Marian20

IMDb member since February 2014
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Reviews

Once Upon a Time in... Hollywood
(2019)

DiCaprio And Pitt With Tarantino On An Awful Movie
Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt together with director Quentin Tarantino team up in a movie about 1969 entitled,"Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood".

The story is about the journey of an aging actor Rick Dalton,who was based on Burt Reynolds,and his stunt double,Cliff Booth,who was based on Burt Reynolds' stunt double Hal Needham. Basically,it tells Dalton and Booth's journey on Hollywood during 1969 as the former tries to re-invent his acting career after Western movies and TV shows are coming to an end. Too bad that the movie was basically their journey together was told in a meandering and self-indulgent manner that no plot existed. Apparently,Tarantino tried to provide nostalgia about 60's Hollywood.Too bad that it became both dull and bore.

Added to the story was Sharon Tate.Being familiar with Tarantino in "Inglorious Basterds" - wherein the Jews overcame the Hitler and Nazi Germany - and "Django Unchained" - wherein the slaves overcome the white landlords, expect something similar to happen once Charlie Manson and his "family" appears.

No question that there were set expectations in the movie especially with the team up of DiCaprio and Pitt and the reputation of Tarantino.Too bad that they all combined for an awful movie. The non-existence of the plot and the revision of the crime involving Manson and Tate 50 years ago just did not work the third time around for Tarantino. Despite having the all-star ensemble together with the three,it just resulted in an awful movie with no story.

Too bad that fans of Pitt,DiCaprio and Tarantino will always admire any work that would come from the three.Even a trash like this movie will be considered a "classic". Skip it at all costs.

The Bible: In the Beginning...
(1966)

The Early Stories Of The Bible
The film "The Bible: In The Beginning" tells the early stories of the Book of Genesis,which is the first book of the Bible. This film tells the story of the creation of the earth;the story of Adam and Eve; Cain and Abel;Noah's Ark during the Great Flood;the Tower of Babel; Sodom and Gomorrah; and the story of Abraham. Apparently,it contains the first few chapters of Genesis.

The movie was released in 1966.The visual effects and the production values are up to date the year it was shown. The best thing about it is the fact that production did not dominate the film but the stories involved in it. Added to that,the viewer will definitely be in awe and would be more concerned with the characters involved in it.Finally,the spiritual messages brought by the stories will definitely reach the viewer such as faith in God;obedience to the Lord's commandments; and fostering a relationship with God and making it a priority in life.

The Passion of the Christ
(2004)

What Jesus Goes Through In His Last Twelve Hours
"The Passion of the Christ" is a film directed by Mel Gibson that tells the ordeal of Jesus in the last 12 hours of his life from agonizing in prayer at the Garden of Gethsemane until his death on the cross at Golgotha. It also provides a glimpse of the resurrection of Jesus at the end. Jim Caviezel stars as Jesus Christ.

The movie will definitely provide an impact to the viewer. Evidently,it will be of affect each viewer differently whether one is a Christian or not. One may see it as extremely violent and sadistic especially when seeing the ordeal that Jesus had to go through while being scourged at the pillars,being crowned with thorns,carrying the cross, and getting crucified on the cross.Others may see it as a spiritual message as it may provide them a glimpse of what Jesus had to go through for the salvation of mankind from sin,renewing mankind's standing with God, and the redemption of mankind from sin.While others,may see it as a different depiction of the passion and death of Jesus. And there are many more.

Overall,the movie will definitely provide one something about Jesus particularly during his passion and death on the cross.

Jennifer on My Mind
(1971)

Romance And Drugs
"Jennifer on My Mind" is a movie from the counterculture era that tells a love story between two young people and the involvement of drugs in it. It stars Tippy Walker and Michael Brandon together with Robert De Niro on his earlier roles.

It was basically tells the story of Marcus and Jennifer and how romance developed between them until drugs came into the picture.Basically,it was just a romantic story that ended up in a bad trip especially when drugs came into the picture.Apparently,it was made during the time when people are getting aware of the pleasure that illegal drugs provide.Too bad that the movie ended up silly and forgettable.

Decades after the movie was made,former actress Tippy Walker herself was not proud of it.

Novitiate
(2017)

Catholic Nuns During The Pre-Vatican II And Post-Vatican II Eras
Margaret Qualley stars in this film about Catholic nuns during the pre-Vatican II and the post-Vatican II eras entitled,"Novitiate". Julie Nicholson and Melissa Leo co-stars.The film -directed by Margaret Betts in her film debut - tells the story of Cathleen,who cam from a broken home,and decided to become a cloistered Catholic nun at the Blessed Rose convent to find comfort in God. It tells the story of her life from home and her journey from becoming a nun from being a postulate,a novitiate, and finally taking her final vows to become a nun.Added to that,it also tackles on how the new Vatican II has affected the Catholic Church particularly Cathleen's monastic life.

No question that the movie was interesting in the sense that it shows how changes were about to occur in the Catholic Church during the 1950's and the 1960's. We get to see Cathleen and her fellow postulates as well as her fellow novitiates on how they are affected during their cloistered life as they prepare into becoming a nun.We also see the good and the bad effects of Vatican II as the Catholic Church opens itself to the modern world and how it journeys into becoming a progressive religion. These effects was clearly shown through the character of Reverend Mother,who was extremely played very well by the great actress,Melissa Leo. Finally,we also see how Cathleen is affected by these changes positively and negatively particularly her being a Catholic,being a nun, and her sexual desires as an individual.

This was definitely a great film.Too bad that some reviewers see it as an anti-Catholic film. Too bad it isn't and it is far from it.

Charlie's Angels: Let Our Angel Live
(1981)
Episode 16, Season 5

Why Was There No Charlie's Angel After The Fifth Season?
"Let Our Angel Live" is the final episode of Charlie's Angel. Why was there no 6th season for this legendary TV classic?

Before we discuss why,let's discuss the episode. It begins when Kelly Garrett gets shot at point blank while the she and Bosley were after an embezzler. Although the operation was successful when Kelly was brought to the hospital,her chances of survival is apparently 50%. As the other members - Bosley,Julie Rogers, and Kris Munroe - await for the operation,we get to see them try to reminisce stories involving Kelly. There came several flashbacks from previous episodes.As expected,we get to see Kelly survive the operation and apparently another expert - covered with a mask and a scrub -was with a surgeon who is implied to the viewers as Charlie.

Now,let's discuss the reasons on the question that was stated above.Why did Charlie's Angels did not have another season? There was many reasons for it.

First,we get to see the decline in ratings particularly in the 5th season. As stated by another reviewer in this episode,it is apparent that the 80's was starting and the Jiggle TV era was about to end. Too bad that the 5th season showcased more on the sexiness of the stars - Jaclyn Smith,Cheryl Ladd, and Tanya Roberts - by having them wear skimpy clothes and being in bathing suits on most parts of the episodes. The mere fact that 5 of its first 6 episodes on the 5th season was located in Hawaii is a testament to that.

Another reason is that Jaclyn Smith and Cheryl Ladd had expiring contracts. When it was evident that the show was continuously declining in ratings,both decided to pack up or end their roles before the show declines further. Another reason for it is that ABC was on its way of cancelling the show as well.

Added to that,the show found it hard to replace Sabrina Duncan - the character portrayed by Kate Jackson. While Cheryl Ladd was able to fill in for Farrah Fawcett,too bad that both Shelley Hack and Tanya Roberts were unable to fill in for the big shoes left by Jackson. Despite Hack and Roberts being a lot homely,both aren't as good as Jackson as actresses.

Finally,the show was unable to progress as the 80's were beginning.It was evident that the TV viewers wanted more on the female characters rather than being sexy on TV. Too bad that the screenwriters stood by presenting sexy detectives rather than having them perform outstanding police work.Added to that,several episodes were basically rehash of previous episodes from previous seasons.

Charlie's Angels
(1976)

A Show About Female Private Investigators
"Charlie's Angels" is a classic TV show that deals with three female private investigators that works for the Charlie Townsend Agency. It stars Kate Jackson,Jacyln Smith,the late Farrah Fawcett, Shelley Hack, and Tanya Roberts together with David Doyle,who performs John Bosley.

It tells the story of mostly women who graduated from the police academy from Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Boston as well as a graduate of a modeling school who became a police investigator that worked for a face-less investigation agency owner simply known as Charlie. These women are Sabrina Duncan, Kelly Garrett, and Jill Munroe during the first season. In the second and third season, the line-up of investigators are Sabrina Duncan,Kelly Garrett, and Kris Munroe. In the fourth season, the line-up was Kelly Garrett,Kris Munroe, and Tiffany Wells. In the fifth and last season, the line-up of Angels was Kelly Garrett,Kris Munroe, and Julie Rogers.On each episode,they get a single case for Charlie and the group of Angels try to solve the case.

The TV show remains popular today on syndication and re-runs after its run from 1976 to 1981 as it was radical when it was on air due to having a female-driven show.Added to that,we also get to witness three beautiful women on skimpy and sexy clothes for most episodes as it was part of the Jiggle TV era of the 1970's.

The show was at its most popular during its first three season during the presence of the best actress of the cast,Kate Jackson.After the producers did not allow her to make the 1979 film "Kramer vs Kramer",she quit the show during the third season. Unfortunately,the replacements such as Shelley Hack and Tanya Roberts were unable to fill the big shoes she left which led to its decline of ratings. Added to that,Farrah Fawcett decided to quit after the first season despite her on-going contract after she became the most popular among the cast. This led to lawsuits which resulted to guest appearances in the third and fourth seasons. The show hit bottom during the fifth season after its tremendous decline in ratings as it tried to stay with the Jiggle TV era despite the on-going evolution of TV shows as the 80's was starting. Nevertheless,the show remains popular decades after it went off on air.

Jung sa
(1998)

A Great Korean Film About Adultery
"An Affair" stars Lee Mi-Suk and Lee Jung-Jae together with Kim-Min. The Korean movie has a theme on the subject of adultery.

It tells the story of Seo-Hyun,an ordinary housewife,who is seemingly trapped in a sex-less marriage with a successful architect,Seo-Hyun and ordinary routines of the comfortable upper class life.She has a 10-year old son who is the center of attention of her everyday life. Things become interesting with the appearance of Woo-In,a young man who constantly charms her and pursues her love consistently.Will Seo-Hyun stay with her family or will she fall into the hands of the young man?

No question about it.This was an interesting film from beginning to end.We get to see a lot of unpredictability in it. First,we see how Seo-Hyun decides mainly for herself rather than for the good of the family particularly her young son.Added to that, we also see how one can find discomfort despite being in a successful life.It was surprising that money is not an assurance towards happiness.Finally,we also see how people will pursue something more in life rather than being stuck in a routinary events of daily life.

In addition to the themes presented,we also get to see great performances from the lead stars particularly the sexy Lee Min-suk and his young co-star,Lee Jung-Jae.

Yeopgijeogin geunyeo
(2001)

A Classic Love Story
Jun Ji-Hyun and Cha Tae-Hyun star in this classic love story Korean film entitled,"My Sassy Girl". It tells the story of a woman,who just experienced severe pain from a previous relationship,that found someone who interestingly fell in love with someone whom she reminds of her boyfriend.Aside from that,it also introduces us to a man to whom the woman fell with that lacks qualities of self-confidence.Together,they find each other and together they became better people as the man found himself and the woman moves forward in life.

The film is characterized by great performances of the lead stars from Jun Ji-Hyun and Cha Tae-Hyun.Added to that,the viewer is entertained by the great movie as they find themselves in both characters.Finally,the one watching this film will understand the themes it is trying to present such as love,growth, and pain.

CHiPs
(1977)

State Patrolmen's Activities On And Off Duty
CHiPS,short for "California Highway Patrol" is a television drama series that tells the story of state motorcycle patrolmen in Officers Jonathan "Jon" Baker and Frank "Ponch" Poncherello. It stars Larry Wilcox and Erik Estrada as Jon and Punch respectively. Robert Pine stars as the patrolmen's boss in Sergeant Joseph Getraer.

Each episode presents a compilation of incidents and criminal investigations that both state patrolmen are involved with. Added to that,we also witness their social life during off-duty. Overall,the episodes presents light action,drama, and comedy for the viewers to enjoy. No wonder many people are still enamored by the re-runs of the show at MeTV.

In addition to that,we also hear classic opening tune that many people are familiar of at present such as the jazz-tuned theme during the first season and the disco-tuned theme during the second until the sixth season.

CHIPS
(2017)

An Insult To The Classic TV Cop Show
Dax Shephard and Michael Pena star as Officers Jon Baker and Frank "Ponch" Poncherello respectively on this 2017 remake of the late 70's and early 80's of the same title, CHiPs. This tells a story of how Baker - a CHP rookie - and Ponch - an FBI insider - work together to solve a multi-dollar crime.

As expected,the film capitalizes on their differences from their personalities,social life, and experience in police work. Too bad that Dax Shepard - the star,screenwriter, and director - adds more to it like sex jokes and raunchiness to elicit laughter from the viewer. What results is a disastrous film. No question that their intention to elicit laughter will only offend the fans of the classic TV show.

No wonder,former CHiPs star Larry Wilcox was disappointed and felt insulted with the movie. Even the other star,Erik Estrada,who appeared on a cameo, felt the same way. No wonder many fans of the classic show was embarrassed with this film.

Mommy, I Didn't Do It
(2017)

Ellen Plainview Is Back In Defense Of Her Daughter
Danica McKellar comes back as Ellen Plainview in the Lifetime TV movie sequel of "The Wrong Woman" entitled, "Mommy,I Didn't Do It".

It tells the story about a lawyer who needs to defend her daughter Julie Plainview,who is accused of a crime of stabbing her teacher. The story centers on the courtroom on how Ellen defends her daughter in order to acquit her from a crime that the latter apparently did not commit. Added to that story is the relationship or lack thereof of between Ellen and Julie as mother and daughter respectively.That includes the lawyer-client relationship as well. As the story progress,we get to see how Julie gets acquitted and how their relationship improved. Finally,we also get to see who actually committed the crime itself.

While the story was obviously predictable and full of cliches, the acting somehow made it interesting particularly Danica McKellar as Ellen as well as Paige Searcy as Julie. We get to how the get closer together as they went through the obstacle they went through.

Deadly Sorority
(2017)

A Mystery Involving A Murdered Bestfriend
"Deadly Sorority" is a Lifetime TV movie that tells a murder mystery.It stars Greer Graham together with Moira Kelly,Steve Bacic and Chloe Babcook.

Bestfriends - Samantha and Kristina - are in their first days of college at Barclay University. Their friendship got in trouble when Kristina joined a sorority and started dating Paul which gave her less time with Samantha. Surprisingly,Kristina got murdered. When the police started investigating the murder, the prime suspect became Samantha.To clear her name,she started to assist the police.But when Paul tried to kill himself, things turned worse as Samantha became the primary suspect as well considering the evidence behind the event. This made Samantha solve the crime herself to clear her name and prevent herself from going to jail. Samantha tried to solve the case by talking to her college professors such as Amy Miller and Justin Miller, the sorority leader Jubilee, and an ousted sorority member,Bree. Who did it? As always,the least suspected person was guilty of the crime and an awkward motive was behind the murder which happens to be a typical Lifetime TV movie screenplay.That also includes the protagonist trying to solve the murder mystery herself after the police have turned against them.

Despite having a typical Lifetime TV movie screenplay,the movie became interesting due to having good performances from the likes of Greer Graham as Samantha and Moira Kelly as the History Professor,Amy Miller.The energy they brought made the movie somewhat far from boring. With regards to the murder mystery,it was somewhat far from predictable as the viewer will keep guessing to the end. As always,the least likely suspect turns out to be the guilty person. And that itself is also a typical of a Lifetime TV movie.

Schindler's List
(1993)

German War Profiteer Turned Humanitarian
"Schinder's List" is a remarkable movie about Oskar Schindler,a German war profiteer and industrialist, that surprisingly turned into a humanitarian when he turned against the Nazi Party goal of having Europe free of Jews. The film directed by Steven Spielberg stars Liam Neeson in the title role as Schindler together with Ralph Fiennes,who portrayed the evil and trigger-happy Commandant Amon Goeth,Ben Kingsley, Caroline Goodall and Embeth Davidzt.

This 3-hour film tells the story of how Schindler started an enamelware factory at Poland after Germany annexed it and hired Jews as production workers to make a lot of profit. In it,we witness the transformation of Schindler from first making money to becoming the savior of the 1,200 Jews as the war is about to end. We also see the gross violence especially when Jews are being killed at will and how they are being sent to concentration camps such as Auschwitz and Plaszow to be killed. In addition to that,we get to see Schindler's negative traits such as being an unfaithful husband and a prodigious womanizer that turned into a surprising saint by giving the Jews a helping hand.

The film was definitely a great film as it was moving. It presents the viewer of the disturbing and harrowing Holocaust which is an experience of inhumanity. Added to that,we get to see great performances from Neeson,Fiennes,Davidzt, and Kingsley. Overall,this is one of the best films ever released.

JFK
(1991)

Did Oliver Stone Back The Wrong Horse?
JFK is a film about the assassination of the late President John F. Kennedy on November 22,1963 and the events surrounding them in the eyes of Parish Orleans Attorney General,Jim Garrison. Kevin Costner starred in the film as Garrison together with Gary Oldman,Kevin Bacon,Tommy Lee Jones,Joe Pecsi,Ed Asner,Sissy Spacek, and Donald Sutherland. This is a 3-hour docudrama that tells the story of the investigation of Garrison leading to the trial of New Orleans businessman,Clay Shaw. Oliver Stone directs.

The movie was controversial in the sense that it provides the viewer interesting details such as conspiracy theories that led to the death of Kennedy.This includes government agencies such as the CIA,the FBI, and the US Government as well as the motivation behind the assassination such as the Military Industrial Complex which is behind the Cold War with the Soviet Union,the Vietnam War, and the other world events wherein the US military is participating.Added to that,it also has other groups involved such as the right-wing extremists,anti-Castro Cuban exiles, and many others.Added to that,it also provides other theories involve the participation of President Lyndon Baines Johnson, J. Edgar Hoover, and the Mafia.

As a movie,it was a great one as it was interesting from beginning to end.Stone provided something that is hypnotic for the viewer.The pacing was great and it does not drag. But what about its accuracy and truthfulness? As it was known,the trial of Clay Shaw that occurred back in 1969 was considered a circus. Aside from that,the Warren Commission and the House Select Committee on Assassinations have firmly concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. Many have bashed Oliver Stone for backing Garrison whom many considered a lunatic. But regardless if one's opinion to the conspiracy theories presented, this is one movie that would one surely enjoy.

First Love
(2018)

A Corny Love Story
"First Love" stars Aga Muhlach and Bea Alonzo. This movie directed by Paul Soriano tells the story of two sick people that fall for each other upon a chance meeting. These people are Nick and Ali with the former being a businessman and the latter being an optimistic photographer. The film was shot in Vancouver,Canada and the screenplay flows through the conversations between Nick and Ali. They talk about their attitudes towards life like and their beliefs considering both are stricken with cardiac conditions and how they deal with their particular situations in life.

While it has an interesting plot,the romance between Nick and Ali simply fails on numerous fronts.One is the development of their romance. Apparently,it was simply based on good looks alone.As always,Nick's good looks - played by Muhlach,an actor whose bread and butter is playing handsome roles - remains the focus of attention and the main reason why Ali was attracted to him.As for the character development, it shows lack of it considering that the movie dragged primarily on how both Nick and Ali try to survive on their sad situations in life. Added to that,the movie dragged as it was evidently slow on development.Finally,we also witness numerous corny moments especially during romantic moments on the film.

If there is one good thing that can be stated about the movie,it would only be that the film was shot in Canada and the viewer would see how beautiful the city of Vancouver is. But even Canada could not save this film. As for the performances, it only shows lack of chemistry on both Muhlach and Alonzo.Apparently,this movie is not the best work of both thespians and it could probably be considered forgettable in their body of work.

Chappaquiddick
(2017)

Chappaquiddick Leaves More Questions Unanswered As It Only Serves As A Recreation Of A Narrative
When I heard that a movie about the 1969 incident involving Senator Edward "Ted" Kennedy that led to the death of Mary Jo Kopechne at Chappaquiddick Island on an alleged car accident,I was really excited to see this film as I think that a no-holds-barred film about it will be made. It stars Jason Clarke,Kate Marra,Bruce Helms, and Bruce Dern. This film directed by Jason Curran tells the story of how a former RFK female staffer Mary Jo Kopechne died through suffocation when a vehicular accident happened; how the henchmen of the Kennedy family led by Joe Gargan tried to remedy the situation; and the several poor actions and inactions of the late Senator Ted Kennedy during the aftermath of the accident. Although I give credit to the guts the movie had into showing how the Kennedy men tried rectify the situation, I felt that it just left more questions rather than answers to the people who are unfamiliar with the tragedy just like Senator Kennedy's speech on explaining the incident.

No question that the filmmakers stayed on middle ground in trying to recreate the narrative of the events at Chappaquiddick. That was confirmed when the producer was interviewed by Ben Shapiro on his show.It was evident that it does not want to go deeper into the issue to avoid litigations that could come from the Kennedy family,whose clan have remained politically influential and powerful all through these years.

The story just recaptured the narrative by telling a story from the time a party was hosted at Chappaquiddick by the Kennedys with a group of RFK female staffers that Mary Jo is part of until the final speech of Senator Kennedy explaining the incident to the American public. Too bad that it never got deeper into the issue and it just left more questions unanswered rather than giving the viewer the full story behind it.Nothing more. What's worse is that it tried to humanize Ted Kennedy as someone who could not live up to the family expectations that Joseph Jr.,who died on a plane crash during World War II; John,the former President of the United States; and Robert,who could have served President of the United States as well had he not been assassinated. This humanization is somewhat misleading considering that Ted is known to be an extremely confident person and who is headed to become the next President of the United States before the death of Mary Jo happened.And there are more questions there is too much ambiguity on the incident like the on-going friendship and relationship between Ted and Mary Jo as well as the existence of the RFK female staffers group after RFK has already been assassinated. But nevertheless, the movie tries to provide nuances about the event although it does not completely explain everything in a straight forward manner. I advise the viewer to completely think and analyze while watching this movie.

But if there is something that I want to say what this movie was able to accomplish,it at least provided the viewer of a better understanding of Mary Jo Kopechne's character and that she was a woman with a bright future ahead of her as a political strategist. Despite her limited screen time, Kate Mara made her character interesting.It makes her an important character and not only someone who is associated in this Kennedy scandal. Added to that, the movie made both Kopechne and Kennedy equally important and not the latter alone. So despite the movie being just a recreation of an event that leaves many unanswered questions , I still gave this movie a high rating. To learn more about it, one probably has to read books and watch documentaries that have been made about the incident since the 70's as the movie just serves an introduction to the complete story that happened almost 50 years ago.

American Made
(2017)

Tom Cruise Continues To Battle Father Time
Millions of people around the world are still in love with the Tom Cruise persona. No question that his "Maverick" as well as his Joel Goodsen characters in the 1986 smash hit "Top Gun" - that catapulted him into a Hollywood megastar for 30 years globally - and the 1983 blockbuster "Risky Business" - that made him a Hollywood superstar - remain popular throughout these years.But in the last three films namely "Jack Reacher:Never Go Back", "The Mummy" and "American Made",I could honestly say that Tom Cruise has not been doing well.

Acting as the physically imposing Jack Reacher has not been received well by the public considering that Tom continues to be a miscast in it.His physically imposing Jack Reacher looks bad on him considering he is more of a charismatic actor rather than a fearful one.Is someone 5'7" the best to play a character who is known to be 6'5"? With regards to "The Mummy", it earned a lot but it was heavily trashed by many critics as well as majority of the moviegoers.It was considered as the worst film that Tom Cruise has ever made.

What about "American Made"?Well,he is a miscast in it too just like in his Jack Reacher franchise.The carefree tenor does not look good on him considering that Barry Seal was portrayed as a youthful character.Too bad that Tom Cruise continues to portray young characters just like in all his films for the last three decades that moviegoers feel a lack of realism in it.Added to that,having the 33-year-old co-star Sarah Wright as his wife made it even worse as the script made it appear that they come from the same generation.Too bad that Tom has been with us for the last 30 years and he is in his 50's.Although Tom has undergone plastic surgery to look young, these roles do not look good on him anymore. He should aspire for roles near his age instead of portraying young characters in order for his films to succeed.Added to that,it is time for him to accept that he must move forward with his acting career in terms of age instead of portraying the same young characters that are supremely confident and charismatic for the last 30+ years.It is time for him to portrayed older characters and roles that fit his persona of arrogance and charisma - the only one he is talented to evoke and give life to on screen rather than being continuously miscast.If not, it will harm his very successful career soon just like his last three movies.

Rocky IV
(1985)

Rocky Balboa Getting Involved In His Most Personal Fight
The fourth movie of Rocky a.k.a Rocky IV has Rocky Balboa involved in his most personal fight in terms of friendship and as an American citizen as his next opponent Ivan Drago,a boxer from the Soviet Union with whom the United States is in Cold War with and who killed his best friend and former opponent Apollo Creed on the ring during a boxing exhibition match.

Sylvester Stallone stars,wrote the screenplay and directed the movie.Others in the cast includes Talia Shire,Burt Young,Carl Weathers and Tony Burton - all of whom reprise their roles as Adrian,Paulie,Apollo Creed and Duke respectively together with Dolph Lundgren as Ivan Drago and Stallone's ex-wife,Brigitte Nielsen,who does the speaking for Drago as the boxer's pretty pretty Russian wife.

No question this fourth Rocky film is by-the-numbers or formulaic movie and one could consider it simply as an action film or the weakest Rocky film yet before Rocky V was released.

Personally,I consider it as the second to the worst Rocky with the exception of Rocky V.No question that it earned a lot at the box office when it was released more than 30 years ago.Aside from the underdog theme that made the Rocky movie franchise and its spin-off movie franchise Creed very popular,this fourth movie added American patriotism as well as the Cold War as new themes together with revenge and friendship especially when Rocky went to the Soviet Union to fight Drago after killing Apollo in the ring.No question who was going to win the fight between Rocky and Drago as the viewer expected to see Rocky avenge the death of his friend and win for the Americans.In addition to that,we also get to witness the Soviet fans liking Rocky near the end of his fight(really?) and gaining their admiration.While there were no character development made on the characters from Rocky,Adrian,Paulie and Rocky Jr.,the film simply could be classified as an action film or purely a sports film.

While there is a lot of fun and entertainment in it especially by showing how technology is used to develop athletes like Drago,it does not present any new message about life and life's challenges unlike its previous films especially Rocky I,it definitely is somehow shallow and empty for the movie is just like a 2-hour MTV as well filled with 80's music like Hearts of Fire.

Rocky Balboa
(2006)

Supposedly The Final Film About Rocky......Until Creed Was Released
After Rocky V was released in theaters back in 1990 - 16 years before this movie "Rocky Balboa" a.k.a "Rocky VI" was shown,many Rocky fans were somewhat disappointed with the so-called then "conclusion" of the Rocky franchise after its first film - Rocky I - was released in 1976 when it became a sleeper hit. Even movie star Sylvester Stallone was extremely disappointed himself.But then,he decided to make up for it after 16 years and starred,wrote and directed the 6th installment of the Rocky franchise.Surprise...Surprise....It actually became the best sequel of Rocky I as compared to the rest such as Rocky's II to V.

In "Rocky Balboa",we once again find a sad and depressed aging Rocky,who apparently has lost his wife Adrian - his source of inspiration in the franchise - due to cancer.We see him speak to her at her grave and sharing his feelings and emotions as if she is there listening to him.We see that Rocky also has been into the restaurant business owning one named after his late wife,"Adrian" at his hometown in Philadelphia. Aside from that,we also see him having a strained relationship with his son Robert Jr. a.k.a Rocky Jr. as the latter cannot accept the fact of living behind his father's shadow.Finally,we also see him get back into the ring after the current heavyweight champion of the world - Mason "The Line" Dixon - challenged him into an exhibition fight after confidently predicting that he would beat Rocky by a knockout so easily.When Rocky decided to accept the challenge - the same way he accepted to fight Apollo Creed back in 1976 - as an underdog,we begin to get curious whether Rocky would go the distance or not despite being 60 years old.And are we surprised that he did despite losing the bout in a split decision(split decision? - sounds familiar).

This was supposedly the final film of Rocky movie franchise.Then "Creed" was released and became a sleeper hit 40 years after Rocky I was released.In "Creed", Rocky became the trainer like Mickey particularly to Apollo Creed's illegitimate son,Adonis Johnson.But nevertheless,this film - Rocky Balboa or Rocky VI - became a fitting conclusion to the Rocky movie franchise as we get to see how Rocky once again delivered as an underdog and how he was able to reunite himself with his son and how he offered his final fight to his late wife Adrian.We also see his heart and soul in his 60's;the impression of his career in boxing; and how he late in his life would still hold on the values that made him a memorable and endearing character among movie fans such as not giving up in life in times especially in times of sorrow and depression as well as having an ongoing relationship with his late wife that continues to inspire him in the latter stages of his life journey despite the fact that she is no longer with him.Overall,Stallone has made one of the best sequels of Rocky and it was only right to become the final film or fitting conclusion - whether Creed was released or not - of a great Rocky movie franchise or the story of Rocky.

Rocky III
(1982)

Bouncing Back From A Setback
Sylvester Stallone stars and directs in the third installment of the Rocky franchise in "Rocky III".

The third Rocky movie deals with the resurrection of Rocky Balboa from a defeat as well as losing a boxing title to the obnoxious Clubber Lang,portrayed by Mr.T. Added to that,we also get to see how his relationship with former opponent Apollo Creed,portrayed by Carl Weathers, has evolved especially after Rocky's former trainer,Mickey - portrayed by Burgess Meredith - has died.Talia Shire and Burt Young complete the major cast of the movie.

While it is evident that the third Rocky isn't as good as the first film which has become a classic,it still remains fun as well as entertaining and inspiring especially when it tackles how one must bounce back from a setback and defeat in life.This was shown when Rocky was knocked out and how he trained hard for the rematch to regain the title that he lost.Also,we get to see how Rocky regained his passion for boxing after he lost it when he became rich and famous after beating Apollo Creed in the second film "Rocky II".Viewers will definitely be inspired to also bounce back in life and to never lose one's passion in spite of the successes one experience in life.

Goodfellas
(1990)

The Truth About The Mob Particularly Its Decline
Robert De Niro,Ray Liotta and Joe Pesci together with Lorraine Bracco and Paul Sorvino star in this arguably greatest film about the mob - with respects to The Godfather saga particularly the first part - in this Martin Scorsese film based on the book written by Nicholas Pillegi's bestselling book "Wise Guy" known as "Goodfellas".

It details the story of mob informant Henry Hill,portrayed by Liotta, about his twenty-five year life in the mob from 1955 when he was 12 years old until 1980 when he cooperated with the FBI that put his fellow mobsters into jail particularly Jimmy "The Gent" Conway,portrayed by De Niro; and mob underboss Paul Cicero,portrayed by Sorvino.It details into Hill's criminal life that he is involved in like extortion,robbery,hijacking and murder. It also provides the viewer the benefits that entails being part of the mob like the amount of money they are able to earn and the ability to be given special treatment particularly not going in line at Copacabana as well as the respect they achieve from the people in the neighborhood.

Many film viewers in the past have accused of The Godfather of glamorizing mobsters particularly the mafia Dons like Don Vito Corleone and his successor Michael Corleone particularly the first part.While I certainly do not agree with the critics considering that the movie has shown how mob life can destroy one's family as shown in the movie,Scorsese made it a point for viewers to see clearly in this film how disastrous mob life is all about. It really has shown the crimes that they are involved with as well as the fear and anxiety these people constantly feel considering their way of life wherein crimes and murdering people are a parts of their daily life. It has also shown how much it lost its appeal particularly during its decline in the 1980's when the FBI intensified its commitment of putting people involved in organized crime behind bars.We get to see how the main characters ended up getting murdered like Tommy DeVito,portrayed by Pesci in his Oscar winning performance or how they spent the rest of their life in jail just like Cicero and Conway; and how fellow members of the mob made deals with the FBI like Hill in order to corroborate against their fellow mobsters or friends in the crimes that they are involved in and enter a Witness Protection Program to protect them from the mob.

After watching this film since its release 27 years ago while this review is written,I must say that it really could be considered the best film about the mob as it is based on a true story and a true account of mob life particularly the so-called foot soldiers a.k.a wise guys or better yet goodfellas who does hits for the mob instead of a fictional account about Dons or leaders of organized crime families in The Godfather saga.It also provides us how truly unappealing this way of life is especially now that the mob no longer provides that much impact in society and the advancement of technology that have benefited the FBI in terms of investigation of mobsters and the deals or programs that mobsters get into whenever they help the FBI in bringing down organized crimes.This film makes it clear in that regard unlike The Godfather saga considering that the mob are still in their glory years during the settings of the three part movies during the 50's,60's and 70's unlike this movie when it was released in 1990.

Overall,Goodfellas shows that truth about the mob,its way of life, and its decline from the time it was released until the present time.

The Godfather Part III
(1990)

Is The Godfather Part III an offer you can refuse?
Many have thrashed "The Godfather Part III" with one familiar quote from the first two "The Godfather" films by saying that this movie is "An offer you can refuse".No question that many movie fans have shown lack of respect and appreciation for this film by saying that it ruined the legacy of the two film which many - including myself - considered as both classics and each one a masterpiece.But the question remains,"Is The Godfather Part III an offer you can refuse?"

The Godfather Part III was released 16 years after the sequel - The Godfather Part II - was show in theaters.It acts as the epilogue of the story of Don Michael Corleone,portrayed by Al Pacino, after he reluctantly replaced his father - Don Vito - into becoming the Godfather or primary leader of the Corleone organized crime family in the first part and how he turned into a ruthless and soulless Don during his protection of the business interests of the Corleone family in casinos and gambling after an attempt was made on his life in the second part.

In the third part,we get to see Michael finally closing into his objective of the finally making the Corleone criminal empire into becoming a legitimate business operation with the participation of the Catholic Church particularly the Vatican Bank.In addition to that,we also get to witness the succession of the Godfather from Michael to the illegitimate son of his brother Sonny in Vincent Mancini,portrayed by Andy Garcia.Finally,we also get to see how Michael has to overcome the obstacles presented by the other gangsters like Joey Zaza as well as Don Licio Lucchesi and Don Altobello,both whom want to take part in Michael's legitimate business and to upset his goal of leaving the mob for good.

No question that the third part still presents a great story.The plot was based on Pope John Paul I,who was only pope for 33 days, and the Papal banking scandal that occurred back in the early 1980's.The obstacles presented by the other members of the mob to Michael's legitimacy remains interesting as well as the corruption that the members of the clergy of the Catholic Church that could be capable of doing.In addition to the great story,there was a lot of great performances like Al Pacino,Diane Keaton, Talia Shire, Andy García, Eli Wallach and Joe Mantegna.Too bad that many saw the poor and much maligned performance of Francis Ford Coppola's daughter,Sofia Coppola.

Despite of these great qualities that I have mentioned,I still must admit that it is not at level with the first two films.No question that the reunion of ex-spouses Kay and Michael as well as the romance between first cousins - Vincent Mancini and Mary Corleone - were somewhat not given much thought and I felt that these romantic stories proved as a distraction.Also,the sudden change of Michael from a ruthless and soulless character into becoming a benevolent person lacked better development. Added to that,familiar elements from the first two films remain present in this film.Finally,one must be really familiar with the first two parts of "The Godfather" to have better appreciation of this film.Evidently,it will not be a good stand alone film for one should watch the other films.

But nevertheless,I must conclude that the third film remains "an offer one cannot refuse" for it is a great film despite being far from being a classic and a masterpiece unlike the first two films.

The Godfather: Part II
(1974)

The Continuation of the Corleone Family Saga of Ambition,Ruthlessness and Amorality Is Once Again A Masterpiece
The saga of the Corleone family continues from "The Godfather" in this classic film directed by Francis Ford Coppola entitled "The Godfather Part II" that was released two years after the original film was released.

This movie that stars Al Pacino and Robert De Niro,who portrays Michael Corleone and the young Vito Corleone respectively,together with Robert Duvall,Diane Keaton,John Cazale,G.D Spradlin, and Method acting teacher Lee Strasberg,tells the parallel story of the expansion of Corleone crime family headed by Don Michael during the 1950's and the rise to power of the young Don Vito during the 1920's.

No question that the themes of corruption,ruthlessness,amorality and ambition continues in this film as both Michael and the young Vito continues to pursue their respective American dreams in this parallel story being told when both father-and-son were at the same age.We get to see Michael expands the family's gambling operations in Cuba and his pursuit to making the Corleone family legitimate while dealing with rival mobsters who intend to eliminate him like Frank Pentangeli and Jew mobster Hyman Roth.It also tells the story of how he dealt with the federal indictment by the U.S.Senate.As for the young Vito,we get to witness from how his family got killed by the local mafia chieftain Don Ciccio in Corleone,Italy and how he migrated to New York a young age.Then,it narrates how he started as an ordinary worker and then rose into stature and power after dealing with the area's extortionist,Don Fannucci and killing Don Ciccio to strengthen his family's power in both the United States and in Italy.

This was definitely one great film just like the original.It definitely would compare to the first film as we get to witness two great parallel stories of ambition and rise to power.In addition to that,we also get to see how much the characters of Vito and Michael deteriorated into becoming ruthless,corrupt and amoral as their power and stature increased.

Aside from great stories,we also get to see great performances from its lead stars - Al Pacino and Robert De Niro - wherein the latter won an Oscar for his portrayal the young Vito.Added to that,we also get to see great performances from the other members of the cast such as Lee Strasberg,who got nominated for an Oscar as the Jew mobster, and Diane Keaton as Kay,the embittered wife of Michael.

After more than 43 years since it was initially released in the theaters while this review is currently written,it would still be a fun to watch and it will hold up.Just like what I have stated in my review of the first film "The Godfather",I also would say that this film that tells the story of amorality,ruthlessness and ambition "The Godfather Part II" is truly a masterpiece.

The Godfather
(1972)

A Film About Succession Is A Masterpiece
"The Godfather" is about the Corleones - an organized crime family better known as the mob or mafia - that tells a great story of succession of the leadership of the crime family from an aging Don Vito Corleone to his reluctant and youngest son,Michael Corleone.

This film directed by Francis Ford Coppola that was based on the novel of Mario Puzo stars legendary actor Marlon Brando and Al Pacino,an up-and-coming young actor back then who just happened to appear on his only second major film role.The cast also includes talented actors and actresses such as James Caan, Robert Duvall,Diane Keaton,John Cazale and Talia Shire.

The story starts during the wedding of Don Vito Corleone's daughter Connie.In it,we get meet the members of the Corleone family such Don Vito's oldest son Sonny and his adopted son as well as the consigliere Tom Hagen together with the different henchmen like Tessio and Clemenza as well as different people who are obtaining favors from Don Vito who is also known as the godfather.Then,we get to meet Michael and his girlfriend Kay.It was evident that Michael has no intentions of joining his father's business.But several events happen such as Don Vito getting shot,Sonny getting killed and the other rival members of the Five Families trying to overthrow the Corleones power and influence as Don Vito does not want to be part of the illegal drugs trade.Then,it became clear that the only son who should replace Don Vito,who is getting older and weaker as he approaching near his death,as the leader of the family is reluctant Michael.After Don Vito died,Michael made moves to retain the family's power and influence by killing the leaders of the rival families and getting rid of the traitors of among family.It ended with Michael succeeding and becoming the new godfather.

This epic film definitely is the greatest film ever made.We have great performances coming from Marlon Brando,who won an Oscar as Don Vito,the upstart Al Pacino and the rest of the cast.We also have a great story involving the Corleones as we get to see the transition of the family's leadership from Don Vito to Michael.The characters of the story are definitely far from one-note and they can be as complex evoking humanity.We are also treated to great production set designs, memorable musical scores coming from Nino Rota, a superb script coming from Puzo and Coppola, and a magnificent direction coming from Coppola.With that said,it has become a benchmark for excellence in film and has for many years remained relevant despite being initially released 45 years ago when this review is written.Overall,it is simply a masterpiece.

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