Category Archives: Second Chance Cinema

Star Wars Prequel Trilogy Revisited

When you mention you’re a Star Wars fan to anyone outside your normal social circle, you tend to get one of two reactions. One is the “Eurgh, what did I just step on?” look as they inconspicuously try to get as far away from you as possible, and the other is the knowing smile and the awkward attempt at conversation, usually on the subject of “Is there any other bounty hunter cooler than Boba Fett?” (The answer to that of course, is yes!)

Star Wars Celebration III

Who says it’s not cool to be a Star Wars fan?

Mention to the latter however, that you’re a fan of the prequels and you’ll normally get the exact same reaction as the former gave you the first time. My point is, it’s never cool to admit to being a Star Wars fan, and even less cool amongst other Star Wars fans to admit you like the prequels. Well I’ll freely admit to not being cool just as I’ll freely admit to being a fan of George Lucas’ most recent offerings and here’s why:

Episode One is where it all began, telling the tale of young Anakin Skywalker long before the Clone Wars, his tragic downfall and rebirth as evil alter ego Darth Vader, and the eventual rise of the Empire. What’s not to like here? First off, the special effects, the backdrops and the set design are all second to none. No matter what you think of this movie you cannot say it’s not a beautiful film to look at, from the virtual paradise of Naboo to the swarming metropolis of Coruscant and the rolling arid landscape of Tatooine, it’s a feast for the eyes and the imagination alike.

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My Essential Christmas Films

Seeing as how it’s Christmas and all, I thought I’d share with you my favourite Christmas films.

Santa Clause: The Movie santaclausbdcap3_original

A film that didn’t do too well at the box office, it went on to become a cult film of sorts. Investigating the origin story of Santa Clause, the movie (albeit thinly) answers all the questions as to why the great man came to be. The special effects are terrible and the script forgettable so why’s it on the list?  Well it’s fun and very warm. Plus John Lithgow’s pantomime portrayal of Santa’s corporate rival is so over the top you can’t help but love to hate him.

kinopoisk.ruHome Alone 

Rumour has it that a top studio exec was fired for passing on the chance to produce Home Alone. Considering it made $17 million in its opening weekend it doesn’t fall into the realms of improbable. When the McCallisters go on holidays for Christmas they leave behind their 8 year old son Kevin (Macauley Culkin). At first it’s all fun and games however he starts to miss his family and finds himself the unlikely Continue reading

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The Magnificent Showman (1964)

As part of our Second Chance Cinema strand we look at the 1964 film The Magnificent Showman.

There came a period in John Wayne’s career where he stopped playing the part as presented in the script and started playing the version of John Wayne that the public wanted to see. In the Sixties after an incredible run of top westerns and war films, under the direction of some of Hollywood’s directors, The Duke started appearing in more comedy themed roles and much less of the drama roles he made his name with. As the star he held enormous sway in the product his name was attached to. This did not always lead to the best of decisions and some times the end product was wanting. Right in the middle of this period came the circus drama The Magnificent Showman(also known as Circus World).

John Wayne plays Matt Masters, the owner of a wild west themed Circus set at the start of the twentieth century. The season has come to a succesful conclusion and Matt decides to take the circus on a tour of Europe against the advice of those closest to him. These tours never come off well and are fraught with difficulty for all involved. Frequently it ‘s the graveyard of US circuses. This is not a deterrent for Matt in the slightest. Continue reading

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Mirrors (2008)

In our Second Chance cinema strand, Moviescramble casts its eyes over the 2008 horror film Mirrors.

In terms of critical acclaim horror films are generally given a bit of a kicking. Most reviewers tend to dismiss the genre as a whole and do not appraise the film as an individual entity. This tends not to happen in most other types of film out there. One film to suffer this fate was the 2008 film Mirrors from Director Alexandre Aja.

The film is the tale of a an ex New York cop, Ben Carson (Kiefer Sutherland) who has just started working as a nightwatchman.  Ben is currently suspended from the force due to his involvement in the killing of a man during a shooting incident. The time since has been rough for him with his marriage falling apart and his drinking increasing to the point where it is a problem for him and those around him. He is now trying to straighten himself out. He is sleeping on his sister’s couch and has just started the job as a nightwatchman at the site of a large department store in Central New York. The store went up in flames several years before and has lain untouched ever since due to legal disputes over insurance. Ben got the job in the first place after the violent death of the previous employee, as played out in the opening scenes of the film. Continue reading

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Payback (1999)

How much is a life worth? $70,000. No more, no less.

Under the Second Chance Cinema banner, Moviescramble re-assesses the 1999 Mel Gibson film Payback.

In 1999 Mel Gibson was still at the top of his game. The Lethal Weapon series had just reached number four although as the series continued the quality of product dipped dramatically. That is another story for another article!! His future fame as a misogynistic, Jew hating drunk was still some way off. In terms of his output, Payback is somewhat overlooked. It is in fact one of the best Mel Gibson films out there.

The film is the second adaptation of the Richards Stark novel ‘The Hunter’. The first was the 1967 John Boorman classic Point Blank starring Lee Marvin and Angie Dickinson. So Payback has a rather a large act to follow. The question that is asked is Can Mel pull it off?

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Nighthawks (1981)

Rambo and Lando on the hunt for Roy Batty!!!

Second Chance Cinema reviews another overlooked classic film. This time the 1981 thriller Nighthawks starring Sylvester Stallone, Billy Dee Williams and Rutger Hauer comes under the Moviescramble spotlight.

The story is split in the beginning. The two New York Police detectives DaSilva and Fox are introduced (Stallone and Williams) in an undercover operation to arrest street muggers. After a well paced chase sequence the mugger is apprehended by DaSilva who is the bait in the operation. He makes quite the fetching sight, kitted out as a woman with sensible shoes on.  At the same time we are introduced to the ideological terrorist Wulfgar (Hauer) as he sets off a bomb in a department store in London. He is pursued by the Police and has to move his operation to New York via a stop off in Paris for some minor cosmetic surgery as the authorities now have his photograph. In New york an anti terrorist task force is being set up and DaSilva and Fox are transferred over. Reluctant at first, not really seeing the point of the task force the point is driven home during the training by the instructor and when Wolfgar strikes in New York for the first time. Now it s a game of cat and mouse with DaSilva and Fox using their local knowledge to try to find Wulfgar before he strikes again. Continue reading

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OSS117: Lost in Rio (2009)

The names De La Bath, Hubert De La Bath.

In the first of the occasional series under the banner of Second Chance Cinema Moviescramble has a look at the 2009 French film OSS117: Lost in Rio.

From the same director and star of The Artist came two spy caper movies. These were based on the OSS117 character created in 1949 by French writer Jean Bruce. Over two hundred novels and seven films were produced. It is from this rich source the two parody films emerged. The first one made in 2006 was OSS117: Cairo, nest of spies. Its follow-up three years later is the film OSS117: Lost in Rio. Outside of France the film received a limited cinematic release and as a consequence it is not as well known as it deserves to be.

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Second Chance Cinema

At Second chance Cinema moviescramble aims to discuss the movies that for whatever reason do not receive the recognition that they deserve. We are not just talking about the obscure, and unseen but also films with major stars and sometimes made by well respected directors and crew. To begin with moviescramble will be working through its own list but we would welcome suggestions. Language is not a constraint. We don’t mind reading and watching at the same time.