Thursday, December 1, 2016

Shattered (1991)

An American mystery thriller directed by Wolfgang Petersen, starring Tom Berenger, Bob Hoskins and Greta Scacchi.
A man wakes up from a coma after a car accident. He has no memory of his personal life and his wife cares for him, reteaching him his past. As this happens, he slowly finds out that he was involved in a murder. He hires a detective to help him figure out what happened.
Pretty standard issue. The plot developed quite well, filling the duration with twists and reveals. The characters were not very deep, but very early '90s. The video was very much of the times and very standard. The audio was actually pretty good. It was mixed correctly, I could hear the dialogue and there was appropriate music. Overall, a regular movie. I rate it o.k.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

It's Murder! (1977)

An American mystery comedy directed by Sam Raimi, starring Bruce Campbell and Ted Raimi.
A detective goes to investigate a murder and finds that the dead man's will is disputed. The man's brother is crazy and wants to prevent the real will from being found. The son is sane and trying to find the real will.
It was blatantly obvious that this was Raimi's first film. It reminded me of TROMA flicks because it was so bad as to be funny. The characters were not developed very well and most of the acting was terrible. The crazy brother and detective were not too bad. The plot was simplistic and the humor was hokey. Being shot on a super 8, the video was some of the worst I've ever seen. Correct exposure was a foreign concept. I did like the sequences with altered speed though. The audio was atrocious. It was poorly mixed, distorted, had sudden stops and starts and I could hear them punching in for missed lines of dialogue. Overall, amateurish. I rate this poor.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Straw Dogs (1971)

A British American thriller directed by Sam Peckinpah, starring Dustin Hoffman and Susan George.
A Mathematician rents a farmhouse in his wife's hometown of Cornwall. He is tricked into a hunting trip by men working on his garage. They leave him sitting in a field while they rape his wife. Later, the couple attend a social at a church. A mentally handicapped man accidentally strangles a girl, enraging the locals (including the men who were working on the garage and wife). The mathematician hits this man with his car on the way home and brings him in to wait for a doctor. The locals show up and escalating violence begins.
This was pretty cool. The plot was slow to develop, but once it got started, it really took off. The character development was more implied than stated clearly. This is where video and editing come in. The wife has graphic flashbacks while at the church social of the men raping her. She gets female anatomy points. Everything was shot very '70s style, which I like quite a bit. The audio was pretty good for the time. Non-diegetic music was kept minimal and in the background. The diegetic bagpipe record, however, was blasted appropriately. Most of the dialogue was clear, but there were some heavy accents involved. Overall, I like Dustin Hoffman in this more than his later films. The ending violence scene is also amazing. When the workmen hung the bear trap on the wall, I just KNEW it would be used! I rate this good. Solid green rating for dynamics and overall quality.

Lorna (1964)

An American sexploitation directed by Russ Meyer.
A man goes to work in a salt mine on the day of his wedding anniversary. His co-workers make fun of him and say that his wife is sleeping around, causing them to get into a fight. Meanwhile, the wife is unhappy with her husband's sexual performance and thinks that he has forgotten the date. She meets an escaped criminal and has a short, but lustful relationship with him.
This was pretty tame for a Russ Meyer flick. The plot was simple, but used the simultaneous scenes that are part of his style. The characters were not developed very well, but better than some Meyer films I've seen. It turns out that the female lead was three months pregnant during the filming. On another related note, this whole film took a total of 13 days to make. That includes writing and filming. The video was all in black and white 4:3 aspect ratio. I think they got some good shots. The ending fight was not planned well. Here we have two men with the same hairstyle, body-type and clothing fighting. The audio was standard of Meyer's work: music too loud, dialogue too quiet. Overall, there are much better examples of Russ Meyer films. I rate this poor.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Up! (1976)

An American sexploitation directed by Russ Meyer.
A man who thinks he is Hitler is murdered by an unseen person. A young woman is seen by the sheriff running on a nearby road. She is later picked up by a man in a pickup truck, whom she kills. The sheriff lets her bribe him with sex and she gets a job at a local restaurant.
Typical Russ Meyer. I think this one showed a little bit more, though. The plot was a little unclear and the characters were mostly under-developed. Obviously lots of female anatomy points. The video was a little grainy and blurry. The audio was not mixed correctly (another Meyer staple). The dialogue was too low and the music was too loud. Overall, I got what I expected: boobs. I rate this o.k.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Ride the High Country A.K.A. Guns in the Afternoon (1962)

An American western directed by Sam Peckinpah, starring Randolph Scott.
A small group of cowboys take a job transporting gold from a mining town. On the way there, they encounter a girl who is engaged to one of the miners. Her father disapproves of any man his daughter is interested in, so she sneaks out with the cowboys when they leave. When they get to the mining town and find the groom, the two are wed. Unfortunately, the groom's two brothers think that they have also married the girl and begin to abuse her. The cowboys step in to save her.
This was pretty standard for a western. The plot got more complex as it progressed and the characters developed more. It wasn't a peplum style western. Peplum being "sword and sandal", I guess the western equivalent would be "six-gun and saddle". It was more personal, dealing with a small number of main characters. The video looked '70s to me, but differentiating '60s from '70s video can be tricky. The audio was actually good. The dialogue was all very clear and it featured unique and identifiable theme music in some sections. The version that I watched may have had the very end chopped off. It ended with the end of the last gun fight. The picture is of a scene in which the two older cowboys are discussing the ventilation system of a pair of custom made boots. Overall, it's better than o.k. I rate this adequate.

Poseidon (2006)

An American disaster action thriller directed by Wolfgang Petersen, starring Kurt Russell and Richard Dreyfuss.
A remake of the 1972 film. A large ship is sinking because it has capsized. People try to make their way out through the bottom of the upside down boat.
This was very much like the 2005 remake of the same, but worse in all the ways that the 2005 version was worse than the 1972 original. The plot was simplistic: get out of the boat or drown. The characters were not developed at all because so much time was devoted to building tension and having action scenes. The video was choppy and fast. It featured close, underexposed shots that were edited with quick cuts. There were a few special effects with fire and water. The audio was mostly screaming and shouting with building symphonic music. The intro featured a white woman singing like she was black. Is that a reverse oreo? Overall, not worth the time it took to watch. Luckily, there were 10 minutes of credits at the end. I rate it bad. DO NOT WATCH!!!