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Film Prophet's Movie Reviews Page 8

 

Stagecoach (1939)
Starring John Wayne, Claire Trevor, Andy Devine, Thomas Mitchell, John Carradine, Louise Platt

Film Prophet's Review...
Nominated for best picture in the year of what could be the most notable year in for American movies, it is director John Ford’s first film with rising star John Wayne that upshot the careers of both men and the Western genre. The story is about a stagecoach journey across a hostile Indian territory with nine characters representing a different social classes and types. Ford unites distinct characterization and humor into a stirring story that includes a marvelously filmed chase in the Monument Valley. Cinematographer Gregg Toland, who would shoot for Citizen Kane, creates a landscape around the Arizona border of Mexico that sure enough is astounding. The wait of Ringo, Wayne, is captured by a zooming camera to his face when he arrives on screen, which might be the most spectacular debut in a movie when Wayne expertly wields his shotgun. The Marshall and others calling him kid alerts a difference from his prime roles he has twenty years from this one. Plus, the film doesn't depend solely on Wayne either. There are other incredible shots such as Dallas continuing to look at Ringo on the stagecoach or when she has a baby in her arms. A man leaps from his base and leaps from to horse to horse as Apache warriors ride up behind a prompt stagecoach in a brilliant parallel camera shooting ride. In the expository sequence, the town setting was vivid as can be and it's at its finest for a western town. It is lively active with respectable figures, firm law, riding horses down the road, formal and uncompetitive ventures, and a sort of patrician lives at all parts of the operational town. Passengers are introduced as they arrive as a unit to the stagecoach. Each character has a fair portion during the film, and all have a different reason for wanting to leave to get to Lordsburg. John Ford's timing and selection of music and humor is appropriate. A pair of drunks and driver with a high-pitched voice who gets ignored are a couple of things the script has for slight amusement. The black and white western features archetypes, especially the summon of the character names, from Doc Boone to Ringo Kid, and the themes of the characters that are placed by destination in a compactly confined period of time as a bunch. Among them are a banker, gambler, driver, a shunned dance hall girl, pregnant bride, Marshall, whiskey drinking doctor and salesman, and an outlaw. Two alluring females are aboard who each hold charisma and attraction on screen within every frame with or without words are separate in class distinction. One is determined to get to her husband and the other is avoided. Social prejudice, alcoholism, and vengeance are the central themes of reality in the west during this period. As Ringo addresses the Marshall and woos Dallas, ‘Where's your manners, aren't you going to ask the other lady first’ sets the moral social prejudice against the lowest social standing profession where Ringo has the sense of honor. It proves later that disgraceful members of the society are to be the most noble, gentle, and selfless. The gambler offers nothing more than protection to a pregnant woman, Claire Trevor’s role as Dallas has the social side of things and The Ringo Kid also has foreboding moments from a past that leads to the final pinnacle scene. On the moving stagecoach, the dialogue is tranquil and relaxed and the camera angles are in a tight capacity. These characters mean no harm, entertaining on the move, and resting at station stops. It is believable from a human difference that allows the audience to sympathize with every character and can connect to no matter what the time period difference is. The cast skillfully act out in their developed and colorful roles and their representative social types from all ranges. The stagecoach was like a traveling trolley on a Santa sled: magical and hospitable. It is the enchanted vision of the west where deers are horses, and everything is possible when anyone can start a new life. From a sheer proficient film that refined the Western, it is a glad occasion to watch it that positions on how great the west can be at a time every moment, also influencing the genre to expand and escalate.

Final Grade: A/A-

Rushmore (1998)
Starring Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Olivia Williams, Seymour Cassel, Brian Cox

Film Prophet's Review...
Wes Anderson’s second directorial film is flawed and frustrating to observe. Max Fischer, Schwartzman, and his bizarre schemes, is a social outcast at an all-boy private school, even though he is a president, director, and founder of various clubs which is impossible to find true time for any of them. The audience is alleged to believe that Max is some sort of fifteen year old genius from the opening scenes, but he is just a failure and incompetent. He is unsuccessful academically and dreams he is the best and rooted for. He also falls for a much older female teacher and when his infatuation is not returned, he is up against an over-aged man to her. The characters and the comedy are the main two reasons of vast disappointment. Living a banal life with rash children does not make this funny or grand, but just different in a bad way. The laughing material is scarce effectively containing nothing to laugh with or at as this script never has fun with this purported comedy; it remains very still. For the first few scenes, the chats are more of a what do you do and what does he do portraying vague facts in a settle tone except using penetration of events. It lacks a uniform plot and sympathetic, uncharismatic characters who were acted with blank, inactive expressions. Luke Wilson is found for maybe a couple minutes in his very limited role. The film never attracts a crowd because there is nothing flamboyant about it. It doesn't accomplish a purpose or agenda. No goals are set and there aren't any struggles or comical evil, which is clear from its tasteless ending. The female lead is not magnetic in any of the scenes by means of acting, dialogue, or physical presence to be the only noteworthy female character. Her talks with Max are too hushed and they’re about nothing interesting or challenging to tune into because there isn’t one consistent storyline in interior. The two in their situation did nothing bar from positioning a handy storyline device for an effect. There are numerous scenes that have nothing to do with nothing. It jumps around poor sound quality and boring antics of Max who is a precocious and obnoxious character frequently. He is in nearly every scene. Every performance was flat, the dialogue seemed nonexistent for the most part, and for being an unhappy father, Murray in Kingpin had way more excitement and upsurge than any character in this film. Unentertaining as it is, the script is hypnotic and the direction of this film is numb. Scenes seemingly sprout from no where combined with the inaptness of sixties music, the movie made no sense in launching its characters with ambitions. They started nowhere and went nowhere. Somewhere along the line, the writers forgot to give them some funny lines or add some humor to this dud since it is prioritized as a comedy. Miserable people are just not funny. There weren’t any redeeming qualities in any of them as every kid in the movie was loudmouthed and irritating. They were joyless, remotely humorous in this glorified piece of bland work.

Final Grade: C-/D

The Wages of Fear (1953)
Starring Yves Montand, Charles Vanel, Folco Lulli, Peter van Eyck, Véra Clouzot

Film Prophet's Review...
Men are in danger by driving trucks with dozens of nitroglycerin containers in the back across treacherous mountain terrains and awful paths. An American oil company in South America has caught on fire and the only thing that will put it out to wellbeing is containers of lethal nitroglycerine. The company decides to send two trucks across on the company's mission for bait of two grand, which is a large prosperity for the characters as seen in the opening quarter. The company recruits and only four are hired. The film opens up in a Latin American town with tired poor people in the street and unclothed children begging for food due to hunger and poverty. Miscellaneous characters appear and each speak multiple languages ranging from French, Italian, English, and Spanish. People work odd jobs which pay less than those who use minds or talents. They crawl along at first with uninteresting dialogue, slowly examining the lives in this small rural place and the arrogance of being rich that is packaged with smugness. The real story kicks into gear forty minutes in which the main male cast leaves only for a bigger hazardous situation for money. It is four men the rest of the way, as the main character tells his weeping woman to get lost. After a series of droning sequences in the opening section, French director Henri-Georges Clouzot starts building the tension right when the men arrive at dusk on the transport mission, then there is no relief for them as it will just be them and the pits of paths. The man versus nature element dares that no matter how superior the white man is to all other living creatures, nature is still the topmost. The men are alone out there and the only support they get are each other. Without guidance from other trucks or people, the men change under pressure but still have their companionship. Every experience endured during the route is an adversity of manhood. This is a man’s world and it is the nobility of labor. The white and black cinematography includes the trucks riding over mountains and cliffs at unbearable levels confronting several problems to the four. The gritty setting creates a reaction of suspense and fright so they take various precautions and fallacies. The hostile conditions are given close attention from the tires riding over mud, oil, or something else to other tiny details. Big rocks, soft wood, speed techniques, and what truck is in front of the other are parts of the gripping adventure of fear that is about the characters and these situations that arise due to their greed. Remarkably interesting is the great interaction between them and discovering truth about themselves to be careful with matter that can explode in the back and to take ventures. In faultless, bitter irony, living without fear is just as bad as living with fear. There is no music score, special effects, or spree killers. The fear is based on raw adrenaline under hostile environment and by the likelihood of debacle and mishap.

Final Grade: B+/A-

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)
Starring Friedrich Feher, Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Lil Dagover

Film Prophet's Review...
Robert Wiene directs an enduring German silent masterpiece reflecting expressionist values through the origin of horror. A carnival hypnotist named Dr. Caligari pawns sleepwalker Cesare in his performing somnambulist tests from a state of sleep. The doctor wants to see if he can order his patient to commit murders in trance walking. Cesare also knows the past and future of people to entertain the gawking carnival crowds. As an extensive flashback, a man named Francis tells his friend in a park a story of how his fiancée escaped from death and an amoral asylum during the story’s numerous acts in the chain of deaths. For another interpretation, the story convinces Germans in the need of a dictatorship following the first World War and that doctors would not be fitting as a distinct national leader, obviously. Introducing many horror conventions of the old age in cinema, the unusual storyline varies in segments with bizarre lighting, turquoise or gold tinted colors, and shadows using the ol’ closing circle crop effect. Some parts of the scenery are painted onto the cardboard backdrops to add an extra eerie appeal. The performers wore dark costumes and makeup to make this as uncanny as possible. The surreal experience may suggest a deranged mind of the sequence of events because barely any sets are realistic. The warped geometry shaped sets and delusional colors suggest the unstable mind of the film’s narrative. The dark moods depict the gothic, surrealistic distorted images and set design like a nightmarish quality. Shot in a studio, this set contains places that have twisted alleys, crooked narrow halls, small doors, cramped rooms, claustrophobic tight spaces from ceilings, slanted walls and tents that all set the awkward ambiance. The flat organ music score and the thunderous audio tracks played by a synthesized orchestra of bass and percussion are fantastic and lasting. Certainly, the furious tone of music is a dominant trait in this film. The movie doesn’t explain much presentation of factual characterization. People gasp shocking long moments and other body languages and facial expressions then carry on. The film is seventy or so minutes and when the characters move their mouths, not every time they speak there appears an inter-title for small talk. The caption cards were used to narrate key story points and dialogue and they would scroll down the cards or cursive written letters. The film is spooky in appearance, the atmosphere has almost everything to be scary, and the imagery makes it out to be and it's striking. Not a lot is explained on who the characters really, really are until later in a shock and everything looks so wrong and iniquitous in this film, and that is an ingredient of horror. The upheaval dimension to the audience compels an extreme arcane thought on the twists and the radical ending.

Final Grade: B+/A-

Breathless (1960)
Starring Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean Seberg, Daniel Boulanger, Henri-Jacques Huet

Film Prophet's Review...
Director Jean-Luc Godard 's first motion picture film is claimed to be the foundation of bold styles and editing while manipulating time and scope. His camera flair for the opening twenty or so minutes is irresistible and refreshing, likable and innovative. Before getting into the camera work, this film does think exceedingly more than its characters. Michel the main character is a very typical tough guy in forties films. He gets into trouble in Paris and attempts to be imaginative, but strange, almost immature, by stealing cars and killing a policeman. He is a free-spirited criminal. Michel is in relation to mediocre Bogart character movies. He holds up newspapers, wears sunglasses and a hat, and persistently has a cigarette in his mouth. He puts a spell on the viewer thinking that smoking is cool and establishes himself by rubbing his lips with his fingers every so close-up camera opportunity. Sometimes he is clean and polite, then sometimes a thieve. He hides out in the Paris apartment of Patricia, a young American student. They spend their time later dodging the inspector and police in and out of cafes, and Michel checks newspapers while she doesn't know. The dialogue is preserving while the picture is goes on quick with cuts from moment to moment yet still maintaining fluidness to the overall product; it is light, realistic, and not confusing. Mostly between Michel and Patricia, some conversations are rather philosophical bringing up interesting ideas about love in the modern world. ‘The American woman dominates the man; the French doesn't dominate him yet.’ Patricia has a lack of self-awareness and there’s incomplete sexuality between the two. Michel caresses her wanting to make love and reminds her of that every so often. The dynamics of their relationship are shown in a morning apartment scene in the bed, a free form view of their interaction. This French black and white feature runtime is below ninety minutes and the story concerns individual acceptance, betrayal, and initial instincts. The European Jazz music taste is also a major highlight of the film. It is part jazz and other times classical changing of the mix of different mood types from each scene. Along with the music, the mood and pace is also supplied by the photography on the streets of Paris. The jump cuts process the middle section of a continuous shot that is completely removed as the beginning and end are joined together. Michel gets out of a cab to take a step, then suddenly he is positioned in a phone booth is one example. The film eliminates the extent of him walking in complete form, thus a reduction of time. Following that technique, the later half of the film uses plenty of tracking shots. For instance, normal bystanders are caught looking behind at the camera in the background while walking away past it on the sidewalks as the Michel and Patricia walk towards the camera as it moves in front of them. This is part of the freedom of a handheld camera to follow the current movement of a character and center it in the picture. The production modes, improvising angles, and the storytelling method on a small budget differ from the tradition direction and it altered forever Hollywood in many movies to come. The one small drawback to the film is the viewer’s reactions at heighten times because the film cares more about the energetic camera than empowering characters to the audience. It’s on top of technical aspects and the story and acting is derived, but it is much greater than the weary found in Touch of Evil. François Truffaut's story is nevertheless effective enticing the film together with the structure. After awhile, one will be more interested in the story and the characters since eventually the cuts will be familiar with and merge within to blend and recognize. The brisk photography, the buoyant music, and the two carefree protagonists give the film a tidy synergy.

Final Grade: B+/A-

Cars (2006)
Voices by Owen Wilson, Paul Newman, Bonnie Hunt, Larry The Cable Guy, Tony Shalhoub, Michael Keaton

Film Prophet's Review...
Pixar takes on yet another innovative world of something lifeless in reality and completely revolves the movie’s story around it. It rehearses the formula of making things that normally can't speak to talk. In this film, cars get life, there are no humans or any other living creatures, and through cars, the environment is viewed through their eyes, or windshields. The cars didn't vocally sing tunes that are part of the movie and story. That isn't what Pixar truly does. The studio has a habit for making entertaining, intelligent, and humorous animated films. Although there are many points in the film, mainly in the first run, that are distressing to sit through while the main character is suffering major and the other cars are wallowing with unawareness of his star status. That or they just want a new friend in town. Lightning McQueen is a very self-centered, arrogant rookie race car in the spotlight who only cares about his fame, success, and big sponsor. He has a smiling trademark along with that shiny car that fits into his large ego. After the opening race, it is announced a three way tie and they’ll race off again for the famous annual Piston cup. Sincerely, people just don’t like selfish people. The lead car is really unlikable the moment he appeared, until he is headed in the dusty trails. The conceited star car drags along and then is miserable and painful to watch because no car would comprehend his situation when the car goes astray to a really small, old town. The story tugs on various feelings, whether to laugh, to feel remorseful, or really nothing at all. The opening drive of the movie is full of ignorance by every car because that is how cars really are. Viewers can't possibly cheer for the car who has been cocky. By the town’s ignorance to McQueen, the viewers now have a reason to root for him to proceed. There is a lack of connection to not only this car sometimes, but most cars. This all happens when the story moves from the California limelight life to an isolated old town of a population no more than a dozen erased from the map. McQueen meets a buck-toothed tow truck, a local judge, and some others. As much as the viewer would like to see McQueen leave this abandoned place to get back to California as he wants to get to the race in time, there is always some loose tool bringing him back largely by limiting his gas or something else. There are some tiring sequences of road pavement with the others teasing him on the way, but it slowly unbolts the cars’ personas, eventually to affability. Some laughing is present for the audience, but it doesn’t offer much humor. The town prevents him to leave and then the film decides to cut to homages to the old times of the town and highway it once was. After a bumpy start with holes in the road, the film zips by its car puns and catches back up to its capability on a full tank of gas in the final laps. The story finally puts the brakes on the tiresome ridicules and consequences by extracting extra character dimensions to assemble a sentimental, monument mix of obliging principles and moods commencing from each car associated to McQueen in help. The awaiting final and second race in the film fetches a whole assortment of affection. His emerging experience opens his eyes to brighter, trusting duration.

Final Grade: B-/B

Reality Bites (1994)
Starring Winona Ryder, Ethan Hawke, Ben Stiller, Janeane Garofalo, Steve Zahn

Film Prophet's Review...
In Ben Stiller's directing debut, the film is about four recent college graduates who move into the same apartment in Houston and find it difficult to make a living in the era of the nineties. Forming a cult populated audience, the movie contains a fresh cast at that time of leading personalities in the making. Winona as the lead girl gets torn between guys of the opposite in this triangle of love. She also is filming an aspiring documentary called Reality Bites about the lives of her friends after college. Each one is apathetic puzzled with self imposed drama and all battle with loose end jobs and relationships. Ethan is one of her three friends lives with her and he is alcohol influenced, a couch potato, into his grunge rock music, and very irresponsible. Stiller represents the nice, real-world figure. He is employed working marketing who happens to bang into Winona’s car one day and he just doesn’t understand Ethan’s coolness. The film spends most of its points with Winona and Ethan together or her and Stiller structuring affection. The nature of the characters was very well drawn out displaying that they’re virtually jobless as the contemporary Generation X characters seeking their identity on Earth drifting with ambitions. Alternatively, they take another direction with their lives because it is what is accessible to them. There are several enjoyable aspects to the movie, even while they panic and bicker for a trace. The humor is gentle and it is enticing to follow Winona’s character. They talk to each other with cute, quotable lines, inducing dialogue at a mediocre pace while acting whacked and frolic around. The cast easily clicked into their roles. Their amiable, excellent rapports are quite charming, but they are not totally funny as they are mocking in fun in fashionable performances living to the moment. The nineties in fact are probably the most shaping and interesting time period by means of pop culture. Music, pizza, clothes, magazines, music television, and candy bars facilitates to transport the viewer to its setting in movie. The epoch is built by baby boomers that they can't relate to. The story is just ordinary at this age. There is no actual plot and life doesn't have a plot to it; it lives without any bearing path. People are nothing more than their experiences because humans only care about emotions, not logic. The backbone of the slim story serves as an awaited sympathy for people who have lived the lethargic life of the time period by doing and gaining ironically nothing. Life to them is ending after school when it should begin. They detach and call themselves ironic indulging as slackers in a philosophy with true freedom.

Final Grade: B/B+

The Bone Collector (1999)
Starring Denzel Washington, Angelina Jolie, Queen Latifah, Ed O'Neill, Luis Guzmán, Michael Rooker

Film Prophet's Review...
Denzel Washington is a paralyzed officer who has been suffering in bed and wanting to die for the past four years Following a near-fatal injury in the line of duty, a his arms and legs become useless. He feels he has no reason to live, although having a top selling book, until he's back into the midst of a murder case because apparently he is the only cop in the city who can solve a string of homicides. He pulls in Jolie to do one more case as a street cop before she is transferred to a desk job. She is the one to bring evidence to him and witness the horrific crime scenes to prevent the next hideous act of an unidentified serial killer. It is not entertaining to look at a dying Denzel acting on a bed talking to Queen Latifah as a caretaker in a large apartment room. Jolie is guided by him and pouts her way through audio equipment operating from this room. This allows her to replace his mobile effectiveness to other settings. However, they all relate to flashlight nonsense managing to resolve little on scene. The mere times things are resolved are from Denzel at his bed unraveling clues he sees on the monitors around him. Fresh scenes replay through the memory of Denzel lying partially unconscious with seizures. Settings are mostly dark, with some characters carrying flashlights and speak no dialogue and have no interaction with each other. Conversations occur habitually in the big apartment room, which is the main site for the detectives on this case, and they’re usually the how are things type. They are very light in manner, and matter. The film is a mind-numbing experience and it is not busy at any moment. There is not one highlight to mention. The torture scenes are pathetic. For example, they contain tape around the mouth of a victim with his or her hands tied up in some remote dirty location and this happens to each nameless victim. They aren’t even a cheap thrill. The natural element of fear is lifeless in this story because the crime-mystery thriller doesn’t invite the audience into the mind of the villain. The homicides are at night with dimmed lights and the involving altitude is never there to strike a fear. Thus they become unimportant to the viewer, then depressing because not much happens after but brief exhausting talk moments about the occurrences. An articulate plot doesn’t take place for a couple dozen minutes, and then when the plot is ready to come out of the script, it fails by means of originality, unlike a riveting L.A. Confidential. It is slow to open up its characters; the character development is in the most faint and undistinguished way. The acts don't reveal in excess of material or excite an audience because they are cut too short and placed in doubtful positions in the story with continuity errors. Further, the direction and script struggles to engage one into the movie with a dull villain and an over-talented cast portraying bland characters. The anti-climax screen play features an outdated Netscape browser, tired characters with heads in shame, unpersuasive chemistry between any two, a hero detective who stays in bed all day, and no energy to a limping ending.

Final Grade: D/C-

All the President's Men (1976)
Starring Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, Jack Warden, Hal Holbrook, Jason Robards, Meredith Baxter

Film Prophet's Review...
A nomination for best picture, the movie is primarily about Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward, Redford, and Carl Bernstein, Hoffman, disclosing the news from Deep Throat, a secret source who gave them information about the Watergate involvement and whose identity was kept secret for over thirty years. He had inside knowledge about who engineered the Watergate first and he refused to just give up information, he just gave hints and could never be quoted or even referred, which led them to search around to obtain more facts. Richard Nixon served as vice president under Eisenhower twice in the fifties and got beat by Kennedy in sixty. His next election he wins in the second largest landslide for a second term after winning in sixty-eight. What is perplexing is that Nixon, despite Vietnam altercations, riots, and displeasures among Americans, was kept Nixon in office. Perhaps if this Watergate scandal was noticed right before his second election, he wouldn’t be in power. The film takes place during the series of Watergate investigations, spanning from seventy-two to seventy-four, that began when the Nixon administration abused their power undermining the Democratic Party. He was the first and only president to resign from office. Enough lessons, now time for the film. Woodward and Bernstein cover what seemed to be a minor break-in at the Democratic Party National headquarters and the story opens up journalistic ethics as they go after the facts that in due course brought down the president. The film throws a bunch of names, mostly from the Committee to Re-elect the President, at the audience as Nixon was not a central name among all the other names, except for the opening and ending footages. There were less actual news footages than expected, which is acceptable. The film’s first production scene was on the night of the burglars. As known, the purpose of the break-in was for Republican fund organizers to plant forged documents showing the Democrats took money from foreign interests. This was not really necessary since a republican just won the election for the second time, but they continued to be very aggression. With sustaining tension in the air, the story is absorbing without concluding and propelling morals and judgments because there is no new information. As evident most scenes don't really end. Most cut off when the scenes still have something left. To discover the purpose takes a while to develop and to find out what they were there for. Woodward and Bernstein ask around who various people are, mostly by phone calls at their desks. It informs the life of journalists and research with the scandal and gives an inside look at how reporting, editing, and journalism relates to politics that work out concurrently. It illustrates the power of the press and people who are fragile and afraid about having their name printed along with a piece of information as source. The tactics are clever and fascinating to watch even though the premise is spoiled. The words are the weapons, evidence, and entertainment. The acting ensuing is great. ‘Who is p… p we know is Porter, you said twenty-five grand, was it more?’ There is chemistry between Hoffman and Redford which push way past the limits of what the story is obligated to do if this was a documentary. Redford is particularly great in this film, Hoffman as well, delivering obstinate questions to get confirmation and facts. Even better, the story doesn’t become maudlin with their personal lives like in the poor movie The Insider, and still gets their characterization done. There is a fun sequence of note taking by Redford in the recreated newsroom with excellent timing questions obtaining facts about a Howard Hunt. They persist to look for proof, trails of lies, connections, asking familiars about a person’s association with others, to get the specifics. ‘I need more facts for a story and I think you need the same thing.’ In the first half, normally they worked individually then exchange information between each other in the office. Later, they worked together more outside, such as going door to door to houses. Considered by many to be the uttermost achievement of print journalism in the Old Media era with manual typewriters and papers adds to the credibility of the story from the lack of technology to assist them in their search. Their extensive questions dig deep for accuracy supported by documents, papers, checks, and cash funds through libraries, books, cold calling approaches, appointments, and other patterns. The overhead shot in the Library of Congress departing from above the two working on enormous slips of library is excellent. It shows what journalists do on the deadline for an editor who just checks with them to be sure they’re right on this.

Final Grade: B+

Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence (2004)
Animation directed by Mamoru Oshii  Written by Mamoru Oshii, Shirow Masamune

Film Prophet's Review...
Nine years later in a continuation with the same setting, the sequel is similar in concept and theme to the original. Agent Batô is still dealing with the loss of the Major and searches for the truth behind a series of murders of wealthy men with his new partner Togusa. However, there are many disparities in many fields from the prequel. First, the animation, being as beautiful as it is, is rendered in computer graphics at awkward times that were unnecessary, really pretentious, especially the ten minute Chinese parade ordeal that had no relation to anything. The computer graphics were the biggest comedown. The film is a bit longer and has a slower pace than the original, not boring because it balanced by its animation and music, but just calm. The soundtrack is another haunting work by Kenji Kawai, especially that oriental title tune. The most haunting part of the story is displaying an array of dolls which could possibly possess a soul. The story attempts the viewers to believe that people are merely machines, resembling the same human thought with artificial intelligence in the original. The plot is more simple and has less theoretical reprimands due to the riddance of the two characters who did all of that in the first. Thus, the story is weaker in dialogue to the first by missing Major and the puppet master. The major is nowhere to be found, though there are hints of her existence. In the scenes solely with Batô, they depict his loneliness, as he was once a secondary character, which contribute to his character. He has very little to say and there is very little going on. More so, it is less about the ghost and mind concept though it contains the same tone and volume of animated voices about being doubtful. The violence, although not entirely a lot in the first, doesn't appear that often. In fact, the partners once they agreed to avoid shooting as much as possible. At some spots, it turns into a video game style with the computer graphic parts and freezes a frame or two at the end of a violent sequence slowing it down. Again, the movie takes itself seriously, except two minor lines, ‘hey no time to be philosophical now’ and ‘can we get back here to reality please.’ The best parts of the movie are the fantastic artwork to watch every moment with backdrops of incredible detail and it becomes memorizing to follow the art trends by contrasting the warm from cold settings, yet usually snared in the discomfort cold.

Final Grade: B-

Ghost in the Shell (1995)
Animation directed by Mamoru Oshii  Written by Kazunori Itô, Shirow Masamune

Film Prophet's Review...
Cyborg Major Motoko Kusanagi is a female special security agent with extraordinary abilities that can access any network on Earth. She is not human, has no physical body, and can freely travel. Her mission is to hunt down the Puppet Master, the sovereign hacker of the network, while searching for her identity. Another agent named Batô works for a public security unit and befriends her. It's an anime film tackling on science fiction that sparks contemplation through the provocative script fashioned by art. The dark atmosphere and dim color animation, editing, and sound all unify together in this anime that concentrates more on the main story from an incredible plot than persistent wild hostility and graphic content. The eighty minute anime is unusual for a science fiction for really pushing the boundaries filled with philosophy on topics of artificial intelligence, but finds common aptitudes of anime in violence. The action and violent sequences are chiefly found versus someone who can't see a cyborg bearing an optic camouflage. However, the movie is mainly calm and pensive. Part of the study concerns the network that infuses life in an alternating form of life, between political intrigue and a cyber race. Though, the characters are irresolute on how to give a real definition to life, the substantial human confusion is after the creation of intelligence to eliminate its creators. Life is altered in a pre-story by biotechnology and secret projects and the film’s story regards deliberation on the meaning of consciousness. Hearing 'they are a simulating experience, a fantasy' to some innocent one would aching terribly to believe to the possible truth, is the area of the film’s highest emotional connection. A ghost is a hacked human who loses some kind of memory. The internal struggles transpire to defining life originality of reproduction and the conscious mind that makes a person human which are complicated enough to baffle an inattentive viewer. The dialogue is weighty, serious, and complex and the story is not too complicated, but the characters do act way too smart differing from a typical logical converse. These philosophical conversations and monologues require the viewers to have a comprehensive listening span. When the discussions are more of a ‘what if’ lecture moralize on science fiction and computer enhanced minds than an agreeable gracious chat, the characters ask the questions about what makes humanity special while driving around in motor vehicles or set in other places. They are long lectures in a social commentary nature about being unsure, self-doubt about identity, but the person believes in what he or she has to say. For example, the Puppet Master does most of this and says, ‘Cells repeat the process of degeneration and regeneration until one day they die, obliterating an entire set of memory and information. Only genes remain. Why continually repeat this cycle? Simply to survive.’ The poignant and stimulating ending stretches out in a form of a scientific sermon in a manner in fluid of the story that’s still maintained. “Man is an individual only because of his intangible memory… memory defines mankind.”

Final Grade: B

To Be or Not to Be (1942)
Starring Jack Benny, Carole Lombard, Robert Stack, Felix Bressart, Lionel Atwill

Film Prophet's Review...
The forties wartime comedy is a disappointment to be in amongst the finest years for movies. Applying a double entendre movie title, a stage group in Poland starts rehearsals for a satiric comedy about German officials and the government tells them to stop. Their play is censored and replaced with a production of Hamlet. They end up using their abilities in disguise to fool the troops. The brave screen play that dared to make a comedy on a political leader opens with a small sequence of a portrayal of the Fuhrer and by mentioning his name often must be careful on how to portray it all. The movie has a dubious play documented in this motion picture involving the playing of German officials and even the Fuhrer himself. The characters pretend to be somebody else and it is blurry to find areas where they are rehearsing the play, performing in front of a crowd, using their play roles outside of the play purposes, or show the actual title person in reality, which is confusing to get across and outline too. When there are no comical intended lines, the rest of the performers don't do anything specifically. It doesn’t help when the performers are also uncharismatic to like and laugh with. Though it is of no importance since it is unclear who is an actor character or an official and what the person’s role in the movie is. The characters often have foul manners by walking into dressing rooms or offices without knocking, then suddenly a dim romance scene occurs the next minute, and they are positioned in a crowded bomb shelter for short time. The past sentence, like the entire film, handles too much at one time for a short amount of time and confuses itself on how it wants to approach the war topic with everything it has. There would be a refusal to really take most of the situations seriously because the comical manner is mixed with several moods all at once. The Great Dictator, in contrast, is special with its excellent direction satire about the same war. This film also attempts propaganda through numerous loose plot points that don’t begin properly or finish distinctly. Evidently, the scene introductions are poor because it is difficult to tell where the setting is taking place when a scene begins. Rapid cuts happen to like almost in a middle of a scene as if the first third of it was cut out. Some scenes are only a mere twenty seconds long that hold no points or humor, but just cutting to various characters without permitting the audience to get a true grasp or handle on who are the central characters in the film. The dialogue during the stints in the first sequence is quick in one ear and out the other, which was the only true slapstick sight. Even worse, the intentional humor fades when the film shifts from romance, to comedy, to drama, to war, to theater and it is all very forgettable, outright tedious, and uninspiring en route for an ambiguous conclusion. After ten minutes, the sarcasm runs out by repeating lines in different tones. In fact, the satire isn't really there anymore or to take any notice of. The war effort in this film is a shock because it is over-exaggerated and actually positions itself too much on hailing the Fuhrer. The movie is uncomfortable when it uses comedy on real, forbidding historical events, especially with questionable and exhausted references to the Fuhrer. It keeps this up without ever entering into the fun of an authentic screwball comedy. The content is too burdensome and not basic, unlike most comedies. The humor doesn’t seem sharp as it once was perhaps then, and the same goes towards the material which was not outstanding. It does not work in any modern era; the time period and a specific country is more suiting when released… hesitantly.

Final Grade: C-/D

Raise the Red Lantern (1991)
Starring Gong Li, Caifei He, Lin Kong, Cuifen Cao, Chu Xiao

Film Prophet's Review...
Directed by Zhang Yimou, a twenty year old woman in China is forced to marry a wealthy master and each night a red lantern is lit in front of one of the his four wife’s houses to spend a night with the lord. Each wife is called by mistress number, not by name, and they are sisters to each other. A concubine is a woman as a mistress who lives together in a rural privileged area with an important man and is assisted by several servants. Concubinage was a tradition in China where maids served mistresses which served the master. It was the master's tradition for the triumphant to call out to light lantern outside a house of a wife he intended to join for the night. Though, the night scenes aren’t shown. In the feudal system, the fourth mistress’ decision-making is reduced. There was no other alternative for her to being married by her mother against her own will. Areas in the film are unhurried where there at times are no interactions with characters. Rather, there are uniform orderly conducted customs such as daily acts serving the mistress in kindness with treatments or rituals. The fourth mistress experiences it all for the first time when the audience watches it for the first time as well. The camera work is excellent and appropriate for a slow-paced film using remote camera stances to zoom in or allow a performer to walk up close. This permits time for independent silence and peace. The conversations take no longer than a minute because mostly everything is exact and simple to the point where customs have to be done at the precise time and location. The movie contains fine acting, but the storyline is very narrow. There are only a handful of characters and they do the same tasks. ‘It's another old family custom.’ The women get dressed, greet each other, walk around courtyards and rooftops, observing space, eating specialty foods, and receiving massages. The women to the lord are mere collectables for the master. The other wives pay attention and take a mental note of her every move action and word for a while. The movie concentrates on story and acting and it is slow as natural. Throughout the story, seasons changes and winter arrives as the last. The scenery is colorful allotting the environment around social orders with the association of women. While the master hardly establishes himself as a powerful character and his face is never revealed to the camera, Gong Li establishes herself in her first big film as among the great Chinese actresses. ‘Why cry? It's better dead than alive and suffering.’ From her opening painstaking close-up, she carries out through most of the movie without a cracking a laugh or a smile. There are scenes when there were mostly tears down her face. Her education is at a lost and her emotions are complex. Her spoiled experiences have taken her over and she begins to order people around and make demands. The story is about sister rivals, betrayal, manipulation, and social constraints. As someone says, ‘life is so unpredictable,’ but for the most part, their lives are unentertaining and bland which is why family is always the most important thing when away from everything else. Consequently, infidelity is spitefully the biggest offense to the lord resulting in a remorseful close.

Final Grade: B

X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
Starring Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Ian McKellen, Famke Janssen, Shawn Ashmore, Patrick Stewart

Film Prophet's Review...
Professor Charles Xavier's X-Men are unhappy mutants after hearing the cure towards a negation of mutant powers. The immoral radial Brotherhood is also enraged, but not as much. The two trigger a war to make it the last stand of absurdity in destruction and carnage. Each character has an episode in the first part of the film by scene like a little plot moving on to the next one, yet each one is poorly acted as it seems like the performers didn’t put in the effort as in the previous two since they've been there and done it. Ian McKellen as Magneto was calm and knows when to be mean and ruthless. Hugh Jackman as Wolverine is the most charismatic, but his character is too caught up with the whole Phoenix story which should have been a side story or it’s own in another movie. Janssen as Jean, or as Phoenix, becomes just as important piece as Halle Berry receiving mediocre lines as Storm. Storm actually gets to use her weather powers to some extent. Jean has an identity crisis that never seems to have a rational. Others receive reduced roles, especially Rebecca Romijn as Mystique. The mutant deaths aren’t really clear or even appropriate given the awkwardness to thoroughly sense they are gone because the deaths were too sudden for surprising casualties. Mutants are crammed in then eliminated or pushed aside to create room for the others to make an appearance. The characters don’t get a proper introduction, like Juggernaut, as it happens all so fast. Instead, they emerge to be seen and their purpose in the film is not present. They receive their debut which is only needed for the final battle. The film is a half hour shorter than the first sequel despite being the last stand with a plentiful amount of characters. New mutants make an entrance to show their essence for a minute and don’t return till the near end to unleash another large clutter when all together. During the battle, mutants use their powers at a certain time that come along with neat visual effects to their respective powers. The action was so fast in movement that the audience can't clearly examine what's exactly going on. There also wasn’t a great deal of excitement to be ready for the final battle. Scenes that should have been affecting weren’t and most of the film’s context for an hour is wiped out of memory. Consequences are not bestowed, other characters are added without defining dialogue and they are mostly there for no reason other than to throw them in for appeal, and the film is the worst in all three films. What made the other films enjoyable was the emphasis on mutant conflicts to each side. The first two underlined recruiting young mutants to be convinced by a side and controlling powers. This film doesn't present those while it is about disputes between mutants on their own sides, like the school and the Rogue thing, and frustrations and losses they still deal with. Everyone is troubled by something because they know they probably still have to fight each other and they are worried about the cure. With the chatty parts on mutant rights and extermination, it is the same old premise in the first sequel. The politics, diplomacy, and ethics approach of this script can be excluded. Mutants are discriminated by humans, however, when they get shot, they don’t have healing powers and they are dead like any human. They didn’t have to be a threat to society, dissimilar like other comics to help society with their powers. There are repetitive rants and chants, such as ‘they wish to cure us’ speeches. When the Brotherhood destroys the golden gate bridge with civilians on, an old man says, ‘my god’ then reappears a moment and says ’then god help us.’ The movie was missing so much, while having so many characters together still didn't accomplish an ample amount. Lead characters get eliminated in some fashion through out the movie. The secondary Brotherhood mutants are really colorless and rather human looking. Angel gets maybe three minutes of screen time and he is superfluous to any plot. The film trades most of the drama and action from the first two for a nickel. It settles without a beginning or middle and the film is more like a thirty minute sequence at end of a movie.

Final Grade: C-/C

Howl's Moving Castle (2005)
Animation directed and written by Hayao Miyazaki

Film Prophet's Review...
An apprehensive young woman named Sophie is cursed by the Witch of the Waste with an old body of a woman. She leaves her home to find a treatment and heads for the castle of the renowned wizard Howl, and gets herself into his civilization. Sophie befriends Calcifer, a small smart-aleck fire spirit who powers the castle and is bound to Howl by contract. They live in a world of magic and fantasy where witches and wizards live among humans without defined boundaries. Hayao Miyazaki’s very imaginative exhibit has the capability to be adventurous supported by his fantastic imagery and comprehensive fancy painted pictures of landscape and buildings, but the film never gets it on with a storyline. The artwork does its best to cancel it out though. The rich and unusual settings dictate what expression characters are displaying, instead of counting on any short dialog to use from the story. The looks and nuances each character makes, along with colorful blends and dark outlines in foundation, enrich the character's personalities slightly. The film spends a hunk of change on a tedious companionship with a young boy who Sophie meets following Calcifer. The subtle themes of friendship, pride, beauty, and bravery are encouraged also. Concerned with her image to her mother and sisters, Sophie’s true image breaks through the old woman look by showing the inner-self and the gentle notion she has to offer Howl and others. Sometimes noticing the woman’s face, there is a reflection of the young Sophie trapped inside. This is something Hayao really accomplished in the film. A six-legged castle that walks is ghastly on the exterior and exquisite inside is somewhat a portrayal of Sophie. Hayao’s movies are starting to look alike with big visual set pieces, noticing the minor details on a bigger scale, and that there is no clear evil; there are only complex affairs between characters. The technical aspects are fine, yet there are critical holes in noticeable story areas. There is slight entertainment in portions, but suffers with vague representations, character motives, and unrevealed necessary background. Howl is actually hollow and plain Sophie as the center piece is similar to a puppet. Howl does not have that charm people in the movie push about. He arrives, and then flies back out, returning wounded in a pointless war. The war he fights is never explained and the enemy is not evident. His connection with the witch is thin. The witch walks into the Sophie's hat shop for no apparent reason, and then she is utterly wasted and doesn't go past the first incident to be evil. The witch after placing the curse becomes friendly with Sophie suddenly, yet not assisting a cure. Her agenda of attacking Sophie with her monsters in the first place is hardly told, though an initial scene with Howl and Sophie flying over rooftops to escape from black blobs is passable. Howl doesn't appear for a while after this moment. He was an immediate mysterious individual who can fly and do some tricks, although mostly all he did was unclear and for the others, where they came from or what they have to do with that certain girl to age in an older body is peculiar. After Sophie enters the castle, the main part of the story about her transformation is left isolated and she doesn't mention her old body curse as they all seem to know her name however. Objects in mother-nature sometimes have minds of their own, like a scarecrow, controlled by Howl, and follow her around. Strange moving things pop from various oblivious places and move or speak to her. When the conclusion spills, there wasn’t a deal of groundwork to gain much evidence attached prior because the story kept pinning on Sophie and her journey climbing up paths, meeting things, and fondling hollow Howl in the weak storyline.

Final Grade: C+

Akira (1988)
Animation directed and originally written by Katsuhiro Ôtomo

Film Prophet's Review...
Animation has never before been more excessive with a special focus on severe violence and bloodshed. This visual art is presented in anime which is boundless for what it can do and artists can draw up anything to any aspect relatively. The film in this year was a start of a breakout of anime for Japanese artists and animation in general that is different from the cheery, fantasy, happy ending typical measures. Set in 2019, the film envisions an overcrowded city of Neo-Tokyo and a teen culture with tall skyscrapers and holographic billboards during a time when a government with corruption attempts to maintain control over the powerful military that hold advanced weapons. Among the small stories of several characters in the film, three mysterious child psychics appear between two rival teenage biker gangs and trouble grows between two friends in the past and gang-leaders, Tetsuo and Kanada. A few flashbacks are shown to the more innocent days of their youth to escape this time before the difficultness to witness present horrible situations in a dangerous city out of control. The slow motion exposure and gore extorts details emphasizing hardship themes; not too much though. Hectic crashes, disorderly motorcycle chases, and chaotic fires begin the film during the first few sequences. The artwork pays attention to the details and the background is always in focus; garbage lying around the streets, wrinkles in clothes, glass shattering in thousands of pieces, shadows in the dark by the luminosity lighting, and cracks in the pavement. The film alternates animation by ignoring the small side funny jokes or musical tunes as the beauty is really absent. Everyone wreaks havoc upon a wild story with a bewildering, surreal direction of unease and fear. The film cuts to new characters in the center piece where no one stands out. The characters are just a part of dissimilar groups totaling to one in the setting. They have simultaneous events that affect the storyline when a secret military project endangers their lives. Nothing is centralized alone and no one is ever satisfied in the story as they are displeased with society. For a while, the storyline races and crams a lot of skilled drawings and information into the film with meager transitions to some scenes. People aren’t introduced properly apart from going into harsh attitudes or teenage speechless flashbacks. Every scene seemed to have a power struggle type, whether by rival gangs, the greedy government and military, or supernatural. A scientific research team tries something far-fetched with chemicals on the evolution of humanity. It gets complicated and restless between power struggles. Tetsuo suffers bizarre hallucinations and more destruction occurs in each sinful, outrageous scene of traumatic accidents in gigantic amounts of force. In between all this, the simple question is asked, who or what is Akira, a project, person, or someone with God’s power and energy. ‘That's not fair, fight like a man!’ Unlike the smiles or laughs in conventional animations, there are countless frowns and rage in a tale of teens in world that does not allow them to grow up right in a more multipart storyline. There are a lot of fine features to the plot to watch it several times to look for complex of ultra-violence, political corruption, and a dose of fantasy from superhuman abilities to the graphic ending in the stadium. Anime became one phase nearer en route to a more modern change to the western hemisphere.

Final Grade: B/B+

The Da Vinci Code (2006)
Starring Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou, Ian McKellen, Paul Bettany, Jean Reno, Alfred Molina

Film Prophet's Review...
Adapted from the greatest worldwide selling novel of the millennium, and the personal favorite book read over a year before the film's release, author Dan Brown's intriguing breathtaking speedy story is pleasantly rolled and the film is a cinematic treatment of the novel. Dan Brown’s book became the second best-selling book in history behind the bible of course. The film follows a set of characters on the race for the Holy Grail legend and the role of Mary Magdalene with Jesus Christ, during a few Priory of Sion discussions, for two hours and a half. An elderly curator of the Louvre in Paris is murdered and leaves behind a message that is mostly through techniques in puzzles and anagrams to find a new cryptic message that will lead them some where else to unearth fascinating new clues for both the characters and the viewer. The pacing to a puzzle accelerates, halts, and reveals. Robert Langdon, Hanks, a professor of religious symbology, is called in by a French police captain, Bezu Fache, Reno, into the investigation. Sophie Neveu, Tautou, a French government cryptographer, knows Langdon is innocent, jumping straight to the adventure, and starts right away with Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. A menacing Silas, Bettany, does his master's bidding to a secret identity of The Teacher, and Teabing, McKellen, Langdon’s old pal, cons his way out of situations. Hanks and McKellen’s characters are implanted with an abundance of symbolic and sacred knowledge, mainly heard in their teachings to Sophie about The Last Supper in the film’s best scene. They express allegories and think hard on anagrams using their expertise background. The incessant chatting lectures form religious and historical lessons that bring the most comprehension to the mystery than anything else. A reader from the book would have a fair portion of theories and yarns, yet the token edginess the book has is not quite all there in the film for the reader. The church media outlets take the imaginary story too seriously because the argument proves to be speculative by the film itself. Reading the book would enlarge a better appreciation for it. Theological views are really based on scholars not directly from the book. The purpose of the story is for one to be swept up in the mystery. Hints are figured in famous paintings by Da Vinci that divulge to the next step of motion. It is a fictional story based on a couple of old paintings scripted by one author to turn the tale into chase sequences reminiscent of National Treasure where a man and young woman are on the run of discovery and at the same time, wanted from authorities. The key of the book is the suspense of the story while turning the page to the end of every chapter to read a revealing line in italics. As valid at the turn of every chapter in the book, the fast-pacing trademarks written by Dan Brown would make a reader gasp and draw back. These scenarios are not all offered for the film viewer to this movie. Director Ron Howard chose as much information as possible from the novel, but alters a few in the beginning, such as Langdon being informed at an autograph signing, not receiving a phone call in the morning from his hotel as in the book. The Remy character and his barn were excluded. The opening segment made it clear to who the murderer was right away and the book did not reveal this until later on with a few guessing in Fache. The movie left out a lot of details about Da Vinci's art and Leonardo himself. The painting Madonna on the Rocks was regarded and the book spent more time in the Louvre museum than any other area, but those art-history lectures twirls somewhat made up for it. The filming across Eastern Europe is done right on the set of the novel where most scenes are influenced. Dazzling cinematography is there to provide visual reflections on the past, such as ancient paganism war references, as well as Sophie's own childhood character in ghostly flashbacks. Based on a remarkable book of literature to validate people’s beliefs, the biblical account of symbolic expressions is placed in the right genre… the mystery thriller and that is the area the story that truly overtakes.

Final Grade: B/B+

For a Few Dollars More (1965)
Starring Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, Gian Maria Volontè, Luigi Pistilli, Klaus Kinski

Film Prophet's Review...
Returning director and lead actor from the first film in Sergio Leone's Dollars Trilogy, the Italian studios features the Spanish desert region once again. Back for just a few dollars more, Eastwood is somewhat in a new character in this sequel, but he is still the man with no name as the tough loner cowboy dressed in a cowboy hat, poncho, cigar in mouth, and riding on a mule entering a small town in the rain while Ennio Morricone's score is also a high spot. During the opening credits shot, all that is heard is a sound of a whistle and an anonymous lone rider in view on a horse far away to emphasize how remote any man in the west can be in the miles and miles of dry desert. While Clint, a bounty hunter character, tries to make a few dollars off a dead or alive warrant, another bounty hunter, Colonel Mortimer, Lee Van Cleef, is on the search of a feared bandit as well for a personal motive. The two team up in order to obtain the reward money. The uneasy alliance with the Colonel in the start is a ball of distrust, and as much as the Colonel sets himself up as the antagonist early on, Clint has to trust him in their partnership. Each a Spaghetti Western has the same conventional values and the gunslinger often don’t commit to any ideals, but accepts his status just to make a few dollars here and there. The third follow-up to the trilogy, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, though a slight disappointment from very high raves, will always be the most prominent of the three films. As in the first, the center of the film is quite bland. It isn’t sophisticated, has no strong conversations, and nothing inspiring happens and that is just how the west was. The only things inspired men were money, gold, and maybe women. Besides the ending to each film, the middle is not quite sufficient enough with holding substance. The interactions between the core characters don't happen before Clint and the Colonel reach to each other till almost an hour and the scenes don't contain much entertainment. The bad guys don’t get anymore sense of trouble from their regular shootings. It takes the same format of a Leone western, where a main character, or characters, takes a beating before the end. This scene of punches was off by a few inches though. It has the standard introduction scene where Eastwood makes a preliminary impact on all by his fast qualities and charisma. Clint pauses before he speaks to say a clever line, after putting a cigar out of his mouth then he grins showing some teeth squinting under the sun light. The villain Indio, in contrast, is very disturbing and has a recurring flashback scene when he looks at a couple on a bed from a hiding place. The first few showdown scenes open very cautiously and the encounters are arranged slowly. The shoot outs are slower and the one man who loses is fatigue and misses plenty of shots, as there are gaps of time between each shoot. ‘Well if there's going to be any shooting, I gotta need my rest.’ A great one is when Eastwood is not involved in a tavern and stands on the side drinking from a cup watching the Colonel against one man. It probably is the best scene other than the last one in the movie because the short discussion was relevant to the plot about the bank safe Indio and his men are after and the main cast was present in a gauzily behavior looking on. The stare downs are longer with less facial close ups and more cuts back and forth between the faces of the people looking on for a while during the anticipation of one to drop too. There are slow motion effects and little special effects. The outcome may be somewhat predictable because Eastwood is in it and the characters are the same in all Leone films with dubious morals. Accurate to its setting, though not entirely entertaining, the best part of a western is its very plausible ending and this movie has that outstanding revelation conclusion that stands out to be the most remarkable of the three.

Final Grade: B-

A Fistful of Dollars (1964)
Starring Clint Eastwood, Gian Maria Volontè, Sieghardt Rupp, Mario Brega, Marianne Koch

Film Prophet's Review...
Director Sergio Leone's first major motion picture encompasses his very first with Clint Eastwood piloting to a couple more with the two together. The spaghetti western is a newer form of western films established by Leone in the sixties where the heroes often played by Clint are actually anti-heroes who perform some characteristics like a hero but methods that are not. Clint is in his signature role as the outsider figure and peeps around town finding out about criminals and their stolen gold operations and violence as he ends up in the middle of the pile conflicting with the town that’s besieged and suffering. ‘It's very stupid to just keep shooting at each other, and without any results.’ Clint comes in with no name as a social outcast not normally associated with the community, but still tries to bring peace to the community. His character casually decides to stay and do something about the entire situation and befriends both sides of the community while they are against each other. The main villain, Ramón, is bitter with his rifle. The final showdown, as excellent as most westerns have, is one fine arrangement when the camera is distant from Clint and positioned next to the sadistic Ramón and his troops. When a man stares across to another giving a squinty face under a hat off his mule or horse, not sure what to think of that person, it expresses more magnitude than saying words. There isn’t much known about Clint’s character’s past, though he says he doesn’t work for cheap yet he doesn’t accept any money he doesn’t think he didn’t earn. His actions speak for themselves. The music kicks in during the still look scenes, and this happens about three times in the film. The women hide behind the cracks of their doors and men use guns as a form of intimidation and a way to end off a summit. The quick draw scene on several guys is the first one and it was done all at once in a manner of seconds. The people who stood around the porches and watch Clint greatly act omniscient to his character’s surroundings results to impress the bystanders through his fast trigger as it is very fun to see, for the few seconds. Westerns’ chiefly ingredients are its music, landscapes, fictional adventure, and a sole prudent character. The storytelling is mostly the same. Clint meets a helpful bar owner who he becomes pals with. The storytelling is really by gun shots and unidentified people dropping all over the place. Sometimes a viewer probably won’t know who is on what side as Clint goes back and forth between the two parties when the movie slips away for a bit in the center of the film. The little sub-story where both sides try save a family with a crying child boy caught in the crossfire can be taken out because Eastwood carries the film with an iconic serene. More scenes with Clint often chomping a cigar would do. Ennio Morricone’s whistled tune adds the flavor to the gun shots, horses riding, and clocks hitting the hour mark; everything is displayed as expected. There is some similarity to Kurosawa's Japanese film, Yojimbo, when an outsider man comes to a town divided in two. Sergio Leone somewhat remade that screenplay into this Spanish hot desert setting turning the film to start the new Spaghetti Western style. This film is shorter and has clearer cinematography than just camera close ups of sweaty scruffy old men faces like in below average westerns. Although Yojimbo is the better product as well as another Leone and Eastwood film is, this was a groundbreaking introduction.

Final Grade: B

Red River (1948)
Starring John Wayne, Montgomery Clift, Joanne Dru, Walter Brennan, Harry Carey

Film Prophet's Review...
Directed by Howard Hawks, the Western epic evolves a baron, Wayne, who deviates with his foster son, Clift, on the first cattle drive up the Chisholm Trail bringing a large herd all the way from Texas to Missouri for a cost. During the trail, his adopted son named Matt and his bunch turn against him, leaving him behind. The Texas rancher adopted a young boy orphaned in an Indian massacre and took him under his wing. Fourteen years elapse and they begin the trail crossing the Red Sea into unknown territory and the sensitive son is now grown up, acted by Montgomery Clift, his first film and only Western. Clift is accompanied by the most prolific Western actor, John Wayne, who has a penchant repertoire in this genre. Some of Wayne’s top films is when he’s leading in acting where he has limited appearances and words to say and be in, though a bigger impact and anticipation in those. Here, he has more screen time, but the impact and anticipation is nevertheless present when he is left behind from his trail. Their characters are two men of different generations and often dispute swaggering disagreements on what to do. There are hardly any women in sight, but an important female character arrives and softens the story up a bit between Dunson and Matt at separate occasions. Seclusion and separation is a paradigm that this western film in its genre has to offer. There are no neighborhoods or no shopping stores. There are only weeds, cactuses, wagons, dry land, short trees, and a river. The river is something unique and rare to be found in the West… the Red River. It was covered briefly; the river was passed early on in struggle to get by a hostile Indian territory, where the Indian’s red blood ran into the river in the black and white film. On the set, there was an actual crew who had to deal with thousands of cattle just to make this picture because there was no computer generation or cloning. One outstanding camera view shows Dunson looking into an open vast vacant land and foresees banks and homes one day. “Wherever they go, they'll be on my land. My land.” Taking over three months, the trail is a grueling Western in pieces out in the clear space that takes them under external dangers. Although, nothing was tougher to the bunch than the commanding Dunson who drove them to infringement and that is one thing he won’t put up. Dunson's honor code outlined ground rules and that is it. He has a confident look on his face like nothing gets to him. One thing missing from the story was an antagonist variance. The father and son manhood are made out to be two main characters who both fight with each other. The struggles are mostly caused by carelessness, stampedes, or stealing, but they are all certainly overcome in the same refrained scene. A handful of scenes are ones where men sit around campfires at night and discuss where they are going, what route to take, and how to accommodate with Dunson. Most of the talk during gun practices, riding on horses, drinking in taverns, and on resting stops consists about taking and owning cattle and the cattle has a lot of weight attached, literally and financially. This is where Dunson pushes his bunch up north to Missouri where he can fetch a high price to sell. From scene to scene with Western tunes in transition, they locate and head on and they soon get fed up with his bitterness, authoritative voice, and his stubborn self. Dunson has determination to get his herd to the market, setting up a morality tale between the bunch and a turning point with his son that leads to an ensuing ending confrontation which possibly could be the finest showdown brawl in a movie that’s plausible. “I'll catch up with ya. I don't know when, but I'll catch up. Every time you turn around, expect to see me because one time you'll turn around and I'll be there. I'll kill ya, Matt.”

Final Grade: B+/A-

Mission: Impossible III (2006)
Starring Tom Cruise, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Michelle Monaghan, Ving Rhames, Keri Russell, Laurence Fishburne, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Maggie Q, Billy Crudup

Film Prophet's Review...
Primary impossible mission agent Ethan Hunt, Cruise, is called back into action to rescue a kidnapped taught agent, Russell, who has been implanted with an exploding programmed chip in her brain. That is action scene number one, though it begins with Hunt and his newly-wed wife, Monaghan, both tied up to chairs facing each other with an international weapons provider villain, Hoffman, with a gun to her head demanding Hunt to tell him where a so-called Rabbit’s Foot device is. The impact of this opening scene is foreshadowing a climax moment of a future event in the film, and the movie subsequently races on and the action doesn’t stop. “Whoever she is, I'm gonna find her. I'm gonna hurt her, and then I'm going to kill you right in front of her” is a quote said by Hoffman when it looks all impossible for him to do anything like that. Hunt assembles his team who encounter an arsenal attack at a bridge, a highly guarded skyscraper, falling from a flimsy parachute, capturing the villain at Vatican, and other bold air and speed features. Ving Rhames provides the ending sidekick comedy relief to casual talk. Although every boundless action film does have its flaws, such as this one when Hunt walks up the Vatican wall and lies on top without anyone from the building windows looking on when he tricks the wall’s camera, but it moves by quick to a speedy scene to proceed on to the next that no one should really mind. There isn’t much character development because really it would just slow down the action. Though there was a couple empathic moments but that was due to Hoffman being so convincing on his part as the bad guy and the tosses and turns the story has implemented. The story requires little knowledge and information of the previous two movies from directors Brian De Palma and John Woo. The first two films had bland action and just a terrible overall product and it is sound to say that this movie is the better of the three. It is boosted up with cliffhangers and Oscar-winning performer Hoffman who excites the screen. He is taken as a deadly serious antagonist who remained collected in tight situations though not appearing in many scenes. He always knew what he was doing even when the audience thinks he's a goner. Lastly, Cruise is back to his credible action star status, and a third time is a charm for this series. Director J.J. Abrams gives the film a proper level of effects, dialogue, and action sequences. Furthermore, the numerous futuristic advanced gadgets and loud explosives are a reminder of what Hollywood is capable of when given a talented cast, director, and writer in the interior of the effects. After the freely first big action scene reaching to the Keri Russell helicopter moment, the movie disclosed a paltry format it was heading to, which would be cyclic dodging bullets scenes and escapes leaving everyone fallen. However and fortunately, it didn’t go in that meager direction and the movie startled upon a vigorous script and a colossal villain right after the first action scene. It pointed itself up releasing its own gadgets as startling turning points in the plot nevertheless sustaining the one storyline with Cruise who is in nearly every scene. This movie’s lucid ploys make Inside Man look silly. What surprises is there was hardly a hunch of moles on the protagonist side and there was always someone, being Fishburne, Crudup, Hoffman, Cruise, or someone else, different on top at different points in the film. Along with this, the story led to a continuous mindless fun action film, but with fine acting and an involving script, two elements in which differ from the rest of the films in the action genre.

Final Grade: B

Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972)
Starring Klaus Kinski, Ruy Guerra, Peter Berling, Helena Rojo

Film Prophet's Review...
Written and directed by German Werner Herzog, his film is a hopeless expedition in the course of hunger, desperation, and apprehension to Aguirre in command and many other things. Decades after the destruction of the Inca empire, a Spanish expedition leaves the mountains of Peru and goes down the Amazon river in search of El Dorado gold in the early sixteenth century. El Dorado is a legend that began with the diary of a South American tribal chief, but this acts only secondary to the adventures of the Spanish Conquistadors. The actual subject matter is about power and what one man will do to achieve it. Aguirre, a ruthless man who cares about riches, becomes the leader. He is disobedient and ambitious in these divine times. Man’s insignificance in the overpowering nature has a small place in the big scheme of matter. The conflicting themes are man versus self for Aguirre internally and nature externally. God and man, as one can put, are essentially the same on this Earth for the quest of discovery and eminence. A few people sometimes look at the camera, and Aguirre looks directly at it and says, ‘I am the wrath of god. The earth I walk upon sees me and quakes.’ Aguirre represents the energy of the film that captivates a trance-like mood. His thoughts are expressed over a melancholy voiceover where he documents dates in January and his potent charisma make him impossible to ignore. He has a villainous exterior to the main titled character. The others look around, with nothing to say, as the audience does the same. The trivial lives of women are carried in carpeted velvet thrones, and the dead aren't reflected as much any further than just pausing on a still body in decease. They find wood and iron to build various things to proceed past their misfortune and lethal Indians. The performers who seemed inept in the muggy environment, are made up of many different nationalities and supported by many different creatures; chickens, horses, and dozens of little green monkeys. The footage is captured like a fictional documentary because of the budget constraints and the availability of one camera. In realism, it is mostly natural; rain gets on the camera lens, the costumes are shabby, and the extras are always inferior. Modernly, people won’t find it easy to relate to these characters, but can understand them. The film begins shooting over a vertical cliff with the cast slowly moving from top to bottom with barely a path on it with the compelling choir organ in the background. Every footstep is precious and strict in the wet green and gray forest covered by husky smoke and fog. The terrific musical score happens when there isn't dialogue and the film just shows the fatigue of the people and beauty of land that is just walked over and by. There are sounds of awkwardness, signs of lost touch with reality, floods, hallucinations, stress, treason, trials, dying aristocrats, difficult terrains and rapids. The last thirty minutes spends time on the raft drifting on an endless river to no where. Aguirre and his handymen much discover outside cannibals, Indians hiding in the jungle to shoot them with poison arrows from the non-visible enemy, monkeys as subjects, and it doesn’t get any more affluent for Aguirre. The film’s cunning and hypnotic story of religious appeal and personal courage creates a surreal story to vivid life remotely.

Final Grade: A-/B+

L'Avventura (1960)
Starring Gabriele Ferzetti, Monica Vitti, Lea Massari, Dominique Blanchar

Film Prophet's Review...
A couple of rich Italians head out on a yachting trip to enjoying a vacation near a deserted volcanic island on the Mediterranean Sea with several others. When they’re about to get off the island shore, they find Anna, the main character up to this point, missing. Sandro, Anna's boyfriend, and Claudia, Anna's best and now depressed friend, try without success to find her. While looking for their missing friend, Claudia and Sandro develop a luring attraction for each other. While they wait for others to help, Sandro kisses her. The audience has no idea what they are thinking, and they don't either. They get distracted over the most important thing and their arousing sensitivity takes over because they can only love where they can find some at the current time. Claudia refuses to see life and love as nothing more than an adventure. The two go all around Italy looking for her, but one can’t stop remembering about how the first hour was so special compared to the subsequent. The striking photography and artistic techniques from the seashore in the first hour moves to the rich and bland setting of the characters. In foreign films, the less often subtitles appear, the better foreign language films work. It is best expressed when there isn't a whole lot to read so the environment and sounds can take over the narrative. This a film that doesn't need an expansive plot to act well, though it did have a turning point that adjusted everyone. The grief, the indecision of not knowing what will happen after the point Anna is missing is a continuing cry for not just her name. Directed by Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni, he uses nature to say so much about the characters. The sounds of storms, winds, and water hitting up against the coast are just examples of the sound techniques blending into the fresh atmosphere. There are so many highlighting scenes: guys crowding around and gawking at Claudia in a town, the sun rising above water, a tornado coming down from the sky onto the sea, swimming in a large mass of sea water, and so on. On the set of the grimy colonial island, the characters are separated by vast distances and spaces by huge rocks on the search. The more they are away from each other, the more the viewer becomes puzzled. Anna had something to say about this earlier in the film of distance, as a parable to the island. “It's difficult keeping a relationship going, while one is here and the other there, but it's easy too.” The mental connection is greater than a physical connection leading to romance perhaps and the ones built off that stay longer and sturdy. Perfectly addressed and precise, however, these characters disappoint their own allusions with a rather sexual bond. Antonioni’s visual metaphors, poignant and very smart dialogue, and the carefully, tenderly acting by the cast create a characterization of female protagonists and one center male character. The island is as dry and lifeless as the characters. There are nude paintings and unoccupied ruins of buildings shown in incredible architecture also later in the film to fill up space and lives. The supporting characters are rich and handsome and only yield their staring gaze until something negatively is directed back through a refusal. A human’s raw need is to connect with another, without money. When her friends find out Anna is missing, they all inhabit mental and moral emptiness of typical rich people. The feeling of being bored by something tedious as searching over and over again is with no decree. The characters get off the island area in an hour, quicker than anticipated, to the lives of fancy housing, clothes, and cars. When the movie finishes, one probably won’t learn much about the lifestyle of the wealthy and learn nothing important from it, while shifting away from the main conflict of Anna’s visible absence. Life is full of questions on the transcendent view of the future. ‘What's more time than a lifetime?’ They are given too much space and time to look and think to process anything. Claudia and Sandro’s further infidelity is the cycle of feeling that does not end.

Final Grade: A-/B+

Au hasard Balthazar (1966)
Starring Anne Wiazemsky, François Lafarge, Nathalie Joyaut, Jean-Claude Guilbert, Walter Green

Film Prophet's Review...
Director and writer Robert Bresson’s ambiguous inhabited French movie is about Marie, a farm girl, and her beloved donkey Balthazar, who lives a silent, depressed, relieved, wise, and patient life to a faultless sanctity. As young Marie grows up, the pair becomes separated into parallel stories in the same town. Marie and Balthazar it seems to have communicated silently with only their gazes; Marie goes on without complaints and Balthazar does not fight back to others because punishment will be the result. When the story moves away from the donkey because Marie can not take full care of him, it shifts to a few human depraved characters in the town whom are portrayed by non-professional actors. Characters as the owners go to raise him as an animal, circus prop, or part of the family; all choices are made for Balthazar and they are different from those who vary in occupations and lives. Storylines begin and end per scene with. When someone is about to say something or do something productive, the scene fades leaving most of it inconclusive. They end like fragmented ellipses. Most of them were vague by uncertain characters particularly not shrewd. Gerard is very questionable whenever he is on screen… he is insensitive, callous, and hushed. One moment he offers help then the next he curses one, and then the scene ends. One moment Marie puts flowers on Balthazar, and then watches two young guys beat him. In the later two-thirds of the film, the donkey spends the time getting kicked, poked with sticks, and being worked hard when Marie stopped being in contact with him. He is the observer of the characters’ minor stories. It’s a farm town about how people act towards an inferior living being while studying the human interactions to conditions of one another. Several deaths happen and the characters do not know how to accept guilt, but the story doesn't even know how to express the how part of the deaths. Bresson’s long shots and unique camera positioning facilitates the areas of no talk. His movie is abstract and serene because of the monotonous vague character objectives. It’s all concerning the exhaustion so that the viewer can eventually think the donkey is a comparable human being. The movie is not about anything specific, as it is more of an illustration of an errant small farm town with a donkey and a religious theme than dramatic experiences. Every character is somewhat empty inside and they all have an inability to distinguish what they want so they grip onto weaknesses and fears mainly of others because that is all they know. The nature sounds harmonizing to the visuals try to strike an emphatic tone that never really happens. Anytime a viewer would associate anything to a donkey, one would think of this film. However, it is erratic to even begin to ever think of a donkey, and to recall even seeing one in person. The piano music needed to appear more often to cure the loneliness, but the simplicity and unclearness is just right for Marie and Balthazar. The story is left with gestures and completely hidden motivations as the Balthazar is the victim of others in a memorable ending in the last two minutes of paranormal grace. The final shot of the donkey is enduring.

Final Grade: B/B+

The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)
Starring Willem Dafoe, Harvey Keitel, Barbara Hershey, Verna Bloom, Paul Greco

Film Prophet's Review...
Christ is tempted by Satan many times in forms like lions or snakes and faces a temptation of a normal life of a regular man. His story includes a glimpse of what life might have been like had he not been crucified. It is an allegorical interpretation of the days leading up to it. It is not the same retelling of the Crucifixion story… it is rather a fiction of self-conflict. In spite of the altercation to the bible, this is not a controversial adaptation of Nikos Kazantzakis's book because the film lost interest after ten minutes. The film itself is very light on the presentation and mindless and dreary to follow. This is far from what a directed film by Martin Scorsese is like. The parts where Dafoe raises his voice to people who don’t believe him about how god came to him and instead ridicule him, they’re just about the only captivating parts to watch. ‘Believe me, those who are laughing now, will be crying later.’ The narration is by Dafoe as a hypothetical recited storyline where he informs the audience of the voices he hears. He is uninsured about his destiny, and then wants to die before he lives longer and wants it to end here or there at the moment. The film makes him so confused, unstable, and less like a hero. A perceived view on the film was to see a focused relationship with Mary Magdelene before his time passes. However, there may have been a total of three scenes before he went on the cross where they were the only ones on screen and nothing was memorable to recall a moment they had together. The sexuality the film contains was all with unclothed women on desserts or when Mary Magdalene is numbness. The film also has no silliness as in Jesus Christ Superstar, or full of itself with too much morals, as stays to the imagination of blandness. The entertainment scale was trapped in a sub-zero halt for too long. Keitel was the best performer in the film as Judas and to watch his acting was more entertaining than anything else. For some entertainment, watch something else though. The movie wasn’t close enough to the scriptures like Mel Gibson's version. There is nothing happy about this either. The plotline drags out by bland scenes of walking around desserts and seeing nothing much, as it didn't have much to do in three hours. Ignorant of bible references, it is missing out and omits the story as fully complete. The story is not based fully on the on scriptures. It shows Christ’s personal struggles to become more like Christ or either a regular human. Beginning the movie, he carries the cross and he is stoned by small pebbles. This is just an example of the visions and nightmares he faces of destiny, as he fights off the temptation from Satan to carry out his destiny. There are also enormously long breaks between each major scene relating to the bible. If viewed at a faster speed, it would still be boring. Every so often, it settles a viewer down rapidly without a lead to a momentum change because there was no energy involved whatsoever. In the alternative Christ ending, there was no emphasize to justify with reason or action of this glimpse of life… a different route after death for him. Not even satisfying being new, it is mixture of no essential drive and being vacant at the same time. A viewer would alternate by themselves by zoning off and forgetting a lot of things he or she already knew about anything.

Final Grade: C-/C

The Benchwarmers (2006)
Starring Rob Schneider, David Spade, Jon Heder, Jon Lovitz, Sean Salisbury, Molly Sims, Bill Romanowski

Film Prophet's Review...
Three guys try and make up for missed opportunities in childhood by forming a three player baseball squad to compete against the meanest little league teams in a round robin tournament. How they must cover the entire baseball field with just three people, who only one of them is skilled enough, is the question to their opponents. The cast was well selected for this type of movie. Heder plays an exact identical character to Napoleon Dynamite by speech and folly, except he’s more idiocy and non- athletic here. He plays a nose-picking newspaper boy who wears his bike helmet anywhere and likes home cooked dinners, Schneider mows lawns and his wife is Molly Sims, and Spade works at a video store who likes a Pizza Hut waitress. They are soon scouted by a billionaire nerd, Lovitz, whose son has been teased earlier in the film on a baseball field and Lovitz wants to form the three into an official baseball team for the state tournament. Besides the jokes, noises, physical pain, and the unconscious, there are farts, vomits, booger eating, phobias, egging, and just about anything to dig so deep to make the comedy adolescent and amusing at the same time. Most of the funny things for Heder and Spade are mistakes of expected easy things to do. Given Rob Schneider’s film career, his character in this film is just the opposite of his typical role… not cocky or senseless. As the likable lead, he didn't get many funny things to say or do because of the normal current character he was in. Evident in the baseball scrimmages, he carries his troops as the cool hero pitcher and home run hitter to the story. Adam Sandler, a writer of this story, has his sense of humor present. There was a quite a bit of physical comedy, lots of baseball scenes, practices, and scrimmages, and there were a few male sport cameo appearances. The film is quite alike to The Longest Yard a year ago where rejects get a chance when older to play the much talented people. Viewers can learn tips that hanging with little boys can pick up women, probably not, but the viewers are supposed to be repentant to how the inferior are treated. The guys are just too old to be hanging around a baseball field to challenge kids. Almost a third of the material intended to be humorous was, which says a lot sort of. The movie in the third act is about standing up for those who were always picked last in gym class or who were kicked off the field. This is an anti-bully comedy with a lighthearted positive theme for non-sporty kids.

Final Grade: C

25th Hour (2002)
Starring Edward Norton, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Barry Pepper, Rosario Dawson, Anna Paquin, Brian Cox

Film Prophet's Review...
Monty Brogan, Norton, a harmless drug dealer in the past has twenty four hours before he serves a seven-year prison sentence. He begins to look back on his life with the friendships he formed from his two close male friends and his girlfriend. He understands his own delusions, redemption, and failures as he spends this last day of freedom inquiring the paths of his life with the others around him. Monty must not only find out who turned him in, but who will still be with him after seven years… that is the real art of this story. Directed by Spike Lee, it is a personal film about the city in a post-nine eleven time. A very stirring soliloquy insistently said by Monty into a mirror with a huge amount of rage points out the many faces and the flaws of cultures in New York City from the local street. "F the uptown brothers…. they never pass the ball, they don't want to play defense, they take fives steps on every lay-up to the hoop, and then they want to turn around and blame everything on the white man.” The language used in this speech is raw and angry, as it startles and enhances the story with frustration to come right after he jabs on welfare, corruption, betrayal, and distrust of people in this monologue. This is a notification to the intriguing context the film that has yet to show before during the turn in the second half of the film, primarily in the nightclub. In the emotive finale, however, Lee manages to find beauty, silence, and peace of the Earth in the main sensitive moment with that responsive narration by Monty’s father. The musical score throughout the movie sets a sinister and compelling mood. Three childhood friends over the years moved in different directions and they come together as supportive companions learning about Monty’s sentence. They talk about the future, trust and commitment. There are no drug dealing scenes as Monty does not fill in an excuse of his life or his story of unhappiness and sorrow with it. The film sees him in the beginning walking his dog, talking to his girlfriend, meeting up with his best friends, having a meal with his father, instead of taking insane, bizarre things. His dog he takes in is a diversion for a metaphor to most things Monty is capable of…. survival, tolerance, and obedience. Towards a critique: several plots begin of other characters, but they aren’t completed. Monty’s flashbacks are speckled throughout the movie erratically. Lee in this film sometimes doesn't work the camera that effective to use relevant zooms and focuses. A second of a film is repeated immediately after it happens in an awkward editing style. One thing learned from this film can be about Barry Pepper's acting talent. There is a scene where Pepper and Seymour talk near an apartment window above Ground Zero and the dialogue and acting there is impeccable. The all-star cast also includes former football player Tony Siragusa and veteran actor Brian Cox, who is the only actor who looks different in every supporting role he is in. Hoffman is very impressive as the teacher attracted to his much younger student, Paquin, with his worried, nervous, and so confused pulses. ‘Don’t bother me; I am in the sixty-second percentile.’ Hoffman combines his face reactions with the character’s slow intricacy responses to personal jokes from Pepper that he doesn't understand well. He has difficulty to express to his student for what he wants to say despite being an English teacher. All of these are fine roles, but they are somewhat out of place in the storyline. Their intentions or aspirations don’t really unwrap because sometimes the film makes it more of a reflection of life in the city than a straightforward one. They are more rhetorical characters on how they will relate to Monty. To watch this again, it would primary be for two things: Monty’s monologue and for the talks between the Pepper and Hoffman. Minus the camera work influence, the performances and dark comedy elements of reality are really robust. Spike’s messages are that people need to bond together, be more accurate as humans, and to make the most of the little time people have. There are some hilarious lines and fantastic acting that just makes the film all the better.

Final Grade: B+

Sleepless in Seattle (1993)
Starring Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Ross Malinger, Bill Pullman, Rosie O'Donnell, Gaby Hoffmann, Rita Wilson

Film Prophet's Review...
The tagline is, ‘What if someone you never met, someone you never saw, someone you never knew was the only someone for you?’ Sam, Hanks, with his young son Jonah, Malinger, moves out of Chicago to Seattle after the death of Sam’s wife. Annie, Ryan, in Baltimore is in happiness of her engagement with her devoted fiancé Walter, Pullman. Jonah thinks that his father needs a new wife in order to rid sadness, so he calls in a radio talk show on Christmas Eve for his wish and puts his dad on the line as Annie hears the broadcast talk in her car between the doctor and Sam. She is captivated by him and his selflessness. Kids in movies with adult protagonists usually make the story annoying and pointless, such as in An Affair to Remember. The couple of kids in this film, however, do something valuable. Jonah, as young as he is, plays a matchmaker type to his father after reading several letters. His wisdom and existence in the film is the third party of Sam and Annie to get closer and closer to eventually meeting in the end. As what You've Got Mail did to The Shop Around the Corner as the modern adaptation, this movie is much better than An Affair to Remember, despite alluding back to it every ten minutes with direct references and clips as if this movie can't proceed on without going back to that film. It uses both its theme and how women only weep down to the film. Sam and Annie are in two totally different situations; one to begin anew and one to move away. A showing attempt to care only reminds the person of the loss even more. Sam’s wife must have passed away to wonder the crowd whether one or more soul mates can exist, but not together in the same time. “What if this man is my destiny and I never meet him.” The story is less about developing love between two people and more about the potential between the two. Sam doesn’t pass a physical interest in Annie in the film. The communication verbally doesn’t happen. The first contact of each other is through the radio and mail. An easy way to learn something about a person is by reading and listening. That is what the two do during the movie. Annie seeks more about Sam to be more convinced that he is her destiny. Though, she is engaged and they are on the other side of the coast. Distance challenges associated with trying to meet someone in a society that fosters isolation is not easy. Reaching the end of the movie, several signs confirm that she has become a believer in fate. The story may be a predictable hopeless romantic feature, yet the final moment of sight is all at once gentle and tetchy.

Final Grade: B/B-

Groundhog Day (1993)
Starring Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, Chris Elliott, Marita Geraghty, Stephen Tobolowsky

Film Prophet's Review...
“That's true. We could do whatever we want... you make choices, and you live with them.” The romantic fantasy comedy explores having more than just another chance in this time loop continuum. Groundhog Day repeats for Phil the weather man. He annually covers the festival day that he is tired of every season and tells his co-workers that this will be the last report with the station, but not the final time because it will be déjà vu later on. The storyline sees him throughout every new day and the choices he makes that influence and dictates his future ending. Everyone and everything remains the same until he changes for the better. Not to his advantages, but for others, in the end rewarding himself with a new calendar date and one other special thing. In his first normal day, he desires to ignore people. After his frequent six am alarm wakeup from his radio clock every morning, his day repeats and it takes Phil a long time to learn from his mistakes laying down on the constant sarcasm he has every line, but there is plenty more. Unbelievable to him at first, he is confused and unexpectedly detects the uniform timely incidences to his gain. It is hilarious to see new character interactions with him in the same settings to restart a fresh Groundhog Day. The film never gives an explanation of why this is happening to just him, which heightens the audience’s fascination with the idea. Andie MacDowell’s acting is very natural here as the supportive and happy character to Phil. Bill Murray’s presentation of his lines that if read alone it’s not too funny, but it is very funny by his visual and audio ways. He faces misadventures of sudden blizzards, cold showers, long distance failures, survivals from everything, and lots more. It’s excellent that no matter how many times the days repeat the quotes are still laughable... more and more each new day. The charismatic and fantastic comedy proceeds without being offensive, and that is a key to great comedies. The story doesn't hold back despite having a repetitive format either. Numerous variables connect in and the choices he makes to complete them set up some funny situations. Sometimes he leaves someone out of his day, ruins a situation in the end, or adds something extra to impress or help other people to show his warm sensitive caring side. The story has Phil as the fluid comic and uncertain character and it gains new disciplines in the process of a romantic, pleasant, or wild delusions. At the two-thirds mark, there is a sweet romance boundary of his life in some of these days, and it is still witty. The second snowball scene with the kids is priceless multifaceted humor. He becomes well-informed about his community soon and its people as the audience learns lessons as he does when he shapes to be a better person. It would be fantastic if people can have the opportunity to start a day over until the ultimate best situation occurs.

Final Grade: A/A-

Inside Man (2006)
Starring Denzel Washington, Clive Owen, Jodie Foster, Willem Dafoe,  Chiwetel Ejiofor, Christopher Plummer

Film Prophet's Review...
The tactic crime film parades a cop in charge, Washington, against a head bank robber, Owen, who is attempting to pull off the perfect heist while dressing all hostages in the same disguise. Director Spike Lee’s film is more mainstream than usual, entering a different genre aside with his themes of race. He has a higher budget too, thanks to the commercial product providers of Chevrolet, Pepsi, Amazon, Dell, just to name some, to pay part of the bill. Owen’s character as the lead robber gets little to do within the first hour besides slugging people, and through the film itself. The audience does not know anything about him. The script provides no back story to his character, plans, and motives. Though, there is that niche that the robber’s purpose is something more than money. Jodie Foster acted rigid to deliver her content from a standpoint of the only female involvement to show the man up. The camera was always moving in the beginning of the film, for no reason, during the fast arrival of various vehicles, civilians, and cops without getting into a single line of depth to anything. Afterwards, it is an awful, uninteresting five minutes of zero dialogue until the key line to get down on the floor begins. When they did talk, they muddled through their words and the direction speeded along with nothing to show. There was bad acting of panic from whining individuals of dread and fright while none were really developed. The only scene with dialogue with reasoning was the one between Foster and Owen. When someone starts talking, in the back of anyone's head asks, who is this and why is this person on screen… get back to what's important… what pieces are important in this film anyways… then it's found out some of these were interrogations scenes that came too soon and abrupt without informing the audience. Those scenes also became forgettable and unreflective to the forthcoming of the story… it forgets what's essential and elongates the film out with punch-lines instead of utilizing the talented cast. There were too many trivial characters getting more time than the starring cast in the first hour too. The truth is that the film had no adrenaline to begin with to release a bag of surprises in the final ten or so minutes and it can not make up for the other hundred or so minutes before. The story tried make things imperative, like video cameras not working and hostages being released, as those things had no substance, possibly intended. Due to shifts in antagonism, the audience will side with different people at different times and change their opinions. The characters can be smart to concerned, who are not in a funny, dramatic, or emotional approach. The genuine cinematic aspect of the film almost became empty. The script had ideas, but it did not have much to fill two hours with. It saved a pile of revelations in the end that was too late to commiserate with anything or anyone. When things mattered, everything before did not.

Final Grade: C+

2046 (2004)
Starring Tony Leung, Ziyi Zhang, Gong Li, Faye Wong, Maggie Cheung

Film Prophet's Review...
As a passage of time, the story serves as commentary from the perspective of a playboy who writes stories for the local newspaper. Kar Wai Wong’s storytelling about a Chinese mature romance and fantasy initiates as a writer, Chow, writes stories about the future of a train for the destination of 2046 while living in room 2047 in a hotel in Hong Kong. The film is set on different Christmas Eves during the sixties through dynamics of romantic encounters. There’s flash backs and flash forwards as Chow examines how each relationship is unfulfilling no matter what. He seems to resent it when a love is successfully accepted almost reaching a peek in a relationship prior to an engagement like. It leads to farewell scenes and before that, there are indecisive series of heading to a conclusion that doesn't conclude. The relationships of opportunities appear, disappear, re-appear, and grow faint. Destiny does not shine gladly because of one man’s perceptions and memories. The film’s story is a story inside his story. It shifts to each woman who has an affair with him dressed high heels and wigs. “Maybe one day you'll escape your past, if you do, come with me.” He comes across a gambler, a martial arts novelist and reader, all of who are determined with a graceful attitude, but there is one primary standout. Ziyi acts as a form of a prostitute who has some steamy scenes. She is always in the mood to have sex with him. A favorite scene is when she admits loving him even if he doesn't which is also Ziyi's best acted emotional scene. The following scenes of enviously and frustration between the two not trying to reveal devotion are appealing. Besides the stylish visual cinematography, the film is accompanied by the moving violin, classical musical soundtrack. The quotes are some strong words too. “I once fell in love with someone, after a while, she wasn't there. I went to 2046, I thought she might be waiting for me there, but I couldn't find her.” Wondering and finding out about the future is more important than the past, except indirectly the past is more important than the future. People will have zero memories and no secrets if one doesn’t push. Memories fall back to a suppressed sub-conscious, and show how a memory can dictate the way a person lives life, so 2046 means finding one’s past. Everything is kept unchanged. The women Chow asked to leave with him wouldn’t and the one that does love him has been refused down so much. He envisions on how each woman senses about him. There may be attraction but no commitment. He has sex but there is not love. A romance story about the incapability to love is an inducing disconnection of life. The characters take their lives to meet people from whatever society or fate gives them to form relationships, bad or positive. Life is plagued by this detrimental discontinuity… one cannot recapture the past, so there are no happy endings. Some are afraid risking everything to make it possible to leave with one on the mysterious train. The train serves for the same thing to everyone… to recapture lost memories. He was the only one to come back and it is just one reason why he can't find affection. They are absent in the future, or hidden in his written stories. This substantiates the emptiness of a future of spontaneous living.

Final Grade: A-/B+

Carlito's Way (1993)
Starring Al Pacino, Sean Penn, Penelope Ann Miller, Luis Guzmán, John Leguizamo, Viggo Mortensen

Film Prophet's Review...
Directed by Brian De Palma, a former Puerto Rican criminal tries to retire from his life of crime for his dream in paradise, but old ties seem to make it impossible. Carlito takes on the job of running a nightclub and renews an affair with his old dancer girlfriend, but old flames and old instincts bring him back into a world of violence and mistrust. He must make some ultimate fatal decisions. The movie progresses to Carlito telling former friends that he is retired from the drug business and has no intention of returning. His sense of honor and ethics struggle to go straight when he tries to escape the city with his love that is reflective in Pacino's voice over work. That provides a detailed portrait of the mind of a criminal with a conscience. It’s an illustration of freedom and independence that is confined by bygones. Executing a unique sort of suspense, Carlito has a knack of noticing if something is wrong as a setup and he performs his smarts on his feet very well in the film. “Never give up your friends no matter what.” Friendships are hard to have in this area of no peace and money dealing. As in the typical crime-mob film like Casino and Scarface, the female lead is just another bothering difficulty for the main protagonist who is money consuming, jealous, and lazy. This movie is an exception to the rule as the female is a grounded and normal person. Pacino and Penn are among the finest American actors. It is great to watch Pacino act angry in his beard, shades, and long coat. Penn is a sleazy lawyer buddy to gangster and is tired of wise guys pushing him around. His curly big and bald hair with glasses almost looks unrecognizable. This might be his best performance and he wasn’t even nominated. The conversations between the two capture complete undivided attention, and it shows how strongly Carlito's Way is written. Their acting even sold the humor parts it and an example is a surprising funny scene at yacht party, with the quote, ‘I got guests here, you got any manners’ scene. Similar to Scarface, there are areas in which it isn’t. The camera work and cinematography excels. When Carlito enters the strip club, there is an amazing point of view camera witnessing what he sees through his eyes. It’s a nineties film that looks like it was shot in the seventies, and that is perfection when it comes to filming. The wardrobe and music was appropriate for the mid-late 1970's New York City time. The string musical score in the beginning, to the disco, Cuban songs carrying away after the club scenes blends in with mesmerizing photography and altering camera movement. The supporting cast is also greater. Luis Guzman, John Lequizamo, and Viggo Mortensen are some their first career parts with colorful characteristic flairs. Viggo’s ‘I can’t walk, I can’t hump, go ahead and kill me’ scene is from this exceptional performance in a wheelchair. The story begins with name mentions of what several people are doing or located who the audience may never see, but it is part of the crime network to remind Carlito. This is a way to introduce the characters connected to the earlier Carlito man with the ‘He used to be partners with... oh I heard of you’ chat. Even though he doesn’t want to get involved, the viewers would anticipate seeing such a clash. There is impressive and interesting thematic development after the first half that includes not one, but several exciting plot twists; they kept pouring on. It takes its time in the beginning though the pacing is still enjoyable with every scene meaning something provided by premiere acting, dialogue, and set pieces; even the romance angles as a piece of redemption. De Palma maybe has the best camera work in crime films. From this top-notch script and screenplay, his zooms and panning is truly brilliant and breathtaking key face. For instance, when Carlito goes up stairs in his club away from a mob group, De Palma’s master camera work shows the expressions of each man displaying nervous energy. Afterwards, there is an exciting finish that combines the cleverly written story with the exhilarating camera work.

Final Grade: A-

V for Vendetta (2006)
Starring Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving, Stephen Rea, John Hurt, Stephen Fry, Tim Pigott-Smith

Film Prophet's Review...
Adapted from a dark graphic comic novel, the movie is present in a future where Germany wins the Second World War and Great Britain becomes a fascist state. After years of civil war, Britain has become a totalitarian state under one chancellor. A terrorist freedom fighter begins a forceful guerrilla campaign to eliminate those who were involved in the build to totalitarianism, and recruits a young woman he rescued Warner Bros. postponed this from November in respect of the London bombings even if the date would have been coherent with the film and its November fifth tagline. The film acknowledges the severe rule from the start with strict night curfews and quarantined to certain areas. The beginning is the most riveting section and a solid way to begin a film. There is a music coming out of the speakers in London and the next day the citizens hear a political allegory from a figure in a mask whose identity prolongs to be nameless other than the V nickname. His sermon he addresses is preachy to the television audience who never say a single word in the film; they just look on with a stare. V has plans to destroy the British Parliament. "People should not be afraid of their governments, governments should be afraid of their people." The masked character is a terrorist who is the film’s protagonist, and oddly, it works well. The violence was not overly done, and there was not too much prattle after the first few sequences ended. The writers from The Matrix added their own weapon and aggression violence as well. Natalie Portman, who only had one take on her head to be totally bald as one of the torture scenes, is sufficient for this role. The literacy that comes straight from a comic book is complex. The bygones haunts as ghosts, and the lesbian subplot is a nice spin on personal liberties from expectations of parents. Everyone is an individual and there are a lot of people out there. One idea can influence the people that eventually can overstate government power. People learn more about one's self through behavior and experience when one might step outside that comfort boundary to have no fears at all. In addition, not all history is written down. Some history is left out to the general character consensus only leaving a few, or just one, of knowledge of the remaining fact. It's just a matter of figuring out what is a true accurate story from a lie, but that judgment is solely based on feeling. In this movie, it is not simple to tell what reality is. However, this film is completely fictional bracing in several pieces. There is one central inexplicable anecdote from the past from a peculiar prison where different parts are shown visually, but they are mostly the same and the details aren't totally there until more is found out later. There is constant chat that something is wrong with this country, and the parables begin to open. There are no answers in the end, except questions about a future with any society controlled by a totalitarian regime.

Final Grade: B

Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
Starring Mia Farrow, Dianne West, Michael Caine, Barbara Hershey, Woody Allen, Max von Sydow

Film Prophet's Review...
Three Thanksgiving dinner scenes at major intervals show the changing relationships among three sisters living in New York City. It starts with an old male obsessed voice picturing a woman wandering around a house party eating with piano music and constant chatter. Someone walks out, and someone comes in from another position, as the family members stories seamlessly associate. There’s occasional humor in this seasonal adult comedy containing developed Middle class American family issues, but too nothing truly to laugh at. Woody Allen is an elite writer and director at creating female characters. Plus, he is great at moving around the location of the New York City setting through buildings, bookstores, parks, or even classical or jazz music as the soundtrack to the film. Featured in this seven time Oscar nominated film, the genuine acting ensemble establishes sentimental warmth as very believable characters. The characters are acquaintances with the sisters’ problematic family. A smile comes on from the moment Woody Allen arrives on screen. His iconic neurotic character suspects having brain tumor, so he alters his Jewish religion ideals. “The point we're making here is that we need some sperm.” Each character is very confused about something. In nearly every scene, there is a small fluid, unsettled conflict between a male and female. A scene will start with a perspective of the character’s sequence with a voice-over normally to express the thought process. The first few scenes has them complaining about simple adult life predicaments, or they’re in very casual conversations that rapidly begin, such as, How are you, How is so and so. The movie then goes into other characters corresponding with the same description almost like real skits, or just scenes of one short topic. Such problems as fear of a dying disease, admitting love, faded old marriages, and self-centered egotism are embraced through the main protagonists to follow. Woody Allen’s character takes a small break in a theater and includes homage to Duck Soup by concluding to enjoy life while it lasts. The story settles down for some fortune sensitivity purging the chaos in the middle of letting their insecurities spoil the close of a scene.

Final Grade: B/B-

Mysterious Skin (2004)
Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Brady Corbet, Elisabeth Shue, Michelle Trachtenberg, Bill Sage, Jeffrey Licon

Film Prophet's Review...
Director Gregg Araki’s movie shows the parallel stories of two boys growing up in an eighties Kansas small town with the strange effect of sexual childhood abuse. Brian claims to have seen a UFO at age eight. He can’t remember though because he blanked out the experience and he is convinced this portion of his memory was erased by aliens. Like Brian, Neil lives with his single mom. Brian has little social life and Neil is unaffected by most things. Ten years go by and eventually their bothering experience takes a toll them. The primary debility is the film's subject of youth depravity and some various issues at an adolescent age. An indie movie like this can afford to make these daring movies because of the small budget and less pressure to make money. This is not an easy story to act to, but the performers made it hardly seem like acting. Their emotional challenge penetrates the sadness through the psychological sexual abuse theme. Some scenes are very disconcerting to watch, and that soft music in the background is so identical with the film’s content. Sigur Ros’ soundtracks most of it by his non-lyrical depressed, or content emotion music. The film starts with the two youngsters with different problems, both who were once on a baseball team together. Neil hustles older men who hang around a local abandoned playground. Brian has nightmares about aliens, nose bleeds, and blackouts that are all confusing and agonizing to watch while attempting to follow the little kids’ problems early on with the team’s coach that isn’t nearly exciting to see. However, hard issues that aren’t thrown out there slowly surprise during the concern for both boys. The humanity shared experience disrupts their development and they are vulnerable, anguished as sexual objects. There’s a cornucopia of unzipping boy’s pants by older males, fireworks in mouth, rubbing ugly backs, uncanny dreams, unusual childhood experiences, and abductions. Trachtenberg’s character mentions Neil as a bottomless black hole being lost forever, which is much like the second long black fades after one of the above mentioned scenes. They are uncomfortable scenes because of the consequences of neglect freedom. They can do anything, but choose not to expand. Due to the bizarre environment and ambiguous child leading lives, this film will account for zero re-watches. The content is tough to discuss, however, by means of a movie, it arguably makes a case against sexual childhood abuse considering the material.

Final Grade: C+/C

The Thing (1982)
Starring Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Keith David, Richard Masur, T.K. Carter

Film Prophet's Review...
John Carpenter's intriguing film of mistrust content may be the finest contemporary horror film. His excellent photography, lighting, shadows, and positioning of point of views adds to the wide array of apprehension value. An Antarctic scientist research team falters upon an extraterrestrial creature that can change its appearance to look like anyone through cell-transformation. The Thing can disguise itself as its victim, any life form, and take it, the imitation to eliminate. The Thing learns and transforms the exact appearance of the people or creature, but the thing is just a thing. “This thing doesn’t want to show itself. It wants to hide in imitation.” Evidently, trust and honestly is in doubt between the men over the interaction and tension of it. Antarctica is icy with freezing temperatures and vacant surroundings, so trust is important in this kind of atmosphere. Ennio Morricone, the composer for Sergio Leone's two best films and The Untouchables, composed the synthesized, throbbing tunes that advanced the film, like the sound effects. The movie begins with his absorbing, menacing opening music score that approaches a helicopter flying over Antarctic island trying to gun down a husky as if another story was preceded before this one. The story of the Norwegians pursuit in the helicopter ends there, where the audience begins to pick up the suspicion. The scientists discover the dog's true operation only after it's too late. The story doesn’t have the time to get background checks because it doesn’t matter. That is how most excellent sci-fi or horror films should be because what counts is the conflicting mortality. The paranoia is fascinating to see, and the special effects complement the story rather than crushing it. There are no meaningless scenes that don’t count towards the segments of unsettling calm disrupted by sudden, small blasts of gruesome effects. The first time the scientists bring back a dead specie, it was evident the situation is mysteriously stated evoking a sense of exhaustion and paranoia through the use of the great music, lighting, and setting. The thing can be any of them. Anyone can be infected. When that score comes on, for the most part, it is dread, fear, and isolation. When there isn't score, there is wind, or nothing at all. While it is one of them in presence, they explore and the audience witnesses the discovery of the thing leaving bewildering expressions of the faces of the men. They stand in shock and don't speak. The next scene moves to the autopsy of the organism. Anytime the dog is on, it heightens. For instance, there is severe sympathy for the other hounds locked in the same pen with it. The movie is among the best film studies of paranoia ever for taking itself honestly. “So how do we know whose human?” One scene they conduct excruciating testing of blood samples, and the probable prospects are roped to the same couch. Kurt Russell gives his best performance, same with everyone else. The audience knows just as less as the characters. This isn’t in distant space. The audience could relate to the icy tundra of this human environment and to stay warm. The men confront panic over guns, flamethrowers, sprouted spider legs, and the desperation to endure in a surprising and compelling way to begin a finale to such a crafty film.

Final Grade: A-

The Fly (1986)
Starring Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, John Getz, Joy Boushel

Film Prophet's Review...
“I'm an insect, who dreamt he was a man and loved it, but now the dream is over, and the insect is awake.” Expecting the scientist to turn into a fly, he did, but it was bigger and he didn’t shrink down to one. As in the 1958 version, the scientist becomes the small housefly in the home. In David Cronenberg’s version here, he just becomes super strong and eventually decomposes to a fly in a human build. Plus, the part of the fly’s worst nightmare was eliminated - getting stuck in a spider web of slow, tragic death - the highlight of that movie, which can be seen here.  This movie was better though despite the different approach. The film somewhat brings up an issue between the nature of mankind threatening the loss of personal individuality. There is no distinctive difference between each fly from a human eye; just stay away and don't bug the human. Jeff Goldblum plays a scientist, who finished, or not, a teleport invention, and Geena Davis is his friend or so who is a journalist. It opens straight to the lives of the two showing only her of his work. As typical, people find it unbelievable to disappear an object and teleport it. The relationship between the two last for a while and once it takes its turn, the devastating results appear. Until then, the small set of characters get the time of romantic streak instead of having massive amounts of rampage. It shows bits of the eighties culture with candy bars and cheeseburgers too. Two-thirds within the film, he tries it on him himself and it blends the two DNAs to create a man-fly. Jeff Goldblum’s acting was so genuine and professional in every scene. He is obsessed after an hour of the movie about his strength and ability. The point where he finally realizes about the fly incident is doom. As for insects, they don’t have marriage, religion, or politics. Human will just end up like the fly… dead. Some of the film is very gross with red and dark colors and it started with the baboon experiment. Moments of utter disgust and sympathy occur during this sad exploration of love and loss. The pregnancy in the hospital scene is among the most frightening and shocking scenes ever displayed. Most science fiction or horror films can be big on ideas, but they are slow and weak by becoming too pretentious. The structure in this film is very subtle, and saves the ultimate terror and misery for the last section.

Final Grade: B/B-

Rosemary's Baby (1968)
Starring Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes, Ruth Gordon, Sidney Blackmer, Maurice Evans

Film Prophet's Review...
The psychological supernatural film is Polish director Roman Polanski's first American film that is about a pregnant woman who lives with her new husband in a new Manhattan apartment tenant they just moved into. They befriend an old couple and their neighbor girl, who commits suicide shortly. When this accident ensues, the attention begins to swirl because like most suicides, there's no reason to why initially it happened. This sets up the storyline fore coming. It’s a peculiar critical film in the horror genre. Before slashers evolved, evil was plain evil in the worst possible scenarios. The best horrors don’t contain high speed chases or an overload of special effects. Instead it takes patience for true horror to evolve. The nightmare Rosemary had about being molested by a beast shows that the devil is worse than any slasher. “This is no dream, this is really happening!” The possibility of the devil existing with influence on Earth figures to be intangible. To surmount evil, one must possess it somewhere. There’s erratic paranoid tension about evil inside that fears an achingly paranoid real force. The plot moves along ordinary as possible, so that the when the force happens, it is stronger psychologically and spiritually. The first part of the movie is the move in, learn about the small past of the building, meet an old couple neighbors, bringing in furniture after eating on the floor, mate, and so on. It contains rapid character introduction and relies on mood and innuendo. It follows four to five people and the action unfolds entirely in the apartment building. They acquaint themselves with the old couple neighbor, as if no one else lives in the building, and repeatedly bring up the husband’s acting and the ‘you name a place, I’ve been there’ from the older man. The sound-ticking clock in background also reoccurs during some scenes, and the camera shifting views add to the effect as well. Clues begin to arrive, such as the strange neighbor gifts, vitamins, or desserts for Rosemary who fears of a plotted conspiracy and betrayed. As a precursor to The Exorcist, its claustrophobic story enthralls a menacing structure with conspiring layers within the content of the film. After Rosemary’s sudden experience with the nightmare, there is a change in every character and more wonders from the audience results. “Pregnant women gain weight, they don't lose it.” The transformation in Mia Farrow's character after these sequences acquires suspense of her pain leading up to the birth moment and beyond in a frenzied state.

Final Grade: B+

Curious George (2006)
Voices by Will Ferrell, Frank Welker, Drew Barrymore, Eugene Levy

Film Prophet's Review...
A mischievous monkey named George sneaks onto a ship from Africa bringing him to America to tag along with the Man in the Yellow Hat. George is inquisitive about the new environment in the big city and has a few misadventures while the Man in the Yellow Hat tries getting him out of trouble. Young endearing George should appeal to a young audience despite its lack of campaign during the opening week. His irresponsible spree to things initiates the Man to chase after him, and they eventually form a periodic friendship during the story. As a big fan of the children book series, the movie quite replicates the amiable book series. Just two things are different: The Man in the Yellow Hat has a love interest, and he gets his own name, Ted. Ted is a museum tour guide who is concerned when the museum he works at is about to close down, so he goes to Africa to find a lost tribal artifact in a yellow safari suit and his trademark hat. The illustration experience is from a hand drawn animation style, just like its short animated video series one can find at the library, to represent the simplicity of the story. With no CGI graphics, this traditional animated film contains no crudeness and has the same character designs and personality from George and the Man from the books. There are no extra wild characters who are there just for constant senseless silliness, like in Ice Age. The soundtrack provided by Jack Johnson keeps the light-hearted movie with a warm approach when he sings tunes to the playful antics with George on screen and his constant smiles. There’s slight humor in the dialogue that works, the voices are adorable and top quality, and there’s little pop references or hard jokes to understand. Among the best parts of the movie is the innocent and fun humor that appears every few minutes. ‘Wait you followed me all the way from Africa... to play peek-a-boo.’ The first interaction with George and the Man at Africa is simple and likable seeing George’s expressions playing around with the Man’s hat. There isn’t the typical predictability or childish tones and the ninety minute movie clearly reflects the high on being truly funny and clean at the same time. Anyone who doesn't have the tolerance for such a gentle, soft, and calm tale needs to seek a bit more marvel in life. Only if the enjoyable hard covered children picture book series was adapted a decade earlier, although, it does presently capture an enjoyable fresh motion picture.

Final Grade: B-/B

Cries and Whispers (1972)
Starring Harriet Andersson, Kari Sylwan, Ingrid Thulin, Liv Ullmann

Film Prophet's Review...
Two sisters return home to be in present of the third sister's death in a manor house during late nineteenth century, where a pleasant past and several voices are whispering in their memory. Up for best Oscar picture, the deceit ones that matter in life represent agony, isolation, and loneliness in this film, anxiously changing certainty around. The communications between each woman is cold, forbidding, and rare. Directed by Ingmar Bergman, the surrealism is difficult to express a life of hidden desires. No one speaks a word out loud that often. There is little happening around and much of the dialogue is bleak. When someone is tired for an amount of time, the audience gets tired with the person. The body language and face close-ups are focused in on the Swedish actresses. Through potent though fragile women, and despair, a viewer may not be the same right after finishing the film. It’s quite draining most of the time, and it is hard to keep eyes on it for more than a minute. It opens with haunting bells during the introduction, and then for the next nine minutes there is a very striking sound… the sound of nothing mixed with deep breathing from one ill woman. To hear and view realistic movements, and watching someone suffering in flesh in a bedroom is cringing. There’s a frequent study of the subject's face to show a hidden meaning. Again, no words come out extending on and it’s left with body language illustration. The film removes glamour nevertheless there's plenty of it in every scene. The art still shots are captured in three main colors, red white and black; it appears everywhere. Also fading in a dark red, dreams of the past go to a flashback of the sisters in a happier time when everything was fine because in present time, they’re living around in an empty existence. “Mother and Maria always had things to whisper about.” Remaining lonely and left out of a small gentle conversation while around is a meaning of wrenching sorrow. Admiring Bergman's work enormously, this is not a great place to start since there aren’t ultimate excitements. There’s an emotional distance between sisters, and with that, the film loses a bit of connectivity to follow an array of characters after thirty minutes. It is plain grim and too natural to connect to a wide range of people because the plotline is small, the beauty is the same kind in the house, and the camera shots linger on that are hard to endure. The best moment comes close to the end when one sister lets out the degrading, saying lines with words of, no relief after tolerating for so long and not saying anything with no escape… and that truth hurts. She later asks for forgiveness, screams, runs away, comes back, and there is no resolution. They want their sick sister to die, but they are there to reconnect. For them, there is no happiness and the sickness distances everyone.

Final Grade: C+/C

Final Destination 3 (2006)
Starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ryan Merriman, Kris Lemche, Alexz Johnson, Texas Battle, Amanda Crew

Film Prophet's Review...
Everyday and ordinary routines don’t make a person aware of the worst outcomes that could happen. The chances are unlikely, still there's an odd chance. The best horror movie series of the new millennium is back for a third time with a new majestic cast, but the force of death returns. The film stands out from the horror pile because death can occur anytime on any occasion, and it doesn't have to be executed by a psychopathic person. From the plane falling apart in the sky to the highway auto crash, this film’s beginning highlight is the roller coaster disaster at an amusement park. The story utilizes this ride that causes screams and adds even more fear than it already has. When one is going up any roller coaster and locked in, the person can not get out when he or she wants to… and not getting out means true torment. Just one girl has a premonition of this accident, so she yells and it causes a ruckus and fights among six others, similar to before in the plane in the first movie. It’s followed by predetermined fate involving her and her friends next. The pattern is set after this and the remaining seven must die in order. The two main leads are the only ones who believe what happened will haunt them later in the cycle, and surviving the accident will affect their lives forever. They have festival and carnival pictures the girl took to spot clues in a death. She spends her time looking around as to what may fit into the picture that was taken at the carnival at the current setting of the next casualty. In this type of movie, people will die of young age; the unfortunates are in suspense in how exactly they are going to die. There are the typical surprising techniques of death by accident resulting in decapitations of the human body. Its elaborate gruesome death sequences are what the audience seeks for. The stable theme of having no control is in just about every scene. There is no slowing down and it’s always centered on the group of high school seniors and nobody else. Like the first two film's final glimpses of the endings, the resolution is conserved. The story is fast, begins right away at the menacing carnival setting, eliminates chat of figuring out what’s going on, and there’s no slowing down. Taking precautions do not prevent harmless occurrences when there is a pattern. The movie should make some viewers stay away from getting inside a tanning booth, or even raising up the middle finger. Arrogance of perceived fiction is in fact reality. Being clumsy is one thing, but immaturity is the big one. People are in disbelief and inconsiderate when they hear it, or near it, and they carry on until they die in some unnoticed way to them, but there are sited items that go awkward that lead up to the moment. This could be really happening, but we're all ignorant of our own deaths.

Final Grade: B-