Dead End (1937)

Rating: 3.5/10

At the end of a city block, where the poorest people live, we witness a day in all their lives. Watch as life (and death) unfold amongst the lowliest among us.

I started off watching this movie thinking “well, I’ve never seen a noir with Humphrey Bogart before…” and I still haven’t seen one. Though there are elements of noir, especially with Bogart’s character, it’s still so disjointed that the only real genre that comes out of this film to me is melodrama. I’m getting ahead of myself…

Okay, the real problem with this film is that it doesn’t really have a plot. I mean, stuff happens in it… Okay, let’s go back even further so I can explain. A movie is about 2 hours long, give or take. That is a very short amount of time. Because of this, your film is about 1 thing and 1 thing only. You can add other things in side stories, but if someone is asked what your movie is about after watching your film, the plot will be the thing that stands out as the main story. The terrorism attack on the Nagasaki building is the plot of Die Hard, not the Christmas Party preceding it, nor the friendly cop trying to get over his fear of shooting people, nor John Mclain’s marital problems. When you’re trying to tell every person’s story who lives on this street, nothing springs forth as a main storyline and, by the end, everything in this film feels like almost nothing happens in it, even when things are actually happening in it. It doesn’t help there’s not a main character either.

It’s not all bad though. The acting is good, along with the world building. I also really appreciated the use of cinematography throughout the film. And really each scene unto itself is a good scene. But without that main plot, or at least a central character, it doesn’t have a glue that really binds the whole story together. Also, I’m just not a big fan of melodramas…

SCORING:

+2: Maybe this is my own bias against the genre, but it was really hard for me to enjoy the majority of the movie, every scene feels like it’s just setting up the next scene, and it’s not. It’s a full movie of setup with almost no payoff.

+3: the acting, world building, and cinematography were all really good

-1.5: Without a solid plot or main character to root for, everything feels really empty

0108: Dodsworth (1936)

Rating: 5.5/10

Sam Dodsworth sells his business and retires by taking his wife Fran on a vacation in Europe. While they’re there, they realize that they aren’t as happily married as they thought.

An interesting film for the 1930s as divorce was still a fairly taboo subject, so taking a stance of showing how a husband and wife behave in a failed married is a fascinating endeavor for the time period. However, by today’s standards, I’d probably peg this a movie that has little to no plot and not enough absorbing scenes for me to really peg this film as actually being about anything. It’s like the whole film is a giant set piece, pretty to look at, but has no actual substance.

Even though the script is found lacking, the acting is pretty good throughout the film. Especially Sam and Fran who feel more real than people in a 30s movie have a right to feel. It’s really too bad that there isn’t more going on in this movie because their acting would make almost any other storyline all the more captivating.

SCORING:

+4: I see how this could be a lot better during it’s time period, unfortunately with today’s morals (or lack thereof…) the story is somewhat stale, about on par with a soap opera but with better acting and less melodrama

+1.5: The acting is a lot better than it has any right being for this storyline

0094: Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)

Rating: 9/10

First Mate Christian must lead a mutiny against the corrupt Captain Bligh who’s punishments lead to several deaths of the crew as the Bounty journeys to Tahiti to collect fruit.

I found out after watching that much of the film was historically inaccurate. Bligh wasn’t nearly as punishing as the film presents, and it makes me wonder if this wasn’t the case then what exactly was it that led this crew to mutiny? Maybe it will explain it in the 1964 remake…

Aside from that mystery, I thought this was a fine film. It was enjoyable the entire way through it’s runtime and presents both sides to this event very well. Bligh is shown as a tyrant but he’s also very heroic in his own right, especially when journeying for 50 days with the crew that didn’t mutiny in a row boat 3500 miles from any land. But the real message of the movie isn’t about who’s right or wrong but what do the laws allow and the reasons that they should change. Of course, this all happened in the 1700s, so this was all changed a long time ago. Still, a good movie done well, even if they messed up the facts a little bit.

SCORING:

+10: A very interesting and entertaining movie that’s better than most movies made today (not that many movies are being made right now…)

-1: I understand the need to fictionalize things when there isn’t a definitive answer, but you shouldn’t just make things up when you’re making a film about a real event

Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)

Rating: 6/10

Wonder Woman is still kicking in the 80s. But, after a friend of hers uncovers a sculpture that grants anyone who touches it a single wish, Wonder Woman has to find out how to reverse it before nuclear armageddon happens.

Well, this movie was okay. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t too bad either. Mostly, it was LOOOOOONNNNGG! I thought we were over the superhero “bloat” at this point. We don’t want extra’s just for the sake of them, only if it adds more to the story somehow. That’s not really the problem, the problem is that each and every scene is about a minute longer than it needed to be. Every scene went the extra mile, when it really didn’t have to, in order to give us this extra footage. The pace is grindingly slow when I feel a fast, tight pace is what really was called for.

As a one-shot storyline that feels, at first, like it’s a more private adventure involving Wonder Woman and nothing world threatening has to be involved. But someone felt it was necessary for nuclear weapons to be in the air within the last 5 minutes of the film. Actually I feel like they were trying to jam as much into the ending as possible but it turns this from a simple adventure to something so complicated that everything else kind of falls apart.

There are a lot of parts I like in this movie though, but when considering the sum of its parts, there’s a lot that could have been done a lot better. I still enjoyed this more than not. Except for the overblown ending, this had a good 80s feel to it while being low on action it was high on concept, just maybe not enough care given to presentation. Also, the acting throughout is very good, especially Kristen Wiig who is absolutely amazing in this film.

Also, why 1984? That made me think it had something to do with the George Orwell book. Being that it doesn’t…at all, it’s more disappointing than anything else. They could have picked 83 or 85, why 84? This isn’t anything to do with the movie but adding this year to the title doesn’t make sense and feels like a missed opportunity to me.

SCORING:

+6: It was fine

+1: I liked most of it up to the…

-2: …Big, dumb ending

+1: Good acting

-1: Scenes are too long

+1: Bonus point because Kristen Wiig makes a great villain, she’s very good at this character actually and I hope they can work her into the sequel somehow

The Tortoise and the Hare (1935)

Rating: 3/10

A retelling of the Aesop fable as a tortoise races a hare. Who will win? Is there anyone that doesn’t know that answer to that?

Um, well, at least it was short. It’s nothing really that new considering it’s just a retelling of the fable. It doesn’t really add anything, outside of a kind of creepy bit where the hare is flirting with some “schoolgirl bunnies.” Again, at least it was short.

Um, can I even think of anything else to say? I guess the animation is fine, but it’s not much better than the Flowers and Trees short Walt made a couple years ago. I mean, I guess Best Animated Short is a category the Academy basically made to give to Disney every year, a tradition continued to this day, but this feels like Walt is really phoning it in this year.

SCORING:

+3: This is really nothing special, but I guess it warranted a sequel the following year

New Site (same as the old site)

I’ve decided, mostly on a whim, to upgrade this blog into an actual website. Here’s the address: 1001moviesreviewedbeforeyoudie.com

You might notice it’s very similar, and soon every link or page here will lead to there and you won’t even know the difference!….I just have to figure that out first.

I’m still learning the ins and outs of running your own website so I’m still not sure what I’m doing entirely, but I at least got all the links to work 🙂 check it out now if you like but soon you’ll just have to! But it’s exactly the same, so it should be okay?

0075: 42nd Street (1933)

Rating: 7/10

A producer is looking to make one last play. An actress is trying to get her first gig. An actor is in love with that actress. It’s a movie about romance, music, and finances for fun and profit. Oh wait, that’s another musical…

For a musical, this actually doesn’t have a whole lot of songs. It’s maybe 20 minutes in when we hear any singing. But I suppose it’s more about making a musical than actually being a musical. There’s more songs towards the end but it takes a while to get there. Maybe they thought music in musicals should be like the shark from Jaws? You don’t want to show the whole shark until the end.

The best part about this movie is its humor. It’s very dry and can catch you off guard throughout the whole film. It can be a bit corny at some points, but this is actually something I appreciate in classic musicals such as this.

What this film has in humor, it completely lacks in plot. I mean, there’s not much there to tell. It’s all about the production of this play and there’s a few side stories going on but there really aren’t a whole lot of stakes overall. It’s still an enjoyable movie, but it’s a fairly forgettable one, unfortunately.

SCORING:

+7: A fairly silly musical that’s a fun watch

-1: somewhat forgettable due to lacking much substance

+1: Good humor throughout

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. s2e20: Scars

Air Date: May 5, 2015

Rating: 6.5/10

As Shield and the Inhumans try to stand on common grounds, it turns out someone might have different plans.

This episode had a weird quality of going back and forth between very tight, story-driven, often-action-packed scenes and very slow sequences that don’t go anywhere. It ends strong though, and makes me want to see what’s coming in the proceeding episodes. But, if this is the transition into this season’s third act, it’s a bit wonky. Hopefully it gets better with the final episodes of the season.

I still have a problem really caring about most of the characters emotional problems. I like Skye, I guess, and Colson, sort of, but it’s barely about them in this episode and their characterization isn’t really what I like about them. I think these scenes of deep emotional drama doesn’t do it for me. I think I’ve mentioned before that these moments have to be earned and this show still has yet to earn it.

SCORING:

+7: Has a lot of good parts

+1: A great ending involving a false flag operation

-1.5: I just don’t care enough about these characters to want to know about their personal lives

Flowers and Trees (1932)

Rating: 7.5/10

The first cartoon to win an Oscar, this is a film about one tree who loves another tree, but then a jealous tree tries to burn down the forest!

This is a short and about 8 minutes long, so forgive me if I don’t have too much to say about this one. Anyway, there is no dialogue in this film, just music that’s done as well as you’d expect from this era of Disney films: passable, but nothing special. The animation is really good, something you expect from Walt Disney even this early in his career.

I’m only a tad disappointed that the bad tree is especially ugly. He looks dead already, rotten from the inside out, but because of that I don’t even think he’d be able to move around due to being a dead tree, let alone set fire to the forest. Then again, most trees can’t move around…

SCORING:

+8: A very enjoyable short from start to finish with good animation and decent music

-0.5: dead tree should be dead

WandaVision Episode 2

Air Date: January 15, 2021

Rating: 8/10

In an attempt to fit in better in the neighborhood, Wanda and Vision perform a stage-magic show. However, Vision swallowing something which ends up “gumming” up his robotics.

If the previous episode was an homage to 50s television, this is definitely referencing TV of the 60s. It even has an animated opening in the style of Bewitched. If that’s what’s going on, and we’re going through the TV stylings of each decade with each episode, I really appreciate that and it’s something very unique unto the MCU as a whole and for television in general. I want more things like this that are willing to think outside the box. I have high hopes for the other Marvel shows coming out this year simply on how originally this one presents itself.

However, the initial WTF feeling I had with the first episode is mostly wearing off now. I still enjoyed the episode but I also think that it’s definitely taking its time on showing us what’s really going on. I’m really starting to wonder where is Scarlet Witch and whether Vision is alive or dead, as he definitely died in the films but maybe this is an alternate universe where Vision still exists and this is a gateway to the other Marvel Universes as the X-Men and the like come into the fold. This is just speculation as this episode doesn’t really give us any answers yet. It’s still enjoyable but I’m aching to know what’s really going on at this point.

SCORING:

+8: I’m still very invested but the initially trippy-ness has worn off from the first outing and I just want to know more (something this episode does not provide is answers)