Movie Tuesday: Christopher Robin

Screen Shot 2018-08-13 at 10.47.30 PMRecommendation: This movie was not only funny, entertaining, and thought-provoking, but it was also very well-made and a wonderful trip down memory.

Writing/Screenplay: This movie was written to send a message, and it did so in a very artistic and successful way.  This was a script intended to remind its audience of the joys of childhood and the importance of using leisure well.  I would say the script succeeded in these things, by using some of the most classic Winnie-the-Pooh lines, consistently throughout the movie (keep scrolling to see specific lines in the quotes section).  There was a lot of wit and humor in the language of this film, but it was used meaningfully to both entertain and engage the audience as only Pooh can.

Score: 10/10

Acting: There are two aspects of the acting in this film, the voice-acting and the live-action acting.  For the characters of Pooh, Tigger, and Eeyore the acting was very good, they stayed true to the iconic voices of the characters that I remember from my childhood.   The other voices of the hundred acres’ woods did undergo some changes and as a result they felt unfamiliar to me.

The live-action acting was excellent, especially that of Bronte Carmichael. Ewan McGregor also did a great job as an older Christopher Robin.  If I had one criticism it would be that unfortunately Ewan McGregor’s Scottish accent sometimes popped up, but all in all, the actors did a phenomenal job, maybe not Oscar-worthy, but certainly worth watching.

Score: 9/10

Cinematography: The use of color in this film to remind the audience of leisure and childhood was absolutely phenomenal and may have been one of my favorite parts of the film.  The mise-en-scene of this film was incredibly intentional and consistent, it was excellently done.  Though I did not notice any super fancy camera work, I really think so much effort was put into the set that fancy camera angles were unnecessary and probably would have been too much.

On a different note the animation was actually quite realistic and meticulous.  The lines between reality and imagination were intentionally blurred in the way the the 100 Acre Woods was animated, again done very consistently with the theme of the movie.  At first I thought having such life like characters in Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, and so on would be strange, but it fit so well with the theme of the movie that after the first 5 minutes I didn’t even notice it anymore.

Score 10/10

Soundtrack: To be honest, I did not notice too much about the soundtrack of the movie.  This, to me says that music was used well to evoke the appropriate emotion from the audience at the appropriate time.  Beyond that I have no real comments about the soundtrack.

Score: 8/10

Overall Score: 37/40

 Favorite Quotes:

“Doing nothing often leads to the very best kind of something.” –Winnie the Pooh

“Yesterday, when it was tomorrow, that was too much day for me.” –Winnie the Pooh

Christopher Robin: “The tree I remember was in the countryside, not here in London!   There’s no opening!”
Winnie the Pooh: “I suppose it’s where it needs to be.”
Christopher Robin: “That’s a silly explanation.”
Winnie the Pooh: “Why, thank you.”

“People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.” –Winnie the Pooh

Movie Tuesday: Salmon Fishing in Yemen

First Impressions: I am very sad to say I was disappointed in this film.  Emily Blunt and Ewan McGregor are two of the best actors currently in the biz, so I was expected fabulous things.  As with most things in life I did not quite get what I expected.

Recommendation: I feel like this is a film for middle-aged men, with a little romance thrown in so their wives will watch it with them. The movie itself was done well enough, but the story really did not keep my interest.

Writing/Screenplay: The writing of this movie was particularly underwhelming.  It was very hard to follow what was going and figure out where the story was going.  The problem was the writers couldn’t make up their minds what they wanted this movie to be.  It was a political film, a mid-life crisis film, a coming of age film, a romance film, a religious film, it tried so hard to be everything that it ended up not really being anything.  This movie was based on a novel (which I have not read), but I would imagine all these stories and subplots could be fleshed out better in a novel than they were in this hour and forty-seven-minute movie.  I did however like the parallel of the life of the fish with the life Dr. Jones; that was clever and well done.
Score: 6.5

Acting: Again Emily Blunt (as Harriet) and Ewan McGregor (as Dr. Jones) are two fantastic actors and I was SO excited to watch them perform together. They both delivered and I loved their on-screen chemistry.  Amr also was very mysterious and wise in the role of Sheikh Muhammed.  However, Kristin Scott Thomas in the role of Patricia Maxwell was very . . . annoying.  It may just be because that character grated on my nerves that I did not like her performance, but I really don’t even understand why she was in the movie.  I found her character and performance to be irrelevant and annoying.
Score: 7.5

Cinematography: There was some visual interest in this film towards the end, but not a lot throughout.  There was a shot of Dr. Jones, “swimming against the current” and then later in the film there was the same shot done with the fish which really added to the parallel of Dr. Jones life with the salmon’s life.  Other than that the cinematography was pretty standard which is fine.
Score: 8

Soundtrack: This soundtrack was actually pretty cute.  It was dramatic when it needed to be, but at times there was some sort of Scottish folk music that was really funny.  The soundtrack was not particularly fabulous or ground-breaking, but it was done well and was one of my favorite parts of this movie.  A lot of time I think people overlook the power of a good soundtrack, but it seems like a lot of thought went into the soundtrack of this movie and that is important.

Overall Score: 30.5/40

 Favorite Quotes: None 😦


Movie Tuesday: The Truman Show

Fun Facts: All the street names in Seahaven and all the names of characters in The Truman show are based on the names of famous Hollywood stars (ex: Meryl, Marlon, Lauren Garland, Barrymore Road).

When the film was released director Peter Weir wanted to install cameras in theaters and have projectionists stop the movie and cut to a shot of the audience as they watched the film.

Recommendation: So I have never been a huge fan of Jim Carrey and was a little leery going into this movie, but I actually LOVED it.  This is a movie that provokes thought, but at the same time is also very relatable and easy to understand.  It is a diverse movie that will appeal to a wide range of people with varying tastes.  Highly recommended.

Writing/Screenplay: This film tells one of the most unique and original stories I have ever encountered.  This is such a clever film, because it so relatable.  Marlon was right when he said, “who hasn’t sat on the john and had an imaginary interview on ‘Seahaven Tonight.’” Now this movie is generally believed to be a powerful commentary about the pervasive and invasive nature of mass media and I do think it is that.  However, I think the last scene is definitely a commentary on God.  I’ve watch that scene over several time and to be very honest with you, I can’t decode it.  There are some references to Psalm 139 and the character of Christof is supposed to God-like, but he’s also clearly the villain of the film.  However, what is really interesting is that amid Christof’s dialogue we cut to a shot of Lauren staring at the TV and then looking heavenward saying, “Please God, Please.”  Given this I can’t decide if we’re supposed to see God as Truman’s savior or his warden.  At any rate I think this is a movie with a story that makes you think and in my book that’s a good story.
Score: 10

Acting: The acting in this film was pretty good.  This was definitely the best performance I’ve ever seen Jim Carrey (as Truman) give, he was appropriately dramatic and comedic.  Natasha McElhone also did well in her small, but important role as Lauren.  The absolute standout, top-notch, best performance definitely came from Ed Harris as Christof.  His performance was excellent, compared to him all other performances were just decent.
Score: 8

Cinematography:  I loved all the choices made to help the audience feel like they were watching a television show.  There were several iris shots used throughout, especially when the audience is supposed to feel like they are watching Christof’s show.  I think this is even more interesting because Jim Carrey was cast partially because he reminded the director of Charlie Chaplin and iris shots are usually used to pay homage to silent films.  Just an interesting tidbit.  Anyhow, the cinematography was good, not necessarily a masterpiece, but it was good.
Score: 8

Soundtrack: The soundtrack in this movie was actually fantastic.  It completely controlled the tone of the film and the mood of the audience, just like a good soundtrack should.  The music did its job well.
Score: 9

Overall Score: 35/40

Favorite Quotes:
“Good morning, and in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night!”

“We accept the reality of the world with which we’re presented.”

Garage Attendant: [the Truman Show has ceased transmission] “What else is on?”
Garage Attendant: “Yeah, let’s see what else is on.”
Garage Attendant: “Where’s the TV guide?”


Movie Tuesdays: The Producers (1967)

My Thoughts: I thought this movie was strange and confusing.  It was intended to be funny, but it just ended up being stupid. It’s portrayal of women as mere sexual objects was insulting.  All and all I felt extremely uncomfortable the entire time I was watching this movie.  I’m glad it’s over now!
Recommendation: I did not really like this movie.  I found it dull.  The humor was over-the-top and rather insulting.  I would not recommend it.

Writing/Screenplay: This movie won an Oscar for best writing, story, and screenplay.  I suppose, if it was a bad year for movies, I can see how that happened.  I actually think the plot was really interesting and original, it could have been a really great funny movie, but the humor was really dirty.  There was very little wit in this movie.  Worst of all the movie was predictable!  This predictably is part of what made it confusing because as a viewer you keep waiting for the plot twist, but it never really comes.  It was just a very poor execution of what could have been a really original story.
Score: 5

Acting: The acting in this movie was decent. Some of the characters, like Frank Liebkind (portrayed by Kenneth Mars), were a little over the top.  There was some unnecessary screaming of lines in an attempt to make them funny, but overall the actors portrayed their characters well.   Zero Mostel succeed in making the character of Max Bialystock into a cunning cheat, but also someone that a dunce like Bloom would look up to.  Gene Wilder, as Bloom, stood out above everyone else in this film; he was absolutely the saving grace of this movie.  This is a very odd film for a character to have a coming of age story in, but that is what Bloom’s character does and only Gene Wilder could pull that off.  He definitely earned his Oscar nomination for best actor in a supporting role.
Score: 7

Cinematography: There was nothing exceptionally special about the cinematography in this film.  The best shot was towards the beginning when Bloom decides to go along with Bailystocks scheme.  They are in front of the Lincoln Center and all the fountains soar at once and Bloom starts dancing on the ledge with water flying around him.  It was a cool shot, but also the only one that stood out in anyway throughput the whole film.
Score: 7.5

Soundtrack: The music in this film was actually pretty good.  The singing was exceptional and some of the songs were funny.  The song Love Power sung by Dick Shawn was pretty funny.  Also the background music was well chosen and placed strategically in the appropriate scenes.  This was done well.
Score: 7.5

Overall Score:  27/40

Movie Tuesdays Announcement

Hello All,

I’m starting something new and I am very excited about it.  At least during the summer months I will be doing movie reviews (hopefully) every Tuesday.  Today I am giving an introduction as to the standards of the review and next week you can read all my thoughts on The Godfather Part II. Here’s how the reviews are gonna go:

Each review will begin with my thoughts on the film and whether or not I would recommend it.  These personal opinions of mine will not go into the calculation of the overall score, because my opinion does not make a film good nor does it make one bad. The film will be given a score out of 40.  This score will be based on more objective categories.  These are: Story/Screenplay, Acting, Cinematography, and Soundtrack.  The film will be given a score out of 10 in each of these categories.  These points will then be added up to form the final score.  As I “grade” each film I will try to be as objective as possible looking at the goal of the film and it’s success in achieving that goal.

I love movies, I always have.  This semester I took a cinema class (which obviously makes me a film expert) and I loved it.  This is a project that I am really excited about and truly love, so I want to do it well.  Things may change as I go and I will keep you posted; it’s all part of the learning process. I have a particular passion for the old classics, so I will probably review a fair amount of those kind of films in the hopes of infecting some of you youngsters (literally just people from my own generation; I’m 20) with this passion.  I will, however, try and do some newly released films as the opportunities present themselves.  We’ll see how the new match up against the old and visa versa.   So please, starting next Tuesday, come learn about film with me.