Tuesday, March 03, 2009

This Month's Movie Roundup - Yaaaay! I know, I know, it's the only reason you bother reading the blog. I've cannibalised a letter to Phoebe for one of them (so if you get an attack of the Dejas, P. That's why.)


1. Blade Runner
- The Director's Cut, though perversely, I now have a yen to see the original released version.
2. Kentucky Fried Movie
- Another of those films that didn't stand the test of time. In 1977 it must have been hilarious. Rude, crude and very funny. Now it just looks rude and crude. I did laugh a couple of times but it wasn't the yok-fest many (whose opinions up until now I had valued) had lead me to believe. I guess you had to have been there at the time. On the up side, Uschi Digard's rather impressive tits were quite nice to watch.
3. The Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy
- Another of those films that would have been a lot better directed by Terry Gilliam. It seemed very thin somehow given that just about every version of this story is different and has new layers of jokes added. To have the story pared back and the jokes so reduced in number to make room for all the CGI was a bit of a disappointment. The Book seemed particularly underused but then again I suspect the target audience was running it's favourite gags in it's collective head as the movie played and were just enjoying the visuals - which were very good, very Gilliamish.
4. L'Amant (or The Lover - once I had finally found the English version on the DVD menus which were in French)
- Full-on, historical bonking set in the Viet-Nam of the 'Twerties' - that strange vague indeterminate time that happened in the movies between WW1 and WW2.

"Eh, Henri, do you think zey will get ze oh-so very clever
subtle phallic Gallic symbolism? Do you?"

Five hours (it felt like) of French people talking in Subtitle English - that strangely enigmatic, not quite colloquial, (but you can't put your finger on exactly what is wrong) manner that turns up in subtitles all the time. I thought it was the subtitlers fault but it's true! French people really do talk like that - well, in movies at least.
Given the chance to make a film in English, French film makers make everything sound so portentous...
"My love for you is expired. Now I am dead."
Loads of sex though. Loads and loads of sex. God! it got boring. Halfway through I started willing the Japanese to attack. Or a hurricane to hit, or something. Anything but more sex. Please! I prayed, don't have even more sex and then lie around languidly having yet another elliptical post-coital conversation. Please!
All very pretty and slow and ravishingly shot. Imagine, if you will, a porno movie made by Merchant-Ivory - but then that immediately brings to mind the thought of a heaving, sweatily naked Helena Bonham-Carter and there are some fantasies best not shared. She's MINE! - get off!
5. Stuart Little 2
- Dear god! At least I didn't puke. The kids loved it.
6. Citizen Kane
- Five Stars with a cherry on top. I needed that after Stuart Puke 2.
7. Jésus de Montréal
- As a card-carrying atheist I don't often get emotionally involved with the overtly religious in movies I just don't care most of the time when characters undergo a 'crisis of faith' or renounce all that they believe in because, being a life-long non-believer, I have no concept of what the 'agonies' these people are supposed to be going through is all about. More often than not their 'anguish' comes over to me as self-pitying, self-indulgent, self-deluding wallowing but this one - oh boy, this one had had me in tears at the end of it. It's very funny too.
8. Prehistoric Women

"Wonga wonga gabba gab pooma boong" etc.

Actually that's is a pretty dynamic shot from this movie. Non start action all the way through...

- Another of my public service movies - I watch them so you don't have to - so noble of me. This one concerned a bunch of prehistoric women and their pet panthers who wander around being sexually frustrated - or at least as sexually frustrated as you could get in a 1950 drive-in movie with no dialogue - until they bump into a bunch of men who discover fire, use it to set fire to "Karoch, scourge of the skies" (a hapless duck with some rubber bits stuck on the back of it's head then tossed in the air in the general direction of the camera) that has been terrifying them for years, and 'Guadi the Giant' ditto. No dialogue but every on-screen action repeated in great detail in a solemnly intoned narration - like a 1950s equivalent of a Movies For the Blind Audiodescription. Dreadful.
9. Girl in Gold Boots
- (MST3K) Trashy piece of late 60s junk with some unforgettable (and, I suspect near undeliverable) dialogue:.

Michele :

"Leo says I'm really going places.
Just because he deals in dope, that
doesn't tarnish me."


"Oh, that's what you think, baby.
Tarnish isn't a strong enough word
for what he'll do to you
- try "corrode" for size..."

And the unforgettable lament of all drugged-up, washed-out, has-been Go-go dancers the world over:

Joanie :

"I had a pretty mind! Oh God, I wish
I had my pretty mind back."

It's Beyond The Valley of The Dolls Without a Clue. The producer went on the make The Astro-Zombies and The Corpse Grinders (and its sequel, the imaginatively named, The Corpse Grinders 2). One of the leads was once married to Judy Garland (and was, incidentally, totally and comprehensively out-acted by a couple ceiling tiles behind his head at one point).
After that, I settled down to watch Assault of the Killer Bimbos but my heart wasn't in it and I gave up after ten uninspiring minutes. I was still fretting about something. The most disturbing thing about Girl in the Gold Boots, even more disturbing than the dancing, the dialogue and the acting was the title - Girl in the Gold Boots. Why wasn't it The Girl in the Gold Boots? That missing 'The' worried me. Both The Astro-Zombies and The Corpse Grinders have got 'The's why not Girl in The Gold Boots?

Twenty minutes after finishing this I went out and bought a copy of Astro-Zombies on eBay. There is no hope for me.
10. The Goonies
- I don't think I have actively hated a movie as quickly and as comprehensively as I hated this one. By the second reel I wanted every character in it to die. Especially our 'heroes'. Horrible little brats every one of them.
11. Warlords of Atlantis
- another 99p well spent on eBay. Doug McClure in full Edgar Rice Burroughs' journey to the centre of somewhere with fucking big rubber monsters mode.

Wet women with guns - it's what
the cinema was made for...

12. The Adventures of Buckeroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension - again
13. The Land Before Time
- The first movie I've seen for ages containing dinosaurs that didn't have Doug McClure in it. I missed him.
14. The Arrival
- What a cracking wee movie! Nothing particularly original that we haven't seen done before - we are talking about the Aliens ARE AMONGST US! school here (The Invaders, Invasion of the Bodysnatchers, It Came From Outer Space, I Married a Monster From Outer Space etc. etc. but done with genuine suspense and creepiness. I am now off to hunt up some of the writer/director's other movies... Damn! He directed Pitch Black and The Chronicles of Riddick - looks like I might actually have to watch a Vin Deisel movie or two.
15. Chandu the Magician
- Bela Lugosi is out to take over the world with a Death Ray if only he can persuade the scientist inventor to give him the secret of its operation. His methods of persuasion consist of getting his minions to kidnap various parts of the Scientist's family and threaten them with fates worse than death while he skulks in his lair in an ancient Egyptian temple. All his plans are thwarted with monotonous regularity by another member of the family who has been off becoming a 'Yogi' with mystical powers for the past few years (which means he gets to wear a turban when everyone else wears pith helmets) who can hypnotise whole rooms full of people with a single twitch of an eyebrow.
My favourite bit of dialogue came when the swarthy Arab baddy sidekick is pawing the beautiful captive Princess in her dungeon*.


I've wanted you for years
- and now... I have you!!!


You beast!

Why don't they write lines like that any more?

*Actually it's his dungeon - she's just chained to a wall in it.
16. The Astro Zombies
- There is a new star in my firmament of crap directors and his name is Ted V Mikels. On the strength (or weakness) of this movie alone he deserves to be ranked up there with Coleman Francis and Ed Wood. I don't think he directed this movie, I think he just found it in trash cans around Hollywood and glued it together with industrial strength wallpaper paste.
A mad scientist and his mute, wall-eyed assistant, beautiful girls slaughtered and mutilated, semi-naked girls strapped to operating tables, solar-powered killer robot zombies, CIA agents, Chinese spies, Russian spies, Mexican spies! gratuitous semi-naked nightclub dancer scene, beheading, terrible, terrible Foley work and establishing shots which defy any kind of comprehension - an establishing shot is supposed to do what its name implies, establish something in the audience's mind. A character. A place. A character arriving in a place. Look, here's a shot of a well lit street, a neon light flashes 'The Kit Kat Club', aha! the audience thinks, The Kit Kat Club wasn't that the name on the match cover the detective found under the body? Yes, look there he is walking through the door... Cut to interior of the club, the scene continues and everyone knows who is where and what is going on. In this pudding of bewilderments we have establishing shots that go on forever and often, at the end of them, we still have no idea who or what we were supposed to be looking at - and all in one utterly incomprehensible 90 minute mess.
The climax of the movie comes as our solar-powered, killer astro zombie returns to the mad prof's lab (powered only by the CIA agent's flash light it is holding against its forehead, having lost it batteries in a scuffle) and seizes the machete the prof just happens to have sitting on top of the fusebox - and goes on the rampage.
Here's the trailer (which makes it look a lot more competent and interesting than it is.

17. The Bed Sitting Room
- One of the great forgotten - or if not forgotten then just bloody hard to find - films of British cinema. A masterpiece of the absurdist tradition with a hell of a cast, some great design and why it hasn't been released on DVD is a mystery and a crime.
18. Pumaman - (MST3K) "Poomaman!". I have formulated a new law of bad movies. Just like the one that states that if you ever see a swimming pool in a movie there will, inevitably, sooner rather than later, come a moment when someone will be pushed into it (or be found floating dead face down in it, depending on the genre) there is a law which states that any S-type jag seen in any movie of the seventies and eighties will, inevitably, be tangled wreckage by the closing credits. Often the wrecking process will involve a cliff or quarry.
19. The Thing That Couldn't Die
- (MST3K) Another rule of thumb: B-movies with the word 'Thing' in the title are always worth a watch. Unfortunately The Thing That Couldn't Die only seems to be available as a Mystery Science Theatre 3000 episode. I suspect I would have enjoyed this one more without Mike and the Bots.
20. Help! I'm a Fish
- thin story with some nice background painting. A couple of good jokes (I particularly liked the soldier crab marching in six time) but it's got Alan Rickman in it. I could listen to Alan Rickman reading the Ikea catalogue and come away spiritually uplifted.

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