RSS

Category Archives: Reviews

Lolita ~ 1962

lolita-title-sequence   I had heard a lot about this film, but had never seen it until an airing on TCM.  I am a huge fan of Shelly Winters and was actually quite disappointed in her role in this film. I felt it was contrived and had very little substance. You almost began to dislike Mrs. Haze and I felt myself “rooting” for Professor Humbert and his goal to win over Lolita. James Mason was great in this film and showed emotion throughout, both that of desire, and of anguish.  When Lolita disappears, the scene in the hospital was one of the best.

Sue Lyon was very good in this film. She had the ability to come across as the young teenager, with all the mixed emotions that go with that, as well as her confusion as to her feelings and desire for her mother’s husband. As a vixen you got the feeling that she knew exactly what she was doing and was going to get exactly what she wanted. Her performance later in the film, as the older married Lolita, was not as compelling or believable, but overall I think she gave the best performance in the film.Lolita-Still-BW-01

As far as the role of Peter Sellers as Clare Quilty, he have the incomparable performance that only Peter Sellers could. However, I felt his character in the film was unnecessary, and think the film would have been better if his character was more like in the book, behind the scenes, and more of a mystery. This role gave the film a comedic feel that took away from the films story and would have been better left on the cutting floor.  No disrespect for Sellers as he was amazing, I just think Kubrick should have had this character less in the forefront of the story and more on the sidelines as in the book.

Due to the censorship in Hollywood in 1962 this film fell flat for me, as it never really was able to portray the relationship between Humbert and Lolita and walked around the actually storyline.  Even Kubrick himself said if he would have known the role the censors would play in this film he never would have made it. The film was enjoyable, and I am gald I finally got to take a look at this classic. Now to try and find a copy of the 1997 remake.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 30, 2013 in 1962, 60's, Classic, Reviews

 

Returning to the Yellow Brick Road

Oz-the-Great-and-Powerful-to-be-released-in-March-2013           The Wizard of Oz is by far one of the most enduring and best-loved films in cinematic history. Seen by generations of children, it continues to delight and entertain even 75 years later. My own five year old grand-daughter has recently become a fan of Dorothy Gale and her band of travelers off to see the great and powerful Wizard of Oz.
Needless to say when I heard that Disney was releasing a prequel to the greatest fantasy film and story of all time, I was eager to see it and find out all I could. I was there on its opening day, March 8th and sat in the theater with both young and old and revisited the yellow brick road.oz-great-powerful09

After watching the film I sat in the theater as everyone left and studied their responses and actions. When the film ended, the theater goers began to applaud, and rightfully so. And as they departed I heard words like, “awesome movie”; “So visual”; “perfect prequel”; and from one young movie goer, of about 7 or 8…”Mommy I want this movie!”

What I saw and felt was a little mixed. Awesome movie? Not what I would say awesome, but I would say it was very good. The story was true to the 1939 classic, in that it didn’t over tell the story or use difficult characterizations to tell its story…or did it? It moved quickly and didn’t have a slow pace, but a continual flow to the film and action, as well as the story.  A young Oscar Diggs, a small time traveling magician, played by James Franco, wants to be more than just a man, his dream is to be a great man, however his ways of getting there are lacking to say the least. When he is swept away in a hot air balloon by a swirling tornado he lands in the land of Oz and his life is changed forever. Sound familiar? Using the technique reminiscent of the 1939 classic, the films starts in black and white and once in Oz, the world takes on Technicolor.  Once he lands, he is met by the young and beautiful witch, Theodora, played very convincingly by Mila Kunis. She explains to him that he is the prophesied Great Wizard that is to take back the throne of Oz and save it’s people. He on the other hand looks at her as another one of his beautiful trophies and steals her heart. Literally. As the film develops, you begin to feel for young Theodora and when you meet her sister Elvanora, played, again expertly by Rachel Weisz you realize very quickly that she is the evil one…or is she? Michelle Williams, as Glinda the Good also shines in this role and can see through Oscar but believes he can still save Oz and it’s people, but she has to convince him.

hr_Oz_The_Great_and_Powerful_211    One of the best parts of the film for me was when Theodora begins to realize she was duped by this “Wizard” and her sister takes this opportunity to capitalize on her misery and brings about her sisters transformation to evil. I felt a little of Margaret Hamilton in her performance as she became the Wicked Witch of the West.

The film was very well made and I see it being nominated for special effects, cinematography, costumes and make up. The computer engineered graphics are at it’s best, but then this is Disney, so it should be. The world of Oz is faintly reminiscent of the Oz that I remember as a child. Even the little jokes regarding how the Munchkins,love to sing was enjoyable. Unfortunately, due to Warner Bros. owning the rights to the Wizard of Oz, some things were not used or replaced, such as the ruby slippers were reverted back to their orignal color from the books of Frank Baum, to silver. Other things we carefully placed such as Oscar’s troupe being Baum Brothers Circus, the horses of a different color in the fields. the poisoned poppy fields and even the Wizards Throne Room. There was even a lion…

Overall I really enjoyed the movie, from beginning to end.  Does it match up to the classic? No, not in the sense of what the Wizard of Oz has come to be cherished as, but it is a good match for its prequel. Sam Raimi did an excellent job of directing, and the characterizations were well done, my favorite being Mila Kunis.  I really enjoyed returning to the yellow brick road.   I plan on seeing it again this weekend in 3D, which I am sure will even be more visually stimulating. Like the young movie goer, who told his mother he wanted this movie, I too want this movie for my library.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 14, 2013 in 2013, Current Movie News, Fantasy, Reviews

 

Top 10 Favorite Female Performances of All Time ~ No. 6

One-Flew-Over-Nurse_l

No. 7 ~ Louise Fletcher in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (Nurse Ratched)

Anne Bancroft, Angela Lansbury, Geraldine Page, Colleen Dewhurst and Ellen Burstyn all turned down the role of Nurse Ratched, they thought the character was a monster. However Fletcher’s approach to the role was somewhat different than in the Kesey novel as she does not wrestle with the mental patients, at least not physically and she does not shout them into submission. Instead she uses a more subtle, calm, always vaguely patronizing, and cut-off approach to subdue them into her will. Distant and self-rightous what she does she feels is right and is actually hurt, almost abused when her suthority is called in question.

Fletcher had not acted in over fifteen years when she landed this role, other than a role in “Theives Like Us” as she had taken time off to raise her sons, but when she took to the screen as Nurse Ratched, she nailed it like a pro. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest became one of the most celebrated movies of the 1970s, winning the “Big Five” Academy Awards (Actor, Actress, Director, Picture, and Screenplay) and being nominated for an additional four.

 
 

A Star is Born – Anthony Hopkins

01Anthony-HopkinsBorn December 31, 1937 in  Margam, Neath Port Talbot, Wales, as Philip Anthony Hopkins the son of Muriel Anne (née Yeats) and Richard Arthur Hopkins, a baker, Sir Anthony Hopkins is considered to be one of the greatest living actors.  Influenced and encouraged to become an actor by Welsh compatriot Richard Burton (who was also born at Neath Port Talbot), whom he met briefly at the age of 15, Anthony probably became best known in his Oscar winning performace of Hannibal Lector in Silence of the Lambs.

He began his rise in theatre and became Lawrence Olivier’s understudy, and filled in when Olivier was struck with appendicitis during a production of August Strindberg’s The Dance of Death. Olivier later noted in his memoir, Confessions of an Actor, that, “A new young actor in the company of exceptional promise named Anthony Hopkins was understudying me and walked away with the part of Edgar like a cat with a mouse between its teeth.”

Despite his success in theatre, Hopkins grew tired of repeating the same roles nightly and yearned to be in films. He made his small-screen debut in a 1967 BBC broadcast of A Flea in Her Ear. In 1968, he got his break in The Lion in Winter playing Richard I, along with Peter O’Toole, Katharine Hepburn, and future James Bond star Timothy Dalton, who played Philip II of France. He went on to have roles in 95 films, such as A River Runs Through It; Meet Joe Black; Hamlet, QB VII, Elephant Man; and scores of others and has been nominated three times for the Oscar for Best Actor, winning for Silence of the Lambs. This year he plays director Alfred Hitchcock, during the filming of Psycho, and rumour has it he will be nominted once again.

Hopkins was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1993 for services to the arts. He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2003, and was made a Fellow of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in 2008.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 31, 2012 in Reviews

 

Viewed in 2012

I watched a lot of movies in 2012, however most were older movies, movies I had seen before, and movies I watched to review…so I didn’t see too many new releases this year.  To be honest there were not that many that really looked all that good, well until October when the good stuff started coming out. So here are a list of movies ( in the order best to worst) that were released in 2012 that I  actually got to see…

Lincoln_2012_Teaser_Poster

Lincoln- By far the best movie I saw this year, and pretty close to being the best movie I have saw in the past five years, or at least since The Departed, There Will Be Blood and No Country for Old Men. Daniel Day-Lewis should get his third Oscar for this role. Sally Field was amazing as always, Tommy Lee Jones was superb, and James Spader was my favorite. Not to mention the cinematography and directing and the score. Best movie of the year, and should win the Oscar.

11166738_det

Prometheus – As most know that read this blog, Sci-Fi is not one of my most favorite genre of films, but this film was one of the best sci-fi films since Avatar. Ridley Scott amazes me every time I see one of his films. It was dark, yet had moments of lightness. It was exciting from the beginning to end. Most of the acting was top notch, and the cinematography and special effects were right on spot. This is a sci-fi film I would watch again and again.

hunger-games

Hunger Games – The acting was excellent and the story was great (not as good as the books, but adapted well) This movie kept me poised on the edge of my seat, even though I knew how it was going to end, or lead into the next film. Great movie, well worth the ticket price and the time spent in the theater.

Marvels-The-Avengers

The Avengers- I actually have already seen this film twice. Once in the theaters and then when it came out on DVD. An exciting, fun and even funny film. I love Robert Downey Jr., and even though Scarlett Johanssen and Jeremy Renner’s parts were small and did not get much film time they took advantage of thier roles. I along with thousands of others enjoyed this film, as it is now the third highest grossing film (according to WikiPedia) of all time with well over 1.5 billion in sales

11166608_det

Dark Shadows- Johnny Depp…what can be said about him that hasn’t already been said, and why hasn’t this man won an Oscar yet?  I loved this film. Being a fan of the old TV show, I was delighted in the big screen adaptation and hope they have more to come. Funny, quirky, delightful and perfectly cast with Helena Bonham Carter and Michelle Pfieffer.

Snow_White_and_the_Huntsman_Poster

Snow White and the Huntsman–  I quite enjoyed this film. I am not a Kristen Stewart fan, and really do not think this role is suited for her, but it was passable. As for Charlize Theron, she was remarkable as the evil queen and pulled off the role with expertise, but then when does she play a bad role? An enjoyable film, worth seeing again.

MV5BMTcyMTMzNzE5N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzg5NjM5Nw@@__V1__SY317_

Pitch Perfect– Loved it, Loved it, Loved it. Funny and predictable, but I rolled laughing in some parts and the music was pretty good too.

MV5BMjMyMzk1Nzg3OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTQ2NjcxNw@@__V1__SY317_

Wrath of Titans– This film was ok, not as good as the first in the series (but much better than the original)

john_carter_poster

John Carter– An unexpected surprise. Some reviewers did not like this film, but I personally enjoyed it and thought it was well put together and great cinematography.

41lun3Vu2+L__SL500_AA300_

The Amazing Spider-Man– Disappointed is the word comes to mind. I like the Toby Macguire film much better. This Spiderman was darker, (as Spider-man should be) but just wasn’t into this one as well. Again, Sally Field was awesome!

Magic_Mike

Magic Mike– I went to this film for one reason only…Channing Tatum and was pleasantly surprised Matthew McConaghey. Matthew seemed to be the only one acting in this film though, the others were just eye candy, but Matthew’s role was actually Oscar caliber in my opinion. Not a cineamatic masterpiece, but was it really meant to be?

MV5BMTQ1OTU0ODcxMV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTMxNTUwOA@@__V1__SY317_

Ted– Funny? Yeah, at times. Distasteful? Quite so. Vulgar? Most definitely. Even though seeing a Teddy Bear…well doing it was somewhat uncomfortable, this film had it’s moments. Mark Wahlburg pulled it off though, just wish he would have been a little more revealing than that damn Teddy Bear!

MV5BMTY4MTAzOTU2OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTA1NTI3Nw@@__V1__SY317_

Sparkle – Not as good as the original, but still a good film. I had forgotten just how good of an actress Whiteny Hueston could be. She was good in this film. Jordan Sparks can sing, but act? Not so much, but Carmen Ejogo who played Sister was the best in the film. She was excellent.

25186_250259_small-300x280

American Reunion– Same plot 10 years later, very predictable, somewhat funny, but it actually was fun to see some of the actors and how they have aged. Some are better actors, some have not changed in looks or their acting abilities, but overall a decent film.

11164340_det

Joyful Noise– Dolly Parton is just too sweet not to like. She is corny, and seems to play a somewhat similar version of her charecter in Steel Magnolias. Queen Latifah was just okay, again she seems to play the same charecter in most of her films. Was this a joyful noise? Yeah, but it could have used a little more music and a little less bad acting.

11166791_det

Rock of Ages– Sad. This film was hyped and hyped and totally missed the hype. Tom Cruise was totally unbelieveable and the entire film lacked. Was not impressed and actually fell asleep while watching this movie.

Those are the films released in 2012 that i have seen.  There are others I am still wanting to see, such as Argo, Les Mis, Django Unchained, The Dark Knight Rises and Zero Dark Thirty to name a few…see you at the theaters!!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 22, 2012 in 2012, Current Movie News, Reviews

 

Favorite Films of the Year – 1960 ~ # 1 – Psycho

5669258_f520

Psycho has become one of the most recognizable films in cinema history, and is arguably Hitchcock’s best known film.  The murder of Janet Leigh’s character Marion Crane in the shower is the film’s pivotal scene and one of the best-known scenes in all of cinema history, which became iconic in pop culture because it is often regarded as one of the most terrifying scenes ever filmed. Part of its effectiveness was due to the use of startling editing techniques and to the iconic screeching violins in Bernard Herrmann’s musical score, not to metion the fact that  killing off Leigh’s character at the end of the first act. This daring plot device, coupled with the fact that the character was played by the biggest box-office name in the film, was a shocking turn of events in 1960. How many of us have seen at least this scene? Janet Leigh became a household name as well as Anthony Perkins, who played Norman Bates.

Psycho was nominated for four Oscars; Best Director, Best Supporting Actress, Best Cinematography (Black and White) and Best Art/Set Direction (Black and White). It won no Oscars, however Janet Leigh did win a Golden Globe for Supporting Actress.

Alfred Hitchcock was one of the best directors/film-makers, Hollywood has ever had, and unfortunately never won an Oscar for Directing. Psycho should have been his golden boy, and this film was the second highest grossing film of 1960 and wasn’t even nominated for Best Picture!

Anthony Perkins gave a performance of a lifetime as Norman Bates, and was linked to this role his entire career. Hitchcock’s directing and many camera angles were some of the best ever used in film and still are used.

Psycho is definitely, in my opinion the best film of 1960. Even though Psycho is my favorite film of 1960 it is not my favorite Hitchcock film, that would be Dial M for Murder

 
 

Favorite Films of the Year – 1960 ~ # 2 – Elmer Gantry

el_fuego_y_la_palabra_1960_1

Elmer Gantry, from the novel written by Sinclair Lewis, adapted and directed by Richard Brooks. This is a film I never get tired of watching. Burt Lancaster is superb as a con man traveling with a feamle evangelist and “selling” religion. Both Lancaster and Shirley Jones won Oscars for their performances in what should have been (in my opinion) the Best Picture of the year for 1960. Lacaster’s depth and charecterization of Elmer Gantry is short of amazing. The storyline with the prostitute Lulu (played by Shirley Jones) I thought was most intriguing.  Lulu a former girlfriend of Elmer’s who fell into disrepute and became a prostitute when her affair with Gantry ruined her standing in her minister father’s eyes. She hears of his “new found faith” and tries to blackmail him, but instead backs out, but the deed is done and he is destroyed and humiliated. He then comes to her aid when she is abused by her pimp.

ElmerGantry2

Jones gives a remarkable performance and was very oscar worthy. Jean Simmons also gives an outstanding performance as the evangelist. As I said before, I could watch this movie over and over. It deals with emotion, love, lust, greed and revenge. I am sure this story was riveting and an indictment in it’s day, but since then we have seen many of our own “Elmer Gantrys” played out in real life churches and pulpits across the country.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 5, 2012 in 1960, 60's, Drama, Fav Films 1960, Reviews