Monday, May 31, 2010

Unleash Hell in an Arrow

For Memorial Day, I jumped into a packed Showplace 12 cinemas for a packed viewing of Ridley Scott's Robin Hood (2010) with his favorite muse of recent years in Russell Crowe. Originally lost interest in this film after the early reviews reporting a disappointment among critics. But @Schofizzy's championing of the film sold me. Glad I made the leap; this is a sold flick albeit a little too serious. A better title would've been "Robin Hood Begins" as this tells the story before the Robin Hood you've seen time and time again. I appreciated that. Not a great film but highly watchable w/a few good sequences. And Crowe doesn't overact here, which is a plus.

On NWI I struggled thru the anime OVA Karas - The Prophecy (2006). It wasn't the dubbed version that NWI served up that made this nearly unwatchable but rather the general convoluted plotline that plagues many adventurous anime features. For the entire 90 minutes I truly had no idea what was going on. The melding of CG & traditional animation looks good but that's about all I can say. Have no interest in watching part two.

Finally my last film of May I reached back into Watch Instantly for another mutant animal attack trash feature in Razortooth (2007 - São Paulo International Film Festival). The mutant animal in this one is a killer eel that somehow is mobile on land. Yeah, it's that kind of stupidity. And why I can enjoy this kind of film. Pretty dumb stuff but my kind of dumb. Appropriate way to end the month of May.
  • May New: 56
  • May Re-watch: 12
  • May Total: 68
  • 2010 TOTAL: 323

Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Fantasy Inside

Now that I'm home I could finally wrap some Netflix DVDs. Finished Frazetta - Painting with Fire (2003), a heartbreaking documentary about this legendary artist that recently passed away. I know I'm not the only one who grew up idolizing Frank Frazetta but seeing this makes me appreciate his talent that much more (if it were possible). I could eulogize on and on about the impact Frazetta had on my life but I won't. I think everyone with even a passing interest in art should view this doc. I'll probably end up buying the 2-disc set.

Another overdue Netflix watch was David Schmoeller's excellent creepfest Tourist Trap (1979) featuring Chuck Connors in a delightfully creepy role as a curator for closed roadside attraction full of animatronic characters. A young Tanya Roberts co-stars and is delicious in her daisy dukes and tube top. Great watch!

Then direct on NWI I mustered enough attention to view the direct to video Lady Death - The Motion Picture (2004). I was a pseudo-fan of Lady Death during the 90s, more intrigued by the imagery than the actual comic books. She was the poster child for the "bad girl" movement in the 90s. But ever since this film was released I've only heard bad things. But in the end I actually kinda liked this low budget animated flick. It's in no way a good film but I could dig it.
  • May New: 53
  • May Re-watch: 12
  • May Total: 65
  • 2010 TOTAL: 320

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend Movie Night

Been trying to get Gregg Bishop's fabulous Dance of the Dead (2008) screened a movie night for quite some time after viewing oh so long ago and loving every minute of it. Finally tonight was the night! It played well as early viewing w/the kids still able to watch (Zombie violence no problem for them... well, at least not Gavin). Everyone enjoyed it as expected.

Next we dived into the dark comedy I was lucky enough to see last year at Capone's AICN advance screening w/Bobcat Goldthwait's Q&A afterwards. Yes, I'm referring to World's Greatest Dad (2009). It worked our crowd perfectly. Excellent Robin Williams performance. Great to see again w/our group.

Our last film of the evening was yet another one I've wanted movie night treatment since viewing it earlier this year. That would be Christopher Smith's mindfuck Triangle (2009). Upon seeing this via NWI I've been itching to view it again after all the online essays I've read and podcasts I've heard dissecting the timeline presented in this film. No, this isn't a "masterpiece" but much like its cousin, Timecrimes, it definitely sparks discussion. I love that.
  • May New: 50
  • May Re-watch: 12
  • May Total: 62
  • 2010 TOTAL: 317

Friday, May 28, 2010

Blondes Have More Fun

After a day at the office, I hit up Showplace 12 for Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010) on the way home. Expectations suitably low, it was exactly as expected. A whole lotta meh. Too corny to appreciate. Not terrible but nothing to see here.

My late night viewing included Galaxy Quest (1999), a film that continually shows up in my Flickchart ratings and prompted me to watch again. Man, what a fun film and probably my favorite of Tim Allen's. Great cast (Sam Rockwell, I love you). Too much fun.

Then on NWI, Frank Tashlin's The Girl Can't Help It (1956) featuring the voluptuous Jayne Mansfield. Another enjoyable watch. So amusing to see how Mansfield was portrayed as the bombshell she was... seriously hard to take your eyes off her throughout.
  • May New: 50
  • May Re-watch: 9
  • May Total: 59
  • 2010 TOTAL: 314

Thursday, May 27, 2010

B x Three

Starving for film after a 5 day drought I had a few items from my library to spin including Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959), which is a grade D b-movie. Yeah, not very good. Maybe if the film was half as good as the movie poster it'd be worthwhile.

The Roger Corman produced Night of the Blood Beast (1958) was also included on The Giant Leeches DVD and is more campy and entertaining. Still not a great film but watchable. Another great movie poster!

Lastly, the dubbed full-screen version of Ishiro Honda's All Monsters Attack (aka Godzilla's Revenge) (1969), which I watched often as a child. I enjoyed it so much probably b/c I could identify with boy and his daydreaming of Kaiju along side Minya (Godzilla's son). Sadly the film doesn't hold up. This, however, was not the Classic Media re-release (linked) which is a better treatment. Someday I'll have to view that version.
  • May New: 48
  • May Re-watch: 8
  • May Total: 56
  • 2010 TOTAL: 311

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Bollywood Beware

Being out in San Jose visiting my girlfriend I wasn't expecting to view any films and I was pretty much right in that assumption. Also haven't seen any television. But that's fine as it's been great to take a break and just spend some quality time with her. An upside of her new apartment is that she's walking distance from a theater that features only Bollywood films. Great for her b/c that's about the only kind of film she enjoys. So we decided to walk over to catch one but sadly the film we wanted to see didn't offer subtitles. So we went w/the other choice in Kites (2010), a film I had read good things about. Boy, were those opinions ever so wrong!

Kites goes down as possibly the worst Bollywood produced film I've seen. Now I admit to not having seen that many Bollywood films (maybe a few dozen or so, which ain't a lot considering Bollywood typically outputs more films in a given year than Hollywood) but I've seen enough to know good & bad. And I have seen some bad Bollywood flicks. But this one really takes the proverbial cake. And it's unfortunate b/c it could've been very good considering the cast. Hrithik Roshan is similar to Hugh Jackman in both appearance and charisma. Barbara Mori is a cross between Krista Allen & Monica Belluci (sizzling hot). But, wow, the story and sequences are terrible. Not surprised that Brett Ratner is connected to the recut domestic release. But I'm doubtful that the full version is any better. So disappointing. I'm angry this was as bad as it was.
  • May New: 46
  • May Re-watch: 7
  • May Total: 53
  • 2010 TOTAL: 308

Friday, May 21, 2010

Terror in the Aisles 4

Tonight was the Terror in the Aisles 4 event over at Portage Theatre hosting by the other Chicago Horror faction. Because I had to be in the office that day and still had to prepare for my trip tomorrow to San Jose I only made it over for the Midwest premiere of [Rec] 2 (2009). Missed out on Romero's NOTLD and Fulci's Zombie (which I really, really wanted to see on the big screen). But [Rec] 2 is what I wanted to see the most and it played well to the packed house. I don't think it's as strong as the first film but still a worthy sequel. Great to see it theatrically! Wish I could've stuck around for the final film (Zombie) but really had to get back to pack. Glad pAT made it out.
  • May New: 45
  • May Re-watch: 7
  • May Total: 52
  • 2010 TOTAL: 307

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Devil 'Shrooms

I'm surprised as you are that I've never watched Ishiro Honda's Matango: Attack of the Mushroom People (1963) in its entirety. Especially considering it's one of Gavin's favorite films (according to Ron). And because I really treasure 60s era Japanese sci-fi films. And Matango is no exception. But it's even more than that; it's also a great study on the human condition as this group of castaways try to survive this this bizarre island.

Another Criterion thriller that I've been putting off for some time is Clouzot's Diabolique (1955). This is probably due to having seen the 1996 remake (theatrically no less) and I wish I hadn't... at least not before seeing the original, which is way better and way more terrifying. Definitely a classic for a reason.
  • May New: 44
  • May Re-watch: 7
  • May Total: 51
  • 2010 TOTAL: 306

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Beautiful Monsters

Got the Frankenstein Legacy Collection from my library but only had time to watch Son of Frankenstein (1939), one I hadn't (surprisingly) hadn't seen yet. This is another solid entry in the original series of films w/Basil Rathbone stepping in as Dr. Frankenstein. Besides Karloff reprising his famous role, it's great to see Lugosi as the sidekick Ygor.

One more in the XX: Utsukushiki series of Japanese exploitation flicks is Toshiharu Ikeda's Beautiful Beast a.k.a. XX: Utsukushiki kemono (1995). This one involves a "beautiful" Chinese assassin seeking revenge on yakuza for the death of her sister. Of XX: Utsukushiki films I've seen recently, I enjoyed this one the least, which is to say I didn't care for it much.
  • May New: 42
  • May Re-watch: 7
  • May Total: 49
  • 2010 TOTAL: 304

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Visions of Hell

The Pit DVD is flipper disc that also contains Hellgate (1989), which despite what I heard about it being complete trash, it ain't that bad of a watch! For a bad b-movie. OK, it's not good but still watchable and stupid. Saved review from GetGlue: Not the worst b-movie but unfortunately lacking most of the merits of what makes a bad b-movie good. In short, it's about an old west attraction populated by the evil dead stemming from a murder that occurs years earlier. Some kids come visiting and sets the story in motion. Bleh. Really not worth the time unless you're truly a lousy film enthusiast.

Re-watched Carpenter's They Live (1988) because it's another one that has been far too long since I last viewed. While not one of Carpenter's stronger efforts from the 80s, it's still so much fun. Deserves a better treatment.
  • May New: 40
  • May Re-watch: 7
  • May Total: 47
  • 2010 TOTAL: 302

Monday, May 17, 2010

Will It Die For Today?

Since I cleaned up more of my Netflix account by pushing "common" titles to my library hold list, I had a lot of these arrive forcing me to watch 'em including Religulous (2008). Think I was more interested in this Bill Maher documentary around the time it was released that I am now but still a decent watch albeit a little long and with little consequence.

Another forced library watch was The Spectacular Spider-Man: Attack of the Lizard (2009), a feature film based on the most recent Spectacular Spider-Man animated series. Animation is okay but, man, the "modern" teenager dialogue is terrible. I don't ever need to hear "brah" in anything I watch.

Finally got to view the much discussed B-horror flick, Lew Lehman's The Pit (1981). Yet another recommendation from @BTSjunkie & @bobfreelander. Holy shit this is a doosey of a craptacular awesome film! Definite movie night material here and yet no words to describe it. Epilogue is perfect. Must see again w/a group! Ideal film for my 300th of the year!
  • May New: 39
  • May Re-watch: 6
  • May Total: 45
  • 2010 TOTAL: 300

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Not Very Super or Heroic

Still at my parents home I watched Zoom - Academy for Superheroes (2006) and realized about 10 minutes into it that I had already seen this not-so-stellar family flick about misfit children superheroes. Yeah, quite forgettable even for me. A little sad that a film with Tim Allen, Chevy Chase & Courteney Cox could be so bad but not surprising either.

Didn't watch any more films after returning home since I had to finish off the 3 hour Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains final episode/reunion. Another disappointing end.
  • May New: 36
  • May Re-watch: 6
  • May Total: 42
  • 2010 TOTAL: 297

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Future War

Went back to my hometown to help my parents prepare for their garage sale (and drag some of my junk out of storage for it). Took a couple a library holds with me to keep me company. First up was the Nicolas Cage thriller Next (2007), which I didn't even know existed until recently. Here he's a Vegas magician that can see the future... only 2 minutes ahead. Yes, it's that kind of film. Julianne Moore and Jessica Biel (still hot) also star in this kinda okay thriller.

The other film was another recent release I hadn't seen, John Cusack's War, Inc. (2008). Fairly interesting and satirical take on the arms trade that's mostly a fun ride even with its over the top finale. Was surprised by Hilary Duff's performance (didn't recognize her at first) and Marisa Tomei is dreamy sexy as ever.
  • May New: 36
  • May Re-watch: 5
  • May Total: 41
  • 2010 TOTAL: 296

Friday, May 14, 2010

No Womb of the Emperor

From my library I grabbed The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008) off the quick picks shelf figuring I was gonna watch this one sooner or later. Based on everything I've read & heard my expectations were suitably low but all things considered I actually found myself liking this installment of The Mummy franchise. Strange since this one is pegged as being the worst of the three but I really disliked the first two. Not sure what worked for me here since this one is ridiculous (Yeti-cats?!) but it was watchable and entertaining. Great to see Jet Li & Michelle Yeoh onscreen together again... was Twin Warriors (1993) the last (& only other) time these two shared the screen together?

Took in another in the "XX: utsukushiki" exploitation series with Takahito Hara's Beautiful Killing Machine (1996) mainly b/c these Asian Pulp Cinema titles are OOP and disappearing on Netflix. In this one Rei Natsume plays professional bodyguard Cheryl that is quite convincing kicking ass all over the yakuza. She (& her therapist Saiko Isshiki) are very appealing as a pretty unbelievable twist unravels by the end. Overall good watch.

Took @BTSjunkie's advice and queued up Inseminoid (aka Horror Planet) (1981) via NWI. This is a fun b-movie sci-fi horror thriller from the UK that never lets up. Not great by any means but damn fun.
  • May New: 34
  • May Re-watch: 5
  • May Total: 39
  • 2010 TOTAL: 294

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Saving the Galaxy

Quick Picks shelf at my library had the Terminator Salvation (Director's Cut) (2009) blu-ray sitting there so I picked up curious about the so-called McG cut in addition to just wanting to view it again (saw it theatrically but was deadly tired). Feelings the same; it's still a whole lot of meh & full of inconsistencies despite Moon Bloodgood's nude scene (but she is crazy gorgeous). I don't hate this film and would probably watch it again someday.

How is it that Galaxina (1980) rec'd a HD-DVD release yet no BD treatment yet? Anyways, thanks to IFC I DVR'd this hunk of skunk film featuring the late Playmate Dorothy Stratten. It's every bit of cheese that you can imagine. But it's got charm. And isn't that poster just supreme? (it's my iPhone wallpaper too)
  • May New: 31
  • May Re-watch: 5
  • May Total: 36
  • 2010 TOTAL: 291

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

When Real is Not a Reality

After office day, RJ, Francois & I walked over to CineArts to view the long anticipated Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010) by Banksy. With everything I'd been hearing / reading about this documentary my expectations were at a fever pitch. Thankfully this film lived up to the hype, which is rare anymore. Malcolm (SmodCast) dubbed this a "revenge doc" which might be overstating it but this film is quite subversive not just in content. It's exhilarating and yet uncomfortable at times. I look forward to more viewings.

Continuing my 80s obsession I finished off the Ghoulies flipper with Ghoulies 2 (1988). This time the ghoulies get resurrected at a carnival funhouse (same funhouse later used in Dark Ride?). Think this one is on par w/the first film with a little more humor and more camp.

Lastly another Japanese crime thriller with Takashi Ishii's Gonin 2 (1996) starring Ken Ogata as a wizened badass seeking revenge for the death of his wife at the hands of yakuza. The "gonin" in the title are 5 disenchanted women that come together after a botched jewelry store robbery and also stand in the way of the yakuza. The first half is a little slow but everything after the robbery is good stuff. Kimiko Yo is excellent as the elder (40yrs old at the time) leader of this rag-tag bunch. Dug this film.
  • May New: 30
  • May Re-watch: 4
  • May Total: 34
  • 2010 TOTAL: 289

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Bad, Worse & Worst

Another series of 80s horror films that eluded me was the Ghoulies series. Having the flipper of the first two films from my library I was thrilled to dig into these. First up Ghoulies (1985). Not a bad little "bad" horror flick w/some amusing moments and a much younger Mariska Hargitay in a supporting role. Wish I had one of the original Ghoulies used in the film!

From Netflix another awful 80s post-apocalyptic flick She Wolves of the Wasteland a.k.a. Phoenix the Warrior (1988) featuring Kathleen Kinmont (yay!). Yeah this film isn't good by any stretch (my comment on @gomiso was something like "80s is my favorite decade for bad films"). But still my kind of bad film.

Finally suffered thru Dario Argento's recent Mother of Tears (2007). Everything I've heard was true; this is a pretty lousy film in almost every way... 'cept for the gorgeous (and often naked) Moran Atias. Acting is atrocious, story is terrible & convoluted. Heavy on gore, blood & kill scenes, which are decent enough but really add nothing to support the film. Disappointing all around.
  • May New: 27
  • May Re-watch: 4
  • May Total: 31
  • 2010 TOTAL: 286