• 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 PUBLICLY. 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.
  • Fan Edit Of The Year (FEOTY) 2021: and the WINNERS are...! here Congratulations!

A few reviews

TM2YC

Take Me To Your Cinema
Staff member
Donor
Faneditor
Messages
13,895
Reaction score
1,272
Trophy Points
228
Armageddon (1998)
'Armageddon'
is a textbook "guilty pleasure" for me. It's a right-wing fever dream, where smart people are dumb and dumb people are smart, where never paying taxes is the ultimate dream of every red blooded man (just before these same men take a trip on a taxpayer funded rocket to save the world) and an American flag is in every shot. It's Michael Bay's usual cocktail of sexism, stupidity and racist caricatures, a world where sex offenders and wife beaters are heroes too. It's reprehensible trash but it's so much fun! I'd rather re-watch this any day over the po-faced 'Deep Impact', one of a number of instances where two Hollywood studios somehow released the same movie, in the same year. It's a total blast of an action comedy, packed with hilarious larger than life "dirty dozen" characters, a team of misfits with "the wrong stuff", played with wit and enthusiasm by some of Quentin Tarantino's stock company. Trevor Rabin's score is triumphant, thrilling and romantic. Bay over edits the action to the point of visual noise (but it's mostly great) and as per usual, it's far too long but in this instance, for some reason, I don't care. The deadly serious delivery of the line "He's got space dementia" sounds like a line straight out of 'Team America: World Police'. I believe that movie was originally conceived as a shot-for-shot remake of 'Armageddon', just with puppets. That film's big ballad 'Only a Women' sounding just like Aerosmith's mega hit song 'I Don't Want to Miss a Thing' is a residual direct link to that idea.


 

Gaith

Well-known member
Faneditor
Messages
5,616
Reaction score
155
Trophy Points
103
^ I've never seen Armageddon, but it sounds like a thoroughly terrible headache. I have seen The Core, though, and unironically love it. Curious if you have any opinions on that one? :)

 

mnkykungfu

Well-known member
Donor
Messages
1,605
Reaction score
342
Trophy Points
93
Armageddon (1998)
It's a right-wing fever dream, where smart people are dumb and dumb people are smart
It's been a long time since I watched this, but it came from a period of Michael Bay films that I felt he got the balance somehow just on the right side of Awesome. Your comment, and the movie in general, reminds me of a great story Ben Affleck told about working on the film (sorry if you've heard it), and I paraphrase:
"So I made the deal and we didn't have much prep time, everything was moving so quickly, and I get on set and it's just go, go, go. I mean, the scale of this was so huge, so much bigger than I was used to, and Michael is running around like a mad general, orchestrating everything, but there was nothing there that I recognized from the movies I'd been making. Like, there was no rehearsal, no script meetings... So I finally get a minute with Michael and he's like, 'hey, yeah, how's everyone treating you? Do you need anything?' and I'm like 'yeah, um I just had a question about the script...like, these guys are all miners and these blue collar guys? Why's it easier to train them to be astronauts than to have them be astronauts and train 'em to work mining equipment?'.... big pause, and then Michael looks at me, and he says 'Shut the fuck up, Ben. It's a fucking movie.' And he walked off. And that was the last conversation we ever had about the script."
I love Ben Affleck.
 

TM2YC

Take Me To Your Cinema
Staff member
Donor
Faneditor
Messages
13,895
Reaction score
1,272
Trophy Points
228
^ I'd heard that one before, sums up his mentality nicely. To be fair to Mr Bayhem, ridiculous as it is, Affleck's logic question is answered by the movie. The mission faces critical problems that can only be solved because of the drill team's long term experience with drilling and solving unpredictable drilling based problems on the fly... on the other hand, a few problems for the mission are caused by the drill team being stupid, arrogant ar**holes and not cool headed trained NASA astronauts :LOL: .



Air Force One (1997)
I hadn't seen 'Air Force One' since it was first one TV, I remembered it being aight and it still is. The premise comes across as a straight-to-video B-movie knock-off of 'Die Hard' that has accidentally been greenlit with a huge Hollywood budget, an uber-A-list cast, an acclaimed Director and an Oscar winning composer. The President somehow evading capture from the baddies while they're all aboard a single aircraft for hours is inherently ridiculous but everyone involved is doing their level best to make it not seem that way. Whenever Harrison Ford's situation is stretching credulity in our minds, a cunning Wolfgang Petersen frequently cuts away to tense hostage situations, or pressure-cooker meetings in the White House, to reset our internal stupidity clocks. Jerry Goldsmith's provides a heroic and memorable score (apparently written in 12-days), lots of guns are fired, huge explosions happen, what more do you want out of an action flick? There's a bit of unintended sadness given recent developments, as this it becomes clear that this was a film made in the unfortunately brief period between the end of the cold war and Putin coming to power a couple of years after this movie. If this typically gung-ho American action thriller was made a few years before, or after, the script probably wouldn't have the USA and Russia as political and military allies. Also I bet when they cast a steely Glenn Close as the very believable first female Vice President, they didn't think it would be nearly a quarter century until that happened in real life.




Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)
After about 60-hours of MCU movies, my enthusiasm for another 2-hours of the same was low but if they keep swiftly chucking them on to Disney+ for no extra cost, I might as well watch them. They're usually nothing less than entertaining and brightly coloured. The usual Marvel level of "This'll do" VisFX, where it's about quantity, rather than quality of what's on screen, persists, except now they're not just using awkwardly fake digital doubles to do the inhuman action, the doubles are also used for normal long shots because it would have required too much effort from the actual actors to walk up and down a bit. I've never watched any Marvel TV so I didn't know or care what half the Scarlet Witch plot was on about and this film doesn't take the time to explain it. Benedict Cumberbatch and Elizabeth Olsen are trying but much of the rest of the cast seem half asleep, especially Rachel McAdams who reads her lines as if they've just been put in front of her. The multiverse cameos are yawn inducing, except the Captain Carter one was fun (but then the Cap movies were always my favourite part of the MCU). The last act was engaging and satisfying when Sam Raimi brought in some 'Evil Dead'/Necromancer type elements and the musical notation fight was inventive. 'Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness' is fine but I need these movies to be a lot better than fine to get me excited after all these years.

 

mnkykungfu

Well-known member
Donor
Messages
1,605
Reaction score
342
Trophy Points
93
Armageddon (1998)
I'd rather re-watch this any day over the po-faced 'Deep Impact', one of a number of instances where two Hollywood studios somehow released the same movie, in the same year.
Incidentally, I'm kind of fascinated by these and actually made a list of them a little while back: Twin Films

Air Force One (1997)
Such an enjoyable film. I'm half-convinced George Bush Jr.'s press team actively tried to draw comparisons to this film to convince voters he'd be the tough guy movie president they wanted.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)
awkwardly fake digital doubles
it's stunning how bad a lot of the CG in this is, particularly at the start
I've never watched any Marvel TV so I didn't know or care what half the Scarlet Witch plot was on about
It's honestly better you hadn't, since Raimi didn't either and it shows. The movie actually completely undoes the character arc of the show.
The last act was engaging and satisfying when Sam Raimi brought in some 'Evil Dead'/Necromancer type elements and the musical notation fight was inventive.
The only aspects that save this movie from being utter trash, "Dr. Strange and That One Other Universe". Can't blame Scott Derrickson for abandoning ship on this one.

Big blockbuster weekend! Feels like you're getting in on America's big dumb guilt-laden weekend! lol I assume you need a break from all the Antonioni and Bergman. ;)
 

TM2YC

Take Me To Your Cinema
Staff member
Donor
Faneditor
Messages
13,895
Reaction score
1,272
Trophy Points
228
Incidentally, I'm kind of fascinated by these and actually made a list of them a little while back: Twin Films

Great list! So many I'd forgotten about, or never heard of. Of the films where I've seen both, my picks would be:

Turner & Hooch
Dante's Peak
Event Horizon
White House Down
Armageddon
Antz
Capote
Mowgli

Big blockbuster weekend! Feels like you're getting in on America's big dumb guilt-laden weekend! lol I assume you need a break from all the Antonioni and Bergman. ;)

I do try to mix 'em up.
 

mnkykungfu

Well-known member
Donor
Messages
1,605
Reaction score
342
Trophy Points
93
Great list! So many I'd forgotten about, or never heard of. Of the films where I've seen both, my picks would be:
Thanks. Yeah, I did a fair bit of research to try to find these, and there are more I could probably add if I wanted to really strain the comparison... I think these are all pretty obvious, though. Oddly, I haven't seen more than half of them! And the ones I have seen, I often like both films! (Turner & Hooch gets a ridiculous level of emotional involvement from me, but I'm a big fan of K-9 too!)
 

TM2YC

Take Me To Your Cinema
Staff member
Donor
Faneditor
Messages
13,895
Reaction score
1,272
Trophy Points
228
Here are a few more you might consider:

- The Raid/Dredd (Don't get me started on this one! Remarkably similar basic plot structure. Unfortunately 'Dredd' got a lot of negative flack from people shouting "they ripped off 'The Raid'!" despite 'Dredd' having been written and shot before 'The Raid' was written/shot but due to all the 3D FX needed was released 4-months afterwards in the UK. It's techincally possible that 'The Raid' could've ripped off 'Dredd' because there was a script leak but it's highly unlikely. Just one of these odd "twin films" coincidences. 'Dredd' ripping off 'The Raid' wasn't possible without time travel. I love both)
- Bullet in the Head/A Better Tomorrow III (I'm sure you know the deal with these)
- Lambada/The Forbidden Dance (rival Lambada dance films by the two Cannon films heads. I've not seen either but I heard about them from the Cannon doc)
- Exorcist: The Beginning/Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist (wierd case where they shot one movie, didn't like it, hired a new director who reshot 90% of it, didn't like the new film either, so released both versions)
- Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves/Robin Hood (I've watched the Costner film a million times but never seen the rival movie, which is often said to be better but overshadowed by the popular blockbuster)
- Super/Kick-Ass (I think everybody spotted how similar these two 2010 movies were. I liked both)
- The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert/To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar (I haven't seen either yet but I've sometimes got these two eccentrically titled drag-queen road-movies mixed up)
- Braveheart/Rob Roy (two movies about Scottish historical rebels in the same year. I liked both but I much preferred Liam Neeson almost slicing sneering English noble Tim Roth in two with his Claymore)
- Saving Private Ryan/The Thin Red Line (bad luck for Malick to wait 20-years to make a new film and Spielberg does his own WW2 mega-hit in the same year and they looked very similar in the trailers. The inevidable comparisons didn't serve Malick's less commercial film well.)
- Centurion/The Eagle (two films about the disappearance of the 9th Roman Legion, released less than 12-months apart. What are the chances)
- Anthropoid/The Man with the Iron Heart ('Anthropoid' is the better film about Operation Anthropoid but it's a terrible title. Both lost money)
- Darkest Hour/Dunkirk (not similar in plot and focus but they are about the same events, happening at the same time. So much so there's a fanedit that cut the two together https://ifdb.fanedit.org/finest-hour-a-supercut-of-dunkirk-and-darkest-hour/)



Tumbledown (1988)
A young Colin Firth stars as a real life soldier who was terribly wounded from a sniper bullet to the head during the Battle of Mount Tumbledown, in the Falklands War. The film flashes forward and back freely between several periods, just before the war, the start, the actual battle, different stages of recovery and a somewhat physically able Lt. Robert Lawrence discussing his experience with friends. It also frequently cuts to an eerie shot of Firth walking through boulders at night, weighed down by a giant pack, wreathed in mist, backed by a giant moon, symbolic of him being mentally trapped in a moment. The unflinching shots of war injuries look uncomfortably real. There is a beautiful, touching moment where Lawrence's father (a former Wing Commander with a bushy moustache, played by David Calder) is shocked by the treatment his son is receiving and is told he can take him home if he doesn't like it and replies with a tear "I'm not afraid of that responsibility. I consider that an honour". This surely looks shot on film, so it's a shame the BBC haven't remastered it in HD yet. 'Tumbledown' got caught up media controversy because the BBC had already been under attack by the government for cancelling a supposedly pro-Thatcher/pro-Falklands War TV-movie ('The Falklands Play'), then they made this more anti-war leaning film instead. 'Tumbledown' doesn't actually get much into politics, unless one considers saying "injured soldiers should be treated better" is political.

It's on YouTube but not great quality:

 
Last edited:

mnkykungfu

Well-known member
Donor
Messages
1,605
Reaction score
342
Trophy Points
93
Here are a few more you might consider:

- The Raid/Dredd
- Bullet in the Head/A Better Tomorrow III
- Lambada/The Forbidden Dance

- Exorcist: The Beginning/Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist
- Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves/Robin Hood
- Super/Kick-Ass
- The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert/To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar

- Braveheart/Rob Roy
- Saving Private Ryan/The Thin Red Line
- Centurion/The Eagle
- Anthropoid/The Man with the Iron Heart
- Darkest Hour/Dunkirk
(not similar in plot and focus but they are about the same events, happening at the same time. So much so there's a fanedit that cut the two together https://ifdb.fanedit.org/finest-hour-a-supercut-of-dunkirk-and-darkest-hour/)
^That's actually one of my fav fanedits on the site. To me, it's not a twin film though.
There are other films too, like SVP and TTRL, that came out about the same time and cover the same broad period of events, but do it with completely different characters and tone and from such a different perspective that I wouldn't try to apply a "twin" label to them. I'm looking for identical twins, not fraternal twins. ;)

You've got some interesting suggestions there, though! I was unaware there was even another Robin Hood film in '91...because it went straight to TV in the US and disappeared. Seems like the story might be in that category of "broadly based on the same thing, but told in a very different way". No Robin returning from the Crusades, no Moorish advisor, no Sherif of Nottingham, no cutting his heart out with a spoon!

I love your Lambada/Lambada: The Forbidden Dance suggestion! I saw neither, but I do remember them as being obvious twin films. However, besides them both being about lambada (the forbidden dance), their plot descriptions and central characters sound completely different. And we should take a moment to read the description from Google for Lambada: The Forbidden Dance,
"The film revolves around Nisa, a Brazilian princess, who uses the sensual Lambada dance to draw attention to the destruction of her country's rain forests."
Well, that is clearly the superior film right there. I mean, the rain forests. Come on.

(I have seen Dredd/The Raid come up on a lot of lists. I've not seen Dredd yet so I wondered if it went beyond superficial comparisons, but I might have to add that one, and potentially a few of these others.)
 

TM2YC

Take Me To Your Cinema
Staff member
Donor
Faneditor
Messages
13,895
Reaction score
1,272
Trophy Points
228
I recently had a 1984-athon, reading the powerfully illustrated new comic adaptation by Matyas Namai, then the newly remastered BBC movie blu-ray and finally rewatching the famous John Hurt film.

7180iJ-gqbL.jpg




Nineteen Eighty-Four (1954)
I believe this BBC TV-movie was the first proper adaptation of George Orwell's novel (not counting a much truncated and altered CBS TV play 10-months earlier). The cast featuring a pre-Hammer Horror Peter Cushing, André Morell and Donald Pleasence, is first class. I loved the minimal, industrial look of the costumes. The fairly frank mentions of sex, pornography and torture are surprising for a 1950s British TV play. That content/tone and it first being broadcast on a Sunday drew controversy, complaints and a motion tabled in Parliament saying it pandered "to sexual and sadistic tastes". So the repeat performance a few days later was in doubt but it went ahead with supposedly a few lines toned down but the 2nd broadcast is the only one that survived. Unfortunately the merits of the production are marred by the low quality video tape source, more specifically the muddy sound quality, which I found so poor I needed to switch the subtitles on. Due to this being performed live for broadcast, there are inevitably a few flubbed lines too. But about 10% I'd guess was pre-filmed on 35mm, to cover costume changes, or to feature location filming, which is presented in pin-sharp HD, with beautifully clear sound. If only the whole thing had been filmed on 35mm, then this would really hold up to modern viewing but as such it's a fascinating but dated curio.

The bonus features claim this adaptation (and the media coverage) was responsible for putting the novel into the public consciousness (having been watched by as much as 1 in 10 people and covered extensively in the newspapers), a place where it has stayed but I wasn't alive between 1949 and 1954 to confirm that. It's not inconceivable, as the book had only been out for 5-years at the time. It's not just a well known book now, '1984's way of describing a dystopian world has become part of everyday political language.




Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984)
I've only seen the John Hurt '1984' once before but I've heard his line "I hate purity. Hate goodness. I don't want virtue to exist anywhere. I want everyone corrupt" about a thousand times because it's sampled at the start of track-9 on Manic Street Preachers' peerless 1994 album 'The Holy Bible'. Hurt's performance is of course incredible, as it always is. From the start his Winston Smith looks so beaten down by drudgery, ruined by ill health and outwardly crushed by oppression that you wonder where he could take the character when things get really bad. Needless to say, Hurt manages to find further depths of despair, pain and physical ruination to plumb when the torture starts. I thought quite a bit of the detail of the novel and it's examination of how the totalitarian state of Oceania operates gets sacrificed so most of the second half can be devoted to just the torture scenes. If you're familiar with the source that doesn't matter much. I watched the stunning Criterion 4K restoration with cinematographer Roger Deakins' intended cool looking high-contrast, desaturated "bleach-bypass" visuals and the originally intended Dominic Muldowney score (not the Eurythmics soundtrack that was foisted on the director).

I was fascinated by the big widescreen "HD" TVs that appear in the film because in a pre HD/CGI world, I guess they must've been done through pre-filmed 35mm, processed to look like a TV signal, then rear-projected onto a screen set into a false wall, which was covered by glass and a frame to look like a TV screen. But then in some scenes the TVs are live "broadcasting" what we are seeing going on in front of them, so I guess the actors must have been syncing their performance and lip movements to the pre-recorded film on the TV. Clever 80s practical stuff, just to look like everyday technology nowadays. I was impressed to read that writer/director Michael Radford only thought "Hey it's 1984 next year! I wonder if I could get the film rights to the book? and release it in the year of the title?" less than 6-months before cameras started rolling. It's been noted that the look of the film appears influenced by Ridley Scott's 1983 Apple Macintosh commercial but the sepia tinged propaganda film shown alongside the "two minute hate" sequence also felt influenced by Scott's hugely popular 1973 nostalgic 'Hovis' bread commercial.




 
Last edited:

TM2YC

Take Me To Your Cinema
Staff member
Donor
Faneditor
Messages
13,895
Reaction score
1,272
Trophy Points
228
Having signed up for a week's free trial of the new Paramount+ channel in the UK, I sat down to watch 2 of the only 3 things worth watching on there...

Beavis and Butt-Head Do America (1996)
I watched this to death on VHS in the 90s but (in my experience) it's been weirdly AWOL since, with sporadic DVD availability, few if any TV showings, I haven't seen it on streaming and the first blu-ray was 6-months ago. I assume this was down to the Geffen film company closing down soon after this came out? To accompany the 2022, surprise, belated sequel, the original has been added to Paramount+ in a lovely HD transfer, which looks like a scan of a 35mm print with lots of grain and hand drawn animation artefacts. To my surprise, after about 25-years, I still remembered every line, every gag, every snigger and every wonderfully puerile double entendre. Robert Stack as Agent Flemming, doing his deep, serious, deadpan voice, ordering cavity searches on everyone he meets is funny every time. Because 'South Park' started the year after 'Beavis and Butt-Head Do America' I hadn't realised the links before. It also features the voice of Isaac Hayes and an ineffectual school councillor saying "Mmmmmkay" all the time. I haven't laughed this hard in a long time.




Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe (2022)
It was a wise move to start this with an intro fantasy sequence featuring a horrible 3D/CGI Beavis and Butt-Head, so when it quickly cuts to smooth, digital 2D Beavis and Butt-Head for the rest of the film, you're too grateful and relieved to worry about it not looking quite the same as the more grungy hand-made 1996 movie. 'Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe' is what 'Bill & Ted Face the Music' should have been, a time travelling reintroduction to a pair of 90s idiots, that is every bit as daft and immature as it was back in the day. It's the same basic outline as the original movie but there are enough new fish-out-of-water jokes, new "straight-man" characters and overall differences to keep it fresh. The best bit is the first third where the duo go on an entire NASA mission (slightly parodying 'Armageddon', if such a thing is possible) just because they think they're going to score with the hot lady mission commander, who mistakenly thinks they are ace operators of an extremely phallic docking mechanism. It's a double entendre joke that is done, again and again and kept making me laugh harder each time. e.g. they think she's talking about her previous sexual partners but she's actually talking about the pioneers of space travel "256 Men... 49 Women... a dog and a chimpanzee". The plot runs out of steam in the last third but it's still very funny.

 
Last edited:

TM2YC

Take Me To Your Cinema
Staff member
Donor
Faneditor
Messages
13,895
Reaction score
1,272
Trophy Points
228
The Falklands Play (2002)
Soon after seeing that this was being broadcast again, I remembered why I gave it a miss last time. "The Falklands Play" was commissioned and written between 1983 and 1986, just after the war had ended but was controversially cancelled by the BBC for disputed reasons. Either as BBC executives claim because they suggested a few re-writes to tighten it up and add more balance (in the run-up to an election) but the writer refused point blank to make any changes, then rang up all his politician and journalist friends to whip up a scandal, or as the writer claims because the "biased BBC" ideologically refused to make a program where Margaret Thatcher looked good. After seeing a short accompanying doc on the scandal, I'm more inclined to believe the former but it's a pretty murky affair, recounted by some people who I don't entirely trust the word of.

In 2002 the BBC decided to finally make the thing, except the writer decided to cut out half of his script (the bits set in the Vatican and in Buenos Aires), just focusing on London and Washington, so you're prevented from making a true judgement on whether the original program would've been biased, one way or the other. However, the 90-minutes that is here is some of the best acted, most thrilling political drama I've seen (if you find politicians in rooms arguing about international diplomatic policy thrilling like I do). Not showing the Argentinian side actually heightens the tension, as it puts the viewer in a similar mindset to the British/US diplomats, of not knowing what "the other side thinks", so we see them having to make moves and counter moves based on logical suppositions. The cast is full of top-class talent, led by Patricia Hodge, who completely inhabits Thatcher. As written, the drama definitely sets out to portray Thatcher as a powerful, decisive, yet conscientious leader in a crisis and offers little or no argument to the contrary. It's probably best not to ponder the accuracy and to simply enjoy the fantastic drama. It's just a shame that this was made at that brief point in history after programs were shot on "HD" film but before HD digital had come along, so it's stuck with a standard-definition video tape look.

Right now it's on iPlayer, Amazon Prime and a low quality YouTube upload:


The doc about the drama, about the drama:




Porridge (1979)
The 'Porridge' movie seems to be held up as an example of how not to turn a much loved sitcom into a movie and why that's probably a bad idea from the get go. It's not actually terrible and it's got quite a few laughs but the plot feels stretched thin, the whole thing is lacking in energy and it's very dated. This came out the same year as Alan Clarke's 'Scum', a serious and violent "prison drama", not a prison comedy but compared to that, the 'Porridge' movie feels like it's an Ealing production from the 1940s. If you've seen the brilliant American-football sequence from 1970's 'M*A*S*H' (itself heavily influenced by sporting mayhem in Marx Bros. films like 'Horse Feathers' and 'A Day at the Races'), you might be expecting the celebrity footie match at HM Slade Prison to feature a similar level of flagrant cheating, ringers, cheeky betting, nobbling of players and the like but instead, nothing is done with it at all.

 

mnkykungfu

Well-known member
Donor
Messages
1,605
Reaction score
342
Trophy Points
93
Here are a few more you might consider:

- Centurion/The Eagle (two films about the disappearance of the 9th Roman Legion, released less than 12-months apart. What are the chances)
Just added a few more to the Twin Film list, thanks! I was unfamiliar with The Eagle, but remembered Centurion, so I looked these up again. I'd always written off Centurion as a lame "300" ripoff, but it seems it might actually be pretty solid. Fassbender gets to star this time. ;) It seems like the 300 comparison is not quite as apt as The Warriors though, where it seems to spring off from the real 9th Legion history to tell a similar "on the run, beset on all sides" tale. Of course, you could say both are based on the Greek tale by Xenophon (I believe you edited The Warriors, so you're probably familiar.)

The Eagle seems similar on the surface, but actually more like a sequel? Channing Tatum plays the son of one of the 9th Legion centurions 23 years later, and he doesn't lead an army to fight the Picts, he goes in with his buddy Jamie Bell to just find his dad's emblem and maybe find out what happened to him. Same director as The Last King of Scotland, so maybe it's surprisingly good, too? I may have to give both these a watch.
 

mnkykungfu

Well-known member
Donor
Messages
1,605
Reaction score
342
Trophy Points
93
^Oh, and incidentally, I found out that The Warriors was in its own kind of "twin film" race! Apparently another studio was making "The Wanderers" at the same time, which was a more classic NYC Italian gang movie that came out kind of like West Side Story with less singing. Even though the similarities pretty much stop at "the protagonists are a gang in NYC", the studio was super nervous and employed 3 editing teams to work round-the-clock to make sure The Warriors got out before The Wanderers. Maybe explains the sometimes choppy editing of the film?
 

TM2YC

Take Me To Your Cinema
Staff member
Donor
Faneditor
Messages
13,895
Reaction score
1,272
Trophy Points
228
Same director as The Last King of Scotland, so maybe it's surprisingly good, too? I may have to give both these a watch.

I went to a screening of 1943's 'The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp' (in my top-5 films ever), which featured a fascinating Q&A with LKoS director Kevin Macdonald (and his Producer brother Andrew) because it was written/produced by their grandfather Emeric Pressburger.

I've not actually seen those two Roman legion films, partly because I've never been sure which one looked more worth seeing, so ended up watching neither :LOL: .

You just reminded me that after seeing 'Dangerous Liasons', I was reading that Milos Forman was beaten to the post by Stephen Frears (who in my opinion was influenced by Forman's 'Amadeus') and had to rename his version 'Valmont' (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valmont_(film) which he'd been working on for 5-years since the Oscar winning 'Amadeus'. Frears' film got there first, got all the plaudits and all the boxoffice. Although I'm not sure if you are interested in duelling adaptations of the same work, just weird coincidences?



I'll have to add that to my watchlist.
 

mnkykungfu

Well-known member
Donor
Messages
1,605
Reaction score
342
Trophy Points
93
^Interesting, I'd never heard of "Valmont"...I think that's another pair for the list!
I had to have a serious think about this, about what really constitutes a "twin" film. Where I came down on it is murky, but it may be easier to say what isn't a twin with a couple of disqualifiers:
  • - the films can't be too far apart in time, where you could imagine the (imminent) success of one film lead to the other getting fast-tracked. They have to be racing against each other and come out within a year or less, typically (I just made an exception for this with HHhH and Anthropoid, because apparently the former was held back for nearly a year to avoid confusion with the latter's release.)
  • - the similarity of the films has to be more story-related and not just superficial. For example, although Rob Roy and Braveheart are both about Scottish highlander rebels and have a woman who gets taken away by an elite, they mostly just look similar. Braveheart is about leading Scotland into rebellion against England, whereas Rob Roy is about Rob getting double-crossed and framed, then exacting revenge in a personal duel. For me, they're not "twins".
  • - films that are both based on the same real event or story are not similar enough. For example, World Trade Center and United 93 or Patriot's Day and Stronger. This is especially true if they're recent events where it's clear that people will be rushing to tell those stories. But if it's a much older story suddenly being told in the same way from the same point of view (like several you listed), I'd say that qualifies. I'm not sure where to come down on the competing Amazing Jonathan documentaries...
  • - two versions of essentially the same film don't qualify for me. Usually those go unreleased, like the Eric Stoltz Back to the Future or (until later) Richard Donner's Superman II, but I wouldn't throw the Exorcist prequels in as twin films. It's kind of a different thing.
 

mnkykungfu

Well-known member
Donor
Messages
1,605
Reaction score
342
Trophy Points
93
^Well, that explains it! I tried to add it to my watchlist on Letterboxd and it was already on there! I've been adding films to my extensive list faster than I can watch them the past few years. It's like, the more you know about, the more you realize how much you still don't know.
 

TM2YC

Take Me To Your Cinema
Staff member
Donor
Faneditor
Messages
13,895
Reaction score
1,272
Trophy Points
228
Long rambling review ahoy!

Starship Troopers (1997)
I imagine like a lot of teens in the 90s who watched 'Starship Troopers', I loved it and appreciated the satirical Judge Dredd-style humour present in the cutaways to news broadcasts and advertisements (in the same way Paul Verhoeven had done in 'Robocop'). What we maybe didn't realise was that those bits weren't satirical interjections, the whole film is that way. It's all a fictional fascist recruiting film beamed from a nightmare human future. Verhoeven begins with no credits, as mentioning the names of people from 1997 would break the illusion that it was made by people from another time. You don't have to watch it that way, you can just enjoy a high-octane action adventure.

If you view youtube reactions to people watching 'Starship Troopers' for the first time now, they usually say something like "Wait, what? Is Neil Patrick Harris dressed like a Nazi?" when he walks out in full SS trench coat and peaked cap about 30-minutes from the end. But if you look closely people have lightning strikes on their uniforms from as early as 17-minutes in (a detail that was probably less obvious on the VHS) and the school Biology teacher looks straight out of a 1970s Nazi exploitation film. It's intent is deliberately obfuscated in one of the first scenes as we watch our "hero" and "heroine" flirt in class, while their teacher is heard in the background delivering a lecture about how violence solves all problems. I used to have a very specific brain malfunction when it came to geography, so originally I didn't get that although the characters are all obviously cliched American high schoolers they come from Beunos Aires (in Argentina). The USA does have a lot of Spanish place names, so I guess I thought "Beunos Aires, El Paso, Santa Fe... what's the difference?" :LOL: . This geographic detail implies that South America has at some point in the future been conquered and colonised by the USA. Although the main characters have Latin surnames, they are all chisel jawed himbos and bimbos, your classic 1990s 90201 rich white kids, further implying some kind of eradication of South American culture. Or, that this is simply a dramatisation of a "real" in-universe Pearl Harbour-type event and the in-universe makers of this propaganda film have whitewashed the cast but kept the "based on a true story" names.

The only guy in the cast who isn’t "perfect" looking is a dishevelled, unshaven guy we see being sentenced to death live on TV, his resigned, traumatised face the only thing suggesting to us the viewer that he's really an innocent "undesirable" of the UCF regime. Single lines in a news broadcast like "Mormon extremists" imply that religion has been banned, or heavily discouraged (I don't recall any other religious reference in the film) and the bit about needing "a licence" to have babies only if you submit to military authority is straight out of '1984'. Many lines contradict the surface narrative that the "Bugs" are the aggressors, the human news propagandist anchor goes as far as describing the very gravity round the bug home world as "violent", yet lets slip that the war started when humans colonised a bug planet. By the end the innocent kids we met at the beginning have been turned into dead eyed soldiers and they've being reinforced by actual child-soldiers, the teachers are now soldiers, the drill instructors are soldiers, all joining together for one last glorious sacrifice to achieve victory, even though the desperation of the recruiting suggests otherwise. The only character that seems to escape without being horribly injured (if they didn't already begin the film with limbs missing), or killed is Neil Patrick Harris, new recruit to the ruling class.

I hadn't realised before that the whole second half of the movie is on 'Planet-P', with all the introductions, world building and training packed into the first hour. Its a precise 50/50 structure that worked for 'Jaws' and 'Aliens'. I don't think 'Starship Troopers' gets enough credit for the seamless FX. This is how films should be done. Everything that should be practical FX, models, in-camera tricks and puppets is and everything that is much better done with CGI and then smoothly composited digitally is too. There is one long slow shot where a moving camera pans down onto a space ship model, gets closer and closer and right into the live-action bridge that is as good as anything today. 'Jurassic Park' rightly gets a lot of praise for about 5-6 minutes of brilliant dino CG in 1993 but just 4-years later 'Starship Troopers' has thousands of CG bugs running everywhere, for half the film, mostly in bright daylight and they still look perfect a quarter century later. Only the wobbly low-texture skin of the "brain bug" lets the side down. The only way 'Starship Troopers' could've been improved was if the Mobile Infantry were actually Colonial Marines and the Bugs were actually Xenomorphs. Please can we have a Colonial Marines movie Hollywood?

Yay! a 35mm trailer scan:


Composer Basil Poledouris delivered a score as good as anything from 'Conan' or 'Robocop':

 

skyled

Well-known member
Messages
215
Reaction score
20
Trophy Points
23
La La Land (2016)

I had serious doubts about this one the moment it started with the opening number, getting bad flashbacks of watching West Side Story (1961) in high school which opens with dangerous street gang members prancing around doing ballet. Luckily that gets toned down quickly and I actually really enjoyed this. The characters were nicely fleshed out and many of the musical numbers had a lovely surreal quality to them. Ryan Gosling was good, but he did too much of his typical stoic/boring persona when a more lively performance would have worked better with such an energetic film. I imagine a young Hugh Jackman in this role...

Somebody could surely write a brilliant and scathing Meta-commentary about the lead duo casting. The two leads are required to sing, dance, and play piano, which neither Ryan Gosling or Emma Stone knew how to do when cast for this. Sure, they worked their butts off in preparation for the movie and they did a pretty nice job, but the movie is about two talented nobodies who have worked their whole lives to try to make it in Hollywood, and instead of casting actors who can actually do the job because they embody the characters in real life, they cast actors that have to fake it. Imagine all the struggling musical theater actors that would kill for a role like this. All the negative dialogue in the movie about struggling with casting calls and never getting a chance are boiling over behind the scenes if you just stop and think about it.
 
Top Bottom