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Ang-ma-reul bo-at-da (2010)
Seeing Red's an Understatement
A very, very violent story of revenge. Definitely not for the squeamish. Somebody definitely saw the devil. However, an excellent story, and an excellent watch; if you like that sort of thing.
Full of action, with good acting, and lots of gore. The twists and turns in the story can make you feel involved, but it's definitely not somewhere you want to be. Especially as it manages to keep a good degree of realism.
You probably don't really want to know evil like this can really exist.
A Vengeance Story with a difference
Before watching this I couldn't really see how they would make a watchable film with 85 year old actors and an old peoples home. However, I quite liked Secondhand Lions (2003), Harry Brown (2009)and Grand Torino (2008), which all used aged actors, so I thought I would try it. Even though in this the old guy had dementia.
I found it held my interest all the way through, and the dementia was an important part of the story line.
On the whole a very good watch.
Das finstere Tal (2014)
A "Western" with a difference - Das finstere Tal
The main difference with this western is it is set in a remote valley in the European Alps. Western genre more than western.
At times I thought I was going to be watching another version of Pale Rider (1985), but it was probably more like Unforgiven (1992) meets Deliverance (1972).
It is a film that keeps the dialogue to a minimum, and doesn't dig unto the characters personality in depth, but I think that works in this context.
A German/American (Greider) rides into to a remote mountain village as a photographer, but there is a hidden agenda. He also hides a Winchester repeating rifle; the locals only have breech-loading rifles.
The dominant family in the area are the Brenners. As things develop confrontations, and vengeance comes into play.
A really good watch. The Austrian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 87th Academy Awards.
Ancient Naval Battle
I came across the film accidentally and I found it really entertaining,and gripping. I was quite impressed with this Korean production.
The costumes and ships were really good, as was the acting. I like stories about these sort of ancient battles. It reminded me of the Red Cliff (2008), which I also liked.
I preferred it to some similar type Hollywood productions.They're starting to exaggerate and overdo some of the acting and scenes; much too far beyond reality. This one did not quite get so carried away.I suppose I'm thinking of the 300, when I say that.
I was in Korea in 2014 and had not heard of the film, but I did buy a model turtle ship as a souvenir.
The film is based on the historical Battle of Myeongnyang, in which admiral Yi Sun-sin uses the treacherous currents in the Myeongnyang Strait to help him confront a Japanese fleet which massively out numbered his Joseon fleet.
Definitely worth its current IMDb mark of 7.2.
Against the Sun (2014)
Lost at Sea
I do like most stories of the sea, and this kept me entertained and was a good enough story. The fake sharks were not great, but I didn't really have a problem with anything else. Before I watched this I was wondering how they would tell this "trapped in a life raft at sea" story any differently. It is a true story, which I hope was told fairly truthfully, so it didn't have to be believable; because it actually happened. If it hadn't been a true story you might have wondered about their luck sometimes.
On the whole worth watching if you like this sort of thing, and the acting was fairly good.
Bruc. La llegenda (2010)
Another vengeance film
Okay I admit it. I like vengeance plots, especially when they are mixed with a bit of history, albeit only vaguely based on fact, and good views.
I found this one really entertaining for what it was. No great plot, but sometimes you don't need one if they get a lot of other things right.
5.6 seems a bit low. Normally I don't watch if it lower than 6.
Based around a Catalan legend, the Drummer of El Bruc. Monuments have been erected to the legend which supposedly occurred during the Peninsular war.
Sword of Vengeance (2015)
My ratings are not generally too far away from the average of all the voters. On this one I am. I think it is much better than the current 4.4.
If a good movie to the watcher is a recipe and all the ingredients must be present this movie is not for you. There are no nice views or colours, subplots, getting to know the characters, expensive sets,etc.
This movie might be considered by some as arty and one dimensional. The main emotion involved is vengeance, and it has created an atmosphere mostly around that dark place he is in.
The story is simple but gripping; it portrays the violence of the "Harrying of the North" of 1069-70.
Sometimes this is all you need.
In the Valley of Elah (2007)
War Ruins Men
This movie deals with the serious business of war and what it does to people.
It also deals with the anguish of parents, and how they try to deal with loss. When all is gone and there seems no point carrying on.
As well as this there is the military and how it deals with its image and the fragility of the men it must use.
The ex military father tries to find the truth behind his sons death. Despite him feeling he could do a better job than the police. Even he is caught out by the truth.
The movie is slow, and serious, and even disturbing at times. However, it always keeps you interested, and is a good watch; if you are in the right mood for it.
The 'Maggie' (1954)
Different Pace of Life
Despite its age this was an excellent old film. It can't fail to entertain virtually everyone.
It's about a dying way of life, with different pace and priorities, but a life they love. This old way of life clashes with a newer way of life with a different pace and priorities.
The often drunken and flawed captain and crew drift through life enjoying themselves, but usually on the wrong side of the law. Ironically often looked after by the youngest member of the crew; the wee boy.
As a result of desperation and deviousness they pick up a cargo from an American tycoon, which they hope will save their little ship for another day. The story centres around trying to deliver the cargo and their battles and clashes with the American.
As well as being an excellent film, the social history is excellent also.
Kingdom of Heaven (2005)
A Good Story
I'm not sure I'd watch this movie if I wanted a history lesson, but it is definitely a good story, and a good entertaining watch. I was able to watch it twice which is rare for me.
The Balian character comes across as rather sanctimonious at times considering he is both a murderer and an adulterer. However, he is the hero so all is excused.
The movie is carried by good strong parts played by Liam Neeson, Edward Norton, Jeremy Irons and Brendan Gleeson.
The later Swedish movie Arn: The Knight Templar (2007) had some similarities.
He was his own man
Shane was ahead of its time for the early 1950's, and one must remember that when watching it. It may be thought to be riddled with clichés,but to a certain extent it made those clichés.
A quiet stranger (Shane) comes to town. He befriends a family (The Starretts), and takes a job with them as a farm hand. The family all fall for the stranger, each in their own way. The mother flirts, the son hero worships and the father has a friend to take on challenges with.
The stranger, Shane, soon discovers that the local quiet is being threatened by a large cattle rancher (Ryker), who feels he has a claim on the area because he first settled it, and now the small farmers are fencing off land, using the water and making things generally more difficult for him.
The rancher tries many ways to get the small farmers to leave or give up and work for him, he sees Joe Starrett as their leader and he tries to negotiate.
Shane tries hard not to be drawn into the local squabble. However, problems escalate, and Ryker hires a gunfighter (Jack Wilson). Shane feels he doesn't need to prove anything to anybody, but his growing friendship for the family sees him drawn in. Once drawn in he knew there was no going back.
Jack Palance is excellent as demonic bad guy Jack Wilson. There was the air of inevitability when he entered the scene.
The Red Badge of Courage (1951)
A soldiers story of Civil War
There's something about this movie that reminds me of Peter Watkins, Culloden (1964). However, the difference in budget between the two movies is obviously vast.
This is the story of a young soldier at war being swept about by events, like a twig in the tide. Audie Murphy obviously draws on practical experience in his portrayal of the youth. One minute he's running the next he's a hero. His relationships, and philosophising with older soldiers allows him to debate the realities and poignancy of war
It's made in black and white, but is probably the better for it. An excellent, and often under-rated movie.
Django sfida Sartana (1970)
An Avenging Brother
I'm a fan of westerns, this was watchable, but very average. The story does keep you interested, the lead actors are reasonably convincing, and the camera work is different.
Djangos brother is accused of helping the gunman Sartana rob the bank. The townsfolk take the law into their own hands and hang him. Django blames Sartana for the incident, and goes out to track him down. However, there is a twist to the story and things don't turn out the way we're led to believe.
Worth watching if you've nothing better to do. The music at times leaves a lot to be desired.
A Man With the strength to Change
It's the true story of how a man, John Upchurch, dragged himself away from the negativity of his upbringing, and used the experience to help others.
The movie shows his violent past, and how he saw the futility of his way of life as time past. One quote which was along the lines of, "Just because I have a lot of miles on the clock doesn't mean I'm going soft, I'm getting wise" sums it up to a certain extent.
On the whole it was better at the beginning than the end, where it got a bit slow, but on the whole it was very watchable, with a good display by the lead actor.
Rogue Male (1976)
A Story of Nazi Appeasement
I first saw this on TV back in the mid 70's and it was definitely a story of the time, when WW2 was still in the forefront of many peoples minds.
Maybe not to the more modern taste, I've always enjoyed this film. It has a feel of the Thirty Nine Steps about it.
Just before the outbreak of WW2, Peter O'Tooles character fails in his revenge assassination attempt on Hitler. With the help of a sympathetic German, and English sailors, he escapes back to Britain and has to go on the run from the British and Nazi authorities who are both after him to return to Germany to answer for his "crime". He goes into hiding in the country, drawing on his hunting experience, and waits to the outbreak of war when his assassination attempt is looked on in a completely different light by the British, who now see him as a potential asset.
War Documentary by Re-enactment
This is a documentary made of the battle of Culloden. It is made as if the narrator is a war correspondent at this 18th century Scottish battle. It is very watchable for those interested in history of this period.
In some ways a little amateurish, but this to an extent adds to the battlefield atmosphere, and may be more to do with a low budget. On the whole quite lucid and interesting, if at times a little corny by todays standards.
Gives much interesting background information, and attempts to tear down much of the romanticism and myths which later surrounded the battle, and Bonny Prince Charlie. It gives a straight account of the negligence of the Young Pretenders leadership, and of the later English and lowland Scots reprisals and atrocities against the defeated highland army, and the ordinary highland citizens, and their brutal clan way of life. Altogether it appears very realistic.
The Bravados (1958)
A Poignant Western
This was a watchable Western, with good displays by Gregory Peck as the vengeful husband, and Stephen Boyd as the psychotic outlaw.
Douglas, played by Peck is intent on revenge for the violent death of his wife. Following reports of the likely suspects from a neighbour he sets out to track them down. He finds them in jail, but they escape and he is enlisted to help the posse track them down. His determination as a hunter rattles the outlaws, as he refuses to be deterred from his mission.
Although the bad guys deserve a grisly end, there is a twist in the tale that carries an underlying message of the dangers of taking the law into your own hands and not following the proper legal processes.
Challenge to Be Free (1975)
Based on the True Mystery of the Mad Trapper
This is an excellent true story, one of the gems of mountain man folklore, set in 1930's Northern Canada. The story of Canada's most famous northern manhunt, the Mad Trapper of Rat River and his running gun battle with the R.C.M.P. in the winter of 1931-32.
The Mad Trapper was thought to be named Albert Johnson, complaints were received about Johnson tampering with people's traps. When the Mounties were sent to investigate one was shot and wounded in an exchange of fire. They withdrew for help and later returned to the isolated cabin with a nine man posse and 20 pounds of dynamite. Meanwhile Johnston had reinforced the cabin and dug a pit under the floor. When the Mounties threw the dynamite at the cabin it blew the cabin apart, but when they went in expecting to find a dead or wounded Johnston he fought them off.
The Mounties withdrew again, and later when they returned to the cabin they found it abandoned. After a long search of the area, they ran into Johnston again, but one of the Mounties was shot dead in the exchange and Johnston managed to slip away.
The Mounties could not catch Johnston so they called in aerial surveillance. The plane picked up Johnstons trail and directed the Mounties to his location. The outcome of the ensuing gunfight was left a mystery, did he get away. Nobody knows.
This Mike Mazurki version is a rather sterile version, of the story. Made in a style akin to an early Walt Disney movie.
It's still a passable enough version of the mystery of the "Mad Trapper". Though maybe it dwells a bit much on the large animal cast.
It definitely invites a remake. It was called Death Hunt (1981).