Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Every Movie What I Have Watched in 2008 - Part One (of Four)

Sorry, but it's that time of the year again.

  1. Cat People
    - Jacques Tourneur's lovely little 1942 chiller.
  2. Dlug
    - Horribly realistic and compulsive Polish 'based on real events' crime film, with some slightly odd subtitling. Thanks M, I finally got round to watching it.
  3. Zeta One
    - Abysmal late 1960s British Ultra Soft-core Porno SF exploitation shite. Total pants with no plot but lots of nekkid tits (like THESE!) bouncing about (a bit).
  4. Missile to the Moon
    - second Matriarchal Space Bimbo movie of the night, with no nekkid tits this time (dammit!) but one of the most genius bits of American Desk Drawer acting ever. It's a well know fact of life that the only reason you ever open a desk drawer in an American film is to pull out a powerful (loaded) handgun. Only reason. The only thing Americans keep in the top drawers of any desk is firearms. Early on in this movie one
    of our aged scientists does just this. He opens a desk drawer and pulls out a luger which he slips into his pocket. A few minutes later his partner becomes aware of unexplained things happening out on the missile launch pad and decides to investigate - but first!... he goes
    to the desk and pulls open the top drawer. But what's this? The gun has gone! He stares into the desk drawer for a moment. No Gun? Drawer. Open. No gun? How can this be? A look of blank incomprehension registers on his face (not unlike that on William Macey repeatedly saying "Hi Honey, I'm home!" in Pleasantville and receiving no reply). He shuts the drawer - and after a moment - it's crazy but it might just work - pulls open the top drawer ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE DESK - and Whew! pulls out a powerful (loaded) hand gun and rushes off to investigate...
  5. Empire of the Ants
    - and then there are those moments, usually at about 3:30 am like this one was, when you find yourself watching Joan Collins running round a mangrove swamp screaming at variably sized, giant, radioactive ants when you think to yourself, "Why AM I watching this shit? I really must get a grip." Bergman and Kurosawa for a bit I think...
  6. Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
    - okay, It's not Bergman but it's not AS trashy as giant Radioactive ants - though equally scientifically dubious (apparently the world is DOOMED to a horrible death by hotness after a spark from a passing meteorite caused the Van Allen Radiation belts to catch fire and only firing a nuclear missile into it from a
    particular angle will cause the belts to pop like a balloon and save the human race from a severe crisping) okay it is as trashy but at least Irwin Allen won an Oscar! (though, admittedly, not for this film). I'll get to the good stuff next week.
  7. TXH 1138 The Directors Cut
    - This ain't the film I saw all those years ago. It's visually stunning but I wish it hadn't been fucked about with. I now need to see the original again.
  8. Ed Wood
    - Lovely film. My favourite Tim Burton movie.
  9. Bride of the Monster
    - and after a movie about Edward D Wood Jr what could be more appropriate than a movie by Edward D Wood Jr.? Starring Bela Lugosi in his next to last completed movie Bride of the Monster contains one of the greatest bits of weird acting of his career (and that's saying something). There's a moment towards the start of the film where a hapless victim wakes to find himself strapped to the Doctor's diabolical surgical table and about to be experimented upon.
    Hey, what gives! "Soon," gloats Dr Varnoff (Bela in white coat and stethoscope), "you will be asa bik as a chiant, wid the strength ov twenty men, or -- like all the others, DEAD!" He throws the lever. Lights flash. The victim convulses against the straps binding him tothe table then falls limp. Bela registers horror (or something) and steps forward. Dons the stethoscope, listens to the man's heart.
    His shoulders slump another failure.... Then. In a truly inspired moment of acting genius (Bela is so in the moment here) he discerns a possible glimmer of hope and... stethoscope still in place - listens to the man's head! .. and then his wrist! ...only then does he finally give up hope.
  10. Plan 9 From Outer Space
    - or another. RIP Vampira, the actress who played her, Maili Nurmi, died two days ago.
  11. Frankenstein's Daughter
    - better than expected drive-in monster-movie drek from the director of the dire Missile to the Moon. Best line: "From here on in, I decide what is evil."
  12. The Importance of Being Earnest
    - A dreadful 2002 remake which seems to exist only because someone lobbed some taxpayers money in the film makers direction.
  13. Carry on up the Khyber
    - Sod all those Merchant-Ivory, Helena Bonham Carter swanning about in muslin and soft focus, picture-postcard "terribly terribly" crud. This is the way to make movies about The Raj.
  14. The Doomsday Machine
    - again. Deliriously weirder on a re-watching.
  15. Timechaser
    - (MST3K) a whole movie full of people who never worked again.
  16. Living in Oblivion - Brilliant . I love this film.
  17. Gog
    - Funniest ending to a crap movie I have seen for ages. Aged, venerable Herbert Marshall bursting into the control room of the atomic reactor waving a flame thrower to destroy the OTHER killer robot on the loose. I nearly wet myself I was laughing so much.
  18. Lady in Cement
    - I gave my brain a rest from killer robots, V2s on Venus and the other
    absurdities of cheap 50s SF movies and watched Frank Sinatra sleepwalking as a private eye. Some of the worst sound I've ever heard on an American movie. The film was on the Free to Air Movies4men channel and I spent most of the running time wondering why a channel with such a butch sounding name was showing endless commercials for Dove beauty products, fabric conditioners, and 'Lite' mayonnaise. Movies4Men who shave their pits and look after themselves while watching fat old crooners running around waving guns?
  19. The Abominable Dr. Phibes
    - cheesy, bizarre, camp, and very funny.
  20. Dr. Phibes Rises Again
    - more of the same.
  21. Scream and Scream Again
    - 1970 British horror/SF movie with some really great hand held camera-work and a plot that almost worked if you didn't think about it.
  22. The People Vs Larry Flint
    - Mr Smith Goes to Washington - with porn.
  23. Hercules Unchained
    - I attempt to watch a Steve Reeves movie without thinking of the Rocky Horror Picture Show once - and fail as I knew I must. Shot in the same quarry as every other Italian Movie of the period and stuffed full with gems of mangilated movie Inglish, hilariously camp performances, and the only stretch war chariots ever put on screen.
  24. Phantom From Space
    - A masterful use of stock footage and very little plot. The highlight of the movie for me was watching a bunch of scientist and police hero types happily standing around an abandoned Alien's space suit sat on a shortish table, the top of which was about level with their nads, telling each other the suit was so radioactive that they shouldn't touch it. Clever that.
  1. Star Wars
    - it's 10 years since I last saw Star Wars. 1998 the New Improved with Added Jabba The Hutt Special Edition came out. I was working in Leicester on an aborted feature film called Dirty British Boys with Shashi Kapoor and some bloke from Brookside, one night most of the crew piled into town to see the New Improved! Star Wars (with added Jabba!) in the cinema. I fell asleep. I fell asleep again last night. I think I may have finally grown up. Star Wars, I have finally realised, isn't a particularly good film.
  2. Knight's Tale
    - The late Heath Ledger having fun. Enjoyable nonsense.
  3. Beyond The Valley of the Dolls
    - right off my Whatthefuck?ometer this one. Don't know what to make of it but I laughed a lot - I think I was supposed to.
  4. The Invisible Man
    - the 1933 James Whale original, not the best of Whale's films but fun.
  5. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
    - More fun! What's going on? I don't watch films to have fun!
  6. The Phantom of the Opera
    - The 1943 Claude Rains Nelson Eddy affair. The DVD transfer was lovely I loved the Technicolor. Pity the movie wasn't much cop.
  7. Shrek the Third
    - bought as a Christmas pressy for the kids. I was rather disappointed. Beautiful to look at but the story was so thin.
  8. Vynález zkázy
    - a rather wonderful 1958 Czech weirdness of live action and animation based on a Jules Verne novel. Any movie which contains shots of roller-skating camels is okay by me.
  9. War of the Robots
    - early Al Bradly movies. (A mysteriously awful compulsion.) This one is famous for containing the longest and dullest space battle ever committed to film and certainly wins some sort of special award for reused footage. The same three shots get used over and over again - and then used again as back projection behind the "set" of the space fighter. It's one of those movies in which if you see someone going up a flight of steps, you will sure as hell see them coming down them later. Maximum use of minimal sets. There's one 'battle' late on in the movie between our heroic PVC clad crew and an neverendless supply of killer robots in wigs, that takes place in a single doorway. Zap! Next Zap! Next Zap! Next, (change the angle) Zap! Next Zap! Next...
  10. Return of the Killer Tomatoes
    - The best 10p I've spent in a charity shop for a while. Crude, stupid, and funny.
  11. Mighty Jack
    - Oh my dear god! Two episodes of a late 60s live-action, Thunderbirds type, Japanese Spy thriller TV series about the crew of a giant flying submarine combating international terrorists threatening the world with unmeltable ice, edited down to a totally incomprehensible movie-length mess. Off the scale on the old bewilderometer - at least 92.7 Centi-WTF?s per minute. I had absolutely NO idea what the hell was supposed to be going on. None. One IMDb reviewer hit the nail on the head when he described this film as having "all the logic of a fever dream".
  12. Humanoid Woman
    - an American slashed to ribbons version of what must have been an extraordinary Russian movie called Cherez Ternii K Zvyozdam. Despite being cut from 148 minutes to 90, cropped from it's full 2.35:1 aspect ratio to a square 4:3, dubbed by second rate actors making the script up as they went along, and crappily transferred to DVD from a very dodgy tape copy (it even had drop-out at one point) enough of the poetic, lyrical qualities of the original shone through to make it one of the most interesting looking films I have seen all year. There is, apparently, a restored version out there but not yet available on DVD with English subtitles. I have a new mission: see the original and see Sandy Frank the producer who butchered it for the American market, and a quick buck, rot in hell.
  13. Casshern
    - Japanese UberGrand Guignol SF real life Manga/Animé which had me enthralled for 141 bewildering minutes of incomprehensible fighting, philosophising,
    flashbacks, flash forwards, (and flash sidewayses for all I know) in which several characters died more than once, even more got to deliver portentous speeches while slowly descending stupidly wide staircases, and just about everybody had mystic revelations, including our hero who seemed to have his while in the very heart of a nuclear explosion -
    which he survives. All the way through I kept thinking I hope this design team gets to work on any movie they make from Philip Reeve's Mortal Engines books. The look is perfect.
  1. Back to the Future
    - Amazingly the first time I have watched this. I've seen most (if not all of it) in bits over the years but never sat and watched start to finish before. Great fun.
  2. Back to the Future ll
    - ditto!
  3. The 39 Steps
    - the pointless colour remake with Kenneth More proving (nice chap though he probably was) that he was no Robert Donat and vacant space that was Taina Elg (who?) was certainly no Madeleine Carroll.
  4. Weird Science
    - my catchup with all those films I never actually watched during the 1980s but are now dirt cheap on video in charity shops binge continues... This one cost me 20p. Which is about what it was worth.
  5. The Riddle of the Sands
    - my fascination with the not very good acting of Michael York continues; what DID people see in him?
  6. Back to the Future lll
    - Ditto previous BTTF comments up there. Glad that's out of my system at last.
  7. Singing in the Rain
    - never seen it all the way through before. It's Great!
  8. The Mutant on the Bounty
    - again! I managed to watch this piece of drek again! I was half way through watching it before I realised I HAD seen it before - and it was shit then too. But, being too knackered to pick up the remote, I kept my eyes pointed in the general direction of the screen and hoped I would fall asleep. I didn't. It was too awful to fall asleep to.
  9. She Gods of Shark Reef
    - Dear gods! that was dull.
  10. The Crater Lake Monster
    - creaking, zero-budget, There's Something in the Lake Eating Tourists, rubber dinosaur movie that wasn't anything like as funny or scary as it tried to be - well it was, but not in the ways the film makers intended.
Abandoned, for a variety of reasons:

Comic book based flick about 'Back from the dead' female assassin with issues. I gived up after 15 minutes when I realised it wasn't going to stop looking like a car commercial. Terrence Stamp appeared in flashback as the aged martial arts master and looked bored out of his skull, if he couldn't be bothered why should I? Presumably he was getting paid to be there; I wasn't.

- I can do no better than quote one of the IMDb reviews of this piece of shit: "a woefully unfunny film, with none of the 'so-bad-it's-entertaining' elements which similar films sometimes provide." Yep, that just about sums it up.

- Ethan Hawke in the title role and a cast of worthies totally at sea in a total fuck-up of a movie in which the director spends most of his time trying to point the camera at the BACK of
whoever is speaking's head in order to make the lousily-recorded, mumbling and whispering that they are doing totally incomprehensible.
Only Liev Schrieber (as Laertes) looked like he had a clue what his character was meant to be saying and then said it with a clarity and conviction that just made everyone else look even more lost. I lasted 30 minutes before hitting the off button.

- I love the original. This watered-down, fat, slick incredibly bland, mush made me want to puke. Dreadful. Which is a pity cos Mrs. JM bought it for me as a pressy and I wanted to like it so much. (In retaliation I bought her Love Actually which see had long wanted to see but had never got round to watching. She hated it; so we're even.)

No comments:

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