Jaws (1975) Film Review

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Dur…dum…dur dum…duuuuuur DUM. Dundundundundundundundundu-okay I’ll stop now.

Jaws takes place in the middle of nowhere on a remote island being hit by shark attacks. The first half of the movie is the shark claiming victims whilst the mayor decides to keep the beach open for business. But by the second half, Police Chief Brody decides to put a stop to it and goes on a shark hunt with a marine scientist and a fisherman. I’d say the people who were killed got what was coming to them for going out so far to sea, but then we wouldn’t have our big thriller, so I’ll play along.

Most people remember the tension built before each attack, and who can blame them? With John Williams iconic theme to the fact that you only get the first proper look at the shark by the end, it’s very effective stuff, and the point of the first half is to build tension before the big hunt, and it works very well. (especially THAT scene with the abandoned boat, scared me sh*tless)

The second half sees our three heroes attempting to murder the shark, and while that’s also done well, it can also get a bit tiring after a while. Even though this is very much a film about tension, things start to get repetitive when they just keep harpooning barrels at this shark (an animatronic shark that still holds up, I should add). But it does build up to a satisfying climax that makes the more dull scenes worth sitting through, it just takes a bit too long to get there.

So as a whole, Jaws still holds up and it will most definitely continue to keep people from going into the water, or at least going out really goddamn far, which is a very sensible thing to teach audiences, so good job!

4/5

Good Will Hunting (1997) Film Review

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Here’s a fun game: Take a shot every time someone says f*** in Good Will Hunting. You’ll either be violently sick or possibly dead by the end of the movie. Though you’ll probably be too compelled by the film to actually play anyway.

The film is more or less a character study of Will Hunting, a genius who would much prefer to hang out drinking with his friends than using his brain to it’s full potential. After getting sent to jail, he’s offered an early release by someone who discovered his genius on two conditions: He does some complicated equations, and that he takes part in therapy sessions. He agrees, and the rest of the movie sees him taking part in the therapy sessions with Robin Williams, fall in love and choose what he really wants from life, a successful career or to just enjoy himself.

The film has a very realistic tone to it, almost if it could happen in any time at any place… and that’s the movies biggest strength. It’s how real it feels that keeps it so compelling all the way through. The script is written in a believable way (though the characters do swear like sailors) they make Will a very relatable character in the way that they’re times that you don’t like what he does, but still get where he’s coming from. And the acting from pretty much everyone is so good that you never see the actor, just the characters, who feel like real people.

There’s some films that I know I enjoyed, but I don’t really know why. This is one of those cases, but I guess it was at how realistic and unpredictable the film was that kept me so enthralled. So maybe the reason wasn’t quite so clear as to why I really liked it at first, but from when the movie ended, I knew I really, really liked it.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) Film Review

butch In the unlikely event that I decide to rob a bank, I’d do it whilst listening to what is known on the soundtrack as “South American Getaway” You can look it up yourself, but I’ll give you some sample lyrics: “Ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba da da da”

Put simply, the soundtrack to this movie is simply gold. There’s not even that much music in the film, but whether it be the bike ride to “Raindrops keep fallin’ on my head” or the aforementioned bank robbery to “ba ba ba ba ba”, they’re definitely highlights. And the rest of the film is also pretty entertaining. It’s a western about two outlaws, and most of the movie follows them trying to outrun the police (or whatever they were called back then) as well as continue to rob banks.

Now while I did enjoy the film, I only consider it to be a good movie, not a great one. This is for a few reasons. At first, it’s really hard to tell who was who. There’s literally a scene where it looks like they’ve both jumped down from a roof, but it turns out only one of them jumped down and someone else found him. The films also far too long for it’s own good, as many parts do drag on, even entertaining scenes like the bank robbing montage are SEVEN minutes long, and by the end of the movie, I was pretty bored.

Okay, so what did I like? Well, when the movie doesn’t drag, it’s a lot of fun, with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (the characters, not the film) are likeable enough. I always got a great laugh whenever the camera done a dramatic close up, and it looks very unprofessional, but hilarious nonetheles. And as I’ve already said, the music is always great whenever it does appear.

I liked this movie, but it’s certainly far from the best I’ve ever seen. So I do recommend it, but only for some great laughs that aren’t always intentional. And on a final note, Sundance looks like Keith Lemon. Good luck getting that image out of your head.

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954) Film Review

SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS

Something I’ve found whilst watching classic musicals is that there’s always quite a few songs I’d never heard of amongst all the iconic ones. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is one such musical, expect there was only ONE song I was aware of before going in, and it’s more of a dance number anyway. This tells me the film isn’t so well known amongst other musicals like Sound of Music or Singin in the Rain as I anticipated, and I suppose theirs  kind of a reason for it.

Just telling you the story kind of proves my point. Adam is a woodsman who’s looking for a wife. He finds a woman named Milly and he asks her to marry him, despite only just meeting. Of course she agrees, and they get married THAT AFTERNOON. Geez, and I thought Disney characters rushed their marriages! Anyway, she goes to live with Adam, only to discover he has six brothers, and that’s she’s expected to do all the chores around the house. Soon the other brothers fall in love with six women, queue numerous hijinks and song numbers.

Now unless you’ve just time travelled from 1954, I don’t think I need to tell you that this movie’s story sounds like a product of it’s time, and that kind of sums up most of the film overall (though I did get a good laugh every time they rode the horse carriage against a green screen). It also doesn’t help that by today’s standard, it’s quite sexist, and after giving you the premise, I don’t think I need to explain why. And later on, what do the brothers do to get the girls? Kidnap them, of course! Yeah, yeah, I know it’s fiction, but it just seems a little extreme, especially considering by the end it actually works.

But I should probably say that I did enjoy this movie fine, the songs (while they do come out of nowhere) are pretty good, and I was humming the first one after watching the movie. The dance scene halfway through was very impressive, and despite being a tad outdated, it does have that old movie charm that can’t be found today. Some of the choices made haven’t aged that well, but it’s good old fashioned entertainment, even if The Wizard of Oz (made about 20 years earlier) is much more timeless.

Avatar (2009) Film Review

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Many regard Avatar as the best 3D movie ever. Well, if I had seen it the way it was meant to be experienced, maybe this review would be a little more positive. But I saw it in 2D, and as such, I found it to be just okay.

The story takes place in the future where humans are analysing the planet of Pandora. Some of these humans use a machine that let’s them turn into the planets species (I can’t remember the name of them, so let’s just call them mutant Smurfs) to explore the wilderness. One of them, Jake Sully, is left stranded on a mission, and is found by one of the actual mutant Smurfs. The leader of the tribe allows him to stay if he can be trained to be like one of them. So we alternate between the humans and the mutant Smurfs as Sully gets to analyse how the tribe lives.

I have to admit, it’s quite an intriguing premise, and the world of Pandora is visually interesting one, and the effects are really good… er, at least for the fauna of the planet, there’s a scene with the humans early on with a painfully noticeable green screen. But still, I was finding the film enjoyable enough, not amazing or anything, but I also didn’t really have much to complain about… and then we get to the third act.

Before the third act, the film took itself seriously, but once the third act comes, it becomes more of a cheesy action flick. It’s all one big action scene, filled with plenty of corny lines, a villain who has a ridiculously large health bar (seriously, he’s barely fazed by an explosion right near his face), and the story takes a LOT from other movies. Dash of Pocahontas here, a little Braveheart there, with a sprinkle of Return of the Jedi on top. It’s completely off tone from the rest of the movie and was the point that really made me question how it got nominated for an Oscar.

There were a few scenes in the movie that screamed “LOOK! 3D!”, so maybe viewing it as such would’ve really elevated it, but I don’t think it would change my overall verdict. It’s good for turning your brain off for a couple of hours for some nice eye candy, but if you’re looking for a little more, you might wanna skip this one.

E.T. The Extra Terrestrial (1982) Film Review

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Quick disclaimer: I didn’t cry at the end. Yep, you read that right, I didn’t cry at the end of E.T. Maybe I have a heart of stone, but the point is you now have a good excuse to hate me. With that out of the way, on with the review…

I think most of us are familiar with the tale of the alien who finds himself in suburban America, and tries to “phone home”with the help of a young boy named Elliot. I mean, how could you not know? It’s a beloved classic that’s been copy and pasted by dozens of other movies, it spawned one of the most infamous games ever made (if you live in Mexico, get out a shovel and start digging, you might find a copy) and it’s one of those films that gets you banned from society if you confess you don’t like it. In others words, ET is a massive movie. So with how popular it is, you’d assume it would be perfect, right? Well… not exactly.

Wait a second! Put your pitchforks down, and hear me out. I didn’t say it was a bad movie. On the contrary, I thought it was great! It’s a great adventure and few movie scenes can match the giddy joy brought on by the bike chase at the end. However, I do think it has a few issues that are hard to ignore. I’ll get to my problems in a second, so for now, what did I like?

I’ve always favoured practical effects over CGI, and E.T himself is the perfect example of this. The animatronics really hold up and he’s just as cute as he was back in 1982 (unless you’re my sister and find him scarier than the Xenomorphic) and the kids work off him perfectly. Speaking of which, all the kids did a surprisingly good job portraying their characters to support the story, as do the adults. That’s musical maestro John Williams supplying the music, and while it’s not quite as iconic as some of his other scores, he’s still in fine form as always.

All the issues I have with this movie are all story based. Now it’s a classic story, yeah, but I felt that E.T didn’t really bond with the kids as “friends”. Most of the time they spend together is trying to get him back home, so I personally feel their should’ve been a couple of scenes where they had development in their friendship, just to make the final scene all the more effective. There’s also a plot thread set up where it looks like Elliot and E.T have some sort of connection, but aside from a random scene in a school and the bit at the end where they test on the two (that also came out of nowhere, might I add), it doesn’t really go anywhere.

So yes, I do think this movie has issues, but I also really liked it. There’s a lot of heart and it has that good old Spielberg charm, but when it comes to his films, I’m more of an Indiana Jones guy. Still, I would say it’s worth watching, but you’ve all watched it already, so what’s the point? Now, to add riding a bike whilst listening to the theme to my bucket list…

Twelve Angry Men (1957) Film Review

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In summary, Twelve Angry Men should’ve bored me to death: A group of men sit in a room… and talk. Sounds dull, doesn’t it? That’s what I thought going in, but coming out, it was anything but boring… so why is that?

For starters, it’s not any old group of men, it’s a jury. They’ve been brought in to decide the fate of an 18 year old boy, suspected to have killed his father. 11 of the men declare guilty, but one (who is sort of the main character in a way) wants to do the thing properly, and says he’s innocent. So now they must all come to a definitive conclusion, but not all of them are willing to do so. They’re all cramped in a small space, it’s a hot day, so some of them would rather be at a baseball game. However, some want to do it fairly, and thus, tempers begin to rise.

There was a point during the movie where I decided to get a snack, so I paused the movie only to find 22 minutes had passed, even though it had felt like 10. So it was clear I was really into finding out whether or not they declared the boy guilty, and for a number of reasons. All the characters are different enough that they’re opinions and motives (to a degree) are all interesting, and the acting is really good. It can be a little over the top at times, but still really good.

I also think the way it’s shot and presented makes it feel believable, almost as if you’re watching a TV broadcast of the discussion taking place live, and the script and pacing is very natural. It’s never too fast, but it’s never too slow, and the case is deducted in a very believable way. It’s also nice that we don’t actually see the court case take place or have the real answer revealed to us, what we know is what the jury decide upon, and as such, we’re allowed to draw our own conclusion.

For a movie I wasn’t looking forward to watching, I was pleasantly surprised to find it was pretty good! I think it would be a little hard to rewatch  when you know what’s gonna happen in the end, but it’s definitely worth watching at least once for a very unique film.