Tag Archives: S

Kingology 003 – The Shining

The Shining

Mark talks about King’s third published novel The Shining, and about Kubrick’s The Shining (1980), The authorised miniseries (1997) and Room 237 (2012), the documentary about the various fan-theories about the underlying themes of the Kubrick movie.

The Warriors, Streets of Fire and Mothra Vs Godzilla – episode 145

Streets of Fire

In this one, we cover the two Walter Hill iconic movies The Warriors and Streets of Fire, and for our Kaiju movie we cover Mothra Versus Godzilla

Other stuff covered:

Movies

  • Zulu
  • Romper Stomper
  • A Clockwork Orange
  • Dead Snow
  • Hanzo The Razor: Sword of Justics
  • The Black Cat (1981)
  • Madhouse (1974)
  • A Bucket of Blood
  • Cobra
  • Hound of the Baskervilles (1939)

Other Stuff

  • Tengen Toppa Gurran Lagann (anime)
  • Attack on Titan (anime)
  • Dark Souls (video game)
  • Spyro (PS One video game)
  • Batman Beyond (animated series)

Switchblade Sisters 3.5/5

Okay it lacks credibility and acting ability, but it makes up for it in the charm of the leading actresses – they may not convince, but they sure are fun in this violent, sexy, ridiculous romp among high-school gangs (and these girls look almost as old as the high-school girls in Grease).

You do have to ignore the aspect of ‘rape-as-how-gang-members-flirt’ aspect of it that really hasn’t dated that well, but the goofy costumes (the nerdy Crabs in particular reminded me of Bobcat Goldthwaite in Police Academy 2, but some of the other characters’ costumes were equallyhilarious), and combine this with the cheesy dialogue, ridiculous gangfights (AK47s at a roller-rink rumble, anyone?) and general exploitation stink, and you have a fun hour and a half.

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.

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.

Stridulum aka The Visitor 3.5/5

Stridulum

Completely bananas movie with an impressive cast (John Huston! Shelley Winters! Glen Ford! Franco Nero as Jesus Christ!) and with a young Lance Henrikson, this is a nutty cross between The Omen and the theatrical cut of Highlander 2, with elements of The Boys From Brazil and The Exorcist 2 thrown in.

Enjoyable, but don’t expect any sense.

Super Troopers 3.5/5

Super Troopers

This isn’t bust a gut funny and there were long stretches where I didn’t laugh at all, but the characters and their shenanigans are charming and fun, and it’s rather enjoyable, and the third act actually improves its score but half a point.

Shock Corridor 4/5

Shock Corridor

Crazy, fun exploitation flick about a reporter faking insanity to investigate a murder in an asylum, but then finding faking madness and being mad are kind of a bit too close to each other for comfort.

It also actually says things about America at the time it was made, including comments on racism, facing responsibility for one’s actions (or not), and how being different can condemn you.

So sleazy in parts, and cheaply profound in others.

Best line comes when the hero finds himself in a women’s ward: “NYMPHOS!”

Star Trek The Original Series Season 2 Episodes 11-20 – Odd One Out 054

The Trouble With Tribbles

Mark talks about Star Trek The Original Series, Season 2, Episodes 11-20

Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels + Snatch – 132

Snatch

Sam and Mark talk about a few movies and games watched/played since last time, and about Guy Ritchie’s first two commercial movies, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, and Snatch

Stoker – Odd One Out 052

Stoker

The mesmeric, but troubling, Stoker.

Snatch 4.5/5

Snatch

Whilst Guy Ritchie’s directing career has been up and down (and I’m glad it’s now on the up, after his rather fine take on Sherlock Holmes), this reminds you why he deserves to still be in the game. Okay, there’s some overflashy visual flourishes, but we have a convoluted, multi-character story that sprawls all over, but Ritchie keeps is straight enough to follow, entertaining enough to keep you interested till the end, and shows us some rather good comedy-gangster monologues along the way.

THIS IS FUN.

Harold Ramis Special – Stripes, Vacation, Caddyshack – 131

Caddyshack

In this episode, Mark and Sam cover 3 movies directed, written and/or acted in by the late, great Harold Ramis. Plus a number of other movies we’ve watched since last time.

  • Ghost Rider
  • Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
  • David Attenborough’s Natural History Museum Alive
  • Battle Beyond the Stars
  • Thor: The Dark World
  • Kevin Smith: Burn in Hell
  • Treasure Planet
  • Trekkies
  • Stripes
  • National Lampoon’s Vacation
  • Caddyshack

Stoker 4/5

Stoker

This is an outrageously good-looking film, and every scene has tantalising and enthralling composition. It engages and keeps your attention.

However…

The motivations and character development of the main focus of this story is just odd. I will avoid spoilers so I’ll not elaborate too much, but it jarred a little, and you had to have patience and acceptance of some pretty strange character development to really enjoy this film.

It nearly lost me, but it didn’t. I think mostly helped by the great performances.

Damn, it’s beautiful to look at.

Submarine 3/5

Submarine

Rather fine coming of age/emo drama that required a little patience to get used to during the first act, but actually quietly satisfying by the end.

Rather nice direction, sound, acting and script.

Stripes 3.5/5

Stripes

A film of three parts really, and the first part isn’t as funny as I remember it.

The first part is we get to see Bill Murray and Harold Ramis before they sign up. It’s a short segment, but I remember it being much more fun than it was, but this time watching, it felt a little forced and only intermittently funny.

The second part is the actual basic training – and things really shape up. This is the best section in the movie, and there’s lots of solid entertainment in this part. I particularly liked the passing-out ceremony with the drilling high jinx.

The third part is a rescue, and it’s decent enough, particularly the running joke with the border guards.

Overall enjoyable, Murry and Ramis are in great form, and the supporting cast is solid to great.

Stalled 2.5/5

Stalled

While extremely low budget and with some technical issues, it does have a certain charm that reminded me of Peter Jackson’s early efforts, like Bad Taste and Dead Alive, and the central performance was solid. The issues were some of sound design was quite poor (the music sound design was good though), and some of the initial plotting was a bit juvenile. And character naming was from the Big Book of Carry On Movies.

Reasonably enjoyable but very lightweight zombie comedy.

Star Trek The Original Series Season 2 Episodes 01-10 – Odd One Out 049

Amok Time

Mark talks about Star Trek The Original Series, Season 2, Episodes 1-10

Seven Samurai 5/5

Seven Samurai

Here’s the short version: Superb, one of the greatest movies of all time.

Here’s the long version: This is a terrific film, and the version I saw at 3 hours, 26 minutes really shouldn’t have a single moment removed, in my opinion. It moved at a good pace, never faultered in maintaining dramatic tension, and uses its sparse dialogue to get to the heart of the matter straight away, with feeling like monologuing or exposition. Almost every scene lodges itself in your memory as distinct – a sure sign of a very well-put together movie.

Of the 7, I think maybe 3 of the samurai characters were a little underdeveloped, though not to the level of just being a blank. That leaves 4 distinct and interesting characters though, the leader Kambei, the master swordsman Kyuzo, the ‘fool’ Kikuchiyo, and the Apprentice Katsushiro.

Kurosawa picked his characters well. Kyuzo is one extreme of the samurai, the dedicated master who cares only for his art (though even this extreme has a human side…. we see him laugh as hard as anyone at Kikuchiyo’s antics on the horse, and smile sardonically as he wants to sleep and gets some hero worship from Katsushiro) and still as a rock, with Kikuchiyo at the other end – not too skilled, but brave, fearless, angry, emotional and funny, and scratching and twitching like a dog with a terrible flea infestation and a nervous disposition. Contrasting Kambei and his experience we get the Apprentice, who wants to learn and have glory, but lacking in any sort of knowledge about what needs to be done to actually fight the bandits or handle the villagers.

Like I say, the whole thing is a pleasure to watch, and there are a dozen+ standout scenes in the movie, but the personal standouts for me are:

  • The intensity of Kambei when watching Kyuzo for the first time…you know this old experienced warrior is watching and appreciating a master at work
  • Where the old farmer has lost the rice and gets scolded, and starts to pick up the rice thrown in anger, one grain at a time
  • Kikuchiyo railing at the samurai about how the villagers are cowardly and murderous, but it is the samurai that made them that way
  • Kikuchiyo sitting next to the bandit with the gun and bantering with him
  • Kambei drawing arrows in the rain in the midst of battle
  • The death of Kikuchiyo…he’s so lively it’s kind of stunning when he falls face-first into the dirt after getting the coward and lies so still. So Un-Hollywood, and so much more stunning and moving for it.

Sanjuro 4/5

Sanjuro

Whilst not as thoroughly engaging or immersed in a coherent story as the similar Yojimbo (and there’s debate as to whether this is a sequel, or different character), this is still a lot of fun. With very little dialogue, we have characters who reveal their true nature by their words and actions (the mother is extremely wise, as is the father, who we only see at the end), and it’s very enjoyable to see Mifune cut and chop his way through hordes of guards like they were shop dummies.

It’s Mifune being magnificent that really makes this movie, and its fun to see this mighty warrior have to think a bit more than fight, at the mother’s request to avoid violence. There’s also some other really nice touches, like a guard that’s been captured who, so taken with the mother’s naïve trust, acts with respect and honour to her, and does exactly what he’s told, and is genuinely happy for the men who support her when things go their way.

Fun, fine and will put a smile on your face for much of the time.

Star Wars: Clone Wars 4/5

Clone Wars

This is a review of both parts of the Star:Wars Clone Wars 2-D animated series.

This is fun, exciting and fresh, and the best Star Wars since the original trilogy.

Originally broadcast in 4 or 5 minute segments, this still works wonderfully as a single cut-together entity, almost entirely due to the canny filmmakers who wisely used cliffhanger devices between segments, thus providing the dramatic glue to allow the cut-together version to work well.

The animation is simple but very effective, the action is well choreographed and exciting (in Volume 1, there’s a battle between Mace Windu and, well, a droid army, that’s just fantastic), and it never flags. We get some important insight into Annakin’s journey, Yoda’s powers, and how General Grievous got where he got.

Thoroughly recommended, the crowning achievement to date of Star Wars, since Return of the Jedi.

Star Wars 2: Attack of the Clones 3.5/5

Attack of the Clones

Well, I think whenever Annakin is on screen in dramatic parts, it feels quite poor and drags by his mopey teenager persona, but there were two dramatic scenes I thought were decent. The first, the death-scene of Shmi Skywalker, was actually very good, and the second, where Annakin reveals what he did to the Sand People to Padme, was reasonable. The action parts are mostly fine as long as Annakin isn’t speaking.

On the other hand, I very much enjoyed the scenes where McGregor was present and not encumbered by the presence of Annie, as well as any scenes with Yoda, Mace Windu and Count Dooku. Particularly enjoyable parts were the fight between Obi-Wan and Django Fett, and the whole last act in fact (especially the fantastic fight between Dooku and Yoda).

Also good was Jar Jar was in this one much less than I remembered, thankfully.

I think, and I need to rewatch Revenge of the Sith to be sure, this is my favourite among the main prequel movies.

Stone Cold 3.5/5

Stone Cold

Whilst Brian Bosworth has all the acting ability of a tree stump, the charm of this movie is generated by 3 things; the grandiose scene-chewing of Lance Henriksen, delivering lines like ‘This reminds me of my father’s last words: “Don’t son, that gun is loaded!” ‘ and doing a world-class evil laugh; a raging William Forsythe who acts like a cross between a coke-up Harvey Keitel and a grumpy bulldog who has been forced to sleep on a bed of Lego; and the rather fine action set pieces. It’s all 80s through-and-through, which is a shame because it was made in 91, and hitting the tail-end of that particular action era.

Baggy in places, but starts well (with a game of chicken where guys shoot beercans off each other’s heads which quickly escalates to using uzis), and ends really, really well. How the hell did they get permission to do all that mayhem in a great building like that?

Star Wars IV: A New Hope 4.5/5

Star Wars IV: A New Hope

A real thrilling spectacle. It’s been 10 years or more since I last watched this, and I have to admit, I was excited about rewatching it. And yes, it easily lived up to the expectation and excitement. My favourite part is one of the quieter moments, where Vader declares ‘I find your lack of faith…disturbing.’ But there are a dozen of more really great moments, and the 2 hours whizzes by.

I enjoy Alec Guinness the most in this, I think, but Harrison Ford comes a close second.

Still thrills, all these years later.

Saturday Night Fever 3.5/5

Saturday Night Fever

Travolta is absolutely terrific in this, giving the reasonably complex script his all by an excellent portrayal of a conflicted, trapped, working class young guy. He’s helped by the pounding soundtrack, especially the BeeGees tracks, which add several points of cool to his already deep-freeze cool presence. There’s some great scenes with him, and he’s like liquid gold on the dance floor.

Unfortunately, the rest of the movie doesn’t live up to it, except the scenes of his home-life. His friends are shallow and one-dimensional, with the only interesting one being a girl that is smitten with him, but who he doesn’t feel much of anything for. The main female lead, Stephanie, is poorly acted with a grating, unsympathetic manner, and you get a kind of overload of self-inflicted tragedy very near to the end, saved somewhat by the subtle, downbeat ending.

Tony Manero is a great screen character, with great moves and presence, but unfortunately he dwarves almost everything except his home life and the soundtrack.

I definitely recommend this to see once at least, as it has useful and resonant things to say about working-class aspirations and escapes, and about growing out of your surroundings, but be prepared for a slog in the second half.

Shane – A beautiful looking, mature, complex Western 8.5/10

Shane

Made in 1951, and I’d never seen it before. This was terrific, I was expecting a simple but enjoyable horse-opera, but what I got was much more; whilst old-fashioned in many respects, it was amazingly mature and sophisticated in dealing with several issues, most notably violence and its aftermath, but also things like unspoken attraction (between the mother and Shane…and the father being aware of it, accepting it for what it is, and knowing his wife well enough to be comfortable with it), the need for community to make civilisation, and even showing at least one “bad guy” knowing things have gone too far and stepping away from it and trying to make his peace with the wronged people. Plus, it looks beautiful.

And I can see this film being the daddy of all those Westerns that have an element of a supernatural being appearing to return harmony to somewhere – particularly Eastwood’s “High Plains Drifter” and “Pale Rider”. As Shane himself says, “There’s no living with a killing. There’s no goin’ back from one.”

Rating: GOOD, suitable for all ages

8.5/10

Scott Pilgrim Versus The World and Favourite Nerds Episode 011

In this show, Sam and Mark discuss the movie (and comic book) Scott Pilgrim Versus The World, and compare their favourite nerds, as well as a number of current xbox 360 games.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and Harry Potter versus Star Wars Episode 007

In this show, Max and Sam discuss what they liked and disliked about the latest Harry Potter movie, and then decided which franchise was best: Harry Potter or Star Wars

Spaceballs and Top 5 Animated Movies Episode 006

In this episiode, Mark and Sam take a look at Spaceballs by Mel Brooks, choose their top 5 2D animated movies, and skim over The Ghost of Frankenstein, From Hell and The Punisher.