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The Great Waldo Pepper (1975)
One of the Great movies of the seventies
This movie is made by some of the same players that made Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (Writer, Director and Actor). Unfortunately, it doesn't have nearly the acclaim. Perhaps because the ultimate tone of the movie is darker, the movie still captures that fun that permeates Butch Cassidy.
In terms of the aerial stunts and flying sequences, not only does the hold up to the modern movies like 'Flyboys', it is in fact, much better. Visually just as complete, you also know these are the real deal.
The script is brilliant. At the end of this film, one is forced to wonder why this level of movie so rarely is ever seen today.
You can read the other reviews for plot points, and details. Suffice to say that if you are a fan of movies with planes, actions, love, tragedy cool war history lover, or Hollywood of the early thirties, you'll eat this movie up.
Now lets get a DVD of this that is worthy!
Here's a movie that really shows up a common problem with cinema. Gorgeous cinematography, costumes, makeup, sets, sound and effects along with an incredible digital intermediate, make it an incredible sight to behold on the big screen.
However, though it was based on a novel, the story is thin. It's a confused movie - several motifs, no sense of self, search for immortality, the desire for beauty, etc. are all lost in an embarrassing 'magical' movie about a serial killer. The movie starts strong and then devolves when the protagonist begins his road journey to the town of Gras.
If they had stayed with any one of the the threads that are hinted at and used it along with this fellow who killed accidentally, it could have been something. As it turns out, the ending left me laughing with disbelief - a live version of a Spencer Tunik photo - but absolutely ludicrous reasoning - a perfume so magical that a square swarming with men and women are swooning, and having an orgy instead of an execution of a monster.
The movie is the type I despise the most - a high budget movie pretending to be high-brow by being a period piece. In fact, were one to remove the artifice, you'd be left with - not much. A silly tale of obsession taken to murder that doesn't know how to or attempt to explain anything and excuses it with magic.
With the exception of a couple out of place "charlie's angels - ramp speed" shots, the direction was fine. Dustin Hoffman was a bit over the top, even as a silly perfumier, and Alan Rickman was a bit too subdued. The lead, Ben Wishow, was fine in a fairly standard 'serial killer' part. I've seen worse but also far more interesting killers on screen.
I'll tell you the movie that is better than this - Love Potion #9 At least it's not taking itself seriously.
Ski Trippin' (2005)
the tape this was shot on would be better served for birthday parties
it would have been better to save the video tape this movie was shot on for home movies of birthday parties. I guess they could always tape over it.
Besides not being a 'real' movie (story, actors, lighting, editing, etc.), this movie also is so boring. Honestly, slide shows of people's vacations are more interesting. Even the tit scenes are dull.
Things that this movie could be used for that would be better than watching it: putting the DVD under the leg of a wobbly table, using as the back of a drywall project. Let's say someone put a hole in a wall. The DVD could be used to help build up the plaster. Obviously, it could be used as a target for a BB gun but that's too easy. I'm sure there are a few other things I can't think of now. I guess I got dumber by watching the movie.
remove the costumes and it's actually not very good
With a cursory viewing, this movie appears to be a good film. Certainly, the director is a respected director, and the producer has produced some fine movies. Upon a cursory view, it's a wonderful costume drama, great music, absolutely believable acting and performance.
So why did it bother me as I watched it? Why has it stuck with me to a point of critiquing it?
The movie had little dramatic conflict. The whole point of it - Sullivan has a need to do serious work, be known for something besides the confection that are the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas -- is solved with a dolly push. Really. That's it. After all the belly aching, the overly dramatic moments of his deciding never to write for the Savoy again... Suddenly, apparently, upon a new story presented by Gilbert, all is well. We never see him have to be convinced to do the Mikado. He complains about the rehashed "topsy turvy" premises of Gilbert's librettos, yet the Mikado is another such story.
Many plot points are touched on then never returned to - as if the script was a draft shy of complete, or that the movie was significantly trimmed to a mere 2:45!! - A hint that a leg might be gangrenous is never returned to. A potential problem with an unwed singer having a child is also never realized. A heroin using Tenor - nope, didn't do that either. In fact, none of the little sub-sub plots are worked out. The movie becomes a "behind the scenes" if you will, of the staging of an operetta - with very little of the dramatic tension that is the opera world.
In the end, the movie is too "precious" for it's own good.
So -- with some of the melodies stuck in my head, I must give this movie a 4.
The Roost (2005)
Absolutely Awful on all levels
I saw this at the L.A. Film Fest last night, and boy has my estimation of that fest's taste gone down. Somehow, Larry Fessenden (the exec producer) has gotten a 'star' like name. Beats me, because Wendigo isn't that great a movie either. This can be the only reason this tripe got into the festival.
Anyway - The Roost - was introduced as homage to the early "rent on VHS" low budget horror flicks of the 80's. Great. I'm ready.
What it is - is a boring, tale of four (or so) people that end up at a farm, and then go to the barn for no good reason, and then get attacked by bats. Somehow, I guess these bats can make you a zombie, because occasionally someone acts like a zombie, or doesn't die when they're shot. I think. Also, at one point, there's 'reverse reverb' type sound on a voice in the dark - - so maybe they also make you a ghost.
Now, if the set up for this had been the first 30 minutes, fine. Now they're trapped and they have to get out.
But they don't - it takes a torturous 60-70 minutes. It's essentially a one act movie - on Valium.
But it's not like they're really trapped. The barn door is wide open, and most of the time the only thing that seems like it's outside is the enormous amount of harsh light they're blasting at the Barn to light the scene. Eventually (this could be construed as a spoiler), the two remaining people decide to go out to the police SUV, which is still parked from much earlier in the torture, er movie. Of course, its lights are still on and flashing as they were left before.
The Director proudly mentioned how the movie was shot on film. Kodak would NEVER point to this as an example of what their stocks can look like. Much of the time, it looked like they had pushed the film two or more stops. The grain was beyond ridiculous. Also, FOCUS??? Who cares? Some shots, nay scenes - shots indicates editing, were so out of focus as to be pointless. The Lighting was essentially to get an exposure. There was no art (or semblance of realism) to it. I know budget is low, etc. but it's not an excuse to just flip the switch on 5000 watts of light and call it a day - not when it's supposed to be night.
The soundtrack - an incessant screeching of strings and 'found' type sound, would have worked better if it hadn't been so damn loud. Though the overall volume level at the theater was in the "I'll confess to anything" range, the mix of the movie itself was also not great.
A wrap around as if all of this was a 'creature feature' TV show with guest host Tom Noonan was - so what? At one point, the movie is interrupted by going back to the wrap around. Then, it "rewinds" or "forwards" a bit in the movie. I think it was done to cut through an especially bad scene, so -- Thank you -- good idea. On a cinematic level though - what were they thinking? Funny? Clever? Come on, SCTV did this twenty years ago.
If you want to watch a good bad 80's movie, watch "The Incredible Melting Man" or any other number of movies. If you want to torture yourself with boredom, grating sound, awful lighting, non existent pacing, and ultimately thoughts of - WHY WHY WHY?! -- or if you want to remind yourself of those bad 80's video rentals you shut off after four minutes - then, The Roost may be your bag.
Welcome to Hollywood (1998)
funny funny funny
This movie gets funnier the more you watch it - like Spinal Tap. I thought it nailed reality, as well as nailed the comic timing of most scenes. The Baywatch stuff is amazing. Well done, Tony! You deserve a real career (as a writer, director, producer, whatever).
The wax museum was also another priceless moment.
Here is an under rated movie that I think should be passed out at the border of California to every moving truck going west.
Cabin Fever (2002)
not scary, not that gory, not that anything
After all the talk of gore, I was expecting a lot more than this movie. It doesn't go anywhere for most of the flick, and when it does, it does so with a whimper. Accept for amazingly hot women, one of which gets nude, this thing is not nearly as good as the movies it is imitating. Gore??? Come one, there's so much gorier and out there. Scary? NO! Stupid? Yes - but not in a good way.
Overall, this movie is dull.
For gore - see Peter Jacksons, "Dead Alive" For a good "Cabin" movie - see any of the countless movies from the late 70's early 80s starting, of course, with Evil Dead.
once again - HBO makes excellent product
Watching a movie like this makes me really think that the future of interesting american cinema is in television. This is a movie that has the production value of a theatrical movie and the gray (not black and white) characters of something like Lawrence of Arabia. People are sell outs. People are three dimensionally portrayed. They aren't cardboard heros and villians. There isn't the "good guy in the end" that infiltrates so many other movies.
Great cast and great cinematography. Well done, guys. Keep up the great work.
Now if we can only find the original film, wouldn't that be something?
French Postcards (1979)
a most pleasant find
Happened upon this movie on hbo and became a total sucker for it. What a great little movie. Why I never heard of this movie before now is something I can't figure out. It's one of those movies that stands the test of time, even if it's only twenty odd years.
Gin gwai (2002)
some good creepy moments
The Eye,overall, is a decent movie. Perhaps if the sound design were better, it would work even better. There are, unquestionably, a handful of moments that make you jump and send a shiver up your arms. Success!
It does have a strong resemblance to Sixth Sense, even to the point where you expect the words "I see dead People" to be uttered.
Where the movie is weak is in the sound design and the score. The music cues are too, well, on cue, and the sound design is too blatant.
For fans of the terror genre though, it is a must see.
Hey - next year when the american version comes out, you can say you saw it first.