Reviews written by registered user
|24 reviews in total|
I tuned in to 'Martial law' a few days ago on UK satellite TV. Well, I've never seen a 'police' series quite like it - it makes Hawaii 5-0 look positively archaic by comparison, Sammo,Grace and Company combine to offer a beautifully choreographed and seemingly non-stop sequence of action packed episodes (aided by some dazzling stunts and clever camerawork ) One can forgive the fact that the rest of the city police force appear to be surplus to requirements and that the plots are sparkling gems of improbability - the whole programme is propelled forward by an irresistible combination of incandescent martial arts skills, transcendental displays of the powers of deduction,coupled with what appears to be an undercurrent of good humour which is never far from the surface.This is a programme which is a fine example of the type of professionalism which maintains credibility but doesn't take itself too seriously.A first class example of comedy/action which is a sheer joy to watch, and mercifully free from cliches and stereotypes.Strongly recommended to those who want to enjoy themselves !
This film is,of course, a mirror image of 'Fistful of Dollars', without the
style. Generous helpings of bad acting, character stereotypes,poor storyline
and improbable scenarios are cleverly woven into a virtually non-stop
fusillade of gunfire, remarkable for the quantity of ammunition expended and
an incredibly high bullet to body ratio ! Add to this the unlikely prospect
of a derelict town with, apparently, only two inhabitants, located in a
desert, being terrorised by two gangs, each vying with the other for both
the accolade of sartorial excellence and the profits from various nefarious
activities, but who are, apparently, out-thought and out-gunned by a
stranger in a ramshackle old car, who needs to fire about 30 bullets to see
off one man, perhaps leading one to believe that an eye-test, followed by a
course in the effective use of fire-arms, might not go amiss ? Nevertheless,
our hero, by adhering closely to the script, triumphs after all, and is, as
far as can be ascertained, left as the 'Last Man Standing' At the end, you
might be forgiven for asking what it was all about, as this film contains
lots of action, but little else.
A fatuous plot, wooden acting, stereotyped characters, dialogue noteworthy only for its predictability, littered with set-piece cliches, this film combines all these defects into a unique representation of cinematic dysfunction which is symptomatic of the dearth of film making talent in contemporary cinema. This one makes the typical 1930's Three Stooges offerings look like epics ! My advice to prospective viewers is 'Don't waste your time (and money) on this insult to the intelligence.
Seeing an excerpt from 'Untouchables' on satellite TV recently brought back some memories of forty years ago, when I looked forward in eager anticipation to seeing the weekly appearance of Eliot Ness and his associates. To see them again was to see characters apparently frozen in time, operating in a mythical world where the differences between good and evil were clearly delineated and the 'bad guys' got their just deserts. Notwithstanding the fact that Capone and Ness never met, that Ness had little, if anything, to do with putting Capone behind bars, the programmes were quite well directed and acted, even though some of the supporting characters had little,if anything, to say - I can remember often waiting for some considerable time for 'Rico' (Georgiade)to say his only line ! Enjoyable,nevertheless, as cinematic curiosities, well crafted, but so far removed from historical reality as to be a rather threadbare tapestry of the events which the series purported to represent.
One looks in vain for adjectives which can adequately express the qualities of this masterpiece. I have seen it many times since I first saw it in 1939, and it merely confirms my opinion, which seems to be shared by 99 percent. of the other commentators, that this is the supreme adventure film, par excellence. The litany of praise bestowed upon this epic,is, I am certain, a reflection of the opinion of all those fortunate enough to have seen it, during the 64, yes 64 years since it was made. One may well ask how many of our present day adventure films, with their heavy reliance on computer technology and their emphasis on gratuitous sex and extreme violence, will meet the test of time as successfully ? Can the current generation of dubious talents, who receive grotesquely disproportionate financial rewards, come close to matching the incandescent appeal of Flynn, or the acting skills and sheer professionalism of Rathbone and Rains ? I consider myself privileged to have seen a film the like of which we will never see again. If you seek proof, read the other comments !
I was guilty of a gross error of judgement when I tuned in to 'Gargantua' (on satellite television) in an unguarded moment. I viewed with increasing disbelief as this cinematic aberration unfolded, unmatched in sheer awfulness by any contemporary sci-fi film which I have seen over the last two years. The 'design' of the 'monsters' must surely have been the product of individuals who suffered from a combination of colour-blindess and acute myopia and were in obvious need of psychiatric help. Add to this a generous helping of acting in a style which would make a cigar-store Indian seem animated,a storyline consisting of sentimentalised nonsense, a script which gives a whole new meaning to the word 'mediocre', together with special effects which appeared to pre-date Harryhausen on a bad day, then the sum total constitutes an experience never to be repeated ! I cannot believe that any rational person would be prepared to pay money to see this junk - certainly this is one to miss.
The quality of 'Summer Wine' is reflected in its longevity and ongoing popularity.I consider myself fortunate that, having once lived near Holmfirth, the small Yorkshire town where the action was set, during the 1980's,I had the opportunity to sample at first hand, the various locations and was fortunate in seeing the filming of some of the earlier episodes. There may be some support for my view that the earlier episodes, which featured 'Blamire'( Michael Bates)as one of the three leading characters, were characterised by the interplay between these three characters,expressed in terms of dialogue rather than the 'comic' situations which became a feature of later episodes, coupled with the development of other characters who played little or no part in the first series. I consider that the quality of the scripwriting suffered as a result of the changes, particularly when the focus moved away from the central trio. Nevertheless, the programme maintained its popularity over many years and developed almost a cult following. Curiously, though, this popularity was not wholly shared by the population of Holmfirth, who saw the programme as a mixed blessing when the interest generated by the programme resulted in an influx of sightseers into their small, quiet narrow streeted town, with predictable results. Suffice it to say that while one or two enterprising people benefitted from the publicity, the sightseer were, it must be said, disappointed with the fact that there was very little to see of real interest and, of course, the 'characters' were nowhere to be seen. That the programme retained its popularity for so long can only be explained by how well the characters created the illusion of three eccentric old men enjoying their freedom in nostalgic adventures in beautiful surroundings where the sun always appeared to smile on them (the grim reality of the harsh Holmfirth climate being conspicuous by its absence) The secondary characters were always believable and the humour was, by and large, unsophisticated and free from innuendo, reasons, perhaps, for its acceptance in the context it was presented. It may be that the reason for the success of the programme is that it presents a world that no longer exists, a set of endearing characters,lost in their own little world, steeped in a kind of rural simplicity from which the harsh values and events of the real world are permanently excluded,playing the sort of schoolboy adventures in which we may, at one time, have all shared. Their hopes and doubts, dreams and uncertainties running through the tapestry of their lives, played out for us with a skill which belies the simplicity of the message that the programme conveys.
I was fortunate enough to obtain a video of 'Four Horsemen ' recently and having read about it many years ago, I was intrigued to see whether it lived up to the legend. Considering it was made 80 years ago, I was quite astonished at the quality of this film, in terms of acting,direction and photography.To our modern eyes, the 'special effects'may,of course, seem a little quaint, but there is no denying that as an anti-war film, it stands alongside 'All Quiet on the Western Front' and 'Grande Illusion', and it has lost little of its power to move. The development of the character of Julio is a 'tour de force' of acting by Valentino and his celebrated tango in one of the murkier establishments of Buenos Aires realistically conveys the dissolute atmosphere of the cafe society of the period. My copy of the film was the tinted version with a (non-vocal) soundtrack added, which included tango music played by an apparently unsynchronised band ! To keen students of cinematic history, this film is a 'must-see'- indeed,I know of no contemporary films which comes close to matching it.
Browsing idly among the movie list on satellite TV I happened on this gem, of which I had no previous knowledge. I watched it through to the bitter end, wondering all the time whether it would lapse into reality, or continue to provide yet another surprise. Suffice it to say that, with the labyrinthine windings of the plot, the intercutting of scenes, the wonderful stereotypes effortlessly portrayed together with the sheer improbability of the story, placed this film in a class of its own for entertainment value (in the fullest sense of the word) and I would recommend it as a good way to pass an hour or two. One mystery, however, remains unsolved - why are all these highly trained people such bad shots and why do they have weapons which rarely, if ever, require reloading ? I was, incidentally,much taken with Iris, the Chinese undercover agent (Korean actress, actually)- she deserves better parts in better films !
One looks in vain for a gangster film better than 'White Heat' Brilliant direction, allied to atmospheric photography, are the canvas on which Cagney, in his finest performance ever, has painted a spine-chilling portrait of a mother-fixated psychopath, a character for whom one can feel no sympathy.The story is of little consequence, being merely the vehicle for a virtuoso display of acting talent, exceptional in its range and depth. The film does not attempt to get over a 'message' or offer pseudo-psychological explanations for the actions of Cody Jarrett (Cagney) It does, however, demonstrate that there are forces within the human psyche which are, whatever some may claim, beyond our comprehension, inexplicable within any framework of rationality. The story is, indeed, unexceptional and rather prosaic, but Cagney's performance blazes from the screen, making the story seem almost irrelevant.Full marks to the quality of the supporting cast who, one suspects, realised their good fortune in being able to witness a master at work. Don't miss this one - as near perfection as you'll ever see in this particular genre.
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