Movie Reviews (651-700)
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The title says it all as it is both a great puzzle and an intriguing mystery about a man without a memory but everyone seemingly wants him dead. Senta Berger is a fantastic lead who steals the film as his wife though. An unintentional comedic fight scene and terrible English dub doesn't help the film.
Western prequel about the bordello and creation of the vampire queen that was played by Salma Hayek in the original, but here she is played by a younger girl who don't look like her and is inferior in looks and a blank terrible actress - and if the character she plays is an undead she should be played by the same actress who originated her as she can not change her appearance (or am I missing a point and she has shape shifted herself in the original to Hayek?). Kudos for trying to be a little different visually than the first two films, but the story is still about criminals being massacred at a bordello and for being an origin story there is very little explanation about the creation of anything. For the most part weak and annoying.
One of the more original ideas that has been green-lit by a production studio about a very old Elvis with a rash on his d*** and a dark-skinned JFK fighting a redneck mummy. The flashbacks are beacons of light when Elvis remembers back to the old glorious time. That the film stars Bruce Campbell as the old-timer is a huge bonus. While the film takes it's time before the horror elements really kick in - the real nightmare is that being old and stranded in a home with strangers is a living hell.
Pretty close to the original novella by Stephen King about a writer who gets stalked by a man who claims that he stole his story. I liked how the film built itself up and the film has a different ending that is actually better than the one originally written and feels more perfect for the story. Johnny Depp is solid in the lead here and do a good character that is without the usual quirkiness that he puts into his roles. Stephen King do recycles much of his material and the film do have a feel of over-familiarity to it though that is hard to shake off as it feels like a mix between "The Dark Half" and "Misery".
Great characterization makes me interested in the people and if they will end up as survivors or creature food in one of the more effective monster movies I have seen. The ending will split it's audience in two but don't tell me it have a lasting devastating impact on you. It's biggest fault is that Stephen King has written these type of stories and characters for a lifetime and the characters do have a formulaic style to their behave pattern and how the story is played - especially the religious fanatic woman.
Who can hate this morbid Gothic splatter musical that makes me smile from ear to ear with blood pulsating through my throat. The casting of this movie is pitch perfect with Johnny Depp looking like the bastard love child of the Bride of Frankenstein and Jack the Ripper. Alan Rickman also steals every scenes as the real villain of the piece.
The ultimate voyeur movie. Grace Kelly was at the height of her career as the girlfriend of (always excellent) James Stewart who observe a possible murder by his neighbor. Hitchcock has probably never been better with this film where every window tells different stories and he has gotten the film shot and edited marvelously. One of the true greats of American cinema. It is nothing here to complain about and my eyes are fixed constantly on the screen. If ever a word should be used called "masterpiece" it is now.
Visually and technical impressive live version of the graphic novel by Frank Miller. It looks fantastic but there is not much acting to talk about as this is a photo-shoot movie with posing, stiff dialogue and over-the-top (taken directly from Frank Miller's original story) violence.
Fairbanks' tour-d-force role at the height of his power. While it has crude effects (which is normal for a silent movie) it is impressive how much heart and effort has gone into doing them in order to make a epic fantasy. The use of costumes, extras and sets are impressive. It uses some time to get to the quest-aspect of the film which is the fun and best part of the film.
A great colorful fantasy remake with Conrad Veidt magnetic as the evil magician Jaffar. The film was clearly one third of the inspiration for Disney's "Aladdin". It has a great pace throughout with a lot of things happening and a good structure to the story. Most disappointing are the effects that look sometimes worse than they were in the silent film version. Particularly the flying horse and genie moments are hilariously bad today. The leading hero lacks any form of charisma too and it is understandable that the producer decided to use comic sidekick Sabu to steal the film from the hero.
I know it is the type of film I should love - a neglected film that was removed from the public in twenty years - hated and booed at the premiere, but somehow I just can't see to warm up to it. It is probably a film that demand repetitive viewings in order to appreciate it's huge ensemble. Great decor and costumes and it's sharp dialogue was the highlights for me, but maybe I just wasn't in the right set of mind this day?
Lana Turner (both cold, vulnerable and calculating as she married for money) is one of the essential femme fatales in one of the most complete and most influential film noirs ever made. How the passion, plan and murder is carried out is realistically portrayed and it got great photography and plot twists. Hume Cronyn has a small but scene-stealing performance too. Only the final confession to the priest reeks of the Hollywood moral lesson and it is a shame that some of the passion and story had to be tamed for the MPAA - but it is still strong stuff for mid 1940s as there is no question that Turner and Garfield is doing the dirty deeds as much as humanly possible behind her husband's back.
The ingenious idea of telling a story backwards and a leading character with a short-term memory span makes what is an ordinary thriller have a breath of fresh air and becoming a lot more special than had it been played straight-forward. A perfect example how to do a tired story fresh again.
We get to see Madonna and Julianne Moore naked in a time when Hollywood tried to recreate the "Basic Instinct" hype and do their own highly charged erotic thriller, but to be honest the actors who approved doing this film should fire their agents since the story stinks and is full of improbable twists and unworkable dialogue. The sex-scenes won't even get a thirteen-year-old horny hormone-filled boy horny.
Epic Samurai movie by Akira Kurosawa what more do you need to know? It feels authentic and real with a great character gallery. The story has been copied and recycled dozen times over and every filmshot feels filmed with care and love.
Epic storytelling trying to tell an entire life story in just under four hours. James Woods, Joe Pesci and Robert DeNiro at their absolute best before becoming parodies on themselves and any film that "discovered" Jennifer Connelly should be applauded. Ennio Morricone's wonderful music score add tons of extra layers of emotion to the film too and it is a film I want to rediscover at least once a year. It was the final movie of Sergio Leone but what a way to finish one's career with.
The definition of a realistic family drama. The camera or the technical presentation never seem to want to do anything glossy or beautiful but instead just record action as it happens. The family characters feel like someone you know in your own one and the dialogue makes me sit in reflection afterwards.
The usual quality stamp of Quentino Tarantino: excellent dialogue with long monologues, cool retro music, great actors and extreme violence. Essential viewing for any serious movie goer.
Buddy movie that has the most memorable cop duo put on film. Excellent action sequences and Mel Gibson doing plain mad is highlights. It is the one who has dated the least compared to the other ones and also don't overdo itself on comedy or pyrotechnics.
Tops the first one with more action, explosives and humor and scenes where Joe Pesci talks a lot. A tragic love story between Mel Gibson and Patsy Kensit would have been a lot stronger had it not been for the terrible accent that Kensit has throughout the film that makes me squirm.
The third one outdoes itself with humor, but it is easy to be smitten by the actors' enthusiasm, but I find the new love interest, Rene Russo, not that believable and Joe Pesci appear again here to remind us of how much better he was in the second one.
It really seem to be a real ending to the film series compared to numerous other film series that go on forever and it is nice to see everyone in the ensemble and crew joining up for one final time, but an annoying Chris Rock and the downright theft of the dentist interrogation scene from Peter Sellers are huge unforgiving thefts.
THE major historic epic with a larger than life story and impressive sets. The chariot sequence is still a tense and exciting moment. It is a good film but did it deserve to sweep the enormous amount of Academy Awards that it did - probably not.
Never has Mozart's classical music and opera been this magnificently portrayed on screen with magnificent sets, detailed costumes and an acting that seem to fit this film perfectly. It is all based upon a play that translate fine to the screen with fascinating dialogue and an excellent historic theory about Mozart's final years and death through the eyes of Saleri, his arch nemesis, with a F. Murray Abraham in top form who will probably never do a better role in his life. Elizabeth Berridge is also a revelation as the female lead. This is excellent storytelling and a kind-of film modern movie fans may never see it's like of again.
Based upon the Award Winning novella by Harlan Ellison it paints an interesting take on a society where normal behavior between man and woman is gone, everyday is a fight for survival and a young man has telepathic contact with his dog - great storytelling in other words. The film could have shown a little more love between the young man and the dog as they really come across as a bitter old married couple that has forgotten to care about each other which make the ending almost seem a little off-character as the film should have shown the boy and the dog having a closer friendship to begin with.
Every shot look like a painting and the location work in France makes the most out of the location. Fascinating story based upon historical event, good orchestral score and Ridley Scott already with his film debut delivering a masterpiece of a film.
Inspired by an intriguing true event about a doomed navy exploration. It looks good and has a nice musical score by DJ Armin van Bureen and impressive visuals. A Dutch Victoria Secret lingerie model show off cleavage and nice firm body but doesn't add anything useful to the film. It takes liberties to the story and make villains out of some crew members and even a priest back home is portrayed as a bastard for drama's sake.
Al Pacino delivers a memorable role that easily could have gone totally over-the-top and become comedic but instead he feels dangerous and believable. It has an ensemble that at the time was mostly unknown actors who delivered excellent work that made them famous.
With better photography and budget than the original the film look too glossy for this dirty subject matter as if someone tried to make the subject matter more accessible by actually making the rape "sexy" instead of dirty, gritty and disgusting to watch. Instead we get a "tasteful rape-revenge" remake where victims gets to live and the parents are not even moving an eyebrow when they're daughter arrived with a gunshot wound but falls totally apart emotionally when they discover that she was raped making the scene totally laughable as if it is okay if she is dying but raped is not? What works with the remake is that it is better explained why the criminals ends up in their victim's family house and we don't get to see the "comedic moments" with stupid cops. Still, nothing can prepare you for the original that is much more brutal and hard to see.
The great Bill Murray and a enormous ensemble of fantastic stars help out in another quirky Wes Anderson drama-comedy - an alternative "Jaws" story that is just über-cool.
This is a hard film to swallow with some hugely discomforting brutal visuals of the worst toilet in Scotland and a dead child making this anything but comfortable viewing. Add to this brutality some characters that you can not cheer on nor are very likable. Good acting, dialogue and cool editing may make this a favorite for some, but I landed in the middle somewhere.
A good theme about moving on after a traumatic event even if it costs too much. Nice to see Max von Sydow get critical praise again in a non-speaking role. Strong film debut by Thomas Horn too who manage to make a challenging role interesting and complex. That people would welcome this strange boy is far-fetched until we get a twist reveal with the boy's mum that actually makes sense of it all. Tom Hanks look old these days don't he? IT were better movies that year that deserved an Academy Award Nominee for Best Movie.
Untraditional western comedy from Sam Peckinpah who is most known for violent actioners. Great colorful characters and another swan song for the genre. I presist that even the hardest man will let a tear fall by it's ending. It is not fair.
An underappreciated drama mostly because it stars an action star with the name Sylvester Stallone, who doesn't do that much action and instead has to act for a change. He does a solid job and is believable as a "working man" who finds his call in the union. The film show the 1930s time period nicely and has great use of costumes, location and atmosphere. I saw sadly enough the fucking European version that cut away several important plot points - including an important death sequence - which makes the movie a hell of a lot harder to make sense of.
Beautifully written, witty, great dialogue and a great ensemble makes this a wonderful who-dunnit blended in with a upstairs/downstairs bunch of characters. Any other movie would praise the fates and luck for having only one of these actors and actresses in their film, but since it's Robert Altman he could almost pick whoever he wanted - lucky bastard! The resolution at the end should have been a tiny bit more memorable in order to deliver that extra punch though.
A loving testament to the dead genre of screwball comedies, and especially the films of Frank Capra. This lovely screenplay is full of great comedic visual moments and excellent faces. I adore this one and even Jennifer Jason Leigh grows on me even if she comes out as arrogant and annoying in the beginning.
Pretty dark almost adult Disney with sexual themes - the song "Hellfire" sung by the villain is easily the highlight of the movie and Esmeralda is sure a sexy animated gypsy woman. The soundtrack that consist of Gregorian chants is cool. Even if they may just be representation of Quasimodo's mind the three comic sidekicks in form of gargoyles are useless for the movie and annoying. The hunchback is also too nice and political correct and the dark gothic ending of the original novel was never expected to be represented in a Disney movie anyhow but it is still disappointing to see such a happy ending for such a grim story.
Showcases Ed Harris in one of his earliest roles and already here he shows his gravitas and greatness. Tom Savini gets to play playboy and villain in one of his best roles. Duels with motorcycles inspirere by the Arthur legens is a good idea. Shame then that it is damn long especially the first half hour could have been edited.
Easily the best 1980s vampire movie made (even if the vampire word is never said - their condition is a blood illness). The atmosphere is fantastic combined with Tangerine Dream's music. The breathtaking Jenny Wright with a ice cream cone and Adrian Paul's cocky cowboy are beautiful together and the vampire family of Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton and Jenette Goldstein having a small "Aliens" reunion is a wonder to behold. A deserved cult classic and the first true glimpse of what enormous force Kathryn Bigelow has as a director.
Action comedy with potential with a seemingly perfect cast Katherine Heigl as a former lingerie seller turned bounty hunter and Jason O'Mara as the potential love interest and cop turned "bad", but the direction is dull and director Julie Ann Robinson doesn't seem to manage to make the film cinematic enough. The comedy elements also have been added in a fear of making a true serious crime thriller with a tough female in the lead making the leading star look bad at her job as Katherine Heigl should have gotten the chance to do the role in a dramatic way instead. Terrible voice-over should have been dropped too and the film fails in almost every department.
Escape movie based upon a true story and is filmed at the Alcatraz prison where it all happened so this one has great location work. It has a lot of that stuff that has become tired cliches now but the over-dramatic beginning with the obvious "Welcome to Alcatraz" mixed with a lightning strike at the right moment is too funny to take serious and strikes no fear in either us or in Clint Eastwood. The warden is unsurprisingly a very bad guy that try to make life living hell for his prisoners. Probably lost a little of it's tension over the years, but the ambiguous ending still works and is satisfying.
Excellent epic war movie inspired by one of the literal greats - King Lear by Shakespeare and directed by one cinema legend, Akira Kurosawa. This film has one of the evilest female foxes portrayed on film that just spits venom and is death to know. Excellent production values with fantastic costume design, sets and an actual castle being built and burnt down is some of the many memorable images all over the film.
As a war propaganda movie it is probably the best of the bunch I have seen as the story feels 100% authentic and the war footage and action are realistic - spliced together with real footage from WW2 at the time. The flashbacks used give the movie a "Citizen Kane" effect as we get to see the life of several character as they fight for their lives on a floating lifeboat in the sea. Some excellent editing and a couple of scenes hint on David Lean's later films, especially "Brief Encounter". It can also feel a little monotonous at times and the fact that WW2 was still going at the time made the story feel unfinished so I guess the rallying speech at the end was made only to motivate the crowds in continuing to fight the Nazis.
Above average '80s thriller that doesn't try to be anything more than it is - a likeable revenge movie about a special effects man framed for murder who uses his tricks on the bad guys. Good premise and how the effects are executed without being too far-fetched. It has dated gracefully and is still watchable even the "Just an Illusion" end title song is not as bad as other '80s pop songs. Only the predictable bad guys that never surprises is the weak link of the film.
Beautifully filmed in black and white making the make-up and sets feel realistic which is necessary since it is based upon a true story. David Lynch's use of surrealism and disturbing imagery is still present even in this film which is his most accessible film. John Hurt manage to show his talent even through heavy make-up and Anthony Hopkins make what could have been a boring scientific character interesting and likeable long before he had his true break-through. Sadly, most people will not learn anything from this movie but stand squeamish and react like 99% of the people in this film when watching a man with a psychical disfigurement - without ever understanding the heart inside the bodily prison. Man will never change...
The Ups: Boris Karloff selling this premise totally by going from old friendly grandfather to a grinning deformed killer. Surprising violent touches (for it's time) and while the film don't stir up the traditional told crime-horror mystery and everyone knows that Karloff has to become the bad guy in the end - the worst thing is actually waiting for it to happen.
Bridget Jones is that stupid girl that fucks the seemingly exciting guy that is an idiot without ever seeing the nice boring man before her who is the last good chance for happiness. A typhical movie for women then, but this one is actually tiny likeable due to it's frank dialogue and good acting as Renee Zellweger's has her signature role.
If one is to make a movie about the myth and legend that was Johnny Cash there could have been a hell of a lot worse choices that Joaquin Phoenix in the role who maybe doesn't look like the man but seem to channel the same demons that Cash had - and he suits black. The film really manage to show the soul and life behind the music and what inspired him. Reese Witherspoon surprises in what could have been an over-the-top role, but she manage to come through and even sings good enough to be believable. Of course it is impossible to tell the whole and uncut truth, but at least this film doesn't show him as a glorified saint and doesn't make shit of his music even if the film itself may not be 100% historic fact.
A great timeless fairy tale that is so good that Disney pretty much reused everything in the story for their animated film. The Beast here is magnificent realized and Jean Cocteau add some great surrealistic imagery to the film. Poetic feeling over it. Since it is a fairy tale the fairy tail have to end by having the fantastic beast creation becoming a bland and boring prince that seem to lack any of the charisma and coolness that the Beast have.
One of the few films that show Orson Welles' creativity and great storytelling technique without too much interference from producers (but it destroyed his career). It is excellently acted, directed and edited and is deservedly one of the most beloved movies of all time with some of the most quoted lines of film history. It is a gripping life story biography with all it's warts and scandals intact. You have basically heard of all that's good with it before and if you still haven't seen it - shame on you!
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