Anatomy of a Murder (1959)

  
Young soldier Lt. Frederick Manion (Ben Gazzara) stands accused of first degree murder, after he shot the man who raped his wife Laura Manion (Lee Remick). Seeking the help of attorney Paul Biegler (James Stewart), Lt. Manion looks to prove that a moment of insanity made him commit the murder. Will he win his case?

  
Well you’ll have to watch and find out. I’m a sucker for a good courtroom drama, and for the most part Otto Perminger’s ‘Anatomy of a Murder’ delivers. It’s got a great cast too, with supporting acts like George C. Scott, who was nominated for an Oscar. The story is gripping to begin with, and you kind of get an idea of what happened, but since Otto Perminger disliked the use of flashbacks, there are no images to go along with Mrs. Manion’s or the Lieutenant’s account of what happened the night of the rape and murder. As Biegler goes around questioning witnesses of the night Laura Manion was raped, you get the idea that he’s fleshing out his case for the defence of Lt. Manion, but you get no real sense of urgency. A better way of telling the story would be if Lt. Manion had already been convicted and was due to be executed. That way you could build the suspense and really create an interesting drama. 

  
It’s not that ‘Anatomy of a Murder’ is a bad movie, far from it. The problem is at a running time of 2hrs 40mins you feel that a lot of what happens is filler. Often this movie is cited as a masterpiece, but I would be inclined to disagree. I’ve seen other courtroom movies that are a lot more engaging and suspenseful than this. James Stewart is always worth a watch, and he brings that sort of naive, everyman charm to the role of Paul Biegler that he does in most movies I’ve watched him in. Lee Remick is stunning as Laura Manion, and it was interesting to see a young Ben Gazzara as I only really remember him from The Big Lebowski and also as the big bad in Roadhouse.

  

If you’re into courtroom movies then there is a lot to like here. However I felt that the 3rd act was lacking and undid some of the good groundwork laid earlier. Interestingly enough James Stewart’s father was so offended by this movie that he took out an advert in a local newspaper telling people not to go and see it. Reason for his offence was that this was one of the first movies to have words like panties, slut, rape and sperm used in a script. The film was also banned in Chicago upon its release. Worth a watch, but there are better legal themed movies out there. 

3/5

JM

  

Run (1991)

  
Charlie Farrow (Patrick Dempsey) is a cocksure law student in Boston, who works part time as a mechanic. When his boss tasks him with driving a Porsche to Atlantic City and get paid $200 for the trouble, he can’t see a downside. On the way however the car breaks down and Charlie is forced to stop off to get it repaired. 

  
Whilst visiting a gambling den, Charlie gets into a disagreement with a fellow gambler, who falls, hits his head and dies in the ensuing struggle. However this ‘gambler’ was the son of a local mob boss. Now Charlie must run for his life from mob enforcers, crooked cops and anyone else looking to claim the bounty on his head. 

  
I have to say I did really enjoy this. Once Charlie has to run, the movie doesn’t let up. Patrick Dempsey plays the part of the cocky Charlie well. Someone who’s mouth seems to get him into more trouble than out of it. Not a great start for a law student one would imagine. Kelly Preston is passable as the gambling den waitress that Charlie must turn to for help. I’ve never really cared much for Kelly Preston and find that she’s a very poor actress, but luckily she doesn’t have much to do here, so it doesn’t really cause too much of an issue. 

  
This is the sort of movie that you would catch on TV late at night. It doesn’t require much thought or investment and sets out to entertain, which to me is what movies are all about. There’s a lot to like in this movie, and it’s easy to see why Dempsey has become a star as he exudes a lot of likeablity here. Recommended. 

4/5

JM

  

I’m Gonna Git You Sucka! (1988)

  
After his brother dies from ‘over golding’ (death from wearing too much gold), Jack Spade (Keenan Ivory Wayans) returns home from the army and moves back to his old neighbourhood. He finds out that Mr. Big (John Vernon) has taken over the city and controls it all. Jack decides to get a crew of aging black heroes from the 70’s to help clean the city up. 

  
Joining Jack’s crew are John Slade (Bernie Casey), Slammer (Jim Brown), Hammer (Isaac Hayes), Kung Fu Joe (Steve James) and Flyguy (Antonio Fargas). Together they work on breaking down Mr. Big’s control on the city. This film spoofs many of the blaxploitation movies from the 1970’s. It’s hilarious and the jokes come thick and fast. The highlight for me was when Flyguy reminisces about the time he won ‘Pimp of the Year’. Seriously funny. 

  
There are lots of cameos from faces many will recognise, even a young Chris Rock shows up in a hilarious scene at a restaurant. Keenan Ivory Wayans wrote and directed the movie as well as starring in it. His younger siblings Damon and Kim also star in minor roles. 

  
Watching the movie it’s plain to see that everyone involved is having fun, and there are some great action scenes spliced with all the comedy. 101 Films have done a good job on the transfer and the film looks the best I’ve ever seen it. I would like to thank the fine folks at 101 Films for providing this to review. You can order it now via the following link: https://101-films-store.myshopify.com/products/im-gonna-get-you-sucka-blu-ray-preorder-28th-sept-2015

4/5
JM
 

Hollywood, Je T’Aime (2009)

  
Jérôme Beaunez (Eric Debets) returns home to find his partner having sex with another man. Initially shocked and saddened, he pokes fun at the fact that his boyfriend is now “bottoming”, to which his boyfriend replies “well I never had the chance to bottom with you.” Jérôme leaves, but not being able to face a winter alone in Paris, he books a trip to Los Angeles with dreams of being an actor. 

  
Once stateside Jérôme meets and makes friends with a colourful bunch of folks who make him feel welcome. It’s then that he meets Ross (Chad Allen) and the two fall for each other, but deep down Jérôme misses his hometown and you feel it will have an effect on his holiday romance. 

  
There are some very funny moments during the movie, but not enough to shake the amateurish feel that permeates throughout. I understand that it was made on a low budget, but it felt at times that I was watching a student movie, which hampered my enjoyment. The chemistry between Jérôme and Ross is believable however and reminded me a lot of the chemistry between Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal in Brokeback Mountain, which is still one of my favourite movies. You can believe in the romance blossoming between Jérôme and Ross, and would understand that it would transcend mere infatuation. 

  
The supporting cast are humorous, such as Jérôme’s cheating partner, but I felt that they trod the line between reality and stereotype once too often for my liking. Probably not something I’d revisit again, as it just doesn’t hold up to recent gay cinema outings. Be sure to stop by http://www.out.tv and check out what’s on offer. 

2/5

JM 
  

Albert Pyun – Moviemaker 

 Those of you out there that love trashy movies, movies with cyborgs or movies set in post apocalyptic wastelands, then chances are you’ve seen Albert Pyun’s work at least once. My first foray into the work of Albert Pyun was the Jean-Claude Van Damme action movie ‘Cyborg’ back in 1992. I had already been a Van Damme fan at this point, but I loved the whole post apocalyptic setting and after watching it, I set out to find more of Pyun’s work.
  
My next stop was Dollman starring Tim Thomerson, and also an early role for Jackie Earle Haley. This was a crazy movie, with Thomerson as an intergalactic space cop who crash lands on earth. However whereas he is normal size on his home planet, he is only doll size on Earth. After befriending a woman and her son, Dollman must protect them from an angry gang and other enemies that seek to cause them harm. It was great fun with some good effects. Although I must say the effects have aged badly now that we are in the realms of high end CGI. 
  
After Dollman I found out that Pyun had directed a Captain America movie, which I was very eager to see. At the time I remember really enjoying it, but again now that we have CGI and Chris Evans as Cap, it just doesn’t hold up well to repeated viewings. Albert Pyun does well with limited funds, and this is something that is true with all of his movies. He’s a man who’s creativity seeps forth from every frame, and who’s passion for movies is so infectious, that you can’t help but admire the man. He is inspiring because he adapts to whatever restrictions may be placed on him, which is usually in the form of limited budgets. 
  
Brain Smasher: A Love Story was the next film I stumbled across. Andrew Dice Clay stars as a bouncer who has to protect Teri Hatcher from Shaolin Monks. There’s a bit more to it, but that’s the basic gist of the story. It’s not the best film I’ve ever seen, and to be fair probably not something I would watch again anytime soon. That said it was cheap to buy so I can’t complain too much. Only recently have I stumbled across the Nemesis series. So far I’ve only watched the first one, and I must say I thoroughly enjoyed it. Oliver Gruner stars as a cyborg cop who is tasked by his boss to find and subdue some cyborg terrorists. It’s pretty basic stuff story wise, but the action and stunts are top shelf and I must say that this is my second favourite Pyun movie, just behind Cyborg with Van Damme. 
  
Another Albert Pyun movie I have recently watched is Mean Guns starring Ice T and Christopher Lambert. It’s about a group of villains gathered together in a prison, forced to fight to the death for $10million dollars. It’s got good action, but the dialogue feels very forced, and Ice T isn’t the best actor in the world. He pretty much seems to play the same character in every movie I’ve seen him in. 
  
I’m happy to say that Albert Pyun is still making movies, but health issues have required him to slow his output down just a tad. I do hope we get to see many more of his movies for a long while yet. He really does dig deep and deliver his best effort, even if the end result isn’t always something you’d watch again in a hurry. It’s that kind of willingness to entertain that I find very admirable, and is why he is a director I have a lot of time for. There are still plenty more of Albert Pyun’s movies out there for me to discover, for that I am both thankful and excited. 
  
I’d like to thank 101 Films for the Nemesis boxset and Mean Guns. They are both available to purchase now via https://101-films-store.myshopify.com/

 
JM

13 Assassins (2010)

  
How I haven’t already reviewed this amazing movie I don’t know. So I am making up for that now. This is in my top 5 all time favourites and by the time you watch it, I’m pretty sure it’ll be in yours too. Viewing this for the first time is an experience that I’d love to feel again. 

  
The plot begins when the master of Namiya clan commits speppuku. A samurai warrior by the name of Shinzaemon Shimada (Kôji Yakusho) is summoned by the shogun’s advisor to hear the tale of a man who’s son and daughter-in-law were brutally slain by the evil Lord Naritsugu. Shinzaemon also meets a woman who was mutilated by Lord Naritsugu. She writes with her mouth pleading with Shinzaemon to kill Lord Nartisugu. Shinzaemon gathers 11 other warriors and together they seek to dispose of Lord Naritsugu. 

  
The build up is amazing. Some folks may watch this and worry it’s moving along too slow, but I implore you to bear with it, because the final third is quite possibly one of the greatest 40 or so minutes ever committed to celluloid. Takashi Miike who is normally known for his brutal Yakuza films and seriously disturbing dramas such as Visitor Q, has created possibly the finest samurai movie ever made, and yes I have seen Seven Samurai. There is some great drama delivered here, and the action is spectacular. Lord Naritsugu is one of the vilest villains to ever grace the screen, and you are willing the 13 Assassins to complete their herculean task. 

  
Every actor involved is magnificent, really bringing to life what it was like during those dark times. There is the odd helping of humour to lighten proceedings, mostly coming from the stranger that helps the 12 warriors become 13, which really rounds off how great this film is. I cannot recommend this enough, and 10 years down the line this, if it isn’t already, will be labelled a classic. This is a movie seriously worthy of your time. I urge you to see it. 

5/5

JM

  

The Park Is Mine (1985)

  

Tommy Lee Jones plays Mitch, a Vietnam veteran who takes over Central Park after the suicide of his old war buddy. He decides to take drastic action to highlight the plight of veterans living in the U.S. whom he feels are unfairly neglected and forgotten about when they cease to be of use to anyone. 

  
Thought of as a loser by his ex-wife and struggling to hold down a job, Mitch feels that doing what he’s doing will give him a purpose. However the police seek to rid New York of what they see as a menace and go all out to bring Mitch to justice, dead or alive. When a reporter Valery (Helen Shaver) enters the park to cover the action, it’s up to Mitch to make sure that both of them are able to leave the park alive. 

  
Tommy Lee Jones is excellent as Mitch, a disillusioned veteran looking for some meaning in a world he no longer feels apart of. Helen Shaver is passable as the reporter, but never really feels like she has much to do. The score by Tangerine Dream is suitably atmospheric also. 

  
It’s well worth watching if you can get hold of it. This copy of The Park Is Mine was graciously provided by http://www.twistedanger.com and is available now to purchase. 

4/5

JM 

  

The World of Kanako (2014)

  
Akikazu Fujishima (Kôji Yakusho) , an ex-cop, is contacted by his estranged wife to find their daughter Kanako (Nana Komatsu) who has gone missing. Akikazu agrees to help, believing that the return of his daughter can help repair the damage to his family. However the majority of Akikazu’s familial problems stem from his aggressive mental state. 

  
As Akikazu begins his investigation, he gets to know some of Kanako’s ‘friends’. They paint a completely different picture of the girl Akikazu thought he knew. It soon becomes apparent that Kanako was not the person he thought, and is the focus point for many people’s misery. The deeper Akikazu treads into the investigation, the more dangerous it becomes, leaving no chance of redemption for Akikazu. 

  
The opening credits were very 70’s, with a mixture of Saul Bass art and funky exploitation music.  This is a supremely dark movie however, and there is barely a ‘likeable’ character amongst the cast. All of them having some sort of problem in their lives and not leaving you many people to root for. That said, Yakusho is great as Akikazu, portraying a very Raymond Chandler-esque sort of character. A man with many faults of his own and desperate to get back a life he never really had to begin with. 

  
The violence, when it happens, is brutal and very harsh. There are scenes that some may not have the stomach for, but it’s done in a way that serves the story. All of the actors portray their respective characters brilliantly and you believe the story that is being told. It is a very good movie and one I recommend you see. 

4/5

JM

  

 

What’s your pleasure?

  
Have you ever been browsing Amazon or Zavvi looking for a movie from your childhood, but you just can’t find it? Or maybe you’ve stumbled across some cult weirdness late one night on Channel 4, and you’re wondering where you can get a copy? Well look no further folks. I am pleased to point you to a site where nearly all your cult pleasures can be found. 

  
Twisted Anger is a site chock full of hard to get movies. There are movies that even I haven’t had the pleasure of seeing on there. Want a DVD of Michael Mann’s ‘The Keep’? Then head on over to http://www.twistedanger.com where you can acquire that and much more, it really is a treasure trove of cult greatness folks. 

JM

Battle Damaged RoboCop by Hot Toys

 
“Come quietly, or there will be….trouble.” From a movie that is endlessly quotable, comes a stunning 1/6 scale figure that is equally memorable for all the right reasons. Fresh out of the box it is plain to see why Hot Toys and Sideshow Collectibles are the head honchos when it comes to making high end figures and statues. The detail is incredible, from the face sculpt which perfectly captures every nuance of Peter Weller’s likeness, to RoboCop’s battle scarred suit, it really is second to none. 

  

  

Every single blemish and burn that RoboCop suffers throughout the movie, is perfectly replicated on this figure. There were so many times that I was scanning the figure where my jaw literally dropped at the astounding level of detail that has been put into this release. Firstly you get three jars of baby food, that if you remember, RoboCop uses for target practice near the end of the movie. The leg holster works a dream and can fit the handgun no problem. Though to be specific you get two handguns, one of which goes in the leg. One is die cast and is too heavy to be held in RoboCop’s hand, so that goes in the leg holster. The other is light plastic, with a sliding barrel and removable clip that has tiny bullets in it. You also get the big rifle that RoboCop uses to dispatch ED-209 with at the end of the movie. This also has a removable clip and a sliding bolt action at the side. 

   
 

There are interchangeable hands for RoboCop too. You have a closed fist for both the left and right hand. You also have open palms for each hand with moveable fingers which can be fixed round the gun. Also for the right hand is the metal spike that RoboCop uses for the computers and also which he uses to kill Clarence. It’s covered in blood which is a nice touch. The base is very sturdy and has a nice polished sheen to it. The box is also beatifully designed, which just shows that nothing is left out in Hot Toys’ strive for perfection. 

   

This really is a work of art. Like I said everything is done to perfection and the detail is just astounding. This RoboCop figure was generously provided for review by the kind folks at http://www.sideshowtoy.com. It is now available for pre order and you can do so by clicking on the following link: http://www.sideshowtoy.com/collectibles/robocop-robocop-battle-damaged-version-hot-toys-902286/. Stay tuned to reelgingermoviefan.com for more toy reviews in the future. 

5/5

JM