Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)

Director: Sergio Leone

Writer: Sergio Donati, Sergio Leone (Screenplay) Dario Argento, Bernardo Bertolucci, Sergio Leone (Story)

Starring: Claudia Cardinale, Henry Fonda, Jason Robards, Charles Bronson, Gabriele Ferzetti, Paolo Stoppa

 

Plot: A mysterious stranger with a harmonica joins forces with a notorious desperado to protect a beautiful widow from a ruthless assassin working for the railroad.


Tagline – There were three men in her life. One to take her… one to love her… and one to kill her.

Runtime: 2 Hours 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: One of the Best Westerns You Will Ever See

 

Story: Once Upon a Time in the West starts when Jill McBain (Cardinale) arrives to her new home, only to find her whole family killed, husband and children. The fingers point at desperado Cheyenne (Robards) only we know it is ruthless assassin Frank (Fonda) who will kill anyone.

Jill joins forces with mysterious Harmonica (Bronson) and Cheyenne to get back at Frank and the ruthless Railroad Baron Morton (Ferzetti) who has targeting the widow.

 

Thoughts on Once Upon a Time in the West

 

Characters – Jill McBain is a woman from New Orleans, her family has moved to Utah to create a new life with her joining them, only when she arrives her family has been killed. Believing she has lost everything it is the strangers she meets which help guide her to get her revenge on the people who committed the crime. Frank is the assassin working for the Baron, he uses his gang to kill anyone he is asked to kill showing no remorse whether it be man, woman or child. Cheyenne is the outlaw known around the land, he is the prime suspect for the family’s murder, though he has rules to never hurt a child, he helps uncover the truth behind the crime. Harmonica is the mysterious stranger who is in town, he will help Jill get revenge on the men behind her family’s murder.

PerformancesClaudia Cardinale is wonderful in this leading role, in a genre generally dominated by male performers she shines in her role. Henry Fonda as the cold-hearted killer is a join to watch as well, we believe his evil in every scene he is in. Jason Robards is fantastic too as his Charles Bronson with this film easily have four of the best performance you will see in any film.

StoryThe story here follows one woman that loses her family to outlaws and joins forces to learn the truth with to other outlaws. This can be looked at as a simple revenge western which in parts it is, but at 2 hours 44 minutes long you must be thinking how doe the time pass. If we are honest the time flies by and each character gets the chance to develop to give us a full understanding of everything that is going on. This is how you can tell a simple story with interesting characters that get the back story to make you care while still on revealing certain parts late in the film. this is one you need to experience just to understand the masterclass in storytelling we got here.

WesternWestern’s are easily one of my weakest genres to enjoy, in this film we see what a western is all about, moving away from the big city to start and build a new life with the dangers of the cowboys and outlaws trying to take anything from anybody. The music helps us completely understand this is a western with the gunslinging coming from all corners.

SettingsThe film put sus in the middle of the land you would expect any western to be set, desert locations without many resources and the railroad looking to come through the towns.


Scene of the Movie –
The showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Even the length of the film is acceptable, nothing annoyed me.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the greatest westerns every made, it uses the themes wonderfully and gives us four strong characters with proper development.

 

Overall: Must watch western.

Rating

 

 

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Classic Franchise – Planet of the Apes (1968)

Director: Franklin J Schaffner

Writer: Michael Wilson, Rod Serling (Screenplay) Pierre Boulle (Novel)

Starring: Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, Maurice Evans, James Whitmore, James Daly, Linda Harrison

 

Plot: An astronaut crew crash-lands on a planet in the distant future where intelligent talking apes are the dominant species, and humans are the oppressed and enslaved.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: True Classic

 

Story: Planet of the Apes starts as we follow four astronauts who have been travelling for over 2000 years when the land on a new planet, George Taylor (Heston) take charge of the mission which does suffer a loss on the landing. Along with Landon (Gunner) and Dodge (Burton) the three explore the planet for a way to make sure they can survive.

When the men discover life on the planet, they believe it is only early evolution human, but things take a turn when apes treat the humans like cattle, hunting them down for slaves with Dr Zaius (Evans) learning about the humans with Dr Zira (Hunter) willing to give them a chance. Zira’s partner Cornelius (McDowall) questions he decision to help George but the apes live in a world where they are the almighty. Can George get off the planet before becoming another victim to this world.

 

Thoughts on Planet of the Apes

 

Characters/PerformanceGeorge Taylor is an astronaut on a long space mission with his crew, he is the commander and must lead his crew through the unknown planet, deal with an unknown threat and convince his own case of equality in a world of apes. Cornelius is the ambitious ape that goes against the idea of a biblical existence searching for answer in evolution. Zira also believes in more than the bible of apes and wants to study George to understand where he fits in the evolution stages. Dr Zaius wants to protect the apes, he experiments on the humans and see George as the biggest threat to his kinds type.

Performance wise, Charlton Heston is fantastic in this leading role showing his balance between hero and victim. Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter and Maurice Evans also all do great jobs through the whole film.

StoryThe story sees what happens when a human space traveller finds themselves arriving in a new world with new rulers, that is the core of the story. What is brilliant to see here is the fact we get a social commentary going including equality, rights for species outside our own as well as the hunting scene including the photo shoot after and finally religion verses evolution. The mix is brilliant blended in a perfectly paced film.

Adventure/Sci-FiThe adventure comes from a new world being explored by George with the sci-fi aspects shows us the new world we could be living in.

SettingsThe settings all work for a future where apes rule a planet, showing how not everything has evolved yet.

Special EffectsThe special effects all work for the time showing us just how the world truly is created.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the classic film that still maintains the look, the style and storytelling to outsmart most modern movie.

 

Overall: One of the best ever made.

Rating

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Halloween Horror Franchise – Night of the Living Dead (1968)

nightDirector: George A Romero

Writer: John A Russo, George A Romero (Screenplay)

Starring: Duane Jones, Judith O’Dea, Karl Hardman, Marilyn Eastman, Keith Wayne, Judith Ridley, Kyra Schon, Charles Craig, S William Hinzman

 

Plot: There is panic throughout the nation as the dead suddenly come back to life. The film follows a group of characters who barricade themselves in an old farmhouse in an attempt the remain safe from these flesh eating monsters.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: True Classic

 

Story: Night of the Living Dead starts when Barbra (O’Dea) and Johnny visiting their father’s grave when a stranger attacks them biting Johnny leaving Barbra running for her own life. Finding shelter Barbra works with Ben (Jones) to make the house safe from the undead that seems to be searching for their latest victims.

As the night continues we find out there are more survivors in the house with Harry (Hardman), Helen (Eastman), Tom (Wayne), Judy (Ridley) and Karen (Schon) which leads to both sides having to make the big decisions about whether they will make it through the night alive.

Night of the Living Dead is one of the most famous zombie movies in the history of film, it is also the start of one of the most well developed series of films that has evolved to keep up with the trends in horror. This one took risks with the low budget at for the time casting a well-spoken black lead actor. While that doesn’t look like anything that big now at the time Hollywood was still behind equality and this film didn’t care about that because the film is about the living needing to survive the dead. We also see the shocking moments happening through the film and with the brilliant use of music to amp the atmosphere within each and every scene this really is one of the all-time classics of the horror genre.

 

Overall: This is one of the greatest zombie movies ever made, one that built a franchise and gave us a new breed of horror creature.

Rating90

 

 

Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

casting card

 

Plot: A young couple move into an apartment, only to be surrounded by peculiar neighbors and occurrences. When the wife becomes mysteriously pregnant, paranoia over the safety of her unborn child begins to control her life.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: One of the Best

 

Story: Rosemary’s Baby starts as we see happy young couple the Woodhouse’s Rosemary (Farrow) and Guy (Cassavetes) as they find themselves a new apartment in New York City. After they find their dream apartment they find out they have an elderly couple next door Minnie (Gordon) and Roman (Blackmer) who become overly friendly with the Woodhouse couple.

When Rosemary and Guy announce they are planning to have a baby the neighbours take notice and after a vivid dream including being raped by a demon Rosemary finds out that she is pregnant. As Rosemary’s pregnancy is going on she is warned now to read books or talk to friends by Minnie and Roman’s doctor Dr Sapirstein (Bellamy). As the time for the birth comes closer Rosemary learns the terrifying truth about what she is carry and who she can trust.

Rosemary’s Baby is a simple horror story looking into the witch and devil worshipping style of life, remember that this is before the internet could answer the problems. The story also shows the affects pregnancy has on a first time mother who listens to the wrong type of advice but doesn’t know any better. The tension being used through this film is brilliant as you just wonder how things will end up.

 

Actor Review

 

Mia Farrow: Rosemary is our young woman that recently married who wants start a family, but when she finds herself being used by her devil worshipping neighbours the pregnancy doesn’t go as planned she learns the truth about the baby she is carrying. Mia is brilliant in this leading role as we feel her terror through every single scene.

John Cassavates: Guy is the husband to Rosemary, a struggling actor who befriends the next door neighbours. His career starts to take off just as Rosemary becomes pregnant as he wants to follow the rules they have made for the pregnancy. John is good in this supporting role where we see his true motives through the story.

Ruth Gordon: Minnie is one of the neighbours that befriends the Woodhouse couple, she doesn’t want to stay out of their lives almost controlling each and every move Rosemary makes. Ruth won herself an Oscar for this supporting role that is overly clingy and obsessive.

Sidney Blackmer: Roman is the husband to Minnie that has found a way to talk Guy into listening to his stories becoming a father figure to him. Sidney is good in this supporting role throughout the film.

Support Cast: Rosemary’s Baby has a supporting cast that do help the story unfold be it the doctor helping with the pregnancy, we also have the older friend that knows the answers to what is going on.

Director Review: Roman PolanskiRoman may well be a controversial man but you can’t question he knows how to make an overly creepy film throughout.

 

Horror: Rosemary’s Baby is one of these horrors that will stick with you for years to come with the creepy feel being used throughout the film.

Settings: Rosemary’s Baby keeps most of the story within the apartment that Rosemary is living as we follow through the pregnancy.
Special Effects
: Rosemary’s Baby has good effects when needed but isn’t a film that turns to the effects to make everything happen.

Suggestion: Rosemary’s Baby is one for all the horror fans out there to have seen at least once. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Farrow is brilliant.

Worst Part: Nothing.

Oh My God Moment: Making the baby.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress

Budget: $2.3 Million

Runtime: 2 Hour 16 Minutes

Tagline: Pray for Rosemary’s Baby

 

Overall: An all time classic.

Ratingcard

 

 

2001 A Space Odyssey (1968)

logoDirector: Stanley Kubrick

Writer: Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke (Screenplay) Arthur C. Clarke (Story)

Starring: Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester, Daniel Richter, Leonard Rossiter, Margaret Tyzack, Robert Beatty, Douglas Rain

 

Plot: When a mysterious artificial object is found buried beneath the lunar surface. They set out on a quest with a group of frozen scientists and an intelligent computer H.A.L. 9000 looking for the answers behind the object. Two Doctors are left awake to make sure everything is running smoothly Dave (Dullea) and Frank (Lockwood) but when H.A.L gets ideas of its own the mission becomes compromised.

 

Verdict: The masterpiece of one of the greatest directors in the history of film

Story: You may spend most of this film scratching you head trying to figure out what the hell is going on, but once you get the reveal you will see how good the story is. Giving the audience plenty of questions makes this something many of the new modern film fail to do with all the spoon feed answers. (10/10)

 

Actor Review: Keir Dullea – Doctor Dave Bowman who has to react to stop H.A.L taking over the space shuttle and fulfil the mission. Top performance on how to convince with expression and body language. (10/10)

 david

Actor Review: Gary Lockwood – Doctor Frank Poole who goes on the spacewalk mission before starting to question the methods of the computer H.A.L. Great performance using more action than words to signify his motives. (9/10)

Director Review: Stanley Kubrick – Brilliant piece of directing from a man who redefined a generation of film makers. (10/10)

 

Sci-Fi: wonderful creation of a space like atmosphere. (10/10)

Special Effects: Stunning special effects that have hardly aged a day. (10/10)

Music: Excellent use of music. (10/10)

Cinematography: Amazing usage of cinematography throughout the film. (10/10)

Believability: Space is still a wife unknown so this is down to what you believe is out there or could happen out there. (5/10)

Chances of Tears: (0/10)

Settings: Set mostly in the middle of space, with nowhere to turn for help perfectly for the creation of the edge of your seat atmosphere created. (10/10)
Oscar Chances
: Won one Oscar for Special effects.

Chances of Sequel: Nope

Suggestion: All film fans should watch this as it really is a masterpiece. The casual film fan will struggle to get into the film with the drawn out opening 25 minutes of no dialogue and strong use of music. If you were to look back and see where some of the best films come from this is where it is, this is a true history lesson in film watching this. (Watch)

 

Best Part: The mystery of what is going on.

Worst Part: May be hard to grab the attention of a casual film fan.

Trivia: There is 88minutes with no dialogue.

 

Overall: A masterpiece that stands the test of time

 

Rating 97