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Topics - Ben Tyreen

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For a Few Dollars More / 18 months later
« on: July 05, 2008, 11:08:54 PM »
  I've never heard this brought up and to be honest, I didn't feel like going through 11 pages of posts on FAFDM, but does anyone have an idea why it took Indio's gang 18 months to get him out of prison?  That's the time he brings up when confronting Tomaso and his family in the church. 

  The only thing I can come up with and it isn't foolproof, is that the band didn't know where Indio had been sent?  But I guess I don't even believe that.  ;D  The more logical I guess is that Groggy simply didn't want to.  Throughout the movie, there's tension between the two men so maybe he was enjoying his time as a gang leader.  Anything else obvious I'm missing or could this just be a case of overthinking something that doesn't really matter? O0

Off-Topic Discussion / Samuel Fuller's Merrill's Marauders
« on: June 03, 2008, 10:00:46 AM »
 I bought this DVD recently, a significant upgrade over my old VHS tape, and thought I'd review it.  Director Sam Fuller didn't direct a ton of movies, but this film is one of his best and in some ways it sets the tone for The Big Red One, albeit in a different WWII theater.

 Merrill's Marauders is the story of the 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional), 3,000 American volunteers, who helped spearhead the retaking of Burma during WWII.  The Marauders march deep behind enemy lines to take out a Japanese railhead and airstrip, traveling through some of the toughest jungle there is.  For a WWII movie, it's kinda short, only 98 minutes, but Fuller gets the point across in that running time.  By the end of the movie, you feel exhausted for the men and do start to wonder how these men actually got the job done.

  The movie also boasts one of the most touching scenes I've come across in a war movie.  After a costly firefight at a Japanese railhead, the men are sprawled all around a Burmese village, catching a brief rest.  One of the soldiers, Claude Akins' Sgt. Kolowicz, draws the attention of one of the boys in the village who starts scratching Kolly's beard.  An old woman comes out and hands him a bowl of rice which causes him to break down and start weeping.  Definitely one of my favorite Akins parts.

  Across the board the cast is good led by Jeff Chandler as General Frank Merrill, who has to keep driving his men beyond their limits.  Most of the story is told through a scout platoon, led by Ty Hardin's Lt. "Stock" Stockton with Peter Brown as a sniper, Akins as the tough sergeant, Will Hutchins as the always-hungry soldier who nobody likes, Charlie Briggs as Muley, the packer, and Pancho Magalona as Taggy, the Filipino volunteer.

  I suspect the DVD is the French version that WB is marketing in the States, but it's pretty good.  Some closeups look funny, like the pan-n-scan version was stretched out, but generally it's a pretty clear picture.  Trailer included which is a pleasant surprise after all the bare-bones DVDs I've seen recently.  Excellent WWII story, 8/10. O0

Off-Topic Discussion / Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974)
« on: May 29, 2008, 09:48:23 AM »
Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974) 8/10  I agree with CJ's including this in a top 10 guy's guy movie.  Great cast with Eastwood, Bridges, George Kennedy and Geofrey Lewis and a who's who of 70s character actors.  The heist and all its preparations were exciting and very tense.  Downbeat ending, but it works for the movie.   O0

Off-Topic Discussion / Beach Red (1967)
« on: May 28, 2008, 10:37:31 AM »
 This Cornel Wilde directed war movie was part of TCM's Anti-War night this weekend. I'd seen the DVD before but never picked it up because it looked kinda cheesy, but I was pleasantly surprised by this one.  On a fictional island invasion in the Pacific, American troops hit the beach and begin to work inward to clear the Japanese out.  The assault on the beach is pretty graphic with a soldier's arm getting blown off and then standing up dazed with blood gushing from the stump, a la Saving Private Ryan 30 years later.  There's some other gruesome violence that includes stabbings and flamethrowers taking out Japanese bunkers.

 The cast is all character actors led by Wilde as Capt. MacDonald and Rip Torn as the gung-ho sergeant. The only other face I even recognized was Jaime Sanchez as Colombo, the veteran soldier looking to get wounded and sent home.  Much of the 2nd half of the movie is given to Burr DeBenning and Patrick Wolfe as Egan and Cliff, two privates sent out on a patrol to scout the Japanese locations.  The Japanese actors are good, but their dialogue has no subtitles at all so it was hard to pick out names.

  Terence Malick and Steven Spielberg must have watched this before making their respective war pictures.  Each soldier has some flashbacks done both with actual scenes but also still images which proved to be very effective.  At times, it got kind of heavy-handed, but overall it worked.  And the ending was excellent but I won't give it away.  It's low budget with a no-name cast, but it's an anti-war movie that deserves to be seen.  Anyone else seen it?

8/10  O0

Off-Topic Discussion / Centennial, other westerns coming to DVD
« on: May 01, 2008, 10:24:45 AM »
 Just read over at dvdactive that the miniseries Centennial is going to be released on DVD in July and for a reasonable price.  I read the book and loved it, just like the miniseries.  Also found listings for a couple western collections coming out soon too, unfortunately no spaghettis but there are some good ones in there, Escape from Fort Bravo and The Law and Jake Wade caught my attention.

Centennial released July 29th

The Western Classics Collection

Errol Flynn Westerns Collection

Other Films / Rio Diablo (1993)
« on: April 28, 2008, 09:18:38 PM »
Rio Diablo (1993)  5/10  I was all set to give this a solid 6/10 but the ending is pretty bad.  Stacy Keach randomly shows up in the last 15 with no prior introduction to take on Kenny Rogers, in a pretty good, harsh bounty hunter role, and Travis Tritt, the greenhorn looking for his kidnapped wife.

Once Upon A Time In The West / CSI Miami OUATITW soundtrack use
« on: April 06, 2008, 10:34:37 AM »
 I don't usually watch CSI Miami, but my folks were watching it last Monday and boy was I glad I did.  The first five minutes used a more modern Morricone OUATITW remix with an electric guitar and drums as well.  It was a very stylized, cool scene with David Caruso taking on a bunch of Brazilian gangsters.

 It's not at Youtube that I could find, but CBS's website has full episodes available to watch.  For the best use of the music in the scene, watch the opening five minutes and then skip to the 40-minute mark for the finale.  Enjoy! O0

For a Few Dollars More / FAFDM computer wallpaper
« on: March 06, 2008, 11:21:20 AM »
 I was browsing over at TCM's website and came across this gem of a computer wallpaper for your desktop.  Pretty nice. :)

Other Films / The Alamo (2004)
« on: March 06, 2008, 11:04:25 AM »
 Watched The Alamo last night in honor of the actual fall of the Alamo in 1836 and thought I'd post about it.  Not sure if I'll get much of a response, if any, because the movie bombed at the box office although I read it did much better on DVD.  This is basically the polar opposite of John Wayne's The Alamo.  The 2004 version is much more of a character study of the main characters, Crockett, Bowie, Travis and Houston, and tells a very accurate depiction of the days leading up to the siege and then the final battle.

 The casting was perfect, especially Billy Bob Thornton as David Crockett, not the character of myth but a man trapped by his own legend.  SPOILER  ;) His death scene is my favorite scene in the movie.  Jason Patric as Bowie, Patrick Wilson as Travis, and Dennis Quaid as Houston are all very good as well.  It's too bad the movie got cut so bad by Disney, almost 45 minutes, because so much backstory was lost including Houston's life with the Cherokees and Bonham's ride for help.  But still, one of my favorites, especially the final assault on March 6th.

  Has anyone else seen it since we've got some history buffs around?  Any opinions? :)

Off-Topic Discussion / Michael Clayton (2007)
« on: March 03, 2008, 12:29:38 PM »
 Finally got around to seeing this movie this weekend.  I haven't seen the other Best Picture nominees so I can't compare, but Michael Clayton was a very good movie.  It was well-made, the story was never spelled out for you just so, and the cast was perfect.  George Clooney is the lead as MC and shows once again that he can act instead of just having fun in the Ocean's movies.  Tilda Swinton was good although I didn't think her performance was Oscar worthy.  Tom Wilkinson might have won any other year for his role as a lawyer who is fed up with defending the bad guys and cracks up.  And Sydney Pollack is excellent as always in a supporting role.

 Still want to see the other Best Picture nominees, but I've gotta say I was impressed with this one.  So with all the buzz I've heard about the other ones, it seems like a really strong year for BP nominated films. O0

The Colossus of Rhodes / Colossus of Rhodes TCM Friday March 7th
« on: March 02, 2008, 11:06:53 AM »
 I posted that TCM is airing this in the Upcoming TCM Schedule post, but thought I'd put it here too so it's got a better chance of being seen.

Colossus of Rhodes, The (1961)   
The Greek Army sets out to destroy the Colossus of Rhodes.
Cast: Rory Calhoun, Lea Massari, Georges Marchal. Dir: Sergio Leone. C-129 mins, TV-PG
Midnight Friday eastern time

Off-Topic Discussion / Vantage Point
« on: February 23, 2008, 11:15:48 AM »
 I saw this last night at a midnight showing and liked it but didn't love it.  It tells the story of a terrorist attack on a peace summit in Spain from eight different perspectives.  The story is shown through the eyes of one character and then "rewinds" to start somewhere else with a different character.  So really, all the plotlines are happening at the same time. 

 It's a gimmick movie so if you go along with the gimmick, you'll probably like VP.  Dennis Quaid is good as are John Hurt, Matthew Fox, Forrest Whittaker, and Sigourney Weaver.  But I thought the best character was Edgar Ramirez's Javier, an ex-Special Forces soldier blackmailed into helping the terrorists.  This guy is badass as he takes on the Secret Service pretty much single-handedly.  With his roles in VP, Bourne Ultimatum and Domino, he's becoming one of the coolest actors around.

  Overall, not all the plot points are answered but I don't want to spoil the movie so I won't bring them up.  A lot is left undecided and unexplained so I can't give it too high a rating.  I say 6.5/10 overall.  Good, but not great. O0

Other Films / Drums Along the Mohawk (1939)
« on: February 13, 2008, 04:38:28 PM »
 In a long list of very good John Ford movies, I've noticed that Drums Along the Mohawk often gets overshadowed.  Sure, it's not up there with The Searchers, My Darling Clementine, and the cavalry trilogy, but it's right there with it IMO.  Tells the story of a recently married couple, Gil and Lana Martin, in 1776 moving to Deerfield in the Mohawk Valley.  As they try to establish their lives on the frontier, they must deal with all the issues that the Revolution brought up.

 Henry Fonda and Claudette Colbert play the two main leads and head a really strong cast that includes Edna Mae Oliver, Eddie Collins, John Carradine, Arthur Shields, Francis Ford, and my favorite Ford regular, Ward Bond.  I love the use of time appropriate music, including Yankee Doodle Dandy, and Utah fills in nicely for colonial times New York.  O0  Good action scenes, and one of the best non-car chases ever. 

 I know we've got John Ford fans around, so anyone else a fan of Drums Along the Mohawk? :)

Off-Topic Discussion / Lost Season 4 premiere
« on: February 01, 2008, 01:01:09 PM »
  Any fans of the tv show Lost at the SLWB?  Season 4 kicked off last night, and I thought the premiere was a really good episode.  It seems like you either love the show or hate it, so is anyone else a fan? :)

Off-Topic Discussion / Movie montages
« on: January 30, 2008, 12:36:41 PM »
  I saw one of these this morning on TCM in between movies and thought I'd post them.  They're two montages from the same guy, Chuck Workman, who edits hundreds of clips from great movies and then uses equally well-known music over the clips.  They're both really good, if a little long, but they are more than worth it.

Precious Images -  In this one, clips actually move TOO fast to keep up with about halfway through.  A segment devoted to westerns is in the first three minutes.  Look close or you might miss OUATITW.  O0

100 Years at the Movies

Enjoy! :)

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