Friday, December 31, 2010

Mother, Dogtooth, & A Prophet

Ah, New Years Eve and my last day of 2010 movie watching. Wanted to go out with a bang so I purposely selected films I thought had a chance to make my top ten list for the year. I was right. All the films I saw tonight were excellent. First up courtesy of NWI was Bong Joon-ho's Mother (2009). Really superb story of the lengths at which one mother will go for her falsely accused son. Lives up to the hype and definitely top ten material. Must-see for everyone. 8/10

Next was a film I've heard so much about during the year including a few people who placed this at the top of their 2010 list. Had to see it. Dogtooth (2009) premiered at the start of year and is a hard film to describe with giving away what makes it so special. It just needs to be experienced. Go in with no expectations and let it unfold before you. Definitely another I can see revisiting. 7.8/10

Lastly I opted for Un prophète (2009), another film with plenty of buzz. Definitely deserves the accolades. At 2.5 hours long, this is journey of an imprisoned muslim (Tahar Rahim) in France that rises through the ranks to become a prison boss. Niels Arestrup as his mentor is also fantastic. Jacques Audiard directs each sequence like its own stand-alone film. Such a rich movie that I could see watching more often if not for its length. Really ended the year on a high note. 8/10

Happy New Year!

  • December New: 70
  • December Re-watch: 6
  • December Total: 76
  • 2010 TOTAL: 793

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Getting Low

Time to fly back to Chicago. I'm ready to go home but hated the way I had to leave (6am this morning after my girlfriend didn't come home until 3am but that's another story). My in-flight film was a complete opposite of the crap they gave us on the way out (Ramona & Beezus). We were treated to Get Low (2010), which saw limited release earlier this year. It's a period piece features Bob Duvall as a man, Felix Bush, who wants to have his funeral before he dies. Bill Murray and Lucas Black are the funeral directors that assist him. Sissy Spacek is great as one of Felix Bush's old and only flames. Got a little sleepy towards the end due to my 3 hours sleep. Will need to revisit. 7/10

Home and chilling with some Instant Watch. Decided to finally watch the animated version of Superman: Doomsday (2007) storyline from the early 90s. Kinda okay and since I never bothered to read that storyline at least now I know what happened. Not bad. 6.6/10

And because it was expiring too I finally spun Stan Lee's Mutants, Monsters & Marvels (2002) which is a video interview with Stan Lee by Kevin Smith. It's broken into two segments; the first deals with Stan's career overall and the second just focuses on Spider-man. Interesting to hear a lot of what I already knew in Stan's words with his take on the events. Wish this Kevin Smith was still around. 7/10

Finally watched Dragonslayer (1981), which I guess I've never seen in its entirety, only bits and segments. It was expiring so what the hell. It's actually pretty good and darker than I expected for a Disney property. I could see them doing a remake of this in all CG. It's the practical effects that make this charming. Good late night watch. 6.8/10
  • December New: 67
  • December Re-watch: 6
  • December Total: 73
  • 2010 TOTAL: 790

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I, Ninja

This flick Mirai Ninja (1988) a.k.a. Cyber Ninja looks as if it could've been made in the last 10 years. But instead it's over 20 years old and it's fucking excellent. Still can't get over how awesome it looks; its weird period genre mashup is so Japanese. I don't want to spoil anything but let's just say there's a super ninja and a whole lot of robot ninja and a clan that must save their princess from an evil villain. The character designs are really great too. Thinking I may need to screen this at Ron's home with his kids, who should love this flick. 6.7/10
  • December New: 63
  • December Re-watch: 6
  • December Total: 69
  • 2010 TOTAL: 786

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Until One Dies

My girlfriend and I borrowed a bunch of DVDs from her library in hopes of watching a few during my holiday stay in San Jose. Unfortunately, we only watched one. :-( That was Dosti: Friends Forever (2005), another Akshay Kumar flick that's borderline homoerotic the way he gets along with his best friend. Plot boils down to two lifelong best buds that find love until some truths are revealed thus spoiling their relationship with each other and their loves. Would have been okay if at least one plot device was removed. That was too much for me. Performances were good but still not crazy about the instant love. 4.4/10
  • December New: 62
  • December Re-watch: 6
  • December Total: 68
  • 2010 TOTAL: 785

Monday, December 27, 2010

Let's Go Crazy

I believe it was @BTSjunkie on twitter that mentioned seeing Allan Arkush's Get Crazy (1983) at Zzzang!!! (Alamo Drafthouse weekly event). He said that it was probably the last screening of this print because it was going back into the MGM vault. No other prints are available. Kinda sad. That prompted me to check it out. It's a hoot! It's about preparing for a big New Year Eve concert at a club that's going to fall into the hands of a new owner. It's actually a lot better than that sounds. 6.8/10

  • December New: 61
  • December Re-watch: 6
  • December Total: 67
  • 2010 TOTAL: 784

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Tees Maar Conned

Headed over to the all-Indian theater in Fremont, Big Cinemas Fremont 7, to catch Akshay Kumar in Tees Maar Khan (2010), a Bollywood comedy about a con-artist that hoodwicks an entire village into thinking he's a big time director filming a movie there when he really wants to use the villagers to hijack a train full of loot. There was a packed crowd for our screening that really ate this film up laughing throughout. Lots of wordplay jokes that only make sense if you understand Hindi. But the movie as a whole I found to be a bit of a bore with not enough musical numbers to make it interesting. The running gags also fell flat. Plane called "Con-Air", Siamese Twins super-vilain, and continuous pokes at Danny Boyle and Slumdog Millionaire. Yawn. 5.5/10

Moby Dick (2010) is another recent The Asylum release that, yes, is a modern retelling of that classic story including the Barry Bostwick as Captain Ahab. Oh so clever. But I will go on record as saying this is actually a pretty darn good flick... for The Asylum. More often misses than hits, this one is definitely a better watch than most. 6/10
  • December New: 60
  • December Re-watch: 6
  • December Total: 66
  • 2010 TOTAL: 783

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Scary Christmas

Gotta say I was a little amped to finally check out Elves (1989), mainly because it stars a smoking and cussing Dan Haggerty (Grizzly Adams, folks). Didn't realize it also involved an alien Nazi plot! Yes, this one might make the list for Christmas Killing next year. "Are we gonna be ok?" "No, Willy, gramps is a Nazi." Love love love. 6.3/10

Decided to spin another SNDN sequel, Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 (1987) but was very disappointed that the first half of the film is entirely flashbacks to the first film! WTF. Yes, I've seen it but I don't want to see it again when I'm watching the sequel. Dumb. 5/10

  • December New: 58
  • December Re-watch: 6
  • December Total: 64
  • 2010 TOTAL: 781

Friday, December 24, 2010

Frosty Bees

On my flight we were treated to the trivial Ramona and Beezus (2010), a film I know I wouldn't have watched any other way. I can appreciate that this is a film made for a much younger audience but it's disappointing that American Airlines would choose this for in-flight. It plays more like a movie made for TV and Ramona's antics are grating. 4.5/10

Now in San Jose, during some channel surfing I landed upon the start of Jack Frost (1979), a Rankin and Bass stopmo that I don't recall having seen. It's pretty good too! Basically Jack Frost falls in love with a human girl and wants to human. He's granted his wish if he can complete tasks given to him before the spring thaw. There is an evil King, Kubla Kraus, that stirs up trouble that forces Jack to resume his powers to help the village. Very enjoyable and swell watching with my girlfriend who was also amused. 7/10
  • December New: 56
  • December Re-watch: 6
  • December Total: 62
  • 2010 TOTAL: 779

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Secret Grit

This morning as I attempted to sleep I picked off The Secret of Kells (2009) from NWI. Had heard great things about this flick when had its limited release earlier in the year. Unfortunately the animation is really the only shining star here. The story is a bit weak. A wooded village controlled by monks builds a wall to prevent the inevitable onslaught of warriors. Yeah, see it for the animation. 6.7/10

As I was packing I decided to give the original True Grit (1969) another go. A lot of people have been saying that the original is not a good film or that the updated Coen Brothers' version is so much better. I recall enjoying that flick so I felt a rematch was needed. Suffice it to say, I still love the original. Since both films use the same source material, the novel by Charles Portis, much of the dialogue is nearly identical. Can't say I love one film over the other because I really love John Wayne's performance. And I don't mind Glen Campbell. Plus there's Bobby Duvall and Dennis Hopper. 7.7/10
  • December New: 54
  • December Re-watch: 6
  • December Total: 60
  • 2010 TOTAL: 777

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Magic Christmas Maker

Horror Movie Night Special Christmas Edition was Silent Night, Deadly Night 5: The Toy Maker (1991). I haven't seen any of the SNDN sequels and this one sounded excellent. It is, so to speak. Mickey Rooney is the demented toy store owner and that's enough right there. Plot involves some creepy animatronics and their maker's desire to return to their original home. I guess. Clint Howard should have been given more to do. 6.5/10

Another holiday film I've been hearing mentioned recently was The Magic Christmas Tree (1964). Just from the description it sounded like something I should see. It is wacky as a kid is given a magic ring from a witch that gives magical powers to tree in his yard that grants him 3 wishes. Definitely a weird little flick. Thinking we may need to do a Christmas movie night next year and view this one. 5/10
  • December New: 53
  • December Re-watch: 5
  • December Total: 58
  • 2010 TOTAL: 775

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

True Fake

Been putting it off too long but because Exit Through the Gift Shop was aded to Instant Watch it renewed my interesting in seeing F is for Fakes (1974). This Orson Welles helmed documentary is very interesting in that it doesn't feel like a documentary with several really spectacular shots that add a touch of whimsy to the discussion of fakery. Definitely a suitable film to watch with ETtGS. 7.5/10

Headed over to Muvico for a True Grit (2010) midnight screening since I won't really have a chance to see it before I leave for California. Another excellent Coen Brothers production with remarkable setpieces. Having watched the original not that long ago everything was very familiar. All the principles are terrific. Think I enjoyed Matt Damon the most. 8/10
  • December New: 51
  • December Re-watch: 5
  • December Total: 56
  • 2010 TOTAL: 773

Monday, December 20, 2010

Not So Hot

Decided on a couple of NWI flicks tonight to wind down from another long office. Can't wait for my holiday time-off to begin! First up Chrome and Hot Leather (1971), a biker revenge flick. I think the premise of the Vietnam vets infiltrating the biker community to enact revenge is a good one the the execution could've been better. 6/10

Next was a seriously inexplicable English language remake of Hideo Nakata film by Fruit Chan, Don't Look Up (2009). I saw the original 10 years ago and really enjoyed it. This film… well, let's just say that it was unnecessary. Surprised that Eli Roth has a small part in the set-up scene. Watchable but barely. 5/10

  • December New: 49
  • December Re-watch: 5
  • December Total: 54
  • 2010 TOTAL: 771

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Black Sunday

Started the day off in the wee hours after returning from Scott's home. Had Black Christmas (1974) saved on my DVR from TCM Underground and wanted to spin it. It's a great moody horror flick starring Olivia Hussey, whom I like a lot, plus John Saxon. Glad to have finally watched this film and plan to watch every December. 6.5/10

After several hours of needed sleep, I awoke to hit a matinee of TRON: Legacy 3D (2010), a film I had severely low expectations for considering the early word-of-mouth. But I gotta say, I truly enjoy this movie and how it was presented in 2D into the 3D grid. It just works for me. Yes, it's got a few problems but overall very enjoyable. Lots of eye candy not to mention Olivia Wilde and Beau Garrett, who both look stunning. 6.7/10

For my afternoon viewing, I skipped the Portage Theater event and opted to just watch Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964) at home rather than on the big screen. It's not a good film but charming in its own way. I think this would've really appealed to me as a child with all the low budget costuming and set pieces. 5/10

Finally on NWI, I queued up The Order of the Black Eagle (1987) because I noticed @paulcorupe had recently viewed and it looked like my kind of flick. And it is! If you can imagine a low-rent James Bond with a baboon sidekick that can also pilot helicopters and tanks, than this one is for you too. Obviously meant to be ridiculous, it provided enough enjoyment for me. 6/10
  • December New: 47
  • December Re-watch: 5
  • December Total: 52
  • 2010 TOTAL: 769

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Friday the 13th Marathon

My evening viewing was a special event that @scottfinn and I arranged some time ago when all the Friday the 13th films were added to Netflix Watch Instantly. Wanting to revisit a few of them I submitted the idea we make a movie night out of it. So we did. I headed over to Scott's home where he had all the films queued up. We debated which ones to watch, and we were somewhat agreeable.

First up was Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981), which I only vaguely remembered and wanted to see. It came back to me as it went along. Pretty good sequel to the original and first true Jason. I recommended Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984), the fourth film in the franchise directed by Joe Zito, next because I don't ever recall seeing it. It's often considered one of the best but for whatever reason I don't ever remember viewing it. It features a very young Corey Feldman and Crispin Glover too. Very good entry and one I'll probably revisit again.

After those two, I suggested Part 7 because I know I haven't seen that one but Scott objected and would agree only if we watched Part 6 and ultimately 2 more films (I had anticipated we would only watch 3 films total). I was up for it. So we dove into Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986), my favorite of the series simply because it's when I consider the F13 franchise turning towards making Jason the antihero. I originally saw this flick upon release back in '86 and loved the hell out of it. Recently I bought it on DVD. Jason returns from the dead with supernatural strength. The comedy works. Adore this film.

Now late in our night it was time for one I haven't seen, Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988). I've always heard mixed things about this one, more on the unfavorable side and now I know why. This one deals with a girl who has psychic powers and telekinesis. She mistakenly resurrects Jason from the lake instead of her dead father and the havoc begins. Such a WTF flick but still very watchable. Glad to have seen it with Scott, who is somewhat of a F13 historian. After that we called it a night. And a good night it was. Looking forward to the next movie night with Scott, a true lover of old school slasher horror.
  • December New: 43
  • December Re-watch: 5
  • December Total: 48
  • 2010 TOTAL: 765

Serpent of the Sea

Kicked off my Saturday by hitting Michael Apted's The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010) at Muvico. This is the kind of film that should be seen on the big screen. And it looks great. The story isn't bad as the third installment in the franchise. Only a couple of the kids get pulled back into Narnia this time along with their annoying cousin. They set off on a sea adventure that leads to a massive fight with a biggest sea serpent committed to film. Really enjoyed this film and Reepicheep the mouse. 7/10
  • December New: 41
  • December Re-watch: 3
  • December Total: 44
  • 2010 TOTAL: 761

Friday, December 17, 2010

Hell in a Elevator

I ordered Hellevator (2004) a.k.a. Gusher No Binds Me a.k.a. The Bottled Fools from Neflix because I very curious to see another performance by Luchino Fujisaki, who is wonderful in Edmund Yeo's Kingyo (2009). And altho she's not given that much to do in Hellevator, Luchino is very good here, her first feature film. The film itself is very interesting. The director Hiroki Yamaguchi was awarded a limited budget based on a short he did and was able to create a convincing dystopian future in where everyone lives inside a giant structure with hundreds of floors for living, shopping, prison, etc. The effects & props are believable. The film focuses on one elevator full of passengers when things go awry when a couple of violent prisoners are boarded. I was engaged the entire time wondering how this would resolve. Very solid watch. Yamaguchi demonstrates a very promising style and eye for direction; sadly Yamaguchi hasn't gone on to direct anything else. Edmund told me that Yamaguchi was the one who introduced him to Luchino. Also interesting that Luchino replaced her given name "Rukino" with her character name from Hellevator. 6.5/10

Then late night viewing on NWI with Cherry 2000 (1987), a futuristic tale of one man's quest to repair his broken android bride (Pamela Gidley) by searching the wastelands outside of the city. Melanie Griffith becomes his escort to help fight off the bandits. Lots of familiar faces throughout. Decent watch. 6/10
  • December New: 40
  • December Re-watch: 3
  • December Total: 43
  • 2010 TOTAL: 760

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Santa vs. Devil

Picked off Gor (1987) on NWI because it's the type of film that plays well to me. Action adventure fantasy sci-fi flick based on a series of novels by John Norman. Plus it has both Jack Palance and Oliver Reed hamming it up. Basically a timid professor gets transported to the planet Gor and gets caught up in saving an oppressed country from its ruthless king. He returns back to Earth all confident. Stupid but fun for me. 6/10

Also on Instant Watch: Santa Claus (1959), the weird René Cardona Mexican flick often considered one of the worst films of all time (bottom #53 at imdb). That said I can't see why as it's genuinely a bizarre number but very watchable because of that.
No, it's not a great film but in context this is delightfully entertaining as Santa with the assistance of Merlin must defeat the Devil in order to save Christmas. Quite an oddity worth seeking out. 6/10
  • December New: 38
  • December Re-watch: 3
  • December Total: 41
  • 2010 TOTAL: 758

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Mystery Kids

It's Wednesday and you know what that means: Horror Movie Night! The selection tonight was Ed Hunt's Bloody Birthday (1981). Gotta hand it to Brian Kelley for the stellar programming. This is an evil children flick that I hadn't seen but since I have a fondness for such films, I was excited to sit down with this one. Definitely a cool flick about 3 kids born on the same day during a total eclipse. By age 10 they have intentions of murder. Fun! 6.5/10

From Netflix I had Gregg Araki's Mysterious Skin (2004) which I think I added to my queue because of Araki and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who I heard was good in this. And this is true because I don't think this would be the easiest performance to pull off convincingly. Essentially JGL's character is molested as a child and grows up to be a male prostitute. Some intense scenes and not a film I could watch often. 7/10
  • December New: 36
  • December Re-watch: 3
  • December Total: 39
  • 2010 TOTAL: 756

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Piece of Blood

Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work (2010) was added to Netflix Watch Instantly. Considered catching it in the theater after hearing the good WOM out of Sundance. But couldn't work it out. Good to finally see this documentary about Joan Rivers and her early career. Crazy how different she looked before she became addicted to plastic surgery. Also interesting how she pushed her blue comedy as a woman. 7.7/10

Followed that with Umberto Lenzi's Seven Blood-Stained Orchids (1972), a pretty cool underrated giallo I hadn't seen. Another good atmosphere film with some hot women, staples of giallo. First half was much more striking than the finale but still a very fine film (when the disc played, it was in pretty bad shape). Plan to revisit again next year after viewing the interviews with Lenzi. 7/10
  • December New: 34
  • December Re-watch: 3
  • December Total: 37
  • 2010 TOTAL: 754

Monday, December 13, 2010

Action Fighter

Monday and back to the confines of my home after a whirlwind weekend in Austin. Decided to give Tongan Ninja (2002) a go because it just looks ridiculous. And it is. It takes a basic 80s ninja trope and pokes fun. The premise is two disagreeable brothers grow up on an island trained in the art of the ninja (not really ninjitsu here, folks). The good brother leaves the island and gets caught up defending a girl and her restaurant from a mob boss. The mob boss hires the bad brother to fight the good brother. Enjoyed the build up more more than the final arc. Dig Jemaine Clement. 6.2/10

Next was David Huey's Capital Punishment (1991) a.k.a. Kickbox Terminator, that was recently covered on GGTMC. Gary Daniels is the fighting star here and most of this flick is a head-scratcher. Still not sure what exactly was going on or what the point of all it was. Clearly not a good film as well even with David Carradine. 4/10
  • December New: 32
  • December Re-watch: 3
  • December Total: 35
  • 2010 TOTAL: 752

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Post-BTSNAT BK Style

After crashing back at Noah's home sometime just before 6AM, we were back up and at 'em within a few hours for brunch at Enoteca with Brian Kelley and Rusty. Quite an excellent brunch too. We decided we might as well follow up BTSNAT with, what else, more movies!

The lot of us were eyeing BK's StreetDance 3D (2010) blu-ray last night so we agreed to give it a spin. Hot damn. This flick gives Step Up 3D a run for its money. It's street dance mixed with ballet in a very formulaic storyline. Definitely loads of fun if not quite as good as SU3D. I dusted up a few times from the pure joy of it. Surge are so awesome. "S" 7.6/10

Having not seen Sean Byrne's The Loved Ones (2009), Brian was game giving it yet another re-watch (had to be his 4th or 5th time). I'd been wanting to see this from the first early word out of SXSW. While not entirely perfect as a teenage hostage Aussie horror flick it does have its moments and I really like this film immensely. A few memorable scenes make me look forward to screening this at a future movie night. 7.5/10

We left to grab some sandwiches and returned to view The Disappearance of Alice Creed (2009), which none of us had seen. I think it lives up to the small buzz its generated as a competent and compact thriller. Nearly all of the film takes place in one setting. Completely forget that the woman was Gemma Arterton. Cool seeing Eddie Marsan again. Good watch. 7/10

After that, Noah and I said our goodbyes and headed home so we could catch up on the day and crash. A very nice way to wind down post-BTSNAT and to close my weekend in Austin. Thanks again to Brian and Noah for their generosity. Really made me wish I lived nearby to enjoy more times like that.
  • December New: 30
  • December Re-watch: 3
  • December Total: 33
  • 2010 TOTAL: 750

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Today is the day of BTSNAT! What is BTSNAT? The history traces back one year ago as alt.programming to the now famous BNAT, Butt-Numb-A-Thon, in which Harry Knowles celebrates his birthday every December with a highly secretive 24 hour movie marathon at the Alamo Drafthouse. It's not an easy event to get into so a few film geeks I've come to know and respect via Twitter & Fantastic Fest started BTSNAT last year as a counter movie event that occurs on the same day as BNAT. Make sense? BTSNAT stands for Brian Trenchard-Smith Numb-A-Thon.

Last year BTSNAT was held in Dallas. This year BTSNAT was in Austin. This marks my 2nd visit to Austin in as many months (1st visit was for Fantastic Fest). Wasn't sure I would even be here for this occasion but was encouraged by the other attendees. And I'm so damn glad I made the trip. The idea is that (almost) everyone attending selects a film they think the others haven't seen that fits the spirit of BTSNAT, i.e. somewhat obscure, bizarre, genre, etc. Interestingly enough (and unplanned?) a few films this year also are featured in Zack Carlson's already legendary Destroy All Movies!!! The Complete Guide to Punks on Film. In addition, before each film, a "trailer bucket" is chosen for a themed group of previews to watch. Themes include exploitation, old spy films, horror, etc.

Last night I arrived and @Noahphex picked me up from the airport (he was gracious enough to let me stay at his place for the weekend). We headed to The Highball to see a few peeps and drink beers until heading back to his home for some convo until 2am. Got up this morning for brunch back at The Highball before gathering "supplies" for BTSNAT. Then over to @BTSjunkie's home to await the others (Brian Kelley hosted).

One by one the others began to arrive including @ReelDistraction, @BriguySalisbury, @ldmullen, and @VHSisthetruth. @RustyGordon was already there (BK's roommate). Now it was time to fire up the first film sometime before 2pm or so. Should note that before Noah's film, he presented us with the shower dance sequence clip from Gimme an 'F' (1984). Holy hell is that gold. Still gotta watch that entire film. Nice kick-off. Noah's feature pick was Dudes (1987), a DAM flick and one I've always wanted to see having owned the metal-laced soundtrack for over 20 years (ex. W.A.S.P.'s "Show No Mercy"!!). Directed by Penelope Spheeris, Dudes features Jon Cryer and Daniel Roebuck as punks on a coast-to-coast road trip until they encounter redneck trouble and seek revenge. Such a solid flick. Great start to BTSNAT! 6.7/10

In the second slot was Josh's pick Banned (1989). Before viewing he gave us the lowdown on this film's obscurity and how he came in possession of it. Just that bit of info had us excited plus it's another DAM flick! For a little background (from what I remember) Banned is a undistributed film directed by Roberta Findlay (Tenement, Prime Evil, Slash). Zack reached out to her when he was compiling DAM. Initially unsuccessful he eventually received the film from the film's writer which Josh was able to secure for our shindig. Apparently it's not been seen by very many eyes. That was enough to give me goosebumps.

The movie centers around the spirit of a dead punk musician, Teddy Homicide, that possesses a mild-mannered jazz musician using the same studio space where the punk committed suicide 10 years earlier. Should be noted that the ghost was living in the toilet. Ultimately the spirit begins to takeover leading to uproarious comedy and several WTF moments in an already strange flick. While not a "good" film in terms of high cinema this one already has a special place for not only being bizarre but with its back story and context. I love it. Just watch that trailer! (Here's an AV Maniacs thread about it) I feel very fortunate to have seen this. Hopefully some day I'll be able to share this rare treasure with my friends, big fans of DAM and punks in film. Thank you, Josh! 7/10

Next up was Brian Kelley's pick War Dog (1986), an action revenge hostage slasher flick from Sweden. Got that? Yeah, it's that kind of overall weirdness about the most unsuspecting hero that gets involved in uncovering a super soldier terrorist group that has brainwashed his brother. Features some of the bloodiest children kills I've seen plus ongoing hilarious stilted dialogue. And a waterpark massacre?! Has to be seen and heard to be believed (the voices are a riot). I need to buy that one. Excellent pick, BK! 6.8/10

Now it was Micah's selection, which he indicated would probably be better in slot 4 after we'd been drinking. His film Ring of Steel (1994) fit that mandate as it was a rather middling 90s fencing action flick (wha?). And it features Joe Don Baker, which was expected from Micah, as the evil Orson Welles-looking mastermind behind the underground fighting league. I say middling because it's the kind of flick that might languish on late night cable or Cinemax; people watch a few minutes then change the channel. Not me but most. I truly enjoy these kinds of awful 90s cheesy melodramatic action romps and this one delivered. Noah described it as "Bloodsport meets sword fighting." That's perfect. Not a crowd favorite but as I tweeted, this is kind of film I can watch everyday. Thanks, Micah! 6/10

So with the four principle attendee selections out of the way it was open to the rest of us to offer a film in slot 5. Originally I had a film in mind but called an audible at the last minute that returned us to the Destroy All Movies theme. My pick was Never Too Young to Die (1986), a film recently covered on GGTMC that I really wanted to watch. @uncoolcat was instrumental with the hook-up prior to my trip. Everyone at BTSNAT accepted my offering and it played fairly well. It features the son (John Stamos) of a secret spy (George Lazenby), recruited by undercover agent (Vanity) to stop the hermaphrodite terrorist Velvet Von Ragner, portrayed totally over the top by Gene Simmons, from poisoning the water supply. Yeah, pretty stupendous. Really adore this film in all its ridiculous glory. The dressed up motorbikes ruled. 6.8/10

Now it was time for the pre-programmed film, the sequel to last year's Lucky Seven, which everyone loved so much (and I still have yet to view). Lucky Seven 2 or also known as Magnificent 7 Kung-Fu Kids (1989) came in with high expectations but sadly (apparently) didn't live up to its predecessor. Still enjoyable for what it is; a group of seven kids trained in kung-fu assembled to stop an evil army. Had some cool moments but not enough of them. Still a good watch with the group. 6/10

By this time it was already around 3AM so the final BTSNAT film was prepared, a Brian Trenchard-Smith movie, of course. Brian Kelley had a few gems but the one he decided on was Happy Face Murders (1999), a movie produced for Showtime that stars Marg Helgenberger, Henry Thomas, and Ann-Margret as a wacky old lady who watches Matlock all day. While most of our crowd fell asleep during this largely slowburn cop procedural I kinda dug it as a CSI-prequel. Has many of the same elements and I wouldn't be surprised if this flick somehow influenced the genesis of that series which went on-air during the following year with Helgenberger as one of the leads. Not a bad watch at all with a few recognizable BTS touches. 6.5/10

Now around 5AM and most of all the beer and Four Loko consumed, it was time to call it. One helluva awesome day/evening of film watching with even better company. Can't ask for more than that. We were even treated with souvenir gift bags filled with candy, VHS tapes, 8-tracks, comics and old TV guides! Our tweets about BTSNAT sparked the interest of others who may venture to Austin or Dallas next year. Hopefully I'll be back as it's really unparalleled in my eyes. Good flicks and great company. Big thanks to Brian Kelley and Noah Lee for hosting and having me! Thanks to Micah for creating BTSNAT!

Read @ReelDistraction's excellent write-up of BTSNAT 2.
And check out @Noahphex's BTSNAT 2 write-up that includes our tweets.
  • December New: 27
  • December Re-watch: 3
  • December Total: 30
  • 2010 TOTAL: 747

Friday, December 10, 2010

If You're Afraid to Say It

I'm flying to Austin for BTSNAT. Really a crazy almost last minute decision (booked my flight 8 days ago!). Watching Ken Russell's Whore (1991) on my short flight. Gotta say that I'm not all that excited about this flick. Thankfully I'm sitting in a row to myself as I don't think it's the best for in-flight viewing. Kinda like a day in the life of a prostitute and her struggles but a little too much tongue-in-cheek and breaking the fourth wall silliness to take it seriously. Theresa Russell is fine but otherwise just okay. 5/10
  • December New: 20
  • December Re-watch: 3
  • December Total: 23
  • 2010 TOTAL: 740

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Starcraft Ballet

Been eager to sit down with the classic The Red Shoes (1948) having seen Black Swan. So mesmerizing. The performance sequence in the middle is breathtaking. Hope to see this on the big screen some day. Only disappointment comes in the final scene. 8/10

Needing to return Starship Troopers (1997) blu-ray to the library I was happy to revisit this film having not seen it since my theater viewing back in '97 at 600 N. Michigan w/Shaun. Whoa, that takes me back. Remember that screening vividly including the trailer for Titanic and teaser for Godzilla. This flick is still great and the effects hold up so well. Crazy what they accomplished. I wanna own this blu-ray. 7.7/10
  • December New: 19
  • December Re-watch: 3
  • December Total: 22
  • 2010 TOTAL: 739

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Welcome to Wonderland

Couldn't wait any longer. Had to see Burlesque (2010). Love this film. The crummy relationship subplot slows it down but everything else is pure fun. Dig on Christina so much. So cheesy yet so entertaining. Big smiles. Big fun. 7.5/10

Tonight's Horror Movie Night selection was Jeffrey Delman's Deadtime Stories (1986). A film I recently picked on VHS during my big San Carlos haul. It's another anthology flick which I've really come to adore having seen so many this year. Scott Valentine is in the first segment! Thinking of doing a horror anthology movie night some day. So many good ones to choose from. 6.4/10
  • December New: 18
  • December Re-watch: 2
  • December Total: 20
  • 2010 TOTAL: 737

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Absolutely Fabulous

Discovered today that Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains (1982) is on Instant Watch so I made time to watch because it's been one been wanting to catch up with for a long while. Had it on DVR from TCM but it was cut in half. Boo. Anyhoo, damn awesome flick. Little Diane Lane resembles Julia Stiles. Can't believe she was only 15 when they made that film. A must-see. 7.8/10

Feeling like something very vintage I dropped in my The Cat and the Canary (1927) DVD that I recently received. Such a rich silent film with tons of great atmosphere. Definitely better and more spooky than the Metzger remake. 7.4/10

Finally from NWI and triggered by one of Rupert's brilliant Netflix Instant Gems blog posts, I endured R.O.T.O.R. (1988). Believe that I saw parts of this back in the day but not enough to remember that WTF ending. Seriously? Not bad enough to be that enjoyable. If only the movie was half as good as that movie poster! :-( 3/10
  • December New: 16
  • December Re-watch: 2
  • December Total: 18
  • 2010 TOTAL: 735

Monday, December 06, 2010

Black Death

Went over to CineArt after work for the premiere of Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan (2010). Even with some incredibly annoying people in my screening talking and making noise, this was amazing to see on the big screen. Portman is incredible. Cassel is sleazy. Kunis is sexy. Hershey is delightfully wacky. Probably the best horror movie of 2010. Now I must see Red Shoes. 8.2/10

The BrianmasXXX secret screening last weekend was Neil Simon's Murder by Death (1976) so I figured now was as good as any to watch this flick. Another fun dinner whodunit mystery. Capote, Falk, Guinness, Lanchester, Niven, Sellers, et al. Helluva cast. 7.4/10
  • December New: 13
  • December Re-watch: 2
  • December Total: 15
  • 2010 TOTAL: 732

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Tarzan is Not Alone

After hearing GGTMC cover Gaspar Noé's I Stand Alone (1998) I knew it was something I had to see soon. It's everything they've said and definitely a must-see, esp. if you like what Noé's been doing in cinema. And it's just as fucked up. It's the tale of an aging ex-con butcher trying to restart his life only to find it's not worth the effort and opts for one final intimate visit with his mentally challenged daughter. Or does he? Now I know where that fetus-punching scene comes from in FF's 100 Greatest Kills. 7.4/10

Tarzan and the She-Devil (1953) is a blast! Can only imagine how fun it was to go to the theater back in the day and watch serial adventure films like this. Lex Barker's Tarzan goes head to head against villain Vargo (Raymond Burr). Of course there's Joyce Mackenzie as Tarzan's beautiful Jane and Monique van Vooren as Lyra the She-Devil. Yes, the women here are insanely attractive. I really should try to watch all the Warner Archive Tarzan flicks since my library has all of them. 7.1/10
  • December New: 11
  • December Re-watch: 2
  • December Total: 13
  • 2010 TOTAL: 730

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Cowboys vs. Ninjas

This morning I headed over to Muvico to catch the digital presentation of Sngmoo Lee's The Warrior's Way (2010). Apparently this was originally titled the "Laundry Warrior" which is reason enough for the change. This genre mash of Old East meets Old West action adventure is akin to a live action anime and I appreciate what it tries to do under that premise. Not many would consider this a good film (I've heard some say it's absolutely terrible) but it's the kind of silly fun that I enjoy on the big screen. No surprise there. Jang Dong-gun carries the strength needed in the lead while Danny Huston and Geoffrey Rush chew up the scenery in OTT performances. Kate Bosworth is... not very good. Great to see Ti Lung but he's not given much to do. 6.8/10

Received both Hot Tub Time Machine (2010) and When in Rome (2010) from my library. One was good the other not so good. HTTM is charming but the 80s jokes wear a bit thin. Still a fine watch. Rob Corddry steals most of the best scenes. 7/10 WIR however is DOA. If not for the super attractive and photogenic Kristen Bell, who makes this dud very watchable, this would be tedious. 5/10

In my project to track down all the Alice in Wonderland films, I also watched Alice Through the Looking Glass (1966), produced for TV and directed by Alan Handley. I was prompted to this one by @ReelDistraction's tweet of some of the cast members which include: Jimmy Durante, Ricardo Montalban and the Smothers Brothers. Not a bad watch but overall lacks the oomph of some of the other adaptations I've seen to date. Jack Palance dressed up as the Jabberwock is something to behold. 6.2/10
  • December New: 9
  • December Re-watch: 2
  • December Total: 11
  • 2010 TOTAL: 728

Friday, December 03, 2010

Terror in the Aisles 7

Headed over to Portage Theater for the beginning of a great night of horror films brought to us by Rusty Nails and Company. First up was the Romero classic Day of the Dead (1985) in 35mm. Also had both Lori Cardille and Gary Klar on hand to give an introduction and Q&A afterward. Been a few years since I last watched this flick so I had forgotten parts of it. Still holds up and was a great watch with this crowd. 7/10

After mingling with a few peeps I know (Mitch, Jessica & others) and finally meeting @KreepyLady the next film was ready to go. Christopher Smith's latest Black Death (2010), a period piece during the plague with a mysterious village on the outskirts immune to the disease. I enjoyed this flick a lot and the fine performance by Sean Bean who carries the film quite well. Love that Carice van Houten is given a meaty role. Adore her. And nice to see David Warner again but he's not in this enough. 6.8/10

Finally we were treated to a throwback exploitation flick in If a Tree Falls (2010) directed by Philip Carrer. I really admired what they tried to do here even if it wasn't all that great. It was still very entertaining. Another one I'm looking forward to seeing again. 6.8/10

Again, it was another awesome Terror in the Aisles event. Also got to meet Mike White (@ImpossibleFunky) author of Impossibly Funky: A Cashiers du Cinemart Collection. Great meeting him and talking film (Phantom of the Paradise!). Also bought his book which looks great. Thanks, Mike!
  • December New: 5
  • December Re-watch: 2
  • December Total: 7
  • 2010 TOTAL: 724

Deadly Hollow

Company gave us the day off today (due to the late night Xmas party last night). Good for me. Hit a matinee of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010) to beat the rush. Very entertaining and dark but a little empty because doesn't really have an ending, natch. Look forward to the final installment. 7.2/10
  • December New: 3
  • December Re-watch: 1
  • December Total: 4
  • 2010 TOTAL: 721

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Zatoichi in the 80s

Company Christmas Party tonight so needed something not demanding to wind down. Decided to revisit an old Rutger Hauer classic. Glad to have Blind Fury (1989) on NWI. Forgot all the comedy bits in this but it's still plenty of fun. 7/10
  • December New: 2
  • December Re-watch: 1
  • December Total: 3
  • 2010 TOTAL: 720

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Monster Pig

First day of the month and I end up downtown with Ron for a Century Landmark screening of Monsters (2010) directed by Gareth Edwards, a film both of us really wanted to see on the big screen. Well, as big as Century will allow (all those screens aren't very big). Very interesting and enjoyable road trip/love story set after an alien invasion. Clunky dialogue but shot well. Glad to have seen it but really want to see it again to see how well it holds up. 7.7/10

Back home for Horror Movie Night and Razorback (1984), a Warner Archives DVD I picked up used for $3 at HPB but haven't watched. Good thing it was set for tonight because it's a damn excellent flick with a massive monster boar. Really love this film. 7/10
  • December New: 2
  • December Re-watch: 0
  • December Total: 2
  • 2010 TOTAL: 719