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A Fan's Notes (1972)
A Fan's Notes
Perhaps they should have paid more attention to the script or the details in Frederick Exley's, A Fan's Notes.
Either way, you are on your own to form opinion on the merit of the film. It seems to value the themes from the book, but other than that, it omits certain features. I think it could have been a little more plausible if the writer was not insane. That is one example that I can think of. I did like it though, as it had it's moments. A sense of lunacy pervades it throughout. Jerry Orbach as Fred was quite capable and Burgess Meredith was in the film as well.
The details in Frederick Exley's, A Fan's Notes have been shortened obviously, as one needs to truncate certain scenes that do not translate onto the screen.
I think some people will enjoy it, others won't even understand the situation.
Either way, the copy of the film was cheap, as I bought it at a rummage sale at a Film School Archive in New York. I watch it at least every year.
Bukowski is drunk
Bukowski is drunk, reads poetry, talks about life amongst other things. In all, it's interesting because Bukowski was such a good writer and you'll be pulled in.
I read all of Bukowski's work and loved the stuff, especially post office: A Novel by Charles Bukowski, Factotum by Charles Bukowski and Pulp by Charles Bukowski.
If you don't like Bukowski then you'll probably be bored out of your mind. Some people have trouble because he drank so much and lived in some shoddy place in L.A.
Bukowski is drunk, reads poetry, talks about life amongst other things.
You'll be pulled in.
The Shape of Evil (2002)
Evil Highlights: Evil VS. Evil! Evil Angel and Evil Twin found themselves constantly annoying one another today. Their rivalry is apparently growing although today's war favored Angel over Twin.
Shindig cometh! After a long absence, the one and only Infinite Shindig has returned to us! We can only hope he stays around long enough for us to whip him back into the shape he once was in.
(Edit: Shindig left this war with a welt from the Daemon that lasted some 9 whole days) Evil found a dart. Stuck in a tree. Literally, it had been fired out of a gun, and was inside the bark. It had broken through the tree's hard surface, and was stuck in it. Yes, this is no joke.
Warlock had mixed results today. Although he shot WeeMan in the glasses, he managed to break his new gun "Revenge". Hopefully it will be back up to tip top LCM shape in time for the next war.
Evil Angel barely escaped with his life today. Evil Twin and Howard were on a mission to kill him apparently. The first two darts that were sent his way, were dodged with less than three inches to either side of his face, and then right after Evil Angel popped off a shot at Evil Twin from twenty feet away (which connected for a kill shot), Howard fired off his Pamela. This shot, barely dodged by Evil, came within inches of his face. Nearly three headshots in a row, all consecutive, and all within seconds of each other. It must have been a miracle those darts didn't connect!
3:10 to Yuma (2007)
an insult to a film viewer's intelligence
Well, I can look at all the outrageous contradictions, bad cgi explosions/scope effect/fake town effect/cloud effect, etc, numskulled goofs and sheer idiotic behavior from characters in the film, and idiotic continuity from film makers, except a few. The script writer, continuity supervisor, and director should all have been fired. 3:10 to Yuma (2007) is an insult to a film viewer's intelligence.
The gang, who does'nt seem capable enough to shoot anyone very well, is so dumb that they can't stop a slow stage coach? An armored coach (+3000 lbs), complete with a Gatling gun (+1000 lb) in the back (film for teen action fans)? Yeah right, it would weigh a ton so the horses could not pull it for long, plus the Gatling gun could not be fired while moving. Easy way to stop a slow stage coach, just shoot two horses. Wow, yeah, it's that easy folks.
Fonda (aside from his hideous acting) takes a .44 slug to the gut and rides out of it, then he rides out the next day without bleeding to death? Dumb dead white guys left on rocks, left by Apaches in front of their "camp area" so that everyone knows they (Apaches) live there. Not too smart script writer. Dumb white guys camp with an open fire in Apache country and live? Apaches, using rifles, are shooting in pure darkness, wearing "war paint" and traditional feather caps, while not moving around to disguise their location? It was also an insult to portray the Apaches as "cold blooded killers" while they were fighting for their tradition, family and lives.
For one, they would not use guns. They would wait, then surprise the camp (who was trespassing on their sacred land), and use arrows and knives. This was truly laughable and degrading to Apache skills as warriors. Wade, in cuffs, in pure darkness, guts 3 Apaches??? A stack of TNT is tossed in the air, then easily blown up by lead bits from shotgun, thereby causing extensive damage to a very secure "open" drilled tunnel that is very sound. This was truly laughable.
The last scene, which is badly edited (notice people walking about during gun battle, then gone in next scene, snow on ground in a drought season, etc), was absurd. A one legged man with a shotgun outruns everyone (thanks to shaky camera), then stops in the open to unfasten the train door and gets shot in the back? Well yeah, there was a gun battle 2 minutes previous. This was truly laughable.
3:10 to Yuma (2007) is an insult to a film viewer's intelligence, especially the insane ending where Wade shoots up his own gang who was attempting to free him. That tops the heap the most. It is degrading. For one, it doesn't prove Wade was "moral", just a schizo because he's yapping about escaping in the hotel a few minutes earlier.
The script writer has little in the way of intelligent reasoning.
À l'intérieur (2007)
incredibly stupid, unintelligent + boring
Inside (2007) brings nothing to the table but explicit gore and that makes for a pretty unappetizing dish. OK, so maybe this just proves how intelligent I am, but I thought this movie was really boring. I've been a hard-core horror movie fan since the age of about 2. Maybe that's why I was unimpressed. Maybe it's because I have an actual brain.
An abysmally stupid and literal bloody mess that's a by-the-book slasher nonsense, stolen from American horror then called "original French horror". Contemptible protagonist, illogical police cannon fodder, stereotypically uninteresting antagonist, this film is just as tired as the genre ground it treads. For this to work it's crucial to have a villain with psychological tales that are frightening and fun to watch; but it's no surprise that she stands alongside every film psycho of this era whose either an anti-hero or simply crazy for crazy's sake.
As for the gore it's nothing you haven't seen before. I'd heard that it was suspenseful, gory, and no-holds-barred. Yawn. It wasn't suspenseful, because after a while I just stopped caring what would happen. It was kind of gory, but by no means the goriest film ever. And at this point plain ol' gore doesn't impress me much. As for "no-holds-barred," well, yeah, a pregnant woman is the victim, so I guess that's a little edgy. Maybe. A little. But not enough to make up for the rest of this rather dull film.
I'm a huge fan of horror. I also like very well made movies with interesting visuals regardless of genre. This film was badly made and featured some very bad acting. However, the film is pointless. It lacks a plot, it lacks motive, and the ending of the film is unsatisfying (though extremely brutal). I guess if you love gore and are insane, you'll probably like it. Personally, it seemed clichéd and a bit silly. I give it zero stars instead of one because I can't deny the bad look and the bad acting, but I also can't say that I LIKE the movie.
I think the hype on this one is really getting out of hand. While I'll admit that it's certainly darker and nastier than anything mainstream U.S. horror films have offered in a long time, I just don't think it's all that good.
It had me for the first two minutes or so, but after that point, the movie decided to throw logic and credibility out the window & a dumb computer baby? Characters behaved like complete idiots. (The main character somehow doesn't recognize her own mother's voice or appearance and accidentally kills her. A police officer gives the main character a gun without asking her if she knows how to use it and then, rather than trying to get her out of the house and to a hospital, leaves her so he can try to turn the electricity back on. Predictably, he and a perp from a previous arrest he has tethered to himself (??) are killed.) Then there's the scene where a character just so happens to have everything necessary to a) set someone on fire, b) give herself an emergency tracheotomy,--by this point, we've been given no evidence that she has any medical knowledge, she doesn't appear to use any kind of tube to keep the opening from closing up, and she doesn't seem to feel any discomfort from this--and c) construct a crude spear (made from a kitchen knife and a telescoping metal tube into which the knife's handle just so happens to fit snugly) all within a five-foot radius of her.
The final shot of the movie is incredibly stupid, but everything that leads up to it is so ridiculous that it failed to affect me in the way the makers intended. I think this might have worked better as a 5-minute episode of Losers of Horror, but even 82 minutes was too long for this story.
Aside from the incompetent direction, the only other thing I can offer is that, if you're looking for a movie with tons of gratuitous gore and violence against pregnant women, here's the flick for you. Sickos.
The Spiderweb, a 1974 short film
"It's possible, but it isn't interesting," says Erik Lonnrot (Peter Boyle) early in "Death and the Compass", "Reality may avoid the obligation to be interesting, but a hypothesis may not." That line, taken straight from the Jorge Luis Borges story upon which this film is based, proves to be the ultimate undoing of Lonnrot, a Holmesian detective investigating a series of murders in an unnamed city in the future. Muddying the films' waters considerably is "Death and the Compass'" origins as a fifty-minute short that has since been extended to feature length. Much of the added footage is almost nonsensical, seeking to expand upon the idea that this future world is ruled by a fascist, bureaucratically-obsessed poseur monarchy. The end result is a film that plays like the child of "Brazil," "Robocop," and every first year film student's end-of-semester experimental short subject. Typical of Alex Cox's style, you begin to get the feeling that perhaps the screenplay, direction, casting, costumes, score, and art design were all handled by crew members with radically differing conceptions of what the film was about and who belligerently refused to share their thoughts on the matter with the other departments. It can make for intriguing viewing if you're in the right mindset, but you can't help but feel that it's a missed opportunity. Oh, and a warning: the description of the plot given on this page contains a major spoiler for the film -- the true nature of Christopher Eccleston's character is not revealed until the production's final moments. Viewers hoping for a more accurate version of the Borges story might find something to appreciate in "The Spiderweb," a 1974 short film adaptation featuring Nigel Hawthorne in the Lonnrot role, included as a bonus feature on this disc. It bears the twin virtues of being both more accurate to the original narrative, and much shorter than the Alex Cox version.
Scarecrows Full of Empty Straw
If you enjoy movies with repetitive shots of scarecrows, and the standard knife entering torso death scene, than this move is for you.
This movie contains absolutely zero character development, and while all of the characters die the same, you can't really find much of a reason to stay hooked to this move. Even the make-up effects were non-existent, I didn't expect too much, but be cautious while reading the other reviews, this movie isn't scary, funny, or even close to being so bad its good.
A heist nets 3.5 million dollars, but when one of the crew absconds with the money, the others give chase. No need, because the traitor reappears of his own accord, dead, reanimated and eviscerated. He doesn't die again easily however, so his comrades shoot him repeatedly and lop off his head. Full of wonderment over this, the crew cuts him open (a curious lot they are) and finds him stuffed full of cash. Ode to joy. So, there's the money! How did get there? No worries. His friends pull bloody cash out of every orifice, since he has more than any person should be rightfully entitled. Yep, this one's a real knee slapper. A Horrible flick. Bad dialogue. Worse acting. Was going to bring to a friends house for Halloween. I'm glad I previewed it first. Too bad too, because the premise is interesting and the scarecrows are cool looking.
However, you mostly see the scarecrows when they're hanging on their posts. Not much happens for a good 80 minutes. Clearly this was a straight to video release. I have seen tons of horror flicks from the 80's during the 80's and I don't remember ever seeing this one advertised. Heed the warning of the one star reviews unless you have really low standards for your horror flicks.
If SCARECROWS was cut down to the opening 3-minute credit sequence with the shot of the scarecrow and the foreboding piano score, this would be a really creepy film. Unfortunately, there's another 80 minutes to wade through after that and it feels more like 180. Take into account that the end credits are almost 10 minutes long and that about 20 minutes is devoted to close-ups of scarecrows hanging on crosses, a picture on a wall or just random shots of things,and what you're left with is about 50 minutes of awful dialogue, zero character development, bad acting, limp directing and unintelligible editing.
You don't even get to see the robbery at the beginning. You hear about it on a radio broadcast. In fact, most of the dialogue in this film isn't even said on screen. You hear it over a radio or what people are thinking or someone is talking just off screen. Since all the males sound alike you don't even know who's talking half the time...not that you care about these paper-thin but fully annoying characters.
Nothing really makes sense either. There's very little spatial coherence when the characters are outside. The explanation behind the scarecrows is hinted at but never fully explained. That's okay. Sometimes explanations in horror films are worse than just hinting. However, character motivations and actions are another thing. One minute someone says, "Screw the money!" but the next they're outside scarfing it up off the ground only to get gutted. One guy sees a team member get killed by a scarecrow and 5 minutes later he's screaming that the guy's coming back to the farmhouse for his gun. What? There's also a phone call that's supposed to be scary, but it was just dumb.
The only positive thing I can say about SCARECROWS is that the Scarecrow effects were good but that doesn't make SCARECROWS a good film. I wanted so badly to like this movie.
It's one of those films that I've read about in various movie review guides and assorted cinematic horror articles over the years and I put it on a personal list of films to see that "are not currently on DVD." Unfortunately, for all the talk, it had many more similarities than differences to the things we've grown to dislike bout the '80's horror film.
The scarecrows' (and their victims') actions and motives seem to change as needed to fit the story's progression. The characters' question fairly ordinary things yet completely accept some very bizarre supernatural events. Admittedly spooky and atmospheric setting (which is lessened by repeating footage of the scarecrows and the nocturnal surroundings shot in flood lights) but that alone can't carry the film. If you saw this years ago and have fond, scared memories, keep it that way and do not rent.
BOTTOM LINE: Make like a crow and fly as far away from these scarecrows as possible!
The Day of the Jackal (1973)
torturously slow movie
If you like wooden dialogue and indistinguishable characters, this is the film for you. Day of the Jackal is an excellent cautionary tale for the aspiring screenwriter eager to learn what "techniques" to avoid.
This movie is a disaster but fun, if you watch it from that perspective and remove your brain from your head. I gave it one star but recommend it anyway, as long as you fast forward through tons of "important" dialogue, film can-loads of extraneous location shots, cheap sets, soap opera-lit interiors, and wildly bad acting. This is like a camp version of "The Man From UNCLE." Or "Get Smart." Except it goes on way past two hours. And these guys are serious. I thought the French cops couldn't solve a bungling caper and they know who the "Jackal" is? It IS a good movie to talk back to, make jokes along the way, supply your own dialogue, fill in the blanks, balance your checkbook, call your lover, throw junk at the TV. But don't watch it all or you'll go crazy or die of boredom. In the end you won't know or care what happened whatsoever. I kept expecting President De Gaulle and his detail to turn and start firing on the production crew.
The movie takes place in France, but it's one of those movies where just so you won't have to be bothered with actually reading subtitles, everyone miraculously speaks English. Some speak English with an English accent, some with a French accent. Just to confuse things a bit, the assassin the French rebels hire actually is English. Needless to say, this may confuse some viewers a little. The English are rude snobs as usual. As far as the actual content of the movie is concerned, there's not much to say. It was an uninteresting series of scenes strung together with no real passion or originality.
Dullest thriller ever? Well, it's a strong contender that's for sure. I actually was expecting a pretty decent film but it just helped confirm by belief that Zinnemann's film for the most part is distant and lifeless. Granted I really like A Man For All Season. This film revolves around an assassin in 1963 and the job he's been hired for by the OAS. The job is to kill the president of France. For such an exciting sounding premise the film is a bore. It's directed in a disconnected manner that makes every detail of the film static. It jumps around as the assassin prepares for the job which consists of very little yet takes 2 and a half hours of film time. Meanwhile the police know the OAS has hired an assassin to take somebody out and are scrambling to find out how he is. Thing is the police just seem to magically come across information regarding the assassin's identity and where abouts, they do very little investigating and info just seems to fall into their laps.
I found the movie dull, dull, dull. BUT, if you are a foreign film buff or a Political Drama fan, or gullible then this movie is possibly for you. I remember watching this as a kid and enjoying it. Also, the "fancy pants" English assassin character is just not believable. This film has not aged well.
This 2-plus hour film was not a return on the time investment. Very dated, perhaps it was exciting or groundbreaking when it was released but today it just doesn't hold up. Some scenes drag on and on, while others (such as the ending) stop so abruptly you'd think no one went back to check the final cut. The assassin in the film is so unbelievable as a ruthless mastermind specialist killer it's hilarious. This thrill-less thriller ranks right down there with the other 1970's over-hyped "thrillers". Again, in their own time and context, perhaps these films worked. But today, not a chance.
Don't get me wrong; I'm not big on car chases and exploding buildings and all that. But yes, I do want the story to MOVE ALONG. This story moves at a snail's pace... it PLODS along... I had high hopes for it, but about 2/3 the way through I snoozed, and was glad for the relief from this torturously slow movie. In case you didn't notice, the keyword is: SLOW. Worthless.
deadly dull tripe
I kind of feel like a genius; I feel like I'm the only one who saw through this fake film. I watched it three times, once with commentary, and I found myself getting annoyed at all the close-ups, all the times the screen just blacks out, and worst of all, I feel the film never really resolves anything. Yes, the priest dies, but he didn't really seem at peace with the town that gave him so much grief, or with himself. That and he was an idiot. If it weren't for the commentary by Peter Cowie which explained not only the movie but the book it came from, I wouldn't have been able to stomach it at all. I enjoy French movies, but this is one that was completely absurd.
Diary of a Country Priest is filmed in beautiful black and white photography but, that alone cannot save this deadly dull tripe. Scene after scene of extreme close-ups where characters don't say anything until the camera cuts away and goes to a black out do NOT make an interesting or relevant story. How this film ever became a classic is mind boggling: it reminds me more of The Emperor's New Clothes.
Yes, Claude Laydu's performance is heartfelt and thought provoking, if you are a sadist, but this film left me feeling empty because overall it is a weak impression of the Catholic priesthood, which is an ignoble and inglorious institution of corruption. The young priest's triumph over the countess's pride is a weak scene but 90% of the film will drag you down with its dreary introspection and window into the young priest's melancholy thoughts. This priest doesn't come across so much as being humble as he does just plain pitiful.
Being that I don't speak or understand French I was looking forward to doing the English SUBTITLE thing to help understand the film. Well, the English SUBTITLE is at times impossible to view/read and the text rolls by so quickly that there was much I could not read (and I am not a particularly slow reader - I just finished Dostoyevsky in 3 days).
I really wanted to like this film . I try out everything "chosen" by the Criterion Collection, and yet can not see why in many ways this one merits some sort of critical nod. However, I sat through this entire two hour film yearning to feel some sort of empathy for the main character, and it never materialized. He just seemed like a victim rather than a fighter. And for that, I say it stunk.
The Abandoned (2006)
This movie, although beautifully shot and produced, was a disaster when it came to the story. It started out great and had lots of potential to be a creative, fresh, new ghost story, but ultimately it turned out to be nothing more than a movie that kept falling into dead end after dead end. I felt like this movie was a failed attempt to create the same kind of horror that a much more successful Takashi Miike film, Audition, created in 2001.
The end of this movie was completely lost and confused within itself. It seemed as if the makers of the movie halfway trough couldn't find out what the hell was really going on and why the main character was even in Russia in the first place. The main character who at first seemed complex and driven to find change in her life, became nothing more than a passive observer of the movie of which she was the star. Talk about a let down. Who wants to sit and watch a movie about a main character who, halfway through, ends up doing nothing but sitting and watching the same movie as well? She became the epitome of the classic passive-observing character. It's so sad that the film ended up such a disaster because it had everything else going for it.
There is truly a lot great skill and talent within this movie. The sets were amazing the mood was creepy, the actors were intense and involved, and the cinematography was one continuous beautiful metaphor, but without out a story that brings everything together and convincingly and completely pulls the viewer into the movies reality, it can be nothing more than a failed attempt at making a true horror film.