Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Happy Alien Day

Hopefully everyone is having a nice 4/26. Me, I'll watch a film from that franchise tonight and review it tomorrow. Monday night I rewatched Tango & Cash and last night I was out and about.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Long Live Robin Hood

Long Live Robin Hood (i.e. either L'arciere Di Fucco or Archer of Fire or The Scalawag Bunch) (1971)

Runtime: The version I saw was 81 minutes long; it was obvious that the original film was longer

Directed by: Giorgio Ferroni

Starring: Giuliano Gemma, Mark Damon, Silvia Dionisio, Mario Adorf, Nello Pazzafini

From: Several production companies, as this was a co-production among Italy, France and Spain

Yep, I only saw this because it featured Mario Adorf. Most people don't need to see this, to be honest. At least it's OK. See why below: 

This is another random find on Amazon Prime* I only watched because of the presence of someone in the cast. While I wish this could have been the full movie in widescreen, instead this is a truncated version in fullscreen. I will presume that the full version has a larger role for Prince John rather than the brief appearance he has here. To my amusement, that character looked like Prince Valium from Spaceballs, but with orange-brown hair. Also amusing to me is how the role of Friar Tuck was played by Mario Adorf, who I think is awesome because of the great job he did in movies like Caliber 9 and The Italian Connection. The fact that he also had orange-brown hair and even a matching beard likely would only be great to a few people, but it was quite the look for him.

The story is for the most part what you'd expect... aside from the lack of “rob the rich and give to the poor” it's the Robin Hood legend, with the characters and situations that are familiar by now. In every way I say that it's average. It's not the best screen appearance for the story but it's not the worst either; plus, at least in the dub I saw, Robin spoke with an English accent... the film is light in tone and the action is decent.

While I wish I could see the full version, at least what I saw was acceptable and not a waste of time.

* It's an old Italian movie so of course it has had multiple titles throughout the years. It's on Prime as Archer of Fire, which is a literal translation of its Italian title. It's known here and IMDb as Long Live Robin Hood, yet on Wiki it's The Scalawag Bunch.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

In Order Of Disappearance

In Order of Disappearance (Kraftidioten) (2014)

Runtime: 116 minutes

Directed by: Hans Petter Moland

Starring: Stellan Skarsgard, Bruno Ganz, Pal Sverre Valheim Hagen, Birgitte Hjort Sorensen, Kristofer Hivju

From: Many production companies, at least judging by the opening of the film

I finally saw this Norwegian/Swedish/Danish movie last night. Of course in the future it will be getting an American remake, which I will naturally presume won't be as good as the original, as Hollywood will screw it up. Read below to see why I did enjoy this film a lot:

WELCOME TO TYOS

This is a film I have heard of for awhile now, and most of the word about it was pretty good. The recent news that the director of this will remake it as a Hollywood film starring Liam Neeson inspired me to finally check this out. I'll presume that because it's Hollywood, Hard Powder (at least for now the new title the remake will have) won't be as good, which will be a shame as Neeson in the starring role that Stellan Skarsgard had here should be pretty awesome, and it'd be as much fun to see Liam raise some hell like Stellan did here. Heck, Taken was a definite inspiration for this movie so it's fitting.

The plot: Skarsgard-as Nils-drives a snow plow truck-his name might as well be Mr. Plow-in rural Norway, which I presume receives a lot of snow throughout the year. His young adult son is killed in what looks like an overdose, but we see he was actually murdered by some gangsters. Nils goes nuts and tries to track down those responsible... only things get complicated as the movie features everything from Serbian gangsters and a young criminal with a lot of power who is a vegan and is driven around in a Fisker Karma (as he's a “hip” and “green” sort of person) to implied mail order brides and

I will admit the movie's pitch-black humor won't be for everyone. But I thought this was wildly entertaining with its twists and turns it took and the times it defied expectations. I will be a cynic and presume that such things as the vegan aspect or various quirks the movie offers up will either not be present or they'll be fouled up. Anyhow, the cinematography is real good and the snowy landscapes of Norway are brought to life very well as they are the backdrop to a movie that has various twists and turns and surprising moments involving supporting characters I dare not reveal; I'll just say that Nils and his family have quite the unfortunate surname.

While the few female characters you see aren't always portrayed in the most positive light, otherwise I have little complaints with this motion picture. If it at all sounds interesting to you, I highly recommend you see this before the destined to be inferior remake comes out sometime in the next few years.

Silver Streak

Silver Streak (1976)

Runtime: 114 minutes

Directed by: Arthur Hiller

Starring: Gene Wilder, and a cast which includes Ned Beatty, Jill Clayburgh, Scatman Crothers and Clifton James (RIP). Richard Pryor is also in this, but his role is not as big as the advertising would lead you to believe

From: 20th Century Fox

This was a movie I was happy to see for a second time, as it was as good as I had remembered. I also tip my cap to someone in this film who just passed away, as you'll see below:

Here is yet another movie I saw once before, but that viewing was years ago; thus, it was a good time for a revisit. Among its cast of familiar faces is Clifton James, who passed away last weekend in his mid 90's. He is best known for playing Sheriff J.W. Pepper in two Bond movies. Many hate the character, which I do understand. He also plays a sheriff here but don't worry, that character isn't quite as over the top. I will tip my cap to James, who acted on TV and in movies for decades and almost made it to 100 years old.

This comic thriller has book editor Gene Wilder on a train from Los Angeles to Chicago. He meets and hooks up with a blonde lady (Jill Clayburgh). He sees a murder but no one believes him. He runs into such people as Patrick McGoohan, Ray Walston, Scatman Crothers, Ned Beatty, Clifton James, Richard Kiel (he sports some interesting teeth... Jaws was not an entirely original creation, I'll put it that way), Fred Williard, and yes, Richard Pryor. He's not in the movie as much as you might expect, although I say he gets enough screentime for my tastes. You'll just have to wait awhile until he pops up out of nowhere.

Quite obviously, Hitchcock was a huge influence on this movie; it's like a sillier version of a Sir Alfred joint. The Lady Vanishes is naturally an inspiration, but other works are homaged, and there is even some noir elements. There are not only solid suspense/tense moments, but there are many funny moments, with some lines and situations that made me laugh out loud. There are a few moments that would be deemed “politically incorrect” these days, but none were too offensive to me personally. Not even an infamous moment where Gene and Richard have to avoid law enforcement at a train station raised my ire; I found it to be more silly than anything to be outraged by, although without question your mileage my vary.

With a bravura ending and it consistently being entertaining, I am glad I finally saw this movie again. The cast does a swell job overall, but it is Wilder and Pryor who were the standouts.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Samurai Cop

Samurai Cop (1991)

Runtime: 96 minutes

Directed by: Amir Shervan

Starring: Matthew Karedas, Mark Frazer, Robert Z'Dar, Janis Farley, Melissa Moore

From: Hollywood Royal Pictures

This infamous movie (along with its made years later sequel) are now on Amazon Prime, which is where I saw it. It is as amazingly bad as I heard, as I explain below: 

NOTE: The rating applies to the entertainment value this movie provides. In terms of such things as filmmaking craft, plot structure, scene transitions, dialogue, logic, continuity... this is a ½ star motion picture all the way.

I did not partake in 4/20 yesterday, but I imagine some reading this did; hopefully you all had nice days getting baked as F, plowing through bags of Cheetos or boxes of pizza. I will presume that this movie is incredible if you viewed it after smoking a bowl of tokin' a bong. It is incredibly inept and yet that is what makes it such a blast to watch, even while sober. If you love things like Miami Connection... this is on Amazon Prime in a great-looking remastered print for me and everyone else to see.

The plot, as it is: a muscle-bound dude with amazing long flowing hair is named Samurai Cop... the character's real name is Joe Marshall, but his name might as well be Samurai Cop. He teams with black cop Frank Washington to take down an evil gang, led by a Japanese man with a great mullet. There's also Robert Z'Dar, random women, an amazingly over the top police chief, doofy henchmen... Z'Dar is supposed to play an Asian man. While he did not look Asian at all, I say it's better than the alternative of Z'Dar being made to “look Asian” in a horrific caricature.

I don't want to give everything away about why this is so damn inept. I'll just mention that this is the sort of movie where characters will fire one kind of gun in a scene and mid-scene it will change for no reason, and hairstyles will also obviously change during a scene. Hell, a “hospital” is obviously a dentist's office and I am pretty sure that police stations don't have pieces of paper taped to doors that tell you which room or department it is! At least there's an incredible police chief. Then, there's the acting... this is a special kind of bad, and that's what makes it so bad. Of course there is plenty of gratuitous nudity for fans of such things, and it's up to you if you think that the sight of both Samurai Cop and middle-aged Gerald Okamura in bikini briefs is a positive.


The sequel is also available on Prime; as they are now in on the joke, I know it won't be as funny or entertaining as the solid gold original.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Let Us Prey

Let Us Prey (2014)

Runtime: 92 minutes

Directed by: Brian O'Malley

Starring: Liam Cunningham, Pollyanna McIntosh, Bryan Larkin, Hanna Stanbridge, Douglas Russell (no relation)

From: Plenty of Irish/British production companies

This is a movie that I did not love like many people do, but at least I saw it and was able to tell people on Letterboxd (and elsewhere) that it was leaving Netflix Instant next week. I give my thoughts below: 

This is another movie I watched due to a messageboard discussion. I saw some people praise it and make an obvious comparison to Last Shift, which came out at around the same time and I had seen before. Both are about a young woman who is a cop just out of the police academy who ends up in a far-flung station and weird things start happening. From there, the stories diverge.

Here, Pollyanna McIntosh joins the force in a rural Scottish town, when a mysterious bearded man shows up and causes havoc among the few other people working at the time, some prisoners, and even another person that stumbles onto the scene. The bearded man is known as Six and well, this movie is not exactly subtle...

I wish I could have liked this as much as most others did. The general idea was fine with me. Unfortunately, the execution... how it was done, it required most of the characters to be real A-holes, and they were more the annoying kind of A-holes than the entertaining A-holes I would have been able to tolerate much more. Also, the way it was done made the story utterly preposterous. The Fate of the Furious was a more believable and logical movie to me than this was. I was disappointed that this was not an enjoyable experience for me at all, despite decent performances all around, some amusing moments and graphic moments for those that enjoy gore.

Plenty of people liked this more than I did so you may think that I am mistaken in preferring Last Shift to Let Us Prey. At least I can say that this has a decent synth score and considering a character is named MacReady... you can see who was an obvious influence.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

One Quick Note

In the past I have reviewed the cheesy 80's film Never Too Young To Die. I can say that the new Blu-ray from Shout Factory is pretty cool; I watched it last night and I am glad people can finally see it in good quality rather than a poor VHS print that I've watched on VHS and on YouTube before.