Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Raid on August

Last post of August! ::sigh of relief::

Fitting my first film of the day on this last day of August is one of my favorite new releases this year, Edgar Wright's Scott Pilgrim Vs the World (2010). Gods damn do I love this film. Wasn't sure I'd see it again but forced myself to take in another viewing. Love it even more. I've read that Mary Elizabeth Winstead has a vacuous role in the flick but it works for me. And something about her just melts me. (still burned out on Cera but whatevs) 9/10

Home: watched Treat Williams in Gale Force (2002), that literally lifts scenes from Last Action Hero. Suppose they thought no one would notice? It's kinda like Survivor meets Surviving the Game. Also features Tim Thomerson. He & Williams can team up anytime and I'll watch. Directed by Jim Wynorski, this is very watchable if not entirely very good. (Yay, 2 Treat Williams flicks this month!) 5.5/10

A film I've been told watch is Ben Rock's (@NeptuneSalad) Alien Raiders (2008). Wasn't sure what to make of this as it started but further in a very cool mystery unfolds with some great creature effects and scares. Solid camera work and good flick! 6.75/10

Finished the night with Robert Rodriguez's Spy Kids (2001). Never seen any of the Spy Kids flicks but figured I should give all of Rodriguez's catalog a fair shake since a few of films I really like. This flick is as expected and really not targeted towards me. Some of the banter is fine but not a movie I'll revisit (unless I have kids). 6/10
  • August New: 54
  • August Re-watch: 12
  • August Total: 66
  • 2010 TOTAL: 507

Monday, August 30, 2010

Born to Defense

So frakking tired so time for only one film today. At least it's a good one in Peter Stebbings' Defendor (2009) starring Woody Harrelson as a misguided, wannabe crimefighter. Did I mention Kat Dennings? Really dug the real world take on superhero vigilantism. Woody sells it. Very good watch. 7/10
  • August New: 51
  • August Re-watch: 11
  • August Total: 62
  • 2010 TOTAL: 503

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Don't Touch My Twinkies

Kinda sad that my 500th film watched this year is The Final Destination (2009). This is franchise that I gave up on before it became a franchise (hated the first film so much I wanted to walk out of the theater). But hey my library had it so what the hell... and ya know what? I didn't hate this film. It isn't great but the kills are fine. Maybe my opinion has softened? 5/10

Behind on this but did attempt once before but the disc didn't work. But now I can cross off the list Jon Chu's Step Up 2: The Streets (2008). Pretty much as I expected but not enough Moose! Cute. Forgettable. 6/10

Dipped back into my NWI queue for Zombie Death House, which is really just Death House (1987). Really not a good zombie film about experiments done on prisoners making them into zombie-like monsters. But hey it was directed by John Saxon so I had to watch it. 4.5/10
  • August New: 50
  • August Re-watch: 11
  • August Total: 61
  • 2010 TOTAL: 502

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Exorcising Movie Night

Been a long time coming but we finally nailed down another movie night today starting with big screen viewing of Daniel Stamm's The Last Exorcism (2010) at Tinseltown in S.Aurora. Think we're all in agreement that this is a terrific little horror mockumentary of the fallacies of performing exorcisms. All the actors are excellent with Patrick Fabian as the centerpiece selling his Cotton Marcus (still wish Eli Roth stayed with "Cotton" as the title). Now I know why people are having problems with the ending but I absolutely love it. 7/10

Now back at Ron's home and possibly a little giddy we opted for Sir Sean Connery in a diaper and screened Zardoz (1974). I've only heard the stories about this incredible and incredibly bad piece of cinema and now I can say I've witnessed it with my own eyes. Quite unbelievable. Seriously, penis is evil. Must be seen to be believed. Helps if you've seen or read The Wizard of Oz. Clue! 5.5/10

Finished the evening with a current favorite, Kim Ji-woon's The Good, the Bad, the Weird (2008), my 3rd viewing to date. Fun to watch with my friends. I don't think I will ever tire of this film. Great way to end the evening! 9/10
  • August New: 47
  • August Re-watch: 11
  • August Total: 58
  • 2010 TOTAL: 499

Friday, August 27, 2010

Bronson, Charles Bronson

If there is one thing I am sure of today, it's that I love Charles Bronson in Death Hunt (1981). This is a character that speaks to me. From the opening sequence when he rescues the dog from evil Ed Lauter I know this is my kind of man. At a very early age I remember identifying with that. Thank you, NWI, for allowing me to experience that again. Additional props to Lee Marvin, Carl Weathers, Angie Dickinson & Andrew Stevens, whom I also adore in this film. Definitely one worth watching. 7.5/10
  • August New: 45
  • August Re-watch: 10
  • August Total: 55
  • 2010 TOTAL: 496

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Hooded and Hellacious

Was anticipating my viewing of Batman: Under the Red Hood (2010) like no other in recent times after the early buzz. Yes, this may be the best or at least one of the best animated Batman films with solid characters and enveloping mystery that strides on the supernatural. Love it. 8/10

And on the opposite end, an utter disappointment in Ricky Gervais' The Invention of Lying (2009). Not bowled over by his writing or direction here in what could've been better than average. Instead it's a meandering tale that doesn't adhere to its own rules. 4.5/10
  • August New: 45
  • August Re-watch: 9
  • August Total: 54
  • 2010 TOTAL: 495

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Surviving the Deep

I'd be lying if I said I was a little excited that Deep Rising (1998) was selected for this week's Horror Movie Night. Been a while since I've seen Treat Williams chew up the scenery in this substantial B-movie. There's nothing about this film that I dislike. But oh how I desire a quality blu-ray of this! 7.5/10

Received George A. Romero's Survival of the Dead (2009) from Netflix eager to finally view Romero's latest (and see Steve Barton @UncleCreepy). While still not the return to form we all want from Romero it is better than Diary of the Dead and manages to continue that story in a unique way. There's a lot of undeserved hatred for this film but none from me. 6.5/10
  • August New: 43
  • August Re-watch: 9
  • August Total: 52
  • 2010 TOTAL: 493

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Thieves Leave

Been wanting to revisit The Thief of Bagdad (1940) having only vague recollections from my childhood. Really a stunning & beautiful film with terrific special effects. 8/10

Grabbed Graduation Day (1981) from my NWI queue looking for some silly early 80s horror and it delivers. Not great by any stretch nor deserving of its paltry 3/10 score at IMDB, the movie is very watchable with a few WTF? moments. 5.75/10
  • August New: 42
  • August Re-watch: 8
  • August Total: 50
  • 2010 TOTAL: 491

Monday, August 23, 2010

Seven Seals of School

Picked up Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2010) from the library a little curious about whether or not it plays well to the older set (me). Sadly I wasn't much into this middle school folly. I'm sure it's more effective towards the same age group of its cast but I feel I'm too far removed to enjoy it. Does earn some points for including Chloe Moretz in the cast! 5.5/10

Catching up on my Bergman I finally sat down with The Seventh Seal (1957). So many iconic moments and such great performances esp. by Max von Sydow. Imagery is outer worldly yet very grounded. 8/10
  • August New: 41
  • August Re-watch: 7
  • August Total: 48
  • 2010 TOTAL: 489

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Seven Years Bad Luck

Speaking of vampire films, finally watched George A. Romero's Martin (1977). John Amplas does a convincing "dude with a problem" and provides the needed creepiness in his scenes. Really a lot to like about this low budget thriller. 6.8/10

I know I haven't seen the sequel to Angel, Avenging Angel (1985), and it's a shame it doesn't quite deliver the same sleaze & grittiness as its predecessor. The quirkiness kills any edge it might've had with what little thrills it attempts. The funky cast is back and Betsy Russell is fine but just a bad delivery. 4.5/10

In wanting more Alexandre Aja I grabbed the Mirrors (2008) blu-ray from the library. Wish I could say I enjoyed this film but it's too wacky especially towards the end with the possessed nun to really recommend it. Some great kill scenes though. 5.7/10
  • August New: 39
  • August Re-watch: 7
  • August Total: 46
  • 2010 TOTAL: 487

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Chicago Comic Con 2010

LONG DAY AT CHICAGO COMIC CON... or Wizard World Chicago. Great day walking the floor and seeing celebrities. Talked with Linda Blair! And Adam West was escorted right by me. Best part of the day was the Black Cat No. 13 beer tasting across the street. Overall a pretty good albeit exhausting day. During the after hours, I was able to catch a screening of Wyatt Weed's Shadowland (2010) with a cast Q&A. Not particularly a very good film but not terrible for a modern vampire story. Caitlin McIntosh is quite a looker and makes for an easier viewing. 5.3/10

Sadly waaaaaaaaay too tired to watch anymore flicks tonight.
  • August New: 36
  • August Re-watch: 7
  • August Total: 43
  • 2010 TOTAL: 484

Friday, August 20, 2010

On Streets We Call The Zoo

Was at the office today so I slipped into Evanston Century Cinema for an early evening screening of David Michôd's Animal Kingdom (2010). Not quite the Aussie thriller I was expecting but a very solid family crime drama with a good amount of suspense. Don't think it's as great as something like The Horseman but still a very good film. Definitely worth a look. 7.7/10

Too wiped out for more movie viewing and need some sleep for Chicago Comic Con tomorrow!
  • August New: 35
  • August Re-watch: 7
  • August Total: 42
  • 2010 TOTAL: 483

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Eat, Eat Me Alive

Thanks to Netflix Watch Instantly I was able to view yet another Reg Park Hercules flick in Hercules and the Captive Women (1961). You'd think with a title like that and Fay Spain as the Queen of Atlantis the film would be at least a little provocative. No, not really. Isn't all that bad but hardly the best of Reg Park films. I may have seen this one before because the creepy blonde clones are familiar but it's a blur. Do really admire the crazy set pieces... seriously, the underground chariot the race is amazing. 5.5/10

Went to Muvico for the midnight screening for Alexandre Aja's Piranha 3D (2010)!! Was a little worried w/the packed crowd of younger-than-me peoples but they settled down and really got into it. Fun film to see on the big screen w/a good crowd but damn do I ever hate 3D. Even the few gimmicks really didn't work. But as a throwback film, it's a damn load of fun. Look forward to the eventual movie night screening in 2D. 7/10

Venturing into another Italian swords & sandals flick on Instant Watch, Son of Samson (1960) doesn't play quite as well as the Hercules films from the same period but again I admire the set pieces and the scale. And at least the women are very attractive! Plus the poster art for these films is terrific! 5/10
  • August New: 34
  • August Re-watch: 7
  • August Total: 41
  • 2010 TOTAL: 482

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Crimson & Clover

Because of my obsession with the Bring It On series I've always wanted to see Sugar & Spice (2001). Totally forgot it was based on a true story of bank-robbing cheerleaders. Not the greatest cheerleader comedy movie but it was fun seeing the younger versions of these actors now. 6/10

Dipped into an old 80s sleaze classic with Angel (1984) that has a lot more comedy elements than I remember. Reduces some of the suspense aspect but still a decent watch and not nearly as sleazy as I once thought. 6.5/10

Easily the most entertaining film of the night was the Thai action flick Power Kids (2009). No, this is not a "great" film but watching these kids perform stunts is mesmerizing. Plenty of humor mixed with serious. Fun watch.
  • August New: 31
  • August Re-watch: 7
  • August Total: 38
  • 2010 TOTAL: 479

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Searching for Things

Caught a late afternoon screening of Stallone's The Expendables (2010) and enjoyed it immensely. It delivers what it promises including some clunky dialogue exchanges and great action sequences. I was grinning ear to ear during the last 20 minutes. Looking forward to Stallone's master edit. 7.1/10

Another bad film on the Never Say Die DVD flipper, Silent Hunter (1995), was directed by Fred Williamson! Of course he also has a small role but it's kinda amusing that one of the sets is his auto dealership (the office is adorned with his framed movie posters and various memorabilia). Didn't enjoy this crime/revenge story very much but whatever. It happened. 4.4/10

Thanks to NWI I revisited another wish fulfillment flick of my teenage years in Private Lessons (1981) starring the ever so sexy Sylvia Kristel as the maid who seduces the rich kid in a scam conceived by Howard Hesseman's butler character. Yeah, this isn't a great film by any stretch but damn if it didn't stir up some feelings back in the day. Almost wonder if they could make a mainstream film like this again. 6/10
  • August New: 29
  • August Re-watch: 6
  • August Total: 35
  • 2010 TOTAL: 476

Monday, August 16, 2010

People Going Nowhere, Taken for a Ride

The biggest crime in Yossi Wein's Never Say Die (1994) is that they couldn't afford the rights to get Black Sabbath's song of the same name. That would've really amped up the action scenes. But not by much as this is definitely a "bad film" but watching Billy Drago do his best Jim Jones is pretty damn awesome. Plot: unlikely ex-commando & FBI agent join forces to stop cult killer and save a General's daughter. 5/10

Now Lucio Fulci's New Gladiators (1984) is a bad film of another caliber. It's basically Running Man or the same premise where prisoners fight it out on battle motorcycles in a future world. Love the miniatures and set pieces. Had to be fun wrecking all those bikes. And you can always count on Fred Williamson showing up as the same post-apocalyptic warrior. 5.5/10
  • August New: 27
  • August Re-watch: 5
  • August Total: 32
  • 2010 TOTAL: 473

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Shark vs. Ape: More Wine?

Another loaded day of film watching! Finally got around to seeing a film I've been wanting to see ever since I saw that Famous Monsters of Filmland cover in the early 80s (actually owned that issue!). Of course, the film is Ape (1976). Only recently learned that was the film in question. Sadly, this is an awful, awful movie! Only the opening sequence (Ape vs. Shark) is worthy. Interestingly it features Maggie Seaver (Joanna Kerns) in probably her worst gig ever. At least she rebounded.

Watched Bottle Shock (2008) while organizing my pad. Had to sit a few times to fully appreciate this fine film. I'm not a wine drinker but this flick really had me wanting some wine. Good cast; better film.

Been itching to watch G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009) again and was thrilled my library had the blu-ray. Still mindless fun. Still wish Marlon Wayans wasn't cast. Still love Sienna Miller. A lot.

Very much a long, overdue re-visit I dug into my newly purchased used DVD Enter the Dragon (1973). Put off even owning the DVD since I have the LaserDisc but got it on the cheap. Yeah, still a favorite film. Bruce Lee is so great and so missed. Really like John Saxon and Jim Kelly in this.
  • August New: 25
  • August Re-watch: 5
  • August Total: 30
  • 2010 TOTAL: 471

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Terror in the Aisles 6

Big movie day that started with a early matinee of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010). Really adore the hell outta this film. It's not perfect but hot fuzz is Edgar Wright a master craftsman. Yeah, I'm burnt out on Michael Cera being... er, Michael Cera. But it's all the other characters in this film that rock it. And Mary Elizabeth Winstead has that certain something. Look forward to repeat viewings.

Evening was all Terror in the Aisles & 35mm prints at Portage Theater. Things kicked off with Creepshow (1982). So great to see that projected. Have fond memories of watching w/my little brother when we lived in Rockford and certain segments scaring the shit out of him. oh yeah, the kid w/the comic has the best toys evar seen in a film! Godzilla *and* Rodan Shogun Warriors? Talk about rare vintage toys! Want 'em both!

John Harrison was guest of honor and did Q&A before introducing his Clive Barker's Book of Blood (2009). Not a great film but made more entertaining seeing it w/this crowd. Mostly slow but decent pay-off.

Last up was Tales from the Darkside: The Movie (1990). Really great to see this again as I had forgotten a lot it. Solid anthology and love, love, love Debbie Harry. Film is loaded with awesome actors! Another fine event by Dark Chicago / Chicago Horror!
  • August New: 23
  • August Re-watch: 3
  • August Total: 26
  • 2010 TOTAL: 467

Friday, August 13, 2010

Rolling Roadshow

Cruised down to Joliet fighting the traffic most of the way to attend the Alamo Drafthouse Rolling Roadshow event at old Joliet Prison for a screening of The Blues Brothers (1980). Originally I didn't care so much about attending esp. since I had another Horror Society film event that same evening. However, due to chatter about the last weekend's Rolling Roadshow events in California, I became much more enthused about hitting this one. Glad I did despite the location change from the storm.

Tell me this wasn't gonna be cool as hell. The screening was moved from outside the prison to inside a nearby church. Sitting in the church pew wasn't exactly comfortable but watching this nearly perfect film w/a bunch of townies more than made up for it.
  • August New: 21
  • August Re-watch: 1
  • August Total: 22
  • 2010 TOTAL: 463
(my first official re-watch of the month!)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Catching up on TV items today... no films. Too exhausted.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

From Beyond Infinity

No surprise that I'm a big fan of Jeffrey Combs, H.P. Lovecraft, and to a lesser extent Stuart Gordon. From Beyond (1986) plays up to these extremely well. This is the kind of film that someday I hope to see at a horror film festival. So much fun.
  • August New: 21
  • August Re-watch: 0
  • August Total: 21
  • 2010 TOTAL: 462

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Battle Dance Beyond the Stars

Knew I had to hit Jon Chu's Step Up 3D (2010) at the theater... just knew it. Heard some good things and this was really the first film in a long time that I wanted to see the 3D (normally I hate it for anything). As it turned out this was probably the most fun I've had viewing a movie in a theater this year. My god was I smiling and laughing all the way thru it (and I was alone!). 3D is great; routines are awesome. Sharni Vinson is strangely attractive yet sometimes looks odd, which made her more appealing. Moose Rules! Favorite dance battle is The Battle of Red Hook. Solid film and totally silly but damn enjoyable. Could make my top ten for 2010.

Needed a Cary Grant fix I picked off Howard Hawks' His Girl Friday (1940) from NWI. Sadly Grant isn't even in the film much. There's a period of 30 minutes or so where he's not even onscreen. Definitely more of a Rosalind Russell vehicle and she's excellent.
  • August New: 20
  • August Re-watch: 0
  • August Total: 20
  • 2010 TOTAL: 461
(hmm, 10 days in and no re-watches. *sad*)