Categories
Film Review

Planet of the Apes (1968)

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Running time: 1h 52min
Directed by Franklin J. Schaffner
Written by Michael Wilson (screenplay by), Rod Serling (screenplay by)
Starring Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter

Planet of the Apes is one of the most iconic and successful sci-fi films ever made. It started a franchise that is still going strong, currently as a rebooted movie series, starring Andy Serkis (Gollum from Lord of the Rings). But let us not talk about the sequels and reboots at length here – I have never been that into the franchise itself, and this review is about the original ape film. For having been made in 1968, Planet of the Apes is still remarkably effective at what it attempts to do. Granted, I do have some nostalgia for it – while I (somewhat obviously) did not see it in the theatre in the 60s, I did first see the film as a child, loved it, and have seen it multiple times now. Rewatching it now as an adult, the experience is not quite as superlative as on that first viewing as a wee lad, of course. But it is still a great, entertaining movie after all these years.

Categories
Film Review

The Specials (Hors normes) (2019)

IMDB link
Running time: 1h 54min
Directed by Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledan
Written by Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano
Starring Vincent Cassel, Reda Kateb, Hélène Vincent

The Specials is a French drama, apparently based on a true story, about two men who work with children and adolescents with autism. It follows the daily struggles of the two shepherds and their respective flocks, focusing on the lives of the two leads and (some) of the kids. There is also a message about the system’s failure to care for the kids; it seems that only the truly devoted volunteers, despite their obvious lack of resources, stand between the youngsters and institutionalization or a life of crime. The Specials is a competently made small-scale film, but, in my opinion, nothing special.

Categories
Film Review

Unforgiven (1992)

IMDB link
Running time: 2h 10min
Directed by Clint Eastwood
Written by David Webb Peoples
Starring Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman

In 1992 Clint Eastwood directed and starred in Unforgiven; a western in which an aged and reformed gunslinger decides to take on one last job in his old days. Eastwood was 62 years old, and thus the perfect age to play William Munny, “killer of women and children”, in the genre that made him a movie legend. Unforgiven is not a traditional western: it takes the genre and shows it in a more cynical (or realistic) new light. There is no heroism or epic adventure on display here, and the romanticism of the old west is stripped down to a minimum. As much as it is a great western, it is also a commentary about the genre itself, and of Eastwood’s role in the genre’s history. The film won 4 Oscars (Best Picture, Best Actor in a Supporting Role [Gene Hackman], Best Director, and Best Film Editing [Joel Cox]) and is now deservedly considered a classic.