Welcome to FilmProphet.com
> Online Since August 2003!

Film Prophet's Movie Reviews Page 10

 

The Prestige (2006)
Starring Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson, David Bowie, Rebecca Hall

Film Prophet's Review...
Christopher Nolan's non-linear movie engineers scientific possibilities indicting dangers of perpetual toil and antagonism to obsession. The amazing script by Nolan and his brother give a rivalry a new perverse perspective. The crafty storyline surprises are thought-provoking and clever to tamper with. Bale and Jackman play devoted onetime partners and now rival magicians in gaslight London who battle each other for stage secrets. Each envies the other's secrets in completing the act. Angier, Jackman, has the showmanship talent while Borden, Bale, is about the trick itself. The men contest about predicaments and moral ethics about tricks in show business. Their sacrifices into work by designing illusions devour them in being the front runner in the rivalry rather than realizing what really matters. The duel is so seductive and unremitting during their battle of intellects. Often they communicate to each other about tricks through their eyes, but what appears ordinary in the film sometimes sets up the film’s own tricks. It sustains a tone of false impressions by misdirecting the audience's attention. There are three timelines to conceal the movie's own surprising secrets in its perplexing and entertaining written plot. The plot is so well written and the direction is superb centering on the main characters. The changing cluttered narrative swings from Caine’s voiceover to diary entries written by Bale and Jackson as this movie’s editing does not unfold the story chronologically like in Nolan’s Memento. The pieces come together when the entire movie finishes up. Various flashbacks of acts shape the present to develop the magicians. They are used as a misdirection device to keep the audience tuned into the final solving ambiguity in the magical act of the prestige. Additionally, this review itself can be a prestige by not writing or explaining the trickery of the film's premise. The movie title refers to the third and final part of a magician's successful trick by bringing the ordinary back shockingly. The greatest trick that explores this consumption is The Transported Man and Angier’s obsession with discovering Borden's secret about it. Angier wants an explanation that is more elaborate and complicated then what he is being told. ‘As soon as you give up a secret, you’ll be nothing to them. Never show anyone. They'll beg you. The secrets will impress no one and the trick you use it for is everything.’ There are hefty accents in the Victorian England setting and there are some very dull colors of browns and blacks with dark lighting. The stage tricks repeats for the movie audience in front of different crowds on screen. Neither man plug in his show to the crowd and there is no marketing technique. It is about the design to outdo one another in the following show or sometimes during the act. The acts of vengeance against one another are gripping such as sequences of incognito disguises surprising one another as crowd volunteers. They go about stealing tricks and doing it better or sabotaging the other's success. Their bitter rivalry has its consequences of obsession and insanity deceptions.

Final Grade: B+/B

Marie Antoinette (2006)
Starring Kirsten Dunst, Jason Schwartzman, Rip Torn, Molly Shannon, Steve Coogan, Rose Byrne

Film Prophet's Review...
Sofia Coppola’s costume period piece accounts of a naive young girl in 1774 who became the queen of France before the French Revolution. Marie-Antoinette, Dunst, is supposed to partake to achieve an alliance between Austria and France by marrying Louis XVI, Schwartzman, the grandson of King Louis XV, Torn. Though she noticeably does not for several reasons that aren’t really towards her and things get worse in Versailles. She inhabits the traditions and customs of queen privileges as attendants dress her and keep track of her at all times. After the movie production finished, it was a long wait till the national release, but that sometimes means the publicity plunges during the course of the year and that is true for this movie. The art direction and set designs were fine, but with all that time and effort going into designing the sets, a script with just a few lines where a chunk are cheap jokes from the supporting characters was poor. Jason Schwartzman is not one to imagine as Louis XVI, still he never says or does anything interesting during the movie as there is little conjugal relations between Louis and his wife. The contemporary music attempts modern Marie in order to humanize the queen, but then it switched back and forth between classical and eighties rock. The movie is slightly joyful; there is no dramatics. They are involved in gossip parties to talk about diamonds, sex, and champagne, the trivial things. There was really no plot or narrative and the second half did not pick up and fell apart even more The casually strung together scenes are leisurely paced with the lack of spoken dialogue as Marie moves along and is told where to go next. Sofia has a tendency to direct in silence and some vague areas to work in her favor. The story is the growth of Marie surrounding the social context of this time, but in fact they hardly socialized with each other. Dunst was never a problem. She fit in her role inherently in every scene as the ordinary folk just gawk in her walking presence because no words are communicated. The dresses and set layouts do the speaking, not literally. The audience sees what she sees and it is nothing but mere facial expressions of wealthy shallow people dressed in neat costumes. In a scene, servants and others aid the new young royal married couple when they enter bed together for the night. Other scenes consist of Marie sitting in her bed and other girls fancying their clothing care displaying new outfits and shoes as instrumental or rock music carries on. It isn't about politics; it's about Marie-Antoinette’s tranquil unfortunate times at Versailles featuring mostly stubborn people. The people are also phony. She claps for ten seconds when no one else does then everyone does to follow and support her when an opera number ended. She was a frivolous, not realizing what is happening out of her borders, such as France’s bread shortages and debt. She wanders around uninhabited locations doing nothing so she is unfairly blamed for the economic troubles of France. The movie ignores history just as she does in Versailles and she is not of concern until things get bad. At the end, she is being blamed by crowds of people and tide turns against her. She didn't ask for any of this extreme constant treatment and supervision like a spoiled light-hearted martyr.

Final Grade: C+/C

Freaks (1932)
Starring Olga Baclanova, Wallace Ford, Leila Hyams, Harry Earles

Film Prophet's Review...
Director Tod Browning has a cast partly of living humans playing as real-life circus spectacles who are deformed, short, and unpleasant to the public eye. They are circus sideshow freaks in the practical world. Although, none of their acts are shown to display in a crowd which don’t matter anyways, the one that truly carries the weight shows up right at the start of the film. A carnival barker hypes a sideshow freak in front of a small crowd and tells her story, which the movie proceeds. The movie audience doesn't see what she looks in the first minute but only hearing the crowd of disgust. A beautiful but callous high-wire artist, Cleopatra, later marries a circus midget, Hans, who inherited millions. She plots with her strongman lover to poison him to death for his money. In retaliation, the freaks in a herd protect the midget and get even with them, hideously. Ahead of its time, the unusual, gothic cult movie was banned in several countries for a long time, eventually inspiration lots of modern monster movies with similar themes. The freaks are abnormal in a way. Some are with no legs walking on hands, or with distorted heads and treated worse than children. The movie is not always seen for the right reasons, but many people can't look past what they see or hear with those voices. Along with other regular people in the circus, muscle man Hercules humiliates the poor Hans, who gets some sympathy from concise teases. Frieda, acted by Daisy Earles, as her midget sister crying at the opposite end of a table to Hans from laughs at him during the wedding feast sequence is very affecting. Running at a little over an hour, the other characters in the circus are not of importance. Some though are physically deformed people, such as conjoined twins and hermaphrodites, than having costumes, makeup, and technology as the freaks. Some argue that freaks are the normal ones in the movie and the normal ones are the freaks. Cleopatra is originally accepted by the freaks admiring her beauty, but she revolts and mocks them soon enough. Consequently, she is deprive of inane humanity and gets disfigured somehow off-screen. She will still nevertheless be part of the carnival, but the visitors will be viewing her in a cage instead. Themes are how outer beauty does not inevitably link to inner qualities and no matter how many times the freaks appear, they are just freaks in the film by appearance despite any inner qualities still labeling them as freak. Others are of course greed as Cleopatra is cold-hearted after all and what lies between normal and abnormal. The movie builds to its memorable climax moment of a dark rainy storm night where the freaks extract vengeance transforming beauty to one of theirs, but even more monstrous and shocking and that is that is horror by being reduced to a hideous outward appearance.

Final Grade: B

The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
Starring Lon Chaney, Mary Philbin, Norman Kerry, Arthur Edmund Carewe, Gibson Gowland

Film Prophet's Review...
At the Opera of Paris, a mysterious, lonely phantom forces a famous singer to give up her role to his unrequited love and unknown singer Christine. Christine meets this phantom, a masked man, in the catacombs lair underground, where he lives. Lon Chaney plays the bitter and vengeful phantom hiding a deformed face behind a mask who terrifies the Opera Garnier causing murder and mayhem in an attempt to impose the management to make the woman a star. He continues to be rejected and becomes infatuated by his understudy soprano and takes her under his wing when Christine continues to see her fiancé Raoul. The universal story is told numerous times in all sorts of entertainment forms and kinds originating from a French novel. It is of high reputation and the timeless concept of the Phantom still fascinates. This movie is not a musical as there is no singing since it is a silent film. In the romance, horror fiction, and mystery macabre, they imitate singing, no lyrics are sound, but just over a short amount of time. There are no voices, just a harmony of the score, so the phantom does organ playing than singing to influence, entrap, and enchant Christine. The falling chandelier right in the middle of the crowd seating, the famous unmasking scene, and most of the underground lake scenes are the real extravaganza detections in the film. The ambition and curiosity is right away in the story with no holding back with the gossip describing facial appearance of what others in the play have seen, as the phantom leaves illegible notes behind. On the downside of things, the two-color Technicolor was awkward near the end with the title cards and screen. It is sometimes blurry, noisy, too dark or just too white, shaky, and unclear. It is not fully dynamic only by music in the flow of things and drains of energy in the three quarters. However, it is more grotesque and has more booby-trapped tunnels than in any later version, which is for the better. The makeup, eyes, and posture for Chaney are frightening, exemplary in dark tones used to heighten the evil and anger. Before the audience sees the hideous skull ghosting face, viewers first sees him as Christine does, under a mask and as a cloaked figure. He develops a penchant for vanishing and roaming around the cellars. The movie is more about him than romance, the play, or the trivial characters so it is closely related to the title, as it all points to the phantom. Often disappointed many times by the following attempts movies have made at bringing this story to the screen, nothing compares to the original story in this silent film. It is the best version of story, but because contemporary audiences are way too familiar with it about a century later, it loses the novelty touch of first exposure.

Final Grade: B-

Pan's Labyrinth (2006)
Starring Ivana Baquero, Maribel Verdú, Sergi López, Doug Jones, Roger Casamajor

Film Prophet's Review...
Guillermo del Toro's Spanish fairy tale unfolds a fantasy and war saga mixed with horror elements that is really an adult fairy tale. In early forties Civil War northern Spain, a twelve year old girl, Ofelia, moves with her ailing pregnant mother and Fascist Captain stepfather into a new home in the countryside cut off from a lot of things but the war still lingers. Ofelia follows a small fairy to a dense labyrinth maze near the farmhouse. She meets a faun who tells her that she is the reincarnation of the underworld kingdom's princess. Her spirit is the long-lost princess and the daughter of the king. Combining historical family drama and fantasy myths to horror opens territory that’s groundbreaking in storytelling borders. Much of the fantasy is overshadowed by the civil war subplot involving a brutal captain who is too bold and ruthless. This plays a key comparison in comparing war and fantasy to horror simultaneously weaving in an adult storyline that Toro directs attention to the evils of war. The Captain and Ofelia’s father is easily a sadistic character with his violent oppressing constraints. Ofelia's fairy tales resemble the harsh war times that are brutal as horror in the ordinary present world. Dignity is destroyed by the Captain’s threatening violence to others, but yet the film looks stunning despite its captivating immortality dilemmas as he is a vicious leader on the protagonist side for quote some time. The harsh drama of the military fighting the insurgents to torture and death is another method to the complex of sadness. The movie appears of a mainstream look with stunningly beautiful textures, but it has unusual human struggles in a cold dreamlike state with exasperation. There are a few fantasy sequences where Ofelia attempts to complete grueling tasks that’ll take her to be the princess of the underworld. It is a race to seek the full princess status. The visual effects and imagery in the fairy tale imagery are vivid.... the magical cinematography and symbols include a mysterious passageways, long narrow green trees, bright flies as pixies, creepy small or big insects buzzing, a fat toad, magic chalk, and a fantasy structure with the walls. The Pale Man, the guardian of the labyrinth, adds height to the horror and his sequence is the most striking part in all of the film. Ofelia, who is never really scared and has no screams, has this book that narrates a story and draws itself as she turns the pages, though the fairies and the story behind the Pale Man are left hazy. The mother, captain, and daughter relationship surrounding duties and the unborn son heads into the movie as the book of fantasy slowly turns its pages as it is heavy about the cruel and abusive control of the Captain and father. The movie's creatures and pixies enchant myth and terror for truth and splendor in an engrossing imagination mixing the dread of the Spanish Civil War.

Final Grade: B+/B

Battle Royale (2000)
Starring Tatsuya Fujiwara, Aki Maeda, Taro Yamamoto, Takeshi Kitano, Chiaki Kuriyama, Kou Shibasaki

Film Prophet's Review...
Japanese students must kill each other in order to survive. One school class per year in Japan is selected by lottery to go to a deserted island and obliged to kill each other with one remaining alive. In the upbringing, they have protested against the school system and the adults begin to worry, so the government created a program in which students are selected go to an island handed with weapons separated to hunt and kill each other until one remains to become the winner. A new class this year of forty-one ninth grade students is drugged up and end on the island. They have to fight each other for three days until there only remains one left. They all have a metal collar around their neck so that the officials can track positions and detect a pulse, and it will explode by breaking rules or being in a danger zone that lights up by daily schedule. They are forced right into the action without an alert and they are unaware of what is leading up. The government discipline on the youth is ultramodern and sadistic, but the drama the movie provides is gripping. It's a ludicrous idea, strikingly original with the direction by Kinji Fukasaku, as the exploration of the sinister idea is convincing with creative violence on sensitive material revolving around the problems with Japanese youth. Based on a novel, the film is close to being an anime style. It is far-fetched and unbelievable, so suiting for an anime format. Deaths occur frequently and it is brutal never knowing when one will go. The screen documents the deaths in text in sequential order of occurrence. The beginning with their seventh grade teacher physically abusing them in front of class strikes a concern and the thought of the youth being slain by mates in a coercion is more unbearable than the subsequent because all the knife stabs and such are expected then. Most do not have reason to kill and play before witnessing deaths. They all react to the program differently; some are harmless or aggressive and it shows how all of the students cope. The middle of the movie is fatal as most are wounded, injured, exhausted, or just chilling out. Most of the students are submissive throughout while others students savor the opportunity. It all depends on attitudes once they are out there and a big difference is their different bags of weapons they were handed. Some have sharp shooting arrows, handguns, big guns, stun guns, axes, or little of a weapon like a pot lid. These can be used as intimidation forms of protection, even though they are untrained in weapons as many of the characters were equated down with their weapons. The characters stay true, testing best friendships, leaving messages of farewell behind before game begins, and the tragedy sets up after they leave the classroom on the island. It is clear which students will last toward the final showdown with those who have more killing or background scenes. Photographs remind them with some flashbacks to normal times to gradually know the main characters. Life at stake and motivations to carry on creates friction between teenagers in the game of elimination. “Really trusting someone is a hard thing to do.” The viewer ponders what he or she would probably do in a situation like this with the reluctance and paranoia. There are not many plans or strategies because everything is so quick and they are young. Complex questions are regarded with the film’s futuristic and social issues… the shift from the childhood to adulthood through the thirst for blood and violence. The students do share childlike qualities, by being kind and having frisky attitudes, but it is not for long. Friendships and loyalties part ways, hate shapes, and the motivation to survive increases for the fight for survival. “And then, I'm glad I found true friends.”

Final Grade: B

The Wolf Man (1941)
Starring Lon Chaney Jr., Evelyn Ankers, Claude Rains, Ralph Bellamy, Warren William

Film Prophet's Review...
Larry Talbot, Chaney, returns from America to his father’s mansion home in Wales after the death of his brother. He visits a fortune teller at gypsy camp in the woods with two females and soon after Larry attacks a wolf in which attacked one of the women after her palm reading. Larry heard her scream and ran in that direction and beats the wolf to death with his silver cane, but also gets bit. The view the audience sees is between a tree trunk when this happens. Detectives, doctors, and cops, Larry’s father’s pals, and other villagers join in a hunt for the wolf as if the small village is obsessed with werewolves. Claude Rains, Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, and Lon Chaney Jr. are the top men who portray legendary monsters in early black and white films. Universal Studios was money and three of them are present in this film. Lugosi has a small cameo role as a gypsy, the fortune teller who foresees the fate of the wolf attacks. The cast provides acute acting and this is perhaps Chaney’s signature role. Chaney is excellent as the bothered man and Rains assists wholly as his father. Chaney excels in his role as Larry Talbot and the Wolf Man who is a likable tragic figure; a victim to the werewolf's prey in torment. Maria Ouspenskaya is notable as the gypsy woman who only knows about the truth of Larry’s werewolf status kind. The film comprises of this in agony, but not much in dealing with the aspects of the full autumn moon folklore of the werewolf tales. The makeup art effects on the transformation from man to wolf is neat and elapses over time, haunting feet up, then terror strikes and the English speech breaks down to howls. The forest is foggy, the woods are dense, and the fog covers the ground in almost each scene at night. It’s about in the middle of the film when Larry turns into the Wolf man and he can't help himself from turning into a werewolf. There is humanity beneath the horror because the beast can not control himself till death. ‘Gwen, I won’t need this, I want you to have it, it will protect you.’ A silver wolf cane in a jewelry store with a lady of interest arises the first werewolf talk. After an early romance, it is fast and alarming, and strange things follow Larry. The werewolf lycanthropy with the full bright moon, pentagram marking, and silver bullets are covered very briefly in talks after the first attacks. The full moon wasn't fully capitalized, but the frantic occurrences confuse him and everyone to know what exactly is happening in the entrapping story.

Final Grade: B-/B

Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)
Starring Richard Carlson, Julie Adams, Richard Denning, Nestor Paiva, Whit Bissell

Film Prophet's Review...
Often forgotten when naming the leading legendary monsters in horror films, the name of this creature is the title of the movie, or some call him Gill-Man. He lives under water, no not a mermaid, but a human fish creature unknown and unbelievable as sole kind of its species. A scientific expedition searching for fossils along the Amazon River discover a prehistoric living creature still alive. The fossils they recently found indicate that some Devonian Period monster may still be lurking in the territories of the Amazon. This original story sets in mysterious Black Lagoon, where the crew has close encounters with the Gill-Man, who lives under water and is just defending his turf. The image mostly associated with the web-footed creature is carrying a woman in his arms. However, the creature is not mimicked, lampooned, or recreated as frequent as others. The fifties were seen as inferior to the thirties with the boom of the extraterrestrial science-fiction start. Many other old monster movies have scenarios of beauty and beast like King Kong, though there is perhaps less than a few minutes of that here on and off. The creature is enamored with the leading lady, Julie Adams, very quickly. Remarkably well produced especially by fifty standards, it is stationed in one locale on a small ship on water that just stays there waiting for the gill-man to appear. It’s technically crafty at its time without looking tacky. There are neat underwater scenes with a portable moving camera when a couple of the scientists go scuba diving and searching. Those scenes are aided with melodious music and the stream of the gill-man in there with them. Camera angles are also coming from under the sea looking up to the surface, think Jaws, where a female is swimming freely and undisturbed. The creature’s toiling with the small ship's crane net in the water is natural horror, a sign that the crew is out of comfort zone. The creature’s early horrific ensnaring of man-handling two men under a tent is photographed exceedingly. The underscore of the movie remains to be the sighting of the gilled creature any time on screen. This includes when the music hits and his webbed fingers approaches the out of the water to land in the beginning. He is timely anticipated withholding the imposing figure. His appearances are balanced and in one scene, the spotlight from the ship at night shows the first full showing out of water, leading to a dark underground cave of hideout. The direction has an excellent full capacity of the creature with the crew battling below and above water taking place right around the ship. The unprepared scientist explorers do carry along sharp arrow weapons in their constant hunt as he reappears and strays away in the water. The philosophical dispute between business and scientific research creates plenty of troubles for the crew who some want to take back for credit. ‘We're off for photographs of studies, not trophies - bring back the real thing.’ The lines are humorous, and sharp like the camera shots. ‘We must have the proof!’ For instance, the shot of an injured man in the bed where the camera shows an open window nearby and the creature’s hand is reaching over is absolute astonishing. The music comes to a vivid crescendo when the creature appears and then struggles to survive against mankind and civilization to the eventual end.

Final Grade: B/B+

Halloween (1978)
Starring Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasence, P.J. Soles, Brian Andrews, Nancy Kyes

Film Prophet's Review...
Several particular movies don't call for reviews. This is one that doesn't yield a review because it is a movie in its own. At the same time, it's in the elite of its genre to discuss and it’s the uprising and foundation of the slasher suspense film in horror cinema making. Some would say this is the most dominant type of horror in comparisons with modern day. That is very true, but to review a movie most people know about and have seen countless number of times is in assessment with every movie, not just one genre where the majority is bad. In the movie, the entire setting is around the day of Halloween and then finishing through its night. The film begins in dawn with a lit jack o lantern against a black backdrop and the memorable and recognizable soundtrack score. The age is young Michael Myers and what the vision features is two eye peek holes from a mask, striking his sister to death in their home on Halloween night. Fast forward fifteen years, the menacing Myers escapes from a psychiatric hospital and visits his hometown while creeping three high school female babysitting friends who soon become the targets of the unstoppable figure. His doctor is in pursuit of the convincing sadistic villain, the ultimate boogeyman. Doctor Sam Loomis attempts to track and stop Myers and believes he has been looking forward to this one Halloween night. He arrives in the small suburb in Illinois, in which the suburb setting is also key… making it connect with the night where Halloween essentially exists. As his doctor says, he has no reason, no conscious of understanding. There are no motives to threatening teenagers visible to the audience, only allowing them to guess. That may be the mere drawback to a thin plot, but that is behind the villain. Michael never speaks one word to anyone and his thoughts if any are kept to him self away from the audience, but his actions are indulging and lasting. The audience hears his breathing, but as inhuman he is, he disappears into the night shadows as he gradually closes in his terror on the girls. He lurks in the wide open though in secret. Michael Myers has incredible stalking speed. Laurie, Curtis, catches the occasional sight of him standing dissonantly on lawns and corners. John Carpenter's directing and crafty camera tilting works the personal point of view of Myers so effectively. This approach is returned too every so often with the musical score. Every frame from his eyesight consists of stylistic techniques. In one scene, he look onwards from school gates without a head or face showing and again, the camera excels. Sometimes the camera positions as if Michael is always watching from the street looking onwards to the characters, even when he isn't, especially in daylight… that is how excellent the camera work. Sometimes he is actually there in a stolen station wagon riding by. Another major reason for the success of Halloween is the musical score composed by a piano melody. The frequent tune appears almost by the minute, as Michael appears in places to a glimpse then disappearing immediately with a second look. The cinematography is great and the musical score adds to the atmosphere considerably, cunningly creepy. The final body count is relatively low in terms of the sequels. There are no gratuitous twists or gore to gross the audience in scares. Carpenter makes the deaths scary rather than just disgusting. Noted often for Jamie Lee Curtis’ breakthrough screaming role and the iconic Michael Myers character, the film has led a spree of sequels with some revolving around Myers. Curtis does not scream until the last fifteen minutes, where Myers is not speeding on feet, just patiently walking and the audience never sees him run, such a cliché contemporary. Though none of the sequels completely match up to this John Carpenter’s original film, Myers proves to be immune to permanent death in its chilling conclusion.

Final Grade: B+/A-

The Wicker Man (1973)
Starring Edward Woodward, Britt Ekland, Christopher Lee, Diane Cilento, Ingrid Pitt, Aubrey Morris

Film Prophet's Review...
Sergeant Howie travels to an island called Summerisle to investigate the disappearance of a young girl. He discovers that the people are uncanny and unhelpful in this secluded society to the public world, but he is determined to get to the bottom of the disappearance. Weird people doing weird things in a weird place do not necessarily express a horror atmosphere. The title of the film, Wicker Man, is a weird title too and it is not clear to those who don't know anything about this story and its final harsh ten minutes to what the title signifies. The film exposes, yes that is the correct word to use, a Pagan society in old customs about raising crops and the worship of vengeful gods. All of the ugly pagan rituals and situations presented are very unbelievable. The art, lighting, and costumes are bland, and the opening is slow. The painful guitar folk music accompanies the movie very frequently. Religious hymns and landscape views are covered in the movie while not a whole lot goes on but too much bad singing. The story can be thin and uninteresting because of this especially when there are no shock elements until one at the end. Howie is appalled when he sees that the schools are teaching the children about sex in very indecent ways in public sites. He hangs around for a long time till something happens. A landlords’ daughter keeps unsuccessfully attempting to seduce the devout Christian cop. Mystery and faith tying in together makes the story skewed and hard to enjoy with scare pagan values defeating Christian. There are too many odd moments in the movie which are utterly unrelated to the any plot. The movie contains folk songs performed by artificial characters in the British film with paltry lyrics. The music scores over the film during many scene transitions with more views of the meager civilization and people. The cast has also little charisma and dull lines. The abundance of constant terrible slow singing and rituals that make the story secondary is one flaw, but another one is most of the movie carries out in sunny daylight. Howie tries to figure out the place with corruption to his face and people not cooperating. There is no horror at all for an hour and a half… there are repetitive sequences of Howie questioning people in daylight about how did the girl in the photograph die or whatever for the most chunk of the movie and they all say they haven’t seen her. He watches females dancing around bonfires, again during the day, while he goes about prattling to others.

Final Grade: C-/C

The Invisible Man (1933)
Starring Claude Rains, William Harrigan, Henry Travers, Gloria Stuart, Holmes Herbert

Film Prophet's Review...
Adapted from H.G. Wells' novel, the early horror film encompasses the classic tale of a scientist turning himself invisible and carrying out the fantasy about what it would be like to be invisible, eventually causing him to coerce the countryside as an invisible killer. Claude Rains gives an unforgettable, and unseen, performance as the compelling title character. It is a remarkable feature since Claude is not seen for basically the entire movie. His distinctive voice establishes the invisible man to his vicious, but exuberance insanity. At the period of the talkie started to boom, the lead act in this movie ironically has little body language and physical acting. Dressed in pass bandages, dark glasses, and cloths to show some form of presence, it is hideous when he is partly undressed. The movie is technically surpassing at that day of age from a visual standpoint when the main title character is not on screen. Along with Claude’s voice, he is accomplished by authentic special effects that aim towards the story… moving of objects like doors opening, glasses breaking, a rocking chair, and other spectacular special effects and tricks. The visual effects make the sensation of his body room around and move through rooms and places. Although he is on screen in nearly every scene of the film, he isn’t visually present, leaving Claude’s performance to be almost a complete vocal one. The audience watches the characters in the movie from a point as he does as the audience is just like the characters as well since they can't see him. A great thing is that the audience envisions he is actually invisible the whole time he is dressed in ragged clothes. The movie begins excellent as he is already invisible seeking a shelter at a snowy inn as the wind noise outdoors adds to the effect. He turns his room into a science lab and just wants to be left alone and requests to be undisturbed. It doesn’t last long when he is seen, then tossing people down the stairs with a screaming lady. This leads to a stunning scene of him undressing in his room headless as he relishes his mad ghostly laugh. Fun and often humorous sequences follow as it is hilariously evil when he runs around and can't be stopped physically, fooling around the town. It is interesting to find out about the regulations of food and drink and like that, the script has human and scientific elements. There aren’t any talks after a minute that aren’t extraneous to the title character and his story. His friend scientists talk about how he worked in secret and is missing. The town works together in search parties to find him as the invisible man is losing his sanity. His vain and bad-tempered personality gets to him. His murder talks with his allegedly crime partner is hilarious in Claude’s deadpan tone. Momentous influence to the mad doctor subgenre, director James Whale creates a disguised mad man in the stupendous black and white atmosphere. Fantastic quotes are spread throughout the film - so, I see - you all sit there doing nothing, nothing! Universal studio horror at its best, it’s the prime of madly horror amusing movies.

Final Grade: B+

The Queen (2006)
Starring Helen Mirren, Michael Sheen, James Cromwell, Sylvia Syms, Alex Jennings

Film Prophet's Review...
The film takes an approximate glance between Queen Elizabeth II and British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s interaction in royal London following the death of Princess Diana of Wales. It documents and looks at the relevancy of the royal family to government in modern society and the period between the death and funeral of Princess Diana. Press matters into the film, by archives, as well to the characters, by television news, as most of their lines come straight from observations of what they see on television in their palace. They are politically social adults with the voting polls races landslide type of blissful chat about superiors and elections. Blair defends the Queen to the press, as they exchange mediocre advice to each other. As nervous and uncertain Blair is, the Queen is accused of not showing enough remorse. The dialogue is soft, and so it does not create intense interaction, just as how the royal tier likes it. It mixes fact by footages of Diana with fiction in dialogue by the performers. More coherent true words come from their televisions than their small opinions on it. Paparazzi follows a car around at night for a minute is the most drama or action this film depicts and it was really below average. There are no big scenes and the film is mostly slow. The set design is rather immobile, too delicate, as everything is an antique, very precious up near. The objects and furniture are set in the distance away from the characters in the background. The camera is not up close to the performers either, so there is always room for the setting and appropriate manners and gestures when meeting the queen, the title character, and calling some majesty. This is an actors' film in a way, but not a whole lot goes on in the true-life storyline and some light humor was supposedly written and so, none was etched in mind. There is no comedy in the film really though it is a Biography-Comedy. Princess Diana is captured by news reels and archives. A dozen of two second archives for several occasions during the film do not establish a storyline. In fact, it vacates the film even further, akin to the scenery. Ten minutes within after the news of death, the royal characters try to state a concern about Diana, but they are really people with few concerns so that they don't really know how to handle a misfortune like this… so they spend time looking at televisions and contacting people over the telephone... from the distance... for the entire film, because these characters in the royal level are never really close to each other or to the audience. It did not go into the relationship between the Queen and Diana which could have added credence. During the long stretch of Diana's accident, the film is proper and esteemed towards the delicate situation. The rise of modern politics to the royal family is by coping in front of their televisions and the ol’ Queen is to look glamorous with tears. Their hair and clothes always look ideal no matter what time of the day it is. It is a series of unexciting tabloid accounts and discussions with the Queen and the Prime Minister, but it all did not transmit well to the silver screen.

Final Grade: C+/C

Flags of Our Fathers (2006)
Starring Ryan Phillippe, Jesse Bradford, Adam Beach, Barry Pepper, Paul Walker, Joseph Cross, Tom Verica

Film Prophet's Review...
Directed by Clint Eastwood and screen written by William Broyles Jr. and Paul Haggis, the story focuses on heroism towards three men, Doc, Phillippe, Ira, Beach, and Gagnon, Bradford, whose lives are celebrated around the end of the Second World War for most notably raising the American flag on Iwo Jima. One photograph taken at one position at time represents fleeting interpretations from subjective beliefs to some, but for those in the photograph, a lifetime caught in the flash. The photograph of six soldiers raising an American flag on the flank of Mount Suribachi is the Japanese island commanding high point. It signaled more than just words, actually speechless relieves for Americans at home. This Pulitzer Prize winning photograph condenses victory and optimism of men in war and the six men in the picture become instant war heroes. The three who remain alive are sent to America for a tour of entrances, applause, handshakes, waving, and speeches about buying bonds to support war while mothers ask the three if their sons were in the photograph with them. They are men who are reluctant, manufactured by this and are short-lived because of it. The film opens with the photograph spread on the newspapers, as the film goes back and forth between time periods to wipe out the vagueness of the photograph and the men before and after on Japan then. Eastwood and the editing use some foreshadowing techniques in the editing that skips around in eras where key events are transpiring. This is most effective when the memories of the three soldiers are visited back to the screen that weren’t finished before, as they are completed visually to the audience. The film goes back to the battle at Iwo Jima and leads up to the flagpole truth. The arrival at the Pacific war against Japan is grinding plausible; loud gunshots, mass carnage, and sudden death that lasts for over ten minutes at the first part during the movie. The production design with the fleet ships and all is vigorous, as there are no bright colors, except one can recall the Strawberry or Chocolate part at another point in the movie. Eastwood makes it apparent how meticulous his attention to detail is, especially the casting. After neither soldier is truly introduced in the opening of the movie, they are ready to set on battleground. When the movie concentrates on the three, they develop during war and after when it matters to the story. The doctor provides immediate on battle field medical help to wounded Marine soldiers who had no chance of survival. Adam Beach as Ira plays the alcoholic Native American who endures the unconcerned racism of the era and the unwilling rise to national hero. Barry Pepper as their dedicated sergeant was magnificent in his supporting role. The reluctant men were not only were fighting for their country, but for their buddies. In one scene captured at night, a handful of Japanese men run towards and stagger American soldiers from behind in a pit. This ensued Barry Pepper's character to not shoot his rifle from a distance, rather approach the Japanese men with his long narrow knife insistently. The narration at the end of the movie is by another character who isn’t really introduced, but like the characters, the movie is not close to being ideal. Character names are tossed around who are dead men names who are not expanded in the story but only in the lasting experience of fellow soldiers. The audience does receive some inducing parts in the story of weep to mostly the three men during their causes later on in a few wrenching moments. The end product of the movie as a whole is poignant and moving. It's semi-tragic towards war that is a drama that revolves around it. Newspapers print what the home wants to see and read. The movie is a homage to the honor the dead of the war. Society creates national heroes in one jiffy who sadly fade out of the picture when the present glory is over.

Final Grade: B+/A-

The Departed (2006)
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Alec Baldwin

Film Prophet's Review...
Set in Boston, the story follows a gangster-to-cop, Damon, who infuses the police department working both sides and a young undercover cop, DiCaprio, is sent to infiltrate the Nicholson’s Irish mob during the same time. These two find out that a mole is in each respected party and neither knows about each other’s identity. Their objectives are to find out who is the mole and try not to mess up by being the mole to others on the original side. Director Martin Scorsese has a talent pool of key actors who were all tremendous in the male dominant play. Scorsese certainly brings out the best in every performer. Also, one female character is in the mix between Damon and DiCaprio holding an innocuous integral part. Nicholson savors each moment in front of the camera with improvisational excitement leading the city's most infamous organized crime in the story. The other actors occupy supporting roles grand. Ray Winstone, Mr. French as Nicholson’s nearby partner, is solid and Anthony Anderson as part of the police department has a perplexing role at couple of ending sequences. Scorsese’s load of American Gangster epics continues where two young Irish men in a Boston's Irish community pretend to be like one in brutal cop-mob activities in a dangerously and witty environment. Nicholson begins and addresses the tone of the film with a dark figure contrasting the lighted ones as the lighting captures the soul of the antagonist character. He takes a kid under his wing who grows up to be a cop, Damon. As various occupations, murders, and false accusations wind down through acts like head shootings, fist bashings, and grudges, more intricacy happens after every stressful scene for two and a half hours. This is really DiCaprio’s movie to shine in, in which he does superbly. It is paranoia confined acting for DiCaprio plus Damon over suspense in finding out identities. Secret information pass by in forms of cell phone text messages to alert the opposition party from the other side to counter plans of penetrated operations. An interesting facet is when other characters try to find out who is the rat by leaking artificial information to people in the party just to discover if somehow the false information is sent back to them from the wrong way. Sounds compound because that is what it is. Glaringly clever and tricky, the malice roots beneath the two undercover cop and mob positions from both corresponding parties are entirely sound and stimulatingly complex. The movie progresses into the minds of the audience midway when the undercover infiltrate situations blooms. The swift editing is lucid and quixotic, gliding from one scene to the next keeping the pace moving. The dialogue is stern, arrogant, and hard-nosed among the cops and mob members. Many surprises happen in unexpected plot turns and developments with so many characters at supply. The last half hour is so fast and convoluted while the first half hour is a gala on black humor through prejudice, sexual, and derogatory terms used to hilarity on heritages and professions. The entire main cast gets a piece of the incitement with some sort of ensuing encounter, but no more than Wahlberg who is excellent at this portion of a comedic relief. Away from the plot, one movie surprise is Wahlberg as scene stealer which has hardly happened before especially in all his lead work. This performance is the best of his career and Alec Baldwin and Martin Sheen as head positions in the police force also drive the film into the right direction from Scorsese.

Final Grade: A-

Les Diaboliques (1955)
Starring Véra Clouzot, Simone Signoret, Paul Meurisse, Charles Vanel

Film Prophet's Review...
Director Henri Georges Clouzot’s French black and white mystery in a psychologically gloom atmosphere ends with a message for the audience to others, ‘don't tell them what you saw.’ Two anguished women are the wife and mistress of an all-boy vicious boarding school principal and headmaster as both connive together in a scheme to murder him. The man has pompous traits nevertheless an entertaining piece. The wife is practically vulnerable of committing the crime and somewhat displaced in bewilderment, as she is dreading an escape without divorce. “I must warn you, if you miss your chance, he won't miss his.” They drown him in a bathtub after a drug dose and dump the body to let someone find it, but the body disappears. Everything went so proper that the audience shares almost half of the anxiety by the two females and they get real uneasy. This all happens at the turn of the hour before the audience starts inflowing into the story and begins wondering what happened when the movie demands an intolerable attention. The story withholds the plot developments of worries between the mounting frictions toward everyone in the story. In a frivolous start, children run around, the husband is upset over little things, and adult characters mingle without a plotline yet to fall into place until the tricks let loose near the end. Little scenes build up to the big ones… hiding and sealing evidence from others with the body carried along with them. At a careful pace, building tension slowly, it sets up patiently and soundless at steady activities by acting, editing, pacing, writing, and camerawork all moving along. There are no loud noises and music score as it’s pure acting and cinematography. The lighting is brilliant for the finale nerve-wracking sequence of stifle. Ambiguous splattered clues arise that just torture pain for them and the audience should not stop watching for a second. Excruciating suspense in full of scary scenes in between middling ones slowly drive the women paranoid. There is no chance of recognizing the clues as misdirection aims at mental pressure. The wife is a bundle of nerves and weak minded at stake, fainting occasionally with a heart condition, and the mistress is a cold blonde. Shock, mystery, ugliness, insecure worries, diabolical pawns… all words to fit the description of the final hour without going into the paranormal-like plot There are no killer antagonists, crazy people, haunted mansions, heroes, incarnations… and it still shapes up to be a horror film. The most memorable sequence is right at the end that the warping revelation can not be enlightened in words. Watch very closely.

Final Grade: B+

Pumpkinhead (1989)
Starring Lance Henriksen, Florence Schauffler, Jeff East, Cynthia Bain, Kerry Remsen, George Flower

Film Prophet's Review...
The eerie horror film of myth and decency attains a group of traveling city young adults and dirt bikers who go into a redneck country where a witch can unleash an unstoppable demon called Pumpkinhead buried under a pumpkin patch to kill anyone or group who has done iniquitous, murderous acts. The story all occurs in one long day and night near the woods. It has a persuasive angle of the father's devotion towards his young son and the grip of his resentful desires battling with an inner evil spirit, which is out of the blue terrifying. The hour before that grip is dawdling by environment in a thin intrigue. Secluded log cabins in strange tiny folk area on dry and dusty green land covers the scenery as it may be unlikely a suburban audience will connect to the surroundings. The slender presence of the witch with her flimsy speech is a memorable scene. The father resurrects a demon to extract revenge on his son’s death in a culture where money doesn't really mean much as family is his mere value. It is not a movie of various enthralling special effects or with blood and gore everywhere. The sound effects, noises, artificial fog, unnatural lighting, and score are all average and there is little build up to any of the kills in a cabin. The very mawkish characters and others frighten kids of unbelievable myths near a small grocery vegetable place before anything visually is scary. Irresponsible actions carry on and try to cause themselves to innocent people later on by dumbfounded ill outcomes on an accidental silly motorcycle mishap. They weep about drivel and they’re angry at each other for little reasons as the viewer is expected to care who won’t. It's grueling to believe and root for these foolish young adults with severe and unrealistic acting and past actions. A half of the group is wiped out in a few minutes. When one is eliminated, the others just stand there in a yards of distance away and watch and yell out the name when one is on the verge of death without doing anything to save the victim friend. Really, they are all helpless stranded to die because they’re marked and no one should help to get in the way... the unspeakable evil. Pumpkinhead’s complete physical appearance is saved in a while, but somewhat disappoints into a Xenomorph replica from Alien. It is an Alien meets Deliverance type of atmosphere. The creature effects were sometimes limited when the demon is up in the trees or on rooftops and so on. A person is slaughtered after being carried away or raised by a long gripping palm. There is nothing unique or powerful about the demon except a clever villain twist and that that demon dwells on forever.

Final Grade: C/C+

The Lost Boys (1987)
Starring Corey Haim, Jason Patric, Kiefer Sutherland, Dianne Wiest, Corey Feldman, Edward Herrmann

Film Prophet's Review...
A mother and her two sons travel to a Santa Clara in California, a teenage land of murder. At nights, the town is plagued by teenage bikers. The younger son, Haim, makes friends with two other boys who claim to be vampire hunters while the older boy, Patric, is drawn by a girl into the tribe of teenage vampires on their nocturnal spree of bloodsucking havoc. As the brother is slowly becoming one of them, mystifying complications arise during the summer vacation, populated by teenagers everywhere. The stellar top-notch music really adds to the overall sensation and ambiance, especially the track Cry Little Sister. The glam rock and clothing definitely has a teenage appeal. The acting and characters have attractive energy absolute in fun flowing consistently with light frivolous humor throughout the movie. At night, they go out to cruise the boardwalk at an amusement park and inhabit the after-dark teenage world.
The ambitious entertainment genuinely stirs amusing fear. It’s a nostalgic stunner of rowdiness in a product during its period. Enjoying the pleasures of youth, there’s a foremost splash of humor to the horror tale and the result is an exceedingly entertaining film. ‘My own brother a vampire, well you wait until mom finds out buddy.’ Danger lurks behind every character at every place. Everybody chases everybody around with lots of nightly awesome riots, wind blowing screams, and some concise special-effects gore. The vampires and other characters, stylish setting, and climatic tone create its heinous atmosphere than having too many effects. The young acting by the cast is terrific, all the way down to the dog who by the way is the greatest and smartest dog in any movie, are all having tons of wild fun with their parts especially Sutherland as the evil David. He doesn’t even need to speak a word and his face is still vivid to express that mean cool aroma. Motorcycles ride over the sand by an ocean blaring some eighties pop tune and it is still effective and entertaining without digging into a robust plotline. Ultimate allusions and teases, for instance Chinese food and falling off a bridge, leads into more hip music similar to Labyrinth. The flying vampire camera view is clever, as the movie truly creates its own world and draws viewers into its reckless journey when horror movies were cool. These vampires are not old and lonely as it shows. Joel Schumacher directs this horror film that doesn't let down in any manner with classic signs of vampirism to believe there is such a thing. The final long action sequence of house wrecking excitement is fantastic. ‘Sleep all day. Party all night. Never grow old. Never die. It's fun to be a vampire.’

Final Grade: B+/B

Beauty and the Beast (1946)
Starring Jean Marais, Josette Day, Marcel André, Michel Auclair

Film Prophet's Review...
Long before Disney made the movie an animation musical, the French were the first to display the story live action to motion picture. Unlike the Disney production, there are no fancy little characters like teapots singing tunes or anyone singing at all in that manner. There have been several adaptations, but this one, the original version directed by Jean Cocteau is considered the best screen play, though the animation version was nominated for best Oscar picture. The fairy tale about a beautiful woman kept in a magical castle by a beast is an established folktale with cultural recognition, so nothing should come to a full surprise. An elder merchant father lives in a country farm with his son, whose handsome friend wants to marry Belle, and his three daughters. Two of the daughters are real selfish and pretentious who misuse the third daughter, Belle, as a servant, though she capable of happiness. The merchant gets lost in the forest and enters a strange castle. He picks up a rose for Belle when he leaves and the beast is disgruntled because roses are the only thing he truly loves at the moment. He sentences him to death, unless he gives up one of his daughters within three days. Belle volunteers herself and lives in the castle with the Beast who is not as callous as it seems by his appearance. The black and white photography has a surreal quality in set designs in the mansion. For an example, a candelabrum is made from moving human hands out of a table. The smoky atmosphere is almost dreamy, without any modern costumes or makeup, altered by camera shots and nothing is usual in the castle. Face statues are alive, plants grow over walls, gloves are magic, doors speak, and mirrors talk. These enchanting effects make the film mythological between the coarse and moral subject in the characters’ subconscious. The anticipation of the Beast grows during the family time in the exposition. The music is extraordinary, but scarcely, and the enormous looking dresses and clothes are part of the living. Beast's first entrance is alright, but his strained voice is a strange descent. The projected enemy in the Beast is the first impression and a pre-notion associated with appeals and personal visions slightly change the interpretation later in the story through the Beast’s words and kindness rather than images, which is ironic because the film is mostly visual poetry over words. The objection of the movie is to show that the Beast is a nobleman with affection for Belle and that Belle’s sisters, brother, and his friend have some evil quality attached. The second half of that objection works when Belle hands over a diamond necklace to one of her sisters and it becomes a thread even though they aren’t astonished by the change. The Beast is dressed very subdue in jeweled velvet clad like a nobleman, but he is tempered by raw animal instincts. The romance is not convincing, rather forced, because the love is not proven emotionally and there is no sense of humor. In about ninety tender minutes, there aren’t many scenes to develop between Belle and the Beast as the Beast always rushes into asking for marriage, right away. The Beast comes right out and tells Belle about his inner-self, but there is not enough showing like the expressions in the Disney animation. He tries to entice her over time with magic, hospitality, repeating proposals, and kind words without even discussing about each other. Belle is not in love with the Beast over the course of the film until she talks to her father when she returns that she is going back on her deed. It does not suggest how Belle came to love the Beast so quickly. The brother’s friend who was supposed to marry Belle is jealous and plans to kill the Beast, but he is really a prey to the Beast’s humane wishes of seeing her. No one is in disbelief of what the Beast is capable of, but suddenly jealously and curiosity are strong negative themes coming from them. At times coming to the end, the sublime dialogue is plain and dry like cardboard. The characters are stationary walking through slowly in a big house, magic fortress. Beginning as a Once upon a time quote in text from the director, the happy ending is a disappointment to many to see the Beast change into just another superficially pretty guy. The ending sequence with the mystic arrow is great, but after that the final piece is abrupt and futilely bizarre.

Final Grade: B

The Howling (1981)
Starring Dee Wallace, Patrick Macnee, Dennis Dugan, John Carradine, Elisabeth Brooks

Film Prophet's Review...
Popular TV newswoman, Karen White, Wallace, is sent away with her husband to a country resort by her doctor on a retreat after a traumatized experience with a sexual predator when helping the police lure the killer. The opening of the movie is static much like the acting: a droning street atmosphere, contact immediately with the serial killer including some inadequate radio transmission, and a dubious story to begin with. The resort evidently has strange residents and it is clear during a long folk campfire sequence of people hiding who they truly are. Karen hears strange howling noises at night and that is because the country resort is run by odd people who are all werewolves. The adults and others victims are feeble and while there is no big dilemma or drama between them, the film’s subject with werewolves horror is somewhat disappointing really until last dozen of minutes. In the mawkish narrow, slow story, the humor is nonexistent when it tries lousy at doing so. It’s low-budget and dated, and the werewolf craze in the early eighties was its spark at time. Consisting of a very prototypical horror backdrop, the material is brainless and shallow like the characters. At partial times are an alarming one high pitched music score in the background, unsettling voices, crass sound effects, and gory flesh. However, all of these things are kept short and hazy at temporary escalated heights. The colors are dulls and the setting has a hideous interior as some scenes act redundant. Sometimes strange or just boring lacking alluring occurrences to be haunted by, a blonde woman is the protagonist and the movie counts on her being frighten and terrorized but that hardly happens in the first hour as one may expect. She battles with her subconscious instead and the dangers that surround her. The audience is disgusted with what she sees, but entertained whilst watching even though how horribly bad and impractical it really is. ‘He's one of us now.’ The effects were probably considered impressive over twenty years ago, but about three minutes is spent on one semi-grotesque mutation. Despite the final dozen minutes, most of the wolf action and sightings appear in small cabin brawls during the daylight. These wolves occasionally act like vampires with teeth and biting, but there is a distinct difference. The movie does hold off on the werewolf appearance before revealing the pulsating hairy transformations, which soon become cyclical and extended.

Final Grade: C

The Black Dahlia (2006)
Starring Josh Hartnett, Aaron Eckhart, Scarlett Johansson, Hilary Swank, Mia Kirshner, Fiona Shaw

Film Prophet's Review...
Author James Ellroy's forties novel based on the murder of Elizabeth Short delved into the lives of Los Angeles cops and fraud. The lackluster direction by Brian De Palma and the depiction on the graphic storyline with a noble cast lineup goes sour and adapts the book unpleasantly. Sgt. Lee Blanchard, Eckhart, and Officer Bucky Bleichert, Harnett, are two ex-boxers who become cops involved in a hunt for the killer who mutilated Short whose corpse was found on the edge of a vacant lot in a tireless investigation that was notoriously unsolved. Proven actresses play dress-up with vamp appeal in a noir conventional atmosphere. Johansson’s character kept changing entreats, and Swank’s Irish accent also kept changing from bad, to none, to decent, and repeats. The movie concentrated on the style than the actual content from the book and it was being too hard to be natural and ended up being unnatural. The sun shining out of windows and the shades of curtains that reflect accordingly is quite fascinating. Mia Kirschner, as Short generates more impact in black and white flashbacks from footage archives that was ostensibly more than enough than all the other parts together. The purpose of scenes flew terribly and jumps to the next botched scene of no real introduction or resolution to anything. The conversations have sentences with no more than three words attached from terrible lines. They act stern and sprinkle goofy squat lines. The movie is so long-winded that a viewer would turn off the brain because the lines certainly weren't attracting it. The confusing plot with too much and incoherent at times is just bad. The inexplicable physical attraction is deceiving, unrewarding, and diluted inconsistent with convoluted demeanors and it disgraces Elizabeth Short who is cut short once again. The movie is not even about her and bar from her, it is purely fictional. Not a single scene is about her; rather it just shows her acting auditions. Pointless acts of violence are placed in order to develop Harnett's character which failed along with his distraught voiceover. Harnett as Bucky falls for Kay Lake, Johansson, Lee's girlfriend and Madeleine Linscott, Swank, serving as unnecessary subordinates in an out of the ordinary mess. It is exhaustion from the beginning that was slow with fast confusing editing, awful joking lines, and an absent plotline. It ended up being about two male detectives showing up at endless city crime without any backdrops to any of it and turns out to be vague for a long time then over-plotted at last. Roger Rabbit has a hundred to one proportion of clear and entertaining adventures than this film. The concrete title story serves as one of the subparts to Bucky’s fractured and confused, unrealistic and implausible, life which is a movie about him. He spends more time residing with each female than investigating the core of the title story during the center of the anti-climatic film and it leaves little time to wrap up the movie’s end considerately.

Final Grade: C-/D

Faust (1926)
Starring Gösta Ekman, Emil Jannings, Camilla Horn, Frida Richard

Film Prophet's Review...
The German doctor myth legend Johann Georg Faust who has been displayed in several sorts of entertainment mediums such as operas and comic books arrives very potent in this German silent film directed by F.M. Murnau. The story surrounds a plague in early sixteenth century between a fictional battle of God and Satan’s war over earth to obtain souls. They wager on the soul of Faust, an old long bearded prayerful alchemist. People have cried for help to his way during the spreading famine and disease as if he is the only savior on the planet so Satan sends Mephisto, a chief demon, to tempt Faust with his return to youth in exchange for the end of the plague and misery. Murnau’s artistic style, considering when it was made, was super technical and sometimes downright ghastly combining with the story standpoint of supernaturalism. The makeup and costume designs, the textures and lighting where most of the frames are blacked out, all look quite authentic and surrealistic. Sometimes clay model prototypes are used, or life size puppets in an enormous fog and raging steam of sights and acting motions. The detail in the special effects is nightmarish with twisted small areas even though the movie covers the entire universe of ground and air, flying on cloudy floors, and vast dark images to astound the strangeness of its horror. All of the sets and characters look quite sinister. There’s long camera pauses, nudged editing that every object on screen is always vanishing or altering with the smoke, and Murnau pulls out many materials for the sets to establish a sinister atmosphere. It does well expressing the story if someone didn’t have sound because the images are so staggering and the acting cordially states the expressions and gestures. ‘The portals of the darkness are open and the shadows of the dead hunt over the Earth.’ There is no spare time chat; every cue and title is lyrical mixed with an omniscient unfolding. After Faust is enticed, the story embraces a love angle merely by spell and potion for the rest of the way and the ominous matter in the beginning slowly disappears. The film never quite recovers from this. Murnau’s Nosferatu is still the better film because there is one central character confining inducement the whole time. In this film, there are small doses of supernatural matters contrasting with humanity in short time spans but there is not a lot focus on one mass. The story and paranormal setting falls flat related to the first dozens of minutes with the old Faust and the plague. It gets carried away with love planting and wretched potions and spells by the vampire looking Mephisto and his evil temptations of wishes. Arbitrary places and people are all over the place and Mephisto exercises his power among people when the old Faust and heavenly creatures are not around on picture. The devil may receive Faust's soul, but only when Faust has attained complete human happiness, without the curse. Outlined with themes of morality, evil, religion, and love, the movie is an understanding of human beings’ reactions with fundamental evil where people are free to choose any means of virtue.

Final Grade: B

Johnny Stecchino (1991)
Starring Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi, Paolo Bonacelli, Franco Volpi

Film Prophet's Review...
In the highest-grossing movie in Italy up to that date, a married woman seduces a credulous school bus driver to Palmero, Sicily so that she can have him killed because he looks like a double towards her a disreputable gangster husband who snitched on his fellow mates. Stecchino is Italian for toothpicks, and it is the nickname given to Dante by Maria to replicate the real menace, Johnny’s identity. Dante is passed off for the snitch and Johnny hides from the mob. The dim-witted Dante is made to look and act just like Maria’s criminal husband though Dante is so naive that she doesn't really do anything because he messes up on his own to irritate people. An example is the interaction with the cardinal about sugar. Dante is kind, but a blundering and wimpy guy who likes to steal bananas as his zany habit. He steals one banana up his coat sleeve at a fruit store every morning and faces repetitive temptations that occur frequently no matter where he is. Probably promptly the audience will associate bananas with Benigni in this movie afterwards. Roberto Benigni plays both men in a dual role. Hearing Roberto's voice echoes that he is having fun, plus he also co-wrote the story and directed the film. The first half of the movie is dimwitted for humor and audience laughs before the fun parts during Dante mistaken identity. After he arrives in a different country, he believes all this criminal fuss pointed at him has to do with a stolen banana but it's not that. The balcony scene is a fine example where he has no idea. Much of the humor is embedded into that for a lengthy amount of scenes during the second half of the story depending on Dante not realizing that everyone thinks he is someone else. The area where the script pulls part of it off is where he discusses his wrong doings with true gangsters without ever mentioning particulars. However, the low-key and lightweight comedy is very loose and unwise. The adolescent attitudes are displayed by shoddy adult appearances and it is uneasy to connect with, especially with the dullness floating around of context before when Dante heads to Palmero. They all are bums no matter what profession they have. It has frolicking music and gestures, several phrases and actions, but weak in several characters who appear in one scene with Dante and then don't show up again as they aren’t energetic like Roberto’s acting. The first half also has a vacant and empty story before the plot sinks in similar to Life is Beautiful, which takes a while until it gets to a certain point after strolling along. Benigni did become more familiar to American audiences through this movie.

Final Grade: C+

Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927)
Starring George O'Brien, Janet Gaynor, Margaret Livingston, Bodil Rosing

Film Prophet's Review...
The emblematic story of a man and a woman and the external influencing threats has an astonishing launch to its resolution in a pinnacle convincing act. The change in objectives and sensitivity by pure disaster and setting is compelling. ‘I couldn't give up hope.’ German expressionist director F.W. Murnau’s striking poetic story and film combines his perspective design and photography at Hollywood productions with a soundtrack of stirring music and sound effects towards this silent feature. Influentially stylistic, the movie astounding has more special effects than technical modern films not only by a certain storm, but by lighting, editing, and fluid tracking shots. The domestic story of distortion is sensually captured. There is sound, but no voices. The characters are created without names to make the story general. Janet Gaynor won the first ever best Oscar actress and the movie won the only Oscar towards Unique and Artistic Production. A woman from the city on vacation stays in on a small farming community and seduces a young married farmer, O' Brien. She suggests to him to murder his wife, Gaynor, in a boating accident and sell the farm for money and move to the city with her. The beginning with that scene is absolutely stupendous. During the opening twenty minutes, the once happy couple endures the man’s temptations and their marriage is threatened by the mistress, the city, greed, and his android state of pursing his unusual behavior. The terror increasingly ensues and Murnau's superimposed images reflect it as the acting is reliably dazzling. Cottage spying and the mental separation isolate the man and woman. There are not many title cards and the characters don’t often talk, in fact, there are very little intertitles. No title cards are truly ever required to comprehend what is going on because the faded visuals do the work to exception. The acting is presented by a tortured psychological state early on when the man sets up a boating accident which is vastly elongated as he invites his wife to journey with him during the day. This goes the entire time without a title card and the narrative is completed by the genius effect. At numerous times, little things foil the plan - church bells, exhaustion, and the threatening city; or not. In a different setting than one has lived in, the second half contrasts between rural country side and the urban city life. Primarily, Murnau shifts the moods of murk and cheer, resulting in cheek to cheek hugs, from the initial evil city emergence. The film changes directions drastically and keeps doing so working in aptness once the two are together in the city. The city displays a number of delight possibilities for people; dance halls, trolley cars, barbershops, picture taking, carnivals, and so on in the movie’s light-hearted sequence. Yet, this silent film is strident through the silence of remorse, forgiveness, and redemption to restore frank perception. They understand what marital love means through a city adventure. The story tests love and how it is strengthen where the story delivers a timeless moral that the nature of tender devotion truly does conquer all.

Final Grade: A

Brief Encounter (1945)
Starring Celia Johnson, Trevor Howard, Joyce Carey, Cyril Raymond, Stanley Holloway

Film Prophet's Review...
David Lean's first directorial major composition earns him his first Oscar nomination as director and the movie won the Palme d'Or that year. Laura Jesson, Johnson, inadvertently meets Dr. Alec Harvey, Howard, in the waiting room of a train station. Both are early middle-aged, married, and have a couple children. After the first short occasion, she is soon enough tempted to swindle on her husband through Alec’s company in date sessions to ditch housewife boredom. They have an affair with each other, and they have the rationalizing of guilt and shame. Their friendly acquaintance turns into a panorama setting. This is established by the heroine of the story – Laura Jesson. Her first person narrative voiceover contemplates thoughts about her view on her affair in despair as her unstable mind always hints on the pensive verge of the doomed affair. Happily married sometimes means humdrum especially once a person is too steady and predictable as a housewife. There are no marital problems between them, just quite indifferent. Sometimes lacking star quality in the cast, much of the dialogue comes from her voiceover. In an early sequence at the station, one chatty elderly lady chats away in a quip British accent in a very delighted tone and her words are just sounds that go by to the audience just as much to Laura. A train station is a neat way of bringing in melancholy some place modern crowds can't visit and conduct at. It is a story remade in different forms… this is a superior version of An Affair to Remember. The story is rationally candid that the setting can be anywhere and not just a on a train. It expresses the misery of a female and her adultery, her helpless mind, and her unfulfilled romance. Her routine days are by train trips to town to shop, watch theater, or have lunch, usually alone. With Alec in the picture, she is divided with simple rendezvous sequences after he coincidentally strolls by distressing her conscious early on. They have innocent socializing talks, ‘yes of course steel wax, I see, there's your train, you mustn't miss it, shall I see you again?’ The husband then is omitted in the picture, from her story from her guilty eyes and intellect. Alec and Laura manage to maintain their dignity with no booze influence, which is remarkable. The heroine's desire and inner barriers strike panic so dangerous that she asks a friend a favor to conceal truth. Without this affair in the story, there really is no conflict but the one Laura sees in her dressing mirror daily. The daunting and sweeping piano sounds blends with strings and the images of the trains going through tunnels… the awful and forbidden happiness she and the stranger can't attest to others. No one can notice or hear her secret pensive thoughts but the audience and the audience knows her fault but the surrounding characters around her.

Final Grade: B+/B

Fearless (2006)
Starring Jet Li, Ting Leung, Shido Nakamura, Betty Sun, Nathan Jones, Collin Chou

Film Prophet's Review...
The box office success in Asia shifts to the states where imported martial arts films are typically greater than Hollywood ones, as this one is no exception. In fact, it may just be Jet Li’s final and most imperative performance in a martial arts epic movie. Inspired directing by Ronny Yu, the movie greets the genre in a way of expanding mercy. Li as Huo acts with the precise amount of strength and composure, shaped by the story’s climax. Early on, Huo lets his anger grasp him. As a child, he fancied elders in combat, especially admiring his father who was elite. Huo continues the legacy his father established as a high ranked fighter in China restoring nationalism to China at a time when Western Imperialism was grinding. After a personal tragedy, Huo fades and returns as a humanitarian person. A few men physically compete in Wushu, a Chinese fighting system that stores power and status to the winners. It has the basic traditional rules where a loser is knocked out. Arms and fists, sometimes long narrow sharp sticks, are regulated in slow motion effects dodging the centimeters distance away from contact of opponent, then to quick counter attacks to where Huo usually succeeds with his agility. It adds to the stunt fights that are unique by opponent. Among them is a battle between Huo and a bulky giant, which some may agree to be their favorite fight. There aren’t many comedic elements, supposedly the umbrella in one hand while fighting part tops it. The combat action is spellbinding; stunning fast body movements, shielding blocks, thriving music, grunts, fascinating set designs, and structure carnage much to disarray. Male bodies take a beating just as the drums do and they withdraw the conception that humans can not soar in air and rotate in gravity. At least in Tientsin, China late nineteenth century pictured by an imaginary movie about a historical person made by stunts and special effects, it is possible. The first fight is an example. Its surface is elevated many feet above spectators below, falling to perish. There’s also a philosophical root in dialogue. Huo’s mother teaches him to control arrogance and differ between fear and respect, extending friendship. As to Huo’s followers and supporters in herds, he acclaims, ‘Hatred will beget more hatred.’ The respect defeats revenge matter purses a plausible ending that excels over the movie Gladiator. The resonant acting by the entire cast is beyond exemplar and moving in the beautifully shot film. Jet crafts a growing, liberated, and believable main character with a powerful theme of not only self versus self, but about martial arts. Dosages of drama firms the tranquility in the setting as an hour goes by. As Huo changes then by an indirect turning point, the movie changes with him... to react with more mind than body, drinking tea over wine, more defense than offensive, generating a sheer affection to Li’s character and the thematic and cinematic Chinese movie.

Final Grade: A-

Life Is Beautiful (1997)
Starring Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi, Giorgio Cantarini, Giustino Durano

Film Prophet's Review...
Roberto Benigni’s movie interprets Holocaust in terms of comedy to educate. The Italian Jew Guido, Benigni, turns the horrific concentration camp into a vivid imagination to his young son from the truth. The movie begins with lots of verbal and physical slapstick. It surrounds Guido and his daily dilemmas to court his princess who isn’t Jewish. He woos her away from the Fascist official she has been dating and they get married. Following later is a struggle to survive in the concentration camps, Dora volunteers to go in. Guido sprints in joyful bursts at the time of freedom in the comfort of family and home, yet he is still the same Guido when he finally arrives in camp. Benigni’s Oscar win for his performance was a surprise and still may be. The movie also won for Best Music, which was moderately annoying during the tender beginnings. The English speaking dubbing over the Italian utters was atrocious and very noticeable from the first second. The talks early on were nonsensical, gentle, and silly displaying wild humor, his weapon. Guido talks endlessly, clowning around, and his spirit remains high. He was way too cheerful again with that repeating music in the background. His similar Chaplin routines are none to the par of The Great Dictator. The light content is not laughable, but plain goofy that almost negates the connection to the Holocaust or any war going on within the first dozens of minutes encouraging a whimsical romantic film floating the princess nickname in there. The story has a narrow scope on war for the first half and the audience won't know the abruption of the Holocaust in the movie, just like these characters, but there should be a subtle hint somewhere with footage of oppressing soldiers before the occupation by German forces arrives. When they do come in to make arrests, it was too sudden for a story aspect angle… how very unprepared the Jews were for the tragedy. The father protects his son away to understand what is happening, so he makes it an elaborate game to him to be very careful. With a child in company, there is startlingly more humor than the first half antics. The father fibs the dirty place into something vivid at the cost of the gullibility of his little son with him. Those are the film's brightest moments about gathering up a thousand points and the rules of this game he made up. The father and son plot takes over and it is the gift of the movie during in the concentration camps. The moments shine during this second half with an example of the two talking in a microphone over the loud speakers so Guido's wife who is not Jewish can hear in the female camp. Guido's love was so great for his son and wife that he would do anything. He has the ability to make any situation positive and to sacrifice just to do so. ‘I can't wait to start over tomorrow… this sure is fun.’ Everything fun soon has an end.

Final Grade: B-

Enemy at the Gates (2001)
Starring Jude Law, Joseph Fiennes, Rachel Weisz, Ed Harris, Bob Hoskins, Gabriel Thomson

Film Prophet's Review...
World War II prominent Soviet sniper Vasily Zaitsev, Law, and his German sniper rival, Major Erwin König, Harris, compete against each other of skills, wits, and tricks during the Battle of Stalingrad. The Soviet sniper is brought to attention by a friend who is a political official and newspaper writer, Fiennes. A woman soldier, Weisz, participates in a love triangle between the two friends. Jean-Jacques Annaud's action-oriented movie adapted from the David L. Robbins novel purges the historical and political side to the violent fields. The heroic war film centers on a personal duel battle between two expert snipers from each one’s country. The men try to see who is a better sniper after Vasily is in the newspapers exampling Soviet pride and a heroic story to help about Fiennes’ character as the Germans respond by sending the legendary Major to kill Vasily. There’s plenty scenes by means of gazes through a lens with steadiness and examining the precise time to shoot. Every moment of talk is usually kept to a minimum so the film can move quickly to the next sniper scene. The gorgeous landscape scenery is poignant at times and then coarse with the use of weapons and consuming number of dying outcomes by bullets. Bearable and entertaining to watch towards cinematic purposes, it has striking empathy in a music score, costume and set design, effective lighting, and loud sound effects than lots of dialogue between the soldiers. The audience can assume the soldiers are all destined in the chaotic opening to fight in combat and the immediate succession leader commands. The effects are really special in the film; irregular bomb noises, stirring music, faking dead when someone shoots the laying bodies, and the scenery of factory rubble carnage all combine to make the movie truly compelling to watch. The acting and casting, bar from the action spectacle, is superb especially from the feature of exciting characters that the script creates and the audience can relate to by friendships. Frustrated that the German sniper is a step ahead, Jude Law's character develops. Ed Harris is cunning with a mystique as the antagonist and Hoskins is terrific as well as Fiennes as the writer in aid. A few others play integral minor parts, like the Soviet traitor kid who delivers information to the German sniper for chocolate. The Eastern hemisphere without American activity there presents unrelenting bloodshed during the time depicting excitement out of machinery handling.

Final Grade: B+/B

Open City (1945)
Starring Aldo Fabrizi, Anna Magnani, Harry Feist, Vito Annichiarico, Giovanna Galletti

Film Prophet's Review...
Director Roberto Rossellini's labeled neo-realism piece is founded on a true story of a priest as a hero in wartime Italy during World War II setting. It surrounds the Italian Resistance against the Fascism. The Germans marched into Rome to search for a resistance leader who had fought the Fascists in Spain and gone on to organize the underground in Italy. However, the film does not put any of this onto motion picture. The story is on a condition that it opens up in a middle of another former story. Allowing minimal character development, the foundation and an overall introduction are omitted and it eliminates background knowledge to characters and any type of war situation. There are German plans about dividing city, none of which is interesting to follow. The plans are to catch commanders and interrogate them. Open City refers to abandoning defensive units in a strategic move so that opposing forces will march instead of bombing. The Italian people seek for survival and freedom on their own amongst their own. ‘It's not hard to die well. The hard thing is to live well.’ Filmed in Rome during the time, it is a tremendous breakthrough. Adding to the script is Federico Fellini who receives his first Oscar nomination, although the distinguished Fellini is partially liable for the script faults. Some of the cast is assembled of non-professional performers in the smaller roles, such as the children and the women around the playground and streets. It places the observation important or not that they are all civilians united together. The priest is the church figure and there is a youth focus on warfront through the daily routines of church, baking, and school and this is by spotty editing. The unappealing cast speaks lazy dialogue as the story leisurely sets up interaction between the characters and the viewer still comes away with little knowledge of them and who and what to prioritize to the next scene. It may be confusing to tell who are friends or family in the large housing, either way there is hardly any sense of extreme hostility as sought for. A character hides or runs, but a viewer probably will expect brutality of the Germans than just placing curfews, with exception to the martyr end. ‘You wanted his soul and you've destroyed his body.’ The sound and subtitles were a mess and there too many camera cuts by the hand-held cameras. The poor apartment housing structures is a sharp tidbit of photography though. When the second half starts, it consists of floor searching, stair climbing, and mainly discussing detainment and more middling short dull yaps. The movie isn’t dynamic and unable to produce concern because there are too many tiresome words and insufficient erratic acts.

Final Grade: C+/B-

Donnie Brasco (1997)
Starring Johnny Depp, Al Pacino, Michael Madsen, Anne Heche, Bruno Kirby, Robert Miano

Film Prophet's Review...
The movie is established on true life events of Joseph D. Pistone, Depp, an FBI undercover agent under the name Donnie Brasco as a jewelry expert who infiltrates a New York City mob during the late seventies. An aging gangster named Lefty, Pacino, takes him under his wing. Pistone eventually identifies himself as the Brasco character with the mafia life and becomes cherished by Lefty forming a true relationship. He fibs a background as a fictional character in what is a genuine friendship. Depp acts a dual identity in the story; actually there are three he tries to maintain: Agent Pistone with audio technicians and other agents, Brasco in the mob, and part of his family with his wife and kids. Although Depp plays the Brasco role more often and he gets accustomed to the people by picking up habits, speech, and attitudes. The renowned ‘forget about it’ line is pronounced almost every five minutes. All three roles tend to go sour through the effects of power seduction. Brasco works in the shadow of Lefty for the opening thirty or so minutes and teaches him about the ethics, more importantly, the wiseguy facade… leather coats, cooking, style, sunglasses, grooming, Cadillac cars, smoking, and cracking around with actions of scuffling gags and dialogue with slang terms for short such as sent for, whacked, up-ed. The two balance chemistry in the dialogue, but on screen it is different. While each holds a distinctive charisma, a viewer’s eyes will shift looking at who, speaking or not, when both are on screen at the same time, another mode of subtle power displayed by the movie. Lefty and the other mob characters are essentially likable villains as protagonists to follow. Madsen is an outstanding supporting act as an uprising boss and Kirby complements the wiseguy gentle comic. The acting kept the film at a steady sharp pace with the camera and its fine editing and cutting. They make their way around from New York City to Florida in clubs, barber shops, bars, and on a ship. There’s full of entertaining conflicts by scene. Some play out in the aggressive form as a ruthless grudges, tossing with fists thrown, and whacking instead of operating guns. For example, the restaurant Japanese waiter to the bathroom dragging gig was a victim to a one of Brasco’s fibs, nonetheless it brutally intense and hilarious. Trouble stews soon enough during the sense of danger when music escalates. The scenes are packed with apprehension between the characters including the right timing to turn off the music in the background when it is static. They tinker with notion of impending death. In contrast to several other gangster films, there is less heritage significance and the mob characters are based on position and partly reputation. There is always the desire for power abuse from the bosses. As one can notice, Pacino’s character is ignored to start up something new and to obtain up-ed from a status increase despite his dedication. The film also shares common themes… Pistone’s family as a poignant subplot, and friendship with the mafia. The strong guidance provided by Lefty who tells Brasco he will be killed by his actions because he undertook him in the mafia so that makes him responsible. He may have had a need for bonding other than ones in the mob as well. The glorious moments are there; the opening of king's court nearby slicing pizzas on a table full of dollar bills followed by the opposite in inglorious times, chopping body parts and getting arrested undercover, just to act with the mob, guilty or not. ‘Even when he's wrong, he's right.’

Final Grade: A-/B+

The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)
Starring Joseph Cotten, Tim Holt, Agnes Moorehead, Dolores Costello, Anne Baxter

Film Prophet's Review...
In Orson Welles' follow-up to Citizen Kane, he once again directs, writes the screenplay, and casts Joseph Cotton. Set during the late nineteenth century, the story takes place at the brink of the Industrial age focusing on a blissful wealthy family in their mansion who transpire to blandness and odium. Eugene Morgan, Cotton, wants to marry Isabel Amberson, daughter of a rich upper-class family, but she instead marries dull Wilbur Minafer. Their only child, George, grows up a possessive brat. Twenty years later, Eugene comes back as successful automobile maker after Wilbur dies. George, Holt, and his aunt Fanny resent and refuse Isabel to marry. As Welles provides the narration steadily for the opening run, he mentions that everyone knew everyone else's business. On side commentary from neighbors and older townsfolk talk about each other’s lives and overlap chat at socialite introductions at mansion parties, all in which are pretty much unremarkable dialogue. One neighbor predicts Isabel’s marriage will be discontented along with the children. The dancing opening sequence after the narration is settling, relaxing, but tame as they play the gentlemen and lady roles. There are carriage rides in the town and not a car in sight; this is the slow pace of people. They do such frivolous things like horse sleigh rides when they had the time. The many joyful characters had no troubles or tragic occurrences yet and the storytelling is so calm. When they are enjoying themselves, their communication is both pleasant and bland or at variance with romance and family. Some are pleasant and insipid, others are very unlikable. After about thirty minutes or so, the previous joy abolishes and the characters suffer as much as the audience watching the inadequately abridged tale of their tasteless stories. The choppiness of the tale is not clear by means of a specious leaping in characterization and an incoherent timeline to tag along. There's not enough substance in the script or peering drama to act with. Welles' narration is basically gone and the joy is disappeared. The remaining individuals without their formal dress parties fall short because of an abortive story as they fade away part by part. It doesn't beget attention to adhering to their tedious roles. The script isn’t merely entertaining since most of the characters are annoying, juvenile, and naïve. However, George especially initiates the cynicism. He is hostile and totally odious and for proof, watch the angry moments he is on the staircase. A turning point awaits or not, but until then, the story proceeds with long black fades to an unhappy shift in rude verbal manners and gossip to marriage and doesn’t pick up the pace. The film is on a carriage ride the whole way, not a car. More significant in film value than the story, Welles still creates genius photography; the lighting, dolly shots, assortment of camera angles, spotlight shining on faces only as characters glare, the often dark silhouettes, and the habitually ambiance of a gloomy custom found in all of his films. The script and editing of it didn’t keep up with the technical standpoints and the film’s weight drops.

Final Grade: B-/C+

Battleship Potemkin (1925)
Starring Aleksandr Antonov, Vladimir Barsky, Grigori Aleksandrov, Ivan Bobrov, Aleksandr Levshin

Film Prophet's Review...
Directed by Sergei Eisenstein in this Russian silent film, the enlisted sailors group in mutiny on board to overthrow the ship's officers in retaliation caused by rotten meat, living conditions, and superior oppression. The rebel talks happen immediately and this is furthered by the discovery of maggots on uncooked meat. The doctor on the ship determines that the meat is fine. The ship's captain orders those who protest against the food to be shot on deck by their own men, but just before it happens, a sailor named Vakulinchuk exclaims, ‘Brothers! Do you realize who you are shooting?’ After that promising first part, film then takes a dedication with a montage and even less title cards and narration. The propaganda film is however technically proficient; sequential shots are neatly edited and there is a whole collection of various types of shots. Some are of symbolic imagery that aims toward emotive impact to separate a hate for the officers and sympathy for the sailors. The audience sees weapons, cannons, engines, flags, symbols, and most important, faces. There really is no main character and the revolution is by whole. There is no personal agenda or urge to the uprising in each sequence. On scene is frustration, pushing, and shoving with the Soviet oppression in insubordination. The thunderous orchestra music is so dominant that it seems like one can hear the roar of the crowd and gun shoots… the disgust and refusal is heard through the soundtrack. The title cards have a mixed narrative narration rather than dialogue. The omniscient narrative, sometimes biblical, labels people and situations, but the narrative is limited. The film is divided into five parts and runs at about seventy minutes. One of the parts at the port city bay has copious amounts of civilians paying respect to a character who was killed on Potemkin. Just like on the ship, the people amass in an outrage and a tsarist militia arrives in hostile to them. Not one really projects and these people are shrieking and running away down the stairs as one can envision. The photography captures the human face of the revolution through a wide range of characters featuring young sailors on the ship, women and children at the port city of Odessa, a clairvoyant minister carrying around his small Jesus sculpture, and the moustache grins of the ship's officers. Characters are simplified to faces and the shot at each one is no more than a couple of seconds. Within a frame are rapid face close-ups of nameless people. These characters ignore explanation and associations and the title cards from them are restricted to fury and exhortation lines. Then there is a mosaic view of assorted shots filmed without lines and just observing the surroundings in a hastily editing approach, notably at the end of a sailor’s life and the massacre at the Odessa Steps. The movie shows women and children waving and the next moment they are fatally wounded by gunshots in a massive crowd. Soon elongated brawls and mourning from enormous crowds lead to riots in outrage.

Final Grade: B+/B

The Rules of the Game (1939)
Starring Jean Renoir, Roland Toutain, Gaston Modot, Nora Gregor, Paulette Dubost, Julien Carette

Film Prophet's Review...
The French drama-comedy focuses on satirical inhabitant situations joining together as upper-class and servants participate in a country weekend at a grand estate during pre-World War II time. One of the activities is hunting and shooting small animals such as rabbits and squirrels in the long stunted forest in the backyard of the estate. The point of these animal cruelty sequences is to reveal the pointlessness of shooting it all and how hedonistic and futile French upper-class aristocrats are. In evidence, the shallowness the rich entertain themselves in an unusual manner in relation to games with each other. Jean Renoir directs, writes, and is part of the ensemble cast story in a diverse set of characters in a critique of a superficial display of the French society in which the rules are founded by them. The prevailing social order of moral or ethical propositions does not reflect truths. They have a lack of understanding each other as the story presents the outer crust of people convening. Renoir directs the film without having the viewer to laugh or to like them all because something just isn't right with these characters. Everyone trying to fit into something else and it's not noticeable until the final few minutes of a mind-boggling truth when the rules are broken. The sardonic look on human nature in an adultery story shows numerous relationships that men have with the women. They’re sneaky and pretend to others with fake charms and yarns just to sidetrack servants and neighbors. Some make the mistake of taking romance seriously in difference with friendship. The more people one knows means complication and unbalance among husbands, wives, and mistresses who outwardly swap declarations. They convene over rules, talk about marriages, and advice that are just really opinions. ‘If we're in love, what does it matter - these are the rules.’ Renoir’s superior camera procedure in convoluted flowing scenes in one setting and location is just gripping and hypnotic. For example, the costume play at the chateau has out of hand behavior interwoven with secret admirers talking to complex characters who are not genuine. A zoom out would be followed by a prompt horizontal pan for a few seconds in different crowding areas. The action during this course takes place in the background and it doesn’t hit a viewer direct on… like the characters, the story cheats and moves to another with just a rapid movement of the camera. The movie opens with a hero record breaking time under a day to cross the Atlantic by flight. People are the motivation to take challenges and making significant advances. By eliminating the value of money and profits to the aristocrats, these people are nothing more than empty stake at the heart under falsehood. There would be no one to prove anything to, as communication is part of the reward. When someone is not there to witness it, the incentive and long work all goes down the drain. ‘I did this for a woman; she isn’t even here to welcome me.’ In an act to achieve attention, one is a little naive to peruse something that might not be there at the final step. That is the risk taking to remain upright in a world of lies and corruption against the rules which is truly beautiful and scarce. Normal is boring, but in this film the lies are indistinct and said so straight to notice until the viewer makes the connection in the end. ‘Patent medicines, government, radio, cinema, newspapers, so why should you expect us ordinary mortals not to lie, too?' Following the rules are automatic, plain, but deceitful. In opposition, others seek for individual reasons to arrive there by integrity, like the passionate pilot. There's a chance for a reaction of both in one, but with so many people in the world grasping for human interest, it is unclear to spot inspiration and the truth until one makes it recognized… but it still can be a lie and perceived as not.

Final Grade: A

The Virgin Spring (1960)
Starring Birgitta Pettersson, Max von Sydow, Birgitta Valberg, Gunnel Lindblom, Axel Düberg, Tor Isedal

Film Prophet's Review...
The Swedish film directed by Ingmar Bergman won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and the annual Palme d'Or for its striking detail in atmospheric sound, startling photography, and a simple intensity of human drama. A peasant parents’ daughter is mercilessly raped and murdered by swineherds after her half sister has prayed on a pagan curse. The murderers then happen to ask for food and shelter from the dead girl's parents at their home, pitting a astounding series when an enraged father seeks revenge. The film takes place in medieval Sweden times living on a small farm near a big forest pictured in black and white. In the beginning, they talk about mass, milk, sickness, mercy, setting up around the place in preparations of food and candles, and they are acute religious individuals. It’s a Swedish subtitled film where a viewer doesn’t need the lines all the time and can tell what is going on due to the profound imagery and salient performances. The little tale is simple, no more than ninety minutes, but it is real and harsh menacing in almost every scene. Important scenes evoke enduring doses of fear and the awaiting dread by breakdown of purity. The knife fighting in a trapped room is greater than the best of what horror movies are capable of. No words, just purity, like the environment. There are no areas of useless stuff either. It’s an uneasy picture to watch in some areas, but it’s outstandingly appealing. The camera works closes up on smart angles, shows slow body movement, then sometimes jolting fast. Bergman revolves the atmosphere instantly from stunningly beautiful to viciously unkind. He makes it as unnerving as possible to progressive standards. Indoors is almost like outdoors… a crack at the rooftop, capable of hearing hens, fire snapping, and the meticulously sounds of the out of condition shelter. When outside, all one can hear is absolute nature noises and the film’s musical score is unoccupied and only used sporadically. There’s a scene where they all still and eat together around the table and it uncovers how disgusting otherwise natural noises can be. This is the sense of purity and puny the whole film establishes. The title character is a young blissful beautiful virgin female Christian, though frail when she comes in harms way on a horse to church. One quick moment can wipe out an ambition of someone. The tremendous screen play, acting, and direction mingles to create nervous unsettling and captivating parts to tune in upon discover or glitch of the murderers. There’s raw acting and rough emotions into dialogue, with devilish sacred lines like, ‘If you always get your way you'll please the devil so much that the saints will punish you with boils’ and non-speaking parts. After the virgin girl says this line, ‘No man will take me unless we're married,’ her sister says, ‘and if one tumbles you behind a bush’ is merely shackling and forbidding to forecast. This is a horrific happening to such a pure being in a family who devotes their lives to God… it is an injustice to distinguish weak beauty. It’s an oxymoron perhaps, or an envy of purity. A body still represents beauty, but so much less when inactive. The definition of evil is found by a pain of defeat to the unfortunate. People will have guilt and sins so they remain human. The unreligious, as in uncanny, are the murders… the religious individuals are the family of the virgin victim, and they reprimand God of it and ask for mercy. All humans on Earth contrast each other. This film presents the setting in an isolated forest and by the sincere and natural emotions that are both quiet and vehement. Consequently, humans are all sinful induced by any person or creature. The film illustrates it by means of startling fearful pauses and trepidation between joy and spitefulness leading up to a pinnacle moment of saddening providence.

Final Grade: B+/A-

Gaslight (1944)
Starring Charles Boyer, Ingrid Bergman, Joseph Cotten, Dame May Whitty, Angela Lansbury

Film Prophet's Review...
Directed by George Cukor, this movie was nominated for best picture and Ingrid Bergman won the Best Actress Oscar as the credulous heroine. As the movie begins and takes all of couple minutes, young Paula’s aunt, a famous opera singer, is murdered in her home. The police didn’t find the killer and Paula is sent away to school. Ten years later, Paula returns to the London house which she has inherited with her new husband she met two weeks prior. The story is then deceptively romantic. The beautiful and naive Paula is slowly tormented by enigmatic happenings in her Victorian home, all created by her suspected rogue husband. Boyer as the menacing husband deceitfully consumes Bergman as Paula and manipulates her thoughts and emotions by his arrangements… she is the main character for which he devises her as inattentive. She gradually loses her sanity by fallacy. For over an hour, she is threatened by the deranged man psychologically. Not going into Boyer’s background, the audience only knows him as the older husband Gregory with a rigid French accent in a high class structure and he was her pianist composer. He disappears every night, as soothing and subdued as he is. From the soft-spoken early parts in the movie, Gregory’s fast unclear motives are in a slower film of character isolation and the audience only sees Gregory interacting with her. To him, he is out for something more valuable than a marriage, or actually, through one by an insidious plan to search for ominous items and to orchestrate a gentle woman to a restrained terror by self… she is isolated from everyone except him to his preference. She is dependent and concealed, fragile as a gaslight, extending to him for shelter for all she knows is proper. The lighting in the movie is dim as a gaslight and often dark and shadowy. It produces a muggy and foggy London atmosphere in a misty lonely choice of scenery. The house is a fine example of paranoid confinement. Inside it’s claustrophobic by flowers, items hanging on the walls, gaslights, curtains, drapes, furniture, antique sets, and a benevolent neighbor frequently at the front door. Bergman’s acting, well above Charles Boyer, regularly consists of having a distraught expression and her self-doubt character earlier believes she is inadequate towards happiness. There are parts in the movie where Gregory eliminates any notion of her joy and refrains her from going out of the house. She confined to stay inside the house. The study of their relationship soon to turns out unbalanced. When something unusual happens in a communication talk in person, the moment freezes for a second and she gasps and stalls. In rare compelling scenes, they clash over decisions that aren’t to his choosing and so the film acquires a sinister brink for the moment being. A key scene is when Paula attempts to leave the house for a walk when he’s not around and asks the servant for an umbrella because it might rain when clearly it is sunny out, and the savoring detective, Cotton, nearby sees this abnormal and gets an inkling. These slight details are stressed in the movie to the big picture, though not as big steadily. The mystery is on a very thin storyline with details going by shortly of cinematic entertainment for a film, but a thick story for a novel. To sense tension that she thinks she's going mad, there’s the scheme of misplacing and losing things in this house. From experiencing strange phenomena, there should have been more embedded fear than just by Bergman's acting alone to watch her instability for one to two hours by her notion mentally. When Cotten starts to investigate, he is excellent. Other than that, there are scenes of little impact by length. Before the slipshod ending, the night of going to watch a piano player performance in a music hall is remarkable, and the investigation unfalteringly figures major deception.

Final Grade: B

Snakes on a Plane (2006)
Starring Samuel L. Jackson, Nathan Phillips, Julianna Margulies, Kenan Thompson, Rachel Blanchard

Film Prophet's Review...
On an airplane over the Pacific Ocean from Honolulu to Los Angeles, an assassin attempts to eliminate a passenger who witnessed one of his lethal crimes by loading a profuse amount of perilous diverse snakes. The witness is in protective custody under Samuel L.’s character. Needless to say, the title describes the intact condition that released the pre-release buzz of the film. It's a film that delivers straightforward what one would imagine... snakes on a plane. Poisonous snakes are loose on a rampage and Jackson is drained of them, to eventually say, ‘enough is enough!’ Sam Jackson has his speech moments and he yells around as others clutch snakes to defend their lives with frightening angry faces. The special effects are duly tacky and cheap, just check out that fire flame, and the lighting is extremely bad. Snakes are something people don't see every so often… these are extraordinary circumstances to deal with a vicious reptile above ground. Now that the CGI snakes are on the plane, what mayhem ideas the filmmakers have are the imaginative components for the ninety or so minutes because frankly it's never happened to anyone before. Besides causing electrical and ventilation problems, the outrageous hilarious snake bites are the most amusing and creative parts victim by victim near the thirty minute mark, especially in the bathroom. These snakes are atrocious, insane, and sneaky operational to kill in various ways. After dodging, moving, and attacking around on the turbulent plane, the deaths don’t come as funny anymore, more readily graphic and grotesque continuously past the corpses of passengers. The movie decelerates to scrutinize the snakes and situation and the attendants try to slow down care for people who were bit, but the fast action doesn't. The movie is also disposable to easy short parodies of the title for further ridiculous antics with numerous lists of phobias to explore, but none like this. It has no priority on being scary or believable. The graphic-horror treat is even on a much better farce than horror parody Shaun Of The Dead with quick scares and gore. It's perversely embellished, but people like it to laugh at it. The smashing project has enough fun with the mindless diverting phenomenon. The dialogue is vastly formulaic and uncomfortable, and the music selection is strange for this popcorn film. The lines are ignorable and inadequately said except for the time of shouting. It is suspenseful in parts before and for the first hour when the snakes start attacking. In addition, the perceptive moments are written and acted with little sincerity and played rather silly and absurd to some joy. The head villain with the baseball bat weapon is wasted for his ten seconds when he is equipped in martial arts and the annoying stewardesses get more screen time in the exposition. Subsequently, the movie makes fun of itself for being bad with all the above mentioned even with the low expectations. In the mildly amusing approach, Kenan's facial reactions and comic remarks work in favor and the movie confirms Playstation is more valuable in simulation than Xbox… ‘Whew! All praises to the Playstation!’

Final Grade: B-

La Dolce Vita (1960)
Starring Marcello Mastroianni, Anita Ekberg, Anouk Aimée, Annibale Ninchi, Walter Santesso, Alain Cuny

Film Prophet's Review...
La Dolce Vita, which stands for The Sweet Life in Italian, compasses the after midnight ordeals in a series of nights and mornings along the Via Veneto and nightclubs in Rome as observed by the its main character, a gossip columnist reporter named Marcello Rubini. Director Federico Fellini has an aversion to Roman cultural aspects during night and reveals the emptiness and boredom of celebrity and journalist existence in three hours of glamorous cynicism. The black and white cinematography is velvety, rich like the bored people civilizing upon lifestyle. For film aspects, the casting is excellent, the music is superb to listen to, and the choreography is graceful. During the first twenty minutes, the movie shows how bored and unplanned of what people are to do next and meeting others who are just like them; bored and looking for something to do away from home. The movie wallows in having events and the rounded characters enjoy just prattling. Fellini places Marcello with no restrictions in social environments without any peer pressure. Marcello finds out that his distressing beautiful wife has taken an overdose of sleeping pills. Despite his sophisticated nuptial he really doesn’t want to be in, he meets and romances an American bombshell actress and later with a young heiress and painter. During the transitory movie, he drifts from one locale pleasure to another with his optimism wanderings and meeting starlets, aristocrats, and journalists with frivolity and fervor. It explores his dissatisfaction in his work within an unarticulated search to a meaning to life. As some may say, boredom is a word for people who want instant gratification. It pictures that these moments can be unentertaining for the characters in the movie and viewers who watch on screen of this lasting consuming movie. Some parts of the movie really have a social and conceptual commentary about society and life. There are bolding meditative lines starting at the end of the first half, much of it are about decorations to live outside of time. There is a sequence of religious craze about a Madonna and the young and Fellini shows the superficiality and gullibility the civilization. Each scene may not have a purpose, but they are similar to what happens in actuality. This is a movie that is an allegory itself… it loses or gains along the way in between scenes in the glamorous dreary life of reality. This lifestyle doesn't bring happiness, bar from the provisional night life pleasures, rather unsatisfied times going to different parties with different people. As one character says, drinking, smoking, and going to bed, is part of the lifestyle, and it is a movie that is the same as its point… unfulfilling and unrewarding. The meaningless of life has such a bleak message. Marcello is seduced by the image he creates of an actress’ charm and he neglects to work on the one relationship with his wife that he could perhaps succeed at, as he would rather dream and envisage about possibilities and adventures to his elusive upper limit showing dilettante to infinity, but there has to be some limit somewhere. Knowing too many people is not a wonderful thing either, because they all eventually are missed, as the movie ominously sites. This can be from annulment, deaths, absence forms such as the disappearance of the actress within the second half of the story, and a blissful estranged father who learns from people who come by Marcello. In the opening sequence, a helicopter flies over the Roman panorama carrying a statue of Jesus and halts to communicate with women sunbathing on a high rooftop. Except, they can’t hear or understand them because of the noise of the helicopter and the noise of nature and machines surface during the movie commencing a clutter of messages from one another… and they are lost. There is also a swarming third-party of male photographers in the film who disorder privacy, introducing the term paparazzi. Photographers dart through the city for the latest and succulent news, or pictures, because there really isn't news so they just take pictures and exaggerate news to their liking, in which is never shown in the newspapers or anywhere to the audience. There are masses of scenes of arrival and departure of people from various places. In a scene after the English speaking bombshell is driven to her place to stay and visit, she treats the photographers with kindness because it is just gives her something to undertake. However, asking her some topical questions to her profession is probably improper as there are other people who can answer the questions more shrewdly. Some people can comprehend the Italian and English language fluently and it appears to blend in for the viewer. The sounds of engines of airplanes, loud church bells, and shores, just to name some, interrupt, like the dedicated photographers, which bring up even more confusion in the mix of messages like the connotation of life. People remain impotence anywhere and the ending in the state of loneliness that two characters share by miscommunication is humbling and indefinite.

Final Grade: A/A+

World Trade Center (2006)
Starring Nicolas Cage, Michael Pena, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Maria Bello, Michael Shannon

Film Prophet's Review...
The story solely follows the time of Port Authority police officers Sargeant John McLoughlin, Cage, and Officer William J. Jimeno, Pena, who were part of a rescuing squad risking their lives by entering into the damaged World Trade Center buildings. The two were among the few who survived after the fall of the towers while within. The officers evidently had no training in this sort of rescue. As McLoughlin says, there is no plan. The story brings out the heroes, such as a one Christian marine, to the public. The subject of the film is relatively delicate since it’s reviving that unpleasant day on motion picture five years after, so the review is also careful. The movie is staggering to watch because the events really happened not too long ago. The audience has pretty much lived through the time already. It is different from most historical devastating movies such as general war films because the adept viewer would have to relive the moments with just more on scene striding detail. Some may also refuse to view this for two hours of the unutterable, failing, and sobering supposition. As the movie opens, the officer unit begins with any other routine with assignments in the morning. There are the sidewalk pedestrians and that is all the movie shows of them for the entire length. When the first plane strikes, quick and sudden that is, the police get the focal point of view. Some archive footage and clips are spread out by television, and there was not a visual of either plane crashing, just one shadow of it coming. The moments arrived by the unit are stunning and unbelievable to them, as the tremendous acting and musical score affects how the viewer watches it. In addition, some encouraging quotes are passed around, such as, you kept me alive, and you are our mission, in a couple priceless moments. As they enter, parts and pieces collapse in incidents in the interior and when it falls, the movie takes a slight fall with it. Although feasible, director Oliver Stone can't cover the entire looming and imminent doom and sadness underneath static debris after a startling quarter. He focuses the time on the two officers and the aftermath of the raw and only pure consequences. He creates internal successions towards a sensitive true situation to produce an utmost depressing sympathy and it projects while imagining as to what happened inside for a while. The rest of the film the ongoing unit lay on rubble trying to hang on and continue while their family at home front gets some film time. They stay immobile in one underground situation for the majority of the film because the fall happened too soon before the quarter mark. The outside perspective renders at the second half of their personal family lives and how they’re dealing with the absence and grief than anything else. Scoping the tedious days after when the family sobers and queries about the father figure’s return, there was still a lot more happening, just not shown in this film. The viewer already knows that there was a surviving ending for McLoughlin and Jimeno, though the film eliminates a political side and any great mention of terrorism, which is a positive thing however. It is really capitalizing on the tragedy, but it barely went into any of the faceless and nameless victims along the side or who worked at the center, besides the posters on a wall. The synopsis misses the part where the country unites as a whole on the days after and fastens primarily with the wives and family of the two surviving officers.

Final Grade: B-/B