Friday, 30 October 2015

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

On the set: Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke

Lies & Illusions (2009)

A self help author is hunted by thugs who believe the writer holds millions of dollars in diamonds stolen by his dead fiancée.

Not so convincing thriller which offers an uneven mixture of suspense and humor.

Audrey Hepburn

Armored (2009)

A newbie guard for an armored truck company is coerced by his veteran coworkers to steal a truck containing $42 million, but a wrinkle in their supposedly foolproof plan divides the group, leading to a potentially deadly resolution.

High-tension heist drama with an impressible cast, well done, but all for the usual 'crime doesn't pay' result.

Maltin**: "A throwback to low-budget B movies of yore, this OK actioner will neither overly impress nor greatly disappoint genre fans."

La viaccia (1961)

On the set: Claudia Cardinale

Earthflight (2011) (TV)

A nature documentary about a bird's-eye view of the natural world, joining the journeys of snow geese, cranes, albatrosses, eagles and other birds across six continents.

Top quality nature shooting, nice to watch, but not really that insightful.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Spellbound (1945)

Diabolique (1996)

The wife and mistress of the sadistic dean of an exclusive prep school conspire to murder him.

Superfluous remake of Henri-Georges Clouzot's classic which proves that a star cast and adequate production don't necessarily result into a great movie.

Halliwell (no star): "An appalling remake of  Henri-Georges Clouzot's masterly Les Diaboliques; it is boring, badly made and miserably acted."

Maltin*1/2: "Top-notch cast founders in this amazingly monotonous (not to mention crude and embarassing) redo of the 1955 classic...This dreary film thoroughly trashes the memory of the original - and even the made-for-TV remakes!"

Det sjunde inseglet (1957)

Back to the Future Part III (1990)

Enjoying a peaceable existence in 1885, Doctor Emmet Brown is about to be killed by Buford "Mad Dog" Tannen, so Marty McFly travels back in time to save his friend.

Satisfyingly exciting comclusion of the series, this time as an amusing Western parody and with a nice romantic interest for the doctor.

Halliwell***: "Good-natured fun at the expense of calssic Western movies."

Maltin***1/2: "Delightful conclusion to this time-travel trilogy...The dormant movie Western gets a major dose of adrenaline from this high-tech, high-powered comic adventure, which offers great fun, dazzling special effects, and imagination to spare. There's real movie magic at work here."

The Deer Hunter (1978)

On the set: Christopher Walken and Robert De Niro

New acquisition: Tesis (1996)

Wanted to see this one for quite a while.

María Félix

Back to the Future Part II (1989)

After visiting 2015, Marty McFly must repeat his visit to 1955 to prevent disastrous changes to 1985 without interfering with his first trip.

Another top-notch time travel comedy, highly entertaining, although this time around the plot is far more complex.

Halliwell (no star): "Extraordinarily raucous, confusingly plotted, poorly performed (rarely have actors aged so unconvincingly) sequel that amounts to little more than a trailer for the third part of the series."

Maltin**: "Joyless, frenetic follow-up...Considerable ingenuity, but hardly any laughs, and a surprising amount of unpleasantness. Works best toward the end when it creates a parallel existence to the climactic action in Part 1, but then it turns out to be a cliffhanger, advertising the upcoming Part III! Talk about a cheat..."

Barbarella (1968)

On the set: Jane Fonda
(ph: David Hurn)

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Southern Comforts (1971)

A Backwoods Beauty Contest is just one of the "Southern Comforts" a flesh-peddlin' con artist offers customers when he sets up shop in the barn of an ol' coot known as The Colonel and his idiot son, Junior.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

R.I.P. Maureen O'Hara

Martyrs (2008)

A young woman's quest for revenge against the people who kidnapped and tormented her as a child leads her and a friend, who is also a victim of child abuse, on a terrifying journey into a living hell of depravity.

Nelson Eddy

Anderson (2014)

Sascha Anderson, born 1953, was the charismatic pop star of East Berlin’s oppositional literary scene in Prenzlauer Berg in the 1980s, a close acquaintance of famous GDR intellectuals such as Christa Wolf and Heiner Müller - and he was a zealous informer working for the Stasi, snitching on friends and colleagues.

Intense and fascinating investigation of  betrayal; the figure of Sascha Anderson remains enigmatic, even in the present-day interviews.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Alice Faye

The Baker (2007)

A hit man has second thoughts about his career and seeks refuge from his boss by finding work as a baker in a rural Welsh village.

OK British black comedy with a good plot and competent cast, but not as hilarious as one would expect.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

R.I.P. Chantal Akerman

The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)

A doctor, scientist, organist, and biblical scholar, Dr. Anton Phibes, seeks revenge on the nine doctors he considers responsible for his wife's death

Buddy Ebsen

Quantum Apocalypse (2010)

A group of talented but rebellious 'rock-star scientists' find themselves in a race against time to save Earth when a comet makes an unexpected turn towards our blue planet where all life may cease to exist within days if our small town heroes fail to find a solution.

Another comet-threat doomsday movie which manages to lower the bar in all departments; so ridiculous, it is not even funny.

Neyneen Farrell

Kyaputen Hârokku (2013)

Determined to keep the malevolent Gaia Coalition from ruling the universe, one man boldly attacks enemy spaceships.

Anime space opera based on an seemingly epic manga has a lot of visual splendor, but the plot is overladen with the original comic's mythology making it difficult to follow.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Thursday, 22 October 2015

January Jones

(ph: Francesco Carrozzini)


Back to the Future (1985)

A young man is accidentally sent 30 years into the past in a time-traveling DeLorean invented by his friend and must make sure his high-school-age parents unite in order to save his own existence.

Highly entertaining sci-fi comedy that intelligently takes a playful view on time travel; an instant classic that hasn't dated at all.

Halliwell***: "Lightheart Twilight Zone fantasy which certainly pleased the international multitudes."

Maltin***: "Wonderful, wacked-out time travel comedy takes its time to get going, but once it does, it's a lot of fun building to a frantic climax...Lloyd is a standout as crazed scientist who sets story in motion."

Glenda Farrell

Primal Fear (1996)

An altar boy is accused of murdering a priest, and hotshot lawyer tries to prove his innocence.

Effective crime-courtroom drama with a multi-playered plot with a malicious twist ending; Edward Norton outplays the rest of the (otherwise adeqaute) cast.

Halliwell (no star): "An implausible thriller with a twist at its end, but one that diminishes all that has gone before, so that an audience is more likely to feel cheated than surprised."

Maltin***: "Gere gives a solid performance in one of his very best roles...Newcomer Norton is also very impressive. Film loses some of its impact by going on too long and by following unrelated story tangents. Still, an intelligent, absorbing drama."

Geraldine Chaplin

(ph: David Bailey)

Jack the Giant Slayer (2013)

The ancient war between humans and a race of giants is reignited when Jack, a young farmhand fighting for a kingdom and the love of a princess, opens a gateway between the two worlds.

Not-so-bad take on the classic children's tale, great settings and thrilling action, but the giants might be a bit too gruesome for kids.

Maltin**1/2: "Elaborate telling of the famous fairy tale...Knockout visual effects and a good cast make this fairly enjoyable, though it goes on longer than it should. Parents should also know that this seemingly family-friendly film has a lot of mayhem in it."