Tuesday, December 20, 2011
I'll Be Home for Christmas (1998)
Dir - Arlene Sanford
Xmas Insanity 2011
The last XI film is one from Disney starring the Teen Beat heartthrob Jonathan Taylor Thomas and a young Jessica Biel fresh from the set of 7th Heaven. JTT makes a less impressive Santa than Hulk Hogan did last year in Santa with Muscles, but it's still pretty great. Can't really remember too much that I want to say about this, besides the fact that Gary Cole (!) is in it, but there is a pretty chart topping late 90's soundtrack - complete with Smash Mouth poster! Shudder.
Christmas with a Capital C (2011)
Dir - Helmut Schleppi
Xmas Insanity 2011
I've been waiting over a year to see this, ever since I saw the first trailer on YouTube. This is a Christian made family drama about the horrible "war on Christmas" that everyone is always so worried about. Ted McGinely plays a small Alaskan town mayor that is mostly Christian and a prodigal resident returns from the big city now ready to fight the public Christmas display and wanting to get rid of their beloved holiday (played by professional Alec Baldwin impersonator, Daniel Baldwin).
First you have to realize this is a movie based on a song, that was based on a stand-up routine by a Christian comic. It's not good and VERY one-sided - not that I expected any different. The liberal is made out to be the bad guy and everything is happy in the end. It's as bad as I hoped and unintentionally funny. A good time to have with a beer or two.
Side note: While watching I found that the comedian who is one of the co-stars is also in another Christian family film dealing with abortion. This will be watched ASAP!!!
B-Robo Kabutack: The Epic Christmas Battle (1997)
Dir - ???
Xmas Insanity 2011
Our first move of XI was an epic kid's show from Japan and their hourlong "holiday themed" episode. I put that in quotes because there's very little to do with Christmas. It kind of seems like an afterthought. The joy of this Power Rangers-esque show is the shark robot named, appropriately enough, Sharkler. His weapon of choice is a giant toothbrush. How cool is that?!
A weird show with crazy Japanese antics you would expect and a female Santa who rides around on a flying surfboard.
I. Must. Find. This series.
Dir - James Gunn
A bit late to the party on this one but at least I enjoyed myself. I can see why some don't like this film but it worked for me. There are some pretty crazy connections to Kick Ass, including the color schemes of the two main characters, but I'll take Gunn at his word that he planned this before ever knowing about that other property. This also reminds me how adorable I find Ellen Page. I would like to keep her on a shelf.
The Working Girls (1974)
Dir - Stephanie Rothman
Great little exploitation flick about a group of girls, their sordid relationships and how they earn a buck. Probably most famous for having Cassandra Peterson in her pre-Elvira days plays a stripper who goes topless. Something so memorable that one of the alternate titles of the film is Elvira Naked. A very nice scene indeed.
Jack Frost (1997)
Dir - Michael Cooney
Been a couple years since I watched this one but it's still pretty fun and entertaining. A serial killer is turned into a killer snowman who steals kill scenes from Silent Night, Deadly Night and rapes Shannon Elizabeth with his carrot "nose" in the shower. Nothing says Christmas like that!
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Dir - Jon Favreau
Haven't seen this since its original theatrical release. At the time I didn't really care for it though. The day before I saw another new Xmas movie, Bad Santa, and it was so crazy and hysterical that to me this just paled in comparison.
I'm happy to report that now, eight years later, this is a movie I really enjoy. A great family Christmas comedy with some funny performances by Ferrell and Deschanel (who sings a damn fine version of "Baby, It's Cold Outside" in the shower). Ed Anser makes a rather good Santa and the concept is fun. I would like to see Buddy go up against the boys from Super Troopers in a maple syrup eating contest though.
Dir - Paul Feig
Just go the Blu and had to watch again. Still great stuff. Not the funniest film I've seen but I really get a kick out of all the main characters. Of course Melissa McCarthy steals the film and I don't think I could ever tire of her performance, especially when on the plane. Some great extras full of funny alternate takes and goofs. Well worth my money.
Devil Fish (1984)
Dir - Lamberto Bava
Horror Movie Night
Decided to watch a different cut of our HMN from this week as mocked by the lovable fools from MST3K. Some really funny stuff and a weirdly edited version of the film I watched a few days earlier.
My full thoughts will be up HERE on Horror's Not Dead in the next day or so.
The Muppets (2011)
Dir - James Bobin
Jason Segel is a lucky mofo! I know this is something he's worked hard on for a long time. A film with the very puppets he loved, idolized and watched through his entire life. For the first twenty or so minutes of the film I had a huge smile on my face because I was so happy to be seeing a new Muppet movie and for the joy I know was/is in Segel's heart. There are some great inside jokes from the other films and great cameos. Most of the songs are great and I still can't get them out of my head two days later. Not everything is perfect, but overall it still really works for me. I don't know how all kids are reacting and I think it might be more effective for their parents. Never thought a few strums of a banjo would cause my eyes to fill with tears, but they did. I was a child again for 90 minutes and it was great.
Thank you Jason Segel, thank you.
The 40 Year-Old Virgin (2005)
Dir - Judd Apatow
This has become a favorite over the years. Not much really needs to be said about it that others haven't already said. Love everyone involved. Hilarious!
A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas (2011)
Dir - Todd Strauss-Schulson
Christmas movies should really only be watched between the window of Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. Sometimes I'll make an exception about halfway through the year but it's not common. Luckily there were still a few theaters around showing this in 3D so I could catch it the day after the great turkey gorging. The other two Harold and Kumar movies are great. The second not nearly as good as the first, but it still has plenty of laughs. Yes, they are stupid but I like it and don't care.
This has some great 3D. I mean really, who doesn't like claymation cocks, slow-mo jizz or beer pong balls flying off the screen? There were a couple of inside jokes here in reference to Kal Penn and John Cho's other works that I was the only one laughing at, as well as some grooming habits of a very naughty nurse. I laughed pretty damn hard a lot and I was probably one of the few in the theater not under the influence of any substance. I do think that Wafflebot is one of the greatest fake inventions ever and I will be keeping my fingers crossed until he becomes a reality.
This is now my second fave in the series and I'll definitely be buying the home release and revisiting for years to come.
Red State (2011)
Dir - Kevin Smith
I put this off long enough. There was a time when I loved Smith. In high school I was obsessed with both Clerks and Mallrats and watched my VHS copies all the time. Then within the last year or so he seemed to go a little crazy. All of his bad handling of bad press and incessant whining about Southwest Airlines just got old. It kind of made me hate him for a while. I thought I'd give this a go when it hit DVD since I wasn't traveling out of my way to see it in his "original" idea of self distribution in theaters across the country.
I'm happy to reprot I really enjoyed what I saw. This didn't feel like Smith at all and that's a good thing. Some very cool situations and interesting turns on a scary thing that probably isn't far from happening somewhere in the south. And if anyone says people wouldn't go this far with gay bashing, just remember that we're only 50 or so years removed from southerners rounding up black Americans and hanging them from trees.
Might have to check out the DVD to see if it has the longer cut from Sundance because I'm interested in what may have been cut. Just no sure I want to actually buy it and give him more of my money. He's really fallen as a person to me.
Dir - Tom McGrath
Missed this one in theaters along with a few other animated flicks I'm ashamed to have skipped. I'm a bad cartoon lover. :(
The film is fun and I love the performances and look of the characters. Even as a computer animated reporter Tina Fey still manages to be so damn cute. Sigh. Really liked Megamind's fish sidekick and his Robot Monster inspired get-up.
Friday, November 25, 2011
I Think We're Alone Now (2008)
Dir - Sean Donnelly
Waited longer than most of my friends to see this but thanks to Netflix Instant I can now add it to the watched list. This doc is just over an hour long and never has such a short film made me feel so close to puking so much. The interactions between the two Tiffany stalkers/"best friends" is so hard to watch. This doesn't even count how far it gets when they actually are around Tiffany. GAH! Both of our main subjects, Jeff and Kelly, are simultaneously heartbreaking, annoying and a tad frightening. Can't really say that I "like" this film, but it is really interesting and is more about the subjects' issues than the pop star they obsess over.
Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)
Dir - John Hughes
This Hughes classic is a must watch for me every Thanksgiving. Martin and Candy are hysterical and their journey is wonderfully frustrating. The F-word laden exchange between Martin and Edie McClurg is one of the best things ever! I do hate how "real" the film gets in the last few minutes... but only because it gets me every time.
Monster Shark (1984) aka Devil Fish
Dir - Lamberto Bava
Horror Movie Night
Another fine HMN film, and something shark related is always a plus. Especially when it's a prehistoric shark/octopus hybrid!
Full thoughts will be on Horror's Not Dead next week!
Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Dir - Zack Snyder
When I saw this on opening night I was ready to hate. Still, I let my mind open and enjoyed what I saw. Romero's original is my favorite zombie film and one of my all time favs so it could never live up to this. Snyder's version, written by James Gunn, is way more action than horror and the only real connection to the original is that it's set in a mall. It is fun to see Modern Family's Phil Dunphy (Ty Burrell) as a dirty, sex obsessed asshole.
I'm not even going to get into the whole fast vs slow zombie debate. Because the winner is obviously slow.
In Time (2011)
Dir - Andrew Niccol
I was sold on this from the first trailer I saw. Yes, it's basically Logan's Run and Robin Hood mixed together with a lot of action but it's still interesting. The film does not disappoint. Plenty fun, the world is very interesting and Seyfried is, of course, cute as hell. There are plenty of problems, logistically, but I wasn't expected to be blown away and I got everything I wanted.
Will definitely watch again.
The Skin I Live In (2011) aka La piel que habito
Dir - Pedro Almodovar
Hooray! I looooooove Almodovar and he does not disappoint with this foray into a Sci-Fi/Horror/Thriller starring Antonio Banderas. I have so many things to say about this wonderful movie that I wouldn't even know where to being. Acting, story, cinematography, music... everything is just fantastic. Hopefully I'll eventually be able to find the score somewhere. The intricacies of the plot I will not go into, just see it for yourself!
The one complaint I have is the phrasing of the title. Every time I say it I want to say "The Skin In Which I Live." HA!
Good Boy! (2003)
Dir - John Hoffman
This is a damn cute movie and I don't care what anyone else has to say. First saw this right after it was released, mainly because I love dogs and the fact that one of the main pups is an Italian Greyhound - like my sweet dog. The film is very cute and pretty funny in places. Even though this is at least my third viewing when things begin to go bad I get VERY bummed. (SPOILERS AHEAD) Even though I know things work out overall in the end, when the dogs vanish and you see how upset their owners are I just fall apart. I can't imagine waking up to find that my dog just disappeared and the frantic lost feelings I would have. I'm probably overreacting but t's horrible.
Final Destination (2000)
Dir - James Wong
This revisit just reminds me how great this movie is. The kills are awesome and fun. At least every entry has something of worth. Forgot that Sean William Scott is in this, playing a character that's not really obnoxious at all. Shocking!
Abar, The First Black Superman (1977)
Dir - Frank Packard
I honestly don't remember too much about this one. That's what I get for waiting weeks before entering it in this blog. Sigh.
However, there is some pretty atrocious acting (especially with the kids) and there is little-to-no attempt at masking the "message" of the film. Two outstanding moments have to do with one of the kids calling the other a "watusi wobbler", whatever the fuck that is, and the other is the shocking revelation at the very end of the film. Speechless.
Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
Dir - Tommy Lee Wallace
Ending my Halloween with a late night viewing of one of the most underrated Halloween flicks out there. Yes, this is a departure from Michael Meyers but it more than makes up for the lack of The Shape with awesome masks, Tom Atkins, a catchy TV jingle and a nefarious Irishman. Someday this will get the Blu treatment and I will be stoked. I also hope to see this on 35mm at some point in my life, but that's probably not going to happen.
Dir - Stan Winston
Great fun on Halloween night at the Texas Theatre with a 35mm presentation of this great flick directed by a great in the FX world. The titular character is freaking awesome and Lance Henriksen is fantastic. Don't remember much about the three sequels but I do remember loving part 2 for some cheese and having Punky Brewster in the cast. Maybe I'll re-watch it soon.
The Crow (1994)
Dir - Alex Proyas
I love this movie so much! It's been years since I actually watched it but the new Blu was a great excuse. Back in high school, when it came out, I had t-shirts, the graphic novel, hats, posters and even a ring (!) all based around this movie/character. I couldn't get enough. Still holds up really well and made me smile all the way through.
Trick 'r Treat (2007)
Dir - Michael Dougherty
Had to watch this before the Halloween season was through. I've only seen it a couple of times but it's an instant classic and something I'll be watching every October for years to come. This encapsulates most everything I love about the holiday and the fall season. Pure joy!
Saturday, November 5, 2011
Zombies: A Living History (2011)
Dir - David V. Nicholson
Even though this was made for the History Channel I'm still counting this, as it's feature length. This isn't really about zombies in literature, movies or pop culture but how they could really happen and what to do in that case. Kind of like a filmed crash course of The Zombie Survival Guide - and author Max Brooks is involved. Pretty interesting.
Dir - Dante Tomaselli
I've had this DVD for years and finally got around to watching it. This is a fairly short, 75 minutes, surreal horror trip. As for a narrative it kind of drifts in and out but some of the horror imagery is damn cool. This is the kind of movie you kind of have to be in the mood to see, maybe I'll give it another go to see if it hits me harder/better.
Bonus: The Amazing Kreskin of Johnny Carson fame has a role in the film!
The Terror Beneath (2011)
Dir - Paul Ziller
SyFy Original Movie
Not great, not horrible. Off the bat that's better than many of this SyFy originals. A killer plant takes over the country - not much else to say.
Friday the 13th Part VII - The New Blood (1988)
Dir - John Carl Buechler
This might not be the best entry but it still has some great moments. In fact, one of my favorite kills from the series is here. The one where he smacks the girl in the sleeping bag against a tree. Yes, they upgraded that kill in Jason X but this one still rocks. Not a bad film for what many people call the Jason vs Carrie installment. Heh.
The Burning (1981)
Dir - Tony Maylam
The second of our summer camp slashers and it's one of the best. Though there are a few slow moments everything in this movie is wonderful. Also the standard DVD of this from MGM looks fantastic, probably more so that it has a right to. Great stuff.
Sleepaway Camp (1983)
Dir - Robert Hiltzik
Took this over to Micah's because he and Melissa wanted to watch it and neither had ever seen it. Such a great movie, one of my all time faves. I love Angela and Ricky so much - and the crazy mother/aunt even more!
Best. Ending Shot. Ever.
Zombi 2 (1979)
Dir - Lucio Fulci
My triumphant return to the Inwood's midnight series for some big screen Fulci. Like I was really going to let that go by without watching.
This is my second time seeing this classic in a theater but my frist of the new restoration. It looks beautiful and there isn't as much obvious make-up/prosthstetic lines as expected - though the underwater zombie does look pretty bad in certain shots.
Of all Fulci's films this is not even close to my favorite but it's still great and deserves all the accolades and attention it gets.
Dir - Stevan Mena
This movie is the whole reason I finally watched Malevolence a few weeks back. There are some really interesting looks into the mind of the killer and the weird psychological, and physical, abuse he puts a small abducted boy through to make him the same way. Moments are great but the shift between the killer/protege plot to the new-girl-in-town thing kind of loses the magic. Still, worth the watch and a great low budget slasher.
Dir - Robert Hartford-Davis
Recorded this from TCM and it's always good to see a Peter Cushing film. In this one he's killing multiple people to use vital tissue to help his disfigured model girlfriend. There are some great kill sequences for such an old film especially when he gets stabby on a train. The finale is pretty crazy too.
Kill and Kill Again (1981)
Dir - Ivan Hall
Interesting karate action film that's a sequel to another movie I really need to see. There is a lot of great fighting and a fun hypnotizing baddie.
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Nineteen Eighty-Four (1954)
Dir - Rudolph Cartier
I had never heard of this version but a friend bought a bootleg of it at a recent comic convention so we gave it a go. Originally made-for-TV by the BBC for their program BBC Sunday-Night Theatre this is a fantastic telling of Orwell's classic tale. Cushing is fantastic and it proves that TV movies can be awesome.
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Jailbait Babysitter (1977)
Dir - John Hayes
This is basically porn without any hardcore sex. According to the write-up in the Drafthouse guide Lars was originally distracted by all the boobs, but there were far less than I anticipated. Not much about this was interesting, but there are some bitchin' vans!
Ragewar (1984) aka The Dungeonmaster
Dir - Charles Band, et al
Horror Movie Night
What an odd, short movie.
Read my full thoughts here at Horror's Not Dead!