Friday, July 4, 2014
Dubbed Eurospy stuff. The print I saw was so poorly prepared some scenes slipped into German before they switched back to dubbed English very annoying but kind of funny.
We're deep in the spy movie craze of the 1960's with this Eurospy trash featuring yet another super villain, prototypes for the Austin Power's "fembots" and the world's greatest private eye "Joe Walker" teaming up with a really ripped police captain to stop another evil mastermind from taking over the world.
The action is silly, our hero only has to kiss an evil woman to make her see the light and there are the usual spy gadgets so all is as it is supposed to be in the 1960's spy world.
Seven films were made featuring this Joe Walker private detective guy and the whole series is based on a bunch of novels by an author named Paul Alfred Mueller who wrote an amazing 620 crime novels featuring this character.
This Italian Eurospy comedy thriller is one of the strangest films that ever tried to make money off of the Sean Connery/James Bond series. O.K. Connery or whatever it's called features the regulars from the Bond series Bernard Lee and Lois Maxwell. Also showing up in this cheese fest was Daniela Bianchi who was in From Russia With Love, Adolfo "Largo" Celi and Anthony Dawson from Dr. No.
But probably the oddest actor at all is Neil Connery, Sean Connery's younger brother playing Dr Neil Connery the brother of secret agent Sean Connery although his name is never actually mentioned. Connery is a plastic surgeon who is also an expert at some kind of yoga hypnosis, a lip reader, a championship archer and finally a skilled karate champion. If you want to know a little more about Neil Connery, the brother of Sean Connery, frankly the pickings on the internet are rather slim.
Operation Kid Brother or whatever it's called is basically one big trope of every James Bond film up to Thunderball. The film zips along from one scene to another as Dr. Connery has to stop the evil Adolfo Celi from using some wacky device that will freeze together all of the world's moving parts or some such nonsense.
This film is an entertaining reminder of the insane spy movie crazy that swept the film world during the 1960's.
Sunday, June 29, 2014
The writer/director James Gunn's take on the ordinary citizen who decides to be a masked super hero in order to fight crime, is a very strange film. Gunn mixes comedy, drama, violence and satire. Gunn takes a lot of shots at Christians and has a Christian hero, in this case a short order cook who becoming a masked super hero called "The Crimson Bolt" whose ex addict wife becomes mixed up with a drug dealer.
The film kind of walks the same path as Kick Ass except the female sidekick in this film isn't a potty mouthed little girl but a half crazy comic book store employee who can't separate reality from comic book fiction.
It's hard to know what to make of this film when it shifts into a very serious tone towards the end of the film. Gunn appears to trying to make some statement about real violence vs fictional media violence and the individual's inability to separate the two.
However since this is a film, the storytelling gods must be served and good trumps evil in the end. In reality this story would end in a tragic mess for everyone involved. Unfortunately James Gunn didn't have the courage to go there.
Film director and navel reserve officer John Ford was asked to dramatize an incident for the US Navy. During World War II when the Captain of the USS Growler, Howard Gillmore was wounded during an attack by a Japanese patrol boat. Gillmore ordered the sub to dive with him on the deck in order to save the ship from being sunk by the Japanese.
Ford brought along two of his actor cronies, Ken Curtis who played the captain and Ward Bond who played a typical Ward Bond character a loud mouthed sailor named Quincannon.
Shot in color with 16mm film by a navy camera crew, this film is mostly amateur hour with occasional moments of the John Ford touch. Ford really indulges him self with lots of sloppy sentiment about navy traditions, (marching bands, the professional of arms, corny humor etc). The battle scenes are rather poorly filmed, it's tough to know what exactly is going on. But you have to give the actor Ken Curtis some credit since it appears he actually laid on the submarine's deck while the ship dived.
Well at least it's short.
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Malick's film about a love triangle in the early 1900's is probably one of the best looking films ever photographed. The film runs about and hour and a half and believe me short Terrence Malick films are a lot easier to take than long Terrence Malick films.
Slight criticism, for all the care brought to the look of the film the actors have very contemporary haircuts and looks. Don't know if this was intentional or just sloppy.
Still the film looks stunning particularly the scenes of the mansion standing alone on the prairie.
It's probably best to watch this in the most optimal conditions possible, a good TV with a large screen and a high quality copy of the film since I doubt it will be seen on a large screen anytime soon.
Monday, June 23, 2014
Tough guy director Robert Aldrich had a big hit with this war movie which at the time was known for it's violence. Robert Aldrich was an interesting filmmaker. He had been an assistant director to Jean Renoir, Lewis Milestone and Charlie Chaplin. His style of film making was to hit the audience over the head with films like Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, Kiss Me Deadly, Attack and The Dirty Dozen.
Aldrich was looking for a commercial hit with this film and was also trying to make a statement about the nastiness of war. The 12 convict soldiers were not exactly the kind of Army men you would see on a recruiting poster. However, Aldrich sort of diluted his message by loading the film up with lots of little comedic moments.
When you get right down to it, this is a superbly cast film. Aldrich used a lot of actors he was very comfortable with and added a real live wire by hiring John Cassavetes as the criminal turned soldier, Victor Franco. Finally there is ex Marine Lee Marvin as Major Reisman the leader of The Dirty Dozen. This is an actor who is completely immersed in his part.
As a Blu Ray, the film looks pretty good if maybe a little over saturated in the colors.
Sunday, June 15, 2014
Hammer does what Hammer does best, make a lurid horror movie with sex and lots of violence. Oliver Reed is the werewolf and he looks like Oliver Reed even in his werewolf makeup (ha ha good joke).
Anyway, the director Terence Fisher does a good with this horror stuff and holds off showing the werewolf until the end of the film. The story is completely original and not a remake of the unimpressive Wolf Man film that Universal filmed back in the 1940's. There is lots of mumbo jumbo about good vs. evil and evil spirits inhabiting the bodies of innocent people to turn them into werewolves. It's all presented very soberly even though it's a bunch of nonsense.
When it comes to acting, Oliver Reed is in a class by himself. This guy just never heard of the word "restraint" when it came to giving a performance. Even in the love scenes he's still kind of a scary guy.
The film ends with the usual angry crowd scenes of people running around with torches and the silver bullet through the heart. Hammer wrote a new werewolf story but couldn't entirely let go of the old cliches.