Category Archives: F

From Paris with Love

From Paris with Love (2010): France – directed by Pierre Morel

Rated R by the MPAA – contains violence, some blood, constant profanity, some sexual content, utter stupidity, and naked mannequins

It appears that Pakistanis are officially the new Russians.  For years following the fall of the Soviet Union the movie industry was unsure who to blame for the world’s terrorist acts.  With 9/11 it became both clearer and more ambiguous: the dark, nation-less, bearded man was inevitably a jihadist terrorist intent on the destruction of America.  Now, with From Paris with Love, these terrorists have a country.

At the same time, the man who made Léon has fallen a long way.  Luc Besson is credited with writing and producing From Paris with Love, though perhaps Alan Smithee would have been better off taking the “credit.”   John Travolta attempts to return to Pulp Fiction form in what will surely end up being one of the worst films of 2010.

The trailer for the film was a disaster in its own right, with odd editing that made it painfully obvious that each sentence Travolta utters ends in profanity.  Expanding the trailer to a mind numbing 92 minutes, the film merely gets more offensive and stupid as it nears the end.

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Fantastic Mr. Fox

Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009): United States – directed by Wes Anderson

Rated PG by the MPAA – contains some mild violence

Note:  My Top Films of 2009 list has been updated to include an Honorable Mention for Fantastic Mr. Fox.

Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book is a brief read, but full of extraordinary characters. Mr. Fox is full of charisma, and the three villains are instantly memorable.  Wes Anderson has managed to take the essence of the short story, extend it into a novella-length film, and flesh out the characters even further.  I think this last aspect is the key to the film’s success: instead of merely adding more events to make the movie 87 minutes long, Anderson has made the cast of characters deeper and richer.

Mr. Fox (George Clooney) is an irascible gentleman.  He is married to Mrs. Fox (Meryl Streep), naturally, and as a young married couple they delighted in stealing chickens together.  Their rascally ways came to an end when pregnancy forced them to settle down.  But Mr. Fox is not a fox to take things lying down, and even though he promised not to go back into the business of stealing he can’t get the thrill of the hunt out of his blood.

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Forbidden Planet

Forbidden Planet (1956): United States – directed by Fred M. Wilcox

Not rated by the MPAA – contains mild violence and short sci-fi skirts

Forbidden Planet remains a seminal moment in the history of science fiction films, combining a huge budget with themes and gadgets that would resurface in many films and television shows.  The seriousness of the production and acting would go on to perhaps help legitimize science fiction films.

The story has become commonplace in the decades since Forbidden Planet’s release.  A crew of spacemen is sent to the distant planet of Altair to relieve the group of scientist’s that have been living there.  Commander Adams (Leslie Nielsen, before he got silly) is in charge of the expedition.

As they approach the planet the spacecraft gets a strange warning from someone below, and they are encouraged to turn around and go home.  Commander Adams is not one to back down, however, so they plow ahead.

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Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster

Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster (1965): United States – directed by Robert Gaffney

Not rated by the MPAA – contains some mild violence and a few 1960’s bikinis

There are lots of things one could say about Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster, so it’s difficult to know what to mention first.  You could discuss the plot, but it is so simple that it would hardly warrant much discussion.  More interesting is the manner in which the film was made, but even that thrill fades after a cursory glance.  This is truly a D-grade movie, possibly worth watching, but only because it has a funny title.

There are a couple competing factions in this film.  On the one hand we have a small spacecraft full of dozens of Martians.  They have obliterated their own planet so are looking for a new suitable home.  At the same time they must collect breeding stock to repopulate their species, since all the women died, save one.  Princess Marcuzan (Marilyn Hanold) is their leader.  She wears an odd leather ensemble and is surrounded by bald, incompetent spacemen.  They also have a space monster on board, who is hairy and ferocious.  He has very little to do with the story.

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For Y’ur Height Only

For Y’ur Height Only (1981): Philippines – directed by Eddie Nicart

Not rated by the MPAA – contains violence and Weng Weng

My friend Scotty recently discovered Weng Weng.  He seemed to be the perfect package: 2 feet 9 inches tall, martial artist, made James Bond spoofs.  What isn’t there to like?  So last night a bunch of us settled in for a Weng Weng double feature, starting with For Y’ur Height Only and continuing with D’Wild Wild Weng, a review for which is here.

So how did Weng Weng stack up against our ridiculously high expectations?  Surprisingly well, I have to say.  Granted, it was one of the worst-made movies I’ve seen in a while, but it had Weng Weng in it.

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Fair Game

Fair Game (1986): Australia – directed by Mario Andreacchio

Rated R by the MPAA – contains violence, nudity, mean people, probably some swearing

I think this is the first Ozploitation film I’ve reviewed, and one of the first I’ve seen.  Basically, much like all exploitation movies do for their own subgenre (nunsploitation, nazisploitation, sexploitation, blaxploitation), it takes those aspects that make Australians Australian, and uses them for its own purposes.  Here we have a lone lady in the Outback, by herself on a wildlife sanctuary, fighting for her life against three poachers/bad eggs.

The chick is Cassandra Delaney.  I have no idea who she is, but she was married to John Denver for a while.  Anyway, she takes care of these animals on her ranch that is next to nothing and near nothing.  There’s a little outpost town some miles away, and a couple other houses, but that’s it.  One day she finds a baby kangaroo that’s been hurt and takes it in.  As she’s driving to town to get some goods she gets accosted by two vehicles.  One’s a monster truck (I’m pretty sure they copied it almost exactly for the bad guy’s truck in The Rescuers Down Under), and the other is a van.  The three guys attempt to run her off the road but she narrowly escapes.

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