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Movies, Concerts, and Music Discussion > Review films of the 1980s here!
Mr.G's Avatar Mr.G 09:14 AM 04-24-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by wmcclain View Post

A Room with a View (1985), directed by James Ivory.

-Bill

Bill - thanks for the review, watched it once long ago but never forgot it. Seems to be a classic of sorts, references to this film pop up occasionally on different movie websites.

Will revisit it soon since it's streaming on Netflix, as is Enchanted April.

The 2007 TV remake was not as good as the original.

-G

wmcclain's Avatar wmcclain 11:31 AM 05-22-2013
Talk Radio (1988), directed by Oliver Stone.

A Dallas shock jock has a late night call-in show where he viciously abuses every caller. His theme is "Bad to the Bone". His listeners are sad, damaged people, but occasionally it gets too real to be even cruelly entertaining. Now and then he hears from dangerously crazy people.

We'd like to think there is a caring person behind all that, but he is too troubled to sort out. He is always angry, perhaps self-loathing and unable to love. He wants his ex-wife back but savages her when she calls into the program.

This is one of Oliver Stone's more straight-forward films, probably because it was already a play written and performed by Eric Bogosian, who also stars in the movie. It's not really about Alan Berg but there are parallels to his life and death.

Towards the end the psycho-drama descends into playwright-speak, but our hero is such a professional motor-mouth that it might be realistic in this case.

The "message" is diffuse: reflections on talk without communication and the dangerous night thoughts of the American underclass.

Young Alec Baldwin is the station manager, with Michael Wincott doing a great turn has a brain-dead talk radio groupie, simultaneously contemptible and scary.



-Bill
wmcclain's Avatar wmcclain 01:20 PM 06-01-2013
Angel Heart (1987), written and directed by Alan Parker.

A scruffy detective is hired to find a missing person. It gets curiouser and curiouser and a trail of bodies accumulates from New York to New Orleans and other infernal regions. Turns out he doesn't want find this guy. He really doesn't want to find him.

At the time I remember being confused about how this was intended. Is it meant to be a private eye story that gradually morphs into a supernatural thriller, or are we supposed to recognize the satanic element from the beginning? The music gives us the horror/thriller cues from the very start.

What I now notice most is how much everyone seems to be enjoying this project, with Mickey Rourke giving one of his most memorable performances (which is saying a lot), and how great are all the decaying, grubby, sweaty locations. The taint of spiritual loathsomeness comes across strongly.

It was controversial for a bloody sex scene. Lisa Bonet was in The Cosby Show before this; after this she wasn't.

Notes:

  • I'd forgotten we have Charlotte Rampling for a couple of scenes.
  • Slow electric fans and the color red: you know the devil is close by.
  • He likes at least one Black church as well.
  • As is traditional in private eye stories, much of the plot is following leads and interviewing people. As in Chandler this can go on and on: when the style carries you along it works, else it will become tedious.
  • They talk out the plot a couple of times, but it is fairly complicated so maybe we need that.
  • When the devil is closing in you have nightmares and can no longer distinguish dream from reality.
  • Smoking, drinking, nudity, sex, incest, violence, blood, dismemberment, murder, damnation and an elevator ride to Hell: we have it all.
  • What is his problem with chickens?
  • Trevor Jones score.

Available on Blu-ray.



-Bill
darthrsg's Avatar darthrsg 04:08 PM 06-09-2013
My Neighbor Totoro 1988


What a delightful film for anyone with a soul. A simple story of two young girls who move to the country and befriend a spirit of the wood. Nearly everything in the movie is perfect and it's a delight to watch. There is no violence to speak of and it's perfect family fare. There's just enough whimsy to keep the adults wondering and to keep the kids involved. Studio Ghibli films are known for quality and this is no exception. I found myself getting lost in several of the small moments in this film like the dam for the creek, the water pump being primed, and the movement of Mei on the stairs. I can't say that any Disney movie has drawn me in this deep before. The realistic way the kids and their father interact is a nice bonus too. The setting and the interaction with it and the kids is nearly poetry in motion. Highly recommended for the younger set and the older set alike.




dragonbud0's Avatar dragonbud0 05:21 PM 06-10-2013
Like Peter Pan, who wants to grow up?

I've been a long time Miyazaki fan. Disney does not quite do it for me, especially anything after Lion King. The last anime I re-watched this year was Castle in the Sky, in glorious 1080p.
darthrsg's Avatar darthrsg 05:28 PM 06-10-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by dragonbud0 View Post

Like Peter Pan, who wants to grow up?

I've been a long time Miyazaki fan. Disney does not quite do it for me, especially anything after Lion King. The last anime I re-watched this year was Castle in the Sky, in glorious 1080p.
Thanks to my two year old I've seen Totoro sixty times in the last thirty days.
wmcclain's Avatar wmcclain 12:29 PM 06-16-2013
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), directed by Steven Spielberg.
Quote:
It's not the years, honey, it's the mileage.

The grandaddy and still the best of the modern retro-adventures (setting aside Star Wars (1977) as the space opera equivalent). The sequels can't match the original charm and excitement. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) tries to copy the formula but a copy is never as fresh.

The best feature of the story is the looming mystery of the Ark itself -- a holy relic that will not be messed with. Egypt adds a Biblical background, as if we were traveling in history itself.

Also good: the return of guilt-free fun, hearkening to a more innocent age. Harrison Ford and his character make the movie work.

The not so good: in reviving the children's adventure serial, the filmmakers sometimes think their audiences are willing to be more child-like than they probably are. The stock characters sometimes seem less "fun" than "cheap and easy": child-like Arabs, dastardly nazis. The silly fighting stunts in the market with the comic score.

Notes:

  • I'm embarrassed to say it, but this is the first time I noticed the opponent in Marion's drinking contest was an Aussie climber with other mates to encourage him. I thought they were Nepalese locals. This makes it much funnier.
  • Indy really goes to the dogs when he thinks Marion is dead. She must be the one.
  • My personal precious moment: Indy and Sallah causally strolling through the nazi dig, hiding in plain sight, just getting it done.
  • Belloq is a good villain. Charming but vicious, yet not as bad as the nazis. In the end he really does care about the Ark.
  • Poor snakes!
  • Indy is given three verbal warnings not to seek the Ark, by people he should listen to. Then there is that monster desert storm.
  • As always: as an archeologist he is a one-man wrecking crew.
  • More violence here than in the old matinee serials.
  • The long one-damn-thing-after-another action sequence that starts with actually finding the Ark: there has never been anything like it. People try, but the balance of stunts, humor and excitement is hard to accomplish.
  • A big thrill at the time: on the freighter deck, Marion is obviously naked beneath that white satin dress.

Available on Blu-ray.



-Bill
darthrsg's Avatar darthrsg 07:48 AM 06-26-2013
The Mosquito Coast. 1986.

The premise of this film mesmerizes me to this day. As a child, I watched in awe of somebody wanting to leave the USA. In the 80's we were the good guys and knew who the enemy was, at least I thought I did. Now the premise is actually being talked about by my peers. No longer are the black and white hats so distinctly identified.

As fond as I am of Harrison Ford in the Indiana Jones role I feel this is his best character. A frenetic; seemingly intelligent father takes his family to Central America to start a new life away from the evils of America. In that journey we see a "man of science man of faith" struggle develop between the members of the family, the locals, and the environment. The film always felt real to me and I've often wondered if anyone actually did a similar thing. As I've aged I see they have to lesser degrees.

You can't mention this movie with mentioning River Phoenix. His ability to play his actual age is unparalleled. As a male close in age to him I most directly identified with his role and the feelings he projected. Helen Mirren is equally good as the mom trying to keep things together.


I feel this movie is relevant today and if you have't seen it you should add it to your list.


Kalovaku's Avatar Kalovaku 11:56 AM 06-26-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by wmcclain View Post

Withnail and I (1987), written and directed by Bruce Robinson.


"My thumbs have gone weird!"


A British "fear and loathing" story set in 1969. If you like Hunter Thompson, this might be for you. In fact, Ralph Steadman did the original movie poster. If you don't like HST, well... maybe skip it. My wife did.


Unemployed actors Withnail (Richard E. Grant) and Marwood (Paul McGann) live a squalid existence of drugs, booze and bad craziness. The gonzo segments at the beginning and end are the best parts; the long middle is a trip to a bleak country house where Marwood fends off the aggressive sexual advances of Withnail's fruity Uncle Monty (Richard Griffiths).


Ralph Brown as Danny the Drug Dealer is a great half-comic, half-sinister character. In a menacing argument:

There is a slight story to go with the craziness: Marwood getting fed up, getting a job and getting out, leaving Withnail behind, declaiming Hamlet to the wolves at the zoo.


Available on Blu-ray, but it's only marginally better than the Criterion DVD, which was 4:3 letterboxed! It ain't no oil painting. I swear I've seen a different edit but am not going to try to prove it.





-Bill


This is probably one of my favorite movies of the 80s...or in general. Who doesn't wish they had an Uncle Monty to scare off their friends. The humor is this film is fantastic, now I want to watch it again...Youtube here I come.
wmcclain's Avatar wmcclain 08:24 AM 07-05-2013
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), directed by Steven Spielberg.

A Hindu village prays for a deliverer. They get Indiana Jones & Co. Luckily for them he takes their sacred stones more seriously than he does the Ark of the Covenant or the Holy Grail.

It's grim, the worst of the series (so far) and the years have not improved it. The comedy is forced and irritating. The thrills are repellent. The future Mrs Spielberg's screaming could have been turned down from 17 to say 11.

And this hokey subplot with Indy drinking blood, getting flogged, becoming the bad Indy, later controlled by a voodoo doll: I know they were trying to recapture the adventure serials of childhood, but they could have tried harder. Maybe Lawrence Kasdan could have made it work?

Notes:

  • In the opening segment Indy gives up his relic and doesn't get the diamond. Loser. And why did he want the diamond: was it just loot?
  • Of course he'll have a kid companion when bullets are flying. We totally believe that.
  • The doom temple is built over a Hell Hole. How do you get one of those?
  • I kind of like the chief villain, Mola Ram. He has a lively wit and can rip out phantom (?) hearts.
  • The low rent script makes him rave about world domination, a pity.
  • (a) What's that monster water tank for in the mines? and (b) it is not large enough to cause that flood.
  • Why do the evil minions have rifles in one scene and bows in the next?
  • They don't eat that food in India. Never have.

Available on Blu-ray.



-Bill
Mr.G's Avatar Mr.G 11:57 AM 07-05-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by wmcclain View Post

Notes:

  • In the opening segment Indy gives up his relic and doesn't get the diamond. Loser. And why did he want the diamond: was it just loot?
  • Of course he'll have a kid companion when bullets are flying. We totally believe that.
  • The doom temple is built over a Hell Hole. How do you get one of those?
  • I kind of like the chief villain, Mola Ram. He has a lively wit and can rip out phantom (?) hearts.
  • The low rent script makes him rave about world domination, a pity.
  • (a) What's that monster water tank for in the mines? and (b) it is not large enough to cause that flood.
  • Why do the evil minions have rifles in one scene and bows in the next?
  • They don't eat that food in India. Never have.

-Bill

I own the Indy set of Blu-rays and had been avoiding this title until last night. All of your comments came to mind as well. I forced myself through the second act and dozed off briefly.

Let me add to your list:

1. I am always amazed at how Kate Capshaw's character survives the descent into the Hell Hole (volcanic pit) hovering a few feet above the heat.
2. The stunt work on this film is embarrassing and even the great Pat Roach is used badly here.
3. The company of British Indian Army riflemen showed up to save the day - why and from where?

I could go on but why bother - a little poetic license is fine but this film was obviously scripted out on a restaurant napkin during lunch.

-G
wmcclain's Avatar wmcclain 03:04 PM 08-06-2013
Babette's Feast (1987), directed by Gabriel Axel.

When I saw this years ago it seemed -- apart from the sumptuous meal that I suppose everyone remembers -- a bit bleak, even grim. Even then I saw the contrast between the cold Jutland north and the sunny French south, the austere Protestant village enlivened by a Catholic master chef, and the mysterious way in which bodily delights can produce spiritual reconciliation and even exaltation. But in the end it seemed pretty sad.

It is more hopeful now. The intertwined lives, the way things work out. Worse than getting old is being old and bitter, but we see it doesn't have to be that way.

That sensual pleasures may be spritually uplifting: aren't we trained to believe the flesh is corrupting? But it need not be so. Most people (I hope!) experience sex as both inner and shared joy, although we hardly ever see it presented as such in the movies. Sex has many difficult dimensions; food is safer. None of our characters are gluttons; if their pleasures were of a different sort most filmmakers would show them as more obsessed.

More simply: "The things that make us happy make us wise" -- John Crowley, Little, Big.

Here's an article by someone who cooked Babette's cailles en sarcophage.

Criterion Blu-ray.



-Bill
Mr.G's Avatar Mr.G 04:16 PM 08-06-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by wmcclain View Post

Babette's Feast (1987), directed by Gabriel Axel.

Thanks. Saw this so long ago I've completely forgotten about it. Think I'll revisit it soon since it's streaming online in the Hulu+ Criterion Collection.
rdgrimes's Avatar rdgrimes 09:16 PM 08-06-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by wmcclain View Post

Babette's Feast (1987), directed by Gabriel Axel.

When I saw this years ago it seemed -- apart from the sumptuous meal that I suppose everyone remembers -- a bit bleak, even grim.
-Bill

This film can morph into almost anything depending on who and when its watched. As I age, I find new things to appreciate in it. Its also about sacrifice, survival and finding artistry even in the mundane. It is, quite simply, a GREAT film. Oh, and then there's the food.
nathanddrews's Avatar nathanddrews 11:05 AM 08-12-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by wmcclain View Post

Babette's Feast (1987), directed by Gabriel Axel.

I got the Blu-ray for my mom for her birthday (it's her favorite movie) and had her over to watch it in the theater and I was very impressed. I didn't like it when I was younger, but the film's visual subtleties really came through on "the big screen" with such a fine transfer. Since so many of the emotions of this film are conveyed via miniscule facial expressions, eye movements, and subtle color changes, It's nice to gain such a storytelling benefit from increased resolution.
oink's Avatar oink 01:55 PM 08-16-2013
Finally, one of my old favs from the 80's has made it to BD: Empire of the Sun.
After a viewing last nite, I can say the AV is outstanding and worth an upgrade for fans of the film.

The Good:
Acting is superb throughout.
Cinematography is gorgeous.
The sets and outdoor setups are first rate and can easily fool you into thinking you are looking back in time.cool.gif
The story is unique and gripping.

The Bad:
Sickeningly sweet Speilberg sentimentality often gets in the way of the intense drama on-screen.rolleyes.gif
John William's music is often completely drenched in the stuff and jarringly so, resulting in being pulled out of the movie several times.mad.gif

I hadn't seen it in almost 20 years.
It's like a re-discovery thru new eyes for me.
The unfortunate thing is Speiberg couldn't get out of the way of the fine source material, resulting in unnecessary frustration.frown.gif
gwsat's Avatar gwsat 08:11 PM 08-16-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by oink View Post

Finally, one of my old favs from the 80's has made it to BD: Empire of the Sun.
After a viewing last nite, I can say the AV is outstanding and worth an upgrade for fans of the film.

The unfortunate thing is Speiberg couldn't get out of the way of the fine source material, resulting in unnecessary frustration.frown.gif

I can't remember enough about the novel to make an informed comparison of the book to the film. I do remember, though, the remarkable performance in the movie of the then 13 year old Christian Bale. No wonder he went on to become a big time star! I also vividly recall John Malkovich's wonderful performance as an entrepreneurial American serviceman.
wmcclain's Avatar wmcclain 08:25 PM 08-16-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwsat View Post

I can't remember enough about the novel to make an informed comparison of the book to the film. I do remember, though, the remarkable performance in the movie of the then 13 year old Christian Bale. No wonder he went on to become a big time star! I also vividly recall John Malkovich's wonderful performance as an entrepreneurial American serviceman.

The book is a thinly novelized autobiography. Jim was with his parents in the camp, not separated from them. But a lot of the weirder episodes really happened: the stadium full of loot, food drops from the sky, seeing the flash of the a-bomb.

The movie takes a lot from the book, but as oink says, also spreads a layer of Spielbergian idyllic childhood over the beginning.

I was a big fan of Ballard's SF from the 1960s. It was very strange to discover that many of his surreal recurring scenes were memories of those years.

-Bill
oink's Avatar oink 12:21 AM 08-17-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwsat View Post

I can't remember enough about the novel to make an informed comparison of the book to the film. I do remember, though, the remarkable performance in the movie of the then 13 year old Christian Bale. No wonder he went on to become a big time star! I also vividly recall John Malkovich's wonderful performance as an entrepreneurial American serviceman.
CB was just incredible in this movie.
Oddly, I can see so much of his adult persona already displayed in this movie.
wmcclain's Avatar wmcclain 05:31 AM 08-19-2013
Smiley's People (1982), directed by Simon Langton.

Once again, the anonymous-looking George Smiley is called out of retirement to clean up a mess for the British secret service: one of his old agents, a former Russian general, has been murdered in London. "Don't make waves, just put it to bed quietly" they tell him.

Smiley cannot be controlled. He may look like a neatly dressed old geezer wandering around without purpose, but he is a master spy, trainer of spies, and when he detects that his old Soviet rival, Karla, has made a mistake... well, one is all it takes and Smiley is deep in pursuit before his own people have any idea of what is going on.

His colleagues remind him that he is violating his own rule about retired intelligence operatives: no consulting, no independent action. "When it's over, it's over. Pull down the shades and go home." But this is Karla. Smiley can't resist bringing in the biggest prize of his career, and the Circus will just have to accept it.

Like the earlier Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1979) miniseries, viewers who don't know the story may have a hard time following this. Who are these people, and how does this all tie together? What does Smiley see that we don't? Watching the unexplained pieces come together is part of the fun.

John le Carré said that his development of Smiley in the screenplay was much influenced by Alec Guinness's understated performance in the earlier series. In the books the more excited Smiley becomes, the more bland and disinterested he seems. For an actor to both reveal and conceal that is a fine accomplishment.

Patrick Stewart returns for yet another non-speaking scene as Karla. It's poignant, the two old adversaries face to face once again, but with nothing (or too much?) to say. In a sense they've outlived the passions of their struggle, but in another way that's deceiving: old spies can cause a lot of death and destruction, something their managers understand clearly. Karla drops the lighter he took decades ago, but Smiley lets it be.

Among the other returning actors are those playing the decrepit, brainy Connie Sachs and cool field agent Toby Esterhase. It's great how Toby (unloved in the first series), after initially disdaining the project, is happy as a puppy dog to be back on the job.

Now available on Blu-ray, although my thumbnails are from the DVDs. The Blu-rays for the previous series were of indifferent image quality, so I will not bother with an upgrade unless someone tells me it is worth it.



-Bill
gwsat's Avatar gwsat 10:29 AM 08-19-2013
John LeCarre's Karla Trilogy are among my favorite works of fiction. Likewise, the wonderful Miniseries, starring Alec Guinness, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Smiley's People are to my mind among the finest filmed versions of literary works around. I am hard pressed to say which I liked best, I loved them both. Book two of the trilogy, The Honourable Schoolboy, was not filmed because the locations it would have required made it too expensive for television. That's too bad because Joss Ackland, who played Jerry Westerby in Tinker, Tailor would have been wonderful as Westerby in The Honourable Schoolboy.

I bought the DVDs of both miniseries when they were released. Unfortunately, neither their audio or video is good and they don't have subtitles. Nevertheless, they are both so wonderful dramatically, their technical weaknesses are soon forgotten. As Bill pointed out, the source material was so poor, the PQ of the BDs is not that big an upgrade. Thus, I didn't buy them.
wmcclain's Avatar wmcclain 05:00 PM 08-21-2013
Body Double (1984), written, produced and directed by Brian De Palma.

In a cunning but exceedingly improbable setup, a minor actor aids a curiously helpful friend by house-sitting an unbelievably luxurious house where he can spy on an unusually beautiful neighbor who performs a strangely professional solo sex routine every night. But wait-- someone else is watching her: an ugly dangerous-looking guy. What's going on?

Critics loathed this pastiche of Hitchcock themes. I like it better than that without liking it a lot. In the theater I remember my hands sweating during the mall scene where the director communicates the erotic excitement of following -- or stalking -- the object of desire, a fascination I suspect few of us have natively.

Other good bits: the dopey soft-core punk vampire film they are making, and the pornographic music video done to "Relax". Lots of movie-magic and illusions.

The worst scene is the murder by giant electric drill. It's supposed to be outrageous and perhaps comically excessive, just mugging the tension, but it seems dumb to me.

Craig Wasson has an interesting face but never became a big star. He's not intensely appealing as our panty-collecting hero, but can run and climb fences.

Melanie Griffith does her own nudity and her ribs are showing.

It's pretty well done; were the critics objecting to the plot goofiness? Or was it the perv content, porn subject matter, or the digs at Hollywood?

Notes:

  • Who is the victim talking to on the phone, and where is she when the double is in her apartment?
  • How do people dig such neat graves by hand, and so quickly?
  • Ebert is quoted as liking the film, although I seem to remember both he and Siskel objecting to the drill murder.
  • The telescope is a 3.5" Questar Maksutov, in production since 1954. It is too expensive for your typical voyeur.
  • Guys: never go home in the middle of the day. You don't want to know.

Available sold out already as a Twilight Time limited edition Blu-ray. In a normal industry I would say that is a clue for Sony to come out with their own disc, but the business calculations of the studios are beyond my simple minded expectations.

Good looking image with unmolested fine grain. Isolated score and some making-of extras.



-Bill
zoey67's Avatar zoey67 12:17 PM 08-25-2013
God I loved Body Double. Saw it in a theater sans 1985 on a slow summer day when I should have been in class and had one of the best movie experience ever. That part when that giant drill went through the roof with the blood coming down just about blew my head off in a good, strange way.
RobertR's Avatar RobertR 11:30 AM 08-31-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by wmcclain View Post

Talk Radio (1988), directed by Oliver Stone.

It's not really about Alan Berg but there are parallels to his life and death.
I remember Berg well, having lived in Denver at the time. I sometimes wonder how he would have fared when Talk Radio exploded in popularity in the 90s.
CruelInventions's Avatar CruelInventions 08:49 PM 08-31-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by wmcclain View Post


Craig Wasson has an interesting face but never became a big star. He's not intensely appealing as our panty-collecting hero, but can run and climb fences.



-Bill

He got out of acting, changed his name and started doing standup. He became a polarizing liberal figure when he added, "talk show host" to his resume. But he's much more successful now than he would have been had he chosen to remain an actor. So no question, Bill Maher made a wise career choice.
wmcclain's Avatar wmcclain 06:09 AM 09-01-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by CruelInventions View Post

He got out of acting, changed his name and started doing standup. He became a polarizing liberal figure when he added, "talk show host" to his resume. But he's much more successful now than he would have been had he chosen to remain an actor. So no question, Bill Maher made a wise career choice.

I've seen Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death. Bill Maher is no Craig Wasson.

-Bill
wmcclain's Avatar wmcclain 12:58 PM 10-03-2013
Blow Out (1981), written and directed by Brian De Palma.

A movie sound-man records evidence of a political murder. Would you believe it: he plays amateur sleuth, a dangerous game for an audio voyeur.

I remember not liking this much in the theater, but I was probably punishing John Travolta for being a recent teen idol. The "Liberty Bell" murders seemed a too casual plot gimmick for such brutal crimes, although the violence in this film is much less explicit than in others from De Palma. And no nudity, apart from the slasher film spoof in the opening: Coed Frenzy, fifth film in two years from offices above a porno theater. In Philadelphia

It is a dark plot, despairing in the end. No one is saved, there is no justice. Nancy Allen's character is made immortal (well...Coed Frenzy...) in her terror.

As a mashup of Blow Up and The Conversation (1974) it is very clever: a thriller for film editors and sound-men. Like the other movies, the more we see and listen, the more we discover. He uses many split screen shots, sometimes with lenses but often just with composition.

And yet: it develops slowly for a thriller, taking time to show that we have a crime, that it is a conspiracy, and that everyone who knows about it will be cleaned up. We never get to know our characters very well. The excitement picks up quite a bit in the last segment.

I think the score is way too much, sounding sometimes like a spoof of the genre.

Criterion Blu-ray, grainy and often very dark. Extras include extended bits by the director, Nancy Allen, and Steadicam inventor Garrett Brown, who was brought in to do the Coed Frenzy bit.

The best extra is a complete early De Palma feature film once thought lost: Murder à la Mod (1968).



-Bill
kittycarole's Avatar kittycarole 02:59 PM 10-23-2013
for those of you who may be interested, youtube has the full movie of to live and die in la. though not blu-ray quality, it's very watchable.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uz3-eNDpY6M
wmcclain's Avatar wmcclain 08:00 AM 10-30-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by wmcclain View Post

The Shining (1980), produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick.

Behind the scenes at The Shining.

-Bill
gwsat's Avatar gwsat 11:35 AM 10-30-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by wmcclain View Post

Blow Out (1981), written and directed by Brian De Palma.

A movie sound-man records evidence of a political murder. Would you believe it: he plays amateur sleuth, a dangerous game for an audio voyeur.

I remember not liking this much in the theater, but I was probably punishing John Travolta for being a recent teen idol. The "Liberty Bell" murders seemed a too casual plot gimmick for such brutal crimes, although the violence in this film is much less explicit than in others from De Palma. And no nudity, apart from the slasher film spoof in the opening: Coed Frenzy, fifth film in two years from offices above a porno theater. In Philadelphia

It is a dark plot, despairing in the end. No one is saved, there is no justice. Nancy Allen's character is made immortal (well...Coed Frenzy...) in her terror.

As a mashup of Blow Up and The Conversation (1974) it is very clever: a thriller for film editors and sound-men. Like the other movies, the more we see and listen, the more we discover. He uses many split screen shots, sometimes with lenses but often just with composition.

And yet: it develops slowly for a thriller, taking time to show that we have a crime, that it is a conspiracy, and that everyone who knows about it will be cleaned up. We never get to know our characters very well. The excitement picks up quite a bit in the last segment.

I think the score is way too much, sounding sometimes like a spoof of the genre.

Criterion Blu-ray, grainy and often very dark. Extras include extended bits by the director, Nancy Allen, and Steadicam inventor Garrett Brown, who was brought in to do the Coed Frenzy bit.

The best extra is a complete early De Palma feature film once thought lost:

-Bill

I have always liked Blow Out. De Palma's work has usually appealed to me and this film was no exception. It was deliciously creepy, filled with terrific performances, and a "Holy S*it!" last act. De Palma has always been the ultimate kidder so those who resent having their legs pulled should stay far away. For those of us who enjoy what he does, though, Blow Out is wonderful entertainment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wmcclain View Post

Behind the scenes at The Shining.

-Bill

Thanks, that was interesting. Kubrick's The Shining is by any measure a great film, Stephen King's opinion to the contrary notwithstanding. I watched my BD of the film again last summer and was once again blown away. King has always resented the changes Kubrick made to King's story for the film's screenplay but they worked.
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