Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
The Ten Commandments (2007)
Good Storytelling, Poor CGI
As others have said, you need to accept some poor CGI to watch this one. Actually the backgrounds and colors are good, and the plagues are scary, but the human figures... yeah, they're ugly. Several figures are annoying caricatures, like the short whiney Hebrew with the vest. So you need to accept this flaw.
Everything else is very good - the voices, the pacing, the action and storytelling. It's surprisingly accurate to the Bible. I would have liked a little more sympathy for Ramses (like in Prince of Egypt), but he does have his sensitive moments, like when his eyes turn sad when he realizes his son might die. Other Egyptians are sympathetic, like the guard who regrets carrying out his harsh duties.
Although Moses doesn't order the killing of nonbelievers as he does in Exodus 32, he accepts that it will happen, and God takes care of things with an earthquake. This is good storytelling: retaining the main idea without making it too harsh for kids. Speaking of kids, my 7-yr-old loved this movie and insisted on watching it 3 times before I returned it! I recommend it for kids 7-10 (and their parents of course).
One thing portrayed particularly well is the ungratefulness of the freed Hebrews. This is a running theme in the Bible, and it's well handled here. The message is a good one: when we are ungrateful, our ingratitude affects those around us. Therefore, let us give thanks for what we have - every step of the way.
Radar Men from the Moon (1952)
See "King of the Rocket Men" first
This first Commando Cody adventure ain't bad, but the rocket suit, and most of the flying footage, was straight from Republic's first rocket suit serial, King of the Rocket Men (1949), usually considered the last of the great classic serials. Everything good in Radar Men (and there's plenty that's good) is better in Rocket Men! Please see it! The hero and villain have more personality, the action is more hard-hitting and extreme, the plot is more focused, and - perhaps most importantly - there is much mystery and subterfuge. In Rocket Men, our hero must keep his identity secret - no one knows it's him in that suit. And the villain too has a secret identity - we see him only in silhouette. Here, in Radar Men, everybody knows who everybody else is. Enjoy Radar Men (I know I did), but first, enjoy Rocket Men!
Beware of animal slaughter
If you've already watched the film, then you know what I'm referring to. If you haven't seen it yet, you might want to be prepared for some rather graphic hunting scenes. Some such scenes fit well with the main ideas - juxtaposing aboriginal life with "civilized" life. But a few such scenes are gratuitous (i.e. we've already seen the kangaroo speared and terrified - we don't need to see it clubbed repeatedly in the face - in closeup, no less). Fast forwarding is advised.
I've noticed that the film has taken more flack for the nudity than for the animal killings, which makes some sense because the killings are (we assume) in accordance with aboriginal life, while the nudity is contrived by Roeg. However, it seemed to me that the nudity was essential to the point of the film; a civilized girl is immersed in primal, physical existence for this walkabout episode in her life. I also felt that the camera was more discreet than voyeuristic; i.e. nearly ever shot is distant, not closeup.
MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD. The film deliberately leaves itself open to interpretation. I did not see it as white/civilized/bad versus aboriginal/primal/good. I felt the point was to demonstrate parallels between the two, to show us that we are not so different as we thought. We see, or overhear conversations about, the civilized folks hunting or preparing animals for food. Then we see the aborigine hunting for food. We see the civilized people flirting and sneaking glances at each other. We see the White Girl and Black Boy doing the same. Note also the closing freezed-frame image: phallic, obviously, but also an image of parallels or pairs, suggesting connections rather than separation.
At any rate, it's not a masterpiece on par with Roeg's "Don't Look Now" or "Man Who Fell To Earth" but it's certainly an engaging and memorable film.
Le golem (1936)
Better than the 1920 film
Duvivier's Golem is a rough sequel to the far-more-famous 1920 German production with Paul Wegener. It is a European court drama first and a horror/fantasy second, but for viewers who don't mind that sort of balance it is a fascinating experience. At times it resembles The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) or Eisenstein's Ivan the Terrible.
All characters are sympathetic, including the paranoid and desperate emperor and his ruthless but loyal chamberlain. A suave Frenchman appears first to be a self-serving seducer but shows later that he can be exceedingly generous. The Jews are perhaps drawn with a bit too much seriousness, but their faith and idealism is hard not to admire. The actual golem awakens only for the final action scenes, but the wait is worth it. Unlike Wegener's golem which resembled a child's toy, this golem appears as a tall imposing man, stiff but realistic. A brisk, intelligent film.
Fun movie, Weird politics
Bravo David Warner for his exuberant and unrestrained performance. He is desperate, driven, selfish, sensitive all at once. His affinity with animals symbolizes his continual acting on instinct. Bravo too to Vanessa Redgrave who believably shows that whackiness can co-exist with poshness.
Sadly, the movie makes Morgan an earnest communist, and this has the effect of dating the film terribly. I strove hard to see the communism not as literal but as symbolic of Morgan's "rebel" nature, but doing this was an uphill climb. Within just a few years after this film was made, it became clear that communism could never mix with the gleeful artistic spirit that Morgan embodies, that in real life communism was soul-deadening and drab.
But a movie need not be wholly believable or wholly good. Warner's performance alone makes this film a ride worth taking.
We know what "background music" is; this is music that doesn't hold enough interest in itself but works fine as a backdrop to other, more important, activities. That's how I feel about this strange concoction, which I rented from Netflix. It would work nicely projected on the wall during a rave, for example. It has nice colors, weird images, and would augment a goth-hipster party quite nicely. It's got drug references, girls in tight neon plastic outfits, etc. I don't think it was intended a "real" movie. I'd give it 1-2 stars if it were intended to be a movie since it's basically repetitive, incoherent, and humorless. But its psychedelic images are quite enticing, so for background, 7 stars is my vote.
Gold of the Amazon Women (1979)
The filmmakers obviously didn't take this too seriously, and you shouldn't either. Heck, it's a TV movie from 1979 that opens with Amazon archers running around in New York City. It's got action, humor, a few surprises, and a great acting moment from Donald Pleasence when he finally discovers the first of the fabled cities. Bo Svenson anticipates Nick Nolte with his grizzled explorer character who's really a good guy underneath his gruff exterior. The leather-bikini Amazons are cute, although most of them are quite skinny (I imagine the casting director had a thing for skinny ladies). The whole production is quick-paced and good-natured. Pop a beer and enjoy.
When Worlds Collide (1951)
This is a moving film, a profound film, and well-deserving of classic status among other 50s genre masterpieces such as "War of the Worlds" and "Forbidden Planet." I feel compelled to defend it against the comments of "walcaraz" from San Diego, who posted in April 2003. Here are my comments:
MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD!
1.) The science is wholly convincing for 1951; it even takes into account such things as accumulated velocity and gravitational pull. Is it totally accurate? Certainly not; this is, after all, science fiction.
2.) It is made clear multiple times in the film that the US is not working on the project at all. It is a wholly private endeavor. Note the last of the newspaper headlines when we scroll down on the newsrack - "Laughed Out of United Nations." No government believes the scientists, so they must team up with industrialists and do everything on their own.
3.) Cultural diversity in 1951? I'm afraid the idea did not yet exist. It seems bizarre to fault any movie of this era for not being perfectly race-coordinated according to current fashions.
4.) It is true that it would be more efficient to have fewer men and more women, but the movie makes clear that the passengers are to be chosen by lot in as "fair" a way as possible. A moral point is being made here, not a scientific one. Regarding the genetics, let's not forget that DNA was not discovered until the 1950s, after this movie had already been produced. Eugenics had been around since the 1920s, but if anything it is a strength of this movie for resisting that kind of race-purity thinking (as walcaraz allows).
5.) These final images do stand out as different from the rest, which are more realistic. But remember, we are talking about a new world here, a magical and poetic (and dare I say spiritual) beginning of mankind, after the flight of a modern Noah's Ark. Why not add a touch of idealism here at the end? Let's not let jaded modern-day cynicism ruin this earnest and touching moment.
To me, if there is anything about "When Worlds Collide" that will mar it for contemporary viewers, it is the film's myriad Bible references. Scarcely 10 minutes will pass without a reference of this type. But I think that such gravity only adds to this film's impact. Indeed, it is perhaps most fair to see "When Worlds Collide" as a film that moves completely beyond the political, rising to the heights of archetype, religion, and myth.
Deep Rising (1998)
There are times when nothing satisfies like a good ol' B-movie action-adventure, not meant to be deep or serious, just good excitement and fun. Yet truly excellent B-movies are not easily come by. This director's own "Scorpion King", in fact, is a textbook example of how the formula can fail: too Hollywoodized, too predictable, too tame, and not funny enough. But before he Hollywoodized himself in Mummyland, this director (and writer!) gave us the masterful "Deep Rising." B-movie fans know who they are and what they want, and they will not be disappointed here. I rank "Deep Rising" up there with the best of John Carpenter and Sam Raimi. 9/10
Has Its Moments
This strange movie does have its moments. My favorites include the psychedelic title sequence, the McPhisto episode, and the confrontation between the Hunchback and the police. That said, the other hour and a half of this overlong picture is best forgotten. The jokes are unfunny, the characters are clichéd (if tongue-in-cheek), and there is a grotesque turn of events at the end of the story that adds little to and subtracts much from the overall appeal. I give it 5/10.
What saves it from being a disaster is how the counterculture figures, just as much as the establishment ones, are a bunch of self-interested fakes. Everyone, from Candy herself to the myriad people she meets, is made fun of.
In the context of 1960s period pieces, this humorous approach separates "Candy" from ponderous gloomfests such as "If" or "Zabriskie Point" (tho the latter deserves fame for its unforgettable final shot). Better 60s movies are Psych-Out, The Trip, or - if you want the nudity that Candy promises but doesn't deliver - Russ Meyer's smutty comedies.