Once Upon a Time in the West Review

The western genre is one that I failed to appreciate when I was younger. I never really got into them or understand the appeal. After watching the tv series Deadwood and movies like Unforgiven, 3:10 to Yuma, Django Unchained, The Hateful Eight, and Once Upon a Time in the West, I can say I’m a fan of the genre. I absolutely loved Once Upon a Time in the West and it made me realize just how great the western genre is.

From the opening scene, you can tell you’re in the hands of a master. Sergio Leone’s direction is nothing short of spectacular. I also loved the three main actor’s performances. This is the first time I’ve seen Charles Bronson act and I can certainly understand why he’s one of the biggest action movie stars of all time. He’s just effortlessly cool and it’s the type of character that in the hands of the wrong actor, could go very wrong. Henry Fonda who is not someone who usually played villains, is absolutely perfect as one. He’s so good at it that you would think he was famous for playing them. Finally there’s Jason Robards who might have the best performance of the whole movie. He’s so convincing as that character. You buy him as that character as soon as you see him on screen. The score by Morricone is just a masterpiece in every way and without it the movie wouldn’t be as iconic as it is. It’s not all just badass cowboys shooting each other, there’s a lot of substance here as well.

Il Sorpasso Review

I actually had never heard of this movie before watching it. I didn’t even know what it was about so I went in completely blind which is sometimes the best way to watch a movie. I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed this movie. Jean-Louis Trintignant is also in this movie and it’s such a different performance from his work in Il Conformista. It shows just how versatile of an actor he is. My favorite performance of the film is Vittorio Gassman who is incredibly charismatic, charming, and funny but also shows real depth when the film calls for it. Gassman’s and Trintignant’s chemistry together is one the best parts about the movie. Watching them go back and forth was a treat.

This is one of the films during the course that I can see myself rewatching from time to time. I also love how the film explores the character of Bruno Cortona and how you would think he’s the type of man that every man wants to be but that’s just not really the case. You see how his relationship with his family is not one to aspire to have and deep down he’s a troubled man. I think the ending, which is incredibly shocking, perfectly captures that.

Danger: Diabolik Review

I had never heard of this one before but this was a lot of fun and better than expected. I wouldn’t call this a great film but I would definitely say this is a fun movie that it’s actually pretty well made. It’s the type of film we don’t get anymore. One aspect I really liked about this movie is the production design. I love how much of the effects were practical. It really helps immerse you in this comic book world. The sets are also wonderful. This is a movie with a lot of style and it’s the type of style that you’ll either dig or you won’t. It really felt like a comic book come to life. Maybe my favorite aspect of the movie was the score by maestro Morricone.

I think part of why I enjoyed the film as much was the experience while watching it. The introduction by Jim and Paul was incredibly insightful and really helped the class know what they were getting into. I also think their contribution was really helpful to keep an eye out for certain details throughout the movie that we wouldn’t have noticed without their insight.

L’Avventura Review

This was one that I had heard of before but was not one I was dying to see. I was mildly interested in seeing it but when I saw the quote by Martin Scorsese (my favorite director) saying that it was one of the most profound shocks he ever had at the movies, I instantly became interested.

I’ll be honest and say that this was another one I just couldn’t really get into it. This is not a bad film by any means and I can see why a lot of people would love it. It’s a very long and slow film and definitely the type of film that you need to be in a certain mood for and I think I just wasn’t in the mood for a slow burn type movie. I did admire how extremely well made the film is. The performances by Gabriele Ferzetti, Monica Vitti,and Lea Massari are all excellent. The rest of the cast is really good as well. The movie is also really well written and the direction by Michelangelo Antonioni is really good as well. The cinematography is beautiful as well. Like I said, there’s a lot to admire about the craft of this movie. I feel like this is the type of film I would like more after watching it again now that I know the type of film it is. Even if I never got into the film, I would still recommend it because it is a very well made film and one that I feel like a lot of people would enjoy.

Il Conformista Review

This was one I had been wanting to watch for a while and when it was all over, I didn’t know how to feel. It’s a beautifully made film on so many aspects. The performances are fantastic especially the lead actor Jean-Louis Trintignant. The characters are very well written as well. My favorite aspect of the film is by far the cinematography. You can tell just how much thought and care they put into every shot. The locations are just incredible to look at as well from the many beautiful locations in Rome to the almost dreamy locations of Paris. It’s probably the most visually stunning film I’ve seen during the class.

All that being said, I really didn’t connect with the movie. The movie moves at a very slow pace and at times it feels almost meandering. I think it’s part of the appeal and a reason why so many people love this movie. For me personally it just didn’t work and to be honest it bored me at times. I also didn’t really connect with the characters even if the actors portraying the characters do a terrific job. The movie also doesn’t have much story either which it’s another aspect that I think people will either really like or not like. Usually that doesn’t bother me but this time it did. The slow pace, lack of a story, and characters I didn’t connect with, all made for a movie that left me conflicted. It’s beautifully made but didn’t make me feel anything.

Deep Red Review

This is easily my favorite film I’ve seen during the course so far. Dario Argento directs this murder-mystery with a truly unique style that I haven’t seen before in this genre. It’s a beautifully shot film that helps set the tone and atmosphere tremendously. The score is fantastic and while it isn’t the typical score you would hear in this type of movie, it works perfectly. The performances are really enjoyable as well.

The only negative I had with the movie is that I really didn’t find any of the characters all that interesting or likable for that matter. I was invested in finding out who the killer was but I didn’t really care what was gonna happen to the characters.

Still this is one of the most unique murder mysteries I’ve ever seen and I would highly recommend it.

The Decameron Review

This was a weird one. On one hand I liked the performances, the cinematography, some of the humor, and the story structure. On the other hand I think this one was a bit hard to digest. Some of the humor didn’t work for me and I can’t say I can see myself watching this one again. That’s not to say it was bad, it was just not my style.

The Garden of the Finzi-Continis Review

The Garden of the Finzi-Continis is an elegant, beautifully shot, well executed, and thought provoking film. It features some great performances and beautiful cinematography. While it is a bit slow, I never lost interest while watching. I can see why this film was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Adapted Screenplay at the 1972 Academy Awards. Highly recommend.

Rome, Open City Review

Maybe the most impressive aspect of this film is the fact that it is almost 80 years old and its power hasn’t diminished at all. There’s still a lot to learn from this movie but not just from a filmmaking aspect but also from a historical and cultural aspect. A hard watch but definitely worth it . This was a clear inspiration for films like Schindler’s List and The Pianist. Not a movie that I would watch again but I’m glad I saw it.