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Thanks! Nice review from you as well. I think I agree with most of your points, but just lean more to the other side. Most of the technical aspects were top-notch, but the script wasn't.

The way you describe the dialogue, or how you perceived it, is spot on. But my main issue is how... scattered everything seems.
Yeah, I would have liked to have seen Mankiewicz's dialogue with a little more breathing room-- slightly more true to life. Yet Goldman's performance was award worthy, along with the film's direction and editing... not to mention the photography..



Blacula (1972)



There are certainly better blaxploitation movies, but this one has aged fairly well. I'm not sure, but I think Coppola stole the idea of black drac finding his long-dead reincarnated wife a century later.


It does bog down at times, but the clothes, the music, and cool to be black vibe of the 70s is all there.
I think itís likely both Coppola and the creators of Blacula were drawing influence from the same well, namely the Universal version of the Mummy.

That Mummy is basically a reheated version of their Dracula, with the newly added love reincarnation bit. It also features a titular antagonist that under goes dramatic physical transformations throughout, which aligns with Coppolaís approach to Dracula as well.

If you dig Blacula though, be sure to check out the sequel Scream Blacula Scream. I think itís a far superior film. Itís got Pam Grier, substitutes Voodoo for Christianity as a means to fight Blacula, and doesnít have a plot nearly as familiar.

Iím just miffed these are OOP on Blu-ray. I dig them a lot but not $100 for the two pack level of digging them.



THE DAY OF THE JACKAL
(1973, Zinnemann)
A freebie



"In this work, you simply can't afford to be emotional. That's why you've made so many mistakes."

The Day of the Jackal follows the meticulous attempts of the assassin to achieve his task, and he goes at it with careful planning, a lot of patience, and no emotion. Meanwhile, law enforcement makes numerous attempts to locate him and stop him. The main efforts are led by skilled investigator Claude Lebel (Michael Lonsdale), who has a similarly meticulous and careful approach to his work.

Much like the Jackal himself, there is a cold and distant approach to the film from director Fred Zinnemann, but for the most part it works. Like a great procedural, we see the contrast between the Jackal and Lebel as each one tries to outsmart the other. But the focus is on the Jackal all the way (for contrast, Lebel is introduced around the 50 minute mark, which is halfway through the film), as we see the extent of his skills. I don't think I'm alone, but in a weird way, we want to see him succeed.

Grade:



Full review on my Movie Loot
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Love this movie & canít believe itís 42 years old.

Seen it a million times.

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Six Days, Seven Nights (1998)

Iím convalescing after an agonising dental appointment, which has left my tongue literally torn into shreds. But my God, is this **** entertaining. Seen it a few times as a kid. Ďcourse, RT have been overly generous with their 38 per cent.



Vampyr (1932) -


Initially, I struggled with Dreyer quite a lot, often being left cold by his films. This was the first film of his I saw which I really warmed up to though. By my second viewing, I found myself taken in by the shadow techniques which were utilized in all kinds of inventive ways, the consistently creepy set pieces and sequences which added to the film's atmospheric power, the overall surreal and often indescribable tone of the whole film, or how it felt like a silent film given how barely any dialogue and sound effects appeared in it. With my third viewing, I realized that this film does a better job at establishing a creepy mood than just about all horror films I've ever seen have. As for the story, I'm still not sure I understand everything which happened in it. Like, I get the general outline of the plot, but I don't know why everything in the film happens. Normally, I would be bothered by this, but I actually didn't mind that at all with this film. Since the stylistic elements of the film are so strong and diverse, I think that was all the film needed to be great. The sensory techniques this film utilized caused it to be a highly surreal and strange tale. Simply feeling the power of those elements came with their own set of rewards which moved me in ways which few films I've seen have, so I'm not sure I want the story to be more coherent. It was already impactful. As I watched one highly surreal, often indescribable set piece go by after another, I found myself becoming more involved with the mysterious beauty of the film, even if I didn't understand what was going on half the time. Overall, this is a fantastic horror film and I'm glad I was able to revisit it for this thread.





The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, 1972

Petra von Kant (Margit Carstensen) works as a fashion designer with her silent and submissive partner/servant Marlene (Irm Hermann). When the gorgeous Karin (Hanna Schygulla) comes into Petra's life, her presence kicks off an increasingly obsessive and emotional response from Petra.

This movie was A LOT, but kind of in the best way. Whether it was Marlene passive-aggressively banging away at her typewriter in between barked orders from Petra, or Petra herself stomping all over a teakettle, the film moves in broad emotional strokes assisted by excellent costuming and punctuated by artful framing (as in the still at the top of this review--a moment in the film where I actually had to pause and rewind just to enjoy the visual again).

It isn't hard to pick up on the many surface themes of the film. Petra, surrounded by staring mannequins, changes her own hair and outfits so often that she seems more like a blank slate putting on different personalities. The sense that she is playing a role is only exacerbated by moments such as Petra putting a caller on hold so that she can pretend to check a calendar for conflicts. With the action confined to Petra's home (and really just two rooms of her home), it feels as if she becomes a different person based on who has entered her space. Then there's the functionally dysfunctional relationship between Petra and Marlene. Marlene seems obviously in love with Petra (and also is the only one of the two we see actually doing any designing), and the events of the film test their imbalanced co-dependence.

The performances are very strong here. Carstensen's Petra wavers between truth (or her version of the truth) and performance. Her loneliness seems incredibly genuine, but the way she deals with others often feels tinged by a high drama she is playing out. As Marlene, Hermann makes an incredible impression considering she does not speak (or maybe has one or two lines? None that I could remember) for the whole runtime.

The visuals of the film are also resplendent and over the top, from the large painting that covers one wall to the costuming. It all feels on the verge of parody at times, but in a very controlled way. I mean, the number of times that characters delivered lines while standing right under a penis in the portrait made me laugh. Later in the film, a destitute Petra stretched out on an empty rug, curled around a telephone while in the other room mannequins have been placed in her bed? Yeah, that is just on the right side of bonkers. The film often goes right to the edge of letting you dismiss the characters as absurd, but it always managed to just keep me hooked with a moment of insight or honesty.

MKS talked about Fassbinder's self-awareness of his own mistreatment of others. It is interesting to see one of Fassbinder's personal flaws--his fixations on different romantic partners--on screen. (Also, amazing that even in a film that features only women, he still manages to get his obsession with non-white men some significant air time!). Petra's obsession--which comes across as an unbecoming neediness--is not a good look. It's strange to think that someone could make a film so self-aware, and yet continue such unkind and unhealthy habits toward others.

A visually robust film with an overall satisfying narrative. I liked the line of dark comedy that it walked. In the next few days I will be interested to read others' thoughts about it.




Saving Private Ryan (Spielberg, '98)



The mission is a man.

WARNING: spoilers below
Despite its status as one of the most momentous events in living memory, one that defined the entirety of The Greatest Generation as we know it, I don't think we got a truly definitive World War 2 film out of Hollywood for quite some time. Sure, we got some iconic films set around it, like Casablanca, but that's more of a Romantic Drama, and not really about the war itself, at least, what it was like to experience it firsthand. And the same thing goes for From Here To Eternity, or something like The Dirty Dozen, which was more of a men-on-a-mission flick that served as an early prototype for the modern Action movie, you know? On the other hand, just a few years after the Vietnam War, we get Apocalypse Now; doesn't really seem fair to the previous conflict, does it? However, over half a century after WWII ended, we finally did get a film that has come to define that war in a cinematic sense, with Stephen Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan, a movie that both upheld a number of previous cultural perceptions of that conflict, while also radically changing certain others, resulting in a work that has stood tall within the genre of War films in general, and has endured in the decades since its release as one of the finest films in Spielberg's lengthy, unparalleled career.

It tells the story of "Captain Miller" a veteran soldier who, in the bloody wake of D-Day, is tasked to lead a squad of men in order to locate "Private Ryan", a random, lowly soldier who's three brothers were all just killed in action, and who has been chosen for early removal from combat in order to ensure that an entire generation of a family isn't lost to the all-consuming maw of the war. Of course, Ryan's location in the active, chaotic war zone that is Normandy is currently unknown, leading Miller and his men into a grueling mission across the blood-stained landscape, as they're continually forced to engage with the enemy, their already meager numbers are steadily whittled down in the process, and they increasingly question whether saving one man is worth all of this torment, pain, and sacrifice on their parts.

Of course, if this makes it sound as though Ryan is questioning our collective cultural & cinematic perception of World War II as being America's token "good war" of the 20th century, that's because it is to a certain extent; of course, it also engages in a re-valorization of The Greatest Generation's exploits during the conflict at times, particularly in a bookending frame device that some might (not unjustifiably) describe as "sappy", but, in the final words of Captain Miller, it earns this by putting us through an absolute wringer to get there, with its brutally honest, unflinching portrayal of warfare, one that places a tremendous emphasis on the traumatizing effects of combat (a stark contrast to certain WWII films that portrayed combat as "adventurous" or exciting), with Janusz Kamiński's grim, grey, desaturated cinematography, which makes extensive use of a jittery, immersive, "you are there"-style handheld camerawork, which feels as though the production sent a cameraman back in time to document the war firsthand. This is also reflected in the film's overall unflinchingly realistic level of gore, which almost certainly would've earned the film an NC-17 rating had it not had the historical background as justification for it, as it feels less like watching a movie at times, and more like being fed through a literal meat grinder, particularly during the now-legendary D-Day sequence, as it feels like the closest thing to experiencing the war firsthand short of actually fight in it, with such sensory details as the absolutely deafening, never-ending sound of machine gun fire, or such sights as a mortally wounded soldier screaming for his mother as his intestines are spilling out all over the sand, with the battle being portrayed in such a chaotic, vivid, and disturbing manner, it actually lead the Department Of Veterans Affairs to create a hotline for veterans to call for counseling upon the film's release.

This de-glamorization of the war also extends to the film's portrayal of the American soldiers as well, whether it be the sight of them straight-up murdering a couple of enemy soldiers who were attempting to surrender, the way that Miller's men are increasingly hesitant to follow his orders as their losses pile up (culminating in an attempt to straight-up desert the mission at one point), and the way that Miller himself is emotionally burdened by the weight of having to lead men into combat to die, in addition to the way that he's shown to be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder throughout, with the first shot of him being as close-up of his hands quivering as he (tries to) steel himself for battle, which not only helps to conveys the massive weight of the sacrifice he and the rest of his generation gave during the conflict, but also showcases the inherently messy, ugly reality of any war, regardless of how justified the involvement in it may be on the part of any one nation. And finally, the film excels not just through the unparalleled intensity of its scenes of combat, but during the quieter moments outside it as well, as its potentially hackneyed "I miss home so much" dialogue exchanges succeed through the sheer craft behind the filmmaking, avoiding feeling manipulative in order to become genuinely emotional in the best of ways, and, while some may decry the film as just another example of Spielberg giving into his overly sentimental nature, as far as I'm concerned, like the titular character himself, Saving Private Ryan earns it, and then some.


Final Score: 10



THE DAY OF THE JACKAL
(1973, Zinnemann)
A freebie





The Day of the Jackal follows the meticulous attempts of the assassin to achieve his task, and he goes at it with careful planning, a lot of patience, and no emotion. Meanwhile, law enforcement makes numerous attempts to locate him and stop him. The main efforts are led by skilled investigator Claude Lebel (Michael Lonsdale), who has a similarly meticulous and careful approach to his work.

Much like the Jackal himself, there is a cold and distant approach to the film from director Fred Zinnemann, but for the most part it works. Like a great procedural, we see the contrast between the Jackal and Lebel as each one tries to outsmart the other. But the focus is on the Jackal all the way (for contrast, Lebel is introduced around the 50 minute mark, which is halfway through the film), as we see the extent of his skills. I don't think I'm alone, but in a weird way, we want to see him succeed.

Grade:



Full review on my Movie Loot
Oh yeah, I've always loved this one; I love the particular kind of quiet, methodical tension it patiently builds up throughout (the almost complete lack of a background score helps a lot with that, sort of like what the Coens did with No Country), which makes it feel like the sort of film that The French Connection should've been more like, if I'm being honest.



Vampyr (1932) -

...I'm still not sure I understand everything which happened in it. Like, I get the general outline of the plot, but I don't know why everything in the film happens. Normally, I would be bothered by this, but I actually didn't mind that at all with this film... Overall, this is a fantastic horror film and I'm glad I was able to revisit it for this thread.
I'm with you.



the samoan lawyer's Avatar
Unregistered User
Ooof, In a Glass Cage, thought this was excellent.

Yeah, maybe a bit harsh a rating. Went into it expecting/wanting more of a video nasty and in the end, got an undeniably better film but a less trashy one. Gets an least an extra 1 star now!
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The Day of the Jackal follows the meticulous attempts of the assassin to achieve his task, and he goes at it with careful planning, a lot of patience, and no emotion. Meanwhile, law enforcement makes numerous attempts to locate him and stop him. The main efforts are led by skilled investigator Claude Lebel (Michael Lonsdale), who has a similarly meticulous and careful approach to his work.

Much like the Jackal himself, there is a cold and distant approach to the film from director Fred Zinnemann, but for the most part it works. Like a great procedural, we see the contrast between the Jackal and Lebel as each one tries to outsmart the other. But the focus is on the Jackal all the way (for contrast, Lebel is introduced around the 50 minute mark, which is halfway through the film), as we see the extent of his skills. I don't think I'm alone, but in a weird way, we want to see him succeed.

Grade:

I saw this when quite young and, agree, I wanted the Jackal to succeed after all his preparation.



The last film I saw was a new holiday award-winning best Film, as it won the best picture at the Christian Family Film Festival. I had seen it in December and loved it. It's called "Christmas Tears". So I decided to see it again now. It's a beautiful story that will touch anyone who sees it. Saw it on Amazon prime.

PS: Now to play "What's My Line" Who am I ?



Yeah, maybe a bit harsh a rating. Went into it expecting/wanting more of a video nasty and in the end, got an undeniably better film but a less trashy one. Gets an least an extra 1 star now!
Yeah Samoan Lawyer, I totally agree, read reviews beforehand and expected exploitation eye-fodder but it's almost shot in an art-house manner!



The last film I saw was a new holiday award-winning best Film, as it won the best picture at the Christian Family Film Festival. I had seen it in December and loved it. It's called "Christmas Tears". So I decided to see it again now. It's a beautiful story that will touch anyone who sees it. Saw it on Amazon prime.

PS: Now to play "What's My Line" Who am I ?
You are my Mom reaching through the veil of death to say hello to me her eldest daughter. I would recognize you anywhere Mom. How's Heaven treating you?



Friday the 13th Part II


(Film experience actually comes with all the accessories seen here.)

Format Viewed: VHS

Rating: "Campy"

I got to say. Viewing any of the films from this franchise on any other format other than VHS would be horrid. The terrible quality of VHS only complements the terrible quality of these films. It's like when two negative numbers equal a positive, it's a satisfying feeling.

Same Rules Apply with Howard the Duck.

But to the review:

What do you want me to say? Even Siskel and Ebert didn't really seriously review this film, and nor should anyone. These films are trash. They were cheaply made to make modest return on investment. That's, (mostly), it. It's the same schtick through most of them, "Is it the killer? NOPE faux spook, everyone has a laugh until it isn't and then scream, kill, knife, blah blah blah. Is the end of the film??? What until... Friday after Next in which a former rapper is in the hockey mask." ... chi iii ah ah ahhh.
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-Stan Brakhage