Archive for the Movies Category

Quantum of Solace — my review

Posted in James Bond, Movies with tags , , , , on 23 November 2008 by Doc Tourneau

qos_ad

Even though I give it an overall grade of B-, I still find some significant problems that makes this a somewhat disappointing follow-up to Casino Royale. For full enlightenment, read the whole thing RIGHT HERE.

Her Majesty’s Secret Servant

Posted in James Bond, Movies with tags , , , , , , on 29 September 2008 by Doc Tourneau

Being the hard-core James Bond fan that I am, I would be remiss not to point out the new issue of Her Majesty’s Secret Servant. It’s a particularly fine James Bond website/e-zine, and this is a particularly fine issue, with a particularly fine special feature covering the James Bond Film villains of fame and fable.

I don’t know that it needs to be made explicit, but this superlative enterprise, this venerable organ now in its 11th year, is published by the most excellent Mr. Tom Zielinski, and my own humble self. Our staff of senior editors and contributing writers are Bond fans of the highest caliber and greatest perscapacity, and are all good people to boot. The graphics, design, and layout are all done by (cough, cough)… moi.

You are cordially invited to take a look.

Clint Eastwood — great film director

Posted in Movies with tags on 23 August 2008 by Doc Tourneau

My respect for — hell, my adoration of — Mr. Clint Eastwood knows no bounds. As a kid, I liked The Man with No Name; as a teenager, I dug Dirty Harry. They were badasses, and they were so. very. cool. As an adult, I’m consistently amazed and delighted with the depths of his artistic integrity, his vision, his imagination, and his sheer technical skill as a filmmaker. A lot of his movies will still be being viewed a hundred years from now. Clint Eastwood is a national treasure.

But you knew that.

Anyway, he’s joining the ranks of other Great Film Directors in my Flickr set of that name. I like the way he looks now; like a combination of wind and sun and sand have blasted away all unnecessary skin, fat, and connective tissue — leaving just the burning brilliance of his core essence. Here he is, in all his scowly glory:

I’m not ranking these guys, but he’s up there with Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, John Ford, Howard Hawks, Akira Kurosawa, James Whale, Stanley Kubrick, François Truffaut, and Billy Wilder. Next up, I think, is Michael Curtiz. On the other hand, I’ve seen a lot of films by Alan Smithee…

“Quantum of Solace” theme song?

Posted in Cool video, James Bond, Movies, Music with tags , , , , , , , on 9 August 2008 by Doc Tourneau

As a confirmed, lifelong, hard-core James Bond fan, I am, of course, eagerly anticipating this fall’s new 007 movie QUANTUM OF SOLACE.

One of the rituals in counting down to the release of a new Bond film is anticipating the new theme song. The BBC 6’s Adam and Joe have proposed their own tune, with an accompanying video. It’s one of the funniest Bond spoofs I’ve seen in years. Feast your eyes (and ears) on:

The real, actual, QOS title track is entitled “Another Way to Die,” and will be performed by Jack White and Alicia Keys. Let’s hope it’s as inspired as this!

Best. Lovecraft. Movie. Ever.

Posted in Horror, Movies with tags , , , , on 31 July 2008 by Doc Tourneau

From the yeah, that was pretty cool — wish I’d written about it then department:

Horror writers H.P. Lovecraft and Stephen King share a similar problem: their authorial voices are almost impossible to transfer to the medium of film. Particulars of their stories aside, what we love about these authors’ work is their expository language — their storytelling style and descriptive powers. That’s why, I think, that with a couple of notable exceptions aside, most cinematic adaptations of their works are disappointing.

The 2005 film THE CALL OF CTHULHU , produced by The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society, is one of those exceptions, and it’s an absolutely spectacular one!

Ironically, that may be because of the severe budgetary limitations the production was working under. Making a virtue out of necessity, director Andrew Leman and writer-producer Sean Branney hit on the brilliant (but not so obvious) idea of filming Lovecraft’s classic tale as a black-and-white silent film, as it might have been done in the 1920s. Instead of worrying about realistic special effects (or, God forbid, CGI) they were instead able to utilize a little Georges Méliès-style magic in their home-built practical effects.These two elements of the film complement each other beautifully, and, combined with the (really terrific!) original symphonic music score, add up to a hugely pleasurable viewing experience.

Especially for Lovecraft fans! Because this movie, this no-budget little labor-of-love fan film, is probably the best cinematic adaptation of an HPL story ever made. All the elements of the original story are there; and the story is very well told by the actor’s facial expressions and body language, plus the occasional well-placed title card (the text of which, as far as I can tell, are taken directly from the published story). The mood and atmosphere of the film are note-perfect, and stands in perfectly for Lovecraft’s ever-anxious authorial voice. A sense of of spooky mystery is evoked in the first act, set in the fabled Massachusetts city of Arkham. Real horror accompanies the second, at the pagan goings-on in swamps of Louisiana. And in the ocean-going third, when the titular Mr. C. makes his dread appearance, the terror of the characters is palpable.

Check out the trailer for yourself —

— and then immediately go to the HPLHS website, or to Amazon.com, and buy it. You’ll be happy that you did! And I’ll be too, because of these cats make enough money, they’re going to go on to film Lovecraft’s The Whisperer in Darkness. Woo hoo!

Empire or Federation: where would you rather live?

Posted in Movies, Science Fiction, TV with tags , , , , , , , , , on 6 July 2008 by Doc Tourneau

Because I’m a geek, and because I have plenty of time, I’ve been thinking lately about Star Trek and Star Wars. Comparing and contrasting, listing pros and cons, entertaining questions for which I’ve never had satisfactory answers, etc. I’m a fan of both franchises (how I hate that term!), and, in my idle moments of Walter Mitty-like fantasizing, project myself into their respective universes. While I’m (mentally) there, these are some of the things that occur to me…

In Star Trek*, you never see any private or commercial space traffic. How come? Is that by design, or merely a practical consideration of Trek’s limited budgeting? Alien ships aside, Starfleet appears to be the only authorized human venue for space travel. Which would be kind of like, in our present day, having only Navy ships at sea; no freighters, no yachts, no tankers, no runabouts — only armed-to-the-teeth warships, even for the most benign exploratory or scientific purposes. And, I guess, only Air Force planes in the sky. Hey, that would be like living in a military dictatorship!

READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE HERE

My favorite film directors

Posted in Movies with tags on 31 May 2008 by Doc Tourneau

Continuing my series today with a portrait of the great Stanley Kubrick. In the biopic A LIFE IN PICTURES Stanley Kubrick, playing with light, the narrator talks about Kubrick “playing with light.” That thought inspired me to run a picture of the man through the old Paint Shop Pro grinder. I kind of like the way it came out.

So he joins Alfred Hitchcock, John Ford, Orson Welles, and Howard Hawks in my gallery. Coming soon — Clint Eastwood, maybe. Or Akira Kurosawa, I don’t know. We’ll see…

See ’em all at my Great Film Directors set over at the Flickr.com.

The Simpsons movie reference Guide

Posted in Movies, TV with tags on 31 May 2008 by Doc Tourneau

From the “things I found while looking up other things” department:

This very cool website (in Spanish, with which, sadly, I’m not conversant with,) Actualidadsimpson, takes a loving look at TV’s The Simpsons and its regularly-occurring movie references. The site features absolutely terrific shot-by-shot comparisons of the cartoon series’ cinematic homages to their original counterparts.

For example, THE UNTOUCHABLES:

Monty Burns as Al Capone in a THE UNTOUCHABLES reference

I’m sure that if I could read the accompanying text, I’d be praising the site author’s insight and perspicacity. Even so, the visuals speak for themselves. There’s a lot of them, so be prepared to be surprised and delighted. I was — as a fan of the show, I thought I had caught most of their movie-geek references. Yeah, sure. Maybe half of these…

If you love The Simpsons, if you love movies, then get yourself on over to Actualidadsimpson.com for a real treat.

If Star Wars came out in the early 1960s

Posted in Cool video, Movies with tags on 27 May 2008 by Doc Tourneau

If George Lucas had made STAR WARS 15 years earlier, say, in the early 1960s, perhaps Saul Bass would have done the titles sequence —
— and it may have looked something like this:

An unfairly forgotten Hammer Films classic

Posted in Horror, Movies, Science Fiction with tags , , on 18 May 2008 by Doc Tourneau

… Recently, while spending an enjoyable time surfing through Glenn Erickson’s terrific DVD Savant website, I happened along his review of THE CRAWLING EYE (a.k.a. THE TROLLENBERG TERROR,) an old British science fiction vehicle for Forrest Tucker. I had less-than-fond memories of that picture also, primarily due to its US poster for The Abominable Snowman with its American titlinglaughable no-budget special effects. Erickson gave it high marks for its writing and direction, however, noting its tight construction and sustained, mounting suspense. So, figuring I had nothing to lose other than a quickly-turned-over Netflix rental, I decided to check it out. Following a link from THE CRAWLING EYE review, I read his piece on the 1957 THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN. “What the hell?” I figured, “it’s Hammer, it’s got Peter Cushing; maybe it’s worth another look, after 40 years….”

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