If this is your first time here please read our FAQ and Rules pages. They have some useful information that will get us all off on the right foot. More details on our policies, especially our Own the Source rule are available here. If you do not understand any of these rules send a private message to one of our staff for further details.

Garp's Franchise Film reviews
Chandler wrote some original scripts such as the 1946 noir 'The Blue Dahlia' (he got an Oscar nomination for it).

The Star Trek homage would be fun to watch after seeing the real thing:

[+] 1 user Likes TM2YC's post
Reply
BONUS: 'Dracula Untold' [2014]

Sometimes touted as the unofficial start of Universal's Dark Universe franchise, 'Dracula Untold' sees Luke Evans play Vlad the Impaler in this historical-fantasy-horror hybrid.

Vlad is being harassed by the Turks. In an attempt to become superhuman, he seeks the consul of a strange pale figure in the caves. On drinking his blood, Vlad has three days of magical powers to defeat the Turks and abstain from consuming human blood or become an immortal monster.

Tonally, 'Dracula Untold' feels very much like 'Dark Prince' [2000], which I've reviewed previously. It takes the legend of Vlad and adds a nonsensical fairy-tale element with the 'Three Days to Break the Curse' plot device. Thus, the film becomes one of suspense. There's little doubt that Vlad will succumb and become Dracula, but it teases the how and why. Evans is good in the lead role, although the writers aren't entirely sure what his character should be. He veers from Hitler to Chamberlain back to Hitler again throughout the film. I suspect they were trying for 'tragic hero' and they come close. But he's not the villain. Charles Dance has that role and sinks his teeth into it (I'm sorry...). Sarah Gadon plays Vlad's wife with parental vigor, and the atmosphere is appropriately dark and moody.

If this was supposed to be Drac's backstory for the abandoned multi-verse - the final contemporary scene suggesting that it was - then it's a strange one. Was Dracula to become a villain later or continue to be the misunderstood loner-hero that's portrayed here? It also comes across as too cerebral to be any way connected to the silly 'Mummy' film that Cruise screwed up three years later. On its own, I enjoyed it, although it doesn't really do anything particularly special, to be honest. Not at all as I expected, though and, after the appalling 'Mummy [2017]', it was a pleasant surprise.
It's not the years, it's the mileage.
I'm writing a book! Check out my progress at Good Morning, Page or on Facebook or Twitter
Reply
BONUS: 'The Mummy Resurrected' [2014]

Six attractive girls and an eccentric archaeologist enter a tomb, get trapped and start dying in this low budget horror.

It took me a while (I'm not always quick on the uptake) but I finally realised that 'The Mummy Resurrected' was yet another spin on the familiar Bram Stoker tale 'Jewel of the Seven Stars'. I mean, the clues were right there, come to think of it - the father-daughter relationship, and the entrance with the constellation of the Plough/Big Dipper. We're thrown right into the plot with little backstory - who are these six attractive girls, why are they in Egypt, what exactly happened to the father in the prologue and why doesn't anyone trust him? If any of these questions were answered, I missed them. No matter. It's not long before they're all trapped in the tomb, anyway, and the story gets going.

'The Mummy Resurrected' is sort of like 'The Descent' but without the talent. The acting here ranges from awkward to average, though the scriptwriters don't do anyone any favours. As the group are picked off one by one, the girls react with frustration and annoyance, as if they've just dropped their cellphone into the toilet. There isn't any sign of palpable fear as they consider their plight. Trapped in a tomb and our friends keep dying mysteriously? Bummer.

Stuart Rigby plays the father, looking weirdly like a bearded, British Tom Cruise. His job is to appear creepy and incant an Egyptian phrase over and over. Meanwhile, a dodgy-looking mummy shuffles about, breathing on people.

Surprisingly, the sets don't look half bad, and the girls die in a variety of different ways to keep you interested, just. The ending has a "Really? That's it?" quality, which fits with the rest of the film, actually. It's not altogether terrible, just mostly pointless.
It's not the years, it's the mileage.
I'm writing a book! Check out my progress at Good Morning, Page or on Facebook or Twitter
Reply
BONUS: 'The Falcon takes over' [1942]

 I’m starting my Philip Marlowe franchise with a film that doesn’t actually feature him. ‘The Falcon takes over’ is based on Raymond Chandler’s ‘Farewell, my lovely’ but substitutes George Sanders as Gay Lawrence (The Falcon) in the lead role. The film features the usual array of pulp characters with great names, such as “Goldie” Locke and Moose Malloy. Ostensibly, the film is about missing jewels and murder, but it’s really just an excuse to have some noir-lite with wise-cracking banter.
 
My introduction to George Sanders began with one of the first films I ever remember seeing at the cinema – a re-release of ‘The Jungle Book’ with Sanders voicing Shere Khan. It’s impossible for me to watch him now without that voice conjuring memories of the jutting jaw and giant paws of a tiger. Such nostalgia means I’m incapable of disliking a George Sanders film, even if they are average ones like this.
 
No time is wasted with characterization – this is a 65 minute B-movie after all. This was Sanders third film as the Falcon, and I was lost having never seen the previous two. It seems he is an independent man of means who catches crooks on the side while being devilishly suave with the ladies. Sanders plays the Falcon with a twinkle in his eye that Cary Grant would later copy. He is not taking this seriously, but his enthusiasm and fun is infectious. Allen Jenkins is his sidekick as the aforementioned “Goldie” Locke, with a voice also associated in my mind with a cartoon cat, strangely enough; he was the voice of Officer Dibble in ‘Top Cat’. The banter between the two is entertaining, making another double act shown here unnecessary. There’s the world-weary cop and his simpleton subordinate, which didn’t work for me.
 
And on the film goes, at a cracking pace, introducing dodgy psychics, a femme fatale and a girl reporter hungry for a scoop. I admit I lost the plot about halfway through, but no matter. There’s another fistfight just around the corner, or some more fast-talking back-and-forths to enjoy. It’ll be interesting to see what Dick Powell does with the role and story, with ‘Murder, my sweet’ from 1944 next.
It's not the years, it's the mileage.
I'm writing a book! Check out my progress at Good Morning, Page or on Facebook or Twitter
Reply
'Murder, my Sweet' [1944]

Dick Powell plays Philip Marlowe in this early film noir. Private Detective Marlowe is hired twice - once to find a missing dame name of Velma, another to accompany a man paying off a ransom. Things don't go well, but are these two events connected somehow..?

While 'The Falcon Takes Over' took Chandler's novel 'Farewell, my Lovely' and turned it into a semi-comic caper, 'Murder, my Sweet' plays it fairly straight. The elements for a hard-boiled noir thriller are here right off the bat: the shadows, the smoke, neon lights and narration that sizzles. The film is told in flashback, with Marlowe relating the events that led him to a dark and smoky interrogation room at the Police station.

Powell does a good job as Marlowe, being quick with the wit but also showing vulnerability and fallibility. He gets clobbered, drugged and seems on the brink of packing it all in more than once; towards the end, he reveals too much, putting his own life in danger. Powell's Marlowe is playful - note the hopscotch in the mansion's hallway - which gives extra nuance to the character I wasn't expecting. The supporting cast are also excellent, including Mike Mazurki as the stereotypical dumb hoodlum, Moose Malloy, and Miles Mander as an elderly husband; Claire Trevor as his wife gets to show great range as her character evolves.

The plot is easier to follow here than 'The Falcon...' - the extra 30 minutes helps - but it still doesn't matter. The rapid-fire banter, the style and atmosphere are what kept me immersed. Of course, part of the problem watching this film many years after it was made is that it seems derivative now - we've seen this stuff so many times - rather than the fresh, exciting impact it would have made at the time. How incredible that must have been.
It's not the years, it's the mileage.
I'm writing a book! Check out my progress at Good Morning, Page or on Facebook or Twitter
[+] 1 user Likes Garp's post
Reply
'Farewell, My Lovely' [1975]

Robert Mitchum steps into Philip Marlowe's gumshoes in this latest version of Raymond Chandler's novel, and the first to plump for the original title.

Mitchum is no stranger to film noir and seems like a good choice for Marlowe on paper. He's world-weary and lugubrious. And, unfortunately, too old for the part by this stage of his career. The film tries to get away with it by making it appear Marlowe is past his prime and willing to take any jobs he's offered. It sort of works, but it changes the dynamics with the other characters, one that the script doesn't bother to touch. Charlotte Rampling plays the ice cool femme fatale, channeling Lauren Bacall to a T, and Jack O'Halloran (later of 'Superman II) has his first ever film role as Moose Malloy. I have an inkling the dumb brute character wasn't too much of a stretch for him, but he does well enough. It is Sylvia Miles who knocks everyone else of the screen, though, as the drunken has-been performer; I wasn't surprised to later learn she was nominated for Best Supporting  Actress that year. (Sylvester Stallone makes an early appearance here too as a silent heavy, so fresh-faced it's almost off-putting.)

The film tries hard to recreate the look of the period, although too often it looked too 'Bugsy Malone' for my liking - a little too cartoony and fake. Still, it's harder-hitting than other previous entries, with more violence, nudity and language, as well as tackling (to an extent) the racism of the time and even a clunky reference to Hitler!

The film follows the plots of the other versions up to the halfway point, then diverges slightly. It's a little messier, but it's not really an easy story to follow anyway. Mitchum doesn't quite stick the landing on much of the quickfire dialogue, coming across as reciting lines rather than the quick-witted responses required. Overall, though, it's a worthy attempt and an interesting counterpoint to Dick Powell's earlier and superior portrayal.
It's not the years, it's the mileage.
I'm writing a book! Check out my progress at Good Morning, Page or on Facebook or Twitter
Reply
'The Big Sleep' [1946]

Humphrey Bogart playing Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe opposite Lauren Bacall. That may be all you need to know to entice you watch this 1946 classic. Forget the plot, just rejoice in the chemistry, the banter and the atmosphere.

Rarely has there been a film in which virtually every main actor is excellent. Bogart is Marlowe - the quips are effortless, the blood flows ice cold in his veins, yet he still admits to fear when the odds look stacked against him. Women love him - literally throwing themselves at him - but he only has eyes for Bacall. She, naturally, is excellent too - sly, seductive yet brash when necessary. The conversation in the restaurant between them virtually crackles with sexual tension - this was a later reshot scene, too, and the actors were married by this stage.

I watched both the theatrical version and the pre-release version prior to the reshoots a year later. Some of the differences are subtle, but the theatrical release is the winner. A lengthy scene in the DA's office halfway through in the pre-release version is probably the one that could have been kept, as it succinctly sums up the convoluted plot up to that point.

Ah, yes - the plot. If you had trouble keeping up in 'Farewell my Lovely', then you'll fare less well here, I'm afraid. Legend has it that even Chandler didn't quite know what happened to one of the characters when asked. Does it really matter? Not much, to be honest. It's enough to know that shady dealings are occurring and that pretty much everyone is bent. Given time and an ample supply of notepaper, I could possibly work out who did what to whom and why, but I can't say that my enjoyment was any less on both of my viewings without a complete understanding. I'm going to watch the hell out of this film in the future and I don't care whether I get any further with comprehending it or not. I'm just going to sit back and enjoy seeing Bogart and Bacall sizzle.
It's not the years, it's the mileage.
I'm writing a book! Check out my progress at Good Morning, Page or on Facebook or Twitter
[+] 1 user Likes Garp's post
Reply


Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 2 Guest(s)