Ken’s Movie Diary 2017 – Week 27

Weekly Update: This week my movie marathon focus continued with some war films, but following the deaths of director George A. Romero and Actor Martin Landau, I decided to do a bit of digging into their careers.

Curious what else I’ve seen this year? -Click here to read the full list of movies viewed year to date-

224. Coming Home (1978)

Jane Fonda plays Sally, the wife of a Marine Captain Bob (Bruce Dern), who is left alone when her husband is sent to Vietnam. Desperate for something to do, Sally volunteers at a VA hospital, and strikes up a friendship with handicapped veteran Luke (Jon Voight). She also begins to fall for him, but when Bob returns home, their romance is disrupted and soon a whole host of new problems are presented.  Coming Home is a powerful melodrama about the mental strain put on those who fought in the war, and those at home who they loved.

225. The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki (2017)

This solid romantic drama tells the story of Olli Maki, a Finnish Boxer who took on featherweight title holder Davey Moore, while contending with the strain of fame and promotion. Olli far preferred to focus on his burgeoning romance with his girlfriend Raija. Unlike most boxing films that focus on the drama of the fight and the build up to it, this film is more interested in Olli’s love life, and his lack of interest in the fame that comes with boxing. Making it a different kind of film than you’d expect (and certainly worth your time).

226. Killing Ground (2017)

Killing Ground is a realistic horror film about a couple who are terrorized by a pair of violent rapists. Unfortunately, the movie never really distinguishes itself beyond other horror films of its kind. The final act is particularly mediocre, as it is one of those movies where characters make dumb decisions which do not fit with the character they previously established.

227. The Iron Triangle (1989)

This B-level Vietnam War film is noteworthy only for the fact that it depicts both sides of the conflict. Most Vietnam films do not spend much time establishing the fact that the Viet Cong were humans too, people who had their own beliefs and in their own way believed what they were doing was right. The even handedness of the film does make an otherwise generic action war film noteworthy, if not quite enough to give a full recommendation.

228. The Quiet American (2002)

This remake of the 1950s original film is set in Indochina during the French Colonial period in the 1950s. Michael Caine plays a British journalist who writes about the rebellion that is tearing away at the French Army. He also loves a Vietnamese girl, who he can never marry as he has a wife at home who will never grant a divorce. Meanwhile, his girlfriend has another suitor; an American named Pyle (Brendan Fraser). Pyle has a secret of his own, however.  This is a solid period drama with an ambitious scope and some strong performances, including one of Michael Caine’s all time best roles.

229. Birth of the Living Dead (2013)

This documentary is about George Romero’s early work as a director, particularly his first feature: the massively influential Night of the Living Dead. The movie is all about the legacy of that low budget feature, and how the contemporary fictional portrayal of Zombies owes everything to this man and his ideas.  A wonderful little documentary for film buffs and Zombie fans alike.

230. Document of the Dead (1985)

When making his second Zombie movie Dawn of the Dead, George Romero allowed a film crew to visit the set and document the making of the project, including interviews with the cast and crew.  This film serves as a rare behind the scenes look at one of the most entertaining Zombie movies ever made, and as few films of the time had behind the scenes documentaries made about them, this film is particularly noteworthy.

231. Alone in the Dark (1982)

This comedic horror film stars Jack Palance and Martin Landau as insane asylum internees who become convinced their new doctor murdered the old one. They seize upon a power outage to escape and embark on a spree of murders to get at the doctor. Donald Pleasance is particularly entertaining as the pot smoking head doctor of the facility with unusual ideas of how to handle violent patients. This is a movie that relies entirely on the charisma of its principal cast, as the story is pretty much forgettable otherwise. But for fans of B-Horror this is definitely worth a look for some laughs.

232. The Long Goodbye (1973)

Elliott Gould plays an updated version of detective Philip Marlowe, as he investigates a murder that hits close to home. Marlowe is a somewhat disheveled character, living along with just his cat for company. The film is an often funny and dark look at the classic Noir detective story. The deeper Marlowe digs, the more broken people he meets on the way, and no one is without sin. Some criticized the movie for not staying true to the source material, but this version of the story works well as its own original work, regardless of the novel it is loosely based on.

233. Kuso (2017)

… This movie is a goddamned crock of shit.  In an attempt to be funny and transgressive it jumps all over the place with gross out humor and weirdness without any attempt to have a point or tell a cohesive story.  It makes last year’s The Greasy Strangler seem like a paragon of cinematic brilliance.

About Oberst von Berauscht

Oberst Von Berauscht once retained the services of a Gypsy to imbue in him the ability to accurately describe the artistic qualities of a film up to seven decimal points. To maintain this unique skill, he must feast on the blood of a virgin every Harvest Moon, or failing that (and he usually does), he can also make a dog do that thing they do where they twist their heads slightly (you know, when they're confused about something) at least a few times a week. I've gotten way off track here... The point is, Oberst is one of the website's founders, so... yeah

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