Must have been in London? I can definitely see similarities to The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.
Wages of Fear is a superior movie, but you definitely can’t go wrong with Friedkin’s version. It is excellent in its own right especially if you crave for some Friedkin action. Tangerine Dream’s soundtrack is classic too.
Last ten days:
Casino Royale (Campbell, 2006)
Quantum of Solace (Forster, 2008)
Blow Out (De Palma, 1981)
Capote (Miller, 2005)
Sicario 2: Soldado (Sollima, 2018)
Let the Right One In (Alfredson, 2008)
End of the Century: The Story of The Ramones (Fields/Gramaglia, 2003)
This is England (Meadows, 2006)
Resolution (Benson/Moorhead, 2012)
Once Upon a Time in Mexico (Rodriguez, 2003)
V For Vendetta (McTeigue, 2005)
The Endless (Benson/Moorhead, 2018)
Dead Birds (Turner, 2004)
Altered (Sánchez, 2006)
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (McKay, 2006)
Cast Away (Zemeckis, 2000)
Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (Tezuka, 2002)
Bowling For Columbine (Moore, 2002)
If You Meet Sartana Pray For Your Death (Parolini, 1968)
I am Sartana, Your Angel of Death (Carnimeo, 1969)
Tekkonkinkreet (Arias, 2006)
Hot Fuzz (Wright, 2007)
Machete Kills (Rodriguez, 2013)
Crash (Haggis, 2004)
Munich (Spielberg, 2005)
Brüno (Charles, 2009)
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Lee, 2000)
Roughly a sixth of the way through my self-imposed “Favourites From the 2000s” challenge.
The shock value of my 3/5 Vertigo rating has been bested
Well it was more of a 3½ really but the clunky star rating I’ve chosen to adopt for brevity (and it’s not all that brief either; takes me ages pratting around with those stars ) forces me to round up or down and, rather shamefully, I’ve never seen Blow Out before. It was a blind purchase I made a few weeks ago and, unless a movie is astonishingly good, I tend not to go too OTT with the love on the first outing (that’s not always true but I try to stick along those lines if I can). I thought it was pretty bloody good though and it may well find another star over future viewings.
And either way, it doesn’t excuse the monstrous horror of a 3/5 for Vertigo!
- Jodorowsky: El Topo
- Tulio: Unelma karjamajalla
- Jodorowsky: Dance of Reality
- Kieslowski: Przypadek
- Lewis: The Patsy
- Carnimeo: Have a Good Funeral, Sartana Will Pay
- Lanthimos: Lobster
- Kieslowski: Bez konca
- Cosmatos: Rambo II
- Martino: Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh
OK, I guess it’s my turn then:
Wisdom (1986) - Director: Emilio Estevez - 5/10 - Despite having some cringy acting from Estevez and Moore, I was surprised at how entertaining and fun to watch it was. Estevez has some major problems when dealing with dramatic scenes which fall flat most of the time. And in spite of all that, it’s ridiculously enjoyable in a corny and endearing way. The social commentary Estevez endeavors to embed in the movie feels somewhat candid and touching. If I were to choose which aspect of his work on the production was worse, I’d say that his acting is inferior to what he does behind the camera. He is not sensationally good, but he ain’t too bad either. With that being said, it all works in a very corny fashion for me. It’s cheesy, but I kinda like it.
Hunter’s Blood (1986) - Director: Robert C. Hughes - 5/10 - If you find a prospect of watching a bunch of rednecks massacring a group of city boys hunting in the woods exciting, this might very well fit your bill. The first half of the movie constitutes a rather uneventful foundation for the subsequent part of the story, but once the rednecks come in sight, they do not disappoint. The survivalist aspect of the motion picture makes itself more evident once the group of avocational hunters is forced to face the redneck savagery and this is when the flick really takes off. There is even some fairly nasty gore on full display as well, thus if that’s what you’re after, you might want to give this one a try. The execution is merely passable, but to be fair, it stays rather competent throughout the entirety of the flick and this is precisely what you want in this kind of production.
Enemy Territory (1987) - Director: Peter Manoogian - 6/10 - It feels a lot like a recontextualization of The Warriors, except that its story is set in a black neighborhood. Enemy Territory has a tone that is very similar to the 1980s Walter Hill’s action escapades, but it never quite achieves the same level of carefree technical prowess. In all honesty though, it’s very fun to watch and with its modest running time of mere 80 minutes, it never drags and swiftly progresses at a steady pace, so there aren’t any real boring narrative impasses.
Trapped (1989) - Director: Fred Walton - 7/10 - A very interesting TV production that boasts a tremendous atmosphere and a quite intriguing story. Situating a thriller of this sort exclusively in a skyscraper adds to the overall atmosphere of oppression and additionally amplifies the claustrophobic aura the movie is infused with. The acting is fairly good and the no-bullshit kind of approach buoys up the suspense and makes watching the film truly an immersive experience. One of the better TV productions, feels relatively fresh by today’s standards as well. A (good) modern remake of it would be welcome.
Mike’s Murder (1984) - Director: James Bridges - 6/10 - There are seeds of a good story in there, but the somewhat uninspired storytelling never unearths the potential that lies dormant beneath the surface. What ultimately redeems the motion picture and renders it relatively prepossessing are good performances by Debra Winger and Paul Winfield. The score by John Barry is terrible in the sense that it can’t stop sounding like, well, a John Barry score. It’s just that his musical signature is inextricably intertwined with the Bond franchise and whenever he composed a film score for a movie, it would oftentimes resemble a Bond soundtrack. Same thing goes for Out of Africa for that matter.
Cold Comfort (1989) - Director: Vic Sarin - 8/10 - An uncannily gripping study of a toxic, quasi-incestuous relationship between a corpulent, anxiety-ridden tow truck driver and his daughter. The two are stranded in the middle of a snow-clad wasteland: the daughter desperately wants to leave the place, as it offers her no future prospects, whereas his father… well… he’s got plans of his own. The situation exacerbates once the father rescues a travelling salesman, who gets stuck in a snowdrift during a major snowstorm, and things get out of control pretty quickly. The screenplay is based upon a theatrical play, but feels fairly natural on account of Sarin’s dexterous direction which maintains a minimal setting and enhances the pervading ambiance of alienation by limiting the narrative to the little shack the action is centered on. The acting is well balanced and gets increasingly more and more intense as the movie progresses.
The Last Innocent Man (1987) - Director: Roger Spottiswoode - 7/10 - Some people have complained that the movie falls flat because of its predictability and the occasionally deliberate pacing. I would argue that it all depends on what you expect from the work and how you approach the motion picture at hand. To my way of thinking, the film revolves around legal dilemmas and moral paradoxes of legal actions and the ethics thereof. Spottiswoode is not as interested in perfecting the thriller formula per se as he is invested in the ramifications of the attorney-client privilege. While the running time could’ve been abridged with a view to rendering the entirety of the work more taut and perhaps more narratively engaging, in my view, it would only detract from the splendid characterization that precedes some of the more stimulating scenes in the latter part of the film. It’s always weird to see David Suchet not playing the character of Hercules Poirot.
Silence Like Glass (1989) - Director: Carl Schenkel - 4/10 - A ballet dancer faints during one of her performances and winds up in a hospital and befriends her new roommate. She is then informed of the fact that she’s got cancer and her chances of survival are slim. She begins to combat the disease. Something along those lines. Unfortunately, instead of focusing on the portrayal of the ordeal of those afflicted with cancer, Silence Like Glass also tries to make a bigger statement, yet the message it tries to convey feels regrettably infantile and immature. There are lots of scenes that simply ring hollow. With lines like: “We are da rebellious ones and we don’t give a flying f*ck about the society”, the movie feels remarkably unnatural and kind of pretentious at many points. To be fair, I’ve slightly hyperbolized the tone of the dialogues in order to emphasize what I’m driving at here, but in all honesty, there is many a scene where a character utters something no one would say in real life. It just feels wrong and obliterates the human element of the story that movies like that are highly reliant on. To add insult to injury, the motion picture is likewise somewhat anti-climatic in the sense that its misguided sense of narrative purpose undermines the focus of the story. Instead of centering on the friendship between its two female leads both suffering from cancer and residing in the same room in the hospital, the director first establishes the relationship in question and later completely squanders the potential of resolving the story in an effective manner. Once the character of ballet dancer’s roommate becomes redundant, the director does away with her without a second thought: she dies and her demise is not even all that celebrated in cinematic terms. It’s a climax that isn’t really a climax and it feels like a missed opportunity. The hub of the drama is eviscerated completely and the theme is not resolved properly. The passage of time is handled in a tedious manner, there is little to no character development. Well, the vestiges of some character study are there, but there are never fully explored. The ballet dancer comes from a bourgeois family and at the onset of the motion picture, she argues that any individual’s value is fully quantifiable by determining their social status and their financial background, but she changes her mind later on. All in all, it’s cobbled together in an uninspired manner. The director throws everything against the wall and hopes some of it will stick. The only thing that prevents the flick from totally coming apart is decent acting.
Jack’s Back (1988) - Director: Rowdy Herrington - 7/10 - A surprisingly taut little thriller that fully capitalizes on its quasi-supernatural premise and stays fairly unpredictable throughout its entire running time. James Spader’s performance, however, is what firmly establishes this film as one of the more enjoyable whodunits from the 1980s.
12 Angry Men (1957) - Director: Sidney Lumet - 10/10
Mind Games (1989) - Director: Bob Yari - 5/10 - A passable psychological thriller that has a fairly intriguing premise, yet it feels somewhat underdone. It’s hard to tell whether it’s the merely tolerable execution or the sitcom-y soundtrack that makes the film somewhat unsatisfying. Not too bad though, worth a look.
Alien Nation (1988) - Director: Graham Baker - 7/10 - Way better than expected, a very solid piece of entertainment. The movie combines elements from both Sci-Fi and police thriller genres. What makes it special is that it doesn’t foray into some over-the-top Sci-Fi exploitation or cheesy high-tech gadgetry and instead, focuses on the cultural aspect of the integration of aliens into the human population. Other than that, it’s got very likable main characters and a very gripping storyline. The direction might not be anything special, but it delivers and feels confident enough.