Wednesday, March 6, 2013


My movie review for Titanic

Movie Genre: Romantic Tragedy

Grade: A+, by Matthew Felsted

Titanic is a deep ocean romantic tragedy based on the real story of the Titanic and how it sank to the ocean floor after striking an iceberg. The story start with treasure hunters in small submersibles peering at the seafloor wreckage. With a single minded purpose, they scavenge the debris for the most coveted of all jewels, the Heart of the Ocean. The dazzling blue diamond belonged to a woman named rose, the narrator of the film. As she recants the tale of the titanic, the crew eagerly listens on and it morphs in to a rendition of her story.

In total melancholy, Rose tries to kill herself by jumping off the ship's deck. Jack talks her down just in time. She quickly falls in love with the man and secretly pursues an affair against her fiance, a man she does not love.

Like in real life, the Titanic hits an iceberg and begins to sink. The passengers foolishly down played the threat of the ship actually sinking and amid the hubris make many mistakes. Ignoring all danger, the crew under fill the lifeboats. To make things worse, there aren't even enough life boats for all the passengers! They hadn't even conceived of the idea that the Titanic, as a man infamously remarked, "God himself could not sink this ship".

Within a short while, the coldest fate befalls the passengers. As reality strikes  the crew panic like wild animals as the dark abyss of the ocean engulfs the passengers.

Spoiler Alert (Scroll down)

Jack and Rose miraculously survive the sinking of the ship and escape the suction caused by the capsizing juggernaut. The freezing cold ocean provides no safe harbor for the lost souls fighting to survive. Although they survived the capsizing, the ocean quickly took them under. While Jack ensured Rose's survival, it came at the cost of his own life. In his final moments, he grasps to Rose's hands. His body is submerged and soon falls dead to extreme hypothermia. Rose let's him go and his lifeless body glides in to the watery depths that claim his soul.

The Titanic is a movie that you can watch many times and still love.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


My movie review for Contact

Movie Genre: Sci-Fi

Grade: B, by Matthew Felsted

Contact is a powerful sci-fi cosmic mystery movie. Based on the real life organization founded at Berkeley University, the radio telescope facilities of SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence), and how it discovered a anomalous "WoW" Signal.

Throughout the movie, a female scientist passionately leads the world to decode the secret alien transmissions which ultimately lay the blueprints for building a colossal machine. The first machine is destroyed by religious terrorists, but is revealed that a billionaire secretly built a second one in a hidden location. She volunteers to be a test subject of the machine. The machine is initiated and by its motion it rips a hole in the fabric of space-time and she is taken on a time-warp journey through a wormhole.

When she returns, no one actually believes her story. No matter how emphatically she pleads, the skeptical audience refuses to believe her. They scrap the mission and cancel the machine.


My film review for Amadeus

Movie Genre: Drama

Grade: A+, by Matthew Felsted

The story of the historic prodigy and musical genius, Wolfgang Amadeus Motzart, is narated by a murderous madman and rival to the great composer. His name is Salieri and he pushes Motzart to his weary death by depriving him of sleep for many days. Whether or not this is historically accurate is unknown. The cause of Motzart's death in reality is a mystery and the location of his body unknown. He was burried in a lowly and degrading burial pit along with hundreds of other low class commoners - a class to which he did not belong.

To get an idea of the caliber of this man's genius, listen to this beautifully mournful masterpiece by Wolfgang Amadeus Motzart, The Requiem:

Finally, the movie trailer:

Howl's Moving Castle

Howl's Moving Castle

Movie Genre: Anime

Grade: A- (because it is a Cult Classic), by Matthew Felsted

Until now, my exposure to Anime has been limited. While I have many friends that praise the popular form that originated in Japan. Anime tends to be computer-animated or hand-drawn and are cartoon like, yet have intellectual appeal. You can learn something about a movie by looking at it's box office gross. According to Box Office Mojo (, Howl's Floating Castle, originally titled Hauru no ugoku shiro (IMDB), pulled in $4.7 million domestically, and amassed nearly $230.4 million in other countries. This tells us that this movie is exceptionally popular outside of the USA, with nearly 98% of it's revenue coming outside of the country. Out of 62,776 votes given by online users, the film scored a rating of 8.1 out of 10, (IMDB). The film was released in 2004.

The story is about a young women that is cursed by a bitter witch. To deal with her problems she turns to a wizard. Like the title suggests, the wizard's home does indeed travel. It has a magical door that can open into any one of four different locations. One location the door leads to a kingdom with the door being connected to a house on the outside, but on the inside it’s still the moving castle. In the other locations, the door opens to the wilderness were the castle is moving at the moment, and another to a mysterious and dark realm. The last door is unknown. Her name is Sophie and the wizard's name is Howl. She is a young girl, just 18 years old when she embarks on her journey.


  • Sophie
  • Howl
  • The young child (apprentice)
  • The talking flame
  • The magical hopping post scarecrow with a turnip for a head
  • The evil witch

Some vague references:
  • Symbolism
  • Religious Elements
  • Philosophical Appeal

Weak connections to concepts in philosophy: 

  • Taoism - 5 parts and principles
  • Ghandi - Peaceful opposition
  • Existentialism - Existence before essence
  • The Grand Inquisitor- The inquisitor: class of mages that rule over kingdom?
  • Siddartha- Life struggles, aims, and lifestylesTouch the Earth- Nature and God
  • Animus: Individuation and social relationship

Bruce Almighty

My movie review for Bruce Almighty

Movie Genre: Drama

Grade: C, by Matthew Felsted

Bruce Almighty is a entertaining comedy starring Jim Carey and Morgan Freeman. Bruce, an aspiring news anchorman in his late 40’s has a day where everything goes wrong. Not only does his most hated coworker steal the anchor position, Bruce is fired the same day. Things continue to get worse when he is beat up by a gang of Mexicans after helping a homeless man which brings him to where God invites Bruce to use his powers.

Bruce’s character sees himself as the center of the universe before and even after he gains his super powers. He demonstrates a lack of restraint when he explodes in a tantrum on live tv coverage when he learns his coworker got the position he wanted. When he has his superpowers, he uses it to get the position he wanted, instead of helping people. While his girlfriend is expecting him to propose, Bruce instead throws an elaborate celebration with a surprise to his girlfriend that turns out to be only a promotion for Bruce.

Barton Fink

My movie review for Barton Fink

Movie Genre: Film Noir

Grade: B-, by Matthew Felsted

                In this film the Coen Brothers take us on yet another dark and chilling path. Like other films they have made Barton Fink contains elements of film noir. Barton Fink is about a writer that finally gets his big break in Hollywood, a break that he tries at first to refuse, but eventually succumbs for financial reasons. He is commissioned with the task of writing a wrestling story but while he writes it he has to live in a hotel. His new residence is hotel hell, a miserable place where he meets his next door neighbor after reporting him to the front office clerk for being terribly distracting with his screaming. His name is Charlie Meadows and he has obvious problems. The hotel in many ways represents hell. Every time Barton Fink starts to write something distracts him. The wall starts peeling and the strange goo drips out. Typical of other movies from the Coen Brothers, Barton Fink descends into a darker world after a female writer he sleeps with is murdered. It is later revealed that the murderer is Charlie Meadows.

                I give it a B- for being so morbidly depressing. Nonetheless the experience created by this chilling tale is unique and may will give a strange but pleasing feeling.


My movie review for Armageddon

Movie Genre: Action-Adventure

Grade: A+, by Matthew Felsted

It is a catastrophic emergency that brings the main characters together in the film Armageddon. They are united in an urgent quest to save the world. A shower of meteorites alerts the world in an instant of the presence of an impending threat. Instantly, the vast destruction of the fore running shower alerts local authorities, where the news rapidly proceeds to climb up to the Pentagon, confirmed by the Navy, and disseminated through out the entire world by the press. The leadership theme is characterized by strict and formal military authority once it has reached the Pentagon, where a quick judgement call rules out the possibility of a hostile attack, delegates information and shares authority with Nasa. As a contrast from the formal and strict authority of the Pentagon, Nasa orders it’s organizational power on expertise.
The crisis proved to be a threat so great that it is believed an impact from the main asteroid would eradicate virtually all life on Earth. To discover how to deal with the threat the primary expert at Nasa called a meeting of the most gifted astrophysicists and they each took turns speaking and presenting ideas until finally one man spoke up and suggested drilling a hole in to the asteroid and detonating a nuke to split it and divert the resulting debris from Earth.

The main characters are all “rough necks”, oil rig field workers that handle drilling operations in all major environments. They were hand selected by the experts at Nasa.
The main characters do not exercise their true leadership roles and responsibilities until they are put in a rocket and sent up towards the asteroid.
Five main themes are present in the film. After reflecting on the themes, I have narrowed the prevalent ones down to the following: the Achiever, the Activator, Analytical, Command, and Maximizer. Each major player in the film is selected as part of an elite group, with nearly all of them having the Achiever theme. A select few key members serve as the Activators, the main expert at Nasa that gets everyone started and working together, and also Harry Stamper, the boss of the rough necks. The Analytical crew includes the astrophysicist that comes up with the solution to drill into the asteroid, and one of the unusual members of the rough neck group. The member is an MIT grad, that received a double doctorate (according to him) by the age of 22, and has an unusually high IQ. Again, Harry Stamper is in the Command theme, and the overall space agency is has a bent towards the Maximizer theme of leadership. They thoroughly searched all around the world to find the top experts, and then maximized their talents through accelerated and rigorous training.
To quickly review the dominant themes presented in the movie: The Achiever (mit grad genius, Nasa board of experts all graduated top of class), Activator (main expert, the boss), Analytical (Mit Grad), Achiever theme Command (Harry Stamper), and Maximizer.

The Pursuit of Happyness

My movie review for The pursuit of Happyness (intentional mis-spelling)

Movie Genre: Family Drama

Grade: B+/A-, by Matthew Felsted

            The Pursuit of Happyness is a drama based on the life of a real family. The movie’s main character is a father that is left by his wife and forced to raise his only child alone. The father’s name is Chris Gardner and is played by Will Smith. Chris is a tall and healthy black man in his 30’s. His emotional health matches his physique. Chris is emotionally resilient as he takes his failures and refuses to ever become depressed. Optimistic and sharp he always endures.
Chris Garder makes risky choices from the very beginning. He chooses to invest his entire lifesavings in medical equipment that he plans to grow rich off of by selling them to doctors. Unfortunately, very few doctors see any real need for the devices. Although he only fails again and again his emotional choice is to never give up. He chooses to emotionally trust complete strangers. A consequence of his trust causes him to have one of his expensive medical scanners stolen.
Chris’s objective changes as the movie progresses. Initially Chris wants to be a successful salesman and a prominent businessman for the San Francisco area. His objective changes from wanting success to desperately trying to keep his family together. This too however becomes a futile effort after his wife leaves him and takes his son. He finally sets his sight and his full determination on obtaining a prized internship position.
Although Will Smith tends to play the roles that make him seem physically tough and comedic, in the Pursuit of Happyness, he plays the optimistic and ever enduring character with emotional tenderness. Will Smith strayed from his normal acting style to form a perfect fit for the character.

50 first dates

My movie review for 50 First Dates

Movie Genre: Romantic Comedy

Grade: B+/A-, Matthew Felsted

Adam Sandler plays the role of dishonest Casanova charming and seducing women that travel to the tropical paradise he lives and works in. He moves from woman to woman until he meets someone truly unique. His latest crush - a woman with a traumatic brain injury that causes her memory to reset every morning of every day of her life without exception. Every day she wakes up thinking it's the same day and her relatives are stuck pretending and conspiring to maintain her involuntary fantasy delusion.

So how does a man make such a woman fall in love with him? The answer is through her family. He wins her over slowly after many failures. Her family gradually comes to respect him and he eventually creates a tape to  explain everything to her every single morning.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

My movie review for Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

Movie Genre: Witty Sarcastic British Comedy 

Grade: A-, Matthew Felsted

First, let me begin by paying homage to the CULT CLASSIC. The British wit in this film can sting your sides from laughter so heavy ... omg what a brilliant way to waste your time. Your cheeks my begin to hurt as you smile gets locked from ear to ear. Constantly quoted by irreverent high school and college students, this strange comedy is classic you can watch over and over again and laugh just as hard each time.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail is set in the medieval era in Camelot's Court. It is a parallel to the story of King Arthur, only it's 100% farce. The King goes around on his legendary journey in a witty parody of the traditional King Arthur. This movie is so popular that you can probably find the full length film on YouTube or another video site (try netflix).

So why did I give the film an A- instead of an A+? The film cuts short before the climax and to me, it ends prematurely in a totally disappointing way. It is a major let down, and all though it is meant to be funny, the ending is irritatingly stupid.

Deep Rising

My movie review for Deep Rising (1998)

Movie Genre: Action-Thriller

Grade: B+/A-, by Matthew Felsted

This deep ocean Action-Thriller capitalizes on Man's natural fear of the unknown and murders it's crew with a monstrous leviathan of ultimate darkness. If you like ocean flicks this is your movie. Keep in mind that this movie was made in 1998, and that's why I give it an B+/A-, as it is quite entertaining for it's time.


My movie review for Silverado

Movie Genre: Old Western

Grade: C-, by Matthew Felsted

Silverado is as generic and stereotypical old western movie with nothing out of the ordinary. Although the name carries with it the spirit of the critically acclaimed it falls short of impressing upon my mind anything significant enough to remember. In fact, it follows the old wild wild western formula to a T. It is a cliche in the movie world. I could hardly pay attention. If you're looking for a truly entertaining wild western movie, I'd recommend watching 3:10 to Yuma (2007) instead.


My movie review for Idiocracy (2006)

Movie Genre: Comedy 

Grade:B-, by Matthew Felsted

Idiocracy is very funny the first time. I mean ROFLMAO funny :D ... but The second time, it's about 1/4 as funny. Third time, 1/16 as funny. Fourth time? I can't watch more than 1 minute of it.

If you're having a lapse of maturity this sarcastic and witless humor will lift your lazy spirits to a chorus of laughter.

What's it about?

Being responsible and always concerned for the future security of the USA, the military embarks on a quest to find the most average man to freeze for testing purposes. After all, why risk someone valuable to a high-tech experiment? Within a short while the military program gets shut down and the hero of the story is forgotten about. Sitting in a cryogenic capsule, he remains in stasis for 500 years. He awakens to find the world is populated by morons and idiots. They are so stupid in fact that everyone soon believes that he is the smartest man in the world. The premise of the movie is that only the laziest, stupidest, and most irrisponsible people on the planet breed while the smartest and the elite are too responsible to have children because of a tough economy. In this Darwinian dystopia even a common fool could be king. The most average man in the world quickly rises to the top and becomes President of the United States of America.

Odds of this happening in real life: 1/10,000,000,000,000 .... (IMHO)


My movie review for Dreamkeeper

A hallmark home entertainment film

Movie's Grade: A, by Matthew Felsted

Dreamkeeper takes you on a magical saga as a young man seeks to have a vision in the tradition of his ancestral tribe. Frustrated and upset he hunts for his vision. The journey that follows is a Hollywood epic. This man soon discovers himself through vision in the past legends of those that came before him.

Battles with a water serpent, Gods marrying Earthly women, and total heroic exploits are some of the intrigues of this native American compilation.

This movie will bring to your heart

  • Wisdom of your elders 
  • Spirit of the Earth
  • Love for nature

License to Wed

So how good is the movie License to Wed? 

Well I can't tell you - I couldn't bare to watch more than 5 minutes of it!
No bueno.    :(


Movie review for Buried

A film by Rodrigo Cortés

Grade: B+

The movie starts off with a man in a dark enclosed space. The man is Paul Conroy and he soon discovers he's trapped - in a coffin! The American truck driver was ambushed in Iraq and he was taken hostage and kept in a grisly nightmare.

At first, this movie hadn't appealed to me. From the previews that I had seen I wasn't particularly impressed. I thought, how interesting could a movie be if the whole thing is filmed in a tiny box in the darkness?

My roommate put it in the dvd player and so I had no choice. Well ok I could have gotten up and walked in to another room, but that's not the point! The movie instantly captured my attention.

The first thing he discovers, his zippo lighter. He soon discovers his sordid fate. He has been kidnapped and held ransom by being buried alive. No time to waste. Fortunately he finds a cell phone.

  1. He calls 911 - no help
  2. He calls the fbi - they can't do anything
  3. He connects with Interpol - a charismatic voice tries to save him but fails 
Pray to God this never happens to anyone!

Semi-Spoiler Alert (scroll down)

If you like happy endings.. don't watch this! It is as morbid as it is terrifying. This is a great film for anyone into tragedies and anyone that hates sappy movies. It's a great movie if you don't mind a sad ending. No one wins.

Matthew Felsted