Monday, November 25, 2013

Catching Fire (2013): A much better, more sizzling Hunger Games

The girl on fire is back with unlimited arrows

"Eyes bright, chins up, smiles on. I'm talking to you Katniss." Still sulky, still independent, still a pain in the ass - it's so fun to watch Katniss Everdeen (played by the ever so charming Jennifer Lawrence) annoy the hell out of President Snow and his Stormtroopers - er, Peace Keepers, once again.. and kick some baboon's ass. 

"Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark become targets of the Capitol after their victory in the 74th Hunger Games sparks a rebellion in the Districts of Panem."
Directed by:  Francis Lawrence (Constantine, I Am Legend)
Screenplay by:  Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire),
                       Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine)
Cinematography by:  Jo Willems
Music by:  James Newton Howard (Batman Begins, The Bourne Legacy)
Running Time:  146 mins

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

THE LORD OF THE RINGS (1978): Burton's first film job, Led Zep, and why REMAKES aren't always the bane of films

Fantasy... beyond your imagination. 

That is the movie's tagline - and while it's not really beyond my imagination, Ralph Bakshi's TLotR has in a way exceeded my expectations. Not that I was blown away or anything but let's face it - it's an animation made in 1978, the sequel never pushed through, and I love Peter Jackson's LOTR trilogy - so I was half-expecting a Disney cartoon about hobbits, dwarves, royal bloods, and wizards going tra la la la la through the woods and deep into the mountains, and I'm glad that I got more than that. Okay, I admit, the animation is at times jarring, my favorite characters look like rejects from the drawing table of a comicbook artist, and the overall color scheme a bit bland. But I did enjoy this film. Because in contrast with Jackson's drawn-out epic saga, this one is fast-paced (considering it's based from a Tolkien book) - with books one & two condensed into a 2-hour movie. 

The Fellowship of the Ring embark on a journey to destroy the One Ring and end Sauron's reign over Middle Earth
Directed by:  Ralph Bakshi (Wizards, Last Days of Coney Island)
Screenplay by:  Peter S. Beagle, Chris Conkling
Music by:  Leonard Rosenman, Paul Kont
Cinematography by:  Timothy Galfas
Running Time: 133 mins

Thursday, November 14, 2013

House on Haunted Hill (1959)

Campy with the right amount of creepiness + Vincent Price hamming it up = Pure horror classic delight!

I'm telling you now, you may or may not (depending on your preferences) like this film. Some may complain that it's corny, not scary, and a total waste of time. Others may insist that it's a genre-defining horror classic that's both spooky and atmospheric, which, its huge success has inspired Alfred Hitchcock to create his own little horror picture - Psycho. And then haters will retort that one should NOT EVER compare Psycho with this campy "horror" film.

Well I say, it's all a mix of everything. And to each his own. :)

But before I tell you what I think, here's a bit of info about House on Haunted Hill.

A millionaire offers ten thousand dollars to five people who agree to be locked in a large, spooky, rented house overnight with him and his wife.
Directed by: William Castle
Written by: Robb White
Cinematography by: Carl E. Guthrie
Running Time: 75 mins
Watch it
here  (YT)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Why THE SADIST is the best torture you can experience

Don't mind the fact that this is a low-budget film made in 1963. Or that Arch Hall Jr. has a cheesy filmography to boast (or not) about. The Sadist is one of those B-movies that stands the test of time and deserves every bit of recognition it could get. The only thing that's dated in this film, aside from the clothes, is the Coca-Cola bottle. 

It's seriously one of the most tension-filled movie I've seen from start to finish - especially that climax! Modern film makers could learn a thing or two from this little black & white exploitation movie that's unfortunately, undeservingly buried in obscurity - unbeknownst to most people. I haven't even heard about this film before. Thank god for Timeless Classic Movies in Youtube!

So what makes this under-appreciated gem a timeless classic? Before I start my nonsense, here's a short info about the movie.

The Sadist is loosely based from the murder spree of serial killer, Charles Starkweather, and his 14-year old girlfriend, Caril Ann Fugate, which other movies such as Badlands (1973), Kalifornia (1993), Natural Born Killers (1994), and Starkweather (2004) were also based from.

"Three people driving into Los Angeles for a Dodgers game have car trouble and pull off into an old wrecking yard where they are held at bay by a bloodthirsty psycho and his crazy girlfriend."
Also known as Profile of Terror, and Sweet Baby Charlie
Written & Directed by:  James Landis
Cinematography by: 
William Zsigmond
Starring:  Arch Hall Jr., Richard Alden,
Marilyn Manning, Don Russell, Helen Hovey
Running Time:  95 mins.

Watch it on YT here


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