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RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 20/5/2013 7:16:36 PM   
evil bill


Posts: 6694
Joined: 19/7/2006
From: mordor/ uk
quote:

ORIGINAL: losthighway

Hello folks... long time, no post. Life and work getting in the way. Quick update... the US will be getting a feature length making of documentary (like Rejects had) with the DVD release of Lords over there. Appears we'll be missing out due to its STDVD route here in the UK.

I've bought some goodies today:

BAISE-MOI (UNCUT!) - £5 at Fopp. Looks a decent release. Remember watching the cut version years ago so glad to give it a proper watch in its uncut form.

HANNIBAL LECTOR TRILOGY & HANNIBAL RISING (BR)... I'm actually a fan of the 4th film and have purchased these now because anyone with SKY Living MUST MUST MUST watch...

HANNIBAL (Tuesdays at 10pm). In short, it's excellent and is like the anti-version of CSI. Pure class, looks amazing, really great performances, great scripts and some seriously grisly homicide scenes.

THE BIRDS (50TH ANNIVERSARY BR) - My favourite film ever. Enough said. It's Ltd Ed so grab it while you can!

Hoping to see STAR TREK: INTO DARKNESS and THE GREAT GATSBY at some point. Oh and I was pleasantly surprised to see we're getting a theatrical release for BEHIND THE CANDLABRA (is that how you spell it!? ) on 7th June... Check it out.

I'm with you on this one big time, the Sky Living HD series HANNIBAL is bloody brilliant, it's an American thriller television series developed by Bryan Fuller for NBC. The series is based on characters and elements appearing in the novel Red Dragon and has a great cast Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen and Laurence Fishburne.
Yeah i'm a BIRDS fan too and must have the Blu-Ray, it will sit next to PSYCHO Blu-ray in it's steel box.

_____________________________

"You listen to me now,i will find you and i will kill you!"

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Post #: 14971
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 20/5/2013 7:26:11 PM   
evil bill


Posts: 6694
Joined: 19/7/2006
From: mordor/ uk
quote:

ORIGINAL: dannyfletch

I really want to watch the Hannibal series so hope it won't be too long before they release it on DVD!
My favourite Lector has got to be Manhunter, I think Micheal Mann's version is far superior to terrible remake! Didn't bother getting all the way through Hannibal Rising but did enjoy both Silence of the Lambs and though that Ridley Scott did quite a good job of Hannibal!

Agreed Mann's MANHUNTER was by far the best, but Mads Mikkelsen as Lector is fast becoming by favourite Dr Lector, as he is just so Chilling in the role, you will maybe remember him from Casino Royale as the Villian Le Chiffre. Enjoyed Silence Of The Lambs, Hannibal was ok, but Hannibal was just a waste of good film.


_____________________________

"You listen to me now,i will find you and i will kill you!"

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Post #: 14972
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 24/5/2013 11:30:32 AM   
losthighway


Posts: 3246
Joined: 25/1/2006
From: Manchesterford
I agreed to go along to see THE GREAT GATSBY with my mate last Monday night... 2+hrs of sheer boredom. I sat there wishing I was watching Romeo & Juliet because so many of the scenes mirror Luhrman's previous film, e.g. the party scene in particular and the fishtank has now been replaced by a pillar (you'll see what I mean). Also, the love between Nick and Gatsby is more believable than the supposed love between Gatsby and Daisy. My mate said this insinuated gay element is not found within the novel (he's read it 3x!) but honestly it is clearly there within the film.

I can totally see why there was a review embargo on this film. In all honesty, it's a bit of a mess!

Overall: 2/5

...STAR TREK: INTO DARKNESS next...

_____________________________

The secret to becoming a star is knowing how to behave like one.

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Post #: 14973
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 25/5/2013 7:36:20 PM   
dannyfletch


Posts: 625
Joined: 25/5/2008
From: Bromley
Sounds like Baz Luhrman has well and truly had his day! After the terrible, cringe worthy and empty headed Australia, Great Gatsby sounds like another disastrous mess! Maybe he should retire or take a different route in the film industry!

(in reply to losthighway)
Post #: 14974
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 27/5/2013 5:33:18 PM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3819
Joined: 19/10/2005
I rather liked The Great Gatsby [but then I like Australia....], the best version of a novel which is very hard to make a really good film out of.

I preferred it to Star Trek anyway

_____________________________

check out more of my reviews on http://horrorcultfilms.co.uk/

(in reply to dannyfletch)
Post #: 14975
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 27/5/2013 6:41:41 PM   
losthighway


Posts: 3246
Joined: 25/1/2006
From: Manchesterford
I saw STAR TREK: INTO DARKNESS earlier. In short (you know me! ) it's excellent although could have done with a bit more Khan in it. Definitely one to catch whilst it's on at the cinema and in 2D cos 3D is a pointless gimmick! Overall: 4/5

Also, CEX are selling brand new copies of games/DVDs and BRs these days but classed as 2nd hand cos they bought them first in bulk quantities. Anyway long story short... Just picked up SPARTACUS: WAR OF THE DAMNED BR for £22 (brand new) despite what the label says.

Also, get onto Amazon UK and get HANNIBAL: SEASON 1 BR pre-ordered now for the princely sum of £25. It's out on 2nd September.

Oh and forgot to mention I also watched DJANGO UNCHAINED yesterday. Apart from being about 15mins too long (could easily have cut Tarantino's cameo out of it), I really enjoyed it. Very funny film with some great performances and a vast improvement on the much overhyped Inglorious Basterds. Plus, it has my quote of the week in it: "It's a nigger on a horse!" LOL! Overall: 5/5

Plus I watched FLIGHT after it which was just OK and apart from an impressive crash sequence was way too long (by about 40mins!) and well, just felt a bit meh tbh. Overall: 2.5/5

< Message edited by losthighway -- 27/5/2013 6:45:54 PM >


_____________________________

The secret to becoming a star is knowing how to behave like one.

(in reply to Dr Lenera)
Post #: 14976
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 27/5/2013 7:13:50 PM   
evil bill


Posts: 6694
Joined: 19/7/2006
From: mordor/ uk
quote:

ORIGINAL: Dr Lenera

I rather liked The Great Gatsby [but then I like Australia....], the best version of a novel which is very hard to make a really good film out of.

I preferred it to Star Trek anyway

Funny I was talking to the wife about The Great Gatsby, a book she has read, in fact she has read a few of  F. Scott Fitzgerald's classics, but  back to  film. She believes the 1974 version is the best, written by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow, but i'm not a fan of this sort of film so I know i'll not be going to see this new version. As for the 1974 film, it was ok, but I felt Mia Farrow was wrongly cast, she from what I remember was over powered by Redford's performance, and I lost interest in ever watching it again. Give me a good Gangster film from the 1930's or a modern violent retelling, and i'm happy, love and bullets baby!!!

_____________________________

"You listen to me now,i will find you and i will kill you!"

(in reply to Dr Lenera)
Post #: 14977
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 27/5/2013 7:26:29 PM   
evil bill


Posts: 6694
Joined: 19/7/2006
From: mordor/ uk
quote:

ORIGINAL: losthighway

I saw STAR TREK: INTO DARKNESS earlier. In short (you know me! ) it's excellent although could have done with a bit more Khan in it. Definitely one to catch whilst it's on at the cinema and in 2D cos 3D is a pointless gimmick! Overall: 4/5

Also, CEX are selling brand new copies of games/DVDs and BRs these days but classed as 2nd hand cos they bought them first in bulk quantities. Anyway long story short... Just picked up SPARTACUS: WAR OF THE DAMNED BR for £22 (brand new) despite what the label says.

Also, get onto Amazon UK and get HANNIBAL: SEASON 1 BR pre-ordered now for the princely sum of £25. It's out on 2nd September.

Oh and forgot to mention I also watched DJANGO UNCHAINED yesterday. Apart from being about 15mins too long (could easily have cut Tarantino's cameo out of it), I really enjoyed it. Very funny film with some great performances and a vast improvement on the much overhyped Inglorious Basterds. Plus, it has my quote of the week in it: "It's a nigger on a horse!" LOL! Overall: 5/5

Plus I watched FLIGHT after it which was just OK and apart from an impressive crash sequence was way too long (by about 40mins!) and well, just felt a bit meh tbh. Overall: 2.5/5

WOW!! 5/5 for Django Unchained, and 4/5 for Into Darkness, you have enjoyed your pick of films this week, i'm buying Django on Blu-Ray, as it's a must have.
Another must have is one of Tarantino's favourite De Pamla films and mine which is out on Blu-Ray soon.
BLOW OUT (1981)


Former police technician Jack Terri (John Travolta) makes his living doing sound for slasher flicks. While recording new outdoor effects one night, Jack witnesses a couple's car careen off a bridge into a river, but he can save only the female occupant, Sally (Nancy Allen). Jack begins to suspect something when he learns that her dead companion was a Presidential hopeful. Re-playing his tape over and over, Jack thinks that he hears a gun shot before the crash-caused by a tire blow out. When sleazy photographer Manny Karp (Dennis Franz) comes forward with photos of the accident, Jack discovers the real reason that the naÔve Sally was in the car -- and also a way to prove his auditory suspicions through motion pictures. Even with all his surveillance talent, however, Jack cannot see (or hear) how dangerous the big picture really is until it's too late.

Brian De Palma's Blow Out is in fact a homage to Michelangelo Antonioni's classic art movie Blow-Up (1966), though of course with his own unique style, which he had developed from Sisters onward. With split screen, sudden zooming, lots of visual trickery and a splash of slasher buried in this thrillers story. Though this is no horror film like his last few, for here he finally deserves the modern Hitchcock title he had been given, as he blends suspense and political paranoia, in a classic thriller where he turned his interests to technology and voyeurism. Of course there's always been a bit of voyeurism in his early films, but here he wears it proudly on his sleeve, but it also his most politically loaded film, made in the Reagan era. It's a conspiracy movie that more than suggests that American politics are still rotten, even seven years after Watergate, it also reminds those that can remember of Edward Kennedys near death in a car that went off a bridge into the water, just like in the opening of this film.




There are also some great performances, particularly John Travolta's convincing bid to be taken seriously after years of being dismissed as the kid from Grease, Saturday Night Fever etc. This was his first true adult performance, and to my surprise on first viewing he was excellent, so it's no wonder Quentin Tarantino loved this film and wanted John for Pulp Fiction, which as we know shot him into the super league of acting.  But back to John Travolta's performance as the sound effect man who stumbles in to a conspiracy to eliminate the witnesses to an accident, is his most under rated role, and it's sad that some folk only see him as an action man now, for it is here that he shines. And that goes for Nancy Allen as Sally, the young prostitute at the centre of the story too, for here we git the best, far better than her role in Dressed To Kill, for she shows more emotion here, and you truly feel for her plight, as the powers that be close in for the kill. Being married to the director might have helped her land the part, but she is in her best role ever so who cares, if some felt a better actress could have added more to the role, for in truth not many want to be cast as a prostitute. Then John Lithgow is perfectly cast as the creepy Burke, the evil hit man/psycho, who will stop at noting to get the job done, and i'm glad De Palma was that impressed he had him as star of Raising Cain where he real talent was on full throttle. Add to this already great line up Dennis Franz, who has the pivotal part of Karp, the man who was able to photograph the whole incident, but also now in danger of being removed by the psycho on the rampage.

Palma's downbeat film did not go over well with 1981 summer audiences, and was not a success, as far as money goes, but this film is clearly one of De Palma's best efforts, right up there with Scarface and The Untouchables. It is a touching, thrilling, great visuals that play with the mind and great central performances, and lets not forget the grandiose Pino Donaggio score, one of his finest. Plus an ending that will rock your mind, and where it's political undertones are fully understood at the films end, which is something not seen a lot these days, as sadly the suits wont allow the same freedom directors had back in the true golden years of cinema. This really is a classic, and should be shown in film-making classes, film appreciation classes, and fans of real cinema,for Blow Out harks back to 1970s political thrillers like The Parallax View (1974), using cinematic fireworks to tell an unsettling story about one man's struggle against unstoppable corruption .Also this is far better in every way to Blow Up, and never let's itself done with a happy Hollywood ending, that you know is just a cop out for the popcorn muitli plex film goers of  of today, no this leaves you gutted and also angry that it has hit the truth about the world we live in.8/10

< Message edited by evil bill -- 27/5/2013 7:29:23 PM >


_____________________________

"You listen to me now,i will find you and i will kill you!"

(in reply to losthighway)
Post #: 14978
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 27/5/2013 8:10:46 PM   
Mister Coe

 

Posts: 1419
Joined: 20/10/2012
Blow-Out is fantastic, possibly my fave De Palma film... the ending is still like a punch in the gut, can you imagine any director putting that ending in a film nowadays?

(and, yes, I'm sure some of you will try and find something equivalent... please don't, I'm trying to wax lyrical about a favourite film of mine...)



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Post #: 14979
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 28/5/2013 1:50:57 AM   
UTB


Posts: 9549
Joined: 30/9/2005
Blow Out is a terrific film, saw it for the first time last year with the Criterion release. Must rewatch!

Saw Django Unchained for the first time yesterday, really enjoyed it. Very funny in parts, great characters and dialogue, Waltz is brilliant and although I usually dislike Jamie Foxx, thought he did a good job. Shame Tarantino still decides to cast himself, though, really pulls you out of the film, especially at that late stage of the film.

Also watch Seven Psychopaths. Now, I watched this following Django Unchained and I had had quite a few beers by this point, but I was really disappointed with it. I don't think I laughed once. Tonally, its all over the place. Think I might to give it a sober rewatch some day.. haha

(in reply to Mister Coe)
Post #: 14980
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 28/5/2013 8:35:42 AM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3819
Joined: 19/10/2005

quote:

ORIGINAL: Mister Coe

Blow-Out is fantastic, possibly my fave De Palma film... the ending is still like a punch in the gut, can you imagine any director putting that ending in a film nowadays?

(and, yes, I'm sure some of you will try and find something equivalent... please don't, I'm trying to wax lyrical about a favourite film of mine...)




SPOILER True, I so wanted him to save her, and actually hated the ending when I first saw the film about 14 or 15, but I'm a little more grown up [maybe] these days and appreciate it for its bravery. Great film anyway, maybe one of De Palma'sbest, but then he made so many films I love it's hard to choose.

_____________________________

check out more of my reviews on http://horrorcultfilms.co.uk/

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Post #: 14981
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 28/5/2013 8:37:13 AM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3819
Joined: 19/10/2005

quote:

ORIGINAL: UTB

Blow Out is a terrific film, saw it for the first time last year with the Criterion release. Must rewatch!

Saw Django Unchained for the first time yesterday, really enjoyed it. Very funny in parts, great characters and dialogue, Waltz is brilliant and although I usually dislike Jamie Foxx, thought he did a good job. Shame Tarantino still decides to cast himself, though, really pulls you out of the film, especially at that late stage of the film.

Also watch Seven Psychopaths. Now, I watched this following Django Unchained and I had had quite a few beers by this point, but I was really disappointed with it. I don't think I laughed once. Tonally, its all over the place. Think I might to give it a sober rewatch some day.. haha


Yeah Seven Psychopaths...it had some great moments ,but overall it was a mess and a big disappointment after the great In Bruges.

_____________________________

check out more of my reviews on http://horrorcultfilms.co.uk/

(in reply to UTB)
Post #: 14982
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 28/5/2013 11:49:13 AM   
Platter

 

Posts: 108
Joined: 14/8/2010
I started watching this from midnight to get the right vibe.

El Topo (1970)

Itís a movie thatís easy to admire for its warped ideas and startling images and scenes, but I canít say I found it to be entertaining. It was a bit of an endurance test to get to the end as it was a bit boring. There was always another weird image or funny idea to keep you going. Itís well paced with little meandering. Even with the strange non-narrative moments that could have been long self-indulgent passages of random nonsense, like the wandering desert scenes, it kept going forward with a purpose and never succumbed to bloated time wasting.

My expectations were for a particularly brutal and violent film after seeing the documentary Midnight Movies: From the Margin to the Mainstream (2005). The clips it showed made it look like a sick blood bath. I saw The Holy Mountain (1973) before this and I think itís the more extreme movie. Nothing shocked or disturbed me in this one. Perhaps I was just prepared for the worst.

The story is episodic and doesnít add up to much. It climaxes at just over the halfway point after he has met all four of the mythical gunfighters one by one. The second half is an almost completely unconnected story about a very peculiar town. This half went on too long and began to test my patience as it felt like a whole other movie that had been bolted onto the end of the other one. I wasnít expecting two Ďseparateí movies.

The first half is perhaps better as it has the iconic spaghetti western imagery and blood soaked landscapes. In other words, it has more traditional action movie elements. The second half is almost the same in quality, but it doesnít have as much forward momentum. Itís images are not as extreme or as impressive, but are more subtly disturbing with its displays of moral corruption.

Did it mean anything? Probably not. I didnít waste any time trying to find any meaning to any of it. To me it was just a bunch of crazy images and ideas bolted onto a threadbare storyline. The pictures and individual scenes were good enough to make it work.

***SPOILER IN NEXT PARAGRAPH***
I could easily be wrong, but I think the film has a sort of time loop in it. I assume the religious person who vows to kill El Topo on completion of the tunnel is a younger El Topo himself, and that the naked kid from the start of the film is his own son conceived in the basement of the bar. I didnít go back to the start of the movie to check, but I guess the photo of the mother that is buried in the sand will be of the short woman. The two men know who each are as they are shocked when they first see each other.

The staging of scenes was often bitty with choppy editing. Basically the film is full of bad continuity and jump cuts. This was probably half by design (to disorientate and feel odd?) and half by incompetence.

The sound effects are sort of famous if you know about the making of The Exorcist (1973). Iím surprised the director of The Exorcist even noticed the sound effects in El Topo as they didnít jump out the soundtrack and impress. The only time I even noticed the sounds was on the hanging men sequence at the start. I only noticed it because I thought the sound of them swinging was badly over the top.

I canít say I liked the film. I also canít say I disliked it either. Easy to admire. Hard to love. Itís too weird and interesting to be forgotten. It was definitely well worth watching. I recommend it, but donít expect a masterpiece. His follow-up movie The Holy Mountain is much better and grander.

5 out of 10

< Message edited by Platter -- 28/5/2013 11:50:20 AM >


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Post #: 14983
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 28/5/2013 6:04:47 PM   
evil bill


Posts: 6694
Joined: 19/7/2006
From: mordor/ uk
quote:

ORIGINAL: Mister Coe

Blow-Out is fantastic, possibly my fave De Palma film... the ending is still like a punch in the gut, can you imagine any director putting that ending in a film nowadays?

(and, yes, I'm sure some of you will try and find something equivalent... please don't, I'm trying to wax lyrical about a favourite film of mine...)



Well it's out now on Blu-Ray thanks to Arrow Films, and going by the reviews a great Transfer from the Criterion release that the US got.£12.50 from Amazon for the Blu-Ray, and there's a steel box release as well for a few pounds more. And yes that ending a real downer but helps make it feel more real, and it was no wonder this was the film that got Tarantino interested in casting John in Pulp Fiction, and so revive his film career.

_____________________________

"You listen to me now,i will find you and i will kill you!"

(in reply to Mister Coe)
Post #: 14984
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 28/5/2013 6:23:17 PM   
evil bill


Posts: 6694
Joined: 19/7/2006
From: mordor/ uk
quote:

ORIGINAL: Dr Lenera


quote:

ORIGINAL: UTB

Blow Out is a terrific film, saw it for the first time last year with the Criterion release. Must rewatch!

Saw Django Unchained for the first time yesterday, really enjoyed it. Very funny in parts, great characters and dialogue, Waltz is brilliant and although I usually dislike Jamie Foxx, thought he did a good job. Shame Tarantino still decides to cast himself, though, really pulls you out of the film, especially at that late stage of the film.

Also watch Seven Psychopaths. Now, I watched this following Django Unchained and I had had quite a few beers by this point, but I was really disappointed with it. I don't think I laughed once. Tonally, its all over the place. Think I might to give it a sober rewatch some day.. haha


Yeah Seven Psychopaths...it had some great moments ,but overall it was a mess and a big disappointment after the great In Bruges.

Yes disappointed big time in Seven Psychopaths too, I got bored out of my mind by the end, and wondered why I bothered watching it, and then remembered how much I loved In Burges.
quote:

Platter
El Topo (1970)

Itís a movie thatís easy to admire for its warped ideas and startling images and scenes, but I canít say I found it to be entertaining. It was a bit of an endurance test to get to the end as it was a bit boring. There was always another weird image or funny idea to keep you going. Itís well paced with little meandering. Even with the strange non-narrative moments that could have been long self-indulgent passages of random nonsense, like the wandering desert scenes, it kept going forward with a purpose and never succumbed to bloated time wasting.

My expectations were for a particularly brutal and violent film after seeing the documentary Midnight Movies: From the Margin to the Mainstream (2005). The clips it showed made it look like a sick blood bath. I saw The Holy Mountain (1973) before this and I think itís the more extreme movie. Nothing shocked or disturbed me in this one. Perhaps I was just prepared for the worst.

The story is episodic and doesnít add up to much. It climaxes at just over the halfway point after he has met all four of the mythical gunfighters one by one. The second half is an almost completely unconnected story about a very peculiar town. This half went on too long and began to test my patience as it felt like a whole other movie that had been bolted onto the end of the other one. I wasnít expecting two Ďseparateí movies.

The first half is perhaps better as it has the iconic spaghetti western imagery and blood soaked landscapes. In other words, it has more traditional action movie elements. The second half is almost the same in quality, but it doesnít have as much forward momentum. Itís images are not as extreme or as impressive, but are more subtly disturbing with its displays of moral corruption.

Did it mean anything? Probably not. I didnít waste any time trying to find any meaning to any of it. To me it was just a bunch of crazy images and ideas bolted onto a threadbare storyline. The pictures and individual scenes were good enough to make it work.

***SPOILER IN NEXT PARAGRAPH***
I could easily be wrong, but I think the film has a sort of time loop in it. I assume the religious person who vows to kill El Topo on completion of the tunnel is a younger El Topo himself, and that the naked kid from the start of the film is his own son conceived in the basement of the bar. I didnít go back to the start of the movie to check, but I guess the photo of the mother that is buried in the sand will be of the short woman. The two men know who each are as they are shocked when they first see each other.

The staging of scenes was often bitty with choppy editing. Basically the film is full of bad continuity and jump cuts. This was probably half by design (to disorientate and feel odd?) and half by incompetence.

The sound effects are sort of famous if you know about the making of The Exorcist (1973). Iím surprised the director of The Exorcist even noticed the sound effects in El Topo as they didnít jump out the soundtrack and impress. The only time I even noticed the sounds was on the hanging men sequence at the start. I only noticed it because I thought the sound of them swinging was badly over the top.

I canít say I liked the film. I also canít say I disliked it either. Easy to admire. Hard to love. Itís too weird and interesting to be forgotten. It was definitely well worth watching. I recommend it, but donít expect a masterpiece. His follow-up movie The Holy Mountain is much better and grander.

5 out of 10

I gave this 7/10, but I understand how Holy Mountain was the better movie to you, cause it is, but I see you still would recommend it so no argument there, plus it's a pretty good review with a bit more depth than your usual, so well done, and yes it's not as extreme as Holy Mountain. But I feel it is Jodorowsky's most personal film, as it reflects his own philosophies of that time, IE life, death and rebirth, though it seems he maybe lays it on a bit too thick, and casting himself in the lead role was not a great idea, but it is a unique and truly weird film.

_____________________________

"You listen to me now,i will find you and i will kill you!"

(in reply to Dr Lenera)
Post #: 14985
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 28/5/2013 7:35:54 PM   
evil bill


Posts: 6694
Joined: 19/7/2006
From: mordor/ uk
Not sure who mentioned they got The Birds on Blu-Ray, but as I now have it too and it's the 50TH anniversary of this great Hitchcock film well time for a review;
THE BIRDS (1963)


A romantic triangle involving wealthy, spoiled Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren), handsome Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor), and schoolteacher Annie Hayworth (Suzanne Pleshette) begins in a San Francisco pet shop and culminates at the home of Mitch's mother (Jessica Tandy) at Bodega Bay, where the characters' sense of security is slowly eroded by the curious behaviour of the birds in the area. At first, it's no more than a sea gull swooping down and pecking at Melanie's head,but things take an ugly turn when hundreds of birds converge on a children's party, and soon the whole town is under attack.

Hitchcock's follow-up to Psycho is a stand out in his career, as here he makes his first true Horror film, or arguably the greatest of all disaster films, which at the time was a triumph of special effects. This is his third film of a Daphne DuMaurier story, but again unlike the other films this is his most enigmatic, as there are many ways to interpret this story. A tale of nature turning on mankind, as here we see many random attacks that slowly turn ever more nasty, and end up with the whole town under attack, and an ending that leaves you wondering if it's spread beyond the town, maybe the world. Or is it just a reflection of the tangled relationships we see before us, as we see Taylor as the sole male with many females vying for his attention. There is also the story of the making of this film where Hitchcock nearly led to Hedren's nervous breakdown, his sadistic work ethic just too intense for her to handle, and this due in a small part to his anger of his muse Grace Kelly having quit films. But who knows in truth there is no one specific reason for the terror that transpires on screen, with no explanations given or hinted at, we like the victims are left stunned, but then all good horror knocks you out of your safe zone.

Alfred Hitchcock direction here is superb, his technical skill at telling a taught story is unmatched even now, and here he just piles it on using all his skills to deliver his greatest shocker after Psycho 1960. Again he shows what a showman he is with film, as he leds you on in the first half ,with sexual tensions mounting with the bitchy fight for the leading man, and then turns it on it's head, as he turns on the heat,and unleashes a cataclysmic natural horror so unspeakable it could be something out of the Bible.Here he has fashioned a major work of cinematic art, a film you can not forget, and with some of the best scare scenes ever put to film here, plus the set pieces, like the fireplace scene, the playground scene, and the visit with Dan Fawcett, are studies in perfect tense horror. In fact Damien Omen II would steal a scene from this film and try to make it it's own, the wonderful squirm in your seat as a bird takes out an eye, but I feel this is far the more disturbing. As here he shows how terrifying silence can be, and 'The Birds' remains an intensely quiet picture, even punctuated, as it is, by sudden noisy violence, and a superb score by Bernard Herrmann, which I feel is a direct influence on Carpenters horror scores, as Bernard helps increase the tension with a strange mix of electronic music and sounds of cooing birds, and flapping wings.

Lets not forget the leading actors like Tippi Hedren who is perfect as Melanie Daniels, the stuck up party girl who is not nearly as clever as she thinks she is, and maybe telling the truth when she says she's looking for something more meaningful in her life, or is it just another to add to this blondes score card. Add to this Suzanne Pleschette as the sexy  smouldering and cynical schoolteacher who takes Melanie in, but also wants a certain man, and shows she's more than a match for the city girl. Then there's the leading man in this love triangle, Rod Taylor as the charming local-boy-made-good who thinks he knows what he wants, but finds he may just have over stepped the mark with these two. And then just maybe the most important actor Jessica Tandy as a searing, twitchily hypnotic Lydia Brenner, a wonderful supporting character in this awesome film. They all add to the mix and even though you never get any answers to the questions that unfold, and it's downbeat ending leaves you chilled to the bone, it is a classic. In fact i consider it to be Hitchcock's last masterpiece before returning to almost full form for the shocking Frenzy, and in many ways, The Birds  is the setup for the more graphic, cruel violence of the that film.But it never reaches the heights of terror of this classic tale of horror, as here Hitchcock goes flat out to disturb and leave you with this nightmare vision imbedded in your head. 9/10

< Message edited by evil bill -- 28/5/2013 7:41:06 PM >


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RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 2/6/2013 4:41:49 PM   
paul.mccluskey


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Watched Madhouse on Friday night. Quite suspenseful and demented, but it works well as a mystery thriller, and serves as a great tribute to Vincent Price's early career as it contains footage from the likes of Tales of Terror, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Raven and The Fall of the House of Usher. Price and Peter Cushing are on terrific form through out. An underrated Amicus gem.

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RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 2/6/2013 8:43:10 PM   
Mister Coe

 

Posts: 1419
Joined: 20/10/2012
I'm just watching THEATRE OF BLOOD! Great cast, often funny and one of the most gorgeous scores that was ever put in a horror movie! Probably my favourite Vincent Price horror film. Evil Bill or DR L, your opinion?

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Post #: 14988
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 3/6/2013 2:13:58 AM   
Dr Lenera

 

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Joined: 19/10/2005
Well here's my old review .






In London, members of a circle of theatre critics start to be killed in methods inspired by Shakespeareís plays. Pointers show that the person responsible could be Edward Lionheart, an egotistical actor who had a misguided sense of his own acting ability, but one problem-heís supposed to be dead! He threw himself off a balcony after being denied an important award by the circle of critics. However it seems that the murders cannot be stopped, especially when Lionheart has his daughter Edwina and a gang of drunken down-and-outs helping him carry out his outlandish schemesÖÖÖ

Despite being a continuing staple of teaching in schools, the fact is that the plays of William Shakespeare are often extremely violent. From families being slaughtered on stage to children being baked in a pie, the guy loved gore and brutality, but itís probably not the kind of thing that instantly comes to mind whist thinking of the Bard. Theatre Of Blood, which its star Vincent Price has claimed is his favourite of his own movies, takes this fact and creates a wonderful black comedy horror movie, which, while not really that well regarded or that well known now, in my opinion deserves to be up there with films such as Kind Hearts and Coronets. Originally titled Much Ado About Murder, it was also obviously inspired by the success of Priceís Dr Phibes movies, which were basically a series of elaborate but rather funny death sequences. In fact Robert Fuest the director of those was asked to direct this but didnít want to do another comic horror. Filmed entirely on location in London, most of its limited budget went on hiring its great cast, and indeed it does look very cheap, but that doesnít really matter. It was a moderate success at the box office, but deserved to be far more, because this film is a wonderfully witty and ghoulish blast, as long as, of course, you have a slightly cruel sense of humour!

With only moderate suspense, this movie doesnít even attempt to be scary, but despite its light tone itís actually quite a twisted work indeed. For much of its length, we are treated to re-enactments of murders in the works of Shakeapeare, or nasty variations of them. For example the famous ďpound of fleshĒ moment in The Merchant Of Venice is enacted literally! The impaling, stabbings, electrocutions are surprisingly graphic for a British horror film of the time, certainly going a little further than most Hammer films. Six gallons of fake blood were used and the film was slightly cut in its initial cinema release. While undoubtedly gory and maybe for some slightly sick, there is a thick vein of dark humour running throughout the movie. My favourite is a version of the scene in Cymboline when Imogen awakes to find her husband Cloten beheaded. The couple are both injected with needles to make them sleep, then Lionheart draws on the neck with lipstick, showing him where he needs to cut. While he saws off the head, the wife wakes up and tells the husband to ďstop snoringĒ, after which she is injected with another needle. Edwina makes a mistake and Lionheart rolls his eyes, then pauses so his brow can be mopped. All this time lush romantic music is being played. Maybe Iím a sick bugger, but the whole scene makes me crease up. And what about that fencing scene where Price and Ian Hendry suddenly start jumping around on trampolines? Thereís much in this movie thatís quite random, but it mostly fits in very well with everything else. Even the police procedural scenes involving Hendryís cop Peregrine Devlin, which are initially rather dull, have odd bits of humour which you notice more and more of if you watch this film more than once.

I must say that the odd scene doesnít work, especially an Othello segment that is just stupid, but for the most part the blackly comic tone is sustained through the whole picture. This is largely due to Vincent Price, who is clearly having the time of his life here; itís easy to understand why he liked the film so much. The script allows him to recite many of Shakespeareís lines, including some of the most famous passages, and he even wears several disguises, including a side splitting turn as a gay hairdresser. Often suspected of being gay [despite meeting his third wife on the set of this film], he was very camp in a lot of his movies but this was the only time he played an obviously gay character. Despite all this, Lionheart remains quite a tragic character, and Price cleverly hints at that without overdoing it. I always feel rather sorry for him, and enjoy seeing the snobby critics get their comeuppance. Many critics at the time didnít like the fact that Lionheat was a fairly sympathetic character, but, with the odd exception [i.e.Witchfinder General], Price had always seen the human and tragic side of his villains, which he had been doing for many years before this movie came out. However, there are also the ĎMeths Drinkersí, the slightly creepy gang of homeless folk who are at Lionheartís beck and call. You donít know much about them, and you donít need to, they are more menacing that way.

The direction by Douglas Hickox is just perfunctory, no one would call this a master class in film making, but sometimes a film is so enjoyable that itís greater than the sum of its parts. As mentioned earlier this movie has a great cast,including Jack Hawkins, Micheal Hordern, Robert Morley and Diana Dors, even if most of these luminaries end up dead. Diana Rigg as Edwina has probably her most memorable film role after On Her Majestyís Secret Service even if we never really get to know her character. The score by the underused Micheal J.Lewis has a great comic/tragic main theme reminiscent of early John Barry and fine percussive underscoring of many scenes. Theatre Of Blood is one of those films I never tire of watching, and though not a technical masterpiece, I consider it a very good mix of of horror and humour, something that is harder to get right then many might think. Interestingly it was made into a theatre production in 2005 and Riggís daughter played her role. I so wish I had seen that!

Rating: 8/10

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Post #: 14989
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 3/6/2013 2:35:33 PM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3819
Joined: 19/10/2005

quote:

ORIGINAL: paul.mccluskey

Watched Madhouse on Friday night. Quite suspenseful and demented, but it works well as a mystery thriller, and serves as a great tribute to Vincent Price's early career as it contains footage from the likes of Tales of Terror, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Raven and The Fall of the House of Usher. Price and Peter Cushing are on terrific form through out. An underrated Amicus gem.


Now this is one Price film I have never seen,you've encouraged me to seek it out.

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Post #: 14990
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 3/6/2013 2:39:58 PM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3819
Joined: 19/10/2005

quote:

ORIGINAL: evil bill

Not sure who mentioned they got The Birds on Blu-Ray, but as I now have it too and it's the 50TH anniversary of this great Hitchcock film well time for a review;
THE BIRDS (1963)


A romantic triangle involving wealthy, spoiled Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren), handsome Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor), and schoolteacher Annie Hayworth (Suzanne Pleshette) begins in a San Francisco pet shop and culminates at the home of Mitch's mother (Jessica Tandy) at Bodega Bay, where the characters' sense of security is slowly eroded by the curious behaviour of the birds in the area. At first, it's no more than a sea gull swooping down and pecking at Melanie's head,but things†take an ugly turn when hundreds of birds converge on a children's party, and soon the whole town is under attack.

Hitchcock's follow-up to Psycho is a stand out in his career, as here he makes his first true Horror film, or arguably the greatest of all disaster films, which†at the time was†a triumph of special effects. This is his third film†of a Daphne DuMaurier story, but again unlike the other films this is his most enigmatic, as there†are many ways to interpret this story. A tale of nature turning on mankind, as here we see many random attacks that slowly turn ever more nasty, and end†up with the whole town under attack, and an ending that leaves you wondering if it's spread beyond the town, maybe the world.†Or is it just a reflection of the tangled relationships we see before us, as we see Taylor as the sole male with many females vying for his attention. There is also the story of the making of this film where Hitchcock nearly led to Hedren's nervous breakdown, his sadistic work ethic just too intense for her to handle, and this due in a small part to his anger of his muse Grace Kelly having quit films. But who knows in truth there is no one specific reason for the terror that transpires on screen, with no explanations given or hinted at, we like the victims are left stunned, but then all good horror knocks you out of†your safe zone.

Alfred Hitchcock direction here is superb, his technical skill at telling a taught†story is unmatched even now, and here he just piles it on using all his skills to deliver his greatest shocker after Psycho 1960.†Again he shows what a showman he is with film, as he leds you on in the first half†,with sexual tensions mounting with the bitchy fight for the leading man, and then turns it on it's head, as he turns†on the heat,and unleashes a cataclysmic natural horror so unspeakable it could be something out of the Bible.Here he†has fashioned a major work of cinematic art, a film you†can not forget, and with some of the best scare scenes ever put to film†here, plus the set pieces, like the fireplace scene, the playground scene, and the visit with Dan Fawcett, are studies in perfect tense horror. In fact Damien Omen II would steal a scene from this film and try to make it it's own, the wonderful squirm in your seat as a bird takes out an eye, but I feel this is far the more disturbing. As here he shows how terrifying silence can be, and 'The Birds' remains an intensely quiet picture, even punctuated, as it is, by sudden noisy violence, and a superb score by Bernard Herrmann, which I feel is a direct influence on Carpenters horror scores, as Bernard helps increase the tension with a strange mix of electronic music and sounds of cooing birds, and flapping wings.

Lets not forget the leading actors like Tippi Hedren who is perfect as Melanie Daniels, the stuck up†party girl who is not nearly as clever as she thinks she is, and maybe telling the truth when she says she's looking for something more meaningful in her life, or is it just another to add to this blondes score card. Add to this Suzanne Pleschette†as the sexy †smouldering†and cynical schoolteacher who takes Melanie in, but also wants a certain man, and shows she's more than a match for the city girl. Then there's the leading man in this love triangle, Rod Taylor†as the†charming local-boy-made-good who thinks he knows what he wants, but finds he may just have over stepped the mark with these two. And then just maybe the†most important actor†Jessica Tandy†as a†searing, twitchily hypnotic Lydia Brenner, a wonderful supporting character in this awesome film. They all add to the mix and even though you never get any answers to the questions that unfold, and it's downbeat ending leaves you chilled to the bone, it is a classic. In fact†i†consider it to be†Hitchcock's last masterpiece before returning to almost full form for the shocking Frenzy, and in many ways, The Birds †is the setup for the more graphic, cruel violence of the†that film.But it never reaches the heights of terror of this classic tale of horror, as here Hitchcock goes flat out to disturb and leave you with this nightmare vision imbedded in your head. 9/10


great review of a great film, and that reminds me I must start posting my HCF Hitchcock reviews on one of the Hitchcock threads on this forum,am up to Man Who Knew Too Much 34 at the moment.


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Post #: 14991
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 3/6/2013 8:49:54 PM   
Mister Coe

 

Posts: 1419
Joined: 20/10/2012
Cheers, Dr L! It's a great film... over 40 years old! It's older than me!

Totally agree about your fave scene... c'mon, Arthur Lowe getting his head sawn off to one of the most beautiful pieces of film score I've ever heard... what's not to like?

Vincent Price fans, if you've not seen it, check it out!

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Post #: 14992
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 4/6/2013 7:17:22 PM   
evil bill


Posts: 6694
Joined: 19/7/2006
From: mordor/ uk
quote:

ORIGINAL: Mister Coe

I'm just watching THEATRE OF BLOOD! Great cast, often funny and one of the most gorgeous scores that was ever put in a horror movie! Probably my favourite Vincent Price horror film. Evil Bill or DR L, your opinion?

Well I have a few favourites of Vincent Price films I love, but I always loved his time with Rodger Corman, that was his prime time, and his best one for me was:

Masque Of The Red Death (1964)  

Prince Prospero (Vincent Price) is an evil tyrant who hates his citizens and thinks nothing of burning their village to the ground. Holding a weekend get-together for his noble acquaintances, he discovers that the Red Death has manifested itself in the village around his castle. He kidnaps the beautiful Francesca (Jane Asher), her lover Gino, and her father and keeps them in the castle with him. Prospero is a Satan worshipper as well and forces the princess, Juliana, to brand herself with an upside-down cross and sets his falcon on her when he feels like it. All the while, the Red Death decimates the land outside the castle. Prospero orders his guests to attend a masked ball and, amidst a general atmosphere of debauchery and depravity, notices the entry of a mysterious hooded stranger dressed all in red. Believing the figure to be his master, Satan, Prospero is horrified at the revelation of his true identity.

Am I glad I re watched this one to do this review, for I am now totally in love with this awesome horror film(it's always been a favourite Poe film), it is a true Classic, and as far as i'm concerned, it's Producer-director Roger Corman's best film of his career, aided by the wonderful surreal cinematography of Nicolas Roeg, who would go on and direct his own films like Performance, Don't Look Now and The Man Who Fell To Earth, which are classics in there own right. The Gothic setting and set's where all filmed in Britain, and once again this looks like a mulit million dollar film, not the low budget affair that it was, it also has a  Shakespearian tone with a very dark Satanic under current that bubbles up in some truly unnerving scenes. Another great surprise is that this is the only one of all his Poe films, where the  plot adaption is from the original Poe story, though for a full length feature film it had to be expanded, but it's screenwriter Charles Beaumont did this without taking it out of the bounds of Poe's dark vision.

Add to this Vincent Price gives away one of the most stunning performances of his career, he just oozes evil in fact a career best, with superb deep dialogue, that let him tear the screen apart, and for me no one will ever in any remake match or even come close to his lord of evil. Now this could have become to much ham if Vincent was left to just burn the screen down with his almost Shakespearian rants of foul evil venom, but this is a story of good versus evil at it's heart. So just to help we have Jane Asher giving an incredible performance as Francesca, the beautiful good village girl who refuses to be cowed or corrupted by the suave, satanic lord. Though so waif-like and fragile that she could almost be a child, the beautiful redhead has the courage of her convictions and the real dignity of innocence, to combat this evil force. Like in an early scene where she is roughly undressed by handmaidens and forced into a hot bath in order to become more lady like ,this is a pretty steamy sensual scene yet, Francesca still has that innocence and dignity intact as the evil lord leers at her in her wet towel, it is here we know he will lose, and she will save her people. There is also a fine supporting cast that are all British, like  Hazel Court as the would-be Bride of Satan Juliana, Hammer's resident scream queen, though she has little to do here, it is still good to see her in this classic, and also of note is Patrick Magee as the corrupt Alfredo who is on form here adding to the fun. 

All in it is Corman's direction that takes us on this dark Gothic journey, with his filmmaking techniques no longer even slightly looking low budget ,for it is obvious that he has developed a taste for great use of colour, lighting which add to it's dark surreal atmosphere. This truly the work of a master of horror, a director/producer who knows his genre, and who is never afraid to experiment, with some great knock down dead scenes, that like nightmares will linger in your head long after you watch this masterclass of gothic horror. The final images of the film set during the masque are breathtakingly full of coloured rooms that add to the corruption that surrounds the evil lord, as the camera takes us on a hell ride towards a blowout ending. With the excellent chilling dwarf's revenge on Alfredo during the masque, as chilling as anything which came before in films such as Freaks(1932).With it's striking visuals, an intriguing plot, good acting, suspense, plenty of atmosphere, and some striking dream-like imagery' it can be compared to Bergman's Seventh Seal. Yes i've mentioned these classic's, and I could name a few others that i'm sure some of Corman ideas came from, but in the end this is a Corman film, that like Carpenter, Romero, and Argento who came after him, you know when you see his name in the opening credits there is no other like him. This is a Corman/Poe masterpiece, a superb horror film that has not aged, as it looks as good as it ever did, in fact I want/need a Blu-ray of this one, as good as ye old DVD disc is with it's Dolby surround soundtrack, which I nearly forgot to mention, it's bloody brilliant, enough said get this classic if your a true fan of horror.10/10

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Post #: 14993
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 4/6/2013 7:32:47 PM   
evil bill


Posts: 6694
Joined: 19/7/2006
From: mordor/ uk
quote:

ORIGINAL: paul.mccluskey

Watched Madhouse on Friday night. Quite suspenseful and demented, but it works well as a mystery thriller, and serves as a great tribute to Vincent Price's early career as it contains footage from the likes of Tales of Terror, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Raven and The Fall of the House of Usher. Price and Peter Cushing are on terrific form through out. An underrated Amicus gem.

Wow!!! good one forgot all about this one, it really has been years since I last watched this film, it also marked the end of an era, as the film performed pretty badly at the box office, than the other horror movies Price had made for AIP during the 60's and early 70's. Then it had The Exorcist to thank for that along with Don't Look Now etc, as Madhouse was released in 1974, Horror had moved into a more dark and disturbing look and feel, based in the real world of the then 70's.


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Post #: 14994
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 4/6/2013 7:37:47 PM   
evil bill


Posts: 6694
Joined: 19/7/2006
From: mordor/ uk
quote:

ORIGINAL: Dr Lenera

Well here's my old review .








The direction by Douglas Hickox is just perfunctory, no one would call this a master class in film making, but sometimes a film is so enjoyable that it's greater than the sum of its parts. As mentioned earlier this movie has a great cast,including Jack Hawkins, Micheal Hordern, Robert Morley and Diana Dors, even if most of these luminaries end up dead. Diana Rigg as Edwina has probably her most memorable film role after On Her Majesty's Secret Service even if we never really get to know her character. The score by the underused Micheal J.Lewis has a great comic/tragic main theme reminiscent of early John Barry and fine percussive underscoring of many scenes. Theatre Of Blood is one of those films I never tire of watching, and though not a technical masterpiece, I consider it a very good mix of of horror and humour, something that is harder to get right then many might think. Interestingly it was made into a theatre production in 2005 and Rigg's daughter played her role. I so wish I had seen that!

Rating: 8/10

Oh yes another film I love, and yes it's no classic but is so much fun, with a cast to DIE for, all straight actors in what is a dark comedy, and very few films of this sort work well enough for you to watch more than once.


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Post #: 14995
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 5/6/2013 9:25:42 PM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3819
Joined: 19/10/2005

Single mother Clara and her daughter Eleanor are vampires who are constantly on the run, moving from town to town and living on the edges of society. Clara supports them by working as a lap dancer or a prostitute or a madam, while Eleanor struggles with the isolation of their nomadic existence and longs to tell someone their secret Ė they are hundreds of years old and survive by drinking blood, though Eleanor only kills people who wish for death. When they arrive in the decaying seaside town of Hastings, Clara meets Noel, who has inherited a rundown guest house called Byzantium from his late mother. Clara sees the chance to turn the former hotel into a brothel, while Eleanor befriends Frank, a local boy who is quickly smitten by her. But Claraís rules forbid telling their secret or getting emotionally attached to anyoneÖ..

Itís as if Mary Shelley and Edgar Allan Poe had got together and had a strange little child.

Well, any film that boasts that a line like that is worthy of my time in my opinion, but then again I was looking forward to Byzantium for some time. Neil Jordan isnít really considered a Ďhorror directorí, but he has made three films Ė A Company Of Wolves, Interview With A Vampire and In Dreams Ė which are very fine examples of the genre indeed [and yes, I include the incredibly misunderstood and underrated In Dreams, a film which I only had the pleasure of seeing for the first time a few weeks ago and really wondered if I was seeing a different film to what most critics saw]. Well surprise surprise, Byzantium, despite appearing to have had some time getting its release over here in the UK [normally a sign of problems with the film in question], and yet to appear in the States [though it isn't long before it does], is another very impressive excursion into horror. It treads a fine line between the unoriginal and the original, the cliched and the inventive, and, for the most part, pulls it off. Itís also an immensely involving drama that almost brought me to tears, so caught up was I in the story and the plight of the two main characters.

Now ask your average person [and I donít mean this as an insult] to name a vampire film, book or character, and I reckon the first thing they will mention is bloody Twilight, because, for better or worse [well actually for worse, thereís no question about it in my mind], the books and even more so the films have been immensely popular, despite the horrid writing, dreadful plotting, awful acting, etc etc etc, on display. It canít just be teenage girls; in fact, it isnít, going by many conversations I have had with people. Itís often the case that if folk are bombarded with something, are saturated with it, they will grudgingly except it. I do think I speak for most horror fans, and lovers of vampires in general, when I say that Stephanie Meyerís tripe has done considerable damage to the name of bloodsuckers. Now itís not quite true that there hasnít been decent vampire stuff recently. 30 Days Of Night was a lot of fun if somewhat forgettable, Let Me In about as good a remake as one can expect, and a few months I reviewed the very impressive low budget gem Midnight. I also have it on good authority that the TV show True Blood is no travesty either. Therefore I canít really say that Jordanís film restores some quality to the subject, but I do think itís restored some of the Ďreputationí of vampires, even if at the time of writing, itís not going to be any kind of hit.

One of the best things about Byzantium, which is actually based on a play by the screenwriter, is its portrayal of its vampires. These nosferatu combine elements we all know and expect, with some new touches. They still feed on blood, but instead of fangs, all boast a long fingernail with which to draw blood. They donít like walking around in the sunlight much, but are still able to without any trouble. To become a vampire, you donít just get bitten, die and then come back to life. You have to travel to this strange island and undergo a ritual in a shrine where water running down a mountain in fountains turns to blood and hordes of birds fly around in a weird way. There is no mention of stakes or garlic. The vampire order in this film doesnít even seem to accept women. And yet, the film is confident enough to have, for instance, a heroine who calls herself Carmilla and watches Dracula Prince Of Darkness on TV. Itís full of little bits and pieces which will make vampire movie fans to smile in recognition, the atmosphere and even at times the look recall The Hunger, and sometimes the tale seems to be providing variants on situations from Interview With The Vampire [not surprising really], yet none of this sticks out; everything is just an essential ingredient in the filmís melding of the old and the new.

The opening superbly contrasts the worlds of its two main characters. We see Clara performing a lap dance in a sleazy club, being found by someone looking for her, then bloodily killing him and sucking his blood, thereby telling us straight away how she survives and her attitude to being a vampire. She has no bones about mixing with humans, and using them to both get money and feed herself. This alternates with scenes of her daughter Eleanor, who is alone and befriends an old man, who, after [in a really touching moment], showing her photographs of a married woman he loved but never told of this love, realises what she is, and, knowing that his time is soon up, graciously allows her to drink his blood. Eleanor doesnít like the company of humans, and is very sensitive about her vampirism, only willing to feast on people who want death to take them. The rest of the film, more than anything else, is about the frought relationship between mother and very different daughter. Writer Moira Buffini makes sure that itís very hard for the viewer to take sides; the quiet, sensitive Eleanor was initially the character I immensely preferred, but as we get to know more about the more brash and seemingly slutty Clara, I wasnít sure. There are times where she seems very cruel to her daughter, but we also know that she thinks she has Claraís best interests at hand, even if she is somewhat wrongheaded about it.

I would have been content for the film to just follow Clara and Eleanor about Ireland, trying to survive, but it isnít content to do that. Clara starts to set up a brothel and Eleanor forms a friendship with a boy who is slowly dying. Thankfully the latter part is portrayed in an un-mawkish way and I really cared about this relationship. Far more time is actually dedicated to filling in the background story of mother and daughter. We have the potentially awkward device of Eleanor constantly writing it all down and telling her story to various people she thinks wonít believe it, to be the excuse for all the flashbacks. This slightly interferes with the pacing as we almost forget the present day story, but Jordan just about gets away with things like having a flashback within a flashback. The story told is a very compelling and even quite upsetting one when it incorporates child prostitution, while the scenes of the mysterious island have a genuine magical feel, actually benefitting from certain things being rather vague. The film only really goes downhill a little bit towards the end. You will be able to predict most of what will happen: for instance, you know that the pursuers will eventually catch up with their quarry, and that mother and daughter will come to blows. Still, I suppose itís very hard to come up with a truly original finish to something like this.

Despite what you may have read, Byzantium does not stint at the gore, with the red stuff frequently present, most notably in a shocking bit of business with a cheese-wire that reminded me of a certain scene in Nightmare Concert. It certainly wouldnít have been a Ď15í ten years ago with some of its ingredients, though Jordan also knows the value of subtlety and even gets away with vampirism scenes that are intended to be, and succeed in being, touching. Now you wonít be surprised when I say the Best Teenage Actress Of Her Generation is as great as usual. With her wise knowing eyes and slightly haunted features she is really is perfect to play a 200 year old vampire, and the depth of her performance here is enough to make me forgive her being in The Host [though I can't name a single actress who could have made that part into something good]. The surprise for me though is Gemma Artherton, not formerly an actress Iíve rated in any way. She really conveys the hurt that her character carries with her over the centuries, and her brazen attitude that she utilises to try and conceal it. Jonny Lee Miller pops up sometimes in a notable role, though I kept looking for Stephen Rea. I couldnít wait to see what Jordanís usual composer Elliot Goldenthal would do with this material, but instead Javier Navarrete provides the music; the often mournful score is immensely effective and almost made me forget Goldenthal.

Jordan and his cinematographer Sean Bobbitt sometimes employ some nice visual quirks, such as often showing Eleanor through misty or patterned glass to enhance the sense of her isolation. Though it has the odd pacing and story issues and I could have certainly done with a better ending [though I canít at the moment think of what I would have done], I found Byzantium pretty satisfying and, though it certainly isnít necessary, I wouldnít object to a sequel. A shame that the viewers of this film will be less than five percent of the viewers of the last Twilight movie. It is the best vampire film since Let The Right One In.

Rating: 8/10

< Message edited by Dr Lenera -- 5/6/2013 9:27:01 PM >


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Post #: 14996
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 5/6/2013 9:34:57 PM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3819
Joined: 19/10/2005

A plane crashes in Uganda and famous biologist Dr. Charles Decker is thought killed. A year later, he re-appears back to London, safe and with a pet baby chimpanzee called Konga, telling everyone that he stayed with a tribe and discovered something fantastic while recovering there. With his assistant Margaret, he begins work and starts off by planting some carnivorous plants. Taking some of the leaves of the carnivorous plants, he perfects a serum which he then gives to Konga, who grows to an adult chimpanzee. A further dose turns him into a gorilla, which could come in handy since the Doctor has some enemiesÖÖ.

The great Michael Gough and a murderous primate that grows in size. Sounds like B-movie heaven, especially for a guy like me, and actually Konga is one of those movies that I have known about, and wanted to see, for over two decades but never got around to doing so. It has a reputation as a classic Ďso bad itís goodí film, and I really thought I was in for a good time. Well, the film certainly does have its entertainment value, and some bits and pieces of almost inspired unintentional hilarity, but in the end winds up as a bit of a disappointment. Thereís fun to be had, but itís interspersed with much tedium, and doesnít really give you enough of the silly thrills and laughs you would expect. Itís as if, in trying to take it seriously, they took out much of what a viewer would reasonably expect to see, I mean the ape is barely on-screen until the climax.

Konga was produced by Herman Cohen who has just had great commercial success with Horrors Of The Black Museum, which, though not a great movie, is memorably sadistic [during a brief period where British horror was pushing the boundaries more than US horror] and blackly comic, and I recommend all horror fans to check it out if they havenít. Konga reunited Cohen with star Michael Gough, though the aim here was for a less horrific, more family-orientated picture that still got an ĎXí certificate in the UK [they really were strict then, with for instance The 7th Voyage Of Sinbad losing its living skeleton to get a ĎUí]. Cohen claims that the filmís special effects took a year and a half to complete, something I would debate. He wanted to hire top ape Ďactorí George Barrows to play the gorilla, but balked at Barrowsí price so just hired his costume instead. Barrows was none too happy when His costume was returned damaged. Konga was a bigger hit in the US [release by AIP] than in the UK, and even led to a series of comic books on which the co-creator of Spiderman worked on.

Konga begins with one of those laughably bad superimposed explosions, here pasted on to a plane in flight, though at least itís a real explosion and not fake CGI. Iíve certainly seen worse in recent years. It then flashes forward a year and has Michael Gough constantly spout gobbly gook for what seems like ages. I lost count of the number of times he went on about linking plants and animals. This is one of the most ridiculous things about this movie; thereís a huge amount of chat about what Decker is trying to do, usually by Decker himself, yet we barely learn a thing. The general idea I think is that a juice from carnivorous African plants can make animals grow. Perhaps they can even speed up evolution, and I assume Decker knows this, otherwise why else would he not be at all surprised when, in giving the serum [which he has conveniently mixed with drops of another potion found in Uganda which can make people subservient] to his chimpanzee a second time, the primate then turns into a gorilla?

Now Gough is awesome throughout, he plays his part with such wonderful relish, making the most of lines like, after his housekeeper has discovered Decker has had the gorilla kill someone:

ďEventually, Konga would have to kill in order to prove that my experiment was a success.Ē

Huh? There are chuckles like this throughout, and downright bizarre situations like Margaret the housekeeper asking to marry Decker after realising heís a murderer. Unfortunately, only Gough seems to be getting into the real spirit of things, and the pace is extremely slow. The latter need not be a bad thing, but a certain amount of building tension is required in a story like this, and Konga mostly lacks it even while you can get some laughs from things like some typically dumb cops and the most badly drawn British teenagers [though lookout for Steven Berkoff] this side of Dracula A.D.1972. Despite the absurdity, too much of it is played in an overly serious manner, while the gorilla only appears to commit three mostly off-screen murders and be hypnotised, until we get a King Kong-inspired climax where Konga is giant-sized and stomps towards Big Ben [something another monster Gorgo would also do a few months later]. Despite what the poster may suggest, Konga doesnít really do much, and the effects are quite limited [one and a half years, really?], with the gorilla hardly ever being shown in the same shot as the people, but this means that jarring matting is avoided, and actually the whole sequence works fairly well considering the low budget.

The gorilla suit is not the most convincing one but at least looks quite cool and is a masterpiece if compared to the two atrocities made by Toho Studios for their two Kong films this writer has recently viewed. Unfortunately, the guy inside the suit rarely acts like an actual gorilla and never once gives one the impression that we are watching one. There are visual pleasures elsewhere though. The opening titles are joyously 60ís in their bright, almost psychedelic manner, and we really are on the verge of 60ís cool with the garish interior design. Deckerís greenhouse is both funny and startling in the way it seems to be an output of Deckerís sexual feelings, with some plants that look for all the world like huge penises and others that look rather vaginal and may have come from the same plant species that Audrey 2 originated from. Konga really does look good in Replayís DVD of the film, upon which this review is based.

The direction is lackadaisical and the acting, apart from the wonderful Gough, usually either passable or downright shoddy. Claire Jordan as Sandra is so awful you will wonder what the hell Decker sees in her. At least the film has an effective and quite avant garde score from Gerard Schurmann, an interesting composer who never really got the movie projects his skills deserved. Konga is just as ridiculous as it sounds, and it certainly has enough to please some fans of old Ďmad scientistí and monster movies, but, having waiting an eternity to see the movie, I was rather let down by it. Expectation can be a bad thing.

Rating: 4.5/10

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Post #: 14997
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 8/6/2013 4:06:34 PM   
paul.mccluskey


Posts: 5098
Joined: 15/4/2007
From: Port Glasgow, Scotland, UK
Watched Scream and Scream Again last night. A bunch of plots thrown together which creates an incoherent mess. Still, that's not to say I didn't enjoy it, the film was weird enough to hold my interest, it had a few crazy yet interesting ideas throughout.

However, the whole thing is a fraud. I bet the marketing campaign at the time was huge, considering the stars are Vincent Price, Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. Think about it, 3 Masters of Horror together at last, you think it's gonna be epic... then the rug is pulled out from under you when you find out they're barely in it. Price and Lee appear for all of 20 minutes. Cushing meanwhile, is in ONE screne which lasts all of three minutes. As always, they deliver strong performances, but their roles are wasted.

Thank God for House of the Long Shadows, that's all I'll say!

< Message edited by paul.mccluskey -- 12/6/2013 8:04:07 PM >


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Post #: 14998
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 10/6/2013 8:30:12 PM   
evil bill


Posts: 6694
Joined: 19/7/2006
From: mordor/ uk
quote:

ORIGINAL: Dr Lenera



Jordan and his cinematographer Sean Bobbitt sometimes employ some nice visual quirks, such as often showing Eleanor through misty or patterned glass to enhance the sense of her isolation. Though it has the odd pacing and story issues and I could have certainly done with a better ending [though I can't at the moment think of what I would have done], I found Byzantium pretty satisfying and, though it certainly isn't necessary, I wouldn't object to a sequel. A shame that the viewers of this film will be less than five percent of the viewers of the last Twilight movie. It is the best vampire film since Let The Right One In.

Rating: 8/10

Great review mate of a film I have on my must see list, as i'm a huge fan of Neil Jordan, and when he puts his eye on horror he delivers something special each time, and going by your review he seems to have done it again. So here's a re Vamped old review of mine that was pretty short so I have re booted it to a longer version, as I watched this film at the weekend on Blu-Ray, and wow it sounds and looks as good as the first time I saw it on the big screen.

INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE 1994 

A night in San Francisco, during our time: A young journalist follows a man through the streets and they end up in an anonymous room. When the journalist starts to interview the man, the stranger tells him that he is a vampire, being over 200 years old. The journalist doesn't believe him, but after the man proves it's true, he tells his story: His name is Louis and in 18th century New Orleans he was 24, by this time owner of an estate and a widower already. One night, when he once again was destroying himself by drinking and other things, he was found by Lestat, a vampire, who bit him. But even after becoming a vampire, life wasn't fun for Louis until one night he met a little girl, Claudia, who would change his existence forever

This for me is one of the best Vampire movies ever made, not the best but it's not to far short of being the best. Some say that this movie was too cerebral for horror fans who love the Scream movies or such, but that's what real horror is, it's suppose to get you thinking. Now i'm not an Anne Rice fan or even a big fan of Tom Cruise, but I must say Cruise simply shines as Lestat, it is one of his most outstanding and powerful lead role's, he comes close to stealing the film. But it takes more than one actor to carry off this type of film and here he is excellently contrasted by another on form star Brad Pitt as the sad emotional wreck of a man, who feels he has notting to live for but becomes a vampire torn between his lust for blood, and his own moral code that makes him wish for death even more, now as one of the undead. Also another scene stealer is Antonio Banderas who at this time was an unknown new actor on the block, but as the head of a nest of European vampires in Paris, he holds the viewer in his grasp and looks and sounds the part to the point of being one of the best Male screen Vampires you will ever see. Stephen Rea is the weak link here, as good an actor as he is he never really stands out in this master class of Vampire/Gothic horror, some say he is miscast, but there are a few good scenes where he shines for a moment. In fact the true star of the film was Kirsten Dunst, as the disillusioned vampire child Claudia, at just 12 years old, this girl was able to hold her own against her co-stars, and often stole the scene (particularly the incident in which Claudia tries to cut her hair and subsequently Lestat discovers the corpse in her bed.). This was and still is her most outstanding role in any film ever, it is Oscar material on any count, and the shame is she should have got it, for she is bone chilling yet so innocent, and so evil at the same time, out to get her own way no matter the cost.

Now for us gorehounds this has buckets of blood letting, all done with style and always as part of the story telling, with a script to die for starting in 1791 Orleans and progressing through different periods of time. An epic Vampire film like no other, with Neil Jordan on top form showing his great skill of direction, which is near flawless, full of stunning scenes,and gothic set's, that you really will feel your in St Louis in the 17Th century.The effects never look like effects as he seamlessly travels you through time as the story is told by Louis, interviewed by the reporter in our time Christan Slater, with out losing momentum or feeling fake, it's classic Gothic horror at it's best. Scored by composer Elliot Goldenthalis who adds great depth and a melancholy grace to this chilling tale, you just feel this is the Vampire flick to beat them all. This isn't the greatest horror movie that has ever been made, it's certainly not a complex analysis of life, or a parable with a moral dictating the enjoyment of life, but there are as you expect from Neil a lot of sexual meanings, with a mild homoerotic undercurrent, which he had in The Crying Game also. What is is for sure now, is a brilliantly produced gothic tale of a vampire's tale, nothing more and nothing less, done on an epic scale with just over 2 hours running time, that is very close in plot and feel to the book, which I read after the film, and from what i've read i believe Ann Rice was more than impressed with Neil Jordan's finished classic Vampire movie. And so too was i he is one of the best Directors of the modern cinema out there, and i look forward to seeing his new Vampire film. If you love Gothic horror and Vampire films, and where impressed with Let The Right One In, this will feed your lust like no other Vampire film around, except for maybe one. I just wish there where more Horror films that took the genre to new heights, like this did, and Neil delivers a few more classics like I know he can, but this is one of his finest to date and well worth having. 10/10  

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(in reply to Dr Lenera)
Post #: 14999
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 12/6/2013 7:07:13 PM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3819
Joined: 19/10/2005
I remember when this came out and was amazed how dark and subversive Interview With The Vampire was for a major Hollywood movie, and I agree, Kirsten Dunst should have got the oscar for this, instead of that girl from The Piano, though of course The Piano was more of an Oscar-type film.

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