Thursday, July 31, 2008

I'm working. I'm spending my days this week helping Ilona enthuse small (and not so small) children into making up, and performing, a mini play in a stinkingly hot school hall as part of the Highland Council's 'Let's pretend we care about the arts and out of school groups at the same time!' policy.
So all day I try to strike that fine balance of control vs enthusiasm that will encourage the inert blobs in the group to do - anything, while simultaneously trying to keep the lid on the kids who fire off a million ideas a minute (some of them are genuinely funny silly ideas too) without stffling them. Luckily Ilona actually knows what she is doing; I'm glad one of us does. So what with doing that, and house-working, and trying to cobble the million and one stupid ideas from the kids that did get through into some sort of coherent form on the computer for the next day, there hasn't been a lot of time for Blogging - or movie watching.

Which brings me too this month's roster of Italian Space Bimbos, Swedish lesbians, and Gerry Stiller.

July Movie list (Groan! Moan!)
1. Aladdin - Awful Disney tripe. My tolerance for even the smallest amounts of Robin Williams has almost vanished.
2. Mr Wong The Detective -
3. Mysteries of Mr Wong - Starring Boris Karloff. Only in Hollywood - could a tall, well-spoken, English actor with a lisp be cast as a Chinese Detective! Soporific poverty row pot boilers.
4. Zombie Nightmare - (MST3K) All I can really remember of this, less than three weeks later, is that it had Adam West in it. I think the director must have won a couple of days work from him in a game of poker.
5. Last of the Wild Horses - (MST3K)
6. Jack Frost - (MST3K) This year's obligatory Finnish movie.
7. The Hellcats - (MST3K) I sneaked a couple of Mystery Science Theater 3000 disks into the luggage when we went on holiday.
8. The Queen of Outer Space - This has long been on my Must Watch List (it's Zsa Zsa Gabor's only starring role!) and I wasn't disappointed. Total full Technicolor, cardboard pants from end to end - though weirdly deja-vu inducing. I have never seen this film before but knew what was going to happen every single frame. This is possibly because this movie, even more than the usual for cheap SF movies of the period, was assembled from bits left over from other, better films. The costumes were left over from Forbidden Planet, the script was Cat-Women of the Moon (again) and a lot of the sets, special effects shots and the obligatory giant spider (a staple part of any late 50s space adventure) were from World Without End - which I only watched last month.
9. War of the Satellites - another quality product from Roger Corman. At least it was short: 66 minutes of low-grade tosh.
10. Flatliners - for years, in my head, I have managed to confuse this with Lifeforce (AKA Space Vampires) and was disappointed last night to find I bought the wrong movie. Not terrible and it was fun watching a young Oliver Platt working out his moves.
11. Flushed Away - Very funny - and the kids liked it too.
12. Angry Red Planet - The first expedition to Mars encounters a very weird post-production effect called 'Cinemagic'. A process invented by a man who went on to become a story editor on the Scooby-Do show a process which, as far as I can tell (after an intensive three minutes on Google), was never used again. Cinemagic, which was expensive and complicated, gave the entire screen a deep red tint with cartoony dark lines around our actors, sets, and props, and strange, luminous glows in areas of shadow. It was all very odd and if the script had been at all competent would have made for a good, eerie little movie. As it was what we got was a bad, almost eerie movie with the usual copious amounts of stock footage* of military stuff, ranks of scientists doing nothing but tell each other things they want the audience to hear, and the oddest 1950s giant movie spider ever filmed: '40 foot tall', with the face of a bat, the tail of a rat, and huge lobster claws. But even that was not as weird as the main monster of the movie - a giant amphibious amoeba with eyes that rotated like radar antennae. Odd. Very odd.

*Even the trailer is stuffed with it!
13. Zoolander - A rare thing: a film actually improved by having commercial breaks in it.
14. The Independent - Bit of a a Stiller family double bill tonight. Gerry Stiller and Anne Meara and their son Ben Stiller appearing in both. And both movies also having impressive rosters of people appearing as 'Themselves'. Though nothing in either movie was quite as impressive as these six - three!

Les Bimbos D'espace
What Planet is This? (Oh My God, It's Earth!)

15. The Wizard of Oz - Watched with the kids. Friday night is Pizza and Movie night. It's been many many years since I watched this but what a great film. The story maybe simple and childish but I sat there for the whole thing just blown away by the set design and costumes.
16. Star Crash - See previous waffle.
17. Moontrap - years ago, before they deemed them obsolete, Blockbusters had this big bin of 'Pre-Viewed' Videotapes at one pound fifty each or three for three pounds. I used to buy a lot of never to be released on DVD movies from this bin; stuff that went straight to video and was destined to stay there. The best bit of the deal was that Blockbuster would buy videos to shove in this bin for 50p each. Any videos. So I got into the habit of buying, watching and returning them. It worked out a cheap way of renting movies I would never otherwise get to see. Sometimes I would buy tapes from charity shops, flog them to blockbuster and make a profit. I didn't keep a tally but I probably came out financially carbon neutral. One of the films I remember getting and flogging back to them was Moontrap starring Walter 'I'm not Chekov from Star Trek' Koenig. Today I found it (quite possibly the same tape) in a charity shop for 50p. I bought it. It's still shit.
18. Silent Running - I was slightly disappointed (though not surprised) to find the DVD didn't have an option to watch this film without the hideous Joan Baez songs that batter you round the earballs in what otherwise is a small, but wonderfully made bit of SF moviedom.
19. Xanadu - Olivia Newton-John, Gene Kelly and some bloke who never made it big enough to get his name on the DVD cover* in a WTFkly awful movie that, after an hour something (boredom?) made me click the 'Display' button on the DVD remote - only to find that I had only been watching it for a mere twenty minutes. Towards the end of the movie I had the 'Time Remaining' up in the left hand corner of the screen. Occasionally I would look up at it and think: 'There's no way this can go on for another twenty, eleven, eight (or whatever) minutes!' But it did. Time was going very slowly in my living room this evening. Not bad enough to be good. Just boring.
*His later IMDB credits include: Diagnosis Murder and Murder She Wrote.
20. Fucking Åmål - aka Show Me Love - low budget teen lesbian movie. A sort of Gay, Swedish Gregory's Girl but with fewer laughs. Not great, but gently inspiring.
21. Spy Kids - I like Spy Kids, I think it's fun, and so did the girls as we pigged out on pizza and flopped on the sofa.

3 comments:

pj said...

Only 21 movies? Seems like an all time low... Not sure really. But I didn't have to scroll down as much as I usually do on movie list day.

I am an intern at the conservatory Summer On Stage program this year for kids 9-17. There are 17 of them and they are doing a monologue play written by teens about being handicapped. It's actually pretty cool, but the kids are bummed because they aren't doing Shakespeare this year (!?) and a sweet kid from Manchester said "I can't believe I'm hearing kids complaining about NOT doing Shakespeare!"

So... I've been thrown into the roll of teacher and assistant director for about 1/2 of the camp time, starting next week.

Can I have Ilona's number? I don't know what the fuck to do! I start Monday.

I lost a full night of sleep before the session started concerned that I was to face a room full of high school jocks. Of course it didn't turn out that way - it's a bunch of theatre geeks, all girls but for one lonely, lucky, miserable 15 year old boy.

It's been quite a week.

Hope you get some rest with your various lunches!

BTW - I'm watching 'Jekyll' - only so so but some funny lines every blue moon.

Just finished the Dr. Who (3rd season) where he dumps Rose in the parallel universe with her two living parents and New and Improved More Manly Micky. I was kind of glad to see her go, but then when The Doctor started crying it was all over for me. Sniff.

Liam Baldwin said...

He's 15. He's in a class with 16 teenage girls - and he's miserable?????

pj said...

Yeah.

I KNOW!

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