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Rating History

The Counselor
The Counselor (2013)
2 years ago via Flixster

Directed by Ridley Scott, who wanted to do something smaller yet grittier after Prometheus (2012), and he settled for this thriller written by Cormac McCarthy (author of No Country for Old Men and Blood Meridian). It had so much potential, a perfect cast and good pedigree behind the camera, HOW ON EARTH DID THEY MANAGE TO MAKE AN ABSOLUTE PIGS EAR OUT OF ALL OF THIS!? In Texas, an unnamed Counsellor (Michael Fassbender) has a successful career in the law, and has just become engaged to his long-time girlfriend Laura (PenÚlope Cruz), and he does business deals for Reiner (Javier Bardem) and his girlfriend Malkina (Cameron Diaz), but Reiner believes the Counsellor could do more with his career. Then the Counsellor does a drugs deal with the mysterious Westray (Brad Pitt), another of his clients. The Counsellor is against it, but goes ahead with it. But, the shipment of cocaine goes missing, and the Counsellor ends up being blamed for it, and it has far reaching implications for everyone he knows. This plodding and boring thriller has very little action and far too much talking, and when the action comes, it's all too little, too late. Plus, much of the dialogue is mumbled and incoherent, and just because McCarthy is good as an author, doesn't mean he's good as a screenwriter, this is the worst film of 2013 by a long shot.

Popeye
Popeye (1980)
4 years ago via Movies on Android phone

Altman's maddest film, based on the highly popular cartoon series, and made with half the crew on drugs, it's an acquired taste of film. Set in the seaside town of Sweethaven, it had Popeye (Robin Williams), arriving to the town by dingy, looking for his long-lost father, Poopdeck Pappy (Ray Walston), he finds lodgings at Oyls' boarding house, where he falls for their daughter, Olive Oyl, (Shelley Duvall), much to the ire of her bullying boyfriend Captain Bluto (Paul L. Smith). Normally, live-action versions of cartoons don't work, but this does. It captures the tone of the comic strip the the original cartoon shorts were based on. The whole town is a tourist attraction in Malta now, but the film is beautifully shot by Giuseppe Rotunno, with songs provided by Harry Nilsson, it's a film well worth a reappraisal. ;)

Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell
6 years ago via Flixster

From Hammer, this was their seventh and final Frankenstein film they made, after an attempt to reboot the franchise with The Horror of Frankenstein (1970) was an outright failure, they got Peter Cushing back, and Hammer veteran Terrence Fisher back to direct it. It should have revived Hammer's fortunes, but it helped to kill this once great studio. Shame really. Simon Helder (Shane Briant) is a young doctor who has admired the works of Baron Frankenstein (Peter Cushing) for years, but after Helder is arrested and detained in an asylum for body snatching, he meets the asylum's chief surgeon, who happens to be Frankenstein himself, now living under a new identity. He takes on Helder as his new apprentice, but Frankenstein has more sinister motives, he's been killing off the patients, and using their body parts for his latest experiment, the body of Herr Schneider (Dave Prowse), an inmate who attempted suicide but has been kept alive by Frankenstein. However, it's not long before Schneider escapes. It has some good moments, and it's good to see Cushing back doing Frankenstein, but it had a troubled production, Fisher was ill during the production recovering from a car crash, and the film's release was delayed for two years when EMI dropped out of distributing it. But, it's not as bad as you might remember.

Katie Tippel
Katie Tippel (1976)
6 years ago via Flixster
½

After Turkish Delight (1973) became the highest grossing and highest attended Dutch film ever, director Paul Verhoeven, screenwriter Gerard Soeteman and producer Rob Houwer teamed up with the stars for another film, this one based on the memoirs of Neel Doff. It was a nightmarish shoot and it's difficulties show on screen, despite the best intentions by all concerned. It begins in 1885, when the Tippel family, stricken by poverty sail from Stavoren to Amsterdam in search of a better life, Keetje (Monique van de Ven) gets a job in a dye-mill, but quits when her boss comes onto her sexually, then in a hat shop, where the boss rapes her. Keetje soon discovers that her sister Mina (Hannah de Leeuwe) has succumbed to prostitution in order to survive, and after Mina turns to alcohol, their mother (Andrea Domburg), makes Keetje go into prostitution in order to keep the family. Things look bad for Keetje at first, but things take a change when she meets banker Hugo (Rutger Hauer), who disapproves of the lifestyle she's been forced into, and he helps her in a social education, eventually becoming one of the bourgeoisie. It's a film about class in Holland, and the contrasts between the two, despite good performances and brilliant sets, Verhoeven, and the cast and producer were at each others throats over some of the more questionable aspects of the story. Verhoeven nearly quit, and has even expressed a desire to remake the film. Yes, there is more sex and violence, but Verhoeven was about to make a very personal film next, Soldier of Orange (1977).

Alien
Alien (1979)
6 years ago via Movies on Android phone

Directed by Ridley Scott, who had made his feature debut 2 years before with The Duellists (1977), he chose something completely different for his follow-up, written by Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett (Total Recall (1990)) and produced by Walter Hill. This little low budget film was made at the right time, and it started a massive franchise which comes and goes to this day. The first one will always and forever be the best. At some point in the future, the spacecraft Nostromo, which is transporting cargo across space, the ship's computer awakes the crew from a deep sleep statis to investigate a distress signal. The crew consist of Captain Dallas (Tom Skerritt), Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), Lambert (Veronica Cartwright), Brett (Harry Dean Stanton), Kane (John Hurt), Ash (Ian Holm) and Parker (Yaphet Kotto). They go to where the signal is coming from, an alien spaceship with eggs on board. While Kane investigates the eggs, a creature bursts out of one of them, smothering his face. The creature has acidic blood, but when Kane awakes, that isn't the end of it... Even 35 years later, this is still a very engaging and suspenseful horror/sci-fi/thriller, which was meant to be a reaction against the wholesomeness of Star Wars, and something altogether nihilistic. It managed to get Ridley Scott recognition in Hollywood, and it made a star out of Sigourney Weaver as well, who returned for 3 sequels.