Saturday, January 31, 2009

Rise of the Crows

Takashi Miike's Crows Zero is surely not his best work but it was a damn entertaining ride. It's based on a manga about clashing gangs of high school boys who want to control Suzuran High School. It stars Shun Oguri (of Hana-dan fame) who holds the story together (it's littered with plenty of other J-drama stars). The story isn't wholly original by any means but Miike shoots it well altho you may never think this a Miike flick if you're familiar with his earlier work. Despite the healthy dose of violence throughout, Crows Zero is fairly mainstream in its presentation (easier to swallow than much of Miike's other works). I found it hilarious that most of the characters wear the same outfits/clothes throughout most of the flick.

I sat thru Underworld Rise of the Lycans at Showcase 12. It wasn't bad but felt more like a serial for the small screen (with higher production values) than a big screen feature. I probably won't bother getting this one on DVD altho I do like Michael Sheen (Lucian) a lot more in this flick than the first one. Then again I didn't think I'd get the 2nd flick on DVD either.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Wedding Massacre

Lucio Fulci's Massacre Time was a somewhat interesting watch altho not quite the spaghetti western on par with Leone. But it had its moments (and funny lines). Franco Nero is a good looking chap.

Having not seen Wedding Crashers (until now) I was sorry that it took me so long to see this totally hilarious movie (and, yes, I own the DVD); it's nearly 4 years old! I LOL a lot during this one and look forward to hearing the commentary tracks.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sieg Heil Fantasy

Have you seen Wizards, the Ralph Bakshi animated feature from 1977? what a trip this is... I'm curious what drugs he was on when he created this. The interview with him (on the DVD) is interesting as he indicates that he wanted to make a "family & kids" movie and Wizards is just that... however, with all the Nazi overtones and sexual undertones I'm not sure this is really appropriate for the under 10 set. That said, this flick is ripe for a remake.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Mint in "Box"

The 40-Year-Old Virgin is a solid precursor for the series of flicks to come from Apatow & Co. It was the next logical step (after Anchorman) towards more gross-out and biting humor and established the foundation for the subsequent rated R feature films. I'm glad to finally have seen this one; I can (sadly) relate to a lot of the themes. haha.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Beautiful Ride

Walk Hard - The Dewey Cox Story got off to a slow start and I wondered if it would live up to the standards set in previous Apatow films. Fortunately it does. By the end of the movie I decided it would be one worth owning and re-watching. It's a pretty good take on the music bio pic genre and the soundtrack is actually very good.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Ghidorah Scissorsheads

I've seen Invasion of Astro-Monster (aka Monster Zero) before and wanted to re-watch the English/American release before watching the Japanese version. I'm definitely burned out on kaiju flicks at the moment. As cool as this movie is I was continually distracted (prolly doesn't help that I've seen it before). I'm gonna hold off on any more kaiju films for a while.

I watched the first 4 episodes of Pumpkin Scissors: Season 1, Part 1 (anime) and it was okay. Interesting post-war storyline about an anti-tank soldier.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Nazi Wrestling Werewolves

today was a triple feature day... working in reverse, tonight I soaked in Paul Verhoeven's WWII drama Black Book, which was excellent in every way with a tour de force preformance by Carice van Houten. She is stunning and makes the movie.

earlier I was at The Glen 10 theater to see The Wrestler on the big screen. What more needs to be said about this flick? Mickey Rourke is awesome; Marisa Tomei is hot. another definite recommended flick. And the best soundtrack I've heard in a long time! (but curious as to why RATT didn't give the rights for the original tunes?!)

during the AM hours I began my re-watch of Underworld (thinking I was going to see the latest Underworld Rise of the Lycans at the theater today). Had to finish it after I got home from The Wrestler viewing. Underworld isn't a bad flick... it's actually a pretty good vampire/werewolf film with style, action and attractive leads. Kate Beckinsale looks terrific, natch.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Outlandish Ink

today I braved the single-digit temps (thanks to my 1-2-1 appt at the Apple Store) and caught a couple of B-grade flicks on the bigscreen. First up was the Brendan Fraser vehicle, Inkheart, which was largely disappointing having read the book, which is so much better. A few elements from the film would've been nice touches in they were in the book but overall the film adaptation just wasn't as compelling as the book. My advice is to read the book and catch the movie as a rental.

After that, I headed to another theater, Barrington AMC 30, to check out the Alien/Viking flick Outlander starring Jesus as the dude from outer space that crashes in the Iron Age and joins the Nordic warriors to kill the nearly unstoppable alien monster that came along for the ride. it was laughable throughout and very much a B-movie. It's nice to see John Hurt in another alien movie.

Friday, January 23, 2009

We will kill many Americans

Battleground was recommended to me by a FB friend/former client. This 1949 war flick was damn entertaining. It was interesting to watch a flick about WWII made only a few years after the war was over. This one is about the 101st around Bastogne. Another that might be a good remake.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Two Rings Too Many

I'm on the road so I brought Ringu 2 with me as I haven't seen it before. Not a particularly great flick that takes off from where the original Ringu ends. I can see why it was made after the success of original flick but really doesn't do much nor is very scary (like the original).

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I'm Batman

Equilibrium is so star-studded it's a small mystery why it was given a limited release to theaters (I guess the critics hated it). And it's debatable how much "star power" these actors had at that time. Christian Bale was coming off American Psycho and Reign of Fire while Sean Bean was getting a lot of face time in Lord of the Rings. Taye Diggs and Emily Watson also star... so, okay maybe it's not that star-studded but this flick has gotten such a cult following and deservedly so. The gunplay is excellent with an entirely unique take (after "bullet time" became popularized from The Matrix). Overall it's a worthy watch even if it's hard to fully believe that human emotions can suppressed. Not surprising that Wimmer's next feature was Ultraviolet, which shares a lot of the same look and feel.

Monday, January 19, 2009


7 Grandmasters is an awesome old school kung fu flick from '78 and one of Joseph Kuo's better flicks. The story is as linear as it gets as the old master sets out to defeat all the great masters and become the greatest master before retiring. The action and antics makes for a fun watch.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Bloody Friends

The Hammer Horror feature Taste the Blood of Dracula isn't a bad watch but not quite as good as some of the others. Christopher Lee's presence was limited to final quarter of the flick (he's killed in the opening minutes only to be resurrected later). I actually preferred the first part of the flick leading up to Dracula returning to life.

I also finished Spaced Season 2 which was almost as funny as the first season. Looking at all the guest commentaries (from Tarantino to Diablo Cody) definitely makes me wanna buy this collection (as if I needed more reasons). Highly recommended watch.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

More Humorous Bollywood

so tonight I made a valiant attempt to finally see Slumdog Millionaire on the big screen... to no avail. sold out. on top of that, Village Crossing 18 was a fuckstory; automated ticket machines out of order, a throng of people in line out the door, no announcement of sold out shows. so I waited in the long line only to discover my showing was sold out. a joke. it's a real joke that this flick isn't on more screens or in more theaters. hrmph.

earlier in the afternoon I was thoroughly entertained by the new Bollywood release Chandni Chowk to China, a Bollywood Kung Fu affair (supposedly the first of its kind). Not the best Bollywood flick by any stretch but loads of fun. And Deepika Padukone is yet another gorgeous new actress to watch.

Around 3:45AM this morning I finished Season 1 of Spaced. This is the highly rated 1999 BBC TV series starring Simon Pegg and Jessica Hynes (directed by Edgar Wright). This show is so good I will have to own it someday. So clever and witty I'm surprised it hasn't been remade into an American show already (a la The Office). Another highly recommended watch (esp. for my friend p@).

Friday, January 16, 2009

Forget the Kaiju

I'm glad to have finally seen Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which I heard was pretty damn funny and it definitely holds up. It's one to own (at least for me). I LOL a lot during this one. The Dracula Puppet Opera is one for ages.

this evening I also watched Gamera vs. Monster X but really wasn't into it for whatever reason. Maybe I'm Kaiju'd out at the moment but I found myself not paying attention as much around the time the kids go inside Gamera in the submarine. it's a strange one.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Monica & Mignola

In the wee hours I watched Mike Mignola's marvelous short animated film The Amazing Screw-on Head, based on his comic of the same name and featuring the voice talents of Paul Giamatti, David Hyde Pierce, Patton Oswalt, Molly Shannon and others. It was delightful but too short! Wish there was more.

I finished Malena, a movie I started watching years ago. It's such a great non-war war movie (similar to Atonement) where the war is just the backdrop for the story. Monica Bellucci is still one of my favorites and she is fantastic in this, her big break in becoming a serious actress.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Award Worthy Shorts

tonight I started watching A Collection of 2005 Academy Award Nominated Short Films because there were a couple of films from these I was interested in (the winners from that year: Six Shooter and Moon and the Son - both were excellent). There's 8 total films here but since these are "short films" I'm only counting it as 1 movie (just under 3hrs total viewing time). The other animated shorts were "okay" but the live action shorts were all very good. I particularly enjoyed The Last Farm and Runaway (both foreign films and a bit dark like Six Shooter). Overall a good watch and recommended if you haven't seen.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bank Bonds

I was sorting and trashing boxes of old papers/receipts in the early hours so I threw in Tim Dalton's first spin as James Bond, The Living Daylights. Surprisingly this flick required more attention than I had planned. having never seen this one in the Bond canon the overall more realistic tone was strange (coming off classics such as Moonraker and Octopussy!). This was definitely more "spy" movie and not so bad.

This evening I followed up with the well-played The Bank Job which I've been wanting to see ever since the rave reviews started pouring in. Jason Statham needs more roles like this as it's clear he can carry a well-crafted flick (unlike his standard Transporter/Deathrace/War leading characters; let's forget about In the Name of the King, shall we?). Definitely an entertaining watch.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Trained Teeth Violence

Just finished watching the wonderful Sidney Lumet film Murder on the Orient Express from 1974. What an ensemble cast! Albert Finney was amazing and Jacqueline Bisset was amazingly gorgeous. I can't imagine a movie like this being made today with so many high-caliber actors. Betty Bacall, Sean Connery, Ingrid Bergman, et al. A real fine piece of work.

Last night (this morning, I suppose) I caught up with the highly disturbing Bug, starring Ashley Judd in a performance like I've never seen her: "I am the super mother bug!" Terrifying and intense... scary that it's not far from what may occur in reality. Not a bad turn by William Friedkin.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Fistful of Cards

it's only Sunday and I already have a "shit movie of the week"! how sad... but the honor goes to 21, in what could've been... should've been a much better film. IMO, had they either made a documentary of the true story or adhered to it in the film adaptation, it probably would have been better. as it was, it was a terrible ham-fisted hollywood packaged turd. Kevin Spacey needs a new agent.

Last night I digested Sergio Leone's sprawling Mexican Revolution epic, Duck, You Sucker (aka A Fistful of Dynamite), and it was quite a ride, albeit a long one at 2.5+ hrs. It's not nearly a good as the Dollars Trilogy but it's good in the purpose it serves. Rod Steiger is really great. And Ennio Morricone's soundtrack is awesome, natch.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Fetch, Zombie, Fetch

Last night (which was really this morning around 3AM) I finally watched the delightfully funny horror gem Fido. I had wanted to see this in the theater but it only managed a limited release so I picked it up at the library the other day and was very pleased with it. Much better than I anticipated. It was cute and a worthy watch.

Movie count to date (2009): 14 watched

Friday, January 09, 2009

Whale Fantasy

Tonight I re-watched Satoshi Kon’s magnificent Paprika (having seen it originally in the theater upon release but was so damn tired to fully appreciate it). It really is a marvel of movie and visually stunning. I watched all the extra features on the DVD as well which were terrific. Highly recommended viewing.

Also started watching Hakugei: Legend of the Moby Dick, an anime series from the late-90’s but looks like it was produced in the 80’s, which is why it attracted me. It’s not the greatest story but I enjoy the old-school style. Doesn’t count as a movie but it is taking some viewing time away from watching full feature flicks.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Animated Killer Sheep

Having not seen all the Naruto feature films from the first series, I finally sat through the 3rd flick, Naruto the Movie 3: Guardians of the Crescent Moon Kingdom, which actually turned out to be very good (and a return to form after the sub-par 2nd flick). I’m glad Rock Lee got more air-time being a primary character in the story.

I sorta muddled thru the disjointed horror-comedy Black Sheep. Just wasn’t into this one despite the excellent effects courtesy of Peter Jackson’s WETA studios. I guess monster sheep still have a long way to go.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Flying Turtles For The Win

Tonight I finished up watching the old black & white Gammera the Invincible (Gamera!) which is a fun watch. Hard to beat a giant fire-breathing, flying turtle!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Inglorious Fail

Today was the day for "Shit Movie of the Week" (to coin a phrase from Adam Quigley of /filmcast). The title to lay that claim was Superhero Movie, a truly bad movie in every way possible. Not funny. Not interesting. I think I was just too tired to turn it off.

On a much better note, the redeeming flick tonight was Enzo Castellari's Inglorious Bastards, which I've been wanting to see ever since Tarantino's remake rec'd its release date for later this year. It was an enjoyable and entertaining ride with plenty of humor and suspense. Decent noodle military flick. Watched the Quentin/Enzo interview in the extras which was also fun because Quentin is just so freaking weird. But good stories told!

Monday, January 05, 2009


I was totally entertained by the Nicholson and Kathy Turner mob characters in Prizzi's Honor. And Anjelica Huston was really excellent.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Strange Dead Dancing

Today was a double dose of horror… one funny and one not so funny. First up was Dance of the Dead, which turned out to be much more entertaining than I expected. It premiered at SxSW to rave reviews and now I know why. I would watch it again. In fact, I'd own it.

In the evening I took in the Liv Tyler/Scott Speedman vehicle, The Strangers. It’s a jump-scare fest that is serviceable in bringing on the suspense and fear. Strangely enough, The Strangers seems to be almost a note for note take on the French thriller, Them, which, IMO, I think is a better and more terrifying movie. I probably wouldn’t bother watching this one again but Them is a keeper. This is probably because I saw Them before The Strangers. I did, however, like the creepy masks.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Once in a Deathtime

In the wee hours I was bored so I ventured to On Demand hoping for some new free movies and sure enough there was one I’ve been wanting to see: Wristcutters - A Love Story. It was worth the watch if just to see Tom Waits. Overall sweet film and interesting (comedic) take on suicide.

Tonight I finally watched Once! No clue as to why it took me so long to see this but damn it is a great movie. Like really great. I cried. More than once. After watching it I immediately wanted to watch it again. Instead I bought the DVD online and watched a dozen YT videos featuring Glen and Marketa. Highly recommended watch for music fans.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Dynamic Resolution

My new years resolution isn’t so much a resolution as it’s an new idea; tracking all the movies I watch during the year. Actually I’m looking for a program that will track all the movies I watch w/o having to manually input the title (kinda like imdb for portables or transferable/exportable). The programs I’ve seen will track your collections, want-lists, etc but I just want something simple to track movies I’ve seen (and how I’ve seen them: theater, DVD, etc).

For now, I’m going to post the flicks I’ve seen as each day goes along and hopefully it will give me something consistent to post. We’ll see how long I can keep at it. Sometimes I’ll include my mini-review if I have the time. Let’s begin.

Last night (technically this morning) I watched the awesome Dynamite Warrior, another fun Thai action flick by the team that produced the Tony Jaa movies. DW wasn’t quite as good as the Jaa material but it was still a blast to watch. Dan Chupong could be a legitimate star in his own right.