Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Here Comes the Bride

Father of the Bride (1950)
Dir - Vincente Minnelli

I've seen the remake of this film, with Steve Martin, numerous times but never watched the original. The remake is pretty funny and I figured that I would find a lot of the same humor in the 50s version. Oddly this film is quite a bit "darker" in tone, if that's even the right word. There are laughs, and some direct lines reused, but this film focuses even more on the father who seems to be angrier and not as light as he's portrayed in the remake. It's a good film and touching with great performances but I think I prefer the remake in this case.

Monday, May 30, 2011

A LARPing Good Time

Role Models (2008)
Dir - David Wain

This was pretty damn funny, much more so than I expected. I've always found the LARPing thing kind of weird but it definitely made for some great jokes and Rudd, Scott, Mintz-Plasse and Thompson are fantastic. I will probably pick this up at some point because I can see myself watching it again.

Missing Persons

Gone Baby Gone (2007)
Dir - Ben Affleck

Heard good things about this for a while and finally decided to bump it up in my Netflix queue. This is a great film and Ben proves that he really knows what he's doing as a director, not to mention his brother gives quite a performance. After a few minutes I kept thinking this reminded me of Mystic River a bit and then I find out the source novel for both films were written by the same guy. Go figure.

I know there are a lot of conflicting opinions about end of this film and I'm still not 100% on where I fall. I see both sides and don't want to go into it here but it's a film and problem without a real black-and-white solution. I like that a lot.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Young Love

Sex and the Teenage Mind (2002)
Dir - Donald L. Gold

Decided to watch this because I like teen sex comedies and wanted to see one with Winnie Cooper in the cast. Overall I was not really impressed. A few good moments but most of the jokes were really stupid or portrayed that way. Other films of its ilk are much more fun and interesting (and have more nudity). Not really recommended.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Cleanin' the Streets

Hobo with a Shotgun (2011)
Dir - Jason Eisener
Special Dungeon Screening!

Started out as a fake trailer in the Grindhouse faux-trailer contest this awesome premise has been fleshed out into a full feature with the great Rutger Hauer in the lead role. Who wouldn't want to see this based on the red band trailer alone? I held out to hopefully see this in a theater instead of renting it on-demand and I'm glad I did because The Texas Theatre started playing it this week. Now I could have seen it in their 600+ seat main theatre like everyone else but they were having one screening in their "super secret" dungeon screening room. Something I (along with Jenny, Micah and Melissa) could not pass up doing.

First to get to the basement screening room you have to go through the men's restroom! Once in the small door you go down a small staircase into the room that's small and dank. When I say dank... I mean dank. There are plumbing pipes hanging down with cut tennis balls on the ends of the sharper/lower ones so you don't hit your head. It seats around 16 or so, but due to all the recent rain we were down a few seats because of the standing water in the back corner. Ha! One of the theater owners was even down there mopping as our pre-show entertainment.


As for the projection there was a small projector, like you would find in someone's home theater, hooked to a PS3 and a PA system. I worried for about a half a second about the water leaving the confines of the  orange cones and electrocuting something but that might make it even more fun. Luckily the sound was loud enough that I never heard a toilet flush once the movie started. The whole thing is thrown on a "screen" that's sloppily hung on the wall. Interesting.

The chairs were small and damn uncomfortable, as well as how hot it was down there. If they got a fan down there and let you bring your own lawn chars, or something similar, it might be fun to do semi-regularly for some dark horror, underground (natch) or exploitation fare. It's quite an experience, one that makes you feel like your in a room with a bunch of perverts watching a snuff film or something. But in a good way of course! Hopefully they'll figure out the cooling situation before next time and I'll go back down there, but probably not otherwise.

As for the actual film - I thought it really delivered. Some great ultra-violence and a fun story. I really love The Plague and some of the more humorous one-liners. Eisener made a good decision to keep the comedy to a minimum and go a more serious route with the film. Karim Hussain's cinematography was quite interesting and really hit the nail on the head with some of the films of the exploitation heyday. Films like Bitch Slap should really take note of what is done here, because this is the right way to make this kind of retro-sploitation.

Hammer Smashed Face

Sledgehammer (1983)
Dir - David Prior

This is the big shot-on-video horror release from Intervision and they have sold me on buying all of their future catalog. Very low budget, insane, ridiculous and fun. Not nearly as gory as I expected/hoped but, on the plus side, there was more boom mic shadow than I could have ever asked for. Prior also really loved the slow-motion, especially when someone is opening a door. So dramatic! This is a special film that I'm glad to own, and the VHS shot extras are a great touch. Kudos Intervision!

Periscope Up

Below (2002)
Dir - David Twohy

Heard good things about this and it was on Netflix Instant so I gave it a whirl. The praise is well deserved. This film is quite effective and has a pretty sharp script (co-written by Darren Aronofsky) to boot. I was shocked to see Zach Galifianakis here but he was great as the offbeat seamen who's spent far too long aboard.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Its A-MAZE-ing! Get It?!

The Spider Labyrinth (1988) aka Il nido del ragno
Dir - Gianfranco Giagni
Horror Movie Night

A tad confusing and slow but there's a climax that rocks off the charts! Feels much more like a late 70s film than one from the late 80s.

Full review next week on Gordon and the Whale!

Proper. Truth.

Attack the Block (2011)
Dir - Joe Cornish

I don't know what to say about this film other than I absolutely loved every second! I knew the hype from SXSW was high but this lived up to it and more. Great actors/characters, some good laughs, great FX, sweet score and some awesome awesome action. Definitely a frontrunner for best of the 2011 for me.

Now if I could only buy the damn soundtrack in the US. BAH!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Leapin' Leprechauns

Roadkill (2011)
Dir - Johannes Roberts
SyFy Original Movie

Who knew that Ireland had giant man-eating birds? Typical SyFy stuff, not too interesting but some of the rural Irish locales are nice looking. Not what I'd call a ringing endorsement.

Over the Moon

Apollo 13 (1995)
Dir - Ron Howard

I love this movie and have always loved this movie. Pretty sure I saw it in theaters initially and we watched it in high school a year or two later because of the problem solving stuff. I find this really inspiring and think it's amazing what these brilliant men at NASA can/did/do accomplish.

Grave Diggers!

Stone (1974)
Dir - Sandy Harbutt

Great 70s biker flick, a genre of which I'm not a huge fan, from Australia. This played before a repeat of Horror Remix's great biker themed show Road Rash and I'd like to thank them for introducing this to me. Some good action, a great exposition/drug seen and some really awesome characters. Some of the bikers in the Grave Diggers you might recognize from their later work in Mad Max.

I Thought You'd Be Bigger

Road House (1989)
Dir - Rowdy Herrington

It's always a good time to watch the exploits of Dalton and Wade at the Double Deuce. Yes, this movie is pretty bad, but I love it so and could never get tired of Swayze here. He rips a guy's throat out! And before that his victim says one of the best lines in the whole film, "I used to fuck guys like you in prison." What?!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Metal Up Your Ass

Hesher (2011)
Dir - Spencer Susser

Loved this movie! This is a great look into coping with loss and being stuck in a hole of grief. At times very funny and other are quite touching. The acting is top notch, especially from the young boy and, of course, Joseph Gordon-Levitt (who is definitely one of my favorite actors). Hesher is a great character who embodies rebellion and release and he has some great stories.

Also a plus to have actual good (read pre-Black) Metallica on the soundtrack!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Wrongfully Accused

The Thin Blue Line (1988)
Dir - Errol Morris

This was my first glimpse into Errol Morris' work and now I can't wait to see more! A very interesting documentary that will make you both sad and infuriate you over the way this case was handled. As a citizen of Dallas I can only shake my head and hope these officers and court officials have been reprimanded.


Homebodies (1974)
Dir - Larry Yust
Horror Movie Night

Second time I saw this, and both times it was because of Micah. Great creepy film about what happens when you try to push the elderly around.

Full review coming next week on Gordon and the Whale!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Out of This World

Ferocious Planet (2011)
Dir - Billy O'Brien
SyFy Original Movie

This is about what you'd expect from a SyFy flick about accidentally traveling to another dimension filled with large violent alien creatures. The CGI is meh and doesn't match the look of the real life very well, though the design of the creatures is pretty cool. Not much really happens and by the end I was shocked at how little seemed to occur.


Animated Action

Cool World (1992)
Dir - Ralph Bakshi

I was 12-13 when this came out and I really wanted to see it but this is one of the few movies my parents didn't want me watching. Something about the whole sex between humans and cartoons thing. There was a standee of Holli adorning the door to the porn room at one of my local mom-and-pop rental places until it closed in the early 2000s. Surprisingly I never saw it because, it wasn't really high on my list and now I can say I saw it but I wasn't too impressed. Some of the animation is pretty good and there are a few good ideas but overall I just didn't care about anything. Not to knock Kim Bassinger but I thought Holli was much more attractive in her animated state. What's wrong with me?

Blind Date

Macabre (1980)
Dir - Lamberto Bava

I've had this DVD from Blue Underground for a few years and finally got around to watching it. Unfortunately my copy doesn't have the awesome artwork of the Arrow Video release (shown above). The movie is a bit slow throughout but still manages to maintain a rather creepy tone amidst all the sexy time sounds from our main character. One thing this really has going for it is an intense final act with a super crazy last scene. There are a couple of doppelgangers in the film though. For one, the blind man has the appearance and slightly similar voice to Stephen Moyer as Bill Compton on True Blood. I'm sure the Lousianna accent makes for most of the comparison. Then there's Lucy. The little girl looks a bit like a young Joey Lawrence in drag. Yes, it is the guy from Blossom and it's pretty damn frightening.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Kimchi Western

The Good, The Bad, The Weird (2008) aka Joheunnom nabbeunnom isanghannom
Dir - Kim Jee-Woon

This is the second time seeing this and I loved it just as much as the first time. Great action and a wonderful western by a filmmaker in the East. Watched it today because I recently got the Blu and had to show Jenny. She really liked it too. Of course she did, it's awesome!

It's All Over

2012 (2009)
Dir - Roland Emmerich

I'm a sucker for a good disaster flick. I really love seeing major landmarks and the world we know being completely destroyed. I have a soft spot for Emmerich's stuff (like Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow) and this falls in line with the others. The story might not be incredible or game changing but it's a fun ride and kept me severely entertained. The initial collapsing of Los Angeles is bananas and I will be buying this Blu-Ray so I can watch all this destruction over and over again.

I'm kicking myself for not seeing this when it was in theaters.

Friday, May 13, 2011

"The Abomination, Which Makes All Things Desolate."

The Abomination (1986)
Dir - Bret McCormick
Horror Movie Night

This is a special movie. Unnecessarily long at times but there are some great scenes of gore. The acting might be horrendous but at least it gave some very ambitious foley artist a job.

Look for my full review next week on Gordon and the Whale!

I'm A Cop Killer, Better You Than Me

Cop Killers (1973)
Dir - Walter R. Cichy
Weird Wednesday

An interesting criminal road movie with two coke smugglers trying to sell their big score. There is some incredibly bad acting, especially by an awesome ice cream man. For a movie that's mostly "meh" there are some extremely violent moments as they kill their way through the desert. You also get an extended almost rape scene where one of the baddies goes berserk over a dirty romance novel. One big plus is the bearded hippie they take the coke to and his two doped up ladies.

Damn Scientists

Strange Behavior (1981)
Dir - Michael Laughlin

Interesting film about a small town with a diabolical experiment going on at the local college. There are some pretty creepy moments and a great uneasy shot of something happening to someone's eye. Good stuff, TCM wins again.

Saving Baby Girl

Drive Angry (2011)
Dir - Patrick Lussier

I'm not a huge fan of seeing things in 3D but with Lussier's previous film, the My Bloody Valentine remake, and this one he has proven to have a pretty good grasp of the tool. There is nothing of any real substance here but it's tons of fun. It does a great job of not taking itself seriously but not being too goofy. Some cool action and violent times. If you thought the full frontal scene in MBV was crazy Lussier ups the game with 3 or 4 more fully naked ladies. At this rate he'll be directing porn in no time.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Father Does Not Know Best

The Stepfather (2009)
Dir - Nelson McCormick

Directed by the same guy who did the Prom Night remake (which I've stayed away from on purpose) I didn't expect much and it delivered! Nowhere near as tense as the original and the lead could never be as creepy as Terry O'Quinn, but I can't really fault him for that. More than a horror film this just seemed like an excuse to show Amber Heard in skimpy bathing suits and her skivvies in as many scenes as possible. Way out of place but it's one of the few things about the film I didn't mind.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

No Capes!

The Incredibles (2004)
Dir - Brad Bird

I had not seen this since opening night in the theater - over six years ago! It's even better than I remembered and looks lovely on the new Blu-Ray. I really think Pixar can do no wrong, though I still have yet to see Cars. I must try to get over my extreme hatred of Larry the Cable Guy and give it a go. Sigh.

This is a great animated film and a great superhero tale. Would love a sequel to this instead of that one about the automobiles. Oh well, maybe someday...

Spooky Things in 3D

Haunted (2011)
Dir - Vikram Bhatt

I am not well versed in Indian cinema. As a matter of fact I don't know that I've seen more than a couple films from the country - counting this one - so I'm not too sure how film is handled over there. According to a friend on Twitter many of their films, regardless of genre, last for 3+ hours so I was lucky to get one that ran a mere two-and-a-half hours. I found out about this film from the Fandango app on my iPhone when just checking to see what was playing in the area and after some light digging found that this is one of thirteen U.S. theaters showing the film, and the only one in Texas. Figured I'd jump on the opportunity to see India's first stereoscopic 3D film, even though I'm not a huge fan of the style. At least it was horror. Heh.

The story concerns a manor that has been haunted for 80 years by the ghosts of a woman and her attacker. This begins to consume him and he tries to find a way to free her spirit from the decades of torment, and falls in love in the process.

Yes, this film has quite a bit of romance within, something I wasn't expecting. I have not seen Twilight, though I'm sure I will someday, but I can't imagine it handles "romantic" horror in this way. Because while there is maybe a little more sappy plot than I like in my ghost stories the horror parts are very effective and don't really hold any punches. There are some great scenes in the last third of the film that seem to be heavily influenced in equal parts by The Evil Dead and Chinese wuxia films.

There are a few rather weird things about the movie that kind of took me out of the experience. First involves the score. While it is rather good, beautiful in some places, it doesn't know how to take a page from the "less is more" playbook. It starts off heavy hitting on a grand orchestral scale and I think it could have really benefitted from growing with the film. I also found it odd how "westernized" the town and people look/act in the scenes from 1936. This could be my own naivety about the region but I just didn't know a town in the Koti mountains would be that "western". Also, about an hour and fifteen minutes in there is an intermission? Can people really not wait two-and-a-half hours? This also wasn't said ahead of time and we just sat in the dark, with nothing on the screen, for about five minutes before the film resumed without warning. Really takes you out of everything that has been going.

As for the 3D - meh. It does add depth to most of the shots and there are a few "off the screen" gags but it mostly is just a gimmick without all of the fun it could be (see Piranha 3D). When there are moments of bigger gags in the middle of the screen it makes the subtitles look really weird too. I had to close one eye so I could read them. A bit annoying. That said, the style looked quite good, especially for a first attempt. Much better than any of the post-conversion 3D crap I've seen.

It's hard to recommend to someone to really go out of their way to see this because I'm not sure if it's that "important" to see. I went because I wasted to support a major chain's choice to play something like this and hopefully it will help them to bring other out of the way films to multiplexes. I would go see it again knowing what I know now and am definitely going to check out Bhatt's earlier trilogy of horror films if I can.

Oh, and yes, there is a dancing scene that has become ubiquitous with Bollywood movies. Not like the others I've seen but it was quite amusing.

Dirty Stuff

The Virginity Hit (2010)
Dir - Huck Botko & Andrew Gurland

I remembered having a slight interest in seeing this when I saw a trailer months ago and since it was On Demand I figured I might as well give it a go. This is the sex comedy for the YouTube generation and it mostly succeeds. Fun little adventure that follows a lot of the standard conventions of the subgenre with some really funny moments. I do think it seems easier than anywhere else for teens to get alcohol in New Orleans. The crew goes to a bar and is served in one scene. They must have some damn good fake I.D.s.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Snot to Stalker

The Green Slime (1968)
Dir - Kinji Fukasaku

What the wonderful director of Battle Royale did in the late 60s. This sci-fi/horror flick is beyond ridiculous but still manages to be entertaining and fun. Very stiff, serious performances will dare you to keep a straight face. The extensive use of miniatures is super awesome and brought a smile to my face.

Friday, May 6, 2011

"But in Your Dreams, Whatever They Be..."

Dream a Little Dream (1989)
Dir - Marc Rocco

This is the movie where Corey Haim's best friend, played by Michael Jackson, switches bodies with an old man. Ok, so I'm joking but look at how Feldman dresses, acts, dances (!) and wears his hair. It's like he was trying to be MJ. I know he did hang out with him quite a bit but this is kinda creepy.

I remembered VERY little about this movie since the last time I saw it about 15 years ago. It has a few moments of good, Meredith Salenger is quite cute (and looks a bit like Justine Bateman if you ask me), but overall this is a weird flick. More drama than comedy and I still don't understand if the old man's presence was dominant in Feldman's body (he didn't even know how to dress like the teen) then how did he know to bust out the sweet MJ dance moves? Whatever, maybe I'll brave the sequel soon.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Caleb vs Lester

The Love Butcher (1975)
Dir - Donald M. Jones & Mikel Angel
Weird Wednesday

From the title I wasn't sure if this was about a butcher who loves or someone who butchers love - turns out it's neither. This has some moments of pure insanity and great a great psycho performance as Caleb/Lester, a man with a split personality. A couple of nifty butchering scenes are a little to few and far apart but still enjoyable.


Dreamaniac (1986)
Dir - David DeCocteau
Horror Movie Night

Watch out Freddy, another dream demon has hit video. Wait... this really has very little to do with actual dreaming. Boring for quite a bit, horrible acting, a bunch of gay men "acting" straight, a few scenes of really cool gore and an ending that I'm still confused about.

Check out my full review on Gordon and the Whale soon!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Fifth Time's a Charm

Fast Five (2011)
Dir - Justin Lin

I seem to be in the minority in thinking that F&F: Tokyo Drift is a weak entry in the series. Maybe I should watch it again, but at least I'm pretty much in agreement with everyone else that part five kicks some major ass! This film has pretty much everything you want out of a movie like this and delivers on all levels. There are some confusing things that don't make a whole lot of sense but this is a F&F movie after all. Like the interesting sequel stuff set up in the tag at the very end. It'll be interesting to see what they do with that.

Carlton Banks to the Rescue

Ticks (1993)
Dir - Tony Randel
Horror Movie Night

Fun early 90s flick about killer ticks with an odd anti-pot message that gets shoved down your throat. On the plus side the film stars a young Seth Green, Peter Scolari from Bosom Buddies and Alfonso Robeiro, aka Carlton Banks.

Read my full review on Gordon and the Whale soon!