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13 Foreign Language movies to go

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Jabberwocky - (1977)

I struggled with Jabberwocky as a kid, and expected more this time around. Gilliam seems to be half-stuck in the Monty Python days, and goes for a similar brand of comedy which sometimes works but often doesn't. Still, it does have it's moments - and those moments can be good. Loved Gorden Kaye as the hidden nun in a bit of a panic as to being found out - he had a small role in Brazil as well.


By Designed by Robin Behling -

Licence to Kill - (1989)

This James Bond film dared to stray from the formula which had kind of grown stagnant and solidified since the latter Roger Moore films. I've preferred The Living Daylights over this through the years, but it's nice to have a change of pace and a harder edge to things. The opening credits seem cheap and unimaginative - a poor copy of predecessors - but overall this isn't a bad Bond film.

My movie ratings often go up or down a point or two after more reflection, research and rewatches.

Latest Review : Rams (2015)

Croatian movie The High Sun from 2015.

Depends on what one is looking for. Scarface is loads more interesting as a movie, as an outgrowth of DePalma's style up to that point (even if we think it's messy or even a failure). I recognize where Scarface places in the directors evolution as a filmmaker. Not a highwater mark, but still a nice soggy place where there has been a lot of spillover.

I also know where Carlito's Way places, and it is in the spot where the director has begun to sand off his rougher edges. It's more aerodynamic. Carlito's Way would make a better Frisbee. It can be reliably tossed from one movie fan to another, and we should expect to catch it and pass it along.

Not Scarface though. Scarface is likely going to end up lost in a bunch of bushes. Or intercepted by a meth-addicted pitbull.

I know what I think is more fun. But keep tossing Carlito's Way back and forth, if you must.

Body Snatcher (1945, Robert Wise)

Enjoyed this a lot. Excellent creepy performance by Boris Karloff.

Nightmare (1964, Freddie Francis)

Entertaining Hammer thriller, with plenty of mystery, deceptions, paranoia, and a surprise ending, which is not really that hard to predict if you've seen other similar offerings from the studio. Nice black-and-white visuals, as you would expect from cinematographer-turned-director Freddie Francis.

Chato's Land, 1972

While minding his own business in a small Western town bar, Chato (Charles Bronson) is attacked verbally and then drawn on by the local sheriff, whom he kills in self defense. Chato, who is half-white and half-indigenous, immediately goes on the run. Close behind, though, is a large posse led by former Confederate military leader Captain Whitmore (Jack Palance) and egged on by the ruthless and racist Jubal Hooker (Simon Oakland) and his vicious sons, Elias (Ralph Waite) and Earl (Richard Jordan). But the further the posse pursue Chato into the unsettled (by white people) land, the clearer it becomes that even outnumbered, Chato may have the advantage.

This is a film that in certain parts is absolutely amazing, but has several elements that I didn't care for and one element that will probably keep me from watching it again.

Despite the title of the film and Bronson's strong presence in the title role, the film isn't really about Chato at all. Instead it is about the men pursuing him and their often-contradictory notions of what makes justice. The film makes some well-observed points about how evil is allowed to flourish even among "civilized people". While Chato does stalk and attack the men at times, they do almost as much damage to each other.

The most symbolic sequence of the film comes when the men track down Chato's home in the hills, where they find his wife alone. Four of the men, eagerly led by Earl, immediately begin a vicious sexual assault on her. While this is not unexpected or shocking---we first meet Earl assaulting a woman who he's trapped in a barn---the key is what happens during the assault. "Are you going to stop this, or am I?" Malechie (Roddy McMillan), a religious man, asks Whitmore. But Whitmore refuses to help top the rape, and when Malechie and his son go to stop it, another posse member pulls a gun on him. A fourth man, who also is not actively participating in the rape, notes that she's "just a squaw," and remarks that white women are also raped by their Indian attackers.

And that, for me, is one of the film's main messages in a nutshell. Despite their disgust or disapproval, nothing is done to stop what is a clear and cruel injustice. Men like Jubal have a "with me or against me" mentality, and this tension in the group will only become more deadly and dangerous as they venture deeper and deeper into Indian territory.

Another powerful theme in the film is the price that is paid for assuming domination over nature. The surroundings only get more hostile, the water only more scarce as the men follow Chato further and further. Chato himself almost becomes an extension of the dangerous environment. Yes, he is a powerful enemy, but so too is thirst and heat exhaustion.

This last aspect is something that I had mixed feelings about. I think that the point is well made that these men have such a sense of self-righteousness that they persist even when they are clearly outmatched by their surroundings. But in terms of the actual character of Chato, it kind of abstracts him. He becomes less a thinking, feeling person and turns into something more like a force of nature. This is neat thematically, but it does edge close to some of the tropes and biases about the relationship between indigenous people and nature. The character is cool, but also in some ways pretty superficial.

Another issue I had with the film, and something that's always a dealbreaker for me, was the animal stuff. There are numerous stunts done with horses that are cruel and unnecessarily dangerous. A horse is tripped so that it falls down a rocky hillside. Other horses are yanked down by the head/neck to simulate falls. And they are pulled HARD. I cringed at so many of these "stunts", as you can see that some of the animals are clearly injured in them.

The overt criticism of racist hypocrisy and the focus on the dynamics of the posse were both interesting surprises here. I wish that Chato himself was better fleshed out and I really wish that there wasn't so much animal cruelty on display.

Allaby's Avatar
Guy who likes movies
Just watched the Tragedy of Macbeth (2021). This was excellent. Denzel Washington is fantastic and the rest of the cast are very good too. I love the cinematography. This is a beautiful looking film. Although it wouldn't quite make my top 10 of 2021, I do think it will get a few Oscar nominations, possibly a best picture nomination. My rating is a

Allaby's Avatar
Guy who likes movies
I just finished watching the new documentary The Jesus Music (2021). Directed by Jon and Andrew Erwin, this fascinating documentary tells about the roots of Contemporary Christian Music from its humble beginnings up to today. It features some revealing interviews with many of the best in Christian music, including Amy Grant, Michael W Smith, Kirk Franklin, Steven Curtis Chapman, Bill Gaither, Russ Taff, members of DC Talk, Mercy Me, Third Day and Skillet, amongst others. This was fantastic and I loved it. There were some really beautiful moments, both inspiring and heartbreaking. It was honest,insightful,and informative, with a lot of heart and humour. Regardless of one's view of Christian music or a person's faith background, there is something to appreciate and enjoy here. The Jesus Music is one of the best films of the year. Don't miss it. My rating is a high

Fun with family. I am actually impressed they're still making these.
There has been an awekening.... have you felt it?

Death Rides a Horse, 1967

As a child, Bill (John Phillip Law) watches in horror as his father is murdered, his mother and sister are raped and murdered, and then their house is burned to the ground by a gang of vicious men. As an adult, Bill is an aspiring lawman who has not forgotten the men who massacred his family, remembering them in flashes of a facial scar, a tattoo, a distinct set of spurs, etc. Discovering that recently released convict Ryan (Lee Van Cleef) also has some unresolved beef with the gang, Bill follows Ryan and Ryan reluctantly accepts their partnership.

This was a lot better than I expected it to be, though at the same time it's frustratingly held back from greatness by a few core flaws.

The film has several things going for it. The main positive is Van Cleef's performance as Bill's reluctant mentor. We've all seen that film where the tough guy ends up in charge of some child and grudgingly comes to have affection for the little guy/gal, right? Well, that's basically this movie, except that it's a 20-something year old man-child in the form of a doggedly determined Bill. There's something nicely enigmatic about the way that Van Cleef plays the character and his feelings about the whole situation. He spends a lot of energy keeping Bill away from the action---is this because he wants to keep Bill safe, or because he doesn't want Bill cramping his style? His exact motivations remain unknown until the last act, and the character's progression has a satisfying payoff.

I also really liked some of the imagery in the film. The very first shot, a group of men on horseback appearing over the top of a hill, sets a nicely menacing tone. As a rainstorm pours down, the look in through the window at the unsuspecting family. The attack on the family is shot from the only partially comprehending point of view of the young Bill. As his eyes dart from one moment to the next, the scene manages to avoid feeling too exploitative and instead focuses on flashes of what sticks with the child: the men sweeping clean the dining table to push his mother down on it, his sister's confused and terrified expression as hands hold her down, bits of conversation between the men. And while it was a bit overused on the whole, I did like some of the scenes where Bill would see something (a scar, a tattoo) and flash back to the murders. On the whole, the story is satisfying.

There are two downsides for me. The first is that Bill himself is kind of a dull character and Law's performance is extra wooden next to the much more memorable Van Cleef. To give you a sense of how flat his character was, I had to look up the character's name on the IMDb. I just finished the film like 20 minutes ago. Bill should be raw and impulsive and hurting and driven. It's there, sort of, in the writing, but it utterly fails to translate as anything electric. There's a scene where he's buried up to his chin in sand, his mouth stuffed with salt, and he at most manages to look kind of annoyed.

I also felt as if there was kind of a lull in the pace around the transition between the second and third acts. Just all of a sudden I was struggling to pay attention. Things pick up again in the last 20 minutes or so.

A solid western, but with a better written and better acted lead character I think it could have really been something special.

Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.

The Third Alibi (Montgomery Tully, 1961)
Lake of the Dead (Kåre Bergstrøm, 1958)
Ray Donovan: The Movie (David Hollander, 2022)
The Cool Lakes of Death (Nouchka van Brakel, 1982)

Wealthy Parisian Renée Soutendijk knows nothing of the facts of life, and this causes tragedy to all who surround her, none more than herself.
Lilies of the Field (Ralph Nelson, 1963)
- 7/10
Kiss Me Again (William A. Seiter, 1931)
The Seance (Christopher James Cramer, 2021)
King Rat (Bryan Forbes, 1965)

American corporal George Segal needs injured British lieutenant James Fox to help him keep his hold on a Japanese POW camp on Malaya. Security chief Tom Courtenay is suspicious.
For the First Time (Rudolph Maté, 1959)
The Mind's Eye (Jan C. Nickman, 1990)
+ 6/10
Funny Thing About Love (Adam White, 2021)
Luzzu (Alex Camilleri, 2021)

Stubborn Maltese fisherman Jesmark Scicluna can't earn a living anymore with his ancestral fishing boat, and that makes life really hard for his wife and sick son.
The Man with One Red Shoe (Stan Dragoti, 1985)
Brazen (Monika Mitchell, 2022)
+ 4.5/10
Because You're Mine (Alexander Hall, 1952)
The Tragedy of Macbeth (Joel Coen, 2021)
+ 7.5/10

Well-acted, beautifully-photographed-and-directed take on the Scottish play may be the best film I've seen this year.
Sex Appeal (Talia Osteen, 2022)
The Last Days of Patton (Delbert Mann, 1986)
- 6.5/10
They Might Be Giants (Anthony Harvey, 1971)
Goodbye, Columbus (Larry Peerce, 1969)
+ 6.5/10

Working-class layabout college graduate Richard Benjamin and wealthy college student Ali MacGraw start an affair, but never seem to agree about what they want out of life.
It's what you learn after you know it all that counts. - John Wooden
My IMDb page

Mark f your volume to time ratio of movies watched is unlike any I’ve ever seen.

Victim of The Night
Add Carlito’s Way as well, as it’s the superior DePalma/Pacino drug dealer joint.

Victim of The Night

Son of the White Mare (Marcell Jankovics, 1981)
so it has this annoying rule-of-3 type structure that's super repetitive and i do not like it but [email protected] by the end there were just so many unbelievable images that i can't not love it. just every frame of it is incredible.
I just saw this on the big screen at an outdoor theater a few months ago and the Blu-ray arrived in the mail on Friday.

Victim of The Night
The Avengers -

why is Harry Dean Stanton in this
Because it was awesome for him to be in it.
I re-watched most of the movie (I have seen it like 20 times) on Friday evening and every time I hear HDS say, "Well then, son, you got a condition", to Bruce Banner, I just smile from ear to ear at the appreciation of even a massive studio like Marvel to have an HDS cameo.
And then I wanna run and watch Paris, Texas again.

Victim of The Night

Body Snatcher (1945, Robert Wise)

Enjoyed this a lot. Excellent creepy performance by Boris Karloff.
One of my favorites, definitely my favorite Karloff performance (and I've seen a lot of them) and also really cool that it's directed by the same guy who did West Side Story (co-director), The Sound Of Music, and Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

The Harder They Fall, 2021

As a child, Nat Love (Jonathan Majors) watches helplessly as Rufus Buck (Idris Elba) and his gang murder his father and mother. Years later, Love has his own gang--consisting of quick draw Jim (RJ Cyler) and crack shot Pickett (Edi Gathegi). He also has an ongoing romance with Mary (Zazie Beetz), whose right-hand woman Cuffee (Danielle Deadwyler) disapproves. When word gets out that Buck has been freed from prison, Love teams up with Bass Reeves (Delroy Lindo) to hunt him down. But Buck has strong backup in the form of the ruthless Trudy (Regina King) and the quick draw Cherokee Bill (LaKeith Stanfield).

This was a really fun little neo-Western, very much elevated by a cast that knows its way around the stylized dialogue and is clearly having a blast.

Generally speaking, I really liked the film's approach to telling a story centered on a Black cast but taking place in the 1800s. Rather than constantly having the characters butt up against racism, it takes a lateral step and sets 90% of the action in Black spaces: a Black town, within a Black gang, in a tavern meant for Black clientele. It's not ignoring the racism of the time, but instead driving the plot from within the Black characters. It's a great approach, one that both lets there be more of a range of characters within the Black cast and it also leads to some hilarious moments, such as when we get a glimpse inside a white bank that is literally pearl white on the inside.

I just keep coming back to the word fun, and that's my main impression of the movie. While it does have some very graphic pieces of violence in it, the whole thing is very heightened, so the impact is slightly lessened. The banter between the different characters flows very well.

The film also features a lot of music, written for the film but performed by artists such as Kid Cudi, Jay-Z, Lauryn Hill, Seal, and others. With the film's style giving a modern feel to it, the more contemporary musical sound fits right in.

While I really liked this movie, it does kind of live and die on the whole vibe it has going. Quick little matching edits, a long scene of watching someone speak by looking at their reflection in a gun barrel, etc. I think it's the kind of movie that you either vibe with or it feels very contrived. I was in the former camp, but could see people being in the latter.

As with many Westerns, I felt like this one hit a big of an energy/pacing lag around the second act. Things pick up as it heads into the final showdown, but I can't help feeling that the film is maybe 20 minutes longer than it needed to be. The writer/director has another Black-centered western called They Die By Darn that I'd be interested to check out.

A good time on a cold Sunday afternoon.

Burning (2018, Chang-dong Lee)

This film is the definition of a slow burn (haha) - it really takes its time sucking you into its web and keeping you in suspense, wondering where this thing is going. I loved the mystery, the symbolism, the ambiguity of the plot, and just the overall premise of a deeply average, ordinary person being thrown into unordinary circumstances and compelled to investigate some sort of enigma manifesting itself in another person or the ghosts of one's own past. Probably my favorite moment was the Hae-mi sunset dance scene - pure magic...
Great film, loved it.