Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Citizen Kane (1941)
Written on the Wind (1956)
A Woman Under the Influence (1974)
Days of Heaven (1978)
Comedy: Groundhog Day (1993) A Fish Called Wanda (1988) This Is Spinal Tap (1975) Dr Strangelove (1962) Twins (1990) Back to the Future (1985) Smiles of a Summer Night (1955) Man Bites Dog (1992) Harold and Maude (1971) Rocky Horror (1975) Zoolander (2001)
Horror: Scream (1996) The Shining (1980) The Virgin Spring (1960) Alien (1979)
Only Angels Have Wings (1939)
Apparently, Howard Hawks is only as good as his script.
I'll give you three for Rita Hayworth, who lights up the screen as usual. Cary Grant gets none, his usual charm is replaced by a silly sombrero. I'm sorry, this one was just boring. Not funny like His Girl Friday or engrossing like Casablanca. A shame.
Some vague plot where people fly planes and such. Apparently Howard Hawks is only as good as his script. This one, based on his story, has not aged well. Its all surface: sets and costumes and props and movie stars play acting.
Rob Lowe may act many things, but not tough. Never tough.
Pretty tiresome dreck with a super young Rob Lowe playing at the ol' Ice Hockey picture. Actually, its not a very old genre. You never saw John Wayne hockeying on ice, nor James Dean. Rob Lowe is actually pretty good, and the film is made with the absolute maximum amount of seriousness available, which seems to be a lot. Everyone seems to be into Ice Hockey, its just that also assume their audience is too. There's not a single bit of effort put into making us like or appreciate the sport. Its more played as a human drama, with the sport and its coaches providing tension for the protagonist. Its like the real bad guy is the sport itself. Its pretty funny. I know I said Rob Lowe was pretty good, but the other funny thing about this movie is when Rob Lowe is called upon to act tough. Rob Lowe can be privileged, a pretty-boy, a flirt, witty, charming, maybe creepy or dangerous... But tough? I had to laugh. There's not a tough bone in his body, yet here he is getting physical with some dudes, and the second half of the movie is mainly concerned with him winning a physical fight. I just, you know, don't get it. Also, the movie is pretty of its time, very 80's soundtrack, so if that's what you're after, help yourself.
I appreciated that it wasn't terrible, but found such a profound problem with its scenario.
This little movie won AFI awards back in the day, yet I'd never heard of it, its become quite obscure. I found a VHS copy at my local good will and was pleased to find that it was not in any way terrible. Russell Crowe stands out, supremely likable; Hugo Weaving is kind of odd, a bit more creepy than perhaps he needed to be. Maybe a bit too much of the old Agent Smith, and not enough of the Priscilla Queen of the Desert. It is not, however, a great slice of life, and that comes down to the plot: allow me...
Hugo Weaving plays a blind man with a penchant for taking photos and having people describe them to him. Now, he uses the photos as "proof" that what he sensed in the room was really there. Yet, he can't see the photos, so he's relying on the accuracy of people's descriptions of them. The concept is a bit fiddly. It reminds me a lot of Memento, I believe that character used polaroids as mementos, because he had a short-term memory problem. Its kind of strange here, because the photos I guess are some kind of weird truth contract for this guy. My issue is that there is never any way for Hugo Weaving's character to verify what is in the photos, so what is the point of them?
This kind of far-fetched concept reminds me of a lot of the old arty novels I used to read about lonely people who find some strange way to connect with one special friend, in this case a lovable rascal played by Russell Crowe. The production style of the film has aged fairly well, and it contains some well written scenes, but I just think the basic concept is pretty flawed and silly. I guess if it was released with a descriptive audio track and rang true for blind audiences I'd be happy to admit I was wrong, but it rang fairly false to me, in a logical sense. As mentioned, I also found Hugo Weaving to be unnecessarily creepy.
A strange one. I appreciated that it wasn't terrible, but found such a profound problem with its scenario. I don't know, 5/10?
The Hazing (2004)
Unfortunately I can't unsee this movie, or I absolutely would.
I suppose I can detect the intended beats for laughter, but this movie plays more like the worst movie ever than a smart satire of horror movies like Scary Movie (2001) or Scream (1996). How can I describe what I just witnessed. Well, it was like they took all the horror movie clichés and dialed them up to 99, put the girls in gaudy costumes and had them say dumb stuff, hired Brad Dourif (Child's Play) to be a creepy scientist who has some kind of faux Necronomicon and some other weird stuff happens. OK, I was half paying attention. This was dreadful. There was nothing discernibly funny about it and I wished I was somewhere else. Unfortunately, I can't unsee this movie, or I absolutely would. 1/10.
Forget Plan 9 from Outer Space, this is probably actually truly the worst movie I've ever seen.
Avoid. Cringe-worthy turn with Ally Sheedy who was nowhere near up to the task of playing a psychic who helps cops solve cases. The plot basically predicts the plot of Medium (TV). I don't remember what Ally was like in the brat pack movies, but she's completely outdone by the material here, which calls for her to constantly know everything about everybody. She's like the most powerful and annoying psychic you could imagine: mostly the movie consists of excuses to have her character smart-alecky telling people what they had for breakfast, why they have a cut on their hand, etc. As in life, its all in how you do it, and they do it so ham-fistedly here its absolutely painful to watch. This is without a doubt one of the worst movies I have ever seen. Can not believe this got a theatrical release. Avoid at all costs. Oh, and hi Ally Sheedy fans and thanks for the unhelpfuls.
1/10 No redeeming features whatsoever, I'm a worse person from having watched it.
Distant Drums (1951)
You might need those eyelid-holders from A Clockwork Orange for this one.
For the life of me I couldn't figure out how to pay attention to it. Its just a thick slice of old Hollywood hokum, the like of which I haven't seen for a loooong time. I found it in my late grandpa's old VHS collection, which might explain something. And check my other reviews, I'm not one of these Avatar the Last Airbender kiddies who expects an Avenger every half- second or I rage quit, I can be a patient and respectful sort, through about the only cheese this cheesy I tend to like is John Ford brand.
This picture was directed by the great Raoul Walsh, and you've either come here for him or Gary Cooper. Neither one of who really impresses here. It looks OK, with some decent technicolor photography.
I guess I might be giving up on westerns unless they're supposed to be the absolute creme of the crop. Its just not my genre.
Tone-deaf rough-as-guts dog-eared bona-fide classic.
More than any other film, Nashville will play better the more tone-deaf you are. It features plenty of long scenes where actors portraying professional singers sing dreadfully, over- singing, forcing every. single. note. As someone who sings myself, this aspect really pulls me out of Nashville.
For a movie that is famously about Nashville, it finds more joy in soul and folk music than in country. The film's heart is a scene which contrasts a sincere and moving folk performance by Keith Carradine with a terrific and sad scene where Gwen Welles' realises she had been hired to strip instead of for her singing ability. The song featured in this scene "It Don't Worry Me" became a hit apparently. There's also the opening scene which contrasts a pair of recording sessions: a lively gospel one + bad singing by the charming Lily Tomlin with a cold propagandistic country session with Henry Gibson.
Its rough as guts, with some scenes set-pieces such as the airport scene early on seeming carefully choreographed, but all the acting has the loose improvisational style common to both Altman and Cassavetes films, which you either love or hate. I tend to find the actors higher calibre in Cassavetes, so Altman sometimes grates on me.
Nashville is famous as a trope-originator for Altman's sprawling long films that are broader than they are deep, sort of like Love Actually, where you don't get a full Sleepless in Seattle thing, you get a bunch of tiny versions of it. Here, you get a bunch of musical bio-pics in one, but here there's no attempt to give each the same arc like in Love Actually, its more in Altman's slice of life style. Its absolutely a landmark film, there's not many others like it, and it is entertaining. Your mileage may vary with how picky you are about actors being cast as singers and having several protracted singing scenes that are often squirm-inducing, yet you get the feeling they weren't supposed to be.
I've got it on VHS and don't love it enough to upgrade. I've watched my VHS copy twice and have grown attached to its pan and scan ugliness. For me its a picture I like and find fascinating, plus an extra point for being so unique, so 8/10.
Under the Skin (2013)
Abstract and vague, but there's boobs!
Under the Skin may be intriguing, interesting, fascinating, words like that, rather than fun, engaging, likable. Its a frosty little picture. Weirdly, it might help to read spoilers about it because it only ever express itself obliquely. You may have heard there's an alien in the movie? Yeah, I guess so, but its pretty abstract. The way it was made is the most interesting thing about it, I think. Scarlett Johannsson plays a nameless girl who appears to be hunting lonely men in Glasgow, and most of the film was shot with hidden cameras and improvised, so these are genuine encounters she's having. In this sense, Under the Skin has interest on an anthropological level, and to film students, as a comment on the nature of fiction vs documentary. But you can also get that in Borat, with a few more laffs. The only other populist appeal in Under the Skin is the pleasure of looking at Scarlett Johannsson. Everything else about the movie is formless and amorphous. Well, compared to some of the dream-like movies of Apichapong Weerasethakul or David Lynch its positively sensible, but this is still a movie I feel myself constantly struggling to like, even though on second viewing I'm at peace with what even was actually happening in it.
In short, abstract arty film with incredible musical soundscape and the appeal of Johannsson, but too distant and vague for most. I got it on blu ray because I conveniently forgot how frustrating I found it and wanted to look at Scarlett again. After all she's naked twice in it.
Bear in mind I do like some abstract and arty movies, just not this one. And I really wanted to like it too. All those real people. I'd love to see outtakes but couldn't find any on the blu ray.
The Howling (1981)
Joe Dante got it right with Gremlins. This one? Not so much.
Big fan of Gremlins, and always heard tell of how good The Howling was. Problem was I'd never been able to get more than 30 mins into it without something annoying me so badly I had to rage quit. Well, I finally got through it. Right to the end and yeah, it isn't for me.
Not sure what the budget was on this thing, but man oh man does it look bad. Its shot with soft lighting, and not enough lighting, and most of the time looks like Vaseline was on the lens. I think its a technique to mask the low budget special effects. Also, the famous transformation scene which I finally got to goes on for like two minutes too long and isn't that interesting. I prefer the Rat in From Dusk Till Dawn, at least he doesn't mess around. Having recently watched E.T. again I think I've identified my major problem with The Howling. Poor Dee Wallace, who also plays E.T.'s mother, is on screen most of the time, and she's just not a good actress. She's more convincing here than in E.T. but really she just doesn't sell any of it. And that really pulls a picture down when your protagonist, your anchor, just doesn't convince or draw you in. So, yeah. While probably landmark in 1983, The Howling is one I've always struggled to get through, tried to force myself to like, but at the end of the day its a movie its not homework, you don't have to like it. If I had to pinpoint the other main thing that frustrated me about The Howling it would be that the actual werewolves don't do get to do much. They spend so long transforming its like that's all they're good for. Its pretty funny when you think about it. Again, a question of what was possible with the special effects, but earlier films did more. Nosferatu (1922) and Dracula (1931) are incredible to this day. The Howling (1983) is not.
Its funny, maybe the genre just isn't for me. I can't think of a single werewolf movie I've liked except the remake to American Werewolf, and that one probably just hit me because I saw it at the right age, in the cinema. Maybe there's a time for werewolves, and you only get one chance. Its like falling in love.
The value of human life.
Denis Villeneuve's Polytechnique (2009) is as far away from his later Enemy (2013) as I could imagine. It is pure and stark, informed by its subject matter: a 1989 school shooting in Montreal, targeting women. It looks great in black and white, which creates a sombre atmosphere.
This film is a testament to the importance of story and substance. The cerebral Enemy never really justified its existence to me. Also, unlike the bloated Enemy, which wore out its welcome after 15 minutes, this film is engrossing through its conservative 75 minute run time.
The film is profoundly disturbing, and just plain profound. It is a sensitive film that evokes the barbarism of murder, while celebrating the value of human life.