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The Ghastly Love of Johnny X (2012)
A Very Fun/Campy Retro Movie!!!!!
I think this was a very fun retro movie and a tribute and spoof of the 1950's sci-fi and juvenile delinquent movies. Creed Bratton was very funny as a zombie entertainer. It has a GREAT look to it in scope and the 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The music is good and I really enjoyed this. Some of the film score and songs stayed with me many days later. It also was very nice to see Kevin McCarthy and Paul Williams in this movie. The very last film shot on Kodak Plus X 35mm black and white film stock. A very entertaining film. Very campy. I think this film will continue into the future as a major cult film. I am so glad it was shot on real film stock and not on digital format equipment.
Wonderful Family Film With Good Values!
Universal Studios version of "Flipper" (1996) is a great heartwarming film for the entire family with good values and sentimentality. It is the story of Sandy Ricks, a teenager from Chicago who reluctantly spends his vacation with his Uncle Porter Ricks in the Bahamas. This ultimately changes the teenagers life and he grows up in the process. He learns to appreciate nature and to have a respect for the environment. I grew up in the 1960's and the NBC television show "Flipper" was my favorite childhood show. Elijah Wood is perfectly cast as a 1990's Sandy Ricks and gives an excellent performance. As much as I liked the NBC television show and MGM theatrical feature films with Luke Halpin as Sandy in the 1960's I liked this feature the best! I feel Elijah Wood is the best Sandy Ricks. With respect to Luke Halpin I feel Elijah Wood has more of a range of acting talent and emotes more as an actor which makes his performance excellent and more believable. I think Elijah Wood is the best young actor working today in films. Director Alan Shapiro also wrote the screenplay and has done an excellent job as both writer and director of this film. Paul Hogan gives a comical and likable performance as Sandy's Uncle Porter Ricks. Mr. Hogan's performance perfectly offsets Elijah's role as Sandy. I am a big fan of underwater films. This film was beautifully shot in the Bahamas like "Thunderball" (1965 UA) was. The director of photography was Bill Butler A.S.C. who lensed the film "Jaws" in 1975. Mr. Butler is a very talented cinematographer. The underwater director of photography was Pete Romano. He did a superb job with the underwater cinematography. I enjoyed the film score by Joel McNeely. This good film score featured Crosby, Stills and Nash among other talented artists. This motion picture was shot in Panavision like "Thunderball" in the aspect ratio of 2.35:1 If possible try to see this film in a scope version as originally framed and visioned by Alan Shapiro and Bill Butler. Another very nice thing is that Mr. Shapiro gave the "original" Sandy Ricks (Luke Halpin) a small part in this remake. He portrayed Bounty Fisherman #3 in this film. This was a very kind gesture on Mr. Shapiro's part! As you can tell I am a real true fan of this film. Sadly this beautiful film was met with harsh words by the majority of movie critics. I originally saw this movie on my birthday, May 31st of 1996 in a movie theater. It meant a lot to me. I have it on numerous video versions. The VHS versions are in "pan and scan". The laserdisc version is "letterboxed" 2.35:1! I even have a VCD in 2.35:1 from Hong Kong which is "letterboxed". But my most prized possession is an "original" 16mm theatrical feature print which I will treasure for the rest of my life! Thank you Mr. Shapiro, Elijah Wood, Paul Hogan and everyone involved for making this a memorable movie for me to enjoy!
P.S. I must add that the quality of the Universal DVD is superb! It is the best DVD as far as quality I have ever seen. The color and resolution is spectacular. The soundtrack is great. I think Universal must have used the same transfer for the DVD that they did for the laserdisc version. The 35mm scope print is "mint" and Alan's film really has a wonderful look to it. A great tribute to a wonderful film! The DVD's resolution is even superior to the laserdisc quality! It's just spectacular! Thank you Universal Home Video for the great quality control and transfer. Many thank's for doing a superb job on this wonderful family film. Also many thank's to you Alan for all your extreme kindness to me!!! It's a real honor to know you!!! (Review Revised/Updated June 27, 2005)
"Here Comes The Biggest Bond Of All"
After the great success of "Goldfinger" in 1964, the Bond producers, Cubby (Albert R.) Broccoli and Harry Saltzman had to find a way to top the remarkable success of their 007 film "Goldfinger". Kevin McClory owned the rights to the story line of "Thunderball". He would team with Broccoli and Saltzman to work on "Thunderball". To make it the ultimate underwater film, the producers decided to go with Panavision. The producers enlisted the aid of Ivan Tors Underwater Studios in Florida. This studio was famous for underwater television shows and feature films of the 1960's. Master underwater cameraman Lamar Boren A.S.C., who lensed many underwater TV shows & features like Flipper and Sea Hunt was hired to photograph the "spectacular" climax in reel #7 of the film: the underwater fight between good frogman vs. bad frogman. Jordan Klein,(also with the Tors Florida Unit), was underwater engineer on Thunderball. His job was to install motors in the underwater props. Ricou Browning was hired as underwater director. British cinematographer, Ted Moore, B.S.C. was at the helm of the project as Director Of Photography. Veteran British director, Terence Young, (who directed the first two films, Dr. No and From Russia With Love), signed on as director of Thunderball. He took a leave of absence after the first two 007 projects and director Guy Hamilton took the helm for the third film, Goldfinger. Thunderball would be the last Bond film Terence Young would direct. As a child of ten in 1965, "Thunderball" really caught my attention. Up to the point of seeing "Thunderball" I had only seen flat films. I had never seen anything in scope. Thunderball would be the first 007 epic photographed in scope 2.35:1 aspect ratio, released originally in the dye transfer process I.B. Technicolor/Panavision. I can see why Thunderball won John Stears an Oscar for special effects in 1965. The film is truly amazing! On a budget of only five million, (small by today's standards) the film became a landmark vehicle. What amazes me is the great work of editor Peter Hunt in regard to Thunderball. Assembling the underwater fight, like a jigsaw puzzle, certainly was a feat of magic!!! He would later go on to direct, "On Her Majesty's Secret Service", in 1969. Master cinematographer, Lamar Boren must get a lot of praise for all his work on "Thunderball". Working with "bulky" three strip Technicolor cameras and slow film stock, was certainly a chore. Lighting the underwater fight was a very remarkable achievement. Also Lamar Boren and Ricou Browning had no headsets in 1965 for communication during the underwater sequences. They communicated totally with hand signals. A far cry from today's technology! Thunderball is a "GREAT" James Bond film. John Barry's wonderful "mellow" score enhances the total effect of Mr. Boren's underwater sequences. In my opinion John Barry is the only film composer that can score a Bond film properly!!! This film incorporates a lot of talented people like Terence Young, Lamar Boren, Jordan Klein, Ricou Browning, John Stears, Peter Hunt. The list is endless! Also "Thunderball" has a good villain Adolfo Celi (as Largo), beautiful Bond women like Luciana Paluzzi(as Fiona Volpe) and Claudine Auger (as Domino). Sean Connery is in top form at age 35. It is a great action/adventure film. Ted Moore's style of cinematography was brilliant and a lost art today. The many optical lab (picture) wipes in the film were unique and special! The only other Bond film to use these lab type scene dissolves was "From Russia With Love" It incorporated these types of optical wipes as well!!!
This review is dedicated to underwater pioneer/cinematographer Mr. Lamar Boren A.S.C. who passed away in January of 1986! I think Mr. Boren was a genius when you look at the brilliant underwater battle. All the credit must go to Mr. Boren who was able to photograph it so well. I am still impressed with his sequences 42 year's later. The fact that this film hold's up so well after ALL these year's is a real tribute to his great cinematography!!!