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pantagruella

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44 reviews in total 
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Skyline (2010)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Exposed To The Alien, 7 June 2016
10/10

The invasion of the Earth by aliens is a popular theme in films going back, at least, to the fifties. I can't think of a film that does it better than Skyline. It is a powerfully visual piece of work. You feel you would be tempted to watch the reality of this experience rather than cower behind the shades. In fact it reminds me of the awesome Judas Priest track Cathedral Spires.

The negative criticism of this film by most critics is phenomenal. I can't see the flaws that have been picked out. The film is a roller coaster with many great incidents that increasingly ramp up and ramp down.

The film is aware of what has gone before and nods to films such as Cloverfield and Independence Day. It goes further than most films in considering what is alien.

Many science-fiction films are really space operas, old Western tales given a high-tech background. This is a true sci-film. But not without its human heroics.

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Slow Slow Quick Quick Slow, 7 October 2015
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This film is right up my street. I like monster films and I like sheriff films.

From the start of the film we get the message of low budget and understated acting. That cold blue scheme suits my morbid nature. I liked the relentless chill of the colours. Later I woke up to the fact that there was a lot of clever and ambitious cinematography. There are some great shots just looking at the locale.

The two law enforcement officers consider the realistic possibilities and eventually turn to the crypto-zoology of North America. The idea of a hoofed biped is an interesting one with some history in lore. There was a famous case of the Devil's footprints in a wintry England in the 19th century. In that case they even had marks on the roofs. I also remember a short story by Basic Copper about a creature which left small prints but which was very powerful and savage.

The sheriff is weighed down by the loss of his son. Do we need that? Well, it helps to keep the tone sober at all times. There's not much relief from the growing threat.

The film makers handle their beastie very well. We start with just suggestions and possibilities. Like many a monster it is too fast to see until the time comes for us to see it. It doesn't disappoint when fully revealed and the film ends with a good punch.

Underground (2011/I)
Down Among The Dead Men, 25 May 2015
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Eight young people flee from trouble at a disco and get stuck in an old military bunker hiding an abandoned black project. This film delivers according to the parameters of the synopsis.

There is some military experience amongst the trapped folk, some sanity, some reasoning. There are some good words in the script too.

The middle section is fast and furious when bad things turn up. As another reviewer mentioned the mood of very serious. You wouldn't bet on anyone making it out alive.

I can't find fault with any aspect of the film. They could easily rework this to be part of a sequel to Mad Max: Fury Road.

The moral of this story is that bad people perform bad experiments and it's not very nice to clean all that up.

Night Drive (2010/I)
A Journey Into Darkest Africa, 30 March 2015
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Horror is a vast continent. This really is a very harsh trip that has it moments of repulsion and nausea.

There are sympathetic characters but the film doesn't reward them. Mainly it's about a bunch of crass, vacuous and duplicitous people finding out abruptly that you should check the political situation in a country before doing the tourist thing. The film teaches us that contempt for natives can backfire.

You may not identify with these tourists which makes it difficult to appreciate the journey they make. It took me three attempts to get past the sheer nastiness of what's on show to appreciate that the visitors really are in a dark place.

I don't mind Hollywood gloss but I'm chiefly at home with the B movies and the straight-to-video fair. I'm always looking for the silver lining to unpromising material. I can't find fault with the production values, the script or the acting. Of course there is a guy there you wouldn't want to be stuck in a lift with.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Black Western, 16 January 2015
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I love bad movies. I specialise in bad movies It seems common to hear about the worst film ever made. Bad films are more elusive than you might imagine. This is far from being a bad film. I can hardly find an aspect of film-making in which it fails.

I'm not prepared to say how good it is. It takes me a while to warm to a film.

We have black protagonists. Is that the problem? Are they musicians? It doesn't matter. They do well.

You get a chance to see some fine support actors go through their paces. David Carradine, Raymond Cruz, Peter Green, Ed Lauter. These actors put the film on the radar of legitimate entertainment.

Western clichés are revisited and are freshened up more than a little.

The script seldom clunks. Characters are introduced and followed leading viewers to the climax, which is not formulaic.

I really hope this film climbs out of the bottom hundred in time. It is occupying much needed space belonging to another film.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Coming From A Different Direction, 17 February 2014
8/10

I do not mind disaster movies but I'm uncomfortable with films based on real events. I've avoided this film for years and years.

My principal reason for finally watching almost all of it is George C Scott. My partiality for this actor comes from Exorcist III. I have seen him in other films and he seems to bring a great deal to any role he takes.

There were other names in the cast list that caught my eye, a young William Atherton, Burgess Meredith in near Penguin mode, Gig Young close to the end of his life and just before Game of Death, Charles Durning, as a captain an a half.

Some people said it was slow-going, that we all wanted to see the burning. No, not me. I enjoyed the slow journey across the Atlantic. An expert poster mentioned the great detail of the recreation of The Hindenberg. Without any knowledge I felt that I got a real feeling of that kind of travel. There's are even some brief lines that pin down what a remarkable way to travel it is or must have been. Those words come from the Countess.

The trickiest thing for me to explain is the handling of the German characters. The war ended nearly seventy years ago, but it still seems important for film-makers to demonise the Nazis to the maximum, even though we all know history is written by the victors. This film allows us to see some shades of difference between the German characters.

Ritter gets to distance himself from the Gestapo but also explains that he can't run away from his nation. I like the captain's polite interruption of the song mocking the Nazis.

Many posters have objected to the clunky script. This film is thirty- nine years old. The script seems interesting, more so than most incoherent expletive-filled scripts of the current decade.

It's a mild whodunit, I suppose. One poster mentions that the final discovery of the bomb is rather badly handled. But earlier in the film I thought the language of those trying to preserve the airship was rather crisp, thorough and pointed.

Dead Mary (2007) (V)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Mary Mary Quite Contrary, 3 July 2013
9/10

I am sure this film disappointed a lot of people but it was right up my street, as we say. A group of young friends meeting death one by one in the woods is a cheap enough project. The strength here was in the slow naturalistic build and the good acting. You have time to work out the tensions within the group, aspects of their character, past history. The photography is good and lazy discourses should remind many of the days when time wasn't so precious. The induction of evil into the group is passed off quite smoothly. Thereafter there is a satisfying logic to the actions and reactions. I know some people are bothered by other Mary tales as if they are cheated out of something. There's no witch in Blair Witch and there's no Ripper in Ripper. Titles aren't labels on jam jars or guarantees. Some worried that this isn't Evil Dead but that's the last film I want to see.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Unkind To Actors, 12 June 2013
3/10

I want to make some general points about films like this. We don't expect a great deal and we'll probably watch the next one. The problem with such films is balance between opposing forces. For much of the film the supernatural hero is up against a hard-working mercenary who gets a boosts later on. Everyone else just falls over. That reminds me of Ultraviolet, a great film for watching people fall over. For a lesson in balancing forces, look at the hastily made 1974 film Enter The Streetfighter where you have a hierarchy of powerful characters, much like Top Trumps, and all introduced quickly and without much effort. There are some good visuals in Spirit of Vengeance. We'd regard the special effects department more if the other parts of the film were functioning. I feel sorry for Ciaran Hinds who was once Julius Caesar, an actor. I don't feel sorry for Christopher Lambert. He won't be tarnished by his part. The mythology is not deep enough for this character. Were any comic book people engaged in the project? A far better film of this type is the 2005 film Man-Thing.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Agent Orange, 13 February 2013
9/10

I don't have a lot to say about this excellent film. I do take issue with one reviewer who said that it was deadly serious. I was laughing for most of the journey. It's like a silent film with much slapstick. It's a brave film and I imagine they only showed it in about four cinemas. The same thing happened to Postal. What a world we live in! It might have been kinder for the hero to have been picked up by the Spanish Inquisition. I look forward to more films from the viewpoint of the Taliban and other naughty insurgents. They certainly have a tale to tell. This is a surprising film. I didn't expect it. The people behind it went to a lot of trouble. Photography is superb. Production values are high. Three cheers to everyone involved. But it is funny. Very funny.

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Shocker, 19 August 2012
8/10

Do we spend our time being shocked by the ratings of films on the IMDb? I do. This film is splendid entertainment. I don't blame people for seeing things differently from me, but if you think this film is poor then you and I shall never live happily together.

This film isn't a bad film that is so bad it's good. This is a film that knows what it is doing. It's provided for us by a writer-director. Usually a good sign. The cast are having a great time with a sure understanding of their roles.

It's also not embarrassed to hang around. Some scenes are allowed to simmer.

It seems to be a direct parody of Alien. There are also signs of Dark Star. I'd say it prefigures Red Dwarf.


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