This film (almost) has it all: it's a suspense thriller, a mystery, a… MoreThis film (almost) has it all: it's a suspense thriller, a mystery, a domestic (melo)drama, and even a bit of a horror film. It's widely regarded as a classic, and its influence is undeniable.
I really, really liked, but didn't quite love this film. I thought I would love it, but, alas, I did not. I mostly think it's because I wasn't totally surprised by this film, and it didn't feel totally fresh. Had I seen this when it came out (or had it been the first film I ever saw), I'd probably be singing a slightly more praising tune.
This film is still quite excellent though, and the twists are really cool. It's like a Hitchcock film, which is definite high praise. Hell, this seems like something he should have done. I guess Clouzot just beat him to the punch.
Besides a twisty and well crafted plot, there's a wonderful atmosphere at hand. The film looks gorgeous in black and white, and it adds to the spooky, odd tone of things. The direction is very sharp and lets everything unfold in a deliberate way. I really liked the performances, especially Simone Signoret's. She's fantastic.
Definitely check this one out. I was slightly underwhelmed, hence why it doesn't have a full 5 like I thought I might give it. It's still a very amazing film though that is incredibly well done and great at holding one's attention.
I have mentioned in some of my past reviews that of the many different… MoreI have mentioned in some of my past reviews that of the many different types of film I enjoy, one of them is the type where the story takes place over the course of a few hours or a day. This is one such film. This also happens to be a film by Richard Linklater (whose work I really enjoy).
I'm not real big on romance films, but when I can find one done right, then I'm usually pretty happy. This is one of those films. This movie is almost sickeningly sweet and romantic. It's also pretty honest and realistic. This isn't some sort of feel-good fantasy, it's two souls who meet, spend a day together in a city just wandering around and talking, then part ways- possibly never to see one another again.
This, like my favorite Linklater film (Dazed and Confused) is a film I would like to/wish I would have made. It's a simple concept, and shouldn't really work, but it does. I think it does work because Linklater knows that films don't have to have plot to be good. Not much really happens here aside from walking and talking, but it feels like an immense amount of time has passed once the end credits roll.
The characters have interesting things to talk about, and a lot of this reminded me of sitting in smokey bars and greasy spoons yakking my head off over coffee or beer with friends. In a way, I feel a lot like Jesse. I try to cover up romanticism with cynicism. I however, do not have the artsy, slacker attitude or looks of Jesse (or Hawke), and am not quite as cynical, but he is a character I feel I am on a similar plane with. Julie Delpy is charmingly cute, but not a sexy bombshell. I'm okay with that. I think she's a wonderful actress (with talent and looks), and she fits the part perfectly, as does Hawke. She seems too uptight and opinionated, just like how Jesse is perhaps too much of an immature bum. Even though these two aren't the most likable people, you can't/don't hate them because they are too similar to most of the world's population.
I basically loved everything about this film. The dialogue and performances have to carry it, because there's really nothing else, but that's fine, because those are done so well. The music and camera work are also nice. Besides just walking and talking the scenery is gorgeous, and the music is just as fun to listen to as the conversations. I think I may actually hate this film because I wish I would have seen it sooner and also because this is the type of thing I'd love to do (cinematically and in real life). I'm mad that this film beat me to it.
It's a wonderful concept and the ending for me was just great. Had this been directed by some other director, most of this (if not all of it) would have been false, too sappy, and had an eyerolling worthy ending. Bravo.
Despite its faults, I enjoyed the first Hunger Games film. But with… MoreDespite its faults, I enjoyed the first Hunger Games film. But with this, its sequel Catching Fire, I am in love.
Picking up after the events of the first, Katniss is dealing with the consequences and repercussions of not only being in the games (and killing people), but defying the rules of the bone chillingly evil dictator President Snow. The pressures of having to come to terms with her actions in and out of the arena really get to her, and it only gets worse when she starts to witness a brewing revolution she inadvertently caused, and finds out she once again has to participate in a special edition of the 75th Hunger Games.
The film does retread a lot of stuff from the first, but I really wasn't all that bothered by it, mostly because it did it even better, and also built upon it multiple times over. Some are saying this is more like a reboot, but I don't really see it that way, even if I do kinda get it.
I loved how they expanded the story, and really went for it in terms of skewering media, cult of celebrity, reality TV, and showing how revolutions are caused and executed. In fact, the stuff not involving the training and the games are the best parts of the film, as that's what the overall story is truly about. That's not to say that the other stuff is bad, since its not; the other stuff is just better and even more interesting.
Most of the cast from the first film return, and they really deliver the goods. They could have easily all phoned it in, but they don't, and that shows they really care about the project, especially Jennifer Lawrence, fresh off her Oscar win. She absolutely owns this film, and clearly cements her place in the annals of film history as a great young actress. Josh Hutcherson is also quite great here. I loved how Elizabeth Banks was given a juicier and deeper role her, and that Stanley Tucci was the much needed levity, really going for broke with his over the top scenery chewing.
As for the new additions to the cast, Jena Malone is an angry badass, Phillip Seymour Hoffman excels at conveying ambiguity, and Jeffrey Wright and Amanda Plummer are fun, though underused as two brainy veteran Tributes.
I like Gary Ross as a director, but here, Francis Lawrence blows him out of the water. This is a well paced, engaging, and gripping film. The shaky cam, though present, is toned down immensely, and the overall look is gorgeous. I'm so happy I saw this on the big screen. The effects are well done, and you can tell the lager budget they had this time around was put to good use.
Even though it's the middle part of a series, the film is amazingly tense, suspenseful, and it feels like every character is fair game for getting killed off, even knowing they'll be in the later films. That's a sign of quality right there. It bugged me a bit that there's still some self censorship to keep the ating a PG-13, but I didn't feel really pissed off, as its done in a good way.
For a long film, this rarely, if ever, felt like it dragged, at least for me. It's compelling, thrilling, and one of the few films with a cliffhanger ending that earned it, and really left me yearning for the next one. I loved the escalation, sense of dread, and the fact that this could have been a cheap cash in, but wasn't.
Definitely give this one a shot, it's excellent.
Set in a picturesque New England boys's prep school in the late 1950s,… MoreSet in a picturesque New England boys's prep school in the late 1950s, what we get here is an inspiring story of an unconventional young English teacher who aims to inspire his charges to challenge the confines of structure and seize the day, primarily through the lens of poetry.
This was not the most original film at the time of its release, but if it's any consolation, many imitators followed in its wake. I think this is an inspiring and moving film.As the teacher, Robin Williams is restrained for almost all of it, but that's fine-it's one of his best performances. The other performances are also really good, particularly Robert Sean Leonard and Ethan Hawke.
As this is a Peter Weir film, the cinematography and overall look of the film are just gorgeous. It is incredibly typical in terms of showcasing New England, but that doesn't really bother me.
My only real gripes are how limited the poetry is (no mention of the Beats? in the late 50s? WHAT?) and how much of a downer this film is and becomes. Sometimes the music also seems a tad awkward, but it's mostly quite good.
Overall, I do really like this. It's nothing new, but it's done well, has a nice message, and it does push for an appreciation of poetry, so that's cool too.