Gentlemen Prefer Blondes Review:

[This review contains spoilers]

The title of this film is a lie. I swear that the brunette gets more guys looking at her than Marilyn Monroe (not that Jane Russell isn’t a looker herself). This film is actually pretty funny, as a comedy should be.

It has the two leading ladies continually getting themselves caught up in hijinks, from accusations of stealing a tiara to being investigated for a love affair. It’s nice seeing the two women play off each other, and being a little man crazy.

I liked that, it’s not something that I feel like I see often enough in films (maybe I’m not watching the right ones?). Regardless, this film has scenes with men parading around shirtless. Let it never be said that the 1950s didn’t have fanservice for the ladies.

I liked how the women played off each other, they were loyal and always back each other up, no matter the trouble they wound up in. The music was nice and playful, and the romance was well done.

Marylin’s character however has the oddest addiction to diamonds. Yet it did lead to a great musical number, one that’s become iconic and kept alive through people like Madonna. It’s a scene that has been replicated throughout the decades, it’s a nice scene, but not the best musical number of it’s time. Yet it is still good. It’s a great example of how they achieved spectacle in a time before CGI, with it’s great sets and dancing.

This is a pleasant film, that’s smarter than you’d think. Give it a shot on a lazy afternoon if you’re game.

Tokyo Godfathers Review:

 

[This review contains spoilers]

This is the most interesting Christmas film I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching. It’s about three homeless individuals: a drunk, a gay cross-dresser and a runaway girl. Each have very unique reasons for having ended up in such a horrible situation, literally living in a cardboard box.

It’s a film about family. How these three are one, and how they meet those from lives they’d lost.

The film starts with them finding an infant in the trash. It sounds horrible, and the movie suitably focuses on the horror of such an event. This leads them on a strange adventure as they search for the child’s mother; from them saving a Mafia boss stuck under his vehicle to a car chase at the end. There is a strong element of action in a film that seems to mainly focus on human connection. It’s an odd contrast, but this film is at least spiritually, a screwball comedy.

The strange turn of events shouldn’t make sense, but they do. There is a constant message of ‘Christmas miracles’, which is an interesting take from the Japanese perspective.

This is a bit of a thinking man’s film, but with all it’s comedy and action, it’s really for everyone. It tackles hard topics with a grin, with comedy always waiting in the wings to remind you of the levity in life. This is a happy story. But it does show that people can ruin their lives. That even a baby can be thrown away. That the world can be sick. But in that, you’re rarely alone.

That you have family to combat the winter.

Satoshi Kon made a great film, he’s known to do that. I hope that you look into him and his other works, because it’s criminal that he isn’t better known. It sucks that he passed before his time. This is a great film, it’s animation is wonderful. I loved the art. The script is both well written and funny. The translation, from what little I can tell, did a great job.

Check out this film, and merry Christmas.

Desk Set Review:

[This review contains spoilers]

This film honestly surprised me. It was meant to be a romantic comedy, instead I got a film that was a light hearted, and warm, office drama. I actually really enjoyed the surprise.

This story is about Bunny Watson (played by Katherine Hepburn) and Richard Sumner (Spencer Tracy) falling in love, despite her being in a rather one-sided relationship for seven years. Mike loves her, or so he says, but he is married to the business. She helps him with his work, enough to get him promoted and he expects her to drop everything. Just because he has now decided he wants to marry her.

He had no respect for her, and it’s a point emphasised by the film. Hell, Bunny is described as an old jacket by her friend Peg, to be used at his convenience.

Which I think shows a contrast to Sumner. He always treats her nicely, and though for the majority of the film you think he’s going to get her fired because of a ‘mechanical brain’ (a giant computer basically), there is no bitterness there. They become close, and there is genuine chemistry between them. However the romance took a back seat to what really set this film apart. The characters.

They’re all incredibly sweet. They have great banter. There isn’t really a dull moment in my mind. They think they’ll be fire because of a machine, a problem that plagues modern society today. I thought it was handled rather well, despite the machine being larger than half the room. The themes of displacement and distress. That’s realistic.

The relationships between the women felt real, as if they were family. They truly had each others back. They cared for each other. That’s what made the film for me, the human connection.

I know that sounds cheesy, but I appreciated it for that. It is a slow film, so it won’t be for everyone. But I liked that this was a film that explored themes that I didn’t expect of it. Even if it did have a happy ending, showing that the machine didn’t erase their jobs, and that even machines can ‘make mistakes’. I enjoyed that.

Though it did mention some people did get fired due to a similar machine in the payroll department. It just shows that despite it’s loving message of the unfailing human spirit, sometimes society will have upheaval due to new technology. Is that a good thing? Well, that’s beyond the scope of this film and this review.

I’d say watch the film, because it certainly has my vote.

All About Eve Review:

[This Review Contains Spoilers]

This film reminds of Sunset Boulevard, both films came out in the same year, touching on very similar themes. Mainly, abusive relationships and manipulative women. They have different takes on the same subject.

Sunset Boulevard, the main character is killed rather dramatically by a woman. She tried to keep that man the way a spider clings to a fly. Yet in some ways didn’t even mean to do it (you could argue), due to her mental instability.

All About Eve is far more purposeful and you’re not even sure where it’s going to begin with. Eve seems to be the perfect loyal fan to Margo (a great Broadway star). She takes care of everything, studying her, almost as if to become her. It feels creepy, but innocent to begin with.

Margo catches on long before her friends do, and they then declare her paranoid. She even briefly loses her boyfriend, Bill, over the incident.

She becomes angry, suspicious and a woman scorned.

Bette Davis adds such a vulnerability to Margo through her performance, it’s beyond commendable. The emotions that play on her face, the nuances, the way she can move from one feeling to the next. It’s fantastic and one of the most important reasons to watch this film.

Another is to see Marilyn Monroe early in her career. It’s interesting because she isn’t the draw of this film but you see the early glimmers of what makes her one later in her life. She had a winning smile and it’s nice watching her knowing what she later becomes.

Anne Baxter was great as Eve. The character played nice, the victim, the ‘lost lamb’ until her mask slips. She’s a bitch that’ll do anything to be a star, and that’s what she becomes. Ironically not understanding when the same process of physiological exploitation begins on her at the end of the film.

The best part about this film is the writing, it’s just so damn good. When the characters are spending time with each other, they act just like old friends do. The dialogue is perfect in scenes like that. I loved almost every written line, because they were clever, even witty.

In the end of the film Eve wins a trophy, all Margo says to her is: “Nice speech, Eve. But I wouldn’t worry too much about your heart. You can always put that award where your heart ought to be.”

It’s great. I loved it. A very satisfying line and film.

The ultimate problem I had with it is how some of the women are treated. Eve is a terrible person, but she gets slapped by Addison, a man that knows all her secrets. He declares that she belongs to him. That came across as harsh, then again maybe that’s the point of the film? That there are ‘villains’ everywhere. I’m not sure. He also seemingly abandons her at the end of the film, it’s odd and doesn’t make much sense. Perhaps a bit of irony?

Regardless, I still think it’s a great picture. It’s awesome watching Eve use everyone in Margo’s life for her own benefit only for it to blow up on her. I still love this film and think it’s worth a watch. A true classic.

The Lego Batman Movie:

[This review contains spoilers]

I really hope that this movie gets a sequel. I mean it’s like Deadpool, but for all ages. It’s witty, fast paced and without one dull moment. I like this version of Batman, I mean he’s a beatboxing machine, full of himself and has character development in surprising ways. It tackles issues that most Batman media just doesn’t touch.

How did Bruce’s parents dying affect him? Why is he alone? Is he intentionally just pushing people away? Is saving Gotham really as important to him as just being loved by its people?

Some of these questions the film only indirectly touches, but already it has more depth than some of it’s live action counterparts. I loved every moment of it.

The film begins and ends with a bang. It has incredibly catchy songs. It’s a must watch for any Batman fan, especially long-time ones. It has so many references you’ll miss half of them.

It’s a great comedy, and an even better action film.

I watched Wonder Woman and was incredibly underwhelmed. I didn’t have any of those issues with this movie. When it slowed down, I cared about the characters. I liked this version of Barbara Gordon. I mean she went to ‘Harvard For Police’ and is just as much of a badass as Bruce; which I loved.

Also Robin is adorable. He can kick butt. Actually this film has a great version of Alfred, I mean they actually acknowledge that he’s Bruce’s dad, and can also beat the enemy to a pulp.

Also Joker and Batman are in true ‘hate’ for each other. It’s silly, with a weird amount of subtext that’s just a hoot.

Also Barbara/Bruce. It’s a thing that the world needs to deal with, even if all it amounts to in the film is a one sided attraction from Batman. It was funny and I want it to be a thing! Get Hetro together!

The music is fun. The animation is wonderful, the art design just as much. The colours pop off the screen. I have no complaints with the animation at all. Also the action was awesome. I’m sure I already said that. It needs to be said again.

Watch the movie. It’s great. I love it.

Funny Face Review:

[This review contains spoilers]

If you thought Audrey Hepburn was ugly, you’re either dumb or stupid, yet somehow this film wants to convince you that she has a ‘funny face’. Not in this or any other lifetime. She looks like a model and there’s no other way of seeing at it in my mind.

This a musical film about fashion. Honestly, I’ve seem better musicals, Into the Woods springs to mind. Also the fashion part, I thought The Devil Wears Prada did it better. This isn’t to say the film isn’t worth watching, it is. It’s sweet, silly and harmless. However I found it to be rather unremarkable.

The dancing is fine, but given it was Fred Astaire, he really wasn’t at the top of his game. He was rather mediocre, which for him is still far better than the average dancer, but for him. Rather weak. Kay Thompson was enjoyable in her role as a rather sour woman. You warm up to her, but she really did start as rather unlikeable.

This film is a romance between Hepburn’s character Jo and Astaire’s Dick. It’s a silly but affectionate romance that gets into all sorts of trouble. Dick is many years her senior and kisses her randomly for no reason. I suppose that’s romantic, however Jo really did take her time to get close to him. It honestly felt out of place to me, why pursue someone that shows no interest? Especially for the first half of the film.

I didn’t buy the romance. Randomly kissing someone doesn’t lead to instant love. I didn’t feel the build up between them, it just kind of happened and it was odd.

The fashion part of the film is its strongest aspect. It feels believable to me. They photograph her, think she’d be great as a model and she joins in to meet some professor in Paris. Simple, but it works.

The parts of the film that shows off the fashion are lovely and they feel sophisticated. I enjoyed watching what was considered trendy back then. Hepburn just look wonderful in that role. It helps that the colours just popped of the screen, the movie was dripping in it.

This film isn’t for everyone and I couldn’t recommend it. It felt strangely average to me. The plotting was rushed in some places and a little slow in others. The musical numbers were just okay. Skip this one, go watch An American In Paris instead.

Baby Driver Review:

[This review contains spoilers]

This film has a great sound track. I don’t normally talk about the music to a film because normally to me it’s just in the background adding to the ‘emotion’. This film actively makes you notice the tracks being played, from making Baby (the main character) lip-synced to the lyrics to the films action hitting (literally) all the same beats.

It’s excellently done and really sets this film apart from most.

The music is also implemented in a unique way with how it plays throughout the film. It’s either on a radio, or on Baby’s iPod. The music is used as a plot device, by Baby using it to block out the ringing he constantly has in his ears. It’s even great when he loses most of his hearing toward the end of the film, the audience experiences it too, by the soundtrack becoming more muted.

I liked that, it made for an almost interactive experience rarely given by most films.

The plot is fun, but it mainly stands as an action film with cars; and lots of driving. If you’re into The Fast and the Furious, Speed Racer or Redline (the anime), you’ll most likely find something enjoyable here. Keep in mind though, it’s also a Mafia, criminal type film. It’s about a young man getting caught in that sort of life and just wants a way out.

It’s also a romance film and it’s pretty well done. It won’t win any awards for the love story, but it’s nice.

No, this film really shines in it’s action. It seems to have an 80s aesthetic with it’s use of cassettes. Baby Driver lives on it’s great sound track. I’d recommend this film easily to anyone that likes fun.

Hot Fuzz Review:

[This review contains spoilers]

This film starts as a fast paced journey, with our main hero Nicholas Angel. He’s an over achiever in life and the police force. He’s an enthusiastic cop in a boring job. Then the film gradually turns into a murder mystery. Why are there all these accidents? Who’s responsible?

Well, a cult. A cult to make the town ‘perfect’.

That’s when the film takes a hard right toward the strange. It becomes a full on action flick. Guns, they’re everywhere! And the elderly love them, apparently.

It’s an unusual film to say the least, but having seen The World’s End, it almost seems normal in comparison. Edgar Wright’s really loves to start his films fairly mundane before they spin off into insanity.

Now this film is fun, the action is good, but it felt like a smaller budgeted version of The World’s End (probably because it is, and that really shows).

The pacing also feels a bit slow at points, making the film feel longer than it is.

The action is a little bloody and fast paced, but also out of left field (in a good way). And Danny, he’s the best character, a sidekick for Nicholas. He really felt like a great counter to Mr. Angel’s ‘perfect record’.

He added a humanity to him. Danny was sloppy when Angel was immaculate to a fault. He taught him to cut loose, take a drink, and relax. It really shows in the characterisation, when they both learn from each other and develop as people. Danny learned to be a cop, Angel learned how to be a civilian. It was nice to see them play off each other. It was probably the strongest aspect of the narrative.

The surreal nature of this film was fun. It was wacky, and a good time. But with it’s poor pacing and odd nature, this movie isn’t for everyone. It jumps genre a little too much to have a broad audience. I couldn’t see this film working for everyone. But if you like your dumb action, with witty dialogue, and a man finding his way. This will probably be for you.

Yet unfortunately, due to all those elements being in the film, I could see it leaving someone unfulfilled.

Again, I liked it, but I don’t think it’s for everyone, and I think Edgar Wright has made better films (like Scott Pilgrim vs. the World).

Batman vs. Two-Face Review:

[This review contains spoilers]

This film included a tribute to Adam West, who unfortunately died this year. It’s sad to say then, that thought this film is fun, it isn’t as good as Bataman: Return of the Caped Crusaders. It feels like a ‘filler episode’, like the type of content that you enjoy, not because this is the best you’re seen of a TV series, but because you like the characters.

If you didn’t like Bataman: Return of the Caped Crusaders, then there is nothing for you here. If you want a tribute to the sixties Batman TV show, watch that other film first.

Now, that’s not to say this movie isn’t fun, it is. It’s wacky and silly, but it’s not nearly as clever as the first film. There isn’t half the amount of word play in this one, and the film suffers as a result.

The plot is also a mess and doesn’t make much sense. That worked in the first film, because it was self aware, unfortunately that element didn’t transfer to this film. It also had a resolution that didn’t make any sense. Two-Face just ‘battles himself’ through talking. Even as a ‘good guy’ Harvey Dent seems like a rotten lawyer. Just sending people to prison instead of rehabilitation.

Though the evil extractor was a fun idea, and watching an evil ‘two-faced’ robin was rather amusing.

I think the ending was the best, when Catwoman bid on Batman for a date. That was funny. That felt like the previous film before the magic was gone.

The animation was consistent, more so than the first film. Though it was never good, or outstanding, remaining fairly average throughout the film. The art was nice, but unremarkable and the voice acting was great. Though the end credit did have some bad animation that just looped, that was odd.

I did like this film, yet I can’t recommend it. Again, if you liked the first film, give this one a shot. Even then though, it’s hard to say if you’ll enjoy it or not.

An American in Paris Review:

[This review contains spoilers]

When an old fashioned American musical comes to mind, this is essentially the type of movie you get. Not La La Land.

Now La La Land had great acting and cinematography; but the musical numbers floundered. Due mainly to the main actors singing and dancing. They’re no Gene Kelly, and damn it if that man can’t dance!

He does an excellent job in this film. He’s likeable, charming, with the right amount of wit. Just like the rest of this film. This isn’t one for everyone, if you don’t like musicals, dancing or good clean fun, this isn’t for you. It’s really old fashioned, but honestly, I found it refreshing.

It’s about a man that falls in love with a girl, they can’t be together for one reason or another, then they end the film in an embrace. All is right with the world! It’s cheesy and silly, but nice.

It’s a very typical film that way. What isn’t are these strange moments when the film can become quite surreal. The best example is near the end of the film where it feels like your watching a theatre ballet of sorts. They’re are heaps of dancers, the chorography is just great. It feels dramatic and grand. The shots are carefully taken, your not really sure what’s happening, but I loved it regardless.

Did it make much sense to the film as a whole? Maybe not, but it felt important and symbolic. It could’ve been it’s own separate short film, like someone inserted their experimental art piece in the middle of a standard musical flick.

Whatever the case, I’m glad it was there, because it was just that well done.

The film overall has great music, good dancing.

I felt like Leslie Caron, though a great dancer, was rather weak in her role as the main love interest. I also found the romance to not be believable. Yes, they like each other. But Gene Kelly’s character, Mulligan, almost had a stalker-ish vibe to him in the beginning. It was odd.

There are other characters that just get their hearts broken. It’s a little sad really, but then again that’s life, and somewhat realistic. Love never was fair.

I just want to quote one of my favourite parts of the film:

“That’s… quite a dress you almost have on.”

“Thanks.”

“What holds it up?”

Modesty.”

That’s the type of good dialogue that keeps the story interesting, even though the film does have it’s slow points. Ironically those lines above weren’t even said by Ms. Caron, but by Nina Foch. I feel like Ms. Foch was wasted and under utilised in this film, because she stole every scene she was in. She holds her own against Mr. Kelly, and I look forward to watching her more in the future.

This isn’t a film for everyone. It’s a classic. It’s a 1950s American film. You’ll know whether you want to see it or not. I, however, fully recommend it.