Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Goin away for a while!

Hey people who visit my site sometimes. I won't be posting any reviews for a while as I'm going travelling for a year in Australia quite soon, in like a week, so I'm just trying to sort out all that goes into planning a year long holiday, which cuts into my movie watching and reviewing time. And on top of that it'll be a couple of months before I start posting new reviews, as it would kinda be best to enjoy the new country as much as possible and all that, without spending the large amount of time that goes into blog upkeeping. So there it is. See you in a few months!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Serial Mom (1994)

OK, with my fine powers of acute observation, I have come to the conclusion that this film uses just one method to try and impress us: contrasting 50s style, middle class, suburban, normal, "happy" families.............with something that is shocking, murder. And comedy. That sums up the entire movie, for me anyway. Like it works up to a certain point, it just doesn't go that extra mile to be funny, like it's not trying hard enough. It's also as if they drew up a rough draft of the movie, and then just went with that. It doesn't feel like it got polished, or worked on. You feel like there's a gem of a movie inside there, OK we've seen these movies before, but if they only mulled over the dialogue and some of the plot points for a while, they might have turned something out that was genuinely funny. So the premise is interesting enough, even if we've seen it before. We meet our "happy family". It's ultra stylised. Mother: "Good morning darling! Hi kids! Don't forget your lunch Chip. Have a great day at school!". Ahhhh. A fly buzzes around the kitchen table, the mother flips her insanity switch, SPLAT! Awkward moment. The mother has a shocking secret...............she kills people in her spare time! Oh no. So the entire movie is just about her putting on this "loving mother" appearance, then snapping when people piss her off, then she offs them. And her family, and loving but really stupid husband, not putting two and two together, while friends and neighbours get wacked by psycho bitch. Kathleen Turner, who I now think is pretty cool, puts in a good performance and does the best with what she's got, which aint much. I had an odd feeling about Mrs. Turner before I knew much about her for some odd reason. But the more I see of her, the more I like her. Like, she played that stupid, but really hot blonde in "Romancing The Stone", but then I've seen her since in "The Man With Two Brains" and now this, and it seems like she's not afraid to go out on a limb, and take a risk with certain roles. Like, she doesn't mind looking silly, which I like alot. There's nothing worse than someone who tries their best not to look silly, but in control at all times. Just relax a little! And Kathleen doesn't seem to mind at all playing a psychotic serial killer. That's pretty cool. I haven't seen any of John Waters movies before, but from what I've read it seems like he relies on mainly being shocking. Now these days, in my opinion, it's pretty hard to impress by just being shocking alone. It actually gets really annoying and lame. And even around that ancient time of 1994 it would've seemed hard with the likes of David Lynch around doing well with that sort of thing, another guy who's movies I haven't seen much of , but by the sounds of it he was a total freak. Well this clip gave me a good idea anyway: Haha what a nut. Actually, lookin at Lynch's filmography, I haven't seen any of his films. SEE! I don't mind looking silly! Let's all do it! Come on guys and gals! Wouldn't eat panties on youtube though. Anyway this movie was eeeeeehhhhhhhh, alright. I don't want to hate on it too much, but it could have been better (insert condescending tone). Ricky Lake is in it. Ok I'm sorry if I've just put you off watching the movie altogether. Sam Waterston(stupid dad), Matthew Lillard(horror movie fanboy son, comments on horror movies while ACTUALLY being in a horror movie! Haha how awesome!), Susan Somers makes an appearance, Traci Lords is in it woohoo, and......that's it I think. I'll give my random movie that I actually give a score to.............................wait for it...........................wait for it........................6/10.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Bullit (1968)

Bullit, directed by Peter Yates, stars Steve McQueen as Detective Frank Bullit, a tough as nails maverick cop who drives a Ford Mustang. But wait there's more. His job is: protect a key witness whose gonna testify against a crime syndicate in San Fransisco. Walter Chalmers (Robert Vaughn), an ambitious politician, wants him looked after until the day of the hearing. It's gonna do wonders for his career. But things don't go to plan, an attempt is made on the life of the witness. Bullit must get to bottom of this mess, while being pressured from above by the slimy politician who's threatening to crucify Bullit in the media if his witness doesn't get to testify.

And of course there is the classic car chase. Ford Mustang vs. Dodge Charger. Warner Bro's, who distributed the film, actually stood to make alot of mula out of the their kind advertising of the Mustang. What could be better than McQueen screeching his way around San Fransisco for an advertisement. "I fuckin want that!" are my thoughts exactly. I want a Mustang. I want to be Steve McQueen. I want Jacqueline Bisset as my girlfriend. Why not? For the love of God why not??? Great advertising.

Anyway, that car chase is really good. Nothin too flashy, nothin is made to look better than it really is. It's just really real, and friggin cool. The scenes weren't sped up, and McQueen did most of his driving stunts himself. Apparently he came to work one day and found his stunt man, Bud Ekins, being filmed drivin the Mustang and he got pretty mad, and cussed everyone out. What a badass. And San Fran is a great place for a car chase, with those crazy steep roads. What a great location. I think there has been better car chases since, but before the premier this was sposed to be a really huge event in action film history. It supposedly reinvented the car chase. Nicely done.

The story is simple enough. There are moments that will have you questioning Bullit's motives, but for the most part it holds up really well. Robert Duvall stars in a minor role as a cab driver, and has a decent crack at it. Jacqueline Bisset is the eye candy in the film as Bullit's girlfriend. She makes the odd appearance here and there, doesn't have much to say, but I'm OK with that. McQueen kinda just plays himself, he doesn't get to involved with his character, like he's kinda detached from everything, but in a way it works. If you're a cop, eventually things aren't gonna effect you that much and you'd get detached naturally. Maybe that was his plan all along, maybe not. Any how good job Steve.

I thought that I'd actually be like "holy shit, this film is great!!" before writing this review, but I've kinda toned down my enthusiasm . It's got a 97% approval rating on RottenTomatoes, but I dunno. It's like an 8/10 in my opinion. Just a really solid film. It's certainly not all non stop, sick to you're stomach action. The car chase is like 10 minutes long. But the rest of the film is slow paced, but still really interesting. So give it a look if you wanna tick it off that list of classics that you need to watch.

Oh, and that moment that kicks off the car chase is done brilliantly. Silence...........................................brooooooooom! Hell Yeah.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Masters of the Universe (1987)

OK, so to be totally honest I wasn't too disappointed with this film. It's actually somewhat entertaining. I was planning on laughing throughout, pointing my finger shouting "haha how silly, like get a clue people" or something to that effect, which i did do here and there, but for the most part I actually just had fun going along with the craziness. Like the plot isn't that great, so what, it's He-Man for fug sake! Infact the idea is to keep the plot as simple as possible in my opinion, and up the hamminess. More hamminess please. It actually could have done with more ham. Totally over act He-Man and Skeletor's parts while keeping the earth beings playing it totally straight, like "What the fuck are monsters doing in California!!?? Woooaahh stop the boat! What the hell is going on??? What the fuck is that little midget troll thing?" Something like what Jay does in Dogma. "The fuck! Who the fuck?? What the fuck??"

So the plot goes: Skeletor(Frank Langella, guy who plays Richard Nixon in Frost/Nixon) has taken control of castle Greyskull, and has taken the hot Scorceress(Christina Pickles) prisoner with his magic powers. Woooooooo scary..... Outside in the land of Eternia there was one mother of a huge BATTLE! that just took place where Eternia's warriors were decimated by Skeletor's armies, which we never get to see. Extras are too expensive(even for a $17 million film) so we see like 5 of skeletors warriors ambushed by our hero, the one the only, Ivan Drago from Rocky IV, "I Have The Powerrrrrrrrr!!!".................HE-MAN!!!! Played by Dolph Lundgren. Who is possibly, scratch that definitely the worst actor in the film. He kinda says his line then looks at his muscles to reassure himself that he's got something to offer. "Jesus that line was terrible, but god almighty do I have great pecs".

Anyway, makin this simple.......He-Man, along with Man-At-Arms(cool name I think) and Teela find this little troll midget dude, Gwildor, who fucked up and gave Skeletor a teleporting device, the cosmic key, but Gwildor kept a prototype. They enter the Castle to save the Sorceress, but have to leg it when they're outnumbered, and transport themselves to a totally random part of the universe............happens to be California, United States, Planet Earth. Low Budget.

Julie(played by Courtney Cox, very well I think) is planning on leaving town to start a new life. She's saying her last goodbyes to her boyfriend Kevin, when they stumble across the cosmic key, which got lost in He-Man and co's teleportation. Skeletor and co are able to track this device, and when they eventually do, all hell breaks out in the small Californian town. He-Man must retrieve the Cosmic Key, prevent innocents on Earth getting caught up in the mess, return to Castle Greyskull and save the hot blonde Sorceress. Skeletor wants to enslave He-Man, his eternal pain in the ass, return to Eternia with the last remaining cosmic Key, and become a super god when Eternia's moon aligns with castle Greyskull. Understandable.

It's a really easy film for people to hate on, but it's got it's good points too. Mainly, really cheesy characters who are fun to watch when they're not taking things too seriously. Courtney Cox was good to watch, as was James Tolken(Bald guy in Top Gun) who plays this "cop with an attitude". The effects are terrible, but you know they're "so bad they're good" in a way. As I said Dolph Lundgren was woeful, but he never had that much dialogue, other than "let's go!" or "come on!". The little midget guy was quite annoying. Other than that, not such a terrible way to spend an afternoon.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Radio Days (1987)

Radio Days was directed by Woody Allen, and is quite a hard film to explain. I haven't watched that many Woody Allen films, the reason being whenever I sit down to watch one, I seem to come up with a brilliant excuse not to watch it. I don't know why it is but they don't get me hooked in. Every character feels like they're Woody. Every character seems to just channel Woody's persona, and I just lose interest. Some people might say the same thing about Quentin Tarantino, that all his characters seem like replica's of himself, but his movies are still genius in my opinion, so it's hard to explain really.

So as I said this movie is really hard to explain, plotwise. The only explanation I can give of it is that it's more about just capturing the feeling and atmosphere of a Jewish family living in New York from the late 1930's to the mid 1940's and the Golden Age of Radio before those evil moving picture sets came to town. So Woody grows up listening to the radio, and imagining all these great shows like "The Masked Avenger" in his head, as you would with radio, and there seems to be some great benefit to doin it this way, rather than actually watching TV. I don't know.

Anyway, it's an Ok film. I personally could not relate to any of it. It's a nostalgic film, for people who once lived similar lives to Woody, and for the rest of us it's just an interesting thing just to observe and try appreciate for what it is. I thought it looked, and sounded great, like if I saw a small clip of it I'd think that it was something really special. But when you add all the parts together, it just doesn't do much. The obvious reason being that it doesn't really have a plot. It's more like a bunch of comical little scenes stitched together, with snappy screwball dialogue, but what it all amounted to was just a bit random in my opinion. I wish I could "get" it but I just didn't. Maybe it's coz i'm just a big stupid head.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Pawnbroker (1965)

The Pawnbroker is one of the greatest character studies I have ever seen. It tells the story of Sol Nazerman(Rod Steiger), a German-Jewish university professor who survives imprisonment in a Nazi concentration camp, only to see his wife, children, friends, everything that he ever loved taken away from him in the most brutal and terrifying ways possible. We observe Sol, twenty years on, living and working in Harlem, New York City.

He runs a pawnshop, and encounters every sort of scumbag and cretin around. A coke head selling his mothers radio for a lousy two dollars for his next fix, a racketeer who uses Sol and his business as a front for his own shady dealings, and then there are people that basically visit Sol just for the conversation, just to hear themselves talk, and feel connected to someone. But Sol is on his own planet altogether. What he has done is subconsciously rid himself of any emotion whatsoever. He's gone totally numb from the experiences he's had. If you can imagine having everything you ever knew, everyone you ever loved being, witness the death of all of that, and to survive it all, just try and imagine how in the world someone could cope with that. What would you do? You now run a pawnshop, a guy comes in to your store, tries to start up a conversation about the weather or some shit, and you're thinking about that day you saw your wife raped by German officers. Or seeing your best friend chased by Alsatians then beaten to death with clubs. You'd be living in hell for the rest of your life. I can't begin to imagine how it really feels, but I can understand on my own basic level.

Basically this movie is seriously depressing. It's brutal. There's no redemption or salvation from his life and it's terrifying to witness. And just thinking about the fact that there are millions of Sol Nazerman's out there in the world who have their own stories to tell is just frightening, and really scares the shit out of me. And the way that life has that tendency to repeat itself over and over again throughout every decade and century is just.....oh my goooooood.......aaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh! I know this is just a movie, but it really effected me on a personal level, OK to a waaaaaaaaaaay lesser degree than Sol Nazerman, but I can still connect enough with the basic feelings of it. It's one of those movies that just really hits you with a ton of bricks, and leaves you shattered. The movie that comes closest to it in my mind is American History X, or in terms of the study of loniless would be Taxi Driver. That kind of film. Really makes you think. So if you wanna be depressed for the next month or so, watch the Pawnbroker! But honestly it's one of the best movies I've seen, with one of the most convincing performances I've ever had the privilege to witness thanks to Rod Steiger.