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Archive for February, 2013|Monthly archive page

2013 Movie A Day Review #2: The African Queen

In Uncategorized on February 13, 2013 at 2:06 am

the african queen

IMDB Description: In Africa during WW1, a gin-swilling riverboat owner/captain is persuaded by a strait-laced missionary to use his boat to attack an enemy warship.

#65 on AFI Top 100

The African Queen does not break any new ground when it comes to story. It is the basic good girl / gruff guy story. But as often happens in films, the simplest things, when done properly, are usually the best.

The legendary John Houston takes a very basic script and works it with his normal delicate balance of wit and suspense. Humphrey Bogart, though not his best role in my opinion, still outshines most actors working today. And Katherine Hepburn is outstanding as the prim and proper lady forced totally out of her element. There is obvious onscreen chemistry between these two Hollywood legends, and that is one reason the movie works so well. When you have a limited script to work with, the actors must use facial and body expressions to portray their feelings.  Don’t take the limited script to mean it is not a good script, because it is exactly what it needs to be.

The running time of the movie is just at an hour and half, which is exactly where it needs to be because any longer and the storyline would be stretched thin. For the time the film was shot, it is a visual feast. The African jungles and wetlands come to life under Houston’s expert eye.

The ending is a bit contrived, which does leave the viewer a bit disappointed, but overall, this is a film anyone who enjoys storytelling in its purest form can enjoy immensely.

A strong 4 out of 5 stars

2013 Movie A Day Review #1: Young Guns

In Uncategorized on February 11, 2013 at 8:47 pm

young guns

IMDB Description:

A group of young gunmen, led by Billy the Kid, become deputies to avenge the murder of the rancher who became their benefactor. But when Billy takes their authority too far, they become the hunted.

An expression you will see a lot in my reviews is “I don’t get it”….this normally will refer to how I can not understand a movie carrying the popularity it does. Young Guns is a fine example of this expression. Not that I thought the movie was bad, it was just I did not think it was THAT good to earn the cult like status is has garnered throughout the years.

Granted, it does have a stellar cast for the time it was made (think of putting Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman in a movie together today and that is what the cast of Young Guns was back in it’s time). But to me, only one of the big stars of the movie is properly cast (Lou Diamond Phillips). The other big 3 of the film are totally out of their element. Charlie Sheen is obviously in it just for the payday, Keifer Sutherland looks like he needs to be woken up every time he is saying his lines, and worst of all is Emilio Estevez, who is just flat out annoying.

The best parts of the movie are Terrance Stamp and Jack Palance, but their roles are so minor it is not enough to make the overall viewing experience enjoyable. The secondary love story between Sutherland’s character and the Chinese slave is totally unnecessary, and actually drags the movie to a halt whenever it is onscreen. Plus, the five minute peyote using scene is just typical Hollywood trying to make drugs look funny and cool (a trend that continues to this day in films).

If you have not scene Young Guns, it is worth watching once, because the story of redeeming a father figure is good enough to get you through the movie. But you will most likely not want to go back for a second helping of the film.

2 out of 5 stars