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Commentaires écrits par
Robert I. Hedges

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A Shot in the Dark [Import]
A Shot in the Dark [Import]
DVD ~ Peter Sellers
Offered by Warehouse105
Prix : CDN$ 12.99
8 used & new from CDN$ 12.98

3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 "I Seem To Have Stabbed Myself With A Letter Opener.", July 2 2004
Ce commentaire est de: A Shot in the Dark [Import] (DVD)
This is one of the very rare films where the sequel is better than the original. This movie is absolutely a letter perfect comedy: suave yet silly; understated yet over the top; pompous yet reserved. You get the idea. A perfect film. I wouldn't change one thing about this movie, even if I could. Peter Sellers defines the bumbling Clouseau as an individual better here than in the original, and I think the supporting cast is stronger as well. Elke Sommer is perfect as the beautiful, naive murder suspect who Clouseau goes to any ends to defend, while George Sanders is wonderful as the great scoundrel millionaire, Benjamin Ballon. Introduced for the first time in the series are Bert Kwouk as Kato (later spelled 'Cato'), Graham Stark as Clouseau's (extremely) patient assistant, Hercule, and my favorite of all the Panther supporting characters, the great Herbert Lom as Inspector Dreyfus. Watching Lom go through the phases of psychosis in this film is one of the greatest experiences and delights a person can have as a movie viewer. (I particularly like his performance in the closing scene, and when reading the newspaper with trembling hands and twitching eye.)
The plot concerns Clouseau's infatuation with a wrongly accused murder suspect, and the chaos that develops from that unlikely situation. The film is filled with a degree of nuance seldom seen in a comedy, and is probably the best crafted of all the Panther films (although I have to admit that the way over the top "Pink Panther Strikes Again" is my personal favorite.) The physical comedy that Sellers could make totally natural (watch the "spinning globe" scene for an excellent example) is still unrivalled, and the nuanced interplay with other cast members is better than in any other comedy that I can think of (to see what I mean watch the "curved pool cue" scene and the interaction of both Monsieur Ballon and the butler.)
I highly recommend this film. The DVD print is good, though there are few extras (the original trailer is very amusing and a tad on the weird side.) It is slapstick, but it is very refined slapstick done by the master, Peter Sellers. If only they still made movies like this today. I give it five stars only because Amazon won't allow more!

Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama [Import]
Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama [Import]
DVD ~ Andras Jones
Offered by thebookcommunity_ca
Prix : CDN$ 37.14
8 used & new from CDN$ 18.99

1.0 étoiles sur 5 Actual Bowling Is More Exciting, July 1 2004
I watched this film because I enjoy camp movies for what they are. The problem that this movie has is, that while it tries to be a campy, cult film (a bit too hard, judging from the title), it commits the unforgivable sin of being boring. This movie had me begging for the end to arrive. Avoid this film at all costs. It has no redeeming features of any sort. (OK, the girls are fairly attractive; but you will quickly forget that as the pain of the film begins.)
The plot (as it were) concerns three geeks that attempt to observe a sorority initiation and in the process get shanghaied into breaking into a bowling alley with two sorority pledges, where they encounter not only someone else (a girl named 'Spider') breaking in, but in their quest to steal a bowling trophy release an "Imp" who is far and away a more offensive racial caricature and stereotype than Jar Jar Binks ever dreamed of being. Needless to say, the Imp makes pretty much everyone turn on each other, and mayhem ensues. The violence is not very graphic, and is all exceptionally stupid. I was not so much offended by violence as by the depths to which the filmmakers were willing to stoop to keep the audience interested. (It didn't work, anyway.)
The acting is among the worst I have ever seen, ditto the script. The 'plot' and direction were likewise from a mind far less gifted than Ed Wood. The sets weren't bad. In fact getting a behind the scenes look at the bowling alley was the most interesting part of the movie. As a related aside, I have got to comment that this bowling alley has the ugliest carpet I have ever seen in my life.
I like camp, but this is not camp. This is pain. I would classify this movie as "Deep Hurting."

The Pink Panther (Widescreen/Full Screen) [Import]
The Pink Panther (Widescreen/Full Screen) [Import]
DVD ~ David Niven
Offered by thebookcommunity_ca
Prix : CDN$ 35.48
18 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 étoiles sur 5 No! Not The Stradivarius!, July 1 2004
This, the first of the exquisite Pink Panther series, is an amazing film. To know that originally Peter Ustinov was cast to play Jacques Clouseau as a straight, inept French detective is a sobering thought. After Ustinov dropped out, of course, Peter Sellers got the role and after consultation with Blake Edwards, decided to make him not only inept, but also bumbling and accident prone, a characterization that defines how we think of Clouseau today. This film is interesting in that since it is the first of the series it is interesting to see the origins of the character, and how different he is here than in later 'Panther' films. Here is clumsy and prone to pratfalls, but is less flamboyantly slapstick than in the later films.
The film also stars the wonderful David Niven, who plays the perfect suave English thief, and a very young Robert Wagner as his equally debonair nephew. Female stars are the beautiful Claudia Cardinale and Capucine, two of the top European actresses and models from the era.
The movie is a bit more sedate than the later films in the series, but still is one of the funniest movies of the sixties. 'A Shot In The Dark', also released in 1964, as the first sequel, began the transformation to the later formulas with additions such as the wonderful Herbert Lom. 'The Pink Panther' does introduce the animated 'Pink Panther' short for the first time, as well as the often imitated, never duplicated title theme. Other viewers will have their own favorite scenes, and the costume party is surely one of the highlights of the film, but for my money the best scenes in the film revolve around Clouseau trying to woo his wife by playing his Stradivarius violin, over many protestations. The look of pain on David Niven's face during his playing is worth the price of the film alone
If I were doing it today, I would buy this DVD as part of the multi DVD 'Pink Panther' set, where it also includes a few interesting bonuses such as a 'trivia track', which adds great tidbits about the film.
Peter Sellers was a comic genius, and the world still waits for another genius of his stature. I think we will be waiting a long, long time.

DVD ~ John Lupton
Offered by pathfinder1st
Prix : CDN$ 9.94
6 used & new from CDN$ 9.94

5.0 étoiles sur 5 William Beaudine Made Over 500 Films. This Is One Of Them., June 29 2004
This is an amazing film. It is the last film ever made by William "One Shot" Beaudine, and was a real resume killer for almost everyone in the cast as well. This is the sequel to "Billy The Kid Versus Dracula" (Beaudine's second to last film) which starred John Carradine. Carradine said that "Billy The Kid Versus Dracula" was the worst movie he ever made. That is saying something coming from John Carradine. Now imagine that this film is the sequel. I have seen both, and I think that "Billy The Kid Versus Dracula" is marginally worse, but I can't imagine seeing these on a double bill, which is how they were typically shown.
The thing that makes this DVD special is the commentary track by Joe Bob Briggs. Joe Bob is a genius in his own right, and is super knowledgeable about any type of Grade B movies. Here he gives us the rundown of the cast and location history, and points out continuity gaffes which are so numerous that some of them would probably escape notice due to sheer volume without his help.
In the film Jesse and his gang have a rendezvous with fate with Dr. Frankenstein's granddaughter (Yeah, I know the title is inaccurate. It isn't the only thing in the film, either.) There are several subplots, most of which don't make sense, and possibly the single most stupefying ending in cinema history. The only thing really well done here is Igor's skull scar. Prepare yourself to laugh at everything else.
I watched the film without the commentary once, and with the commentary once. My advice is to just watch it with the commentary. Joe Bob makes sure you listen in whenever anything important happens (which isn't often) and provides plot summation throughout the film anyhow. Another reason is that sometimes the sound is poor and some of the cast (especially Narda Onyx and Estrelita) have bad accents and diction problems.
The movie gets five stars with Joe Bob's commentary turned on. With the commentary turned off it would get two simply as a lifetime achievement award for William Beaudine.

Why Paint Cats 2004 Calendar
Why Paint Cats 2004 Calendar
by Burton Silver
Edition: Calendar

5.0 étoiles sur 5 Beautiful Cats, Beautiful Spoof, June 28 2004
This calendar is wonderful for any cat or art lover. The photography and commentary are both first rate, mimicking and mocking the pretentiousness of the contemporary art scene without losing the sense of whimsy that has been the hallmark of the series since the book of the same title was first published.
Some people seem aghast that people actually paint cats. Well don't. This is a joke. The visual effects are done courtesy of Photoshop long after the photos have been taken. The creators, Burton Silver and Heather Busch, are quite devoted bona fide animal lovers, and although I am sure they would be flattered that some people thought the effects are real, would never allow harm to come to these beautiful animals.
This is a beautifully done calendar, and is perfect for the art lover in your life. I look forward to the 2005 "Why Paint Cats" calendar. I have no doubt it will be as spectacular as this!

Bubba Ho-Tep  [Import]
Bubba Ho-Tep [Import]
DVD ~ Bruce Campbell
Offered by thebookcommunity_ca
Prix : CDN$ 39.60
13 used & new from CDN$ 16.49

5.0 étoiles sur 5 A Redemptive Elvis Mummy Picture, June 28 2004
Ce commentaire est de: Bubba Ho-Tep [Import] (DVD)
I bought this movie, because the premise seemed so totally outlandish to me I just had to know what secrets it held. This is one of my favorite movies in a long time. It is definitely my favorite horror movie to date. I won't give away too much of the plot, as it is so delicious you need to watch it unfold in front of you with no preconceptions. Suffice it to say that Elvis is still alive and living in a nursing home in Texas with JFK. Due to a quirky turn of fate the two of them team up and battle an Egyptian mummy in an amazing battle of wits that is metaphorically a battle of good versus evil. There are many unusual twists and turns in the plot, but I was greatly heartened by the ending.
Bruce Campbell is Elvis in the movie. When I say he is Elvis, I mean he IS Elvis. He is wonderful as the elderly crabby Elvis and makes the film the success it is. The other lead role, that of President Kennedy (who is alive, but has a sandbag placed in part of his head) is played by the gifted Ossie Davis, a wonderful actor, who, if you don't know, is black (They dyed me this color!) These two become friends at the depressing nursing home, where they are patronized by the staff incessantly.
Perhaps I should have titled the review "Elvis and JFK Battle a Mummy Texas Style," but this really is mostly a story of redemption. Eventually Elvis and JFK realize that they are the only ones able to conquer the mummy and it gives them a reason to live, and in the end, redemption. This brings up my very favorite point about this film. It is wonderful seeing two elderly heroes in this movie. In a society where so many of our elderly are invisible and the entire culture is youth-obsessed it was a brilliant masterstroke to show the value of our elders by making them the heroes. In real life Bruce Campbell is not elderly (he had lots of makeup), but Ossie Davis really is 83, and still looks great.
There are many moments of humor in the film, my favorite of which is when Elvis and JFK discover hieroglyphics written on a bathroom stall wall that JFK translates as "Pharaoh gobbles donkey goobers; Cleopatra does the nasty." There are also bizarre fight scenes, such as when Elvis takes on the giant flying scarab beetle with some karate moves and a bedpan. There are other cool effects such as when the mummy 'speaks' in amusing hieroglyphics and the stars move to spell out a message to Elvis in the end. The mummy himself is very well done, and very creepy. This movie has something for everyone, and I recommend it highly. If I could change one thing it would be a bit of the sporadically bad language, although it is basically used to reinforce the crankiness of the two title characters.
The extras on the DVD are compendious, and well worth watching. There are commentary tracks (including one by Elvis!), and 'making of' type documentaries, which you need to watch. It is fabulous that they made such an original and worthwhile movie on such a low budget. I will watch for more from Don Coscarelli and the other makers of this mind-altering film.

Rodan [Import]
Rodan [Import]
DVD ~ Kenji Sahara
Offered by thebookcommunity_ca
Prix : CDN$ 67.18
6 used & new from CDN$ 22.58

5.0 étoiles sur 5 As Good As Godzilla, June 28 2004
Ce commentaire est de: Rodan [Import] (DVD)
"Rodan" is frequently compared to studio-mate Godzilla in many ways. I think that "Rodan" is at least as well made and in some ways superior to any of the Godzilla films. For starters it is in color, which was a bit rare for a film made in 1956; furthermore, the color is vibrant and well preserved in this modern print. The acting is better than most of the Toho films, as is the script. The biggest difference is the sets, with the "Rodan" sets far and away more realistic looking than the Godzilla counterparts. The blending of real shots and miniatures is far above average for a film of this age as well. The 'bridge' set featured near the end of the film is probably the best miniature set in the history of Toho productions.
Rodan is a message movie, and, of course, cautions us about the use of nuclear weapons. The use of these weapons causes first the release of some just plain wacky looking caterpillar monsters, followed by two Rodans. The Rodans terrorize Japan until eventually they are engulfed by a man made volcanic eruption, in one of the best endings in any of the films of this genre.
Of all the Toho monster films, I think that "Rodan" is my favorite. Buy it today and see what monster movies are supposed to look like!

Godzilla Box Set  [Import]
Godzilla Box Set [Import]
DVD ~ Raymond Burr
Offered by thebookcommunity_ca
Prix : CDN$ 1,115.45
5 used & new from CDN$ 307.81

4.0 étoiles sur 5 A Few Shortcomings, But Still Fun, June 27 2004
Ce commentaire est de: Godzilla Box Set [Import] (DVD)
A lot of people are dwelling on the negatives of this box set, but I want to talk about the positives. Maybe it isn't truly the ultimate collection, but it's enjoyable, and the quality is far better than was available on video, and unbelievably better than watching it on late night UHF television in the 1960s and 1970s.
I too, subtracted a star for the lack of widescreen format, although, to me that is largely irrelevant, as this is the way I remember these films from when I saw them on TV as a kid. I have seen a lot of complaints about dirty and abused transfers, but, honestly, I think the DVD quality looks reasonable for films of this age, certainly better than many films of this vintage that are currently available on DVD. All told, my assessment of the prints is that they aren't perfect, but they are still very enjoyable to watch, and more than adequate.
As far as the collection itself goes, I might have made other choices for the five movies, likely leaving out 'Terror of Mechagodzilla', and 'Godzilla's Revenge' (although if you have kids, 'Revenge' is a good way to initially expose them the Godzilla.) It is wonderful to see 'Rodan' in the collection. To my recollection, this is the first time 'Rodan' has been on DVD, so for that alone, the set is worth the money.
It is easy to pick these movies apart from a technical point of view, or to endlessly argue about which movies would be better included in an "ultimate" collection, but until someone releases the entire series in widescreen, with tons of extras, you can't make everybody happy, and even then, people will be complaining about the $200 price tag.
Take this set for what it is: five fun monster movies. With that in mind, sit back, relax, and enjoy.

Terror of Mechagodzilla
Terror of Mechagodzilla
DVD ~ Katsuhiko Sasaki
5 used & new from CDN$ 42.17

3.0 étoiles sur 5 Get The Supersonic Wave Oscillator!, June 27 2004
Ce commentaire est de: Terror of Mechagodzilla (DVD)
This is one of the more confusing Godzilla films. In essence it revolves around the return of Mechagodzilla, who had his head ripped off by Godzilla and was thrown into the Pacific Ocean, recuperating with the help of some space aliens from a black hole who look like refugees from the Ultraman set, teaming up with Titanosaurus, a 1/3 fish, 1/3 dinosaur, 1/3 platypus, all ridiculous looking creature controlled by the evil and crazy Dr. Mafune and his half-cyborg daughter. Confused? I am not surprised.
Eventually there is a big three way WWF tag team match at the end featuring all three monsters (remember, Godzilla is good now...) using their laser eyes, fingertip missiles, tail fan accessory, and joined by some Japanese Air Defense Force F-4 Phantom fighters and a helicopter with a mind control beam.
The plot is pretty melodramatic with the Camaro-driving Interpol guy (who with his partner look like the Japanese Starsky and Hutch) in love with the half cyborg Katsura uttering the tender line "Even if you're a cyborg, I still love you!" Not the worst Godzilla movie, but one of the more boring entries in the genre. Three stars.

Phantom From Space
Phantom From Space
DVD ~ Noreen Nash
Prix : CDN$ 6.98
9 used & new from CDN$ 3.44

1 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Half "Invisible Man", Half "Radar Secret Service", June 26 2004
Ce commentaire est de: Phantom From Space (DVD)
"The Phantom From Space" is a sci-fi cheapie from 1953. The first half is pretty boring, as most of the action involves driving around in ridiculous old cars with ludicrous antennae on their roofs looking for disturbances. This takes place in California, so there are some other wacky things going on, but just to make sure we understand, the bulk of the first half hour or so is narrated. As the narrator drones on over the scenes of stock footage, and the cars drive around endlessly, something finally happens! A murder by a guy in a diving suit happens, to be specific, but unfortunately for the audience, all that results for our entertainment is some really tough (not!) interrogation of the prime suspect. Ultimately a couple of people get killed and a refinery gets set on fire.
As the movie gets over the hump and starts picking up steam, we see some silly police foot chases of the diving-suit being that go on a bit too long, but ultimately corner the guy in a lab with a pretty female scientist. To evade capture the being takes off his suit and turns out to be invisible unless exposed to ultraviolet light. They chase him around until he needs to put his helmet back on while he practices Morse code with the lady scientist. She figures out that he needs to breathe methane (hence his attraction to the refinery...see how it all makes sense) but thanks to the comic relief newspaper reporter who is forever screwing everything up (at least they got that part right) he drops and breaks his helmet. Eventually we see him shriek and burn up in what I believe may be the Griffith Park Observatory, his mission having utterly failed.
This film is a borderline two or three star movie, but I decided to go with three as it was quite well made considering that it was from 1953. I liked that the film didn't attempt to make the invader from space into a killing machine, and that in the end actually made the audience feel sympathy for him. The special effects are not so special by the standards of today, but remember this was made 51 years ago, and I think was a pretty credible effort for the time. The acting is average, and the script is too. The biggest weaknesses were pacing and the whole silliness with the cars with ridiculous antennae. The second half is entertaining, and the creature actually looks good when we finally get to see him. If you can get past the first half, this is better than average for mid 1950s sci-fi.

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