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Mad Max: Fury Road (Special Edition DVD + UltraViolet)
Mad Max: Fury Road (Special Edition DVD + UltraViolet)
Price: $19.99

5 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Grannies, top models and Charlize Theron vs. Terminal Cancer Patients. Occasionally there is also a little guy named Max..., May 28, 2015
I don't watch remakes. I made an exception for this film. I was wrong. This movie mostly disappointed me. More of my impressions below, with some SPOILERS.

I will not delve on the story, because I don't want to provide too many spoilers. Let's just say that it is all about a female road warrior named Imperator Furioza (Charlize Theron) who in the desolate wilderness of a broken world meets a guy named Max (Tom Hardy), then they run into some fast riding unpleasant fellows. There is a lot of chasing and fighting, some bad guys and good guys die, then they meet some unexpected allies and then there is more chasing and fighting, some bad guys and good guys die, it all leads to a finale about which I will say nothing and then we can start mental preparation for the unavoidable sequel. THE END.

There are some GOOD POINTS in this film:

- the character of Furioza and the way Charlize Theron played her: this film actually is more about her than about Max and she is the one really shining thing in this whole business and no, not because Charlize Theron is smoking hot – to the contrary, her character's attractiveness was actually purposefully reduced: she is mutilated, she has almost no hair, she wears rags and her only makeup is engine oil. No, the real interest of this character is actually in her personality and also in the talent of the actress who plays her. Kudos to George Miller and Charlize Theron for Furioza;

- some good action scenes: yes, there is A LOT of actions scenes in this film and quite a lot of them are of good quality – however see also below

- some cool vehicles: there is no denying that this is a strong point of this film

- the Rock n'Roll War Wagon: I will not say much more about it (you deserve to discover it by yourself) but that vehicle (as well as one of its occupants), was actually one of the few really GREAT ideas in this film!

- the Victoria's Secret Team: once again I will not say much about them, but because of their assets they are definitely an asset…

- one bad guy is named Rictus Erectus – the character is actually quite lame, but still, he got this name…)))

However, there is also a lot of BAD POINTS

- the character of Max is messed up like totally – SPOILER HERE: he is supposed to be a road warrior but all the time he needs women to save him; there is a part of the film when he is a helpless slave, then he is a grunting ape unable to speak, then suddenly he becomes the gentle and polite knight-errant, serving courteously a group of women… He is also plagued by stupid visions and flashbacks – which is really such an idiotic and useless cliché! Jeezus Iehovovitch Christ, this character was so ruined and emasculated as possible and as result Furioza outstages him entirely. I honestly think that it would be a better idea for the next film to drop him entirely and just make it all about another, less pathetic and more b@d@ss character…

- villains are ridiculous, grotesque and frequently simply GROSS – but definitely NOT COOL. !! SPOILER, SPOILER, SPOILER INCOMING !!: making most of bad guys terminal cancer patients was NOT a good idea! Even worse was the idea of main villain being an overweight, very aged man whose body is covered in oozing purulent sores and other eruptions. I mean, what the heck George Miller, sir, how are we supposed to consider a very sick very senior citizen as a worthy opponent of Furioza!?

- not only villains are GROSS, but there are also many other GROSS elements and scenes – sorry, but me for one I don't take pleasure in watching grotesquely deformed human bodies, morbidly obese milking women, dead foetuses, etc.

- firearms are everywhere and there is an abundance of munitions; that is a very stupid mistake, because what made "Mad Max 2: Road Warrior" into such a great movie was the mixture of modern vehicles and medieval arsenal, with the two only guns being the equivalent of magic weapons. Here the presence of firearms ruins many of the action scenes – if only because the bad guys can never hit anything (sigh) but good guys never miss (re-sigh) as usual… Incidentally, even if firearms are available, many bad guys simply refuse to use them and prefer to face Charlize Theron's Glock pistol with a club or a knife… (sigh)

- there is an overkill of action scenes – if some are good, most are just very repetitive: bad guys arrive, boom, good guys kill them easily, more bad guys arrive, boom, good guys kill them easily, even more bad guys arrive, boom, Charlize Theron shoots them. It actually gets boring with time.

- there is no humour. Not even one little joke...

- some scenes are needlessly accelerated and also there is too much of "shaky camera" moments - it actually makes it difficult by moments to understand what just happened

- ONE LAST SPOILER! Last but not least, the MOST RIDICULOUS THING is that the most efficient warrior team in the whole film is a gang of grandmothers riding on Harleys, called Vulva Vanillas or something like that! I am not kidding – those Harley riding grey panthers are aged like between 70 and 80, which makes many action scenes a total joke, because how possibly can we feel any tension or excitement watching a match GRANNIES vs. CANCER PATIENTS!


1. This film is not worthy to shine the shoes of the guy who shines the shoes of the guy who shines the shoes of the original "Mad Max 2: Road Warrior", a film which didn't age, never will and still wears that crown!

2. George Miller got old and p---y whipped - and it shows.

3. Charlize Theron proves once more what we all knew ever since "Monster" - she is not only a top level looker but also a GREAT actress!.

4. Hollywood and its other Anglo-Saxon annexes seem to be less and less able to produce really good films - on another hand they sure learned how to make good trailers...

5. I am such an idiot. I had a good principle – never watch remakes. It allowed me to dodge a lot of infamous turkeys. However, baited by a very good trailer, rather than holding to my winning strategy I stupidly decided to leave my safe position and went to see this film. And now I feel sorry that I did it, as it was mostly a waste of time and money. With help of some potent potables this thing can probably be watched, but only once and you don't really need to see it the cinema – you can rent it on DVD once it is available.

The Clearing (2004)
The Clearing (2004)
DVD ~ Robert Redford
Offered by N P Sales
Price: $13.51
211 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Recipe for total disaster turkey excrement in forest dressing ("Dindon desastre entier à la merde avec sauce forestière"), May 26, 2015
This review is from: The Clearing (2004) (DVD)
Recipe for total disaster turkey excrement in forest dressing ("Dindon desastre entier à la merde avec sauce forestière")
The review of this horribly bad film was deliberately made in form of a culinary recipe - because after suffering through the 90 minutes of this abomination I wanted to have at least one moment of fun with this... this... thing.

INTRODUCTION: A rich man (Robert Redford) doesn't come back from the office and cannot be reached in any way. Alarmed, his wife of many years (Helen Mirren) alerts the police. A poor man (Willem Dafoe) who spoke with the rich man earlier this day may or may not be connected to the disappearance… And then the film begins.


TOTAL DISASTER TURKEY EXCREMENT IN FOREST DRESSING ("Dindon desastre entier à la merde avec sauce forestière")

1. Take a real life crime
2. Take three GREAT actors
3. Take nothing else
4. Remove facial muscles of your actors – they are not needed
5. Remove most of their vocal cords as well - they will hardly use them
6. Remove all emotion
7. Remove the logic
8. Put the actors in a pot with cold water.
9. Add some small potatoes (an uninteresting FBI agent, Melissa Sagemiller, a piece of paper)
10. Cook on minimum fire. Slowly. Very slowly. Very very slowly. Veeeeerrrryyy veeeerrrrryyy sloooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooowwwwwlllyyyyyyyyyyy…
11. Once comprehensibly cooked take away from water and put in another pot with cold water. Throw mercilessly away the previous water, which now contains all nutrients and taste components.
12. Bland it down by another extended cooking.
13. Once made completely tasteless, put on plate and drown it completely with A LOT of the forest images
14. Remember to never say anything interesting during all the process
15. Serve it to somebody you don't like
16. If he/she pukes, you win.

This movie represents very precisely the zero-degree of film making. Virtually nothing ever happens. Actors are not allowed to play. NOTHING interesting is ever said! The real crime, kidnapping of Dutch businessman Gerrit Jan Heijn, committed by a rather pathetic and stupid but nevertheless logically acting criminal, was made here into something absolutely, grotesquely senseless. The whole thing is depressing and purposeless. To say all of this shortly, it seems to be a kind of a French movie…

I am sorry that I bought this thing and even more sorry that I watched it and the only satisfaction I got from this film was when I threw the DVD in the garbage, recovering in the process the box, which will be put to good use. AVOID LIKE PLAGUE!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 29, 2015 10:49 AM PDT

The Astronaut's Wife
The Astronaut's Wife
DVD ~ Charlize Theron
Offered by Vintage Gorilla
Price: $14.96
226 used & new from $0.01

2.0 out of 5 stars Take « Rosemary’s Baby », add scenes from « Omen », replace Satan with aliens, dull it down and you will get this failed film, May 26, 2015
This review is from: The Astronaut's Wife (DVD)
I was very disappointed by this annoying and boring 1999 SF film. Buying it was a waste of money and watching it was a waste of time. Below, more of my impressions, with some LIMITED SPOILERS.

While on a space-walking mission, American astronauts Spencer Armacost (Johny Depp) and Alex Streck (Nick Cassavetes) meet trouble. They manage to re-establish contact with flight control after a two minute interruption, but having been both injured, they have to make an emergency landing. They manage to land safely, are hospitalized and seem to recover rather well, but their wives start to feel uncomfortable around them - it seems indeed that they have both changed… All this takes especially a toll on Armacost's wife Jillian (Charlize Theron). And then the film really begins.

There are so many things wrong with this film that it is even hard to decide where to begin. For me I think the worst thing is the total lack of originality. After a beginning which seems to be taken strait from an "Outer Limits" (great series by the way) episode, the film very quickly becomes a very, very weak remake of "Rosemary's Baby" (an infinitely better film), with some elements which are a carbon copy of their equivalents from "Omen" (a film even more infinitely better). The lack of originality is such, that even Charlize Theron haircut is a copy of one Mia Farrow used in the "Rosemary's Baby" (and, to be fair, in manyof her other films). Other than that it must be also said, that the pace of the film is very slow, not so much happens, dialogs are weak, suspense is AWOL and the ending is as lame as &£+*%!

I must go a little bit further about the dialogs – there is at least one moment when I actually burst out in embarrassed laughter, because the lines were so ridiculously awful. LITTLE SPOILER HERE. Even worse, they were supposed to be said at a somehow kinky moment, when Charlize Theron was being ravished slightly against her will – but still wrapped her (amazing) legs around her assailant… This one and only one steamy scene was however MURDERED by the words said at that moment. OK, I stop the SPOILERS here.

This film wasted completely the talent of Johny Depp, who mostly was asked to not show any emotion of any kind and play it "android style". Charlize Theron was still at the beginning of her career at that time (she was barely 24) and she was still learning her trade, but she valiantly tried to face the horrible scenario and I grant it to her, she did everything she could. But when the cause is lost from the beginning, even the most gallant efforts are in vain. Interestingly also, even if in this film she is a very attractive young damsel, she clearly blossomed in her full beauty only years later - clearly Charlize Theron is one of those girls who look better at 35 than at 20...

There is not so much to be said about the secondary characters, except for Jillian's sister Nan, played by Clea Du Vall, who is always a pleasure to watch, with her unconventional but fascinating kind of beauty. Also, one of the few good things to be said about this film, is that the producers asked veteran actress Samantha Eggar to make a cameo and therefore allowed her to cash a pay check, which she probably needed…

Bottom line, this is a bad film, which very, very deservedly bombed horribly at box office. Two stars only for Charlize Theron (and her legs). I gave away the DVD immediately after watching it – and the sensible thing would have been to do it BEFORE watching…

Tailor of Panama
Tailor of Panama
DVD ~ Pierce Brosnan
Price: $6.63
25 used & new from $2.56

3.0 out of 5 stars "Welcome to Panama, Casablanca without heroes". Welcome to "Tailor of Panama", film without clear idea about what it wants to be, May 23, 2015
This review is from: Tailor of Panama (DVD)
I was somehow disappointed by this film, even if it was watchable. Considering all the names in the credits (director, producers, screenwriters, actors) I expected a lot - and I got ultimately not so much. Below, more of my impressions, with some LIMITED SPOILERS.

Andy Osnard (Pierce Brosnan), a rather unpleasant fellow, is a British intelligence operative assigned to Panama, soon after USA handled the control of the Canal to Panama government. Looking for potential sources of information, he finds a British expatriate named Harry Pendel (Geoffrey Rush), who is a quite successful tailor and has for clients many of Panama's elite, including the President. Pendel is also married to Louisa (Jamie Lee Curtis), who works as the assistant to the administrator of the Panama Canal Authority. Sensing a perfect source, Osnard decides to either induce or coerce Pendel into working for him - it will be the beginning of a very interesting relationship... And then the film really begins...

The scenario is based on a book written by John Le Carre (he also co-wrote the scenario and co-produced the film), a renowned and successful author of spy novels - even if I personally never really liked any of his books which I tried to read. However, for "Tailor of Panama" (which I didn't read), Le Carre found inspiration in an older novel, "Our man in Havana" written in 1963 by Graham Greene - a book which I actually read and rather enjoyed. The similarities between those two books are so great, that I really think that if LeCarre didn't have the rights for "Our man in Havana", well, he simply committed a blatant plagiarism - and somehow got away with it...

Not only was the scenario written by a renowned author, but the film was directed and produced by John Boorman in person, the man who made three of my most favorite movies ("Excalibur", "Hell in the Pacific" and "Emerald Forest") as well as the extremely famous "Point Blank" and "Deliverance" (both of which I personally didn't like that much) - and yes, also the incredibly bad "Exorcist II". To my regret however John Boorman didn't make a good film since 1985 - and that one is, sadly, just a confirmation that he mostly ended his glorious period of creation with "Emerald Forest".

Actors of course are great and they all do very well, including Brendan Gleeson, Catherine McCormack (remember her from "Braveheart"?) and Leonor Varela cast in secondary roles. Fans of Harry Potter will be able to catch a glimpse of young Daniel Radcliffe, who just a couple of months later was going to start his schooling at Hogwarts - me, I must admit, I completely missed him and realized that he was in this film only when the credits started to roll...
But all this combined talent failed to produce a really good film. I believe that the biggest mistake made by the producers (who were also in charge of scenario and directing) was the inability to decide what this film should be. It is definitely too dark and not funny enough for a comedy and it is definitely NOT serious enough for a real espionage thriller. Trying to stretch itself between those two extremities this film simply felled apart. This is especially visible in the second half, when the whole plot descends into humungous idiocy. At the end I was actually quite relieved that it is finally over.

One of the things which I really didn't like, was the usual bashing of USA. The film acknowledges that Americans toppled the Noriega regime and reestablished democracy in Panama - at the expense of some their soldiers dying in the process. It also states loud and clear that just a year earlier USA, without being forced into it in any way, gave away the Canal to Panama government. And yet somehow they are shown as the source of all evil in the world... Sure, whaling on Americans is fun and also safe (unlike so many others they usually don't shoot people who merely mock them) - but it ultimately gets boring, especially when it is so unfair...

Still, most of this film is watchable, if only for the actors. Casting Pierce Brosnan as a mean, nasty and rotten alter ego of James Bon was of course a good joke. Geoffrey Rush is always a pleasure to watch in anything. Jamie Lee Curtis is still very good looking in this film and shows even some skin from time to time. Brendan Gleeson plays an obscene drunk with a great commitment and Catherine McCormack earns definitely her paycheck with some bed action... There are also a couple of good lines - although ultimately not so many.

So bottom line this is a film watchable once, if you don't expect too much from it, mostly for the performance of the three main actors. Watch at your own risk - who knows, maybe you will like it more. Me, I don't think I will keep the DVD.

DVD ~ Colin Firth
Price: $9.99
70 used & new from $1.98

4.0 out of 5 stars "This is the story of my brave, foolish friend Harry Deane and his employer Lionel Shahbandar, an absolute brute of a fellow", May 20, 2015
This review is from: Gambit (DVD)
I spend a nice, relaxing moment watching this very honest comedy, even if it is not any kind of masterpiece. Below, more of my impressions, with some LIMITED SPOILERS.

British art curator Harry Deane (Colin Firth) works for a morbidly rich and horribly abusive man, media mogul Lord Lionel Shabandar (Alan Rickman). After years of suffering he decides to take revenge on his boss, by using his one Achilles heel - Monet. Indeed Shabandar is obsessed with Monet's paintings and especially he was hunting for years and years for a little known piece known as "Haystacks at Dusk", which was plundered by Goering in 1940, but vanished since 1945. To succeed Deane teams up with a master art forger known as the Major (Tom Courtenay) and a rodeo girl from Texas, a certain PJ Puznowski (Cameron Diaz), the granddaughter of American sergeant who supposedly was the last man to see the painting in 1945... The plan is to sell a supposedly miraculously found painting to Shabandar for a ridiculous amount of money... Of course, no plan survives intact the first moments of battle and therefore from the beginning virtually everything will go wrong...))) That covers the first two minutes of the film and then the story really begins.

This is the remake of a 1966 comedy under the same title with Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine. I admit with some shame that I didn't see this film and therefore I cannot compare them - but this 2012 remake was quite entertaining and well done.

All the four main actors did really very well and once Stanley Tucci appears, in a couple of short but significant cameos, he is absolutely irresistible too...))) The scenario for this 2012 version was written by Coen brothers and you can instantly feel it, as characters are well worked out, dialogs are quite good and jokes are funny. There is only one scene in which the humour flies a little bit lower (it involves an embarassing wet spot on the pants of one of the characters) but it is not a very long one. There is no obscenities and nothing gross - in fact the film is so dignified, that one lonely f@rt joke sounds with nobility of a national anthem...))) There are also some rather surprising twists and the ending is not bad at all.

Summa summarum I liked this film, I laughed a lot and I spend a nice relaxing moment watching it. I may even keep the DVD for another viewing in the future. ENJOY!

Unfaithful (Widescreen Edition)
Unfaithful (Widescreen Edition)
DVD ~ Richard Gere
Price: $4.99
202 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars An impressive study of infidelity, showing it as an irresistible flesh+mind urge and a viciously toxic, destructive addiction, May 20, 2015
I found this film excellent on all levels and even more - it impressed me. Below, more of my impressions, with some LIMITED SPOILERS.

Connie (Diane Lane) and Edward Sumner (Richard Gere) are a middle-aged couple who live in suburban New York City with their young son. One day, when shopping in New York, Connie is surprised by a windstorm and very literally bumps into a certain Paul Martel (Olivier Martinez), a young Frenchman carrying a great pile of books... This is as much as I am going to say about the story, because you deserve to discover all the rest by yourself.

This is the remake of 1968 French film "La femme infidele", which I didn't see and therefore cannot compare them. However, considering that "Unfaithful" really impressed me, I am quite certain that it didn't dishonour the original movie. From the synopsis of "Le femme infidele" which I read, it is clear that Adrian Lyne followed the original plot quite closely, albeit some details were of course changed.

This film impressed me in many ways. First, the choice of three main actors was dead on target and the way they were used was nearly perfect. Richard Gere and Olivier Martinez (a genuine French actor by the way) are excellent but to describe the performance of Diane Lane, well, there is simply no words (great legs too)! Rarely was an Oscar nomination as much deserved as the one she got for her role in this film - it is just pity she didn't get the prize...

The scenario is strong, very strong indeed, without any weakness I could notice. The pace of events is initially deceptively slow, before picking up and accelerating - and then slowing again. This is actually exactly how it should be, because this affair is shown as a kind of "highway to hell" - and once the infernal flames are reached and make their job, picking up the pieces is quite obviously slower than the disaster itself... Mentioning here hell is very appropriate, as the seductor and tempter in this film has to him a very Mephistophelian charm - and certainly a terrific, highly efficient, obviously well-rehearsed predatory seduction technique... And, quite appropriately, he is a (charming) bringer of mayhem and a tool of destruction...

The filming technique is impressively good, like the incredible use of the windstorm and the train trips opening and closing chapters of the tale, but also all other tricks known to experienced and gifted directors. Intimacy is shown in a tasty, erotic and yet dignified way - even when really rough, primal, quasi animal sex is involved. There is not even one scene vulgar, gross or obscene - even if the abject immorality of the behaviour of two lovers is made quite obvious.

All the eroticism and some occasional discreet humour notwithstanding, this is nevertheless an absolutely heart-breaking tragedy - as it should be. Infidelity is first and before anything else a betrayal - and those make always for painful tales... The film is not highly judgmental, even if it shows clearly the infidelity as a destructive and ultimately repugnant thing. But it also shows, with sadness, that once you got the trifecta of normal life made of family, job and mortgage, well, this fife itself unavoidably steals something from even the most loving couples - and no matter how much you love your family, the urge, the want, the thirst for what was lost, can be virtually irresistible...

LITTLE SPOILER HERE! The ending is deliberately vague, even slightly more so than in the original. Ending a film without a clearly cut solution is always a risky thing (quite frequently it misfires) - but here, I believe it fits just perfectly! The ending is a kind of Rorschach test - once you watched it, you will end the story according to whatever you find in your heart.

At the risk of repeating myself, let's say it again - this film IMPRESSED ME! It will break your heart and it may not be exactly a thing to enjoy, but this is one of those movies TO SEE ABSOLUTELY!

Thirteen Days [Region 2]
Thirteen Days [Region 2]
DVD ~ Kevin Costner
Price: $11.48
14 used & new from $0.41

2.0 out of 5 stars In my modest opinion a movie both biased and disappointing, May 13, 2015
This review is from: Thirteen Days [Region 2] (DVD)
I had high hopes for this film, but I was left very unsatisfied at the end - and this is a pity because a lot of good work was done there and all actors did a good job and I have nothing to say against their performance. I was a little surprised that the main character is a rather obscure advisor, Kenneth O'Donnell, who played very little role in the crisis - but it was a very minor point.

However the typically Hollywoodian visceral anti-militarism (targeting almost exclusively US Army) really damaged this movie beyond repair. "Thirteen days" looks more like a remake of Dr Strangelove than a tale about real history. All American generals and admirals are presented as warmongers who just dream about a full scale nuclear confrontation with USSR and try their best to push Kennedy to war, even by using provocations to sabotage the actions of their own President - who is their Commander-in-Chief! Somewhere in the middle of the movie the viewer is invited to see the US military as the real villains of the story - and for anybody who has some knowledge of real history it is obvious that this view of the Cuban crisis is simply ludicrous! And the worst and the most biased treatment is reserved to two very eminent and highly efficient generals.

General Maxwell Davenport Taylor (played in this movie by Bill Smitrovich) commanded very brilliantly the 101st Airborne Division during the Second World War (he jumped on Normandy with his men), then he was the commander of West Point academy, before becoming the Army Chief of Staff. In this quality he carried Eisenhower's orders sending troops to escort black students to just desegregated schools in Arkansas. Taylor was however opposed to Eisenhower's over-reliance on nuclear weapons, considering that increased the risk of a nuclear confrontation, and it cost him ultimately his job. His career took off again with the arrival of Kennedy's. General Taylor became a close personal friend with both Kennedy brothers, to the point that Robert Kennedy named his son Matthew Maxwell Taylor Kennedy. His loyalty to the Kennedy clan was total and never questioned and was ultimately rewarded by the nomination to the post of Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, position which he held during the Cuban crisis. Or, in the movie, general Taylor is portrayed like a scheming rascally warmonger, all to his joy at the idea of a possible nuclear war - and both Kennedy's distrust him totally! Which is simply false - you do not name your children after people who are plotting against you!

An even worse treatment is reserved to general Curtis Emerson Le May (played by Kevin Conway), who during the Cuban Crisis was the Chief of Staff of US Air Force. General Le May was a great hero of World War II, directing first the strategic bombings against III Reich (1942-1944) and then the similar operations against Japan (1944-45). After the war he organized the air bridge to Berlin in 1948, giving the Free World victory in its first confrontation with Soviet Union. Then he was charged with organization of Strategic Air Command (SAC), which he created virtually from nothing starting in 1948, until it became the most efficient deterrent against Soviet threat for the rest of the Cold War. General Le May was a man of very strong opinions and he clashed verbally many times with all the presidents under which he served, from Roosevelt to Johnson - and he certainly was a difficult subordinate, frequently arguing with general Taylor (his boss) during the Cuban Crisis. But although he spend all his career bitching, complaining and yelling against the orders he received, he was never insubordinate and once definite orders were issued, he would follow them to the letter and do the job to the end. And this is what he did during the Cuban Crisis! Although a difficult subbordinate, he was also a very charismatic man and he was not devoid of a specific harsh humor - once when a guard asked him to extinguish his cigar when coming close to a bomber which just refueled, because the plane could explode, gen. Le May just growled: "It would not dare!". Or in this movie he is portrayed as a stupid, mindless, moronic warmonger, who together with general Taylor is plotting to start the war against USSR!

The movie is not entirely bad, but the excessive anti-militarism and especially the horrible and unjust treatment reserved to those two great soldiers made that I was disgusted when it finally ended. I believe the real fair and balanced movie about Cuban Crisis still remains to be made.

The 6th Day (Special Edition)
The 6th Day (Special Edition)
DVD ~ Arnold Schwarzenegger
Offered by Videophile549
Price: $4.96
67 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars "There's someone in my house, eating my birthday cake, with my family, and it's not me!", May 12, 2015
I was favourably surprised by this 2000 SF/action movie as against my expectations it was fun to watch it. Of course it is not any kind of masterpiece, but a quite honest, solid thing. Below, more of my impressions, with some limited SPOILERS.

Earth, in the near future. The cloning of animals and human organs is now a routine thing and it certainly helped solve the problem of world hunger and also saved lives of countless millions of humans. However cloning entire humans is strictly prohibited by "Sixth Day" laws (because on the 6th day God created Man – and most voting citizens are still reluctant to play God). In this finally rather pleasant future world lives a certain Adam Gibson (Arnold Schwarzenegger), a pilot and owner of a small flying company (two very futuristic helicopters). The company does rather well, but still it is a small business and therefore Gibson and his business partner and fellow pilot Hank Morgan (Michael Rapaport) take any (legal) contract they can get. When the film begins, the skiing season just started and for the last couple of days Gibson and Morgan were flying experienced, wealthy skiers to the top of some harsh mountains, from where a demanding but rewarding descent can be enjoyed.

Then a special customer hires them for such a skiing trip, Michael Drucker (Tony Goldwyn), a prominent billionaire who made fortune in biotechnologies and especially organ cloning. Drucker seems to be a rather likeable fellow, albeit he is renowned for being as tough businessman as he is a great skier. He was in the past the target of numerous assassination attempts by Christian fundamentalist extremists and therefore he is a little bit paranoid when his security is concerned – for that reason both Gibson and Morgan must first undergo blood and eye tests, before they get this very generously paid contract. Drucker requests also specifically that Gibson, a very experienced and renowned pilot (it is hinted at one moment that he is ex-military) is the one who flies him, his skis and his heavily armed bodyguard to the mountains – where, unknown to both Drucker and Gibson, a great danger awaits them... And this is at that moment that the introduction ends and the film really begins…

When this film was produced, Schwarzenegger was at a rather difficult moment in his career, because he didn't make a really good film since "True Lies" (1994), even if the rather weak "Eraser" (1996) and mostly disappointing "End of days" (1999) made some money. Being one of co-producers of "6th day", he certainly made an effort to reverse this downslide movement in quality by using some elements of his past great successes – for that reason this film looks by moments like a little brother of "Total Recall" (of course the original one, not this Colin Farrell abomination). There are also some elements concerning Gibson's family life which seem to be taken straight from "True Lies". In some scenes (and not only action scenes) there are moments in which Schwarzenegger clearly winks to the public with discreet and amusing references to "Terminator" and there are also some elements taken from an even greater (and totally Schwarzenegger-free) SF film, "Blade Runner".

There is quite a lot of lighter moments in this film and humour is mostly good, never gross or really vulgar, albeit some scenes with Hank Morgan's last model Virtual Girlfriend are a little bit… let's say "osé" (or steamy, if you are allergic to French). This film coming after the Monika Lewinsky scandal, there is a SORRY SPOILER HERE discreet suggestion that Hillary Clinton is the current president of United States – and that her first decision was to make cigar smoking into a federal offense…))) …))) …)))

This film being about human replication (because what is done in this film is definitely MORE than simple cloning), there was also the potential for more humour and the director didn't miss it. I will not go into details, but when there are two identical copies of the same guy and they have to share just one (completely unaware of the situation) wife (Wendy Crewson), that creates some hilarious scenes. Also, together with "Last Action Hero", this is the only film which gives us two Schwarzeneggers for the price of one – and that means great savings per kilo of meat…))) …))) …)))

The villains contribute a lot to this film. Other than the main master puppeteer (whose identity is classified) the bad guys are essentially the four mysterious assassins who at one moment will enter Gibson's life. Their leader is a butt ugly but well-spoken and smart thug named Robert Marshall (Michael Rooker, of "Guardian of Galaxy" fame). He is efficiently assisted by a handsome colossal blackguard (in all possible meanings of this word), fridge raider and beer aficionado Vincent Bansworth (Terry Crews, of "Expendables " fame, for whom it was the first role ever). He is also very INEFFICIENTLY assisted by P. Wiley (Rodney Rowland, of no fame at all), a skinny white jerk and blundering wannabe killer with stupid hairdo.

But the best villain is the fourth assassin, Talia Elsworth (Sarah Wynter). I always had a thing for mean girls and as a connoisseur I can honestly say that Talia is one of the most appealing specimens of physically fit total bitch I saw in years. Hot, lean, mean, expensively dressed, wearing the purple wig straight from "UFO" series, moving with the grace of a wildcat and spitting venom like a "Naja ashei", unafraid of exposing her assets on the screen, tenacious as drug-resistant syphilis and vicious like a flesh eating virus, well, Jesus Jehovovich Christ, this character is a treasure and I LOVED HER from the first moment!

Albeit they certainly mean business, those four assassins, who have secrets of their own, also provide some precious humoristic moments.

There are also some other treasures in this film, beginning with a rather good role of Robert Duvall, who was of course in it just for a paycheck, but still brought a lot into the whole endeavour. There are also some more serious moments in this SF/action B movie, including a surprisingly grave reflection on mortality vs. immortality dilemma, the immense power that some future technology could give to a totalitarian regime and a much more complicated than usual character of the lone Christian fundamentalist terrorist who at one moment appears in the film (his identity is well concealed, so I will not say anything more about him). Even the villains have their tale to tell and murderous and evil though they may be, they can also inspire some pity once we know the whole story (but ultimately not enough to deserve mercy). Now, of course, let's say it again, this is just a SF/action B movie – but there are also some little elements in it that could come straight from a Philip K. Dick novel.

Finally, there are some twists in the film, which are rather well done, even if of course we should not expect the kind of surprises like in "Sixth Sense" or "Usual Suspects". Those twists actually explain towards the end of the film some of the things which seem to be plot holes in the beginning – so be patient with "6th day", it is much less silly than it seems in the first half an hour. And the ending is actually not so bad at all – much better than it could be expected.

I am little bit surprised that this film bombed at the box office. Granted, as of today, in the Year of Grace 2015, Schwarzenegger STILL didn't make a really good movie since "True Lies" – but "6th day", with its humour, twists, fast action, some more serious reflection, quite good villains and rather satisfying ending is still the best of his efforts in all those years. I liked it and I will keep the DVD for another viewing in the future. ENJOY!

Into the Woods 1-Disc DVD
Into the Woods 1-Disc DVD
DVD ~ Meryl Streep
Price: $19.99
32 used & new from $10.88

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A long descent into the poor scenario, wooden acting, bad songs, nonsensical twists and depressing ending. AVOID LIKE PLAGUE!, April 30, 2015
This review is from: Into the Woods 1-Disc DVD (DVD)
I was very disappointed by this film and I regret that I watched it, as it was a waste of time and money. Below, more of my impressions, with some limited SPOILERS.

Adapted from a succesful Broadway musical this film combines and re-tells in a very different way classical fairy tales "Little Red Riding Hood", "Cinderella", "Jack and the Beanstalk", and "Rapunzel". The heroes from all the four stories meet and interact with considerable help from a witch (Meryl Streep), a baker (James Corden) and his wife (Emily Blunt), who are the central characters in the whole story.

The initial idea was of course great, but the execution was very, very poor indeed. Most of the story is really boring and the second half of it is simply nonsensical. Almost all characters are more or less unpleasant and the one more or less honest guy is pale and hapless. Acting is wooden and uninspired, with even Meryl Streep going mostly through the motions, without real commitment. Only Johnny Depp (who plays the slightly paedophiliac Big Bad Wolf) put some effort in his acting, but his screentime is very, very limited, hardly more than a cameo. There are some unpleasant moments, with the worst of them SPOILER ALERT HERE! being the scene in which baker's wife becomes pregnant with child. Last but not least, most of the film is joyless, humourless (there is ONE and ONLY ONE good joke, delivered by the Prince Charming played by Chris Pine) and towards the end simply depressing.

This is supposedly a musical film but the songs are very, very poor and even worse, most of the actors cannot really sing and perform them badly. The WORST of them is the song executed (because definitely not performed) by two Princes Charming (the one from Cinderella played by Chris Pine and the one from Rapunzel played by Billy Magnussen) - in the cinema in which me and my wife watched this film, there was a lot of loud comments, surprised whispering and many bursts of unbelieving laughter at that moment, so awfully embarassing was this thing.

Even to stay until the end of this thing was an ordeal - at 124 minutes it is already a long thing, but it seemed much, much longer. For me and my wife this film really spoiled a large part of our date (and with our kids being still little we don't have so many of those). The only good thing about this film is that it is easy to forget... AVOID!!

Lemonade Joe
Lemonade Joe
DVD ~ Karel Fiala
Price: $13.99
22 used & new from $12.04

5.0 out of 5 stars A "horse opera" about a fight of a tea totalling gunslinger against a gang of moonshiners. No mercy and no seriousness offered., April 28, 2015
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This review is from: Lemonade Joe (DVD)
Ever since I saw it for the first time in my childhood in communist Poland l always liked this 1964 surrealistic Czechoslovak comedy, parodying mercilessly but so skilfully the old westerns from the 20s and 30s. Below, more of my impressions, with some limited SPOILERS.

In a lawless town, filled with scum and villainy, the most successful business is Trigger Whiskey Saloon, owned by a certain Doug Badman (Rudolf Deyl), an ignoble scoundrel who happens to be also the producer and distributor of Trigger Whiskey, a horribly potent (and certainly toxic) but cheap liquor, more or less an imitation of real whiskey... He is seconded by an obscenely ugly, repugnant and not very bright desperado, Gunslinger Grimpo, a.k.a. Old Pistol (Josef Hlinomaz). Another attraction of the Trigger Whiskey Saloon is a gorgeously voluptuous raven haired singer, Tornado Lou (Kveta Fialova), who probably committed every sin in the book - but still refuses to sleep with her boss...

The population of the town spends all the money in Trigger Whiskey Saloon and refuses to even hear the calls for temperance and other virtues preached by the hapless Reverend Ezra Goodman (Bohus Zahorsky) and his immaculately virginal blond daughter Winnifred (Olga Schoberova). But all this changes when a stranger clad in shining white clothes arrives to town - his name is Lemonade Joe (Karel Fiala), he is an invincible gunfighter and the secret of his invincibility resides in his total abstinence. He drinks only a healthy lemonade known as Kolaloka and with the support of Goodman family he opens in the town a new, totally alcohol free joint.

Doug Badman's business quickly declines - however, when he is already preparing to leave town, a new stranger arrives, a well (and darkly) dressed, perfectly groomed and gentlemanly mannered prestidigitator/gunman/poker player known as Hogofogo (Milos Kopecky), a villain infinitely more villainous than anything previously known in the Wild West... For reasons of his own he is willing to help Doug Badman in his confrontation with Lemonade Joe. And then the film really begins...

Czech cinema is known in the West mostly for the serious dramas, like "Loves of a blonde" and "Closely watched trains". Czech comedies on another hand are virtually terra incognita for the Western public and it is a pity, because many of them are absolute treasures: "Four Murders Are Enough, Darling" (1970), "I Killed Einstein, Gentlemen" (1970), "How to Drown Dr. Mracek, the Lawyer" (1975), "Marecek, Pass Me the Pen!" (1976), "Dinner for Adele" (1977) and "Waiter, scarper!" (1980). To that list must be added also the absolutely classical adaptations of Jaroslav Hasek novels, "The Good Soldier Schweik" (1956) and "I dutifully report" (1957). "Lemonade Joe or the Horse Opera" is therefore in good company, as one of the best comedies in a cinema which really, REALLY knew how to make them!

This is a comedy and even if some critics tried to find in it some hidden depths and messages, in fact there is hardly any - this is almost pure entertainment, of the most irreverent and anarchic kind, with burlesque and grotesque struggling for dominancy in every single scene. Already the very idea of trying to sell abstinence to Czech viewers, whose birthplace build its identity mostly on those twin pillars that are Pilsner and Budweiser, is a highly hilarious endeavour. ALMOST nothing is serious in this film and the one and only serious thing is itself a joke - I will come to it in a moment...

Technically the film looks quite a lot like the earliest westerns - it is a black and white thing, with accelerated fights and horse riding and the frequently exaggerated acting, seeming to come from mute films. Also as in many mute comedies the main character accomplishes some obviously impossible stunts and like in musicals, when he sings occasionally all his enemies wait patiently for him to finish...

The irreverent and anarchic character of this film comes mostly from the fact that if the villains are quite naturally ridiculed, the "good guys" are not spared either, maybe with the exception of Reverend Goodman, whose screen time is however quite limited. Lemonade Joe himself hides a secret and even if he is 97,5% of disinterested goodness, he still wants his reasonable and probably well deserved cut of benefits. As for the angelic Winnifred, her eagerness to be freed from the burden of her virginity is absolutely hilarious...))) The villains themselves are full of surprises, not the least of which are the spiritual (and also a little bit carnal) torments of Tornado Lou, the "fallen woman" who falls for the pure hero... The final revelations and the final fate of almost everybody in this film achieves to put to grave any pretention to seriousness - even more easily so, as that part of the film happens in a cemetery...)))

The accumulation of revelations and twists in the great finale, with every next one being more outrageous than the precedent, is completely over the top and hilarious but paradoxically this is also the one (short) moment in which this film becomes a little more serious. It must be kept in mind, that even if communist Czechoslovakia was economically rather more successful than most of Eastern Bloc, it was nevertheless an oppressive dictatorship, in which every single film, book, song etc. had to be approved by official censorship office. Also, in order to get funds to make films, directors and screenwriters had frequently to include official propaganda, part of which was the condemnation of capitalism and criticism of American life style and values. Seemingly, the makers of this film obliged the communist authorities, even obliged them very much - but in reality the sheer accumulation of such a number of "anti-capitalist" elements, showed in such a cheesy way and in such a rapid succession completely reversed the effect...)))

The final result is that the makers of this film pulled a fast one on communist censorship, turning in ridicule the "official line" of propaganda, with the authorities being the only ones to not notice that - unlike everybody else...))) I do not blame the communist authorities too much however for missing that point, because, to my enormous surprise, after reading some reviews and articles concerning "Lemonade Joe", some left-oriented Western viewers also took all this to the face value and actually sincerely believe that this merry anarchic comedy is a "denunciation of capitalism, consumerism and American way of life, religion included" ...))) ...))) ...)))

Bottom line, this is a very amusing, very unusual, hilarious, surrealistic, over the top and (almost) completely not serious and extremely well made horse opera..., err, I mean western comedy...))) I recommend it with all my heart and I am totally keeping my DVD for another viewing. ENJOY!

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