Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Movie Night!

First up: The Mole People. Watched w/the kids. Not a great flick but still entertaining for a 1956 b&w horror film. The mole monsters are awesome (and terrifying).

Second: a Hammer Horror film, The Reptile. Not very good but a great monster! Really great. Want a 12" action figure of that one.

Third: Drag Me to Hell, w/o the kids. Will say that enjoyed this so much more the 2nd time around. Works better in good company. Very fun movie.

Forth and Final for the night: what's due to become an annual tradition we watched Trick 'r Treat and as my 3rd viewing, I will say that this was the most fun yet... well, hard to beat the Chicago screening w/the audience but as for enjoying the film, I think I dug it the most on this night.

Word Cloud for the week

Wordle: Sleestakk's Movies Watched Blog

Friday, October 30, 2009

Raiders of the Lost Mask

Boris Karloff as Fu Manchu in The Mask of Fu Manchu is really something to behold. Quite the treat and trick from 1932, as apparently there wasn't a single worthy Asian actor at the time. Comical that all of Fu Manchu's clan are made of an assortment of ethnicities and yet they live secluded somewhere in China. Myrna Loy is a vixen of a Manchu daughter. All in all I'm very fond of this film.

Worth noting that I also re-watched the final 3 episodes from Lost: The Complete Fourth Season to get reacquainted w/the story where I last left off. This was by accident as I thought Season 4 I hadn't seen but after popping in a few discs, I was completely sucked in again. Such a good show.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Damn Villages

Going on record: October must be the best month of movies on TCM. Watched the original Village of the Damned from 1960. The opening sequence is spot-on terrifying. Another excellent children horror flick.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The King's Son

One I haven't seen in a while and couldn't resist recording from TCM: The Son of Kong (1933). Inferior to its predecessor I still quite like this one a lot. And to think, the length of this film is only half of Peter Jackson's bloated Kong remake.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Godfather Part II

Again, woke up at 4AM so took on the daunting The Godfather Part II (daunting b/c it's so damn long; has "intermission"). Still trying to decide which film I enjoy more, Part I or Part II. Both are so amazing for different reasons. I have decided that Bob Duvall is the glue that holds these together. But really loved DeNiro in this. Wish he was in it more.

A really tight pre-code (1933) gem I captured on TCM rounded the evening: Mystery of the Wax Museum, co-starring the delightful Fay Wray (looking mesmerizing as ever). The story has been (sorta) re-done, i.e. making people into wax but still would like to see a modern take on this exact story. I think it would be even more frightening.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Godfather

Woke up at 4:30AM so I figured it an opportune time to watch The Godfather, given its length. That's a movie I've been wanting to re-watch for years having never seen it in my adult life and only remember it as bits and pieces from clips throughout the years. Nothing more needs to be said about this film. The blu-ray is decent.

I highly recommended watch is Sin Nombre, by first time director Cary Fukunaga. Total City of God vibe and not the easiest watch but a goddamn great film. Watch this movie. Now.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Interviewing the Vampires

Erased a couple more blindspots today starting with Interview with the Vampire. Not the best DVD transfer but still an entertaining flick that didn't work for me in the 1st arc but sold me by the 3rd. Too bad they didn't sequel this one. obtw, I've owned the Laserdisc of this forever.

Next up was Who Framed Roger Rabbit, which never interested me during its original release. But the movie is quite good despite Roger Rabbit being entirely annoying. Most surprising was the inclusion of all the Warner Bros. & Disney cartoon characters. Wasn't expecting that yet gave the film more validity. Love to see a cartoon/animation mash-up like that now featuring Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks, Sony, et al. Could be a wild story!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Assisting the Vampires

Ventured out for the afternoon matinee of Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant. After Friday's dismal returns I expected a fairly empty theater yet it was quite full. Slow burn of a film and a strange one at that. But enjoyable. Glad they didn't attempt to cram the entire 11 book series into one film and left it open for a sequel (really, Vampire Mountain is the best material within the book series). I was okay w/the liberties taken in the bigscreen adaptation but wasn't keen on the Crepsley romance w/Madame Truska, which never came close to occurring the books. Wasn't crazy about either of the two kid leads (portrayed older in the film). But still very watchable w/some nice moments. Crowd dug it.

Filled the evening with more Crown International substandard horror thrillers from that cheapy collection (I so love cheapy collections loaded w/bad films). The Devil's Hand (1962) was up first; not terrible voodoo cult worship flick. Very watchable w/more attractive women.

Followed that with The Madmen of Mandoras from 1963. 5 words: Hitler's Head in a jar. That was the only thing that made this worth watching. But it's damn glorious. The subtitle is "They Saved Hitler's Brain" but it's really his whole damn head! Watching that head ride in the backseat in a car was so great. Sadly the Hitler head isn't shown in this trailer:

Next was Satan's Slave, which is a very okay Satan Worship slash Puritan jump flick from '76 w/a few sexy (nude) bodies. I would totally watch it again. Candace Glendenning is super fine.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Grinding The Gorehouse

Picked up another cheapy horror set called "Gorehouse Greats Collection" that features 12 films. Typically these are public domain films w/poor transfers but occasionally you'll find a few gems in these budget sets. Watched the first disc that featured Blood of Dracula's Castle, a very poor quality transfer of a fairly bad 1969 horror film. Wasn't terrible tho and I could see this being remade into something pretty good (has a suitable plot).

After that was Blood Mania, 1970 release from Crown International, and it's not so much horror or gore as it's just softcore semi-exploitation suspense grindhouse flick. Not great but plenty of gratuitous nudity and attractive leads. Particularly the main lead Maria De Aragon is effective and effectively hot. Strangely enough she went on to play Greedo in Star Wars. WTF? Oh yeah the transfer for this is excellent making it all the more pleasurable to watch.

Look for Maria De Aragon at the 0:38 mark... way sexy & psychotic in this role.

Loaded up Fukasuka's Sympathy for the Underdog, which is another fine yakuza film but set in Okinawa, featuring a terrific character by Tomisaburo Wakayama (Lone Wolf & Cub).

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The House is Old & Dark

Another Karloff strange fest of a film in The Old Dark House. Weird little story for 1932 yet impressed they made films like this. More mad ups to TCM.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

When Halloween Isn't Good

Full disclosure: I hate Rob Zombie's Halloween. Tried watching this a week ago and couldn't get past first 20 minutes. Finishing it now (on blu no less) and I still just absolutely hate this movie. Partly b/c it isn't good and partly b/c I have so much love for the original, which is a masterpiece.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

House That Drips Blood

The House That Dripped Blood is a nice little horror anthology w/the Hammer/Amicus usual suspects. Another good horror watch leading up to Halloween.

Monday, October 19, 2009

I Say Vampire, You Say Vampyr

Due to the exciting MNF game and my obsession with Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, I only did in one film, Vampyr, the 1931 b&w nearly silent (very little German is spoken) vampire flick directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer. Very hypnotic and dream-like. I got a little lost in the 3rd act when Allan Gray is wandering as a spirit but a very striking film to see.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Activating the Paranormal

Very, very happy I squeezed in Paranormal Activity before the Bears game. Damn, I loved this movie and the experience of seeing it in a rather full theater. It's more about the experience than the film (if you want to call it a film). It's home footage sewn together that tells the tale of a ghost that appears to haunting a young couple in their San Diego home. It's effective and fun. Scary, no but entertaining. Must be seen w/a good crowd of people to truly enjoy its full effect.

After the Bears game I finally threw in my blu-ray of Trick 'r Treat. Haven't seen this since the Terror In Aisle 2 event in August. Still holds up and still super fun. But more apparent how short it is. Wish it was longer or a sequel was coming.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Dynamite! Brigitte Bardot is Hot

Went out to Streets of Woodfield (after a driving mishap) and made it into a matinee of Black Dynamite a few minutes after it started. LOVE. THIS. MOVIE. As Roger Ebert quipped, hella more enjoyable if you've seen several blaxploitation films. As long as you're familiar w/the genre you dig this. Ya dig? Can't wait to get this one into a future movie night. Maybe Michael Jai White's best role evar!

Had to watch The Legend of Frenchie King (a.k.a. Les pétroleuses) on VHS (thx Library!) since it's not available on DVD (never made available domestically actually). Too bad. Would love to have a nice transfer of this film. Brigitte Bardot and Claudia Cardinale are gorgeous. Not a great movie but fun, lite fare that beckons for a sequel (let's see that B&W girl gang in action!).

All I will say about The Mummy Returns is that it is definitely better than The Mummy. The CG is just cartoon-ish but more enjoyable. Blu-ray looks very nice.

Still await I fell into a viewing of Boris Karloff's The Walking Dead on TCM. This 1936 gem is excellent. Really. Karloff has one of the sickest stares in horror. I watched the short film The Wrong Way Out (1938) after that. Very exciting public service warning film about the dangers of being a teenager and running away from home. From imdb: "Two young people get married and run away, even though their parents advise them to build up their savings first. After they get settled they can barely make ends meet. When opportunity suddenly presents itself, they start on a downward spiral of crime." Hilarious!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Wild Things, I Think I Love You

Almost a game time decision I took in the late screening of Where The Wild Things Are at Showcase 12. In seat 10 minutes early and was only person in the theater! A few more people came in but even more shocking were the 2 couples that left the viewing halfway thru. WTF?! You paid $10/ticket and walk out? I guess some people only want bullshit mainstream garbage. As for WTWTA, I really dug it yet lack the words to articulate. Damn amazing. Maybe the biggest budget "art" flick to date.

Came home to decompress w/Sleepaway Camp, a 1983 spin on the campground slasher flick. Pretty darn good flick that nails the summer camp experience (I did nearly all the same gags during my summer camp adventure). The only thing that gets me is that despite all the kids getting killed, the camp remains open. Highly unlikely.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Center of the Pandorum

Did the late screening of Pandorum since it's the last day for its theater run. Wanted to see it sooner and now I'm really glad I did. Totally dug this film... sci-fi horror done good. Not perfect but I was into it the whole time and was crushing on Antje Traue. Smoking. Wish I knew what the deal was w/the creatures but whatever. It was solid.

Now watching the latest remake of Journey to the Center of the Earth with Brendan Fraser. It's stupid as all get out. Hate stunts that could never happen (eg. jumping a mining cart over broken tracks). Glad that B. Fraser is keeping his terrible big action adventure career alive.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Not So Haunted House

Despite the 1-star (out of 4) rating I decided to record The Haunted House of Horror on TCM since it's OOP. That 1-star rating is justified as this movie is pretty awful in which not even Frankie Avalon can save. I think there's a decent idea in there somewhere but just executed poorly. The opening title sequence is actually the best part which tells you all you need to know.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Afraid To Die

Thoroughly enjoyed Yasuzo Masumura's Japanese New Wave Cinema 1960 classic Afraid to Die. The story of him and lead Yukio Mishima is even more fascinating. Now want to see more of their work.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Robot Job

Ok, wrapped the 2nd half of that Drive-In Double-Feature disc by watching Creation of the Humanoids. Interestingly, it's been noted that Warhol drew inspiration from this film and I believe it. It's actually quite good for the "machines rise up against humans" trope for early sci-fi (1962). But a lot of talking. Good watch tho.

Also got a rise outta the G-Rated original The Italian Job. MPAA ratings definitely had different criteria back then b/c this is hardly what I'd call "G-Rated". But it is a great Michael Caine crime romp (and better than the remake, if that even needs to be said).

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Blades of Blu

The Blade Runner blu-ray set is a must-have/must-buy set. It has 4 cuts of the movie in addition to the special features. I watched the director's cut (having seen the final cut most recently in the theater). Damn it's gorgeous. Gotta pull the trigger on that one.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Friday, October 09, 2009

War Between the Planets

Brought a Netflix rental w/me, War Between the Planets and successfully watched it! It's half of another Drive-In Double Feature DVD, which means it's barely a decent b-movie. Not so great w/wooden acting but still entertaining & silly in its own way.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

San Jose - Day 2

Fully entrenched in the process here and therefore no movies for me! Considering going to t/theater tonight but nah.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Flying High Again

In a few hours I'm off again on another trip in which I anticipate very little movie viewing if any over the next few days. I do have a few movies in my possession so who knows but no promises. Plus I have so much work to complete it's probably for the better. ah well.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Nights of Arabia

Leaving for San Jose in the morning so spent most of the evening packing, preparing and getting my work duties in order for the remaining week ahead. Only able to squeeze in one viewing and that was the most excellent Arabian Nights featuring super sexy Maria Montez (as well as a host of other beauties). Love the 1942 charm and humor (eg. Sinbad & Aladdin characters) in addition to paced execution. Really good watch.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Unsuspecting Saucers

started off with TCM provided THE UNSUSPECTED starring Claude Rains. Very nice 1947 suspense thriller with some delicious leading ladies.

After the game did the blu-ray of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, a movie I haven't seen since probably the 70s or early 80s. Redford and Newman are so good together makes me miss Newman and his onscreen presence.

Did a twilight screening of Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (thanks again to TCM). Another classic I had never seen in its entirity (always clips from the saucer stopmo created by legend Ray Harryhausen). For 1956, the miniature effects are pretty damn good.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Devil's Millions

Due to the NFL didn't start watching films until the evening (had I known the Cowboys were going to lay down I probably would've gone out to the theater for a movie). Anyways, did the blu-ray for Slumdog Millionaire and it was stunning. Almost too stunning for some of the scenes... in the sense that what you're seeing shouldn't be so visually stunning. Obviously a great film but severely overrated. Cinematography > story.

Now finishing up The Devil's Rain to get my horror fix in for the day. Flick features Ernest Borgnine, Tom Skerritt, Bill Shatner, and Eddie Albert! And yet it's terrible as all get out. Actually the trailer is hella more entertaining.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Those Blooming Zombies

First up, 1952's Scandal Sheet where a newspaper editor commits murder then later sends his best reporter to investigate. Plenty of great tension.

Followed that with Zombieland at the theater. Hot damn is this a funny take on the zombies-takeover-the-world trope. Loved it and laughed often. It was almost as if it was a continuation of Adventureland only with zombies and humor. Woody Harrelson was par excellence. Jesse Eisenberg was, well, the same character in Adventureland. Emma Stone was unnaturally hot.

Came home and finished The Window. 1949 noir re-telling of "the boy who cried wolf" only in this case the kid witnesses a murder and no one believes him. Another tension filled crime drama that would give me nightmares if I watched as a child.

Fired up The Brothers Bloom, a wonderful film about con-artist brothers written & directed by Rian Johnson (of Brick fame). Lots to love about this film; shot well, excellent acting, involved story, etc. Finally a film where I didn't dislike Rachel Weisz. Seriously loved Rinko Kikuchi's Bang Bang the most. She was like the glue for the entire film. The behind the scenes featurette was also terrific. Would love to listen to the commentary someday.

Capped the evening with an under-appreciated classic Timecop starring none other than JCVD. Yes, even I am surprised that I haven't seen this before. Shocked that there are so many anomalies with the constant time travel. Also amazed at how well time travel is perfected by 2004! And didn't realize Mia Sara was in this (she of Ferris Bueller fame); always crushed on her.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Drugs, Food & Guns

Did the final late afternoon screening of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs after hearing so many good things about it. This might be the closest Sony has come to Pixar in terms of overall quality. Definitely a solid animation w/decent story and some good running gags. A few genuine LOL moments and excellent voice-over cast (not the usual players for a change!). Recommended.

Had the Blu-Ray of Commando from the library that is due tomorrow so watched it off. I never saw this back in the 80s but overall it's a good Schwarzenegger action flick. The airplane stunt was just crazy. Didn't know Alyssa Milano was in this. Transfer was not bad but nothing special. disc is featureless. boo!

Recorded Heroes for Sale from TCM, my latest viewing obsession. This 1933 pre-code film delves into drug addiction as a war vet tries to make good. Fast paced and provocative for its time. Another good watch.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Sadistic & Masochistic

Realizing that I've grown a bit weary of the Japanese exploitation scene I still opted to receive Masaru Konuma's seminal Wife to Be Sacrificed (1974), often considered his best pinku eiga film. I'd say that it covers all the bases fairly well and still highly disturbing. Hard to believe this was a "hit" back in its day but that's the Japanese for you. Bonus: the documentary I wanted to see is also on this disc! Watched a little but saved for another day when I'm ready to dive back in.

September Movie Tally

Here's the round-up of films watched in September: 48 films total. 7 films were re-visits. 497 films watched in 2009 so far.

List of movies watched:
Fred Claus (2007)
Vals Im Bashir (2008)
World's Greatest Dad (2009)
Dead Fish (2004)
Pet Sematary (1989)
This Island Earth Seen before (1955)
Inglourious Basterds (2009)
Bring It on Again (2004)
Sunshine (2007)
Charlie Bartlett (2007)
Scaramouche (1952)
Atlantic City (1980)
Swimming with Sharks (1994)
Homicidal (1961)
Black Water (2007)
The Last Unicorn (1982)
Taken (2008)
Fright Night (1985)
9 (2009)
Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974)
Bring It On Seen before (2000)
Quarantine (2008)
Atlantis, the Lost Continent (1961)
Baghead (2008)
The Skull (1965)
The Set-Up (1949)
Shudojo Runa no kokuhaku (1976)
Jennifer's Body (2009)
The Siege of Firebase Gloria (1989)
The Man from Planet X (1951)
Alien Trespass (2009)
Grace (2009)
The Thing from Another World (1951)
The Lodger (1944)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind Seen before (1977)
The Wizard of Oz Seen before (1939)
Passage to Marseille (1944)
Kimyô na sâkasu (2005)
Outpost Seen before (2008)
The Last House on the Left (2009)
National Treasure (2004)
Friday the 13th Seen before (1980)
The Getaway (1972)
Search and Destroy (1979)
The Glove (1979)
3:10 to Yuma (1957)
Phantasm Seen before (1979)
Harold and Maude (1971)