Wednesday, June 9, 2010

First Blood (1982)

First Blood (1982)

Download link : hxxp://

There are two major things that Sylvester Stallone has done that I like. First is Rocky (and the series that followed) and the second is his portrayal of John Rambo in First Blood.

If you are only familiar with the Rambo sequels, this film will be a surprise to you. Rambo II through IV were basically designed for those wishing to see Rambo against an army and winning against the odds. First Blood (known nowdays as Rambo I), while it contains that as well (Rambo against a small town police force) is actually about something deeper. The use and abuse of power. In this film there are three main characters guilty of abusing their power. The first, Teasle, (Brian Dennehy) the police chief of the small town of Hope. Teasle, spotting Rambo coming into town, and having a prejudice against "drifters" does his best to push Rambo out and away from his town, in an attempt to keep his town clean. To Rambo's innocent question of wheter there is anywhere he can buy food, Teasle, in his prejudiced manner, suggests "a diner 30 miles up the road.". Teasle's manner is the reason why Rambo begins his defiant stance. Until encountering Teasle's attitude, Rambo is civil, not willing to hurt anyone, and basically is wanting to stop in town for a meal before moving on. But Teasle of course, books him for vagrancy, and does his best to overpower Rambo, because he sees Rambo as a simple drifter, and he of course is the big police chief, Mr Authority, and this is his town and his way. (Even before meeting Rambo, Teasle's attitude to his fellow townsfolk is shown, with his mumbled aside comment to one citizen, "You gonna take a bath this week?". Teasle is a guy who treats others with derision if he sees them as not his type of person. And it is Teasle's actions that sparked the events of the movie. The spark was fanned by power abuser number two though. Galt.

Galt is a friend of Teasle's and is also an abuser of his power given to him by his position in the police force. While Teasle uses mental power plays against Rambo, Galt is strictly physical. Violence against Rambo with a nightstick, a forced shower with a fire hose, repeated threats of breaking his face, fingers etc are Galt's methods. It is Galt's physical abuse that finally causes Rambo to snap and escape the police station, and run to the mountains, just as it is Galt's insistence on shooting an unarmed, cliff clinging Rambo that lead's to Galt's own death. Galt is the obvious face of abusing power in this film, and a thoroughly unlikeable character. Even up to Galt's death (and even beyond that point) Rambo is trying to both explain his innocence and defuse the situation. Galt is too obsessive in making himself "the bigger man" that he's turned a bad situation, created by Teasle into a catastrophe.

The third person in this film who is guilty of abusing their power is Rambo himself. After he is pushed too far through the actions of Teasle and Galt, Rambo starts to rely on the only power he posesses, his military training. Rambo abuses his own power against the police, by falling into the mindset that this is a war, and of course, in Rambo's mind, a war is the place, the only place, where he is in control, and where he has any power over the situation. It is shown that Rambo abuses this power, even defying a suggestion from his Commanding Officer and friend Col. Trautman (Richard Crenna) to give himself up. Talking to Trautman, he refers to the whole incident as a "war", in order to not only control his actions (in his own mind) but also antagonise Teasle. Rambo's "attack" on the town (though not on any innocent civilian) is designed to show Teasle, "now this is my situation, I control it", the very attitude that Teasle started with.

First Blood is a film I saw in the mid 80's and have enjoyed many times after. It is a deeply packed film, a great action film for those who like that genre, but also a dramatic thriller and commentary on, not only the abuse of power, but treatment of Vietnam vets by society, the role of person responsibility and social commentary. (as is the novel, which I heartily recommend).

A shame that First Blood was followed by three sequels that in no way matched the craftmanship of this film.

First Blood, four Darios

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Last Action Hero (1991)

Last Action Hero (1991)

Last Action Hero is that type of film that I think is absolutely brilliant, although not too many others agree with me.

A basic synopsis: Danny is a young film fan, who is especially impressed with the Jack Slater action films (starring Arnold Schwarzenegger). One of Danny's few friends (or probably his only friend) is an old movie projectionist, Frank (Art Carney). Frank, who seems to be as lonely as Danny, invites Danny to a sneak preview of Jack Slater IV, which Danny, who worships Jack Slater, (even to the point of daydreaming a new action hero Hamlet in his English class starring Jack Slater) eagerly accepts.

Now for the plot point that most people have a problem with. Frank the movie man has in his possession a ticket that was given to him by Harry Houdini. This "magic ticket" is used by Danny to attend the impromptu showing of Jack Slater IV, as Frank insists that to see a movie "you've got to have a ticket". Turns out that the ticket is indeed magic, and it enables Danny to enter the world of Jack Slater IV. Soon after Danny is attepting to convince Jack Slater that he is a fictional character in an action movie, helping Jack track down "the bad guys" and enabling the director to rally a multitude of in jokes, including, after Danny's attempts to convince Slater hes in a movie and taking him to a video store, a view of the version of Terminator 2 that Slater would have seen, the one starring Sylvester Stallone.
Little touches prevail to highlight the fact slater lives in a movie. All the phone numbers are 555 numbers, there is a crane for ACME construction, and no bad guy can shoot straight, and you can wipe yourself clean with a cloth after falling into a tar pit.

"Hey Yo! Hasta La Vista, Adrian..."

After a bit of this and the theft of the ticket and the escaping of the villain into the real world, thanks to Jack throwing him through a wall that the ticket has used as a portal. ("Usually when I do that it leaves a hole..." says a puzzled Slater), Danny and Jack return to the real world still trying to catch Benedict (our villain). The bringing of fictional characters into our world is used to highlight the absurdities prevelent in action films; heroes can be shot (but they are only flesh wounds), cars explode via a scratch, cops show up in droves within seconds of a crime. This is how Benedict thinks and when he realises our world doesn't work like that, he , of course, wants to stay, because as he exclaims "Here! The Bad guys can win!"

Last Action Hero reaches its greatest point when Jack Slater, in the real world, encounters Arnold Schwarzenegger, who of course just assumes Slater is a celebrity lookalike. Using the ticket, a previous villain in the Slater films returns for another showdown.

This is one of Schwarzennegger's better films. It's entertaining, it's a very good example of how Arnold can be funny, and it is a good idea. A film that deconstructs its own genre and it was released five years before Wes Craven used the same idea in Scream.

Don't believe everything you hear about Last Action Hero. It's not as bad as you will be led to believe. Of course there is suspension of disbelief involved in the magic ticket plot point, but apart from that, this film makes more logical sense than any other action film. Slater is virtually indestructable and always wins because he's in an action film. The internal logic of Last Action Hero hold together more because of this aspect, than for example Ripley in the same situation in Aliens. The reason Slater is able to do what he does is because the film sets up the point that that's always the way it is. Aliens, on the other hand, is shown to us as a possible realistic event. Last Action Hero prides itself of being fiction.

It is also my favourite Schwarzenegger film. It's damn good, if you allow yourself to believe in a magic ticket, which is actually less disbelief than you need for a lot of films.

Four Darios

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Godzilla: Final Wars (2004)

Godzilla: Final Wars (2004)
Download torrent at :

OK. I haven't seen all the Godzilla films yet, apart from some of the more popular (Gojira (Godzilla 1) , The Return Of Godzilla (Godzilla 1985) and the American remake, Godzilla (1998) and a few others. So with my lack of knowledge of the exact details of a lot of the Godzilla mythos, viewing Godzilla : Final Wars was a little confusing. But thats to be expected, I mean I can't expect to dip into the 28th chapter of a series and be able to follow it all can I?

That being said, I was surprised that for the touted final Godzilla film (although Toho are planning to bring him back in a year or three) Godzilla : Final Wars has very little Godzilla or any other monster in it for the first half (and a bit) of the film. What we do get is a short scene packing our monster fix in, (without Godzilla) and then suddenly they vanish.

This is where the plot really starts. The monsters have been taken by space aliens (X-ians, because they come from Planet X), who have done this to "help" mankind.

Of course anyone who has seen "V" knows this is pure "bullplop". Human kind obviously and predictably has a small group who rebel and fight back. This group, as you you would expect is a group of martial arts performing mutants. (True) Pretty soon however the Xians true nature is revealed and they unleash all the monsters they previously removed upon the Earth.

So in all this, where's our hero Godzilla? Well he's frozen in Ice after his last fight with humanity. Being the undefeatable opponent he is, it is decided to release him, lure him to Tokyo so he can help defeat the barrage of monsters that have been unleashed.

So thats the setup to the climax, which is the typical Godzilla battle scene.

The battle scenes involving Godzilla, (and the other monsters such as Mothra, Zilla (the Japanese name for the monster in the American remake of Godzilla), Rodan etc are fairly well done with pretty good special effects, although still retaining the Godzilla feel of a rubber suited man in a scale model of Tokyo. As an Australian though, I did like the fight between Godzilla and Zilla, that was set in Sydney.
Godzilla : Final Wars may have been better for me if I had watched all the others in order and not skipped about to it. However I think even so, I'd prefer my Godzilla films to star Godzilla and not a bunch of mutant ninjas.

Two and a half Darios

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)

A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)

Director/Writer(s): Wes Craven

Cast: John Saxon, Ronee Blakley, Heather Langenkamp, Amanda Wyss, Jsu Garcia, Johnny Depp.

Genre: Horror / Mystery / Thriller

Plot Outline: A group of high school friends are being slaughtered in their sleep by the hideous fiend of their shared dreams. When the police ignore her explanation, one girl must confront the killer in his shadowy realm.

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This has got to be one of the best ideas ever for a movie. Supposedly based on some "unrelated articles" in a Los Angeles newspaper, Wes Craven , already riding high on The Hills Have Eyes and Last House On The Left, crafted this movie about a killer who stalks a group of teenagers through their dreams.

Of course, just about everyone would know that already. There wouldn't be too many people who don't already know who Freddy Krueger is. What some of them haven't done is actually watched the film.

Taken as a stand alone film, and not the first chapter in a series of 8 films (counting Wes Craven's New Nightmare and Freddy vs Jason as chapters 7 and 8), A Nightmare On Elm Street is a well crafted piece of art. The articles in the newspaper that sparked off Craven's idea, dealt with young people who had escaped the Pol Pot regieme in Cambodia, escaped to America and who died in their sleep. Apparantly they had been sufferring terrible nightmares, and became terrified to go to sleep. Eventually, when they slept and dreamed, they died. (For those interested in a study of this type of event, Hmong Sudden Unexpected Nocturnal Death Syndrome, there is a 100+ page paper on it located here :,%20Bliatout,%20Bruce.pdf )

Wes Craven took this interesting little event, joined it with something he sees as the worst evil in the world and created a very effective horror film. Originally Freddy Krueger was portrayed as a child molester as well as a child killer. This was toned down in the final edit, perhaps audiences in 1984 didnt want molestation to be a driving plot point in movies, so this aspect of Freddy's character in shown in subtext, while his child killing activities are pushed to the forefront of his character.

So what do we have? Well, we have a group of kids who all seem to be having nightmares. At the same time. About the same man. A man they've not seen before. And he's trying to kill them. Bad enough, until Freddy (Robert Englund) succeeds in killing Tina (Amanda Wyss) in her dream which results in her being dragged around her bedroom (and really around her bedroom, up the walls and across the ceiling) while her boyfriend Rod watches. Of course Rod doesn't have any good luck with this. He's just watched his girlfriend get sliced up by an invisible man while they were in a locked room. Rod soon gets carted off by the police, because he's the only one who could have done it, right? Ask Nancy (Heather Langenkamp) who has been having these same nightmares about a guy with a razor tipped glove. The very same type of cuts that appeared on Tina's hacked up body. Nancy suspects there is something more to this, and must fight to stay awake and alive.

Put like that, the plot is fairly basic, but what gives Elm Street its charm is that, as star Robert Englund says in "Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy" is that it is "a damn good story". It's such an original idea, and original ideas are where good, or entertaining films spring from.

The whole scary notion in Elm Street is that the only safe place is awake, and its impossible to remain in that safe place forever. It is inevitable that the kids in this film must end up in Freddy's stalking ground. It is this feeling of these kids not being in control that gives this film its tension, and makes the heroine's struggle against Freddy all the more heroic. Elm Street is a classic story of good triumphing over evil, and is the most creative, well planned and produced piece of art. The only problem is a tacked on ending allowing for the return of Freddy. Though, while this spoils the whole meaning of the climax, it does allow us 7 sequels, which is a good thing.

It's a classic. Five Darios, no doubt about that.

Friday, March 26, 2010

My Bloody Valentine (2009)

My Bloody Valentine (2009)

Director/Writer(s): Patrick Lussier (director), Todd Farmer (screenplay), Zane Smith (screenplay), John Beaird (1981 screenplay) and Stephen Miller (1981 story).

Cast: Jensen Ackles, Jaime King, Kerr Smith, Betsy Rue, Edi Gathegi, Tom Atkins, Kevin Tighe, Megan Boone, Karen Baum, Joy de la Paz...Genre: Crime Horror Mystery Thriller

Plot Outline: Tom returns to his hometown on the tenth anniversary of the Valentine's night massacre that claimed the lives of 22 people. Instead of a homecoming, however, Tom finds himself suspected of committing the murders, and it seems like his old flame is the only one will believes he's innocent.Certification: USA:R (for graphic brutal horror violence and grisly images throughout, some strong sexuality, graphic nudity and language.)

Size: 700 MB Megaupload: hxxp://

Well here we go. My first review on here for quite a while, and I choose a remake of one of the best 80's slashers around. The remade My Bloody Valentine.

A while back I saw and commented on the original My Bloody Valentine from the early 1980's. I am going to try and not compare the two as it always comes off worse for the remake, in most cases. (There are a couple of comparisons I will note after though).

So not comparing to the masterwork from the 80's, is this a good film? Yes it is, for a slasher film of this decade. While it is structured as a whodunnit, it is structured quite logically, and when the killer is revealed, it is believable and has a rational reason for the killing spree. Rational for a slasher fim at least. My Bloody Valentine was originally shot in 3D, and runs the risk of having some stupid looking shots when viewed in 2D. Friday the 13th Part 3 and Freddy's Dead:The Final Nightmare fall guilty of this. A pole or something shoved directly into camera so we can all marvel at 3D can look pretty stupid without the visual effect. The shots in My Bloody Valentine designed to give a shock 3D effect don't come off as too bad in 2D. (Obvious yes, but not out of place)

So what do you get when you view My Bloody Valentine? A good smattering of Blood, nudity, mystery, Blood, gratuitous violence and blood. This is a particularly bloody film with a few head meets pickaxe scenes. For those wanting no more than a gore fest, this is the film for you.

There is a downside though. For me at least, none of the cast, with the exception of Tom Atkins, appealed to me. It was a bit like, "sit through ten minutes of tedious acting until the next axe attack" . I know a lot of the films I enjoy have worse acting than My Bloody Valentine but they are still likable in some way. The cast of this film didn't do it for me. And that's a shame, because it is well constructed in other ways.

OK the comparison points. Harry Warden, the mad miner, in the original had that cool little origin of being driven mad after being trapped in a cave in in the mine for 6 days. Add a bit of cannibalism and there's a nice little origin for a villain. In the remake, Harry is a cold blooded killer for no real reason. However the rationale for the films killer is much much better in the remake than the original.

My Bloody Valentine is a hard one for me to classify. I am still not sure if I like it or not. I doubt I will watch it again any time soon, but it is well written and graphicly violent enough for a slasher, so I'll give it hmmmm. 3 and a half Darios, only let down from the acting.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Scream (1996)

Scream (1996)
Download link: hxxp://

Every once in a while, a horror film comes along that is well made and well designed, and uses the genre in a way not seen before. One such movie is Scream. Unfortunately the creation of a good film like this inspires countless clones and inevitable sequels which detract from the quality of the original.

Scream starts with a good idea, a killer is stalking people in a small town called Woodsboro, and dispatching them in horror movie fashion gory ways. Sounds like its been done before. But this killer is used in the film to satirise the whole field of horror movies, from the killer being a very obsessed student of horror films, (He corrects the first victims answer that Jason was the killer in Friday The 13th) through to the other characters acting as though they are characters in a horror film, which of course, they are.

A clever idea, although it does backfire on itself. All the primary characters, especially the rather annoying Randy, played by the equally annoying Jamie Kennedy, take the "rules" and conventions of a horror film as absolute gospel truth.

The good points of the film outweigh the negatives. It is a very well crafted whodunnit, with a logical, but unexpected reveal of who the killer is. It does satirise the genre well, (one of its aims), and caters for the expected quota of blood and shock scenes. It is also quite clever. The mask used by the killer is based upon a painting called "The Scream".
It is hard however to view Scream as a solo film. It is touted now as the the first chapter of the Scream Trilogy, a series that starts out good and rapidly declines in quality. Scream also was the inspiration for other "whodunnit" style slashers such as Urban Legend, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Valentine and other boring as hell films.
If only Scream was a solo film instead of a chapter in a trilogy (soon to be four films).
4 Darios

Monday, December 14, 2009

Halloween II (2009)

Halloween II (2009)

Download Links :

Part 1 : hxxp://

Part 2: hxxp://

(1.3 GB split into 2 parts. Use VirtualDub to rejoin them)

I like Halloween. I like the series of Halloween movies. I even can tolerate Halloween :Resurrection (barely). I can see good points in Rob Zombie's reimagining of the concept in his Halloween (2007).

I, however, cannot bring myself to like this film. I can appreciate what Zombie is trying to do, in taking the mythos of Michael Myers in a different direction to the original series, but surely he could do it in a way that makes some sort of sense. Did you know that even though Myers' mother shot herself in the head last film she still hangs around Michael? Zombie does. Did you know that the appearance of her with a white horse is supposed to mean something? Zombie does, (or he is trying to be very Twin Peaks like). Did you know that you can get your victim out of an impossible situation by using the old Dallas trick of... it was only a dream? Zombie knows this quite well. In fact he uses that old, annoying and downright lazy trick more than once in this film.

This film is confusing as hell. Is Michael dead? Is he back stalking Laurie? Is Laurie mad, is she the only sane person? Is Michael even there for all the film? How the hell can his dead mother be around? How the hell can Laurie see her? And why is the white horse so important that it keeps cropping up?

The answers are......never revealed!

Damn lazy effort Rob Zombie.

One and a half Darios because of some cool death scenes.