Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Movies seen recently

I've seen a few, at the movies and on DVD. Here are some of them.

Enter the Dragon

Bruce Lee's American movie is great fun, although the fight scenes are not as well-staged or well-filmed as the ones in his best complete movie Fist of Fury or in the the footage released from the incomplete original version of Game of Death. Enter the Dragon functions better as an American exploitation movie (poor Jim Kelly doesn't fare as well as he would have in a real blaxploitation movie though). John Saxon is miscast as a kung-fu expert; I would much rather have seen Rod taylor in his role.

But Bruce Lee's charisma saves the day, and although the ending is a straight copy of the superior ending of Orson Welles's The Lady from Shanghai it still works here.

Why John Saxon? Why? I mean, I like him, but WHY?!?

There Will Be Blood

A bona-fide masterpiece. Daniel Day Lewis is superb, and the movie earns its two and a half hour length. Worthy of an entire post, so it'll get one.

Oh yes.

The Haunted Palace

Roger Corman directs Vincent Price from a Charles Beaumont script based on H. P. Lovecraft's longest story, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. It was shoehorned into the Corman/Price Edgar Allan Poe series with a retitling and some brief readings of Poe's titular poem. Great fun, and with the next one will be an entire future post.

The lovely Debra Paget's last movie

The Resurrected

Dan O'Bannon's early '90s adaptation of H. P. Lovecraft's longest story, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, was mangled by its producers in post-production, leading to some obviously-truncated scenes and unnecessary voice-over. What remains takes a while to warm up, but emerges as a superior Lovecraft adaptation in its final act. Chris Sarandon actually tops Price as Charles Ward and, er, another character, and the two movies contrast in a fascinating way. A whole post will soon compare both movies with the original story.

Chris Sarandon's character is not actually insane


An old favourite, this action-packed satire of the Reagan era is still hilarious. Superstar Dutch director Paul Verhoeven's best American movie; packed to the gills with great scenes.

Ronny Cox was brilliant in this


John Sayles's first script is far from his best, but director Joe Dante and a great cast (including Kevin McCarthy - who just died aged 96, '60s Italian horror queen Barbara Steele, Sterling Hayden, Paul Bartel, and of course Dick Miller) make it all fun.

Kevin McCarthy, R.I.P.

Piranha 3D

Hilarious intentional-comedy makes great use of 3D effects, and even of Jerry O'Connell! Big, dumb, silly fun with a great in-joke cameo in the opening scene. Recommended to people who loved Gremlins and Mars Attacks.

Don't save him - he's Jerry O'Connell!

I'm sure there were more. I'll remember later. It was a good weekend.


  1. Ah, McCarthy will be missed. He did seem like such a terrific guy. Hard to believe two siblings so different, but then again maybe they seemed more alike when together. I don't seem at all like my brothers. Piranha is such a hoot.

  2. There Will Be Blood is one of those films I'll watch once a year, every year. Just breathtaking in every way.

  3. Kate: I did not realise that Kevin McCarthy was Mary McCarthy's brother! And if you met my sisters, you would never guesse that they are related to me.

    Martin: I can imagine doing exactly the same. It makes me want a BluRay player.

  4. I'm really pleased you liked There Will Be Blood; I adored it and imagined it might rub you up the wrong way. The score alone is fantastic; but what I particularly love is how assured it seems, even when straying into some pretty grandiose territory towards the end. And the opening sequence, all wordless: gah!

    Robocop will always mean Miguel Ferrar snorting cocaine off a hooker's breasts to me.

  5. Shocker: the difference between There Will Be Blood and certain long & beautifully-shot movies that have rubbed me the wrong way, is that There Will Be Blood does not stop at "long & beautifully shot" but actually fills the movie with other wonderful things.

    And that wasn't a hooker in Robocop. The script makes it quite clear that she is a model.

  6. Oh, fuck, really? I feel so disillusioned now. In my defense I bet she wouldn't have turned down money had he offered it . . .

    I loved the way Day Lewis' voice sounded like he had a mouthful of gravel and molasses. He's more John Huston than John Huston.