Author Topic: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar  (Read 115511 times)

Offline DSig

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #195 on: November 25, 2013, 12:47:10 AM »
I would be happy to do that ... if someone would pay me <G>
Thank you
David

Offline GSyren

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #196 on: December 05, 2013, 11:17:17 AM »
TitleThe Hunger Games (7-332421-042370)
DirectorGary Ross
ActorsStanley Tucci, Wes Bentley, Jennifer Lawrence, Willow Shields, Liam Hemsworth
Produced2012 in United States
Runtime142 minutes
AudioEnglish DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, English DTS 5.1
SubtitlesDanish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish
OverviewEvery year in the ruins of what was once North America, the Capitol of the nation of Panem forces each of its twelve districts to send a teenage boy and girl to compete in the Hunger Games. Sixteen year old Katniss Everdeen volunteers in her younger sister’s place and must rely upon her sharp instincts when she’s pitted against highly trained Tributes who have prepared for these Games their entire lives. If she’s ever to return home to District 12, Katniss must make impossible choices in the arena that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
My thoughtsI've been holding off watching The Hunger Games, but now that the sequel is playing in cinemas I thought it was time to watch it. And quite surprisingly I actually liked it a little bit better than Battle Royale. It's long (well, so is Battle Royale, but this is 20 minutes longer) and it has lot of CGI. Those are two things that usually put me off. I think the reason I liked it better than BR is that I came to this one with very low expectations, while the opposite was true for BR.

I liked Jennifer Lawrence. I had seen her before in X-Men: First Class, but she didn't make much impression there. She did now. I was never very impressed by Josh Hutcherson, and I'm still not, but I didn't think he actually hurt the movie. I usually like Stanley Tucci (especially in Undercover Blues), but the Flickerman character was just a little too much for me.

I'm actually confused as to why I didn't hate this movie. Everything indicates that I should have. I can only attribute it to me having a good day and very low expectations.
My rating3 out of 5

Offline DSig

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #197 on: December 05, 2013, 08:47:52 PM »
First, Stanley Tucci really was a hoot in Undercover Blues as i think the whole cast was.  "My name is Muerte! My name is death!"

I really like the Hunger Games possibly because it was close to the first book.  And Jennifer Lawrence was very good (getting a bit old for the role now).  It did have a lot of CGI and i know you don't like that ... but I think here it was more to enhance the film and not so much to drive the file ... like Oblivion or that one from Will Smith (and family).  Of course I could just be blowing smoke as I feel that Avatar's CGI is descriptive as opposed to bad story filler.  :stars:
Thank you
David

Offline GSyren

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #198 on: December 08, 2013, 02:29:28 PM »
TitleMidnight Lace (5-050582-409635)
DirectorDavid Miller
ActorsDoris Day, Rex Harrison, John Gavin, Myrna Loy, Roddy McDowall
Produced1960 in United States
Runtime104 minutes
AudioEnglish Dolby Digital 2-Channel Stereo
SubtitlesEnglish
OverviewWho would want to kill Doris Day? That's the tension-packed question in this highly-charged thriller set in modern day London. As a newly-wed heiress, Doris is slowly being driven mad by life-threatening phone calls and near-fatal "accidents".

Although Rex Harrison, her suave industrialist husband, is sceptical of his wife's story, there is a gallery of would-be suspects, including construction gang foreman John Gavin, her adoring next-door neighbour Roddy McDowall and Harrison's troubled treasurer, Herbert Marshall. The glitzy Ross Hunter production also featured Myrna Loy, Hermione Baddeley, and a suspense laden shock ending that will surprise even the most die-hard movie buffs.
My thoughtsSometimes I have a hard time explaining even to myself why I rate a film the way that I do. Midnight Lace is a perfect example. It has a lot going against it. It's reminicent of both Gaslight and Dial M for Murder, both of which are undeniably better films. The story is rather farfetched and has at least one big plot hole. It's supposed to take place in London, but it's quite obvious that only some second unit shots with doubles were actually shot in London and the rest in Hollywood. The Universal backlot is easily recognised in the scene were Doris is pushed in front of a bus. And a small gaffe that at least UK residents should recognise is that none of the vehicles have the required tax disc. Furthermore, there is no chemistry between Doris and Rex Harrison. And while the direction is quite good, the whole thing is a little too Hitchcock-wannabe. In spite of several red herrings, it's not too hard to guess who the real bad guy is.

On the plus side, though, Doris does a very good job playing a straight dramatic role (with no singing). And the rest of the cast is quite good, too. The story may be farfetched, but it's rather exciting anyway.

In spite of everything, I like this film quite a lot. It may have to do with the fact that I'm a big Doris Day fan. Or perhaps a little because I love London, even when ”Hollywoodized”. Or because I like thrillers, farfetched or not. I don't quite know, I only know that I enjoyed this quite a lot, despite having seen it before and knowing the ending. Your mileage may vary...
My rating4 out of 5

Offline Dragonfire

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #199 on: December 08, 2013, 11:47:09 PM »
I have this on my DVR.  It was on Turner Classic Movies months ago..but I saw the preview and thought it looked interesting.  I just haven't taken the time to watch it yet.

Offline GSyren

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #200 on: December 09, 2013, 12:42:51 AM »
I'd be interested to hear what you think of it.

Offline Dragonfire

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #201 on: December 09, 2013, 07:02:09 AM »
I need to get more from my DVR watched.  I just need more time in every day to catch up with everything. 

Offline GSyren

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #202 on: December 09, 2013, 07:20:24 AM »
I need to get more from my DVR watched.  I just need more time in every day to catch up with everything. 
I can relate to that...  ;)

Offline GSyren

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #203 on: December 11, 2013, 03:45:38 PM »
TitlePT 109 (883316-231982)
DirectorLeslie H. Martinson
ActorsCliff Robertson, Ty Hardin, James Gregory, Robert Culp, Grant Williams
Produced1963 in United States
Runtime140 minutes
AudioEnglish Dolby Digital Mono
SubtitlesNone
OverviewPresident John F. Kennedy kept a unique inauguration gift on his White House desk: a coconut encased in plastic. The tale of that coconut is the heroic story of PT 109. Academy Award winner* Cliff Robertson stars in this stirring saga of Kennedy’s wartime exploits as skipper of a PT boat in the Solomon Islands. The assignment: harass the enemy and buy time for a U.S. Navy still on the drawing boards. In August 1943, PT 109 was sliced in half by a Japanese destroyer. Kennedy led his surviving crew through a sea aflame from gasoline, towing a badly burned sailor miles to the nearest island. There seemed little hope of rescue from the Japanese-dominated area…until a strategy involving a coconut emerged. The triumphant outcome was unbelievable – and all true!

*1968. Best Actor for Charly.
My thoughtsIt's been 50 years since the death of John F. Kennedy, and it's been 50 years since this film premiered (it opened just a few months before JFK was killed). So it seemed appropriate to watch this film now.

It is a fairly typical Hollywood World War II movie. I assume that the basic story is historically correct, but it's impossible for me to know exactly how much artistic license have been taken in the details. The incidents described in the story are not of any great importance, and I think it's safe to say that they would have gone more or less unnoticed if it weren't for the fact that the captain of that motor torpedo boat went on to become president of the United States.

Still, the film is not without merit. It is entertaining, if a bit too long for my taste. Cliff Robertson is quite good as Kennedy, albeit a bit too old for the part. We also have Robert Blake (Baretta), Normal Fell, Ty Hardin, Robert Culp and James Gregory, all good actors.

The DVD is part of Warner Achive Collection, so new special features except a trailer. The picture quality is very good, and the film is presented in the correct widescreen aspect ratio.

A pleasant enough movie experience if you like old WWII movies.
My rating3.5 out of 5

Offline GSyren

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #204 on: December 11, 2013, 04:22:52 PM »
TitleCesta do pravěku  (aka Journey to the Beginning of Time) (8-594159-070042)
DirectorKarel Zeman
ActorsVladimir Bejval, Petr Herrmann, Josef Lukáš, Zdenek Husták, Bedrich Šetena
Produced1955 in Czechoslovakia
Runtime81 minutes
AudioCzech Dolby Digital 2-Channel Stereo
SubtitlesEnglish, Czech
OverviewThis immensely popular educational film from 1955 tells the story of four boys who set out on a wooden boat back up the river of time into the prehistory of the planet Earth. This pioneering work includes a wealth of scientific facts, introduced as part of an exciting boys' adventure. Whole generations of children first learned about the prehistoric past of our planet from this film, with its long-extinct plants and animals, which come alive here thanks to the creativity and the artistry of Zeman's trick photography. This film is widely regarded as one of the best children's adventure films in world cinema.
My thoughtsKarel Zeman was a very inventive Czech filmmaker. He made films in very different styles. The Fabulous World of Jules Verne is perhaps his best known film, at least outside of the Czech Republic. Perhaps this looks familiar:

Cesta do pravěku is not made in this style, though. It uses normal live action enhanced with various trick photography to depict prehistoric animals. The film elements used for this DVD are not quite in pristine condition, but still quite good, and probably better than most viewers have seen before.


The story is somewhat reminiscent of The Land That Time Forgot, at least the beginning. However, this is a lot more pedagogic. For the most part the animals look better than those in Land, but the Tyrannosaurus Rex looks pretty pathetic. But then they looked pathetic in pretty much every fifties movie. This is far from the worst example.

The film probably was quite exciting for young people in the fifties and sixties, but today it's more of a curiosity. It's an important part of film history, and I liked it fine.

This film, and 4 other films by Karel Zeman is available on DVD from The Karel Zeman Museum in Prague.
My rating4 out of 5
« Last Edit: December 11, 2013, 04:26:09 PM by GSyren »

Offline GSyren

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #205 on: December 12, 2013, 09:32:58 AM »
TitleMary Poppins (8-717418-412050)
DirectorRobert Stevenson
ActorsJulie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, David Tomlinson, Glynis Johns, Hermione Baddeley
Produced1964 in United States
Runtime139 minutes
AudioEnglish DTS-HD High Resolution 5.1, Italian Dolby Digital 5.1, Dutch Dolby Digital 5.1, Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1
SubtitlesEnglish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch
OverviewExperience the extraordinary animation, dazzling special effects and award-winning music of Walt Disney's Mary Poppins in this fully restored and remastered 50th Anniversary Edition.

Join the "pratically perfect" Mary Poppins (Julie Andrews) as she magically turns every chore into a game and every day into a whimsical adventure. Along the way, you'll be enchanted by unforgettable characters such as the multitalented chimney sweep Bert (Dick Van Dyke).

Unpack Mary's magical carpetbag full of bonus features. You won't need "Spoonful of Sugar" to love every moment of this timeless Disney classic.
My thoughtsI love this movie! And I love Julie Andrews. Especially as Mary Poppins. Just like Mary Poppins, Julie is ”practically perfect in every way”. I love that this movie was made before there was CGI. The ”real” special effects are so much more special. And I love the matte paintings by Peter Ellenshaw. I love Dick van Dyke, even though his cockney is atrocious. That is actually part of what makes his performance so endearing. David Tomlinson is outstanding as Mr. Banks. He delivers one of my favorite film quotes; ”Kindly don't confuse the issue with facts”. I love that Walt Disney talked Jane Darwell to come out of retirement to do The Bird Woman in the ”Feed the Birds” segment. I love almost all the songs.

The video and audio quality of the Blu-Ray is outstanding. I am so happy that one of my all time favorites has been given such an impeccable BD release. In my opinion, Mary Poppins is the finest of Disney's live action features, along side off 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

Did I mention that I love this movie?
My rating5 out of 5

Mustrum_Ridcully

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #206 on: December 12, 2013, 10:20:55 AM »
Germany will have to wait until Jan 23rd for this release  :weep:

Glad to hear that they put some care into the transfer.

Offline GSyren

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #207 on: December 12, 2013, 12:08:11 PM »
Well, you're better off than those who are waiting for the Swedish release. Preliminary release date 2014-03-26. Luckily I don't need Poppins in Swedish.

Interesting fact: When Mary Poppins was originally released in Sweden it was subtitled, but not dubbed. In 1998 it was deemed necessary to release a dubbed home video version, but the old translations for the songs weren't suitable for dubbing, so new Swedish lyrics had to be written. This confused a lot of people since the songs had been recorded and released in Swedish in the sixties, and were quite well known. So suddenly "Supercalifragilisticexpialidoceus" went from "Superoptimopsiskttoppipangfenomenaliskt" to "Superhärligfraggelistighäxlikhalledosen".
 :o

Offline GSyren

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #208 on: December 13, 2013, 01:50:28 PM »
TitleDespicable Me 2 (5-050582-944075)
DirectorChris Renaud, Pierre Coffin
ActorsSteve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Benjamin Bratt, Miranda Cosgrove, Russell Brand
Produced2013 in United States
Runtime98 minutes
AudioEnglish DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Spanish DTS 5.1, Hungarian DTS 5.1, Polish DTS 5.1, Arabic DTS 5.1, Hindi DTS 5.1, Catalonian Dolby Digital 2-Channel Stereo, Audio Descriptive Dolby Digital 2-Channel Stereo, Commentary Dolby Digital 5.1
SubtitlesArabic, English, Hindi, Commentary, Spanish, Hungarian, Catalonian, Polish
OverviewThis blockbuster animated comedy from Illumination Entertainment sees the return of former super-villain Gru (Steve Carell), who has retired from a life of crime to raise his three daughters. But things take an unexpected turn when he is recruited by the Anti-Villain League to track down an elusive criminal who is threatening the world. Now, with new partner Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig) by his side, Gru and the Minions set off on an unpredictable and unexpected adventure.
My thoughtsLooking at the comments on IMDb, this seems to be pretty much a love-it-or-hate-it movie. Many people who loved DM1 were terribly disappointed by the sequel. I was not.

I guess it's true that the story kind of meanders a lot. And it focuses on the minions a lot  more than the first one did. It's a matter of taste if this is a good thing or a bad thing. It does have its faults, but I was still hugely entertained. I'm guessing that the reactions to this film depend a great deal on what you are expecting. Gru isn't despicable, so if the title leads you to expect more despicability then I guess you may be disappointed. The villain is kind of weak, so not all that much despicability there either.

There is a love story involved, well two actually, so if that isn't your cup of tea, then I guess that may put you off. It's cute, and there are a lot of sight gags, but the plot is just so-so.

Still, I had a good time watching it. Not quite as much as with DM1, perhaps, but still a very positive experience.
My rating4 out of 5

Offline Achim

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #209 on: December 13, 2013, 03:35:51 PM »
I was never particularly curious about part 1. Especially since I don't really like Steve Carrel. However, those minions made me very curious about part 2! I should rent it on iTunes while I'm in Germany...

Should I watch part 1 first, or is knowing that he turned from bad to good after taking care of the girls all I need to know?