Reviews written by registered user
|7 reviews in total|
Quite a lot of money was spent recreating 1930's Hollywood & NYC in
glitzy high-fashion. Wide-angle lenses used apparently to show it off
(you can see the visual distortions). Jessie E. carries the film fairly
well. My one complaint is Mr. Allen tends to heavily populate the
background with cardboard stereotypical characters as he's done in past
films. To me it's belabored and they almost could've been left out.
Otherwise I still eagerly look forward to his yearly film product.
Major period anachronism, if nobody else's already pointed it out: SOJIN piano played in a early scene, you can see the brand name, and this was a 1980's Korean piano manufacturer!
i titled this review as i did because yes MAMA is turning into a tried-and-true cultish hit, judging by what i've seen of its performances here lately. it remains for weekly late night shows only. endlessly bizarre and domestically nightmarish episodes, it has the potential at least of grabbing you early on. another post here claims "the last 30 minutes shot itself in the head", well i think the last 30 minutes steamrolls into a chasm of story tangents ridiculing all your narrative perceptions. the plot in a nutshell? ha! i defy anyone to condense or cogently summarize what develops in MAMA, beyond 'your 2 nieces--thought dead 5 yrs ago--have been found growing up wild in the woods, and now for the bad news....'
Onion Movie reminds me of, and even has things in common with, John Landis' Amazon Women On The Moon. one legacy shared is both films sat on the shelf (alright, different shelves) for a few years before lucky enough to get released. Rodney Dangerfield appears in this film, posthumously, owing to this. i'll admit there were a few bits here that went nobly towards redeeming the remaining junkyard of comedy discards. like "armed gunman thwarts armed gunman", just to emphasize i actually watched it. for maximum, if any, viewing pleasure see Onion Movie alongside whatever rowdy inebriated crowd you can invite over this Saturday night
this is an absolutely fascinating Technicolor short. in the artists own words you hear what goes on inside their heads as they paint. with that you'll understand fully how the overall design and backgrounds of Sleeping Beauty--the concurrent production animated feature this short was intended to support--got to be so endlessly stunning. watch it with a group that includes an artiste or 2, then take vote which tree rendition is favored and why. the 4 are as calculatedly unique as they are visionary given this ordinary outcrop of nature. me and my wife agreed the results're a 3-way dead heat, and i won't say who's where. FYI: this is all about feel and individual interpretation, not about animating as the subject's obviously a static one
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Read reviews of DAIKAIJU BARAN and see how confused they are. If I
wrote one it'd probably be no less so. This is perfectly normal,
because BARAN is a confused production for its type. I'd mean that in a
good way if I could, so I'll distill my comments to the following
points about it:
1) music score, Akira Ifukube going full tilt, heavily orchestrated. There're those out there not unlike me who'll just eat it up;
2) it's been written the aspect ratio changed from standard academy to widescreen anamorphic mid-filming when it became a theatrical product instead of TV release, necessitating cropping tops/bottoms off of scenes already lensed. Having examined the film myself many times I don't detect any hard evidence of this in the picture frame itself, it may be a false issue, or one confused with the use of some stock footage lifted from GOJIRA which of course was non-anamorphic and so required cropping for those shots alone;
3) until the advent of VHS tapes and home video, BARAN was largely forgotten in its home country, not having enjoyed any re-releases there over the years since 1958. Much to the ire of knowledgeable Japanese fans. So the scenes of monster Baran flying became the stuff of hardcore fan mythology;
4) I like DAIKAIJU BARAN; it is done serious and straight, is part of a beautiful Black & White & Cinemascope format genre (the only Toho monster movie filmed that way, the 1st GAMERA film being a B&W 'scope Daiei production), and has some exotic flourishes for director Ishiro Honda who frequently took the pedestrian route. Despatching the beast by dropping parachuted explosives for it to swallow and detonate within is an imaginative approach Toho never re-used;
5) how it started as a US co-production, then stranded mid-filming to 100% Japanese product, only to be largely re-shot a couple years later transforming into more a US film again, by Crown International Pictures as Varan The Unbelievable is bizarre production genesis. Greg Shoemaker publisher/editor of renown Japanese Fantasy Film Journal fanzine termed Varan a US production using Japanese stock footage, a fairly accurate estimation. To watch it (the US Varan) is to thrill to endless transition shots of a military Jeep riding actor Myron Healy around rocky terrain. At a fan convention Myron was asked about it and remembered actress Tsuruko Kobayashi was a terrific cook on the set. The 1962 Crown Int'l theatrical Varan trailer terms it 'Tumultuous' in a title slide. Believe me the English Varan is anything but tumultuous. If one listens to the soundtrack ever so carefully you'll detect a microscopic whisper of the original Ifukube music score buried deep there. Otherwise and overall its stock anonymous film library music;
6) when the Ifukube music score was 1st released on a Japanese CD, it contained a couple additional music cues at the end labeled 'intended for TV version'. Go figure.
This film has (almost) always been hopelessly confused w/THE FINAL WAR
(B&W) in the past, so beware of this when referencing older reviews.
SEKAI DAISENSO was to have been theatrically released in U.S. back in early '60s by Edward G. Alperson's BRENCO PICTURES CO. (after Columbia Pictures passed on it), but this never actually occurred. An English dubbing & edit was attempted by Brenco, but not quite finished. A trailer was also made using JFK's "...mankind must put an end to war..." speech. When shown on U.S. television as THE LAST WAR starting in the '70s, it played strangely because the circular opening & ending was incomplete. Later prints of it by Heritage Enterprises tried to correct this. Disneys' "It's a small world after all" song pops up one too many times in the US soundtrack for me, though.
The small-scale miniature sets of various global metropolis's vaporized by all-out nuclear war were actually built out of sugar wafers for maximum explosive effect. However, on the day of shooting the Japanese technicians found that rats in the studio were getting first crack!
U.S. version GORATH editor @Brenco Pictures was none other than KENNETH
WANNBERG in his 'salad days', who's of course gone onto be John
Williams right-hand man as music editor on STAR WARS, et. al. (an
interesting thematic link). I once asked him about it and he said way
back then he carried around a print of GORATH in his car trunk as part
of his resume.
Certain U.S. release advertising states "in stereophonic sound", which I can assure you is domestic wishful thinking (the same applies to Brenco Pictures distributed THE HUMAN VAPOR). Not so the original Japanese release, which can boast (authentic) stereo track.
Frederick S. Clarke, late CINEFANTASTIQUE mag. editor/publisher, said he thought GORATH contained the best Toho Co. special-effects work of all their outer-space films. I agree.
Stan Timmons (BATTLESTAR GALLACTICA in print) remarked he thought the dubbed-voices in the English GORATH version sound all like old Rocky & Bulwinkle cartoons. Well yes, they do.
And GORATH actor George Farness, mentioned in another viewer comment, not only has a major role in THE LAST VOYAGE, but also narrates that film.
Director Ishiro Honda did GORATH immediately before KING KONG VS. GODZILLA in 1962. Yes this truly was the golden age of TOHO. But from what I've heard in the past this film's not highly regarded by fans in his home country.