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Commentaires écrits par
Robert W. Grandcolas "Stiggs" (Eatontown, NJ United States)
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Careful
Careful
DVD ~ Kyle McCulloch
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Prix : CDN$ 25.43
5 used & new from CDN$ 12.97

2.0 étoiles sur 5 goofy , tedious, grossly arty, Dec 26 2003
Ce commentaire est de: Careful (DVD)
Interesting looking, one of a kind, but very dull art film. What I assume the filmmakers are saying is that if people were to open up about a number of societal taboos that it would open a can of worms. But its torture to sit though this very slow annoying film for that message. I found this expensive looking purposely choppy film's acting, color photography, story, characters, dialogue dubbing and sound effects to be grossly arty but not compelling...although I will say that a few of the Lynchian jokes were mildly funny. As for an original art film? -Pop psychology, extensive symbolism, intentional camp, and sets that imitate German expressionism have already been done...ad-nauseum. What might be considered original here is that the director chose to parody the style and mood of an old German mountain climbing film. Frankly I've never watched an entire one of these but let it be clear that German mountain climbing films are extremely esoteric - so who is Careful made for...15 people? The most preposterous thing is that the guys that made the very goofy Careful thought so much of themselves that they had the nerve to make fun of someone else's film. I'd recommend Careful for art students, but why? When you can still see all the original films that Careful imitates. Without being able to recommend Careful to anyone - Id still give Careful four stars in that - the techinical people such as set designers, photographers, film and sound editors were obviously meticulous about there craft. Also that the producers and the director had the nerve, talent, gall or perseverance to capture their warped vision on celluloid in the 1990s. But I take away 2 stars for being monotonous, dull and one more of thousands of pretentious, blurry, out of focus art films. By the way - did I read the end credits right? Is this the kind of thing Canadians are spending their tax dollars on?
The quality of the film stock, sound and extras provided by Kino Video are excellent.

Crawling Eye, the
Crawling Eye, the
DVD ~ Forrest Tucker
Prix : CDN$ 10.39
18 used & new from CDN$ 3.40

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3.0 étoiles sur 5 His Head...It was torn off!, Nov. 15 2003
Ce commentaire est de: Crawling Eye, the (DVD)
4.5 stars for acting story and atmosphere.
-1.5 for mostly poor special effects.
"His head it was torn off"
This line scared the heck out of me as a kid - along with a number of decapataions and idea of an eye monster. I could not sleep alone for weeks. Seeing it now - what is scarey about this film is not the creatures - but more everything that leads up to them.
A very good mysterious plot - spooky, and atmospheric - good acting and an actress, Janet Monroe - who with a bad haircut, worse teeth, funny eyes and a crooked mouth is also very cute in a wholesome sister-ish sort of way. She is very believable and projects all her fears onto the viewer.
I took the eye monsters as realistic and a total terror as a kid. Especially - their exelerated hyper breathing along with a little bell that sounds when they are up to their evil tricks.
Up close the eye creatures are menacing, large, and gross.

But from a distance the monsters look more like marshmellows with pipe cleaner legs. - Infact most of the minitures are shoddy, cheap and not at all believable. Utlra low flying aircraft is slung through the air on strings and the paper cut out people are obvious. A roaring fire appears more like someone burning a cigerette package.

That said - TCE is still a good, fun movie.
TCE will probably entertain and even scare kids. While many adults will enjoy TCE for the atmosphere story they will also cringe when they see the terrible special effects.

Last Man on Earth
Last Man on Earth
DVD ~ Vincent Price
Offered by OMydeals
Prix : CDN$ 55.48
11 used & new from CDN$ 3.99

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5.0 étoiles sur 5 horror, noire, religious allegory and a great performance, Oct. 25 2003
Ce commentaire est de: Last Man on Earth (DVD)
For $...- this film is an absolute steal for horror fans - and also for those who are fond of film symbolism.
The Bad
Obvious budget problems, some hooky dubbing voices, continuity errors such as having night and day appear in the same scene and some questionable acting. - But not by Vincent! Due to the flaws the film might elicit laughs by indiscriminate viewers. Just avoid watching the film with these types - we all know who they are.
The Good
The film has many noire elements: the despairing, unstable, confused loner, deserted streets, a voice over narration describing the inner world of the protagonist and a fem-fatale. The film takes place in a modern post apocatalypitc Las Angeles but there are abundant elusions to the dark ages of medieval Europe: spears as weapons, paranoia, fear of the supernatural, plague victims, wrong headed crusaders, and vehicles carrying the dead to be consumed by fiery pits. The story has all the plot points of a religious allegory and on top of all this it's a horror movie. There is an outstanding - one man show - performance by Price - Price plays his character as if he were a 120 year old man in a forty year old body- tired worn out frustrated, angry, depressed, moping, hunched shouldered and dug deeply into the worst nightmarish rut imaginable. His only activities are to go out by day and destroy former victims of the plague now turned into goulash vampires - By night he boards up his house and drinks himself into a stupor. The original story by "I am Legend" Richard Matheson was very good to begin with but the Last Man on Earth screenplay adds more symbolism, which gives the film additional depth. Much of the film is told in flash backs which reveal all the hero's errors in judgment. Last Man On Earth is a moody, dark, compelling nightmare.
This DVD version is from very good film stock My only complaint is that it apears as if the DVD may have been dubbed form a very good VHS print Other then this the film stock is almost flawless for an old movie- but know the film always had an appropriate gritty, documentary, black and white, look and sound.

Maybe the DVD does not deserve 5 stars but- but because of the films depth in story, Prices performance, pathos, intelligence and symbolism along with being a very good horror film ...! I cannot give this DVD anything but 5 starts. Absolutely no one who loves Vincent Price or, horror films should pass this up!

Baba Yaga
Baba Yaga
DVD ~ Carroll Baker
Offered by Fulfillment Express CA
Prix : CDN$ 20.90
20 used & new from CDN$ 5.00

4.0 étoiles sur 5 wow -, Oct. 23 2003
Ce commentaire est de: Baba Yaga (DVD)
Baba Yaga is the movie-wise definition of compelling. - This is one of those films that if you saw it in a movie theater you'd be afraid to go to the bathroom for fear you'd miss something. Luckily on DVD you can pause it.
After 10 minutes your rivited to this film to the end. Really plays and looks like a comic strip. Freeze-frame almost any scene and it has comic strip angles, framing, color and people. Whoever said there wasnt nudity is wrong - there is plenty but its approriate and stylish (but not very sexy) to it's underground comic book style.
You cant quite figure out what is going on but you cant take your eyes off the film.
Ultimatly - Baba Yaga is a sexy, old/young, lesbian witch with a cute little S&M doll - together they try to seduce our hero - a sexualy confused but hot babe. Thats what I think its about.
The film was shot by a fine director who apparently only made two movies - too bad.
Baba Yaga is an Italian film but, for the most part, well dubbed into english. Most actors were actually speaking english anyway.
Natzis, nudity, S&M, beautiful girls, murder, political commentarty and witches to name a few of the things going on in this film. Those who are true fans of comic books should love it.

4d Man
4d Man
DVD ~ Robert Lansing
Offered by thebookcommunity_ca
Prix : CDN$ 123.53
4 used & new from CDN$ 33.99

3.0 étoiles sur 5 Good, fun low budgeter Sci-Fi, Aug. 30 2003
Ce commentaire est de: 4d Man (DVD)
3.5 stars -
Far superior to most other Sci-Fi of it time. This low budget color film has many of the makings of what could have been classic B Sci-Fi movie.
Yes there is some questionable acting and many predictable elements in the story. and 4D is unintentionally campy at times but the camp revolves more around the love triangle and buisness relationships of the characters rather then the Sci-Fi. The 4D effects, by todays standards, are rather obvious but not bad for the time and always fun. But the reality is that the D4 effects are rather few and far between. Most of the effects are implied - Actually very clever of the film makers to make you blieve you have scene a special effect where none happened. For example - often the 4D Man is already in a room rather then actually seen entering it and his 4D ability is telegraphed by music rather then anything actaully happening. But all in all the story is good. The presentation is compelling and colorful. There is a very cool Jazz soundtrack and a good opening credits montage. But the best thing about the film is Robert Lancing. If Lancing's performance here is any indication - Lancing might now be considered one of the better actors of his time had he starred in A-films. In 4D man Lancing overcomes every banal line, every amature actor and every low budget road block to deliver a strong, cool and believeble performance. The film moves very fast to a good twist ending. A side note - had the film makers had 4DMan's girl actually really adore him as she is forced to do what she does at the end - 4D might have been a minor B classic. I love Image for presenting good prints of films like this. This is probably the best print we are going to get - That said the film deserves a better DVD presentation and would have been helped immensally by crisper, cleaner and more colorful picture quality and sweetened sound track. I recommend this film (especially for the price)to those who enjoy films like X The Man With XRAY Eyes, The Incredible Shrinking Man and The Fly. That said I feel 4D Man is still a notche below the fore-mentioned films. But I still might have given the film 4 stars had it a better DVD presentation.

Opera: Limited Edition (Widescreen)
Opera: Limited Edition (Widescreen)
DVD ~ Cristina Marsillach
Offered by genxmike
Prix : CDN$ 32.96
4 used & new from CDN$ 24.20

2.0 étoiles sur 5 Contrived and silly = not scarey or suspensful, Aug. 17 2003
Anyone who has seen Phenomenon or Inferno knows Argento's problem with logic.
Operas problems:
It's neither scary nor suspenseful mostly because of a very low credibility quotient and a multitude of extravagant, annoying distractions and contrivances.
There are too many overly familiar hooded killer clichés, silly dialogue, unintentional camp, and nonsensical situations, illogical chracater decisions, odd dubbing and questionable acting
The Low Logic Quotient:
Members of a close knit opera company are being brutally killed -yet the remaining members handle the news as if it's only a minor annoyance.
The Opera's star is tortured and forced to watch brutal, bloody executions of the stage hands - What does she do? - She goes for a walk, tells the disinterested director. What does he do - he drops her off at her apartment has a chat and says good night.
A homicidal butcher is caught in the act by a young woman. What does she do? She waits around to tease him so he can butcher her too.
An Opera company member purposely and without warning drops a huge steel cage in the middle of the theater's stage almost crushing the innocent actors and causing a dangerous stampede in the audience. Instead of being flogged for this life threatening stupidity he is met with adulations and the words "You're a genius!"
Birds obsess on avenging the murder of their bird friends.
Finally by the end is no logic behind the motives or actions of the killer or the heroin.
Silly distractions and contrivances
Every time there is a murder annoying heavy metal music breaks out.
Cheap lighting affects, camera angles and moving cams are chopped into the film wily-nily only to distract from the suspense.
The killer's brain is seen intermittently throbbing when he is on the prowl - this is highlighted by a shaky cam and heart beat accompaniment - an inane cliche.
The editing lingers far too long on gore effects - destroying their impact and allowing the audience too much time to analyze and discuss and laugh at the fake blood, rubber knives, and latex.
Some very good actors come off as amateurish due to hokey dialogue, dubbing and ludicrous situations.
The film simply seems like a rag tag bunch of familiar Argento hooded killer clichés, slice-em-up vignettes, and M-TV video contrivances mechanically chopped together. The effect is that it creates a very goofy, unmoving, annoying and uneven film.
Operas pluses.
Top grade photography, set design, and costumes.
A good line up of actors (its not their fault that they come off badly).
A great opera house setting.
Superb opera music.
One memorable scene. A bullet traveling through a peep hole, into an eye a head and a telephone.
Some interesting and original twists on the original Phantom of the Opera theme. *Spoiler - In particular - ( and I wonder if anyone noticed) the phantom is good looking, low key and polite only becoming disfigured and deranged after his identity is known.
Anchor Bay has provided a beautiful picture and Dolby 5.1 sound.
The film is compelling only due to its out and out flamboyance.
Bottom line
I can recommended Opera to those still curious about Dario Argento's work (I admit that I'm one of them). But Opera is no Deep Red, or even The Bird with the Crystal Plumage for that matter. For non Argento fans - the film will probably be a tedious experience with a high unintentional cringe and laugh factor - all for the wrong reasons.

Note:
Someone should do a study on the films of David Lynch and Dario Argento. There might be little difference on paper. Argento and Lynch can both be incomprehensible, campy, metaphysical, and phantasmagorical. Lynch works in film noir with elements of horror. Argento works in horror with elements of film noir. Both Lynch an Argento films often present us with some original film making angles not encountered before. Both directors use excellent photographers but only in Lynch's films - is the camp, humor, weirdness, the fantastic and the cryptic deliberate, calculated and meticulously seamed into the film. This means that for the most part a Lynch film consistently works while only sporadic parts of most an Argento film works.

Fahrenheit 451
Fahrenheit 451
DVD ~ Oskar Werner
Prix : CDN$ 13.78
24 used & new from CDN$ 7.99

4.0 étoiles sur 5 blahh science fiction - but good drama and social comment, July 26 2003
Ce commentaire est de: Fahrenheit 451 (DVD)
First of all - I did not read the book. - So I cant make that comparison. But I have seen the movie a number of times.
If you are interested in drama and symbolism - this film is replete - but if your interest is science fiction - you will be sorely disappointed. This is a very good film - very subtle - considering its content. Give it some patience and time - there is much more depth then its initial viewing might suggest. I was initially disappointed - for the acting by the main character seems bland, the sets seem trite and there is lack of grandeur and dynamic range for a science fiction film - but the film really shines in its understated drama and symbolism especially when dealing with choice, freedom, relationships, censorship and the forbidden fruit of knowledge. The music by Bernard Hermann is excellent - For the price and with a number of very good extras -the DVD is a steal. I personally I don't particularly like Truffaut,s work for its lack of in your face emotional drama- but I appreciate him more from seeing this film numerous times. The DVD is from a very good print. -The DVD is in mono but sounds good - no hiss.

What Have You Done to Solange? (Widescreen)
What Have You Done to Solange? (Widescreen)
DVD ~ Fabio Testi
Offered by thebookcommunity_ca
Prix : CDN$ 260.12
4 used & new from CDN$ 54.98

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1.0 étoiles sur 5 Good Quality DVD - Dull Film, July 23 2003
I hate giving a bad review to the product of smaller DVD companies. Especially those that are trying hard to give us good quality DVDs. In this case the film Solange is from a very good print and the sound is not bad. And we are now able to see another Giallo film! The problem here is with the original film itself. I found it to be one of the dullest of a great number of Giallos that I have seen over the years. Granted Solange plays more like a very very exploitve police case rather then a Giallo. But the police case is dull and the exploitation is obvious, not fun, scarey or interesting - does anyone really want to see an old fat woman with a pitch fork stuck up her private area? I dont care how warped you are... there are a number of scenes with showering nude school girls - but these days - what is the point in shelling out 10 bucks for this minor tintilation. The gore and nudity only has the effect of making the film seem cheaper then it needed to be. We are not expected to have good acting in these films but in this case the actors seem more lame the usual - no one seems interested in turning in a performance - good or bad - including the dubbing actors. The other big problem in this Giallo is there is no art direction - Where is the atmophere, the great sets, the interesting locales, the arty camera angles, colors, and plot twists. - all the things we come to expect in these films? The great Ennio Morricone wrote the score - but the score is poorly used - more like a disconnected haphazard patchwork behind the action. I cannot recommend Solange as a film but I can say if you are a hardcore collector of Giallos - Media Blasters has provided the best ever presentation of this film.

Journey to the Center of the Earth
Journey to the Center of the Earth
DVD ~ James Mason
Prix : CDN$ 6.99
28 used & new from CDN$ 4.00

5.0 étoiles sur 5 Top Adventure Gets Grade A DVD Treatment, March 11 2003
The movie is beautifully restored for DVD. The film is crisp and clear the sound is great. The movie looks like it was just filmed yesterday. The story itself is an excelent adventure yarn. At every moment something new happens. There is a fantasitc music score by Bernard Hermann and enough drama, innuendo, and humor to keep even adults very interested and entertained. Yes there are some very hokey and even campy moments but I found these to only add to the entertainment. Everyone gives a very very good perfomance including even Pat Boone and of course the always excelent James Mason. Although not all the sets and special effect hold up by todays standards they are all fun. That said many of sets and special effects are still stunning. For anyone who grew up loving this film - it is well worth seeing again and even owning. Even more highly recommended for families with kids. Journey stands along side of other adventure films of its time including Swiss Family Robinson and 20,000 Leages Under the Sea. By the way the price for owning a DVD of this quality - under twelve dollars - for this movie - makes it a steal!!
A note - A number of reveiwers feel the giant lizard monsters are not credible and hurt the film. Personaly I loved these monsters. First of all they are real! Not a guy in a lizard suit and not animation - I feel the effect to be very good - especially for the time.I was amazed as to how well these scenes are matted in and how big and dangerous these guys look. The giant reptile acting? - how did they get these heavy looking kick-but lizards to attack and run around? Plus the monsters get a special scarey Bernard Herrmann music too - via some sort sort of wierd horn. The Ocean at the center of the world protected by monsters on it's sandy beaches? I loved it - Sounds crazy but I feel it works with and has atmoshere to burn.

"Django, Kill... If You Live, Shoot! (Widescreen)"
"Django, Kill... If You Live, Shoot! (Widescreen)"
DVD ~ Tomas Milian
5 used & new from CDN$ 7.48

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1.0 étoiles sur 5 Poor Film Gets Top Grade DVD Treatment - Too Bad, March 5 2003
First kudos to Blue Underground. They are doing a fantastic job with their DVDs - beautiful film prints, very good sound and extras. The quality of their Spaghetti Western DVDs actually look and sound better then the Leone Western reissues on MGM DVD. This is why I hate to give "Django If You Live, Shoot" a bad review. But....
I have been a huge spaghetti western fan for more then 35 years. A Bullet for a General, Death Rides a Horse, Sabata, The Great Silence, Keoma,The Big Gun Down, All the Leone films, range from fair to great. The grade D "If You Live Shoot" makes even the awful "Django Returns" look like Gone With The Wind by comparison
The film is compelling only because of some of the plot elements - combining Poe-ish macabre in a western setting. It starts with bad guys wondering into a really, really bad town - The atmosphere at this stage is truly creepy - but when it wears off we are left with ineptly constructed action scenes,fake gore, confusing camera setups, sloppy editing, hokey dialogue, tired clichés, uninteresting music and worse then usual dubbing.
The director and actors claim this film to be experimental because of the use of some flash editing[...] The sadism, horror, blood and freak show aspects were probably to gather an audience by word of mouth. The homosexual aspects come off as a fetish of someone involved in the film.
So what do we have left?
The original film stock has that cheap look - You'll know what I mean when you see it. This "look" has nothing to do with Blue Underground excellent DVD qualities. But due rather to the original lighting, camera lenses and focus techniques of the film makers.
Just about everyone overacts - The Stranger's two Indian friends are particular bad. I'm guessing that real Native Americans might find them insulting as they recite tired clichés with real bad accents- Did one of them actually refer to the "Happy Hunting Ground" ?
The dubbing - absolutely incredible.... The saloon girl singing scene is a hysterical - the song is completely inappropriate. The music is from the wrong time period and geographical area. This music style would not be invented for another 50 years. The words do not even remotely match her lips. It is one of the most ludicrous dubbing scenes ever to be seen anywhere.
The action scenes make no sense as good guys stand directly in front of bad guys waiting for the bad guy to shoot them... but for some reason the bad guy doesn't shoot them...but instead chooses to run around until the good guy shoots them. Otherwise no body seems be able to hit anyone with a bullet no matter how many shots or fired but then suddenly, for no reason, the guy gets hit by fifteen bullets.
The editors must have had a terrible time with what they had to work with. Often we can not even comprehend the reason why anything is taking place.
Did I mention the fakest blood this side of Dutch Boy paints?
For the most part the film just seems to meander around dully and aimlessly until an improbable climatic action scene and an unsatisfying ending.
The unique music we are accustomed to in Spaghetti Westerns is not present here either. Instead we have a bunch of tired Roy Rodgers style western clichéd themes.
There is the atypical spaghetti western scene of the hero being tortured. In this one...a crucifixion motif (where have seen that one before?) the poor "Stranger" has to deal with some National Geographic bats and a couple of iguanas. But don't fear the bats were nowhere near our hero - the jungle can be clearly seen behind them as the hero is tied up in jail. I never knew how bad iguana's can be. Their stare is very painful.
I can't imagine anyone who enjoys quality Spaghetti Westerns, American Westerns or even Splatter or Horror Films enjoying "If You Live Shoot"...But there maybe some members of NCBLA - The National Cow "Boy" Lovers Association who may like it - for this film actually builds up very lovingly to a rape of a boy by Gay Hopalong Cassidies. Oh did I mention there is also some real animal cruelty via dog kicking, and bizarre child abuse?
A message or warning to any weirdo who may like this kind of thing - it is all handled very badly.
Note - Tomas Milian and director Giulio Questi are both interviewed on this DVD. On their behalf they seem amiable, intelligent, and are surprisingly unpretentious- To their credit both actor Tomas Milian and director Questi have created a number of quality films and characters. Unfortunately "Django If You Live Shoot" is not one of them.

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