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"THE JOURNEY OF AUGUST KING" (1995) Review [23 Nov 2015|09:13pm]



I wrote this REVIEW of "THE JOURNEY OF AUGUST KING", the 1995 adaptation of John Ehle's 1971 novel. Directed by John Duigan, the movie starred Jason Patric and Thandie Newton.
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The Critic Does NOT Recognize The Speaker [22 Nov 2015|05:01pm]

[ mood | uncomfortable ]

I've posted a review of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington over at my journal.

Review: http://allisontooey.livejournal.com/122652.html

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[21 Nov 2015|06:13am]

Frankenstein (1931)

[Rewatched/Blu-ray] "It's alive!" Released in US cinemas 84 years ago today, this Universal Horror film has stood the test of time as a true classic of the genre. Based on Mary Shelley's novel, as filtered through the stage adaptation by Peggy Webling, it's not hugely faithful to its source, but it remains a dramatic interpretation of the core elements. It was originally assigned to director Robert Florey with Bela Lugosi attached to play the Monster, but James Whale was offered the chance to direct any Universal property and he chose this one.

Without Lugosi, Whale made the wise choice to cast the little-known Boris Karloff as the Monster, which not only made Karloff a star, it resulted in an iconic performance (with magnificent makeup by Jack Pierce). It also made Whale's career as a director, leading to three more Universal Horror classics. The cast includes Colin Clive as Henry Frankenstein, Mae Clarke as Henry's bride-to-be Elizabeth, John Boles as Henry's friend Victor, Edward Van Sloan (Van Helsing in 1931's Dracula) as Dr. Waldman (also delivering a warning to viewers before the film's opening credits), Frederick Kerr as Henry's father Baron Frankenstein, and Dwight Frye (Renfield in Dracula) as Henry's assistant Fritz. Cinematographer Arthur Edeson's black-and-white work is striking, and he went on to do the 1941 version of The Maltese Falcon and Casablanca.

A 100% no doubt about it classic.

My maternal grandmother saw it when it was released in 1931. She was nine-years-old at the time, and many decades later she still remembered it well. She recalled being terrified when the Monster made his first appearance, and watching the rest of the film through her fingers.
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He Could Have Done It Better [18 Nov 2015|07:26pm]

[ mood | tired ]

I've posted a review of the silent movie Spies over at my journal.

Review: http://allisontooey.livejournal.com/122506.html

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"BRIDGE OF SPIES" (2015) Photo Gallery [17 Nov 2015|07:12pm]


"BRIDGE OF SPIES" (2015) Photo Gallery

Here is a GALLERY featuring images from "BRIDGE OF SPIES", the 2015 account of the 1960 U-2 Incident. Directed by Steven Spielberg, the movie starred Tom Hanks.
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"ANT-MAN" (2015) Review [15 Nov 2015|09:36pm]


"ANT-MAN" (2015) Review

I wrote this REVIEW of "ANT-MAN", the recent Marvel Cinematic Universe movie. Directed by Peyton Reed, the movie stars Paul Rudd as Scott Lang aka Ant-Man.
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Sexy Films Without The Sex [15 Nov 2015|07:39pm]

[ mood | hungry ]

I've posted a double-header of movies, Secretary and Reform School Girls, over at my journal.

Secretary review: http://allisontooey.livejournal.com/122030.html
Reform review: http://allisontooey.livejournal.com/122273.html

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[15 Nov 2015|03:40am]

Abar, the First Black Superman (1977)

One of the strangest blaxploitation films. A black scientist (J. Walter Smith) hires a Black Panther-type militant (Tobar Mayo) to be his bodyguard, and his experiments turn the militant into a godlike figure. It's a howlingly bad film, especially the acting, and often unintentionally hilarious, but it's entertaining and isn't afraid to have political ideas, and the final act resolves as a series of almost dreamlike interventions by Abar, using his new mental powers to better the world around him. For almost everyone involved, it was the only film they ever made, but cinematographer Ron Garcia went on to work with Francis Coppola and David Lynch. Overly sensitive white folks might not like the way white people are portrayed, but in its own ham-handed way it captures the pervasiveness of white supremacy. The ending is definitely a strange one. A cult film in every sense of the term.
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Go From Here to Way, WAY, Over There. Please. [11 Nov 2015|11:32pm]

[ mood | busy ]

I've posted a review of From Here to Eternity over at my journal.

Review: http://allisontooey.livejournal.com/121640.html

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[10 Nov 2015|05:53pm]

Love Crazy (1941)

William Powell and Myrna Loy are best known for their pairing in the "Thin Man" film series, but their popularity led to other films as a team, such as this screwball comedy co-written by Charles Lederer (The Front Page, The Thing from Another World). Powell and Loy are married couple Steve and Susan, facing divorce after a series of misunderstandings triggered by Susan's mother. To delay the proceedings, Steve decides to fake a nervous breakdown, which backfires when he's committed to a sanitarium. Powell and Loy's chemistry serves the story well, and it's often laugh out loud funny. Powell gets to showcase his comedic skills (and get in drag). The cast includes Gail Patrick (later one of the first women to be a tv producer in the 1950s with Perry Mason) as Steve's ex-girlfriend, Jack Carson as a neighbor trying to woo Susan, Florence Bates as Susan's mother, Sig Ruman as the sanitarium head, and Elisha Cook Jr. as an elevator operator. Hilarious.
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Spectre and Scouts Guide To The Apocalypse [10 Nov 2015|01:21am]

[ mood | awake ]

Two recent trips to the cinema:

In general terms I am going to add my voice in agreement to almost every other review I have seen of the new Bond film - its okay but slightly overblown and not nearly as good as Skyfall.
This can hardly be a surprise as Skyfall set a pretty high watermark for the Bond films. There are plenty of great stunts, fantastic locations and some great action sequences. There is even an attempt to draw some of the threads of the previous three movies into a coherent overall view.
The films since the Casino Royale relaunch of Bond have been gradually re-introducing (often with a new spin) the staple elements of the earlier Bond franchise movies. Q, Moneypenny, That Car, Funky Gadgets, the famous martini and even the 'double O' licence to kill have all been added gradually back into the mix. Spectre adds an urbane arch-villain, and a physically distinctive henchman (and a cat!). With all of this, the pulling together of the threads from the relaunched movies and the globe spanning plot of this movie too, it felt at times like maybe it was trying to do too much. A tighter story (or at least edit) might have showcased it's strengths more effectively.
The film also feels a bit like a summation of the story so far and is left at a point where any of several possible directions could be taken by the franchise. That is a handy place to be in an ongoing series but it does not necessarily make for the strongest individual episode.

I usually approach zombie comedies with a mixture of anticipation and weariness. I am excited by the possibilities but simultaneously jaded by the times when I have been led into disappointment. 'Scouts Guide' may not climb the giddy heights of 'Shaun Of The Dead' or 'Zombieland' but it doesn't disappoint either. There is some uneven pacing and some poor jokes but there are plenty of good set pieces and plenty of times where I found myself not just smiling but laughing out loud. The part of the plot that didn't revolve around zombies (the central relationship of three high school buddies) reminded me a lot of 'Superbad' (which isn't a bad thing but is not something I am in a rush to see emulated). What we are left with is a film with a lot of humour, some of it annoyingly juvenile but plenty of stuff that still hits the mark. The opening sequence is particularly good and sets the tone for the best part of the movie.

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"AIRPORT" (1970) Photo Gallery [09 Nov 2015|11:40am]


"AIRPORT" (1970) Photo Gallery

Here is a GALLERY featuring images from "AIRPORT", the 1970 adaptation of Arthur Hailey's 1968 novel. Directed by George Seaton, the movie starred Burt Lancaster, Dean Martin, Jean Seberg, Jacqueline Bisset and George Kennedy.
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Human Ingenuity at its Finest [08 Nov 2015|03:53pm]

[ mood | uncomfortable ]

I've posted a review of the recent film The Martian over at my journal.

Review here: http://allisontooey.livejournal.com/121454.html

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[08 Nov 2015|06:13am]

The Thing (1982)

[Rewatched/TV] It's very rare for a remake of a classic film to also be a classic in its own right, but director John Carpenter's remake of 1951's The Thing from Another World is one of those rare examples. Like its predecessor, it's based on John W. Campbell's 1938 novella Who Goes There?, but screenwriter Bill Lancaster (son of actor Burt) stays more faithful to it than the 1951 film did. Carpenter's first major studio film is a masterpiece of suspense and horror that's aged like fine wine. Even when you know what's coming, it retains the power to shock. The old school creature effects by Rob Bottin and Stan Winston have a substance that CG can't replicate. Ennio Morricone's score (augmented by some of Carpenter's electronic music) is another highlight. Kurt Russell consistently holds the screen (and proved in multiple films that he's a perfect Carpenter hero). It seems inconceivable now that this film received mixed (and some very negative) reviews and failed at the box office in 1982.
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17: Gattaca [07 Nov 2015|05:15am]

[ mood | busy ]

Originally posted by audrey_e at Movie 17: Gattaca

17 GATTACA (US, 1997)
Dir: Andrew Niccol
Cast: Ethan Hawke, Jude Law, Uma Thurman...

In a future where eugenics is common practice, the naturally conceived Vincent is told he is too "weak" to have a career in space travel.

Gattaca is one of those Sci-Fi horror films in which the future is utterly grim. I'm sure Philip K. Dick himself would approve of it.

The issue of eugenics and what would happen if parents could genetically select babies is a thought-provoking one, and I would certainly recommend this movie to anyone interested in it.
Gattaca's aesthetics are particularly memorable for their cold geometry, but my favorite aspect of the film remains Ethan Hawke and Jude Law's characters' Dorian Gray-esque relationship.

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16: Primer [07 Nov 2015|04:49am]

[ mood | busy ]

Originally posted by audrey_e at Movie 16: Primer

16 PRIMER (US, 2004)
Dir: Shane Carruth
Cast: Shane Carruth, David Sullivan...

Two young engineers manage to create a time machine.

The scientific terminology confused me from the beginning, and I was grateful to watch it with a scientific-minded friend of mine who would regularly pause it and explain for my sake.

Past the terminology, however, the whole paradox of time travel being what it is, Primer quickly turns into a fascinating mind puzzle. From a cinematic perspective, it demonstrates how much can be achieved with a limited budget, but I find it difficult to fully assess the quality of this movie without having watched it a second time. It demands to be watched a second time.

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15: Super 8 [07 Nov 2015|04:31am]

[ mood | busy ]

Originally posted by audrey_e at Movie 15: Super 8

15 SUPER 8 (US 2011)
Dir: J.J. Abrams
Cast: Joel Courtney, Elle Fanning, Kyle Chandler...

While filming an amateur horror film, a group of children witnesses a suspicious train derailment.

I enjoyed the first half (or less) of the movie, when it focuses on the children as a group of friends, and their interest in cinema. Elle Fanning's charismatic performance is without a doubt the best element of the film. There is something very charming and reminiscent of a good Steven Spielberg film about the first half of this film.
And then it turns into some big, noisy alien nonsense that made me keep looking at my watch.
Too bad.


Between this and Star Trek into Darkness, I'm confused as to why people are so happy Abrams is directing the new Star Wars trilogy.
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14: Good Will Hunting [07 Nov 2015|04:07am]

[ mood | busy ]

Originally posted by audrey_e at Movie 14: Good Will Hunting

Dir: Gus Van sant
Cast: Matt Damon, Robin Williams, Ben Affleck...

A mathematics genius who only works as a janitor in MIT is challenged by an unconventional psychologist who wants him to face his past trauma.

I finally got around to seeing this one, and I thoroughly enjoyed the acting and the great dialogues. Have Matt Damon and Ben Affleck ever written anything this good again? Will's rant about why he shouldn't work for the NSA is simply amazing and has certainly become one of my favorite movie scenes to date.

A real gem of a film.

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Favorite Films Set in the 1940s [06 Nov 2015|10:17am]



Here is a LIST of my favorite films set during the 1940s.
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The Scandal of it All... [04 Nov 2015|11:45pm]

[ mood | rushed ]

I've posted a review of the movie Can-Can over at my journal.

Review: http://allisontooey.livejournal.com/121106.html

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