Friday, 29 April 2016

Kat Graham

Obsession (1976)

A wealthy New Orleans businessman becomes obsessed with a young woman who resembles his deceased wife.

Masterful exercise in Hitchcock style clearly referencing Vertigo; atmosphere and tension are well are finely recreated, and the plot has some slight twists without being too complex.

Halliwell*: "Hitchcockian adventure with a few unwise attempts at seriousness, a la Don't Look Now. Generally entertaining, skilled and quite rewarding."

Maltin**1/2: "Viwers who don't remember VERTIGO might enjoy this rehash...Holds up until denouement."

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

The Jungle Book (2016)

The man-cub Mowgli flees the jungle after a threat from the tiger Shere Khan and, guided by Bagheera the panther and the bear Baloo, he embarks on a journey of self-discovery, though he also meets creatures who don't have his best interests at heart.

Highly entertaining updated version of Kipling's classic, mixing excellent CGI animation with a real  (good) actor playing Mowgli, resulting in more realistic and in parts dark and upsetting sequences for a child audience.


Thursday, 28 April 2016

Grace Kelly

New acquisition: All is Lost (2013)

Another dvd I found on sale.

Charles Chaplin

New acquisition: The Butler (2013)

Found this recently on sale at our local drugstore.

Kay English

Contre toi (2010)

An act of revenge takes an unexpected turn when perpetrator and victim get to know each other.

Intense idiosyncratic psychodrama with a superb cast manages to suprise but leaves the audience bepuzzled.

Paul Newman

Sherlock Holmes (2009)

Detective Sherlock Holmes and his stalwart partner Watson engage in a battle of wits and brawn with a nemesis whose plot is a threat to all of England.

The classic Victorian detective downgraded to contemporary cinema blockbuster standards; the sets are quite spectacular, though.

On second view: I still stay with my initial evaluation and must add the movie is quite boring despite all the spectacle.

On renewed viewing: still not thrilled about it, bit it's watchable.

Maltin**: "Murky, noisy, overproduced claptrap ...Annoying in the extreme - and unintelligible at times - the film gets better in the second half as an actual story emerges, but the overuse of Ritchie-branded editing and CGI effects is deadening."

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Purple Rain (1984)

A young musician, tormented by an abusive situation at home, must contend with a rival singer, a burgeoning romance, and his own dissatisfied band, as his star begins to rise.

An 80s pulp musical lives plainly through Prince' excellent music and the performances and through the amateur cast's enthusiasm, but otherwise it's a routine production and quite dated.

Maltin**1/2: "Dynamic concert sequences are undercut by soppy storyline and sexist, unappealing characters - especially Prince's."

Barbarella (1968)

Far from Heaven (2002)

In 1950s Connecticut, a housewife faces a marital crisis and mounting racial tensions in the outside world.

In all departments masterful reimagination of a Douglas Sirk melodrama contrasting its artificiality and the protagonists' superficial restraint with the lowdown of the issues that are still relevant even today.

Halliwell (no star): "Elegantly designed and shot and acted, and made in the style of a Douglas Sirk melodrama, this subverts the form by bringing to the fore what would have been the subtext of the movie in the 1950s; it is undeniably clever, but too often feels like an exercise in style."

Maltin***: "Fascinating filmmmaking exercise in which writer-director Haynes replicates the look and feel of a Douglas Sirk Technicolor soap opera, while tackling issues that would have been taboo in that era...Not so much a parody as a recreation, as if a 1957 movie were being made in 2002, with art direction, camerawork, costuming, music, and color that recall such films as ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS."

Blood From the Mummy's Tomb (1971)

New acquisition: Carol (2015)

I liked the movie so much I had to get the Blu-ray.

2+5 missione Hydra (1966)

War of the Worlds (2005)

As Earth is invaded by alien tripod fighting machines, one family fights for survival.

An effective and very imaginative variation than an adaptation of the classic sci-fi novel, some scenes even reach Hieronymous Bosch intensity.
On second view: I still find it exciting.

On renewed viewing: must admit: a gulity pleasure of mine...

Maltin**1/2: "Update of H. G. Wells' novel never names Mars as the source of the invaders, but wastes no time getting started, throwing action and special effects sequences at the viewer almost nonstop...but it ends with a whimper, not a bang, muting the entire experience."

Une Femme est une femme (1961)

New acquisition: The Pervert's Guide to Ideology (2012)

Part 2 of Slavoj Zizek's take on cinema.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Lon Chaney, Sr.

Proof of Life (2000)

A woman hires a professional negotiator to obtain the release of her engineer husband, who has been kidnapped by anti-government guerrillas in South America.

Fairly routine thriller that works as actioner, but hardly offers anything beyond that.

Halliwell (no star): "A movie that fails to make an audience care for the people involved, for all its attempts to update Casablanca with its repressed romance and world-weary airs."

Maltin**1/2: "Entertaining if all-too-familiar soap-opera/thriller..."

Sue England

The Big Combo (1955)

A police lt. is ordered to stop investigating a deadly crime boss, because he hasn't been able to get any hard evidence against him, so he goes after the criminal's girlfriend, who despises him, for information instead.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Lon Chaney, Jr.

Encounters at the End of the World (2007)

Film-maker Werner Herzog travels to the McMurdo Station in Antarctica, looking to capture the continent's beauty and investigate the characters living there.

Typical for Werner Herzog, this exploration of a forbiddngly uninhabitable and strange continent is idiosyncratic and intense and offers insights no other director would achieve.

Maltin***1/2: "This right-brain travelogue feeds the mind, the eye, and the mind's eye. Wryly, sometimes impatiently, narrated by the director, who dedicates the film to Roger Ebert."

Wera Engels

Virus (1999)

When the crew of an American tugboat boards an abandoned Russian research vessel, the alien life form aboard regards them as a virus which must be destroyed.
Trashy (and gory) sci-fi monster movie with a good cast which is actually quite entertaining.
On renewed viewing: I must admit this movie movie i s a little guilty pleasure of mine.
Halliwell (no star): "Frenetic, simple-minded science fiction that follows an obvious course with few surprises along the way."
Maltin BOMB: "Drearily routine,with borrowed ideas and stereotyped characters, though Curtis and Pacula try."

Gezora, Ganime, Kameba: Kessen! Nankai no daikaijû (1970)

Ghosts of Mars (2001)

A story of human colonists on Mars who must be rescued after becoming possessed by vengeful Martian ghosts.

This is like Assault on Precinct 13 set into a sci-fi context, but compared to that masterpiece this has a very messy script, mediocre performances and a silly, superfluous and irritating flashback-in-a-flashback dramaturgy.

On second view: still not good, but has some entertainment value.

Halliwell (no star): "Quaint, old-fashioned sf adventure, with a feeble premise for some unexciting action."

Maltin*1/2: "Routine, predictable, and dull: unimaginatively, the Martian-possessed people adopt a punk/grunge look."

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)