should be ashamed
Join Date: 19 Oct 2005
Location: Highlands of Scotland
Re: Filmlist 2016
- Stargate - Shared with Number Two daughter (aged 11). Many years since I have seen it and better than I remembered. Maybe this is because I was watching the Director's Cut for the first time - or because my memory is faulty who knows?
- Adjustment Bureau - talk about Deus Ex Machina endings!
- Species 3 - What a piece of crap! Though why I was expecting anything else I have no idea. The previous two were dreadful enough. I watched it only as some weird completist self-flagellation. The first one was terrible (my tolerance for Michael Madsen is VERY limited but Natasha Henstridge's norks kept my interest) Species 2 was worse (but ditto norks) but 3 is an almost unwatchable, by the numbers, straight-to-video piece of poo which strained even my bad movie junky patience
- Species 4: The Awakening - amazingly (to me anyway) much better than number three. The script still didn't make a whole lot of sense and characters flipped flopped their motivation and pulled "OMG now we have to..." plot points out of nowhere to keep the story going - but there were attempts to make the characters deeper and give them some less than clichéd moral dilemmas which lasted longer than a few seconds. (The scene in number 2 where the brilliant young graduate student goes from discovering the prof's body to acquiescing in the cover up of the murder and continuing the illegal and dangerous research that lead to it in less than a minute was laughably awful.)
Number 4 was the same formula reworked ('sexy' alien, tits, and sex in rubber fetish monster suits with lots of bloody penetration of males by 'women') but the cinematography and editing here were pretty damn good. Far better than the the material warranted.
- Queen of the Damned - I've never seen Interview with a Vampire, to which this is the sequel, but I quite liked this. Some great set design and flowing camera work. Lots of decadent loucheness flopping out of the screen. Not sure I followed the logic of it at times (judging by the extras whole subplots had been filmed and abandoned in the edit). Why, for instance, is Lestat making such a big deal about trying to make contact with other vampires (while giving them a reason to hate him) when he (and they) seem perfectly happy for him to hang out in one of their coven/clubs? Not great but better than Meh.
- Cinderella (2015) - the Friday Night Family Movie choice of Number Two Daughter. And it was pretty good. I enjoyed it a lot more than I was expecting. Nice to see a Disney Princess movie in which the 'magic' and cute animals were kept under control and the human drama was not too mawkish.
If they hadn't shoehorned the usual fucking awful, Disney Princess, 'Follow Your Heart and Dream the Dream' love song in under the end titles I would have been happier
- Carry On... Up the Khyber - slumming it with the kids. Their first Carry On film. Much giggling.
- The Doll Squad (1973) - a Ted V 'Astro-Zombies' Mikels film about a bunch of bikini wearing CIA operatives taking on a rogue agent and his army of paunchy disposable henchmen. Utter shite. Apart from the bikini wearing bits. (By which I mean the bits of the film in which the women wear bikinis are all right, not that the bits covered by the... oh, I don't know...)
Mind you, what they wear when they're not wearing bikinis is another reason for welcoming them wearing fewer clothes.
and yes, that is seersucker.
- Scott Pilgrim vs The World - Friday Night Family Film choice of Number One Daughter (after I threw it at her and said 'how about this?') who laughed like a drain all the way through it. A hit. On a road trip the next day she and my wife practically recreated the whole movie at random by quoting vast chunks of the dialogue at each other. This was after they'd sung the entire soundtrack to the Rocky Horror Picture Show. My six year old son sat in the back row of the car and played on his DS.
- Sherlock Holmes (2010) - not the Robert Downey, Jr Jude law one - the Asylum Knockbuster one. And, as dreadful as the Asylum's movies are, this one takes the biscuit for set design. Steampunk set design is easy. You just stick gear wheels, copper pipes, and the occasional pressure gauge or dial to any available surface whether it makes any sense or not. One of the controls of the villain's flying steampunk dragon in this POS was a hand meat grinder turned upside down and (presumably) hot glue-gunned in place. The villain dutifully cranked it at one point but no sausage meat appeared on screen so presumably he'd hot-wired it so something important. Though what it was I couldn't tell you I was laughing so much. Other highlights included Sherlock picking the lock on the hinge side of a door, and a brief glimpse of a very modern looking estate agent's sign hanging off a building in Victorian London with a Cardiff area code phone number.
Another 50p well spent in CEX.
- Time Runners (2013 aka 95ers: Echoes) - Low / No budget independent SF film (Part funded via Kickstarter) which started off well - there was a good idea at the core trying to get out here - but the execution left a lot to be desired. Very variable. The plot strand that followed our time-bending heroine was adequately done but the 'future' sections were just a couple of really not very good actors kicking what sounded like a half-finished unreadable script back and forth. By the end it became too bogged down in its own recursive complexity to make much sense. We never did get an explanation as to who the bad guys were, or what the hell they were trying to do that was so awful that they had to be stopped. Things were deliberately set up for a sequel, so maybe were were supposed to find out in the spin-off TV series or the next movie. Neither of which I can see happening.
We never did get to find out who girl on the cover with the cute bum was either.
- Take the Money and Run - apparently Woody Allen used to be funny.
- The Puppet Masters (1994) - based on the Robert Heinlein novel about an invasion of aliens that take over human hosts. A familiar trope these days but, like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, a then contemporary chilling and newish metaphor for The Red Menace, or Government Brainwashing, or whatever [Insert Your Favourite Paranoia Here]. The 1994 film is not bad. But it didn't set my pulse pounding or give me the willies. It got dreadful write-ups at the time of its release but its a workmanlike, if routine, piece of mid 50s SF. The only real problem with it is it was bought to the screen 40 years too late. It's so long since I read the book I can't remember how true to the original the movie turned out to be but I wasn't appalled by it.
- Big Tits Zombie (2010) - Japanese Strippers accidentally open a portal to hell and have to deal with an army of the undead. Chainsaws were involved.
- Red Rose - again. A low budget of biopic of Rabbie Burns, 'The Man The Myth The Legend'. I watched it after the producer of the movie wrote to me about the shitty review I wrote about it on IMDb. She accused me of being libellous, and 'stalking' them, and having political motives for writing the review. I had worked with her and the director of this film 20 years ago on their first short (an utterly ignorable and forgotten piece called Lallyland ) and she had the bizarre idea that I had some sort of grudge against them and had written the review as a long delayed act of revenge. This wasn't so but, just on the off chance I had been unfair in my assessment, I took another look at it. It's as shoddy produced and as sloppy written as I remembered.
- A Scanner Darkly. - I introduce Number One Daughter to the best Philip K Dick adaptation yet. And one of the trippiest and best anti-drug movies I know. She loves it. I am a good father. Well, I think I'm a good father, I guess we'll really only know in 10 years or so.
Abandoned in January
(i.e. films which I sat down to watch with the intention of giving them my undivided attention but, for whatever reason, I was unable to finish.)
- Alex Cox's Repo Man
is one of my favourite all time films. And I'd been looking forward to watching this for a while but I had to abandon it after 20 minutes. It was awful. It looked like an Aslyum knockoff of Baz Lurman's Romeo + Juliet
if you can imagine such a thing. Which is a pity because Christopher Eccleston (our protagonist) was doing a great job. A great actor in a crappy film.
- Super - a sad loner becomes a superhero. He has no powers but he does have a pipe wrench! "Shut up, Crime!" A strange mixture of comedy, character study, and ulra-violence. Not sure if it really worked for me but a side-line character, Nathan Fillion as the Jesus powered Holy Avenger, was hilarious.
- Winter Warrior - on the off chance that Red Rose, the Rabbie Burns biopic which I watched last month, was an aberration, I bought a couple other films directed by Robbie Moffat on eBay. (This one cost me a penny. I was the only bidder.) Basically the whole film is 90 minutes of watching the producer and her friends wandering around the Highlands dressed in an interesting variety of blankets. Endless shots of small bunches of people walking from somewhere ill-defined to somewhere else even less well-defined. Occasionally the people sit down and talk for a bit before getting up and walking around some more. If the director had got the actors to talk while they were walking (radical idea!) the film would have been over in half the time. From time to time people wave swords at each other or 'wrestle' and people will then lie down and not be in the film any more. No visual style, no rhythm - the director even manages to bollox up the symbolic final moment as the 'hero' renounces violence (I think that's what he was doing) by just cutting it too fast as our hero throws his sword away. (Thinking about it next day I think this was supposed to evoke images of Arthur's Excalibur ). One frame the guy is waving the too-expensive-to-really-throw-into-a-loch, rented prop sword in circles round his head, and the next frame there's a cut to a close-up of a splash - giving you the impression the guy just dropped the thing - I think the word I'm struggling for here is 'inept'. And as for the inflatable (?) dinghy covered in rags that was meant to be a Celtic coracle at the end... let's just say I was glad I didn't have a mouthful of anything at the time.
- Rain Dogs (or 'Raindogs' depending whether you believe the case or the opening credits) - my third and I suspect last Robbie Moffat film of the year (ever!). Another rambling meander through the Scottish countryside in various weathers, this time in the present day, in the company of a quartet of thieves and a stolen Leonardo painting. As much as I have come to admire Moffat's ability to get people to appear in his movies and get the movies made, I really think the guy couldn't direct traffic up a one way street. The guy has no visual awareness at all. He can't even stage a conversation between two people sat in the front seats of a car without screwing up basic screen grammar. He's not doing it for any effect, he just appears to be unable to put three shots together without ballsing it. I used to think Richard Driscoll's movies were bad but at least they had a weird, masochistic, 'wrongness' about them that was entertaining in a way. Moffat's films are just boring.
- Ninja Apocalypse - superpowered post-apocalyptic ninjas fight each other up and down stairwells and meet zombies. Utter crap.
- Thor the Conqueror - A particularly brainless Italian Barbarian movie from 1983. Enhanced by the really crappy VHSness of the copy I watched. Another quality product from the defunct 23rd Century label. The one on Youtube is far better: (and less cut).
- And Now For Something Completely Different - Monty Python's first. My youngest 2 kids loved it.
- Chicago - been in my must get round to pile for a while now. I loved the previous film version of the play, Roxie Hart (1942) starring Ginger Rogers, though it is a long while since I watched it. Chicago left me cold. I really can't understand why but it just didn't engage me at all. My 13 year old daughter loved it. (EDIT: (A month later.) She hasn't stopped talking about Catherine Zeta Jones' legs for weeks!)
- Total Recall (2012) - well that was a very expensive waste of time and effort. Hadn't ANYONYONE in the writing or production team ever been in an elevator? Free fall at the centre, my arse. And how do you stop people invading you up a great big whole through the centre of the earth that (as far as we could see) had no lid on it? Answer: drop something down it. Seriously, just fly a helicopter over the top and drop a couple of big chunks of concrete down the bugger - end of. Stupid film.
- Silent Running - after the crashing disappointment of last night, Number Two Daughter and I watch something a little less frenetic. God I hate the songs.
- Vampires: The Turning (2005) - American tourists on holiday in Thailand meet vampires. Lots of footage that did nothing but pad out the running time, and kickboxing vampires on motorbikes. Dumber than it sounds.
- Grand Budapest Hotel
- Galaxy Quest.
- Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same - fun little film. Black and white. Zero budget. New York lesbian love story with some nice moments.
- Lesbian Psycho (aka Make a Wish) - Zero budget (100k USD = zero) lesbians wandering-around-the-woods (yawn!) slasher film that manages to balls up (if you'll excuse the expression) in every direction imaginable. Waste of time and effort - though it did include the standard lesbian movie 'hands clasped during sex scene shot' - not being a lesbian I don't know if this is a lesbian thing, or just a lesbian movie thing, but it does crop up in every serious lesbian movie. (By which I mean a film made by and for, not made by and aimed at, hetero voyeurs).
- The Wages of Fear - one of the all-time great film. One of these days I'll get a decent copy; my VHS is looking very ropey these days.
- Fun at St Fanny's (1955) - strange little low-budget British school comedy film lovingly restored and re-released on DVD by The British Film Institute. Bewilderingly bad, the film lurches from scene to scene or crude slapstick with the barest thread of a plot holding them together. A not very good school farce punctuated by moments of really really weird acting the odd utterly surreal moment, and bizarre little musical numbers (including a very odd version of Mambo Italiano). Some very odd stuff in here but why the BFI thought it worth the effort to revive is as baffling as anything on screen.
- Martians Go Home! - Daughter Number Two and I just wanted to flop and watch a stupid movie. This was the first safe film I found we could do it with.
- The Rocketeer - I do so want to like this film. All the elements are there and it should work - but it doesn't. It lacks something. Some ingredient X. It never sparks into life for me. It's just dull.
- Drive In Massacre (1977) - tedious 'killer on the loose' film which was 90% fill and 10% pointless. I guess they got a decent enough trailer out of it but by Christ the rest of it was a yawn. As for the 'twist' ending the less said the better. Watched as part of my long term masochist project to watch everything released (in English) on the quasi-illegal 23rd Century DVD label. Other classics released by them include a transfer of Philippine Mad Max knock off Clash of the Warlords (aka Mad Warrior 1985) so crappy it opened with a two minute freeze frame of an explosion. (Presumably the opening credits were supposed to go over this static shot but apart from a brief - 6 second - flash of the film's title... nothing else appears on screen) and tape roll from the battered VHS copy from which it is mastered. On at least two occasions the screen went to blue as, I guess, the tape jammed in the machine as they were digitizing it. At least Drive In Massacre had credits and didn't jam in the machine.
- Ponyo - Friday film choice of Number One Son. It's extraordinarily dreamlike stuff. Not sure if it holds up at all as a story but mesmerising.
- Hand of Death (1976) - the second on a two-films-on-one-tape VHS that has been sat in the 'watch and dump' pile for a couple of years. I must have watched the first one as the tape was left half-wound, I rewound the tape a bit and the ending of the first film seemed familiar (Jackie Chan hitting people and vice versa) so I settled down to the second one. After a few minutes of the usual bewildering voice-over Chop Socky narration getting the audience up to speed as to which bunch of Shaolin monks being persecuted this week, we got down to the serious business of revenge, betrayal, and relentless fistfighting - and I fell asleep. I woke up as the end credits finished and the tape segued into an original Chinese-voiced trailer (with fuzzy subtitles) for the film I had just missed - only now it was called Countdown in Kung Fu and didn't seem to star Jackie Chan. After watching it I decided I hadn't missed much.
- Moon (2009) - second time of watching, this time with Number One Daughter. I liked it even when I knew what was going to happen. I found it compelling. So did she - and she didn't.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides - The Johnny Depp show! 2 hours ten minutes of the same as before.
- Hairspray - the original John Walters film (not the naff remake). Shared with Number One Daughter who now thinks I have great taste in movies.
Films I didn't manage to finish in April:
- Black Dynamite - an, at times, very funny affectionate spoof of every Blaxploitation film you have ever seen (and many you haven't). The joke ran a bit thin after a while though - or, more likely, became to obscure for me. Though the moment where a character, in a beautifully timed piece of simulated bad acting, read his line to include the stage direction had me in fits of giggles and will make this film live a lot more fondly in my memory than it probably deserves.
- Ghosts of Mars - I think John Carpenter may have been asleep when he wrote/directed/scored this one.
- Shakespeare in Love - With Number One Daughter who loved it.
- The Spirit - damning evidence, if evidence be needed, that comics and movies are not the same thing.
- The Maze Runner - with Number Two Daughter. We really enjoyed this right up until the end when "what was really going on" was finally revealed and we both wondered why we had bothered. In my edit we would have just cut to them emerging into a sunrise (al la THX 1138 et al ) and let the audience come up with their own solution.
- Skin Eating Jungle Vampires - a film that makes the average Troma film look like Ben Hur.
A woman goes in search of her sister who has been taken captive by a bunch of bikini-clad aliens in the jungles of deepest Costa Rica. After lots and lots of footage of local(?) wildlife and the woman on holiday in Costa Rica (occasionally she takes her top off to remind the audience why they're watching the film) she too is captured then taken to a papier mache cave and forced to take part in a half-hearted lesbian orgy (lots breast fondling and sticking tongues out kissing while trying not to giggle or look into the camera). Eventually something happens and the film ends - but by that time my finger was so firmly on the FF button I couldn't tell you what exactly it was. It did involve a Mexican Skull Mask revolving very rapidly and exploding.
I should have stopped watching after noticing that the opening subtitle, telling us we were in Costa Rica, was written in Comic Sans but I didn't. Will I never learn?
- Back to the Future 2 - seems a little flabby in the middle section but the fun picked up again at the end with all the complications and crossovers with the first film.
- Back to the Future 3 - which I like better than number two.
- I Know Where I am Going - Powell and Pressburger's romantic masterpiece that had me in tears at the end. A lovely film. First time I have seen it in over a decade and as good as I remember.
- Tron Legacy - (The shiny one) with Number Two Daughter who couldn't remember whether she'd seen it before or whether it was the first one she hadn't seen. After the film had finished I still couldn't work out which one it was she was talking about.
- The Boxtrolls - what a cracking film. Very funny. Probably the best New to Me film so far this year.
- Ray Bradbury's The Chrysalis - an apparently faithful, but tremendously dull, adaptation of a Ray Bradbury story. I gave up after 20 minutes of watching the same five actors saying the same things to each other over and over again in an attempt to pad out the running time.
- Terminator Woman (1993) - turgid kickcop drama set in 'Africa' and stuffed full of bad actors with dodgy accents. I got about half way through before I realised my brain wasn't THAT mushed. I only bought it because the cover was awful.
- Deadly Ninja - I was tired. I decided I was going to watch the first film I came across in my unwatched movie pile with 'ninja' in the title. I fell asleep. But I did stay awake long enough to establish that it was crap and I wasn't going to miss anything ("It had the word 'Ninja' in the title what were you expecting, you numbskull?!" -- oh yeah...). It was produced by Nu-Image. It had a helicopter in it. (RULE 56 of Crappy Movies: Nothing says 'power and corruption' better than men in suits getting out of a rented helicopter with an 'Evilcorp' company logo on the side.) All Nu-Image films have a helicopter in them. Don't ask me why, maybe they own a helicopter so they get it cheap. Must look to see if it is the same one in all their films....
- Captain America: Civil War - not having seen Captain America, Captain America: Winter Soldier, Iron Man (1, 2, or 3), The Avengers, Avengers Assemble, Avengers: Age of Ultron, or Ant Man and not having read any Avengers or Captain America comics since the 1980s, not surprisingly I was a little lost as to what the fuck was going on for the first hour or so. (Though I do pride myself on knowing who The Black Panther was well before the script told us.) So what did I think? - It was ok. Another huge slab of American pop culture with shitloads of fist fights. At the end of it I felt like I had watched a whole TV series in one sitting. Daughter Number One thought it was "Awesome" but slightly annoyed that her favourite character from the first Two Captain America movies (Cap's boyfriend Bucky) had been reduced to a mere MacGuffin. And Please, Mr Hollywood, get over your obsession with parental loss. The whole plot (three major characters) in this show where motivated by revenge for the loss of their murdered parents - four if you count Spiderman. One Hamlet at a time please!
Stan Lee popped up near the end. I'm convinced the man thinks he's the missing Chuckle Brother.
He's about as funny. (Longer version of the above HERE)
- Night at the Museum - Friday Night Family Pizza film with the kids. My seven year old boy enjoyed it. I'll be happy never to see it again.
- Wuthering Heights (1992) - or rather, Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights. The inclusion of the author's name on the title of an adaptation is usually an indication that the film makers are going for 'authenticity' and 'faithfulness' to the text. And so it was. It is many years since I read the book and I had all but forgotten the second half, second generation stuff. Neither Juliette Binoche or Ralph Fiennes seemed right for their parts (both were too old for one thing) and the whole film had a made for TV look about it. It felt like a miniseries cut to movie length. The director mostly worked in TV.
- Legend - Friday night family movie which played a lot better in my memory that on the screen. Mind you, my memory has had a long time to work on it. I've not seen it since I saw it in the cinema on its initial release - God Gods! that was 30 years ago! Anyhow. Lovely to look at, some of the cinematography and composition was breathtakingly beautiful but dear gods the script stank up the screen. I wonder what it would be like watching it in another language with the subtitles turned off?
- Burlesque - A kind of Disney Cabaret. Not terrible but a little bland.
- Trailer Park of Terror - teenagers get slaughtered by undead hillbillies in a ghostly trailer park. Garbage.
- The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (時をかける少女) - slow sweet manga about a girl who develops the ability to time travel. Not entirely convinced by the ending but enjoyable.
- Dark City - shared with Number One Daughter who loved it.
- Lifeforce - which was, Mathilda May's utterly gorgeous breasts aside, even worse than I remembered.
- Cypher (2002) - which started out as a stylish interesting piece of SF playing with some very van Vogtian/ P K Dickian tropes about identity and reality. Our hero is hired to to spy on rival corporation. His real life is slowly submerged by the false identity he assumes. He starts having hallucinations. A mysterious third force helps him see through a fraud being perpetrated on him and then deliver him to the second corporation who use him as a double agent in their bid to turn the tables on their rivals. As things progress, and get more and more complex, our central character is slowly pushed into an impossible situation of not knowing who to trust and he can never be certain who he is supposed to be pretending to be at any one time. So far so good. Mind-bending stuff going on. I like it!
Then the wheels suddenly fell off the show.
It is revealed that the mysterious third force (hired by the second corporation to deliver them a double agent) was headed by a mysterious Mister Big, who was so secretive that no one knows what he looks like.... and yes, you just worked out the final 'shattering' twist. (Well, you have if you have read much van Vogt, P K Dick, or any number of other books in which the hero's identity is rewritten more than once during the course of the story.)
Our amiable beleaguered protagonist turns out to be a murdering arsehole, loses the audience sympathy, and flies off in a coda to reveal the MacGuffin. This turns out to be a computer file so secret only one copy was hidden away in a super-secret impregnable vault. The file ordered the murder of the hero's girl friend.
If the evil corporation wanted her dead why did it go to such lengths to hide the order? and, surely, as soon as they found out it had been stolen the person who wanted her killed could just write out a new one - and then hide it away again where no one could see it for some reason...? I'm confused.
I guess it was supposed to redeem the protagonist. He'd gone through all that to (somehow) save his girlfriend's life. But as "all that" included blowing up a whole rooftop full of people, who posed him no immediate threat to him it's hard work. I guess he blew them up because a couple of them had seen his face and now knew who he was. Somehow stealing an easily duplicatable computer file absolves him of mass murder? I don't think so.
- Penguins of Madagascar - a whole lot if fun with the kids Friday night family film. Much better than I was expecting after some of the reviews I had read.
- Sci-fighters - A direct to video Canadian collection of low budget B movie clichés with one or two almost novel SF ideas (the biometric Identikit reader was a nice touch - but it was lonely). Bladerunner with a budget of tens. Roddy Piper hits people and shoots guns, Billy Drago is wasted (as he always is) as the possessed creepy villain and Jayne Heitmeyer is consistently put where the camera can get the best production value out of her her boobs (and thanks to Billy Drago's commitment to his craft during the attempted rape climax we get to see more of them than was possibly in her contract). In the climax she rescues the hero and doesn't sleep with him. The most believable bit of the whole show.
- Galaxy Quest - for the umpteenth time. This time I wanted to share it with Number One Daughter who had never seen it and I was convinced would get it. To my disappointment she didn't. She didn't like it at all, and walked out half way through. So Children Two, Three, and I enjoyed it without her. Her loss.
- Eagle vs Shark - apparently this was a romantic comedy and apparently it was only 86 minutes long. It felt like hours. Hours spent in the company of the sort of people you avoid sitting near on the bus. I haven't actively disliked a movie so much in ages. (I spent the last quarter of it just wishing it would stop. "Just stop. Just stop now. Please. Stop! It's been three hours already... STOP!"). Which is a pity because my wife thinks it's wonderful and didn't take too kindly to me calling it "a piece of shit". The only good thought I had about it was that it makes Wes Anderson's movies look even more wonderful by comparison.
- Motorpsycho! (1965) -Three hudlums rape, kill, and get their comeuppance in a barren desert landscape.
You could almost hear the slap of producer/director Russ Meyer's palm face as he realised the obvious because he almost instantly reworked the story for his next film. This time, instead of three scrawny bike-riding male creeps as the desperadoes, he had three large-breasted lesbian killers at the centre of the action. And thus Faster, Pussycat Kill! Kill! was born.
Motorpsycho! made shedloads of money on its release; Faster, Pussycat didn't. Nowadays Pussycat is probably Meyer's most famous film (and generally considered one of his best) and Motopsycho! is a footnote.
Isn't art strange?
As an added bonus the great Coleman Francis (Director of the weirdly dreadful The Beast of Yucca Flats) puts in an appearance.
- Bride of Frankenstein - at the request of Daughter Number One (Aged 14) who had never seen it, but was aware of it via The Rocky Horror Picture Show and has had a picture of Elsa Lanchester up on her bedroom wall for a few months. Halfway through, she turned to me and said "This is a brilliant film!". And it is. Even watched on a crappy old taped off the telly 25 years ago VHS with rubbish sound. (It is now in the bin and a DVD copy is being purchased).
- The Wolfman - which was a bit of a let down after glorious campness of BoF.
- Clue - a film based on a the board game I know as Cluedo - apparently it's called 'Clue' in the US. The kids enjoyed it.
- The Addams Family - with Daughter Number 2
- Contraband - Clearing out a pile of 'I am never going to watch this stuff I taped of the telly 30 years ago' VHS tapes I found (sandwiched between such delights as episodes of The Alex Sayle Show and Gilbert's Fridge) Contraband (aka Blackout) is a 1940 piece from Powell and Pressburger which, with their usual odd slant on WW2 propaganda, cast German Conrad Veidt as the (Danish) hero - my second Valerie Hobson film of the month.
- Roxie Hart (1942) - another from the VHS pile (taped from Channel 4 in 1988 - there was a news report that enabled me to date the tape after the film). Shared with Number One Daughter who is very fond of the musical remake, Chicago. She enjoyed it a lot more than I think she thought she would. It stands up. It is as funny film I remember it being.
- M*A*S*H - Mrs JunkMonkey's favourite film shared with Daughter Number One - who loved it.
- Yojimbo - I love Kurosawa!
- A Fistful of Dollars - and Leone!
- Juno - What a sweet film. I was seriously choked up at the end of it. Thank you, Number One Daughter (who made me watch it).
- Blazing Saddles - sadly nowhere near as funny as I remember. It hasn't aged well. The several 'jokes' about rape certainly date it horribly.
- The Little Shop of Horrors - the original Corman one.
- Shockwave Darkside (aka Darkside) 2014 - This is a real stinker. Lo/no budget hard SF is hard to do but this was just pitiful. I had no idea what the hell was supposed to be going on for most of the first half of the movie. It was a confusing confused mess that threw explosions and HUDs and frenetic 'action' at the screen with no discernible characters and no idea what they were fighting for, or why or even who they were fighting. (This is despite having had screeds of onscreen info dumping before hand - most of it irrelevant and thrown at you too fast to read.) It left me feeling like I was watching someone play a first person shooter set on the moon with them hitting the ESC button half way through the cut scenes. Towards the end an interminable three way yakfest between the only surviving characters nailed some sort of story onto all the poor, pointless, and badly paced CGI. Apparently it was a Believers vs Atheists thing - after God was outlawed and the believers exiled to the moon, the Atheists totally fucked up the Earth in less than a generation and were now doing the same on the Moon. Yeah. Right. We get shot of all the mad bastards who cling to stone age belief systems and indiscriminately kill anyone who doesn't agree with them just because they think God is telling them to, and then life on Earth becomes unmanageable because...? Stupid and insulting bollocks.
- Satan's School for Girls (2000) - Dull TV movie remake of a 1973 TV movie which people seem to remember fondly. Both starred Kate Jackson (Charlie's Angels). If was a Wiccan I would be pissed off at the shoddy way the The Craft was portrayed. Meh. Another HVS tape dumped from the staggering pile of crap I have to watch before I throw it away.
- The Titchborne Claimant - A rather better than I was expecting piece of loosely "based on historical events" British drama.
- Harold and Maude - One of the Great American Films of that little bubble of brilliance that 1970s America cinema enjoyed (before Jaws screwed it all up) which left Number One Daughter and I totally emotionally wrung out at the end of it.
- The Italian Job - the original. Better than I remember but I'm not sure it deserves its iconic status.
- The Quick and the Dead - Sam Raimi doing his Spaggy Western thing with a brilliant piece of dutched Dolly Zooming during one of the shootouts.
- The Devil's Advocate - one of the better pre-Millennial Anti-Christ movies.
- The Devils - I've avoided watching this one for years on the general principal that I really really really dislike Ken Russell and most of his overblown hollow bombastic movies. I was wrong. The Devils is pretty damn terrific. A lot, I suspect, to do with Derek Jarman's extraordinary sets and some seriously wonderful costume design.
- Kebab Connection - German romantic comedy that has the odd amusing moment.
- The Lady Vanishes - (193 Hitchcock. A lot slower and less complex that I remember.
Abandoned in July:
(1994) - after 25 minutes of testosterone driven homophobia I gave up. Apparently it was supposed to be a comedy. Dennis Hopper directed. Dennis Hopper. Comedy. Nope, can't see it.
(1993) - frenetic anachronistic revisionist western which threw so much onto the screen so fast it became dull. 20 minutes.
- Like fucking Only Fools an 'Orses
but wiv more fucking swearin' wiv the bit of the gratuitous fuckin' violence innit? Fucking hated Only Fools an 'orses
. Fort it was shit. Fort this was shit too.
Out of the Blue
- second Dennis Hopper movie in a week to hit the trash bin. I don't think this one was supposed to be funny.
- Dasepo Naughty Girls (2006) - an indie Korean comedy film based on a webcomic. And it's pretty awful. There's a nice little poor girl / rich boy love story in the middle of it somewhere but a touching little performance from the actress playing her is buried under an avalanche of unfunny, badly-developed, sloppily-plotted guff that just goes nowhere. Ferinstance one plotline has the only virgin in the school, a Cyclops, have a really cute two-eyed sister who is really a boy... and... that's it. That's as far as it goes. That's the joke. It's that funny. (The film also contains the world's unfunniest rendering of the 'boy pretending to be a girl on the internet and finding the hot cute girl he is flirting with is his dad' gag ever presented on screen. If I tell you it makes the 'Having cybersex with your mom' sequence from Movie 43 look good... ). There is also a bewilderingly awful sequence near the end where a demon headmaster is defeated (and the spirit possessing him turned into a dragon) by a display of massed synchronised (fully clothed) masturbation. There are pointless little musical numbers. And everyone is trying so so hard to make a cult movie (and failing) that it hurts. I ended up feeling sorry for them all.
Or maybe I just don't get Korean humour.
- Bride of Frankenstein - a James Whale double bill with daughter Number One - who gets it.
- Superuomini, superdonne, superbotte (aka Super Stooges vs the Wonder Women and Amazons Vs Supermen) - Oh Dear God! I really have no idea who or what the audience for this was supposed to be. I think it was supposed to be a comedy. It started off with an extended sequence in which a bunch of Amazon warriors (white bikinis, capes, helmets, and a variety of Mad Max weaponry) fought each other to the bloody death to become the new queen. Then we jumped to a bar fight in which a black Hercules type character defeated a bunch of comedy stooges by throwing them about the set then belching at them with such force that they all fell over. The Comedy Stooges then attacked a Chinese guy riding a buffalo (the only decent joke of the whole show "that horse looks foreign") and he comedy kung-fus them for a bit. Then the Amazons attack a cardboard village and are driven off by a costumed superhero... and so on and so on... By the end of the movie our heroes are massacring Amazons left right and centre with flame throwers mounted in tanks. All played in a broad knockabout comedy style that would have embarrassed Benny Hill. The music was DREADFUL. Hell. Why should I suffer alone: Here's the whole thing on Youtube
- Zardoz - and I haven't laughed so much in ages. I had forgotten how bewilderingly dreadful it was. I had also forgotten how much naked female flesh there is in it - not normally a problem for me but I was watching it with my 14 year old daughter.... the nude female mudwrestling/ erection monitoring scene was a little squirm inducing in her company. By the end of it we were both registering so many WTF? per minute there wasn't any room in our heads for any embarrassment.
"This," I said to her afterwards, "is what happens when you do drugs. You end up making movies like that. You think things like that make sense and need saying!" She took my point. So another valuable life lesson passed on.
- The Ninja Squad - the third Godfrey Ho movie I have seen and, sadly, the least dreadful. This one was mostly dull rather than the usual 'intensely wrong'. Ho has 'directed' 132 movies. The Ninja Squad - and many others - was 'directed' by him in the sense of he took a ratty print of a cheap, violent, modern-day Asian gangster/revenge film, took out about 20 minutes of the running time (probably at random) and spliced in some new footage of white people doing 'Ninja' fighting shot in a field behind the studio offices. Then redubbing the whole thing in a wide variety of accents: our Asian hero has an Australian accent, his girlfriend starts out with some sort of wild Kentuckan hill-billy accent which the actress is unable to sustain for long, and other characters just shout in generic Hong Kong martial arts.
We know the white guys in this film are ninjas because, not only do they tell us they are ninjas in every other sentence they utter, but they all have 'Ninja' (in Roman script) written on their hachimakis (headbands).
Anything that made the Asian gangster film stuff and the White Guy Ninja stuff have any relationship with each other past the opening credits was possibly accidental.
Here's the trailer:
- Spaceballs - even unfunnier than I remember.
- Hellish Flesh (aka Inferno Carnal 1977) - my first, and I hope not last, Brazilian horror film. Disjointed, cheap, shoddy and bewilderingly hypnotic it felt like a film constructed from out takes from several different Jess Franco films.
- Hallucinations of a Deranged Mind (aka Delirious de um Anormal) 1978 - a very thin plot about madness (or is it?!) padded out to interminable length will all the tits and gore he was forced to cut out of his earlier films endlessly repeated. Tits gore tits gore tits gore tits gore. Maniacal laughter. Portentous OTT ranting. Tits gore tits gore tits gore. got a bit boring after a while.
- I'm getting old. Daughter Number One wanted to share a film with me today. It's her favourite film at the moment. They'd studied the film at school earlier this year and she'd borrowed the disc from her teacher and bought it home. The film was The Danish Girl. When I was her age the film would have been an X (that's an 18 in the modern rating system). Subject matter aside, the nudity alone (male and female) would have made it out of bounds to anyone under voting age. Now it's suitable for teens. About bloody time too.
The film was wonderful. I cried. More than once.
I have this long-held theory, which I have expounded often and will again, that a great film makes you move differently. You respond physically to a film if it inhabits you, if it gets under your skin. You come out of a great action adventure zipping and bouncing, a wire-fu, chop socky opera leaping about like some ninja gazelle - after The Danish Girl I found myself (unconsciously) doing strange, self-concious hand to face gestures like the character Lili. It got to me.
Loved it to bits.
- Babylon AD - and sometimes you just don't want to think for 90 minutes.
- Cold Blood (aka Das Amulett des Todes) To quote one of the reviewers of this film on IMDb: "Because it has Rutger Hauer and I'll watch anything he's in. But that doesn't mean I'll watch it twice..."
Possibly the least interesting of the many many crap films I have seen starring Rutger Hauer.
- Rome Open City - another knocked off the 1001 movies to see list. I'm sure, in its day, it was ground-breaking and challenging but I found the dated, gay stereotyping of the two villains: the flouncing, camp, limp-wristed Nazi commandant, and the predatory, mannish, lesbian agent (whereas our heroes were shown to be defiantly hetero or piously asexual), hard to watch with equanimity.
Abandoned in August:
- a lacklustre TV movie about a giant shark which 'terrorises' a Louisiana swamp. I gave after the Plot Point Delivering Geeky character found a web page which filled in a lot of the back story for us. To give him an excuse to tell us, the audience, some more of the back story our Mature but Still Attractive Female Head of the Family character said, "What else does it say about this giant indestructible shark from deep in the ocean on that webpage that I am quite capable of reading myself but the audience needs to hear someone say it out loud?" I watched it on fast forwarded for a bit but soon realised there was no gratuitous nudity in it so stopped.
- Jabberwocky - a lot messier and rambling than I remembered.
- Barb Wire - DEAR GOD! I was tired, after a long day, just wanting to watch something brainless, I threw this into the DVD player
That was a mistake. I think it was a measure of just how knackered I was that I was some 25 minutes into it that I realised it was a tragically awful remake of Casablanca.
- Cry Baby - for the umpteenth time. Number One Daughter introduces Number Two Daughter to one of my favourite feel good films.
- Bucket of Blood with Number One Daughter "It's the Little Shop of Horrors - with beatniks!"
- The Spy with My Face (1965) and
- One Spy Too Many (1966) - a couple of Man From Uncle movies - hardly more than extended TV episodes but , I think I am right in saying, released cinematically in some territories. I actually quite enjoyed them in a park my brain sort of way. One Spy too Many was the better of the two having a wonderful turn from Rip Torn as the villain, Yvonne 'Batgirl' Craig losing her top while sunbathing in the office, and the regulars in the cast obviously having more fun too.
- Knight of the Dead - Mark Atkins. Mark Atkins, Mark Atkins, Mark Atkins, Mark Atkins... Right I think I have that name drummed into my head now. Mark Atkins, Mark Atkins. Yep it's there. I have seen at least 5 films directed by Mark Atkins Mark Atkins Mark Atkins over the last few years. Journey to the Center of the Earth (no, not that one the crappy Asylum knockbuster) Merlin and the War of the Dragons, AVH: Alien vs. Hunter, Princess of Mars and now Knight of the Dead. They were all total crap. If I type Mark Atkins name a few more times I might just get it so stuck in my head that I won't even accidentally buy any more of his crappy shoot-it-in-a-weekend and make-it-up-as-we-go-along home movies. Mark Atkins Mark Atkins Mark Atkins... carry on...
- Bill -
- It's my birthday. As most of the family are away doing scout camp stuff Daughter Number One and I sit down to a chocolate, noodle, and sushi powered crappy moviethon. (there was pop corn involved too.) 1st up: (After a couple of episodes of Cleopatra 2525 - my kids bought me the first season as a present.) The Terror - Karlof and Nicholson in a very dreamlike Corman quickie.
- The Werewolf of London - feeding my current Valerie Hobson, and Daughter Number One's Universal Horror obsessions.
- Highlander 2 -
Me: "Trust me it's comedy gold"
Her: (45 minutes in) "Dad, this is comedy aluminium!"
- Metalstorm: the Destruction of Jared Syn - because I'd got the VHS player fired up for the Highlander movie I put in the next tape in the pile of crap SF VHSs. I had seen it before but didn't remember a thing about it. I found out why. It's not a very memorable film. We had fun riffing on it though. What a great day.
- Swallows and Amazons - review
- Casanova - Fellini - I was more than a bit disappointed by Casanova. Fond memories of having seen it at time of release (it may well have been the first Fellini film I had seen). The memory was better than the reality.
- Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger - an enjoyable, if strangely slow, Harryhausen Sinbad flick enlivened, when things were starting to flag, by some mild gratuitous nudity.
- Kontroll - 2003 Hungarian arthouse thriller that left me none the wiser about anything at the end of it.
- Los Cronocrímenes (aka Timecrimes 2007) - Spanish looping time travel tale. The internal logic is flawless. The same events are revisited again and again as our protagonist just keeps on making mistakes and making things worse and worse for himself. The plot is no way as complex as some people seem to find. The real problems I had with the film was that it was far too long - it felt like a short film extended to an unreasonable length. And the fact the protagonist, with whom I guess we were supposed to feel sympathy as his life spiralled out of control, was such an unmitigated dick. He gets into the time travel looping mess by pervily peeping on a girl undressing in the woods and then keeps making stupid plot-driving mistake after stupid plot-driving mistake and acting like an arsehole. In the end he ends up killing the girl he was perving over and we are somehow supposed to feel sorry for him.
- Chicken Run - Friday Night Pizza and Movie with the kids. I like Chicken Run. It's funny.
- Space Fury (aka In the Dead of Space) - dear gods! A straight to video SF movie of immense ineptitude which consisted mostly of reaction shots. Endless chunks of this 'movie' were close-ups of people listening to what someone else is saying off camera followed by a close-up of that person listening to what the person just (but no longer) on camera says in reply. Actually, after a while, I looked forward to these weirdly-cut, hiding-the-fact-that-we-had-to-dub-the-whole-movie, sequences because they're far more interesting than those moments when we do get to see some terrible actors delivering their lines. Just to relieve the tedium often the characters would just stand still for a bit. Sometimes they would open and close their mouths as if deep in thought and unable to say what it was they are thinking. Lisa Bingley, being female and photogenic, gets to do this a lot. If you are into watching a reasonably attractive woman standing in coveralls wondering when the director is going to call "cut" - this is the movie for you. Michael Pare has fun gurning his face all over the screen as a psychotic astronaut while Lisa, as the only female astronaut, takes her bra off (with obvious reluctance) for no other reason than it was in her contract and they had to get tits in the trailer. Though, given the lighting and angle, they almost certainly used a body double. (That must have put a big dent in the budget.)
- Frida - another from the huge pile of VHS tapes. There are very few biopics of artists that work. This one almost does.
- The Thirteenth Floor (1999) - initially interesting piece of "Hey! This actually makes sense!" SF based on a novel by a Hugo-nominated (ie real) Science Fiction Author. Unfortunately after about 15 minutes it became painfully obvious what was going on and watching the characters slowly put the pieces together became a bit of a chore. The book, it turns out after a couple of minutes poking about in the IMDb, had been previously filmed for TV directed by Fassbinder - I think I just added another to my insanely long list of movies I need to see.
- Gorgeous - a Jackie Chan Rom Com from the VHS pile. Daughter Number 2 is dutifully impressed by Chan's skills.
- Lobos de Arga (aka Attack of the Werewolves, Game of Werewolves) Ok Spanish Horror Comedy which has one genuinely laugh out loud moment involving the hero's severed finger that has just been cooked with garlic by two of his friends.
- Debug - SF film in which six prisoners enter a derelict spaceship. Thus simultaneously pushing two REALLY BIG Bad Movie Buttons. No film set in a future prison has ever been any good... no film with a derelict spaceship in it has been any good - together they were dynamite shite.
- Chungking Express - another off the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die" list. I was underwhelmed.
Abandoned in October
(2015) People endlessly having on-screen unsimulated sex and fucking (they're different) with a numbskull unsympathetic moron centre screen in front of a locked-off camera. After 20 or so minute I hated the central character and the director/'scriptwriter' so much that I jumped ship.
- Pieces (1983) - Spanish/American Giallo garbage about a black-gloved killer stalking a university. Many aficionados of the genre seem to find its dreadful dialogue (of which there is a lot), logical shortcomings (of which there are many), and brutal on-screen chainsaw murders (of which there are many) hilarious but it left me wondering why I was watching it.
- Golden Ninja Warrior (1986) - I have seen several of Godfrey Ho's weird Nija films. This one makes even less sense than any of them. Though it did contain more nudity and sexual violence than most. Utterly bewildering.
- Book of Life (2014) - was that only 95 minutes? It felt a lot longer, which is odd given the pace at which everything happens. Bang Bang Bang rapid-fire, swooshing camera, frenetic action stuff and I was bored. And I could have done without the framing device that did very little to help the film apart from allow the narrator of the story to infodump a whole load of world-setting-up exposition on us and allow the audience surrogate kids to whom the story is told to have, "oh no! it can be!" moments for us at crisis points in the story. This can work well. It worked in The Princess Bride but then we cared about the kid in that film and knew who he was and his relationship with his grandfather within a few well-crafted screen moment. Here the film just seemed to take ages to set up some ill-defined 'detention kids'. Some of the set design was nice. For great chunks of the film I was looking at the scenery as the by the numbers characters went through their by the numbers paces.
- Arrival - Daughter Number One and I have a big screen outing. And we both loved it. What a great, emotionally engaging, intelligent piece of SF. Glad we saw it on the big screen.
- Double Indemnity -
- The Third Man
- Noi Albinoi - Icelandic film in which nothing much happens for 90 minutes.
- Terror at the Opera - Dario Argento throwing more style than substance at the screen as usual.
- Wild Things ( 1998 ) - overly long/complex 'erotic' thriller which played fair but just had too many twists.
- RPG (2013) - Very cheapo Hunger Games-a-like with a variety of not very good actors most of them being not very convincing in a second language. Many years ago I made myself a promise and thus was born the 'I'm Going To Watch Every Movie Rutger Hauer Ever Made Project'. I never promised I'd watch them twice. Boy has he been in some shit, and, for all that his name and face feature prominently on the cover, I guess Mr Hauer must have been on set for the best part of a whole day on this one.
- Rocky Horror Picture Show - the now annual viewing slightly postponed from Hallowe'en.
- Horrors of the Black Museum (1959) - what a gloriously dreadful film! Overwrought 1950s British serial killer stuff with some seriously weird acting. I really have no idea what half the cast thought they were doing but all of them appear to be in different movies. I suspect many of them were just trying not to corpse - the script is very odd. I have to admire the way they managed such long, dreadful, dialogue-heavy takes without getting the giggles. It's pulp paperback page-filling stuff not film dialogue. I'll be watching this one again.
Previous Years' Lists: 2006
Last edited by JunkMonkey; 3rd Dec 2016 at 19:05.