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A few reviews
The Phantom (1996)    (US Amazon Prime)



Much like Escape from New York, The Phantom kinda sucks. The characters are one-dimensional, the dialogue is often laughable, and the story feels like a kid's brainstorm, full of baffling plot points and nonsensical geography. As for The Phantom himself, as game and muscular as Billy Zane is, he's rarely an imposing fighter at all, at one point attacking two thugs by squeezing their necks between his legs, causing his spandex'd butt to awkwardly wriggle on the right side of the screen. The whole thing is hopelessly childish.

And yet... that's why it works as well as it does. The music is stirring, the location shooting and sets are spectacular, the action is coherent, and the overall photography, while not quite inspired, is solid. Zane's extra-wide smile is a great fit for his ludicrous costume, Treat Williams is a hoot as the gleeful villain, and the pace never lets up. What's more, there's barely any noticeable CG; as an atmospheric piece alone, the movie succeeds. (It's almost, but not quite, enough to forgive director Simon Wincer for setting the climax in an underground aquatic lair with canals and submarines, yet inexplicably failing to soak Catherine Zeta-Jones' and Kristy Swanson's clothes!) I'll take a Phantom flick that lives up to the character's exceedingly low promise over a disappointing Indiana Jones sequel (which is all of them) just about every day. Anyhow, serious fans of Indy, The Mummy '99, or modern retro-pulp films in general should give this a spin - they almost certainly won't hate it , and just might love it.

Grade: B-

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^Sorry, I'm one "serious fan of Indy" who pretty much hated that.  For me, films begin and end with the script.  A good script will shine through no matter what else screws it up, whereas you can put all the window dressing you want on a bad script, it'll still be a dumb movie.
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(05-13-2020, 04:47 PM)mnkykungfu Wrote: ^Sorry, I'm one "serious fan of Indy" who pretty much hated that.  For me, films begin and end with the script.  A good script will shine through no matter what else screws it up, whereas you can put all the window dressing you want on a bad script, it'll still be a dumb movie.

I certainly respect that view, but my thoughts on Indy are that Raiders has an excellent script, Crusade has a decent one, Skull has a cluster-mess of one and Temple barely has a script at all. (Haven't seen the TV series.) So, I too call myself a "serious Indy fan" in that I love Raiders, but if "serious Indy fan" means considering the film franchise to be at least 50% good, well, count me out. Tongue
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I loved 'Phantom' as a teen, it had one of 1985's 'Defenders of the Earth' in it after all Smile :



I liked the simplicity of the costume. One of the few films that actually looks like a comic (OG Superman included) and doesn't try to make it look like armour. I'd be interested to see if the film holds up at all one of these days.
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The Phantom is just good swashbuckling fun. Great music, great location shots, not too serious but not overly campy. I especially love the end credits shots and music.

Check out Bionicbob's The Phantom Strikes also, even though he cut out the entire end credits and cut the music short, a note that I complained about in my review Angry
https://ifdb.fanedit.org/the-phantom-strikes/
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(05-13-2020, 11:02 PM)TM2YC Wrote: I loved 'Phantom' as a teen, it had one of 1985's 'Defenders of the Earth' in it after all Smile :

What a coincidence... I loved Defenders of the Earth as an almost-teen.  Wink

I've come to realize that I think there are people who are looking for pure escapism from their superhero films, and they tend to be much kinder of shortcomings in the plot or character.  And then there are people like me who think the best comic book films pull them into a world that seems almost plausible.  Maybe a good example would be like Burton's Batman vs Nolan's.

The Phantom is definitely in that first camp, for what that's worth.
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(05-14-2020, 09:27 PM)mnkykungfu Wrote:
(05-13-2020, 11:02 PM)TM2YC Wrote: I loved 'Phantom' as a teen, it had one of 1985's 'Defenders of the Earth' in it after all Smile :

What a coincidence... I loved Defenders of the Earth as an almost-teen.  Wink

I've come to realize that I think there are people who are looking for pure escapism from their superhero films, and they tend to be much kinder of shortcomings in the plot or character.  And then there are people like me who think the best comic book films pull them into a world that seems almost plausible.  Maybe a good example would be like Burton's Batman vs Nolan's.

The Phantom is definitely in that first camp, for what that's worth.

It’s good to hear that you’re not kind to Nolan’s many shortcomings in plot and character. Tongue
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Mid90s (2018)
Jonah Hill makes his assured directing debut (also writing and producing) in this skateboarding coming-of-age gem. The 4:3 16mm sun-bleached LA cinematography is beautiful and helps evoke the era. 12-year old Sunny Suljic is incredible in the lead role, he matches any seasoned older actor. The skate gang were in danger of being irritating "bros" but then the story goes deep on why they are all the way they are. It's often harrowing and bleak but life affirming too. I look forward to more films directed by Hill.

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(05-15-2020, 01:15 AM)Moe_Syzlak Wrote: It’s good to hear that you’re not kind to Nolan’s many shortcomings in plot and character. Tongue

I refuse to take the bait on that.  Though if you want to talk about how all that falls apart in the third act of Interstellar, I'm on board.  Smile
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(05-15-2020, 01:49 PM)TM2YC Wrote: Mid90s (2018)
Jonah Hill makes his assured directing debut (also writing and producing) in this skateboarding coming-of-age gem. The 4:3 16mm sun-bleached LA cinematography is beautiful and helps evoke the era. 12-year old Sunny Suljic is incredible in the lead role, he matches any seasoned older actor. The skate gang were in danger of being irritating "bros" but then the story goes deep on why they are all the way they are. It's often harrowing and bleak but life affirming too. I look forward to more films directed by Hill.


Mid90s was pretty great. Good job Jonah Hill
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