(mx) wrote: This movie had no life whatsoever, and the entire concept behind the movie is a just plain stupid arrangement of ideas. Seriously, the film's story is only enjoyable if you're that willing to suspend your critical instincts or don't have any at all. But that's the least of our worries. Aside from its dumb story and its pretentious presentation, the rest of the movie is still entirely uninteresting to the point that it's not even funny. The initial introduction to the dragons is also poor, you never really see them a dragon properly in the beginning, and when I finally get a proper look at the dragon it feels like a let down. The special effects in this movie honestly feel artificial, as though the makers of the film didn't use enough of their $60 million budget. Lastly, the movie also has no real sense of flow, as transitions between events is oven choppy. All-in-all, the movie is nothing special, but honestly, unless you got your hopes too high you won't be too moved by this movie in any way.
(fr) wrote: Oh, Dean Stockwell I don't know if it's just me; maybe it is. However, although Orson Welles did a lot of acting, more acting than anything else, in my head, he's still a director. An [i]auteur[/i], if I may be pretentious enough to use the word. After all, of the three Oscars he was up for in 1941, he didn't win the one for acting. (I'll get back to you on whether he should; I haven't seen [i]Sergeant York[/i] yet.) He should have beaten John Ford for [i]How Green Was My Valley[/i], too. But even in their Hearst-swelled blindness, the Academy could not but acknowledge the brilliance of that script. (There is a strong argument that Welles didn't actually have as much to do with the script as he claimed he did, that he basically just stole the credit. However, I don't know how strong that argument is, and I think his touch in the movie is unmistakable, even if Herman J. Mankiewicz did most of the work.) This movie has reminded me, though, as I think I need to be reminded every once in a while, that even cinematography and writing, lighting and sets, would not have been enough had Orson Welles just not have been able to act. This is not his best performance, but it's still very good. Judd Steiner (Dean Stockwell) and Arthur Straus (Bradford Dillman) are Totally Not at All Leopold and Loeb. You can tell, because they, um. No. They're Leopold and Loeb. You can tell, because they kill a neighbour named Paulie Kessler, who is Not at All Bobby Franks. They do this in part because of ridiculous Nietzschean philosophy, which has led them to believe that they are Supermen in the Nietzsche sense--not in the Siegel and Shuster sense. Oh, sure, there's ransom money involved, but wouldn't it be cool to show that they could commit a murder and just get away with it? I mean, obviously, they wouldn't be showing anyone but themselves, but still. They'd always know, and they'd always get to be smug about being that much smarter and cooler than everyone else. Besides, emotions like fear and guilt are for lesser mortals, not for these guys. Only it turns out they really aren't all that much smarter than everyone else, because of course they get caught. It is then down to Not at All Clarence Darrow Jonathan Wilk (Welles) to save them from hanging. So why all this "Not at All" business? Well, you see, Leopold was still alive. There wasn't anything he could have done about Hitchcock's [i]Rope[/i], which really was Not at All, inasmuch as the crimes and timeline are completely different. The characters are pretty obviously the same, of course, but we can all safely pretend that they are not. You can't pretend that with [i]Compulsion[/i]. The clues are even the same. I'm pretty sure the Girl (Ruth Evans, played by Diane Varsi) is invented, but clearly, nothing else is. And with Leopold alive to be aware of the movie, Leopold was alive to sue. On the other hand, it was difficult for him to prove libel, especially given that Welles's closing speech is essentially word-for-word what Darrow said. I think the not-quite-rape scene is added, because again, I think the girl is added. But he wasn't going to get anywhere claiming that the movie had made him look like a heartless killer. As it happens, his invasion of privacy suit didn't do much better. Not since he'd recently published an autobiography! No. Not anywhere near as good as [i]Rope[/i]. It may well be one of the best of director Richard Fleischer's works, but since he directed, among other turkeys, [i]Amityville 3D[/i] and the 1980 [i]Jazz Singer[/i], he had a lot to make up for. I'm also certainly not going to claim that Dean Stockwell never made a turkey in his almost-200-item career. Certainly Welles can't make that claim! (Even the number of credits; to be fair, Dean Stockwell got started younger and did a lot of TV.) And, you know, there's a bit of scenery-chewing from the both of them. (I would like it very much, by the way, if someone explained to me the 1999 Orson Welles version of [i]Moby Dick[/i]. I have chronology issues.) Still, Stockwell does an excellent job of someone trying to be what and who his philosophy tells him he should be. (They leave out the psychosexual stuff and really just seem to blame Nietzsche.) He has a lot deep issues that aren't touched, and everyone around him who's really looking at him seems to know that. Welles, meanwhile, conveys Wilk's disdain for his clients coupled with his passion for abolishing the death penalty. I focus on them, incidentally, because I remember the actors. I have a certain amount of difficulty in categorizing this film--though, as I've complained about before, it's not my job anymore. It's not a mystery; we know they did it, when, why, and how. It's not suspense, especially for those of us with the knowledge of what we're talking about. IMDB lists it, among other things, as a biography. True, but we're all duly pretending it isn't. "Crime" and "history," two of our other choices, seem the best bets. The crime, of course, is undeniable. I forgot, though, that it was a period piece. The clothes, I believe, were correct, but the man's suit hasn't changed terribly in the last hundred years or so, barring outliers like the leisure suit which don't count anyway. Cuffs and lapels and things, but the general design. And the women, well, aren't terribly important to the story. I honestly can't tell you what the character of Ruth was wearing most of the time, and Mrs. Straus (Louise Lorimer) just seemed to be wearing generic Old Lady Clothes. In fact, about the only two things which brought back to me that the movie's set in the '20s were a jarring scene featuring the Charleston and the repeated mention of a Stutz Bearcat. I will also note that the idea of a pair of college graduates, however young, as "just boys" seems antiquated from at least a criminological perspective.