Friday, July 31, 2009
Cut and paste. Do one for yourself. It's fun!
Five Years Ago (2003)
Where were you?
Who did you live with?
With the good people of Kind of Blue and The People Under the Stairs (Englund, Nathan, The Rianimator, Ledbetter and Barrett).
What were you watching?
Well, I think I'd sold just about everything dvd-wise at that point, but if memory serves, we watched lots of Buffy and Angel. And David Cronenberg's Spider. We watched Spider over and over again. I still have that dvd...
Not counting what came out in 2003? Faves at the time included Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Ghost World, Almost Famous, and I remember we were really digging on One Hour Photo.
Was there a Horror Fest / What did you do Halloween?
No. I think there was a party at The Tiki Bar.
Name five movies you saw on the big screen.
Return of the King, Looney Tunes: Back in Action, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, House of 1000 Corpses, Kill Bill Volume One.
Ten Years Ago (1998)
Where were you?
Living in Cary and then Greensboro
Who did you live with?
My parents / brother and then the denizens of Mary Foust.
What were you watching?
If memory serves, we were watching Clerks and Army of Darkness almost every week. Also, The Simpsons and The X-Files.
Clerks, Army of Darkness, Mallrats, Evil Dead 2, and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. I was REALLY into Kevin Smith movies ten years ago.
Was there a Horror Fest / What did you do Halloween?
I'm pretty sure that was near Rocky Horror, so probably not.
Name five movies you saw on the big screen.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Saving Private Ryan, There's Something About Mary, The Big Lebowski, Suicide Kings
Fifteen Years Ago (1993)
Where were you?
Who did you live with?
Parents / brother
What were you watching?
I really WANTED to watch Army of Darkness and Dazed and Confused, but wasn't allowed to. Fifteen years ago I would've been watching Star Trek a lot, I guess.
Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Batman Returns.
Was there a Horror Fest / What did you do Halloween?
More likely than not I was scaring trick or treat-ers, so no.
Name five movies you saw on the big screen.
Jurassic Park, Mrs. Doubtfire, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Groundhog Day, The Last Action Hero (there were six other people in the theatre with us. on opening night).
feel free to add things like "What were you listening to", etc. Since this blog is movie-centric, I stuck to similarly themed questions.
Follow Up Questions:
How many favorites on your list(s) are still favorites?
Looking at what I wrote, I'm kind of surprised how many "all time" favorites are nowhere to be found.
Other than Mallrats, I guess I still dig those movies. My Kevin Smith phase ended sometime around 2004.
Do you still watch the movies you used to watch 5, 10, and 15 years ago?
Yeah, kind of. I haven't seen some of them in a long time, but I'm pretty sure that I've seen part or all of them in the ensuing years.
Will you do this again in 15 years?
That's a tough question to say yes to.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
I think I've been staring at the computer screen too long, because my left eye's gone fuzzy and refuses to come back into focus. Groovy, but kind of annoying.
Speaking of people with one eye, it's as appropo a time as any to talk about John Carpenter's Escape from New York, the cult classic of 1981.
While on his way to an important meeting with the Chinese and the Russians, The President (Donald Pleasance)'s plane is taken down by a revolutionary, and he's lost in the middle of New York.
When other attempts to rescue him fail, Police Commisioner Bob Hauk (Lee Van Cleef of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly fame) decides to entice former soldier and legendary criminal Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell) into going in to rescue him in exchange for a full pardon.
Of course, Hauk tricks Snake, and places two poison laced capsules in his throat, which will dissolve in 22 hours, so the clock is ticking and the movie has a sense of urgency. Snake flies into New York in a small gyroplane and begins the hunt for the President.
Along the way he runs into some familiar faces, all of whom assumed he was dead (a gag revived in the sequel Escape from LA) but he manages to get enough information from ex-partner Brain (Harry Dean Stanton), Cabbie (Ernest Borgnine), and Brain's flame Maggie (Adrienne Barbeau) to find out the President is being held by The Duke of New York (Isaac Hayes).
Of course, what kind of prison would New York be if things were that simple? Needless to say Snake gets double crossed and lands in the clutches of The Duke.
And because this is an action movie, in order to get the President free, Snake has to do some ass whooping on some oversized mongoloid wrestling types (the kind of whooping that involves spiked bats and no shirts.)
Now I don't think I need to tell you any more, because then what point would there be in seeing it for yourself? (and yes, I do recommend you see Escape from New York, cultish though it may be. this is one of the better products of the "dystopia / post apocalyptic action film" genre from the early 80's, which also contains 1999: Bronx Warriors, The Road Warrior, and Warrior of the Lost World) But what really makes Escape from New York work is Kurt Russell, who makes Snake Plissken iconic.
It's not just the eyepatch that never gets explained, or his rugged features; Russell tales Snake to new levels of anti-hero badassery by never caving from the original mission, no matter what he has to put up with in Escape from New York. He is the villain everyone wants to root for, and I'd dare say that Russell paved the way for the loose cannon hero in movies like Lethal Weapon.
But what we're really here to discuss is why the remake that New Line Cinema is so desperate to start is a bad idea. The obvious decision to leave Russell out of the equation is bad enough, especially considering his prominence in the forthcoming Grindhouse, where he plays a similar type of character, but the real problem isn't replacing him with Gerard Butler (Phantom of the Opera, 300), it's actually more crucial than that.
In the late seventies and eighties, New York was in a really shitty state, especially New York City. If you're curious, check out films like Taxi Driver for a good reflection of just how the city looked like a real life Mos Eisley, a "wretched hive of scum and villainy". In the pre-Giuliani clean up days, Times Square was the home for scummy Exploitation theaters, peep shows, and hookers, and it wasn't inconceivable that things would get so bad that eventually someone would say "that's enough" and cut the place off and turn it into a prison where the inmates could roam free.
Now, New York, much like Las Vegas, went through a "Cleaning" process, and that seedy scumball layer was pushed off of the surface, leaving the Times Square replete with MTV headquarters and wall to wall capitalism. It seems very unlikely that audiences would buy the lawlessness of New York City in the same way they did in 81. In fact, in a post 9/11 world, New York means something completely different than it did twenty six years ago.
While it can (and will) certainly be changed, Snake lands his plane on top of one of the Twin Towers. This is, of course, after a terrorist takes Air Force One down through a building in New York City, kidnapping the President. While New Line could conceivably not alter any of this, I sense that corporate pressure is going to change the way that the movie plays out in this "terrorist" age we live in.
It's not just that Escape from New York shouldn't be remade, it's that it really can't be made the same way it was in 1981, and for all intents and purposes, the studio mentality is only going to soften things. If I'm wrong, then the film will over compensate to cartoonish levels of macho, and then we end up with something like Escape from LA, which is interesting in an apocryphal sense, but not as any continuation of Snake Plissken's adventures.
yes folks, in Escape from LA, the "fight" scene is replaced with a high stakes game of basketball free throws. I am not kidding.
Escape from New York is not a film begging to be remade, nor should it, because John Carpenter crafted a film very much of its era, and to try to replicate it is going to look awfully silly, even without basketballs.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
It won't make tons of sense until I upload the pictures, but let's have a run through the movie that will be my life for the next twelve months:
extremely spacious rooms, many with hidden closets, compartments, or passageways.
a stairway that leads to the totally uninhabited, needs-tons-of-work "zombie" apartment which is, let's put it this way, something only I can get to.
the kitchen. oh jesus, the kitchen...
a basement which, in addition to just looking creepy, also has - for no apparent reason - a set of knives sitting in the middle of the floor, and what looks like a "kill area" off to the side. I am not making this up.
ample places where random pieces of cord are just... hanging.
a neighbor I cannot see, hear, or directly contact from inside the apartment.
one wall which has... I guess the only way to put it is a wall halfway covered in mirrors. many of the mirrors are dissolving. from the inside. a perfect sign of the horrible monster that's going to come through and swallow my soul in the next year.
long corridors and, to be honest, a lot of quiet. this apartment is going to be a nightmare when the "settling in" noises kick in, because I'm pretty sure those will have a demon or psycho killer attached to them.
We may not even need to film a horror movie in there (although it's already being discussed), because the newly coined "Apartment that Dripped Blood" is everything you'd expect in a scary movie. Hell, I'm scared, and the Cap'n is already back in the good old Apartment of Solitude.
Horror Fest is going to be better than ever. I can promise it. Space will no longer be an issue, parking won't be an issue, and comfort will be easily established. You'll see. Very soon, you'll see.
When I get back, I'll explain why the Cap'n is going to have much more time to post actual reviews and longer pieces, especially after August 6th. In the meantime, I look forward to hearing what you think of the vintage pieces, many of which have not been seen in some time...
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
I can't give you a review of the show itself just yet, for obvious reasons if you've been keeping up, but if you have a Blu-Ray player and were considering Galactica, they've certainly gone out of their way to make it a centerpiece on your shelf.
And, because you likely noticed them in the first picture, here are the rest of today's purchases...
Torchwood season 2, Torchwood: Children of Earth, Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead, and 12 Monkeys. Forgive the "shaky"-ness of the enlarged version. I tried, but cellphone pictures are not my strong suit.
Because the Cap'n is such a great person, here's a pretty groovy long-form trailer for AMC's Prisoner update/remake/redux series. Normally I'd be very worried to hear something like The Prisoner was being mucked with, but Ian McKellan as 2 and Jim Caveziel as 6 seem appropriate, and the design of the Village and surrounding area is very interesting. Gotta love how and why the white balloon comes back...
The relationship between 2 and 6 seems a little less contentious this time, but I'm curious to see how this reboot mini-series works.
Monday, July 27, 2009
I can't say as I'll be watching it right away, so don't expect me to frantically text you "frakkin this" or "frakking that", but when virtually everyone I know tells me I NEED to watch this show, I'll bite. It seems easier (and cheaper) just to get the whole damn thing in one fell swoop and watch it, and then I'll appease the rest of you by looking into The Wire, Deadwood, Carnivale, Dexter, 30 Rock, the American Office, Dollhouse, Dead Like Me, and maybe even Pushing Daisies, if and only if I can cram all of them into the next six weeks.
But Battlestar Galactica isn't the only thing coming out tomorrow. Oh no. The Torchwood mini-series, Children of Earth, is arriving with positive reviews placing it alongside the much better second season (also hitting BD tomorrow). There's an okay-but-not-great Doctor Who special, Planet of the Dead, on dvd and Blu-Ray, a stateside version of 12 Monkeys (with The Hamster Factor and Other Tales of 12 Monkeys), Blue Underground's release of Torso, the aforementioned Dollhouse - which is actually getting a second season - and to top it all off, Roman Polanski's Repulsion gets the double-whammy: Criterion and Blu-Ray treatment. Yeesh!
And for the Netflix queue, the UK Life on Mars finally arrives here, hoping to clear the stink away from its bastardized American remake. Oh, and I guess Fast and Furious. I haven't seen any of the others, so it's a non-starter for me. Maybe it's your thing though.
I'm really torn about how much time - if any - I want to leave between parting ways with work and the beginning of the fall semester. While the blogorium doesn't necessarily reflect it, the Cap'n has had anything but a "quiet" two-and-a-half months. While my departure from work is not necessarily permanent (I hope to return for the holidays but that may not be tenable, meaning my time in used book store land may be nearing a close) I would really like some time to settle into the new as yet to be named apartment and to catch up on a few things. Not just movies, since I seriously need to bone up on German and study for the GRE, not to mention look for Grad School programs.
Still, some kind of break (any kind of break) is needed. I just don't know if I want to leave early August or mid-August. They're about to start a major CD recovery project, and if I can't commit full-bore, I'd rather get out of the way sooner rather than later. Damn...
For those of you setting you calendars waaaay ahead, Horror Fest is most definitely going to be Halloween weekend. The 31st falls on a Saturday, but my classes are structured so as to make a Thursday to Sunday fest once again viable. If you can pencil in the 29th-Nov 1st, do so now. I have some great stuff in the works, especially since this will be the Final Halloween Horror Fest in the 'boro.
On a final note, because things are a bit shifty in terms of moving, I may not have internet up until next Monday, so just in case I'll put up some vintage posts. One of them will be a personal favorite: an illustrated essay about why remaking Escape from New York is a bad idea. It's a little dated, since I wrote it when Gerard Butler was slated to play Snake, but I am fond of the piece. I think you'll like it too.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Saturday, July 25, 2009
The reason this is a shame is because without those tapes I wouldn't have the foundation of cinematic geekery the Cap'n draws upon. Packing up those tapes today reminded me that not only did I tape a significant amount of X-Files, MST3K, and The Twilight Zone, but I also learned to appreciate film history in the best possible way: trial and error.
While I can't advocate film piracy or copying tapes or any of that jazz, in my younger, dumber, days, I would copy the shit out of some movies from Carbonated Video. Unlike many video stores, they didn't put scrambling signals into their tapes, so you could straight up copy a movie if you had two vcrs. I should feel worse about this than I do, but the honest truth is that I rented so many movies from that store and gave them so much business that it must have offset the copies.
It's not like I copied stuff and then didn't rent anything else. I would - quite literally - rent three or four movies at a time, make copies of them, and then rent four more. If it was summer, I did this all the time. I burned through their "twenty rentals for twenty bucks" or whatever it was in two to three weeks. In that time, I had lots of exposure to movies I would never have rented otherwise, and the tapes reflect it. Some of the tapes are embarassingly bad; others are just amusing.
For some reason, I rarely went by "theme"; I'd just rent four movies that looked interesting, get a six (and later, eight) hour SLP tape, and put them together. It's how you end up with tapes that have the following combination:
The Lost Boys
So the upside is that I have The Lost Boys and The Untouchables. Unfortunately, they're the second half of a craptacular 8 hour tape. Admittedly, it's not as bad as the tape where I had to fast forward through The Island of Dr. Moreau and Shock Treatment to get to Edward Scissorhands, but what I love is that I rented indiscriminately. I don't rent like that anymore, so that willingness to try out just about anything and keep it on tape makes me chuckle. I'd end up with random stuff like Beavis and Butthead Do America, Ghostbusters, Animal House and Die Hard on one tape. Three comedies and... Die Hard. Beats me.
Those years taught me what I did and didn't like, what I gravitated towards, and helped lay the foundation for what I looked towards when I got older. Looking back at the tapes is like looking at other juvenalia: you can see where you were heading, warts and all.
I had originally considered giving these tapes away on the Free Shelf at work, but I think there's some value in having keeping my "sequel" tape of Halloween II, Dawn of the Dead, and From Dusk Til Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money (or whatever it's called. the tape is in a box now). If I'm willing to embrace the dead format of HD-DVD, I can keep giving those tapes a shot. They teach me a lot about where I've been and where I'm going in film studies.
Friday, July 24, 2009
Thanks for bearing with the Cap'n while I do some serious non-movie related real life crap, because I know it makes for less than interesting reading. As a general rule, I don't like to mix day to day minutiae with writing, because this isn't a journal. This is a place to talk about film, not the ins and outs of balancing school, work, and moving. That's not why you come here or why you come back. You want me to geek out, and I write here because I want to share my experience with all of you. That way we all discover something new and spread the knowledge.
For example, my proxy experience with the SDCC means that the really nasty bootlegged footage from the new Tron is finally online in pristine form. After watching the high quality version several times (no really, SEVERAL times), I certainly can't complain about having the real deal to draw from. Now I can make out what the guy says before TRON/CLU rezzes him, what the world looks like, and little details from the room Flynn lives in. Strangely, it looks like he's living the rich life inside the game world, something I'm curious to see in the final film*.
The only downside at all to this new footage is that you can't hear the audience go apeshit when a) they realize this is Tron, and b) when Jeff Bridges opens his eyes. Believe me, I watched that ragged clip enough times too, and one of the things I loved was the reaction when it's clear that Flynn is back inside the system.
Yeah, total dork moment. I don't care. You've all known for years that I'm a big time Tron fan and have been since I was a kid. I still remember the copy on Betamax dad taped off of HBO but was running late so the first minute or so is him rapidly switching channels to get to Tron. I may be more excited about returning to that world than any other sequel on the horizon. It might end up being a totally unnecessary and unwaranted sequel, but I don't even care.
In all honesty, this is one of the few occasions where you'll see the Cap'n in non-snark mode. I don't have a joke to make about the movie. I don't have doubts or nagging concerns or anything else. I'm going to eat up clips as they arrive and wait for the trailer patiently. Not even viral marketing is going to sour this for me.
And now that I've talked about Tron (again!) for half a blog, allow me to return to packing. I might find a movie that slipped through the cracks, like Carnivorous, aka the Kulev Serpent movie with DMX... How could that go wrong???
* This, title change aside, is exactly the footage from last year's Comic Con. It's test footage made to show Disney what Tron could look like in the 21st century, and may not at all reflect the actual movie.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
But I'm not there. I'm here packing, and reading about it like the rest of you. If you hadn't guessed yet, I don't think I care at all about Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. It sounds (and picture-wise) looks like Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd or Tim Burton's Corpse Bride, etc. At this point, the Tim Burton players suit up and play make believe for two hours while he indulges in visual flourishes that remind you of earlier, better work. For some, it's like crack. For me, it's getting a little worn around the edges.
I'm already bored by Dark Shadows, which is likely the next to follow Alice in Wonderland. Yee-ha. A show that, by design, took a long time to say and do nothing interesting. That's why the most interesting things I could rent, Dark Shadows-wise, were the "scariest moments" tapes, which weren't that scary because they lacked any context. Of course, when you have to plod through (literally) hours of context to see a vampire, ghost, or werewolf, you'll settle for 50 minutes of unrelated "spooky" moments. Imagine what a movie that'll make!
Alas, the Cap'n protest too much. I'd be happier if there was some hot Tron-on-bootleg footage action, or some Ghostbusters related news*, or more stuff like this pretty cool Book of Eli trailer from the Hughes Brothers. Admittedly, I'm a mark for post-apocalyptic stories of pretty much any persuasion, but it still looks like fun. Maybe we could get some confirmation from QT about that Grindhouse blu-ray that's been rumored. Or maybe something totally off the wall, like Sam Raimi directing a World of Warcraft movie...
Anyway, maybe if I go to grad school on the west coast, perhaps the Cap'n could be reporting to you along with the other lame-o-matic bloggers who are no doubt updating with photos and crap. The difference is that I know the people reading this are not reading those other blogs, so the Cap'n could drop some new shit knowledge on you guys. Stay tuned...
* No, I haven't played any more of the game. Both the system and the game are in boxes...
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Talk amongst yourselves.
Seriously, talk amongst yourselves in the commentorium. I'll join you in between packing boxes. The AOS isn't going to vacate itself! I have nothing more to add tonight.
Okay, maybe this:
* again, with the "credit where credit's due", I borrowed this from Aint It Zoul who in turn posted it from an attendee of Lebowskifest.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Lately, the craziest dvds have been coming into the store. Maybe it's just that I have more access to dvds as a file-er than I used to, or maybe it has something to do with the recession, but films I had no idea existed are frequently passing through the conference room. Latitude Zero is one such movie.
At first, I wasn't paying too much attention. It looked enough like anime to a quick glance that I simply began filing, until I saw the words Citizen Kane.
That's normally enough to stop me from ignoring any dvd coming through, but this use of Kane was in reference to Joseph Cotton, who stars in both that film and this one. This intrigued me, since it was reasonably clear from the back this was some variety of Japanese fantasy film / Man-in-Suit picture. When Cesar Romero's named followed, I was hooked already. Truthfully, I haven't seen much of him outside of the Batman tv show, but that's a strange one-two punch for a movie of this ilk. The fact that it's a Toho picture from the director of Gojira and Matango only sealed the deal. I need to watch this.
The plot seems like a cross between Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and Destroy All Monsters, with a dollop of Journey to the Center of the Earth thrown in for good measure. Maybe it was the guy in the bat suit. Maybe it was the volcano(?) explosion or the super-sub battle. Or...
How could I not find out what this is all about? Sometimes I'm really glad to work where I work, or many amazing - and not so amazing - movies wouldn't (literally) pass through my hands. Perhaps Latitude Zero will be the movie I break in the new place (wherever that is) with. Perhaps you'll see it in a future "Bad Movie Night". I can't say for sure now, but I'm excited to find out...
*thanks to DVD Drive In for the lion picture. Credit where credit's due.
Monday, July 20, 2009
A name so stupendously rockin' that it distracted me from filing for the rest of the night. The best part is that based on the placement of the names to images, I'm really not sure if that wooden-devil-dude is supposed to be Mr. Rambo or a placeholder in order to prevent your socks from being knocked off!
The movie, as best as the spotty copy on the back indicated, is about an exorcist who goes head to head with a rival exorcist and his gang of Satan-worshippers in an epic battle of, well, good against evil. Netflix and IMDB and pretty much everywhere else tell it differently, but who am I to doubt a bargain bin dvd cover and the one-two punch of Kim Cattrall and Dack "Mah-Fuckin" Rambo? Surely this movie must kick ten kinds of ass.
In all seriousness, I did some poking around online and discovered his real name is Norman and that he did a lot of tv work (of which Good Against Evil qualifies as), and Dallas fans are already laughing at me for not knowing the guy who played "Jack Ewing" on a long running show I've never seen. Whatever. I can appreciate the name without the backstory. Better still, if refuse to look up images of Dack Rambo, I can pretend that he looks like Devil Dude on the dvd cover. Clearly Mr. Rambo is summoned at some point in the film to lay the smack down on some dueling exorcists.
The power of Dack compels you!!!
In other news, the Cap'n now possesses his very own copy of Theremin! For those of you who don't watch science fiction films of the 1950s, somehow forgot everything about Ed Wood, or just aren't hip to the lingo, the theremin is the worlds "first electronic musical instrument"* and is played by "non-contact", involving the motion of your hand through an electric field... or something. Look, the theremin is the jam, gang, so watch this video:
See? Wouldn't you want that all the time? Of course you would, shut your mouths, the theremin is incredible! At any rate, I haven't seen a copy of it since Adam and I gave one to Cranpire, so it's super swank to have my own.
I don't know anything about Roy Andersson's Songs from the Second Floor, but the blurbs on the front and back make it impossible not to check out. To wit:
"Strange... funny.... brilliant... twisted."
"The most ingenious film comedy since Being John Malkovich."
"Short Cuts meets Night of the Living Dead."
and, my favorite:
"The film is like an Ingmar Bergman movie as realized by Monty Python."
So yeah, there's that too. My head hurts.
* according to the back of the dvd. I'm sure Major Tom can confirm or deny this.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Night and the City (1992)
Lonely are the Brave
Jersey Girl (auf Deutsch!)
Natural Born Footba- er, Any Given Sunday
Seed of Chucky
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Now you can have a Tommy Wiseau double feature, and I know that's something you've been hankering for secretly. So secretly you've never told anyone, but in my imaginary land the Cap'n is all seeing.
Some quick HD-DVD feedback:
- Dune surprised me. Well, not the movie. I've seen the movie before, and it is what it is: enjoyable but it feels like big chunks are missing (which they are). The picture was better than I ever imagined it would be, particularly since that whole "80s film stock looks like shit so don't expect much" argument I foisted up for Ghostbusters. Why Dune could look this good and maybe Ghostbusters doesn't is a discussion for another time. Lynch's ridiculous eye to production design pays off big time with this HD-DVD, so I guess you'll have to come over and see for yourself.
- The Army of Darkness HD-DVD looks almost exactly like the version downloaded from the PS store, and that's not a bad thing. Plus, this one doesn't expire.
- If memory serves me correctly, Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind look as good or better than when I saw them at the Janus and the Carousel (respectively).
- The Deer Hunter looks good but not great. Pretty grainy but the three hours have more room to stretch out, so there's better detail.
- Haven't watched Seed of Chucky or Anchorman yet. Will get on that soon.
There's no forward momentum on Stab Lincoln, Civil War Zombies, or Raptor of Liberty yet. I've sketched out a rough idea for Raptor-in-Chief, which you could consider to be a cross between Jurassic Park and King Ralph.
If anyone would like to volunteer their services for some concept art, I'd be happy to share it with readers of the blogorium. The Cap'n has tried with little-to-no success in photo-shop-ing a proper "zombie Lincoln" picture, so any freelancers out there are welcome to give it a go.
One of these days I'll get back to proper "critical essays", a tag sorely underused since the Cap'n jumped ship from DieSpace.
Wait. Is that domain taken? I wonder if it is, because if not, there's a great movie in there somewhere. Okay, a shitty movie, but a shitty movie I can turn into gold! And by that I don't just mean spraypainting dog crap gold, like I usually do. I mean actual alchemy involving feces and my
Please don't tell Hogwarts I "borrowed" it. Let's just keep this between ourselves, okay?
Friday, July 17, 2009
The downside is that, periodically, they'll offer something like the 1992 remake of Night and the City. Regular readers will note that the original Night and the City, with Richard Widmark, Herbert Lom, and Gene Tierney, is one of my all time favorite film noirs. I had no idea anyone had tried to remake it, or why they'd bother, but sure enough, there it is.
Robert DeNiro is playing the Widmark role and Jessica Lange is the Gene Tierney substitute. I didn't stick around in IMDB long enough to find out who was the Herbert Lom "Kristo" role, but the remake does feature Eli Wallach. Instead of wrestling, Harry Fabian (DeNiro) schemes to get even with a boxing promoter, but I'm guessing it pans out the same way.
The Night and the City remake has "so-so" reviews, but curiosity demands that your Cap'n check it out. Odds are I'll regret the whole experience, but it does mean a new movie to file into the "So You Won't Have To" drawer. Look for the gory details some time in the next, uh, two or three months.
Speaking of "So You Won't Have To" or, should I say, "Because We All Need To", I'm moving forward on the threat to actually watch Street Fighter: The Somethingorother of Chun Li. The Cap'n let his "trash savant" title sit alone on the shelf for too long, and it's gathering dust in preparation for someone to take it. That can easily be corrected, so maybe I'll share the glory of Chris Klein's return to filmed entertainment before I move.
Off to check out Dune for potential herky-jerky motion issues. Don't get into any trouble, or I'll rescind my promise to never share the terrible, horrible secret from Summer Fest. You know what it is...
Thursday, July 16, 2009
A cursory glance also reveals the following "Really? That's Going to Be on Blu-Ray?!" movies: The Postman, Ichi the Killer, Starman, Over the Top, The Quick and the Dead, Blue Thunder and Cutthroat Island.
On the other hand, you'll finally be able to say you own Torso, Stunt Rock, Anvil! The Story of Anvil, and Werewolf: The Complete Series on dvd before the end of the year. Who says a new format's not good for bringing you every single "cult" film or tv show left in the archives*?
Still no sign of that Troll 2 Blu-Ray though...
As of right now, the only HD-DVD disc to arrive is The Frighteners, which looked pretty nice. By watching it, I've been able to confirm a suspicion I had about the other discs and the player itself: there's an ever so slight "jerky" motion to the picture. The sound is pretty great and generally the image looks good, but when things get very busy on-screen (as the beginning of The Frighteners does) the image can kind of lag or jerk for just a hair of a second.
I'd need someone else to double check it, but I'm pretty sure this is not an isolated phenomenon. This may have something to do with the HD-DVD drive or the video encoding, I don't know. Truthfully, it's not really distracting, except perhaps on a subliminal level, telling you "this is a smidge off, hoss", until you shrug it off. It's something I've never noticed on Blu-Ray discs, but then again we're dealing in uncharted territory here.
Maybe the only good thing to come out of Shit Coffin was the BD-Live availability of a scene from Trick R Treat, which Warner Brothers has been sitting on (for no apparent reason) for almost two years. Everyone who sees it seems to love it, and as a sucker for anthology films anyway, I've been waiting patiently.
The clip involves Brian Cox as "grouchy old dude who probably hates Halloween" being terrorized by that little sack-headed kid you might have seen in the artwork. Once you get past the sack kid looking a little silly, things get quite violent. There's a better back and forth than I was expecting from the "non-believer gets scared" story, and the violence isn't nearly as one-sided as it normally is. If anything, the nine minutes I watched really got the Cap'n jonesing to see the whole thing in context, plus the other two stories alluded to in this here trailer:
Look for it to join Let the Right One In at Horror Fest in October, provided Warners ever picks a release date.
Off to fiddle around with some digital media and see if the game systems can see them. Then packing. I have to be out of this apartment by, let's say, next week. Ack.
* Except for Monsters. What must I do to get Monsters on dvd? Do I have to buy Friday the 13th: The Series? Poltergeist: The Series? Do I need to petition Freddy's Nightmares so I have to buy that too?
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
There are two things that I found to be true after some cursory searches for HD DVDs online:
1) There are a number of good movies with pretty high marks visually that aren't on BD yet, or anytime soon.
2) HD-DVD's are REAAAAALLY cheap.
How cheap? Let's look at it this way; the most expensive HD-DVD I ordered was 6 bucks with shipping included. Most of them were around $3 a pop, compared to the (at best) $14-40 cost of their eventual Blu Ray counterpart. For most of the HD-DVDs I ordered, shipping was free. There's nothing wrong with the discs, and if you have a player it's not going to stop working any time soon just because they've been discontinued. So, for about 30 bucks (with shipping), I got the following HD discs:
The Deer Hunter
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Being John Malkovich
Army of Darkness
Seed of Chucky
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
None of which are available on Blu Ray or have been announced and all of which were much cheaper. Based on the limited amount I could get from work (it consisted of Miami Vice and Hollywoodland plus the King Kong that came with the HD-DVD drive) the picture is comparable to Blu Ray so the only drop is in price of disc. Not too shabby.
They haven't arrived yet, but I'll be sure to give you an update when they do. I'm particularly interested in The Frighteners. Dune got some high marks online, and one review indicated it's the best the film has looked on home video yet (and considering how many different region coded discs he compared it to, I'm inclined to believe him). Also, most of them have all the extras of their fancy dvd counterparts, including the 4 hour Frighteners "making of".
In fact, the only HD-DVD disc I couldn't find for dirt cheap was Forbidden Planet, which was hovering right around $12. It's still not super expensive, I guess, and there's no indicator that or if a Blu Ray is on the horizon, but I'd like to keep spending on this dead format to less than $10. On the other hand, if any of you see it out there for a reasonable price, pick it up and I'll be happy to pay you for it.
Since I've got this drive, I might as well use it, and I have all the incentive in the world to build up a small collection of this already obsolete medium. More than half of them are "flippers", which means that one side is high definition and the other is a regular dvd, so they'll still work even if the drive peters out. If anyone knows how (or where or if) I can locate firmware updates for the drive, drop the Cap'n a line.
Off to work shortly, but I did end up getting The State. Even in the awkward first episode, it's still funnier than most sketch comedy on tv today. Just saying...
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Or I could watch [REC], the movie Quarantine is based on and by most accounts is light years better than. I didn't think Quarantine was awful but the presence of character actors I recognized immediately didn't help maintain suspense. Instead it was more of a "Hey, it's Dexter's sister! And oh look, the dude from Allie McBeal!" Not a great way to draw someone into a horror movie. [REC], on the other hand, is in Spanish and features actors I don't exactly recognize, so I will have less trouble suspending disbelief watching Apartment of Zombies (spoiler).
Spine numbered-inclined blu-heads will be happy to hear that Criterion was watching out for you on the anniversary of the moon landing and rereleased For All Mankind on dvd and fancy-schmancy dvd with some... I dunno. I gave my old version to my dad years ago because he's a huge NASA geek and I can't honestly tell you what's different. The documentary itself, which is twenty years old, is about all of the Apollo missions with the involvment of all Apollo astronauts. Pretty cool.
There are now almost twenty blu-spine numbers*, so you early adopter Criterions fans better get on it!
If you're a Martin Scorsese completist, or just a fan of hippie bullcrap, don't forget that Woodstock is out on dvd and blu ray. If you buy the dvd at Target, you get a free tambourine, which I guess you can use when you and your bullshit hippie friends get high and pretend it's the sixties again, which is what every idiot hippie I went to high school with did just about every weekend. I guess you can tell that I got it for the Scorsese and some of the music, because the Cap'n is definitely with Eric Cartman when it comes to hippies. That's why I listen to Slayer.
I also listen to Slayer because Slayer kicked ass until they didn't anymore.
I need a place to live. Soon.
* For those curious, the Criterion Blu Rays are: The 400 Blows, The Seventh Seal, The Wages of Fear, For All Mankind, The Third Man, Playtime, The Complete Monterey Pop Festival, Kagemusha, The Man Who Fell to Earth, Pierrot le Fout, The Last Emperor, Bottle Rocket, Chungking Express, El Norte, The Last Metro, In the Realm of the Senses, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Last Year at Marienbad, and Repulsion.
Monday, July 13, 2009
As with any "best of" list, I'm clearly going to be leaving out some good ones - and probably your favorite - but this is just the Cap'n talking here. I don't speak for the rest of you, although I welcome your amendments to my list.
I had a really hard time putting 2-10 in order, so just consider them as interchangeable.
1. Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb - It doesn't matter how many times I seen Strangelove because the film is so perfectly constructed and well designed that you can always catch something. Stanley Kubrick made a series of wonderful films back to back, but for my money this is the most lively of them. What I love is that it's not abundantly clear what or when the film is supposed to be funny, right down to the fact that introducing the title character feels like an afterthought. Rather than any build-up, the President merely asks Dr. Strangelove what he thinks, and Peter Sellers rolls across the war room with his deleriously misbehaved arm. Wonderful.
2. Ghostbusters - I think of this movie as something that could have easily vanished amidst the rest of 80's horror-comedies, but instead is still relevant and still funny twenty five years later. It's not simply a childhood affection for Ghostbusters either; the movie is actually funnier now because you're catching the jokes you missed as a kid. Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis scripted a movie packed with quotable lines, anchored by a great cast and really memorable practical ghost effects. If a movie is still funny the twentieth time you've seen it, then it belongs on the list.
3. The Blues Brothers - Speaking of quotable movies, Blues Brothers has them in spades. What I love so much about The Blues Brothers is not simply that the cast is great or the jokes come fast and furious, but instead how absurd it is. Things seem strange, if reasonable until the Blues mobile jumps the bridge, and even the mall chase and Elwood's apartment are within some strange logic. But then Carrie Fisher blows up their building, and the brothers crawl out and continue. It only gets crazier from there, but the movie never acknowledges that what's happening to Jake and Elwood is wildly improbable; you just go along for the ride.
4. Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein - This is a purely sentimental pick. I'm not even that huge of an Abbott and Costello fan, but I am a sucker for the Universal Classic Monsters, which this movie works in exceptionally. Better still, Bela Lugosi and Lon Chaney Jr. look like they're having fun hamming it up, and there's a bonus Vincent Price cameo at the end. It's not a classic, I admit, but it goes on my list.
5. The Philadelphia Story - Just a great script, with a great cast, doing screwball the best way screwball can be done. Cary Grant and James Stewart up again Katharine Hepburn in a battle of barbs, I'll take it any time.
6. Monty Python and the Holy Grail - Life of Brian may be the better movie, but Monty Python's first "proper" film is one worth coming back to again and again. I've seen it pretty much every way you can see it (save for laserdisc), and the movie is so packed with great, random, or sly jokes that you're bound to catch something you forgot between when you last saw it and the next time. And there will be a next time.
7. The Big Lebowski - When it came out Lebowski was the kind of movie that people were "meh"-ing about. Critics didn't take it kindly as a follow up to Fargo, and audiences blew it off. I even forgot to go see it, until Phillippi dragged my to Blue Ridge to watch it. At the time, you loved it or you didn't. Lots of people didn't, but there was a sea change over time and now almost everyone knows what we knew that night: this is a comedy designed to scare off the average comedy fan. The Big Lebowski draws most of its humor from characters, not gags: Jeff Lebowski doesn't tell jokes, he's just silly. Involving him in the plot is silly, but then you meet people even sillier than he is, and the laughter flows from there. The one joke in the movie comes near the end, when Donnie's ashes hit the Dude in the face, and it's still good for a laugh.
8. An American Werewolf in London - I do love comedies that make the jokes seem effortless. Werewolf has a similar surrealist streak that you find in The Blues Brothers, although it ties it to horror. Rather than be frightening (which it can be when it wants to), John Landis milks the comedy out of gore and violence, but does it in such a way that it feels natural to the story. Placed in a situation like that, finding things to laugh about is the only way to feel relief.
9. Modern Times / The General- I'm cheating by putting a tie up for number 9, but invariably, when I think of one, I think of the other. Keaton does with his face what Chaplin does with his body, and both movies are prime examples of the men at their best. Modern Times has most of its laughs early, during the "work" section of the film, and the factory gags are still funny when you've spent time studying his technique. I'm also quite fond of the roller skating and his dream sequence. What Keaton does on a moving train in The General is nothing short of impressive, so I can't choose one over the other.
10. Young Frankenstein - Finally, Mel Brooks' best film. I always underestimate Young Frankenstein when I come back to it, assuming that I remember exactly what happens and when. I've come to take the movie for granted, but it surprises me every time. Little things come back, even if it's just a look from Marty Feldman's scene stealing Igor - pardon me, EYE-gore - and before long I'm swept up again. I have a hard time listening to "Putting on the Ritz" without thinking of Young Frankenstein, which is not good if you want not to laugh in public places.
I can already tell you Barrett is going to kill me for leaving out The Marx Brothers. Of course, I also left out a sentimental favorite, Kind Hearts and Coronets, along with Murder by Death, Some Like it Hot, Annie Hall, Shaun of the Dead, Cannibal! The Musical, and I Heart Huckabees. The Philadelphia Story only narrowly beat out Bringing Up Baby, and there was just no room for Arsenic and Old Lace, Groundhog Day, Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, or even Gremlins.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Maybe it's the strippers awkwardly quoting from your Freshman Philosophy class, or Jenna Jameson reading Nietzsche and declaring (once zombified) "This makes so much more sense now!" Maybe it's the dumb references, like naming the city Sartre Nebraska, or naming characters Ian Essko or Byrdflough (say them out loud). It might even be the unnecessary citations of The Warriors and Treasure of the Sierra Madre, and alone, any of these elements probably would have killed this movie for me.
But that's not the only dumb shit you find in Zombie Strippers. For example, this film is a LOT like Hillbillys in a Haunted House when it comes to demonstrating something over and over again to pad the running time. Admittedly, most people renting a movie called "Zombie Strippers" are expecting more of the latter and less of the former, but you get a bunch of normal stripping followed by even more zombie stripping. As blogorium pal Englund pointed out to me, "becoming a zombie makes the guys act like zombies. it makes the girls better strippers" which is true. All they want to do is strip and eat people, which is most of the middle of the movie.
What's so strange is that the retardedness of Zombie Strippers comes in small doses early in the film: at first, it just seems like a really cheap movie made on a very low budget, ala Blood Car. But like Blood Car, things start compounding, and by the time you get to the Zombie Stripper Dance-Off and the ensuing "Ping Pong Ball Trick" scene, the movie is so ridiculous you can't help but wonder where it's going next.
I guarantee you this movie has the best payoff for a "Mexican Stereotype" you're going to see.
So is Zombie Strippers worth seeing? Well, I wouldn't say this is a "So You Won't Have To", but you have to be a very particular type of B-Movie fan to enjoy this. I'm quite serious when I say it reminded me of Blood Car, Hillbillys in a Haunted House, and The Dead Hate the Living, even if it's nowhere near as good as they are.
Zombie Strippers is a very cheap movie that somehow bagged Robert Englund and Jenna Jameson and has just enough going for it that I'll say some of you might like it. Just fast forward through the "news" piece at the beginning and try to ignore the George W Bush and Cheney jokes. They go away for a while and it turns into a low-rent version of Feast with some decent gore and unintentional laughs, which is admittedly better than a lot of recent horror movies the Cap'n has been watching.
Friday, July 10, 2009
Greetings, pitiful humans! Your benevolent overlord, Douglas Fir here, checking in with some non-holiday related pearls of wisdom. The Cap'n was
Many of you have asked ol' Doug what he does when not taking over the world during December, but the truth is that like you pathetic bags of meat, I Mr. Fir indulge in quality movie watching. Not that trash like Termites 4: Down to the Last Drop or other such tree-related snuff films, but quality fare.
Why just the other day I was watching Above the Law and Hard to Kill, which I find appropriate since they describe me. You knuckleheads just don't appreciate descriptive titles any more, which is why these movies don't play at every theater all of the time (and believe me, as a talking tree I've been thrown out of my share of theaters). Oh sure, a movie like Paul Blart: Mall Cop doesn't leave much to the imagination, but imagine if it had been called Fat Die Hard. Then you'd know exactly what you were getting into!
For you tree-mendous benefit, I've decided to change the titles of the Top 10 Movies from last weekend so that the maximum number of people can tell immediately what they're going to see. For example: Hotel for Dogs = Hotel for Dogs*.
1. Robots Fight and Dumb Humans Watch
2. Ice Age: Dinosaur's Didn't Die
3. Johnny Depp with a Tommy Gun
4. People who Hate Each Other Fall in Love
5. Why did We Drink so Much?
6. Old Man and Boy Scout Fly
7. Girl with Cancer's Sister
8. The Train Hijacker
9. Hard to Watch
10. Why Not Just Buy a History Book?
See? All of those tell you exactly what you're going to see. This way, even if you don't see the movie, you have the basic idea and can converse with people who have. It eliminates confusion and helps humanity slowly dumb themselves down, paving the way for my inevitable conquest.
In the meantime, I think I'm going to watch something like Cat in the Brain, which better deliver exactly as promised. If there's not a cat in someon's brain, then I'm demanding a refund from Video Barn!
* Okay, bad example. But I'm a friggin' tree! You should be amazed I'm blogging at all. Someday when you bow before me, I'm going to bring up the time you insulted my cinematic prowess. Just you wait.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
A collection of reviews from stanDAMAN69@yahoo.com*
note: if it helps, try to imagine a cross between every high school response paper and 80% of the reviews/talkbacks on Ain't It Cool News.
by StandaMAN69@yahoo.com (guest contributor)
Not Since Next of Kin has a movie rocked my world so hard. ROCKED, I say. Because that is truly what the Punisher will do to your puny world. IT WILL ROCK YOU! Tom Jane is the friggin Punisher and he whups a whole heapin load of ass on Vincent Vega for fuckin with his schema! Arrows and shit! THE PUNISHER BEATS FRICKIN KEVIN NASHS ASS! and he's so cool that even tho rebecca hot piece of score ass romijn offers herself up to him hes like "babe, i'm sorry but i rock to hard. asses need kicking and that's what i do!" THAT ROCKS! give it ten frickin stars because five just dont ROCK ENOUGH!
starring Keanu Affleck
and Ice-T Eckhardt
Johnny Paycheck is basically about this computer hacker dude that puts Judge Dredd into cryogenics because he beat wesley snipes demolition ass and then he gets some program that erases his memory and takes away like 90 millions bucks or something. then this chinese dude chops peoples heads off because Ice-T told him to do it for special crimes unit or some shit. Then Agent smith shows up and beats some serious ass until the bride chops him in half or something. so now there's two agent smiths and along with the bride and the dude from rollins band they set out to beat up the chinese dude and ice-t. then pig vomit comes in and says whoa wait just one minute you've got this bag of clues johnny paycheck and you'll get your memory back (or some shit like that) them the chinese guy flips out and cuts his head off and for some reason juliette lewis is in this rock band playing songs while it happens with the dude from the crow. what the fuck? so anyway johnny paycheck and pig vomit's head use their bag of tricks to remember that he's really the one and that he invented a machine that can predict how to kill the chinese guy and then ice cube shows up and presides over a battle to the death between the bride and the chinese dude and the guy from rollins band flips out and kills ice-t and agent smith porks juliette lewis and that dude from the crow. meanwhile the bride is beating some serious ass on the chinese dude but he gets the upper hand and cuts both of her hands off and she's like oh shit i'm so dead, but johnny paycheck uses the machine to tell her to kick him in the nuts (theres like some built in explosive or some shit) and she does it and he friggin explodes, killing ice cube and the dude from rollins band too. then johnny paycheck and the bride run off into the sunset and use surgery or something to graft her hands onto pig vomits head. pretty fuckin gay man.
yeah so the rock plays Buford T. Puser, ass kicker extraordinaire (see mrs. jonson I told you I could use those grammar words shit) who comes back to his hometown after layin the fuckin smackdown on terrorists or brendan fraser or some shit how should I know? anyfuckinway, he finds this babe at a strip club/casino/drug dealership and along with his boy johnny knoxville and a HUGE fucking stick he sets out beating serious loser ass then he becomes the sheriff after some jabronis cut him all to hell so you know how that ended ….. serious smackdown action one problem though it was too short man like seriously I felt like it was over before I could build up a good whiz in me, and that folks is the gauge of a rockin movie (like collateral I had to fuckin piss twice and I held it the second time cos… whoa) like it was cool and shit but there was a lackage of stiffler-action and most definately no WALKEN-mania… shit. anyway I guess it rocked my world as much as it needed to and then went along the rocks merry way. fuckin a man, fuckin a.
Denzel Washington Sets a Man on Fire
NO FUCKING SHIT I swear to you he stuffs C4 up this dudes ass and fucking blows him up and the fuckin car hes tied to! Holy shit this movie rules!!! Its like the punisher but with way more crazy camera moves and rack focus and all that shit that I love no way should you miss this movie DAMN I am so pumped about MAN ON FIRE fuckin mark anthony blows his brains out and shit, and Christopher walken does his thing and…. goddamn HE CHOPS THIS DUDES FINGERS OFF AND THEN PUTS A CIGARETTE LIGHTER ON THEM! Yeah boy fuckin represent! MUTHAFUCKIN DENZEL AND SHIT this redeems him for the way he went out in training day screw ethan hawke what a LOOOOZAH like them fucks from west lansing FUCK YOUZ GUYZ!!!!
Blade Sucks Three
aight so what was i expectin right? fuckin more blade ass beatin check fuckin score ass chix check fuckin LAME ASS VAMPIRES check WTF????? shit man, this movie has so little ass kickin that i can barely qualify it as action, more like "im mopey ass blade cuz i cant act for shit" and hey lets cut away to cap' chocula for a halffuckin hour drake ass lame shit. FUCK u think van helsing got dracula wrong oh shit u have no idea! fuckety fuckballs is this shit lame. on the plus corner, porker posey and jessica
yoyoyo sherboy Stan, back from spriiiiiiiinnnngg breeaaaaakakaka! shit yea homez, i was fuckin tearin it up in
MAJOR LEAGUE GAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
yo i wont front the bitchez in sin shitty were smokin hawt (even if mah girl alba didnt get butt nekkid i still stroked it in her honor) and who knew the chick from gaymore girls was bone worthy??? still aint gonna watch that shit. fuckit im all for decaptatin and whatevah, but this movie just a little 2 gay if u kno what i mean...
1 star for da movie
5 starz for my bitchez
now i yall excuse me i gots half a bottle of crown royal left and that shit aint gonna drink itself....
Adam Sandler fucks it up again!
i dunno what
Buffy the Grudge Slayer and The
NO FUCKIN STARS