Wednesday, August 06, 2008


Grand Prix

Easily the greatest film about car racing ever made, back in the days when the cars truly were beautiful and racing was much more dangerous than it is today. Director John Frankenheimer tried to make this movie as realistic as possible, and many actual Formula One drivers took part. The fact that he got Ferrari's blessing speaks volumes. Very creative photography and use of split screen images adds to the dynamic filming of the races, which puts you right in the driver's seat. James Garner, Brian Bedford and Yves Montand deliver memorable performances as men who live life on the edge and often pay for their obsession with their lives.

Black Sunday

Incredible suspense/action flick from director John Frankenheimer, about a group of Black September terrorists attempting to explode a lethal nail bomb directly over the Superbowl, using the Goodyear blimp as a weapon. Realistic and chilling, especially considering what was actually carried out 24 years later using airliners to kill thousands of innocent people. The ending sequence is astounding, utilizing the actual Goodyear blimp, a helicopter and Robert Shaw hanging on a cable, and all filmed at a real Superbowl game. Frankenheimer always tried to make his films as realistic and believeable as possible, and in this case he definitely succeeded. They don't make them like this anymore. Nowadays it would all be CGI.
Back in the 40's and 50's Westerns were a leading form of film entertainment, and I think a lot of their appeal lay in the basic morality plays of the stories, which often pitted good against evil in black and white, easy to understand situations. Then along came 3:10 To Yuma, which threw all of that out of the window, adding a psychological element to the genre and also many shades of grey. The modern remake features two of today's best male actors, Christian Bale and Russell Crowe, and their performances are typically outstanding. The film is very well done - modern westerns are so much more gritty and realistic than their classic predecessors, it's a shame that this style of film has gone out of favour. I've watched four movies in the past two days and this is easily the best of them. As westerns go, it's right up there with the best, and a fitting tribute to the original 1953 film.
I Am Legend

Running Time: 1 hr. 40 min.
Release Date: Dec 14, 2007
Cast: Will Smith, Alice Braga, Salli Richardson, Willow Smith, Charlie Tahan, Dash Mihok, Joanna Numata

Will Smith stars in the third and easily best adaptation of the Richard Matheson tale, about the last remaining man in a Manhattan decimated by plague and now occupied by armies of murderous nocturnal mutant humans. Well acted, with a wonderful performance by Smith's dog, Sam. Lots of CGI effects, which don't always look entirely realistic. Good, exciting classic sci-fi flick though. Previously made in the 60's as The Last Man On Earth with Vincent Price, and as The Omega Man in the 70's with Charlton Heston. Easy to see, after watching this, where the inspiration came for 28 Days later and its follow-up.

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