Author Topic: Antares' Short Summations  (Read 151355 times)

Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #420 on: December 05, 2014, 11:40:47 PM »
THE AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: Rescue at Sea (1999) 95/100 - This was an utterly fascinating episode of this fantastic program. I had never heard of the Republic/Florida disaster of 1909 and when one juxtaposes this incredible rescue with what would transpire three years later to the Titanic, it makes that calamity all the more tragic. Guglielmo Marconi's wireless transmitter would forever change the way ships communicated to land. Prior to Marconi, the only way to get a message ashore was to use either semaphore, or carrier pigeons. Once a ship was over a hundred miles from shore, the pigeon's limit, they were unable to communicate with land. When the RMS Republic and the Lloyd Italiano liner SS Florida collided in the pre-dawn hours of January 23rd, 1909, the fate of the passengers on both ships would be decided by the new invention, just coming to the forefront of day to day life. Marconi operator Jack Binns, would man his station at the wireless for close to 20 hours, communicating and guiding the RMS Baltic to the scene of the accident. In the cold, foggy air of his wireless cabin, he refused to take rest and stayed at his post until the Baltic arrived. All the while that the Baltic was looking for the Republic, the crew ferried all of its passengers to the Florida, which although damaged, was in better shape than the Republic. Mid-ocean transfers were extremely dangerous and after enduring this perilous trip, they would be once more ferried from the Florida to the Baltic. Throughout the ordeal, only 6 people were killed, and they met their demise when the two ships collided. It has to be considered one of the most amazing rescues in the annuls of maritime history. Sadly, for the passengers of the RMS Titanic, the rescue was so successful that a false sense of security blanketed the maritime world, as it was now thought that great loss of life in ship disasters were a thing of the past.

But the story doesn't end there. After arriving in New York City, Binns would be thrust upon the stage of notoriety. He was given a ticker tape parade, plays and songs were written about him and a film by Biograph would force Binns to sue them for defamation. When he told newspaper reporters how he slowly sipped scotch whiskey during his 20 hours of transmitting, to keep warm, the recreated character in the Biograph film looked drunk. Binns would win a sizable award and went back to his job at Marconi. Fate would once more shine brightly upon Binns, when in 1912, he was scheduled to be the wireless operator on the RMS Titanic, but turned down the assignment to get married.

http://youtu.be/KkVOpueiJNE

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 #421 on: December 20, 2014, 12:17:23 AM »
Zatoichi in Desperation (1972) 72/100 - One has to wonder if the title of the 24th film in the series is meant to describe the feeling in its star, that the end is near in this long franchise. After the lackluster offering that preceded this film, Katsu decided to take the reins of director upon himself and he makes a very striking film from a visual standpoint. Although at times, his framing dwells precipitously close to art school overindulgence. A lot of people consider this a weak sister when compared to the long extended family of films of the blind masseur, but I thought it was quite entertaining, and only in brief moments, did it lag. What I liked the most was that Katsu kind of returns to the roots of the franchise, when it wasn't all about action and comedic segments, with a bleak storyline and setting. Katsu also tosses in a few MacGuffin side plots, one which seems to pay homage to Kenji Mizoguchi's Sanshō dayū. One of the highlights of this film is when Ichi finally gets a bit of trim from a prostitute, whose mother, through a kindly act from Ichi, is accidentally killed in the beginning of the story. Alas, the prostitute is merely setting him up for his assassination. Finally, the climactic battle in the end is made more suspenseful when Ichi has his hands stabbed by whaling spears in exchange for the prostitute's life. The yakuza boss gives him back his cane sword and Ichi awaits his execution by the yakuza's brigands in the morning. But Ichi has one surprise left in his bag of self defense tricks, and although wounded seriously, he lives on to make the final film in the Toho run. It's not a great film, but it's worth a look if your a completest and dare I say, I'd probably watch this one again in the future.

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 #422 on: January 17, 2015, 04:55:10 AM »
Boyhood (2014) 78/100 - I have to give Linklater kudos for the dedication and organizational skills needed to make a film in this manner. I've read a lot of reviews of this film and those that are lukewarm to it, tend to favor the first half. I find myself in the lukewarm minority, because I thought the second half was the best part of the film. In the beginning, Mason is like any other kid, be it growing up in modern times or the past. But when he finally starts to use his mind, the reality of growing up and witnessing what is happening to society around him, causes him to meditate and orate on his feelings. Yeah, it definitely is Linklater speaking through him, but what he says is true. I can relate to what Mason is feeling and wondering, because I was him, back in the mid-seventies. I think we all go through that aimlessly drifting time in our lives and Linklater catches that waywardness most proficiently. I only wish that Linklater had done it in less than two and a half hours. There are some absolutely brilliant moments in the film, but they coexist with an abundance of tedious scenes which downshift the pace and try one's patience. My God, every time Ethan Hawke picked up a guitar, I wanted to blow my brains out.

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

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #423 on: February 10, 2015, 03:17:49 AM »
Get On Up (2014) 50/100 - I was so looking forward to this film, because I've loved James Brown's music since the early 70's. Sadly, it's only worth watching for Chadwick Boseman's incredible performance as the Godfather of Soul. He nails his moves, his mannerisms and his energy. If the film had focused more on Brown working in the recording studio, to show how he developed the sound that was leaps and bounds beyond all other R & B performers, it would have made the film infinitely more entertaining, enlightening and enjoyable. But it's tedious, predictable and historically inaccurate. The blame for this disaster lies at the feet of three men, namely Tate Taylor, Jez Butterworth and John-Henry Butterworth. Three guys so white, they probably bleed bleach, trying to tell the tumultuous story of James Brown's life, and leaving so much out. The results are like eating cornbread and collard greens with mayonnaise.

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

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #424 on: February 11, 2015, 03:14:34 AM »
Gone Girl (2014) 90/100 - I haven't watched many films from the the last few years, due to the fact that I've felt that Hollywood has lost the ability to be creative and entertaining at the same time. This film proves that there are still bits of gold out there waiting to be found. David Fincher has shown once again, that his film making is evolving, taking risks that Hollywood generally, doesn't want to take anymore. I can't remember the last time I was so riveted by a modern day movie. Kudos to the actors too, because every performance is spot on, with equally high praise to Rosamund Pike, Kim Dickens and Carrie Coon. I'm hoping to see more in the future from each of them. The only fault I can find with this film does not lie at the feet of the director. I felt the ending was a bit too unreal and according to my wife, who read the book, was how the author chose to end the story. And seeing as how the author wrote the screenplay too, you also have to credit Fincher with staying faithful to the original narrative. I've said this before, in regards to a David Fincher film, and I'm going to say it again... this is the kind of film that Quentin Tarantino wishes he had the talent to make.

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 11, 2015, 03:16:16 AM by Antares »

Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #425 on: February 13, 2015, 01:15:07 AM »
Rudderless (2014) 82/100 - A couple of weeks ago, before we watched Boyhood, my wife and I watched some of the obligatory preview trailers that come with every disc. One of the trailers was for William H. Macy's directorial debut film, Rudderless. I happened to blurt out that it looked interesting and my wife agreed. Tonight, she came home with a copy and to be honest, I couldn't remember the film or the trailer. I instantly went to the web to refresh my memory and was surprised at what I found. On both Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic it had received paltry scores, so I was a bit reluctant to sit through it. As I was watching it, I was reminded of the Coen Brothers film, Inside Llewyn Davis, another film which had music play an important part of the narrative. While I had high expectations for that film, it left me somewhat cold in its delivery and in the end, I found it underwhelming at best. This film, which I had gone into with a substantial amount of trepidation, completely grabbed me... go figure. I think the difference can be attributed to having a main character that you can actually enjoying being with, as opposed to an annoying pain in the ass. Another feature of this film that really shines are the songs written for the band. They are well constructed, soul searching songs that would do any songwriter of merit proud. I honestly believe that the soundtrack will eventually be more popular than the film.

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

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #426 on: February 20, 2015, 03:15:11 AM »
Begin Again (2013) 76/100 - It's an entertaining, feel good kind of film that's a bit too cute at times. I liked the songs and there are moments in the film that are absolutely brilliant, like the scene in the beginning where Ruffalo's character arranges the song Knightley is singing on stage, in his head with imaginary accompaniment. And also the scene where she writes a song and sings it on her ex-boyfriend's voice mail. If there were more scenes like these, I would have rated this one much higher. But when you get down to it, the whole We'll record the songs all over New York City is incredibly far fetched. I laughed when they were recording in the subway as the train blew by them, that must have really sounded great on the album. If this film did one thing for me, it has piqued my curiosity in an earlier film from this director, called Once. Which it seems, almost everyone who has watched the film I'm reviewing, compares it to, much more favorably. I'd probably watch this one again if I stumbled upon it on HBO, but I wouldn't seek it out.

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 20, 2015, 03:30:41 AM by Antares »

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #427 on: February 21, 2015, 02:29:13 AM »
Once (2006) 85/100 - Very quick, very real and very indie, good and bad. It takes a while to get going in the beginning and just when it really hits its stride, it's over. Yet it reminded me of the intensity, the awkwardness and the aspirations of youth and it's in this where the film is successful. There's a scene early in the film where they go to a music shop and he teaches her a song he's written and you can sense a melding of passion and promise. It's in these brief moments in the film where I felt myself being drawn in to their special relationship, two talented souls longing for more in their lives through their music. There's no quirk, no cheeky humor, no sudden fame and acceptance, just the reality of two people who share something special, a gift, the ability to write and create music. I myself have a gift, I can turn food into culinary creations worthy of the praise of kings and queens, but I'd trade that talent in a heartbeat, to be able to play music. It took a while, but this film got to me, and as I sit here typing, it's pulsing through my brain and it has me pondering what might have been, had I not quit taking guitar lessons back when I was 11 years old, after just a few weeks. And one last note, if you can pardon the unintentional pun, this film also made me yearn for the bygone days when The Independent Film Channel wasn't brazenly commercialized, as it is now. I miss the days of finding great, little gems such as this one.

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

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #428 on: February 22, 2015, 11:16:13 PM »
Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) 50/100 - There's a moment in the early part of the film that best sums up what I feel about J.J. Abrams' captaining of Gene Roddenberry's flagship. After being reprimanded for disobeying Starfleet regulations and putting his ship and crew at risk, the command of the Enterprise is taken away from James Kirk. Kirk's mentor, Christopher Pike, explains to him that he doesn't respect "the chair" and it's because "he's not ready for it." What made Star Trek an endearing favorite of so many people back in the mid-sixties, is that it painted a picture of the future where war, inequality and bigotry were remnants of a bygone era. In essence, a hope for the future of mankind. In his first venture as director of the franchise, he acted as a teenager would when handed the keys to a vintage sports car. He did doughnuts in the parking lot, never understanding the underlying power of the basic premise of the series. In his second outing, now that he's gotten all of the giddiness out of his system, he tries to add a little depth into the story by infusing a bit of the paranoia and violence associated with today's "war on terror." But instead of following the bread crumb trail that Roddenberry had laid out for him back 50 years ago, he decides to follow the Reese's Pieces trail that was laid down by Steven Spielberg and to a greater extent, George Lucas, twelve years later. There was a brief moment while I was watching this film, where I was enjoying myself, but when Abrams bowed to the irrational fear of making a thinking man's science fiction film in an age where intelligent storytelling is deemed fodder for flop, the film loses its direction. Take away the skeletal framework of having the Star Trek characters and this is no different than any generic action film being cranked out today ad nauseum.

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

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #429 on: February 23, 2015, 01:43:38 AM »
Rio Lobo (1970) 40/100 - There is nothing sadder than when a film maker doesn't know when to stop making films and retire. Almost every great director has suffered this malady and Howard Hawks was no exception. Rio Lobo is Hawks' swan song and instead of mirroring the symphonic sagebrush set pieces of his glorious past, it plays like an out of tune saloon piano. It's said that "the third time's the charm", but not in this case. All the freshness of the two previous incarnations of this story (Rio Bravo, El Dorado) are long since past the expiration date. As I was re-watching this film, I wondered what John Wayne must have been thinking when he arrived for the shoot and realized what a train wreck he was about to embark on. Jennifer O'Neill, the leading lady of the film, is such a bad actress, she makes Angie Dickinson's performance in Rio Bravo look like an Oscar winning performance by Meryl Streep. Jack Elam, who just two years earlier, had an iconic, short lived performance in Leone's Once Upon a Time in the West, is instead forced to recreate the drunken, crazy kind of character he played in Support Your Local Sheriff. Jorge Rivero, who was a star in Mexico, seems to be out of his league in his first Hollywood production. But what really lets this film down, is the rather cheap looking sets. There's one scene where Rivero is talking to O'Neill, and the film cuts back and forth between the two. In the background, behind Rivero, are painted clouds on a canvas. Rivero is standing still, yet the clouds never move. The film is peppered with these cheesy looking moments and you can't help but think, that the studio didn't want to invest too much money on what they must have known, was going to be a dud.

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

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #430 on: February 25, 2015, 01:28:06 AM »
Big Jake (1971) 72/100 - I must have had this confused with another Wayne film, because I rated it lower many years ago. This was a pretty decent popcorn western. One thing I have to say about John Wayne, he definitely got better as he aged when it came to his acting abilities. There's more of a redoubtable and stoic nature to him in the latter era films he made, as opposed to the brash, cocksure arrogance he displaced in his youth. But like in Rio Lobo from the previous year, his co-stars, with the exception of Bruce Cabot and Richard Boone, kind of let him down. Although she's only in the beginning of the film, Maureen O'Hara, who I've always loved, is the complete opposite of what I praised Wayne for a few sentences earlier. I don't know what happened to her, but she really became a subpar performer sometime in the early sixties and never really found it again. Maybe she needed a strong director to bring out the best in her, but her delivery of lines seems so empty, that I'm kind of glad she doesn't reappear. Patrick Wayne and Christopher Mitchum prove that screen presence and talent aren't genetically encoded in offspring. There are only a few moments in the film where I kind of cringed, like the staged fight scene and the last scene in particular.
(click to show/hide)
Now I can see why Maureen O'Hara's character threw him out, he has no loyalty. And one last thing, the music composed by Elmer Bernstein throughout the entire film, made me think I was watching the sequel to The Magnificent Seven, it sounded so similar. Shame on you Elmer, you could have put a bit more effort into it, instead of rehashing that score and collecting your fee.

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

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #431 on: February 28, 2015, 06:47:19 AM »
The Shootist (1976) 84/100 - As I've been moseying through this marathon of John Wayne westerns, I'm finding myself more enamored with the evolution of the Wayne iconic mystique towards the end of his career and life. More grandfatherly than grandiose, Wayne has finally come to realize that a bit of subtlety can go a long way. The Shootist is the film that John Wayne was destined to make, when he first strapped on a pair of six guns back in the early thirties. All the bravado, the swagger and arrogance of youth has withered away, leaving a man who must meet his fate in the twilight of his years. This has to have been a deeply personal film for Wayne because the essence of his character, J.B. Books, was being played out in real life by Wayne himself. After having a whole lung removed in the mid-sixties from cancer, Wayne could empathize with a man who was tired and wanted to go out on his own terms. In other westerns from his later period, he was hampered by weak co-stars, but in this outing, he's surrounded by a formidable ensemble. Lauren Bacall has a chemistry with Wayne that is both touching and deeply heartfelt. James Stewart, in a small role as the doctor who diagnoses the gunfighter, imparts a wisdom in his bedside manner than goes against the common advice of someone from his profession. And finally, Ron Howard, who I thought was miscast decades ago when I first watched the film, impressed me more this time as I paid close attention to him in key scenes with Wayne. But this is Wayne's film and he does not disappoint. You know what's going to happen to him and your sad to know that he won't be coming back, both on screen and in real life. If I had to recommend a film to someone on this planet that's never watched a John Wayne film, I'd most definitely start with this one.

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

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #432 on: March 04, 2015, 09:11:33 PM »
Rooster Cogburn (1975) 55/100 - I hadn't seen this film since way back in the late seventies and I really couldn't remember the plot, so it was like I never watched it before. Now I'm kind of wishing that I never had in the first place. Painfully slow and a lazy screenplay which really just lifts wholesale segments of Hepburn's earlier film, The African Queen. And just as in that film, her character's holier than thou ramblings are especially grating after a while. I knew I was in trouble when I realized that the best performance halfway through the film was being put forth by Anthony Zerbe, a character actor well known for being a gluttonous scenery chewer. In fact, his is the only performance that I liked in the whole film. Wayne is cartoonish in this second rendering of the famous role which helped him win his only Academy Award of his career. The main villain is played almost with a toss away style by Richard Jordan, an actor whom I usually enjoy. Sad that he's kind of dialing it in. For Wayne's sake, I'm glad that he made The Shootist, the following year, because it would have been sad to end his long and iconic career with this turkey.

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

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #433 on: March 05, 2015, 12:41:59 AM »
Cahill: United States Marshall (1973) 59/100 - Another late period John Wayne film that could have been so much better, if not for the clumsiness of both the directing and screenwriting. Andrew MacLaglen is trying so desperately to emulate John Ford throughout this film and it comes across as a pale copy. I think the story would have worked better if the two brothers would have been around the eldest boy's age. Having a younger brother who is many years separated from his older brothers, lends little to the narrative and allows the director to rely on predictable scenes that seem to be added filler padding out the story until the final shootout. Wayne does a decent job with what he's given, unfortunately, he's really not given a lot. There are some pretty wide gaps in the film when he does not appear and the ridiculous nature of some scenes make believing what you are watching pretty hard to accomplish. There was one scene towards the end of the film, where Neville Brand, who plays the half breed Comanche tracker, is chasing one of the bank robbers. The outlaw is running on foot and Brand is chasing him, brandishing a Bowie knife, atop his horse. For some unknown reason, he tosses away the knife and grabs part of a tree that's been split. He wrestles the branch from the tree, wheels his horse around, tucks the branch under his arm like a spear and continues after the outlaw. I looked on completely perplexed as to why a Comanche would prefer a rough hewed piece of tree to a finely sharpened Bowie knife when he's about to partake in killing a man. This film doesn't rate towards the bottom of Wayne's latter day projects, but it doesn't rise too far above average.

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

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #434 on: March 05, 2015, 09:06:10 PM »
Rio Conchos (1964) 72/100 - Made in the same year that Sergio Leone would turn the western genre on its ear, this is a dark, yet potently active western from journeyman director, Gordon Douglas. Starring Richard Boone, in a rare lead billing performance, Stuart Whitman and Jim Brown, in his first screen appearance, Rio Conchos reminded me a lot of The Guns of Navarone by the time it ended. There's a good deal of action, suspense and a good twist in the middle that I didn't see coming. The only reason I don't rate this higher is that when Edmond O'Brien is finally found, he goes into hyperdrive with his scenery chewing. Up until that point in the film, this was on par with some of the better westerns of the previous decades. And although the ending is rather abrupt, setting aside O'Brien's performance, I'd definitely recommend this film to anyone who loves a good horse opera.

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