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Preview: The Truth Behind...

The Truth Behind...



Taking a look at life around us and showing what is really going on...



Updated: 2018-04-22T22:20:09.594+12:00

 



Deth of Stalin

2018-04-18T07:00:17.741+12:00

An English black comedy? You don't say.

Stalin dies at the beginning of the movie, and what we get is the backstabbing and infighting of the Central Committe as they try to position themselves into being the new power. Beria steps up, and seems to be in the lead, but others are working to dispose him.

Okay, spot the names. Jeffrey Tambor, Steve Buscemi, Simon Russell Beale, Michael Palin... and others scattered around. It is written and directed by Armando Iannucci, and he definitely goes into dark humour on all of this. Want light hearted laughs around the mass death of people? Got you covered! And piss jokes too!

That all said, this felt long. During the middle of it, I was just wondering how much of this I was through. With that on board, if this appeals, go for it.

[END]



Mon Oncle

2018-04-17T07:00:59.923+12:00

It's a classic Jacques Tati French comedy. It is Mon Oncle.

A man (Arpel) and wife have an extremely modern house, with electrical gizmos and a sparse decor. They also have a son who goes to a school and is sometimes picked up by the wife's brother, Mr Hulot. What story there is involves the rather lackadasical Hulot trying to be given a purpose in life so that he doesn't take the father's spot in the son's life. Arpel gets Hulot a job in his factory and his wife tries to set him up with the neighbour, but never really turns out to work that well for him. In the mean time, the son is getting up to pranks with his friends, and that's the final accidental moment that bonds father and son.

There is only a little story, and otherwise this comes across as a rather random collection of scenes, either from people coming up with it on the day, or a writer getting out of hand and not cutting anything that came into their minds. This does mean that the movie does feel long and rather incoherent at times.

As for the humour... a lot of people were continually giggling throughout this movie, but I didn't get most of it. There were a few moments when even I could get it (and I quite liked the House Eyes moment), but most of it just didn't do anything for me.

I'm glad I watched it, but it does lend more weight to watching movies on fast forward...

[END]



Reedy Plater Won

2018-04-11T07:00:10.839+12:00

So I listened to the audio book... and it was complete trash. So how does the movie work?

Parzival is the dude, and he works out how to win a race that everyone knows about to get the first key. Woo! But then he works with the others to work out the other two puzzles. Which aren't complete replications of games and such. We do get a big battle at the end, and overall... this isn't terrible.

As in, this is far better than the book deserves. Speilberg must have decided to tell an actual competent story over fetishing every aspect of the 80s. The puzzles are actually based on the characters in the movie, and what matters is how they are interacting with each other, not who is best at Joust or can quote War Games. I'm not saying this is the most brilliant movie ever made, we aren't talking deep revelations here, but given where this started, this came a long way.

I'm not saying that anyone should go and see this, but if you have read the book and wonder what the hell, this works far better.

[END]



The Adventures of Prince Achmed

2018-04-10T07:00:49.839+12:00

The first German film of the year, Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed.

A sorcerer turns up at the Caliph's palace, and tricks the Prince into taking off on a flying horse, and while hitting on the Caliph's daughter the sorcerer is thrown in jail. The Prince ends up in some magical lands, and hits on the demon Peri Banu, and kidnaps her, but of course she gives in to him. The sorcerer escapes, kidnaps Peri Banu himself, sells her off to the Chinese Emperor and leaves the Prince on a volcano. Fortunately, the witch in the volcano picks the Prince up and helps him to get back. They collect Aladin along the way, but really it is the witch that solves all the problems at the end.

This was done in 1926 as a silhouette animation film, in which the animation is stop motion cut out figures. That said, it's really well done, and although it's monochrome (as in one colour, not as in black and white) the colour does help it pop. The story is largely a retelling, which makes me suspect that this was mainly a technical passion rather than really wanting to tell the story.

But I liked it, so check it out if you can.

[END]



The Final Movement

2018-04-07T07:00:42.999+12:00

Via accidentally clicking, I found out that the Embassy was going to screen a screening of Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon: The Musical - Le Mouvement Final. So of course I had to go see it. As did around two dozen other people. In a theatre set up to hold over 600. Well, it was a school night, the movie started at 8pm, and went for three hours, and wasn't well advertised. Kinda shot themselves in the foot over that one.

This is the musical of the Sailor Stars storyline. The Three Lights arrive, as does mysterious figures intent on attacking the Senshi. While the Guardians try to protect Usagi, some of them fall, and the Three Lights are revealed as the Sailor Stars. Eventually, Sailor Galaxia unveils her plan to use the Sailor Crystals to wipe out the Galaxy Cauldron and defeat Chaos, but Chaos is onto it. Can Usagi survive losing her friends to defeat the biggest threat of all?

So yeah, I went in with little idea what to expect, and enjoyed myself. I'm not too positive that musicals work when you have to subtitle everything (except the extra songs at the end - boo!), but everything still seemed to work to me. This was a recording of the stage play, so I did spend some time noting the technical aspects of how they moved things around on the stage, and the use of lights to hide/accentuate moments. And as this is the first one I've seen (which happened to be the last arc, so I'm not expecting more any time soon), I did also note with interest that all the parts were played by women (including Mamo-chan).

This is concentrated Sailor Moon, and... hmm... where did I put my DVDs of the series?

[END]



Pasifik Rim Uprosen

2018-04-04T07:00:41.415+12:00

So, name this movie: an unneeded sequel featuring the son of a character in the first film, the son being the focus of the second film, and the original character no longer around. We also have various cameos of characters from the first movie that are completely wasted. And there's the promise of more movies we don't need. And there are creatures that are not of this earth.

Did you say Independence Day 2? You are right! There is another answer.

So, yeah, we have the son that didn't exist in the first movie, and now it's all about him. And there is also a girl straight out of Transformers 5, but she has a twist: she wants to drift but suffers from traumatic memory when trying to drift. No, wait...

Do we at least have spectacle? Frankly, the Transformers comparison is apt on a few levels, although I could slightly follow the fights just a little more. I did follow the plot, and the clearly obvious villain did have more going on than I thought, so I will give them that.

I went less than a week after it opened, and while it was early afternoon, I'm not sure there was anyone else in the theatre... which says a lot.

[END]



enTombing the Raiders

2018-03-28T07:00:08.159+13:00

I loved the 2013 game, so why wouldn't I want to see The Cutscene: The Movie?

Richard Croft leaves Lara to go look for something and disappears, leaving Lara to act out about her loss. Some time later, she finds a clue to where he is, so goes to track him down, using all the work he put together and none of her own. Eventually she gets to the island and immediately is with the bad guy for a while before going into a tomb.

Okay, as a movie: this feels very pedestrian. Go to remote locale where Evil Team McEvil are trying to get Ancient Artifact of Power(tm) and be forced to help them... didn't I see this as an Indiana Jones movie? Or an episode of MacGuyver? It's hard to say what defines a movie as a "Tomb Raider" movie, but the 2001 movie felt more like a Tomb Raider movie than this did.

As a game adaptation, wut? There are some scenes replicated from the game (and a whole bunch done at once), but whereas we start on the island in the game, here we take around half an hour or so to get there. In the game, while Lara is fit, she uses tools (axe, bow and arrow, guns) to help here. In this movie, they go out of their way to show how scrappy Lara is and how she can take on people one-on-one, and point out how intellectual she isn't.

Not to say I had high hopes for the movie, but I did want better than this. Frankly, the cutscenes stitched together would probably have made for a better movie, whereas nothing in this surprised me. And where is the supernatural/mystical element? Did the movie makes do more than hear someone describe some of the plot down a staticky telephone line?

[END]



L'Illusionist

2018-03-27T07:00:00.472+13:00

This is a French film that was made to largely celebrate Jaques Tati, and in english is called The Illusionist.

A magician isn't making waves in Paris so heads to London. But as this is the late 1950s, there are rockers rocking out on stage and he can't really get a look in. He ends up in Scotland, does a good act in a pub in the far north, and catches the eye of a young madam up there, who he quickly dotes on like she's a daughter. When he leaves for Edinburgh, she tags along, and while he barely manages to make some kind of ends meet, she is enamoured by the city life and he tries to keep her in the fancy clothes that catches her eye. But eventually he can't keep up with the random jobs he ends up, and a young man catches her eye, and so he bows out, leaving them together.

This was a script that got handed down until Sylvian Chomet made it. This is a rather sweet portrayal of who is basically Tati, but as the magician you follow along and can see as he despairs of his jobs and getting caught up with Alice. The animation is simple, but there were moments where I was just grinning at the canvas on display. The dialogue is kept simple as well, but we don't really need it.

This is well told in drawings although I'm glad it was only 80 minutes.

[END]



Whincester

2018-03-21T07:00:19.239+13:00

This has a great premise, the house with multiple rooms and stairways going nowhere. So what's the chance of this doing something interesting with it?

The widow Winchester is making a house, and she owns majority of the company. The company aren't too happy with that, so hire a doctor to assess her. Wouldn't you know, but the doctor has a past that ends up tying in with why she is interested in him. And there's an explanation for what's going on: ghosts. Namely, make a room of where the ghost died (unfortunate if they were outside) and then talk to them to allow them to rest... if they will. Go on, guess what happens.

And that's the thing. Once you get the set up unique to these real events, then it becomes a standard haunted house story. This feels like a mediocre low budget effort, but I'm not sure that a high budget wouldn't a) have stretched it out worse, and b) make the story stupidly complicated and overblown. So, yay, on the lesser budget. But I still feel like the story could have been better.

Yeah, I like Helen Mirran, and here she's doing more than the script should be worth, although she's not exactly pulling out an A-game here. Jason Clarke is our 'hero' and is a lot more believable that most ghost interacters, until he has to believe of course. And there are a range of other character actors that are familiar, and working well, but again nothing really stands out here.

Should have been better, but it doesn't outstay its welcome.

[END]



Rouge Bird

2018-03-14T07:00:19.275+13:00

A thriller where the lead is a female? Hey, I've seen Atomic Blonde and this... is nothing like that.

A ballerina takes an aphorism too far, and ends up conscripted into her uncle's business. She's not that great at giving away her body, but she is into the manipulative bit really well. She's tasked with getting the name of the Russian mole out of the American handler, but all too quickly is ready to turn on her own side. And eventually we uncover all sorts of things in which we find out she had the power of script to set up the end scene way ahead of time.

You want a slow spy thriller? You got a slow spy thriller. And at over two hours, it has plenty of time to be quite slow. Not to say this isn't decently plotted, but it is very leisurely paced. Oh, and definitely don't expect any action scenes where JLaw takes out groups of men. This isn't that sort of movie.

That all said, easily the best part of the movie is Charlotte Rampling.

I can't say it was the movie I thought it was, but if you are into that sort of thing (which took me some time to tune into), it's a decently average entry.

[END]



The Sharp of Whater

2018-03-07T07:00:44.144+13:00

So is this the origin story no Abraham? No, it's the consensual version of Black Lagoon!

Everyone overlooks the janitorial staff, so when a (seemingly random) concrete scientific institution of the 1950s gets their hands on an Amphibian Man, no-one realises that Elisa is going to fall in love with him (because she already has water fantasies), and manages to undermine a psychopathic security military man to get him away. Hopefully.

Can you guess that "the real monster was man all along"? Yes? Okay, that's good, because we get that around five minutes in, so we're all on the same page.

What this really is is a love story that crosses boundaries. That they are species boundaries is rather incidental when there are plenty of other boundaries on display that are being smacked around as well. This is well done, because this isn't that challenging a theme for GdelT (see, for example, Pan's Labyrinth), there's just the sci-fi layer over it because, again, this is GdelT.

I would add more praise, but this is standard GdelT great work, so I'm sure you already know if you want to see this or not.

[END]



Fantastic Planet

2018-03-06T14:52:55.765+13:00

Hey, the first movie of the Wellington Film Society I got to this year. I'm not sure why this is called Fantastic Planet when the French title is clearly "The Savage Planet".

The Draags are blue aliens, and keep the tiny Oms as pets. Oms are small humanoids they gathered from various planets, eg from Terra. (Ie, humans.) One Om pet gets his learning on, then escapes to join other wild Oms, which Draags consider vermin. But after one eradication too many, the Oms manage to get away and luck into getting their hands on technology, and then we'll see who rules this savage planet.

This is a French animated cartoon and it is weird AF. There are lots of strange plants and creatures, and a lot of this movie is "hey, check out this weird thing we came up with!" (In one case, it doesn't even bother with the pretense of following the Oms moving around to cut to a weird animal interaction.) Often I had only the barest idea what was going on. Not to say this is a complex story, just that it involves so many random moments you can easily lose track of what you are supposed to take in.

Although given that this is little creatures trying to get away to a place of their own in a bigger world, I kept flashing back to Watership Down.

[END]



Blak Panter

2018-02-28T07:00:20.943+13:00

Sure, let's finally get around to seeing the latest Marvel movie, as is internet law.

A form of civil war comes to Wakanda, and the isolated country must consider how it relates to the outside world.

To be honest, it doesn't really do anything that amazing plotwise. But what it gets right is how it goes around doing what it does. This is really well acted, with great performances from Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira and others. (Although I can't quite accept Martin Freeman as an American.)

It did start with a slight worry, with black actors dressed in camouflage, during a dark night, being attacked by a man in a black outfit... but fortunately the rest of the movie is much easier to see. Although some of the spectacle reminded me of the large CGI city of Thor, the ending isn't quite the CGI fest I feared it would be.

So a well done film, which most of you have probably already seen.

[END]



Universal 1956

2018-02-23T07:00:10.637+13:00

And so, we eventually reach the end of the Universal movies I have! This is The Creature Walks Among Us.

Once again, the hunt is on for the creature, and there is stupid talk of changing it to be a land animal. Ha, as if. It takes half the movie, but they finally burn the creature and capture him. The burning is important because that burns the reptile out of him, and he becomes more human. But there is also a plot happening of the money having scientist becoming jealous of his young and lovely wife who attracts the attention of the other guys. He kills someone, tries to blame it on the creature, but the creature is having none of it, attacks him and leaves.

Because humans are the worst creatures of all. Get it? GET IT??

The first half of this is a retread of the previous creature movies, and the latter half seems to be them wanting a more typical monster movie, but tries to be different. As such, it doesn't really feel like its own movie.

This trilogy feels like Universal was trying for a setting up a new creature to join the others, but, well... it doesn't really fit with Dracula et al, and isn't enough for its own thing.

[END]



Universal 1955

2018-02-22T07:00:11.486+13:00

Hey, the Creature is back! This is Revenge of the Creature.

We accomplish in ten minutes what the entire previous movie couldn't do, namely capture the creature. The creature is brought back and, like all strange beasts, put on display for profit. The scientist (male) and the scientist (female) join forces to study the creature, and the creature starts having eyes for the woman. The creature eventually breaks free, kidnaps the woman, and they chase after them, until they finally put it out of their misery.

One quick question: are we supposed to feel that the creature is the bad guy? 'Cos I'm on the side of the creature here. They kidnap him and take him to some weird place where he is put on display and prodded with electricity. Who can blame him when he finally snaps and breaks free (and when pushing the car out of the way it hits the camera)?

And then he's dead at the end, so that's the end of him... ?

(And, hey, a surprise early appearance by one Clint Eastwood!)

[END]



Universal 1954B

2018-02-20T07:00:20.491+13:00

Oooh, glorious colour! And impressive enough to be the MST3K movie. This is This Island Earth.

Cal Meacham is a hell of a guy and a hell of a scientist. He is saved from crash landing, and is given the instruction manual to his very own interociter. This leads to him being coopted into a group of scientists that are working on atomic power. Then while trying to escape, everything suddenly blows up and Cal and Ruth Adams are taken on board a space ship on the way to Metaluna. After arriving to Metaluna they visit the central station only to immediately turn around and leave, eventually making it back to earth.

Again... I'm not entirely clear on what the moral of this movie is. It isn't atomic power is bad because it's used to help ward off attacks. Nor is it atomic power is good, because Metaluna is all used up. There is mention of god, but this isn't an example of god being greater than science either. So... given they get to the planet only to turn and run, perhaps it's just a big "beware the aliens" even if they have more power than you.

It's definitely a pretty movie as they make a lot of the fact they have colour, but the plot doesn't bear a lot of scrutiny.

[END]



Universal 1954A

2018-02-18T07:00:55.915+13:00

Back to a monster movie, but a new one. This is Creature from the Black Lagoon.

A random dig in Brazil uncovers a preserved claw hand and the leader takes off to get white guys to come and examine everything, while the Brazilians who are left behind are killed by a creature. The white guys do turn up and decide to head into the Black Lagoon. There they swim around for a bit before getting randomly attacked by the creature more than once and finally manage to run away.

Okay, props to Ricou Browning. He was the Gill Man, and basically told "hold your breath, get in the water, and swim around." The swimming scenes are largely well done, and he is stuck in a suit with no air tank and has to swim around behind a mask he can barely see through.

Richard Carlson is the lead white guy, and the leading lady is Julie Adams, who is forever associated with this movie. There are others, but they are either other pasty white guys, or non-white guys that are killed off.

Let's see if they can get any mileage out of this creature.

[END]



Universal 1953

2018-02-14T07:00:12.551+13:00

We jump from the horrors of man to the horrors from outer space. This time It Came from Outer Space.

An amateur astronomer (and his fiancee) sees a meteor crash, and when he investigates it he finds a spaceship that immediately gets buried so no-one believes him. After a while, he finds a supposed copy of another man he knows, but again there is no evidence. Then finally he meets up with more duplicates and then finds that the aliens are just trying to do their own thing and the whole 'land on earth' thing was a mistake. But there is a posse a-comin', so he has to stop them to give the aliens time to get away.

This is the same year as War of the Worlds, and I have no idea which came first, but we are getting the slew of space movies now. However in this case, this movie is an allegory for... I have no idea. The aliens don't really represent anything and don't really do anything and just want to leave. I guess it's an metaphor for 'stranger comes into town and then leaves', but that isn't really saying much about the human condition.

The focus of the movie is on John Putman, the astronomer, but he isn't really that interesting enough to keep the movie going. As such, this isn't one of the better space movies.

[END]



Universal 1951

2018-02-05T07:00:06.502+13:00

Okay, let's throw back to the 17th Century, and this Robert Louis Stevenson. And this is The Strange Door.

A rogue is drawn to a strange castle and goes through a door. What makes the door strange? It has no handle on the inside. Ooohhh! Although plenty of people are able to come and go, and there are plenty of passages all over the place, so the strange door isn't that impressive. Anyway, the uncle wanted the rogue to marry his niece and make her a miserable life. Unfortunately, the rogue isn't quite as rogueish as hoped, and they are doing the 'I hate you, but now I love you' relationship, and there's a servant who is on their side, so... it culminates with the pair of them and the woman's (pretending to be crazy) father in a room that is being crushed. Will the servant make it in time? Will he? WILL HE?

This actually gets rather gripping. There are moments when we repeatedly go through the same sets as attemping-to-escape scenes repeat, but it maintains momentum, and the actors... I'm not sure if I've seen them in other things, but Charles Laughton, William Cottrell, Michael Pate and of course Boris Karloff are great performers so more than keep interest.

It took me a while to get around to watching this, but it was worth the wait.

[END]



ALL HAIL

2018-02-01T07:00:32.628+13:00

Last year I got into Nightvale. It's a podcast series about a radio station set in Nightvale. It's a comedy horror series, and I binge listened the lot of it.

So when I found out they were doing a live show in Wellington... well, I flipped and flopped and eventually decided... yep, I'll go!

This was "All Hail to the Glow Cloud". The Glow Cloud being a large cloud that hovers in Nightvale, drops dead animals, and is the president of the school committee. This is presented as a radio show in which various guests come in, and the whole thing is hosted by Cecil Baldwin.

And it's really funny and great, and you should get into it. Go binge listen, and you can buy copies of the live shows to listen to them yourself. Not quite the same as seeing the show and the various gestures and such, and get to see the weather live (you'll understand that when you listen to the show).

If it comes back, I'll say it's worth it to go. And definitely easy enough to listen to the free shows.

[END]



Universal 1946B

2018-01-26T07:00:27.961+13:00

Hey, wait a minute... I've seen this MST3K episode! This is The Brute Man.

College Jock likes girl, College Nerd tricks him into staying behind in the chem lab, Jock explodes chemicals in his face and goes on psychopathic rampage, how many times have we heard that tale? To be honest, a lot of this is generic. Hulking Figure goes around killing people and.. that's a large part that's it. He does meet a girl who is blind, she doesn't freak out, so he wants to help her, and this leads to his downfall.

I'm not sure how much this is familiar to me from the MST3K episode, but after watching all these movies so far, this isn't doing anything special. Like they knocked the script out over night. (Checks trivia, doesn't say.)

When they haven't done monster movies, they do tend to crime, but this one isn't that great. That said, I'm surprised MST3K hasn't hit on more of these movies.

[END]



Universal 1946A

2018-01-25T07:00:04.733+13:00

Oh, something different with Wolfman... namely, Wolfwoman! This is She-Wolf of London.

June Lockhart, before she went into space, was in turn of the century London as part of the Allenby estate. While she was going to marry Barry, there are a spate of shewolf attacks in the park, and is she to blame? After lots of staking out the park, her sister realises there is something dubious going on, and the aunt tries to kill her to hide that the aunt is responsible.

See, this is different. The whole wolf-aspect is a complete mislead, and it's only because the audience is used to wolf movies that we think there is a wolf-woman around. Ha! Suck it! That's not what is going on at all!

...Nice!

I like this mislead. This is a refreshing take on the werewolf movie that I wish they would do more of this. We can only hope.

[END]



Universal 1945

2018-01-24T07:00:08.779+13:00

Oh dear, while the last one wasn't trying, this one is a complete mess. This is House of Dracula.

Dracula comes to a sanitarium in order to get cured of vampirism, and not at all to creep on the lead nurse. Then Lawrence "Wolfman" Talbot turns up. And after trying to kill himself, he and the doctor find Frankenstein's Monster. Dracula infects the doctor before being killed, vampire doctor then treats Wolfman and brings the monster back to life, and then it all crashes.

Basically there are about three too many plots trying to happen at once and none of them get serviced well (it doesn't help this is only an hour long movie). The idea of Dracula curing himself is interesting, and now we get you can transfuse vampirism, but it just is a minor track. The Wolfman is completely unneeded and is the same plotline as before, and the monster is so irrelevant it's terrible how badly that plotline gets inserted.

Frankly the most interesting part of the movie is the female Igor (Nina, played by Jane Adams), and nothing is done with that either.

Really, what a conflab of nothingness.

[END]



Universal 1944C

2018-01-23T07:00:17.386+13:00

Back to the invisible well(s), we have another variant one discovering invisibility formula. How does not everyone be invisible already? But this is The Invisible Man's Revenge.

Griffin is back from the asylum and hits up his friends for the money he was promised. Of course they say 'suck it', and he nearly is killed off. Fortunately, he doesn't die, but stumbles across a Man Scientist who is experimenting in invisibility and turns him invisible. Ha ha! Threatening the couple for a while, he then helps with a comedy scene before back to the danger. We find out that you can uninvisible yourself with a transfusion, and exit the mad scientist. He tries to get back in with the others, but needs more blood. However, the mad scientist's dog is a Good Doggo(tm).

This is just another variant on doing invisibility, without anything that exciting. It could have been anyone could have done this. Indeed, this movie has the credit "Suggest by H G Wells". As such, there isn't anything special that could distinguish this from another other movie they've done.

Eh. It's all right, but with the various cross-overs and such they've done recently, it could have been more.

[END]



Welcome to the Jumanji!

2018-01-17T07:00:50.762+13:00

Okay, this is the third movie really, but I don't know how many people acknowledge/are aware of/have seen the space one.

After a long time, four high school peoples get into detention and find a computer console and decide to play a game. Cut to them as characters doing things that are completely against their normal selves, and they undergo various character development while going through different game levels involving animals and comedic dying.

Jumanji has two things, one - a person being trapped in the game before, and two - the environment around them collapsing. This got one right.

The comedy is decent, and certainly got laughs from the audience I was with (but at least they weren't pulling out cell phones!). I enjoyed it, but felt it took too much time to get to the actual Jumanji part, with plenty of the same old school antics everyone else's does to sit through first. The actors get to send themselves up a bit, and Karen Gillan... does a not quite right American accent. And, hey, Rhys Darby!

So, yeah, decent enough to be enjoyable, while not needing a lot of deep thinking to get.

[END]