Sunday, February 27, 2011
A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)
Dir - Chuck Russell
Yep, still my favorite of the series and a very fun flick to watch. This has it all - Patricia Arquette, a popsicle/papier-mache Elm Street house, Freddy snake, punk rock junkies, puppets, Freddy marionette, John Saxon and the best freaking theme song EVER! Dokken rules!
Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010)
Dir - Banksy
I did really enjoy this film, I really did. Since last night I've been having a fun time mulling over everything I saw and coming to my own conclusions on the reality. But...
I think I hurt my overall appreciation of the film because I waited so long to watch. Too many little things were spilled and they hype was great. Overhype really sucks. I do love watching trailers but sometimes I really would rather go into most every movie completely blind.
A few more things about the film but there will be SPOILERS BELOW!
Dictating what people perceive as art is not my job. It's pretty subjective. I find beauty and am moved by stuff others would call trash. Not to mention I have no extensive training/knowledge in the fine art world. Street art is, sometimes, very beautiful and/or powerful. Most everything I've seen of Banksy's is fantastic. But the work that Thierry, aka Mr. Brainwash, does just kind of pisses me off. It's a big rip-off of Warhol in my opinion, but that's not even the worst part about it. How the hell can he call it "his art" if he doesn't make any of it? Sure, he comes up with some of the overall design idea but he doesn't make the end product, one of his hired artists does. They are the ones who should be recognized for the hard part, not Thierry! Anyone can have great ideas for drawings, paintings, sculptures and more, but what separates them from artists is the gift and talent to translate those mental images into something physical.
Of course, this could all be considered part of the point of the whole film. The art world is full of BS and fakes. The masses will buy what they see getting all the attention and hype. Hell, that's why the whole thing is called Exit Through the Gift Shop. I'm not sure how "real" Mr. Brainwash is, but if he is it makes me want to stab. At least if you're going to do something that's been done before, do it your damn self.
On a side note - Thierry's trailer for "his film" about street art, which he shows to Banksy, looked pretty cool. Yeah, it's wildly experimental but I really think it speaks a lot to the attention span of the art world and the fleeting glances some street art actually gets on the walls where it's given life. Not sure why Banksy was so opposed to that form of artistic expression. Maybe that's just more of the oddness about the film that we're supposed to think about after the fact.
Friday, February 25, 2011
Cedar Rapids (2011)
Dir - Miguel Arteta
This film is not what I was expecting at all. I thought it would be way over-the-top at all the times, like The Hangover, but instead it's quite dialed down. This works well to bring some laughs from a dark place and translating the underwhelming "big city" life in Cedar Rapids, IA to the screen. Overall I found this to be fun and have a feeling I'll like it even more on any repeat viewings.
Thursday, February 24, 2011
The Being (1983)
Dir - Jackie Kong
Horror Movie Night
Much different than Jackie Kong's later horror/comedy Blood Diner, but still has its merits. Really cool creature, Martin Landau, radio DJ voiceover narration and the lead actor has the least talent out of the entire cast. A good Easter Day centered horror flick to watch while the kids are hunting for eggs.
Check out my full thoughts on Gordon and the Whale.com!
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Don't Look Now (1973)
Dir - Nicolas Roeg
This film makes you feel uneasy and as lost as Donald Sutherland's character in the streets of Venice with its dark, gothic feel. Some great performances and lovely camerawork enhance the tale that leads to a climax that is utterly creepy! A remake is in the works, hopefully at least that will bring more people to this film. If I ever had aspirations on climbing scaffolding in old Italian churches that has been definitely quelled.
Sunday, February 20, 2011
The Philadelphia Story (1940)
Dir - George Cukor
Jimmy Stewart Sunday
After a week off from JSS we come back with a great film full of laughs. Not sure why but I thought this film was a drama. I was pleasantly surprised to figure out by the score in the first few seconds of the film that it is comedy. Very funny with great performances all around. Stewart did his usual bang up job but I agree with him comments concerning winning the Best Actor Oscar for this role. It was nothing more than deferred payment for not getting one for Mr. Smith Goes to Washington a year earlier. Hepburn nails Tracy Lord but she did also portray her on the stage and it's a role based on her life/family.
A Night at the Opera (1935)
Dir - Sam Wood
If I've ever watched a Marx Brothers feature I was very young and don't remember it. This is a fun film with some great comedic moments. Unfortunately I didn't care for the story and was pretty bored between the good comedy bits. Love the stateroom scene and the last act at the opera. Gold! I really enjoyed this and look forward to watching more from them in the near future.
Bonus points to any of you who get why I titled this entry the way I did.
Zombie High (1987)
Dir - Ron Link
I'm not exactly sure about what I just watched but it wasn't very good. The story concerns a boarding school where the faculty have been feasting off a serum made from students for decades. There are three different types of "zombies" shown - the students are lobotomized into a brainless mob, the faculty are immortal like vampires until they don't receive their dose and they rapidly decay into the zombies we're used to. It's not scary, funny or even unintentionally funny so there is nothing too great about watching this. Can't believe Virginia Madsen stars.
Fun side note: One of the writers, Tim Doyle, and a supporting cast member, Paul Feig, have gone onto have great success in TV. Doyle has written for such shows as Roseanne, The Big Bang Theory and Better Off Ted. Feig has worked on, writing and directing, episodes of The Office, Nurse Jackie and Arrested Development!
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (2009)
Luftslottet som sprängdes
Dir - Daniel Alfredson
After putting it off for far too long I have finished the cinematic versions of Stieg Larsson's Millenium trilogy. I knew nothing about the first film, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but watched it one night after hearing so many good things. I loved it! The direction these characters go through the three films is dark, at times heartbreaking, but wonderful. A very solid set of films that, unfortunately, Larsson never got to see - he sadly never saw the success of his original novels either.
I will have to pick up the books now and read them soon to see how it all compares. After that I will definitely be watching these again, hopefully one right after the other in one day. Music Box Films is releasing a Blu/DVD set of all three this coming Tuesday but they are the theatrical versions and not the extended that came out in Sweden, which contain about an extra half hour per film. According to someone on Amazon a spokesperson from Music Box said they will release the full, uncut versions later this year. I'll be saving my money until then.
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Sex Pot (2009)
Dir - Eric Forsberg
I have my buddy Noahphex to blame for this one. I was going to pick something of Netflix Instant to watch when I saw on Twitter that he had just started this sex comedy from The Asylum. I have seen a copule of the company's other sex comedies and they were always enjoyable. Well, that doesn't ring true here. There's plenty of sex, but someone forgot to put the comedy in there. There are tons, and I mean tons, of naked chicks in this movie (first nude at about the ten second mark) but it's so painfully unfunny, boring and, at times, just plain gross that it's not really worth it. Just watch some of the studio's other efforts like The 18-Year-Old Virgin instead.
Friday, February 18, 2011
Friday the 13th, Part 2 (1981)
Dir - Steve Miner
I had not seen this entry in quite some time and forgot how much I really like it! There are some lovely ladies and a pretty badass Jason, in his first of many appearances. You have to feel a little sorry for Alice from the first film who dies so quickly after fighting through everything in part one and killing Mrs. Voorhees. At least they make up for it all by having a guy in a wheelchair, a weird speech about staying clean during one's menses and crazy hillbilly Jason. I know the hockey mask is iconic, and I do love it, BUT I think Jason as the hayseed from hell in overalls with a potato sack over his head and a pitchfork is much more creepy.
Another bonus - Marta Kober is in this and she is in the awesome 80s BMX treasure Rad. I love that movie so much and I'm not ashamed.
Dir - Nobou Nakagawa
What a wonderful and nighmarish film! Not an all around standard narrative but more of a fever dream look into the different areas of Buddhist hell. The last act of the film is solely in one area of hell or another and is filled with haunting imagery and surprisingly gory FX. I can't imagine what people thought of this film when it came out originally.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Love Me Deadly (1973)
Dir - Jacques Lacerte
Wow! That poster is a wee bit misleading. Yes, has some sort of weird cult-like group of necrophiliacs with robes and candles, but there are no dungeons/caves and I don't remember seeing daddy naked on anything, much less a slab. What you do get is something you aren't suspecting. There are probably 15-20 minutes of montage sequences with hip late 60s/early 70s music and romance. Some of these are really out of place and seem very pointless. Still, in his only film Lacerte manages to make a higher brow film on the subject of necrophilia without being too exploitative. Unless you count the wardrobe choices.
Will have to watch this again for sure.
Young Doctors in Love (1982)
Dir - Garry Marshall
This was picked from the massive stack of VHS Reel Distraction has at his place. It is an early 80s spoof comedy on the hospital drama in the vein of Airplane!, but it doesn't really reach the gut-busting levels of its predecessors. At times there are some very funny moments it's pretty uneven and too middle-of-the-road to bring the real laughs. One are where it really excels is with the cast. Michael McKean, Ted McGinley, Michael Richards, Harry Dean Stanton, Richard Dean Anderson, Taylor Negron and many more make up this VERY impressive cast. I just wish there would have been more crazy, over-the-top comedy moments.
Monday, February 14, 2011
His Name Was Jason (2009)
Dir - Daniel Farrands
Now that I've seen the docs covering the series of Michael Meyers and Freddy Krueger I had to give Jason Voorhees his due. While this look at the entire series is not bad it has been hurt severely by the fact that I watched Never Sleep Again (Freddy doc made by the same people) first. Their second outing was so much more in depth and well done that it makes this look rather amateurish. Not a waste of time by any means but just as good is Peter Bracke's book Crystal Lake Memories.
The Big Chill (1983)
Dir - Lawrence Kasdan
This is one of those films I would see on the shelves of video stores for years. I passed it while working there, or just browsing, even the soundtrack popped out at me all the time. When I was younger my parents one time referred to Three Dog Night's "Joy to the World" as The Big Chill song. For whatever reason I never watched the movie but finally decided it was time. I'm very glad that I waited so long to see it, because if I had viewed it while in high school I probably would not have enjoyed it at all. Not that I wouldn't have recognized good writing and filmmaking but it's not really possible for a teenager to relate to a group of thirty-somethings. Still, I can't completely immerse myself in this world because I didn't live during that renaissance vibe of the 60s, but I have more of an understanding of life at 31 then I did at 17.
This ensemble cast (including Tom Berenger, Kevin Kline, Glenn Close, Meg Tilly and Jeff Goldblum) is incredible and listening to these old friends cope with the death of another and talk about their very different lives is quite interesting. Not much really happens or gets resolved but it paints a wonderful picture of an adult dealing with the course of their life, for better or worse, and confronting the ghost of their past selves.
Friday, February 11, 2011
Friday the 13th (1980)
Dir - Sean S. Cunningham
What else can I say about this movie that hasn't already been said? Nothing. It's great, influential and looks very pretty on Blu-Ray. Savini's make-up rocks. I remember being in love with the arrow through Kevin Bacon's throat when I was a kid. I would watch it over and over.
This begins the re-watch of the F13 films. I was going to wait until after I watched the His Name was Jason doc but I just couldn't wait. I hope Paramount gets off their asses and finish releasing these on Blu because I NEED my favorites, parts 4 and 6, in high definition!
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Dir - William Lustig
Great exploitation revenge tale with one of the best asests any film could wish for - Fred Williamson! He's just as awesome here as you would expect plus you get the added bonus of Robert Forster. Good action, crazy violence and some pretty sweet car chases. What else could you want?
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
The Bad News Bears Go to Japan (1978)
Dir - John Berry
At least now I know I wasn't missing anything by having not seen this last installment. Complete nonsense! The best character from the first two, Tanner, is gone, there's barely any baseball and the Bears themselves are missing from a good chunk of the film. Why did they make a BNB film if they were just going to take Tony Curtis and have him act crazy trying to make a ton of money to pay off his gambling debts? Just make a movie about that! There is no real reason to watch this, just stick with the first two.
Monday, February 7, 2011
Wait Until Dark (1967)
Dir - Terence Young
Wow! This is an amazing thriller that I'm ashamed to have not seen until now. Hepburn, Arkin and Crenna really nail it, but everyone in the cast is outstanding. Henry Mancini's score adds a delightfully creepy vibe. This is an absolute must see!
Sunday, February 6, 2011
The Glenn Miller Story (1954)
Dir - Anthony Mann
Jimmy Stewart Sundays
Another Jimmy Stewart film, another win. This biopic about the life of Glenn Miller is wonderfully enjoyable, interesting and full of great music. There is some great use of Technicolor, but also some moments seem a tad overboard. One scene in particular centers around a late night visit to a Harlem Jazz club where Louis Armstrong, Gene Krupa and other play some toe-tapping tunes. Even though this is my favorite scene the ever changing color wheel on the band gets a bit laughable. Watch this, you won't be disappointed.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)
Dir - Steve Barron
The first time I saw this was on opening night on a friend's birthday after going and eating pizza. It was such a blast and we were a very happy group of 10-year-olds. Having not seen it in quite a few years, and not in 35mm since 1990, I can say that I still find it a ton of fun! Henson's Creature Workshop does a great job with the costumes and Splinter. Watching this really makes me want to go back and watch the other movies (never saw part 3 or the recent CGI version) and even the original cartoon series, which I watched obsessively at one time. I also need to read the source comic series. I've wanted to for years. Somebody hook a brutha up!
Now, where's that pizza?
Friday, February 4, 2011
Jaws of Satan (1981)
Dir - Bob Cleaver
So, it's a movie about the devil in a King Cobra's body coming after a new priest in a small town? Sign me up! There isn't a lot of crazy snake action, but it does build a fair amount of suspense in one scene in particular where a rattlesnake hides in a shower. I would scream like a little girl. Some of the make-up FX of the snake bites are pretty cool but that doesn't make up for some of the acting. This was also a very young Christina Applegate's first film.
A few years before she was prime time jailbait, she was snake bait.
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Dir - Jamaa Fanaka
From the man who brought us Welcome Home Bother Charles, comes the first in the trilogy of films about boxing in the big house. A few great fight scenes, but there is a bit of odd editing and some out-of-place feeling fourth wall breaking. If nothing else I now have to watch the other two films, the sequel has Mr. T and Ernie Hudson, and I want to eat a(nother) Mr. Goodbar.
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Dir - Jeff Kwitny
Horror Movie Night
Perfect night to watch this during the crazy icy weather attacking North Texas. This is a special kind of slasher from the late 80s centered around a timeshare ski weekend. Not much makes sense and the main female is always working out in the kitchen. What do curls with a rolling pin really accomplish? There are some hysterical lines and just plain ridiculous logistics. On the plus side a grown-up Lisa Loring, the original Wednesday Addams, gets naked. Heh.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
The Expendables (2010)
Dir - Sylvester Stallone
This does have the joy of the 80s action throwback but feels a little long with some very out of place moments. The fight scenes are great and some of the other gunplay, and numerous explosions, are quite enjoyable to watch. One thing that really bugs me is the less than stellar CGI mainly for blood. I snickered every time it was used. It might be a bit cheaper/quicker/easier to use a computer over a practical effect but it looks absolutely ridiculous. Stallone looks a little deflated and I wish JCVD would have said yes. Maybe for The Expendables 2!
A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985)
Dir - Jack Sholder
Surely one of the worst NOES sequels but there are still a few good moments... and A LOT of cheese. There are some decent FX but most are pretty laughable, as is the main characters spectacular dance sequence in his room. There is a ton of gay subtext and if those involved are telling the truth that it wasn't planned then this has to be the most unintentionally gay movie ever! There's a scene where the high school kid wanders into an S&M club and finds his coach all leathered out. Of course he goes back to the school with him and runs laps. Crazy!