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.

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The Secret in their eyes (El secreto de sus ojos)

the-secret-in-their-eyes-posterArgentinian Spanish language romantic mystery from 2009.
Starring: Ricardo Darín, Soledad Villamil, Pablo Rago
Director: Juan José Campanella
Writers: Eduardo Sacheri, Juan José Campanella
Bechdel test: Fail

Exposition

Retired police officer Benjamin Esposito decides to write a book about a case from early in his career that still bugs him. He contacts his former boss Irene Hastings to get her input on how he writes and his recollections of the case.

Reactions

One part of this story takes place in Argentine during the 70’s and we get a glimpse of several things that I associate with the country, like football, coffee, Isabel Peron and the dirty war.

We also get a little look at some things that I didn’t know about Argentina, like how all buildings seems to consist of a mess of rooms put together in unexpected ways. That might just be how this film reveals the space around characters, but it might also be how houses are built there. I haven’t been, so it would just be a guess, either way.

There also seems to be an unfamiliar way of organizing the employees of the justice department. Some are judges and some are police officers, without any familiar division between the two.

Contemplations

The story is in two parts; a modern tale of an aging police man trying to write a book about a case from early in his career, and the crime story from the 70’s he is writing.

First we meet the writer, Benjamin, as he attempts to begin his book, and he doesn’t seem to quite know where to begin, so we get bits and pieces of the older story as he tests multiple beginnings. He then meets with his former boss, Irene, to tell her that he is working on the book. She tells him to begin with the part that he remembers the best. After that we get the the rest of the old case story mostly in a linear fashion. This was an ingenious storytelling device, we get important parts of the story presented right away and we get to know our storyteller by what is most important to him. And it helped keep up the tension in this whodunit. It isn’t too often I am unfamiliar with the way a story is told, but this was a good surprise.

The acting is good, if a little exaggerated in a few scenes. The two main characters are specially well portrayed.

The imagery of what people look at and how, referenced in the title, could have been made cheap and turned the movie into a mimicry of a soap opera, but is done just simply and subtly enough to ring true.

The audio and visuals reflect the two times we see in the movie and accentuated the storytelling well.

Judgement

I enjoyed this murder mystery and how it casts a light on some sides of the human condition; maybe mostly love in this case.

Epilogue

I would recommend this movie to anyone adult. A good and romantic whodunit is nice entertainment for an evening. It could, in spite of the murder case, be a date movie, if both enjoy a crime story, that is.

Over to you

If you’ve recently seen “The secret in their eyes” 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.

40 movies down. 325 to go.

If you want to get “The secret in their eyes” 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 “Selma“. 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.

Annie Hall

annie-hall-posterAmerican romantic comedy from 1977.
Starring: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Tony Roberts
Director: Woody Allen
Writers: Woody Allen, Marshall Brickman
Bechdel test: Pass

Exposition

Alvy breaks up with Annie, or maybe it is vice versa, and he then reflects on their relationship and other previous romantic connections.

Reactions

The movie had several unusual and fun ways of telling it’s story. The characters breaking the fourth wall and talking to the camera, people talking to memories and walking into memories,  flashbacks in conversations that seems to be shared by more then one person and subtitles that shows peoples little worries and thoughts.  There were also several others. The movie makers have taken full advantage of the medium they have chosen, which might be something more of them should do. What a movie is and how it should be seen and experienced is quite well established and maybe a bit more creativity would make the movies a little less stale.

Contemplations

The audio and visuals are nothing special and mostly just unobtrusive and forgettable. The acting is strange and bad, but it could have been seen as much better and less alien in the late 70’s.

The story is about a singer that can’t sing and a comedian that isn’t funny, which in it self a funny concept, but sadly it doesn’t work. The movie is neither funny nor romantic. It is just a story of how a self centered drama queen can’t make any changes but expects his partners to change, and so none of his relationships work. I really don’t see the funny and all the jokes were quite stale. The story does not seem to actually say anything about relationships that isn’t quite evident to even a child.

Maybe “Annie Hall” was a good movie in the 70’s, all though I doubt it, but if it was, then it has not withstood the test of time.

Judgement

I don’t understand how “Annie Hall” can be called Woody Allen’s masterpiece. Or is it that his other movies are even worse?

Epilogue

I would only recommend “Annie Hall” to people that are old enough to remember the zeitgeist of 1977 and then could potentially enjoy looking back at that time. The rest of us can do very well without this movie.

Over to you

If you’ve recently seen “Annie Hall” 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.

37 movies down. 328 to go.

If you want to get “Annie Hall” 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 “La vie en rose“. 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.

Roman holiday

roman-holiday-posterAmerican black and white romantic comedy from 1953.
Starring: Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn, Eddie Albert
Director: William Wyler
Writers: Ian McLellan Hunter, John Dighton
Bechdel test: Pass

Exposition

Princess Ann is on an European goodwill tour when she decides to escape her aides and the press to have a care free adventure and experience the life of an ordinary woman. When the man she has her adventure with turns out to be a member of the press, the problems pile up.

Reactions

“Introducing Audrey Hepburn” the title sequence to the movie said, so I assume this is her first big role. She does really well as a gracious and spoiled princess with little to no freedom.

I have been most the places in Rome where the characters go sightseeing and I must admit to some jealousy. I have never seen these sights so accessible and void of other tourists. Was it like that in the early 50’s? Or was that staged for the movie?

Contemplations

The music was a bit more dramatic then the scenes called for at times. As if the mood or feeling of a scene was forced upon me, and not conveyed by actions or words. The same way spooky music over a video of someone taking an ordinary walk in the woods will make the clip scary. Illustrated by James Gordon below with the “X-files”-music.

In “Roman holiday” the music doesn’t try to make the mood scary, but dramatic, and yet it just seems forced. Except for a few instances of overly dramatic music, the audio was nice.

The visuals were super. I love Rome, and so I also loved to watch all the scenes set in famous and well known places in the city. The plot uses all the beauty of Rome to create great visuals and the characters are naturally in these places. It does not seem staged, as could easily be the case when a city is shown off in a movie.

The acting was just fine through most the movie, and at times it was quite a bit more then that. Several solid performances. Probably a good debut for Audrey Hepburn.

The story a bit better then the average romantic comedy, but still, it’s hardly likely to make you think or contemplate the nature of humanity.

Judgement

“Roman holiday” was an entertaining movie without much of a message or deeper meaning. I liked watching it, and sometimes it is fine to just be entertained for a little while. The movie makes no pretense of being more then it is, and so makes a nice contribution to it’s genre. I don’t see how it has made a “best movies ever” list though.

Epilogue

I would recommend this movie to anyone looking for some light entertainment on a rainy afternoon.

Over to you

If you’ve recently seen “Roman Holiday” 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.

32 movies down. 333 to go.

If you want to get “Roman holiday” 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 “Witness for the prosecution“. 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.

Breaking the waves

breaking-the-waves-posterInternational English language romantic drama from 1996.
Starring: Emily Watson, Stellan Skarsgård, Katrin Cartlidge
Director: Lars Von Trier
Writers: Lars Von Trier, Peter Asmussen
Bechdel test: Fail

Exposition

Bess lives in a religious cult somewhere in Scotland in the early 70’s. She marries the outsider Jan and when he has an accident on the oil rig where he works Bess comes to believe that God tells her how to save him.

Reactions

I have set a new record; I fell asleep four times during this movie. I did not find anything of what I saw on screen interesting or entertaining. Quite early in the movie it became clear to me that I did not care what happened to these people. I have tried to figure out the reason, but have fallen a bit short.

It could be that I did not get to know the characters well enough to empathize. The movie did after all go directly into the action, but several other times this has not lead me to care less for the characters.

Or maybe it was that they lead such different lives from me that I could not relate to their situation or actions, but after all, I can watch Star Trek and care what happens to the crew of the Enterprise, so that is probably not the reason.

In short, I have not been able to come up with an explanation for my lack of interest in the movie, nut maybe with some more time to digest the experience, it will become clearer to me.

Contemplations

The acting was good, and the main character Bess, played by Emily Watson, stood out as a stellar performance.

The story was unusual, but had both twists and turns, and plenty of action and drama. So why was I not entertained?

My temporary theory is that the answer lies in the storytelling. It was slow, kind of mundane and took it’s time to make each point in the plot. But this might be an opinion I will revise later.

I’m afraid this captain’s log leaves a lot of unanswered questions.

“Breaking the waves” did not have the Bechdel test performed on the Bechdel site, so I looked for the conditions to pass the test while watching the movie. I could not find a scene where to named female characters that had a conversation about something other than a man. Maybe not so surprising as part of the story is that Bess is to occupied by her husband and she centers her life around him. For more about the Bechdel test and some more about women in movies, read my post about Hollywood and women.

Judgement

I did not enjoy “Breaking the waves”. It was simply incredibly boring for some reason.

Epilogue

I would not recommend this movie to anyone. It is unusually sleep inducing.

Over to you

If you’ve recently seen “Breaking the waves” 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.

29 movies down. 336 to go.

If you want to get “Breaking the waves” from Amazon, here is a link for that. Although I don’t see why you would.

Tomorrow’s movie is “Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf?“. 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.

Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind

etrnal-sunshine-of-the-spotless-mind-posterAmerican romantic drama from 2004.
Starring: Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Tom Wilkinson
Director: Michel Gondry
Writers: Charlie Kaufman, Michel Gondry, Pierre Bismuth
Bechdel test: Fail

Exposition

Joel falls in love with Clementine and after a few years they break up. But the heartache is to much for them both. However, what if you could forget the other person?

Reactions

I have been more bored by other movies, but not many. I only fell asleep once though, so the movie had the ability to entertain me to some extent. The boredom might not have been entirely the fault of the movie though, as I have never really enjoyed romantic movies much.

I have seen this movie before and I had the same reaction then.  Sadly I can still not put my finger on what is wrong with any certainty. Although I will try.

Contemplations

There are several great actors in this movie and they all deliver. What they deliver is however the problem. Joel is portrayed as a quiet and sullen guy, even at his happiest, which means that his broken heart doesn’t make for much of a difference. Clementine is extrovert and seek adventure regardless of how her relationship fairs. When these two characters have broken heart they cry and yell, but do not in any other way change. It seems a little strange.

The visual aspect is nice and there are several beautiful places surrounding the characters.

The story is somehow to simple. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, or for there to be some kind of imagery or metaphor that made this movie more than just the surface, but there was nothing there. Just the shallow surface.

Judgement

I don’t want to watch “Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind” again. I think this one counts as a waste of my time.

Epilogue

I would not recommend this movie to anyone. It is just a bore.

Over to you

If you’ve recently seen “Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind” 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.

20 movies down. 345 to go.

If you want to get “Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind” 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 “Cast away“. 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.

Tootsie

tootsie-posterAmerican romantic comedy from 1982.
Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Jessica Lange, Teri Garr
Director: Sydney Pollack
Writers: Larry Gelbart, Murray Schisgal, Don McGuire,
Bechdel test: Fail

Exposition

The struggling actor Michael Dorsey, halfway as a joke, dresses up as a woman and auditions for a part on a daytime soap. He gets the part and has to pretend to be a woman full time in order to make a living. An additional complication arises when Michael falls for one of his new colleagues.

Reactions

I have seen “Tootsie” before and I loved it. It is a funny and heartfelt story about gender roles and expectations.  The various realizations that Michael has about female grooming, clothing, sexual harassment and behavioral restrictions are realistic without being overly preachy.

I once saw an interview with Dustin Hoffman on playing a woman and it is a little moving. Here is a report on the interview.

Contemplations

“Tootsie” is just a wonderful story about a sweet, but a little bit ignorant, man who is enlightened and becomes somewhat less ignorant. It is not overly complicated, but the minor entanglements that pretending to be a woman makes, are funny and enjoyable.

The audio and visuals are quite unobtrusive and don’t really make any particular impression.

The acting of Dustin Hoffman is amazing. He really transforms, more than a visually, when he dresses in drag. This is the performance of a lifetime.

Judgement

I would not mind seeing this movie again, and I probably will. I would like to see an updated version of the movie though. Some of the developments in social media and internet communication has changed things for women and made these pressures we go through maybe even harder, so that would be a good story for today.

There is even pressure to look “just right” even when your body is making a whole new person, as detailed in this article about Kim Kardashian’s pregnancies. That might not be the best possible story line for an updated Tootsie, but there is no lack of possible angles to explore.

Epilogue

I would recommend that everyone watch “Tootsie” at least once in their life. Understanding some of the basic pressures that women experience is important and the movie is funny as well, so just sit back and enjoy.

Over to you

If you’ve recently seen “Tootsie” 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.

17 movies down. 348 to go.

If you want to get “Tootsie” 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 “La Haine“. 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.

Munna Bhai M.B.B.S.

munna-bhai-posterIndian comedy from 2003.
Starring: Sunil Dutt, Sanjay Dutt, Arshad Warsi
Director: Rajkumar Hirani
Writers: Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Rajkumar Hirani, Lajan Joseph, Abbas Tyrewala
Bechdel test: Fail

Exposition

Murli Prasad “Munna Bhai” Sharma is an Indian mafia leader, but has told his parents that he is a doctor. When they suddenly decide to visit from their village Murli and his crew must make their regular headquarters look like a clinic for the needy. The parents are fooled until they set up a meeting with a prospective bride for Murli, and she turns out to be an actual doctor. From there hilarity ensues.

Reactions

First of all, I liked the movie, there were however some culture clashes for a regular westerner viewer. For instance the parents of Murli setting him up on a date, and with a prospective bride to boot, was completely alien. The mother’s overly dramatic plea to see grandchildren before she died, seemed quite familiar though.

I have not seen this or any other Bollywood movie before, and this was a nice intro to the genre. I don’t really know how representative it is, but it is the highest rated Indian movie on IMDb so I assume it is regarded quite favorably by the target audience.

A little bit into the movie I realized that the title was a joke, so I will try to explain the concept to any other foreign viewers. “Munna” is translated to English as “Brother”, and is a moniker that only members of the mafia calls one another. And M.B.B.S. is a medical degree, so “Munna Bhai M.B.B.S.” means “Doctor mafia brother Bhai”.

This movie did not have the Bechdel-test performed on it on the Bechdel test site already, but there were no scenes with two named women without one of the male characters having center stage. I will say that the movie does not pass the Bechdel test.

Contemplations

The story is typical for a light hearted romantic comedy; far fetched and entertaining. They do try to get a message across, that doctors should see patients as individuals and not become bureaucrats.

All the actors were just fine in their roles and they also had to be able to sing and dance, which they did well. That is what makes this movie fun; the colorful musical numbers. It is everything that I would expect from a musical; people suddenly bursting into song and folks in the streets joining in complex dance choreography. Brilliant.

The remainder of the music, the regular film music, was reminiscent of the 80’s though. It didn’t fit with the movie and was quite a bit to dominating on several occasions.

The main character, played by Sanjay Dutt, has a more ordinary look than the polished Hollywood actors which makes the character relatable. This might not be the case for Indian viewers though, as they might have a different ideal for male beauty.

The musical numbers were fun and catchy and the choreography was visually inventive and fun. (At least to someone not used to Bollywood.)

Judgement

I would definitely watch this movie again. There were many weird things, maybe especially regarding gender roles, but it was fun and entertaining. In fact I was so entertained by the movie that I will try to find the time to watch the sequel where Murli goes on another adventure. This time he is helped by Mahatma Gandhi who only he can see. The concept of that plot is just crazy enough so that I have to see it.

Epilogue

I would recommend this movie to others, pretty much regardless of who they are. I think everyone knows what to expect from a Bollywood movie, even if they haven’t seen one before, so there should be no need to explain much beforehand either.

Over to you

If you’ve recently seen “Munna Bahi M.B.B.S” 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.

14 movies down. 351 to go.

If you want to get “Munna Bahi M.B.B.S” 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 Elephant man“. 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.