Good Will Hunting
Watched this almost 1.5+ months ago, but haven’t had time to review it.
Anyways, been meaning to watch this for a super super long time but haven’t had the chance to do so until now. Had really high expectations about it and surprisingly, it turned out to be somewhat different than what I expected but still met my high standards anyways! No wonder it won so many awards.
Before I watched it, I actually thought that another character would be playing Matt Damon’s character, but no, it was Matt Damon. Since I got that mixed up, the story went in a different direction than I had anticipated, but it was still really very good, especially because of the story and the direction. The story development was frustrating at times but it was what the movie tried to achieve, so I have no complaints about that. The ending was also quite good.
Performances were of course very solid from the all-star cast, but the person who stood out the most for me was actually Minnie Driver, who unfortunately did not win any awards or nominations for her role. Her character was really charming and man, a lot of her lines were just really funny. I think it’s because she’s English, which is awesome.
All in all, a very good movie that deserves all its praise. Had some very moving scenes too that really got to me. Robin Williams, you…!!! Not sure how he can seem so convincing and moving while saying such cheesy lines, but hey, that’s the magic of it, I guess. 90/100
Le Cercle Rouge
Watched a bit of this without subtitles when I was in Paris last summer. Didn’t really know what was going on back then, but now I’m not sure why I didn’t, because really, about 75% - 80% of this movie had no dialogue at all and even little to no music.
Anyway, despite the ultra super crazy slow pace with long bouts of silence (aside from sound effects) that could’ve very well made this a silent film, it was still pretty good, if you can bear to sit through it. I didn’t find it as painfully slow as my father did, but it was still quite slow. For North American audiences who are used to crime films being about 100000x more action-filled, the pace of this crime movie will boggle your mind. At least the suspense is still kept (and kept very, very well, due to the lack of speaking), but was it really necessary to film every single minute detail of pretty much everything ever? The heist scene was particularly slow, even if I get that seeing the whole process can be intriguing (I personally liked it, but my father did not). Speaking of the slow pace, it seems to be a characteristic (or illness) of most French films (that I’ve seen, anyway).
But anyway, a good thing that came out of this slow pace was that there was some very nice cinematography going on. Lots of good cropping and angles, really. Google the title and look at the screenshots and you’ll sort of see what I mean.
I cannot adequately rate the performances at all since everyone looked cool, calm, and indifferent all the time, especially Alain Delon (who incidentally does not seem to know how to drive in the movie, either - He kept turning the wheel when the “car” was going straight). The only real bout of emotion came from one Yves Montand, and even if it was convincing, it’s not much to go on for rating purposes.
I guess that the most significant part of the film is the story, though, which was very written and developed despite taking a very…long…time to pan out. I also liked the characters even if they didn’t actually have that much character. My favourite was maybe the roles played by Bourvil and Montand, for superficial reasons such as having 3 cats with awesome names as well as an unexpected kitchen door (Bourvil) and being well-versed in ballistics (Montand). 77/100
The King’s Speech
Anyways, was expecting good things from this film, but exactly what good things I had not known. It lived up to my expectations and then to a bit more, as the topic was many times more interesting than I had thought it would be. Perhaps my favourite part of this film is not the acting, although that is very, very good as well, but the subject matter and story. I had little knowledge whatsoever of speech problems and stammering, and even less knowledge of the line of royalty in Britain, so to be able to learn about King George VI’s struggles was quite an eye-opener and made me appreciate monarchy that much more (the first round of my appreciation came from The Queen). After watching this, I read up a bit on King George VI and found him thoroughly admirable and quite amazing. Oh, and please do watch this video of the actual King George VI making a speech, he’s quite good.
The second part that I liked very, very much was the art direction. Some very, very good shots in the film, really, even if the setting is admittedly not as exciting as outdoor sceneries. I especially liked the parts with lots of fog, whether in the street with cars or in a massive park with well-dressed people (the screenshot above illustrates in part the latter). While watching the latter scene, I really thought that it looked much like a painting I had seen, but could not pinpoint which work or artist. I still can’t really, but I think that Caillebotte’s works are a good approximation. The white, light greys, well-dressed people, and silhouettes in The King’s Speech seem quite similar to Caillebotte’s style in some works, and especially in others. Too bad the movie’s not out officially yet, or many screenshots would have been made…
Another thing that is very much worth mentioning are the performances, of course. Colin Firth was of course very good, and actually, this is my first time seeing him in a leading role. He did super well with the stammering and even more with the emotional scenes - I could almost feel his internal struggles (and of course the harsh monarchy setting helped). Geoffrey Rush was quite good as Logue, and I liked that he really seemed quite understanding. His character also had some endearing sons and client. Helena Bonham Carter as great in her supporting role. She didn’t steal the scene, but she complemented every scene very well and I very much enjoyed watching her whenever she showed up, even though she didn’t actually do much (and that’s okay). The other actors were quite good as well, and somehow Michael Gambon as King George V captivated me quite well with his brief appearances.
Lastly, the music was quite good. I’m not really sure why I find it good, because it just seemed like the regular strings and piano, but it went very, very well with the film, and the musical direction felt quite spot-on. GJ Desplat.
Overall, a very solid film that deserves the praise it gets. However, after watching it I didn’t have a huge emotional reaction or any deep impression of it - I simply thought that it was very well done. Even though The King’s Speech didn’t do anything wrong, I just don’t have a strong liking for it. I appreciate it and like it, but it’s not my favourite or something that I would name off the top of my head when asked for my list of Best Movies Ever. 88/100
The Last King of Scotland
Decided to watch this because I remember watching the Oscars one year and an African-American actor from a movie I have never ever heard of won the Best Actor award. The year was 2006, the actor was Forest Whitaker, and that movie was this movie.
Expected it to be good but as usual didn’t really have an idea of what it was actually about, other than it’s not exactly about the last king of Scotland. Turned out to be a very thought-provoking film about a topic I knew nothing about, and thus it seemed very fresh and eye-opening. Learned quite a bit from this film, which I very much like, and not only that, but the story and characters were quite good too. Overall great performances by all of the cast, especially Whitaker and his East African accent - I was amazed to find that he was actually African-American rather than actually African. McAvoy’s Scottish accent is very charming, like all Scottish accents, and that just made the film even more enjoyable. The turn of events turned out (haha) to be very serious and even terrifying, but overall it was all necessary to convey the severity/etc of this piece of history. Didn’t like the shots of mutilated bodies they showed at all, but the rest is alright. The 70s setting is quite nice too. 80/100