Author Topic: Antares' Short Summations  (Read 148648 times)

Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #435 on: March 06, 2015, 04:43:02 AM »
Chisum (1970) 60/100 - Andrew McLaglen spent far too many summers on John Ford western film shoots in his youth, because he can't help trying to emulate him. He mimics the cinematography and has the same penchant for corny scenes that make me just cringe. There really isn't much going on in this film that's new, with the main plot centering on a land war between a righteous, pioneering cattle man and an evil land baron buying up as much property as he can. The twist is the insertion of Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett into the mix. Maybe McLagen thought it would add a bit of history to the mix and help fuel the action. But in McLaglen's hackneyed handling of the film, it just dawdles until the final climactic showdown. John Wayne does a serviceable job as the cattleman every has so much respect for, but he really isn't given much to do again in another of these late career films. The spotlight is really on Geoffrey Duel, a young actor who parleyed his effort in this film, into meteoric TV glory in the short lived, but successful Alias, Smith and Jones on ABC. Too much success, too soon in his young career would take a personal toll on him, and sadly, he would commit suicide just a few years after this film was made. I've always wondered what would have become of him, had he not made that fateful choice, because he was a gifted actor, with what seemed, a lot of untapped talent. On the other sided of the coin, you have a badly miscast Richard Jaeckel as a tough guy cattle rustler who hires his gun out to the land baron. I have never understood why Hollywood studios and directors would cast him as villains in a lot of the films he appeared in. Standing next to Forrest Tucker, he looks like a tater tot in chaps. And finally, there is one moment in this film that was not suppose to be funny, but I found myself laughing at it. During the final shootout, Jaeckel's character is told to build a barricade at the end of town to stop Chisum from coming to Billy's rescue. When Chisum stampedes a large herd of cattle through the barricade, Edward Faulkner, who must have played in every John Wayne western after 1960, utters one of the most ridiculous lines in a John Wayne western. As he witnesses the stampede coming at him, he stands up and yells It's Chisum!!!. Well no shit Sherlock, who the fucking hell did you think you were building the barricade for? Damn, that gave me a good chuckle.

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: March 06, 2015, 04:48:23 AM by Antares »

Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #436 on: March 11, 2015, 03:11:52 AM »
The Big Trail (1930) 76/100 - The real name of this film should be Western 101, because every trope that would be used in the making of westerns for the next four decades is incorporated, in some form, in this film. After the movie was over, I wondered how much better this would have been had it been made just three years later, once the transition to sound had been conquered. The Fox Grandeur process, which pre-dated Cinemascope by twenty years, reveals the beauty and wonder of the Wyoming frontier. Being a pre-code, the story pulls no punches in telling what it was like to be a pioneer, traveling thousands of miles, in hopes of a brighter future for a family. All the hardships, calamities and dangers of the wagon train are showcased well by Raoul Walsh, who must have had a devil of a time shooting a film in the two different processes used. He proves that he had a keen eye for framing, as there are an abundant amount of scenes where his blocking is magnificent. And I daresay, that John Ford studied this film, long and hard, because everything that came to be associated with Ford's vision of the Old West, is here, long before Ford made Stagecoach or The Searchers. But as majestic as the cinematography is, the film suffers from the same problems that almost all films did at the time. There's an overwhelming amount of grandiose posturing and stilted delivery of lines by most of the actors. The only actor who seems to be grounded properly is Tully Marshall, a forgotten, but talented character actor of the silent and early sound era. As for John Wayne, I can see why Walsh picked him for the lead. From head to toe, he looks the part of a wily, but shrewd trail scout. But what lets Wayne down is his rawness, tinged with a bit too much exuberance, and what appears to be a bit of a whine in his voice. It would take a six pack a day cigarette habit to age that voice into the steely bandsaw he would become famous for later on. He comes across as a rough diamond that needs to be polished. Unfortunately, that polishing would take close to three decades before his sparkle shown through. If you can get past the flaws and the rather slow, first thirty minutes, I think you can appreciate what Fox was trying to get on film. I liked it, it painted for me, a picture of what I think the west was like back in the 19th century.

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 #437 on: March 12, 2015, 04:01:21 AM »
The Spoilers (1942) 64/100 - John Wayne gets third billing in this middling western that takes place in Alaska during the Klondike gold rush of the late 19th century. Marlene Dietrich dusts off her clothes, dialog & character from Destry Rides Again and supplants it here, thankfully, without any of her horrible warbling of songs. Randolph Scott plays the slick villain and I've come to appreciate the post- Budd Boetticher version of him a lot more after seeing him in other films during his heyday. He's too much a poor imitation of Gary Cooper, not character wise, but looks wise. The film plods along, but never really gets going. It's only better moments come from the supporting cast of Harry Carey, Samuel S. Hinds and Richard Barthelemess, of which, this was his last picture. Too bad, I always liked him and he should have had a longer career. But I guess audiences still saw him as the heartthrob of the silent era, and not as a gifted actor who should have kept the flame of fame burning bright in his post-silent career. John Wayne does a decent job with the role he's given, but the film itself is just a factory assembled bit of western ho-hum.

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 #438 on: March 14, 2015, 05:45:57 AM »
El Dorado (1966) 78/100 - Sometimes a film can be just like an old coat that you've worn for years and brings such warmth that you always feel comfortable when your wearing it. The Shootist is my favorite John Wayne movie, but El Dorado is the film that I return to at least three or four times a year. It's jut like that comfortable old coat, in that it always entertains me and never lets me down. But just as you spot little tears and loose seams in that coat over the course of time, with repeated viewings, you start to notice flaws you never saw before in cherished films. This time, I seemed like certain musical passages in the soundtrack sounded eerily like music I'd heard in Batman episodes on TV. And lo and behold, Nelson Riddle, who scored this film, also scored an episode of that program and the music for the Batman film made in 1966. There were a couple of moments when I was waiting for William Dozier to break in to the action with, "Meanwhile, back at the Penguin's secret hideout"... Something else I noticed this time too, is that Ed Asner is horribly miscast as Bart Jason, the money man behind the guns in the range war. Every time he was onscreen, he reminded me of George Costanza from Seinfeld. Another goof is having Bull say that he'll play Marchin' through Georgia on his bugle to warn Cole and J.P. about the three gunman their trying to apprehend at the mission. Bull is obviously from the deep South with his thick Arkansas accent, so he definitely would have fought for the Confederacy. And no southern rebel would be caught dead playing a Union song on a bugle. But even with these little ticks and tremors, I still love this film. I know that I'll return to it every few months or so, probably until the day I die. It's what a western should be. Good storytelling, mixed with just the right amount of action and of course, some great looking sixties eye candy, Michele Carey and Charlene Holt...Meow!!!

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 #439 on: March 14, 2015, 04:42:36 PM »
I don't know .. you keep raving about The Shootist but for me it is either The Searchers, Red River or True Grit.  Don't get me wrong, I like The Shootist but I think he was more cruising in it. The performances here are so powerful and totally standup ..
Thank you
David

Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #440 on: March 16, 2015, 07:50:14 PM »
but I think he was more cruising in it.

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.

This was Wayne's swan song and he knew it. He portrays J.B. Books with a stoic, subtle depiction of a man who knows his time is up. He's going to go out on his terms, which is what I expect from John Wayne. I don't know of any other actor in memory, who gave such a perfect performance as their last one.

Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #441 on: March 20, 2015, 03:15:52 AM »
McLintock! (1963) 50/100 - You know you're in trouble when you have to divide the film into segments, just to get through it. It took me close to a week to watch this stinking pile of horse dung and if I never watch it again, that will be fine by me. This may have made a boatload of money 50 years ago, but its comedy and politics have not stood the test of time. John Wayne and Chill Wills, are the only reasons for watching this turkey. They have comedic chemistry between them, and when they are onscreen, the movie has its brief moments of entertainment. But unfortunately, they don't fill out the two plus hours of the film, there are other characters involved in the proceedings, and frankly, they stink. Maureen O'Hara is so bad, I'm surprised she was offered any other roles after this one. Stephanie Powers is so glad to be in a major motion picture, she gushes over indulgently. And then there's Jerry Van Dyke. I have a theory about Jerry Van Dyke, you remember the plot to Ivan Reitman's movie Twins? All the good stuff, from the genetic milkshake went into Julius, while all the residue and crap went into Vincent. Well, there must have been some rudimentary form of genetic engineering going on in the Van Dyke home back in Missouri, because all the talent went into Dick, while Jerry got the residue. I can't think of one character he's played in his career that wasn't annoying as hell. If I could have reached back in time when they were doing his dancing scenes, I would have ripped his freaking head off. As for the direction, once again, Andrew McLaglen proves that he's a third rate John Ford imitator. Even going so far as to glean the Wayne/O'Hara pre-fight trek across Inisfree from The Quiet Man, and supplanting here with just a few minor changes. Let's see, we have the water trough, the hay and a character going through a window. Pitiful... pitiful.

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 #442 on: March 21, 2015, 02:21:11 AM »
Foxcatcher (2014) 76/100 - My wife rented this at Redbox because she was interested in seeing Steve Carell's Oscar nominated performance, but for my money, Channing Tatum should have got the nomination instead. After the film finished, I jumped on the web to read about the story, having only a faded memory of the incident. I also found one of the films that Du Pont had commissioned, telling of his involvement in team Foxcatcher, and it's here where I found Carell's performance a bit over the top. Carell tries too hard to paint Du Pont as a creepy, space cadet who just wants mommy's recognition and love. In the video I watched, he seems kind of normal, yet kind of a nerdy narcissist. No thousand yard stare and only the occasional stilted delivery of words when he speaks. The way Carell portrays him, you should see men in white coats, in the periphery, chasing him with butterfly nets. The story itself is very methodical and at times a bit too slow to keep the average viewer's attention span. But the performances by Tatum and Ruffalo keep you interested throughout. A lukewarm recommendation from me.

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 #443 on: March 30, 2015, 04:17:37 AM »
Calamity Jane and Sam Bass (1949) 60/100 - Strange little film from Universal International, the studio that gave us all those Audie Murphy westerns in the fifties. This one, though, stars Howard Duff as Sam Bass, a lesser known bandit and Yvonne DeCarlo as a way too pretty Calamity Jane. There is no historical foundation beyond the two characters as to what happens in the film, because none of this occurred in real life. And it's even a stretch to say that they ever met during their rough and tumble lives in the old west. You basically are watching this film to gaze, not only upon Miss De Carlo, but Dorothy Hart, who has the thankless task of playing the forlorn woman who is in love with Bass, and believes he's been wronged by her lawman brother. Duff, who plays Bass, has always been somewhat of a mystery to me. When he's reciting lines, he comes across very mechanical and a bit unbelievable. But I can forgive all the faults in the film, because I love Yvonne DeCarlo. You can say what you want about Ava Gardner, but DeCarlo was every bit as beautiful as she was, and at least Yvonne could act. It's a shame she's only remembered for a stint on TV, because she was a very talented woman.

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: March 31, 2015, 06:08:21 AM by Antares »

Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #444 on: April 11, 2015, 02:29:58 AM »
The Imitation Game (2014) 74/100 - When they put up on the screen, "based upon a true story", you know that the truth will only be hinted at. And that's the main problem with this film, as the entertainment quotient must be factored into the equation. Sadly, that quotient is the main factor in the screenplay and segments of the film were overly simplistic. I didn't expect it to be anymore or less than what I watched. Some good acting, brief moments of great dialog, but more of a CliffsNotes version of the actual story. If this film had been made back in the 70's, it would have been a whole lot more cerebral and for my money, more interesting and entertaining.

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 #445 on: May 01, 2015, 05:39:22 AM »
Jersey Boys (2014) 30/100 - When Clint Eastwood's time on this earth has come to an end, I hope he has it stipulated in his will that every single copy of this piece of shit film is to be collected and incinerated. He should not want to ever be remembered for making one of the worst biopics in the history of cinema. It's too long, too boring and overly laden with every biography cliche there's ever been. The only redeeming quality is the great music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. But then, even that is marred by some horrendous recordings of those great songs. OK, it would be hard to duplicate Frankie Valli's incredible voice, but man, there were moments when John Lloyd Young, who plays Valli, hits some really stinker notes and it has you pondering why anyone would find his voice angelic or how he would find the success that he attained. Steer clear of this disaster!

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: May 01, 2015, 06:24:20 PM by Antares »

Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #446 on: May 01, 2015, 10:07:00 PM »
Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) 80/100 - It must have been such a refreshing tonic to a beleaguered populace in the early days of World War II, to see such a rousing, patriotic piece of propaganda exalting the virtues of a nation founded upon personal liberty. In the time it took to make this film, we had suffered the disaster of Pearl Harbor, the loss of Wake Island, Guam and Douglas MacArthur was riding a PT boat to Australia as the Philippines was soon to fall. There would be many patriotic films made in the next few years, but none would strike the chords that this film would. George M. Cohan was no saint, and his story is somewhat whitewashed, but he did more for national fervor than any other entertainer, or politician for that matter. The values he extolled in his songs now seem dated and naive, but there was a time when this nation stood for something and looking back now on this film, it makes me sad how far we have fallen. As for the film itself, it is a bit long and I now see the advantage of watching this so many years ago with commercial breaks on UHF television. There are those who find it corny and overly sentimental, but as I've said before with films from the Golden Age of Hollywood, allow yourself to drift away to a much simpler time and you'll be rewarded tenfold. I'd still take a film like this over any of today's CGI laden explosion pulp which seems to be cranked out ad nauseum. If this film doesn't make you feel even the slightest bit patriotic, then you have no sense of history and how crucial our role was in it.

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 GSyren

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #447 on: May 01, 2015, 11:37:41 PM »
Well, it didn't make me feel very patriotic, but other than that I agree with you. I definitely take this over many of today's CGI atrocities.

Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #448 on: May 06, 2015, 03:17:15 AM »
El Amor brujo (1986) 81/100 - I bought Saura's Flamenco Trilogy for my wife many years ago and started to watch the first film in the trilogy, Bodas de sangre with her, but I just couldn't get into it. Years have passed by, and I've decided to try again, but this time, starting with the last film in the trilogy. According to the liner notes, this was to be Saura's most narrative story of the three, and after finishing it, I wished I had started with this one many years ago. This is a hauntingly beautiful film with a pretty basic story, but is highlighted by some magnificent dancing and also by the vibrant music of early 20th century Spanish composer, Manuel de Falla. You can definitely hear the influence of Maurice Ravel in his compositions, but he definitely puts his own stamp to the alluring rhythms used in the ballet. When combined with some very creative dance routines, this becomes not only a feast for the ears, but for the eyes as well. There is one dance routine that had me mesmerized as Carmelo pronounces his love for Candela as the two dance amongst wind driven clothing, hanging on clotheslines. Candela is still haunted by the memory of her dead husband and tells Carmelo that they can never be together. As they dance, they intertwine to the pulsing of the music, but they never touch. And through the separation, you come to understand that they won't become lovers as long as Candela is haunted by her husband's spirit. The film takes a little while to get going, but in the end, it is well worth the time you invest into it. I'm now looking forward to going back for the other two films.

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: May 06, 2015, 03:45:55 AM by Antares »

Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #449 on: July 08, 2015, 01:51:00 AM »
Kill the Umpire (1950) 15/100 - At one time in my life, I was the biggest baseball fan in the history of the game, and to that end, had seen almost every film made on the sport. But for some reason, I never got around to Kill the Umpire. I found it on YouTube and downloaded it and after viewing it over the course of three separate nights, final finished it. Why did it take three nights? Because it is the biggest, stinking pile of crap ever perpetrated on the fans of baseball movies. Up until now, The Scout (1994) had held the ignominious position of worst baseball movie ever made, but by the sheer weight of its horrendously bad screenplay, takes its place as king of the shit pile. The first 30 minutes are excruciatingly painful to get through, but finally in the middle of the story, it looks like those opening moments are being salvaged when the main character has an epiphany on a sandlot, while umpiring a group of kids playing a game. But alas, it once again devolves into a complete train wreck of epic proportions. Frank Tashlin, who directed all those Jerry Lewis films of the late 50's, must have been completely drunk when he wrote his final act. He actually incorporates arson and attempted murder into a series of comedy scenes getting the umpire to the big game. How could any screenwriter, save for one who was working during the silent era, deem it appropriate to have characters starting fires in the top floors of a high rise hotel? I know it was a different time in the postwar years, but every other baseball film I've watched from this era, is harmless and very sentimental towards the game. This catastrophe is not.

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