Tag Archives: Francis Ford Coppola

The Godfather II Review

Origin stories have drowned out the originality of the big-budget feature. Nowadays, everything, whether it is a supporting riff from an old legend or a leading role of an established franchise, needs an origin story. Before it was hip and resourceful to do so, though, The Godfather II took a portion of the Mario Puzo book, The Godfather, and siphoned it off into a sequel. While it may open with a mother’s love for her young boy and the lengths she will go to in defending him, the real core of The Godfather II is that the gut instinct of those threatened by the young boy is correct. It is a common occurrence in The Godfather. Instinct is the unmovable object, and it is that which The Godfather II bases itself on.

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The Rainmaker Review

Taking the right course of action, the road that leads to moral and personal justification is the road most travelled in Hollywood. Time and time again, producers offer the story of someone that perseveres through all the odds to see that justice is served. More often than not, we as an audience merely hope such goodness happens in reality when we also know that it is far from the truth. The Rainmaker, then, is one such film. It is filled with bad people, but those few good eggs that shine through like diamonds in the rough are trying to make the world a better place.  

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Rumble Fish Review

“Man, I love fights man” is not just a piece of early dialogue but is the essential core of Rumble Fish. The Francis Ford Coppola piece is engaged with a group of gentlemen who love to knock one another senseless. Rusty James (Dillon) misses the glory days of gang warfare. He wishes to live up to the expectations many have of him, especially those that compare him, rather unfairly, to his brother. That legendary status has not passed on to the younger sibling, but he is trying his hardest to capture that lightning in a bottle effect. It is hard to like James, his smug attitude and self-assured smugness are grating and eternally obnoxious. But it is the fallout of his missing brother, Motorcycle Boy (Mickey Rourke) that establishes this, and also the lack of law and order among these newly warring street gangs.  

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Tucker: The Man and His Dream Review

We all have dreams. Many will be crushed under the boot of reality. More will realise their dreams are simply not worth pursuing. I wonder when that will happen to me. It didn’t happen to Tucker, that man and his dreams were simply too big to fail. Or so it would seem throughout Tucker: The Man and His Dream, which riffs mightily and often on the Atomic Era formalities. That immediate post-war feel for life, where everything must be sleek and squeaky clean. America had bounced back from its Great Depression selling armaments and alcohol, and Preston Tucker was set on funding his dream of designing the car of the future. What that would look like at the time was simply anyone’s guess, but director Francis Ford Coppola and Jeff Bridges in the starring, titular role make for a good period piece pairing. 

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Dracula Review

Countless adaptations, reworkings and allusions to the Bram Stoker classic have been offered to audiences through a variety of mediums. There are only so many that can stick out and ingrain themselves in the legacy of Count Dracula. Who better to helm such a project than Francis Ford Coppola? Knowing that the best way to open any adaptation is with the sultry, smooth Welsh tones of Anthony Hopkins, Coppola’s rendition of Dracula adapts the Stoker classic with a finesse audiences should have expected. Here is a director whose finest works are based on the written word, whose first Academy Award came from adapting life into art, and who, when pressed for a rich experience, has no trouble delivering.

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The Godfather Review

Bolstered by the fine writing he had offered in the Oscar-winning Patton, Francis Ford Coppola, now seemingly on top of his game, sauntered into Paramount Studios in need of work. His production studio owed hundreds of thousands to Warner Bros., and his previous film, The Rain People, had bombed. But he had an Academy Award in the bag and showed no signs of stopping. His initial hesitance to take on Mario Puzo’s The Godfather as his next project stemmed from the “cheap” nature Coppola had assigned to the book. Still, that mounting financial pressure changed his mind, and that is indeed for the better, for The Godfather is a stroke of pure, raw passion.  

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Apocalypse Now Review

From its explosive introduction to The Doors’ The End to its final, unflinching moments, Apocalypse Now is the maniacal, dangerous creation Francis Ford Coppola trooped on through to accomplish. His shaky and loose adaptation of the values found in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness are established alongside the waning post-Vietnam war fallout, which inspired so many for the decades to come. It is hard to argue against Apocalypse Now as, at the very least, a definitive, stalwart remedial on the effect the war had on those involved. It is with that in mind that Coppola heads into the heart of darkness, combating not just the powers and horrors between America and Vietnam, but his own demons as well. 

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Battle Beyond the Sun Review

From their amicable work together over the late 1950s and early 1960s, Roger Corman produced several small, now-forgotten Francis Ford Coppola-directed features. Battle Beyond the Sun, technically, is his first feature-length film. How much involvement he had in the creation, direction and editing processes is beyond me, although I cannot imagine he had much say in anything so early into his career. It is better that way, with the clunky narration opening audiences up to a nuclear holocaust that wiped out much of the Earth. Rival powers wage war, because what else is there to do? Space exploration in film is fuelled rarely by peaceful notions, and often by simmering rivalries between two great nations. Battle Beyond the Sun opts for that latter option within seconds, leaving no room for change.

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Rip Van Winkle Review

Whatever the story of Rip Van Winkle may represent, director Francis Ford Coppola tries his best to adapt it to the big screen. His Faerie Tale Theatre entry, introduced by Shelley Duvall, is a strange choice. A sure-fire passion project, and one that links the great director with the writings of Washington Irving. While Rip Van Winkle may have within it a primitive and simple story, it is the essential meaning behind it that marks it as a memorable short piece of literature, and though Coppola has capable hands-on deck, he does not quite inspire the story of appreciating what you have and when you have it.  

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Dementia 13 Review

Out of my many fears, drowning has never been one of them. I’m not a strong enough swimmer to tempt Poseidon, and so stay away from deep bodies of water unless absolutely necessary. The last time I was in open water was the time I hit a seal with a lifeboat. I have sea legs, I just do not possess the ability to swim, having forgotten how to do so some time ago. A short and sweet horror film produced by Roger Corman and directed by a little-known director at the time by the name of Francis Ford Coppola, Dementia 13 drowns in its big ideas, for they are presented on such a small, restricted scale.  

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