The Boys from Brazil

Film Title

The Boys from Brazil

Director

Franklin J. Schaffner

Starring

  • Gregory Peck as Dr. Josef Mengele
  • Laurence Olivier as Ezra Lieberman
  • James Mason as Eduard Seibert
  • Lilli Palmer as Esther Lieberman
  • Uta Hagen as Frieda Maloney
  • Steve Guttenberg as Barry Kohler

Taut, creepy and intriguing, Franklin J. Scahffner’s adaptation of Ira Levin’s novel The Boys from Brazil is filled with haunting suspense and excellent performances.

In Paraguay, a young and curious Jewish boy named Barry Kohler has stumbled upon secret meetings of former Nazi criminals. He is in contact with Ezra Lieberman, an aging Nazi Hunter who is all but retired and living in Vienna. The Boys from Brazil PosterLieberman is skeptical of the young boy’s findings and warns him to flee. Still curious, Kohler observes none other than Dr. Josef Mengele, the infamous Nazi doctor order his followers to kill over the next two years 94 65-year-old men in various countries around the world. Unfortunately for Kohler, he is discovered and promptly killed. Before his untimely demise, he at least manages to contact Lieberman who is now convinced something isn’t right. Although obviously failing physically and feeling the effects of advancing age, Lieberman is determined to stop the plan of Mengele and takes it upon himself to discover more. Visiting widows of some of the deceased men, he notes a startling resemblance with all of their adopted sons, who all have piercing blue eyes and jet black hair. Meanwhile, Mengele realizes that Lieberman is tailing him and sets out himself to finish the job. With time ticking away, Lieberman unearths the full nature of Mengele’s horrifying plan: he has taken tissue samples from Hitler prior to his death and managed to harvest them, creating human clones of the man and trying to replicate his upbringing down to the finest detail in order to begin the Third Reich again. Now locked in a battle of wills and intellect, Lieberman and Mengele face off as the aging Nazi Hunter tries to put a stop to the potentially devastating plan.

Franklin J. Schaffner crafts a tense and slickly paced atmosphere of mounting paranoia as Lieberman makes it his duty to put an end to the twisted plot posed to the world by Mengele. The pace may be electric, but it makes the characters more interesting and the various twists all the more thrilling. On occasion, the scientific jargon can become a little confusing and you may find yourself lost, but The Boys From Brazil is so well-constructed it can be forgiven for its lapses. Gregory Peck The Boys from BrazilThe backdrop of history provides a terrific crux for the narrative and the theme of cloning has a certain ring of controversial topicality in this time of ever-growing scientific power and discovery. We also get a thrilling and disturbing game of cat and mouse that builds to a violent crescendo as Lieberman tracks Mengele and the two try to defeat one another. The Boys from Brazil certainly presents an intriguing albeit horrifying what if? theme that is hard to shake off once you’ve watched this film. It may bring in elements of science fiction but regardless of this, you’re left pondering what would happen if any of the events portrayed where to actually happen. Jerry Goldsmith is on hand to provide a grand but slickly menacing score, filled with marauding brass and pounding drums to increase and accentuate the thrilling and supremely tense atmosphere.

In a convincing departure from the usually respectable and upstanding characters he played, Gregory Peck exudes menace and madness as Mengele, who sets in motion a terrifying plan. Laurence Olivier excellently imbues the role of Lieberman with a tired quality but also the determination and wit to fight against the bizarre plot posed to him and the world. Laurence Olivier The Boys from BrazilWhen Peck and Olivier finally lock horns late into the film, it is one electrifying encounter that can’t be underestimated in terms of its effectiveness as the battle between them becomes physical and well as mental. James Mason makes an impression as the loyal accomplice to Mengele, who increasingly begins to doubt his plan as the net closes in on his friend. Lilli Palmer is used well enough as Lieberman’s concerned sister Esther, while Uta Hagen makes the most of her one scene as a former Concentration Camp guard in on the scheme by giving her character a reticence and creepy demeanor. A young Steve Guttenberg portrays the curious Barry Kohler, whose stumbling onto the plot leads to his demise.

Thrilling, disturbing and at times quite frightening, the outlandish plot given gravity by Peck and Olivier make The Boys from Brazil a haunting film of bizarre suspense and strange paranoia.

 

 

 

 

The DSB Blogroll — Roll Call!

vinnieh:

Thanks Tom for featuring me on this list and the kind words. Anyone who hasn’t checked out Tom’s blog, please do as you won’t regret it.

Originally posted on digitalshortbread:

It’s been too long since I’ve switched out of writing mode and just put up a post here that actually addresses the community of which this blog (and by extension, I) have become a part over the last several years. The goal of this quick little post is simple — to say thank-you.

I want to draw your attention to one of the pages above the banner, the DSB Blogroll. It’s a section of the page I have been doing a pretty terrible job updating up until recently and I just wanted to make you all aware that your hard work on your blogs have not gone unnoticed here. I also want to doubly make sure that I have not left anyone’s work/pages/blogs/sites off that ever-expanding list. So, if you wouldn’t mind scrolling through that 160-some-odd list of blogs — a lot of which sadly have closed up shop and…

View original 2,244 more words

Alien Resurrection

Film Title

Alien Resurrection

Director

Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Starring

  • Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley
  • Winona Ryder as Call
  • Ron Perlman as Johner
  • Dominique Pinon as Vriess
  • Gary Dourdan as Christie
  • J. E. Freeman as Wren
  • Raymond Cruz as Distephano
  • Brad Dourif as Dr Gediman
  • Dan Hedaya as General Perez
  • Michael Wincott as Elgyn
  • Kim Flowers as Hillard
  • Leland Orser as Purvis

Coming after the misunderstood and much maligned Alien 3, Alien Resurrection emerges as a mixed bag. We’ve got the horror and action for entertainment as well as some interesting and very stylish ideas, but also some wasted opportunities that could have been expanded on.

Two hundred years after Ripley sacrificed her life to kill the alien that was growing inside of her, scientists aboard the spaceship Auriga, have managed to create a clone of her, as well as the Alien. Alien Resurrection PosterThe corrupt and greedy scientists are part of an illegal experiment in raising the creature and developing many other like it. The operation is overseen by General Perez, corrupt scientist Wren and creepy Dr Gediman. Perez enlists the illicit services of a group of mercenaries in bringing human cargo aboard. The group of mercenaries consists of leader Elgyn, sarcastic Johner, enigmatic Call, paraplegic Vriess, weapon-bound Christie and Elgyn’s romantic interest Hillard. Once aboard, the cargo that they have provided will be used as the hosts for the Alien. Meanwhile, because of the cloning procedures, Ripley has developed super strength, acidic blood and a mental link to the Alien. Her personality has drastically changed and she is now a slinky, ambivalent and almost predatory shadow of her old self. The Alien itself has also evolved and is now more dangerous than ever. The mysterious Call discovers Ripley and it is revealed that she is part of a resistance movement that want to kill the cloned Ripley, in order to wipe out the Alien. Call is too late and soon enough the intellectually advanced beasts manage to escape and leave a trail of bodies in their wake. Alien Resurrection CrewThe newly cloned Ripley teams with the group, which also acquires the services of soldier Distephano and Purvis, one of the humans who was used as a host for the Alien spawn. There is also the presence of the Newborn, a loathsome hybrid of human and Alien that has been born from the Queen Alien to contend with. With time running out before the ship lands on Earth and carnage erupting from every possible place, Ripley and the group must fight to stay alive and make it out safe.

Alien Resurrection may aim for the claustrophobic impact of the spaceship setting of the original Alien, but there’s something hollow to it here that doesn’t match the iconic first film. Sure, the set design is great with slippery surfaces, dark tunnels and Alien nests to get through, but this style is not enough to sustain an impact. The ghost of the previous and more effective films hangs over Alien Resurrection and thus makes it a weaker sequel to such illustrious predecessors. There is also a wealth of interesting themes at play here, such as the dangers of cloning and hybridity, but they are not developed enough to be sufficiently interesting for the audience. Where Alien Resurrection succeeds is the action and horror, which are both in high supply. Alien Resurrection CallStandout sequences include the gang having to swim to another chamber while being chased by the rapidly advancing Aliens, Ripley’s descent into the nest and the gory scene of the Alien’s putting in motion their brutal escape from confinement. Jean-Pierre Jeunet is in the director’s chair and brings an unusual and eerie quality to this entry of the science fiction saga. Always keen visually, he brings verve to the corridors of botched clones, slimy pits and blood that score highly in my book. There can be an over reliance on special effects to be found in Alien Resurrection, but at least for the most part, Jeunet manages to keep it under wraps. The score provided makes uses of slithering percussion and punctuating brass, twinned with bristling cymbals and twinkling piano to symbolize the link between Ripley and the Alien, as well as the growing terror that the characters are plunged into.

Sigourney Weaver imbues this version of the Ripley character with slinky sex appeal, eerie cynicism and effective strength. Alien Resurrection RipleyWeaver really seems to relish showing us this newly modified Ripley, who may not have the humanity of her human counterpart but still has the unmistakable steel and wits to survive. Essaying the role for the fourth time, Sigourney Weaver is once again as riveting as ever. Winona Ryder brings a mix of pluck and vulnerability to the role of the enigmatic Call, who has own agenda for coming aboard the ship. Ron Perlman brings his familiar quality of being a super bad ass to the part of the dryly humorous Johner, while Dominique Pinon as the wheelchair-bound but heavily armed Vriess is clearly having a blast. Gary Dourdan brings intensity to the part of the skilled fighter Christie, whereas J. E. Freeman oozes oily menace as one of the corrupt scientists aboard the ship. Raymond Cruz is wasted as a renegade soldier who teams with the survivors, while Brad Dourif chews the scenery as the twisted Dr Gediman. Unfortunately Dan Hedaya, Michael Wincott, Kim Flowers and Leland Orser and chronically underused and given barely anything really memorable to do in the film.

A film very much full of ideas but not as thrilling as it could have been, Alien Resurrection is despite its flaws quite entertaining and manages to just about get the job done.

 

 

Alien 3

Film Title

Alien 3

Director

David Fincher

Starring

  • Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley
  • Charles S. Dutton as Dillon
  • Charles Dance as Clemens
  • Brian Glover as Superintendent Andrews
  • Ralph Brown as Aaron
  • Paul McGann as Golic
  • Danny Webb as Morse
  • Lance Henriksen as Bishop
  • Pete Postlethwaite as David
  • Holt McCallany as Junior
  • Peter Guinness as Gregor

Coming after the effective Alien and action-packed Aliens, Alien 3 didn’t really stand much of a chance. Add to that studio interference and a troubled production that later saw debut director David Fincher express his dislike of the film, Alien 3 wasn’t received warmly upon release. But with the emergence of The Assembly Cut that restores crucial parts to the story, Alien 3 does still have its effective moments. It may still be flawed, but The Assembly Cut is well worth seeing as an improvement upon the version that hit cinemas.

After surviving the events of Aliens, Ripley is in orbit while in hyper sleep with Hicks, Newt and what is left of the android Bishop. A fire on board the spaceship causes their escape pods to be released, resulting in them crash landing on Fury 161. The planet is a bleak place for male prisoners who have now taken on religion in the hopes of repenting for their sins. Alien 3The Facility is run by Superintendent Andrews, who is helped by his lap dog Aaron. Unfortunately for Ripley, Hicks and Newt perish in the landing which devastates her. Her already grim outlook on things is not helped when she finds evidence that an Alien was in fact on board their ship. Stranded on this hostile planet, Ripley, her hair shorn as a precaution against lice, gains the trust of medical officer Clemens, who has a mysterious past. Andrews however is not too happy about Ripley’s presence among the dangerous prisoners. Matters later become shocking as brutal deaths involving inmates are committed. Ripley soon sees that her old nemesis is back and on another killing spree. At first alienated from the inmates, she later gets assistance from Dillon, the wise leader of the prisoners who believes her story. As bodies continue to mount, it’s only a matter of time before the Alien gets to Ripley. But a shocking revelation that links Ripley with the savage creature casts a different light on the subject and Ripley must decide her ultimate fate.

I think I’ll get the flaws of Alien 3 out of the way first. For starters, it gets a little confusing identifying certain characters because they all look very similar with shaved heads and bar code tattoos at the base of their necks. There is also the matter of the design this time around for the Alien. It is still terrifying to look at, but some dodgy CGI involved with it really detracts from some of the effective scenes of horror. Some of the film does feel disjointed and occasionally Alien 3 leaps from scene to scene without a thought. With those negatives out the way, here are the positives, of which many will be surprised that there are quite a lot in this film. David Fincher, although later disappointed with the film, actually makes a good stab at it. He creates a gloomy and hopeless atmosphere of dread among the prison, with roving camerawork capturing every dark corner and dimly lit corridor to Gothic perfection. Ripley and the AlienHe also directs some very creepy scenes of horror, including the Alien cornering an unarmed Ripley and the prisoners using themselves as bait in a terrifying chase. The killing of Hicks and Newt may have detracted many and I was very sad that they died, but I have to say it was a really ballsy idea. The deaths of the characters further contributes to the feeling of a grim future and outcome as the traumatized Ripley must contend with the loss of those closest while trying to remain alive. Out of all the Alien films, Alien 3 is the one that feels most like a requiem for the characters, most of all Ripley who has endured so much suffering at the hands of the Alien but has managed to fight back every time. Elliot Goldenthal contributes a gloomy score of Latin chanting and doom heavy synths to capture the religious beliefs of the inmates and the savagery that will soon befall many of them.

Sigourney Weaver is once again on powerful form as battle-scarred and hard-edged survivor Ripley, filling her with pain, strength and emotional depth. Ripley and the InmatesRipley has become such a rounded character over the course of the last two films and much of this is down to the incomparable work of the talented Sigourney Weaver, who brings so much to the role and delivers an outstanding performance. Charles S. Dutton is supremely effective as the leader of the prisoners, who inspires them with his speeches but will stand for no one stepping out of line and disobeying orders. Charles Dance is used very well as the informative but slightly mysterious doctor who takes a liking to Ripley, while Brian Glover brings gruff and blustering actions to his role as the superintendent of the prison. Ralph Brown is suitably cast as the assistant to the superintendent, who seems to repeat everything he says and doesn’t know what to do when confronted with a mounting crisis. Paul McGann is frightening as the disturbed prisoner Golic, who develops a fascination with the Alien, while Danny Webb is droll and sarcastic as prisoner Morse. Lance Henriksen is unfortunately underused this time as the battered Bishop and this is a real shame. The same goes for Pete Postlethwaite, Holt McCallany and Peter Guinness who are given barely anything to do as other inmates of the facility.

Flawed it may be, but Alien 3, primarily the Assembly Cut, certainly has its merits in terms of atmosphere and main performance from Sigourney Weaver.

 

 

 

 

The IPC’s Ladies

With my Ladies posts currently proving popular, I’ve been asking people who they would like featured in these posts. As I was chatting to Eric over at the IPC, he enlightened me on some of the women he wanted to see featured, and also a few man crushes.  So I decided to feature a post of them.

Diora Baird First up we have the seductive Diora Baird for Eric, and it’s not hard to see why he likes her, she is stunning.

Olivia Wilde

The absolutely gorgeous Olivia Wilde is another feature on Eric’s choices of beautiful women.

Marley SheltonIt’s clear to see that Eric is bewitched by the stunning beauty of Marley Shelton, especially in this photo.

Now for Eric’s man crushes, which I’m sure everyone viewing this post can appreciate. We have Matthew McConaughey, Ron Swanson and Timothy Olyphant.

Matthew McConaughey

Ron Swanson

Timothy Olyphant

 

Yet more Beautiful Ladies

Another Ladies post for all of you out there, thanks for responding so well to these posts. The aim of these posts is your enjoyment, and so far I believe I’ve fulfilled that role of providing you with some great images. Anyway, back to the post which I hope will chase off those Monday blues.

Aishwarya RaiBoasting some of the most beautiful and intense eyes I’ve ever seen, Aishwarya Rai is a stunner in every sense of the word.

Alyssa MilanoFrom the first moment I saw her on Charmed, Alyssa Milano has captivated my attention with her gorgeous smile and stunning good looks.

Salma HayekWith her sultry sex appeal and seductive voice, Salma Hayek always gets a thumbs up from me. This photo is especially for Pete.

Zhang ZiyiPorcelain skin, steely eyes and an intense gaze are all that Zhang Ziyi needs to make my heart skip a beat.

And now ladies, here are yet some more handsome men for all of you. We have Matt Bomer for By Hook or By Book and Sergei Polunin for Abbi.

Matt Bomer Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sergei Polunin

More Beautiful Ladies

After the success of my other Ladies posts, I thought I’d do another one for all my great followers out there. There is no specific theme today, just beautiful women for all the guys and some handsome men for the women.

Liv TylerFirstly, we have the luscious Liv Tyler. With her full lips and raven hair, she is a beautiful woman who always captivates my attention.

Christina HendricksThe sensual Christina Hendricks is a stunner in almost every photo I see her in. And I just love those fiery red locks.

Eva MendesEva Mendes always exudes smoky sex appeal in almost everything she does.

Emma StoneEmma Stone has such a gorgeous demeanor and has one of the best smiles I’ve ever seen.

And now ladies, here are some handsome men to lust after. We have some hipster guy for Reut, Jackson Rathbone for Vampire Placebo and French football star Olivier Giroud for all you sporting ladies.

Hipster Guy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jackson Rathbone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Olivier Giroud