Monday, 31 August 2015

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

On the set: James Stewart, John Ford and John Wayne

New acquisition: Chicago Joe and the Showgirl (1990)

A film from 1990 in a Film Noir collection? I hope this is not too odd.

Audrey Hepburn

New acquisition: The Lost Moment (1947)

Not sure, but I may have seen this one before. I certainly want to watch it again.

The Evil Dead (1981)

On the set: Sam Raimi (middle)

New acquisition: Odd Man Out (1947)

A special one in the Noir series: Odd Man Out can very well be compared with Carol Reed's The Third Man: another masterpiece (if I remember correctly).

New acquisition: Werner Herzog

It is little known that Werner Herzog is actually quite a good writer, and since we intend to visit Lissabon in October, I just had to get this book.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

The Young One (1960)

On the set: Luis Buñuel and Gabriel Figueroa

Rocketship X-M (1950)

An astronaut crew of 4 men and one woman on their way to the Moon, are unexpectedly propelled by gravitational forces and end up on Mars instead.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Charlotte Rampling

Our Man in Marrakesh (1966)

One of six travellers who catch the bus from Casablanca airport to Marrakesh is carrying $2 million to pay a local operator to fix United Nations votes, but which one?

Lame and outdated (and not so funny) espionage spoof, which only has the exotic locations to its merit.

Halliwell (no star): "Thin comedy-thriller with exotic locations."

Maltin**1/2: "...OK spoof; good location shooting."

Friday, 28 August 2015

Taxi Driver (1976)

On the set: Jodie Foster, Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro

New acquisition: Hollow Triumph (1948)

Another one from the Film Noir series, a lot more to come soon, since they're currently on offer to a reduced price.

Christina Lindberg

New acquisition: The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

After having recently rewatched Frankenstein I just had to get the continuation.

If.... (1968)

On the set: Malcolm McDowell and Lindsay Anderson

The General Died at Dawn (1936)

Amid the anarchy of China, an American mercenary tangles with a ruthless warlord.

Exotic adventure drama has good atmosphere, excellent production value and a good cast, but is a bit slow-going, and the finale outstays its welcome.

Halliwell**: "Heavy-going but very decorative studio-bound intrigue which seems to take place on the old Shanghai Express sets with an extra fusion of dry ice. An intellectual's picture of its day."

Maltin***1/2: "Fine, atmospheric drama of Oriental intrigue..."

Thursday, 27 August 2015

The Conversation (1974)

On the set: Francis Ford Coppola and Gene Hackman

The AristoCats (1970)

With the help of a smooth talking tomcat, a family of Parisian felines set to inherit a fortune from their owner try to make it back home after a jealous butler kidnaps them and leaves them in the country.

Not quite on level with previous Disney masterpieces, this animated feature nonetheless delights with harmless humour, loveable characters and less sentimentality. 

Halliwell**: "Cartoon feature, a moderate example of the studio's work after Disney's death, with rather too few felicitous moments."

Maltin***: "Derivative of earlier Disney animated features but entertaining just the same."

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Scarface (1983)

On the set: Brian De Palma, Al Pacino and Steven Bauer

Safe Haven (2013)

A young woman with a mysterious past lands in Southport, North Carolina where her bond with a widower forces her to confront the dark secret that haunts her.

Mediocre and schmaltzy tearjerker that adds some mild thriller elements; it does have good photography and some suspense, but is otherwise unremarkable.

Maltin**1/2: "...has the requisite small-town scenery and romantic fireworks but adds thriller elements...Hallström manages to keep the Hallmark greeting card schmaltz to a minimum"

Monday, 24 August 2015

Cecil B. DeMille

The Evil Dead (1981)

Five friends travel to a cabin in the woods, where they unknowingly release flesh-possessing demons.

Influential gorefest that still manages to shock and awe; produced with amazing cinematic expertise and lots of allusions to other movies, it's definitely only for those who can stomach the mayhem.

Halliwell (no star): "Semi-professional horror rubbish, blown up from 16mm and looking it.When released in England, it was prosecuted as unsuitable for public showing and gained a cult following..."
Maltin**1/2: "Wildly stylish, ultra-low-budget movie made by precocious college students is one of the grossest horror films provides deliriously imaginative roller coaster ride for those with strong stomachs."

Sunday, 23 August 2015

55 Days at Peking (1963)

Limitless (2011)

With the help of a mysterious pill that enables the user to access 100 percent of his brain abilities, a struggling writer becomes a financial wizard, but it also puts him in a new world with lots of dangers.

A good premise is turned into a frenetically suspenseful thriller with an excellent performance by Bradley Copper, but the conclusion is quite disappointing.

Maltin***: "Imaginative, propulsively paced thriller...Cooper evidences unmistakable star power with a performance that neatly balances witty swagger and skittish paranoia."

Samuel Fuller

Frankenstein (1931)

An obsessed scientist assembles a living being from parts of exhumed corpses.

One of the truly great classics of the horror film: a tale simply and effectively told with superb atmosphere and imaginative settings and a spectacular performance by Boris Karloff.

Halliwell****: "Whole books have been written about this film and its sequels. Apart from being a fascinating if primitive cinematic work in its own right, it set its director and star on interesting paths and established a Hollywood attitude towards horror (mostly borrowed from German silents such as The Golem). A seminal film indeed, which at each repeated viewing belies its age."

Maltin***1/2: "Definitive monster movie...It's creaky at times, and cries for a music score, but it's still is Karloff's performance in the role that made him a star."

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Delphi Filmpalast, Berlin

(reconstruction 1947-1949)

Woodstock (1970)

The film chronicle of the legendary 1969 music festival as director's cut.

Needless to say it's a remarkable document to an even more remarkable event, I sort of grew up with the soundtrack. However, whether this director's cut edition is superior to the initial theatrical version is beyond me. Some music was added, but other performances were deleted...

On renewed viewing. it's still amazing how this documentary accurately captures the feel and the sound of this event.

Halliwell***: "A definitive moment of the 60s, with the mood and music brilliantly captured on film..."

Maltin****: "...brilliantly captures unique communal experience of outdoor rock festival, along with great performances which highlighted unusual weekend bash."

Friday, 21 August 2015

The Public Enemy (1931)

Paranoia (2013)

An entry-level employee at a powerful corporation finds himself occupying a corner office, but at a dangerous price: he must spy on his boss's old mentor to secure for him a multi-billion dollar advantage.

A vacant pretty boy hardly can compete against the senior stars in this hollow and anaemic thriller; the makers certainly didn't consult a dictionary when choosing the title.

Maltin**: "Industrial espionage thriller...the chases, twists, and "accidents" are merely about the next big thing in phones. So what?"

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Being John Malkovich (1999)

On the set: Spike Jonze and John Malkovich

The Young One (1960)

A jazz musician seeks refuge from a lynch mob on a remote island, where he meets a hostile game warden and the young object of his attentions.

A simple tale with a small cast of characters is cleverly turned into a highly ambiguous allegory about racism, bigotry and innocence.

Maltin*1/2: "Turgid, much-too-obvious melodrama is a disappointment from Buñuel."

In former days...

New acquisition: The General Died at Dawn (1936)

Next movie in the Noir series.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

La décade prodigieuse (1971)

On the set: Claude Chabrol and Orson Welles

Lockout (2012)

A man wrongly convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage against the U.S. is offered his freedom if he can rescue the president's daughter from an outer space prison taken over by violent inmates.

Sloppily made sci-fi action drama that hardly thrills; Guy Pearce as an endlessly wisecracking Bruce Willis wannabe is particularly unnerving.

Maltin**1/2: "Pearce's Bogart-like banter lifts this futuristic action tale...He definitely saves this over-the-top testosterone yarn by deftly creating an easygoing style of delivery for his clever, smart-aleck rogue."