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Structured Movie Reviews

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On 12/25/2021 at 11:09 AM, zen said:

Film: The Ten Commandments (1956)
Director: Cecil B. DeMille

Oscars: 1

 

 

The biblical tale of Moses, referred to as the Prince of Egypt. 

 

  • Story/Screenplay:  Based on a variety of books including Prince of Egypt (1949), Pillar of Fire (1859), On the Eagle's Wings (1937), and the Book of Exodus. Sports poetic dialogs. (10/10)
  • Acting: Great star cast. A unique experience of watching a stage inspired acting in conjunction with poetic dialogues.  (10/10)
  • Cinematography:  Shot in VistaVision and colored by Technicolor, the restorated version has among the best colors seen in a film. Forget the excellent set pieces, locations, framing, and so on, the rich colors alone make the film's cinematography stand out. (10/10)
  • Background score: A pleasant score that works well for the film - Link  (8/10)
  • Direction: Cecil B DeMille made a silent version in 1923 but this one is the definitive version of the biblical story. Some visual effects can come under scrutiny today but nothing can be done about it because of the technology available at that time. (10/10)
  • Uniqueness/Impact: Colors, stage like acting, poetic dialogues, and a skilled cast, this one is a unique film and still remains the best version of the story. A work of art. (10/10)

 

Overall score: 58/60 = 97% = 9.7/10 (Great 9-10, Good 7-8, Average 5-6, Bad 3-4, Worst 1-2)

anne baxter and yovnne de carlo. two good reasons (and sufficient reasons) to give this movie a high score.

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7 hours ago, Vijy said:

anne baxter and yovnne de carlo. two good reasons (and sufficient reasons) to give this movie a high score.

 

Ten Commandments is a unique film for its stage inspired acting and poetic dialogues.     Also the use of colors is exceptional. It is shot in VistaVision, one of my favorite formats and makes good use of it!

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28 minutes ago, zen said:

 

Ten Commandments is a unique film for its stage inspired acting and poetic dialogues.     Also the use of colors is exceptional. It is shot in VistaVision, one of my favorite formats and makes good use of it!

yes, there are plenty of reasons to rate it highly. even though it's seen as a "masala" film by classic hollywood standards, it has very high technical/production values and pretty good script, acting, direction, etc. Last, but not least, it has Baxter and de Carlo

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19 minutes ago, Vijy said:

yes, there are plenty of reasons to rate it highly. even though it's seen as a "masala" film by classic hollywood standards, it has very high technical/production values and pretty good script, acting, direction, etc. Last, but not least, it has Baxter and de Carlo


Yeah, Biblical (and many Roman era films) do run parallel to masala films.  
 

Edited by zen
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Film: Come and See (1985)
Director: Elem Klimov

Oscars: Not applicable 

 

 

An anti-war film on the horrors of Nazi occupation in Belarus. 

 

  • Story/Screenplay:  Screenplay is based on the book - I Am from the Fiery Village. Various episodes ranging from the struggle in a village facing Nazi occupation, the transformation of people into basically Zombies (going through motions without much emotions due to the psychological impact of the war), to the cruel fight make this a memorable war film. (10/10)
  • Acting: Acting that borders on realism and captures various emotions including being emotionless respective to the culture of the region. (10/10)
  • Cinematography: If cinematography can be seen as packing a collection of memorable images, this one is top drawer material. The depiction of the horror of Nazis burning a town gets etched into the mind. (10/10)
  • Background score: Score is more about sound effects, while using basic instruments such as the harmonica. Considering the subject and tone of the film, it works well. (8/10)
  • Direction: Top drawer stuff. Need courage and vision to make such a film. (10/10)
  • Uniqueness/Impact: A rare anti-war film that blends philosophy, biblical concepts, surrealism, and of course brutal violence to depict the horrors of the war in both a relatively realistic and poetic way. The impact and shock factor of the film is unparalleled. (10/10)

 

Overall score: 58/60 = 97% = 9.7/10 (Great 9-10, Good 7-8, Average 5-6, Bad 3-4, Worst 1-2)

 

 

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25 reviews done in 2021, below is the summary in the order of film release: 

 

The Garden of Allah (1936) - 8.0

Ninotchka (1939)  - 8.8

Citizen Kane (1941) - 9.5

For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943) - 8.3

Black Narcissus (1947) - 9.3

Seven Samurai (1954) - 9.8

The Ten Commandments (1956) - 9.7

12 Angry Men (1957) - 9.2

Ben-Hur (1959) - 9.7

Lawrence of Arabia (1962) - 9.8

Persona (1966) - 9.7

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) - 9.7

The Godfather (1972) - 9.7

The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976) - 8.8

The Omen  (1976) - 9.0

Marathon Man (1976) - 8.8

Suspiria (1977) - 8.8

Apocalypse Now Final Cut (1979) - 9.7

Thief (1981) - 9.0

Excalibur (1981) - 8.8

Come and See (1985) - 9.7

Amores Perros (2000) - 9.0

In the Mood for Love (2000) - 10

Zack Snyder's Justice League (2021) - 9.3

No Time to Die (2021) - 9.5

 

:beer:

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On 1/1/2022 at 12:38 PM, zen said:

25 reviews done in 2021, below is the summary in the order of film release: 

 

The Garden of Allah (1936) - 8.0

Ninotchka (1939)  - 8.8

Citizen Kane (1941) - 9.5

For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943) - 8.3

Black Narcissus (1947) - 9.3

Seven Samurai (1954) - 9.8

The Ten Commandments (1956) - 9.7

12 Angry Men (1957) - 9.2

Ben-Hur (1959) - 9.7

Lawrence of Arabia (1962) - 9.8

Persona (1966) - 9.7

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) - 9.7

The Godfather (1972) - 9.7

The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976) - 8.8

The Omen  (1976) - 9.0

Marathon Man (1976) - 8.8

Suspiria (1977) - 8.8

Apocalypse Now Final Cut (1979) - 9.7

Thief (1981) - 9.0

Excalibur (1981) - 8.8

Come and See (1985) - 9.7

Amores Perros (2000) - 9.0

In the Mood for Love (2000) - 10

Zack Snyder's Justice League (2021) - 9.3

No Time to Die (2021) - 9.5

 

:beer:

congrats! good milestone. they could be called "capsule reviews" as well, although they are not as short as the famous ones from Chicago Reader (J. Rosenbaum/D. Kerr) or TimeOut (e.g., G. Andrew).

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2 hours ago, Vijy said:

congrats! good milestone. they could be called "capsule reviews" as well, although they are not as short as the famous ones from Chicago Reader (J. Rosenbaum/D. Kerr) or TimeOut (e.g., G. Andrew).

 

Yeah, these structured reviews are not designed to give major spoilers away. Just need a few lines on the key aspects being evaluated. 

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Film: Mississippi Burning (1988)
Director: Alan Parker 

Oscars: 1 

 

 

Based on real events of violence against African Americans by the Ku Klux Klan in the 60s Southern US but with fictional characters. 

 

  • Story/Screenplay: A gripping affair with characters that you can connect with. (10/10)
  • Acting: A talented cast, which includes Gene Hackman, Willem Dafoe and Frances McDormand, brings various emotions to the screen. Gene Hackman is brilliant to watch. (9/10)
  • Cinematography: Peter Biziou won an Oscar for cinematography. The color, lighting, framing, etc., make this an engaging watch. (9/10)
  • Background score: The score suits the film nicely esp. during the segments of violence where it up the tempo. It is based in the South therefore adds a Jazzy flavor to it as well. (9/10)
  • Direction: Alan Parker has made a solid film on a disturbing subject. (10/10)
  • Uniqueness/Impact: A touching subject matter, disturbing violence, cinematography, score, and acting all combine to make this a special film.  (10/10)

 

Overall score: 57/60 = 95% = 9.5/10 (Great 9-10, Good 7-8, Average 5-6, Bad 3-4, Worst 1-2)

 

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Film: Inception (2010)
Director: Christopher Nolan

Oscars: 4

Review #: 27

 

 

A corporate espionage expert specializing in using dream technology to extract information is assigned his most challenging task i.e. to plant an idea. 

 

  • Story/Screenplay: A complex story with tons of layers whether it is the assignment or the relationship story integrated into the assignment. (10/10)
  • Acting: An ensemble cast led by Leonardo Di Caprio, who gives a natural performance. (9/10)
  • Cinematography: Cinematography creates a great visual experience including using locations and modes of transportation brilliantly. (9/10)
  • Background score: Hans Zimmer has created a memorable background score that gives the film a timeless feel. (10/10)
  • Direction: One of Christopher Nolan's best works. (10/10)
  • Uniqueness/Impact: The subject matter, cinematography, score, etc. blend to present a 21st century classic.  (10/10)

 

Overall score: 58/60 = 97% = 9.7/10 (Great 9-10, Good 7-8, Average 5-6, Bad 3-4, Worst 1-2)

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Film: The Lives of Others (2006)
Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck

Oscars: N/A (Best Foreign Film Oscar) 

Review #: 28

 

 

Life under the influence of the secret police in East Germany. A "Stasi" officer has a change of heart when on a surveillance mission. 

 

  • Story/Screenplay: Documents the life in East Germany well including its fear and exploitation of citizens. (10/10)
  • Acting: A solid acting display by most of the cast. (9/10)
  • Cinematography: The framing, color choice, etc. are top notch for the subject matter. (8/10)
  • Background score: The background score has that East European feel to create a spy film like tension.  (8/10)
  • Direction: The director has created a memorable package. (10/10)
  • Uniqueness/Impact: An engaging film that leaves an impact. There are not too many films on such subjects. (10/10)

 

Overall score: 55/60 = 92% = 9.2/10 (Great 9-10, Good 7-8, Average 5-6, Bad 3-4, Worst 1-2)

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On 4/6/2022 at 1:14 AM, zen said:

Film: The Lives of Others (2006)
Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck

Oscars: N/A (Best Foreign Film Oscar) 

Review #: 28

 

 

Life under the influence of the secret police in East Germany. A "Stasi" officer has a change of heart when on a surveillance mission. 

 

  • Story/Screenplay: Documents the life in East Germany well including its fear and exploitation of citizens. (10/10)
  • Acting: A solid acting display by most of the cast. (9/10)
  • Cinematography: The framing, color choice, etc. are top notch for the subject matter. (8/10)
  • Background score: The background score has that East European feel to create a spy film like tension.  (8/10)
  • Direction: The director has created a memorable package. (10/10)
  • Uniqueness/Impact: An engaging film that leaves an impact. There are not too many films on such subjects. (10/10)

 

Overall score: 55/60 = 92% = 9.2/10 (Great 9-10, Good 7-8, Average 5-6, Bad 3-4, Worst 1-2)

this is a very good movie. I remember this movie and Sophie Scholl – Die letzten Tage came out around the same time. Although Das Leben der Anderen (Lives of Others) was technically the more superior all-round film, Die letzten Tage left a greater impact on me. You should check it out sometime - arguably not as "great" a movie as Das Leben, but very powerful themes and acting make it memorable.

 

P.S. apologies for using German titles. knowing the language, it is easier for me to use them.

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Film: Joker (2019)
Director: Todd Phillips 

Oscars: 2

Review #: 29

 

 

The origin story of one of cinema's most iconic villains. 

 

  • Story/Screenplay: A Taxi Driveresque take on a DC's iconic character. (10/10)
  • Acting: Phenomenal! (10/10)
  • Cinematography: Brilliant esp. considering how mundane indoor and dark environments were made to stand out.  (10/10)
  • Background score: Works superbly for the film. (10/10)
  • Direction: A risk taken well rewarded. (10/10)
  • Uniqueness/Impact: Rewrote the superhero characters' film equation. We will see more R rated DC films! (10/10)
     

Overall score: 60/60 = 100% = 10/10 (Great 9-10, Good 7-8, Average 5-6, Bad 3-4, Worst 1-2)

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