Make Your Picks

Keyser Corleone's Movie Memoirs

→ in

Do you guys want an extra review for Scorsese week? I'll put it up tomorrow. Until then, I'll give you a review of a movie I watched just yesterday. It'll be up in a few minutes.

Kelly's Heroes (1970) - Directed by Brian G. Hutton

"Sergeant, this bank's not gonna fall into the hands of the American army. It's gonna fall in our hands."

So, if you ask me what a good example of a guy movie would be, I'd have several answers. One of the best would be, "A Clint Eastwood World War II movie," so if you're proud of your testosterone you should check out Kelly's Heroes, a fun and action packed heist movie with tanks, guns and alcohol.

Kelly's Heroes is the satirical story of an ex-lieutenant who captures a Nazi transporting information pertaining to a treasure of 14,000 gold bars hidden in a bank behind enemy lines. Seeing a... golden opportunity, he gathers a large group of people to go AWOL and retrieve the treasure with the help of a drunken hippie who happens to have a bunch of tanks at his disposal. But soon, an army general finds out about their attacks on the Nazis, and despite not being aware of the gold, he decides to go there and share in heroic glory! So Kelly's group has to get to that bank behind enemy lines as quickly as possible.

I love war movies a lot, so I knew a movie like Kelly's Heroes would get my cinemaphilic taste buds in a good spot. The war action was phenomenal. There were more awesome explosions in this movie than all of Michael Bay's movies (damn) and it made for a wild time. Who hasn't wanted to see Clint Eastwood blowing up everything in sight? And the fact that some soldiers were accidentally blowing on top of each other added to the great peril and the comedic value.

That brings me to my next positive point: there was a subtle, satirical side which kept the energy of the movie going strong. Most of the characters had a slight oddball approach and seeing them accidentally blow up their own gear and drop bombs on each other thinking they're enemies felt so realistic because of that character behavior. And Donald Sutherland's performance as the hippie was amazing. That's GOT to be my favorite Donald Sutherland movie, and I think I'm going to keep the "negative energy" thing to tease fans of Kelly's Heroes. I know a guy who would love that kind of reference.

The movie had two problems. The first problem was that the cinematography wasn't really all that spectacular. It was completely standard and didn't fail to get the point across, which is most a positive. But there was nothing fancy about the movie, which kinda bugged me. The second problem is that Eastwood's role felt more standard. This was just Clint Eastwood playing another tough guy who didn't have any other sides to his character; it was essentially Clint Eastwood being Clint Eastwood and nothing more than that. Donald Sutherland and Don Rickles shined more than Eastwood of all people, so Kelly's Heroes really doesn't put Eastwood to the test.

Despite those problems, Kelly's Heroes is a lot of fun and perfect for guys. It's got a lot of action and explosions, and the subtle humor makes everything feel more realistic despite that sense of peril that bleeds from the war scenes. I wanted to like Eastwood's character Kelly more, but as far as war movies goes, this is one of the most "fun" I've ever seen. So if you've got the following two things in your life: testosterone and beer, watch Kelly's Heroes and tell me you didn't have a good time.

I forgot to post the final rankings of the Scorsese Week reviews.

1. The Last Waltz:

2. Goodfellas:

3. Taxi Driver:

4. Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore:

5. After Hours:

6. Mean Streets:

7: Cape Fear:

For an extra review, I'll review my favorite Scorsese movie. You wanna guess what it is? It could be anything.

I hope itís Raging Bull thatís also easily my favorite Scorsese.

Keyser Corleone's Martin Scorsese Week Extra

Getting back here with so many Scorsese reviews was only for the purpose of preparing for the new film, The Irishman, which is to be available on Netflix in America late November, 2019. I spent two weeks with movies for this purpose and this has been two of the most entertaining weeks of my movie reviewing life, and I'd like to thank my readers for joining me this week.

Of the seven films I reviewed, I had to be very careful about my selection, and I ended up posting more five-star reviews than I wanted. I planned on reviewing Hugo, but gave it up in favor of Cape Fear. And I was going to review the Aviator, but I wouldn't have room for a rockumentary and Goodfellas. By the last review, I didn't even review my favorite Scorsese movie. Two people guessed Raging Bull, but no. Thankfully, it's not my favoreite Scorsese film. I say "thankfully" because I'm saving that for a possible boxing week. My favorite Scorsese film is an essential of his that unfortunately does not have Robert De Niro...

The Departed (2006) - Directed by Martin Scorsese

"One of us had to die. With me, it tends to be the other guy."

The Departed is a unique police tale about a young man raised by gangster Frank Costello to act as a mole for the Massachusetts State Police. Groomed to be a success, he now has to butt heads with the State Police's own weapon: a mole in Costello's gang. Coming from a family of criminals who he rejected, he now sets out to prove his worth by gaining Costello's trust. It's now a game of trust and wits as both moles attempt to find each other out.

That description I gave you is by far the most interesting Scorsese plot in my eyes, and Scorsese's sense of direction does not wane. It doesn't have that same aural presence as earlier movies like Taxi Driver or Cape Fear, but does this movie need it? This is a movie for both gangster fans and police drama fans, and the resulting show is full of plot twists, wit and action.

The reason I'd take this unconventional choice favorite over the classics is simple: in most of Scorsese's films, the way he handles main characters and side characters is unbalanced. The Departed was chock-full of great characters who you either really liked, really hated, or felt both for. The Departed boasts my favorite Mark Wahlberg role: Sgt. Dignam, a self-centered and easily angered state policeman who you could easily hate but also felt he really deserved the badge due to his special brand of work for the force. And it was really easy to sympathize with Leonardo DiCaprio's character: Costigan, the mole in Costello's gang. Running away from the gang violence to join the police, and then being brought into that gang for intel provides a strong internal conflict which DiCaprio delivers flawlessly. And Martin Sheen played his role as Captain Queenan more like a father figure than a cop, which added a new level of humanity to the movie.

The best character was easily Frank Costello, played by the magnificent Jack Nicholson, one of my ten favorite actors. Nicholson does his own thing again, using faces and motions similar to his role in The Shining but in a new way: the gangster way. Frank's a true villain down to the bone, and he has his even balance between easy-going professionalism and penis-obsessed childishness that brings both a comedic value and dramatic value very similar to The Joker.

And once again, we can rely on Scorsese to use a soundtrack full of classic rock artists. We have Roger Waters with Van Morrison and The Band (not surprising considering Scorsese directed The Last Waltz) giving us a cover of one of Pink Floyd's best songs, "Comfortably Numb," and songs by Southern rock band the Allman Brothers, folk punk act Dropkick Murphys in a fine badass moment, a sweet Patsy Cline song, and more classics like Rolling Stones and Beach Boys. It's easy to feel right at home with Scorsese given his exquisite taste in music.

The Departed is the one Scorsese movie I can find myself watching over and over again without feeling obligated to watch it again for critical purposes. It's an excellent cat-and-mouse movie with a great story and a lot of humanity, and the humanity is the one reason this is my favorite Scorsese movie. I saw this last week and it shot up to the top of my Scorsese list immediately.

Black Panther

I've never been that disappointed by a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie. In my opinion, the worst one is Thor: The Dark World. Even then, that one was a 7.5. They've all been worth something to me, and all added something to the series.

I've seen every one of the movies so far (of course most movie junkies probably have), so whether or not I had heard of Black Panther wasn't a factor into whether or not I'd see the movie. And I always thought the MCU was good. But I didn't expect Black Panther to be one of the best entries in the franchise.

Black Panther centers around a prince of an African tribe living beyond first-world and making themselves out to be third-world. The prince must deal with issues of family and betrayal, notably about the story of his uncle and how he must defend his country, throne, and his way of ruling. So it's basically The Lion King for comic book fans.

Storywise, it was a lot of fun to see. The secret civilization of Wakanda was not only a visual treat, but the explorations of the modern culture of Wakanda added a lot of heart to the story, as well as those aspects taken directly from Ancient Wakanda tradition, or taking influence from that culture. There were a couple of good plot twists that were played out very well, only itched by a tiny bit of predictability.

The cast members got into their characters very well. Chadwick Boseman played a great young-king-slash-hero that kept me engrossed in his character. Andy Serkis' role as Klaue was hilarious. I guess that's to be expected from Gollum. Jordan brought a real villain's soul to Killmonger. Watching him was like listening to Jeremy Irons play Scar. Excellent job. But Letitia Wright's job playing Shuri was a surprise piece of excellency that the movie put the right amount of focus on.

And don't get me started on the action. The MCU hasn't has such thrilling and well-coreographed action since the first Avengers film. The car chase scene practically kept my eyes wide-eyed throughout the entire run. I hardly noticed I was in a two-handed popcorn eating routine, slowly putting a couple pieces in my mouth one hand at a time, immediately after. By the time the chase was done, I had finished the popcorn.

Black Panther is one of the finer entries in the MCU. It's almost as good as Thor: Rangarok, and better than Spider-Man: Homecoming. I really wouldn't mind another Black Panther movie, becuase I want to see more of Wakanda and Wright.

I agree that Black Panther is outstanding,from the acting to the storyline and can't wait for part two.

Son of a **** knuckles I haven't posted here in a year. Well I guess it's time to get back to that. I've been watching a lot of bad movies recently and occasionally watching old silent ones, so I've got a lot I want to talk about.

Friday the 13th (1980) - Directed by Sean S. Cunningham

"It's got a death curse!"

Alright, let me start of by mentioning a very unrelated film: Alien Vs. Predator. I'm huge on Alien and I've seen everything the franchise had to offer. I can't say the same thing about Predator, though. So why do I bring this up in the middle of a Friday the 13th review? Simple. A Nightmare on Elm Street is my favorite slasher movie and I want to get through the whole series. So I plan on watching Freddy Vs. Jason, but I'm aware of some crazy dumbassed plot twists concerning Jason throughout his own series, so I'm getting through the Friday the 13th series as well. I needed to see how good this was for my horror list, anyway (assuming the movie would be good enough).

Friday the 13th is the first in a long running series of grisly murder films. At Crystal Lake in the 50's, two camp counselors were murdered. Now ounselors plan on reopening Crystal Lake and bringing children there again, despite the warning of the people who say that the lake is cursed. But when they get there, it's not long before the counselors are murdered.

Friday the 13th might have "invented the tropes," but that just makes it a tropy movie. The killings can be pretty damn scary and the end result does have a slight lingering effect. But there's not really any story going on throughout most of the movie. The setting is dived into from the get-go at the start of the movie, and the motive for the murders is established near the end. But what does this offer that other slasher movies don't? This is the kind of slasher movie that would have happened anyway even if it were a sequel to TCM or Nightmare or Child's Play. In the end, all we got out of this film is a sequel's horror icon with too many sequels and a hockey mask.

If you just wanna see a bunch of killings for a scary distraction, I guess you could watch this. But I'd rather recommend higher-caliber slashers for that purpose. Hell, I'd rather recommend Leprechaun for the cheese.

Friday the 13th Part II (1981) - Directed by Steve Miner

"I don't wanna scare anyone, but I'm gonna give it to you straight about Jason."

Slashers aren't really my thing, but they're very easy to get through. So far, the Friday the 13th series is the easiest. It's simple and monotonous, and it doesn't require too much mental energy for one reason: the series is mostly braindead. The first film was pretty much just a bunch of killings with an exciting ending, and Two is barely any different.

Five years after the events of the first film, another group of counselors is hoping to open up a school for them at Camp Crystal Lake. Even though they hope to erase the memory of the past and make the camp a great place for kids again, the legend of the "dead" child Jason Voorhees lives on. Now, the torch has been passed from the psychotic mother Pamela to Jason himself, and all the murder weapons that go with it. And Jason is expected by the memory of his mother to seek revenge for her.

OK, I know sequelitis (as Rotten Tomatoes likes to call it, and so do I for that matter) is an incredibly contagious disease on the film industry. How is it contagious? Simple. The box office success worked once, so it can work again. Two is one of the worst examples of that. There's probably less of a story than before, the killings are much less scary because you know what's going to happen, and the acting is just as bad if not worse than the first film's cast. This film suffers from the same lack of originality that leads to the myth of sequels never being as good as the original, and the original didn't even set a high bar!

I admit that I liked the climax involving the shrine for Pamela Voorhees. That psycho stuff made the ending a bit creepy. But that's the only thing I really liked about the film. Otherwise, it's an empty shell of a slasher.

Blackmail (1929) - Directed by Alfred Hitchcock

"Tell him that he's playing with fire. And we shall all of us burn our fingers."

1920's movies will be all over the place on YouTube, regardless of whether or not they were headed by big name directors or starring people who are still famous today. Sure, the copyrights get in the way sometimes but if you're lucky, you'll find something good. I had the good fortune to find an old Hitchcock film.

One of Hitchcock's first talking pictures, Blackmail tells the story of a woman who goes home with an artist who attempts to abuse her. In defense she kills him, but tries to hide it. Unfortunately, a local criminal had found a clue to her guilt, and attempts to blackmail her and her boyfriend, who just so happens to be a detective.

First, let me say that the plot I just describes is pure Hitchcock gold. I love the idea, but to be fair, even for an 80 minute film the plot moved very slowly. The film started with an artistic sequence that lasted a few minutes and didn't really add anything to the story. It described the everyday life of a cop catching a criminal and that's it. Everything leading up to the self-defensive killing took almost half of the movie, and there was barely any blackmail involved in it.

However, the film was very well directed and acted. Everything about the film glimmers of the early stages of development in Hitchcock's signature style. Flashes of Psycho, Rear Window and Vertigo can easily be seen. Not to mention, the ending twists were very good. The last twenty minutes or so (and especially the final thirty seconds) lead up to some very good plotting. The cinematographer made certain of that. Hitchcock had a lot of area to work with when it came to the cinematography and visuals, and even though he would improve later on he did NOT disappoint at all. In fact, I'd say the camera art was the film's strongest trait.

So would I recommend this for anyone looking for some 20's cinema? I guess so. It's a slow moving movie but it's also a clever one. Hitchcock fans should definitely check this out, because early Hitchcock is an interesting lesson in the history of cinema. Hitchcock WAS one of the first talking film directors, really.

Friday the 13th Part III (1982) - Directed by Steve Miner

"Look upon this omen and go back from once you came! I have warned thee! I have warned thee."

Slasher movies are like pills. Just quickly swallow it and it relieves something for a little will, but despite the ease they don't taste very good. The first one seems like a good idea, but after that it's just there as a routine. Friday the 13th Part III continues that same routine from the first two films, but I'm in the minority when I say that III is better than II because it had a shred of story in it, instead of just being a bunch of predictable and senseless killings.

Soon after the events of Two, a young woman who survived an attack from Jason Voorhees returns to Crystal Lake with some friends so that she can confront her fears. Well, she gets more than she bargained for when Jason begins killing again, only this time, he's got his signature hockey mask and a wider assortment of weapons.

And that's pretty much it. Like the previous two entries, there is NOT a lot of story involved in this bit, but I'll admit there's slightly more than the last two. The trauma of the lead character Chris drives most of what's there, and actually adds a little something to look forward to in between learning of the trauma and facing Jason, even though most of what's happening is just more death scenes. There are stock characters that have a little personality to them, but killed off pretty damn quickly. But the death scenes are a little more creative than the ones in Two, even though they're just as predictable.

But this positive stuff that I'm going on about is only comparing the film to its predecessor. Otherwise, Three is just a bare-bones slasher with stock characters that add little to the story and lacking in the suspense of the first film. Friday the 13th is one of those "aesthetic" brands that rely on reputation and normality rather than quality. Budweiser, Burger King, pop music, Sonic the Hedgehog, several news networks I can name, they're all there for making money off of popularity. Three proves that Friday the 13th very well may be the quintessential example for the entire cinematic industry. Hell, even The Land Before Time franchise had some new ideas. Number Eight (The Big Freeze) had a new setting change, plot and a little character development.

Well, that's number three for you. It's Budweiser in a bloody bottle. The only thing notable about this movie is that Jason has a hockey mask on for the first time. Otherwise, skip to Four.

Slugs (1988) - Direced by Juan Piquer Simon

"Now maybe, just maybe, we're dealing with a mutant form of slug here, a kind that eats meat."

Before I collect my thoughts for the next Firday the 13th movie to review, I want to get this movie out of the way. I get a real kick out of 80's B-movies, especially the science fiction horror movies. I didn't even know Slugs existed until yesterday, and I only checked it out because I wanted to see other movies by the director of my favorite MST3K episode: Pod People. I didn't expect to like it, but I did.

Slugs is based on a horror novel about a health inspector who discovers that a giant nest of mutant slugs is travelling through the city and killing and eating people. Of course, no one really believes him. Thankfully, he has fellows in the health department and a scientist to help him overcome the threat before more people turn into nothing but bones.

The movie does have a constant creepy feel to it. I mean, you wouldn't want to be eaten by a giant mass of carnivorous slugs, would you? Being eaten by a large group of any kind of small animal is horrific. The movie's special effects help it a lot. Even though the acting and the direction still have that B-movie feel, the authenticity of its target audience and time period live up to what's expected by us young hip guys that like the old cult classics. It's cheesy and scary at the same time, which is perfect for it.

The story itself was a bit slow moving and based in expositional dialogue most times, but it's thoroughly scripted and consistent. And from what I've read concerning the novel (I haven't actually read it, but I read the plot online), it's very faithful. To be honest, the exposition gave real reasons for why the city was being attacked, the same kind of reasons you'd expect to find in a thoroughly scripted semi-realistic sci-fi movie that begs the question: but if there is that slim chance that such a thing could happen, could it be true?

The biggest problem with the movie haunts many sci-fi and horror movies throughout history: the characters are not well developed. You have your typical teenagers, old people arguing who get killed off in five minutes, the lonely hero who most people don't believe, etc. Nothing special.

Slugs is by no means one of the greatest movies ever, but it was fun for what it was worth. A naturally flowing movie with a lot of thought put into the story and origins of the slugs, this is one I'd recommend for anyone who likes 80's horror.

The Amityville Horror (1979) - Directed by Stuart Rosenberg

"I just wish that... all those people hadn't died here."

I like a good haunted house film as much as the next guy, but I'm not going to rate a classic highly just because I like the genre. I try to avoid that as much as possible. The Amityville Horror is one of those polarized classics that you watch for scare factor, but the real horror comes from the fact that the events here are based on a true story.

The story is a simple haunted house one. A family buys a house which just so happens to be the place where a man murdered his hole family. Now of course, this makes the family just a little uneasy, but it doesn't stop there. The scary stuff really happens when things are moving on their own and voices are heard. Unfortunately, the only man who can really help, a pastor who witnessed the power of demons in that house, isn't supported by his superiors.

The positives of the movie are simple. First and foremost, the chilling effect is completely realistic. I was really concerned for the family as all of these events were playing out. Secondly, the cast knew what they were doing. They weren't incredibly actors, but that slight b-movie touch helped the movie significantly. James Brolin's performance as George Lutz was spot on. And something I just have to mention: people don't need to die on screen for a movie to be scary, and the movie proves that constantly.

However, the movie's not without its glaring flaws. Some of the plot points were unresolved, with the best example being everything pertaining to Father Delaney and his connection to the events portrayed in the movie. And what really happened at the end that resolved anything? It's history so I'll just tell you: the family got the hell out of Dodge. Sure, the ending was technically a happy one, but what did we learn about the presence of the house in the end?

The ending was unsatisfactory, but the majority of the film was pretty creepy. I was mostly satisfied with what I saw and I'm glad I decided to watch it. Sure, this true haunted house story ain't The Conjuring, but it's well-filmed and perfectly digestible for the average horror buff.