Saturday, December 16, 2017

2017 Movie Diary (part 2 of  4)


  1. Hackers -  An early example of Hollywood not really getting the newly fangled internet thing. Notable mostly these days for containing a brief (but I would imagine well-thumbed) shot of Angelina Jolie's tits.
  2. Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
  3. The Three Musketeers - I'm glad my critical faculties are still working. I got to the end of it thought, "Well that was pretty crap", then discovered it was a Paul W S Anderson movie. (I doubt if I would bothered watching at at all if I had known beforehand.) Some nice set design and locations but other than that utterly avoidable.
  4. Gappa The Triphibian Monster - I have seen many Japanese rubber monster movies but none quite as boring and pointless as this one.
  5. A Midsummer Night's Dream
  6. Source Code
  7. The Card
  8. The Lavender Hill Mob
  9. 2001: A Space Odyssey -
  10. Bill - Weekly family movie choice of Mrs JunkMonkey
  11. Airplane! - not as funny as I remember.
  12. The Shaun the Sheep Movie - I was forbidden by my 8 year old son from choosing "anything with spaceships and explosions in" for my turn in the weekly family movie. Great fun.
  13. Human Lanterns ( Ren pi deng long(original title) - a weird mixture. Almost like a kung-fu remake of a Italian giallo version of Yojimbo. Bits of it were very very odd. I liked it.
  1. Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 2 (2017) - and Marvel Studios make ANOTHER over-long violent film about a dysfunctional father/son relationship that ends in two white men having a fist fight during a Big Dumb Light Show during which all the major characters get to discover the true 'meaning of family' by robbing others of the opportunity of finding it by killing them.
  2. Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003) - by the numbers sequel with far too many - "erm... how did they know that?" leaps of movie logic to keep me interested.
  3. Gods and Monsters - fictionalised account of the last days of James Whale shared with No.1 Daughter. Both of us were in tears at the end of it. And:
  4. Bride of Frankenstein - James Whales's 1935 masterpiece, much referenced in Gods and Monsters. Not a bad double bill.
  5. Jupiter Ascending (2015) - !!!! I haven't laughed at a film so much for ages.  Oh dear gods a hilariously bad film which plays with the Fortian 'we are all property' idea and the earth is due to be harvested by the aliens who own the planet.  Unfortunately for the film (though this is the least of its problems) the chief baddy is played by Eddie Redmayne who obviously channelled Dangermouse bad guy Baron Greenback as his inspiration. And whose volume control goes from one to eleven without ever touching the sides. A Razzie Award winner as  Worst Supporting Actor
  6. Hollywoodland - A detective fantasy about the death of George Reeves (TV's Superman) which was well made, impeccably acted, terrifically dressed (Hollywood in the 50s without going overboard), and just didn't connect with me. I wanted to like it but it just didn't engage.
  7. The Adventures of Pricilla Queen of the Desert - Number One Wife's favourite movie shared with Number One Daughter who loved it.
  8. Le Voyage de James à Jérusalem - delightful little film about a devout young African Christian discovering the realities of life in the modern 'Holy Land'. This is why I buy movies in charity shops that I have never heard of. (And in this instance I could only just about read the blurb as it was in French.) Sometimes, just sometimes, you find wee gems.
  9. Fiend Without a Face - funny (bad funny) British 'horror' film set around a US Air Force base in Canada (?) commanded by someone who refers to himself as 'an army man' (sic). Atomic-powered mental vampires suck the brains and spinal cords out of a bunch of not very good actors with very variable 'American' accents.
  10. Creature From the Haunted Sea - I indulge my 15 year old daughter's fascination with the films of Roger Corman.
  11. The Head
  12. The Brain the Wouldn't Die - a double dose of women getting full body transplants. The Head was the winner by far. I really need to see the full uncut undubbed version - if it still exists.
  13. The Deal - I think I could watch William H Macy read a telephone book out loud and find it fascinating.
  14. Blood the Last Vampire - a live action adaptation of a Manga I had never heard of starring an 'Asian Superstar' I had never heard of. Wall to wall, ADHD, 'action' which stopped from time to time to let the heroine do that over the shoulder not quite looking into camera shot that Manga (and their live action adaptations love so much). There are few shots towards the end, as the Katana wielding, demi-demon heroine finally gets to confront her Nemesis that are trippily, visually interesting but it's not worth the effort to get there.
  15. Alien Infiltration (aka Alien Opponent) - a would-be science fiction, straight to eBay, horror-comedy. Which failed to make the grade in any category. (Apart from the eBay bit: 75p including postage? - I should have known better.)

    The 'plot'. An alien crash lands in a rural junkyard and gets between some greedy arseholes and the body of the man they've murdered. They need the body to make an insurance claim. In frustration they do what everyone would do under the circumstances - go on television and offer a huge reward to anyone who can retrieve their victim. The rest of the film is spent watching the 'hilarity' that ensues as wannabee body retrievers run around getting shot in the head, eaten by alien parasites, electrocuted sawn in half by robots etc. etc. In one, played-for-a-laugh, scene a group of small children are sliced into pieces with an alien monofilament wire. Oh what fun.

    What makes the thing even worse than it sounds is that it's all so badly done, so irredeemably bad in fact, that it made Roddy Piper, the biggest name in the show and obviously just phoning in his part, look like a serious actor. Roddy PIPER! I really hope I don't see anything quite as shitty as this for the rest of the year.
  1. Romeo & Juliet (2013) - I am a real sucker when it comes to Romeo and Juliet. I don't think I have seen a version where the final scenes haven't reduced me to tears. Hell, I was wiping away the tears during Shakespeare in Love. This version however let me down. I just couldn't wait for them to die so the film would be over. I console myself with the fact that there's very little of Shakespeare left in here apart from the bare bones of the story and some of the famous bits you think you can quote. (Quite often very weirdly delivered. "I AM Fortune's fool!", "I am Fortune's FOOL!", "I am FORTUNE'S fool!", however you say that line it means something: for me it's Romeo's realisation of what he has just done. " I am such an IDIOT!"? - not here it doesn't; here it comes over as just another line to deliver. ) On the plus side the costumes, sets and location work were very good. But when you have one of the greatest love stories ever told being played out and you find yourself more interested in the scenery, or noting that just about everyone who gets on a horse can ride better than the actor playing Romeo, then you are in big trouble. Paul Giamatti adds some acting (seriously lacking elsewhere in the cast) and the editor provides one of THE ugliest jump cuts I think I have ever seen in a film. As Romeo walks towards Juliet in the crypt there is a cut, right down the line of action, between a shot of him walking away from the camera to one where he is walking directly towards the camera that made me exclaim out loud, it hurt so much. No, I didn't cry in this version. But everyone on screen did. Every other shot, it seemed, someone was dropping a tear from one eye or another. Everone got in on the act. Even poor Mr Giamatti had a crystick rubbed on his cheeks and had to look agonised as the the tears welled up. The best tears in the show though were the one painted onto Juliet's face in one scene. She's lying on her back and the tears just sit there, painted on, looking very thick - and with a bit of a matt finish. How not to film Shakespeare 101.
  2. The Naked Gun - for once a film that IS as funny as I remember.
  3. Sorority Party Massacre - a 2012 'comedy' slasher that just misses being the crappest film of the year so far by having more gratuitous nudity than last month's contender, Alien Infiltration. I really find it hard to believe that adults are involved in the production of shit like this.
  4. Fear Chamber (1968) - Boris Karloff's last film. Made in Mexico it is an extraordinary film lots of bad and incoherence mixed in with a few moment of utterly wonderful weirdness. The basic plot is that a kindly old prof. (Karloff) discovers a rock-based life form deep within a volcano. The rock can only live and grow by being fed a chemical found within the brains of terrified women (!) so the doctor obliges. Not wishing to actually kill anyone he somehow contrives, in the space of a jump cut, to start an employment agency/hostel for foreign women with a medieval dungeon, and high-tech lab in the cellar. The rest of the film is an amazing farrago of pseudo-science, sadism, and weird editing involving a creepy sunglasses wearing turbaned Indian, dwarf murdering, revolving bedrooms, lecherous Lesbian whippings, strip tease, kidnapping, skeletons in wigs, exploding computers and some of the most gloriously bonkers editing I have ever witnessed (and I worked on a Donald Camell movie!). At one point I was convinced a sequence had been shot by having the cast playing catch with the camera. In the end our kindly prof., realising the true import of his deeds, destroys the sentient rock by playing all the computer records he made of its growth backwards at it thus reducing it to a mere sample, easily destroyed with a hammer. Probably the most ludicrous, Get Out of Jail Free science fiction ending ever. Entropy reversal by data rewind playback. It's like making the whole of World War Two disappear by reading The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich backwards.
  5. Return to Oz - And I have a new favourite Disney movie. It used to be Dragonslayer - the only Disney film in which the princess gets eaten - but now it's this very odd Oz sequel. There were dull moments but enough extraordinary imagery to keep me more than happy. The scene where Dorothy steals the powder and the princess's heads all start screaming gave me the genuine whim-whams. A lot scarier and unsettling than anything in the Fear Chamber.
  6. Missile to the Moon - a rewatch with Number one Daughter of one of my favourite of the 'First Men on the Moon Meet an All Female Society Dressed in Swimwear' genre (there are more of them than you would imagine). If nothing else I treasure this film for the most genius bits of American Desk Drawer Acting ever.
  7. (The following is from my film diary back in 2008:)
      "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..."

  8. Car Wash - Daughter Number One's rather odd choice for the Friday Night Family film.
  9. Stop Making Sense - Talking heads in concert - what can be better than that? - watching it tonight I realised that if James brown is indeed the 'Godfather of Soul' then David Byrne is the 'Godfather of Dad Dancing' and I was struck by the utter drop-dead gorgeousness of backing singer Ednah Holt[​IMG]
    - that's her on the left: Fwaarrrrr!
  10. Shock Treatment - the 'sequel' to the Rocky Horror Picture Show. A mess.
  11. The House by the Cemetery - another off the infamous DPP, 1983 list of 'video nasties'. Can't say I feel that depraved or edified after watching it. A bit bored maybe.
  12. Brazil - Gilliam's best. I've been wanting to rewatch this one for a while but been too worried that it might not live up to my memory of it. I needn't have feared. It was better than I remember.

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