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Everything posted by LawrenceA

  1. LawrenceA

    Recently Watched SF & Fantasy

    The Mysterious Island (1929) - I really enjoyed this mess of a movie from MGM, based on Jules Verne's book. Lionel Barrymore stars as Count Dakkar (Captain Nemo in the book), a brilliant scientist and inventor with a volcanic island laboratory. The island is part of a larger kingdom known as Hetvia, and Dakkar's research efforts are put on hold when his former friend Falon (Montagu Love) decides to stage a coup. He tortures Dakkar in order to obtain his many scientific secrets, but Dakkar escapes and joins a group of opposing forces in an effort to stop Falon. Also featuring Jacqueline Gadsdon (as Jane Daly), Lloyd Hughes, Harry Gribbon, Gibson Gowland, Dolores Brinkman, and Snitz Edwards. This was a troubled production, taking years to complete. It started out as a silent, but as sound came into vogue, they reshot only parts with full sound, while leaving the majority of the film silent, using title cards, and also adding sound effects and a score. Lucien Hubbard wrote the script and got final screen credit for direction, too, although footage had been shot as far back as 1926 by directors Maurice Tourneur and Benjamin Christensen. The movie is an exciting adventure for the first 2/3 or so, but when the action goes undersea, we head into fun & bizarre territory, with a race of duck-faced dwarven undersea people, a giant octopus, and an alligator with a horn glued on his snout. Being Pre-Code, this has some surprising moments of violence. The disparate pieces of this don't go together smoothly, and the ending seems kind of rushed, but I liked this oddity a lot. Recommended. 8/10 Source: TCM by way of YouTube.
  2. LawrenceA

    Recently Watched Horror

    Digging Up the Marrow (2014) - 5/10 Writer-director Adam Green (Hatchet) also stars as himself, filming a "documentary" about a man (Ray Wise) who contacted Green via fan mail to inform him of the existence of real monsters. The man, a 61 year old retired policeman, claims to have discovered an underground world called "the Marrow", which is populated by deformed people and other "monsters". Green and his film crew are skeptical, but soon the evidence begins to pile up. Featuring cameos by horror actor Kane Hodder and directors Tom Holland and Mick Garris as themselves. I'm not sure what Green was going for here. Some scenes are played for laughs, while others seem to be striving for seriousness. It's also strange to construct the film to look like an actual documentary, but then cast a recognizable actor like Ray Wise as the one "real" non-celebrity person in the movie. The whole thing ends up coming across like a self-indulgent lark.
  3. LawrenceA

    TCM Premieres

    You may wish to check back on the 18th, when there seems to be a two-movie-long gap in the schedule between All Monsters Attack at 8PM and Rodan at 1AM. I suspect Ebirah and Godzilla vs Hedorah will fill the gap, but who knows?
  4. LawrenceA

    Your Favourite Foreign Language Films Up to 2015

    Beyond Outrage, Takeshi Kitano, Japan (2012) - 7/10 Takeshi's sequel to his 2010 Outrage sees his yakuza thug character Otomo released early from prison by a shady cop who hopes that the volatile killer will wipe out rival yakuza gangs. Takeshi had renounced the yakuza genre before making Outrage out of financial necessity. Much like that one, this film leans more on violence than story. Takeshi was even quoted as saying that he devised death scenarios first, and then wrote a screenplay around them. The resulting film is brutal, largely humorless, and very dark. Another sequel followed in 2017.
  5. LawrenceA

    Your Favourite Foreign Language Films Up to 2015

    Who Killed Captain Alex?, I.G.G. Nabwana, Uganda (2010) - 2/10 or 9/10 Unbelievable no-budget action spectacular about a bunch of kung-fu expert Uganda Army commandos led by Captain Alex (William Kakule) who are battling a criminal organization known as the Tiger Mafia. This shot-on-video epic is said to be Uganda's first action film. The budget was stated as $200. Director Nabwana utilizes a lot of very bad CGI effects for maximum hilarity. Prop guns were unavailable, so obvious toys guns are used, as are chunks of wood carved and painted to look vaguely gun-like. The director stated that the movie was meant just for the villagers who helped film it, but it later appeared online and has since become a cult favorite. The version I watched had the option of watching it with either the original Swahili language track, or a soundtrack with a guy commenting on the action in broken English (not a traditional commentary track about the making of the movie, this was part of the original Ugandan edition and features humorous heckling). This is a must-see for bad movie fans, but others will find it atrocious.
  6. Who, Ellen Degeneres? She's from Louisiana.
  7. LawrenceA

    Trump's Biggest Whoppers

    I saw several stories this afternoon around the internet that I thought about posting. A couple of dozen new sexual assault allegations against Trump went public, including one woman who said that Trump hid behind a tapestry at Mar-A-Lago in order to grope her. The U.S. seems to have stopped paying our portion of the UN budget, putting us a billion dollars in arrears. A Trump supporter pulled a gun on a woman because she had an Elizabeth Warren bumper sticker on her car. But then I decided not to.
  8. Man, nobody ever gets me nothin'. I wasn't sure, as the sentiment could apply to more than a few in the thread. And I actually did break one of my own rules by posting here earlier.
  9. LawrenceA

    Your Favourite Foreign Language Films Up to 2015

    Polytechnique, Denis Villeneuve, Canada (2009) - 8/10 Based on the "Montreal Massacre" of 1989, when a lone gunman went on a shooting rampage at an engineering school, mainly targeting women. The killer (Maxim Gaudette) says that he's striking out against "feminism". The film also looks at the impact on two students: Jean-Francois (Sebastian Huberdeau), who feels guilt that he couldn't do more to stop the attack; and Valerie (Karine Vanasse), set to move out into the real-world job market when the attack occurs, leaving her scarred both emotionally and physically. Shot in stark B&W, this is more of a mood piece than a dialogue-heavy drama. It's also very short, running a brief 77 minutes (really only 70, as the last 7 are credits and a lengthy "In Memoriam" to the real victims of the massacre). I was moved by the atmospheric filmmaking, and would rank this among my favorite films of its year. It was a big winner at that year's Genie Awards. Villeneuve shot both French and English language versions, but I watched the French one. Recommended.
  10. I posted about this movie a few days ago in the Off Topics. It's going to be a TV mini-series based on James Comey's book. Comey is the main character, and will be played by Jeff Daniels.
  11. LawrenceA


    Zizek usually looks like he just crawled out of a dumpster, so basing judgment on appearance isn't always the best course. To keep this post on topic - "Humanity is OK, but 99% of people are boring idiots." - Slavoj Zizek
  12. LawrenceA

    Your Favourite Foreign Language Films Up to 2015

    Broken Embraces, Pedro Almodovar, Spain (2009) - 7/10 Melodrama with Lluis Homar as blind former film director who reflects on the circumstances of his last film and the events leading up to his blindness. It involves his affair with the mistress (Penelope Cruz) of a rich and insanely jealous older man (Jose Luis Gomez). With Bianca Portillo, Ruben Ochandiano, Tamar Novas, and Angela Molina. The cinematography is good, and the score by Alberto Iglesias is outstanding. The film itself is a little too self-referential for my tastes, though I still enjoyed it.
  13. LawrenceA

    Your Favourite Foreign Language Films Up to 2015

    Mesrine: Killer Instinct, Jean-Francois Richet, France (2008) - 8/10 Mesrine: Public Enemy #1, Jean-Francois Richet, France (2008) - 8/10 Epic crime drama/biopic of notorious criminal Jacques Mesrine (Vincent Cassel), who cut a swath across France and the rest of Europe, as well as Canada and the U.S., from the 1960's through the 1970's. He, along with various compatriots, committed dozens of bank robberies, prison escapes, and murders, becoming feared by law enforcement, as well as being hailed as a sort of anti-establishment hero by revolutionary groups. The large supporting cast includes Elena Anaya, Cecile de France, and Ludivine Sagnier as love interests at various stages of Mesrine's life; and Gerard Depardieu, Gilles Lellouche, Roy Dupuis, Samuel Le Bihan, Gerard Lanvin, and Mathieu Amalric as criminal cohorts. Taken together, I would have to rank this as one of the best crime dramas of the 00's. Cassel excels in an award-winning performance as the volatile, charismatic Mesrine. My one real complaint about the films is the score, a collaboration between Marco Beltrami and Marcus Trumpp, that often comes across as something from an American B-level action programmer. Recommended.
  14. LawrenceA

    Trump's Biggest Whoppers

    I keep waiting for some sort of contempt citation or something to come down against one of these people, but so far nothing. And that lack of consequence continues to embolden the administration.
  15. LawrenceA

    Trump's Biggest Whoppers

    So what happens? A lot more "sound & fury" with no actual consequences? Does Congress actually have the ability to do anything at all? I'm asking this seriously, because it seems to me that the president and his allies realize that Congress really has no power to do anything of any weight, no penalties or punishments to dispense, and therefore the president and his allies have no reason to cooperate or comply.
  16. LawrenceA

    Oklahoma City TCM Backlot Local Chapter now forming!

    Has any reason for doing so been given?
  17. I don't see where he is saying that the original issue of the calls themselves is being dismissed or has been resolved. Rather that there is an ongoing attempt at a cover-up and obstruction. I read this as "in addition to" rather than "instead of".
  18. I thought that may be it, based on your clues. I haven't seen it yet. I had ordered the AGFA disc release last year, but it got delayed to the end of this year. Did you see it online?
  19. What are you referencing? Did Schiff release some kind of statement saying that obstruction was the only thing they are investigating now? Did he say that the call(s) were no longer an issue?
  20. All that, and you don't share the title? Don't leave me hangin'!
  21. LawrenceA

    Your Favourite Foreign Language Films Up to 2015

    Ichi, Fumihiko Sori, Japan (2008) - 6/10 Based on a manga series, this is a sequel to the classic Zatoichi stories. Haruka Ayase stars as Ichi, a young blind woman who works as a traveling singer and shamisen player. She's also a master sword fighter, having been taught by Zaotichi, who she believes may be her father. She's been searching for him for years, and her travels bring her to a village being terrorized by a bandit gang led by the mad Banki (Shido Nakamura). The film has colorful costumes and larger-than-life characters, and the fight scenes are well choreographed. The score is also well done. However, the cinematography is hi-def digital video, and I think it makes a lot of the film look like someone's home movie. I think this movie will be of interest to Zatoichi fans, but in the end it's not much different than the several dozen female-led action films that Japan was churning out in the 00's, only this one is less exploitative.
  22. LawrenceA

    "Movie" v "Film".

    I always say "let us attend the flickers", but I'm also alone, so...
  23. I don't know. I'd think a first class liar would be one who is convincing. Trump always seems like he's full of ****. Now maybe first class pathological liar, that I could go with, as he seems to be incapable of controlling himself.

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