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Shogun Assassin (1980)
"Very mind-blowing" is the best way to describe SHOGUN ASSASSIN. Yes, it's a combination of two previous films put together, but its non-stop storyline, and its unreleting gore factor, puts the viewer into an unfamilar journey never before taken.
Nice voice-overs by the Shogun (Yagyu clan member) and the narrator (The infant, Diagoro, who gives both a comic and haunting view on his road to never-ending violence) and for those who thought the babycart was full of genius weaponry, should check out the third episode-BABY CART TO HADES, which may contain the first example of the Gattling Gun put to use!
Il grande silenzio (1968)
"...But nothing man can never do is wipe out the blood stains of the poor folk who fell here"
Without a doubt, one of the most overlooked films of all time. Watching THE GREAT SILENCE today, many of today's viewers may find some "cliche'd" scenes, along with some distracting dubbing. But this flick packs much more than one can bargain for.
-Plot: Bounty Hunters are collecting paychecks by snabbing up bandits in late 1880's Utah. A master gunfighter, "Silence", is out to collect dollars by killing those same bounty hunters who prey on the helpless marauders. "But who are the REAL bad guys?" is a question that carries throughout the entire film. As I mentioned before, there may be some moments in this film that seem dated and familiar, but let's focus on the un-familiar.."Silence" is mute, his throat slashed by bounty killers. Not only that, but he ALWAYS draws his gun in self-defense..Never draws first. And instead of arming himself with the traditional .38, "Silence" packs a Mauser C-96 (aka "Broomhandle") drawing fear into those who stand in his way. What else? Well, since Capt. Kirk brought forth headlines by kissing Lt. Uhura on STAR TREK, director Sergio Corbucci goes all out for a full interracial love scene (Unthinkable at the time) . What else?? This bad-boy takes place in the cold, desolated snow-bound hills, where a lot of violent stuff just seems to always happen..In fact, the blood-red violence appears much more graphic than ever in the white-frozen snow. And of course, there's the much-talked-about ending that is bound to slap EVERYONE in the face.
Here, Klaus Kinski proves that he was one of the most intense actors ever to appear in the 20th century. Just watch his movements/expressions during the last climactic scenes. Oh yeah, Ennio Morricone's incredible music is presented through-out. Want more? Please watch this film...If you can get a hold of it!
Django il bastardo (1969)
Crude and lewd..But to the point
Ever since Bengt Enkerot approached Max von Sydow in THE SEVENTH SEAL and said the immortal words, "I am Death", it appeared as though cinema and its movie-goers had admired a new formula involving the supernatural...DJANGO THE BASTARD may not be in the same league as the mentioned Ingmar Bergman classic, but it may be responsible for elevating the "Avenging stranger" genre to new heights. In this Sergio Garrone-directed flick, Anthony Steffen bears the Django name (No relation to Franco Nero's DJANGO) and has a score to settle with some old Confederates that are responsible for many deaths, including...Django?? Did he survive? Or is he "A devil from hell"?
As I stated up above in the one-line-summary, yes there is some crude filmaking here, but there is also some effective stuff as well. Just watch the opening minutes involving a Grim Reaper-esque, Django, walking into town, camera angles panning from above and below. Stopping at his feet, then to have a man-made cross suddenly emerge from his cloak. The cross bearing the name of his first victim, planted into the earth with one stroke! Also kudos goes to the actor who played the demented, Luke Murdock. I got a kick out of that guy!
The Drug war never looked better
The best film of 2000, followed by CROUCHING TIGER....
Just want to sum up a brief summary by saying that this was one of the best flicks I've seen on the big screen in recent years. Only flaw I began to detect in TRAFFIC was that it almost resembled a TV series, but hey, that's what it's based on, huh? By the way, its kind of ironic that Benecio Del Toro, Steven Bauer and Miguel Ferrer pop up in a drug film knowing that they had once done something VERY simliar back in the late 80's on a mini-series called THE CAMERENA STORY. Also, its finally nice to see a great actor like Del Toro to finally get some recognition out here in movieland.
I could'nt end this review without giving praise to my favorite moment(s), the cinematography! The constant dark, blue gloom of Ohio. The warm, orange blossom of San Diego. And the scorching, yellow inferno of Tijuana.
The Warriors (1979)
"Who are the Warriors?!?!?"
Though I do happen to like a lot of Walter Hill's films, THE WARRIORS is still the one that I am quick to point out as my favorite. Its best to view this film as some sort of surreal, comic-book fantasy, rather than some real-life situation. Because it sure helps a lot out better this way when viewing this movie.
For years, I have been trying to find the Sol Yorrick novel on which this is based on. After all this time, no avail. Then finally, I came across an article published by one of my favoite mag's, that explained the inspiration for the motion picture. Now it all can make perfect sense. THE WARRIORS, guilty of a crime that they did'nt commit, are on the run from the toughest of what society has to offer. Besides the 100+gangs/families that are out there, there is still the law-enforcement on the streets that are quick on the draw to apprehend them. And to give a description of the gangs that they encounter are: the LIZZES, who can be related to the SIRENS in Homer's THE ODYSSEY, and the BASEBALL FURIES who can be related to the UnDead, due to their facial appearances, all add up to a monumental struggle for THE WARRIORS who just want to get home & clear their name from the villainous ROUGES.
As for the bad news, I recently caught the re-released film on DVD. And while it is great to look at in it's original widescreen format, there is absolutley no special features that can redeem the whole project. Out of all the countless films that I have seen over the past few decades, THE WARRIORS is one of the very few movies that I cared about for what happened behind-the-scenes.But sadly, all we get is a theatrical trailer. Hopefully a SPECIAL EDITION can be released down the road to let WARRIOR(or Bopper) fanatics, like myself, be fulfilled.
"You Warriors are good..Real good!"
A nice Indie!
Yes, Temptation is a powerful risk.. And what better way to explain this side of the story in a black & white, low-budget, indie! No, not a bad type of "B-Movie" but an involving, character study involving a poor guy who seems determined not to take a step in common pitfalls in life...Yet, a FINE and mysterious woman named Cappuccino enters his life and here his troubles/resistance begins!
Even though some of this story may become predictable to many others, Its impact (well executed, by the way) succeeds on a worthy level, which can keep a viewer glued to the screen..
Not bad..Not bad
Besides the (supposedly) homosexual theme that was present throughout the feature, regarding Kenobi & Lobot, this would be the type of film I would make when I was 6 years old...And that's not supposed to be an insult. I liked what I saw in KFKBA, the music, especially "HEART LIGHT" for some reason, and the sub-plots (notably Mace Windu AKA Sam Jackson) were cool. A fine feature from a...Cool kinda guy!
A 2nd look...
Ok, Ok...Now that the shock value has slightly diminished from my last review, I decided to review the film once more and Well... the film still stands as one of a kind.
To begin things off, I first heard that this film was linked to have created the "Blaxpoitation" boom of the 70's. I can't argue with you on that. BUT hardly does this film connect in the same league as it's others do. Yes, there is the militant, social commentary regarding the African American standpoint of the time, but here it is represented to such a raw, dirty (literally) and striking attitude about freedom and liberation towards America's system.
*Possible Spoilers Ahead*
In no other film will you find: A) A young Sweetback quickly evolving from boy-to-man the way you do here B) Deliberate beatings involving both innocent suspects and authorized persons of the law C) An up-close encounter featuring a friend of Sweetback who is reluctant of helping him..while sitting on the toilet D)The way Sweetback is able to replenish himself of a wound via.....well, you'll see.
Technically, the film gets a bad rep for looking & sounding like crap at times, but in my view, this HELPS due to the film's nature. Also, An early EARTH, WIND, AND FIRE helped create its soundtrack, which can surely sound monotonous at times, especially when the "Sweetback" theme is played. But there are moments when the music becomes monumental. Most notably during the "C'MON FEET" segment which excites the chase between Sweetback and the police. He (Sweetback) begins to get tired from the constant running, and the law is hot on his heels. Yet he refuses to give up and...Just keeps on running while the police continue to run into another false mishap. And then there is the final, "ADRESS SPEECH" as I call it, when an exhausted and wounded Sweetback seems on the verge of giving up. Instead, the film's chorus of voices seems to resurrect Sweetback into not submitting, not giving himself onto the law, knowing that he does'nt stand a fair chance in court, and is able to regain his feet and keep on runnin'.
This is my kind of film-making if you ask me. So if you've got a tough stomach, a patient mind, and want to see something in cinema that you may not ever see again..Be my guest.
Russian Rhapsody (1944)
Gremlins wrecking havoc on Nazis
During the early 1940s, It was pretty easy for allied nations to mock Adolph Hitler and his Nazi ways. But shortly after a year when this cartoon first appeared, footage of the concentration camps was released world-wide to stunned individuals. All of a sudden, Hitler and the Nazi party were no laughing matter.
So maybe this was why I never saw this toon air on my television during my youth years. Yet I recently caught it and *shocker* enjoyed it! Mel Blanc did an amusing job imitating Hitler plus the Gremlin theme song is pretty catchy! Along with the energetic directing by Bob Clampet (Nearly all of his toons had some anarchy in them) and the familiar faces of Warner Bros. animators & execs, put on the bodies of the gremlins,make this cartoon memorable.
It's best to watch it with an open mind,forget what Hitler stood for, and enjoy watching the "Gremlins from der Kremlin" .
A cinematic masterpiece, anyone?
The first time I watched this film, I started to think about what all the fuss was about. But in time I soon realized that I was'nt just watching a good ol' regular western, but a treasure in cinematic art.
After growing up seeing countless westerns like, HIGH NOON,THE WILD BUNCH,HOW THE WEST WAS WON, THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES,etc. It was clear that THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY had left more of an impact on me than the rest of the genre ever did. And now that I have watched it numerous times over the past few decades, (Theres the proof that I never get sick of watching it!) It's dawned on me that this flick will go down in history as one of the greatest masterpieces of film.
So...Where to begin? First off, I knew I was in for something different when the first 15-or-so-minutes of the film opens with no dialouge. Plus the first appearance of "The man with no name" ,which occurs much later than everyone would be led to expect, gives new meaning to the phrase of "grand entrance". THERE'S MORE! Lee Van Cleef's "Angel Eyes" is the epitome of evil..Enough to qualify him as, The Bad. But Eli Wallach's performance as "Tuco" aka The Ugly, is the big scene stealer! Just about every line that comes out of his mouth brings a chuckle of laughter out of me.
Sergio Leone's camerawork still amazes me. Never before have you seen such close-up emotion on the faces of the gunslingers and soldiers, combined with the backgrounds of Spain (Many shots strongly resemble different parts of my native California!) Of course I could'nt end this review without giving more praise to the musical score by Ennio Morricone.Easily the most definitive western music ever! The theme sounds glorious during the "Tuco on Blondie's trail" scene..Just ONE of my many favorite moments from this classic.
"When you have to shoot, Shoot! Don't talk"