Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Irreviews, 2011: Issue I

Okay, okay... while I used to only review movies that were new to me, I've decided to go ahead and review anything I've watched recently that I've not reviewed here before. I mean, why not? What the Hell else am I doing?

Oh, and I've also decided to put the Bond films in their own section.

Sin City (2005)
Director: Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez
Writer(s): Frank Miller (graphic novels)
Starring: Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke, Clive Owen
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Robert Rodriguez' near-perfect adaptation of Frank Miller's Sin City comics, this is a movie for comic fans and noir fans alike. No, it's not a near-perfect movie, just a near-perfect adaptation of its source material. And it's very, very good. A unique look (until Miller's ghastly The Spirit, anyway), a unique tone, and a unique setting make this a fun-yet-slightly-disturbing film. Probably a little over-the-top for a lot of film-goers, but that's sort of the point.
Verdict: SEE it.

Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut (2006)
Director: Richard Donner
Writer(s): Mario Puzo, David Newman, Leslie Newman, Tom Mankiewicz (uncredited)
Starring: Gene Hackman, Christopher Reeve, Marlon Brando, Margot Kidder
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The firing of Richard Donner from the completion of Superman II is a well-known story in Hollywood and had, for two decades, been the cause of fan curiosity concerning his vision for the film. As everyone knows (or should), Richard Lester was brought in to complete the original film. Even though Lester's version was comedic and campy, it was still enjoyable (his Superman III, however... ahem). But... it definitely seemed out of character. Donner's cut is, for the most part, a superior movie. With more and more powerful scenes featuring Reeve, Margot Kidder, and Marlon Brando (though I'll admit to missing some of the scenes involving Superman's mother), this entire cut is a treat to behold. Combined with the original Superman and Brian Singer's highly underrated Superman Returns, we finally have a trilogy worthy of the Man of Steel.
Verdict: SEE it.

The Town (2010)
Director: Ben Affleck
Writer(s):
Starring:
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Ben Affleck (as director) knocked one out of the park with his directorial debut, Gone Baby Gone. He continues his slugging prowess with his follow-up, The Town. No, it's not as good as Gone Baby Gone, but it's an excellent sophomore attempt and doesn't hurt Affleck's credentials as a film director. Hell, it even helps his credentials as an actor. An excellent heist film with excellent characters (Jeremy Renner's "Jem," in particular) and excellent car chases (in my opinion, the best since Frankenheimer's Ronin) makes for, well, an excellent movie. I've said it elsewhere, but Affleck is making a strong case for becoming the new Clint Eastwood.
Verdict: SEE it. Definitely.

***

You Only Live Twice (1967)
Director: Lewis Gilbert
Writer(s): Roald Dahl, Harold Jack Bloom (additional material), Ian Fleming (novel)
Starring: Sean Connery, Akiko Wakabayashi, Mie Hama, Tetsurô Tanba
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In 007's fifth silver screen outing, he travels to the Far East in order to prevent SPECTRE and Blofeld starting a war between the USSR and the USA. It's notable for being the last consecutive Connery-as-Bond film, as well as for being written by Roald Dahl (yeah, the Willy Wonka guy). You Only Live Twice is a fun film, probably a bit over the over-the-top threshold for Bond, but it's a great farewell (although a temporary one) to Sean Connery.
Verdict: A decent entry, helped by its setting and hurt by its "Bond in space" aspect, but SEE it anyway! Er... BOND it!

On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)
Director: Peter R. Hunt
Writer(s): Richard Maibaum, Simon Raven (additional material), Ian Fleming (novel)
Starring: George Lazenby, Diana Rigg, Telly Savalas
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No discussion concerning the overall best Bond film is legitimate without serious mention of On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Sure, it didn't meet expectations at the box office. Sure, it was directed by an inexperienced director (who was previously the primary film editor of the franchise). And, sure, it starred the least popular (and arguably worst) actor to play 007. But... the story rocked. Hell, the directing rocked. The action rocked (although Lazenby's over-exaggerated fist-fighting style is irritating to watch). Pretty much everything about this film (other than Lazenby) rocked.
Verdict: One of the best. BOND it!

4 comments:

  1. Well whoever decided to put an unknown Australian in the lead of a Bond movie needed their head examining. Agree with Sin City. Haven't seen the others. Nor am I likely to frankly. Well, maybe the town. Adam just bought a massive TV so maybe . . .

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  2. who's doing the screen adaptation of gods playing poker? Dinosaur Hand wants to know

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  3. I dunno... Just can't get over Sean Connery. I've seen all the Bond films, but Connery's are the only ones that stuck. Just didn't find the others memorable.

    Haven't seen the others, but will no doubt see The Town at some point.

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  4. Totally agree about Sin City and The Town although I didn't totally love the latter. Bond films are always good. My kids even enjoy them now.

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