Classic Review – Paris is Burning (1980)

This Documentary is going in my top 5.

Classic reviews are my favourite to write up because, 1. who doesn’t love a classic, and 2. I get to pick one i really love to write and share about. This one I watched recently on Netflix, go check out!! and I was blown away at how this little documentary packs so much in it. We see a culture that probably for the firs time when this was released was relevantly unknown to the wider average joe audience. We an authentic 80’s New York, it reminds me of Koyaanisqatsi, another favourite of mine, in that it captures the now, something that cannot be repeated. This is what makes it a classic.

The documentary shows an array of lively characters, their dreams and hopes and opinions, all the while showing their culture that they live in. Specifically the ball culture of the 80s in New York. Watching this film, it’s amazing to see how much of the underground culture the gay community has crafted now bleeds into the mainstream and is very much now in the open. With programs such as a Rupal’s Drag Race, what was once relatively unknown is now common knowledge and for all to engage with.

This documentary also has a tragic story line with the character of Venus Xtravaganza, which i’ll leave for you to go and watch and find out. This film is significantly important culturally and so is a documentary stable as far as I am concerned, it gives a voice for a minority that needed one at this time and provided a gateway for change in the way we perceive people, everyone is human with hopes, fears, desires and dreams at the end of the day.

Classic Review – The Third Man (1949)

At Cannes Film Festival, I attended the screening of an Orson Well’s documentry and then after a film, The Third Man, directed by Carol Reed. Orson Well’s is not a man i am too invested in, I studied Citizen Kane for my uni assignment and came to really respect the film on multiple viewings, i have watched two of his others films and that is about it. His image is iconic however in film. Going into this film, i didn’t know what to expect.

A classic noir, thriller from the 40’s i feel like this is a really playful, fun film. I was pleasantly surprised to see Trevor Howard in this too! The score really lends itself to speak about the nature of this film. It isn’t too serious, it is like a game of Cluedo. All the characters are perfectly set up, you could pull them out of a hat of conventional characters. However this doesn’t hinder the enjoyment of the film, all the more it makes you appreciate it. It could be seen as a slight satire of the noir period preceding this film. I would also say, for those who love mystery to check this one out for definite.

Orson Wells, despite small screen time is really the shinning star, and his performance was so enjoyable to watch. I admittedly wouldn’t go out of my way to see a film like this, despite my old hollywood craze, but i was pleasantly surprised!

Classic Review: 12 Angry Men (1957)

Another classic off my list! another film off the list from IMDB’s top 250! This film has long held my intrigue ever since i saw it so high up the list, and some weeks back i decided to give it a whirl, as it was on Netflix (always gives me a push to watch a film)

To my pleasant surprise it was an easier watch then i had anticipated and thoroughly enjoyed. A seemingly simple case and simple film, that in the and reveals so many complexities that give this film so much depth and wider meaning and implications. This film was remade two more times to my knowledge and this shows it is a time for al ages as it can be applied even today. This is one of the reasons i believe for me it was so easy to watch.

Technically the film is very impressive. The continuous shots without edit are brilliant to watch, the actors are on point with their characters, solid acting that really uplifts the film. the ONE ROOM in which the film takes place is used to full advantage and again gives the same effect as the continuous shots.

I highly recommend this film to cinema lovers, the average joe may have to watch the most recent remake (none i have seen) but the cinema lover should indulge in this classic featuring Henry Fonda who gives an amazing performance, leaving you wanting to watch him after the case is settled!

Classic Review: Re-Animator (1985)

 

 

A film i caught late one night on FILM4, Re-Animator is a cult classic that I did NOT know about,which i am enraged about! Starring a familiar face (that weird guy from Frighteners, who is still weird in this film) I watched the film to be quite entertained. An adaptation from a horror story from H.P Lovecraft who I’m dying to check out, the work was said to be influenced by Frankenstein, which is obvious. It’s like Frankenstein gone all wrong! However to my knowledge this film isn’t true to it’s source material… but whenever is it true?! Anway not the best film ever. I loved the main character (Herbert West) who you weren’t sure was the villain or not, but this complexity in character is what i think really makes the film as good as it is and it seems is the reasons for its sequels. Beside’s from West there are two very dull characters who i did not care for AT ALL. The film is fun and the gore is fun. However compared to a strong start the second half of the film gets a bit.. crazy.. and i don’t think in a good way. Because it’s the 80’s i can allow it and really the film is a cult classic, while the second half drops in quality and realism (not that it had much anyway) it’s a great film but someone if your like myself, loves the 80s and loves horror! or should i say a comedy horror, it would be worth checking out for the laughs.

Classic Review: Cinema Paradiso (1988)

 

A film before i watched i had an inkling i would love or appreciate because of it’s subject matter; the cinema and nostalgia. I finally forced myself to watch it on Netflix (I had become quite lazy) and i loved the film! I didn’t watch the director’s cut and having known what it included I’m glad i didn’t, it might have left a sour taste in my mouth at the end instead of a sweet one. I can honestly say this is one of the best endings to any film i have ever watched, that even now i go on YouTube to replay it, because it is stunningly beautiful, the momentum of the film to the end makes it so powerful but also very unexpected! along with the beautiful score (the icing on the cake) For me the film made me think about my own life and how i want to live it, Alfredo’s advice i took in completely. Here is an expert:

Alfredo: Living here day by day, you think it’s the center of the world. You believe nothing will ever change. Then you leave: a year, two years. When you come back, everything’s changed. The thread’s broken. What you came to find isn’t there. What was yours is gone. You have to go away for a long time… many years… before you can come back and find your people. The land where you were born. But now, no. It’s not possible. Right now you’re blinder than I am.

Salvatore: Who said that? Gary Cooper? James Stewart? Henry Fonda? Eh?

Alfredo: No, Toto. Nobody said it. This time it’s all me. Life isn’t like in the movies. Life… is much harder.

 

This film, i watched at a great time, having studied Italian neo realism, it had a flair that was reminiscent but also a clear homage. In addition the references to all the old Hollywood films etc was a delight for me, begin an avid fan for the earlier days of Hollywood. Seeing Toto grow-up was also very enjoyable, these types of coming of age/ life stories are always successful and in this case was done very well. I enjoyed this film so much I’m planning to buy it on DVD, a huge thing for me, as i only plan to buy my favourites. I would highly suggest any lover of the cinema to go watch this film!