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Welcome to the human race...
Argh, I found Suspiria couldn't follow up on the great opening sequence.
Can't argue with that, though I found it considerably tense for a good chunk of its running time.
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28 days...6 hours...42 minutes...12 seconds
Hey DOM, the original ending to The Lovely Bones:

WARNING: "Lovely Bones" spoilers below
You didn't even see him falling down, that would have made things even worse. People wanted to see his body break and be mutilated.
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Suspect's Reviews



Hey DOM, the original ending to The Lovely Bones:

WARNING: "Lovely Bones" spoilers below
You didn't even see him falling down, that would have made things even worse. People wanted to see his body break and be mutilated.
Yeah, I'm not sure what I was looking for, but that ending wouldn't have cut it either.

WARNING: "THE LOVELY BONES" spoilers below
Mark Wahlberg killing him would have been cool.
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My Movie Review Thread | My Top 100



I am burdened with glorious purpose
RE: Lovely Bones....Blame the author of the book for that ending. I had the same feeling when I read the book, then I stepped back and thought it about it a bit and understood why she did it. My housemate was also very angry at the ending; she actually stormed upstairs.

I was really pleased with the film; thought Jackson did a good job.

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus



What a curious failure. Full of colorful costumes, wondrous art direction, and beautiful visual effects, it's interesting to look at, but rather dull to watch. Unfortunately. I wanted to love this film.

Gilliam said this film is about storytelling, and there is a scene early in the film that tells you that, but then it descends into a story about the devil taking souls which got in the way of the storytelling. If stories are about journeys into our imagination, and in the Imaginarium, people can explore their imaginations, then why was I waiting to feel something? Don't stories make us feel for the characters? Love them? Feel their pain? I felt nothing. It isn't enough to just transport us to another world. Stories need to reach down into our souls. And in a film about the devil wanting souls, this film didn't capture my soul.

The other flaw was the very reason I wanted to watch it -- Heath Ledger's character. As usual, I couldn't take my eyes of Heath (been a fan for a while), and again I'm reminded of what a great loss it is. But in the end, his character is confusing to me. What was his final motivation? I didn't follow. Wasn't that an important part of the story? And the gimmick thought up to be able to finish the film -- Depp, Law, and Farrell taking his place inside the Imaginarium -- wasn't a bad gimmick at all. Depp and Law worked rather well, but the Farrell segment was the climax of the film. Not having the "real" Tony there took away any understanding of the final moments of Tony's character. Farrell was wonderful; it wasn't his fault. Merely, it was the sad result of the belief that the film could be finished without Heath.

It couldn't.

There is a wonderful story in here somewhere, I just wish I could have found it.



there's a frog in my snake oil
But in the end, his character is confusing to me. What was his final motivation? I didn't follow. Wasn't that an important part of the story? And the gimmick thought up to be able to finish the film -- Depp, Law, and Farrell taking his place inside the Imaginarium -- wasn't a bad gimmick at all. Depp and Law worked rather well, but the Farrell segment was the climax of the film. Not having the "real" Tony there took away any understanding of the final moments of Tony's character. Farrell was wonderful; it wasn't his fault. Merely, it was the sad result of the belief that the film could be finished without Heath.
Cool write up t. It is ironic that a 'story obsessed' story could fail with its arcs and involving you with its characters as much as it did. Agree that not having Ledger there for the finale made it too tricky to stay with him as a character, despite everyone filling in well. On his character's motivation, I just read it as...

WARNING: "Imaginarium" spoilers below
He was a slick ****, so used to manipulation, and so at ease with the Imaginarium facilitating and expanding this side of him, that he met an end every classical story says he should. He got his come-uppance. I think poss being a slick ****, and surviving, was his end in itself. As it were.
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I am burdened with glorious purpose
So, Golgot, I assume we are in agreement. As to what you said,
WARNING: "Imaginarium" spoilers below
He was a slick ****, so used to manipulation, and so at ease with the Imaginarium facilitating and expanding this side of him, that he met an end every classical story says he should. He got his come-uppance. I think poss being a slick ****, and surviving, was his end in itself. As it were.
I'm not sure what you mean by the last sentence regarding surviving... what do you mean?

This is what I wanted to believe, but alas, don't think this is where Gilliam went:

WARNING: "spoilers" spoilers below
I wanted to believe that Tony had sacrificed himself in order for the daughter to be free. But the whole thing with the musical pipe negated that.


Too bad, that would have made me care a bit more, although it might have been a bit corny and trite. I don't know, that story needed help.



Sense and Sensibility (1996)


I have not read the Austen novel it's adapted from, but this movie is incredibly enjoyable. It shows that Austen can be done on the big screen and in an accessible way without ruining it (a la Pride and Prejudice 2005).
It's your typical Austen scenario of multiple suitors, romantic troubles, sensible vs. romantic, and empire-line dresses. Kate Winslet is particularly good as Marianne, the romantic younger sister, and Alan Rickman plays a good guy for once! Emma Thompson looks a bit too old to be Winslet's sister (in the novel, she's supposed to be 19) and it's not entirely convincing that she would fall for Hugh Grant's character, who is stupid to the point of silliness, but overall the film is great. (I particularly love the piano scene)
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there's a frog in my snake oil
So, Golgot, I assume we are in agreement.
Pretty much, on its failings, tho I think I enjoyed its plus points a bit more- possibly I was just glad to see Gilliam doing something Gilliamesque

Originally Posted by tramp
I'm not sure what you mean by the last sentence regarding surviving... what do you mean?
I meant that that's his default life position, but it only becomes clear/certain towards the end, and that everything he did was about staying alive via his gifts in that direction.

WARNING: "tramps spoilers" spoilers below
I wanted to believe that Tony had sacrificed himself in order for the daughter to be free. But the whole thing with the musical pipe negated that.


WARNING: "my spoilers" spoilers below
I didn't even think of that at the time. If it had been in there I guess they would've had to sell it with expressions - deliberately falling for the pipe swap etc - which is a nigh-impossible ask with swapped actors.

In the end I kinda liked the dark arc tho, the 'hero' being baddie, dreaming the wrong dream, as it were. Or just caught in a fairytale-spiced nightmare.



I am burdened with glorious purpose
What the heck, I wasn't sure what I wanted to say about another film I watched this weekend, but I think this film has been unfairly maligned by some critics, so here goes:

Robin Hood



So, fine, this version of Robin Hood was a prequel and well, American audiences don't like prequels. It's too hard for them to handle. After all, they want the familiar story.

So, fine, Crowe's Robin Hood is all serious and some say, even dour. Well, okay, he won an Oscar for being a man bent on vengence. If Maximus wasn't dour and serious, I don't know who was!

So, fine, I see how the critics got this all confused with Gladiator. Crowe's hair is the same. And well, so is.... oh, there's a battle sequence! OMG! Gladiator 2 alright!

I'm done now.

Except for this, yes, I'm a Russell Crowe fan. So I'm a bit prejudiced. But I hated Body of Lies and wasn't that much of a fan of American Gangster. I can not like a Crowe film. Really I can.

Ridley and Russell took a gamble here, telling a well-thought out and smart story in an effort to capture the time in England just before the Magna Carta. I gather what the critics and some audiences find fault is that the story of Robin Hood is so embraced and endeared to generations that changing that was cause for alarm. I happened to have enjoyed it. I thought it rather fascinating to contemplate Robin's beginnings. There was a time in the beginning of the film where I wasn't sure how I felt about this new Robin, but soon I found myself going with it. I admit that Cate Blanchett's inclusion here was crucial. She is absolutely captivating and outshines Crowe. It's hard for me to admit that.

The final battle sequence was like the battle of Normandy only in the 12th century, and it was rather spectacular. My only real gripe with the film is that Robin gives us one rousing speech, but otherwise I didn't feel his character was developed enough in a film about his character. Not sure how that happened and it may be the one flaw that caused all those critics to go nuts.

Of course, the critics yelling about how this is about taxation being evil and that the film didn't have enough socialist qualities, well, I'm a pretty good liberal and I don't see their point at all. Critics sure can be ****s sometimes.

I thought the film was rousing, enjoyable, and the action done as only Ridley can do it. Would it have been better if we had had the familiar story? I honestly don't know. But I do know it had been done before and telling a fresh take on the legend was pretty entertaining to me.

Oh, and one other thing: is Mark Strong going to play every villain in every high profile film from now on?


EDITED TO ADD: Just saw your post, Golgot. About being Gilliamesque, yea, it was that alright!




Revenge of the Nerds (Jeff Kanew - 1984)


Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise (Joe Roth - 1987)


I haven't seen this double feature in quite sometime and I still had several chuckles throughout. I actually went to the theater to see the first one way back when. Goodtimes.

Major League (David S. Ward - 1989)


I've always really enjoyed this silly Baseball movie. It reminds of of 1995 here in Seattle when we got our first taste of Baseball fever. I miss it and hope to experience it again someday.

Porky's (Bob Clark - 1982)


A year before Bob Clark made one of the greatest Christmas movies of all time (A Christmas Story) he made this rather juvenile movie full of boobs and boys trying to get laid. I found it not altogether unenjoyable. Certainly nowhere near the same ballpark as Fast Times at Ridgemont High but watchable anyway.

Now, Voyager (Irving Rapper - 1942)


This was just fantastic. Bette Davis was Maryl Streep long before Meryl Streep was even born I've come to believe. Every single movie I have seen Bette in lately, has just completely captivated me. This was another really excellent movie from the 40's and a very worthy addition to the lists.


There's many, many more since the last time I posted in here but I just can't seem to get motivated to post in here that much anymore. Perhaps I'll come back around to it someday.
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We are both the source of the problem and the solution, yet we do not see ourselves in this light...



The Book of Eli - 3.5/5
After seeing this film, I totally "get" the comparisons with The Road, but really - they are two very different movies. I love Denzel. I just do. But even I have to admit that this film was your basic post-apocalyptic blockbuster, with a religious bent tacked on. The visuals were nice, the effects good, but the storyline felt shallow and preachy. And I'm a believer, if you will. I was left with the feeling that the movie was meant to be a poignant expression of faith and love in a time of famine and desolation, but instead it was like being spoonfed a theory. Kudos for that little twist at the end, but I gave it some thought, and I truly do not believe that Washington's character couldve truly executed such deeds if that were true. Big ups for Jenny Beals getting back onto the big screen.

Wolfman - 4/5
Nice to see Benicio back on the screen, and true to form, he chose a dark movie. I'd go so far as to say this film held its own against the more serious werewolf genre films, though I did figure the plot twist our 1/4 of the way thru the movie. It was kind of an obvious, "life is pain, and then you die" type of film.

The Pacific - Part 1
3/5
It's no Band of Brothers, but it'll do.
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movie update part 1



Gothic (Ken Russell, 1986)

This is okay, it's about Mary and Percy Shelley, their dead baby and the unleashing of subconscious forces of passion at the coaxing of Lord Byron. Maybe Russell was aiming at a post-counter-culture parallel, that was one thing I got out of it. As for the movie itself, insofar as it doesn't try to explain the supernatural I thought it was okay but the characters' attempts to talk about the sublime seemed kind of blunt and gives everything an adolescent quality like a bunch of teenagers trying to scare themselves. As such it's still pretty entertaining.





Body Double (De Palma, 1984)

Really stylish and trashy and seemingly-pretentious film with a lot of De Palma's best self-reference including an audition for a porn movie that then turns into a Franky Goes to Hollywood music video! The movie also seems to trash the entire profession of acting where the hero is a bad out of work actor who would rather watch and actually physically can't act at the most important times, but it seemed to me to have some of the best performances De Palma's gotten out of his actors, including Melanie Griffith as Holly Body.

+



Dressed to Kill (De Palma, 1984)

Earlier De Palma where someone made the unfortunate stylistic choice of shooting everything in very soft focus but still has some pretty great scenes. The long dialog-free seduction and aftermath that makes up the first big arc of the film is my favorite but the whole thing is worth seeing and I'm glad I got to do see it on the big screen.





Valley Girl (Coolidge, 1983)

Teenagers are often attracted to someone for their "style", but in this movie Nicholas Cage's "punk" attitude seems more of a road block for the central romance between two unappealing characters.

What's interesting to me is that that Valley kids listen to a lot better music than the so-called "real" kids from Hollywood. There are a lot of things that could be taken ironically but although it has a couple laughs there are far better alternatives if you're looking for 80s teen movies...




Kenny, don't paint your sister.


The Dream Team




This movie has the best, most clever script and funniest dialogue of any comedy I've ever seen, I think. Peter Boyle's character is utterly hilarious. In the film, he's a mentally insane man, Jack, who thinks he's Jesus.

"I drove the moneylenders from the temple. I can handle a ten-spot."

Jack: Stop! Who dares to tow the van of the living Christ?
Tow Driver: The city of New York, Tarzan! $50 for the violation, $75 for the tow and $20 a day for storage.
Jack: [Skyward] Father, forgive us for we have sinned! We parked our car in a forbidden zone!
I find this movie so underrated! I'm glad to see someone who really enjoyed it. I loved the witty script, particularly that line you put up there. Has me in stitches every time. XD
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Classicqueen13




Kenny, don't paint your sister.

As a major Newman fan, I've been pining away to get this from Netflix. A story and a character certainly worth the praise here. Newman really put his heart and soul into the role. Of course, the highlight was the rather touching summation, and I'm glad I liked the ending. The plot is a terrific courtroom drama. Lumet's direction is excellent. Definately one for a movie fan to check out.

The Verdict:




The great cast is certainly the highlight to this little known film. Newman's rough although surprisingly small role is handled seemingly with ease. While he got top billing (understandably so), everyone seemed to get a rather even dishing of screen time which is handled very well. Bedelia, Cusack, Dern are just a few who offer a lot to the movie. However, I simply couldn't get into this movie and found myself bored up until the end when I was merely curious. The subject matter/plot didn't draw enough interest with me, and being that I pretty much knew how it ended didn't add any suspense. It's a little on the long side, but I think this film would have a lot of potential for someone more interested in the story.

Fat Man & Little Boy:
+



This was a rewatch, sort of. Observe Henry Fonda in the poster. I only saw him I think for about 5 minutes total in the entire 3 hour movie. This is true for most of the big stars in the cast. It seemed that most of the screentime was taken up by subtitles for the foreign actors/characters. (Do not watch this movie if you don't like subtitles) Overall, it felt more like a documentary than a war movie with very little character development. War movies are usually the first to bore me (often to sleep) and so with a lot of drawn out battle sequences and people I could hardly understand, I wasn't very intrigued. Not to mention, I know what happened on D-Day therefore the only thing I would wonder was about the specific characters, but I didn't really get too attached to them anyway. Not my cup of tea, and it was a rather big cup at that.

The Longest Day:




The performances of Russell and Wood certainly give life and flow this bio-drama. They're what really kept me watching, I believe. The rest of the cast provides high quality support. Gypsy's story certainly is an interesting one filled with fascinating characters. I don't usually watch musicals, but I've seen a fair-sized handful in my time. In this one, some of the songs and their timing irked me. Belting lines like "Only 20 bucks, Papa!" as though she was just singing a regular family debate sort of rubbed me the wrong way. I found that a number of strange lyrics were throughout the movie that made me scratch my head. But, hey, can't like everything, and I'm sure that a lot of people wouldn't even notice this. No complaints here.

Gypsy:




I've been wanting to see this as well for quite some time. I've been lucky to see movies lately with superb casts and this one is no different. Douglas is great lead and masterfully handles the character and the situation, I felt. Sutherland certainly holds his own around Douglas, showing quite a bit of talent and skill (in a character kinda similar to his iconic Jack Bauer). Longoria and Basinger seemed to be there pretty much just to pump up the star power, but they don't come close to getting in the way and play necessary parts. The story takes awhile to kick as it begins to unfold, but the running time for this flew by for me. There's plenty of action although the mystery ("mole") aspect of it wasn't impressive. While the script is hardly worth mentioning, but there are some good lines and a couple funny jokes from Sutherland. Overall very enjoyable and entertaining and lived up to my expectations.

The Sentinel:
-




The Lovely Bones




The ending probably lowered my rating by a full popcorn box; I (more or less) hated it.

WARNING: "THE LOVELY BONES ENDING" spoilers below
Mr. Harvey's death. How he died--getting hit by the falling icecicle and falling down the cliff--didn't bring forth enough justice for me, and it seemed completely random and without much emotional effect. He fell down a cliff...accidentally. I know it's supposed to be about karma, and maybe the book sheds more light on this (I've never read it), but I was left unsatisfied with this horrible person's simple demise.

I had a problem with the ending too... however,
WARNING: "THE LOVELY BONES" spoilers below
I can't remember if it touched on it in the film, but in the book, Susie talked several times about how she would kill someone and that she thought an icicle would be the perfect weapon because all the evidence would melt away... kinda reminded me of a toned down Hitchcock moment a little bit...
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Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
Chances Are (Emile Ardolino, 1989)




Fun fantasy romance about a happily-married man (Christopher McDonald)who dies and comes back to Earth as a newborn baby whose memory hasn't been erased. About 20 years later, the young man (Robert Downey Jr) is brought by Fate into contact with his former wife (Cybill Shepherd), his best friend (Ryan O'Neal) and his daughter (Mary Stuart Masterson) to whom he quickly becomes attracted. Although the story could be considered hokey and old-fashioned, Maurice Jarre's lush romantic score helps propel this cute flick to several laughs amid the predictable twists, and the cast seems especially suitable to the material.

The Girl He Left Behind (David Butler, 1956)




Truth be told, until I stumbled across this on TCM, I'd never even heard of this film. It's a standard military training comedy-drama, but what sets it apart from others is the tremendous cast one wouldn't expect to find in such a forgettable flick. It's about a college athlete (Tab Hunter) whose sweetheart (Natalie Wood) falls out of love with him because he seems to be a slacker and doesn't want to do his part for his country by enlisting in the army. Eventually, this jock flunks out of school and gets drafted, and it's in the military where all the following actors can be seen: Murray Hamilton, James Garner, David Jannsen, Jim Backus, Henry Jones, Alan King and Raymond Bailey. Watching the supporting cast at an early age is what really makes the film, at least on a slow evening. Jessie Royce Landis is also on hand as Hunter's clueless but influential mom.

Blue Sky (Tony Richardson, 1994)




Jessica Lange won an Oscar for her role as the mentally-unbalanced, uninhibited Army wife of nuclear testing expert Tommy Lee Jones. Her cheating and antics have caused the couple and their two daughters to move all over the country from base to base. Eventually, Jones makes waves because he's against the government's 1950s above-ground nuclear testing, but he really gets in trouble when he challenges his superior (Powers Boothe) who's sleeping with Lange. The film is packed with melodramatic incident and solid acting, but although quite entertaining, it's let down somewhat by a seemingly unfulfilled ending. After an emotional roller coaster ride, it just sort of ends without any real resolution.

Nothing to Lose (Steve Oedekerk, 1997)




Surprisingly watchable comedy about an advertising exec (Tim Robbins) who comes home early to surprise his wife but learns that she's cheating on him. Disconsolate, he roams the L.A. ghettoes where a carjacker (Martin Lawrence) tries to steal his car but actually finds himself more of a prisoner as the exec drives from L.A. to Arizona to forget his troubles. Once there, the two encounter a pair of criminals (Giancarlo Esposito and John C. McGinley) who try to rob them but a funny thing happens, and this triggers the remainder of this road flick. Although it's nothing to shout about, Robbins and Lawrence actually make a good team, and the parts where the film gets more serious and allows the characters to open up actually adds something to the mostly lightweight, borderline-silly flick. It's certainly better than I expected.

Far from the Madding Crowd (John Schlesinger, 1967)




Schlesinger's film made in between Oscar-winners Darling and Midnight Cowboy distills Thomas Hardy's novel into the story of a young woman (Julie Christie) who is "romanced" by three very different men: a penniless shepherd (Alan Bates), a rich farmer (Peter Finch) and a military officer (Terence Stamp). Schlesinger presents the story in an unusually-edited manner where characters disappear for lengths of time, some major plot points are only hinted at, and characters' motivations are often lacking. However, the film is lushly beautiful (Nic Roeg cinematography) and filled with striking scenes, such as the one involving Bates' sheep near the beginning and a storm which rails just after harvest time. Overall, it's a very good film which is maybe just a bit cold around the heart.

Alice in Wonderland (Tim Burton, 2010)




I've heard lots of complaints about this movie, and I suppose that I can understand some of them. It's actually a sequel to the Disney cartoon, reprising many of its scenes while making Alice older and having her learn from her previous experiences. I'll admit that the look of the film isn't quite as striking as I would have liked and that after awhile, it seemed as if nothing very interesting was happening. However, Johnny Depp proves to be a very-affecting Mad Hatter who has a true relationship with Mia Wasikowska's Alice and makes the film become poignant at times. Helena Bonham Carter is also quite excellent as the Red Queen. I'd say that this version cannot hold a candle to the cartoon but it's far-better than the rickety all-star 1933 version. Even so, it seems astounding that it made so much money, but 3-D obviously adds on quite a bit of dollars to the grosses.

Battleship Potemkin (Sergei M. Eisenstein, 1925)
+ ; Classic Rating:




I could probably raise my rating for this, if only for the bravura Odessa Steps sequence. This is my first viewing of the silent classic Potemkin since its picture and music have been restored, and it's quite a sight to behold. Eisenstein, who was 27 at the time, jumps right into the story of the 1905 Russian Revolution, focusing on a battleship where the sailors feel they are being treated as animals and lodge a protest which doesn't sit well with the officers. Eventually they take over the ship and pilot it to Odessa where the poor people react to it as a sign of impending independence and a change in Russia. However, the Old Guard is still in charge and a massacre eventually ensues. Although it doesn't really focus on characters, Potemkin certainly hits you like a punch in the face as editing, music and photography all work together to elicit powerful emotions in the viewer. It culminates in what is perhaps film's single most famous scene which was staged on the actual Odessa Steps 20 years after the massacre occurred. Here is that sequence intact, although the battleship's striking red flag is only seen in white here.





The Lovely Bones (Peter Jackson, 2009)
+



Jackson does a pretty good job of finding the right tone, especially in the first 45 minutes. The depiction of the early '70s is a tad superficial but emotionally-honest. Later. the "in-between" isn't really clarified, but it is a beautiful other world for our dead heroine to stay in while she awaits the discovery of her killer. The depiction of the marriage collapsing is probably my least favorite part of the film because it seems to happen too quickly. Meanwhile the police investigation mostly goes nowhere, and it seems almost too obvious who the killer may be (although of course, the audience knows who it is from the get-go). It's a movie with some genuinely-suspenseful sequences but ultimately it just may be trying to accomplish too much and therefore spreads itself a bit thin and thus lessens its intended impact. Even if so, I still recommend it.
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Edge of Darkness (2010)


Mel Gibson’s return as an actor. In Edge of Darkness, he portrays a vigilante father who’s out for revenge on the men that killed his daughter. An eye for an eye and all that. En route, he bumps into a conspiracy. I like the pacing of Edge of Darkness and its acting performances, especially Danny Huston and Ray Winstone, but unfortunately, director Martin Campbell (Casino Royale) pulls logic’s leg a bit too much for my taste.




35 Shots of Rum (2009)


35 Shots of Rum tells the tale of a taciturn widowed engine driver who lives with his daughter in a high-rise apartment building in the suburbs of Paris. This is a French art house film about people’s everyday lives and tribulations. What the movie lacks in excitement, it makes up for in thematic richness. Issues that are brought up include dealing with retirement, (unanswered) love and romance, father-daughter relationship, letting go of your loved ones and inequalities between rich and poor. Alfred Hitchcock once said that one should be able to understand and enjoy a movie with the sound off. If that is the case, then 35 Shots of Rum is one of the greatest films I have ever seen. 35 Shots of Rum’s simplistic beauty lies not so much in what the characters say, but in the meaningful pauses, longing glances, and painful silences. Good gawd, watch/buy this if you can, because films don’t get any purer than this.





Kung Fu Hustle (2004)


I had forgotten all about this one, until I saw TheUsualSuspect’s review here. I finally rented it last weekend, watched it and had the time of my life. Kung Fu Hustle is a bold mixture of gangster movies, spaghetti-westerns and – yes – cartoons. The story and fight scenes are delightfully over the top. In one scene, Stephen Chow, the main character, makes a run for it, but is chased by the furious landlady Qui Yuen. Both run so fast that their legs transform into blurred circles (Road Runner anyone?) until Chow manages to escape when the landlady bumps into a billboard where she sticks to for a couple of seconds before sliding down slowly. Other laugh-out-loud moments are parodies on Spider-Man, The Shining and The Matrix. Everything about Kung Fu Hustle is so wonderfully surreal and comical that you can’t help but sit back and enjoy the ride.




The Professionals (1966)


I bought this DVD for a measly €5 after it caught my eye in Mark’s top 100. It’s a Western about four men who live by their expertise and take pride in their abilities. The reticent Woody Strode is a dependable scout and proficient with a rifle, bow and rope. Robert Ryan is the wrangler of the bunch. Lee Marvin is the tactical genius and Burt Lancaster is the lady’s man, seemingly without principles and a specialist with dynamite. Together, they are hired by Ralph Bellamy to rescue his kidnapped wife (the stunning Claudia Cardinale) from a Mexican revolutionary by the name of Raza (Jack Palance). During their rescue operation, the professionals’ morals and principles will be put to the test, especially Lancaster’s. The dialogue between the characters is to the point and occasionally has a nice humorous undertone. The real star of the movie (besides Cardinale’s knockers of course) is the scenery. I love watching beautifully shot Westerns, like The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, The Searchers and The Professionals, where the characters seem to almost dissolve in the vast landscape. The sandstorm through which the professionals and Claudia Cardinale find themselves is a thing of beauty. It may not be as good as top-level Westerns, but if you love a beautifully shot, good action-adventure flick with excellent cinematography, The Professionals will certainly not disappoint you.




The Killer (1989)


Before having seen The Killer, I thought I knew what an action movie was and what I could expect of them. Now, I know that even a 20 year old action film can still manage to surprise me, especially if it’s directed by John Woo. The Killer is a jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring action flick on acid. The poetic violence that characterizes the supercharged action sequences are well-established today in many of Hollywood’s action flicks, but many of those still can’t hold a candle to The Killer. What makes The Killer great is that the story and characters are not secondary to the action. The cop and the killer are practically the same, but what sets them apart is the law. Woo’s familiar themes of loyalty and betrayal are also very much present in The Killer. In summary, The Killer is a mind-blowing, riveting action film that is not to be missed by anyone who loves the genre.




I never could get the hang of Thursdays.
I decided to catch up on watching older British films after feeling a bit ashamed of my low percentage on the BFI list. I was going to wait and tab them all at once but this film deserves a post all to itself:

A Taste of Honey (1961)



"I dreamt about you last night... fell out of bed twice."

It's not all that rare to see a good film, or one which you can appreciate is a well made film, but it is rarer to find one that completely absorbs you and makes you feel like this film has been missing from your life so far.

Adapted from a 1958 play by Shelagh Delaney, A Taste of Honey follows Jo as she leaves school and tries to make her own way in the world after her feckless mother leaves her to move in with her latest boyfriend. Jo has a short lived romance with a sailor, gets her own flat and soon acquires a flatmate in Geoffrey, a young gay man who comes into the shop Jo works in to buy shoes. The trouble is, Jo finds she's pregnant from her one night with the sailor, and it looks as though her life is destined to follow the same course as her mother's...



It's decidedly bittersweet, the youthful hope and optimism of Jo and Geoffrey who declare that they are unique with the run-down, squalid surroundings they find themselves in and the seeming inevitability of Jo repeating her mothers mistakes. But all this is underlined by a wry sort of humour which elevates it above misery and melodrama.

The performances are superb, especially Dora Bryan as the mother. There are a couple of awkward moments which seem particularly un-PC to a modern audience, but on the whole it seemed fresh and vibrant and curiously beautiful, with lights - fairground lights, sparklers, lightbulbs - and shade used to great effect.






I imagine a modern day audience will be quite shocked by the ending. I thought it was a good film too, and a good adaptation of the play.

Good Will Hunting

Co-written by Matt Damon and starring...Matt Damon! Actually to his credit, it doesn't come off as a vanity project.
Damon's character is a waster who works as the caretaker for a top university. It is discovered that he is a genius at mathmatics, and has a vast memory. Robin Williams plays his mentor/shrink.
I thought all the swearing in the film was unnecessary. Yes, I can understand that Will Hunting's friends (fellow wasters) might swear, but would a shrink really talk about 'jerking off' to an informal client? And would they fall for the most obvious wind-up in the book- asking about their wife?
I liked Stellan Skarsgard's character- Gerry, successful maths professor and mate of the mentor/shrink. He seemed interesting because for ages he refused to suck up to Will, who is gifted but also incredibly annoying and took the less cheesy approach to the film's question, which it deals with rather superficially: 'If you have an incredible talent, do you have the duty to persue it?' But instead of allowing an alternative viewpoint, we get Gerry eventually bowing down to Will. The fact that the gift happens to be in maths is not vital to the story, so anybody wanting an insight into the workings of a mathmatical genius will be disappointed.

The film is enjoyable on a superficial level but didn't really do anything with an interesting premise.