The Wicker Man, a review by goodguy
Cover blurb: Since its release in 1973, The Wicker Man has held an enduring fascination for audiences, commanding a devotion that most films can only dream of. A unique and bona fide horror masterpiece, the film can now be seen in its original theatrical version and Director's Cut including 15 minutes of footage that was thought lost for decades!
When a young girl mysteriously disappears, Police Sergeant Howie (Edward Woodward) travels to a remote Scottish island to investigate. But this pastoral community, led by the strange Lord Summerisle (Christopher Lee) is not what it seems as the devoutly religious detective soon uncovers a secret society of wanton lust and pagan blasphemy.
Brilliantly scripted by Anthony Shaffer (Sleuth, Frenzy) and featuring an astounding performance by the legendary Christopher Lee, director Robin Hardy's atmospheric use of location, unsettling imagery and haunting soundtrack gradually builds to one of the most terrifying and iconic climaxes in modern cinema.
This is the second time this year that a much-hailed masterpiece of British '70s cinema falls a little flat for me. A few months ago, I watched "O Lucky Man!" (also made in 1973) for the first time and was similarly underwhelmed. But I digress.
All my warning bells should have gone off as Jon called this the "Citizen Kane of horror movies" in his recent LTROI review. They didn't, because Jon turned that phrase into praise for LTROI, and I happen to agree with him on that.
First of all, The Wicker Man isn't really a horror movie. It's a thriller that goes a bit on the weird side, but isn't overly imaginative. A bit folk-singing, lyrics with corny sexual subtext, a bit nude dancing - those wacky pagans! The main problem: all of this is more funny than poetic and remains so as the creepiness is supposed to slowly increase. Still, Edward Woodward and Christopher Lee give mostly solid performances and I suppose I shouldn't complain about Britt Ekland being naked (although there is a body double involved in addition to her being dubbed).
Anyway, I was amused for about the first half of the movie and I got a bit bored during the second half as it became pretty clear where this would all end. As for the ending itself, I didn't found it terrifying as so many have claimed, just again a bit silly.
I'm not sure why this movie is regarded so special. It lacks the haunted and poetic atmosphere that, for example, Picnic at Hanging Rock has. It lacks the true weirdness and beauty that you can find in Czech surrealist movies of that time, for example Valerie and Her Week of Wonders. It might be an improvement over the usual Hammer horror stuff Christopher Lee was doing at the time, but seriously, that's not a big achievement.
I watched the two documentaries included in this release (The Wicker Man Enigma and Burnt Offering) and found the production history more interesting than the movie itself. I didn't bother with the Lee/Hardy interview or the commentary.
(From goodguy's Watch Log on October 27th, 2009)
Submerged, a review by Rich
Chris Kody, the world's best mercenary, is freed from prison -- but there's a catch. Kody must use his lethal weapons and fighting skills to stop a group of terrorists who have taken over a nuclear sub.
Ageing Seagull, dishes out another tedious flick with the guise of an action movie. Overweight, over-rated and over the hill. Very little action on the diesel sub, and not a terrorist in sight, instead they are mind controlled soldiers, so my cover blurb is totally wrong.
Vinnie does his best to add a bit of humour to proceedings, but he is as bad an actor as he was a footballer. This dvd would best be left sunk at the bottom of the ocean.
Under siege wannabe - go enjoy your retirement Steven!
(From Riches Random Reviews on April 6th, 2009)
Smallville Marathon, a review by addicted2dvd
Season 6: Disc 619. Nemesis
Lex gets trapped in one of his labs by a distraught woman claiming he kidnapped her husband. She threatens to destroy the lab--with Lex still inside--unless he divulges her husband's whereabouts. When something unexpected causes a rescue attempt by Clark to fail, he becomes trapped as well. Now, the two men must overcome their hatred for each other if they want to make it out alive.
This was a good episode... one I enjoyed... but also felt mostly like a filler episode to get further into the end of the season long arc... which is cool... I understand it has to be done.
Lana and Lionel have a secret meeting, after which Lana is shot. While Jimmy is observing photos of the encounter, he is knocked unconscious. While unconscious Jimmy dreams about what life in Smallville would have been like in the 1940s.
This episode is just plain fun... a good portion of it done in black and white to give that old 40's feel to it. Like the am I crazy? storyline... this one has been used by other shows also... one that comes to mind is Charmed.... in either season 6 or 7 I think. This episode made me realize... this is one type of movie I have yet to explore. Don't think I have watched much of any film Noir at this point... will have to see what I can do about that.
Lex tries to turn a soldier that supposedly died in Afghanistan into a "super-soldier." A senator threatens to tell the world about Lex's labs, prompting Lex to send the "soldier" to kill the senator. Lois sees the attack and becomes the soldier's next victim.
Another good episode that was done mainly to get to the end of the season long arc. I think they went with the obvious when it came to Lois knowing the guy they used as the "super-soldier" from her younger days as an army brat... but it got the story along and was enjoyable.
When Clark discovers Lionel threatened to kill him unless Lana married Lex, he goes after Lionel to silence him once and for all. Lana tells Lex she is leaving him, and Martian Manhunter makes a return appearance to help Clark stop Lex, who is trying to find the last wraith from the Phantom Zone in order to use its DNA to power him army of super soldiers.
As always... this season of Smallville goes out in a bang... putting several of the main cast members into series danger for a summer long cliffhanger. I really enjoyed it. I am so hoping my favorite character (Chloe) will be back next season. I have heard rumors that she will be back... but have not read any spoilers to be sure. Lana.... was never that much of a fan... so don't really matter much to me either way if she returns... and looking forward to the season premiere this Thursday night with the episode that is (not) surprisingly called Bizzaro!
Disc 6 ExtrasThe extras for Disc 6 is once again just a couple deleted scenes... this time for episodes "Nemesis" and "Phantom". And once again... nothing to crucial for the storylines... so I can see them being cut... but nice to have as an extra all the same.
Over-All Season 6 Thoughts:
I think this was a surprisingly good season... at least in my opinion. I say surprisingly because more times then not a series tends to get stale by the 6th season. But in my opinion... in it's 6th season Smallville is still a great show. I do have to wonder though... just how many more seasons they can pull out of their hats... After all... Clark is getting to that age now that it is about time to go off and become Superman.
As for the extras... I think they were for the most part a lot of good, interesting stuff here... for me though I have to say that the featurette on the fans of the show was my favorite.
(From Smallville Marathon on September 24th, 2007)