Author Topic: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar  (Read 114427 times)

Offline DSig

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #525 on: April 05, 2015, 07:44:34 PM »
For me there is something about (what I call) Stadium Rock.  Those high powered finely produced songs that just pound your brain (think Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers etc).  I think most of the performances are very very good (even poor old Michael Paré ... i think he does have 1 character and the stick hasn't been pulled out).  But you are 100% again .. it is the visual styling that really holds this together.
Have you seen Eddie & The Cruisers.  Very similar movie and music
Thank you
David

Offline GSyren

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #526 on: April 05, 2015, 11:45:46 PM »
No, I haven't seen Eddie & The Cruisers. I'll have to check that out. Thanks for the tip.

Offline GSyren

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #527 on: April 16, 2015, 01:27:52 PM »
H.G. Wells' The First Men in the Moon (5-051561-032103)
United Kingdom 2010 | Released 2010-10-25 on DVD from 2 entertain Video
88 minutes | Aspect ratio Anamorphic 1.78:1 | Audio: English Dolby Digital 2-Channel Stereo, Commentary Dolby Digital 2-Channel Stereo
Directed by Damon Thomas and starring Rory Kinnear, Mark Gatiss, Alex Riddell, Peter Forbes, Katherine Jakeways

One small step. That had been taken before...

The year is 1909. Bankrupt businessman Julius Bedford is going nowhere – until he meets the eccentric scientist Professor Cavor. Because Cavor has invented an extraordinary substance. Anything it touches becomes lighter than air! Together, the two men devise a wild scheme. Why not go to the Moon?

But the lifeless world isn't quite as dead as it seems. Soon Bedford and Cavor are pitched into a thrilling struggle deep beneath the Moon's surface and an encounter with its terrifying alien masters – the Selenites!

Adapted from the classic novel by H.G. Wells, The First Men in the Moon is a delightful, funny and scary adventure for all the family.

My thoughts about H.G. Wells' The First Men in the Moon:
It was interesting to compare the BBC version of First Men in the Moon to the 1964 Harryhausen version. I must say that for a low budget TV movie, this one looks really good. It is more Wells and less Harryhausen. Well, obviously Harryhausen didn't participate in the making of this film, but the Selenites bear a striking resemblance to Harryhausen's.

I'm fairly sure I read the book back in the 50's or 60's, and I know for sure that I read the Classic Illustrated. But my memory of either is totally overshadowed by the memory of the 1964 film. So it's hard for me to determine how closely this film follows the book. Like the 1964 film, this one has a framing story set at the time of the first "modern" moon landing. The 1964 film only speculated on how the modern moon landing would look, of course, since that film was made 5 years before the actual moon landing.

While not as good as the Harryhausen film, I still liked this one quite a lot.
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Offline GSyren

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #528 on: April 25, 2015, 10:03:03 PM »
Finders Keepers (5-060057-210994)
United Kingdom 1966 | Released 2015-03-09 on DVD from Hollywood Classics, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, Media Sales
86 minutes | Aspect ratio Non-anamorphic 1.53:1 | Audio: English Dolby Digital Mono
Directed by Sidney Hayers and starring Cliff Richard, Bruce Welch, Hank B. Marvin, Brian Bennett, John Rostill

When a mini bomb is dropped by accident from an American plane over Spain, the "spies" from various foreign countries converge in an attempt to find it. Leading the pack is a young Englishman named Cliff, who arrives with his singing group, called the Shadows. Cliff and the Shadows hitchhike to a hotel which, they find deserted. With the help of a local girl named Emelia (Ventura), they decide that it is in their interest to locate the bomb and hand it over to the American troops, who have moved in on a similar mission. But Mr X (Le Mesurier), the sinister representative of a foreign power, has the same idea and blackmails Colonel Roberts (Morley), the English manager of the hotel to do the job for him. Burke (Stark), the hotel clerk, is also in on the scheme.

Before all the confusion and skulduggery ends, Cliff and the Shadows have uncovered the bomb for the Americans, and Cliff has enjoyed a romantic liaison with Emelia

My thoughts about Finders Keepers:
I was a teenager in the sixties, so I grew up with sixties music, which included Cliff Richard and the Shadows. And I guess that's why I found this film quite entertaining. It's a very sixties musical comedy, with a bit of spy stuff thrown in for good measure. One reviewer on IMDb wrote "The plot is so thin you could floss your teeth with it". Well, that gave me a laugh, but it's true. It's a fun bit of nonsense. It may not be to everyone's liking, but if you're into the sixties you'll probably like it. I did.
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Offline GSyren

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #529 on: April 27, 2015, 08:10:22 PM »
Predestination (5-051162-332978)
Australia 2014 | Released 2014-12-10 on Bluray from Sony Picture Home Entertainment
98 minutes | Aspect ratio 2.40:1 | Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Portuguese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Czech Dolby Digital 5.1, Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1, Polish Dolby Digital 5.1
Directed by Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig and starring Ethan Hawke, Sarah Snook, Christopher Kirby, Christopher Sommers, Kuni Hashimoto

Critics are hailing Predestination as 'the best film of the year' and 'enthralling from start to finish'. From the directors of Daybreakers, PREDESTINATION chronicles the life of a Temporal Agent (Ethan Hawke, Boyhood, Training Day) sent on an intricate series of time-travel journeys designed to stop crimes before they are committed. Now, on his final assignment, he must pursue the one criminal that has eluded him throughout time.

My thoughts about Predestination:
Predestination isn't an easy film to write about. First of all, you don't want to give away any plot points. Secondly, it's really hard to describe the film, plot points or no plot points.

It's not your ordinary time travel movie. It's kind of science fiction noir. It starts out with an action scene, but then it turns into two guys talking in a bar for quite a while, and you're left wandering what they have to do with the opening scene. But after a while that falls into place. And then as the film goes on you start understanding other things bit by bit. Some of it may be rather easy to spot, some takes a little longer, but it's not like there is a big all encompassing reveal at the end.

Let's just say that it takes the time travel paradox to a new level. Some call it a "mind fuck". Others call it crap. I really liked it, but your mileage may vary.
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Offline Achim

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #530 on: April 29, 2015, 06:30:40 AM »
I had contemplated to remove it from my Wish List, but seeing your description, I think I'll leave it there... :thanks:

Offline DSig

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #531 on: April 29, 2015, 04:30:01 PM »
I enjoyed Predestination myself.  As mentioned it can be hard but that is true of any film with *time shifts*.  But even with that I thought it had a strong cast (i really like Ethan Hawke in most things) and thought the filming was very good.  I was very similar to "All You Zombies" (by Robert A. Heinlein) upon which it is based.  It is one that can use a second watching.
Thank you
David

Offline GSyren

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #532 on: May 02, 2015, 08:26:12 PM »
Annie (5-050629-007237)
United States 1982 | Released 2012-11-26 on Bluray from Sony Picture Home Entertainment
127 minutes | Aspect ratio 2.40:1 | Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French Dolby Digital 2-Channel Stereo, Italian Dolby Digital 4.0, German Dolby Digital 2-Channel Stereo, Japanese Dolby Digital 2-Channel Stereo, Spanish Dolby Digital 2-Channel Stereo
Directed by John Huston and starring Albert Finney, Carol Burnett, Ann Reinking, Tim Curry, Bernadette Peters

ANNIE, the story of everyone's favorite plucky, red-haired orphan finally makes the leap from DVD to Blu-ray*!

One day Annie (Aileen Quinn) is chosen to stay for a week with the famous billionaire "Daddy" Warbucks (Albert Finney). One week turns into many, and the only person standing in the way of Annie's fun is Miss Hannigan, the tyrannical ruler of the orphanage (played to hilarious perfection by Carol Burnett). Will Miss Hannigan's zany attempts to kidnap the irrepressible any succeed? Sing along to the unforgettable songs and experience the beloved musical like never before!

My thoughts about Annie:
I'm disappointed. I usually like musicals, but Annie did nothing for me. I didn't like the songs (with one or two exceptions) and I didn't like the dance numbers. I suppose the big dance number in the cinema was supposed to be an homage to Busby Berkeley, but it didn't impress me at all. Whoever choreographed it obviously is no Busby Berkeley. I didn't much care for Aileen Quinn as Annie, either.

Carol Burnett, Albert Finney, Tim Curry and Bernadette Peters were all OK, but they couldn't save the film, as far as I'm concerned. Maybe I was just in the wrong mood? Maybe I would have liked it better if I had actually known anything about Little Orphan Annie? I know of the comic strip, but I have never read it. Well ,for whatever reason, this was not my cup of tea.
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Offline GSyren

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #533 on: May 25, 2015, 08:32:46 PM »
Quatermass and the Pit - 1958 vs. 1967
Quatermass and the Pit (Disc ID: 8821-4144-4F6A-93E1)
United Kingdom 1958 | Released 2005-04-04 on DVD from BBC Worldwide
207 minutes | Aspect ratio Non-anamorphic 1.33:1 | Audio: English Dolby Digital Mono
Directed by Rudolph Cartier and starring Andre Morell, Cec Linder, Anthony Bushell, John Stratton, Christine Finn

When ancient bones and something resembling an unexploded bomb are found on a London building site, the military and scientists are baffled. As further astounding discoveries are made, the renowned Professor Quatermass begins to unravel a terrifying thread of chaos and terror.

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Quatermass and the Pit (5-055201-815569)
United Kingdom 1967 | Released 2011-10-10 on Bluray from Optimum Releasing, Studio Canal
98 minutes | Aspect ratio 1.66:1 | Audio: English PCM 2-Channel Stereo, Commentary PCM 2-Channel Stereo, English Dolby Digital 2-Channel Stereo
Directed by Roy Ward Baker and starring James Donald, Andrew Keir, Barbara Shelley, Julian Glover, Duncan Lamont

Hobbs End, Knightsbridge, London. Whilst working on a new subway tunnel for the London Underground a group of construction workers uncover a strangely shaped skull amongst the rubble. Nearby is another discovery: a large, mysterious and impenetrable metal object. Initially mistaken for an unexploded bomb the origins of the object and its strange power are far more horrific and terrifying than anybody could have possibly imagined. Is it of this earth? Could it be the ancestral link to mankind's evolution? Or could it be an ancient link to unleashing ultimate evil? There's only one man capable of unravelling the clues, his name is Professor Bernard Quatermass, a man of science who thrives on the dark mysteries of the world, a man with answers.

Written by legendary screenwriter Nigel Kneale, Quatermass and The Pit is a seminal British sci-fi classic. Highly influential, it’s renowned for its creepy plot and eerie, disturbing atmosphere. There is nothing else like it.

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It's fascinating to watch these two versions back to back. Almost everything from the 3 1/2 hour TV series is also in the 1 1/2 hour movie. And the TV series doesn't seem slow or the movie rushed. There are a few things that are omitted from the movie, but nothing that you really miss. Most notably there is a journalist in the TV series that is not in the movie. And a major difference between the series and the movie is the location of "the pit". In the series it's an excavation for a building, in the movie it's inside a tube station.

The endings are a little bit different, too. For my money, the ending is set up better in the series, but executed better in the movie. When it comes to the main actors, I think the movie is a bit better. Professor Quatermass is OK in both version (Andre Morell vs Andrew Keir). But for Dr. Roney I definitely prefer James Donald over Cec Linder. The close-minded Colonel Breen is played by Anthony Bushell in the series, and by Julian Glover in the film. I prefer Glover.

When it comes to picture quality, the comparison is simple but perhaps not fair. There is no way that the b&w TV show from 1958 can compete with the film that's in color and 1.66:1 widescreen. But one shouldn't let that weigh in too much. Watch the TV series for what it is, and it's quite enjoyable. I have given them both 4 stars. The movie is perhaps a little bit stronger, but both version are well worth watching.

Offline GSyren

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #534 on: May 28, 2015, 11:16:07 PM »
Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (5-039036-072373)
United States 2014 | Released 2015-04-13 on Bluray from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
98 minutes | Aspect ratio 1.85:1 | Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, Audio Descriptive Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French DTS 5.1, Danish DTS 5.1, Finnish DTS 5.1, German DTS 5.1, Norwegian DTS 5.1, Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1, Russian DTS 5.1, Swedish DTS 5.1, Thai Dolby Digital 5.1, Other Dolby Digital 5.1, Commentary Dolby Digital 2-Channel Stereo
Directed by Shawn Levy and starring Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, Owen Wilson, Steve Coogan, Ricky Gervais

If it's laughter you're after, get ready for the most hilarious night ever! Ben Stiller leads an all-star comedy cast, including Robin Williams, Owen Wilson, Rebel Wilson and Ricky Gervais, for one final, fun-filled Night at the Museum. This time, Larry Daley (Stiller) and his heroic friends embark on their greatest adventure yet as they travel to London in order to save the magic that brings the museum exhibits to life!

My thoughts about Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb:
It's strange. By every indication I should not like the Night at the Museum series. I'm not particularly fond of Ben Stiller in comedic roles. I hate overuse of CGI. And still these movies work for me.

The story in Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb isn't that spectacular, but the acting is fine and there are a few interesting sequences. I particularly liked the scene inside the Escher painting, and a contributing reason for that is probably that it's done without any CGI. Greenscreen, yes. Multiple takes combined, sure. But that's all old school effects, and there is something about those that I really like.

And when it comes to the CGI, and there is lots of it, at least it's very good CGI. There is nothing that can put me off as much as sloppy CGI. But even good CGI can turn me off when there is too much of it. As far as I'm concerned, CGI just doesn't have any soul.

Seeing Robin Williams here is both good and sad. The film has dedications to Mickey Rooney and Robin Williams, who both passed away during the film's post-production.  Mickey was 30 years older than Robin, though.

I'd say that Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb is quite OK entertainment if you're in the mood for some whimsical fantasy.
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Offline DSig

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #535 on: May 29, 2015, 07:30:35 PM »
" ... Hi Dum Dum .. " :).  I agree about CGI unless it is really an integral part of the movie.  And here that is just what you have.  It would be very hard to have this film/story without it.  I do like the story line, though it is fanciful, and the acting is good.  A good overall fun film to watch with some funny bits.  (when i was young my great grandfather has a Puchi Monkey .. or at least told that was what it was .. what a character)
Thank you
David

Offline GSyren

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #536 on: May 29, 2015, 10:34:04 PM »
I agree about CGI unless it is really an integral part of the movie.  And here that is just what you have.
Yeah, but you could say the same thing about Pacific Rim, and I hated that one. So it has to be something more.

Offline DSig

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #537 on: May 30, 2015, 05:05:24 AM »
See .. that film, to me, is just a film to have lots of CGI.  Is it a close line between CGI in "Museum" and the CGI in "Rim" .. sure .. but for me it is an obvious line.
Thank you
David

Offline GSyren

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #538 on: June 03, 2015, 10:43:17 AM »
The Day Mars Invaded Earth (024543-104995)
United States 1963 | Released 2015-03-17 on DVD from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
70 minutes | Aspect ratio Anamorphic 2.20:1 | Audio: English Dolby Digital Mono
Directed by Maury Dexter and starring Kent Taylor, Marie Windsor, William Mims, Betty Beall, Lowell Brown

Martian invaders are in the process of making exact doubles of an entire town and then killing the original models. The terrifying facts are discovered by a scientist working at Cape Canaveral who is trying to figure out why a recent Martian probe simply exploded after landing on the Red Planet. He has been in Florida working on the project for so long that his wife in California is about to divorce him. Wanting to save his marriage and see his family, he goes home and suddenly ends up fighting for not only his own life, but for all humanity.

My thoughts about The Day Mars Invaded Earth:
I am a big fan of fifties and sixties science fiction and horror movies, so I was very surprised to find one that had gone totally below my radar.

It's Invasion of the Body Snatchers without any pods, or Invaders from Mars without any martians. In fact, no real monster at all. It's a really low budget movie , so it's a bit surprising that it was filmed in CinemaScope.

The movie is slow but creepy, and it has a twist ending that I did not see coming. The thing that bothered me most about the script is that the characters seem to accept a totally unbelievable situation without any questioning whatever. That's more unbelievable than the the unbelievable situation itself.

The contrived story and the slow pacing drags the movie down, but the surprise ending makes up for it to some extent.
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« Last Edit: June 03, 2015, 10:45:53 AM by GSyren »

Offline GSyren

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #539 on: June 04, 2015, 01:08:52 PM »
Commando (5-039036-073196)
United States 1985 | Released 2015-05-04 on Bluray from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
92 minutes | Aspect ratio 1.85:1 | Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital Mono, French DTS 5.1, Spanish DTS 5.1, German DTS 5.1, Italian Dolby Digital 5.1, Czech Dolby Digital 5.1, Thai Dolby Digital 5.1, Commentary Dolby Digital 2-Channel Stereo
Directed by Mark L. Lester and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rae Dawn Chong, Dan Hedaya, Vernon Wells, James Olson

Now on Blu-ray™ for the first time ever, experience every awesome moment of Commando the way it was intended! This special edition Director's Cut includes amazing action, extensive special features and all the Arnold you could ask for.

Retired Delta Force operative Colonel John Matrix (Arnold Schwarzenegger), lives a secluded life with his daughter (Alyssa Milano). Whe she is kidnapped by a brutal former team member seeking revenge, Matrix must travel to South America and get her back. Somwhere... somehow... someone's going to pay!

My thoughts about Commando:
I'm not a huge fan of Director Mark L. Lester. Apart from Firestarter, the only other of his films that I have liked is Commando. Although, in all fairness I should admit that I haven't watched all that many of his films.

When I first watched Commando, I gave it three stars. But I guess it has grown on me over the years. Watching it again I like it better. Perhaps because this time is was prepared for how over the top the action is. It's eighties action at its ... eightiest. Arnie guns down (or kills in other ways) a whole regiment, and none of them manages to get a single hit on Arnie.

It also has a load of one-liners from Arnold, for example:
- Remember, Sully, when I promised to kill you last?
- I lied!
Well, technically I guess that's a two-liner, but who's counting?

Vernon Wells was great as the main villain, even though they dressed him up to look like Freddy Mercury. And Alyssa Milano as Arnold's young daughter was surprisingly (for me, anyway) good.

The one thing in the movie that I didn't like was when Arnie's character climbs down to the nosewheel of an airliner and jumps off after it has taken off, landing safely in a reed bed with just a bit of water. Suspension of disbelief just goes so far, and my disbelief isn't quite that suspensible.

Still, that gimme-a-break moment is soon forgotten, and the rest of the movie is a fun ride.
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