Tuesday, November 30, 2010

1 Ninja 2 Ninja Red Ninja Ghost Ninja

Time to return to Chicago. Another flight and still no decent in-flight film that I haven't already seen. Decided to watch another Godfrey Ho ninja flick on the flight and it was Diamond Ninja Force (1986). Strangely, it begins with Sho Kosugi providing a brief katana demonstration before the film. This ninja flick is more horror with an evil seductress spirit that appears and haunts a family. Features black ninjas, a red ninja, and ghost ninja! Mostly a head-scratcher but still comical as you'd expect from Ho. 6/10

Got home and queued up Thirst (1979) on NWI because I've been thirsting more Henry Silva. Not a great film back pretty good watch about a secret cult of vampire wannabes who attempt to get the main girl to drink blood and become one of them. I like it and the atmosphere. 6.5/10

That's a wrap on November!
  • November New: 53
  • November Re-watch: 6
  • November Total: 59
  • 2010 TOTAL: 717

Monday, November 29, 2010

Only The Lonely

Last movie I watched with my girlfriend was Jun Ichikawa's Tony Takitani (2004), a film I've had for a while but just haven't seen. Man, this is a very depressing film but excellent performances by Issei Ogata and Rie Miyazawa, who does double duty as Tony's wife and replacement muse. Definitely a different film but well worth the watch. Recommended. 7/10
  • November New: 51
  • November Re-watch: 6
  • November Total: 57
  • 2010 TOTAL: 715

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Downward Spiral

Another VHS tape I picked up at San Carlos Video for a buck was Endless Descent (1990) a.k.a. The Rift. Directed by Juan Piquer Simón, this is a decent little submarine horror thriller. Features R.Lee Ermey and Ray Wise with Jack Scalia sporting some awesome hair as they investigate a missing submarine and discover something much more threatening... beneath the sea. Kinda really enjoyed this flick. 6.5/10
  • November New: 50
  • November Re-watch: 6
  • November Total: 56
  • 2010 TOTAL: 714

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Kids WIll Be Kids

Was lucky enough to catch one of the last midnight grindhouse screenings at Camera 7 in Campbell, CA. Last night was Bonnie's Kids (1973) and this has to be the grainiest, most speckled print I've seen screened. So bad that the film quit several times during the screening making it an agonizing watch. Many people didn't stick around as the delays continued. All that said, this is the way to see a film like this. I'll probably pick up the DVD now because it is such a fun sleazy flick. 7.5/10

Another DVD we decided to watch was Fumihiko Sori's Ping Pong (2002), about a group of teenagers competing against other high schools in a ping pong tournament. Rather amazing to see all these young actors who have gone on to bigger things. Overall good film heavy of the drama with some incredible ping pong matches. 6.5/10
  • November New: 49
  • November Re-watch: 6
  • November Total: 55
  • 2010 TOTAL: 713

Friday, November 26, 2010

London Calling

My girlfriend had picked up a few movies she thought we could watch during the holiday break. The Bollywood film Namastey London (2007) was one of them and sadly we both didn't care too much for it even with Akshay Kumar. Basically none of the characters are likable and there's no sympathy for the bratty Jazz (Katrina Kaif). The instant love bit grows tiresome here. 4.4/10
  • November New: 47
  • November Re-watch: 6
  • November Total: 53
  • 2010 TOTAL: 711

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Thanksgiving. Disney. My Girl. Pretty good combination for an afternoon movie outing of Tangled (2010), the latest animated feature film by Disney. Early buzz told me this was a good flick. I can confirm that it is. We thoroughly enjoyed the experience and performances. Zachary Levi is excellent as is Mandy Moore. Fun time at a small packed theater full of families. Usually this would be a bad situation but it made it even more memorable. 8/10

After our evening subpar Thanksgiving dinner at a steakhouse, we decided to watch the Japanese foodie film Tampopo (1985), one I haven't seen in years and have been wanting to revisit. Sadly it's OOP but at least my girlfriend's library had it. All the parts I remembered held up quite well and made me wish we had ramen instead of turkey tonight. Forgot many of the stranger scenes (those with the Man in White, Kôji Yakusho). Ken Watanabe and Tsutomu Yamazaki are so great too. Highly recommended for foodie movie fans. 8/10
  • November New: 46
  • November Re-watch: 6
  • November Total: 52
  • 2010 TOTAL: 710

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Breaking the Law

Picked up a few more VHS flicks from San Carlos Video, my go-to for OOP genre titles. One of those was The Lawless Land (1988) directed by John Hess, which I hadn't seen. Decided to watch that while my girl went dancing. Fairly decent Road Warrior-esque type of film about a couple that defies the laws to be together. Pretty good bar shoot-em-up scene during the rescue sequence. Good watch. 6.5/10

  • November New: 45
  • November Re-watch: 5
  • November Total: 50
  • 2010 TOTAL: 708

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Octopus Man

A movie I've been wanting to see for probably 30 years is now available on Netflix Instant Watch!! Yes, I'm talking about Octaman (1971), a super awful monster flick directed by Harry Essex. I used to watch this on Sunday afternoons when one of the cable stations scheduled back to back monster movies. At the time I thought this was super terrifying and I loved it. Wasn't sure if I'd ever get to it again (never seen it on home video). It's another retelling of the classic Creature from the Black Lagoon down to the final sequence. Poor Octaman. He's just misunderstood. Of course it doesn't hold up to these wizened eyes but still charming for what they did on a meager budget. That costume is just hilarious. Would love to have a 1/6 figure of the Octaman. Or at least a replica of that little baby octopus he saves. 6.2/10 (for the nostalgia)
  • November New: 44
  • November Re-watch: 5
  • November Total: 49
  • 2010 TOTAL: 707

Monday, November 22, 2010


Found a little time to finish this old school disaster flick, Crack in the World (1965). Basically some scientists fool around trying to tap into the Earth's core for energy and end up causing a… crack in the earth! 6.3/10
  • November New: 44
  • November Re-watch: 4
  • November Total: 48
  • 2010 TOTAL: 706

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Phantom Night Ninjas

I'm off to San Jose for Thanksgiving. But still managed to watch last week's Horror Movie Night selection Night Life (1989). Very interesting little film about a teenage kid who works part-time at a mortuary. Can't even imagine doing something like that. Of course, dead bodies return to the living dead after a storm and the horror comedy ensues. Not bad. 6.7/10

While on the place I also watched Godfrey Ho's Ninja Phantom Heroes (1987). Like all of Ho's ninja flicks this one is just as comical. I don't feel it's worth trying to decipher here but it is something to be seen. If you want a detailed explanation, check out this long review on StompTokyo. 5.7/10 (for pure fun)
  • November New: 43
  • November Re-watch: 4
  • November Total: 47
  • 2010 TOTAL: 705

Saturday, November 20, 2010

All The Boys Love Ohyaku Dayu

I have a feeling I've seen Yuen Woo-ping's Dreadnaught (1981) before a long time ago. Everything about it is so familiar. Really a wonderful film with outstanding choreography. Glad that the GGTMC covered this as I think it's an ideal movie night flick. The lion dance battles are soooooo good. White Tiger fight scenes are wonderfully brutal. 7.9/10

Hadn't seen Ocean's Twelve (2004) and not sure I'm any better now that I have. Seems like an excuse for a sequel with an overwrought plot. The Julia Roberts / Bruce Willis segment probably played better at the time of release but now just looks silly. At least Vincent Cassel is great. 6/10

Time for more Pinky Violence with Ohyaku: The Female Demon (1968), another film I really love. Junko Miyazono (Okatsu) is just great as ever as a struggling woman who seeks revenge for the death of her lover. Also like seeing Tomisaburo Wakayama in a small part. The ending is a little over the top but still a very fun film. 7.8/10
  • November New: 41
  • November Re-watch: 4
  • November Total: 45
  • 2010 TOTAL: 703

Friday, November 19, 2010

Cruel Bloody Violence

Tonight I dove into my ECLIPSE SERIES 17: NIKKATSU NOIR Collection to watch Cruel Gun Story (1964). This is a caper film about an ex-con that gets offered a job upon exiting prison. He recruits some unsavory fellows and gets caught in a double-cross. Reminds me a lot of The Killing from the racetrack and overall heist plot. Not the same film of course but similarities with the lead and plot. 7/10

Anticipating the upcoming release of the latest Harry Potter flick I dropped in my blu-ray of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009). Think I enjoyed it more this time around. 7.5/10

Also watched Bruno Mattei's other women's prison flick, Violence in a Women's Prison (1982), which is nearly identical plot-wise to his Women's Prison Massacre. Features Laura Gemser as Emanuelle again along with most of the same cast shot in the same prison. Don't' like this version as much but still sleazy enough but the ending doesn't have the same impact. 700th film of the year! 5.8/10
  • November New: 38
  • November Re-watch: 4
  • November Total: 42
  • 2010 TOTAL: 700

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Ballad in the Supermarket

Ballad of a Soldier (1959) was a recommendation from Angie Dickinson. No lie. Mr. Beaks interviewed her for AICN when she mentioned if he had seen the film. He hadn't and she recommended it. So there ya go. I had to get the VHS from my library network and it's definitely worth the watch. It boils down to a Russian soldier that asks for a short leave of absence in lieu of a medal. He meets a girl on his way home and they fall in love. Very good film. 7.9/10

The Horror Movie Night pick was Scott Spiegel's Intruder (1989) a.k.a. Night Crew: The Final Checkout, yet another one I haven't seen. It's a slasher set in a supermarket and features both Sam Raimi and Ted Raimi in supporting roles. Actually a pretty fun little flick with a decent twist. 6.5/10
  • November New: 36
  • November Re-watch: 3
  • November Total: 39
  • 2010 TOTAL: 697

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mile High Dining

There was a little buzz on Twitter about Altitude (2010) and how the DVD cover gives away the main plot point. Still looked interesting enough and it's not terrible but really an overblown Twilight Zone story. Jessica Lowndes is the lead and super attractive. Other than that a whole lotta meh. 5.5/10

Been wanting to see Legend of the Black Scorpion (2006) a.k.a. The Banquet since Harry Knowles first gabbed about it. Not sure how it remained off my radar for so long considering it stars Ziyi Zhang and Daniel Wu. Had high expectations and despite some incredible cinematography, the movie falls flat. It's loose retelling of Hamlet but not nearly as effective as beautiful as it is to watch. 6.6/10
  • November New: 34
  • November Re-watch: 3
  • November Total: 37
  • 2010 TOTAL: 695

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Better Quartet

Was more than thrilled that my local cinema Showplace 12 is screening more S.Korean films. Tonight I went out to catch Song Hae-sung's Mujeogja (2010) a.k.a. A Better Tomorrow. And it is a remake of John Woo's brilliant film of the same name (he actually had a hand in this remake). For the most part it is faithful to the original with the same characters but even having seen the original as recently as this year, I still found this film very compelling. Much of that due to the excellent performances by all four lead actors. One of the better films I've seen this year. 7.7/10

My late night viewing consisted of Radley Metzger's sensual fantasy romp The Lickerish Quartet (1970). Been wanting to see after recently viewing the trailer. The visuals really caught my eye and the film lives up to providing an interesting story about an eccentric couple that invites a gorgeous woman into their home for a variety of sexual escapades. 6.5/10
  • November New: 32
  • November Re-watch: 3
  • November Total: 35
  • 2010 TOTAL: 693

Monday, November 15, 2010

Edges of Badness

From NWI I found Fred Olen Ray's The Good, the Bad & the Beautiful (2005) a.k.a. Bikini Round-Up, which is actually a soft porn featuring adult film stars such as Randy Spears, Evan Stone, Nicole Sheridan and others. It's also not very good. The neutered sex scenes are rather bland and story is quite awful. Title is only good thing here. 4/10

Decided to knock out another title form my NWI queue so opted for Edges of Darkness (2009). Unfortunately this wasn't much better. It's a weird low-budget meil of zombie mythology mixed with vampires. Too low budget with poorly shot scenes and amateurish performances. 4.5/10
  • November New: 30
  • November Re-watch: 3
  • November Total: 33
  • 2010 TOTAL: 691

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Revenge of the Hotbox

Not exactly sure why but I grabbed Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) on the library shelf. Guess it's been nearly a year since I saw this in the theater but I suppose I had a craving for it's warm simplicity. Still heart this film. Hotbox! 8/10

Having not seen Jaws: The Revenge (1987) until now I firmly believe this film is unfairly knocked. It's not nearly as bad as its reputation would have you believe. I actually enjoyed it for what it is. It's not memorable but watchable. So there. 6/10
  • November New: 28
  • November Re-watch: 3
  • November Total: 31
  • 2010 TOTAL: 689

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Tale of Two Stories

Heard all the bad about Skyline (2010) prior to heading over to Muvico for a matinee. I just had to see for myself. Sadly the word of mouth was true; this is not a good film. And even for guys with a background in VFX I didn't even think those were that great. Will probably end up being one of the worst movies of the year for me. Sorry, Strause Brothers. 3/10

On the other end of the spectrum is Neil Marshall's Centurion (2010), another film I've read both good and bad about. But call me a Marshall apologist because I totally dig this sword and sandals adventure. Michael Fassbender is great commanding the main arc and the supporting cast is also very good. Olga Kurylenko is perfect. Special nod to Axelle Carolyn, who I started following on Twitter now that I'm familiar with her (she's good too!). I'm a fan of the genre and this movie just works for me. Look forward to owning the blu-ray someday and eventful all-Marshall movie night! 7/10
  • November New: 27
  • November Re-watch: 2
  • November Total: 29
  • 2010 TOTAL: 687

Friday, November 12, 2010

Will you do me a kindness?

Wasn't able to make a local screening of Winnebago Man (2009) but glad to have the DVD finally. This documentary has been high on my must-see list from the time I first heard about it. Even if you don't know the story of Jack Rebney, this is still a fascinating and moving watch. I remember the first time I saw the outtakes at Found Footage Festival well before they became available online. 8/10

Spun my Gamera (1965) blu-ray from Shout Factory and it's the best I've ever seen this flick. Last watched my cheapie DVD in January '09. So this is a nice update. 6.7/10

Speaking of cheapie DVDs, I decided to watch Roger Corman's The Terror (1963), a DVD I picked up at Half-Price Books for $1. Stars a really young Jack Nicholson and Boris Karloff. Not a bad flick about a soldier that washes up on a island and gets involved with a mysterious girl that lives in a castle there. Would like to see a good print of this. Some great visuals. 6.7/10

  • November New: 25
  • November Re-watch: 2
  • November Total: 27
  • 2010 TOTAL: 685

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Make a Wish

Received Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl (2009) from Netflix and I've been looking forward to seeing Yoshihiro Nishimura and Naoyuki Tomomatsu's collaboration since last year when I think it premiered at Fantastic Fest (or TIFF). Considering my waning interest in J-splatter horror this flick is actually pretty entertaining if not over the top towards the end. Might pick up the BD sometime. 6.5/10

From my library I dropped in Peter Jackson's The Lovely Bones (2009). I skipped catching this last year due to the bad worth of mouth (and reviews). Yep, this is not a good film. I know there's some stories behind why this turned out so horribly bad but I don't even care. It's watchable and has some okay performances. Generous 6/10 rating.

Heard decent things about I Sell the Dead (2008) but found it kinda boring. Not a bad watch but all together not that interesting for period zombie piece. 6/10
  • November New: 23
  • November Re-watch: 1
  • November Total: 24
  • 2010 TOTAL: 682

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Name Optional

Thanks to MGMHD I was able to revisit one of my favorite early 80s action flicks in The Final Option (1982) a.k.a. Who Dares Wins. Not a great or even good film but man did we ever love the hell outta this SAS / terrorist flick back in the day. This was when reading Soldier of Fortune magazine was a monthly ritual. Anyways, here we have an top SAS (Special Air Service - the elite anti-terrorist military of Britain) infiltrate a terrorist organization to prevent a major world catastrophe. The ending still kicks ass to no end even with the silly goggle camera. 6.7/10

The Horror Movie Night selection tonight was The Unnamable (1988), another one I haven't seen before and based on a H.P. Lovecraft story. Not a bad little flick about some college kids that go snooping around and open the vault of the demon beast. Very watchable and decent practical effects. 6/10
  • November New: 20
  • November Re-watch: 1
  • November Total: 21
  • 2010 TOTAL: 679

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Terrible Tuesday

A little sad that the only movie I watched tonight was Transylmania (2009). Musetta Vander is the *only* thing redeeming here and even she's not enough. 4.5/10
  • November New: 19
  • November Re-watch: 0
  • November Total: 19
  • 2010 TOTAL: 677

Monday, November 08, 2010

Nothing to see here... move along

Blame my long work day... or MNF. Or burnout. No movies today. Boo.
  • November New: 18
  • November Re-watch: 0
  • November Total: 18
  • 2010 TOTAL: 676

Sunday, November 07, 2010

The Magical Maddening

Strange is the only way to describe today's viewing. Beginning with Al Adamson's Carnival Magic (1982). Features a creepy car-driving, talking chimp put in harm's way by an evil doctor. It's up to Markov (Don Stewart) to rally the carnies and save Alex the chimp. Bizarre and fascinating. Thank you, TCM Underground, for bringing this one to us. 6.4/10

Next up Guy Maddin's spooky mind trip Brand Upon the Brain (2006), on Criterion no less. Another captivating watch with great atmosphere and narration. Weird fantasy about a Guy returning to his childhood home and dealing with a very dysfunctional family that extracts brain juice from orphans to remain young. I *think* that's what's going on. Disc set is great as it includes the live narrations from Isabella Rossellini and Crispin Glover. I listened to a little of those w/the film. 6.9/10

From my library network I finally received the VHS of D.A.R.Y.L. (1985), another 80s film I hadn't seen. Like the premise but it could use an update. Overall decent viewing. 6.4/10
  • November New: 18
  • November Re-watch: 0
  • November Total: 18
  • 2010 TOTAL: 676

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Thunder and Lightning

A film with a fair amount of cult cachet attached to it John Flynn's Rolling Thunder (1977) was also on MGMHD much to my delight. Only recalled bits of this so it was great to finally take in the whole film. Just love William Devane here. Nice work from Tommy Lee Jones and Dabney Coleman. Tremendous film. 7.5/10

From Neflix Bruno Mattei's Women's Prison Massacre (1983) starring Laura Gemser as Emanuelle once again. Considering Mattei made two similar films with the same cast, this is quite a special flick. Not a great one but certainly interesting for women's prison exploitation cinema. And the better film of the two (the other being Violence in a Women's Prison from the previous year). In this one, Emanuelle is sent in as an undercover reporter to investigate the prison. 6/10
  • November New: 15
  • November Re-watch: 0
  • November Total: 15
  • 2010 TOTAL: 673

Friday, November 05, 2010

Another Good, Bad & Ugly

Was thrilled to pick up Rolling Vengeance (1987) from MGMHD considering it's an upcoming film featured on GGTMC. And maybe the best monster truck movie? I recorded some of the kills that I hope to submit to the 100 Greatest Kills segment at Fantastic Fest next year. Sleazy rockabilly Ned Beatty?! Yes, yes, yes! 6.6/10

The much maligned Giallo (2009) directed by Dario Argento. Ugh. Haven't looked up the controversy regarding Adrien Brody but I am curious to know more now. Just a mess. But a somewhat watchable mess. 4.5/10

Catching up on more 2010 releases with Date Night (2010) featuring Steve Carell and Tina Fey. Another WTF viewing. Really didn't like this film at all. It has a few moments and really it's the supporting cast that steals the movie. And for that I can give it a small pass. 5/10
  • November New: 13
  • November Re-watch: 0
  • November Total: 13
  • 2010 TOTAL: 671

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Masked Tattoo

Plopped down to take in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009) via NWI. Missed the Cinequest premiere screening in San Jose earlier in the year (because it sold out). Really enjoyed the mystery and thriller aspect although the prologue was unneeded but I suppose it has more to do with character development throughout the entire trilogy. Noomi Rapace is excellent. Solid and recommended. 7/10

Yep, another October DVR holdover in William Castle's Mr. Sardonicus (1961) which contains all the expected creepiness of the man in the mask. Captivating watch. Love that character name is "Krull." 6.8/10
  • November New: 10
  • November Re-watch: 0
  • November Total: 10
  • 2010 TOTAL: 668

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Terminating the Grid

Finally got out to see David Fincher's The Social Network (2010). What can I that hasn't already been said. I'm sure this will place in my top ten for the year. Completely brilliant from start to finish with no wasted frames. Love this movie and what it says about about our culture and society. 8/10

Lady Terminator (1988) was tonights Horror Movie Night selection. Good thing cuz I've been wanting to see this for ages and keep putting it off. Super trashy and filled with head-scratching dialogue. Super fun and highly recommended. 6.8/10

Had The Burning (1981) DVD from my library (?!) and figured I better watch it. Essentially apes Friday the 13th with kids and counselors terrorized by a giant scissors wielding maniac. Good Savini work but so-so film. Still cool to watch and interesting commentary by Savini. (666th film this year!) 6.6/10
  • November New: 8
  • November Re-watch: 0
  • November Total: 8
  • 2010 TOTAL: 666

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Scream For Me, Astro

Grabbed Astro Boy (2009) from my library's quick picks shelf not expecting much. Good thing because there isn't much here. That said, it's not terrible for a complete re-imaging of Osamu Tezuka's legendary character. Decent CG animation. Nic Cage voiceover. 6/10

Gordon Hessler's Scream and Scream Again (1970) was another DVR recording held over from October. Features the trinity of horror Vincent Price, Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. Not bad but a bit disjointed. 6.4/10
  • November New: 5
  • November Re-watch: 0
  • November Total: 5
  • 2010 TOTAL: 663

Monday, November 01, 2010

Boxing Hauer

Saw George Pal's 7 Faces of Dr. Lao (1964) for sale in a video store close-out and considering getting simple based on the cover. Fantastic artwork. Didn't buy it but picked up from Netflix. Very fun and whimsical tale featuring Tony Randall in all all the main roles. Barbara Eden is scrumptious. Not the greatest of films but silly enough to make it watchable. 6.5/10

Wanted: Dead or Alive (1987) is a Rutger Hauer vehicle that I'm sure I caught glimpses of on cable back in the day. But didn't remember that much to consider it a valid rematch. Gene Simmons stars as a terrorist that gets his ass kicked and finally achieves a terrific onscreen death. 6/10

Recorded Gordon Hessler's The Oblong Box (1969) from either TCM or MGM during their Vincent Price runs last month. Like the mood and atmosphere. Solid watch and good short story a la expanded Twilight Zone episode. 6.5/10
  • November New: 3
  • November Re-watch: 0
  • November Total: 3
  • 2010 TOTAL: 661