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Movie Reviews

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Film Title: The Phantom of the Opera (2004)

Genre: Drama / Fantasy / Musical / Romance / Thriller


Two Most Important Member of the Cast: (The Phantom) and  (Christine)


[4]The Phantom of the Opera is based on the hit musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber. It tells the story of a disfigured musical genius who haunts the catacombs beneath the Paris Opera, waging a reign of terror over its occupants. When The Phantom falls fatally in love with the lovely Christine, he devotes himself to creating a new star for the Opera, exerting a strange sense of control over the young soprano as he nurtures her extraordinary talents.

In my assumption, the Phantom of Opera is at times unintentionally entertaining because its tone shift from ridiculous to overwrought. Accordingly, there are also moments when the movie seems desperate to approach a lyric surrealism. I really cannot point out if it is a love story or a tragedy or neither of the two. In addition, the fearless of certain movie stars to transcend the clunkiness is also missing.

What I dislike is not the film itself but the underlying materials used in the movie. The story is a thin beer for the time it takes to tell it and the music is maddeningly repetitious. I assume that the reasons underlying this can be explained by some events in the movie like the crashing down of chandelier. This crashing is not a shock but a historical reenactment. On one hand, the mask of the Phantom in the movie is more like a fashion accessory. Also, his good profile is so chiseled and handsome that the effect is not an object of horror but a kinky babe magnet.

Moreover, I feel that the film is not a movie per se but a stage play since the performances of the characters are more about music than the story. This run parallel to the review of Movie Mom’s (2006) that [5]the emotions sets to Andrew Lloyd Weber’s purplish music are theatrical that the film becomes effective as the stage play.

On one hand, I consider that the film is given its grandest aspirations by the luxurious sets and costumes. Schumacher delivers a perfect visual translation of the staged production to the screen because the Phantom’s home is given a cavernous shape and the opera house an architectural masterpiece. Similarly, every nook and cranny of the setting feels like an actual setting rather than a prop in a filmed play. In the same way, these settings are given a multi-dimensional shape.

However, in essence I believe that the film is much like the play which tells about what lies beneath the surface.  [6]Beneath the opera house lays the dark, unsettling Phantom and beneath his silky, featureless white mask is a horribly character. In general, I judge that there is actually nothing below the surface of this film for all of it is the references to the deceptions of appearance.



Film Title: Singin in the Rain (1952)

Genre: Comedy/Musical/Romance/Classic


Two Most Important Member of the Cast:  (Gene Kelly) and  (Jean Hagen)


In my opinion, Singin in the Rain is arguably the greatest movie musical ever made added with a Technicolor confection that jab fun at Hollywood. The reason in this statement is perhaps the combination of music, dance and the humorous script of the movie.

The movie is different from others because it is not only musical but also the best comedy ever. This is true because there are many outstanding comedies on it. Furthermore, if we are going to remove the entire musical and dance numbers such wonderful comedies are left.

The film is also an enjoyable movie experience because of the great songs, lots of flashbacks, wonderful dances, casting and story. It is another extraordinary example of the organic, integral musical. This is explainable since the characters of the story naturally express their emotions in the midst of their lives through song and dance. In the same way, the songs and dances replace their dialogues.

Additionally, according to  (2005),[1]it is perhaps the greatest musical of all time since it is filled with catchy musical numbers and actually a musical about a musical. It is especially fascinating and powerful because it is actually focuses significantly on another historically important film, The Jazz Singer (1927).

The story is about a handsome, arrogant but romantic silent film star and blustering matinee idol, Don Lockwood and his fascinating blonde screen partner/diva, Lina Lamont who is expected by studio heads to pretend to be romantically involved with each other. Their studio boss,  () pressured them to change their silent romantic drama, The Duelling Cavalier into musical which will be name as The Dancing Cavalier, their first sound picture if ever.

There is one major problem about it because Lina has as harsh, screechy New York accent. To solve this, Cosmo, her ex-song-and-dance partner proposes to turn the film into musical and suggests that Kathy Selden, Don’s aspiring actress and dancer-girlfriend dub in her singing voice behind the scenes for lip-synching Lina. However, their scheming render jealous to Lina putting Kathy in a revealing publicity.

Generally, I think that the story is pleasing despite its occasional flaw. Every viewer is sure to be delighted with the vibrant, fun and colorful song and dance sequences with which the movie is punctuated. Furthermore, the film’s characters are generally appealing like the story that revolves around them even if they are not brilliantly crafted.

According to  (2005), [2]Don and Cosmo are likeable and fun loving individuals. Lina, on the other hand, is outrageously vain, conniving, and self-centered. Kathy is sweetly charming but is not captivating compared to the persons around her. However, she has a pleasant character that viewer who may never fascinated by her may sympathize with her.

One of the criticisms of the movie, in my opinion, is the numerous musical numbers that packed unto it. The movie was not filled by its story or characters but with the numerous musical numbers. Similarly, music, I think is one of the problems with the movie which cannot be laid at the doors of the production.

According to [3]it is written in the 1990s, the Jazz Age. Hence, the vibrancy of the syncopated rhythms of the Jazz Age had been lost into the straitjacket of 1930s’ big-band Swing. So when the film was made, popular music was well on its way to the four-square banality of the early 1950s.

Nevertheless, I think that one of the things that make the movie so enduring are the song and dance which give license to every man, woman and child to sing and jump through puddles on a rainy day, balking at tomorrow’s forthcoming fever. In my opinion, Singin’ in the Rain’s communicable optimism makes us believe some lighthearted humor and fancy footwork are the best prescription for weathering life’s storms.




Film Title: There’s Something About Mary (1998)

Genre: Comedy / Romance


Two Most Important Member of the Cast:  (Mary Jensen) and  (Ted Stroehmann)


[7]This is a story about Mary and Ted. There’s something about Mary that still bewitches Ted. Although he hasn’t seen her in over a dozen years, since that shameful prom night, his heart still flutters at the recollection of her. He’s still crazy about her after all these years and curious as to her whereabouts. He hires private eye, Pat Healy to track her down in Miami at the insistence of his good friend Dom.

In my opinion, the film is a package romantic comedy because amidst the softer story it can still deliver laughs and it has proven to be the most satisfying of the Farrellys’ comedies. Mary is also blessed with good casting and stiller tone setting for a comedic style.

Similarly, the review posted on  (2004),            [8]suggests that the movie is a prime example of subgenre of romantic comedy. I sense that this movie attempts to appeal to stereotypical guys whereas contemporary straightforward romantic comedies attempt to appeal stereotypical women. There are also lots of gross-out jokes, slightly homophobic humor, humor involving disabilities and sports cameos in the film. In my opinion such factors are intended to hide the fact underneath the characters. In addition, the characters had all the good comic timing. Generally, the storyline is a sweet love story.

[9]Supporting the review made by  (2006) notes that the movie redeems itself by being legitimately funny and surprisingly sweet. There’s Something About Mary also  merits attention for its less-controversial laughs such as the amusingly absurd musical narrative provided by Jonathan Richman, or Bret Favre’s hilarious surprise cameo. Finally, the movie is an excellent comedy that proves the considerable latitude afforded filmmakers in the permissive late 1990s resulted in more than just an inordinate amount of fart jokes.

However, one of the criticisms of the movie, in my belief is that not all of the jokes are as funny as the best ones because there are really jokes in the movie which are cruel like laughing at someone else’s misfortune and jokes which are crude like the jokes about masturbation, genitalia and death.  In addition, another problem that I would like to point out is the presence of long spells between scenes of chaotic hilarity.



Film Title: Mambo Italiano (2003)

Genre: Comedy/Drama


Two Most Important Member of the Cast:  ( Angelo Barberini) and



The movie is about Angelo Barberini, the oddball son of Italian immigrants Gino and Maria, who inadvertently ended up in Canada rather than the States. He is a gay Italian-Canadian and an aspiring television writer who tries to hide his sexuality from his parents. His folks want to set him up with a nice Italian girl. But, he shocks them by moving out on his own without getting married. He shocks them further when he reveals that he’s gay. He moves in with his lover Nino, a childhood friend whom his parents see only as a good roommate for their son. Nino is not as ready to come out of the closet to protect his job being a police officer.

[10]According to the review posted on , the movie is based on a stage play of the same name and this structure is still shown in the film despite the addition of Technicolor outdoor sets. also added that the conventional set-up of the movie did not work well. I deem that is correct with such statements. The conventional set-up could have work well but it does not really work out due to problems with the script and lack of respect for the characters. Similarly, Angelo’s monologue starting the movie feels flat on the film but it could work well within the conventions of the theatre considering that the movie is a reworked copy of the play.

In my outlook, this comedy movie gives the ethnic and sexual stereotypes a clumsy treatment. Additionally, the ending is perhaps appropriate for a stage play. The movie also, I think, has its share of problems, because it sets up things that are not coming, thus leaving the audience feeling somewhat cheated.

On one hand, I assume that one of the good attributes of the movie is the funnier scenes. Some of these involve Angelo’s parents trying to come to grip with their son being a homosexual and with Angelo’s sister, Maria going through therapy and trying her experiences she gained on her clueless brother. Another thing which the movie can be proud of is the characters playing Angelo’s family which according to are by far the best asset of Mambo Italiano.

(2006) agrees with it. According to her,  [11]the movie is done with such a good humor that the audience may laugh throughout. Further, she added that even if it might be offensive or annoying to some, most people may giggle watching the movie, thus forgetting the hard day.







Film Title: The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)

Genre:  Adventure / Horror / Sci-Fi /Suspense


Two Most Important Member of the Cast:  (Julie Adams) and  (Dr. Carl Maia)


(1990) writes in his review that [12]the Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) is an attempt to tap the success of The Beast from 20, 000 Fathoms (1953). He points out that [13]like Beast, the Creature eschews the idea of a giant-size monster and brings the monster down to the human-size. I believe that this is a wise move since it allows the film to have its cake eaten without the need for costly stop-motion animation effects. Further, [14]at its heart, the movie is just another variant on the Frankenstein and Mummy films that were Universal bread-and-butter genre output in the previous decade.

In my view, the director of the movie, Jack Arnold pits human beings in a metaphorical relationship. This is made by the use of landscape throughout the film. Here, the humanity is constantly seen as a stranger in landscapes that resonate with the vastness of geological time. [15]Although the film’s modest budget and locations that never venture beyond the studio prevent this from being all it could be, the mystery of the Amazon and alienness of the underwater environment are well conveyed here.

In addition, the cinematography is striking in its imagery. [16]The scenes are particularly beautiful because the work in underwater photography made it possible to really follow along with the action under the water. Similarly, the score is possibly one of the most recognizable in monster movie history.

Correspondingly, the scientist becomes the hero in the tale unlike earlier monster movies. He becomes guardian of the lagoon instead of some megalomaniacal quest for power or prestige. This gives the film a refreshing quality and perhaps this is the reason why it has become a classic.

The aquatic aerobics conducted by Julia Adams where the unseen Creature mimics beneath the surface, finally daring to reach up and touch her is one particular good scene that I like because [17]Arnold crafts the scene as a graceful ballet and one that contains an undeniable underlying eroticism. [18]In another striking shot Arnold follows a cigarette Adams idly tosses overboard down into the water past the eyes of the watching Creature.

Sadly, even if Creature from the Black Lagoon is a great classic, I think, it is not perfect. The concept of the missing link falling for a sun-core sizzling human woman is a little creepy and it has been done before. Further, it is noticeable that the characters occasionally feel stock. In spite of Kay’s primary formidable presence, she is most commonly there to fill the role of damsel in misery. In addition, the men never seem to truly feel like they are in danger. They often come off as if they’re discussing the latest from the old Wall Street Ticker.

Film Title: Weekends at Bernie’s (1989)

Genre:  Adventure / Comedy


Two Most Important Member of the Cast:  (Larry Wilson) and  (Richard Parker)


The Weekend at Bernie’s is about the two enterprising young men who uncover an elaborate fraud scheme at their company. They are rewarded with a weekend at their boss’, Bernie, striking beach house. However, things get complicated whey they arrive at the beach house because they find their boss murdered. Despite what happened, they decide to have a good time anyway and include their boss in all the activities.

Catherine Mary Stewart and Gwen Saunders, Richard’s girl friend both has a small role in this movie. On one hand, Richard’s inept attempts to court Gwen form a humorous subplot to the story. Similarly, Catherine Parks as Tina, the moll who is two-timing the mob boss with Bernie is given very brief screen time. According to Converse Connection Film Review, [19]the movie is basically a modern floor show routine that has been stretched out to make a full length film.

What I like in the movie is the interplay between  because it ends up the film entertaining. Additionally, the continuous on-screen tricks of McCarthy keep the audience interested ignoring the flaws of the story. Similarly, Andrew McCarthy and Jonathan Silverman put a lot of energy into their roles. Their unabashed enthusiasm carries the audience through the low brow humor and cliches of the screenplay.

I also like Tina’s final scene where she visits the now dead . It is one of the best bits of the film because Director  keeps this ridiculous situation moving and enjoyable. In addition, the best action scene is during the fight with the mob hit man who actually killed Bernie. This hit man comes back to Bernie’s place because everybody else acts like Bernie is still alive.

However, [20](1989) criticizes the movie for making two mistakes. First, it gives the audience a joke that is not very funny. Second, it expects the jokes to carry the entire movie. I consent with him because in my opinion, it is a decision that leads to some long, boring sequences and certain desperation on the part f the actors.

Another thing that he [21]criticizes is the role of the dead character. He points out that Bernie’s dead body did not work because it requires the other characters to be stupid. He also point out that it should be immediately obvious to several people in the movie that Bernie is already dead. This argument, in my outlook is correct. They must be incredibly dense in order for them not to notice that Bernie is already dead. Thus, their behavior of not noticing this is so idiotic.

On the other hand,  stresses that despite of all these matters, [22]Weekend at Bernie’s still delivers a great 80s comedy and plays it off very well scene by scene.





















Film Title: Moulin Rouge (2001)

Genre: Drama / Musical / Romance

Director: Baz Luhrmann

Two Most Important Member of the Cast: Nicole Kidman (Satine) and  Ewan McGregor (Christian)


In this movie, Ewan McGregor plays Christian, a young immature writer who comes to a highly fictionalized and fantastical turn of the 20th century Paris. He falls in with a crowd of Bohemian artists led by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (John Leguizamo) who are writing a show, “the Spectacular Spectacular” to be performed at the Moulin Rouge, a hot nightspot. The Bohemian artists want Christian to write the show for them. They also send him to convince Satine (Nicole Kidman), the celebrity of Moulin Rouge to star in their show.

Zidler (Jim Broadbent), the owner of the Moulin Rouge arranged the meeting of Satine and the Duke of Monroth (Richard Roxburgh), a potential investor on that night. Satine thought that Christian is the Duke; thus she takes him to her bedchamber. They both fall in love with each other. However, Satine is a courtesan and love for her is a foolish risk. Further, the Duke invested on her which could be her chance to become a legitimate actress.

In my belief, the movie is a visually alluring and lavishly theatrical drama. The style of the movie is eclectic, drawing on grand opera, MTV music videos and MGM musicals. The music also is almost entirely in the 20th century pop even though Moulin Rouge is set in 1899 Paris. However, Luhrmann captured the feeling that seems to be there in 1899. Similarly, the sets and costumes are also tremendous giving the film an artificial, edge quality that serves the fantasy-like quality of the story.

Equally, Gildrie-Voyles (2001) points out that [23]despite the tragic plot of the movie, it is comical as it is moving. I think that this good deal of humor comes from Luhrman’s magical directing style. He mixes reality and fantasy with quirky camera angle, quick cuts and lots of special effects. The music itself also adds humor. [24]On one hand, while the song brings laughter to the audience and distract the scenes sometimes, they are appropriate. What I like in this films is the production numbers because they are thrilling and gorgeous especially the tango led by Jacek Koman.

Conversely, one of the criticisms of the movie, in my opinion is the songs used in the musical. Examples of these songs are the Material Girl by Madonna and the few lines from the Nirvana song. They are not appropriate to the setting of the film. The Reel (2001) agrees with it. It points out that [25]all of the songs in the movie are modern songs that mark a striking contrast to the time and setting of the film since it is set to 1899 Paris. Another problem found in the film is the shift from goofiness to seriousness and back again. The shifting is so harsh making it difficult to get into the story.