Monday, September 21, 2020

The Missing Corpse (1945)

Henry Kruger is a newspaper chief with a problem. A rival paper run by duplicitous crook Andy McDonald has printed a libelous story about Kruger's daughter, and the angry father swears revenge. With the event proving stressful, Kruger is convinced to go on a holiday for once. Dissatisfied with how his family mostly ignores him, he goes alone with his coworker, but unbeknownst to him McDonald has been murdered, and hidden in his car...

The Missing Corpse is a very fun movie that is liable to piss off many viewers, as it lies to its audience]! It begins in a certain way, setting things up and making you think the story's gonna go in one direction, before suddenly veering into another one entirely. Thankfully this is otherwise a good movie in many ways, as I'll get into.

The setup in The Corpse Vanishes is very good! It's got a good roster of characters, from the = newspaper chief, to his family, colleagues, the villains, and more. Everyone is well defined, and serves a purpose. I was surprised at the characterisation here, and the level of effort and detail it goes into! Really unexpected!

The Corpse Vanishes seems to be setting up a frame-up of Henry that his family have to solve. I was expecting his daughter and the mistrusted journalist to be the heroes, investigating the case until they find the right suspect, he'd prove his worth to the grouchy older man, and it would end with a marriage or something. However, those two characters barely appear, and the father is the main character.

The plot here is predominately a comedy of errors. Henry soon discovers the body, and hides it. Then he figures out how to dispose of it when someone else discovers and hides it trying to protect him. The story is a constant stream of people discovering the body, thinking Henry is the murderer, and so on, and it starts out funny. Unfortunately the movie never graduates from this beat until the last few minutes. It's amusing enough seeing the body go from one hiding place to the next, before it shocks the new visitors, but the last couple of times it happens it feels a bit much, especially since there's less than 10 minutes left.

The climax is a bit of a jumbled hodgepodge, that's basically a repeat on everything we've seen before, only more confusing since everyone is now involved. At least the story is resolved satisfactorily, and the movie ends on an amusing note.

There's never an actual mystery on display here. We know the whole time who killed McDonald, and it was about halfway through the film when I realised what this meant. If we know who the killer is, that means the whole movie is gonna focus on Kruger concealing the body, right? Right! I was a little annoyed at how much this dominated the movie when there could have been = mystery, and discovering the truth! As it is we never really get that.

The comedy here is mostly effective. The movie is a bit of a dark comedy, although by 1940s standards. It certainly does come across as a teensy bit morbid, but always with a silly grin, and is never truly dark, certainly not by today's standards.

The actors all do fine jobs here, including genre stalwarts such as Frank Jenks, Paul Guilfoyle, and Ben Welden. J Edward Bromberg is a fun lead, and carries the movie really well. At first I didn't recognise him, but I've actually seen him in a few movies! He was unreognisable until I saw pictures of him without a moustache,   Apparently he was in talks to become the new Charlie Chan after Warner Oland! That could've been interesting, though I'm not entirely sold.

The Missing Corpse is a fun and fast-paced movie. It may not be the most creative out there, but it entertains for an hour, which is good enough. Just be aware what you're getting into and know what to expect and you should be fine...

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Her Favourite Patient (1945)

40 45 58

Hedy Fredericks is a doctor going back to her hometown for a few days, making a few new friends along the way. She helps out her uncle at his practice till things are less busier, but she's eager to leave as soon as possible. Things get complicated when a man Hedy kept mistaking for a childhood friend now finds himself determined to keep her here to romance...

Her Favourite Patient (also known as Bedside Manner) is an entertaining rom-com. Hedy is a fun and intelligent lead to follow through these various shenanigans, dramas, and romantic entanglements. She's got spunk, and carries the movie very well! The movie is quite funny, with plenty of amusing dialogue, neat characters, and [amusing] touches, like how she refers to Uncle Doc.

The plot is cheesy, but effective, and never makes any serious missteps. We've got a pretty traditional romance, made up of a duo who can't stand each-other, naturally. We actually get plenty of time for the two lovebirds to get to know each-other before the romance begins, which I partially credit the movie for! Only partially because of how it turns out (more on that below). The climax is inevitable, in the way you look forward to.

If it's guilty of anything, it's trying to do a bit too much, or perhaps just not balancing everything correctly. We've got this doctor back in her hometown, helping her uncle and new friends, recognising old schoolmates, and having a romance to boot! And that's just her character! Not that the others have reams of story or anything, but it all adds up. To the point where the titular engagement, the main thrust of the film, doesn't begin until the 45 minute mark! Morgan doesn't even become Hedy's patient until very nearly the last act!

The movie also feels a little rushed at times, which seems like a symptom of the above problem. With not enough time to have set up a romance, Morgan goes from having spent half the movie cold and hostile towards Hedy to having a sudden infatuation, strong enough for him to race after her at a 100 miles an hour and fake injuries after a car accident in the process!

Her Favourite Patient has quite an extensive cast. First and foremost is Hedy, who's likeable and intelligent! You really beleive she's a doctor, and this is always in play. She even shows medical smarts after Morgan's supposed head injury! Morgan is a fun guy, just trying to get it on with his date and this strange woman keeps messing it up by mistaking him for someone else. Though his behaviour is a little rushed here and there. The three Smith's are a fun addition, and appear more than Morgan does for the first half of the movie! They're not the deepest or richest of characters, but I liked them, and was sad to see them leave/go before the movie was over. I guess the writer new he needed to jettison someone to finally focus on the plot.

Hedy's uncle is a fun presence, always trying some plan or another to get her to stay, and sweep away his tide of patients. It is a little weird and perhaps creepy that he is so obsessed with getting his niece to stay in this dullsvillle town, and by guiding her to bang her patient at that/to boot, but it's never a big deal.

Stella is an amusing dame, sarcastic, but likeable, and her story gets a nice cap-off. Briefly appearing Russian pilot Tanya Punchinskaya is adorable, and I wished she'd got more to do! Lastly, there is Lola and George, who were...people? I was a little unsure who they were. They kinda melted among the sea of names and faces, not helped by everyone looking the same. I'm quite frankly unsure if I even got some of these names right! And I haven't even mentioned all the characters yet!

Something I like about the movie is how it's not only about a female doctor, but it never makes a big thing about it. No-one groans, gives a side eye, or complains about women. We also see a female soldier from Russia, and likewise there are no cracks about ovaries making her a poor pilot or anything. Nor any Russia bashing either! I guess because this was the height of the war, when Russia was a firm ally in the war. It was this same reason that The Drums of Fu Manchu never got a sequel, because Hollywood wanted to keep on China's good side, and worried a serial with a Chinese supervillain might upset them.

 I like the touch that Hedy does actually know deep down the diagnosis is barmy, because she wants to, as the movie says. It adds further credence to her intelligence

The actors here all do fine jobs. No bad performances, and while they should've stressed about getting different hairstylists or wardrobes, everyone manages to entertain, with Ruth Hussey, Charles Ruggles, and Claudia Drake being highlights.

Her Favourite Patient is a fun time! A bit cluttered, and it beats around the bus for longer than it should, but it's still more than worth a watch.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

The Thousand and One Lives of Doctor Mabuse (2020)

Indie studio Hollinsworth has done a few projects in recent years, from short films, to spooky features that look quite interesting! Also a short that resembles the hilarious Family Wolff (still holds up!). One recent bit of news gave me a start though, and like poor haunted Inspector Lohmann, I received]  a similar nightmare...There was going to be a third Doctor Mabuse film in their series!

It's been some time since the brave and noble Inspector Lohmann finally killed Doctor Mabuse, the arch-criminal who terrorised the city. But Lohmann still finds himself haunted by the memory of the madman, and worries if he truly died that day, or if this is simply another of his twisted mind-games...

2013's Dr. Mabuse and its sequel Etiopomar were not exactly well received by me. I found them terribly made, directed, acted, sound[ed], scored, edited, lit, and everything else under the sun. They were also very disrespectful to the source material, I felt. They use a lot of superficial elements, but the plots range from = to just plain weird! They're almost unrecognisable as a part of the franchise, and I strongly urge you to steer clear of them if you can help it!

The Thousand and One Lives of Doctor Mabuse (try saying that when you're drunk!) is a pretty pointless affair. The previous film had wrapped up the story completely! The Doctor was dead! Utterly! No body swapping to save him this time. Not only that, but literally every other character was dead too, save for a select few in a baffling epilogue. I was intrigued to learn how this third entry would explain how on earth anything could still happen in this series after that conclusion, and after having seen the film, I can tell you the movie doesn't even bother. It instead moves its focus to something entirely different, going back to Lohmann of the first movie.

On one hand I'm hardly sorry to see all that go, since none of it had a place in a = film, but on the other hand, if the previous movies went to the trouble of setting all that = up, it's a bit weird for it to be ignored, especially when that = ended on a (meaningless) cliffhanger.

a lot of the problems from the previous  are still present, not least of which being that everyone still mispronounces Mabuse. -ah! It ends with an -ah! Mabus-ah! Christ, I don't mean to harp, but simply watching one of the old movies tells you immediately how to say it, so not knowing how when you're making your own entry gives away that you've never actually watched them.

The story here is low-key. There's no grand plan or large roster of characters, nor even any =. The focus is entirely on Inspector Lohmann, and his lingering trauma about Mabuse. The majorioty of the film is a two-man play where he's strapped down in a chair speaking to a projection of Mabuse's head. The latter constantly asserts that he's not dead, and that reality is not what you know it, etc, while Lohmann's dialogue is just as predictable.

This structure is somewhat derivative of this team's previous Adam Sera short, but as far as the concept goes, this isn't a bad =. Got more than a few holes and inconsistencies, but not terrible, and if nothing else, it has a proper ending, which I appreciated greatly. We get an alright insight into Lohmann's mind,

Getting to the dialogue, it's not horrible, and some of the exchanges are quite good. But a few too many exchanges boil down to "You're lying" "Am I?", often with those same words (or variations upon) repeated. It started to get on my nerves a bit, and I found Lohmann to be a bit of a weak protagonist for not simply tuning the Doctor out. Close your eyes and think of Boney M, you'll be fine!

I like the psychological take on the characters, though I miss seeing a straightforward stories of Mabuse being a criminal, messing with the stock exchange or topping a bank. Aside from killing people, he hasn't actually committed a single crime in any of these movies! No counterfeit, no drug dealing, and no kidnapping!

acting = Nathan   The deceased Linden Chiles gets another chance to act, thanks to some unused footage from what I assume to be an = scene from the first movie. That was quite a surprise, and it fit well.

The direction here is unremarkable, and the largely CGI nature honestly makes it a bit hard to have any opinion of the direction. All we have to judge are a few swirly shots of Lohmann, staggering around a town square, or standing in his apartment.

Visually this is in the same boat as its predecessors, but improved. They're still filming largely in a green screen in =, but things aren't as =. The CGI is pretty cheap, but the black and white scheme alleviates this a little. As for the scenes in reality, modern apartments/houses still look ill-fitting for the tone and world presented here, but for a short like this I'll overlook it. Lastly, the outdoors scenes are pretty effective thanks to the complete absence of anyone else. It gives a good atmosphere.

Perhaps my biggest criticism of this film is that I feel it's a little too short. The idea perhaps could have been given another 15 or 20 minutes to really =, keep us in suspense, and explore interesting ideas about our current world.

The Thousand and One Tales isn't a movie that needed to exist. Its story is =, and as an addition to this series, as well as the greater Doctor Mabuse canon, it's pretty unnecessary. However, it's not entirely horrible, and has got at least a few good qualities, that save it from being on par with its two predecessors. This in no way scratches that fix for a real Mabuse film, but it's definitely the best = would ever make of

Dracula 3D (2012)

Ever since I was a young'in of about 12 or 13, I've been a diehard fan of Dario Argento. This of course means I have never seen anything post-Opera. I mean, what torture would that be! Ever since the 80s wrapped up, the qualities of his movies plummeted! He lost his groove somehow and he just never got it back. Maybe longtime partner and collaborator Daria Nicolodi  = and when they split up]]]]   Dracula 3D...

In the rural Romanian town of Passo Borgo, terrible things are happening. People are mysteriously dying, and everyone is scared of something. When Johnathan Harker arrives in the town to do business for a Count Dracula, he quickly discovers what, and is set upon by creatures of darkness. His wife Mina soon arrives, looking for her husband, and =...

Dracula 3D is a film that caused quite a stir upon its release, because people just couldn't believe it! It didn't seem real, it had to be a joke, what the heck is going on? The trailer perfectly encapsulates the film, both everything wrong and right with it! This is a bad movie in the conventional sense. The acting is appalling, the effects abominable, and the =. But it is hilarious!

Let's start with the good. The story is satisfactory enough. It doesn't do justice to the novel, but as its own thing, it's not that bad. What causes a genuine problem, and not one that makes you laugh, is the fact that it's almost 2 hours long. While never REALLY boring, it does get a bit drawn out in places. Characters will disappear for long stretches, some scenes feel either too long or wholly unnecessary, and =. = Every problem this film's pacing and story has could be solved if it was shorter!

This has a few touches of authenticity to the book, such as rarely included scenes, and the epistolary style. This ends up being underused and forgotten though, as characters get/become too busy to write anything. We're also missing half the characters! Lucy's undergone a baffling surname change, and we've got no Dr. Seward, Arthur Holmwood, or Quincey Morris. Even Van Helsing doesn't show up until the last half hour.

The tone here is surely meant to be scary, but it's so funny instead! There are many hilariously cheesy moments, like when Van Helsing literally fends of a vampire by holding two sticks together in a cross!   or when he kills the big burly henchman in 5 seconds flat! One area is does mostly succeed in is that it does feel like a classical horror film. The effects might be super modern, but this does feel like something from the 70s. Well, except for the nudity, anyway!

The execution in many areas is also lacking. There's an overall amateurish quality to the production. == For example, just about all the villains die extremely easily! It takes like 5 seconds, and they posed zero real threat.

The acting in Dracula 3D comes twofold. The physical actors are rubbish, and the dub actors are terrible! More than that, the dubbing itself sounds really ill-fitting. All of these things come together beautifully, in a perfect storm of = that is hilarious to watch! These people give such amazingly cheesy performances! The greatest is the priest. "He is evil, Van Helsing, do you hear me? EEEEVILLLLLL!!"

Moving onto specific actors. Unax Ugalde seems to me the lead as Johnathan Harker, but quickly falls by the wayside. Marta Gastini is the true lead, and is alright, but unremarkable. I could not tell her and Lucy apart. Asia Argento is tolerable. I barely recognised her honestly, since I was actively looking out for her (and yes, she takes her kit off, in case you were wondering]).

Rutger Hauer is a mediocre Van Helsing. He's a great actor, and I trust him to make a great Van Helsing in a better movie, but this is not it. He also takes forever to show up. I will say though that his American accent isn't too distracting/as distracting s I thought it'd be. Most interesting is that Hauer has himself played Dracula on at least one occasion!

Getting to the Count himself, Thomas Kretschmann is a pretty lousy Dracula. He's not threatening, he's stiff and uninteresting, and never raises his voice beyond a whisper (EXCEPT TO EMOTE REALLY LOUDLY!). He never alters his facial expression, making him look all the more duller. Only in a couple of scenes does he really give more of an effort, to no avail.

Augusto Zucchi!...Ok, I am aware my American readers will have no idea who I'm talking about, so I'll give you a =. He's the grumpy but lovable police chief in Il Commissario Rex, and =  So imagine my surprise when he's not only in a Dario Argento film, but is impaled and eaten by a giant grasshopper! Just goes to show you can never know what to expect.

The music here is fun! It's cheesy, yes, but it has a very classical Gothic horror throwback sound to it that I liked. It builds the mood well.

The locations here are mixed. The woods are effectively atmospheric, and Dracula's castle isn't half bad. Some of the locations are practical, while others are achieved by poor digital effects. Those shots are minimal though, and the sets are seen the most.

As for direction, Argento hasn't entirely lost his touch visually. You'd never believe a master cinematographer made this, and it has the feel of a TV movie, but there are a few neat shots, and well framed scenes. As for the 3D aspect though, there's nothing here I could tell was 3D. The rare moments that come close to popping out of the screen aren't even aimed at the camera most of the time.

Now let's come to the greatest moment in the film-The effects! Oh boy, they are the funniest thing you'll see =! We've got fake blood spurts, hilarious decapitations, and CGI wolves and locations that look out of a Playstation game. The film unwisely lingers on these moments too, giving us plenty of time to see how fake they look.

We get an even mix of terrible practical effects, and terrible digital effects, showing that the team on this film didn't discriminate. The best moment by far is the giant grasshopper

Overall, Dracula 3D has some serious problems, but in a way these only elevate it. It may not be good per se, but it's always entertaining, and what more could you want for a fun movie night with friends!...

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

The Flapper (1920)

Genevieve 'Ginger' = is a misbehaving young girl, ill-suited for her quiet and conservative small town, so her father has her sent away to a boarding school,which proves to be an even worse influence. She meets boys, sneaks out to parties, and becomes embroiled in all manner of criminal hijinks, all while trying to find a 'prince' for herself...

There are a lot of locations to =, and a lot of characters to keep straight, which makes understanding what's going on a bit hard sometimes. The relative simplicity of the plot mitigates this a bit, but it can = you at times. My biggest issue with this is that it made the movie feel a bit unfocused at times. One scene it's focusing on Ginger's schoolgirl adventures, then her romance with =, then her criminal = in the big city, etc. All fun plotlines, and = watching, but not all get as much focus as I'd have wanted.

The Flapper's sense of humour is a joy to watch. The comedy ranges from =  to devilishly funny =, including some that you'd struggle to imagine once the Hays code came into play! Nothing too = of course, but pretty surprising for the 1920s, or at least our understanding of the decade.

Bill E. Forbes (a name which may or may not be a pun), who's a likeable dope. To him, using a rocking horse for 10 years is all the experience he requires to go and try the real thing! =, but I like the optimism and spunk! He's the perfect mix of naive and clumsy, and nice and romantic, cutting a = but dashing enough figure.

While it can be a bit = at times, The Flapper doesn't = from  of having multiple =  and sets.  small town, cloistered school, snowy outdoors, and the bustling metropolis.

The visuals to this movie also extend beyond the places, and into the aesthetic too. The title cards here are all loads of fun, and very personalised to the characters or scene, with many one-off illustrations too. This all extends a great look to the movie, which wouldn't have been boring with plain old intertitles, but is greatly improved by these snazzy ones.

And lastly, for a movie from the 20s called The Flapper, I bet anyone watching would be expecting a veritable wardrobe of cool outfits! There aren't a lot, but plenty for any = enthusiast to see, and the characters are never looking drab or dull.

The acting here is plenty of fun. Exaggerated without being obnoxious, and the players all deliver fun and lively performances. Olive Thomas si the best as the somewhat naughty but good-hearted lead. She had a great head on her shoulders!

The Flapper opened up the decade of the 1920s very well, setting the scene for what was to follow. Now, 100 years later in 2020 (bloody hell, has it really been that long??) this remains not only a perfect time capsule to this time gone by, but a great little film to enjoy, especially as an intro to silent cinema...

Monday, September 14, 2020

Miranda (1948) and Mad About Men (1954)


London doctor Paul Martin is on a fishing trip in Cornwall when he falls in the water, and is 'saved' by a flirtatious mermaid named Miranda. Content to keep her new man = in her cave, Paul convinces her to join him on a trip to the city. Posing as an invalid, she quickly gets to know all the men in the household, from the butler Charles, to family friend Nigel. Before too long she has them all wrapped around her little finger, causing trouble with their partners...

Miranda is a memorable and effervescent fantasy romance from the golden age of Britain. It manages to be a perfect mix of clean and naughty that the Brits were so good at. Just because they were dirty minded, didn't mean they had to be in your face about it, and by that same token, just because they were =, didn't mean they had to be sexless prudes!

The movie gets off to a surprisingly quick start, setting things up before you know it. The story is developed nicely, having moments both funny, sweet, and saucy. Things get difficult for the characters without ever being awkward to watch, which it could so easily have been with the wrong writer.

Also, I'm impressed it managed to get past the censors, too, especially with the implication at the end! If there's one thing censors hate, it's consenting couples having sex. Before you know it

Things sometimes get a little cluttered, since there's a lot going on under this single roof, and I did wish we got more of Miranda's exploits out in public. Like at the opera! She wants to go there the whole movie but it takes until over an hour in before we finally see it

The ending is a bit underwhelming and confusing though. It feels like we're building to a big climax and confrontation, but then it's over pretty quickly and quietly, with =. The confusing part comes during the very end, a shot that doesn't really make much sense at all. It's an amusing enough moment to end the film on, so it's not like I totally hate the idea, but it does raise a lot of questions (none of which are ever answered or even mentioned in the sequel.).

Miranda is a perfect lead. She's clever and fun to be around, always amusing. What impresses most is that despite spending most of the movie on the prowl for all these married men, she never comes across as unlikeable. This is a mix of a few things. Partly it's Glynis John's = portrayal, and it's  is a mermaid, not a human,so you automatically cut her a bit of slack. She never comes off as a homewrecking bitch.

Paul   is interestingly written, in that she's the bitchy spouse, hardly a ray of sunshine, but she actually redeems herself by the end, and =! It's pretty surprising, since I was expecting her to get dumped =. This was nice to see, and [unexpected]. Nurse Carey doesn't get a huge amount to do, but is lots of fun, especially her reaction upon seeing Miranda's tail.

The rest of the cast are fine. Charles is played very straight, which makes it all them ore amusing seeing him turn to putty in Miranda's hands.    Some of them felt a bit unnecessary for a while, like Nigel and Isobel, and even the maid, though all eventually did serve a good purpose. I feel they probably should've been given more to do, and = to help stand out better among a pretty sizeable cast.

The actors in Miranda all do fine jobs. Glynis Johns as a spectacular leading lady. Blessed with an adorable voice, even more = in this film, she gives a lot of life to her performance, .  share good chemistry, and you don't notice the age gap between the actors at all.

Margaret Rutherford is an enjoyable presence as always,  What really surprised me was seeing a shockingly young David Tomlinson here! He doesn't even have a moustache! I'm glad he gets a big and consistent role, since he does a good job, and it's nice seeing him this early in his career.

Miranda is directed well, with the mermaid scenes always looking good. And the crew sure knew how to photograph Miranda being seductive!

This isn't a hugely effects driven picture, since Miranda is covered up in a chair most of the time, and the story's focus is on romance rather than fantasy, but this is still a film about a mermaid, and on that front it doesn't disappoint. The tail is very good, and always moves convincingly enough. Props to Glynis Johns for managing to wear the thing well, too, and to swim in it without drowning/sinking!

Miranda is a lovely time to be had, and a perfect snapshot of carefree post-war Britain. Perfect for anyone interested.

Mad About Men

Teacher Caroline Trewella is exasperated with things, especially her wet blanket of a fiancee, and goes on a holiday to the Cornish coast. While there she meets her doppelganger, the distant mermaid relation Miranda. The two quickly decide to swap places, with Caroline using the opportunity to go on a biking trip, and Miranda will have some fun in the village. She makes the = of several men, enticing them with ease, but stepping on a few toes on the process...

The title Mad about Men doesn't necessarily suggest a Miranda film at first, or even a movie about a mermaid, but once you recall the last one, and especially after watching this [follow-up], it's a perfectly fitting title! This is an engaging follow-up, doing just about everything a good sequel should. It's no masterpiece or anything, but it is just a pure slice of fun. Good natured, funny, and a little sexy!

The story here is funny, and ripe with potential. It lives up to it for the most part, and to the first film's reputation, never coming off/across as a cheap cash-in sequel. It treads the same territory, but in a different way, with the overall plot guiding the movie into a different direction than its predecessor.

What I didn't like so much about Mad About Men is how it goes to the trouble of creating this double act, only to shove Caroline off biking for most of the movie! What's even the point then? We should've had Caroline inviting her cousin Miranda into the town  That could also have made the finding a suitor aspect make more sense, when the woman in question is actually here to confide in. As it happens in the movie, Caroline pops back in the last 10 minutes, an almost perfect stranger pashes her, and because he's hot she goes along with it and gets a new fiancee out of the [deal]!

There are also a few things here and there that are either just a little bit confusing, or underused, maybe even unnecessary. The whole reason there even is a conflict in the end is pretty [weak], and entirely Miranda's fault for being on the prowl once again for an engaged man (unless that woman is his sister? I was a little unclear). It's also weird how quickly and easily Caroline's house/inn leads directly into Miranda's sea cave.

The climax is fun for the most part, with plenty going on, both funny and   It's not all perfect, as some things happen a bit too easily, and Berengaria totally ruins the moment for poor Caroline, but otherwise it all works well enough. The ending is interesting in that it's not only happy ,but also a little sad. I kinda wish we'd gotten a third entry to really wrap things up for Miranda herself.

The cast of characters here is smaller than the first film, ironically since it takes place in a bigger location. I'm glad we only have a couple of men to follow, rather than half a dozen. Miranda is as fun as ever, naughty and not even attempting to emulate Caroline, but everything is the better for it. Nurse Carey returns, getting many amusing moments.

Caroline is a nice enough character, though I wish she appeared more. Same goes for a lot of the villains. The main lady is fine, but there's a whole host of mermaid 'scientists' who arrive in the climax to capture Miranda. They're fun, but only get a minute in total. Caroline's fiancee is a real jerk, in the best way! You just wanna punch this guy in the face. And lastly, Miranda's mermaid friend Berengaria (what a strange name!) is mixed. Sometimes she's amusingly annoying, other times she's actually annoying. I liked her presence though, even though she has the affrontery to steal from Margaret Rutherford!

Glynis Johns is as bubbly as ever as Miranda, and also nice in her other role, even if she doesn't really get to flex her muscles in the role. Margaret meanwhile is a cutiepie! She's used well enough. Not in every single scene, but there are never any long stretches without. Dora Bryan ranges from a touch grating to fun. Donald Sinden and Nicholas Phipps are good as the two men. Romantic, somewhat hapless in the arms of Miranda

While the first movie was shot in black and white, this is in colour, and it really fits the aesthetic. The colours really pop out, and lend a nice flavour to the movie, without going too overboard, like turning Miranda's skin green or anything.

The music here is all nice enough, setting the scene well. Glynis Johns has a great singing voice, too.

Mad About Men is another great time from British cinema, marking the end of a neat duology. It's good they stopped while they were ahead, but I don't think the world would be a poorer place if we had ever gotten a third entry!. Oh well, if wishes were fishes...

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Medousa (1996)

Percy is a young street thief, working = ever since the mysterious disappearance of his enigmatic mother as a child. His associates plan a heist at a temporarily [unoccupied] property out in the country. Meanwhile, the police have discovered several strange statues all over the city. All of fully clothed men, exactly to scale, and matching the ID's of several missing persons. Percy and his friends soon discover the same at this house. Full of loose money and wallets, and statues down in the basement, they quickly realise something is wrong at this house, and prepare for when the owner returns home...

Medusa is a Greek horror film from the 90s, which seeks to deliver a modern spin on the myth of Perseus and his greatest enemy. A languid and = affair, this is more interested in = than it is blood and guts or modern pop culture references, which I appreciate. Tonally it feels kinda like Jean Rollin's films do. Set in the modern day, but still retaining that perfect air of the Gothic. Unfortunately I'd pick those films over this any day of the week!

This is a boring movie! It's one of those tricky cases, where each individual scene is paced well, but as a whole, it's very slow! All because it's paced pretty normally] for the first =. You know how a movie will begin with a [slower] pace as it sets everything up, then ramp up as the horror or action begins? Well that doesn't happen here. The plot only really kicks into gear at about the halfway/hour mark, and even then it never really speeds up.

By the end of the movie, you realise that nothing is ever played with any real drama or tension. Things just chug along business as usual, no major fanfares or catastrophes, and then it just ends. Not even the climax offers any thrills, but we'll get to that soon.

   Again, the movie  but because so little actually happens with it as the = progresses, it felt =. For the entire first half, all we know is that men are being turned to stone, and there's a kid named Perseus with undetermined heritage].

The last act really disappointed me. Not only was it a = after a whole movie of =, but the ending didn't feel earned, and didn't make much sense. Firstly, Medusa is killed shockingly easy, and there's not even any fancy direction or grand moment. Just a random knife throw, she drops dead, and there's a typical country music twang we've been hearing for the last hour

Then, after a bit of fun in the sack, Katia decides to look for herself at Medua's head, wondering what it does to women. Geeeez, really?? Curiosity is one thing, but that  killed two of your friends! And even if it was unknown what Medusa's gaze would do to women, you could still have a pretty good idea it'll just turn you to stone instantly! There is no good that can come of this! At least look at the head in the mirror s a precaution!

Anyway, she becomes Medusa, which feels inevitable not from a story perspective, but because the director cast another woman with long black hair for a reason. This could lead to a shock ending where she turns a = Percy to stone (maybe he'd = for the first damn time in the movie!), or she'd get away. But no, she gets killed like 2 minutes later, making it all pointless. But then, after Percy has buried her and left, the police arrive and exhume the body, and the female detective takes one look at it and she becomes Medusa as well! Bloody hell, that's three [fake-outs] in 10 minutes!

This = a lot of things. Firstly it undermines the drama of Percy being forced to kill his girlfriend and bury her in a = grave, only for the police to dig her up five minutes later  [It exhausts the audience to have = twists in a row]  But most of all, it means the entire movie accomplished nothing! Nothing that happened mattered

Percy (aka, Perseus) is a pretty blank protagonist. Even as late as halfway through and he hasn't made much of an impression. He's barely spoken 10 lines, and he = them out more than any real emoting. This continues throughout the rest of the film. It's hard to like a protagonist who does nothing, not even smile, when he's got a half naked sexy Greek lady in his bed! Although I suppose it does make him respectful and = if he's able to simply sleep in a bed with a naked chick without = (even though the woman in this case very much wanted to bang him). And whether people call him Pepe or Percy, he's always chiding them with 'That's not my name', and after the 10th time I wanted to ring his neck  If Percy's not your name, just tell people what it is! It's not that hard!

His friends are ok. The two guys Spiros and Mitsos aren't the most developed, but they're ok. The girl Katya is the most developed, and is a likeable character, despite her idiocy in the ending. Her relationship with Percy is a little confusing and unreciprocated(?), but as the only one he really opens up to, I liked their scenes together.

mother   nothing is made of the fact that this present Medusa is his mother, and overall this character is sorely underused! Was she on Medusa's side,? What was all that about? How'd she feel about it? And why was she =? That isn't really something that needed to be explained, but I was curious. She was so enigmatic from her first scene onwards that I thought she already was Medusa, but no, she's just some random lady. So why is she so freaky?

There are a group of cops we see intermittently investigating what's going on. They appared fairly consistently early on, but then after a lengthy absence I began to wonder if maybe we'd actually seen the last of them! Perhaps they were just here to set up the stature case for the audience, then leave. I thought better of the movie, hoping it wouldn't be silly enough to do that...Yep, that's exactly what they were here for, and we never see them again until over an hour in!

And lastly, there's Medusa herself. There's a ton to talk about her! Well, she wears sunglasses/sunnies. She has long black hair. And that's about it. She pretty much never speaks, we never see her face, and we never know what she's like or what she's thinking. No idea why she does what she does, or how. Very disappointing, really. I know you've gotta keep the mystery alive, but give us something!

The actors here all do alright jobs. The lead is a bit dull as Percy, which I'm not sure is his fault, or the script's. = does a neat job as Katia. The two playing his friends are alright. Nothing special, but they get the job done. The detective has an amazingly/gloriously Greek moustache, though otherwise doesn't do much. = was very good as the mother, but only really gets one scene. Everyone here feels like they could have done a much better job if only the story and presentation was better.

Now let's get to the high point. The direction. It is fantastic! Many scenes are shot really well, with super cinematography, neat visuals, a good balance of shadow and angle, and more! These really fit the atmosphere =, and do their part to building up a solid [atmosphere]. Doesn't work, of course, but = !. The best show it by far the one at the very end with the detectives! Man, I hated the scene, but the way it's shot was great!

The effects here are pretty decent. In any Medusa film effects are a highlight that must be gotten right. Here we sadly don't get a traditional Medusa. We never see a freaky face, nor does she have snakes for hair. The film also suffers from the death scenes all being offscreen. This means they carry little weight, especially when they die in such a bloodless visual way. The only onscreen petrification is the mugger in the alleyway. It looks fine. A few bodies dissolve to powder, and they're done alright, though look a bit computer-ish.

The music here is quite good, with a country western style that feels a bit strange with the Greek gothic horror setting, but fits quite well. But it suffers from never really building in intensity, or amping up. The only time it ever = is during the end credits.

Medusa has some really good qualities, but I don't really recommend it. There are better Greek movies out there, especially in the horror genre. Still, it's not entirely without merit, and has inspired me a little =...