Author Archives: Millsie

Some Like It Hot

Cropped screenshot of Marilyn Monroe from the ...

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One of the golden rules in comedy is that men dressed in women’s clothing are universally funny. I don’t know why this is but it is the premise of the humour in Some Like It Hot. Unlike most other films that feature men dressed in drag, this is not just a one joke comedy, and is one of the funniest films ever made. After Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon witness a gangland shooting, they disguise themselves as female musicians to get away from the gangsters.

Whilst they are pursued by ‘Spats’ (played by George Raft) and his gang they meet up with Sugar Kane, played by Marilyn Monroe. The fun begins when Joe/Josephine, played by Curtis, falls for Sugar.

Jack Lemmon is hilarious in this movie as Gerald/Daphne, and the closing line by his/her fiancé when it is revealed that Daphne is a bloke, is one of the funniest in movie history.

Nobody’s perfect!”

One of the things that I found interesting was the casting of Raft as Spats. In real life Raft was a low-level hoodlum before he became an actor in the late 20s, and rose to prominence in the original Scarface. One of the in-jokes that I found funny was when Spats chides a rival gangster who is constantly tossing a coin, something that Raft’s character did in Scarface. In another scene he picks up a grapefruit and looks as though he is going to squish it into someone’s face ala Jimmy Cagney in The Public Enemy.


Planet Of The Apes

Planet Of The Apes is one of those sci-fi films that everyone has seen or at least knows about. It is perhaps one of my favourite sci-fi films and I think that Charlton Heston is great in it. I especially like the ending where Chuck discovers… well that would be spoiling the film. This is so much better that the Tim Burton remake from a few years ago.

Yeah, I know that I haven’t really said much here, suffice to say that it is a very good film.


Black Legion

Cover of "Black Legion"

Cover of Black Legion

Directed by Archie Mayo & Michael Curtiz (uncredited)
Produced by Robert Lord
Written by Story: Robert Lord
Screenplay: Abem Finkel & William Wister Haines
Starring Humphrey Bogart
Dick Foran
Erin O’Brien-Moore
Ann Sheridan
Music by W. Franke Harling, Howard Jackson & Bernhard Kaun (all uncredited)
Cinematography George Barnes
Editing by Owen Marks
Studio Warner Bros.
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s) January 17, 1937 (NYC)
January 30, 1937 (US)
Running time 83 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Black Legion is a 1937 film that depicts an offshoot of the notorious Ku Klux Klan. Many of the messages contained in the film are just as poignant today as they were 70+ years ago, that is that in times of trouble that it is easy to blame and scapegoat migrants. Having recently read the ramblings of a Melbourne white supremacist who among other things labelled me a ‘race traitor’, shows that despite what some people say, deep racism is still around. Just by browsing the Anti-Bogan website you can see just how warped some people still are about these things.

In Black Legion Humphrey Bogart plays Frank Taylor, a factory worker who gets passed over for a promotion at his job, which goes to Polish American Henry Brandon. Taylor ends up falling for the propaganda of the Black Legion, a clandestine white supremicist organisation. Thanks to the ideas promoted by the Legion, Taylor begins to blame foreigners for his woes. There are consequences for Taylor as he loses his wife and child and then murders his best friend after letting slip his membership of the Legion.

The film is very well acted and the young Bogart is great. This was still a year or so before he became a big star. The film is a little preachy, but it is still totally absorbing.


Gladiator

Directed by Ridley Scott
Produced by Douglas Wick, David Franzoni & Branko Lustig
Screenplay by David Franzoni, John Logan & William Nicholson
Story by David Franzoni
Starring Russell Crowe
Joaquin Phoenix
Connie Nielsen
Oliver Reed
Derek Jacobi
Djimon Hounsou
Richard Harris
Music by Hans Zimmer, Klaus Badelt & Lisa Gerrard
Cinematography John Mathieson
Editing by Pietro Scalia
Studio Scott Free Productions & Red Wagon Entertainment
Distributed by DreamWorks (USA) & Universal Studios (non-USA)
Release date May 1, 2000 (2000-05-01) (Los Angeles)
May 5, 2000 (2000-05-05) (United States)
May 12, 2000 (2000-05-12) (United Kingdom)
Running time 155 minutes
Country United Kingdom & United States
Language English

The other night I watched Ridley Scott’s Gladiator for the first time in a decade. The version that I watched was the extended cut, with a few scenes added to the cinematic version. Russell Crowe gives a great performance as Maximus, the general who after being left for dead becomes a gladiator and challenges the power of the emperor, whilst Joaquin Phoenix is very eccentric as Commodus.

The fight scenes are very good although they do tend to be a little over the top with the gore. I like the way in which the fights were choreographed.

Gladiator was a bit of a gamble for its creators, as the days of sword and sandals epics had long disappeared. Even since 2000 there really have been no good films from this genre.


OK, I have had enough, but please stop spamming this site with inane comments. Considering your website is called Free Psychic Reading Online you should be aware that I am not going to publish any of your stupid comments. So please stop!!!


Teddy, The Rough Rider

Col. Theodore Roosevelt. Crop of Image:Theodor...

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Directed by Ray Enright
Produced by Gordon Hollingshead
Written by Charles L. Tedford
Starring Sidney Blackmer
Pierre Watkin
Cinematography Ray Rennahan
Editing by Everett Dodd
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date 24 February 1940
Running time 19 minutes
Country United States
Language English

I guess that it could well be considered un-Australian to watch a patriotic film about one of America’s greatest presidents on Australia Day, but that is just what I did yesterday. I found this short biopic on President Theodore Roosevelt from 1940 to be quite fascinating. There is no doubt from watching this short that Teddy was a great man and an interesting character and was someone who was loved by America and Americans.

This film gives a brief 20 minute overview of the great man’s public life. I’m not sure how accurate it is, but it does skip his failure to return to the presidency in 1912. The film starts when he was NYC police commissioner, to when he became Assistant Secretary of the Navy, to his military career leading his Rough Riders in the fight in the Spanish-American War, to when he became vice-president and finally president after the assassination of President McKinley.

Sidney Blackmer is quite charismatic (but slightly annoying) as the great man, and whilst this film purports to being a biopic I can’t help thinking that it had another, underlying message. The film was released in 1940 and Europe was at war with itself, but the USA was to stay out of any war at any cost and another Roosevelt, FDR, was in the White House. When in the film Teddy talks about standing up for smaller nations against larger aggressors in the final scene, it could be taken that he is talking to the American people and telling hem that Britain and Europe needs their help. However it would take another 12 months and an act of Japanese aggression at Pearl Harbor before the sleeping American giant would awaken.

Teddy, The Rough Rider can be found as an extra on the Knute Rockne All American DVD.


Shaft In Africa

Shaft in Africa

Image via Wikipedia

Directed by John Guillermin
Written by Stirling Silliphant
Starring Richard Roundtree
Frank Finlay
Neda Arnerić
Vonetta McGee
Frank McRae
Distributed by MGM
Release date June 14, 1973
Country (USA)
Running time 112 min.
Language English

Shaft In Africa is the third instalment in the Shaft trilogy of blaxploitation movies from the 1970s. This film focuses on private detective John Shaft after he has been enlisted by an African nation to bust up a slavery ring in Ethiopia and France.

This is a very 70s movie, with lots of slang from the era, much of which would have been hilarious even then. While the music is great it does not feature the iconic Theme From Shaft by Isaac Hayes which is featured in the first Shaft film. Unlike the other movies John Shaft is more like a black James Bond than what we expect.

Shaft In Africa was the least successful of the Shaft films and was panned by critics. I guess that the reason for this is because Shaft has been taken out of his regular NYC environment, with the film makers obviously trying to make this not just another blaxploitation movie. Personally I enjoyed the picture quite a bit and thought it was rather exciting. Richard Roundtree is as charismatic as ever as John Shaft, whilst one of his love (or should that be lust) interests, Aleme, played by the late Vonetta McGee, looks a lot like Beyonce in this film.

I must also make a slight mention of the cars in the film. Usually in blaxploitation movies you expect to see big, late 60s – early 70s, American V8 muscle cars that have been pimped out to the extreme, but not in Shaft In Africa. At the start of the film Shaft is seen driving and Alfa Romeo GTA, whilst the French villain Amafi drives a Citroen DS. At the end there are also a number of Renault 8s.


Foxy Brown

Cover of "Foxy Brown"

Cover of Foxy Brown

Directed by Jack Hill
Produced by Buzz Feitshans
Written by Jack Hill
Starring Pam Grier
Antonio Fargas
Peter Brown
Terry Carter
Music by Willie Hutch
Cinematography Brick Marquard
Editing by Chuck McClelland
Distributed by AIP
Release date April 5, 1974
Running time 94 min
Country United States
Language English

Foxy Brown is one of blaxploitation’s most iconic films, featuring Pam Grier in the title role, but it is I think a little too over the top with its gratuitiveness, especially with the violence perpetuated towards Foxy. I know that exploitation films are supposed to feature lots of sex, violence and nudity, but the scenes of Foxy being held captive at the farm I felt were something that made me a little uneasy and that the film’s makers had gone a wee bit too far.

Still other than that complaint the film is entertaining and does feature all the hallmarks of a good blaxploitation movie; Pam Grier, 70s fashion, big afros and lots of funky soul music. Sure the acting is terrible in some parts and the dialogue does tend to be a bit clichéd and awkward at times, but I still enjoyed the film mostly.


Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo

Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo

Image via Wikipedia

Directed by Mike Mitchell
Produced by Adam Sandler (executive)
Written by Rob Schneider
Starring Rob Schneider
William Forsythe
Eddie Griffin
Arija Bareikis
Oded Fehr
Gail O’Grady
Richard Riehle
Jacqueline Obradors
Big Boy
Amy Poehler
Music by Teddy Castellucci
Cinematography Peter Lyons Collister
Editing by George Bowers & Lawrence Jordan
Studio Happy Madison
Distributed by Touchstone Pictures
Release date December 10, 1999
Running time 88 minutes
Country United States
Language EnglishI guess that any credibility that I had in my taste of movies will now be torn to shreds as I enjoyed watching Deuce Bigelow: Male Gigolo last night when it screened on Channel 7. I did go and see it in the theatre back when it was first released in 2000 and enjoyed it the as much as I did last night.

I know that this film is not high-brow entertainment, that it is stupid and gross, like a lot of comedies from the late 90s/early 2000s were, but I still found it to be quite funny and that is all that matters to me. Sometimes you really need a stupid movie that doesn’t take itself or the art of movie making too seriously. At least before watching a Rob Schneider film you know what you are going to get.


Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

Cover of "Borat - Cultural Learnings of A...

Cover via Amazon

Directed by Larry Charles
Produced by Sacha Baron Cohen & Jay Roach
Screenplay by Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Peter Baynham & Dan Mazer
Story by Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Peter Baynham & Todd Phillips
Starring
Sacha Baron Cohen
Ken Davitian
Luenell
Pamela Anderson
Music by Erran Baron Cohen
Cinematography Luke Geissbuhler & Anthony Hardwick
Editing by Craig Alpert, Peter Teschner & James Thomas
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date November 3, 2006
Running time 84 minutes
Country United States
Language English, Hebrew & Armenian

Borat is lewd and crude but it is also very funny. Some of the scenes in the picture had me laughing hysterically whilst others had me scratching my head.
I laughed at how Borat could make some really offensive remarks about all sorts of issues and the unsuspecting Americans that he met just agreed and expanded on those views. This was especially when he was at the rodeo, the gun shop and the bus with the frat-boys.

Also funny is the naked wrestling/fight scene between Borat and Azimat which really has to be seen to be believed.


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