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Offline Pak-Man

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18030 on: April 23, 2018, 07:47:48 PM »
The guy playing Valerian was trying to Keanu, but only Keanu can Keanu. (And only barely.)


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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18031 on: April 23, 2018, 09:37:35 PM »
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

With better dialog this could have been a good movie, the plot ends up being pretty good, but getting there you've got to endure some really horrible dialog, and they guy playing Valerian is terrible.

At least there are some beautiful computer generated scenery to look at.
Loved the first 15 minutes of the movie. And then the 2 leads were introduced. Would have been willing to overlook the silly hats and maybe even some of the bad dialog and obvious villainy of the obvious villain if the 2 leads hadn't been so bad at portraying humans.

Not only were they terrible at portraying humans, the lack of chemistry between them has to be some kind of record, the dialog was telling us they had some kind of relationship but the acting was an impressive level of indifference to each other. 

Talk about phoning in performances, even their body language said they couldn't care less about each other.

You don't expect scintillating dialog from Luc Besson but usually he manages to get watchable performances out of the actors.


Offline Darth Geek

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18032 on: April 24, 2018, 06:59:09 AM »
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

With better dialog this could have been a good movie, the plot ends up being pretty good, but getting there you've got to endure some really horrible dialog, and they guy playing Valerian is terrible.

At least there are some beautiful computer generated scenery to look at.
Loved the first 15 minutes of the movie. And then the 2 leads were introduced. Would have been willing to overlook the silly hats and maybe even some of the bad dialog and obvious villainy of the obvious villain if the 2 leads hadn't been so bad at portraying humans.

Not only were they terrible at portraying humans, the lack of chemistry between them has to be some kind of record, the dialog was telling us they had some kind of relationship but the acting was an impressive level of indifference to each other. 

Talk about phoning in performances, even their body language said they couldn't care less about each other.

You don't expect scintillating dialog from Luc Besson but usually he manages to get watchable performances out of the actors.
You expected a good movie from Luc Besson?! Away with you! BZZZZZ!



Offline The Lurker

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18033 on: April 24, 2018, 07:15:59 AM »
I saw some people commenting on how it doesn't help that the romantic leads look like brother and sister.


Offline Darth Geek

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18034 on: April 24, 2018, 07:30:02 AM »
I'm just wondering why they cast Dane DeHaan in an action hero role. In Amazing Spider-Man 2 he looks like he was turned down the role of Peter Parker for being too dweeby.



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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18035 on: April 26, 2018, 11:19:17 AM »
I watched Primer last night.  It's a low budget time travel movie.  So it's like a lot of time travel movies, but extra confusing.  The film makers and a lot of ardent fans take pride in this confusing narrative, but I find it sloppy.  If I hadn't read the Wikipedia summation of it, I would not have understood it at all.  There's something about this time machine.  You have to power it on to create a sort of "time bubble" that extends to the point where you turn it off.  You can only travel back and forth through the time covered by that bubble.  Also, you travel in real time.  So it's just like normal living except that you can go backwards.  Also, the chamber is flooded with unbreathable xenon gas or something so you need to bring your own oxygen supply.
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Offline Pastor of Muppets

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18036 on: April 26, 2018, 11:21:31 AM »
If you don't like Wrath of khan, well, I don't know what to tell you because in all honesty... you'll never find anything better in the universe of Star Trek.
I've not seen it because TOS and it's films gives me the willies to watch, but I'm going to go with DS9 s06e13, "Far Beyond the Stars" as the best Trek piece of celluloid. Episode had me crying, and I'm in an end of semester emotional dead zone.
Now don't get me wrong, I love DS9 and Far Beyond the Stars is nothing short of amazing... but Wrath of Khan has everything you could ever want in a Star Trek movie. I highly recommend putting aside the willies and give it a chance because I think you're really missing out. There will probably never be a better Trek movie. That's how good it is.

See it's exactly this kind of hype that makes me dislike Wrath of Khan.  It's not bad.  It's just overrated.
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Offline Darth Geek

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18037 on: April 26, 2018, 08:05:25 PM »

See it's exactly this kind of hype that makes me dislike Wrath of Khan.  It's not bad.  It's just overrated.
I agree with that.



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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18038 on: April 26, 2018, 08:49:51 PM »
I think too many people equate someone saying STII is the best Star Trek film with saying it's the best film ever.

I'd put it at the top of all the Trek films, with First Contact and Voyage Home a tie for close 2nd, but there are plenty of other movies I like more than all of them, it's not even my favorite science fiction movie.


Offline Darth Geek

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18039 on: April 27, 2018, 06:20:14 AM »
I think too many people equate someone saying STII is the best Star Trek film with saying it's the best film ever.
Yeah I've heard people describe it as their favorite sci-fi film ever.



Offline Darth Geek

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18040 on: April 27, 2018, 11:07:51 AM »
Avenger: Infinity War - Holy shit was that amazing! Great action, and even with the huge cast it still gave all the characters interesting things to do.
They changed Thanos' motivation from the comics, but at least the new motivation is still unique. It's not just accumulation of power for the sake of power, or to rule.



Offline Charles Castle

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18041 on: April 28, 2018, 11:35:13 PM »
On its surface, Ann Hui's A Simple Life (2011) plays like an Ozu-ish family drama, carefully observed and in touch with a basic shared humanity with the audience that isn't overcooked by the trappings of plot or melodrama. This, it accomplishes very, very well, and it's no wonder that the film has become the director's biggest hit and an award winner. If I see a gentler, more humane film this year, I'll be shocked. If it only worked on that level, it would be amazing enough, but it plays a deeper game, too.

The story here follows the relationship between film producer Roger and his family's longtime nanny/caretaker, Ah Tao. Ah Tao came to Roger's family shortly after World War II, and has served them ever since. She's very much a family member rather than hired help and Roger relies on her for everything: food, housekeeping, style consultant, you name it. While Roger is in Beijing closing a deal for his new film, Ah Tao suffers a stroke. On her hospital bed,she tells him that she is retiring and that she wants to go to a home for the elderly. Roger finds a home run by one of his former stuntmen and soon Ah Tao is living there. She's the liveliest of the home's residents, and Roger's devotion to her is the envy of her fellow retirees. Meanwhile, Roger must do for himself, and he doesn't do such a good job of it. You never know what you have until it's gone, it seems.

A Simple Life is a character-driven film rather than a plot driven film, and its frequent moments of wry comedy are derived from a close observation of how its characters live. Ah Tao's delight in returning home for a visit, for instance, is punctured with a couple of funny moments when she realizes that Roger isn't dusting the house to her standards. In another scene, near the end of the film, a troupe of entertainers comes off stage after entertaining the folks living in the retirement home and the peppy facade drops to one of "it's the end of my shift, can't this ever end." It's a fleeting shot, wordless, but it speaks volumes of the characters involved and of changing attitudes toward aging in a youth-driven culture. Other fun comedy bits: Uncle Kim, one of the other residents, whose frequent begging for money is finally shown to be supporting a predilection for prostitutes, at which Ah Tao just shrugs; Roger's frequent run-ins with people who take him for a bike messenger/taxi driver once he's forced to pick his own clothes; the voyeuristic way the other residents watch Roger's visits. This is all fun to watch

This isn't a comedy, per se, though, and there's a persistent ambient melancholy. The rest home isn't necessarily populated with movie characters so much as it's a warehouse of final extreme, more hospice than community. The shadow of Ah Tao's mortality, of the film's only logical conclusion, tinges the film's warm humor with a touch of the gallows. This seeps into the performances. Deannie Yip's Ah Tao is an unsentimental woman, warm but stern, and she's very much aware of how her life is progressing. I like that she faces it without a lot of fuss. Roger is played by Yip's real-life godson, Andy Lau, who normally plays more glamourous roles. He's kind of a doofus in this film, but he matches Deannie Yip's natural warmth. Watching the two interact like old, old friends is the heart of the movie, and the pair has a natural chemistry. This has terrific performances.

The melancholy I felt while I was watching A Simple Life is a bit broader than I can easily chalk up to the relationship drama, though. There's a meta-cinematic dimension to this. Director Ann Hui apparently intended the film as her last before retiring herself, and there's a level of personal involvement evident in the ways she has chosen to accessorize the film. Hui, I should mention, is one of the major directors to come out of the Hong Kong New Wave. Her early films, either as a crew member for Tsui Hark or as a director unto herself are part of the explosion of color and action that defined Hong Kong film for a decade and a half in the 1980s and 90s. Hui was among the first to break away from the action film ghetto, though, and she's been making contemporary dramas for three decades now. In spite of that, she's still intimately connected with the history of Hong Kong film, and at least a part of A Simple Life seems like it's an elegy for a Hong Kong cinema that no longer exists. The fact that Roger is a film producer allows Hui to indulge in a deeply metacinematic summation of her own career. She connects herself to that career by casting numerous figures from the HK New Wave in small parts, whether it's Raymond Chow, Sammo Hung, and Tsui Hark as the filmmakers at Roger's Beijing meeting or Stanley Kwan at the premiere of Roger's new film. The stuntman who owns the retirement home is the ubiquitous Anthony Wong (late of Johnnie To's repertory company). There's a bitterness in Roger's assessment of his film--he thinks it's not any good, and there's a hint that he's trapped in the HK Action idiom of the 1980s, endlessly making new versions of The Three Kingdoms. The film's best line is Roger's, when he says, "I'm glad I'm not a big star." Of course, Andy Lau is a gigantic star, so the irony cuts deep.

My cinematic education came of age while the Hong Kong New Wave was unfolding. I have a deep well of affection--affection, hell; abject love--for those films and filmmakers. That explosion of creativity was the best fireworks show in cinema in its time and it's not lost on me that one of the signature images in A Simple Life is a vast fireworks display. Watching A Simple Life is bittersweet for reasons well beyond the drama itself because I get the feeling that it's an elegy for that cinematic idiom. I mean, yeah, there are still filmmakers who work in that idiom, but the great filmmakers have either moved past it (To, Wong Kar Wai, Ann Hui herself) or become creatively stagnant within it. What we are left with from that time are cometary remnants falling to earth and guttering out. This film mourns that, I think.
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Offline Charles Castle

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18042 on: April 29, 2018, 05:59:01 PM »
Of the five films Stuart Gordon made from stories by H. P. Lovecraft, Castle Freak (1995) is the one that completely misses the mark. Lovecraft, famously, is very hard to film in any kind of faithful adaptation. Gordon's best films take all kinds of liberties with the material--ranging very far afield from the source texts in most cases--but still manage to capture some ineffable essence of Lovecraft while also bearing the stamp of their director's own personality. Castle Freak, by contrast, spectacularly misunderstands "The Outsider," the story on which it is nominally based. Rather than turning the tables on monstrosity and finding its horror in a cosmic loneliness--as the story does--it's a stock "nuclear family in peril" film in which the horror elements act as marriage counseling for a couple who are on the rocks. It's disappointing.


The story follows the fortunes of the Reillys, John and Susan, who are mourning the death of their son in a car accident. John Reilly feels a huge measure of guilt for the accident, because he was at the wheel. Susan blames him for the accident, believing him to have been drunk at the time (he probably was). The Reillys have inherited a castle in Italy. John, being unemployed because of his alcoholism, wants to sell the place and all its possessions, so the family takes up residence in the place planning to inventory their windfall. Along with them is their daughter, Rebecca, who was blinded in the same accident that killed their son. It's their daughter, wandering after a cat she finds unexpectedly in the castle, who discovers that they are not alone. Somewhere in the castle's dungeon lives Giovani, John Reilly's monstrous half-brother. Giovani is consumed with hatred and jealousy for the "normal" human beings he finds upon escaping from his dungeon cell, though he seems fascinated by Rebecca, who cannot see him. She alone cannot repudiate him for what he is and what he looks like. Meanwhile, Susan and John argue over the reality of Rebecca's claims that there's someone else in the castle. John winds up at a local bar, getting very drunk. He picks up a woman there and brings her back to the castle to sample the wine cellar there, but sobers up enough to realize that this will wreck his marriage. The woman never makes it out of the castle, though. Giovani intercepts her and drags her to the dungeons to have his way with her. Her disappearance attracts the local police, who like John for a suspect and take him in. Susan, for her part, has had enough and decides to leave with Rebecca. The police prevent her--she's a material witness--and she's confined to the castle where her police minders start to disappear one by one.


This must have looked good on paper: Stuart Gordon directing a story based on Lovecraft, screenplay by Dennis Paoli, and starring Jeffrey Combs and Barbara Crampton. This is the film equivalent of getting the band back together after a few years apart. Indeed, whatever chemistry made Re-Animator and From Beyond the oddball classics that they are isn't entirely absent here. Combs and Crampton are better actors than 90's direct to video horror movies generally got, and are better than this film deserves. Their scenes together have dramatic weight. The scenes of grue have the same kind of impact, too. Gordon knows how to make his gore effects hurt. But beyond all that, this is a film with nothing beneath the surface. The couple on the rocks because of the death of a child is a cliched relationship we've seen in a hundred other horror movies (and movies in general). The plot is disappointingly linear, too. There's a rug here waiting to be pulled out from under the audience, and the filmmakers never touch it.


What this film really lacks is Giovanni's point of view. There are a few scenes where the filmmakers obviously sense the potential of such a point of view--when Giovanni realizes that Rebecca cannot see him, for instance--but most of these scenes are wasted. Rebecca is a terrific example of Chekhov's Gun: she's a character obviously intended to relate to Giovanni with sympathy because she cannot see him. This gun is never fired. Rebecca is as terrified by Giovanni as the sighted characters in spite of her disability. The point of "The Outsider" is to turn monstrosity on its head. Its protagonist doesn't know he's a monster until the very end of the story. Lovecraft uses a neat narrative trick in this story, in which the first person narrative prevents a description of the story's monster throughout until the big reveal. There is nothing in Castle Freak that equates to this. Instead, Giovanni is an inarticulate brute, whose depravity is sympathetic only because we see him tortured in the early part of the film. There is no character there, though, and his role in the film devolves into a monster chasing after a "normal" family. The narrative as a whole provides said family with an external threat that reunites them. Feh.


Castle Freak is the only one of Stuart Gordon's Lovecraft films that completely misses not only the letter of the text--something Gordon is okay with--but also the spirit of the text. The result is depressingly mundane.

********

For all that, Gordon was the best filmmaker to work for Charles Band's Empire/Full Moon Pictures. It's instructive to look at the films made by other hands from the same kinds of materials. The Lurking Fear (1994, directed by C. Courtney Joiner) looks for all the world like a forgery of Gordon's films: Jeffrey Combs is on hand and the source text is by Lovecraft, natch. The filmmakers even import Ashley Laurence from the Hellraiser films to add some horror cred to the proceedings. But, man, the filmmakers don't have any idea of what to do with this largess.

The story finds the black sheep Jan Martense, an ex-con who served time for a crime he didn't commit, returning to his family's home town to dig up a fortune in stolen loot buried in a grave by his father. In pursuit are his father's associates, who are intent on reclaiming what is theirs. Unfortunately, the town and the graveyard are besieged by ghouls, and when Martense arrives in town, he discovers a cadre of fearless monster hunters holed up in the church. They're in the middle of a plan to destroy the ghouls, but all of that comes apart when Martense's pursuers arrive intent on forcing him to show the loot's final resting place. They aren't expecting the ghouls. Things go pear-shaped in a hurry.

Although this directs some nods toward Lovecraft by way of place and character names, the true source of this film is probably Key Largo by way of Assault on Precinct 13. As such, it doesn't provide the creeping dread promised by the title, but rather favors the crime movie's version of suspense. Will the crooks get their comeuppance when the ghouls attack? Will they take up arms with our heroes? Will the badass Sarah Connor wannabe among our heroes turn the tables? These are not exactly horror movie questions and they don't carry with them any kind of existential dread.

The film also has a tendency to put the ghouls into the frame during scenes where they probably shouldn't be visible. The filmmakers want to get the most out of their ghoul designs and they rob them of their mystery by shooting them in too-visible circumstances where the seams of the prosthetics are sometimes discernible. While the monsters aren't awful, the director does his make-up crew no favors.

The performances, such as they are, are mainly functional. The best performance in the film is delivered by veteran Jon Finch, playing the Johnny Rocco/Edward G. Robinson part. He's a real actor as opposed to a genre actor and he gives his character more than he needs to. Alas, the rest of the cast isn't so good. Jeffery Combs's doctor is this film's version of Claire Trevor's lush and he's good enough. Ashley Laurence gets the badass girl looking to avenge her sister, which doesn't work quite so well. Vincent Schiavelli chews the scenery in his scenes as a corrupt mortician. It doesn't help the film, given that he's an inconsequential character drawing attention away from the plot. Watching this film in close proximity to Castle Freak really makes me appreciate Stuart Gordon, because even on an off day, he's so much better than one should expect. The same, alas, cannot be said of The Lurking Fear.
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Offline stethacantus

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18043 on: April 29, 2018, 11:21:43 PM »
Dog Bite Dog ( 2006 )
Last week I watched a Hong Kong film Dragon Dynasty had no business releasing. This week's movie made more sense. At the time of it's release it received a lot of hype. The first non pornographic category III to be released in years ( the Hong Kong equivalent of a NC-17 rating ) it was expected to be a hard core crime drama that was to earn a lot of awards. Dragon Dynasty acquired the rights even before it's HK release. But it never lived up to the hype.  Very few nominations materialized, an no best picture nomination. Critics and audiences seemed split with only about half of each giving the film positive reviews, although even the negative reviews praised the director and cinematographer. While the movie will never become the classic it was expected to be, you can't blame Dragon Dynasty for acquiring what was suppose to be the biggest Asian film event of that year.  ( The same year that Jet Li's Fearless, Jackie Chan's Robin-B-Hood and Chow Yun Fat's Curse of the Golden Flower were released )

Dog Bite Dog is relentlessly violent, with a needlessly downbeat ending. A hitman is sent from Cambodia to assassinate the wife of a judge. After the hit, the police are able to track him down. But not before he kills a  couple of hostages and stabs to death one of the police detectives in front of the other police. The only thing stopping the police from killing him then and there is they need him alive to find out who ordered the hit. But while being transported to the police station he is able to break out of his cuffs and cause the police car to crash. A manhunt for the escaped hitman ensues, which includes the partner of the slain cop who goes lone wolf, brutalizing suspects who may or may not know the whereabouts of the hitman.  Meanwhile the hitman is beginning to leave behind a trail of bodies, one of which is a man who he found raping his own mentally disabled daughter. Eventually the hitman and girl he saved fall in love. They are nearly caught when the girl gets tetanus from a nail in her foot and has to be brought to a doctor. But he is able to outsmart and kill all the police who are after him, even shooting and nearly killing the lone wolf detective.  After recovering in the hospital, the lone wolf detective traces the hitman back to Cambodia with his now pregnant wife where they both have a final showdown.

Whether or not anyone likes this film depends on their tolerance of film violence. The villain is a murderer bordering on serial killer. The cops resort to torturing suspects and beating the villains girlfriend to get him to come out of hiding.  Most of the characters lead relentlessly dark lives.  The film makers here went out of their way to make a dark film with nothing at all redeeming. On the other hand, it is really well made.  While extremely violent, it is never gratuitous, like say, Riki-Oh ( 1991 ).  The film makers  sought to have a film that was both Category III for violence, and good enough to be considered for awards.  I wouldn't say I enjoyed it. More like it traumatized me a bit, shattered my faith in humanity, but at the same time had me rapt for the entire film.

Nate and Hayes ( 1983 )
This is considered by some to be the lost John Hughes film, because it took a while for it to be released on DVD. It was the script he wrote the same year as National Lampoon's Vacation and Mr. Mom, and a year before his breakout hit Sixteen Candles. Actually, Hughes co-wrote this film with David Odell who had previously written the script for The Dark Crystal, and it was from the story written completely by Odell, so you can barely call this one a Hughes film.  But try telling that to John Hughes fans who wanted  to complete all his works, giving this film a very minor cult following. But unlike the  films that made Hughes  a success, this movie has no teenagers, and takes place 100 years before any of the 80s slang Hughes put in his scripts had been invented.  It was an independent film which was a United States/New Zealand/Fiji co production that was going to turn Tommy Lee Jones into the next Indiana Jones. All the more remarkable because the American company that helped produce it was Paramount, who at the time already had the Indiana Jones franchise.  But like most Indiana Jones rip-offs, this film bombed at the box office, putting an end to any other Bully Hayes films.

Tommy Lee Jones plays  historical figure Bully Hayes, a pirate who operated in the South Seas around the mid 19th century.  After an opening sequence where he and his crew are surrounded and attacked by angry natives, and only Bully makes it out of the jungle alive, he runs right into a group of Spanish soldiers being lead by his rival Captain Pease, who arrest him for trying to sell guns to the natives and sentence him to be hanged. While in prison awaiting his execution, he begins telling his life story to a biographer, flashing back to a previous adventure. A few years earlier he and his crew were transporting the missionary Nathaniel Williamson ( Michael O'Keefe ) and his fiancĂ©e Sophie ( Jenny Seagrove ) to the island where they are to be married and set up a missionary station. Bully has fallen in love with Sophie, as she has developed an affection for the captain. But she is also in love with Nathaniel, and leaves the ship with him once they have reached their destination. Once out at sea, Bully begins to miss Sophie and orders his men to turn the ship around and return to the island. Meanwhile, during Nathaniel and Sophie's wedding ceremony, Captain Pease and his crew show up and massacre all the missionaries, then kidnap the natives to be sold as slaves. Discovering Sophie is still alive, Pease takes her hostage. Once the pirates have left, Nathaniel wakes up, having only been grazed on the skull by a bullet. He attempts to go after Pease's ship in a native canoe, but ends up marooned on a reef. He is rescued by Bully Hayes, and together they track down Pease to rescue Sophie.  By now her predicament has become dire. A German count has hired Pease  as a negotiator for a treaty with the king of a savage tribe who's island the Germans want to use as a port. And the savage king wants Sophie for a human sacrifice.

There is a reason why all the Indiana Jones imitators, including this film, failed. With Indiana Jones, Spielberg  fashioned well paced thrill a moment action sequences.  This is the one element the rip-offs failed to copy. They had everything else.  Adventurer heroes, jungle settings, angry natives, Germans.  But they never took the time to develop the action.  And that is exactly what is wrong with Nate and Hayes. You have action, but it is not well staged, and shot as is instead of fast paced and tightly edited.  For example, fight scenes between Bully's crew and natives, Pease's crew or Germans  are almost always filmed in wide shots with not much in the way of choreography other than the standard sword fighting where actors cross swords above their heads over and over again without actually aiming for each other's bodies.  Even what is suppose to be exciting, such as when the heroes escape soldiers via a zip line, is shot as one lackluster wide shot.  The sacrifice scene makes zero sense. Sophie is tied to a post that is slowly dipped down over what I am guessing is a volcano that the producers didn't have the money to add the special effects shots of lava  in post. But even if the post she is tied to was to be lowered all the way down,  it is on an axle, and would go nowhere near any lava below.  Compare that to Kate Capshaw being sacrificed in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom where she was in a cage that was being lowered by chains. In that movie there was the constant danger the cage could drop into the lava pit.  In Nate and Hayes Sophie is in no actual eminent danger, which means there is no real urgency for Bully and Nathaniel to rescue her just in time.

So basically Nate and Hayes is not thrilling at all, even though it had all the elements director Ferdinand Fairfax needed for a great action film. Other wise the film is okay. Good acting, reasonable dialog, decent enough plot. But the movie was suppose to be a thrill show, which it is not.


Bela Lugosi Meets A Brooklyn Gorilla ( 1952 )
Last year I bought a the Sons Of Kong set from Amazon for only $1 which came in a box with cool cover art that looked like this...

..... which when opened, folded out into a display that looked like this.....


A box well worth the $1 I spent on it. And as a bonus, it came with 10 movies.  Whenever Saturday Night Live was on break, I would pop one of the discs in and watch one of the movies. Which is how I know that SNL has been off the air a total of at least 10 weeks combined since it's late season premiere in October. What a bunch of lazy dipshits. Well, they say that all good things must come to an end. And if that's true then I suppose it is the same for all things mediocre and dopey.  I have finally come to the last movie in the set. What should have been at least 10 hours of "Gorillas Gone Wild" as promised on the box, but was rarely the case. The closest thing to a legitimate son of King Kong being the Apeman, that is assuming Kong had succeeded in hooking up with Fay Wray, and she birthed their unholy love child. To many of the films barely had any apes at all. Surprising considering all of the public domain ape films that could have been added to this collection. They needn't have scraped the bottom of the barrel.

A few films back I had the opportunity to see my first Ritz Brothers movie. This week I have the opportunity to see my first Mitchell & Petrillo film. Which means I now own all of the Mitchell & Petrillo films. Sammy Petrillo was a comedian who had an uncanny resemblance to Jerry Lewis, eventually leading to him developing an imitation of Lewis for his act. But he took things a little bit too far when he found a nightclub singer named Duke Mitchell who resembled Dean Martin, and created a nightclub act that ripped off Martin & Lewis. The act became a success, and soon after their agent began pitching Mitchell & Petrillo to all the Hollywood movie studios. Most passed on signing the  Martin & Lewis Imitators, but they got an offer for a multi picture deal with Realart.

Realart Pictures was technically not a movie studio. The company was mostly a distributor, which made most of it's money re-releasing feature films for Universal Pictures. Although occasionally company head Jack Broder would dabble in movie production, releasing the film through his company. At the time Realart was making a lot of money re-releasing the Abbott and Costello films, and Broder thought they could easily find the same success in another comedy team, but without having to split the profits with Universal. Mitchell & Petrillo's first film for Realart had the working title White Woman of the Lost Jungle.

Re-release of the Universal horror films were also profitable for Realart. Which gave Broder the idea of casting Bela Lugosi in the film. At the time Lugosi's was a drug addict who's career had bottomed out, and was a year shy of working for Ed Wood. Broder was thinking of renaming the film Mitchell & Petrillo meet Bela Lugosi.

Lewis & Martin were not thrilled that someone was stealing their act. They had tried to contain the duo by having them blackballed from the major nightclubs. But now they were competing against them in the movies. Dean threatened to sue Realart and everyone associated with  Mitchell & Petrillo. Jerry Lewis was less subtle. He marched directly into Jack Broder's office and began screaming at him. Both men engaged in a loud obscenity filled verbal fight where each promised to end the other's career before Lewis stormed off. Paramount, who had Martin & Lewis under contract, decided to step in. Producer Hal B Wallis offered for Paramount to buy the film and Mitchell & Petrillo's contract. Paramount would then destroy all negatives of the film, and sideline Mitchell & Petrillo from acting in any more films. The deal came close to being brokered, but Broder wanted more money than Paramount was willing to pay.

The movie was completed. However, somewhere along the way Broder decided that a film series starring Mitchell & Petrillo was not a good idea. It could have been the threat of lawsuits, or the fact that Mitchell & Petrillo had been blackballed by almost every nightclub and NBC, or maybe a back door deal with Paramount had been agreed upon, or perhaps Broder finally realized what his friends had been telling him, that they were not funny.  Their contract was not extended beyond the first film, and Realart didn't even bother to put their names in the title. The selling point of the film was Brooklyn,  a gorilla,  and a washed  up horror actor.

the film opens on an unidentified jungle island that has African animals, but then seems to be located in the South Pacific.  Nightclub performers Duke and Sammy end up on the island after accidentally bailing out of the airplane that was transporting them to a show for U.S. army troops.  They are rescued by the natives where Duke falls in love with Nona, the daughter of the native's chief. He discovers that Nona was sent to America for her education. And being a collage graduate, she lands a job as the assistant of Doctor Zabor ( Lugosi ), a scientist who lives in a castle on the other end of the island. For the past few years Zabor has been working on a formula that will somehow advance evolution. However, he to has fallen in love with Nona, and cant understand why she constantly rejects him. Not realizing that Zabor is a mad scientist, Nona brings Duke and  Sammy to his castle hoping he can aid them in contacting a rescue ship. However, once Zabor discovers that Nona has fallen in love with Duke, he has his henchman kidnap him, then reversing his evolution formula, turns Duke into a gorilla.  The movie ends with a really dumb trick ending which I will not spoil here, but needless to say fails to resolve the plot where it easily could have.

This movie is not funny. The only thing I laughed at was a single gag.  Throughout the film Sammy has been chased after by nona's fat sister Saloma who wants him for her boyfriend.  While being chased Sammy stops and yells out "Run for your lives!", followed by stock footage of various animal herds running away. It is the only gag in the film that made me chuckle. Otherwise Sammy Petrillo comes off as an annoying unfunny Jerry Lewis imitator. But at least he can act, which is more than I can say for his partner Duke Mitchel who is terrible. Contrast that to Bela Lugosi who's acting is superb despite the bad material he is given, and the fact that at the time he was a huge drug addict in failing health. The only other positive thing I can say for this film is that it is the only quality film print in the entire Sons of Kong collection,  not even showing any signs of digital compression. The audio is crisp and clear. Even the titles look like they were digitally restored. But despite the film's title, it is another movie that didn't belong on the Sons of Kong set. Duke is not turned into a gorilla until the last 20 minutes of the film.  And despite the title, Duke's character is established as being from the Bronx, not Brooklyn.

« Last Edit: April 30, 2018, 08:50:31 AM by stethacantus »


Offline Darth Geek

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18044 on: April 30, 2018, 11:17:44 AM »
Damn, the idea of a young (okay, 37) Tommy Lee Jones as an Indiana Jones type sounds amazing. Too bad it was botched.