The biggest mystery here is why this film was such a mess / failure / misfire. I'm not a fan of Agatha Christie's works though find some of the Miss Marple filmed stories entertaining, less so those of M. Poirot. I read the novel sometime in the late 70s and have seen the earlier Albert Finney 1974 version (one of its many TV broadcasts) ... many years ago.
I was looking forward to seeing this modern take on the story (well-liked by a relative) but I ask, as always, what's the point in a remake unless there is something new to offer, or something to improve. Perhaps the answer is: I disliked Kenneth Branagh's interpretation of Poirot less than I disliked Finney's.
Otherwise, everything - with the exception of the music score - comes off second best (albeit my memory of the earlier version is vague). A dreadful start with Poirot solving a crime at the Wailing Wall, awful fake scenes throughout, settings in the least cold snowbound winter ever, undeveloped characters, irrelevant and stupid action scenes (I thought I was watching Charles Bronson in Breakheart Pass (1975) for a few minutes! ) and, once again, a huge waste of a (mostly) great cast. Oh, and a stupid throw-away line at the end setting up the next story ...
For the 1974 film, Richard Rodney Bennett composed a score which is anything but unmemorable but it does divide opinions. Here Patrick Doyle's score is more subdued but very nice and effective ... though the awful play-out song had me grabbing the remote.
IMDb lists 15 producers ... is this a reason for the film's failure? Too many cooks ... ?
If I watch MotOE again ... it'll be the 1974 version. Mitch
Death Occurred Last Night 8/10 with Raf Vallone and Frank Wolff. I sniffed this one out because of the groovey Ferrio thread, glad I did. It's a little cracker. The two leads are very good and support are quite decent. Not as violent as these films usually are. Story is also good. Raf's daughter ( a 25 year old with a 3 year old's mind,standing over 6 foot tall and happens to be a nymphomaniac!!!) is kidnapped and later killed. Wolff is the sympathetic cop on the case. RAF finds the kidnappers are closer to home than he thought.
Followed by Terror of the steppes 5/10 with Kirk Morris. I fell a sleep during this one but what I remember was ok. Kirk looked a bit of a prick with his quiff dyed blonde. Mum was happy though- he took his top off in this one. It looked alright and was quite brisk. Best thing was Rustichelli's music, available at all good outlets.
Solid but unsatisfying 1990 biopic about the Kray twins, Ron and Regie -- a pair of cutthroat, bloodthirsty racketeers in 1960s London, who despite (or perhaps because of) their reputation, achieved celebrity status in Britain (and were even lampooned in the Monty Python sketch "The Piranha Brothers"). However, this cinematic depiction of their notorious exploits never proves quite as compelling as the real life subjects themselves.
Good cast though -- pop stars Gary and Martin Kemp are terrific in the title role(s), as is a supporting cast of first-rate talent including Billie Whitelaw, Steven Berkoff and John McEnry.
Stylistically, the film feels claustrophobic. Though set in London, 90% of the action takes place on side streets and mews which could be in any British city. Curiously, The Krays was released the same year as Goodfellas (and covers much of the same time period) but lacks the visceral and satirical energy which bursts from every frame of Scorsese's movie. The Krays is in comparison a perfunctory, almost dispassionate look at its subjects. We are shown a good deal of the grisly acts perpetrated by the twins (who seemed to revel in sadistic violence) but while disturbing to behold, the film never really feels especially deep and immediate.
Michael Kamen's score may well be his worst, entirely realized on his Kurzweil synthesizer, and sounds like little more than random keyboard noodles. (Still, it's gold compared to 90% of what passes for film music today.)
Honest Thief 1.5/10 I saw this new Liam Neeson thriller the pictures; 13 people in a room fit for about 200. Probably what the film deserved.
It's an incredibly formulaic, middle-of-the-road film. So-bad-it's-not-quite-good. The dialogue is poor, the plot is gibberish, the music is the usual, and it honestly feels at times like a parody of Neeson's other thrillers. There were two big unintentional laughs in the film, the cumulative effect had me in tears for a full five minutes, which i wasn't quite prepared for, and i feel like my eyes have had a salt bath.
One moment is Neeson earnestly recounting the death of his father and it goes something like this: "He drove his 1965 silver chevrolet into an oak tree at 60 miles an hour. (dramatic pause) No skid marks."
Then moments later he runs away from a guy who is on the ground with the lumbering gait of bigfoot in some old footage. Then the guy gets up to chase him - and Neeson is gone! The street is empty for 500 yards. He can only have teleported! It hits several action film tropes so hard it feels more like Airplane!
Anyway i can't recommend it but i had a right laugh with a couple of mates and it cheered me immensely.
Don't let the somewhat silly title put you off. Directed by Bernard Rose, Samurai Marathon is an outstanding production, which has gotten nowhere near the attention it deserves.
Set in the days immediately following Admiral Perry's arrival in Japan, a high-ranking warlord, Itakura Katsuakira, orders all of his retainers to take part in a day-long marathon to get in shape for the possibility of war. Unfortunately this seemingly innocuous edict inadvertently sets-off a chain-reaction betrayal, treachery and carnage.
One can see some influence of Yojimbo, Sanjuro and The Hidden Fortress, but Samurai Marathon takes these seeds of inspiration into a very in a different, and original direction, resulting in a highly exciting picture. Well-developed characters populate the film, which is really an ensemble piece, with no one main protagonist, but all of the characters are compelling, three-dimensional people. (Admittedly, though, there are arguably one or two superfluous characters.)
The film is sumptuous to behold as well, and takes full advantage of the gorgeous Japanese landscape, the culture's exquisite traditional attire and architecture, and captures the thrilling gracefulness of samurai combat.
I admit I wish someone other than Phillip Glass had done the score -- and it isn't terrible (in fact it's better than most anything else you hear today) but it still suffers from inherent "Glass-isms" (i.e. an over-reliance on repetition). (And what is it about Western directors hiring Phillip Glass to score the films they make in Asia -- Mishima, Kundun and now this movie?)
In all however, Samurai Marathon is terrific and highly underrated -- and if you ask me, the best chambara since Kobayashi’s Samuai Rebellion. (Yes, it’s that good.)
I’ve waited the better part of 50 years to finally catch up with this film, after having J.J. Johnson’s title song and soundtrack album burned in my memory for all that time. In its day, the film was considered extremely violent, but if it’s films like JOHN WICK that rate a 10 on the violence scale now, this film comes in at about a 4.
It kicks off when a three-man team, headed by “Jim Harris” (Paul Benjamin) and “Joe Logart” (Ed Bernard) knock over a Mafia money drop for $300,000, killing all of the gangster underlings as well as two responding patrol officers during their escape. Naturally, the mob wants its money back, so “Don Gennarro” (Frank Mascetta) puts his son-in-law “Nick D’Salvio” (Anthony Franciosa) on the case. For their part, the cops are none too happy either, particularly 55-year-old racist “Captain Mattelli” (Anthony Quinn) who is made subordinate to college-educated black police lieutenant “William Aliceworth Pope” (Yaphet Kotto) on the investigation.
So, a three-way struggle begins as the Mafia and the cops each try to get to the rip-off artists first, while they in turn try to hang on to their loot. When any of the parties meet, violence inevitably results—beatings, shootings and torture. With at least nine major characters to follow, the film is hard-pressed to sketch them out in anything but the broadest strokes.
Still, for all its brutality, the film is a great example of a gritty early ‘70s urban procedural. It also takes time to look at the various positions of blacks in this underworld—as the heist perpetrators, as cops, and as members of the Mafia itself. This is particularly true of the blacks in the mob, who chafe at the disrespect they get from their Italian-American superiors. There’s more going on in this film than a simple crime/chase drama.
One thing that I discovered in watching the film is that the famous Bobby Womack-sung title song, which leads off the LP, is nowhere to be found in the film. The opening title song in the film is a different and shorter arrangement of that piece. I’d never noticed it before, but the United Artists album is (as so many of that label’s releases were) accurately identified as the “Original Motion Picture Score,” not the actual soundtrack. A version of the title song closer to what appears on the film’s soundtrack does show up on the album, as the last track. And I’ve always liked the film’s poster.
The film comes with a reputation and happily I didn't expect much ... indeed, I didn't expect to watch it through I think I'd tried it some years ago but it was a poor quality picture, etc. whereas this TV broadcast was clean with good sound.
It wasn't as poor as I'd feared and it kept me watching just to find out how ludicrous the story became. I've not read the novel so have no idea how true to its source this script was. Awful is an understatement.
Some nice scenery, a pleasant cast though Anthony Andrews and Victoria Tennant were badly miscast, a couple of weak action scenes and a complete mess of a finale. There's a longish sequence in Berlin red-light district featuring a street-set dance/performance art troupe including many semi-nudes ... all a waste of screen time ... leading to one of the fake action scenes.
Michael Caine is very good as the innocent completely out of his depth ... it's a shame his character can suddenly use a pistol with such accuracy!
It's one of those scripts where you're not told just who most of the lead characters are, or what their motives are. I'm not tempted to read the Robert Ludlum novel to see if it makes any sense.
The music score by Stanislas Syrewicz was interesting, once the awful opening sequence was over. After that it sounded exactly like his underscore to Biggles (1986). I can't say it was good ... just not what you'd expect for such a thriller. Mitch
Part comedy, part monster movie the story is about a post apocalyptic world where mutated animals rule the world and humans hide in bunkers only coming out to search for food, water and resources. Our (not very able) protagonist separated from his girlfriend after a monster attack discovers seven years later she is still alive and living in another community about 85 miles away. He decides to leave the safety of his group to reunite with her again.
The opening montage/monologue sequence was rather cringe worthy. I thought it was trying to hard to be jokey and it just came off very annoying. After the opening sequence the film became very grounded but in a good way.
The film has a lot of heart. There's friendship and companionship. The people in this world look out for one another and support each another. Its so unlike most modern day films (and television series) where characters are unlikable, selfish and cutthroat.
If you like dogs you’ll love the relationship the protagonist has with his canine friend. There's an adventurer and his young niece. They’re hilarious and a riot. In fact the dog and kid steals the show. This is how you do pets and kids in films. There's a surprisingly tender scene when our hero discovers an old damaged robot programed for companionship. They just talk and our hero opens up about his feelings. About his past and about the girl he wants to reunite with.
The location shooting was gorgeous. Lots of beautiful landscapes and the set pieces were always interesting from a visual standpoint in this post apocalyptic world. There's no color degrading or color saturation here.
The film isn’t without some issues. Many of the sequences felt rushed. For example, the key monster action sequences are over within minutes, probably due to budgetary restrictions. So there isn’t much in the way of man on monster action or much of a pay off in that regard. The CGI monsters are a bit cartoony looking but I didn’t mind so much since the film takes a comedic tone most of the time.
They also rushed the third act which felt tacked on. The film felt like it was starting over with new characters and plot twists that just weren’t properly developed. The last act needed a total rewrite.
The story and situations aren’t all that original and you have to toss logic out the window to really enjoy this film but in the end its quite entertaining, funny and at times endearing .
This offbeat French-Belgian film follows shy 20-something “Jeanne Tantois” (Noémie Merlant). She lives with her sexually aggressive mother (Emmanuelle Bercot), who has been abandoned by her husband. Jeanne is sexually repressed, and currently works the graveyard shift at a local amusement park as a janitor.
The park has a new attraction—a Tilt-a-Whirl-type ride called the “Move It.” Late one night, the machine seems to respond to Jeanne’s gentle cleaning touch by flashing its lights. Soon she is communicating with it on a regular basis, naming it “Jumbo,” and an “affair” develops.
A fantasy like this depends upon a believable central character, and the film gets an extra point for Merlant’s performance. This is writer-director Zoé Wittock’s first feature film, and she pushes the crazy premise one f-stop too far at the end. But Thomas Roussel helps by providing a sensitive score.
God Forgives, I Don't 8/10 with Terence Hill, Bud Spencer and Frank Wolff. This was the duo's first official film together. I think it's better than the following two. It's more straightforward dramatic ( i.e. no circuses). There's humour but it's not a comedy. They are after recovering gold to that's been stolen by Wolff, who people think is dead. Decently made and filmed. Rustichelli's music is fine. It's not typical western music, he even uses the choir singing the dies irae lyrics. Followed by Ursus and the Tarter princess (1961) 7/10 with Ettore Manni, Yoko Tanni and Joe Robinson. More of a film about Manni and Tanni's characters. Ursus was really a side kick. I didn't fall asleep in this one. It got decent colour, Manni looks good in a red tunic + now on mum's hunk list). Music by AFL was fine, if not quite memorable.
FRAMED 1975 After Varrick and Outfit Joe Don Baker chalked up some starring roles like Walking Tall, and this little-known beauty. Well made despite seemingly low budget about nightclub owner and gambler who gets framed, kills a crooked cop in self defence and then spends 4 years behind bars, comes out on a vengeance trail. Baker always was a believable heavy back then and looked capable. Quite graphically violent in places, one hitman has his ear shot off, but it isnt gory like 80s slasher films. Music is by "Pat Williams"
Id go 7.8 out of 10. It had some gritty 70s originality and the prison period was well handled. Currently showing on talking pictures
“Cole Freeman’s” (Philip Ettinger’s) life is in precarious balance in his small Appalachian mining town. His day job is as an aide in a nursing home, but in his off hours, he deals opioids to a regular clientele, not only to support himself, but his aged grandmother (Tess Harper) and demented-and-fading-fast grandfather (Frank Hoyt Taylor), who have raised him since childhood. Cole’s retail pill dealing is tolerated by the local drug kingpin, meth dealer “Everett” (Marc Menchaca), because it serves as a gateway drug to his product. The local cops are watching both of them, but so far haven’t been able to make their case.
Coming in to upset the apple cart is Cole’s old frenemy “Terry” (Cosmo Jarvis). Having lost his job in the mines, he’s looking to break into the drug business, specifically cooking meth. If Everett gets wind of this, bad things are going to happen. Meanwhile, one of Cole’s co-workers at the home is the girlfriend of the local cop. She tells Cole that his pill dealing is putting all of the elderly in the home at risk—the authorities will restrict prescriptions for the home’s patients if they find that an employee has been dealing. Then Cole’s long-absent mother returns, stirring up old feelings of abandonment and resentment. Cole’s life is starting to get very complicated.
One of the main themes of this film is that most people have a mix of good and bad in them. Cole is not just a drug dealer, but someone who cares for the most vulnerable in our society, not only his own flesh and blood, but others as well. The town’s most flagrant druggie, “Reese Campbell” (Michael Trotter), may be a two-time loser, but is a mellow soul just looking to get by—and he’s Cole’s best friend. Terry and Cole have a checkered history, and Cole is torn between helping the desperate Terry and not jeopardizing his delicate position in the local drug trade.
All of this plays out in the confines of a small mountain valley town. The location is never specified, but the picture was shot in Harlan County, Kentucky. Director Braden King has made a fine adaptation of Carter Sickels' 2012 novel.