Track the Films You Watch (2007)

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Michael Elliott, Dec 26, 2006.

  1. Joe Karlosi

    Joe Karlosi Producer

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    I'm very late on this, but here it is anyway:

    March Re-Cap

    Best New Discovery:
    Behind Locked Doors (1948) ***

    Worst Movie:
    House on the Edge of the Park (1980) BOMB


    I haven't been watching many complete films lately, as I'm working more than usual and getting too lethargic at night. But I keep catching bits and pieces of promising films on TCM lately, like BAREFOOT IN THE PARK and the Anthony Perkins film FEAR STRIKES OUT. Unfortunately, that doesn't qualify for a complete viewing.

    I once had a NETFLIX subscription but I cancelled it to save some money for one thing, and then because they throttle their customers, and also because I finally got TCM as part of my basic cable package. Now my darned sister has presented me with a "gift subscription" to NETFLIX for the next few months, so even though she meant well I now have to come up with some titles to rent. Any suggestions? [​IMG]
     
  2. PatW

    PatW Screenwriter

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    A Place in the Sun (1951) [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    There is a sense of impending diasaster that permeates this movie. A excellent movie with great acting. Both Taylor and Clift are exceptional as well as Winters. I must say I was surprised that Winters would be so good having never cared for her in the past.

    Big Brown Eyes (1936) [​IMG][​IMG]

    Forgettable Cary Grant comedy with a mundane script.
     
  3. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    title: grindhouse
    rating: b
    comments: this is definitely a "fun" movie. there are so many nice touches that really make you feel you're at some cheesy double-feature. both vignettes stand on their own; the first one was definitely more on the gore side, the second more on the talky side. in a weird way, i actually felt "refreshed" when i walked out.

    title: the prestige
    rating: c
    comments: i guess for a rental this way okay, but there wasn't really anything that blew me away. i had the secret figured out way too early. from a production standpoint, nothing to really blow me away. but, i did find it a decent character study in jealousy and obsession.
     
  4. Sandro

    Sandro Second Unit

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    Out of [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Telefon [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Cold War action film has Charles Bronson as a Russian (?) who tracks Donald Pleasance who is wreaking havoc in the US by reactivating Russian agents. Directed by the always reliable Don Siegel.

    Children of Men [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Technically dazzling film is good but ultimately there seems to be something missing as I was not as invested in the characters as I should have been.

    Cat People (1942) [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] 1/2
    One of my favorite horror films contains an extraordinary number of fascinating threads within its literate script. The only shortcoming is that the ambiguity is not carried to the end of the movie. Good commentary on the DVD.

    Carnival of Souls [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Almost the definition of a cult horror classic. Low-budget but haunting with some imaginative touches.

    The Proposition (2006) [​IMG] [​IMG]
    I had read some good reviews of this Nick Cave-penned Australian Western with comparisons to Peckinpah and the spaghetti Westerns. Despite the unusual setting it's nothing to get excited about. Confusing and ultimately boring.

    Spartacus [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    This was the only Kubrick film I had not seen and I had left it to last for three reasons. It's long, it's a historical epic (one of my least favorite genres) and it's not really a Kubrick film since he was hired after the original director Anthony Mann was fired. After an extremely strong first hour this became too talky in the second hour before rousing itself for the final battle with all the extras. Not bad as historical epics go but one of Kubrick's least interesting films (Ducks and runs for cover).

    Inside Man [​IMG] [​IMG] 1/2
    This film has a couple of great ideas for the heist but I felt that the script and direction was substandard. Since the film had to hide the true motivations and actions of the robbers, there is no suspense in the byplay between police and criminals. Instead we are just confused and I was annoyed that Spike Lee clumsily inserting some jabs at the police and power elites. There are also numerous holes in the plot and character motivations.

    Full Contact (1993) [​IMG] [​IMG] 1/2
    Average Hong Kong action film with some colorful and villainous characters.

    Wuthering Heights (1939) [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] 1/2
    Another of the AFI Top 100 is very well done but a lot of the texture of the book is missing.

    People Under the Stairs [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    One of Wes Craven's most underrated films. I see this as an updated Gothic story with the house's hidden corridors and other secret places and a couple of nasty villains with some nasty skeletons in their closet, and the yound damsel who needs rescuing. There is a strong vein of humor as well as earnest and serious overtones in the movie.

    All About Eve [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] 1/2
    Great script, great acting, great movie.
     
  5. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Lead Actor

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    04/07/07

    Terror, The (1963) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Roger Corman's notorious film was shot in four days on the same sets that were used for his previous film The Raven. An officer in Napoleon's Army (Jack Nicholson) gets stranded on a deserted island where he bumps into a beautiful woman (Sandra Knight) who might just be the dead wife of a Baron (Boris Karloff). This is a strange little film that manages to be quite surreal at times due to the way it was shot. Not having much time to shoot the film, Corman had several different director's shooting things and all these different styles makes for a somewhat sloppy film but at the same time it adds a touch of surrealism that really helps. Francis Ford Coppola, Jack Hill, Monte Hellman and even Nicholson all took turns directing certain scenes so that trivia alone makes the film worth at least one viewing. The film is incredibly uneven but it's got a very nice look and some rather funny dialogue. Nicholson's acting is all over the map but Karloff manages to be quite good even though it's clear he didn't want to make this movie. I really didn't plan on ever watching this film again but TCM showed a letterboxed print, which looked great. This cleaned up print certainly makes the film somewhat better over those faded PD prints.

    Casino Royale (2006) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    I'm not much of a fan of James Bond, although I've seen the early Connery films and the first three films with Brosnan. I'm really not in a hurry to see the others but I was somewhat fascinated by this film because I enjoyed Daniel Craig so much in Munich. I'm not sure how Bond fans feel about this film but I personally thought it was very good and certainly more refreshing than those boring films I had seen from Brosnan. I've read a couple reviews that said there wasn't enough action but I thought the film worked perfectly after the rather silly opening. Yes, the stunts were great in the first action piece but it seemed like a deleted scene from a Spider Man movie. After that opening sequence I thought the film really took off, which is mostly due to Craig who I thought was terrific in the role. I could have done without all the chest shots but I guess if I had a chest like him then I'd be showing it off anytime I could. The one problem I did have with the film was Eva Green who I thought was one of the least interesting girls I've seen. I didn't really feel any strong connection between her and Bond and thought the first girl (in the hotel) was better. The poker scene was wonderfully directed and it's not too easy to pull off scenes like this. The ending was also quite nice and thought the closing shots were near perfect and really makes me want to see the next film if they go for brains instead of action like this film did.

    Mission: Impossible 3 (2006) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Tom Cruise is back as Ethan Hunt and this time he's battling a sadistic arms dealer (Philip Seymour Hoffman). This is without question the best in the series and this is coming from someone who enjoyed the previous two films. I thought the first film was way too confusing for its own good while the second one was way too much action and not enough brains. This third film hits on all the right notes and delivers some terrific action scenes mixed with a pretty smart script that doesn't go over the top on brains. The real key to the film is the terrific performance by Hoffman. He's been known for years as a great character actor but when I heard he was playing the villain I honestly didn't think he could pull it off but he comes off quite menacing in the role. He doesn't have any funny lines, which is a great thing because it makes him all the more threatening. Then there's Cruise who delivers another all-star performance. I think, in real life, Cruise is a jackass but he still manages to be the greatest movie star out there. The supporting cast including Ving Rhames, Billy Crudup and Laurence Fishburne all do fine work as well. The action scenes are also some of the best I've seen including the wonderful attack on the bridge.

    04/08/07

    SherryBaby (2006) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    A woman (Maggie Gyllenhaal) returns home after three years in prison in hopes of starting up a relationship with her young daughter but things aren't as easy as she thought they'd be. Due to my flu my brain is a little cloudy at the moment so I can't remember how many times we've seen a film dealing with someone getting out of prison and trying to make good. I do know we've seen it countless times since the silent era and in most cases the stories aren't anything original and instead we're just treated to an actor's showcase and that's pretty much what this film is. The film is a notch above something you'd see on Lifetime but all the credit has to go to Gyllenhaal and director Laurie Collyer. Collyer's direction is nice and suttle with her screenplay that's not too original but what's there is brought to life by the very good performance from Gyllenhaal. I like the fact that the screenplay allows Gyllenhaal's character to be very weak throughout so that we get to feel as if we're seeing a real character and not some made up fantasy flick. Again, there's nothing new here but the screenplay, direction and acting makes it worth sitting through.

    Beast with a Million Eyes, The (1955) [​IMG][​IMG]

    Sci-fi flick has a great title but that's about it. An alien flies over a farmhouse and lands in the desert. The alien machine then takes control of all the animal's minds and makes them attack humans. This is such a low budget film that there only appears to be four or five people living in this city so there aren't really many attacks. What attacks we do get are quite stupid and leads to some unintentional laughs. There's a scene where chickens attack a woman and it's clear to see that someone is just throwing the chickens at here. There's another scene where an old man gets attacked by his beloved cow. Oh yeah. Then there's the highlight where a woman gets attacked by the family dog, although it's clear that this dog isn't trained because he has to stop during scenes and get new directions only to mess them up. None of the human characters are of any interest and when the alien finally reveals himself, we just hear him talking. Silly and stupid all around.

    One Mysterious Night (1944) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Seventh film in Columbia's Boston Blackie series features the directorial debut of Budd Boetticher and features future Oscar winner Dorothy Malone is a small role. In the film, thieves steal a diamond right in front of the police so Inspector Farraday (Richard Lane) calls in Blackie (Chester Morris) for help. With Boetticher directing I was really expecting something special but in all honesty his direction is probably the weakest I've seen in the series. The film runs 61-minutes so there's never a slow moment and as usual, Morris and Lane do a great job together. The story itself is pretty good but again, the director doesn't do anything special with it. Janis Carter is good in her supporting role as well.
     
  6. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    Werckmeister Harmonies (2001)

    Viewed 4/1/2007 (first viewing)

    Bela Tarr's surreal look at a small Hungarian town plagued with
    civil unrest. Inscrutable at times, but gloriously cinematic.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] out of [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]


    Abuelitos (1998)

    Viewed 4/1/2007 (first viewing)

    Spanish short from the Small Gauge Trauma DVD chronicles the
    sinister goings-on at a retirement home. Eerie atmosphere, but at
    only fifteen minutes it seems like a preview of a longer movie.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] out of [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]


    Destination Moon (1950)

    Viewed 4/2/2007 (first viewing)

    Science fiction drama produced by George Pal chronicles man's first
    trip to the moon. Earnest attempt at serious sci-fi is hit and miss
    but generally good.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] out of [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]


    Dodes 'ka-den (1970)

    Viewed 4/2/2007 (first viewing)

    Akira Kurosawa's first film in color follows the lives of a group of
    slum dwellers. Longish but engrossing.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] out of [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]


    Amid the Dead (2004)

    Viewed 4/3/2007 (first viewing)

    Existentialist zombie short about a young man raised by the living
    dead - his mother was killed just as he was being born! Pretentious
    to be sure, but not uninteresting; undermined somewhat by its
    amateurish execution.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] out of [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]


    Danger! 50,000 Zombies! (2004)

    Viewed 4/3/2007 (first viewing)

    Spoof episode of the Brit series Danger 50,000 Volts! (starring
    the guys from Shaun of the Dead) follows a zombie killer as he
    instructs the series' host on how to survive a zombie attack.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] out of [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]


    Document of the Dead (1985)

    Viewed 4/3/2007

    Roy Frumkes' revealing documentary on the making of George Romero's
    Dawn of the Dead
    . Revisit.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] out of [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]



    Bride of Re-Animator (1990)

    Viewed 4/3/2007

    Herbert West has returned and this time he's creating a woman for his
    old pal Dan out of female body parts. Meanwhile, Herbert's
    disembodied rival Dr. Hill is back for revenge! Disappointing sequel
    is flat and mostly uninspired. (Barbara Crampton's bush is sorely
    missed!) Revisit.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] out of [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]


    Premutos: Lord of the Living Dead (1997)

    Viewed 4/3/2007 (first viewing)

    The fallen angel Premutos once again walks the Earth with his legion
    of zombies in this goofy German flick that wants to be another Dead
    Alive
    . Uneven, but chockful of good old-fashioned splatter. The
    filmmakers even provide a body count at the end!

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] out of [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]



    Bowery at Midnight (1942)

    Viewed 4/3/2007 (first viewing)

    Monogram chiller stars Bela Lugosi as a criminal mastermind who
    ruthlessly murders his flunkies, little knowing that they'll come back
    from the dead for revenge! Little undead action, but not bad -
    probably one of Lugosi's better post-Dracula efforts.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] out of [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]



    Zombie Commando (2006)

    Viewed 4/3/2007 (first viewing)

    A group of mercenaries is sent into a forest to retrieve the carrier
    of a zombie plague only to find themselves outnumbered by the living
    dead. Solid undead action from Germany, though not particularly
    memorable.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] out of [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]



    Zombie Defense Army (2006)

    Viewed 4/3/2007 (first viewing)

    More woodsy action in this Japanese zombiethon. A cheesy-looking UFO
    crashes in a forest, loosing a strange mist that brings the dead back
    to hungry life. Imperiled are several yakuza hitmen, a fashion model
    and an army squad on patrol. Can they make their way to safety before
    the dead have them for lunch? And what secret does one soldier carry
    that could save them all? Typical J-zombie blend of gory action and
    silliness generally works.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] out of [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]



    Yakuza Zombie (2006)

    Viewed 4/3/2007 (first viewing)

    Undead riff on Kinji Fukasaku's the Yakuza Papers about a low
    level yakuza double-crossed and killed by members of his own family.
    Unfortunately for them they bury him in the same grave that holds the
    remains of an infamous and much-hated yakuza, an assassin with a
    restless spirit who died under similar circumstances. With a fresh
    body to use, the yakuza assassin rises from the grave looking for
    revenge!

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] out of [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]


    Sayonara Jupiter (1983)

    Viewed 4/4/2007 (first viewing)

    Epic Japanese sci-fi'er about an attempt to turn Jupiter into a second
    sun. Before that can be accomplished, the scientists in charge have
    to deal with religious cults and a rogue black hole!

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] out of [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]


    The Sun (2004)

    Viewed 4/4/2007 (first viewing)

    Alexander Sokurov's elegiac chronicle of Japan's Emperor Hirohito at
    the end of World War II.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] out of [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]


    Death By Hanging (1968)

    Viewed 4/5/2007 (first viewing)

    Farcical Japanese drama chronicling what happens after a failed
    execution. The condemned man refuses to die after he's been hanged,
    but has apparently been rendered an amnesiac. Unwilling to execute
    this now "innocent" man, the executioners act out his crimes hoping to
    jog his memories. But the more they do this, the more they realize
    their own crimes!

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] out of [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]


    Johanna (2005)

    Viewed 4/5/2007 (first viewing)

    Hungarian film opera retells the story of Joan of Arc. A prostitute
    and drug addict is saved from death after a horrible accident.
    Believing this to be a sign, she becomes a nurse and begins a regimen
    of sexual healing for the male patients under her cure. Despite the
    miracles that occur, she receives nothing but scorn from the hospital
    staff, who quickly decide to get rid of her. Not bad, but not really
    my cup of tea either.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] out of [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]


    Love from Mother Only (2003)

    Viewed 4/6/2007 (first viewing)

    Gruesome short from the Small Gauge Trauma DVD, a voodoo
    chiller about a man torn between his mother and his lover.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] out of [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]


    Battle in Heaven (2005)

    Viewed 4/6/2007 (first viewing)

    Sexually explicit drama follows the relationship between a chauffeur
    and the much younger daughter of his boss. The chauffeur is guilt-
    ridden over a tragic kidnapping he's been involved in while the girl
    secretly prostitutes herself for kicks. When she learns of her
    driver's secret - he already knows hers - their relationship escalates
    into a sexual and psychologically dangerous one.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] out of [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]


    A Swedish Love Story (1970)

    Viewed 4/6/2007 (first viewing)

    Roy Andersson's tender film chronicles an adolescent romance that may
    not survive quarrelsome families and neighborhood bullies.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] out of [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]


    The Old-Fashioned Way (1934)

    Viewed 4/7/2007 (first viewing)

    Classic W.C. Fields vehicle stars the comedian as the owner of a
    traveling theatrical troupe. Barely one step ahead of the law because
    he keeps skipping out on his bills, W.C. decides to woo a rich
    spinster with a bratty ward! Classic baby kicking scene follows.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] out of [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]


    Perfect Creature (2006)

    Viewed 4/7/2007 (first viewing)

    Vampire flick set on an alternate, retro Earth where three hundred
    years ago alchemists began experimenting in genetics. Created were
    the vampires, creatures who have since co-existed peacefully with
    mankind. Unfortunately all manner of mutated diseases were also created,
    causing plagues that constantly sweep the globe. When a vampire is
    infected with a virus that sends him on a berserker rampage, his brother
    and a tough female cop must track him down before he puts the world in
    further peril. Some familiar elements here, but there's also enough
    originality to keep it interesting.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] out of [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]


    Isolation (2005)

    Viewed 4/8/2007 (first viewing)

    Irish riff on Alien set on a farm where genetic experiments on cows have released a KBF (killer bovine fetus, natch). Not bad, and fairly well handled, but awfully familiar.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] out of [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]


    My Boyfriend is Type B (2005)

    Viewed 4/8/2007 (first viewing)

    Pleasant if innocuous Korean romantic comedy has a young woman dating a man with type B blood, which according to her cousin makes him a selfish jerk! When he turns out to be just that, she's already hooked, putting her love to the test.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] out of [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  7. PatW

    PatW Screenwriter

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    Constant Gardener (2005) [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Ralph Fiennes plays a diplomat who uncovers a plot during the investigation of his wife's death, that will result in the destruction of millions of lives. Excellent performances from both leads. This is probably my favourite Ralph Fiennes performance and my favourite Le Carre novel.

    Move Over Darling (1963) [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Not as funny or engaging as the Cary Grant re-make My Favourite Wife. This movie did have it's moments and Day and Garner are always appealing. Hated Polly Bergan in this role though. It leads one to wonder why anyone would have trouble breaking the news to her of his 1st wife's survival.
     
  8. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Lead Actor

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    Michael Elliott
    04/09/07

    Hitcher, The (1986) [​IMG][​IMG]

    Here's another 80's film that I've heard a lot about but never got around to seeing. When the end credits started I hoped that the remake would fix all of the errors found here. A young boy (C. Thomas Howell) is taking a car from Chicago to San Diego when he stops and picks up a hitchhiker (Rutger Hauer). It turns out the hitchhiker is a psychopath who goes on a killing spree setting up the young boy as the killer. Soon the boy has the police after him as well as the killer. The only word that comes to mind in regards to this film is stupid. This is without question one of the dumbest films I've ever seen. Yes, films like this are certainly going to take liberties with things but this film is so incredibly over the top that I couldn't help but roll my eyes ever few seconds. Jennifer Jason Leigh plays a waitress who, for some reason, goes with the boy but it's hard to believe she'd go with this guy. It's hard to believe that Hauer could take out half of the Texas police force. It's hard to believe any of the action sequences. It's hard to believe the ending. It's hard to believe anyone would take this film serious. The film tries to ask all sorts of deep questions about the connection between the two men but we never get any answers due to the stupid screenplay. Instead of a smart thriller we just get countless acts of violence, which are (surprise) stupid. Howell is a complete bore in his role and Leigh is wasted at every moment. Hauer comes off quite good but that's about it. A really, really bad movie all around.

    Grindhouse: Planet Terror (2007) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Robert Rodriguez's horror film about a chemical outbreak, which turns the citizens of a small Texas town into zombies. The only thing standing in the way of the zombies going worldwide is a one-legged stripper (Rose McGowan) and her sharpshooting boyfriend (Freddy Rodriquez). This throwback to the low budget shockers of the 1970's hits all the right marks and also turns out to be the goriest film I've ever seen. How in the world this got away with an R-rating is a mystery to me because this thing is non-stop gore from start to finish and we're not talking about little spots of the red stuff here and there. Each single death (out of hundreds) has tons of the red stuff through heads being ripped off to zombies munching on some flesh. McGowan is the perfect "B" actress to make her role very memorable and goddamn was it nice seeing Jeff Fahey once again. Tom Savini, Bruce Willis, Josh Brolin and various others fill out the cast. The "grindhouse" effect of a cut up print with scratches and missing reels are used perfectly here. There's some humor throughout but the politically incorrect joke of a kid playing with a gun was a real hoot. Rodriquez fills the film with countless "bad" moments in great homage to the films this is trying to be like. If you're a fan of this type of thing then you'll love it. Others beware.

    Grindhouse: Death Proof (2007) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Quentin Tarantino's homage to those car chase movies features Kurt Russell as Stuntman Mike, a psychopath who loves to stalk women in his death proof car. The girls, including Rosario Dawson, Vanessa Ferlito, Jordan Ladd, Tracie Thomas, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, stunt woman Zoe Bell and Rose McGowan (again) are all perfectly cast and really nail Tarantino's dialogue but the real star here is the terrific return to form of Russell. Russell wasn't the first choice by the director but damn was he a great one. Russell just has that perfect smile and twisted laugh to make this psychopath so charming that you'd like to have a beer with him even though you know he'd probably kill you afterwards. Russell nails all the right marks making Stuntman Mike live right up there with Snake Plissken. This film is certainly a lot different than the first. This film takes its time in getting to know the female characters and I think this pays off in the end. Tarantino does a great job referencing other pictures so this will add some charm to die hard fans of the genre. Then there's the incredible chase at the end, which has to go down as one of the greatest ever. The chase is incredibly thrilling but it's also just a lot of fun. Seeing the girls being tortured by the "always having fun" Stuntman Mike was just a terrific time at the movies. I won't spoil anything but when the girl's seek revenge it's something that will make you want to cheer in laughter. Once again, if you're a fan then you'll love it but others beware.

    Escape from New York (1981) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    John Carpenter's cult classic is one of the greatest "B" movies ever made thanks in large part to Kurt Russell's terrific performance as the one and only Snake Plissken. Set in the future, the President of the United States (Donald Pleasence) crashes inside Manhattan Island, which has been turned into a prison. The Duke of New York (Isaac Hayes) takes him hostage so the government sends in the criminal Snake Plissken (Russell) to get him out alive. It's hard to believe this film was shot for $5 million but it certainly gets every penny out of the dollar. Russell's performance is clearly the highlight of the film and he carries the movie due to the performances, which gives Snake the perfect personality of a great anti-hero. The supporting cast does a wonderful job including Lee van Cleef, Ernest Borgnine, Harry Dean Stanton, Adrienne Barbeau, Tom Atkins and Charles Cyphers. The film has a great atmosphere and Carpenter's score perfectly sets the mood. Clearly one of the most fun movies of the decade.
     
  9. PatW

    PatW Screenwriter

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    Jaws (1975) [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    One of Spielberg's earlier masterpieces based on the Peter Benchley hit novel. This movie strikes you at a visceral level. As thrilling now as when I first saw it at the theatre many years ago.

    Lady From Shanghai (1947) [​IMG] [​IMG]

    This is sure one strange movie. I don't know if it's suppose to be a comedy or what but there certainly is humerous aspects to this movie as well as annoying aspects. For one thing, I hated Orson Welles accent. He would have faired better without the accent. The movie is slow until the Welles arrest and the court room scene. That court room scene must be seen to be believed. The character Grisby was bizaare if just plain annoying and frankly I didn't feel the acting was all that great. The one saving grace and it's a big one was Rita Hayworth. She played this role seriously and did a fine damn job. Weird movie for film noir.
     
  10. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    title: pulp fiction
    rating: a
    comments: gawd, i forgot how much i enjoyed this movie. i just love the scene where mia wallace gets the adrenaline shot. and the dialog in this movie is just perfect.
     
  11. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    title: tremors
    rating: a
    comments: i've seen this movie many times and it never fails to entertain. bacon and ward give pitch-perfect performances as maybe-smarter-then-you-think hillbillies and the supporting cast is just outstanding. probably one of the best b-movies ever!
     
  12. PatW

    PatW Screenwriter

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    Red Eye (2005) [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    This is my second viewing of this great little thriller. Wes Craven is in top form here. I was at the edge of my seat even the second time around. Could Cillian Murphy be any creepier and McAdams is perfect in this role.
     
  13. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Lead Actor

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    TREMORS is the first movie I ever watched by myself at the movies and I eventually went back and watched it two more times with friends. It's one of my favorite monsters movies to this day. The sequels weren't too good though.


    04/10/07

    Gamera: The Guardian of the Universe (1995) [​IMG][​IMG]

    Three flying bird creatures wanna eat the people of Japan but thankfully there's a giant turtle that can breathe fire to save them. I really don't understand the concept of these giant monster films from Japan. If you're rarely going to show the monsters then you should try to make the humans interesting, which is something they never do. The humans here are as boring as ever and (as usual) you've got the one female scientist trying to be the nice one and save the planet. When the monsters are on screen the film comes to life somewhat but the incredibly poor special effects don't help matters.

    Guru the Mad Monk (1970) BOMB

    Another film from the infamous Andy Milligan. Guru is the monk at a local prison where prisoners are beaten, executed and so on. Blah, blah, blah. The entire film runs 56-minutes and I was wanting to hit the FF button each and every single minute. The film is horribly made with horrible acting, horrible directing and everything else is equally horrible. Milligan has the reputation of being one of the worst directors ever and I'd certainly have to agree with that. The movies has no pacing and really doesn't have anything going for it.

    04/11/07

    Forest, The (1982) [​IMG][​IMG]

    Yet another rip off of Friday the 13th, although this one here tries to be somewhat different by adding a ghost aspect. Two couples plan on going camping but the wives go one way while the husbands go the other way. Soon a hermit is stalking them because he needs something to eat. This film was shot for under $40,000 and it's easy to see on the screen. The acting is fair to say the least and the special effects are really poor but the direction isn't too bad. There are a couple good chase scenes but this hardly make the film worth watching. The subplot with the hermits ghost children is interesting but it really doesn't add too much. The film has a couple good moments but even at 85-minutes it's hard to sit through.
     
  14. Joe Karlosi

    Joe Karlosi Producer

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    Well, Mike, some types of movies just don't work for some people. From what I've read of your critiques, you don't really enjoy these giant monster movies and I guess I'm surprised that you keep trying them out, even when you didn't like the first Godzilla film which is at least respectable. If you didn't think much of this 1995 Gamera film, I'd strongly advise you to stay faaaaaaarrrrrrr away from the really shoddy-looking and childish 1960s/70s Gamera films!

    I don't necessarily agree that the human characters in the Japanese monster films are always dull and uninteresting, though I'll definitely concede you're right that it happens a lot of the time. In the original GOJIRA (1954), did you at least think the character of the dedicated and tormented scientist with the eyepatch was well developed? For the record, the Gamera films are not made by Toho (the company that made Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan, etc.). I'm not saying you don't already know this, but just thought I'd mention it.
     
  15. Mario Gauci

    Mario Gauci Cinematographer

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    Mike,


    Re: ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK (1981)

    Although I’ve had the MGM 2-Discer for a couple of years now, I’ve only watched this movie once so far and that was back in 1986 when it was shown on Italian TV as part of a weekly ‘Thursday Night Blockbuster' series which also included movies like BLUE THUNDER (1983), STAYING ALIVE (1983), etc. I have also seen the maligned but not unwatchable sequel which I have on VHS.


    Re: THE HITCHER (1986)

    It seems like we are both trying to recapture our childhood by catching up on flicks from the 1980s we missed as kids – me with the PORKY’S movies and you with A CHRISTMAS STORY (1983) and this one. Unlike you, I did catch THE HITCHER when new (albeit on VHS) and I remember liking it. Actually, the local DVD rental store has Anchor Bay UK’s 2-Discer and, who knows, I may get to give it another go one of these days along with other 80s movies I have watched in the very early days of video but never again since then like FORT APACHE, THE BRONX (1981), THE CLAN OF THE CAVE BEAR (1986), THE WRAITH (1986), etc. Having said that, when I revisited HERCULES IN NEW YORK (1970) last week, it was pretty dismal and I clearly had more fun with the film when I watched it as a kid…


    Re: TREMORS (1990)

    This is another one I caught on Italian TV many years ago and liked quite a bit…though I never bothered with the sequels.


    Steve,


    I’m glad that you took some time off from tracking down every zombie flick there is to watch Nagisa Oshima’s DEATH BY HANGING (1968); I only watched it last year while I was in Hollywood via a DVD-R rental and, while it was a tad overlong at nearly two hours, I loved all of the blackly humorous antics of the police officers trying to jog the amnesiac murderer’s memory (thus justifying to him why he is going to have to be killed again) by re-enacting his crimes!
     
  16. Mario Gauci

    Mario Gauci Cinematographer

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    04/06/07: GODSPELL (David Greene, 1973) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    My first viewing (in a Pan-and-Scan version) of this one had left me underwhelmed – recorded off Cable TV, I had subsequently erased the tape – and, so, I decided to give it another chance via Columbia’s bare-bones DVD. I have to say that the overall impression hasn’t changed much the second time around: still, the film (and show) is perhaps unjustly overshadowed by the contemporaneous – but more focused and, therefore, more crowd-pleasing – JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR (1973).

    The songs by Stephen Schwarz are pretty good, with the best numbers among them – “Prepare Ye The Way Of The Lord”, “Day By Day” and “Finale” – possessing a decidedly haunting quality. Besides, their staging (shot on location in New York City, with much prominence given to the World Trade Center!) is undeniably energetic; the confrontation with a tin monster (standing in for the Pharisees) is particularly inspired. There are also some unexpected cinematic references here: the “Slowly I Turned” Abbott & Costello routine, the song “Turn Back, O Man” delivered in the tawdry style of Mae West and, most amusing of all, the parable of the Prodigal Son shown via a collage of footage from various unidentified Silent films!

    What hasn’t aged well are the various hippie/ethnic characterizations on display (including an insipid and curly-haired Christ!), with their mostly silly antics – amid re-enactments of episodes from St. Matthew’s Gospel – rendering the film’s pacing uneven to say the least…


    04/06/07: JESUS OF MONTREAL (Denys Arcand, 1989) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    I had been impressed by this on first viewing (despite its being in French only), watched on another Good Friday several years ago; a second look (and the benefit of English subtitles) only reinforces its inherent quality. This is an absorbing, original, savage, funny, and frequently stunning piece of work – although, in view of its subject matter, it does have the occasional heavy-going passage. In fact, JESUS OF MONTREAL was expected to emerge victorious at that year’s Academy Awards as the Best Foreign Language Film: facing stiff competition from the likes of CAMILLE CLAUDEL (1988) and CINEMA PARADISO (1989), the honor was eventually bestowed on the latter – a nostalgia piece with child interest, it was an altogether safer bet (though I’ve yet to catch the film in its entirety myself!)…

    Despite their over-familiarity, the ‘Passion Play’ sequences are quite powerful – thanks also to excellent performances all around. Lothaire Bluteau is quietly impressive in the demanding central role (of an actor who eventually goes mad from playing Christ!); incidentally, he followed this with another spiritual film – BLACK ROBE (1991). Arcand seems to be one of the most interesting auteurs around, as the only other film of his that I’ve watched – THE BARBARIAN INVASIONS (2004; which did win him an Oscar) – is also superb (apart from being equally thought-provoking and controversial). Speaking of which, I find JESUS OF MONTREAL to be superior to that other notorious Christ-movie of the day – Martin Scorsese’s THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST (1988)…


    04/07/07: HANNIBAL(Edgar G. Ulmer and Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia, 1959)[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    This is one of several epic Italian productions ‘supervised’ by Hollywood directors – others of its ilk include THE GIANT OF MARATHON (Jacques Tourneur, 1959), JOSEPH AND HIS BRETHREN (Irving Rapper, 1960), THE MONGOLS (Andre` De Toth, 1961), THE THIEF OF BAGDAD (Arthur Lubin, 1961), THE WONDERS OF ALADDIN (Henry Levin, 1961) and SODOM AND GOMORRAH (Robert Aldrich, 1962); Ulmer himself served again in the same capacity on L’ ATLANTIDE (1961).

    As was generally the case, in spite of the participation of such noted film-makers, these spectacles displayed little directorial flair; in fact, this particular example is only distinguished from similar sword-and-sandal efforts by its above-average cast – though, to be fair, Ulmer stated in the accompanying interview on the VCI DVD that he didn’t have final say on the film and, consequently, his vision was compromised by financiers who found his approach “too philosophical”! In any case, while the “elephant walk” (Hannibal famously crossed the Alps on pachyderms) and battle sequences are well enough staged, the look of the film is rather shoddy and bears evidence of budgetary restrictions. By the way, the Italian side of the directorial chores were handled by Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia – a veteran of costume pictures who would soon replace Vittorio Cottafavi on AMAZONS OF ROME (1960), after the latter fell out with leading man Louis Jourdan!

    Victor Mature, himself a regular of this type of film, is ideally cast as the legendary Carthaginian warrior – though his performance is merely adequate, the script having made his character distinctly one-dimensional (where he’s involved in an unconvincing and dreary romance with Rita Gam, a woman from the enemy ranks); Gabriele Ferzetti lends dignity to the proceedings as a Roman senator. A surprising presence here is that of Spaghetti Western/action-comedy icon Terence Hill (billed under his real name of Mario Girotti) – playing the key role of Ferzetti’s son; according to the IMDB, his subsequent frequent on-screen partner Bud Spencer also appears in the film…but I didn’t spot him!

    The supplements on the VCI disc include a precious 33-minute audio interview with Ulmer (conducted by Peter Bogdanovich), which imparts several interesting bits on the production of F.W. Murnau’s THE LAST LAUGH (1924) – on which Ulmer served as art director – and HANNIBAL itself; also, besides having the director enthusiastically discuss John Schlesinger’s MIDNIGHT COWBOY (1969), it reveals his dislike of fellow expatriates Otto Preminger and William Dieterle!


    04/08/07: ROMAN SCANDALS (Frank Tuttle, 1933) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    This very funny spoof on Roman-era epics (I had previously watched it one morning some 18 years ago on Italian TV) is considered to be star comedian Eddie Cantor’s best vehicle – though I must say that it’s the only one I’ve managed to catch up with myself over the years (but do own his debut film, WHOOPEE! [1930], on VHS).

    The ‘modern man dreaming himself in another era’ plotline is a favorite comedy theme – an idea dating back to Mark Twain’s “A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court”. The film boasts a remarkable line-up of writers (George S. Kaufman, Robert E. Sherwood, Nat Perrin, Arthur Sheekman and George Oppenheimer), many of whom had worked with contemporaneous comedy acts – notably the Marx Bros.; though the star’s personality doesn’t lend itself to quite that level of lunacy, the script provides a satisfying balance of sight gags and one-liners (often commenting on the basic difference between the two ages). Alongside the humor are the musical sequences – virtually a requisite of the period – highlighting not only a couple of good tunes for Cantor (one of them sung in blackface!) but also Busby Berkeley’s choreography featuring The Goldwyn Girls (among them Lucille Ball), including an outrageous number in which they’re chained nude to revolving walls! Typical of Goldwyn’s output, the production values are impeccable – with cinematography by the legendary Gregg Toland and the impressive set design of Richard Day.

    The cast, too, is notable – with Eddie (amusingly dubbed Oedipus while in Ancient Rome) being flanked by the likes of David Manners and Gloria Stuart (supplying the romantic interest), Edward Arnold (the Emperor) and Alan Mowbray (as Cantor’s prime foil, a Roman General); Arnold’s favorite slave girl is played by Ruth Etting in one of her irregular film appearances: she was the chanteuse/gangster’s moll later portrayed by Doris Day in the musical biopic LOVE ME OR LEAVE ME (1955)! The film’s best gags include: Cantor cracking a whip and ‘catching’ Mowbray; an alligator flipping upside down in reaction to poisoned food given it by Cantor (appointed by Arnold as his personal food-taster); the prison scene in which Arnold and a couple of guards are exposed to laughing gas while torturing Cantor; Eddie demonstrating the correct moves in a fistfight on Mowbray. Incidentally, the wordplay gag involving the poisoned dish was re-used by Danny Kaye for his classic THE COURT JESTER (1955). Still, the undoubted highlight of the film remains the uproarious (and quite spectacular) chariot chase at the climax – supervised by Ralph Cedar.


    04/08/07:THE LAST ROMAN (Robert Siodmak, 1968-9)[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    In view of its imposing credentials, I had been looking forward to watching this one for some time; though I only managed to catch the condensed version of the two-part epic – shown on Italian TV as part of an Orson Welles marathon on Easter Sunday – it’s still a worthwhile and enjoyable film of its type: choppily edited and disjointed in narrative, to be sure, but hardly incoherent. Incidentally, Welles participated in two other butchered spectacles around this time – THE BATTLE OF NERETVA (1969) and WATERLOO (1970); thanks to his larger-than-life persona, the heavy-set thespian was a regular feature of historical epics during the genre’s heyday.

    THE LAST ROMAN proved to be celebrated director Siodmak’s final film: perhaps not the ideal swan-song for him as, apart from Honor Blackman’s nasty bath-tub murder, there’s little evidence of (or opportunity for) his trademark stylistics. In fact, I’d say that the film bears more the imprint of its producer Arthur Brauner – an expert in exotic exploitation (witness the very discreet, but entirely gratuitous, use of nudity) who had also been the force behind Fritz Lang’s last films and would soon collaborate on a number of Jess Franco pictures. Nevertheless, this particular effort abounds in battle sequences that are moderately well-staged – and the plot is so replete with double-crosses, murders and switched allegiances that the viewer’s full attention is required throughout; another typical asset of such films is the score and Riz Ortolani provides a serviceable one here.

    Apart from the aforementioned Orson Welles and Honor Blackman, the cast is an eccentric mix of international and “Euro-Cult” stars – Laurence Harvey, Sylva Koscina, Michael Dunn, Harriet Andersson, Robert Hoffmann, Ingrid Boulting, Ewa Stroemberg, Lang Jeffries and Friedrich Ledebur; though mostly working below-par, none are especially demeaned by their role in the film (excepting Harvey’s embarrassing hairstyle).

    In the end, I’d love to check out the full-length version of STRUGGLE FOR ROME (as the original title of this German/Italian/Romanian co-production translates to) someday – but the possibility seems very remote at this stage…


    04/09/07: THE BRIDGE IN THE JUNGLE (Pancho Kohner, 1971) [​IMG][​IMG]

    Basically a plot-less mood-piece, this obscure film was adapted from a novel by the mysterious B. Traven - best-known for THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE, which John Huston (the star of THE BRIDGE IN THE JUNGLE) had made back in 1948. While there's some pleasure to be had from observing the everyday details of the unhurried lifestyle in a small Mexican village (especially via the location photography and an evocative score), it's not enough to sustain feature-film length. Besides, though the first half seems to be setting up an eventual crocodile hunt - so that the film would turn into some form of an adventure, the proceedings are completely derailed by the endless search for a missing child! Still, the 'magical' way - through shaman Chano Urueta, the director of the notorious THE BRAINIAC (1961), here hired for his thespian skills - by which the body is ultimately discovered is a nice touch...but then, the sight of the boy's drunken father at the concluding funeral procession proves unintentionally comical. Charles Robinson is the bland young hunter looking for excitement in the village, a mannered Huston is an elderly American who has retired there (basically duplicating the role his father Walter had played in THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE!), while Katy Jurado has a dual role (one of them - under layers of make-up - a foul-mouthed old witch!) for no obvious reason.
     
  17. PatW

    PatW Screenwriter

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    Too Many Girls (1940) [​IMG] [​IMG]

    So-so musical comedy in which a father hires four bodyguards to follow his wayward daughter around. Lucille Ball is appealing in this but the plot is very flimsy and I became bored with all the silly, unmemorable musical numbers.
     
  18. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Lead Actor

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    This was actually from 1995, not the 60s or 70s. And yep, I had enjoyed one of the Godzilla films from this period so you can't say something isn't for me. This particular POS film wasn't for me but that doesn't mean others aren't. [​IMG]

    Did you actually like this one? Granted, it did get good reviews from die-hard fans and my TV guide actually gave it a pretty good write up.
     
  19. Joe Karlosi

    Joe Karlosi Producer

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    I saw it at the Film Forum in NY something like 10 years ago, and I don't really recall being blown away by it (need another viewing). All I recall is that it wasn't as silly as the old 60s and 70s ones and that the effects were not "as" poor.

    Which Godzilla film did you enjoy? I don't remember.
     
  20. Joe Karlosi

    Joe Karlosi Producer

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    Grindhouse (2007) [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    It's not easy to discuss this Rodriguez/Tarantino project without revealing spoilers, but I'll make sure NOT to reveal any. Basically I am rating this as a whole presentation with something of a resulting average, so I give it three of four stars. If I were to rate the two films individually, I'd say that both were somewhat disappointing for me but that Tarantino's movie is the better of the two. So it would be *** for Tarantino's DEATH PROOF and **1/2 for Rodriguez's PLANET TERROR.

    Both directors did a fine job of achieving the feel of an old-time grindhouse double feature, complete with dirty and scratchy film prints and other visual imperfections, as well as a few vintage-looking faux trailers for would-be movies like DON'T, THANKSGIVING, WEREWOLF WOMEN OF THE SS, and MACHETE.

    PLANET TERROR is Robert Rodriguez's gory zombie film about a little Texas town which is overrun by disease due to a chemical outbreak. This results in ghouls running around attacking people in a spirited and bloody splatterfest, but it didn't strike me as anything very new and I felt I'd seen this type of wham-bam-shoot-em-up thing plenty of times before. The problem then became that after some time I grew tired of this routine and grew restless, wishing the film would end already and that I could see the second feature (which is not the feeling a film should give you). It's better-than-usual zombie action, but I don't need to see this one again, though I probably will somewhere in my future, but it'll be in someone else's zombie movie. I didn't have any interest in a single character in PLANET TERROR and that didn't help me care about what was going on very much. The one ingredient I enjoyed was Rose McGowan being a go go dancer who loses a leg and has it replaced with a machine gun; seeing her determined and hobbling about on her false leg before lifting it up in order to spray enemies with gunfire was a kick, even if this was a homage to a foreign film which utilized the same device. Another thing -- way too much dependency on modern CGI stuff for what's supposed to be a "grindhouse film".

    Quentin Tarantino proves the better director with his DEATH PROOF, but it's not among his "greatest" works. I thought his choice of Kurt Russell in this picture (after he originally wanted Mickey Rourke) worked out wonderfully, and it was a lot of fun to see Russell as a crazy stunt driver with a special "death proof" car who tries to kill women with his vehicle. Russell is terrific in the movie and it's an asset to have him in it. Again I liked Tarantino's choice of music for his feature and his pacing works to give the first grisly moments of the film a powerful impact. Quentin's staging of the first "death" scene alone here created more of a shocking impression than anything featured in Rodriguez's entire flick. As a Tarantino fan I always look forward to his interesting dialogue, but I wouldn't call the conversations here with the female characters anywhere near his best, and the talking does at times feel like it goes on too long, though at least it helps us know the women and thus does aid when we get to the expected payoff. Without adding spoilers here I have to say that I felt a lot of loose ends were dangling after the movie was over, and it ended way too abruptly. That's a shame.

    These are my first impressions. I'm hearing that there may be longer versions of both movies released in the future, and if that's the case I think PLANET TERROR already feels plenty long enough, and that DEATH PROOF might actually be improved with more material and a more "complete" finish.
     

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