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 What I've Just Watched: Part 2

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 2   Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:42 am

Closely Observed Trains (1st view) - Czechoslovakian drama about the employees of a railway station near the end of WWII - 4/5*




Deep Blue Sea (2nd view) - SPOILERS - - For a film that seems to be on TV every week I'm amazed that I haven't seen this since it first became available to rent. All I could remember about it was the famous death scene of SLJ. A bigger surprise for me this time was Saffron Burrows becoming shark food. Silly, cheesy fun - 3/5




The Thing (4th view) - For years and years I've gone on about how much I really don;t like this film. Time to eat some humble pie then as it's really quite good. I still think it's gory for the sake of it, some of the decisions made are laughable and I'm still not sure why the blood test works when cutting yourself to get the blood doesn't, but on the whole so much better than I remembered. The Thing From Another World is a better film though! - 4/5






_________________
We renounce our Maker.
We cleave to the darkness.
We take unto ourselves the power and glory.
Behold! We are the Nine,
The Lords of Unending Life.


Frakkin toasters!

So, what, the murder weapon was a top sirloin?

He's a klutz, Mrs. Landingham. Your president's a geek!
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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 2   Fri Aug 17, 2012 7:51 am

Pontypool (1st view) - Intriguing horror film set in a Canadian radio station as the three staff members get reports of a zomblie-like outbreak - 4/5*





Caveman (1st view) - Written and directed by Gottlieb, (him what did Jaws) this action in this film begins on the 9th October, 1 zilllion years BC. Ringo Starr (aka the best Beatle) stars as Anouk, a foolish and lowly caveman frowned upon by the rest of his tribe who, along with a very youthful Dennis Quaid, gets banished. He unwittingly finds himself the leader of a new tribe and sets about discovering music, fire, learns to walk upright, fries an egg and kills dinosaurs. There's some great stop-motion effects, a lovely score from Lalo Schifrin (including some very deliberate Also sprach Zarathustra -like themes for moments of evolutionary importance and a nod to Valkyries during a Pterodactyl attack), a yeti, a fun turn from Shelly Long as a woman who has the hots for Starr and, of course, Starr himself. The only one worth watching in the films made by The Beatles, he's hardly setting the world alight in this with his acting ability but he is fun to watch, though it does sound odd having a caveman speak like Thomas the Tank Engine. The film's immeasurably better than the obvious inspiration, One Millions Years BC. Great fun but I imagine it's not one for everyone.


_________________
We renounce our Maker.
We cleave to the darkness.
We take unto ourselves the power and glory.
Behold! We are the Nine,
The Lords of Unending Life.


Frakkin toasters!

So, what, the murder weapon was a top sirloin?

He's a klutz, Mrs. Landingham. Your president's a geek!
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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 2   Sat Aug 18, 2012 12:57 am

The Anderson Tapes (1971), directed by Sidney Lumet (12 Angry Men (1957), The Hill (1965), Dog Day Afternoon (1975) and Network (1976)), this is a taut heist film with a touch of paranoia to the proceedings, from a 1970 novel by Lawrence Sanders. It's well made, and the camera work and sound is top notch, it even has a good male lead, playing well against type and with an (almost) convincing American accent too. Duke Anderson (Sean Connery) is a criminal who has been in the slammer for 10 years. As soon as he's out, he instantly renews his relationship with his old girlfriend Ingrid (Dyan Cannon). She lives in a very posh apartment block at 1 East 91st Street in New York City, and Duke decides that he wants to rob the apartments, knowing that the tenants are rich. He gets help from mob boss Pat Angelo (Alan King), William "Pop" Myer (Stan Gottlieb) and The Kid. (Christopher Walken, in his first film.) However, what Duke doesn't know is that everything he says and does is being recorded by several government agencies, all of whom are investigating members of Duke's team for other crimes they're wanted for. It's a good thriller, and Connery manages to make a good crook as well. The heist is well done as well, and it's very tense as well. It kinda set up what would eventually happen with Watergate, and it shows the strengths and pitfalls of surveillance. Lumet keeps the tension up throughout, and he doesn't stop. 4/5



Nightbreed (1990), after the success of Hellraiser (1987), Hollywood came calling to Clive Barker. He decided he would adapt his own novella Cabal for Morgan Creek. This is the film that should have put him on the map as a brilliant filmmaker, it had a great concept, however studio interference would put the kibosh on that, which is a great shame, as this is a brilliantly cheesy but effective and scary horror film, and there is a hint of what could have been. It has Aaron Boone (Craig Sheffer), a disturbed young man plagued by dreams of a city called Midian, which is located underground and has allsorts of weird creatures and the like, which are known as the Nightbreed. However, Aaron is framed for murder by his psychiatrist, Decker (David Cronenberg), Aaron ends up being killed by the police and resurrected by the magic of Midian. He has become one of them, and along with the other creatures decide to battle humans, who want to bring them down. It's a silly but entertaining monster feature, Barker is certainly imaginative, and there's some good moments in the film, and it has a black sense of humour running through it's veins. The score by Danny Elfman is very good, and it's well designed. The longer version of the film has been doing the rounds of horror festivals, will it be any better?? :Wink: 3.5/5



Eureka (1983), after working on Bad Timing (1980), director Nicolas Roeg and producer Jeremy Thomas got lucky, and got the opportunity to do a film for United Artists. They chose an adaptation of Marshall Houts' 1976 book Who Killed Sir Harry Oakes?, which was a real life murder mystery. However, Roeg would change a few things around, making it more loosely based on the book. It has his usual touches, and it is way over the top in places, but it works. In the Yukon territories of Canada sometime in the 1920's, Klondike prospector Jack McCann (Gene Hackman) comes across a huge goldmine in the snowy mountains. Rich beyond his wildest dreams, he becomes one of the richest men in the world, and 20 years later. McCann now lives on an estate in the Carribean called Eureka. McCann is now isolated from the world, he now has everything, and it's starting to alienate him. He believes his daughter Tracy (Theresa Russell) and her French husband Claude Maillot Van Horn (Rutger Hauer) are conspiring to kill him. Plus, Miami gangsters Mayakofsky (Joe Pesci) and Aurelio D'Amato (Mickey Rourke) are also wanting a piece of McCann's fortune. It's a very unusual film, very well filmed, but it requires patience and what Roeg has created here is something like There Will Be Blood, only with gold instead of oil. Only, Roeg has a very unusually way of looking at things, but he's able to get the best from his cast, but it's not a film for everyone. 3.5/5



Insignificance (1985), while Bad Timing (1980) and Eureka (1983) may have went down well with the critics, but not at the box-office, that didn't stop Nicolas Roeg working again with producer Jeremy Thomas. This time going for an adaptation of Terry Johnson's 1982 play, first performed at the Royal Court Theatre. It's a good play on film, with the actors playing their subjects well, or are they?? Knowing Roeg, nothing is ever that simple. In 1954, in a hotel in New York City, The Actress (Theresa Russell) meets The Professor (Michael Emil). The Actress has been in town making a film, while her husband The Ballplayer (Gary Busey) looks on in discomfort, so he goes off into the night. The Professor has a dilemma, he's been interrupted by The Senator (Tony Curtis), who has come to The Professor's room to try and coax him into attending committee hearing to investigate the activities of The Professor. However, The Actress wants to sleep with the Professor, but when The Ballplayer arrives, he and The Actress try to sort out their marital problems, and The Senator will not leave The Professor alone, even as he's trying to work out complicated mathematical calculations. It's a very unusual film and like a lot of Roeg's film's, it require's patience. It mixes the setting of the 1950's with music from the 1980's, the cast give great performances as the people they're meant to be, but it's never said who they are, we're only meant to presume that. But, it also has the best explosion on screen, topping Zabriskie Point. 3/5



Mirror Mirror (2012), the other Snow White film of 2012, this one directed by Tarsem Singh (The Cell (2000) and Immortals (2011)), and unlike Snow White and the Huntsman (2012), this one is lighter and played for childish laughs. Kinda like a pantomime, but it has a good spirited cast, and even though a lot of the gags are corny and there is some hammy acting here and there, it works visually, only just mind you. Snow White (Lily Collins) has spent most of her childhood imprisoned by the Queen (Julia Roberts), who made Snow White's father The King (Sean Bean), vanish 10 years previously in the forest. But, Snow White finds herself attracted to Prince Andrew Alcott (Armie Hammer), trouble is, the Queen is also attracted to Prince Andrew as well. The Queen orders Snow White to be killed, but Snow White ends up in league with dwarf bandits Grimm (Danny Woodburn), Butcher (Martin Klebba), Wolf (Sebastian Saraceno), Napoleon (Jordan Prentice), Half Pint (Mark Povinelli), Grub (Joe Gnoffo), and Chuck (Ronald Lee Clark). They devise a plan to take back the kingdom and overthrow the Queen, but then the Queen turns to magic to aid her battle against Snow White. It's very silly, but it does have some good laughs. The Dwarves are fun, and they are able to kick ass as well, and Roberts is able to have fun after years of serious roles and romantic films. Nathan Lane appears as her bumbling manservant Brighton, and he's always a good addition to any film. 3/5



30 Minutes or Less (2011), directed by Ruben Fleischer, (Zombieland (2009), Gangster Squad (2013)), this is a stoner comedy which shares blood with Pineapple Express (2008), but the humour in this is blacker, and it has moments of suspense, action and very funny dialogue, which makes for a good mixture and a good 83 minutes of film. Fleischer has the makings of a great director, and he does well with his second film. In Cedar Rapids, Michigan, stoner pizza delivery driver Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) lives the life of a slacker, getting by on weed and bumming off other people. However, he gets more than he bargained for when he delivers to Dwayne King (Danny McBride) and Travis Cord (Nick Swardson), two psychotic delinquents who have a plan. Dwayne is sick of being overpowered by his father, The Major (Fred Ward), and he wants an assassin to pick off his Dad, but he needs $100,000 to do it. So, he straps a bomb to Nick, and tells him to rob a bank, otherwise Nick dies. Nick ends up getting his friend Chet (Aziz Ansari) involved in trying to rob the bank as well, but nothing goes to plan, and Nick and Chet try to play Dwayne and Travis at their own game. It's a very good film which manages to do a lot with short running time and a limited budget, kinda like what Zombieland did. It's got a funny script and good performances by Eisenberg and McBride. There are bits that do suspend belief, but maybe that's the point, it's rude and down n' dirty and proud of it, and it works too. 4/5



Predators (2010), back in 1994, Robert Rodriguez was asked to do another Predator film, that never materialised, but after the critical backlash to Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem (2007), 20th Century Fox got Rodriguez to revive it, Rodriguez would produce it, and he got Nimród Antal, who did Vacancy (2007) and Armored (2009) to direct it. It's a very good sci-fi action, suspensful, exciting and entertaining. It begins with a group of humans being dropped into a jungle on another planet, they are US Army Special Forces Operator Royce (Adrien Brody), Russian soldier Nikolai (Oleg Taktarov), Yakuza killer Hanzo (Louis Ozawa Changchien), Death Row inmate Stans (Walton Goggins), United Front officer, Mombasa (Mahershalalhashbaz Ali), black ops sniper Isabelle, (Alice Braga). doctor Edwin (Topher Grace) and Mexican drug cartel Cuchillo (Danny Trejo). They soon discover they're not alone in this planets jungle, then they discover what they're up against, and they they meet the crazy survivor Noland (Laurence Fishburne), who has been there for years up against the Predators. This is a very old school action film, it has some brilliant characters and some good moments of suspensful action. The Predators are well realised, and on the strength of this film, it won't be surprising if there's another sequel or two. This is cool stuff!! Very Happy 4/5



Contagion (2011), from Steven Soderbergh, a director who never makes two films the same in a row, and who is game to try just about anything, makes a disaster film that harks back to the disaster films of Irwin Allen, but also deadly virus films like Outbreak (1995) and Twelve Monkeys (1995). It's a scary, but clever look at how a deadly virus could lead to the downfall of society. It begins when Beth Emhoff (Gwyneth Paltrow) returns home to Minneapolis from a business trip to Hong Kong, and isn't feeling very well, two days later, she suffers from really bad seizures, and her husband Mitch (Matt Damon) is trying to make sense of what's going on. The virus has hit other parts of the world, and virus specialist Dr. Ellis Cheever (Laurence Fishburne) is trying to establish how it started, he sends Dr. Erin Mears (Kate Winslet) out to Minneapolis to investigate how it started from there. Meanwhile, Dr. Leonora Orantes (Marion Cotillard) from the World Health Organization goes to Hong Kong to see how it started there, while in San Francisco, internet blogger Alan Krumwiede (Jude Law) thinks there's some sort of conspiracy involved regarding a cure being made available. It's a very realistic thriller done on a global scale, shot rather like what Soderbergh did with Traffic (2000), only with a deadly disease than drugs. It's well made, gritty and down to earth, it's scary because this could actually happen. Plus, there's support from Elliott Gould, Demetri Martin and Bryan Cranston. 4/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 2   Sat Aug 18, 2012 12:59 am

Midnight Express (1978), the second feature film by Alan Parker, and his follow-up to Bugsy Malone (1976), produced by David Puttnam and with an Oscar winning screenplay by Oliver Stone. This true story is a disgusting, dark and scary look at what prison life is like in a foreign land. Even if it's main protagonist had done wrong, you're still rooting for him to escape from this unbelievable shithole. It's enough to put you off going on holiday again. In 1970, Billy Hayes (Brad Davies) is a young student in Turkey with his girlfriend Susan (Irene Miracle), and on their way back, he's caught by airport security trying to smuggle 2 kilos of hashish out of the country. He is immediately arrested and sent to a Turkish prison. Billy has to learn to survive in this absolute hellhole, where he's abused by prison guard Hamidou (Paul L. Smith). As his family try to get him home against the impossible mountain of Turkish bureaucracy. Billy gets by with prison inmates Jimmy Booth (Randy Quaid), Erich (Norbert Weisser) and Max (John Hurt), even they are trying to look for a way out of Sağmalcılar prison, but Billy's unbreakable spirit keeps him on the right side of going insane. It's a very disturbing film, but it's one of Parker's best films. Even if the film did take liberties with what really happened, (the ending NEVER happened, it was different in reality), but the mood is tense and further complimented by Giorgio Moroder's electronic score. This is proof enough that you should never smuggle drugs. 4.5/5



Easy Rider (1969), the one little film that did. This was the film, which for a meagre budget of $360,000 which apparantly saw out the old Hollywood regime of dated comedies and big overblown musicals, and the beginning of the well-intended but ultimately ill-fated "New Hollywood" era. It's still a brilliant time piece all these years later, and it sums up the disappointment of the counter-culture generation of that time, like the other productions by BBS showed. This little biker flick is a simple road movie about Wyatt (Peter Fonda) (also known as Captain America) and Billy (Dennis Hopper), who do a spot of drug-smuggling from Mexico, then sell the cocaine to The Connection (Phil Spector). Then, with the money they've earned from the drugs deal, head off across America from California to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. Along the way, they pick up a hitchhiker (Luke Askew), who takes them to a hippy commune. Later, after they interrupt a town parade, they're thrown in jail and they encounter and befriend boozy lawyer George Hanson (Jack Nicholson) who, sick of his position in life, comes along with them for the ride. A powerful statement on 60's America, with nice cinematography of the American landscape by László Kovács, with a brilliant soundtrack. Hopper directed and Fonda produced and they both co-wrote with Terry Southern, while Nicholson stole the show with his cameo, and it's still a powerful film now as it was back then. 4/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 2   Mon Aug 20, 2012 7:53 am

Stake Land (1st view)- SLIGHT SPOILERS - Vampire apocalypse! Makes a change from zombies. Some great ideas and a nice portrayal of a world gone wrong with pockets of stability here and there. One mid-film set piece is unexpectedly great and it's brave enough to do away with some of the more interesting characters. Could have done without the narration though - 4/5*



_________________
We renounce our Maker.
We cleave to the darkness.
We take unto ourselves the power and glory.
Behold! We are the Nine,
The Lords of Unending Life.


Frakkin toasters!

So, what, the murder weapon was a top sirloin?

He's a klutz, Mrs. Landingham. Your president's a geek!
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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 2   Tue Aug 21, 2012 7:45 am

The Crazies (1st view) - This pretty much confirms the fact that Timothy Olyphant is at his best when playing small-town law enforcement characters. Deadwood and Justified showed that on the small screen, this proves it for films. Also, the original The Crazies is one of the very worst films I've ever seen. Bottom 50 at least. This is so much better it's hard fathom. Remakes can work! - 4/5*





4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2nd view) - Brilliant - 4/5*


_________________
We renounce our Maker.
We cleave to the darkness.
We take unto ourselves the power and glory.
Behold! We are the Nine,
The Lords of Unending Life.


Frakkin toasters!

So, what, the murder weapon was a top sirloin?

He's a klutz, Mrs. Landingham. Your president's a geek!
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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 2   Wed Aug 22, 2012 1:15 am

Oliver Twist (1948), in the late 1940's, David Lean followed up Brief Encounter (1945) with two Charles Dickens adaptations, Great Expectations (1946) and this, which is a good adaptation of the book and has a few things have haven't been in other adaptations of Oliver Twist. But it has a good cast and it's well filmed, with Lean's sharp eye for visuals and detail working wonders. Oliver Twist (John Howard Davies) was born and raised in the workhouse, and after asking for more gruel, he is made to work with undertaker Mr. Sowerberry (Gibb McLaughlin). But, he runs away to London where he meets with The Artful Dodger (Anthony Newley), who is a very sly, skilled pickpocket, who works in a gang with other young pickpockets led by Fagin (Alec Guinness). However, while Oliver is out picking pockets, he's accused of stealing from Mr. Brownlow (Henry Stephenson), but is cleared of the crime, and Mr. Brownlow takes him in. However, Fagin and his vicious business partner Bill Sikes (Robert Newton) fear that Oliver might talk, and give them up to the law, and Sikes uses Nancy (Kay Walsh) to try and get him back. It's a well made film, and it has some great art direction throughout, even though it was shot in a noirish black and white, it works. The cast, also including Diana Dors and Hattie Jacques, give their best, even if Guinness' Jewish Fagin seems a bit dodgy by today's standards, it works, as that how Dickens envisioned him. 4/5



John Carter (2012), 100 years after Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote the first John Carter of Mars book, and umpteen decades of trying to get a film version done, Pixar director Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo (2003) and WALL•E (2008)), took on the project that had flummoxed so many directors and studios in it's wake. It's a good film, but not entirely perfect, you can see where other franchises came from, and it does move by a little too fast as well. It begins in Arizona in 1868, when Virginian Civil War vet John Carter (Taylor Kitsch) is in a cave looking for gold, when he finds himself teleported to Mars, and he finds himself with a group of martian warriors known as the Tharks led by Tars Tarkas (Willem Dafoe), it's here where Carter learns that he's on Mars, which is known as Barsoom, and that there's a nasty civil war going on between two royal families, the Zodangans and the Heliumites, and a shaky treaty is agreed on if Heliumite princess Dejah Thoris (Lily Collins) marries Zodangan prince Sab Than (Dominic West), plus there's a group of mysterious Holy Therns, led by Matai Shang (Mark Strong), who always appear when there's conflict, and John Carter ends up getting caught right in the middle of it all. A second viewing may be required to take it all in, but it is a brilliant visual feast, and the cast even Kitsch holds his own in the lead role with a likeable charisma without being too gruff. It's good to see a Burroughs creation on screen that isn't Tarzan for a change, and maybe a sequel would help, if it makes enough money. 4/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 2   Wed Aug 22, 2012 1:15 am

Brave (2012), after 2 sequels on the go, Pixar make their first original film since Up (2009), and it's something completely different, not like what they've done before. A historical epic, with a mostly Scottish cast. It might not have the emotional punch of Pixar's previous films, but it has a depth that most modern animation films don't have, and it see's Pixar back on top again. Set in the Highlands of Scotland sometime in the 10th Century, young Princess Merida (Kelly Macdonald) is a bit of a rebelious tomboy, and very free-spirited. Her father King Fergus of Clan DunBroch (Billy Connolly) isn't bothered by what Merida does, but her mother Elinor (Emma Thompson) is, and wants Merida to get betrothed to the first-born son of one of the allied clans in league with Fergus. The Highland Games begin, with Lord Dingwall (Robbie Coltrane), Lord Macintosh (Craig Ferguson) and Lord MacGuffin (Kevin McKidd) and their respective men competing. After Merida humiliates Elinor at the games, they have a falling out and Merida goes to a Witch (Julie Walters) to put a spell on Elinor, but it doesn't go to plan at all. It's a film with a message or two, be careful what you wish for and always respect your parents. But, it's not preachy, and it manages to be well made with some funny moments in it too, it's well filmed with a very good score by Patrick Doyle, and Scotland is brought to vivid, colourful life here, and it's enchanting and magical. The short film preceding Brave, La Luna, is heartwarming and sweet too. 4.5/5



The Bourne Legacy (2012), after The Bourne Ultimatum (2007), there was enough momentum to do another Bourne film, however Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass both bailed out, but series writer Tony Gilroy, who took over as director here, had an idea on how to continue the series without the character of Jason Bourne. It works as well to a point, and it would be nice to see another Bourne film get made. Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner), is a member of Operation Outcome, part of the Department of Defense, on a training exercise out in Alaska. He gets to a post manned by Number Three (Oscar Isaac). Meanwhile, with Operation Blackbriar and the Treadstone Project exposed to the press, CIA Director Ezra Kramer (Scott Glenn) calls on retired Colonel Eric Byer (Edward Norton) to terminate all ties associated with Treadstone, and Operation Outcome is included. Cross finds himself on the run, and he ends up with Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz), who helped "genetically modify" Cross, and Cross needs medication to help his motabilism up, that means travelling to Manila to get the medication, but it's not long before Byer is on his tail. It's got some good action sequences from the snow of Alaska to the streets of Manila, and at least the wobbly hand-held camerawork Greengrass used is dialed back here. Renner makes a good action hero, and makes Cross his own, plus it's good to see old pro's like Scott Glenn and Stacy Keach in the cast as well. 3.5/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 2   Wed Aug 22, 2012 1:16 am

Pepi, Luci, Bom (1980), the directorial debut of Pedro Almodóvar, who had made short Super-8 films since 1974, before moving to 16mm. For his debut, Pepi, Luci, Bom (1980), it was taken from a short story he wrote called General Erections. It took 2 years to make and it has a rawness that the early works of John Waters' had, but even early on, Almodóvar made his mark in world cinema. Pepi (Carmen Maura) is a young woman who gets a visit from neighbouring policeman (Félix Rotaeta), who has noticed she's growing marijuana plants in her window. He said he will not charge her unless she satisfies him with sex, but he rapes Pepi and takes her virginity. She eyes revenge, but ends up attacking the policeman's twin brother Juan (Rotaeta again) instead by mistake. Pepi ends up becoming friends with the policeman's wife Luci (Eva Siva). Pepi is trying to have Luci leave the policeman, but Luci finds solace in Pepi, as she's being abused by the policeman. Pepi's wild friend Bom (Olvido Gara) also becomes involved, and Luci becomes a groupie to Bom's band, The Bomitonis. For a film done for little money, it's compelling and exciting. It was shot on weekends over a year, as Almodóvar was working during the week at Spanish phone company Telefónica, but stars Maura and Rotaeta helped with the funding. It was a glimpse of what was to come from Almodóvar, and he got off to a good start here. 4/5



Labyrinth of Passion (1982), the second feature film by Pedro Almodóvar, after Pepi, Luci, Bom (1980) proved to be a surprise hit in Spain and Europe on release, Almodóvar was given more money for his next film, and a 35mm camera too. This is a wild screwball comedy set in the pop world of Madrid. It's a fun look at the early 1980's, with some colourful performances. Sexilia (Cecilia Roth) is a pop star and a nymphomaniac. She picks up 5 men for an orgy, but she wants to get over her addiction to sex. Sexilia's psychoanalyst Susana (Ofelia Angélica) wants to have sex with Sexilia's father, gynecologist Doctor de la Peña (Fernando Vivanco). Sexilia reunites with childhood friend Riza Niro (Imanol Arias), who is heir to the throne of Middle Eastern country Tiran, but Riza is in disgrace as he is homosexual, and has been having a gay relationship with fellow Tiran countryman Sadec (Antonio Banderas). However, Sexilia and Riza end up falling in love, and are able to hold a quite chaste relationship where sex isn't on the menu. But trouble strikes when Islamic terrorists arrive to kidnap Riza, and more secrets emerge. It's very over the top, and sex is high on the menu here, but Almodóvar manages to keep the mood up, and there's some quite eye-opening stuff going on, even Almodóvar himself cameo's in drag on stage!! Despite critical indifference at the time, it was a hit, and Almodóvar got to make more films. 3.5/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 2   Wed Aug 22, 2012 1:17 am

Matador (1986), Pedro Almodóvar had done campy yet humourous films like Pepi, Luci, Bom, Labyrinth of Passion and What Have I Done to Deserve This? But, Almodóvar wanted to do more complex and challenging films, with more serious themes. While his early works hinted at seriousness, here Almodóvar got the chance to do it, and it's a complex and mysterious drama, but Almodóvar has his usual touches all over the place. In Madrid, student bullfighter Ángel Jimenez (Antonio Banderas) is worried that his teacher Diego (Nacho Martínez), who was a bullfighter but now spends most of his days masturbating over sick horror films, doesn't think that Ángel is "manly enough." It doesn't help that Ángel was brought up in a strict Catholic household, with a very viciously strict mother (Julieta Serrano). This repression has lead to Ángel confessing to crimes he didn't commit. But, in a moment of despair, Ángel ends up raping Diego's girlfriend Eva (Eva Cobo), and Ángel's lawyer, María Cardenal (Assumpta Serna) seems to have a hidden agenda all of her own which no-one else seems to know about. Almodóvar seems to have taken a page from Brian De Palma's films like Obsession (1975) and Body Double (1984) for this film, while Almodóvar has considered this to be one of his weaker works, it's a very good film, but it requires your full attention, as it is quite confusing and at times hard to keep up with. But, it has some good performances, and it led to Almodóvar getting international recognition. 4/5



High Heels (1991), after the outrageous, dark comedic antics of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988) and Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (1990), Pedro Almodóvar opted for something a bit more serious for his next film, taking it's inspiration from Michael Curtiz' Mildred Pierce (1945) and Douglas Sirk's Imitation of Life (1959), High Heels is a powerful female piece but also visually stunning as well. Becky del Páramo (Marisa Paredes) is a successful Spanish actress and singer who left Spain years previously to go to Mexico, she left a daughter behind, Rebeca (Victoria Abril), who has become a successful TV newsreader in Madrid. Mother and daughter reunite, but Becky is non too pleased when she discovers that Rebeca is now married to Manuel (Féodor Atkine), who Becky used to date when Rebeca was a girl. However, when Manuel ends up dead, Rebeca is a prime suspect, and she's been seeing female impersonator Letal (Miguel Bosé), whose act is mimicking Becky. Rebeca ends up in jail, but it's revealed that Becky visited Manuel on the night of his death, and that makes Becky a suspect as well, even though Rebeca has confessed to killing him. It's a good character piece with some darkly funny moments, like Miriam Díaz Aroca as the sign language interpreter Isabel. But, this is a film about estranged relations, and strange things going on in relationships. Almodóvar gets the best from his cast, and look out for a young Javier Bardem as a TV floor manager. 4/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 2   Wed Aug 22, 2012 1:18 am

The Man Who Haunted Himself (1970), after he left The Saint, but before The Persuaders! and James Bond. Roger Moore went for this paranoid thriller directed by Basil Dearden (The Smallest Show on Earth (1957), The League of Gentlemen (1960) and The Assassination Bureau (1969)), based on The Strange Case of Mr Pelham by Anthony Armstrong. It's one of the best thrillers of the early 1970's, and it shows what a good actor Moore can be with the right material. One day, while driving home from work, Harold Pelham (Moore) has an out of body experience, which causes him to crash his car. While on the operating table, he briefly dies, but he comes back to life and two heartbeats are shown on the monitor, which is put down to a glitch. It turns out to be more than a glitch when Harold returns to work, and he discovers a merger he once opposed before his crash has gone ahead, now approved by him. His wife Eve (Hildegarde Neil) claims to have seen Harold places he never was, and he's apparantly having an affair with Julie Anderson (Olga Georges-Picot), which he isn't, all this drives him to insanity. It's a good paranoid thriller with Moore going from posh businessman to disheveled paranoid in the space of a few minutes, and one moment of movie magic beats Dead Ringers (1988) by 18 years. Moore gives a great performance, with support from Anton Rodgers, Thorley Walters and Freddie Jones. 4/5



Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull (2008), the cinemas greatest adventurer is back after 19 years. and despite all the criticism and backlash this one has had, is a very entertaining film, and Steven Spielberg and George Lucas shows no-one is ever too old for one more adventure. Harrison Ford returns as Indiana Jones, who this time is looking for a legendary Crystal Skull which belongs to an ancient society in South America, after being left notes by his old mentor and friend Harold Oxley (John Hurt) who has gone missing. But, on his tail are the Russians, led by Colonel Dr. Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett), who had encounter Indy at the start in Area 51 regarding Roswell in 1947, and has caused Indy to leave his job by the American Government, then paranoid by the Soviets and even more incensed at discovering Indy's friend George MacHale (Ray Winstone) was in league with the Soviets all along. Indy is travelling with motorcycling greaser Mutt Williams (Shia LaBeouf), and even comes face to face with a blast from the past with old flame Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen). This is a great action adventure which makes you feel like a kid again, especially when John Williams' theme comes on. Spielberg keeps the action up, even if he does rely too much on CGI for his one, (Nuking the Fridge Razz), but it's great to see Ford back in action as Indy once more. Hopefully, this should give the franchise real closure now. Until Indy 5. Razz 4/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 2   Wed Aug 22, 2012 1:19 am

Capone (1975), produced by Roger Corman and directed by Steven Carver (Big Bad Mama (1974) and Lone Wolf McQuade (1983)), this was a biopic of the rise and fall of the life of notorious gangster Al Capone. This wasn't the first time Corman had done a film about him, as he'd produced and directed The St. Valentine's Day Massacre (1967). It's a good biopic with some good performances, and is quite overlooked when it comes to gangster biopics. It begins in 1919, when Al Capone (Ben Gazzara) groomed as a young boy by Johnny Torrio (Harry Guardino) and Frankie Yale (John Cassavetes) moves into the Chicago Underworld. It not long before Capone wants a piece of the action, and wants more power. So, as the Prohibition takes hold of America, and speakeasies appear across Chicago, Capone is able to get in liquor from Atlantic City, New Jersey, brought in from Canada and other countries. He also battles rival mobsters Hymie Weiss (John Davis Chandler) and George "Bugs" Moran (Robert Phillips), and romancing flapper Iris Crawford (Susan Blakely). Capone has help and muscle from fellow gangster Frank Nitti (Sylvester Stallone). It's a good gangster film with some good action scenes, and some good acting. Gazzara makes a good Capone, even if the real man was shorter and dumpier, and the film does take liberties with the truth. Plus, there's footage from Corman's The St. Valentine's Day Massacre spliced into this film, maybe to try and save money, but that's what Corman is like. 4/5



Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), after the flop of 1941 (1979), it looked like Steven Spielberg's career was in the toilet. Nope, he'd been developing a little action-adventure film produced and created by his best friend George Lucas. It would put Spielberg back on top and become one of the most successful films ever, and it also gave the world a new action hero, and one of the most popular film franchises ever. Set in 1936, it has travelling archaeology professor Henry 'Indiana' Jones (Harrison Ford) being assigned by the government to look for the Ark of Covenant, which contains the remains of the stone tablets of The Ten Commandments. Indiana is sent to Nepal, where he meets old flame Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen), who has an artifact crucial to finding the Ark, and they travel on to Egypt where out in the desert the Nazi's are also looking for the Ark. It's a race against time, as Indy's biggest rival Dr. René Belloq (Paul Freeman) is in league with the Nazi's, also looking for the Ark. It's a great piece of entertainment, with enough action, adventure and imagination to keep you glued for a couple of hours, Ford makes Indy his own, world weary but always on his toes. Spielberg has rarely been better than this. He was back on top, and more was to come!! 5/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 2   Wed Aug 22, 2012 1:20 am



The Conformist (1970), directed by Bernardo Bertolucci, who before this had done films such as Before the Revolution (1964) and The Spider's Stratagem (1970), as well as working with Sergio Leone on the screenplay for Once Upon A Time In The West (1968). This film, based upon Alberto Moravia's 1951 novel, helped get Bertolucci recognised internationally, and it's a well made espionage thriller, with some moments of technical trickery that Hitchcock would have killed for. Set in 1930's Europe, shortly before World War 2 happened. Marcello Clerici (Jean-Louis Trintignant) is preparing to get married to fiance Guilia (Stefania Sandrelli). But Marcello is plagued by memories from his childhood, including a homosexual encounter he had with Lino (Pierre Clémenti). But, Marcello is also working for the Fascist secret police, and one of his missions is to go to Paris to kill his old college professor Luca Quadri (Enzo Tarascio). After marrying Guilia, he takes her on a honey moon to Paris, using that as a cover for murdering Professor Quadri, however things get complicated when Marcello falls for Quadri's wife Anna (Dominique Sanda), who Marcello becomes obsessed with. It's a great paranoid thriller, capturing the era well and Bertolucci keeps the mood up, clearly influenced by other Italian directors like Pasolini and Fellini. The real ace in the hole is the cinematography by Vittorio Storaro, which has brilliant, rich colour to it. This is what got him the job on Apocalypse Now. For Bertolucci, Last Tango In Paris (1972) and 1900 (1976) were next. 4/5



The Expendables 2 (2012), it was inevitable that there would be a sequel to The Expendables (2010), even if the first film hadn't have been successful, Sly and Co. had already got enough momentum going to do a sequel, as well as a screenplay. Here, Sly got Simon West (Con Air (1997) and The General's Daughter (1999)), to direct it. It's great fun, and it proves you don't need a plot to make a good film, and it makes you want more. The Expendables, led by Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone), with his team consisting of Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), Hale Caesar (Terry Crews), Toll Road (Randy Couture), and Gunner Jensen (Dolph Lundgren) are given a mission by Mr. Church (Bruce Willis) which promises to be a walk in the park. They're helped by technical genius Maggie (Yu Nan) to recover a case containing a computer drive which has the location of hidden plutonium in Albania. However, they're ambushed by Jean Vilain (Jean-Claude Van Damme), who kills one of their own, so Barney plans revenge against Vilain and to stop his plans. Along the way, they get help from lone wolf Booker (Chuck Norris) and Trench (Arnold Schwarzenegger). It's a very silly action film, but this is what films like this were like back in the 1980's, and it's good to see the cream of the crop together fighting baddies, and each other in some cases. The finale in an airport terminal is absolutely insane, but it's the wet dream of hardened action fans. Never mind character development or a complex plot, nice violent action is always entertaining, especially when it's done as well as this. Now, lets hope The Expendables 3 happens soon. 4/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 2   Wed Aug 22, 2012 1:20 am

The Quick and the Dead (1995), directed by Sam Raimi, who had had a tricky time making Army of Darkness (1992), which was recut to heck. He wanted something different, so TriStar Pictures offered him this homage to Sergio Leone's Spaghetti Western. It's a fun and unusual western and it showcases how talented Raimi is with the right material, and it has a brilliant cast as well. Set in 1881, and The Lady (Sharon Stone) rides into the rough town of Redemption, which is ruled over with an iron fist by John Herod (Gene Hackman), who was responsible for the murder of The Lady's father (Gary Sinise). When in town, it's announced there will be a single elimination gunfighting contest, which is held by Herod. He has already arranged for his former henchman turned reverend Cort (Russell Crowe) to enter the contest, even though he is now against guns. Also in the contest are The Kid (Leonardo DiCaprio), Sgt. Clay Cantrell (Keith David), Ace Hanlon (Lance Henriksen) and outlaw Scars (Mark Boone Junior). The Lady also takes part, using this to try and get close to Herod and exact revenge. It's a well made film, with some clever camerawork by Dante Spinotti. Raimi has fun with the genre, turning it on it's head in places, and Stone and Hackman work well against then newcomers Crowe and DiCaprio, both megastars now. Only thing missing is Bruce Campbell would would make made it a 5 star masterpiece. 3.5/5



When Time Ran Out... (1980), produced by Irwin Allen (The Poseidon Adventure (1972), The Towering Inferno (1974) and The Swarm (1978)), the was the end of an era. The last disaster film of it's kind produced by Allen, who retreated back into TV after this was done. It was such a notorious flop that disaster films went out of vogue until Roland Emmerich brought them back over a decade later. Set on a remote island in the Pacific Ocean, where a newly constructed luxury resort is attracting tourists, Hank Anderson (Paul Newman) is drilling for oil on the island when he is told that a nearby active volcano is about to erupt. The resort's hotel has loads of guests in it, Anderson goes to tell hotel owner Shelby Gilmore (William Holden) about the situation, but he isn't sure how to sort it out, but the general manager Bob Spangler (James Franciscus) ignores the warnings and tells the guests everything will be OK. Indeed the volcano does block up, and Anderson and Gilmore, with a small band of tourists, including Tom Conti (Ernest Borgnine), Rene Valdez (Burgess Meredith) and his wife Rose (Valentina Cortese) and Valentina Cortese (Red Buttons) head for higher ground on the other side of the island. It's a very silly action film, and even for 1980, there is some shockingly bad special effects on display, and the acting is hammy at the best of time, and the action films are either anti-climactic or too long, like one scene on a collapsed bridge. It should have been so much better, the title promises a lot, but it doesn't. 2/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 2   Thu Aug 23, 2012 7:43 am

The Bourne Legacy (1st view) - No shaky cam! I could see the action steve I know it's been getting some bad reviews but I really liked this - 4/5*




Underworld: Awakening (1st view) - I'n certain that those behind the scenes for this series reckon that Beckinsale looking good in a skintight PVC suit means they can do away with anything resembling decent dialogue. Better than the last two - 3/5*


_________________
We renounce our Maker.
We cleave to the darkness.
We take unto ourselves the power and glory.
Behold! We are the Nine,
The Lords of Unending Life.


Frakkin toasters!

So, what, the murder weapon was a top sirloin?

He's a klutz, Mrs. Landingham. Your president's a geek!
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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 2   Sun Aug 26, 2012 4:25 am

The Awakening (1st view) - A few decent scares - 3/5*





Immortals (1st view) - Not quite as visually impressive as director Tarsem Singh's previous film The Fall, there are still plenty of nifty flourishes that makes this stand out in the "looking nice" department when compared with other similarly themes films for recent years. I can't stand Mickey Rourke and this film hasn't changed my opinion but otherwise it's very enjoyable - 4/5*



_________________
We renounce our Maker.
We cleave to the darkness.
We take unto ourselves the power and glory.
Behold! We are the Nine,
The Lords of Unending Life.


Frakkin toasters!

So, what, the murder weapon was a top sirloin?

He's a klutz, Mrs. Landingham. Your president's a geek!
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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 2   Wed Aug 29, 2012 11:46 am

Run Lola Run (1998), written and directed by Tom Tykwer, who before this had made Super 8 films since a kid, worked as a cinema projectionist and got into film with Deadly Maria (1993) and Winter Sleepers (1997). For his next film, it was done on a shoestring budget, and the set up was inspired by Krzysztof Kieślowski's films. It clicked with audiences, and it's well filmed as well, and it has moments that you certainly wouldn't see in any other action-thriller. In Berlin, it has Lola (Franka Potente) receiving a phone call from her distraught boyfriend, Manni (Moritz Bleibtreu). He's a small time crook, who has managed to lose a bag containing 100,000 Deutschmarks (£40,000), Manni owes it to a crime boss. Manni is desperate, and he needs Lola to help get 100,000 Deutschmarks to him in 20 minutes or he's dead, if Lola doesn't get to Manni by 12 noon, he's going to rob a nearby supermarket. The film has 3 different runs all with a different outcome. It has Lola asking her father (Herbert Knaup), who is a bank manager, but Lola has very little time and she has to get to Manni in time before he carries out his planned supermarket raid. It's well done, mixing animation into the proceedings as well, with some offbeat characters and some clever camerawork. Who knew a woman running could be so thrilling and suspenseful?? Tykwer manages to keep it tight and to the point, and he has some great fun with the concept. 4/5



The International (2009), Tom Tykwer had just come off Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006), which was a huge hit in Europe, but not in America. Despite that, Tykwer was offered this big budget thriller by Columbia Pictures. Based on a real life banking scandal that happened in the early 1990's, it's a thriller which harks back to the paranoid thrillers of the 1970's like Klute (1971) and The Parallax View (1974), it's well made too. Louis Salinger (Clive Owen) who works for Interpol, and Eleanor Whitman (Naomi Watts), an Assistant District Attorney from Manhattan, team up to investigate the activities of the International Bank of Business and Credit (IBBC), which is based in Luxembourg. Salinger and Whitman are looking into evidence that the IBBC has been involved in money laundering, terrorism and arms trading. It takes them from Berlin to Milan, where Italian presidental candidate Umberto Calvini (Luca Barbareschi) is assassinated by the IBBC, after he reveals what's going on to Salinger and Whitman. The assassin (Brían F. O'Byrne) is followed to New York, but IBBC chairman Jonas Skarssen (Ulrich Thomsen) is keeping an eye on Salinger and Whitman's activities and wants to stop them. It's well made and has some good action sequences, like a shoot-out in the Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan, and a chase in Milan to find the assassin. Tykwer keeps the mood up and doesn't let it drop. Owen makes a good action hero, and Watts is good as always. It'll be exciting to see what Tykwer does next, as he's good with characters and camera set ups, and has a good eye for visuals. 4/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 2   Wed Aug 29, 2012 11:47 am

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), after working together on Lolita (1962), Stanley Kubrick and Peter Sellers wanted to work together again, and Kubrick chanced upon Peter George's cold war thriller Red Alert, and together with Terry Southern, turned it into a delicious black comedy to suit Sellers' comic talents, it would also highlight what a good actor Sellers really was, and how versatile he was. At the height of the Cold War, insane U.S. general Jack D. Ripper (Sterling Hayden) launches an air strike against the Soviets, and an aircraft piloted by Major T. J. Kong (Slim Pickens), receives the order, and flies into Soviet Russia armed with a nuclear bomb, Ripper's executive officer, Group Captain Lionel Mandrake (Peter Sellers) tries to defuse the situation. Meanwhile, at the Pentagon, President Merkin Muffley (Sellers again) is briefed on the situation by General Buck Turgidson (George C. Scott). Muffley wants to put a stop to the situation, while scientific adviser, Dr. Strangelove (Sellers again) explains about the doomsday device. All the while, Kong is moving closer towards the target. It is well filmed, and it works brilliantly in black and white, giving it a start, noirish feel. It also marked a sort of unofficial sci-fi trilogy for Kubrick, followed by 2001 and A Clockwork Orange. It's a shame he never returned to comedy, as he showed a good knack for it here, Sellers manages to make each of the 3 characters he played with convincing accuracy. 4/5



Albert Nobbs (2011), based upon a novella by Irish author George Moore, this started life on the stage in 1982, Glenn Close took the lead, and for 15 years, she's been trying to get it to the screen, also doing the screenplay and producing it. The film version took forever to get funded, but it got there in the end. Some of it works, some of it does drag, but it does have one or two stand out performances in it. In late 19th century Ireland, Albert Nobbs (Close) works as a butler in the Hotel Morrison, ran by Mrs. Baker (Pauline Collins). Albert leads a quiet life amonst the resident guests, like Dr. Holloran (Brendan Gleeson) and Viscount Yarrell (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), and keeping good company with cook Polly (Brenda Fricker), maid Helen (Mia Wasikowska) and handyman Joe (Aaron Johnson). However, it turns out Albert has a secret. She's a he, since she was a young girl, she's taken the identity of a man to get ahead in life, and has been saving up what she has to buy her own shop. However, things go awry when her secret is discovered by Hubert Page (Janet McTeer), who is also a woman, getting by in life as a man, but they find solace in one another. It's a good idea for a film, but it struggles to break free from it's theatrical roots, and it's a wonder Nobbs has got away with 'his' masquerade for so long. Close is convincing, but some moments of it are uncomfortable, even if Close looks too old to carry it off, but McTeer steals the show as the no nonsense Hubert Page. 2.5/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 2   Wed Aug 29, 2012 11:48 am

The Haunted Palace (1963), the 6th Edgar Allen Poe film adaptation by Roger Corman, after House of Usher (1960), The Pit and the Pendulum (1961), The Premature Burial (1962), Tales of Terror (1962) and The Raven (1963). Although partially based on H.P. Lovecraft's The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, this is a dark and creepy horror which gives it's star a chance to ham it up once again. But, you wouldn't expect anything less from him, even on the cheap, Corman is able to be quite inventive with the production. In 1765, Joseph Curwen (Vincent Price) has been suspected of using witchcraft, and he is burnt alive, but not before he curses the town of Arkham. 110 years later, Curwen's great-great-grandson Charles Dexter Ward (Price again) and his wife Anne (Debra Paget) to inherit Joseph's home, but the townspeople are cold towards them, yet caretaker Simon Orne (Lon Chaney, Jr.) has kept the place well, and Charles feels like he knows the place, maybe a little too well, and he becomes obsessed with a painting of Joseph on the wall. He has mood swings and he starts to take on the personality of Joseph, and begins to continue Joseph's work. It's the same old same old, but it's well made and it is quite dark with a few good shocks, Price is his usual self, chewing the scenery and having it for dinner, but he manages to do well in a dual part, and it's good to see movie monster Chaney as the caretaker, plus knowing Corman, he reuses shots from previous films. But, it works. 3.5/5



Centurion (2010), written and directed by Neil Marshall, (Dog Soldiers (2002), The Descent (2005) and Doomsday (2008)), this is a dark, sparse and violent Roman film. It was made around the same time as The Eagle (2011), but this came out first, and is based on legends of what really happened to the Roman Legio IX Hispana (Ninth Legion) that allegedly disappeared in Scotland. It's gory and violent, but it has a good cast and is well made. In AD 117, Roman Garrisons are struggling against the Picts who inhabit the Scottish Highlands. Trying to win favour back in Rome, British Governor Agricola (Paul Freeman) sends the Ninth Legion, under the rule of General Titus Flavius Virilus (Dominic West) and helped by mute guide Etain (Olga Kurylenko). They travel from York up into Scotland to fight back against the Picts. But the Ninth Legion ends up being ambushed, betrayed by Etain and as good as wiped out by the Picts, with Virilus being captured and officers Borthos (David Morrissey), Brick (Liam Cunningham) and Thax (JJ Feild) are taken prisoner. They end up with Centurion Quintus Dias (Michael Fassbender) who was taken prisoner by the Picts and they escape and try to get back to England. It's dark and it looks and feels authentic, with bloody violence and it's down and dirty. It has a good cast, and it's like the old men on a mission war films of the 1960's, Marshall keeps the mood and atmosphere up, and it's a good chase film too. It was this film that got Marshall the job of directing an episode of Game of Thrones. 4/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 2   Wed Aug 29, 2012 11:50 am

Three Colours: Blue (1993), a labour of love for Polish writer/director Polish director Krzysztof Kieślowski, who had planned this trilogy based upon the French Revolutionary ideals of liberty, equality, and fraternity. As Kieślowski said in interviews at the time of the film's release, "the subject of the film is liberty, specifically emotional liberty, rather than its social or political meaning." That sets the tone for Blue, a moving and compelling drama. When famous composer Patrice de Courcy (Hugues Quester) and his daughter in a car crash, his widow Julie (Juliette Binoche), also in the accident, survive. Distraught at the loss, she tries to kill herself, but fails. Struggling to come to terms with what's happened, Julie cuts herself off from her past and all of her friends and relations. Even though Julie has the final, unfinished work that Patrice was commissioned to do destroyed, it transpires that Patrice's musical assistant Olivier (Benoît Régent), has a copy of the work, and wishes to complete it to honour Patrice's memory. Julie refuses, she has enough on her plate, especially when she finds out Patrice's mistress Sandrine (Florence Pernel), is carrying his child. It's a very good film, well made with some good performances, Binoche carries the film brilliantly, and the visual narrative is near flawless. It's a film about coming to terms with loss, moving on, readjusting our lives in face of tragedy. It got Kieślowski's Three Colours trilogy off to a good start, with 2 more films to come. 4/5



Three Colours: White (1994), Krzysztof Kieślowski's second part of his Three Colours trilogy. The first film, Three Colours: Blue, was a dark yet moving drama about the emotions we feel during death, Three Colours: White is lighter, a comedy-drama in fact. It is weaker in comparison to the film before, and it is tonally different, but it does have it's moments that impress. It begins when Polish immigrant Karol Karol (Zbigniew Zamachowski) is in the process of getting divorced from his French wife Dominique (Julie Delpy), who says the spark has gone out of their marriage and that she does not love him anymore. Karol is distraught, he's lost everything and is left penniless on the streets of Paris, but Karol meets fellow Pole Mikołaj (Janusz Gajos), who is married and successful. Mikołaj makes Karol a deal, he will ensure Karol will get back home to Warsaw, but in return Karol has to kill someone. Reluctantly, Karol agrees, he returns to Warsaw, settles back in working with his brother Jurek (Jerzy Stuhr), but then he's told he has to kill Mikołaj, or rather, stage his "suicide" on the Warsaw Metro. It's a film with a moral dilemma or two at the centre of it, and it keeps up to it's title, as there's something white in nearly every scene. Karol has the pathos of a silent movie star, but stuck between a rock and a hard place. It might not have the emotional punch of the first film, Kieślowski is able to throw a sentimental punch here. 3.5/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 2   Wed Aug 29, 2012 11:52 am

Cobra (1986), by the mid-1980's, Sylvester Stallone was one of the biggest stars at the box-office, he had 2 franchises on the go with Rocky and Rambo. After failing to get the lead in Beverly Hills Cop, he took the ideas he'd had for that, and used them for this adaptation of Paula Gosling's novel Fair Game, (which was made into a film in 1995), it's a very cheesy action film, by the numbers and it HAD to come from the 1980's. Razz It has Marion "the Cobra" Cobretti (Stallone), part of a police division known as the Zombie Squad, and he's always in trouble with his superiors for breaking police procedures and protocols, and causing unnecessary body counts. Razz So, he ends up being assigned to protect Ingrid Knudsen (Brigitte Nielsen), who was witness to murders being carried out by a violent group led by Night Slasher (Brian Thompson). Cobra and Ingrid end up being moved out of the city away from the gang, and they end up becoming romantically involved, but it's not long before the gang finds them. It's not perfect by any means, and when it gets to the action, it finally gets into gear. Sly sleepwalks his way through this one, it was due to start another franchise but that never happened. Oh, it was produced by Cannon Films, what does that tell us?? Razz 3/5



Over The Top (1987), between the Rocky films and the Rambo films in mid 1980's, Sylvester Stallone somehow ended up with a deal at Cannon Films (alarm bells ringing), and directed by Cannon's co-boss Menahem Golan. This action-drama was originally intended to be more adult themed, but was toned down to be more family friendly when Sly got involved. It's sentimental and schmaltzy, with a touch of The Champ (1979) about it, but with arm wrestling. Trucker Lincoln Hawk (Stallone) is told that his estranged wife Christina (Susan Blakely) is very ill, and she asks that Lincoln collects his estranged son Michael (David Mendenhall) from military school in Colorado. Christina's father Jason Cutler (Robert Loggia) HATES Lincoln, and the fact he ran away from fatherhood and responsibility. Lincoln picks Michael up, and immediately tries to bond with the son he's never met, and it's going to be difficult. Jason tries to lure Michael into living with him in wealth and comfort, while Lincoln is going to compete for the World Arm Wrestling Championships in Las Vegas, where he'll compete against World Champion Bob "Bull" Hurley (Rick Zumwalt). It's a schmaltzy, sentimental film that has some quite macho, near homo-erotic mugging with the arm wrestling. But, it was intended to show a softer side to Stallone, as if the Rocky films hadn't done that already, but it's a product of it's time, very silly and no, not all of it works, but it's OK while it lasts. 3/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 2   Wed Aug 29, 2012 11:53 am

The Premature Burial (1962), the third Edgar Allen Poe film to be produced and directed by Roger Corman after House of Usher (1960) and The Pit and the Pendulum (1961). After a disagreement with American International Pictures, Corman tried to get it funded elsewhere, but they coaxed Corman back. Good thing too, but sadly, Vincent Price was unavailable, but Corman found a good replacement, and it proves to be quite effective with a weird bit or two. Artist Guy Carrell (Ray Milland), has developed a morbid fear or being buried alive, when Emily Gault (Hazel Court) arrives wanting to rekindle her relationship with Guy, his sister Kate (Heather Angel) doesn't approve. Guy and Emily marry, but Guy's fear of being buried doesn't go away, and he even goes to the length's of building a crypt built with numerous safety-valve escape mechanisms, like a rope ladder, a secret passage, dynamite to blast him out, and if all else fails, a chalice of poison. Emily gets fed up with Guy's fear, and orders him to destroy the tomb. But, it doesn't go away, and a sequence of events happens with Guy being buried and getting rescued by graverobbers, and he goes to find out who did it. It's a good horror film, and getting Oscar winner Milland in adds an air of gravitas to the proceedings. It's darker than some of the other Poe films, but it does have the odd moment of campness throughout, like the crypt laden with gadgets, but it is quite lavish. 3.5/5



Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), based upon a theme park ride that had started at Disneyland Park in California in 1967. It seemed like making a film based on a theme park ride was a guaranteed flop, but somehow it all clicked and it shouldn't have, but director Gore Verbinski had one ace up his sleeve that ensured it would work. When Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley), daughter of Governor Weatherby Swann (Jonathan Pryce) of Port Royal, Jamaica, is kidnapped by Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) because of a necklace she's in possession of. Blacksmith Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), who secretly is attracted to Elizabeth, wants to save her, and he gets the help of notorious pirate Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp). He had arrived the day before in Port Royal, and then got arrested, then escaped and got arrested again. Sparrow agrees to help, and goes to Tortuga, with help from Jack's friend Joshamee Gibbs (Kevin McNally), get a crew together and set off to save Elizabeth from Captain Barbossa, however the Royal Navy, led by Commadore Norrington (Jack Davenport) is in pursuit of Captain Jack. It brought the pirate film, presumably killed off after the flop of CutThroat Island (1995), but before the sequels came along and marred it all. But, Depp steals the show as Captain Jack, a drunken rogue who isn't a bad person. and it made Depp a megastar. Maybe it does go on a tad too long, but not as long as the sequels would. But, the first one here is the original and best. 4.5/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 2   Wed Aug 29, 2012 11:54 am

Carry On Cowboy (1965), for the 11th film in Britain's best comedy series, they pushed the boat out a bit with the production. They took on the Western genre, and didn't even have to go to America to shoot it, (opting to use Chobham Common in Surrey and Pinewood Studios), and the end result is very effective, and it's alot more better than most westerns ever made. It's one of the funniest of the series, with good jokes and hilarious performances. Set in Stodge City, it has the notorious Rumpo Kid (Sid James) coming to town, he has Sheriff Earp (Jon Pertwee) killed, so Judge Burke (Kenneth Williams, always hilarious) calls for a Marshall to be sent from Washington. However, mistaken identity follows, when they send the wrong type of Marshall, this one is English sanitation engineer Marshal P. Knutt (Jim Dale), who is sent along to 'clean up' Stodge City. Judge Burke learns of Knutt's true identity, but he still thinks he's the man for the job. It's a very funny entry in the series, and it does well with spoofing the western genre. With smutty double-entendres and good slight gags, and then there's Charles Hawtrey playing Indian chief Big Heap with a camp English accent, ("Oh, helloooo!!" Razz) One of the best Carry On films, well worth a look. 4/5



Manhattan (1979, after his Bergmanesque drama Interiors (1978), Woody Allen returned in front of the camera with this romantic comedy-drama which is a love-letter to his native city. Filmed in a high contrast black-and-white, in full widescreen as well. It's a film, to paraphrase the opening monologue, "pulsated to the great tunes of George Gershwin", it's passionate, romantic and has a good wit about it. Television writer Isaac (Woody) has divorced his second wife Jill (Meryl Streep), who has come out as a lesbian, and is living with Connie (Karen Ludwig). Isaac is now seeing a 17 year old student named Tracy (Mariel Hemingway), it's a good relationship, and they have a lot in common. But, then Isaac meets Mary (Diane Keaton), who is the mistress of his best friend Yale (Michael Murphy), who is married to Emily (Anne Bryne), Isaac falls for Mary, and dumps Tracy, which leaves her heartbroken. The relationship between Isaac and Mary starts after Emily becomes suspicious, so Yale calls it off, even though Mary's cultural snobbery rubs Isaac up the wrong way, but Yale leaves Emily for Mary, leaving Isaac stuck in the middle. It's a good epic romance set in an epic city, with Woody showing maturity as actor, writer and director, and he has a good ensemble in this film too, with Hemingway showing maturity as the teenager. Woody hated this film, and begged United Artists not to release it. They did anyways, just as well. 4/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 2   Wed Aug 29, 2012 11:55 am

Broadway Danny Rose (1984), while Zelig (1983) was in a long period of post-production, Woody Allen was able to get A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy (1982) and this made in the time to took to finish Zelig. Broadway Danny Rose opened just a few month's after Zelig opened, and it's a hilarious caper comedy from Woody, one that has all the hallmarks of his early, funny films as well. Small time talent manager Danny Rose (Woody) manages acts from a one-legged tap dancer to a ventriloquist with a stammer, but his biggest act is washed-up lounge singer Lou Canova (Nick Apollo Forte) who had some hit records years previously, but never really hit it that big. However, there's a bit of a revival in the sort of music Lou sings, and so his career is on the up once again, and he's getting booked into bigger venues. However, Lou is having an affair with Tina (Mia Farrow), who has connections to the Mafia, so Lou asks Danny to be 'the beard', to make people think Tina is with Danny, not Lou, but Mob boss Vito Rispoli (Paul Greco) gets jealous and has a hit put out on Danny, who ends up on the run with Tina. It's a very silly film but it's a good look at small time fame and some of the acts that go around. Woody gets all the best dialogue here, but Forte, a real lounge singer, is able to hold his own against Woody. The result is one of Woody's funniest films of the 80's. 4.5/5



Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), Woody Allen found box-office success and another Oscar with this multi-layered romantic comedy drama. It has a massive ensemble, with brilliant, sharp writing, even if Woody did lift a lot of it from some of his own life experiences, much to the ire of a few people, but it would be his biggest box-office hit until Midnight In Paris (2011). It's set over 2 years, starting with a Thanksgiving dinner hosted by Hannah (Mia Farrow) and her husband Elliot (Michael Caine), but Elliot feels isolated in his marriage, and he has a crush on Hannah's sister Lee (Barbara Hershey), who herself is in a loveless marriage to reclusive, temperamental artist Frederick (Max Von Sydow), and she wants something different as well. Meanwhile, there's TV writer Mickey (Woody), a hypochondriac who examines his life after a health scare, and dabbles in Catholicism and Hare Krishna, but he finds solace in Hannah's other sister Holly (Dianne Wiest), Mickey was once married to Hannah, but they divorced years ago, Mickey dated Holly after he split from Hannah, but that was a disaster, but they start dating once again after Mickey's existential crisis. It's a multi-layered story with a brilliant cast, (Caine and Wiest won Oscars as well), and it combines comedy and drama perfectly, with Caine and Hershey's storyline having the emotional gravitas, and Woody's story strand being done for laughs. It's a winning combination that Woody would use a few years later. 4/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 2   Thu Aug 30, 2012 8:06 am

Batman Begins (4th view) - Not as good as it was last time I saw it but still a great introductory film. What I do like a lot about this one is how Gotham isn't presented as just the vast gleaming city of the latter two films - 4/5





The Dark Knight (4th view) - It does tend to wane at times, especially when Ledger, Eckhart or Oldman are off screen and I really don't like that phone-vision gubbins used in the final fight scenes but I still find this massively entertaining - 5/5





A Generation (1st view) - The first in Andrzej Wajda war trilogy, this is the story of two young resistance fighters in Nazi-occupied Poland. Excellent - 4/5*





Kanal (1st view) - The second in that trilogy, this follows group of soldiers and civilians as they try to use the sewers to avoid detection during the Warsaw Uprising. One of the most startling and bleak war films I've ever seen - 5/5*





For A Few Dollars More (2nd view) - A better film that its predecessor and, just like the first film, Ennio Morricone's score is far and away the best thing about it. But it's also a more coherent film overall with Eastwood looking more at home in the role and the addition of Lee van Cleef is a great bonus - 4/5





The Dark Knight Rises (1st view) - SPOILERS - Way too convoluted for its own good. Catwoman stealing Bruce's fingerprints and kidnapping a congressman and then giving the prints to the dude from Torchwood whose in league with some twerp from the Wayne boardm who gets powerplayed my Tate, both work for Bane and I'm falling sleep by this point. TDKR had similar problems at times but they're on a much bigger scale here. And as mightily impressive as bane and his men taking over Gotham was, there's a massive lull afterwards and very, very little sense of any proper chaos and panic. Most folk just stay at home. Even the buried cops get three meals a day it seems and emerge after months looking like they've been there for 5 minutes. And what;s this crap about the three different trucks roaming round the place. And there's loads more. But when it works it wonders wonderfully. Bane won't be as lasting a character as Ledger's Joker but he does present a menace, physically and metaphorically, that's not been seen so far in these films. Bale is at his best yet in the series, Oldman too probably and Caine's all too few scenes carried true emotional heft. Newcomers Hathaway and Levitt both made themselves at home with ease but Modine didn't really need to bother getting out of bed for this and Cotillard is wasted. The positives greatly outweigh the negatives even if it's all the little niggly "huh" moments that I keep playing over in my head at the moment. But I loved it - 4/5*





The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (1st view) - Romanian black comedy about an elderply man who gets shuffled between hospitals. Funny and moving - 4/5*






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