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La peau douce (1964)
Love is sweet and bitter. Honeymoon becomes Bittermoon.
For starters, this movie wasn't really all that successful when it first came out. Things have changed since but I think that much of the people who see it today probably wouldn't if it wasn't for the prestige the director's name enjoys today. If you wanna know what I think, it's superior to the okay but mildly disappointing 'Jules et Jim'.
This is a movie that I'd recommend to all men who can't be loyal to their girlfriends/wives. I can recommend it for two reasons, depending on each case: to men who are aware of their lack of loyalty but can't stop and yet want to learn something from that ; or to men who simply don't want to get married and have kids or don't care about taking affairs with women seriously.
This movie is well directed, fun, romantic and at the same a harsh and almost sick movie about love. The ending is so harsh and shocking, proving how love can turn to hate and just how sick love can get.
Jean Desailly and Françoise Dorléac are superb in their respective roles and despite their age difference of 20+ years they have a perfect chemistry.
This should definitely be on Top 250.
La femme d'à côté (1981)
There are movies that make you want to fall in love. This isn't one of them.
Although not too extreme, this is a harsh and nearly sick movie about love. Or, to be more precise, the dark side of love. It starts off as a perfectly normal movie: an ordinary man named Bernard Coudray lives with his wife and his innocent son Thomas. This family leads a normal life, plus Bernard doesn't seem to be the kind of guy who looks for problems where they don't exist. That is, until Mathilde (an ex-lover) unexpectedly becomes his neighbor. Seemingly concerned with her presence, Bernard avoids her at first, but it doesn't take much time until their affair begins... a strange and completely crazy love affair, I'll say! Not even these two people understand their love/hate relationship. It's as if they can't be with each other and yet they can't be without each other.
Overall, an okay movie but far from being great. It affects you in some way, however, as most Truffaut's films do somehow. The most affecting part of this one is the tragic ending. The sick side of love in this movie alone is enough to make you fear falling in love but the ending definitely scares you off from that.
A young Gérard Depardieu stars here in one of his best actings and movie roles and, unlike in much later movies, here he is perfectly normal and doesn't overact and isn't annoying. Fanny Ardant is great too. Véronique Silver plays well the interesting character Madame Jouve and Olivier Becquaert is excellent as sweet little Thomas.
Star Trek (1966)
The TV show of the future
Even before the visionary film (and extraordinary) '2001: A Space Odyssey', we had this TV show 'Star Trek' created by the visionary Gene Roddenberry. It's one of those nostalgic TV shows about space adventures and stuff like that. I'm not even from the 60's, but I remember this well from my childhood. It was so popular even in my time that I must say I'm surprised that it wasn't very successful in its early years of existence. I guess that's a cross which many visionary things carry at first, until time is kinder to them.
This was a great show: magical, authentic, futuristic, with a great opening that shows us great images of space, a wonderful opening music and a memorable opening line:
«Space: The final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: To explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.»
Battlestar Galactica (1978)
One of those nostalgic "space mania" TV shows of the late 70's
Who, having grown up at the time, can ever forget the good old days, when TV shows like this were the ultimate scream of fashion?
I wasn't even born in the 70's, but I still remember very well that in the early 90's TV often aired TV series like this, which now looking back were made before my time but as a child I didn't know that fact nor do I cared.
'Battlestar Galactica' was created by Glen A. Larson, who also created 'Knight Rider', another TV series from my childhood.
Now, looking at it through an adult's perspective, it is lesser great than it was in the days of innocence, but still 'Battlestar Gallactica' shines in nostalgia. Although some episodes were better than others and they always had their flaws, the show really gives that feeling of nostalgia. If not perfect, at least it is authentic. It is from a time when things were real, when things had a special magic. The opening, for example, is fantastic, with those spectacular images of space and space wars. The opening music too is absolutely wonderful, and that opening quote is memorable:
«There are those who believe that life here began out there, far across the universe, with tribes of humans who may have been the forefathers of the Egyptians, or the Toltecs, or the Mayans. Some believe that there may yet be brothers of man who even now fight to survive somewhere beyond the heavens.»
Like I said, it's by no means a perfect TV show. But the action scenes and their delicious sounds, the special effects, the space backgrounds... ahhh.... it's all so authentic and perfect (as it should be), without any of the excessive action and explosive noise seen these days.
It starred Lorne Greene as Commander Adama, Richard Hatch as Captain Apollo and Dirk Benedict as Lt. Starbuck, all of them great. Most of these episodes also had Noah Hathaway in a minor role as Boxey, Apollo's little son. Boxey is the cute little tyke. Him and his Muffit. This was a few years before he "became" Atreyu. Too bad Boxey doesn't have a bigger role.
Inevitably, this TV series resembles '2001: A Space Odyssey', 'Star Trek' and 'Star Wars'. It was even accused of plagiarism when 'Star Wars' itself heavily drank ideas from an early 70's film called 'Silent Running'.
A major achievement in the late 20's
Considering the good reputation this vintage classic enjoys today, it's a little strange to think that in its heyday its popularity was restrict. I don't think it was because people weren't prepared for such a revolutionary movie. As far as I know, even then few were the ones who weren't marveled with the futuristic and highly stylish visuals. I can't say for sure, but I think it was because it combined futuristic scenarios with still primitive cinema techniques (which were what was available at the time). And quite honestly, the ancient cinema techniques is the aspect which this film is most dated. The stunning futuristic visuals haven't aged at all. I'd dare to say that they wouldn't do ugly now. They are still surprisingly fresh even for today's standards: the "avant-garde" mega-city of Metropolis and the fantastic Tower of Babel, all part of the director's vision for the future.
The final cost would probably be far from being overly expensive today, but for 1927 this was a very costly film to make, which you can tell from its advanced ideas.
Some futurisms aside, this movie is not for everyone because it is very old, silent and in black and white. Adding to all that, it is very long and can be quite repetitive. A movie with these characteristics this long can push some to the limits of their patience. One has to have in mind that "nobody" watches movies like this these days.
Aside the greatness of the futuristic stuff, the best thing is the sequence of the overflown reservoirs and inundations caused by it, putting many children in danger who are rescued in time before any disgrace.
The movie has become unexpectedly famous over time. To prove how much its popularity grew over time, let me just say that musical artists like Queen in the videoclip for the song "Radio Ga Ga" and Madonna in the videoclip for the song "Express Yourself" payed some homage to it in slight details of inspiration.
Wasn't much of a movie
My knowledge on Russian cinema is almost non-existent. To be frank, this was the second Russian film I've ever seen - the first one was 'The Mirror' (1975).
When I saw 'The Mirror', I considered it a somewhat frustrating experience as my introduction to Russian cinema, although it wasn't a bad movie. This one, 'The Return' (2003), was something of another disappointment.
Why was this movie rewarded the way it was is a mystery to me. Notice this: I am not saying this is a bad film. It is by no means a bad movie, it just isn't what I expected.
There is a big deal of crude scenario in the movie, but when the cinematography is beautiful, it really is amazing. And adding to the fantastic landscapes, the camera films it all beautifully.
Then, where did the film fail? The story is the Aquiles's heel. The movie starts very well and promising, especially in the opening scene. But soon it turns out to be a somewhat boring story: after a fight between two brothers, their father comes out of nowhere after having been gone for 12 years. He sleeps before the boys even come back, which doesn't sound very correct. When he wakes up, he doesn't even make a proper self-introduction to the boys and just wants to take them on a holiday and during the trip he shows strange ways to make up for the lost time. It's as if he wants them to be men immediately. Apparently he loves his sons but he doesn't know how to show them love and he has strange ways of showing love. He is emotionally distant and cold, authoritarian and sometimes aggressive. Plus, he seems to get bothered by talking of his past because he doesn't give any proper answers on that matter. Despite all of that, the older son accepts him, while the younger son is highly suspicious of him. Although the younger son has a stupid fit about the food, in other things he is right of being suspicious. Like he says, the guy could even be a gangster. After all, they know nothing about him. Another problem with the film is that it doesn't provide any answers. There are so many unanswered questions, like where has the father been all that time. Why was he gone for 12 years. Why didn't he ever visit his kids. Why didn't he even phone them or write them. Why doesn't he like to talk about his past. Why is he so harsh. What is he up to in his holiday with the boys. Only before his accidental death he (apparently) shows some compassion on the boys, but that's only after a highly suspicious attitude of his, which makes me wonder if his reaction just before his death is supposed to be believable or not.
The boys are well portrayed by the actors. Sad about the early passing of the older one in real life, though. The mysterious father is well portrayed by the actor, a José Mourinho look-alike.
Le voyage dans la lune (1902)
Probably cinema's first serious achievement
In late 19th century, a french magician stunned the world with his remarkable techniques of magic. In early 20th century, he took his magician talents and put them in a short film, at the same time proving he had talent and vision for cinema.
Although made in a time when cinema was still in its infancy, when it was very ancient, the result was something to be taken seriously. The silence doesn't harm the expressiveness of the plot. The sceneries are terrific for the time, the effects are very advanced for the time, the details are.........
The iconic image of the spaceship hitting the Moon's eye has become its trade mark and is clearly comical, which compensates the fact that it is very old-fashioned and even almost childish. Nevertheless, for something this elderly, it is amusing.
Douro, Faina Fluvial (1931)
An honest first effort by Manoel de Oliveira
I believe this is something of an experimental short film/documentary by the director Manoel de Oliveira, but for a first effort the result is satisfying. It basically isn't much more than a portrait of labor and industry around Douro River in the city of Porto, but it stands alone for its innovative filming techniques which attempt to capture as many images and areas of the city as possible - something that could be described as cinematographic liberty.
On paper, the idea of this 'Douro, Faina Fluvial' is simple and even minimalist. Still, it offers things which many so-called more "complete" movies don't, starting with the cinematographic liberty I mentioned.
Germania anno zero (1948)
Sad movie about the post-Holocaust
Saw this film unaware that it is part of a trilogy, let alone that it is the final effort of such trilogy. The story is set in Germany, in the difficult years after the war. The injuries of the war are well visible, with all those buildings in ruins and the general poverty. Other than a portrait of that very dark age, this film tells the story of German child Edmund Kohler and his life in family and not only. Edmund and his family are among the war's survivors.
In many ways, this movie has little to distinguish it from other post-war movies and lacks an effective combination of plot and pacing strength. There are moments when that works, such as when Edmund wanders through the ruins of Berlin, including a church if I'm not mistaken. But otherwise it doesn't really work that well.
The ending is the strongest and harshest part of the movie. It's memorable and well filmed, but so depressing. Edmund poisons his own father as a way to put an end to his suffering. Edmund feels horrible about what he did and can't take anymore, committing suicide by throwing himself from a building.
The cast does what they should for their roles, but Edmund Moeschke is the best of the bunch thanks to his strong portrayal of Edmund Kohler.
Could have been a great movie, but it wasn't to be.
Theorically, this Italian film had the ingredients to be great. An interesting story, a talented cast, beautiful women, gorgeous Italian cinematography and a great musical score. The movie starts well, with a yacht trip, involving events, stunning settings and the Italian "babes" of the time Monica Vitti and Lea Massari. Also, later in the movie there are wonderful settings in Italy and an interesting story of romance.
Unfortunately the movie can't manage to totally captivate. It wastes too much time in a plot with little strength which has little to do with it and don't help to create a truly memorable film. Besides, the pacing is somewhat slow, or maybe it's just the movie that is too long for its pacing and flaws. It's a long movie, but that could be compensated if only it was as good as its runtime is big. Perhaps the way how the narrative structure is made is another problem and the story doesn't appear to be very well solved. Another thing I don't particularly appreciate is its apparent "feminism", as well as the fact that it portrays women as hopelessly complicated - they are, they really are, I know, but...
Opinions on this seem to be divisive. Some see it as one of the finest ever, while others have more reservations (myself included). I can see why in both sides and I understand both sides - after all, opinions are valid.
Gabriele Ferzetti, Monica Vitti and Lea Massari are great as Sandro, Claudia and Anna, respectively.
Wasn't as great as I expected
Although I wasn't totally disappointed with the American version, I didn't exactly biase towards it too. The moment I learned there is an original, I wanted to see it and I expected great things from it. Well, I guess my expectations were a little too high...
The original is better, just not in the league I thought it would be. The plot is familiar, although many things seem to be very different in both versions, starting with the fact that this version is more "natural", as expected in an European film. The pacing is slow, there is little action although there is some tension and "agitation". The roles are generally well portrayed by the actors.
Tirez sur le pianiste (1960)
Truffaut's second film is a cool piece of french cinema!
After the great 'The 400 Blows', Monsieur Truffaut made this cool film with a peculiar title - a title which, by the way, I like. Curiously, the pianist is portrayed by a real-life musician: the great Charles Aznavour. However, the rest of the cast is about as great when it comes to acting abilities.
Despite the title, there is really very little of action. But hey, you can't expect a movie this old to have "exciting" levels of action like the modern movies. This is "old-school" action, when action was limited but authentic and even the noises were realistic, nothing to do with the almost deafening sounds of nowadays. Who needs those excesses? Deep down, this classic isn't limited to just one genre, being a successful but modest combination of different genres which works. Besides, few movies transform tense scenes into humorous scenes the way this does.
I really like the beating of the piano melody by Georges Delerue. Cinematography is quite decent and permits us to appreciate french streets and other places, a Truffaut specialty. I consider this one of Truffaut's best films, after 'The 400 Blows' and 'The Wild Child', and better than the interesting but flawed 'Jules et Jim'.
This should definitely be on Top 250.
Beethoven Lives Upstairs (1992)
A curious but not completely true take on Ludwig van Beethoven
Okay, for a TV movie this one isn't very bad. Frankly, if you can see beyond that, it's actually relatively enjoyable. 1992 must have been Beethoven's year in cinema: we got a movie about a lovable St. Bernard named after the famous musician and this TV movie in the same year.
'Beethoven Lives Upstairs' cannot be considered a biographical film, but more of an introduction to Beethoven aimed mostly at youngsters. This less than 60 minutes movie is not only about Beethoven but also about a high-society young boy named Cristoph. Guess what, Beethoven is Cristoph's upstairs neighbor, hence the film's title. Like most people, Cristoph can't stand living near Beethoven. Overhearing the noise all day long drives him crazy. For him, Beethoven is a fruitcake, literally. But when he learns that Beethoven has a miserable life, works very hard and wants to change the world with his music, he understands him better and develops a friendship with him.
But, even though Beethoven wins the boy's respect, he doesn't convince everyone. Many people still cannot put up with Beethoven because he has a short temper. In real life, Beethoven was known for his temper as much as for his musical talent. People like Beethoven were poor, lonely and worked hard for their music, so it's understandable that they were bitter.
This film was shot in Prague (Czech Republic) and Canada. Its cinematography is refined and classic, with unquestionable beauty. Illya Woloshyn is excellent as Christoph and he looks a lot like Kevin Zegers from 'Air Bud'. Neil Munro does a decent job as Beethoven. But there are some flaws, such as the fact that this movie says that Beethoven is working on his 7th Symphony when in reality he is working on the 9th.
Pojken med guldbyxorna (1975)
Great Scandinavian TV show!
This is a cool classic TV show and one that could only have been made in Sweden. I'm sure it must have been a success, at least in its native country.
One particularity about this TV series is that most episodes have a somewhat poor start, but then they get better. Each episode is considerably different from each other, so at times this seems like different TV shows with the same artists. To me, that only makes it all the more interesting.
The lead character is Mats, a blonde young boy with silk hair. Harald Hamrell was always terrific as Mats.
Being something made in Scandinavia, obviously that the cinematography is one solid attribute. As a TV show, it is usually fun, enjoyable and has both elements of adventure and comedy that combine quite well.
Not perfect, but very good
Albert Lamorisse is mostly known for his beloved classic 'The Red Balloon', but before that he made this 'White Mane', which is almost as good. Although 'White Mane' is not absolutely perfect, it certainly is and feels authentic. I could say this is a must for anyone who loves horses. It is, that I can't deny. But in my book one doesn't necessarily have to love horses to enjoy this. It's all a matter of liking this sort of films.
This short film is about a wild stallion in a wild region of France and his friendship with a fearless and adventurous young boy. The film tells how they meet and how they develop their friendship. This boy becomes the only human really worthy of the stallion's trust.
The beauty of the cinematography is one of the best things about this. What we see is pure and natural, a "wilder" France not often seen in movies (that is, as far as I know). The boy is wonderfully portrayed by Alain Emery. The boy and the stallion have a perfect chemistry.
This should definitely be on Top 250.
Well-made but harsh, tragic and depressing. Not an "easy" movie.
This is one of Vittorio De Sica's early works but probably his breakthrough. Well, maybe not really his breakthrough (that was the more famous 'Ladri di biciclette') but at least his first major work. The name of Vittorio De Sica is almost automatically associated with 'Ladri di biciclette', which is almost inevitable, considering its fame and reputation. 'Sciuscià (Ragazzi)' doesn't seem to be as well-known. That is probably the reason why I never heard of it so far.
It's a well-told movie, well-directed, well-made, ta ta ta... but so depressing that it's hard to watch. On that sense, it's a lot like 'Ladri di biciclette'. It's one of those movies that take time to grow on us, but once it does it's a good movie.
'Sciuscià (Ragazzi)' is the tragic story of two friends (Pasquale Maggi and Giuseppe Filippucci) who shine shoes for a living. They share a common dream: to save enough money in order to get themselves one horse. The two shoeshine boys see themselves in trouble with the police after trying to find the money to buy a horse. One day it seems that their dream will finally come true, but in reality their nightmare has only just begun. They are framed and find themselves in a trap before they can even understand what's going on. Soon they end up in jail for a crime they didn't commit.
When they go to their hell (that is, prison), although separated, they try to remain friends... but the time spent in prison and the environment there destroys them. Destiny has in store a tragedy that concerns both of them, which is how the movie ends...
The boys act superbly: Franco Interlenghi as Pasquale and Rinaldo Smordoni as Giuseppe.
Le ballon rouge (1956)
Return to innocence
This is one of the cutest films of all time. Well, it isn't just cute, it's also very good and it serves very well as a time machine. Watching this is like a return to the days of innocence and happiness. Although aimed at children, I think this short film is appropriate for anyone who appreciates this kind of cinema or identifies with it: children, adolescents, adults, old people (whatever).
The story is juvenile and simple, and much heart and soul is put into it. Obviously it was made with love and care. Despite being almost wordless, it's very easy to understand what is seen.
What we have here is the tale of a little boy (Pascal) who finds a large red balloon in the streets of Paris. It's not an ordinary balloon, it has a mind of its own, like a living being except that it doesn't talk. Therefore, a silent but alive balloon. The child and the balloon immediately develop a chemistry.
This is a generally very happy, fun and nostalgic short film. Not a "let down", but its one sad part is when the friendly balloon is killed by a bunch of horrible kids who are jealous of the boy and his beloved balloon. The boy will certainly never forget his devoted friend balloon.
This great little film looks surprisingly fresh considering its age. It certainly doesn't look like it was made in the 50's. For example, 'The 400 Blows' (another great movie) was made few years later and it looks older.
'The Red Balloon' was directed by Albert Lamorisse and his two children are in it: Pascal Lamorisse as Pascal and Sabine Lamorisse as the little girl with a lively blue balloon. The kids act fine. It's kinda amusing that they play kids who don't know each other and act like strangers and yet in real life they are related.
The cinematography is très magnifique. Paris is a lovely city but it was especially beautiful back then, in the good old times. The music combines perfectly with the charm and beauty of the city, as well as of the short film itself.
This should definitely be on Top 250.
Truly a marvel
Like 'The Red Balloon', 'Clown' is another rare jewel not to let escape. And they are both french. However, 'Clown' is totally wordless. Even if some words were said, you wouldn't have to understand french to understand its story. For instance, 'The Red Balloon' has a few words but there's no need to know french in order to understand what is seen.
'Clown' is a wonderful tale of a sweet little boy and his beloved dog (named Clown), a tale that takes place in the streets of Montmartre, Paris. The kid is very fond of his four-legged friend and the dog is very fond of him too. But, no matter how friendly and loyal man's best friend is, every man's best friend has a free spirit and Clown decides to have a little adventure, which causes the kid to lose track of him. The kid tries his best to find his devoted pal, alone but also with the help of people whom he shows Clown's portrait, hoping someone can help him. He has no luck. He gets so heartbroken that he gets a runny nose from the tears he cries.
The ending is a surprise. It's a nice ending, although there is a minor flaw to it, but none of that can take away the perfection from this wonderful small film.
The cinematography is excellent. The Montmartre/Paris settings are simply très jolie and the gorgeous music suits in perfection both for the city and for the short film itself.
Gilou Pelletier is cute as a button and perfect as the little boy. Clown is a cute dog, loving and a great "actor" either.
As with 'The Red Balloon', 'Clown' is a time-machine, taking us to the good old days of innocence and happiness. This is a prime example of how to make cinema. They don't make anything like this anymore. This is from a time when things were made with quality, soul, love and care, now it's all for the money.
This should definitely be on Top 250.
The whole thing takes in a lifeboat. That's all?
I can see why is this film considered one of Hitchcock's limited-setting. To be honest, I wasn't particularly thrilled. The scenario and backgrounds are nice and the film is neat-looking but it's just too limited. I mean, the whole thing takes place in a lifeboat. There isn't even a scene in the ship that sinks. It could use at least some 15 minutes in the ship before it sinks instead of beginning the movie with the ship already practically sunk. And at the end there isn't even a boat that comes in rescue! It's kinda like what they ask themselves: «What do you do with people like that?».
And having that said, I also have to be fair. This isn't a bad movie, it just doesn't really make my type. However, it could be a good bet for Hitchcock fans. This is probably one of his least famous and heard, so it should be one for "hitchcockians" to discover.
Not up to its reputation
There are three main reasons that made me watch this: because it's old, foreign (french, in this case) and because I love ships.
Honestly I thought I'd like this movie much better. It just couldn't captivate me. I think that this movie's reputation as one of the all-time greats doesn't justify. Its plot is simple but not especially involving, or maybe it just wasn't properly worked. Basically it's all about a married couple on their honeymoon (or is it bittermoon?) in a boat trip (a boat used to have only men aboard) and very little happens - that is, other than constant conflicts aboard. The majority of characters are not likable, except the cats and the young woman.
I didn't like it very much, but François Truffaut did, as did other filmmakers of the French New Wave. They probably took a lesson or two from this to create their own films.
A shame that director Jean Vigo died so young (he was 29). Had he lived a longer life and maybe he could have become a big name in the french cinema.
An unusual kind of film
'Persona' is a Swedish film with an Italian title. The movie is as minimalist as the title itself: a simple plot, simple cinematography (although not without some beautiful Scandinavian scenario), short in length (less than 1 hour and a half), with some very quick takes (so quick that you hardly have time to see them or understand them) and bits when it breaks apart (screen flashes white, scratch marks appear up and down the image, sound rises and screeches, and the film appears to unwind as brief flashes of the prelude reappear for fractions of a second each), a low number of actors however focusing mostly on the two main actresses and one of those actresses (who ironically portrays an actress) speaks so little that you can count by your fingers the total number of words she delivers.
It's strange to watch a film with practically only two actresses, a fact that only gets stronger considering that one of them talks all the time to break the silence, while the other one is completely silent and impenetrable. In fact, her silent is so heavy and deafening that it creates more tension than if she was talkative.
This is a strange film in a mostly psychological way. There is, however, some strong and disturbing content, particularly when the movie opens (scenes that aren't pretty to view).
Overall, an interesting concept of film, with psychological impact, well directed and very well acted by the 2 lead actresses but thanks to some controversial scenes it isn't a movie to be always seen. That is its only let-down. Therefore it creates mixed thoughts.
Gorgeous scenario and gorgeous Vanna Barba
This Italian film has a pretty title for a start, referring to the name of a sea. Even though it has military men in it, I didn't realize it takes place during World War II. The story is set in Kastellórizo (an island in Greece), surrounded by the magnificent Aegean Sea. Therefore, the scenario is one of its best attributes: Greece and the Aegean Sea are owners of a legendary beauty.
I also loved Vanna Barba as Vassilissa. She is gorgeous and so hot. I thought she was Italian. She certainly looks Italian instead of Greek and yet she is Greek. Greeks are usually VERY unattractive, so it's quite an impact to see a Greek woman this beautiful, this hot.
There is some nudity in the film, which is great, as those hot scenes allow us to see the lovely Vanna Barba nude.
As a movie, this was okay. It sort of seems like a comedy with soldiers, a bit in the style of 'Blackadder'.
The "gorilla" movie
I have a friend who talked me about this movie and he told me what it was about. He also told me that the warriors in it sound like gorillas when they make sounds, hence why he calls "gorillas" to brute, rude, dynamic guys who do everything in 10 seconds. My friend was right: sometimes the men in this movie make sounds that resemble gorillas.
This film, although not without its original elements, gives that "I've been here before" feeling: it resembles movies like 'Gladiator', 'The Lord of the Rings', 'Harry Potter', 'El labirinto del Fauno', etc...
The look and style is one of this movie's strengths, as the scenario is colorful and beautiful.
When it comes to plot, it's a typical epic, but this time it revolves around King Leonidas and his 300 Spartans in battle against Xerxes and his massive army of soldiers. There are grotesque monster-human creatures. There is strong content and brutal violence, although comparing with other movies like this, the violence in this isn't as frequent and as long-lasting. None of the characters are particularly involving and the acting by the actors is nothing special. It was a surprise to look at the film's cast list and see Rodrigo Santoro as Xerxes, because I didn't recognize him at all.
«Spartans! Prepare for glory!» is probably the most memorable quote of this motion-picture.
Der Himmel über Berlin (1987)
A mix of satisfaction and disillusion
In the first half, this movie is unique, distinguish, inspiring and poetic. However, it is let down in the second half, becoming just another random movie.
This German motion-picture challenges personal beliefs, but one mustn't take that too literally. This is a story of invisible and immortal angels (well played by Bruno Ganz and Otto Sander) who populate West Berlin and have two specific missions. One of them, however, gets bored with immortality and always seeing and never sensing or experiencing anything, therefore he chooses to become a mortal.
The vast majority is shot in an excellent black and white save for brief moments when the world is seen through real people's eyes. In other words, the reason why they use black and white is only to represent the world as seen through the angels's eyes (and it works!). Up to that point, the movie is a visual treat, because of the beautiful scenario and the black and white that suits it combines so well. The words and messages are often poetic, which results in something like food for the soul.
Once one of the angels trades eternity for life, the movie becomes colored and to be sincere it looks horrid. The problem is more than just that: the movie itself becomes lame, although even before that it already begins to get inferior. Those bits with musicians singing those crappy songs, for example, are partially responsible for this ruin.
Flawed as it is, nevertheless it is unquestionably much better than that rubbish 'City of Angels' with Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan - and very different too!
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)
More for "Hitchcokers"
This is one of Hitchcock's early works, before he got to be nicknamed as The Master of Suspense. Therefore, it may not be considered truly "hitchcockian" for some. But for those who love his cinema in general, then this is a good bet.
In my opinion, this movie is interesting enough without being that intriguing. There is some action in it, but it's a very elderly type of action. There is some suspense, but not much.
The best thing about this movie is the magnificent swiss scenario. Scenario aside, the best moments of the movie are any with the fantastic actor Peter Lorre. With his charm and charisma, he makes the movie better. Apparently he couldn't speak English at this stage yet, but you couldn't tell that in the movie.
The cover of the movie is hilarious. I wonder why in the world would they put Peter Lorre's face green as if he was an ogre...
Even though this film might not be that "hitchcockian" (that is, at least in the traditional sense of the word), it is, like all Hitchcock's films, strange and weird.
This movie had a remake (made by Hitchcock himself) but I've never seen it.