Author Topic: Antares' Short Summations  (Read 105610 times)

Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #315 on: October 14, 2013, 06:53:23 PM »
The Devil's Rejects (2005) 72/100 - As I posted earlier, horror is my least favorite genre. But the other night there was nothing on TV and I was surfing like it was Endless Summer and happened upon this film on IFC. Before I start, IFC used to be one of my favorite TV channels, but as of late, watching a film on that channel is extremely laborious with the excessive amount of time devoted to commercial advertising. What a shame, it used to be such a great avenue for independent film watching, but now it's mired in a mass marketing nightmare. Back to the review... I was surprised at the end of this film as I found myself actually liking it. I guess it was the realism of the crimes committed by what has to be the sickest of psychotic families since the demented killers in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. One of the reasons that I don't care for slasher flics is that I was never comfortable with being put in the killer's eyes, which seemed to become prevalent after Halloween and Friday the 13th over thirty years ago. But Rob Zombie does it right by making you a witness, as opposed to a participant in the proceedings. I squirmed often and I felt my heart racing many times throughout this, and with the exception of a few moments of implausible activity, I was satisfied by what I was watching. Do you I ever want to watch it again, probably not, but not because it wasn't worthy of a second viewing, but because it's genre is not my cup of tea. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys slasher films, as from what I've read, Rob Zombie is pretty good at this kind of film making. Oh, and one more thing... this had one of the best soundtracks I've heard in a long while.

What the color coding means...

Teal = Masterpiece
Dark Green = Classic or someday will be
Lime Green = A good, entertaining film
Orange = Average
Red = Cinemuck
Brown = The color of crap, which this film is

Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #316 on: October 14, 2013, 06:53:58 PM »
I Am Love (2009) 57/100 - I guess I'm going to be the contrarian on this one, both my wife and I were really disappointed in this. This was a film that seemed to be looking to be different at the cost of being entertaining or rewarding. When it was over, I felt as if I had watched a big budget, film school project from a director who may have spent too much time believing in his own impending genius. Sure, it has its moments of luminescent cinematography, but a series of pretty pictures does not make a great film. In fact, it seemed as if the cinematographer, composer, film editor and director were never on the same page or maybe were playing a game of one-upmanship. The score for this film was intrusive at times and at other times, wildly out of place (When Swinton is following Antonio). It's too bad, because in the beginning I was enjoying the story, especially the erotic nature of Antonio's culinary creations. But a little more depth as to why Emma (Swinton) swoons over him was definitely in order here. Eating a couple of prawns isn't going to make you sleep with a stranger, trust me, if this were true, I would have slept with more women in my life than Wilt Chamberlain.  ;) Pity that the extensive amount of time that this film languished on how it looked wasn't better used to add some character development to both Emma and Antonio. And I must say that this was the first time I've watched Tilda Swinton give, what both my wife and I both felt, was a subpar performance. Just like the director, she seems to be trying a bit too hard. Maybe it was taking on the additional role of producer that threw her off her stride in this.

If I were to sum up this film up in one sentence, I would most definitely say this is In the Mood for Love... lite.

What the color coding means...

Teal = Masterpiece
Dark Green = Classic or someday will be
Lime Green = A good, entertaining film
Orange = Average
Red = Cinemuck
Brown = The color of crap, which this film is

Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #317 on: October 14, 2013, 06:55:38 PM »
Horror of Dracula (1958) 78/100 - For a Gothic horror film, this really didn't have the atmospheric setting I was used to. Gothic means gray, dingy, musty and loads of dark, creepy cobweb saturated passageways. This film looked like it could have been the setting for a Victorian period drama. But it does give the viewer the needed suspense that makes the Dracula story so popular. I've read that a lot of people feel that Christopher Lee is the consummate Count Dracula, but by judging by what little screen time he as in this film, I guess those people are talking about his subsequent outings in later Hammer films. This is really Peter Cushing's show as Dr. Van Helsing and as usual, he plays it with the reserved intensity that he was famous for in his heyday. The story itself, kind of moves at a somewhat breakneck pace and before you know it, it's over. I've always been a fan of economy in regards to a film's pace and length, but this film could have been given a bit more padding to the story and it wouldn't have been worse for the wear.

What the color coding means...

Teal = Masterpiece
Dark Green = Classic or someday will be
Lime Green = A good, entertaining film
Orange = Average
Red = Cinemuck
Brown = The color of crap, which this film is

Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #318 on: October 14, 2013, 06:57:41 PM »
The Lineup (1958) 97/100 - Now this is my kind of crime film! It starts off a bit slow, with the obligatory scenes for exposition sake, but once we meet Eli Wallach and the outstanding Robert Keith, this film shifts into overdrive. What made this movie resonate for me was the realism that Don Siegel puts on screen. Correct me if I'm wrong, but was this the first film to show blood dripping from a murder victim's body? I can't recall any other film before this that showed it, as it was banned by the Breen office. Another aspect that I loved were some of the tracking shots that Siegel used and of course the wonderful panoramic shots of San Francisco. Eli Wallach plays the hit man with a maniacal, yet calculating cockiness that proves what a great actor he has been throughout his lengthy acting career. But for my money, the real star of this film is Robert Keith. I had only recognized him from a classic episode of The Twilight Zone called The Masks, in which he was quite good. But in this film, he steals almost every scene he's in, even outperforming Wallach. And one last note on the acting... I was pleasantly surprised by the performance of the little girl who played the daughter who used the heroin on the doll's face. Her name was Cheryl Callaway, and in an endless sea of robotic, wooden or cloying child actors, she was a breath of fresh air. She's never too saccharine when she is first introduced and her transformation into a terrorized and scared kid is completely believable. It's a shame her career never blossomed any further. If you are looking for a crime procedural that hits all the right marks, then you can't go wrong with The Lineup. This is definitely going to be cracking into my top 20 of all time. I've got two more films left in the Columbia Film Noir collection Volume 1 and I already know that I'll be purchasing this set in the near future.

What the color coding means...

Teal = Masterpiece
Dark Green = Classic or someday will be
Lime Green = A good, entertaining film
Orange = Average
Red = Cinemuck
Brown = The color of crap, which this film is

Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #319 on: October 15, 2013, 12:24:39 AM »
Rust and Bone (2012) 79/100 - My wife grabbed this at a Redbox because she likes Marion Cotillard, whom I also have an affinity for. It's not a film with a whole lot of plot to it, but it exudes emotion on many different levels. I was engaged in the story throughout its duration and was pleasantly surprised at the performance of Matthias Schoenaerts as Alain. I've never seen any films that he's been a part of, but his acting bodes well for a very successful career in the future. I really can't put into words what I liked about the movie, it just did its job, it entertained and moved me. That's all I want from a film and it delivered the goods.

What the color coding means...

Teal = Masterpiece
Dark Green = Classic or someday will be
Lime Green = A good, entertaining film
Orange = Average
Red = Cinemuck
Brown = The color of crap, which this film is
« Last Edit: February 07, 2014, 01:16:31 AM by Antares »

Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #320 on: October 22, 2013, 04:02:02 AM »
Becoming Jane (2007) 64/100 - While this was a beautifully shot film, it really didn't do much for me. Maybe it was the fact that Anne Hathaway seemed ill suited for the role, or it just came across as too modern an approach to telling a story that should have been much more prim. I found it very predictable and never really became invested in either of the two lead characters or their romance. I guess if you are into Miss Austen's novels, then this could be a delightful diversion. The DVD box mentioned that it was made by the producers of Shakespeare in Love, and a few times while I was watching, I felt like they were were trying to make a Georgian version, but lacking the wit of that film.

What the color coding means...

Teal = Masterpiece
Dark Green = Classic or someday will be
Lime Green = A good, entertaining film
Orange = Average
Red = Cinemuck
Brown = The color of crap, which this film is

Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #321 on: November 07, 2013, 08:50:51 PM »
The Ruling Class (1972) 78/100 - A bit long and at times, a bit heavy handed, but there are moments of hilarity in its skewering of upper class, aristocratic dogma. Peter O'Toole does his bombastic best with a character that pivots between two extremes. In the beginning he believes he's Jesus Christ, and everything he sees and feels is based upon love. But after a radical treatment, he's "cured" and unbeknownst to those around him, becomes the devil incarnate, for he now thinks he's Jack the Ripper. I found this part most interesting because of the rumors that have circulated for decades that Jack the Ripper may have been an insane member of the Royal family. If you're going to skewer the upper classes, then you might as well go for the jugular... pun intended. The film is loaded with many memorable quotes and my favorite has to be when someone asks him, early in the film, when he first felt he was the supreme being and he answers... "I found that whenever I prayed to God, I was talking to myself." Such a priceless line, and as usual, O'Toole delivers it with ease and aplomb. I probably would have rated this higher, but the DVD I was watching, was from a library that's known for having scratchy discs, and this one was no exception. It stalled on three occasions, and one of those times was at the pivotal moment when he transforms into his evil persona, and I missed a key moment in the narrative.

What the color coding means...

Teal = Masterpiece
Dark Green = Classic or someday will be
Lime Green = A good, entertaining film
Orange = Average
Red = Cinemuck
Brown = The color of crap, which this film is

Offline DSig

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #322 on: November 08, 2013, 02:06:29 AM »
"The Ruling Class" IS a classic.  Definitely one of my favorite O'Toole films
Thank you
David

Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #323 on: November 15, 2013, 12:41:22 AM »
Kes (1969) 72/100 - The film shines when it delves into the relationship between the boy and the kestrel. Unfortunately, these scenes only occupy about 15 out of its 111 minute run time. The rest of the film deals with the crappy existence that this poor kid is being raised in, and while it's important to understanding why he becomes attached to the bird and detached from his environment, it tends to linger on certain scenes a bit too long. I felt there were wholesale segments that could have been edited out and the film would have been no worse for wear. This does have to be one of the best childhood performances I've ever seen. David Gregory was unknown and had little acting experience when he was picked to play the role, but he looks like he's a seasoned veteran of the silver screen. He's never over the top and every emotion he emits is true to life. I wish I liked it more than I did, for me, it came across as an English version of The 400 Blows, but at least it was more believable in its premise than that film.

What the color coding means...

Teal = Masterpiece
Dark Green = Classic or someday will be
Lime Green = A good, entertaining film
Orange = Average
Red = Cinemuck
Brown = The color of crap, which this film is

Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #324 on: November 21, 2013, 09:55:14 PM »
Time Table (1956) 84/100 - It's a shame that this wasn't made by a bigger studio like Warners or Columbia, two studios famous for crime dramas. A few more bucks thrown into the budget and we'd probably be talking about this film in the same breath as Double Indemnity, The Asphalt Jungle or Out of the Past. For a low budget indie, this is a well made noir that moves as fast as the train that the crime takes place on. No unnecessary exposition, just taut action and dialog which sets the mood perfectly. But because it was probably made on a shoestring budget and time schedule, certain scenes seem a bit forced or slightly overblown. A little more money and time probably would have cleared up this small, yet not too disheartening aspect of the film. One funny thing though, when the copter pilot is introduced, I felt a sense of hearing that voice before. Sure enough, when the film ended, I jumped on to IMDB and lo and behold, it was the voice of Fred Flintstone, actor Alan Reed.

What the color coding means...

Teal = Masterpiece
Dark Green = Classic or someday will be
Lime Green = A good, entertaining film
Orange = Average
Red = Cinemuck
Brown = The color of crap, which this film is

Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #325 on: November 22, 2013, 12:09:39 AM »
The Burglar (1957) 62/100 - Dime store pulp that makes Mickey Spillane look like William Shakespeare. It comes with an apt title, because it stole 90 minutes from my life that I will never get back. The director, Paul Wendkos, must have thought he was making a film as cinematically important as Citizen Kane, because it seems as if every one of Gregg Toland’s camera angles and lighting techniques has been lifted from that famous film and dumped into this exercise in what two decades later would be called film school overindulgence. But it also could have been the overblown, neurotic musical score that should have been given top billing on the movie’s marquee, as it overshadows almost every scene in the story. Or finally, maybe it’s just that the cast, with the exception of the always talented Dan Duryea, was unsuited for the task of making the narrative seem plausible. Duryea plays the lead with a sense of impending doom, which makes you feel compassion for the plight he’s in. But the rest of the cast, Martha Vickers, Jayne Mansfield, Stewart Bradley and Peter Capell come across as cartoon characters that border on camp at times. Aside from the good performance of Duryea, the only redeeming quality of this film is the editing, which at times, is masterful.

What the color coding means...

Teal = Masterpiece
Dark Green = Classic or someday will be
Lime Green = A good, entertaining film
Orange = Average
Red = Cinemuck
Brown = The color of crap, which this film is
« Last Edit: December 12, 2013, 06:00:58 AM by Antares »

Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #326 on: December 07, 2013, 08:04:21 PM »
NOVA: Lost at Sea - The Search for Longitude (1998) 85/100 - To a modern day citizen, finding directions to and fro are as easy as pressing a few buttons on a phone. Global positioning satellites can render your position on the planet down to within a few feet of your actual position. So it's rather curious and somewhat sad that the man responsible for the first true breakthrough in global positioning science is almost completely forgotten by today's historians. We all were taught about Sir Isaac Newton's Law of Gravity, Copernicus' discovery that the Earth revolved around the Sun and Galileo's experiments with a rock & feather. But how many here have ever heard of John Harrison? Who? John Harrison, the carpenter and clock maker who spent his entire life trying to create the most accurate timepiece and prove that astronomy wasn't the way to navigate the world's oceans. Harrison surmised that if you knew when it was twelve noon in England and you had a way to accurately keep time at sea, then you could calculate where you were on Earth within a scant few miles. He set to work on an array of timepieces over 58 years, to prove his hypothesis true. This documentary from PBS details the hardships and problems associated with Harrison's 58 years of tinkering and also of his hardships fighting a bureaucracy that put every obstacle imaginable in front of him in hopes of failure. Through perseverance and eventually, help from his son, he created a portable time piece that proved his theory right. Once again, PBS delivers, through its always fascinating program NOVA, an interesting and captivating story of historic value.

What the color coding means...

Teal = Masterpiece
Dark Green = Classic or someday will be
Lime Green = A good, entertaining film
Orange = Average
Red = Cinemuck
Brown = The color of crap, which this film is
« Last Edit: December 12, 2013, 06:01:14 AM by Antares »

Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #327 on: December 12, 2013, 05:55:46 AM »
The American Revolution (1994) 65/100 - Back before they were deridingly called the 'Hitler' channel, the History channel actually tried to present shows highlighting many different moments and aspects of world history. Following on the footsteps of the success that Ken Burns had with his seminal documentary on the Civil War for PBS, the History channel bankrolled what they felt would be a detailed chronicling of the war that created our country. Their production company, Greystone Communications, churned out various shows on many different military and western events over the previous years, and like most of those documentaries, the results are rather lackluster. It's true that they had an array of impressive actors to give voice to the participants in the war. But most of the actual history is more or less, gleaned from standard text books used in elementary schools. If you knew nothing of our war for independence, then this would appear on the surface, to be patriotic propaganda that panders to all of the myths associated with that war. It's serviceable, but never really sinks its teeth into what started the conflagration in the first place, and why we were so determined to rid ourselves of the mother country.

What the color coding means...

Teal = Masterpiece
Dark Green = Classic or someday will be
Lime Green = A good, entertaining film
Orange = Average
Red = Cinemuck
Brown = The color of crap, which this film is
« Last Edit: December 12, 2013, 06:01:32 AM by Antares »

Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #328 on: December 12, 2013, 05:56:46 AM »
The Revolutionary War (1995) 80/100 - The main strength of this documentary was the inclusion of Charles Kuralt as narrator. It's very sad that most people today have forgotten this eloquent broadcaster whose ease of delivery always made him a joy to listen to. The programs tended to stay on the course of the battles that took place between 1775 and the war's end in 1783. It does mention the Continental Congress, Thomas Paine's writings and all the legislative taxes levies upon the colonists, but these series of events take a backseat to the battles of the fledgling Continental Army. Being a student of military history and tactics, this suited me just fine.

What the color coding means...

Teal = Masterpiece
Dark Green = Classic or someday will be
Lime Green = A good, entertaining film
Orange = Average
Red = Cinemuck
Brown = The color of crap, which this film is
« Last Edit: December 12, 2013, 06:01:48 AM by Antares »

Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #329 on: December 12, 2013, 05:58:05 AM »
Liberty! The American Revolution (1997) 89/100 - Of the four documentaries I watched, this was definitely the cream of the crop. Made by PBS, it took a more creative approach to telling the history involved. Instead of doing phony re-enactments of battles, it used an array of what were at the time, unknown actors, dressed them in the clothes and fashions of the day and had them speak into the camera as if they were being interviewed at the time of the events they described. I was surprised to see Philip Seymour Hoffman, Colm Feore, and Donna Murphy absorb themselves into their characters with ease. It made for an easy involvement in the historical storytelling unfolding before my eyes. What also set it apart from the other three documentaries was the depth and scope of events which led to the war in the preceding decade before the shots fired at Lexington. This is the documentary to seek out if you're interested at all with the subject matter at hand.

What the color coding means...

Teal = Masterpiece
Dark Green = Classic or someday will be
Lime Green = A good, entertaining film
Orange = Average
Red = Cinemuck
Brown = The color of crap, which this film is
« Last Edit: December 12, 2013, 06:08:20 AM by Antares »