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Lonely Are the Brave

Lonely Are The Brave
An elegiac movie, beautifully directed by David Miller and superbly shot by cinematographer Philip Lathrop, the ever reliable Dalton Trumbo wrote the screenplay. This is one of the first Westerns with a very contemporary theme of a man out of time with his surroundings. It could also be seen (at the time of writing) as an anti-Trumpian statement (a heroic figure wanders the land, in a Quixotic style and encounters obstacles that he must overcome to survive). The Cowboy here (in character at least) is treated rather unsympathetically and unceremoniously, something that was readdressed by Sam Peckinpah a few years later in his masterpiece, The Wild Bunch. This is not a Western for the purist and I read that it was (understandably) unpopular with the Kennedy administration. So therefore it comes highly recommended!

Mit meinen heißen Tränen

Vagueness, so much vagueness in this wonderful film on a composer. Perhaps the finest film on any composer ever made. Schubert's circle of friends & his terribly unfortunate illnesses are heightened here in order to substantiate his brilliance against insurmountable odds. The vagueness I refer to is the stunningly original way this film is shot & performed. The noises, or rather the sounds of floorboards, children, conversation, insects all perform & contribute so that one is engrossed as if listening to one of Schubert's great masterworks from 1827/28. I have (as others here have stated) just a memory of this one-off shown film. I am grateful to have stumbled upon it that night, but like others here I know nothing when it comes to its whereabouts today? Anyway, if it was to return I'm almost certain that our present-day cringe worthy Classical Radio Stations will milk it (in terms of advertising) in a way which is totally unworthy of such a cinematic jewel.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Dark & Very Worthy Star Trek Entry
DS9 may contain some of the most exhilarating & frightening moments in the Star Trek franchise, but it also appears flawed in its drawing of its main character, Benjamin Sisko. played by Avery Brooks in a frustrating & somewhat jarring performance.

Where Star Trek (original) blurred the lines between diplomacy & action true to 1960's ethics & was then ably followed by TNG (with a stellar turn from Patrick Stewart as Jean Luc Picard) in a show that firmly established Star Trek as something to be taken seriously. Now we have had years of further developments, more Captains on show & more elaborate plot-lines. But DS9 remains the last great Star Trek effort, despite the heavy-breathing, shouting Sisko!

Seriously good actors such as Patrick Stewart do not drop off trees & even if they did they would probably run a mile from such a series. DS9 is saved from too many excesses by its superb story; a stationary space station full of differing cultures where elements external & within shape the action & also in later seasons its producers were left to pursue the idea of a grand war (with the Dominion) despite Rick Berman's objections. Berman left DS9 to oversea the mediocre Voyager series that contained a reasonable contestant (Kate Mulgrew) for the golden gong of most annoying Captain, with Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks).

So, in all DS9 is an excellent series that contains some of Star Treks most memorable characters; Quark, Garak, Gul Dukat, Odo, Rom as well as a reappearance from Worf. It's a lengthy 7 seasons to get through & like its predecessor it suffers from the occasional blip (but in all honesty, rather less so than The Next Generation). Nevertheless, Deep Space Nine is thus far the last great Star Trek series, despite the protestations for those who claim Voyager to be so, or for that matter, Enterprise.


Uninspiring. But did you expect more?
Predators, directed by Nimród Antal is a blurred attempt at convincing those amongst us who just want another burger, that there is more on offer if we go back. Rather than tasting the same, or better than McTiernan's excellent 'Predator', Antal delivers a club sandwich of varying previous 'Paranoid Movies' (Deliverance, Southern Comfort, etc) whilst throwing in a bit of Tarzan to boot! Even the score from 'Alien' is murmured in John Debney's unremarkable score. The characterisations are shockingly formulaic, inducing boredom in their eventual fate. It's so, so predictable, not even Brody's ridiculously deep-toned tough guy voice can save it by adding a touch of accidental humour. I have not heard a put on voice gaff this bad since Ewan McGregor's dreadful Obi Wan Kenobi in the post-Guinness Star Wars films. One review which favours this movie suggests; " the script provides little genuine surprises in it storytelling." Thus meaning it is not very good. And whilst not terrible, the question I found myself asking was; "what's the point of another Predator movie?" The answer; money. Just money. Not originality or anything new. Still, it's better that Episode I, II & III of Star Wars. But that's not saying much, is it?


Read A Book
Godzilla (as it is so called) has nothing whatsoever to do worth Toho studios magnificent creation, instead its just a steal, and a poor one at that! Director, Roland Emmerich gets to make yet another atom bomb of a movie!

Amusing to read Dal Boy's review of this terrible special-effects laden film. I was interested that he states in his review that people take the comic strip Godzilla franchise too seriously. Firstly Godzilla does not originate from comic books. The effects of the atomic bombs on both Hiroshima and Nakasaki contributed to his very existence. A Japanese elegy on the power of the post apocalyptic atomic force. But then, Dal Boy would have known that if he had read some of Gojira's history.

Shoot 'Em Up

A Modern Spaghetti Western
Just watched this and I was not expecting much. Shoot Em Up is an admirably tongue-in-cheek all-action modern western and a homage to the pulp films of the 1960's and 70's. If you occasionally watch some of those dreadful movies with Claude Van Damme or Steven Seagal and find yourself bored by the repetition in everything they do, then may I advise you give this utterly wonderfully ridiculous movie a viewing. There are no prizes for the excellent cast or the witty dialogue. Why? Because a movie which has been put together as expertly as this one has and is also not trying to aim for any particular moral theme is not receptive to analysis or any conventional critique. In the same way that those reflective movies of the 1970's like Two Lane Blacktop and Vanishing Point may seem to have no purpose to those cinema goers who need a compass to guide them through their 90 minutes of celluloid. Shoot Em Up is pure popcorn.


Excellent Martin Ritt Film
Excellent film by Martin Ritt from a novel by Elmore Leonard, with stand out performances by Newman and Boone. This really is a voyage into the abyss of the soul and contains some of the most controversial questions on morality and creed ever put onto celluloid. This is not a film to compare with the popular Spaghetti Westerns of the period, which dramatically changed the genre forever, but more in keeping with the formula set down by John Ford and Howard Hawks. I read (from another review on IMDb) with a certain dismay that Leone's Westerns were lacking in cliché's and important dialogue. So-called Spaghetti Westerns revived a genre which was in dire need of an overhaul. if all westerns continued to be like like Hombre then I think there would be little to say on those that followed. Ritt is no Sam Peckinpah and does not have the suavity and vision of Sergio Leone. But what he does give here is an object lesson in how to seem gritty and appear real without any compromise of the drama that this slow-burner delivers; almost as if John Cassavetes had made it. And that for me is this great films strength and one where as we move farther away from the 1960's it would be no surprise to see Hombre sit reasonably comfortably next to One Eyed Jacks, Ride The High Country, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and The Wild Bunch as the finest American-made Westerns in that decade.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

So Much Happening To No Effect
Spielberg is right to regret this, his 2nd entry in the Indiana Jones series. Not only does the homage to mid-century matinées continue, but so does the ignorance and xenophobia prevalent in those eras prevail with this movie in a way that was wonderfully absent in the excellent Raiders Of The Lost Ark. Whereas Raiders seems to have an appeal to a much wider audience, Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom aims squarely at the minds and eyes of those that smile during a massacre. The many insulting scenes of worship and later of Indian cuisine are to be taken lightly, only by those who are either not Hindi or Indian. The talent of Spielberg is just not on show here and for him to admit this and then to say that meeting Cate Capshaw was the only light is this mediocre work, explains much, particularly to his own fan-base. The cast suffer too. Cate Capshaw's role and script is second rate and despite Ke Quan's excellent verve, he cannot save this from revealing the laziness involved. All credit to the brilliant Spielberg for admitting as much. More than 20 years on we can see Trey Parker and Matt Stone's Team America. Here there is a film which manages to insult and be self effacing on different cultures at the same time. Lucas and Spielberg are the geeks before the the geeks that followed, but with Temple Of Doom they have more in common with Joel Schumacher and Michael Bay rather than Quentin Tarantino or Steven Soderbergh. Yes, their limitations are there for us to see should we chose to see them and in some cases be insulted by them. But it does also show that time is the strangest thing. The Raiders series have become exactly what they sought to honour and parody. That is for now they are dated dinosaurs which belong on the shelf alongside most of the James Bond series as purveyors of ignorance and cultural indifference. The only saving grace is that they, (Raiders Of The Lost Ark being the exception) are way too dim to have any lasting cinematically historical effect and so thereby save themselves from the 'classic' status afforded films that last the test of time.

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