Author Topic: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar  (Read 108151 times)

Offline Achim

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #285 on: March 05, 2014, 01:29:04 PM »
Your right this is a fun film.  Another good reason I don't pay too much attention to critics ..
I use critics as a guideline... But it is important to "get to know" a critic first, so you understand his/her taste. Then you can even get "reverse recommendations", meaning you might have reason yo believe that a film they don't like will actually be for your own taste...

Offline GSyren

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #286 on: March 08, 2014, 11:51:31 PM »
TitleKelly's Heroes (Disc ID: AAEE-7E5B-5E04-74F0)
DirectorBrian G. Hutton
ActorsClint Eastwood, Telly Savalas, Don Rickles, Carroll O'Connor, Donald Sutherland
Produced1970 in United States
Runtime144 minutes
AudioEnglish DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French Dolby Digital Mono, German Dolby Digital Mono, Italian Dolby Digital Mono, Spanish Dolby Digital 2-Channel Stereo
SubtitlesDanish, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish
OverviewMovie action man Clint Eastwood leads a misfit band of GIs who decide to get something extra out of World War II. In Kelly's Heroes, Eastwood's title character masterminds a scheme to slip behind enemy lines and steal a fortune in Nazi-confiscated gold. Donald Sutherland and Don Rickles co-star in addition to a trio on the verge of big-time TV success: Carroll O'Connor, Telly Savalas and Gavin MacLeod.
My thoughtsLook, it's a war movie. No, it's a heist movie. No, it's... Kelly's Heroes!

I can't decide if it's a war movie disguised as a heist movie or a heist movie disguised as a war movie, or what the heck it is. And perhaps it's that confusion that stops me from enjoying it as much as a lot of others do. I know that many people think this is among the best films ever made. I just cannot see it.

It came in a box with Where Eagles Dare, which is also directed by Hutton and with Eastwood in one of the leading roles. And the comparison does not come out in favor of Kelly's Heroes. One reason may be that screenwriter Troy Kennedy-Martin is no Alistair MacLean. Kennedy-Martin has written a lot for screen and TV, but nothing outstanding – with the possible exception of The Italian Job. MacLean, on the other hand, is responsible for a slew of great stories, like The Guns of Navarone, The Satan Bug, Ice Station Zebra, When Eight Bell Tolls, Fear is the Key and many others.

And it's too long. Well, you may object that Eagles is even longer. Yep, but the difference is that it doesn't feel too long. Eagles plays it straight, but Heroes adds comedy to the mix, and that doesn't work for me. Carroll O'Connor is just too much. And I don't know what to say about Donald Sutherland's character. Don Rickles, on the other hand, is more restrained than usual.

There is a lot of killing, but it's not really violent. It's mostly people falling over when shot. Not too gory. I don't like gory. I may have made that clear before. The nastiest bit is probably the guy that steps on a land mine. But even that is pretty restrained.

I didn't really like Kelly's Heroes when I saw it in the cinema back in the early 70's. I was hoping that I would like it better now, going in with lower expectations. No such luck, I'm afraid. But I do like the main theme, "Burning Bridges". I guess that counts for something...
My rating
« Last Edit: March 08, 2014, 11:55:20 PM by GSyren »

Offline Piffi

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #287 on: March 09, 2014, 01:20:49 PM »
Thanks for the review! I have a thing for war movies and Clint Eastwood. I was at the Norway\Sweden Boarder not too long ago. And they have a allright dvdstore (GVJ?) i think thats the name of the store, got some real good offers on the old classics. And they got Kelly's Heroes, but i had to pay over SEK 129 for the blu-ray version. So i didnt then, but i'm thinking about it next time im over there. Is it worth the SEK 129 Gunnar? :)
We'll Always Have Paris.


Thomas

Offline GSyren

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #288 on: March 09, 2014, 03:35:33 PM »
I wouldn't pay SEK 129 for it. I'd buy it from Amazon UK. But then I can get free delivery over £25, but you can't.  Still, at £6.82 for the BD, it should still be cheaper. Or £9.50 for the box with Where Eagles Dare if you don't already have it on blu.

Offline Piffi

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #289 on: March 09, 2014, 04:31:06 PM »
Hmf, i gotcha. Well, i do have the 'Where Eagles Dare' (havent watched it yet tho) So i guess i'll have Kelly's on pricewatch then.
We'll Always Have Paris.


Thomas

Offline GSyren

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #290 on: March 10, 2014, 08:17:26 PM »
TitleRobot Wars (5-037899-047576)
DirectorAlbert Band
ActorsDon Michael Paul, Barbara Crampton, James Staley, Lisa Rinna, Danny Kamekona
Produced1993 in United States
Runtime67 minutes
AudioEnglish Dolby Digital Mono
SubtitlesNone
OverviewToward the end of the 21st Century two great powers dominated the world, a division that resulted from a 30-year war known as the War of the Hemispheres. The war came to an end with the creation of giant, indestructible mega-robots designed for military missions and balance of power.

Recently, the mega-robot has become a tourist attraction and is used for tours through the wasteland. While on one such tour, the MRAS-2 is attacked by an extremely violent terrorist group known as the Murdaggians. Their leader turns out to be a frequent passenger on the mega-robot, Professor B. Wa-Lee, who hijacks the MRAS-2. The only hope to stop the Murdaggians is Lane Drury, the robot s pilot. But can he do it in time?
My thoughtsRobot Wars is the sequel to the 1989 film Robot Jox. This is no Pacific Rim. The robots are stop motion models. No CGI robots here. And while I love stop motion, these robots aren't very exciting. And there isn't much war to speak of. There is a battle of sorts between two giant robots at the end of the movie, but it's over so quickly that you think “Is that all there is to it?”. And it is.

Robot Jox wasn't terribly good. This is worse. I bought the DVD because I'm a stop motion junkie, and this one has animation by Dave Allen and Jim Danforth. Not their greatest hour. At his best, Jim Danforth is almost a match for Ray Harryhausen. If you want to see where his animation really shines, try When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth. It's not a terribly good movie, either, but there is quite a lot of animation, and it's first class. This movie is really not worth more than two and a half stars, but I'm adding a half star just because it's stop motion, even if it is second rate.
My rating

Offline GSyren

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #291 on: March 10, 2014, 08:20:36 PM »
A little PS to Robot Wars. The main bad guy is named Wa-Lee. It's pronounced just like Wall*E. And in a film about robots it's a bit weird to hear the baddie being called that.

Offline GSyren

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #292 on: March 13, 2014, 10:48:48 AM »
TitleTarantula! (5-050582-409741)
DirectorJack Arnold
ActorsJohn Agar, Mara Corday, Leo G. Carroll, Nestor Paiva, Ross Elliott
Produced1955 in United States
Runtime77 minutes
AudioEnglish Dolby Digital Mono, German Dolby Digital Mono
SubtitlesCzech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, German, Hungarian, Norwegian, Polish, Swedish
OverviewWhen a tarantula, which has been injected with a special nutrient formula, escapes from a scientist's laboratory, it grows into a 100-foot beast that menaces the Arizona countryside.
Professor Gerald Deemer (Leo G. Carroll) has been working on a special nutrient to help ease a predicted food shortage that is expected to come with the increase in human population. His experiments have been moderately successful but there have been some failures as a result. One day while he is gone, two of his colleagues inject themselves with the nutrient with disastrous results and die a few days later. One however goes mad and injects Deemer with the formula. During a struggle, a giant tarantula injected with the formula escapes its cage and grows even larger and starts to attack cattle as well as human beings.
My thoughtsHaving recently watched Bert I. Gordons [Earth vs.] The Spider, I felt it was time to re-watch the other 50's spider movie, Tarantula. I bet that Gordon thought that if Jack Arnold could do a big spider movie, then he – Mr B.I.G. – could do it better.

There is no doubt in my mind that Jack Arnold is a better director than Bert I. Gordon. And objectively Tarantula is a better film than The Spider. In The Spider there is no explanation for the appearance of the big spider. In Tarantula it's a genetic experiment gone wrong. In both films the spider is very hard to kill, but in Tarantula the weapon that finally kills it  is at least believable.

Tarantula has better actors than The Spider. That's fine, but this is not an actor's movie. What it comes down to is – how scary is the spider? And my feeling is that the spider in Tarantula is not really that scary. As a film monster, that is. If I had actually met it in real life I would certainly have felt differently. No chance of that, fortunately.

How about the victims? How scary are they? Well, in Tarantula we don't see much of its victims. They are all just bones. Not that scary to see. The scares in Tarantula comes from the effect that the growth hormone has on people. Why it affects people so differently from how it affects animals is never really explained. What The Spider does to people looks scary, though:



Tarantula has one of Clint Eastwood's first film appearances in a bit part as an air force pilot. Interesting, but certainly not memorable. John Agar is... well, he is John Agar. He had a few good roles under his belt, but he never became a star. Leo G. Carroll was always dependable is supporting roles, and this is no exception. Another fine character actor, Nestor Paiva, plays the sheriff. But a fine cast can't really save a somewhat lackluster script. Still, enjoyable if you like these old B-movie type films. I do.

See this blog entry for more on The Spider vs. Tarantula.
My rating

Offline GSyren

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #293 on: March 15, 2014, 10:29:03 AM »
TitleSanto & Blue Demon Vs. Dr. Frankenstein (730475-951261)
DirectorMiguel M. Delgado
ActorsSanto, Blue Demon, Sasha Montenegro, Jorge Russek, Ivonne Govea
Produced1974 in Mexico
Runtime96 minutes
AudioSpanish Dolby Digital Mono
SubtitlesEnglish
OverviewInnocent women are being kidnapped and used as guinea pigs for a brain transplant experiment in Santo and Blue Demon vs. Dr. Frankenstein. The diabolical Dr. Frankenstein continues his quest to perfect the brain transplant operation to bring back his deceased wife at any cost - even if it means playing with the lives of others. El Santo and Blue Demon are called in to help when their friend, Alicia, becomes Dr. Frankenstein's next target. It'll take both heroes to go up against the dastardly doctor and go "mano y mano" with his super strong zombie, Golem.
My thoughtsSanto was a Mexican phenomenon. A wrestler and an actor, he worked in both capacities until he retired at 65. He was an icon. Something like Hulk Hogan, only bigger. More famous, that is. He never appeared in public without his silver mask. And he wears it throughout his movies, too.

The Santo movies are... special. Santo and his friend Blue Demon are pitted against various antagonists. Sometimes these come in the form of well known monsters, like Dracula, the Mummy, the Werewolf and so on. Sometimes it's something else. In this case it's Dr. Irving Frankenstein, who I guess we can classify as a mad scientist.

There is no Frankenstein's monster as such. The good (?) doctor is experimenting in brain transplants. And he uses young females as guinea pigs. When the experiments fail and the “patients” die, he implants some sort of transistor in their brains which turns them into zombies at his command. He also has a very large black man that he has also turned into a zombie, called Golem. Golem is very strong and easily kills four policemen with his bare hands.

The doctor has his heart set on using Santo as a subject, and lures him to his hideout. But Blue Demon comes to Santo's rescue. And – as in all Santo films – there are wrestling matches mixed into the plot, seemingly for no other reason than to see Santo and Blue Demon wrestle.

Watching a Santo movie is a bit like watching a movie by, say, Larry Buchanan. Well, maybe not quite that bad, but close. Strange scripts, bad acting, mostly cheap production values. The best thing about this movie was the cinematography. Rather competent, actually.

I've seen four Santo movies, and this was the best of the four. Although that's not really saying much. However, if you know what you're getting into and don't set your expectations too high, this film is actually rather entertaining.
My rating
« Last Edit: March 15, 2014, 10:32:04 AM by GSyren »

Offline GSyren

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #294 on: March 18, 2014, 04:14:56 PM »
TitleMystery of the Wax Museum (Disc ID: 77CF-197C)
DirectorMichael Curtiz
ActorsLionel Atwill, Fay Wray, Glenda Farrell, Frank McHugh, Allen Vincent
Produced1933 in United States
Runtime77 minutes
AudioEnglish Dolby Digital 2-Channel Stereo
SubtitlesChinese, English, French, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Thai
OverviewMYSTERY OF THE WAX MUSEUM (1933), starring Lionel Atwill as the wax-wielding madman and Fay Wray as a potential victim. Directed by Michael Curtiz and shot in a chillingly effective early two-color Technicolor process, it and its spooky remake offer you a delicious double-dip in a paraffin bath of terror.
My thoughts”House of Wax” is one of the few remakes that is – in my opinion – better than the original. I mean the 1953 remake, that is, not the 2005 version. But that doesn't mean that “Mystery of the Wax Museum” is a bad movie. Far from it. It is very good. Many actually prefer it to the 1953 version.

The basic story is the same in both movies, and if you have seen the Vincent Price movie you'll recognize many scenes that are almost exactly identical.

The two-strip Technicolor gives the film an interesting look, but I suspect that it originally looked a lot better than the version we get on the DVD and Blu-ray. I'd love to see a properly restored version of this film.

Lionel Atwill is excellent in the leading role, and Glenda Farrell shines as the newspaper reporter. Fay Wray is really beautiful (just like in King Kong the same year), but she's definitely out-acted by Farrell.

There are a couple of rather glaring continuity errors that are irritating. I know it's virtually impossible to make a film that doesn't have some small continuity glitches, but at least one of these is a goof that should make any script supervisor ashamed, even if most people probably miss it, at least on first viewing.

Even with its faults, this movie is a lot more enjoyable to me than many modern horror movies.
My rating

PS The image is not from a DVD cover since this film is included as an extra on the "House of Wax" DVD & BD.

Offline GSyren

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #295 on: March 25, 2014, 10:49:13 AM »
TitleThunderbolt and Lightfoot (851789-003757)
DirectorMichael Cimino
ActorsClint Eastwood, Jeff Bridges, Geoffrey Lewis, Catherine Bach, Gary Busey
Produced1974 in United States
Runtime114 minutes
AudioEnglish DTS-HD Master Audio Mono
SubtitlesEnglish
OverviewThunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974) marked the directing debut of screenwriter Michael Cimino (The Deer Hunter, Heaven's Gate), working under the meticulous guidance of star/producer Clint Eastwood. Eastwood plays a typically laconic loner, a big-time thief in hiding who hooks up with a goofy young drifter (Jeff Bridges, giving an Oscar®-nominated performance). First attempting to escape from a couple of vengeful former partners (George Kennedy, Geoffrey Lewis), then joining forces with them to pull off a risky robbery, Eastwood and Bridges give us an ultimately touching portrait of masculine friendship. Superbly photographed in Montana's Big Sky country by Frank Stanley, and featuring a score by Eastwood regular Dee Barton.
My thoughtsI thought I had seen every film with Clint Eastwood in a starring role (i e from A Fistful of Dollars) except Pink Cadillac and his latest, Trouble with the Curve. I had such a vivid image of Clint in a car with Jeff Bridges that I was sure I had seen it back in the 70's, even though I didn't remember much about it. Turns out I must have been mistaken. I probably only saw the trailer. Seeing it now I feel that there are several scenes in it that I would surely recognize if I had seen them before. Well, not the first time this has happened to me.

Anyway, even though the ending is a bit of a downer, I enjoyed the film very much. This was Michael Cimino's first film as director, followed by the much acclaimed Deer Hunter, and the not so much acclaimed Heavens Gate. For a first timer I think he did a splendid job here. Clint is good as always. Jeff Bridges, George Kennedy and Geoffrey Lewis are excellent, too. In bit parts we also get to see Catherine (”Daisy Duke”) Bach, Gary Busey, Vic Tayback and Gregory (”Plan 9 From Outer Space”) Walcott. And a brief shot of full frontal nudity of Luanne Roberts (I think) if that turns anyone on.

We also get some nice car chases, courtesy of veteran stunt driver Carey Loftin, who started his stunt career in 1939, and kept on well into his eighties.

The blu-ray from Twilight Time looks really nice. As always (?) from Twilight Time, it's limited to 3000 copies, so best not wait too long if you want to get a copy.
My rating

Offline GSyren

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #296 on: March 25, 2014, 05:13:44 PM »
TitleGravity (5-051892-150248)
DirectorAlfonso Cuarón
ActorsSandra Bullock, George Clooney, Ed Harris, Orto Ignatiussen, Phaldut Sharma
Produced2013 in United Kingdom
Runtime91 minutes
AudioEnglish DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, German Dolby Digital 5.1, Italian Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
SubtitlesDanish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Icelandic, Italian, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish
OverviewDr. Ryan Stone (Oscar winner Sandra Bullock) is a brilliant engineer on her first shuttle mission with a veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski (Oscar winner George Clooney). On a seemingly routine spacewalk, disaster strikes. The shuttle is destroyed, leaving Stone and Kowalski completely alone, tethered to nothing but each other and spiraling into the darkness. As fear turns to panic, every gulp of air eats away at what little oxygen is left. But the only way home may be to go farther out into the terrifying expanse of space.
My thoughtsI'm conflicted about Gravity. Technically it is absolutely brilliant. Acting wise OK. I like Sandra Bullock, but maybe she's not quite able to carry a film more or less by herself. George Clooney is excellent, though. The main problem for me is the script. First of all it's too improbable. Secondly it does not make me care enough for Bullock's character. And that's fatal in a drama like this. There are a lot of metaphors in the film, and that's fine by me, but the film has to work even if you don't get the metaphors.

I would have expected to dislike the CGI, but I didn't. And that's saying something, seeing how this movie is almost all CGI. For the most part it's an animated movie with some live action bits inserted (mainly heads). And it works! It's brilliantly done. But it's not enough.

I would rate it 5 stars technically, 3.5 stars for the acting, but only 2 stars for the script. Weighing that together is not easy. If I had seen it on a big screen perhaps the sheer technical achievement would have swayed me to give it a better rating, but as it is, an overall rating of 3.5 is generous.
My rating

Offline Piffi

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #297 on: March 25, 2014, 11:52:07 PM »
I'm sorry Gunnar, that you didnt enjoy it as much as i did.
We'll Always Have Paris.


Thomas

Offline GSyren

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #298 on: March 26, 2014, 12:05:05 AM »
Oh, well, I think it's still a movie that deserved to be seen. The technical excellence makes it a milestone in cinema history, even if the same cannot be said for the script. So no regrets.

Offline GSyren

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #299 on: March 29, 2014, 05:30:32 PM »
TitleThe Terrornauts (5-027626-393946)
DirectorMontgomery Tully
ActorsSimon Oates, Zena Marshall, Charles Hawtrey, Patricia Hayes, Stanley Meadows
Produced1967 in United Kingdom
Runtime74 minutes
AudioEnglish Dolby Digital Mono
SubtitlesNone
OverviewDoomwatch star Simon Oates takes the lead role in this cult  '60s sci-ti gem, adapted from visionary author Murray Leinster's novel The Wailing  Asteroid by fellow Hugo-Award winner John Brunner. Also starring Bond girl Zena  Marshall and featuring typically comedic turns from Patricia Hayes and Charles  Hawtrey, The Terrornauts is presented here in brand-new transfers from the original  film elements of both its initial theatrical and subsequent, shortened versions. 

Joe Burke heads a radio telescope project at a British observatory, hoping to pick  up signs of life from another planet; thus far, the team has reported no positive  results. But just when the project is about to be cancelled, Burke discovers a taint  signal — the some mysterious signal that intrigued and haunted him as a child —  and decides to respond...
My thoughtsThe Terrornauts is an old Amicus film that has all the production values of a vintage Dr. Who episode. Cheap, that is. It's a rather bizarre science fiction story, but not without entertainment value. Being a big Carry On fan, I was rather surprised to see Charles Hawtree in a sci-fi movie. The acting is just so-so. Apart from Hawtree, the only other actors I recognized were Zena Marshall (Miss Taro in Dr. No) and – in a bit part at the end – André Maranne (Sergeant François Duval in several of the Pink Panther films). Special effects by Les Bowie, who seemed to work on anything from shoestring budget productions to big budget films like Superman, The Movie. This is definitely one of the former. OK as a bit of sixties nostalgia, if you can dig the really cheap look.
My rating