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Unknown Island (1948)
John and Carole and Ted and Allos-aurus
(Get it? Adult noir on a Kiddie Saturday afternoon)... Some of the lines from this true classic (a product of its time and place)bear repeating for any who question whether or not they should watch it with a young boy: "Men have been killed before in 'the interest of science'." ' "Cordite Shells..." ' "Grenades? We could use field artillery and still not be sure..." ' "I think I'll go for a little walk..." - "I don't think that's such a good idea..." ' And finally a line from captain Tarnowski - the great supporting heavy, Barton McLaine: "After all, there's some MEN going along..." ' "I want to hear you when you start screaming!" ' The FX Technician, Ellis Burman, fathered TWO namesakes who are both fine achievers in their own right. See their profiles and involvements here at IMDb. The grenades in this movie are launched by the M-1 Garand grenade launching attachment and are novel to watch. There is at least one very good crane tracking shot on a dinosaur track. ' And finally, see the film for the fine work of the Howard A. Anderson Co. - process shot-masters extra-ordinaire! They also did "Target: Earth!" which, as we learn from another fine poster here, also stars Denning and Grey! YAY! I plan to watch them as a double feature with my 6 and 7-year old grandsons, as soon as they attain those ages . . . .
The Beautiful Country (2004)
How I Won My War
It was my privilege to see this movie at the Plaza Theater in Atlanta on a Saturday afternoon with about 150 Vietnamese: grandparents, parents, and kids obviously "made in the U.S.A." . . it was even a greater privilege to be allowed to sit next to a typical third grader who's command of English is far better than his understanding of the parlance of the Old Country. His folks and grandparents, uncles, etc. were all around us, but allowed the lad to ask me questions during the movie while giving his family leisure to thoroughly enjoy it. I whispered my replies as plainly as I could, given the situation, and as we walked out of the show he wished me well and genuinely thanked me (with a little familial prodding).... My situation is that I am a Vietnam veteran whose reckless, existential behavior in 1971 may well have resulted in a son or daughter, as another reviewer, ''huckfinn'', above.... Amazingly, the LORD saw fit in His grace and mercy to save me in 1973, and off and on I cast about for a way to make peace with that part of my sordid past.... well, after I had been married for almost four years, Dung Tanh Phu came into my life, a blessing from World Vision. "Young", as we called him, born just after I left The Nam, had had no little difficulty arriving to America as one of the Boat people. His aunt, Mui and he were the only ones of his family to escape in 1979. So traumatized was Young that he was a problem child in his first, foster home. When we received him (in the name of Christ), he was tubercular. The wife put him on macrobiotics for six months and amazed the folks at the St. Louis County Health Department. We kept him for three formative years and turned him back over to his aunt in somewhat less than delightful circumstances, but that's a longer story.... I won my war by having such wonderful opportunities given to me for ministry to the wonderful Vietnamese and may yet win another of my wars - if God wills - but three's a story yet to be written... suffice it to say that I dearly loved my experience of this film, and hope to share it with my grown children someday. Blessings!
Across the Universe (2007)
Say, were YOU There?
Say, were you there? were you born in the fifties? did you go to Vietnam, see Yellow Submarine on the Big Screen? Do you remember your first hit of acid/ your first maryjane rush to the tunes on Revolver or even performing with your theater cast party the entire SGT Peppers album? Why even try to comment on something you know nothing about? Did you listen to the White Album in the fall of 1968 on a dorm turntable set to 'endless replay'? memorize the Lyrics to "Glass Onion"? well, I suppose everyone is entitled to an opinion. i was afraid to see this with anyone else, for fear my reactions would embarrass them.. yes, i was in NYC in the summer of 1970, still mourning the breakup, visiting a friend and fellow fan who would be dead of AIDS less than 20 years later; too, I was in Boulder, CO that fateful summer, and Berkely, CA - saying goodbye and farewell as I prepared my heart for the united States Army. See, we all went to "Let It be" and we all went out on the barricades on campus and we mourned the deaths at Kent and Jackson State, as we had the deaths of MLK and RFK the year we graduated... It is so easy for me to fall into this movie. I had never seen ms Wood in a film, and she so reminds me of old girlfriends! I dropped out of college, wasted an academic, Big ten scholarship and in an existential rage went to Vietnam as an infantryman. Good dope and live ammo. 1971 was a nightmare. I survived horrors beyond imagining only by the grace of god Almighty - whom i could have cared less about in 1968..... so see this as homage, as eulogy, as tribute to an era long gone and blessedly dead, but bear with us dinosaurs and sixties survivors who need the catharsis still, the weeping that endures for a couple of harmless hours... could I take my wife, kids, grandkids to see this? the movie PLATOON? not either of them - not hardly. but for those of you born after 1958, my heart's desire is that you honor the memories of your older siblings, parents, relatives and friends, and cut us the slack we so dearly need.
Fixed Bayonets! (1951)
NEW for the DVD!!!
Here is the OTHER of Sam Fuller's classic Korean War films - the other is "The Steel Helmet", arguably the better of the two - which now thanks to the miracle of DVD will get the wider audience, I pray, which it so richly deserves. The AMAZON site, of course, for this masterpiece has some nice comments, too, and you can get the DVD there at a good price. I recommend this one as the other one to veterans of combat infantry units, who aren't stuck in the "puppets and stew-meat" mentality of the puerile Steven Spielberg, who tries to blend "Combat!" TV episodes with Tom Savini makeup effects in "Saving PVT Ryan". RFuller's depth of characterization and his shades of meaning in his magnificent closeups are just a ten thousand yard stare better than 99% of the stuff that passes for 'war' movies. So, pretend you are a ten-year old boy, get Fuller's Korean War movies, and prepare to be shocked.
WOW. As a Bible-believing, born-again, fundamentalist, Vietnam and Desert Storm veteran who voted for John Kerry, I found this movie a royal freak-out! It's Mel's movie and he 'drama' well does what he pleases! I did not see "The Passion", as I am not of Mr. Gibson's persuasion that the person of God may be represented - but This....
Not coincidentally, but providentially (yes, I am a Calvinist too), I was studying the doctrine of Divine Providence during Thanksgiving week and it astounds me that Mr. Gibson has crafted a cinematic wonder right up there with Cornel Wilde's "The Naked Prey". Providence means that God not only made the world, but He controls every aspect of it - right down to the hairs on your head. God's attributes of holiness, wisdom and power are seen in His dealings with men and creatures. It is a great comfort to me to know that in every circumstance my Heavenly Father is working purposefully to accomplish His will. Throughout history (HIS story) it is clear that there is a tremendous plan at work. The screenplay of "Apocalypto"with it's attendant imagery justifies the Almighty. It drives right along with inexorable fury, fierceness, humor, horror, tenderness, disgust, and sheer wonder. I loved the ultimate irony of the ending; as we fast-forward to today, we see quite clearly that Mr. Gibson's religion has done next to nothing to advance the poor folks south of the Rio Grande. Why do they all want to come here? Providentially, it's a religious thing! Good thing that God controls even the most minute details of His creation. The pit by the village, for example, is a cistern. The weather has been dry in our story. The rains prayed against by the protagonist, Jaguar Paw, came anyway but saved his wife and children. That Mr. Gibson used his art and craft and some very talented people to bring his vision to life on the Big Screen in such minute, incredible detail is commendable. It is all part of the Divine Plan: a movie about the past for today with eternal consquences.
' I just thought of a story that has not yet been told on film - at least not fully treated with the care it deserves. Perhaps the subject matter again is too violent, too horrific, to un-PC to have been done before... Mr. Gibson, will you please consider doing your version of the Bible story of Elijah the prophet? This is not my idea; you are welcome to it!
Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
"A Film for Two, Who Are Now of Film Age...."
I paraphrase DIM the new policeman from the film Pauline Kael found >Cold and repellent<: >A CLOCKWORK ORANGE<.... her review is here....http://www.visual-memory.co.uk/amk/doc/0051.html .... if you cut and paste or just Google it; but the best I have read deals with this Stanley's swan song-marvel in some detail, here:....http://www.lipmagazine.org/articles/revicontent_102.htm . . . (I just LOVE reviewer Tim Kreider's sad comic strip - thepaincomics dot com.) In light of the ironies subsequent to the film's release (Kubrick drops dead - foul play of business for the superrich as usual?) and the disintegration of "The Two" (My summary title), and Nicole's subsequent work for Pollack in "The Interpreter", I can't help imagining and dreaming that this is all the work after all of the Almighty God, maker of Heaven and Earth, and Himself the True Ultimate Ironist! Stanley Kubrick, no custodian of culture by any means, surely a clean-minded pornographer (Kael again), was an ironist; he now knows for sure and forever what the score is. I sure am glad he lived long enough to make EWS! Lord help us poor, servile clockwork folks keep our eyes open!
National Velvet (1960)
Fine Family Fare
Maybe we can find Lori Martin (see the "aunt" posts at her profile!)and petition her to do a set of DVDs (I added a FAQ) for this wonderful show. VERY fond memories of dragging the TV into the kitchen when Daddy would get home from work late so we all could watch together while eating our roast beef, mashed potatoes and string beans - or any permutation thereof. My little horse-crazy sister was forever wanting to watch - she was only two and three - and it fixed in her bosom a lifetime love of equestrian science. To this day she is a grooms-person and massage therapist with a business of her own.I would love to sit with my grandkids and watch it. Maybe Lori will do intros and study guides for improving family values? Lord knows we need you, now more than ever, ms Martin! please consider your calling and your fans. THANKS!
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Where Was George Pal When We Needed Him?
Watch "Destination Moon", "When Worlds Collide", "War of the Worlds", "Conquest of Space", "The Time Machine" and you'll gain deep insight into the deranged genius of Stanley Kubrick. George Pal influenced "2001" in many, many ways. His space and disaster movies moved the Fifties like Stanley's moved the late Sixties. The dramatic paradigm and world-view shifts between the Pals and the Kubricks are a wonder to behold in hindsight....But I trow the PAL movies will be watched by more people for their deeper and more resonant, Christian themes long after the evolutionist, misanthropic, irony-drenched black comedies of Kubrick are shelved.... INCLUDING "2001" Yes, in light of the superior Pal space films, you may watch "2001" as a dark, ironic comedy, produced by a man so self-obsessed as to border on the megalomaniacal! Read the stories of folks who actually had to work with Stanley. Now compare the fan base of George Pal. Compare the outputs! Some of Stanley's movies are unwatchable today; the charming Puppetoons will never lose their luster.... but I digress. It will be enough just for you to watch "Conquest of Space" to see what I am talking about. Kubrick simply copied Pal with his own deviant, derivative drivel! He out-banals banal!
Conquest of Space (1955)
Kubrick's Model Movie - See Also Boyle's SUNSHINE
Study this old seminal classic, the new Space Movie, "Sunshine" by Danny Boyle, Anderson's "Event Horizon" and "2001: A Space Odyssey" together and you'll see that George Pal was a Christian idealist, Anderson a Christian pessimist, and Boyle - a Christian optimist! Yes, old Stanley had a sardonic sense of humor. But Stanley was no Christian in any philosophical sense...Chech the similarities: "2001" owes much to "CoS"; If "CoS" had a meteor storm, "2001" had one lonely rock drifting by . . . if "CoS" had a funeral, "2001" had Frank Poole drifting away.... If "CoS" had banal and corny dialog, well... you get the idea. The themes and genre expectations of Space movies are needfully narrow; that's one reason we spacenuts love them so. ANY excuse to leave old Earth's atmosphere! Of course Stanley studied all the movies that had gone before and had the money to exercise his peculiar misanthropic oneupmanship on a grand scale. I wonder if Danny Boyle saw "CoS"? Think of the crazed father figure of CoS as the crazed HAL in '01'! or the crazed CPT of the Icarus or the Even...another thing is, in Cinemascope, "CoS" still looks as good and plays as well as Super Panavision 70's "2001"... both films will undoubtedly look dated, yes and and archaic in another 40 years, but who's to say which vision - Pal's or Kubrick's - will still be selling the most DVD 'tickets'? Something to take a deep breath, put on your space helmet and ponder - even unto the end of the world.... and the extinction of mankind...??!
The New World (2005)
"The Old Is Better..."
"No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, the old is better..." (Luke 5:39) . . . I brought the perspective of a born-again, saved, washed-in-the-blood, King James Bible-toting calvinistic baptist Vietnam and Desert Storm vet who voted for Kerry to this film, and was just blown away. At heart I feel the film is evangelistic at its core; the subtext is the passing of the old world of pagan America and the coming of the Christian. The stark contrasts between the old and the new worlds of this movie made me so thankful to have been born in a Christian land! I was so filled with emotion when the little princess prayed, and felt great swellings of feeling when she met the King and Queen of England (must get the soundtrack!)....to top it off, the 'art' cinema here in Atlanta was playing "Naked in Ashes". So I ended up coming out of an old fashioned double feature quite literally weak in the knees. The demographics on the stage of history speak for themselves, but when put into artistic form as this, every thinking person must agree that, for all the problems in the world, and for all the problems inherent in human organizations such as "churchianity" - Christ is truly the answer.