Thunderbolt’s Reviews

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Blackmail (1929)

Blackmail started as a silent film but British International Pictures decided to adapt it into a separate sound version. This was the first British talkie directed by Alfred Hitchcock. It doesn’t have the most complex of plots, but it’s one of Hitchcock’s first (other than The Lodger) suspense thrillers.

Anny Ondra is brilliant as the protagonist who has murdered a man in self defence. Hitchcock brings out a great performance in her as you really feel her sense of desperation and paranoia. She was however cleverly dubbed as it was thought her Czech accent didn’t quite fit the role.

Although it was first though by some that sound would ruin a picture, there’s proof in the “knife” dialogue scene of how effective the use of sound can be when compared with the silent version.

Hitchcock also makes his first cameo appearance as a passenger on a train being teased by a young boy.

If you like Hitchcock but are only familiar with his later works, this is well worth checking out.
Not his best, but the shape of things to come.




Congrats on making your own review thread! And hey you started out on a very interesting movie too! I haven't seen Blackmail (1929) but I have seen The Lodger (good film) and just about all the sound films that Hitchcock made. Good to see that you liked this film, I'm going to have to watch it now. Have you seen many of Hitch's silent films?



Congrats on making your own review thread! And hey you started out on a very interesting movie too! I haven't seen Blackmail (1929) but I have seen The Lodger (good film) and just about all the sound films that Hitchcock made. Good to see that you liked this film, I'm going to have to watch it now. Have you seen many of Hitch's silent films?
Yes I’ve watched The Ring and The Manxman which were both enjoyable. Still have The Farmer’s Wife and Champagne to watch.



Next time , be more specific.
@Thunderbolt

You can find a lot of early cinema on youtube. They are silent but very interesting.



@Thunderbolt

You can find a lot of early cinema on youtube. They are silent but very interesting.
Thanks for the tip. I’ll have to check it out as I use Youtube a lot for watching trailers.





Best Laid Plans (1999)

This is a crime movie with quite a complex plot. The opening scene is where we see that Bryce (Josh Brolin) has handcuffed Lissa (Reese Witherspoon) to a pool table. They became aquatinted in a bar earlier in the evening where Bryce was out with an old college friend Nick (Alessandro Nivola).

Much later, Bryce urgently calls Nick for help explaining that he’s had to restrain Lissa. They slept together and she was trying to leave the house to file a rape charge against him. Nick mockingly quotes “I guess a second date is out of the question?”

But all is not what it seems. Nick pretends to kill Lissa and dispose of her body. But little does Bryce know that Nick and Lissa are actually together.

This is the point where we flash back to how Nick meets Lissa, and the build up to why they are forced to come up with their desperate plan.

All of the actors are on top form. You really feel for Nick’s character as he just wants to be rid of his rundown home town and his dead end job. He’s desperate to start a new life but as he quotes “Do you ever feel the world is conspiring against you?”

Josh Brolin does a great job as Bryce. You can’t help but hate him for his “everybody is beneath him” attitude. He loves to use people to his advantage.

There is lots of slick camera work and the colour red is used throughout the movie. I imagine this was to signify the theme of greed.

This movie on release had mixed reviews but I can strongly recommend it to anyone who likes crime/neo noir.






Leon (1994)

Mathilda’s family have all been killed by corrupt DEA agent Norman Stansfield (Gary Oldman) and his team. When Mathilda arrives back to her apartment and witnesses what has happened she knocks on the door of professional hitman Leon.

He reluctantly takes her under his wing and they form a very unusual relationship. She convinces him to teach her the art of “cleaning” so that she can seek revenge mostly, for her 4 year old brother who she loved dearly.

The finale to the movie is so emotional, but satisfying. I forgot how good it really is. It just never tires. Jean Reno and Natalie Portman have perfect chemistry together and Gary Oldman is also well cast as the over the top DEA agent.

This movie is slick, witty and heartbreaking.





Friday the 13th part 6 Jason Lives (1986)

Tommy Jarvis is still having visions of being stalked by Jason Voorhees. He’s decided with the help of his friend Allen Hawes, that Jason’s body needs to be dug up and cremated to rid of his paranoia once and for all.

With the coffin open and emotions running high, Tommy grabs part of the cemetery fence and repeatedly stabs Jason’s body. Cue a few bolts of lightning and Jason has been reanimated.

After Allen is killed by Jason, Tommy rushes back to Crystal Lake (now called Forest Green) to warn the police what has happened. The police realising who Tommy is just thinks he’s insane and locks him up. Jason is now free to start up another reign of terror with a new bunch of teenagers. They have all heard of the legend but the body count continues as Jason goes on the rampage with no remorse.

Directed by Tom McLoughlin this is the movie Friday the 13th fans had been waiting for after the disappointment of Friday the 13th part 5 A New Beginning. Tom gives the revamp a more “Universal Horror Monster” feel and Jason comes across as being more zombie like than before.

The visual effects for the death scenes certainly don’t match the gore fest of other entries but as in classic Universal monster movies it’s more about the atmosphere than the gore. Even the humour written into the script is very welcome.

Fans of the previous instalments will recognise the Harry Manfredini score. This was also backed with a rock soundtrack which featured multiple songs by Alice Cooper.

Tom McLoughlin proves that it’s possible to breathe life into a franchise after already so many sequels. This entry should not be ignored. It’s nothing but pure fun.





Crossroads (1986)

Eugene Martone (Ralph Macchio) is a guitar prodigy. At boarding school he is studying classical guitar but his obsession is with the blues. He is searching for a lost song by Robert Johnson which he wants to learn and record for himself.

He tracks down Willie Brown who at first denies that he ever knew Robert Johnson, but there is a deep dark secret still lingering from many years ago which still needs to be resolved.

After breaking Willie out of a nursing home, the two take off on a cross country journey from New York to Mississippi as Eugene searches for fame along the way. They need to find the Crossroads to break a contract that Willie has made with the Devil.

Ralph Macchio is very convincing as the young blues guitarist and Joe Seneca is excellent as the sharp tongued harmonica player. Throughout the movie the pair are constantly getting each other out of predicaments. The whit and sarcasm between the two characters is highly entertaining throughout.

The rock and delta blues soundtrack was produced by Ry Cooder. This isn't the first time he has been involved in a Walter Hill picture. The guitar duel finale is spectacular to watch and certainly brings a dramatic climax to the movie.

This movie is a gem for any blues fan but even if you are not, it's a great cross country adventure.





Crossroads (1986)

Eugene Martone (Ralph Macchio) is a guitar prodigy. At boarding school he is studying classical guitar but his obsession is with the blues. He is searching for a lost song by Robert Johnson which he wants to learn and record for himself.

He tracks down Willie Brown who at first denies that he ever knew Robert Johnson, but there is a deep dark secret still lingering from many years ago which still needs to be resolved.

After breaking Willie out of a nursing home, the two take off on a cross country journey from New York to Mississippi as Eugene searches for fame along the way. They need to find the Crossroads to break a contract that Willie has made with the Devil.

Ralph Macchio is very convincing as the young blues guitarist and Joe Seneca is excellent as the sharp tongued harmonica player. Throughout the movie the pair are constantly getting each other out of predicaments. The whit and sarcasm between the two characters is highly entertaining throughout.

The rock and delta blues soundtrack was produced by Ry Cooder. This isn't the first time he has been involved in a Walter Hill picture. The guitar duel finale is spectacular to watch and certainly brings a dramatic climax to the movie.

This movie is a gem for any blues fan but even if you are not, it's a great cross country adventure.


It's nice to see someone else likes the movie Crossroads. It's a very underrated (and underseen) movie. It was nominated in the "MOFO 80's Teen Movie Hall of Fame" a while back, and I think it came in somewhere in the middle, but it was #1 on my list for that HoF.
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Hitchcock’s early movies are experimental and he can clearly be seen developing his much loved style. Here’s a rundown of a selected few I’ve recently watched:

Silent
The Lodger (1927)

The Ring (1928)

Champagne (1928)

Farmer’s Wife (1929)

The Manxman (1930)


Talkies
Blackmail (1929)

Murder! (1930)

The Skin Game (1931)

Number Seventeen (1932)

Rich and Strange (1932)


(Year of release may differ depending on source)





K-PAX (2001)

Iain Softley

Plot:
A man who claims to be from the planet K-PAX and calls himself Prot (Kevin Spacey) is committed to the Psychiatric Institute of Manhattan.

Mark Powell (Jeff Bridges) a psychiatrist who is assigned to the case is trying to cure him of his delusions. However he cannot explain a few extraordinary things about Prot. He’s resistant to Thorazine, can see UV light and has knowledge of the solar system so advanced that astrophysicist are stunned.

After a short spell in the institute it seems Prot has a great influence over the other patients. They all want to return to K-PAX with him on a chosen date, but who will he pick to take back to this paradise?

Conclusion:
K-PAX is a very underrated film. Jeff Bridges is at his usual best and Kevin Spacey is very convincing as Prot in this Drama/Mystery/Sci-Fi. The plot gets much darker than the description suggests once we learn about the character of Robert Porter and what has sent him on his downward spiral.

Prot has his own outlook on life as to where we as humans are heading. His warnings are a bold statement and even gets the viewer thinking.

So many films are spelt out to people leaving no mystery but the conclusion shares no answers and it’s up to the viewer to make up their own minds about Prot.

With a good script and great performances from the lead characters, K-PAX is one of those films that gets you thinking long after it’s over.







K-PAX (2001)

Iain Softley

Plot:
A man who claims to be from the planet K-PAX and calls himself Prot (Kevin Spacey) is committed to the Psychiatric Institute of Manhattan.

Mark Powell (Jeff Bridges) a psychiatrist who is assigned to the case is trying to cure him of his delusions. However he cannot explain a few extraordinary things about Prot. He’s resistant to Thorazine, can see UV light and has knowledge of the solar system so advanced that astrophysicist are stunned.

After a short spell in the institute it seems Prot has a great influence over the other patients. They all want to return to K-PAX with him on a chosen date, but who will he pick to take back to this paradise?

Conclusion:
K-PAX is a very underrated film. Jeff Bridges is at his usual best and Kevin Spacey is very convincing as Prot in this Drama/Mystery/Sci-Fi. The plot gets much darker than the description suggests once we learn about the character of Robert Porter and what has sent him on his downward spiral.

Prot has his own outlook on life as to where we as humans are heading. His warnings are a bold statement and even gets the viewer thinking.

So many films are spelt out to people leaving no mystery but the conclusion shares no answers and it’s up to the viewer to make up their own minds about Prot.

With a good script and great performances from the lead characters, K-PAX is one of those films that gets you thinking long after it’s over.



It's been a very long time since I saw K-PAX, but I remember liking it a lot more than the reviews did. Your review made me want to rewatch it.



It's been a very long time since I saw K-PAX, but I remember liking it a lot more than the reviews did. Your review made me want to rewatch it.
Glad my review has had some influence. This is well worth a revisit.




Thunderbolt and Lightfoot

Michael Cimino (1974)


Plot:
In disguise as a preacher, Clint Eastwood known as Thunderbolt, is hiding from his past. Seven years earlier he robbed a bank vault in Montana with some war buddies. But after insisting that they were double crossed and did time in jail, they are seeking revenge on Thunderbolt.

Enter Jeff Bridges as Lightfoot who has just stolen a car and helps Thunderbolt to escape from his pursuers.

Finally the pair are caught up with by Red Leary (George Kennedy) and his men. But it is revealed that the stolen money was never recovered. After finding that the one room school house has disappeared where the money was stashed, they plan along with Lightfoot to repeat the robbery again.

Conclusion:
This is one of my all time favourite Clint Eastwood and Jeff Bridges movies and one that I never really hear praise for.

Anyone watching a film about a planned robbery would expect a tension filled, fast paced plot but this is the complete opposite. The plot is very chilled but this is not a negative point.

The film takes its time to build on the friendship between the two lead characters. Clint Eastwood is the experienced robber who calms the heated situations and takes Lightfoot under his wing.

Lightfoot is the happy go lucky guy with an attitude and sharp wit to match. Some may find Jeff Bridges character over the top early on in the film but as the plot thickens, he starts to crumble under pressure and becomes more down to earth.

Michael Cimino wrote the screenplay and made his directorial debut. He gets top performances out of the cast as a whole and Jeff Bridges was nominated for an Oscar for his role.

The conclusion has a very “patience is a virtue” motto but at the same time, “be careful what you wish for.” As Lightfoot gets his final wish of driving into the sunset in a brand new Cadillac, he also pays the price for his actions in a very moving finale.





Dazed and Confused

Richard Linklater (1993)

As these teens celebrate the last day of school in the summer of ‘76 can they come to terms with the fact that the best years of their lives are over? Or does the future look bright for them?

Sporting a great rock soundtrack and stellar performances from up and coming stars, this is entertaining stuff.




Dazed and Confused

Richard Linklater (1993)

As these teens celebrate the last day of school in the summer of ‘76 can they come to terms with the fact that the best years of their lives are over? Or does the future look bright for them?

Sporting a great rock soundtrack and stellar performances from up and coming stars, this is entertaining stuff.

I'm not a fan of Dazed and Confused, but Hubby loves it.




Play Misty For Me

Clint Eastwood (1971)

A great directorial debut from Clint Eastwood. Jessica Walter executes her role perfectly as the stalker obsessed with DJ Dave Garver (Eastwood). Evelyn Draper seems to get more psychotic each time I view this. The film may look dated but it still packs a punch (literally if you’ve seen the finale).