Thursday, July 28, 2011

Hottie in Outer Space

Mutiny in Outer Space (1965)
Directed by Hugo Grimaldi

Totally dig this sci-fi thriller. The green fungus is hilarious. Just a fun yet silly film that approaches the material seriously. Big fan of these flicks and Dolores Faith is a hottie in space. Viewed during my flight out west.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Christmas Shock

Shock (1946)
Directed by Alfred L. Werker

Kinda cool Vincent Price noir flick. Price always makes for a good villain. Worth the watch.

To All A Goodnight (1980)
Directed by David Hess

Horror Movie Night: Christmas in July edition! Decent but best thing about this is Jennifer Runyon. Will revisit at a future Christmas Horror Movie Night, I’m sure.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Fighting Personalities

Persona (1966)
Directed by Ingmar Bergman

Filling more Ingmar Bergman gaps and this might be my favorite to date. Crazy considering his style change but duality of the characters and the story are executed so well I just really love it. Def one to revisit someday. 8 / 10

The Fighter (2010)
Directed by David O. Russell

Solid 7 out of 10. Good drama. Bale steals the movie. Sick how good he is. Everyone else is very good but Bale is the clear standout. Decent film but other than Bale didn’t deserve all the accolades, IMO.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Agent Fear of the Dead

Fear and Trembling (2003)
Directed by Alain Corneau

Really, REALLY love this movie. Totally captures what it’s like for an ex-pat / foreigner to work in a Japanese company. Incredible film. Highly recommended. Too bad Kaori Tsuji didn’t go on to do more because she’s excellent.

Marc Mato, agente S. 077 (1965)
Directed by Gregg C. Tallas

Low budget spy thriller from Spain. The opening sequence when the crooks break in to steal the death ray is the best part of the film.

Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead (1994)
Directed by Don Coscarelli

Pretty darn good sequel esp. since I wasn’t expecting much. Wish they’d put all the films into a nice Blu-ray set. I really like Reggie Bannister.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock

Excellent thriller. One I will definitely need to watch again. So well crafted but expected from the master. Joseph Cotten is terrific.

Flick (2008)

Flick (2008)
Directed by David Howard

Picked this up from the library b/c it was in the horror section and looked interesting. It’s not really. A tad on the dull side despite a good premise. Really it’s the execution that fails. Not terrible but a little boring. Too bad.

Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
Directed by Isao Takahata

Put this off long enough. Not sure I could watch this again. Up there with Nobody Knows as one of the saddest, most tragic films I’ve seen. Anything with children in desperate situations is just too much for me. Hard one to watch indeed.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Day of the Apes

Planet of the Apes movie night was something I was looking forward to ever since I picked up the PotA blu-ray set a few weeks ago. This was a planned event to revisit all the PotA sequels and show them to Ron's boys for the first time. Also I've been itching to watch the PotA films again since the Drafthouse Apes event a few of my friends went to (still to this day haven't seen any of the Apes flicks on the big screen; super jealous of my friends that got all five in one sitting).

Since Ewan and Gavin had already seen the original PotA, we started promptly with Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970), which I've often cited as my favorite in the series. Love everything about this movie and it's apocalyptic ending. 7.5 / 10

After that ending it's amazing they found the creative juices to make Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971) and make it convincing. Such a corny film sweet with some touching moments. This movie made me so sad when when I was a child. 7 / 10

It's often hard to think which film has stuck with me the most over the years especially not having seen them for so many years. Images from the first films have imprinted on my mind but the story of Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972) has remained the strongest for me. I've always loved the rise of Cesar and how he orchestrates it. Great film. 8 / 10

No one will question that Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973) is the weakest of the films but it has its moments. Paul Williams is also fun. At first I wasn't sure I had seen this film but the entire story of Cesar's son overhearing --- came back to me. 6.5 / 10

It was fun revisiting all four of the sequels with Ron's kids. As always they provided some fun commentary. Ewan agreed that Conquest is the best of these.

  • July New: 27
  • July Re-watch: 8
  • July '11 M.T.D.: 35
  • July '10 M.T.D.: 54
  • 2011 Y.T.D.: 421

Friday, July 22, 2011

Somewhere Under a Giving Tree

Left the office to drop into The Tree of Life (2011) over at CineArts in Evanston. Really, really love the love of --- film, which is no surprise. Just didn't care for the simplistic story. My thoughts may change on this over time but for now let's just say the so-called non-narrative didn't work for me. The lack of narrative isn't a problem since the central story is so basic. It's just not interesting. A very disappointing 5.5 / 10 Imagine following that with Sofia Coppola's Somewhere (2010) that received so much derision when it was released last year. I can see why but I didn't have a problem with content. It was (again) another issue of an overly simplistic story that just didn't do much but kinda sit there. No real punch or kick. Watchable although I probably won't watch it again. But it's worth checking out. 6 / 10
  • July New: 27
  • July Re-watch: 4
  • July '11 M.T.D.: 31
  • July '10 M.T.D.: 54
  • 2011 Y.T.D.: 417

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Dogs of War

Caught The Plague Dogs (1982) on NWI, happy to find it there having not seen it previously. This is another poignant, depressing animation about the escape of a couple of dogs from a testing facility. Fun, right? It's terribly sad but a really good film and great voice acting by John Hurt and others. 7 / 10 Out to the cinema for Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) on the big screen. Yeah, this is very enjoyable superhero flick despite a slowdown in 3rd act (of 4 acts total). May see it again to catch more the eggs. One I'll probably own someday. 7.5 / 10
  • July New: 25
  • July Re-watch: 4
  • July '11 M.T.D.: 29
  • July '10 M.T.D.: 54
  • 2011 Y.T.D.: 415

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

They Vant To Suck Your Blood

Incense for the Damned (1972) is uh… Bloodsuckers!
  • July New: 23
  • July Re-watch: 4
  • July '11 M.T.D.: 27
  • July '10 M.T.D.: 54
  • 2011 Y.T.D.: 413

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Yukio Mishima's Amazing Technicolor Dreamlife

I had Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985) in my Instawatch queue but never managed to get to it. Then I heard GGTMC cover it and realized it was something I didn't want to wait any longer to see. Got the Criterion edition from the library and dived in. It's every thing the Gentlemen said and then some. Was really into the different vibe each chapter of Mishima's life brings all framed within his central and final story. Powerful and vastly entertaining. Paul Schrader really conveys the Japanese sensibility of Mishima's life. Ken Ogata just nails it. Already wanted to view it again after this viewing. So very good. Highly recommended. 8 / 10

Followed that with a revisit to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010) in preparation for the final film. Blu-ray looks gorgeous and the film is mostly good despite the somewhat abrupt ending. 7.5 / 10

  • July New: 22
  • July Re-watch: 4
  • July '11 M.T.D.: 26
  • July '10 M.T.D.: 54
  • 2011 Y.T.D.: 412

Monday, July 18, 2011

Das Wachsfigurenkabinett

Not sure why I decided to fire up Waxworks (1924) but maybe I was curious and up for more Conrad Veidt. I really like the framing of the wax museum the writer hired to develop the stories around the historical characters but the stories themselves drag a bit. Still entertaining. 6.5 / 10

  • July New: 21
  • July Re-watch: 3
  • July '11 MTD: 24
  • July '10 MTD: 54
  • 2011 YTD: 410

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Herzog x Kinski

Werner Herzog's Aguirre: The Wrath of God (1972) wasn't high on my blindspot list but still a film that needed to be seen. Saw it on the library shelf so what the hell. And it's a damn fine film just to see Klaus Kinski as the ruthless and unforgiving leader in search of El Dorado. The combination of Herzog and Kinski is legend. 7 / 10

  • July New: 20
  • July Re-watch: 3
  • July '11 MTD: 23
  • July '10 MTD: 54
  • 2011 YTD: 409

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Brando, Marlon Brando

Still recouping from my birthday and Cubs outing yesterday I finished off On the Waterfront (1954) before heading to the Quad Cities for my class reunion activities. Man, Brando was such a stud in his day. This film, a blindspot, is terrific, raw and natural. A shame it took me this long to finally sit down with it but highly recommended for any film buff. 8 / 10

  • July New: 19
  • July Re-watch: 3
  • July '11 MTD: 22
  • July '10 MTD: 54
  • 2011 YTD: 408

Friday, July 15, 2011

Birthday at Cubs Game!

Today is my birthday which also coincided with the company Cubs game outing. Fun way to celebrate with a bunch of people that I work with and enjoy being around. We had a rooftop this year that was much better than last year out on the scorching hot bleachers. It was much easier to mingle and enjoy the day. It was also Tara's birthday so as a special treat we were presented with a Elvis impersonator that performed magic tricks! Much to everyone's surprise, he was actually pretty damn good. This was a riot to watch and participate in the tricks.

After much drinking and eating and, oh yeah, there was a Cubs game too, we headed out to hit the Wrigleyville bars. There were several stops and more imbibing. At least it was nice to grab a photo with Yale and Shannon. The day was a blast! By the time I eventually got home I was so exhausted I couldn't even begin to queue up a movie to watch. Plus I have to drive back to the Quad Cities tomorrow for my class reunion. No movie today but it was worth it and a birthday I will never forget.

  • July New: 18
  • July Re-watch: 3
  • July '11 MTD: 21
  • July '10 MTD: 54
  • 2011 YTD: 407

Thursday, July 14, 2011

G-FEST XVIII at Pickwick Theater

The annual G-Fest Convention kicked off today with a couple of double features at the Pickwick Theater. Couldn't attend the daytime screenings due to work but wasn't going to miss the nighttime programming that featured a couple of movies I've already seen but relish viewing with a captive audience of Kaiju fans.

First up was Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1993), a movie I watched during a movie night at Ron's a few years ago. Wasn't crazy about it then but enjoyed it considerably more on this evening. Still has a silly final battle sequence and I just hate that made Godzilla evil in the 90s. 6.5 / 10

The second feature was another movie I may have first viewed at a movie night at Ron's Gamera: Guardian of the Universe (1995). This really could have been called Gamera Reborn because this is the first film in the trilogy of modern Gamera flicks, much darker films with the awesome flying turtle. Great to see on the big screen even if it was projected from DVD. 7.4 / 10

  • July New: 18
  • July Re-watch: 3
  • July '11 MTD: 21
  • July '10 MTD: 54
  • 2011 YTD: 407

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Trial by Fire

After office day I cruised down to Portage Theater for the Northwest Chicago Film Society screening of Dante's Inferno (1935) starring Spencer Tracy. What a fabulous movie to see on the big screen! It's all about a wicked carnival show that goes horribly wrong as Tracy's Jim Carter portrays a guy with only good intentions yet at what price to achieve his goals? Yeah, the subtext is telegraphed but it's a damn good ride. 7.2 / 10

Came home for the Horror Movie Night selection of Rituals (1977) a.k.a. The Creeper, another choice pick I hadn't seen. Not a great film that recalls a bit of Deliverance but still an interesting horror mystery of isolation and fear of the unknown. Hal Holbrook carries most of this and one I will have to revisit someday. 6 / 10

  • July New: 18
  • July Re-watch: 1
  • July '11 MTD: 19
  • July '10 MTD: 54
  • 2011 YTD: 405

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Lost in a Blink

The Lost World (1925), the earliest feature film adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, was expiring on NWI so it was time to give it a spin. And it works well despite some corny moments with the native manbeasts. It's cool to see what they were able to do with the fantasy adventure elements in 1925. 7 / 10

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007) has been on my to-watch pile since the moment it was nominated for 4 Oscars back in 2008. And it was also on my blindspot list. No surprise here as this is one amazing film. Mathieu Amalric is incredible. This is the movie and story that I will always refer to whenever someone uses the #FML hashtag. Because most of the time people have no conception of what a fucked up life really is and misuse/abuse that notion. In this movie it's 100% appropriate and yet inspiring. Love this movie. 7.5 / 10

  • July New: 16
  • July Re-watch: 1
  • July '11 MTD: 17
  • July '10 MTD: 54
  • 2011 YTD: 403

Monday, July 11, 2011

Vanquishing Crime

Final Target (2009) a.k.a. Vanquisher (on the Instawatch) is a kinda okay martial arts action flick with a couple of great female leads that initially oppose each after a setup that kills off the elite commando force leaving only one survivor that seeks revenge. Great fight sequence to close a mostly humdrum movie. 6 / 10

Yes, Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989) is on my blindspot list (as are/were many of Woody Allen's films) but as I view each I'm reminded why Allen is revered for his earlier work. This movie is no exception. Wonderful mix of dark comedy. 7 / 10

  • July New: 14
  • July Re-watch: 1
  • July '11 MTD: 15
  • July '10 MTD: 54
  • 2011 YTD: 401

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Dumb and Dumber

Waitress! (1981) is a not-so-good eighties comedy that I was hoping would provide a little more enjoyment being an early Troma flick (and one co-directed by Lloyd Kaufman). Sadly it's just forgettable. 5.5 / 10

And what could be more forgettable than Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)? Not much. Save for a few beautiful shots of Chicago getting blown to all hell this film is terrible and possibly the worst movie I'll see this year. What's truly unfortunate is that there could have been a decent movie in this had a couple of the characters and subplots been excised. As I tweeted, "the upside is that I will never have to watch that again." 3 / 10

Something to remove that awful taste from my eyes Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) is another selection from my blindspot project. This Howard Hawks musical comedy romp is wonderful with two sparkling leads in Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe. One I'm sure to revisit. 7.6 / 10

  • July New: 12
  • July Re-watch: 1
  • July '11 MTD: 13
  • July '10 MTD: 54
  • 2011 YTD: 399

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Can You Hear Me Calling?

Oh Ki-hwan's Voices (2007) suffers from a premise that is often hard to swallow; those around you want you dead so bad things happen. The protagonist here seems to be at the center of envy from everyone including her friends and family. The evil spirit jumps from person to person trying to kill her. If you can buy the story this will work for you. 6.6 / 10

My Planet of the Apes blu-ray boxed arrived so I've been chomping at the bit to view the films again. We arranged a special movie night to do just that but not the first film (because Ron's already shown that one to his kids). Tonight I watched the original Planet of the Apes (1968) on blu-ray by myself just to prepare. The PQ is pretty nice altho not as good as I expected. Still it's a great film that really only drags at the very end. But it remains one of my favorites for everything leading up to that. 9 / 10

  • July New: 9
  • July Re-watch: 1
  • July '11 MTD: 10
  • July '10 MTD: 54
  • 2011 YTD: 396

Friday, July 08, 2011

Clowns Cry Too

100 Tears (2007) is quite a splatter-fest. A low-budget splatter-fest. Here we have a murderous clown and the reporters tracking down the story. It's not the worst thing but did I mention it's bloody? Gotta give it up for effort put into the gore but I winced at the story and acting. But some remarkable practical effects. 5.5 / 10

  • July New: 8
  • July Re-watch: 0
  • July '11 MTD: 8
  • July '10 MTD: 54
  • 2011 YTD: 394

Thursday, July 07, 2011

This is the End, My Only Friend

Been on a Gregg Araki kick as of late anticipating his latest Kaboom. The Living End (1992) is an earlier film of his that still possessing many of the elements you'd expect from Araki. Here a couple of HIV guys meet and go off together on a self-destructive road trip. The low budget is evident but still an interesting watch. 6 / 10

  • July New: 7
  • July Re-watch: 0
  • July '11 MTD: 7
  • July '10 MTD: 54
  • 2011 YTD: 393

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Not So Secret Weapon

Picked off another Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes flick from the Instawatch in Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon (1943). Not one of my favorites as it's a bit bigger in scope as Holmes must prevent a secret device from falling into the hands of the enemy. Story is weak but still great performances. 7 / 10

  • July New: 6
  • July Re-watch: 0
  • July '11 MTD: 6
  • July '10 MTD: 54
  • 2011 YTD: 392

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Rabid Razorbacks

Back from Rapid City and now just recuperating from the drive home to Chicago that kicked my ass. Only time for one movie and that would be Antoine Blossier's Prey (2010) a.k.a. Proie. I could easily sum this up as "killer pig" movie. But it's a little more than that as it deals with a family in France that has its own issues that is merely framed by these wild boars that have become mutated killing machines. Interesting film. 6.7 / 10

  • July New: 5
  • July Re-watch: 0
  • July '11 MTD: 5
  • July '10 MTD: 54
  • 2011 YTD: 391

Monday, July 04, 2011

Naked Bloodsuckers

Jean Rollin's The Nude Vampire (1970) is much more a visual fest than an adept story. I say this because I'm not exactly sure how to describe what I saw. Altho this is like an early (and far less executed) version of Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut. But it's more about odd characters and their interactions with a cult. Rollin certainly has a flare for the visuals. Probably not an easy watch for most but it's one I'd like to revisit under better circumstances. It is the 4th of July after all!
6 / 10

  • July New: 4
  • July Re-watch: 0
  • July '11 MTD: 4
  • July '10 MTD: 54
  • 2011 YTD: 390

Sunday, July 03, 2011


Scream Bloody Murder (1973) is actually a decent horror flick about a messed up kid with a hook for a hand that goes on a murdering spree after being released from a mental hospital. Like this probably more than it deserves but I found it entertaining. 6.6 / 10

  • July New: 3
  • July Re-watch: 0
  • July '11 MTD: 3
  • July '10 MTD: 54
  • 2011 YTD: 389

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Where's the Beef?

In Rapid City, SD doing the family thing. Not much time to watch movies (nor do I really want to) but fortunately due to my father's decent internet connection I can take in one film before crashing. Decided to watch Angus (1995) tonight. It's the classic ugly duckling teen comedy and not a bad watch. 6.7 / 10

  • July New: 2
  • July Re-watch: 0
  • July '11 MTD: 2
  • July '10 MTD: 54
  • 2011 YTD: 388

Friday, July 01, 2011

Wide-Eyed in the Dark

So today I drove to Rapid City, SD. It's a long drive. Really long drive. I left last night and made it as far as Baraboo, WI. After arriving there I had zero internet but at least I had my movies on my computer including Umberto Lenzi's Eyeball (1975). It's not the best representation of a giallo but it's still quite entertaining as the killer removes an eyeball from his victims. Worth seeking out. 6.4 / 10

  • July New: 1
  • July Re-watch: 0
  • July '11 MTD: 1
  • July '10 MTD: 54
  • 2011 YTD: 387

June Movie Tally

Here's the round-up for films watched in June...
Watched 70 films in June, matching my second highest monthly total. 66 were first time views; only 4 were re-watches. Benefited from visiting Austin for BTSNAT 2.5 where we watched 8 films during a 16 hour span. Caught 8 films on the big screen (most were pretty damn great). Also worked more on my blindspot project. Currently I'm at 386 films viewed this year.

Breakdown by decade:
6 films from the thirties
1 film from the forties
5 films from the fifties
5 films from the sixties
9 films from the seventies
14 films from the eighties
7 films from the nineties
11 films from the naughts
12 films released in '10s

List of all films seen (w/my score on a 10-scale):
9 Songs (2004) 6.5
All the President's Men (1976) 7.5
Amsterdamned (1988) 6.7 Horror Movie Night
Angel of Fury (1992) 6
Antichrist (2009) 8
Barbe Bleue (2009) 4.5
Barracuda (1978) 4
Belphégor - Le fantôme du Louvre (2001) 4
Blue Valentine (2010) 7
Cop Killers (1973) 7
Cry Your Purple Heart Out (1976) 5
Dark House (2009) 6
Deadly Prey (1987) 7.5 Video Hate Squad
Duck Soup (1933) 7
Flickan som lekte med elden (2009) 7
Green Lantern (2011) 6
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986) 7.5
Higashi no Eden Gekijôban I: The King of Eden (2009) 6.5
Hobo with a Shotgun (2011) 9
Hot Times at Montclair High (1989) 6
Hunter Prey (2009) 7
I diafanoidi vengono da Marte (1966) 5
Infested (1993) 6.5
It Happened One Night (1934) 7.4
Jûsan-nin no shikaku (2010) 9
Modern Girls (1986) 6.7
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) 8
Mr. Wong, Detective (1938) 7
Naked Vengeance (1985) 7 BTSNAT
Overlord (1975) 7.7
Payday (1973) 7 rewatch BTSNAT
Pimpin' Pee Wee (2009) 6.7 BTSNAT
Please Don't Eat the Babies (1983) 5.6
Pledge Night (1990) 7 BTSNAT
Popcorn (1991) 6.7 rewatch Horror Movie Night
Queen of Outer Space (1958) 6.7
Red Scorpion (1989) 6.5
Scandalous (1984) 6
Scavenger Hunt (1979) 6 rewatch BTSNAT
Science Crazed (1991) 5 BTSNAT
Shadow (2009) 6.5
Spellbound (1945) 7.4
Super 8 (2011) 7
Swamp Shark (2011) 6
Tarantula (1955) 6.5
The Cycle Savages (1969) 6.5
The Cyclops (1957) 6.6
The Final Sanction (1990) 6.6 BTSNAT
The Ghoul (1933) 7
The Great Mouse Detective (1986) 7
The Jungle Book (1967) 7.7
The Killer Inside Me (2010) 7
The King of Comedy (1982) 8
The Monster That Challenged the World (1957) 6.3
The Mysterious Mr. Wong (1934) 6.6
The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues (1955) 6
The Search for Animal Chin (1987) 7.5 BTSNAT
The Snake (2008) 5.5
The Time Machine (1960) 7.7
The Valley of Gwangi (1969) 6.7
Thou Shalt Not Kill... Except (1985) 6.6
Trolljegeren (2010) 8
Tucker & Dale vs Evil (2010) 8 rewatch
Uchu kara no messeji (1978) 6.6
Unstoppable (2010) 6
Valet Girls (1987) 6
Viva Riva! (2010) 7.7
White Fury (1990) 6
White Rat (1972) 5
X-Men: First Class (2011) 8

  • June New: 66
  • June Re-watch: 4
  • June '11 MTD: 70
  • June '10 MTD: 64
  • 2011 YTD: 386