Saturday, September 24, 2016

A Room With a View (1985) - 7 stars out of 10

A Room With a View (1985) - 7 stars out of 10

"A Room With a View" is a classic-but-predictable story.  Its Oscar wins for Best Costume Design, Best Art Direction, and its nomination for Best Cinematography are no surprise as you take in the vivid Victorian-era costumes and the stunning landscape shots from Florence and England.  It went toe-to-toe with “The Mission” in these categories and its victories are a true compliment against such a strong competitor.  The cinematography is beautiful.  The extensive naked scene in the lake is... way too extensive.  Outside of the visual aspects, the film is most notable for its Oscar-nominated performances by Maggie Smith and Denholm Elliot.  Daniel Day-Lewis lives up to his reputation as a chameleon, harnessing his inner entitlement as if he grew up rich and knew nothing else.  Simon Callow is magnificent as Reverend Beebe and it is mindbending to see Helena Bonham Carter A. at a young age and B. wearing normal attire.  Unfortunately, the film does have its weaknesses.  I completely disagree with the Oscar win for Best Adapted Screenplay.  Maybe it is the delivery, but much of the dialogue feels clunky and fake.  This could also be due to much of the dialogue sounding like it was rerecorded in a sound studio afterwards.  The film has a lot of outdoor scenes but the fake-sounding audio is a big distraction.  I also found the film to move a bit slow, though it provides an interesting story with its theme of the breakdown of Victorian ideals in favor of the free-thinking world.  Pair the slow pacing with the ability to predict most of the film within the first 10 minutes and it proves itself to be an exercise in focusing for an extended period of time.  The slow movement of the film is tempered by a great operatic soundtrack, the likes of which will leave you unable to listen to the beautiful "O mio babbino caro" again without thinking of this film.  “A Room With a View” is an interesting story set on a beautiful backdrop, but its predictability makes it difficult to watch more than once.

[Pictured: The movie is a bit slow, but the view is fantastic.]

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Beverly Hills Cop - 4 stars out of 10

Beverly Hills Cop - 4 stars out of 10

“Beverly Hills Cop” is a crude, poorly acted action comedy.  A would-be interesting story is clouded over by nonstop f-words and Eddie Murphy’s obnoxious laugh.  It is also clouded over by a repetitive electronic soundtrack, but there are no complaints there.  It is a shame that such an iconic soundtrack comes from a nearly unwatchable film.  The irony is that it gets really entertaining in the last 40 minutes when all of the profanity disappears, but it isn’t worth enduring the first hour to get there.  This film was critically acclaimed and considered to be one of the best of 1984 – what were these critics thinking?!?!?  Every time that Murphy delivers a serious line, it feels like a mistake.  And apparently the Academy watched a censored version of the film when they nominated it for Best Original Screenplay because the incessant profanity cheapens every line of dialogue.  The one positive attribute of this film is the humor generated by John Ashton, Judge Reinhold, and Murphy.  The majority of their dialogue is improvised and you can occasionally see one member of the trio struggling to hold it together.  Reinhold really nails the sidekick role as the wide-eyed, na├»ve Billy Rosewood.  If I could cut out all of the profanity, I’d watch the film again just for his cluelessness.  All of the other actors in the film are completely unmemorable and perform well below the expectation of a Hollywood blockbuster.  Perhaps the most maddening part of the film is that nobody is asking the big questions like… what kind of a name is “Axel”?  And why doesn’t anybody question it?  I want to love “Beverly Hills Cop” because it is a classic, but between the poor acting and overblown volume of profanity, it is tough to consider watching it ever again.

[Pictured: This trio is the only redeeming quality of the film]