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120 reviews in total 
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Grindhouse (2007)
comic relief and bloody retro, 12 February 2008

After seeing the most of Tarantino's and Rodriguez's work, this double feature was again amazing and a welcome retro shock. The trademarks are incorporated in a whole new concept and fingerlicking (provided you are a carnivore) action. I couldn't help but recall parts of some greasy Troma VHS-tapes i rented in another life, something to do with Cult Videotheek Amsterdam. T&R used many technical achievements of the old masters of cinema, absolutely fantastic framing combined with vacuous conversations (Are you OK? No I'm just Cherry) and graphically mind-boggling gadgets (italian vogue ?!) Also some was reminiscent of Mad Max and Reservoir Dogs, admitted i never did see Vanishing Point, White Line Fever and Big Wednesday.

Be sure to see Death Proof first and Planet Terror afterwards. As far as i'm concerned, this work proves that double features are a great phenomenon and i hope there will be more.

4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
complete and uplifting little movie, 21 April 2004

This short was screened at AFFF between 'the making of' Bad Taste (1987) and Forgotten Silver (1995), although it was not directed by Peter Jackson.

There's not much speech and that is the universal power of it. It's a complete movie about two neighbours who have a funny conflict. Or a funny way of resolving their conflict, i should say. Their unorthodox ways must be on anybody's mind from time to time: especially children's.

I appreciated that this short didn't want to be a full movie but is good fun at just the length it has. The sound and cinematography techniques tell most of the story.

WingNut rules! 7/10.

5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
devil-worshipping international conglomerates: eat your heart out!, 14 April 2003

Tonight LLoyd Kaufman got his lifetime achievement award. Afterwards there was a presentation of 'Apocalypse Soon' which I expected to be very raunchy (like the extras on Troma's War DVD), but turned out to be incredibly educational and entertaining as well. 135 minutes of perseverence by Kaufman, cut from a gruesome production in which eleven people got sacked and the cameraman hired back again (then trashed), an M16 didn't work, a stuntman had to be paid for jumping from a stunning 3 feet high onto two-feet-high cushion, actresses suddenly don't want to take their shirts off (you can't do that to a Troma movie) and lots of other mind-boggling problems. If this is a fake story about a troubled production merely to make the featured movie sell, then i don't know what's real anymore.

If you don't consider the quality of the featured movie, then I'd have to say 'Apocalypse Soon' is better than 'Hearts of Darkness' in which case i have to rate it 10/10 and i will. Just a pity they don't show how Kaufman fires all those crew. I still hope the Hollywood companies (read: the devil-worshipping international conglomerates) see this and realize they've been beaten once and for all by Troma. The editing is ingenious, as is the camera-work. Even Michael Herz's (Joe Fleishaker?) corpulence surpasses Marlon Brando's! It's hard to admit, but I don't think a 135 min docu about The Lord Of The Rings would be THIS interesting.

These 135 minutes are simply worth it and confirmed that Kaufman (also see Terror Firmer) indeed has achieved a lot. BTW, the lifetime achievement award formerly went to Paul Verhoeven (Soldaat van Oranje, Starship Troopers, Basic Instinct) and Brian Yuzna (Bride of Re-Animator, Society, Beyond Re-Animator) and Dario Argento (Phenomena, Suspiria, Profondo Rosso).

Naqoyqatsi (2002)
8 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
The exploration of the human kind continues scientifically, not intellectually., 17 March 2003

'Between innocence and politics' would be a Donnie Darkesque mistake to describe the experience of this movie. There's more than one dimension in the world of Reggio and Glass. Especially Jon Kane adds a dimension in my opinion. At times I was a bit disappointed that the creators couldn't resist the temptation of getting rather political and explicit. That wasn't necessary to entertain the audience more. Some may put it like certain sequences are on the verge of being political, but the engagement annoyed me. The Beastie Boys video 'Something's got to give' did it better.

Animation/CGI has been completely aesthetically accepted as means of returning to the level of part one with bits of Tron, bytes of the Matrix, snippets of 2001 and views of Avalon (Oshii, 2001). Together with Glass's magnificent tunes and 'skywalker sound' Naqoyqatsi almost reaches the massive level of Koyaanisqatsi.

Reggio and Kane return to computer-mainboards, cultivation of nature, escalation of conflicts, but this powerful and almost scientific exploration of all kinds of human conflicts still has little intellectual value. Not even if it featured a thousand computer generated symbols, Leonardo Da Vincis, Madame Tussauds, American presidents, Hieronymus Boschs, terrorists or babies. The explicit and excessive use of facial icons and expressions diminishes the universal value as well. I was charmed by the portrayal of internal fights that sportsmen and -women experience (but why did they forget rowing sequences?). It still is way better than the picturesque Powaqqatsi, not only because this has less stock shots, apart from some military parades and nuclear mushrooms. I'm glad Soderbergh shoved it forward. 8/10 (Koyaanisqatsi after reconsidering 9/10, Powaqqatsi 6/10)

aesthetically grim, 18 December 2002

This is a worthy sequel as I enjoyed myself as much as with part 1. I still haven't read any of the books, but I have to say that the story and plot twists develop in a way I could never have imagined. Some of it was even reminiscent of 'Throne of Blood' (Kurosawa, 1957) which was of course a brilliant adaptation of MacBeth. See that film to figure out which parts I mean plz.

The art direction is of course still great as they shot the movie together with part 1 and 3. Here the CGI has become fingerlicking good: Gollum puts Jar Jar Binks AND Yoda to shame!

Let's wait for part 3 to drop some concluding remarks about this trilogy. For now it feels great to experience the premieres of these movies and be a part of the hype as well, I might add. The videogame should be Everquest I guess (never played it though). WingNut rules (and Orlando Bloom can surf!): as far as I'm concerned this gets the same rating as part 1.

23 out of 32 people found the following review useful:
this is the end ... all the children are insane, 5 June 2002

'Are my methods unsound?' - 'I don't see a method at all, sir.'

Hearts of darkness: a filmmaker's apocalypse has become the mother of all making-of documentaries. At least that's what Coppola had in mind. I guess every making-of ever made wanted to be something like Hearts has accomplished. Problems in production, actors, story, editing, financing and directing are revealed. However, not much attention is paid to the actual adaptation of the original story and the difference in vision that was obviously there. The trouble surrounding Apocalypse Now as presented in this documentary makes you wonder how on earth Apocalypse Now was actually released at all. On the other hand that might just be exploitation of a supposedly disastrous production, like the trouble with 'The African Queen' (Huston, 1951). In that case, it would mean Coppola created a legend out of some futile problems to emphasize that you HAVE to see the final product.

Nevertheless his film IS spectacular. The helicopter action in Black Hawk Down can't top the impact of the lauded Huey-attack. And Apo features one of the greatest scores and (awardwinning) sound designs in history of cinema. With the emphasis on lunacy and despair in the form of surrealist cacophony. I would have liked to hear some more in this docu about the sound design that was as revolutionary as that of 'the Right Stuff' and 'Star Wars'. I really couldn't say that we were all tricked into pretensions and reputation-building (which IS the case with Vertigo if you ask me) for commercial purposes.

Almost forty years after Orson Welles wanted to make his first film out of Joseph Conrad's book 'Heart of Darkness' (yes, that's 3 years before Citizen Kane), Coppola started to create his own loose adaptation of the book. In this documentary is even an excerpt of Welles' 1938-radio adaptation of Heart of Darkness. I hope it will come with the docu when it is released on dvd (will it ever?).

Apo was supposed to be a sort of journey of a man into the past (hence the newly restored scene on the french plantage), almost maybe like Bergman's Wild Strawberries, but only the form and the surrealism, not the content of course. But if we may believe this docu, the production resembled just as much turmoil as the lunacy in the story itself. The French plantage (with french actress Aurore Clément ('Paris, Texas')) illustrates the fifties: the idea of the French still being in the forest and representing the fifties politics. Coppola elucidates why he initially shot and later cut out the scene. Fortunately it would later be presented to the world in the 'Redux' version. The story of Apo was supposed to take us back in time, to re-live Kurtz' adventure. Maybe even like the extraordinary 'Paris, Texas' (Wenders, 1984) that in content is also a journey into the past of a man.

For most people, this docu will be a delight just to see behind the scenes footage, because they don't see they're being manipulated by the actual SELECTION of footage and mutilation of interviews. It's very entertaining, but ultimately some points do not convince. How can the director of 'the Godfather 1+2' and 'the Conversation' let a production get out of hand like the way it's presented in 'Hearts'? And, the real heart of the concept isn't really touched by any of the interviewees. But, as an admirer of Apo, I say it's a must see, not only for the background stories (Welles), the problems created by actors (Sheen's attack, Brando's corpulence) and the lunacy on the set itself (idiodyssey?), but also to hear Francis Ford Coppola say that the film will not be good and a 20 million dollar disaster, while it was becoming the greatest warmovie ever made (right behind Catch-22 ;-). And for that, mr and mrs Coppola, I salute you. 9/10

The Warriors will not bend. For anybody. Not in 1979 and not now., 3 June 2002

Injustice, female seduction, baddies and gang action portrayed by tour-de-force acting performances in this true cult movie (does it still exist?), masterfully directed and written by Walter Hill, screenwriter of Alien (Scott, 1979). Look past the few improbabilities and you'll see that Hill (the Long Riders, 48 Hrs, Crossroads) can/could surpass Spielberg's storytelling qualities and lives up to Woo/Peckinpah action with excerpts in slow motion. I think the wipes between scenes (like Akira Kurosawa and George Lucas among others used) reveal the admiration of Hill and cinematographer Andrew Laszlo (First Blood, Inner Space) for the mentioned storytelling. This one just isn't for kids, although it might feel like the concept for a computergame from time to time. The Warriors doesn't contain the tearjerking and the sentimental stuff that Spielberg and Lucas can't seem to get rid of.

The Warriors is a quite straight forward non-meandering fugitive-film that gives as strong and lasting an impression of the streets and subway of New York as the French Connection does. In this case mostly at nighttime until the apotheosis. The graffiti and/on subways define the setting and the mood of this urban adventure about eight fugitives. City streets don't have much pity for them. That's the only philosophy in this intellectually devoid movie. And I like it that way.

Is The Warriors an icon and the thing a lot of directors try to accomplish today or is it simply suspense? IMO it is a classic alright. With great and dated music, where 'dated' is a compliment (try this one: 'Nowhere to run' by Martha and the Vandellas). You will want to see it again after a while. And again.

David Patrick Kelly (the Funeral, K-PAX) returns as 'Luther' also in 48 Hours (1982) and should get much more recognition today, because he can create a sardonic sort of craziness in a story but also reliability itself. 9/10

Near Dark (1987)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
stylized horror with distinctive music, 2 June 2002

The great Bill Paxton (Aliens, Frailty, a Simple Plan, Weird Science), Jenette Goldstein (Aliens, T2) and Lance Henriksen (Aliens, Millennium, the Right Stuff, Terminator) teamed up for Near Dark as a coherent outfit that actually consists of outsiders. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow (Wild Palms, Point Break), they are really able to make the viewer afraid of inevitable eternity, although we are clearly invited to sympathize with the 'turned' ones in the middle part of the story. In that way we completely stand and feel with protagonist Caleb during the entire movie.

This is actually the only movie in which I like Tangerine Dream's synthesizer music. Tangerine Dream (Thief, The Keep, Miracle Mile, Legend, Sorcerer) normally is more appropriate for Miami Vice, but their adhesive and slightly mesmerizing (and dated) style works nicely here. It contributes to the distinctive atmosphere and the not very complicated story. Near Dark is not only a stylized teenager horror, but also a road movie that comes across as a continuing nightmare.

Adam Greenberg's empathizing and intense cinematography (also the Big Red One, Terminator 1+2+3) is perhaps the most appealing factors of the movie, without being anything like poetic. But he is able to make sunlight as deadly as bullets and nighttime as soothing as lotion. Without trying to be intelligent, the movie succeeds to deliver, because all factors are tuned exactly right and create a unique thrill inside the genre. I didn't mind the flaws, especially because I stumbled upon it at 2 a.m. on the BBC. Shivers down my spine. 8/10 ... and stop watching Buffy already

4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
a couple of beers short of a sixpack, 31 May 2002

Indie director goes nutzoid. I've got serious trouble to see the humour of this. Woody Allen's 'Annie Hall' already presented some of the supposed jokes and humour in this terribly inferior product of a bored and phrenetic state of mind (at the time). Frankly I rented this because of Soderbergh's recent successes in movieland before Oceans Eleven with which he gets even more commercial than with Out Of Sight. The latter actually had some style. But this turns out to be his worst (typically: that means 'weenie' in Dutch) movie. The point of it may be that Soderbergh is tired of urban cacophony, or that he wants to pay an awkward homage to certain movies that inspired him.

More probable is that Soderbergh tries to accomplish something bizarre like a Monty Python-effect but crashes and burns along the way before making a point or even becoming experimental. My sympathy goes out to all the fans, but this was a run of the mill. Much ado about nothing. Buñuel made great movies about merely what he liked to show, without a point. Now Schizopolis is definitely NOT ahead of its time. However also but nevertheless heh uche moreover big dogs barking on my head whatsoever hereby backed up paddywagon mackin' on thy cat's ass or shave my legs and call me grandpa. Now, was that funny? Was it surreal? ... Thought so. Ah well, one born every minute. 3/10

4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
plankton rules ... or does it?, 29 May 2002

... and then it turned out that they were just as much concerned with the environment and euthanasia back in 1973 as we are now. Nevertheless this is one of the last convulsions of the era of critical sci-fi movies that came to an abrupt end with the arrival of action-sci-fi Star Wars, Alien and Mad Max etc. Correct me if I'm wrong here as I didn't do any research. Typically for the action era: one of the first video-games (I believe it is Space Invaders) is featured in Soylent Green as a decadent toy.

Thought provoking sci-fi is slowly returning nowadays (Gattaca, Truman Show, A.I.) as I see it. E.g. the same global warming problem as in Soylent Green is a topic in A.I. that also pervasively depicts the consequences of that problem clearly in that same old futuristic NYC. I haven't found any recent movie that features genetically engineered food though (retrodirect to '2001', Dark Star, Silent Running and Willy Wonka :-). I recommend Fahrenheit 451 and Gattaca for the thinking audience.

The bleak messages have difficulties boiling to the surface. The point of the film is less apparent than it's entertaining value: indeed this calls for a remake as someone stated. If only for the awkwardly mischosen music to be corrected. The movie concentrated too much on Heston's mission that isn't very thrilling, and should've done more with the corruptions of future dystopian society incl corporations and authorities. Most of it worked alright though and the intentions of the authors are unmistakenly present. Watching it widescreen next time and reading the novel may help.

Fleischer in a sense wasted the magnificent cast (Heston, Cotten, Robinson), but then again he never was one of my favourite directors. Harrison's novel must be more poignant and cynical. The screenplay is ok, but with this sort of movies the atmosphere is more important to convince, like in The Omega Man and Westworld, and that certainly works here. Credit to cinematographer Richard Kline (Andromeda strain, Terminal man) and what's left of the acting talent. Heston (Omega man, Touch of evil) seems to enjoy his authoritative and violent role in society as a detective. Edward G. Robinson (Little Caesar, Double Indemnity, the Stranger) is most convincing though, as the (unexpectedly) nostalghic and sentimental roommate who ensures the audience that the time of democracy and free nature is long over. Survival of the fittest is now. The government doesn't seem to be withholding in scooping people off the streets and hasn't any ethical problems with euthanasia too. This movie made me feel extremely happy to be able to open a window and simply look at a tree+bird. Same feeling I had with 'THX 1138'. See what it does for you... 8/10

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