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Unique Offbeat Comedy
I remember being very impressed with "Simon" when I saw it on a cable. But that was more than 20 years ago. What I remember was that the humor was clever and offbeat. It wasn't goofy, just weird and fun. There is a similarity to Woody Allen's "Sleeper" and I would also place film like "The President's Analyst" in the this category. Whether it was funny or not, I don't recall. But it doesn't really matter. There are many comedies that are extremely entertaining but not necessarily laugh-out-loud funny.
Of all the films that are not available on DVD, this is near the top of my want list (along with another Alan Arkin film, "The Seven Percent Solution". I'm curious to see what I'd think of it now. The 9 star vote I've given it is based on my memory. Hopefully, when I see it again, it will hold up.
4 mosche di velluto grigio (1971)
Finally ... It's on DVD
As a fan of Argento's early films, I have been waiting for this to be released on DVD for years. "4 Flies" is the the only film from his golden era that I had not seen. Although there have been other ways to see this film, I have been stubbornly waiting for a DVD release. It was worth the wait and I was very entertained.
Some of the scientific/medical content of the crime investigation is silly. Besides that, I have very few complaints. It kept me guessing about the identity of the killer.
On a side note, I read a review that complained the movies is homophobic. That's not true. I think the gay character is presented as admirably honest and ultimately heroic. Considering this film was made in 1970, it was daring in that respect.
I have been continually disappointed by most of Argento's films after"Phenomen"so it was nice to travel back in time to when he was able to make a film like this
Good for Kids ... But Everyone Else Should Watch the Original
"Earth" is a 99 minute version of the almighty BBC series "Planet Earth" repackaged by Disney as part of its new "Disneynature" brand to carry on the tradition of the beloved nature segments on "The Wonderful World of Disney." That's not a bad idea; why spend millions of dollars on a new documentary when there's so much great material unseen by most audiences? But unless you have kids age 12 or under, you should watch the original series. This version is targeted at young kids that who can appreciate the focus on "family" structure of animals in the wild. For example, what would previously been referred to as the "male of the species, its mate and her young" has now become "mom, dad and their kids." Obviously such Disney-ifications are will irritate some but they should understand that this version is not intended for them. And not everything is sugar-coated, we still see some cute creatures falling prey to the the raw reality of nature.
On another note, I saw this at the theater and the photography is impressive. However, the Blu-Ray of the original BBC series looked dramatically sharper and much more vivid. I'm sure the Blu-Ray of this new version will also look far better than its theatrical presentation. This is another a testament to the superiority of "home theater" to actual theaters these days. I like going out to movies so I hope theaters can catch up with HD TVs soon.
(This review of "Earth" was condensed from my 728 page book entitled "From 'Planet Earth' to 'Earth:' An In-Depth Analysis of the Disney Restructuring of the Classic Series." Look for it on Amazon.)
Baiohazâdo: Dijenerêshon (2008)
Best Resident Evil Movie Ever (...but that's not saying much.)
I just got back from the West Coast premiere of RESIDENT EVIL: DEGENERATION. Overall it was fun but I'm a big fan of the RESIDENT EVIL video games. If you loves zombies or the games, it's a must. Otherwise, you may want to skip it.
It sort of reminded me of one long cut-scene from the games but I like the RE cut-scenes, so that's a good thing. It also has a genuine Japanese RE feel to it unlike those disappointing live-action movies.
I was hoping the story would have more relevance to the events of the games. Despite having Claire and Leon and a lot of other key elements, this seemed like a standalone adventure. (But we'll have to wait for RE 5 to see for sure.) If anything, it's a bit like an RE2 sequel but I would have preferred more appearance by the classic T-virus zombies.
The computer animation and motion capture mix sometimes makes the characters look like creepy mannequins. And the cheesy over dramatic dialog coming of their plastic faces causes a lot of unintentional laughs. When Leon Kennedy stands still, he looks like a photo printed on a piece of cardboard. And his personality is equally cardboard. But the RE games were never known for their acting. The 7 stars I'm giving this is for fans only. If you are not into the games, it may seem like a 2 to you.
(On DVD and Blu-Ray December 30, 2008)
Solamente nero (1978)
One of the Better, Lesser-Known Giallos
I promise ABSOLUTELY NO SPOILERS ... which is important for a film like this.
I'm surprised this film isn't rated more highly among fans of Giallo or Italian Horror.
Like the best of its kind, it keeps you guessing ... and then second-guessing. You will suspect everyone! Often I told myself, "it would be too obvious if he or she is the killer but then again, maybe." (You can feel the writing toying with you!)
Add to that the artistic sense, music and photography that make the best Italian films so compelling and you have dark, mysterious, creepy fun!
American Teen (2008)
A Mockumentary Tribute to John Hughes
Any enjoyment I may have experienced watching this film was killed by a nagging doubt that what I was watching was authentic.
Is it just me ... or does this film smell fishy? Not only is the camera ALWAYS in the right place when key events occur but each shot has degree of polish that would seem to have required a lot of advanced planning.
This feels like some sort of mockumentary and I'm amazed it has been so positively reviewed. Is America this naive?
Even if this film is real, it doesn't give us any more insight into the world of teen cliques than we got 25 years ago from John Hughes films. With most documentaries, there is are questions about what liberties were taken for the sake of the presentation but "American Teen" goes beyond that. I'm hoping Nanette Burstein will soon say, "By the way, I hope everyone realizes this was a gag." Otherwise, she has lost all credibility with me.
You'll Find Out (1940)
Fun, Spooky Whodunit
In the 30's and 40's this kind of spooky whodunit was popular. These films would typically feature things like skeletons on strings, séances, secret passageways and fiends in hooded cloaks. To my memory, "You'll Find Out" seemed to be a quintessential film of that genre (even though it's comedy.)
I saw "You'll Find Out" on American Movie Classics many years ago and have wanted to see it again. Does anyone know if this has ever been released on DVD? Looks like it has not. Anyway, if you like this kind of stuff, its is one of the best. You might think its a blast. Or you might think it's goofy garbage.Watch it and "You'll Find Out!"
Love Liza (2002)
Get a Whiff of this Off-Beat Drama!
"Love Liza" is an involving human drama about inescapable grief and guilt. It's also about radio controlled airplanes and the people that love them. That wacky combination alone makes it worth seeing, doesn't it? If you agree, you are like me and are looking for something different. (If not, then go rent some garbage like "Mr. and Mrs Smith.") The first time I watched this film, I was clueless as to which direction it was heading. Would it be a story of redemption? Or would the outcome be bleak?
"Love Liza" pulled me into its goofy yet emotionally devastating story of despair through the end. By then, I was hanging on every word. The songs by Jim O'Rourke compliment the film's emotions nicely.
I was annoyed that the packaging and promotions for the film suggest that it's comedy of some kind. It's almost sick to call this a comedy! The commentary of the writer and director also surprised me. Apparently, they think the film is a comedy too.
Maybe I should listen to Spielberg's commentary on the "Schindler's List" DVD. Perhaps I'll be informed that it was made with laughter as its goal. In any case, Love Liza" is a must-experience film.
Night of the Witches (1971)
I don't know what they were thinking when they made this horror cheapie but it turned out to be unique and fun. I haven't seen this movie in many, many years but I remember it fondly for its goofiness. It was shown on late night TV in the late 70's or early 80's. For some reason, I still recall the lyrics to the main character's countryish theme song:
"He's a man of many pleasures, He's a man who's got the time, He's the man who told the preacher where to go - oh - oh ... He won't talk behind your back, He's no ordinary jack, He's a man of many pleasures, don't ya know" -- Has this film ever been released on DVD or VHS? If anyone can point me in the direction of a copy, please e-mail me!
-B O N G O"