Monthly Archives: May 2014

Revenge of the Nerds 4/5

Revenge of the Nerds

This is a lot of fun (very dodgy gender politics aside…), and is so 80s, and the 80s is awesome. Some great characters, especially Booger and Pointdexter.

I’d forgotten Booger Presley too.

Funny to see a young John Goodman as the pushy coach too.

Viy 4/5

Viy

Whacky Russian (and I mean Soviet Russia, not this namby-pamby post-Iron Curtain Russia) horror, with some bizarre, funny and quite memorable sequences… Old witch jumping on a guy’s back and flying him over fields, corpse-witch trying to break his mystic circle, assorted demons/vampires/skeletons attacking our poor hero… I even saw a trace of Evil Dead 2 and Pan’s Labyrinth anticipated in this movie. Rather fun, and odd.

High Anxiety 3/5

High Anxiety

Not a great comedy, but it has its moments, and part of the fun is spotting the references to Hitchcock movies. Most of them are completely obvious, but there’s some more subtle ones, such as Marnie.

There was one scene that was a genuine comedy great moment though, when the nurse and the evil doctor are being shot, verite, from under a glass table, and they keep putting things on it, forcing the camera to keep moving. That was rather an excellent idea.

X Men First Class, X Men Days of Future Past and Godzilla Raids Again – episode 142

X Men

Main Movies:

  • X Men First Class
  • X Men Days of Future Past

Our Kaiju movie this week is Godzilla Raids Again (1955)

We also talk about

  • Wolfenstein New Order (Xbox 360)
  • Bioshock Infinite
  • Van Helsing Ultimate
  • Buried
  • Lawnmower Man
  • Tarzan The Ape Man
  • Inglorious Bastards
  • The Conjuring
  • Stir Crazy
  • Sightseers

Sightseers 4/5

Sightseers

This is a second watch, and if anything it’s funnier the second time around. The hilarious deadpan, deadly pair go around the terrible attractions of the British countryside leaving a trail of death and destruction as they go, saying banal yet hilarious things.

This is my favourite Ben Wheatley movie, and I’m looking forward to what he produces next.

Stir Crazy 3/5

Stir Crazy

Reasonably engaging comedy with a few very good sections, and a lot of sections where there’s story but no laughs, in particular the last act. It is an enjoyable time though, and I particularly like the rather touching scene where the big bald guy everyone is scared of sings a plaintive version of Down in the Valley.

The Conjuring 3.5/5

The Conjuring

A solid, though derivative, entry into the haunted house/evil spirit/possession cycle that’s current, reminiscent somewhat of Insidious (and I’m ignoring that Patrick Wilson is in both), and supposedly based on true events, that works really well in act one, but gets less creepy and more gross-out as the story unfolds – so I think the first act is most successful.

However, it’s a pretty decent horror movie all around, with the only flaw in it being a section where the psychic investigators’ own daughter is somehow threatened at their home – this I think fractures the movies internal logic and feels more filler than intrinsic.

Otherwise, quite enjoyable.

Inglorious Bastards (1978) 3.5/5

Inglorious Bastards

Rather good WW2 action flick, with some great locations (it really did look like war-torn Europe during WW2), great costumes, and some crazy adventures of army criminals who get free when their convoy is ambushed, and figure they will head for the Swiss border, only to end up on a mission. Good story, good casting, and quite enjoyable, though maybe a tier below the best of the WW2 action movies (such as The Dirty Dozen or Where Eagles Dare).

Tarzan The Ape Man 3.5/5

Tarzan The Ape Man

This is a pretty action packed movie once we get to the half hour mark. That’s when we first encounter Tarzan. We see Tarzan swim faster than crocodiles, outrun hungry lions, fight leopards, gorillas and tribesmen, and he sure is an action man – he throws himself into fights and rescues with relish.

It’s also a story about Jane looking for a lover who isn’t so stuffy and inhibited as the men she’s used to…and she sure gets what she wants from Tarzan. This is surely some primal fantasy?

Wiessmuller has great presence despite only saying about 20 words (Schwartzenegger would pull the same trick many years later – charisma can take you far), and Maureen O’Sullivan is a sexy, girlish Jane.

There’s some dodgy racial angles to this – a tribe of pymies being blacked up dwarves…some with afro wigs with bones weaved in, anyone?

It’s also pre-Hays code, so we do get a stampede of elephants through the ‘pygmy’ village, which includes elephants throwing the dwarves around and stomping on them.

A great family movie, all round.

Star Trek The Original Series Season 3 Episodes 01-10 – Odd One Out 063

More Star Trek from Mark, including such gems as Spectre of the Gun, The Tholian Web, and Spock’s Brain

The Lawnmower Man 3/5

The Lawnmower Man

Cliff Notes: oh wow, haaahahaha

This is dumb fun. I haven’t watched it since it first came out…yes, I paid money and saw this at the cinema…

Jeff Fahey’s character has been hitting with the same dumbstick as Harry from Dumb and Dumber (they share brainpower, dress sense and hairstyle) and we get a sadistic priest who likes whipping shirtless grown men, a nympho widow next door, and a wife/child beater on the other side. We get Pierce Brosnan looking skinny with a gold earring, spouting absolute pseudoscientific gibberish… for example, at one point he announces that Fahey learned Latin in 2 hours, whilst he himself took a whole year to master the Latin Alphabet…. yeah, the Latin Alphabet is the English alphabet without a distinct J or W…

We get some really creaky looking CGI that has a retro charm, and I admit I found the dopey moment when Fahey equated himself to a cyberchrist was kind of cool.

I appreciated the energy of it, but it was a right mess. And absolutely nothing to do with Stephen King’s short story of the same name.

Oh and Goeffrey Lewis was in it – this adds half a point to any movie.

Buried 4/5

Buried

Well, I really couldn’t on board with the ending (which I won’t spoil), but the fact the director and writer and indeed Ryan Reynolds could hold my attention so raptly is essentially a single setting involving once character onscreen shows a lot of talent in all respects. It was tense, gripping and extremely well executed. One of the best thrillers of the last 5 years, I’d say.

But the ending just made me want to punch the director. But I do acknowledge that was a very personal view of it, and others will think it’s a good ending. So don’t let my comments about it put you off.

Valerie and her Week of Wonders 4/5

Valerie and her Week of Wonders

This was an oddity, and the first few minutes feel like some dodgy European softcore porn in how it plays, but you quickly get used to that, and it becomes a deeper movie, albeit reeking of sensuality, carnality and primal urges.

It’s quite beautiful in places, and lacking any clear coherency or relationship to reality. It was more a dream-composition, always hovering around the theme of awakening female sexuality, and showing imagery and sequences that seemed influenced by Alice in Wonderland, early surrealist movies like Age D’Or, and more obviously by 1922’s Nosferatu, and the more metaphysical work of Ingmar Bergman, and even, maybe the TV show The Prisoner.

I can also see it has either influenced or run a similar, parallel path to such movies as those by Jodorowsky (it reminded me of Santa Sangre), Daughters of Darkness, The Wicker Man.

A beautiful, odd movie.

Convict 99 3.5/5

Convict 99

Another fun comedy with Will Hay, British music hall comic, and his assorted sidekicks. Here, he accidentally becomes a prison governor, and various shennanegins ensue. It’s a shame you rarely see goofy comedy like this these days, where a silly premise is grabbed and run with all the way to the end. I guess the Farelly brothers are the nearest contemporary equivalent.

King Kong 1933, 1976, 2005 – 140

King Kong

Sam and Mark spend quite a long episode going through the 3 main King Kong movies.

He’s the eighth wonder of the world, you know.

Silver Streak 2/5

Rather dull comedy thriller that really doesn’t do either of those things. Jill Clayburgh is quite good as the everywoman attracted to Gene Wilder, but the comedy just feels mostly off through the whole thing, and the plot gets tiresome.

High point is seeing Richard Kiel doing a kind of tryout for Jaws in The Spy who Love me.

Demons and Demons 2 – Odd One Out 062

Demons Demons 2

Mark talks about the 80s horrors that are Demons and Demons 2

Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus 0.5/5

There’s very few movies where you watch it and think ‘this could have been better if Michael Bay directed it’, but this is one of them.

An atrocity of the art of film making mostly, though it did earn a score above 0 because of the shark taking out a plane, and a bite out of the Golden Gate Bridge (and let’s be clear, the point is for the ‘idea’ of these things, not the execution).

Cross of Iron 2.5/5

Cross of Iron

First watch for me, and not something I’ve ever rushed to see, but I do like a few Peckinpah movies, so I thought it was time.

I found it very unengaging. The acting wasn’t great, except for Coburn (who was qreat) and some of his troop, and I found the slight story meandered along in a disjointed pace, and I did find some of the scenes either pointless or just poorly constructed.

I think if I’d have liked the film better, I’d have probably liked the non-ending better, and if I’d hated it, I’d probably loathe the ending, but as it was, I was just glad the movie was over. I suspect they did film an ending, but it was not a good one.

Probably overrated, in my humble opinion.

Night of the Hunter 5/5

Night of the Hunter

Superbly crafted movie directed by Charles Laughton, and it’s a damn shame it was its only directorial effort. It looks great, with some very stylised scenes borrowing from German expressionism, and reminds me a lot of another film that similarly borrows, The Bride of Frankenstein (Laughton was actually married to the Bride, Elsa Lanchester!)

It’s beautiful, constantly suprising, has one of the most imposing and scary performance ever put to film by Mitchum, and whilst he imposes, he meets his match in the upright, kind-hearted Ms Cooper.

The scene where they sing as she sits guard with a shotgun is one of cinema’s greatest. And the children floating downriver through a fairytale depression America isn’t far behind.

Revolt of the Zombies 1/5

Revolt of the Zombies

Quite dreadful movie from the 30s that has two redeeming features – it’s only an hour long, and it apparently features Bela Lugosi’s eyes (lifted from White Zombie). The script makes very little sense, the zombies are kind of hypnotised guys, and the melodrama is quite sickening.

Avoid.

Comedy of Terrors 3.5/5

Comedy of Terrors

A goofy comedy about two inept, murderous undertakers played by Vincent Price and Peter Lorre, but also with Basil Rathbone, Boris Karloff and Joe E Brown. They’re all hamming it up gloriously, and it’s a lot of fun.

I particularly like Price treating his hot wife like she’s repulsive.

Alien Quadrilogy – 139

Alien

Sam and Mark discuss Alien, Aliens, Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection, as well as:

  • Far Cry 3 (XBox 360)
  • Bioshock Infinite (Xbox 360)
  • Ask A Policeman
  • Alien Vs Predator (Xbox 360)
  • Haywire

Haywire 3.5/5

Haywire

Rather good action-spy flick, owing more to 24 and Bourne than Bond, but also very, very reminiscent of late 60s and 70s downbeat spy dramas, like The Ipcress File. The music, filming style, and even the clothing evoked this spirit.

This was in essence an arthouse-action movie, with lots of stylistic sizzle, but some really great, painful-looking fight scenes. Gina Carano was pretty good, and while I spent much of the running time confused about what was going on, it resolved nicely by the end, and Mallory Kane made a good, tough lady-spy.

Freaks – Odd One Out 061

Freaks

Mark covers the half-silly, half-sympathetic, half-shocking movie, Freaks

Machete and Machete Kills – Odd One Out 060

Machete

Mark talks about the goofy but fun Machete and the goofier but slightly less fun Machete Kills

Ask A Policeman 4/5

Ask A Policeman

This is a lot of fun, I’ve liked Will Hay comedies since I first saw them as a boy, and this one is solid, with snappy, amusing dialogue from the shady, but good-hearted, boys. Also with the wonderful Graham Moffatt and Moore Marriott.

This is a very British comedy, however, and I’m not sure it will travel well. It’s like an early prototype of the St Trinians movies, if that paints a picture.

Cloverfield 3/5

Cloverfield

I’m sure glad I didn’t see this at the cinema, the shakeycam would have been unbearable, I’d have vomited.

Watching at home, you can at least avert your eyes and look at something else, which I ended up doing for a lot of the running time. I found the first 25 minutes or so really hard going, setting up this twentysomething angsty love affair issues, which was quite tiresome (and didn’t need to be there – a fully formed couple would have worked just as well dramatically, and stopped all the annoying angst-drama), but the film did improve dramatically once they got on to the streets.

There were some nice tense parts and it was effective for the last hour, and quite enjoyable (as long as you looked away from the irritating shaking frequently), and it was nice to see a big monster movie played out with dramatic tension and fear.