Thursday, May 24, 2018

Jaws-Stephen Collins

steven spielberg film GIF

Jaws, the 1975 film that created the blockbusters, made Steven Spielberg a household name, reaally put him on the map, and it has so much importantance in film canon. The story of Jaws is pretty simple: shark attacks keep happening on the beach of Amity Island and so a police chief, a marine biologist, and a shark hunter try and find and kill the shark. It is so simple but done really well so that it doesn't seem boring.

The cast is great: Roy Schider (whose other credits include Sorcerer, The Marathon Man, and Seven Ups) as Brody, Robert Shaw (Taking of Pelham 1 2 3) as Quint, Richard Dreyfuss (who would later collaborate with Spielberg again in Close Encounters of Third Kind) as Hooper. I think the other characters like the Mayor (veteran character actor Murray Hamilton of The Graduate fame  -  the cuckold Mr. Robinson) and Brody's wife are not interesting, but they are not the focus.

The script is great. The characters are well-written, and the film never slow down. I say it is slow, but it was made before my time and everything is fast paced and most blockbuster nowadays. John Williams' score is great and captures the tension of suspense and horror; it is one of the best scores of all time. The poster too is iconic and is the best movie poster of all time, although I think Alien comes  in at a close second. Spielberg also does a great directing, and there is a reason this put him on the map. It is probably his best film, but I need to watch more of his films before I can say it is for sure.

Jaws is a great movie and put Spielberg on the map and created the blockbuster. It has great performances from Robert Shaw and Roy Schider, a great score from John Williams and great directing from Spielberg. I only watch the sequels for curiousity sake. Jaws is also one of those films should never be remade because of how iconic it is, and it just seems it wouldn't work as well. It is not in my current top 10 films, but it could be up there some day.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

The Godfather Review

In The Godfather, we see Vito nearing the end of his reign as boss of the family and looking for his eventual successor. Vito has three sons: the first is Sonny, the oldest, whose lack of foresight and hotheaded temper makes him a liability, albeit the favorite initially to replace Vito as Don of the Corleone family. Fredo is the middle child and is a consistent womanizer. Considered neither to be reliable nor intelligent, Fredo is kept to the side often and is not a suitable person to lead the family due to his lack of cunning and intellect. Michael, a U.S. Army Veteran and the youngest child of Vito Corleone, is portrayed as being very innocent and often requests to be kept out of the family business if he can avoid it.

However, as the viewers of the film can understand and interpret, a mafia family reels everyone into its business whether or not it’s intentional. One of the best aspects of The Godfather is watching the changes in Michael’s behavior and demeanor as extenuating circumstances involving the family forces his hand and he is forced to take on more responsibilities and duties as a Corleone and the son of Vito. His loss of innocence and the transformation that occurs with Michael from dignified U.S. Army Veteran to cunning, ruthless Mafia boss is a great strength of this timeless film.

For those critics who are against violent Mafia films and choose not to watch them, that is fine, but it should be considered that there is more to this movie than meets the eye. Above all else, it is the story of a father trying to repent for the sins of the past and trying to keep his sons from avoiding the same mistakes that he has made.

The relationship between Vito and his son, Michael, in particular is memorable for how Vito expects so much from Michael given that he is the most levelheaded and intelligent of the Corleone brothers. There is one particularly great scene in the film where Vito and Michael are discussing the ongoing drama of the war between “The Five Families.” Vito laments to Michael how he is sorry that he was thrust into the mafia business when he once expected his son instead to become “Governor Corleone” or “Mayor Corleone.” Michael simply looks at his father lovingly, and says: “We’ll get there, pop. We’ll get there.”

Other classic scenes that I enjoyed involve the courtship between Michael and a beautiful Sicilian woman named Apollonia. What I liked most was its highlighting of the very old-school dating process of asking Apollonia’s father for permission to date and later marry his daughter with all respect given. It’s a touching moment in the film, which reveals that Michael’s humanity has not been totally wiped out because of the mafia. It was also great of Director Coppola to show the traditional procession of the Sicilian wedding and how all of the townspeople were involved in wishing Michael and Apollonia well.

The Godfather is simply more than just a mafia film in my opinion. It is a story about a complex family, fathers and sons, human nature, and the thirst for power and respect. Have an open mind and see this film if you get the chance. I promise that you won’t regret it, even if the running time is three hours in total.

The Breakfast Club Review

Breakfast Club. Dir. John Hughes
Feat. Judd Nelson (John Bender), Molly Ringwald (Claire Standish), Emilio Estevez (Andrew Clark), Anthony Hall (Brian Johnson), and Ally Sheedy (Allison Reynolds)
Universal Pictures, 1985.

In a world where people judge and criticize each other, we could all do with a little reminder once in a while that we are all in fact not so different to the person on our left, and the person on our right. The Breakfast Club is the perfect example of this. Five strangers enter that detention hardly knowing a thing about the other and yet are willing to judge them. They assume they know each other’s stories, oh, how wrong they are. As events unfold, our ferocious five form an alliance against their teacher (played by Paul Gleason). They work together to make sure they aren’t caught when causing trouble, but also rely on one another to have some fun.

In one particularly emotional scene, all five open up about their lives, revealing their deep dark secrets that no one outside that building knows. There is something beautiful about the way they let their guard down; it is such an intimate and raw scene that you as a viewer feel like an intruder. You are a part of their secret circle; you feel you must take their secrets to the grave. Hughes allows the majority of his story to unfold in the large classroom [more precisely it is the school library] in which the film’s young protagonists are confined for a Saturday of detention.

John Bender (Nelson), a prickly, weed-smoking anarchist, quickly becomes the focal point for the group’s interactions, as the lack of stimulation in their surroundings forces them to get to know each other. What unfolds is an intriguing examination of five typical, yet starkly different youths. Andrew (Estevez) is the conservative jock, Clare (Ringwald) the spoiled princess, Allison (Sheehy) the oddball and Brian (Hall) the socially awkward high achiever. Stereotypical the roles may be, but each character has a magnetic believability.

Possibly this film’s greatest triumph is that its main players are as relevant today as they were three decades ago. Some realism may be sacrificed in favor of engaging dialogue; it is slightly difficult to believe that five teenagers, having just met, would engage each other with the level of emotional candor on display here. Nonetheless, it works spectacularly.

In one hour and 30 minutes, director John Hughes creates a number of classic scenes that have gone down in cinematic history. The final scene of the film is perfection. I’m telling you now you’ll find it hard not to shed a tear as Bender strides across that football field as Simple Minds ‘Don’t You (Forget About Me)’ blasts. If you’re after a classic feel-good film with a bit of everything in it, you’ve found it.

Rebel Without a Cause Review

Rebel Without a Cause Dir. Nicholas Ray
Feat. James Dean (James Stark), Natalie Wood (Judy), Sal Mineo (Plato)
Warner Bros, 1955.

James Dean's "Rebel Without a Cause" basically revolves around the main characters image. When first glanced at, Jim Stark has this aura around him. He seems to be this rebellious, cigarette smoking, hunk. However, the true beauty of his Dean's performance as Stark is how broken and even gentle he is.

Of course we remember the moments where he iconically screams at his parents, kicks paintings, and bashes in desks, but most of his screen time consists of quiet nuances. He has no friends, he's lonely and reserved, and he just wants respect. He wants someone to listen to him, someone to stand up for what's right. He has to feel like a pendulum swinging between his bickering parents, moving from town to town, he's had enough. He's a teenager after all, teens act out, it's just what we do.
Now the plot is nothing amazing; however, the cast is.

This is James Dean's most memorable performance. In fact, it is in his performance that all the charm of this movie lies. From his infectious smile and laugh to his cries of frustration. You feel for him and you relate to him. Especially if you're young. If Mr. and Mrs. Stark just listened, if Judy’s parent’s paid heed to her, if Plato actually had parents present in his life, maybe they could see what was “tearing them apart.” The suffocating hopelessness of the world that seems magnified tenfold in your adolescent years, as things are changing so rapidly. You’re getting pressured beyond belief and to top it off, it seems like no one understands you, not in the least. Never before had I considered how this entire story unfolds in the course of one tragic day.

It’s not realism by any means, but instead, it’s bursting with the passion and pain as reflected by Ray’s camera and impeccable use of color.  It’s as if the teenage experience is being wholly magnified and consolidated into a single moment. That’s what Rebel Without a Cause embodies.

Bonnie & Clyde Review

Bonnie and Clyde ( Warner Brothers, 1967) directed by Arthur Penn revolves around two partners and their adventures in traveling around central U.S. robbing banks in hopes of becoming rich and famous.  Bonnie Parker (Faye Dunaway) is a young woman who is fed up with her job as a waitress meets Clyde Barrow (Warren Beatty) who happens to be in the midst of stealing her mother’s car develop a special relationship. When Bonnie meets Clyde she instantly develops an attraction towards him especially for his bold and audacious nature that she soon decides to follow him in hopes of turning her life around to find adventure and true love. Along their journey the duo hook up with a man by C.W. Moss (Michael J. Pollard) who they encounter at a gas station and later with Clyde’s older brother Buck (Gene Hackman) and his wife, Blanche (Estelle Parsons) who is the daughter of a preacher. Small crimes that Bonnie and Clyde had once committed in stealing from a grocery store have now escalated with the help of more people. The “Barrow Gang” the group would call themselves, in the process of robbing banks has now started to kill anyone who would stand in their way. The scene in the film where Bonnie reunites with her mother and family is a significant scene in the film because it foreshadows the future for Bonnie as well as the rest of the gang. In this scene the colors of the film becomes misty and dream like as well as the atmosphere among the Barrow Gang and Bonnie’s family. There is this bittersweet feeling that develops in this scene due to multiple takes of long shots as well as its relatively slow paced nature. Bonnie and Clyde’s initial decision to drive down a dangerous and violent road of crime in a time of depression conveys that there will be no happy ending as well as an ultimate road of doom for them both. There is no denial that the road Bonnie, Clyde and the rest of the gang are going down is unacceptable to society.  It is not only against the law and proves to be dangerous, however, their bold and daring nature to decide to rob banks in a time where there is a depression is not a wise choice. And although we the audience are able to perceive these characters through understanding and accepting eyes we realize that these individuals have committed huge sins. Despite this fact we also continue to sympathize with these characters till the very end and their demise. All in all, this movie will forever go down as a classic that I recommend everyone should watch at least once.

Friday, May 18, 2018

The Bad News Bears-Stephen Collins

The Bad News Bears is the 1976 sports film and stars Walter Matthau and Tatum O Neal.

The Bad News Bears is good. I don't really have a lot of opinions of it. I would describe as The Sandlot for adults or The Sandlot before The Sandlot. I feel like adults will get more from it that kids, as The Sandlot was clearly made for kids.

The good parts of Mattahau and O'Neal. Mattahu is good as the coach and O'Neal as the girl who acts as an adult. Those performances are the best part and best characters. The kids are fine, but I like that they act like kids.

I don't have a lot opinions of The Bad New Bears. It good and entertaining. It has two good performances, well directed and has good heart. I may watch it again.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Godfather #aysiastarr

"The Godfather." Dir. Francis Ford Coppola
Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando)
Michael Corleone (Al Pacino)
Santino "Sonny" Corleone (James Caan)
Kay Adams-Corleone (Diane Keaton)
Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall)
Connie Coreleone (Talia Shire)

“I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.”It’s hard to say anything about “The Godfather” that hasn’t already been said. With a length of almost three hours, there’s a lot to process.

The film is about an organized crime family in New York called the Corleones. Marlon Brando performs as Don (boss) Vito Corleone, who is the head of the business and family.  He is all about respect, family, and loyalty. That is how he runs his business and that is why he is the godfather.

The movie opens on the day of Don Corleone’s daughter’s wedding, this brings the family together, including the youngest son, Michael Corleone (Al Pacino), who is not interested in working in his father’s business.  The movie follows the progression of the life of Michael Corleone and his eventual rise to Don Corleone. A series of events leads to a bloody war with some of the other well-known crime families in the city.

The acting is really what helps drive everything. Marlon Brando’s performance always gets the spotlight whenever there’s a mention of “The Godfather.” Although he rightfully deserves the praise, it’s Al Pacino’s subdued performance that works best for me. He upholds a quiet confidence that many other actors can’t pull off, for he’s sinister while still being somewhat likable. It’s interesting how you can find yourself rooting for such immoral characters TRUE. That’s a testament to the way these characters are meticulously developed and used within the story.

The cultural impact of “The Godfather” is enormous. From the use of its incredible score to the execution of some of the most unforgettable scenes in movie history, its influence can be seen in hundreds of movies and television shows. Even if you haven’t seen the “The Godfather” yet, you are probably familiar with some of its scenes and notable dialogue. “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse,” has been parodied countless times in pop culture. Don’t be fooled by the violent, gritty reputation that often gets attached to mob movies such as this one. Character development is prominent. In the film, you see the characters develop through the situations that surround them, and how they are affected by those situations.  

The eldest brother, Sonny, is shown as reactionary and passionate when his father is shot, and he wants action against the perpetrators, but he develops as caring, especially for his family, when he gets revenge for his sister, who was beaten by her husband.

Michael has the most development in the film, going from a wantful exclusion to the family business, to controlling the family business. The film does this by slowly pushing Michael into the life of his father. He encroaches the life slowly, doing one job to protect his father out of the kindness of his heart, to discussing plans, to killing rivals. It is an excellent development of all the characters that make them feel real to the viewer.

Subtlety is something the film masters, allowing the viewer to piece together parts of the history or story for themselves without having exposition shoved in their faces.  They don’t give you any explanation as to what the family does for income, instead, they let you find out for yourself as you are watching. “The Godfather” is an intelligent character study that chronicles the transformation of man as he slowly descends into villainy.