Category Archives: Movie score 7.5

Colors

I remember this coming out, way back in 1988, and the thing I remember the most about it was the title song by Ice-T, a catchy song.

Back in the day this was a controversial film because of the subject matter. It is of course about gang violence and the cops trying to stop it. These days it seems quite tame as there are no extreme violence scenes where peoples heads are exploded by gunshots, or innocent bystanders are wasted by a psycho-drugged-up Crip or Blood gang member. It was more about the story back then, and great acting.

And the acting is probably the best thing about this film, both Robert Duvall and Sean Penn are both great. The supporting cast including Don Cheadle, María Conchita Alonso, and a one-scene one-line appearance by Jack Nance, are good but not as great (except Nance of course).

The producer hired actual gang members during filming to act as guardians, and two were apparently shot.

Dennis Hopper directed, his first film as director since Easy Rider. He shot many scenes in actual Blood or Crip areas using either Bloods or Crips as extras depending on where he was filming.

Sean Penn got a bit miffed at an extra taking photos of him without permission and gave him a good punching…33 days in prison for him.


The guy on the right in this image amused me. Not only did he look out of place in a Chicano gang, but he also basically took on this pose in almost every scene. A later scene kind of explained later on why he looked like this (he was drugged out of his mind), but it was weird nonetheless.

This is described as a “police procedural” on Wikipedia which it is I suppose, but not as procedural as those of the 1950’s. The story was pretty standard stuff actually. It followed Duvall and Penn who grudgingly become buddies, and together they set about finding out who blew a gang member away in a drive-by shooting (Don Cheadle did it!). It had all of the usual police, gang, love-interest, and car-chase tropes we expect from a police/gang story. But, I guess it portrayed the gang culture of the time well, but I wouldn’t really know.

I would not say this is an essential watch, not these days anyway, and if it wasn’t for Duvall’s and Penn’s acting skills, and Ice-T ‘s nice song, it would not rate as well.

Date watched: February 3rd
Score: 7.5/10
Film count 2018: 9

The Beguiled

This is a remake of an old Clint Eastwood film, but this is told from the perspective of the lady’s, not the soldier. And tops it is too, Sofia Coppola directs, Nicole Kidman and Kirsten Dunst get beguiled and Colin Farrell is the soldier.

Date watched: 19th November
Score: 7.5/10
Film count 2017: 65

Clint’s version might be worth a watch too:

Groundhog Day

I felt like a bit of Bill Murray, so returned to this film which I probably last watched over 20 years ago.

It was pretty much as I remembered, the basic story anyway, I had just forgotten the details. It is an entertaining watch but the whole premise of the film does start getting a little tired towards the end. Bill is funny but quite subdued compared to other films.

For some reason the ending was not as I remembered. I thought it ended with his groundhog day finally finishing, and instead his love interest in the film starting hers. This is not how it ended, but apparently it was in the original script, so perhaps I read it then it somehow morphed in my mind as being the actual ending. The mind is a malleable and tricky thing.

Bill, who seems to be a bit difficult at times, had a falling out with director Harold Ramis, and the two never worked together again.

Not bad, not great, but worth a watch again.

Date watched: December 30th
Score: 7.5/10
Film count 2017: 146

Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest

This is a documentary about one of my all-time fave hip-hop acts, A Tribe Called Quest.

It is basically a history of the band, but towards the end looks at the falling out between Q-Tip and Phife Dawg, then looks at Phife’s diabetes problem.

There are plenty of interviews with the band members as well as other acts such as De La Soul, Beastie Boys, and a Jungle Brothers member. There is also a lot of archival footage, as well as footage from Rock the Bells concerts which they headlined. Hip-hop gigs don’t seem to be all that good to me, it just doesn’t seem to work as well live, but maybe you have to be there.

Phife Dawg’s story is a bit sad. He was addicted to sugar which lead to a kidney transplant with his wife donating one kidney, but it did not take well and he had to have another transplant in 2012, and he died last year due to complications with diabetes.

The film had some great graphics, especially in the opening sequence (same as in the poster below).

This is more for A Tribe Called Quest fans than anyone else, but it is well made and somewhat interesting.

Date watched: December 28th
Score: 7.5/10
Film count 2017: 145

Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap

This is a documentary made by Ice=t about how rappers go about writing their music.

He starts off in New York where rap started, and talks with people like Grandmaster Caz (never heard of him, but he is supposedly one of the first rappers), Yasiin (formerly known as Mos Def), and a few others. He then goes to Detroit to see Eminem, who Ice-T seems to have a lot of respect for, then off to Los Angeles. There he meets up with B-Real from Cypress Hill, Run and DMC, Chuck D, Ice Cube, Kanye West, KRS-One, and Snoop Dogg, amongst others. There is also a look at the history of rap.

He asks each rapper about their writing process, and gets them to do a rap to the camera, most of which are quite impressive, and each one has their own unique style. Snoop Dogg was a highlight as he is such a chill and funny guy.

Ice-T was totally down with each person he met, he seemed to be very chummy with all of them. He did a couple of raps of him own.

But unless you like rap this is probably not for everyone. I did find some of the raps a bit tiring at times, they mostly rap about how dangerous they are and how they like shooting guns and spliffing spliffs. But, their passion for writing their music is clearly evident, and they are certainly talented and confident of themselves. They were also all very knowledgeable and respectful of the history of rap and other forms of music.

Date watched: December 9th
Score: 7.5/10
Film count 2017: 139

Weekend of a Champion

I stumbled across this on Netflix and had to watch it becaue it was about Formula 1 and Jackie Stewart.

It was directed by Roman Polanski who is a good friend of Jackie’s, and was filmed over the course of the 1971 Monaco GP weekend.

It followed Jackie as he prepared for the race, with plenty of behind the scenes footage which was fascinating to watch. There was footage of him talking to his engineers about car setup, talking with other drivers including Graham Hill, Francois Cevert (Jackie’s teammate, who died two years later), and to Roman himself.

The trackside and in-car footage was good to see. Jackie had a 16 mm camera in the car with him which gave some great footage as he screamed around the circuit during practice. The cars in those days looked fragile and lacked basic driver safety, so those drivers were truly brave and slightly nuts. Both Chris Amon and Denny Hulme were in the race also (both NZ drivers).

The almost total lack of safety was clearly evident. Jackie was at the time trying to get Formula 1 safety improved, and it was his efforts that have made F1 as safe as it is today. But, in this documentary you can see track marshals, photographers, and other people right on the side of the track during the race, with absolutely no barrier between them and the cars which in places were passing by only a metre or so away.

As this is Monaco there were plenty of celebrities around, and in the after-race dinner we saw Ringo Starr, Joan Collins, Grace Kelly, and Prince Rainer.

After this premiered in 1972 it had a small release then was forgotten for 40 years. Roman rediscovered it, recut it, and it was re-released in 2013. Roman added some present day footage shot in the same hotel room where Jackie and his wife stayed during the 1971 race weekend. He talked with Jackie about the race, his work on F1 safety, Jackie’s dyslexia, and sideburns.

This is really only for Jackie Stewart and Formula 1 fans, of which I am both so I enjoyed it. For others it might be a bit dull.

Date watched: December 4th
Score: 7.5/10
Film count 2017: 138

Gunfight at the O.K. Corral

This is a film that I chanced upon at my fave DVD rental place, and I decided I had to see because it is a well-known film, and it has The Kirkster.

It is based on an actual event that took place in Tombstone, Arizona, in 1881, and is considered to be the most famous gun fight of the American Wild West.

Burt Lancaster plated Wyatt Earp with The Kirkster as Doc Holliday, and also featured Lee Van Cleef, John Ireland, DeForest Kelley, and a very young Dennis Hopper.

The story mostly focussed on Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday, and the simmering feud between them and the cowboy cattle-smuggling gangsters, and of course culminated in a shootout.

According to Wikipedia there were quite a lot of historical inaccuracies, including the gunfight itself which in the film was fought at medium range, but in reality was face-to-face. The actual fight lasted only thirty seconds, but in the film it was of course longer. There was also a love story between Wyatt and a lady gambler which was completely fabricated, probably to attract the female audience.

The highlight of this film was the story between Wyatt and Doc Holliday, both Burt and The Kirkster were fabs in their parts. Dennis Hopper too was great, even though his part was quite small. The rest of the cast held their own.

It is a two-hour film, which was perhaps a bit too long, but overall it was a standard but decent watch.

Date watched: December 2nd
Score: 7.5/10
Film count 2017: 137

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