Saturday, July 31, 2010

Two Thousand Five Times Two

The Prodigy (2005) opens with a lot of promise... that sadly dwindles as the movie carries on to its disappointing conclusion. But the setup is great with the mystery of the assassin that keeps us guessing. It's low budget but still quite watchable. Started viewing via NWI on an iPad and finished on my dad's desktop. Oh you crazy technology! 6/10

Appears that the last film of July will be Wolf Creek (2005), a film I've owned since around '05 but haven't seen. Another good Aussie thriller. I like the character interactions in the first arc the most. 6.75/10
  • July New: 45
  • July Re-watch: 9
  • July Total: 54
  • 2010 TOTAL: 441

Friday, July 30, 2010

Russian Metal

Did the late afternoon screening of Phillip Noyce's Salt (2010) starring Angelina Jolie. Rather enjoyed this but took an awful lot of belief suspension as I found it hard to believe that she was able to pull all the action sequences shown in the film. Still a fun albeit predictable action ride. 7/10

Drove home to my parents' home since my brother is is town and fired up Sammo Hung's The Iron-Fisted Monk (1977). Very entertaining and well-paced period action flick. Good watch. 7.5/10

Also brought Adam Sandler's Bedtime Stories (2008), which was a chore to get through. Not a good film. Skip it.
  • July New: 43
  • July Re-watch: 9
  • July Total: 52
  • 2010 TOTAL: 439

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Silly & Sobering Stopmo

Did a great stopmo double feature on Netflix Watch Instantly that included A Town Called Panic (2009) and Mary and Max (2009). Adore both these films for different reasons. Stop motion is excellent is both. Town Called Panic is much more lyrical & humorous. Mary & Max is almost the flipside of that as a sad and often depressing look at how two lives on opposite sides of the earth have connected. Love Adam Elliot's Harvey Krumpet so I was predisposed to like it. I do. Again, this is a great double feature to do on NWI. Watch 'em both!

More catching up with unseen Mario Bava I spun his sword & sandal flick Knives of the Avenger (1966) starring Cameron Mitchell as the viking warrior hero. Despite some criticism I kinda liked this film. It's part of the Bava Box Set which I plan to buy.
  • July New: 40
  • July Re-watch: 9
  • July Total: 49
  • 2010 TOTAL: 436

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tokyo Crisis Wars

New to DVD thanks to Synapse Films is Battle Girl: Living Dead In Tokyo Bay (1991). This Japanese post-apocalyptic horror film certainly pre-dates those from 2000s but sadly isn't better than those more recent examples. It's not a terrible film but not very noteworthy (other than being an early example of this subgenre). 6/10
  • July New: 37
  • July Re-watch: 9
  • July Total: 46
  • 2010 TOTAL: 433

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Connecting the Fear

Had to re-watch The French Connection (1971) because my memories were so vague. Still a tremendous film. Friedkin, Hackman, Scheider. Excellent.

Need a solid somewhat overlooked horror flick? Look no further than Pete Walker's Cover Up (a.k.a. Frightmare 1975). It's about a cannibalistic family. That's all you need to know. Watch it if you love horror.
  • July New: 36
  • July Re-watch: 9
  • July Total: 45
  • 2010 TOTAL: 432

Monday, July 26, 2010

Slowly Scaring

Another blindspot conquered with Cinderella Man (2005). Pretty good Ron Howard/Russell Crowe flick but Renée Zellweger still bugs me to no end.

Little sad that Let's Scare Jessica to Death (1971) is apparently OOP on DVD. I may have to buy this because it's just so goddamn awesome. Has all the hallmarks of a slow-burn seventies horror flick. Really dig that style. Want to see it again soon... yeah, will probably have to buy.
  • July New: 35
  • July Re-watch: 8
  • July Total: 43
  • 2010 TOTAL: 430

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Baiting Men

Admittedly I'm a Nic Cage apologist (as if he needs it)... so I knew I'd venture out to see The Sorcerer's Apprentice (2010). Early reviews were good and fortunately the film delivers. Fun big screen flick altho I'm tired of Jay Baruchel. Cage & Alfred Molina know how to command the scene & chew it up quite well. Always great to see the beautiful Monica Bellucci. #amirite 7/10

Picked up Brokeback Mountain (2005) from my library and it's been a fairly enormous blindspot. Incredible performances by all actors. Intense film. RIP Heath Ledger. 7.75/10

Another film on the Hammer Noir Collection was Man Bait (1952), which despite having the gorgeous Marguerite Chapman as the blackmailing beauty isn't nearly as strong as it could've been. But not a bad watch. 6.25/10
  • July New: 33
  • July Re-watch: 8
  • July Total: 41
  • 2010 TOTAL: 428

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Bad Dreams

OK, finally got out to see Inception (2010). Hated waiting this long after all the chatter but little I could do w/the girl visiting last weekend. Now that I've seen it I'm not totally sold on its so-called greatness. Technically it's a brilliant film but plot is rather simple yet delivered in a complex manner. I suppose Nolan intended to convey the simplicity in very complicated way to give an intellectual component but didn't quite work for me. Look forward to second viewing. 7/10

From Netflix, LEGO: The Adventures of Clutch Powers (2010). Cute but plays more like video game cut scenes sewn together. 6/10

From the library: The African Queen (1951), another classic I've always wanted to see. Bogart/Hepburn = excellent. Great film but not entirely satisfied with the ending. Still a must-see. 8/10

Also from my library: Bad Blonde (1953), a Hammer noir featuring the notorious & hot Barbara Payton. Quite a fun little flick and love Payton's over-lusting looks. 6.5/10
  • July New: 30
  • July Re-watch: 8
  • July Total: 38
  • 2010 TOTAL: 425

Friday, July 23, 2010

Annual Cubs Outing

Off day b/c of company Cubs game... too wiped out to watch any flicks. Fun day but my first sunburn in a decade. At least.
  • July New: 26
  • July Re-watch: 8
  • July Total: 34
  • 2010 TOTAL: 421

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Girls Gone Wild

Recorded this dandy from TCM: Wild, Wild Planet (1965) directed by Antonio Margheriti and features a young Franco Nero (in a supporting role). For a mid-sixties sci-fi I like the advanced concepts presented despite the low budget. Also the miniatures are pretty cool. Plus great poster art!

note: I actually watched this twice to get a better grasp of its convoluted "superior race" plot. Think Moonraker. Only tallying once.
  • July New: 26
  • July Re-watch: 8
  • July Total: 34
  • 2010 TOTAL: 421

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Trip to the Grave

Catching up with more Hammer Horror in Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1968) as Christopher Lee reprises his famous role again. Not bad but not enough of Lee's Dracula.

David Arquette has a passion for horror film evident by many of his popular roles (Scream, Eight-Legged Freaks, etc.). In The Tripper (2006) he directs his own slasher screenplay about tree hugging hippies & loggers as a killer stalks them in the woods. Gotta admire Arquette's spirit but the film doesn't quite pay off. Not a terrible watch.
  • July New: 25
  • July Re-watch: 8
  • July Total: 33
  • 2010 TOTAL: 420

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tonight is the Last Night

Girlfriend's last night in Chicago so not wasting time our last moments together... not that film watching is wasting time but, well, I think my point is clear. It's been a good trip and a nice mini-vacation. Back in the saddle tomorrow.
  • July New: 23
  • July Re-watch: 8
  • July Total: 31
  • 2010 TOTAL: 418

Monday, July 19, 2010

Mint in Box

Another Pixar Disney my girlfriend had not seen was Toy Story 2 (1999). Had no problems watching this again... still my favorite of the trilogy. Kinda hoping she'll be up for Toy Story 3 at the theater. To be honest, I've been thrilled that we can watch movies together again.
  • July New: 23
  • July Re-watch: 8
  • July Total: 31
  • 2010 TOTAL: 418

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Doug It Again

See yesterday's post for reasons behind viewing Up (2009) again. (Girlfriend liked this one a lot too... no surprises there)
  • July New: 23
  • July Re-watch: 7
  • July Total: 30
  • 2010 TOTAL: 417

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Frogs

With my girlfriend visiting for a few days the only way I'm going to be able to watch films is to go with what I know she likes. Since she used to work at Tokyo Disney she's always been a big Disney fan so Disney animated films are generally a safe bet. I'd been saving up The Princess and The Frog (2009) for just this occasion. And as expected we both enjoyed this film quite a bit. It's great to see solid non-Pixar Disney movie again.
  • July New: 23
  • July Re-watch: 6
  • July Total: 29
  • 2010 TOTAL: 416

Friday, July 16, 2010

I Hate Bad Bollywood Films

Because my girlfriend tends to favor Bollywood films over any other type of film she was up for hitting I Hate Luv Storys (2010) at the cinema. We trekked out to S.Barrington AMC for a matinee hoping the film would deliver the hilarity shown in the trailer. Unfortunately it does not. Sonam Kapoor is certainly a damn attractive woman but I just didn't buy Imran Khan's "Jay" character or his motivations. There are a few okay sequences but too many scenes that fail. Only redeeming quality was the constant reference to Devdas. Very disappointed.
  • July New: 22
  • July Re-watch: 6
  • July Total: 28
  • 2010 TOTAL: 415

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Happy One-Day!

Yes, today is my one-day! And my girlfriend is arriving soon so I'm off to pick her up from the airport and have a birthday dinner! Thinking sushi...

  • July New: 21
  • July Re-watch: 6
  • July Total: 27
  • 2010 TOTAL: 414

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Bad Comes in Threes

Norman Taurog's Please Believe Me (1950) is a competent romantic farce about an attractive women (Deborah Kerr) being courted by three men after her recent new found wealth. Cute.

A much better set of three comes in the form of Tod Browning's silent film The Unholy Three (1925) featuring unrivaled Lon Chaney as the primary con-artist Echo. Echo, along with a strongman and midget (Harry Earles) ultimately commit a heinous crime and place blame on an innocent. This was later remade in 1930 as a talkie only months before Chaney died. This is such an amazing & haunting film. Plus I'm a sucker for any film that has ties to the circus sideshow. Absolutely love this film!
  • July New: 21
  • July Re-watch: 6
  • July Total: 27
  • 2010 TOTAL: 414

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Madman Marz

Thankful to IFC for running grindhouse month in June so I could record items such as Joe Giannone's Madman (1982). This is pretty good little slasher with a fun score and a hilarious jacuzzi scene. Nothing terribly original here as the main story borrows all the familiar tropes but it's still quite enjoyable for a Friday the 13th clone.
  • July New: 19
  • July Re-watch: 6
  • July Total: 25
  • 2010 TOTAL: 412

Monday, July 12, 2010

Michael Mired in Mediocrity

Halloween 5 - The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989) starts with a flashback to the ending of Halloween 4 and thus begins the film as a continuation of that story. Again it's more of the same but develops the connection with the young girl. Donald Pleasence is great but nothing particularly special about thie film.
  • July New: 18
  • July Re-watch: 6
  • July Total: 24
  • 2010 TOTAL: 411

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Melancholy Time Machine

Picked up The Time Traveler's Wife (2009) from the quick picks shelf and based on the trailer, really wanted to see this. Like Eric Bana a lot and growing fond of Rachel McAdams. This movie, however, is fucking depressing! Knew it would bring some sadness but really that's the whole damn film. That isn't to say it's bad it's just depressing and typically I'd rather not view such material.

In catching up with other sequels to classics that I haven't seen, I bumped Halloween 4 - The Return of Michael Myers (1988) up in my Netflix queue. I like the return of Dr. Loomis but this is somewhat unmemorable. Yeah, Michael didn't die and returns to wreak havoc again. Blah blah.
  • July New: 17
  • July Re-watch: 6
  • July Total: 23
  • 2010 TOTAL: 410

Saturday, July 10, 2010

First Grave of Godzilla

Final night of G-Fest was the film that started it all, the original Gojira (1954). I have always wanted to see the original version on the big screen and it really was an awesome evening! Amazing how terrifying the original Japanese version is compared to the neutered US version. Nice to close out G-Fest on a high note!

Finished up Five Graves to Cairo (1943) thanks to TCM & my DVR. This is Billy Wilder's second major feature film and he really shows the signs of brilliance. The story revolves a British soldier who becomes a reluctant spy disguised as a waiter at desert inn in Egypt currently housing Rommel & his German soldiers. Film offers plenty of suspense as well Erich von Stroheim as Rommel. Solid.
  • July New: 15
  • July Re-watch: 6
  • July Total: 21
  • 2010 TOTAL: 408

Friday, July 09, 2010

The Sea is Watching

Back for the 2nd night of G-Fest but only one screening Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster (1966). This film really encapsulates everything I love about 50s & 60s Japanese sci-fi film. Thought I had seen this one but I had not. Really great story about an secret military base of the Red Bamboo Army and the Sea Monster that guards the island. The Red Bamboo keeps the monster at bay with a special juice produced on the island by slaves. Bonus was having Akira Takarada, the main star of the film (and other Japanese sci-fi films), in attendance to introduce the film. He was signing at G-Fest but after the screening, fans got a chance to talk to him and take photos w/this legend. Killer evening!

Afterwards I queued up Uwe Boll's Rampage (2009) after seeing some recent twitter chatter. It's a decent film that puts a different spin on a Columbine-type tragedy. Possibly the best Boll flick I've seen, which is saying a lot.
  • July New: 14
  • July Re-watch: 5
  • July Total: 19
  • 2010 TOTAL: 406

Thursday, July 08, 2010

The Green Menace Strikes Back

G-Fest started today (that's "Godzilla Festival" for you freshies) and it's one of my favorite times of the year. It's not so much the festival part of this event but rather the movie line-up that warms the cockles of my heart. I heart viewing the giant green monster on the big screen. This year's line-up is one of the best yet with 4 films screening today! I skipped Son of Godzilla (too early in the day) but plopped down in my seat for the 2nd feature, Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992). Having not seen this one, I was thrilled to view it in this environment (surrounded by Gojira fans!).

Ron drove in to meet me at Pickwick Theater for the next film, Godzilla vs. Megaguirus (2000). I had forgotten that this was one that I had seen before but Ron had not. This movie is when the G-Force was established to destroy the now evil Godzilla. Never liked that they decided to make Godzilla evil after Godzilla 2000.

After that was the screening for Godzilla 2000 (2000), which I saw at Webster Cinema in Chicago when it originally was released back in 2000. It was fun then and still fun with a great audience. That was the last screening for G-Fest.

Now close to midnight, Ron & I hustled over to Muvico to check out the 12:01AM premiere of Nimród Antal's Predators (2010). I give this a solid 7.5 for being a fun & refreshing reboot of the franchise. It walks the line of being pretentious but Adrien Brody sells it quite well. Alice Braga is also pretty good (finally). I look forward to future screenings of this. Me loves the Predator.
  • July New: 12
  • July Re-watch: 5
  • July Total: 17
  • 2010 TOTAL: 404

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Jack, You Slay Me

I really adored Hawk the Slayer (1980) when I was an impressionable youth. I wanted to be Crow the elf (and be able to fire that bow at lightning speed). No, this isn't high art cinema but it's damn fun watching Jack Palance chew up every scene. Yet another Patrick Magee sighting!
  • July New: 10
  • July Re-watch: 3
  • July Total: 13
  • 2010 TOTAL: 400

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Harder They Fall

Until I watched the Midnight Movies documentary I didn't realize that Harder They Come (1972) was one of the original midnight films grouped in that set of mostly "cult" flicks from the early 70s that originated in NYC. Directed by Perry Henzell featuring Jimmy Cliff and set in the Jamaican ghetto its real emotion comes from the music for which the plot is staged. Worthy for that alone.
  • July New: 10
  • July Re-watch: 2
  • July Total: 12
  • 2010 TOTAL: 399

Monday, July 05, 2010

Gently Down the Stream

I enjoyed this Jared Hess flick Gentlemen Broncos (2009) so much that had I seen it last year it's possible I might have included it in my top ten. Sam Rockwell is brilliant, natch, but its angle on popular science fiction is really what grabbed me. Not exactly sure why this film was so vilified by the critics but I have my ideas. That's too bad because I could watch this again right now.
  • July New: 9
  • July Re-watch: 2
  • July Total: 11
  • 2010 TOTAL: 398