Wednesday, 3 September 2014

IMDB top 50 No. 43 “Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

In 2012 the BFI (British Film Institute) published a list of what, in the experts opinion, are the greatest Movies of all time. They were generally bad.

Here is the comparable IMDB list…. (list generated on 9/7/2014)

Number 43: Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

Rule 1: I will now call the film by its short title “Dr Strangelove” as my keyboard will otherwise be unable to take the strain.

shot0003Dr Strangelove undoubtedly has one of the most absurdly long titles ever given. This is in perfect keeping with the main thrust and absurdness of the film. Absurd in its reality that is. The movie is a comedy but also a nail-biting thriller and a social comment on the arms race. Carried by brilliant performance its a mainly set free affair and the effects budget is mainly spent on squibs and plane shots.

When the Mad General Jack D Ripper uses a government passed backdoor to launch a bombing run on Russia involving all kinds of anti cancellation failsafe's the race against time starts to save the world. Sadly Russia has one upped the USA in the implementation of a doomsday “Dirty Bomb” that will wipe out all life on Earth should they be attacked… and it also cannot be stopped.

With three great performances by Peter Sellers in different roles Dr Strangelove is a fantastically compelling movie that seems to grow in stature with every viewing, the last time  watched it I found it shot0006good, this time excellent. Maybe next time it will make the top 50… but not today.

You see the Cold War paranoia just doesn't hold the bite today that it did in the latter half of the 20th century. The remaining comedy, which is brilliantly staid and very, very, British and dry just doesn't have the weight to carry the rest of the film.

RATINGS

IMDB rate this movie at 8.5, its a fair rating
Rotten Tomatoes give the film an impossible 100%. This is too high.

So close to entry, this has been my hardest choice yet.

With 7 films entered into the R@R list so far, what will be the next?

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Quatermass and the Pit (1967)

Well here's an oddity. I don’t mean the film I mean this review. After nearly a year I am actually writing a non top 50 review. Well I couldn’t let the Hammer reviews fade could I?

shot0006Well here’s an oddity. Straying from the horror staple into Sci-Fi this remake of an earlier BBC serial is a film I fondly remember however on reviewing I find it quite dull. Perhaps its the flush of first horrors that give me such warm memories or that I cant accept what seems to be rather odd pacing.

The movie tells the tale of an alien spacecraft found during the renovation of a London tube station and the threat it still holds even after being buried for thousands of years. It is well filmed and acted but the build up to actually finding anything takes an age, then the film feels like it ends until the finale where all hell (almost literally) breaks loose. shot0008

The finale of the movie when it occurs is excellent but it feels like a real slog to get there.

Its worth a look if you haven't seen it but oddly isn't the classic flick I remember from my (mis-spent) youth.

Friday, 29 August 2014

IMDB top 50 No. 44 “Apocalypse Now” (1979)

In 2012 the BFI (British Film Institute) published a list of what, in the experts opinion, are the greatest Movies of all time. They were generally bad.

Here is the comparable IMDB list…. (list generated on 9/7/2014)

Number 44: Apocalypse Now

I knew that at some point I would hit the conundrum of Directors Cuts. After all which movie is the highly rated one? Some directors cuts are greatly different from the originals however this is not necessarily the version that is loved. The conclusion I came to was to use what is the generally most accepted version. In this case the feedback from IMDB forums indicated that the shorter theatrical release is the better film. This is the one I watched.

shot0002Already inhabiting my personal list the biggest risk for Apocalypse Now was the chance of being marked down. I therefore had to watch with a very critical eye.

I really don’t know why I worried, Yes sometime it is slow and ponderous and some scenes seem remarkably frivolous given the war context however that really is the point. The whole push is that war is insane and it makes us insane. Willards (Charlie Sheen) journey to confront the insane renegade Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando) is as much a journey into madness as the Colonels own life. Add to this some outstanding performances, amazingly apt and well produced sound and the most beautiful visuals Hollywood has ever produced and you have a film that really does deserve its place in the list.

RATINGS (at the time of publishing)shot0005

IMDB users acknowledge the horror at 8.5 I agree.
Rotten Tomatoes give the film a napalm coated 99%. The film is far from perfect however and as 99% is almost perfect I cannot agree. I would rate it at a far more reasonable 85%

They really do not make them like this anymore.

Don’t take my word for it. Watch Apocalypse now on YouTube (depending on location) right now.

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