@Barbel She was dubbed???? You are kidding me ! She doesn't 'say' anything, all she has to do is grunt and moan and scream - and I'd listen to Ms Welch grunt and moan and scream any day...
(for those who've just tuned in, we're discussing Raquel Welch's performance in One Million Years BC)
actually she says quite a few words, she's from the more civilised tribe with a primitive language, she asks the runaway caveman his name and explains the names of various tools.
I wonder if there was so many exterior shots the voices didn't pick up and they needed to overdub in postproduction? still, I'm sure she could have done her own overdubs
I'd forgotten that. I haven't seen One Million Years BC for a good decade or so. To be honest, the dialogue is not top of my list of concerns when I watch this movie. That sounds awful, but it's true.
THE 13TH WARRIOR (1999) with Antonio Banderas
I'd heard mixed on it and was in the mood for some good battle action. The film did not disappoint in terms of the fighting scenes but you can tell that a lot of the connective tissue between the fights was excised to keep the runtime down.
It's essentially a retelling of BEOWULF but from a different point of view. Antonio Banderas is, for some reason, cast as an Arab (I know, baffling) and he travels north with Omar Sharif as an ambassador of sorts to some Vikings. When he gets there, the Vikings themselves are being summoned to help with a great evil that is killing a lot of their countrymen. The Vikings consult a witch who proclaims that 13 of them need to go and answer this summons, one of whom must be a non-Viking. Banderas is thereby forced to join the Vikings on their quest.
There's some good stuff in there including some fun fellowship and banter between the warriors, but the film is mainly a collection of battle sequences with just enough plot to provide a rudimentary story to follow. It's as if an hour has been cut out of the film to reduce its runtime. As it is, it's not baaaaaaaaaaaaad...it's just not great.
If you want to see some well staged battles, give this a shot.
Antonia Banderas is Spanish and Spain was ruled by Arabs from the 8th to the 15th century. I don't think casting him as an Arab was baffiling at all. 🙂
Interesting! I knew that about the Moors and Spain but it didn't occur to me that that would make him a viable actor for the part. OK, I stand corrected.
In terms of etnicity and look he was a good choice playing an Arab I think. I don't If it made him the right actor for the role is an open question. The critics didn't like the movie, so perhaps not.
It's not as bad as its reputation. It's competently made and acted and you can follow the story. The fighting scenes are well done and some of the production design is incredibly authentic feeling with a grand sense of scale. It's really just the fact that it feels like the plotting that would bring it all together has been jettisoned to get the film down to a runtime of under 2 hours.
Nope, no kidding. And as @caractacus potts says, she does say a few words.
TRANSPORTER 2 (2005)
A frankly insane thriller that kicks off with a hair and eyebrow raising and fight in a multi-storey car park and doesn’t let up its relentless pace for the whole 90 minutes.
Jason Statham returns as Frank Martin, the titular ‘transporter’ relocated to Miami and filling his time with the school run for an entitled little mite, the progeny of a big shot anti-narcotics politico whose having marriage difficulties. The wife turns to Frank for help when the son is kidnapped and a whole host of fights and car chases ensue, none of which make any sense narratively or logistically.
Unlike the debut movie, this one has to use CGI and it’s ropey, cheap looking SFX at that. Pity. Louis Leterrier is the director, but exactly what his task is except to point the camera blandly at faces while the actors retrieve risible dialogue, I don’t know. The effects, stunt men and second unit guys are doing all the work on this one; there’s even a specific credit for original The Transporter director Corey Yuen as martial arts choreographer and the film certainly needed him. It wears a heart on its sleeve: 190 credits for stunts and effects, but only 5 for script and continuity. Statham is briefly united with his old mate from Lock, Stock… Jason Flemyng, as well as Francois Berleand playing the weary Insp Tarconi. Kate Nauta catches the eye as an assassin who wears nothing but lingerie.
Hard on the eyes and ears, light on the mind because you just don’t care.
Note: Before making Transporter 2, Statham made a cameo as “Airport Man” in Michael Mann’s Collateral. Speculation abounds that Statham is playing Frank Martin. While it is fun to speculate, I don’t think the case is proven. Martin is always immaculately dressed when at work and never touches the package. In Collateral, Airport Man is not wearing a tie and is carrying the package. Also his hair is not so dramatically shaved. Nonetheless it’s fun to think of Michael Mann saying: “Just play it like you played the dude in Transporter.”
Those Transporter films are a lot of fun in a 'turn your brain off and go with it' kinda way. Same with the two Crank films.
NO TIME TO DIE (2021)
Records are meant to be broken, so after months of agonising whether to see NTTD before I’ve seen it in the cinema, I finally succumbed last night as this is now available to stream on Amazon free of charge. So, after 60 years of seeing Bond films in the cinema (I first saw DN aged 6 in 1962) due to the ongoing pandemic and with cinemas still closed here in Cebu, and me not even knowing if it will be shown when they do reopen anyway, I decided to watch it. I knew some spoilers, Bond and Leiter being killed and the new 007, for instance, and I don’t think it spoilt the experience.
There are a lot of faults, it’s far too long, a good 30 minutes could be shaved off to pace it properly. What is it with today’s movies having to be so bum achingly long? All of Craig’s tenure has been spoilt by them being too long, even QOS, which is about 80 minutes too long 😂. The PTS is like a mini movie in itself and becomes boring long before we see the title sequence which is good but embellished with a humdrum song. The premise is ok but the emphasis on Bond’s personal life is overdone and it’s pretty much all we’ve had over the 5 films and it’s become boring, boring, boring. The death of Leiter should have been poignant but it wasn’t, as the relationship hadn’t had time to develop into a proper friendship. Where the film scores is the island base, this is proper Bond stuff and what we have missed over Craig’s tenure. The ending is kind of sad, but because this Bond MkII, or Earth-2 Bond, has only been around for 5 films it doesn’t really have that OMG factor, Craig’s Bond hasn’t got into my heart like the Connery-Lazenby-Moore-Dalton era did. And to use the OHMSS music is sacrilege 🙁
Now that the 5 film reboot is over it’s time for a reassessment. CR is a brilliant film and stands alone as a genuine top Bond film in any era. QOS is a terrible movie, best forgotten. SK and SP are ok but too long and too much emphasis on Bond’s personal life. When I first saw SP I thought it was a fantastic entry but on further viewings it has paled somewhat. I think it was an experiment gone wrong. How much was influenced by Craig, I don’t know, he’s a decent actor but there has been far too much angst, I felt devastated for Lazenby’s Bond In OHMSS but cannot feel anywhere close to that for Craig’s Bond.
Was it worth the wait? Probably not. It’s ok, and aside from CR, that’s all it is for what followed.
I want Bond to have single missions, I want the villains to have nefarious plans to destroy the world, I want bases to be blown up at the end, I want Bond discarding lovers left right and centre, I want some fun back into the movies. Unless Amazon take it over I don’t think we will get it.
Well said, CHB. Glad you finally saw the film, though- you've been waiting for a long time!
I'm impressed you had the strength of character to wait this long -I doubt I would!
@CoolHandBond You are not alone in your thoughts. Your last paragraph sums up my feelings exactly. I'm planning on taking in some of the Connery Bond films at my local Vue Cinema as an antidote to all this Craig-angst. SP and NTTD both have elements of Bond I love, but they have somehow contrived to ruin them both...
Any reason you didn't want to post the review in the NTTD thread?
congratulations @CoolHandBond on finally seeing the new Bondfilm. And with that, you are now qualified to read Ye Olde and Improved version Nay, Time to Die!
I've been encouraging others to use Spoiler tags for months because I knew you were the last regularly posting member who had not yet seen the film. But there are indoobitably a few lurkers out there who still dont know how it ends, so you might want to Spoiler tag some bits in your review
... Earth-2 Bond ...
comic book reference! I approve! Perhaps in Bond26 we shall see CraigBond cross the dimensional barrier and team up with BrosnanBond to save the Multiverse, as the two Green Lanterns are doing in this classic scene. Except without the magic rings of course.
just looking at that subforum, the Reviews With Spoilers thread has sunk almost to the bottom of the first page, with many more specialised threads rising to the top. it may be hard to find now that its become less active?
Nice to see that I’m not alone in my thoughts!
@chrisno1 I didn’t really think about where to put my review - I might transpose it onto there as well.
@caractacus potts Please don’t give BB any more ideas about a multiverse 😂
I saw FRWL last night and this is probably old news but I’ve not noticed it before - in the PTS Morenzy says it took Grant 1 minute 52 seconds to kill the substitute James Bond, and that is the exact time of the real fight in the train, as I timed it!
An interesting double-header the other night. I think Barbel reviewed the first a couple of weeks back:
KING KONG (1933)
A film which virtually needs no introduction or explanation. Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack’s classic stop-motion horror adventure still has the potential to thrill and delivers with some vibrancy and a healthy dose of technical sophistication. Bringing the monsters alive is the preserve of animator Willis O’Brien whose work inspired others, such as Ray Harryhausen. The magic is all up there on the screen. More modern viewers may find the whole rather quaint, but if you only wish to be entertained, rather than enthralled, King Kong works that magic all over again every time you see it.
Robert Armstrong’s Carl Denham is a maverick movie maker who enlists a ship’s company and a beautiful out-of-luck damsel in an effort to film the Eighth Wonder of the World: King Kong a giant gorilla whose domain is an unnamed Pacific island, identified only by its skull-like mountain. The natives live in fear of this godlike beast and have built an enormous wall to keep it at bay. When the filmmakers arrive and disturb a sacrificial ceremony, the tribal chief demands Fay Wray’s Ann Darrow replace the young native girl to compensate for this heresy. The interlopers refuse and later that night Ann is kidnapped and staked out for the gorilla’s dinner – except the beast takes a peculiar shine to Barbie doll sized Ann. There follows an extended chase sequence where Bruce Cabot’s ladies’ man Jack Driscoll pursues the ape-monster through the jungle and the only thing slowing up Kong are his fights with a tyrannosaurus rex, a gigantic lizard and a pterodactyl.
Rescue completed, Kong goes crackers and attacks the village hoping to find his fascinating blonde. Instead he’s gassed into unconsciousness and transported back to New York where, following a disastrous public unveiling, Kong runs amok, kidnaps Ann and climbs the Empire State Building where he’s finally brought to heel by a troop of flying aces who machine gun the poor beast to his doom.
Excitement galore, even if time-wise and logistics-wise the narrative makes no sense. The filmmakers famously claimed that the faster the picture moved the less likely an audience was to notice the continuity issues. They certainly succeed. Cooper was too meticulous, so his co-director insisted he only oversaw the miniature work – which took a year to complete – while Schoedsack himself dealt with the dialogue. They completed the live action work in a month and it shows. The performances are rushed and the characters underdeveloped. Chief among the raft of stereotypical players is Armstrong, whose Carl Denham is full of enthusiasm and brio, which might have been okay in 1933, but doesn’t work so well today when you just want him to shut up or slow down. He issues orders so fast you wonder how anyone ever understands what he wants them to do. It’s no wonder the expedition goes horrifically wrong.
Far better is Fay Wray, who famously screamed in a recording booth for a whole day to produce the soundtrack for Ann Darrow who emits the loudest and longest series of shrieks, cries and whelps the cinema has probably [still] ever heard. She’s believably naïve and quite gorgeous in that winsomely flapper style which was de rigour in Hollywood in the early thirties. She even shows some pre-Hays code daring by having the monster monkey dispose of most of her clothes, baring naked shoulders and, during Denham’s on-ship screen test, donning a diaphanous evening gown while quite obviously not wearing a brassiere. Bruce Cabot, who later found lasting fame as a villain in a film called Diamonds Are Forever, one of a small franchise based on some books by Ian Fleming, is competent as the rough neck who falls for her. He got the gig late as Joel McRea’s agent demanded too much money to make this thrill ride and The Most Dangerous Game back-to-back.
The giant gorilla is the best performer in the whole movie, although the close-ups of his face and right hand, both huge part-manoeuvrable mock-ups, leave something to be desired. Where Kong doesn’t disappoint is in the long distance shots, where his fur bristles and his roar – another splendid special effect – animate him even more than O’Brien’s model work. [The fur bristling is a technician's mistake; they are in fact the thumb and finger prints of the animator as he rearranged the model for the next frame; still, extremely life-like.] The battle with the T-Rex is probably the film’s high point among many high points. The two behemoths pound, crash and snap at each other while Kong roars, the dinosaur hisses, Fay Wray screams and Max Steiner’s orchestral music score compete for and assault our aural attention, a clamour of noise that audiences in 1933 must have considered deafening. In contrast the scene where Ann Darrow is kidnapped from the deck of the ship is carried out in complete silence, a moment of high drama and suspense before the blood-curdling screams and violence kick in.
By the time the movie reaches New York, it’s almost run out of puff. Switching the action from the jungle to the metropolis only just succeeds by virtue of its relative novelty value. They’d do this sort of thing with much more destructive tenacity in 21st century films, but those have less charm. Here, our sympathies switch from the imperilled Ann and Driscoll, to the captive Kong, displayed like a circus freak, chained up in a Broadway theatre for entertainment. Frightened by the camera flashes, he breaks free with ease – well, of course he would – and creates sufficient mayhem to make New York his own modern jungle. The climax is unusual for retaining our empathy for the monster, who is after all being horribly mistreated and only wants to protect poor Miss Darrow from the attentions of the public, be they sailors, natives or newspapermen. Carl Denham’s closing line that “It was beauty that killed the beast” has a neat ring of philosophical incongruity to it; he’s really absolving himself of blame: it was you who engineered it all along, Denham, you cruel, heartless, freakshow ringmaster.
King Kong is a fantastic film. There are misfortunes, but it’s really a technicians film: the visual and sound effects, the cinematography, set design, music and editing are all well above par. I’ve seen it in the cinema, where it looks and sounds even better. It loses something on the small screen – Kong just looks too wee on telly – but the film never ceases to be captivating. I know they make lists of ‘best this and that’ all the time these days, but King Kong is undoubtedly one of Hollywood’s greatest ever films and retains its glory despite a series of poor sequels, rip-offs and remakes.
Followed by this:
THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD (1951)
Part creature feature, extended allegory on the dangers of science dabbling in affairs it doesn’t understand – here the genus of an organic alien – in reality the discovery and exploitation of the nuclear fission – The Thing from Another World doesn’t quite succeed in being either. It gets fabulous retrospective reviews these days, but I found it distinctly underwhelming.
The major issue for me, was the whip-crack fast overlapping dialogue, which was done for authenticity, thus resulting in a faster than fast pace, but also succeeding in not telling the audience what anyone is saying, thinking or doing. You can barely catch a sentence during most of the scenes. The movie is fairly typical of the era.
Having just watched King Kong, I was fascinated to see James Arness’ ‘Thing’ appear in the silhouette of a broken doorway much how Kong is envisioned through the massive doors of the native’s island fortress wall. Arness is equally impressive, but isn’t in such an impressive film. The resolution is obvious. There’s no tension because the action is toilet: the notion this alien could just come and go into and out of the research centre without anyone realising is plain daft. John Carpenter’s 1982 reimagining of J.W. Campbell’s story Who Goes There at least retains the central premise, that the alien can take on the outward look of other life forms. The alien we have here is distinctly ordinary. He could just as easily be a big Russian.
Over seventy years on, there is still debate about whether Howard Hawks directed the film or the listed helmsman Christian Nyby. It has the dramatic pacing and rapid fire dialogue of a Hawks, but seems to lack any of his wit and atmosphere. Russell Harlan’s photography is a treat though, making California look like the North Pole is a minor miracle. Good set design. Nothing more.
Following a disastrous attempt to catch FRWL at the local Vue, I watched this sixties spy thriller instead :
Continuing my vain attempt to watch the fifty movies listed in Michael Richardson’s Guns, Girls and Gadgets [luckily I’ve seen half of them anyway, it’s the remainder which are proving difficult] this little number cropped up on Talking Pictures TV, which meant I could record it and watch it from the comfort of a sofa rather than at my desk from a laptop.
Masquerade is based on Victor Canning’s 1954 thriller Castle Minerva. Canning was once one of Britain’s bestselling novelists. Like this film, he’s virtually forgotten now, but his output is probably due for reassessment. I’d like to suggest Masquerade is also. Not because it’s an outstanding thriller [it isn’t] but because it displays a certain eloquent vim which the much similar fare of the sixties spy genre miss by a long chalk. It’s primary crime isn’t the messy plot, or the lack of action, but the central casting of American Cliff Robertson as the hero David Frazer.
The film is quite an early entry into the sixties spy subgenre, being released in April 1965, half a year after Goldfinger and another half before Thunderball. Compared to those archetypal gadget laden spy thrillers, Masquerade feels old hat. It hasn’t aged well, but part of the reason for that is Cliff Robertson, who is as charmless as a funeral procession. The film’s set up, its quintessential Englishness, the gently effervescent dialogue, the double, triple and quadruple cross demanded a lighter touch than his. David Niven was originally attached to the project and he would have been perfect for the part. You can detect it in the script. The damn thing was written for him! Apparently William Goldman was brought in at Robertson’s request to Americanise his role, but I can’t detect anything other than an offhand comment to the beautiful, abused Sophie: “You’re pretty kinky, baby, that’s a big bruise.” Robertson isn’t helped by being surrounded by a succession of competent British thespians and enthusiastic Europeans who make his efforts appear paltry in comparison. Chief among them are Jack Hawkins and Charles Grey, who act like, look like and sound like twins. It is no surprise to learn that when Hawkins’ throat cancer prevented him from speaking, Grey dubbed all his lines [see movies like When Eight Bells Toll]. Their ability to outshine one another and everyone else is the movie’s highlight.
Not only is the dialogue not squared to the main performer, but turning him into an American has led to a series of rewrites which don’t always come off. This native comparison, the fish-out-of-water scenario should, surely, be the source of humour, but it’s laboured and incompetent, either badly written or horrendously delivered. When Robertson is seducing Marisa Mell’s gypsy moll Sophie in the cockpit of a speedboat, I couldn’t help thinking of Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe in Some Like It Hot. Kinky isn’t the half of it. He later makes love to the nominal heroine in a circus truck surrounded by birds of prey. She turns out to be married, which raised my eyebrows; kinky and adulterous. Her husband doesn’t seem to mind and merely shrugs with indifference.
Sophie’s been aiding our hero all along, but she’s not too hot at it. She’s simply hot. Her gang of circus gypsies have been charged with rekidnapping an Arab prince and hope to extract a high ransom from the Anglo-Media Oil Corporation. Anglo-Media need the young prince to sign an extension to their drilling rights in his middle east kingdom; the prince’s uncle, a scheming Roger Delgado, favours the Soviet Bloc and Britain fears losing a valuable primary commodity if the rightful heir is ‘deposed’. Drexel [Hawkins] has already hit on a plan to keep the prince safe from any attempted assassination and recruits Frazer to babysit the young lad for a fortnight. Frazer thinks it’d be easier to take over the little Emirati.
“These days we only invade a country when we’re invited or when the American’s allow us,” answers au fait spymaster John Le Mesurier, a line which sound remarkably prescient to modern ears. Le Mesurier’s role is virtually identical to his turns in Hot Enough for June and Where the Spies Are – he’d have suited very well with James Bond, if the producers could have squeezed in his brand of diffidence – at the end of the movie he exonerates one bad guy’s diabolical behaviour by remarking: “We trained him, you know.”
In fact the whole oil, middle east, US, UK stitch up is a familiar historical context, which stretches further back than the 1960s and 50s. The suspicion Charles Grey’s Benson has of Frazer also has its roots in the old imperial school tie. And the Britishers behaviour towards the frankly over indulged and downright obnoxious prince has all the earmarks of colonial superiority written over it. So too the upright batman’s attitude towards his American co-host: “They weren’t thinking of you, Sir,” he says bluntly when Frazer expresses his pleasure at the surrounds of the beautiful exotic Spanish villa, “I understand we’re expecting royalty.”
Drexel has the measure of everyone. A weary secret agent, he despises modern espionage as “passionless and practical.” He’s more a man of action, but recognises he’s falling far behind the times: “I can’t spot the bad guys anymore. That’s why I miss the war. All the bad guys were visible then.” This sounds very much like a line lifted directly from Canning’s novel and as the movie progresses and cross and double cross becomes triple and recross, you begin to see his point. Equally confused, Frazer has a fine time separating good from bad and ends up in fix after fix once the prince gets captured.
There’s great tension at a grand dilapidated coastal castle as Frazer goes mountaineering around its crumbling battlements and some rather fine visuals from photographer Otto Heller who mists the camera lens when Frazer drunkenly explores the fortress, so we see everything through his intoxicated eye, confused, disorientated and off-kilter. The masquerade begins to unravel for Frazer when he discovers Drexel is double dealing. Hawkins delivers a brilliant soliloquy musing on the spy trade: “I had scruples, but believe me they had to go… The jobs they put me to. What’s a patriot, David? I think I’m one, but I’ve killed patriots like me, just because they are on the other side. Sometimes I don’t think I know who’s right or wrong anymore. I had to lose my scruples and what did I get: a pat on the back.” Later on, with full understanding, Frazer bitterly points to Drexel’s unconscious, treacherous form, “There’s your patriotism.”
Towards the end of the film, as events spiral out of control for the gypsies, their leader intones of the ‘heroes’: “I hope they all kill each other.” This seems highly appropriate, although in Frazer’s case this is only because poor Cliff Robertson is undermining the film almost every time he’s on screen. The adventure ends in a moment of redemption for all and high excitement for the audience with a gun battle and the rescue of the prince atop a half constructed dam.
Filmed in 1964, the film isn’t anything like the later outrageous sex and spying escapades of Matt Helm or the more down market Euro-Spy flicks, it’s trying to be suave and sophisticated, but it’s star is neither and it shows. A little scene where the prince is reading the movie tie-in of Goldfinger and says “A little farfetched, don’t you think?” seems to hint at where director Basil Dearden and producer Michael Relph wanted to take the story, but it never quite gets out of third gear, spending most of the time trundling in second. It’s a good natured, but a grumbling second.
I’d seen Masquerade once before, on it’s TV premier I think way back in the late seventies, and it gets extremely rare outings on any sort of channel these days, so I was pleased to be able to revisit the movie. I was slightly disappointed, as I remembered it being better than this, but when you’re ten, it probably seems a better than okay kind of film because you’d miss the jarring tones. The movie was marketed as a comedy thriller, but it isn’t funny enough and conversely not serious enough either so it rather falls into a metaphorical chasm, like the one the heroes flee across at the denouement. Still, a worthwhile effort and a more valiant and valid attempt at an espionage thriller than some.
TRANSPORTER 3 (2008)
Flashy and fast, Transporter 3 reverts back to the template of the original by virtue of performing all its stunts for real, putting some of the recent OO7 fare to shame. There is a final car jump which is both preposterous and impossible to perform without grandiose SFX, but they hide it very well.
The film has had mixed to poor reviews from the public, chiefly because it doesn’t utilise Jason Statham’s martial arts expertise enough, preferring endless car chases. That doesn’t bother me. I was more interested in the rapid fire editing and scene shifting, the stuttering camera work and the wholly incompetent plot, aspects of filmmaking which normally annoy the hell out of me, but seem not to matter here. I mean, it’s tosh, we all know it, and Transporter 3 really is a better experience if you leave your brain at the door.
There’s plenty to enjoy including Natalya Rudakova’s much maligned but provocatively slinky Valentina, the ‘package’ Statham’s Frank Martin has to escort to Odessa via Budapest. Rudakova’s been roundly heavily criticised, but the poor girl’s a novice and director Olivier Megaton doesn’t exactly help her, preferring moody glances out of car windows to any sort of character development. I rather like the way she softens towards the transporter as he gets her into and out of various scraps. Exactly why he’s escorting her isn’t made entirely clear – the biggest narrative error is the fact a transporter isn’t required – but it’s a boy-girl buddy movie thing and the two leads sparkle quite well with each other, although the strip tease in the meadow has to rank as one of the most uncomfortable erotic viewing experiences of recent years.
Good mindless fun.
Red Heat (1988)
This Arnold Schwartzenegger actioner is better than I remember it from the VHS days of old. I suspect writer/director Walter Hill (The Long Riders, , 48 Hours, Extreme Prejudice) can be thanked for this. In many ways this is a gritty thriller with some action and dry humor. Schwartzenegger plays Ivan Danko, a Moscow police officer figthing a brutal organized crime that barely existed officially in the Soviet Union. He follows a criminal to the US where he teams up with the sweary cop Art Ridzik (Jim Beluchi). Lawrence Fishburn and Gina Gershon got early roles in Red Heat. We get a silenced revolver (!), punches that sound like cannon shots and Arnie, but generally the movie is pretty down to earth. With small changes Danko could've been played by Rutger Hauer, Stellan Skarsgård or Peter Weller. I also like how the Russian characters speak Russian to each other. Not a single word of English is spoken in the first 15-20 minutes. I enjoyed Red Heat.
Red Heat (1988) full movie English : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive
C'mon @chrisno1 after your attempt to infiltrate Prince Charles Cinema to see OHMSS - about as sucessful as blondie's attempt to blag his way up to Piz Gloria - I can't be the only one who wants to know how you didn't make it to see FRWL when the cinema this time is just down the road from you...
Read it here...
A brilliant non-review, @chrisno1 - but the quote format is horrible, I have to read it in a fog of grey.
Was it a large screen or one of those that seem to seat only 30? I'd have thought the Vue in Sutton was closer to you, but I'm put of by that one and Odeon Epsom because the screens are a bit pokey.
Where did you see Masquerade, on DVD or online?
It's an Empire at Sutton. I think the screen seats about 60. Masquerade was on Talking Pictures a couple of weeks ago and I recorded it. You can view it on ok.ru, if you're okay accessing Russian websites.
You can read tons of stuff about this movie online. Ridley Scott’s successful science fiction suspense film reinvents the monster movie for the Star Wars generation. Wonderful set design, initially hugely expansive and then noticeably claustrophobic. Well edited. Splendid photography. Good music. Fantastic effects. The monster isn’t as enormous as it seemed in later sequels, which makes sense as it has to fit inside air conditioning ducts. A good ensemble cast. Ian Holm as a calmly deranged scientist is the pick.
Having just watched The Thing from Another World, I detect distinct similarities, particularly in the enclosed setting and the scientist proving the root of all evil. The film also serves as a sort of ‘And Then There Were None... in space’. Durable, entertaining with a couple of masterly shocks and an intense ending. You wonder why the humans care so much about the cat when it isn’t remotely important to the plot. A nice nod to Hitchcock, that. It isn’t as chaotically violent as any of the sequels; there seems to be a genuine attempt to understand the alien, not just destroy it, and the tensions between the characters – Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley and Holm’s Ashe the most aggressive – keep the thing watchable even if the gore and shock quotas are slim.
Late night on the PC a Sumuru double-header:
THE MILLION EYES OF SUMURU (1967)
A cult classic. One of those Harry Alan Towers movies which is so bad it’s almost good. If you want thorough detail, I can refer you to Michael Richardson’s Guns, Girls and Gadgets. If you want my take, read on.
Sax Rohmer, who invented Fu Manchu, also created Sumuru, the female equivalent. He wrote a radio serial for the BBC which ran for eight episodes and which he later turned into a novel, variously titled Sumuru, The Sins of Sumuru or Nude in Mink, depending on where you bought it. While the literary Sumuru was a deadly Chinese villainess, the cinematic version was a Caucasian, played with much devilish abandon by our own Shirley Eaton.
Two CIA agents are on vacation in Rome when the British Secret Service head Sir Anthony Baisbrook approaches them with details of a clandestine operation, one which the CIA owes him [for James Bond’s adventures no doubt]. Wilfred Hyde Whyte enjoys himself as the manipulative old man. Frankie Avalon and George Nader are also having a lark, but they don’t have Hyde Whyte’s theatrical training and are as bad an acting double act as you’ll see, on a par with Cannon and Ball in The Boys in Blue. They are not helped by a script which is determined to favour laughs over thrills, which seems odd as the humour quota is low and the action content passes quite acceptably, even turning nasty on occasion.
Sumuru lives on an island off Hong Kong with her army of beautiful women [sound familiar?]. Hero Nick West manages to get himself kidnapped by her and put to use getting in contact with businessman Klaus Kinski, the last of a dozen billionaire industrialists Sumuru’s harem have gotten close enough to execute her deadly plan. I never figured out what her operation was about, but it’s dangerous and will threaten the world. Avalon’s Tommy Carter springs to his mate’s rescue.
The opening scenes establish the army of women as a fey lesbian society, all lips and hips and tits and miniskirts, eyes watching each other, as Louise [Patti Chandler] strangles a prisoner to death between her thighs [sound familiar?]. Aided by Sumuru turncoat Helga [Maria Rohm] and several women who can’t bear to be without a man, West and Carter foil Sumuru’s crazy plan in a hail of bullets and a prison full of love and a bullwhip torture chamber.
While the lead actor acquits himself with no dexterity, the women save the movie by being beautiful to look at, like constant fresh window dressing. Director Lindsay Shonteff understands their purpose and puts them front and centre at every opportunity. The movie’s cheapness is shown up at its frayed edges. Frankie Avalon is so far out of his depth that at one point, when he asks “I wonder if this is where I’m supposed to sing?” you wonder if he hasn’t adlibbed the line.
A product of its time and no worse than the latter Christopher Lee Fu Manchu’s or any of the other Harry Alan Towers productions which hinted at quality but rarely provided it. The movie is fascinating in its awfulness. As I watched it, I could see the oodles of potential melting away. Poor Shirley Eaton must wonder how it all went so wrong after Goldfinger. Perhaps Sumuru’s most endearing moment is the vigorous attack on the private island at the film’s climax: I kept thinking: how come this is so much better than Octopussy’s circus girls attacking the Monsoon Palace? Completely unexplainable, except, as I said, it’s a cult classic.
THE GIRL FROM RIO (1969)
A follow up from Harry Alan Towers’ production stable, this time transplanting Sax Rohmer’s Chinese villainess from Hong Kong to Rio de Janeiro. She’s still played by Shirley Eaton, who cuts an above average figure in a well-below average film. In fact, female figures take strong precedence here. The movie is directed by Jess Franco, whose career dovetailed into pornography and you can see the early hints of his sadomasochistic fantasies as early as the bizarre pre-credit sequence where a semi-naked dark haired beauty appears to make love to a man until his heart expires. Ms Eaton watches over proceedings with a glint in her eye.
Franco loves his women to the point of distraction. He has them wearing completely inappropriate space-age clothing, conducting conversations in showers, writhing in tortured agony, making lesbian love with equal anguish or hetero-love with studied disinterest, usually without any clothes on. Basically, if Jess Franco can squeeze in a nipple, a backside or a discreet nude, he will. Ms Eaton manages to escape the disrobing, although for some reason her hair changes colour from black to blonde with distracting regularity. This may be to do with a role she had in The Blood of Fu Manchu; the actress had no idea she featured in Blood of…, as Franco inserted outtakes and discarded scenes from this film into that movie on the quiet. Having not seen Blood of…, I have no idea how that turned out. The Girl from Rio, however, turned out horribly.
Sumuru’s name is never mentioned here, even though Sax Rohmer gets a credit. For some reason she's called Sumitra. However, it clearly is her, chiefly because her never explained uber-plan from The Million Eyes of… is fully explained here: she’s kidnapping susceptible millionaires [not all men, some are rich women] and stealing their money. She’s extracting bank details etc from these poor unfortunates under a torture process which involves being seduced by nubile women and having your bones coddled by a ray gun. The latter looks suspiciously like a dental x-ray machine, so it must be shooting a form of ion radiation. I’m joking. I don’t think the production team have any idea what was really supposed to be happening. As if to confirm this, there’s a lilting, cheerful and completely inappropriate bossa nova incidental score. The location hunters however did find some interesting architecture to highlight Sumuru’s private city Femina. These look so crazily modernist, I wondered if they were filmed in Costa, Niemeyer and Cardozo’s swish new brutalist capital Brasilia. The credits don’t tell us. Rio doesn’t look anywhere near as interesting as it does in Moonraker or even Kiss the Girls and Make Them Die. Franco pads the film out with some extended shots of the Carnival, essentially to inject a semblance of tension into a floppy chase scene.
Secret agent Jeff Sutton [Richard Wyler] has been sent to rescue teenage heiress Ulla [Marta Reves], but he’s thwarted not only by Sumuru, but also by George Sanders' ridiculous sugar-daddy Masius, a criminal who lives in a luxury penthouse apartment on a Copacabana high rise. Eventually there’s a bloody climax and Sutton escapes with not one, but three nubile temptresses. As the bossa nova beat fades over the credits, we see Sumuru escaping on a luxury cruiser liner. Shirley Eaton decided to escape the movie world too; this was her last performance. She does okay, but she’s hamstrung by having no decent or interested co-stars to work with and a director more interested in the visual images he can create, most but not all of them pandering to the erotic rather than the exotic.
Low brow entertainment at best.
EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE
This is a pretty wild, slightly surrealistic/absurdist film that uses a multiverse concept to explore a dysfunctional family dynamic.
Michelle Yeoh is Evelyn Wang. Ke Huy Quan is Waymond Wang, her husband. Stephanie Hsu is Joy, their daughter. Evelyn and Waymond run a failing laundromat and they're currently under audit by Deirdre Beaubeirdra, played by Jamie Lee Curtis. James Hong, Evelyn's grandfather, is also visiting the family and is being disruptive to the business. On top of that, Joy is trying to have her parents accept the fact that she's gay and has a girlfriend, Becky.
On a chaotic day, the whole family goes to visit the IRS office to get 'interviewed' my Jamie Lee Curtis. While there, an alternate universe version of Waymond takes control of his body and starts trying to quickly explain to Evelyn that the entire multiverse is under threat by a force named Jobu Tupaki and she's the key to saving everything. You then spend a half hour figuring out how everything works in this multiverse.
Essentially, every decision that a person makes causes a branch. Do you turn left at the intersection or do you turn right? If you turn right, then a branch is formed where to turn left. Compound that with the infinite amount of choices that you can make in a lifetime and there are countless universes out there. In Evelyn's cases, there are universes out there where she did not marry, Waymond. There are universes out there where she became a kung fu artist, where she became a singer, where she became a chef at Benihana, etc. In ONE universe, technology exists where a person can JUMP into another iteration of themself in a different universe. The tech also allows you to access the abilities of your other selves.
There's a reason WHY 'this' iteration of Evelyn is important and I won't spoil why because it's a big plot point. Regardless, over the course of the film, 'this' Evelyn must learn how to travel between different iterations, discover who Jobu Tupaki is, and find out how to defeat (them).
The film is pretty funny, especially when it gets absurd. There's one universe where people have hot dogs for fingers, for instance. There are other absurd universes that I won't spoil...there's a particularly funny one that is a direct riff on a Pixar film that had me laughing pretty hard. You kinda need to roll with it and just let the absurdity happen because it all gets pretty chaotic at times. In the end, you do discover that all of this is leading to a pretty heavy emotional payoff that hits pretty hard and satisfies on many levels.
Good movie. Definitely different from the usual fare. Well acted from everyone too. This won't be for everyone (we had one walkout in the theater last night, for instance) but if you stick with it and buy into the story you'll be rewarded.
The new mutants (2020)
This movie is in many ways different from the other X-men movies. It starts with Dani Moonstar (Blu Hunt) waking up in some kind of psyciatric facility after some kind of event where her father died. Some other youth are locked up there too, including Rhane (Maisie Williams) and Illyana (Anya Taylor-Joy). Much of the movie is a psyclogical/supernatural thriller with horror elements. Their superpowers are less important than the psycology and horror, and I liked that. The tone in much of the movie is down to earth and gritty, the superheromovie it reminded me og was Logan. The young leads are good actors and the movie thakes advantage of this.
To me the movie falls flat in the third act where it turns into a fairly typical superhero with a CGI monster attacking them and whole scenes looking like they're made on the computer. That's where most most superhero movies lose me, and I had hoped The New Mutants would be different. maybe I can recomend you stop watching when the big CGI monster appears, at least if you don't like that sort of thing?