Lots of varied stuff here including some classic Arnie, some future classic spying and a duck-voiced killer.
Thursday 15th September
Yes, I’m an idiot. I’m someone who watched the remake before the original (I talked about it on Part 1 of the Film Diary posts I completed last week) and upon seeing the original, I now see why so many had a problem with the remake. While I stand by my 3/5 score for that film, next to this towering beast of an action film, it looks simply pathetic.
I mean, come on… look at that DVD cover. It would take a strong film to match the sheer awesome of that image but by Krom, the film really does manage it combining some ridiculously fun cheese; witness the majesty of Arnold punching a camel, wonder in the ADR’d noises Arnie makes when in pain), with moments of pure undiluted by time bad ass as Arnie chops, kicks and slashes his way to victory against James Earl Jones’ evil wizard WHO CAN TURN INTO A SNAKE.
Aiding all this is likely one of the best action movie scores of all time as Basil Poledouris’ thumping, fist-pumping score which totally succeeds in transporting you to a world where steel is king. Arnold is brilliant as Conan, obviously not really able to act but really making you will him onto victory and his relationship with the, as John Milius puts it, “Valkyrie” Sandhal Bergman is surprisingly effective in making you believe that these two souls have actually connected in someway, something that does actually help with the climax of the film.
Just over 2 hours of pure fun which I will be watching many times in the future I’m sure.
A first time watch for this rather infamous video nasty which still hasn’t been passed uncut in the UK.
As you can tell from my score above, I can’t say I was a massive fan of this film though I certainly thought it had its moments and for pure wallowing in filth, you could certainly do a lot worse. A film which manages to be entirely scuzzy despite having a killer who phones our police detective hero with a duck voice which sounds absolutely bloody ridiculous in every single scene.
It does pretty much go along the usual pattern of these kinds of serial killer films with an antagonist who only really seems to target “hot” girls and has an extreme psychological problem which is only really delved into when Fulci realises he actually has to wrap things up. The film is shot pretty damn well though and the rumpled detective at the heart of the thing is a fun and endearing character to get behind.
Not all that much more to say on this one, the kills are pretty rough and it does leave you wanting a shower after but I certainly can’t say I hated it.
Will Ferrell hasn’t done much straight dramatic work it seems but here he is playing a recovering alcoholic who decides to live on his lawn for a few days.
I wasn’t surprised to see that this film is actually based on a short story as the film itself feels like its only got about a half hour of material which is then stretched out into 90 minutes. By the end of this short runtime, I felt a feeling that I don’t often with films; a feeling of experiencing something entirely inconsequential. Apart from learning a few home truths, Ferrell’s character is in exactly the same position as he was at the start of the film. All the other characters learn nothing and also remain in exactly the same positions, and so I just felt like I had really wasted my time. The thing is its all shot well enough and performed admirably, so though I can’t say I outright hated it nor was I ever really bored but at the same time I just didn’t feel any kind of satisfaction by the end of the film. It’s like fast food in an odd way, its perfectly comfortable throughout the process of consuming but after, you just kind of wonder “why did I do that then?”. A bit of a disappointment.
A rewatch of a film I really enjoyed in the cinema, and enjoyed just as much on Blu-Ray.
Many folks have problems with the film, and in particular the 3rd act, but I really don’t as I just see it as one big ghost train of a film which tries to scare you in a variety of ways, the fimmakers crafting a plot that lets them have their cake and eat it in this regard, and it manages to creep me out on a few occassions pretty successfully.
Not much more to say as this is a relatively recent release which I have discussed in this series before but I think it holds up very well. Perfect viewing around Halloween I’d reckon.
This film’s being getting a pretty mixed reception on both sides of the pond but I have to say that compared to many studio comedies which have been out recently, I had a pretty good time with this one.
I will agree with many who have said that Jesse Eisenberg and Ruben Flesicher are somewhat slumming it with, it feeling like an opportunity to recharge batteries before going on to bigger and better things for sure but at the same time, Eisenberg manages to play it less geeky than he has in the past, he has some decent chemistry with Aziz Ansariwho gets some funny stuff to do throughout, and the 83 minute runtime means that you could never say that the film outstays its welcome.
Less successful is the pairing of Danny McBride and Nick Swardson, as McBride does another of his too big for his boots redneck like characters and gets little out of it, and while Swardson plays the innocent well against McBride, I can’t say I remember anything his character did, flamethrowing aside.
Overall, it’s not a film I can wholeheartedly recommend to go see in the cinema, it all feels a bit too disposable for that, but as a cheap cinema ticket or a DVD/Blu rental, you could do a HELL of a lot worse.
A film which I’m sure many of you have been looking forward to, and for me it lived up to my thinking of just how good it could be.
The initial genre thriller set-up of Gary Oldman’s George Smiley having to sniff out the Russian mole at the head of the MI6, or the Circus as its referred to here, opens up into a cracking character study, focusing on Oldman but also delving into the double lives of others, in particular Benedict Cumberbatch’s Peter Guillam, a young agent assigned to work with Smiley, and Tom Hardy’s outwardly cool as a cucumber agent Ricky Tarr. Both of these men have their secrets though and they find the spy life eating away at the lives they hide from the Circus. Cumberbatch and Hardy are both brilliant, in roles I think many casting directors would have actually switched them for, and they both show that the rising crop of British talent has got a great deal of quality to it.
Saying this though, it is the Oldman show but not in the way it has been in films such as Leon. This is a quiet, composed and absolutely enthralling performance which in any right world would see Oldman win Oscar gold. His Smiley is the definitive “mouse who roared”, taking in all around him and constantly showing that he’s smarter than the vast majority of those he finds himself in the company of.
Tomas Alfredson takes a calm and meditative approach to the material in which we are never rushed, and to be honest I never really cared all that much about the identity of the mole. Like all good thrillers, the chase is far more interesting than the catch and I think Alfredson knows this, instead giving us scenes upon scenes of pure character, while also remembering to move the plot along when needed.
The suspects do get a bit of short shrift it must be said, but again I don’t think the filmmakers care and neither do I. This is a superlative example of mature, grown-up filmmaking which is increasingly rare at the multiplex and should be all the more cherished for it.
The first time I’d seen this in a while as frankly, this and its predecessor are two films which genuinely weird me out, the combination of infection horror, which is something that really does just get to me, combined with the sheer ferociousness of the scare sequences mean that this is a film I can’t handle all that often.
It’s still bloody brilliant, though I prefer the slightly more biting social commentary of Danny Boyle’s original but as far as horrors go, Weeks s pretty damn hard to beat. It also looks and sounds fantastic on Blu-Ray.
A real oddity from a director riding high after his Deliverance gave him freedom to do pretty much whatever he wants and what does he do with it? Casts Sean Connery, gives him a porn moustache, a red nappy and thigh-high boots. Yeah… that’s as odd as it sounds. As his “Brute” enters a bizarre land to try and find out the secret behind the God he and his companions pray to, the eponymous Zardoz, he instead finds himself being treated as a pet in a Utopian soicety full of bare breasted women and an undercurrent of all not being right at all.
A film which melds the hard sci-fi of the 1970′s with the hippy culture of the 60′s which makes very little sense and instead gets by on a purely fascinating level of WTF throughout. It looks good throughout, has trippy sequences which certainly put you in a weird state of mind, but at the same time staggers you throughout in just what was going through anyone’s minds from the writing of the screenplay all the way through to post-production. It’s easy to see why this film was a bomb, and it deserved to be as too many people obviously had too much money with this one but it’s an interesting piece of 70′s kitsch nonetheless.
More next week!