Most new users don't bother reading our rules. Here's the one that is ignored almost immediately upon signup: DO NOT ASK FOR FANEDIT LINKS. First, read the FAQ. Seriously. What you want is there. You can also send a message to the editor. If that doesn't work THEN post in the Trade & Request forum. Anywhere else and it will be deleted and an infraction will be issued.
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.
Favorite Edit of the Year (FEOTY) Nominations for 2020 are now open! Submit your entries here.
I just listened to Empire Magazine's ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD spoiler cast, and I learned the western pilot being filmed in the movie, was an actual TV Western called the Lancers. I pride myself on being a tv western addict, but I had never heard of that one before.
Here is the original tv scene that Tarantino recreated...
After seeing 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood' I fancied watching some tangentially related late-60s/early-70s films set in Los Angeles. 'Easy Rider' was shot in the same year as Tarantino's is set and represents the new wave that Dalton feels left behind by, also his cowboy outfit looks inspired by that of Dennis Hopper's. 'Chinatown' is Directed by Roman Polanski, who features in the Tarantino film and 'The Long Goodbye' is about a man from a different era, out of step with the hip new L.A.
Easy Rider (1969)
I first watched 'Easy Rider' a very long time ago, so this was basically like seeing it new. The iconic jukebox Pop/Rock soundtrack is terrific, a choice that was apparently groundbreaking in 1969. The plot is minimal, two bikers (Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper) score big on a drug deal (with Phil Spector) and set off on a road-trip from L.A. to New Orleans in time for Mardi Gras. It's more about their experiences along the way, 1969 America seen through new counter-cultural eyes. They befriend a delightfully shambolic lawyer along the way (played by Jack Nicholson) but their long hair, wild clothes and free spirits attract anger from rednecks. The shots of Monument Valley have rarely looked more beautiful as they ride through. The editing is bold and unusual but the tight 95-minute runtime makes what could be a meandering experience sail by.
The Long Goodbye (1973) Robert Altman re-invents the Film-Noir detective genre, with Elliott Gould playing Philip Marlowe as a disheveled slob, mumbling the trademark Noir voiceover out loud to his cat. Arnold Schwarzenegger has an early cameo as a heavy for an oddball gangster who orders all his men to strip down to their pants in a bizarre attempt to intimidate Gould. Marlowe lives opposite an apartment filled with topless hippie girls doing yoga on the balcony, a fact that only he seems unimpressed by. There is a running gag where characters interact with a parking attendant who does flawless impersonations of Hollywood actors. It's a bit like the odd 70s twist Paul Thomas Anderson's 'Inherent Vice' put on the genre, except the plot isn't virtually incomprehensible. 'The Long Goodbye' is a kooky character study and an enjoyable watch.
I couldn't remember if I've seen this before, or I'm just familiar with a few scenes. Roman Polanski's film is stylistically a fairly traditional Film-Noir, updated with for the 70s with even more violence, cynicism and darker themes than were permissible back in the heyday of the genre. Robert Towne's script cleverly uses our expectations of certain Noir character tropes to throw in a few twists and it's a solidly structured mystery, unlike some other convoluted/nonsensical detective films. It occurred to me that Leonardo DiCaprio sometimes does a close imitation of Jack Nicholson's style of acting in this film. If you loved 1997's 'L.A. Confidential', then you are sure to like this too.
...plus I watched 'Rebel Without a Cause' (review here) which is also shot/set in L.A. and features a teenage Dennis Hopper. Co-star Natalie Wood's mysterious yacht death in 1972 was apparently the inspiration for a similar suspicious death which is mentioned in Tarantino's film.
Spoilers for 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood':
I was reading about the Manson family's ranch and a stuntman and former soldier called Donald "shorty" Shea. He lived and worked at the Spahn Western set and tried to help the elderly owner (played by Bruce Dern in the film) to evict the Manson family but they brutally murdered him and buried the body at the ranch. So it isn't just Sharon Tate and her friends that stuntman/veteran Cliff gets "revenge" for at the end of the film. Cliff is shown offering to help the owner of the ranch, then beating up Clem Grogan (one of Shea's real life killers) and escaping the ranch alive.
Far from the Madding Crowd (1967)
I was engrossed in every minute of the nearly 3-hour runtime (including an intermission) of this John Schlesinger adaptation of Thomas Hardy's novel. An early Victorian world of folk songs, barn dances and wassails that still exists in rural pockets of England today. The central character's moods lie in sympathy with the changing of the seasons, the violence of nature and the well being of the local country folk. The three suitors vying for the hand of Bathsheba Everdene (Julie Christie) each reflect facets of her personality. Terence Stamp is imperious and callous, Peter Finch is grave and romantic and Alan Bates is kind and practical. The glorious colour Cinematography by future Director Nicolas Roeg picks out the golden wheat, green fields and blood red of Stamp's tunic.
Critics savaged this now decade-old remake as a shallow remake of a 70s classic (which I haven't seen), but it's a perfectly respectable popcorn streamer on its own terms, with Denzel and Travolta doing solid work. (It's certainly better than the absurd recent Liam Neeson-led NYC transportation thriller The Commuter.) I'm knocking a point off, however, for Tony Scott's pointlessly frenetic photography and editing during the action bits. An amusing detail is the brief but repeated usage of some rather crappy Google Earth graphics zooming around the city - when Premium Rush used the same technique three years later, the visuals were much better, and not at all embarrassing.
Mindhunter Season Two (2009)
Mindhunter's second season is... fine. (As was its first.) The team is called upon to catch an active predator this season, namely the perpetrator of the Atlanta Child Murders, which I'd never heard of. The humdrum romantic travails of the protagonists remain mostly dull, though there's a more sinister (and controversial, from a storytelling standpoint) B-plot this time around. I'm not a true crime buff, though I love Fincher's Zodiac, and despite the gruesome subject matter, the itself is low-key enough that the time goes by fairly pleasantly, with great acting all around.
^ Disappointing to read Mindhunter S2 is only "fine". The same creator/writer/producer of S1 doesn't seem to have been involved this time. Hopefully I like it when I get a chance to see it.
Au Revoir Les Enfants (1987)
This is the first Louis Malle film I've watched and is now one of my favourites. Malle based it on his own experiences of attending a Catholic boarding school in Nazi occupied France that secretly hid a few Jewish children (see Père Jacques). The film and the superb young cast perfectly capture the way boys behave at an age teetering between childhood and manhood. The camera never takes us away from their world of tedious lessons and playground roughhousing, so we experience some of their blissful ignorance of the dangers we know are closing in. The scene showing the school kids enjoying a Charlie Chaplin silent short was designed to make me love this movie.
^ Well, I wasn't as fond of the first season as you were, so you might love S2. I myself enjoyed it a bit more than S1, frankly...
Stay (2019, on US Amazon Prime)
A no-budget indie I happened upon. A beautiful young woman wakes up in an unfamiliar home with an electric shock collar around her neck. Her captor, when not shocking her, or threatening her family if she doesn't follow his commands to cook and clean and act graciously, is himself a relatively (given the context) pleasant young man. The movie takes itself seriously enough to mostly maintain credible psychological interactions, though certain details (how he captured her, how he can apparently afford to not work, why her only real attempt at violence is unplanned and ineffective) are elided.
The dramatic hook of the story is whether Stockholm Syndrome can be deliberately inflicted upon an intelligent, modern-day woman without the use of drugs or seriously injuring violence, though the captor doesn't appear to have developed credible long-term plans for their future as a mutually willing couple. Despite some first-rate camera angles in the first scene, the visuals are generally dully proficient and overlit, shot on a cheap camera and without much style. Though the premise suggests an exploitation vibe, the male gaze is avoided, and viewers hoping for a live-action non-consent Literotica wank story will be disappointed. The leads are decent enough actors; the woman is quite the beauty, and the guy somewhat resembles Brandon Routh.
The woman's opening narration teases a victory on the captor's part the rest of the story skimps out on, which is more credible but also less interesting. There comes a point at which a safe and morally upright treatment of an inherently vile and sleazy story renders the whole thing somewhat pointless from an audience perspective, though as a learning feature for those involved, I imagine one could do far worse. Still, given that this is a movie available for public streaming, I won't grade on a amateur's curve.
That's actually the one I've got (along with the initial 2006 release), which I assumed was the same transfer as the 2009 Skynet Edition, as blu-ray.com didn't review it. So, I've got the best one, then! Sweet!
Ahhh , finally a half decent version of Terminator 2 to enjoy at home.
Fear Eats the Soul (1974)
West-German Director Rainer Werner Fassbinder is rapidly becoming one of my favourites. The way he composes figures inside the 4:3 frame is so powerful, conveying their emotions through relations with negative space and environment. Emmi, a short, podgy, old, white German cleaning lady takes refuge in a bar on a rainy night and strikes up a charming love affair with Ali, a tall, muscular, much younger, black Moroccan immigrant worker. They are blissfully happy together at first but their visual mismatch and (then) controversial interracial relationship brings derision, vitriol and miserable isolation from friends, work colleagues and family. Brigitte Mira's performance is the highlight, her face drooping with misery, crumpled with nervousness, or lighting up with joy.
This fan made trailer is really nice and captures the spirit of the piece:
When people do the standard "My name is Michael Caine" impression, it's probably his performance as Alfie that they are thinking of. Alfie is a seemingly callous and self-centered womaniser who refers to women as "It" instead of "She" and evaluates them like used cars in a near constant 4th-wall breaking monologue. However, under his practiced bravado we see glimpses of feeling, loneliness and regret as his youth begins to fade. It's the 50 megawatt warmth of Michael Caine's personality shining out of the screen which makes us care about what is a quite mean and dark character on the page, so it's not surprising the 2004 remake got mixed reviews with a different actor. After 'Alfie', Director Lewis Gilbert's next job was joining the Bond franchise, starting with 'You Only Live Twice'.
Fight Club (1999)
I hadn't seen this in such a long time, so a 20th Anniversary Cinema screening was great to see. The satire is both acuity of it's time and timeless. Filmed a few months before the Columbine massacre, the scene where Edward Norton threatens his office manager with "pumping round after round into colleagues and co-workers" is chilling. The terrifying scene where he dreams of being in a crashing plane, the shots of skyscrapers being blown up and all the stuff about secret terror cells, seems to predict the events of September 11th, two years later. On the other hand, apart from the odd shot of a CRT television, you wouldn't know this was shot 20 years ago, fashions and the political, social and economic context have changed so little. I hadn't fully appreciated the cynical undercurrent of criticism beneath the film's anarchistic surface before. Tyler's anti-authoritarian and anti-consumer movement becomes the kind of corporate organisation he has rejected, it has it's own strict rules (famously), it's uniforms, filing systems, mandated tasks, routines and oppressive orthodoxies.
Some of the editing ideas don't translate to DLP cinema, the real change marks, the Tyler subliminal glitches, the film burns and gate distortion would have probably felt like possible genuine Andy Kaufman-esque problems with the projection back in the 35mm days, today the deliberate mistakes are reproduced with cold digital precision. Jeff Cronenweth's striking hi-contrast Cinematography has the unusual look of being lurid, dirty and over processed but also artfully lit in every shot. So why do most of his films with David Fincher since then look like low-contrast, monochromatic grey/green/brown smears. Worth seeing just to hear Pixies' 'Where Is My Mind?' on big cinema speakers.
The Marriage of Maria Braun (1979)
Again Director Rainer Werner Fassbinder explores post-war Germany, starting with the marriage ceremony of the title during an Allied bombing raid (symbolising what is to come for the couple). Maria (Hanna Schygulla) dedicates her life to her husband despite war, imprisonment, geographical separation and fate conspiring to keep them apart and disaster striking whenever they meet. Schygulla is captivating in the lead role, Fassbinder has such empathy for his damaged characters and the film looks much more visually polished than some of his other films. Another masterpiece.
The official BFI 47th best British film...
I'm All Right Jack (1959) 'I'm All Right Jack' is an Ealing Studios style farce (but from British Lion Films) satirising dysfunctional industrial relations. Everybody gets it with both barrels from the belligerent trade unionists, to the corrupt bosses. Ian Carmichael plays a naive middle-class graduate who fails to attain his expected managerial position, ends up on the militant shopfloor and so unwittingly becomes the cause of nationwide unrest. Peter Sellers plays his resolutely communist shop steward, comically trapped between sheltering this struggling new worker and railing against the upset he causes. The rest of the stellar cast is a whose-who of 50s Comedy including Terry-Thomas, Miles Malleson, Richard Attenborough, Dennis Price, Margaret Rutherford and John Le Mesurier.
BBC critic Mark Kermode described 'Bait' as "one of the defining British films of the year, perhaps the decade" and talked of people queuing round the block to see the film (when they could find somewhere playing it). Director Mark Jenkin shot it with an old clockwork camera on grainy black & white 4:3 16mm stock (home-developed himself) with a unusual post-synced soundtrack. So curiosity led me to drive an hour to the nearest Cinema that was playing the film but it was worth the trip. Edward Rowe plays Martin, an angry Cornish fisherman, dispossessed due to the influx of rich tourists. They've bought up his family home and his estranged brother has been reduced to using their father's boat for pleasure cruises but Martin refuses to bend to change and stalks around the village venting his frustration. All the film damage, scratches and light-leaks remind the viewer of the medium of film. It's not just an affectation, a filmmaker stubbornly (or heroically) using the film-making methods of a century ago in an age that has long gone digital, perfectly mirrors the theme of the story.
I've often wondered if post-synced sound could be taken beyond the techniques of Sergio Leone, into the realm of total deliberate artificiality. Jenkin rejects the usual notion of movie sound being something you should never notice or think about. He shows Martin dropping down a crate but we don't hear a simple thud, we hear a huge bell like boom, conveying his anger, not the real sound of the object. Purposefully repetitive sound samples of engines and clocks put the listener on edge, like the characters. The visual editing is bold and draws attention to itself too. Two arguing couples are rapidly and rhythmically inter-cut, until one couple cannot stand the dissonance and shouts stop. A character is shamed in front of the village, so we cut to faces looking at him, then more faces and this goes on and on until the viewer is as uncomfortable as the subject. Throughout the film ominous shots from the past and future are mingled in with the otherwise linear narrative to increase tension. I don't know about film of "the decade" but 'Bait' is definitely refreshingly different to almost anything you'll see or hear and very good.
There is a dream-like 8mm making of film about 'Bait'. Also hand processed:
Belly (1998) 'Belly' is the only feature film from prolific hip-hop video Director Hype Williams, with Nas, DMX and Method Man starring. The characters and plot are thin and it's probably not far from an exaggeration to say that 50% of the dialogue is composed of the words "F**k", "Mutha****a", "N***a", "B*tch", "Man", "Yo" and "Know what I'm sayin'" (especially the last one, characters say it twice in the same sentence). It's like a gangster rap fan-film version of 'Goodfellas', which embarrassingly tries to introduce a serious message at the 11th hour. However, the visuals are incredible, it's one of those debut films where the Director was determined to make every shot unique, through the framing, editing, composition, art direction and cinematography. Despite the flaws, it's worth seeing for the style and attitude alone.
Amusingly the subtitle writer on Amazon Prime didn't know what to do with half the dialogue from Louie Rankin due to his very heavy Jamaican accent, simply writing "Speaks Patois" for most of it, although his lines were understandable to me.
The Blue Max (1966)
I had never heard of this 60s WWI flying-ace epic (complete with intermission) until Peter Jackson mentioned it was one of his all-time favourites in a 'They Shall Not Grow Old' interview. I can see why, there are scenes of trench warfare that stretch as far as the eye can see and the aerial biplane stunt photography is astonishing. Douglas Slocombe's Cinematography (he did the Indiana Jones trilogy) is stunning and Jerry Goldsmith's score soars appropriately. It was a bold and interesting move to center the film on an unlikable anti-hero, driven by arrogance and bitterness, who most of the other characters in the movie also openly despise. Unfortunately star George Peppard's acting range is far too limited to play such a complex role. There are critical reaction shots where you are unable to tell if he is happy, sad, or indifferent. Plus I found it slightly distracting that he is the only one making no attempt at a German accent. It speaks to the overall quality of the production that he doesn't manage to ruin it. The ending is so damn good, all the narrative elements resolve in a fateful flourish of doomed glory. 'The Blue Max' is worth seeing for just the final flying sequence alone. The way the camera waltzes around between the crowd who are looking up at a plane swooping through the air above them captures the awe of flying like nothing I've seen before on film (The scene with Ursula Andress wearing nothing but two white hand-towels is pretty unforgettable too! ). I noticed that a couple of the cast reunited two years later for 'Where Eagles Dare', again playing German officers.
The Quatermass Xperiment (1955)
Hammer's first big Horror hit, a remake of the BBC Sci-Fi drama about an astronaut who arrives back on earth and starts to mutate into something else. John Carpenter has said it's one of his "all-time favourite science-fiction movies" and the influence on 1982's 'The Thing' is clear. The creature's ever shifting shape as it absorbs and samples other beings looks really gross in documentary-like black & white. The outdoor crashed rocket set looks impressive, the body-horror makeup is disturbing (it reminded me of 2009's 'District 9') and the many matte paintings are 1st class. A sequence where the characters watch the rocket's "black box" recorder was notable because it features similar rotating-set/fixed-camera/suspended-actors techniques to those that Stanley Kubrick would perfect 9-years later in '2001: A Space Odyssey'. Unfortunately Brian Donlevy is just awful as Prof. Quatermass, coming off more like an angry and simple-minded prohibition-era heavy, than a brilliant space scientist. You can really tell the top heavy HD 4:3 open-matte transfer streaming on Amazon Prime, was composed for 1.66:1 matte exhibition.
Thanks to @"musiced921" for the recommendation of this one:
Horror Express (1972) Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing are a delight as two rival scientists/explorers trapped on the Trans-Siberian Express in 1906 with an alien creature dug up from the ice (much like 'The Thing') in this Spanish answer to Hammer. I enjoyed the way the creature attack scenes were handled, especially the dark carriage where he is zapping all the soldiers with his red glowing eyes. Telly Savalas turns up for 5-minutes doing his "I'm European" backwards cigarette holding shtick from 'OHMSS'. It was a missed opportunity for extra fun to not have made the mad-monk character Rasputin, he looks identical and the dates/locations lined up. Not a masterpiece but a great 90-minutes of 70s horror entertainment.
65% Taken 35% Rambo
Not a terrible movie. Not a great one either.
Been there done that feeling all along.
If that movie was released before Taken it could be seen as something special, but in 2019 it's not.
Main problem being that the movie does not give you more than the trailer.
Second problem being some dialogue are too expository.
instead of saying "I want you to go to see your sister" (while it's obvious that both characters already talked about that since the woman is just about to leave with her car) why not say "Tell you sister I say hello". Simple changes like that can go a long way to improve the viewing experience . To be fair I saw the movie in french... (no original version available in my town that day... grrr). The guy doing Sly's voice is the same since the 80s and he's doing a fine job, but it's not the same as the real thing, really.
All in all I'm still pleased to have seen the movie. It's just that the end of part 4 was better as a final to the franchise (and it also was a better movie, period)
^ Last Blood was directed by the guy who made the pretty great Assault on Precinct 13 remake and the excellent Get the Gringo; I'm disappointed to hear he whiffed with this one.
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974)
Critics of Tony Scott's 2009 remake trashed that movie for being a pale reflection of a 1970s classic, but, after watching the newer flick first and the original second, I'm here to report that the older iteration is... fine? It's well made, and has some mildly interesting performances, but it's hardly a great film, IMO. Several reviews I just read have praised its leanness and efficiency, but it takes nearly 25 minutes for the hijacking plot to be put into motion, due to some rather leisurely editing and montage.
So, which version wins? With Denzel, Travolta, Turturro and Gandolfini, the remake has the better cast and more character development, but also has some annoying MTV editing and a cliched, OTT action climax. The newer one is more engaging, but the original is perhaps more interesting as a glimpse into the past. I'm going to call it a tie.
After having watched 'The Pink Panther' and 'A shot in the dark' within the last two weeks, I decided to view this 1968 film, the next in the Pink Panther/Inspector Clouseau franchise. It is the first one not to feature Peter Sellers (a few more were made following his death in the 80s) and was not directed by Blake Edwards. No other recurring characters feature - Dreyfuss or Cato, for example - and no recognisable Mancini score. There is, however, a Depatie-Freleng cartoon title sequence to at least offer an air of authenticity.
Unfortunately, and perhaps not surprisingly, the film itself is a failure. Alan Arkin tries his best to recreate Sellers effortless bumbling as Clouseau, but it just doesn't work. Maybe the gags aren't strong enough or the delivery falls flat, but I laughed only once during its 96 minutes. There are many familiar British character actors on show, who are putting on a brave face throughout this fiasco, including Beryl Reid sporting an outrageous Scottish accent. (Side note, I was a wine waiter to her once, many years ago. Not much of a claim to fame, admittedly.)
Not content with riding Sellers coattails, this film also tries to spoof the gadget-laden Bond films, with equally dismal results. The original trailer featured on the blu-ray is actually well-done and might have got me to the cinema, were I alive in 1968, making it seem like a madcap laughfest. It isn't, though.
The Old Dark House (1932)
A wonderful Universal Horror-Comedy made by James Whale between his two Frankenstein movies, featuring several of the same actors like Boris Karloff and Ernest Thesiger. Lost travelers (including Charles Laughton and Raymond Massey) take refuge from a wild storm in a mysterious Welsh house populated by an insane old family (who seem to consider their behavior normal). These young and sensible middle/working class people are prisoner to the whims of an ancient and degenerate upper class, an allegorical satire of post-WW1 British society. 'The Old Dark House' manages to be both very funny and scary at the same time. Apparently the film was almost lost until Director Curtis Harrington made it his mission to rescue it from oblivion in the Universal vaults in the late 60s. Thanks to his efforts I watched it in a beautiful 4K restored blu-ray transfer in 2019.
I've seen 'Ghostbusters' many times on TV, VHS, DVD and Blu-Ray but this was the first time on the big screen in stunning 4K. The pacing is precise, not just of the story but in the seamless way the film takes the viewer on a journey from spooky chills and mundane reality in the beginning, to bonkers crowd-pleasing fantasy by the end. A few of the stop-motion shots aside, the FX still look fantastic. Nobody plays a hissable pr*ck like William Atherton, you want him to lose, almost more than you want the heroes to win. The subtlety of the soundmix really shines on a theater setup, there were lots of little creepy noises I'd never noticed before. Rick Moranis' character is probably too silly but he sure is damn funny. Some of the pop music on the soundtrack has dated but Elmer Bernstein's score and Ray Parker Jr.'s theme haven't. A few of those quibbles aside, it's a near perfect movie.
One of the best David Cronenberg films I've seen so far. James Woods plays Max Renn, a TV-exec who becomes obsessed by a disturbing pirate broadcast called "Videodrome" and the shadowy forces behind it but how much is he hallucinating? Even though it centers on forms of communication technology that were probably obsolete before the film left theaters in 1983, it still manages to feel like it's talking about modern concerns. It's rooted in an era that worried about illegal under-the-counter/carboot VHS tapes (or Beta in the film) and pirate violent/pornographic TV signals out there in the ether but translates perfectly well to 2019 fears of cyber-terrorism, the dark web and phone signal induced brain tumors. As usual for Cronenberg, the stomach churning practical FX look startlingly real.
The official BFI 48th best British film ever...
The legend has it that Donald Cammell and Nicolas Roeg's 'Performance' caused a Warner exec's wife to vomit in shock at a test screening, resulting in it being shelved for 2 years. For the late 60s, the constant male and female nudity, unflinching violence, homoeroticism and drug taking, including a naked Anita Pallenberg shooting heroin into her right buttock (allegedly for real) must have pushed all the boundaries. James Fox is totally menacing as Chas a young London gangster hiding out from the police and his displeased boss (a thinly veiled Ronnie Kray clone) in fallen rockstar Turner's (Mick Jagger) Notting Hill house. Fox's need to pose for a new passport photo looking unrecognizable is a doorway for him explore his sexuality and personality in this new bohemian atmosphere. The editing and Cinematography is chaotically experimental in a good way.