappy films is brilliant. He's funny, he's insane and I love his mockery impersonations on big action stars and award winning stars. By the way, I'm in great awe that he directed, wrote and starred in this film.Jack Black plays the comedic actor who's hooked on drugs and he too is funny. I love how crazy he gets when he doesn't take drugs in the middle to the end of the film and can I say any more about Jack Black's performance on here, he's Jack Black he's funny in ALMOST everything he's in. Finally Robert Downey Jr. plays an Oscar winning actor who never breaks character in filming and sometimes doesn't even know who he is. He's funny and mostly over dramatic and I have to admit, this is one of those rare times when I say blackface actually looks good on someone.  
 
The supporting characters are just as funny and memorable as they are. We have Brandon T. Jackson as the closeted homosexual rapper, who's name is a play on Al Pacino(Which the reason why I think he's named after him is because it's parodying a gay film he starred in called "Cruisin'"). Then we have Jay Baruchel as a novice actor, Steve Coogan as the director, Danny McBride as the obsessive special effects man who loves creating explosions and Matthew McConaughey as the best friend and agent to Ben Stiller's character. The supporting characters that stood up to me the most and the ones who I really enjoy is Nick Nolte as the crazy soldier who wrote the book, Brandon Soo Hoo as that crazy kid dictator who's the films villain and Tom Cruise as the fat hot headed, foul mouthed and wanna be hip studio executive. By the way, be on the look out for cameos of other celebrities.

Now for the important part of the film, does it do a good job at satirizing Vietnam War films, I didn't think it was possible since Vietnam Films and the war are all treated seriously, surprisingly they make the satire so funny that I'm not ashamed of laughing at it. It satires all the great films such as "Platoon", "The Deer Hunter", the Rambo film's, "Apocalypse Now" and more, and if you saw these films, you'll know exactly what scene their satirizing and believe me, I caught a lot of it. I also love that the film has some serious moments and brings you a mild feel of the horrors of war. The film also parody's and makes fun of World War 2 films, famous stars and films in general. I also love that the film opens with fake trailers of each film starring one of the main characters, that really pulled me into the films atmosphere. Oh and for you dialogue fans, there's some really good comedic dialogue.

The film's really funny, it's one of the greatest satires I ever seen and has really good casting. I kid you not, their are some dull or pointless moments that drag(Mostly with Tom Cruise dancing) and the film did receive controversy from mocking mentally challenged people and having Downey in blackface but overall it's still a good or dare I say great satire film.

RATING 4/5

Saturday, January 26, 2013

THE UNTOUCHABLES: PILOT FILM


is one of the greatest crime fighting gangster shows of all time. Most people are more familiar with the film with Robert Deniro and Kevin Costner but I'm going to review the show first. Ironically what started the series wasn't an episode, it was a two part episode in the "Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse" that was later combined into a movie called...

 

















The pilot and show takes place in Chicago during Prohibition. Instead of having a gangster be the focus, the focus is on Elliot Ness(Robert Stack) who's a Federal Agent who hires a bunch of agents to take down the Capone Mob. In most of episodes their would be a special guest star, a new villain and of course a new case. The show was a hit in the 60's and still looked at as one of the best shows of all time. In this two parted episode, this is when Elliot first hires men, find ways to break into rackets and meets his match Al Capone (Neville Brand).

Our hero played by Robert Stack, is so badass and serious that he makes the classic fictional comic strips and film versions of "Dick Tracy" look gay. He's tough, hard boiled, always keeps a serious face and is one agent that you should never ever mess around with. He's calm and has a life but he's always ready to take down Capone at any given moment. I guess the only problem I have with this character is his lousy protection he gives to people but then again he's still awesome.

Aside from Neville's not so good Italian accent, he's probably one of the best portrayals of Al Capone. We get so much build up to him that he sounds generous but very intimidating. When we finally do see him, we see him smoke his cigar with a scar on his face, beating up and yelling at his men, lusts for woman and is thinking and finding ways to try to kill Elliot and his men. Yes, we do see him as a generous man in some scenes but for the most part, he's treated more like a villain than a glorified gangster.


The supporting characters are decent. The members in Elliot's crew don't show up too much unless there's a fight and the only guys I remember is Keenan Wynn as the ex convict Joe who can speak Italian and Joe Mantell as their inside man on the Capone Mob, George. As for Capone's gang, their characters are more memorable then Ness's gang, why, because they do more and show up more than Ness's gang, however I'm sure will see more of Ness's gang members in future episodes. The female characters are memorable. I think Elliot Ness's fiance played by Pat Crowley is interesting and you can feel what she feels about the work coming between her and Elliot. The other one's a performing dumb blonde named Brandy played by Barbara Nichols, her performance is good but the character does nothing in the film and feels pointless.

What I really like is the films style. Like the James Cagney film "The Roaring 20's" it plays like a documentary mixed with a gangster and Film Noire. I enjoy the pacing, narrating style, the montages of Elliot Ness kicking ass and cracking down racketts and I enjoy the films action. OK, most of the action in the beginning is just fighting but once we get to the films finale, things really go down. I defiantly loved the climatic shoot out at the end.

It's a good start to the series and even though I feel like this is the end, it's really the beginning.

RATING 4/5


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

7TH HEAVEN (1927)



NO, it's not on the show, it's on a silent film that was one of the first to be nominated for Best Picture.




The film is set in France during World War 1. A man named Chico (Charles Farrelll) who works in the sewers, helps an innocent poor young woman named Diane (Janet Gaynor) who's been abused by her sister and turned away by her rich uncle. The two begin to fall in love when all of a sudden the war hits. Chico gets drafted to fight in the war, but will always think of her and pray for her through god at 11.



The chemistry between the two characters is remarkably beautiful, touching and heartwarming. Every single time I see them on screen together, I smile and get teary eyes. There's never and I mean never a pointless, bland or dull moment between the two. The two actors play their performances so well that I immediately felt for these characters. They also have so much great development in this film that it makes me love them even more. The relationship is the films Heaven.

 
The war scenes is the films Hell. I'm not kidding the war scenes look very realistic. We get some realistic battle scenes, as well as some very sad moments, and they really do show the evils of war. The only light side to any of this is when our war hero prays for his love and thinks about her, and as we see him doing it, the camera jumps to her doing the same thing. The war scenes are not that brutal, but they're very realistic and very sad at the same time.



The film is filled with tons of great techniques and puts them in great use. The cinematography is amazing and has plenty of great shots. The score gives the film it's tremendous tone and atmosphere. I also love that you hear singing during some very holy moments and romantic moments. Finally, there's the films dialogue that is very beautifully written and emotional as well.



What I really love about the movie is the talk and symbolism's of Heaven and Hell. Sure, I just mentioned the first and second acts of being Heaven and Hell, but there's a lot more to it. Chico's Hell at the beginning of the film is being in sewers filled with muck and darkness, while his Heaven is his apartment where he lives on the top floor of the building where he can see the stars. Diane's Hell is living in a poor place with her abusive sister, while her Heaven is being and living with Chico. I also love the talk about God and Atheism in the film, which is not just clever dialogue, but it's impressive that the film got away with it at that time. As for the film's title, Chico has to climb 7 stairs to reach his heaven, which is not only is his place but is also where Diane is.

The film is one of the best romantic silent films I've ever seen and is probably one of the most beautiful love stories I've ever seen as well.

RATING 5/5

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

ALICIA KEYS FIRST 2 MUSIC VIDEOS



Alicia Keys man what a talent and voice. I usually don't get into this bland modern pop stuff but she's an exception, why cause she has talent. To honor her, I'm going to review her first 2 Music Video.


                    FALLIN'

Alicia sings her song "Fallin'" on the piano and as she's playing the piano she walks the street and visits a prison to see her lover. This is a beautifully sung song by a great artist and I love the chorus of jail birds and the different shots of her singing it. The music video at first just seemed like nothing and felt like I was watching one of those videos where the artist just poses. This one has a decent story and I love the reaction when she meets her lover in jail. My only criticism to the video is I wish we got a little background who he is but I think it's hinted when we hear her song "Girlfriend" on the radio. Overall it's a great video, it has a simple story, a beautiful song and nice shots.

RATING 5/5

A WOMAN'S WORTH















This video is a sequel to her previous Music Video(Which is why I'm reviewing 2 Music Videos). Alicia gets stopped by a young kid and she asks what the kid knows about a woman's worth. We then see her lover leave prison, comes back to her and try to blend back into society. Another great song with nice lyrics, good chorus and again beautifully sung by Alicia Keys. The shots of Alicia are good, I enjoy the story and I love how we focus on the kid throughout the video. Another great video and follow up to her previous video.

RATING 5/5

OVERALL

These two videos are good separate but they're alot better when you watch them together. Together, they have a good story, great songs and Alicia is a sight to watch perform and look at. An excellent start to her music video series.

RATING 5/5 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

A YOUNG CHILDRENS CONCERT WITH RAFFI


Raffi, the Bob Dylan (One of his favorite musicians)of our childhood. How could you not like his charm, his singing, his humor and turning classic children songs into something cool and better than any versions you've heard of that song.  He not only sings covers on children songs, he also writes his own material and most of his own material is on the environment, animals and saving the world. His songs are not just fun but are also inspiring. To honor him, I'm going to review his first concert video called...


























THE INTRO

Our intro starts out with Raffi rehearsing some songs as he looks at drawings of the songs. While he's rehearsing, we see kids outside waiting eagerly to see him. I love that we see him rehearse a little bit before he enters, I enjoy the drawings we see in the background and I really think its a great opening for the video.

THE MORE WE GET TOGETHER

As we see him enter the stage we hear a great applause, see children searching for him and Raffi gives his famous hello which is "Hello, hi Boys and Girls...Hi Moms and Dads...Grandmas and Grandpas..." and he breaks the fourth wall and says "Hello to you". Raffi opens the concert with the song "The More We Get Together"(Which was his first song on his first album for children).It's very settling, its a warm opening, its nice hear the audience sing with him and you got to enjoy his little corny joke to the kids.

YOU GOTTA SING

Raffi has the little children move to the song "You Gotta Sing". He sings that the spirits want them to "Sing, Clap, Stomp, Hum" and more. Raffi sings and performs the song so well that it not only encourages the kids in the audience to "Sing right along" but I'm sure the children who are watching this video at home will do the same. By the way, I love the kid in the audience who's trying to snap.

SIX LITTLE DUCKS

Raffi thinks he hears some ducks singing in the audience and proceeds by singing "Six Little Ducks". This is another fun song and Raffi of course is the reason why it is fun. He sings the song while doing a good impersonation of quacking like a duck, does a little dance during the "Wibble Wobble" part, hums a part of the medley and more. It's also cute seeing the kids in the audience singing, quacking and even one of them flapping like a duck. At the end of the song, Raffi makes a funny face while quacking but to be honest I find it more creepy than funny but I still adore Raffi.

BUMPIN' UP AND DOWN IN MY LITTLE RED WAGON

Raffi sings the song about a busted red wagon and asks the kids in the audience to figure out how to fix it. Raffi once again makes everything fun for the kids and gets a lot of kids "Bumpin' Up And Down" in their seats and has them moving their arms to make the motion and movement of the imaginary tool they're using. The kids in the audience are really smart for their age and come up with ways to fix a wagon. Raffi not only takes a few suggestions but also brings in a little of his fun humor to the kids.

BAA, BAA BLACK SHEEP

Raffi sings a song "That no one will know" and as he sings the song, Raffi finds out that almost everyone in the theater knows the song and stops playing and listens to them. Raffi then begins to sing the song his way and plays the same tune only with different animals. I love the way he changes the songs lyrics and I love how he interacts with the audience with the song. A really good act and the kids in the audience sing so well.

I'VE BEEN WORKING ON THE RAILROAD

Raffi begins to play and sing the song "I've Been Working On The Railroad" and almost every kid in the audience sings along with him.  I love how the song starts out the way how almost everyone sings the song to a catchy guitar rhythm of Raffi singing the line "Dinah won't you blow your horn" which makes the audience clap along. This is of course is a classic tune that I'm sure your kid won't hesitate to sing along too and of course is hard for your child to resist to not clap along with the audience. Defiantly a great version of this timeless song.

PEANUT BUTTER SANDWICH

Now's a good time to give your child a Peanut Butter Sandwich (Jelly Sandwiches are acceptable too) like it says on the box. Raffi starts playing the chords for his next song and begins to sing the words to the song "Peanut Butter Sandwich". This is a really catchy song, Raffi puts a lot of fun into the song epically how he makes the noise of the Sandwich sticking to his mouth and the munching noises to the different kids who eat it differently and I love his Kazoo solo. Defiantly a fun song to listen and indeed can work up your kids appetite for one.


BRUSH YOUR TEETH

Raffi quickly jumps to his next song, snaps his fingers and sings an acapella version of "Brush Your Teeth". The tune is catchy, the song is something you can sing along too and Raffi brings some of his childish humor for the kids. I also love that the kids participate with him by pretending to brush their teeth and make that brushing rhythm. It's short but very enjoyable.

YA UN RAT/SUR LE PONT D'AVIGNON

Raffi tells the children about a song he learned out of a book in school when he was a kid called "There's A Rat". Instead of singing the song in English, he sings it in french but don't worry he does sing the English lyrics too. As a kid and even now, I find it to be a very catchy french song for children and educational as well, since he sings it in English too. It's defiantly one of my favorite performances in the concert.

MR.SUN

Raffi decides to put the guitar down for a little while and decides to have the audience do a hand play with him. His first song is Mr.Sun and he has the audience stretch their hands in the air and make a sun. This is a fun song that your child will enjoy interacting too and yes you're allowed to join in too cause Raffi asks for the grown ups to play along too.

THE WHEELS ON THE BUS

Raffi decides to sing another song with the audiences without his guitar and that song is "The Wheels On The Bus". He once again has the audience sing along with him while having them interact with the song. Your child will defiantly enjoy moving their hands like the wheels, moving their hands like a windshield whipper, acting like the driver, making the beeping noise, jumping up and down, cry like a baby and making the shhh noise. Deferentially fun for kids.

THE CORNER GROCERY STORE

Raffi picks up his guitar and sings an unusual song about a Grocery Store. The song is more than unusual, it's surreal but very fun for kids. The part where kids play a big part in the song is when they sing about the person who's seeing this who doesn't have his specs, which I guess explains all the surreal things happening. What surprises me are how well the kids in the audience sing that line, they almost sound like a choir.

SOMETHING IN MY SHOE

Raffi starts making his famous trademark trumpet sound with his lips. He then plays the guitar while making the noise and sings another bizarre song about things in a persons shoe. This another fun song for kids to sing along too, scream out "What fell out", clap twice, making the noise of the things falling out of the shoe and make Raffi's trumpet noise. I also laugh at the moments when Raffi tries to tell the audience what to do during the song, you can almost swear he's losing his cool. It's a fun song, very playful and has some funny moments.

THANKS A LOT

Raffi tells the audience to close their eyes and listen to his song "Thanks A Lot". This is a very peaceful and relaxing tune about being thankful for the things we have. Raffi sings beautifully and while you hear the song you feel at peace. One of the highlights of the concert.

BABY BELUGA

Raffi sings his hit song about a whale called "Baby Beluga". What can I say, it's a classic kids song, it's fun to sing along to it and it's always awesome hearing Raffi sing it. You just can't have a concert with Raffi without him singing this song.

SHAKE MY SILLIES OUT

Raffi tells everybody to stand up to shake their sillies out. This is a very very fun song for you and your kid to dance too. Raffi puts so much energy and 50's style rock into it that it's hard for your kid not to resist dancing too. You'll shake, clap, jump, yawn. stretch and "Wiggle your Waggles away".

DOWN BY THE BAY

Well Raffi tells the audience that the shows almost over but he "Dare Not Go" without singing another song the kids won't know. He starts singing "Down By The Bay" and the kids immediately sings along. Raffi once again brings so much fun and humor into this song that your kid will laugh and sing along. He even has the audience rhyme it for him. A simple kids song but it's done great by the master of kid songs Raffi.

HE'S GOT THE WHOLE WORLD

Raffi claps for how well the kids and their guardians have sung and sings his final song "He's Got The Whole World". Raffi really sings his heart out with this song and so does the audience. It's a very beautiful finale to the concert and I love the freeze frame image when Raffi leaves the stage.

CREDITS/OUTRO

As the credits role, we see the kids in the audience meet Raffi. This is a really heartwarming ending, we finally see how well Raffi handles the children off the stage and just seeing him with them is so beautiful that I cry. Raffi is a wonderful man and this ending shows it.

OVERALL

Raffi is and always will be the best children's entertainer of all time. He's playful, sweet, fun, lovable and this video shows it. For you parents reading this, show this to your kids and not only will they have fun but they'll also see a legend at work.

RATING 5/5

MESSAGE TO THE GROWN UP CHILDREN WHO MET HIM AND SAW HIM LIVE...YOU'RE VERY LUCKY!!!!!!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

NORTH


Rob Reiner, you are indeed a very funny and talented director. You did great adaptions on Stephen King stories and you made some clever comedies such as "This Is Spinal Tap" and " When Harry Met Sally". You've also did "The Princess Bride" and "A Few Good Men". You even played a character in the hit TV show "All In The Family". My only question is what made or inspired you to do a mediocre, unfunny , horribly written, stereotypical and very mean spirited film called...


"North" is about a kid named North(Elijah Wood) who divorces his parents (Seinfield's Jason Alexander and Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and sets off on a journey to find new parents. However, he's being followed by Bruce Willis and an angry powerful kid who wants him dead. Already, I hate the premise, I hate the storyline and I find it very corny and mean spirited but there's a lot more to talk about, this is just the ordever, we haven't started the drinks or the first course yet.
 
Elijah Wood, good heavens the films you were in as a child weren't good, you can act fine and none of us thought that you'd play a great character in a great trilogy. Elijah, I love you but sadly you give a very corny and bad performance. You did better in "The Good Son" then you did in this film. It's not just him it's his character. Sure he's the typical kid who's very smart but he makes a cold blooded move on his parents that no kid should do, unless if they been abused or worse, having parents that fight and work is typical there's no need to have a mental break down. Oh and if I told you what this whole movie was, I find it a rip off and a betrayal to the character. Don't worry Elijah, years from now you'll be in "Lord Of The Rings".

(YES THIS IS A REAL PICTURE)

Bruce Willis as the guy who follows North and gives him advice is the most embarrassing role I ever seen Bruce Willis do and he too looks embarrassed. He goes from wearing a Bunny costume, to a cowboy(Without even saying "yippie kay yay"), to some beach goer with a metal detector, to an Eskimo, to an unfunny comedian and finally to a Federal Express devilry man and all of those roles are really odd, disturbing and really sad. He's also the narrator of the film, who sounds so embarrassed that he's quickly reading the lines on the script, and to think he was in that kickass film "Pulp Fiction" the same year. How would feel if you were doing an epic movie and then did a really crappy movie that same year? Bruce Willis, I have pity for you and I hoped they payed you well. By the way he talks about balls in a kids film.


 Jason Alexander and Julia Louis-Dreyfus as North's parents are very corny, unfunny, and to think they were on "Seinfield" while doing this film is once again embarrassing and felt like that they really needed to get paid. At least throughout the film they're asleep and you know what, I prefer them that way in this film. By the way what's with the Dad's job and why is he trying to loosen North's pants. The villains in this film are terrible and horribly performed. Our main villain is a kid named Winchell who's played by some unknown kid actor and is a really bad and boring villain. Jon Lovitz as the lawyer once again looks like he's in it for the money and is NOT funny. Even their Hitman sucks and the whole New York City chase shows how bad and stupid he is.



Now let's talk about the places North goes too. First up is Texas where his new family are rich Texas millionaires played by Dan Aykroyd and Reba McEntire. Those two are(You guessed it) are not funny and are insulting. Look at what they're wearing, no one in Texas wears clothes like that and the way they act are just stereotypical. They're also kind of creepy too as they try to fatten up North while giving some unfunny dialogue. Oh and on top of it all we get a really bad and pointless musical number. That whole dinner scene and how they act is so creepy that it makes Leather face's cannibalistic family look sane.



Next stop Hawaii where his new parents are played by Keone Young and Lauren Tom . We get tones of corny and unfunny stereotypical dialogue. If that's not unfunny enough, they have an obsession of showing billboards of North's butt crack all over Hawaii which isn't just gross, they sound like perverts and I bet Hawaii will be filled with perverts waiting to "meet" North. I've been to Hawaii and this makes Hawaii look very unwelcoming.



Next is Alaska where his new parents are played by Graham Greene and Kathy Bates. First off, Alaska looks more like Santa's North Pole as if it were runned by Eskimos. They also kill poor Abe Vigoda in a tradition that was done eons ago and done as a last resort. If that's not bad enough, we see Kathy Bates as an Eskimo with such a poor make up job and wearing an oblivious looking black ping tail wig that you swear that she's doing an minstrel show on natives, while Graham Greene(who is Native) sits down and smiles while he probably really feels insulted on the inside.



Next we get a montage on the different places North goes too and guess what they're all weird,unfunny and insulting. The Amish people look like extras from Weird Al's over the top music video "Amish Paradise", we get a poor parody on "The Last Emperor", a weird moment when North meets his topless new mom in Africa, and we see almost every stereotype on the people in France. Oh and when North finally meets a great family(Dad played by John Ritter), they act like unfunny cardboard cut outs as a modern day happy family you'd see in the 50's. Oh and a young Scarlett Johansson making her film debut is in the family.

What can I say that hasn't been said or what I haven't said already on the film, it sucks, it really really sucks. I see the message they're trying to give but it's doing a very very poor job on delving that message. Siskel, Ebert and Doug Walker hate this film and I think it's one of the worst films I ever seen and reviewed.

RATING 0/5

Friday, January 18, 2013

RESERVOIR DOGS



A mob boss and his son hire 6 criminals to pull off a jewelry store heist. The heist goes wrong and one them are killed, one is shot, one has disappeared, one of them is a psychopath and one of them is an undercover cop. The criminals names are phony color coded names and these criminals know nothing about each other. Throughout the film we see flashbacks of their back story and their escape from the heist.


 Each actor who plays their character are an excellent choice and all give a memorable performance. Harvey Keitel plays the cool and caring Mr. White; Tim Roth plays the wounded gangster Mr. Orange; Steve Buscemi plays the comical Mr.Pink and Michael Madsen plays the psychopathic Mr.Blonde. I was pleased that they got old time movie gangster Lawrence Tierney to play their crime boss to bring a nostalgic feel to gangster films. I also enjoy Chris Penn's performance as the bosses hot headed and child like son Nice Guy Eddie. The rest of the gang is played by the director Quentin Tarantino as the funny Mr.Brown and real life criminal, author and actor Eddie Bunker as Mr.Blue and even though they don't have too much screen time they're still memorable. Even the supporting actors are memorable.

The cinematography in this film is outstanding. We get close up shots, the famous trunk shot, off screen shots , long shots, slow motion, the camera circling around the characters, the camera following the characters and they all work. I enjoyed every shot that this film had to show and every time I see the film, I notice something new. This film really has creative cinematography and it's not afraid to show it.

The music has a great soundtrack. In the opening as we see our characters walk, we hear a cool song called "Little Green Bag". When our characters are beating up a cop that Mr. Blonde captured, the song "I Gotcha" plays during this brutal scene. "A Fool For Love" plays when we're alone with Mr. Orange in his apartment and when he turns off the song, he digs out for his wedding ring indicating his previous marriage. Of course, the best use of the music is when Mr.Blonde is torturing  a cop while dancing to "Stuck In The Middle With You" and what makes the music in the scene work is it has great timing, the music stops when Mr. Blonde leaves for a minute and for some weird reason when the song is over, we hear nothing from the radio. Even the credits play the song "Lime In The Coconut" which is about a person with a bellyache screaming for a doctor, sound familiar? I also love that the radio is hosted by comedian Steven Wright.

The dialogue is outstanding and there's never ever a dull or pointless moment with the dialogue. The highlights in the dialogue is the whole Diner scene about Madonna's song "Like A Virgin"and Steve Buscemi's tipping monologue; the name picking scene; the talk about a black girl getting even with someone; Mr.Blonde torture monologue; and Mr.Orange's monologue. Some of the violence is also in the dialogue as well. The dialogue is one of the many things that make the film work. It's interesting, it helps tell the story, never gets boring and it's quotable too. Oh, and try counting the amount of curse words and racial slurs you hear, cause there's a crap load of them.



The action and violence in this movie are unforgettable. You got a badly injured Mr.Orange who's bleeding and slowly dieing throughout the film; shootouts between the gangsters and the cops; and people beating each other up. Of course the scene, everyone remembers from watching this film is the famous torture scene as Mr. Blonde slowly brutally tortures the cop for his own amusement. These scenes are all great and very violent.

WARNING: SPOILERS  ALERT ON THIS PARAGRAPH

What many film buffs pick on in this film is it being a ripoff on a Hong Kong film called "City On Fire". What are my personal opinions on that? Well, as you all know, Quentin Tarantino likes to homage films and put film cliches in his films. So what are the similarities to "City On Fire". The film's climax revolves around a Jewelery Store heist gone wrong; there's a similar scene of a gangster shooting cops inside a cop car; an undercover cop gets shot in the belly; there's a Mexican standoff at the end; and the wounded cop tells a man his secret. Where do I begin? Maybe Tarantino might of ripped a few things off from the film, but then again, he did pay homage to other heist films. "The Asphalt Jungle" revolves around a Jewelry heist gone wrong; a cop going undercover during a heist has been done many times in film; everyone dies in the heist is an homage to the ending of Stanley Kubricks "The Killing", as well as telling the story through flashbacks; and the Mexican standoff is an homage to the Western films that the director loves. If you also wish to get technical, "City On Fire" was building up to the robbery; while this film focused on the Aftermath of the robbery. Still with my defense aside, I still can see plenty of similarities to the film that people accuse him of ripping off or homaging.

Overall, I think "Reservoir Dogs" is an outstanding film. Some can argue that he's stealing from "City On Fire" and while I think he got the idea from the film, he's using the same cliches that other films have used. Even if it's true that the idea from "City On Fire", I still wouldn't care as much; not to say that "City On Fire" isn't a good movie, but it's because this film has a style of its own. The film has great dialogue; cinematography; music; characters; pacing and action scenes. I personally find it as a great homage to film cliches and moments and for those who disagree, I respect your opinions, but I'm going to give it a good rating anyway.

RATING 5/5

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

APOCALYPSE NOW

 I think now is a good time to review a war masterpiece directed by the great Francis Ford Coppola when he was in his prime...



It's the Vietnam war and Captain Willard (Martin Sheen) is sent on a mission to kill a crazed ex-colonel named Kurtz(Marlon Brandon). Our hero goes on a adventure to find this crazed Colonel with some troops, but their adventure leads them into the horrors and the insanity of war. Just like most of my war reviews, I'm gonna review the film by sections, but don't worry I'll try not to spoil too much for you.



Let's start with our main character Captain Willard played by Martin Sheen. Martin Sheen gives a very heroic and haunting performance as Captain Willard. His performance and his character is mesmerizing in every scene he's in, especially when giving haunting narrations about the war, his journey and reading about Colonel Kurtz. I also can feel his insanity about the war. His best scene is the opening when he's flashing back to the war while the song "The End" by "The Doors" plays. We're looking around at things in his apartment from his past; see the fan blade symbolizing a chopper; he talks about how he felt when he was sent home; and we see him go insane, making it a very intense scene.



The mission briefing scene is the what gives our film it's plot, but I just want to talk about a few things in the scene. First off, two of the men that give our character the mission is played by G. D. Spradlin and Harrison Ford. G.D. Spradlin played Senator Pat Geary in Coppola's "Godfather Part 2" and in here he's playing a General named after director Roger Corman. He's defiantly the political figure in the world of 70s Coppola. As for Harrison Ford, he looks badass and he's named after George Lucas as reference to his performances in "American Graffiti" and "Star Wars". We also get to hear a recording of Brando's voice which sounds just as haunting and insane as Martin Sheen's character. I also like the men that accompany him on his mission because they resemble the type of  young men who were in the war.



In their first part of the journey, they join  Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore (Robert Duvall) to napalm an area. This whole sequence is the best sequence in the whole movie. We see great shots of helicopters going to attack an innocent village while the song "Ride of the Valkyries" plays; see innocent villagers get injured or killed; places getting destroyed; and we see Robert Duvall laughing and enjoying every minute of it. Robert Duvall gives a very fun performance as Kilgore and there are moments where he has his soldiers do over the top things as he tries to make Vietnam like home for his troops. He even has the best line in the film "I love the smell of napalm in the morning...Smells like victory". Oh, and be sure to look for a cameo of Francis Ford Coppola in this sequence.



Their next part of the journey is when they leave the boat to search for a fruit called a Mangoe. This whole walk through the jungle scene gives the film its nightmarish vision of being in the Jungle during the war. I won't spoil the rest for you, but there's really good suspense. Be careful something also lurks in the Jungle.



In this surreal and colorful sequence, as our main characters get a few supplies from a warehouse, there's a night time show of the "Playboy Bunnies" performing in front of American soldiers. This sequence shows how badly soldiers miss American woman, while some Vietnamese men watch in amazement, but are puzzled at the same time. We then see soldiers go from acting horny, to a mob of lustful perverts trying to get laid.



 One of the most shocking and horrifying moments in the film is when the crew sees a Sampan boat and hold the Vietnamese civilians on the boat hostage, checking to if they're carrying any weapons. This sequence is so brutal, so disturbing, so well acted that I will not spoil it for you. However, this part of the journey represents how nasty and brutal we were to civilians during the Vietnam War, and while we didn't know they were civilian, we didn't know who was innocent or who was the enemy.  This scene deferentially shows the monsters we were to the civilians at war.



Our last part of the journey before they head to where the Brando character is, there's a war going on on a bridge at night time. This whole sequence is shot as great as all the previous scenes. During this sequence we see soldiers jumping in the water with suitcases begging to go home; terrified soldiers shooting recklessly; injured soldiers; and flairs and bombs being fired. It's overall a well directed sequence. I will admit there's one more part of the journey where they're reading letters, but I won't spoil it for you.



I talked a lot about the great scenes and events in this movie, now I'm gonna talk about Marlon Brando and his character in the film. The build up to Brando's character is really, really great and as we learn how great of a soldier he was, we understand why he became crazy, but are puzzled at the same time. When we finally go to Brando's tribe land, we see thousands of heads and decaying dead bodies; people are worshiping him; and if that's not enough for you we have a crazy photographer who resembles Charles Manson played by Dennis Hopper. Brando is always kept in the shadows; speaking in a haunting voice as we hear this bald and over weight tribe leader reciting quotes and poems; and every time you see him you get nervous and know he's gone mad, but at the same time you feel sympathy for him for some strange reason. The climax with him and Sheen is one of the best edited and shot climaxes I have ever seen on film, but I won't give it away.

"Apocalypse Now" is not only one of Coppola's best, but is sadly his last epic movie before he started directing horrible and mediocre films. It's one of the best war films ever made by showing the insanity of war as we take this voyage with Sheen.

RATING 5/5