Tag Archives: media review

[Review] The Godfather Part III (1990): Can the Most Unholy Sins Be Redeemed?

rBVaR1vmbwyAS_3FAANhiAr1qJQ635The Godfather Part III (1990) did significantly better according to both domestic and worldwide box office data ($66,520,529) in comparison to the previously released The Godfather Part II (1974). While Paramount Pictures did not have to try and sell the film to the fanatic movie-goers, the reviews for the film remain dissonant to this day. The author of the 1990 NY Times article is mesmerized by the film; in fact, she claims it was completed by “fascinating threads of continuity”. Members of other websites like Reddit and Rotten Tomatoes would agree The Godfather Part III is the worst one of it all. I’d summarize my experience like this: Another great film packed with death, guilt, and a little more romance this time; however, it is still not as good as the first two productions. I’ll examine the bigger themes and talk about a few logistical mistakes in this article.

Read first,

[Review] The Godfather (1972): An Immigrant Story of Succession

[Review] The Godfather Part II (1974): The Role of Women and Children

 

tenor

Between the Lines (Part II and III): The Off-Screen Transformation of Michael Corleone

The Godfather Part II begins roughly in 1958-1960, and about 20 years pass until the audience sees the Corleone family again in the third film, which begins in 1980. I’ve seen many reviews that felt the characters remained the same during the part of their lives that were unseen, or off-screen. To me, it is the opposite. Connie showed her cunning side a little more, and Kay seemed to have returned back to her free American roots, just as she was before her marriage to Michael. I already talked a bit about the contrast between the two women here; To add, this contrast was a little more exaggerated within the part III film. Continue reading

[Review] The Godfather Part II (1974): The Role of Women and Children

Welcome to the second review of The Godfather trilogy directed by Francis Ford Coppola. If you haven’t already, read the first review here: “[Review] The Godfather (1972): An Immigrant Story of Succession”.

pfilm508-the-godfather-part-ii-baba-2-posteri-1000x1000

“I saw a strange thing today. Some rebels were being arrested. One of them pulled the pin on a grenade. He took himself and the captain of the command with him. Now, soldiers are paid to fight; the rebels aren’t.”

“What does that tell you?”

“They could win.”

Becoming The Monster Child: Michael Corleone (Based on Part I & II) 

The Godfather 2 (1974) is a sequel to the groundbreaking first film The Godfather; however, it would be an insult to call it a continuation. The film intertwines the lives of Michael’s father Don Corleone (as Robert De Niro) and his most favored son and heir Michael (as Al Pacino). While the audience watches Michael advancing his position as Don and the respected crime leader, the film is more about Don Vito Corleone’s past and its impact on Michael. [Spoiler ahead] Continue reading

[Review] The Godfather (1972): An Immigrant Story of Succession

Freddie, you’re my older brother.

I love you. But don’t ever take

sides with anybody against the

Family again.”

Summary: A crime drama based in the 1940s New York City, tells the story of an Italian American father transferring power and influence of his mafia business to his son.

MV5BM2MyNjYxNmUtYTAwNi00MTYxLWJmNWYtYzZlODY3ZTk3OTFlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNzkwMjQ5NzM@._V1_

The Italian Mafia Reimagined: Theme of Succession in The Godfather

In the 2019 Fresh Air interview by NPR’s Terry Gross, the writer and director Francis Ford Coppola travels back in time and talks about the small but crucial decisions he had to make when shooting The Godfather. While answering questions for what is classified as a crime film, Coppola says all aspects of the production had to support the theme of succession. “I would always know that as long as I was telling the story of the succession of – there was a king, and he had three sons.” says Coppola during the conversation. Indeed, The Godfather is a reflection of the collective Italian culture and their togetherness under one patriarchal roof—that is Don Corleone (as portrayed by Marlon Brando). Despite the clashing personalities of his sons, there are barely any arguments about the (then unstable) future of the family between those who enter and exit Don Corleone’s office, which appears in the film several times. Thus, the peace of the family is secured under whoever becomes the leader of the family business and has a duty for the wellbeing of all. Continue reading

[Series] Strong Female Leads to Follow on Streaming Giants: Self Made, Inspired by the Life of Madam C. J. Walker

madam-cj-walker-poster

IMBD Score: 7.6

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 75%

Self Made (2020) is a limited web series that recently premiered on Netflix in March 2020. It is made of 4 episodes that overpass the life of Madam C.J. Walker. The premise of the series is very straight forward: search of identity. Before she is Madam Walker, our protagonist is an abandoned widow who washes laundry to keep the stove running in the house. The hardships of life return her… hair loss. Shortly after, a mulatto saleswoman shows her a product that makes her hair grow. It works magic because then Madam “C.J. Walker” has a boost of self-confidence and she meets her second husband (C.J. Walker) that gives her the iconic name. The rest of the story illustrates her struggle to start her own hair business and exist with this new independent identity between the 1880s and 1890s. Spoiler alert—Madam becomes America’s first Black, self made female millionaire; she also has had a mansion next to John D. Rockefeller’s! (Thank you OprahMag.) Continue reading

[Review] The Lion King: How Simba Changed the Fate of Disney’s Live-Action Remakes 

In case you live in a cave and did not notice—Disney is on a roll with the live-action remakes of our favorite stories. It all started with Alice in Wonderland (2010) which had its strong cast bring over a billion to Disney’s thick wallet, entered a decline phase with The Jungle Book (2016) due to its odd tone and mixed reviews, and in my personal opinion, Disney hit rock bottom with poor casting and several other issues by releasing Beauty and the Beast (2017) and Aladdin (2019)The Lion King (2019) directed and produced by Jon Favreau, however, helped Disney’s magic to reach our hearts, again, just like the 90s. Here, I will explain how Disney finally stopped failing the audiences.

lion-king-1-1168629

Realism. Once I wiped off my tears coming out of the theatre, I decided to pay my respects to The Lion King (1994) at home and figure out why this animated documentary-like feature film worked so well. The first thing I noticed was Favreau’s attention to detail, and I assure you, he made sure we, as the audience knew about this. Favreau spent valuable effort to walk us through our surroundings, identify the appearance of species of all kinds, and appreciate one of the best (and likely leading) Virtual Reality production techniques within the film industry. Compared to the 1994 version, I could easily appreciate the 2019 feature for its identical yet heightened visuals. As Favreau explains, realism is what makes the film so unique. Ironically, it also produces the magic the previous films missed.

Untitled_design__2_.0.png

Music. Better yet, the voice actors have done exceptional work: Donald Glover (AKA Childish Gambino) gave us the hurt and careless Simba at the same time. Chiwetel Ejiofor’s vocals (as Scar) were the closest thing to a brilliant Broadway performance. But, the real star in the voice work was Seth Rogen who made us all adore a warthog. Despite the never-ending coverage about Beyoncé’s casting on top of her new album inspired by The Lion King, her voice did not shine in the production. I think we are so used to hearing Beyoncé’s strong vocals that Disney music seemed a bit toned down for her vocals. Nonetheless, Favreau managed to awkwardly insert a short section of Beyoncé’s new original, “Spirit” in the film. If you catch the scene, I am sure you will agree that it just seems like a poor editing job rather than an integral part of the movie. Continue reading

June 2019 Book, TV & Film Roundup

0117500a-dccc-4673-b672-b37f9f7408ea

June was a quiet month for screen exposure. Well, at least the second half of it. I have a special someone visiting me so, I assure you that there will not be any complaining. This also makes up my much-needed excuse for posting a June roundup on the second day of June, rather than the first of it. While I thought these roundups would keep the blog alive when I did not know what to write about, I also realize now that they also keep me somewhat accountable. I love deadlines. I am past my deadline. Well, let’s talk about all the great things in life. Books, TV, and film. Here we go.

The Shelf

I have been mainly busy with reading research articles, extending my own research article, and editing my thesis. I managed to get my hands on a second-hand copy of Syd Field’s Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting (2005). It is an excellent read that is beyond a “how-to” book so far. I never got to finish it so, I’ll postpone the review to the next round up. What I did finish though, is Ta-Nehisi Coates’ take on Black Panther, A Nation Under Our Feet (2016).

 

51hkuJy3K6L

All images belong to the rightful owners.

 

Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet (2016) By Ta-Nehisi Coates

I remember reading an article by the ex-Atlantic journalist, Ta-Nehisi Coates prior to making the decision of picking up this comic book (Note that I have not read his take on Captain America, yet). The article talks about the mixed-feelings of producing a story that has been created by a predominantly White team of comic producers, Coates finding his purpose through taking the challenge, playing with a new voice and potentially making that voice sound better for many. I was curious to see how Coates re-introduced the previously primitive Black Panther (see, Fantastic Four #52) and whether the same criticisms made for the movie (2018) could also be traced back to this comic. Coates’ Black Panther actually received all of those criticisms in the comic itself: T’Challa was selfish, he was not heard by his nation, and he, perhaps, hurt his nation because he saw them as a burden rather than an honor.

The main plot revolves around the people of Wakanda attacking their own King. On the surface, they are controlled by a woman with supernatural abilities, however, Coates’ sets up the greater problem underneath, that is caused by the heaviness of T’Challa’s crown. While the enemies plot against overthrowing T’Challa, he fears his greatest challenge of failing Wakanda. Coates’ way of telling this story is beautifully poetic, complex, and one that houses an interplay of many messages. His take of the Black Panther is not actually a book of physical war but the fearful war within the King. It is nowhere close to a primitive representation, but psychological warfare that pushes T’Challa for reconsidering his ideology. It is Black Panther refreshed, yet not one that forgets history. I suggest you get your hands on it and read it. Then, read it again to truly appreciate the story behind every word.

The Small Screen

 

AAAABaW2TjgznhnN10U7HMeovYEdOX9KzAfqwCpAFQfOmqRl-32T_xtSx7BOfhUsI5I33RFJmEO_1pv8HRYSlNrLCPQF4ZN6uW-bZr8Wc-IkyDAQuObx0U99

All images belong to the rightful owners.

 

How to Sell Drugs Online (Fast) (2019)

I don’t know why I will stamp this show as mediocre yet but… I will anyway. Netflix caught me on its main page trap when the show was first released, I did not have anything to watch at some stressed point in my life and pressed play. I did not binge watch this show, rather, went back to it whenever I was desperate. Don’t get me wrong, it is wasn’t a bad show per se. It was just a real-life, coming of age story that had minimal sickening events (see, episode 8… I think), and not so sickening references to the dark web (I was forced to watch a YouTube video talking about the dark web so, I hate talking about the dark web).

The plot is about Moritz, whose girlfriend just got back from an exchange program from the US and questions the meaning of life (thanks to the drugs, hence the title of the show). So, Moritz decides to sell drugs to win her back and surprisingly makes a lot of money to fuel his greed. I don’t think the growth of Moritz’ online drug business is so typical, but the show accurately represents the German young-adult culture and the effects of the wide use of drugs. The show also deserves an A+ for its use of simplistic cinematography and tech-inspired graphic components. Overall, is it a waste of time? No. Is it an amazing show? No. Continue reading

Playing God: Marvel’s The Punisher (2017)

Author: Muammer Tuncer
Editor: Hazal Senkoyuncu

 

img_2201

Visual Credit: Karina Rehrbehn (on halfnakedbanana.tumblr.com)

 

The Punisher (season 1) opens with Frank Castle’s troubled past that haunts him in his every waking moment and quickly establishes the overarching narrative of the show: Revenge. And, of course, it comes with pain.

To recap the series: Frank Castle’s family is murdered. He seeks revenge for those who are responsible for killing his family. His mission also reveals bits of his past throughout the series. While Frank is thought to be dead, Agent Madani follows Frank after spotting him on the news, spending her screen time to find the man of mystery. It is revealed later, that the murder of Frank’s family was part of a larger conspiracy, which then changes the direction of the series. This is exactly when the unstoppable action of The Punisher begins to unravel.

There are several flashbacks that play in Frank’s head: His wife and kids’ murder in front of his eyes, excerpts of Frank and his friends inside a military plane to Afghanistan, his friend Jigsaw’s betrayal. These moments build up the alter ego of a vengeful vigilante, or in Bernthal’s (who plays Castle) words, “He ain’t got a fucking cape. He ain’t got any superpowers. He [just lives in] an unbelievable world of darkness and loss and torment”. The Punisher certainly is a band-aid story. Frank cannot cure his own pain, so he numbs it. And, his substance is the vigilante work that pulls him out of the deep sadness.

Karen (Daredevil’s strong-willed blondie journalist) fights for Frank’s good intentions and truly believes in him. Her character is already established in Daredevil and the Defenders, and she continues to be the Marvel TV’s moral compass in the Punisher. Her role as the love interest and damsel in distress reprises as Jigsaw uses her in a trap to reach Frank. The scene reveals what Karen and Frank have been on the contrary: They have an unspoken, skinny love for each another.

The series revolve around the judgment of Frank the Punisher. Perhaps, he is playing God. In a world where the bad guys walk around the block swinging their arms, Frank is the justice. It would also be fair to say; Frank portrays a superhero misunderstood. He isn’t really a superhero; he is one of us. What makes him so different is his big heart, unbelievable courage, powerful character, and endurance.

Note from the Editor: This is the first collaboration featured on Hazal’s Camera. I would like to thank Muammer for jumping into writing his first review without a doubt and letting me help him in the process. While I love talking about media, I also want this website to be a platform that can house different opinions. I am looking forward to future collaborations. You can email me at hazalscamera@gmail.com with all of your ideas (travel, news, film-tv, books, personal reflections, etc.).

[A Review] How to Recover After Avengers: Endgame

The following review is spoiler-free, but my comments may get you thinking about possibilities, I suppose. Read at your own risk.

https---blogs-images.forbes.com-markhughes-files-2019-04-AVENGERS-ENDGAME-poster-DOLBY-CINEMA

Patiently sitting through the end credits, being handed over tissues, sobbing a little more, waiting for the post-credit scene that I know is, definitely, not happening.  I wish I hadn’t seen the movie for a while longer.

Avengers: Endgame is Russo Brothers’ best work yet. A majority of the viewers would agree that we were heartbroken, but not disappointed. Marvel Studios have given us what we asked for: The end of a hero’s journey. So gracefully representing what it means to be a hero: Selfless and brave, as mythic as it can be, but also vulnerable and honest about their fears.  There is also a touch of Disney’s magic as the movie drove the overall notion, “I will die trying if it means I am serving the ones I love”.

Endgame completes the Infinity War, yet, is a distinct, special, emotionally-charged experience. In a way, it puts more sense into the rollercoaster ride of the Infinity War. The three hours are absolutely made use of, well-transitioned, and necessary to unravel the narrative.

The film does a good job of digging deeper into character development which is so different from what we are used to within the origin stories and follow-ups. Our superheroes change, they are broken, and finding their way back doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll showcase their punches and kicks, but rather it is a journey that almost fixes their brokenness, and gives us, the viewers, some relief at the same time.

There’s so much more I would like to address in terms of cinematography and representation, however, I’ll let this experience sink in a little more until I get to it. And the question of how to recover after the Endgame? –I suggest appreciating what the franchise had given us for the past 10 years and the Endgame experience as a whole. Keep in mind, the MCU has a history of great resurrection and we could only hope for one last one.

This may be my love letter (back) to Lee, Feige, The Russo’s, Favreau and Downey. Thank you for gracefully fixing our broken parts. I cannot see the Endgame projected onto the screens any other way.