Thursday, January 28, 2016

Thursday Movie Picks: Movies Adapted from Movies of a Different Language


Another Thursday, another Thursday Movie Picks, and this one is a great one!  Foreign Film adaptations, and this one could go any which way (as in, it could be a foreign film that was adapted from an English language film and not just English language films adapted from foreign films) and so with so much to chose from, I personally narrowed this down to films for which I've actually seen BOTH the original and the adaptation.  It didn't narrow it down THAT much, but it helped!

And here's what I've got.

Last Man Standing (Walter Hill, 1996)
Adapted from Akira Kurosawa's beloved Yojimbo, this dusty Bruce Willis western is sadly never talked about.  It's actually a really well paced and nicely rendered adaptation that feels uniquely it's own while still paying homage to the original.  Last Man Standing was one of those films I snatched up during my 'I want to be Bruce Willis' stage, and it's one that I've never let go of either.  

City of Angels (Brad Silberling, 1998)
When you compare this film to Wim Wenders' brilliant Wings of Desire, it pales, sure...but when you judge this for what it is it actually soars.  Anchored by a beautifully moving performance by Meg Ryan (let's not talk about Nicolas Cage), City of Angels has the right amount of sexy to go with the thought provoking premise, and while it may not go as deeply as the original, it still taps into the themes presented in Wenders' classic. 

Vanilla Sky (Cameron Crowe, 2001)
Alejandro Amenabar's original film, Open Your Eyes, became one of those sought after foreign films after Crowe's remake took audiences by surprise.  Personally, I prefer Vanilla Sky, but the similarites run so deep that I guess I love them both.  Cruz's performance (as the same character, mind you) is better in the original, but Crowe's mindf*ck has Cameron Diaz in such a delicious villain role that it kind of trumps the original for that fact alone.  Either way, you can't go wrong placing either (or both) in your queue!

40 comments:

  1. Ohh, how have I still not seen Vanilla Sky?! Thursdays are the worst/best for filling up my watch list.
    - Allie

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    1. I love Thursdays for the same reason!

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  2. Sadly, I still haven't seen any of these. LMS is one I just never bothered with. Never had any desire to see City of Angels, but now I might give it a shot. Vanilla Sky might wind up on the Blind Spot List next since I keep saying I'm going to watch it, but never do. Great post.

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    1. City of Angels is not perfect...but it is so much better than most people give it credit for.

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  3. Vanilla Sky is popular today. I feel like I've been looking at everyone's choices today going "I didn't know that was a remake." lol

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    1. LOL, right! I've had that thought a few times as well.

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  4. Personally I prefer Amenabar's version, but Vanilla Sky wasn't that bad.

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    1. Most people do, and maybe it's because I saw the remake first, but I just found Crowe's take to be a little more electric.

      And Diaz.

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  5. I've never seen any of the originals but I've seen the first two of these. I liked Last Man Standing though I only watched it that one time. City of Angels though...Glug. Vanilla Sky is one I've avoided despite Penelope Cruz since Cruise and Diaz are two of my least favored performers.

    I struggled with thinking of one title initially and once I came up with that the floodgates opened and I had to cut myself off! Here's what I came up with.

    Sorcerer (1977)-Four desperate men agree to transport a volatile shipment of nitro-glycerin over rugged terrain in the hopes of earning enough money to escape their present state. William Friedkin directed remake of the French classic Wages of Fear wasn’t a big success on its initial release but is a taut gritty drama. An international cast headed by Roy Scheider give intense performances. Perhaps not the equal of the original but on its own a solid suspenser.

    Human Desire (1954)-Fritz Lang helmed redo of Jean Renoir’s La Bête Humaine is hampered a trifle by the Hayes Code but his great cast, in particular Broderick Crawford and Gloria Grahame, and solid direction fill in the code demanded blanks. Loaded with sexual undertones.

    Intermezzo (1939)-American remake of identically named Swedish film also starring Ingrid Bergman served as her introduction to Hollywood. A world famous concert violinist becomes enamored with his daughter’s piano instructor. Feeling restless he invites her to tour with him, eventually they become involved and he leaves his family for her but soon realizes what he had originally. It’s a weepie loaded with beautiful music that’s worth catching for Ingrid’s stateside debut.

    Honorable Mention-Point of No Return (1993)-Stylish, glossy remake of Luc Besson’s La Femme Nikita with Bridget Fonda at the height of her brief heyday as the druggie turned government assassin. Not quite as sleek as the original but a propulsive engrossing thriller with Anne Bancroft a standout in her brief role as an etiquette teacher with an underlying fierceness.

    I also thought of the mediocre Sharon Stone remake of Diabolique this morning and thought I'd throw it in here so I could mention the very good earlier TV remake called "Reflections of Murder" with Joan Hackett, Tuesday Weld and a venal Sam Waterston which was much closer in feeling to the great original.

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    1. I almost went with Intermezza...but then I decided to stick with films where I've seen both versions.

      Sorcerer is one of those films I'm dying to see.

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  6. I've heard about "Last Man Standing" but never seen it. Sounds interesting, though.

    "City of Angels" is also on my list. I didn't even know that it's a remake until today...

    "Vanilla Sky" is on our "To watch" list. If I like it I might try the original as well :)

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    1. Glad you're a fan of City of Angels. Not enough love for that one. Hope you catch Vanilla Sky and Last Man Standing.

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  7. I love your list Fisti. You know I think I saw Last Man Standing years ago in the theater. I actually can't remember anything about that movie except that Willis shoots people.

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    1. He shoots people...while he's naked!

      LOL...that scene will never leave me. One minute you're banging a hooker...the next minute you're sliding on the floor buck naked killing people.

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  8. We had the same Mindset-I chose 3 where I have seen both the original and the remake. I just came from Dan's site who did not like Last Man Standing but I still want to see this. I like the premise of Angels but the thought of Cage in the film as a romantic interest left me laughing. I am not even sold on Ryan. I have not seen Vanilla Sky...maybe one day...:)

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    1. LOL, Cage is a mess...but I love me some Meg Ryan.

      And Dan obviously doesn't know what he's talking about.

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    2. Eh-SCOOZ ME? I think you may need to take those "Bruce Willis is fly as FUCK" goggles, my good man!

      Seriously though, it's been a LONG time since I saw Last Man Standing and I just remember being so bored by it.

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    3. LOL, that was more during my..."Bruce Willis looks like a good f*ck" stage.

      Ah, my teens.

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    4. now, now...:) lol-Bruce Willis is ok in my book so I do want to see this but I have no desire to think of him as a good F*&k:)

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    5. I have a feeling he is ;-)

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    6. I just picture his serious face all the way through...ughh:)

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  9. I think I saw Last Man Standing years ago, probably on accident, not even realizing it was a Kurosawa remake. Don't remember much about it. City of Angels, I have seen, but I wasn't totally into that one either. Should re-watch, since Brad Silberling made my favorite film of the aughts...Moonlight Mile. Seriously. That movie owns me.

    Good call on Vanilla Sky. Diaz is "delicious." And crazy af, bruh. I seriously love that movie. It's so damn cool.

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    1. Moonlight Mile is beautiful!!!! I love that you love that movie so much. When I saw it I was blindsided by the fact that no one ever talks about it.

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  10. "Dusty" is a perfect descriptor of Last Man Standing LOL.

    Yeah, I remember not really liking City of Angels, and then years later watching Wings of Desire and LOVING it. Weird that I watched them in that order. That movie is SO 90s.

    I LOVE Diaz in Vanilla Sky, but the movie absolutely PALES in comparison to Abre Los Ojos. Crowe was a really odd fit in the director's chair for that one.

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    1. ...

      You're probably right.

      City of Angels is SO 90's, for sure, but I still kind of love the hell out of it.

      I really think Vanilla Sky is a more electric ride than the original, which I really liked but expected more, I guess. But, maybe I'm blinded by the amazingness that was Diaz's KILLER performance.

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  11. I fucking hate City of Angels. It is hokey and extremely sappy with one of the dumbest endings ever as it was an insult to Wim Wenders film. It also confirms that Brad Silberling is a fucking hack.

    Vanilla Sky is alright but it's not Abre Los Ojos.

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  12. Great picks! I will definitely be searching for the original version of Vanilla Sky.

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  13. I haven't seen Vanilla Sky. Maybe I should check it out.

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    1. You should. Even if you hate it (and many people do), it's worth seeing for yourself at least once.

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  14. Seeing of City of Angels really makes me wish I added Wings of Desire to my Blind Spot list.

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    1. I absolutely LOVE Wings of Desire. Brilliant film. Forget the list, just watch it!

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  15. I've only seen City of Angels. Boy I should give Last Man Standing and Vanilla Sky a watch. Usually I prefer to watch the original but glad to hear these remakes are actually good!

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    1. In the case of something like Last Man Standing, the 'remake' idea isn't even applicable really, since it's an inspired take on the story/film and not a 'remake' in the general sense.

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  16. I just found out, City of Angels is a remake recently, I haven't seen the original. I don't remember much of it other than Nicholas Cage in a black outfit being all cheesy like he does nowadays and standing with other people in black, and oh that song "Iris".

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    1. I'm not going to lie, that soundtrack is one of the greatest of all time.

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  17. Ooh, intriguing picks! I actually saw the first two before seeing the original versions, and I still need to watch Open Your Eyes. :/

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