• This is a little message in honour of one of my favourite actors of all times who passed away a few days ago.

    Eli Wallach was an American actor born of Jewish immigrants in Brooklyn on December 7, 1915. He grew up in an Italian American neighbourhood. He graduated in 1936 from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in history where he also got a few first acting experiences. In 1938, he received a master of arts degree in education from the City College of New York. He got his first method acting experience when he started to study at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre in New York City. His education was cut short when he was drafted into the Army in January 1941. During World War II, he went to Hawaii, Texas, Casablanca and different parts of France. He continued to act as he performed in a humorous play called "Is This the Army?" with his unit where he would portray Adolf Hitler. Eli Wallach would continue his acting career in New York City after the war and would meet talents like Marlon Brando and Sidney Lumet. He also became friends with Marilyn Monroe and met his future wife Anne Jackson. Wallach made his Broadway debut in 1945 and won a Tony Award for his performance in the Tennessee Williams play "The Rose Tattoo" in 1951.

    Eli Wallach in Tennesse Williams' "The Rose Tattoo" adaption in 1951

    Eli Wallach in Tennesse Williams' "The Rose Tattoo" adaption in 1951

    Eli Wallach and his wife Anne Jackson became one of the most famous acting couples in the forties and fifties. Wallach refused to play any movies at that point and declined several offers. He had to reconsider his decision when he had to pay some bills and finally accepted to start acting in movies in the mid-fifties. His debut "Baby Doll" in 1956 was very successful and Eli Wallach won a British Academy Film Award as "Most Promising Newcomer".

    Eli Wallach in "Baby Doll" (1956)

    Eli Wallach in "Baby Doll" (1956)

    Eli Wallach would act in his first Western in 1960 which would become a famous cult movie. This movie was "The Magnificent Seven" where he played the Mexican bandit Calvera. Since then, Wallach would often be asked to perform in this kind of movies. He performed for example in the all-star epic "How the West Was Won" in 1962 along with actors like Henry Fonda, James Stewart and John Wayne. On the other side, he also played in Marilyn Monroe's last film before her death in 1961, entitled "The Misfits".

    Eli Wallach with Marilyn Monroe in "The Misfits" (1961)

    Eli Wallach with Marilyn Monroe in "The Misfits" (1961)

    His most famous and iconic role was probably when he starred as Mexican bandit Tuco in Sergio Leone's "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly". Eli Wallach played along with iconic actors Lee Van Cleef and Clint Eastwood in this timeless cult movie.

    Eli Wallach in "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" (1966)

    From left to right: Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach and Lee Van Cleef in "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" (1966)

    Eli Wallach also played in a couple of famous television movies and series. He won the 1966-1967 Emmy Award for his role in the telefilm "The Poppy is Also a Flower". He earned another Emmy nomination in 2007 for his role as Eli Weinraub in the television series "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip". Eli Wallach occasionally portrayed the evil Mr. Freeze in the "Batman" series between 1966 and 1968. He received a high number of fan mails due to this role.

    Eli Wallach as Mr. Freeze in the "Batman" series (1967)

    Eli Wallach as Mr. Freeze in the "Batman" series (1967)

    In 1980, Eli Wallach played in Steve McQueen's final acting role before his death, which was the thriller "The Hunter".

    Eli Wallach in "The Hunter" with Steve McQueen (1980)

    Eli Wallach in "The Hunter" with Steve McQueen (1980)

    In his later career, Eli Wallach became known to a wider public when he portrayed Don Altobello in "The Godfather Part III" in 1990. In 2006, Eli Wallach also starred in the romantic comedy movie "The Holiday" along with actors and actresses like Jack Black, Cameron Diaz, Dustin Hoffman, Jude Law and Kate Winslet who were all impressed by his charisma. He also had short roles in Clint Eastwood's critically acclaimed "Mystic River" in 2003, in Roman Polanski's "The Ghost Writer" in 2010 and finally in Oliver Stone's "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" in 2010. The latter appearance would be Eli Wallach's final acting experience.

    Eli Wallach as Don Altobello in "The Godfather Part III"

    Eli Wallach as Don Altobello in "The Godfather Part III" (1990)

    On November 13, 2010, Eli Wallach received an Academy Honorary Award for his contribution to the film industry from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

    Eli Wallach with his Academy Honorary Award in 2010

    Eli Wallach with Clint Eastwood and Robert De Niro is holding his Academy Honorary Award in 2010

    Eli Wallach died on June 24, 2014, in New York, aged 98, and is survived by his wife of 66 years, three children, five grandchildren and several great-grandchildren.

    Now, one of the world's most talented and versatile actors is gone but his incredible movies and series will never be forgotten. Rest in peace, Eli Wallach! 

    Partager via Gmail Delicious Technorati Yahoo! Google Bookmarks Blogmarks Pin It

    votre commentaire
  • An exchangeable horror movie - for genre fans only

     

    "The Quiet Ones" is another exchangeable modern horror flick that includes a whole lot of stereotypes.

    Story based on so-called "actual events"? Check.

    Shaky cameras and low budget production (This one looks like a 10,000 Pound sterling movie school production)? Check.

    Scary noises and sound effects here and there but one never sees any real superficial manifestation until the very last scenes? Check.

    Average actresses and actors almost nobody knew and most of us will never ever hear about again? Check.

    Stereotypical characters like a crazy professor, a superficial young woman and a shy intellectual? Check.

    A haunted or possessed young woman with a dark secret? Check.

    An old and isolated mansion in the countryside as main location? Check.

    The appearance of a strange occult sect out of nowhere? Check.

    As you can see, this movie offers nothing really new. It basically jumps on a current bandwagon around horror movies with supernatural elements. There are so many of them from intriguing ones like "Insidious" over good average ones as "The Conjuring" or "The Possession" to rather bad stuff in the key of "Devil's Due", "Mama", "Oculus" or "The Devil Inside". "The Quiet Ones" is situated somewhere between the good average and rather bad categories.

    These are the positive elements of the movie: The character of experiment subject Jane Harper is well played and has some potential, especially her relationship to the weird college professor and the main actor who is a shy student filming the experiment and who starts to fatally fall in love with the young woman. The ending of the movie has a fair pace and dramatic conclusion. Apart of a few weaker moments in the beginning, the movie's length is just right and keeps you addicted until the end.

    The negative points are these: The movie takes too much time to become really gripping. The story line is too predictable ad offers no real surprises. The shaky cameras are annoying and the scenes involving supernatural elements remain superficial. The secondary characters could have had some more development as one doesn't really care about their fate.  

    Why is this movie called "The Quiet Ones"? It's because there is a random guy at a library at Oxford University yelling something about this at the shy student with the camera. Well, this is not really convincing either.

     

    In the end, horror movie fans may honestly enjoy watching this movie once. It's entertaining and a good choice if you simply feel like changing your mind after a hard day at work. I would not watch it again or purchase the DVD but I definitely didn't regret watching it and had a good time. Don't expect anything extraordinary, this is for genre fans only.

     

    Partager via Gmail Delicious Technorati Yahoo! Google Bookmarks Blogmarks Pin It

    votre commentaire
  • Great monsters, average story

     

    I have grown up with the classic Japanese Godzilla movies that I first discovered when I was around eight or nine years old. I liked so many things about these movies: the looks of the monsters, the epic battle scenes, the different technical gimmicks, the detailed and handmade special effects, the emotional soundtracks, the diversified side stories and many references to Japanese culture. When I saw the first American "Godzilla" adaption as a child, I was rather disappointed and thought of it as a missed attempt at putting a "Jurassic Park" monster in a metropolis. As a child, I was then asking my parents to find the first original Godzilla movie that I had heard and read about and when my father finally came home with a videotape of it, I preferred this dark, diversified, philosophical movie that explored at least four genres at the same time (being a detailed action movie, a philosophical drama, a bleak horror movie and an innovating science-fiction film) to any movie I had ever seen before. Until today, the original movie from 1954 is one of my all-time favourite films and a classic any cineaste must see.

    Until today, I have watched almost all Godzilla movies and while I adore most of them (my favourites being "Godzilla" (1954), "Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster" (1964), "Invasion of Astro-Monster" (1965), "Godzilla versus Mechagodzilla" (1974), "The Return Of Godzilla" (1984), "Godzilla versus King Ghidorah" (1991) and "Godzilla versus Destoroyah" (1995) among others), I thought it was a good idea to end the series with the fiftieth anniversary and a last epic movie called "Godzilla: Final Wars" back in 2004 because the franchise started to run out of ideas. Ten years later, the world's most famous Kaiju is back. As a longtime fan I was excited that my childhood hero was back on screen but on the other side I felt that everything had been said about Godzilla and that the first American movie was of a low average quality at best.

    While the new movie is nothing revolutionary and not a far call from many classic Japanese movies without reaching the perfection of the unbeatable original, the new film is much better than the first American Godzilla movie.  

    I liked the slow start of the movie including a scientific story that is slightly inspired by the original but also by current events as the nuclear disaster in Fukushima. The strongest acting parts of the movie can be seen in the first thirty minutes or so and immediately get you into the story. The idea of two new monsters that would compete with Godzilla took me a little bit by surprise and really goes back to the Japanese classics which is a positive fact for a longtime fan. The final battle scenes in San Francisco are entertaining and visually stunning. Most importantly, the looks of Godzilla are great and feature all trademarks fans like about him from his atomic breath to his unique roars. The king of monsters looks a little bit bigger and heavier than the original but I think it looks extremely beautiful. Maybe Godzilla almost looks too sympathetic which is reminding me of the movies of the sixties and seventies rather than the original film or the last Japanese films. In comparison to the last few movies of the franchise, Godzilla is actually playing a the role of a hero and not a villain again which was another positive surprise to me.

    Obviously, there are also a few minor negative elements in here. Apart of the great and touching first thirty minutes or so, the acting in this movie is a little bit wooden and stereotypical. I'm sorry to say this but child actor Carson Bolde is one of the worst of its kind. His character almost doesn't speak, has only one facial expression and looks like he had a severe Down syndrome. While watching the first thirty minutes, I thought it was going to be an extraordinary movie but a few lengths and the lack of high quality acting made the final result a very good film but not an absolute highlight. Another really negative element is that Godzilla almost only plays a secondary role in this movie apart of the last thirty minutes. The king of monsters doesn't have much screening time but once it is there, it really shines. The movie rather focuses on the two other monsters. I don't want to spoil anything but the two new monsters look somewhat artificial and have no unique charisma. The story around these two monsters had some potential but they are mostly unimpressive in the end and among the most boring opponents Godzilla ever had. On a side note, let's add that the soundtrack of this movie is unimpressive and never comes close to the emotional and epic Japanese soundtracks.

     

    In the end, the first thirty minutes of the movie are creative and intense while the final battle scenes in the last thirty minutes are entertaining and epic at some points. In between, the weak acting, the lack of screen time for Godzilla and the unimpressive new monsters slow the pace of the movie a little bit down. Fans of the franchise might analyze this film as a good and solid comeback but no extraordinary one. Enjoy and watch it without further hesitation if you are still undecided. After all, the new looks of Godzilla and its unique charisma (yes, a monster can have charisma and it's probably the best "actor" in this movie) left me wanting more by the end of the movie. This is a well done tribute to the classics with convincing settings from the Phillipines over Japan to Hawaii and San Francisco. The special effects are as stunning as you can expect. I would call this movie a solid success after all. I'm in love with my childhood hero again and really hope Godzilla will be back. 

    Partager via Gmail Delicious Technorati Yahoo! Google Bookmarks Blogmarks Pin It

    votre commentaire
  • Godzilla 2014 bannerGodzilla 2014 movie poster 1

    I have grown up with the classic Japanese Godzilla movies that I first discovered when I was around eight or nine years old. I liked so many things about these movies: the looks of the monsters, the epic battle scenes, the different technical gimmicks, the detailed and handmade special effects, the emotional soundtracks, the diversified side stories and many references to Japanese culture. When I saw the first American "Godzilla" adaption as a child, I was rather disappointed and thought of it as a missed attempt at putting a "Jurassic Park" monster in a metropolis. As a child, I was then asking my parents to find the first original Godzilla movie that I had heard and read about and when my father finally came home with a videotape of it, I preferred this dark, diversified, philosophical movie that explored at least four genres at the same time (being a detailed action movie, a philosophical drama, a bleak horror movie and an innovating science-fiction film) to any movie I had ever seen before. Until today, the original movie from 1954 is one of my all-time favourite films and a classic any cineaste must see.

    Godzilla 2014 movie poster 2Godzilla 2014 movie poster 3

    Until today, I have watched almost all Godzilla movies and while I adore most of them (my favourites being "Godzilla" (1954), "Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster" (1964), "Invasion of Astro-Monster" (1965), "Godzilla versus Mechagodzilla" (1974), "The Return Of Godzilla" (1984), "Godzilla versus King Ghidorah" (1991) and "Godzilla versus Destoroyah" (1995) among others), I thought it was a good idea to end the series with the fiftieth anniversary and a last epic movie called "Godzilla: Final Wars" back in 2004 because the franchise started to run out of ideas. Ten years later, the world's most famous Kaiju is back. As a longtime fan I was excited that my childhood hero was back on screen but on the other side I felt that everything had been said about Godzilla and that the first American movie was of a low average quality at best.

    Godzilla 2014 toy

    While the new movie is nothing revolutionary and not a far call from many classic Japanese movies without reaching the perfection of the unbeatable original, the new film is much better than the first American Godzilla movie.  

    Godzilla 2014 HD movie poster

    I liked the slow start of the movie including a scientific story that is slightly inspired by the original but also by current events as the nuclear disaster in Fukushima. The strongest acting parts of the movie can be seen in the first thirty minutes or so and immediately get you into the story. The idea of two new monsters that would compete with Godzilla took me a little bit by surprise and really goes back to the Japanese classics which is a positive fact for a longtime fan. The final battle scenes in San Francisco are entertaining and visually stunning. Most importantly, the looks of Godzilla are great and feature all trademarks fans like about him from his atomic breath to his unique roars. The king of monsters looks a little bit bigger and heavier than the original but I think it looks extremely beautiful. Maybe Godzilla almost looks too sympathetic which is reminding me of the movies of the sixties and seventies rather than the original film or the last Japanese films. In comparison to the last few movies of the franchise, Godzilla is actually playing a the role of a hero and not a villain again which was another positive surprise to me.

    Godzilla 2014 magazine cover 1Godzilla 2014 magazine cover 2

    Obviously, there are also a few minor negative elements in here. Apart of the great and touching first thirty minutes or so, the acting in this movie is a little bit wooden and stereotypical. I'm sorry to say this but child actor Carson Bolde is one of the worst of its kind. His character almost doesn't speak, has only one facial expression and looks like he had a severe Down syndrome. While watching the first thirty minutes, I thought it was going to be an extraordinary movie but a few lengths and the lack of high quality acting made the final result a very good film but not an absolute highlight. Another really negative element is that Godzilla almost only plays a secondary role in this movie apart of the last thirty minutes. The king of monsters doesn't have much screening time but once it is there, it really shines. The movie rather focuses on the two other monsters. I don't want to spoil anything but the two new monsters look somewhat artificial and have no unique charisma. The story around these two monsters had some potential but they are mostly unimpressive in the end and among the most boring opponents Godzilla ever had. On a side note, let's add that the soundtrack of this movie is unimpressive and never comes close to the emotional and epic Japanese soundtracks.

    Godzilla 2014 soundtrackGodzilla versus MUTO

     

    In the end, the first thirty minutes of the movie are creative and intense while the final battle scenes in the last thirty minutes are entertaining and epic at some points. In between, the weak acting, the lack of screen time for Godzilla and the unimpressive new monsters slow the pace of the movie a little bit down. Fans of the franchise might analyze this film as a good and solid comeback but no extraordinary one. Enjoy and watch it without further hesitation if you are still undecided. After all, the new looks of Godzilla and its unique charisma (yes, a monster can have charisma and it's probably the best "actor" in this movie) left me wanting more by the end of the movie. This is a well done tribute to the classics with convincing settings from the Phillipines over Japan to Hawaii and San Francisco. The special effects are as stunning as you can expect. I would call this movie a solid success after all. I'm in love with my childhood hero again and really hope Godzilla will be back. 

    7/10

    Partager via Gmail Delicious Technorati Yahoo! Google Bookmarks Blogmarks Pin It

    votre commentaire
  • Power Metal – IX

    June 26, 2014 in Reviews by Sebastian Kluth

    Power Metal - IXPower Metal - IX (2010)

    Reviewed by Sebastian Kluth

    So you guys think you know Power Metal? Maybe that’s the case for the genre, but probably not for the criminally underrated band of the same name. This formation is one of the most important metal bands in Southeast Asia, and has been around since 1986. The band has released nine studio records as well as several compilations, live records and split releases thus far. Their last studio effort from 2010 is fittingly entitled IX, and features nine songs sung in Indonesian, as well as an instrumental track, which clock in at a total length of forty-three minutes.

     

    On this release, the band is stylistically situated somewhere between hard rock balladry, Japanese Visual Kei elements, and melodic power metal. To my surprise, this more commercial and contemporary record features many more hard rock and Visual Kei influences than metal elements. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but IX feels bit mellow and directionless, and must be considered as one of the more forgettable releases from the band.

    Power Metal opens the record with the strangest track. “Sang Waktu” starts with a few beefy riffs and weird hoarse screams that make me think of some really bad melodic death metal bands. The track then shifts toward a more traditional heavy/power metal style with twin guitar parts, an epic and dark atmosphere, but somewhat forgettable clean vocals. The band employs a few surprising elements here and there in the form of circus music-inspired passages featuring hysterical piano melodies. In the end, the track sounds like an odd mixture of Helloween, In Flames, and UneXpect. The different sections are creative, though horrifying due to the awful screams, but they don’t really fit together. The song-writing feels rather random, after all, and the track itself is much too short to lend the different stylistic passages enough space to shine.

    After such a furious opener, the band calms things down way too much with the slow-paced piano track “Keyakinaku”, which makes me think of an average X Japan ballad of the nineties. The orchestral middle part is overwhelmingly bombastic and feels so exaggerated that it’s almost mildly amusing. It’s like one of Manowar’s more recent and failed attempts at creating soundtrack-inspired epic “true” metal.

    The third song, “Hidup”, introduces us to the third kind of song on this record. It’s a melodic mid-to-up-tempo power metal track of European style with a catchy, liberating, and positive chorus. This is where the band really honors its name. The vocals fit in much more with this kind of song than with the first two tracks, and sound suddenly charismatic, with a slightly hypnotizing and mysterious tone brought on by emotional melodies and grounded energy. If you like bands such as Rhapsody Of Fire, Helloween, Edguy, or the band’s Indonesian colleagues from Lord Symphony, chances are that you are going to dig this kind of music.

    Most of the other songs offer a mixture of these first three tracks, with a focus on hard rock ballads and Visual Kei stylistics. There is a lot of hit and miss on this record. “Satu Jiwa” is a powerful and fast power metal song with a dark atmospheric break in the middle that adds a slightly symphonic and soundtrack-infused touch to the record. Another highlight is definitely the melodic instrumental closer “Ninth Sense”, which is stylistically situated somewhere between heavy, power, and progressive metal. However, the band also suffers musical diabetes in form of the too-sweet ballad “Ayah”, that comes around with stereotypical child choirs and even a horrible out-of-tune male child vocal performance towards the end.

    In the end, IX is an entertaining record, but it’s not very convincing. Half of the songs are good, average tracks that would be interesting enough to sit through the entire album, while the other half consists of exchangeable ballads or old-fashioned power metal songs. The album is okay, but nothing more, and you should instead start with a release from the early days to get to know one of the most popular bands in Southeast Asia. Those who are looking for a decent power metal release from the same region should definitely go with the latest record from Lord Symphony.

    3.0 // 5

    Partager via Gmail Delicious Technorati Yahoo! Google Bookmarks Blogmarks Pin It

    votre commentaire



    Suivre le flux RSS des articles
    Suivre le flux RSS des commentaires