Tag Archives: 1993 movies

Cronos (1993) Review

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Cronos

Time: 92 Minutes
Cast:
Federico Luppi as Jesús Gris
Ron Perlman as Angel de la Guardia
Claudio Brook as Dieter de la Guardia
Margarita Isabel as Mercedes Gris
Tamara Shanath as Aurora Gris
Director: Guillermo del Toro

Antique dealer Jesus Gris (Federico Luppi) stumbles across Cronos, a 400-year-old scarab that, when it latches onto him, grants him youth and eternal life — but also a thirst for blood. As Jesus enjoys his newfound vitality, he’s unaware that a dying old man, Dieter de la Guardia (Claudio Brook), has sent his nephew, Angel (Ron Perlman), to find the scarab and bring it back to him. But Jesus will not give immortality up easily, even risking the life of his orphan granddaughter (Tamara Shanath).

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I’m only aware and watched Cronos because it was directed by Guillermo Del Toro, and I wanted to check out all of his movies. This is actually his first film of his directing career, and for a debut movie, it was quite good. It does have its issues and lacks the same touch that most of Del Toro’s later films has, but there’s a lot of good parts here at the same time.

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Cronos is definitely an interesting take on a vampire story. It is slowly paced and can be a bit sluggish at times, even though the movie is an hour and a half long. The film lacks some depth and doesn’t go all the way with its ideas (at least not as much as I’d like at least), but I was reasonably interested throughout. Some plotting and dialogue isn’t exactly the best, it’s a bit rough around the edges and wasn’t quite polished. However those are to be expected from a first movie. The plot is simplistic but it at least manages to avoid overcomplicating everything. In terms of other issues, it’s a small thing, but while most of the movie is in Spanish, there are some conversations where one person is speaking in English and the other in Spanish. Those moments are pretty distracting and takes you out of the experience, it probably should’ve just been fully in Spanish (again though it’s only a minor distraction). The writing was solid enough overall.

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Federico Luppi gives a fantastic performance as main character Jesus Gris, an older man who finds himself with this particular device which helps him cheat death. He’s great and really portrays the character and everything he goes through really well, he really was a standout in this movie. Tamara Shanath also gives a solid performance as Jesus’s granddaughter, the relationship between the two feels genuine, and she really gets chances to shine towards the end of the movie. Ron Perlman is also in this and acts very well. He can be over the top and hammy at points (and his character’s motivations were a bit all over the place by the end), but I thought he was enjoyable to watch. The rest of the acting can be a bit mixed.

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Guillermo Del Toro directed this movie very well, especially considering that this was his first movie. It is lower budget at around $2 million, but he seemed to have put it to good use. It’s quite a good looking movie, it’s well shot, the use of colour was great, and I really liked the moments where Del Toro played with some gothic elements. You can really tell even just from this one movie that he’s a director who really has an eye for detail. The sets are full of detail and were well made, the makeup and practical effects are effectively creepy and well designed, the gore effects were greatly gruesome too. There’s quite an eerie atmosphere throughout too, which was helped by the score by Javier Alvarez, which was quite effective.

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Cronos isn’t one of Guillermo Del Toro’s strongest movies, but it is still solid. It doesn’t quite reach its potential despite its interesting take on the familiar vampire tale, and it is rough around the edges for sure. With that said, many of the flaws of the movie can be looked over considering that it was his first movie. On the whole it is directed very well, the acting from Luppi, Shanath and Perlman is great and it was interesting enough to watch. Definitely worth checking out.

The Age of Innocence (1993) Review

Time: 139 Minutes
Age Rating:
Cast:
Daniel Day-Lewis as Newland Archer
Michelle Pfeiffer as Ellen Olenska
Winona Ryder as May Welland
Director: Martin Scorsese

Newland Archer (Daniel Day-Lewis) is a lawyer who is happily engaged to May (Winona Ryder). His life however turns upside down when he meets and falls in love with May’s scandalous cousin, Ellen (Michelle Pfeiffer).

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I’d been meaning to watch The Age of Innocence for some time, it seemed like it would be something interesting. Sure, it had Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer and Winona Ryder, but what was interesting to me was Martin Scorsese directing this, a period piece of all things. Not to slam period pieces, and he has occasionally tried different things (New York, New York and Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore for instance) but I didn’t know what to expect from him with this. I actually liked it a lot more than I thought, and it really deserves a lot more love than its been receiving.

The Age of Innocence quite a long movie at under 2 hours and 20 minutes, I will admit that I started off watching the movie not really fully invested but it grew on me as it progressed. I think part of my initial problem was the fact that a bunch of information is being thrown at you through narration early on and there’s a lot that you have to know, but after everything was established and set up, I was on board with the movie through to the end. The screenplay from both Martin Scorsese and Jay Cocks was really great, you wouldn’t normally think of Scorsese as the right person to take on a story about an upper class affair scandal period piece drama, but he actually fits in very well. The Age of Innocence remains one of his most effectively passionate and emotional films, he’s actually called this his most violent movie, and even though there isn’t a drop of blood, he’s correct. As someone who doesn’t usually watch period pieces (not that I dislike them or anything), I was quite invested in what went on. The ending is also perfect for the film, couldn’t think of a better way to end it.

The talented cast did very well in their roles. Daniel Day-Lewis is really good as per usual, I wouldn’t consider this to be one of his all time best performances, but he’s nonetheless great. Michelle Pfeiffer gives one of the best performances of her career, and Winona Ryder also gives a great and complex performance. There are also some minor supporting performances from the likes of Richard E. Grant and Jonathan Pryce, who don’t leave as strong of an impression but are good enough in their brief roles.

Martin Scorsese did a very good at adapting his directional style to one that works for a period piece, and his work here is once again nothing less than fantastic. It’s a stunning movie, very well shot and edited. Scorsese really captured the time period excellently, and showed off the great production designs, locations and the costumes well. If there’s one aspect of the direction I wasn’t loving, it was all the narration. As time went on, I grew into it, but I remember being put off early on when there was a bunch of exposition and explaining done over voice over. A lot of it was explaining all the characters and while I get that it’s partly necessary with so many characters, it went a little overboard. After everything was established though, I thought the narration was used at the right level.

The Age of Innocence might not be among my favourite of Scorsese’s films, but there’s a lot here to be loved. His direction was outstanding, after the first 30 minutes or so I was invested in this story and the lead characters well enough, and the performances (mainly from Day-Lewis, Pfeiffer and Ryder) are all really great. I’d strongly recommend at least giving it a chance. The more I think about The Age of Innocence, the more I think I’m going to love it the next time I watch it again.