Wes Anderson is a phenomenal director who works with limited resources… MoreWes Anderson is a phenomenal director who works with limited resources and yet produces seminal masterpieces surrounding the obscure, the antique, and the flowery. With this, his largest effort utilizing a huge ensemble cast and huge set-pieces, he has possibly created a grand masterpiece unparalleled. Though "Moonrise Kingdom" was an amazing triumph and an interesting period piece, this film discovers the perverse dark humor in the history of the world through hyperbole. Using stop-motion, faking an entire history of a European principality in forties' wartime, and using elaborate costuming and set-pieces, Anderson delves into seedy and malevolent territory, letting us see the exploits of Gustave H and Zero as they traipse across the country, trying to win simple respect and keep intact their prime dignity. I also love the spiraling into grotesque and dark humor to such depths, which I've never seen Anderson exact with such a vengeful direction before. It's a refreshing, magnificent story that looks and feels all new.
There have been grosser films: films that are weirder, more upsetting,… MoreThere have been grosser films: films that are weirder, more upsetting, and bloodier, but undeniably this was the first, and the best, shocker horror film. Though it says in the preface that the events are based in historical fact, none of it really happened. Some of it was based on the exploits of Ed Gein from Wisconsin who also inspired the character of Hannibal Lecter. "Texas" redefined the area of horror dealing with a principle villain, and effectively created the slasher genre. The reason that "Texas" is brutally entertaining is because of the sickening content, but more importantly the ferocity and feral manner of its lead: Leatherface. Leatherface is innocent and yet animalistic, unsure of himself and yet predatory in his actions, making him the perfect killer, and the most lasting character. The first death comes out of nowhere, and from there the elicit story of this strange cannibal family comes to light slowly. These killers have no sympathy for their victims, and they will kill anyone who crosses their path. The final dinner scene is so disgusting and gory that it stays with you in the worst kind of way, making this a mainstay horror classic in every sense of the word.
Hopefully this will become a child's classic, because it has all the… MoreHopefully this will become a child's classic, because it has all the makings to be one. Fun for both adults and children, this film will remain as a steadfast children's film, simply based on the fact that the makers seriously cared that they were making a film for children. The concept is fanciful, death is handled sensibly and carefully, there's minimal violence, and the characters are all linked to traditions and mythology that still lives on in the minds of children everywhere. The action is also handled well, and the color scheme is breathtaking. The choices for the casting of this were also really interesting: Hugh Jackman as a boomerang throwing accented Easter bunny with serious attitude. Alec Baldwin as a Russian, tough guy Santa Claus. They work so well. The story even felt original, which is hard to do with characters that have been adapted and depicted in various media. This is just the best kind of children's film, sweet, simple, and lovable.
With an elusive and interesting cast, a thrilling plot, and a lot of… MoreWith an elusive and interesting cast, a thrilling plot, and a lot of suspense built up until the inevitable end, this film should be praised for its innovation and use of magic to further its plot. Still, though it has an element of suspense that keeps us watching with baited breath, it doesn't deliver on all its contrivances. The ensemble cast sometimes entertains (especially Morgan Freeman as the elusive man behind shattering others' expectations) but the characters are so flat and boring that the actors can't work with this level of stilted dialogue. There's this thrown in romance between Rhodes (Ruffalo) and Dray (Laurent) that feels so alien and unneeded that it somewhat throws the rest of the plot into chaos and undermines the characters, who are so flat and unyielding that you could steam roll right over them. Magic is what makes this film tolerable and suspenseful throughout, wondering how each illusion is performed and whether or not the Four Horsemen will get away. The ending is what ruffles people the wrong way, partially because it's handled horribly, but mostly because it isn't explained all that well. The link between the investigation and the rest of the story is tenuous and we're unsure of the relevance of the vendetta that enacts the entire plan. In the end you feel invalidated by the film, and the colossal misgivings of how the ending is handled.
The original cop drama, "Serpico" opened a lot of doors for… MoreThe original cop drama, "Serpico" opened a lot of doors for filmmakers, and told the true story of a cop on the fringes of a corrupt department in New York City. Pacino plays a heavily exposed and alternative plainclothes police officer just trying to expel corruption in his department and finally become a detective. The character is chronically annoyed with the problems he faces and in this way is portrayed as an irritable man who can't cope with the problems around him, notably fighting with his female partners, with those in the department, and the higher ups who don't want to delve into their own problems for fear of exposure and punishment. Serpico is an atypical figure, the lone good guy in a department of supposed good guys. The film paints police officers as men and women who are stuck in a system that has them either gravitate towards corruption, or else squelches anything remotely akin to whistle blowing. There's such a rampage of corruption that Serpico isn't able to report the abuses without compromising himself, and his life is left in peril because of it. This character was not seen before in cinema, because of the complexities of the plot. Sidney Lumet is a revolutionary and hard headed director who takes on controversial topics within the zeitgeist of the seventies, and presents gritty, real truths to his audiences. Along with Pacino's superb acting this film soars with credibility and chutzpah, making for an intriguing watch.
I just don't see how anyone really enjoys watching two inconsiderate… MoreI just don't see how anyone really enjoys watching two inconsiderate people hate each other for decades while calling it love. Recently there has been this trend of love stories about people doomed to repeat stupid decisions over and over again, never ending up with the person they are meant to be with. These films are oftentimes badly thought out and have super melodramatic stories that center on immature, useless individuals with little to no characteristics except their own selfishness and inability to commit. This story isn't as longwinded as "One Day" or as large as life as say "The English Patient" but it falls under this umbrella because of the length of their courtship and their eventual decline. Felicity Jones and Anton Yelchin have zero to no chemistry in this, their characters are inane, their acting is over the top, and we jump through time with no explanation, at various points in the story, skewing what's happening on screen. The fact that Jennifer Lawrence shows up in a quick couple scenes is the only thing interesting about this, otherwise this is a clear snooze fest.
Looking back to the groovy seventies, this send-up to the cultural… MoreLooking back to the groovy seventies, this send-up to the cultural iconoclast that was "The Brady Bunch" casts all new members to the roles in the Brady clan, and even features cameos from past ones. The story follows the same antics as any episode, with the fate of the Brady household up for grabs from a nineties' land developer. Fighting the stigma of living in the past (literally) and just having a great time being together as a family, they find ways to save themselves, and deal with a myriad of personal problems. It's great to see some of the largest problems of the series revisited for those nostalgic for the glory days. The Bradys are also shown to be happier, friendlier, and creepier than the nineties culture permits, and so they're strange in the same way as the dynamic of "The Munsters," another classic sitcom. While 1995 serves as a contrasting backdrop to the Bradys, it doesn't overwhelm the story. The new cast is very on point, and the entire film feels as campy as its predecessor, making it one of the better adaptations in this trend.