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Unique ID Code: 0000103737
Added by: David Beckett
Added on: 1/6/2008 20:52
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    What I Watched This Week (w/e June 1st 2008)

    Aside from continuing to work through the backlog of unread social reading, I finally started to work through the Hammer Collection that's been sitting on a shelf for months, during which time the price at which it retails has continued to drop! More reading calls.


    She - Ursula Andress plays Ayesha, an immortal awaiting the reincarnation of her true love. Leo (John Richardson), Peter Cushing (his former CO) and Bernard Cribbins (his batman) are hanging around in 1918 Palestine and are spotted by her High Priest, played by Christopher Lee, who notices the resemblance between Leo and her lost love. Leo finds his way to Ayesha in the lost city of Kuma, which seems to have its own Roman garrison. Lee and Cushing are both excellent, there are some decent set pieces and some real tension towards the end. :)

    The Nanny - Is he a little s*** making it all up, or does nanny really have murderous intentions? This is well written and directed, with a terrific performance by William Dix as Joey, an infuriating child. Decent commentary on the disc too. :)

    The Plague of the Zombies - Bridging the gap between White Zombie and Night of the Living Dead, this fine Hammer horror combines the zombie mythology from White Zombie with pretty good make-up effects and an effective beheading! :)

    Rasputin the Mad Monk - Despite his obviously fake beard and long hair, Christopher Lee is an imposing screen presence as the infamous Russian monk. It's not the most accomplished film that Hammer ever put out, but it's a good watch. :|

    The Reptile - Not much is seen of the titular creature, which is a good thing as it's not particularly convincing and the tension is better when it's alluded to. I don't know what it is about Hammer and Cornwall, but this does nothing for the tourist board! :|

    The Witches - A teacher takes up a new post as the headmistress of a private school in a sleepy village in the west country following a nervous breakdown in Africa. The idyllic hamlet seems to be a façade for supernatural goings-on with a coven of witches, but is it all in her mind? The payoff isn't quite what the build-up deserved, but it's another fine film in the Hammer canon. :|

    The Viking Queen - Showing the variety in Hammer's output is this historical drama about a woman in Roman occupied Britain who becomes Queen of her 'tribe' upon the death of her father. The commander of the local garrison respects their relationship with the Druids, much to the chagrin of his second in command - the typical sadistic occupier, who clashes with the 'nice occupier'. It's not a great film but there is ambition to it that gives it some charm. :|

    Frankenstein Created Woman - This follow-up to The Evil of Frankenstein is as good as the first Hammer film in the franchise with an excellent performance from Peter Cushing and nice support from Derek Fowlds in this gender bending revenge thriller. :)

    One Million Years B.C. - Ray Harryhausen stop-motion special effects, location shooting in Tenerife and Rachel Welch in that fur bikini - what's not to like? :)

    Quatermass and the Pit - Building work at an Underground station reveals ancient human skulls and an alien craft - who are you going to call? Professor Quatermass. It's a little silly but better for concentrating on psychological horror rather than cheap 'monster' effects. Still very good four decades on. :)

    The Devil Rides Out - The tagline for this could almost have been 'Christopher Lee versus Satanists' as that is basically what it is. With a decent screenplay by Richard Matheson and Lee on near enough top form, it's actually really enjoyable. :)

    The Vengeance of She - To avoid spoiling the ending of She for those who haven't seen it, I'll avoid describing the plot. However, this is enjoyable but silly and not a patch on the first film. :|

    Prehistoric Women - I'm not 100% on the plot as it involves a white rhino and a strange jungle community where the brunette women rule the blondes and keep the men as prisoners. One man has stumbled across this and it's about him trying to escape. It's slow and quite dull - probably the weakest of the Hammer films I've seen this week. :(

    Stephen King's It - Sadly, this is too long, too pedestrian and not scary. Pennywise is underused as a character and the ending is just plain silly. :(

    O Lucky Man! - Brilliant - full review on site. :D

    No Country for Old Men - Possibly the Coen brothers finest film. Full review to follow shortly. :D


    Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull - Daft title, daft ending; not terrible but not brilliant - meh. :|


    The Ice Storm - I imagine at the time, the cast was full of largely unknowns (Tobey Maguire, Katie Holmes and Elijah Wood) supporting big names like Sigourney Weaver, Joan Allen and Kevin Kline. This very well written and is superbly directed by the genre-hopping Ang Lee. :D

    England vs. Barbarians - Hardly a great game - not the fast, entertaining spectacle that you associate with the invitational side but it was against an England side that was equally of a scratch nature. A useful workout for England against very aggressive opponents prior to their trip to the Land of the Long White Cloud.

    Guinness Premiership Final - The two biggest clubs in England renewed their rivalry and Wasps squared the seasons encounters at 2-2 thanks to a physical, intense and skilful first half which saw them go in with a 17 point lead. Leicester came out and won the second half but not by enough to retain their championship and deny Dallaglio a fitting Twickenham send-off.

    Your Opinions and Comments

    I watched The Reaping on Sky this week, not a bad film although I'm always kind of cautious with religious apocalyptic films.

    About a thrid of the way through Sunshine, not sure how that will turn out but at least it looks good.
    posted by Si Wooldridge on 2/6/2008 20:45