The Revenant

the-revenant-posterAmerican black and white psychological horror from 1960.
Starring: Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Writers: Robert Bloch, Joseph Stefano
Bechdel test: Fail

Exposition

Reactions

Contemplations

Judgement

Epilogue

Over to you

If you’ve recently seen “Psycho” or you’re watching along with my year of movies, please leave a comment below with your thoughts on the movie or note down your opinion somewhere else.

35 movies down. 330 to go.

If you want to get “Psycho” from Amazon, here is a link for that. They probably have the movie many other places too. Maybe it’s on a streaming service you subscribe to already?

Tomorrow’s movie is “Once upon a time in America”. Get some more information about this movie and the other movies on my watch list this week on the upcoming movies page. If you’re new to this site and are wondering why I’m watching a movie every day for a year, read more about my experiment.

Until next time; live long and prosper.

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Toy story

toy-story-posterAmerican black and white psychological horror from 1960.
Starring: Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Writers: Robert Bloch, Joseph Stefano
Bechdel test: Fail

Exposition

Reactions

Contemplations

Judgement

Epilogue

Over to you

If you’ve recently seen “Psycho” or you’re watching along with my year of movies, please leave a comment below with your thoughts on the movie or note down your opinion somewhere else.

35 movies down. 330 to go.

If you want to get “Psycho” from Amazon, here is a link for that. They probably have the movie many other places too. Maybe it’s on a streaming service you subscribe to already?

Tomorrow’s movie is “Once upon a time in America”. Get some more information about this movie and the other movies on my watch list this week on the upcoming movies page. If you’re new to this site and are wondering why I’m watching a movie every day for a year, read more about my experiment.

Until next time; live long and prosper.

Howl’s moving castle (Hauru no ugoku shiro)

howls-moving-castle-posterJapanese animated adventure from 2004.
Starring: Chieko Baishô, Takuya Kimura, Tatsuya Gashûins
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Writers: Diana Wynne Jones, Hayao Miyazaki
Bechdel test: Pass

Exposition

Sophie works in a hat shop in the city, but one day she meets a wizard. This makes her a target for the Witch of the Waste and soon Sophie is cursed. Can the spell be lifted or must she simply live with it?

Reactions

“Howl’s moving castle” is one of Miyazaki’s many brilliant movies, and this one has lots of fun adventure on the surface and a deeper meaning to it, just as the others.

Miyazaki’s constant use of flying is present in this movie as well, but less than in many of his others. (Specially less than in “Porco Rosso”, “Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind” and “Castle in the sky” where flying is all important parts of the plots.) The use of flying often feels freeing and adventurous, but in “Howl’s moving castle” it feels more like a burden or simply a way of moving. It offers no release, or very little.

Contemplations

The themes of the movie is strong and universal and can probably be understood quite well by the younger members of the audience. Maybe some of the ideas about female roles and stages in life will go over their heads, but still, lots to understand and contemplate for everyone.

More than anything else, the movie is an adventure, and I was immediately transported to the universe of fun and strange stories when I heard the familiar sounds of the Studio Ghibli music by Joe Hisaishi.

I love the animation in this movie specially well, because of the steampunk style of some parts. The castle itself is just wonderful, and makes me dream of living quite differently from the ordinary way I live now.

This is a movie that will stay with most viewers for a little while, I think, and in this case, I don’t mind recommending the American voice actors. I still think the Japanese version is best, but it was quite decent in English as well.

The story is fun and original, and I have decided to even read the book it is based on. If you want to do the same, here is a link to Howl’s moving castle by Diana Wynne Jones on Amazon.

Judgement

“Howl’s moving castle” is a fun adventure and I will certainly watch it again.

Epilogue

I recommend “Howl’s moving castle” to anyone for a romantic or family movie evening.

Over to you

If you’ve recently seen “Howl’s moving castle” or you’re watching along with my year of movies, please leave a comment below with your thoughts on the movie or note down your opinion somewhere else.

55 movies down. 310 to go.

If you want to get “Howl’s moving castle” from Amazon, here is a link for that. They probably have the movie many other places too. Maybe it’s on a streaming service you subscribe to already?

Tomorrow’s movie is “Star Trek”. Get some more information about this movie and the other movies on my watch list this week on the upcoming movies page. If you’re new to this site and are wondering why I’m watching a movie every day for a year, read more about my experiment.

Until next time; live long and prosper.

Stagecoach

stagecoach-posterAmerican black and white western from 1939.
Starring: John Wayne, Claire Trevor, Andy Devine
Director: John Ford
Writers: Dudley Nichols, Ernest Haycox
Bechdel test: Pass

Exposition

A stagecoach filled with a variety of characters from the old west must make a drive through Apache threatened country. Along the way the passengers and driver all get to know one another and the people at various way stations.

Reactions

This is a proper old western with every element that brings to mind;  old vengeance,  damsels in distress, six shooters, hookers, Winchesters, Indians on the war path, lots of horses, and so much more.

“Stagecoach” has a some similarities with a play; the characters are thrown together, must relate to one another and that provokes developments for at least some of them.  On the other hand, there is a lot of action in the movie that would have been difficult on a stage; the constantly moving coach and, not to give anything away, all those guns might get some use. The combo of the two types of movements is a rather nice juxtaposition. I would have expected the silent or stoic men of the old west to have less development and the women to have more passive roles and maybe any changes would be more dependent on men.  Fortunately there is more to this movie.

The characters are made to be contrasting and represent several rungs in society. There is a banker that goes on about how “What’s good for the banks is good for the country”, a lawman looking for an escaped prisoner, a prisoner looking for revenge, a drunken old doctor, a gambling old officer, a whiskey salesman, a prostitute, a fancy officer’s wife and the coach driver. Together these provide both humor and some nice drama.

The first part of the movie sees everyone get on the coach, but after that it is all about the journey. The coach and the story moves along at quite the pace, and both the coach and the emotional developments get a little overloaded.

Contemplations

The acting is of amazing quality and all the nine main characters were portrayed well. It is rare to see an ensemble cast of such a high caliber. (Pardon the pun.)

The footage and direction was also nice and served the story well. The audio was slightly less suitable though. The music was overly dramatic, during almost any scene, regardless of content or mood. The Spanish song they hear at one of the way stations was really nice though.

The story has some good qualities and some bad. As mentioned, the story is surprisingly  meaningful with well developed characters. However, it is somewhat naive and without too many twists.  Regardless, it is a well made western with the legendary John Wayne and a whole slew of other great actors.

Judgement

I liked “Stagecoach” and was pleasantly surprised by the  western genre. It might not have the depth I usually look for in a movie, but much more than expected.

Epilogue

I would recommend “Stagecoach” to all adults. It is well worth seeing a good old western with John Wayne at least once in a lifetime.

Over to you

If you’ve recently seen “Stagecoach” or you’re watching along with my year of movies, please leave a comment below with your thoughts on the movie or note down your opinion somewhere else.

53 movies down. 312 to go.

If you want to get “Stagecoach” from Amazon, here is a link for that. They probably have the movie many other places too. Maybe it’s on a streaming service you subscribe to already?

Tomorrow’s movie is “Snatch”. Get some more information about this movie and the other movies on my watch list this week on the upcoming movies page. If you’re new to this site and are wondering why I’m watching a movie every day for a year, read more about my experiment.

Until next time; live long and prosper.

Princess Mononoke (Mononoke-hime)

princess-mononoke-posterJapanese animated fantasy from 1997.
Starring: Yôji Matsuda, Yuriko Ishida, Yûko Tanaka
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Writer: Hayao Miyazaki
Bechdel test: Pass

Exposition

Ashitaka’s village is attacked by a demon that infects him with a curse that will slowly kill him. The village wise woman tells him to travel to the lands in the west where he might find a cure, although that is uncertain.

Reactions

Most of the action in “Princess Mononoke” takes place during Ashitaka’s journey and after he arrives in the western lands. The time of this adventure is long ago when Gods still roamed the earth.

The music is just as enjoyable as in other Miyazaki movies and it brings out both emotions and moods. “Princess Mononoke” has more of a anime feel to it than other Miyazaki movies, with the classical overreaction faces of the characters and the sounds that go along with them. This is not something that is present often, though.

There is mostly a feel of adventure and fairy tale in “Princess Mononoke” and it has the typical moral messages of older traditional stories. The morals of the story is important and quite easy to get for young and old. Happily, this does not mean the story is simplified or boring.

Once again we see that cutting off one’s own pony tale has some kind of significance in a Japanese movie, but I still don’t exactly what.

Contemplations

The animation is some of the best I’ve ever seen, and while there is some violence, this medium allows such matters to be less graphic. The drawings are both cute and pretty, without being just an excuse for showing off nature and people.

The characters are fantastical, as they should be in a fairy tale, but still human enough for the viewers to relate and care about their fate. The strange thing is that I also came to care for the fate of the forest. Don’t get me wrong, I naturally care for nature and how it fares, but I ended up caring for the forest as if it was a person or character.

The story sits with the viewer for quite some time, and the messages can reach every member of a family. (Also the family members that more traditionally aren’t too concerned with at least some of the issues in the movie, such as feminism and environmental protection.)

“Princess Mononoke” is a fantastic animated movie, maybe the best I’ve ever seen.

Judgement

“Princess Mononoke” is a very enjoyable movie with a bit of meaning and a good adventure story. I will watch it again many times in the future.

Epilogue

I recommend everyone watch “Princess Mononoke” once in a while to get a reminder of the importance of nature and our relationships to one another.

Over to you

If you’ve recently seen “Princess Mononoke” (“Mononoke-hime”) or you’re watching along with my year of movies, please leave a comment below with your thoughts on the movie or note down your opinion somewhere else.

52 movies down. 313 to go.

If you want to get “Princess Mononoke” from Amazon, here is a link for that. They probably have the movie many other places too. Maybe it’s on a streaming service you subscribe to already?

Tomorrow’s movie is “Stagecoach”. Get some more information about this movie and the other movies on my watch list this week on the upcoming movies page. If you’re new to this site and are wondering why I’m watching a movie every day for a year, read more about my experiment.

Until next time; live long and prosper.

The Princess bride

the-princess-bride-posterAmerican fantasy adventure from 1987.
Starring: Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Robin Wright
Director: Rob Reiner
Writer: William Goldman
Bechdel test: Fail

Exposition

Princess Buttercup and the stable boy Westley are each other’s true love. The kind of true love that comes along maybe once in a century. So what happens when you lose your true love? This is the plot of the fairy tale Grandpa reads to his Grandson when he is sick in bed one day.

Reactions

“The princess bride” is an adventure with fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles and a whole lot of jokes. It is also one of my all time favorite movies, so here comes an account of watching the movie from a quite biased point of view.

The adventure is framed by a Grandpa reading the story to his grandson, but is otherwise told linearly. Princess Buttercup and her heart’s adventures is the core of the tale.

We meet a suave swashbuckler or two, a giant, a prince and many other unforgettable characters, and they all deliver funny and endlessly quotable lines.

This is obviously not the typical story of a romantic comedy, but it never strays far from this genre. There is a clear focus in the story, and it is the “kissy parts” of Princess Buttercups life.

Contemplations

The way the Grandson in the framing story gradually comes to be engaged in and care for the characters, so does the viewer. They are lovable and warm, and in a few cases, clearly evil and cold. For there are bad guys and they are deliciously bad. This is a classical fairy tale.

The only negative I can say about this story is that just as in so many other fairy tales, the Princess is a little passive and the men can more easily make changes in their own and other’s lives.

The sound and visuals is hard for me to comment upon, as I have seen this movie so many times that the music, landscapes, sets, costumes and more seems to belong to the story.

The same is true for the acting, but I do think that the main characters and all the smaller roles filled by famous and renowned actors is very well portrayed. Specially the comedic timing of the actors is great in “The princess bride”.

Judgement

I still love this movie, and enjoyed watching it this time, as well as every other time.

Epilogue

I recommend everyone see “The princess bride”, and often. It can restore good mood on a shitty day, make you laugh, and it can enforce your faith in true love. (And if you are as lucky as me, and have true love in your life, bring your loved one to see it as well.) Anyone not loving this movie, it is simply inconceivable.

Over to you

If you’ve recently seen “The princess bride” or you’re watching along with my year of movies, please leave a comment below with your thoughts on the movie or note down your opinion somewhere else.

43 movies down. 322 to go.

If you want to get “The princess bride” from Amazon, here is a link for that. They probably have the movie many other places too. Maybe it’s on a streaming service you subscribe to already?

Tomorrow’s movie is “A river called Titas” (“Titash ekti nadir naam”). Get some more information about this movie and the other movies on my watch list this week on the upcoming movies page. If you’re new to this site and are wondering why I’m watching a movie every day for a year, read more about my experiment.

Until next time; have fun storming the castle.

The Wizard of Oz

wizard-of-oz-posterAmerican fantasy adventure from 1939 in both black and white and technicolor.
Starring: Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger
Director: Victor Fleming
Writers: L. Frank Baum, Florence Ryerson, Edgar Allan Woolf
Bechdel test: Pass

Exposition

Dorothy tries to run away from home, but is caught up in a tornado and passes out. She awakes in the land of the munchkins, somewhere over the rainbow, and must try to find her way home, and avoid the wicked witch on her way.

Reactions

This is a joyous movie that engages the viewers heart, courage and brains. I have seen “The wizard of Oz” many times before, and it was important to me as a young child. That might color my reaction to today’s viewing (if you, dear readers, will pardon the pun), but there isn’t very much I can do about that. I will try to stay objective.

Each time I watch the movie I seem to have forgotten just how many munchkins there are, and how many citizens of Emerald city and how many troops the wicked witch has. It is a populous movie, and it does seem to make the lands over the rainbow fun and enjoyable, all be it a little scary, to visit.

Contemplations

I love the story in this movie. It is a fairy tale in many ways, and it is well presented. The childlike problems and worries of Dorothy and how she superimposes the people in her life on the adventures with the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Lion, is perfectly filmed.

The music is unforgettable and several songs are in the public consciousness even now, 78 years later. Below you can get a reminder of one musical number from “The wizard of Oz”: “Somewhere over the rainbow”.

The most striking feature of the movie is the contrast between black and white and color. How it is the fantasy over the rainbow that is colored is in some ways puzzling, and yet perfect.

The set in the lands over the rainbow seem artificial and is clearly not filmed outdoors. I wonder if that is a consequence of filming in color or a choice of look for these lands.

Judgement

A simply wonderful movie that I have enjoyed every time I see it. Well made in every respect.

Epilogue

I recommend this movie to anyone, of all ages. It is well worth watching for it’s adventure, but also for the imagery that is simple enough for children to understand as well. It might be worth mentioning to a child about to watch the movie for the first time that the viewers in 1939 might not have seen movies in color before, or at least not many. They might get an understanding of just how much of an impression that would have made.

Over to you

If you’ve recently seen “The wizard of Oz” or you’re watching along with my year of movies, please leave a comment below with your thoughts on the movie or note down your opinion somewhere else.

27 movies down. 338 to go.

If you want to get “The wizard of Oz” from Amazon, here is a link for that. They probably have the movie many other places too. Maybe it’s on a streaming service you subscribe to already?

Tomorrow’s movie is “The red shoes“. Get some more information about this movie and the other movies on my watch list this week on the upcoming movies page. If you’re new to this site and are wondering why I’m watching a movie every day for a year, read more about my experiment.

Until next time; live long and prosper.

Gladiator

gladiator-posterAmerican action adventure from 2000.
Starring: Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen
Director: Ridley Scott
Writers: David Franzoni, John Logan, William Nicholson
Bechdel test: Fail

Exposition

General Maximus leads the Roman army to victory over the Germanic tribes and conquers the empires last enemies. Now there is peace. Unfortunately he is caught up in the politics of Emperors and Senators, and seems to loose everything that matters to him.

Reactions

I have seen “Gladiator” before and was is awesome, then and now. I have the feeling I just watched a play written for stage by a great writer, only; all the action and war that often happens off stage was included. The drama and personal relations between characters effect a whole empire, and both the emotional development of characters and their resulting actions make sense. I was taken on a journey and it feels like a commentary on life and human character.

The look and feel of various locations in the Roman empire (modern day Germany, Spain, Italy and maybe Morocco) gave a feel and mood to each place that was unique and seemed appropriate for the time (180A.D.). The places gave the impression of being vibrant and living without giving a sense that the movie makers wanted to show off knowledge or cool props and buildings.

Contemplations

The actors were all marvelous but in particular Maximus (Russel Crowe), Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix) and Lucilla (Connie Nielsen) were well played. The part of the story that can be interpreted to deal with human nature centers around these three characters and the story became powerful by these solid performances in these parts. (Though I was unconvinced by Maximus in one scene. The one where he speaks to his troops in Germany early in the movie. All the rest was excellent.)

I have started to notice how the camera goes from a large shot over a whole situation in to a focus on the person or persons the scene is about, and in this movie those openings of scenes were very beautiful. They also served their function well, and explained were the characters are.

The music was grandiose and befitting of the grand story. The pompous nature of much of the music accented the characters pompous nature and the central role they had in this enormous nation.

Judgement

I loved watching “Gladiator” again and the quote below still rings in my ears.

Below here there be spoilers.

My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions and loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.

Epilogue

I would recommend this movie to any adult, with emphasis on adult. There is quite a bit of raw violence and any potential viewers should be aware of this before they decide to watch “Gladiator”. But if anyone does decide to watch the movie, don’t be afraid to have expectations, it is amazing.

Over to you

If you’ve recently seen “Gladiator” or you’re watching along with my year of movies, please leave a comment below with your thoughts on the movie or note down your opinion somewhere else.

23 movies down. 342 to go.

If you want to get “Gladiator” from Amazon, here is a link for that. They probably have the movie many other places too. Maybe it’s on a streaming service you subscribe to already?

Tomorrow’s movie is “12 angry men“. Get some more information about this movie and the other movies on my watch list this week on the upcoming movies page. If you’re new to this site and are wondering why I’m watching a movie every day for a year, read more about my experiment.

Until next time; live long and prosper.

Cast away

cast-away-posterAmerican adventure drama from 2000.
Starring: Tom Hanks, Helen Hunt, Paul Sanchez
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Writer: William Broyles Jr.
Bechdel test: Fail

Exposition

Chuck Noland is in a plain accident and miraculously survives and washes ashore on a small, deserted island. Will he be found?

Reactions

I have seen “Cast away” before, and yet, I was entertained throughout. Portraying Chuck’s fight against the elements and loneliness demands someone with the rare combination of Tom Hanks’ dramatic and comedic talent. (I have to admit to being a fan of Tom Hanks, so this opinion might be a little colored by that.) It’s also nice that he is likeable.

I am usually not a fan of these “one man’s journey” or “one man against something” movies, but this has enough of that little extra to convince me. As a counterweight to my positive disposition towards Tom Hanks, I tried to imagine some other actor in the part, just some random male Hollywood stars, and I didn’t picture it going so well. But it is difficult to say what reality would have been like. I think this is a case of the right man for the part.

Contemplations

The story is not specially complicated and most of the movie takes part on the island with only Chuck and his companion Wilson the Volleyball. There are many funny little moments on the island and still there is no doubt that Chuck is suffering and it is unique that he can find solutions to problems like fresh water and food.

The visuals are strong and captures well the difficulties that the island offers to it’s sole inhabitant. The wind really seems to bend the trees and the waves really seems insurmountable.

But as mentioned, a large part of the reason I like “Cast away” is Tom Hanks. It is as if his performance tells a tragic story in hindsight with dark humor. (Even if it is really told in present time.) “Well, then I stranded on this island and luckily I met this really talkative guy. Wilson. He was a volleyball, but I’m not judgmental, so that worked out. We became pretty close.”

Judgement

Watching “Cast away” again turned out to be pleasant and I had completely forgotten about the humor and weirdness of the movie. Maybe watching it again in a few years will surprise me then?

Epilogue

I would recommend this movie to anyone over 12, I think. Enjoy the humor and maybe more importantly, the drama.

Over to you

If you’ve recently seen “Cast away” or you’re watching along with my year of movies, please leave a comment below with your thoughts on the movie or note down your opinion somewhere else.

21 movies down. 344 to go.

If you want to get “Cast away” from Amazon, here is a link for that. They probably have the movie many other places too. Maybe it’s on a streaming service you subscribe to already?

Tomorrow’s movie is “Boogie nights“. Get some more information about this movie and the other movies on my watch list this week on the upcoming movies page. If you’re new to this site and are wondering why I’m watching a movie every day for a year, read more about my experiment.

Until next time; live long and prosper.

Seven samurai (Shichinin no Samurai)

seven-samurai-posterJapanese adventure from 1954
Starring: Toshirô Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Keiko Tsushima
Director: Akira Kurosawa
Writers: Akira Kurosawa, Shinobu Hashimoto, Hideo Oguni
Bechdel-test: Fail

Exposition

In a somewhat lawless time in Japan during the 16th century, a village is threatened by bandits. In order to survive they must stand up to the villains, and they employ seven samurai to fight for their own and the village’s survival.

Reactions

I have not seen this or any other of Kurosawa’s movies before, and I find it a little difficult to put into words what I think about it.

First; it is very long, three and a half hours. And yet, the plot is quite simple – some warriors defend a poor village. Even so, it held my attention the whole way through, mostly by the way the characters are shown. We get to know them in depth and it seems to be honest portrayals of real people. Afterwards it seems like I have really gotten to know these men, and I could even give characteristics of them. “Oh, yeah but that is what Shimada is like. He always cracks a smile at a good joke.”

seven-samurai-old-man

Kokuten Kôdô as Old Man Gisaku is just one of the faces to fall in love with in “Seven samurai”.

One of the most pleasing visuals in the movie is the faces of some of the older people in the village. Those are faces with a lot of character and life.

Contemplations

Both sound and picture is of a quality that you would expect from such a long time ago; a little iffy or crackling here and there, but still very well shot and some of the scenery would probably have been amazing in color. I did find it a little difficult to tell daylight from darkest night in black and white.

The acting was quite a bit over the top in many scenes. There was a lot of jumping and screaming and sometimes people flocked together like gaggles in a kind of hysteria. Other times a scene could be more quiet and understated, more controlled in a way. This change was a part of keeping my interest and attention for so long.

The story was, as mentioned, quite simple, but it was full of both imagery, and characters with depth and a journey through the story. A full analysis of the story is hardly the point of this little log, but there was more than enough to keep me engaged and attentive throughout.

It was also a fascinating look at strange hierarchy between people and some very unusual gender roles.

Judgement

I don’t think I will watch this movie again, but I’m glad that I’ve seen it once. I see many online reviews of this movie has titles like “The best movie ever” or “It changed my life”, and while it was good, that is taking it a bit far.

Epilogue

I think “Seven Samurai” is a movie for the specially interested. Maybe if you want to see the movie that “The magnificent seven” was based on, or if you are specially interested in Japanese history, this might be a good fit for you. However, generally speaking, I would not recommend this movie to most people. Regardless, I think this movie is best viewed by an adult audience. I also suggest that if you choose to see this movie, you brake it up into two sessions of viewing at about the halfway mark.

Over to you

If you’ve recently seen “Seven samurai” (Shichinin no Samurai) or you’re watching along with my year of movies, please leave a comment below with your thoughts on the movie or note down your opinion somewhere else.

Nine movies down. 356 to go.


If you want to get “Seven samurai” (Shichinin no Samurai) from Amazon, here is a link for that. They probably have the movie many other places too. Maybe it’s already on your shelf?

Tomorrow’s movie is “The Avengers“. Get some more information about this movie and the other movies on my watch list this week on the upcoming movies page. If you’re new to this site and are wondering why I’m watching a movie every day for a year, read more about my experiment.

Until next time; live long and prosper.