Manual Movie Reviews
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More blood, loud screaming and nudity then any horror film I can think of.
So I bought it, knowing full well it could be another Unhinged. So, I started watching it and the first thing that really stands out are the costumes of the nuns that are made to look like bloodied bandages. And so, I made it through the first time and other then the nun's habbits, it wasn't that weird. But then I was compelled to watch it again, and the second time it was like watching it for the first time!
This movie throws so much specticle, blood, screams, and general devilry at its audience it is like a hard rain that bounces off the ground and doesn't soak in.
This movie could be the greatest single horror movie in history and no one has ever heard of it! Except for the guy quoted on the cover.
If you're a horror fan, you gotta get this. If you're dating a horror fan and you don't really get "this whole horror thing" but you love your horror lover, then get him or her this and you will be well esteemed! They may even think you understand them, which could have dire consequences.
Other then the movie, there are some interviews with people who knew the director, some guy named Juan Moctezuma and possibly a documentary, I don't really remember. And then there is a text biography about him, which I didn't read because reading is passe and besides, I'm illiterate.
So, buy this movie now or you may not be able to look at yourself in the mirror because you will have become a vampire, or something.
After seeing this film it dawned on me why Almodovar's films have their own feel. I don't think I have seen a gum wrapper or faded paint in any of his films. Everyone seems to live in renovated apartments and work in offices with modern furniture. Both his cinematography and art direction are so crisp and clear that you can smell the wet paint and imagine the crew behind the camera wiping their hands in mineral spirits. I wince at the thought of his characters eating something, because it will get crumbs on the floor. Luckily the characters seem to think of this before me.
I thought the story line was pretty weak but you know, as an Antonio fan, he really held the viewer's interest. Other reviewers said they thought the movie was kinky or slight S&M. I didn't think so. He tied her to the bed so that she wouldn't escape, not for erotic reasons. She, in the end, wanted to be tied because she was torn between wanting to leave him and loving him. I will not ruin the ending but know that this movie is not (to me anyway) of the erotic sort so don't buy it with that in mind.
DO buy it for Antonio Banderas. He's not as polished in his charm and expressions as he is, say, in Never Talk to Strangers or Original Sin but he is still handsome and captivating as ever.
Unless you like spanish movies or follow one of the actors careers, I don't see any real reason to see this movie. Nothing great, except again, for this one actor. You know this guy named Antonio.
Yet with all the time the movie allots itself (and sentences the viewer to), time, in places, is oddly prioritized. The Cuban missile crisis was a blip in history apparently.
Oh, there's more. There is the dissonance in film's perspective about Castro himself. The film doesn't suggest that Castro is a multifaceted, complicated character. Rather, the film takes a sudden and unpredictable shift in its point of view. Actually, the shift resembles a conversion. Castro goes from a visionary and precocious revolutionary leader to--presto!--the failed tyrant we know from the news and White House press briefings. I'm sure the conversion saved the film from the charge of pro-Castro ... that is all too familiar when anything the least bit laudatory about Castro or post-revolutionary Cuba is depicted. But, then, that's how propaganda works here.
The filmmakers try to give a balanced view of Castro--illustrating his passion for the welfare of Cuban people but also showing how power in some ways went to his head. As Celia Sanchez tells him (around 1980 I believe), "Listen to what I have to say--don't interrupt me--you're losing touch with the people."
"Fidel" is historically accurate from what I know and all the major characters in the Cuban revolution are depicted here including Sanchez, Raul Castro, Ernesto (Che) Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos.
I think the filmmakers took on too much, however, in attempting to cover Fidel's life from 1949 to present. Many events are given too little exposure. Yet this film is much too long at about 3 hours and 20 minues. A better film might have focused on the revolution up through 1959 and ended with the march into Santiago--about two-thirds of what this one covers--leaving the rest for another day.
All in all, "Fidel" is well done. For people in the U.S. it gives a good account of a major, and fairly recent, historical event (the Cuban Revolution) occuring just south of our border--an event of which most U.S. people have little knowledge.
The four episodes on Lexx: Series 2, Volume 3 show that the lusty appetites of sad sack captain Stanley Tweedle, half-lizard love slave Xev, and lovesick robot head 790 are in full swing. In 791 790 salvages the well-endowed trunk of a decapitated cyborg found on a crash-landed prison ship, only to find this is one body with a mind (not to mention a kinky, insatiable sex drive) all its own. In Wake the Dead, they find five lost-in-space teenage joyriders in suspended animation and let them loose aboard Lexx. One prank-loving idiot proceeds to order the reanimated assassin Kai to kill everyone on the ship--and to his surprise turns the philosophical zombie into a wisecracking slasher movie killer. Nook may be short for "nookie," which Xev finally gets from an all-male enclave of isolated monks they discover on the sole island of a deep space Waterworld. Needless to say, her intrusion into the monastic lifestyle stirs some unfamiliar feelings among the brothers, who find her a very strange and arousing man indeed. Finally in Norb, the dreaded insect king Mantrid, reborn in the first episode as a half-human killing machine with an army of flying arms, engages the Lexx in a fatal "game" that involves devouring the ship alive.
The DVD also features another 10-minute, behind-the-scenes featurette, short cast and creator interviews, and the third chapter of Rated LEXX, a TV special created for the Sci Fi Channel to introduce the characters and recap the origins. --Sean Axmaker
in the episode 2.9 791 (i'd hat to spoil it)
Episode 2.10 "Wake the Dead" I love the way kai acts in this episode because it just really cool on how he looks.
Five teenagers are carousing around the universe when they decide it's time to take a nap. They oversleep by about 300 years. The Lexx comes across their shaggin' wagon and Xev can't help but go for a look. The teens are brought on board and, once roused, are determined to party. But jealousies and tempers flare and Kai is woken up in a most unpleasant fashion. What happens next is straight out of a slasher flick, as the dead man walking demonstrates why he was such a good assassin for His Shadow.
Episode 2.11 "Nook" This is another of my favorite LEXX shows because stan has some pretty bad luck you'll see if you getthe DVD.
The Lexx and its crew discover Nook, a planet covered by water with the exception of one island, which is inhabited by a religious order of men who haven't seen a woman in 100 years. They follow strict rules and roles: scribes, for example, are only ever allowed to copy dislocated passages from disparate books, ensuring that no one Brother ever learns too much. Kai, however, suspects there is something he can learn from the archives of this seemingly perfect society, and intends to find out all he can ... and Xev learns what she's been biologically designed for ...
Episode 2.12 "Norb"
The strange young boy who appeared on the Lexx with the family of hillbillies is encountered again - this time floating through space. He is brought aboard the ship, and Kai observes he lacks "a certain vitality" - indeed, because Norb is no longer a little boy, but is composed of vicious drone arms - Mantrid's creations. These drones process everything they touch into more drone arms, and are impossible to contain.
It's a smooth, elegantly orchestrated thriller with handsome sets and vivid locations, and the fogbound cobblestone streets, dark alleys, and eerily empty mansions create a genuinely spooky ambiance. He also tosses in a wild, creepy, thoroughly modern experimental score. Franco went on to direct more than 150 films under a dozen pseudonyms, most of which make the brief flashes of flesh and perversity here look tame, but this trendsetting landmark is still considered one of his greatest. Image's new widescreen edition, mastered from a gorgeous French print, is reportedly restored but contains some abrupt transitions and jump cuts. --Sean Axmaker
I have been reading the reviews of films like "Tierra" and "The Official Story" which say that subtitles cannot be turned off on the DVD versions. I just wanted to add that, for "The First Night of My Life" (and "All About My Mother") the subtitles can be turned off. For "The First Night of My Life" the options are English subtitles or no subtitles (Spanish subtitles are not available), and for "All About My Mother" Enlish or Spanish subtitles are available, or you can turn the subtitles off; It is nice to be able to turn off subtitles if you want to.
If you review other films in Spanish (DVD version), please mention subtitles in your review: which languages are available and can they be turned off. Thanks!
If you are looking for Spanish (language) comedies, also take a look at Kika and Guantanamera (the only other two Spanish language comedies that I have seen).
The movie is based on a real hostage situation.
I actually bought my Season 1 (the four movies) DVDs, Season 2 and Season 3 DVDs from a Canadian outfit called Videoflicks with a website of the same name (add a dot com to their name). This would make sense that you can get the entire show new there, as it is a Canadian-German co-production. There is slight variation as I guess by law they have to include French language tracks but I imagine they are essentially the same as the ones sold here. It is funny to hear the cast, especially the Lexx in French as we're not used to it, I guess.
If you haven't seen any of Season 3, probably best to skip this review as I go into some events that occur in the first disc and assume some knowledge of prior events. The first episode (Gondola) starts as the crew of the Lexx pursue Duke and Fifi after the moth attack on Boomtown. An interesting situation has been put forward that by now, people they've met in past episodes and seasons who then died seem to be re-appearing on Fire or Water with alarming regularity, though with new names and no memory of their prior life. So, in a way it makes sense that since Kai died when His Divine Shadow killed him at the start of the first movie, he would have been reincarnated on Water. So, it does provide an explanation as to why there is now two of them. An interesting point to ponder here does that leave the re-animated corpse who is also Kai? Is he an separate entity or just a machine with no free will?
Anyway, "Gondola" is probably the best of the three episodes as having crash landed their moth, the crew of the Lexx have to rebuild one of Fire's flying machines to make it back to shelter before the heat kills them. They end up picking up a couple of survivors and then the dilemma is now having too much weight on board, how do they make it across the Red Hot Sea? Not surprisingly death and treachery come into play. We learn that Prince's power extends past just that of mere re-incarnation.
"K-Town" After a forced landing on a tower called K-Town, we seem to get the impression that the future is full of psychotic Germanic types, in this case who seem to alternate between deep depression and homicidal craziness within a few minutes, the later being particularly bad news for the crew of the Lexx since it involves being chased over bottomless pits and having rocks thrown at them. Keeping with the theme of the show, they do encounter a past character. I won't say who it is, though I guess the recap at the start would make it obvious. What they were supposed to contribute to the season in anyone's guess as they are shuffled out as mysteriously as they were brought in. Though the enigmatic statement is made "perhaps this is my punishment" does give a clue to the nature of Fire and Water. You also get to see what Kai wears under his assassin's uniform. Eye opening stuff.
"Tunnels" has our intrepid heroes trying to make it from K-Town to another tower. Not surprisingly, they are also full of homicidal lunatics. Prince who we would have all pegged as the bad guy by now tries to help though undoubtably there's something in it to him. Given what happened in earlier episodes, we should all have a strong suspicion as to what's happening next
at the end of this episode.
This season is 13 episodes, which is probably why it has been a bit awkward to put onto DVD and why they've gone 4,3,3,3 with the episodes. Assuming technically 5 episodes to a disc isn't possible, preventing 4,4,5. Lexx is available 5 episodes to a set in the UK but each set contains 2 discs which is even weirder. There has been a price cut per disc to compensate for there being less episodes per disc this season. Presumably it will be back to 4 episodes a disc for season 4, which numbered 24 episodes (more friendly to being divided by 4).
Drawbacks with this disc would probably be the lack of material in the extra features. The quiz is the sort of thing you only ever bother with once. The interview with Stewart Dowds is interesting and features about 30 seconds of footage from a Season 4 episode (I'm guessing Apocalexx Now, I haven't actually seen it), but only runs for a bit over 2 minutes. The making of Season 3 is also interesting with interviews with Michael McManus (Kai), Brian Downey (Stanley), Nigel Bennett (Prince) and the Director of "Gondola". Some special effects work and design sketches are also covered but there could have been more than the five or so minutes in length it is. So far, the four making of specials spread over the four discs of season 1 are the best so far. Creatitivity with search engines and looking north of the border in Maple leaf territory will help you find those.
As for the episodes themselves, they seem to be in a holding pattern between the start of the series and what must be coming later. Not a great deal happens, nor does it advance the plot as much as you would expect for the length of 3 episodes. Kai seemed to spend a lot of time throwing himself from great heights to fix himself according to the "thump the electric gadget to make it work" school of practice. I'm of the opinion that what K-Town and Tunnels covered probably could have been condensed into 1 episode.
Interestingly enough, these 3 episodes do not feature 790 or the Lexx.
I never had the opportunity to see series III on TV, so these episodes are new to me. I have found that series three has much more of a consistent plot than earlier series, although all are far more consistent than most Sci-Fi series.
My only complaint was that this DVD had only tree episodes, whereas all prior DVD's had four. I would also like to see the original films released on DVD, if they are not already.
If you happen to like this kind of strange, surreal psychological mayhem, you might actually enjoy this movie, if it doesn't make you want to take a nap through most of it first.
The story opens as the handsome, young doctor, Fermin, arrives on the beautiful but eerie island of Lanzarote. In some ways the island is a paradise. In other ways, as Fermin points out during his first tour of the volcanic lava fields, it can also appear to be hell.
One morning, as Fermin stands on the roof of his home he spies a lovely young girl hurrying into the kitchen. He races down the stairs and encounters the gorgeous Mararia, who happens to be his housekeeper's ward. Fermin is a fairly straitlaced, conventional sort with a high opinion of himself. He downplays his feelings until he can get a sense of Mararia's worthiness of his attentions.
After Fermin stitches up the knife wounds in his first patient, a rejected suitor of Mararia, she confides to him that she has no interest in the local boys. She is saving herself for a man who will be able to take her away "to the big island" -- or perhaps even farther.
For a time, it looks as though the romance between Fermin and Mararia is inevitable. But a triangle develops when a dashing British geologist arrives on the island and becomes Fermin's house guest and romantic rival.
The story is fleshed out with a wonderful array of supporting characters. Fermin's housekeeper (and Mararia's guardian) happens to be a skilled practitioner of witchcraft, voodoo, and the healing arts. She is a pleasant enough woman, utterly devoted to her surrogate daughter. There also is the island's "town drunk" with whom the other characters, who should know better, always entrust some seemingly small yet pivotal duty.
Mararia is a dark, gripping story that should hold the viewers attention.
Cowboy merits its bedrock title. This is a rare Western in which the job of breaking horses, trail herding, etc. figures as a dynamic aspect of the storytelling. The film also has a blunt and original way of looking at death, not as a genre convention but as something abrupt, ungainly, and often absurd, in both senses of the word. (This applies equally to men and cattle, by the way.) The camerawork is trim, angular, and somehow precarious, and the jagged editing hustles the very eventful proceedings to a close in barely an hour and a half. Saddle up. --Richard T. Jameson