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Godfather: Part 2

I really liked Godfather: Part 2 because of the way it remains loyal to its prequel. At first I thought this movie would disappoint me after having watched its prequel, which is a very good movie. This could be because I’m so used to being dissatisfied with movie sequels in the past such as those in the Harry Potter and Star Wars franchise. Unlike these movies, Godfather: Part 2 really feels the same as that of Godfather: Part 1. Although the narration style of this movie is different from its prequel, several movie elements such as its atmosphere and quality of acting job remains the same.

Godfather: Part 2 is about the story of how Vito Corleone rose to power and how his son dealt with the family business his death. The movie basically jumps from past to present and vice versa. Although this nonlinear narration distracted me for a while, it made the movie less boring considering the film’s length. It removed the draggy feel of Godfather: Part 1 and made the movie more eventful. I couldn’t even remember now most of the movie’s plot because of all the events that occurred throughout the movie. There are also more characters on this sequel which makes it more interesting to watch since there are more characters who have depth in them such as the young Vito.

Family is probably the major theme of this movie. What’s ironic about this is that the movie tells how the Corleone Family established itself in America and how it began to fall apart during Michael’s reign as the godfather. The movie did a good job applying symbols for this film without making it too forced and obvious like that of V for Vendetta.

Like in its prequel, the actors in this movie did a very good job in portraying their characters. The terrific use of their body language brought more depth to their characters in the movie. Al Pacino, for instance, effectively showed the inner conflict between his character’s job and family through his movement within the film.

Another thing I liked about this movie is its use of sound to set the tone for the two stories within the movie. A more calm and relaxed music is played on the young Vito scenes made the atmosphere more adventurous s the characters rise to power. On the other hand, music played on the Michael Corleone scenes made created a tense and heavy atmosphere intensifying the power struggles within the film. If not for the good use of sound in this movie, the film would have been confusing since there would be no emphasis on the discontinuity of the scenes as it goes from one timeline to the other.

Overall, I think Godfather: Part 2 is better than its prequel. I could even watch it on its own even without watching part 1 of the trilogy. It could stand on its own and it does not give its viewers the redundant feel given by other movie sequels, which really justifies Best Picture award given to this film.

 
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Posted by on 25 May 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Godfather: Part 1

I’ve been hearing a lot of good reviews about The Godfather: Part 1 before I’ve watched the movie in class so I really have very high expectations when it comes to this movie. My friends who have already watched it often tell me it’s the most badass movie ever. We even have conversations about making our own mafia family when we grow up. Having watched the film, I can really say that it’s a really great movie even if it sort of falls short from my expectation of being the greatest movie ever. This is probably because of the generation gap between me and the movie. Nonetheless, I still enjoyed the movie although most likely I won’t watch as often as want to because of its length.

The movie is about the decline a major mafia family headed by Don Vito Corleone also known as the Godfather. It shows how the Corleone Family goes through fragile times involving mafia politics. I think what makes the Godfather such a good movie about the mafia is the fact that it focuses more on the politics involved within these families instead of the usual underground crimes these families commit against the law. Although the movie is just a work of fiction, I consider it innovative since it sort of takes its viewers to the secret world of underground organized crime and the major gears that makes it work.

The movie’s story and narration is probably its strongest points compared to other movies. Although I kind of dislike the Godfather: Part 1 for being too long, it’s length is justified by how it developed its story. It seems as if everything I saw in the movie is part of a greater picture. An example of this would be the wedding scene at the beginning which is used to show the depth of an Italian family. Aside from the use of symbolisms, I also liked how the movie develops all characters by using an omniscient point of view which seems to take into account every significant details of each character. The editing of the film is so great that character development in not stalled even if some characters don’t appear on screen for a long time.

A review of Godfather: Part 1 would never be complete without complimenting on the acting job done by the actors in the film. Marlon Brando did very convincing job of portraying Vito Corleone, which gave the character its legendary status that transcends generations of movie viewers. The Godfather character really stuck to my mind even if it is present in only a few scenes. Al Pacino also did a terrific job as he portrayed the transition from a civilian to a godfather of the Michale Corleone character. It’s as if Al Pacino did different roles while retaining the significant characteristics of his character. The other characters also did a good job on their roles since I believe they were able to express their characters very well esp. the Tom Hagen and Sony Corleone character.

Overall, I think Godfather Part 1 is one of the greatest movies of all time in terms of its narration and the quality of acting it has. I would certainly rcommend it to someone who still hasn’t watched yet, but I won’t encourage others to re-watch it due to its length unless he really wants to delve deeper into the movie.

 
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Posted by on 25 May 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Primer

Primer is probably the most difficult film I’ve watched so far. Although I’m such a big fan of sci-fi thriller movies such as Moon, I really didn’t enjoy watching for many different reasons.

Primer is a movie that takes the definition of science fiction into a whole new level. Most science fiction movies simply give us an alternate reality in which science plays a very big part on the character’s existence. One of my favorite sci-fi movies is Moon. Moon simply tells us the story of an astronaut as he deals his hermit lifestyle on the moon. The movie simply gives its viewers fictional concepts that are not really far from our reality. The same is true for the movie Primer. Unlike Moon however, takes time to discuss and explain the fictional concepts within the film. As a result, two highly intellectual character just talk about possible explanations throughout the movie, which substantially bombarded me with scientific jargons I didn’t even bother understanding. This, in turn, made me feel distanced from the movie since I couldn’t even sympathize with what’s going on with the characters in the film. I do, however, feel amazed whenever the main characters talk intellectually maybe because I love seeing people talk passionately esp. about interesting topics whether I understand it or not.

One of the things I didn’t like about Primer is the way it changed its atmosphere halfway through the movie. The first part of the movie really hooked me to the film since it feels as if something great will happen from humble beginnings. I was actually rooting for the scientists to succeed during the start of the film as I was noticing the low capital they have for their science projects. I even thought that the movie would end after they’ve done their project since a huge chunk of Primer was used in creating the machine. A few minutes later however, the atmosphere begins to become tense as the scientists tries to uncover the mystery behind their invention. This shift really spoiled the movie for me since it sort of made me feel as if the latter part is a completely different movie.

Aside from the film’s atmosphere, another issue I have with Primer is its lack of time indicators that made it difficult for me to keep track of the characters whenever they enter the time machine. Time indicators is probably the most important aspect of a movie about time travel and Primer didn’t really factor this in when the film was made. As a result, so many viewers like me became lost at the latter part of the film. In fact, I believe the discussions on the earlier part of the movie is easier to understand especially for sci-fi geeks like myself.

Overall, I would never recommend anyone to watch Primer simply because it’s a terrible movie to watch if you’re looking for an interesting story. It’s boring, it’s too complex and it’s very difficult to understand just by watching it once. Patience is a requirement for watching movies like Primer.

 
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Posted by on 25 May 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Zodiac

Zodiac is a film I don’t like because of its story. Aside from that however, I do appreciate the effort done by its creators in doing a good job by making it a great film to watch.

The movie is a crime drama/thriller that revolves around the Zodiac killings that occurred in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It tells the story of how the police and the media dealt with killings and publicity stunts made by the Zodiac Killer.   The story focuses on three central characters (the news writer, the cartoonist and the police inspector) as they try to solve the mystery behind Zodiac’s identity. The movie just tells all the futile attempts made by the main characters giving its viewers an endless array of pseudo-climaxes that made the film feel dragging especially since it’s a two and a half-hour long film.

One of the main things about the movie’s story that I didn’t like is the character development it used on the three major roles. Just like Velvet Goldmine, the constant shift in focus on the characters made the film look unorganized for me especially since I was hoping for some sort of continuity within the character’s development, which most movies normally have. This made me feel a bit disappointed at how the movie ended especially since it only used text to give closure to the characters. After thinking about this, however, I began to realize that the developers of the story did quite a good job considering the very long time span of the Zodiac case in our history.

Another issue I have with the movie is the inconsistent representation of the Zodiac character whenever he kills his victims. In one scene he’s a macho buff guy and in another he is wearing glasses. Another would be the muscle car used by Zodiac in one scene that reappeared in another separate scene as if hinting that the main characters are already close at solving the crime. I really hated instances like these because they gave me the false impression that the characters are going somewhere even though they really don’t make progress at all. It is as if the movie deceives its viewers just to make the film more exciting for a true to life story. The creators of the movie should have just created a fictional story inspired by the Zodiac case instead of adding fictional details to real life events.

One thing that must be noted about Zodiac is the numerous gripping scenes it gives its viewers during the course of the film. Like I said, the film has so many pseudo-climaxes that kept me entertained with the movie in spite of the issues I have with its story. I really loves the way these pseudo-climaxes heightened my senses of for while and made me anticipate the resolution of the Zodiac case. Everything within these scenes seem to fit together perfectly for a great heart-pounding event in a thriller movie. I really hated it though when the excitement begins to drizzle off as the movie continues on as if these gripping scenes were not really important for the film’s ending.

Overall, I’m a bit disappointed after I watched the film, but I’m pretty much sure I had fun while I was watching it.

 
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Posted by on 24 May 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Paris, je t’aime

For me, Paris, Je T’aime is an emotional rollercoaster of a movie. I liked the way it continuously stimulated my emotions while I was watching it the first time. As an anthology of short movies about love made by twenty different directors, I think the movie did a good job in satisfying me despite the lack of certain story elements such as plot and character development. Like I said, the film was successful in giving me the full range of emotions that film viewers like me often want to get from romantic movies. Also, the fact that this anthology is made by various directors gives each segment variety and uniqueness , which makes the film not boring in spite of using clichéd cheesy moments.

In terms of narration, I think the editors of the film did a good job to create a sense of discontinuity between each segment with its use of sound. The music played at the beginning of each short film effectively set the tone of its segment, completely disregarding the atmosphere create in the previous segment. I think this is a crucial factor to consider in analyzing this film since each segment included in the anthology has a different atmosphere from one another so signifying the transition between each film prevents them from overlapping one another.

As for the movie’s camera works, I already expected that the different directors would use different camera techniques in their short films. Aside from giving variety, it also enhanced the ability of each segment to stimulate emotions. For instance, the jump cuts used in the tourist segment (the one with Steve Buscemi) made that scene weird, but fun at the same time. Another example would be the tracking shot used in the segment in which the father talks to his daughter in a dark street. The tacking shot made the scene more adventurous as if the characters are plotting to do something that not commonly done.

In terms of the actors’ portrayal of their roles, I think they did a good job in fully expressing their characters given the short span of time allotted to their segment in the anthology. Even without plot and character development, the way the characters were expressed did not give me  the feeling of lack that I expected before I watched the film. This is probably because the characters were already cliché enough for me and there’s nothing too unusual about them so they didn’t really need character development for me. Instead of focusing on the characters, this made me focus more on the interactions happening in each segment, which is really what’s needed for a movie that’s main purpose is to stimulate emotions related to love.

I also liked the movie’s ending in which the characters from different short films are shown to be connected with one another in the city of Paris. The last scene gave sense to the anthology’s title, “Paris, Je T’aime”, since all the characters were in the city of Paris and were each experiencing a different face of love.

Overall, I think Paris, Je T’aime is a very good film if one just wants to experience the various emotions of love without going through the usual formula used in romantic films.

 
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Posted by on 23 May 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Spider

Personally, Spider is not the type of movie I would like to watch during my free time. It’s one of those psychological thriller movies which it requires me to pay attention to the details and really think through what’s going on so that I won’t get lost in the middle of it. Movies like Spider needs to be watched more than once to get a firm grip on its story. Fortunately, Spider provides closure at its ending unlike movies such as Inception. Although I’m ranting about how difficult it is for me to watch Spider, I must admit that I enjoyed the film, but I’m pretty much sure that I won’t be watching it again because doing so would ruin the memorable experience I’ve had seeing it the first time.

Spider is a movie that takes its viewers inside the mind of a mentally disturbed person. The first scene, in which Spider gets off the train in a different manner, immediately gave me the impression that something’s unusual with this character. My suspicion was verified in the scene where Spider walks in a street with glass windows in one camera angle and then all the windows became concrete in the next shot. Basically, the movie is about Spider trying to recall his childhood after spending some time in a mental institution for reasons revealed during the course of the film. The film has lots of disturbing scenes that really shook my emotions and made me feel blessed with whatever is currently going on in my life.

Being a psychological thriller, I think the director and the actors made a good job in creating the film’s dark gloomy atmosphere. I do, however, want to complain about the film’s lack of emphasis with regards to the flashback scenes since it is too hard to determine them apart from the present reality of the plot. Although the film used symbols, such as the progress of the gas cylinder, to show the story’s timeline, it was still hard for me to differentiate the past and the present since I thought these symbols were just created by Spiders imagination when I first saw them.

One of the things I really liked about Spider is how it was able to trick me by concealing the film’s major plot twist at the end, which involves Spider’s mother figure.  Minor plot twists, such as the fact that Spider is only imagining his father’s adultery, didn’t really surprised me at all since it’s quite obvious early on. I was actually bored at the middle of the film since I was thinking I have figured it all out already and I’m just waiting the final credit to come. (SPOILER ALERT) The major plot twist at the end, however, was really a mindf*ck for me since I wasn’t really paying attention to the mother and the mistress’ face because the actress’ did a really good acting job to convince me that both characters were portrayed by different actresses.

Overall, I think Spider is a great film if one wants to escape from reality and have a good time being lost in whatever he’s watching. I wouldn’t recommend Spider, however, to a regular film viewer since they wouldn’t really appreciate the film without thinking too much about it.

 
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Posted by on 23 May 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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V for Vendetta

For me, V for Vendetta is a so-so movie. It’s a good movie, but not really a memorable one for me. This could be because I consider it as a rip-off of Fight Club, which is one of my all-time favorites. I didn’t like the fact that V for Vendetta is heavily driven by its storyline even if it positions itself as an ideological movie. However except for the movie’s ideas, I think the movie in itself is worth watching.

Like I said, I didn’t really like the ideas being communicated by the movie. All the ideas within the film are too clichéd already. In general, the film’s hero, V, simply wants to remove the passivity of the masses when it comes to societal issues that are being neglected to maintain social order. The film just shows evidences that supports V’s claim without developing the idea into something more unique and original. So instead of reinforcing the idea, I believe the film simply focused on V’s character and how he came to be who he is and what drives him to do what he does.

However, this is to be expect for a mainstream film such as this since it targets almost everybody. And almost everybody is passive when it comes to concepts like these so I guess this justifies the lack of depth found within the film’s ideas.

As for the development of the character V, I think the movie did a good job in making his presence felt all throughout the movie even though he’s seldom shown in the scenes. It’s as if his character transcended throughout the movie. Every act of deviance made by other characters reminded me of V.

Aside from V, Evey is another interesting character in the movie. Her character sort of acted as a bridge towards the viewers since we could easily sympathize with her given that she’s an ordinary citizen being oppressed by the dictatorship. Other than that, I think she’s just used as a tool to show that V still has his human side.

The movie is narrated in a typical mainstream fashion; there’s nothing too unusual about it. I do like, however, the cross-cutting being made whenever someone is giving a speech. I created in me a sense of dialogue between the speaker and the listener, which is a good way to develop the characters of both sides. I also like how the close up shots made me listen attentively as if the speeches were being delivered by someone I highly regard. Also, the musical score in the movie did a good job in setting the tone of gripping scenes such as the blowing up of parliament.

Overall, I think V for Vendetta may disappoint a few who are looking for fresh and radical ideas about the world. Generally speaking however, the film is entertaining and enjoyable to watch compared to most films. The movie still passes every textbook qualification of a good movie.

 
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Posted by on 23 May 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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