31 Days of Film in July-Week 3

July 13th-Crawl from 2019 (Director: Alexandre Aja, Writers: Michael and Shawn Rasmusse, Stars: Kaya Scodelario and Barry Pepper, Cinematography: Maxime Alexandre, Runtime: 87 mins)

The story of a swimmer and her dad trapped in a house during a hurricane. Oh, there are alligators. Lots of gators. Too many fucking gators. God damn it, Florida. Why? There is no complex story here. Yeah, there’s some strain relationship stuff going on between the lead (Haley played by Kaya Scodelario) and her dad (Barry Pepper) but that’s just enough characterization for a film about a bunch of fucking gators during a hurricane trying to eat people. This is a beautiful film. Seriously, we need more straight forward b-film fare like this.

The film starts establishing our lead swims. Good. She’ll need to be able to do that. Then, because of her sister, she’s off to find her dad. We got the backstory in the first the or minutes, time to set the crazy. In the crawlspace of the old family home she finds her dad injured. It’s because of a gator. Hold on, two gators! Actually, even more gators outside as they kill some young crooks and some local police. This isn’t good and trust me, I was anxious through out. The rising water, the gators swimming in, I was worried. I don’t like the water because I legit fear the animals in it.

I really enjoyed this. The way its film is claustrophobic, drowning, and nerve wracking. The tight shots on the bruises and overall ugliness of whats happening. So many well timed jump scares. This film just clocks in under 90 minutes and thank you for doing that. One aspect I love of horror films is how most are around 90 minutes and just get it. Joining Alexandre and his team are actors Scodelario and Pepper. The team is great. Even if you don’t care about the family drama, they are good. Their fear, their drive to survive, and their actions. The best horror films have memorable performances. or rather, performances that suck you into the dread that everyone on screen is feeling.

Its been a pretty weird month, most these scifi films have underwhelmed me. This was a great jolt of fun energy. I really dug it and I think I’ll pick it up when it drops on video.

Other Entertainment: G1 Climax is back! Plus some Evolve Wrestling little reading, and more Stranger Things.

[Trailer]

July 14th-Iron Sky from 2012 (Director: Timo Vuorensola, Writers: Michael Kalesniko, Ryan Healey and Timo Vuorensola with Story by Johanna Sinisalo and Jarmo Puskala , Stars: Julia Dietze, Christopher Kirby, Götz Otto, Peta Sergeant, Stephanie Paul and Udo Kier, Cinematography: Mika Orasmaa, Runtime: 93 mins)

The dark side of the moon has Nazis. A pair of astronauts encounter them, one shot and the black man named Washington is taken captured. Some Nazi asshole named Adler thinks he is part of incoming shock troops. They bleach his skin, Adler and his 97% genetic match Renate take him to Earth. Adler amd Renate get involved in Earth politics, Renate runs into Washington again, learns Nazi’s are actually assholes and she was raised on propaganda. The Nazis finally attack, shit gets wild. Seriously, this film is stupid and I enjoy it greatly.

First off, the special effects and set design look better than they should. Or at least I thought, checking currency conversion has the budget at over 8 million US. Which I guess is good for a foriegn production. Finnish-German-Australian team up and they capture an interesting look. Mixing a little traditional scifi with very anachronistic scifi for the moon nazi. Like old comic art, their space machinery is pretty cool looking. You don’t actually a lot of location shooting on Earth. Keeping it to sound stages and sets. Smart.

Performances are over the top. Udo Kier is the only real known actor and he has the weakest part, but he is a recognizable German actor playing a space Nazi in a straight way that its fine. The others go big. Julia Dietze plays Nazi Earthologist Renate with honest naivety and charm, you buy into her fascination with James Washington. I think the scenes with Gotz Otto’s Adler are important. Her happy reaction to their genetic match feels faked, and she seems incredibly put off with their kiss. Otto plays bad guy Adler as a bit of an idiot, which works cause Nazis are idiot. Christopher Kirby feels like he is bringing the funny sidekick of a blaxploitation movie to his role as Washington which feels just right. Finally our other two ladies Stephanie Paul and Peta Sergeant playing the President and adbisor/space force captain Vivian Wagner. Both embrace the rediculousness of it. Seriously, there is a scene where they realize the space Nazis have valuable Helium-3 and the President declares it US property to UN. That space and the moon is US soil. Like, what the fuck?

All this and an amazing score and original songs composed by the notorious Laibach. Now I don’t normally listen to Laibach cause their aesthetic, while something of parody, does push me away. But their music is always pretty cool. Seriously, while far from a perfect movie, and honestly I can understand why people think its bad, Iron sky is a cool little flick. Plus with the racist rhetoric and white supremacy complacency coming from President Trump and his people, I think this film hit in some fascinating ideas.

[Trailer]

Bonus Movie: Casablanca from 1942 (Director: Michael Curtiz, Writers: Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein, Howard Koch and Based on Everybody Comes to Rick’s by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison, Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, and Dooley Wilson, Cinematography: Arthur Edeson, Runtime: 102 mins)

Fuck Nazis. A very thin connection between these two films. Casablanca is about Rick who runs a club in what is about to be German-occupied Morocco. In walks his ex Ilsa and her husband Laszlo. Laszlo is on the run from Nazis because he has escaped their clutches and is an underground letter. They need letters of transit to get out. Insert melodrama.

I don’t got a lot to say. The film looks good, though not exactly stunning. Lot of Ricks club looks, well, just okay. Yet the camera captures everything happening with great detail. The story is fine, though it doesn’t treat the Nazis as the assholes they are, but I blame Hollywood politics and structure. At least they mention concentration camps. A lot of emphasis on the importance of immigration to safe place of the US. It makes me feel sad now.

What really matters to me is the performances. Bogart, Bergman and Rains. Bogart is always good, though this is not a favorite performance. Bergman, well, same. Rains is a bit funner, but also almost more of an asshole than he is Notorious. I am not sure I buy that much into Bogart and Bergman, well, I buy her feeling sorry for leaving him but something did not totally click. Still, I enjoyed what the leads were doing. Except Paul Henreid, who was the least interesting of the main leads. Also, film needed more Peter Lorre.

I fell asleep through this in high school but I appreciate it and enjoyed the film on this viewing.

Other Entertainment: Finished Stranger Things rewatch, plus more wrestling

[Trailer]

July 15th-Liquid Sky from 1982 (Director: Slava Tsukerman, Writers: Slava Tsukerman, Anne Carlisle and Nina V. Kerova, Stars: Anne Carlisle and Paula E. Sheppard, Cinematography: Yuri Neyman, Runtime: 112 mins)

The fuck did I watch? I actually read the summary on wikipedia to see if this fever dream of a film was real. About a pair of models, Margaret (played by Anna Carlisle who also plays Jimmy) who like drugs and is being observed by aliens. The people she has sex with (or is raped by) die when they reach orgasm. The aliens are absorbing the endorphins which is causing people to die.mAlso a German scientist is studying this.

So how do you respond to a film that feels dangerous? An icon 9f queer movies this film is problematic and erotic. Strange and both enticing and off-putting at once. It is so incredibly unique. The director and creative team accomplish a lot visually for a film with so few locations. The fashion of Margaret and Jimmy, plus those of the shot. Coupled with the weird club and some of the set decoration, its a fascinating looking movie. Even the alien POV, which is that sort of infrared vision, adds to the overall style.

The performances, Anne Carlisle is sort of iconic. This film influenced the visual aesthetic of the musical genre electroclash. As Margaret she is stunning, and her performance so stranger an alluring. Part feminist rhetoric, dark humor, and maybe self hatred? She is a bizarre lead but you have to see her. Her Jimmy is beautiful. Very Drag King Bowie affair. The way he acts out and his attempts to be cool. Adrian, played by Paula Shepperd, is a mean kind of friend. Or rather girlfriend. Very sick in the head. She takes shots at Margaret and everyone, then challenges the notion of death by sec. Forcing herself onto Margaret. Of course she dies.

This film is on some drugs. Cocaine, heroin and qualudes. Its high fashion and crazy concept. It will stay with me for a long time.

Other Entertainment: Reading and wrestling.

[Trailer]

July 16th-Them! from 1954 (Director: Gordon Douglas, Writers: Ted Sherdeman and Russell Hughes, Stars: James Whitmore, Edmund Gwenn, Joan Weldon, and James Arness, Cinematography: Sidney Hickox, Runtime: 94 mins)

A little girl is spotted wandering from a trailer park, the police investigate and find her mute from terror. The trailer destroyed and later a dead body turns up with his business destroyed in a similar manner. An FBI man comes to assist the police Sergeant investigating, then a scientist team (father and daughter). Turns out big mutated ants. They destroy one colony but upon investigation learn two queen ants escaped.

This 1950s scifi film has 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. Wow. Until you realize that just means every critic that it was at least good. That it is. Having watched old scifi films only on rare occasions, this is one of the least corny looking. The black and white photography helps male the ants look pretty decent. Helps the film is shot in a way that never really shows them in full out in the open. The black and white look really is pretty impressive, especially in the start where it feels kind of noirish. The underground and sewer tunnel stuff has a good, creepy look. Then everything else is pretty standard but still fine. This was actually the second to last film shot by Warner Bros contracted cinematographer Sidney Hickox and he helped made a classic. Also the director had film several noir films as well as swashbuckling movies so I a, sure that helped.

One of the other things this film does better than most scifi films of the 50s and 60s is build. It has a strong procedural start, we also meet the monster early in a great sequence, and then we continue investigating. The film isn’t just a lot of melodrama and scientific ponderings. Yes that’s here but the science is a but more fascinating because of the reality of what ants are. Taking real zoological science and implying it to the impossible. The military study and tracking helps too. Its more straight forward serious and the actors, while not stand outs, are doing a strong job of making the film credible.

Of course its still a dated scifi movie with a silly premise. I think it must have been a blow away film of its era but now its just good. A solid classic scifi film that won’t bore you, but rather make you think “That was pretty good.”

[Trailer]

July 17th-Seconds from 1966 (Director: John Frankenheimer, Writers: Lewis John Carlino and Based on the novel by David Ely, Stars: Rock Hudson, Cinematography: James Wong Howe, Runtime: 100 mins)

Seconds is about a middle age man named Arthur Hamilton, who is unfulfilled with his life. He has acheived the American dream but he is not happy. A friend he thought was dead pushes him to an organization just known as the Company. They can give you a new life. Fking his dead and with plastic surgery he is brought back new. Younger, and with a job as a painter. However his new life does not fill the emptiness. His struggles lead him back to the company. He wants another shot.

This film, this film is depressing and scary. The opening footage with its stark black and white is quite menacing. James Wong Howe was nominated for an Oscar for this film and the way its shot, its both creepy and sad. Him and director John Frankenheimer just capture this emptiness on film. The world around Arthur, and then his younger self Wilson, feels so despairing. I can not really put into words. Its a combination of noir, horror and tragedy just the way this film flows from its look and its story. Following Hamilton into Wilson into just complete loneliness. Then that awful, sad finish to the film. Plus that haunting score. This is one of the biggest downers I’ve seen this year.

Of course a lot of it works due to the two performances. John Randolph and Rock Hudson are amazing. Randolph is so pathetic as this man who just is a drone, one removed from his own wife. He does a lot by doing so little. There’s no big monologue explaining his predicament or his feelings of life. His struggles to defend his world is real and heartbreaking. Then Rock Hudson steps on. I only have seen one other Hudosn film, but I know a couple things about him. First, he was mostly known as a romantic lead and this is against type. Second, he was a closeted gay man and one of the first stars to die of AIDs. Hudson is very good. Watching him adjust and then reject his new life. The scene where he meets his former wife as he pretends to be a friend of the “late Arthur Hamilton.” Its an incredibly tragic performance. One that seems to have gotten much deeper over time. Thanks in part to his own closeted nature as well as the film gaining the acclaim that was elusive at its original run.

Second is one of the most gorgeous movies I’ve seen. Its also one of the saddest and creepiest I’ve watched in a while. It deserves its status now as one of the great scifi films of all time.

Other Entertainment: Stuff

[Trailer]

July 18th-Repo Man from 1986 (Director/Writer: Alex Cox, Stars: Harry Dean Stanton and Emilio Estevez, Cinematography: Robby Müller, Runtime: 92 mins)

The next film is a popular cult classic. Repo Man about a young punk named Otto who starts working for a company called Helping Hand that repossess cars. Through his misadventures he meets a woman talking about aliens and word gets around about a car with a $20K bounty in it. That car is carrying some hot cargo in the trunk that will fry anyone who looks at it.

I was into this film at first. The opening with the comic book disintegration of the highway patrik man. Then jumping to Otto,his day to day life and then hook up with Helping Hand. Then it just sort of goes. The alien stuff has a lot of uninteresting characters. There are the punk criminals who are funny at first but wear thin. Eventually it feels like its turning its wheels which is weird because this is not a long film.

I liked Emilio Estevez, Henry Dead Stanton and a few others. Emilio has a lot of charm for a character who is kind of an asshole. Sy Richardson is quite a character. The film has a cool, punk LA vibe to it. Gritty, urban trash. I just wish it was more fun. Did more with what it was about. I was very much into it at first but I just lost steam half way through and never quite got back into it. Writing this out now, males me wonder if my *** rating in my Letterboxed was 1/2* too high.

Other Entertainment: More reading, more wrestling.

[Trailer]

July 19th-Tetsuo: The Iron Man from 1989 (Director/Writer: Shinya Tsukamoto, Stars: Tomorowo Taguchi, Kei Fujiwara and Shinya Tsukamoto, Cinematography: Kei Fujiwara and Shinya Tsukamoto, Runtime: 67 mins)

Explaining the plot of Tetsuo: The Ir9n Man won’t do either of us any good. I can, but you’d just blink twice and say `what?’ And really, the whole bizarre plot revolving around metal and flash is just an excuse to shoot an incredibly twisted piece of cyberpunk body horror. That’s what this film is, a 67 minute black and white body horror film that will have you wondering what drugs they were taking.

The film has limited actors, limited dialogue, its a visual treat. Bits of it feels inspired by Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead films with the camera movement and even one woman (these characters don’t have names) stylized look similar to the first Dead film. Now even though I had seen Army of Darkness before Tetsuo, I saw Tetsuo before I ever saw Evil Dead 1 and 2. Do for me, as a teenager when I first saw this, the film was on a whole new level. Even though it was the late 90s and the film was from 89. Its on this watch I see it clearly and it works perfectly for Tetsuo. The changing effects are gross and fascinating. The focus on metal and machinery coupled with the clanging industrial score, its incredibly ominous.

A lot of the beauty is in the black white photography. It makes Japan during the day feel so dystopian. There is not much shots during the day but when they’re out it seems all wrong. The way it also makes use of VHS and filming of televison just adds to the urban nightmare. The way the actors move, twitch, fight amd pause it all feels like a dream where you only remember the most important details. Plus the film is dripping in psychosexual imagery. Like when our two metal men combine into one creature that looks like a giant metal penis with a gun.

Your mileage on this will vary. As a teenager into Industrial music I loved it but as an adult, I still like it but not as much. But god damn, visually it holds up well.

[Trailer]

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31 Days of Film in July-Week 2

July 6th-Spider-Man: Far From Home from 2019 (Director: Jon Watts, Writers: Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers, Stars: Tom Holland, Jon Favreau, Zendaya, Marisa Tomei, Jake Gyllenhaal, Cobie Smulders and Samuel L. Jackson, Cinematography: Matthew J. Lloyd, Runtime: 129 mins)

Taking place after the events of Endgame, Peter Parker is in a world that’s aged 5 years. The Avengers are gone as is Iron Man, his mentor who sacrificed himself in battle. He’s hoping to enjoy a European trip only for Fury and Hill to bring him in to help Mysterio stop elementals. If you know anything about the fish bowl head character you know he’s a villain in the comics with a background as a actor and special effects wiz. So really, you can’t trust the dude but everyone seems ready to.

I don’t have a whole lot to say on this new film thats out getting great reviews. Its not as good as the recent Into the Spider-Verse, not sure I’d say its better than Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2, but definitely the best live action Spider-Man movie since that film. Its funny. has a lot of heat, and some pretty cool action. though I did think the final drone battle was a bit too excessive. Especially after the cool fuckery of Spidey’s first fight with Mysterio was so nightmarishly cool. Zendaya is amazing, and a great MJ. Fuck everyone who thinks differently. And while I’m at it, fuck everyone complaining about a black Ariel. “What if white people played black roles?” They did, it was called blackface. Make some fucking room.

Okay, enough of that-I like Tom Holland even though he’s pretty dumb at times. Jake Gyllenhall was fantastic as the bad guy. Its actual a great twist even though you see it coming. Its just the delivery of it that is so fantastic. Also I liked the inclusion of Betty Brant. We good? Its a fun film. Tomorrow I start a bunch of alien (or space related) scifi films. Join me, won’t you?

Other Entertainment: Still watching Futurama and reading Rebecca very slowly. Caught up on some shows.

[Trailer]

DOUBLE FEATURE: July 7th-Devil Girls From Mars from 1954 (Director: David MacDonald, Writers: James Eastwood and John C. Maher, Stars: Patricia Laffan, Hugh McDermott, Adrienne Corri, and Hazel Court, Cinematography: Oliver Stapleton, Runtime: 76 mins)

Earth Girls Are Easy from 1988 (Director: Julien Temple, Writers: Julie Brown, Charlie Coffey and Terrence E. McNally, Stars: Geena Davis, Julie Brown, Jeff Goldblum, Damon Wayans, and Jim Carrey, Runtime: 100 mins)

A pair of films about aliens trying to hook for one reason or another. First, Devil Girl From Mars has a bunch of people at an inn in the Scottish Highlands. A scientist and reporter, a escaped prisoner and the woman he loves, a model, working people. A leather clad alien lady shows up. Looking for good men, showing off her robot, kinda being a bitch. But shes cool in an evil way. In Earth Girls Are Easy, Valerie’s upcoming marriage to Doctor Ted his road bumps. he’s not interested in sex with her and has been planning to have a fling behind her back. Then a alien ship lands in her pool. Three aliens have come to Earth after catching some TV signals and want to meet some ladies. Cue shenanigans.

Devil Girl is a cult classic because… I don’t know. People say its funny, I didn’t think so. People say the performances are bad, I just think its the material. It feels staged liked a play and the effects are reasonable for the time. It just sort of 0lays, drags longer than it should and eventually ends with a decent looking explosion. The criminal sacrificing himself to blow cue ship as he is taking by the alien. Who looks pretty cool. But this film is simply a curiosity I was interested in, and I have no string feelings about it after watching. Except it is kind of a bore.

Earth Girls is amusing. Geena Davis is always a pleasure to watch. Just the way she smiles, delivers her lines, and just towers over people both as a person and performer. I really should watch more of her films but she is in Beetlejuice the greatest movie ever made. The other guys are, okay. Jeff Goldblum gets most the lines as the alien and romances his then real life GF Geena. Jim Carrey and Damon Waynes just have silly scenes all through out which is fine because this film is so weird it works. Weird like a few random musical scenes. Check out Damon’s dance off at the club. Its fascinating. Everyone really looks like they’re having fun. Visually this film feels like a strange 80s music video. Lots of big colors, movement, strangeness. It is incredibly amusing, even though from a serious critical standpoint the film is not good. yet its fun, and that’s what matters.

I don’t have any deep thoughts on these films so I’ll cut out now.

Other Entertainment: Read a little

[Devil Girl From Mars Trailer / Earth Girls Are Easy Trailer]

DOUBLE FEATURE: July 8th-When Worlds Collide from 1951 (Director: Rudolph Maté, Writers: Sydney Boehm and Based on the novel by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie, Stars: Richard Derr, Barbara Rush, Peter Hansen, and John Hoyt, Cinematography: W. Howard Greene and John F. Seitz, Runtime: 83 mins)

This Island Earth from 1955 (Director: Joseph M. Newman and Jack Arnold, Writers: Franklin Coen, Edward G. O’Callaghan and Based on 1952 novel by Raymond F. Jones, Stars: Jeff Morrow, Faith Domergue and Rex Reason, Cinematography: Clifford Stine, Runtime: 86 mins)

Two classics of science fiction. One has scientists prepping for the end of the world. Building a single ship that can carry a small group of people and resources to a new planet. The other is about a scientist who gets “hired” to work on a new project. project is from aliens needing uranium due to war on their homeworld. Both films are considered classic, I was bored and have no opinion. Seriously.

I had hoped a theme month with would help liven things up. Especially after June. Yeah, April was the lowest rated month but June was the most “It’s good” month. Right now only three movies have been worth really talking about, two not scifi or fantasy, and the other just coming out. These two films I watched feel dated and don’t seem to have aged well. It probably does not help I was tired and maybe should have watched them when I was more up and receptive. Though I am not sure that would have helped me. I really don’t even feel like writing about these films so I won’y.

Other Entertainment: same

[When Worlds Collider Trailer / This Island Earth Trailer]

July 9th-Invasion of the Body Snatchers from 1978 (Director: Philip Kaufman, Writers: W. D. Richter and Based on the Body Snatchers by Jack Finney and the 1956 film, Stars: Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Veronica Cartwright, Jeff Goldblum and Leonard Nimoy, Cinematography: Michael Chapman, Runtime: 115 mins)

The remake/new adaptation of the famed story, 1978 Invasion of the Body Snatchers is about the spread of pod people. People are being replaced by perfect copies but they are different. Lacking emotion of normal people. Health inspector named Dr. Bennell is told by his friend, co-worker, that her husband is different. he tries to hep her but soon begins to believe when his friend Jack Bellicec and jacks wife finds a growing pod. Now they’re on the run as the city becomes more and more pod people.

I never saw the original-I should and probably will, so I can’t really compare it. From this film I can tell you its creepy. I think without the originals fear of commie take over it probably loses something but on a whole its probably the best “old” scifi film I’ve seen thus far. I read the creators wanted to capture a noir feel like the original, just in color. I think they did a pretty good job. The use of shadows during the night time scenes is really strong. Giving it a tense feel. Even during the day, there is something unreal about the way it operates. The special effects are pretty fucking disgusting, which I like. The growing of the pod people, the way the original Elizabeth Driscoll falls apart is a nasty shock. There is not a lot of special effects but what there is is top notch.

The film really works because of the performances. I’ve liked Donald Sutherland in the films I’ve seen but this year I’ve seen a few of his 70s movies and appreciate him even more. He’s so good. Calm, collected, but those quiet moments of fear and terror are fantastic. Brooke Adams is good, her growing fear from the starting point of joy we start in. She’s happy, she loves her husband, then she gets scared and continues throughout. Then the change, and she is now creepy. I really enjoy Veronica Cartwright. She plays fear and hysteria so fucking good. Whether as the young girl in the classic Birds or in the masterpiece Alien. She is amazing in these types of film. Also Goldblum, playing serious here versus the previous two films I’ve watched this month. Nimoy of course. This is a strong fucking cast and everyone is very good.

While I did enjoy this film, I haven’t really gotten a scifi film thus far I really love. Hopefully that changes soon but if it doesn’t, well, at least I’m seeing some films I’ve been meaning to tackle.

Other Entertainment: Just Futurama

[Trailer]

July 10th-Alien Nation from 1988 (Director: Graham Baker, Writer: Rockne S. O’Bannon, Stars: James Caan, Mandy Patinkin and Terence Stamp, Cinematography: Adam Greenberg, Runtime: 91 mins)

Set in a world where genetically engineered aliens are stranded on Earth and given citizenship. They are called Newcomers. Det. Sykes loses his partner when they try to stop an attempted robbery. He then volunteers to partner up with the first Newcomer detective, Fransisco, after overhearing him mention a possible connection between the robbery and a murder of a newcomer.

What happens when white people want to write about racism? Really going to kill the black partner so early? The film falls into a number of cop film and buddy film tropes. Which makes the racism allegory weak. Did I use allegory right? Anyway, the film only really flirts with confronting prejudice. It does not dig in. District 9 is more of a believable take on aliens being stranded on Earth. All this said, I still very much enjoyed this film.

Fist its a neo-noir. While I still don’t quite get what that entails (they are all over the place) it does utilize some noir techniques and I just dug the general look of the film. Specifically at night, or in tight shots of rooms. It feels like it nails the noir atmosphere in color, which is hard to do. Its generally a well made film from the drug making, the violent shoot out at the start, or the two leads hanging out. I found the core criminal plot to be smart. Newcomers attempting to get their people hooked on the drugs their once masters had them on. It feels worthy of science fiction and noir. I found Caan, Patinkin and Stamp are all very good. Caan is playing sort of a typical asshole bigot cop but not as deep as other films/shows did. He does well wuth really is an almost stereotypical character. Mandy Patinkin is fantastic as Newcomer “George” Sam Fransisco. Earnest, optimistic, and then scenes of fear and anger. Stamps is playing a pretty one dimensional villian but its Terrance Stamp so its okay. The only negative I think, other than its flaws handling racism (speciesism?) is the stretched out climax. Goes way to buddy cop action film.

So I dug this one, and I wouldn’t mind watching it again.

Other Entertainment: Just more Futurama

[Trailer]

July 11th-Enemy Mine from 1985 (Director: Wolfgang Petersen, Writers: Edward Khmara, based on Barry B. Longyear’s novella, Stars: Dennis Quaid and Louis Gossett, Jr., Cinematography Tony Imi, Runtime: 108 mins)

Enemy Mine is a scifi film about two people from different species (human and Dracs) being stranded together on an alien world. Their people fighting so they start as enemies. They bond in their attempts to survival. Alien Jeriba gives birth and the human, Willis takes care of the child until separated by scavengers.

I saw parts of this as a kid, was always curious but also always forgot about it. I’ll forget about it after watching it because its underwhelming. Too underwhelming and I really don’t feel like wasting time writing about it. I had hoped to get on a 3 day streak of films I dug but no. This one is… The effects look dated, the story is solid but not too special. It deals with race, much like Alien Nation does, and while this one might be better at showing the bond between two different species it just drags. Dennis Quaid and Louis Gosset Jr. are fine. Moving on.

[Trailer]

BONUS FILM: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? from 1966 (Director: Mike Nichols, Writers: Ernest Lehman Based on Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee, Stars: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, George Segal and Sandy Dennis, Cinematography: Sam O’Steen, Runtime: 132 mins)

From the AFI top 100 is a film about a toxic relationship. I finished watching it and I don’t care about writing about. I am sorry. I promise to give a damn about films again soon. But I couldn’t. I just was so fucking bored and then mad I wasted twenty minutes trying to get my netflix to work on my blu-ray player just to watch this. No thanks.

Other Entertainment: Pausing the Futurama to rewatch Stranger Things.

[Trailer]

DOUBLE FEATURE: July 12th-The Black Hole from 1979 (Director: Gary Nelson, Writers: Gerry Day, Jeb Rosebrook with Story by Jeb Rosebrook, Bob Barbash and Richard Landau, Stars: Maximilian Schell, Robert Forster, Joseph Bottoms, Yvette Mimieux, Anthony Perkins, and Ernest Borgnine, Cinematography: Frank Phillips, Runtime: 98 mins)

Spaced Invaders from 1990 (Director: Patrick Read Johnson, Writers: Patrick Read Johnson and Scott Lawrence Alexander, Stars: Douglas Barr, Royal Dano and Ariana Richards, Cinematography: James L. Carter, Runtime: 100 mins)

A pair of Disney scifi flicks. First is the 1979 film, the Black Hole, about an exploration crew on its way back to Earth that discover a long lost spaceship outside a black hole. They go on aboard and meet Dr. Reinhardt, the survivor who tells of what happened to his former crewmates and scientific plans in exploring the black hole. Spaced Invaders is about a bunch of small dumb aliens who get seperated from the armada and accidentally invade Earth after hearing War of the Worlds. Landed in a small town on Halloween. Yes, some Invader Zim vibes but its own thing.

Black Hole exists because of Star Wars. Yet it looks dated compared to that film. Also dated compared to Alien, the scifi-horror classic that came out the same year. That said there is some charm in the four color comic book pop art look. While not as wild as a Flash Gordon, or even as bright as Planet of the Vampires over a decade earlier, I kind of dig it. The robots look out of a classic age of scifi along with the pulp scifi art design of the space ships. VINCENT robot is corney and Maximillian stiff but I like it. Plus the drones look exceptionalky creepy with the reflective faceplates. The set design is generally fine, as is the way the film is lit. I am not mad at the overall look of the film, I am mad at the melodrama of it.

Watching these old scifi films, a lot lack urgency. A sense of fun within their premise. They talk big about science and human nature or whatever they go on and in about but its rarely compelling. The Day the Earth Stood Still always looks better when I think of scifi because its dramatic but exceptionally good at it. It knows to make the characters something more. Most the characters here a pretty one dimensional. Though I think Anthony Perkins was lowkey putting more in, an attraction his character has to Dr. Reinhardt. I also get why the score is so beloved. I am not that big on scores, or rather I don’t really remember them afterward. Yet, I appreciate it during the film and from the get go this one has something special about it. If only I could best describe it. This film is pretty underwhelming but its got enough to make it somewhat fascinating failure.

Though the final “hell” sequence leasing to “heaven” 2ithe the music may put it over. That gave me fucking goosebumps. Sometimes a bad film sticks the landing. Plus I saw this as a kid and thought it was interesting and it is a proto-Event Horizon so yeah, I will cut it more slack than it deserves.

Spaced Invaders is a film I use to watch as a kid and thought was silly fun. Yeah, its only for kids. Its amusing, overly long, and might keep a kid busy. Its cute, but cuteness can’t keep this film interesting for 100 minutes. That’s it. ** film. That’s the review.

Other Entertainment: Back to Stranger Things

[The Black Hero Trailer / Spaced Invader Trailer]

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365 Days of Film-The Halfway Point

Here we are folks. Six months of film over and working through the seventh now. What follows is my favorite films, least favorite films, average ratings for every month and links to each months stats.

Top 60
1. Rear Window*
2. The Public Enemy
3. The Night of the Hunter*
4. Witness For The Prosecution
5. Citizen Kane
6. Notorious*
7. Stray Dog*
8. Philadelphia Story*
9. Strawberry Blonde
10. Born Yesterday
11. Gun Crazy
12. The Wizard of Oz*
13. Bringing Up Baby
14. Superman*
15. The Bride of Frankenstein*
16. Sudden Fear
17. The Bad Seed
18. Wife vs. Secretary
19. Libeled Lady
20. In A Lonely Place
21. Sullivan’s Travels
22. Eyes Without A Face
23. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
24. Us
25. Logan
26. Nightmare Alley
27. Tokyo Drifter
28. The Final Girls
29. Sunset Boulevard
30. Hobo With A Shotgun*
31. Key Largo
32. Roman Holiday
33. Bumblebee
34. Avengers: Endgame
35. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
36. Shazam!
37. Frankenstein
38. Hollywood Shuffle*
39. Cooley High
40. Blood and Black Lace
41. Murder On The Orient Express
42. Some Like It Hot
43. Rocketman
44. Saboteur*
45. The Wrong Man*
46. Sabrina
47. Straight-Jacket
48. Angels With Dirty Faces
49. Strangers on a Train*
50. Tales From The Crypt: Demon Knight*
51. Branded To Kill*
52. Crazy Rich Asians
53. Mr. Smith Goes To Washington
54. The Big Sleep
55. Alita: Battle Angel
56. Fright Night
57. Hold Your Man
58. The First Great Train Robbery
59. Night School (1981)
60. Child’s Play

* Rewatched

Bottom 5 Films
5. Attack of the 50 Foot Woman
4. April Fools Day
3. Toxic Avenger II
2. The Candy Snatchers
1. Student Bodies

Films Watched
221 Total
191 New
30 Rewatch

Monthly Average Rating
I’m posting not just the average rating, but an adjusted one as my feelings toward certain movies have changed. Having watched so many movies some I liked have grown to love, others I liked slip to-“maybe I rated it too high?” Not including June because it just finished.

January Original: 3.15 out of 5
Updated: 3.18 out of 5

February Original: 3.3 out of 5
Updated: no change

March Original: 3.36 out of 5
Updated: 3.38 out of 5

April Original: 2.9 out of 5
Updated: no change

May Original: 3.43 out of 5
Updated: 3.51 out of 5

June: 3.06 out of 5

AFI
Listed From Top of the List to Bottom of the List
Seen: Citizen Kane, Godfather, Casablanca*, Singing in the Rain, Gone with the Wind, Schindler’s List, Vertigo, The Wizard of Oz, Star Wars, Psycho, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Sunset Boulevard, The Graduate*, It’s A Wonderful Life, Chinatown, Some Like It Hot, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, To Kill A Mockingbird, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, High Noon, All About Eve, Double Indemnity, Apocalypse Now, Maltese Falcon, Godfather Part II, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Dr. Strangelove, King Kong, Bonnie and Clyde, Midnight Cowboy, Philadelphia Story, It Happened One Night, Rear Window, West Side Story*, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Taxi Driver, North By Northwest, Jaws, Duck Soup, Sullivan’s Travel, Raiders of the Lost Ark, A Clockwork Orange, Saving Private Ryan, The Shawshank Redemption, The Silence of the Lambs, In The Heat of the Night, Forrest Gump, Titanic, A Night at the Opera, Platoon, 12 Angry Men, Bringing Up Baby, The Sixth Sense, Swing Time, French Connection, Pulp Fiction, Do the Right Thing*, Blade Runner, Toy Story

*Seen In School, Probably Need To Rewatch

Unseen: Raging Bull, Lawrence of Arabia, City Lights, The Searchers, The General, On The Waterfront, The Grapes of Wrath, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Annie Hall, The Bridge on the River Kwai, The Best Years of the Live, The Sound of Music, Shane, A Streetcar Named Desire, Intolerance, The Deer Hunter, MASH, Rocky, The Gold Rush, Nashville, American Graffiti, Cabaret, Network, The African Queen, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Unforgiven, Tootsie, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, All the President’s Men, Modern Times, The Wild Bunch, The Apartment, Spartacus, Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans, Easy Rider, Sophie’s Choice, Goodfellas, Sophie’s Choice, Yankee Doodle Dandy, Ben-Hur

Previous Months Links, Rankings & Stats
January, February, March, April, May, June

 

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31 Days of Film in July-Week 1

July 1st-Double Dragon from 1994 (Director: James Yukich, Writers: Michael Davis, Peter Gould with Story by Paul Dini & Neal Shusterman and Based on Double Dragon by Technōs Japan, Stars: Robert Patrick, Mark Dacascos, Scott Wolf and Alyssa Milano, Cinematography: Gary B. Kibbe, Runtime: 95 mins)

Based on the 80s classic video game, abandoning the barely there story, Double Dragon is a post-apocalyptic action flick about the Lee Brothers. They are the target of a businessman calling himself Kugo Shuko, trying to acquire their half of the double dragon medallion. An ancient artifact with powers. The gangs rule the night, and then there’s a kid gang called Power Corps who try to help. This film… is really fucking stupid. Which is the charm? You decide.

I’ve wanted to revisit this for years. I saw it in theaters, for some fucking reason I got in on VHS. I think I didn’t even watch it more than once until a friend wanted to see it about a decade ago. It was fun watching it with friends. This film, its stupid. Its absolute mess of a film. Like how?I mean, this was the age of silly video game adaptations and Mortal Kombat was the only one of the time that came out good. Everything else was garbage. but this film, it must be seen to be believed. Because its over the top weird. From the cheesy opening to the future Los Angeles. Its kinda cyberpunk, ugly LA. The whole city is a fucking mess. But its kind of interesting. This whole look became popular with other dystopian scifi. The action is pretty tame, which is a shame because Mark Dacascos is usually pretty badass. He was my favorite part of John Wick 3. Though the boat chase is kinda cool. The direction is pretty low budget with big swings. Like they took all the cliches of bad scifi and put it in and set it a crazy multi-color nightmare. This is just so god damn strange and you’ll be like “They made this for a few thousand” only for a huge explosion to hit and go “Maybe they had money.”

The performances are about whats needed. Scott Wolf and Mark Dacascos bring the right of energy. They seem to be having fun and are pretty decent together as brothers. Alyssa Milano is… there? I don’t know. But Robert Patrick seems to be having a blast. His villain is so silly and cool looking, that I really think he gives this film a lot of its charm. Dude is just fantastic even though everything is ridiculous around him. The villains are dumb. I think some of the cameos are fascinating. The whole news and commercials seems like someone really liked Robocop and I am not complaining.

This is not good, but I am glad I bought the reissue. Because god damn it I like trash sometimes. I wrap myself in it and feel good. Thank you. Welcome to a month of mostly scifi/fantasy.

Other Entertainment: Did I tell you I started reading Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca? That I am watching Futurama?

[Trailer]

July 2nd-The Adventures of Buckeroo Banzai from 1984 (Director: W. D. Richter, Writers: Earl Mac Rauch, Stars: Peter Weller, Ellen Barkin, John Lithgow, Jeff Goldblum and Christopher Lloyd, Cinematography: Fred J. Koenekam and Jordan Cronenweth, Runtime: 102 mins)

Buckaroo Banzai is the story of a mixed race (ha!) polymath and rocker, who crosses rhough the 8th dimension in a jet car. The successful experiment causes problem as an outcast of the 10th Dimension named Dr. Emilio Lizardo / Lord John Whorfin gets his crew together to steal the overthruster to get through and free his banished people the Red Lectroids. This black Lectroids threaten the Earth if Buckaroo and his band don’t stop Lizardo. Yep. I saw this film once before and I did not remember any of this!

Seriously, I bout this years ago, watched it. Was confounded and forgot about it. Not that it existed but what the film was about. Now that I seen it a second time I’m like “Huh. Okay. Thats kinda cool.” Not that peter Sellers is paying a mixed race Asian man but he is fine as he calm, collected, leader of the Hong Kong Cavaliers. Surrounded by the always cool Jeff Goldblum, cool Tom Clancy and that Lewis Smith guy who plays Perfect Tommy. Ellen Barkin is good as Penny Priddy. Then on the bad guy side you get John Lithgow going super crazy. He’s gun to watch with his crazed look and manic performance. Sadly not enough Christopher Lloyd. Lloyd is one of the greats.

The look of the film is…. Um… Was 12 million a lot in the early 80s. There are parts that look pretty good. Or rather, good for its time. The while jetcar 8th dimension was probably very cool looking back in the day. the alien ships are… Ugly but I think that’s the point. There are parts that look ugly but there is a cool, colorful aesthetic to it. Very much trash 80s aesthetic. It sort of works. The staging of the action may leave a lot to desired but everything else unravels pretty well, if a little slow. the film is just strange visual work. Then there’s the story… Which is fine. Its silly, has some crazy ideas, and puts in film science. The film does not quite make science interesting like other scifi/action films of recent memory.

Overall, I appreciated the film this time. Enjoyed it. Now tomorrow i’m going to get to stuff completely new to me.

Other Entertainment: same

[Trailer]

July 3rd-The Hidden from 1987 (Director: Jack Sholder, Writer: Bob Hunt, Stars: Kyle MacLachlan and Michael Nouri, Cinematography: Jacques Haitkin, Runtime: 96 mins)

Third film in my scifi/fantasy month is another cult classic, also an 80s horror flick. The Hidden is about an FBI agent and police officer hunting a crazed killer. Or rather an alien who jumps bodies, listens to loud rick music, likes fast cars and kills people. Yep.

This film is so full with the sort of “seen it before” type stuff its fascinating the film is still fun. You got car chasees, big shootouts, body hopping, tough cops and so on. Film starts hard. The killer alien robbing a bank, getaway driving, hitting pedestrians, and getting shot the fuck up. Then it slows a bit as we get to meet our heroes. Our villain goes back to being a violent asshole, our FBI agent is weird because he really is an alien. Easy to guess. Just keep building steam, more as an action film then horror.

Half the action is good, the other half is so so. Too many drawn out gun fights. The look of the film is fine. Jack Sholder is pretty competent director but having seen three of his films, only the second Nightmare on Elm Street has any real noticable style and artistic flourishes. This and Alone in the Dark look like fine 80s films. The performances are okay. Nothing that really stands out.

Overall its a good little film.

Other Entertainment: same

[Trailer]

Double Feature: July 4th-The Petrified Forest from 1936 (Director: Archie Mayo, Writers: Charles Kenyon, Delmer Daves and Based on 1935 play by Robert E. Sherwood, Stars: Leslie Howard, Bette Davis and Humphrey Bogart, Cinematography: Sol Polito, Runtime: 82 mins)

Gone with the Wind from 1939 (Director: Victor Fleming, Writers: Sidney Howard and based on the book by Margaret Mitchell, Stars: Clark Gable, Vivian Leigh, Leslie Howard, and Olivia de Havilland, Cinematography: Ernest Haller, Runtime: 233 mins)

The film that finally put Humphrey Bogart on the map. A drifter wanders into a roadside diner where he excites the daughter of the owner. They hit it off all the while a gangster and his crew are on the loose. Obviously said gangster gets to the diner, awaiting the rest of their gang before making their way to Mexico. there is a lot more going on here like the grandfather happy to see real killers, the service man having a crush on the lead, and the father being part of a vigilante group.

I watched this due to the fact it comes up whenever I talk Bogart with my uncles. Now you can tell this is based on a play due to the limited settings, and rather small cast for most the film. The set itself looks good, if sparse. However it works seeing its a film in the thirties with the Great Depression and era of the classic gangsters. The film feels dirty and I appreciate that. I’ve watched a few of these “based on play” films and general its about putting the camera on actor and having them hit their marks the best they can and the performances are all great. The action itself is pretty good when it happens. Even though it almost all takes place inside the diner, I liked the switch to the roof where Alan looks at Gabrielle’s artwork. The backgrounds look like paintings which is cool.

Of course, like I said, its the performances that are the key. Leslie Howard is so cool that I can buy into Bette Davis’ character falling for him quickly over such a short period of time. He’s a different type of person then who she has seen. World traveled, intelligent, and a great sense of humor. This film has some good comedy through out. Howard is so good with everyone in this film. Bette Davis is intriguing, unconventional beauty and her earnest performance is endearing. Very sweet performance. Bogart is, well, seems like he’s playing type but subtly subverts the basic gangster. This is explains why Howard refused to do the film without Bogart, and Bogart would go on to name his daughter after the actor. Also, two black actors and they share a scene together? On the 30s? Wow. That’s a rarity.

The film however does kind of get a little boring at parts but pulls it together. It also doesn’t quite work the way you would think. Howards character singing over his life insurance to the young Bette Davis character and essentially sacrificing himself to that she could get free from her life. Her life working in a dead end diner waiting for an inheritance. Sacrifice isn’t the right work, because Howard wants to die and talks Bogats gangster into doing it. Its clear that bogart has little interest in hurting his hostages, let alone this annoying man but he does. Its qyite an ending. Oh-and I liked Genevieve Tobin in her small part. Good stuff.

I only watched Gone with the Wind because of Unspooled. If you’re unaware its about Scarlett O’Hara. A Georgia woman who lives on a plantation. She is in love with Ashely Wilkes who is marrying another woman. It tracks from before Civil War through the reconstruction. You see Scarlett love, lost and hurt people as she tries to have everything.

This film is so fucking ling and I am tired with little energy so I will keep this quick. The film looks good. The sets and costuming is A plus. I will admit this is a visual masterwork. The second half 9f the film is better than the first half. I was losing lots of interest, which I had little, during the first part. However the second half turned it around. Probably because it has more Clark Gable? No thats one thing, I actually was more interested in Scarlett in the second half.

This film did not use Leslie Howard to his full potential but he was still good. I didn’t buy him and Scarlett but I did with him and Olivia’s Melanie. Vivian Leigh is very good. Even if she is, lets be honest, a jerk. Clark Gable is the king. That’s it, I am tired. … Okay, as a mixed race black man I felt a bit weird at times with the portrayal of black folks but i see why Hattie McDaniel won the Oscar and she deserved it.

[Petrified Forest Trailer / Gone with the Wind Trailer]

July 5th-Species from 1995 (Director: Roger Donaldson, Writer: Dennis Feldman, Stars: Natasha Henstridge, Ben Kingsley, Michael Madsen, Alfred Molina, Forest Whitaker and Marg Helgenberger, Cinematography: Andrzej Bartkowiak, Runtime: 108 mins)

The 90s scifi hit (I think) about an alien made in a human lab based on NA sequence sent from an alien source. She becomes a human looking girl who can turn into an ugly alien. She believes she must mate and reproduce. The idiot assholes who make her look to find her and destroy her.

I am not really in the mood to write about any big review for what looks and plays like a scifi film of the 90s. Mixing a little horror, a little action, and some rather less then suspenseful moments. Species is, okay. Its okay with its premise, has good performers, and looks fine. Its just not worth the amount of, I don’t know, interest it had in the 90s. Maybe the idea of hot alien had not been served up in sometime, and Natasha Henstridge is incredibly beautiful. Maybe men were a little queasy about the idea of making a beautiful woman who picks the men she wants to mate with and then kills them? I don’t know. This film sort of plays and and I was like, ‘okay.” Through most of it. i feel pretty bad for the alien woman even though she is considered a threat. She’s following the biology she has and is basically being hunted for being what she is.

Maybe I’ll need to revisit this later but I am hungry, I want to get to Stranger Things, and I’m anticipating New Japans G1 Climax. So brains elsewhere.

Other Entertainment: In a little while, Stranger Things 3

[Trailer]

//s3.amazonaws.com/jscript-load/217bc9f0d28b2da070.js

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30 Days of Film in June-Links, Rankings & States

30 Days of Film in June-Links, Rankings & Stats

June
Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4

June is over. This was the most 3 star month of the entire year. 3 stars is where I start when I do a review. That’s optimism that it will be good. May had the best overall rating, in part to all the Hitchcock I watched. April was the lowest, but I at least felt fascinated with some of the bad films I watched. June was… June was fine and it made it pretty rough. Waiting for things to pop and only a few things jump four stars or higher. I think part of it is the lack of planning. January had me watching several AFI films and classic films, films starring classic actors and actresses. February was romance films and black films. March was noir and crime. April was mostly 80s horror. Then there was May, even though it was mixed I had that string of Alfred Hitchcock films plus several other classics. June was, well, June was very random.

I made the decision to switch things around because of June. I moved my Scifi/Fantasy month up to July. Filled with several movies I want to revisit as well as several scifi classics and cult classics. August has over a week of anime flicks plus some old comedies, a few horror films I’ve been meaning to return to and more. Then in September I am returning to noir, crime and thrillers. Then of course October. I am still hyped going forward.

Top 10 for June
1. Witness for the Prosecution
2. Bride of Frankenstein*
3. Key Largo
4. Roman Holiday
5. Frankenstein*
6. Rocketman
7. Straight-Jacket
8. Angels with Dirty Faces
9. Crazy Rich Asians
10. His Girl Friday

* for rewatch

Worst Film For June

Films Watched
47 Total
42 New
5 Rewatch

Average Star Rating Based On My Letterboxd Ratings: 3.06 out of 5

Letterboxd|Twitter|Instagram

By The Numbers
This Is An Incomplete List
All Names Are Actors Unless Otherwise Noted

Eighteen Films: Edith Head (Costume/Wardrobe)

Twelve Films: Alfred Hitchcock (Master of Suspense)

Eleven: Bess Flowers (Queen of Extras), Jean Harlow

Ten Films: Cary Grant, Wally Westmore (Make-Up)

Eight Films: Adrian (Costume/Wardrobe), Jack P. Pierce (Make-Up), Franz Waxman (Composer), Perc Westmore (Make-Up)

Seven Films: Jack Carson, Gino Corrado, Frank McLure, Bert Moorhouse, Harold Rosson (Cinematographer), Max Steiner (Composer), James Stewart, Lyle R. Wheeler (Production Design)

Six Films: Lionell Atwill, Humphrey Bogart, Robert Burks (Cinematography), Eugene Joseff (Costume/Wardrobe), Stephen King (Novelist), Bela Lugosi, Hal Pereira (Production Design), Joseph Walker (Cinematography),

Five Films: Irene (Costume/Wardrobe), Clark Gable, James Cagney (Including Archival Footage), Lon Chaney Jr., Joan Crawford, Jules Furthman (Writer), Charles Lane, Charles Lang (Cinematographer), Ben Nye (Make-Up), Moroni Olsen, Orry-Kelly (Costume/Wardrobe), Garry Owen, George Tomasini (Editor), Geoffrey Unsworth (Cinematography), Billy Wilder (Director/Writer), John Williams (The Actor Not The Composer),

Four Films: Colleen Atwodd (Costume/Wardrobe), Brooks Benedict, Joan Blondell, Eric Blore, Ward Bond, Louis Calhern, Frank Capra (Director), Roger Corman (Director/Actor), Jack Curtis, Robert Emmett O’Connor, Jack Dawn (Make-Up), Pat Flaherty, Henry Fonda, Dwight Frye, Sam Harris, Howard Hawks (Director), Harry Hayden, Ben Hecht (Writer), Katherine Hepburn, Holmes Herbert, Bernard Herrmann (Composer), Edward Everett Horton, Olaf Hytten, Henry Jones, Boris Karloff, George Kennedy, Veronica Lake, Carole Lombard, Alan Ladd, Jean Louis (Costume/Wardrobe), John Lee Mahin (Writer), Michael Mark, Cyril J. Mockride (Composer), Marilyn Monroe, Sol Polito (Cineamtography), George Robinson (Cinematography), Arthur P. Schutz (Editor), John F. Seitz (Editor), Dorothy Spencer (Editor), Larry Steers, Norma Varden, Roy Webb (Composer), Vera West (Costume/Wardrobe), Larry Wheat, Florence Wix,

Three Films: Robert Aldrich (Director), Murray Alper, Edward Arnold, Mary Astor, Stuart Baird (Editor), Bobby Barber, Don Barclay, John Barry (Composer), Gordon Bau (Make-Up), Mario Bava (Director/Writer/Cinematography), Louise Beavers, Ralph Bellamy, Lionel Belmore, William Bendix, Charles Bernstein (Composer), Elmer Bernstein (Composer), Billy Bevan, Al Bridge, Leonard Carey, John Carradine, Walter Catlett, Raymond Chandler (Novelist/Screenwriter), Spencer Charters, Wallis Clark, Mae Clarke, Dora Clement, EE Clive, Chester Clute, David Clyde, Emmett Cogan, Jimmy Conlin, Elisha Cook Jr, Sean Connery, Jack Conway (Director), Maurice Costello, Gary Cooper, Laird Cregar, George Cukor (Director), Henry Daniell, Doris Day, Bette Davis, Frank De Vol (Composer), Harry Depp, William Demarest, Marlene Dietrich, Ruth Donnelly, Leif Erickson, Edith Evanson, Antonio Fargas, Frank Ferguson, Ian Fleming (Novelist), Mary Gordon, Porter Hall, Therese Harris, Joan Harrison (Writer), Gene Havlick (Editor), John Michael Hayes (Writer), Rita Hayworth, Audrey Hepburn, William Holden, Edmund Holding (Writer and Director), Friedrich Hollaender (Composer), Miriam Hopkins, James Wong Howe (Cinematography), Brandon Hurst, John Huston (Director/Writer), Mary Gordon, Lawrence Grant, Boris Karloff, June Kenney, Ted J. Kent (Editor), Erle C. Kenton (Director), Donald Kerr, Guy Kibbee, Elsa Lanchester, Marc Lawrence, Charles Lederer (Writer), Anita Loos (Writer), Michael Luciano (Editor), George Lynn, Joseph MacDonald (Cinematography), Matty Malneck (Composer), Daniel Mandell (Editor), Strother Martin, Grouco Marx, Rudolph Mate, Joel McCrea, Hattie McDaniel, Edward McWade, Una Merkal, Torben Meyer, Ray Milland, Dick Miller, Grant Mitchell, Alan Mowbray, Barboura Morris, Charles R. Moore, Noel Neil, William Newell, Alfred Newman (Composer), Edgar Norton, Pat O’Brien, Una O’Connor, Frank Orth, Jack Palance, Lee Patrick, Tyrone Power, Gregory Ratoff, John Ratzenberger, John Ridgely, Thelma Ritter, Hugh A. Robertson (Editor), May Robson, Ginger Rogers, Howard Emmett Rogers (Writer), Donald R. Rondell, Sig Ruman, Hans J. Salter (Composer), George Sanders, Erskine Sanford, Russell F. Schoengarth (Editor), Jay Silverheels, Curt Siodmark (Writer), Frank Skinner (Composer), C. Aubrey Smith, Howard St. John, Wyndham Standing, Donald Ogden Stewart (Writer), Herbert Stothart (Composer), Glenn Strange, Julius Tannen, Ted Tetzlaff (Cinematography), Arthur Tovey, Robert Townsend, Burnell Tucker, Ralph Von Seyffertitz, HB Warner, Robert Warwick, Pat West, James Whale (Director), Ian Wolfe, John Wray

Two Films: John Alcott (Cinematography), Fred Aldrich, Stanley Andrews, Ann-Margret, Maurice Argent, Dario Argento (Director/Writer), Arthur A. Arling (Cinematography), Jean Arthur, Fred Astaire, Edith Atwater, Lauren Bacall, Irving Bacon, Diane Baker, Walter Bason, Raymond Bailey, Lucien Ballard (Cinematographer), George Bancroft, Harry Barris, George Barton, David Baxt, Barbara Bel Geddes, Hank Bell, Robert Benchley, William Benedict, Charles Bennett (Writer), Robert Russell Bennet (Composer), Ingrid Bergman, Clem Bevans, Roger Beverly, Ted Billings, Joseph F. Biroc (Cinematography), George Bowler (Editor), Monte Blue, Charles Bracket, Lovyss Bradly, Charles Bradshaw (Composer), Marlon Brando, Helen Broderick, Hilary Brooke, Barbara Brown, Charles D. Brown, Peter Brown, Mae Bruce, Sidney Buchman (Writer), Jan Buckingham, Victor Buono, W.R. Burnett (Writer), Tim Burton (Director/Art Design), Stephen H. Burum (Cinematographer), Frank Cady, Jack Carr, Antony Caruso, Agatha Christie (Novelist/Stage Writer), Claire Carleton, Leo G. Carroll, Frances Carson, Bernie Casey, Nora Cecil, Wheaton Chamers, Ken Christy, Al Clark (Editor), Marlene Clark, Mae Clarke, Ruth Clifford, Colin Clive, James Coburn, Tom Coleman, Joyce Compton, Chester Conklin, Elisha Cook Jr., Maxine Cooper, Melville Cooper, Ellen Corby, Wendell Corey, Jospeh Cotton, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Curtiz (Director), Sidney Cutner (Composer), Howard Da Silva, Sonia Darrin, Linda Darnell, Harry Davenport, William B. Davidson, William Davis, Olivia De Havilland, Gustavo De Nardo, Brad Dextor, Dante DiPaolo, Dick Dickinson, Jean Dixon, Richard Donner (Director), Ann Doran, Sarah Douglas, Doris Dowling, Margaret Dumont, Emma Dunn, Clint Eastwood, Arthur Edeson (Cinematography), Fern Emmett, Julius and Philip Epstein (Writer), Rex Evans, Rudi Fehr (Editor), Joe Flood, Marcello Fondato (Writer), Francis Ford, Byron Foulger, Almeda Fowler, Hugh S. Fowler (Editor), Helen Freeman, Edward Gargan, Judy Garland, Steven Geray, John Gieguld, Billy Gilbert, Stuart Gilmore (Editor), Vaughan Glaser, James Gleason, Lisa Golm, Gavin Gordon, Roy Gordon, Walter Gotell, Gloria Grahme, Robert Grieg, Pam Grier, Burnett Guffey (Cinematography), Greta Gynt, Robert Haines, Leigh Harline (Composer), Jonathon Hale, Margaret Hamilton, William Hamilton (Editor), Russell Harlan (Cinematography), Rand Harper, Marilyn Harris, Margaret Hayes, Michael Herz (Director), Sidney Hickox (Cinematography), Brent Hinkley, Monckton Hodge (Writer), Tom Holland (Director/Writer), John Hollis, Tim Holt, Rochelle Hudson, Alan Hume (Cinematography), Howard Jackson (Composer), Allen Jenkins, Elton John (Singer/Actor), Grace Jones, Ray June (Cinematography), Roscoe Karns, Grace Kelly, Margot Kidder, Rudolph G. Kopp (Composer), Norman Krasna (Writer), Alma Kruger, Stanley Kubrick (Director/Writer/Producer), Ken Hughes (Director), Lloyd Kaufman (Director/Writer), Milton Kramer (Cinematography), Martin Landau, Priscilla Lane, Bobby Larson, Chares Laughton (Actor/Director), Viola Lawrence (Editor), Chris Lebenzon, James A. Lebovitz (Cinematographer), Jack Lemmon, John Leopold (Composer), William Leanway (Cinematography), Harry Lewis, Joseph H. Lewis (Director), Desmond Llewellyn, Peter Loore, Ray Lovely (Editor), Edward T. Lowe Jr., Christopher Lee (with Archive footage), Otho Lovering (Editor), Myrna Loy, George Lynn, Ranald MacDougall (Writer), Richard Maibaum (Writer), Tom Mankiewicz (Writer), Jayne Mansfield, Michael Mark, Alphonse Martell, Marx Bros (Chico and Harpo), Hugh Marlow, Owen Marks (Editor), Raymond Massey, John Mathieson (Cinematography), Victor Mature, Edwin Maxwell, Lois Maxwell, Mike Mazurki, Marc McClure, Joel McCrea, Frances McDonald, James Kevin McGuinness (Writer), Edward Meade, Harriet Medin, Russell Metty (Cinematographer), John Milius (Writer), David Miller (Director), Lee Miller, Victor Milner (Cinematography), Howard M. Mitchell, John Mitchum, Juanita Moore, Agnes Moorehead, Frank Moran, Baboura Morris, Patricia Morrow, Charles Napier, Howard Negley, Alfred Newman (Composer), David and Leslie Newman (Writers), Lionel Newman (Composer), Jack Nicholson, Daria Nicolodi, Kim Novak, William H. O’Brien, Martha O’Driscoll, Jack O’Halloran, Ben Oakland (Composer), Frank Otto, Reginald Owen, Franklin Pangborn, Dorothy Parker (Writer), Elizabeth Patterson, Nat Pendleton, Valerie Perrine, Nehemiah Persoff, Dorothy Peterson, Jack P. Pierce (Writer), Ania Pieroni, ranz Planer (Cinematography), Donald Pleasence, Albert Popwell, Victor Potel, Mario Puzzo (Writer), William Powell, Anthony Quayle, Milo Quesdada, Leon Shamroy (Cinematography), Stanley Shapiro (Writer), Claude Rains, Tony Randall, Jean Ransome, Manning Redwood, Christopher Reeve, Frano Ressel, Leoda Richards, Stanley Ridges, Massimo Righi, Beatrice Roberts, Roy Roberts, Heinz Roemheld (Composer), Clayton Rohner, Greg Roland (Cinematography), Harry Rosenthal, Richard Roundtree, Mickey Rourke, Miklos Rozsa (Composer), Wesley Ruggles (Director), Rosalind Russell, Joseph Ruttenberg (Cinematography), Howard St. John, Waldo Salt (Writer), Chris Sarandon, John Saxon, Jeff Sayre, Lalo Schifrin (Composer), Russel F. Schoengarth (Editor), Mario Serendrei (Editor), Blanche Sewell (Editor), Leo Shaken (Composer), Anita Sharp-Bolster, Martin Sheen, Ann Sheridan, Howard Shore (Composer), Tony Sibbald, Russell Simpson, Carl Sklover, Everett Sloane, Dan Snow, Drew Snyder, Vladimir Sokoloff, Dorothy Spencer (Editor), Terrance Stamp, Barbara Stanwyck, Josef Von Sternberg (Director), Paul Stewart, George E. Stone, Ludwig Stössel, Preston Sturges (Director/Writer), george E. Stone, Frank Sullivan (Editor), Donald Sutherland, Seijun Suzuki (Director), Ben Taggert, Isao Tamagawa, Frank Tashlin (Director and Writer), Ada and Arlene Tau, Libby Taylor, Samuel A. Taylor (Writer), Lewis Teague (Director), Ubaldo Terzano (Cinematography), Demitri Tiomkin (Composer), Marisa Tomei, Regis Toomey, John Tourette, Spencer Tracey, William Tracy, Clare Trevor, Joseph A. Valentine, Alida Valli, John Vernon, Martha Vickers, Yvette Vickers, raymond Walburn, Christopher Walken, Walter Walker, Anthony Warde, Damon Waynes, Keenan Ivory Waynes (Actor, Writer, and/or Director), Franz Waxman (Composer), Richard Webb, Ferris Webster (Editor), Orson Welles (Actor, Writer, Director), Mae West (Actor/Writer), Patrick Whyte, Richard Widmark, Henry Wilcoxon, John Williams (Composer), Laureen Willoughby, Robert Winkler, Isabel Withers, Sam Wood (Director), Clifton Young, Mary Young, Susannah York

Previous Months Links, Rankings & Stats
January, February, March, April, May

Posted in film, movies | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

30 Days of Film in June-Week 4

June 22nd-The Lost Weekend from 1945 (Director: Billy Wilder, Writers: Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder, Stars: Ray Milland and Jane Wyman, Cinematography: John F. Seitz, Runtime: 99 mins)

The story of a would be writer who ditches sobriety for a long weekend bender. His brothers fed up, his bartender is upset, his girl is worried and he is really a jerk. Directed an co-written by Billy Wilder, this Oscar winner is the fifth film of his I have watched this year. Six overall as a director and seventh counting him his work on Ninochtka. I say this because this is my least favorite of his films.

I am not saying its bad. I am saying its less fun then any of his other films. Even his noir and crime films are more fun than this. Also, being kinda straight edge, it does sort of remove me from understanding addiction the way you sometimes need to with films like this. Ray Milland is thoroughly good but its hard for me to really lose myself in the film. Wilders film looks good, getting uglier as Rays character slips more and more. Its a very good movie. Its just not for me. So objectively I understand its importance, but I would rather watch any other Wilder film. Or Ray Milland in either Dial M for Murder or the Uninvited.

Other Entertainment: Reading

[Trailer]

June 23rd-Roman Holiday from 1953 (Director: William Wyler, Writers: John Dighton and Dalton Trumbo, Stars: Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn, Cinematography: Henri Alekan and Franz Planer, Runtime: 118 mins)

You ever hear the story about the rich girl/princess that runs away? Decides to slum it with the normies? Then a newspaper man figures it out and wants the story? But during the story they fall in love? Here you go. Except without the the ending you want. Sorry bro.

This beautiful romantic drama has similarities with some older films (It Happened One Night?) but its own beast. I mean, look at it. Rome is always a pretty locale to shoot. The touring of the city, the local streets, the embassey-Its a pretty picture. The black and white photography looks amazing as we follow or leads through the bulk of the film which is set in a single day together.

The film opens and bookends with Audrey’s Princess Ann doing Princess business. The middle has her and Pecks Joe Bradley lying to each other. Him showing her around looking for the story while she enjoys being normal. Audrey Hepburn won an Oscar for this, and she is very good. Pecks performance maybe understated but I really felt for him in the final moments. How the film holds on him before making his exit from the embassy. You can see these two will never forget their short time together but they are of different worlds. Also Eddie Albert is fun as the news photographer.

My review is probably a little higher because of the big rumble at the dance. As a wrestling fan, seeing a chair and guiytar used in a fight gets extra props from me.

Other Entertainment: reading

[Trailer]

June 24th-The Mist from 2007 (Director/Writer: Frank Darabont, Writers: Based on the book by Stephen King, Stars: Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Samuel Witwer, and Toby Jones, Cinematography: Rohn Schmidt, Runtime: 126 mins)

Ever been stuck at a supermarket with a religious fanatic? That’s not what the Mist is about but seriously fuck that lady. A storm rolls into the city and causing serious damage. David Drayton takes his kid and neighbor to the market for supplies only for a mist to roll in. This mist hiding dangerous creatures. The market becomes a dangerous place when people start believing this is Gods punishment.

This is a builder. The monsters are kinda cheesy with the CGI in certain scenes but overall pretty effective when put into the mist. Its creepy but the real horror is people. From the neighbors dismissal of the monsters to Marcia Gay Hardens religious fanatic stirring peoples emotion. Seriously fuck her. She has the very big performance but she starts rather low in then gets wilder and wilder. Jane’s has to be the one playing close to calm with moments of sheer terror. Jane is an underrated performer and I can see why this is one of his best remembered roles. Everyone’s good, O especially liked Toby Jones and Sam Witwer.

Like I said, this is a builder. Building suspense from the moment the mist hits the market. Darabont isn’t unfamiliar to horror, having shepherd Walking Dead and co-writing the third Freddy Kruger film. Like I said, the CGI leaves something to be desired but its still en effectively creepy film. Plus really fucking dark. The ending is famous. I knew how this film would end but but the journey was well done.

Very good horror film.But not one I ever want to watch again.

Other Entertainment: Finished Lovecraft Country. Liked parts, bored by other parts. Started Urusei Yatsura volume 2.

[Trailer]

DOUBLE FEATURE: June 25th-Will Success Spoil Rick Hunter? from 1957 (Director: Frank Tashlin, Writers: George Axelrod, Frank Tashlin and Based on Rita Marlowe by George Axelrod, Stars: Jayne Mansfield and Tony Randall, Cinematography: Joseph MacDonald, Runtime: 93 mins)

The Girl Who Can’t Help It from 1956 (Director: Frank Tashlin, Writers: Frank Tashlin and Herbert Baker, Stars: Jayne Mansfield, Tom Ewell, Edmond O’Brien, Henry Jones, and Julie London, Cinematography: Leon Shamroy, Runtime: 99 mins)

First up Jayne Mansfield stars as Rita Marlowe who uses our lead, Rock Hunter, as a way to make her ex Bobo jealous. Only to kind of end up liking him, which does not suit Rock so well. he just wanted to sign her for a commercial and live his normal life, marrying his girl. Now he’s Lover Doll and a celebrity. In The Girl Can’t Help It, a mobster hires a press agent to turn his girlfriend Jerri Jordan into a singer. Except she really does not want to. Also, she really can’t sing. Its her looks that make people think she’s a star in the making.

Not what I planned but here we are with another double feature. Not because of Jayne, mind you, but because of Frank Tashlin. I read he started in animation, had a major influence on Looney Tunes as well as working from Screen Gems. Was Frank Tashlin the first animator turned film director? His live action films, many with comedian Jerry Lewis, were big deals. bright, colorful, campy and silly. You get that from the start with both films. The Girl Can’t Help It has Tom Ewell mess with film dimensions and switching B&W to color as he introduces the film. The start of Rick Hunter satirizes commercials with some crazy silly commercials. There is a four color cartoon craziness to the proceedings. Rick Hunter (played by Tony Randall) finding himself drawn into the world of celebrity which includes trying on Bobo’s clothes. A bigger man giving the scene a crazy unrealness. Rick Hunter fleeing beautiful women thinking he’s a love icon only to have his clothes ripped and shredded. The complete mockery of television and commercials. Then in The Girl Can’t Help It with its over the top Fats, playing a very cartoon antagonist. The set design and costuming is grander here thanks in part to the musical performances. Then there’s Jayne Mansfield’s performance is such an imitation of Marilyn she heightens every scenes absurdness.

Let’s talk about Jayne… What? I’ve watched Jean Harlow films and see how she inspired Marilyn Monroe. I’ve watched Marilyn and see she was both talented and special. Now seeing Jayne saunter in as a cartoon representation is so strange. Its both bad and good all rolled into one. So I guess that makes it camp? The performers around her are interesting. I think she has a good repore with her different male leads (Tom Ewell and Tony Randall). Both guys themselves are good but I liked Tony Randall in Will Success Ruin Rick Hunter? far more. I didn’t much care for Edmund O’Brien in The Girl Can’t Help It at first but turned toward the end. Between the two I liked the Rick Hunter film more, because I bought into it more. The targeting of ad men and celebrity was more for me. I was on the low end for the other but it eventually won me over.

These are two interesting films. I’m curious about watching more from Mansfeild but also Frank Tashlin. Frank is a very good-okay, pretty fucking talented director. This films might be dated in concept and execution but its clear that Frank helped make film more silly. Not in the screwball comedy kind of way but in a “we can make live action cartoons” type. Plus his hand in helping rock music is noted. The music in The Girl Can’t Help It is all good.

Other Entertainment: That Lil’ Nas X album is cool.

[Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? Trailer / The Girl Can’t Help It Trailer]

June 26th-China Seas from 1935 (Director: Tay Garnett, Writers: James Kevin McGuinness, Jules Furthman and Based on the 1931 novel by Crosbie Garstin, Stars: Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, Wallace Beery, Lewis Stone and Rosalind Russell, Cinematography: Ray June and Clyde De Vinna, Runtime: 87 mins)

This Gable/Harlow flick has Gable playing a ships captain handling a ship that goes between Singapore and Hong Kong. Constantly having to deal with the threats of pirates. His ex is on board-in fact, two exes. Harlow’s Dolly “China Doll” Portland does not much care for the more high brow Rosalind Russell character, wanting the captains affections herself. All the while Dolly gets to drinking her troubles away with one Jamesy McArdle who is actually in league with pirates.

So, I’m grading this on a curve because I like Gable and Harlow, I think they’re good here even if this film does feel like a bit of the Red Dust retreaded. There are a number of differences. Like Rosalind’s character, Sybil, isn’t cheating on her husband because she’s not married. Or the setting and world around the setting. Its still about a woman vying for the affection of Gable who likes said woman but feels she’s not the best fit. All while handling his business. Gable is Gable-loud, angry and suave when he needs to be. Harlow is the face talking, cut you down doll she is known for. Sticking to their general types. Filling out the cast includes Russell who was a few years from her breakout. She only gets to play the more refined woman, with little else. Hattie McDaniel’s part is not important but she has energy in her scenes with Harlow so all is cool. Wallace Beery is third billed after Harlow. Four years after top billing in Secret Six where Harlow was billed fourth and Gable was not billed at all. Beery is fine as the bad guy. Greedy, likes to hang and joke with Harlow (who he apparently did not much like in real life), then threatening her, and then his big final scenes. Beery was one of the greats but this is my first film seeing him and I generally thing he was, at best, solid.

I wasn’t watching the best copy of this movie but from what i can tell is some real money went in. The storm sequence on the boats actually well done. The brief fire fight is pretty good. The set direction and design is solid, if not spectacular. Harlow, Russell and most the other woman look good. The pacing however leaves something to be desired. Producr Irving Thalberg went through multiple writers and a year of development to produce a solid film. Seems like a bit much for this. There are better, more famous Harlow/Gable team ups. Hell, I’d argue Hold Your Man is way better and that one-despite being a success at the time, doesn’t seem to be in the conversation of the pairs most notable films.

But I’m biased so five stars! Kidding, just 3.

Other Entertainment: Same

[Trailer]

TRIPLE FEATURE: June 27th-Ed Wood from 1994 (Director: Tim Burton, Writers: Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski and Based on Nightmare of Ecstasy: The Life and Art of Edward D. Wood Jr. by Rudolph Grey, Stars: Johnny Depp, Martin Landau. Sarah Jessica Parker, Patricia Arquette, Jeffrey Jones, Lisa Marie, and Bill Murray , Cinematography: Stefan Czapsky, Runtime: 126 mins)

White Zombie from 1932 (Director: Victor Halperin, Writers: Garnett Weston and based on The Magic Island by William Seabrook, Stars: Bela Lugosi, Cinematography: Arthur Martinelli, Runtime: 67 mins)

The Dark Eyes of London from 1939 (Director: Walter Summers, Writers: John Argyle, Patrick Kirwan, Walter Summers, Jan Van Lusil and Based on the book by Edgar Wallace, Stars: Béla Lugosi and Greta Gynt, Cinematography: Bryan Langley, Runtime: 75 mins)

I started with Ed Wood, about the infamous director from before Glen and Glenda through Plan 9 From Outer Space, documenting his friendship with film legend Bela Lugosi. That made me want to watch some more Bela films. I rewatched White Zombie. His classic from the early thirties about a voodoo master who enslaves people, including a beautiful woman named Madelyn. Then I watched Dark Eyes of London, a horror film from Britain. Its about a doctor/insurance agent who makes deals with people making him their beneficiary and then disposes them with the help of a monster. Plus other stuff involving a home for the blind.

Now, Ed Wood is a good film. Burton does not get enough credit sometimes because he rarely breaks from his flourishes and style. You have an idea of what a Tim Burton film is when you see his name. Ed Wood does deliver the strangeness and camp performances but looks brilliant in a black and white photography. It’s Hollywood, its sound stages, and it feels more real then most of his films. A true stranger than fiction vibe. It is one of his best directed films. From Woods apartment to Bela’s home to just them doing the sets for Bride of the Monster. The camp value is in the performances which are, well, fine. I think thats where my problem lies on the rewatch. Everyone is good but having really watched Lugosi films and learned about him I wonder about Martin Landaus performance. Its good but I think I want a true biopic about the mans struggles, which we get a bit of in the film but we’re missing important aspects of the end of Bela’s life. Yes, its technically a movie about Ed Wood but Ed Wood became a legend in part because of his friendship with Bela.

Everyones good. I find Bill Murray’s character quite fun. I dig all the ladies-Jessica Sarah Parker, Juliet Landau and Patricia Arquette. Its one of Burton’s best casts. Yet, I feel someone detached and it has to do a lot with my love of Lugosi now and my lack of interest in looking into Ed Woods own work. I cant get myself interested in his work. I know it shouldn’t effect my interest in the film, but for some reason it does. Ed Wood is a good movie I wish I liked more.

White Zombie was a film I saw on one of my first October to do a film a day. I remember thinking Lugosi was fine, but the film was not good. Having seen many more 30s films, and early horror films, I take it back. Its good. Not great but damn it has a great gothic atmosphere. Specifically after the first act when we get the tomb and the castle. But even before that the sugar mill scene and just Lugosis’s presence is striking. This film has a silent film quality to it. Bela a former silent film star of Germany and Europe along with Madge Bellamywho was a silent film star. Madge spends most of the film silent, stalking with an absent gaze in a white gown through a gothic castle. I don’t know if I noticed how cool this was back when I first saw the film. Its impressive look is even more impressive knowing this film was done outside the studio system of the day. Made for cheap but on actual studio lots, the creators really do make a film that should be in the conversation of influential horror of the day. White Zombie does seem to have aged quite well.

The weakest aspect of the film is, I guess, the story. This movie really lives on the performance of Lugosi, the eerie beauty of Bellamy, and the quality of the style. The story is about a guy who wants to steal a beautiful woman who makes a deal with Lugosi’s Murder Legendre which becomes a mistake. The male performers who surround Lugosi are not nearly as good. Though that asshole Beaumont becomes more interesting when he’s slowly turning into a zombie. The ending is a little-well, its fine for the time. This film really is more about its gothic stylings and being one of the few classic horror films about original zombies based in voodoo.

Finally there is Dark Eyes of London. I had thought of rewatching the Black Cat and I really should have. But went with something new to me. The film is very straight, very serious, which hurts the movie. The crew seemed to want to make a dramatic, thrilling horror picture. What you got was a police procedural dialing back Bela. Bela’s fine as a dramatic actor but excels at being big. By big I mean expressive in his mannerisms and the way he delivers lines when conveying malice or anger or being romantic. Bela really only gets to do that in the last act. Which is great. However it feels they wanted to reel Bela in. Reeling Bela in is a mistake. The police procedural stuff is fine. Its just not that interesting. The photography is, well, the print I watched didn’t age the best but I did like some of the exterior shots through London. The Home of the Blind looks okay. Yet everything else looks pretty basic. Its pretty disappointing.

Other Entertainment: Nothing really.

[Ed Wood Trailer / White Zombie Trailer / The Dark Eyes of London Trailer]

June 28th-42nd Street from 1933 (Directors: Lloyd Bacon and musical numbers by Busby Berkeley, Credited Writers: Rian James, James Seymour and Based on novel by Bradford Ropes, Stars: Warner Baxter, Bebe Daniels, George Brent, Ruby Keeler, Dick Powell and Ginger Rogers, Cinematography: Sol Polito, Runtime: 89 mins)

Its about a man putting together a big stage production. Lots of drama. I don’t know. I was not tuned in. I spent part of the film wondering if the audio was a quarter of a second off. I did not really get into the whole story which has the stage director trying to have a big hit after losing his money on wall street. There was a couple stories around the two main ladies but I didn’t really care for. The big production numbers at the end were actually good. The film looks fine. I just don’t think a movie about putting together a stage show was for me. yes, I’ve watched 2 or 3 or 4 films that dealt with stage actors and a few about the business but nothing about putting together an actual show.

My opinion is probably wrong. The film has great reviews, so go with them.

Other Entertainment: Reading

[Trailer]

DOUBLE FEATURE: June 29th-Mr. Deeds Goes To Town from 1936 (Director: Frank Capra, Writers: Robert Riskin and Based on the Opera Hat by Clarence Budington Kelland, Stars: Gary Cooper and Jean Arthur, Cinematography: Joseph Walker, Runtime: 115 mins)

Arsenic and Old Lace from 1944 (Director: Frank Capra, Writers: Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein and Based on the 1941 play by Joseph Kesselring, Stars: Cary Grant, Josephine Hull and Jean Adair, Cinematography: Sol Polito, Runtime: 118 mins)

Two Frank Capra movies. Mr. Deeds is about a small town man who inherits 20 million. His deceased uncles shady lawyer brings him to New York, hoping to get power of attorney to control part of his assets but Longfellow Deeds is not the same guy as his uncle. After finding out a lady he was sweet on was a lawyer getting a story, he becomes disenfranchised. Then in Arsenic & Old Lace Cary Grant plays Mortimer Brewster. He just got married but before he can celebrate he finds out his sweet aunts murder people and bury their bodies. Then his criminal older brother shows up. Shenanigans aplenty.

I was actually looking forward to Arsenic more then Mr. Deeds, I ended up liking Mr. Deeds more. It has that mud thirties dramatic look so not the prettiest film but still quite good. Moves well, great performances, and easy to dig into. I never got the Gary Cooper thing until this film. He’s not just a good actor but he was incredibly handsome at the time. He plays a man who can be tough and serious but also pretty sweet. He swings between moods, trying to enjoy himself and loving life, looking for love but when pushed he pushes back. He’s happy, he’s depressed, Cooper shows a lot of sides in this. Its a pretty fantastic performance. Everyone else is good but only Jean Arthur has a role worth really looking at. However at this point I’ve seen some version of this type of news reporter. The 30s and 40s loved their news reporters. Still, Jean Arthur is good and watching the two bounce off each other is good. There’s not much I can say about a film whose structure has been copied and remade in other films. I enjoyed it, mostly for Cooper. Plus the courtroom scene when he defends himself and just knocks it out of the park.

Arsenic & Old Lace frustrated me. I love me Cary Grant but I did not really him here. I love him playing off women he is attracted to but we got little of him and Priscilla Lane together. I liked Lane a lot in saboteur so I was disappointed in her lack of presence here. I also hated the brother who was basically doing a Boris Karloff impression. Boris originated the role on stage so I get it, but I hated it. The film is screwball wacky. I don’t know. I liked the beginning, thought the ending was good, but that middle just lost me. Its a shame because man, it looks good and the action is well done. There’s a lot with the set and look of this film that stands out. yet, I walked away from Arsenic & Old Lace wondering if I missed something. I don’t think I did.

I don’t really got much to say on either film, so moving on.

Other Entertainment: Same stuff…

[Mr. Deeds Trailer / Arsenic & Old Lace Trailer]

DOUBLE FEATURE: June 30th-Tommy from 1975 (Director/Writer: Ken Russell, Stars: The Who, Ann-Margret, Oliver Reed, Eric Clapton, Tina Turner, Elton John, and Jack Nicholson, Cinematography: Dick Bush and Ronnie Taylor, Runtime: 108 mins)

Hewdig & the Angry Inch from 2001 (Director: John Cameron Mitchell, Writers: John Cameron Mitchell Based on the play by Stephen Trask and John Cameron Mitchell, Stars: John Cameron Mitchell, Andrea Martin, Michael Pitt and Miriam Shor, Cinematography: Frank G. DeMarco, Runtime: 92 mins)

Ending with two musicals. Tommy is about a deaf and blind kid who becomes a pinball wizard and a cult grows around him. Hedwig is about a transgender rocker who follows around a rockstar who stole their music. Okay, they were both good. We done? No.

I actually watched Hedwig first. I had seen it a couple times and owned the stage play soundtrack. The music is great. Its fun, you can sing-a-long to it. Gets you hyped. The movie however has not aged as well as I expected. This film was a real punch to the gut when I first saw it but for some reason I did not have the same feeling the third time around. Why? I don’t know.

This is a good looking film from star and first time director John Cameron Mitchell. Its use of colors, settings, performances-everything pretty much lands. Yet, I don’t its aged well. Which is weird because I now think Rocky Horror is the better film when I really never cared for the film. However my multiple viewings at midnight shows maybe turned me. Look, I went with a friend. But there was a time I thought this was the superior movie. Not anymore.

Tommy is… I would have had a higher opinion if the film was shorter. When Tommy gets his sight and hearing back the film starts to drag. Its kimd of a shame because from the get go this film is big pop art. A gorgeous piece work with incredible sets, set design, costuming, its a huge elaborate music video. Absolutely gorgeous. Ann-Margret definitely earned that Oscar nomination because she is great as Tommy’s mom. I was with it and then I got burnt out.

I liked so much, and feel weird having the final 30 minutes kill my enthusiasm. Roger Daltrey singing isn’t the problem its that little that comes close to the energy that came before. Its still crazy but not as big in its craziness. I got bored, then I got sad, then I was glad it finally finished. Sucks because Ann-Margret is fantastic and Oliver Reed is damn good too.

Other Entertainment: Read like three pages of Rebecca

[Tommy Trailer / Hedwig & the Angry Inch Trailer]

Posted in film, horror, movies | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

30 Days of Film in June-Week 3

DOUBLE FEATURE: June 15th-Son of Frankenstein from 1939 (Director: Rowland V. Lee, Writers: Wyllis Cooper, Stars: Basil Rathbone, Boris Karloff and Béla Lugosi, Cinematography: George Robinson, Runtime: 99 mins)

The Ghost of Frankenstein from 1942 (Director: Erle C. Kenton, Writers: W. Scott Darling and Story by Eric Taylor, Stars: Lon Chaney Jr., Cedric Hardwicke, Ralph Bellamy, Lionel Atwill, Bela Lugosi and Evelyn Ankers, Cinematography: Woody Bredell and Milton Krasner, Runtime: 67 mins)

The next two Frankenstein films in the Universal cannon. Son of has Boris Karloff returning one last time as the son of Frankenstein comes to town with his wife and kid. There he is convinced by Ygor (now played by Bela Lugosi) to bring the tired monster back. That they can control him. In Ghost of… The older son of Frankenstein is convinced by Ygor to help the hurt creature. Ludwig looks to fix the brain but is tricked.

Son of Frankenstein is surprisingly good. I did not expect that. Basil Rathbone brings a different dynamic as Wolf Von Frankenstein. There is a kindness to the character that builds into fear and anger throughout the picture. He has hopes that are basically dashed and he has to deal with the disappointment. He’s really good in the role. The cast is filled pretty well with Bela Lugosi’s turn as Ygor clever and diabolical. With a touch of black humor. There is a sweetness to Josephine Hutchinson portrayal of Frankenstein wife, Elsa. The most important addition to this cannon is Lionel Atwill’s performance as the Inspector which would get the Young Frankenstein treatment. I’ll talk about that later.

Visually this may not be as grand as the two previous James Whale films but continues the gothic look excellently. The Frankenstein home gets more and more minimalistic and more and more horrific through the process of this film. The sets for this house are evil and cool. I love the rain in the first part of the film. From the train with the family, the greeting outside the station, and the view of the storm from the library. Even though the sets are smaller, less decorated, there is still such a cool atmosphere for the film. The story itself, with Ygors manipulation, turning him into the bad guy is pretty good. though this film suffers from length. The first two films are under 75 minutes. Even though they feel complete together, this 99 minute film really could’ve shaved 10 minutes. The middle drags after an incredibly strong opening and very strong last ten to fifteen minutes. Its a good third film for the series even if its the weaker of the three.

Then there is Ghost of Frankenstein. More day shots, smaller and less impressive sets. A lot of the cool gothic feeling is gone for a rather bland visual film. Lon Chaney Jr. steps in as the monster and is less physical then Boris was. The make up is also pretty lousy. Bela Lugosi does what he can but the film wastes Ralph Bellamy. A very good character actor who gets a small part, hits his marks and leaves. Also, the fuck is with this story? Wolf has an older brother names Ludwig? Why is his daughter named Elsa Frankenstein? The generally idea of Ygor looking to have his brain implanted into the monster to live forever is a decent bit but this is lackluster. Also because its not out and out awful. There’s some decent stuff here, I think the final shot is quite beautiful really-even if a bot of a cliche. Ghost is a week film.

Not onto Young Frankenstein. The comedy tribute to the four films. It is surprisingly perfect in its tribute to the films. At least three first three, I see little in the fourth film to translate. Though I guess Gene Wilder’s Frederick draws from both Wolf and Ludwig. The Frankenstein inheriting the estate like Wolf but having no interest in the family like Ludwig. The inspector part is in Young. Other then these bits the film really draws more closely to the first two films. I’ll probably rewatch the film sometime after all this. Though I won’t review since I saw it sometime late last year.

Anyway, I got the big ensemble films next including the classic Abbot & Costello one. Glad I bought this set. 30 bucks for 8 films on blu-ray? That was a fantastic deal.

Other Entertainment: Catching up on show, getting back into reading

[Son of Frankenstein Trailer / Ghost of Frankenstein Trailer]

QUADRUPLE FEATURE: June 16th-Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman from 1943 (Director: Roy William Neill, Writers: Curt Siodmak, Stars: Lon Chaney, Jr., Ilona Massey, Patric Knowles, Lionel Atwill, Bela Lugosi, and Maria Ouspenskaya, Cinematography: George Robinson, Runtime: 74 mins)

House of Frankenstein from 1944 (Director: Erle C. Kenton, Writers: Edward T. Lowe and Story by Curt Siodmak, Stars: Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney Jr., John Carradine and J. Carrol Naish, Cinematography: George Robinson, Runtime: 71 mins)

House of Dracula from 1945 (Director: Erle C. Kenton, Writers: Edward T. Lowe with Story by Dwight V. Babcock and George Bricker, Stars: Lon Chaney Jr., Martha O’Driscoll, John Carradine, Glenn Strange and Lionel Atwill, Cinematography: George Robinson, Runtime: 67 mins)

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein from 1948 (Director: Charles Barton, Writers: Robert Lees, Frederic I. Rinaldo and John Grant, Stars: Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Lon Chaney Jr., Béla Lugosi and Glenn Strange, Cinematography: Charles Van Enger, Runtime: 83 mins)

In Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man you get the Wolf Man meeting the monster and the granddaughter of Dr. Frankenstein of the first two films. Basically Larry Talbot is alive after 4 years dead and searches for a way to stay dead and z gypsy woman thinks Frankenstein can help. House of Frankenstein picks up later with a Dr. Niemann and his hunchedback assistant escape prison. Niemann plots vengeance on people who put him away. He uses Dracula and later finds the Wolf Man and the Monster. Niemann has plans for those two that involve MAD SCIENCE! In House of Dracula Dr. Edlemann looks to help both Dracula and the Wolf Man. He finds the monster in a cavern. Things don’t work 9ut as Dracula starts screwing with the doctors assistant.

The 5th film in the Frankenstein series has very little of the monster. Bela’s performance is pretty lousy as the monster, his make up is clearly future Hermann Munster. Most the performances are fine. Lon Chaney Jr. as Talbot is pretty good. I think Ilona Massey is interesting as Elsa Frankenstein. A striking beauty whose performance is hampered by her accent as Elsa in the previous film did not have an accent. Its the weakest looking film and takes too long to get to the big fight, which is a let down. Also, why did the doctor decide “fuck it? Lets see the monster at full power.” Marginally better than Ghost of Frankenstein but that does not mean much.

House of Frankenstein is a bit of a road picture. That’s basically it. Same general premise from other Frankenstein films along with Larry Talbot wanting to die and looking to science to help. Hits a lot of the beats with locals dancing and pitchforks for angry peasents, the Monster dying at the end. Dracula is shoe horned in and its the first time I thought “Maybe I was wrong about Bela.” Carradine is forgettable as the vamp. Boris Karloff is good, but J. Carrol Naish has the best role as the hunchback. He also in love with a gypsy who falls for Larry which is probably the best part of this flick. Visually, its about par as the previous two films. So… Whatever.

The next film is… I wish I could say it was better. Tue new doctor is a tad more interesting and his breakdown due to Dracula contaminating his blood is interesting. The two female leads are also good, Yet, the monsters outside Dracula fill shoe horned in. Larry is a tired bore (how did even survive the silver bullet?) and the Monster does so little. Recycled plot points and concepts. Film may look marginally better than some of the previous movies. I don’t. Really was all down hill after the third film but the four are all about even to me. Luckily, one film left to go.

Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein has the duo playing delivery men who get caught up in a monster problem. Wolf Man’s trying to stop Dracula’s plan to resurrect and use the Monster. This is basically the crossover movies done with actual care about the project. Not set in Europe, no peasants with pitchfork, the evil scientist is a woman this time, no hunchback, and Bela Lugosi is Dracula.

On one hand, I don’t care about the Abbott and Costello pair. I found them annoying. On the other hand, after the previous crossover films this one is very much better. The story is better, the performances are-well-kind of better. I didn’t much care about Bela’s Dracula but he’s fun here and so much more interesting then John Carradine. Lon Chaney’s still an annoying sad sack, but at least his motivations different. The other performances match the tone. The film looks better then the three (four?) previous films without looking expensive. Just the way its shot and staged looks so much better. I don’t agree its the best comedy horror film, no. I didn’t really find it funny. I found it amusing. I enjoy the big castle set with its big look, twisting walls, gothic stylings.

Look, I’ve done four films. My brain is shutting down. Here’s my official ranking.

Bride of Frankenstein, Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, Ghost of Frankenstein, Frankenstein Meets the Woflman tied with House of Frankenstein, House of Dracula.

Other Entertainment: Finished Jessica Jones-good riddance. Read some comics.

[Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman Trailer / House of Frankenstein Trailer / House of Dracula Trailer / Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein Trailer]

June 17th-Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman from 1958 Title from Year (Director: Nathan Hertz, Writer: Mark Hanna, Stars: Allison Hayes, William Hudson and Yvette Vickers, Cinematography: Jacques R. Marquette, Runtime: 66 mins)

A woman sees an satellite thats really a UFO with a giant. She gets affected, gets big, kills her husband (or boyfriend) or whatever. Its not good and I just didn’t want to watch anything long after doing four films. But lets say-god damn epic movie poster. Really, that thing is a beauty. Seriously one of the great film posters. Thank you Reynold Brown. Want me to talk more about the film? Um… Its not outright awful. Just cheaply made with no characters to care about. So whatever. Tomorrow we get back on track.

DOUBLE FEATURE: June 18th-Asphalt Jungle from 1950 (Director: John Huston, Writers: Ben Maddow, John Huston and Based on the 1949 novel by W. R. Burnett, Stars: Sterling Hayden, Louis Calhern, Jean Hagen, James Whitmore, Sam Jaffe, and John McIntire with Marilyn Monroe, Cinematography: Harold Rosson, Runtime: 112 mins)

Key Largo from 1948 (Director: John Huston, Writers: Richard Brooks, John Huston and Based on 1939 play by Maxwell Anderson, Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Edward G. Robinson and Lauren Bacall, Cinematography: Karl Freund, Runtime: 101 mins)

Two John Huston classics. First a noir about a planed jewel heist that of course goes wrong. A crook puts together a plan that falls apart due to one betrayal and now him and the others are trying to dodge the cops. Key Largo finds Huston teaming again with Humphrey Bogart. Based on a stage play about soldier who visits a deceased squad members family who owns a motel on the island in Key Largo in the Florida Keys. A hurricane is pressing in and its turns out all the guests are gangsters finishing a score.

I had planned to do these over two days (and I packed them for that previous vacation) but seeing they were both Huston films I figure I will just watch them both. Asphalt Jungle is objectively the better film but I prefer Key Largo of the pair. Partly because of the performances. It feels more intimate. Is that the right word? They’re both very good to great films. I get why they’re required viewing for noir fans.

Asphalt Jungle is a great looking film. From the first shot with title card, freezing through as we meet some of the main players. We see Doc present his plan, the people get put together and then the twist. the financial backer-played by Louis Calhern is broke. He makes plans to take the jewels from the heist. The heist hits a couple snags but when they’re getting out and encounter a cop, their safe cracker gets shot. The double cross goes sideways with the hooligan Dix shooting Calhern’s associate but getting shot in the process. A tip from a Taxi driver gets the cops going and no one gets away. Two arrested, multiple dead. Its straight up crime and punishment. Littered with very good performances across the board except… I’m not sure I liked Sterling Hayden’s Dix character or his kinda girlfriend played by Jean Hagen. They’re not bad it’s just-something about it did not fly with me. I only really cared about Hayden’s performance when paired with Sam Jaffe, who was nominated for his work as Doc. He is fantastic in the film.

Jungle has some very cool shots. I mentioned the start of the film but the heist is simple and effective. There’s a scene with teens at a small dinar with the jukebox I think works well. The stuff inside the bookie’s den all looks great. It’s not a big, atmospheric type of noir or a cheaper shoe string budget looking on. Its in the middle as a strong looking film with a good sudden bursts of action and ramping of suspense. An ending that is pretty damn memorable. Yet, while I enjoyed it quite a bit, I was not in love with it. Maybe I’m a little half attention at the start. Maybe its I feel bad for Gus’s widow. Maybe it feels like the women are mostly undeserved. I don’t know. Its very good, but after March I think I need a little more. After seeing Huston’s epic Treasure of Sierra Madre I wanted more.

Key Largo is a bit more for me. I mean, it has Bogie. It also has him playing opposite his wife, the legendary Lauren Bacall. Plus other legendary performers in Edward G. Robinson, Lionel Barrymore (first time seeing him personally), and Claire Trevor who won an Oscar for her performance. The film opens with a title crawl and we catch a shot of a bus and cop car on one of those long concrete bridges connecting the islands of the Florida Keys. Its quite pretty. Its interesting to find exterior shots was stock footage from another film. Blends well. The film is more stark, simpler in style. Taking place mostly in two rooms as it is play. You basically watch the story unfold through these performances and man-they are great. Edward’s going big but he works so well with everyone. Barrymore is fantastic. The main players are all doing their things and Bogart is just so good. Is he or isn’t he a hero? being a theme playing through.

I want to mention a few scenes that I really liked. How Edward’s gangster Rocco sort of poitns a sheriff toward the two escaped Indians as a cover for his own murder. Just watching Barrymore get lectured by the sheriff knowing the truth-damn. The big final climax on the boat is well paced, a done excellently. I love the final shot of Bacall opening the window and the bright light shining in. Bacall really comes off as underrated. Now we view her as one of the greats but another actress who was not quite awarded in her prime. A lot of her award nominations came much later in her life, only snagging an Honorary Oscar four years before her death. Bacall in these noirs is usually so disturbingly calm. Like you can see her hatred and anger but she tries so much to hide it. To hide most emotions even when she is happy, she does not like to be too happy. Or in Murder On the Orient Express being a much bigger performer. Bacall is very fucking good.

Check out both movies. Trust me.

Other Entertainment: not really…

[Asphalt Jungle Trailer / Key Largo Trailer]

June 19th-Straight Jacket from 1964 (Director: William Castle, Writers: Robert Bloch, Stars: Joan Crawford and Diane Baker, Cinematography: Arthur E. Arling, Runtime: 93 mins)

Lucy Harbin took an axe, gave her husband forty whacks, when she saw what she had done, she gave his girlfriend forty one. Joan Crawford is chopping off heads. Or is she? Lucy, as played by Crawford, is out of the asylum. Now living with her daughter, brother and sister-in-law. Things outside aren’t easy for Lucy.

So this is a three star movie I’m going four stars on. Why? 1. The film opens with a great double murder scene, 2. Joan Crawford, 3. Diane Baker, 4. It actually is a well shot black and white film 5. excellent gaslighting set up 6. that Joan Crawford mask Diane wore was freaky, 7. the wrap is actually pretty well put together.

Really this is a post Psycho proto-slasher written by one of the writers of Psycho and directed by an infamous-yet-influential cult director. This film is a fun watch, for fans of early slashers or of seeing classic stars just take wild swings in their later years. Crawford is always so good with her performances. There is this sort of artificial, shallowness to them. She feels unreal but it just works. This is low budget horror/thriller playing at pretty high value. Better than it has any right to be.

Other Entertainment: Haunting of Hill House, back to reading.

[Trailer]

June 20th-A Fish Called Wanda from 1988 (Director: Charles Crichton, Writers: John Cleese and Story by John Cleese and Charles Crichton, Stars: Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline and Michael Palin, Cinematography: Alan Hume, Runtime: 108 mins)

A jewelry robbery goes as planned but con artist Wanda an her boyfriend Otto, posing as her brother, screw over the London gangster in charge. However he stashed the the jewels. So he’s in jail, his right hand man Ken is trying to kill who he thinks is the witness, and Wanda needs to smooth talk the Barrister to get info on the jewels. However Wanda actually takes a liking to the married Barrister.

So I didn’t really dig this in the start. None of the characters seemed to pop and the film looked, I don’t know, pretty bland. Then the film started getting more interesting when Wanda started going after barrister Archie Leach and we got some traditional comedy hijinks. Eventually I ended up liking it due to the performances if Jamie Lee Curtis and John Cleese. Kevin Kline is fine as the easy to hate Otto. The character is such an idiot, and asshole. Michael Palin is good as Ken but a lot of his plot in the middle is the assassination of the witness and, well, kinda sad to see him kill three digs on accident. I think the real energy is with Curtis and Cleese.

Visually, there’s not much I care bout when it comes to how this film looks. Yeah, it looks like London but I don’t see great or even interesting photography of the city. The staging of the scenes are fine, if in a lot of areas feels-I don’t know, dull. I guess that is where Palin’s plot comes in handy. Their is a certain tension to those comic scenes. The sequence where Wanda has to hide as Archie’s wife and daughter return home is pretty well laid out. The film was fun. I really am just stretching a review, sorry.

Other Entertainment: Reading, Young Frankenstein

[Trailer]

June 21st-TRIPLE FEATURE: The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! from 1988 (Director: David Zucker, Writers: Jerry Zucker, Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Pat Proft, Stars: Leslie Neilsen, Cinematography: Robert M. Stevens, Runtime: 85 mins)

Caddyshack from 1980 (Director: Harold Ramis, Writers: Douglas Kenney, Harold Ramis and Brian Doyle-Murray, Stars: Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Ted Knight, Michael O’Keefe and Bill Murray, Cinematography: Stevan Larner, Runtime: 98 mins)

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels from 1988 (Director: Frank Oz, Writers: Dale Launer, Stanley Shapiro and Paul Henning, Stars: Steve Martin, Michael Caine and Glenne Headly, Cinematography: Michael Ballhaus, Runtime: 110 mins)

A trio of 80s comedy classics that I, as a child of the 80s, never bothered to watch. Not because I don’t like comedies-but because by the time I realized I should have seen them I was nervous to watch them. First, Naked Gun which is about a police lieutenant Frank Drebin looking into the attempted murder of a fellow officer. This attempted murder ties to a businessman named Ludwig who is in the drug trade and also planning to have the Queen of England assassinated. In Caddyshack, its really about a caddie trying to get a scholarship at the fancy golf club Bushwood as well as his relationships. During all this we got Tye, son of one of the clubs co-founders and his lack of interest in his business and golfing as competition. There’s Al Czervik, an obnoxious golfer trying to have fun. Carl, trying to kill a gopher. Finally Dirty Rotten Scoundrels about a pair of conman who engage in a bet against one another.

First up, Naked Gun is just as silly as I assumed it would be. I always seen clips of this and the sequels. I think I avoided this one purely on the fact I knew it had inspired so much. It did. Its stupid crazy right off the bat. The story is pretty whatever but its just design for there to be set pieces. I didn’t really laugh, but was thoroughly amused throughout. The car chase scene might actually be one of the best car chase scenes I ever saw. Just the idea of Drebin backseat on a driving lesson doing the chase was cool. Like when he’s shooting out the side of the window and the driver rolls hers up. I’d have to think of my favorite car chases but I know one of the Bourne films, some from Fast & the Furious, but this is in the top. I also quite liked all the Baseball scenes. I am sure if I was much younger, or seen this closer to when it came out, I’d have probably died laughing.

A lot of the charm is with the cast. Leslie Neilsen is quite an underrated actor. This film, and Airplane!, sort of cemented him as a comic actor but Neilsen had been doing serious films as a character actor for decades. Forbidden Planet, Prom Night and Creepshow making sure his name is tied to genre movies forever. I think its the years not being a comic actor that makes Leslie Nielsen so good at playing this silly role so well because its needs only straight actors. I was actually impressed with Priscilla Presley, who I didn’t realize was an actress at all. Ricardo Montalbán is just a cool dude. I can’t rate this film too high but I think its fun enough to rewatch.

Caddyshack is interesting. Of three films I saw it was the one that I knew the least about. Other than Bill Murray trying to kill a gopher I just knew about Chevy Chase and Rodney Dangerfield playing golf. Seeing the film be mostly set around the caddie played by Michael O’Keefe really threw me off. Right after the silly start with the gopher, throwing it to O’Keefe’s family I knew something was up. In a lot of ways the main stars are extended cameos built around this kid trying to figure out money for school and his relationship with his girlfriend (and the girl he cheats with). Its actually pretty effective. Dangerfields character is obnoxious, Chase is silly but likeable, but Murray’s character kind of creeps me out. The bad guy is of the course the man running the Bushwood Country Club, who gives a good asshole performance. Caddyshack seems to be a bit of different genre types mixed in. Sports, coming of age, and slapstick. It doesn’t always seem to hit but objectively I think it’s better than Naked gun, but Naked Gun is funner.

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is the best looking of the three films. A lot of comedy directors aren’t aiming for visuals, their aiming for proper pacing and set up. Wanting the the marks to be hit effectively. Scoundrels is a bit prettier, partly due to its subject matter. Cons working their trade in a beautiful scene. From Lawrence’s estate, to the roulette table, to the train, its incredibly pretty. Martin, Caine and Headley all look lavish as do a lot of the smaller players. Director Frank Oz’s films, the few I’ve seen, really seem like he loved old Hollywood. Not in the glamour but in the way films were shot. The importance of sets, locations, and style. This is the prettiest of the three movies. Probably the best acted too. Caine is great. martin is annoying but its what the character needs to be. Glenne Headley is a doll. They’re all good. This is the best of the three movies I saw. So why do I like it the least?

I think it is less fun then Naked Gun. I think it… I don’t know. Maybe because, while I never saw it before, I kind of assumed the ending. So while it worked-it did take a little of the punch out of it. Still, the story skips along pretty well though I think it spends a little too much time drawing out the bet between Caine and Martins character. Martin is pretty damn unlikable and a little too silly sometimes. I get it, it works, but its not for me. It’s hard to explain. They’re all very fun films. Glad I finally saw them. Also glad to have come up in the 1980s to watch something different. I might need to add some more films from the 1970s and up to my watchlist. Luckily next month there will be.

Other Entertainment: Not much else.

[Naked Gun Trailer / Caddyshack Trailer / Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Trailer]

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