Midnight Movie Madness: “The fall” (2006)

The fall” – (117 minutes, India/USA, 2006 – rated R)

In a Los Angeles hospital of the 1920s, a 5 year old Romanian girl named Alexandria (Cantinca Untaru) is recovering from a broken arm she suffered picking up oranges with her migrant workers parents. Relieving the monotony of long days in this adult world is her accidental meeting of another patient, Roy Walker (Lee Pace), a young movie stuntman.

"The fall" title
Opening title

Roy is bedridden after performing a stunt he intended to impress the film’s female lead. The opening sequence of “the fall“, a gorgeous black and white montage using Beethoven’s 7th symphony, reveals what happened after Roy plunged off a railroad bridge on horseback into the river below, killing his horse and wrenching his back.

The fall iron horse
… And the Iron Horse

As it turns out, Roy is not only just as bored as Alexandria, he is contemplating suicide, the hopeless romantic…

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David Fincher’s “the girl with the dragon tattoo”

“The girl with the dragon tattoo” – (158 minutes, USA, 2011 – rated R)


I wanted to like this. Great cast, great director, great story… But like Steven Spielberg, David Fincher hits it about as much as he misses, and the opening sequence of “the girl with the dragon tattoo” is the best part of the movie.

Steven Zaillian is credited as screenwriter for this adaptation and described on imdb as a veteran scrip doctor. Here, it appears the doctor killed the patient. You very seldom get a strong female character matched to a strong female lead as was the case with Salander and Noomi Rapace. To say this version adds nothing to the original Swedish film is true but incomplete: the character treatment of Lisbeth Salander amounts to character assassination, although at 158 minutes it’s more like a prolonged torture session.


When Lisbeth rescues Blomqvist from the killer and chases after him,  she actually asks Blomqvist for his permission to kill the bad guy. In Fincher’s “girl with the dragon tattoo”, Lisbeth subordinates herself to Blomqvist, which is not just contrary to the source material (book and film), but bizarre…

The book’s original title, Män som hatar kvinnor, means “men who hate women”, and makes me wonder at the guys involved here. Too bad, so sad, avoid this stinker. This gets no beans.

0 beans

UPDATE BY Rudha-an

Here is the opening title sequence that Lastech mentioned. It’s the best part of the movie.

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Friday the 13th double matinee: tales of a killer song

It’s a mystery to me
the game commences
Dire Straits –  “private investigation”

Another Friday the 13th rolls around, time again to look at some baaad luck, double-matinee offerings from foreign parts.

Here we have two works of fiction, inspired by the same (mostly true) story, and yet they couldn’t be more different. The song at the heart of both stories has a haunting quality, and provides a very intriguing starting point for these mysteries.

The piece.

In 1930s Paris, a Hungarian songwriter named Rezső Seres composed a song entitled “the end of the world”.

Without speculating as to Seres’ inspiration, it was widely regarded as a downer. A downer of such proportions that despite various interpretations and growing popularity, the song was blamed for causing several suicides.

ill fated composer Rezso Seress
The ill-fated composer Rezso Seress

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“Trollhunter”: Norway José

Corny jokes are all that I’m left with, along with growing paranoia.

Just over a week ago, I was trawling (geddit?) through our Netflix queue looking for something to watch,  promptly found “Trollhunter” sitting two thirds of the way down, and jumped over to Nekoneko to re-read her review.

By the way, if you’re interested in watching “Trollhunter” I recommend you read her write up. Because you see, I did not finish it. And I wanted to review it. By Grabthar’s hammer, this was not to be…

Trollhunter poster
Movie poster

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Midnight Movie Madness: “the adventures of Tintin”, from Rouletabille until Clark Kent

“The adventures of Tintin” (107 minutes, USA, 2011 – rated PG)

Perhaps the most difficult thing in adapting material like Hergé’s comic books has to do with tone and pitch. To say the themes and characters are dated or fixed in time might be unkind, but it’s safe to say Tintin is steeped in tradition. And in some instances, some would even say good riddance.

"The adventures of Tintin" movie poster
“The adventures of Tintin” movie poster – 2011

Tintin’s adventures spanned about 40 years from the 1930’s until the 1970’s, a period which started between world wars, through European decolonization, the nuclear age, race to space and the cold war, with a hero combining Baden-Powell’s Boy Scouts’ ideals with the romantic depiction of the journalist as defender of the Fourth Estate.

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Midnight Movie Madness: “the grapes of death”, egg yolks and Beaujolais

The grapes of death” – (85 minutes, France – NR)

Thirty years before the excellent comedy “Bottle Shock” came out, this little known gem drew its inspiration from the troubled French wine industry. Question is: was it a diamond in the rough or straight up zirconium?

Marking a return to the Midnight Movie Madness review format is this bit of a curio from 1970s France, written and directed by Jean Rollin. I found this looking through Z-movie listings (I mean Zombies), although “grapes of death” isn’t exactly about zombies created by bad wine made worse by overused pesticides, it could have been called “les dégueulasses“, as country folk develop extremely bad acne, smearing it everywhere from car windows to… Well, anywhere.

Grapes of death blind girl
Blind village girl with Elisabeth (L2R) Praise Jesus and pass the L’Oreal…

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Jacky and the rest of them…

Ah. The movies. And to dream of being more than what we are, or less, maybe even other…

Hugo” – (126 minutes, USA – PG)

I had really been looking forward to watching “Hugo” because Martin Scorsese is one of my favorite directors and his latest film competed directly with “the artist” at the last Academy Awards.

Both films express a passion for movies at a time when much of the public shuns theaters for at-home viewing, like us here at JBoD. I frankly can only think of two films in recent memory which passed the “windshield rule”: “we are what we are“, Terrence Malick’s “the tree of life“, perhaps even Lars Von Trier’s “Melancholia“.

On my daily commute, especially in the summer months, I get to enjoy both sunset and sunrise, a benefit of working nights. And so I got to wonder just how many films are really worth watching on anything larger than a car windscreen. By and large, especially with high definition TV, I feel most movies fail the test.

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“Family” films Kurosawa and Shakespeare would like: “Outrage” and “Brighton Rock”

Following “we are what we are“, let’s have a look at another two family films from 2010, of a different sensibility than say, the Disney type…

After receiving accolades from critics everywhere for his peculiar style of crime drama, Takeshi “Beat” Kitano returns to a more conventional and commercial narrative with “outrage“.

And this isn’t a bad thing: his humor is still apparent although he seems more distant than usual towards his characters.

Outrage Beat Takeshi
Takeshi Kitano as Otomo

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Fake Tales of San Francisco: Name That Movie

Over the years, the city of San Francisco has starred in quite a few books, movies and tv shows. Steve McQueen and Clint Eastwood have driven its streets. Dashiell Hammett also made San Francisco the stage of The Maltese Falcon. One can even take a 4 hour Dashiell Hammett walking tour. Contagion was one of the more recent movies that was filmed here. It is also the host of the headquarters and council chambers of the United Federation of Planets and Starfleet.

Not long ago we watched a movie starring our wonderful city.  Watching it, I realized that I had photos of almost every place that was important to the story and I decided to play a little game. I’m going to post the photos and maybe you can figure out which movie we watched. I don’t think it will be difficult for the movie buffs out there.

Lloyd Lake
The Pillars of the Past is the first landmark mentioned in the movie, though not shown
900 Lombard was the home of the leading male character
Nob Hill
The Brocklebank building at 1000 Mason on Nob Hill was where the leading female character lived

The characters visited other places in and out of The City. I present them in no particular order.

Mission Dolores
Mission Dolores, the site of a mysterious grave
Legion of Honor
The California Palace of the Legion of Honor was home to a mysterious painting
Muir Woods
The two lead characters paid a visit to Muir Woods, North of San Francisco
Palace of Fine Arts
The movie couple took a stroll around the Palace of Fine Arts
Fort Point
Fort Point, the site of major drama. The chain link fence was erected after 9/11 and was not present in the movie

If you have figured it out already, good for you. For those still struggling, I have placed several photos below the fold that should provide the answer.

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Midnight Movie Madness: “we are what we are”

“We are what we are” – (90 minutes, Mexico, NR)

We are what we are” is largely about what it takes to keep a family together and that thing here isn’t love. “We are what we are” is a Mexican film written and directed by Jorge Michel Grau whose career so far shows promise, mostly documentaries centered on culture, the arts and education.

we are whar we are poster

It helps to know this as this work of fiction has strong sociological themes, rather specific to Hispanic culture, Mexican in particular.

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