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bok602

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17 reviews in total 
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16 out of 20 people found the following review useful:
What a load of CRAP!, 20 July 2010

I'm not even through to the first commercial break and I can tell that this show is just another pile of faux-reality CRAP! Zawi Hawass is such a ego-maniacal, self-centered publicity whore that I wouldn't doubt for a second that he'd jump at the chance to make himself the action hero center of an alleged "reality" program -even to the point of faking this whole intern,documentary thing in and around these priceless ruins. Notice how in the first minute or two he makes a convenient "discovery" the instant he sets foot inside the tunnel beneath the pyramid? I SEVERELY question whether any serious archaeologist would just pick up such a fragile object in his bare hands and handle it so casually.

The interns and crew are clearly actors (or at least reading prepared lines) and the setup so far is obviously staged.

I have no intentions of following any further episodes and strongly advise others not to waste their time.

11 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Heartbreaking Film of Incredible Beauty, 24 January 2009
10/10

A heart-breaking film of incredible beauty! I was guided towards this film by Delpeut's other "found footage" masterpiece, Lyrical Nitrate. In that assemblage I was introduced to the genius of Lyda Borelli and sought out whatever titles of hers may still exist -this was the top of the list.

Anyone who has any sort of preconceived notions about silent film which involves goofy black-and-white makeup, cardboard sets, static camera setups and custard pies is in for a surprise. Anyone who thinks that silent film acting was all about waving your arms and stalking back and forth is in for an earth-shattering revelation.

True, there is a bit of monochromatic makeup (panchromatic hadn't yet been perfected), but the use is masterly and you are more readily reminded of today's "heroin chic" or Goth makeup fashion. In most instances the "back to the future" quality of the makeup actually works in its favor.

The sets glimpsed here are anything but cardboard. The entire collection of films appear to have been shot on location, in actual mansions or else on lavishly appointed sets that would rival anything DeMille or Merchant/Ivory could devise.

The direction and cinematography of the original films is quite frankly breath-taking. There was a scene in an opera house early on in which the director executed a camera move (panning the breadth of the opera house from inside one of the boxes using the actress as the pivot point) which I had never seen done in a film before. It was startling. Elsewhere there are scenes of ravishing beauty, artistic composition simply for art's sake and camera work designed simply to showcase the beauty or the expression of the actress or her movements.

Just look at the image on the box cover and you can instantly sense that our heroine is in the midst of some torment within herself. So much from just a still frame -and even there it is so carefully composed an image that it becomes art in itself. The entire film is that rare and perfect blending of art and drama so delicately balanced that one never compromises the other. Scenes are played for the maximum dramatic impact (and there are some category 10 hurricanes brewing), but at the same same time the images are composed so as to resemble Beardsley illustrations or Old Masters paintings. But again, one never outweighs or interferes with the other.

First and foremost, each actress in the several clips assembled is given license to unleash her dramatic demons and take no prisoners. This they do with all the fury or a woman scorned (Do not expect hand-wringing melodrama, or anything along the lines of a Lifetime Movie for Women, these women are Divas of the highest order, sexually liberated and may the gods help anyone who gets in their way).

Secondly the actresses are treated by their directors and cinematographers as goddesses incarnate, and are so presented in all their silver nitrate glory; faces in sublime agony become poetic landscapes of beauty, or a coquettish glance is transformed into a thunderstorm about to explode. Images of ravishing beauty accompany scenes of soul-wrenching misery. The mixture is astounding.

Forget any thoughts of banana peels or custard pie fights; there is not a single instant of slapstick comedy anywhere on screen. Quite the opposite, this film is drenched with seriousness to the point of suicide. Had there been sound these characters would be singing grand opera. The women whose lives are enacted in these all-too-brief moments were fraught with sinful passions, sorrow, anguish and -of course- high drama.

It is this last which I mean in in its best sense, not in the current flippant meaning. This is drama of the most operatic proportions; of Ophelia decking herself in silk and veils to take her last, final swim. This is of the woman, so desperate in love despite her illness (one is reminded of La Boheme and her TB) that she willingly lets herself be overdosed on morphine so she can share one moment of love. There are Salome's and Lady MacBeth's here as well -all wrenching and grasping, seething and smoldering visibly as well as below the surface.

But again, don't expect "silent movie" acting. These women, Lyda Borelli, Pina Menichelli and the others -grand dames every one- threw themselves bodily into their roles (quite literally at times) but never at any point do their agonies come across as comedic or unbelievable. Names like Streep, Close and Sarandon spring to mind immediately when watching the performances; these are women who can act with their faces, their eyes, with the simple turn of the head.

It has taken nearly a hundred years for the supreme artistry of the Dolorous Diva to come full circle and be appreciated. What a loss that so much of the output of these superstars of early film has been lost. Delpeut's film has restored at least part of them to their rightful niche of immortal performances.

Diva Dolorosa is a spectacular achievement on so many levels

Decasia (2002)
0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Over-Rated - Could have been better, 31 August 2008
2/10

Having seen Lyrical Nitrate and been hypnotized by the beauty of it and of the artistry possible to be created out of found footage (even as it disintegrates), I bought DECASIA based on the reviews and in the hope that the same creative lightening would strike twice.

I was much disappointed.

The moments of "artistic" decay are few and far between. A previous reviewer pointed out (most poetically) the highlights of the film, but the majority of the film is endless -endless -endless clips of just poor quality footage.

To make matters worse, most of the clips, which went on far too long to hold interest, were actually slowed down to make them LONGER. Case in point is the whirling dervish footage, which not only is slowed down, but also repeated several times. Then there is the procession of camels which drag across the screen in slow motion to the point that I had to fast-forward just to get past them. Neither sequence, by the way, was particularly decayed or showed any damage of note; certainly nothing to merit slowing them down to such extents.

Likewise, a procession of schoolchildren through a convent garden is slowed to such an excruciating crawl that one actually misses the fact that this sequence IS damaged until you speed it up.

My other complaint (and an artistic mis-step on the part of the film-maker) is the fact that black-and white film stock was used instead of color. As Lyrical Nitrate demonstrated, part of the artistic value of decayed nitrate (even if it was a "black & white" film) is the palette of color produced by the chemical reaction of the film stock.

Lost are the yellows, oranges, rusts, browns and reds which might have lent some genuine visual interest to this otherwise rather bland collage.

I personally would not recommend this film and would instead direct interested parties to the vastly superior Lyrical Nitrate.

Atlantik (1929)
10 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
A Fascinating Curio of Cinematic/Cultural History, 9 May 2006
4/10

I would love to know what audiences in 1929 thought of this film; how they approached it, what sort of conversation, emotion, thoughts it generated.

The 1912 sinking of the Titanic was the greatest disaster of its time, shaking the social foundations of the period to it core. Society changed as a result, the world changed forever and everybody was touched by it to a greater or less degree.

In many ways, it could be likened to 9/11 in terms of cultural and worldwide impact.

Bearing that in mind -and mindful of the UNITED 93 film which has just been released- I'm very curious as to how an audience of the period would have greeted this fictionalized version of so great a disaster.

Aside from a 1912 newsreel and a one-reel exploitation film of 1915, it strikes me as very significant that 17 years passed before the first real film adaptation of the Titanic disaster was made.

Were film makers so sensitive to the material? Were audiences not ready until almost twenty years after the fact? How different are we today when TV movies pop up sometime within months of events (the David Koresh/Branch Davidian TV flick was being filmed while the standoff was still taking place!)? I'm all in favor of tasteful motion picture depictions of events such as the Titanic, Hindenburg, 9/11 events; but care and sensitivity have to be exercised or else you run the risk of exploitative trash like the Dahmer films.

ALL THAT having been said, this version creaks badly, bears little but superficial resemblance to the actual Titanic disaster and may likely be more akin to a film version of the infamous novel Futility.

The sets are nicely done, though clearly sound stages; the jazz band is a bit out of place (particularly as the ship is sinking!) and the acting is SO wooden they should have held the ship up on their own.

The actual disaster scenes are very well done for the period, the flooding sets still impress and -most surprisingly- the final blackout as the ship goes under -sound effects, screams and crashing played against a black screen- is startlingly effective.

12 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
Achingly Poetic...Painfully Beautiful..., 28 December 2005
9/10

VERY VERY FEW films can move me to tears.

This is one of them. Both the tragedy of the lost films, the ravishing beauty of the subjects captured and the precious fragments preserved here are at once poetic and pitiful.

The glorious travelogue footage of a world since vanished; the literally flickering images of men and women long since dead; the faces of children who would today be pushing 100 years old and the pathetic remains of deteriorated film footage bringing the program to a close on an eloquent and wrenching contrast...

For me the most riveting moments were those of Lyda Borelli. For all I know the fragments presented here are all that survive of her entire film career -and that alone renders into greater perspective the stunning artistry she projects simply and subtly with her eyes...a gesture...the subtle movement of her head. Even her very presence projects intensity and drama in shots where she is standing still.

It is completely possible, in the seven or so minutes that her clips are presented, to be moved and touched and involved in whatever tragic scene(s) she is enacting -even without their original context.

6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Post-Production Tampering?, 10 June 2005
8/10

This has always been one of my all-time favorites of the original SUPERMAN series, but also one of the most puzzling to me.

It is very different in tone, feel, design and execution from all the rest of the series. Most particularly because of its "darkness." I mean this both literally and figuratively.

While all the others are, for the most part, bright and cartoonish in their color design, TERROR is dark, gloomy, murky and downright sinister -even in the opening scenes of what should be a bright, cheerful circus setting.

The opening shots of the circus posters and scenes appear to me more to be still-frames, rather than intended snapshots, as though the original footage has been replaced with these artificial still shots. I am strongly tempted to believe that these particular shots were modern substitutions for the original footage.

Later, when the gorilla makes his appearance, it is plainly evident (from the excessive graininess) that the original image has been photographically enlarged to produce the close-ups of Lois Lane and the gorilla.

The unusual (and uncharacteristic) lack of detail in the close-up of Lois, combined with the strange quality of the speed at which she moves suggests that the close-up was manipulated from a much longer shot and perhaps slowed down somewhat.

The initial close-up of the gorilla is even more extreme (and highly effective as a terror shot) and suffers more from darkness and lack of detail.

A later shot of Superman wrestling with the ape also shows signs of tampering, like the poorly framed shot of Superman and the ape which, because of the clumsy re-framing of the image, results in an awkward and lengthy close-up of Superman's backside. Surely this was NOT the original intent of the film-makers.

Can anyone provide any insight?

Random Thoughts on a Gee-Whiz NIFTY film, 7 June 2005
4/10

I saw this film -properly- for the first time on a finely remastered Triton DVD triple feature called Horrors From Space which also included Phantom From Space and Killers from Space (this last includes green tinted sequences, inserts and effects shots!).

I was impressed with the quality of the Triton print, amused by the poorly looped dialog, and laughed at the truly ludicrous acting -particularly Dawn Anderson.

David Love is the lone standout among the cast, with his 1950's handsome good looks and 1950's wooden performance as the alien coming across as somehow heartfelt and sincere.

The lack of any real special effects is impressive (not forgetting the shots of the ONE spacecraft) because it actually makes the skeletal disintigrator ray effects seem all the more startling and effective.

And who could ever forget -or fail to succumb to- the towering image of ---the Gargon!!! Yes, the Gargon! The silhouetted image of a lobster stalking across the screen in all its crustacean terror...

Finally, alert listeners may also recognize music tracks later used as the main title from Night of the Living Dead

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Really worth watching...REALLY!, 7 June 2005
5/10

The Human Vapor is a surprisingly worthwhile change from the usual round of men in rubber suit Japanese horror films. It is an effective cross between The Invisible Man and Phantom of the Opera with just a dash of Hangover Square.

The kabuki sequences were very well staged. The musical score is lush, heartfelt and at times quite moving. It has tremendous production values and some good, sincere acting.

It is marred only by over-abundant comic relief and choppy editing (although the latter is almost certainly the fault of it's American distributors).

It is also hampered by its current un-availability in any medium. My sad, long out of print, much-abused VHS rental copy is close to 20 years old and appears to have been made from a very worn out, badly scratched and faded TV print.

Does anyone know of a restored print? A letter-boxed version? A DVD???? All in all though, it is worth watching....really.

4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Blasphemy! Heresy! Rank Apostacy!!!!, 25 May 2005

No Stars! No Stars! This was worse than awful!!!!

I will never laugh at Cecil B DeMille again.

I'd never conceived of the Bible as comedy, even when Walter Houston produced his version of the Flood in THE BIBLE, turning Noah and Co into a bit of a buffoon, it was done with a sense of reverent whimsy.

NOAH'S ARK is nothing less than a blasphemous mockery. There is no reverence at all -either for the situations, characters or the Bible itself. Compared to this, those old Schick Sunn Classics "Greatest Heroes of the Bible" TV specials (remember them?) come across as cinematic art.

I was so horrified at having witnessed such blasphemy I rent my garments!

Other reviewers have enumerated the litany of flaws, inaccuracies and outright abominations contained in this epic trash. There is such shameless heresy throughout that everyone -EVERYONE- associated with the production be forced to perform public penance on the steps of Temple Mount or face excommunication.

Hurricane (1974) (TV)
2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
TWISTER - only with water, 2 May 2005
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

To quote a previous comment: "This movie,although about a hurricane, beats "twister". very little foul language, no graphic violence, but still leaves us with plenty of thrills and excitement and gets it's point across that a hurricane is nothing to mess around with." I agree completely -AND it appears to have the same random cow in the road! On the whole, it's really not as bad as might seem from a TV movie, and the inclusion of actual storm footage actually adds to the semi-documentary style.

My only real gripe is with the eye-of-the-storm sequences, in which the very minimal effects are at their weakest and the stock footage used is inconsistent at best.

SPOILER! Additionally, being a fan of the old Adam 12 series, I was saddened at the fate of the heroic Martin Milner. To make matters worse, his demise with that of his crew is not even shown on screen; it's only mentioned in passing later on.


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