Tuesday, 10 December 2013


Amadeus, 1984
Directed by Milos Forman
Nominated for 11 Oscars, Won 8
Wins Include: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Lead Actor (F. Abraham Murray), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Art/Set Direction, Best Costume, Best Makeup, Best Sound

Antonio Salieri always wanted to be like Mozart. Mozart, a child prodigy, playing for emperors and royalty at a very young age. Salieri prayed to God that he may also give Salieri the talent that Mozart has. He wishes to praise God with his music and promises him his chastity if he can devote his life to music. Later on in life, he becomes the court composer for Emperor Joseph II, and is content. However, he becomes eager to see Mozart. He is extremely disappointed to find that, upon seeing Mozart (chasing after a young girl, kissing her in scandalous places and making fart jokes), that he is extremely crass and immature. Salieri becomes angry with God, that He gave young, crass, immature Mozart his divine talent, and gave Salieri, a man who wanted to devote his life to music and to use it to praise God, much less. And thus begins the rivalry, and the madness of Salieri, who later claims to have killed Mozart.

Amadeus is a film that, after I finished watching, I didn't know what I thought about it. Nor did I know what to think or feel about it. It was a slightly peculiar story, and one I wasn't sure how I felt about it.

I think what made me feel this way, is that this story didn't feel like a "true story". Mozart was a little too obnoxious and ridiculous that it always felt like an exaggeration. Salieri had such a twisted view of God and how he allots talent. Additionally, Salieri once did claim to have killed Mozart, but later, on his death bed, confirmed that he did not.

But I think one of my main issues was the movie was not decisive on who you should be rooting for. Both Mozart and Salieri were really messed up, and I ended up feeling sympathy for neither of them. Mozart was caught up in censorship of the time, and trying to do what he wanted creatively. But he went about so many things the wrong way, trying to display why he should be able to put on shows for whatever he writes, even if it is banned. He is often shown is immature, and ill-prepared. Salieri, on the other hand, is shown as someone who is mad at God that a brat like Mozart should receive all the talent. And plotted to murder Mozart. He explains, in his old age, that he had plotted this, but in the end Salieri did not literally murder him in the traditional sense. Only in a very vague abstract sense.

Other than this, the film looked incredible. The filming locations were beautiful, the costumes were great. The art/set decoration was lovely and the makeup and wigs were fantastic. Period pieces that win Best Picture are always so good-looking, and this film is a great example. The music, obviously, was fabulous. It was cool to have Mozart's music playing for so much of the time, but was also there to serve as what is going through Mozart's head, stopping abruptly when interrupted while writing down his music, and cuing up when writing again.

The acting was just decent. Tom Hulce had a crazy, disgusting laugh which was quite fun, though appropriately annoying. F Murray Abraham was calm, cool and collected, with a simmering layer of crazy.

Overall, I felt very mixed about this film. It was a decent film, though a little longer than it probably could've been. And I felt it was more interesting learning about the life of Mozart, and found Salieri's story line quite boring and felt the film (ironically) would be better off without him.

Acting- 8.5/10    
Directing- 8/10    
Screenplay- 7.5/10    
Music – 9.5/10   
"The look"- 9/10    
Entertaining- 7.5/10    
Emotional Connection- 7.5/10    
Rewatchability- 7/10    
Did I like It?- 7.5/10    
"Total Package"**- 8/10     

Total: 78/100  

Monday, 9 December 2013

The French Connection

The French Connection, 1971
Directed by William Friedkin
Nominated for 8 Oscars, Won 5
Wins Include: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing

The French Connection is a classic drug bust movie. 2 Cops, working in the Narcotics Bureau, stumble upon a drug smuggling job in New York. While Doyle and Russo don't seem to have the best record behind them, they are convinced they've stumbled upon something huge and put surveillance on a newsstand diner. Meanwhile, a Frenchman named Alain Charnier, is planning to smuggle $32 million worth of pure heroine into the United States in the car of his unsuspecting friends and french TV Star Henri Devereaux. And while it seems that Doyle and Russo, by chance, have stumbled onto this massive drug drop, they are determined to catch the criminals, even if Charnier always seems one step ahead. 

This movie, to me, felt like a classic drug bust film. It did feel overly different than others I've seen in the genre, but whether that because so many films have come out styling after this film and other likes it, I'm not sure. 

The movie's length is perfect for it's story. Like so many movies that win Best Picture, they sometimes seem much longer than they should be, and thus hinder my view on them. At 104 minutes, The French Connection is tightly woven, and perfectly paced. There's nothing that doesn't contribute to the story, and I think the movie really benefits from that. 

The acting is solid, though I didn't find anything particularly noteworthy. It's filmed in classic 70's style. And, of course, the car chase is the best car chase scene I've watched yet. It's completely thrilling, as Doyle is chasing a sniper in his car, while the sniper is above his, riding the subway and making sure the subway isn't stopping. It's filmed uniquely, and has some amazing shots. It's not longer than it should be, and is exciting every minute. This is the most standout part of the film, and, to me, what it's most remembered for. And personally, it bumps the film's rating a little higher for me. Had the car chase not been as good, I would probably have rated this a little lower. 

This film was solidly made, though is another example of how filmmaking has changed. Films like this nowadays always include young stars, with good chemistry between the two cops, with lots of "witty" dialgoue and a lot more car chase scenes, and is action-packed. While there is definitely action in this film, it's a bit more subdued than most modern films, and the dialogue a little more dry, the pace a little more slow-moving with the majority of it being surveillance. However, this film was enjoyable, if not overly fantastic. 

Acting- 7.5/10   
Directing- 8/10   
Screenplay- 7.5/10   
Music – 8/10  
"The look"- 8/10   
Entertaining- 7/10   
Emotional Connection- 7/10   
Rewatchability- 7/10   
Did I like It?- 7.5/10   
"Total Package"**- 7.5/10     

Total: 75/100