Thursday, August 14, 2014

Fool's Views (7/28 – 8/3)

Pardon the delay. I've had a lot on my mind lately...

Howdy folks,

This week marked the mad dash of banging out reviews for Scream Factory’s awesome “Summer of Fear” as well as a long overdue return to the multiplex to check out a few of the flicks that had been generating some positive buzz. Happy to say that of the four big-screen features imbibed, all were worthwhile and two will likely land in my top 10 list for 2014 (Boyhood and Guardians of the Galaxy).

As part of this year’s ongoing Robert Redford festival, I was given the chance to introduce the femalien to the joys of 1973’s Oscar winner for Best Picture, although I’ll come clean that I only made it 20 minutes into 1960’s Play of the Week version of The Iceman Cometh starring Jason Robards; I’m not a huge fan of the four-hour play anyway, and our young Redford is just so very terrible as Parritt. This guy was on Broadway? Wow. To paraphrase Monty Python and the Holy Grail, he got better.

Also, being as I am in the throes of rehearsals for Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park’s season opener, Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Suicide Club, I thought it might be fun to shine a light on a few of my favorite fellow reviewers’ thoughts for this week’s Civilian offerings (and one semi-horror flick). Follow the links provided and you will find my own sentiments captured with grace, eloquence, and in greater detail than I can afford at present.

As always, feel free to leave your two cents worth – we’ll make sure you get some change back.



Leviathan (1989) d. Cosmatos, George P. (USA) (2nd viewing)


Motel Hell (1980) d. Connor, Kevin (USA) (3rd viewing)


Prophecy (1979) d. Frankenheimer, John (USA) (4th viewing)


Purge: Anarchy, The (2014) d. DeMonaco, James (USA) (1st viewing)

Like last year's Purge feature, you can’t think about anything too hard or it all falls apart. The viewer has to make a conscious decision to just go with the flow or spend the whole time getting angry at the illogic being flung about. Plus, Frank Grillo is the only actor worth a damn in the whole she-bang; I only hope he had a solid profit participation plan. Thin entertainment at best, but still entertaining on its own terms.

Singapore Sling (1990) d. Nikolaidis, Nikos (Greece) (4th viewing)


Without Warning (1980) d. Clark, Greydon (USA) (2nd viewing)



Boyhood (2014) d. Linklater, Richard (USA) (1st viewing)

Terrific cinematic experiment that bucks convention in all the right ways. Watching the actors growing up onscreen before our eyes is dazzling in a way that multimillion dollar effects could never be, and yet somehow it never comes off as a stunt. Linklater's choice to avoid seminal moments in favor of those odd little bits that inexplicably stick in our brains forever is the true stroke of genius - what could have been banal is instead brilliant.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014) d. Reeves, Matt (USA) (1st viewing)

Extremely well done, but takes itself SO seriously. Sadly, in making Caesar a photorealistic character instead of an actor in makeup, it takes half the fun away from what makes a PotP movie what it is. It's technically perfect on every level, the performances are all quite serviceable, but it’s an unceasing dirge, crushing the viewer with its "serious" tone. Even the thrills are presented in a "we really mean it, by god" fashion. The lighter moments, if you can call them that, are between Caesar and his mate, and they're equally loaded with portent - we know that this moment will pass and we'll be back to the oh-so-serious business at hand. Yes, it may suit the film, but it's sure not a lot of fun. Click on the link below for further thoughts from the always great Christianne Benedict.

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) d. Gunn, James (USA) (1st viewing)

Everything you could want in a summer blockbuster popcorn movie and more. Just fantastic. My friend Kevin will tell you more.

Horn Blows at Midnight, The (1945) d. Walsh, Raoul (USA) (2nd viewing)

Friend who is a huge Jack Benny fan had never seen this before, and I was happy both to revisit it and watch him experience it for the first time. Not nearly as bad as its poor box office and Benny’s endless ribbing afterwards on his radio and TV programs might indicate.

Only God Forgives (2013) d. Refn, Nicolas Winding (Denmark) (1st viewing)

A lot of mixed reactions to this one from my fellow cinephiles, so I figured it was time to check it out, being a fan of Refn’s Pusher trilogy, Valhalla, and Drive. Having come out the other side, I'm surprised anyone could "hate" OGF, but I heard the word thrown about quite a bit. The film certainly has its own aesthetic – one that isn't going to appeal to everyone and could certainly be labeled "pretentious" or "style-over-substance" were one so inclined (I liked it) – but I can't imagine anything in there that would be offensive to seasoned filmgoers' sensibilities. Clearly Refn is doing his own thing, but it's done well.

Sting, The (1973) d. Hill, George Roy (USA) (4th viewing)

Like Butch and Sundance last month, the femalien hadn’t seen this one either, and it was a pleasure to watch her watch it. A terrific, old-fashioned type of movie that reunites Hill with Redford and Newman, then surrounds them with great character actors, and provides them all with wonderful lines to wrap their mouths around.

2014 Totals to date: 219 films, 123 1st time views, 127 horror, 27 cinema

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