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Archive for November, 2011

THE THING 2011


DIRECTED BY

Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.

If I can say one thing about this…it is not necessary.

It is a movie, I could easily do without. There wasn`t a  a remake or prequel or sequel for all these  years, so why now?

By the way, i`m writing this on my old pc, which just a day ago would freeze just about instantly after reboot, so I dunno what I did that it`s working now…lets hope it remains this way. The netbook, my brother gave me for not losing the internet contact I find hard to write on…i`m just used to my old Logitech keyboard. Can`t write on anything else.

So, THE THING prequel…ist not bad, it`s ok. The effects are well done, overall a good movie. But I found the main  female character to be totally out of place. That main actress ain`t no Ripley…Overall, it doesn`t differ from Carpenters movie much, same old, same old…and that`s the main problem..I feel like I have seen this already, and done so well, it really needs no rehash…The only good thing about this I noticed, was the attention to detail. If you watch Carpenter`s THE THING right after this, you will notice , that they actually did the best they could to make this fit together well with Carpenter`s movie.

Except maybe for the spaceship, that here was  hidden deep in the ice, and if I remember correctly, the ship was visible from the surface in the Carpenter one.

Correct me, if I`m wrong. And the whole ship discovery itself wasn`t shown, maybe they keep that for deleted scenes or extended editions, who knows?

All in all, a movie that doesn`t need to exist.


RED SCORPION hits DVD and Blue-Ray!! unrated and in Widescreen


  • Format: Special Limited Edition
  • Language: Deutsch (DTS-HD 5.1), Englisch (DTS-HD 5.1
  • Subtitles: Deutsch
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 – 1.77:
  • Rating:18
  • Studio: Splendid Film/WVG
  • release date: 25. November 2011
  •  1989
  • Running Time: 101 Minuten
  • Region 2 PAL
  • The only extra seems to be a 16 page booklet, which is sad, but we germans must be happy its widescreen and uncut/unrated, because every version before was cut.
  • I hope the quality is good, there aren`t any hints or articles yet about the overall quality of this release.

The DVD is a nice steelbook, really like the cover art for this. Also available on Blue-Ray from 25th of November 2011.

I already ordered a copy, not for me, though. I agree that this may not be the best Dolph film out there, but I remember it fondly for a number of great scenes. In the middle section it slows down, but it is necessary for character developement. In the remaining parts Dolph establishes himself as the action hero we all know, after Rocky IV and The Masters of the Universe.

UPDATE:

A friend of mine put up a picture quality comparison here…

http://caps-a-holic.com/vergleich.php?vergleichID=805

the former dvds were really bad… but now we got a decent dvd and blue-ray….I read a US version is on its way, too.


GRINDHOUSE TRAILER CLASSICS 1, 2, 3


If you ever wanted to watch a shitload of grindhouse trailers in a row,

then you should check these DVDs
from Nucleus Films. There are 3 Volumes, the third coming out on December 5th 2011.

On amazon UK, they are pretty cheap, as they are on amazon germany. In dollars about ten bucks, I`d say… The first 2 have a running time of 120 minutes, the third runs 100 minutes. I just watched the first one, and I had a blast!!! To me, this is a perfect party DVD to watch with friends. And I´ll be damned, if you`re not tempted afterwards  to check out some of the films advertised herein.

I only found one volume on amazon.com, So in case the situation doesn`t change, as a US citizen you might be forced to go with the UK order…the first 2 are codefree PAL-how does that work out? lol…the third is region 2. As a collector, I guess it pays to have a codefree player, after all.

LINK to amazon couk


I have no idea for a headline….


I always liked tinkering with photos and designing my own vhs covers (or DVD).

Back then, before the scanners and photoshops, I used to go over to the next copy shop across the street to copy the shit out of my Van Damme stuff. Sadly, nothing of it survived.

I would cut out Van Damme articles and pictures in order to make new covers , be it for some uncut vhs copy I just scored, or  my action cuts, or a best of van damme kickin ass…when I think about it…i`m sad I got rid of all of that at one point….little advice: Just keep any of your shit, as long as you`re not turning into a messie(the ppl who keep trash and pile it up at home).

You might be happy to have kept it, ten or fifteen years later.

These days, the net is full of custom covers, and easy to access.

I still have to dive deeper into the world of photo manipulation, yet I didn`t cuz my PC doesn`t have a lot of RAM, and it might spoil the experience to work with insufficient power behind it.

Once I have the money to buy certain tools,  watch out…there are certain drawing tablets I`d love to work with…that could very well revive my career as a comic artist…something that I stopped doing a while ago…which is sad , in a way…but the day has only 24 hours and  my priorities are just all over the place.


NAKED (1993)


Directed by Mike Leigh

The brilliant and controversial Naked, from director Mike Leigh, stars David Thewlis as Johnny, a charming and eloquent but relentlessly vicious drifter. Rejecting anyone who might care for him, the volcanic Johnny hurls himself around London on a nocturnal odyssey, colliding with a succession of other desperate and dispossessed people and scorching everyone in his path. With a virtuoso script and raw performances from Thewlis and costars Katrin Cartlidge and Lesley Sharp, Leigh’s depiction of England’s underbelly is an amalgam of black comedy and doomsday prophecy that took the best director and best actor prizes at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival.

***

Naked is the angriest, most bitterly critical attack on the false values of society that Mike Leigh, Britain’s constant chronicler of the tragic comedy of desperate lives, has ever made. Its audacity is that the attack is mounted through a central character of whom few would approve. Johnny (David Thewlis) is, in fact, a classic antihero, who blasts away at the hypocrisy inherent in the Britain of the immediate post-Thatcher era much like a latter-day version of John Osborne’s Jimmy Porter. Yet such is the power of the film that Leigh is also able to include, without in any way seeming to placate his audience, moments of compassion, gentleness, and humor, which prevent Naked from seeming merely a bilious, if gloriously eloquent, rant. It is not just that. In fact, it is one of the greatest, most memorable, if decidedly uncomfortable, British films not only of its decade but of the entire second half of the twentieth century.(Derek Malcolm) -found on dvdbeaver.com

As I was surfing the web lately, I came across a movie that sounded very interesting. It has lots and lots of raving reviews on imdb, and a main actor I like. But I am not always in the mood for an intense movie, such as this one. So I put it aside in my head, waiting for the right mood to come.

Then, today, I got news of a financial kind that made me feel sick. If I can`t stand something, it`s beeing strained financially. So I thought-„what the hell, I might as well watch a movie about  some fucked up people!“

Luckily, this film isn`t just all negative, it is also very funny and very intelligent. It is bleek and depressing , yes. But not enough so, that you are left depressed or empty after watching it. Maybe impressed, because this is one of the best films I have ever seen. This is no action movie, and no comedy, although there are plenty of laughs to have here.

It is a story of a guy, who seems to be fairly intelligent, and just as crazy and confused. He has no interest in work and no goal.He may have some kind of psychologival condition, but it`s never explained if he actually suffers from any kind of mental illness.At the same time, he seems far too intelligent for someone as useless as him.

I can`t write a review  half as good as anything I´ve come across on the imdb review pages, but yet I`ll try to explain it. Ok, so the film begins with him raping a woman, and he has to flee, in order to not get beaten up or worse.

Yet he is likeable….in a way.

He has  wit and engages people in conversations that are very personal and to the point , wasting no time beeing nice. But I really can`t do a write up on this, unless I wanna spend hours editing it…Just read a few of the reviews on IMDB, there are some great ones, which give you an idea how awesome this is.

Thewlis is owning this movie, it isn`t dull for a second

It is gutwrenching, funny, sad and so much more inbetween…I wouldn`t know where to begin.

This is a drama, but I´d say it is also badass cinema, for the acting of Thewlis alone.

I could try and go on about the human condition and stuff like that, but I am the wrong person to try and write something deep and intelligent.

Just watch the movie, I´m sure you won`t be dissapointed. That is, if you can appreaciate a good film, that digs a little deeper than usual.

Interesting about this as well-this was mostly improvised in long rehearsals, there was no normal script.

It is just how Mike Leigh works, maybe read his trivia on imdb.


THE WRESTLER (2008) feels like yesterday , though


Directed by Darren Aronofsky

This is a drama about an aging professional wrestler, decades past his prime, who now barely gets by working small wrestling shows in VFW halls and as a part-time grocery store employee. As he faces health problems that may end his wrestling career for good he attempts to come to terms with his life outside the ring: by working full time at the grocery store, trying to reconcile with the daughter he abandoned in childhood and forming a closer bond with a stripper he has romantic feelings for. He struggles with his new life and an offer of a high-profile rematch with his 1980s arch-nemesis, The Ayatollah, which may be his ticket back to stardom.(imdb written by Matlock6)

 Well, what to say about this movie?

As the word movie implies, it moved me.

It was a blast to watch  the first time, and I watched it again shortly after, cuz one tends to miss a few things at  first viewing. But since then I haven`t seen it again, and the reason for it is simple…it `s a

pretty sad movie. It`s a great, great film, but it is nothing  that makes you feel good.

I appreciate the great actors and the story, and I love Mickey Rourke to death.

But it is that great of a drama, at least to me, that it is actually tough to watch.

Even Mickey Rourke admits , he never saw the movie in full, because it has too many similarities to his own story, that he just can`t watch it. It made Roddy Piper cry , as well.

But I am so happy he did this movie, and eventhough he already was getting  more and more roles at the time, this put him back on the A-list in Hollywood.

The director Aronofsky wanted Rourke for the role from the very beginning, the studio wanted Nicolas Cage. He fought for Rourke, and therefore, the budget got cut significantly.

To help his friend Rourke out, W. Axl Rose donated the use of „Sweet Child O´Mine“ free of charge.

I`m  really, really glad Mickey is back working A-list movies. I followed his career even through the bad times, which spawned some worthwhile movies, nevertheless. Like Lance Henriksen, he makes even bad movies worth watching, and be it only for his appearance. He made „Double Team“ fun to watch, and was welcome in „SPUN“.

God, I just Love Mickey.

Check out the trivia to THE WRESTLER, it is damn interesting.

Check out this link, if you`re just remotely interested in this guy.

TRAILER:


BLACK EAGLE aka RED EAGLE aka RED HUNTER (1988)


Directed by Eric Karson

PLOT:

One of the US Air Force’s most modern tactical aircrafts, a F-100 with a new laser guidance system, crashes into the sea near Malta – a region where the Soviet forces are highly present, too. The CIA immediately sends out their best secret agent Ken Tami to salvage the system before it falls into enemy hands. To ensure his loyalty, they bring his two young sons to a nearby hotel on the island. Ken Tani’s tough opponent is KGB agent Andrei.(imdb )

This was one of Van Damme`s early films. This got released on Video, I´m pretty sure it never went cinematic at the time. Only later would someone rename the movie to RED HUNTER and release it in german cinemas. Forgot what year, but I´m sure it was around 1990, or even later…they would even resurrect their grandma`s to make some money.

While he had success with Bloodsport, he still had a contract for this movie. But he didn`t get to be the hero, he just played the villain. And he didn`t get that much of screen time.

Sho Kosugi, who sure as hell made better movies before, didn`t exactly impress me here. The movie is pretty slow, and the action is anything but spectacular. Only Van Damme raises the bar whenever he is on screen. This was really a waste of opportunities galore. The location of Malta is pretty nice, somehow after watching this movie very often(I was a hardcore Van Damme fan back then) I want to visit Malta one fine day. Even if it`s not the most exciting island, Black Eagle is burned in my soul from watching this waay too often.

Normally, I would fast forward to the fight scenes, which aren`t half bad. Van Damme shows off his skills and screams. Sho Kosugi had his real life kids to play his sons in the movie, something Van Damme did and does these days as well.

At the end, Van Damme`s character gets killed by the blades of a boat, a really stupid and wasted chance at a big bang ending. Somehow he is good at playing the villain. And I always loved the gelled back hairstyle. Just makes him look way cooler. Sadly thats not the look for Expandables 2.

Maybe cuz he is losing his hair more and more, dunno.

The last time he sported that look was IN HELL, I believe…he had lots of different hairstyles there.

Well, this is a movie you can easily leave aside, watch the fight scenes on youtube, that should do the trick regarding BLACK EAGLE.

But I still have a  soft spot for this, regardless. I just watched it too often, its part of my beeing,lol.


THE TIME GUARDIAN (1987)


Directed by Brian Hannant

Well, I was aware that this might not be the best movie of all times.

And it isn`t. But I liked a few things about it, and when I didn`t like something, I was able to laugh.

The main failure here was the script, I guess. The dialogue is so bad, and the acting follows suit, for the most part.

This is a bait and switch movie, as both Dean Stickwell and Carrie Fisher are  top billed for rather short appearances.

Plot:

In the future, about 4000 AD or something, the last humans are living in a city that can travel through time(ok?).

They  are under constant threat by the Jen-Deki, a race of evil Cyborgs. They plan an escape to the australian outback of 1988, but the last fight left the ship with damages, so that it`s  unable to land properly. Time Guardian Ballard and Petra are sent to 1988 to prepare the landing in Australia by piling up some rocks so the city-ship won`t fall over…sounds stupid, right?

It totally is…

Arriving in 1988 , they get into trouble with the outback police, since a trucker died in an accident, caused by the Jen –Deki. Ballard also runs into a female geologist, who is interested in them australian rocks, who bare inscriptions or pictures of the time-travelling ship. Seems like the Aborigines have knowledge about that ship somehow. Well, the whole plot has more holes than  swiss cheese, the movie almost feels like split in two, the scenes on the mothership/city`s command post  are really bad,  Stockwell is phoning in his part, which could have been played by just anybody, really.

The script is piling up mistakes and WTF moments  like a machinegun is shooting bullets.

The only really redeeming thing may be the robot-like Jen-Deki, who look kinda cool, and the action sequences, which feature some explosive gun play, but looking at the better parts of the movie, you realise, just how much was done wrong here, in general.

Some of the costumes look like Star Trek rejects, why is it that future fashion must look like this? Who decided that the`ve lost any taste in fashion in the future? A more simplistic, military look would have been of great relief here. You wonder, with all the money spent on special effects, which aren`t half bad, nobody seems to have cared for a more polished script. Who greenlit a script like this, giving them 8 million AUD to make this?  The Jen –Deki have already figured out they`d land in Australia, so why do they still  plan to go there…it is just a mess of a story.

If you decide to watch this, maybe try and count the wtf moments and plotholes.

It wasn`t so bad that I would have wanted to push the stop button, but it isn`t  going to play in my household in the near future, either.

Even the trailer is a hackjob…


SORCERER aka WAGES OF FEAR (1977)


Directed by William Friedkin

Another masterpiece that didn`t get the attention it deserves.

When I saw it last year for the first time, I wondered how this could possibly have passed me by  all these years.

I`ve seen the french original http://www.imdb.de/title/tt0046268/  ,

but only by accident did I come across this film.

It is not a hundred percent remake, it has different characters and other stuff going on in it, that wasn`t part of the original, but it still was based on the original novel „Le salaire de la peur”  by Georges Arnaud.

Roy Scheider plays the main part, joined by Bruno Cremer and Francisco Rabal, to name only a few.

This movie sucks you in, it gets unbearably  intense at times, you have to sit down and really pay attention, or you`ll miss out on one of the greatest adventures ever put on film.

Plot:

Several people fled deep into the south-american jungle, to escape their problems at home.

But life ain`t much easier around here. The only local employer is an oil company, but when an accident ignites the rig, no one can work, and the village descends into chaos, their only source of income cut off. The four exiles gradually team up for a mission that’s very likely to be suicide. To eliminate the fire, dynamite is needed. But the only dynamite available is 200 miles away,and it is old and very unstable

The task of driving 200 miles across the jungle and rough roads that barely deserve that name, with a truck (actually it`s two trucks) full of highly unstable dynamite is a suicide mission, each character has his own reasons for. But basically, they all want out of this hellhole in the south-american jungle. They all fled here for reasons that we are introduced to in the beginning of the film. The promised pay-check would enable them all to go away from here. The journey through the jungle begins. Will they arrive unharmed  or blow up on the road to hell?

The DVD is full-frame, ..yeah I know what you are going to say…what , why…I dunno. Maybe  it will be released some day in widescreen format, I´ve been reading it is in the making….

But watching it in full-frame didn`t really take away any of the suspense, and honestly, I never felt cheated out of stuff I may would be able to see in widescreen. In the end, it is less about the visuals than the nail-biting tension you are subjected to. The great score by Tangerine Dream doesn`t hurt, either.

But a Blue-Ray is in the works, it seems. Let`s hope so.

UPDATE: There is a laserdisc, which I believed to be in original aspect ratio…turns out, the LD is in 1.66:1, meaning letterboxed. But still way better than just fullframe.

G

Some interesting background info can be found here:

http://www.urbancinefile.com.au/home/view.asp?a=6832&s=Interviews


THIEF ( 1981)


Directed by Michael Mann

Fresh from prison, jewel thief and safecracker Frank(James Caan) is selling cars at day and goes out  cracking safes at night, aided by his friend Barry (James Belushi in his first feature film role).He spent most of his life in prison, where he was teached and mentored by Okla(Willie Nelson).

He dreams of a family and a life without crime.

But that requires a  certain pension fund, he yet has to raise. Tuesday Weld is  the target of his affection, working as a waitress in a diner. In a long scene, he gradually persuades her to be with him.

When he makes a Faustian bargain with a mobster (Robert Prosky) in order to get out of this way of life, he realises too late, that this guy won`t hold on to his part of the bargain.

This film I discovered just a few months back, what a shame. Michael Mann`s feature film debut is a must-see, a grade A crime thriller that probably went under the radar of many people.  I`m truly puzzled to have discovered it  just this spring.

Made in 1981, it still has the touch of the 70`s crime movies.

It is one of those films , where great acting, a phenomenal score by Tangerine Dream and great writing come together like a match made in heaven. Until the end, you feel and fear for the main character. The blue neon opening credits already got me excited at the very beginning, and as Caan was working with his heavy-duty machinery in order to crack a safe, I was sold. A carefully made film, the tools are authentic, and Mann had real safecrackers to advise him, up to the correct language and heist technology. There is also a good amount of shooting and fighting going on, this ain`t no kids movie. When Frank refuses to do more heists, the crime boss proves to be unforgiving, and  Frank must fear not only for himself, but his friends, too.

This is maybe my single favourite film by Michael Mann, since i am not a big fan of  HEAT , ALI or  INSIDER. I liked  MANHUNTER, though.

But this , his feature debut, I think is his best.