The second part of my review series. In this one i will review older movies i’ve seen(The most recent movie on this list is from 2001).
Donnie Darko -I actually saw this a while ago, but i decided to re-watch it since it was streamable on my 360 . For those who don’t know, its about a troubled teenager(Donnie) who sees visions of a large bunny rabbit. Donnie is played by Jake Gyllenhaal, with a supporting cast that includes Maggie Gyllenhall and Drew Barrymore.
The are some hilarious scenes in the first half, such as the argument between Donnie and his sister(who is played by his actual sister Maggie). IMO, all the characters are interesting and enjoyable, which is feel is the main strength of this movie.
The sci-fi elements of the film, which come mostly during the second half, may not be for everybody(From what i hear there is a directors version that has more explanation. ). I didn’t mind it, although i feel there was one small bit that didn’t make sense to me. The film will also feel pretentious to some. But with all that said, i think this one is worth a watch
Robin Hood:men in Tights – A robin hood parody directed by Mel Brooks. Even though the movie is from 1993, I think most of the jokes here work.
2001 – A film by Stanly Kubrick, this is about a group of astronauts who investigate a strange device in space. One thing that imo makes this movie stand out is that even thought it was made in 1968 the effects don’t look dated at all. They look on par with most sci-fi movies today.
The movie also uses a lot of shadows, which fits the rather dark mood of the movie. The story is rather bare bones, and the ending is left to be interpreted. This is a sci-fi for the thinking man only. Unfortunately, for me the story kind of went over my head. Considering the high praise this movie gets, i feel odd saying this but honestly i didn’t have that strong of a reaction to the movie.
I would still recommend it, but i would save this for when you feel like being a active viewer. Also, if you can, getting the Blu-ray version of this is worth it imo. The special features on it certainly made me appreciate the movie more than i might otherwise. Still, overall, out of the 3 Kubrick films i’ve seen so far(this, Eyes Wide Shut, A CLockwork orange) this is my least favorite.
The Purple Rose of Cairo – This is about a waitress named Cecilia(played by Mia farrow) stuck in a unhappy relationship(Anyone else notice that waitress’s in movies always have unhappy lives?), who’s favorite movie character(Tom Baxter) ends up bursting from the screen into real life. Things get even more complicated when the actor who plays Tom catches Cecilia’s attention.
The love triangle between Cecilia, Tom, and the actor is well done imo. However, i think the most interesting aspect of the movie is how real life is not like the movies. I personally feel this should have been emphasized a bit more in the movie, but i still like the movie overall.
A Clockwork Orange – Set in a futuristic Britian, this movie focuses on a delinquent named Alex(played wonderfully by young Malcom Mcdonwald). Compared to most movie protagonists today, during the first half of the movie he is extremely unlikable. While i’ve watched and enjoyed movies with less than perfect protagonists before, i was starting to lose interest.
But during the second half of the movie it re-captured my interest. The movie managed to turn Alex into a victim, and i actually found myself felling sympathy for him. Malcoms amazing performance was also a factor in this, as he felt like a much more vulnerable character. Even though Alex’s former victims in a way deserved to have there revenge, i still felt bad for Alex.
Overall, i liked this a lot better than 2001, although Eyes Wide Shut is still my fav Kubrick film so far. Like with 2001(and Eyes Wide Shut), i recommend getting this on blu-ray if you can. The special features really help you appreciate the film more, imo
Citizen Kane -I had high expectations for this one, and while i’m not sure it is the masterpiece it has been made out to be, i am happy i watched it. The movie focuses on a reporter who tries to find out what the last words of kane means.
The movie begins by pretty much telling Kanes whole life, with what seems like a news reel. While this may seem like a boring way to start a movie, without it the flashbacks that comprise most of the movie might become confusing to some.
The most noticeable aspect of this movie is the directing. The movie uses a lot of shadow, which combined with the black and white look means that sometimes characters appear merely as silhouettes. The movie also uses a lot of deep focus, something not used a whole lot in most movies today. What this means is that in all the shots, both the foreground and back round are equally clear. WHile at times it can be hard to know what exactly you should be looking at, there are subtle hints to draw your attention if you look closely.
The story of a idealist losing his way isn’t exactly new, but i think it is well told in Citizen kane. The characters in the movie all feel complex and realistic, and even though kane isn’t always likable it never feels like he is being bad for the sake of it. I strongly recommend seeing this one.
Interview with a Vampire – Considering how many vampire movies and shows i’ve been watching lately, i figured i should watch a some older vampire stuff, and this happened to be available for streaming on netflix. The movie focuses on Louis(Brad Pitt), who tells a reporter about his life as a vampire.
I think for the most part the movie ages well. While both brad Pitt and TOm Cruise have become known more as celebrities than actors, i think there performances are solid in this one. Although i think the best performance in the movie comes from a much younger Kirsten Dunst. She perfectly captures the CLaudias growing maturity and her frustration at not growing up. AT times its hard to believe that she was a child when she did the role. The film pretty much focuses on loneliness, and while at times its a bit much i think for the most part its well written.
Unfortunately, i think the characters now seem tired and cliche. The self hating vamp archetype has been done many times now, and while i’m not saying Louis doesn’t have personality, i think to modern audiences he would seem a bit cliched. Lestat suffers from the same problem, due to the current glut of bad boy vamps. Claudia imo feels like the freshest, original character mainly because vamp children haven’t been done nearly as much as the other 2 vampire archetypes. Overal, its a good movie, but i think to modern audiences the characters might seem a bit boring.
Dracula – Continuing with the classic vampire movies, there have been many dracula movies but the one i watched was the one by Francis Ford Coppola.
The has a gothic feel to it that at times may feel over the top to modern audiences, but i think it still works. The movie features a unusual mix of romance and horror, which it does well imo. Gary Oldman as Dracula is the main draw acting-wise, but i think the rest of the cast work well also. Overall, this is one that i think is worth checking out.