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 What I've Just Watched: Part 3 - The Search for Spock

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Donald McKinney
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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 3 - The Search for Spock   Tue May 06, 2014 1:14 pm

The Hidden Fortress (1958), after the release and success of Throne of Blood (1957), Japanese writer/director Akira Kurosawa now had a proud and successful reputation in Japan and audiences around the world. For his next film, Kurosawa decided to lighten the tone a bit, noting that Throne of Blood has been a dark film, claiming "I want to make a 100% entertainment film, full of thrills and fun." He certainly delivers here. It begins with two poor peasants, Tahei (Minoru Chiaki) and Matashichi (Kamatari Fujiwara), who had intended to fight with the Yamana clan against the Akizuki clan, but arrived at the battle too late. They bicker and argue before splitting up, but it's not long before they're both captured by the Yamana clan, mistaken for Akizuki. But, Tahei and Mataschichi both manage to escape, and they find a stash of Akizuki gold down by a river, but they're approached by Akizuki General Makabe Rokurōta (Toshiro Mifune), who tells them he's escorting Princess Yuki Akizuki (Misa Uehara), and they're trying to hide the gold from the Yamana clan, they join in on this mission. It's an intriguing and compelling adventure film, Kurosawa's first film in widescreen, and it's got a good sense of humour about it, as well as some good action. The characters of Tahei and Matashichi were influenses for R2D2 and C3PO in Star Wars (1977), and the mission inspired The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966). 4.5/5



Dougal and the Blue Cat (1970), The Magic Roundabout had been a massive success on BBC TV since 1965. Taken from Serge Danot's series Le Manège enchanté, it had been translated into English by Eric Thompson, who did his own translation which appealed to children and adults. When Danot did Pollux et le chat bleu, Thompson translated it his way, and it makes for an original and visually stunning animated film. Dougal the dog wakes up one morning after dreaming of something bad going on at the abandoned treacle factory, and voices and noises coming from the factory. Meanwhile, Florence has met a new visitor to the Magic Garden, A blue cat called Buxton, who Dougal distrusts deeply, while Florence,Dylan, Ermintrude, Zebedee and Brian all take a liking to Buxton. Dougal follows Buxton to the abandoned treacle factory, where he hears Buxton talking to the Blue Voice (Fenella Fielding). Buxton turns the Magic Garden blue, and takes everyone prisoner, while Dougal disguises himself as 'Blue Peter' to save everyone. Razz This is a very silly film but it has an unbelievably likable charm and some moments of surrealness you won't have seen in films like this. It's a lot more darker than the original cartoons, and some of it is genuinely scary in places but Danot and Thompson succeeded in making it work, it's 100% superior to the 2005 reimagining. 5/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 3 - The Search for Spock   Thu May 08, 2014 12:28 pm

The Nanny (1965), a psychological suspense thriller from Hammer, directed by Seth Holt (Taste of Fear (1961) and Blood from the Mummy's Tomb (1971)) and produced and written by Jimmy Sangster (Dracula (1958), Lust for a Vampire (1971) and Fear in the Night (1972)) adapted from Evelyn Piper's novel. This is a dark and moody film, shot in a cold and stark black and white which adds to the dark, uncompromising mood. 10 year old Joey Fane (William Dix) has been acting out since the death of his toddler sister Susy (Angharad Aubrey), which was an accident but Joey was blamed for it. He was sent to a special school by his father Bill (James Villiers) and grieving mother Virginia (Wendy Craig), but they've had to send him home, unable to help Joey. At home, Joey is greeted by the family nanny (Bette Davis), who he dislikes. He believes the Nanny killed Susy, but no-one believes Joey, putting it down to his deeply disturbed and dangerous behaviour, but Joey meets neighbour Bobby Medman (Pamela Franklin), who soon believes the Nanny is not what she seems to be. Hammer were always good with suspense and thriller films, a lot of them took their time in getting going, but this establishes a dark mood from the very beginning and it doesn't let up until the end. Davis is terrifying as usual as the Nanny, it's well filmed and it's topped off with a moody score by Richard Rodney Bennett. 4.5/5



A Lizard in a Woman's Skin (1971), from the great Italian horror master Lucio Fulci, (Zombie Flesh Eaters (1979), The Black Cat (1981), The Beyond (1981) and The New York Ripper (1982)), this is a dark Giallo thriller set in Swinging London. Although it's a complex psychological thriller, there is much to admire with this film and there are the usual scenes of blood and gore that make up much of Fulci's body of work. Carol Hammond (Florinda Bolkan) is the daughter of respected policitian Frank Hammond (Jean Sorel), and she's been having a series of mad, psychedelic nightmares involving explicit orgies, most of them involving her neighbour Julia Durer (Anita Strindberg) who holds wild parties. However, one night Carol has a vivid dream that Julia is brutally murdered, and when she wakes up, she finds that Julia has indeed been murdered. Inspector Corvin (Stanley Baker) from Scotland Yard arrives to investigate, and all the evidence points to Carol, she's taken into custody, but it seems that someone is trying to kill Carol, or is it all a dream? This has some good set pieces, including a suspenseful chase in and around the grounds of Alexandra Palace, Fulci keeps it dark and exciting, plus there's one disgusting sequence that had nearly had Fulci sent to prison. But overall, this showed where Fulci was going, and more blood and guts were to come from him. 4/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 3 - The Search for Spock   Thu May 08, 2014 12:57 pm

Sanjuro (1962), immediately after the release of Yojimbo (1961), Akira Kurosawa immediately began production on a sequel to the film, though Sanjuro didn't start life like that. Originally it was to have been a straight up adaptation of Shūgorō Yamamoto's short story Peaceful Days, but after the success of Yojimbo, Kurosawa made the story fit around the antihero from Yojimbo, it makes for a sparse but well made film. A group of young Samurai warriors believe their Lord Chamberlain Mutsuta has gone back on his word against organised crime, a lone Samurai known as Sanjuro Tsubaki (Toshiro Mifune) has overheard their plight, and offers to help out, especially when the Samurai are attacked by the henchmen of the local Superintendent, who Sanjuro believes is the real villain. They soon find out that the Lord Chamberlain has been kidnapped, and the Lord Chamberlain's wife (Takako Irie) and daughter (Reiko Dan) have been taken prisoner inside the house. Sanjuro has a plan to get them free, but the Superintendent's henchmen try to stop the Samurai. It's a good film, not as good as Yojimbo, but there is a lot to admire within the film, like a particular method Sanjuro is to use to tell the Samurai whether to attack or not using petals from camellia flowers. But, you do get the vague impression that Kurosawa is sending himself up in this film, but he was moving onwards. 3.5/5



Rush (2013), directed by Ron Howard and written by Peter Morgan (The Queen (2006) and Frost/Nixon (2008)), this Formula 1 themed biopic tells the story of two racing legends in the 1970's, and how their rivalry brought out the best in one another. It also shows the dangers that go hand in hand with Formula 1. But it's a brilliant film, with some top-notch performances and focused directing. James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl), who first met each other as Formula Three drivers in 1970, but they both make the grade to Formula 1. Hunt makes it through winning races, despite his playboy lifestyle, while Lauda risked everything and bought his way in. Hunt is a cocky so-and-so, and clashes with Lauda's perfectionism and know-it-all attitude on and off the track. But it reaches a head on August 1st 1976 during the German Grand Prix on the Nürburgring, where Lauda has a near-fatal accident, which Hunt feels responsible for, but Lauda returned to the racing six weeks after nearly being killed. It's very well filmed, and Howard and his team didn't have much money to work with, but they do a lot, and Howard gets brilliant performances out of Hemsworth and Brühl, who spark off each other brilliantly. Plus, Howard has great fun with the racing sequences, which are suspenseful and almost operatic in their execution. 4.5/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 3 - The Search for Spock   Thu May 08, 2014 1:22 pm

The Fisher King (1991), after the nightmare of making The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988), and it's subsequent failure, Terry Gilliam needed a change of pace, and he found it in writer Richard LaGravenese's original script. The change of pace would mark a new phase in Gilliam's career, one in America which would be brief but a brilliant glimmer at what Gilliam could do in the studio system he hates, but it is absolutely brilliant. In New York, it has controversial radio DJ Jack Lucas (Jeff Bridges) losing his job on the radio after an off-the-cuff remark led to a massacre in a posh bar. 3 years later, he's down on his luck, working in a run down video rental shop ran by girlfriend Anne (Mercedes Ruehl, whose strong-willed, earthy performance won her an Oscar). Drunk and depressed, Jack considers topping himself, until he's found by eccentric vagrant Parry (Robin Williams), who was a victim of the shooting caused by Jack's remarks. Now wracked with guilt, Jack goes about trying to help him, from getting Parry in a relationship with dream-girl Lydia (Amanda Plummer), and finding the Holy Grail, which is a meagre trophy. Not the first time Gilliam has done a film with the Holy Grail in, but this is a touch and moving comedy-drama, with brilliant performances and some brilliant set pieces, including a jaw-dropping waltz at Grand Central Station, and a scene-stealing cameo by the late, great Michael Jeter. If this was Gilliam selling out to Hollywood, could he do it again please?? He showed such panache and gravitas first time out, it would be great to see him do it again. 5/5



On The Waterfront (1954), directed by Elia Kazan (Gentleman's Agreement (1947), A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) and East of Eden (1955)) and written by Budd Schulberg (The Harder They Fall (1956)), this is a gritty and hard hitting urban drama which was done by Kazan as a response to the House Committee on Un-American Activities holding America to ransom. It's a powerful drama with a brilliant cast on top form. Set in Hoboken, New Jersey. Union boss Johnny Friendly (Lee J. Cobb) rules the local waterfront with an iron fist, and it's no secret that he has mob connections. When dockworker Joey Doyle (Ben Wagner) threatens to testify against Friendly, he ends up dead. Joey's co-worker and former boxer Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando) is urged to testify against Friendly by waterfront priest Father Barry (Karl Malden), but Terry refuses to. Plus, he's become romantically close to Joey's sister Edie (Eva Marie Saint). However, when Terry's conscience gets the better of him, his brother Charley (Rod Steiger), who works for Friendly, is put in an awkward position. It's still a powerful and grim look at what happens when organised crime and unions meet, Brando is tough but has heart, and he's backed with a brilliant cast. It's the closest you'll get to an American equivalent of our Kitchen Sink Dramas, but this had it's fingers on the pulse of the mood of America at the time. 4.5/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 3 - The Search for Spock   Fri May 09, 2014 7:51 am

A Lizard in a Woman's Skin sounds pretty good!

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We cleave to the darkness.
We take unto ourselves the power and glory.
Behold! We are the Nine,
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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 3 - The Search for Spock   Sat May 10, 2014 1:12 am

If you're familiar with Lucio Fulci's work, you'll know what to expect!! Razz
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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 3 - The Search for Spock   Sun May 11, 2014 2:05 am

Turbo (1st view) - Decent. Paul Giamatti is the best of the cast - 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 3 - The Search for Spock   Mon May 12, 2014 2:50 am

Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan (1st view) - James Cameron - If Ray were making films right now he'd be using the tools that we're using right now, he wouldn't cling to the puppetry.
Ray Harryhausen - I think I would prefer to make films using model animation rather than CGI, even today

A look at the work of the legendary Ray Harryhausen. Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson, Nick Park, Joe Dante, Tim Burton, Henry Selick, John Landis, Terry Gilliam, James Cameron and John Lasseter all offer up their thoughts on the man and his work. The admiration that some of the biggest directors in the world have for Harryhsausen and his creations is obvious and seems so genuine that it's easy to forgive that this film sometimes comes across like an extended DVD puff piece.



_________________
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 3 - The Search for Spock   Tue May 13, 2014 2:30 am

Conspirators Of Pleasure (2nd view) - Comic drama that that follows the lives if six residents in Prague as they indulge in their exceptionally bizarre fetishes. It's utterly mad and one of the weirdest films I've ever seen but I love it - 4/5




I Am A Fugitive From A Chain Gang (1st view) - Great pre-Code drama. Interesting to watch and see just what wouldn't have made it into the film had it come along a few years later - 4/5*




The Family (1st view) - Misjudged and tonally odd crime comedy - 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 3 - The Search for Spock   Thu May 15, 2014 9:56 pm

Intolerable Cruelty (2003), The Coen Brothers go all mainstream for the first time since The Hudsucker Proxy (1994), with a revival of the screwball comedy genre. Based on a screenplay by Robert Ramsay and Matthew Stone (Life (1999), this is a very likeable and quirky romantic comedy which might be hard to crack on first viewing, but it's a film which does grow on you over time, especially with the colourful characters here. Successful divorce lawyer Miles Massey (George Clooney) who wants a challenge, he finds it when he represents Rex Rexroth (Edward Herrmann), who was caught by private investigator Gus Petch (Cedric The Entertainer) cheating on his wife Marylin Rexroth (Catherine Zeta-Jones), who in turn is a gold-digger. Miles is able to help Rex win the case, but Miles hasn't seen the last of Marylin, she comes back to him when she wants to marry Texas oil tycoon Howard D. Doyle (Billy Bob Thornton), to talk to Miles about one of his marriage pre-nups, Miles is happy to oblige, but that isn't the end of that, and Marylin has revenge in mind for Miles. Alot of people are keen to dismiss the film as too mainstream by the Coen's standards, true it isn't up to the standard of their other films, there is still alot of fun to be had within this film. Clooney and Zeta-Jones spark off each other brilliantly, and there are some very amusing cameos and a brilliant script with sublime dialogue. 4/5



Red Cliff (2010), written and directed by John Woo, this was his first film to be made in Mandarin since Hard Boiled (1992). He'd had a good run in Hollywood, but work dried up stateside, so Woo returned to Asian cinema with something he'd wanted to do for decades, but he could never get the funding together. After various successes in Hollywood, he was finally back on form with this majestic and sweeping action epic. Set towards the end of the Han Dynasty in Ancient China circa 208–209 AD. Eastern Han Dynasty chancellor Cao Cao (Zhang Fengyi) leads the imperial army to kill the rival Southern Warlords Sun Quan (Chang Chen) and Liu Bei (You Yong). Emperor Han (Wang Ning) is reluctant for Cao Cao to lead the imperial army to attack, but acquiesces to Cao Cao's demands. When military strategist Zhuge Liang (Takeshi Kaneshiro) heads south to convince Sun Quan to join forces with Liu Bei against the powerful warlord, Zhuge Liang meets the viceroy Zhou Yu (Tony Leung), who comes up with a strategy to hold back the might of the million strong imperial army. It's a very epic film, and very long too, but the Battle of the Red Cliffs is a part of Chinese history that has interested Woo for many years, and although he took liberties with history, Woo isn't interested in historical accuracy. He wants to tell a good story, and make it look good, and he does just that here. 4/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 3 - The Search for Spock   Thu May 15, 2014 10:55 pm

Fearless (1993), directed by Peter Weir, and written by Rafael Yglesias from his own novel. This came about after Weir had struggled to find a suitable follow-up to Green Card (1990), but after reading Yglesias' book, he was inspired and saw it as a very human story. It's actually a very underrated film from Weir, it has a brilliant lead performance by one of the best actors of our time, and it has a very good supporting cast too. After a plane crashes on route from San Francisco to Houston somewhere in rural California, architect Max Klein (Jeff Bridges) is one of the survivors, he's found by many of the emergency services helping people out of the wreckage and comforting them. However, Max walks away, rents a car and drives away to Los Angeles. He doesn't seem to have a sense of fear anymore, and when he returns home to San Francisco, he gains a lot media attention, but Max seems to politely shun it. Psychiatrist Dr. Bill Perlman (John Turturro) believes Max is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, and it's made Max distant from his wife Laura (Isabella Rossellini). It's a different kind of film, and it would make a good companion piece with Robert Zemeckis' Flight (2012), Bridges gives one of his best performances and this should have been a massive success, given the prestigious pedigree this film has, however it didn't click with cinema audiences at the time, which is a massive shame. 4/5



The Stendhal Syndrome (1996), written and directed by Dario Argento, adapted from the novel by Graziella Magherini, Argento was inspired to adapt Magherini's novel after it reminded him of an experience as a child which was similar to what the novel touched upon. It's a pretty nasty and dark film, even by Argento's standards, but it does have a lot going for it, and it has a very artistic and lavish flair about it. In Florence, Police Detective Anna Manni (Asia Argento) is on the hunt of a serial killer called serial killer Alfredo (Thomas Kretschmann). While at a museum, she becomes struck by Stendhal Syndrome, which causes people to become overwhelmed by great works of art. Alfredo notices Anna struck in the trance, and he uses this as an opportunity to kidnap and rape her. While she escapes and Alfredo is missing, presumed dead. Anna suffers a deep psychological trauma, but with help from lesbian lover and French student Marie (Julien Lambroschini) and psychiatrist Dr. Cavanna (Paolo Bonacelli), they try to help Anna overcome Stendhal Syndrome. It's got all the hallmarks we've come to expect from Argento, but most of it has all been seen before. However, it's fortunate to be blessed with beautiful cinematography by Giuseppe Rotunno and a sweeping score by Ennio Morricone, but it's a shame Argento hasn't been able to live up to his past glories. 3/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 3 - The Search for Spock   Thu May 15, 2014 11:24 pm

Last Man Standing (1996), written, produced and directed by Walter Hill (The Long Riders (1980), Southern Comfort (1981) and 48 Hrs. (1982)), this is a straight-up remake of Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo (1960), and while it does have a very good cast, something is a bit off-kilter about this. It doesn't help that it's a very moody film, and it is quite flat, when a film like this is begging to be a fun romp, but it misses the point big time. Set in Prohibition-era Texas in the early 1930's, it has a man calling himself John Smith (Bruce Willis) drawing up in a small town called Jericho, near the Mexican border with a meagre population of just 57. Smith finds himself up against 2 rival bootleg families. The Italians, led by Fredo Strozzi (Ned Eisenberg) and the Irish led by Doyle (David Patrick Kelly). The town's sheriff Ed Galt (Bruce Dern), is powerless to stop the crimewave, but when Smith kills one of Doyle's men, he join's Strozzi's gang, and Doyle retaliates by getting his right hand man Hickey (Christopher Walken) to intervene when their smuggling from Mexico, but Smith uses this to bring down both gangs. It should have been a good action film, but it's too serious, when something like this is shouting out to be cheesy fun. Seeing as Yojimbo was remade as A Fistful of Dollars (1964), that makes this version somewhat redundant. But it needs some wisecracks from Willis, and more insane action, then it would have worked. 2/5



Seraphim Falls (2006), written and directed by David Von Ancken (TV's Oz, Without a Trace and The Vampire Diaries), and funded by Mel Gibson. This revisionist western is a sparse and it's main focus is an old fashioned game of cat and mouse. It's the sort of film that wouldn't have looked out of place as a spaghetti western, but for a low budget film, it's professionally made and has two strong and compelling leads. Set sometime after the American Civil War in 1868, it has the mysterious Gideon (Pierce Brosnan), on the run from a posse led by former Confederate officer Colonel Morsman Carver (Liam Neeson), who is travelling with Pope (Robert Baker), Hayes (Michael Wincott), Parsons (Ed Lauter) and the Kid (John Robinson). They're all trying to capture Gideon as part of a bounty operation. However, Gideon proves to be a hard man to try and find, and he's a man who's not going to give in without a fight, and he uses the land and hostile terrain as his battlefield, using what he can to stand up to Carver and his men, but Carver knows Gideon all too well. It's a dark and brooding western, it does sag a bit in the middle, but the opening chase in the snowy wilderness and mountains is very suspenseful. It also benefits from some lavish yet focused camerawork by John Toll (Braveheart (1995). But, it has some very good performances from Neeson and Brosnan. 4/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 3 - The Search for Spock   Thu May 15, 2014 11:53 pm

Cradle 2 the Grave (2003), directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak, (Romeo Must Die (2000), Exit Wounds (2001) and Doom (2005), this was originally pitched as a remake of Fritz Lang's M (1931). But, when Bartkowiak and producer Joel Silver couldn't make the plot work, they changed the main focus from that of a killer to a diamond heist, and it all came together. It's very silly and cheesy fun, but it somehow manages to hold the attention. It begins with a group of thieves led by Anthony Fait (DMX) and consisting of Daria (Gabrielle Union), Tommy (Anthony Anderson) and Miles (Drag-On) stealing a large amount of diamonds from a vault. Miles is caught by Taiwanese Intelligence Agent named Su (Jet Li), who intercepted the gang's boss Christophe (Paolo Seganti). Although he lets Miles go, Su is searching for some rare black diamonds, and Christophe's boss Ling (Mark Dacascos) rings Fait demanding the diamonds. When Fait refuses, Ling kidnaps Fait's daughter Vanessa (Paige Hurd). Out for revenge, Fait and his gang are forced to team up with Su to stop Ling's evil plan. True, it's not very original, but that doesn't stop it from being a run and exciting romp. While it's not a very original script either, that doesn't matter, as it has some well choreographed action sequences on display, and that's the point of a film like this. While it might have been done elsewhere and better made. This will do nicely. 3/5



Tootsie (1982), directed by Sydney Pollack (The Electric Horseman (1979), Out of Africa (1985) and The Firm (1993)), and written by Larry Gelbart (The Wrong Box (1966) and Blame it on Rio (1984)) and Murray Schisgal (Luv (1967)), this is an original and very funny comedy-drama about the length's some people will go to in order to get employment. Some bits are dated, but it's central premise still stands strong. Respected actor Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman) is difficult to work with, and when his agent George Fields (Pollack) tells him no-one will employ him anymore, Michael gets desperate. He needs the money, and he wants to fund a play written by his roommate Jeff Slater (Bill Murray). So, he goes for an audition for daytime soap opera Southwest General in drag as "Dorothy Michaels", he wins the part. He has to keep the charade up, and his double life really tests his relationship with girlfriend Sandy Lester (Teri Garr), then as Dorothy, he becomes close with his co-star Julie Nichols (Jessica Lange), who takes a real shine to Dorothy. It was allegedly a nightmare to make, but a great little film came out of it, and cross-dressing films have come and gone since, but Hoffman is very convincing and he's got a great supporting cast playing second fiddle to him. It became the second highest grossing film of 1982 just behind E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. 4/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 3 - The Search for Spock   Fri May 16, 2014 12:18 am

Backdraft (1991), directed by Ron Howard, who after making Parenthood (1989), which had touched upon a lot of mature themes, decided he wanted to make more serious films for a living. So, he set about looking for a suitable film, and he found it in this action-thriller written by Gregory Widen (Highlander (1986)), and it's a powerful and well made film, and Howard gets the best from his cast and even the fire sequences. The film focuses on the firefighters of Engine 17 of the Chicago Fire Department, in particular, 2 brothers. Lt. Stephen "Bull" McCaffrey (Kurt Russell) and Brian McCaffrey (William Baldwin), the latter witnessed his father Dennis (Russell again) killed in a backdraft of fire 20 years before. Mayoral candidate Alderman Martin Swayzak (J.T. Walsh) wants to make cuts to the city's fire department budget, which the team argue will risk lives. Then, a series of fires occur around Chicago that all seem very similar, and arson investigator Donald "Shadow" Rimgale (Robert De Niro) finds out more, and he even calls upon Brian to help out, much to Stephen's jealousy. It's well made, and it helped to advance Howard's career significantly, and he was blessed with a good, strong cast, and it has some very realistic action sequences, all well choreographed considering they deal with working with fire. It might come across as cliched in places, but it's still a well made and very tense and taut film. 4/5



Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006), based on a popular and allegedly unfilmable novel by Patrick Süskind, German director Tom Tykwer, best known for Run Lola Run (1998) had a go at it, and he succeeded with flying colours. Bringing out the very essence of the book, keeping close to the plot and breathing life into the visuals and even scents described in the book. It was once deemed impossible, but it works. Set in 18th Century France, it tells the story of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille (Ben Whishaw), a peculiar character who was raised in an orphanage, and has no natural scent, but he has a very powerful and magnificent sense of smell. He finds work with Italian perfumer Giuseppe Baldini (Dustin Hoffman), who is impressed at Grenouille's ability to dissect scents, and revives Baldini's ailing business. Grenouille becomes obsessed with capturing scents, and it leads him to the town of Grasse, where the scent of virgins is in the air, and he wishes to capture their natural scent, even if it means a murder or two. It's a different kind of serial killer film, and it has some jaw-dropping moments of filth and kinkiness, (Ken Russell should have directed this one!!) But, Twyker brings out the best in the cast, (Ben Whishaw is wonderfully sinister), and it looks wonderful. Even if you can't smell the putridness of some moments, it does make your nose twitch, and it's topped off with a warm narration by John Hurt. 4.5/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 3 - The Search for Spock   Fri May 16, 2014 12:26 am

Whatever Works (2009), Woody Allen returns to New York after his trips to London and Spain. He'd wrote this back in the mid-1970's for Zero Mostel, but shelved it when Mostel died. When the Screen Actors Guild threatened to go on strike in 2008, and faced with having to make a film earlier than planned, Woody revived this project, updated it and got Larry David in for Mostel's part. It makes for a winning combination and a very good film. It has embittered curmudgeon Boris Yelnikoff (Larry David), a Physics graduate and chess teacher, who rants about the state of the world with his friends Joe (Michael McKean) and Leo Brockman (Conleth Hill). He'd divorced his wife, and now lives in a run down appartment, he meets runaway Melodie (Evan Rachel Wood), from the deep south. Boris reluctantly lets her stay, and Melodie develops a crush on Boris, and they end up getting married. A year later, Melodie's mother Marietta (Patricia Clarkson) and estranged father John (Ed Begley Jr.) turn up, and they go off on relationships of their own, Marietta goes into a ménage à trois, while John becomes gay!! But as Boris says, "you have to find all the enjoyment that you can. Whatever Works." This is a very funny film, with some of the best comedy Woody has done in ages. Larry David, best known for Curb Your Enthusiasm, is a natural to do stuff like this, and the rest of the cast, Wood, Clarkson and Begley Jr. are all amusing. Catch this one, it's alot funnier than what the critics make out!! Very Happy 4/5



You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger (2010), Woody Allen's 4th film to be set in London after Match Point (2005), Scoop (2006) and Cassandra's Dream (2007), and this one is the best of his London based films. Despite some dodgy stereotypes, it's based on the themes of believing in faith, and no matter how bad things get in life, we all live in hope of better things. This has Alfie Shepridge (Anthony Hopkins) divorcing his wife Helena (Gemma Jones) in favour of dim-witted call girl Charmaine (Lucy Punch). Helena goes for advice from bogus fortune teller Cristal (Pauline Collins), who gives her hope that everything will be alright, even if everything in her life isn't. Helena's daughter Sally (Naomi Watts) is in a difficult marriage with Roy (Josh Brolin), a writer who had one success, and then nothing else. Roy becomes romantically obsessed with Dia (Freida Pinto), a music student who lives across the way from Sally and Roy's flat. Sally however has a brief fling with her employer Greg (Antonio Banderas), but he's also having an affair with an artist that Sally is acquainted with, while Roy makes his move on Dia. It's a very slight, episodic film, although it does end too abruptly with none of the stories wound up, leaving them up in the air. But, maybe that's the point, this is about a slice of life in the grand scheme of things. It has good dialogue from Woody, and a good supporting cast including Philip Glenister, Celia Irmie, Anna Friel, Lynda Baron, Roger Ashton-Griffiths and Meera Syal. 4/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 3 - The Search for Spock   Fri May 16, 2014 12:43 am

Kinsey (2004), directed by Bill Condon (Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh (1995), Gods and Monsters (1998) and Twilight: Breaking Dawn Parts 1 & 2 (2011/2012), this biopic focuses on a true American pioneer, one who broke down barriers and dared to be different in what was a very puritanical country. It has a very good cast and is well made, but it was largely ignored by mainstream audiences despite glowing reviews, maybe that says something about people's hang-ups todays. Alfred Kinsey (Liam Neeson) studied biology and the life cycle of gall wasps while at Indiana University. He met his future wife Clara 'Mac' McMillen (Laura Linney) while at University. After his book on gall wasps is published, he approaches the dean of students at Indiana University about teaching sex education classes at the University as a response to the anti-sex propaganda that was being shown in schools and colleges at the time. His classes cause a huge storm, and then he decides to do a study on human attitudes to sex around the country. Together with colleagues Clyde Martin (Peter Sarsgaard) and Wardell Pomeroy (Chris O'Donnell). Kinsey gathers enough research for his book Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948), which causes trouble. Condon is quite an underrated director, and it seems he's capable of turning his attention to whatever subject comes across and can make a good film out of it. He gets brilliant performances from Neeson and Linney, who make a good, open couple on screen, and it has a good supporting cast including Oliver Platt, Timothy Hutton, John Lithgow and Tim Curry. 4/5



Dark Shadows (2012), based on Dan Curtis' cult soap opera that ran in America from 1966 to 1971, this affectionate but kitsch take on the soap by Tim Burton, his 8th film with star Johnny Depp is a passion project for them both as they used to watch the soap back in the day. It's a mish-mash of the soap's biggest storylines, some of it works, some of it doesn't, but it does make for a fun film. In the 18th Century, Barnabas Collins (Depp) broke the heart of witch Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green), who turns him into a vampire and has him chained up in a coffin. In 1972, Barnabas is freed into a strange, new world and returns to his home to Collinwood Manor, which is inhabited by his descendants Elizabeth Collins Stoddard (Michelle Pfeiffer) and her brother Roger (Jonny Lee Miller), with Elizabeth's daughter Carolyn (Chloë Grace Moretz), Roger's son David (Gulliver McGrath), with live-in psychiatrist Dr. Julia Hoffman (Helena Bonham Carter), governess Victoria Winters (Bella Heathcote) and caretaker Willie Loomis (Jackie Earle Haley). Barnabas wants to restore Collinwood Manor and get the family business back up and running, but when Angelique returns, old wounds are reopened, and it's not going to be pretty. It's a fast and furious film that could have done with about 20 minutes more to explain a few things that seem up in the air, but it's well made and the set designs are brilliant. Depp is brilliant as always, and Burton's gothic touches are as class as always, but you do wonder if they'd bitten off more than they could chew with an epic soap opera like this?? It works though, but only just. 4/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 3 - The Search for Spock   Sun May 18, 2014 4:05 am

The Amazing Spiderman 2 (1st view) - SPOILERS - Better than the 2012 film, largely thanks to more impressive action scenes and villains, plus a genuinely effective death, quite rare in superhero films. Shame that Gwen won't be around in the sequels, as Emma Stone was perfect in the role - 4/5*



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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 3 - The Search for Spock   Mon May 19, 2014 7:42 am

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (2nd view) - I would say that I hated this film but that would imply a level of feeling towards it that I just can't be bothered to generate. It goes quite well until David Bowie turns up, and his appearance seems to trigger a string of, what appears to be, nonsensical events and imagery. Maybe it'd be better/make more sense had I seen the show more recently - 2/5





The Plank (2nd view) - Eric Sykes and Tommy Cooper cause chaos as they take a plank of wood back to a worksite - 4/5*


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Behold! We are the Nine,
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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 3 - The Search for Spock   Fri May 23, 2014 12:49 am

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), directed by Tobe Hooper, who had made a few short films and a trippy, hippie film called Eggshells (1969) before this. However, this little slasher film, allegedly made from the profits made by Deep Throat (1972). What Hooper created was an squirmingly, uncomfortably eerie and shocking horror film with very little blood and gore on display that gets right under your skin, and doesn't let up. In August 1973, a group of teenagers consisting of Sally Hardesty (Marilyn Burns) and her paraplegic brother, Franklin (Paul A. Partain), travel with three friends, Jerry (Allen Danziger), Kirk (William Vail), and Pam (Teri McMinn), who are driving to the Hardesty family plot where Sally and Franklin's grandfather is buried to investigate reports of graverobbing. They meet a psychotic hitchhiker (Edwin Neal) and an unhelpful shopkeeper (Jim Siedow). They come to the Hardesty home, but they need gas to get home, so they go to a near derelict house next door, which has some strange and macabre things inside, but it isn't derelict either... Made for a meagre $300,000, and shot during a horrific heatwave. It brought in a whole wave of slasher films, and was an alternative to the Satanic horror films doing the rounds at the time. It's the Granddaddy of the video nasties, but it has a raw, hard-nosed edge that's unrivaled even after countless sequels. 4.5/5



The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986), after The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), Tobe Hooper found success directing Salem's Lot (1979), Poltergeist (1982) and Lifeforce (1985). 12 years after the original film, Cannon Films bought the rights to do a sequel, (Alarm bells ringing), and there's a lot more blood and guts on display, and it's almost impossible to take the film seriously either. It's just too tongue in cheek. Set 13 years after the events of the original film, Lieutenant Boude "Lefty" Enright (Dennis Hopper), uncle of the victims back then is investigating the murders of young yuppies in an apparent chainsaw attack, but he has very little to go on as evidence. Their murders were recorded when they telephoned local radio DJ Vanita "Stretch" Brock (Caroline Williams), as a prank. While Lefty investigates further, Vanita also does her own investigations. Then, one night at the radio station she's approached by the psychopathic Chop Top (Bill Moseley), and his friend Leatherface (Bill Johnson) appear to silence Vanita, but she's much tougher than she looks. It's a very silly sequel, with non of the gruesome eeriness or unpleasant sights that'll make your skin crawl. No, the only thing that'll make your skin crawl here is that Cannon tried to turn it into a horror-comedy, which goes against everything the original film was about. Hooper should really have known better. 2/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 3 - The Search for Spock   Fri May 23, 2014 1:45 am

Texas Chainsaw is fantastic and it has one of the best taglines ever.


Sherlock Holmes (4th view) - As much fun now as it ws in the cinema - 4/5




My Week With Marilyn (1st view) - Everyone in this film seems to go about thinking that Monroe was a) the most beautiful woman who ever existed and b) one of the finest actresses who ever lived. I can't quite fathom how either of those can be true. However, Michelle Williams, who is both gorgeous and a fantastic actress, is great in the role of Monroe - 4/5*



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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 3 - The Search for Spock   Fri May 23, 2014 11:11 am

Saving Silverman (2001), directed by Dennis Dugan (Problem Child (1990), I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (2007) and You Don't Mess with the Zohan (2008)). This mean-spirited black comedy should have been funny, and it's plot could have been a winner in the right hands. But something has got lost in translation from script to screen, and it ends up being filled with anger and hatred, and it's a lot more spiteful than funny. It's main focus is on three best friends, Darren Silverman (Jason Biggs), Wayne LeFessier (Steve Zahn), and J.D. McNugent (Jack Black), who have been friends since childhood and have never let anything get in the way of their friendship. However, when Darren meets psychologist Judith Fessbeggler (Amanda Peet), Wayne and J.D. are at first happy that their friend has found love, but once they find that Judith is overbearing and domineering, and that she's forbidden Darren from seeing Wayne or J.D. again, desperate times call for desperate measures. So Wayne and J.D. plan to kidnap Judith, and fake her own death. However, it backfires. You do get the impression that Hollywood simply doesn't get how to get the tone of a black comedy right, American black comedies either end up too tame or way too nasty, this falls into the latter catergory. However, Zahn and Black make a good double act, and it should have been more about them. 2/5



Sabotage (2014), directed by David Ayer (Street Kings (2008) and End of Watch (2012), and co-written by Ayer with Skip Woods (Swordfish (2001) and Hitman (2007)), and produced by Albert S. Ruddy (The Godfather (1972) and Million Dollar Baby (2004)), this action thriller does have a good crime mystery plot at it's core, but it seems to be glazed over by the amount of violent and grisly action on display. A team of DEA agents, led by John "Breacher" Wharthon (Arnold Schwarzenegger), and consisting of James "Monster" Murray (Sam Worthington) and his wife Lizzy Murray (Mireille Enos), Joe "Grinder" Philips (Joe Manganiello), Julius "Sugar" Edmonds (Terrence Howard), Eddie "Neck" Jordan (Josh Holloway), Tom "Pyro" Roberts (Max Martini), Bryce "Tripod" McNeely (Kevin Vance), and "Smoke" Jennings (Mark Schlegel) bust a Mexican cartel, and steal $10 million for themselves. Then the money goes missing, and there's suspicion and distrust among the team, when they start getting killed one by one, Caroline Brentwood (Olivia Williams) investigates further. There are some good action sequences in the film, but it's all been done before, and while Arnie seems to be the glue holding this ramshackle film together, he somehow comes across as being wasted. If this had been done back in the 1980's, with Arnie and the top action stars of the day then, you'd have had a masterpiece. 2.5/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 3 - The Search for Spock   Fri May 23, 2014 11:48 am

The Sentinel (1977), directed by Michael Winner, who had moved to Hollywood in the mid 1970's to make films like Scorpio (1973), Death Wish (1974) and Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood (1976). Here, he makes a horror film, adapting Jeffrey Konvitz's 1974 horror novel and Winner was able to talk a lot of great actors into being in the film. It has varying results with a climax which is in poor taste by todays standards. In New York, model Alison Parker (Cristina Raines) has just moved into an apartment block in Brooklyn, there's a blind old priest Father Halliran (John Carradine), who looks out of the window on the top floor. Alison has trouble sleeping, as she can hear someone in the apartment above her, and her neighbours Charles Chazen (Burgess Meredith) and Gerde Engstrom (Sylvia Miles) hold a strange party for her. When Alison inquires with the estate agent Miss Logan (Ava Gardner), she says there are no other neighbours in the building apart from Father Halliran. Then Alison starts having nightmares, and she soon learns the purpose of the apartment building. It's a very compelling horror film, and decent Michael Winner films are as rare as hen's teeth. Here, he is able to create a tense and dark mood, on the surface it might look like another copy Rosemary's Baby or The Exorcist, but it does have an uncomfortable mood about it. 3/5



The Big Sleep (1978), after a few years in Hollywood, Michael Winner returned home to the UK to adapt  Raymond Chandler's 1939 novel The Big Sleep, previously adapted in 1946, for producer and impresario Lew Grade. Winner decided to move the location from 30's LA to 70's London, which might seem odd. Plus, Winner was able to blag many of his friends into appearing in the film, maybe for next to nothing. Private detective Philip Marlowe (Robert Mitchum) is approached by General Sternwood (James Stewart), to find out who has been blackmailing Sternwood, Marlowe also meets the General's daughters Charlotte (Sarah Miles) and Camilla (Candy Clark). The latter is later found at the house of pornographer Arthur Geiger (John Justin), where Geiger is found murdered. Marlowe's investigations take him to Geiger's employee Agnes Lozelle (Joan Collins), her corrupt boyfriend Joe Brody (Edward Fox) as well as gambler Eddie Mars (Oliver Reed), who owned the house Geiger lived in. It's a complex case, but Marlowe suspects the daughters... It's quite faithful to the original book, but moving it to the UK for financial reasons does seem a bit redundant, however it is a dark, moody film with a huge all star cast, but seeing as Mitchum had just played Marlowe in Farewell, My Lovely (1975), set in LA in the 1940's. It does seem odd to play the same character here. 3/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 3 - The Search for Spock   Fri May 23, 2014 12:27 pm

Spy Game (2001), directed by Tony Scott, who had just come off the spy and espionage themed Enemy of the State (1998), and written by Michael Frost Beckner (Cutthroat Island (1995) and Prince Valiant (1997)), this is a hard-edged spy film with a lot of flash backs and flash forwards. But, this works against it. You can't deny Scott is perfect to make a film like this, and it is well made, but it's not a film you can fully engage with. In 1991, CIA spy Tom Bishop (Brad Pitt) is caught in China trying to free Englishwoman Elizabeth Hadley (Catherine McCormack). Bishop will be assassinated in 24 hours unless the U.S. Government claim him. However, if the U.S admit to the Chinese that Bishop is an agent, it would risk jeopardising a potential trade agreement between the U.S. and China happening in a few days. CIA case officer Nathan Muir (Robert Redford) is asked to come up with a solution, as he recruited Bishop to join the CIA in 1975 just after the Vietnam War. Muir tells his superiors all this and their operations together, and he comes up with a dangerous rescue plan. With 2 good leads and a top director experienced in films like this, it should have been a success, but it ends up being quite half-hearted and it feels derivative. However, there are scenes with Redford and Pitt together in the flashbacks, and they're the scenes that work the best. 3/5



The Two Faces of January (2014), the directorial debut of veteran screenwriter Hossein Amini (Jude (1996), The Wings of the Dove (1997) and Drive (2011)), and adapted from Patricia Highsmith's 1964 novel of the same name. This is a tense and surprisingly engaging thriller, which was optioned a decade before by Anthony Minghella and Sydney Pollack, but they never lived to see this amazing and beautiful film get made. Set in Athens in 1962, American couple Chester MacFarland (Viggo Mortensen) and his wife Colette (Kirsten Dunst) are touring Greece when they meet American tour guide Rydal (Oscar Isaac), who also manages to fleece tourists in the process. However, after a nice dinner together, Chester's past comes back to haunt him when he's confronted by American private investigator Paul Vittorio (David Warshofsky) regarding bad financial investments Chester made in America. Chester accidentally kills Vittorio, and he and Colette have to go on the run. They end up with Rydal, who claims he can get fake passports for them, but they have to lie low in Crete. It's a very tense chase film, and it captures the era wonderfully. It has a dark, psychological edge to it, but it has a trio of very fine actors at it's core. After 2 decades of writing very good screenplays, Amini might have a future career as a director real soon. Alfred Hitchcock would have killed to make this. 4.5/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 3 - The Search for Spock   Fri May 23, 2014 12:41 pm

Midnight in Paris (2011), Woody Allen continues his travels around Europe with this charming and enchanting romantic comedy/fantasy which is the most uplifting and magical film of Woody's recent films. It's a film which harks back to the past and honours the celebrities of the 1920's, but it's also a love letter to the charm of the City of Light. In Paris, American couple Gil (Owen Wilson) and Inez (Rachel McAdams) are holidaying in Paris, Gil is trying to finish a book, and Inez's parents John (Kurt Fuller) and Helen (Mimi Kennedy) are ultra-conservative, and Inez's intellectual friend friend Paul (Michael Sheen) turns up, and he get's on Gil's nerves. Gil goes out one night to clear his head, and at midnight, an old car turns up, and Gil enters and it takes him back to the 1920's, where he meets the likes of Cole Porter (Yves Heck), Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald (Alison Pill and Tom Hiddleston) and Ernest Hemingway (Corey Stoll). Amazed, Gil returns the following night, and meets Adriana (Marion Cotillard), mistress of Pablo Picasso (Marcial Di Fonzo Bo), and Gil finds himself more attracted to Adriana, but Inez begins to worry about Gil's obsession with the past. It's a lovely film with Woody's usual crackerjack dialogue and good performances. It's a fantasy, but in a good way, he captures the characters of the past well, with a cast also including Kathy Bates, Carla Bruni and Adrien Brody. It's one of Woody's best films in recent years too. 4/5



To Rome With Love (2012), Woody Allen continues his sojourn around Europe, after London, Barcelona and Paris, This time, Woody goes to Rome for this fluffy and silly view of the Eternal City, done in 4 vignettes, 2 in Italian. It shows Woody still has the power to make people laugh and create good comedy, and he even appears in front of the camera for the first time since Scoop (2006). It beings with Jerry (Woody) and his wife Phyllis (Judy Davis) coming to Rome to meet their daughter Hayley (Alison Pill) and her fiance Michelangelo (Flavio Parenti), but Jerry finds Michelangelo's father has an amazing talent. Then newlyweds Antonio (Alessandro Tiberi) and Milly (Alessandra Mastronardi) get lost in Rome, and Antonio ends up with prostitute Anna (Penélope Cruz). American architect John (Alec Baldwin) ends up befriending student Jack (Jesse Eisenberg) and his girlfriend Sally (Greta Gerwig), and gives advice when Jack falls for Sally's friend Monica (Ellen Page). Then, family man and clerk Leopoldo (Roberto Benigni) wakes up one morning to find he's somehow become a celebrity, being followed around by the paperazzi wanting to know menial little things about his life. It's a very silly film, but it's laugh out loud funny. The cast all give brilliant performances, even the Italians, and Woody gets all the best dialogue. He's been missed, and it's good to have him back acting. It's beautifully filmed though, and it brings out a lovely and vivid, sunny side to Rome. It shows Woody, even at 76, is still one of the greats working today. 4.5/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 3 - The Search for Spock   Fri May 23, 2014 1:13 pm

Hammer (1972), directed by Bruce Clark (The Ski Bum (1971) and Galaxy of Terror (1981)), and written by Charles Eric Johnson (Slaughter's Big Rip-Off (1973) and The Monkey Hu$tle (1976)). This blaxploitation films struck a chord with audiences upon release, with the theme of the underdog taking on corruption and the mob. The success of the film briefly made a star out of Fred Williamson, who became known as The Hammer later on. B.J. Hammer (Williamson) is a dockworker and boxer who has been able to get successful thanks to help from the Mafia, but Hammer doesn't know that. His trainer Professor (Mel Stewart) does know that, and things get dangerous when mob hoods Big Sid (Charles Lampkin) and Brenner (William Smith), tell Hammer to take a dive during the next fight. Hammer refuses, as he doesn't want to lose. Hammer calls upon Private Detective Davis (Bernie Hamilton) to help out, but Davis won't listen to Hammer's pleas. Then when Hammer's girlfriend Lois (Vonetta McGee) ends up being kidnapped by the mob, Hammer uses his boxing skills to take on the mob. It's crossed somewhere between On The Waterfront (1954) and The Harder They Fall (1956), with a little bit of what was to come in the Rocky films. But it's compelling enough, and it's the sort of thing you'd expect from a blaxploitation film, cheap but gritty. 3/5



Truck Turner (1974), directed by Jonathan Kaplan, (The Accused (1988), Unlawful Entry (1992) and Brokedown Palace (1999)) and released by American International Pictures. This blaxploitation film was the acting debut of singer and musician Isaac Hayes, who had just won the Best Original Song Oscar for Shaft (1971), and he was looking to get into acting. It's a good film with some good action set pieces along the way. Truck Turner (Hayes) is a former football player turned bounty hunter who has been assigned by bail bondsman Fogarty (Dick Miller) to look for pimp Richard Leroy "Gator" Johnson (Paul Harris) who has skipped bail and gone on the run. Following a tip off from Gator's old pimp friend Duke (Scatman Crothers), they manage to find Gator, but it ends up having bad repercussions, especially when Gator's former prostitutes, led by Dorinda (Nichelle Nichols) and crime kingpin Harvard Blue (Yaphet Kotto). With Truck's life in danger, he's forced to go on the run across Los Angeles, to stay ahead of Blue. but also find a way to fight back. It's heavily layered with a lot of action set pieces, but it is a suspenseful and exciting film to watch, plus this is what you'd expect from the blaxploitation genre. Violent yet enjoyable. and Hayes is a likable presence, plus he also scored the film, some passages of the music were later used for the Kill Bill films. Oh, Quentin!! Razz 4/5

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