The Godfather (1972) Film Review


You know when you leave it too long to watch a classic movie and it means you just don’t quite get what it was all about? I knew I’d watched The Godfather years ago, but I couldn’t remember a lot of it. Which perhaps in itself suggests that this is not the film for me.

If you don’t know (as if you don’t know) Marlon Brando is the Godfather. The head of the mafia family, the Corleones. The film follows him and his family after there is an attempt on his life. Plans are laid and families are against each other. It’s violent and dark.

I understand why it has such a great wrap, but I just didn’t really like it all that much. You know why, I think? I think it is because I am used to long form storytelling, and (despite it being almost three hours worth of film) there just isn’t enough time to tell such an epic story. I am well aware that if it were not for The Godfather, we wouldn’t have The Sopranos. Still, I thank The Godfather for starting it all.

The Godfather won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role (Marlon Brando) and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium (Mario Puzo, Francis Ford Coppola). It was nominated three times for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (James Caan, Robert Duvall and Al Pacino), Best Director (Francis Ford Coppola), Best Costume Design, Best Sound, Best Film Editing and Best Music, Original Dramatic Score.


Misery (1990) Film Review



Paul Sheldon (James Caan) is an author who has hit a high level of popularity after creating a series of books based on a character called Misery. (Best name for a character ever, I say). Upon completing his latest novel off in the mountains at a lodge where he likes to write, Paul sets home, only has a car accident in a storm. He is dragged from the wreckage by Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates), his number one fan. She nurses him back to health, but when she realises that he has killed off her Misery, she keeps him locked up until he can rewrite the story.

I’d dreaded watching this for years. I remember the trailer – especially the part with his legs and a sledgehammer. Eeek. I’m not a horror film lover, but when a friend loaned me the DVD and insisted I watch it, well, I had to step up to the challenge.

It is somewhat dated, though that is not a bad thing. Misery was made ten years after The Shining, and there are some obvious similarities – the isolation, the snow, the aggressive person wielding weapons on the innocent. Stephen King has written such a wide range of work with so many interpretations and for one key reason he’s extremely good at creating a compelling and exciting story. For me, I’ll stick to less scary things like Shawshank Redemption or The Green Mile, but Misery is definitely worth a look, even if you watch parts of it through your fingers, or from behind a pillow. I did.

Kate Bates won an Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role and a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama.

Elf (2003) Film Review


Santa (Edward Asner) made a bit of a mistake and brought a human baby back to the North Pole. Rather than returning him to the orphanage from whence he came, the baby, Buddy, is adopted by a senior Elf, Pappa Elf (Bob Newhart) and raised to be another Elf. But things are not smooth sailing, and eventually, Buddy must learn the truth. Discovering that his mother has passed away but his father, Walter (James Caan) is still alive, adult Buddy (Will Ferrell) goes to New York to find him, and find a new life.

Around Christmas time there are always a lot of lists about best Christmas movies. I usually ignore them – I’m not really into Christmas films. There seem to be increasing numbers of houses with light displays each year in Melbourne, but regardless of complaints about the commericialisation, we don’t have the insanity that Christmas in these movies seems to have. I don’t mind a film with a bit of schmatlz or corniness, but I do find a lot of Christmas films a bit hard.

Elf is great. It’s really funny and great for kids without getting too racy, but it is not stupid. It is made very easy to totally buy into the innocence and naivety of Buddy, and how difficult he may find fitting in to modern New York. I doubt a total scrooge would enjoy it, but me? Bring it on.