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The technology and the magic (Contains Major Spoilers)
A few of my friends recommended I go and see Beowulf. They all said that the story wasn't much but that visually it was amazing and to make sure I see it in 3-D.
The story is almost frighteningly small. Beowulf turns up to a kingdom (and a small kingdom at that, it seems to be one hall big sometimes) to rid the king of a monster (WARNING SPOILERS from here on in) and does so only to find out the king was actually the father of the monster as he'd slept with the monsters mother who's also a monster but being played by Angelina Jolie helps make bestiality understandable.
Beowulf then becomes King, sleeps with the Monster Jolie and then a monster son comes after him. Only this time the monster is a dragon!
Sounds great doesn't it. Full of action! We'll to a degree it is full of action but the way producer/director Robert Zemekis was chosen to do it (entirely in 3-D CGI graphics) ends up destroying most of the excitement to be had from this story. The whole film being done as 3-D CGI graphics element stopped me from really getting into the film and the end result was a film that felt like an extremely overlong cut-scene from a video game.
I think this problem with relating to the characters isn't just because they're not real, anime and Fleischer Brothers cartoons have given us numerous characters that we've been able to relate to strongly. I found the original FIST OF THE NORTH incredibly moving when I first saw it. Same with PRINCESS MONONOKE and the original TRANSFORMERS movie
The problem is that BEOWULFS 3-D creations more resemble video game characters then actual animated characters. My 3-D animation teacher told me never to copy directly from real life as the actual animation ends up looking "dead". The key to a great animator is knowing the best way to over-emphasize.
In BEOWULF they used a special software that enabled them to capture the actors performances pretty much exactly but in the conversion to 3-D animation they have for the most part come out dead. The only two actors who escape this are John Malkovich and Angelina Jolie. These actors quirks are so strong that vestiges of their humanity still manage to come across in there on-screen avatars/characters. I never thought they're would be a way of stopping Ray Winstone (star of so many great films such as LADIES AND GENTLEMEN THE AMAZING STAINS, SCUM, NIL BY MOUTH and SEXY BEAST) or Brendan Gleeson from giving magnetic performances but Robert Zemekis found a way. Poor Robin Wright Penn fairs the worst in this process. Such a great subtle actor, her performance is totally lost in the translation to 3D.
Which leads me to the finale of BEOWULF. In the end Beowulf must confront and single- handedly destroy the dragon. In the course of this he is thrown about, shot at with arrows, rides the dragon and nearly falls to his death. We'll in a live action film this would be completely riveting. The 1980's movie DRAGONSLAYER proved how incredible dragons could be in movies. That whole film was based on what an incredibly frightening sight they are. But unfortunately since you know that you don't have control over the video game looking and that all the things you are seeing are being controlled by artists via a computer program there's no reason to become to involved in what's happening on-screen.
The enjoyable things about BEOWULF are all technical. Seeing how detailed computer graphics have become and the new visual fluidity a camera is allowed in a 3-D environment. How realistic water and fire effects can be rendered.
The first 14mins (about the length of a He-man cartoon) are the best. The close ups of objects are great too, such as a shot of pebbles on the beach just before a horse comes crashing over the camera and scatters them.
The worst shots are the wide shots as they show just how cheap and fake 3D can be. One particular shot of Beowulf running on one side of a chasm with his troops on the other firing arrows at the dragon looked like a bad D & D video game.
What makes this sad rather then just a novelty is that Robert Zemeckis used to be such a great director and one of the things he was best with was memorable characters. Remember how many great characters there were in the Back To The Future series? Marty Mcfly, Biff, Doc Brown? All great!
Do you remember Forrest Gump? For all the anti-American sentiment of it in Australia I know plenty of people who found it incredibly emotionally moving and a large part of that was director and the actors attention to performance. It's telling that the most emotional shot in the whole film is a wide shot of Forrest telling his wife that despite his mental handicap he does understand love.
But in his last two outings something has gone terribly wrong. The technology has taken over the film. The vital human element has been lost under a plethora of pixels.
I can't think of anything about the Polar Express that would make me want to see it in the form it is or even show it to my younger relatives (those who are of the age to appreciate that sort of film). Same with BEOWULF! Nothing about the technical approach added to the film. If I had really gotten to see the real Ray Winstone playing Beowulf then maybe the small plot would have been less of a concern because I could have related to him. What's so baffling is that there already exists a successful formula for making ancient stories into great cinematic entertainment. It's called JIM HENSONS STORYTELLER and 90mins of that flies by.
16 Blocks (2006)
An excruciating excursion into the vocal deficiencies of Mos Def and Bruce Willis fake Moustache
Unlike the other reviews listed here, I am not an employee of any of the companies that should be ashamed to be wasting precious materials such as silver to produce such a turgid waste viewers time.
I would like to start by saying that we are not attempting to defame this film. We are trying to save you 97mins of your valuable time.
Who would have thought that Bruce Willis was unable to travel 16 blocks (WARNING: This may count a spoiler...but not more spoiled then the films script) without ruining large portions of the cities infrastructure when he could have simply got a taxi. Maybe he shouldn't have purchased that wine bottle at the beginning, that way he would have had enough money for the fare.
The premise of this film is good but the execution has more problems Bruce Willis's fake moustache. One of the chief problems is that the person Willis is protecting has one of the most annoying voices since the dawn of sound recording. It's hard to engender sympathy for the hero when the person he's protecting is providing an aural irritant worthy of assassination (the only mystery is why Bruce Willis consistently prevents this).
Richard Donner might have developed in his old age, short term memory problems. This would explain the continually repetitive coverage of every scene. But it doesn't explain why they didn't overdub Mostly Def (Mos Def) with Barry White. Maybe he has gone deaf as well.
David Morse looks extremely upset throughout the movie. By the end of the film his career is 16 blocks further back from where it was before he signed on.
I have avoided discussing too many details about the plot because I don't want to show up how awful the script is (Think about what would happen if you added an er onto the writers last name....Thats right, it's Richard Wenker!) and there is very little script or plot development in the film.
Maybe this is Bruce Willis revenge for nobody watching Hudson Hawke!
Oh, and the alternate ending is much better.
Walking Tall (2004)
Insipid direction lets The Rock down
Having seen the great original "Walking Tall" and thought to myself "Imagine what they could have done if they had a budget". I was really keen to see this remake with "The Rock". Especially after an interview with him where he talked about no CGI and making an old style action film.
Pity someone didn't tell the director of this one. His use of angles and dissolves does everything to destroy the movie's strength. That is it's simple yet believable (Something similar actually happened) story and the realism that made the original so striking.
The best thing about the movie is The Rock. He has a terrific presence on screen and although he falls flat during a courtroom scene, I am willing to attribute that mostly to the director. Johnny Knocksville also puts in a decent turn.
All in All. Hire out Phil Karlsons original. Watching the remake is like listening to someone tell a joke they heard...only they can't quite remember the opening....and they end up missing the punchline!!!
Truly Original Action Gem. For true surrealists and those "Movie Moments"
Cage was a movie that I have wanted to see for many years. Since I was 10 I have seen it at the video shop with its brutal looking cover. Last night I took the plunge back into the world of low budget video violent nastys.
Cage, however must rank as one of the most original movies I have ever seen. Film Snobs and pretentious Surrealists would never see it. Drama Buffs would avoid it like the plague and it will probably never be screened anywhere but the cheapest cable channel. That, however is the shame of the film world. This film has movie moments equal to any film (save Tarkovsky), It has some moments of totally original drama, brutal violence, extreme surrealism and a performance by Lou Ferrigno that renders him completely unrecognisable from all his other films and from himself in particular.
How is a film like this made. Who knows, who really knows. The only thing that I could think of is that the director and writer were trying to say certain things for themselves through a film genre which is completely alien to those types of sentiments.
The plot is a relatively simple one to pitch. Two friends are seperated by gangsters and one is forced to fight in an underground human cockfighting type of tournament. The other friend penetrates the underground world of gangs and violence to rescue him. Sounds familiar doesnt it, SOUNDS VERY FAMILIAR in fact. However from conception to filming a miracle of independent vision has taken place. From the use of music and lighting, to the acting and story devices and emphasis given to different motives in certain scenes. Cage has all the conviction of independent filmaking woithout any of the posturing and pretensions that "Label" independent movies have.
If you have any interest in where films can go. Watch "Cage". It is a sad, sad thought that in this age of independent filmaking we have become less imginative in where we go with the filsm we make. The more inventive the editing techniques, the more sophisticated the lighting and post production, the less original and full on films are becoming.
For not being like any movie I've seen before and taking me completely by suprise. I give Cage a 10.
Underground Idealism has another champion.
Hollow Man (2000)
Hollow, What a great description
Paul Verhoeven finally bombed out on this one. He became a joke on himself. Once again we have a film which includes sex and violence, immorality, leering at women and lots of attitiude talk between the characters and dollying pans.
Its all for nothing. Because their is no action at all in this film. It fudges all its set pieces. All the actors give the kind of performances form a Verhoeven film. In other words rampant over acting on almost every level. Starship Troopers got away with it because it was such a macho world the characters inhabited. In this scientists are acting the same way. Sorry Paul but Soldiers and scientist are not really made of the same mindset.
One major flaw in the plot was that after escaping for that one night to do evil things Kevin Bacons character then returns back to the science lab where we have already spent more then enough time watching these animated manniquens (Elizabeth Shue excepted) walk and talk. Why not show the extent of what the character could do in the outside world. How could they possibly track him if he could be anywhere at all??? Think os all the different things that could have been done with this concept, both in terms of story and characterisation. Then look at what this film does and you really how badly done and concieved the whole project really was.
More insulting is the Doco on the DVD where everyone is claiming that Verhoeven is some kind of MAd Genius. Well one out of two isnt that bad.
This film has nothing of note in it. Just like the title says.
Delivers on every count!!!
I went to see Fellowship of the Ring expecting not a great adaption of the book, but a great movie. I got it. This films success was sealed when Peter Jackson went for High Drama rather then post-modern hipness and nudge, nudge, winkm wink knowingness.
All the casting was fantastic. You really knew every characters motivations and relationships to all the other characters. The casting of Christopher Lee and Sean Bean was particularly good.
Cinematography and camerawork were perfectly suited to the epic nature of the story. Finally the pace of the film meant that when the big events came they felt like big events. Unlike so many modern films, when the finale comes in this film it feels like the finale rather then just another super edited sequence.
All in all Its not the book. But its a terrific film adaption of the book.
Go see it, so much better then the movies we are used too today.
Strong Production saves the script.
Its fuuny how time changes how you see a movie. If this film came out in the cinemas today it would look terrific compared to the current rubbish around.
The premise for Marie is a god one for a thriller and although the script bottoms out, great acting in almost all areas and powerful direction from Roger Donaldson save it from mediocrity and turn it into a really effective, attention grabbing, suspensful and emotionally involving film.
Apart from Roger Donaldson and Chris Menges moody atmosphereic lighting. The film is served best by Sissy Spaceks lead performance, if any actress had greater ability to allow you to feel how their character is feeling I'd like to know who it is. Sissy makes a great protagonist with a mixture of vunerability and strong resolve. She's not so headstrong as too seem a bitchy self-interested character, yet she has enough strength and integrity to make Marie the hero of the story.
I thought the whole production was great. And the fact that this film wasnt one of the best ones whe it came out just goes to show how far behind hollywood has gotten.
On a last note. Jeff Daniels played a great role in this. He really made you see him in a completely different light to normal.
The most existential Slasher to have been made. Warning *Spoilers
Back in the 80's when horror films where everywhere. One film series was (financially anyway) running all over the others. That was Friday the 13th.
The best of them was Friday the 13th Part 4. So good because the emphasis of the film was not on teenagers and sex and pointless sub-plots. But on death and the fear of death coming out into the world unrestricted by anything at all.
The next best of these was Friday the 13th Part 5, A new beggining. Why??? When so many other people have bagged it. Because, when it comes down to it, its really alot darker and more disturbed then any other slashers that are made (bar non-slasher specific horror films). The lead character is violent and mentally disturbed. He is the begginings of a psychopathic personality. His name is Tommy and he isnt going camping or meeting friends at school. He is in a mental home isolated in a small country town which could never exist in the real world. Only in a horror world could this town exist.
There are no normal characters in this film. The murders are bloody and agressively violent. The directing is much better then the films that came after it and for the most part the films that came before it. The photography and camerawork in Part 5 are excellent and really give Friday the 13th its definitive look. Faded browns and dusty greens.
The murders are not so seperate from the rest of the film in this one. They are not the only point of interest. And when the finale happens it is not just a protracted chase sequence, it really is a massacre. Finally when Jason is killed it isnt simply the invincible monster being stopped for good. It is another murder of another person. Shot really effectively in terms of effect beyond just a "good wins over evil climax".
In terms of slasher films it has more deaths by far than most slashers offer. The situations the murders occur in are sleazy and demented, Really alot of this film displays a terror of the outside world and the danger it can pose.
The acting in this film is also alot better then most of the Friday the 13ths (and most slashers in general and I am including all the Scream,I know what you did last summer movies.
I think anyone with an interest in psychology and films should watch this. The script doesnt have it but the feelings raised within the film by the film and its makers (possibly subconciously) do.
Second best Friday the 13th
La frusta e il corpo (1963)
The Images tell no Story. Bava's first unengaging movie
About two years ago I got into the movies of Mario Bava. I had first seen Beyond the Door 2 and really liked the filming in it. The fact that the story ended up having resonance was impressive as well. I later found out that Mario Bava was one of the best Cinematographers to have come from Italy. Being a training Cinematographer and loving visual movies I decided to check out the rest of his films (not easy in Australia). I saw Hatchet for the Honeymoon, Baron Blood, Blood and Black Lace (On SBS), Five Dolls for an August Moon (I liked it!!) and Lisa and the Devil.
They were all terrific (especially Lisa and The Devil and Hatchet For the Honeymoon). So when I came upon the widescreen, uncut version of The Whip and The Body, I thought I was in luck. Supposedly his best film.
Well its not. Finally in The Whip and The Body, Bava does what he always threatened to do. Make a film of images and nothing else. The music seems disconnected from the rest of the movie. The lighting doesnt motivate the movie as it did in his other films, It just made for great colour and shadow design. The camerawork was exceptional and none of the character or situations were engaging. In all the other films I've seen of his, the music always seemed to be against the grain of the movies premise to being with, but after a few minutes seemed integral to every point of the film. The images carried the film in a surreal way and the story always ended up coming together. Not in Whip and the Body.
The good things to say are that the Cinematography is fantastic and the camerawork and compositions are great. But none of this seems to be at the service of the story, it seems to be battling the story for thematic importance and audience attention. Christopher Lee (where's the voice) looks AMAZING. His screen Presense in this movie is so magnetic that he is the only hope for you getting into it in any way.
The Bad things are the rest of the other actors are totally without conviction. The aforementioned clash of the visuals with the story and performances (direction is to blame for this somewhere). The music is so irrelevant to what is going on that it becomes a completely shallow device (you can see what Bava was trying to do with this, but he just didnt pull it off this time and it is a thin line between success and failure). The themes are not pulled off or delved into. Everything about the movie is so on the surface that its no wonder that everyone marvels about the cinematography.
I think the only way people could enjoy this is if they invested their interests in its ideas. Reguardless of how well these ideas were pulled off. Finally, this is the first Mario Bava film I have seen without any of his tragic romantic feeling. In this you never buy the romance as being anything other than a plot device. This is the first film of his I've seen that feels like it was directed by a cinematographer and not a director.
I wish I had liked this as much as all his other fans seemed to. But its just not as good as its billed. Its no wonder that Bava hid under another name. I think that it wasnt until later in his career as a director that he really got hold of how to direct a film. Rather then just visually presenting it, as he does here.
3/10 for me
Mad Max 2 (1981)
Genius on every Frame. An unbeatable display of movie directing
I am normally quite analytical about movies. I can usually see everything coming off a mile away. I can tell what angles are going to be used each scene after I see how the director did the first six scenes and blah, blah, blah.
Not with this film. It is nothing short of Brilliant. Nothing about it could be better. George Miller directs this film as if no other film in history had ever been made. Every image is magic and the final 1/2hr of this film has to be seen to be believed. Everyone in the film is well cast and all the production design, music, editing (Oh Yes!) and finally the Cinematography from Dean Semler is simply incredible.
Mad Max 2 is the best action film ever made. Go see it. Its on at the Cremorne Orpheum now and its great. Hollywood should be ashamed of itself that a film twenty years old is still the benchmark by a long way.
My Name Is Joe (1998)
Brilliant observation about the hardship of intervention.
I never used to watch British films. Most of them were either badly fumbled social commentary. Dodgy comedies with a line in send up or simply uniteresting. I was of course watching all the wrong movies.
My Name is Joe changed my view. It is also one of the few dramas I have ever seen that has a real relevance to real life dynamics. In Death Wish Charles Bronsan blows away all the baddies and never gets beaten up or arrested or morally challenged by another person. In other words its fantasy. My Name is Joe of course is not at all like Death Wish but instead it is a great film about a central character who in trying to atone for his past and cause of who he is, sets about doing the best thing for those around him. He coaches a hopeless football team every weekend. He also does other things that are selfless but I wont tell you anymore about him or the plot.
Safe to say instead this movie goes to show that sometimes no matter what you do you odds are too great. The more you get involved the worse it gets. But that is what makes it all the more moving in the end.
The acting is superb, you understand every character. The situations are real and the direction is terrific.
There really should be more films made like My Name is Joe. My advice is to go and see it. I simply wouldnt want to spoil it by telling you anymore.
Dancer in the Dark (2000)
A film about special people. I loved it.
I'll start this review by saying that I love movies about people. And believe it or not there are not that many. Alot of films are full of characters and situations that would never happen, or if they did they wouldnt happen like they do in those movies. This film is about a person who is going blind and she daydreams away whenever things are becoming to harsh, and in her daydreams what is worst becomes best. Those who are attacking her are now supporting her. She is played by bjork who has a perfect movie face. She looks like a romantic heroine. I will not give away anything about the rest of the movie's plot.
Also this film like not too many others makes an effort to show you whats important in each scene with the cameras. No shots look theatrical (Except in some of the musci sequences but that is [art of the effect) or contrived. They show you the faces and the conflicts. Dancer in the dark also has a director who is really trying to tell you a story and one which has good things to show. It also has the best formula for a movie. And that it to have a person who doesnt want to hurt anyone being taken through as many horrific events as possible, only to keep their own humanity. I cried so many times in it because you really wanted the best for her and she was just trying to do the best, but nothing ended up working out for her. Things ended up becoming worse and worse. The ending is so powerful and so strong its hard to believe how vapid and shallow most stories recently you are told are. *WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD* When Bjork sings "A few of my favourite things it breaks your heart.
The acting is great all around. So many good actors are in this film. Catherine Denueve, Jean Mac Barr. Zejiko Ivanek (Great in the Sender) and Udo Kier. All the other actors do a brilliant job especially Bjork and the guy who played Jeff. The music and musical sequences are terrific (Although they would be no good in any other film) and the situations are all great.
More movies like this. All hopes that Lars Von Trier (I've never seen any of his other movies) makes more films like this.
The Rage: Carrie 2 (1999)
A wasted opportunity, and a bad change of direction
I just want to start this review by saying that storylines about a girl who has a hard time a gets revenge always strike a chord with me. It doesnt mean I like all films with that theme, but it helps a great deal.
I also didnt want to see Carrie 2. That was until it came out on cable so I could see it for free. Carrie is for my money the best horror film of all time, and one of my favourite films, Carrie 2 was a wasted oppurtunity to make another great film on this strong dramatic premise. And for the opening 20 minutes it seems to be going great. The opening (Apart from the black and white flashes) is great, the music is on target and the cinematography is terrific (In fact the cinematography is a standout throughout the film). However after the first 20 minutes there is a dramatic change of feel to the film, and it all starts to go downhill from there.
*SPOILERS*. Problems with this film are not hard to pick. The scene where the teacher foreshadows the whole premise is obvious and embarrassing. In this film Rachel is not as maladjusted as Carrie was, in fact she seems smart, cool and she doesnt seem to have a desperate need to belong. She really is part of her own group. Which makes her inevitable tragedy all that much harder to understand. Why does she want to go to a party full of people she doesnt like and who she knows for a long time haven't liked her. How does she become so nieve in the third act to fall for what they have in store. Other problems are the character of her boyfriend in the film. Not only is he too nice to have been part of the "Jock Group" to begin with but his character transformation to selfless lover of Racheal is impossible to swallow, especially after having slept with the villain girl of the plot the night before, and obviously having been part of their beeding contest all up until he decides he loves Racheal. Also his removal via being held up by the villian girl from the party in the third act means the film loses what could have been a great dramatic set piece for the finale of the film. Two last minor problems the villain in this only seems to have one friend which means that she isnt any more popular than racheal when it comes down to it (Racheal having been shown with a friend early in the film and also having her boyfriend later on).
The ending to the film is the part which really shows it all. The character says what everyone in the audience should be feeling by this point. It is an admission of failure on the filmmakers part that they had to include this line of dialogue. Sue Snell is really an out of place character, the telekenisis is overplayed and the teacher campaigning against the Jock during the statutory rape trial is almost totally unbelievable.
The few good points of this film are the Cinematography (Which really is great) the theme music, and the performance of Emily Bergl. Other than that one can only wonder what this film would have been like with a better script and if the original director had been kept (Because the replacement really lost it, sorry but its true).
If there is one thing to be learnt from this film it is that filmmakers should go back to telling horror stories that derive their power from the dark emotions within the story rather than the flashy editing and blood and guts of the recent horror films that have flooded the cinemas.
Also Tom Burman always does great makeup FX.
Who's The Man With A Homocidal Attitude "SHAFT" Damn Right
So this is the latest remake of an old good movie. For anyone who is interested the new film still has the Theme song from the old "Shaft" movie. The only problem this time is that this Shaft doesnt get the chicks, he gets the s#@%s and he gets them with just about everyone. This new Shaft is not a lover, he's a murderer.
At the heart of this film I think this is the main problem. The original shaft was tough, smart and connected to his neighbourhood. He would get himself into trouble from helping people even people who didnt really deserve it, he doesnt kill unless in self defense, and first and foremost he was a lover of women. All of these factors combined to make him a good screen hero. A person that people either admire or wish they could be like. The new shaft is not like this at all. This shaft is just itching for a fight. He is the kind of person who is simply waiting for an excuse to attack someone for any reason he thinks can justify it. This is not the kind of person you want to spend alot of time around (especially if he is the main character of a movie). In fact by the end of the film it is hard to believe he is even a person, he's like "Death Wish meets "Terminator".
If you have read anything about this movie than you probably know the basic plot. But let me tell you the major flaw of the film. *SPOILER* (Warning their are spoilers ahead). It is that of the three main characters Peoples, Christian Bales Character (I've forgotten his name) and Shaft only two of the characters actually have damage (Important for drama) and actually have events happen to them. Neither of these characters are Shaft. He simply walks through the whole film getting very agro and killing as many people as he can. Not only that but he instigates one of the major fights with a baddie in the film, who had previously not done anything to him. This phenomenon of the walking death machine with no heros journey is becoming more and more frequent in recent action movies. It is also a large reason why violence on film today is seen as totally gratuituos and pointless, because it is. No longer today are the hero's in movies people you can root for, or believe in. No longer to screen hero's perform brave feats like defending there family or fighting injustice against all odds. Or defending whats right over whats accepted. Todays screen hero's have no tragic past to spur them on, or moral code to determine their actions. They are just killing machines put in (well edited) situations where they can let loose with minimum fuss.
I give the new Shaft a 2/10.
Brilliant Music, Brilliant (apart from one bit) Ending
Anyone who knows me knows that I am the die-hard fan of sword and sorcery (Or sword and sandels) movies. But more often (Far more often) than not I am dissapointed (dismally) by the films I watch. However there have been a few truly exceptional ones which keep my faith strong and Hundra is undoubtedly one of them. The plot is a pretty simple one. Hundra is part of a women only tribe. Her whole tribe gets wiped out and she is sent on a mission to have a child so that her tribe might continue to survive. She personally is out for revenge on the men who wiped out her fellow sisters. That is pretty much the gist of the plot and Im not going to give away anymore.
The Film itself is quite good with some very campy bits a couple of pretty questionable moments. And two truly great sequences that make the whole film worthwhile. The first is the one where Hundra's tribe is attacked, and the second is the ending which might possibly go down as one of the best heroic endings of all time. The images are great, the effects great and Ennio Morricones music score is a stirring operatic piece that makes everything seem of epic importance (But its really not).
In Summary Fans of Fantasy Movies Rejoice. Because Hundra is one of the best fighting films ever. And when that ending comes on just sit back and enjoy.
Grand Entertainment, The old fashioned way
Let me first just say that I was a fan of X-men comics when I was a kid and used to read them religiously. So years later when I saw that an X-men film was coming out, I was ready to go straight away and relive old comic book memories. I was also ready to be dissapointed (Judge Dredd movie). However I can say that this film lived up to my expectations in just about every single way. The characters were as I remember them (except for Toad, I dont remember him) and Magneto and Professor X were both picture perfect. This film is how I used to remember block-busters being. Where heroes would do heroic things and bad guys were all powerful except for one thing, and a rousing music score would be playing at all the dramatic moments. Everyone (Except Anna Paquin) should be commended for their work on this film. The director obviously had read audience expectations and satisfied them to the hilt. One minor grip though, I would have preferred that rogue had died at the end, but thats just me.
All up an unqualified success.
The Last Horror Film (1982)
Its a family Thing
The Last Horror Film. What an ambitious title. I bought this film (for $2.00) at a local market, purely because I heard somewhere that it was a quasi-sequel to "MANIAC" (One of the greatest horror films of all-time). Well for anyone else who heard this let me tell you now, its not. The story is a fan of a horror actress goes to Cannes to see her and convince her to star in a film with him. Unfortunately he is a nobody so things dont go his way. Then people start dying.
I admit that I really enjoy seeing Joe Spinell act on the screen. He really does have a great talent, if only he had been in better movies. Caroline Munro is her own enjoyable self, and the rest of the cast seems to be made up of family and friends of the filmakers. This film for me was really a missed chance at making a film about somebody who would do anything to get their film made, with an idea that nobody would support. That would have been good. Instead we get a video nasty plot with the above idea as a (badly done) framing device. In fact I think the main character in this is autobiographical of the director himself (Think about it) and his ambition to make a horror film. In fact halfway through I wasnt really interested in this movie anymore and wanted to see what kind of film Joe Spinell's character could make instead. But all up for the market its pitched at its an ok film.
A Place Called Truth (1998)
Erotic Thriller thats not that thrilling
This is the first erotic thriller I have ever seen and it will be the last. I believe films work for audiences when two things are done. The film pulls off its premise with conviction. Or the film is a genre movie and gives the Audiences what they want. And I think that is the main problem with "A place called Truth" It is written like a bad noir and photographed like a serious drama movie. But at its heart it is silly soft core porn. This makes the film seem like an R rated version of "days of our lives" and that goes for the acting as well. Plot and Character motive are ignored early on in the film, but are then relied upon for the final act to have its weight.
The final ingredient a film like this needs is a sense of daring about its subjects e.g how far will they go, how perverse are the situations. This film doesnt have that.
Kull the Conqueror (1997)
There should be public apologies for films like this
My Dear. What has happened here. I am one of the greatest fans of Sword & Sorcery films ever (I can enjoy almost all of them). I have seen all the sword and sorcery films I can. I even liked Wizards of the Lost Kingdom! ALOT! But this movie was a complete waste of my time. I bought it for $2.00 at a local video sale and after watching I felt ripped off (and went out and sold it) The main reason for me getting it was that the script was by Charles Edward Pogue, a man who I have alot of respect for after "The Fly" and "Psycho 3" But I could'nt see a trace of his usual good work here. Was it producer interference??? I wont bother with the plot or the acting or lighting and direction except to say that they are all terrible. This feels like a movie done by a bad commercials director (e.g No understanding of narrative or character). But I guess what I find most objectionable about this film is that there was no entertainment value or originality whatsoever. Even in some of the very worst films there can be weird or inventive or hilarious sequences just due to experimentation. But there was nothing here. Im sorry to be so critical but really please avoid.
Midnight Express (1978)
Well scripted, but ultimately misses the mark.
"Midnight Express" is an incredibly famous movie. Everyone I know has either seen it or mentioned it at one time or another. It also has a big reputation as being one of the harshest prison movies ever. So after many years of hearing about it I decided to hire it out. The beginning is a great sequence is suspense and expectations. However the ordeal the main character goes through after this is greatly hampered by a few factors. "Warning Spoilers Ahead" 1.The main character chose to smuggle the drugs of his own accord for no apparent reason (e.g His family didnt seem to greatly need any money neither did he given how supportive his dad is throughout) 2.The Main character seems mostly unrepentant of his actions throughout the whole film (At one point giving a speech in which he expresses his hatred of the whole of Turkey) 3.Although the prison sequences are tough alot of the worst things happen to other characters. Except for the very end where things then start to fall down on him. The saving graces of this movie are the performances of John Hurt and Brad Davis and the great Opening and closing sequences which really come to the heart of the story. Other than that the rest of the film is too lopsided and too many scenes miss their mark for this film to have the impact the makers of it obviously desired for it to have.
All up not the classic its billed as.