Movie reviews

Classic of the Week: Sherlock Jr. (1924)

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Sherlock Jr. is an American silent comedy film directed by and starring Buster Keaton. It also stars Kathryn McGuire, Joe Keaton and Ward Crane.

The film follows the story of a theater projectionist and janitor (Keaton) that longs to be a detective and tries to put his expertise to work, but is framed by his enemy, the “local sheik” for stealing his girlfriend’s father’s pocketwatch.

Although this film was a box office bomb and received mixed reviews, it is still not just a Keaton or silent film classic, but truly one of the greatest comedies (and films) of all time. I can’t believe that this wonderful film, was deemed so mediocre when it came out. To me, I find it to be clever and funny to the very end. With amazing stunts Keaton was ahead of his time, just like Harold Lloyd in Safety Last!. Yes, there may be a little too much stunts and not enough acting, but that doesn’t detract from the quality of this film.

Truly original and still funny this day in time, it is one that can be watched over and over without getting old, because there is nothing boring at this film. Keaton can sure make anyone laugh, without even cracking a smile. He is truly one of the pioneers of slapstick humor and this film is filled it. No dialogue and the entire film is only 45 minuets long and not a second is wasted. Filled with quick-witted humor and intense stunts, this film stands out amongst the rest in both originality and cleverness. Although this one is short, it feels like it is much longer.

If you want or need a good laugh, this film is the perfect choice. You want be disappointed. Buster Keaton and his father Joe Keaton are outstanding in this film, Kathryn McGuire and Ward Crane are great as well. This one proves that you don’t need talking for a film to be any good, you know what’s going on with just music and no color. Keaton truly shines in this film, showing off his smart humor and brave stunts while engaging in mischief. There is no comedy film today that comes even close to being as spectacular as this one. It doesn’t rely on completely adult subjects to try to gain laughter, it is a good clean and fun film that both adults and older kids can enjoy. 8+ 5/5

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Movie reviews

Godard in Space: Alphaville (1965)

Cinematic Scribblings

Street

Leave it to Jean-Luc Godard to make a movie set in outer space that bears no resemblance whatsoever to the average space movie.

Godard’s 1965 film Alphaville, subtitled A Strange Adventure of Lemmy Caution, takes place in the eponymous metropolis, the capital of a galaxy, at some undefined point in what was then the future. To reach it, secret agent Lemmy Caution (Eddie Constantine), a resident of “the Outlands,” must travel through space — by driving a Ford Galaxie, naturally enough. Godard makes no effort to depict this improbable interstellar journey; it’s merely one of the film’s numerous absurdities, perfectly in keeping with its anachronistic protagonist.

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Movie reviews

Classic of the Week: Eyes Without a Face (1960)

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Eyes Without a Face French: Les Yeux sans visage, is a 1960 French horror film adaptation of Jean Redon’s novel, directed by Georges Franju and stars Pierre Brasseur, Alida Valli and Edith Scob. The story follows a plastic surgeon who is determined to perform a face transplant on his daughter, who became disfigured after a car accident. The film has caused controversy, disgust and praise for its dark and disturbing, yet creative in its poetic nature.

This film is filled with disturbing scenes and just the pictures from the film are enough to either disgust and disturb or intrigue or just turn someone away altogether. Being a huge fan of these types of films (Bergman, Hitchcock, Carpenter) and seeing clips from an online countdown video, I knew I had to watch it. Did it disturb me? of course it did, but that didn’t stop me from watching it to the end. It is very unsettling and frightening from beginning to end, but very well done in every aspect from Cinematography, to scenery, to acting. Although this film is rather short at one hour and thirty minutes, it feels much longer.

This film has become a true cult classic and an inspiration for both John Carpenter’s Michael Myers mask and the Billy Idol song of the same name. This is also a love or hate film, which I believe is what Franju was going for. The music adds to the darkness and horror of the story and overall film, especially the theme song, that is equally catchy and spine-tingling.

Seeing the main character Christiane Génessier, Doctor Génessier’s daughter, with and without her mask are enough to make anyone scream, like a great horror film does. But it is done so differently, because most thrillers don’t show the main character without their mask, making this one unique. I wouldn’t call this a true gem of a film, but maybe a rough or dirty one, because it’s not perfect, but it is scary and deeply disturbing.

I have never seen anything like this before and I have to praise everyone who worked on this piece, making it a masterpiece in horror film history. I cannot image this film in color, because I believe it would completely destroy the thrill factor, just like if Psycho had been in color. The majority of this takes place at Doctor Génessier’s house and laboratory and it doesn’t need to be anywhere else, because that would take away from the scariness. This isn’t your typical thriller, it is something much more, a tour de force in cinematic history, something that is bold, that leaves a lasting impression in the mind.

Now this is not a film that most people and myself can watch over and over again, which isn’t a bad thing. It is one, that if you’re looking for a good fright, then it’s a perfect pick. With the thrill of a horror movie and the cinematography and feel of both a HM and art film, it truly stands out among the rest. Hands down, one of the best thrillers I’ve ever seen. You can choose to love it or hate it, but it will always have its fans. A truly spectacular work of art. 18+ 4.5/5

Movie reviews

Hostiles (2017)

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Hostiles is a 2017  American Western film written and directed by Scott Cooper. It stars Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike, Wes Studi, Ben Foster, Stephen Lang, Jesse Plemons and Timothee Chalamet. The story is about a U.S. Cavalry officer that has to lead a Cheyenne war chief and his family back to their Montana home in 1892.

Being a huge Western and Christian Bale fan, I couldn’t wait to see this film. This film is not quite as good as The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, but it is very well done. The film is rather violent and gory, but that’s how it was in the 1890’s. At times I gasped and a few times I looked away from the disturbance. Could this film have been less violent? Yes, but the violence does show audiences about life at that time. Despite how horrific many scenes are, they are portrayed so well, leaving in shock, horror and a bit of a stomach pain.  But this is what the director wanted, he wanted these reactions and feelings.

Every major actor and actress in this film did a great job in their roles. You really could feel the characters’ love, happiness, sadness and anger. This film is quite tragic in many ways. Many people and some horses do die and some very disturbingly, so watch with caution. You get to see how native Americans were treated and you really sympathize with them. To see the mistreatment of these people is awful to watch and hear, but it’s beneficial for the story. You learn how people were killed and abused just for being of a different ethnicity. It was the native Americans’ land first and the Europeans did everything they could to conquer it for themselves.

Christian Bale and Rosamund Pike are outstanding, portraying  their characters so realistically, you forget they are actually British actors. Ben Foster plays his usual Bad guy, but does it very well. Stephen Lang, although his role isn’t very big, does a good, not great job as Colonel Abraham Biggs. Wes Studi is great as Chief Yellow Hawk, although this his usual Native American role. Jesse Plemons, whose character doesn’t speak much, is just okay. Maybe if he had more lines, he would have been better. I can’t say much of Timothee Chalamet as Private Philipe DeJardin, I can’t recall him actually saying a single word in the entire film, which is a bummer because he is an excellent actor. The director should have thought more on Plemons’ and Chalamet’s roles and given Chalamet lines and Plemons a bigger role, because Jesse is a superb actor as well. All of the smaller roles of the native Americans, good and bad, were exceptional.

Overall, this a fine Western compared to the classics (GBU, High Noon etc.). It is not one I could watch over and over like I could one with Clint Eastwood, but it is still one to watch for any Western fan. 18+ 4/5

Movie reviews

Classic of the Week: Girl Shy (1924)

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Girl Shy is a 1924 romantic comedy silent film starring Harold Lloyd and Jobyna Ralston and directed by Fred C. Newmeyer.

The story follows Harold Meadows (Lloyd) a tailor’s apprentice for his uncle in Little Bend, California. He is very shy around women and can barely talk to them without stuttering. Despite this he decides to write a “how to” book for young men called The Secret of Making Love, detailing about how to peruse different types of young women, such as “the vampire” and “the flapper.” He then takes a train to see a publisher in Los Angeles.

A rich young woman named Mary Buckingham (Ralston) boards the train after her car breaks down in Little Bend. No dogs are allowed on the train, so Mary hides her Pomeranian under her shawl, but the dog jumps off the train as it is pulling away. Harold rescues the dog and helps her hide it from the conductor. She spots his manuscript, so he tells her about his book, overcoming his  stuttering in excitement. They become so engrossed in each other that they don’t notice the has come to it’s last destination and everyone else is gone.

This a fun, funny, heartwarming and charming film, that stars one of the greatest comic actors of all time, Harold Lloyd with his trademark horn rimmed glasses. Truly a wonderful film that will have you laughing to the end. Harold is spectacular like he always is even today. This film has no dialogue and doesn’t need it, because the story is easy to follow for most part. Not many comedies today are great as this one and not many comic actors today, can touch Lloyd. None are as genuine and non-vulgar as him either. He his a true gem in everything he ever did.

What I love about this film, is the comedy as well as Harold’s struggles and how he overcomes them when he meets Mary. A delightful pair Harold Lloyd and Jobyna Ralston are, making you believe in true love. This a film both young and old can enjoy for generations to come. This not a complete family film, because of mature  themes such as bigamy, dating and relationships, hitchhiking, smoking and drinking. But the film does show how you can overcome a fear and problem and how to be brave. It also shows that money doesn’t matter when you’re in love, you love them just as they are.

This film is filled with Harold’s usual quirkiness, along with fun and heart racing, sweet and passionate and a bit angry scenes, that make it a true classic. Not many of today’s films even compare to how spectacular this is. This is one of the greatest romantic comedies I’ve ever seen right next to Chaplin’s City Lights. You don’t have to be a big silent film and/or Harold fan to enjoy this film. I’m a huge rom-com fan, but this one I love. Truly terrific from start to finish, there is nothing bad to say about this masterpiece. 9+ 5/5

Movie reviews

The Connection Between William Blake and David Lynch

Caroline Galdi Staff Writer Eric G. Wilson is no stranger to publishing. As a professor at Wake Forest University, he has written several literary nonfiction books which have received critical acclaim. He has also been published in several esteemed literary magazines and other publications. But, his newest release marks a new step in his literary […]

via ‘Polaris Ghost’: Connecting the Dots Between William Blake and David Lynch — THE CAROLINIAN

Movie reviews

Classic of the Week: A Hard Day’s Night (1964)

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A Hard Day’s Night is a 1964 British musical comedy film directed by Richard Lester and starring the band The Beatles during the height of Beatlemania. The film shows several days in the life of the band.

This a very fun and funny film filled with some of the band’s most well known and beloved songs. It is filled not just with their great music, but also lots of quirky humor mixed with British terms and the guys’ Liverpool accents. It also shows how huge Beatlemania was in Britain, even though it was spectacular around the world.  Now these guys weren’t very good actors, but they were great performers and great at cutting up and making people laugh.

This film is one that will keep you singing, toe tapping, snapping and laughing. It is never boring and although the acting isn’t that good, the humor and music make up for it. The performances and the audiences in this film are real, not sure if the female fans overreacting is, but that is how they really acted in real life. The Beatles were and still are huge. Everyone knows them, because they are the most famous band of all time and this film doesn’t do their music justice.

Throughout this film, the guys get into trouble, as well as Paul’s grandfather and there is lots of slapstick humor and flirting. There is also some adult innuendos that most kids probably won’t understand, like when John says Paul’s grandfather is sex-obsessed and when Paul puts a bottle of cola up his nose and sniffs, implying “snorting coke.” But the people in this film, particularly the boys, talk pretty fast, so its all pretty easy to to miss. There is also smoking throughout, but that is because it was the 1960s and just about everyone smoked then, this might need to be explained to kids.

This a very entertaining film, that any Beatles fan will enjoy. All I can say about this one is, FUN! FUN! LOTS OF FUN! 8+ 5/5

Movie reviews

The Most Bizarre Films of All Time Part II

 

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51. Pan’s Labyrinth- 2006

52. Ink – 2009

53. Bronson – 2008

54. House – 1977

55. Songs from the Second Floor – 2000

56. You, the Living – 2007

57. A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence – 2014

58. Zardoz- 1974

59. Shock Corridor- 1963

60. Paprika – 2006

61. Black Swan – 2010

62. Blood Tea and Red String – 2006

63. Ben – 1972

64. Willard – 1971

65. The Triplets of Belleville – 2003

66. Little Otik – 2000

67. Idiots and Angels – 2008

68. Valerie and Her Week of Wonders – 1970

69. The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T – 1953

70. Tales from the Quadead Zone – 1987

71. Mr. Nobody – 2009

72. Escape from Tomorrow – 2013

73. Vertigo – 1958

74. The Double – 2013

75. Spider Baby – 1967

76. Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny – 1972

77. 2001: A Space Odyssey – 1968

78. The Cook, the Theif, His Wife & Her Lover – 1989

79. Metropolis – 1927

80. Blue Velvet – 1986

81. Inherent Vice – 2014

82. Society – 1989

83. Head – 1968

84. The Pornographers – 1966

85. Conspirators of Pleasure – 1996

86. The Bed Sitting Room – 1969

87. If… – 1968

88. The Face of Another – 1966

89. The Telephone Book – 1971

90. Female Trouble – 1974

91. The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie – 1972

92. The Seventh Seal – 1957

93. Weekend- 1967

94. Fellini Satyricon -1969

95. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – 1998

96. Inland Empire- 2006

97. Funky Forest – 2005

98. Freaks – 1932

99. Swiss Army Man – 2016

100. Anomalisa – 2015