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The Pledge (2001)
Very Under-appreciated Movie
This movie is really good. The only reason I gave it a 8 out of 10 is because it's slightly slow and the ending will drive you crazy. But other than that, the story is very very interesting. Nicholson's character is such a good cop, but only us, the audience, notices this. He is chasing a serial killer. A killer that has a distinct taste for little girls. **Possible Spoiler** But everyone thinks the killer is dead, except Nicholsons character. So after his (semi)retirement, he goes in search of the killer, in a low key fashion. He befriends a pitiful lady played by Robin Wright Penn. She does very well herself. She has a daughter, that fits that distinct taste for young girls the killer has. The story unfolds from there. It's not your typical cat & mouse movie. One moral of the story is, always respect your elders opinions and beliefs. They've been around the block a lot more than you have. :)
Here's the deal.....
I own Scanners, Dead Zone, Videodrome, and The Fly. Overall, I like these movies, but they all have one thing in common for sure, and that is they all start out good and have a good idea, but by the end of the movie, you are like, "What was that?" or "Why didn't they go this way with the film?" For example, "Scanners", the guy had the ability to do what he could do, but didn't use it convincingly or very well. I felt Ironside in that movie should have been the good guy, not the bad guy, which he played very well I might add. The last scene where him and his brother have a scan off, his transformation was very intense. It could have been used as his comeback on a bad guy, the ultimate Michael Ironside Scan. And with "Videodrome", how cutting edge and creepy it was until he started having the hallucinations(?), then it got way too out of control and over the top, which I've come to expect from a Cronenberg film. But it would have been even better had they kept the over-the-top sci-fi stuff out and made it about the cable company broadcasting such trashy stuff and maybe finding out it was real death they were watching. That could have been the mystery. Finding out where this was going on. They should have stuck with the whole "snuff" t.v./ S&M stuff.
I watched Videodrome last night and was really really into it, until he lost his gun in his stomach, the gun grew into his hand sometimes, and sometimes it wasn't. If you buy this, don't get Criterion version, you might be disappointed. But this release for like 8 or 10 bucks is well worth it, especially for Cronenberg fans.
Kingu Kongu no gyakushû (1967)
A bit shaky, but it is what it is.....
Let me be frank here, I'm not dogging the film really, it's just, it was EXTREMELY Cheesy, which makes it great in a sense. And I love all 'Zilla flicks to include "Rodan", "Mothra", this one and whatever else Toho did. But this costume was really bad. His eyes were as blank as a piece of printer paper, and his posture had me literally laughing out loud. One scene in particular stands out. When he comes out of the cave and looks up at an airplane or chopper I think.
Also, he seemed a bit smaller than in Godzilla vs. King Kong. The scale-job done on this is pretty pitiful, which again makes it even more fun to watch I guess because you can't take this movie seriously like you would "Green Mile" "Schindler's List" or "Silence of the Lambs". I recommend this because I think anyone's kids would love this, as I did growing up watching all of the Godzilla flicks or just an old fan like myself.
It is better entertainment than the newest installment done by Peter Jackson and maybe more entertaining than the 1933 version simply because it is a bit slow and depressing by the end of it. I do sort of have a closet liking to the 1976 version the best of all King Kong movies. This might be a distant second or third. I own it, so should you if you like the old Godzilla movies from the 50's, 60's, and 70's.
They Don't Make em' Like This Anymore!
I am one of those people who typically leans towards the original version of a movie. To put it nicely, I hate remakes. Well, the same applies to this great movie. "Red Dragon" isn't even close to being as good as "Manhunter". To me, "Manhunter" is a contemporary classic in the truest sense. Michael Mann can do no wrong, and certainly hits the nail on the head with this flick.
Now, this movie is 20+ years old, but ages perfectly. I will even go as far as to say I like this movie more than SOTL. That doesn't mean it's a better movie, just more favorable to me. "Manhunter" really is creepy, more than SOTL.
The music is perfectly scary, the way Mann directed the cameras to cue when "Graham" flicks on the light of the bedroom of the first murder scene we see is so shocking. And really, this movie is probably the first of it's kind in regards to showing forensics, criminal profiling, and in-depth FBI usage.
Another cool thing Mann does is when he uses the quick camera movements. I can't describe it really, but for example when "Graham" is slaying the dragon so to speak at the end, you see several of these quick camera movements. It's really interesting style and works great.
This movie also gives us the introduction to one of the most diabolical villains in the history of cinema, Dr. Hannibal Lector. Not played this time by Anthony Hopkins, but brilliantly by Brian Cox. Cox does a wonderful job. Maybe not as good as Hopkins in SOTL, but better than Hopkins in "Hannibal" or "Red Dragon".
Most people are disappointed to know that Lector is already in jail in this one, but that makes his character even more mysterious. All you know is that Special Agent Will Graham caught him and sort of how he caught him. That formula worked well with "Manhunter" and SOTL. But when he escaped and was on the lose, the movies sunk tremendously ("Hannibal" and "Red Dragon").
I highly recommend this movie. If you liked the SOTL series or "Miami Vice" or "Thief" or any other Michael Mann stuff, you will absolutely love "Manhunter". It will not disappoint. It really is a brilliant movie.
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
Scariest Movie in the History of Cinema
I say that with true conviction. Why? Because of the music, the eerie camera angles, the real feel it gives, the chainsaw, the family unit, the cook, the hitch-hiker, Grandpa, Leatherface, the guy in the wheel-chair, the way the cook fools the audience at first, his facial expressions, the hitch-hiker cutting his own hand, the hitch-hiker spitting at the van, the half-dead drooling cow in the slaughterhouse, Franklin in the wheel-chair talking to himself in the "old Franklin Home", all the cars under the net, the generator, the tooth, the first time you see Leatherface(maybe the coolest/creepiest scene in movie history, the music and everything is on cue)the steel door and it slamming shut, the hammer, the caged chickens, Pam's fear, the bone couch, the hook, the freezer, the broomstick, the yelling at the dinner table, the chasing scenes, the truck driver, well, basically everything about this flick is scary and I'll be the first to say it, but this to me is the best horror movie in the history of horror and the only movie to ever really scare me.