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Archive for the ‘author Jaime Grijalba’ Category

jaimetopwhateverby Jaime Grijalba.

2013 was a good year for movies, maybe not the best, and obviously not compared to something like 2012, that had many masterpieces under the names of ‘Amour’ (2012), ‘The Master’ (2012) and many others, while this year only has four masterpieces that I can count and right now I think that one of them might only be a part of a much larger masterpiece that will be finished next year. As always, my rules for elegibility for this list is that any movie that had its original premiere in 2013 is elegible, but something that was released this year but premiered in 2012 or 2011, doesn’t count. Bad luck, I guess, good movies do find their way into my schedule the year that they premiere thanks to many festivals and other showings that swarm Chile every now and then.

Also, a note on the products that might be elegible, I think that I haven’t said it enough times, anything is elegible, that counts for shorts, miniseries, tv movies, half-length features, direct to DVD movies, animations, everything counts and will be rated with the same strength as the other full length films. They are all audiovisual works released entirely in 2013 and they should count alongside the rest. Also, if there’s a review or something written about the movie in the list, there’ll be links to such writing. So, without much further ado, I shall show you my top 20 films of 2013. PS: Thanks to Bob Clark for the header image, great work as always. (more…)

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by Jaime Grijalba.

Do any of you know who or what Red Ryder is? From what I gather he is some kind of hero of the 40′s, linked exclusively to the western genre through a multiple amount of platforms in which he was the hero and had adventures. It begun as a comic strip that started in 1938, and later was adapted for radio with radio plays and other programs of that kind. In 1940 the first Red Ryder “film” was released, it was a 12 episode movie serial produced by Republic, and since 1944 there were more than 35 films with the Red Ryder character having different movies, at times even having six films released a year between 1944 and 1947. The movies are usually around the hour mark, most of them don’t even surpass the 60-minute mark, something akin to what you could nowadays call a TV-series, except filmed and made even cheaper and released onto theaters, and with no actual follow up between the episodes, this is much more akin to what a ‘modular’ TV series is, something like CSI or any other procedural, where the link between the episodes is minimal, and just a few characters are repeated from time to time. But, in the end, what most people recognice Red Ryder nowadays is thanks to the Christmas classic ‘A Christmas Story’ (1983), where the protagonist wanted a “Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle BB gun with a compass in the stock and a thing which tells time”… of course Red Ryder surpassed the media entertainment and managed to have guns named after him, what a strange franchise it is.

Well, after all that, let me say that I’m so sorry that I missed the last two weeks, it was really hard to make these posts, find the time, specially due to personal issues. The Western Countdown is almost over and this feature, then, doesn’t have much time left. So, dare I ask? Do you want this to continue in any way? Maybe one week, two weeks? Or you just had your western fill for this year? Please, go ahead, go crazy in the comments, please. It helps. As always, this feature has its own rating, self explanatory in the image below, with the noose being the lowest ranking (for those movies that are so obscure that if they dissapeared, it wouldn’t matter, because they were pure trash) and the man with no name being the highest ranking for those rare diamonds in the rough that I hope I can find one of these days.

WesternIcons (more…)

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by Jaime Grijalba.

How’s everyone doing? Are you liking the Western Countdown? Are you liking the Obscure Westerns? Please, tell me in the comments if this is a worthwhile endeavour that I put myself through every week. Feedback is good guys, don’t be ashamed of putting a comment down below if you are willing to do so. So, we’re approaching the last 20 films of the countdown, and that means that we only have 4 more obscure westerns to look at. So, today we dwelve once again in the crazy world of spaghetti western, and made in a year when the best italian western that I’ve seen was made, of course I’m talking about ‘C’est una volta il west’ (1968), but that’s besides the point. Today we are dwelving once again in the western revenge film, similar to the one discussed last week, but obviously it immediatly seems like the quality is absolutely different, just by seeing the top picture used, and while it isn’t exactly promising, I assure you, at least it’s loads and loads better than that Al Adamson film that we talked about the last time. As we are used to, we have a personal and exclusive review key for this series, where every movie has one of four possible ratings. This is the image, thanks to Bob Clark for the design and editing,

WesternIcons (more…)

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by Jaime Grijalba.

Who wants to see some boobs? Some really average, grainy, unfocused, overexposed, distant boobs? Who doesn’t, am I right? I mean, really, there’s no other conscious reason as to why would someone subject to this movie in any way shape or form nowadays, except if you’re doing a feature on obscure westerns and you find one that it’s so obscure that it doesn’t even have a page in the Letterboxd movie site. So, what I’m going to talk about in this installment of your favorite western series going on right now (not) so you could get ahold of the strange yet at the same time offensive and tame elements that are inside of the frames of this picture, well I could make some comparisons and show you some scenes and tell you why I think that, but I’m really drawing a blank here, we’re talking about a film directed by the infamous director Al Adamson, famous for its schlock pictures, as well for the bad quality of practically every film that he ever made, remember that he was the one responsible behind such films as ‘Horror of the Blood Monsters’ (1970) and another film of him that I had the (dis)pleasure to watch a couple of years ago called ‘Dracula vs Frankenstein’ (1971) and you think to yourself, how could he possibly fuck that up? Well, he did, as he did with the concept of this film.

As it’s a custom already, I remind you that we’re rating these obscure westerns with our own method of western-y things, four possible scores that are pretty self-explanatory in the diagram that I’ll put right now (thanks as always to Bob Clark for the design of this):

WesternIcons (more…)

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by Jaime Grijalba.

What is important in a western? I don’t know. I’m not an expert on the subject, as clearly my written entry for this year’s western countdown has prooven, it’s been fruitless to actually come up with something similar of an expertise towards the genre when one has seen so little of the biggest works of one of the main genres of cinema, so why I’m doing these strange and weird entries on obscure westerns from all over the world? Well, I want to get some expertise from the other end, I think that maybe if I watch the westerns that everyone else forgot that existed, maybe I’ll end up with some knowledge, that is just a wild assumption, because I’d think that mainly these westerns would be forgotten because they were either really really bad (the noose rating) or were just forgettable (the town drunk rating), and hence due to that forgettable aspect of them, learn some of the tropes and styles that comes within the expertise of seeing a bunch of westerns, maybe I’m overcomplicating my process, my own mind, or even I’m just explaining something that really doesn’t need explaining. But then, it has come to my attention that some of this forgotten westerns are actually pretty interesting and even good, that was the case with last week’s example of forgotten western, and it’s also the case with this one, which I do recommend if it’s available to you, but it isn’t strictly essential, it just have some incredible themes, beeps and bops here and there that make it wonderful.

Before going straight to the review, I should remind everyone about something completely different. At my blog, which you can access by clicking on my name, you can read the past and the next few reviews of the last days of what I called the Overlook’s October Madness, a review of a horror movie a day, and in these next days I’ll really turn up some strange examples of the horror genre, something I’m a little bit more familiar than with westerns. So, I extend the invitation to every Wonders in the Dark reader to check it out if you’re interested and drop a comment if you liked what you saw (highly unlikely, but what do I have to lose here?). (more…)

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by Jaime Grijalba.

This isn’t based on reality, all the characters have familiar names, but the characteristics are my invention.

Sorry for the small size, zoom in if necessary.

 1. INT. SLEEPING QUARTERS - NIGHT                                

          A narrow aisle between two rows of cots with men either          
          lying down or sitting is the only place where JAIME GRIJALBA     
          seems to be able to walk through in search of his cot. It’s      
          a hot night, everyone is sweating and it’s all very dusty,       
          as in most westerns. We hear some conversations from the         
          people sitting down as Jaime advances.                           

                              SAMUEL WILSON                                
                    ...Sergio Leone saw this film and                      
                    thought of Henry Fonda first as his                    
                    Man With No Name and finally, once                     
                    he had the clout to get him, as a                      
                    more evil and more doomed                              
                    representative of that “ancient                        
                    race” in Once Upon a Time in the                       
                    West. Watch Warlock and you                            
                    understand what Leone was after.                       
                    Fonda’s slow-burning yet commanding                    
                    performance heads a deep ensemble                      
                    ranging from the eccentric Quinn                       
                    and the redemptive Widmark to                          
                    DeForrest (Dr. McCoy) Kelley giving                    
                    perhaps his greatest performance in                    
                    a relatively small role...                             

                              DENNIS POLIFRONI                             
                    ...to be frank.  I don’t think it’s                    
                    a western at all.  Yes, it has all                     
                    the visual and textural trappings                      
                    of a classic western.  The film                        
                    takes place in the valleys and                         
                    deserts that have become signature                     
                    backdrops to the work of Mann and                      
                    Leone and John Ford.  The                              
                    production design is reminiscent of                    
                    all the old clapboard towns that                       
                    many a villain and hero rode into                      
                    in pictures like MY DARLING                            
                    CLEMENTINE and THE GOOD, THE BAD                       
                    AND THE UGLY.  It’s populated with                     
                    characters straight out of the                         
                    classic western repertoire and, at                     
                    any given moment, you might find                       
                    yourself facing off with                               
                    gunslingers, Mexican “Banditos”,                       
                    whore-house hookers, tin-starred                       
                    lawmen and old dog kicking drunks                      
                    hitting you up for a coin to waste                     
                    away on another shot of hard                           
                    whiskey.  Yet, with all of these                       
                    trappings, BUTCH is not really a                       
                    western...       (more…)

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by Jaime Grijalba.

Hiya fellas! I’m so so deeply sorry to all of you because I’ve failed you in so many forms that I can’t even count them. First of all, I’m sorry because I wasn’t able of having a review ready for this small series last week, I promised you a new obscure western every thursday, and I wasn’t able of watching and reviewing said western last week. Also, last week was also the announcement of the Nobel Prize Winner for Literature, which was awarded to canadian short story writer Alice Munro, someone I wasn’t familiar with, but whose reputation I had actually heard about. I used to do some investigative reports on the writers who won the prize, and actually managed to do a bunch of posts on a lot of books written by Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa, but was stopped many times because I lost the books or took a long time to finish them. But this time I’m keen on doing something about Alice Munro, but I started badly, take this as an apology and also an announcement that maybe some day I’ll restart the Nobel series with the chronological review of the works of the winners (either be Llosa, Tranströmer, Yan or Munro, two of these unavailable due to untranslated first works). But in the meantime I have these westerns to review, this one this week is an italian spaghetti western from the late 60′s on the heydey of the genre, when Sergio Leone was making his best work and everyone was just crazy for this stuff. As you might remember, or not, from last time, I have a ranking system for this films, which you can revise after the jump, as well as start reading the review of this particular and relatively unknown western. (more…)

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by Jaime Grijalba.

Hiya people, I’m back! And this time I’ve got a treat for you. Since we are in the western mood due to the incredible Western Countdown here in Wonders in the Dark, I thought that maybe I could make something out of it. When I first knew about what was going to be next in the most famous countdowns in the world of the internet movie blogs, I said that maybe I wanted to actually participate, by watching a lot of westerns and then chime in with a list of my own. I finally had the excuse and the chance to watch a lot of westerns, a genre that I could say that I’m not a fan of because I’ve seen very little of it, and that very little, while some great, some meh, wasn’t still representative enough to give a list to the members who were running this countdown. But, time and work came, and I was unable to fit westerns in my film schedule. I still wanted to participate, but I had only strong reasons to write about one particular movie that made it to the countdown (it’s my favorite western of all time, even if it’s definition as a western is… shifty to say the least). But I still wanted to do something, so I came up with doing this small series, that will run every thursday for as long as the western countdown runs, where I’ll talk about some obscure westerns that I’ll be seeing.

Every one of the films will be placed in 4 different categories based on how they rate in this obscure western world that I’m dwelling into, from worst to best, the categories are as follows: (more…)

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MastersOfHorrorAdendum

by Jaime Grijalba

File #6.1 – F.W. Murnau’s ‘Phantom’

Did you miss this? No? Well, here I come back not with the full feature that you’ve been used to, but with an Addendum to the sixth installment of this particular series of essays on the Masters of Horror. This comes up now because I had finally the time to watch one of the movies that I had piled up in watching schedule, a movie that wasn’t part of my retrospective of the horror films of F.W. Murnau, because in my personal database it wasn’t named as such, it was catalogued as in the ‘fantasy’ genre, and while it did have a horror-like name, it wasn’t included in my list because of what I said earlier. So, here comes the publishing date of the sixth installment (of a total of seven so far) that have been made, and everyone seems to enjoy and read it quite well, but there’s one particular guy who doesn’t seem to be pleased. You can read here the F.W. Murnau edition of my Masters of Horror feature, and in the comments you can read Peter asking me why I didn’t put ‘Phantom’ (1922) in the survey, to which I replied that I didn’t see it because of the reasons that I’ve already mentioned, but then I made a promise, that I haven’t been able to fulfill until this day, and here we are, reviewing ‘Phantom’ (1922) but not for a little paragraph as I said, but for a full review, as I need to say a few things about this silent movie. (more…)

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by Jaime Grijalba.

Europa Report (2013, Sebastián Cordero)

There’s confusion and at the same time a sense of wonder in the first minutes of this new science fiction film. First, because the film starts in a strange position, it starts with the moment in which the footage that is being fed by the spaceship to Earth (with an 18 hour delay) is cut-off, when they’re going to make an important decission regarding the final destination of the crew and the mission itself… then the narrative makes this obvious jump to the start of the mission, showing us how it came together that this manned mission to Europa, one of the biggest moons of Jupiter, came to be and what is the purpose of it: finding life, or at least traces of it, as they did in Mars recently with the discovery of water under the ice caps. It’s strange how the cut is made there, it tries to be a film that starts In Media Res but then suddenly goes back to the beginning, trying to explain how they finally got the unseen footage that was lost after the cut-off in Earth… but then we see that the cut was because there was a solar flare that made communications impossible in space, blacking out any possibility of direct contact between the elements of the mission… and not because something extremely important was about to happen (in fact, it’s after this moment that the crew members start dying, but what the hell, it’s not extremely connected to why there was no more footage feed from spaceship to Earth). Besides that confusion at the start, there’s a sense of wonder, as I said at the beginning of this review, there’s a piece of narration that tell us a truth that seems impossible to us living in 2013: no human has travelled past the Earth’s orbit since 1972… it’s been more than 40 years since a human being has been away from Earth’s gravity! How crazy is that! Is this the future we’ve expected? I hadn’t been concious of that, and this movie has come and slapped me in the face and told me that I don’t live in the future, I live in this semi-present with a lot of fake technology that isn’t doing the important stuff: putting people out there (I’m exaggerating but, really, what the crap). And when you thought you had enough shocks, they tell you that if anyone goes beyond a few centimeters besides the moon, he or she has become the person who has travelled farthest into the universe in the history of the world. What are we doing with our future? (more…)

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