Author Topic: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar  (Read 68893 times)

Offline GSyren

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #585 on: November 13, 2016, 07:35:12 PM »
The Jungle Book (8-717418-484675)
United States 2016 | Released 2016-08-22 on Bluray from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
106 minutes | Aspect ratio 1.85:1 | Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, French DTS-HD High Resolution 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Directed by Jon Favreau and starring Neel Sethi, Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong'o

The man-cub Mowgli flees the jungle after a threat from the tiger Shere Khan. Guided by Bagheera the panther and the bear Baloo, Mowgli embarks on a journey of self-discovery, though he also meets creatures who don't have his best interests at heart.

My thoughts about The Jungle Book:
I had very low expectations for this version of The Jungle Book. I loved the old Disney version, and I thought that the whole liven action / CGI combination was just an awful idea. I very often hate movies that depend heavily on CGI, so I expected to hate this one as well. I was wrong. I really liked it. Especially at first. But then there were two things that just didn't work for me. First of all, the songs. They just felt so wrong. They just didn't fit the mood of the film at all. Secondly, I disliked the whole King Louie sequence (not just the song). I don't have a problem with celebrity voices per se, but somehow King Louie became just too Christopher Walken. It felt like a big monkey doing a bad impression of Walken.

On the other hand, I had no problem with the kid. I know many people didn't think he could act. I thought he did an amazing job for a ten year old kid acting in a blue screen environment. And the CGI worked surprisingly well for the most part. For the first half of the movie this was easily a 4 1/2 start movie for me. But then it took a dip. Still, I'm glad I finally overcame my suspicions and sat down to watch it.
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Offline GSyren

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #586 on: November 21, 2016, 02:12:16 PM »
The Loreley's Grasp (8-717903-485408)
Spain 1974 | Released 2014-05-23 on DVD from Shock DVD
81 minutes | Aspect ratio Non-anamorphic 1.78:1 | Audio: German Dolby Digital Mono, English Dolby Digital Mono, Spanish Dolby Digital Mono
Directed by Amando de Ossorio and starring Tony Kendall, Helga Line, Silvia Tortosa, Josefina Jartin, Lolita Tovar

The legendary Loreley has been living for centuries in a grotto beneath the river Rhein in Germany. Every night when the moon is full, she turns into a reptile-like creature craving for human blood. When one girl after another of a nearby boarding school is killed by her, a hunter named Sirgurd is engaged to kill the monster.

My thoughts about The Loreley's Grasp:
Sitting in Sweden watching a German DVD release of a Spanish movie dubbed in English - that feels international.  ;D

It's always fun to find a monster movie that you had not heard of before. Although you never get a real good look at the monster, and that's probably a good thing. There is one moment when you see the monster through some shrubbery and it isn't blurred by movement. Although you only see it partially, and for quite a short while, it's kind of obvious that it's not a very good design.

There are a few scenes that are rather graphic when the Loreley digs out the hearts of its victims. And you get some mutilated faces. Other than that, there's not a whole lot of horror. Some suspense, but the story is rather weak.

Fun if you're in the right mood.
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Offline GSyren

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #587 on: November 23, 2016, 04:45:18 PM »
2103 The Deadly Wake (750723-109626)
Canada 1997 | Released 2001-10-09 on DVD from Maverick Entertainment, York Entertainment
100 minutes | Aspect ratio 1.37:1 | Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1
Directed by Philip Jackson and starring Malcolm McDowell, Michael Paré, Heidi Von Palleske, Mackenzie Gray, Hal Eisen

The mega-tanker Lilith needs a captain and the huge Proxate corporation wants the desperate and half drunk Sean Murdoch (Malcolm McDowell, Star Trek: Generations, A Clockwork Orange). Murdoch hasn't captained a ship since sinking his last assignment and is desperate for a job. However, he quickly realizes he is in far more than he bargained for when he discovers that the Lilith is a prison ship, crewed by the viciously insane. The tough-as-nails warden Tarkis (Michael Paré, Men of Means, Carver's Gate) doesn't agree with Proxate's decision for captain, as the two have a long-standing hatred. When crewmembers start dying under mysterious circumstances, mutiny seems inevitable. Just as things reach a fever pitch, Murdoch and Tarkis uncover a hidden bomb and realize that Proxate has a deadly agenda for the voyage.

My thoughts about 2103 The Deadly Wake:
There are some actors whose name should raise a warning flag when you see it in the credits. Michael Paré is one such actor. He isn't a bad actor, he just makes some awful choices of films to appear in, whether by financial necessity or bad judgement. And 2103: The Deadly Wake is an awful choice, for the actor and for the viewer.

Malcolm McDowell isn't a bad actor either. He is, in fact, usually very good. And if there is a saving grace in this film, it is McDowell. But that is unfortunately far from enough to make the film palatable. It has an excruciatingly high WTF-count. That's the number of times you think to yourself "What the fuck?".

The script - if there even was one - is pretty much an incomprehensible mess. And most everything else is just as bad. Some call this film "So good it's bad." I beg to disagree. As far as I'm concerned it's just bad. No, strike that. It's not bad - it's awful!

It's actually not the worst film I have ever seen, and that's the only reason I'm not giving it just 1/2 star. But make no mistake about it, it's a very weak one star (on the verge of collapsing into a black hole).

(By the way, the image on the cover has absolutely nothing to do with the film.)
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Offline GSyren

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #588 on: December 23, 2016, 07:23:10 PM »
Zootopia (8-717418-478940)
United States 2016 | Released 2016-07-25 on Bluray from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, Buena Vista Home Entertainment
109 minutes | Aspect ratio 2.39:1 | Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, Spanish DTS 5.1, Portuguese DTS 5.1, Catalonian DTS 5.1, Audio Descriptive Dolby Digital 2-Channel Stereo
Directed by Byron Howard, Rich Moore and starring Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Idris Elba, Jenny Slate, Nate Torrence

From Walt Disney Animation Studios comes a comedy-adventure set in the modern mammal metropolis of Zootropolis. Determined to prove herself, Officer Judy Hopps, the first bunny on Zootropolis's police force, jumps at the chance to crack her first case – even if it means partnering with scam-artist fox Nick Wilde to solve the mystery. Bring home this hilarious adventure full of action, heart and tons of bonus extras that take you deeper into the world of Zootropolis. It's big fun for all shapes and species!

My thoughts about Zootropolis:
The day before Christmas Eve I was feeling a little "bah humbug", so I tried to pick a movie that would lift my spirits. And Zootopia (or Zootropolis as it is called over here for some undisclosed reason) seemed to fit the bill. And it sure did. I really liked this movie. Great animation, great voice acting, good story.

So why not "great story"? Well, there were two things that were not quite perfect, in my opinion. I thought the movie wasn't as funny as I would have hoped. Sure, there were many cute bits that made me smile a little, but no laugh-out-loud moments. But that's a minor gripe. The other thing was the message. Nothing wrong with the message in itself. Racial discrimination is a big issue. But I felt that it wasn't very subtle. Rather, it felt like they were hitting me over the head with it. But maybe that's what it takes to make some people understand it?

Still, the movie was well paced, and I enjoyed it a lot. Probably worth seeing again just to absorb all the little background details.
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Offline Tom

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #589 on: December 23, 2016, 08:43:23 PM »
Here in Germany it is called Zoomania for whatever reason.

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Offline GSyren

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #590 on: December 24, 2016, 05:43:17 PM »
Speedway (012569-517721)
United States 1968 | Released 2004-08-03 on DVD from Warner Home Video
94 minutes | Aspect ratio Anamorphic 2.40:1 | Audio: English Dolby Digital Mono, French Dolby Digital Mono
Directed by Norman Taurog and starring Elvis Presley, Nancy Sinatra, Bill Bixby, Gale Gordon, William Schallert

He races. She chases. Yet love and laughter find a way when "World 600" stock car driver Elvis meets Internal Revenue Service collection agent Nancy Sinatra in Speedway. "There Ain't Nothing like a Song," pedal-to-the-metal Elvis and go-go-booted Nancy sing. For the first time since he and Ann-Margret proclaimed 'Viva Las Vegas', Presley pairs with a high-octane singing, dancing leading lady. Bill Bixby is the manager who mismanages Presley into a $145,000 jam with the IRS and laughs are further fueled by veteran TV funnymen Gale Gordon ('The Lucy Show') and Carl Ballantine ('McHale's Navy'). The supersonic songlist includes 'Let Yourself Go', 'Your Time Hasn't Come Yet', 'Baby' and 'Your Groovy Self'. Have a groovy time!

My thoughts about Speedway:
Elvis actually had some acting skills. It's a shame that so few of his films take advantage of that. Most of them are just shallow musical comedies designed to take advantage of his singing. And this one isn't even one of the better of those.

Elvis is fine, and Bill Bixby is OK too. But Nancy Sinatra looks bored, and Elvis + Nancy sparks like a wet blanket. Who would think that the cutest girl in an Elvis comedy would be a 7 year old? William Schallert is in there, too. He is one of those dependable supporting actors that seemed to turn up everywhere in movies and on TV. He has 279 entries an TV actor in IMDb, and 96 movies credits. And yet most people probably don't know his name even if they recognize his face.

This is a very forgettable movie. It might be worth seeing if you're an Elvis fan, otherwise - stay clear.
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Offline GSyren

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #591 on: December 31, 2016, 12:17:21 PM »
Peur sur  la ville (3-259130-237276)
France 1975 | Released 2007-08-20 on DVD from StudioCanal
121 minutes | Aspect ratio Anamorphic 1.66:1 | Audio: French Dolby Digital Mono, English Dolby Digital Mono
Directed by Henri Verneuil and starring Jean-Paul Belmondo, Charles Denner, Adalberto-Maria Merli, Rosy Varte, Roland Dubillard

Après la mort de Nora Elmer, un certain "Minos" prend contact avec le commisaire Letelier, chargé de l'anquête. "Minos" revendique l'assassinat de Nora et annonce d'autre meurtes en série...

My thoughts about Peur sur  la ville:
Peur sur la ville is a good film that could have been a great film. It has some great chase scenes with stunt work by Belmondo himself that makes your palms sweat. At least mine did, but I do have a fear of heights. There are, in my opinion, several flaws in this movie:

1) The chase scenes come too early in the movie. An action movie should build up to an exciting climax. This is more like a premature ejaculation.
2) The car chase part (or rather car vs motorcycle) is disappointing. They had Rémy Julienne working for them. He was one of the best car stunt arrangers in the world! Surely they could have made something more of this?
3) Minor quibble, but changing the chase target in the middle of the chase sequence lessens the impact, in my opinion.
4) Having Belmondo and the SWAT team rappel from a helicopter to the roof of the building makes no sense. The bad guy and the hostages were in an apartment. Surely it would have been possible to reach the roof from inside the building? I guess this is just an attempt to create an exciting finish to the movie. It doesn't cut it.

Still, it's not a bad movie. And Belmondo is always Belmondo.
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Offline GSyren

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #592 on: January 28, 2017, 01:31:52 PM »
Has Anybody Seen My Gal (Disc ID: A324-A5AA-D893-5360)
United States 1952 | Released 2006-11-14 on DVD from Universal Studios Home Entertainment
88 minutes | Aspect ratio Non-anamorphic 1.33:1 | Audio: English Dolby Digital 2-Channel Stereo
Directed by Douglas Sirk and starring Piper Laurie, Rock Hudson, Charles Coburn, Gigi Perreau, Lynn Bari

In this charming musical comedy, Rock Hudson plays a faithful soda jerk who finds his attentions to the lovely Millicent (Piper Laurie) turned down after her family gains a large sum of money.

My thoughts about Has Anybody Seen My Gal:
When your unwatched "pile" contains many hundreds of movies, DVD Profiler can help pick something at random. That's how I came to be watching Has Anybody Seen My Gal today. Although Piper Laurie and Rock Hudson are top billed, the film really belongs to Charles Coburn and young Gigi Perreau. It's a delightful, lightweight musical comedy, warning us that money can't buy happiness.

I think of Piper Laurie foremost as the fanatic mother in Carrie, so it was really fun to see a much younger Piper here. James Dean is in a scene that's so short that if you blink you'll miss it. Or so I'm told. I guess I blinked.
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Offline GSyren

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #593 on: February 08, 2017, 04:54:40 PM »
Deepwater Horizon (5-055761-908626)
United States 2016 | Released 2017-01-30 on Bluray from Lionsgate
107 minutes | Aspect ratio 2.40:1 | Audio: English Dolby TrueHD 7.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, Audio Descriptive Dolby Digital 2-Channel Stereo
Directed by Peter Berg and starring Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, Douglas M. Griffin, James DuMont, Joe Chrest

MARK WAHLBERG LEADS AN ALL-STAR CAST in this unforgettably powerful film inspired by a thrilling story of real-life heroes. For the one hundred and twenty-six people aboard the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig, April 20, 2010, began like any normal day. Before day’s end, the world would bear witness to one of the greatest man-made disasters in U.S. history. Deepwater Horizon reveals the brave acts of the men and women who rose to the challenge—and risked everything to lead others to safety.

My thoughts about Deepwater Horizon:
Kurt Russell and Mark Wahlberg are among my favorite actors, and they do a great job in a very good movie here. I don't go to the cinema any more, I just watch everything at home, mostly on Blu-ray. I seldom miss the cinema experience, preferring the calm of my own living room, but this is a movie that probably should be watched on the big screen. Still a great experience, though.

Two notes:

1. I feel sorry for those who comment that they were bored by the movie and couldn't get through the first half. I guess some people just don't have the patience to watch the important set-up that lets us know the characters and the situation. They just want to get to "the good part", i.e. the disaster. That's sort of like going straight for the dessert and bypassing the entre and main course of a meal. It's all part of the experience.

2. Those who know me know that I abhor overuse of CGI. This movie is a good example of CGI done right. What can be done practical is done practical, and then augmented by CGI. This makes it feel very real. I approve!
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Offline GSyren

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #594 on: February 10, 2017, 02:33:09 PM »
Race with the Devil (5-039036-028684)
United States 1975 | Released 2007-08-20 on DVD from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
84 minutes | Aspect ratio Anamorphic 1.85:1 | Audio: English Dolby Digital Mono
Directed by Jack Starrett and starring Peter Fonda, Warren Oates, Loretta Swit, Lara Parker, R. G. Armstrong

Frank, Roger and their wives take off for Colorado in a recreational vehicle, looking forward to some skiing and dirt biking. While camping en route, they witness a satanic ritual human sacrifice, but the local sheriff finds no evidence to support their claims and urges them to continue on their vacation. On the way, however, they find themselves repeatedly attacked by cult members, and they take measure to defend themselves.

My thoughts about Race with the Devil:
I had high hopes for Race with the Devil but alas ...

I just couldn't get over the absolute improbability of the whole state (almost) being part of a satanic conspiracy. In addition, it takes well over an hour for the titular race to actually get going. Also, I've never been a big fan of Peter Fonda. I do like Warren Oates, and I love a good car chase and good stunts, but they just cannot save the movie for me.

This is probably a case of me coming to the movie with too high expectations.
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Offline GSyren

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #595 on: March 27, 2017, 07:26:33 PM »
The Mighty Peking Man (5-060103-798902)
Hong Kong 1977 | Released 2017-03-13 on Bluray from 88 Films, Celestial Pictures
90 minutes | Aspect ratio 2.35:1 | Audio: English PCM Mono, Cantonese PCM Mono, Commentary PCM 2-Channel Stereo
Directed by Meng-Hwa Ho and starring Evelyne Kraft, Danny Lee, Feng Ku, Lin Wei-Tu, Hsu Shao-Chiang

The success of the Japanese GODZILLA movies led to all kinds of strange cash-in capers - including the legendarily bizarre North Korean opus PULGASARI (1985). However, it was with THE MIGHTY PEKING MAN in 1977 that the Shaw Brothers studio cast their own attempt at a mega-sized monster movie and, for many, this is the one that even outdoes the Tokyo originators for sheer sublime cinematic genius. Featuring the iconic Danny Lee (THE KILLER/ THE UNTOLD STORY/ CITY ON FIRE) as an explorer in the Himalayas who gets caught up with a ravishing jungle Jane (played by the delicious Evelyne Kraft), and discovers a huge King Kong-inspired ape hiding in the forest, THE MIGHTY PEKING MAN is a creature feature that is packed full of sex appeal, city-smashing theatrics and monstrous moments. Acclaimed by Quentin Tarantino, who considers it a personal favourite, and highlighting assured direction from the great Ho Meng Hua (whose genre career also spans such sleazy classics as BLACK MAGIC and THE OILY MANIAC), MIGHTY PEKING MAN sets a gold standard in Hong Kong grindhouse glory and is finally back on British shelves, ready to pummel its way into the hearts of a new generation! The

My thoughts about The Mighty Peking Man:
When I watched Mighty Peking Man on DVD 16 years ago I was not impressed. Watching it on blu-ray was a different experience. Or maybe I have just grown more forgiving. Anyway, I liked it better now. It's still not a good movie, but it's a fun rip-off of King Kong. And Evelyne Kraft looks stunning. But then there's that ape suit. It looks marginally better than Toho's Kong suit, but that's faint praise indeed. The drawback with the improved quality of the blu-ray is that some of the subpar special effects look even "subber". But a lot of effects are still impressive, and I certainly prefer them to CGI effects.

Slightly off topic: The UK blu has a commentary by Bey Logan. I haven't listened to it yet, but all of his commentaries on those old Hong Kong Legends DVDs have been spectacular. He is by far the best commentator that I have listened to. Eagerly anticipating this one.
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