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Going Private (2006)
10/10
WOW! That's how I always assumed those f------ bankers tick!
24 March 2011
I have already seen quite a number of these so-called "Dogma"-movies, which are in general pretty good and mostly pretty strong stuff (the always revolve around human relationships and in most cases take place at family reunions, burials, parties or other meetings or get-together, where people can get "out-of-control"), but this is - at least in my humble opinion - one of the best and strongest of them.

Directed by a female with absolute merciless, this one sets out to obviously destroy the last positive thoughts one could have about "investment"-bankers and I am notwithstanding to admit, that I hate the whole crowd. So when I saw this movie (about which I had never heard before) on the TV-program yesterday, I immediately decided to give it a try, despite it's late airing not much before midnight.

And what I did get was more than what I had hoped for or dared to hope for: this movie is not so much about a party, which goes out of control (like the summary says), but about a bunch of people, who actually can't stand each other (at least most of them!), but who have been thrown together by fate in a business (and probably in a country), which does not take any prisoners, meaning where a person either "succeeds" or dies (economically and sometimes even physically). But this ain't a story about heroes, it's a story about emotional wrecks.

The whole movie, which runs app. 100 minutes, takes place at one setting, a big villa, and there are just 7 people in it (leaving aside people, who just appear for a few seconds), 3 (male) investment-bankers, 2 of them married, their wives, an au-pair-girl and the (pretty overweight) son of one of the 2 couples. But despite this rigid setting you won't find a boring moment in this movie! The get-together is set out as a party, organized by one of the married 2 investment-bankers, a hot-shot a few years ago, who wants to get a deal through with his boss (who seems to be pretty much of the same age), whom he has invited (together with his wife). The inviting couple has a highly overweight son, for whom the couple does not seem to care very much. Not a family, where you'd wish to be born in, despite their enormous wealth. They also have an au-pair girl, who does not seem to have much to do, and who's involved in an unhappy love-affair with ... no, not with the inviting investment-banker, but with ... guess whom! The invited investment-banker (with his pretty overweight wife) is a detestable person, but obviously this is a business, where you have to lick a persons ass regardless how despicable he is. He brings another young investment-banker to the party, who must have seen or read Tom Wolfe's BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES and considers himself as one of those cool mega-deal-makers.

From the very beginning of the party it is clear that none of the involved persons has any positive feelings towards any of the other persons, maybe except the inviting couple towards their au-pair-girl, for whom they seem to care (at least at the beginning). None of the investment-bankers like or at least respect each other and the same goes for the two wives, although all these people are in fact of very similar character and nature. It is just a question of time, until they clash at each other and that's exactly what happens as the movie starts to unfold.

I won't tell more about the dialog and quarrel, which then starts out, except that this is a highly recommendable movie. Although I usually fall asleep during midnight-movies I easily stayed awake through the whole 100 minutes without getting tired for a second. This movie really has a punch, so IF you have a chance to see this - obviously rarely shown - movie, take the time and see it, you won't regret it.

I give this 10 out of 10 points, although more critical viewers might rate it lesser (but I'd say every viewer who likes dogma-movies would give this certainly an 8).
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Waterhole #3 (1967)
1/10
Goddamn awful movie from start to finish! Be warned !
25 December 2010
My God, what an awful "dreck" this movie is!! I guess this must be the proverbial "one-joke-movie", but I couldn't find that one joke. :-( Why has this movie been made after all? And how did it get THIS cast ???? I usually LOVE to watch James Coburn, but seeing him in this pile of unfunny *beep* makes me cry.

The only possible answer I got to me asking, why in Gods name anybody turned a script as unfunny as this one into a movie is that probably someone tried to repeat the success of CAT BALLOU from two years ago (1965), but to be honest "Cat Ballou" wasn't that funny either (but still mucho better).

After that they finally (thanx!) dumped the lame idea of having a movie commented by a song, which sounds as someone sitting at the toilet having problems getting it out (until "There's Something About Mary" came along 20 years later, where it worked a bit better).

Does this movie have any defenders? If so, where did you laugh? I'd really love to find out where I missed a joke (if there was one)!

zero out of ten!
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3:10 to Yuma (2007)
1/10
What a train wreck of a movie !
16 August 2010
Whilst the original adaption of the Elmore Leonard story is a nice B-movie, the re-make is a D-script (if D at all ...) filmed with an A-budget and starring a totally miscast "hero" Russel Crowe.

My God, what a turkey! I have just seen the re-make on TV out of interest, so I could compare todays filmmaking with the old semi-classic. I didn't expect much, but what I got was even less than I could have expected.

I know, yeah, a really good western is probably the toughest movie to make (and the last time Hollywood succeeded in doing so was OPEN RANGE and before that Eastwood did one of his best works with UNFORGIVEN), because the settings of the genre are limited and you can't have that much "big/expensive scenes" with explosions, car chases (smile), etc, so you have to rely to a reasonable/good story and some interesting characters, but both is totally lacking here. In fact the makers of this re-make didn't trust the story at all and threw in all kinda over-the-top action-scenes, which just look much too implausible to be taken seriously.

The character of Russel Crowe and especially one of his gang-members is despicable, but of course having a leading man like Russel Crowe (who gives the label "wooden acting" a new meaning), Hollywood can't show him as filthy criminal, but needs to build a hero out of him. So the movie takes a good time developing that the people he has killed and kills "deserve" their fate. It's just ridiculous - and sorry for moralizing - that Crowe/Wade killing a member of the posse with a fork (!) gets him just a medium-severe beating. The same goes for his next victim: in fact the only above average-interesting character in the movie, the Pinkerton-man played by Peter Fonda, is characterized a good half-hour as the most evil person imaginable (by a moralizing (!) Crowe) to be then thrown off a cliff for good sake and what happens to Crowe: nothing again! Come on, I hate it when scriptwriters think I am an idiot, taking sh-- for gold.

And Crowe is established as some kinda good (!) anti-hero, about whom the boy fantasizes as being a morale person, not totally evil. That's ludicrous and I don't see how somebody, who kills and destroys merciless, can have a good side or be worshiped?? When LEONE had an evil character in his western, he established that right away, of course with a portion of cynicism, for example like in GOOD, BAD, UGLY (EASTWOOD being "good", Lee van Cleef being "bad"), but this 3:10 TO YUMA re-make does in fact take the good side of Wade indeed seriously.

And to "balance" that, the movie does of course need somebody really "evil" (to establish how "good" Wade is in comparison) and introduces a silly-staring gang-member, who lets somebody burn inside a carriage. That scene is especially ludicrous, because that just would not have happened in any decent western, it's totally against the "rules of the genre". Near gore-like scenes like this don't fit into a western, and it doesn't have anything to do with "widening the boundaries" of the genre to put in repulsive scenes like this one.

As I already mentioned, on top of all that Crowe is totally miscast. Not for a second do I believe his "character" as an outlaw, he just looks "too good", too well-fed with his puffy face (Mr. Crowe, stop eating junk food!) and too contemporary with his "I don't like fat" (haha!) eating-habits. Of course somebody like him cites the bible and tries to philosophize, which probably should establish the intellectual side of the evil. Yeah, in "modern"-day Hollywood it has become kinda "politcal correct" to have the bad guy being a misunderstood intellectual with a hard upbringing ... hey, come one, that can't be meant serious (but it indeed is!) ?? Of course, compared to that (the lesser star) C. Bale looks like a stupid farmer, whilst in a good script, if there would be some moralizing, then it would fit (T)HIS character ...

And the ending ... well, I think I can skip that, many other posters on the IMDb have already pointed out how silly/stupid/unfitting it is (btw, Elmore Leonard doesn't like the changed ending either).

So ... another re-make which should have been avoided. It's sad, but Hollywood can't do any good genre movies anymore. People, who don't understand the western-genre, should simply stay away from it instead of ruining it even further!
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Mr. Majestyk (1974)
10/10
Charles BRONSON is WALKING TALL :-))
8 August 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Unfortunately the IMDb allows only comments up to 1000 words and I was so much taken in by MR. MAJESTYK that my comment got longer, so please go to my entry in the message board, if you want to read the whole review! :-)

I have always considered Charles BRONSON to be the epitome of a man, the icon of man-like behavior, who reigns (together with Steve McQueen and Dean Martin) supreme on the throne of "king of cool". If you check all male heroes in cinema's history you will - in my humble opinion - not find any other actor, who embodies the ideals of manlike behavior better than Charles BRONSON, not from the time when silent films were made up to today. Many have tried, nobody succeeded.

I know I am old-fashioned, but in my opinion there is a set of behaviors how "real men" handle things, they don't whine, they don't wince, they don't give up, they don't offer the other cheek, they don't act like cowards. Real men mind their own business, they do what has to be done, they stand up and fight when necessary, they offer protection, say what's right and act to their beliefs, in short: they WALK TALL. MR. MAJESTYK is a prime example in this action sub-genre defined in 1973 by Phil Karlson's masterpiece WALKING TALL, starring Joe Don Baker.

And "walking tall" (but without a big stick, just his bare hands) is exactly what Charles BRONSON does in this superb action-milestone. "Real men" do not bully others, but when they are bullied, they don't walk away. They try to calm down once or twice, but in case this does not help ... well ... then the one who bullied should wish he would have thought twice before.

Charles BRONSON is Vince MAJESTYK and he minds his own business, all he wants to do is pick his watermelons or have them picked by able hands. He's a watermelon farmer out to have his harvest in. Nothing else is of importance. But unfortunately they won't let him. That's a mistake, something they should not have tried.

Already the opening scene defines the character of Vince Majestyk. After striking opening titles we see THE MAN getting gasoline, while a bunch of Mexican's are looking for a toilet. The owner of the gasoline station won't let them "dirty Mex" in his toilet, so - without uttering too many words - Vince helps them and gets them the key. No violence in this scene, because it ain't necessary. He hires them for picking his melons.

Unfortunately Paul Koslo has other plans, he wants to convince Mr. Majestyk to take his (unqualified) pickers, because they do it for less (1 buck 20 an hour). Mr. Majestyk tries to explain to him, that he picks his own workers, but Koslo won't listen. The next scene could well be titled "Mr. Majestyk resolves a labor-dispute" and he does it well and efficiently. Another superb scene in this wonderful flick.

That brings him to jail shortly, where he meets a local mobster and killer, superbly played by AL LETTIERI, whom movie buffs will remember very well from Peckinpah's THE GETAWAY. Mr. MAJESTYK (1974) is Lettier's last well-known movie, before he died untimely in 1975 of a heart attack (I have no doubt he would have played many more great roles, wouldn't he have died that early). Frank Randa and Vince Majestyk don't get along together that well and Lettieri threatens Bronson to kill him, which is one of the most memorable scenes in action-cinema:

After Randa has uttered his death-threat and THE MAN has asked him calmly "and when is this big event gonna take place?", BRONSON sighs and concludes "seems like there's no use trying to get on your good side ...", stands up, all calmly, and smacks Randa once and so hard in the face, that Randa falls from the chair and - while walking away - Bronson suggests "hey, why don't you call the cops?", whilst Randa's men are helping their boss back on the chair. My God, what a short, efficient and wonderful scene !!! Charles BRONSON does not do this happily or smiling, he just does what has to be done. Better to open the fight than to be hit, better to show the enemy, that he won't run away, that this won't be an easy win (if at all), that he will WALK TALL.

These three scenes more-less define the movie. I don't need to go on telling the story-line, because of course it is clear what will happen. One thing leads to another ... whilst we are enjoying one of veteran-director Richard Fleischers most memorable efforts.

Fleischer, who left us 3 years after Charles BRONSON (2003) took his seat in heaven, is often (unjustified) regarded as a minor action-director, but has in fact given us a string of great movies in the late 60ies and first half of the 70ies: EVERY (!) movie from THE BOSTON STRANGLER (1968) up to MANDINGO (1975) is definitely worth seeing and his earlier and later works are not that bad either (altough of changing quality). When directing Mr. Majestyk Richard Fleischer was on the height of his directorial abilities and I can't see any scene in Mr. Majestyk, which does not fit it's subject: this is a lean and efficient action-movie, directed by a veteran director at the height of his abilities with a striking, absolutely perfectly chosen cast acting just on spot, and this includes everybody, zen-like superstar Charles Bronson and the whole other cast and crew.

...

ATTENTION ! This comment here is NOT COMPLETE, because the IMDb allows only 1000 words and I wrote more, so please go to my entry in the message board (if you liked to read my few cents) to get the whole review and to be able to comment on it! :-)
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Walking Tall (1973)
10/10
"Walk softly and carry a big stick."
31 July 2009
Unfortunately the IMDb allows only comments up to 1000 words and I was so much taken in by WALKING TALL that my comment got longer, so please go to my entry in the message board, if you want to read the whole review! :-) ... :-))

I love movies with balls and brains and this is one of 'em! :-)

OK, I know this movies has its small shortcomings, because it does not belong to the category of over-financed Hollywood-junk (which is a movie-category established by the film industry (!) in the later 80ies and beginning 90ties consisting of movies costing anywhere from 50 to 200 million bucks and which look like most designer-stuff: well crafted but hollow), but to the category of a small independently financed B-picture. Don't get me wrong, this ain't a movie financed on a shoestring-budget, this is just one of those movies, where the producers did not have million's to burn. It's very decently made and 95% perfect, just here or there you think, well, they could have tried one more take or something similar. But anyway, are you going to the cinema to see a technically perfect movie and receive joy from seeing designer-tailored action-scenes, or do you go to the movies or buy a DVD to enjoy yourself with a movie full of balls and brain? If you belong to the 1st category, I suggest you save the time reading this and forget about watching this flick.

But if you belong to the later category, then this is something for you, you gonna enjoy this roller-coaster-flick! Especially if - as is the case with me - 70ies B-flicks are your cup of tea. They certainly are mine! I won't dwell here on the storyline of WALKING TALL (you can find details elsewhere here), it's probably enough to point out that the title is the program and that our hero's tag-line is "walk softly and carry a big stick" (or - as the old Latins said - "suaviter in modo, fortiter in re"). Yeah, that's what he does and he uses that big stick to clean house very properly.

I do not know, which part of the story is actually "fact" (based on incidents in the life of Buford Pusser) and which parts are fiction (that could be a lot, since the disclaimer reads that this picture is based on "incidents suggested by the life of BP", which sounds like something, but in fact can mean nearly everything or nothing at all), but IF just 50% of the story-line happened in some way or another, this guy must have had enormous luck and 7 lives. Already the incidents, when somebody tries to kill him, amount to at least 5!

The movie is quite brutal, at least for a flick made in the middle of the 70ies. Quite a lot of dead and quite a high number of severely beaten-up bodies, but there ain't that much of it on-screen. Just the first beating of our hero is really tense and was probably only outdone by Mel Gibson's Christ a couple decades later. Of course it looks a bit unrealistic to see Joe Don Baker in a T-shirt so soaked with blood, because anyone loosing that much of it would certainly be dead, but then again Phil Karlson had a point to make and wanted to make sure we'd get it: our hero had been severely wounded by the villains of the town and now he had a task to handle, do what a man has to do, simply WALK TALL!

This movie is pure 70ies magnetism, a wonderful ride into rural Americana, with so many classic (partly stereo-)types, wonderful original characters, hardly any cardboard ones, and actors indeed looking like someone you could meet at any corner of such a town. This is what lifts such classic productions over the Hollywood-product we get today: we do see real people doing things, that could at least be possible (while when we watch Die Hard IV everybody should know that 90% of the action-scenes there could simply never happen, because they are against the laws of physics). Here you got a lot of beat-ups, car-chases, shoot-outs, more beatings, cars driving in houses, all things that normally don't happen if the police does its job, but things that COULD happen, that are physically possible.

And they are staged with zest and verve by a veteran director in the twilight of his career, who took this job at the age of 66 and wanted to give it a last (which then was his penultimate) try. And he does deliver ALL the goods, pulls all triggers. He certainly knew this could very well be his last effort, so why not give the best. With 4 decades (!!) of movie-making experience, Phil Karlson (who also directed THE SILENCERS and THE WRECKING CREW-entries in the lovely Matt Helm-series and quite a couple very good noir's and western) certainly knew how to build up a good storyline and how to stage it as well as possible with whatever budget he had available.

...

ATTENTION ! This comment here is NOT COMPLETE, because the IMDb allows only 1000 words and I wrote more, so please go to my entry in the message board (if you liked to read my few cents) to get the whole review and to be able to comment on it! :-)
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9/10
quintessential state-of-the-art revenge movie
30 August 2008
Initially realized for 20th Century Fox and then sold off - due to the high violence-ratio (at least for back then) - to Samual Z. Arkoff's wonderful B-movie company AIP (American International Pictures), which company has brought us so many other wonderful early movies by no others than Jonathan Demme, John Milius, Martin Scorsese, etc ..., ROLLING THUNDER is - alongside with the even better THE OUTFIT - John Flynn's contribution to one of my favorite genres of 70ies action-movies, the revenge-movie. And what a contribution this is!

The fact that it was initially financed by Fox shows in above average production values compared to most (but not all) other AIP pictures and all other departments are top as well.

Scripted by Paul Schrader, who - together with John Milius - was one of the best screenwriters for action-movies/thrillers back then in the later 70ies (YAKUZA, TAXI DRIVER, OBSESSION, HARDCORE), John Flynn had a superbly balanced script at hand and turned it into a prime example just how such a movie should be done: leisurely paced, very laid back, the story emerges naturally from its initial setting of a war-hero coming back from being a POW in Vietnam for app. 4 years, coming back to an alienated wife, who - not sure if she would ever see her husband again - had started an affair with another guy. Before his small family would inevitably fall apart altogether, some hoodlums kill off his wife and son and hurt him badly. After recovering ...

Bill Devane does a magnificent job as Major Charles Rane (his best performance ever, and Devane is usually good with any material he has to work with), and a young Tommy Lee Jones delivers a great laconic early performance as well. Also the supporting cast is well chosen.

Wonderful dialogue as well, very laconic: "Rane: I found them. Johnny: Who? Rane: The men who killed my son. Johnny: I'll just get my gear."

The movie strolls along with well executed action scenes every 15, 20 minutes and believable character development in between. The dialogue is intelligent and easily holds ones interest (no wonder, considering who did the script) and the last shootout is an explosion of utterly believable violence, well executed and staged in an interesting setting, reminding me at GETAWAY (Sam Peckinpah's great achievement, a similar laconic achievement) form a few years earlier.

What I love so much about this kind of 70ies B-flicks is their realistic approach to violence. This is not the high-gloss slow-motion permanent action scenes we get today in over-financed so called "blockbusters" (where it seems to be more important what they did cost, than what they do deliver = hardly anything), with an impossible-to-be-would hero, who handles every completely unbelievable dangerous situation (like in the utterly terrible DIE HARD IV), but what we get here are short, explosive outbursts of violence, who are harsh and gritty and believably dangerous for everybody involved.

Violence is the harsh reality that makes the movie go on, but it is not its main content. The main content of these great action-movies from the 70ies is how people are affected by and handle this violence and not the violence itself, whereas today we get a permanent (tiresome) follow-up of endless explosions and shoot-outs, where people unrealistically jump through the air as if they could fly. Forget about that, get it real: watch ROLLING THUNDER, watch THE OUTFIT, watch CHATO'S LAND, watch DEATH WISH I, then you get the real deal.

I first saw ROLLING THUNDER - as many other movies which stayed with me forever - in late midnight-TV some 20 years ago (when I was app. 17, 18) and I have seen it some 3 or 4 times again since then. It never failed to impress me. And as other rave reviews here show, I am not the only one.

Such a pity John Flynn has left us already and didn't do more movies in the 70ies, which were his prime.
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10/10
One of the BEST B's ever !
16 August 2008
Come on folks, you can't be serious! THE MOONSHINE WAR has only a 5,9 rating on the IMDb ??? 123 voters ?

I really like Alan ALDA, he is such a normal guy, always a reliable actor, very watchable, practically never a bad part, funny, poignant, great timing. Hardly anybody ever looked at his lesser known movies?

THE MOONSHINE WAR is a terrific B-movie! A novel and script only ELMORE LEONARD in his prime could have come up with, paired with a director many would not really call a great one, but here he has delivered his best directing-effort ever! I would have never thought Richard QUINE to be such a cynic to deliver a movie like this, but obviously this director, who had worked with so many stellar 50ies and 60ies casts, was so happy to get a little B-effort to direct, probably with hardly any studio-involvement, that he decided to make one of the MOST CYNICAL movies I have ever seen! And the sheer joy everybody involved had in making this little gem is visible in every frame.

And the cast loves it! Alan ALDA is terrific, as is Richard WIDMARK, who has made a couple of nice movies shortly before and after that, but where he really shines like in his early prime is in MOONSHINE WAR. And nobody having seen this gem will ever be able to forget LEE HAZLEWOOD, who only starred in 4 movies, of which this one is by faaaar the best!

Two reviewers call the performance of Alan ALDA "curiously blank" and "pretty blank" (I think one reviewer copied from the other), but sorry, I can't but disagree: First I think Alan ALDA does a magnificent job and plays his part exactly as wanted by director and script. His role IS the only "normal" (boring ??) one in the sense of being unweired, he is the "backwood boy", the bland guy. Nobody expects anything great from him, which is EXACTLY what makes the ending such a winner: the guy nobody expected to handle the job does exactly that! Marvellous! And second I do not see why everybody in a movie has to be weired? If you do not have any normal guy, but only weirdos in a movie, then where is the counterpart, where is any balance? One has to have at least one normal guy to make the oddballs even more odd. Alda does this and he does it magnificent. I think this is also HIS BEST movie.

OK, it is brutal, no doubt, but so what? Moonshining was never a "profession" for cowards and the times back then were not the most peaceful, but what the heck. Just that Alan ALDA is in it, does not mean it has to be a cozy harmless comedy. It certainly is a comedy anyway, but a very brutal one and from what I can see, Alan ALDA loves to be part of it as much as anybody else in this cast. Just look at this classical ending: just wonderful! This ain't a family-movie, nothing for the kids to enjoy on a Sunday evening, unless Dad wants to risk a war with his wife, but that is exactly the reason why this is nothing short of a MUST-SEE for every movie-lover.

Folks, give this another viewing, this is up there with the best B's ever made, up there with THE OUTFIT, ROLLING THUNDER, DIRTY MARY CRAZY LARRY, VANISHING POINT, POINT BLANK, LOLLY MADONNA WAR, ... etc. etc. etc.

Tarantino loves this one and so do I! I wonder who discovered this gem first? :-) I saw it in my middle teenage years the first time, which is 25 years ago, of course on TV in one of those wonderful midnight viewings, where such oddball movies were shown in a regular way back then, where I discovered most of the great B's in movie history. Tarantino is a few years "older" than I am, so he might have discovered it first, but then again maybe not. :-) Anyway, that is not really important.

What is important is that this great effort is not covered anywhere by any top critic yet. But this is perfect Danny Peary-stuff! The guy who wrote these wonderful books about cult movies, ya know. This one has a small cult following, although it does not show on the IMDb yet, but all my mates and every oddball-movie lover I ever talked about with knows and loves it, so this is a CULT MOVIE, even if the followers are not yet that many. Danny, write another cult movie book and this one HAS TO BE covered there. And I can send ya a list of others that need coverage! :-)

Call me biased, but I rate this as high as 10! I wish there would be more flicks like this out there to discover. If you know any comparable one, drop be a line, please.
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One Eyed King (2001)
8/10
damn good sleeper, check it out !
19 May 2008
Yes, the cast and the movie are damn good. I just watched it a few days ago, not expecting much, but I was pretty surprised. Interesting engrossing story, great acting, this is a little cheaply made but well directed and superbly played sleeper, it will get its followers.

NOT as good as STATE OF GRACE, but also not that much worse.

Recently I saw for example the re-make of ASSAULT ON PRECINT 13, which is utterly awful, as worse as it can get.

Compared to junk like this ONE EYED KING is a real treat, something to look out for and certainly enjoy.

I even found it better - because of being more realistic - than the high-speed Marin Scorsese junk "THE DEPARTED", which won Oscars for delivering hardly anything.

Nice little gem, this ONE EYED KING !
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Flamingo Road (1949)
10/10
Sydney Greenstreet dominates this !!
30 March 2008
Sydney Greenstreet is THE MAN ! Honestly, I can't remember any movies I saw him in (I did not see all, but many), where he did not dominate at least all the scenes where he was in, effortlessly in fact ! Even in "The Maltese Falcon" Bogart paled when Greenstreet was on-screen.

In many movies he even dominated all the other scenes as well, where he was not on-screen.

The guy made a little over 20 movies, according to the IMDb, in less than a decade, from 1941 to 49 to be precise, and FLAMINGO ROAD was his penultimate (he was even in RUTHLESS, one of the most underrated masterpieces of the 40ies !!!).

Just take the intro: it's less than 5 minutes into the movie, that you see a car parking, a guy leaving it. You just see his back. What a back! You don't even have to see the guy up front, to know who he is. Massive.

But what would YOU expect ?!!! Michael Curtiz, one of THE directors of that time (if not THE director of them all - look at his list of achievements) was at it. This director clearly knew not only how to get the best out of the whole cast, but also how to put them on screen the best way possible, how to introduce them properly. Greenstreet was sort-of-a-legend as character actor then already, and this was the best way to introduce him, just to show his huge back.

Up he walks a veranda and gets his massive figure into an armchair, intending to put is southern hat at the table besides the armchair, but ... no table there. Not in a loud voice, just casual, he calls the (then usually black and fittingly) servant to tell him that nearly would it have happened that (again!) his hat might have fallen onto the ground and HE (= Greenstreet) would have had to pick it up, like it had "once" (!) happened in the past. He says it casual and without anger, but it is easy to see that this must have been a major disappointment to him - regardless how many years ago this happened, could have been a decade as well -, which he still remembers like the day it happened, like the day when he had his hat fallen in the dust and had to pick it up.

Needless to say the servant had the table aside the armchair just seconds later.

Enters Zachary Scott, a competent actor as well (also in RUTHLESS, by the way!), the deputy-sheriff, and asked by Greenstreet what he'd done the whole day, replies "been fishing". He'd actually do something for his money, says Scott, if it would lead to anything (clearly implying it would not), but hinting he'd even be sorry for doing nothing. Says Greenstreet he should not (!) worry 'bout that, there would be many other people in - whatever the name of the town was - who would get/earn a lot more money for doing a lot less than he's doing (= fishing the day, smile).

Come on, ain't that a scene ?!!! Ever seen something like this in a recent movie, where a guy says not to worry about being lazy ?? Nope, that's against common sense today (poor times we're living in, aren't we?!).

All that is delivered almost casually, without any effort, completely easy, just amazing !! This alone is worth watching the (whole) movie, but there are many more great Greenstreet-scenes coming, more than I can recite here. Watch it !! This movie gets a 10 out of 10 for having such a fantastic role for Greenstreet, but the movie itself is also pretty good (would rate it 7 or 8). All the other cast is VERY competent, the story holds interest throughout, the ending is a little by-the-numbers but satisfying, all in all a great achievement and NOT a minor in anybodys career.

As I said, watch it, you won't be disappointed (at least if you love good decent movies and can watch a black-and-white one, smile).
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The Mechanic (1972)
10/10
BRONSON at his peak: one of THE action-movies of all time !!!
16 March 2008
The early 70ies were the years, when CHARLES BRONSON as leading man could do nothing wrong. Every single movie he made in those years from 1970's CITTA VIOLENTA to 1975's BREAKHEART PASS was a commercial winner all the way and most of them were artistically successful as well. He worked with the best of western- and action-directors then (Michael Winner, Don Siegel, Terence Young, Tom Gries, Richard Fleischer, John Sturges, Sergio Sollima) and they usually turned out their best efforts with THE MAN starring in the leading role. The movies THE MAN turned out then one after another are now considered among the best of its kind ever made.

THE MECHANIC is clearly no exception to this rule. On the contrary, among his superb movies of these (sadly long gone) days, THE MECHANIC shines as one of the best. Some even consider THE MECHANIC to be the best movie Mr. BRONSON ever made! Personally I would no go that far, but it is definitely one of the best five he ever made, the others being HARD TIMES aka THE STREETFIGHTER (please also check my comment there), CHATO'S LAND (again, please check my comment there), of course DEATH WISH I and MR. MAJESTYK.

Actually THE MECHANIC is more than just a mere action-flick, it is a socio-economical study of the lives and times of a top-level professional hit-man at the peak of his power and his connections and ultimately fateful troubles with the mafia and mafia-structures. It is a so matter-of-fact-made movie that one can not deny its "documentary-style".

BRONSON looks GREAT as the "mechanic", the top-hit-man, the "killer of killers"! He's superbly clothed, always apt to the needs of the scene, wears suits and tie here and there, casual clothes in other occasions and an awesome leather-jacket in other memorable scenes. And the hair-cut is awesome as well (when have you seen a professional hit-man with that long hair?). BRONSON hardly ever looked better. When he left us in 2003, newspapers over here often chose pictures of him in his prime from the early 70ies, some taken from THE MECHANIC, him holding the ultimately fateful glass of wine in his huge hands. Memorable, ain't it? :-)

Back to the picture itself:

Right from the beginning THE MECHANIC is filled with awesome frames. Just take the first one: one sees just blue sky. Suddenly - seemingly from the nowhere - Bronsons stony face fills the screen (one has to see this on a BIG screen!). Jerry Fieldings superbly fitting music (now on on CD by Intrada) starts right the same second. We see THE MAN entering a building. A short greeting follows (which is the only word spoken in the first app. 15 minutes). Then the professional does his first job, knocks off his first victim, whose murder is disguised as a gas explosion, without emotion, just a job to be done. Then the murder of Harry McKenna follows, where Bishop shows no outward regret for his actions, putting the brutal demands of his job over his friendship to Harry.

ARTHUR BISHOP is certainly no average hit-man. He lives in a swell mansion up at Mulholland drive, the paintings on this wall are reproductions of Hironimus Boschs' work, when he plans the best way to do his jobs = killings, he listens to classical music, the furniture is well chosen, he loves a glass of wine after a well-done job. A man with manners and good taste. Not a dumb-ass, a clever hit-man, one with brains. His Dad already worked for the mafia (as a judge, in fact). A man with roots.

Emotionless, tough and quiet (but when he says something, then it's well thought-over), he is nevertheless intelligent enough to know, that this ain't a job he can do forever, that he is in the twilight of his career. So he decides to take a companion/apprentice, young J.-M. Vincent (in his best role), to teach him the trade and to have somebody to be able to rely on in dangerous situations. THE MAN ain't that young anymore, a 2nd man could be a needed asset, a backup in dangerous situations.

The mafia disapproves of this, but Arthur Bishop is strong-willed ...

Bronson and Vincent fill their parts to perfection and these ain't easy parts. Character development, not too usual for this genre, is a strong point of this movie together with a handful of superbly staged action-sequences. At a running-time of a little over 90 minutes, there is more happening in THE MECHANIC than in many other movies, and still you are not watching a hectic movie (like most action flicks today are). As another admirer wrote "'The Mechanic' is a tightly-bound drama that uses everything - dialog, emotion, physical action - with stunning economy. Like a tightly-written novel, the film sheds all unnecessary padding and only gives us what is absolutely important to the storyline."

This ain't a lightweight picture, this is prime stuff. Every frame is well-chosen, every scene has its meaning, Mr. Winner clearly put a lot of effort into this one (as well as his other efforts from the early- to mid-70ies - Winner became a slob only later on). There are not many pictures, which one can watch every second year and still be filled with thrill, but THE MECHANIC accomplishes this, it is a movie "that updates itself each time you watch it".

Watch it ! :-)
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Rambo (2008)
10/10
WOW ! Thanx, Sly !!
15 March 2008
Yesterday I watched JOHN RAMBO and I saw a simple (one can sum up the plot in one longer sentence!), old-fashioned, backwards oriented, partly racist, highly brutal revenge-movie with first rate production-values and ...

... I JUST LOVED IT!

It was amazing! What a movie! I suddenly knew, what I had missed for at least 2 decades: exactly such a movie, an old fashioned, mindless revenge-movie of the highest order, a straight-forward, no-twist-whatsoever, no-nonsense and little-dialog action flick, where all the bad guys are killed like insects (and of course we always have a stupid guy in the cast, who calls killing bad per Se, ha ha).

After the bad guys are established as pure evil, the movie doesn't even bother to translate their dialog anymore, that's how unimportant they actually are before their doomed fate arrives in the person of JOHN RAMBO, the killing-machine (who openly admits early on, that this is what he can do best - when has that been said openly in any other movie in recent years?). Amazing!

This is not the most brutal movie Stallone has ever made, this is - from the point of the excessive and graphic (not psychological) violence - the most brutal movie ANYONE has ever made! I have never seen so many killings in one movie (I guess it must contain several hundred killings, maybe more than 500) and in such graphic detail. The bullets not just kill, they rip off limbs, heads, the bodies literally explode in fountains of blood and it is amazing, how much fun this is to watch! I would call this "psychologically satisfying killings".

Of course Stallone (or whoever "wrote" the script) must have studied the basics of revenge movies very well and paid close attention to the DEATH WISH-series (esp. part I and II), Chato's Land, Mr. Majestyk, The Outlaw Josey Wales (only the beginning, smile), etc.

JOHN RAMBO is a wonderful simplistic "what you see is what you get"-movie and one knows right from the start what's gonna happen. But that's exactly why I loved it so much! No damn shitty twists somewhere in between, no unexpected turns, just exactly what one expected. I suddenly knew why I had grown so incredibly tired of todays thrillers: everyone of them tries to invent the genre new, no one can simply celebrate the standard plot at top level, everyone tries to be "somehow new". JOHN RAMBO does not try this, not a second. And that's what makes watching it so refreshing.

First you have the bad guys introduced, in typical form: they kill obvious innocents with fun. That's bad. Of course their chief wears sun-glasses, the ones you know bad guys wearing since the times of COOL HAND Luke. The bad guys smile when they kill. For them it is a game, nothing more.

A little later you see them kill again. A whole village. Unarmed people, killed in dozens, young, old, women, even children. Very graphic. The viewer gets angry (here at the latest).

But JOHN RAMBO presents the bill. It not a SPOILER and no secret, of course, that the bad guys all get killed. That's what revenge is all about. And the way he does it is at level with the way the bad guys killed their victims. As already pointed out, they are not just killed, but bombed, hacked, slashed to pieces. That's emotionally satisfying killing.

The production values are first rate, that's what makes JOHN RAMBO differ a lot from other movies of that type: usually in these movies, to which I am referring (you know, Chuck NORRIS and similar junk), most of the F/X is poor, below-par, party unwatchable. Here this is all absolutely first rate and it does not look computer-generated (I have no idea, if it is, but I guess some parts must be). A hell of a fun to watch the bad guys' bodies being ripped apart in wonderful detail! And although the story is clear from the first few minutes (when JOHN RAMBO is asked to guide them aiders upriver), still the tension never breaks or has a let-down.

As such movies typically have, this has a running time from nearly precisely 90 minutes. But it is nevertheless not easy, to keep watchers glued to the seat for 90 minutes. JOHN RAMBO manages that, despite the predictability of the storyline.

I call this an ACHIEVEMENT.

I have not left any movie since Gibsons' APOCALYPTO (2006) that thrilled and uplifted: the good ones win, the bad ones die. It is that simple. In APOCALYPTO only a part of the bad ones die, but in JOHN RAMBO not a single bad guy survives. It's a blood feast, a blood bath.

I just wish Sly would make RAMBO no. 5. Because all the great series' have 5 parts, be it DEATH WISH, be it DIRTY HARRY, but also of course ROCKY. However, I doubt it we'll see a RAMBO 5, because how to top this? I would - for my humble part - be already happy with another equally great achievement, but as economic rules have it today, every follow up must be "more excessive" than the last part. But how to achieve THIS here ? It's better to let the RAMBO-series end at its peak (4 is definitely better than 2 and 3 and equally good as no. 1), than to risk the DIE HARD-fate: DIE HARD IV was mostly unwatchable, just terrible, silly, boring, complicated (which is already an achievement of its own type, btw).

JOHN RAMBO avoids all that, it is one-dimensional, simple, basic and straight-forward. But these are its strengths, this is exactly why it succeeds on every level.

A MASTERPIECE in simple but effective storytelling, definitely the best since APOCALYPTO - 10/10.

Go see it ! At least if you have a healthy stomach, that is. :-))
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2/10
So what ?
28 October 2007
I just saw "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" and it is time for a bad review.

What is one of the worst things a "thriller" (even a "funny" one) can be, aside from an illogical plot, story-loopholes to get tanks through (right from the start), sup-par acting and a brain-dead script ...?

Well, maybe predictability ? This one is predictable from start to finish ...

And it is a one-joke-movie ... how must the producers have laughed at the "clever diea" of a hit man and a hit woman marrying by accident ...

Why did I watch it ? Well, at least I did not spend some hard earned money on it, because I just saw it on TV, but of course ... money ...

I read somewhere that this one cost 100 million dollar to make (where are they ? I could not see them, but maybe all the fireworks cost that much ?) and that it crossed unbelievable 400 million at the box-office. If so, that's a shame!

Anything good to say about it ? There are 2 or 3 nice one-lines, but 2 or 3 one-lines don't make a good movie. Yes, Angelina Jolie looks great, but again ...

So what's the most memorable about it ? I give it two points for Ms. Pitt's tits.

Otherwise forget it and watch PRIZZI'S HONOR from 1985, that is a good one (and I bet nobody from the crew or cast of "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" has ever seen that one).
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1/10
Thanx Mr. King !
23 September 2007
Thanx Mr. King for directing this one ! Over the last 30 years nearly as many movies have been made from Mr. Kings novels. Less than 10 percent of them are good.

Most are bad.

MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE is the worst one ! Just plain simply the bottom of the barrel, junk in every way. Looks like a brain-dead 12 year old has directed this.

Directed ? Well, this one was sunk before the first frame was shot.

It is the story, which is stupid beyond words. With this story even Don Siegel or Bob Aldrich or whomever great action director could not have made an above average movie out of this junk ...

So why - in God's name - do so many people (do they ??) consider Mr. Kings books worth reading, some even say they are good ??? They ain't.

I read through 2 or 3 of them when I was an older teen and already then I thought that they are 300 to 800 pages junk. My opinion has not changed. MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE ends with these words: "The survivors of the Dixie Boy are still survivors". Do I need to say/write more ... ?!

This movie proves something, that would not have needed another prove.
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10/10
Large, larger than life, largest - THE FONTAINHEAD
15 September 2007
THE FOUNTAINHEAD is an awesome and fascinating movie! KING VIDOR, who was a megalomaniac himself, directed a megalomaniac movie about a megalomaniac and the result is nothing short of a masterpiece, not only of the 1940ies, but of movie-history itself. No doubt about that, THE FOUNTAINHEAD is definitely Vidors best achievement, in a career, which has produced a couple more great ones.

I have seen hardly any movie in my close to 30 years of being a movie-buff, which left a deeper impact on me. And I can only remember one more movie, which has a similar striking ending (I AM A FUGITIVE FROM THE CHAIN GANG), which one will never forget and which has not lost a quota of its impact in all the years, which have passed, since it was made.

THE FOUNTAINHEAD is the most striking plädoyer for individualism (versus collectivism, but not necessarily versus socialism) ever put on screen. O'Rourke, also Gary COOPER's best performance ever, is a person, who is unwilling to accept only the slightest compromise. However, in doing so, he is not an egocentric for the sake of being an egocentric (as most eccentric's are), but someone with an aim, a vision, a target. He wants to build new structures, follow his architectural vision.

In the 2nd half we have a speech of Mr. O'Rourke in court, which is a flamboyant plädoyer for individualism, against crowd-pleasing, for following ones vision. Highly intelligent, utterly convincing, superbly recited, stunningly acted.

As if that would not be enough already, THE FOUNTAINHEAD profits from one of the best camera-works of the 40ies. Striking black-and-white photography, rough and edgy as the movie itself.

Mr. Cooper gives the performance of his lifetime, his features were never tougher and more prominent. The scenes of him cutting stones (when meeting Patricia Neal, with whom he had a longer affair then) are unforgettable and Mr. Cooper displays muscles, which are nothing short of stunning for a 48 year old (I can only remember one actor, who had tougher muscles at this age, which is Charles Bronson).

Of course, the tone is in general pessimistic and the movie is happily void of any softening humor, but these are in fact IMHO virtues, not drawbacks. I would go as far as to call FOUNTAINHEAD one of the most realistic movies ever as far as human behavior is concerned and the way THE BANNER handles our hero is certainly not far fetched.

This movie emerges out of the 1940ies as a monolithic milestone of enormous proportions. When I first saw it (I have seen it 4 or 5 times since then, and was thrilled at every viewing), it was as if Mr. Vidor told me "look, this is what a movie can be up to", that's the impact an uncompromising movie can have. Awesome, in fact awesome beyond words.

THE FOUNTAINHEAD is for the 1940ies what I AM A FUGITIVE FROM THE CAINGANG is for the 1930ies: the best movie of the decade (yes, I know, Citizen Kane was made 1941 and is a masterpiece, too, of course, but I would not rate any of these over the other, but consider them equally perfect).
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10/10
Wonderful documentary/life-story !
1 September 2007
Turhan Bey is one of the very few actors from Hollywood's golden age, who is still among us. This year he went 85 and in 2002 he had his 80th birthday.

For this reason Andrea Eckert, who is a better directrice than actress, unburied the unjustifiably forgotten actor, who was born in Vienna/Austria, and Ms. Eckert made a wonderful documentary about his life. Awesome ! Watch it if you can, but I fear it will only be available in German speaking parts of Europe. When Turhan, who is still alive today and living in Vienna again, got 85 Austrian TV showed this documentary again and I taped it for repeated viewing.

It is wonderful to see this "oldtimer", who has superbly aged and looks incredible for an 80 year old, sitting in his armchair and telling about this life and career in Hollywood, which in fact lasted less than a decade (from 1941 to 1949, with a last picture in 1953). However, in those few years he seems to have been a "hotshot" there and enjoyed a certain fame, especially among starlets, as he indeed was a good looking guy and being from good old Europe meant something there then. :-) Must have been swell years then !! When his career faded in the later 40ies he went back to Europe and became a photographer, but since he inherited a fortune, he could live of and still is living of that. Looking at this guy you can easily see that he never had money problems, but nevertheless has stayed reasonable and down-to-earth.

Since Hollywood does not seem such a bad place even today and people there have a longer memory than one would assume, Turhan surfaced again on the (mostly smaller) screen from 1993 to 1998 and very much enjoyed it. He tells us, what a great actor Roy Schweider is (I agree, but unfortunately he does not get the roles anymore, which he deserves), how he met this and that celebrity, etc., etc., ... .

It's just 40 minutes "long", but they go fast and the fact, that I have never forgotten this documentary since I saw it first time and am keeping an eye out for Turhan Bey movies since 2002 (before that year I was not even aware of his existence!) is proof enough that this is a very memorable slice of life.

10 out of 10 !
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10/10
Eastwood & Bridges & Lewis & Cimino = sheer delight !
31 August 2007
I have to admit, I am a sucker for 70ies movies, this was the last golden age in Hollywood and compared to those days, we're now already on a 25 year trip through the desert with now light ahead.

Of course, since I just plain simply love this movie, I might not be objective in my praise, but IMHO this movie does offer a lot to praise. When I read through some other favorable reviews of T&L I found - here and there - lines indicating some apology that they consider this a great movie, but I don'think there is any reason to apology for any praise regarding this little gem.

Made in the heydays of "New Hollywood" (5 years later the party was over anyway) T&L might have been considered as a "throwaway"-picture by the studio, but it certainly was not one for the people involved. In those days there was abundant talent available and it was much easier for young cinema-lovers and professionals to get "the foot into the door". One of them was Michael CIMINO (aged 35 then), who was trusted enough by Eastwood and the studio to be allowed - with a mere two screenplays on his belt (Silent running + Magnum Force) - to direct his first feature (I think his later pictures and the stories behind them are known well enough). And what a marvelous job he did ! Like so many other directors of the 70ies Cimino proves the point that most of them made their best pictures at the very start of their careers. Cimino is one of them, whose first 2 pictures are his best 2 as well (as opposed to "Old Hollywood", when directors made their best work in their later careers, because they first had to free themselves from the rigid studio-system prevailing then).

Considered by some as a highly entertaining, but minor Eastwood-outing, this view has to be corrected. At this time Eastwood was already a seasoned veteran, who had worked with some of the best directors available these days (Leone, Siegel, to name the 2 most important) and had already successfully directed two features (so it can well be assumed he also lent his hand at this or that scene). Compared to that, Cimino was a complete "nobody".

T&L is also the first one, in which Eastwood gives a completely unexperienced director his first chance and - after a string of superb action/western-flicks - one of his first efforts to break the tendency to by typecast. Insofar his role in T&L is a step away from the Man with no name, be it western or cop, but of course - always knowing his limits - not a too far away step from his usual roles (a loner, here with more humor than usual). If wanted, one can consider this little gem as one of his first steps at "auteurism" (I know, this theory is aged, but not completely wrong).

Eastwood certainly did take this movie serious as did Bridges, whose fifth important picture this is (after Last Picture Show, Fat City, Bad Company and Last American Hero). Bridges was of course the perfect choice for this movie and Eastwood/Cimino certainly knew, whom they picked. The same goes for Eastwood-extra Geoff Lewis (still active today in US TV) and Gary Busey, who spends his time today in grade E action-schlock.

In addition to this perfect cast and the direction, which I would describe as one full of "lazy assurance" (although by a newcomer) we have a well balanced, highly entertaining story with superbly drawn characters (the movie is evenly balanced and to equal parts plot- and character-driven). The characters are not the usual cartoon-type cliché's, but believable slackers, living the day and planning a heist.

The whole movie has a superb aura of laid-back laziness and coolness, and this all comes completely unforced. In fact I'd even go so far as to say that it is maybe this special aura, which lifts this above all other road- and heist-movies I can think of (some come near, but not many). Right from the start, when we see Eastwood running through a corn-filed until the twisted end, this movie is full of small stories, vignettes and subplots, but without forgetting it's main story. With so much happening it is more than surprising, that it can keep up it's leisured pace, it's laziness, although there's in fact more happening in it than in many other faster-driven movies.

Also the ending - ATTENTION: SPOILERS AHEAD !! - is untypical for a Hollywood movie of the "old(er) era" = pre-70ies. Actually, when Eastwood and Bridges have found - more less by accident - the building, where they had hidden the money, hardly any viewer would actually expect the loot to still be there. But then, after this has been accomplished, everybody would wish and expect them to get away with it and drive off into the sunset happily. Both assumptions are not fulfilled. They do find the money, but they do not get away happily. The ending is bitter, but highly realistic. Contrary to some comments here, the given ending is not owed to the old morale "crime does not pay", in no way at all. First, Bridges going to petty-criminals heaven has absolutely nothing to do with the heist, it is just the result of bad circumstances resulting from a fist-fight (ironically, that's what the novelist behind Outlaw Josey Wales died of later). Insofar it has no morale at all, it just happens, because things like this also do happen in the real world (unfortunately). Eastwood and Cimino are clearly playing with expectations here. ...

./. unfortunately I only have 1000 words available here, but did need more, so please check the discussion board for the complete comment ... sorry, sometimes there's more to say than fits into 1000 words. :-)
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Tremors (1990)
10/10
The BEST B-movie in the 1985 to 1995 period, if not even longer !
31 August 2007
"Tremors is a flawless film" wrote another commentator on this site and he's damn right ! What a movie ! I've missed it in the cinema, because over here in Europe, this maybe played in Vienna in 2 theaters for one week and hardly anybody catched it. But some time later, maybe 1992, 1993 it was shown on TV, some midnight cheapie, I thought, but watching it, it scored bullseye, I was glued to the TV-set.

Have seen it 3 or 4 times since then and it's an amazing joy to see this again and again and again and ...

Why ? First the storyline is simply simple & fantastic & brilliant. The perfect homage to the B-movies (you know, Tarantula et. al.) of the 50ies and 60ies. Even better than they were/are.

Ron Underwood must have seen maybe all these B-flicks, at least most of them, and captured the essential elements of this genre perfectly. There is NOT ONE WRONG SCENE in this, it works, from start to finish, like THE master-thesis for the "giant creatures are trying to kill us"- :-)) genre. If Tarantino would have made this, he would be hailed to the hall of fame for it (where he is anyway, but then again, isn't this one mucho better than Death Proof, e.g.?).

The dialog is extremely casual/leisured/funny, always on the spot. Cleverly photographed, funnily written, without being stupid for just a second.

What makes this so very special is the relationship between these two slackers, Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward. One younger, one slightly older, the chemistry between them is fantastic, the really seem to have spent all their lives together in the backyards of rural America. Their looks, the dialog, their mimic, all unmatched in the last 20, 25 years of US-cinema.

TREMORS was Ron Underwood's first feature and none of his later efforts does come even close to it (actually he made just unmemorable schlock later). But this one picture will get him recognition far beyond his earth-days, I bet ! TREMORS poures love & total respect for the genre from every frame ! I bet Ron Underwood, who was 37 when he directed this masterpiece, must have dreamed of making this movie for a decade or even longer, that's why it is so superbly developed, so perfect, so flawless.

Watch it, love it, watch it again, I bet you will ! :-))
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2/10
For lovers of unintentionally funny D-flicks O-N-L-Y !!
30 August 2007
Glenn FORD is in this for barely 5 minutes (if at all that "long") and has exactly 3 scenes. Either his pay-check was so low or he was so "expensive" that he was only paid for sitting (or the producers could only afford to pay him for sitting) in 2 of the 3 scenes, which he has at the beginning and in his 3rd scene in the last 3rd he is then shot (so ridiculously, that this is indeed funny). He was 63 when this was made, but actually he looks older. It's a shame that such a SUPERB actor spent a day of his life playing in such "beep", but then again he probably didn't have to leave his house at all (I don't know where his 3 scenes were shot, but it could have been in his house or some nearby hotel, all that has probably taken 1 hour or less). And it's still the best this movie has to offer. Look at Fords' eyes when he does his lines: rolls them like to say "Oh God, pardon me being in this one. When is this over ?". Sad, but then again weirdly funny as well.

All the other cast are have-beens, too, but one nevertheless wonders, how they all got into this one. I mean there's Henry Silva in it (also for less than 5 minutes, also 2 or 3 scenes, but he survives), he was 51 then, but also looks older, Richard Rountree was in it, then 37, moving slowly like on dope, Chuck Connors, then 58, looking like 70, but from what I have seen of him he must have born looking like 70 (he always looks that way) and "the princess" was 41 then and certainly had her heydays behind (but don't be mistaken, she's still the most "juicy" person in this sad flick). It indeed seems that everybody involved in this movie aged considerably between the time he (or more likely his/her inept small-time agent) signed the contract (to be in this) and when the few scenes were shot.

All the other cast looks like retired bookkeepers or controllers as well.

Still, this cast 20 years earlier ... would have been a competent cast.

There are hardly any action scenes in it (too expensive), and the few, which are, are cheaply made (sure, the budget must have been a shoestring) and incompetently staged. Anyway, lovers of unintentional fun will have a field day.

I managed to sit through it for app. 30 minutes, until I first hit the "fast forward" button to swallow some unbearable "action" scenes: men, hardly able to run, "running" with all sorts of guns on roads and between trees. Then I watched in normal speed here and there, but most of it fast forward.

Inept dialog, too (but again, some funny moments).

The storyline: forget it (they all want some piece of paper, some sort of list ... what it contains - never explained ... who cares anyway).

But still, there's something worth mentioning: the music. Not that it is first rate, but at least it is pretty competent: BEBU SILVETTI composed some disco-influenced funk-pieces for this wast-of-time-movie and what is even more remarkable, it was actually released on vinyl LP-record on some obscure backyard US-label (Texas, if I recall correctly) on behalf of the composers permission. Contains on the back cover a long list, in which countries this vinyl may be sold and in which not. But it most likely sold less copies than there are countries mentioned on the cover. :-) Very rare, of course, and nice cover, too.

For Glenn Ford & Henry Silvas 6 scenes and the music I gave it 2 instead of no star. How this gets 4,7 on the IMDb is beyond me. 30 voters ... 4 gave it 10 !! Fun voters ?? I'd be happy if one of them would explain on the discuisson board, which splendid scenes I missed through my fast forwarding ... thanx! :-))

NOT worth the effort of tracking it down (unless you are Quentin Tarantino, but he'll know that one anyway, I bet :-)) ).
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Death Proof (2007)
7/10
Emminently watchable !
29 August 2007
Quentin Tarantino did it again and he scores high again ! Although this is not his best movie, his tribute to American "muscle-car movies" from the early to mid 70ies (it's actually a pretty small genre, with 2 or 3 top films and maybe 2 or 3 dozen followers, mostly forgotten today) is a superbly staged high-tempo action flick, which pulls all the right triggers at the right time.

Kurt RUSSELL is perfectly cast as "Stuntman Mike", the role fits him like a tailor-made glove and is certainly the best one he had in the last 10 years. Watching him one can easily say that he had a lot of fun, too.

The "ladies" (whom I have to put between "", since I have never heard ladies using foul language so much, ha ha) are well chosen and capable. Of course Tarantino could not cast Uma Thurman this time, simply because all the "ladies" have equally strong presence and screen-time, none is much better or worse than the others. Of course Uma is another league and would have Tarantino chosen to cast Uma, she would have either out-shined the others and unbalanced the movie or Tarantino would have had to make the impossible possible by finding 3 more ladies equal to Uma, which even Tarantino could not have accomplished.

The stunt-work, which is old-fashioned real stunts and no computer-beep, is superb and the story runs along well and as expected (no surprises here, but then again how often are there surprises in B-flicks?).

Still, I can't agree to give this well-made and highly entertaining flick a 10 rating. It just ain't THAT good.

To start with, in my humble opinion at least 2 of the movies Tarantino cites are better than DEATH PROOF, which is first and above all the unmatched VANISHING POINT. Cultists of this achievement will have surely noticed the similarity of this movies end and the scene, when Stuntman Mike goes over his first victims plus the multiple replays. Great, but VANISHING POINT is still simply better. VANISHING POINT has 7,1 on the IMDb and A LOT of spirited comments, check them out. I think with that rating it is still underrated (I'd give it 9 to 10, more 10).

The second one is DIRTY MARY, CRAZY LARRY (I wrote a short comment on that one), which is a guilty pleasure of mine. I just love this one! Considered a throw-away picture at its time of release, this has a pretty strong cult following meanwhile and that's justified. With 6,2 on the IMDb it's definitely underrated ! Deserved 7 to 8.

The other two main achievements Tarantino cites are GONE IN 60 SECONDS (as one of the sweeties says: "of course the original, not the Angelina Jolie beep" - logically everybody has rightly forgotten that Nic Cage was in it too ... was he ? :-) ) and CONVOY ("Rubber Duck" on Stuntman Mikes car). Also worth mentioning are of course THE California KID and ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE. I don't consider them any better than DEATH PROOF, but also not much worse. Nice B-flicks, all of them (for Peckinpah-standards CONVOY was of course lame).

Keeping that in mind I'd agree to the average rating of the IMDb and give DEATH PROOF an 8-rating. But I still have to lower it for a point, which is of course due only to my own humble opinion and credited to minor "inefficiencies": First I think Tarantino overdoes it a little, especially at the beginning. The first 30, 40 minutes are a little slow moving (which none of the 70ies classics is), simply because the scene in the bar goes on forever. Of course there is some spirited talk in this scene, but then again only SOME. The point Tarantino proves in this is that women can't keep their mouthes shut. There's also a lot rude talk about "fuck and suck", but nothing like this ever happens, neither on nor off-screen (didn't happen in the 70ies either). There's only one light hint on xxx and that's also off-screen. People who talk about "it" all the time should do "it" at least once ... Anyway, a minor quibble, but still, this could have been handled better.

Then Tarantino clearly shows his love for technical imperfections in 70ies flicks, but again, slightly too much. The harsh ending of the lap-dance-scene will have frustrated not only me, smile. Did Tarantino hint that the cameraman was so fascinated, that he didn't realize his film is running out ...? There are other abrupt ending of scenes and then there's a long black-and-white scene, which suggests that in the 70ies there was either not enough money available for a color film or nobody noticed the wrong film in the camera. I do LIKE the idea, but it was too long, in my humble opinion.

Last but not least, OK, the story of this movie take place today, but ... do we really need cellular phones in a tribute-to-the-70ies movie ?? Again, a minor "fault", but all scene except one (the one in the supermarket) could have worked with normal phone booths as well and I am sure a capable script-writer could have made up a nice scene involving a phone-booth ...

Summing up my few cents, I give this a STRONG 7 out of 10 rating and recommend this superb "B" to everybody, who loves cleverly made high energy movies !

PS: I just saw I have only one agreement and 15 non-agreements! That's COOL ! Obviously the ones who adore Tarantino find 7 of 10 a blasphemy and much too low and the ones who don't like DEATH PROOF think 7 is too high ... I must have done something right, I guess. :-))
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9/10
VERY grim !
13 August 2007
I like Glen FORD and consider this western a minor classic. Pretty unknown and still waiting to be recognized even by movie buffs this little gem has definitely not yet the reputation it deserves.

"Directed with lazy assurance" as the TIME OUT FILM GUIDE correctly writes, by veteran director Jerry Thorpe, and played with laid back gusto by all involved, this western offers a very grim and dark view on the "old west", more influenced by the Italo-western (which was in full bloom in the later 60ies) than the classic US-flick. Gunfighter FORD, aged, bored, tired and with "have-seen-it-all" eyes, comes back home just to find his wife and 2 small daughter carried away by Apaches. Arthur KENNEDY claims his wife was about to marry him and after an incredibly tough fist-fight they team up (unwillingly) to rescue them.

What follows is an odyssey through some very bizarre situations, staged with the aforementioned lazy assurance, situations, which one does not happen to see in many other US-western: everything is dark, depressing, cynical and void of any sympathy. Whereas THE SEARCHERS had some hope underneath, this is more than 10 years later and the characters, scripted by veteran scriptwriter Charles Marquis Warren, are driven by the urge to do what has to be done, but equipped with little hope. FORD plays the "lost character" in an old west with dark cynical humor, one of his best later performances. Kennedy is fine, too, and also very worth mentioning is the character played by Nico Minardos, whom you would more expect to find in any Quentin Tarantino movie than in a B-western from the later 60ies. Great rough music by Jeff Alexander! All in all a very watchable outing, made by experts, each of whom must have had a dozen or more western to his credit at the time, when they teamed up to put DAY OF THE EVIL GUN on celluloid.

Watch out for this and don't miss it, it's very well worth a viewing !
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Hannibal (1959)
4/10
Unsophisticated and awkward
12 August 2007
I like Victor MATURE and would even go as far as to call myself a "fan" of this Arnold Schwarzenegger-predecessor/archetype (with Austrian roots actually), but even I have to admit, that this flick ain't any of his better ones, unfortunately (sigh).

It's awkward from beginning to end: The first scene takes place in the Roman Senate, then you have a long one with the elephants crossing the Alps (that's probably the best of the whole picture, actually you can now turn off your TV-set) and now we're already well over 5 minutes into the picture, still no Hannibal/Annibale. Suddenly one sees some elephants getting loose and a guy which we can identify on second look as Victor Mature does some awkward gestures to get the elephants away. Pretty strange entry for "the hero". Only in scene number 4 and well 10 minutes into the movie someone takes the chance to identify our hero and calls him with his name. OK, the introduction of "the hero" has been managed, somehow.

The ending is equally abrupt, we see Hannibal's army moving along and get a voice over. Obvioulsly the directors (Edgar G. Ulmer usually does it better, but I assume he didn't have much to say in this one) had decided that enough celluloid had been "wasted" and called it a day.

The dialog is so unsophisticated, it hurts, but still not unintentionally funny, only hammy and boring, witless.

Everything in this picture is unfortunately mediocre to sub-par: ahead and foremost the script, but also acting (Victor is certainly also already too old for the role, sorry), photography, whatever. Only the music by Carlo RUSTICHELLI is slightly better, of course he's no Miklos ROSZA either, but at least the music is fitting and powerful. But that does not justify sitting through the whole picture (enjoy the main theme and quit).

For Terence HILL Fans it is worth mentioning that Mario GIROTTI, later known as TH, has a medium large part here and you can watch him "acting" (woodenly, but so what) a Roman.

So my rating is: If you are a Victor Mature fan: 4 out of 10, if you are a Terence Hill fan: 3 out of 10, if you're neither nor: 2 out of 10, so better stay away.

I wish I could have written a better review. :-(
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10/10
Overrated ? - Not a bit ! The BEST movie ever made in the UK, nothing short of a milestone
5 August 2007
Some people still think this movie is overrated or overpraised, but sorry, nope it ain't ! It's a masterpiece, a milestone, the best movie ever from the UK (and I have seen a lot and am aware of the UK-movie history!).

If one views it just as a horror movie, one's missing the ethical, philosophical, historical (accurate !), psychological, ... dimensions of this movie.

OK, maybe that was not all intended by Michael REEVES, but it's all there for those who wanna see.

I have seen this movie first time as a midnight run on TV some 20 years ago (unprepared for what was coming!) and I never forgot it (I guess nobody can). Seen it app. 5, 6 times since then and as a reviewer of this movie wrote, you'll think about THE WITCHFINDER GENERAL as long as you think about movies (and I think about this movie now for app. 20 years and am still in awe).

In my humble opinion, this is by far not as bloody as some reviews suggest, in fact the shown brutality is pretty tame (never in the foreground, never in detail, the movie is shot like a historical painting, also the colors used are there because the director and cinematographer wanted them this way). The fact that people consider this as extremely brutal (which it is, but brutality is something other then bloody !!!) is the storyline. The brutality is NEVER in the foreground, it's just an essential part of the story, but never a means by itself. The brutality is more psychological, because one gets sucked into the story and watching this in it's hard-to-take accuracy simply makes you feel the pain these people suffer. That's what makes it so brutal and NOT the scenes/pictures of the movie. It's one of the psychological most accurate movies I have ever seen and well worth to be compared with Ingmar Bergman's masterpiece THE SEVENT SEAL, which has a comparable setting and also the theme is not that far away from WITCHFINDER.

I also think the ending is awesome ! And as far as the age of the director is concerned, hey come one, Orson WELLES has done is masterpiece CITIZEN KANE in very young years, John Carpenter did so (Assault), Spielberg (Duel, Jaws) and I could name many many more, who were in their prime young and never got better than in their 20- or 30-something years.

I'd even go as far as to say, IF somebody accomplishes anything great, then in the first half of his life, not in the 2nd ...

And Michael REEVES did achieve something great in and for the UK-cinema, which nobody after him could ever come to reach again.

Watch this movie late at night, when it's dark, go to the toilet before the movie starts, drink no beer, watch no commercials in between and don't let yourself be disturbed by talking, phone calls, whatever and then tell me you were not more than just lightly impressed ...

PS: Oh yes, and the music is absolutely stunning, a superb soundscape for this great achievement ! Paul FERRIS' composed a haunting love theme, which already foreshadows the tragedies and cruelties to come. Superbly orchestrated !
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That's strange ...
29 July 2007
This is indeed "funny": you either LOVE or absolutely HATE this movie: 40 % (!!!) of all viewers indeed give this a (10 (TEN !!) and app. 21, 22 % give this an 1 (AWFUL !), and then there's hardly anybody in between. Ain't that strange ??! (Frankly, I also don't quite get it how it ends up at low 2,8 with such a rating schedule ? shouldn't it have some app. 5-rating then ...???).

Well, I saw this movie some 20 years ago on TV, some Saturday or Sunday matinée viewing and I liked it then (but then again I was a teen in those days). It impressed me enough to buy the 2 LP-set, ordered it from the USA. I have not listened to it also for a decade or more, but I can still remember the song well enough, since I played it A LOT then.

Now I wonder, should I see it again and I guess, probably not. Older and of course more cynical today then 20 years ago I would probably also give it a lower rating and why spoil an old memory ? :-) I don't rate it, 'cause my opinion is not warrant anymore after such a long time since seeing it, but it was nice and it is probably one that one should see when being young ...
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1/10
Just plain simply DEPRESSING .... :-(
19 July 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Come on, this gets an 8,0-voting on IMDb ?? Who are those viewers, who think this is a superb movie ? I saw it yesterday, because I liked the first 3 (esp. 1, of course) movies, but it was nothing short of a let-down. Just plain awfully depressing.

Willis is still OK, but the whole movie is nothing but stupid popcorn-cinema. After the overlong 2 hours 10 minutes were over I had the impression the producer, "director", scriptwriter and whoever else, set out to make the most unbelievable, ridiculous, unrealistic movie imaginable.

The whole storyline is laughably unrealistic (even AFTER 9/11 !) and utterly implausible. It doesn't do the picture any harm, but speaks volumes about the script that even at the end it is NOT clear, what the bad guys actually wanted: money, destabilize the USA, bring down the financial system, revenge, destroy capitalism, ... whatever ? Sure, the motives are unnecessary, it's just an overproduced multi-million dollar star-vehicle anyway, but still, it shows how little care was given to any "character development".

But that's the least problem this movie has.

It's plain simply boring, too! The first 10, 20 minutes have some nice scenes, but when the action starts its just run-of-the mill stuff, and most action scenes are just computer-animated cartoons: unrealistic looking and completely implausible. That does not create any tension (at least not for me).

Besides, its direction is completely uninspired. Who is Len Wiseman ? After this picture I don't care. Tiernan and Harlin, who made 1 & 3, respectively 2, are directors, who know their craft. Especially Tiernan knows his job and has done some brilliant work: DH I, Predator, Hunt for Red October, but obviously he didn't want to do # 4. I understand why, with this script. Renny Harlin is no match to Tiernan but still did a lot better job than Wiseman. Wisemans direction is plain simply uninspired.

Die Hard 4 tries "hard" for humor, but it all comes over very forced. The dialog is even bad for a silly action flick, all this stupid blabla about heroes, it just does not fit (it fits into a John Wayne flick, but not into a DIE HARD-movie, it's simply uncool there - Willis looks bored in these scenes anyway, I guess he would have thrown out this dialogue, if it would have been his decision).

The MUSIC by Beltrami is nothing short of lacking ANY compository skill, it's just VERY loud and pounding noise, impossible to listen to.

A real let-down, depressing to see this last entry. Now I know why Willis did not want to do a # 4 and am sure no # 5 will ever be made (unless he would need a lot of money). Still, even in this mess of a movie, Willis does come off best, which speaks for him.

Nothing anybody has to see, just skip it and remember # 1 (to # 3, which I consider the second best entry).
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Malaya (1949)
8/10
Sydney Greenstreet is superb (as always) !!
17 June 2007
There is a scene that makes the whole picture worthwhile (although it is otherwise pretty ordinary):

Sydney GREENSTREET is entering a room after app. 2/3 of the movie, where Spencery Tracey has just been "treated kindly" in an "interview", Greenstreet is sweating (as always), sitting down and looking at the molestor of Tracy, then says (roughly): "If you say this was necessary, then of course it was necessary, but wasn't that much for a bottle of poor booze?". The officer say: "But he broke our rules". Greenstreet: "A man who drinks and then doesn't break any rules is no man. Drinking and making troubles goes together, this is also a rule." What a line !! Officer: "I love your logic." Of course these are not exactly the lines from the picture, cause I saw the German dubbed version and re-translated them, but they can only be better in the English version.

Hilarious! Tape it, when shown on TV next time and get to that scene, it is just great!
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