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These are not the best films I have but the ones I am most likely to watch now and in the coming years, the movies that never seem to cease being very entertaining in one form or the other. I am fortunate to own many movies so it�s not easy paring down to this short list, which will change regularly depending on what films lose favor, what new gems I discover and what new Blu-Ray transfers come out, perhaps elevating my rating of the film. (BD = Blu-Ray)
American Gangster BD
The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford BD
An American Werewolf In London BD
Apocalypse Now Redux BD
The Asphalt Jungle
Big Trouble In Little China BD
Black Hawk DownBD
Blue Velvet BD
The Boston Strangler
The Bourne Supremacy BD
Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid
The Cat In The Hat BD
The Conversation BD
The Dark Knight BD
Days Of Heaven
Devil In A Blue Dress
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels BD
Experiment In Terror
Field Of Dreams
For A Few Dollars More BD
The Fugitive BD
Ghost Dog: Way Of The Samurai
The Grey Fox
The Grifters BD
Henry, Portrait Of A Serial Killer BD
I Remember Mama
Kill Bill - Vol. 2BD
The King Of Comedy
The Lady From Shanghai BD
La Femme NikitaBD
Last Of The Mohicans
La Vie En Rose
The Legend Of 1900
The Little Shop Of Horrors ('60) BD
Marathon Man BD
Man On Fire (BD)
The Man Without A Past
Map Of The Human Heart
Master And Commander: The Far Side Of The World BD
The Mission BD
Narrow Margin (1990)
Night And The City (1950)
No Country For Old MenBD
One Hour Photo BD
Panic In The Streets
The Polar ExpressBD
Portrait Of Jennie
The Quiet American
Raiders Of The Lost Ark BD
The Remains Of The Day BD
Road To PerditionBD
Romeo Is Bleeding
Run Lola RunBD
Taxi Driver BD
To Have And Have Not
Toy Story 2BD
A Tree Grows In Brooklyn
The Triplets Of Belleville
True Grit (2010) BD
2001: A Space Odyssey BD
Visions Of Light: The Art Of Cinematography
The War (Ken Burns WWII series)
War Horse BD
Some Favorite Characters
Roy Hobbs (Robert Redford) in The Natural
The Joker (Heath Ledger) in The Dark Knight
Mona Demarkoff (Lena Olin) in Romeo Is Bleeding
Bill The Butcher Cutting (Daniel Day-Lewis) in Gangs Of New York
Jennie Appleton(Jennifer Jones) in Portrait Of Jennie
Major Charles Rane(William Devane) In Rolling Thunder
Art Weingartner (Rick Ducommon) in The 'burbs
Anton Chigurh (Javier Bordem) in No Country For Old Men
Inspector Sidney Wang(Peter Sellers) in Murder By Death
Jerry Lundegaard(William H. Macy) in Fargo
Frank Booth(Dennis Hopper) in Blue Velvet
Igor (Marty Feldman) in Young Frankenstein
Jack Grimaldi (Gary Oldman) in Romeo Is Bleeding
Lt. Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino) in Heat
Comparing '59 With '16
This review is primarily for the people who have watched the famous 1959 version of Ben-Hur. and are wondering if it is worth viewing the 2016 remake. How did it compare to the 1959 film? I would say the '59 film is better because it draws out the story more and so it flows nicely. It makes Judah Ben-Hur's history more easily understood, from his relationship to childhood friend and adult villain "Messala, " to his being sent to the galleys and how he finally escapes from there, to how he became friends with a man who had four magnificent white horses and how Ben-Hur taught them how to work together, to the famous chariot race in Rome, and then witnessing Christ carrying his cross and being crucified and his mother and sister are healed from leprosy.
In the new two-hour movie, things move faster because it is almost an hour-and-a-half shorter than the William Wyler-directed '59 film. There is less time to tell the story. Also there are changes in the new modern version and some might be a little confusing if you didn't know the story. I didn't mind most of the changes but I just thought the '59 film told the story better. Also. Charleton Heston was better as the lead character, slightly more convincing because he looked bigger and stronger and more able to endure five long years rowing in the bottom of a battleship. I also feel the famous chariot race was actually better in the old film and the leprosy angle involving Hur's family was much more dramatic in the '59 movie.
Having said all that, this 2016 movie was still very good. I enjoyed the updated camera-work on the sea battle and on the chariot race, the two dramatic action scenes in the film. I really appreciated Jesus being shown more often with the final scene of him on the cross done better than the earlier film. It was well done and true to the biblical account of Jesus last words on the cross.
Morgan Freeman is the only actor I was familiar with here and he plays his normal likable character role. The women in Judah's family, his mother and sisters, were more beautiful than the actresses in the prior movie but not more memorable. Haya Harareet, Martha Scott and Cathy O'Donnell all came across as more vulnerable and more believable as "Esther, "Miriam" and Tirzah," respectively. Finally, Jesus message of forgiveness is brought out more here in this movie and he is shown more often than in the previous movie. He should be, as the title of Lew Wallace's book these films came from is "Ben-Hur: A Tale Of The Christ."
In summary, I'd say both movies are "keepers" but I give the advantage to Wyler's movie (which also had a far superior musical score; one of the best ever). I could go on and on but I think I've said enough. If you are a big fan of the Heston flick, check this one out, too. It's interesting to compare the differences.
One Of The More Entertaining Bonds
Wow, what a pleasant surprise.
I think this is one of the best James Bond films ever made. I wasn't a fan of Daniel Craig's "Bond" before this.....but I am now. He was outstanding, as was the whole cast. So was the photography (Roger Deakins - one of the best cinematographers in the business) and the action scenes were extremely entertaining. Sure, some - like the opening - were over-the-top but that's what we've all come to expect and enjoy with the Bond movies. This opening scene ranks among the most astounding.
Javier Bardem ("No Country For Old Men") makes a fascinating villain, even though he doesn't appear for the first hour of the film.
I've watched the movie three times in just over a year - which is unusual for me - and enjoyed it each time.
The Far Country (1954)
This Offers A Lot To Fans Of Westerns & James Stewart
James Stewart, Walter Brennan, John McIntire, Ruth Roman, Jay C. Flippen, Corinne Calvet, Steve Brodie, Harry Morgan, Robert Wilke, Jack Elam, Kathleen Freeman - lots of familiar names and faces in this western.
It was my first look at THE FAR COUNTRY (1954) and I was very impressed. The story was terrific, acting solid and the scenery excellent (on location in Alberta, Canada). It was great story-telling. with the twist or two to surprise you. The ending featured a couple of more surprises. It didn't hurt that Anthony Mann was directing, too. He and Stewart worked a number of movies together.
Here's an interesting tidbit: the horse in this movie was the same one that Stewart used in 16 other movies!!!!! He and this horse were great pals and the horse was an excellent actor. Really.....that's what I read, and I thought that was kinda cool. In fact, there is an example of it in the final dramatic scene in this film.
The Age of Adaline (2015)
Makes You Wonder What You Would Do
To me, this movie had an involving story that was tough to put down, and I don't have many love stories in my big DVD collection....but this kept my attention.
The two leads - "Adaline," played by Blake Lively and "Ellis," played by Michiel Huisman - were fine. I thought Lively was a very, very pretty woman and I enjoyed looking at her throughout the movie. Her boyfriend, played by Huisman, was a little too bold at first but likable from that point.....a genuinely nice guy.
The movie was beautifully directed and filmed, filled good shots and very pretty photography. I watched it on Blu-Ray) on a 50-inch set and it looked magnificent. They definitely were careful to show each generation accurately (clothing, hair, cars, etc.).
A couple of random thoughts: If this was a real story, it would be interesting (and totally freaky) to look as good as "Adaline" and see your daughter now as an old woman (Ellen Burstyn, who is 82 years old as I type this). That would be too weird to even think about. One part of the movie that hit me was thinking how I'd react being in Harrison Ford's shoes, to see the woman he was going to marry but left him holding the ring, suddenly appear 40-50 years later and still look the same! Wow, that would be shock, to say the least!!
Anyway, the movie really got me thinking and daydreaming about life and how fast times goes. Movies like this can do that, leaving you to ask yourself, "Could I have gone that long and not told anyone this huge secret?" My answer is, "No, I couldn't." Two movies reminiscent of this come to mind: TOMORROW IS FOREVER (1946) with Orson Welles and Claudette Colbert, where Welles has a big dilemma, and SOMEWHERE IN TIME (1980) with Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour, in which Reeves travels back in time. Both are heart-rendering love stories that can be frustrating at times, with people who hold secrets - as this "Adaline" story is.
Lastly: I wonder why they spelled "Adeline" with an "a." Never seen that before and I'm more- than-familiar with the name. It was my mother's.
A Lot Of Good, Bad And In Between
I was hoping this was a "so-bad-it's-good" cheesy sci-fi flick, and in some cases it definitely was, but there were just a tad too many boring/inane scenes that were a little tough to sit through. The best part might be reading the funny remarks made by some people here on IMDb. There are some great reviews here.
What was good was the reptile-monster and the green slime that emitted from his mouth. The latter scenes rank up there with the worst special-effects I've ever seen but the sounds the creature made were genuinely scary and I thought he looked cool.
The story is all about him, when his tail is discovered deep beneath the surface at a drilling site in Denmark. (This is a Danish film, dubbed in English). The tail is brought to a lab and frozen but when one of the scientists accidentally leaves the door ajar, it thaws and begins to regenerate. Before you know it, it's a full-fledged monster who escapes and causes havoc in the countryside and in Copenhagen. The military guys can't hurt it no matter how much artillery they use, so they have to figure something else out, which happens in the last 10 minutes of the film.
There is plenty of action in here. Some of it was so bad, I laughed out loud (like some idiot opening a bridge and cyclists plunging into the water, or the kid suddenly eaten by the monster (the cheesiest two-second scene in the history of the movies!). The parts of the film that don't involve the creature, however, are very boring and useless. They are just filler to give the audience a break here or there. The stereotyped "Gen. Mark Grayson," is annoying and the victim of some of the worst acting (Carl Ottosen) you'll ever see. There was probably more humor than meets the eye, because I understand Danish humor is a little different and that was lost in the translation (dubbing).
Whatever, if you enjoy these old Godzilla-type films, you should be entertained by this turkey.
The Brain That Wouldn't Die (1962)
Actually, for a "B" sci-fi flick from the early '60s, on a $62,000 budget, it wasn't that bad.
There was something about the goofiness of it that kept my attention for most of the 80 minutes. I was hoping it would be one of those so-bad-it's-good movies, but it really wasn't. Oh, if you try to explain the story it sounds like one of those ludicrous stories - and maybe it is - but it's a fairly straight combination of a Dr. Frankenstein-wannabe and the Steve Martin vehicle, The Man With Two Brains.
A pretty woman's head sitting on baking pan on a table while her doctor-boyfriend goes looking for a good body to go with it. She lost it while the two were driving up to his cabin/lab. They had a car accident and he plucked her head out of the car fire.....really! She will stay alive for about two days in his newly-discovered solution so he goes to strip clubs to find a body for her. Meanwhile, she is not happy. She knows there is some hideous creature locked away in a closet nearby and uses some new-found psychic power to communicate and rule over him. Her plan is to get revenge on the deranged doctor. I won't say what happens in case someone reading this wants to see the film.
Yes, it's very stupid but there is something likable and entertaining about this cheapie film. I saw it as part of a "Four More MGM Sci-Fi Classics" DVD which is inexpensive.
Forensic Files (1996)
Four Reasons Why This Show Is A Winner
Episode after episode, year after year, this program has been entertaining. It almost never fails. There is a reason it has been on the air for 15 years.
After watching a few episodes, I became hooked....and, yes, this is an addicting show. I found myself watching over a hundred shows (my DVR had a workout) in two months. I'm sure many others have found themselves doing the same.
Why is this show good? First, it is true crime, not some fictional story; second, it runs only a half hour. Crime shows that are an hour long often repeat stuff over and over. A half hour is perfect. Third, the cases are always interesting. They leave you shaking your head in disbelief that people actually do some of these things reported in here. Fourth, Peter Thomas is excellent as the narrator. His is a voice which never offends, or gets old.
Currently, it can be seen regularly on the HNN cable network.
Duck Dynasty (2012)
Give It A Chance Without Bias
Some of the show's popularity can be traced to the family-values theme of the program (even though they argue a lot), which usually ends with the clan all together for a quick prayer of thanks at dinner time. People like and appreciate that, because they don't see this on any other TV show. Those who don't will bash and hate the program. Too bad people can't set their political/religious agendas aside and watch the program for its unique humor, and then decide if they like it or not.
For those who still haven't checked out this show - and there are more out there than you think - you have to give this about three episodes before you judge it. At first, it will appear stupid, on second look it's okay-but-nothing-great and by the third, you're hooked. At least that's how I and a number of friends found it to be.
Having watched four full seasons, all on DVD (the best way to watch TV shows), I would suggest starting right from the first season, which is the best one anyway. I think the shows slowly went downhill, and by the end of the fourth season it looked like the writers were running out of ideas.
Nonetheless, it is generally a fun show to watch and I can see why it has been so popular. It's different, a reality/comedy show uniquely filmed about a bunch of scraggly-looking rednecks from Monroe, Louisiana, who own and operate a duck calling business. They are the Robertsons. The film is narrated by the oldest brother, Willie, who is CEO, and is constantly aggravated by his lazy crew. The most popular person on the show seems to be "Uncle Si." I agree; he's easily the funniest guy on the program. Whatever, all the people on the show,including the wives and parents, contribute in one way or another.
Counting Cars (2012)
Gruff and Tuff, But With Big Hearts
Rick Harrison, of the ultra-successful Pawn Stars TV show, would send some work to "Counts Kustoms" across town in Las Vegas. In time, Danny "The Count" Koker, the owner of the place, got his own show. The same thing happened to Rick Dale, who stars in American Restoration. Knowing the Pawn Star guys has its benefits!
In this show, you have a bunch of tough-looking, gruff-sounding bike guys who underneath are pussycats.....at least in Koker's character. Danny and his crew of Kevin, Scott, Roli, Horny Mike, Shannon and others fix up just about any kind of car you give them and transform them into an amazing-looking vehicle, whether it's a muscle car, classic car from the early years, bike or a coffin-on-wheels! You see a lot of variation of restoration projects and that keeps it interesting, along with the crew, who are fun to watch.
What's different is that these nasty-looking dudes, led by their boss, have a special heart for people who have served their country, or have been disabled, or want something as a tribute to a fallen family member. Yeah, it's very sentimental and even sappy at times...but it works. I admit there are times I have a tear in my eye at the end of these shows. I like the feel-good endings. You don't see much of that anymore on TV.
Chasing Classic Cars (2008)
Pleasant Show, Fun To Watch
If you like classic cars and you enjoy seeing some of the best displayed in the best venues in the United States (Amelia Island, Pebble Beach, etc.) you should enjoy this half-hour television show.
Host Wayne Carini, based out of Portland, Connecticut, restores and collects classic cars and motorbikes. The show usually consists of him going around the country looking at a few cars and perhaps purchasing them. He then restores them, if he needs to, and then attempts to sell them at high-price auctions. Sometimes he does this for friends and sometimes he just goes to a show to see if his car(s) can win a prize. He has a nice collection of his own.
Carini keeps things varied on the show which is probably one reason the show is successful and has been on the air for 7-8 years and has aired about 120 shows. You see literally all kinds of vehicles, from the early 1900s and on. Carini also has a low-key, pleasing personality. I like the fact that the show is the same: fairly quiet and classy. No screaming and yelling.
Chasing Classic Cars is aired on the Velocity Channel.
The Beast of Yucca Flats (1961)
So Brutally Bad It's Actually Watchable
This low-budget movie was released in 1961 and featured no actors you've ever heard of. Well maybe one - Tor Johnson, who was a regular in Ed Wood's cheapie sci-fi flicks. He was the "guest star," which also tells you how bad this was. Most of the dialog is in the form of narration and it is so corny it makes you wince. The "score" is ultra dramatic throughout the film and gets to be laughable after awhile.
Some IMDb reviewers called it the longest hour of film ever. Many said it was "the worst film ever made." Ha ha. I don't know about that, but it was terrible - some of the worst production values ever. The actors must have been so bad that they - get this - they never showed them speaking. Their backs were always turned. This dawned on me about 45 minutes in, so I doubt the voices were even those of the actors. Since it was filmed outdoors, they probably didn't have the money to have it miked outdoors.
The "beast" is just a huge fat guy (Johnson) with some goo pasted to his face. He throws some rocks and waves a stick and tries to chase some kids but can't movie very well. That's about it. Oh.....I forgot: he strangles people, too. The strangulations are the funniest (and worst acting) parts of the film. You actually will scoff and laugh!
However, despite a gazillion holes in this story start-to-finish, I found it so bad it was somewhat entertaining.... so it has some (very little) value!
The Land Unknown (1957)
Not Bad.....Not Bad At All
This is a decent sci-fi flick from the Fifties ('57). It's entirely watchable, in that it had enough varied action to keep one's interest and didn't overdo any sappy romance angle, although there was one there.
This is no Jurassic Park when it comes to showing dinosaurs but, hey, the film was made over 55 years ago and special-effects were primitive back then. They're still not bad....in fact, good for that period. That, and this was most likely a low-budget film. It also may be a no-name cast for many readers here although those who grew up in the '50s might remember Jock Mahoney from the western"Yancy Derringer."
Still, the acting was fine, the story acceptable and, as mentioned, it moved well with a couple of surprising twists. I liked the fog-shrouded lost-world atmosphere and I was glad to see this in a widescreen DVD format with a good transfer.
If you're a fan of this genre, or hokey '50s sci-fi films, this is a movie to check out.
A Little Of This, A Little Of That....And A LOT of Fun!
Frankenweenie was a pleasant surprise: a very entertaining film that was fun for a number of reasons. The story featured drama, comedy, suspense, action and even a little romance.....it had everything. Plus, it had a terrific black-and-white palette. The stop-motion animated movie looks gorgeous.
Anyone who is familiar with the original Frankenstein film and Bride of Frankenstein had to get laughs out of the references to those 1930s classics. I know I did, laughing out loud several times. There also were touches in here of other pretty famous movies such as Godzilla, Gremlins, Gremlins 2, The Mummy and probably a couple of others that don't immediately come to mind.
All of that is involved in this story about a young "Victor Frankenstein," whose beloved dog "Sparky" is killed and then brought back to life by the young kid scientist (who went on to bigger things, as you know.) In this story, it's fairly mild until a bunch of weird schoolmates want to cash in on Victor's secret for re-animation. Then it gets tense/dark......probably a little too much for young viewers, so parents beware. However, for teens and up - particularly adult film buffs - this is a fun flick, start-to-finish.
The Good & Bad
GOOD - Gorgeous photography, beautiful small town and fall foliage.....likable lead character in young boy "Timothy," played winsomely by CJ Adams. For a kid with little acting experience, he's very good. The story is somewhat interesting and hooks you in early, making you care what happens to that boy. However, when it's all said and done, you just know that this film could have been so much more, because the premise is a good one. Nice, sweet ending in which Disney is always good at doing, leaves one with a nice feeling but it doesn't save the film.
BAD - The typical goofy Disney parents. Hollywood can't quite get "normal people," because those never seem to exist in movies. In this case, they are wacky and the two actors - Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton - both overact to the point of nausea at times. Timothy's girlfriend, "Jon." played by pretty Odeya Rush, is in the same grade as Timothy? She is obviously two or three years older. While he is about 11-12, she has the face and body of a 15-16-year-old. Most of the adults are all cartoon-like characters and unlikeable, except for "Uncle Bub" and his wife, "Aunt Mel."
Speaking of Uncle Bub, it was good to see character actor M. Emmet Walsh again. The man's getting up there in age but always fascinating to watch in his minor roles.
Wreck-It Ralph (2012)
Film Improved As It Went On
This film got better and better and went along. By the midway point, I thought it was okay, but nothing special, but by the end it turned out to be an entertaining film overall. In another words: a strong second half.
Make no mistake: this is a kids movie. However, there are things an adult can enjoy. While I found very few laugh-out-loud things, it still kept a smile on my face for a decent part of it.....and the colors were astounding. Please see this on Blu-Ray, if you have the opportunity. I don't have a 3-D player so I can't comment on that aspect. Bet it looks cool.
Overall, a fun film that I'd watch more than once.
Men in Black 3 (2012)
Series Keeps Getting Better
Sequels are supposed to get weaker and weaker but I have found just the opposite with Men In Black. I think they've gotten better with each film.....at least, entertainment-wise. MIB3 is simply the funniest of the lot and has a nice little unexpected sentimental ending.
If you simply want a fun 100-or-so minutes of escapism with a bunch of laughs and outrageous scenes, this movie will deliver that.
A highlight to me was the performance of Josh Brolin, playing a young "Agent K." Man, did he have Tommy Lee Jones' character down pat - voice, inflection, mannerisms.....just incredible. Kudos to Brolin.
The King's Speech (2010)
Worthy Of All The Awards
I enjoyed this the first time but on the second, I really appreciated this film and am very glad it won the awards it did. What superb acting, direction and cinematography. What an interesting - and different - story.
I know Colin Firth won the "Best Actor" Oscar but I just loved Geoffrey Rush in here as the speech therapist, "Lionel Logue." He was riveting, throughout the movie (not that Firth wasn't great as King George VI). Helen Bonham-Carter was very good, too, in an understated role as the king's wife, the famous Queen Elizabeth.
Kudos to Director Tom Hooper and Director Of Photography Danny Cohen. They made the picture just stunning to view.
Don't let the storyline fool you. Yes, it's about a king who had a stuttering problem and the man who helped him. Sounds boring, but it isn't. It's well worth your time.
The Last Days of Pompeii (1935)
Very Involving Story Which Still Holds Up Today
Yes, the movie is over 75 years old and dated....but the story is excellent and powerful..... and one that anyone can enjoy in any era. "If it's good in the past, it's still good," as Sly & The Family Stone commented at 1969's famous Woodstock concert.
To me, the biggest attraction of the film is the involving story. From early on, you really care about "Marcus" (Preston Foster) and then his adopted son "Flavius" (DavidHolt/John Wood). Foster is good in his lead role and very convincing as the hard-luck and bitter man who turns into a gladiator and then rich entrepreneur, so to speak. As hard a man as he is, he has a really soft spot for his family and will do anything for them (either wife or kids, depending on where you are in the story.)
All the characters are interesting. The only one who was a little bizarre to me was Basil Rathbone's "Pontius Pilate." I've never seen Pilate portrayed in such a sympathetic, friendly light as he was here, as Marcus's boss and then friend. Now Pilate may not have been the totally evil man many people perceive him to be, but he's no "good guy," that's for sure, and yet he was portrayed as such.
Regardless, the film is a good one with a dramatic ending and good special-effects for the mid 1930s. The most important "special effect," though, was not the eruption of Mount Vesuvius but the transformation of "Marcus's' hard heart. This was truly a man who "saw the light" near the end of his life, thanks to one Man.
Taken 2 (2012)
No Credibility, But A Fun Ride
Well, if you liked the original Taken, and if it is suspense and action you crave, look no further than this sequel. You should wind up very pleased.
Liam Neeson plays the same role in a similar scenario. Instead of going to France to rescue his daughter "Bryan Mills" now is in Turkey on business and winds up attempting to rescue his ex-wife and keep his daughter safe at the same time. They joined him for a little R&R after things got tense at home. They were in for a surprise. The Romanian family of all the people "Mills" killed in the first film are out for revenge.They have waited six years and when they hear that Mills is in nearby Istanbul, they go after he and his family.
The length of this movie just about right, An hour-and-a-half - with the last hour almost non-stop action, is fine. Any more than that would have been too much. It would have been overkill, you could say. Actually, it's overkill already. This is escapist fare with little credibility (Neeson kills an unknown slew of foes while none shoots him, his daughter changes quickly from someone who can't pass her driving exam to a professional stunt car driver in unfamiliar and crowded streets, etc.).
Nonetheless, it's fun to watch and the 90 minutes go by fast.
CSI: Miami: Countermeasures (2011)
Saving Natasha, But Not The Season
I'm so sorry this begins the final year of this entertaining program.
As always, this opening episode deals with the story that ended the previous year. In this case, Natalie is locked in a car's trunk while the car speeds off a pier into the ocean. Nearby Horatio has been shot in the chest/abdomen area and is lying on the pier.
Of course, everyone knows our heroes aren't going to die, so the question is how they survived and how they capture the people responsible. In this story, there are two guys to go after.
In real life, there is no way "H" could do the things he does despite a serious injury, but - hey - it's all make-believe solely for dramatic purposes....and it's fun to watch.
Some Real Negatives, Yet Still Fun To Watch
I remember years ago when I first heard the word "gratuitous ." it was pertaining to movies having "gratuitous sex or violence." Well, folks....this is one of those gratuitous violence movies. I can't recall a film in which the good guy killed more people per minute of screen time than Jason Statham's character in "Safe." I mean, it's unbelievable!
That, some corny and stupid dialog and no likable characters all should have added up to a lousy movie experience....yet, I still found it entertaining. Go figure. Maybe it's some of the stylish shots or the fact that Statham - no matter how crude - always seems to play a character that's fun to watch. The story wasn't bad, either: a stone-cold killer with a soft heart for a wayward kid.
If you are in a hostile mood and want a movie to get lost in, to unload some anger, Statham and this movie is your ticket!
Jeff Beck Honors Les Paul (2010)
It's safe to say music legend Les Paul, if he was alive to hear this concert, would be driven to tears. It is an absolutely wonderful and superb tribute to the man who "invented the electric guitar." Also, he and Mary Ford combined for some ground-breaking vocals back in the 1950s.
Today's guitarists, particularly the British, seem to revere the American pioneers in guitar and blues and what better guitarist to pay tribute than Jeff Beck. Also, as it turns out, what better singer to honor Mary Ford than Imelda May? Imelda practically steals the show here with some incredible vocals and great theatrical presence. Her husband, rockabilly man Darrel Higham, also contributes in this concert with stuff that would make the '50s boppers proud. Beck, a big fan of Gene Vincent, pays homage to him, too, starting with his blue cap and pants!
So, if you want an evening of great instrumentation, vocals and a fun mix of re-done oldies, this is a fantastic DVD to own.
Well, this film is a nice twist on what we've seen in film the past few decades: the atheists vs. the Christians (in this case, Catholic) and the atheists lose! It was based on on a real-life event in Mexico: the Cristeros War from 1926-29.
What else stuck out was the excellent cinematography, production values and the acting and role that Andy Garcia played as "Enrique Gorosteita Velarde." Garcia gets fifth billing here on the IMDb home page but make no mistake: he is the star of this film. His slow transformation from non-believer to believer is interesting to watch.
Although it may have a "religious" theme and no nudity or profanity that I can recall, there is a lot of rough violence in this film. Hence, the "R" rating.....yet I couldn't help but feel this movie still had a lot of family appeal. Being a pro-Catholic film, it didn't get much publicity or fair reviews from mainline critics. No surprise there.
For those not sure about this film, I have no hesitation in recommending it. As mentioned, it has very high production values (see it on Blu-Ray, if you can), the story moves along well and the acting is just fine. It's a good story and and almost an old-fashioned type of movie epic.
Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
Notes, And The Director's Cut
There were some things that made this surpass the 1960 original and other things I could have done without.
I might as well get the ** Big Spoiler ** out of the way first: in this new Blu-Ray Director's Cut, the two main characters also get eaten by the plant! Yeah, "Audey Jr." is one mean motha, and the film does not have a happy ending. Screening audiences did not like that, so it was cut from the theatrical release.
Anyway, the plant was spectacular and the lyrics to his songs had me laughing out loud several times. They were hilarious. The main actors did a pretty good job of imitating the 1960 actors. Moranis was very much like his counterpart. Ellen Greene's main contribution was her cleavage, although she was good as the ditsy-voiced "Audrey,"
The music was decent, but nothing spectacular outside of the plant. i didn't see the point of having the three women singing in a number of early scenes.
Steve Martin's cameo as the sadistic dentist/boyfriend was memorable, both good and bad. His gestures of a 1950s James Dean-type were excellent but his potty-mouth was overdone.
This is the kind of film that looks like it would be fun for the kiddies, but it is not. It's a pretty hard-edged violent movie for a comedy/musical....but adults will get plenty of laughs. The BD boasts a good transfer and surround sound.
Peter Gunn: Lady Windbell's Fan (1959)
Chinatown is the setting for this Peter Gunn episode, which really starts off with a dramatic opening. It's one of the more interesting ones I've seen.
Pete has to figure out why someone is so desperate to get their hands on a "fan," the kind used by Chinese dancers.
The interesting characters are led by Vic Perrin's "Silent Sy," a deaf-mute who has a crush on the fan dancer.
The only main character who isn't portrayed by an Asian actor is "Chang Li-Chang," an old man played by Richard Hale. With a good DVD transfer, Hale's makeup is pretty obvious. Otherwise, it is a credible and interesting story with some neat twists.