An adventurer and his Iroquois warrior companion investigate a series… MoreAn adventurer and his Iroquois warrior companion investigate a series of brutal murders in rural revolutionary France said to be the work of a supernatural creature. The Brotherhood of the Wolf is a strange fish indeed. It is a genre spanning hybrid of period romance, supernatural horror, Holmesian mystery and martial arts mayhem. It's a strange brew indeed, but somehow it works. The basis of the story is similar to The Name Of The Rose in that a man of science investigates murder in Ye Olden Days to a backdrop of religious and political paranoia but it mixes in elements of The Hound Of The Baskervilles and Dangerous Liaisons with a Hammer Horror twist to create what is best described as a French Sleepy Hollow with Kung Fu. The eclectic cast all show their quality in their various fields, from straight to DVD stalwart Marc Dacascos' laconic, high kicking Indian to Vincent Cassell's embittered aristocrat through to the inevitably stunning Monica Bellucci's mysterious Italian courtesan. The CGI may be showing its age a little, but otherwise its visually very nice and the story, although a little lacking in focus, is so odd ball it never fails to maintain the interest. An unusual supernatural action film that transcends its patchwork of ideas to create something strangely unique.
Old Bob Hope films were always amongst my favourites growing up, and… MoreOld Bob Hope films were always amongst my favourites growing up, and this is one of his funniest. He plays Sylvester The Great, man of seven faces ("I travel a lot. With my act, it's safer!") who saves runaway princess Virginia Mayo from the clutches of evil buccaneer The Hook. The gags flow thick and fast complete with Hope's usual self-deprecating one liners and loads of slapstick and sight gags; if you imagine Pirates Of The Caribbean done by the Marx brothers you're in the right ball park. Walter Brennan is hilarious as a crazy old pirate and Mayo is very easy on the eye in the classic tradition of old style Hollywood glamour. It still makes me laugh out loud pretty much non-stop after all these years and is the kind of classic comedy that appeals to every age.
Based on a story by Akira Kurosawa, starring Yul Brinner, Steve… MoreBased on a story by Akira Kurosawa, starring Yul Brinner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Robert Vaughn and Eli Wallach, directed by John (The Gunfight At The OK Corral/The Great Escape) Sturges and accompanied by one of the best musical scores ever written, and you have the ingredients for possibly the perfect old school western. Poor old Horst Buchholz didn't stand much of a chance up against an ensemble cast of this quality, but he makes a decent fist of a character who is essentially an amalgam of two characters from Seven Samurai, which makes way for Vaughn's gunslinger who has lost his nerve and slots seamlessly into the action. It does take a more popular culture slant on the original's more arthouse sensibilities, but it works perfectly. Brinner and McQueen make a brilliant double act and it even adds a more upbeat ending without failing to retain the spirit of the source material. One of the very few examples of a remake that is almost as worthwhile as the original.
Two down at heel Americans stranded in the backwaters of Mexico use… MoreTwo down at heel Americans stranded in the backwaters of Mexico use the last of their money to go searching for gold in the company of grizzled old prospector Walter Huston. Unfortunately when they strike it rich, avarice turns them against each other resulting in deceit and murder. John Huston's classic story of greed is based upon The Pardoner's Tale from Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales. It's basically a morality story warning of the dangers of greed and how the promise of wealth can blacken a man's heart; in this case Humphrey Bogart in quite possibly his finest performance. Huston is also marvellous as the pragmatic and worldly wise old geezer who predicted everything that occurs to the disbelief of his initially wide eyed and enthusiastic partners. The suspense builds tangibly as the former friends become more and more suspicious of each other, all three at one point or another tempted to stab each other in the back for their share of the goods. It's a brilliant story, expertly told by some of the best in the business and one of the true cinematic greats. One of those films anyone who calls themself a movie buff must surely have on their list.
A more human telling of the Vietnam experience than it's bleakly… MoreA more human telling of the Vietnam experience than it's bleakly factual contemporary Full Metal Jacket, this film is almost scuppered by the gimmicky casting of Charlie Sheen in the lead role. The strong supporting cast make up for his obvious shortcomings as a serious actor, however. Watch out for a young Johnny Depp as Lerner.