Tuesday, August 9, 2011

North By Northwest (1959)

4.5 / 5  Aug '11
Tagline:  Alfred Hitchcock takes you.... North by Northwest!
Directed by:  Alfred Hitchcock
Written by:  Ernest Lehman
Actors include:  Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason
Genre:  Thriller, Mystery
Length:  131 minutes
Banned:  Nope

Yet another reason why [Artist77324] is considered "The Master of Suspense"!  This taut thriller stars [Artist143734] as Roger Thornhill, a New York ad executive who is suddenly kidnapped from a restaurant.  His captors seem convinced that he's a Government spy but of course it's a mistaken identity thing.  The more Thornhill starts investigating the Spy, the deeper he gets wound into the mess and the more convinced the bad guys become that he really is who they thought.  It's just so well written and tightly wound that it makes for one hell of a great film.  This even has some extremely memorable and spectacular chase scenes (featuring a crop duster and Mount Rushmore) and it's pretty much non-stop excitement from beginning to end.  Who can argue with that?  If you haven't seen this film then you absolutely must, one of Hitchcock's best and undoubtedly a classic that everyone should enjoy!

Availability:  On DVD and Blu-Ray

Faster (2010)

2.5 / 5  Aug '11
Tagline:  Justice is swift. Vengeance is faster.
Directed by:  George Tillman Jr.
Written by:  Tony Gayton, Joe Gayton
Actors include:  The Rock, Maggie Grace, Billy Bob Thorton
Genre:  Action, Thriller
Length:  98 minutes
Banned:  Nope

Well, I'll start with the pros, which include that it's violent and that it's a revenge movie.  Ahem, the cons...well that's a slightly longer list.  The acting was laughable (seriously why is The Rock an actor again?), and the plot was hilariously predictable and eye rollingly cliche.  The plot is about a fellow called Driver (the Rock of course) who gets out of prison and then goes for revenge!  See turns out that he and his brother are shot up by some bad guys so he's gonna get them back come hell or high water.  We also have Officer Billy Bob Thorton on the prowl trying to solve the case.  They at least try to throw a few surprises the way of the viewer, however I wouldn't say they were very effective nor surprising.  Just the same if you want a simple shoot 'em up revenge flick you could do worse I suppose.

Availability:  on Blu-Ray & DVD

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Harry Brown (2009)

3.5 / 5
Tagline:  One Man Will Stand Alone
Directed by:  Daniel Barber
Written by:  Gary Young
Actors include:  Michael Caine, Emily Mortimer, David Bradley
Genre:  Action, Crime, Drama
Length:  103 minutes
Banned:  Nope

Every year must have a decent revenge flick, and for 2009 Harry Brown is where it's at.  Michael Caine plays the title character, a lonely man living in a dangerous neighborhood.  After his only friend and Wife are killed by the street toughs, he decides to take matters into his own hands (he's an ex-serviceman).  The Police of course are useless and they seem oblivious to Caine, but when it starts coming together they are willing to look the other way (lazy butts).  It's kinda missing the sentimentality that made Gran Torino so effective, and it's not quite as brutal or satisfying as the Death Wish.  Still it's highly entertaining and Caine does a good job, and the pacing is quite good despite the lack of originality.  I'm always a sucker for a good revenge film and this is a good one, just not in league with some of the classics!
Availability:  On DVD & Blu-Ray

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Lady Terminator (1988) aka Pembalasan ratu pantai selatan aka Nasty Hunter aka Shooting Star aka The Revenge of the South Seas Queen

4 / 5 Nov '09
Tagline: She Mates... Then She Terminates
Directed by: H. Tjut Djalil
Written by: Karr Kruinowz
Actors include: Barbara Anne Constable, Christopher J. Hart, Claudia Angelique Rademaker
Genre: Action, Horror
Length: 82 minutes
Banned: Nope

So I'm guessing that in Indonesia that the The Terminator must have been really popular. This tale starts out to be one thing but definitely ends up another. It starts out with everyone warning to avoid "the sea queen", an Anthropologist goes on a trek to meet the sea queen and ends up having some sort of slug crawl into an unmentionable area. From that point on, she's imitating Arnold Schwarzenegger what with the robotic running, sideways glances and even some of the same catch phrases! I think the biggest difference is that Arnold wasn't screwing people to death! This is rather cheaply made and laughable in many places but they certainly tried their hardest. They filled it full of car chases, explosions, action sequences, fights and a whole bunch of red stuff! It's actually pretty darned fun to watch though I did find I was shaking my head in disbelief many times. I actually think this was better than the real 4th Terminator movie, heck this is on par with the 3rd one. If you can't get enough Terminator and want to see a naked female version (she does put on clothes after a while) then this should be turbo packed enough for most! A rather strange fan entry into the series but worthwhile for fans of the ridiculous!

Availability:  On DVD

The Tenth Victim (1965) aka La decima vittima aka La dixième victime

4 / 5   Nov '09
Tagline: It's the 21st century and they have a licence to kill
Directed by: Elio Petri
Written by:  Robert Sheckley, Tonino Guerra
Actors include: Marcello Mastroianni, Ursula Andress, Elsa Martinelli
Genre: Sci-Fi, Action
Length: 92 minutes
Banned: Nope

One insanely weird '60s sci-fi picture from Italy featuring the appearance of Ursula Andress and a futuristic dystopian plot. In the future, there is a Government run program you can sign up for (especially if suicidal) which puts you in a game. There are Hunters and there are Victims, you must survive being both a total of ten times before you win a million dollars. Only a few survive as they are being shot at nearly constantly not to mention the Hunter takes in all the information about the Victim, and the Victim isn't allowed any info at all. Ursula plays a girl who is about ready to take her tenth victim (the title...ya dig?), and they've planned a big movie shoot to show her as she kills him. Of course this he we refer to isn't a dumb guy, and let's just say she's met her match. It's filled with bizarre futuristic music, weird costumes and set designs and all kinds of absurdity. It's no wonder this influenced "The Running Man" and the Austin Powers series (you'll see exactly what I mean). Definitely something intriguing to see but yet I don't think it delivered the excitement I was hoping for ultimately.

Availability:  On DVD

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Homicidal (1961)

4.5 / 5  Nov '09
Tagline: A WORD OF WARNING! Please don't reveal the ending of this picture or your friends will kill you - IF THEY DON'T, I WILL! - William Castle
Directed by: William Castle
Written by: Robb White
Actors include: Glenn Corbett, Patricia Breslin, Eugenie Leontovich
Genre: Horror, Black Comedy, Thriller
Length: 87 Minutes
Banned: Nope

This is one hilarious black comedy, and shocking (well until about the halfway point where it's a dead giveaway) but still! It's about a murderous Nurse who is looking after an old Woman with a lot of money. It's very hard to review this actually because I don't want to give a thing away because it really must be experienced with as little information as possible. Heck William Castle threatened to kill anyone who gave the ending to this away! I can say it's surprising, it's dark, I laughed a ton, the characters are amusing and the lead character is simply stunning as a homicidal maniac! This film's gimmick was a 45 second fright break near the ending for patrons who weren't ready for it to leave the theater. Kinda weak on his scale of gimmicks but the movie more than made up for it in style and sheer entertainment. I was glued to the screen from the beginning to the ending, it really is one heck of a film and I'm kinda surprised that Castle had this in him! Definitely watch now and don't read any more for your own good...

Availability:  On DVD

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Stendhal Syndrome (1996) aka La Sindrome di Stendhal

3.5 / 5 Jun '11
Tagline: N/A
Directed by: Dario Argento
Written by: Graziella Magherini, Dario Argento
Actors include: Asia Argento, Thomas Kretschmann, Marco Leonardi
Genre: Thriller, Horror, Giallo
Length: 120 minutes
Banned: Nope

I'm not sure why this has such a terrible reputation, I mean it's certainly not one of Dario Argento's best but it's not his worst either. I suppose some may be disappointed because it is unusual for a horror flick and the story is a bit strange plus it is a bit too long. The story is about a Detective called Anna (Dario's daughter Asia Argento) who we meet in a museum where she loses herself and passes out looking at a painting. This is apparently what Stendhal Syndrome is (yes a real problem that affects quite a few I guess), getting lost in art and getting confused. Anyhow Anna has temporary amnesia making her job extra difficult since she's trying to track a serial rapist/killer. From there it's a strange journey of hallucinations, rape, obssession and blood...even a blond wig! According to some, this is the first Italian film to utilize CGI which generally I hate but it was small doses and it did work here. It certainly does feel like a giallo and one of the best late entries I've come across so far. Sure it's not something that you'll need to rush out and see but I think fans of the genre and of Argento should give this a try.

Availability:  On DVD & Blu-Ray