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Festivale online magazine
A Reel Life film section
This Month's Issue
That's right, gentle reader, this is going to be a more relaxed, ergonomic kind of a reel life. One that you can relax into, like a warm bath, letting the soapy goodness of my filmic knowledge wash away the mundane grit of crappy cinema.
Of course, I don't actually know that much about cinema. In fact, I can think of people who know ten times as much about cinema as I. And quite often I like crappy films. But they're not here and I am, so deal with it people.
So it won't be the high-quality sudsiness that you get from your higher class, more learned movie guys who've been to Uni and studied these things in depth. This is more a half bottle of washing up liquid and an electric mixer arrangement based solely on whatever films jump into my head and demand some time on the page. That being said, let's start with…
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
It's about three guys who go looking for gold and how they change as people. The best reason to see this film is the performance by Humphrey Bogart as Fred C. Dobbs, but the whole film is a good character piece.
A fifties style story told in the nineties, and well told and enjoyable at that. Williamson had a lot of fun playing with stereotypes. If you like Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Thing, give it a look.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
A great spaghetti western. I'm currently rediscovering the weird joy that is the Italian cowboy flick. They do things that you'd never see done in an American film. Some of these things don't work but a lot of them do, if only for the sheer novelty of the ideas.
A Nightmare on Elm Street
The first one. I grew up on Hammer Horror films and Kolchak: The Nightstalker. This was the first film I saw once my age entered double figures that scared me. I was 18. Well directed and (fairly) well acted, it still holds up today. Freddy Krueger is more menacing and strange than the wisecracking cartoon character he became in the sequels.
See it. It's long, it's black and white and it's excellent. There's a good reason Citizen Kane consistently makes it into the top ten best movies lists, it's a bloody good film. Kane tends to be one of those, "well I'll see it one day," films. Well today is the day. Go hire it and I'll wait here.
The Sound of Music
Didn't really think that I'd like this. In fact I sat down with my mind made up that I wouldn't, but it's actually a very good film. And I do like it. Give it a chance, you may be surprised.
Before The Three Kings there was Kelly's Heroes. Basically, a group of soldiers decide to rob a bank and the film follows the plans inception and execution. That's simplifying it a huge amount but it's got a great cast (Clint Eastwood, Telly Savalas, Donald Sutherland to name a few) is well written and enjoyable. Never been a big fan of war films but I recommend this one.
I don't like it but lots of other people do. See it if you feel you must. All the best bits are taken from Earth VS the Flying Saucers or…
War of the Worlds
The effects hold up pretty well for a film made nearly half a century ago and it's a good watch. The acting may be a bit rough in places but that's a minor concern. This movie really does give the feel of a worldwide catastrophe, even though it's set entirely in the USA.
Sons of Steel
There's not another film in the world like it. An Australian anti-nuke, time-travel, post-nuke, musical. Gary L. Keady (director, writer, and lots of other stuff) said recently there were only two professional actors in it. Featuring amongst other things, a nice computer generated narrator (the film was made in 1989 and The Head still holds up very nicely) and the first use of digital sound in an Aussie movie, this is not a film for everyone but it's incredibly entertaining.
For a truly unique experience rent it the same time you rent Citizen Kane. Both films are the products of young directors having a huge amount of control.
These aren't my top ten, though I like most of them, except ID4. I've aimed with this list for a range of films both old and new, which should be easily available from a video library in your area. Elm St will probably give you the most trouble as it's no longer available and copies tend to walk.
They're all worth seeing for one reason or another. Rather than going in depth, I'm hoping that some of you may pick up a film that you wouldn't normally consider or rediscover a classic. Don't read the back covers (they usually skew the description of the film) and then write me with your comments. I'd be genuinely interested in hearing what you loved/hated about any of these films. Head any emails "Reel Life" and send it to my contact address.
(Danny can be seen every Wednesday at his local video library, chatting with the person behind the counter and struggling to pick his 5 weekly movies for $7.)
Published in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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Published in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia copyright © Festivale 2000 All rights reserved
Filed: Mar-2000 Last updated: 22-Dec-2008 Last tested: 22-Dec-2008 Last compiled: 08-Aug-2014
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