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"SAD CYPRESS" (2003) Review [05 Feb 2016|07:47am]


"SAD CYPRESS" (2003) Review

I wrote this REVIEW of "SAD CYPRESS", the 2003 adaptation of Agatha Christie's 1940 novel. The movie starred David Suchet as Hercule Poirot.
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"HALLOWE'EN PARTY" (2010) Review [05 Feb 2016|07:44am]


"HALLOWE'EN PARTY" (2010) Review

I wrote this REVIEW of "HALLOWE'EN PARTY", the 2010 adaptation of Agatha Christie's 1969 novel. The movie starred David Suchet as Hercule Poirot.
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"IRON MAN" (2008) Review [04 Feb 2016|07:28am]


"IRON MAN" (2008) Review

I wrote this REVIEW of the 2008 Marvel film, "IRON MAN". Directed by Jon Favreau, the movie starred Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark aka Iron Man.
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The Price of Fame (is not really touched upon in this movie even though it should be) [03 Feb 2016|10:49pm]

[ mood | sleepy ]

I've posted a review of Kiss Me, Stupid over at my journal.

Review: http://allisontooey.livejournal.com/128799.html

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Survival of the Blandest [01 Feb 2016|12:24am]

[ mood | sore ]

I've posted a review of the...let's just say adventure movie Mysterious Island over at my journal.

Review: http://allisontooey.livejournal.com/128715.html

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Even Back in the Day, Hollywood Liked Its Acronyms [27 Jan 2016|09:15pm]

[ mood | uncomfortable ]

I've posted a review of F/X over at my journal.

Review here: http://allisontooey.livejournal.com/128316.html

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"BECKY SHARP" (1935) Review [27 Jan 2016|06:52pm]


"BECKY SHARP" (1935) Review

I wrote this REVIEW of "BECKY SHARP", the 1935 adaptation of William Makepeace Thackeray's 1847-48 novel, "Vanity Fair". Directed by Rouben Mamoulian, the movie starred Miriam Hopkins.
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Dawn and Dusk [24 Jan 2016|08:22pm]

[ mood | anxious ]

I've posted a review of Night and Day over at my journal.

Review: http://allisontooey.livejournal.com/128229.html

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Teenwolf 1 & 2, Werewolf : The Beast Among Us and Werewolf Hunt [25 Jan 2016|12:25am]

[ mood | awake ]

Part 2 of a Werewolf weekender:


I was a kid when I first saw Teenwolf. I saw it around the same time as I saw Back To The Future (When Michael J Fox's star was beginning to peak) and I really enjoyed both movies. Possibly as an indicator of relative quality I continued to watch and enjoy Back To The Future (and it's sequels) but I did not maintain the same affection for Teenwolf and while I am pretty sure I saw the sequel it was only one time and my abiding memory was just that it was pretty awful. Decades have passed since then and the films have not dated terribly well. I cannot believe that Michael J Fox was was still being cast as a teenager! Whatever ingredient made me laugh so much as a kid is now lost to my adult sensibilities and the sequel is a poor carbon copy of the first.
There are some small redeeming features beyond just sheer nostalgia for my youth. The initial transformation sequence of Fox isn't bad and the reveal when he meets his dad soon after did still make me chuckle even though I knew what was coming. The film is also hampered by its own sense of nostalgia as it homages the 1950's trend of 'I was a teenage (insert sensational gimmick here, zombie, alien, tv chef, mummy or whatever here)'. In that regard (as a homage) the movie does fairly well but times have moved on from the 80's (never mind the 50's!) so the result now is a film which barely stands up at all.
The sequel transfers more or less the same story/framework from American High School to American University (and from Basketball to Boxing). Some of the casting is worth dwelling on for a moment as I had entirely forgotten that a young Jason Bateman replaces Fox in the lead role (playing that character's cousin) and John Astin (Gomez from the Addams Family tv show) also has a significant role and it was great to see him in another genre role. Sadly that part of the cast list is about the only thing that made me smile. The first movie was limited and this is a regurgitation of it, blow by predictable formula blow only less fun the second time around.

I had some hopes for this film. It was a universal production (at least in subsidiary) so there was the possibility of a slight budget and the cast includes Stephen Rea who is usually pretty good regardless of the quality of film he is in). The budget by Universal standards was still tiny (which reflected poorly in the effects, particularly the poor CG) but did at least stretch to a location shoot in a gothic corner of Romania adding some welcome production value to what we see on the screen.
For what it is, the film isn't bad but tonally it feels more like a period set superhero movie than a horror in the great Universal tradition. There is a team of barely fleshed out, two dimensional werewolf hunters, each with a distinctive look, weapon and set of physical attributes rather than characters as such. This film does not miss the mark as widely as the bitterly disappointing 'Van Helsing' of a few years ago but it fails to properly satisfy. I dont mind super hero movies or werewolf movies that are action based rather than horror but I think to pull that off you have to properly commit to it with budgets, effects and characters we can invest in. We don't quite get that and we don't get a proper horror movie either. The locations and costumes were brilliant and the cast quite likable but this still feels like a great opportunity missed.

This is not actually a werewolf movie at all. NOT AT ALL. You would think that searching 'Werewolf movies' and coming up with a title like 'Werewolf Hunt' you would be on to a good one. The film's tagline is 'To Catch A Beast You Must Think Like One' - so far I am still thinking werewolves, right? There were pictures of Nazi soldiers on the cover against the backdrop of an explosion? I guessed that maybe this would be maybe the werewolf equivalent of the zombie movie 'Dead Snow'. No such luck. This is a Russian film about a little known (real life) mission against the Nazis in the Ukraine in 1942! To be fair I quite enjoyed it but it was not what I was expecting and it will teach me to read more of the small print when I am raiding the online bargain bins!

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[24 Jan 2016|06:26am]

Buck Privates (1941)

Bud Abbott and Lou Costello's second film (their first as leads) turned them into stars, and it still holds up well. The boys have several funny routines as two friends who accidentally enlist in the US Army, ending up at boot camp with a wealthy man (Lee Bowman) and his former valet (Alan Curtis), while learning to their horror that their sergeant is a cop (Nat Pendleton) they previously had a run-in with. While the boys have their fun, the wealthy man and his ex-valet fight over a pretty camp hostess (Jane Frazee). The Andrews Sisters show up for several musical numbers, including a rousing "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy". Director Arthur Lubin went on to direct the boys' next four films. Made a year before the US entered World War II, the film's cheerful patriotism seems prophetic for what would soon become a popular Hollywood theme.
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Outcast, Romasanta & Werewolf Rising [24 Jan 2016|01:54am]

[ mood | awake ]

Part One of my Werewolf Weekender:

Having decided to actively seek out more werewolf movies this year my first choice, ironically, does not actually feature any 'werewolves'. This is true in the same way that the movie '28 Days Later' does not actually feature any 'zombies'. The rules are different (full moons and silver do not come into it) so arguably the creature is different but it walks like a lyco and barks like a lyco then it may as well be a lyco, so to speak.
The film, while painfully low budget has a degree of originality and freshness that lets it shine and a decent cast (led by James Nesbitt) doesn't hurt. Set and filmed among the run-down housing estates of urban Scotland I would say the films main focus is Witches rather than Werewolves of any stripe but it has enough tangible quality to be worth a look.

This as supposedly based on a true story. A man went on trial in Spain in the 1850's accused of multiple murders. He claimed he was a kind of werewolf and so was not ultimately responsible for the crimes. This is the story that plays out here. The film has Spanish writers and a Spanish director and is shot on location in Spain but several of the key cast members are British/American. Julian Sands plays the lead role and as in several of his other films manages to be a bit creepy when he plays seductive and a bit camp when he plays scary - but it generally works. Comparisons to the French film, 'Brotherhood Of The Wolf' will be obvious - the two films are practically a mini-genre to themselves. It has been a while since I have seen the other but of the two I think I actually prefer this.

A lot of small, independent film makers choose to make zombie films because they are cheap to make and the ready made audience of genre fans will more or less guarantee at least a modest return on any investment, assuming a distribution deal can be made. The makers of this movie seem to be of the same philosophy but have stumbled a little with the werewolf effects for a simple reason: an actor in cheap zombie make up still looks like a zombie (even a crap one). An actor in a werewolf outfit looks like a man in a crap furry suit. The movie is kind of fun in a low budget way. Some of the scenes are fairly effective and some of the characters are quite likable but despite its charms it is unlikely to claw its way out of the bargain bin.

2 movie buffs| tear your ticket

[23 Jan 2016|06:53am]

My review of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
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[23 Jan 2016|06:32am]

British Intelligence (1940)

A decent but routine spy thriller/propaganda film, most notable now for Boris Karloff starring as German master spy Strendler. Adapted from a play, it has some plot twists to keep you watching, but it's really using its World War I setting to talk about the new menace from Germany in 1939 (when the film was produced). Directed by Terry Morse (best known for directing the new scenes in the Americanized Godzilla, King of the Monsters! in 1956), it also stars Margaret Lindsay as German agent Helene, Holmes Herbert as British cabinet minister Arthur Bennett, and Bruce Lester as British military pilot Frank Bennett (Arthur's son) who's in love with Helene. Cinematographer Sid Hickox (The Big Sleep, Them!") gives the film a good look on a B-movie budget. Set in Europe but filmed entirely on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, California.
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Misplaced Expectations [20 Jan 2016|06:10pm]

[ mood | hungry ]

I've posted a review of Bad For Each Other over at my journal.

Review: http://allisontooey.livejournal.com/127794.html

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"THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY - PART I" (2014) Photo Gallery [20 Jan 2016|08:36am]



Here is a GALLERY featuring images from "THE HUNGER GAME: MOCKINGJAY - PART I", the 2014 adaptation of the first half of Suzanne Collins' 2010 novel. Directed by Francis Lawrence, the movie stars Jennifer Lawrence.
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The Peanuts Movie Review [18 Jan 2016|05:22pm]

[ mood | accomplished ]

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Review of the Peanuts Movie [17 Jan 2016|11:05pm]


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We need a more cheerful storyteller [17 Jan 2016|07:22pm]

[ mood | worried ]

I've posted a double feature of Sergio Leone movies (Once Upon a Time in the West and Once Upon a Time in America) over at my journal.

West review: http://allisontooey.livejournal.com/127312.html
America review: http://allisontooey.livejournal.com/127576.html

5 movie buffs| tear your ticket

"STEVE JOBS" (2015) Review [17 Jan 2016|11:14am]


"STEVE JOBS" (2015) Review

I wrote this REVIEW of "STEVE JOBS", the 2015 movie biography of the late Apple, Inc. co-founder. Written by Aaron Sorkin and directed by Danny Boyle, the movie stars Michael Fassbender.
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[16 Jan 2016|06:30am]

Murder, My Sweet (1944)

[Rewatched/TV] "We don't like you, but it ain't personal." For my money, the best screen adaptation of Raymond Chandler and the best screen version of Philip Marlowe (Dick Powell). Powell was a light comedic and musical star, and his hardboiled turn as Marlowe redefined his career. Powell is pretty much Marlowe if he stepped directly out of a novel. Humphrey Bogart and Elliott Gould were also great Marlowes, but for me, Powell was the truest of them.

Chandler's Los Angeles--from its mansions to its dive bars--is well-rendered in this production. Screenwriter John Paxton (Oscar nominated for 1947's Crossfire) skillfully adapts the novel Farewell, My Lovely for the needs of a Hollywood production. It's more faithful to the source in tone, broad outline, and dialog than in exact plot details (then again, Chandler favored style over plot consistency). Director Edward Dmytryk (best known for 1954's The Caine Mutiny) captures the ambiance of Chandler's writing in visual form, about as pure of an injection of Chandler as there's ever been, resulting in a classic slice of cinema pie. Whenever I read Chandler, this is what I imagine behind my eyes. Cinematographer Harry J. Wild's use of shadows and contrast is outstanding, and this was the first of thirteen noir films Wild would work on, so well-regarded was the look he created here.

The cast includes Claire Trevor as femme fatale Helen Grayle, Anne Shirley in her final role as Helen's step-daughter Ann (a shame Shirley retired after this film, as she gives a good performance and teams well with Powell), Otto Kruger as con man Jules Amthor, professional wrestler Mike Mazurki as brutish ex-con Moose Malloy, Miles Mander as Helen's older husband Mr. Grayle, Don Douglas as LAPD Lt. Randall, Douglas Walton (Percy Shelley in Bride of Frankenstein) as gigolo Lindsay Marriott, Esther Howard in a memorable but small role as the widow of a former bar owner, and Shimen Ruskin as a wisecracking elevator operator.

Interesting historical fact: Dmytryk and producer Adrian Scott were blacklisted as members of the Hollywood Ten in 1947, and Dmytryk later named names to the House Committee on Un-American Activities (Scott's was one of those names).
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