Monday, October 05, 2020

Part Two...


  1. Siren (2010) - three horrible people, played by actors you've never heard of, go on a boat trip somewhere in the Adriatic(?) You can work out the rest given you know the title of the film - and then, once you have, take out all the interesting stuff you came up with and add an evil lesbian because....erm... just because.... Ho hum. Another straight out of the DvD player and into the bin job.
  2. Ator: The Fighting Eagle (1982) - deadly dull Italian barbarian movie which contained the obligatory tribe of Amazons, the obligatory nude bathing scene and more pointless wandering about past the same three bits of vaguely ancient architecture than most films. Like all films of the type the villains wore an interesting selection of face covering helmets with pointy bits on, the women wore their clothing slit to the thigh and the hero had a mullet the size of Bristol Zoo. Half way through I realised I had seen (and own on VHS) the sequel Ator the Invincible (1982)... that was boring too.
  3. The Incredible Melting Man (MST3K)
  4. The Leopard Fist Ninja - More incomprehensible chop-socky from Godfrey Ho
  5.  Revenge of the Drunken Master - which I think has surfeited me on Godfrey Ho WTFery for a while. The moment where our - I want to say 'hero' but he's a mercenary rapist so it's a bit hard to think of him as that - sticks his finger in the other (slightly more heroic) protagonist's belly button for an extended period of time during the prolonged 'climatic' fight with our villain has to be one of the weirdest things I have seen for a while. I really have no idea what kind of Monkey Magic was supposed to be going on but it was fecking surreal. 
  6. French Kiss - an amusing piece of fluff. 
  7. Orange County - after a bizarre and surreal start to the evening - the first film I put in the DVD player was a brand new, still sealed copy of minor Ealing comedy Champagne Charlie. I sat back... only to find the animated French feature Asterix and Cleopatra appeared on the screen. I made sure the TV input was pointing at the player I had put the disc in. (There's a Blu Ray player a DVD, a Firestick, a VHS and several games consoles all capable of playing movies it can choose from.) Yep, Blu-ray player. I took the disk out. Looked at it. It said Champagne Charlie. I put it back in. Asterix and Cleopatra. I took it out again and made sure there wasn't another disc under the one I had just put in. There wasn't. Very odd. So, not really wanting to watch an animated Asterix adventure, I shoved in the first thing from my unwatched pile that didn't have chainsaws, a spooky house, or Will Smith on the front cover. Orange County - one rich kid's struggle with minor adversity which teetered on the edge of being naff with just enough nice moments to keep us interested - until, at the last moment, it fell right off the branch into a deep pool of mawkish sentimentality. In the end our rich kid hero decides that, after all, he doesn't want to go to the prestigious collage he has been frantically desperately disastrously trying to get into for the whole movie and, instead, is going to stay home because he has found that the true meaning of happiness is in the bosom of his family.... at which point Daughter Number One (who is leaving home to go to college next week) snorted "What a total f***&^ing idiot!". And I have to agree with her. It was an MTV production. There was lots of totally unmemorable music shoehorned in at regular intervals. I'd guess they got at least two soundtrack albums out of it. Coincidentally the second Kevin Kline movie in a row. 
  8. Serial Mom - D#1 has been wanting to see this for ages. She's a big John Waters fan. I'd seen it before and was less than enamoured. But I got her a copy. A bit of a dud I thought - the scrappy, endearing amateurism of his earlier movies just got weighed down by the budget. 
  9. Journey to the Seventh Planet - My third or fourth watching of a film that always surprises me by its sheer bloody weirdness. It starts off conventionally enough with a shedload of stock footage as, in the far flung future of 2001AD, the UN world government (who know how to avoid people sniggering at its space program) send a mission to 'Uraahnus' to discover the source of strange pulsating radiation. When the crew arrive they find a lush green environment populated by beautiful women plucked from their memories. An alien being, capable of manipulating their environment by thought alone, is planning on hitching a ride back with them and conquering earth. Unless....
    Its an odd one. Strangely eerie and dreamlike. I'm a great fan of the writer/directors Ib Melchior and Sid Pink who among other delights were responsible in part or whole for Deathrace 2000, Bava's Planet of the Vampires, the very odd Angry Red Planet, The Time Travellers, Robinson Crusoe on Mars and - jings! the IMDb is a dangerous place to poke about in - The Man from O.R.G.Y. a 1970 Man from U.N.C.L.E. sex comedy spoof which I didn't know existed till three minutes ago but now need to see with some urgency. 
  10. The Incinerators (1973) - Holy cow! What a dreadful film. The screenplay-writer of It Came From Outer Space and Creature of the Black Lagoon takes less interesting bits of both of them, using a story that previously served as an episode of early 50s TV show Tales of Tomorrow, and decides he's going to direct with zero budget actors and a really dodgy day for night filter. From what ended up on screen I would guess our director would have been hard put to direct a toothpaste commercial without fucking it up. One of those movies which endless showed you the same shot of the full moon to tell you it was night again - after only a three shot sequence of someone getting into a car in daylight since the last time it was night. It always puzzles me in movies how it can get to be full moon for so long. The Moon only looks really full for one night - three if you push it and don't look too hard - so when a film shows you yet another full moon shot are you supposed to assume it's the next night? or a month later? (That is if the script doesn't explicitly tell you - "The almanac, Watson. Yes! tomorrow night! The moon is full. I shall meet you on the moors and we shall track the beast to its lair!" I have NO idea how long the action of this movie was supposed to have taken.
    11. Journey to the Seventh Planet - again. Twice in one day. This time with Number Two daughter who is sold. 
  11. Time Travelers (1964). Another Ib Melchior - he directed this time too. I watched it with Number One Daughter - me for the umpteenth time and, for her, the first. She liked it. I'd agree (so did she) that the 'comedy' bits were forced and really could have been done away with. The film looks dated but, for the time it was made, it was pretty forward-looking stuff - compared with the run of the mill SF films that had preceded it. One thing I really noticed on this viewing (possibly because I was watching it with my butch, non-girly, teenage daughter) was the positivity of the female characters. The running-away sequence when our hero scientists are escaping the mutants; the only woman in the group out-paces the men. IN HEELS! None of this lagging behind, and tripping over a twig, twisting her ankle and getting rescued crap. When she's threatened by the mutants in the lab she doesn't scream or shrink away but grabs a fire extinguisher and blasts them in the face. When the girl from the future (the one making the eyes played by Playboy model Delores Wells) invites the comedy relief to her cubicle (presumably for a good old shag - given the later dialogue in the nude bathing scene about how she's looking forward to the mini baby boom they will have to create on 'New Earth'). That's incredibly liberated for 1964. The interstellar ship propulsion system is explained to our time travellers (two Ls- we spell it differently in Britain) by the chief female scientist. Thinking about it, there was very little sex differentiation in the jobs people were doing in the future.

    And I still think beating Arthur C Clarke to the realisation that Advanced Tech would be Indistinguishable from Magic by a decade is pretty impressive - you got to admit some of the sleight of hand stuff was fun. I went frame by frame over the moment where the kids picks the instantly-growing orange and passes it to our hero scientist, who then peels it and passes the segments around, a fair few times before I finally got it worked out how that gag was done.

    I like this film - Ib Melchior (the writer director) is one of those guys whose works needs rediscovered.
  12. UP!, a late (1976) Russ Meyer movie with all the usual elements: huge-breasted women, rape, murder, lots and lots of energetic improbable sex and some seriously demented sound editing. The first Russ Meyer movie in which I think he finally got the line of action sorted out in his head and didn't criss-cross it all the time. It was a bit boring. I think I've seen too many of his films. The novelty has worn off. 
  13. The Woman in the Fifth - elliptical French / Polish / British produced arthouse with an American star... and I really no wiser about anything at the end of it. The director seems like an interesting bloke. I watched an interview with him afterwards, the only extra on the disc, in the hope of finding out what it was I was supposed to have got from the film other than, "well that was all very 'arthousey' wasn't it?". I didn't come away any wiser apart from noting his observation that arthouse films have become as stylised as Hollywood films. There are arthouse conventions. "If a character enters the frame you can't cut away until he has left it" being one that I shall watch out for from now on.

  14. Sisters Grimm - another masochistic wallow in the oeuvre of Robbie Moffat who, along with Richard Driscoll, ranks high among the worst directors working in Britain today. Sisters Grimm (not to be confused with the series of kids books by Michael Buckley) is the strangely unengaging tale of two women pirates returning to their ancestral home sometime in the vaguely, ill-defined, early 19th century-ish sort of era ("Ye Olden Days"!) - who find themselves the subjects of a vastly uncomplicated plot by other claimants to scare them off. Plodding and flatly written, delivered with some enthusiasm but not much conviction by Moffat's stock company - the most fun to be had watching this bore was counting the times the director flip flopped his camera across the line of action - even in straightforward, one on one, conversations where both characters stood stock still - and spotting the anachronisms - the close up of the zip on the back of one of the girls' dresses was a classic. As were the speed limit sign in the village street, a tractor in a field in the background, a chain link fence, and the inevitable fitted carpets and electric light switches in the interiors (at least he managed not to shoot any of the hire vans this which he managed to do in one film). My favourite though was the surprised cry of "Gordon Bennett!" that one of the sisters let out at one point. I suppose Moffat (who also writes his tedious films) thought 'Gordon Bennett' sounded a bit Jane Austenish.
  15. Happy is the Bride - Ye Gods! the British cinema-going public were easily amused in 1958. A middle class family have some minor inconveniences planning a wedding before everything is made to turn out all right because the judge, in the final minor inconvenience, turns out to be a friend of the family - the old boys network and all that! - so everyone is jolly nice and English it all gets sorted out.
    All the standard tropes of this sort of piffle are trotted out. Bolshy working class characters who drop tools and go on strike at the drop of a hat, the family cook who's always threatening to leave, the bumbling vicar, the slow, plodding country policeman....

    The film is full of setups for gags, situations, or plot complications that never arrive. For example: Our entitled hero twit's only source of income comes from writing record reviews under a pseudonym (we are told this - we never see him actually do it or indeed see him listen to any records or show ANY interest in music whatsoever). Another character - a flighty young hepcat swingin' chick is dumped into the mix and name drops the twit's pseudonym. "But I am he!" says he. "Man! that's the grooviest!", says she.... and that's the end of that pointless diversion. The film is full of go nowhere moments like that. The other driving force behind the plot is everyone's ability to instantly come to the wrong conclusion or willingness to accept the word of someone who has. So we get the groom's father turning up at the wedding just as some minor crisis is being sorted and because he doesn't get a word in edgeways for a few minutes goes and sits down till things are a bit calmer - this by the way is the only recognisably sensible thing anyone does in the entire film - once the crisis is sorted there is a long painfully unfunny sequence where everyone tries to work out who he is. No one thinks to ASK him. Oh the hilarity.

    The only funny moment that I could find comes near the end when, in the court scene, the policeman dutifully reads out the inane blabberings of our hero from his notes. He's reading them out in a pedantic monotone with pauses as he turns the pages of his note book. It come s across as near incomprehensible rubbish. There's a long pause as the judge tries to digest this information before he turns to the constable and says, "Would you mind repeating that please!" for a moment there was a bit of genuine comedy on screen.
  16. Frank - I like!
  17. Historias Minimas - after spending 20 odd minutes flipping through my 300+ pile of unwatched DVDs and finding dozens and dozens of films I wasn't in the mood for I did the obvious and pulled out the first film I came across I knew absolutely nothing about (and therefore had no preconceived opinions on*) and watched that. It turned out that I was in the mood to watch a gentle Argentinian road movie in which an old man sneaks away from home and hitchhikes 200 miles to see if his dog will forgive him, while a girl from the same town goes to the same city to take part in the cheapest game show ever produced, and a travelling salesman has a continuing anxiety attack about a cake her has bought. Most of the cast had never appeared in a film before. It was slow, and As the title suggests) not a lot happened but it was lovely.

    *Other than I had obviously, at some point in the last 5 or so years, considered it worth buying.
  18. Space Captain: Captain of Space! (2014) - my second zero budget sf comedy in a row (after the abandoned Time Lord - see below). This one was genuinely funny. It had the advantage in that it wasn't an original story but a parody - a very affectionate one - of the Buster Crabbe Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers serials of the 30s. Easy targets yes, but these guys came up with some new and funny twists to well mined material. And used their incredibly limited budget with wit and invention. Some of the jokes you could see coming a mile off but they still ended up making me laugh because this film had what Time Lord didn't. Timing. Space captain Captain of Space is based on a produced play - I don't know how long it ran for however far off Broadway it ran, but playing gags in front of a live paying, audience is THE best way of finding out what works and what doesn't and allows you to tweak things and get them right. I would guess Time Lord went from screenplay to camera without a lot of rehearsal. No one told them how bored they were getting by twitching and shuffling around in their seats and NOT LAUGHING till it was out of the editing suite.
  19. The Hawk and the Dove (2002) - another tedious piece of s**t from the tone dead brain of Robbie Moffat. I really can't understand how anyone could make a film as bas as this and not want to bury it. Let alone claim it had a budget of a million quid.
  20. Die Welt der Wunderlichs (2016) - as part of my 'Teaching myself French by just doing it' thing I watched a German film with French subtitles and, given that my German is totally non-existent and my French has been learned from reading comic books in one hand and a dictionary in the other, I managed pretty well. I'm sure I missed some of the jokes - well, no, I KNOW I missed some of the jokes (unless Germans are prone to fits of mass spontaneous laughter for no reason, which I doubt) but I did get some and I never felt lost. The film was okay: a single mother struggles with her VERY dysfunctional family and takes part in an X-Factor type talent contest. A bit twee and convenient in places but not saccharine. I didn't know any of the faces involved which is always nice. Katharina Schüttler as Mimi - the protagonist mother was wonderful!
  21. Taxi 3 - in French with French subtitles.
  22. Bon Voyage - with #2Daughter and English subtitles! I had no option really the disc only had English subtitles and they weren't switchoffable. Fun film. A straight farce.
  23. North by North West
  24. Event Horizon - oh. boy. That was considerably stinkier than I remember - though I seem to remember I baled out of this one about halfway through the first time I tried to watch it may years ago. The Soundtrack CD (Michael Kamen + Orbital) is pretty good has had a lot of play round JunkMonkey Mansions over the years. But having spent 33p of the sucker in a charity shop's "3 for a quid" DVD shelf the other day (the other two were Maiwenn's Polisse and the two disc, second half of Kieslowski's Dekalog - kaching! Best pound I spent all week!) I felt it was time I gave it another go. Stinky but, f nothing else, watching it confirmed a resolution I made many years ago that, if I ever got to make a bad film, I would avoid including any overt references to other films. Twice during this sucker I was presented with very blatant references to SF movie classics - Forbidden Planet and Solaris - and both times I thought: 1: "Yeah, OK, right thank you, mister director, we know you've watched some films before you got a chance to make make one." and 2: "Why am I watching this s**t when I could be watching Forbidden Planet - or Solaris?". Some of the set design is pretty groovy.
  25. Charade - with Number Two daughter. Now Number One Daughter has left home my movie watching habits have had to change. Things like Tokyo Gore Police and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre are just going to have to wait on the TBW pile till she comes home on holiday as Number Two just likes 'nicer' films.
  26. Thor: Ragnarok - Number Two Daughter gets to chose a movie. I've not seen it before - I think this was her third time. And it was a blast. I loved it. I'm pretty much done with Superhero movies (about two thirds the way through Guardians of the Galaxy 2 at the cinema I thought, 'That's it. I'm fed up with this bollocks') but this was just so funny!
  27. L'appartement - A rewatch. On a second viewing after a gap of several years I'm not sure I am as impressed as I was the first time. The first half of the movie is great: intriguing, romantic, sexy, complex... but as it went on layering more and more intrigue, romance, sex, and complexity on top it just got too much. Too artificial. In the end I just didn't care.
  28. Excalibur - Another off my long-term Need to See list. I loved it.
  29. Fun With Dick and Jane - the original. I have no desire to see the remake.
  30. Alice
  31. The Trip -1967 written by Jack Nicholson directed by Roger Corman. There is somewhere, I'm sure, a list of films that claim to have the largest number of cuts. This must be well up there. There are great chunks of this film that must have been 90% splicing tape. The neg cutter on this must have had a hell of a job. Though as I typed that I realised there is no way that great chunks of this could have been cut on negative. There are dozens if not hundreds of one, two, or three frame edits in some sequences. My guess is they made a negative from the edited workprint and cut that into the more conventionally edited main footage. Trite story with some groovy visuals - a lot of them done in-camera.

Abandoned in September: Time Lord (2011) unrelenting, semi-amateur, all green screen SF Comedy with a just-out-of-school cast which might have made a funny little short but at the 60 minute mark and with another 40 to go finally became too tedious to bother with. Too much yadda yadda yadda and none of it funny enough to be worth listening too.


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