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Monday, January 16, 2017

Swept Away (2002)

An Italian British American romance adventure directed by Guy Ritchie, starring Madonna and Bruce Greenwood.
A pair of rich families go on a cruise from Greece to Italy. While they are out, the meanest "rich bitch" wife gets lost on a dingy with one of the fishermen who work on the boat. They land on a deserted island and she finds that the roles are reversed. The fisherman now has the food, water and shelter that she wants and because of her cruelty to him, is reluctant to share.
I thought this was pretty decent. Guy Ritchie seems to generally make good films and I like role reversals. Then I read Wikipedia. The original film must be phenomenal! I will have to watch it. Anyway, the plot was very clearly presented and took some turns that I did not expect. The characters were acted decently to pretty well. There seemed to be no "out of character" moments or dialogue discrepancies. The video was a little too straight forward and obvious for Guy Ritchie. He generally tends to throw in some more unique and experimental shots that shake things up and hold the viewer's attention. The audio had that stereotypical mixing problem with loud music, quiet dialogue and the more important the dialogue, the quieter it gets. Overall, I'm throwing this into my collection with Castaway and Cast Away. Do I see a desert island folder? I rate this adequate.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Lucky, the Inscrutable A.K.A. Agente speciale L.K.: Operazione Re Mida, Lucky, el intrépido, Lucky M. füllt alle Särge (1967)

A Spanish Italian German comedy spy adventure directed by Jesus Franco.
A charismatic spy is hired by bankers to find a counterfeiting operation.
This is live action Lupin the Third. The plot involved the main character spy/detective hunting down large scale criminals while being debonair with women and daring in conflicts. He collects a buddy along the way to act as his Daisuke Jigen, with a box full of spy tricks and gadgets. Having seen Castle of Cagliostro and some of the anime TV series, I could easily see Lucky and Lupin switching places without anyone noticing. The video was mega-grainy and super-blurry because of the age and the 512x288 format that I found it in. The audio featured an extremely repetitive soundtrack, but I could hear all of the dialogue. Overall, this is for folks who can't get enough Lupin from the anime. I rate it adequate.

Ghoulies IV A.K.A. Ghoulies 4 (1994)

An American horror directed by Jim Wynorski.
A militant witch is looking for a jewel that will turn her cop ex-boyfriend back to his old, evil self.
This was terrible! It had NOTHING to do with the Ghoulies series storyline. The Ghoulies just happened to be there. They weren't even the same Ghoulies from the three previous films, but dwarves in costumes. Different costumes, with different faces (picture). So, we've got the plot not being part of the series and the poor choice of monsters. Human actors didn't do too much better. I thought the three female roles were cast decently. The cop, the hooker and the witch all looked and acted their parts. The video was lack-luster at best. Special effects were confined to editing tricks and lighting that the average student could accomplish, given the correct supplies. The audio was re-dubbed because I could see people's mouths moving separate from their dialogue. If the film is in English and the English dialogue doesn't match the English-speaking actors, that's a major problem. Overall, I want the past hour and fifteen minutes of my life back. I rate this bad. Do not watch!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Arabian Adventure (1979)

A British fantasy adventure directed by Kevin Connor, starring Christopher Lee.
A boy with a pet monkey helps a prince to get a magical rose, defeat the evil caliph and win the princess.
This was alright at best. The plot was rather stereotypical of the genre. The prince, who was supposedly the main character, played a supporting role for the boy who actually conquered all of the obstacles. From what I heard, the boy's name was Machine and his monkey was called Shitty. The special effects were the most disappointing part for me. They went wild with flying carpets, but everything else was lack-luster. Set design was the best part of this film. The palace was expertly crafted with a very good color scheme. The audio was very poorly mixed, with loud music and quiet dialogue. A one point, a woman was giving the boy advice from inside a jewel and I expected him to say something like "Speak up, I can't hear you!". Overall, there are far better fantasy adventure films to watch. I rate this tolerable.

Boogie A.K.A. El Aceitoso (2009)

A Mexican Argentinian crime animation directed by Gustavo Cova.
A violent man who used to be a soldier works for a mafia boss as a hit man. A woman who used to be in a relationship with the boss witnessed a crime and is supposed to testify in court. There is conflict over this witness and a new hit man is hired to fight the original one.
This reminded me of Sin City (2005). I think some of the scenes were direct copies of visual elements from that film. The plot was a little too convoluted for an animation. Who was on whose side and who is working for the mafia boss got confusing. The characters were obviously similar to Sin City, especially Boogie himself. The animation style reminded me of City of Rott (2006) in that it was very computerized and high contrast. There was a psychedelic dream sequence in which a Disney style setting became violent and was labelled "war land". The audio was very good for a film not originally in English. The voices fit and there was appropriate soundtrack music mixed at a correct level. Overall, a very well-made and enjoyable animated film, even if it was not entirely original. I rate this awesome. Watch it!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Ghoulies Go to College A.K.A. Ghoulies III, Ghoulies 3 (1991)

An American horror comedy directed by John Carl Buechler, starring Kevin McCarthy and Matthew Lillard.
The Ghoulies are summoned from the toilet by a college professor who wants to use them to stop fraternities from playing pranks.
This was pretty stupid. That being said, it was perfectly crafted for a low-brow audience of teenagers. It contains all of the stereotypical college ingredients: school, sex, social conflict and booze. The plot was rather simplistic, but got the job done for what was needed. The characters were not very deep or well-developed, but they didn't need to be. It was like a live action cartoon. The security guard gets blown up or electrocuted? He'll be fine in the next scene. The Ghoulies (although small) manage to drink 2001 beers? They never pee. They can also drink drain cleaner. The puppets were comical and spoke in this film, making it the height of their evolution. Their lines seemed to be poorly written intentionally. Overall, lewd, crude and kind of funny. I rate this good because I think that it is exactly what it was intended to be.

Nothing Lasts Forever (1984)

An American science fiction comedy directed by Tom Schiller, starring Zach Galligan, Lauren Tom, Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd.
A concert pianist id found to be using a player piano. He returns home to New York City with the goal of becoming an artist, but is given a menial labor job because he is unable to pass an art test. He meets a woman who goes to art shows with him and they begin a relationship. Because of his kindness to a man on the street, he is selected to travel to the moon to find his true love.
This was odd. The plot seemed uneven, which had a lot to do with pacing. The beginning took forever and then the rest of the film was rushed.  I really liked that Billy from Gremlins (1984) was cast as the main character. Murray and Aykroyd played very minor roles though. The hobos/tramps controlling the destiny of everyone on earth was also a unique concept. The video was clearly meant to mimic old science fiction films. It went from black and white to color when a magical area was entered. The audio had far too many songs for a film that is not a musical. Overall, strange and obscure with some positive and negative points. I rate this adequate because oddities get better ratings.