There are many films that have been written about Hollywood, but none have done a better job of exploring the relationship between the film viewer and the film than the absolutely brilliant 1954 Rear Window.
Michael Bay is one of those film directors that people seem to either love or hate. I know of many film aficionados who cringe when they hear that Bay is involved in a project. His signature style is certainly big, loud, flashy, with big, big special effects and, too often, a weak or completely incoherent story line.
What the heck? What am I doing reviewing a film that was released before I was born, and, probably, before you were born? Sunset Boulevard was released in 1950 and, directed by the great Billy Wilder, ranks as one of the very best films made, particularly if you’re interested in the self-referentialism of films about the movie industry like I am.
Whenever I review a remake I like to start out saying whether or not I liked the original and in this case, I definitely need to disclose that I loved the original 1974 version of The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, with Walter Matthau and Robert Shaw as the protagonist and antagonist, respectively. It ranks as one of the best crime dramas of the mid-70s, with a story line that surprises the viewer more than once, an ingenious escape for the subway kidnappers, and a beautiful denouement that ends the film.
Every so often I’ll be writing a 2-3 sentence mini-review of a favorite old film, hopefully to entice you, dear reader, into watching it and leaving your own comments on the movie. I’ll try to use this to explain why I like each of the films whose one sheets are in the background graphic of this site too.
If you like films about cons like The Italian Job (either the recent remake or the wry original) or The Spanish Prisoner, then you’ll love this Spanish-language film set in Argentina, where nothing is what it seems. Or is it?
The Nine Queens of the title are a sheet of exceptionally rare stamps and the film is about grifters who meet by chance and concoct the big con after pulling off various smaller scams.
Pay particular attention to the last five minutes of the film as many things that transpire earlier are explained in subtle ways.
I love the genre and this is not only one of my all-time favorite con movies, it’s just one of my favorite films of all time.
Now, go see it, enjoy it and let me know what you thought!
Nueve Reinas (Nine Queens) was released in August, 2000 and distributed in the United States by Sony Pictures Classics. Directed by Fabián Bielinsky, the film stars Gastón Pauls as Juan and Ricardo Darín as Marcos and has an MPAA “R” rating.
This is a guest review from my friend Steve Oatney. Generally, I run guest reviews of movies when the critic has a strongly divergent opinion to my own or when it’s a movie that I just know I’m not going to see (like a scary horror film or chick flick). Anyway, here we go!
There is no greater compliment that I can pay modern animated fare than to say that the best of them are now most properly viewed as films, not as animated films. 25 years ago we talked about “feature-length animation” but in the last few years we’ve seen such landmark achievements as Wall-E and Spirited Away, films that let us stop looking at how they’ve achieved the visuals, stop thinking about how much work it was, stop contemplating texture mapping, and just enjoy good storytelling.
I didn’t like Land of the Lost. I’m not a big Will Ferrell fan overall, but I had high hopes for this film anyway because the original TV series upon which it’s based was such a fun, innocent adventure show.
I should have known better.
The fundamental problem with Land of the Lost is that it couldn’t decide whether it was going to be a nice G-rated family film (which was certainly the premise of the original show) or whether it was going to give in and be raunchy, rife with both sexual and drug jokes, as if it were some sort of prehistoric addition to the Porky’s series.
To be blunt, there was a shocking amount of profanity, stupid sexual jokes and at least one drug-themed scene that surprised and angered me in a film that’s ostensibly marketed to families with children under 15. But then again, maybe I’m the one who is out of touch.
I can’t help wondering, however, how many parents would be comfortable bringing their pre-teen to a movie just to have a sophomoric series of jokes about women’s breasts (they also appear prominently on mugs, a lighter, and Holly (actress Anna Friel) has her breasts fondled and commented upon time and time again) and a scene where two Sleestak lizard-men have sex (off camera, but with a running commentary about “oh, he’s about to tap that ass” “no he’s not” “oh. oh, yes he is” “oh, yech!”)?
Not upsetting enough? In one early scene, Dr. Marshall (Will Ferrell) crouches down and quietly says “f*ck you!” to the child-like Chaka (played, in heavy makeup, by Jorma Taccone).
What the heck?
This is what passes for a family film nowadays?
And, worse, Sid & Mart Krofft, creators of the original TV show, produced this remake? Unbelievable.