Crashing bore post time again. Every film I watched in April.
- Despicable Me (2010) - Enjoyable, with the kids, movie . I suspect I would have found it funnier if I hadn't seen Megamind recently.
- Spirited Away (2001) - A Pizza night re-watch with the kids. Number One Daughter wanted to watch it in Japanese with subtitles but was overruled (strange child).
- Dead Fire (1997) - Over-long, dull, made-for-TV piece of shit that, as a plot twist, had twin brothers sharing the same first name (huh?) and had more than its usual share of clichéd shit, 'Sci-Fi', shit clichés. The name C Thomas Howell, and the words 'Ruthless space terrorists' appeared on the DVD case; and that's about all you need to know really. Oh, and there was a futuristic prison sequence too - always a sign of grade A crap.
- Pandorum (2009) - By gum! I just watched a movie with Paul W.S. Anderson's name in the credits without wanting to throw things at the screen at any point. SF horror nonsense that made sense - almost - and made me jump frequently.
- Cat Women of the Moon (1953) - finally! After falling asleep more times than I want to think about, I finally get to the end ofCat Women of the Moon. I've seen it before but this time I couldn't sit down to watch it without falling asleep. I've been trying for days to get to the end of it but ZZzzzzzzzz every time. Was it worth it?Almost certainly not.
- Franklyn ( 2008 ) - now if Neil Gaiman had really written this and Terry Gilliam had really directed it this might have had the makings of a crackingly weird little film. As it is, it looks like a bad pastiche mashup of Brazil, Neverwhere, and The Fisher King with an undercooked script that started of enigmatically, became tedious, and then obvious. Sort of like a Radio 4 afternoon play with a shitload of SFX. The design elements were great; the story bored the pants off me
Lottery funding was involved. My heart is starting to sink every time I see that National Lottery logo in the opening credits.
- Tooth (2004) - A tooth fairy, leaves a gazzillion dollars under a little girl's pillow instead of the usual quarter, thus bankrupting Fairytopia and putting Christmas in danger. As a cynical old fart I thought it was a real bollocks of a film with a rotten, erratic, nonsensical story line and not enough of anything (humour, adventure, pathos, romance etc.) to make it at all interesting. My kids, on the other hand, laughed like drains all the way through. I guess I wasn't the target audience. I love hearing my kids laugh - even that weird snorting one that Daughter Number One does from time to time - so I enjoyed it despite myself.
- Confessions of a Window Cleaner (1974) - 'British Sex comedies of the Seventies', words that should strike heart into the terror of everyone. If anyone asks me, "So what was so amazing about punk?" I'll show them this film and say, "Because this is what it was like before." On every level of everything this film is shite; the writing makes the average Carry-on film look like Oscar Wilde.
It's boggling to think, in these days of wall to wall internet porn, that the British were so uptight about nudity in 1974 that this un-erotic, flaccid parading of boobs, bums and the occasional flash of pubes got an 18 certificate. Even more boggling is the fact that enough people rushed to their local flea pits, macs on their laps, to make three sequels possible. Another 25p well spent in the Save the Children shop; I hope all those kids in Africa appreciate the pain I go through to keep them supplied with clean water, pencils, and rudimentary health care.Best Bit of the Whole Film.
- The Entity (1982) - a movie with it's own built-in sequel. The first half is terrific and builds up a nice frisson as Barbara Hershey puts a damn good performance as a single mum terrorised by an unseen supernatural force; and director Sidney J. Furie crams more Dutch angles into a movie than is humanly possible. Is all this supernatural stuff real? Is she really being repeatedly raped by a creature from another dimension? Or could the earnest, young psychologist be right and it's all in her head? It's gripping stuff. I really didn't know which way it would go and was made to jump several times. Great stuff. I was loving it.
I was loving it right up until the moment, almost exactly half way through the film, when someone else sees a manifestation. Suddenly the whole film collapses into a really stinky mess of para-psychological balderdash and ropey special effects with our heroine ending up in a giant laboratory, running around a mock-up of her own house, being chased by a vast, ceiling-mounted, liquid helium spraying 'entity' freezing machine that, with the inevitability of crap movie logic, 'the entity' has taken over.
If you get a chance watch this, do so. The first half is great. Stay with it till the moment when she's sobbing "You saw it! You saw it!" onto her friend's shoulder; that's the end of the movie. The sequel is crap.
(It occurred to me a day later that the second half does contain one piece of genius film-making. Whether it's terrible one sided telephone conversations (with actors repeating what the unseen participant in the conversation is telling them), or the frantic redressing of the same short corridor for endless Doctor Who type running around, it's always interesting to see the ways film makers manage to cut corners and save money. In The Entity the climax takes place in a vast laboratory in which there is a stark white mock-up of the house that has featured so prominently in the first half of the film. I feel really dumb but it took me 24 hours to realise the 'vast laboratory' was in fact the studio in which the film was shot and the 'mock-up of the house' was the half-finished, unpainted set. Clever. It's still crap though.)
- V for Vendetta (2006) - That was fun.
- Best Worst Movie (2009) - I was really in two minds about watching this. As someone who watches and enjoys deriding low budget hopeless movies I wasn't sure if a documentary film about the cast and crew of the execrable Troll 2 was something I could comfortably watch. For years I've enjoyed laughing at hapless and inept film makers. Presented with the opportunity to see a film made by the star of one of those films ,as he interviews the other members of the cast, left me nervous. What if they came over as genuine nice people who were bewildered and upset by the odium heaped on them. What if I felt sorry for them and started to question the strange enjoyment I got from watching ineptly made movies. I had a real fear that I would end up finding I was guilty of laughing at those who were to be pitied rather than scorned. I needn't have worried. Most of the people who were interviewed were in on the bad movie joke too and enjoyed it just as much as the audience. Best Worst Movie is not the greatest documentary feature (just as Troll 2 is not the best worst movie ever made) but it is a well made piece of work and gives some nice insights into the fleeting fame that comes with being in a cheap, badly made horror movie.
- Innocent Blood (1992) - incredibly dull John Landis 'comedy horror' featuring vampire gangsters. In itself an amusing enough idea but I don't think I have looked at my watch so often during a film for ages. It seemed endless; a 30 minute's worth of story plot padded out with another 80 minutes of... well, padding. I am formulating a new rule, any film that has a cameo from Forrest J Ackerman in it is automatically shit. (Damn! I just went through his IMDb list and he was in Queen of Blood and The Time Travelers both of which were oddly good but all the other films on his list that I have seen Dracula vs. Frankenstein, Equinox, The Kentucky Fried Movie, Amazon Women on the Moon, Future War - oh God! I'd forgotten that one - are crap. Especially Future War; that WAS shit.) Okay, a new rule, How about this? Any film with cameos from three or more directors in it is automatically shit. (Frank Oz, Sam Raimi, and Dario Argento all popped up in this one - so did Alfred Hitchcock via the medium of a clip from Strangers on a Train appearing on a TV a character was watching.)
- Intrigue (1988 ) - a not very intriguing low-key, made for TV, spy movie with an American agent getting a former colleague back across the Iron Curtain. The emphasis is on character rather than plot (no explosions or car chases but lots of sitting on trains talking about 'the old days' - at one point a Russian agent complains about having to pay for his own dry cleaning). The emphasis on character does leave a couple of the plot points to just appear out of nowhere. Coincidentally the second film in a row to feature Robert Loggia.
- Steel Frontier (1995) - a perfect 'widget movie'. A 'widget movie' (a term I have, as far as I know, just invented) is a film made by a competent crew who turn up on time in the mornings, do what they do till the end of the day, and then go back to their homes or hotels, then don't think about work until they clock on again the next day. It's just a job. What they do to pay the bills. They might as well be making widgets on a production line. Watching a widget movie feels like work too. .
In this one the usual Post-Apoc grunge costumes and scrapyard setbuilding is slapped onto a by-the-numbers spaghetti western plot. It's a post apoc America, populated by well fed, clean haired Americans with nice teeth, a lone drifter comes into a peaceful town taken over by rampaging psychotics (I wonder sometimes if the actors playing these parts ever get fed up of laughing all the time?) he kills all the bad guys. The End. There's lots of guns, lots of explosions, an attractive widow with a son, a few half-hearted attempts at making the central hero a Christ figure (albeit hip-firing a 50mm machine gun), lots of vehicles crashing into one another (after sometimes passing the same abandoned cars on the side of the road several time first. Maybe the drivers were getting dizzy from driving around in circles and lost control) and it's all very boring.
It's one of those films where you know the trailer started with deep trailer voice man saying, "In a world where....", and, a few words later, continued with, "Only one man..."
- Hemoglobin (1997 aka Bleeders and The Decendent) - For some inexplicable reason the authorities decide to dig up all the graves on a remote Canadian island and relocate the bodies to the mainland. (Did our helpful, exposition dropping, boatman really tell the protagonists it was because the funeral director had been caught using 'substandard wood' in the coffins? or did I just dream it? - anyway, the upshot of this sudden removal of bodies is that the local population of inbred troglodytes, the descendants of that well-known source of all evil, the Dutch aristocracy, is deprived of their sole source of nutrition. Rutger Hauer gets to dissect a hermaphrodite that fell into a boat's propeller; and another character eats a pickled foetus; two sets of twins have sex (one set of twins is played by one woman donning a fake moustache and licking her own body-double's chest) and the audience wonders how 94 minutes can pass so sodding slowly. The pace was leaden. I think they were going for -- actually I have no idea what they were going for but I don't think dullness is what they intended. Plod plod plod. The trailer does the whole movie in two minutes - chest licking included.
- Back to the Future - Pizza night with the kids and on a second viewing I was struck by what an incredibly well-constructed script this film had. Really well done all round, the kids loved it but were a bit worried by all the 'swearing'.
- Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989) - What a pile of arse! I loathe Star Trek - Why I seek out Star Trek movies and subject myself to them is a mystery that I have spent a lot of time thinking about over the years - and I am no nearer to an answer than when I started. I think this is the last of them I had to watch. I hope so. Most Star Trek movies are bollocks from beginning to end. This one didn't even manage to be bollocks. It was just undescended testicles.