Thursday, February 2, 2012
Switchblade Sisters (1975) aka The Jezebels
Dir - Jack Hill
I saw this trailer on a trailer compilation a while back and had forgotten how much I wanted to see it. I was not disappointed. Some great performances and action involving this teen girl gang. Fun fact: it features Lenny Bruce's daughter as one of the gang.
Little Darlings (1980)
Dir - Ronald F. Maxwell
Wow! I loved this movie.
This is one of those types of movies I see every so often that I'm almost upset I'd never seen it before. It has so many things I love – a coming-of-age tale, takes place at camp, sex comedy moments, shirtless Matt Dillon. Ok, so maybe that last one isn't one of the selling points but he is great in this movie. It's as funny as it is touching and I look forward to re-watching for years to come.
Also, all of the girls are pretty cute in this but the young Cynthia Nixon is just goddamn adorable. I want to scoop her up and put her in my pocket.
Steve Niles' Remains (2011)
Dir - Colin Theys
Yes, I know this is a made-for-Chiller TV horror flick and I shouldn't expect much – but I did. I've never read Niles' comic this is based on but I know he is a good/interesting scribe and have enjoyed other things he's done in the past. Guess I shouldn't have just expected this to be good.
The whole film is pretty by-the-numbers as far as a living dead scenario goes but it does have one good thing going for it. Well, maybe two, since it does feature Miko Hughes in one of the co-starring roles. He's the kid from Kindergarten Cop who said "boys have a penis, girls have a vagina", if you don't remember. He also was Heather's kid in Wes Craven's New Nightmare and the young, very creepy, Gage in Pet Sematary. The other
Honestly, it's been less than a month since I've seen this and I practically forgot about it. Don't bother.
Session 9 (2001)
Dir - Brad Anderson
This is only the third time I've seen this and the other two were upon the initial release. Ten years later I can say, with much confidence, that this movie still holds up well as an effectively creepy, atmospheric and interesting horror film. I love it when great little films like this get released and hope they find their audience eventually. Pretty sure by now that most horror fans know of its greatness and that's a good thing. If you haven't seen it, don't let David Caruso's appearance keep you away - watch it right fucking now!
The Human Tornado (1976)
Dir- Cliff Roquemore
This is only my second Dolomite movie and it's just as fascinating as the other, Disco Godfather. This film has a lot of awesome to it from Rudy Ray's stand-up at the beginning, to the crazy white mafia basement shenanigans, and the clothes. Holy crap, the clothes! Someday I will make millions by releasing the Dolomite Collection and selling exclusively to gullible hipsters.
Sunday, January 15, 2012
Finally getting around to doing my year-end totals. I did not watch as many movies as in 2010, but I did go to one less film festival and probably watched a little more TV. Still I'm OK with checking out a total of 413 feature films in 2011, 327 were either new or new-to-me.
Here's a little breakdown of some other fun facts about my movie watching habits over the year, most of which will surprise no one. Heh.
Most Watched Decade: 80s with 121 films
Second Most Watched Decade: 10's with 105 films
Most Watched Genre: Horror (duh!) with 161 films
Horror Movie Night Films: 47
Weird Wednesday Films: 28
Netflix Instant: 57
At Micah's House: 74
In Theaters: 78
Most Visited Theater: Magnolia with 19 films
Bring on 2012!
New Year's Evil (1980)
Dir - Emmett Alston
First time seeing this somewhat well known slasher and I thought it was great. Some great New Wave punk bands ringing in this new year on this national televised annual program. Really? Maybe on something like MTV but that had yet to be created. However, I probably wouldn't really know since I was just a baby.
Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff (2010)
Dir - Craig McCall
Caught this doc on its last day on Netflix Instant. A pretty middle-of-the-road life's tale but has some very interesting comments and stories from the subject in interviews conducted before his death. The scenes from his previous work are wonderful. Still, I find myself baffled that the same man who lensed films like Black Narcissus and The Red Shoes would go on to Rambo: First Blood Part II.
Tales of the Third Dimension (1984)
Dir - Worth Keeter, Thom McIntyre, Earl Owensby
This is a mid-eighties horror anthology flick made in 3D. Of course the copy we watched was not in 3D. Aside from the cool wrap around which features a Rod Serling skeleton and a set of five vultures carrying the personalities of Laurel, Hardy and all three Stooges (inexplicable but amazing), the stories are pretty lame and boring.
Until you get to the third and final tale.
The last story finds a couple of kids dropped of at grandma's for Christmast while their parents go out of town for a few day. One problem - grandma's fucking crazy! She goes psycho and tries to kill everyone. I laughed so hard I was coughing and seeing cartoon stars. This segment will be watched by me during the holidays from here on out. I doth proclaim!
The Descendants (2011)
Dir - Alexander Payne
Went in knowing very little about this film but head very high praise. I was pleasantly surprised by the film and loved every minute. Clooney continues to rock and young Shailene Woodley is spectacular. Some great comedy and some quite touching moments. And to think Dean Pelton from Community (Jim Rash) is one of the scribes behind all this!
Young Adult (2011)
Dir - Jason Reitman
Another triumph for Jason Reitman in my book!
Charlize is wonderful, though her fluffy dog steals every scene they share. Love Patton Oswalt's stand-up and this proves that his great performance in Big Fan was no fluke. People give Diablo Cody a bunch of greif but I don't really have a problem. When I saw Juno I loved it right away. Yes, there are some annoying "teenspeak" moments, but it's like that in real life too. Her writing here is definitely a little more grown-up.
One of the greatest things about this film is some of the soundtrack. Lots of great 90s bands and that Teenage Fanclub song "The Concept" is not forever stuck in my head. Love how much play it gets in the film and over the very cool cassette tape opening credits. In fact, I love it so much that I'm going to add it just below this sentence.
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Black Christmas (1974)
Dir - Bob Clark
My absolute favorite Christmas flick, and one of my favorite films of all time. This pre-dates Halloween as a slasher film and really creates a highly suspenseful, frightening atmosphere without showing much of any graphic violence. One of the few films to really give me the creeps, and if you know anything about me that's saying quite a bit. I watch this every Christmas and it's one reason to actually look forward to the season for me.
Yes, this is directed by the same guy who made A Christmas Story.
Dir - Richard Donner
And this is my second favorite adaption. Murray is hysterical and it's a really fun take on the same old story.
Bonus tally: Between this two versions of A Christmas Carol I watched an episode of George Burns Comedy Week from the 80s on YouTube that's called Christmas Carol II: The Sequel. This sees Scrooge go too far on the giving side and is once again visited by the three ghosts who show his the error of his new pushover ways. It's pretty great and the cast includes Roddy McDowell, James Whitmore, Samantha Eggar, Ed Bagley Jr and more. The quality is kind of crappy but you can watch the half hour below.
Monday, January 9, 2012
The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
Dir - Brian Henson
One of my two favorite adaptations of Dickens' A Christmas Carol so I decided to start my Christmas Day with a repeat viewing. Some great songs, Michael Cane is wonderful as Scrooge, it has all of your Muppet favorites and Kevin as Tiny Tim!
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010)
Dir - Jalmari Helander
My second time watching this new genre Christmas classic. A great Finnish film that takes a different country's perception of the Santa legend and twists it a bit. I absolutely adore this film and can't wait to watch this come every December for many, many years to come.
Christmas Vacation (1989)
Dir - Jeremiah S. Chechik
Everyone knows this film, everyone loves this film, and it's completely justified. After dozens and dozens of times seen over the past 22 (!) years I still find myself laughing out loud consistently. Probably the best of the Vacation films, with the original a VERY close second. It was great to see it in 35mm on the big screen again for the first time since its original run.
Sunday, January 1, 2012
Dir - Richard C. Parish
There are no words. See this at all costs and make it a holiday tradition as I have these last few years. Truly magical.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
Dir - David Fincher
I really enjoy this story and I love the slow pace and lengthy epilogue. Fincher did a great job, as do Mara and Craig, and Reznor/Ross' score is top notch but I can't help but be a little annoyed at the existence of this film. I know I shouldn't care about remakes anymore, and for the most part I don't, but the original film is only a couple years old! Just because American's can't be bothered to read subtitles it had to be redone. Bah! If something crazy and different had been done I could understand but this is basically the same film as its Swedish predecessor. It's just a little frustrating.
I'm mostly frustrated about something that mainly takes place in a foreign country and everyone speaks English. If that weren't bad enough, when they show small Swedish town newspapers from the 60s it too is in English! It annoys me so.
Besides that, this is good and I hope it inspires people to seek out the original films.
Coopers' Christmas (2008)
Dir - Warren P. Sonoda
Saw this on Netflix Instant an decided to watch because I love Jason Jones and Samantha Bee on The Daily Show. The film isn't too special but there are a few pretty funny moments.
Becoming Santa (2011)
Dir - Jeff Meyers
Glad that Hulu had this new doc available in time for the Christmas movie watching season. We follow a man who decides to become a Santa in attempt to recreate the magic of the season he no longer feels. This is something I can completely relate to as all of the fun and excitement of the holidays just isn't there for me anymore. Through this doc you get to see someone help create that magical feeling in children and ultimately in himself. Surprisingly touching and always fun.
Santa's Slay (2005)
Dir - David Steiman
For a movie that stars a wrestler as a killer Santa this kicks some ass! You would think it would be horrible but the end result is a fun ride that plays with the myth of Santa and you get to see Fran Drescher killed. Heh.
Jingle All the Way (1996)
Dir - Brian Levant
This is only the second time, and second year in a row, that I've seen the film but it will become a regular around the holidays for years to come. No, it's not very good but there's something enjoyable about this quest of the hot gift of the season. How can you really go wrong when the leads are Arnold Schwarzenegger and freaking Sinbad?!
Zombie Apocalypse (2011)
Dir - Nick Lyon
Guess the powers that be in the SyFy Original Movie department wanted to capitalize on the Ving Rhames in another zombie flick after his stint in the remake of Dawn of the Dead years earlier. This did not really accomplish much. The tale is pretty standard with nothing too interesting to keep your attention. There is a band of surviving archers to wow you, but nothing will prepare you for the arrival of - CGI zombie tigers!
Women's Prison Massacre (1983) aka Emmanuelle in Prison
Dir - Bruno Mattei
Not the best WIP I've ever seen, but certainly not the worst. Great VHS cover (as seen above) and you really can't go wrong with the lovely Laura Gemser. Drool.