Posts Tagged ‘1980’

My Bodyguard – Minute Movie Review

Mittwoch, Oktober 6th, 2010


At his new school, fifteen-year-old Chris Makepeace is bullied, so he decides to hire the one guy everyone is scared of, Adam Baldwin, as his bodyguard. The business relationship soon develops into a friendship as their limits are severely tested. The film doesn’t quite know what to do with the premise. It crams a few too many plot elements into the erratically told story and waivers between serious drama and light-hearted comedy. There is much promise here, but ultimately very little pay-off. Solid performances, especially from Ruth Gordon as Makepeace’s grandmother, make for an entertaining film, but it’s kind of sad to think what it could have been.

Random Observations:

My Bodyguard at the IMDb

I have to admit that I mostly picked up this film to see the début of Adam Baldwin, of firefly fame, who is decidedly not a Baldwin brother.

This appears to be “80s teen movie week”. No idea how this happened. Check in Friday to see whether it continues.

Another film with a very young Joan Cusack. And also a very young Matt Dillon. While instantly recognizable, they sure have changed a lot in thirty years.

Atlantic City – Minute Movie Review

Montag, August 23rd, 2010


Burt Lancaster is an ageing petty criminal with delusions of grandeur. He takes care of his dead friend’s widow, works as a small time bookie and dreams of the golden days when Atlantic City was run by the mob. Susan Sarandon works as a waitress in one of the casinos and dreams of being a blackjack dealer. When her husband and sister, who ran away together, arrive in town hoping to sell some drugs, all their lives will be changed. Louis Malle’s film is a harsh and bitter look at small time life in the once great city. There is no room here for greatness, just for everyday hopes and dreams, most of which are ultimately squashed. The plot or rather some behaviour of the characters is not quite consistent, but it detracts little from the otherwise very good film. Surprisingly sweet and funny, this 1980 film is a forerunner for the crime revival of the 1990s – just without the delusion of grandeur.

Random Observations:

Atlantic City at the IMDb

“I never wear a seatbelt. I don’t believe in gravity.” How’s that for a great line?

In the great tradition of themed weeks at Fabricated Truth, I have deemed this Louis Malle Week.

The film is a French-Canadian co-production, but was shot on location in Atlantic City, USA. (Which, incidentally, is the German title of the film.)

The great Wallace Shawn has one of his earliest roles in the film as a waiter. It’s always interesting to see such “big name actors” in their humble beginnings. And yes, I am aware that only one of regular readers has any idea who Wallace Shawn is.

Little Lord Fauntleroy – Minute Movie Review

Freitag, Dezember 18th, 2009


A young boy growing up in New York is told that he is the heir of an elderly Earl, his grandfather, and brought to England to become a Lord, much to the chagrin of his friends the Greengrocer and the Shoe polisher. Since he is about the most precious child in the history of the world, he takes the horrible fate with good grace and is soon loved by servants, subjects and the old Earl alike. But then another potential heir appears to threaten his position. The film version of the children’s novel from 1980 is shown every year before Christmas on German television and millions of people turn in every year. And despite the fact that the story is incredibly tacky and the film about as kitschy as can be, it is also extremely awesome, with Alec Guinness as the old Earl and about the best reaction shots in the history of film. Sadly, it is only available on DVD in Italy, but if you ever get a chance to watch the film, you should. For my family, it’s a kind of Christmas tradition – and it should be for yours as well.

Random Observations:

Little Lord Fauntleroy at the IMDb

Careful when trying to watch this film, there are numerous versions! I can’t attest to the quality of the others, never having seen any of them, but there is no way the story can be any good without Alec Guinness.

If probably seen the film ten times, but I never noticed until today that the little Lord’s mother is played by none other than Connie Booth.

There is nothing as awesome as watching the servants’ faces when the kid wrongly assumes that his grandfather is the kindest man in history and treats him exactly like that.

Patrick Stewart has a small role in the film – in fact it is so small that I had to check whether it was really him.

While checking for that, I also discovered that at least according to the IMDb, the officer with Lady Grace is none other than Bill Nighy. I will have to watch the film again to confirm this, however. I will tell you whether it is true next year.

The Blues Brothers – Minute Movie Revie

Freitag, Oktober 2nd, 2009


What started out as a sketch on Saturday Night Live became the best musical comedy of all time, when Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi took their band of famous blues musicians on a mission from god to earn the money the orphanage they grew up in needs to pay its taxes. On the way, there is plenty of laughter and even more good music that makes the film a joy to watch.

Random Observations:

The Blues Brothers at the IMDb

I was nearly completely unaware of the whole story surround The Blues Brothers, including the fact  that they actually toured quite successfully.

Ray Charles looks nothing like Jamie Foxx.

Carrie Fisher was at the height of her Star Wars fame when she appeared in this film before slowly fading back from superstardom. Only Mark Hamill managed to disappear even more effectively.

I know that last point had nothing to do with the film, but it’s something I thought about while watching it, so it fits this category.

Minute Movie Review – Heaven’s Gate

Samstag, Mai 2nd, 2009


“Heaven’s Gate” is quite possibly the most famous film that flopped ever. And no wonder it did. With three and a half hours, it’s too long. There isn’t a single likable character in it. The acting is largely abysmal. The plot is convoluted. The whole thing is a sprawling mess. But what a beautiful mess it is! The story is quite interesting, about immigrants in the American West in 1890 that want to make a living there, but the cattle barons don’t want them there. Sure, that story could have been told just as well in 90 minutes, but often it is more interesting to see an ambitious film that turned into a fiasco than a well-made film that is just done by the book – maybe that is why “Heaven’s Gate” has recently garnered some praise among film critics.

Random Observations:

Heaven’s Gate at

About the acting: Christopher Walken is good as usual. John Hurt is funny but not really important to the plot. Kris Kristofferson in the lead role is really the one who distracts from the film with a strong tendency to overact. And Isabelle Huppert seems most comfortable in the many gratuitous scenes she is nude in, but somewhat removed from the film in the others.

I really enjoyed Michael Cimino’s “The Deer Hunter”, the success of which allowed him to make this film. A detailed account of the many problems the production faced – mostly due to Cimino’s perverse perfectionism, can be found at numerous sources online. For an overview, just read about it in the ‘ped.

The cut I saw (and the only one available, as far as I know) is the so-called director’s cut, running 219 or 210 minutes in the US and Europe, respectively.

The film could have been a half hour shorter if it had just forgone the prologue, which in my opinion was unnecessary and didn’t contribute anything to the storyline. The epilogue, though only a few minutes long, was also not strictly necessary, although it helped to reinforce the message of the film.