The Fifth Element (1997) Review

Posted in Movie reviews - 1990s, Movies with tags , , , , , , , on April 27, 2012 by They call me "Mephy"

The Fifth Element (1997)

 

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It is Egypt 1914, an archarologist is about to discover the truth behind some hieroglyphics: A fifth element of a man; this might be the key to defeating evil. Suddenly, an spaceship lands in front of the site. An alien species by the name of Mondoshawans have come to take away the five element stones, saying when evil returns they too will return in 300 years. It is now the year 2314, a ship has discovered an unknown giant mass of black fire in deep space. It suddenly expands itself and destroys the scouting Earth battleship. The Mondoshawans return but something goes wrong and they are ambushed by shape-shifting Mangalores (how do they even come up with these names?); the priest who currently holds the Mondoshawan key from that day in 1914 in Egypt briefs President Lindberg (Tom Lister Jr.) of the history of the Great Evil and that only 48 hours is left to defeat it. Meanwhile, the scientists have recovered the hand of the fifth element from the crash site and has began to reconstruct it into a humanoid. She escapes and accidentally doves off into the taxicab of a former-Special Forces major, Korben Dallas (Bruce Willis, best known for role in Die Hard). After escaping from the authorities, the two talk and her name is apparently (wait for it…) Leeloo Minai Lekarariba-Laminai-Tchai Ekbat De Sebat…but becomes known as “Leeloo”. She tells them the stones are stolen (in ancient language) and while they are talking, an industrialist with bad hair named Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg (Gary Oldman) (another mouthful for a name…) are looking for the stones too and that they have to get to take it first in order to save not just humanity, but all lifeforms.

 

Ruby Rhod (played by Chris Tucker)

# All night long, all night long~! #

 

Directed by Luc Besson, this one’s a French (it’s still in English) sci-fi gem for you moviegoers looking for a snappy dialogue and some actions. Chris Tucker (known best for his role in the Rush Hour series) also provides timely comic relief as an effeminate talk-show host. The settings are futuristic hover cars and sky-high buildings (we don’t see the ground, that’s the future!), which quite frankly is an amazingly made for the film. The characters are all interesting in their own ways, each with different personalities and attitudes. Put this one in your collection; you simply can’t sit through this film without having a bit of fun from it!

=CHECK BACK LATER FOR UPDATE; BEING REVIEWED TONIGHT=

In the meantime…look what I found.

http://www.glogster.com/papoj1/papoj1-s-citizen-kane-brochure/g-6m86rm2uph71u5nr2d9l0a0?old_view=True

 

Vertigo (1958) Review

Posted in Movie reviews - 1950s, Movies with tags , , , , , , , on April 23, 2012 by They call me "Mephy"

Vertigo (1958)

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Director Alfred Hitchcock, known best for classic thrillers such as Psycho (1960) and The Birds (1963), delivers his usual plot twist and psychological thriller that leaves the audience in a dazed emotion. (Blogger here felt a sudden eerie uneasiness in the room after credits rolled…probably the haunting scream)

Detective John Ferguson (Scottie to his acquaintances) retires, after his acrophobia causes the death of a fellow police officer during a rooftop chase. All is well until an old friend, Gavin Elster, invites him over and asks him to spies on his wife, whom has been acting strangely (staring at a portrait for hours, wanders to places like the cemetary and San Francisco Bay on a daily occasion); Gavin believes his wife is possessed by someone.

An interesting film combining acrophobia with mystery thriller.

Rebel Without a Cause (1955) Review

Posted in Movie reviews - 1950s, Movies with tags , , , , , , on April 22, 2012 by They call me "Mephy"

Rebel Without a Cause (1955)

Warner Bros'. challenging drama of today's juvenile violence!

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There are things to be said about this particular movie. It helped James Dean achieve the status of a cultural icon, but also commentary to the supposed “rebel” teenager angst and a troubled, dysfunctional relationship between them and their folks. As Bob Dylan would say, “The times they are a-changin’ “ and this was a time when the generation gap between Baby-Boomers and the Older Generation was differing in music, in fashion, as well as lifestyle.

Summary

Jim Stark (James Dean) is a rebellious teenager who had just moved from another town; this was not the first time he had moved and thus he had trouble fitting in. He is troubled by the fact his father is unable to stand up for himself and be strong for his own son over his mother’s words. Meanwhile, Judy (Natalie Wood) is frustrated by her father’s unwillingness to show affection towards his own daughter; she runs away and ends up in the police station beside Jim. Also, John (‘Plato’ to his friends) (Sal Mineo) ends up there after shooting puppies; his father abandoned the family and his mother was never around.

The next day after a planetarium field trip, Jim is taunted by Buzz Gunderson (Corey Allen), a local bully who threatens him with a switchblade. The two engage in a knife fight, before being separated by the adults. Throughout the film, the trio goes through teenager angst because the adults don’t seem to understand them and never seems to listens to their reasons, feeling neglect and betrayal.

Jim Stark… a kid from a ‘good’ family – what makes him tick… like a bomb?

Review

The film was released (October 27, 1995) after Dean’s fatal car crash (September 30, 1955) with the ‘Little Bastard’ (1955 Porsche 550 Spyder), directed by Nicholas Ray, is one of his most well known film by him with expressionistic color usage (a trademark of his films). The film became one of James Dean’s role of Jim Stark became most associated with James Dean, the other being his role in East of Eden (1955, before Rebel Without a Cause) and Giant (1956). Teenagers at the time identified themselves with the film, pointing out how accurate the conflicts between the characters were true to life, as the rock-and-roll scene was a spreading influence for the young generation who were progressively drifting from traditional family values and lifestyle. This generation of “hippies” (blogger prefers ‘flower children’) too, would later deal with the newer generation of “yuppies”. Rebel Without a Cause is no doubt, his most celebrated film that has grown in popularity over the years. It is a good film for introducing someone to James Dean!

The Warriors (1979)

Posted in Movie reviews - 1970s, Movies with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 7, 2012 by They call me "Mephy"

The Warriors (1979)

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This was and still is, one of my favorite movies of all time. The casting of newcomers was the right choice for director Walter Hill. This film got quite a bit of uproar from the media and moviegoers, due to the facts rival gangs clash at theaters, as well as vandalism. Even during the shooting of the film, there were interference from local gangs towards the casts and the sets (equipments were damaged at one point and casts were even challenged by local gangs!) . The film is based on Sol Yurick’s novel, “The Warriors” (1965), which borrowed elements from Anabasis by Xenophon.

The film follows the Warriors, a gang from Coney Island, Brooklyn, on their way to a big gathering for a truce between other gangs, hosted by Cyrus (Roger Hill), leader of the biggest and most powerful gang in New york City, the Gramercy Riffs, to unite all of them in order to control the city. But something goes wrong during the midnight summit and Cyrus is shot down by Luther (David Patrick Kelly), leader of the Rogues. In the ensuing panic, Cleon, leader of the Warriors, is subdued (and predictably killed) by the angry crowd, while the rest of the Warriors escape the clash between the police (who were surrounding the place from darkness) and the gangs. Now war chief and second-in-command, Swan (Michael Beck), must lead them back to Coney Island and avoid getting wasted for trespassing rival turfs on their way home; little did they know, the Riffs have called a hit on them for killing Cyrus.

Co-written by David Shaber (who wrote for Hunt for Red October and Nighthawks) with Walter Hill, the movie has a cult following as proof of being a timeless classic. Originally meant to have comic book-styled panel transitions, this was not put into the theatrical release due to budget issues and because a rival film, The Wanderers (1979) was released into theaters as well, so the decision was made to avoid similarities. The depiction of gangs may not be as realistic but still effective in psyching the audiences. The settings of New York at night too, combined with a wet street from the rain, and a feeling of a really long night, gives us the impression of a surreal nightmare that our collective heroes go through before arrive home to a breaking dawn. The music, especially Joe Walsh’s “In the City”, which becomes an iconic “anthem” to the film, also fits very well with the rough city’s atmosphere. It’s one of those films I’ve yet to wear out on, even after being admittedly watched over five times now and here I am introducing it to some of you bloggers out there. If you’re into a good gang film, this is -the- one to add to your library!

The Graduate (1967) Review

Posted in Movie reviews - 1960s, Movies on April 2, 2012 by They call me "Mephy"

The Graduate (1967)

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It is rather disturbing to note that Hoffman’s character was literally stalking Elaine (Katharine Ross) by the last half of the film. He goes from (pardon the profanity) a bright and mild-mannered young man to a mother-lover and then someone with an even more uncertain future.

We will try out best to not spoil the plot here. Benjamin Braddock is a university graduate who hasn’t found a specific goal in life. Meanwhile, his parents uses his scholarship as bragging rights and makes him feel like he’s not in control of his own life. To add to that, he is unwittingly provoked by Mrs. Robinson (Anna Bancroft), one of his parent’s friends along with her husband, and has an affair with her behind their backs. A planned date set up by his own family with the Robinsons’ daughter, Elaine, what start out as a disinterested matchmaking, becomes a new romance. Ben now is torn between his love for the girl whose mother sleep in bed with him on numerous nights.

This film is definitely a unique one of the comedy-drama genre, of which doesn’t really age. It’s surprising a subject like an affair between a 21-year-old university graduate and an older woman got past censors. Nonetheless, it’s not a bad film at all, but it does seem more drama than comedy. Watching with a group of friends is recommended (although the blogger himself did make ridicule remarks to certain scenes because of the overreactions) !

Dick Tracy (1990) Review

Posted in Movie reviews - 1990s, Movies with tags , , , , , on March 23, 2012 by They call me "Mephy"

Dick Tracy (1990)

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We’re really taking long breaks from the “real world” films that may/may not help us write all these reviews. Some of us just need someone else’s nostalgic trip to feel at home. So today, we bring your a review of Warren Beatty’s 1990 film adaption of Dick Tracy.

So it starts off in a 1930s Chicago(?), a by-the-book, tough detective Dick Tracy (Warren Beatty) arrives on the scene of a massacre of a cards game consisting of villains (they’re all pretty much recurring characters from the 1930s comic strip) and the disappearance of the owner of Club Ritz. Meanwhile, a crime boss named “Big Boy” Caprice (played by Al Pacino…you can’t help but see some Tony Montana in him when he yells in scenes) has paid and gathered all of the crime rings of the city in order to form an alliance, which would result in extortion of almost everything from meals in diners to

haircuts in barbershops. Tracy is also a man torn between duty and love, failing to express his feelings to Tess Trueheart (Glenne Headly) and being seduced by the attractive singer of Club Ritz, Breathless Mahoney (Madonna…yes.) . He also adopts a street urchin (nicknamed “The Kid”) who assists him throughout the film, but we’re not going to talk about him. There’s also a few notable names like Dick Van Dyke (as District Attorney John Fletcher), Dustin Hoffman (Mumbles), and a cameo as a store owner by Charles Fleischer.

Reviews for this movie were mixed, notably Roger Ebert gave this film four out of four stars for the nostalgia trip and praising it for the designs and prosthetic makeup. Desson Thomson of Washington Post apparently gave a rather negative review, calling it an imitation of the Batman (1989) film, with less in-depth and character development (which is true but isn’t that what a comic feels like unless you’ve read a number of issues?). A bit understandable since Danny Elfman worked on the orchestra score (with Stephen Sondheim) and if you’ve watch films with Danny Elfman scores in them, you’d know how most of his work sounds. Warren Beatty surprisingly produced, directed, and starred in the title role, despite being “too old” for the role (he was 52 at the time…funny, he doesn’t look that old). The film maintains a two-dimensional comic atmosphere, using a believable matte painting with vivid colored surroundings (the comic strip had limited color palette, so everything from cars to clothes were figuratively bleeding bright colors…). Of course, this film is an okay adaptation that doesn’t take away the charm and original plots of Chester Gould’s work. It’s a movie to watch, if you’re into the pulp action (classic-era) genre!

A sequel, too, was planned for the film but due to legal disputes between Warren Beatty and Tribune (the guys who own the comic strips), it has not been produced as of yet…Beatty’s also 74 and aging now.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) Review

Posted in Movie reviews - 1980s, Movies on March 16, 2012 by They call me "Mephy"

Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)

It's the story of a man, a woman, and a rabbit in a triangle of trouble.

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This one’s bound to at least emit nostalgia out of your childhood if you grew up staring at the idiot box. This movie is like a cross between Disney, Warner Bros., and Dick Tracy (which will be reviewed next time). Based on a novel by Gary K. Wolf “Who Censored Roger Rabbit?”, the film was directed by Rober Zemeckis (same director of Back to the Future) and was notable for bringing back a fanbase to the golden age of American animation, which brought along the Disney Renaissance era (The Little Mermaid in 1989, until Tarzan in 1999). The film was also one of the final films that Mel Blanc voiced Looney Tune characters before his death in 1989.

It is 1947 in Hollywood, humans and cartoons co-exist together and cartoon shorts are acted in the same manner as a live-action actor does. A toon rabbit named Roger Rabbit (voiced by Charles Fleischer) is supposedly framed for the murder of Marvin Acme , owner of Toontown and Acme Corporation. Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskin), alcoholic private investigator whose former partner and brother was killed by a toon with a piano to the head, is made a scapegoat to Roger’s motivation to murder Mr. Acme, having previously shown scandalous picture of Mr. Acme and Roger’s seductive and gorgeous wife, Jessica Rabbit, together. He must clear his name (and Roger’s) and figure out who the real killer is, while coping with his own inner demons and a looney cameo of toons (no pun intended), ranging from old-timey Betty Boop to despicable Daffy Duck. Meanwhile, Judge Doom (Christopher Lloyd) is scheming a diabolical plan to change the ways of the town and get rid of the toons.

Kathleen Turner voices the eye-candy (not to mention, ear-candy) character Jessica Rabbit

"I'm not bad...I'm just drawn that way."

It is no surprise this one has a 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It has a good mixture of cartoon violence and humor, as well as a touching story. Spielberg helped in asking permission for the usage of the copyrighted characters of Warner Bros, Fleischer Studios, King Features Syndicate, Felix the Cat Productions, Turner Entertainment, and Universal Pictures/Walter Lantz Productions to appear alongside each other, particularly Donald Duck with Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse (which as also the first an only time both appeared together on screen before). The film also spawned a new dance move named The Roger Rabbit dance which involves skipping backwards doing a flapping gesture as if hooking one’s thumb on suspenders. The miming by the live actors and the moving of live action props when used by the cartoon characters by moved around on strings or used robotic arms in holding, which felt realistic and perfectly timed in its quality. Recommended highly for cartoon fans who want to take a break from all the 3D hype (it may be three decades old, but it still has some kick in it). It’s one of the many films you’ll be able to watch many times without getting bored!

A sequel is also planned (or still thought of, at least) but with the emerging computer animations these days, will it do well? Only time will tell on that one, but they assure us that it’ll be just like this one: no CGIs, just traditional 2D animation combined with live action.

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