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Det røde kapel

They were played like a fine fiddle.
The people involved in this were beyond naive and amateurs in all matters.

The North Koreans in power could care less about outside perceptions and will do just about anything to keep the lie going. They undoubtedly edit all the footage they had of the "project" and made a wonderful, inspiring and glorious documentary of their own to show the People of North Korea.

The narrator/director was such a fool, and kept making completely erroneous assumptions about what was happening. The North Koreans were working with their own script, when Mrs. Park inexplicably (according to the genius director) hugs and comforts the "unfortunate" cripple, you just KNOW it's part of the North Korean script. When the North finally falls, I suspect we'll get to see their version of this mocumentary, showing us the glorious way they embraced and helped those misguided souls who the West has so wronged.

The closing shot will be them marching in honor and giving the Hitler salute to the kind glorious Kim Jong il. The buffoon wins this one.

30,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Sci-Fi channel material for sure.
Well, don't expect anything near the previous versions of Jules Verne adventure. Aside from the title and the recycling of names, this "updated" story is a total disappointment. Contrived story line, horrible dialog, horrible plot, and even worse acting. This is a dog fish if ever there was one. Real shame too, they could have done so much more with this premise if they'd only tried. It's like a really bad Deep Space Nine episode, only torturous drawn out and pointless. I gave it 3 stars out of pity. Don't waste your time with this one. The best description of this would be Dr. Strangelove meets Jaques Coustou, only without any of the humor or cinematography of either.

Diamante Lobo

Production Values Lacking.
This could have been a REALLY good and memorable western. What killed this movie, IMHO, were the production values. The Cameraman(men) weren't qualified to take souvenir pictures at Disneyland, the cinematography was BAD, really BAD, jerky shots, too wide an angle, sudden (just got my camcorder) zooms in and out. I wouldn't let the sound-men and Foley "artists" adjust the volume on my AM radio! The sound was HORRIBLE, terribly done. The dubbing even sounded awful, like it was done in public toilet somewhere instead of a sound studio. The sound effects were even worse, watch the scene where the boy is walking out of the church, near the end, when he's walking it sounds just like a horse clopping along, not a human walking. This was a Golan-Globis production, they were known at the time for cutting corners to save money, and it shows in this one. This is really a shame though, because this film has VERY good actors in it (OK some VERY bad ones too.) This movie proves that no matter how good, or how professional the actors are, they alone cannot carry an entire movie. This movie also shows that a good story can be ruined by bad execution. While I am FAR from a movie scholar, I think this movie should be shown to all students interested in film; there is a lot more to be learned from a movie like this than from movies where everything comes together. All in all the movie was watchable, and the most compelling reason I could give anyone for watching it is, that you'll appreciate movies with higher production standards much more than you do now.

S21, la machine de mort khmère rouge

The Banality of Evil.
I have read the other comments on here and think that many people missed the point. This documentary illustrated the banality of evil very powerfully; it did not preach or try to shove the makers' opinion down the viewers' throat, like SO many other so-called documentaries do. This is not one of those "documentaries" which show edited footage and historical footage as a mere backdrop to put forth someone's opinion. That's what made it so powerful, to see the people who committed this incomprehensible evil and those that suffered it asking their own questions, trying to make sense of it all, trying to justify it, analyzing their roles in real time as the cameras roll. It was very evident that this was the first time many of them had questioned themselves on what they had done. The repetitive re-enactment and explanation of the guard's day to day activities were horrific in their normality. Even after all these years, after all that's happened, these men had no qualms about showing the world their routines, making it obvious that they don't equate their actions directly to the effects it had on their fellow country men and women. One has to remember that the guards were brain washed and indoctrinated by the communists at a very young age. This can be directly equated with what's happening in the world today with militant Islam. They're creating their own amoral killers and fanatics by indoctrinating and brain washing children. If nothing else, this documentary shows how once indoctrinated at a young age with fanatical ideology, all that remains for the rest of that persons life is an empty shell incapable of comprehending basic humanity.

Laughing at Life

Fast paced action flick.
I found this to be a fun movie to watch. It is an action film, and a manly film about a manly man, who lives by his own rules. The star is a cross between an Indiana Jones and an Ernest Hemmingway. The title is, although not the greatest, a reflection of how the main character deals with the dangers and situations he gets himself into. This is a man who chose to live outside the law, and seeks danger wherever he can find it, he lives life with gusto, and he lives his life like a real man, no politically correct baloney in this movie, no apologies or touchy feely nonsense either. It's a rough and tumble action movie, with a good plot, a couple of plot twists, and even some decent acting on occasion! It has some comical interactions too. If you get the chance to download this (it's a public domain film, available from a few sites on the internet) or see it on DVD or TV, do it, you'll have yourself an enjoyable, light hour of entertainment.

Aliens from Another Planet

Dated, but that's what makes it fun to watch.
This "movie" has it all. Spray painted aliens (humans a million years in the future), revolvers with 1 inch silencers, technicians in jump suits, computers with reel drives, and everything is made out of plastic in the future too. Although most of the performances could better be described as wood. Evidently mankind has enough technology to travel in time, but no one has a simple Geiger counter to find a nuclear bomb. From the description in the TV guide, it places the production date of this gem at 1967, this site says early 80's, which gives it a campy feel. Robert Duvall is great in this one, you can see he was destined for better things; his performance is probably why this compilation gem was made, to piggy back off his popularity at the time this came out. All in all not that bad, there are plenty of worse ways to pass a couple of hours on a winter weekend.

Lawless Land

This seems to have been made as a matinée feature in the day. But it still holds up after all these years. Some of the acting is a bit bad, but some is pleasantly good. Very few stereotypical characters in this western, not very common for the genre and the time. Some very memorable lines, and delivery of those lines. I am by no stretch of the imagination a film scholar, so I don't know if the notable dialog in this film was borrowed from earlier work. My point? Much of the dialog in this movie can be recognized in many a well known movie that came later, including recent releases, and not just in westerns. If you come across this one, and enjoy a good story set to a western backdrop, you won't regret watching it.

No somos nadie

Hits too close to home for some. (NO SPOILERS)
The only explanation I can muster as to why this film isn't widely distributed is because it hits too close to home for some. This movie was a genuine happy surprise, the satire is genius. This film turns the lights on in the dark that is organized religion and big media, and the roaches scurry for cover. Rent the DVD and watch it for yourself if you haven't yet, this film succeeds where many have failed (Dogma comes to mind) to poke it's nose under the tent, both by using humor and very clever analogies coupled with telling backdrops and locations. Can't comment in depth without revealing some significant spoilers, there are some surprises in this film which even the seasoned film buff will be caught off guard by.

BMW Vermelho

A decent attempt at explaining a complex problem.
I saw this movie by accident, it was on the monitor as background filler in an airport frequent flier lounge in Sao Paulo. I wasn't very impressed with the technical aspects of the short, but I got to thinking about what the maker was trying to get across, the message. I think the movie has several messages, some very obvious and insultingly simplistic, and some a bit deeper. This short is a good analogy to what is occurring, and has been occurring in the Brazilian countryside for years. It has more to do with the "land reform" movement than anything else. The short uses urban poverty to explain rural politics. The red BMW represents the land that is being handed out to "the landless" (sem terra) in Brazil. Without agricultural loans, subsidies, tractors, the land is about as useful as a BMW to a favela dweler. Like the BMW, the landless peasant will only be able to use the land to meet an immediate need, and not the true potential of the "prize".

That's my take on it, FWIW.

Wing Nuts

Regular "reality" TV filler.
The basics: buy junk airplane parts, transform them into artsy furniture, and then try and sell them. The show is OK to watch, the characters aren't that interesting, there is no plot, and the conflicts are obviously staged, or at least pushed to add some interest. That being said, it makes some good background noise on a Sunday night when you've got the TV on and are working on something that doesn't need your full attention. I watch it because I like the way they transform junk into something artistic and useful. It's kind of like watching an info-mercial, no doubt this program has done wonders for the sales of the company profiled, Moto-Art.

American Standoff

Very good look at the mechanisms of Labor vs. Management vs. Union Management.
This documentary deals with the Overnite trucking strike, it's very well put together, although a bit lopsided in time given to the Teamsters (this is probably more because of access than any idealogical bias IMHO.) What it doesn't do, like so many other "documentaries", is steer the viewer into any one direction, it shows the good, the bad, and the ugly on all sides of the issue. It's particularly interesting to see the self serving side of the Teamsters representation, they'll promise anything to the rank and file, but will only come through if it's politically advantageous to them. If you can view this documentary without any pre-conceived notions, it's an excellent window into the politics of strikes and unions. The conclusion I came to, is that the workers are used as pawns by both management and the Teamsters, and in the end, the workers are the ones who pay the harshest price. It's a very good documentary, which presents footage of the events as they're unfolding, and leaves the conclusions up to the viewer and open to discussion.

David Frost Presents: How to Irritate People

Funny-no, irritating-YES.
Maybe this will be funny if you've been in a coma since Johnson was in the White House. The skits drag on and on and on ad nauseam with little or no punch line. If you're into historical references, then watching this will give you an idea of what some of the Python troop were like before they were funny. If you're really into Python, and the casts' individual projects, treat this as if you are watching a learning exercise that helped them learn from their mistakes. This will however leave you wondering if some of the cast members haven't make pacts with the devil, they don't seem to have aged all that much since this dog was made.

Murder in the First

Dishonest waste of talent.
This should have been a great movie. If only all those involved in it weren't so smug and self righteous that they presented this piece of fiction as "based on a true story". It's not based on anything except the imagination and perceptions of those who acted in it, produced, directed and wrote it. If they had just been honest, and represented it as the total piece of fiction that it is, it would have made watching this movie a much different experience. But when you dig a little (very little) and find out that this "based on facts" is a total crock, with NOTHING remotely resembling the truth about the cold killer career criminal (who might still be alive today) it portrays on the screen. I ended up hating this movie for this very reason. When you find out the truth, you'll feel manipulated and punked for buying into this trite piece of Hollyweird liberal fiction. All prisoners are just misunderstood nice guys who stole $5 to feed their underprivileged poor siblings. I don't think ANYONE was ever sent to Alcatraz for such trivial matters, it was the "Supermax" of its day, and you were only sent there because of your actions at other prisons. You only left "the Rock" if you showed that you could behave, then you were sent to another prison, nobody was ever put directly from Alcatraz to the street. To be fair, they are not the first ones to do this with an Alcatraz background, Burt Lancasters movie, "The Birdman of Alcatraz" did pretty much the same thing. Glorifying and embellishing the life of a murdering antisocial pimp. To sum it up, this movie is total fiction, the facts and figures are total fiction, the story is total fiction, and is purposefully represented as a true story to propagate the opinions of those that made it. Very dishonest and irresponsible to pass this off as factual in any way.

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

Barris is as imaginative as he is weird.
Chuck Barris knows what sells, and he gives it to you. I don't for one second buy that he was a CIA agent recruited by the CIA. But, it does make for a much better story than his real life story.

The "spy" sequences of this movie resemble every cheesy spy novel or movie that was ever put out. And it looks like Barris has seen and read all of these cheezy movies in order to form his "memories". If you pay attention, you'll notice that the cameo by the real unknown comic actually serves to lay down the premise that this was all a Barris fantasy. After all, if someone had pulled a gun on you and pointed it straight at your head, you'd figure that your ONE big memory of that person would be that event. But the best they could get out of the unknown comic for this film was "I never saw that side, but a lot of the crew thought that he could turn on them". That doesn't sound exactly like the declaration one would make in a film that purports to reveal the "truth". Putting all this aside, as a movie, I thought it was alright. Lots of twists and turns, not on the dark side at all, as some have commented. It's a look inside the ramblings of a sick delusional mind, which I found entertaining and different.

American Splendor

The only splendor in this movie is in the title.
Where to start, or finish for that matter. I only watched this dog of a movie because of recommendations from this site, hopefully I'll spare someone from sitting through this movie expecting something, anything, of even mild interest, happening. This movie in a nutshell: The life of an ordinary, boring nobody who does very little in his life except appear on the Letterman show, purportedly because he writes (he can't draw beyond stick figures) comic books, but he's only invited on the show so that Letterman can goof on him without him being in on the joke. The only thing that makes the main character different from the millions of similarly eccentric people you'd find in NYC any day of the week, is that he's not from New York. There is little or no character development, the scenes are unnecessarily long where they should be short, and cut short where more development of plot line is needed. The subject of this film is so interesting, if you stripped away the window dressing and got down to the meat of the subject, you could sum up this guys whole life with a 15 minute skit, including credits. A more honest title for this movie would have been "Total Loser Gets Own Movie." With so many good movies out there, and so little spare time, don't waste any of yours on this movie.

Guns of the Pecos

Action and a plot.
Abuse of authority, corrupt lawmen, corrupt judge, bandits, shootouts, good guys, bad guys, damsels in distress, this movie has everything you'd look for in a western.

Watched this movie on the late,late,late show on AMC hoping it would put me to sleep, but I ended up following the plot lines and staying up to watch the ending, even though I knew that the bad guys always lose in the end. Happily, not too much singing, enough gun play to keep it interesting.

The only problem I had with this movie was the actor they chose for Judge Blake, his acting leaves much to be desired, and he fails to convey just how evil and corrupt a man his character is.

All in all a pretty good movie for it's day. Compared to other movies of this era I've seen, I'd give it a 9/10, compared to all movies, it's a 7/10.

The Castle

Hilarious one liners and self deprecating humor.
This movie was quite a surprise, and a pleasant one at that. To be honest, I would probably never have rented nor watched this movie if broadcast, based on the amateurish look of the video cover and the ads. My reaction to it, before seeing it was that it was another movie slapped together to piggyback onto the success of another movie with the same actor/director/theme etc.etc. while the fire was hot. But, a friend borrowed it from the library, and the video was sitting there, so I decided to watch it. Was I happily surprised! The one liners make this movie, if you pay attention and catch them all, this movie has many a belly laugh. It was true to life too, I KNOW these people, whether they come from Australia or Arkansas, they're out there, and this is their reality.

Remove the accents, put a few non working appliances in the front yard, a car up on cinder blocks, and you have the American version. A very nice surprise for me, if you like humor that doesn't insult your intellect, you'll like this movie. Many a memorable line in it too.

I would disagree with others who have commented on the profanity in this movie. In this case there is very little profanity for profanity's sake, it's usually very well timed and ads to the storyline, like when he passes the barrister the note in court.

Night Life in Reno

Boozing, smoking,affairs, gambling, divorce, murder & more.
For an early talkie this movie is actually pretty good. The story is told quickly, the movie only bogs in a few places, but it's entertaining and great to see the details of the clothing, cars and norms of the times. The basic storyline is that a husband picks up a hussy at a party, the wife catches them (almost) in the act, and she goes off to Reno to get a divorce (only a 6 week wait in Nevada). Evidently Reno in 1931 was frequented only by sleazy lawyers, heavy drinking, smoking, gambling and sexing people living it up while they waited for their 6 weeks to roll by. I liked the movie, especially since it gets straight to the point on a few of the subplots, instead of drawing them out like many other films do. This is now a public domain movie, and is available for free download from several sites on the internet. I downloaded a 3 gig Mpeg and the quality of the images were excellent, the sound could use some work, but as with many of these pre-Dolby films, nobody is going to go to the expense and trouble of cleaning up the soundtrack for free. On a scale of 1 to 10, judged against all movies, I'd give it a 6. Judged against other movies of it's era, I'd give it an 8.

A High Wind in Jamaica

Definitely worth watching.
I had never even heard of this movie before. Probably wouldn't have watched it...but it was on AMC tonight and nothing else was on. I'm glad I didn't miss this one; this movie is very close to what "real" pirates, corsairs and privateers were like in their waning days. Of course there is a bit of artistic license, but the makeup of the crew, the scenes at the Port of Tampico, and the general feel of the film make it good fare, considering the constraints put on motion pictures in the year it was made. Many things implied, and understood behind the PG-rated facade of most scenes. The acting I found very good, the actors showed their contempt, inhumanity, decency, evil etc. (the facial expressions and acting of the madam in Tampico shows the ugliness behind the gilded facade beautifully) without having to "talk down" to the audience. Overall a very pleasant surprise for me, and I won't miss this one the next time it's on.

Behind That Curtain
Man did this movie suck eggs. The dialog delivery is so slowwww and drawwwnnn out that the only way to get through this sleeper is by taking a few naps during scenes. There is no mystery, there are no interesting backdrops, there are no interesting characters, there is no reason to watch this dog. Unless of course you've lived under a rock for 70 years, then this "talkie" will blow your socks off with the novelty of sound in a movie.

If this is the kind of movie fare that they find when they dig up movies that "had been lost to posterity", lets hope that others like it stay lost, because this is 90 minutes of your life that you'll never get back.

The Life of General Villa

Maybe lost forever.
Like maybe hundreds of other movies that marked the birth of one of the greatest forms of art accessible to the masses; this movie is simply lost forever. Lets hope that a copy turns up in a Siberian landfill under the permafrost someday.

Movies were considered consumables in their day, if the studio couldn't make any more money on it, why spend any money to save or archive a copy? With highly volatile film stock it just didn't make economic sense to preserve these gems. Back then they treated movies as they did the live theatre, once the take at the box office started falling off, you'd change the venue for a new one and when you ran out of new venues you would completely abandon the old production and move on to a new script.

Life of Villa

Lost to Posterity
Kind of hard to comment on a movie that's been lost to posterity.

It might turn up in a perma-frost garbage dump some day, or in some hidden corner of a theatre basement.

Probably a few people around who went to see it when it was in the theaters, but I'm betting they don't recall too many details....

The recent "And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself" may be an incentive to look for the original butchered propaganda exercise. According to this 2003 movie, Villa himself never got to see the movie.


L'homme de Rio

Fun film, French farce in the Italian Style, set in Brazil.
I just love this movie. I don't really know why, maybe it's a nostalgia for an era and time that, like a good Whisky gets better with age. This movie captures the time of the Aero Willys, the VW bug, the DKW's and the Caravelles that is long gone but still lives in the memories of many. The movie and it's plot are OK, but the real Emerald buried in the plain rock are the backrounds in this movie, a Brazil full of hopes and dreams, at a time where everything seemed possible. Pink Jalopies with rumble seats (known as mother in law seats in Brazil), thieves, weathy villians, futuristic architecture, and everything but the kitchen sink blend to make this a fun romp.

Murder by Numbers

Done better before.
An updated version of a theme which has been done before. While that in and of itself is not bad, this movie doesn't reach the ring like the other "inherent and pure" evil ones do.

Predictable, ambitious attempt that falls short of the mark. Not worth sitting through for the tired contrived ending.

Behind Enemy Lines

Good for what it is.
This movie could have been set anywhere, with any of hundreds of backdrops, it's fiction, if you sweat every minuscule detail when watching a movie, pass on this one. But if you're like most people and can suspend disbelief, you'll enjoy this one.

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