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post #271 of 285 Old 07-09-2014, 08:13 PM
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The Quiet Earth, 1985
This title came up in the Name That Movie thread, so I acquired the German BD release just for grins.

A vast improvement over any previous US release, although it appears to have been transferred from an old DVD master, which in turn was likely taken from an older well-used film source. Full of glitches, but many scenes look quite good. 16:9 AR. A pleasure to watch after having previously only seen it in letterbox 4:3.

The story is impossible to explain, except for the post-apocalyptic world which may or may not be reality, alternate universe or whatever.

Edit to add: This release is advertised and labeled as Region-B, but it is region free.

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post #272 of 285 Old 07-28-2014, 06:33 AM
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Southern Comfort (1981), directed by Walter Hill.

Meet a unit of Louisiana National Guard on maneuvers. Through accident and stupidity they find themselves in a survival situation, battling unfriendly swamp Cajuns. None of the soldiers are suited to the task, lacking skill or temperament or both, and are picked off one by one.

The director didn't want to talk about it, but this is obviously "Vietnam in the bayou".

I hadn't seen this for a long time but it has always been a nostalgic favorite. Walter Hill tends to deliver entertainment value, but I see more of its flaws now.

We have a strong beginning with introductions, particularly noting the two clever "operators" in the unit: Keith Carradine -- relaxed and accepting the bad craziness, and Powers Boothe -- transplanted Texas tough guy, outraged at the insanity.

The ending is also very good, with serious tension, paranoia and excessive explosive violence in a swamplands party with it's great music, friendly locals and explicit hog slaughtering.

The long muddled middle is more of a problem:

  • Apart from the two leads, the characters are all caricatures: either wannabe warriors or lazy good old boys -- verging on moronic -- who don't mind occasional murder and looting.
  • "Coach" goes spectacularly crazy with scarcely any warning.
  • The escape plot is exciting, but when the invisible enemy drops huge trees all around them: forget it, we've entered fantasy land.

Still, it's a great, gritty, rewatchable action picture.

Very cool dobro score by Ry Cooder. Many lovely long-focus shots of the bayou toward the beginning. Great 1980s cast.

Shout Factory Blu-ray. The color palette is a subdued army drab, probably matching the original film. I don't remember if I saw this in the theater.



-Bill
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post #273 of 285 Old 07-28-2014, 08:09 AM
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Re: Southern Comfort (1981), directed by Walter Hill.

Have always had a warm place in my heart for Walter Hill because he directed the very first episode of Deadwood.
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post #274 of 285 Old 07-28-2014, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by wmcclain View Post
The director didn't want to talk about it, but this is obviously "Vietnam in the bayou".
Also obviously a Deliverance knock-off.

Haven't seen this in years, but I enjoyed it about the same as you did.

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post #275 of 285 Old 08-15-2014, 08:51 AM
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WarGames (1983), directed by John Badham.

A high school hacker looking for unreleased computer games mistakenly finds a backdoor into North American missile defense. He starts a game of "Global Thermonuclear War" which becomes pretty tense pretty quickly. Realizing his mistake he tries to shut it down, but the computer takes its games seriously. Unstoppable countdown to WW3...

It's slickly written, moves along nicely and is still a lot of fun, if rather light. Given recent history, the notion that military computers can be hacked by kids is more believable now than it was at the time.

The Cold War still had years to run when this wry teen-romance entry in the gut-wrenching-threat-of-nuclear-war genre was made, which is pretty bold. I'm not sure they ever got credit for that. Adding a more adult, emotional dimension: the grief and cynicism of Dr Falken, with the war computer as a surrogate for his lost son.

The second climax in the war room when the computer plays hundreds of nuclear war simulations, looking for a solution, is really stunning. I always thought those big screens were done as post-production opticals, but no: each screen had a film projector behind it.

Second film for both Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy. I always like seeing John Wood (Dr Falken) and Barry Corbin (General Beringer).

Misc notes:
  • Apple and IBM had begun mass-market home PCs by the time this film was made, but the kid has older generation gear: that brief silver age when cheap computers were kit-based and you needed considerable skills to get them working.
  • See his acoustic coupler? Nobody misses those. Likewise for the 8" floppies: their drives sounded like a piano rolling down the stairs.
  • An office gag we used to do: point your finger and say, "Turn the key, sir! That's not the procedure! Turn the key, sir!"
  • The kid gives the computer a voice, but we continue to hear it even when we are away from his gear. Maybe we are supposed to understand this is imaginary, not audible to the characters. The writers said "The audience won't care".
  • The voice is an electric Dr Falken, a nice touch.
  • Sparks flying out of stressed computers is a bit of 1960s dumbness.

Available on Blu-ray. A pleasant commentary track with the director and two writers gives production details and good insight into the overall design of the screenplay. Made in 1998 it is a bit of a time capsule itself: their comments on dated technology reference their own now-dated technology.



-Bill
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post #276 of 285 Old 08-15-2014, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by wmcclain View Post
Available on Blu-ray. A pleasant commentary track with the director and two writers gives production details and good insight into the overall design of the screenplay. Made in 1998 it is a bit of a time capsule itself: their comments on dated technology reference their own now-dated technology.
Yep, in the world of computers everything is old-fashioned before you know it. In 1983, when WarGames was released, I had yet to buy my first PC, although I had bought a couple of CP/M machines for my firm in the late '70s. We owe it all to Moore's Law, I guess.
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post #277 of 285 Old 09-19-2014, 04:09 AM
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Night of the Comet (1984), written and directed by Thom Eberhardt.

What do two sisters do when a comet has reduced most of the human race to red powder and the others to savage carnivorous zombies? Get guns and head to the mall!

A lightly comic end of the world story, mashing up a lot of earlier efforts. The chief funny bit is the juxtaposition of the girls' pretty good army-brat survival skills ("Daddy would have gotten us Uzis") with their shop till you drop and competitive dating interests.

I remember a lot more zombie-action than is actually here. We have just a couple of incidents. It begins like a John Carpenter-genre film, but that may be another bit of mash-up.

I confess: there are some funny bits and the mall segment made me laugh. They are supposed to be using Valley-Girl-speak, but it is less noticeable now. Maybe the language has changed and we've gotten used to it. Or it was never there.

I'm luke-warm on this one. Good concept, could have been better done.

Shout Factory Blu-ray with three commentary tracks and other extras.

There is a Peter Yates film, written by William Goldman: Year of the Comet (1992), a flopped action/romantic comedy. It's not very good, but my wife wants it. The PAL DVD is out of print and was cropped.



-Bill

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post #278 of 285 Old 10-01-2014, 08:42 AM
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The Fog (1980), written and directed by John Carpenter.

Strange doings on the coast between midnight and one when fog rolls in and ghost lepers plague a cursed town.

That's about it. Good cast and many jump-shocks in this one, probably a worthy date film for the scary-but-not-very-gruesome market.

A clever setup: ghost stories on the beach. What are these films other than campfire tales in a new medium?

Available on Shout Factory Blu-ray.



-Bill
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post #279 of 285 Old 10-14-2014, 08:31 AM
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Pumpkinhead (1988), directed by Stan Winston.

When his little boy is accidentally killed by vacationing city kids, the father visits a witch-woman deep in the woods, so old she looks undead. By paying the ultimate price he can have vengeance. Too late he finds it's not what he wanted.

This is one of my favorite creature-features. Understand: this is not exactly a high art form.

You can see problems with the production:

  • The city folk are the usual anonymous mix of snotty and nice.
  • Cute kid with big glasses, cute dog, doting father.
  • Plenty of night-time blue light.
  • The country folks talk kind of Appalachian but this is obviously California. (I suppose the Golden State can have migrants with undying witch-women, too).
  • The solution to the creature derives from the "moral little tale" nature of the plot, which is a bit too neat.

...but its good features remain:

  • A tragic horror film, powered by grief.
  • The moral little tale is a good one: vengeance takes you to Hell.
  • The backstory, unexplained but hinting at nightmarish reality. Sensible people lock the door and don't look out the window.
  • The creature has a wicked sense of humor, smirking as it goes about its business.
  • Lance Henriksen fan club. (He has fake front teeth, said he needed them to get into the role).

Available on Shout Factory Blu-ray with a gang commentary track and many extras, all copied from the earlier DVD, I believe.



-Bill
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post #280 of 285 Old 10-15-2014, 10:16 AM
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That looks nice...........I havent ever seen that bud!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ash_man
See I don't think Aliens is dumb at all, I think Cameron nailed it for what it was when it was, a bunch a space marines are going to save some colonists, and Ripley has a score to settle along with facing her worst fears
 
Indeed!!!

I first heard of ALIEN on the movie FERRIS BUELLERS DAY OFF!!!!!

I luckily found an original copy of Alien 1,2 and 3 on VHS (Not digitally altered) and they are beautiful!!! (I hadnt ever seen them and wanted the original experience)

Then I found part 4 (salvation army) someone had copied from its official tape onto another one..... (Luckily they recorded it in SP mode and it was excellent,like watching it on analogue cable)


Part 4 was excellent!!!!!!!!


I would rate it like this

1 - Excellent
2 - Excellent
3 - Somewhat weak...It was OK though
4 - Excellent

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Originally Posted by wmcclain
Real Genius (1985), directed by Martha Coolidge.
 
I wondered if anyone was gonna mention this movie Billy!

THIS IS ONE OF MY FAVOURITE 80s MOVIES!!!!!! -- I am very happy to have the orginal movie on VHS (No letterbox crap @ the end)

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post #281 of 285 Old 10-15-2014, 10:36 AM
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I wondered if anyone was gonna mention this movie Billy!
"Billy"? That takes me back.

Quote:
THIS IS ONE OF MY FAVOURITE 80s MOVIES!!!!!! -- I am very happy to have the orginal movie on VHS (No letterbox crap @ the end)
I know from other threads that you prefer VHS over other formats, unaccountable as that is to the rest of us. Have you seen this documentary?



It's a history of home video tape and the people who obsessively collect it. I found it pretty amazing.

-Bill
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post #282 of 285 Old 10-15-2014, 01:30 PM
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I know from other threads that you prefer VHS over other formats, unaccountable as that is to the rest of us. Have you seen this documentary?

It's a history of home video tape and the people who obsessively collect it. I found it pretty amazing.
I think you will have to give up on this fellow, Bill. It has been explained to him in several earlier posts that VHS tape, with a resolution of only 480i is inferior to DVD, which has a resolution of 480p, and exponentially inferior to modern Blu-ray discs, which have a resolution of 1080p. Nevertheless he, unaccountably to everybody else, continues to claim that VHS tapes of films are somehow superior to discs because VHS is analog but discs are digital. I can't continue to contemplate where in the Child's Garden of Misinformation he found this nugget, for this way lies madness.
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post #283 of 285 Old 10-15-2014, 01:37 PM
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Well, to each his own. Another man's passion (usually) does no harm to me. Rewind This! was done with affection and I think many would enjoy it.

(Our hopes for these review threads is that we would stick to reviews and not derail into extensive discussion. We break the rule sometimes but try to get back on track asap).

-Bill
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post #284 of 285 Old 10-15-2014, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by wmcclain
I know from other threads that you prefer VHS over other formats, unaccountable as that is to the rest of us. Have you seen this documentary?



It's a history of home video tape and the people who obsessively collect it. I found it pretty amazing.
 
No buddy I have heard of it but havent ever seen it.... Its good huh?
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post #285 of 285 Old 10-15-2014, 03:36 PM
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Well, to each his own. Another man's passion (usually) does no harm to me. Rewind This! was done with affection and I think many would enjoy it.

(Our hopes for these review threads is that we would stick to reviews and not derail into extensive discussion. We break the rule sometimes but try to get back on track asap).
Understood but sometimes obdurate refusal to recognize scientific facts brings out the worst in me. If all goes well, it won't happen again, though.
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