Had a fun time rewatching O Brother, Where Art Thou? with my Dad last night. Wish the Cohen Bros. made more like it, though they have deservingly done well since.
Is it really? I’ve mostly read that it’s only excellent in the visual department. I might give it a go…
The French Connection (1971)-
The Godfather (1972)-
Schindler’s List (1993)-
The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)-
No Country for Old Men (2007)-
The Sting (1973)-
A Man Alone (1955)-
The Mule (2018)-
The Highwaymen (2019)-
First Man (2018)-
Triple Frontier (2019)-
I love it.
The novel by Boileau and Narcéjac is - like most of their novels - an okay read, but it’s the type of thriller that uses all kind of tricks to wrongfoot the reader and to stun him with bizarre twists. A well-plotted thriller, so to speak, but don’t start thinking about the whole thing afterwards or you notice that it’s all very far-fetched.
Last ten days:
Captain America: The First Avenger (Johnston, 2011)
Captain Marvel (Boden/Fleck, 2019)
Iron Man (Favreau, 2008)
Iron Man 2 (Favreau, 2010)
The Incredible Hulk (Leterrier, 2008)
Thor (Branagh, 2011)
The Field Guide to Evil (Ahluwalia/Evrenol/Fiala/Franz/Gebbe/Reeder/Smoczynska/Strickland/Veslemes, 2018)
The Avengers (Whedon, 2012)
The Super Inframan (Hua, 1975)
Iron Man 3 (Black, 2013)
Pandorum (Alvart, 2009)
Thor: The Dark World (Taylor, 2013)
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Russo/Russo, 2014)
Inside Out (Docter/del Carmen, 2015)
Overlord (Avery, 2018)
Guardians of the Galaxy (Gunn, 2014)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 (Gunn, 2017)
Night of the Living Dead (Romero, 1968)
Dawn of the Dead (Romero, 1978)
Day of the Dead (Romero, 1985)
Land of the Dead (Romero, 2005)
Diary of the Dead (Romero, 2007)
Survival of the Dead (Romero, 2009)
Been having myself an MCU-athon in preparation for the imminent Avengers: Endgame (Russo/Russo, 2019), but I put that on hold yesterday for a George Romero zombiethon all-nighter with my son, who only made it through the first three pictures. Pfft. Kids today. No stamina (tbh I fell asleep halfway through Survival of the Dead; it’s not as bad as maybe its reputation suggests but it’s the weakest entry in the series for sure).
RIP Joe Pilato
He had a great “bad guy” face, and I always thought he should have maybe come to more than he did. Still, according to Wikipedia his first ever role was a bit part in Dawn of the Dead, his last ever role was as Harry Cooper in an animated retelling of Night of the Living Dead and, of course, his biggest ever role was in Day of the Dead. That’s pretty cool, I think.
Cemetery without crosses lasts night. Brilliant
Saw Leap Year from megah filmes hd (apknite) yesterday. The chemistry between the main leads were good. The filmed scenery was amazing. Made me wanna travel somewhere.
- Curtiz: Captain Blood 8/10
- Malle: Damage 6/10
- Kassila: Tähdet kertovat, komisario Palmu 8/10
- Holland: To kill a Priest (cinema) 6/10
- Ivory: The Remains of the Day 8/10
- Newmeyer & Taylor: Safety Last 9/10
- Forman: Ragtime 7/10
- Minnelli: Brigadoon 5/10
- Loach: I, Daniel Blake 7/10
- Crain: Blacula 5/10
‘The Howling II’ (1985)
Not my usual cup of tea, but I picked up the Arrow Blu / DVD combo for next to nothing … so what the hell.
Absolute nonsense, but very very funny … 6 out of 10 for entertainment value
Worth a look just for Sybil Danning and Christopher Lee.
Dead Man (1995) - Director: Jim Jarmusch - 10/10 -> 9/10 - A re-watch.
Safe House (2012) - Director: Daniel Espinosa - 4/10
Thirteen Days (2000) - Director: Roger Donaldson - 6/10
Cobra (1986) - Director: George P. Cosmatos - 6/10 - Despite being co-written by Stallone and therefore, excessively centered on his cinematic persona, Cosmatos manages to elevate the prosaic and exceedingly infantile work to a somewhat higher stature by furnishing the overall effort with a sufficient number of stylistic flourishes. You can still discern the underlying lack of narrative depth and the egocentric intent buried underneath the superficial, glossy decor as well as its one-dimensional actioner schematics, nevertheless, the brazenly trashy affair works relatively well in spite of its conspicuous faults relating to the Stallone’s personality cult overriding the narrative structure at large, which is primarily preoccupied with the prepossessing presentation of the titular protagonist. With that being said, it’s extremely entertaining in a charming way and never takes itself too seriously.
Looker (1981) - Director: Michael Crichton - 6/10 - While it’s not a masterpiece, there is plenty to mull over and the end result constitutes a fairly gripping piece of pop culture entertainment rife with 1980s throwbacks and gripping performances from its lead actors. I found most of it veritably stimulating and there isn’t all that much to bemoan. Some of it looks admittedly dated and somewhat ridiculous in view of the current state of the genre, but I would argue those elements only contribute to the quaint flavor of the whole thing and never get in the way of providing a relatively credible and entertaining slice of the 1980s Sci-Fi. It’s not terribly serious, but it’s not meant to be and once you accept its inner idiosyncracies and go with the flow, it’s a pleasant enough Sci-Fi escapade.
Firefox (1982) - Director: Clint Eastwood - 4/10 - It’s a very odd venture in that its two halves are completely unlike each other: the first half is a nifty piece of a spy thriller treating of social pressures and clashes between different social and ethnic groups within the Soviet Union, whereas the latter part constitutes more of a nonsensical, over-the-top actioner that’s primarily obsessed with its glitzy, asinine action sequences and cheesy gadgetry. There isn’t much overlap between both parts of the dichotomous, internally incohesive work whose primary issue lies with the fact that its former half whets one’s appetite for some earnest social commentary and then it refuses to deliver on its promises, proving excessively zany in the end and ultimately degenerating into this cumbersome, protracted and senseless exercise in crowd-pleasing, mindless entertainment with very little to offer outside of its entirely perfunctory attractions. The worst thing is that the action-oriented portion of the film isn’t all that fun to watch and turns out to be incredibly vapid for some reason.
Pour la peau d’un flic (1981) - Director: Alain Delon - 5/10 - An absolutely dispensable crime entry affair that redeems itself through its carefree attitude, which in turn makes it incredibly entertaining to watch. The thing is it never takes itself too seriously and refuses to aim for something beyond its reach, focusing instead on honing its basic formula and indulging in its unrepentant cinematic merriment. While the narrative is all over the place and one could argue it lacks focus and overall cohesion (one could even argue it’s a bit of a mess really), passion and love for filmmaking readily apparent in the final product make amends for its salient technical shortcomings, erratic pacing and its somewhat deficient execution. You can kind of tell most people involved in the project probably had a blast while filming the effort and it genuinely shows.
Le choc (1982) - Director: Robin Davis - 6/10 - There is no disguising the fact that the movie at hand is truly at a loss for some unique story to tell or some novel cinematic approach to diversify the structure and pique one’s interest. Notwithstanding, what thankfully salvages the whole effort and prevents it from declining into the utter boredom are its exceptionally likable characters and the adequate, satisfactory execution. Both the storytelling and its pacing are on the balanced side and supply an adequate narrative foundation for the otherwise unremarkable, but genuinely diverting crime film.
3 hommes à abattre (1980) - Director: Jacques Deray - 6/10 - An old-school espionage thriller that opts for a more somber tone and endeavors to explore the seedy underbelly of the intelligence community. While I appreciate the gloomy atmosphere the movie is pervaded by and the general sense of confusion and ubiquitous peril, something is missing to put it in perspective and distinguish it from dozens of other thrillers of this kind. Albeit relatively taut, engrossing and well-executed, the movie still feels firmly rooted in the old-fashioned mode of filmmaking and never manages to break free from its old conventions.
Le battant (1983) - Director: Alain Delon - 4/10 - A muddled, unfocused, excessively episodic and bromidic crime film afflicted with a multitude of issues arising from both its lack of focus and the flaccid script whose inconsequentiality and superficiality bogs down the narrative at large. The film skims over all kinds of thematic motifs, references other movies and interjects a high number of characters, but without ever settling on one thing for too long or establishing any concrete course of action, becoming heavily diluted and prostrated by its own narrative tentativeness and cursoriness. To add insult to injury, there is little continuity in the way the story unfolds and a large amount of the tale is both fragmented and simultaneously repetitive; not only does the plethora of subplots prove to be more of an impediment to the overaching narrative, but also a lot of the portrayed action is utterly superfluous and trifling. Last but not least, the film is likewise way too long for the kind of story it sets out to recount, clocking in at two hours.
Mort d’un pourri (1977) - Director: Georges Lautner - 8/10 - A stylish and refined political thriller whose elegance and incisiveness emanate from its beautiful cinematography and mordancy of its message. Albeit not perfect, the movie does possess a specific kind of style and a pessimistic outlook on the nature of politics and governmental corruption. The primarily dispiriting tone and its stylish atmosphere distinguish it from other efforts of this sort and while the structure is slightly marred by erraticism, some parts of the film are absolutely marvelous. Kinski’s monologue relating to the international of workers getting superseded by the international of lobbyists and bankers as well as the malleability of national interests is definitely one of the film’s highlights and Kinski’s role is one of his more memorable ones, despite his part being quite secondary.
Above the Law (1988) - Director: Andrew Davis - 4/10 - I am not sure about what’s supposed to be so special about this thing. It’s the most run-of-the-mill, godforsaken thing you could possibly conceive of and there aren’t too many remarkable things about it, I’m not even sure what to say other than the film is replete with all kinds of cliches and so much of it is foreseeable it is almost amusing. Probably should’ve gotten inebriated with beer or something prior to giving this one a try, viewing this sober wasn’t the best choice.
An Innocent Man (1989) - Director: Peter Yates - 6/10 - A nice gritty sort of prison drama, the problems with the plot begin to surface once the protagonist leaves prison and the whole intrigue leading up to the resolution manages to be both convoluted and sort of cliched at the same time. Yates’s direction is fine and prison sequences accurately depict the austerity of the prison environment as well as reflect the helplessness experienced by those beset with the systemic injustice, but the plot begins to lose some of that inspiration towards the end as though the film ran out of ideas. Still, it is an underrated, entertaining little flick that’s well worth checking out.
Stalking Laura (1993) - Director: Michael Switzer - 7/10 - A terrific performance by Richard Thomas endues the motion picture with a uniquely creepy atmosphere and differentiates the film from a bunch of other thrillers of this kind. The movie gradually builds up suspense through its careful depiction of protagonist’s descent into madness and obsession with his female co-worker. The nice digital soundtrack and the graceful 1980s office interiors furnish the whole venture with that lovely whiff of the 1980s corporate LA ambiance. Pretty cool.
The Deliberate Stranger (1986) - Director: Marvin J. Chomsky - 6/10 - I’m not sure what to say or think about this one. It seems preoccupied more with recounting the whole story in the form of an accurate recapitulation of Ted Bundy’s crimes and in order to stay fairly impartial and truthful in its depiction of the portrayed events, it doesn’t really endeavor to frame it with any distinct artistic coloration and in that sense, it is sort of hard to evaluate it really; it’s well-made and enjoyable to watch, but there is nothing particularly remarkable about it other than the great performance by Mark Harmon. The movie also boasts the great, experimental soundtrack by Gil Melle though, a lot of really metallic, clangorous timbres, really adventurous for a TV production, genuinely cool.
Night of the Running Man (1995) - Director: Mark L. Lester - 5/10 - It is very much in the same vein as other early 1990s neo-noirs, except it’s a tad more violent. Apart from being pretty well executed and acted, the film has a great sense of flow and moves forward at an impressive rate. However, the story begins to deteriorate in a very conspicuous manner once the Mary Sue character enters the equation and the things grow a bit too preposterous even for me. With that being said, it’s very entertaining most of the time and it’s well worth checking out if that’s your sort of thing.
Poison Ivy (1992) - Director: Katt Shea - 1/10 - A tawdry, meretricious softcore porno garnished with a semblance of eminence and elegance. It’s hard to talk about this insufferable piece of turd because there isn’t really much to talk about really. It’s about a whore who resolves to insinuate herself into a rich family of her dumbass female classmate. There is a drooling old retard of the father salivating all over her, there is the neurotic mother moping around… you get the picture, super classy and super original. Unless you somehow manage to get into this fucking thing, the movie is a fucking disgrace and a fucking disaster that sends your poor ass into the nether regions of tedium. Absolutely fuckawful. You obviously never get to know why any of this happens and the whole story is barely strung together through a chain of slapdash scenes whose psychological depths never transcend the one-dimensionality of a trite porno novel; this opacity may conjure up a certain kind of mystique for some people, but I’d rather simply call it an addlepated piece of pretentious shit, sue me.
Sans soleil (1983) - Director: Chris Marker - 8/10
Manhunter (1986) - Director: Michael Mann - 7/10 -> 8/10 - A re-watch.
Drive (2011) - Director: Nicolas Winding Refn - 9/10 = 9/10 - A re-watch.
Top Gun (1986) - Director: Tony Scott - 3/10 - Action sequences are top-notch, but that’s basically the only thing that’s any good about the film, the rest of the story is a bunch of contrived situations and events that are haphazardly slapped together in order to evoke certain emotive responses through its crude simulacra of emotions. I expected some cheese, but this really exceeded my wildest expectations, it’s kind of impressive.
Blackhat (2015) - Director: Michael Mann - 8/10 = 8/10 - A re-watch.
The Psychic by Lucio Fulci. 7.5/10
One of my favourite italian horror movies.
I’ve actually always thought of it, and most other Gialli, with the few exceptions, as Mystery/Suspense Thrillers. Missed out on the Scorpion Releasing release with the slipcover.
I watched Dead Man on VHS years ago but gave up about two thirds through. On the whole I enjoy Jarmusch’s work and had high expectations of his take on the western, but found it plodding and pretentious. 10/10? Maybe I should try again.
Viewed over the last couple of weeks, in chronological order:
The Gold Rush (1925) Charlie Chaplin
First viewing, 8/10. I’d be interested to view it again as a silent (without Chaplin’s later added voice-over).
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931) Rouben Mamoulian
Some mannered acting and rather clunky POV camerawork aside, Fredric March brings an almost comical demonic energy to Mr Hyde which remains startling and compelling.
The Haunted Palace (1963) Roger Corman
Another good to evil vacillation, this time masterfully handled by Vincent Price.
Loved this for its gothic atmosphere, sustained by a slow but consistent pace and fabulous set and costume design (despite ridiculously limited budget and 15 day shooting schedule). The spirit of Poe predominates, but Lovecraftian elements spice things up. The warlock’s assistant, Lon Chaney, employs his gentle charm and benevolence to create a subtle and disconcerting villain.
The Changeling (1980) Peter Medak
The old house (a facade and studio built concoction) is the star here and is largely responsible for the film’s effectiveness. Another reviewer has identified why it’s not more engaging: George C Scott’s character is himself fairly impassive and impervious to all the nightmarish happenings. Quite a good yarn though.
The House with a Clock in its Walls (2018) Eli Roth
Very good set design, plus a few interesting ideas, but fails to break any new ground with a plot lacking coherence and subtlety. Not in the same class as any of the above.
’Dragged Across Concrete’ (2018)
Loved it ! … so many negative reviews on IMDB, so I approached with caution and low expectations. Needn’t of worried … excellent movie, very funny and dry witted, plus genuinely tense and exciting. 8/10
Yes I see what you mean. Alot of Hitchcock influences, that’s for sure. And he crossed that line between thriller and horror aswell. I think The Psychic is Lucios best work and one of the most underrated italien movies. It resembles and boosts the Hitchcock style in the same way Brian DePalma does it.
Good film but very slow, the editing needed some major trimming. 7/10
I can see that may be a problem for some, but I was ok with it - and it certainly wasn’t accidental or lack of ‘know how’ on the director’s part.
To me, the slow pace helped emphasise the awkwardness of some discussions, and the everyday irritation two people can experience working together in an often monotonous job. EG. The sandwich eating scene, with exaggerated crunching and munching, and the look of rage and disgust on Mel Gibson’s face … very funny.
If one is expecting full on action, well it takes a while to happen, but when it does … Wow!
I’m now anxious to check out S. Craig Zahler’s previous film, ‘Brawl in Cell Block 99’, as I also really liked his first feature movie, ‘Bone Tomahawk’ - really very disturbingly violent, but quirky and original in it’s delivery.