Monday, November 30, 2009

Erase Me

Considering adjusting my rating on Lynch's Eraserhead after instant watching it (very nice streaming quality! Looked great!). Since t/viewing I desire to be in Henry Spencer's home (w/o the freakish mutant baby). That continual rain + wind just lulls me to sleepiness. Ideal flick for cold, blustery evenings.

Sad that last day of the month is a Monday... means little or no film viewing. Boo!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Also Known As Prison Ship

Early morning viewing of Sherlock Holmes - The Woman in Green and more Basil Rathbone. Really dig the old Sherlock Holmes films (this one from 1944).

Watching Star Slammer at the moment but it will be a real test as to whether I will endure this Fred Olen Ray 2/10 star low budget sci-fi slop from 1987. But if that cover art isn't a lure I don't know what is. (yes, watched the whole thing and it wasn't terrible; kinda taking the women's prison film of the 70s into space but executed poorly... but some of the costuming would make for some decent action figures.)

Instant watching the 1968 Herschell Gordon Lewis chicks on bikes affair She Devils On Wheels. Wish I had a better sense of what exactly the point or plot of this is... I get the biker chicks and all but wish it had a little more bite and grit.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Music Box Mystery

Started the day with a little Instant Neflix action in Sherlock Holmes in Prelude to Murder (1946) featuring the delightful Basil Rathbone. Dug most of this film up until the final conclusion, which was anti-climatic after the build-up.

Now watching another 40's piece, The Missing Juror (1944) courtesy of TCM. Lukewarm on this one so far. // yeah, turns out it was just okay. No major payoff in the finale.

Closed with Wandering Ginza Butterfly. Holy shit do I love 60s/70s Japanese cinema, particularly the earlier Nikkatsu studio, yakuza and revenge films. Meiko Kaji is as excellent as ever here (and gorgeous, natch). Think it's great to see the final bloody climax happen after an intense billiards contest. Visually this film is excellent w/an equally fine enka soundtrack.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Dammit, man! I'm a doctor, not a physicist!

Came home back from the 'rents & my hometown anxious to spin the blu-ray of Star Trek, which I picked up while black friday shopping at 4AM. Seems that so many twitter film folks I follow have been watching the hell outta the blu and I understand why. Movie is beautiful and so damn good. LOL a lot (in a good way). So enjoyable and nearly as perfect as it gets for a big film. Already looking forward to commentary & extra features. Happy that Clifton Collins Jr had plenty of screen time.

Instant Netflix is ideal for watching shitty films like Pervert, not worth the rental but perfectly suitable for watching on the fly and bailing if you so desire. I didn't bail on this b/c it's a somewhat watchable c-grade horror flick about a killer clayanimation penis. 'nuff said.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks

Thanks to Fox, I watched Night at the Museum with my father on this Thanksgiving evening. Can't recall the last time I watched an entire film on primetime television with commercial interruptions. Always wanted to see this but was hoping for a better experience. Dad enjoyed it. Probably will rewatch on disc one of these days along w/the sequel.

In my home of my birth, I went out to the late show of Ninja Assassin, partly to kill time and partly b/c I did want to see to this flick. Fuck all if I wasn't disappointed in this on-screen travesty. Besides being completely absurd, the film is a snoozefest. You'd think that guys that invented bullet-time could produce something interesting w/the ninja lore rather than the CG bloody smear of celluloid I saw. Kept waiting for the "I will see this again" moment but it never came. So unfortunate as this could've been good.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

There Will Be Pirates

Grabbed Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl blu-ray from the quick picks shelf @ t/library figuring it was about time I rewatched this film (having not seen it since I saw it in the theater w/p@). It's still just *okay* in my book as my feelings haven't changed much. Watchable and nice transfer. Keira is, however, stunning. Stunning.

Now watching Leonard, Part 6 on Netflix Instant. Never seen and heard only bad things so I had to see for myself and Instant Watch is the perfect forum to do so. Gotta say that it lives up to its reputation.

I'm not one to pass by a great musical, esp. if it's been several years since I've seen it. When I saw Robert Osborne talking up Li'l Abner on TCM, my next 2 hours were booked. Love this musical and it must be at least 30 years (?) since I've seen it. Was always a fun Sunday afternoon flick. Didn't know Julie Newmar and Jerry Lewis were in this (Lewis having a small uncredited cameo). Besides good tunes (who knew hillbillies could sing so well and dance!) all the young ladies are insanely beautiful starting w/Leslie Parrish as Daisy Mae. Watch this film if you haven't seen it.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Fire On Man

only film tonight was Man On Fire, which only got interesting at the 1-hour mark (the kidnapping) and got better from there. Fairly decent film if you can tolerate Tony Scott's film style (still trying to decide if I do like it or not). Enjoy Denzel as the total badass. At least made me want to read the A. J. Quinnell novel it was adapted from... not a bad watch.

Monday, November 23, 2009

O Mummy, Where Art Thou?

You know you're watching an old (older) movie when Peter Cushing's character is referred to as "the boy"... and so it goes with The Mummy, my 3rd mummy film in as many days (thx to Netflix this time). Yes I noticed that my viewing was a tad deficient in mummy films so a bit of a binge. And this is best of the 3 and a better Hammer example of this classic monster and quite good for a 1959 Hammer Horror Film. Love Christopher Lee as Kharis, the Mummy.

Finally (finally!) delisted There Will Be Blood from my blindspot list. Tremendous film and even more amazing Daniel Day Lewis. Really enjoyed the first 2 arcs more than the 3rd but extremely good overall.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

"Blackhawk Down! Blackhawk Down!"

Also on TCM was The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb (followed that terrible Mexican Robot vs. Mummy flick). Gotta say this isn't one of Hammer Films better flicks but not awful. I dig the mummy in this but how they develop its behavior is rather weird (why doesn't the mummy just attack everyone?). Receiving Hammer's The Mummy tomorrow so hoping that's a better example.

ok, Black Hawk Down is a damn fine piece of film. The cinematography is stunning; the scenes capture the situation perfectly. For me, I am most amazed by the sheer number of known actors featured here. From top to bottom. Eric Bana easily wins the best of the bunch award with Lucius Malfoy in second. Thinking I may want this on Blu.

Killed another blindspot with Million Dollar Baby (yes, pun intended). Was waiting the entire for the reveal and it did as intended (was a shocking moment for sure). Since I didn't catch this film immediately upon its release I became aware of the plot, which didn't leave much desire to see. Glad I did; Eastwood & Freeman were great as usual. Still not a fan of Hillary Swank.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Super Clean Mummy

Netflix delivered Superfly and I watched. Despite it's status and possessing all the hallmarks of blaxploitation cinema, I don't think this particular film is good example of that genre. In many ways, it stands on its own. Ron O'Neal is excellent. I also listened to most of the commentary track, which is just as good.

Amy Adams & Emily Blunt star in the pretty darn good Sunshine Cleaning, with the always great Alan Arkin in supporting role. Big shout out to Clifton Collins Jr. for his role as Winston (my favorite character here). Nice little flick. An aside, just noticed the blu-ray is $9.99 @ AMZ while the DVD is $14.99. WTF?

Now watching the absolutely terrible The Robot vs. the Aztec Mummy (1957), courtesy of TCM. This is horror trash cinema from Mexico and sadly this version is USA dubbed version. Altho I can't imagine it being any better w/the original language track. I think MST3K did an episode featuring this film. This trailer below is so much better than the actual film. Wish the film was half as good as advertised. Boo!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Wonderfully Adapting

Spike Jonze blindspot blind no more with Adaptation officially off the list. Not bad to see 2 good (great?) Nic Cage performances in one week (why can't he get more work like this, me asks). Chris Cooper also terrific here and nice small part by Judy Greer, whom I heart. Just wish the disc had some special features incl. Stephen Tobolowsky's deleted scenes, dammit.

So the UP creators (Pixar peeps) found inspiration from The Living Edens - The Lost World - Venezuela's Ancient Tepuis PBS documentary... I watched and I liked. Altho I could only get the VHS from the library (boo!) and would love to see this in Hi-Def. Damn beautiful. Now I want to go there.

Let it be known that Wonder Woman 2009 is incredibly violent! Similar to the Green Lantern flick I viewed recently, DC has no problem turning up violence in its animated features. Sheesh, it's almost alarming to see so many kill scenes but I appreciate the serious tone and much better than the Marvel animated features in that respect. Overall solid film and more excellent Nathan Fillian voice over acting.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Aussie Gaming

Arrived home late from Richmond but was eager to relax to a film so why not a little ozploitation with Fair Game? Heh. It's what you'd expect: poachers on the outback harassing a female at a wildlife refuge. How's that for high concept? Was terribly disturbing to see real butchered kangaroos.

Hey, here's my Wordle for the week:
Wordle: chimptalk week in movies

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Too Cute Audrey

Super thrilled that TCM was broadcasting Breakfast At Tiffany's so I actually had something good to watch on the nice flat panel TV in my hotel room at the Berkley Hotel in downtown Richmond. Such a wonderful film (as I tweeted: George Peppard handsome, Buddy Ebsen badass & just adore Audrey). Wouldn't mind having a solid blu-ray of this film. Too bad I had that damn Deep Blue Something tune stuck in my head for the entire day after. :-(

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Dark Minds

So William Castle decided to step away from the gimmicks and remake The Old Dark House, but more as a comedy rather than straight-up horror and casts Tom Poston (Newhart!) in the lead. Okay. This Hammer/Castle collaboration isn't bad but not up to Castle's more gimmicky films, sadly. At least Janette Scott was cast and appears younger and even more beautiful than she does in Paranoiac (released that same year, 1963). Still like the more frightful turn in the original ODH from '32.

Admittedly A Beautiful Mind is, in fact, a fine film. And yes, I should have seen this much sooner than now. That is me fessing up. Being long enough from its original release, I came in with some preconceived notions that (much to my chagrin) were demolished half-way thru. The twist or reveal, if you will, was unexpected. Enjoyed thoroughly. And mark this as the 2nd Jennifer Connelly appearance in as many days (almost). She's pretty.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Secret World

Catching on on Ralph Bakshi films this year meant sooner or later I'd get to Cool World and of all the Bakshi flicks I've seen, this one is probably the worst of the bunch. It's more of a mess than anything and much less psychedelic. For a 1992 film, Brad Pitt doesn't really look that young and Gabriel Byrne looks the same as he always does. Not surprised to see such a low score at imdb. Unfortunate b/c somewhere in this I'm sure there's a story.

Was lucky to pick-up the National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets blu-ray from the library shelf. Ok, maybe "lucky" isn't the best word but I have been looking forward to seeing this sequel having recently seen the first installment. And it ain't bad. Nic Cage is quite likable in these as ridiculous they are (really? a secret gold city inside Mt. Rushmore?). The blu-ray is a decent transfer. I just wonder why Cage can't make another one of these to pay off his debts? This franchise is a bank roll.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Dreams in the Dark

Caught up w/the documentary about the (nearly) abandoned town Centralia, PA where a fire has been burning under the town since 1962. The Town That Was is an okay doc but would've like to be a little more on the extreme side (and maybe include some things that this town has inspired such as the Silent Hill backdrop). All you need to know is really contained in the first 30-40 minutes (how the fire came to be and the result). But still a good watch if you're interested.

Another blindspot film demolished in the evening: Requiem for a Dream. Not quite as dark as anticipated but still the serious wig-out of a movie. And maybe one of the best original soundtracks (can Clint Mansell do wrong?). Thinking I might get the blu-ray as I wouldn't mind rewatching this one... it is a cautionary tale, right? right.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Zombie Outbreak @ Portage Theater

Thanks to the Chicago Horror Society, we were graced with yet another excellent horror film festival at the Portage Theater. This one zombie-themed with a few short films followed by feature length movies. Met up w/Ron (@rpringle) and got there in time for the short Chemical 12-D, a very cool little film (but not worth counting towards my movie total at maybe 10min in length).

The first full length was Colin, directed by Marc Price on a supposed budget of $70. Yes, seventy dollars. Like the critics who saw this at Cannes, I too find that hard to believe considering the length & practical effects involved. Not a bad "day in the life of a zombie" flick but could've used some editing to reduce the runtime a bit and tighten it up and less shaky-cam. Overall decent all things considered.

Next up was a real treat: Pathogen by 12 year old director Emily Hagins. Of course, this film is not so much a work of art but rather a work of heart. It's touching and humorous (mostly unintentionally so) and really a wonderful film starring mostly 12 year old kids dealing with zombies. A flick I need to buy and look forward to screening at future movie nights. Wish I was that capable at her age. Seriously impressive.

After a brief meeting w/@FreddysFingers during the break, we got to see Zombie Girl The Movie, the documentary about Emily Hagins making Pathogen. This was truly the best compliment to follow. Terrific & heartfelt documentary. Amazing to see how Pathogen came together and what was involved. Seeing both of these films back to back was perfect and totally made the night and festival.

The final feature was the classic The Return of the Living Dead in 35mm! Was thrilled to see this again having not seen it in 35mm since when it was originally released in 1985; it was a double-date film (and our dates loved it!). Always quite fun to see w/a crowd of zombie-fans... another rare example of humor & horror done well. Send more cops!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Evil Grasshoppers

A Pixar film I've always disregarded has been A Bug's Life. I think due to the voice casting (never made me identify it as a Pixar film since I wasn't interested when this was originally released). However, recently, I've become more enthused about all that is Pixar and this was a pleasant treat. Not as comparable to the more current work (Up, Wall-E, Incredibles) but quite entertaining. Still not thrilled about the voice casting but whatevs.

Downloaded Left 4 Dead 2 demo... I'm sold. 'Course I need to buy Left 4 Dead first. And it put me in the right mindset for Zombie Outreak tomorrow!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Surviving The Game

So The Tournament is a film that should've been released a while ago but is another unfortunate victim from the Weinstein Company considering the budget to produce this action thriller. The premise is stale (30 assassins assembled to kill each other off until only one remains) but there is some good drama here and yet another "kill montage" as well as a good b-list of actors: Ving Rhames, Kelly Hu, Robert Carlyle and others. Yes, it's big on silly but very watchable.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Honky Tonk Man

Thanks to a recent review on Gentleman's Guide to Midnight Cinema podcast, I dug into the meaty early 70s flick Payday (1972) starring Rip Torn as a traveling country-western performer. It's a day in the life adventure including all the women, booze and seedy motels. Rip Torn is a walking disaster and so much fun to watch spiral out of control.

Picked up this 3-movie disc for $5 at WM called Spirited Killer Trilogy, featured 3 earlier films "from the action team of Ong Bak." So I plopped one in, the first Spirited Killer a.k.a. Plook mun kuen ma kah 4 from 1994. This is a seriously awful film where the only redeeming quality is the hilarious English dub. Some of the lines are LOL worthy. Can't imagine the others being any worse. Safe to say that Thailand films have become far better by leaps & bounds in a short span.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

She's Not An Alien; She's Something Worse

Only vaguely remembered Troll from the late 80s so was thrilled to watch it again. Man, what a blast. Michael Moriarty, Shelley Hack, Sonny Bono, Gary Sandy, June Lockhart, Brad Hall, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and of course the famous little person Phil Fondacaro. How can you lose? you can't. I would so love to have a few of those creature models! Crazy that this inspired J.K. Rowling!