Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Kiss the Lost WOrld Goodbye

Kiss Toledo Goodbye- an attempt @ funny mob flick that just never feels real and never hits my funny bone- with Christopher Walken,Christine Taylor,Paul Ben-Victor & Michael Rappaport.Barely worth a rental. D+
The Lost World(1925)- this silent film was rendered silly by some odd foley throw-ins and a very repititive soundtrack.Melp and I ended up MSTing the flick - the Claymation dinosaurs were ok I guess- but nothing worth seeking out cept as a curio.
Looking For Comedy in The Muslim World- Albert Brooks is commisioned to go to India and Pakistan to write a 500 page report on what makes Muslims laugh- sadly they forgot to include consistent humor for the people watching the flick- it had some belly laughs - but not enough to sustain interest over an entire film. D+

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Friends with 24

Friends With Money - Jennifer Aniston,Catherine Keener,Joan Cusack and Frances Mcdormand are 4 friends in LA - 3 of them have successful looking lives and such and one is a maid- the movie follows the 4 women in thier 40s and the pratfalls of relationships- some funny stuff mixed with lots of angst - it felt like a big money indie film- C
The Sentinel - a paint by numbers "thriller" about the secret service- I mean the acting is decent and the secret service stuff is interesting- but plotholes and the usual good guy in peril stuff leaves this one wanting by the end of the flick.Starring Keifer Sutherland,Eva Longoria and Micheal Douglas. C

Friday, August 25, 2006

yep even more DVDs

The Stranger -a 1946 noir flick directed by Orson Welles about a Nazi who is hiding in a small Connecticut town as a professor.He is traced to the small town by a War Crimes detective played deftly by Edward G. Robinson and then we watch things unfold in this smalltown drama.There are some astounding plotholes in this one- but it is enjoyable- I got a cheap Alpha Video version of the DVD so there were no extras on the DVD B+

Wet Asphalt - this 1958 flim is billed as a Lost Noir on it's cover- but it is a far cry from most of the Noirs I have seen recently.This German film was dubbed into english and seems to be a rush job to capitalize on the recent rush to DVD of noir type flicks- and I admit I was bamboozled into snagging the flick.The idea of a journalist concocting a fake story about a hidden bunker behind the Iron Curtain that had some German footsolidiers in it for five years was pretty far-fetched- the fact that these fake stories lead to riots was also hard to believe.A mix of stock footage and bad dubbing . D

Kaiju Big Battel : The Shocking Truth - a mix of camp,Godzilla,Ultraman,Batman 60s TV show and Lucha moves this is a wrestling federation with imagination that has fun. This DVD mixes the history of the Big Battels with a hostage situation and several confrontations.For fans of MST3K,Wierd AL spoof style humour. B-

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

DVDs

Decent batch of DVDs this week so far

Just finished Small Solidiers- a 1998 Joe Dante flick about toys outfitted with Military Computer Chips- fun family flick with a good cast and a voiceover cast featuring the members of Spinal Tap and the Dirty Dozen with Sarah Michelle Gellar and Christina Ricci.Worth renting if you want something to watch with the whole family - also has David Cross,Dennis Leary,Kirstin Dunst,Phil Hartman and Ann Magnuson in it . B

Wicker Man-odd and interesting cult film from the 70s with Christopher Lee and The Equalizer.Set on a remote island with a village of folks that don't venture out much.Lots of interesting and creepy imagery- I saw the truncated 88 minute version-the DVD also had a 35 minute documentary on the making and eventual popularity of the movie. B

Cincinati Kid - another excellent Norman Jewison/Steve McQueen movie- this one is about a poker player about to take on the reigning champ (Edward G. Robinson).With an all-star cast featuring Karl Malden,Rip Torn,Ann-Margret,Tuesday Weld,Cab Calloway and Joan Blondell this poker movie is well shot and well executed. A+

Saturday, August 12, 2006

DVDs

recent DVDs
Lost City-Andy Garcia's movie about pre-Castro Havana starring Andy Garcia with Bill Murray and Dustin Hoffman- a mix of stunning musical numbers,vintage news footage of the revolution and a lame love story-this movie is alright- but it did manage to capture the feeling of exile(probably cuz director and star Andy Garcia was a Cuban exile)-the Dr. Zhivago/Casablanca love story angle seemed overwrought and well unimportant to the overall story( it did not help that the object of love had that bland Penelope Cruz kind of "attractiveness" to her).Inconsistent yet compelling. B-
Mr. Death- an Erol Morris documentary about Fred A. Leuchter, Jr- a man who made a living for himself creating and refining electric chairs.gallows and lethal injection machines in the 70s and 80s.This movie takes a huge left turn when Leuchter is called to testify on the behalf of Holocaust denier- he goes to Germany and decides with the evidence that he chisels out of the walls of German death camp sites that the Holocaust did not occur- this leads to lots of unemployment and personal strife for Mr. Death.An interesting character study. B-
The Setup - a Robert Wise noir starring Robert Ryan as an aging fighter who is supposed to drop his fight to an up and comer- but his manager and trainer never tell him- they just figure he will lose anyway.More than your basic boxing movie- this flick manages to capture the bizzare underworld of post WW2 America- the fringes of society- sure the movie has a very surreal edge to it -but the characters feel real as anything.The DVD has commentary by Martin Scorsese on it.A
The Bridge @ Remagen-a 1969 WW2 flick about a strategically important bridge in Germany near the end of the war.Starring George Segal,Ben Gazzarra and Robert Vaughan.This movie does a good job of capturing the feel of Germany during WW2( they actually filmed the movie in Czechoslovakia(ironically the Russian invasion occurred suring the last days of filming and led to some harrowing moments for the cast and crew).I thought Robert Vaughan did a good job as the German Army officer trying his best to do what is right in the middle of the chaos of the collapse of the 3rd Riech.A solid war flick with good action and drama.A-
Scary Movie 4 - this time David Zucker sets his sites on War of The Worlds, Million Dollar Baby , The Grudge,The Village,Saw and others and like most of the recent spoof movies this flick provides a few chuckles- but no serious belly laughs.It is a fun exercise in zaniness I guess- but nothing worth seeking out or spending money on. C-
The LA Riot Spectacular - a straight out satire of the 1991 LA Riot.Obviously low budget- but with a ton of well known folks in it - including Christopher McDonald,Emilio Estevez,Ronny Cox as Daryl Gates,Charles S Dutton as Mayor Tom Bradley,TK Carter as Rodney King and William Forsythe as Reginald Denny- a mixture of vintage footage and over the top ribs- Micheal Buffer is bought in to be the announcer for the Denny beatdown fer instance to David Rasche(Sledgehammer!) and Anne-Marie Johnson as E! type Hollywood reporters that treat the riot folk like celebrities.Good stuff- Snoop Dogg serves as the narrator on this flick- the DVD has a 10 minute behind the scenes segment that is worth watching to see what the cast was doing and thought of the riots. B+
The Thomas Crown Affair(1968) - excellent hiest flick starring Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway about a rich man that plots robberies for kicks.This Norman Jewison flick to use his words from the commentary is about "Style over Substance"- but in this case the style gives the movie it's glossy substance- also features one of the most sensual chess scenes I have ever seen in the movies. A+

Thursday, August 03, 2006

more movie thoughts

yesterday was DVD day(not much different than other days)
started off with The Getaway- loved the Slim Pickens cameo at the end of the flick- good tense action throughout
watched The House on 92nd Street - a decent procedural flick about the FBI and the Vth Columunists during WW2
also The Long Goodbye- liked the different take on the Marlowe character and the surprise of seeing Ball 4 author and former Seattle Pilots Pitcher Jim Bouton in the flick
this morning I watched Treasure of Seirra Madre- Bogart shines in this one
tonight gonna go see a screener of Little Miss Sunshine