Saturday, February 6, 2016

Movie Review: Pride+Prejudice+Zombies


Review Written By Michael J. Ruhland

Michael's Movie Grade:B-

Review: Surprisingly very entertaining film. Despite a stupid sounding idea, it overcomes this and becomes a darn good movie.

The story is quite good, but it doesn't have any problem having fun with how silly of an idea the story is based off of. It is quite subtly funny, but that still doesn't stop it from telling a pretty good story. The acting is great, especially considering how serious the actors and actresses take it. This type of acting is great because it makes both the serious and comedic parts work quite good. The cinematography is also quite good.

This film would benefit from better pacing, as much of it just happens too fast, and both the atmosphere and the characters would have really benefited, This may have made the film a classic. However as it is it may not be a classic, but it is very fun, and a darn good movie.

-Michael J. Ruhland

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Movie Review: 13 Hours


Review Written By Michael J. Ruhland

Michael's Movie Grade:D

Review: Michael Bay tries to do something very different with this film. I respect that he was trying something different out here, and I think this true life story could have made a great film, but sadly this just isn't a good movie.

The main problem with this film is the characters. We spend so much time with them and yet we barely know them at all. They all seem to have the exact same personality and the only way to tell them apart is the actors. Since these characters are based off of real people, this fault is especially bothersome. When I watch a film like this I want to see what these heroes were like and how they got through what they got through. I just don't feel I got this.

The humor is also very off, and just isn't funny.

The film however does have a few good scenes near the end, but the rest of the film is just not that good. This true life story simply deserves a better movie.

-Michael J. Ruhland

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Movie Review: Kung Fu Panda 3


Review Written By Michael J. Ruhland

Michael's Movie Grade:A-

Review: Fantastic animated film that truly is a treat for nearly anyone.

This film has great animation, and a great sense of design. This film is simply fantastic to look at. On top of that though the film has a great story and a great sense of atmosphere, as well as a good sense of humor. However the thing that really makes that really makes this film work so well is that Po is such a great character. We relate to him very closely and both feel sorry for him and kind of admire him. It would be easy to make this character just an another complete idiot character we have seen a hundred times. However this film is above that and truly makes this character unique. He is very likable, and well meaning and can actually be a great hero when he needs to be.

The plot can be predictable, but it is so well done one may not care.

Overall this is a great movie.

-Michael J. Ruhland

Monday, February 1, 2016

Silent Film of the Month: Her Night of Romance (1924)


Run Time: 70 minutes. Studio:  First National Pictures. Director: Sidney Franklin. Writer: Hans Kraly. Producers: Constance Talmadge, Joseph M. Schenck. Main Cast: Constance Talmadge,  Ronald Colman, Jean Hersholt, Albert Gran, Robert Rendel. Cinematographers:  Ray Binger, Victor Milner.

For February I feel it is only right that the silent movie of the month would be a romantic comedy, so I selected this charming film from 1924 entitled Her Night of Romance. Director, Sidney Franklin is more well known for films like The Good Earth and The Dark Angel. Disney buffs might know him as the director who originally wanted to make Bambi, but when he discovered that the film would work better as an animated movie, sold the rights to Walt Disney (however he still worked on the film as a consultant). Sidney Franklin would also go on to have a great career as a producer, producing such films as Mrs. Miniver, Ninotchka, and The Yearling.

Actress Constance Talmadge, while not as well remembered as she should be, was a big star at this time. Though her acting years started in 1914, she did not receive a major role until she appeared in D.W. Griffith's Intolerance in 1916, where she appeared as both the mountain girl and as Princess Marguerite of Valois. Along with her sisters Natalie and Norma Talmadge she was part of the infamous Talmadge sisters. Her sister Norma was known for being in tragedies, while Constance was known for being in comedies like this one. Natalie's career didn't take off, but many may know her for marring silent screen legend Buster Keaton. However Natalie did appear in some films like Yes or NoThe Love Expert, and Our Hospitality (last one alongside her husband). Constance is unfortunately one of the stars of the silent screen who didn't make the transition to talkies. Her co-star Ronald Colman's Career was just beginning. His first role as leading man had been just a year before this film, with Henry King's The White Sister, where he stared along side one of the biggest stars of that era, Lillian Gish. Ronald Colman would go on to a great career with such films as The Prisoner of ZendaA Tale of Two Cities, and Lost Horizon. 

The plot of the film begins when ex-wealthy socialite Paul Menford (Played by Ronald Colman) meets current wealthy socialite Dorthy Adams (Played by Constance Talmadge) and falls for her. Paul's business partner Joe Diamond (Played by Jean Hersolt) thinks Paul should marry a wealthy person and in exchange Joe will get 10% of the money earned from the marriage. Paul is against this until he discovers that the woman Joe is talking about is Dorthy. The plan involves Paul pretending to be Dorthy's doctor. This leads to one misunderstanding after another, including a surprise meeting in Paul's old home, which Dorthy and her father (Played by Albert Gran) are planning to buy, and a fantastic ending sequence that you have to see.

While the story might seem a bit unoriginal and predictable, it is done very well, and often leads to some very funny humor. Much of this movie is laugh out loud hilarious, and every plot point that might be predictable leads to enough good humor, that you don't mind at all. However even with the focus being on the comedy, the romance is still quite charming and Ronald Colman and Constance Talmadge are excellent in their roles.

Also helping with the film's success is art director William Cameron Menzies. Menzies earlier that same year had done some of his best work for Raoul Walsh's The Thief of Baghdad, starring Douglas Fairbanks. Menzies would go on to do work on such films as Gone With the Wind, and For Whom the Bell Tolls. William Cameron Menzies does a great job of bringing a sense of sophistication to Her Night of Romance. His version of how high society  London looks is a delight to see. Menzies helped make this film more than just another romantic comedy.

Her Night of Romance was a success both critically and financially. In fact in 1925 it received a sequel called Her Sister from Paris. The sequel would also be directed by Sidney Franklin, written by Hans Kraly and star Constance Talmadge and Ronald Colman.

-Michael J. Ruhland

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