Kalel Johnston (shortcartoonist)
Kalel's Recent Reviews
Absurdist, foolish cinema is at its apex with DUCK SOUP, a vehicle for the Marx Brothers infectious stamp on physical comedy. While holding an airy, difficult plot to absorb that may be one-part political satire, it merely acts as a way of stringing the series of sketches together.
The most un-Marvel Marvel film so far and one of the studios more rousing entries, CAPTAIN AMERICA 2 has the earmarks of a political thriller, with superheroes thrown in to speed the process. The film never clearly paints a picture of the political landscape, and it is better for it - instead focusing on a well paced plot with questionable characters and motives. Marvel may be building a connected film universe, but there is enough intrigue in the world conveyed in this film alone to keep audiences wanting more.
Kalel's Favorite Movies
A spectacle set in scunge, Once Upon A Time in the West is a poet's tale that gives as much insight into the backdrops and times of the old west as the characters occupying them. The film is dirty, the film is cold, and the film is slow, but with the encompassing mastery of it's many departments, this is a film that is made for art and enjoyment. Through the sweeping score by Morricone, the picturesque cinematography capturing a painter's view of a gritty ordeal, or the engrossing and detailed screenplay lavished out like a straight retelling, this a film that easily captures the artistic attention of the audience while also managing to bring a stream of smiles. A strange fashion is adorned through the pacing of the picture, however, where the film seems to take constant, purposeful pit-falls in it's rythm. Each scene seems deliberately set up to rise at a slow pace, coaxing the audience on in anticipation until reaching a climactic peak, where after the tone drops once more as a refreshed scene takes the fore. Many a time this tends to work where it truly shouldn't. But with gratitude towards the artistic inflection and overall tone of the piece, the alternations of the tone work like the bumpy ride of a stagecoach - the trip takes a while, but the scenery is beautiful enough to lay away the slow waits. Yet, what truly sets Once Upon A Time in the West apart from it's many predecessors and successors comes through the notion that nothing is ever truly defined in the film. With plenty of dialogue nulled scenes, the audience is left to ponder over these character's, their ambitions, and the true driving force of the story. However, the characters lay as only a scattering of pebbles in contrast to the vast desert stretching before us. The film gives vivid insight and a sense of hearkening traditionalism in conveying the rugged, dry landscapes and atmosphere of this time. There are no "good guys" in the west, even our harmonica strumming lead actor is given a gritty ambivalence. There will be times where the motives and decisions of these men will be continuously questioned, but it is this realism that makes this film that further bit special. Out of a fiery and swift career, Leone proves himself to be at his peak in terms of fulfilling a film's aesthetics. The cinematography streams and weaves, levering itself between the pensiveness and contemplation of the extreme close-up, where we almost feel absorbed into the notions being felt by these men of vengeance; or allowing the complete consumption of the expanse surrounding these ordeals through distanced, yet wonderfully framed and placed shots. With the look of a painting and the force of a well oiled machine, Once Upon A Time in the West is cinema at one of it's rarest, highest rises. If ever there was a hard edged, dry opera with the kind of poetry told with few words, this film would be it.
Brilliant, breathtaking, inspiring. A good look into the life of Bruce Lee that, while having it's points of inaccuracy, makes for a fitting tribute to the man portrayed in a superb film. The casting of the film was done very well, Jason Scott Lee plays the tenacity and caressing sides of Bruce with the justice that is deserved with a fantastic array of support casting. A worthy note to mention about this film comes in it's musical composition. Here, Randy Edelman has created a score that fits perfectly with the scenes of the film and even outside of the film, the score can be seen a true stand out. For him to be snubbed by the Academy is an insult. What truly makes this film so great is how it infuses the elements of making a film that focuses on conveying meanings and themes to the audience, while also bringing a high level of entertainment, allowing the viewing demographic to be much larger. The main themes of racial tendencies during this time are clearly highlighted and it is through this that we, the audience, feel true compassion for the character on screen.