Saturday, 24 June 2017

Edgar Bergen

Guyver: Dark Hero (1994)

The unwilling host to an alien bio-armor known as the Guyver is trying to find why the Guyver unit forces him to fight and kill evil.

Maybe enjoyable as camp considering the x-double minus performances, the silly, almost cute monster costumes and the fact that the existence of our galaxy is being rescued from someone's backyard.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Lexi Atkins

The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)

A research team is sent to the Jurassic Park Site B island to study the dinosaurs there while another team approaches with another agenda.

Great special effects and some humour make this sequel entertaining, but basically this is an old-fashioned monster movie.

Halliwell*: "The special effects are to be wondered at, as is the fact that the script is cloned from the oldest and most familiar elements of monster movies; this is a dinosaur about dinosaurs."

Maltin**1/2: "Completely contrived sequel to JURASSIC PARK benefits from Goldblum's deprecating dialogue and superior special effects. Enough cliffhanger-style action scenes to make up for the lulls."

Marion Bell

Ich seh ich seh (2014)

Twin boys move to a new home with their mother after she has face changing cosmetic surgery, but under her bandages is someone the children don't recognize.

Unusual Austrian shocker successfully creates an atmosphere of isolation and dread, but has some truly nasty scenes and a puzzling ending.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Judy Bamber

Antichrist (2009)

A grieving couple retreat to their cabin in the woods, hoping to repair their broken hearts and troubled marriage, but nature takes its course and things go from bad to worse.

Ambiguous black fairy tale, basically a two person drama congenially set and photographed in a dark forest; some scenes may not be suitable for the squeamish.

Maltin**: "Intense, gorgeously designed drama becomes increasingly gruesome, with some scenes so brutally graphic they're nearly impossible to watch. This isn't SAW-type torture porn; it's grimly serious, but also very difficult to decipher, with touches of fantasy thrown in. To say it's not for all tastes is an understatement, but those interested in writer-director von Trier may well find something to their liking."

Scarlett Johansson

We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011)

Kevin's mother struggles to love her strange child, despite the increasingly vicious things he says and does as he grows up, but Kevin is just getting started, and his final act will be beyond anything anyone imagined.

Half character study, half Bad Seed horror movie, the tale is slowly revealed through a complex patchwork of flashbacks and offers an intense performance by Tilda Swinton.

Maltin**: "Swinton delivers a deeply felt performance...Miller is chilling as the adolescent boy. Knowing where the story is headed makes watching this flashback-laden  film a torturous experience, though it was highly praised by many critics and moviegoers."

Sunday, 18 June 2017

The Imitation Game (2014)

Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father (2008)

A filmmaker decides to memorialize a murdered friend when his friend's ex-girlfriend announces she is expecting his son.

Mesmerizing and heart-wrenching documentary is fast-paced and overabundant with details and is remarkable, as events occurring during the making of the film turn its intentions completely around.

Maltin***1/2: "Riveting, emotionally charged documentary...illustrates how real life often is stranger than fiction."

Lauren Bacall

Tootsie (1982)

An unsuccessful actor, disguises himself as a woman in order to get a role on a trashy hospital soap.

Highly entertaining gender comedy with a great cast (Dustin Hoffman in the title role is spectacular), intelligent direction and an excellent script.

Halliwell****: "As with Genevieve and Whisky Galore, an unlikely comedy subject makes an instant classic. It's all in the handling."

Maltin****: "Smashing comedy...Farcical premise becomes totally credible thanks to razor-sharp script..., fine direction, and superlative performances all around..."

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Tilly Losch

Prometheus (2012)

A team of explorers discover a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth, leading them on a journey to the darkest corners of the universe.

All the ingredients are there, and certainly this has been made by an intelligent craftsman and a great cast, but the plot doesn't add this all up and has too many open ends.

On renewed viewing: I still agree with my first assessment: the script is muddled, but the movie does deliver some of the goods.

Maltin ***: "Companion piece to Scott's ALIEN offers echos of that film in both good and not-so-good ways: it's thoughtful and intelligent, with two strong female characters, and masterfully crafted, but gives way to icky, gross-out moments...right up to the end. Fassbender is a standout as a sly, watchful robot who's one step ahead of everyone else."

Joanna Shimkus

New acquisition: Skammen (1968)

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Jack Benny

Spaceballs (1987)

Planet Spaceballs' President Skroob sends Lord Dark Helmet to steal planet Druidia's abundant supply of air to replenish their own, and only Lone Starr can stop them.

Hit-and-miss sci-fi spoof is for the most time simply silly, the more successful sequences are the ones directly parodying popular sci-fi movie scenes.

Halliwell (no star): "Flabby spoof of Star Wars, without any funny ideas."

Maltin**1/2: "Likably silly parody of STAR WARS (years after the fact) is basically a collection of jokes, both verbal and visual. Enough of them are funny to make for pleasant, if not hilarious, fun. Surprisingly innocuous for Brooks and Co..."

Alain Delon

The Fall (2006)

In a hospital on the outskirts of 1920s Los Angeles, an injured stuntman begins to tell a fellow patient, a little girl with a broken arm, a fantastic story of five mythical heroes.

Visually beautiful and mesmerizing the movie has an interesting premise, but somewhere along the line the tale loses its hold on one's interest, so that the ending is not as touching as it was intended.

Maltin**1/2: "Visual alternately whimsical and ponderous, but location filming in more than 20 countries provides a panorama of stunning locations for his [Tarsem Singh's] showy, often imaginatively staged sequences."

Atonement (2007)

New acquisition: Gattaca (1997)

Mauvais sang (1986)

Manchester by the Sea (2016)

A depressed uncle is asked to take care of his teenage nephew after the boy's father dies.

Meticuluosly performed and produced slice-of-life drama, at times heart-wrenching, but also a bit drab, espacially as the plot keeps piling up the blows of fate.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Adelaide Bell

Red Dawn (2012)

A group of teenagers look to save their town from an invasion of North Korean soldiers.

Superfluous remake of a silly Cold War propaganda actioner has no redeeming qualities except for some watchable action, but probably worse than the original, since the premise has even less clout than it hardly had 30 years before.

Maltin**1/2: "...surprisingly watchable remake of John Milius' 1984 kids-versus-Commies shoot 'em-up. Premise is silly, performances and dialogue are uneven, at best, but some rousing action sequences have an impressive semi-documentary quality."

New acquisition: Manchester by the Sea (2016)

Sissi (1955)

Pitch Perfect (2012)

A freshman at Barden University is cajoled into joining The Bellas, her school's all-girls singing group, injecting some much needed energy into their repertoire to take on their male rivals in a campus competition.

Likable and mildly entertaining musical comedy; however, makes one wonder: acapella singing and medleys as teenage fun in the 21st century, really?

Maltin***: "Lively comedy...Strictly formulaic  in terms of storytelling but effervescent and fun, with top-notch musical performances. Wilson is a comedic standout as Fat Amy."

Saturday, 10 June 2017

It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955)

District 9 (2009)

An extraterrestrial race forced to live in slum-like conditions on Earth suddenly finds a kindred spirit in a government agent who is exposed to their biotechnology.

Amazingly unusual sci-fi tale which is fast-paced and thrilling, the special effects quite realistic (and gory), and the movie also has its own ati-racist message.
Maltin***1/2: "Told in documentary style, this canny, captivating science-fiction tale grabs you and never lets go. Exceptional visual effects seamlessly woven into the storytelling."