Wednesday, 19 July 2017
Tuesday, 18 July 2017
A German Scientist has aided an ex Soviet general in constructing a nuclear weapon which is now in the possession of an American mercenary heading across Europe in a hijacked goods train.
Despite having a star cast this made-for-TV thriller with a far-fetched, nearly ridiculous story can't spark any tension.
Monday, 17 July 2017
A young photographer and his girlfriend discover mysterious shadows in their photographs after a tragic accident, and they soon learn that you can not escape your past.
Nicely eerie variation of a ghost story, the atmosphere similarly gloomy as in the original Ring/Grudge series, and the emphasis is more on guilt than the mere supernatural.
Sunday, 16 July 2017
Both a journalist and a documentary filmmaker chase the story of a murder and its prime suspect.
Unabashedly pretentious exercise that takes a true crime case as an excuse to doodle about fact and fiction, the tagline sums it up perfectly: "Forget the truth, find the story"; the good cast does their best with their invidious roles, though.
Shortly after delivering a patient to an understaffed hospital, a police officer experiences strange and violent occurrences seemingly linked to a group of mysterious hooded figures.
An over-the-top gorefest made by cineastes who know what they're going and do it well, and their love for the respective 80s classics is obvious; that the plot is incoherent and nonsensical, won't bother hardcore fans of the genre.
Saturday, 15 July 2017
When the police in a German city are unable to catch a child-murderer, other criminals join in the manhunt.
One of the few true masterpieces in cinema history, meticulously made in all departments, every single take in itself an expressionistic work of art; as a clairvoyant social (and political) melodrama it stills grips even today, and Peter Lorre's performance is arguably one of the greatest of all time.
Halliwell***: "An unmistakable classic whose oddities are hardly worth criticizing, this is part social melodrama and part satire, but entirely unforgettable, with most of its sequences brilliantly staged."
Maltin****: "Harrowing melodrama...Riveting and frighteningly contemporary; cinematically dazzling, especially for an early talkie. Lorre's performance is unforgettable."
A chronicle of the rise and fall of O.J. Simpson, whose high-profile murder trial exposed the extent of American racial tensions, revealing a fractured and divided nation.
Grand-scale documentary doesn't bring up any new facts, but its enormous revelatory power is in putting it all together and into full context not only with its period, but with today's U.S.A. and its unresolved racial and social conflicts as well.
Friday, 14 July 2017
A rejected military soldier transforms into Captain America after taking a dose of a "Super-Soldier serum", but being Captain America comes at a price as he attempts to take down a war monger and a terrorist organization.
Fairly entertaining comic-book adaptation with some good period detail; thankfully, the original's unflattering patriotism is toned down, and the villain is not the Third Reich itself, but a renegade madman Über-Nazi.
Maltin**1/2: "First half of this period piece is good fun, but story loses its thrust and doesn't even provide an honest ending. Evans is quite good in the title role; visual effects turn him into a puny version of himself for the early scenes."
Following Kick-Ass' heroics, other citizens are inspired to become masked crusaders, but Red Mist leads his own group of evil supervillains to get revenge, kill Kick-Ass and destroy everything he stands for.
Lacklustre sequel comes along as a tired attempt (and miss) to revive the original's charm; and there's a disagreeable, imbalanced mixture of humour and violence.
Maltin*1/2: "The purpose and momentum of the original film are gone, along with some of its most compelling characters. What's left is a vulgar, violent look at Hit Girl...and a lot of obnoxious posturing by egomaniacal villain Red Mist...Carrey is wasted as a newly introduced vigilante leader and Taylor-Johnson's role is reduced to meaninglessness. Comic-book moviemaking at its worst."
Thursday, 13 July 2017
Hit men kill an unresisting victim, and an investigator uncovers his past involvement with beautiful, deadly woman.
Film noir classic with extraordinary b/w photography and excellent performances, Ava Gardner, however, is not quite convincing as femme fatale; the plot is more an imagination about Ernest Hemingways story than an adaptation.
On renewed viewing: Hemingway's famous short story is merely the trigger for an intriguing, complex Noir crime story, arguably one of genre's best; both Lancaster as the 'innocent' cuckold and Gardner as the inscrutable femme fatale set standards with their performances.
Halliwell***: "Elaborate tale of cross and double-cross, stunningly executed."
Maltin****: "Compelling crime drama...Film provides fireworks, early success of Lancaster (in film debut) and Gardner."
Tuesday, 11 July 2017
A family is devastated by an accident that takes place on the day their matriarch is due to graduate from college -- decades after leaving to raise her children.
Well-made family drama with a large ensemble of characters demands some attention, before one can peice together the stories from different time periods; the cast is splendid, especially Dafoe as the horrifyingly tyrannical father.
In the days leading up to the 1936 Olympics, the fate of high jumper Gretel Bergmann hangs in the balance as it is decided whether or not a Jewish athlete can be a part of the German Olympic team.
Stirring and agitating depiction of an episode exemplifying the Nazi regime's madness and cruelty; cast and period details are excellent.
Sunday, 9 July 2017
While imprisoned in a Confederate girls' boarding school, an injured Union soldier cons his way into each of the lonely women's hearts, causing them to turn on each other, and eventually, on him.
Unusual misanthropic psychodrama, effectively staged in a Southern period setting and with some good performances.
On renewed viewing: Despite the sexual tension and amiguities of the plot the movie is very straightforward in its approach.
Halliwell*: "Eccentric melodrama which does not really work despite its credentials and patient work all round."
Maltin***: "Offbeat, methodically paced story...Unusual Eastwood fare, but for patient viewers. a rich, rewarding film."
A dachshund passes from oddball owner to oddball owner, whose radically dysfunctional lives are all impacted by the pooch.
As to be expected from this director this episodic is downbeat, bleak and tinged with a dark humour, but more subdued, probably due to the shortness of each story; still, we get some great performances and enlightening moments, although the dog himself seems to be merely the unwilling observer of the events told.