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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   Fri May 23, 2014 1:49 pm

Timecop (1994), directed by Peter Hyams, (Capricorn One (1978), Outland (1981) and The Star Chamber (1983), written by Mark Verheiden (The Mask (1994) and My Name is Bruce (2009)) and produced by Sam Raimi. This was based on the Dark Horse Comic from 1992 created by Verheiden and Mike Richardson. It's a very cheesy action film, but it has a violent streak, even if it's lifted the plot strands from the Terminator films. In 2004, time travel has been invented, and Max Walker (Jean-Claude Van Damme) works as an agent for the Time Enforcement Commission (TEC), where agents go back in time to prevent crimes occurring that could change the future. After preventing former partner Atwood (Jason Schombing) from changing the Wall Street Crash of 1929, Atwood claims he's working for corrupt Senator Aaron McComb (Ron Silver), who is wanting to shut down the TEC. But when Atwood is able to go back to 1994 to change the future in his favour, Walker goes back to put a stop to it, but he also uses it to prevent his wife Melissa (Mia Sara) from a tragic fate. It is a very silly film, and parts of it feel like left-overs from Total Recall (1990), however it could have done with a better script, as the time travelling in this film causes a multitude of plot holes. But, it doesn't seem to matter in the end, it's just a bit of cheesy 90's action/sci-fi hokum, that's all. 3.5/5



X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014), Bryan Singer returns to the franchise he started in 2000, and this time, adapting the 1981 Uncanny X-Men storyline Days of Future Past, Singer manages to link up the timeline set by the X-Men films from 2000 to 2006 and the timeline of Matthew Vaughn's prequel X-Men: First Class (2011). It could have been a paradoxical mess, but it isn't. It's actually the best X-Men film of the lot. Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is approached in 2023 by Professor X (Patrick Stewart) and Magneto (Ian McKellen) to be sent back to 1973 to prevent an action by Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) that will wipe out all mutants. Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) uses her powers to project Wolverine back to his body in 1973, where he goes about finding the younger Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), and convincing him to break out Magneto (Michael Fassbender) from a prison under the Pentagon. Then they have to go to a peace summit in Paris and stop Mystique from her action, which involves killing military scientist Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage). With the two separate timelines going simulataneously here, it could have got lost in it's own paradoxes, but it doesn't. It manages to be an enjoyable, exciting and gripping superhero film, with nearly everyone returning for this massive epic. Singer stages some enjoyable and brilliant set pieces, and being away from the X-Men franchise for a decade has revitalised him and the franchise. The stage is set for X-Men: Apocalypse (2016). 4.5/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 3 - The Search for Spock   Fri May 23, 2014 3:14 pm

Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989), the directorial debut of Steven Soderbergh, who had made short films and done odd jobs in television and film until then. For his debut, Soderbergh wrote the script in 8 days while on a cross country trip across America, and after raising $1.2 million to make the film, it was shot in 30 days in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It's a deep and honest look at relationships and the sexual nature of relationships. In Baton Rouge, Ann Bishop Mullany (Andie MacDowell) is in an unhappy marriage to John (Peter Gallagher), and when they have sex, she's unable to orgasm, while John has been cheating on Ann with barmaid Cynthia (Laura San Giacomo). Ann has been seeing a therapist (Ron Vawter) about this. However, John's friend Graham Dalton (James Spader), who has been drifting the country for 9 years since college, returns to Baton Rouge, and into John's life. When Ann comes to Graham's apartment, she finds loads of videotapes, and they're all made by Graham of women talking candidly about their sexual experiences to Graham, and it unlocks something in Ann. It's a good character drama and it set Soderbergh off on the right path of directing, but after making this, it would take Soderbergh another 9 years before he broke into the mainstream with Out of Sight (1998). Sex, Lies and Videotape won the Palme D'Or at the 1989 Cannes Film Festival, and it's critical and commercial succes helped oversee a wave of low-budget independent films that would follow ever since. 4.5



The Bang Bang Club (2010), the directorial debut of South African documentary filmmaker Steven Silver, and adapted from the 2000 autobiography The Bang-Bang Club: Snapshots from a Hidden War by Greg Marinovich and João Silva. It focuses on a piece of 20th Century history that hasn't been given that  much coverage in films, not yet anyways, and a group of friends doing the most dangerous job imaginable. Set in South Africa between 1990 and 1994, it focuses on the exploits and duties of 4 photojournalists, Greg Marinovich (Greg Marinovich), Kevin Carter (Taylor Kitsch), Ken Oosterbroek (Frank Rautenbach) and João Silva (Neels Van Jaarsveld). Their job is to cover life in the last days of Apartheid, Nelson Mandela has just been released from prison, and there is a lot of political and personal turmoil within the country. Marinovich, Carter, Oosterbroek and Silva travel around towns in South Africa, where there is polital unrest, and get in the middle of the fighting to get the picture, while journalist Robin Comley (Malin Åkerman) fights to get them published. It's a hard hitting film, and it's good to see a film which shows sides of history that many people don't know about. While parts of it seem a bit formulaic and cliched, but it does show the dangers that many photographers in war torn countries have to face on a daily basis, and the risks they go to in order to get a photo. 3.5/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 3 - The Search for Spock   Sat May 24, 2014 8:29 am

Wanted to see The Sentinel, Hammer and Truck Turner for ages.



Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows (2nd view) - Not quite the joyous romp of the first film but still a great piece of entertainment. Downey Jr and Law are on fine form, but Noomi Rapace is wasted in a very poor role. Jared Harris was top notch as Moriarty, though Marks Strong's Blackwood was more sinister and memorable overall. Looks great, the design was fantastic and the central action scene superb. Good score form Zimmer too - 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!


Last edited by Gimli The Avenger on Sat May 31, 2014 11:03 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 3 - The Search for Spock   Sat May 31, 2014 11:02 am

Pitch Perfect (1st view) - Wasn't really expecting much from this. When the Universal logo appeared and there was that Beaker-like vocalising instead of the standard score I thought that would be the best the film had to offer. I was wrong. Despite knowing exactly how it would end and not having a clue about the music speak, this was a hell of a lot of fun. Oddly enough, I liked the music too. And I think I'm in love with Kendrick's Beca - 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 3 - The Search for Spock   Sun Jun 01, 2014 2:26 am

Liquid Sky (1st view) - Weird but oddly brilliant - 4/5*





Godzilla (1st view) - Better than Edwards' last film but most films are. Great final battle and some fine moments of tension but it wastes a largely great cast with only Cranston making an impression. The 1998 film is better - 4/5*





Bad Company (1st view) - Very good western with an early role from Jeff Bridges - 4/5*




The Vanishing (1st view) - Liked it, wanted to like it more - 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 3 - The Search for Spock   Tue Jun 03, 2014 4:09 am

A Serious Man (1st view) - This was the only Coen film I hadn't seen (well, almost. If Inside Llewyn Davis had reached a cinema anywhere within 15 light years of me I'd have watched that as well). Probably about 8th or 9th in my list of Coen films but with much to enjoy and I would have been happy had Stuhlberg been awarded with an Oscar - 4/5*




UHF (1st view) - Hit and miss but always good fun - 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 3 - The Search for Spock   Thu Jun 05, 2014 11:11 pm

The Savages (2007), written and directed by Tamara Jenkins (Slums of Beverly Hills (1998)) and produced by Alexander Payne. This touching yet gently amusing drama is an honest look at the upheaval of family, and decisions that we all have to face one day regarding our parents. It's got some brilliant performances at it's core, and it puts it's characters first, and it has an endearing tenderness to it's heart. Sister and brother Wendy Savage (Laura Linney) and Jon Savage (Philip Seymour Hoffman) live in and around New York, but they've been drifting apart over the years. However, they get a call about their father Lenny (Philip Bosco) who has been living with a girlfriend in Sun City, Arizona, and Lenny seems to be suffering from dementia. When Lenny's girlfriend dies, he has no legal right to her property, and is asked to leave. Wendy and Jon take him back to New York and they have to find a nursing home that will be right for Lenny. However, they've never been close to Lenny, as he was a difficult father to live with, and they cut him out of their lives. On the surface, this could have been a very depressing and emotionally upsetting film, but it has an air of quirkiness to it, and something rings quite true about the story, (producer Payne touched upon similar themes in Nebraska (2013)), but Linney, Hoffman and Bosco hold the film together wonderfully, and it's almost a theatrical piece, and it's interesting that theatre plays a big part throughout the film. 4/5



Attack on the Iron Coast (1968), after the release of 633 Squadron (1964), which proved to a surprise success, producer Walter Mirisch ordered a series of low-budget war films to be made in the UK, but that would have at least one American star in it, and would usually be one half of a double bill feature. This one was partially inspired by the St. Nazaire Raid, although the film does take some liberties with the truth. Canadian Commando Major Jamie Wilson (Lloyd Bridges) has masterminded a Combined Operations raid on the Axis held French port of Le Clare, which if successful, would strip the Nazi's of the only dry dock accessable to service their battleships. Royal Navy Captain Owen Franklin (Andrew Keir) is opposed to the idea, but with no other ideas to hand, the Royal Navy, under duress from Churchill, have no option but to go with Wilson's plan. However, the commando's are given limited resources, battered old boats that have seen better days, and Franklin has to go along with Wilson on the mission, which puts the two at complete loggerheads. It should have been a good film, but it's low budget works against it, and it ends up all being done at night, maybe to hide a multitude of sins. Bridges overacts badly, (you can see why he was cast in Airplane! (1980)), plus when released, this was on a double bill with Yellow Submarine (1968), God knows why. 2/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 3 - The Search for Spock   Thu Jun 05, 2014 11:52 pm

The China Syndrome (1979), co-written and directed by James Bridges (September 30, 1955 (1977) and Urban Cowboy (1980)), this tense thriller just goes to show how far people will go to cover up incidents from the public. It's still socially relevant now, as companies seem to strive on cover-ups and corruption these days. The incident at the centre of the film is very common, maybe a lot more common than you'd like. In Los Angeles, Television news reporter Kimberly Wells (Jane Fonda) and her maverick cameraman Richard Adams (Michael Douglas) drive out to the Ventana nuclear power to do a news report. While observing the workers in the control room, they feel a tremor, which causes a panic in the control room, and Shift Supervisor Jack Godell (Jack Lemmon) feels a slight tremor, but after bringing the main reactor back under control, Godell finds the main reactor is damaged, but the bosses want to have the plant up and running again. Meanwhile, Wells finds the plant has denied anything happened, but Adams filmed the incident, and then he steals the footage. It's a very suspenseful film, and it is more socially relevant now, especially after Fukushima. But, the last act is among the most gripping sequences seen on film, and it does show how ruthless companies can be, more interested in money than safety. But, if cover-ups like this were revealed, the world would descend into anarchy. 4/5



Fading Gigolo (2013), written and directed by John Turturro, whose directorial credits so far are Mac (1992), Illuminata (1998),  Romance & Cigarettes (2005) and Passione (2010). For his latest film, he's created an absurb and gently silly romantic comedy drama, that is a buddy film at it's core, but it also has a touching love triangle at its core. It has a lot of colourful characters on display throughout of all creeds. In New York, bookshop owner Murray (Woody Allen) needs money, his store has just closed and wants a nest-egg for his later years, after an encounter with his dermatologist Dr. Parker (Sharon Stone), who needs a man for a ménage à trois with her friend Selima (Sofía Vergara), Murray suggests his friend Fioravante (Turturro), who is also in need of cash. Fioravante is reluctant at first, but a little enterprise comes of it. When Murray meets Avigal (Vanessa Paradis), the attractive widow of an Hassidic rabbi, Murray recommends she goes to Fioravante for a massage, but cop Dovi (Liev Schreiber), becomes suspicious of what's going on. It is a light and breezy film, and it's not perfect, but it's an enjoyable enough romp to pass the time, and it is quite ridiculous, especially when the film pokes light fun at Jewish traditions and their devoutness. But, if anything, this is proof, once and for all, that Woody Allen can give a good performances outside his own films. 3/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 3 - The Search for Spock   Sun Jun 08, 2014 3:11 am

Edge Of Tomorrow (1st view) - Part Groundhog Day, part Souce Code. Better than both - 4/5*




In The Heat Of The Night (2nd view) - Not seen this in about 15 year. As good as I remember - 4/5




Commando (2nd view) - Not seen this in about 10 years. As bad as I remember, but comically so - 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 Jun 09, 2014 2:54 am

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2nd view) - When I saw this three years ago I said "The kind of big-budget, CGI spectacular that I usually go crazy for. But it was a bit of a dreary mess overall. Only Alfred Molina was worth watching, and even he wasn't that good" and gave the film two stars, so either the film's improved or my taste has worsened - 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   Wed Jun 11, 2014 12:22 am

Circus of Fear (1966), based on a story by Edgar Wallace, adapted and produced by Harry Alan Towers, who had previously produced Wallace adaptations such as Death Drums Along the River (1963) and Coast of Skeletons (1964). Directed by John Llewellyn Moxey, (The City of the Dead (1960), this is a suspenseful thriller, which starts off as crime thriller, then it becomes a whodunnit. It has a good cast moving the film forwards. In London, a group of thieves led by Mason (Victor Maddern), rob an armoured car on Tower Bridge and making off with the money by boat up the Thames. But the trail of the money goes cold after that, and some members of the gang turn up dead. Scotland Yard inspector Elliott (Leo Genn) investigates further, and is surprised when some of the money turns up in the takings of a travelling circus ran by Barberini (Anthony Newlands). But Barberini can't explain how the money got there, but Elliott discovers there's a lot of suspicious characters in the circus, not least the masked lion tamer Gregor (Christopher Lee), who has a lot to hide from his co-workers. It's a good thriller, and the change in tone doesn't affect it one jot, it manages to make for good entertainment, and like many over thrillers like this from the time, it hasn't really dated, plus look out for Klaus Kinski as a member of the gang, who is a nasty piece of work, and there's a few more familiar faces. 4/5



The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951), directed by Robert Wise (West Side Story (1961), The Sound of Music (1965) and Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)), and based on the 1940 short story Farewell to the Master by Harry Bates. This is a very iconic sci-fi film, which was made for a very meagre budget, but Wise and his team were able to do a lot with what they had, and it still looks pretty effective to this day. When a flying saucer lands in Washington, D.C. The military surround the aircraft and it makes big news. A humanoid (Michael Rennie), who we later know as Klaatu, emerges from the craft claiming he's come in peace, but he's still shot by a nervous soldier. With the craft guarded by robot Gort, Klaatu is examined by doctors, who are amazed his wound heals quickly. Klaatu has a message for all world leaders, but his request is ignored. So he escapes from the hospital, and takes up residence in a boarding house as Mr. Carpenter, getting to know fellow residents Helen Benson (Patricia Neal) and her son Bobby (Billy Gray), and the government search for Klaatu. It's a parable on world peace, and how it must have got bad if we need a stranger from outer space to try and hammer the message into us. However, it's not a preachy film, but it manages to be entertaining and exciting. The film could also be read as a religious film, about a modern day messiah, it's up to viewer how to interpret it. 4/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 3 - The Search for Spock   Wed Jun 11, 2014 1:27 am

Earthquake (1974), directed by Mark Robson (Von Ryan's Express (1965), Valley of the Dolls (1967) and Avalanche Express (1979)), and written by Mario Puzo (The Godfather (1972) and Superman (1978)), this disaster film was one in many that followed the successes of Airport (1970) and The Poseidon Adventure (1972), Hollywood wanted more and more disaster films, and while some were dodgy, this was a good one. In Los Angeles, one worker at the Mulholland Dam drowns after a routine inspection is interrupted by a violent tremor, which is picked up by the Californian Seismological Institute, which is ran by Dr. Willis Stockle (Barry Sullivan), who calls the National Guard and the Police to be on the safe side. However, that turns out not to be enough, as a massive earthquake, measuring 9.9 on the Richter Scale, destroys much of Los Angeles. Residents such as Stewart Graff (Charlton Heston), his wife Remy Royce-Graff (Ava Gardner), his boss and father in-law Sam Royce (Lorne Greene), police Sgt. Lou Slade (George Kennedy) and stuntman Miles Quade (Richard Roundtree) all have to survive. It's you're typical disaster movie fare, but the limited running time doesn't give it much room to breathe, or to develop the characters and their back stories of how they're thrown together in all this. But it doesn't seem to matter once the earthquake hits, as it looks absolutely brilliant on screen. 4/5



How to Train Your Dragon (2010), based upon a series of books written by British author Cressida Cowell which have been published since 2003, and directed by Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois (Lilo & Stitch (2002) and The Croods (2013)), this is an enchanting and visually stunning animated adventure which has a lot of heart and a wit to it's name. DreamWorks Animation may have found their successor to Shrek with this. In the time of the Vikings, on the Island of Berk, the community fight against dragons who have been stealing the livestock, the Chieftain Stoick the Vast (Gerard Butler) has had giant mechanical devices made to stop the dragons. His awkward teenage son Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) during one raid believes he's shot down a Night Fury, which is an extremely dangerous dragon. He goes to find it, and discovers it's injured. Hiccup names the dragon Toothless, and gains it's trust. Meanwhile, Hiccup has been put into a dragon fighting class, which is something Hiccup doesn't want, but he uses his time with Toothless to gain knowledge about dragons. It's a good story, and it has some wonderful animation on display, and it manages to be touching and awe inspiring in good ways. It's a coming of age story and it has some good jokes to balance it out nicely. Roll on How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014), which already looks as stunning and exciting as this. 4/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 3 - The Search for Spock   Wed Jun 11, 2014 11:00 pm

A Million Ways to Die in the West (2014), written, produced and directed by Seth MacFarlane. For his follow-up to the blockbuster comedy Ted (2012), MacFarlane wanted to do a western, and do it his way. It could have been a rival to Blazing Saddles (1974), but not all of it works, and the comedy misses more than hits. While it does have some funny moments, the final result feels like a substandard episode of Family Guy. Set in Old Stump, Arizona in 1882, sheep farmer Albert Stark (MacFarlane) is dumped by his girlfriend Louise (Amanda Seyfried) for withdrawing from a duel, at a lose end, Albert descends into a slump, unable to do anything, although he has his friends Edward (Giovanni Ribisi) and Ruth (Sarah Silverman) for comfort. However, when Anna (Charlize Theron) arrives in town, Albert finds solace in her, and she offers to help him stop being a coward and be a good gunslinger, especially when Albert is challenged to a duel by Louise's new boyfriend Foy (Neil Patrick Harris). But, when Anna's outlaw husband Clinch Leatherwood (Liam Neeson) turns up, he looks for Albert... There are a lot of jokes on display, but when most of them emit a snigger rather than a belly laugh, then you know something's wrong. It does have a few good laughs, just not as many as Ted had, and MacFarlane is miscast in his own film, as a modern man stuck in the old west, that's works against the film completely. 2.5/5



Maleficent (2014), the directorial debut of Oscar winning visual effects supervisor and production designer Robert Stromberg (Avatar (2009), Alice in Wonderland (2010) and Oz the Great and Powerful (2013)). This is a re-imagining of Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty (1959), by re-imagining, it turns what we thought we knew about Sleeping Beauty on it's head, and you could say the tables are turned here. Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) is a powerful fairy living in the Moors, which has had a fractured relationship with the human kingdom, Maleficent as a girl fell in love with Stefan (Sharlto Copley), who later betrayed Maleficent and stole her wings as a trophy for the dying King Henry (Kenneth Cranham). Stefan is made king, and Maleficent swears revenge, and she curses his daughter Aurora (Elle Fanning) to fall into a deep sleep by pricking herself on the needle of a spinning wheel when she's 16. However, Maleficent begins to regret making that curse... It touches on human feelings and guilt, something the original never gave a second thought to, however there is a lot of imagination and style about the film, but it does have a very dark heart. It could have been a better film, but it's a lot better than most of Disney's recent offerings. 3/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 3 - The Search for Spock   Thu Jun 12, 2014 10:20 pm

Blow-Up (1966), the first English language film by Michelangelo Antonioni, who had made a splash with his Italian films such as L'Avventura (1960), La Notte (1961) and Red Desert (1964). For his next film, he went to Italian producer Carlo Ponti, then hot off producing Doctor Zhivago (1965), and he got Antonioni a contract at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Here, he was in the right place at the right time, and he captured the atmosphere going on. This tells the story of photographer Thomas (David Hemmings), who has had a successful career working in and around the pop scene of London at that time. While out on a shoot at Maryon Park, he takes candid photos of two lovers, the woman Jane (Vanessa Redgrave) isn't happy about being photographed, and she later goes to Thomas's studio, demanding the negative. He complies, but gives her a different negative. While looking though the photographs he took in the park, he finds he tooks a photo of a body in the grass and a potential killer in the nearby trees. He goes back to investigate, and he becomes obsessed with Jane... It's a good thriller, set against the backdrop of Swinging London. Antonioni uses a lot of colour in the film, and it has an interesting plot, even if it is quite difficult to navigate at times. It has a good score by Herbie Hancock, with a guest performance by the Yardbirds. This should have set Antonioni up for life. Then he did Zabriskie Point (1970)... 4/5



Godzilla (2014), directed by Gareth Edwards (Monsters (2010)), this film marks the first time since Hollywood has tackled a Godzilla film since Roland Emmerich's unfortunately, ill-fated 1998 take. Original producers Toho vowed they would never let Hollywood near the property again, but they calmed down, and allowed this more respectable and well made version, which ticks nearly all the boxes for films of this kind. In 1999, the Janjira nuclear plant in Japan has a meltdown, attributed to an earthquake, American plant supervisor Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) spends the next 15 years investigating cover-ups and conspiracy theories about what really happened. His estranged son Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) comes to Japan to try and bring Joe home, but they discover something IS going on at Janjira, something in a coccoon which later escapes, scientist Ishiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) is behind this, and there's another creature as well... This is a film that takes the creature of Godzilla more seriously than the 1998 version, and indeed this is the film that Pacific Rim (2013) should have been. It might try to squeeze too much into the film, but when it comes to the destruction and rampage of the monsters, the film does succeed on that level. But that's about it. 3.5/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 3 - The Search for Spock   Thu Jun 12, 2014 11:17 pm

Battle Royale (2000), written and directed by Kinji Fukasaku, (the Japanese sequences in Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970) and Battles Without Honor and Humanity (1973)), and based upon the 1999 novel by Koushun Takami, this is a very violent Japanese action-thriller which you could argue also set the template for what was to come in The Hunger Games films, only this is for adults only, there's a lot of grisly murders and a lot of blood. Set in a dystopian future, and after 800,000 students across Japan walked out of their schools in protest, the Government got revenge by introducing the Battle Royale act, where a random class of students from a random school will be put into an island, and they will have to kill each other in 3 days until one remains standing. Some of the students are killed by teacher Kitano (Takeshi Kitano) for refusing to participate in the programme. When the students are put on the island, all hell breaks lose, but a few students, including Shuya Nanahara (Tatsuya Fujiwara) and Noriko Nakagawa (Aki Maeda) come up with a few interesting strategies in order to survive. The violence on display in the film is jaw-dropping, and it got banned or undistributed in many countries as a result, but it's compelling and it actually cares about it's characters as well, and it is a dark indictment of the way society could go if we're not careful. Plus, Quentin Tarantino LOVES the film, and he referenced it in Kill Bill. Razz 4/5



The Happiness of the Katakuris (2001), directed by Takashi Miike, who had made his name with such ultra-violent shockers like Audition (1999), Dead or Alive (1999) and Ichi the Killer (2001)), shocked audiences again by making something completely different. This absolutely bonkers horror-comedy-musical with moments of lurid claymation animation. You won't see another film like this being made anytime soon!! Set at White Lover's Inn near Mount Fuji, the Inn was started by the Katakuri family, which consist of father Masao Katakuri (Kenji Sawada), his wife Terue (Keiko Matsuzaka), his father Jinpei (Tetsurō Tamba), his criminal son Masayuki (Shinji Takeda), his divorced daughter Shizue (Naomi Nishida) and her child Yurie (Tamaki Miyazaki). They built the Inn from nothing, and it was situated on an old rubbish dump, but business is slow, but when a local TV personality (Naoto Takenaka) comes to stay and ends up killing himself, the Katakuri family cover up the death. More guests later stay, and they all die, but the family had nothing to do with them! You could never get away with a film like this in Hollywood or Europe. No, something as nutty and indescribable as this could only have come from Japan. Miike has fun with the concept, and he should try something like this again, as he shows a bit of a knack for tackling black comedy, and animation too. 4/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 3 - The Search for Spock   Thu Jun 12, 2014 11:33 pm

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



Searching for Sugar Man (2012), the directorial debut of Swedish director Malik Bendjelloul, who had got his start in film by working as a child actor and working as a reporter for Swedish TV and Radio. He decided to make this documentary after working on music documentaries for Swedish TV. It's a truly amazing story, about discovery and re-discover and however bizarre and unlikely it sounds, all of it is 100% true. Back in 1970, Detriot musician Sixto Rodriguez made a slight splash and got acclaim on the club circuit. That was enough to get 2 albums made, and then he vanished. Shortly afterwards, his albums turned up in South Africa, then under the apartheid regime, but Rodriguez's music became massively popular, after the Apartheid ended. Two fans of Rodriguez, Stephen 'Sugar' Segerman and Craig Bartholomew Strydom set off to find out more about him, and go about discovering whether the rumours spread around about his death are true. Because of the Apartheid, no-one knows anything about Rodriguez, then Segerman got a call from the man himself... It's a truly amazing story, as Rodriguez is a truly talented songwriter and singer, but he was never given the chance to flourish, as he wasn't given the promotion he deserved, but he was given a second chance at fame. The film has a poignant edge now as director Bendjelloul committed suicide in May 2014. 4.5/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 3 - The Search for Spock   Fri Jun 13, 2014 12:02 am

Wise Blood (1979), directed by the great John Huston, who was able to hold his own as a director by the 1970's, even though New Hollywood was now ruling the roost. Even though he'd been able to get his pet project The Man Who Would Be King (1975) made, when he set about trying to adapt Flannery O'Connor's 1952 novel Wise Blood for the screen. No-one wanted to know, but Huston persevered and got it made in the end. 22 year old Hazel Motes (Brad Dourif) has just left the army and is penniless, so Motes turns to preaching and he has aspirations of setting up his own church, The Church of Truth Without Christ. It's his own creation, and he seems to have it in for anyone who tends to believe in God, but he faces competition from blind preacher Asa Hawks (Harry Dean Stanton) and Hoover Shoates (Ned Beatty). Motes even ends up with an unlikely friend in the dim-witted Enoch Emory (Dan Shor), who takes a liking to Motes, but because of Motes and his unstable, sociopathic behaviour, he's unable to maintain any form of relationship, which eventually leads to a burn out. Knowing how prickly most American's can be about religion on screen, Huston played with fire making this film, but he makes a brilliant character piece. It's also a brilliant showcase for Dourif, who has always been overlooked and underrated, but here, he is all guns blazing and just a massive source of energy throughout. 4/5



Christiane F. (1981), based on the autobiography Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo by Christiane F. (Vera Christiane Felscherinow), and directed by Uli Edel, (Last Exit to Brooklyn (1989), The Little Vampire (2000) and The Baader Meinhof Complex (2008)), this is one of the most harrowing films ever made about prostitution and drug use, even more so because it actually happened, but it captures the era brilliantly. Set in West Berlin in 1975, it tells the story of Christiane Felscherinow (Natja Brunckhorst), who lives with her mother and sister on the outskirts. She's a huge fan of David Bowie, and when she visits a club called Sound, she's introduced to Detlef (Thomas Haustein), who in turn introduces Christiane to drugs. Her habit begins there, and she's only just turned 14. After meeting Babsi (Christiane Reichelt) at one of Bowie's concerts, and she introduces Christiane to heroin, something she get's badly addicted to. Then Christiane turns to prostitution in order to fund her habit, and she soon learns the dangers of this seedy lifestyle the hard way. If there was ever a film to convince today's youth to stop drug use, this should be it. There's a cold turkey sequence which is nearly unwatchable, and it makes what was to come in Trainspotting (1996) look tame by comparison. But, it's littered with David Bowie songs, he even made a cameo which gave the film a bit of commercial success. 4/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 3 - The Search for Spock   Fri Jun 13, 2014 12:44 am

22 Jump Street (2014), it had to happen, 21 Jump Street (2012) managed to be a very good comedy against all the odds, and the cast return as do directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who had a massive success earlier this year with The Lego Movie (2014). It's a good sequel, and it even pokes fun at the whole repetitiveness of sequels. It might actually be a superior film to the first film, and there's a lot of laughs. After their successful undercover work at 21 Jump Street, Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) are back on the police force, but that doesn't last long after a bungled drugs bust. So they're sent back to Jump Street, under the command of Captain Dickson (Ice Cube), and they go undercover in college as students looking for a very deadly drug called "WHYPHY". Jenko makes friends with jocks Zook (Wyatt Russell) and Rooster (Jimmy Tatro), a lifestyle Schmidt doesn't approve of, and he ends up in a relationship with art student Maya (Amber Stevens). Their differing lifestyles puts both Schmidt and Jenko at loggerheads, until they finally get a break, literally! It's a very silly film, poking fun at the traditions of college, it has some good action sequences on display as well, including an action packed last third during Spring Break in Mexico. It leaves the door open for more films, but they don't really need to, as the end credits have already sorted that one out for us all. 4/5



Edge of Tomorrow (2014), directed by Doug Liman (Swingers (1997), Go (1999), The Bourne Identity (2002) and Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005)), and adapted from the Japanese Manga novel All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka. This is a high concept action sci-fi thriller, which on the surface melds together the time loop scenarios of Groundhog Day (1993) and Source Code (2011)), but it manages to work very well. An alien invasion has taken over most of mainland Europe, these are aliens known as Mimics, and they're heading for the UK. Major William Cage (Tom Cruise), a spokesman for the United Defense Forces is signed up to fight, something he doesn't want to do, but has to after he tried to blackmail General Brigham (Brendan Gleeson), he ends up stripped off his rank and thrown into fighting the Mimics on the beach at Normandy. Cage is killed in battle, only to wake up the morning before it happened. He tries every way he can to get out of it, but he can't and the day repeats itself again and again, but he soon finds his answer into getting out of it in Sergeant Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt.) It's a very good idea for a film, and the battle sequences on display are almost insane, and it manages to have some good fun along with way without (pardon the analogy) becoming repetitive. It's not like other action films, this is that rarest of beast, an action film that's also a clever and intelligent think piece. 4/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 3 - The Search for Spock   Fri Jun 13, 2014 7:40 am

Never heard of Christiane F. Sounds good., I'll have to check it out.


Children Of Men (4th view) - I can fully understand the criticism of Clive Owen that this film sometimes gets, but just about everything else is close to perfect - 5/5





The Ninth Configuration (1st view) - Written and directed by William Peter Blatty. A bit crazy but very enjoyable - 4/5*





The Change-Up (1st view) - Liked this more than I expected but far from a great comedy - 3/5*



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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   Mon Jun 16, 2014 2:42 am

Dhoom 2 (2nd view) - The world needs more Bollywood action musicals - 4/5





X-Men: First Class (2nd view) - Mostly enjoyable and Bacon was fun to watch. Too many characters, a lot get forgotten about in the second half, and the constant "humans hate mutants" got repetitive halfway through the first film, four films later it's just annoying. But a good addition to the franchise. Last Stand's still the best - 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 3 - The Search for Spock   Thu Jun 19, 2014 11:05 pm

Possession (1981), directed by Andrzej Żuławski, (The Public Woman (1984), On the Silver Globe (1988) and My Nights Are More Beautiful Than Your Days (1989)), this is a very creepy horror film which has some brilliant locations and while it might look like yet another Exorcist rip-off, it isn't. This is a very European film with some good performances throughout and a very offbeat approach, but it's very disturbing yet compelling. Set in West Berlin, this has spy Mark (Sam Neill) returning to his wife Anna (Isabelle Adjani) and son Bob (Michael Hogben) after an espionage mission. Anna drops a bombshell by saying she wants a divorce, which drives Mark to insanity, but when he goes round to check on Bob, he finds Bob alone and neglected. He returns to look after Bob, but Anna keeps disappearing, and Mark get's calls from Anna's new lover Heinrich (Heinz Bennent). When Mark confronts Heinrich, he denies ever making the calls, and Anna's disappearances become more frequent, and when Mark hires a Private Detective (Carl Duering) to follow Anna, the detective goes missing... It's a very atmospheric film and it's a good timepiece of West Berlin at the time, the family apartment overlooks the border with East Berlin, adding to the foreboding and gloom. There's some good effects created by Carlo Rambaldi, who was about to move from bloody horror to family sci-fi with E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. 4/5



The Cat o' Nine Tails (1971), written and directed by Dario Argento, who had made a big splash with his debut as a director with The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970), here this was the second part in his "Animal trilogy", which was concluded with Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1971), but this one does tend to drag a bit, which is a shame as there are flashes of what the film could have been. Even Argento isn't happy with it. Set in Rome, blind man Franco Arno (Karl Malden) and his neice Lori (Cinzia De Carolis) are walking at night when Franco overhears a conversation involving blackmail. Later on, Franco hears a break-in occurring on the neighbouring medical complex. The next day, reporter Carlo Giordani (James Franciscus) asks Franco about what he heard the night before, with little to go on, things take a sinister turn when Dr. Calabresi (Carlo Alighiero), who worked at the medical complex is pushed in front of a train at the station, and Carlo reports on the story, it's from here that Franco and Carlo work together to find out who the killer is. It should have been a good thriller, but a lot of it drags badly, which is a sad shame, as you'd expect Argento to keep the dark, sinister mood up throughout. It does have it's moments, including a killer score by Ennio Morricone, but it's not as good compared to what was to come from Argento over the next decade to come. 3/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 3 - The Search for Spock   Fri Jun 20, 2014 12:16 am

No Way Out (1987), directed by Roger Donaldson (The Bounty (1984), Cocktail (1988) and Species (1995)), this thriller is based on a 1946 novel called The Big Clock by Kenneth Fearing, which was republished under the title of No Way Out in 1980. The film version is a very complex but exciting thriller where nothing is what is what it seems. It also has a very good cast and it keeps it's suspense and tautness up throughout. U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander Tom Farrell (Kevin Costner) is given a job working for Secretary of Defense, David Brice (Gene Hackman) at the Pentagon. Meanwhile, he's been seeing Susan Atwell (Sean Young), who is seeing another man, who Farrell learns is Brice. In turn Brice learns that Susan is seeing another man, and he kills her in a jealous rage. Brice panics, and his General Counsel Scott Pritchard (Will Patton) decides to blame someone else, and Brice asks Farrell to lead the investigation as to who it could be, but Farrell knows this could implicate himself in the investigation, and when the Pentagon is under lockdown, Farrell finds himself under scrutiny. It's a very good film, and while a lot of thrillers from the 1980's tend to be dated, the only thing dated about this film are the computers and fashions, but the plot is well executed and it keeps the viewer guessing until the end. It shows what an underrated director Donaldson is, and he made loads of good films at the time. 4/5



U.S. Marshals (1998), directed by Stuart Baird, who had gone from editing films such as Tommy (1975), The Omen (1976) and Lethal Weapon (1987)) to making his directorial debut with Executive Decision (1995)). This is a sequel to The Fugitive (1993), now focusing on Tommy Lee Jones' character. It should have been a good action film, but it's plot is a stones throw away from copying the plot of The Fugitive. It begins when tow truck driver Mark Warren (Wesley Snipes) is arrested after a traffic collision in Chicago, and a weapon is found in his truck, and the weapon was used in a recent murder. He's revealed to be fugitive Mark Warren, who is wanted in New York. While in transit on a plane with Deputy U.S. Marshal Samuel Gerard (Jones) on board, a mutiny happens on board, and the plane crashes. Warren escapes, and Gerard goes on the hunt for him, and he's teamed up with Special Agent John Royce (Robert Downey, Jr.) to find Warren, but along the way, Gerard discovers evidence that Warren isn't all he seems and he knows more than he's letting on. It goes from a carbon copy of the first film to an espionage thriller with double and triple crossing and double identities. It's a well made film, but maybe it shouldn't have been marketed as a sequel to The Fugitive. Baird only directed one more film after this, Star Trek: Nemesis (2002), before he returned to editing. 2.5/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 3 - The Search for Spock   Sun Jun 22, 2014 2:59 am

Possession is great, Mad but great.


X-Men: Days Of Future Past (1st view) - SPOILERS
A step up from First Class and the solo Wolverine efforts, does a nice job of sequelling two strands of the franchise, but I'm a bit surprised it basically rewrites the entire history of the films so far - 4/5*





The Master (1st view) - Got to say I was a bit disappointed by this. Can't fault the performances (Pheonix, Hoffman and Adams all excelled, Hoffman especially) but it was hard to care what happened to anyone - 4/5*





4.3.2.1 (1st view) - Ok I suppose - 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 Jun 23, 2014 9:26 pm

The Hours (2002), based on the 1998 novel by Michael Cunningham, and directed by Stephen Daldrey (Billy Elliot (2000), The Reader (2008) and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011)), this is a compelling drama set over different time periods but all interconnected in a unique way, 2 of the stories are connected by the work of the real life subject in the third. It's a thoughtful film, and it has a very good cast to it's name. In 1923, Virginia Woolf (Nicole Kidman) writes Mrs Dalloway in her home in the town of Richmond. She has suffered several breakdowns and is bipolar, and she feels like a prisoner in her own home. In 1951, Los Angeles housewife Laura Brown (Julianne Moore) is married to Dan (John C. Reilly) with son Richie (Jack Rovello), but she is unhappy in her marriage and she finds solace in reading Mrs Dalloway. In New York in 2001, Clarissa Vaughan (Meryl Streep) lives the life of Mrs. Dalloway, preparing a party in honour of her former lover and friend Richard Brown (Ed Harris), who is dying from AIDS, and is receiving a major literary award, but Richard isn't happy. It's a bleak film on the surface, all the stories are connected with the theme of suicide, but it's still very compelling, and the trio of actresses on display all give powerful performances, Kidman won the Best Actress Oscar for playing Woolf, but it's a shame her career has taken a downward turn ever since this film. 4/5



Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (1974), From Hammer, this was their seventh and final Frankenstein film they made, after an attempt to reboot the franchise with The Horror of Frankenstein (1970) was an outright failure, they got Peter Cushing back, and Hammer veteran Terrence Fisher back to direct it. It should have revived Hammer's fortunes, but it helped to kill this once great studio. Shame really. Simon Helder (Shane Briant) is a young doctor who has admired the works of Baron Frankenstein (Peter Cushing) for years, but after Helder is arrested and detained in an asylum for body snatching, he meets the asylum's chief surgeon, who happens to be Frankenstein himself, now living under a new identity. He takes on Helder as his new apprentice, but Frankenstein has more sinister motives, he's been killing off the patients, and using their body parts for his latest experiment, the body of Herr Schneider (Dave Prowse), an inmate who attempted suicide but has been kept alive by Frankenstein. However, it's not long before Schneider escapes. It has some good moments, and it's good to see Cushing back doing Frankenstein, but it had a troubled production, Fisher was ill during the production recovering from a car crash, and the film's release was delayed for two years when EMI dropped out of distributing it. But, it's not as bad as you might remember. 3.5/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 3 - The Search for Spock   Mon Jun 23, 2014 9:57 pm

The Man Who Finally Died (1963), directed by Quentin Lawrence (Cash on Demand (1961), We Shall See (1964) and The Secret of Blood Island (1964)), this espionage thriller is based on a TV serial broadcast on ITV in 1959 written by Lewis Greifer, who did the screenplay here with Louis Marks. This has a very good cast, and it's a mystery which takes a lot of twists and turns, and absolutely nothing is what it seems in this film. Musician Joe Newman (Stanley Baker) was born in Germany but raised in England when war broke out. He received a call to say that his father had died, but Joe has always believed his father had been dead for 20 years. But people aren't very keen to talk about Joe's father, and Joe later discovers that his father had defected to the West from behind the Iron Curtain, and went to live with Dr. von Brecht (Peter Cushing) and that he married Lisa von Deutsch (Mai Zetterling). But, after Joe can't get any answers from local Police Inspector Hofmeister (Eric Porter), Joe suspects a cover-up then he discovers more dark secrets about his father. This manages to hold up rather well, although you'll have to pay attention to keep up with the revelations throughout the film, but it has a good cast of supporting actors, and it was filmed in Bavaria and it makes good use of the locations too, and it owes a debt of gratitude lot to Bad Day At Black Rock (1955). 3.5/5



Zardoz (1974), written, produced and directed by John Boorman, who at the time was riding high off the success of Deliverance (1972). For a brief moment, Boorman was offered carte blanche to make whatever he wanted for his next one. The idea for this grew out of Boorman's failed attempt to adapt The Lord of the Rings, what he created was something absolutely insane and something that's truly one of a kind. Set in 2293, where the human population is divided between the immortal 'Eternals' and mortal 'Brutals'. The Brutals live a violent existence taking orders from a flying statue head called Zardoz. One Brutal Exterminator Zed (Sean Connery) hides in the head, and ends up in the land of the Eternals, known as The Vortex, where it's inhabitants live on a country estate. Zed is experimented upon by Consuella (Charlotte Rampling) and May (Sara Kestleman). Zed learns that the Eternals are kept alive by a large crystal known as the Tabernacle, which can punish certain Eternals who break the rules, by aging them severely into senility. It's impossible to take this film seriously, Connery spends most of the film running around in a nappy, and then wears a wedding dress!! Shocked But while parts of the film do drag, it does have some stunning cinematography by Geoffrey Unsworth with some brilliant locations in Ireland, all made near Boorman's house. Razz 3.5/5

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