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The Mark of the Hawk (1957)
Interesting story, Sidney Poitier ruled
Although Sidney Poitier was not first billed, his character was definitely one of the main 3, and if it wasn't for him this movie would never make it past the 2 star mark. His acting carried this movie. It has a decent story about the Africans wanting freedom in their own country and although it didn't really have a B movie feel to it, there wasn't much there. The story was told well and the camera work was OK but you never really care about any of the characters. Sidney Poitier and his character's brother were the only ones who had any believable emotions. The rest of the cast had the same "look at me act" feel I got when watching the 1934 version of "The Scarlet Pimpernel"
After watching this it is not hard to see why Sidney Poitier was nominated for an Academy Award the next year, he is just such a good actor in a time where acting was less about believability and more about stage presence.
The Scorpio Factor (1989)
Not even good for the novelty
My friend got this in a 2-for-1 package, and rather than pay the store to keep it for him, he decided to take it with the other movie. Bad decision, now it takes up space at his house. From the first scene you knew it was an 80s movie, even though it was made in 1990, the styles and acting were straight out of 1985, but don't get excited, it wasn't enough to make it a cult movie, just plain bad. The acting was so bad that I was very much expecting the cast to take their clothes off and do some porn. Although there was a "SEX" scene, there was nothing there I wouldn't mind my 5 year-old to watch (so if you were hoping for some skin, don't bother). Even the Britts and underground freaks that were supposed to be comic relief were trying so hard to be stupid that it just was painful. Watch for when the sniper shoots the guy with the ring. When he shoots, the cross-hairs are on the lower rear right corner of the guys skull (mastoid), yet, when you see him in the morgue, the hole is dead center in his forehead. I could accept a plea that it was an exit wound and maybe it was a small caliber bullet allowing it to change direction after bouncing off the bone and cutting through the brain, but, this was an entry wound.
I gave this 2 of 10 stars because 1 star would mean it was bad enough to be nominated for a cult classic (see "Plan 9 from Outer Space" etc.), but it isn't. It just sucked all the way through. I think if the cinematography and editing were worse I could say it was funny, but the cinematography and editing were the only things I liked in this movie. If you are forced to take this home like my friend was and you feel absolutely obligated to watch it, make sure you are doing something else during the movie, like homework or bills or sleep, so that it isn't an absolute waste of 84 minutes (I thought it was longer, felt like a 2 hour movie, nice, that saved 35 minutes of my life.)
Planet of the Apes (1968)
Not just good, better than most movies since.
I am glad to see this is in the top 250. It made it there not because it is a cult classic, infact I think it is not a cult classic style of movie. It is not at all cheesy like I was expecting. Yes there are a few things in there that date the movie, but this is well ahead of it's time. If it were not for "Fight Club" I would not have seen it. (Cornelius, Rupert, etc. names that Ed Norton uses as aliases are names from this movie).
This movie talks about religion, culture, censorship, and calusness in a way that makes you think about how we might have been manipulated growing up in the cold war by our churches, schools, and government.
Now that I have seen this I would like to see some of the TV shows. I was too young to remember anything other than apes fighting humans back then. I hope the remake with Marky Mark was 1/2 as good as this was (I liked the remake of "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" more than I thought, it was better the the old sequels by far, so I have hope for newer remakes.)
I truely recomend this to anyone that likes movies that make you think, as well as those that just like action mixed with drama. This movie has very little lacking.
Fist of Fear, Touch of Death (1980)
Your VCR will never work the same
I can't remember why I got this, it was in a pack with 4 other atrocious Bruce Lee-sploit movies. They were all pretty bad (except the one where they do his biography) but this was the worst. The announcer at the start does a pretty good job of letting you know this will be a crappy movie right off the bat. I doubt that acting like his was acceptable even in the 70s. I hope you read this BEFORE renting, borrowing, or stealing this movie, because after I watched this my VCR broke and I am sure it was in protest of me playing this movie in it. If you already got it, don't watch it, try to get your money back NOW (even if you stole it, they should pay you for removing it off their hands) If you have watched this already, I hope it was on someone elses VCR, or maybe you can have the store you got it from refund you for the movie and your machine.
Lucas, not loosing his touch, changing his focus.
Some years after it came out and there are still people buzzing about this movie. Comparing and defending it against the others.
Here is my thought on the entire situation as made obvious in this 4th presentation: Episode 1.
I was 4 years old in 1977, I remember waiting in line for 2 or 3 showings (4 or 6 hours) so that we could watch "Star Wars". Even at the age of 4 I was able to understand enough of what was going on to watch it more often than I have ever seen another movie. By the time "The Empire Strikes Back" came out, I had seen Star Wars over 50 times, this all in theaters as VCRs were not known back then. I then watched #5 a lot and then #6 3 or 4 times. When I saw "Return Of the Jedi" I was still young, yet saw that Lucas was dumbing down the story for the kids. It still had its good moments yet was not as interesting as #4.
I was working in a movie theater when the redigitized version came out about 1997 and watched them a few times when we had them. And then when #1 came out I was very excited. But Lucas decided that he wanted to make films for his grandkids rather than people that knew the story. Fine it is his movie, do what you will, but my thoughts are this. You don't need to talk down to kids to make them enjoy movies. He could have kept the same seriousness in "Jedi" and "Phantom" as he did "A New Hope" and still make kids enjoy them. Jar-Jar and the Frog-King's "shake the head and make the cheeks splatter" are just a few ways to tell parents that this movie is not intended for people that know the plot, but rather for the kids of people that know the plot.
He is no longer making Sci-Fi movies, but rather "After-School specials". Jake Lloyd was too old for the part he was playing, but they said he was perfect, so they kept him... WHY? Yes he is a child actor and he wasn't that great, but a 4 year-old could not have done a worse job. Why didn't they find a kid the age Anakin was suposed to be and just live with the fact kids can't act, Jake couldn't either. We were suposed to feel sorry for Anakin, but Jake made me think, what a brat, why do they want to make YOU a Jedi so bad. There was nothing endearing about him, even when he left his mom, she didn't seem too sorry to see him go.
Even in the Indiana movies you can see Lucas making the series into kids movies. He tried so hard to get the movie industry to get their SFX better so that he could redo #4 the way he intended, so much so that he made his own effects system, yet in #1 he hid behind the effects and decided not to put any effort in the story.
Lucas is no longer a producer of good movies, just over priced, pre-school kids movies with a lot of special effects.
We Were Soldiers (2002)
Presented less like a Viet Nam movie, but more like WW2
This film reminded me the film "Tora, Tora, Tora!" rather than the other Viet Nam movies that I have seen. In "We were Soldiers" they actualy let you see the war from both sides. Rather than the NVA as a group of silhouettes relentlessly advancing with seamingly no agenda, you watch as the officers plan the attacks as their soldiers write in their journals and think of their families. You see the other side of the battle where they were scared but still attacked for their country.
I think that showing both sides of the battle makes you realize that they were not shooting faceless people but rather husbands, sons, fathers, and that they would rather be home and happy just like anyone else, but that circumstances placed them in a situation to where they had to fight or die like their counterparts. Then watching the American soldier's wives after their husbands died makes you wonder if the NVA wives were told in a similar manor.
Money: the root of all evil
Although the first 2 were under budget and the SFX were very bad, they followed the original story. Hellraiser and Hellbound were not about nail-biting edge of your seat gags and one-liners, it was about presenting a concept most people are exposed to but do not think of. We are taught that Heaven is where we all want to go to, and Hell is bad, but what if it were switched and hell is what we strived for. Barker was trying to make a twist on Puritian belifes as he feels trapped or banished from "regular" society as can also be seen in "Nightbreed". In Hellraiser, only those that make an attempt will be blessed with "an experience beyond limits... pain and pleasure, indivisible." It isn't about mass distruction and death, it is about people comming to terms with what awaits us after this world.
Even on a tight budget the "real" hellraisers were successful, so a big company, Paramount, thought "Why can't we make $$ off of this thing". So this 3rd attempt had a larger budget and threw a bunch of special effects in, found some witty one-line writers, used Doug Bradley and the box, but never bothered to read anything Clive Barker did. Just because Doug Bradley is Pinhead doesn't mean they know what they are doing. They took a good story and made it into a generic slasher movie. The cenobites didn't even have the corpse like blue skin signifying lack of blood.
It started out OK, but in the middle they made some idiotic decisions: Random people become cenobites (you have to strive to become a cenobite, Frank and Julia never were), these cenobites have CDs and cameras in their heads??!?! WHAT THE HELL??!?!
If you like "Nightmare on Elm Street" and have no clue what the real Hellraiser stories (as in before the movies were even thought of, like in the comic books) this might be good for you, as it wasn't lacking in Hollywood fluff, but for anyone that knows who Grizlard was, this was a disapointing derailment of a good concept.
I hated this the first time too.
I saw there were a couple people that watched this once and hated it. When I first watched it, I was about 17. My younger brother was watching it and just cracking up. I thought it was boring and never even bothered to watch all of it. What is weird is that I even liked the flying circus and watched it all the time, but this movie was just, "BLAH"
A few years later I was in a remote area for a year (Yosemite National Park) and there was nothing to do at night except watch TV if you had one. One night the local bar had a "Locals Only" party and the Holy Grail was the feature. "DAMN, not that again" I thought. But I got there and everyone was hysterical and reciting the entire movie. I think something I missed before finaly stuck and I realized what a great movie this was. If you saw it once and hated it, find a bunch of friends that liked it, get a big party going and have a blast. That might show you what it is all about. Although it is good when you are alone, it is soo much better with friends.
Yes I do now own this on VHS along with other python movies but when I got a DVD player, this was the one I bought. Meaning of life, Life of Brian, "...and now for something completely different..." are also good but Holy Grail just has something there that the others are missing. Maybe they were more serious with the others or something, but the Grail is now on my top 10 movies list.
How do you make the audience feel like they have amnesia?
The main character has short term memory loss, can remember things before the accident, but everything after, he can only remember for a few minutes. He tries everything he can to remember things, from taking polaroid pictures of where his apartment is to tattooing messages to himself on his body. The story was a very intriguing one all by itself, but the way the film was presented was even better. I don't think I have ever seen a movie do such a good job of making the audience feel like they couldn't remember anything either. Usually if you are watching, you know what happens before, so memory isn't an issue, but here, your memory doesn't help you very much.
I thought it was well done in directing, cinematography and just an all around good plot.
If you are going to rent this, give yourself enough time to watch it a few times before you return it.
Fight Club (1999)
A lot more than its commercials.
When I saw the commercials for this and even after my brother said it was a better film than he thought it would be, it wasn't until he actually rented it for me that I realized this movie was nothing like its commercials lead on. I was expecting a modernized version of the 70's Kung-fu movies, but with the added "Go out and stomp some schmuck off the streets" message to it.
I was not expecting it to be a thought out story where someone took the time to hide an actually good moral in the entertainment. Tyler's true intentions are explained when he tells Jack why he sent the convenience store clerk home. If you are reading this, you probably already saw it, but if you have not and are just curious, I say it is definitely worth the time, if you are in for a multi-layered movie that can mix immediate audio and visual stimulus as well as a lasting story line that you can scrutinize over for a long time to come. And if not for any of these reasons, there are probably more "Good" Memorable Quotes in this movie than you could use in a year.