Movies

The Indian Tomb (1959)

As promised here is my review of #984, The Indian Tomb. This is a German movie set in India about this man who’s pretty angry that the woman he loves is in love with another man. He hires an architect to build a tomb in which he can throw her in until she presumably withers away and dies. I originally fell asleep to this movie several times, but I did manage to eventually fumble my way through it to the end.

I said in my last TSPDT post that this movie was cringe worthy so let me get right into the good stuff. You might have noticed that I said this was a German movie set in India. Does that mean it was made by Germans and featured actual Indian actors? No. This movie has so much, for lack of anything else to call it, brown face in it that I could barely watch. The “man” I referenced in my detailed summary that’s building the tomb is supposed to be a Maharajah which is an Indian king or ruler. He was played by an Austrian born man who wore brown makeup to give him that authentic Indian look. The “woman” is also supposed to be Indian and is played by an American. She wears slightly less brown makeup but Indian she is not.  Their wardrobe was absolutely gorgeous though. Take a look  for yourself and tell me that isn’t some great costume work.

the_indian_tomb_5.png

Before I move on from these character, I have to point out that the woman reads her lines in English. However, all her lines are dubbed over in German which seems to be a common practice in European movies. So if you’re following along, that makes her an American playing a German playing an Indian. I shouldn’t let that bother me so much, but wow it really did. I couldn’t get into this movie when every time I look at one of the characters I know how fake it is.

While I’m on the subject of fake. Let’s dive into that… special scene where the woman, Seetha, is forced to dance in front of a snake. Here’s a slideshow of the “snake” in all its glory. It really is something special.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Don’t get mad at me for critiquing an effect from the late 50s. I’m not expecting a majestic fully functional snake replica. What I was expecting was them to at least edit out the wires!

the_indian_tomb_4

That whole scene is just too hilarious for me to take seriously. She dances in front of this snake for minutes in what can barely be described as clothes. It amounts to a set of boob covers, a female genitalia cover and a butt cover. I’m thinking maybe the snake held off attacking because he was trying to figure out what she was doing. In all honesty, I spent the whole scene wondering how they kept those things stuck to her skin. Then just when you think she’s tamed the paper mache beast, her ankle bracelet comes unclasped and she kicks it off, which, as everyone knows, is the one thing that angers snakes the most. But since this is only the middle of the movie, she’s saved from a mouth full of deadly paper cuts.

With all these TSPDT movies I watch I try to figure out why they make it onto the list. This movie has a 100% on rotten tomatoes and a 6.8/10 rating on IMDB. It’s based on a novel and was the second of two movies that were both filmed by Fritz Lang. He is a renowned directer who, at this point in his life, had been directing films for 40 years. It’s an ambition epic tale with some beautiful locations, and as mentioned earlier amazing costumes. Now I haven’t seen the first movie in the set, but this one actually holds its own as a stand alone. The plot makes enough sense that you don’t need to have seen the first to follow along. It has a good story and the pacing isn’t too bad. I think for those reasons it earned its place on the list. If you can tolerate the bad effects, dubbing and cringe worthy makeup then this might be something you can enjoy. Otherwise, maybe just watch it with some friends to have a few good laughs. Finally, if there’s any movie that needs to be remade in Hollywood today, it’s this. If they could get real Indian actors, clean up the effects and keep the story and locations I would definitely go to see it.

Verdict: 7/10

Advertisements
Movies

Triple TSPDT Feature

As promised, here is the male led triple feature of TSPDT movies. Like I mentioned in the previous post, the women led triple averaged a score of 7/10. Let’s see if the men can beat that!

Bad Timing (1980)

bad_timing.png

Starting off with #987 Bad Timing, a movie about a psychiatrist who dates this insane woman who ends up overdosing. Hey, don’t be mad at me for spoiling the ending… it starts with the end and does some Pulp Fiction jumps through time. It sounded interesting, but let me down in its execution. The time jumps were the biggest issue I had. It starts off with the overdose, then jumps back to the beginning with how they met, and back and forth, back and forth. Sometimes this style can work, but for me I felt like it would have worked better just going in chronological order. This movie had either a legitimate case of an unreliable narrator or just used cheap tricks to withhold a crucial detail from the ending at the beginning until the ending at the end. In this case, I definitely felt tricked by the surprise at the end because it didn’t really build up enough for me to believe it. I also didn’t buy into the cop being so interested in a regular old run of the mill overdose. It was used as a way to drive Alex to reveal the truth, but like I said that truth didn’t feel earned. I enjoyed some parts of it, but overall this wasn’t more than the average movie for me. That scene at the party though, what an entrance!

Verdict: 7/10


The Fountainhead (1949)

the_fountainhead

Moving on to #986, The Fountainhead, which is a late 40s movie based on a novel by Ayn Rand about an architect who really loves being an architect and wants to build the best buildings he can. Yeah, this movie is really into architecture and makes it seem like architects rule the world. It was kind of goofy that way, but passion is interesting so it kept my attention.  The story itself is very good, but at one point it got under my skin. There’s a point where the bad guys start saying how the perfect human should submit to society. They’re meant to do what society needs of them and shouldn’t take anything in return. This is in response to the main character wanting to do something new and modern to go against the grain. It really hit home with me because I hate thinking of myself as just another number in society; completely faceless and replaceable. I guess that’s why I was rooting for Howard to win in the end so that I can feel like all hope might not be lost after all. It’s very entertaining and held up decently well for a nearly 70 year old movie. Also, I don’t know if you’ve heard the news but there are talks of remaking this so you definitely have to see it before the remake comes out. Personally, I may even consider reading the book since I enjoyed the movie so much. Give this one a shot, it’s not too bad.

Verdict: 8/10


Red Beard (1965)

red_beard.png

Lastly, we have #985, Red Beard, which I alluded to in my last monthly summary as one of my movie blockers on this list. The way I talked about it, you may already be thinking that I didn’t like it too much. With this movie being just over 3 hours long, that’d be a correct assumption for the first half of the movie and incorrect for the second. The first half to me was, I’m sorry to say, some uninteresting slice of life around a red bearded doctor in Japan. Mercifully, once they came across Otoyo things really picked up. Like I’ve said before, I’m no film student, but there were things even I noticed in this movie. The first being in the scene right after the intermission, Otoyo wakes up and you see her whole face is cast in shadow except for her eyes. It was like at that point her whole life was shrouded in darkness, but by the end that darkness was gone and she could finally live in the light. Another scene that stuck with me and really warmed me up to Red Beard (the character) is when he’s trying to give Otoyo her medicine. Every time he brings the spoon to her lips she knocks it back in his face. He doesn’t get angry though, he just fills up another spoonful and tries again. Each time she wacks it away you can see how confused she is at why he isn’t getting angry and each wack is smaller and smaller until she finally lets him give her the medicine. It was a really sweet scene and was incredibly acted. Now we can fast forward to when she’s gotten better and she befriends the boy, Chobo. It really shows how far she’s come that she can connect with and trust another person again. It was made all the more heartbreaking with what befalls Chobo and his family. The scene before it happens and the aftermath are insane. I actually teared up because everyone gave such great performances. Overall, if they had gotten to the post intermission part of the story sooner I think I would’ve been more interested all the way through. That aside, it was an enjoyable enough movie so I’m not completely disappointed and I’m glad I was able to finish it.

Verdict: 7.3/10


These turned out to be a decent trio of movies and if you’ve been keeping track that puts the men’s average at 7.4/10 meaning they edged out the competition and won my random triple feature showdown. I suppose it’s a good thing that TSPDT movies won this since they are supposed to be the top #1000 movies. With that said, a 7.4 is not a good average for movies of this caliber. It’s a little disappointing and I wonder how some of these movies end up on the list. Case in point, my next TSPDT post will be one that is pretty cringe worthy. Before that, stay tuned for my May summary in the next few days.

Movies

Husbands and Wives (1992)

Next up is another TSPDT movie, but I’m skipping ahead a few here since I watched Oasis and L’Humanité before I started blogging about TSPDT. For completion sake, I may one day reach back into my memory and try to post about them, but for now, I’m moving on to #997, Husbands and Wives, which is a Woody Allen movie about marriage.

I’ll start off by saying that this definitely isn’t my favorite Woody Allen movie out there. I’m starting to realize that his movies where he’s one of the leads are kind of all the same. I enjoyed the first one I watched, which I believe was Annie Hall, but now I’m just getting bored with him. In Annie Hall, I at least remember laughing a little, but this one I didn’t find very funny for a “comedy”. On top of not finding it very funny, I really disliked most of the characters. In fact, the only two characters I didn’t dislike were Sally and Michael. To me, the rest of them were pretty despisable. You have Woody Allen’s character going after a 21 year old when he’s over twice her age, and Jack who I thought was going to murder his new girlfriend after the party where she embarrassed him. I watch a lot of those true crime documentaries and that’s exactly how it starts. Some dumb fight blows up and suddenly you’re dead in a ditch. I mean how am I supposed to watch these characters when they’re doing such awful things and just being gross human beings? I need someone to like and be able to relate to, and I just wasn’t getting that.

I’m just not feeling this movie at all. There are better Woody Allen movies out there like Annie Hall or Midnight in Paris that I’d rather watch. This isn’t a bad movie exactly, I just don’t think it was great enough to make it on to this list. I won’t draw this one out anymore.

Verdict: 6.8/10 Don’t get in the car!

PS: I’m also skipping the next one, Dead Poets Society, because I watched that pre-blog as well. Next post will be a long one about In Praise of Love… see you then!

Movies

The Bridges of Madison County (1995)

the_bridges_of_madison_county.pngWell this post marks an interesting change because TSPDT just released the 2018 version of the list which means that I’m back to literally square one and now none of my posts are going to be in order. I’m very disheartened, but I’ll pull through it and keep on with my reviews.

When I watched The Bridges of Madison County it was at #985, it has now climbed to #855 so I didn’t watch it for nothing, I just watched it too early. This is one of those movies I’d heard of in passing but knew nothing about. It’s the story of a married woman who spends a weekend with a photographer and falls in love. This is a movie directed by and starring Clint Eastwood, and I will admit that I don’t have the best track record with him. There are movies he’s in that I’ve liked, but generally it’s not because he’s in it. He is usually the one criticism I have about the movies. Because of that I mostly want to talk about his relationship with Meryl Streep and the structure of how the story was told.

I’ll start with the leads’ relationship which, if I’m being entirely honest, I didn’t find that great. I thought Meryl Streep gave an amazing performance as usual, and Clint Eastwood did a good job but I didn’t end up very invested in their romance. Clint Eastwood was very straight faced most of the time and it was hard to really understand what he was thinking or feeling. I hear you’re supposed to cry during this movie, and there’s a scene near the end that I think is the one that’s supposed to do it for you. While I can understand how heartbreaking it is to lose your love, it just didn’t get me anywhere near crying. But one thing I did do more that I expected during this movie was laugh. Meryl Streep is just amazingly funny. Every time she laughed it had me laughing. Hands down, my favorite part of the movie is when he’s handing her flowers and she tells him they’re poisonous so he straight up drops them on the ground then she starts uncontrollably laughing. I was laughing my ass off with her… I don’t know why I found it so funny but I loved it. She truly is one of the greats and can bring you right into the movie. With a different actor opposite her I might’ve been able to connect more with what they were going through.

Then again, maybe not because now I want to talk about the structure of the story which I think helped to lessen the emotional impact it had on me. The story is told through Meryl’s diaries that are being read by her children after she passes away. I believe this drastically reduced the tension and emotion they could have gotten out of the last “will they, won’t they” scene in the movie. You know they won’t because her kids don’t even know about the guy. If they had done the entire movie in chronological order, or even left it ambiguous from the beginning, the story would’ve packed a larger punch. Then again, Titanic did the same thing and I still felt emotions through it, so what do I know. I just needed something extra to get me to that crying place, and this movie didn’t provide it for me.

As an objective viewer, this was a very good romantic drama and it sure does deserve a place on the list. If you’re into these kinds of movies and haven’t seen it yet, you might as well give it a watch. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed because even if it doesn’t make you cry, it’s a good watch for Meryl Streep’s performance alone.

Verdict: 7.5/10 Maybe don’t give away the end of the movie at the beginning of the movie

Movies

Weekend Binge #2

War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)war_for_the_planet_of_the_apes

I like the Planet of the Apes franchise, in particular I enjoyed the originals a lot, but I couldn’t really get into the new trilogy. This was an ok movie, but I only watched it for completion’s sake so I wasn’t expecting too much. See I find it extremely difficult to follow the plot in movies that are live action but mostly CGI because my brain just zones out.  I thought it was almost interesting trying to come full circle by introducing Nova, but it didn’t really work for me because if you watched the first Planet of the Apes right after this, it wouldn’t make any sense. In that movie she’s put in a cage like another animal, so if she was originally like a pet to them or someone they cared about how come they treated her like any other human? It felt like a quick last minute tie in and not something that was very thought out. The effects are pretty great obviously, and they did a good job trying to evoke emotion from the audience. I couldn’t really empathize too much with CGI though, so it was sort of lost on me. Now try and stay with me here… what I’m about to say in no way reflects the quality of this movie, I’m merely trying to compare the ideas. This was sort of like the Star Wars prequels in that it tries to explain things that I never really wanted to know. Personally, I never cared why humans couldn’t talk or how apes took over the world so this just didn’t appeal to me in any way (just like how I don’t care about Midi-chlorians!).

However, this is a well done movie with some emotional moments and I can understand how it was so highly praised. If you liked the first 2 movies in this trilogy I’m sure this won’t disappoint you.

 Verdict: 7/10 Don’t forget the subtitles or you’ll end up listening to monkey grunts for 20 minutes and have to rewind


Stronger (2017)stronger.png

I looked at this movie and thought it was some tear jerking Oscar bait movie and didn’t want to waste my time on it, but then I noticed that Jake Gyllenhaal was in it and I pretty much had no choice. He hasn’t disappointed me in a long time so any movie he’s in, I’m there. Thankfully this ended up being so much better than I thought it’d be. I thought it was really respectful of the event and the survivors and it didn’t feel like it was just trying to cash in. One of my favorite scenes is when Jeff is in the hospital and he’s getting his bandages changed. The focus of the camera is on his face and his pain, while his legs are out of focus in the background. The point of the scene is to show what he had to endure, not to show the gore for shock value or flaunt off the special effects. It was unexpected, but I liked how they handled that a lot. They did something similar when he goes to wave the flag at the hockey game. That whole scene was incredible with the way they handled his PTSD and the emotion between him and his girlfriend, Erin.

Overall this is a pretty good movie. The acting, effects and handling of the tough subject matter was all done exceptionally well and this is well worth checking out.

Verdict: 8.1/10 Bring some Kleenex


mother! (2017)

The only thing I knew about this movie going in was that it was really weird and you’ll either love it or hate it. For some reason, I thought Jennifer Lawrence was supposed to be a robot and I spent the whole movie waiting for her to plug herself in to charge or something. Maybe if she was a robot I would’ve liked it more than I did. The first half wasn’t bad, but the second half was just too WTF for me. There was too much going on and none of it really made sense. I don’t even have a favorite image to screengrab here so all you get is text!

As a fan of Requiem for a Dream and Black Swan, I thought I might enjoy this but oh well… you win some you lose some. Maybe if you liked The Fountain you might like this.

Verdict: 6.4/10 She’s definitely NOT a robot…


Sing Street (2016)

sing_street.pngThis is another musical with another great soundtrack. This one takes place in the 80s and stars a 15 year old boy who starts a band to impress a girl he likes. I was a little skeptical at first after hearing the boy’s voice, but he started to get into it and I thought he sounded great. Some of the songs were catchy and they were a lot of fun to listen to. The brother was really great in this movie; his character was so deep and well written, and the actor who played him gave a fantastic performance.

If you like musicals then I’m sure you’ll like this. If you grew up in the 80s, I’m even more sure you’ll like this.

Verdict: 7.8/10 Get ready for a good time!


Lovesong (2016)lovesong.png

I’m not totally sure where I heard of this movie but it somehow made it on to my “To Watch” list, so when I saw it on Netflix I thought I’d give it a go. This movie is about 2 friends who sleep with each other once then don’t see each other again until one of them gets married. It’s a little awkward, but also kind of sweet, but also kind of sad. This movie was a child size roller coaster of emotion. That kid was so adorable I thought I was going to die whenever she said something and there were some really good laughs, namely “Anal Saturdays”… man was that a great scene. I liked the movie up until the ending then I got sort of annoyed. Watching people being stupid just makes me mad. I wish I could’ve reached into the movie and slapped them. Look at that image! Don’t they look happy? I think so. Ok… well out of context that doesn’t look too happy, but in context it was really sweet and I liked it.

Overall, this is a slow, mediocre “romance” type movie and I’d say it probably won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you have nothing else to do on a Sunday afternoon, maybe give it a whirl.

Verdict: 7/10 Anal Saturdays


45 Years (2015)

I heard good things about this movie and I had it queued to watch on Netflix for months despite it not looking too interesting to me. My instinct happened to be right in this case, and I didn’t enjoy it at all. It’s about this couple who are just about to celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary when they receive some news that will change their lives in a big way. I won’t give away what the big news is because I think learning about it as the characters do helps you feel the emotions right alongside them. As far as how it made me feel, well I can understand the heartbreak and how it’d feel to have your entire life put into question, but maybe I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind to really have it hit me emotionally.

I found myself really bored through long stretches of this movie. Perhaps if you’ve been married for 44 years and 11 months you might be able to relate a little more and will enjoy this… otherwise I can’t really say I’d recommend it.

Verdict: 6.4/10 Ehhhhhhh

Movies

Pépé le Moko (1937)

Image missing because my video card decided today would be its last day of service so I’m not able to grab a good enough shot to do this post justice. Instead, just imagine a close up of a man standing face to face with a beautiful woman in an old black and white french movie.

I’ve been agonizing over whether I should write anything about this movie or not. Pépé le Moko is a classic film noir, gangster movie that was influential in creating the anti-hero archetype. It cemented Jean Gabin as one of the greatest male leads of the time in France and his character was the inspiration for Pépé Le Pew. Movies like this almost seem untouchable for a review. I didn’t go to film school or study film history in depth, I’m just someone who watches movies for my own enjoyment . So for this review, that’s just what I’ll do… I’ll talk about my enjoyment of this movie.

I didn’t hate it and I didn’t love it, I’m just completely neutral. Some scenes hit their mark, but I had a huge problem investing in the “romance”. I understand this was made 80 years ago and things were different back then, but I just can’t support a romance where the man says something like, “A pity I don’t know you better so I could smack you one.” Yeah he’s the anti-hero, but this has nothing to do with being an anti-hero character it was just how women were treated back then. I think that line made it too hard for me to care for him as a person and as a result I couldn’t invest in his struggles. Jean Gabin was great in this role though… he really brought the character to life. When he gets mad and starts yelling, that is acting to rival anything you’d see in movies today, I absolutely loved it.

Storywise, I went in a little too cold with this movie so I didn’t even know what it was about and that caused me to be somewhat confused at the beginning. They start right up with Pépé being a wanted criminal and you don’t get to see what he did or what got everyone to where they are now. It took me awhile to figure out who everyone was and what they were trying to do. This might end up being better on a second viewing since I won’t be so confused, but it did hamper my enjoyment this time around. I might’ve liked to see an opening scene of Pépé committing some crimes or something along those lines just to introduce him and give me a real sense of who the police are after.

If you like classic movies then at least give this one a shot because I don’t think you’ll hate it. If you come armed with a little knowledge about the movie, and a longer attention span than I have, I dare say you might actually like it.

Verdict: 7/10 Pepé le Meh

Anime, Movies

A Silent Voice (2016)

a_silent_voiceIt’s finally happened! I’ve watched an anime that I actually liked! I’m ashamed that I’ve had this movie queued up for so long because this is the best anime I’ve seen in at least the past year. A Silent Voice is about a teenage boy trying to find redemption after bullying a deaf girl as a child. This story isn’t something I can remember seeing before in an anime or even in a live action movie and I enjoyed it a lot.

I loved how the bullying felt so realistic because it didn’t just start out with the group picking on her, but it developed gradually as they got more fed up. You could see how Ishida, the main character, would do or say something then look for approval from his friends, and once he got that approval things escalated quickly. Most of the reactions of the characters felt so grounded in reality that never once did I roll my eyes and think, “That would never happen.” I will immediately contradict myself though and say there was one part in the movie that was so anime cliche that steam started coming out of my ears. Why does every anime assume that girls always look at other girls’ breasts and want to touch them? I am actually female and I can guarantee I never once discussed the size of another girls’ breasts at school or even entertain the idea of groping them. Can we please just stop with this stupid anime trope? That one cringe inducing scene aside, this movie deals with bullying in a different way by following the bully instead of the victim. I found it very refreshing and it gives you a chance to really step back and look at both sides. Is this guy unworthy of redemption for something he did as a kid? Can people ever really change? Would you forgive your childhood bully? All these questions ran through my head as I was watching this and I love a movie that can pull me in so deeply.

The part that stands out the most for me is that one of the main characters is deaf. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a deaf anime character before, and if I have, I don’t think I’ve ever seen one where they use sign language. I thought that aspect of it was awesome and it really warmed my heart when some of the kids wanted to learn it so they could talk to her easier. I loved her character because they really took the time to flesh her out. You get the sense that she believes she’s a burden to everyone around her and that’s why she always feels the needs to apologize and not complain. It’s heartbreaking as you learn more about her struggles and there were definitely more than a few times that this movie made me cry.

This is a gorgeous movie with an excellent, moving story that anyone who is a fan of anime should check out. I wish they’d keep making movies like this because I’d love to get back into anime again. Check this one out, if you like anime or not, it is definitely worth your time.

Verdict: 8.8/10 I knew that wasn’t a boy!