Reviews written by registered user
|81 reviews in total|
I haven't bothered to write any reviews in a while, mostly because
they've already been well covered, or hardly worth the trouble. How is
is possible that people spend so much money to produce such really bad
I had never seen this film before. I'm not sure why because I like the stars and well-made Westerns.
I won't go into the overall story since many others have already done so. This film even with its interesting twists was overall, still another Oater. What helped was all the character actors. Strother Martin has always been a favorite and who didn't like Andy Devine? There were too many to mention.
But now to my real motive in writing this review. I've always liked Edmond O'Brien. My favorite, until now was D.O.A. but as Mr. Peabody, the owner, and editor of the local newspaper, he stole the show. Move over Wayne, Stewart, Miles, and Marvin! This drunken newspaperman literally stole every scene he appeared in and I was so captivated that I still marvel today at his range. That was an Edmond O'Brien I never realized existed and never expected to see.
This film is worth watching just to see the drunken antics of Mr. Peabody! Do it!
Coup de grâce refers, of course, a finality. Often it means a bullet to
the head or something similar to make certain the subject is dead. The
original title is Der Fangschuß.
In this German and French language film, covering the period just after World War One, and filmed in a dull black and white that evokes the drab, colorless and perhaps hopeless world for many in the war's aftermath. Set in ravaged Latvia where the Czar had previously allowed a number of aristocratic wealthy Germans to continue to own estates with sumptuous homes. Among these, Countess Sophie de Reval has allowed herself to become attached to the promise of Communism. Despite the German Empire's collapse, German troops nevertheless have been stationed in the region, ostensibly to protect the German citizens from Bolshevism. Since this was formerly a part of Mother Russia, many locals want to see the return of Czarist Russia of the past while some hope for a republic and others only wanting an end to all the strife and horror of war. They only desire a peaceful home for themselves and their children. One of the German officers who has returned to his former homeland, happens to be a gentleman the countess has known since childhood. Once they meet, her former passion re-ignites and when he rebuffs her advances, she begins to throw herself at him. Finally, unable to achieve fulfillment with the officer, the countess releases her sexual desires with others, making this a film destined more for adults, despite the fact that there are really no outright graphic sexual scenes. As mentioned earlier, the drab hopelessness of the period is only accentuated by the low-key black and white film production. This is not an action-packed suspense film, but rather a study in human values and emotions during times of trial. One comment is that the subtitles in English are not well- incorporated into the film and many will find them difficult to follow, especially considering that the film does have a number of abrupt changes of scene. For all that, this is a film many will not quickly forget.
This film is so bad, so poorly made, that it's really hard to know where to start. I don't often write critiques on films because I realize that every filmmaker has a different vision and things don't always work out as expected. Besides, often with movies, it's the old problem of too many chefs in the kitchen at one time. But not even the beautiful and talented Sean Young or not-so- beautiful, especially here, John Savage, can help. From the moment the movie started I had a sudden bad feeling that was right on the mark. It started without any sense of purpose and then moved to a job interviewer who spent endless moments smoking a cigarette in a dark room while he interviewed a job applicant. This dragged on for an impossibly long time, often repeating itself and inserting confusing flashes of possibilities the job seeker was apparently imagining as the employer talked. Offered $5,000, half now and half on delivery, to drive a vehicle from San Francisco to Los Angeles (why any of this we'll never know), the kid, smart as he appears to be, jumps at the chance and away he goes. Again, due to the blotchy amateurish editing that drags on throughout the film, the kid drives and drives and drives and eventually at the end of our tether, he arrives at a huge nearly empty parking garage in Los Angeles. The old amateurish filler of frightening dreams helps kill time while the driver and the poor audience patiently waits. Finally, after getting plenty of rest, the kid peeks into the glove compartment where he finds an envelope containing a key. His immediate instinct is to go open the trunk where a briefcase awaits so he naturally has to open the case. From the brilliant light that emanates from the case, we think maybe it's like that old Ralph Meeker(Mike Hammer) flick with radioactive stuff, but we'll never really know for sure what it was. Again for obscure reasons we'll never know, the kid hides the briefcase and when eventually a couple of rough fellows turn up to collect what is referred to as "the package" (not even a remote relative of The Transporter Franchise), and seeing no package, they become belligerent. Savage then turns up and spends half an hour talking to himself and looking tired and worn while the henchmen chase the kid around up and down and through the parking garage. More than once he is right at the open entrance but he'd rather go back and run around the garage some more. Several times the men corner him and demand to know where he has hidden the briefcase, but he won't talk. So they continue to chase him around endlessly shooting wildly at him, forgetting obviously, that if he's dead he can't tell them where he hid the briefcase. One might think an all out war in the dead of night might result in a call to the police, but no. Never happens. Probably no money left to hire police. I don't want to give away what is supposed, I think, to be a surprise twist, but I can only say that I don't expect a lot of CGI or extravagant sets, etc. on a Top Ramen budget, but such a misguided unintelligent script, utterly impossible lack of direction and editing that a five-year old could have done better. Like, what's with the occasional flashes of little things that went before and have no connection to what is going on now? I'll tell you what. In writing its called padding. All the flashbacks are just padding as is the tiresome drive from SF to LA. Even the initial interview is so drawn out with the interviewer smoking a full pack of cigarettes that's it's already very discouraging. Lots of padding, very little story and/or money and the end result: This is not a movie and should never have been made. How could Ms Young and Mr. Savage be so desperate as to allow themselves to be sucked into this mess?
We love Vin Diesel, a true super hero, but even Mr. Diesel couldn't save this disaster. An hour and half (it seemed at least twice that long) of people aimlessly killing witches who bounced right back and witches killing people who I think also bounced back at least in some cases. Lots of computer created nasty monsters that have no place in any witch lore I've ever heard of. Dialog that didn't make any sense and worn-out witch dialog that we've heard before. I mean, witches just don't have much imagination, in our opinion. I had misgivings when I saw the word "witches" in the title, but not being alone, I couldn't just get up and leave and besides, when you're being tortured you don't run out on your friends. I'm sorry. Mr. Diesel must have been well-paid to endorse this film. I say endorse, because with Vin Diesel and Michael Caine leading the pack, people are willing to pay to be entertained, but most people expect more than what we got. The credits name three writers. Perhaps one would have done a better job. Three writers is like congress trying to do something positive if and when they ever go to work on the same day. If you want some more fruitful entertainment, try playing solitaire on your computer.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Unfortunately, although this film tries to be very clever, and it first it does seem to be, it quickly deteriorates into a sorry mess. A woman who advertises herself as a tow truck service cum assassin, waits patiently in a local park for the principal to show up, drop a paper bag of presumably money into a wastebasket and move on. The hit woman than goes and gets the money, takes it home and stashes the bag in a hole she has made beneath the floorboards under her bed. During this time she strikes up an erotic relationship with a woman who wants the hit woman to kill her. The acting throughout this film is worse than sophomoric. The only good (even outstanding) performance is by Jeffery Dean Morgan. I can't imagine how this fine actor got talked into this film. Orlando Jones too has a small role, but doesn't get a chance to do much of anything. Okay, all the above is amateurish and we can all forgive a Top Ramen budget, but the real killer is the end when we realize we've been made the butt of a big joke. Everything we've just watched was nothing but the figment of a madman's hallucinations. Hah hah. This is insulting to me, and it's highly unoriginal, the first such film case going back at least to 1920. At the time it was considered unique and clever. Now, ninety-five years later, it's really blah.
Having lived through those trying times, I can relate. I felt that, overall, this film was pretty accurate in the way the characters looked, dressed and acted. My wife criticized the constant smoking, but I told her that's what men did in those days, especially when the cigarettes were free. The language too, I felt was much more realistic than in many WWII films. In those days, even foul-mouthed tough guys seldom muttered the word "fuck" or "fucking". Mickey Rourke was the only guy in the film who did that a few times, but being Mickey Rourke, I guess he can get away with that. However, his use of "disrespect" was unforgivable. I'm not sure when that popular word came into use but it sure wasn't back in the '40s or '50s, etc. More like the '90s, and more like gang talk, not military jargon. Of course, as with any film, there have to be contrivances to make things work, and that's okay. Here, a group of misfits dubbed the War Pigs (think half a Dirty Dozen) are sent in on a mission to destroy the infamous V3 cannon. In reality, there were several and I really don't believe any were actually destroyed by allied armies. Rather, the Normandy invasion caused the Nazis to remove a couple, others were dismantled as encroaching allied troops caused the Nazis to break the guns down themselves to avoid having them captured by the Allies. But these guys did a pretty good job and held their own. Overall I enjoyed this a lot more than many war stories since it wasn't filled with as much blood and guts as are so many. It focused more on the men's training, their actual mission and their relationships. I would swear however, than when the leader of the mission was chosen, he was a captain. Two minutes later and up until the end of the film he was a lieutenant. Maybe I missed something. Someone else complained about Dolph Lundgren's French accent. (a) he has become a really formidable actor in his old age, given the chance to do something besides play a Universal Soldier type, and (b) I believe, in the film, he was actually German (probably from Alsace which has an identity problem), who had been conscripted by the Nazis. He slipped off and joined La Légion Etrangère and came back to fight for right and justice and all that good stuff. Overall, I thought this was a pretty good war flick. I'm not normally a war movie lover. I never saw Inglorious, etc. but my wife picked this up at a Red Box, and we could have done a lot worse, as in "Knock Knock". Oy!
I don't want to discuss the storyline here because from the start it's off-beat, surprising and entertaining. After so many cinematic dogs that made it look as if Mr. Van Damme's films were going the way of Steven Seagal, this turnaround is arguably one of Mr. Van Dammne's best films. The script is right on, direction tight, and the storyline went off in a really different direction. He has to fight, yes, but not just to show off his acrobatics every other scene. And rather than just another action flick, this has heart and a story that may stick with the viewer. Someone once said that a good story should have an ending that is inevitable, yet still a surprise. I liken a good story to a magician on stage. He places his top hat upside down on a table and goes through his array of tricks, and although you just know it's coming, when at the end he pulls that live rabbit out his hat you're surprised and amazed. In this case, I was expecting to take a step further and really surprise with that rabbit, but still, the ending was quite satisfactory, maybe even better that what I had expected, all things considered. I'd say this is a film any Van Damme fan should have on the shelf. One little thing: Although this was shot, entirely I think, in Canada, it was supposed to be Manila. I've never been there, and I imagine there are a great many people there from China, but in much of the movie, judging from the background and all the signs and passersby, I'd have sworn we were in Hong Kong or some such place. That didn't hurt the film however. I'm just saying....
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I like Mr. Schwarzenegger, and I like Abigail Breslin, so I expected to see something pretty good. However, instead of the pretentious artsy drama the producers obviously thought they had on their hands, it turned out to be just another hopeless tiresome zombie flick; a very slow one and a very dull one at that. When we get a few inserts of a fox wandering aimlessly around I began to suspect it would turn out that the fox had something in its blood that might be an antidote for this pandemic, but no, he evidently wandered onto the scene and the producers didn't want to film the scenes over, so they just left them in. Maggie is a hopeless film that offers no respite from doom and gloom right up to the bitter end. It's only and hour and half long, but seems like a three and a half hour flick without an intermission. Lately a lot of these former super stars have turned in their dotage to doing any old thing that comes with a paycheck and I guess we can't blame them for that. Miss Breslin is always good, even here, but she has to play a pretty nasty part. No Little Miss Sunshine here, sorry. And leave the zombie crap to George Romero.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
What might have been an okay movie turned out to be ridiculous from the very start and didn't stop there. John Travolta, having a terribly bad hair day, is in prison. We have no idea why. He wants out. His lawyer says his appeal has been denied, and advises him to stick out his remaining 10 months. Ten months isn't so long. We have no idea why he simply has to get out, but he does. He gets a mobster to bribe a judge to get him an early release. Of course the mobster expects to be repaid. Turns out, to our utter surprise, Mr. Travolta is a expert art forger, perhaps one of the very best. And by an incredible coincidence, the mobster wants him to make a copy of a Monet that is on display in a local museum so they can make a switch. He has a filthy-rich client who wants the Monet for his private collection. Of course, they could simply steal the painting. It would create an uproar, but who cares? However, they want Mr. Travolta to create a fake. Okay, maybe that buys them some time, but he could paint a reasonable facsimile that would pass casual inspection long enough for the theft to be history, but no, he has to find a canvas of the same size and same age, and clean it off and then create oils in exactly the way Monet would have done, and in the end, create a masterpiece that is indistinguishable from the original. Why bother? I briefly thought maybe, in a plot twist, he would sell the fake to the buyer who would never be the wiser, but no. In any event, as Mr. Travolta points out, there's no way he can do all this in two weeks. But, it's life and death. So although he has to do this impossible task in a couple of weeks, he appears to have plenty of time to fool around before he even gets started. Then, somewhere in there, we can assume the reason he wanted out early is because his son has terminal cancer. By then, we're past believing anything that's going on, and overall, the storyline is so plodding and lacking in interest that we've pretty much lost interest. At the very end, the rich buyer, rather than pay half a million dollars to the mobster, has him killed and gratefully hands the half million over to an "art appraiser" whose expertise is based upon presentation of a business card. With the half million in hand, everybody goes to Tahiti where most of them live ever after, save for the poor boy with cancer who we are given to understand is going fast. This could have been a pretty good story without the enormous plot holes and confused directing.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Maybe I've just seen too many movies. While Max Payne looked good from every angle, the writers are standing by throughout holding up a banner announcing the next event. Whenever a beautiful girl walks down a dirty dark alley at night... The moment you lay your eyes on Bad Guy #1 (I won't reveal his name), you know it and at the same time, realize what really happened to Max Payne's family and why. You know when a guy wants to come to Max's apartment with some information that he'll be dead before he can impart it. And you know Max will be blamed for just about everything that happens. There will be no surprises. Now it's just a matter of toughing it out to the end. Even the scene near the end when Max is lying on the street freezing to death. My wife told me several minutes before what was going to happen and how, and of course it did. Someone once said a good story should end with a logical, inevitable surprise.That is to say, you're really surprised, yet when you think about it, it was inevitable and you should have seen it coming. Sometimes to be blindsided by that kind of surprise would be nice.
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