Movies

The Indian Tomb (1959)

As promised here is my review of #984, The Indian Tomb. This is a German movie set in India about this man who’s pretty angry that the woman he loves is in love with another man. He hires an architect to build a tomb in which he can throw her in until she presumably withers away and dies. I originally fell asleep to this movie several times, but I did manage to eventually fumble my way through it to the end.

I said in my last TSPDT post that this movie was cringe worthy so let me get right into the good stuff. You might have noticed that I said this was a German movie set in India. Does that mean it was made by Germans and featured actual Indian actors? No. This movie has so much, for lack of anything else to call it, brown face in it that I could barely watch. The “man” I referenced in my detailed summary that’s building the tomb is supposed to be a Maharajah which is an Indian king or ruler. He was played by an Austrian born man who wore brown makeup to give him that authentic Indian look. The “woman” is also supposed to be Indian and is played by an American. She wears slightly less brown makeup but Indian she is not.  Their wardrobe was absolutely gorgeous though. Take a look  for yourself and tell me that isn’t some great costume work.

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Before I move on from these character, I have to point out that the woman reads her lines in English. However, all her lines are dubbed over in German which seems to be a common practice in European movies. So if you’re following along, that makes her an American playing a German playing an Indian. I shouldn’t let that bother me so much, but wow it really did. I couldn’t get into this movie when every time I look at one of the characters I know how fake it is.

While I’m on the subject of fake. Let’s dive into that… special scene where the woman, Seetha, is forced to dance in front of a snake. Here’s a slideshow of the “snake” in all its glory. It really is something special.

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Don’t get mad at me for critiquing an effect from the late 50s. I’m not expecting a majestic fully functional snake replica. What I was expecting was them to at least edit out the wires!

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That whole scene is just too hilarious for me to take seriously. She dances in front of this snake for minutes in what can barely be described as clothes. It amounts to a set of boob covers, a female genitalia cover and a butt cover. I’m thinking maybe the snake held off attacking because he was trying to figure out what she was doing. In all honesty, I spent the whole scene wondering how they kept those things stuck to her skin. Then just when you think she’s tamed the paper mache beast, her ankle bracelet comes unclasped and she kicks it off, which, as everyone knows, is the one thing that angers snakes the most. But since this is only the middle of the movie, she’s saved from a mouth full of deadly paper cuts.

With all these TSPDT movies I watch I try to figure out why they make it onto the list. This movie has a 100% on rotten tomatoes and a 6.8/10 rating on IMDB. It’s based on a novel and was the second of two movies that were both filmed by Fritz Lang. He is a renowned directer who, at this point in his life, had been directing films for 40 years. It’s an ambition epic tale with some beautiful locations, and as mentioned earlier amazing costumes. Now I haven’t seen the first movie in the set, but this one actually holds its own as a stand alone. The plot makes enough sense that you don’t need to have seen the first to follow along. It has a good story and the pacing isn’t too bad. I think for those reasons it earned its place on the list. If you can tolerate the bad effects, dubbing and cringe worthy makeup then this might be something you can enjoy. Otherwise, maybe just watch it with some friends to have a few good laughs. Finally, if there’s any movie that needs to be remade in Hollywood today, it’s this. If they could get real Indian actors, clean up the effects and keep the story and locations I would definitely go to see it.

Verdict: 7/10

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Movies

Triple TSPDT Feature

As promised, here is the male led triple feature of TSPDT movies. Like I mentioned in the previous post, the women led triple averaged a score of 7/10. Let’s see if the men can beat that!

Bad Timing (1980)

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Starting off with #987 Bad Timing, a movie about a psychiatrist who dates this insane woman who ends up overdosing. Hey, don’t be mad at me for spoiling the ending… it starts with the end and does some Pulp Fiction jumps through time. It sounded interesting, but let me down in its execution. The time jumps were the biggest issue I had. It starts off with the overdose, then jumps back to the beginning with how they met, and back and forth, back and forth. Sometimes this style can work, but for me I felt like it would have worked better just going in chronological order. This movie had either a legitimate case of an unreliable narrator or just used cheap tricks to withhold a crucial detail from the ending at the beginning until the ending at the end. In this case, I definitely felt tricked by the surprise at the end because it didn’t really build up enough for me to believe it. I also didn’t buy into the cop being so interested in a regular old run of the mill overdose. It was used as a way to drive Alex to reveal the truth, but like I said that truth didn’t feel earned. I enjoyed some parts of it, but overall this wasn’t more than the average movie for me. That scene at the party though, what an entrance!

Verdict: 7/10


The Fountainhead (1949)

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Moving on to #986, The Fountainhead, which is a late 40s movie based on a novel by Ayn Rand about an architect who really loves being an architect and wants to build the best buildings he can. Yeah, this movie is really into architecture and makes it seem like architects rule the world. It was kind of goofy that way, but passion is interesting so it kept my attention.  The story itself is very good, but at one point it got under my skin. There’s a point where the bad guys start saying how the perfect human should submit to society. They’re meant to do what society needs of them and shouldn’t take anything in return. This is in response to the main character wanting to do something new and modern to go against the grain. It really hit home with me because I hate thinking of myself as just another number in society; completely faceless and replaceable. I guess that’s why I was rooting for Howard to win in the end so that I can feel like all hope might not be lost after all. It’s very entertaining and held up decently well for a nearly 70 year old movie. Also, I don’t know if you’ve heard the news but there are talks of remaking this so you definitely have to see it before the remake comes out. Personally, I may even consider reading the book since I enjoyed the movie so much. Give this one a shot, it’s not too bad.

Verdict: 8/10


Red Beard (1965)

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Lastly, we have #985, Red Beard, which I alluded to in my last monthly summary as one of my movie blockers on this list. The way I talked about it, you may already be thinking that I didn’t like it too much. With this movie being just over 3 hours long, that’d be a correct assumption for the first half of the movie and incorrect for the second. The first half to me was, I’m sorry to say, some uninteresting slice of life around a red bearded doctor in Japan. Mercifully, once they came across Otoyo things really picked up. Like I’ve said before, I’m no film student, but there were things even I noticed in this movie. The first being in the scene right after the intermission, Otoyo wakes up and you see her whole face is cast in shadow except for her eyes. It was like at that point her whole life was shrouded in darkness, but by the end that darkness was gone and she could finally live in the light. Another scene that stuck with me and really warmed me up to Red Beard (the character) is when he’s trying to give Otoyo her medicine. Every time he brings the spoon to her lips she knocks it back in his face. He doesn’t get angry though, he just fills up another spoonful and tries again. Each time she wacks it away you can see how confused she is at why he isn’t getting angry and each wack is smaller and smaller until she finally lets him give her the medicine. It was a really sweet scene and was incredibly acted. Now we can fast forward to when she’s gotten better and she befriends the boy, Chobo. It really shows how far she’s come that she can connect with and trust another person again. It was made all the more heartbreaking with what befalls Chobo and his family. The scene before it happens and the aftermath are insane. I actually teared up because everyone gave such great performances. Overall, if they had gotten to the post intermission part of the story sooner I think I would’ve been more interested all the way through. That aside, it was an enjoyable enough movie so I’m not completely disappointed and I’m glad I was able to finish it.

Verdict: 7.3/10


These turned out to be a decent trio of movies and if you’ve been keeping track that puts the men’s average at 7.4/10 meaning they edged out the competition and won my random triple feature showdown. I suppose it’s a good thing that TSPDT movies won this since they are supposed to be the top #1000 movies. With that said, a 7.4 is not a good average for movies of this caliber. It’s a little disappointing and I wonder how some of these movies end up on the list. Case in point, my next TSPDT post will be one that is pretty cringe worthy. Before that, stay tuned for my May summary in the next few days.

Movies

For Your Eyes Only (1981)

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I feel like shaking things up a bit and reviewing a movie that isn’t a TSPDT movie for a change. I’ve had a long time quest to watch all the 007 movies in order and so far I’ve made it part way through the Roger Moore era. Up to this point in the series he is definitely my favorite bond. He’s sophisticated and can toss a little bit of humor in to the mix as well. As far as this particular movie goes, there was no pigeon double take like the last one, but there were some dumb scenes as usual for this series.

What I really didn’t like in this movie, which honestly seems pretty normal for the series up till now, is all of the women. Their acting is horrendous… I could do a better job. Bibi, or whatever her name was, was the worst thing about the entire movie. How old is she supposed to be? At one point she whines, “I want to win the gold medaaaaaal”. Is she really supposed to be an Olympic athlete? And then she tried desperately throughout the movie to seduce Bond. Are they trying to make some reference to the fact that the 60s era bond used to sexually harass women so now they’re doing like a wink and a nudge by having her do it to him? Help me figure this out because I don’t have any other explanation for this abomination of a character. The bond girl of this movie wasn’t any better. Instead of being over the top campy, I wasn’t even sure she was a live human being. She had almost no emotion on her face ever. All her lines were delivered completely deadpan. I guess she was beautiful enough for the part though… that’s all the matters… right?

Enough about women… let’s talk about the fancy gadgets and action scenes. I know this movie is from the 80s but I couldn’t stop laughing at that fancy facial ID machine. It was like some green wire frame “image” of a person and they were able to find out the guy’s name and literally every little fact about him in 30 seconds. I guess something had to move the plot along, but that was too funny. Then there was that stupid hockey fight scene. They actually played the goal sound whenever bond kicked a guy into the net. This movie is so cheesy and ridiculous. The cliff scene was kind of cool though and the car chase wasn’t bad. There were a lot of action scenes in this one and they all sort of balance out to make them average as a whole.

I can make all the jokes I want about this movie but this is what a 007 movie is. Big, over the top, spectacular action scenes with dumb one liners. The only critique I’ll give is that I don’t think the villain was very good and the story wasn’t interesting enough for me. This is definitely not the worst bond movie by any stretch of the imagination though. I’m not upset that I watched it and I don’t think you will be either. Until next time when I’ll be back in Octopussy!

Verdict: 7/10 For your eyes only… man getting bit in crotch by shark

Movies

Weekend Binge #2

War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)war_for_the_planet_of_the_apes

I like the Planet of the Apes franchise, in particular I enjoyed the originals a lot, but I couldn’t really get into the new trilogy. This was an ok movie, but I only watched it for completion’s sake so I wasn’t expecting too much. See I find it extremely difficult to follow the plot in movies that are live action but mostly CGI because my brain just zones out.  I thought it was almost interesting trying to come full circle by introducing Nova, but it didn’t really work for me because if you watched the first Planet of the Apes right after this, it wouldn’t make any sense. In that movie she’s put in a cage like another animal, so if she was originally like a pet to them or someone they cared about how come they treated her like any other human? It felt like a quick last minute tie in and not something that was very thought out. The effects are pretty great obviously, and they did a good job trying to evoke emotion from the audience. I couldn’t really empathize too much with CGI though, so it was sort of lost on me. Now try and stay with me here… what I’m about to say in no way reflects the quality of this movie, I’m merely trying to compare the ideas. This was sort of like the Star Wars prequels in that it tries to explain things that I never really wanted to know. Personally, I never cared why humans couldn’t talk or how apes took over the world so this just didn’t appeal to me in any way (just like how I don’t care about Midi-chlorians!).

However, this is a well done movie with some emotional moments and I can understand how it was so highly praised. If you liked the first 2 movies in this trilogy I’m sure this won’t disappoint you.

 Verdict: 7/10 Don’t forget the subtitles or you’ll end up listening to monkey grunts for 20 minutes and have to rewind


Stronger (2017)stronger.png

I looked at this movie and thought it was some tear jerking Oscar bait movie and didn’t want to waste my time on it, but then I noticed that Jake Gyllenhaal was in it and I pretty much had no choice. He hasn’t disappointed me in a long time so any movie he’s in, I’m there. Thankfully this ended up being so much better than I thought it’d be. I thought it was really respectful of the event and the survivors and it didn’t feel like it was just trying to cash in. One of my favorite scenes is when Jeff is in the hospital and he’s getting his bandages changed. The focus of the camera is on his face and his pain, while his legs are out of focus in the background. The point of the scene is to show what he had to endure, not to show the gore for shock value or flaunt off the special effects. It was unexpected, but I liked how they handled that a lot. They did something similar when he goes to wave the flag at the hockey game. That whole scene was incredible with the way they handled his PTSD and the emotion between him and his girlfriend, Erin.

Overall this is a pretty good movie. The acting, effects and handling of the tough subject matter was all done exceptionally well and this is well worth checking out.

Verdict: 8.1/10 Bring some Kleenex


mother! (2017)

The only thing I knew about this movie going in was that it was really weird and you’ll either love it or hate it. For some reason, I thought Jennifer Lawrence was supposed to be a robot and I spent the whole movie waiting for her to plug herself in to charge or something. Maybe if she was a robot I would’ve liked it more than I did. The first half wasn’t bad, but the second half was just too WTF for me. There was too much going on and none of it really made sense. I don’t even have a favorite image to screengrab here so all you get is text!

As a fan of Requiem for a Dream and Black Swan, I thought I might enjoy this but oh well… you win some you lose some. Maybe if you liked The Fountain you might like this.

Verdict: 6.4/10 She’s definitely NOT a robot…


Sing Street (2016)

sing_street.pngThis is another musical with another great soundtrack. This one takes place in the 80s and stars a 15 year old boy who starts a band to impress a girl he likes. I was a little skeptical at first after hearing the boy’s voice, but he started to get into it and I thought he sounded great. Some of the songs were catchy and they were a lot of fun to listen to. The brother was really great in this movie; his character was so deep and well written, and the actor who played him gave a fantastic performance.

If you like musicals then I’m sure you’ll like this. If you grew up in the 80s, I’m even more sure you’ll like this.

Verdict: 7.8/10 Get ready for a good time!


Lovesong (2016)lovesong.png

I’m not totally sure where I heard of this movie but it somehow made it on to my “To Watch” list, so when I saw it on Netflix I thought I’d give it a go. This movie is about 2 friends who sleep with each other once then don’t see each other again until one of them gets married. It’s a little awkward, but also kind of sweet, but also kind of sad. This movie was a child size roller coaster of emotion. That kid was so adorable I thought I was going to die whenever she said something and there were some really good laughs, namely “Anal Saturdays”… man was that a great scene. I liked the movie up until the ending then I got sort of annoyed. Watching people being stupid just makes me mad. I wish I could’ve reached into the movie and slapped them. Look at that image! Don’t they look happy? I think so. Ok… well out of context that doesn’t look too happy, but in context it was really sweet and I liked it.

Overall, this is a slow, mediocre “romance” type movie and I’d say it probably won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you have nothing else to do on a Sunday afternoon, maybe give it a whirl.

Verdict: 7/10 Anal Saturdays


45 Years (2015)

I heard good things about this movie and I had it queued to watch on Netflix for months despite it not looking too interesting to me. My instinct happened to be right in this case, and I didn’t enjoy it at all. It’s about this couple who are just about to celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary when they receive some news that will change their lives in a big way. I won’t give away what the big news is because I think learning about it as the characters do helps you feel the emotions right alongside them. As far as how it made me feel, well I can understand the heartbreak and how it’d feel to have your entire life put into question, but maybe I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind to really have it hit me emotionally.

I found myself really bored through long stretches of this movie. Perhaps if you’ve been married for 44 years and 11 months you might be able to relate a little more and will enjoy this… otherwise I can’t really say I’d recommend it.

Verdict: 6.4/10 Ehhhhhhh

Movies

TSPDT Double Feature

This week I gave myself a double dose of They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They? with the movies Storm Over Asia and Das Boot. My desire to watch each of these movies couldn’t have been any more different, but without further ado let’s get into it.

Storm Over Asia (1928)

Starting off with #989, Storm Over Asia or Potomok Chingis-Khana if you prefer original titles. This is a silent, historical, 2+ hour long Russian movie about uhhh, trying to sell some furs, getting in a fight, then being mistaken for Genghis Khan. I judge books by their covers, and I thought this would bore the pants off of me. I psyched myself up and hit play. The first thing I noticed was the music which was so different from other silent movies I’ve seen. This one was Asian themed and I liked it a lot actually. I think it fit well with the movie and I didn’t get sick of it after the 2 hour runtime like I have with other silent movies I’ve watched. The effects were also pretty good for such an old movie. They actually showed blood that looked like blood which I found somewhat shocking for a movie from the 20s. It was also very impressive that they shot the movie in Mongolia and hired Mongolian actors to play many of the parts which added a lot authenticity to the movie.

Overall, this wasn’t as bad as I thought it’d be, but I did zone out a little in the middle. Even so, this is in my personal top 5 silent movies… out of the 10 or so that I’ve seen…

Verdict: 7/10


Das Boot (1981)das_boot.png

Next let’s fast forward to 1981 with Das Boot, a movie about Germans on a U-boat in WWII. This would be #988 on the list and is my second time seeing it. I was so excited to re-watch it and it didn’t disappoint in the slightest. I think the first time I ended up watching the nearly 5 hour version, this time I watched the 3 and a half hour version but boy did it not feel that long… there wasn’t a single moment when I asked myself when this was going to be over.  This movie is so intense, it had my stomach in knots. I had the added bonus of not remembering how it ends and the ending just blew my mind. I loved it so much that I won’t dare spoil anything, even though that’s the tagline of my blog. As far as special effects go, they built scale models to do some of the outside sea shots which held up really well almost 40 years later. They even built a life sized U-boat set to use where you can see how insanely small those things were for the amount of people they carried. You can just imagine the filth and stench inside that boat after months on sea. I just can’t get over how well this movie was made. I loved every minute of it.

This movie is suspenseful, emotional, claustrophobic and beautifully made. I can’t stop praising it enough, and because of that I decided that it’s earned a place in my top 20 movies of all time. Don’t be scared of the runtime for this movie because it doesn’t feel long at all. But if you still can’t stomach watching such a long movie, there’s a shorter one at around 2 and a half hours that just might do it for you. So turn off the lights, turn up the volume and enjoy!

Verdict: 9.5/10

 

 

 

Oh, hi there, nice of you to still be reading… here’s a bonus movie just for you.

Miller’s Crossing (1990)millers_crossing.png

I had this one laying around for awhile and decided to finally give it a watch and it was just alright. It’s about this guy who keeps trying to play both sides of this mobster feud. The plot is interesting I guess, but personally I don’t find that Gabriel Byrne can really carry a movie. The movie just felt small and could’ve benefited from some bigger name actors in it. There were some great scenes, but I couldn’t help but feel like something was always missing. I really can’t say what it was though. This is a decent Sunday afternoon movie, but I wasn’t too blown away with it.

Verdict: 6.8/10

 

 

Movies

Pépé le Moko (1937)

Image missing because my video card decided today would be its last day of service so I’m not able to grab a good enough shot to do this post justice. Instead, just imagine a close up of a man standing face to face with a beautiful woman in an old black and white french movie.

I’ve been agonizing over whether I should write anything about this movie or not. Pépé le Moko is a classic film noir, gangster movie that was influential in creating the anti-hero archetype. It cemented Jean Gabin as one of the greatest male leads of the time in France and his character was the inspiration for Pépé Le Pew. Movies like this almost seem untouchable for a review. I didn’t go to film school or study film history in depth, I’m just someone who watches movies for my own enjoyment . So for this review, that’s just what I’ll do… I’ll talk about my enjoyment of this movie.

I didn’t hate it and I didn’t love it, I’m just completely neutral. Some scenes hit their mark, but I had a huge problem investing in the “romance”. I understand this was made 80 years ago and things were different back then, but I just can’t support a romance where the man says something like, “A pity I don’t know you better so I could smack you one.” Yeah he’s the anti-hero, but this has nothing to do with being an anti-hero character it was just how women were treated back then. I think that line made it too hard for me to care for him as a person and as a result I couldn’t invest in his struggles. Jean Gabin was great in this role though… he really brought the character to life. When he gets mad and starts yelling, that is acting to rival anything you’d see in movies today, I absolutely loved it.

Storywise, I went in a little too cold with this movie so I didn’t even know what it was about and that caused me to be somewhat confused at the beginning. They start right up with Pépé being a wanted criminal and you don’t get to see what he did or what got everyone to where they are now. It took me awhile to figure out who everyone was and what they were trying to do. This might end up being better on a second viewing since I won’t be so confused, but it did hamper my enjoyment this time around. I might’ve liked to see an opening scene of Pépé committing some crimes or something along those lines just to introduce him and give me a real sense of who the police are after.

If you like classic movies then at least give this one a shot because I don’t think you’ll hate it. If you come armed with a little knowledge about the movie, and a longer attention span than I have, I dare say you might actually like it.

Verdict: 7/10 Pepé le Meh

Movies

The Mist (2007)

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As unbelievable as this sounds, The Mist is about a small town that’s terrorized by… a mist. That really took me by surprise, but once I got over the shock of it, I was left with an emotionally confusing movie. I just don’t know how to feel about it. There are a lot of moments I genuinely enjoyed and there are ones where I nearly broke my nose face-palming so hard.

I’ll go ahead and start off with the best part of the entire movie, and that’s, hands down, Thomas Jane’s performance. He is just amazing and completely carries this movie on his back. You see him go through a believable range of emotions as this mist starts to attack, and the last scene of the movie is so well acted that it rips your heart out of your chest and throws it on the ground. Then there are the characters in this movie that are just so annoying; Mrs. Carmody, the one dimensional religious freak; Brent Norton, the neighbor that for some reason believes the entire store is trying to trick him… like get over yourself buddy; and Carol from The Walking Dead’s character, who thinks someone is actually going to walk her home in this mist and gets mad when they don’t. Such unlikable people with unbelievable motives and actions. I also thought it was a little unfair of the movie to provide such spoilers for The Walking Dead. Killing Andrea and Dale? Not fair! Carol gets to survive? Come on! Boy am I glad I watched this after watching that show or I’d be pretty upset.

On top of all my issues with the characters, the special effects were pretty… 10 years old. I guess the movie tried its best, but those effects dated real fast. Thankfully they didn’t detract too much from the story because I still bought into what was happening. It was built up really well and the whole premise was interesting. The spider like creatures shooting acid webs just gave me another reason to murder any spider that enters my house. Try it spiders… bring it on!

This was an alright little horror movie with a fantastic final scene. I mostly watched it for the ending, which I think is pretty well known at this point and if you haven’t watched it yet I’d definitely recommend it. I think I might even go back for a rewatch on upcoming Halloweens.

Verdict: 7/10 If you’re gonna do a shout out to The Thing, do it with sweet effects not just its poster