Tag: marlon brando

MOVIE REVIEW | ***AFI WEEKEND*** #2. The Godfather (1972)

“The American Film Institute’s list of the 100 Greatest Movies was selected by AFI’s blue-ribbon panel of more than 1,500 leaders of the American movie community to commemorate 100 Years of Movies”. Every weekend(ish) during 2015, I’ll review two(ish), counting them down from 100 to 1.
Godfather 1
“Luca Brasi held a gun to his head, and my father assured him that either his brains or his signature would be on the contract.”

The Godfather might be the film most responsible for me becoming so obsessed with movies. Sure, there were plenty of flicks I was obsessed with before The Godfather, but they were all surface level obsessions. I liked the actors, or the jokes, or the story. The Godfather is the first time I can remember being aware that movies were just as much about what was going on behind the scenes and in the background. It was the first time I was aware that someone had to build this world, join these dots and make this film.


Francis Ford Coppola therefore became the first director I recognised by name. The first director whose involvement was just as enticing a reason to see a movie as the actors starring in it. The first director who I actively looked into their career and started tracking down their movies. I have no idea how I did that pre-internet, but I did. I remember my mum bought me The Godfather on VHS for my 13th birthday, despite it R rating. And it’s probably the first movie I ever got obsessed with, that still holds up as a legitimate masterpiece today. I’ll still watch The Goonies if it comes on telly, but I know my appreciation is pure nostalgia. The Godfather on the other hand, is simply amazing film making that I know will impress me for the rest of my life. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***AFI WEEKEND*** #19. On the Waterfront (1954)

“The American Film Institute’s list of the 100 Greatest Movies was selected by AFI’s blue-ribbon panel of more than 1,500 leaders of the American movie community to commemorate 100 Years of Movies”. Every weekend(ish) during 2015, I’ll review two(ish), counting them down from 100 to 1.
On_the_Waterfront-1954-MSS-poster-2
“Hey, you wanna hear my philosophy of life? Do it to him before he does it to you.”

Within his first half dozen theatrically released movies, Marlon Brando turned in four performances that have all gone down in Hollywood history as nothing short of legendary.   A Streetcar Named Desire is melodrama at its best.  Julius Caesar was his chance to show that the whole mumbling method actor thing didn’t get in the way of performing Shakespeare.  And The Wild One was master class in how to do attitude and cool, before anyone knew that attitude and cool would be a major part of movies for the rest of time.  But I think the absolute best early Brando performance is the smallest, the most real, the least showy.  The best early Brando performance, and possibly the best ever, is On the Water Front.


In Hoboken New Jersey, there are only two jobs, working for the unions on the docks, or working for the mob who control the docks and unions.  Former boxer, current mob errand boy, Terry Malloy (Brando) calls Joey Doyle to meet him on a tenement roof.  When Joey falls to his death a few minutes later, it’s just accepted by the neighbourhood that the mob took Joey out and there’s no use in retaliating.  Only two people don’t get the message, Joey’s sister Edie (Eva Marie Saint) and local Irish priest, Farther Barry (Karl Malden). (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***AFI WEEKEND*** #30. Apocalypse Now (1979)

“The American Film Institute’s list of the 100 Greatest Movies was selected by AFI’s blue-ribbon panel of more than 1,500 leaders of the American movie community to commemorate 100 Years of Movies”. Every weekend(ish) during 2015, I’ll review two(ish), counting them down from 100 to 1.
Apocalypse
“I watched a snail crawl along the edge of a straight razor. That’s my dream; that’s my nightmare. Crawling, slithering, along the edge of a straight razor… and surviving.”

The top three examples of ego run rampant that ended the director lead era of 70s Hollywood are Michael Cimino’s Heaven’s Gate, William Friedkin’s Sorcerer and Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now.  Way over time and way over budget, Cimino basically brought down an entire movie studio and ruined his own career.  Way over time and way over budget, Friedkin used every bit of goodwill he’d built with The French Connection and The ExorcistAnd while he’s made more than a few well received movies in the decades since, he never really reached the A-list again.  Way over time and way over budget, Coppola made one of the most deservedly iconic movies of all time.


It’s the Vietnam War and Martin Sheen’s Capt. Willard is a black ops soldier, with several clandestine assassinations to his name.  Which makes him just the man to be covertly sent to Cambodia, where rogue US. Col. Kurtz (Marlon Brando) has built his own cult like army, and taken to fighting his own war by his own rules. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***SHAKESPEARE WEEK*** Julius Caesar (1955)

Julisu Ceasar

“The evil that men do lives after them, The good is oft interred with their bones; So let it be with Caesar.”

Olivier…  Branagh…  Leguizamo…  Of all the greats to have performed Shakespeare on screen, the name Marlon Brando would never spring to mind.  When it comes to acting, he is undisputedly one of the best.  But his method acting roots and natural, mumble mouthed performances in so many of his iconic roles would never make me think he was up to the precision required to deliver Shakespearean dialogue.  So when I was deciding on which 10 Shakespeare movie adaptations would make the cut for Shakespeare Week, seeing Brando’s name in the credits was a guarantee that Julius Caesar would make the cut.  If for no other reason than pure curiosity.


It’s the year 44 BC, and Julius Caesar (Loui Calhern) returns to Rome after winning a war against Pompey.  By his side are two great friends and allies, Brutus (James Mason) and Marc Antony (Brando).  But the loyalty of Brutus is soon put the test, and ultimately compromised, by scheming senator Cassius (John Gielgud).  It’s not long before Brutus is leading the charge, helping plan and execute the murder of Julius Caesar, for what he genuinely believes is the good of Rome. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***AFI WEEKEND*** #47. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)

“The American Film Institute’s list of the 100 Greatest Movies was selected by AFI’s blue-ribbon panel of more than 1,500 leaders of the American movie community to commemorate 100 Years of Movies”. Every weekend(ish) during 2015, I’ll review two(ish), counting them down from 100 to 1.
 Streetcar
“Deliberate cruelty is unforgivable, and the one thing of which I have never, ever been guilty of.”

Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh in front of the camera.  Elia Kazan behind it.  All working from a story written by Tennessee Williams.  Plenty of movies come with good pedigrees, but in the early 50s, this collection of people goes beyond dream team.  It’s the kind of thing that means if the results were anything less than phenomenal, it would be considered a failure.  It must have been immense pressure for everyone involved when they were making A Streetcar Named Desire, and they all stood up to the challenge, knocking it out of the park.


Blanche DuBois (Vivien Leigh) arrives in New Orleans looking for her sister, Stella (Kim Hunter).  When she tracks Stella down, she meets Stella’s husband, Stanley Kowalski (Marlon Brando).  Causing trouble at the local bowling alley, Stanley immediately has Blanche on edge.  Suspicious of why Blanche has left her job as a high school teacher, Stanley straight away expects the worst of his sister-in-law and tries to dig up some dirt to justify his suspicions. (more…)