Citizen Rules...Cinemaesque Chat-n-Review

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Bambi (1942)
Studio: Walt Disney
Genre: Family Animation

I was surprised by how dark the themes in Bambi were. I assumed this was a G rated family movie, but in someways it had one of the most disturbing scenes I've ever watched. That would be the hunting scene with little Bambi and his mom

Though that hunting scene really shouldn't surprise me, as Bambi was made during World War II...and with the carnage of war came a much darker tone to movies, especially film noir. But now, I know those more dismal themes of loss of life were also represented in Disney's animated feature.

I really appreciated the artistry of the hand created animated cells that make up the film. There's such a deeply rich and beautiful look to the woodland home of the forest animals. What I liked most was how the community of animals were shown to be in harmony with nature and it was man's intrusion into the animal's woods that brought chaos and death, which is sadly so true.

I'm glad to have finally watched this classic Disney animation classic.
I have never seen Bambi and have never had any desire to...until reading your review.

Gangs of New York (2002)

Director: Martin Scorsese
Writers: Jay Cocks (story) Steven Zaillian & Kenneth Lonergan (screenplay)
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz, Daniel Day-Lewis
Genre: Fictional Historical Drama
'In 1862, Amsterdam Vallon returns to the Five Points area of New York City seeking revenge against Bill the Butcher, his father's killer.'

It's easy to dismiss this as one of Scorsese's lesser film with the complaint that it's not realistic...At least that's what I though as I watched this. To me it seemed one part The Warriors, one part Tombstone and one part Terry Gilliam...then I realized just what Marty was going for here...and it clicked.

Gangs of New York is not like other Scorsese films. Scorsese took all the history and legends that made up the backstory of New York City and put them into an eye poppin', adventurous tale. A tale that makes the characters larger than life...and a whole lot more fun too. And that's the way legends go, they get bigger, badder and more grandiose with each generation's retelling of the days of ole.

I think that broad based style comes clear in the end credits when we see modern NYC appear in the background and the graves of the men from days of old fade into memory. Even the ending title credits tell the viewer this isn't meant to be a slice of real history, it's mean to entertain and entertained I was.

I would say "can't believe you didn't like Oldboy" but then again I don't remind the movie that much, what did you think of the reveal though? (I think i know what you thought of the villain's motivation already lmao) But what surprised me more is that you didn't like Pulp Fiction

The Dark Crystal [size=4](1982)

Would you consider watching the netflix series that aired not so long ago if you liked the world building? I haven't watch any movies and only started a few episodes but it's really quite unique imo

I would say "can't believe you didn't like Oldboy" but then again I don't remind the movie that much, what did you think of the reveal though?
Hi Tat! Long time no see. Glad you're back posting at MoFo To be honest I can't remember what the big reveal was in Old Boy.

But what surprised me more is that you didn't like Pulp Fiction
So true I can't stand Tarantino and his films.

The Dark Crystal...Would you consider watching the netflix series that aired not so long ago if you liked the world building? I haven't watch any movies and only started a few episodes but it's really quite unique imo
Glad to hear you like Netflix's The Dark Crystal. I don't have Netflix at the moment, who knows maybe some day I'll see it.

A Matter of Life and Death (1946)
aka: Stairway to Heaven
Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger

A Matter of Life and Death is the type of film that I often seek out to watch. I've seen a number of 'afterlife' fantasy/drama movies where the idea of a person entering the 'afterlife' is explored. This was a popular theme after WWII, most likely because so many people were grieving over the untimely loss of so many friends and loved ones and films like these gave them hope.

Some of my favorites in this sub genre is A Guy Named Joe (1943), Heaven Can Wait (1943) and Between Two Worlds (1944)...So I do like this sub genre.

A Matter of Life...sorry to say it was one of the worst constructed movies I've seen. The title credits followed by a long exposť of the mysteries of the universe, made for a slow and cumbersome start. That type of opening worked for Frank Capra in It's a Wonderful Life, but here it just sucked the energy out of the all important establishing 1st scene.

I did enjoy the next scene where David Niven is about to die as he jumps out of a burning aircraft and without a parachute. His waking up confused on a beach, but somehow miraculously alive from the jump, was done well...But why oh why was a naked boy needed on the beach scene? I'm befuddled by the reasoning for that? We don't see any nudity but it's clear from the side profile that the 10-12 year old boy is setting on the beach naked? Why?

But the first real faux pas was the instant love when the pilot spots the U.S. Army flight control woman he'd talked to as his plane went down (Kim Hunter). I mean he just kisses her after only a few words between them. Sure I know they had this emotional connection as he told her his farewells before dying...But geez, I just didn't buy that instantaneous jumping into each others' arms. That scene needed some room to breath. It should've been expanded as it's ALL important to the theme of the movie. Even another 60 seconds could've made their love seem real.

But my real complaint was the totally daft ending in heaven, with the trial to determine if David Niven gets to remain alive or has to be called to heaven. The trial should've been about the unbridled strength of love and it's power to rise above it all. Instead we get this silly fight between a dead American revolutionary patriot (Raymond Massey) who hates the British. Oddly the jury is made up of dead members of countries once dominated or defeated by Britain. A very heavy handed message. Heaven seems to be very politicized!..and all the soldiers are carrying guns To still a line from my friend & fellow MoFo reviewer Gideon, the movie was a 'hot mess'.

Brighton Rock (1948)

Director: John Bolting
: Graham Greene (novel), Terence Rattigan (screenplay)
Cast: Richard Attenborough, Hermione Baddeley, William Hartnell, Virginia Winter
Genre: British Noir

"In Brighton in 1935, small-time gang leader Pinkie Brown murders a journalist and later desperately tries to cover his tracks but runs into trouble with the police, a few witnesses and a rival gang."

The British made a few good film noirs, but this isn't one of them. I didn't care for it, I didn't hate it, I'd call it 'stilted'. To me it just felt staged and unbelievable, especially the 17 year old Pinkie played by a very young Richard Attenbourgh. I just didn't buy his hold over the older gangsters, nor did I buy the instant love the waitress felt for him.

I did enjoy watching the real location at Brighton Rock captured in 1948. For me those real life scenes were the best part.

I'm not Catholic and I'm not religious but didn't the ending show the waitress girl refusing Absolution so that she could spend eternity in Purgatory with Pinkie? And I read that was a happy ending? Did I miss something, as it didn't seem happy to me.

Ghost (1990)
Director: Jerry Zucker
Writer: Bruce Joel Rubin
Cast: Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore,Whoopi Goldberg

Lots of topless beefcake going on here, but not my thing! And who knew they had Covid back in 1990 So put on those damn shirts AND those mask!

I've never liked Demi Moore, don't know why I just don't. I read she was the highest paid actress in the world at the time this was made....why? She can't really act, though she can cry. In fact I also read she could cry on cue out of either eye....weird!

I find Demi as charming & cute as a doorknob, so I wasn't into her character. I didn't particular care for Patrick Swayze either. In the movie he's done up as a pretty boy, beefcake, not my thing. Though at least he could act.

I did however like Whoopi Goldberg scenes those were funny. But otherwise, not much chance of this finishing high on my list. On the other hand I haven't really liked anything so far, so who knows this still might do well.

(1990) is a producers movie where they included all the popular elements and hottest stars to create prep-programed' box office demand. And it worked, Ghost was a big, money making movie..pfft!

Peter Pan (Disney, 1953)

Other than Tinker Bell I didn't care about any of the characters in Peter Pan and I had expected this to be my favorite classic Disney animated film. Not that I've seen many of them.

It wasn't until after I joined MoFo that I watched my very first, Fantasia. Unlike Bambi where I actually cared about the animals and their forest home...with Peter Pan I could care less about Wendy or her of who must've been the inspiration for the Harry Potter series of novels.

At a scant 1 hour 17 minutes, there wasn't enough time to include any needed back story as to who Wendy was and why she needed to believe so readily in a fairy tale, aka Peter Pan. I wonder what the original British stage play of 1903 was like? It must have been written for adults as stage plays for children in 1903 were unheard of.

There's still a bit of adult musings in this G rated Disney film, mostly apparent in the antics of Tinker Bell. Tinker is a tiny hottie, who's concerned that her hips are too big and is jealous of Wendy to the point of trying to annihilate her. Tinker is quite impish and that was refreshing for what otherwise is a kids movie. I got a kick out of the many different means she took to keep Wendy apart from her crush, Peter.

Well that's four classic Disney animated films I've seen. So far I haven't loved any of them.

Good Will Hunting (1997)

Director: Gus Van Sant
Writers: Matt Damon, Ben Affleck
Cast: Robin Williams, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck

"Will Hunting, a janitor at M.I.T., has a gift for mathematics, but needs help from a psychologist to find direction in his life."

Good Will Hunting
was an OK watch, it made me appreciate Matt Damon a bit more. Previously I'd liked him as an actor but thought he was kinda blasť.

I've said before that I don't care for Robin Williams in movies...though he was a dynamic guest on late night talk shows. As I kinda expected he was able to play a more troubled, straight role with much veracity. Most talented comedians are able to give a damn fine dramatic accounting of themselves when given half a chance to shed the comedy stuff. But when Robin went into his free form improv, his character belief faded momentarily for me. Luckily he didn't do that much and overall he was solid.

I don't like Ben Affleck, I think he's limited in his characterizations...However I did like Casey Affleck here. Casey was by far the finest actor in the film.

I'm impressed that a young Ben Affleck and Matt Damon won a Best Writing Oscar for the script. That's a big feather in their hats. But truth be told it wasn't a well written script as far as I'm concerned. The scenes were packed with too much repetitive dialogue that was suppose to be deep and or clever. This caused the scenes to loose their punch and end up more as a writing exercise than deeply reflective.

What redeemed the movie were the moments when the truth of the subject matter rang out hard with a harsh truth. Especially the scenes were Minnie Driver is being dumped by Will (Matt Damon) who is to afraid to live and to take a risk.

On Dangerous Ground (Nicholas Ray 1951)

Director: Nicholas Ray
Writers: A.I. Bezzerides & Nicholas Ray (screenplay), Gerald Butler (novel)
Cast: Ida Lupino, Robert Ryan, Ward Bond

"Rough city cop Jim Wilson is disciplined by his captain and is sent upstate, to a snowy mountain town, to help the local sheriff solve a murder case."

I find myself unsure of how to evaluate On Dangerous Ground? Do I compare it to the other noirs I've seen? I've seen a lot! Or do I compare it to the other Nicholas Ray films I've seen? Some of those are power houses.

So here it goes...I enjoyed this noir, as I enjoy noirs. Ida Lupino is a plus and Robert Ryan is a good noir character type. But I don't feel this is one of Ray's best works and the story intent never really comes into focus. Some of that might be on Ray himself and how he directed this. Some of it might lay on the shoulders of Robert Ryan who's asked to show a tender side that he just wasn't able to show. But mostly I think the blame lays with financier Howard Hughes who owned RKO studio and had a hand in editing the film.

The film has a split personality to it. The first half is a matter-of-fact police procedural, docu-drama. The second part takes an abrupt turn as our police detective (Robert Ryan) leaves the city and heads to upstate New York to solve a local murder. In the country side he encounters a blind woman (Ida Lupino) and falls for her. His encounter with the blind beauty changes his previous brutal bad-cop ways. Abrupt is the key word here as Ryan's character changes gears at a drop of a fedora.

So the dilemma is: I enjoyed this because it is noir and I love noir. But it was IMO flawed in it's narrative construction.

Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974)

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Writer: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Cast: Brigitte MiraEl Hedi ben SalemBarbara Valentin
Language: German

"A lonely widow meets a much younger Arab worker in a bar during a rainstorm. They fall in love, to their own surprise and to the outright shock of their families, colleagues, and drinking buddies."

'Citizen liked this. Citizen impressed with the film'...OK, I know enough of all that Besides if you haven't seen the film you don't know what the hell Citizen is talking about.

Strange title for a very minimalist film (and I mean that in a good way). I heard of this movie plenty in the past, and thought it was some weird sh**. It's not at all weird or sh**

Seriously, I was very impressed with this film and by the style of film making the director took. It felt very up close and personal and in a way it reminded me of Three Monkeys (Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2008).

At first I cringed at the idea that this film was going to be all preachy, but then it did a 180 and ended up not taking any kind of stance at all. Except I guess that to say, 'find love where you can'.

I loved the filming choices in Munich, and was that corner restaurant where Hitler really use to eat? Strange things that you see in a movie. Fassbinder likes to shoot from afar with a wide angle lens through doors, that adds to the intimacy of the film and I liked that.