Just came back from seeing Francis Ford Coppola's THE GODFATHER - 50 YEARS (1972/2022, AMC Dolby Cinema), which has never looked/sounded better thanks to Steven Spielberg pushing his clout 16 years ago with Paramount suits to restore the OG masters. The Sicily portion of the middle act has never looked more inviting and picturesque, but every shot in "The Godfather" is a suitable-for-framing work of cinematic art. Gordon Willis' demanding-for-its-time dark cinematography (even during outdoor daytime scenes) truly adds layers of pathos to a compelling mob drama populated by iconic characters portrayed by a murders' row of character actors (Hayden, Castellano, Cazalle, Marley, etc.) and soon-to-be-stars performers (Caan, Duvall, Keaton, baby Al Pacino) revolving around Marlon Brando's towering portrayal of a wise mob boss. I swear that Don Corleone's eyebrow and forehead wrinkles arching when he looks at the corpse of his gunned-down son always makes me cry. :'( I've seen "The Godfather" at least a couple of dozen times, and it's so good (young Michael selling his soul to the devil by offering to kill the family's enemies always sends chill down my spine! :-O) it retroactively makes even "Part III/The Death of Michael Corleone" feel better than it actually is. Highly recommended.Ruben Fleischer's UNCHARTED (2022, IMAX) is closer to the "Tomb Raider"/"National Treasure" school of second-rate "Indiana Jones" clones, where you have to accept the leading protagonist has skills/luck/powers that keep him/her from dying a thousand deaths during improbable, polished-to-tension-deflating-perfection set pieces. What saves this adaptation of the popular PlayStation franchise from sucking are (a) a playful sense of humor about its own ridiculousness (loved the "Skies of Arcadia"-inspired finale and the Scottish henchman nobody can understand) and (b) the casting of Tom Holland/Mark Wahlberg (presented as co-leads in the closing credits) as the bickering partners in crime/adventure. Holland's charm automatically makes Nathan Drake likable on top of the characters' orphan roots, and Wahlberg's Sully is the perfect anti-hero foil. You'll forget about "Uncharted" a day after seeing it but have a good time watching it with your brain turned off.If "Uncharted" is a middle finger to realistic physics in a far-fetched adventure setting, THE BATTLE AT LAKE CHANGJIN 2, aka WATER GATE BRIDGE (2022, theater) (sequel to 2021's epic Chinese World War II/propaganda blockbuster) is both middle fingers and exposed male genitalia waved right in your face. Bullets, bombs, grenades, tanks, airplanes and human bodies fly, contort, bounce, run, explode and are swallowed by slow-motion fireballs that'd make Michael Bay sit and take notice. Picking up immediately after the end of the prequel, the first 30 minutes features an all-out military battle that'd be the epic conclusion of any other war movie. This is followed by a nearly-120 min. second act in which an important bridge needs to be demolished (including a portion that feels like Sam Raimi guest-directing a re-imagining of "Army of Darkness'" castle assault), followed by a recap of the saga that feels like "LOTR: The Return of the King's" never-ending endings. Jing Wu and Jackson Yee do the best they can with their roles as heroic 7th Company soldiers/brothers, but these "Battle of Lake Changjin" flicks are straight up WWII action porn. If you can get past the not insignificant hurtle that American soldiers are portrayed as goober stormtroopers (or that Koreans are 99% absent from movies about the Korean War!), there's no better bang-for-buck for war action junkies than these Chinese propaganda films.
I am really looking forward to the 50 years edition of THE GODFATHER - especially because it will be the first time to see this movie in a cinema for me. 21st of March is the day for me, I'm so excited.
Great reviews JM! Im with Derk...soooooo looking forward to the Godfather rerelease. Like many, i didnt discover this flick till i was older and appreciative of the masterpiece that it is. Never seen it on big screen. CANT WAIT!!
[CONTINUED FROM ABOVE]Last and certainly least, watched two duds in a row. :-( Stewart Raffill's THE ICE PIRATES (1984, HBO Max) might be the stupidest and worst movie I've ever seen, one that makes "Mac and Me" (same director) feel like "The English Patient." Other than Robert Urich not caring (or hiding well his disgust) about playing a goofy Luke Skywalker-type hero in a cheap-looking $8 million space flick (which I can appreciate and prefer over contemporary CG fests), there's not one entertaining, compelling, amusing, enjoyable or even so-bad-it's-good character, scene or line of dialogue... NOT ONE!. It was already crawling on all fours and dying 10 minutes before the end (even with Jury Room 4.0 watch-along comments keeping it barely afloat... right, Mac? ;-P), but its last 10 minutes are literally scraping the dung tossed at the wall and force-feeding it right into audience's mouths! This might just be one of, if not THE WORST MOVIE I'VE EVER SEEN! :'(And as soon as that movie ended I went to see STUDIO 666 (2022, AMC Prime).¯\_(ツ)_/¯I can't tell Foo Fighters apart from cafeteria food fighters, but this vanity project by Dave Grohl (Metal Jesus meets Kevin Smith!) and his fellow band members is both terrible and fascinating. Aside from the obligatory John Carpenter movie font and synth-inspired score (which Carpenter and his son produced but didn't compose) with some quality practical gore gags, "Studio 666" is not an homage to bad 80's horror movies... it is a bad 80's horror movie. Not once was I or anyone in the theater (which I assume were diehard Foo Fighters fans) laughing, cringing, scared, tense or creeped out. Will Forte, Jeff Garlin and Whitney Cummings show up periodically (not all at once) to remind you what acting is, since none of the Foo Fighters (who are on-screen for almost the entire two-hour running time) can act worth a damn. That said, I'd love it if the Marvel Cinematic Universe cast Pat Smear as a sidekick in a Disney+ TV series (or DC put Pat and his band mates as expendable heroes in a "Suicide Squad" sequel) because this dude's so-bad-it's-hilarious reaction shots rival the almighty "Samurai Cop" in creating unintentional laughs. It's been a long time since a horror flick this bad hit cinemas, but "Studio 666" (made during the pandemic... and it shows) isn't worth the trip. Catch it during its inevitable future life as at Shutter staple (or likely background visual during future Foo Fighters concerts). Pass.
Yeah, every time I watch Ice Pirates, I hope to like it more because it's all so absurd. But all the pieces never quite come together. I'd say the one bright spot is Angelica Houston as the barbarian swordsperson, even if she doesn't get that much to do.
Studio 666 (2022 Theater)Table Setting: Im a huge fan of Grohl and the Foo Fighters. Love their music, his book, their energy, and that hes the defacto ambassador for rock these days.Review: Hmmm. Its a silly, goofy, tongue-in-cheek, rock-dad-jokes movie. However it never totally works as comedy nor pulls off the tone for a successful horror/comedy. I think it would have benefited hugely from trimming down from 1:50 to about 80m and more jokes. Id say if you are a Foo fan its worth a watch but wait for streaming. If you are a horror fan but not a foo fan, skip it.
Beside of watching AEW, One Piece and Attack on Titan - my flatmate loves anime, I really like good wrestling, we have a deal here - I only managed to watch AUSTIN POWERS: INTERNATIONAL MAN OF MYSTERY (1997), SPONTANEOUS (2020) and BOOKSMART (2019).The last one was a rewatch for me, because I had to show it to some people who loved it, rightfully so. SPONTANEOUS was part of a double feature with the Olivia Wilde flick and hold its own, I liked it a lot. AP on the other hand ages a bit - or... maybe I'm aging. Some gags wouldn't land the same way as they did 15 years ago, when I probably watched this movie for the last time. That being said, I still overall found it funny enough to have a good time, which is something all of us probably need in these days.Stay save, have a nice weekend.
...HAPPY BIRTHDAY JB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.I hope its filled with classic monsters, fun rides, and a Beatles song or two!..
The Baron Of Arizona (1950), a Samuel Fuller movie starring Vincent Price as a real-life figure who scammed invaders of the Territory of Arizona out of millions in his attempts to own huge swaths of the future state. It's a lot more wild than you might imagine and Price is just great as a con man who can't help crowing over how great his con is.
There is so much more to Vincent Price's filmography than the horror films. This is one that I have intended to watch. The 1944 film LAURA features another memorable Price performance from early in his career.
I saw the new TEXAS CHAINSAW on Netflix. Agreed with the middle consensus that there's some terrific gore gags, but the story/acting doesn't keep up with it. The dialogue sounds like grandpa trying to talk like one of the cool teens. JOURNEY 2: THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND (2012). This is about as generic as a movie can get. I guess there were a few laughs here and there, but nothing else to say about it. ICE PIRATES (1984). As noted above, I wish I liked this movie, but it doesn't do it for me. However, I would totally watch a 10-episode docu-series about how/why it was made. FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS (1998). "I'm a doctor of journalism!"
OMG...im with you on the 10 ep doc-series on Ice Pirates. Would be bonkers town.Episode 1: A foundation of cocaine.Episode 2: Hat full of random words..take 2 out..."Space" "Herpe". Run with it!Episode 3: We shoulda shot this in 3DEpisode 4: We're already out of cocaine!? Get more!Episode 5: This flick cant fail!!..i smell franchise!Episode 6:....(Id riff more but honestly i only saw this in the theater in 84. Have the dvd somewhere but never could manage to rewatch. A shame really as if it was a tad bit more good/fun/cohesive it could be a real cult classic)
HOLLYWOOD CHAINSAW HOOKERS (1988, dir. Fred Olen Ray) on Tubi – One good thing that can be said about this slice of 1980s exploitation is that the film largely lives up to its title. The original Leatherface (Gunnar Hansen) leads a cult of chainsaw-wielding women in 1980s Los Angeles. Though cheap and stupid, HOLLYWOOD… is the kind of mindless entertainment I was in the mood for this week. On this second viewing, I appreciated the humor of the film more.VIVA LAS VEGAS (1964) – Definitely a big step up from Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers yet in the same mindless entertainment mode. Elvis Presley turns up in Las Vegas for a motor race and a woman. And Ann Margaret is quite a woman. There is something infectiously fun about the total package of Viva Las Vegas. Another aspect of the film I found delightful was the vibrant colors. The combination of the lighting, set design, and clothing create a lovely film to look at.JE T’AIME MOI NON PLUS (1976, dir. Serge Gainsbourg) on MUBI – Gainsbourg is among the great figures of French popular music. The title is taken from one his most famous songs and stars his real-life romantic partner Jane Birkin. The story is an unusual melodrama made stranger by the awkward attempts to make the story seem set in the United States. Although I cannot say the film works well, it is not the worst debut film I have seen.
I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO (2016)I didn't know anything about James Baldwin before watching this. He's the most poetic speaker. I feel pretty well acquainted with relating racism to capitalism and vice versa, but the way he relates capitalism right to fear and delusions about our humanity - that was so moving and true for me.
I didn't know anything about him before watching this documentary, either. An emotionally moving film about a powerful person, a great mind and a soft-spoken soul.
Yes! So powerful. Think I'll watch it again today and find more like it.