Valley of the Bees (Frantisek Vlacil) **** - I've never heard of this film before it was recommended to me and I must say one of the greatest joys in life is discovering little-known cinematic gems and this is one of them. When a high-born man almost kills his son for disrupting his wedding to a much, much younger girl, he sends him to a religious order of knights. The boy grows up and escapes years later. What follows is a very gripping morality tale of the eternal battle of the spirit and the flesh with lots of wonderful layers and textures on it. It's sort of like Andrei Rublev with a dose of Seventh Seal in it but not exactly.
Brave (Mark Andrews/Brenda Chapman) ***1/2 - First, the good news: This is a vast improvement to Cars 2.
The bad news: It's still nowhere near as great as the other PIXAR films
at its finest. PIXAR's first fantasy/fairy tale and PIXAR's first film
with a female central protagonist is very much a solid effort that's
only CLOSE to being outstanding. Its biggest fault really is being
unfairly (somewhat) compared to its predecessors. I'm thinking had this
been a Dreamworks film, the film would have had better reviews. But as
it is, it's a fine, fine piece of work with great animation and
excellent voice over performances.
Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock) **** - This is my third time watching this film. I slipped it on the DVD player due to its recent shocking dethroning of Citizen Kane as the #1 movie in the recent Sight & Sound poll. My second evaluation still stands: It's a GREAT movie. Probably in my Top 100/250 films of all time but it's nowhere near the Top 10. And it's not my favorite Hitchcock (It's still running fourth behind Notorious, Psycho and Rear Window). But still, it's a GREAT, GREAT motion picture which I highly recommend everyone must see.