Archive | December, 2011

Review of The Last Man On Earth (1964)

29 Dec

The Last Man On Earth (1964) is an Italian sci-fi/thriller/horror film, based on Richard Matheson’s novel I Am Legend. Yes, it was also adapted as The Omega Man (1971), I Am Legend (2007) and I Am Omega (2007).

Directed by the Italian director Ubaldo Ragona (Una vergine per un bastardo (1966), Baldoria nei Caraibi (1961)).

Written by William F. Leicester (The High Chaparral (1967 TV), Bonanza (1959 TV)), some work was done by Matheson himself, but because he wasn’t satisfied with the results, so he was credited as Logan Swanson.

Starring: Vincent Price, Franca Bettoia, Emma Danieli, Giacomo Rossi-Stuart and others.

Richard Matheson’s novel has been brought to the screen more than enough times, and as far as I can tell we can stop expecting a film that would do it justice. All the adaptations work best at the beginning where it follows the heroes while they have (a quote from this film) “Another day to live through. Better get started.”, but start falling apart when they try to do something different.

However, this could be considered the closest adaptation and maybe for that reason it is also my favourite one.

It used to not be uncommon for Italians to make horror movies for American market and this is one of those Italian-produced “cheap” horror flicks in English. And it kind of suffers from this aspect. It isn’t a conventional 60’s horror b-movie, so the opening credits in spooky fonts and over-the-top dramatic score add unnecessary cheesiness to an otherwise pretty subtle movie. It has a certain mood, that is just perfect but then, when it gets interrupted by the inappropriate score I got pretty pissed off. It does improve later on, but mostly because the film becomes more dramatic.

Some subtle music cues and even total silence would be much better suited for the post-apocalyptic feel. At one point Vincent Price puts on an LP and that serves as a lot better soundtrack.

I don’t know what happened there, but there are some montages of Price killing vampires by hammering stakes into their chests, but it shows it from a low angle so you only see him hammering away in what seems like totally random directions.

Vincent Price isn’t bad as Neville, but is miscast and I guess was cast mostly because of his horror-cred. He’s a good actor, but has this vibe about him that is just too elegant and not enough everyman-like. Franca Bettoia is ok, is it just me or does she look a lot like Jenna Elfman?

The “vampires” are portrayed pretty accurately as they are basically a bit more intelligent zombies, I suppose the term just wasn’t that well-known when the book was written.

It’s amusing how Neville’s home video looks like a 50’s TV show, when it is shown being shot with a Super 8 camera.

Overall  a good movie, best I Am Legend adaptation yet and totally recommended.

"I'm here to kill vampires and grow pencil moustaches. And my moustache is fully grown."

Review of The Running Man (1987)

27 Dec

The Running Man (1987) is a sci-fi/action/comedy film, which is very loosely based on the Stephen King’s novel of the same name.

Directed by Paul Michael Glaser (The Cutting Edge (1992), Kazaam (1996)), who is best known for portraying David Starsky in the hit TV series Starsky & Hutch.

Written by Steven E. de Souza (Street Fighter (1994), Die Hard (1988)), known for being the writer behind some of the biggest blockbusters starring various action stars.

Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Maria Conchita Alonso, Yaphet Kotto, Jim Brown, Jesse Ventura, Mick Fleetwood and others.

And again I’m thrown into a dystopian version of future, the year 2019, as I wonder how come the future looks like 80’s so much. But before that we can enjoy a sequence where Arnold’s character is framed by government using some security footage taken from a conversation in a helicopter. For our enjoyment the footage is 35mm film quality, shot from multiple angles, from cameras which we don’t see from a directly opposite angle and so forth.

Then we see Arnold in prison rocking an awesome beard, which I wish he had left for the rest of the film, but sadly no.

Of course, he escapes and soon he meets Maria Conchita Alonso. This leads to me being exposed to some painful dialogue between two people with the most heavy accents they could’ve gotten. As usual I’m led to wondering why people never address his accent in his movies. It’s like “hey people, I know this is movie is about people fighting for their lives in awful outfits on public television, but what you really have to suspend your disbelief for is this huge guy always talking with an accent thicker than John Holmes’ penis.”

In comparison with the novel this can barely be called an adaptation, Schwarzenegger is the most inappropriate casting for Ben Richards. Somehow there’s more than one movie where there’s this ordinary guy that easily blends in and then they cast this 6-foot tall Austrian bodybuilder, because minor shit like characters don’t matter. Arnold did a bit more similar character to Ben Richards in Total Recall, but it’s still fucking Conan, wearing a jacket.

The movie attempts at the kind of social satire, that was popular and sort of worked in the 80’s, but it doesn’t come close to how well it was done in Robocop. There’s a Star Trek joke that actually works better now.

There’s a scene where some people watch a TV in a bar and I bet the extras weren’t told that they are reacting to a bunch of girls dancing, because I don’t think they would be so excited, cheering and yelling “yeah, go!” all the time.

Of course they decide to dress the leads into the most ridiculous looking spandex suits I’ve ever seen. And not all of the actors are as fit as Arnold, who tries to redeem his outfit by saying “I’ll be back” once again.

I’d like to see a remake of this, that would tone down the cheesiness and follow the novel closer by going for a tone more similar to that of Blade Runner perhaps.

Of course this doesn’t come close to Batman & Robin, but a pretty big portion of Arnold’s dialogue consists of just bad puns and one-liners. Then again, the same can be said about Arnold’s career as a whole. On the other hand who else can deliver a line like this “I live to see you eat that contract, but I hope you leave enough room for my fist because I’m going to ram it into your stomach and break your goddamn spine!”?

Overall it’s a really bad and over-the-top film, but if you’re anything like me and have a significant amount of appreciation for cheesy 80’s action movies I think you will enjoy it as well. Recommended for all the wrong reasons.

Pictured: What everyone will be wearing 8 years from now.

Review of Cabin Fever (2002)

23 Dec

Cabin Fever (2002) is a horror/comedy film made by the horror enthusiast Eli Roth on a relatively small budget ($1.5 million). The film grossed about 20 times its budget.

Directed by Eli Roth (Hostel (2005), Hostel: Part II (2007)) and this is his directorial feature film debut.

Written by Randy Pearlstein (Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever (2009)) and Eli Roth (Chowdaheads (1999 TV), The Rotten Fruit (2003 Short)).

I’ll start by saying that Eli Roth can’t write dialogue, he seems to have learned how people interact from 80’s slasher movies and haven’t been good at that either. However, I must admit that he’s not all that bad at directing, although at times he’s not great at that either. He makes a jarring choice to have a scene where he is playing some bald guy in a campfire story immediately followed by him stumbling in with a fake goatee and acting as a total douchebag.

The characters just suck so much, almost everyone is written as an idiot or a dick/bitch. It is not good that you want the protagonists of a horror movie to die. They are neither likable nor realistic.

The acting is pretty bad, but I’m not sure if they are to blame, because it would take good actors to make the script tolerable and they are not good actors. Well, Rider Strong is sort of ok, maybe it’s because of the horrible performances from the others or the fact that I was a fan of Boy Meets World, but he stands out as not irritating.

The police deputy character was kind of funny, but then again I felt like being slapped in the face by the total disregard of any realism to introduce another stupid comic relief character. Also he shows up twice in the movie and the second time, which is the next day, his moustache is a lot thicker.

“Pancakes! Pancakes!” a kid in a bad wig at the gas-station screamed for no reason, before busting out in kung-fu moves. I guess it was to accentuate that the townspeople are real rednecks and he’s probably a child of incest. You know, a flesh-eating disease isn’t enough, we need some asshole hillbillies as well.

The special effects are pretty great, like when a girl decides to shave her rotting legs and the result shows that she could’ve basically just used a potato-peeler. So yeah, the gore is good, what I can’t say about a scene where they show a dog’s POV and it’s all tinted red. Why? Then there’s a shot where a guy has swallowed a harmonica horizontally, which I very much doubt could be possible.

Overall, it’s an ok throwback to 80’s “cabin-in-the-woods” movies, it is fun if you look past all the idiotic shit. I’d actually recommend it, although I didn’t like it that much.

"This is the last time I try to bleach my femstache using sulfuric acid."

Review of Blood Diamond (2006)

19 Dec

Blood Diamond (2006) is an action/drama/thriller film, set in Africa during the Sierra Leone Civil War.

Directed by Edward Zwick (The Last Samurai (2003), Defiance (2008)), who has been often praised for his epic movies, that frequently deal with various political, social or racial issues.

Written by Charles Leavitt (The Sunchaser (1996), The Express (2008)), who researched and rewrote the script, after it had been undeveloped for years.

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Connely, Djimon Hounsou, Kagiso Kuypers, Arnold Vosloo and others.

For a change I’ll start with the acting. DiCaprio is a very solid actor and here he proves that once again. He does what I thought was a pretty decent African accent, but I didn’t get why the thickness of it kept varying, I guess it was switching between dialects, which in that case is well done. Jennifer Connely is hot as hell in this, I just love me some full eyebrows. But she doesn’t get all that much screen time, but I don’t think the character asked for more anyway. Djimon Hounson is good, but I don’t have much else to say about his performance, it just was very believable. Arnold Vosloo isn’t a mummy in this movie.

There was some chilling stuff that all the blood diamond/crime kingpin gang war shit involved. Like they take some young boys from a village and chop one of their arms off with a machete. And since losing limbs is one of my biggest fears that’s kind of impactful. And the gangs take some other kids with them and train them a bit. So another powerful image are that of a bunch of 10-year-olds running around smoking and holding machine guns.

I loved this one line that is delivered by DiCaprio: “I like to get kissed before I get fucked.”, can’t wait for an opportunity to use this quote in a logical conversation.

I like this DiCaprio a lot more than that wimp from Titanic. He’s almost an action hero nowadays, only he’s also a good dramatic actor. Also in this movie his physique is really different. Up until this he’s been very thin and early 20’s looking, he’s like that in The Aviator and then he’s a bit more “heavy” in The Departed, but here he’s in good shape, but has put on some weight and in combination with his goatee he looks his actual age. But this doesn’t have much to do with this movie.

The action is overall well done, but it does this one thing all the time. It’s a really frantic situation, a total chaos and suddenly there’s a calm and simple resolution to the whole situation.

When I think of the film’s social or whatever commentary I realise that it is actually just a simple plot device to give Hounsou’s character some motivation. The film tries to make us think that it is more important and relevant than it actually is. The film is too stretched-out in an attempt to hide it basically being just an action thriller, behind some contrived political overtones.

The ending is this mixture of uplifting sadness and total implausibility, but I think it worked for me.

Overall, I don’t recommend this movie. I mean, it is a good movie. But if you want, you will watch it regardless, but I don’t think you would lose anything by not seeing it. It doesn’t need my recommendation, it is a well enough known film, so I’ll just give it my approval and not recommendation.

"It's huge.......that's what she said."

Review of Star Trek Unaired Pilot (1965)

17 Dec

Star Trek S01E00 – “The Cage “ (1965) is the rejected pilot episode of the sci-fi/drama/adventure series Star Trek.

Directed by Robert Butler (Turbulence (1997), White Mile (1994)), who is best known for various TV movies and pilots.

Written by Gene Roddenberry (Mr. District Attorney (1954 TV), Highway Patrol (1955 TV)), who is considered the creator of Star Trek.

Starring: Jeffrey Hunter, Susan Oliver, Leonard Nimoy, Majel Barret and others.

I have never been a Star Trek fan, I’ve had Star Wars to fill my need for some space odyssey. Prior to this I’ve actually only seen the 2009 J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek film. And it was good. So ever since that my interest in the franchise has been growing. I find these large franchises intriguing, since it isn’t like watching a season and then there’s nothing left other than waiting for another season to come out or something like that.

And since I always try to experience things chronologically, like they are meant to, I decided to just start at the very beginning. And what is more “beginning” than a pilot that wasn’t picked up?

I thought it’s going to start off incredibly cheesy like from the first minute, but it is obviously taking itself very seriously.

Jeffrey Hunter is very charismatic as Captain Christopher Pike, I would have loved if he had stayed as the lead of the show. Also he looks a bit like Ray Liotta. It’s interesting that Leonard Nimoy is the only actor that was kept in the other pilot, even though executives didn’t like Spock. In this Spock isn’t quite the same character as in the real series. He touches some noisy Talosian (a planet where they end up for some unclear reason) flower and smiles in amazement. Susan Oliver is astoundingly hot and has one of the bluest pairs of eyes I’ve ever seen.

The special effects are like 50/50 bad to good ones. The aliens “Talosians” have these well-made, but extremely cheesy and cliché pulsating vein-covered heads, which from behind look just like butts. The set on the planet consists of obviously fake rocks and a painted background, which actually adds a weirdly claustrophobic feeling. There’s some people in weird alien animal costumes that I thought were going to be totally random, but they actually did use them for a reason. The inside of the USS Enterprise is all covered in the classic boards of computers that seem to be there just to blink random lights. But they did use these very cellphone-like devices, which I found cool. Also there’s a well-done aging/disfiguration transformation make-up effect on Susan Oliver.

How exactly do the Talosians know about Adam and Eve? How do they know this ancient Hebrew story? And why when they are able to communicate through telepathy, they decide at one point to talk with their mouths.

It feels like a real 60’s sci-fi B-movie, it even has a more or less appropriate length to be considered one. But I don’t mean that in a bad sense, it actually is more intelligent than most 60’s TV series and sci-fi movies and that is one of the main reasons it wasn’t picked up by the studio. And I guess for a show that was watched mostly by older children, this might be a bit mature.

Overall, I think this is a great pilot and I would have enjoyed if they kept going in this direction, although, as I haven’t watched the following episodes, I can’t tell which version I’d prefer.

"You know Spock, as far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangste...uh, I mean a starship captain.".

Review of Primer (2004)

14 Dec

Primer (2004) is an independently made sci-fi/drama/thriller film, made on a budget of $7,000.

Directed by Shane Carruth (Upstream Color (2012)), this is his directorial debut, Carruth is a former engineer and it shows in the movie.

Written by Shane Carruth (A Topiary (2013)), his scientific education also obviously influenced the way he’s written the movie.

Starring: Shane Carruth, David Sullivan, Casey Gooden, Anand Upadhyaya and others.

It’s a short movie, talking about it is hard without spoiling too much, it’s a small movie (small budget, small names, small cast), it’s amazingly complex and I still don’t fully understand it, no one involved has done any previous work and so on.

But it is undeniably fascinating.

Weird how much the style of the movie is influenced by Carruth’s experience in the science field. His decisions were very guided by this. The dialogue is full of technical jargon, which audience isn’t really supposed to fully understand. And the main characters work on their projects in a garage lit by flourescent lights, so it gives the film this very sterile, yet dirty tone. They are not sure of what they are doing. And don’t bounce off the walls and ceiling, while operatic score plays in the background, when they discover something. It is an incredibly subtle film.

Carruth decided to portray one of the lead character, because he thought actors add too much drama to it and I can see how someone could easily come across as too dramatic in this film. A very energetic person showing up here would seem like overacting. But I’m not saying the actors here don’t emote, they do, but you can’t always catch it, like when in reality talking to people not every emotion shows up on their face. The acting from Carruth himself and David Sullivan is just great, as they show the friendship of two young men just changing as they make a big discovery.

Similar subtlety is in the narrative, where the big plot points are presented just as casually as the simplest exposition parts. This film doesn’t tell you which are the important parts, it actually tells you a lot less than you’d expect.

I think it’s not a huge spoiler that the movie involves time traveling. And if you’re not a genius with incredible concentration abilities, it’ll take you some time to actually get how it works, even after they explain it. And maybe you won’t understand it fully at all. I know that I keep trying to figure it out, because there are blank spots you have to fill in yourself, for it to make sense.

And it almost feels like a documentary, where you watch these people working, quietly debating stuff and being unsure of what they are doing. Also the device, which allows the time travel is no DeLorean or other futuristic space traveler accessory, but more like some unfinished part of factory machinery.

Overall, a great, fascinating movie, made on what can barely be considered a budget, an original take on the time travel sub-genre of sci-fi and rewards multiple viewings. Recommended for intelligent people and genre fans.

Pictured: Mind-fuck.

Review of The Stand (1994)

12 Dec

The Stand (1994) is a post-apocalyptic horror/fantasy/drama TV mini series, based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name, consisting of 4 90-minute episodes.

Directed by Mick Garris (Critters 2 (1988), Riding The Bullet (2004)), best known for his adaptations of Stephen King’s works.

Written by Stephen King (Sleepwalkers (1992), Pet Sematary (1989)), that’s right, King wrote the teleplay himself.

Starring: Gary Sinise, Molly Ringwald, Jamey Sheridan, Ruby Dee, Rob Lowe, Miguel Ferrer, Corin Nemec, Matt Fewer, Ossie Davis and others.

I must say that I am a big fan of Stephen King, even though his writing style isn’t always perfect, I seem to mostly enjoy it. He’s a huge part of horror fiction and the huge amount of screen adaptations is a testament to his talent. Most of it is total rubbish, but some of it successfully captures the greatness of King’s work. I can gladly say that in this case it’s the latter one.

I haven’t seen all of the adaptations, because that’s almost impossible, but I’ve seen quite a few and this just might be my favourite. But keep in mind, that it is my favourite translation of his work to the screen and not the best movie based on his novels. I’ve read the novel and I loved it and the mini series is more faithful to the source material than I expected. Don’t get me wrong, it takes some significant liberties, but overall it’s forgivable.

Mini series is what everyone would like adaptations to be, because you can’t do 500 pages justice in 90-minutes. I mean, hell yeah, I wanted The Stand to be 6 hours long, I noticed the time I had spent watching it, but it felt like a standard 2-hour film.

I think I’ve mentioned before that there’s something I love about post-apocalyptic fiction, so I loved the premise. For those who don’t know, it’s about a superflu destroying like 99% of the world’s population and how the survivors gather together through some supernatural (it’s King after all) ways.

This is going to be a longer review, so I better move on.

Gary Sinise is the perfect casting for Stu, yet I would have never thought the role would suit him so much.

I pretty much hated the changes made to Harold’s character, instead of this disgusting slob, he was just a nerdy guy, who’s obviously good-looking, which is hidden by glasses and some bad make-up pimples.

Larry’s story arc was all screwed up, but Adam Storke is good in this role, because what he lacks in acting skills, he makes up for with his rock star presence.

Jamey Sheridan is a very odd choice to play the main villain. He’s ridiculously early 90’s redneck looking. He has this ugly jean suit and either the most stupid or bad-ass looking mullet I’ve ever seen. Also there’s some demon make-up scenes that were totally unnecessary and those also featured some CG transformations, which were… well 90’s CGI, ’nuff said.

Rob Lowe isn’t what I would imagine to play Nick, but he does a good job.

Bill Fagerbakke handles the role of Tom pretty well. Sometimes when actors play mentally handicapped characters it comes across a bit too forced, but he more or less captured the feel of the character in the novel.

I guess 90’s was a time when Molly Ringwald was considered attractive? Ok, she’s not that awful, Fran wasn’t the best character in the novel too, but I can’t say anything good about her performance either.

Another perfect casting choice was Miguel Ferrer as Lloyd. He’s just so great, bringing the subtlety the script had left out, but the book had.

They decided to blend two female characters into one, portrayed by the very unattractive Laura San Giacomo.

Stephen King himself appears a couple of times, even has some lines, some people find things like that distracting, but I liked that.

And one that is less a weird casting and more just an odd performance is by Shawnee Smith (Amanda from the Saw series), who gives an absurdly ridiculous, over-the-top, spoiled, bitchy teenage slut character performance. I wasn’t sure if I was entertained by it or hated it. She must have been overacting so much on purpose.

Casting is overall very good, except maybe for Harold and maybe some others, but, with a cast this huge, that’s forgivable.

If they remade it as it was planned, a trilogy of theatrical films, it might benefit by not being so toned down, but I don’t see it being much better than this,

Some of the minor changes are really pointless and I don’t really understand.

I loved this “movie”. Although, the first episode was the best one and then it went downwards, I enjoyed it throughout. But I can’t really recommend it to anyone. I enjoyed it mostly, because I was already invested in the characters, but for someone who hasn’t read the novel it might seem too draggy and silly. So I recommend this mostly to the fans of the novel.

"What do you mean "MacGyver isn't on TV anymore"? Eh, I guess, I'll have to go and listen to some Michael Bolton records."

Review of Thor (2011)

10 Dec

Thor (2011) is an action/fantasy/drama film, based on Marvel comic books and is one of the movies leading up to The Avengers (2012), where the title character teams up with several other comic book characters.

Directed by Kenneth Branagh (Henry V (1989), Dead Again (1991)), who is best known for starring and directing William Shakespear’s play adaptations.

Written by Ashley Miller (Agent Cody Banks (2003), X-Men: First Class (2011)), Zack Stentz (Andromeda (TV), Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (TV)) and Don Payne (Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007), My Super Ex-Girlfriend (2006)).

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, Tom Hiddleston, Kat Dennings, Stellan Skarsgård and others.

I love comic books, some of them less than others. Thor is one of those characters I don’t find interesting. While in comics he had this alternate personality, which gives his personality another dimension, but this movie version disregards that and makes Thor just this powerful guy with some family issues, so he doesn’t fit in with the idea of Marvel characters being relatable, unlike DC characters.

However, despite my opinions on the character, maybe influenced by my lack of knowledge about him, I thought this movie did a good job of making him very likable, by not overcomplicating him. Chris Hemsworth’s charisma also helps that significantly. Thor is almost as cheesy a character as Captain America and they succeed in making him more or less fitting in a realistic world.

Speaking of acting the stand-out is definitely Tom Hiddleston as Thor’s brother who is the main antagonist, because he’s pale, slim and has black hair. Seriously though, he does a great job and totally rocks that ridiculous helmet he wears later on in the movie. Anthony Hopkins is Thor’s very Shakespearian father and does it just like you expect him to. Natalie Portman tries to do this quirky Jodie Foster-like scientist, but the script doesn’t do her justice and throws her in as a love interest for Thor, who develops the hots for him very quickly. With the Asgardian characters, I think that Scandinavian accents would’ve been more suiting than the British ones they use.

It felt like the script asked for a lot longer movie and to get it into the 2-hour frame, they cut a lot of it short, so they had to force some points, take some shortcuts and rush some of the character developments.

Some of the CGI looks pretty awful, but some was quite impressive, like that rainbow bridge in Asgard and I found that robot thing (Destroyer, was it?) cool and something about how it moved made it  was just right.

I was pleasantly surprised by Hawkeye’s (Jeremy Renner) cameo.

Their choice of director is very odd. Hearing Kenneth Branagh’s name doesn’t really make me think of action oriented comic book movie. I guess they really squinted and saw the Shakespearian drama of the Nordic mythology in the source material, so to add some gravitas they got a “classical” director like Branagh. He does a good job aside from the damn dutch tilt‘s (slanted camera angle) all the time. Seriously, there’s no need to turn the camera every third frame, it starts feeling like watching Battlefield Earth.

My favorite part was definitely when Thor arrives on Earth and the movie turns into this fish-out-of-water type of comedy, where Thor is funny and Kat Dennings is cute.

Overall, it’s a solid, good movie. My least favourite of the big comic book movies of 2011, but that just means it’s been a pretty good year for them. Recommended, if you want to catch up for The Avengers, it’s fun and all, but not great.

"Hey guys, I'm one of those very prominent Asian characters of Nordic mythology."

Review of The Kid (1921)

9 Dec

The Kid (1921) is a silent comedy/drama film, which is one of the best known movies, made and starring the silent era comedy icon Charles Chaplin.

Directed by Charles Chaplin (A Woman of Paris: A Drama of Fate (1923), The Gold Rush (1925)), who directed most of his movies.

Written by Charles Chaplin (The Circus (1928), City Lights (1931)).

Starring: Charles Chaplin, Jackie Coogan, Edna Purviance, Carl Miller and others.

Charlie Chaplin has been one of the biggest talents film comedy’s ever had and one of the biggest influences on slapstick comedy in general, being rivaled maybe only by Buster Keaton. I loved Chaplin as a kid and I still love him and find him hilarious now. This is his first feature-length film and also the first feature-length that combined comedy and drama and I’d say it is quite succesful in that aspect.

The movie starts by a woman leaving a charity hospital with a newborn child and deciding to leave it in a car. Fortunately for her, I guess, 20’s cars didn’t have lockable doors. Unfortunately, this is the same reason some criminals steal the car with the baby in it. Of course, the criminals dispose of the baby and Chaplin’s character, Tramp, finds him and is forced to take care of it.

In a classic buddy comedy scenario, Tramp is resentful at first and then warms up to the boy as he grows up and makes him a partner in crime.

It is a very entertaining film and the gags are really funny, somehow the feeling of genuineness shines through, even though all the slapstick routines have become cliché by now. Although slapstick is considered to be juvenile now, I enjoyed it a lot and found the choreography amazing. It never feels like it needs any dialogue and they rarely use the intertitle cards.

Jackie Coogan is so much more expressive and funny than any of the 6-year-olds we see in family movies today. Chaplin and him play off of each other perfectly and I really believed their relationship. This isn’t the most physical performance of Chaplin ever, but he’s great anyway.

This is a drama film as much as it is a comedy. It isn’t funny all the time. There’s one scene in the film that is so incredibly heart-breaking, I actually teared up watching it. And if a simple 1920’s silent comedy can do that, there’s something great about it.

I’d say it is a movie everyone should watch, because it is so accessible to everyone. I totally loved it and recommend it immensely. And see Charlie Chaplin’s genius at the start of his feature film career, that fulfilled his potential.

"You will know me as the most charismatic child actor of the next 90 years."

Review of A Serious Man (2009)

7 Dec

A Serious Man (2009) is a dark comedy/drama film, made by one of the most well-known filmmaker teams working today, Coen brothers.

Directed by Joel Coen (Blood Simple. (1984), Raising Arizona (1987)) and Ethan Coen (The Ladykillers (2004), No Country For Old Men (2007)).

Written by (unsurprisingly) Ethan Coen (Crimewave (1985), Miller’s Crossing (1990)) and Joel Coen (Barton Fink (1991), The Hudsucker Proxy (1994)).

Starring: Michael Suhlbarg, Richard Kind, Sari Lennick, Fred Melamed and others.

The film starts off with a short film, which is there for no other reason than to set the mood for the rest of the film. But I don’t know if it actually succeeded with me, because it has no connection with the film whatsoever. It’s an interesting idea by itself to start it like that, but I found it unnecessary and if you don’t know its purpose, you’ll probably be confused by this weird sequence. This exemplifies how much freedom Coen brothers had with this film.

It is a comedic movie, but there’s no actual jokes, it’s more about the feeling it invokes when you watch the main character get frustrated as his life becomes more and more absurd. I didn’t think it got draggy at parts or was particularly slow overall, but I also didn’t find it all that entertaining.

Although I could say it is accessible to all audiences, it seems to be more targeted towards the Jewish audience members.

The acting is definitely top-notch, all the actors are perfectly cast. The cast doesn’t have any big names in it. My favourite was Richard Kind, I’ve actually liked him everywhere I’ve seen him.

Its strongest part is without doubt the visual style. It’s a really, really beautiful looking movie. The cinematography is just great. In modern cinema, with all the digital color correction, you actually rarely see a film with such nice, lush colors, that you feel like you could drink them. So that would be my main reason to recommend the film.

I feel like a year from now I won’t be able to remember anything about this movie, because it lacked anything that would make it memorable for me and it seems to me that Coen brothers didn’t care if it sells well or not. They made it because they wanted to and now finally they had the chance to whatever they wanted.

I think it is an extremely well-made movie, but it didn’t really speak to me, so I can’t say I liked it very much, but I can recommend it, if you’re the kind of person, who likes festival movies. Also it’s worth to see just for the visuals alone.

"Next week there's gonna be a test on this. On huge blackboards that is."