Sunday, December 17, 2017

2017 Movie Diary (Part 3 of 4)


  1. King Kong Lives! - Oh gods that was terrible! I don't think I have spent so much time watching people staring up at the top corners of the screen (cut to an up angle of an actor in monkey suit then back again) than I have in the last 100 minutes.
  2. Sexy Killer - Spanish slasher/zombie flick that played for laughs (and sometimes got them) whilst throwing all sorts of trick and ticks at the screen - the protagonist is constantly breaking the fourth wall - she rewinds the film at one point, takes part in a commercial break, and is in a split screen chase sequence. Not sure I'm ever going to want to watch it again.
  3. 800 Balas (800 Bullets) - Spanish homage to the Spaghetti westerns of old which would have been a lot better if it had slowed down occasionally. It was relentlessly fast even when nothing much was happening. One thing I did learn though though. In Spanish cinema it is perfectly acceptable to have scenes in which a 10 year old boy fondles the naked breasts of the attractive young woman trying to seduce him, and later be shown in bed (full clothed) next to her (fully naked). Why did I never get acting gigs like that?
  4. Shiri an over-long, pointlessly violent Korean thriller that signalled every 'twist' so far ahead that you didn't notice them when they arrived.
  5. 9 1/2 Ninjas - one of the unfunniest 'comedies' I think I have ever seen. Made by people who presumably had seen a couple of Zucker Brothers movies, thought, "That looks easy!" and then found out it wasn't.
  6. 976 Evil 2: The Astral factor - pretty meh sequel to a film I've not seen that had one really nice inventive moment. A secondary character gets sucked into a TV she had been watching (a la Pleasantville) and becomes part of the final scenes of public domain movie It's A Wonderful Life which suddenly segues into the, equally public domain, Night Of The Living Dead.
  7. Desert Warrior (1988) - another Post-Apocalyptical Mad Maxican riot in which Lou 'The Hulk' Ferrigno struts his stuff. Mad Max trope points are clocked up with incredible rapidity, desert environment, vehicles with too many roll bars and/or spikes, people standing in said vehicles as they move, character in eyepatch, fingerless gloves, and a fight to the death in an arena all hit the screen in the first few minutes. After that it was watching people in helmets - lots and lots of face-obscuring, reuse-the-same-extras-in-a-different-costume, helmets in this film - walking up and down corridors or across vast tracts of desert. Lots of walking in this film. Lots and lots of 'getting from here to there as slowly as you can to pad out the running time', walking. My heart would fall every time we cut to a wide shot of desert with a figure on the extreme edge of the frame because you knew what you would be looking at for the next couple of hours... (I exaggerate for comic effect. But not much.) Interspersed with all this walking were scenes liberally sprinkled with TERRIBLE acting. Real junior school, end of term show level, "Yes!... I will Now. Say my. Line!" acting - from grown ups! I don't think it was supposed to be funny. (But then the 'laser guns' in this film actually do go, 'pew! pew!', so maybe it was.) I do know the first time director has never helmed anything else for which, I guess, we must be thankful.

  8. Waxworks - a better than I was expecting horror which, though not brilliant, was far better than it had any right to be. Mind you, most things with David Warner in them are.
  9. Autómata - one of those not bad SF films which seems to have missed it's audience (or vice versa). Unfortunately for Autómata it was released around the same time as the similarly themed Ex_Machina. Ex_Machina is certainly a better film, but as an entry in the When Does Machine Sentience Start? genre this deserves a look. Well worth the £1 I paid for it on eBay. Stylistically it's very obviously (shamelessly?) influenced by Blade Runner but there are some knowing nods to other less obvious SF films too: Logan's Run and Cherry 2000 to name but two.
  10. Ender's Game - Lots of SFX.  I didn't like the book.  I didn't like this.
  11. Trans Europ Express - Once banned in the UK, now rather tame, piece of erotic French weirdness.
  12. It Came From Outer Space
  13. Alienate -
  14. Coherence (2013) - I like it! This may need rewatched and pretty soon too. Now here's a thing. I watched both this and Alienate on the same day. They have similarities. Both are low budget sf films which focus on the actions of individuals trying to survive and understand the extraordinary (mostly offscreen) events that have radically altered their lives. Both have a failed/failing relationship at their core. After watching Alienate for about an hour I was driven to turn on the On Screen Display of my DVD player to find out how much more there was to go before it ended. Only 36 minutes had elapsed. After watching Coherence I was amazed to find it had a running time of 124 minutes. I would have sworn it was only 80/ 90 minutes long.
  15. Mulholland Drive - David Lynch's best watched with Number One Daughter.  I had forgotten quite how much sex there was in it.  It's more than slightly uncomfortablemaking watching lesbian sex scenes with your gay daughter.
  1. Lady from Shanghai -
  2. Bellville Rendez-vous -
  3. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind -
  4. The Sinister Urge - (MST3K) an Ed Wood I have never seen before. (Well, most of it I had never seen before, some chunks of this one did turn up in other Ed Wood films - or vice versa). Joined, halfway through, by Number 2 Daughter who has never come across MST3K before and is, I suspect, an instant fan.
  5. Manos Hands of Fate (MST3K) - I was right.
  6. Reno 911 Miami - well that was pretty shit.  A big screen outing for a TV show I had never seen more than clips of before.  I guess I must have seen some of the more subtle, funnier bits or the film upped the squirm levels because this was just garbage.
  7. Around the World in 80 Days - silly fun.
  8. The Flesh and Blood Show - Pete Walker's first 'horror' film. He got better.
  9. Attenberg - Greek arthouse film about a father daughter relationship. It worked.
  10. The Evil Cult (aka lots of other titles) - OTT hyper-chopsocky capers with Jet Li and Chingmy Lau. I had NO idea what was happening for more than 45 seconds at a time. Utterly bewildering and thoroughly enjoyable.
  11. King of the Zombies (1941) - a creaky old Republic which some people laud as being subversively anti racist. (For its time.)
  12. Anti Matter (2016) - low budget British SF. Smart stuff. I liked it.
  13. Police Story 2 - Jackie Chan at his finest.
  14. Plankton (aka Creatures from the Abyss) Italian horror crap that made Troll 2 look well made. Five 'teenagers' find a (seemingly) abandoned boat in the middle of the ocean and the local fish - which have been lunching on radioactive plankton and thus mutated into hyper-sexual flying fish with a taste for human flesh - eat them.
    But not soon enough.

    The gratuitous nude shower scene was a brief but welcome relief. (The actress's only screen credit. Presumably - given the rest of her performance - she went back to something a lot less intellectually challenging than standing still in a bikini and fondling her breasts in the shower.)
  15. The Machine (2013) - yet another addition to the 'When does an attractive 'female' robot (called Eva or Ava*) become sentient?' genre. This time, I'm sorry to say, I didn't buy it. The script wasn't tight enough and I didn't believe in any of the characters at all... until the final couple of shots and the last line. Then, suddenly, just as the film ended, there was a little moment of a really great movie shining through but I doubt it was worth the effort getting there. Not sure the obvious reference to HAL's "I'm afraid!" line as the robot has its personality wiped helped. It's always dangerous to remind the audience about better films they could be watching instead of yours.
    * For some reason they are never called 'Beatrice', or 'Hortense', or 'Hildegard', or any of the million other perfectly respectable women's names nearly always 'Eve' or 'Eva' with the occasional 'Maria' thrown in.
  16. Brotherhood of the Wolf - a bit over-long mashup of French historical swashbuckler, choppy socky martial arts, and monster on the lose genres all mixed up with the sort of religious secret society skulduggery that seems to crop up in French fiction more often than anywhere else. Not as big as the sum of the parts but entertaining enough. (Some of the more entertaining parts belonged to Monica Bellucci.)
  1. Dune (for the umpteenth time) with Number One daughter (who was seeing it for the first time). Much hilarity was had.
  2. The Other Side of the Bed (2002 aka El otro lado de la cama) - meh!  Spanish sex comedy musical which got very repetitive.
  3. Snow White and the Huntsman -
  4. Fantastic Four (2015) - oh wow! It actually makes the 2005 version look good! I had bought the copy we watched in a charity shop for a quid back when it was first out. I mean, how bad does a film have to be that you find the thing on sale second-hand in charity shops the week it is released on DVD? My curiosity wasn't piqued enough to actually watch the thing though and it's languished in my 300+ disc pile of unwatched movies till I mentioned this to Daughter Number Two who, being my daughter, is developing a great taste in crap films. And suddenly it became a MUST SEE NOW! movie.
    The answer to the question "I mean, how bad does a film have to be...?" is 'Bad'. Very Very Bad. I think my moment of realisation of how truly awful the film was was the moment it dawned on me that the actor playing the teen Reed at the science fair was IT. He was our hero. He wasn't a stepping stone between the child actor playing kid Reed inventing stuff in his garage, and some other older actor playing grown-up, mature hero Reed. 'This speccy dweeb is our lead?' I thought, 'You're kidding me?!'. I'm sure the kid is a decent actor, and I'm sure he is a nice person but he was woefully miscast.

    As for the convolutions the script had to go through to get a black actor into the mix the less said the better. It would have been much simpler to dump the brother sister relationship (which played little to no significant part in the story anyway) and get rid of all the adoption bullshit they had to nail on to get it to work. The script had no problems with dumping other huge chunks of the 'canon' - why not this one?

    Truly Bad.
  5. Slaughter High - pretty shitty slasher film in which a bunch of British Actors, all way too old to play teenagers, try to keep their 'American' accents under some kind of control while reading lines written by someone who had watched a lot of old movies.
  6. The Class of 1999 - cliché heavy late 80's sf high school gang warfare crap.
  7. The Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) - the best. The final scene gave me horrors just like it did the first time I saw it, back when it came out. That time I didn't know it was coming, this time I did and it still got me. It got Number One Daughter too who was genuinely terrified at the end. I love being a dad.
  8. Martian Land - It's not great, in fact it's a pretty naff piece of junk but by, low budget (Sharknado) production company, The Asylums's standards it's a masterpiece.
    The plot is unfocused and all over the place and doesn't make much sense from one minute to the next. Most of the acting is one note (but then so are the characters so it's hardly ALL the actors fault - some of the dialogue is execrable) and some of the acting is okay. (The stand out was Arianna Afsar who did a pretty good job with a minimum of material.) The SFX are not terrible. All in all, the usual. Ho Hum.

    But there is one aspect to the film which was refreshing. The two young women trapped at the start of the film, and who have to make their way through the course of the film from point A to Point B to do something important - are a couple. They're a lesbian couple. And nothing much is made of it. It's not played up for titillation. It's not polemical. That they are gay is not a problem for the characters, or anyone they encounter. It just is. They're gay - so what? Background stuff - and they both survive to end of the film!

    Martian Land not going to win any GLAAD awards but Yaaaaay! it's a step!
  9. Wishing Stairs (2003) - I dip my toe again into the waters of Korean Ghost/Horror. Set in an all girl High School for the arts, Wishing Stairs is a tale of mild lesbian obsession, ballet, sculpture, and psychotic haunting that reminded me of a sort of Asian Bunty story gone wrong. The Four Marys at Slaughter High. I came out of it slightly baffled.
  10. Whispering Corridors - more ghastly Korean schoolgirly ghostliness. I liked it.
  11. Love and Other Catastrophies - a repeat watching of a lovely little Australian film about student life (including a happy lesbian couple for a change) prompted by my having bought the director's only other feature (Strange Planet) the other week.

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

eXTReMe Tracker