You can clearly see this is a Rob Reiner film in every sense. The… MoreYou can clearly see this is a Rob Reiner film in every sense. The whole production has that silly visual humour that most would associate with Mel Brooks...although not as strong. When the film came out it had moderate success and has since gone on to be become a bit of a cult, yet I'm not entirely sure why in all honesty.
Based on a novel of the same name the story is the quintessential fairytale fable. A young dashing hero who was thought to be dead must save his true love from an evil Prince in his castle. There are sidekicks, magicians, evil henchmen, knights, places of peril and the odd oversized creatures.
The unique element in this rudimentary idea is the comedy factor, a combination of spoof and slapstick both verbally and visually. In short you could say this was an early live action version of the Shrek franchise but not as 'out there' with the fantasy. Every typical fairytale scenario has been slightly twisted and lampooned just enough to make it funny but not as an outright spoof. There is still a solid plot here despite the fact its predictable as hell. The other unique angle is the fact the whole film is being narrated by Columbo to Kevin Arnold in the real world, a story within a story, so you're never completely sure if things will pan out as you'd expect...(but they do).
Now while I can't deny the film is a nice gentle old fashioned type of yarn it is extremely basic and largely unimpressive visually. I realise its more of a character piece than effects extravaganza but there really isn't much to soak up fantasy wise. It doesn't help me especially because some locations they filmed at the start, and the castle, are not far from my folks so it didn't give me any sense of wonder. There are some nice locations most definitely but it all looks too real if you get me, not much like a fantasy realm.
The film works mainly because of the characters, well some of them. Elwes is the perfect well spoken Flynn-esque hero without a doubt, he has good comedic timing and spoofs the classical silver screen hero very well. He virtually plays this character again in that Mel Brooks Robin Hood film. Wright is the perfect blonde fairytale Princess, utterly stunning! Sarandon does the slimy evil Prince to a tee and for me the best of all was Wallace Shawn as the low down crafty 'Vizzini'. Such a shame that Shawn's character dies so early on as he's the best thing going on in the film laughs wise. There are various other famous names in here too but for me they felt forced. Peter Cook's silly clergyman lisp just fell flat on its face, Mel Smith's Albino dungeon keeper felt out of place and not particularly funny whilst Billy Crystal was clearly Billy Crystal in makeup and not in the slightest bit amusing.
Had this come out now I don't think it would do too well, or any better than it did back in 87. The whole idea has been done and drained by a certain green orge plus other animated flicks. Back in the day the idea of a spoof fantasy was a bit more original but even then it didn't fare that well and I'm not really surprised. I can see how this might not have appeared very enticing to cinema goers at the time.
There is little to no violence so its perfect for the younger viewer whilst adults can enjoy the soft satire. Even though this is the epitome of a true fairytale I can't really say its a rich magical experience because there isn't much of that going on. Its a pleasant cozy ride that will relax you and not put any pressure on the brain. A pure organic tale but also rather underwhelming.
Pretty creepy title for a historical film and one that doesn't exactly… MorePretty creepy title for a historical film and one that doesn't exactly mean much if you ask me, although there is plenty of both onscreen so...I prefer 'The Rose and the Sword' which was its alternative title for a time. The story is apparently left over script from the Verhoeven directed Dutch TV series 'Floris' so one could almost say its the movie adaptation of that show.
Gotta be honest I thought this was a fantasy film as this is the first time I've ever seen it, so yes I got it wrong again. This is actually a historical 15th Century Italian period set...errrm hack n slash film? rescue film?...errrr wait, coup d'état film? black plague film?? oh geez. OK OK its a film which involves a lot of rape and pillage with the onset of the black plague and a bit of a rescue somewhere at the end...kinda.
The story revolves around a band of medieval mercs led by Rutger Hauer who were evicted from a city they had just helped siege. The owner of the city, and feudal Lord, promised them looting if they get his city back, but he lied. They get their own back by robbing the rich owner, generally killing his entourage and accidentally taking his sons bride to be. The mercs haul up inside a castle they overthrow and end up defending it from the Lord, his son and their troops.
So this being a Verhoeven film I'm sure you're expecting blood and guts...well as I said you get it. Its in no way as violent as other future films from the Dutch director but its most certainly much darker bleaker and more controversial. The main factors in this film which will shock are the out and out rape sequences of the young bride to be Jennifer Jason Leigh. The male members of the merc team take turns raping her in full view I kid you not, a most unsettling thing to watch I must admit. Not only this but the main character played by Hauer also rapes her but to soften the blow she pretends to enjoy it, this eventually leading to feelings for the character.
This opens up various quandaries for us the viewers as you don't know who you're suppose to be rooting for anymore. The city Lord is obviously untrustworthy because he betrayed the mercs in the first place. His son is also as ruthless as he is but he shows signs of devotion to Leigh's character, but surely Hauer's character is suppose to be the roguish dashing hero? well I guess not. He's certainly dashing in his elegant period set attire, much style and pomp in abundance with those blue eyes and blonde hair, but he kills, he rapes, he pillages and steals. It is indeed the Lords son and surprisingly the Lords honest respectable Commander that you end up getting behind, although it takes most of the film.
Throughout the film there are many slightly unsettling things that take place. One such seen is the birth of a baby to Hauer's character which died in the womb. He merely crams it into a small wooden barrel and they bury it without much thought or ceremony. Its a very harsh scene which is swept aside very quickly just as the characters do in the story. Another is the 'romantic' sequence between Leigh's bride and the Lords son. Only Verhoeven would think to set this kissing scene beneath the dangling rotting bodies of two hanged men. Yeah sure its in the countryside and very picturesque but wow! really? kinda odd.
The band of mercs are a truly disgusting bunch, they have little worries and merely go around killing robbing drinking and raping. The band is made up of a few males including Bruno Kirby and Brion James plus a few women too, one of which has her young son alongside her watching it all. I suppose it is based around semi facts, I don't know but I'm sure back in this era many things happened that today would be seen as horrendous. But back then life was cheap, many people were extremely poor, didn't know any better and didn't live very long anyway, not that that's an excuse really but times were very different.
This film confused me really, it felt very grotesque in places but almost like a fun swashbuckler in others. The use of modern day profanity didn't seem accurate to me and while the high level of nudity is typically Verhoeven, it does add to the realism but also feels a bit too much at times. Also some of the cast like Kirby didn't quite look right in this era and that big siege tower seemed ridiculous. How on earth did they build something that big and mechanically impressive so fast?!.
It all looks great visually and pretty realistic with some nice locations used. At the start Hauer looks badass with his rag bandanna and that sword he wields but alas his character doesn't retain that heroic badassery. Hauer's ragtag team of mercenaries repulse you and in the end you feel they get their comeuppance, including Hauer. The finale is worth the wait but don't expect too much. One thing is for sure, with all the visuals of nudity, plague and chopped up plague ridden dog meat, it will put off eating meat for awhile I reckon. Verhoeven knows how to grab your attention...as if you didn't already know.
Bit of a forgotten Hauer cult classic this with your typical popular… MoreBit of a forgotten Hauer cult classic this with your typical popular post apocalyptic world where only the strong survive. Haven't seen this in many many moons and it wasn't quite as cool as I remember it but still decent, the plot has now been copied over and over by many films since but as this was back in 89 it feels like its one of the first, almost.
An Aussie flick so you would be right in thinking there's a touch of 'Mad Max' in there but there's also a lot of classic barbarian type stuff and strong Roman Gladiator themes too, you wonder if Scott took inspiration perhaps. 'The Game' itself is kinda odd and simply revolves around sticking a dogs skull on a stick in the opponents half, like a touchdown really, whilst you batter your opponents half to death to protect yourself and your players. Dog skulls because they eat dogs in the future, why use them for this? who knows.
Of course there is more going on when you scratch the surface, literately. Deep underground (because the surface has been ravaged by war) there are affluent rich folk living in complete luxury that run a much bigger harder league of the game called 'The League'...imaginative huh. Down there the players are treated like real stars with wealth and fame but the risks are greater...well life threatening (duh!). The aim of many players is to get into this super league, of course good old Rutger has already played there and survived.
When you watch the game I did kinda get the feeling in reality it wouldn't last more than 5min or less but artistic license is in heavy use of course. The actual games aren't as violent as you'd think with minor blood and not much carnage, the film is quite tame really now but back in the day it was suppose to be pretty brutal.
Hauer is perfect for the role as the quiet brooding leader 'Sallow' and Delroy Lindo impresses in a surprise if slightly racially cliched role. Overall the whole team are all pretty good in all their stereotypical post apocalyptic attire along with manly battle scars. The Aussie outback also adds to the inhospitable atmosphere and really gives this adventure a nice bleak barren feel as you would expect.
Nice ending which isn't totally predictable...if you watch the uncut version, the US version was cut for some reason. Personally I prefer the film title 'Salute of the Jugger' as it offers a bit more mystery, what the hell is a jugger? dunno but it sounds kinda neat doesn't it.
Rick Hill is back! in this adventure he is up against an evil Queen… MoreRick Hill is back! in this adventure he is up against an evil Queen with plans to rid the land of all the mightiest warriors.
Whilst the competition is in full flow the evil naughty Queen is killing off the warriors one by one (getting them drunk first) so there are none left to rival her. Of course she has forgotten how utterly cool and invincible 'Deathstalker' is and his overly tanned new buddy.
This is probably the second best of the tetralogy after the original film in my opinion. The plot and action is still as you would expect and nothing special but the humour is much better this time. Hill is clearly enjoying himself this time round, he's more buffed and his wig looks better hehe his new warrior friend also adds to the laughs. The guy is almost like an early Dwayne Johnson type sidekick.
Its all still highly cheap and cheesy but by now it would be wrong to change that. Every cliche in the low budget barbarian book is used all over again, blonde women are good, brunettes are bad, lots of tits and ass on show, soft core sex scenes at times and all wizards/wise men have long 'Merlin' type beards. Loved the stone slaves used by the Queen, some dazzling makeup and acting on show there I tells ya.
Still can't work out why they use the exact same archive footage from the previous films. The exact same reels are used! plus it still shows the previous characters that have been killed off!. At least use footage that doesn't show previous characters or footage not used before geez!. Anyway its all hokey as hell but you can forgive that, cult status has been gained somehow and Rick Hill is the man.
Look at the poster for this film, its damn cool with a really hot… MoreLook at the poster for this film, its damn cool with a really hot barbarian female, aggressive and looks like some old Amiga computer game box art. Remember the old classic computer game 'Barbarian'? I wonder if they got their box art ideas from these films and the poster art?. Now I look even the font on the text is similar for both, curious.
Now watch the film and you notice some slight differences with what you may have been expecting. Not that you really should be expecting much with this franchise. The cheap cheap low budget sequel to the first film really does earn the label of B-movie in every aspect.
The first film was reasonable but this is dire. The main lead looks the part but acts like a buffoon in lame attempts of badly executed humour. The continuity is gone as 'Deathstalker' is now a different younger actor, not that continuity was probably high on the directors list...or your expectation list either.
As before there are plenty of topless females running around, this is fine hehe, its just a shame they are all running the flimsiest sets you have ever seen. The comedy is in watching the bad acting against the homemade sets, just like good old Ed Wood.
Of course you can't really knock such a film as it was never meant to be a serious major production, although there is care involved clearly. Its nowhere near as good as the first and that was average at best, they actually use many old clips from the first film to flesh out this one. Bad move when you see the characters from the first film, ones that were killed even, errr did anyone check that?.
Mann's second film and a controversial adaptation of Wilson's novel… MoreMann's second film and a controversial adaptation of Wilson's novel that didn't go down too well with either the audiences or the author. The film isn't particularly bad but there is obviously allot of hack editing going on and much of the original plot has been ignored or cut.
On the visual side the film is really quite cool looking, it almost looks like an early MTV rock video, the effects (for the time) were pretty swish and do hold the tone of the film together. There is a lot of visual flair going on here which is one of the films saving graces.
Another plus point is the soundtrack by Tangerine Dream, as you would expect their usual blend of futuristic, electronic, ethereal and spiritual sounds is quite unique and very uplifting to listen to. The only problem is this lovely soundtrack doesn't really fit this film, a lot of tense moments don't really come across as I suspect they should have whilst the music floats in the background, you would expect to hear a score like this for a film like 'Blade Runner'.
The film is also confusing and unexplained, the original novel is straight forward but the film is a mess. The evil entity that is released seems to be angry at the Nazi's for killing 'his people' so I'm guessing it was a Jewish entity? and if it wants to kill Nazi's why not let it?. We also don't find out where the entity comes from, what it is?, what's its purpose?, who is 'Glenn'?, what is 'Glenn's' story? etc...
This isn't really a horror in my eyes, there isn't much blood or gore and its not scary in the slightest, it comes across as a slightly adult version of 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' really. The entity or demon is a bit comical to be honest, should of been kept unseen really, shame as the sets, lighting and camera work all play well to set the mood.
I think first time viewers who have not read the novel will struggle with many questions but the blend of gothic horror set amidst WWII will keep most entertained and interested as it is well crafted. The cast of big names in early roles also works in the films favour, check McKellen in a 'pre-Professor X' type role and Gabriel Byrne as the sadistic German SD Officer Sturmbannführer.
I remember this coming out in 1996 and thinking they had just ripped… MoreI remember this coming out in 1996 and thinking they had just ripped off the film title from 'Braveheart' which came out the year before or 'Thunderheart'...just saying.
So an evil King gets killed by a small bunch of rebellious peasants. His ugly ginger son takes his place but also gets wounded so he's taken by good knight Quaid to a Scottish dragon which can heal humans apparently. He is healed and made to promise he will be good unlike his father, well he lies and turns out even worse, didn't see that coming huh. This angers Quaid as he feels the dragon twisted the young Kings heart so he vows revenge on all dragons.
The catch is that further down the line Quaid's knight realises that a worth while deal can be struck with the dragon for monetary gain. So they begin a partnership where the dragon scares the poor dumb peasants and Quaid rides in and saves them...for a few pieces of gold.
So the film is set in olde England and does have a reasonable realistic approach in that sense, or at least they try. Problem being the film doesn't look anything like England but in fact looks exactly like where they shot it, eastern Europe. I did get the feeling that most of the budget for this film was used on creating the CGI dragon as everything else looks pretty poor really. This King only seems to be King of a small valley, there is no other mention of the rest of England or any other people outside this valley. His castle is pokey, he doesn't seem to have many troops, there seems to be more peasants than troops or even buildings to house them, everyone wears the same outfits all the time, the wigs are all obvious and hilariously bad and the film keeps circling around the same grassy/rocky areas over and over.
The effects at the time were big, they were big time effects believe me, this film garnered much attention because of its CGI dragon. Looking back now its nicely done on the whole but obviously with time the cracks are now evident and the CGI shines through. There are some nice shots when 'Draco' is wet and when he breathes fire, plus the flying sequences are quite good but when he chats with humans it becomes a bit iffy. And yes Draco is his name, draco the dragon, surely they could come up with something a bit more original?.
The idea of a knight and a dragon teaming up for a living during the medieval period is a good one but it doesn't quite feel fully serviced here. We only get a very very bare bones look at other peasants, other villages and how they go about this agreement. No sooner have we seen one badly interpreted village scam the plot goes off down this rebellion route against the evil young King. We then get a very very very average looking final battle sequence against...I dunno, about 50 horseback troops and about 100 peasants who were conveniently trained up in the art of war not more than a few hours before.
There isn't really any decent lore in this film either, nothing on dragons much. The fact Draco can speak is hugely important I would of thought, it shows he is an intelligent beast, not just a dumb killing machine, surely humans could learn a great deal from this creature. I also want to know if all dragons can speak in this universe, they clearly have magic powers and possible immortality with a human, sheesh there is loads to discover here but we get nothing!. Why on earth would people wanna kill all these super intelligent sentient beings off?!!.
It really does all feel a bit low rent...accept for the dragon. In fact the dragon is the best thing in the film really, Quaid looks bad in his blonde wig, Dina Meyer looks ridiculous in her peasant garb, Isaacs is wasted, Postlethwaite is also wasted but Thewlis is actually a decent slimy King...in a bad ginger wig. The choice of Connery as Draco is a good one, no complaints there, in fact its perfect.
A fun cheerful fantasy with a surprisingly stirring orchestral score no doubt, but looking back its all very hokey and quite poorly made if you look closer. The selling point is Draco obviously and without him I think this would have been a disaster. Its a B-movie with an A grade effect in it basically.
So this is a remake of a Canadian comedy that was only made in 2011!… MoreSo this is a remake of a Canadian comedy that was only made in 2011! not only that but both films are directed by the same man, shouldn't go wrong then really should it. Never seen or heard of the original film 'Starbuck' so I can't compare but in all honesty the idea of Vince Vaughn being the father of 533 kids does raise a smirk. The problem being they all wanna know him but he doesn't wanna get involved with them. Just looking at the films poster you could easily think this will be another typical crass Vaughn comedy.
Surprise surprise it isn't! the story is actually played with a lot of heart and semi realism giving the emotional moments more gravitas. Lets not get carried away here this is no hardcore drama, but scenes where Vaughn's character follows some of his now grown up children to see what they get up too are nicely done. Its these sequences which do shine and make the film a bit more interesting, seeing Vaughn pretend to be a guardian angel type and assist his teen offspring in times of need. Naturally these teens are a nice rounded PC bunch as you would expect but I can't deny watching him take care of the handicapped boy does tug at the old heart strings.
Up to that point nothing really happens and after that point it all goes down hill. The story does feel somewhat boxed in to me, nothing much to do, you get a whiff of this by the fact that a lot of the film is merely watching Vaughn perform random secret acts of kindness for some members of his new large family. I was starting to wonder if this was all we were gonna see.
Of course it isn't but what we get is kinda...patchy. Vaughn's character has money issues and is basically a bit of a loser in this film. He owes money to some thugs which isn't really expanded much, some of his new adopted kids come and go through out the film as does his pregnant wife and his real family background felt a little underused. I'm sure they could of used his father (cheap Ben Kingsley knock off) and their family butcher store to better use with the thugs.
So on one hand we do get a semi sensible slightly emotional real life rom-com type affair with Vaughn trying some real acting. But on the other hand the film is rather dull, hard pressed for ideas, not overly funny, not overly weepy and the finale is so predictable. While I appreciate Vaughn trying to be a genuine actor for once it just doesn't feel right, he's not bad as such but the guy needs to make zany comedies, its his forte. All the time here I'm just waiting for him to whip out some wise cracks and be funny, instead we get a more grown up approach.
One of those films that feels pointless really, neither one thing or the other and maybe miscasting Vaughn in the main role. The whole story and its characters also felt a bit undeveloped and I found myself not really caring about any of them. It starts off quite well but quickly becomes a random thrown together collage of sentimental Hallmark moments which all builds up to the totally predictable happy ending.
Directed by Richard 'Lethal Weapon' Donner but looking more like an… MoreDirected by Richard 'Lethal Weapon' Donner but looking more like an epic Ridley Scott picture. This is a curious tale of love and romance tied in with a typical medieval/dark ages animal based curse. A form of witchcraft cast upon two young lovers by a man of the cloth, a Bishop, simply out of jealousy. A Romeo and Juliet style historical fable.
First thing that will hit you with this film are the striking visuals. The story is set in central Italy (I presume) and there is a very real historical grandiose feel to everything you see. All the scenes are set within (or around) real locations, real castles, real towns, real ruins, real old courtyards etc...The visuals are HIGHLY stylised believe me! every shot is incredibly slick and glossy looking, one could coin the term 'historical scenery porn'. Everything looks like a beautiful living water colour painting with stunning sunsets, dawns, dusk's and twilight's set against some jaw-droppingly lush European countryside and rustic ruins villages and fortresses.
Admittedly the one draw back about the visuals are they look too clean, almost too good!. I know this is a fairytale of sorts, a fantasy, but there doesn't really appear to be any dirt or mud anywhere hehe. All the buildings are spotless, the countryside is perfect, every character is dressed immaculately in clean attire, the horses have gleaming coats etc...It all has a lovely dream-like quality but I just felt for the period some grubbiness was required.
The other main thing that will hit you is the strange choice in musical score. I'm sure most would think an orchestral score would be fitting for such material, but no, Donner goes down the 'Tangerine Dream/Legend' route with an 80's electronic rock based set of tracks. There are of course some more traditional tit bits in there but most action and fantasy moments are accompanied by this odd rock score. The problem is the visuals and general style in this film are so good and authentic the score just doesn't sit right in my opinion, it feels a bit cheesy and ruins the classical approach. I'm guessing the film 'First Knight' may have pinched this idea, thing is that film didn't have the spectacularly lavish locations, good cast, slick camera work, timeless story...OK that film was just crap.
I think this film also has some great casting. Both Hauer and Pfeiffer really do look stunning with their big blue eyes, makes one feel quite ordinary and pathetic. Hauer really is the true knight in shining armour here, the real Prince Charming...OK maybe not in shining armour but instead uber cool pitch black...errr armour/Jedi robes kinda thing. Typical heroic attire with a sweeping black cape with posh red lining, this guy looks quite wealthy. With his blonde hair, blue eyes and atop his black steed he really does look very handsome, first time in awhile I can genuinely honestly feel comfortable saying a bloke looked attractive, I was envious.
On the other hand Pfeiffer has this ethereal-like beauty with her lovely short blonde locks, pale skin, strong facial structure and yet more big blue eyes. She truly looks angelic, the perfect Princess or damsel in distress for Hauer's brave knight, together they really are a perfect match and I really could believe the fact they turn into a wolf and hawk at their respective times (Ladyhawke...speaks for itself right). Unfortunately the film is let down by the one casting of Broderick who is a stain upon this gorgeous film. He is truly annoying with his constant nervous ramblings in that squeaky voice of his. I just wanted to slap him across the face every time he made those idiotic expressions of shock or surprise...good God!.
The plot does take a bit of getting used too, Hauer as a wolf by night and Pfeiffer as a hawk by day, it also takes time to explain this which is a bit confusing. There are no horrific mutations or transformations though, its all done with subtle fades and nice eye close ups which works well. Overall I did get the impression the plot was stretched out a bit because there wasn't much to actually do, the aim of the game for Hauer is kill the Bishop who cursed them. Not much more to it than that so I think there is filler or padding here and there, it can feel dull in places. You could say its all style over substance I guess, but that would be harsh methinks.
Overall the film looks exquisite and is very realistic to reality, even if it is too clean to actually be reality. Everything and especially Hauer and Pfeiffer are period perfect, the pair look like characters from a classical fresco or mural come to life. You'd never guess this was a Richard Donner flick.
Third sequel in the series and this one continues the theme of the… MoreThird sequel in the series and this one continues the theme of the robotic killer teachers. This time the last robot is suppose to be A.W.O.L with a CIA op after him/it so he can make more of the deadly robots.
Enter 'Kickboxer' star Sasha Mitchell looking like 'Johnny Mnemonic' and Keanu Reeves' lovechild all at the same time yet with even more dubious acting skills, if any. We see some martial arts but not too much, we see some yobs getting beaten up by Johnny er I mean Sasha and we see plenty of cliched characters that were done much better and more fun in the last two films.
The main problem here is the film isn't really based within a school anymore, its more of a thriller with everything but the school environment so its hardly worthy of the title 'Class of 1999'. Other silly issues crop up like the robot teacher seemingly developing a crush on a fellow female teacher and then without warning deciding to kill absolutely everyone it see's.
No cool effects, no cult casting and no fun looking sets and costumes, this wasn't needed in all honesty, mid 90's and too late to pull off what the first two managed.