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8/10
good, relaxing movie
26 October 2009
Warning: Spoilers
This follows in the steps of many Japanese monster movies, involving construction workers (but it could be other people) who accidentally discover some magic stone (in this case: a statue in a cave) or other relic that invariably is linked to some monster or prophecy (in this case, both). Other clichés of monster movies return: the 007/Bond angle (monkey space invaders in disguise in a high-tech underground base ), the Mosura angle ( the sympathetic monster of the movie, king Caesar, must be summoned by a singing princess ).

A cave with mysterious paintings is found; inside it lays a small statue, which is the key to a mysterious prophecy involving one monster setting out to destroy the world, and two good monsters to fight back.

The statue is also coveted by a series of mysterious individuals, appearing in the end as interpol agents and space invaders.

A new monster, King Caesar, appears in its native island of Okinawa and teams up with Godzilla to defeat the first mechagodzilla.

A nice movie overall, with a few clichés angles that I am well aware used to be in the air at the time...and short 1h10m. Acting isn't bad for this kind of movie, but nothing worth mentioning...SFX are rather weak.
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7/10
I like it, but it goes down the drain.
18 September 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I generally love these 1930 mystery/police Charlie Chan type of movies, and this is no exception. However, something seems bad with this movie. A late attempt to switch from cerebral Moto movies centered around the plot contrivances to a salad bar spoilt by comedy relief that is as relieving as sore feet. A typecast buffoon appears from nowhere impersonating a clumsy Englishman who plays the detective, and even other characters seem entangled into providing comedy relief. The plot may seem odd or a bare excuse to us today, but back then the possibility of epochal archaeological discoveries was not only real, but a commonplace occurrence.
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5/10
Van Damme meets WWE
20 April 2009
Warning: Spoilers
This mediocre movie's sets mostly remind me of the cheapest WWE "sport entertainment"; people supposed to be killing machines look and act more like WWE/WWF freaks from the 1980s. The storyline is ridiculous: undercover police chief ( say Steve Martin gets balls ) and rat-faced latino heel blackmail bunch of well-meaning fighters into a sting operation to bust a murderous ring whose henchman is a 150kg, 1m55 Chinese steroid Michelin Man whose looks make Bolo Yeung look like Alain Delon in his best days, go figure. This movie tries to copy here & there to look larger than life...the latino heel, a horse faced, long haired fighter who probably was thought to imitate the cheap Lorenzo Lamas flicks of the late 80s...Zabka plays the cute boy ala Van Damme...the movie fails on all but one respect: fight scenes make up most of it and the filler (acting, storyline, character development...) is kept to a bare minimum. Nice to see Bolo Yeung and shame he got so little screen time.
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9/10
one of the best juvenile movies from the 1980s
12 February 2009
Warning: Spoilers
With NAVIGATOR this is the BEST juvenile/escapist movie of the 1980s. What can I say, I just watched it once as it first aired decades ago, but still had positive memories and thus watched it again a few days ago. I bet the scenes inspired tripe like Harry Potter (juveniles chasing mysteries in old English school settings, eh?). Atmosphere is good, acting excellent, SFX very good (Era/genre wise ). Of course it is a bit of a salad bar mixing Indiana Jones, E.T. Gremlins and other 1980s motifs (the underground temple scene clearly imitates Conan the barbarian)...much as in the NEVERENDING STORY you get a funny man trying to fly... Plot contrivances abound and are well thought of.
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Near Dark (1987)
9/10
innovative
12 February 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Well, after the classic vampires Peter Cushing exorcised...dark gentlemen riding horses in Victorian times...we get 1. Vampire splatters when the vampire motif is barely a vehicle for litres of SFX fluids oozing and exploding from everywhere, but it might be cannibals from Mars for all we know. 2. Blade/Underworld vampires...basically a high tech version of Al-Quaeda equipped with the latest buzz technology and- in Underworld- dressing what, Gothic Prada and riding Lamborghini?! 3. LOST BOYS and NEAR DARK are the third ( and best ) option. Near Dark is a sub-urban travelogue in which vampire rednecks roam dirty suburbias driving wrecked vehicles while feeding on other rednecks. The atmosphere is great...not too pretentious and that's why it delivers; one iota of philosophy but not too much...baggage ala Underworld tends to be boring and anyways it was copied from BLADE. It am amazed that Jenny Wright did not skyrocket to stardom given her solid performance...or rather...why was't she propelled to stardom by the same babe-magnet producers who propelled less worthy individuals such as Sharon Stone? A real shame...
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8/10
very good movie
24 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
This movie once again proves that gooey SFX and billions of budget are not necessary to produce a good suspense/horror movie. In the 1930s scientist (as it was all the rage back then ) travels to Himalaya to harvest a mysterious flower, but he ends up fighting a mysterious creature. Back home, he grows his newly acquired flower while an array of characters pivot around social gatherings and other time-killing pastimes. Mysteriously appears exotic dr. Yogami, a pensive character who wants to find a cure for lycanthropy and his trophy wife's former beau ( a silly prat with Erroll Flynn mustaches ). Yogami poses as disinterested philanthropist...but is he? The scientist soon discovers he's contracted lycanthropy in China, but has the story ended in China? The flower of his rare flower can temporarily offset the attacks, but flower buds are stolen and people start dying...even when dr. Glendon isn't around... Hull portrays the scientist torn between science, his wife, survival and the bestial cravings his illness instills in a very convincing manner. Oland is also good as dr.Yogami. The rest of the cast isn't worth mentioning...Hobson as Lisa is very pretty. SFX are good era and genre wise and plot contrivances are excellent.
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5/10
modest value but still worth watching
23 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Well, as many 'documentaries', I think it's well-worth watching, but its value (compared with L'OEIL DE VICHY) is modest. Basically it's a salad bar of interviews, while L'OEIL DE VICHY is assembled stock footage with minimal comments. I can assemble a salad bar of interviews to make anything look good or bad...the 'christian-sponsored' GODS OF THE NEW AGE documentary makes Hindu religions look like scheming and blood-thirsty cults, with the usual paraphernalia of renegades and former worshipers who just saw the light and want to save others from committing the same mistake... Here we have a former French SS volunteer who's embarrassed by his past and he's now a liberal...he makes it sound as if non-German SS volunteers had been begged to join and had worn the SS uniform with shame, finding its mythology pathetic. Now that may cut it for the armchair quarterbacks who just care about boarding the winner's wagon...but unless people were considered full-stock Germans (E.G Dutch, Norwegians ), they had to do a lot of extra paperwork, beg and plead to join the SS, an already burdensome procedure. As UNREPENTANT Belgian fascist leader Léon Degrelle explains in another documentary (watch DEGRELLE FACE ET REVERS), he was volunteering on the Eastern Front with Wehrmacht (army) and had to patiently and relentlessly lobby to join the Waffen SS (which had but the name in common with SS ). Why? Because -right or wrong- SS were considered the elite and he wanted front seat tickets to the after-war winner's club: just the army wouldn't cut it: awful? Insane? I can't say, but probably just what most post-WWII filmmakers do. Degrelle was honest, so I think this Frenchman isn't. There is a Vichy (fascist regime) minister who pretends he had been outraged when Pierre Laval (Vichy's prime minister; spelled Pierre Awol in the credits! ) had declared he wished Germany'd win. We also listen to a former Communist leader oozing delight sharing memories of terrorist attacks against unsuspecting Germans...while a German army officer is asked why does he wear his war medals (which were a miniature version you needed binoculars to see, anyways ), because most prefer not to wear them as they came from the Nazis. Reporters are clearly biased...a British official voices his country's concern over Degaulle's status of illegitimate government -opposed to an exiled but legitimate government- and the slimy reporter retorts that had to be just a way to finger point and condemn the Vichy regime further. We now know that Churchill corresponded heavily with Mussolini well into 1945 contemplating to turn tables on the USSR (the famous 'wrong pig' attitude ). It is also funny how Germany and Japan fought to the last man and typically serve as example of fanaticism, while in this movie self-proclaimed Jewish-French statesman MENDES-France calls basically everyone an appeaser or a traitor for not fighting farther... Funny also how, besides the excited aging Communist leader, other 'freedom fighters' disclaim they ever killed anybody and that MAQUIS was NOT used to 'settle' personal disputes barred the few rotten apples...my family tells me a different story, but different stories won't go on film, right? Moral dilemmas? Madeleine Albright once declared on TV that losses among Iraqi children "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price--we think the price is worth it."...I didn't see any mob of self-righteous good people storming government buildings...but I saw the clip has been gently 'put away' by various sites... Albright later complained the evil deeds of the Iraqi regime hadn't been properly introduced in the interview to give her reply proper perspective. The movie is thus a modest movie to be taken with a grain of salt: my German is only average, but subtitles only translated the portion of the speech that served the slimy filmmaker's interest best.
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3/10
pile of dung
16 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Well well well... Everybody who has watched the anime knows that the authors "copied" their characters from real-life people...Ken from Stallone (say in Cobra); general Falco from WWF wrestler 'rugged' Ronnie Garvin; the 'nanto hawks' from wrestlers Powers of Pain; thug Zeta from wrestler Zeuss (he even got the Z on the bald head in the anime etc )... In the cartoon Julia is a celtic beauty with reddish hair (the last part of the series)... Here we have mestizos with slanted eyes... Many fight scenes look like a bad Van Damme movie and the 'Okuto' high-speed, close range hits look more like metro-sexual guys cat fighting than otherwise. Daniels might be the next Bruce Lee for all I know, and PROBABLY knows his moves since he's been a pro, but in this movie he's worst than most C grade Hong Kong movies. The rest of characters aren't worth mentioning. SFX are very mediocre barren a couple.
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8/10
one of the best Chan movies
15 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
In my opinion this compares favourably to the best Chan movies. Of course one has to like the stereotypical device of rounding up many suspects to entrap the culprit, but this one has a simple yet solid plot line that unfolds nicely, is entangled but not confused like say the 'Olympics' movie is, in which conclusions literally fall from the sky. Heir to a fortune comes back after a long stay abroad in the French foreign legion only to be murdered while his relatives and ancillary characters (administrators, accountants, housekeepers etc ) gather to get in touch with spirits, the family's hobby...it turns out everybody would have something to loose from the heir's return, but the culprit is not whom we may expect at first sight. Acting serves the purpose well and the eerie atmosphere is nice. There is no 'number son' bit, which to me is quite a relief, while the comedy moment is provided by a clumsy butler who grimaces all the time. 1930s top-notch science returns when a UV projector is used, and the 'fake medium' bit will be copied nearly verbatim in the Houdini movie with Tony Curtis.
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6/10
mediocre but mildly entertaining
12 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
This movie (which I watched many times ) lays on the thin line between mediocre and entertaining... It gets LOTS of stock footage and stock ideas as well...underground savages like those on Mothra's island decide to strike back and punish humans who toy with underground nuclear explosions...again the nuclear scare, this time spiced up with the 'French' element of underground explosions... A man, his child brother (it's a brother, not a son ) and an adult friend relax at lakeside when the silly child almost goes under while he's driving some floating, idiotic toy contraption shaped as a big fish, on which he sits astride, and two smaller fishes on the side that rotate to propel the horrible thing...well, OK...if I was 8 I'd probably die to get one. The man is a scientist who has built a Ultraman kind of robot; yet henchmen from the underground kingdom steal it to serve as a guide for their giant insect/guardian and avenger Megalon, summoned by a white guy and a few Japanese girls in bikini wearing a trench coat made of condoms. The rest is a wobbly mixture of car chases, poorly filmed indoor fight scenes and men in rubber suit wresting one another... My copy had quite a few scenes with VERY poor lightning. The pseudoscience in the movie makes no sense because the robot can choose to act intelligently by free will...or revert to a dumb, remotely controlled puppet...it can also grow in size to match Megalon's...all the more because its programs come on perforated strips in perfect 70s fashion. Acting is very negligible and the annoying child takes too much screen time...watch out when they knock an henchman down crashing a toy airplane into his face.

SFX are extremely mediocre and you clearly see that when Godzilla bashes Megalon it's often an EMPTY suit.
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8/10
Charlie Chan meet Fritz Lang meets...unoriginal but still good.
9 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
This is a 1943 movie. The main storyline revolves around a madman killing young girls while casting the blame on a fugitive leopard...original? Hardly... CHARLIE CHAN AT THE CIRCUS (1936) showed the same device (but it was a gorilla there). The psychopath finally confessing that he's a victim of his urges he cannot control...original? Hardly... 1931's M (Fritz Lang) showed the very same device, so I'm sorry dear mr. Tourneur but you didn't fool ME there. In a city full of Mexicans a tough guy impresario plans a coup de theatre that backfires and a leopard is let loose...people start to die. First is young Teresa...her gargoyle 150kg three-inches-thick-eyebrows mother won't understand her fear of darkness and send her on errands at night to buy...wheat for...tortillas (!!!) so that she's killed on the doorstep of her cabin. Second is a well-off girl who goes on a secret date in the cemetery, overstays and meets her doom. Third a dancer... In spite of its lack of originality, acting is fine, plot contrivances work and atmosphere is good. Worth watching. Were the main actresses hot or what...? One struggles to believe the dancer died in 1985 nearly 70...
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8/10
good movie with a pathetic weakling as macho
9 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Scientist working frantically in seclusion finds a way to locate the impact crater of a meteor carrying a new radioactive element. All (pseudo)science and breakthrough technology talks of the 1930s are right there, including the idea that radioactivity could heal any illness if properly harnessed. When he summons his rivals -who had cast him out of the scientific community and ridiculed him - to witness his discovery, they propose a 'joint' expedition to Africa...of course they end up stealing much of dr. Rukh's original discovery, giving him only residual credit. In addition to that, an effeminate weakling who looks like a supporting comedy actor from the worst Abbot&Costello (Lawton) literally steals dr. Rukh's young trophy wife (Drake), who falls head over heels for that scrap of a human being. Having grown horns like a deer wasn't going to make dr. Rukh (Karloff) any friendlier, so he embarks in an undercover revenge mission...killing 2 of his foes and friendly dr. Benet (Lugosi), the only one who had helped him...finally succumbing to the deadly radiations that had allowed him to embark in his revenge to start with but ( to my utmost dissatisfaction ) sparing the adulteress and that poor excuse for a human being she had married. Acting is mostly fine, with Karloff & Lugosi being very good. Check the hysterical chambermaid scene... Other characters aren't worth mentioning... Recommended, much like ALL old Universal horrors...
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7/10
the swastika is missing
2 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
The most notable thing in this movie is that all Swastikas (back then a State symbol ) have been digitally hidden in a story set during the Olympics in (then) Nazi Germany (see the air ship Zeppelin and the flag hanging when the athletes' bus arrives, for example). I am not sure whether the camouflage took place decades ago in the original, or was orchestrated by some smart mind later. I am not even sure the movie was actually filmed in Berlin...it might have been stock footage with actual scenes shot in any studio...or did "n.1 son" win a gold medal swimming for the US team?! The fact, however, that most comments wish fictional Charlie Chan had "taken a stand" against the then legitimate German government AND that care has been taken to edit swastikas from a minor movie like this that surely wasn't the AAA+ blockbuster of the year tells a long story about the intellectual level of both censors eager to please the powerful and of gullible peanuts still wanting to board the winner's wagon 70 years after the fact...making it impossible to conceive life in Nazi Germany as every day's and without horror stories and death chimneys going in the background.

Besides, it is unlikely a serious matter of spy rings be dealt with by simple police in Nazi Germany.

The film provides mild family entertainment in the typical Chan style. The plot offers various contrivances and subplots...which at times get in the way as a distraction. The "n.1 son" bit works out much better than in most Chan movies. Ah, watch out for a ten seconds fight scene near the end: that's how Bruce Lee learnt his moves.

The film revolves around a high-tech device being stolen and smuggled abroad, then purloined several times. The final conclusion falls in place to the dismay of the viewer...who would never have guessed things were as Chan swiftly explains. The drawback is that there are less hints (if any ) throughout the movie that lead to the conclusion.

In spite of this all, I still find these movies entertaining and relaxing, even if -unlike the 'circus' or 'opera' one- the "olympics" angle had NOTHING to do with the story.
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Van Helsing (2004)
8/10
the league of extraordinary monsters: the undertaker's tribute to universal 1930s horror
30 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This movie clearly follows the cliché of the league of extraordinary gentlemen, with monsters standing in for heroes: the initial scene is no other than a mr. Hyde chase. However, I suppose the main goal of this movie is to pay a close homage to Universal 1930s horrors...many scenes, motifs and settings are literally copied and it's IMPOSSIBLE to appreciate the movie without having first watched EVERY classic universal horror movie. Without the proper frame of reference, it all becomes a garbled hodgepodge that only borrows the worst from the league of extraordinary gentlemen; for example the topic of a "cure for the werewolf" has to be understood in the light cast from numerous old horrors. Van Helsing appears as the wrestler UNDERTAKER (check beard, hat, dress ) in his WWF 1980s version. There are elements coming from too many movies to list: Ring of the Nibelungs is one, James Bond (the underground experimental lab). Well, this is a visually stunning SFX extravaganza, not a theater play, so it has to be taken for what is worth: I for one like the 'victorian sci-fi' angle... Acting: there is not much to say, but I found actors did a fine job for this kind of movie. Ah, check the princess doing acrobatic moves on stiletto heels!
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The Matrix (1999)
8/10
visually stunning rendition of unoriginal topics (from 1982 TRON to Chinese Kung-Fu wire extravaganza movies).
28 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I first watched this when it first showed in MTL. It IS a visually stunning AND entertaining movie. Actors are good at what they do but please...there is NOT one iota of anything original in this movie! Computer programs as humans or humans in the 'mind' or 'midst' of a computer program? Have you watched 1982 TRON ( http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0084827/)? Synopsis from this site "A hacker is literally abducted into the world of a computer and forced to participate in gladiatorial games where his only chance of escape is with the help of a heroic security program". Sounds familiar? What about people jumping 50 meters high exchanging kung-fu blows? Well, Hong Kong has been milling that kind of cinematic visuals for decades. I really laugh out loud when I read people going ecstatic over Matrix's philosophy... Proper philosophers coined the 'brain in a vat' dilemma (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/brain-vat/) ages ago (the 1980s?), asking whether we can say anything is real and how can we be sure of anything. Troubled teenagers will probably find the movie philosophical appeal irresistible...religious fundamentalists may all find their piece of cake (is Cypher like encryption or Lou...cifer? Trinity? Weird none's called Holy Ghost in there). It's a SFX action extravaganza, not gospel. What about Men in Black? There are people who think they are henchmen of an underground government run by aliens from outer space... It's entertaining and visually stunning and are not Carrie Ann Moss and McClory hot? But just that... Movies about prophecies sell a dime a dozen...oh, and waking up the dead with a kiss: THAT is original and not copied from some fairy tale. Watch out for the "cell-phones for the masses" craze that was becoming mainstream (I am sure popcorn philosophers will just love "the call" mystical subject ).
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8/10
very good Charlie Chan movie
21 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I have no idea whether this is T H E best Charlie Chan movie, but it's indeed among the few top ones among dozens that made up the series. This one mixes four separate story lines with good plot contrivance that don't get in the way: 1 a young couple wanting to get married but having their dream hampered. 2 a wife and 3 a husband who want to punish their adulterous spouses. 4 a mentally ill amnesiac who escapes from an asylum to exact revenge upon his adulterous wife who had trapped him years earlier in a building on fire. It will take time and turns to learn who is who, but all apparently have good reasons to kill a opera star...while the opera's on stage. The 'comedy moment' son#1 bit is present but doesn't get in the way and is less annoying that usual. Acting is good, although plagued by some drama queen 1930s clichés. There is also a cop who doesn't like Chinese people, but it's an odd character that sits between comedy relief and supporting roles. Recommended.
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8/10
very entertaining movie
18 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This is a very entertaining movie. The plot contrivances are well thought of and intermingle well; of course one has to love the basic format of these Chan movies. the 'son #1' comedy moment doesn't get in the way as it does in other movies and works well enough. Summoned to pay a visit to a circus with his family, Chan is asked advice about death threats that have targeted the recently appeared co-owner of the show. The man is killed later and another woman is seriously wounded in another attempt. Who may want to control the circus, whose business is shaky anyways? In the end we'll have not one culprit, but two parties guilty of two unrelated crimes. The midgets in the movie are very particular. Typically midgets are easily recognizable as such, but these two look just like miniature people. Entertaining 70 minutes.
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7/10
modest Chan movie but worth watching
14 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This movie offers a lot of 'comic' distraction that is not always welcome (the 'son n.1' bit is annoying, with the character being hyper and befuddled like he had drunk five liters of black coffee spiked with crack ), but in the end turns out better than other Chan movies in this respect. The plot follows the usual path of rounding up several suspects...but this time the real murderer isn't among the suspects. The general plot contrivance is good and provides good entertainment. Not the best Chan movie but not the worst by far; of course one has to love the cliché these movies follow. This one really offers interesting plot twists.
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9/10
exceptional documentary, for once not spoiled by 'comments'
14 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This is an awesome collection of archive footage from the Vichy regime. What sets it apart from countless surrogates is that today's 'commentaries' is kept to a bare minimum. A caption forewarns that the footage depicts France NOT as it was, but as the Vichy regime wanted it to be seen... Oh really? Isn't what media are all about, serving the powerful? But I suppose the point they want to make is that there are 'good' puppeteers and 'evil' puppeteers...Vichy was evil, while England or USA were good... It is no hatred encyclopaedia, either. You watch infomercials peddling fabric made of human hair collected at hairdressers' and of 'alternative fuel' for vehicles (I don't know how effective, but it shows that was doable in the 1940s, while today we're told to wait while the next cheque from oil producers clears in the pockets of the 'good' ones ). There is a lot of propaganda hailing Pétain (voted into power by the legitimate French Parliament in Assemblée Nationale 569 votes for, 80 against and 17 abstentions ), but Pétain appears rather sad and trying to make the best with what he's got. After the war they said the above vote was a joke and none had ever wanted Pétain to take power. Now Pétain's motto was to distance France as much as possible from "l'affreuse aventure" and the institutions that had caused it. Priceless is the NIMBUS LIBERE' cartoon depicting the 'liberation' of France: French listeners to Radio Londres are forewarned the 'good ones' are coming...overjoyed by the news, a family awaits because 'they are coming'...what comes, though, are allied bombers that bomb their house into oblivion. It is also apparent how Vichy represented the French who never fully (or at all) endorsed the Jacobin legacy of the French Revolution, but were closer to clerical and royalist values. Recommended for collectors and history amateurs.
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7/10
Very interesting movie disparaged for political reason
13 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
The biggest problem with this movie is that it comes from those who lost the war, and therefore intellectual giants deem it necessary to join the winners oozing joy about filmmakers being put to jail or executed by militia...which is funny, because if the other party had won the war, these very same highly discerning individuals would probably be wearing toothbrush mustaches and goose-stepping to show those in power how much they care. I watched it because it was advertised as platinum specimen of hatred, but honestly that's not what I've found. Naive parliamentarian who wants what's good (in his opinion), abhors corruption and backstage dealing and criticizes them vehemently is approached by more experienced colleagues who want to 'channel' his impetuousness. So he joins a masonic lodge thinking that those people -after all- want progress as much as he does, but do so adhering to some bizarre protocol. Once enlisted, he discovers all the 'inner circle' is about is covering up one another's dirty deeds, and he's flooded with requests for petty favors. When war rumors spread, he confronts his associates who depict the upcoming war as a picnic...as a result he's assaulted and stabbed by henchmen of the fraternity, while newspapers proceed to assassinate his character claiming the assault arose out of matters of sexual (mis)conduct or drug abuse, and label him a psychopath. The short (40mins) amateurish movie is no hatred artwork at all...or perhaps some think there are no 'inner circles' and backstage deals of that amplitude in politics... Sure, there are flashes of newsstands details financial scandals, hinting that the 'inner circle' is covering up for his members...hardly surprising, especially after thousands of billions 'mysteriously' gone to waste these last months. In 1943 it wasn't considered 'propaganda', but a 'documentary', much like many of today's AAA+ productions. It's short and to the point.
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8/10
excellent sci-fi movie
12 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This is an excellent Anderson production worth comparing with the best episodes of UFO or SPACE 1999 (first series). Of course it isn't some SFX extravaganza or Star Wars pseudo-mystic tripe fest, but a subtle movie that has a slow pace, yet it conveys the creepy, eerie and uncanny atmosphere of the best Anderson productions: for lovers of 'cerebral' sci-fi. Lynn Loring's voice is ABSOLUTELY AWFUL. SFX are good for this kind of product and acting is good as well. Two astronauts visit a planet on the opposite side of the sun but crash land home instead...or do they? Ah, videophones! Every now and then peddled as the next 'everyone's gadget next decade' but still to happen 40 years later. The device of Earth's twin planet on the opposite side of the sun also returns in Gamera tai daiakuju Giron (1969), so who copied whom?
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8/10
very good suspense movie
27 November 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I loved this movie. Of course it is for the lovers of the genre...it's not a Bruce Willis movie, yet this one has interesting plot contrivances and for once turns the typical plot structure inside out: Chan must face a fugitive murderer he helped convict and who was sentenced to death. Apparently all revolves around the attempt of said killer to exact revenge upon Chan after undergoing plastic surgery...but is it? Chan is incessantly urged to join a radio broadcast from a wax museum to discuss some case from the past: a man executed as a result of the evidence collected by an attending German criminologist is thought to have been innocent by Chan... Another mysterious murderer with a new face is around, too. The German criminologist dies...who killed him, though?

The most annoying bit is Chan's son...always excited, dumb and oh-so-vulnerable...watch out when he screams in Chinese...I am not sure what the producers were trying to do devoting so much screen time to this useless, irritating character.

Acting is fine, for such a movie. Ah...the days when radio was top-notch technology...
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6/10
modest, confused movie
21 November 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is NOT the most brilliant Charlie Chan. Toler is fine as Charlie; the plot is the good old 'round a few suspects up and see' (not very original, but it's a trademark of the series and I like it ). What goes wrong is that they seem unsure about which side to take...a police movie...a comedy movie...a parody movie... I found the diversions with Chan's son unbelievable and at times annoying, but the most annoying character was Collins as the on-board zoo-keeper; I am starting to think that all those so-called 'vaudeville' comedians all look alike (poor man's Costellos ). Acting isn't worth mentioning...perhaps Zucco is the only decent one besides Toler. A very modest movie.
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8/10
very nice detective movie
17 November 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I really love these old time movies. The atmosphere warrants attention alone, but the plot is quite good, too. Of course it follows the cliché of the 'round all suspects up and follow the leads', but I found it pretty entertaining...much more than today's gory 'crime scene' bunk serials. The storyline is entangled enough to keep interest sustained until the end of an otherwise short movie (about 1h10mins). Hollywood actress filming in Hawaii is stabbed to death while her ex-husband, her fortune-teller and her betrothed are around...much like the ghost of a deceased actor she knew too well but doesn't want anybody to know about. Turns out the chambermaid killed the actress, but watch the movie to know why. Acting is fine, although there are bits of overacting and the 'clumsy Japanese attendant' bits are annoying. Good movie.
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4/10
noble intentions...but this should have never been filmed
9 November 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I understand that this is a 'merely for the fans' movie...the tomb stone of the 'Trinity' series.

However, the result is pretty embarrassing. First, while Hill aged rather well, Spencer looks significantly older than he actually was, much as if he was sick or something. Second, they don't know what kind of movie they want...is it a Trinity movie...a parody of a Trinity movie...a western-styled Piedone movie with lots of kids around...? Beans, belching and a (very moderate) amount of fist-fights do not automatically make a good Spencer/Hill movie. They push the envelope but I am not sure about what.

Who knows... Maybe it's that the atmosphere of 1960-70s Trinity movies, or late 1970s-early 1980s Spencer/Hill is gone.

I find the final scene in which they come to get them but loose their guns listening to children singing the corniest and lowest moment in all S&H movies, including Banana Joe & similar.

Ruth Buzzi as their mother is ugly as puke...you can see she's wearing a wig and that jaw...that horrible jaw...

Intentions behind this were noble, but I maintain it shouldn't have been filmed.
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