Track the Films You Watch (2008)

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Michael Elliott, Dec 16, 2007.

  1. Joe Karlosi

    Joe Karlosi Producer

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    I'm sort of in the middle on this. Meaning that I do think we should try our best to be non-biased and understand that we're talking about different decades and styles of filmmaking and we should take this into account... you make a good point there. However, by the same token, people do bring their own set of standards and preferences and personalities into film critiquing. That's why Michael Elliott's reviews would be unique from Mario Gauci's or Joe Karlosi's, or anyone else's. If everyone reviewed each and every movie without personal baggage, then where would be the individuality? Each and every movie ever made would be getting the exact same review, same descriptive texts, same amount of star ratings. A movie review should be a reflection of that person's tastes, standards, interests, etc.

    I think that what then tends to happen when we follow a certain critic is that we identify with a reviewer whose pattern seems close enough to our own tastes. So if I see a reviewer always "bashing" older horror films like DRACULA because he personally is bored by them and prefers more "T&A and gore like modern films", then I am not going to take this person seriously, and he's not for me. HOWEVER, there are hundreds of like-minded people just like him who may identify and so they'd use his opinion to help them decide whether or not they ought to see Lugosi's DRACULA.
     
  2. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    You should check out Ordet.
     
  3. Joe Karlosi

    Joe Karlosi Producer

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    I'd say there are some, but less than earlier decades. Since I love horror and science fiction and comedy best, just look at those genres. MANY more good or worthwhile ones are to be found from the older days.
     
  4. Adam_S

    Adam_S Producer

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    I would argue that 90s are already a decade almost as well regarded as the 70s, and the 80s have their growing appreciators as well and are probably going to undergo or are undergoing a critical reevaluation.
     
  5. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Lead Actor

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    It's funny but I actually think this decade has been the best for movies since the 70s. I'm just going to name a few films off the top of my head and I'm sure I'll leave some out but so far WONDER BOYS, ALMOST FAMOUS, THE DEPARTED, INTO THE WILD, THE PLEDGE, GANGS OF NEW YORK, GONE BABY GONE, BLACK WATER, MILLION DOLLAR BABY, LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA. I'm sure there are others I'm leaving out but all of these films are going to be looked at as "classics" thirty years from now. Heck, I think RAMBO will be remembered in the action category, SHINE A LIGHT in the concert field and we've got a wide range of indie movies that will probably get a crowd one day.

    You'll notice I'm not including other "popular" films like NO COUNTRY, THERE WILL BE BLOOD, LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy and more.
     
  6. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Lead Actor

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    I would ask how many of them have you actually seen from this decade? I'm not sure what to use as a "have you seen" list but you could use mine or the Top 50 list at IMDB. I'm going to guess you haven't seen many of the films that are considered great among this decade. I think if you watched some you'd end up liking a lot of them.
     
  7. Pete York

    Pete York Supporting Actor

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    My initial response was to disagree with your disagreeing, so, just for fun, the following (via IMDb power search of top rated films in each year, USA, over 200 votes):

    1939 (top) v. 2007 (bottom)
    1. The Wizard of Oz
    Sicko

    2. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
    No End in Sight

    3. Midnight
    The Bourne Ultimatum

    4. Gone with the Wind
    Ratatouille

    5. Of Mice and Men
    Ghosts of Abu Ghraib

    6. On Borrowed Time
    Grindhouse

    7. The Roaring Twenties
    Hot Fuzz

    8. Ninotchka
    Superbad

    9. The Hunchback of Notre Dame
    Zodiac

    10. Wuthering Heights
    Reign Over Me

    11. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
    The Devil Came on Horseback

    12. The Women
    Mr. Brooks

    13. Beau Geste
    Knocked Up

    14. Goodbye, Mr. Chips
    Live Free of Die Hard

    15. Stagecoach
    Freedom Writers

    16. Destry Rides Again
    Transformers

    17. The Hound of the Baskervilles
    Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoneix

    18. The Old Maid
    Hairspray

    19. Gunga Din
    Talk to Me

    20. The Cat and the Canary
    Waitress

    21. Young Mr. Lincoln
    Bridge to Terabithia

    22. Bachelor Mother
    The Lookout

    23. Only Angels Have Wings
    Breach

    24. Dark Victory
    Shooter

    25. You Can't Cheat an Honest Man
    Surf's Up

    26. Drums Along the Mohawk
    Disturbia

    27. Another Thin Man
    1408

    28. Love Affair
    Ocean's Thirteen

    29. Each Dawn I Die
    Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

    30. Dodge City
    In the Land of Women

    31. Juarez
    Arctic Tale

    32. The Story of Alexander Graham Bell
    A Mighty Heart

    33. Stanley and Livingstone
    You Kill Me

    34. The Man in the Iron Mask
    Blades of Glory

    35. Five Came Back
    Music and Lyrics

    36. The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex
    Spider-Man 3

    37. Son of Frankenstein
    The Last Mimzy

    38. Union Pacific
    Hot Rod

    39. Jesse James
    Broken English

    40. They Made Me a Criminal
    Vacancy
     
  8. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Lead Actor

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    You've got a bunch of good and very good films there mixed in with some all-time greats. How many of the "good" or "very good" films are remembered these days outside of film buffs?

    From the IMDB, there were 2264 movies released in 1939 and you picked out the top 30. That leaves a lot of films that are completely forgotten about among film buffs and the general public. From that list, I might argue that only 3 of them are known by people across the world even if they aren't into movies. With that in mind, will three of the films released this past year or this year be remembered fifty years from now?

    To answer my who question I'd probably have to say I'm not sure. The "box office gold" right now are these superhero/CGI films but most of these are forgotten about, except with the die-hard fans, the following week when the next CGI/superhero movie comes out. SPIDER-MAN 3 has been forgotten about as has SICKO, which will be replaced by Moore's next film.

    To me, what will survive are films like ALMOST FAMOUS, LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA or even GRINDHOUSE. All three were commercial flops of course.
     
  9. Joe Karlosi

    Joe Karlosi Producer

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    You mean the '90s? If you're specifically talking about horror and sci-fi stuff, I've seen enough to know they're not generally as good or original as the older stuff. If you're talking about ALL genres of film in the '90s, no - I haven't seen nearly that much. And I don't want to, which takes us back again to this becoming a "job" or a "required duty".
     
  10. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Lead Actor

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    I believe your original comment was "movies of today" without calling out horror. If I misread it then I apologize.


    Now for this:

    I waited 20 fucking years for this?!?!?!?!?!

    Just got back from INDY/CRYSTAL SKULL and some guy sitting next to me stood up, threw his popcorn at the screen and followed with that lovely quote. You know I've always said Spielberg was the best to use CGI but damn did he screw this film up (along with the screenplay). I'm not a fan boy of SW or IJ but I think it's clear that Lucas is really screwing up everything he touches.
     
  11. Joe Karlosi

    Joe Karlosi Producer

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    Okay, so then I'll repeat: If you're talking about ALL genres of film in the '90s, no - I haven't seen nearly that much. And I don't want to, which takes us back again to this becoming a "job" or a "required duty".
     
  12. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Lead Actor

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    Then you and I can't really discuss the great non-horror films from the decade, now can we?
     
  13. Joe Karlosi

    Joe Karlosi Producer

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    Nope. I didn't realize I was attempting to do that, though.
     
  14. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Lead Actor

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    06/16/08

    Airship Destroyer, The (1909) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] Walter R. Booth

    Early science-fiction film (some consider it the first) about a Zeppelin that takes off in the night where three men use it to drop bombs on England. I guess you could call this an early "fear" film as it's pretty clear that it was made to put fear into people watching the film that an invasion could come from the sky at anytime without any notice. I really don't agree that this is a science-fiction film but for some reason people consider it one. The special effects for the most part are pretty good with one great shot of the Zeppelin off in the distance while another one, with actors that we can see, comes floating in the shot. The ending doesn't hold up very well due to some obvious effects but it's still fairly impressive for 1909. Original German title: Der Luftkrieg Der Zukunft.

    Gordon Highlanders (1898) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] William Walker

    The "Gordon Highlanders" are pretty much forgotten today except by history buffs but they were the most renowned infantry regiment in Scotland and became most famous not only for their outfits, which included kilts with red and white socks, but also for their battle with Napoleon in 1915. This British film, much like most films being made at this time, just has the camera standing still while the infantry walks in front of it. Also, like a lot of the films made at this time, the best moments come from all the accidents that are happening in the frame. It seems like a couple men were hired as security to keep people out of the frame and often times we see them grabbing kids and adults only to push them out of the frame. This goes on for quite a bit of time and even the infantry are looking at the camera as I'm sure it was their first time seeing anything like it. Not much happens in this short document of the period but it's still a lot of fun to see early movie making.

    Sand Bath, The (1907) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] Johann Schwarzer

    This short comes from Austria and was produced by Saturn Films, which was founded by director Schwarzer. It seems the entire point of this company was to jump into the movie making world but offer up more erotic entertainment for men. This film is a part of their "Natural Scenes" series, which were all shot outdoors with women doing various things. In the film we see a man walk towards the camera with a completely nude woman who then lays down in the sand and begins rubbing it on her. The woman is constantly changing positions so that the camera can pick up every inch of her nude body. It's funny watching these early "adult" films because of the Pre-Code era, which didn't allow any of this stuff. With that in mind, some people watch older movies and think the old days were pure and innocent but this short, one of many, just goes to show us men were perverts back then as well. It's rather amazing at how natural the woman acts in the film. Original title: Das Sandbad.

    No Swimming (1907) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] Johann Schwarzer

    Another short from Astralian director Johann Schwarzer, who created his own company, Saturn Films, in order to jump into the movie business by making early adult films, which contained a lot of nudity and very little plot. This film here as three women swimming naked in a pond when the owner catches them and forced them to get out, which of course means more nudity for the viewer. I guess the main attraction here is the early use of nudity, which there is plenty of since all three women are totally nude throughout the film. The movie runs just over a minute but it's rather funny to see how easy going the filming is as well as how natural the women are working. The movie is also known as Bath is Forbidden as well as it's original title Baden verboten.

    Saucy Chambermaid, The (1908) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] Johann Schwarzer

    Another erotic film from Australian studio Saturn Films and director/owner Johann Schwarzer. This time a chambermaid walks into the studio of a sculptor where she notices a statue of a nude woman (being played by a real woman). The chambermaid is interested in who has the better body so she strips off all of her clothes only to be shocked when the sculptor comes back and catches her naked. From what I've read, many fans consider this to be the best work from the studio but it was also one of their most controversial because soon after its release the Catholic Church began efforts to get the studio shut down. This is certainly one of the most delightful and funniest silent films I've seen and it certainly stands out among other "adult" features as it also contains a very well written story. The movie was obviously made to show off female nudity but the added bonus of a screenplay, or at least a story, makes this really stand out from the rest. Original title: Das Eitle Stubenmadchen.

    At the Photographer's (1908) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] Johann Schwarzer

    This Saturn Films production tells the story of a perverted, short man who lures women into his photo shot hoping that he can get them naked for pictures. When he tries this stunt on the wrong woman she later returns to the store with the police. This Australian film once again was made to show female nudity but out of the four films I've seen from this director/company owner, this one here actually features the least amount of nudity even though it's twice as long as the other films. There's still plenty of nudity to be seen but for the most part it seems the director was trying to tell a funny story and he does so pretty much. The film moves very well even though most of the stuff is done with one long take and only edits very briefly at the very edit. The camera doesn't move around too much but once again there's a fun nature about the entire thing.

    Roue, La (1923) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] Abel Gance

    French master Abel Gance's 260-minute epic tells the story of Sisif (Severin-Mars), a railroad worker who discovers a young girl named Norma after a horrible train wreck. Sisif takes the girl home to his young son Elie where he plans on raising them as brother and sister. Flash forward several years and Elie (Gabriel de Gravone) has started to fall in love with Norma (Ivy Close) even though he thinks she is his sister. At the same time Sisif has also fallen in love with her, which leads the two men down a road of tragedy. A lot of the epic films released after The Birth of a Nation dealt with epic themes, usually something to do with war, but that's not the case here as you would call this a film that deals in melodrama and character study. It's rather amazing that Gance would try to take this material and push it to over eight hours, which was the original running time. I was a little worried going into this version, running 260-minutes but it turned out to be a great beauty of a film. I really don't think the film ran too long and in fact, the running time goes by quite fast but the only thing I'd question is some of the stuff that we go through two or three times. This includes one character attempting suicide numerous times and I think this could have been handled in a different way. The legendary editing is the main highlight of this film as it goes in a maniac style way. There are numerous edits each second during certain scenes and I'm really not sure if it could be done better even with today's standards. Even though the editing is quite sharp and fast, it never gets in the way of the story trying to be told. Another fascinating aspect is when the main character starts to go blind. The director then turns the visuals on screen to an all white setting to where we're seeing things just like the character who is going blind. the final sequences of the film are quite beautiful and haunting and really puts everything we've seen before it into justice. I think for the most part that the performances are good but I think at times the director would have been wise to bring them down a little bit. Severin-Mars really steals the film as the love struck father who is slowly losing his mind, life and eyes due to the love his has for the girl he raised as his daughter. Close gives the weakest performance of the three but she still handles the screen quite well. La Roue is certainly a demanding film to sit through but at the end of the film I was quite happy to take the ride and this is certainly a film that every film buff should see at least once in their life.

    Oath and the Man, The (1910) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] D.W. Griffith

    Griffith short has Henry B. Walthall playing a perfume shop owner who one days gets a visit from a French Nobleman. The Nobleman smells a lovely young woman's scent and invites her to a party but this woman just happens to be the owner's wife. The wife goes with the Nobleman but the husband doesn't do anything until the French Revolution comes around and he sees his shot at revenge. This is a pretty good short that once again shows a top-notch director doing great work. Griffith does a great job a building up suspense and this leads to a very fun ending. There were a lot of extras used for the small battle scenes and if you look close enough you can spot Jack Pickford. Walthall turns in another very good performance as well.

    Blind Love (1912) [​IMG][​IMG] D.W. Griffith

    D.W. Griffith short has a young woman (Blanche Sweet) leaving her husband for another man thinking that this other man will bring more excitement to her life. After a while the woman, now with a child, realizes that she was wrong and tries to go back to her husband. This is another moral lesson from Griffith as the film tries to tell women to stick by their husbands no matter what. The film is a little hard to follow as there aren't any title cards to set anything up. It also seems like Griffith really wasn't too involved in the making because there really isn't any of his classic touches. The film runs just over nine-minutes and goes by pretty fast but the director has certainly done much better work. Sweet does a good job with her role.

    Two Paths, The (1911) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] D.W. Griffith

    D.W. Griffith melodrama about two sisters who take different roads in life. The wild sister (Dorothy Bernard) moves off to the big city to become the mistress of a millionaire while the calmer sister (Linda Arvidson) stays at home and marries for love. This is yet another melodrama from Griffith but once again he handles the material beautifully and delivers a pretty strong statement film. Griffith does a brilliant job at showing time pass with his simple editing and he manages to float around to both sister's story without ever making the film confusing or hard to follow. The director also uses a lot of symbolistic things to get the story across and my favorite was the scene where the bad sister is welcomed into the club of the rich people with the simple use of a curtain coming open. Bernard does a terrific job with her role. Donald Crisp, Lottie Pickford, Blanche Sweet, Charles West, Dorthy West and Wildred Lucas appear in brief roles.

    Telephone Girl and the Lady, The (1913) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] D.W. Griffith

    D.W. Griffith short intercuts two different stories before mixing them together at the end. The film focuses on a telephone girl (Mae Marsh) who leaves work for her lunch break at the same time as "The Lady" (Claire McDowell) goes to a jewelry store to pick up some priceless jewels. When the telephone girl returns to work she gets a phone call from the house of "The Lady" as a robbery (Harry Carey) has broken in and is trying to steal the jewels. This is certainly Griffith experimenting with how to work the format and for the most part he succeeds. I think the early stories could have been handled a little bit better but it's clear Griffith was just using that to set up the ending, which contains some nice suspense of the thief slowly torments a maid to try and get the jewels while the police are trying to get to the scene. Marsh turns in another fine performance as does Carey as the thief. Lionel Barrymore can be seen playing the cop who answers the telephone call from Marsh.

    Transformation of Mike, The (1912) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] D.W. Griffith

    Extremely entertaining drama from Griffith about a gangster named Mike (Wilfred Lucas) who moves into a tenement building to start over. At a dance he meets a young lady (Blanche Sweet) and quickly falls for her but with no money to take her out he decides to do a robbery. Mike eventually breaks into the house of an old man with money but he doesn't realize that it's his girl's father. The film deals with a bad man seeing his wrong ways and changing and this here is a subject that Griffith went to many times. Once again Griffith's strong direction really does wonders as he's able to make a rather cute romantic comedy with the two people meeting yet he then switches gears flawlessly as we see Mike terrorizing the family, not knowing who they really are. Lucas is terrific in his role as should be expected since he also wrote the story. The always impressive Sweet does her typical great job and William J. Butler is fine as her father.

    Under Burning Skies (1912) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] D.W. Griffith

    Griffith short about Joe (Wilfred Lucas), a drinking and fighting cowboy who falls for a pretty girl (Blanche Sweet) and swears to his friend that he's going to change his ways. That is until he learns that the girl is leaving with her husband (Christy Cabanne). Embarrassed, Joe goes searching for them for revenge but when he finds them both are near death due to lack of water. Will Joe seek revenge or do something good for once? This here is a pretty good Western that goes back to what Griffith was doing in New York and that is telling morality stories. There's a small chase scene, which is pretty well done, although it's no where near a classic scene for the director. The ending is also very well handled and comes off quite good, which is something the director was great at. The three leads all turn in good performances with Lucas stealing the show as the tough guy. Future Griffith star Robert Harron has a brief role.

    06/17/08

    Your Job in Germany (1945) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] Frank Capra

    WW2 propaganda film from director Capra tells young troops why they should overtake Germany as well as why they should put them in the ground so that they can never rise up again. The film tells how Germany has always been evil and when given a second chance they ruin in and send another person like Hitler. I know these films were made to rally troops during WW2 but looking at them today you can't help but call them rather racist. This film here at least says you should respect their customs yet it then follows that by saying you shouldn't talk to their people because you can't trust them. The film runs just over ten-minutes and pretty much tries to pump up Americans and throw a fear factor into things. This is certainly a film of its era and I'm sure most will find it boring but if you're interested in these films its not too bad.

    Bitter Tea of General Yen, The (1933) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] Frank Capra

    Nice drama about an American missionary (Barbara Stanwyck) who travels to China in hopes of saving kids from a Civil War but she is soon held hostage by the evil General Yen (Nils Asther) who has a strange fondness for her. This certainly isn't the type of film you expect to see from someone like Capra but he handles the material quite well and in the end delivers a pretty good drama. I think there are several far fetched things going on in the film including the relationship between the two lead characters. With Yen being shown as such an evil man I really doubt he would have treated Stanwyck's character as good as he does. The Chinese stereotypes are on high alert, which is to be expected at this point in movie history but Asther is yellow face is the least of the offensives the film has going for it. Asther is one of the weakest aspects in the film for me because he never came off very menacing or threatening, which is how his character is suppose to be seen in some light. Stanwyck on the other hand delivers a very strong performance. The scene where she must beg for General Yen not to kill one of his slaves is very well done by the actress and the scene comes off quite bittersweet. There's also a strange dream, which is obviously meant to have sexuality behind it and this here certainly wouldn't have gone through outside the Pre-Code era.

    Folie du Docteur Tube, La (1915) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] Able Gance

    Strange, early French film from director Able Gance has a mad scientist creating some sort of white powder, which he, his dog, his assistant and a couple others take and then start to see strange objects. I'm really not sure if the white powder is suppose to be something like cocaine but that's the impression I got and I guess I'd go even further as to say this is an early "strange trip" type of film. Apparently the only reason this was made was so that Gance could try new things with the camera. The film has all sorts of strange images, the type of stuff you'd expect to see in a funhouse. Various tricks are done with mirrors in order to make things appear smaller or out of shape. The film certainly has a surreal quality to it and I respect the attempt to do something new but in the end the film feels long even at only eleven-minutes.

    Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) [​IMG][​IMG] Steven Spielberg

    Fourth film in the series has Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) accused of being a communist so he must battle a Soviet nut (Cate Blanchett) to find the secrets of the Crystal Skull. I watched this film with around twenty other people and the entire time everyone was either yawning or looking at their clocks and I must admit that I was doing the same. There were some fun scenes here and some interesting ideas but I think in the end the film is a pretty big failure and a pretty average way to end the series (unless another comes up). I think the biggest problem is the screenplay, which really doesn't have too much going for it. The idea of mixing Roswell with the story was an interesting idea but the screenplay really kills it with the very bad ending but more on that in a bit. I guess the main person to blame here is George Lucas and the fact that he apparently wants to ruin anything good that he has done. I'm also quite disappointed with Spielberg and his use of CGI effects. Spielberg has always been someone who could mix the CGI effects in well with the use of live action but that's not the case here as he goes so far overboard that I just had to role my eyes. The ending, which I won't spoil, is so incredibly fake look that there was no way I could be entertained by it. The best scene in the film is a wild jeep chase through the jungles but after a while the overkill factor kicks in and you just can't believe what you're seeing. Then you have a scene with man-eating ants, which could have been nicely done but instead it just turns to pure camp. And don't forget the scene with Indy's sidekick (Shia LaBeouf) swinging around vines with monkeys. This thing just looked so incredibly fake that there was no way to feel any excitement. The first three movies in the series took place in the past and they had a real feel of the past. That's not the case here as the film is suppose to be taking place in the 1950s yet everything looks like a futuristic planet. There are some good things in the film like the already mentioned jeep chase and the performances are quite good as well. Ford still handles the character quite well even though the screenplay offers some very weak dialogue. LaBeouf is decent enough and John Hurt nearly steals the film as Professor Ox. It was nice to see Karen Allen back in the mix and her and Ford still have a little magic left. I know Cate Blanchett is considering a holy grail right now but I didn't care for her performance too much. It seemed like she was taking it way too serious and didn't add any fun to the film.

    Birth of a Race, The (1918) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] John W. Noble

    Okay then. This film was produced to go against D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation by showing that all people should be treated the same but something certainly went wrong as this is without a doubt one of the funniest dramas I've ever seen. The film is meant to tell the story of mankind starting with Adam and Eve and going up to the current time of 1918. We see Jesus crucified, Columbus reaching America and then a closing shot and whites and blacks fighting together. This is an extremely low budget and poorly shot short running just over ten minutes and while it's heart might be trying to be good the final project is just a downright mess. If you're a religious scholar then there are countless errors that you could rip apart here. Whereas Griffith's film was against blacks you could say this film is against Indians and various other groups including blacks and they were the ones this film was meant to show in a good light. This film is shockenly every bit as racist of the Griffith film so what the producer's were trying for is beyond me as the message this film gives off is anything except peace.

    Reformers, The; or, The Lost Art of Minding One's Business (1913) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] D.W. Griffith

    Funny short from Biograph and Griffith about a happy family: the father (Charles Hill Mailes), the mother (Jennie Lee), the son (Robert Harron) and the daughter (Mae Marsh), which gets turned upside down after the father is asked to run for Mayor by the League of Civic Purity. This group is full of angry men and women who believe the world should be cleaned up under the rules they create. These rules include no drinking, no dancing, no Shakespeare and various other things. This is certainly another sly commentary on American life by the director and he captures some very nice humor throughout the film. There's no doubt these type of groups were around in 1913 since they are still around today and the way Griffith shows them as hypocrites is very well handled. The film certainly has a message in it and the message still holds up very well today. Both Harron and Marsh are very good in the film as is Mailes as the Mayor who lets the purity go to his head.

    Indian Brothers, The (1911) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] D.W. Griffith

    Western from Griffith has a renegade Indian (Guy Hedlund) killing an Indian Chief (Frank Opperman) after being insulted but the Chief's brother (Wilfred Lucas) goes out for revenge. This isn't the best film Griffith did in the genre but it's still an entertaining little movie due in large part to the beautiful scenery of California back in 1911. The film goes by pretty fast and it seems to have Griffith saying that people should take care of their own problems. As is to be expected, all the Indians are being played by white people and I'm sure this will upset some but this was the common thing in 1911. Lucas is very good in the role of the brother but it's Hedlund who really steals the show with his maniac-like performance as the renegade. Griffith is able to build some nice suspense during the "hunt" scenes.
     
  15. Pete York

    Pete York Supporting Actor

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    This is a good point, as how many times have we heard in the backstory of some classic that it was a flop at the box office.
     
  16. Martin Teller

    Martin Teller Cinematographer

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    I wish someone would meticulously pick apart MY posts...


    It Rains on Our Love - Bergman's first film, Crisis, is lousy. His second isn't much better. The romance between the two leads has an incredibly unconvincing start, although the chemistry is believable enough later on. The angel and devil characters are extremely obvious, yet Bergman felt it necessary to point it out in the ending dialogue. The humor in the movie is really goofy and rarely works, and the messages are too blunt. It's not a total loss... there is a pleasant sweetness to it, and the acting is pretty good. But it's too much like a Hollywood ripoff, there's little of Bergman's soul in it. Rating: 5


    36 Chowringhee Lane - The first film written and directed by Aparna Sen, who starred in some of Ray's best work. She's apparently learned a lot from the master. This is a touching, elegant story about an old Anglo-Indian teacher who finds herself becoming increasingly marginalized by her friends, family, and employer. The metaphor of India's changing cultural and social landscape is handled deftly, and makes itself felt without being too pushy. The whole film crafted with artful camerawork, very well written, and features excellent performances including Dhritiman Chatterjee from Ray's stellar Pratidwandi, and in the lead, Jennifer Kendal (who Ray would later use in Ghare-Baire). One of my favorite moments was the montage cut to, of all things, "Yellow Polka Dot Bikini". I have one of Sen's more recent films on deck, really looking forward to it now. Rating: 9
     
  17. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Lead Actor

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    When it comes to the studio vs. the talented director, I've always gone with the director but as I've watched more documentaries over the years I'm starting to realize that a lot of films would have been ruined had the studio not stepped in and taken it away from the director. I think we'd all agree that what RKO did to Welles ruined THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS but to just argue you could say that Fox helped us when they demanded changes on a couple of Ford's films from 1939. I can't remember the films right off hand but I believe both YOUNG MR. LINCOLN and MY DARLING were forced to be changed because of the studio and that later, Ford agreed they made the right choice.

    It's certainly not going to be easy and it could take another 20 years but I think we will see stronger days in Hollywood. Both INTO THE WILD and GONE BABY GONE hit me as films that were "like the old days". Cameron got to do something very personal with ALMOST FAMOUS and I think he hit it out of the ball park and made a brilliant film. Penn also did THE PLEDGE, which certainly had balls, which is something else missing from a lot of movies today. Not to mention THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST and what a basically indie movie could do.

    I probably wrote it wrong earlier but yes, I think the older days offered up better films but I don't think people should write off today's movies because there are plenty of great ones out there. The main problem is that they usually make $5 to $30 million while the big studio titles are bringing in $150-$300 million. To the genre I know best (horror), most of the great films are simply being dumbed down and remade or going straight to DVD while some pretty bad stuff is getting released into 2000 theaters simply because it's more marketable. There are great films out there but most of the time people are going to have to look for them unlike the "hit stuff", which is playing at every theater in America.
     
  18. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Lead Actor

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    I can't comment on anything you've written because I haven't seen any of them and there are a few that I haven't even heard of. But, that's the great thing about these threads as you get to hear about movies you might not have ever heard about. It's funny but I've actually got a "Martin's Picks" on Word where I'm writing the titles down that I've gotten interested in from your posts as well as the page number so I can go back and read what you wrote.

    It might be strange but I've actually got a "recommendation" page on just about everyone who writes here that I update each day or so.

    I'm sure there was some humor in your quote but if you're wondering if people actually read what you write, I certainly do.

    Plus, I've always wondered if people read what everyone is writing in these threads. The posts here would certainly make a better film guide than a lot of books out there.
     
  19. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    Cast Away

    Rewatched this superb film.

    The Visitors

    French comedy with Jean Reno as a medieval knight who travels in time to the present. Not a terribly original idea, but the problem here is that it just isn't funny.
     
  20. Mario Gauci

    Mario Gauci Cinematographer

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    06/14/08: BLOODY PIT OF HORROR (Massimo Pupillo, 1965) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    I became aware of this via Tim Lucas’ Mario Bava commentaries and, later, reviews of Image/Something Weird’s SE DVD; ironically, the version I watched – while a print of much-lesser quality (probably sourced from the Alpha PD release) – runs some 8 minutes longer than the Image edition! The reviews had promised a demented and hugely entertaining entry in the realm of Italian Gothic Horrors: ‘The Psychotronic Encyclopedia’ calls it “a classic of idiotic sadism and bad acting”, while it’s “an authentic gem of ‘B’ cinema…a real icon for lovers of bizarre celluloid” according to ‘Amarcord’. Well, the second half certainly delivered on that front – but one had to make do with a deadly first half to get there; unfortunately, my viewing enjoyment was further hampered by the jerky movements associated with the DivX format…but, then, the soundtrack of the film itself seems to have been recorded under water!

    Anyway, the narrative is more Poe than Sade: in fact, it’s basically an unofficial rehash of PIT AND THE PENDULUM (1961) – as misanthrope/egomaniac Mickey Hargitay takes up residence in the castle of a notorious medieval sadist and, with a dungeon full of torture devices at his disposal, he soon begins to identify with his predecessor to the point that, donning the costume of The Crimson Executioner (as that nobleman was known and, for which crimes, he had been sentenced to death), Hargitay murders anyone who crosses his path! This fate, in fact, is just what’s in store for an adventurous modeling entourage – who seem to think of the castle grounds as an ideal backdrop to their kinky photo-shoots; as it happens, one of the girls involved is an ex-flame of Hargitay’s! So, the slow-going early section sees much of the proceedings taken up by the modeling angle (and the mild lechery, petty jealousy and clandestine romance that seems to be part and parcel of this particular milieu)…but, then, the Crimson Executioner – annoyed by this intrusion and the company’s apparent lack of standards – lets rip with his violent and vengeful antics, and it becomes a good deal of fun.

    Though the sex and gore are very mild – since this came fairly early in the game – the climax reaches a fine pitch of frenzy as the cackling masked Hargitay contrives to trap and kill most members of the party in various unwieldy devices (but also via an attack by a rather unconvincing-looking giant spider designed by none other than Carlo Rambaldi), while setting his henchmen (wearing red-striped sailor-type shirts) onto the elusive hero; eventually, Hargitay himself expires on a hanging puppet improbably fitted with a poisoned tip! Despite the muted colors in the print I came across, the look of the film with regards to costumes and sets is both evocative and appealing; ditto for the lounge score, which is extremely typical of the era. For the record, director Pupillo is said to have had a problem with one of the girls (Rita Klein) – especially when she was supposed to display terror: he was even forced to electrocute her for real in order to get the expression he wanted for a specific scene!; by the way, the film was re-edited in 1972 and re-issued under the title I, THE MARQUIS DE SADE!


    06/14/08: FANTASTIC ARGOMAN (Sergio Grieco, 1967) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    I was vaguely aware of this superhero, flick but which I almost missed out on when it was shown earlier this week on late-night Italian TV given the misleading original title – which translates to HOW TO STEAL THE CROWN OF ENGLAND (a plot device which, while occurring twice during the course of the movie, is only a means to an end and not the villainess’ ultimate goal)! Anyway, this was one of a boom of Italian superhero/master criminal films (most of them emanating from the latter half of the 1960s) – apart from which, I was already familiar with the enjoyable KRIMINAL (1966; whose sequel, THE MARK OF KRIMINAL [1968], I watched on the strength of this), the obviously superior DANGER: DIABOLIK (1968), the surprisingly agreeable spoof ARRIVA DORELLIK (1967) and, much later, the truly lamentable THE PUMA MAN (1980).

    Argoman’s alter-ego is Sir Reginald Hoover (Roger Browne) – a laid-back, womanizing criminologist living in a luxurious gadget-filled mansion and waited upon by his faithful Hindu servant (played by Spaniard Eduardo Fajardo); to put it another way, if Batman is the James Bond of superheroes, then Argoman would be their Matt Helm! Having said that, the outrageous costume notwithstanding (which features a cape and a slit in his mask similar to the armor worn by Gort, the robot from THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL [1951]!), his superhero characteristics make him actually closer to Superman than Batman: as a matter of fact, he has sonar, telekinetic and magnetic powers!; however, these are depleted for six hours straight after every sexual encounter – which exasperates time-keeper Fajardo no end! The villainess, then, is a man-eating redhead (Dominique Boschero) typically obsessed with world domination – which she plans to accomplish via a precious diamond that, through the sun’s energy, is able to dissolve steel (consequently, having relocated from London to Paris, the French currency is soon in peril of being devalued!).

    Unfortunately for Argoman, he always seems to happen on the scene at the wrong time – so that the Police (especially an incompetent Scotland Yard Inspector) mistakes him for the perpetrator of Boschero’s nefarious deeds! While generally entertaining, the plot gets a bit confusing in the second half – especially when dealing with a subplot in which Boschero hypnotizes a clutch of high-ranking officials to aid her cause, and also the kidnapping of Hoover/Argoman on a crowded bus. The film (re-edited in 1979 and re-issued simply as ARGOMAN) is nevertheless boosted by Piero Umiliani’s breezy score and the attractive locations. A regrettable occurrence in connection with the version I watched is that, for about a 10-minute stretch towards the end, the beat-up print turned completely to black-and-white!


    06/14/08: GRAN BOLLITO (Mauro Bolognini, 1977) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Given that director Mauro Bolognini is not very well-known outside of his native country, I guess it is appropriate that the first film I watch of his is one which I haven’t been aware of myself for very long (though I can’t, for the life of me, actually recall how I came to know about it!). Furthermore, I acquired it some time ago as a DivX but, while the picture wouldn’t show on my cheaper, all-purpose DVD model, it played without a hitch on my PC monitor!

    To begin with, the casting for this one is quite bizarre: Shelley Winters, Max Von Sydow, Rita Tushingham, Laura Antonell, Milena Vukotic (who appeared in all of Luis Bunuel’s last three films!), Adriana Asti (who, like Vukotic herself, appeared in Bunuel’s THE PHANTOM OF LIBERTY [1974]), Renato Pozzeto, Alberto Lionello and Liu` Bosisio. Winters returns to the “Mama from Hell”-type roles she had previously incarnated in Roger Corman’s gangster pic BLOODY MAMA (1970) and two Curtis Harrington “Grand Guignol” pieces – WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH HELEN? (1971) and WHOEVER SLEW AUNTIE ROO? (1972). Von Sydow, Lionello and Pozzetto all appear in dual roles – one of them as women (i.e. not cross-dressers), with the others only coming into play after the first are bumped off. Of interest to Italian cinema buffs, Liu` Bosisio interpreted the part of Mrs. Pina Fantozzi in the cult comedy franchise starring Paolo Villaggio – a role which, from the third entry onwards, was taken over by none other than Milena Vukotic!

    Anyway, the narrative here was inspired by a real-life case that occurred in Italy between 1939-40: Winters plays a lotto officer who, having given birth to thirteen children of whom only one survived into adulthood, she guards him with a morbid, unhealthy jealousy; together with him and her paralysed husband, she takes up residence in a condominium populated by eccentrics and neurotics. She seems to integrate herself well in her new surroundings, becoming a confidante in particular of Von Sydow (who has recurrent nightmares of being raped by the devil!), Lionello (who intends to go back to the U.S.A. in search of her long-lost husband) and Tushingham (the pale-faced piano-playing sister of the handsome young parish priest). Another ‘female’ acquaintance is Pozzetto, whose luscious room-mate (gymnastics teacher Antonelli) soon sets her sights on Winters’ son and, consequently, sending the old woman off her rocker – mistreating deaf-mute maid Vukotic to the point of forcing her to seduce Winters’ own son in an attempt to drive him away from Antonelli!; and killing off her friends by decapitating them with a meat cleaver, hacking off their body parts and making bars of soap out of their flesh and tea-time delicacies out of their grounded bones (she dubs her product, quite literally, “dead man’s bones”)!! Although Tushingham at first defends Winters against the foul-natured tongues of her suspicious neighbors, it is she who first finds out the truth about the real ingredients of the soap by discovering Lionello’s ring in one of them – subsequent to which, she expires from a heart attack. After Winters’ son leaves for the front, she takes out her anger first on Vukotic and then on Antonelli (whom she has taken in and subsequently chases around the house with an axe) but the latter paralyzes her with a confession of her pregnancy and soon after the police arrive to whisk the old woman off to jail. Incidentally, Winters’ manic homicidal spree stems from her belief that, if she appeases Death with other victims, it will leave her son well alone (which should have also spared him duty in the impending war!).

    The film includes a couple of surprising instances of full-frontal nudity from the plain-looking (and usually chaste) Vukotic; speaking of this, I felt strange watching Hollywood veteran Winters not only mouthing Italian dialect but also drying her fully-naked, full-grown son after taking a bath! Popular singer/songwiter Enzo Jannacci and, by extension Italy’s foremost female singer Mina, provide a simple but haunting musical underscoring (a theme which is also hummed in the film by would-be Germanic chanteuse Pozzetto). As such, therefore, GRAN BOLLITO (which roughly translates to “The Big Stew”) is an uneven but decidedly one-of-a-kind, grotesque black comedy about obsessive mother-love descending into near-incest and serial killing – with added anti-war undertones and, possibly, an implied plea for tolerance towards persons with differing sexual orientations! Finally, I should note that I have several more Bolognini films in my unwatched VHS pile (which I hope to get to sooner rather than later) – namely LA NOTTE BRAVA (1959), IL BELL’ ANTONIO (1960), LA VIACCIA (1961), LA CORRUZIONE (1963), METELLO (1970), FATTI DI GENTE PERBENE (1974), LA VERA STORIA DELLA SIGNORA DELLE CAMELIE (1981) and two compendium pieces, LE STREGHE (1967) and CAPRICCIO ALL’ ITALIANA (1968)…


    06/15/08: THE ICE PIRATES (Stewart Raffill, 1984) [​IMG][​IMG]

    After missing out on this innumerable times on TCM UK, I decided to check it out given its sci-fi/adventure/camp pedigree: I knew I’d be in for a thoroughly silly ride – but it was also astoundingly bad! Anyway, perhaps appropriately given the characters involved, the script rips off many sci-fi titles then of recent vintage – SOYLENT GREEN (1973), ZARDOZ (1974), LOGAN’S RUN (1976; to the extent that it was filmed on some of the self-same sets!), STAR WARS (1977), ALIEN (1979) and MAD MAX 2: THE ROAD WARRIOR (1981)!

    The plot is simple but not exactly engaging: from the title one can deduce that water has become scarce on the planet where all of this takes place – so our ragtag buccaneer heroes take it upon themselves to steal ice blocks from the tyrannical Templar(!) rulers. Also involved is a beautiful princess (Mary Crosby, daughter of Bing!) in search of her father, the deposed king; by the way, the cast includes another famous offspring: Anjelica Huston (daughter of John) as one of the pirate band – thankfully, the actress’ mistake in accepting such a role would soon be forgotten in the wake of her winning an Oscar (under her father’s guidance, no less) for PRIZZI’S HONOR (1985). Since STAR WARS had Peter Cushing as the “Supreme Commander”, the film-makers opted to have a screen legend of their own – 78-year old John Carradine (who’s seen strapped to a sort of operating table during his one brief scene!).

    The most notable bits (for all the wrong reasons) are: the alien using the toilet; the castration machine; the clumsy antics (including karate-style combat!) of the inevitable robot companions; the goofy slave/eunuch make-up worn at one point by the heroes; the recurring attacks by the “space herpies” (whatever that is); the climax in which the characters are made to age when going through a time-warp (Crosby becomes pregnant, gives birth, and sees her son grow up in the space of 30 seconds, while leading man Robert Urich himself is replaced by John Ford stalwart Hank Worden for this scene!) – incidentally, the jump-cuts adopted here (intending to denote the rapid passage of time) are not only unsuccessful but downright irritating.


    06/16/08: THE MARK OF KRIMINAL(Fernando Cerchio and, uncredited, Nando Cicero, 1968) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Second and last entry in the “Kriminal” series – good-looking, light-weight Italian capers with an exotic touch originating from a comic strip. Whereas the first film concerned a string of diamond robberies (from what I’m able to recollect), this involves the search for a couple of missing paintings by world-renowned artists – the map of the location in question is hidden inside four identical statues of a Buddha. As in KRIMINAL (1966), the quest sends our anti-hero globe-trotting – London (his escape from an Istanbul prison, where his initial adventure had concluded, having occurred off-screen), Spain and, then, across the sea to the desert of Lebanon (the Goya and Rembrandt works are kept in an ancient tomb!).

    Having re-read my review of the original in preparation for this one, back then I had found Glenn Saxson “a wooden lead”; however, I think he has grown nicely into the part – ably demonstrating the character’s resourcefulness (fleecing insurance companies, nonchalantly disposing of his double-crossing female partner, posing as a messenger to present his arch-nemesis with a booby-trap wedding gift[!] and an erudite gentleman on the ship in order to frame a naïve fellow passenger for his crimes: in this respect, the script often utilizes the trademark skeletal costume to throw his pursuers’ scent off Kriminal’s trail…apart from the expected scaring of gullible victims), wit and magnetism. The wonderful theme from the original (by Raymond Full) is reprised here, which blends quite well with the new score from Manuel Parada; also returning from the first film are luscious “Euro-Cult” starlet Helga Line` (albeit in a different role – a femme fatale who’s a rival to the titular figure for the priceless paintings) and Andrea Bosic as the Scotland Yard officer still after Kriminal. Here, too, are the occasional delightful transitions to animation taken straight from the comics; I’ve never come across the latter – but I guess this goes to show how the live-action version was a faithful rendition of the original.

    While I don’t recall the first film enough to objectively judge how much of a lesser achievement the sequel actually is (I’m prepared to give the Umberto Lenzi film the benefit of the doubt, though I’m certain of its own rather middling qualities when stacked up against the definitive Pop Art-tinged Master Criminal film of the era – Mario Bava’s DANGER: DIABOLIK [1968]), it’s a superficial but effortlessly fun ride. If I had to put in one discernible criticism, I’d say that the desert climax is a bit long-drawn out…except that it leads directly to the surreal fade-out gag. By the way, at least one source mentions the uncredited contribution of director Nando Cicero in connection with the film; also my DivX copy froze a couple of times during playback on my compatible player but went by smoothly on my DVD-ROM. I think yet another DivX-to-DVD-R conversion is in order here...


    06/16/08: SPLENDORI E MISERIE DI MADAME ROYALE (Vittorio Caprioli, 1970)[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    For those of you who were under the impression (and I include myself among these!) that Italian star Ugo Tognazzi first played a gay character in the extremely popular LA CAGE AUX FOLLES (1978), here comes this obscure and ultra-rare (so much so that I came across it as a Divx!) little film to prove the contrary!!

    Unlike the later outing (which spawned two lesser sequels), this is a comedy-drama rather than a farce: interestingly, the narrative even has elements of the thriller genre (though these are mostly downplayed throughout in favor of characterization) as the gay community here seems to have been targeted for murder – with the investigation being handled by debonair Maurice Ronet (amusingly, he first meets Tognazzi by posing as a prospective client!). The title character is none other than the name Tognazzi gives himself when doing his flamboyant drag act during private soirees regularly organized for pals of similar bent; incidentally, his identification with this would-be historical figure is so complete that he conducts his conversation at such times exclusively in French! His closest companion is played by Vittorio Caprioli, an amiable character actor excelling at cantankerous but worldly types – and who also happens to be the film’s co-writer/director (none of his work in this department is very well-known, however).

    Anyway, Tognazzi is called upon by Ronet for information about his ‘beat’; this doesn’t sit well with his ‘colleagues’ (since it eventually lands a number of them, involved in illegal activities. in the slammer!), but the policeman keeps coming back for more – especially after Tognazzi himself seeks help from Ronet with respect to the abortion/incarceration/escape of his vivacious teenage ward (“Euro-Cult” starlet Jenny Tamburi in her debut performance). The latter is actually the daughter of Tognazzi’s late male partner – who had left the girl when still a baby on his doorstep and vanished forever! To be honest, as often happens, the gay subtext borders on the grotesque (if not quite reaching the level of caricature) – and the film’s mainstay are actually the sequences between anxious Tognazzi and carefree Tamburi, marked by both realism and unexpected tenderness, and the numerous ‘business’ meetings (too often occurring unwisely in plain sight of their ‘victims’!) between Tognazzi and Ronet. The film, in fact, ends with the former being ‘taken for a ride’ in full effeminate regalia – a scene which manages to generate reasonable tension and pathos.

    By the way, the credentials for this little-known effort are nothing short of remarkable – the co-scriptwriters are Enrico Medioli and Bernardino Zapponi (frequent collaborators of Luchino Visconti and Federico Fellini respectively), the cinematography is by the award-winning Giuseppe Rotunno, Ruggero Mastroianni (brother of star Marcello) did the editing, while the score comes courtesy of Fiorenzo Carpi (ZAZIE DANS LE METRO [1960] and SALON KITTY [1976])!


    06/17/08: BULLET BALLET (Shinya Tsukamoto, 1998) [​IMG][​IMG]

    This is my third film from this director, following the two TETSUO efforts; he seems to have quite a following, but I haven’t been impressed with what I’ve seen so far – on the contrary, the combination of flashy style and intense approach resulted not only in being off-putting but, for this viewer, it provoked boredom more than anything else! Anyway, while in those two earlier films, the visceral tone and unrelenting bleakness could perhaps be excused given their sci-fi/body-horror plotlines, these come off as mere hollow gestures in the juvenile delinquent milieu depicted here!

    The plot, if so it can be called, concerns a middle-aged man (played by the director himself!) who, in trying to come to terms with his fiancée’s baffling suicide, frantically tries to obtain a similar weapon (presumably in order to join her in the afterlife). However, during his nightly rounds of the city’s back streets, he runs into a gang of small-time (read: low-life) thugs who rough him up – so, he then finds a new purpose for his gun! Still, through his ambivalent relationship with a sluttish and tomboyish girl in the group, he’s drawn into open warfare between clans – and even intercedes for them when a hitman turns up to exterminate them at their hide-out! While such a narrative could have spelt considerable visual excitement and even thematic depth, the grungy feel of it all (the ugly black-and-white cinematography of an industrial wasteland setting – which can now be seen as typical Tsukamoto - rapid cutting, noisy soundtrack) plus the obnoxious characters prevents audience engagement for practically the entire duration (not that the ostensible bond between the hero and the girl is handled satisfactorily, or in any way comprehensively): mercifully, the thing lasts for just a little over 80 minutes!

    Finally, I have to say that, while I’m generally a devoted fan of Japanese cinema, there are certain elements inherent in the Oriental outlook (usually having to do with nihilistic violence and/or mundane melodrama), which I haven’t been able to get into, no matter how hard I try…


    06/18/08: MOSQUITO SQUADRON (Boris Sagal, 1969) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    At a time when many a star-studded and big-budgeted WWII actioner emerged, this modest effort seemed definitely like second-tier material – offering customary but efficient thrills and decent spectacle, somewhat in the vein of 633 SQUADRON (1964)…with which it shares much of the plot and action footage!

    In this respect, the film also owes its German secret weapon to OPERATION CROSSBOW (1965) and its bouncing bombs to THE DAM BUSTERS (1955); no wonder, then, that the end result feels awfully contrived (particularly at the climax, when successive to a couple of failed attempts, it has a wounded pilot wilfully crash smack into the warehouse where the rockets are manufactured!). Besides, the narrative tends too often towards romantic/sentimental complications: the relationship between the two leads being obstructed, for one thing, by the hero having been the best friend of the woman’s husband and, later, by the knowledge he shares with her maimed brother that the man had survived an air crash but is being kept prisoner in a chateau marked for obliteration during an Allied air raid led by the hero himself!

    The credentials are strictly below-par (the score, typically an asset in this type of flick, attempts to be rousing but succeeds only in being bland) and the casting a mix of TV actors (THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.’s David McCallum – who delivers a brooding performance – and Suzanne Neve from U.F.O.) and colorful character performers (Charles Gray as the pompous yet stern Air Commodore and Vladek Sheybal as the erudite but fishy Nazi officer in charge of the prison/plant fortress). Mind you, while being no great shakes (and probably instantly forgettable), the film proves mildly engaging – to say nothing of eminently watchable – along the way; when all is said and done, there are certainly far worse titles to spend 90 minutes of your life on…
     

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