Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) review


To clarify things, I find this as a Halloween film, not a Christmas-crossover. Burton and Selick's bizarre, multi-holiday masterpiece conveys so much for such a little film.

PLOT:In the world of Halloween where nightmares reign and the horrible is praised, the pumpkin king of Halloween, Jack Skellington (Chris Sarandon) is getting bored with the monotony of Halloween every year. He goes on a walk and finds a circle of doors where the portals to the other holidays abide.  He's enthralled by the look of the Christmas door, so he opens it and enters. Once inside, Jack discovers Christmas and the feeling he gets inside from it. He likes the idea of Christmas and decides to show his fellow companions in the town of Halloween. Of course, they can't feel what he felt and they add their own Halloween ideas to the idea of Christmas. Jack ponders why they can't understand what he does, but he eventually strikes a breakthrough when he decides to steal Christmas for the year. However, ragdoll-frankenstein, Sally (Catherine O'Hara), the creation of Dr. Finkelstein (William Hickey), has a vision that it will all turn up in flames and tries to stop Jack. Will Jack's Yuletide idea succed, or will Sally's vision lay its course? It's a very unique plot executed as wonderfully as Burton and Selick can do it.

VOICES:The voice acting in here is pretty great. The voices are fun and unique, adding fun emotion to the characters. I think Chris Sarandon played a very great part as the Pumpkin King, Jack Skellington. His character is all the more memorable. I also enjoyed Catherine O'Hara as Sally; she had such a gentle and meaningful voice for the part. The other shiners would be William Hickey as Dr. Finkelstein, Glenn Shadix as the Mayor, and Paul Ruebens as Lock.

SCORE:One of my favorite soundtracks. It's beautiful, grim, and unique. The great Danny Elfman supplies the singing voice for Jack as well as being the composer. His voice is hypnotic, operatic, and very intricate to the sound of the whole soundtrack.

ANIMATION:This is what the film is known for, and I can see why. The characters are animated in a certain way that no one else could have seen them in. They're all different shapes and sizes. It's something in the vision of Burton only. The animation itself is very whimsical and detailed, almost wonderous I'd say. It's some beautiful claymation.

OTHER CONTENT:I have always found this a Halloween film. It has Halloween characters throughout, and its starting and ending point is Halloween. Yes, it borrows Christmas at half of the movie, but that doesn't turn it 100% for Christmas. I liked all the lessons and feelings Jack had felt because I've felt them more than once in the past. I can relate to him easily: always wanting something new, never understood, and frustrated with how things are. I also appreciate the pop-gothic darkness the dynamic duo of Burton/Selick put into this film. It's more for teens than kids or adults, because of the feelings conveyed and the darkness witheld. However, if you can get past all the ghouls, post-emo core, and more serious aspects, it's still a true kid's film at heart with songs abundant throughout.

OVERALL, an awesome Halloween film with a uniquely executed plot, fun voices, beautifully intricate soundtrack, whimsical animation, characters I can relate to, and a strange gothic feel that tinges this for teens, but it's still just a masked kid's film at heart.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

In His Father's Shoes (1997) review


If I didn't have to watch this at school, I never would have even picked this up.

PLOT:After Clay's (Robert Ri'Chard) father, Frank (Louis Gossett, Jr.), passes away due to cancer, he and his family are heartbroken. Clay seems to be taking it hardest and even tries to stay as close to his father as he can, even through his things. While in the closet mourning, Clay spots some shoes he and his father found at a gypsy's place in the market. Clay puts them on and is immediately transported back to his father's school years in 1962. He finds out then that the shoes have a magic power for him to view his father's life through his eyes, with strange guidelines, however; he can control when he goes to the past by putting on/taking off the shoes, can't bring anything back from the past, and is forced to do and say what his father once did and said while in the past. Through this, Clay learns a lot more about his father and how he lived. It's a cheesy plot executed in an almost decent way.

ACTING:The acting in here was pretty sucky overall, but it had its highlight performances. I thought Robert Ri'Chard as Clay was pretty mediocre. He didn't put enough emotion into anything and almost everything he did came off as pitiful. His sadness, struggling, and even his happiness all came off as barely fitting. Some better performances, however, (shiners) would be Louis Gosset Jr. as his grandfather, Richard, Rachel Crawford as Celeste, and Djanet Sears as Virginia, the grandmother. Most of the performance overall were still pretty awful.

SCORE:The composed score was actually pretty cheesy and annoying, but it borrowed some pretty awesome oldies from the '60s and includes one touching soul song at the end credits. The composed score was awful, but the soundtrack was pretty good.

OTHER CONTENT:This movie was very problematic in its overall execution. It was uneven, cheesy, put in uneeded plot curves, and didn't live up to the potential it could have. I think it could have gone a whole lot better if the plot would have been completely re-written up to the point of the magic shoes. That whole cheesy aspect throws the movie off the axis of a possible win. The only thing that kept it going for me was the couple of good jokes and the few moments that were touching, such as the Aphrodite joke and the modern-day visit to Frank's old schoolhouse. It had its few moments, but it otherwise fell pretty flat.

OVERALL,a SUCKY movie with a cheesy plot, sucky acting, cheesy score and a good soundtrack, uneveness, abundant cheesiness, uneeded plot curves, and failed potential, but it did have its moments of laughs and tears - only a few.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Bird With the Crystal Plumage (1969) review


This seems like a very fitting start for my Argento marathon, and not for the purpose of it being his debut. This film is creepy, stylized, well-thought out, and even terrifying to an extent.

PLOT:Sam (Tony Musante) is an American tourist in Italy with his girlfriend, Julia (Suzy Kendall). Things are going well until he witnesses a near-murder in a local art gallery. Trying to save the victim, he gets help. The cops later question him, and he tells them all he knows. He thinks that will be the end of the traumatic event, but he starts getting strange phone calls and murder attempts at him and his associates. Is the killer trying to get revenge? This spins him off deeper into the mystery of finding out more about the killer and his or her's motives. They find clues such as a painting that may be linked in, a voice persona, and even a strange clicking sound heard over the phone. Will Sam find the mystery out or die trying? It's a good plot executed greatly.

ACTING:The acting in here kind of fluctuates depending on the character, but it was fairly good for the most part. Tony Musante played a very good and convincing part as Sam, the investigating victim. His personality really drew the film all together. The other shiners would be Suzy Kendall as Julia, Enrico Maria Salerno as Morosoni, and Dario Argento as the black-jacketed killer (without face shots). I believe Eva Renzi played a decent part as Monica, but only in certain spots. She can come off as overacting in parts, but brilliant in others.

SCORE:The score was very well done by Ennio Moricone. It was very creepy and mystical all at the same time. It truly enhanced the creepy feeling of the film.

EFFECTS:They say Argento is known for his effects as well as his editing and violent scenes. The effects aren't shown very much, but of what is shown, they are pretty good. The blood looks real in the scenes it's shown.

OTHER CONTENT:This is a very fitting start to my horror film marathon and my Argento marathon. It's creepy, well thought-out, and full of style. There are certain moments in the film that send shivers down my spine, whether it be the effects of the atmosphere or the facial expressions the characters give off. Argento really knew how to pull this off. He also thought the mystery he wrote into the film out with every detail leading back to something. I appreciate that shock. Argento's editing is something else as well. His stylized violence, clean-cut editing, and overall direction of it all just comes together to make something unique. However, this did have a flaw I noticed. Most of its imperfections worked with the film, but one didn't; that one was the fact that Argento wrote in some non-essential, comedy relief-like parts which, to me, kind of interrupted the flow of the film. A couple examples would be the scene with the transvestite in the pervert line and the odd diet of the artist. These kind of deter from the film's flow and throw it off balance for just a little while. Aside from this, it's a very great horror film.

OVERALL,an awesome Argento horror film with a greatly-executed plot, good acting, very well done score, realistic effects, creepy atmosphere, well thought-out mystery, and clean-cut editing, but some comedic scenes seem to throw the film off of its terrifying axis for a few moments.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Pan's Labyrinth (2006) review


I've been waiting to see this acclaimed work of Del Toro for a long time, and now that I have seen it, I have to say that it's definitely like nothing I've seen.

PLOT:During the Spanish Civil War around 1944, 10-year-old Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) has traveled with her pregnant mother (Ariadna Gil) to live with her tyrannical stepfather, the Captain (Sergi Lopez). Ofelia has always been a heavy bookworm, but her parents haven't been real appreciative of it lately. They think she should grow up. However, this storybook world Ofelia has created influences her future. She finds her way down to the labyrinth outside her quarters and meets a mysterious creature known as the Pan (Doug Jones), a faun. This creature tells her that she used to be princess of the underworld in a past life, and that she can regain her place on the throne if she completes three perilious tasks. It seems decently easy, but her mother's getting violently ill from the baby, the war outside is getting rough (especially with secret spies running around), and the Captain is getting rougher. Even more complicated, what if this world's just a fantasy inside her head? It's a great plot executed brilliantly.

ACTING:The performances in this film are done very well. I think Ivana Baquero played a pretty respectable part as Ofelia. She played childlike emotions in such a way that it fit in with the whole feeling of the film. The other shiners would be Sergi Lopez as Captain Videl, Maribel Verdu as Mercedes, Doug Jones as Pan and the Pale Man, and Alex Angulo as the Doctor.

SCORE:The score was very well done as it was composed of various themes and lullabies put together by Javier Navarette.

EFFECTS:One thing I really liked about the effects for this film is that for the most part, they looked real. The bugs, giant toad, pale man, and even Pan himself all looked mind-boggingly real. Needless to say, they are very well done.

OTHER CONTENT:This film is truly a work of art on Del Toro's part. It's a beautiful, emotionally-packed, well-edited allegory to war through the eyes of a minor. The film is shot in such a way that it comes off as a work of art. It's packed with a whole tangle of different emotions felt throughout the entire film: sadness, wonder, mystery, anticipation, terror, etc. It's truly an emotional film on its own. Guillermo del Toro definitely put a touch upon editing the film, for each scene is shot with as much precision as Speilberg does in America. The main thing that makes this film great is the meaning. It's a tale of war taught through a child's eyes. All the violence and trauma the war has caused has even caused the fantasy-land in her head to turn dark. Each event in her life draws a different event in her fantasy whatever it may be. If you guess right, you can infer the only way for her to find peace. However, the audience is never quite sure if the magic existed or if it really was all inside her head. Either way, it's a very touching comparison to the war. There are a few moments where it can become predictable, but everything else overall makes up for it. This truly is a horrific fantasy for adults.

OVERALL,an epic dark fantasy with a brilliant plot, very well done performances, very well done score, realistic effects, the effect of real art, emotional variety, precision editing, and a touching comparison to war, even if it can get predictable.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Pi (1998) review


Ever since Requiem, I've wanted to see more of Aronofsky's work, and this film reassures me how much of a good and visionistic director he is. This film is trippy, smart, and like nothing done before, but a little too far out for some.

PLOT:Max Cohen (Sean Gullette) is a Jewish athiest who experiments with numbers daily and suffers from chronic headaches that seem to come from nowhere. He believes everything in the universe is connected in a pattern due to number theory. One day, Max stumbles upon a breakthrough when his computer crashes, printing out a fragment of a 216-digit number. This is where most of the trouble starts. Max thinks nothing of it until he realizes that his numerical guesses on how the stock market will fall are on-the-dot correct. He then goes to several sources trying to figure out how everything is connected with numbers, including his older friend, Sol Robeson (Mark Margolis), who studied the theory of pi until he had a stroke, his new friend, Lenny Meyer (Ben Shenkman), who is also a Jewish number theorist with the exception of being very religious, and even to the lady that keeps calling him, Marcy Dawson (Pamela Hart), who wants to sell him something big. The end result is a slice of mathematical chaos. It's a very good plot idea executed brilliantly.

ACTING:The acting in here is pretty great. Sean Gullette plays a magnificent part of the complex mathmetician and number theorist Max Cohen. His narration, emotional breakdowns, and physical acting carried the film and its madness along. Other shiners would be Ben Shenkman as Lenny Meyer, Pamela Hart as Marcy Dawson, and Stephen Pearlman as Rabbi Cohen.

SCORE:The score is done by Aronofsky's usual, Clint Mansell (Requiem for a Dream); it's very different and more modern-sounding. I particularly liked Requiem's soundtrack better, but Mansell still succeeds in making the score haunting and surreal to the way the film is going.

EFFECTS:There are a few effects involving blood and a brain, and they are used fairly well to create a frustrating and trippy sense of insanity for our main character.

OTHER CONTENT:This film is like nothing I've ever seen before. It's trippy, wisely-plotted, and insane in its execution, but that can be a problem. Aronofsky always has a knack for doing things the general public would rather turn from or avoid, and this film falls nothing short of that. The overall idea of the plot is so far out there, that it just comes off as highly unlikely; in fact, it almost comes off as silly due to how far out there it really is. It's definitely not in everyone's taste. However, you can tell indefinitely that this is an Aronofsky film from the similar brief-cut editing as seen later on in Requiem. This and the decision to shoot it in black-and-white remind you of how great a director Aronofsky is.

OVERALL,a great film with a brilliant plot, great acting, haunting score, well-used effects, trippy images, wise plotting, insane execution, and visionistic editing from Aronofsky's mind, but it's a highly unlikely idea that is not in everyone's taste by far.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Bluebeard (1944) review


It's a good adaptation of the story I've heard in the past, but I prefer the story over the film, for this has more problems.

PLOT:In 19th century France, Gaston (John Carradine) is a pretty successful artist and puppeteer, well known among his community. Little does his area know that he is the notorious killer known as "Bluebeard", who strangles his victims and dumps their bodies in the river. When he murders on of his fellow puppeteers, he hires another assistant named Lucille (Jean Parker) to design costumes for his puppets. Meanwhile, the painting of his latest victim hits the gallery via his business partner, Lamarte (Ludwig Stossel), and a couple inspectors try to trace the murders back through to the artist. Will Bluebeard be caught? Will he trick and do away with his new assistant? I'll leave you there. It's a pretty good plot executed fairly well.

ACTING:The performances in here were pretty great, keeping in mind the time being. John Carradine played a very respectable role of Gaston or "Bluebeard", the artist and serial killer. I'd say he played the part in a very sauve manner. The other shiners would be Ludwig Stossel as Lamarte, Henry Kolker as Deschamps, Jean Parker as Lucille, and Teala Loring as Francine.

SCORE:The score was a little annoying at times and unfitting at others. It followed you through the whole film and didn't cease to keep suspense at all. This is one of those films that nearly gets drowned out by the score.

OTHER CONTENT:This film was a pretty good horror film considering the time being and the plot altogether. It was pretty well thought-out, creepy, and shot with good direction. However, this film did have a good few cons. Firstly, I feel it needed a bit more character development for some of the characters. Gaston's character had a slight explanation of why he paints and kills, but I felt it needed a bit more to express their personalities better. Secondly, there is very little suspense written into the plot. The audience knows who is going to be the killer right off the bat, and the kills aren't too suspenseful at all as compared to other films of this era. It also drifts from the story I heard with this same name a time ago, so I found it a bit misleading. It can be a little confusing to some, but I think it's a pretty good horror film for the time.

OVERALL,a good horror film with a well-executed plot, great performances, annoyingly unfitting score, thought-out plot twists, creepy moments, and good direction, but it need more character development and suspense, along with matching source material.

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Birds (1963) review


This film reminds everyone of how Hitchcock's direction always provides a handful of suspense. However, this work seems to be a little dated compared to some of his others.

PLOT:Wealthy Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hendren) and clever Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor) are the two leads of this story. After Mitch humiliates Melanie in a bird store, they form a strange relationship in which Ms. Daniels decides to buy some love birds for Mitch's young daughter, for it is her birthday. She drives from San Fransisco down to Bodega Bay, where he lives. After she drops of the love birds, she is attacked by a gull heading back. She thinks nothing of it and gets help from Mitch; this is when she decides to stay in town for a day. She takes a spare room in the local school teacher (whom she met recently), Annie Hayworth's (Suzanne Pleshette) house. Things are going fine until the birds begin to attack the kids at the daughter's party. It all heads downhill from there, as the birds grow more and more violent, causing death and disaster. Why are they doing this and how can they be stopped? I'll leave you there. It's a good plot executed greatly.

ACTING:The acting in here is kind of dated, but even with that being said, it's still pretty great. The two best performances would have to be Rod Taylor as Mitch Brenner and Tippi Henderson as Melanie Daniels. They both acted very well with emotion and also had great chemistry as a sharp-witted couple. There really wasn't a lot of bad performances in this film. The other shiners would be Suzanne Pleshette as Annie Hayworth, Jessica Tandy as Lydia Brenner (Mitch's mother), Ethel Griffies as Mrs. Bundy, and Doreen Lang as the mother in the cafe. Each performance has a good bit of emotion packed into it. The only performance I didn't really like was Veronica Cartwright as Cathy Brenner (the daughter), but that is kind of forgivable, as she was a child in the '60s.

SCORE:There wasn't really any score to this film, which was actually a good thing since it didn't drown out any of the suspense or terror. I believe the sound of the birds flapping around and attacking acted as the score, and in that case, I loved it.

EFFECTS:The effects in here are pretty dated, but not too bad in some cases. The effects used for the birds themselves are pretty fake-looking and dated. Hitchcock still did a great job with what he had, but the effects of the creatures are pretty dated today. Yet, the effects used for the blood and corpses were pretty well done. It was bright and shocking, just as Hitchcock always does in his color horror films.

CAMERAWORK:The camera Hitchcock used to capture the film must have had a very unique quality to it, for every shot is vivid and definitive to his film history. He got some pretty good shots in here.

OTHER CONTENT:This Hitchcock film isn't the best he's done by far, but it's still pretty great. It's packed with suspense, shot with great direction, plenty of emotion and horror tactics. I specifically loved the suspense; each scene was measured carefully as to have had the right amount of suspense added. It didn't add too much, and it didn't add too less. We are reassured here of why they call Hitchcock the "King of Suspense". However, this film is quite dated nowadays. Time hasn't been the best to it, as some of the effects and such look extremely fake compared to nowadays work, and it just comes off as cheesy to the unappreciative fan. This film will either way remain pretty iconic among all horror lovers and Hitchcock fans.

OVERALL,a great Hitchcok horror with a great plot, great acting, no specific score, well done blood effects, unique camerawork, lots of suspense, great direction, plenty of horror tactics, and pretty iconic scenes, but the film is quite dated for it's fake-looking birds and a few cheesy aspects to it.

The Miracle Worker (2000) review


I used to really like this movie when I was younger, but seeing it again I realize how cheap and ridiculous it can be. However, it still tells a touching story with some highlight performances.

PLOT:Helen Keller (Hallie Kate Eisenberg) was born deaf and blind into a family of an arrogant Captain (David Strathairn), an overprotective mother, and a spiteful son named James (Lucas Black). Lately Helen has grown restless and acts up frequently. Her parents have considered everything up to sending her to an asylum until an Annie Sullivan (Alison Elliot) comes to help. Annie used to be deaf and blind as well until she had surgery, and was one of her institute's best students. Annie attempts to teach Helen proper manners and how to speak in sign language, but she's so spoiled that she doesn't want to learn easy. Now Annie must teach her how to speak and understand while keeping her patience with her, the arrogant Captain, and the short time she is given. It's a good plot executed in a pretty mediocre manner.

ACTING:The performances in here were ok, but nothing above that. The best performance would have to be Alison Elliot as Annie Sullivan. I saw her emotion in each scene. She was particularly great, but she was the best in this movie. The other shiners would be Lucas Blake as James Keller and David Strathairn as Captain Keller. Even though the were also pretty good, they sucked overall as well. Lucas' voice eventually got on your nerves after a while. Ironically, the worst performance in the movie was the main character of Helen Keller, played by Hallie Kate Eisenberg. She couldn't act (even though she was a child) and kind of ruined the whole movie for all. It really got on your nerves.

SCORE:The score was mainly some cheesy inspirational stuff, but it didn't sound horrible.

OTHER CONTENT:This movie could've been great if done right, but it didn't live up to the same feat as the true story did. The movie was cheesy, ridiculous at times (due to the acting), and very stereotypical with its characters. However, the movie did have some positive aspects. Plotwise, it told the story pretty accurately. Also, there were a few scenes that drew in some great emotions. But the movie overall was pretty mediocre.

OVERALL,a MEDIOCRE movie with a mediocre plot, ok acting, cheesy score, cheesy and ridiculous parts, and stereotypical characters, but there was a good performance or two, it followed the story pretty well, and it added some good emotion into a few scenes.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Prophecy (1979) review


This just screams B-movie and every essence of it, but the message, suspense, and effects just draw it to a near-win.

PLOT:Dr. Rob (Robert Foxworth) has never been remembered for anything he's done to help people, but his chance finally comes when a close friend asks him to go to a forest that's the subject matter of a war between the original Indians that have lived there for a long time and a leading paper mill that has been using the lake and other resources for about 20 years. He flies down there with his musician wife, Maggie (Talia Shire, who's character is also "secretly" pregnant), to bring some peace to the dispute, but things start to go weird when Rob catches rumors of unexplained deaths and sees bizarre sights (such as a fish the size of a boat). The Indian people also speak of an animal they've seen combined with all the others. Through a careful investigation, Rob discovers the paper mill is polluting the lake and the effects of the pollution are turning the local animals into monsters, including an angry, mutated bear. It's a good plot executed decently.

ACTING:The acting isn't great, but it does have some good performances. Robert Foxworth and Talia Shire play a respectable part as the two lead protagonists, Rob and Maggie. They were by far the stars of the show. The other shiners would be Victoria Racimo as Ramona and Richard Dysart as Isley. I don't believe Armand Assante played a very emotional part of the Indian lead protagonist, John Hawks. I believe he had about as much emotion as Kristen Stewart, and that's bad. His is the only real bad one, I'd say.

SCORE:The score wasn't really important. It was just some new, horror score that went with the mood. It didn't repeat itself as the likes of "Creature from the Black Lagoon" did, but it didn't play a major part.

EFFECTS:The effects are cheap, to say the least, but I also believe they are pretty well-made. The movements are easily labeled as cheaply done, but the design is still pretty freaky and unnerving as it is.

CAMERAWORK:I actually appreciated the camerawork in this movie, for it was closely-cut and very tongue-in-cheek with its style. I liked it.

OTHER CONTENT:This is basically just a shlock 70s B-movie, but it isn't the worst you'll ever see. Aside from the decent leads and freaky costume design, the movie also sent a sad message and packed a lot of suspense. The message this movie sent off was to save the environment and stop pollution, and I'd say it succeeded in delivering that message through scares and tears. It's actually kind of sad when you think about it. Also, the director (John Frankenheimer) is said to be a very good suspense creator, and this movie shows it. There are a couple parts in this movie where the suspense can almost be cut with a knife, and I appreciate that. However, this movie does have a lot of cons to its few pros. The movie itself is very cheesy and almost laughable. There were a few scenes I found myself chuckling at the shlockiness of it all, but it's not the worst B-movie you'll ever see. Yes, it's still pretty bad, but it does have some positive aspects to it, if you seek to find them. I got chills.

OVERALL,an ok B-movie with a decent plot, some good performances, unimportant score, cheaply unnerving effects, closely-cut camerawork, a good message, and plenty of suspense, but it was very cheesy and very laughable; if one were to fail to find the good aspects in it, this would just be a bad movie altogether.

Dead Poets Society (1989) review


I'm not sure if I'm overrating this film, but either way, I loved the powerful performances and message in here.

PLOT:It's a new semester at Welton Academy in 1959, and Todd Anderson (Ethan Hawke) is new to the high-honors school. A lot is expected of him considering he is the brother of one of their best students. Some of the students who befriend him include the all-around guy, Neil Pery (Robert Sean Leonard), who keeps his passion for actin secretive from his strict father (Kurtwood Smith), and love-struck Knox Overstreet (Josh Charles) among many others. What makes this year different from all the rest is that the old English teacher has retired and been replaced with former student, Mr. John Keating (Robin Williams). Mr. Keating has a very unique vision of being a freethinker through poetry and "sucking the marrow out of life". Things start to pick up when the boys find out that Mr. Keating used to be a member of the Dead Poets Society, which was a bunch of students reading poetry in a cave off of school grounds. The students decide to take Mr. Keating's inspiration and advice and start the Society back up, creating new personalities and passions in each student. It's a very good plot idea executed brilliantly.

ACTING:The performances in here are beyond great. Robin Williams plays the role of free-thinking Mr. Keating very well, as everything this film has set out for him succeeds. I think he should try drama more often than comedy sometimes. The young leads of the students were pretty great too. The shiners aside from Williams would be Robert Sean Leonard as Neil Perry, Ethan Hawke as Todd Anderson, Josh Charles as Knox Overstreet, Gale Hansen as Charlie Dalton, Allelon Ruggiero as Steven Meeks, James Waterston as Gerard Pitts, Carla Belver as Mrs. Perry, Lara Flynn Boyle as Ginny Danburry. The two best young leads in particular were Leonard and Hawke as Neil and Todd, with Charles coming in third as Knox. I saw the most emotion in these characters. Also, it was great to see Kurtwood Smith from "That 70s Show" playing the strict dad yet again.

SCORE:The score was very well composed by Maurice Jarre and director Peter Weir. It was very powerful and emotional.

OTHER CONTENT:This is a phenomenal film. The film packs such an emotional message about how to seize the day before it's gone and enjoy what you have when you can. I believe everyone should see this film some time in their life. It's dark yet uplifting at the same time. It's also a strong statement to poetry everywhere. This film has gotten me into Peter Weir's strong direction.

OVERALL,an epic film with a brilliant plot, very great performances, powerful score, and an emotional punch of a message.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Rock and Roll High School (1979) review


I would love to go to a school like this one day, minus the strict, no-rock rule. The campy jokes, different people, and the Ramones' soundtrack make this movie all that it is.

PLOT:Vince Lombardi High School has always had a problem keeping its students under control. After the last principal is driven straight-jacket insane by the students, Evelyn Togar (Mary Woronov) decides to take over the school and run it with an iron fist. However, the majority of the student body is living for the party and living for the rock-and-roll, specifically songwriter, Riff Randell (P. J. Soles) and her best friend, wiz kid Kate Rambeau (Dey Young). Randell has always loved the Ramones and has been writing songs for them to hopefully play in the future; her luck seems to be on the light side when concert tickets go on sale in her hometown for the Ramones. Will her dream come true? Also, Kate has developed a crush on football star, Tom Roberts (Vincent Van Patton). Both go to the wisest student in VLHS, Eaglebauer (Clint Howard), and ask for advice. However, Tom wants Riff to like him and not Kate. What will become of this love triangle? It's a good plot executed hilariously.

ACTING:The performances in here were pretty good in my opinion. P. J. Soles ruled the show as the Ramone-crazy rocker, Riff. I believe her character stands for every punk-rocking hipster alive today. I also believe that Dey Young played an pretty innocent and sexy part as Kate Rambeau, the geeky girl after the popular jock. I would like to see more movies with her in them. The other shiners would be Clint Howard as Eaglebauer, Mary Woronov as Mrs. Togar, Paul Bartel as Mr. McGree, adn the Ramones as themselves. I also believe Eaglebauer's character was a pretty memorable one.

SCORE:The soundtrack is almost made entirely up of the Ramones' music, including the title track, "I Just Want Something to Do", "Teenage Lobotomy", "Blitzkrieg Bop", and many more hits by them, recorded in concert and standard form. One whole scene is composed of a Ramones concert. Needless to say, the soundtrack rocked.

EFFECTS:There weren't very many effects, but out of the ones which were used, they were pretty well used. Some of the effects included a school exploding and even a life-sized lab rat jammin' in the concert. They were used to camp excess, but it worked well.

OTHER CONTENT:This movie overall rocked pretty hard. It was campy, hilarious, and gave off an overall feeling of teenage emotion that I could relate to. The situations and feelings expressed in this movie are of those I can relate pretty well, such as the love triangle and the rebel rocker character. However, this movie did have a few parts where it seemed pretty bland and unfunny. There were a few typical stereotypes that just made me shake my head, but otherwise, it was pretty hilarious camp.

OVERALL,an awesome school comedy with a good plot, pretty good performances, rockin' score, well-used effects, lots of camp and hilarity, and a feeling of teenage emotion I could relate to, but this movie did have a few sleeper jokes and stereotypes.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The War of the Roses (1989) review


DeVito has done it again with his usual dark style of direction with abundant dark humor and a meaningful moral.

PLOT:Young businessman Oliver (Michael Douglas) finds it as love as first sight when he runs into a pretty young woman named Barbara (Kathleen Turner). They immediately hit it off and start to build their lives together, buying cars, having kids, and buying a huge, beautiful house to fill with expensive artifacts and work. However, the love begins to die between the two as they begin to see the real person in each other. When the file for divorce, they end up in a battle between each other over who would keep the house. This is no regular battle, however; these two go tooth-and-nail crazy in a war to see who can keep the house. With the help of their associate, Gavin (Danny DeVito, who's also the narrator), they try to pull through. It's a good plot idea executed creatively.

ACTING:The performances in here were pretty great. Douglas and Turner stole the show, as each played off each other perfectly. There were some scenes I could truly see their best moments in. Danny DeVito also played a pretty respectable part as Gavin/the narrator. He told the story with a unique sense of wisdom and philosophy. He made the end of the movie all worthwhile. There weren't very many other performances in this movie aside from these three, but the ones I can honorably mention would be Marianne Sagebrecht as Susan, Sean Astin as Josh, Heather Fairfield as Carolyn, and Rika Hofmann as Elke.

SCORE:There really isn't that much to say about the score, but it was pretty well done to fit the mood.

CAMERAWORK:DeVito, like Kubrick, has a certain vision for capturing things just right. I like his style of camerawork, for he always gets good, quirky, and unique shots.

OTHER CONTENT:This movie is one that can be quite overlooked sometimes. It's unique with its execution, darkly hilarious, and with a meaningful moral at the end. The moral of this story would be to cherish who you have while you have them so you don't end up in an all-out war with each other, over anything. The ending made the whole movie worthwhile, aside from everything else. However, I could see a few ways it could be better. The whole movie up to the divorce war is moving in fast-forward, so to speak, so you miss out on some possible character situations to help you better know their personalities. I understand if they stretched it out that way, it would be long, but I'd risk it for better development.

OVERALL,an awesome comedy with a creatively executed plot, great acting, well done score, DeVito style camerawork, abundant dark humor, and a great moral that fills the movie, but there are a few ways this could be made better.