31 Days of Film: Week Two

First Week

January 7th-Lifeboat from 1944 (Director: Alfred Hitchcock, Writer: Screenplay by Jo Swerling with Story by John Steinbeck, Stars: Tallulah Bankhead, William Bendix, Walter Slezak, Mary Anderson, John Hodiak, Henry Hull, Heather Angel, Hume Cronyn and Canada Lee, Runtime: 96 mins)

One of Hitchocks best known films is the one about a lifeboat full of people during WWII including a German soldier, all trying to survive and find land. The film starts with the assembly of parts and begins to play with the characters. Arguing over who is in charge, the direction to go, dealing with lack of food, water and of course illness. This is a film where it only works if the actors are on point and the performances are all good to great. This was my first time seeing acting legend Tallulah Bankhead who I read about years prior. A notorious party girl, sharp witted woman and ambisextrous. I have to say, I was not disappointed, she was great. This was a good film, not one of my fave Hitchcock films, still liked it better than Vertigo. Also for less then 2 hours it felt longer…

[Clip]

January 8th-Frenzy from 1972 (Director: Alfred Hitchcock, Writer: Anthony Shaffer and Based on Goodbye Piccadilly, Farewell Leicester Square by Arthur La Bern, Stars: Jon Finch, Alec McCowen and Barry Foster, Runtime: 116 mins)

That was the worst Hitchcock film I’ve seen. Now I don’t like Vertigo but Vertigo is far superior to this. An annoying and rather unlikable guy is believed to have murdered his ex-wife and girlfriend. There’s the cop looking into the case and of course the killer as well. The film looks fine, it’s got fine performances, but the lead pissed off all through out and I didn’t care about anyone but the cop. It’s a mean film. I guess objectively it wasn’t bad, I just did not care. It did not have any standout performances, any beautiful shots or camera work, and the story just didn’t do a thing for me. It’s no fun. This is the 23rd Hitchcock film I’ve seen, its on the bottom of the list.

[Trailer]

January 9th-The Birds from 1963 (Director: Alfred Hitchcock, Writer: Evan Hunter and Based on The Birds by Daphne du Maurier, Stars: Rod Taylor and Tippi Hedren, Runtime: 119 mins)

One of Hitchcocks best remembered films and the first movie of two movies with Tippi Hedren. So Tippi’s Melanie Daniels goes to deliver a pair of love birds to Rod Taylor’s MItch so he can give to his much younger sister. She gets attacked by a seagull. Then as the days pass the birds just attack everyone. Because birds fucking hate everything. It’s a good movie. I saw it long time ago, bought the DVD many years later, and finally watched it… Many years later.

Also, as this is the last Hitchcock film, I’ll leave you with Tippi’s daughter, Melanie Griffith, opinion on the man “He was a motherfucker, and you can quote me.”

[Clip]

January 10th-Lady Snowblood: Love Song of Vengeance from 1974 (Director: 1974, Writer: Norio Osada and Kiyohide Ohara based on the Story by Kazuo Koike and Kazuo Kamimura, Stars: Meiko Kaji, Toshio Kurosawa, Masaaki Daimon and Miyoko Akaza, Runtime: 89 mins)

The second Lady Snowblood film, a series of films based on the manga. I bought these a few years ago, watched and enjoyed the first one but never got around to the second until now. So this time out Yuki is doe fighting and gives up. But then the secret police break her out of prison (?) and set her to spy and assassinate a anarchist with a document that could cause problems for the regime. I don’t remember the first film that well but I do remember it moving at a brisk pace where as this one moved slower. Especially in the middle. That said there are strong performances and the film looks GREAT! Its stylish from the characters to the set design. I love the bright red of the blood splatter. It makes it look more menacing in the fights. The fights themselves are swift and cool. So yeah, weaker than the first film but still really good. The movie stars Meiko Kaji who is a bad ass. A cult icon from these films and the trashy Female Prisoner series. Tarantino was a huge fan looking to the first lady Snowblood for inspiration and taking the theme from Female Prisoner, as sung by Meiko, for the soundtrack.

[Clip]

January 11th-Tokyo Drifter from 1966 (Director: Seijun Suzuki, Writer: Yasunori Kawauchi, Stars: Tetsuya Watari, Chieko Matsubara, Hideaki Nitani, Runtime: 86 mins)

Director Seijun Suzuki is an interesting man. Fought in the Japanese Army in WWII, has been shipwrecked twice, and is one of the most acclaimed directors in Japanese cinema. He made 40 films between 1956 and 1967. Only a handful of his movies are readily available in the states, one of them is Branded to Kill. A black and white fever dream of a hitman movie that resulted in his firing. He sued the studio and was black listed for ten years. His second film back was Zigeunerweisen which won the Japanese equivalent of the Best Picture Oscar.

Tokyo Drifter is a film where the story really does not matter. It feels like an exercise in style and it is fucking stylish. Art direction, set design, lighting, wardrobe, cinematography. This movie looks cool. Boss Otsuka’s hangout above the jazz club, the fancy bar Tetsu’s girlfriend sings at, a saloon where a wild brawl breaks out. Tetsu, played with simple cool by Tetsuya Watari, always looks good as he walks around singing the title theme. This movie makes simple things like a small town covered in snow look special. It’s like a collection of art pieces given life. Look, the story is about a Yakuza hitman trying to go straight getting into trouble because his boss and another yakuza boss got problems. here’s a building involved, whatever. All that’s important is Tetsu looks cool against cool backdrops. It’s both a great film and a very thin film.

[Criterion Version]

January 12th-Thriller-A Cruel Picture from 1973 (Director/Writer: Bo Arne Vibenius, Stars: Christina Lindberg and Heinz Hopf, Runtime: 107 mins original Uncut)

Thriller is a rape and revenge film. A subgenre of exploitation films which were common in the 1970s. They usually involve the first at ending in the attack, second act in the rehabilitation, and third act in the revenge. Some break out of this structure like the excellent Ms. 45. Others stick close to it like this film. Thriller, a Swedish movie, has two attacks. One that traumatized a young girl named Madeleine who is now a mute. The second attack is later in life and involves a man who drugs her, kidnaps her, and begins pimping her. When she fights her first client he stabs her in the eye so now she’s got a kickass eye patch. She is allowed some freedom and uses the little money she has to learn self defense, firearms, and driving. All to get to the point where she seeks revenge.

This is not a particularly good film. Banned in its home country and for good reason. The uncut version has quite a bit of real sex. Performed by a real life couple. Apparently live ammunition was used and the production took out a life insurance policy on the star, Christina Lindberg. The only good things I can say are the following. Madeleine looks cool. Tarantino based the look of the character Elle Driver from Kill Bill on her. Lastly, the final sequence with Madeleine and her pimp was pretty well done.

[Trailer]

January 13th-The Lure from 2015(Director: Agnieszka Smoczyńska, Writer: Robert Bolesto, Stars: Marta Mazurek and Michalina Olszańska, Runtime: 92 mins)

Two mermaids become singers at a nightclub. One falls in love with the bass player of a band. A horror-fantasy-musical loosely based on Little Mermaid. This movie is strange. I don’t really know what to say. It looks good, the performances are good though some of the characters come off as stupid and make confusing decisions. The span of time makes little sense. The songs sound okay. My understanding based on an interview with the director is that Poland does not have a history of either musicals or horror so in that regard I’d cut the film some slack. I haven’t seen too many mermaid movies, this one is okay, maybe even good. Its unique. The ending is depressing.

[Trailer]

I, Tonya
Rebecca
Get Out
3:10 to Yuma
Lifeboat
Lady Snowblood: Love Song of Vengeance
Tokyo Drifter
The Birds
Gambit
The Lure
Cleopatra Jones
Frenzy
Thriller-A Cruel Picture

Advertisements
Posted in film, horror, movies, reviews | Leave a comment

2017 Favorites: Wrestling

Favorite Matches
25. Meiko Satomura & Io Shirai vs Chihiro Hashimoto & Hiroyo Matsumoto-Sendai Girls 12.2.2017
24. IWGP Intercontinental Championship Match: Hiroshi Tanahashi © vs Kota Ibushi-NJPW Power Struggle 11.5.2017
23. WWE Raw Tag Team Championship Match: Rollins & Ambros © vs The Bar (Cesaro & Sheamus)-WWE No Mercy 9.24.2017
22. WWE World Title Elimination Chamber Match: John Cena © vs AJ Styles vs Bray Wyatt vs The Miz vs Dean Ambrose vs Baron Corbin-WWE Elimination Chamber 2.12.2017
21. Sendai Girls Championship Match: Chihiro Hashimoto © vs Meiko Satomura-Sendai Girls 9.24.17
20. BJW Tag Team Championship Match: Twin Towers (Kohei Sato & Shuji Ishikawa) © vs Strong BJ (Daisuke Sekimoto & Yuji Okabayashi)-BJW 1.2.2017
19. Velveteen Dream vs Aliester Black-WWE NXT Takeover: War Games 11.18.2017
18. Best of the Super Juniors Finals: KUSHIDA vs Will Ospreay-NJPW Best of the Super Juniors Finals 6.3.2017
17. WWE World Championship Match: AJ Styles © vs John Cena-WWE Royal Rumble 1.29.2017
16. Kazuchika Okada vs Kenny Omega-NJPW G1 Climax 8.12.2017
15. KUSHIDA vs Rysuke Taguchi-NJPW Best of the Super Juniors 5.29.2017
14. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Tetsuya Naito-NJPW G1 Climax 8.11.2017
13. NXT Tag Team Championship Triple Threat Elimination Match: Authors of Pain © vs #DIY vs the Revival-WWE NXT Takeover: Orlando 4.1.2017
12. IWGP United States Championship Tournament Final: Kenny Omega vs Tomohiro Ishii-NJPW G1 Special Night 2 7.2.2017
11. G1 Climax 27 Finals: Tetsuya Naito vs Kenny Omega-NJPW G1 Climax 8.13.2017
10. Kazuchika Okada vs EVIL-NJPW G1 Climax 8.5.2017
9. Hiroyo Matsumoto vs Meiko Satomura-Sendai Girls 4.6.2017
8. Kazuchika Okada vs Michael Elgin-NJPW G1 Climax 7.22.2017
7. IWGP Intercontinental Championship Match: Tetsuya Naito © vs Hiroshi Tanahashi-NJPW Dominion 6.11.2017
6. IWGP NEVER Openweight Championship Match: Katsuyori Shibata © vs Hirooki Goto-NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 11 1.4.2017
5. WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship Hell in the Cell Match: The Usos (Jimmy & Jey) © vs The New Day (Xavier Woods & Big E w/Kofi Kingston)-WWE Hell in the Cell 10.7.2017
4. IWGP Intercontinental Championship Match: Tetsuya Naito © vs Michael Elgin-NJPW New Beginnings in Osaka 2.11.2017

3. WWE UK Championship Match: Tyler Bates © vs Pete Dunne-WWE NXT Takeover: Chicago 5.20.2017

2. IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match: Kazuchika Okada © vs Katsuyori Shibata-NJPW Sakura Genesis 4.9.2017

1. IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match: Kazuchika Okada © vs Kenny Omega-NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 11 1.4.2017

Favorite Tag Teams or Factions
10. Authors of Pain
9. Syrui and Hikaru Shida
8. Roppongi Vice
7. Guerillas of Detsiny
6. Young Bucks
5. War Machine
4. The Bar

3. New Day

2. Los Ingobernables

1. The Usos

Favorite Wrestlers
-I DQed a certain wrestler due to the bullshit he pulled this year, however he did appear in the top matches list-
20. 3 WAY TIE: Andrare “Cien” Almas, Hirooki Goto, and Ember Moon
19. Hiroyo Matsumoto
18. Braun Strowman
17. Roman Reigns
16. Katsuyorui Shibata
15. Kota Ibushi
14. Pete Dunne
13. Will Ospreay
12. Chihiro Hashimoto
11. Hiromu Takahashi

10. KUSHIDA-Great run in the BOSJ and excellent feud with both Hiromu Takahashi and Will Ospreay. KUSHIDA always delivers.

9. Meiko Satomura-Only watched a handful of her matches but always on point and one half of my favorite womens matches of the year.

8. Asuka-No one was more consistent, more dominant.

7. Tomohiro Ishii-Almost made this man my #10then realized that was fucking stupid. His matches with Omega, Naito and the G1 matches pushed him up.

6. EVIL-King of Darkness

5. AJ Styles-Best WWE wrestler.

4. Kenny Omega-What? You thought I’d make him #1? Nonsense. Excellent year but I liked other guys more.

3. Tetsuya Naito-Tranquilo. Great start to the year, carried the IC title better than anyone since Shinsuke Nakamura with great defenses. Had an amazing G1 and feud with Naito.

2. Hiroshi Tanahashi-He’s the ACE.

1. Kazuchika Okada-First of all, lets stop pretending Omega wileld those 6 star matches by himself. Okada is a fucking pro. His match with Shibata is an amazing masterpiece. His title defenses are all great encounters. He’s on a hot streak unlike anything I’ve witnessed in my years watching wrestling. Make it rain.

 

Posted in women wrestlers, wrestling | Tagged , | Leave a comment

2017 Favorites: Television

That time of year again…

Favorite TV Ensembles
9. A Series of Unfortunate Events
8. Luficer
7. Stranger Things
6. Riverdale
5. Legion
4. Game of Thrones
3. Legends of Tomorrow
2. GLOW

1. Brooklyn Nine Nine

Favorite TV Actors
7. Kit Harrington as Jon Snow from Game of Thrones
6. Joe Kerry as Steve Harrington from Stranger Things
5. Neil Patrick Harris as Count Olaf from A Series of Unfortunate Events
4. Dan Stevens as David Haller in Legion
3. Pip Torrens as Herr Star from Preacher
2. Christopher Meloni as Nick Sax from Happy!

1. Jimmy Tatro as Dylan Maxwell from American Vandal

Favorite TV Actresses
6. Mädchen Amick as Alice Cooper on Riverdale
5. Caity Lotz as Sara Lance aka White Canary on Legends of Tomorrow
4. Emma Dumont as Lorna Dane aka Polaris from the Gifted
3. Rachel Brosnahan as Miriam “Midge” Maisel from the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
2. Betty Gilpin as Debbie “Liberty Belle” Eagan from GLOW

1. Aubrey Plaza as Lenny Busker aka Amahl Farouk/Shadow King from Legion

Favorite TV Episodes/Arcs
10. Legends of Tomorrow S2 Ep10 “The Legion of Doom” (Director: Eric Laneuville, Writers: Phil Klemmer & Marc Guggenheim )
9. American Vandal S1 Ep8 “Clean Up” (Director: Tony Yacenda, Writers: Matthew McManus & Kevin McManus)
8. Riverdale S1 Ep13 “Chapter Thirteen: The Sweet Hereafter” (Director: Lee Toland Krieger, Writer: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa)
7. Lucifer S2 Ep13 “A Good Day to Die” (Director: Alrick Riley, Writer: Joe Henderson & Chris Rafferty)
6. Legion S1 Ep1 “Chapter 1” (Writer/Director Noah Hawley)
5. Riverdale S2 Ep1 “Chapter Fourteen: A Kiss Before Dying” (Director Rob Seidenglanz, Writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa)
4. “Crisis on Earth X” crossover (Directed by Larry Teng (Supergirl), James Bamford (Arrow), Dermott Downs (Flash), Gregory Smith (LoT), Story by Andrew Kreisberg and Marc Guggenheim, Teleplay by Robert Rovner and Jessica Queller (Supergirl), Wendy Mericle and Ben Sokolowski (Arrow), Todd Helbing (Flash), Phil Klemmer and Keto Shimizu (LoT))
3. Brooklyn Nine Nine S5 Ep4 “HalloVeen” (Director: Jamie Babbit, Written: Dan Goor)
2. Ricky and Morty S3 Ep3 “Pickle Rick” (Director: Anthony Chun, Writer: Jessica Gao)

1. Game of Thrones S7 Ep6 “Beyond the Wall” (Director: Alan Taylor, Writers: David Benioff & D. B. Weiss)

Favorite TV Series’
Honorable Mentions: An Unfortunate Series of Events, Stranger Things 2, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Agents of SHIELD (season 2), Steven Universe, Voltron

12. The Gifted-An intense and thrilling adaptation of the X-Universe that digs into the prejudice and hate mutants face.

11. American Vandal-What I expected to be a dumb spoof on true crime turned into a well constructed mystery with strong performances. Yeah, its a comedy but its built out of love for true crime and it shows. Better than it has any right to be.

10. Arrow-After season 3 being disappointing and season 4 downright sucking, Arrow looked like it was dead. Season 5 righted the ship with an excellent season and season 6 is building tension through out. Good to have the show back in top form.

9. Legion-A crazy and inventive take on the X-Men character. Legion pushing what you can do with these X-Characters on TV.

8. Lucifer-It may not be the best acted or directed show but GOD DAMN IT I enjoy this series.

7. Game of Thrones-Of course.

6. Rick & Morty-PICKLE RICK! A show about depression, struggles, family, and scifi craziness.

5. Legends of Tomorrow-The best superhero on television is a show that embraces the zaniness of superhero comics. Costumed vigilantes and superpowered heroes travel through time protecting the timestream and shit always goes wild. season 1 was a slog but season 2 is among the finest of any superhero shows. Season 3 keeps it going strong.

4. Brooklyn Nine Nine-Favorite sitcom. Its a joy to watch.

3. GLOW-As a wrestling fan I was skeptical but this show nailed it. Great performances (with some actual wrestlers involved) and direction. It feels special.

2. Bojack Horseman-My #1 in previous years had another amazing season. It’s just hard to get through with the weight the characters carry. Yes its a comedy but its one that is about the struggle to find happiness. Or at least contentment.

1. Riverdale-I don’t know if this series is great, or even good, but I just can’t get enough of it. It has me thinking about it longer than I should. I’m invested deeply into this trash. Between the romances, the Lodge parents shady dealings, Betty’s family issues, Jughead with the Serpents, and all the other stuff-what the fuck!? And then of course the mysteries. Oh yeah…

Posted in comic books, dc comics, scifi, superhero, TV, wrestling, x-men | Tagged , | Leave a comment

31 Days of Film: Week One

This is just turning into a blog about me watching a lot of films over a month, isn’t it?

Anyway I had something close to 80 films that needed to get through so I made a couple of lists. One of January made up of a bunch of films, and a second list for October of films made before 1980. Then I cut them up, set some movies aside to watch later in the year and before October. So here we are, 31 films ranging from Hitchcock films I needed to watch, to recent horror/dark fantasy films, to cult films from Japan and Sweden, to classic Hollywood. You ready?

January 1st-3:10 to Yuma from 1957 (Director: Delmar Daves, Writer: Halsted Welles Based on Three-Ten to Yuma 1953 short story by Elmore Leonard, Stars: Genn Ford, Van Heflin and Felicia Farr, Runtime: 92 min)

The Western classic about a cattle rancher who needs money and agrees to help move a known criminal onto a a train headed to a prison in the town of Yuma. It’s as simple as that but through simplicity you can create great atmosphere. Glenn Ford plays he criminal Ben Wade and Van Heflin plays the determined rancher Dav Evans. Their scenes are the meat of the film. Especially in the hotel as they wait for the train to come by hoping to avoid Ben’s posse. Ford and Heflin are legends and the work between them to his great. I actually saw the remake to this film years ago, and while I liked it, I remember little of it in the years passed. So U think maybe the original stands alone.

I’m not a Westerns kind of guy, but I’d recommend this one.

[Trailer]

January 2nd-Cleopatra Jones from 1973(Director: Jack Sarrett, Writer: Max Julien and Sheldon Keller, Stars: Tamara Dobson, Bernie Casey, Shelley Winters and Antonio Fargas, Runtime: 90 mins)

Cleopatra Jones is an undercover agent who is involved with the destruction of a poppy field. Crime lord Mommy goes after her friends who run a house for troubled youth (I believe, I was a little lost. Maybe just a community center). Mommy uses corrupt cops and a local gang leader to screw with Cleo to lure her out to be killed. But Cleopatra is a hero in blaxploitation movie so she obliviously karate chops her way to victory and safe streets. The movie was okay. Lead Tamara Dobson is a tall beauty, a stand out presence however at times she lacks the smoothness in which she delivers the hip, jive blaxploitation talk. Actors Bernie Casey (RIP) and Antonio Vargas who’ve had long careers and are good in their respective roles. Two time Oscar winner Shelly Winters is hamming it up, but its alright. The cartoonish white villain is a perfect fit, and they didn’t go overboard with the evil lesbian trope here so props for that. This film is considered a classic of these films, and its looks good and pretty fun but nothing I’d recommend or watch again. One mroe thing, I’ve only seen a few blaxploitation films but the music is always good.

[Trailer]

January 3rd-I, Tonya from 2017 (Director: Craig Gillespie, Writer: Steven Rogers, Stars: Margot Robbie, Allison Janney, and Sebastian Stan, Runtime: 120 mins)

The story of Tonya Harding, whose then husband was involved with an attack on rival skater Nancy Kerrigan. This biographical film is based on interviews of Nancy, her mom, her coach, her ex-husband and his friend. It’s a fascinating, frustrating, and tragic film. Nancy’s mother was verbally and emotionally abusive. Her first marriage was a mess of physical and verbal abuse. On both sides it seems. Her struggles to make it in skating when she was poor and did not fit the image that the skating associated wanted to present despite her obvious talents pissed me off. Overall, this was a very good film. Looked good, great performances, and moved at a brisk pace. I think this is one of the best films I’ve seen from 2017 and Margot Robbie is flawless in it.

[Trailer]

January 4th-Gambit from 1966 (Director: Ronald Neame, Writer: Jack Davies and Alvin Sargent with Story by Sidney Carroll, Stars: Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine, Runtime: 109 mins)

A thief and his artist partner convince a Eurasian dancer (played by the not at all Asian Shirley MacLaine) to help them in a scheme. This involves stealing a priceless bust from the worlds richest man. As all heist movies go, twists and turns. There is a scenario by the theif of how the plan should go. When they get to it, it goes nothing like it. Obviously. The heist is actually pretty smart, the twists are clever, and Cain and MacLaine are good. But overall, kind of a throw a way film. But it did get some Oscar nods in the technical categories and you can see what. Nice design and art direction. This was Michael Caine’s first US film by the way.

[Trailer]

January 5th-Get Out from 2017(Writer/Director: Jordan Peele, Stars: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener, Runtime: 104 mins)

Black man goes to meet his white girlfriends family. I’m not going to spend too much time talking about it since I’m sure you’ve seen the great reviews. It’s like close to 100% on Rotten Tomatos, didn’t get the that number because some white people got pissed off about white people being shown as bad guys. You know how it is. This is an uncomfortable, at times brutal, at times funny piece of art. The biggest question is this-why the fuck did it get a Golden Globe nom for Comedy or Musical film? Make sure to check it out if you haven’t already seen it. But really, great debut for Jordan Peele with great performances.

[Trailer]

January 6th-Rebecca from 1940 (Director: Alfred Hitchcock, Writer: Screenplay by Robert E. Sherwood and Joan Harrison with Adaptation by Philip MacDonald and Michael Hogan & Based on Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, Stars: Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine, Runtime: 130 mins)

It’s amazing to think of how few Academy Awards Hitchcock and his collaborators won. This being the only of his works to win Best Picture. Actress Joan Fontaine would be the only actor to work him him to earn a performance Oscar years latter in Suspicion.

This gothic classic finds an assistant falling in love with a rich widower and moving into his giant mansion. There the weight of his husband’s previous marriage is felt. By the way the the housekeeper acts around her, to the the way her husband is troubled by a cabin by the docks, and the mysterious Farvell who pops up. Plus the late Rebecca’s room and the way Danvers goes on about her. The film starts at a place of quick, sweeping romance and builds into something dark with Laurence’s Maxim trying to keep it together and his new wife played by Fonatine is trying to keep them together. It’s an impressive film. Not sure I’d put it on the top of my Hitchcock list but its a beautiful and haunting film.

Should be noted that David O. Selznik, producer and reported asshole was upset with things and reshot scenes and performances. Hitchcock was also an asshole too but he’s Hitchcock so…

[Film with Spanish Subtitles]

I, Tonya
Rebecca
Get Out
3:10 to Yuma
Gambit
Cleopatra Jones

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

31 Days 31 Days of Horror, Thrills & Supernatural: Final Days

A couple days late to finish the write up but this is it.

October 22nd-Stephen King’s Pet Sematary from 1989 (Director: Mary Lambert, Writer: Stephen King Based On His Novel, Stars: Dale Midkiff, Fred Gwynne and Denise Crosby, Runtime: 103 min)

Family moves into a new house that’s a trail away from a Pet Semetary, which is in front of an Indian burial ground. Bad things happen. Outside Fred Gwynne’s performance, I could care less. I don’t see how this is such a popular Stephen King adaptation. It made 100 minutes feel longer. I really have next to nothing to say about this film, it really could not sustain my interest. The main actors did nothing for me. The look of the film was good but nothing visually captivating. I just couldn’t muster any care. Off to a bad start for these final 10 days.

[Trailer]

Dead and Buried from 1981 (Director: Gary Sherman, Writer: Ronald Shusett and Dan O’Bannon, Stars: Melody Anderson, Jack Albertson, and James Farentino, Runtime: 89 min)

The first few minutes of this film made me wonder if I had the right film. despite the title card, the opening scene between a photographer and a woman on the beach with sappy dramatic music was strange. Things got hot fast-then a violent attack. This film is about a local cop investigating said attack and the murder of a stranger passing by. The film looks good and has a cool premise, the first half is very strong. Then it just sort of doesn’t really go anywhere, the third act turns out lackluster with a twist ending that was incredibly predictable. But that first half! This film is worth a look. There’s enough here to make you think it deserves a remake that could ramp up the tension, suspense and fix the final act. While not a film I’ll ever come back to, it’ll be one worth talking about. Glad I watched it. Also, Robert Englund pre-Freddy makes an appearance.

[Trailer]

October 24th-Prom Night from 1980 (Director: Paul Lynch, Writer: William Gray with Story by Robert Guza Jr., Stars: Leslie Nielsen and Jamie Lee Curtis, Runtime: 92 min)

Halloween is recognized as the first slasher, but it takes from other films including proto-slasher Black Christmas. Prom Night is the first slasher after Halloween and it borrows waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much from Halloween. Including star Jamie Lee Curtis. Yet the film also tried to make things more complex. The opening several minutes it casts the leads (after a jump of years) as people you don’t feel all the much for. So when the killer, who is not the haunting force like Mike Myers, comes around it does not have the punch. There is the search for a criminal who escaped a prison/mental hospital but whatever. Leslie Neilsen, the legend, is in it but that doesn’t matter. The kills are mostly lame. The twists don’t really do anything. Visually it looks good, and the performances are pretty good too. It just kind of boring.

[Trailer]

October 25th-Strange Behavior from 1981 (Director: Michael Laughlin, Writer: Bill Condon, Stars: Michael Murphy, Runtime: 95 min)

Um… some teenagers start killing people? Something about an evil lab? Boring film, terrible white people dancing at a party. I only downloaded this because of Bill Condon’s fascinating filmography which includes Candyman II, Twilight films, and 2017 mega hit Beauty and the Beast. Films not worth it. I mean, the acting seemed fine but also dubbed over in parts. None of the characters are interesting. Looked fine, but nothing cativating. This was boring and I already forgot most of it the day after.

[Trailer]

October 26th-Neon Maniacs from 1986 (Director: Joseph Mangine, Writer: Mark Patrick Carducci, Stars: Leilani Sarelle and Alan Hayes, Runtime: 91 min)

Weird human like monsters from under the Golden Gate bridge kill people. Stuff happens. Whatever…

[Trailer]

October 27th-The Peanut Butter Solution from 1985 (Director: Michael Rubbo, Writer: Vojtech Jasny, Andrée Pelletier, Louise Pelletier and Michael Rubbo, Runtime: 90 min)

A young kids get a fright, loses his hair. Gets a hair making tip from a pair of ghosts but now his hair won’t stop growing. Okay, so some places listed this as a family-horror/fantasy/ film. Its not a horror movie. But… I saw this move like three decades ago so it was imperative to revisit. This is not a good movie. Its an incredibly weird film, an odd premise, and I’m glad I seen it again. Now I know what its about. This film’s most noted for featuring the first English Language songs by Celine Dion. Yep.

[Trailer]

October 28th-The Watcher in the Woods from 1981 (Director: John Hough, Writer: Brian Clemens, Harry Spalding and Rosemary Anne Sisson Based on the novel by Florence Engel Randall, Stars: Bette Davis, Carroll Baker, Lynn-Holly Johnson, Kyle Richards, and David McCallum, Runtime: 89 min)

The last film of screen legend Bette Davis is about a family moving into an old house, some ghost in the woods and a mystery revolving around the disappearance of a girl. This movie is boring. Bette Davis is the only one who seems to be trying. Skip it.

[Trailer]

October 29th-The Blob from 1988 (Director: Chuck Russell, Writer: Chuck Russell and Frank Darabont, Stars: Kevin Dillon, Shawnee Smith, Donovan Leitch, Jeffrey DeMunn, Candy Clark, and Joe Seneca, Runtime: 95 min)

After a string of not-so-good films and my own tank going to empty, kind of did not put the attention into this as I should have. But when I was aware, this was a fine little horror film. Some cool deaths and strong performances. So a satellite (or space probe, I forget) returns to Earth bringing a chemical weapon that turns into a killer blob. City in danger! I’m going to have to rewatch this, but I had fin with this flick.

[Trailer]

October 30th-Wolfen from 1981 (Director: Michael Wadleigh, Writer: David M. Eyre, Jr. and Michael Wadleigh Based on the novel by Whitley Strieber, Stars: Albert Finney, Diane Venora, Gregory Hines and Edward James Olmos, Runtime: 114 min)

This has a great opening, great concept, and great performances. Yet the longer the movie goes the more I lost interest. A little too long, a the last act doesn’t do much for me. Still, I would recommend this. You got some of the best actors in Finney, Hines and Olmos all doing strong work. Actress Diane Venora is very good. The direction is strong, it looks pretty great with the exception of some of the wolf vision stuff. I think this a film you should see if you can, but not necessarily one to go out and look for.

[Trailer]

October 31st-Halloween II from 1981 (Director: Rick Rosenthal, Writer: John Carpenter and Debra Hill, Stars: Jamie Lee Curtis and Donald Pleasence, Runtime: 92 min)

The second film is a direct continuation of the first film, lacking the suspense and drama. I tried but I couldn’t care about what is just an extended and useless 4th act. It wasn’t bad, just worthless.

[Trailer]

1. Chopping Mall
2. Opera
3. Sleepaway Camp
4. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (Part 4)
5. Friday the 13th Part 3
6. Friday the 13th Part 6: Jason Lives!
7. John Carpenter’s Christine
8. Friday the 13th Part 7: New Blood
9. Critters
10. Lady in White
11. Friday the 13th Part 8: Jason Takes Manhattan
12. Friday the 13th Part 2
13. Wolfen
14. Dead & Buried
15. Friday the 13th, Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (Part 5)
16. Prom Night
17. The Peanut Butter Solution
18. Halloween II
19. Stephen King’s Pet Semetary
20. Tie: The Wraith, The Beyond
21. Tie: City of the Living Dead, The House by the Cemetery
22. Tie: Superstition, Hell Night
23. The Majorettes
24.Watcher in the Woods
25. Neon Maniacs
26. Strange Behavior

Week 1, Week 2, Week 3,

Posted in film, horror, movies | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

31 Days 31 Days of Horror, Thrills & Supernatural: Week 3

Week two was an improvement and ended with a pair of Friday the 13th movies. But the formula wasn’t quite set yet. Also, there were six more films in the 80s. So there’s that and something else at the end.

October 15th-Friday the 13th Part III from 1982 (Director: Steve Miner, Writer: Martin Kitrosser and Carol Watson, Stars: Dana Kimmell, Paul Kratka and Richard Brooker, Runtime: 95 min)

The standard plot formula was set with the first film-kill camp counselors over a day. The second film adjusted to making Jason the killer and added cold open kills and made it known, any place with camp counselors-hell! Potential victims, will do. So here we are with the third film and whats the plot? Takes place after the first film and has two kills in the cold open. Then we find out not only was there a camp next to Crystal Lake, there’s a barn next to it too! So now we got potential victims. The ending is a retread of the ending from the first film with a little bit of difference, of course the whole film is just a retread. But Jason’s finally got size, a hockey mask, and sometimes uses a machete. Plus the kills are better. Isn’t this what we wanted? Its what I wanted! Also, cool to see Jason run and give chase. Random note, one of the actress was born on the say day and city as my brother. Wow!

[Trailer]

October 16th-Friday the 13th: Final Chapter from 1984 (Director: Joseph Zito, Writer: Barney Cohenn, Runtime: 91 min)

The story gets thinner, kills get better. Seriously, what is even the plot. Jason wakes up form his long nap after the events of the previous film and kills two people. Then kills a hitchhiker just because. Theres a family and then a group of stupid adults who crash at the house across from them. More killing, less stalking. But it was silly fun. Maybe more fun then three. In fact, the films become stupider and better. I’m sure that wears off soon.

[Trailer]

October 17th-Friday the 13th: A New Beginning from 1985 (Director: Danny Steinmann, Writer: Martin Kitrosser, David Cohen and Danny Steinmann Based on Story by Martin Kitrosser and David Cohen, Runtime: 92 min)

The films were building steam and then this happened. So, the young survivor from the last film goes to a half way house after years in a mental institution. He was twelve in part 4, here the actor was and looks in his twenties even though the film takes place 3-4 years later. Seriously, the fuck? Someones killing people, is it Jason? No. Spoiler alert. And I hope Pam slapped Tommy instead of getting stabbed in the end. Is Vague. Worse in the series? Or at least on the level of the first film. Note, look up the film franchises timeline. Fascinating and kind of funny.

[Trailer]

October 18th-Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives from 1986 (Director/Writer: Tom McLoughlin, Runtime: 87 min)

Jason is back. So is Tommy Jarvis, third actor in the part and still doesn’t look as young as he’s suppose to be. Anyway, Jason’s resurrection is stupid but now he’s supernatural and the kills are great. There’s some good humor in the kills too. The story? Not so much. Characters? Who cares? This is just a silly fun slasher, bless its soul.

[Trailer]

October 19th-Friday the 13th part VII: The New Blood from 1988 (Director: John Carl Buechler, Writer: Manuel Fidello and Daryl Haney, Runtime: 88 min)

Jason for a telekinetic. That’s the gist of it. There’s a thing about her powers revealing as a child and accidentally killing her father. She returns to the lakehouse (at Crystal Lake of course) to work with her doctor. Teenage adults next door throwing party. Kane Hodder takes over as Jason, cool kills. A decent entry into the series.

[Trailer]

October 20th-Friday the 13t Part VIIIh: Jason Takes Manhattan from 1989 (Director/Writer: Rob Hedden, Runtime: 100 min)

I’M ON A BOAT! Jason kills teenagers and adults on a boat for some reason. Including the future Lady Deathstrike/China White/Ro-May from the underrated Surf Ninjas actress Kelly Hu. Oh, and the future Sheriff Keller of Riverdale Martin Cummins. Jason spends maybe 20 minutes in Manhattan. Films a mixed bag, but some good stuff. Look, these Friday the 13th reviews get shorter because the direction is competent, the acting is mixed, the script barely matters. Its just about pacing and the kills. The only problem I can say is this, Jason improves as a character just as the plots get less and less interesting from entry to entry.

[Trailer]

October 20th-John Carpenters’s Christine from 1983 (Director: John Carpenter, Screenplay: Bill Philips and Based on the Novel by Stephen King, Stars: Keith Gordon, John Stockwell, Alexandra Paul, and Harry Dean Stanton, Runtime: 110 min)

A nerdy guy decides to buy a broken down Plymouth against the wishes of his best friend and family. At a local garage he repairs it and as he does, his personality changes. The car, haunted by evil spirits, begins to go after the people who wronged its owner. The film looks good, it is John Carpenter after all. All the actors are very good. The kills and special effects are cool. Yet, the film feels like twenty minutes should have been shaven. The pacing just feels weird. Also, the opening in the auto factory was kind of dull. Like, how did that one worker die inside the car? Also, the bullies. Why are they such assholes? Whatever, film was pretty good.

[Trailer]

1 Chopping Mall
2. Opera
3. Sleepaway Camp
4. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (Part 4)
5. Friday the 13th Part 3
6. Friday the 13th Part 6: Jason Lives!
7. John Carpenter’s Christine
8. Friday the 13th Part 7: New Blood
9. Critters
10. Lady in White
11. Friday the 13th Part 8: Jason Takes Manhattan
12. Friday the 13th Part 2
13. Friday the 13th, Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (Part 5)
14. Tie: The Wraith, The Beyond
15. Tie: City of the Living Dead, The House by the Cemetery
16. Tie: Superstition, Hell Night
17. The Majorettes

Week 1, Week 2,

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

31 Days 31 Days of Horror, Thrills & Supernatural: Week 2

First seven films were mostly lackluster, lets see if week two can bring up the quality.

October 8th-Opera from 1987 (Director/Writer: Dario Argento, Stars: Cristina Marsillach, Ian Charleson and Urbano Barberini, Runtime: 107 min)

A stage actress, daughter of a famous stage actress, gets her shot at the stardom in Macbeth. However a sadistic killer is torturing her by killing people around her. Its a simplistic story with a few lackluster plot threads and has some rather dumb decisions made by female leads but GOD DAMN! Its good to watch a film that is fun. Dario Argento did Suspiria, a true horror classic. Also Phenomena which I didn’t like but at least was competent film that inspired others. This is a good looking film, some great moments throughout, and the raven scene at the top of the third act is magnificent. Sure it drags toward the climax but easily the best film I’ve watched thus far. The one thing I’d have changed is the hard rock music cues. You’ll know what I’m talking about if you’ve seen the movie. But yeah, Opera, was very good. I got hype back for whats coming next.

Warning, the linked trailer gives away too much.

[Trailer]

October 9th-Gates of Hell 1: City of the Living Dead from 1980 (Director: Lucio Fulci, Writer: Lucio Fulci and Dardano Sacchetti, Stars: Christopher George and Catriona MacColl, Runtime: 93 min)

A journalist and a woman with a horrible vision look to stop the rising of the dead. There’s some cool deaths and effects but I was not too invested. I thought there was a little too much stuff going on, and while most threads connect later. With the exception of two sets of characters. The movies set in Dunwich, a ficitonal city created by legendary HP Lovecraft, and in a way you can see Lovecrafts influence in elements in the film. It’s an okay flick. The coffin scene near the start was brilliant though.

Warning, the linked trailer gives away too much.

[Trailer]

October 10th-Gates of Hell 2: The Beyond from 1981 (Director: Lucio Fulci, Writer: Lucio Fulci, Giorgio Mariuzzo and Dardano Sacchetti, Stars: Catriona MacColl and David Warbeck, Runtime: 88 min)

The second flick of the thematic trilogy Gates of Hell is the more popular film and one of director Lucio Fulci’s best known works. This cult classic has a woman trying to fix up a hotel she had inherited. Only to be warned that reopening the hotel is a mistake. Seems she’s reactivated a portal to hell. There are some gnarly deaths but the story is second to the visuals. Which apparently is on purpose. The acing is okay, I guess. Its an Italian made movie filmed in the states with voices dubbed over. Like the previous Gates of Hell film. There’s a Lovecraft reference in the film. Nice ending too. Overall, pretty decent. Liked it better than the last one.

Warning, the linked trailer gives away too much.

[Trailer]

October 11th-Gates of Hell 3: The House by the Cemetery from 1981 (Director: Lucio Fulci, Writer: Lucio Fulci, Giorgio Mariuzzo and Dardano Sacchetti, Stars: Catriona MacColl, Runtime: 87 min)

The final Gates of Hell film, this one does not quite feel like it belong. Dropping the nightmarish feel and the whole “opening gates to hell” concept of the others. Played straight forward as a family moves into a new home where there’s a killer on the loose. A lot more attempts at character and plot development here. Its a supernatural film and an okay one. Like the previous films some very cool deaths.

Warning, the linked trailer gives away too much. (Note: most trailers I’m posting seem too)

[Trailer]

October 12th-Chopping Mall from 1986 (Director: Jim Wynorski, Writer: Jim Wynorski and Steve Mitchell, Stars: Kelli Maroney, Tony O’Dell, John Terlesky, and Russell Todd, Runtime: 95 min)

Best film thus far. This silly, stupid, scifi horror/slasher flick is amazing. Eight teenage mall employees hang out after hours the same night as the new security robots go faulty and start on a killing spree. It takes slasher logic including ‘the final girl’ trope, throw in scifi slant with evil robots, and just a small dose of black humor. The robots are armed with lasers, tranquilizers, electrical cords, and explosives. Why? I don’t know but thank you. The score by Chuck Cirino is 80s cheesy synth goodness. Not sure if it wants to be horror or scifi and awkwardly mixes the two. I loved this. I was even able to get my brother to watch it. He generally hates horror films but when I told him the title and said “I think it has evil security robots” he was like “yeah.” He had fun with this great bad movie.

[Trailer]

October, Friday the 13th-Friday the 13th from 1980 (Director: Sean S. Cunningham, Writer: Victor Miller, Stars: Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King, Harry Crosby, Laurie Bartram, and Kevin Bacon, Runtime: 94 min)

One of the reasons I chose to do the 80s was a reason to watch Friday the 13th. I’ve seen a few, only part of the original and learning there were 8 made arranging this far easier. Having watched the original, on is namesake of all days, I was disappointed. It was only okay. A mysterious killer is killing the counselors of Crystal Lake which is looking to reopen after years of troubles. This includes a child drowning, a couple of murders the year after, and more trouble. Here’s the thing-there is solid acting the film. The score is good. The story is simple and effective. It just lacks suspense, the kills are dull, and… Well… Thats it. I can see how this was a game changer in its day and revelation of the killer I’m sure was a shock but I went in knowing what was what. Now, I know that might make you think it put the film at a disadvantage but I knew the big twist in Sleepaway Camp and the film still rocked. IN fact, while I liked that when I watched it on October 1st, the more I think about it the more I like it. So yeah. Sleepaway Camp > Friday the 13th. Now lets move on to Jason proper…

[Trailer]

October 14th-Friday the 13th Part 2 from 1981 (Director: Steve Miner, Writer: Ron Kurz and Phil Scuderi, Stars: Amy Steel, John Furey and Adrienne King, Runtime: 87 min)

We’re back with Part 2. Whats the story? Jason unleashes revenge, oh, and kills camp counselors. The film does not really care to stray from a formula here and the opening with a recap of the first film is a bit much. Also, no hockey mask yet. We’re here with the bag mask, like the Phantom Killer of the Texarkana Moonlight Murders. Which is dramatized in the far less then steller The Town That Dreaded Sundowon. Despite the formulaic plot and useless cold open I liked this better than the first film. Not much else to comment on.

[Trailer]

1 Chopping Mall
2. Opera
3. Sleepaway Camp
4. Critters
5. Friday the 13th Part 2
6. Lady in White
7. Friday the 13th
8. Tie: The Wraith, The Beyond
9. Tie: City of the Living Dead, The House by the Cemetery
10. Tie: Superstition, Hell Night
11. The Majorettes

Week 1

Posted in film, horror, movies, reviews | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments