Posts Tagged ‘Color’

Let’s be perfectly honest, this is not the best anthology series in the history of ever. I’m not going to do the run down of Stephen King’s career, or chronicle the ups and downs of his work here. Lately, I’ve found that no two people can really agree when exactly it was that they stopped loving the man’s work or when exactly things just plain stopped working for them. My particular view is that King has always been sort of lopsided and uneven. There are moments of brilliance and moments that don’t work and it’s up to each person to pick and choose what does and doesn’t work for them. However, for the most part, Nightmares & Dreamscapes didn’t much work for me. One problem was that it was greatly shot in Australia, but it’s trying to look like America (Or in one case, London) and it just doesn’t. That’s less of a problem here, as part of the show was shot in San Francisco (or someplace trying to look like it mixed with stock footage and matte shots) and the other part was just on a soundstage. None of that is very important though, the only really important question is “Does it work?” or possibly “Is it entertaining?” since I’ve admitted things that are complete train wrecks can be entertaining.

Well, the answer is “Yes.” A further answer might be, “It’s not the best Stephen King adaptation that’s ever been made, but it’s certainly the most fun.”

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Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984/ Lucasfilm/ Dir. Steven Spielberg)

Oh yeah, the first Indy movie I’m going to review and it’s one of the most infamous sequels ever made. Let’s get a statement out of the way straight off, this is a flawed movie. It’s the weakest of the trilogy, and yes I know Crystal Skull exists. We’ll talk about that one some day. It doesn’t work like the others, it doesn’t seem to fit with the others, and there are parts that make even a strong man wince. There is also a woman who spends more time screaming than talking, which I’ll get to. However, there is a lot to defend, or at least understand here, so I won’t just smack it around with a leather strap and call it a day. Besides, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is the Kill Bill of 1984 and most people don’t even know it. Yes, I will explain that statement. Good movies deserve better than that, and while this might not be a great movie, it is a good one, no matter what those wankers on the internet might say.

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Okay, so when I first heard the concept of Brick, I was not a fan. Oh goodie, I thought, a Film Noir set in a high school. There will be teens in fedoras and talking fast like their trying to be Jimmy Cagney, despite the fact that Cagney never made a film noir because he was too big a star to be in those b movies. To be perfectly frank, I was expecting a high school version of Bugsy Malone, complete withy pie shooting machine guns. However, I heard some things and someone sent me the movie as a gift and I had to watch it then. So I watched it and was pleased to discover that my fears were misplaced. This wasn’t a bunch of teenagers playing at film noir, it was film noir playing with a bunch of teenagers. That probably sounds like I said the same thing, but it’s the difference of “I mean what I say is the same thing as I say what I mean.” If you get my drift. To put it in a short, declarative sentence: These guys got what film noir means rather than just trying to ape what it looks like.

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Movie Review: Ronin

Posted: May 27, 2011 in Movie Review, Reviews
Tags: , , , ,

You k now what I think? I think they should make the whole plane out of the stuff they make the black box out of. You know what else I think? I think that Ronin is the last great action movie of the 70s. I say that for a few reasons, but the number one is that everything just feels like the 70s here. I should expand it to the late 60s as well, but you get my meaning perhaps. It would fit right in with a night of watching great action/thrillers like The Ipcress File, The Day of the Jackal and The French Connection. You could have made this movie in 1975 and only a few changes in technology would have to be downgraded. Of course, some of those downgrades would change plot points, so lets be glad things are as they are. The point is that this is an old fashioned action movie, the sort they just don’t seem to make anymore. Of course it was old fashioned at the time, which was part of the point, I suspect. Either way, let’s talk about a great action movie…

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The Fearless Hyena (1979/ Goodyear Movie Company/ Dir. Jackie Chan)

Really? All the movies I’ve reviewed and this is the first Jackie Chan movie? Huh, that’s odd. This is as good a place as any to start with Chan. As far as I’m able to tell, this is Chan’s first directorial effort, even though Kenneth Tsang helped out. The thing is, this is a really cheap movie. Really cheap. You know how Shaw Brothers movies tend to look like a poor man’s version of old Hollywood movies? No? Do we need a Shaw Brothers primer? Okay, note to self, review a Shaw Brothers classic sometime. Let me break it down quickly. A lot of the Shaw’s movies were studio bound in a way that soap operas would find embarrassing. I’ve seen Shaw films that have almost no exterior shots, despite the fact that much of the movie ostensibly takes place outside. One Armed Swordsman comes to mind. The Shaws did build a backlot, and used it to great effect, but many movies still have a great deal of indoor studio shooting. The reason I bring this up is that things like Fearless Hyena didn’t have as much money as a Shaw production. That’s my point. They’re not even as expensive as a poor man’s knock-off. However, along with more exterior shoots (the forest is CHEAP!) there is also a bit more soul here. Chan and company are working their butts off to produce a new kind of kung fu movie. It worked too, this movie even supplanted Chan’s break-out film Drunken Master as the highest grossing movie in Hong Kong.

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Blade Runner (1982/ The Ladd Company/ Dir. Ridley Scott)

There isn’t much to say about the movie Blade Runner really. Well, there isn’t much new to say at any rate. It’s not a movie that has been ignored as a discussion point over the years, so why review it? Well, I’m going to go from the angle I went with for the recent review of Jurassic Park and compare it to the source material, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick. I’ll be honest now and say that I enjoy both the movie and the book, so I won’t attack one using the other as a bludgeon. I will say I enjoy them both in different ways, and I hope to explore that in this review. So let’s have a look at the two and hopefully get you to either read one or watch the other. As another note, there are several versions of this movie running around. Instead of picking this version or that version, I decided to review the two major versions. As well as the book, I’ve decided to review The International Cut and The Final Cut for this review. I could have done some of the others, but the review is already late as it is so let’s just go with that.

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Desperado (1995/ Columbia Pictures/ Dir. Robert Rodriguez)

This is an interesting mixture of both varieties of movie that were popular during the mid nineties. Desperado straddles the line between two-fisted action and independent/foreign art house style films. I’m not joking about that second part either, there are a lot of shots and ideas that are far more familiar to the art house scene rather than the action movie of the time. In many ways it feels like it has more in common with the art house, particularly since there was a flavor for low-budget Latin movies at the time this came out. This movie was also like another kind of import, that being the Hong Kong Heroic bloodshed, however as this connection is more obvious I won’t dwell on it.

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Jurassic Park (1993/Universal/Dir. Steven Spielberg)

I decided to re-read the book before watching the movie, which might be considered a mistake by some people. I know people who would have said I should have skipped one or the other of my experiences, but I had my reasons. I wanted to be able to compare the two products, movie and book and see what the differences were. My thoughts can be condensed, and then expanded upon. Jurassic Park: The Book is kind of a dumb diatribe against science, written by a profoundly stupid man. Jurassic Park: The Movie is a fun movie with a few weak spots. I’ll expand on those two statements, but that’s the gist of my feelings.

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Seven Swords (2005 Mandarin Films & Eng Wah Dir. Tsui Hark)

This is a movie that should have been awesome, but fell short of that lofty goal. The reasons it should have been awesome are easy to see just from the people involved. Tsui Hark reinvigorated the Wuxia genre in the 90s, Donnie Yen is one of the biggest stars in HK cinema, the other actors are hardly unknowns, and it’s based on one of those books that I’m told is a favorite in Chinese culture. Of course, that’s maybe where things start to go wrong. The movie bears little resemblance to the book in question. Much of the story telling is put on the shoulders of characters that weren’t written to hold such weight, and the action is underwhelming. However, all that said, there are things to like in this movie as we’ll see. This isn’t a movie without merit, and some might look beyond the weaknesses and really fall in love with this thing.

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Bandidas (2006 Dir. Joachim Rønning & Espen Sandberg)

This is not a bad movie, it’s just not a very good one. That’s sort of sad, because there are the makings of a great movie here and you can see glimmers of that great movie from time to time. A few small problems snowball into huge problems for the movie, but not to an extent that it actually becomes bad. This is a watchable film, but how much enjoyment you might get is greatly dependant on your personal feelings. I liked parts of the movie, but the movie as a whole product never quite comes together for me. Let’s break down the movie and see what works and what doesn’t.
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