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  • Fixed Bayonets! Blu-Ray Review | Blueprint: Review
    to mind when I approach a Fuller film and it s that Fuller s brash bold style as much as I enjoy it can lead to their messages and writing feeling a bit blunt spoiling the overall experience Maybe I need to be in the right mood though because Fuller s approach can work like gang busters In particular I m a huge fan of Pickup at South Street which I reviewed previously and Shock Corridor So once again I ventured into Fuller s world hoping for a similar reaction as I put on Eureka s shiny new release of Fixed Bayonets Set during the Korean war Fixed Bayonets sees a platoon of American soldiers given an unenviable mission Their regiment finds itself beaten down trapped and forced to retreat from the area With Korean soldiers all around them though it s not as simple as just walking away The regiment s best chance for survival is to leave a small platoon of soldiers behind to look and sound like a regiment so as to fool the enemy into thinking there s still a large American presence in the snowy and mountainous terrain Basically put in the film they are 48 men giving 15 000 a break So this rear guard is left to defend a small valley for a couple of days whilst they are bombarded by Korean mortar and sniper attacks Among these soldiers is Corporal Denno Richard Basehart an intelligent man who has worked his way up the ranks quite quickly but still hasn t killed a man in combat As his handful of superiors are killed off one by one he becomes increasingly frightened that he will have to lead the platoon himself Now I m not always the biggest war movie fan Although they re often quite powerful I occasionally find them either heavy handed or offensive in glorifying war With Fuller s in your face tendencies I was worried either one or both of these issues might rear their heads here However his style actually works brilliantly Fuller was a WWII vet himself so knew the horrors of war first hand and is known to have been open about his dislike of traditional war movies with their sentimentalism and gloss In Fixed Bayonets he uses his bold style to present a tough matter of fact vision of the brutality and senselessness of conflict Characters are killed off with little fanfare In an early scene the platoon walk past two bodies in a burnt out Jeep and the only notable reaction comes from a soldier getting excited about finding dry socks on one of them It s quite an action packed film and the set pieces are brilliantly handled with some impressive long takes occasionally used A couple of minefield walks provide some excruciatingly tense moments and the sound of the guns and mortars in the attacks are frighteningly booming too with the camera physically shaking with every impact This gives an intensity to the

    Original URL path: http://blueprintreview.co.uk/2016/02/fixed-bayonets/ (2016-04-26)
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  • A Touch of Zen review | Blueprint: Review
    these mysterious characters about an hour in the film opens out into an action thriller though We discover that Yang is on the run from the Eastern Group of which Ouyang is a chief officer effectively the police force of the treacherous Eunuch Wei Yang s father has been executed for trying to speak out against Wei and the Group have been ordered to kill the rest of his family too Hearing of this injustice Gu agrees to help Yang and Shi using his intellect and knowledge of the local area to help stage an ambush on the Group s soldiers After these more standard action thriller elements the film heads off in a totally new direction then for the final 40 minutes or so Yang leaves Gu with whom she had developed a close relationship and enters a monastery where she meets Abbot Hui Yuan Roy Chiao When Gu goes searching for Yang he gets caught by some Eastern Group soldiers though and Yang Shi the Abbot and his pupils go to protect him This may sound like a standard plot development but instead it turns the film into a surreal Buddhist allegory with a particularly trippy denouement Largely due to this ending on top of the considerably long running time and shifting tones of the film A Touch of Zen is a wuxia like no other even now 45 years on At the same time however it s a clear influence on many of the genre s films which followed Director King Hu may have already turned heads with his previous two wuxia films Come Drink With Me and Dragon Inn which were much more commercially successful but it s A Touch of Zen that directors such as Ang Lee and Yimou Zhang have taken inspiration from in films like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and House of Flying Daggers The scenes which are most heavily borrowed from are the action set pieces Hu used the cinematic medium to bring dance like Peking Opera styles of combat to life having his characters perform feats impossible in physical reality with grace and beauty Using clever editing techniques rather than wires he made his characters look like they were effortlessly jumping from the thin top branches of trees or firing themselves like an arrow from a great height These set pieces are the highlights of the film and remain tremendously exciting today even if some of the techniques are a little dated The film looks gorgeous too The output of the Shaw Brothers studio previously and around the time had always looked good with lavish sets and costumes but Hu working out of Taiwan after disagreeing with the working practices of the Shaw Brothers crafted a world that looks good whilst remaining natural looking and lived in most Shaw Brothers films look quite fake and over the top His attention to detail meant his productions would drag on longer than most driving his producers to despair but the results can clearly

    Original URL path: http://blueprintreview.co.uk/2016/02/a-touch-of-zen/ (2016-04-26)
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  • Nikkatsu Diamond Guys Vol. 1 Blu-Ray Review | Blueprint: Review
    t expecting it to be this didn t disappoint and proved the strongest of the set in my eyes It s not as stylistically wild as Suzuki s better known works In these early days he was still young and embedded in the rigid Japanese studio system However there are a few directorial flourishes that point towards his later films For instance there s an unusual long take out of a car window that stays static for a while before unexpectedly moving and features a character practically looking right into the camera There s also a nice moment when a drunk character relates his story and you see the camera turn to a dutch angle I enjoyed the murder mystery story too It s a touch slower paced than some of the other Japanese gangster movies I ve been watching recently but it s engrossing and kept nice and short It s classily produced too looking great in its black and white wide frame and performed solidly by all the players Good stuff Red Pier Director Toshio Masuda Screenplay Ichirô Ikeda Toshio Masuda Starring Yûjirô Ishihara Mie Kitahara Masumi Okada Sanae Nakahara Shirô Ôsaka Country Japan Running Time 99 min Year 1958 Red Pier is a remake of the classic French crime drama Pépé le Moko 1937 which was popular in Japan at the time It sees young gangster Lefty Jiro arrange a crane accident on a pier resulting in the death of restaurant owner turned drug dealer Sugitaya Whilst police detective Noro Shirô Ôsaka tries to prove Jiro s guilt and the slimy journalist Paku snoops around for a story Jiro falls in love with Sugitaya s sister Keiko Mie Kitahara On top of the obvious elephant in the room between them Jiro s now ex girlfriend Mami Sanae Nakahara isn t happy and she s not the type of girl you want to get on the wrong side of A nightclub dancer who s admired by and well known amongst all the local gangsters she finds herself in several situations when she can either help or hinder Jiro s future Influenced by Hollywood melodrama almost as much as film noir this got a little soapy for my tastes at times but remained very enjoyable The latter half pushes the love triangle aspect to the side a bit which helps and a rich vein of rebellious youth pervades keeping things cool throughout This is established quickly in the opening scene when Jiro s reaction to Sugitaya s death is a flippant why can t they be cool With characters constantly smoking fighting hanging around in bars or dancing to jazz music the spirit of the newly discovered American teenager looms large The catchy theme music also reflects this Once again the film looks very good Shot in low key high contrast black and white its noir influences are clear although daytime scenes are blasted with bright summer sunshine largely to add some brightness to the central love affair There

    Original URL path: http://blueprintreview.co.uk/2016/02/nikkatsu-diamond-guys-vol-1/ (2016-04-26)
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  • The Fear of 13 Review | Blueprint: Review
    that and some recent hit TV series Because of this my ears perked up when I was sent a press release for The Fear of 13 as it featured a quote from Empire magazine stating it was guaranteed to reel in those recently obsessed with Serial and HBO s The Jinx Added to the fact that I m a huge documentary fan in general The Fear of 13 sounded to be the perfect fix I needed after Serial particularly as I don t have access to Netflix or Sky to watch anything like The Jinx or Making a Murderer Well The Fear of 13 ended up being quite a different kettle of fish to Serial but in no way did it disappoint The Fear of 13 opens with a statement saying that after more than 20 years on death row convicted murderer Nick Yarris made a final petition to the Pennsylvania courts He requested that all appeals cease and his sentence of death be carried out He agreed to be interviewed about the decision His story has been independently verified After this text appears on screen the rest of the film consists solely of Yarris telling his own story to the camera And what a story I don t want to say too much as the power and joy of this film is hearing this tale play out so apologies if this review ends up being a little short All I can say is that it s utterly captivating I literally found my jaw agape towards the end and I couldn t tear my eyes away from the screen Listening to just one man talk for an hour and a half sounds tedious but I can t think of a more gripping film I ve seen in recent years With the aforementioned quote likening this to Serial I was expecting it to be an in depth investigation into Yarris case However the film instead has a slightly unusual structure which is quite episodic at least in the first half This portion of the film looks into Yarris life in solitary confinement including a beautiful story about a musical shattering of years of silence Yarris telling of how he got a life sentence and what lead him to request the carrying out of his death sentence doesn t truly begin until just past half way through So it s not a piece of investigative journalism by any means We re not hearing anyone try to figure out who did a crime We re just led through an amazing story about one and its repercussions What makes the film work as well as it does is of course Yarris himself He s an amazing storyteller From hearing about his past as a young offender and drug addict it s surprising how clear and literate he is This is possibly explained in the film where he tells of how he discovered the joy of reading He had poor literacy skills when he first

    Original URL path: http://blueprintreview.co.uk/2016/02/the-fear-of-13/ (2016-04-26)
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  • The Friends of Eddie Coyle Blu-Ray Review | Blueprint: Review
    classic cop thriller Bulllitt so it was a no brainer for me to accept an offer to review Yates 1973 crime drama The Friends of Eddie Coyle I must admit I hadn t heard of the film prior to Eureka announcing their new Masters of Cinema Blu Ray DVD but it sounded very much like my cup of tea and skimming online suggested that it s highly regarded The Friends of Eddie Coyle tells the story of a group of criminals and a federal agent whose lives are intertwined around a low rate crook named Eddie Coyle Robert Mitchum He s looking at some jail time but is advancing in years struggling to make ends meet at home and doesn t want to leave his wife and kids on welfare His hope for redemption comes in selling guns to a busy group of bank robbers to keep the cash coming in whilst shopping in his gun runner contact Jackie Brown Steven Keats to convince the federal agent on his back Dave Foley Richard Jordan to drop his prison sentence Unbeknownst to Eddie though Dillon Peter Boyle the bartender who set up the deal that got Eddie arrested in the first place is also talking to Foley So things can t end well This is further proof if it were needed of what was great about 70 s American cinema even if it s from a British director Gritty dark and grim it thrives on its characters rather than a particularly involving story or exciting set pieces It was surprising for me to see such a low key drama after only knowing Yates for Bullitt which is famous for its mind blowingly good car chase climax There are a handful of tense scenes in Eddie Coyle too such as the cold and calculated bank heists and a stake out at a train station which ends in a brief flash of Yates car chase handling skills but these aren t what really make the film shine Most impressive is the handling and portrayal of its characters Everyone in the film is morally reprehensible and none even pretend to follow the old adage of honour amongst thieves Yet somehow you can t help but get caught up in their worlds and cling to the vain hope that it ll all end happily This is achieved through some fine writing assisted by the original novel which is considered a crime classic and an excellent cast Mitchum is often great but here he outdoes himself in a role that others might find difficult to pull off I haven t read the source novel but I believe the Eddie Coyle character was younger in that yet Mitchum seems perfectly cast here His co stars are spot on too and I do mean co stars as this is really an ensemble piece despite Mitchum s character name making the title Boyle is an under appreciated addition to numerous 70 s classics and Jordan and Keats neither of

    Original URL path: http://blueprintreview.co.uk/2016/02/the-friends-of-eddie-coyle/ (2016-04-26)
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  • Beyond the Valley of the Dolls Blu-Ray Review | Blueprint: Review
    20th Century Fox s plan though was to give a large budget to an already successful indie director with a reputation for making commercially successful genre films for very little money The director they chose was Russ Meyer and the film he made was Beyond the Valley of the Dolls The studio heads originally wanted Meyer to make a sequel to the popular novel film Valley of the Dolls but Roger Ebert yes the popular late critic and Meyer s script was a spoof of the source material They ended up making what Ebert called a satire of Hollywood conventions genres situations dialogue characters and success formulas heavily overlaid with such shocking violence that some critics didn t know whether the movie knew it was a comedy Due to this the producers stopped referring to it as a sequel and added a disclaimer to the start of the film informing viewers that what they were about to see had no connection to the novel or film Valley of the Dolls The plot of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls follows a rock group made up of three young women Kelly MacNamara Dolly Read Casey Anderson Cynthia Myers and Petronella Pet Danforth Marcia McBroom as they decide to move to L A to seek fame and fortune Their catchy tunes prove popular but the back stabbings bed hopping and excess of the Hollywood scene prove to be their undoing Key plot lines include Kelly being promised by her aunt that she d get her share of a grand inheritance which leads to a number of slimy suitors vying for their chance to get their own hands on it The band s straight laced manager Harris David Gurian who is also Kelly s boyfriend gets pushed to the sidelines too once they hit L A and the flamboyant well connected rock producer Ronnie Z Man Barzell John LaZar takes over the band changing their name from The Kelly Affair to The Carrie Nations It all ends in tears of course and some surprising violence out of left field I was a little disappointed with this I m not the world s biggest Russ Meyer fan but I do enjoy his tight fun action oriented romps I particularly appreciate his sharp editing style and the film s opening 15 minutes or so demonstrate this nicely with a brisk pace making the scene setting almost exhausting to watch However as the film moves on and the melodrama takes over it starts to sag I realise it s supposed to be a spoof or satire but the predictable love triangles and drug drink problems got a bit tiresome after a while and the film felt over long Thankfully an absolutely bonkers and unexpectedly gory finale makes up for the long wait Also making up for the uninspiring melodrama is the dialogue It s a shame that Ebert didn t write many more films as this contains some wonderfully quotable dialogue Little of it is realistic

    Original URL path: http://blueprintreview.co.uk/2016/02/beyond-the-valley-of-the-dolls/ (2016-04-26)
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  • David Brook | Blueprint: Review - Part 2
    Review February 16 admin March 3 2016 Featured Features Haiku Review Competition Win Last Shift on DVD David Brook January 18 2016 Competitions Featured Features Interview with Steve Oram admin January 11 2016 Featured Features Interviews Our Favourite Films of 2015 David Brook January 4 2016 Featured Features 2 Comment Haiku Review December 15 admin December 12 2015 Featured Features Haiku Review Competition Win Aferim on DVD David Brook December 8 2015 Competitions Featured Features Competitions Gates of Video Hell Haiku Review Interviews Short Films Weekend of Trash Home Reviews Book Reviews Film Reviews Game Reviews Short Films Soundtrack Reviews TV Reviews Podcasts Blueprint Review Spoiler Podcast Features Competitions Gates of Video Hell Haiku Review Interviews Short Films Weekend of Trash Author David Brook David Brook Editor of films and videos as well as of this site On top of his passion for film he also has a great love for music and his family Competition Win Last Shift on DVD David Brook January 18 2016 Competitions Featured Features Your chance to win a copy of the supernatural thriller on DVD 4 0 The Ninja Trilogy David Brook January 17 2016 Film Reviews Reviews David Brook reviews Cannon s cult classic ninja movies featuring Shô Kosugi 4 0 Hiroshima Mon Amour David Brook January 16 2016 Film Reviews Reviews 1 Comment David Brook reviews the remastered Blu Ray release of Alain Resnais classic war drama 4 0 Battles Without Honour and Humanity David Brook January 12 2016 Film Reviews Reviews 1 Comment David Brook reviews Arrow s expansive re release of the epic 5 film yakuza saga Battles Without Honour and Humanity a k a The Yakuza Papers on Blu Ray and DVD Blueprint on the LAMBcast Best Movies of 2015 David Brook January 7 2016 Featured Podcasts David Brook

    Original URL path: http://blueprintreview.co.uk/author/david-brook/page/2/ (2016-04-26)
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  • David Brook | Blueprint: Review - Part 3
    March 3 2016 Featured Features Interviews Haiku Review February 16 admin March 3 2016 Featured Features Haiku Review Competition Win Last Shift on DVD David Brook January 18 2016 Competitions Featured Features Interview with Steve Oram admin January 11 2016 Featured Features Interviews Our Favourite Films of 2015 David Brook January 4 2016 Featured Features 2 Comment Haiku Review December 15 admin December 12 2015 Featured Features Haiku Review Competition Win Aferim on DVD David Brook December 8 2015 Competitions Featured Features Competitions Gates of Video Hell Haiku Review Interviews Short Films Weekend of Trash Home Reviews Book Reviews Film Reviews Game Reviews Short Films Soundtrack Reviews TV Reviews Podcasts Blueprint Review Spoiler Podcast Features Competitions Gates of Video Hell Haiku Review Interviews Short Films Weekend of Trash Author David Brook David Brook Editor of films and videos as well as of this site On top of his passion for film he also has a great love for music and his family 3 5 Unbranded David Brook November 25 2015 Film Reviews Reviews David Brook reviews this documentary which follows four men on an epic mustang trek from Mexico to Canada 2 5 The Reflecting Skin David Brook November 24 2015 Film Reviews Reviews 1 Comment David Brook reviews Philip Ridley s beautifully shot dark drama resurrected from obscurity by Soda Pictures 4 5 Closely Observed Trains David Brook November 23 2015 Film Reviews Reviews David Brook reviews the Czech New Wave classic recently re released on Blu Ray by Arrow Academy 4 0 Requiescant David Brook November 17 2015 Film Reviews Reviews 1 Comment David Brook reviews this obscure spaghetti western re released on dual format DVD and Blu Ray by Arrow Video Competition The Legend of Barney Thomson Book DVD David Brook November 16 2015 Competitions Featured Features

    Original URL path: http://blueprintreview.co.uk/author/david-brook/page/3/ (2016-04-26)
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