They usually call me this on Saturday nights, but you didn’t hear that from me.
Wounded Civil War soldier John Dunbar (Kevin Costner) tries to commit suicide — and becomes a hero instead. As a reward, he’s assigned to his dream post, a remote junction on the Western frontier, and soon makes unlikely friends with the local Sioux tribe.
Basically this film has always been on mind, and for the reason because it beat out Goodfellas for the 1990 Best picture Oscar. However, I can’t say that it wasn’t a close fight.
While watching this film I found myself entranced with emotions I always feel when watching movies, utter beauty and emotional. The film is not just an Epic Western of this mans survival and communication with the Natives, but also has a great message about the relation between two different cultures, as in the white man and the Native.
The film is not only starring Costner but it is his directorial debut, and what a debut it is. Costner knows exactly how to film this movie with all his knowledge of this tribe the film is less and less stereotypical. In films we usually see the Natives talking like “how” and thats all they say, but Costner basically makes half of the film is in the Lakota language, and is all subtitled. He take a lot of drastic and daring steps here to make this film amazing and I can say that he succeeds. The film treats its subject with generosity and makes these Indians seem more than what we see from any other movie of this subject.
The film also has some of the best looking territory ever as well. There are images and sights in this film that are just great. This setting of 1860s rural South is just beautiful because of the way its filmed, and the most simplist of scenes, look even better cause of the setting. Also, the little things such as the score is just so enchanting that the emotions that come out of this music makes you feel it even more.
The film does have its problems though, that can be pointed out. It is a Western but doesn’t add anything new to the genre other than the fact it is just features less action and gun fights. Also, the film categorizes the broadly villainous Union soldier characters, which in my mind wasn’t very original. And in a film that seemed so touching about who’s right and who’s wrong.
The acting here is what makes this film utterly phenomenal. Costner anchors this film, and when for the most part its only him on-screen he is so believable and so great to watch that I couldn’t see anybody else playing this role. Almost everybody in this film gives a great performance but the side performances from two special ones are the best and anchor the film. Mary McDonnell plays the only other white person in the tribe, and hasn’t spoken English in about 15 years, and is forced to speak it again. She handles it like reality, because she doesn’t get right back in the mode to speaking it, and still stutters, and doesn’t understand the language fully, and has some great touching scenes with Costner. Graham Greene who plays the Sioux chief is even better and has some great scenes with him and Costner, where he is actually highlighting the screen every time hes on it.
I feel bad for Dances with Wolves because honestly now that I look at it, it doesn’t get its rep. it should. Yeah, it beat out Goodfellas but you have to look at it, they are two completely different movies and this one in all honesty, had a lot more of an emotional connection to it. Also, two other films that I have reviewed (Avatar, The Last Samurai), all have basically stolen this idea of guy changes cultures and becomes entranced with it. Honestly, they were good films but now that I see, the story really doesn’t relie on originality, mostly on who can do a better similar story to Dances with Wolves without being too close.
Consensus: Dances with Wolves has its fair faults, but ultimately is anchored by the great performances, inspired and authentic directing debut from Costner, and featuring themes that add on to a story of how beautiful and touching two different cultures can be.
Oh, Irish accents never get old.
In Ron Howard’s epic drama, two 19th century Irish immigrants make the journey to the United States together, but for very different reasons. Joseph Donelly (Tom Cruise) is a poor farmer who’s lost everything, while Shannon Christie (Nicole Kidman) is chafing against her privileged but stifling upbringing. Looking for land as they make their way west, they also find love as they endure a series of hardships that strengthens their relationship.
Seeing all the reviewers for this film it was all basically cut in half of some liking it, and some hating it. For me I’m on the first side.
It really is stunning to look at. Many of the set pieces look like the turn of the century right in front of your eyes. I felt like I was there with these people while it was going on. I’am not usually a very big fan of period pieces mostly cause the look isn’t captured very well, but it all looks so real and genuine.There is a final scene at the end that takes place in the Land Run of 1893, and is shot so well with so much detail that it gives you the feeling of being in all that havoc.
I did have some problems with this film still however. The unrelenting Irish stereotypes got annoying, because as usual they just showed them drinking and fighting forget about anything else. I felt like the film could have definitely been better written cause most of the lines are really cheesy, and at the same time not very believable. The movie is really cornball with its obvious cliche story and is highly predictable.
But most of the praise for this film has to go to Ron Howard who makes this 2 hour and 19 minute adventure seem a lot quicker than the run-time given. He makes sure scenes don’t go over the limit to the point of where they become an annoyance, and stages many scenes, like as I said before, with so much energy and realism that you actually feel like your there.
Tom Cruise as usual is very good here, although he is sporting the fake Irish accent. I kind of felt the same way towards him in this film as I did in The Last Samurai because I can’t quite get past that its Tom Cruise, because he has so much of that star-power, but still nonetheless does a great job anyway. But the real treat here is Kidman mostly because she plays these characters that could be so goofy, but does it with such strength and realism that you actually believe her characters.
Consensus: Far and Away has its obvious cliches and isn’t very believable, but is wonderful to look at, mostly from the fearless direction of Ron Howard, and two great performances from Cruise and Kidman.
Ruined all hopes for a Samurai Jack movie.
Tom Cruise stars as Nathan Algren — an American hired to instruct the Japanese army in the ways of modern warfare — in this lush epic set in the 1870s, which finds Algren learning to respect the samurai and the honorable principles that rule them. Pressed to destroy the samurai’s way of life in the name of modernization and open trade, Algren decides to become an ultimate warrior(with Ken Watanabe) himself and to fight for their right to exist.
The film is marketed as being the Tom Cruise epic vehicle that shares a lot of similarities to Dances With Wolves. The story may seem the same, but the game has sort of changed.
The most satisfying thing about this film is its high production values it used. This is a triumph in products and costume design as you feel like you actually are in Japan during this time period. I mean how everybody looks, they aren’t just people dressed up, you actually feel like these are real people and you are apart of their village as much as they are.
The one thing that kind of made the film was that it wasn’t a one-note action pick like a lof epics accidental hit. The scenes where Cruise is learning the ways and lifestyles that these people take with honor in all their choices was really interesting. Now, granted the epic action scenes, especially the last 20 minutes, are always exciting and very well choreographed.
I did have a couple of problems with this film though. I feel like the message the film was trying so hard to bring out failed, mostly due to all the blood shed it brought out along the way. Stories like this are always interesting to follow; a man haunted by his past and loathed by his comrades gets his chance at redemption by adapting another culture’s beliefs and lifestyle. You know the ending; an epic battle but the he somehow is the last man left standing. The problem with this one is that it seemed as though the writers were so afraid to cut out the jargon that bogged the story down, but that’s Hollywood for ya.
I think that Tom Cruise, for as much as shit as he gets, is till one of the best actors working today, but doesn’t quite convey any different emotions I first had about him here. He does a good job, but I still see Tom Cruise in a samurai outfit, and not any real emotional character. The real stand-out here is Ken Watanabe who takes this image that we have of this typical old, wise samurai and turns it on his head and makes him a lot more human with more emotions.
Consensus: The Last Samurai has high production values that show with its great look and awesome action scenes, but doesn’t use and original story and still has problems convincing me that Tom Cruise is this samurai.