Thursday, August 31, 2006

Farewell Glenn Ford

blackboard jungle
Originally uploaded by rhettrospective.
The man who appeared in literally every film in the 1950's , and graced our movie screen in 109 films in 54 years has died.

Glenn Ford , the epitome of 'strong thoughtful protagonists' was 90 years old when he passed away on August 30 2006.

His most powerful performance, was in 'Blackboard Jungle', portraying teacher Richard Dadier and his attempts to inspire rebellous teenagers to embrace life.

His breakout film was 'Gilda' opposite Rita Hayworth, and most cinema goers will remember him as Superman's father, in the Christopher Reeve driven 'Superman' film.
For me, Glenn Ford seemed to epitomise cinema acting in the 1950's. His characters were strong inside, his performance always powerful, and his delivery and presence on screen, unmatchable.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Why I Hate Gold Class

Originally uploaded by rhettrospective.
Here's my problem with Gold Class Cinema.
I received two Gold Class Tickets on 31 August 2005, and had yet to use them before the expire date of 31 August 2006.
So with that in mind, I went off to see Snakes on a Plane with a friend, Jim, at Gold Class in Sunshine.
Now to get to the Gold Class entry you have to navigate corridors and ramps, before you are greeted at the door by an ever smiling hostess willing to take your order.
I felt like I had walked into a hotel lobby.
The whole concept of Gold Class Cinema I think, actually decreases the cinema experience. There is something jolting about waitresses walking in during the film to deliver champagne, or chicken wings to you in your reclining chair. It firstly, makes you lose any suspension of disbelief when viewing a movie.
Secondly. I think the purpose of the Gold Class Cinema for people is to enjoy each other's company, not to enjoy the film.
A couple near us, bought in their small child (age no more than say 5), to watch Snakes on a Plane! They spent more time talking to each ther and keeping the baby hapy , in between champagne drinking.
Gold Class Cinemas should only be used for premieres of films, and by the public who want to watch a film and experience film making, rather than wining and dining as their priority.

Superman Returns #856

Superman Returns
Originally uploaded by rhettrospective.
[Hoyts Cinema] [Bryan Singer]

After a hiatus, Superman Returns to battle the forces of Lex Luthor.

Not the best Superman film out there, but it has some enjoyable aspects. The majority of the film is disappointing, with major plot queries to obvious for any movie goer to ignore (why doesn't Lois Lane have a scratch on her after the air rocket incident).

Brandon Routh is disappointing as Superman, but nails the performance of Clark Kent perfectly. He doesn't seem to fit the bill as Superman, he is modelled too much on Christopher Reeve and his face and demeanor is too 'perfect' for the Superhero role. However, his bumbling Clark Kent is quite comical and controlled.

Lois Lane on the other hand is atrocious. The appalling mis-casting of Kate Bosworth, makes it seem like Lois Lane is a teenager, with her fragile presence on screen distracting and uninspiring.

As for villians- Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor is also disappointing, with his motivations and characterisations uninspiring. It seems only Parker Posey's over-the-top performance as Kitty Kowalski is the saving grace of an otherwise disappointing line-up of villians.

Two key cameos are rewarding for film buffs. Marlon Brando's outtakes from previous Superman's make an appearance at the films beginning and end, and this is both amazing and moving , for the late actor.
And Eva Marie Saint as Clark Kent's elder, in her short appearance is a lovely performance.

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines #855

[DVD] [Jonathan Mostow]

On the verge of the rise of the machine, a female terminator (T-X) hunts down John O'Connor. Again, the Terminator must protect John and civilisation.

Opinion :
What I consider the best of the three films, because of strong performances by all casts and the completion of the narrative, built up in Terminator 1.

The standout performance for me, was Claire Danes, in arguable one of her most competent performance to that date , as she manages to portray the confusion and heroism her chacter demands.

Nick Stahl (Bully) is believable as an older John O'Connor, but the poor development of this character in the last sequel means , for the audience, there is nothing new in his character for us to be surprised with.

The inclusion in this sequel of a female terminator (Kristanna Loken), is probably the weakest of the three terminator villians, as her character is one dimensional, and does not have the same destructive feel as say for instant, the second film's villian.

Schwarzenneger however, in his final Terminator performance, fits in well considering his age and the year difference from the first film to this. He is so at ease now with the character , the in-jokes, and the stilted performance that it becomes natural to him.

Overall a nice way to end the trilogy and worth seeing.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Farewell Maynard Ferguson

Maynard Ferguson
Originally uploaded by rhettrospective.
You may not recognise his face, but you'll recognise his music. Trumpeter Maynard Ferguson died Aug 23rd 2006 aged 78.

His most iconic piece of film music was the powerful trumpet powered 'Gonna Fly Now' from the Rocky movies- arguably one of films most identifable theme songs.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Farewell Bruno Kirby

Originally uploaded by rhettrospective.

The man who played, amongst other roles, the young Clemenza in the flashback scenes of Godfather 2 has died.
Bruno Kirby (pictured on the far right) was 57 when he succumbed to Leukemia on August 14th 2006. In Godfather 2, he portrayed the young man who befriends a young Vito Corleone, and together they they break into houses and steal. He only appeared in the flashback sequences, but his performances was full of confidence and very convincing that he remains in your memory long after the film ends.

Other movie fans may also remember him as Billy Crystal's best friend in 'When Harry Met Sally'.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Farewell Ken Richmond

Rank Gong
Originally uploaded by rhettrospective.

Remember J. Arthur Rank films ?
They were the old black and white films which always started with a shirtless man banging a large gong prior to the opening credits.
Sadly, the last gong man has died. Ken Richmond, not only left a memorable opening credit shot, but also won was a 1952 Olympic Bronze Medallist in wrestling. Richmond will always be remember as the man who bangs the gong, (albeit a cardboard one he later admitted; and the fact he never actual touches the gong).
Almost no cinema studio since has had a more imaginative and hypnotic opening to their films.

Terminator 2: Judgement Day - #854

Terminator 2
Originally uploaded by rhettrospective.
[1991] [James Cameron]
2.5 / 5

Another terminator is sent back in time to kill John Connor before he can grow up and lead the resistance against the machines.

A better version than the original, mainly due to the higher quality special effects and the introduction of a stronger, and more fascinating supporting character in T-1000.

Schwarzenegger seems to now become more confident in his Terminator character, and using this, James Cameron insert some wry and occassionally funny references to the original Terminator film.

Linda Hamilton, reprising her Sarah Connor role is more than adequate in what is essentially a leading female aciton hero role. She is limited by her characters role and those around her but ends up performing well amongst a load of special effects.

The real miscast of this film is Edward Furlong as the young John Connor. His performance seemed stilted and lacking the relevant emotion required under the narrative, and because of that, the audience loses a sense of affection towards his character that otherwise should have been there.

Overall, an improvement on the original film, and certainly some enjoyable action sequences, in particular the Police Cycle and Helicopter scene.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Charly - #853

Originally uploaded by rhettrospective.
[Ralph Nelson] 1968
2.5 / 5

A mental retarded adult, agrees to participate in a life-changing operation.

A delicate film, subject wise, with a sensitive performance by Cliff Robertson (Spiderman). Infact, his performance in anyone elses hands may not be as powerful, as he manages to portray the sensitiveness, and childness of his character. Assisting him throughout the film is Alice Kinian (Claire Bloom : Limelight). She plays a strong female lead role, and has quite a presence, without stealing the limelight away from Robertson.

The downfall in this film, is the psychedalic scenes. It not only seems out of place (although this was made in 1968), but it completely erodes the pace of the film. The look of the film is interesting as well, a grainy quality which gives it an antiseptic feel and look to compliment the story.

Overall, an enjoable film with honest and sincere meanings, but which loses its way several times in the middle. Recommend.

Film Title: 'Charly' is the name of the main character, and the childish way his name is written reflect how it is written on his blackboard.

Film Fact: This is the film which won Cliff Robertson the 1969 Best Actor Oscar. He was not present, and so Gregory Peck accepted his award.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Terminator- #852

Originally uploaded by rhettrospective.
[James Cameron] 1984

A cyborg is sent from the future on a deadly mission- to track down and kill Sarah Connor. Sarah's only hope is to be guarded by Kyle Reese, who must battles with the Terminator.

An interesting premise, more so considering that the film has three major screen time protagonists- Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), The Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn). Considering that, it's the Terminator whose role is the most important, and Schwarzenegger's portrayal of the cyborg is perfect for his limited acting ability.

Interesting this film doesn't hold up well in the special effect compartment- many 'lasers' and 'explosions' look like something from the 70's and on top of that, the use of a mannequin for key scenes is obvious.
It is interesting the Cameron hasn't tried to revisit this film and alter the effect, as I feel that would benefit the story.

Linda Hamilton fits in comfortable with the role of the distressed Connor, who gains strength and courage through the film and becomes a central character again the sequel.

For it's day, the film is disappointing, the acting is wooden and the special effect are flawed, but the film has becomes such a part of the cinema, that is undeniably influential.