Sunday, September 05, 2021

 January

  1. Bloodsuckers - Tonight I strapped #1D into her chair and slid Bloodsuckers into the DVD player. She was suspicious at first but perked up when she saw Peter Cushing's and Edward Woodward's names on the opening credits. Lulled into a false sense of security, the full on assault of crash bang wallop "we'll get a movie out of this fucking footage if it kills us!" editing that starts the movie left her wide eyed in terror. This is a TERRIBLE film. Apparently (and if this was the film I would now be doing a British 1960s advertising voice over some random footage of Greek fishermen) the money for this baby ran out during principle shooting in Greece and various attempts were made to get a coherent film out of what they had - new sequences were were shot with new actors (including someone adding a seven minute druggy hippy orgy sequence) and it didn't work. The film is a glorious mess and D#1 and I had the most fun MST3King the hell out of it.
  2. Night of the Living Dead - #1D finishes her whistle-stop introduction to zombie movies by finally getting me to watch which she's been trying to do for years. It's not bad.
  3. Volver - Almodóvar watched with #1D who loved it.
  4. X-Men 2 -
  5. Angry Red Planet - a rewatch of a strange little film that alternates between being really boring and very trippy with brief interludes of almost good in between. Some of the techno-babble in here makes sense and shows an understanding of, if not hard science then, at least, hard science fiction. One of the crew of the First Manned Earth Expedition to Mars that Goes Horribly Wrong (it's one of those films) is a woman who, in the final scenes comes up with the solution to the Horribly Wrong bit. (Though points are deducted because - as D#1 who watched it with me pointed out - she has her explanation of the solution is immediately reiterated by a male scientist in case the audience didn't believe it coming from a mere female - even if she was wearing the ubiquitous, "I'M A F*%KING SCIENTIST!", white lab coat that all scientists wore back then.)


  6. Kingdom of the Spiders - another rewatch. Directed by another of my small stable of interesting, but strangely overlooked, directors. This time John "Bud" Cardos, a man whose career is littered with films full of heroes who fail. It's better than I remember, a low budget monster movie with Jaws echoes (The mayor want to keep the story of the Spider invasion out of the news because the upcoming State Fair is the towns big annual money maker) which segues into a low budget disaster movie with an ecological message (there's one, rather impressive, low budget aeroplane crash - a seriously well executed bit of practical effect work) before one of those downbeat endings which Hollywood is too chickenshit to do any more. Kingdom of the Spiders is one of those films in which, in the end, everyone dies - or it is implied that they are about to die. Our hero here is the wonderfully named Rack Hansen, a country vet, played by William Shatner who spends the entire movie doing the wrong thing and ending up with himself, the hot lady scientist, the tough female bar owner, his little niece and a couple of passing tourists about to become spider food, trapped in a giant web, with no way out. There's no producer's ending here. No - "Hang on lads, I've got an idea." They're all well and truly fucked. Every speaking part in this film ends up dead. The biggest name in the show, Shatner does a reasonable job - he is a much better actor than people give him credit when he wants to be - but it does contain one glorious piece of Peak Shatner. His character, bitten by multiple swarming spiders whose venom is 'five time more toxic' than the usual tarantula bite, struggles up the cellar steps. He's been down in the cellar trying to fix the lights after the spiders had fused them. As he struggles up the steps spiders crawl over him. Some are obvious fakes but there are some real one too. He's brushed off many and is struggling to retain consciousness as he goes for help, he keeps a firm grip on his flash-light but, true Thespian that he is, manages to make sure it is pointing at his face the whole way up so we don't miss a moment of his "I'm in AGONY!" acting as he goes. Kudos to the film makers too for having strong female characters capable of doing sensible things, and doing them without being told too by a man, and kudos too to Cardos for some colourblind casting, black actors Woody Strode, and Altovise Davis play a couple of regular farmers.​
  7. Finding Fortune - another masochistic wallow in the tedious world of Robbie Moffat's "tell not show" home road movies. Like most of Moffat's films I have watched this one was mostly amateurish travelogue footage interspersed with a car pulling up somewhere and the occupants spending the next few minutes telling each other mostly irrelevant backstory stuff because it says to in the script. To be fair to Moffat he (or his DP) did manage to get his eyelines under control and I don't remember any the egregious line-crossing which often clutters his films. Finding Fortune was made slightly more interesting to me than the usual because the film crew drove past my village a couple of times and shot footage which the editor slid in at random anytime anyone in the film went anywhere. Which they did... A lot.... From one ill-defined location to some other ill-defined location by driving up and down the same road past my house. Anyone with even the smattering of local knowledge could be baffled how people heading 'north' to Loch Ness would head Over Rannoch Moor through Glencoe, Through Tyndrum (30 odd miles back the way they'd just come) and then end up in Oban which is to the south of any of those places - though, to be fair, the next shot did have the heroines parked at the side of the road with a map spread out over the bonnet of their car. At the 40 minutes mark I was almost interested to notice that one of the characters was wearing hand-crafted earrings made by my ex and the second most interesting moment of the film came in the end credits which I had to rewind to confirm that Script Supervisor, Carl Rexter, had managed to get his credit in twice on the end title crawl - once just after the Story Editor's credit and (again as Script Supervisor) after the Set Construction credit. That's some going. I don't ever think I've seen that before. (Mind you he didn't manage to get his name in the IMDb, so maybe he was getting his compensation in first.)​
  8. Elvira's Haunted Hills - not as funny as the first one but it still had its moments.​
  9. The Rocketeer - watched with Number One Son (11) which turned out to be a lot more fun than I remembered. It still sagged a little in the middle but was fun to watch with the lad.​
  10. The Torture Chamber of Doctor Sadism - (aka The Blood Demon) a 1967 German Horror based on Edgar Allan Poe's story "The Pit and the Pendulum" (Yeah. Right) Almost plotless and strangely dreamlike.​
  11. Frightmare - and​
  12. Adventures of a Plumber's Mate - Number One Daughter and I have a double bill of the High and Low points of British 70's film making.
  13. Outerworld aka Beyond the Rising Moon - 1987 SF film full of (by today's standards) lumbering computer effects, minimal cast with sketched in characters, and a meagre plot but somehow it held my attention for 84 minutes. It almost worked. Some nice visuals though the direction was a bit floppy. Lots of standing around not sure what to do acting, odd eye lines, and line crossing but written by someone who has obviously read a few SF books and didn't insult the intelligence too much.
  14. Women's Prison Massacre aka Emmanuelle Escapes from Hell - Utter s**t.
  15. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow - for the umpteenth time. Silly fun shared with Number One Son and Daughter.
  16. Thirt13n Ghosts - #1D shares her peculiar obsession with Mathew Lillard by making me watch a remake of a William castle film. Some nice set design and good to see the only black member of the cast's character make it to the end of the film. Apart from that... meh.
  17. Horrors of the Red Planet - Yet another of the endless number of 'The First Manned Expedition to Mars Goes Horribly Wrong' movies. This time a crew of four really bad actors spend 10 minutes sitting in nice chairs in their spaceship doing meaningless, endless, technical babbling at each other before crash-landing on Mars. Once the dust has settled they find they only have four days worth of oxygen and their only possible hope of salvation is the main-stage of their rocket which they jettisoned earlier and now lies lies in a desert somewhere to the south of them. What's IN the 'main-stage' and how it is going to help them survive is never explained but I'm happy to take their word for it. After ten minutes of watching these bozos sitting in comfy chairs reading gyro compass readings at each other, I'd accept anything to get them out of the ship and start encountering some of the horrors of the movie's title.

    For the next 50 minutes (though it seems like forever - the irony of which will become apparent later) the four of them wander about barren landscapes following the faint signal that's leading them to their ill-defined salvation. Sometimes they wander about in very small inflatable dingies, sometimes in vast (very well lit) cave systems, sometimes edging along crumbling paths by the side of an active (underground) stock footage volcano, but ALWAYS stopping every few minutes, mid frame, to have inane conversations like, "I wonder how deep this cave is?" "I don't know - but well soon find out." Given the fact that most of the actors' lips were obscured as they delivered these pointless lines by the cunningly placed suit mikes (I would hazard a guess that this film's exteriors were shot without sound and were looped later and could have been made to say anything without anyone noticing) it is unbelievable that during the whole of scriptwriting shooting and post production no one came up with anything better than variations of, "I wonder how deep this cave is?" "I don't know but we'll soon find out.".

    Eventually they stumble upon a decayed ancient city and the movie suddenly becomes strangely, weirdly interesting. The city is a mausoleum populated by the giant-brained, superintelligent members of an ancient, galaxy-spanning civilisation whose collective mind (personified by the disembodied head of John Carradine floating over some stock astronomical photos) explains that they managed to screw up a bit by stopping time. (This explains why the crews' watches have all stopped and why the previous 50 minutes of the film felt like two and a half weeks). Having stopped time, the ancient, big-brained ones are unable to fulfil their destiny because.... well, actually I got lost a bit here - as did the scriptwriter - because it got all mystical and 'Laws of the Universe'-ridden but, essentially, unable to take corporal form, it's up to the four gallant crew (being physical beings) to put the Dingus of Doodaa back into the Whatsit of Eternity and get time started again - and all will be well. So they do. And it is. And they all wake up back on the ship dirty, dishevelled, and sporting beardygrowth make-up (apart from the girl) and only TWO minutes have passed and they haven't crashed at all... Yet... Or something...

    The star of the show - as always - was John Carradine whose ability to deliver screeds of semi-mystical info-dumping bollocks, as he was so often asked to, is a wonder to behold. He has a wonderful voice. Years of stage training and gallons of booze rich, deep and sonorous, and always, somehow, so sincere. I don't know how much he was paid for this gig (more, I hope, than the rest of the cast put together) but he was worth every penny.

    Apparently the film was originally called The Wizard of Mars the only female crew member is called Dorothy, they reached the decayed city by following the ruined remains of a 'Golden Road' and encountered a giant floating head... I think someone thought they were being arty.
Abandonized in January
48 Weeks Later - known as Last Rites and Gangs of the Dead in the US and renamed to cash in on the Danny Boyle films with similar names. We lasted about 10 minutes before giving up. DTV shite.

Februararary
  1. Tenabrae - Dario Argenta
  2. The 10th Victim - long on my list of trash films I have needed to see and now knocked off. A slick piece of 60s Italian pop culture that was the first Murder as Televised Sport film and so the great grandpappy of Battle Royale and all those other films which took the idea far too seriously.
  3. Voyage of the Rock Aliens - for the third time! ( I have no shame.) This time Number One (who has seen it before) and I had the sadistic enjoyment of watching Number Two Daughter's slack-jawed incredulity and disbelief.
  4. Scooby Doo - Daughter Number One gets her revenge for Voyage of the Rock Aliens by A: singing the bloody awful songs from it at me all day and B: making me watch Scooby Doo: the Movie. (Truth be told she lured me into it by waving the promise of a real life Velma Dinkly at me.)

  5. The Parallax View - as good as I remember. As i get older I really appreciate how darn GOOD so many movies made in that weird little early 70s grown up golden age (between the calamitous failure of Hello Dolly and the stupendous success of Jaws and Star Wars) actually were.
  6. Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed - apparently this was in revenge for having "made" D#1 watch Starcrash "more than 5 times" (a fib). A pile of stupid nonsense made bearable by one or two semi-decent jokes and the distracting hotness of Linda Cardellini.

    Jinkies!​
    Second film in a row to have Peter Boyle in.
  7. The Unbelievable Truth - Hal Hartley's first feature.
  8. Q The Winged Serpent -
  9. Les parapluies de Cherbourg - I've been wanting to share this with Number 2 daughter for a while and tonight, as she has her French homework to do, I somehow manage to convince Number One Wife that watching a French film with me would be just as good as actually doing what she was supposed to do, to help her get her ear attuned to the subtleties of pronunciation. I neglected to tell either of them the film's dialogue was entirely sung. Daughter#2 liked the film and I was in tears at the end of it... again. I promised her we'd watch something violent with explosions next time... Bloody girls.
  10. Hellboy - with #1D
March

  1. Meeting at Midnight - a mercifully short (though it felt like a lot longer) 61 minute Charly Chan movie in which Sidney Toler (as Chan) grimaced weirdly from time to time as he solved a crime involving frozen bullets made from human blood, incredibly powerful, made up hypno drugs (and their handy but not widely available antidote) and last minute Explainogrammes from Scotland Yard. Supporting cast Mantan Moreland and Frances Chan outshone all the rest of the tatty goings on.
  2. Wild at Heart - Half way through I realised this looked like a Cohen Brothers' movie that had been accidentally directed by David Lynch. Much as I love David Lynch's odd, dreamlike films this one just didn't work. I felt like he was phoning it in and just adding Lynchy bits to an otherwise unLynchy flick. Pity because Laura Dern was pretty terrific.
  3. Desperately Seeking Susan - not sure why his was in my To Be Watched pile but it isn't any more. It had its moment but not as dreadful as I was lead to believe. I gave myself Brownie points for intantly recognising The Time Travelers as the film within the film and then spent the rest of the film trying to work out its significance and failing. I guess it was just cheap.
  4. Double Dragon - Jackie Chan x 2
  5. Transcendence - better than rubbish bit of SF that lost its way a bit at the end. Looked great, and had a stonking cast that gave it all they had but, when it came down to it, the script just wasn't good enough.
  6. L'eau à la bouche - a 1960 French film in which six people swan about in a huge house and eventually have sex. Fifteen years later this film would have been a soft core romp shot in colour with Brigitte Lahaie, men with moustaches and tight jeans, lots of very soft focus bonking with curtains billowing everywhere, and, of course, an obligatory lesbian scene played out by half-hearted actresses trying not to actually touch each other. That or it would have been one the endless number of pointless, plotless, demi-angsty messes that Eric Rhomer turned out. L'eau à la bouche had some nice fluid camerawork to admire and some interesting architecture to look at... but that was about it. Available to watch free here for a few weeks: https://www.tv5mondeplus.com/details/vod/redbee:105875824_74079A
  7. After Earth - I had read at the time of its release that this was not good but had this memory of most of the bad things I read about it being to do with Will Smith being deluded in trying to kickstart his son's stardom. I wasn't sure whether this was all part of some celeb backlash (or even lash) thing at the time because I don't do celeb stuff. I'm pretty sure I sat down to this with an open mind. Less than two minutes in I knew that Will Smith was being deluded in trying to kickstart his son's stardom. Even when Will Smith (who I generally like) reined back his performance down to zero - then took a step back - he still out-acted Jaden Smith who had all the screen presence of a paper cup. It didn't help that the script was paper thin. Enough to have made an interesting student 20 minute short but nothing like enough to sustain a feature.
  8. Lost in La Mancha
April
  1. Flash Gordon - Over the dinner table the other day my my 12 year old son looked blankly at me when I mentioned the name Flash Gordon during the telling of some geeky gag. "Who?" Blank incomprehension. "Ming the Merciless? Dale Arden? Professor Zarkov?" Nothing. Total blank. Not a flicker of recognition. Realising I had been a terrible parent and neglected my kid's education I remedied the situation as soon as possible.
  2. The Big Empty - David Lynchesque meh.
  3. Brazil - I watched Brazil with #2D (16). About half way through I realised what the film was about. It's not about overwhelming totalitarianism, or media manipulation, or out of control mediocrity liked I'd previously thought - it's just about being an adult and being scared of growing up into one. I nearly said as much to my daughter but wisely, I think, stopped myself in time. (This is why I love watching movies with people - they play differently when watched with an audience. It's not the same movie.)

    The central character, Sam, unlike most Hollywood heroes still has a relationship with his mother - with (as becomes obvious the end sequence when his mother turns into his lover) all sorts of Oedipal issues that I'm no way qualified enough to fathom. He goes to lunch with her, resists her attempts to fix him up with a 'nice girl', resists her attempts to get him a good job. He's still a kid really. He's grown out of the short trousers and knitted tank tops that kids in the movie wear and lives in a flat by himself but he can't yet really look after himself, can't feed himself properly (it was joked up by the machines making soggy toast and coffeeless coffee but it's there.) Doesn't know how to buy his own clothes - 'not in that suit'. He's coping but he's not happy. Hasn't met the girl yet (I assume he's a virgin). His dreams of rescuing the unobtainable girl by fighting monsters is pure pre/early adolescent sexual fantasy.

    I've always thought of Gilliam as essentially a child trapped in a grown up body. And that Brazil felt like his most personal film. Sam is his alter ego dealing with the banal complexities of being a grown up and dealing with people just not letting you do the things you want to do to make yourself happy - like shagging your recently attained dreamgirl without her being gunned down by storm troopers.
  4. Get Smart - meh.
  5. Tristan and Isolde - some nice camera work, some seriously pared back writing, one pivotal scene had something like 10 words of dialogue - which I liked.
  6. Click - I got given a huge pile of DVDs the other day and while I was sorting through them I realised I'd never seen an Adam Sandler movie. I still haven't. About 30 minutes in I thought 'this is crap' and turned it off.
  7. Moulin Rouge - with #2D who has seen Baz Luhrman's Great Gatsby more times than is humanly possible and loved Romeo + Juliet but we'd never got round to watching this before. She loved it. So do I.
  8. Love on the Side - a kind of Canadian Local Hero without the budget, any of the charm, by the numbers 'follow your heart' Rom Com character development, and a vague mix of gay subplots that didn't really go anywhere. Far too long.
  9. High-Rise -
  10. The Beastmaster - don't tell anyone but I really like the The Beastmaster. It's one of my favourite 1980's Sword and Sorcery semi-naked warrior epics. As daughter #2 remarked "This is like Cleopatra 2525 isn't it? You're not actually watching it are you? You're just looking at it..."
    yep!

Abandonised in the Month of April:
Jane and the Lost City - ploddingly slow and unfunny British Comedy which was hurting hurt too much at the 30 minute mark to go on with.

May
  1. The Black Hole - never seen it before and don't think I'll ever find the need to see it again. There were some nice visuals- some seriously impressive modelwork and some pretty nifty 'zero G' wirework to admire from the days before CGI made all that stuff redundant. But a dreadful story - how many times did Disney try to rework 20,000 Leagues Beneath the Sea? The film ended up in the usual explodofest - followed by a slightly trippy journey through some heavy handed religious symbolism to an unresolved ending promising some sort of...  what? redemption...?  hope...? sequel...?
  2. Jane and the Lost City - The film I abandoned last month. I had a fit of the stubborns and decided that no damn movie no matter how bad was going to get the better of me. So I ploughed on. It took me several days but I got to the end of it.
  3. Isle of Lesbos - Amazon's algorithms decided that I might want to watch this. Fool that I am I succumbed. It's a cheap, shot on a soundstage the size of a school gymnasium (with sets and costumes built by the kids), gay musical with a plot you could write on the edge of a postage stamp. (Not that there's much time for plot as most of the film's running time is taken up with musical numbers directed straight to camera like it was a TV show.) It is utterly tacky, tasteless, and slightly fun - in an utterly tacky and tasteless way. I now have this:
    stuck in my head: https://youtu.be/8K06roaI8yc
  4. Adolescents (2019 last night's Teach yourself French by watching French movies with French subtitles exercise turned into a bit of a chore with this bum-numbing 2 hrs 15mins documentary watching stroppy French teenagers being petulant and arguing with their mums.
  5. Animal Crackers - I found a 8 disc box set of Marx brothers films in a charity shop yesterday for pennies. Happy bunny. I could watch Chico Marx play the piano all day.
  6. The legend of Tarzan (2016) - I'd never heard of this before buying it a charity shop the other day. (Since I stopped buying Empire magazine a few years ago I have very little idea about anything released after 2014.) About halfway through watching it I thought, "I hope this lost a shitload of money when it was released."
  7. La Cérémonie (1995) - My first Claude Chabrol film (I think). Not sure I liked it exactly but Isobel Huppert was bloody brilliant - as always.
  8. Inside Man (2006) - smart twisty-turny heist thriller which I thoroughly enjoyed.
  9. Ella es Christina - slight Chilean tale of friendship.
  10. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (MST3K)
  11. Mystère au Louvre (2017) - French TV movie set in a not very well-defined turn of the 19th/20th Century about a beautiful gentlewoman thief - a kind of female Arsène Lupin - who, with the help of a poor street acrobat, heists a priceless necklace from the Louvre. Not very complex. I had no trouble following the plot and most of the dialogue without subtitles (in any language). The only big twist was clumsily signalled well in advance and then over-explained afterwards when our relentless villain, the murderous Inspector Thénard, realises how he has been duped.
  12. Carry-on Matron
  13. The History of Mr Polly
Abandoned in May
Jason X
- I think I gave up half way through the opening credits but stayed long enough to note Lexa Doig playing a human against Lisa Ryder's android. Roles they would reverse in their next acting gig together, the better than most people give credit, Andromeda Ascendant.

June

  1. The Magnificent Seven - hard to believe but we're twelve days into June and this is trhe first film I've watched this month. And what a bloody good film it is too. I must get round to watching the original some day.
  2. Crazy, Stupid, Love. - A slightly engaging tale of love which would have been a lot better if it had been a bit shorter and the protagonists hadn't been upper-middle class successful Californians in the first place. I'm afraid I'm fed up with the First World problems of rich Americans. Halfway through I came to the conclusion that this would have worked much better with a lower budget and relocated to somewhere less photogenic even with the Hollywood bullshit ending - basically the "Follow your heart and stick in there and all will come good in the end" ending - though in this case that comes pretty close to (and possibly steps over the line) our male protagonists stalking the women who have rejected them. Next day I wondered if it was a much better European film remade (Carrell, the producer star of Crazy has form in his fecking awful rehash of Diner pour cons) but it wasn't. Great cast.
  3. Still Crazy - a seventies rock band get back together. Mildly amusing fun.
  4. What Planet are You From? -
  5. Captain America: The First Avenger
  6. Captain Marvel - Daughter Number One and I start an assault on the MCU movies we plan on watching them all in order.... I wonder how long we'll last. I was fun far better than most of the MCU movies I've seen and Co-incidentally the second film I've watched this week with Annette Bening playing a 3D computer projection, and a planned alien invasion of earth. She was also in What Planet are you From? .
  7. Iron Man The MCUathon part 3
  8. CQ - A film I had seen before and filed in the 'umm... okay?' drawer in my mind but, on a second viewing, has gone into the Aww! what a sweet funny little film drawer. A love letter to 60s European film making with lots of knowing nods and allusions to films like Danger Diabolik and La Dolce Vita which I may well have missed the first time I saw it. I wonder how many more I'll see the next time I watch it a few years down the line?
  9. Fire - occasionally in my endless searching through the DVD shelves of my local charity shops, between the endless Harry Potters, and Pirates of the Caribbeans, and Jason Statham's entire back catalogue I'll spot something that I've never heard of before and know no one who appears in it. (I try not look at the back too much so I'll have as little idea about what I'm going to watch until I'm actually watching it.) Fire is the story of two Indian women ( Sisters in Law) who have dreadful husbands but find they love each other so leave them. A simple lesbian love story with a hopeful ending. Despite the heavy foreshadowing (and the title!) of the story within the story of innocent Sita coming unscathed from the trial by fire I was really upset that I was in for a bout of Dead Lesbian Syndrome at the climatic house fire. I guess a film that throws that much foreshadowing at you - the Sita & Ram, trial by fire story is played out twice on screen; once as a TV show, once as a live performance that takes up a LOT of screen time - and still has you guessing at the end must be doing something right.
  10. The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms
  11. Iron Man 2 - The MCUathon part 4

Thursday, December 17, 2020

October November Film Diary

 October

  1. The Addams Family - with kids 2 & 3.
  2. Demolition Man - Stupid comic book fun, never seen it before. I enjoyed it. A lot smarter and funnier than I was expecting.
  3. Addams Family Values - with kids 2 & 3. One of those rare films that is better than the original - or at least funnier. Number 2 Daughter agrees that Values funnier but maintains that the first one is a better film.
  4. The Magnificent Ambersons - which, despite my love for Orson Welles, I had never seen before. I was bowled over. Loved it.

    Got slightly thrown out of the movie when the thought, "where the hell have I seen that staircase before?" crashed into my head...



    ... it took me a few minutes to work out it was used in The Cat People and then settle back into the film.
    Hate when that happens.

  5. Valentin - Argentinian film set firmly in Cinema Paradiso / Amalie feelgoodland (it said so on the case) - and it just didn't quite work for me. To much talking and every sequence seemed to end in a fade out, or a cross-fade. Fades to black (or should that be 'fade to blacks'?) and crossfades are useful useful tools but at the end of every scene?
  6. Men in Black 3 - it was a Men in Black movie.
  7. Inkheart - I wanted to like this so much more than I did. It was okay but seriously lacking something (and had too much of something else). I wish I knew what. All the pieces were there for a Sunday afternoon escapist movie but it just didn't work for me.
  8. Dune (1984) - Dr. David Lynch then...
  9. Dune (1984) - Dir. Alan Smithee. Back to back, with only a break for a pee and a stretch of the legs, I watch two different versions of the staggering work of genius that is Dune. The 130 minute cinema release, and the 183 minute TV edit from which Lynch had his name removed. Five hours of my life well spent. The Longer TV edit has a lot more exposition. Some of it clunkingly bad. The opening is different instead of Virginia Madsen's face filling the screen we are straight into the opening titles followed by a shot of the book Dune by Frank Herbert followed by what seems an eternity of badly painted, not so badly painted, and downright shoddy artworks (pre production design studies?) under a rostrum camera. While we are looking at this lot - as male voice over gives us a quick history of the known universe and the current situation - sometimes going over the same points several times and giving every character their full title each time they are mentioned, before sliding into the same 'secret report from inside the guild' that the shorter version opens with.... And then we're back into the film proper. Some scenes are longer some neatly explain what is going on some you can see why they were excised. A few shots are used well out of context - the arrival of any ship anywhere that wasn't in the cinema cut is signalled by the use of a shot of a ship arriving in Arrakis very late in the movie, and the brief 3 shot insert of Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam nipping off planet to examine Paul is achieved by using a close up of Sian Philips sitting in a chair taken from a scene set in her character's destination and a couple of shots of ship's crew taken from the much later James Bond villain's fatal error "stupidly not killing your enemies straight away while you've got them helpless" sequence. What really clunks things up is that every time a new character is introduced on screen a voice over tells us who they are and what they do. This really shows when Piter De Vries, Thufir Hawat, and Gurney Halleck all walk into Paul's room together and things just stop for a couple of minutes as we get a line up of close ups and voice over - only for Paul (as a character point) to immediately tell us who they are all over again. The fade to black at commercial break slots are a bit obvious too. And because this was originally aired on TV the pretty boy, heartplug murder sequence was cut. That scene ends with the Baron getting his black oily shower. Not the only cut but the most obvious. It's not all bad. More Jack Nance for one thing and a few other characters get to do a bit more than than just appear on screen and get their names in the credits. Virginia Madsen as Irulan still only gets the one line right at the start and then gets to stand around looking decorative a couple of times. Linda Hunt's screen time doubles and Sian Philips gets to do some more grade A nostril flaring - but, on the down side, there is more Sting. I don't think I'll be doing that again.
Abandoned in October Jesus' Son - "an edgy and often excruciatingly funny story of a young man's journey through Seventies American Drug culture"... I guess all the edginess and excruciatingly funny stuff comes later on, after the 15 minute mark because that's all I could stand. I find stupid, self-indulgent, drug-using arseholes a pain in the arse in real life I don't need to wallow in their squalor in my fiction.

November
  1. The First Great Train Robbery - RIP Sean Connery.
  2. Les bronzés 3: amis pour la vie (aka French Fried Vacation 3: Friends Forever) - As part of my ad hoc teach myself French by immersion (or at least 'by sticking my toe in') method I buy DVDs of French films with no English subtitles and watch them with the French subtitles on. Les bronzés 3: (as the '3' in the title might suggest) is a threequel (un troiquel ?). The previous film in the series was made 27 years before. It wasn't good. Apparently the people in it are famous - one of those angry young comedy groups that changed the face of French Comedy before going their own way and getting old, fat and unfunny like most angry young comedy groups the world over. From what I can gather the film was critically roasted in France. No one liked it. But it made a shitload of money because everyone went to see it. Whether the enjoyed it or not when they got there I don't know. I know I didn't.
  3. Highlander - I finally convinced number two daughter to sit down and watch Highlander with me. The open-mouthed What the F&*K is going on? expression she wore for the whole show and whimpers of "What? What? I'm confused..." made my night. Number One Son (aged 11) who joined us said, "This is going to give me nightmares for years... all that head chopping off - and snogging!"
  4. National Lampoon's Vacation - I was surprised at how unfunny this was. Painfully slow and laboured and was Chevy Chase ever funny? I guess some people must have thought so but this hasn't aged well.
  5. Who was that Lady? - Tony Curtis, Dean Martin and Janet Leigh in a farce that started out being almost mildly amusing but soon sank under its own weight. Another one of those films bought for 50p from a charity shop because I had never heard of it and watched in the hope that I would discover some forgotten gem. Ah well. One of these days.
  6. Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman (2003) - Holy crap that was a lot of fun. Insanely violent. sometimes very slow and beautiful and funny - and it ended in a tap dance routine!
  7. The Joneses -
  8. You'll Never Get Rich - Heaven is watching Rita Hayworth dance.
  9. Paris When it Sizzles - Bingo! "One of those films bought for 50p from a charity shop because I had never heard of it and watched in the hope that I would discover some forgotten gem..." (see Who was that Lady? four movies up this list) and this is it, paydirt! William Holden is a scriptwriter with a deadline and Audrey Hepburn is the typist he hires to type the script he hasn't written. Holed up in a swanky Parisian hotel room they hammer out, re write, tear up, and start again a dozen or so scripts which play out as we watch the scripts getting everso more absurd and overwrought and funny as they go along - in the end it gets very metafictional and Pirandellolike with one character starting to speak but being told he's "only the Third Policeman and shouldn't even have any lines - shut up!". Coincidentally this also has Tony Curtis in it, hamming up it wonderfully in one version and then later in another,critiquing his own acting, and, co co incidentally, the second film this month in which characters read pages which contain what we see on screen. I had the most fun with it I have had with a film in ages. Definitely on the rewatch with the kids list.
  10. The Caine Mutiny - it seemed an appropriate film to watch with the American Election fiasco finally grinding towards its obvious from weeks ago conclusion. I was surprised to see it was in colour. I've seen it before but that must have been back in the days when I only had a black and white TV. Which is a LOOOONG time ago now. I met the director once. He signed a book for me.
  11. The Fantastic Mister Fox - Number 2 Daughter refused to watch anything with me ever again! (after I conned her into watching Highlander) unless I watched this with her first. So I did.
  12. The Importance of Being Ernest - second film in a WEEK which I would have sworn was in Black and White but is in reality in colour. Very funny and probably one of the most perfectly cast films in history.
  13. Lucy - D#2 get our movie watching back on an even keel. Both of us liked the ideas in the first half but thought Besson ran out of ideas and just filled the screen with SFX (and second-hand car stunts from Taxi) till it was time to go home.

Abandoned in November:
The Very Brady Sequel - Don't tell anyone but I really like the Brady Bunch Movie. It's one of my guilty-pleasure, feelgood movies. It's just silly. So I've been kind of looking forward to the sequel for a while now. I lasted about 30 minutes.
The Passionate Stranger - 1950's British film in which a terribly respectable writer leaves the manuscript of her racy romance novel (which bears an uncanny resemblance to real life as a starting point) where her chauffeur can read it. He reads the fictionalised account of a romantically repressed woman falling in love with her chauffeur as a roman à clef and tries to seduce her. I never found out what complications ensued because I was bored rigid by the time they hove into sight. There was a nice idea in here. The central section, where the novel comes to life as the chauffeur reads it, is in colour while the 'real life' is in black and white. The opening section is light and whimsical - no more or less than any number of British 'Comedies' of the day - but the central section is so bloody DULL. It's played, and filmed, too straight. It just looks like a bad British movie instead of the parody of a bad romantic novel that it supposed to be. It would have worked better if they had cranked everything up to eleven and really gone for it. Piled on the cliche, turned up the acting to the kind of sweaty overwrought levels that would make Gainsborough films look like Noel Coward and had FUN with it. The best bit of the whole film was Patricia Dainton's dual role as timid Scottish maid in the Black and white sections to sultry 'no better than she aught to be' seductive English maid in the book sequence. If they had taken that performance as a benchmark and ramped it up from there...
 
 
December
  1. Jonah Hex - well that was s**t.
  2. Money Monster - engaging, tense thriller that pushed all the right buttons for me - pulled a few convenient magic plot rabbits out of the hats the end right enough, but for 90% of it's running time had me hooked.
  3. The Maltese Falcon.
  4. A Man Called Ove -
  5. Black Coal Thin Ice - overlong Chinese cop noir which I wanted to like a lot more than I did - which is to say 'at all'. The atmosphere was great, cold, nasty, cheap and very real looking but the pace of it was sooo slow and the fact that our hero was a total misogynistic dick didn't warm me to the film at all.
  6. Barbarella - for the umpteenth time. I just needed to watch something I didn't have to think about and as I know this film inside out and backwards - not that that takes a lot of doing - I pulled it down from the shelf.
  7. X-Men - I finally convince Number 2 Daughter (MCU fan that she is) that she had better catch up with the whole X-Men saga (12 films) before they get (possibly) integrated into it pretty soon. And so it begins...
  8. Daughter Number One is home for the Christmas Holiday - so we get in the Christmas Groove by watching Die! Die! My Darling! (aka Fanatic) which was great OTT camp fun. It starred Tallulah Bankhead (in her last film) and the stunningly gorgeous Stefanie Powers (just before her Girl from U.N.C.L.E. gig). Donald Sutherland was in there too as the lumbering village idiot. The star of the show though was the production designer the sets were beyond great.
  9. Six Degrees of Separation - I introduce #1D to one of my favourite Donald Southerland films - she gets it and likes it and has a minor revelation in discovering that Will Smith can act.
  10. 28 Days Later - One of those films I have not been watching for ages because I don't like zombie movies. I don't get them. Number One Daughter keeps telling me I'm wrong and this was one of the films she has been trying to share with me for the past year of so to try and prove it despite me ducking out of watching it with her every time it has been mooted. She cornered me tonight and.... she wins. I was wrong. It's a pretty darn clever movie. If she'd mentioned that Alex Garland had written it I might have given in sooner. Damn! I hate finding out I've been wrong.

Abandoned in December
Frenemy - Got 15 minutes in and thought, 'I can't stand these arseholes any longer'.
 



Wednesday, December 16, 2020

I Love French Comics

One of the great annoyances of life as a comic book fan  are those moments when you are enthusing about a page to someone.  You have the book open in front of them.  You're waffling on about how much Mike Royer's inks work so well on Jack Kirby's pencils when you realise that the person you are showing the amazingly brilliantly composed and drafted page of art is more interested in the full-page advert for sea monkeys on the page opposite.

Lots of people are like that.

Turns out I'm a bit like that.  Because, yesterday, reading this 1974 Pilote Mensuel


I found myself totally captivated by this advert in the back pages:

Nothing in the hands

Nothing in the pockets 

Everything in the HOLSTER!

It's a teeny-weeny handbag - BUT MACHO!

The most wonderfully 70s thing ever.  I want one.

Monday, October 05, 2020

Part Two...

August

  1. Siren (2010) - three horrible people, played by actors you've never heard of, go on a boat trip somewhere in the Adriatic(?) You can work out the rest given you know the title of the film - and then, once you have, take out all the interesting stuff you came up with and add an evil lesbian because....erm... just because.... Ho hum. Another straight out of the DvD player and into the bin job.
  2. Ator: The Fighting Eagle (1982) - deadly dull Italian barbarian movie which contained the obligatory tribe of Amazons, the obligatory nude bathing scene and more pointless wandering about past the same three bits of vaguely ancient architecture than most films. Like all films of the type the villains wore an interesting selection of face covering helmets with pointy bits on, the women wore their clothing slit to the thigh and the hero had a mullet the size of Bristol Zoo. Half way through I realised I had seen (and own on VHS) the sequel Ator the Invincible (1982)... that was boring too.
  3. The Incredible Melting Man (MST3K)
  4. The Leopard Fist Ninja - More incomprehensible chop-socky from Godfrey Ho
  5.  Revenge of the Drunken Master - which I think has surfeited me on Godfrey Ho WTFery for a while. The moment where our - I want to say 'hero' but he's a mercenary rapist so it's a bit hard to think of him as that - sticks his finger in the other (slightly more heroic) protagonist's belly button for an extended period of time during the prolonged 'climatic' fight with our villain has to be one of the weirdest things I have seen for a while. I really have no idea what kind of Monkey Magic was supposed to be going on but it was fecking surreal. 
  6. French Kiss - an amusing piece of fluff. 
  7. Orange County - after a bizarre and surreal start to the evening - the first film I put in the DVD player was a brand new, still sealed copy of minor Ealing comedy Champagne Charlie. I sat back... only to find the animated French feature Asterix and Cleopatra appeared on the screen. I made sure the TV input was pointing at the player I had put the disc in. (There's a Blu Ray player a DVD, a Firestick, a VHS and several games consoles all capable of playing movies it can choose from.) Yep, Blu-ray player. I took the disk out. Looked at it. It said Champagne Charlie. I put it back in. Asterix and Cleopatra. I took it out again and made sure there wasn't another disc under the one I had just put in. There wasn't. Very odd. So, not really wanting to watch an animated Asterix adventure, I shoved in the first thing from my unwatched pile that didn't have chainsaws, a spooky house, or Will Smith on the front cover. Orange County - one rich kid's struggle with minor adversity which teetered on the edge of being naff with just enough nice moments to keep us interested - until, at the last moment, it fell right off the branch into a deep pool of mawkish sentimentality. In the end our rich kid hero decides that, after all, he doesn't want to go to the prestigious collage he has been frantically desperately disastrously trying to get into for the whole movie and, instead, is going to stay home because he has found that the true meaning of happiness is in the bosom of his family.... at which point Daughter Number One (who is leaving home to go to college next week) snorted "What a total f***&^ing idiot!". And I have to agree with her. It was an MTV production. There was lots of totally unmemorable music shoehorned in at regular intervals. I'd guess they got at least two soundtrack albums out of it. Coincidentally the second Kevin Kline movie in a row. 
  8. Serial Mom - D#1 has been wanting to see this for ages. She's a big John Waters fan. I'd seen it before and was less than enamoured. But I got her a copy. A bit of a dud I thought - the scrappy, endearing amateurism of his earlier movies just got weighed down by the budget. 
  9. Journey to the Seventh Planet - My third or fourth watching of a film that always surprises me by its sheer bloody weirdness. It starts off conventionally enough with a shedload of stock footage as, in the far flung future of 2001AD, the UN world government (who know how to avoid people sniggering at its space program) send a mission to 'Uraahnus' to discover the source of strange pulsating radiation. When the crew arrive they find a lush green environment populated by beautiful women plucked from their memories. An alien being, capable of manipulating their environment by thought alone, is planning on hitching a ride back with them and conquering earth. Unless....
    Its an odd one. Strangely eerie and dreamlike. I'm a great fan of the writer/directors Ib Melchior and Sid Pink who among other delights were responsible in part or whole for Deathrace 2000, Bava's Planet of the Vampires, the very odd Angry Red Planet, The Time Travellers, Robinson Crusoe on Mars and - jings! the IMDb is a dangerous place to poke about in - The Man from O.R.G.Y. a 1970 Man from U.N.C.L.E. sex comedy spoof which I didn't know existed till three minutes ago but now need to see with some urgency. 
  10. The Incinerators (1973) - Holy cow! What a dreadful film. The screenplay-writer of It Came From Outer Space and Creature of the Black Lagoon takes less interesting bits of both of them, using a story that previously served as an episode of early 50s TV show Tales of Tomorrow, and decides he's going to direct with zero budget actors and a really dodgy day for night filter. From what ended up on screen I would guess our director would have been hard put to direct a toothpaste commercial without fucking it up. One of those movies which endless showed you the same shot of the full moon to tell you it was night again - after only a three shot sequence of someone getting into a car in daylight since the last time it was night. It always puzzles me in movies how it can get to be full moon for so long. The Moon only looks really full for one night - three if you push it and don't look too hard - so when a film shows you yet another full moon shot are you supposed to assume it's the next night? or a month later? (That is if the script doesn't explicitly tell you - "The almanac, Watson. Yes! tomorrow night! The moon is full. I shall meet you on the moors and we shall track the beast to its lair!" I have NO idea how long the action of this movie was supposed to have taken.
    11. Journey to the Seventh Planet - again. Twice in one day. This time with Number Two daughter who is sold. 
  11. Time Travelers (1964). Another Ib Melchior - he directed this time too. I watched it with Number One Daughter - me for the umpteenth time and, for her, the first. She liked it. I'd agree (so did she) that the 'comedy' bits were forced and really could have been done away with. The film looks dated but, for the time it was made, it was pretty forward-looking stuff - compared with the run of the mill SF films that had preceded it. One thing I really noticed on this viewing (possibly because I was watching it with my butch, non-girly, teenage daughter) was the positivity of the female characters. The running-away sequence when our hero scientists are escaping the mutants; the only woman in the group out-paces the men. IN HEELS! None of this lagging behind, and tripping over a twig, twisting her ankle and getting rescued crap. When she's threatened by the mutants in the lab she doesn't scream or shrink away but grabs a fire extinguisher and blasts them in the face. When the girl from the future (the one making the eyes played by Playboy model Delores Wells) invites the comedy relief to her cubicle (presumably for a good old shag - given the later dialogue in the nude bathing scene about how she's looking forward to the mini baby boom they will have to create on 'New Earth'). That's incredibly liberated for 1964. The interstellar ship propulsion system is explained to our time travellers (two Ls- we spell it differently in Britain) by the chief female scientist. Thinking about it, there was very little sex differentiation in the jobs people were doing in the future.

    And I still think beating Arthur C Clarke to the realisation that Advanced Tech would be Indistinguishable from Magic by a decade is pretty impressive - you got to admit some of the sleight of hand stuff was fun. I went frame by frame over the moment where the kids picks the instantly-growing orange and passes it to our hero scientist, who then peels it and passes the segments around, a fair few times before I finally got it worked out how that gag was done.

    I like this film - Ib Melchior (the writer director) is one of those guys whose works needs rediscovered.
     
  12. UP!, a late (1976) Russ Meyer movie with all the usual elements: huge-breasted women, rape, murder, lots and lots of energetic improbable sex and some seriously demented sound editing. The first Russ Meyer movie in which I think he finally got the line of action sorted out in his head and didn't criss-cross it all the time. It was a bit boring. I think I've seen too many of his films. The novelty has worn off. 
  13. The Woman in the Fifth - elliptical French / Polish / British produced arthouse with an American star... and I really no wiser about anything at the end of it. The director seems like an interesting bloke. I watched an interview with him afterwards, the only extra on the disc, in the hope of finding out what it was I was supposed to have got from the film other than, "well that was all very 'arthousey' wasn't it?". I didn't come away any wiser apart from noting his observation that arthouse films have become as stylised as Hollywood films. There are arthouse conventions. "If a character enters the frame you can't cut away until he has left it" being one that I shall watch out for from now on.

    September
  14. Sisters Grimm - another masochistic wallow in the oeuvre of Robbie Moffat who, along with Richard Driscoll, ranks high among the worst directors working in Britain today. Sisters Grimm (not to be confused with the series of kids books by Michael Buckley) is the strangely unengaging tale of two women pirates returning to their ancestral home sometime in the vaguely, ill-defined, early 19th century-ish sort of era ("Ye Olden Days"!) - who find themselves the subjects of a vastly uncomplicated plot by other claimants to scare them off. Plodding and flatly written, delivered with some enthusiasm but not much conviction by Moffat's stock company - the most fun to be had watching this bore was counting the times the director flip flopped his camera across the line of action - even in straightforward, one on one, conversations where both characters stood stock still - and spotting the anachronisms - the close up of the zip on the back of one of the girls' dresses was a classic. As were the speed limit sign in the village street, a tractor in a field in the background, a chain link fence, and the inevitable fitted carpets and electric light switches in the interiors (at least he managed not to shoot any of the hire vans this which he managed to do in one film). My favourite though was the surprised cry of "Gordon Bennett!" that one of the sisters let out at one point. I suppose Moffat (who also writes his tedious films) thought 'Gordon Bennett' sounded a bit Jane Austenish.
  15. Happy is the Bride - Ye Gods! the British cinema-going public were easily amused in 1958. A middle class family have some minor inconveniences planning a wedding before everything is made to turn out all right because the judge, in the final minor inconvenience, turns out to be a friend of the family - the old boys network and all that! - so everyone is jolly nice and English it all gets sorted out.
    All the standard tropes of this sort of piffle are trotted out. Bolshy working class characters who drop tools and go on strike at the drop of a hat, the family cook who's always threatening to leave, the bumbling vicar, the slow, plodding country policeman....

    The film is full of setups for gags, situations, or plot complications that never arrive. For example: Our entitled hero twit's only source of income comes from writing record reviews under a pseudonym (we are told this - we never see him actually do it or indeed see him listen to any records or show ANY interest in music whatsoever). Another character - a flighty young hepcat swingin' chick is dumped into the mix and name drops the twit's pseudonym. "But I am he!" says he. "Man! that's the grooviest!", says she.... and that's the end of that pointless diversion. The film is full of go nowhere moments like that. The other driving force behind the plot is everyone's ability to instantly come to the wrong conclusion or willingness to accept the word of someone who has. So we get the groom's father turning up at the wedding just as some minor crisis is being sorted and because he doesn't get a word in edgeways for a few minutes goes and sits down till things are a bit calmer - this by the way is the only recognisably sensible thing anyone does in the entire film - once the crisis is sorted there is a long painfully unfunny sequence where everyone tries to work out who he is. No one thinks to ASK him. Oh the hilarity.

    The only funny moment that I could find comes near the end when, in the court scene, the policeman dutifully reads out the inane blabberings of our hero from his notes. He's reading them out in a pedantic monotone with pauses as he turns the pages of his note book. It come s across as near incomprehensible rubbish. There's a long pause as the judge tries to digest this information before he turns to the constable and says, "Would you mind repeating that please!" for a moment there was a bit of genuine comedy on screen.
  16. Frank - I like!
  17. Historias Minimas - after spending 20 odd minutes flipping through my 300+ pile of unwatched DVDs and finding dozens and dozens of films I wasn't in the mood for I did the obvious and pulled out the first film I came across I knew absolutely nothing about (and therefore had no preconceived opinions on*) and watched that. It turned out that I was in the mood to watch a gentle Argentinian road movie in which an old man sneaks away from home and hitchhikes 200 miles to see if his dog will forgive him, while a girl from the same town goes to the same city to take part in the cheapest game show ever produced, and a travelling salesman has a continuing anxiety attack about a cake her has bought. Most of the cast had never appeared in a film before. It was slow, and As the title suggests) not a lot happened but it was lovely.

    *Other than I had obviously, at some point in the last 5 or so years, considered it worth buying.
  18. Space Captain: Captain of Space! (2014) - my second zero budget sf comedy in a row (after the abandoned Time Lord - see below). This one was genuinely funny. It had the advantage in that it wasn't an original story but a parody - a very affectionate one - of the Buster Crabbe Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers serials of the 30s. Easy targets yes, but these guys came up with some new and funny twists to well mined material. And used their incredibly limited budget with wit and invention. Some of the jokes you could see coming a mile off but they still ended up making me laugh because this film had what Time Lord didn't. Timing. Space captain Captain of Space is based on a produced play - I don't know how long it ran for however far off Broadway it ran, but playing gags in front of a live paying, audience is THE best way of finding out what works and what doesn't and allows you to tweak things and get them right. I would guess Time Lord went from screenplay to camera without a lot of rehearsal. No one told them how bored they were getting by twitching and shuffling around in their seats and NOT LAUGHING till it was out of the editing suite.
  19. The Hawk and the Dove (2002) - another tedious piece of s**t from the tone dead brain of Robbie Moffat. I really can't understand how anyone could make a film as bas as this and not want to bury it. Let alone claim it had a budget of a million quid.
  20. Die Welt der Wunderlichs (2016) - as part of my 'Teaching myself French by just doing it' thing I watched a German film with French subtitles and, given that my German is totally non-existent and my French has been learned from reading comic books in one hand and a dictionary in the other, I managed pretty well. I'm sure I missed some of the jokes - well, no, I KNOW I missed some of the jokes (unless Germans are prone to fits of mass spontaneous laughter for no reason, which I doubt) but I did get some and I never felt lost. The film was okay: a single mother struggles with her VERY dysfunctional family and takes part in an X-Factor type talent contest. A bit twee and convenient in places but not saccharine. I didn't know any of the faces involved which is always nice. Katharina Schüttler as Mimi - the protagonist mother was wonderful!
  21. Taxi 3 - in French with French subtitles.
  22. Bon Voyage - with #2Daughter and English subtitles! I had no option really the disc only had English subtitles and they weren't switchoffable. Fun film. A straight farce.
  23. North by North West
  24. Event Horizon - oh. boy. That was considerably stinkier than I remember - though I seem to remember I baled out of this one about halfway through the first time I tried to watch it may years ago. The Soundtrack CD (Michael Kamen + Orbital) is pretty good has had a lot of play round JunkMonkey Mansions over the years. But having spent 33p of the sucker in a charity shop's "3 for a quid" DVD shelf the other day (the other two were Maiwenn's Polisse and the two disc, second half of Kieslowski's Dekalog - kaching! Best pound I spent all week!) I felt it was time I gave it another go. Stinky but, f nothing else, watching it confirmed a resolution I made many years ago that, if I ever got to make a bad film, I would avoid including any overt references to other films. Twice during this sucker I was presented with very blatant references to SF movie classics - Forbidden Planet and Solaris - and both times I thought: 1: "Yeah, OK, right thank you, mister director, we know you've watched some films before you got a chance to make make one." and 2: "Why am I watching this s**t when I could be watching Forbidden Planet - or Solaris?". Some of the set design is pretty groovy.
  25. Charade - with Number Two daughter. Now Number One Daughter has left home my movie watching habits have had to change. Things like Tokyo Gore Police and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre are just going to have to wait on the TBW pile till she comes home on holiday as Number Two just likes 'nicer' films.
  26. Thor: Ragnarok - Number Two Daughter gets to chose a movie. I've not seen it before - I think this was her third time. And it was a blast. I loved it. I'm pretty much done with Superhero movies (about two thirds the way through Guardians of the Galaxy 2 at the cinema I thought, 'That's it. I'm fed up with this bollocks') but this was just so funny!
  27. L'appartement - A rewatch. On a second viewing after a gap of several years I'm not sure I am as impressed as I was the first time. The first half of the movie is great: intriguing, romantic, sexy, complex... but as it went on layering more and more intrigue, romance, sex, and complexity on top it just got too much. Too artificial. In the end I just didn't care.
  28. Excalibur - Another off my long-term Need to See list. I loved it.
  29. Fun With Dick and Jane - the original. I have no desire to see the remake.
  30. Alice
  31. The Trip -1967 written by Jack Nicholson directed by Roger Corman. There is somewhere, I'm sure, a list of films that claim to have the largest number of cuts. This must be well up there. There are great chunks of this film that must have been 90% splicing tape. The neg cutter on this must have had a hell of a job. Though as I typed that I realised there is no way that great chunks of this could have been cut on negative. There are dozens if not hundreds of one, two, or three frame edits in some sequences. My guess is they made a negative from the edited workprint and cut that into the more conventionally edited main footage. Trite story with some groovy visuals - a lot of them done in-camera.

Abandoned in September: Time Lord (2011) unrelenting, semi-amateur, all green screen SF Comedy with a just-out-of-school cast which might have made a funny little short but at the 60 minute mark and with another 40 to go finally became too tedious to bother with. Too much yadda yadda yadda and none of it funny enough to be worth listening too.
 

 

2020 movies part the first

 January

  1. Shaolin Drunkard - A 1983 chopsocky 'comedy' of high octain WTF?ery which had Number One Daughter and I in hysterics for its entire running time.
  2. Highlander : The Source - Holy fucking CRAP! What an amazingly awful film! I was in hiccup inducing uncontrollable giggles for its entire length. Number One Daughter walked through the room during one of the Fight Sequences - she's two movies behind and doesn't want to spoil things so didn't watch it with me - "That," she said after watching a few cuts and moving on, "looks like a trailer for a PS1 Game." She was so right. Oh dear gods, my sides hurt.
  3. Side Effects - A neat enough pretty intelligent thriller from Steven Soderbergh that was doing great guns till the final twist [SPOILERS, Sweety] in which it turns out that it was all an evil lesbian plot by evil lesbians. Oh... great. More mainstream evil lesbian plottery. Just what I need.
  4. The Independent - A rewatch of a favourite with #2 Daughter who was less than impressed. Ah well.
  5. 36 - Le Sweeny.
  6. Spice World: The Spice Girls Movie- I have no shame in admitting that this has been on my Must Watch List for the longest time and I finally found a copy yesterday in a charity shop for a quid.

    The Daughters and I watched it tonight while the wife ran away - Number One has a thing for Richard E Grant and I have a thing for Scary Spice - Number Two daughter who WASN'T WATCHING IT snuck in when she realised Naoko Mori (Tosh from Torchwood) was in it - and you know what? We had the most fun we've had with a film for ages. It's stupid. It's badly acted. It makes absolutely NO sense. If I was uncharitable I could say it's just a full colour remake of A Hard Day's Night with tits - but it works. There were times when I was both laughing both at and with the movie at the same time - which is a neat trick if you think about it.

    I'm sorry to say I nearly had a bladder-related accident when one of the girls dived into a phone box wearing a silver spandex catsuit, span round to the classic TV Wonder Woman music, and transmogrified into.... Bob Hoskins! That kind of stupid. I loved it.
February

  1. Alexander Nevsky - Prompted by hearing Prokofiev's rather terrific music for The Battle on the Ice on the radio
    and next day noticing I had a copy of the movie in my unwatched pile. For a film buff I'm woefully ignorant about Eisenstein's work. I must say that for a film made in 1938 it looked very primitive. Like a silent with breaks for locked-off camera speeches about defending Russia from invaders. Ok, it was the Stalin era, and WW2 was heaving into view but, compared with what was being produced elsewhere in the world, it must have looked very old fashioned even then. Having said that there were moments of WOW! during the battle sequences - I remember thinking, I bet Kurosawa watched the hell out of this movie - and some very dramatic use of hand held camera which I'm not sure was in the average DP's repertoire back then.
  2. Justice League - I fell asleep. I've not seen Man of Steel or Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice so had little or no idea what was going on for the first half - apart from the bits featuring the Amazons because I have seen Wonder Woman - I haven't read a Flash comic since the 1960s and had no idea who the bloke with the glowing eyeball and all the CGI bionic stuff was. My ears pricked up at the words 'Mother Box' before I realised this had very little to do with the Mother Boxes I remembered from the New Gods/ 4th World books that I loved as a kid. Ping! ping! By the time the story finally got going I didn't care. I fell asleep. By the time I woke up again Superman wasn't dead any more and the same people were still hitting each other (and Superman) so I went back to sleep again.
  3. Mr. Holmes - Half way through I had the thought that I had seen this film before. It reminded me so much of something else. Then I realised it was reminding me of Gods and Monsters which also starred Ian McKellen as a once famous talent living in isolated retirement. Reading the credits afterwards I found both were directed by Bill Condon.
  4. I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With - Mild rambling American indy film which was better than I was expecting.
  5. La Dolce Vita - In a beautifully restored print in a cinema. The best way to any movie.
  6. The Darwin Awards - Intermittently very funny, occasionally really not good 50p well spent in CEX
  7. The Gorgon - Mid-period (i.e. pre 'let's fill the screen with vampire lesbians and tits!") Hammer horror.
  8. Paul - Funnier than I remembered.
  9. The Truth about Cats and Dogs - I was too tired to think
  10. The Comic (1985) - I introduce Number One Daughter to the deliriously dreadful films of Richard Driscoll. (Who, I discovered tonight, appears to be out of jail and is making films again - hurrah!) This is my IMDb review of The Comic: https://www.imdb.com/review/rw2806472/
  11. Professor Marston and the Wonder Women (2017) - a biopic about the creator of Wonder Woman and the women in his life. A beautifully romantic polyamorous love story.
  12. The Killer Nun (1979) - I'm sure The Killer Nun made sense to someone somewhere at some point during its production but by the time it got to my eyeballs it was an incoherent, bonkers mess. Though there was just enough to keep me watching - some really oddly edited sequences during the drug-addicted, central character's morphine trips - and the astonishingly beautiful Paulo Morra...​


    Wow! It's really hard to find an online
    picture of this woman with her clothes on!

    ...as the lesbian killer nun. Another one ticked off the Video Nasties list.​
  13. At the Earth's Core - the Doug McClure, Peter Cushing one. Watched with my Number One Son aged 10 who lapped it up. The next day he said, "Dad, I just realised. That film we watched last night. I didn't have any songs in it." which is one of the odder things I've ever heard about a film with exploding dinosaurs and Caroline Munro's cleavage.

March

  1. The Handmaiden - A rewatch and not as wonderful as I remember but then I have just read the book it was 'inspired by' and I was very conscious of the way the film wandered well away from (and simplified) the complicated revelation-filled latter third of the novel. Still a damn fine piece of film making though.
  2. Cat Women of the Moon - Stupendously awful entry in the First Mission to the Moon encounters an All Female Society genre which I have watched far too often for my own good. Watched with #1 Daughter and we had the most ridiculous fun. She's very good at the MST3K type one liners. I'd never noticed, before, the sheer ludicrous suggestiveness of the line delivered by one of the seductive cat women to her venal male victim. She wants the low-down on how his space ship operates; he wants the gold she say lies in abundance not far from where they are sitting. " "I'll make a bargain with you," she purrs. "You take me to your rocket ship; I'll show you the cave of gold!" - pure Freudian smut that's what it is. Filth!
  3. The Notebook - long, overly sentimental, slushily romantic guff which - had I known what is was - I doubt I would have put in my DVD player but as I didn't (I found the disc in a pile of unsorted rubbish and wondered what it was) I watched it and was weeping like a baby at the end of it.
  4. Dragonheart - I'm working my way through a stack of back issues of Empire magazine I bought a few years ago - my collection is taller than Tom Cruise - . Dragonheart is a lead story in the one I'm currently reading. I noticed today I had a copy near the top of my To Be Watched pile. Empire was right. It's not good.
  5. The Exterminator -
  6. Lair of the White Worm (1988) - seriously bonkers Ken Russell 'Horror' film with the best Kilted Bagpiper Vs Snake vampire policeman battle ever put on screen. And Amanda Donohoe wearing a giant sacrificial dildo.
  7. Ghost in the Shell - the live action remake which left me wondering "Why did they bother?". It's not that it was bad and the casting issues didn't bother me but it felt like a shot for shot remake of the original (I'm sure it wasn't but that's the impression I came away with). The original is just an amazing piece of art. This was just another CGI heavy movie without the stillness of the original - OR the bloody brilliant music. Bizarrely they included some of the original music over the end titles just to remind you what you could have been watching instead.
  8. The Knack - "a British movie that has 'Sixties' written all over it ".
  9. Potiche (2010) -
Unwatchable dross of the month club:
Voodoo Academy - Would-be homoerotic horror which fails on both counts. I lasted 20 minutes.

April

  1. Empire of Ash - a seriously dreadful American post-apocalyptic effort that spent

    80% of its running time filling the screen with people firing semi-automatic weapons at each other in a quarry (which was pretending to be several different places).

    10% of its time showing us hairy leather-clad biker types riding around in trucks shouting "Get the mother f*8kers!" at each other.

    5% of its time in close ups of 'actors' muffling ump their lnes an mbbling guff tht th wrtrs tht ws a plot. (The main bad guy was brilliant. You could barely understand him when he was on screen and could see his lips sort of moving a bit. When he was delivering dialogue off camera he was incomprehensible!)

    And finally the film spent 5% of its time getting the two Victoria's Secrets models that hung around in this quarry for no apparent reason to get their tits out. Hint to future movie makers of the world. You cannot make a nude bathing scene interesting (or even credible) if you have only 6 inches of water in a rocky stream to play with. Can't be done.
  2. Kiss Me, Monster - I introduce #1D to the incomprehensible film making of Jesus Franco. Many WTF?s were generated.
  3. Blue Gate Crossing - sweet little Chinese film about two girls and a boy who, within that triangle, each love someone unobtainable.
  4. Diva - with #2 daughter - "What did you think?" I asked her. "... It was... very French."
  5. Hundra - My favourite 1980s barbarian movie which just gets better each time I see it. This time was the first time I have watched it with anyone (#1D). I was a little nervous at the start that it was going to be one of those films which divided rather than bought us closer - it starts with a prolonged sequence in which Hundra's (our heroine's) peaceful, all-female tribe are wiped out, brutally murdered and raped by hairy barbarians. I needn't have worried. As soon as Hundra started on the path of revenge and whacking the bad guys, and fomenting female emancipation while trying to get pregnant, she was right there with it. The film is a lot funnier than I remembered. Having someone there to share the jokes heightened the humour. She now has a printout of the poster stuck up in her room.
  6. The Mummy - the Brendan Fraser one. I like Brendan Fraser. Got a bit of a crush on him. But this one was just generic. meh! Too much running around and SFX. I didn't believe a word of it. The most fun I had while watching it was listening to John Hahhah's accent wobbling about. And I had one of those moments when I idly rewrote one of the sight gags in my head ( I was that engaged) and turned it into something I don't think I've seen anywhere - so it's going in the notebook for possible future use.
  7. Little Ashes - Fictionalised account of the (possible) real life romance between Salvidor Dali and Frederico Garcia Lorca - in which Dali was portrayed as the obnoxious wanker (literally) that I always thought him as being. Looked great but... I dunno. There was something missing. I wasn't convinced.
  8. Carry on Screaming - with #2D
  9. Strangers on a Train - with #1D who was on the edge of her seat. Another off the 1001 list. I've seen it before but was gripped too but managed to slip in the odd analytical thought. I'd never noticed before what a significant part staircases play in Hitchcock's films. He uses staircases well.
  10. Nightcrawler -
  11. Two Faces of January - and another rule of thumb is born. Anything based on a book by Patricia Highsmith is worth a watch.
  12. Scanners - with #1D
  13. How to Get Ahead in Advertising -
  14. Ignition - Routine by the numbers actioner which had some nice camera angles. Doubt if I will remember any of it in a week's time. But I do need to see one of the director's earlier movies
    Pourquoi l'étrange Monsieur Zolock s'intéressait-il tant à la bande dessinée? (1983)
  15. Mrs Henderson Presents - Bob Hoskins NUDE!
  16. Summer Things - mercifully short (by French standards) 103 minutes spent in the company of a bunch of unpleasant bourgeoisie on holiday. It was billed as a comedy. Hmm...
unfinished in April:

Promethus never seen it before. I lasted just shy of an hour before turning it off. I didn't believe a word of it. I nearly turned off at the five minute mark when our archaeologist dated the cave paintings she had just discovered within seconds. And I'm just so fed up of people doing stupid stupid things just to keep the plot going especially when they are supposed to be intelligent scientists. Dumb movie. And an expensive dumb movie which somehow makes it worse.

Infini - Read a good review of it in an old Empire magazine I was flicking through the other day and saw it on Amazon Prime as I was scrolling through the availables. Gave up after 25 minutes of low budget Aliens meets Event Horizon. I am done with watching sweaty people being terrified up and down the same three dark corridors.

May

  1. Flashman - Rubbish day so I watch some shite with Number One Daughter. Flashman is a seriously awful Italian superhero movie which had #1D and I in stitches for its whole running time. And then we watched:
  2. Future Women (aka The Girl from Rio) - seriously WTF Jess Franco lesbian utopia SF dross We both felt a lot better afterwards. Number One Daughter especially I suspect because she exorcised a mini demon of hers. The box set which had Future Women in has a menu screen with a loop of clips from many of the films in the set. One of the shots in this loop has haunted her for years. It's a weird moment where a man in a hat, with his back to the camera, turns round as a couple approach him to reveal:





    It's an utterly bonkers shot and she finally got to see in its very odd context - though not in as good a print as that still was taken from.
  3. Diner de cons -
  4. Better than Chocolate (1999) -
  5. Billy Liar -
  6. Head - The Monkees movie. And what a weird treat. #1D and I had more WTF?!s per minute during this one than we usually generate in a month's worth of movie watching. And a movie that is going to play a pivotal role in our endless game of 'Warwick Davis' in that it's a quick shortcut from Ed Wood's films (Tor Johnson) to Mel Brooks and Star Trek (Terri Garr) to Kubrick (Jack Nicholson) and all sorts of other blink and you missed it delights.
  7. Downsizing -
  8. Elvira -Mistress of the Dark - which just gets funnier each time I see it.
  9. Queen of the Amazons - I needed cheering up so I spent the afternoon watching s**t with my Number One Daughter.
  10. The Manster - A Japanese American mad scientist monster movie from the 50s which alternated between being hilariously awful and actually really very good... without breaking step between the two which is remarkable achievement. Watching crap films with #1Dis great fun. DIY MST3K fun.
  11. Earth Girls are Easy - Gods! I'm evil. "Fancy watching an early Jeff Goldblum film?" I asked Daughter Number One who is a bit of a fan." "Ok!" she said, settling down. "Wait!... Wait!... It's not Earth Girls are Easy is it?!" But by then it was too late. The disc was in the player and she was doomed. Afterwards she said she probably invented several new emotions while watching it. The feeling of, "Thank you for sharing that - I hate you." being one of them, "I have a headache now." Half-way through she asked if we could watch Voyage of the Rock Aliens as a palette cleanser. Mwahahahaha!
  12. Eating Raoul - D#1's turn and we get to giggle our way through what has to be one of the most amoral films I have ever seen. Utterly reprehensible - the entire plot is that a married couple lure 'degenerate swingers' to their apartment and kill them for the money without the slightest qualm - and it's insanely funny.
  13. Gone in 60 Seconds (1974) - well that was pretty boring.
  14. Taxi 2 - and that was silly fun.
  15. Drôle de Félix - low budget, French gay road movie which had its moments.
  16. Starship Invasions -
  17. Carry-on Doctor
  18. Le Bossu - #2D and and I. She likes films with subtitles I like French movies.
  19. Curse of the Golden Flower
  20. Ikarie XB1 - for the umpteeth time. It gets better each time I see it.
  21. Breaking In - written by John Sayles and directed by Bill Forsyth. Both did sterling work but it just didn't quite work for me.
Abandoned in May:
Hybrid
- alien killer car garbage which out wore its welcome after about 10 minutes.

June
  1. Razorback - Giant mutant killer pig in the outback with #1D.
  2. Casablanca - with #2D.
  3. Solar Crisis - Hoooo boy! Why do I do this to myself.
  4. Footlight Parade - one of THE greatest films of all time.
  5. Paprika - One of the better Anime that D#1 has tried to enthuse me with. She likes Anime and thinks I should too.
  6. Candyman - She also likes horror films.
  7. The Dish
  8. Paris, je t'aime -
  9. Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome - D#1 gets to hear what Boris Karlof sounds like! "You go, we stay we belong dead!" from Bride of Frankenstein doesn't count.
  10. I'm a Cyborg but That's OK -
  11. I Walked with a Zombie - Val Lewton classic
  12. The Legend of Boggy Creek 2(MST3K) - again. I'm a sad bugger.
  13. Carnival of Souls - I've been meaning to take another look at this for ages and I shared with #1D (who loved it).
  14. The Shape of Things to Come (1979) -
  15. Gold Diggers of 1933 - We're in the money! Not as great as Footlight Parade but still pretty darn good and....I really found myself very affected by the My Forgotten Man Number. I almost cried.
  16. Bugsy Malone
  17. Phantom of the Paradise (1974) - Daughter Number one and I have a Paul Williams double bill.
July
  1. Adventures of a Taxi Driver (1976) - I really don't know why I do this to myself but every now and then I go poke about on the Firestick till I find a 1970s British 'Sex Comedy' (which are always from my experience neither) and watch it through to the bitter end. Someone on IMDb described this film as 'Dismal'. That's the perfect word. Watching these things is a horrible. soul-destroying experience but I'll tell you what. It really makes anything you watch after it for several months look a hell of a lot better. Even crap like...
  2. Space Amoeba (aka Yog: Monster from Space) - an Ishirô Honda double bill! Space Amoeba is from late in his carreer and, from the look of it, he just didn't give a s**t any more as long as it was in focus.
  3. Mantango (aka Attack of the Mushroom People) - from a decade earlier is (even in a horribly dubbed version) a far superior film. Atmospheric, creepy, slow, almost decedant. I really liked it. I suspect I would have liked it more in a subtitled version.
  4. Battle Beyond the Stars - Roger Corman's SF reworking of The Seven Samuri.
  5. Spider Baby - peculiar (and funny) horror.
  6. The Velvet Touch - Hollywood hookum of the first water that couldn't make its mind up if it was a Noir, a 'woman's picture', a Freudian psychological guilt movie or a Columbo-like 'we know who dunnit but how does our detective prove it' movie. I rather enjoyed it.
  7. Les Hommes libres - fictionalised account of the role played by Moroccan Muslims in the French resistance and the saving of Jews from the Nazi occupation. A chunk of history of which I was totally ignorant.
  8. Dracula's Daughter (1936) - the first (mainstream) lesbian vampire movie?
  9. Theatre of Blood - A 1973 film in which Vincent Price has a whale of a time as a ham Shakespearean actor bumping off - in true Shakespearean manner - all the critics he blamed for ruining his career ably aided by Diana Rigg in drag. It's a bonkers, camp hoot.
  10. The Prestige - I liked that. I liked that a lot.
  11. I, Tonya - which left me less than overwhelmed.
  12. Tekkonkinkreet -
  13. Warlock - to celebrate the fact that my VHS player does work after all (long story) I make D#1 (Richard E Grant fan that she is) watch him putting on a very variable Scottish accent, Connor McCloud hair and cossy, and run around modern day America trying to over out overact Julian Sands as the titular warlock. She may never forgive me.
  14. Man in Outer Space (aka Man From the First Century 1962) a slight Czech SF comedy with a few amusing moments and some seriously groovy art design. I first came across it on Youtube where it was used as the imagery for this earworm of 80s Czech electronica.
  15. Let the Right One In - D#1's been wanting to see this for ages and sat me down tonight to watch it with her. What a great wee film! I have NO intention of ever watching the remake.
  16. Gwendoline (aka The Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of the Yik Yak) - OMG. I was expecting bad (it's based after all on a comic strip in John Willie's 1950's leather / bondage fetish magazine Bizarre - how good could it be?) but when it got to the point where our heroine rescues our hero by riding off in a chariot pulled by three leather clad pony girls - only then to be chased by another three similar chariots... and I realise I'm am more interested in the location it was filmed in than in the action you have to question the quality. Just how bad does a film have to be to make a salt mine (?) more interesting than 20+ semi-naked women in leather fetishwear running around in the foreground?
 

Missing CD? Contact vendor

Free CD
Please take care
in removing from cover.

Copyright (c) 2004-2007 by me, Liam Baldwin. That's real copyright, not any 'creative commons' internet hippy type thing.

(this copyright notice stolen from http://jonnybillericay.blogspot.com/)

eXTReMe Tracker