Friday, September 30, 2016

Before Midnight (2013)

An American romantic drama directed by Richard Linklater, starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy.
The same couple from the previous films is living in Europe and have twin daughters. However, the man's son from his previous marriage is living in the U.S.A. with his mother. The couple drive to their friend's house and go to stay at a hotel.
Why is this so interesting to me? I don't even like romance flicks. Anyway, this time the couple are arguing more. A sign of the times. The characters are accompanied by a group at dinner and have a very deep discussion about life, love and relationships. They get along really well while walking to the hotel, but once there, they start arguing. The video was similar to the previous films in that it featured long double shots of the couple talking. It differed by cutting more frequently and featuring other people more than the second film and much more than the first. In the first, it was almost all them. The second introduced some other scenes and this one prominently featured other people. The editing is the same. From the first to the last, we see an increased frequency of scene cuts. This film featured a good few minutes of visibility on the female lead's breasts. Female anatomy points there. Overall, I would rate the series as good, but this film falls in with the second as adequate. It was not as good as the first, but still plenty watchable.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Before Sunset (2004)

An American romance directed by Richard Linklater, starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy.
The couple from Before Sunrise (1995) meet nine years later in Paris. The man is the author of a book detailing the events of the first film and the woman is an environmental activist. They meet at his book signing and try to spend time together before he has to catch an airplane flight.
I was disappointed. The first one was so good that anything else is a let-down. The plot took place over a shorter period of time and had lost it's magic. The characters were the same, but they were trying to rekindle old sparks of romance and catch up on lost time. It seemed sad. The video featured lots of moving shots with the actors walking and talking. They did a good job on that. The audio blended seamlessly as the original and featured a song played by the female lead on guitar and vocals. Actually played live with no faking, a rarity. Overall, not as good as the first one, but still as well-made and "soundly" designed. I rate it adequate.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Before Sunrise (1995)

A Swiss Austrian American romance directed by Richard Linklater, starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy.
A young man meets a young woman on a train across Europe. They become interested in each other and at the man's stop, he asks the woman to wander through the city with him all night before he leaves on a plane and she leaves on the train. She agrees and they fall in love.
Pretty well made. For such a simple plot, it held my attention quite well. This is one of those films where two people talking can be interesting. The two main characters reminded me of Wesley and Buttercup from The Princess Bride (1987), but more modern. The video was planned and executed flawlessly. It all seemed to be one long conversation as the pair walk through scene after scene. The audio featured audible dialogue and a soundtrack that I didn't even notice was there. The music was so appropriate that it just blended into the plot and video seamlessly. Now that I'm through singing it's technical praises, there are only two points on which I disagree. Romance is not my favorite genre and the woman was begging for sex beginning around 1:14 without receiving any positive feedback until around 1:20. It started with a "let's see if the glass slipper fits" remark atop a stone stairway and was not resolved until 2 or 3 scenes later in the park. As a side-note, this couple was featured in Waking Life (2001) in bed, having a conversation about dreams. Overall, a technical masterpiece that was fun to watch, but not my favorite genre. I'm rating it good for these exact reasons.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Good Morning and... Goodbye! (1967)

An American sexploitation film directed by Russ Meyer.
A group of seemingly unrelated characters living in a valley are united by sexual infidelity.
So Russ Meyer. Who is sleeping with whom is not a valid plot. The characters seemed to boil down to three: husbands, adulterers and women. The video was alright, but just a little more creative editing would have made a huge difference. For example, the old husband is driving and the witch is everywhere. Putting her more places for shorter times and making her seem to disappear and reappear would have been very easy. The intro scene of the naked woman running got my hopes up about nudity, but the rest of the film did not deliver what was promised. The audio let me know that they were inexperienced at mixing dialogue and music. The dialogue was too quiet and the music was too loud. I have very sensitive ears though. Overall, not worth watching at all. Russ Meyer has made much better films with more nudity and more plot than this. I rate it poor.

Major Dundee (1965)

An American war western directed by Sam Peckinpah, starring Charlton Heston, Richard Harris and James Coburn.
A notorious group of Native American Indians are resisting being conquered by white men in a violent manner. A military leader forms an unlikely group of soldiers to deal with the threat.
Boring. Military stuff involving large groups of cavalry do not interest me in the least. Be it a sword and sandal peplum of an American western, I care not. The plot obviously did not even begin to catch my attention and I could not discern many unique characters. The horse thief was the only one who stood out in my view. I noticed unreasonable amounts of underexposure in the video. I could hear all of the dialogue and the music seemed appropriate. I turned this off at 0:43 of 2:10. I'm rating it shit in accordance with my turn off policy.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Junior Bonner (1972)

An American western directed by Sam Peckinpah, starring Steve McQueen, Robert Preston, Ida Lupino and Ben Johnson.
A rodeo rider returns to his hometown to find that things have changed. His family are all selling their land and no longer get along with each other. He rides in the rodeo with his father, with the main event of trying to ride a difficult bull.
This was not interesting to me. The plot seemed desultory and unimportant. It was also largely inconclusive. The characters seemed to all be the same: cowboys and their families. This may be because all of the stars began their careers in the 1930s. The video element to mention was during a few action scenes. Plowing the house, rodeo riding and the bar fight had a little bit of creative editing. The music was appropriate, although the "live" band's bassist had clearly never seen a bass played before. Overall, not so great. I rate it poor.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Common Law Cabin (1967)

An American crime film directed by Russ Meyer.
A crusty old sailor lures three people from a fancy resort to spend the day at a rural retreat. The venue is owned by a man, his daughter and new wife. The visitors are a married couple of a doctor and nurse as well as a man who passes out hundred dollar bills to everyone. Things take a turn for the worse and true identities and motives are revealed.
Not bad. The plot had some shaky sections that didn't make sense and the acting did not seem natural. The characters were totally Russ Meyeresque though. Strangely, there was not enough nudity for my tastes. If you're going that route, at least do it right. The video was pretty standard otherwise. There was a wavy effect when a young man passed out and the ending screen got tinted green. Some of the dialogue audio was not very clear, but it featured the standard '60s groovy soundtrack. Overall, nothing special and not really worthwhile. I rate it tolerable.