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Gasu ningen dai 1 gô (1960)
Superior, surprisingly adult Sci-Fi from Toho IN IT'S ORIGINAL VERSION
I only recently saw the unedited, widescreen and subtitled version of this truly almost classic adult science fiction film: a near classic in it's original version, not the cut U.S. version. It's really not for children as there is much time spent on the characters and their relationships, a rarity in sci-fi films from that era.
A librarian Name Mijuno is approached by a Dr. Sano to take part in a scientific test, unaware that the prior subject died. He acquires the power to change from physical form to vapor and back again, kills Dr. Sano and embarks on a series of seemingly impossible bank robberies and leaving a trail of bodies. Mijuno is in love with Fujichiya, a classical Japanese Kabuki dancer. She is recovering from either a break down of some sort or an injury or illness. We never find out exactly what it was, and she in training hoping for a comeback. The money Mijuno is stealing is for her comeback. There is a police detective and a determined woman reporter who eventually tie Mijuno and Fujichiya together. Fujichiya can't believe that Mijuno is responsible for the crimes as he for years has treated her with nothing but kindness and love. The police plan to trap the Human Vapor at her comeback performance. This movie is set apart from others by the doomed tragic love between Mijuno and Fujiciya, great acting, a more mature plot and some great special effects. The ending, somewhat unexpected in the way it unfolds, should move anyone to tears. This is a sci-fi film you can show to your date or wife or significant other.
Suwingu gâruzu (2004)
Great, funny and touching Japanese comedy
A group of teenage girls in a summer math make up class accidentally cause the food poisoning of the entire brass band. They decide to take the member's places to play in the next ball game, but is's really an excuse to get out of math class. When the members quickly recover and they have to turn over the instruments back over, they discover that they have actually learned to love jazz music.
The misadventures the girls go through to earn money for their instruments are hilarious. They flood the supermarket they go to work for, and when they try collecting mushrooms in the forest they run into the biggest most vicious boar you have ever seen. Then they have a problem finding a place to practice because the're new and not very good yet. Eventually they have a chance to preform at an annual concert and the final fifteen minutes is jazz heaven. The girls really play their own instruments. The music is not dubbed.
This is a great, funny and very touching film with some well defined characters and fine acting.it's about teenagers who aren't really bad but just lazy who accidentally discover something they love and about their math teacher and his two secret loves - jazz music and the school's music teacher. A person of any age will enjoy this film.
Humor usually doesn't travel well from one country or culture to another but that is not the case here as all or almost all of the humor comes through, even the verbal humor. The subtitles are also quite good. This deserves a regular release in this country
La tumba de la isla maldita (1973)
Below average vampire film
Andrew Prine's father is crushed by the marble tomb of a 700 year old vampire, and Prine goes to retrieve the body which is still under the 3 ton tomb. this is just a set up so he will open the tomb and release the beautiful female vampire. It is a very low budget movie filmed in Turkey of all places,is pretty slow, and some of the minor actors can't act. The film does have a good low key performance by Andrew Prine (I don't think he every turned in a bad performance), some good sets, some creepy atmosphere and s somewhat better ending that i expected. I would like to see the original version to see if it is better than our reworked and greatly shortened version. You can tell the original footage from the newer footage.
Dong Jing shen pan (2006)
Superior film on a subject little covered by western cinema
This film covers the trial of 28 Japanese war criminals after World War 2. We have the film "Judgement At Nuremburg" which covers German war criminals but nothing that covers this part of history. In this country we know very little about the atrocities committed by the Japanese on China. This is truly an engrossing film told from the perspective of the Chinese judge. After watching the special on the DVD of the making of the film I was impressed by how well the actors who played real historical character were made up to look like the actual characters counterparts.
I have a few criticisms. One is that the film was, in my opinion, too short. It could well have been 30 minutes or more longer and I would not have minded. Also, the clothing and the hair styles of the younger fictional characters were far too modern for that time. Finally, beware of the subtitles on the Hong Kong DVD. They are not good. However, much of the film is in English so it is not a complete disaster. And this is somewhat compensated for by great acting and direction.
The Yellow Tomahawk (1954)
Another western sleeper from the 1950s with good plot, acting, characters of some depth , and violent action
Major Ives (Warner Anderson), one of the commanding officers of the infamous Sand Creek Massacre ( an actual event) is building a fort in Cheyenne territory. Fireknife(Lee Van Cleef) , tells his friend Adam Reed (Rory Calhoun) to warn the soldiers that they must go or be killed. This is a true act of decency as they know the butcher Ives is in command and they really want him: and revenge for the slaughter he caused. Reed and Fireknife may actually have been blood brothers as they refer to each other as brothers and Reed tells Catherine (Peggy Castle) "the Indians are as much my people as you are." The arrogant Ives won't listen, the Indians attack and the action is unusually violent for it's time. (When Catherine tries to find her former fiancé she says, with a look of horror " I can't tell if it's him") The survivors are forced to go through Cheyenne territory to another fort to reach safety, and this sets up a confrontation between friend Reed and Fireknife.
This is another example of a modestly budgeted western with a superior script, very good acting and characters of some depth. Also, the Indians are not the "bad guys". Reed tells Catherine " It might surprise you but Indians love their children and are loyal to their friends." And Fireknife does save his life There is also a very interesting twist in the end which I do not believe has been done before or since. Definitely worth seeing.
The film was originally shot in color but only black and white prints were every released on television. This film deserves to be restored.
Fort Defiance (1951)
A 1950's western sleeper with a complex plot and complex characters... and action
It is several months after the end of the civil war, and Ben Shelby (Ben Johnson) shows up at the Tallon Ranch to kill John Tallon (Dane Clark). Tallon had given himself up to the confederates just before the war ended and this led to a company of the Arizona volunteers being wiped out, Ben's brother among them. He meets John's young, blind brother Ned (Peter Graves) and Uncle Charlie. John is not around and Ben ,saying he knows John from the war, decides to wait for him. A problem comes up when he gets very close and Ned and Uncle Charlie. John has become a bank robber and a killer which Uncle Charlie has kept from Ned and asks Ben to also keep the secret because Ned worships his brother who supposedly was a war hero. Word finally reaches them that John is dead and Uncle Charlie and Ben have to tell Ned.
There are additional problems. The Indians find out they are going to be moved to Oklahoma, don't like the idea and go on the warpath. Local land baron Dave Parker, who also lost brothers in the Arizona volunteers, finds out about John Tallon's act of cowardice and wants all Tallon's dead. This is just an excuse to get their ranch.
AS you might guess. John Tallon finally shows up, but he is not the coward and killer you might expect, and Ben, besides fighting Dave Parker and the Indians, must face the possibility of killing a close friend's brother This is not exactly a B western. It was shot in New Mexico, has a cast of superb actors, more plot than there is in two current films( actually a plot worth of a major film) and complex, conflicted characters. I saw this film when I was very young and found out recently that it has not aged. It is well worth tracking down and watching. A very good sleeper
There is a problem with the color. The film was shot in Cinecolor, and it is just not as good as Technncolor of even Eastman color.The colors fade and blues and greens are lost. This film deserves a restoration.
Hera Purple (2001)
A pretty good erotic Korean horror movie
A woman bothered by dreams, anxiety and feeling that there is someone else inside of her goes to a psychiatrist. Under hypnosis she tells the pshchiatrist how, in her dreams, she and/or her alter-ego seduce men and then kill them while making love to them. Meanwhile,murders like her dreams are really happening.
This is an entertaining low budget horror film. The murders, while seemingly random, you eventually find out do have a pattern, there is an attempt to give some of the characters some depth, and there is a sad twist at the end. The acting ranges from below average to good. The main actress is particularly good and, in my humble opinion, as beautiful as her younger alter-egos. The sex scenes are very hot and arousing but not explicit. Also, some of the photography is quite good.
On the down side, there are some plot holes and how the goddess Hera gets involved is not explained nor is it clear the goddess Hera is really involved.
This is still definitely worth seeing and to me, is reminiscent of some of the Italian horror films of the 1970s like "The Devil's Wedding Night" and "Nude for Satan". Cheezy and fun.
A grim, violent realistic war film. Worth tracking down and watching - more than once
Towards the end of the war in the Phillipines, newsman Tom Drake tracks down guerrilla leader George Montgomery, whom he has made into a hero in the United States with his news stories. He finds a brutal, vicious killer who has sunk far lower than necessary and definitely not anyone to admire . However, Montgomery apparently starts to realize that he has gone too far, and that even in war there are limits Towards the end, Montgomery and his men find a mission filed with wounded Jpaanese soldiers who have surrendered. A Japanese officer has gathered a force 500 men, remnants of the defeated Japanese army, and they plan to wipe out the soldiers who have dared to surrender. Montgomery and his men face a dilemma Do they take on far superior odds to protect men they have come to hate?. This is a very grim realistic war film.The final battle alone is worth seeing this film for- its on a fairly large scale, violent and a little nail biting. This is a large production for a Philipino produced film, and while it doesn't have the polish of a U.s. production, this actually adds to the film's gritty realistic feel. The film also benefits from superior performances from Montgomery and Drake. Go out of your way to find this film.
P.S. HELP! IF ANYONE KNOWS WHERE I CAN GET A GOOD COPY OF THIS FILM ON DVD, PLEASE CONTACT ME AT email@example.com
War Paint (1953)
A good, gritty western. A cavalry patrol runs into big trouble while trying to deliver a peace treaty
A cavalry patrol has six days to deliver a peace treaty and avoid an Indian war. The chief's son Taslik ( a somewhat miscast but still good Keith Larsen) agrees to lead the patrol to his father's village. Unknow to dedicated, stalwart Lt. Billings ( Robert Stack) Taslik wants war with the hated white men. Taslik's sister Wanima (a very good Joan Taylor)who also has no love for the white man, secretly follows the patrol sabotages their water supply and runs off their horses. Taslik Then leads the patrol to one dry water hole after another. He though isn't suffering as his sister sneaks water to him at night. Wanima also deliberately leads the patrol to a gold mine the Spanish discovered years before but whom the Indians killed. This leads some members of the patrol to start thinking that gold might be more important than peace.While this film may be a little short of action, it has very good suspense, a much better than average plot, better than average character development, good acting, good color photography and some great Death Valley locations. It is definitely worth watching, and a very worthy addition to a video library.
Kampf um Rom I (1968)
A great, underrated historical epic: not a gladiator movie
Around 500 A.D., after Rome has fallen, a Roman politician,Cethegus, played by Laurence Harvey, tries to return Rome to greatness. He plays the Goth leaders, who really ruled Italy at this time, against each other. The surviving leader attacks Rome at which point Cethegus gets military help from the Emperor Justinian (Orson Wells), while he keeps his army in reserve to take on whoever is left. Events don't quite go as he planned
This is a complex, well plotted film. It is no Ben Hur, but the characters are engaging, the political intrigue is very well developed, the acting quite good (Laurence Harvey's final scene is great) and the battle scenes truly epic. In an unusual bit a casting, Michale Dunn plays Justinian's general Narses and, in great performance,steals almost every scene he is in. This is a quite good unjustly neglected epic well worth tracking down and seeing. It was released on video tape in the late 1970's but not in wide screen which this film really needs, and Honour Blackman's topless scene was, alas,cropped to just a closeup from the neck up.
The Jungle (1952)
Prehistoric Mammoths in a well made film
I can't really criticize this film. It is literally the first film I ever remember seeing and lead to a lifelong love of science fiction and horror films and prehistoric animals. Fortunately, seeing it again years later, it held up fairly well. Rod Cameron plays a big game hunter whose last safari was wiped out by mammoths. No one believes him, including his best friend, played by Cesar Romero, whose brother was among those killed. And Rod Cameron was the only survivor. The film was shot in India and has some good scenery. The acting is on a high level. I don't believe Rod Cameron, Cesar Romero and Marie Winsor ever turned in a bad performance. The mammoths, when they finally arrive are fairly effective. The ending also has an unusual twist, particularly for a 1950's science fiction film. Definitely worth seeing.
La rivolta dei mercenari (1961)
Above average and worth seeing.
This is not a typical Italian sword and sandal epic. It has a much larger than average budget, otherwise they could never have afforded Virginia Mayo. The film is set during the middle ages when Italy was broken up into a number of city states that were constantly at war with each other. The plot is simple. A group of mercenaries is hired by one of those states for protection, but discover that the man who hired them does not have honorable intentions, and these are mercenaries who live by a code. The photography and color are excellent, and costumes and weaponry are actually fairly accurate, and filming is done around actual castles in Italy. One problem is, of course, the dubbing which, as you might expect,is not that good. Another problem is to find a print with good color.
P.S.I haven't been able to find this on video. If it is available please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Rocky Mountain (1950)
A group of confederate soldiers is sent to California to try and bring the state into the Confederacy. They run into an Indian fight instead
This film has an unusually gritty and authentic look and feel, and an unusual ending for a 1950's western.( I can't say more or I would ruin the plot for anyone who hasn't seen the film). It has a very good beginning and a truly exciting and emotional ending. The middle though,does drag a bit.The characters of the confederate soldiers are very well established and should elicit sympathy and respect.This was Errol Flynn's last western, and , while he was no longer in his prime and looks older and a little weathered, he is perfect for the role of a man who has seen too much war. One aspect of the film that is little commented on it the exceptional horsemanship in the film. In real life, Flynn and several of the co-stars were very good horsemen, and it really shows.