The Incredible Happening WATCHING Thread!

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The Incredible Happening WATCHING Thread!

Postby J.M. Vargas » Fri Jun 20, 2008 11:52 am

My turn to start one of these since the latest one was about to grow a little too big! :|

Saw John Carpenter's Escape from New York and Escape from L.A. last night on Universal HD. The former I've seen more times than I care to count but the latter I saw only once when it premiered in theaters. Obviously the Carpenter from the early 80's utterly destroys anything he has done in the 1990's and beyond (which is magnified by watching these flicks back-to-back) but now, free from expectations, I found "L.A." to be much more fun and loose than I remember. Special effects are rather crude and dated (although I'll take Snake's underwater "L.A." sequence over the one in "Star Wars Episode I" anyday) but there's a 'devil may care' attitude that radiates from Kurt Russell down to even the most disposable extra in the background. Its as if Carpenter knows this is the last time he'll have access to this kind of creative freedom and financial resources, so he lets loose. A killer supporting cast (Campbell, Fonda, Grier, Buscemi, Keach... even Isaac Hayes and Triple H in blink-and-you-miss-them cameos) and a hell of an ending makes me forget that Carpenter and Russell are basically rehashing the plot from the first film. Amazing the things one overlooks when having so much fun enjoying some quality B movie popcorn flicks. :D
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Re: The Incredible Happening WATCHING Thread!

Postby Steve T Power » Fri Jun 20, 2008 12:46 pm

It had been said that Carpenter was taking a sort of "Evil Dead 2" approach to Escape from LA, basically remaking the first, only injecting a pretty strong amount of tongue-in-cheek.

I love Escape From New York, but i have more fun with LA. It definitely comes off the shelf more often.
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Re: The Incredible Happening WATCHING Thread!

Postby Dark Knight » Fri Jun 20, 2008 6:34 pm

I thought this was going to be a thread about the M. Night flick "The Happening" that you went to see (watched/watching) and thought it was "Incredible". I was wrong.
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Re: The Incredible Happening WATCHING Thread!

Postby Future Man » Fri Jun 20, 2008 7:49 pm

Southern Comfort for the nth time.
The last ten minutes are quite effective (I'm still whistling the Cajun tune), but most of what leads up to them is weak.
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Re: The Incredible Happening WATCHING Thread!

Postby azul017 » Fri Jun 20, 2008 8:01 pm

I'm Not There - This is my second time watching it, and while it definitely has its flaws (such as miscasting Richard Gere) it is still quite an engaging, experimental film. Elements of a traditional biopic, faux documentary, a full-length music video and a fictional drama are rolled into a compact and mostly-effective narrative. And Cate Blanchett's and Heath Ledger's performances are worth checking out alone.

I'm also highly impressed with the 2-disc SE. Nowadays the studios foister puff pieces and EPK's and call that extras, but the extras are Criterion-worthy -- commentary, audition tapes, 40 minute conversation with the director, etc.. All that's missing is a booklet.
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Re: The Incredible Happening WATCHING Thread!

Postby Boba Fett » Fri Jun 20, 2008 8:31 pm

Moulin Rouge: Great film, except for Leguizamo pulling out the "Clown" voice from Spawn.
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Re: The Incredible Happening WATCHING Thread!

Postby HGervais » Fri Jun 20, 2008 8:52 pm

Political Animals s.1...BBC2 drama about researchers, MPs, reporters & lobbyists and the political/sexual/personal dealings around Westminster. First couple of hours are strong and then the show picks up a lot of steam in the final few episodes. A who's who of young British actors and complelling writing make for a pretty good show. Hopefully the Beeb will commission a series two.
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Re: The Incredible Happening WATCHING Thread!

Postby Gabriel Girard » Fri Jun 20, 2008 9:07 pm

Indy 4 - Fun times! But I don't think it'll become a classic like the others. The review that I agree with the most can be read here.

The Wizard Of Oz - For the first time! Maybe I should have seen it when I was a kid. I thought Garland was really good playing younger than she was, the other actors were also great and those Technicolor sets! But the movie failed to connect with me - although I can understand why it's a classic.

Society (1989) - Interesting horror movie that doesn't quite work - the script is repetitive and IMHO social commentary works better when it's not spelled out. Still a nice sense of paranoia permeates the film and it's worth seeing if only for the weirdo finale which could have come from one of Clive Barker's early works.
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Re: The Incredible Happening WATCHING Thread!

Postby Dunnyman » Sat Jun 21, 2008 1:52 am

Whenever I'm watching any series, I tend to be very particular about watching them in order (I'm weird that way), but tonight, I just said the hell with it and threw some of the discs from the various Young Indiana Jones Chronicles in there and hit "random". While it was good fun to see Indy at younger points in his life (and older), I never realized that the entire run was some of the best educational TV ever made. Even the minor characters do their part in telling us about history, and every episode is chock full of fun facts. Endlessly entertaining, but educational, well done, George, but you're still never gonna be forgiven for Jar Jar.
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Re: The Incredible Happening WATCHING Thread!

Postby molly1216 » Sat Jun 21, 2008 2:33 am

Future Man wrote:Southern Comfort for the nth time.
The last ten minutes are quite effective (I'm still whistling the Cajun tune), but most of what leads up to them is weak.

i agree the film could have been 'deeper' with a more talky script, but what was there was bloody good. I think it's an example of less is more. It is my favorite Walter Hill movie, and my favorite Ry Cooder soundtrack.
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Re: The Incredible Happening WATCHING Thread!

Postby Future Man » Sat Jun 21, 2008 3:16 am

molly1216 wrote:
Future Man wrote:Southern Comfort for the nth time.
The last ten minutes are quite effective (I'm still whistling the Cajun tune), but most of what leads up to them is weak.

i agree the film could have been 'deeper' with a more talky script, but what was there was bloody good. I think it's an example of less is more. It is my favorite Walter Hill movie, and my favorite Ry Cooder soundtrack.


It has all the elements I love from my favorite popcorn movies--isolated squad; minimal ammo; exotic locale; relentless antagonist--but for me it's the weakness of the characters (other than the two principals) that keeps it from being top tier--they are weakly acted, directed and written. (If anything they talk too much.) Once they're all out of the picture, things crank up considerably. Cf. the superb minimalist ensemble in Alien.
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Re: The Incredible Happening WATCHING Thread!

Postby BenShultz » Sat Jun 21, 2008 7:17 pm

Get Smart: I've never seen an episode of the show, so I can really only judge this as a stand-alone film. That said, I really enjoyed it. Funny, some good action, and fun performances all around.

Son of Rambow: This and Be Kind Rewind prove that it's fun to watch amateurs pay tribute to the films they love. For about a half an hour. Then the actual filmmakers struggle to make the rest of their movie as enjoyable. Michel Gondry did a better job than Garth Jennings, whose Rambow just drags on while we're watching a story that really has nothing new to offer.
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Re: The Incredible Happening WATCHING Thread!

Postby Boba Fett » Sat Jun 21, 2008 11:11 pm

Live Free or Die Hard: The unrated cut definitely fixes the theatrical cut's main weakness: distracting ADR. I still love this movie for it's mindless mayhem, but the unrated cut sadly cut two of my favorite lines from the theatrical cut: "That'll wake the neighbors," and gives McClane a more cynical response to taking out the helicopter, going from "I was out of bullets," to "Hundreds of thousands of people die in car crashes every year, that's just four more."
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Re: The Incredible Happening WATCHING Thread!

Postby Andrew Forbes » Sun Jun 22, 2008 8:50 am

Boba Fett wrote:Live Free or Die Hard: The unrated cut definitely fixes the theatrical cut's main weakness: distracting ADR. I still love this movie for it's mindless mayhem, but the unrated cut sadly cut two of my favorite lines from the theatrical cut: "That'll wake the neighbors," and gives McClane a more cynical response to taking out the helicopter, going from "I was out of bullets," to "Hundreds of thousands of people die in car crashes every year, that's just four more."

Really?

...

Really?
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Re: The Incredible Happening WATCHING Thread!

Postby Future Man » Sun Jun 22, 2008 9:07 am

Tombstone for the nth time
Of course Val Kilmer's performance is the whole reason this title has survived in anyone's memory. Overall, too little attention is given to narrative structure--it's more like "And then this happened, and then this, and this." The romantic interludes are simply embarrassing. Best 'bonus' dvd moment: freeze frame of sidesaddled Dana Delaney's third leg bouncing around.
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Re: The Incredible Happening WATCHING Thread!

Postby Ptolemy » Sun Jun 22, 2008 2:12 pm

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Re: The Incredible Happening WATCHING Thread!

Postby Gabriel Girard » Sun Jun 22, 2008 9:27 pm

Lust,Caution - Loved it, I think that the delibarate pacing totally worked for the movie. It reflects the patience and dedication of the character as well as mirroring hte pace of the society she lives in. Besides the amazing performance by the lead actress and the gorgeous cinematography I felt that it was it s biggest asset and must admit I was never bored with it. The slow pace and cautious actions of the characters also made the sex scenes even more startling and crucial. This is a rare case were I was drawn more by the actions of characters, the little touches than by the overall story.
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Re: The Incredible Happening WATCHING Thread!

Postby molly1216 » Mon Jun 23, 2008 4:43 am

Zappakub wrote:Lust,Caution - Loved it, I think that the delibarate pacing totally worked for the movie. It reflects the patience and dedication of the character as well as mirroring hte pace of the society she lives in. Besides the amazing performance by the lead actress and the gorgeous cinematography I felt that it was it s biggest asset and must admit I was never bored with it. The slow pace and cautious actions of the characters also made the sex scenes even more startling and crucial. This is a rare case were I was drawn more by the actions of characters, the little touches than by the overall story.

agreed, i was fascinated by characters and their decisions. it was very intense.
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Re: The Incredible Happening WATCHING Thread!

Postby Belmondo » Mon Jun 23, 2008 5:19 am

"Hotel Babylon" - just released 3 disc British series - dramatic, funny, well scripted. Great stuff.
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Re: The Incredible Happening WATCHING Thread!

Postby B5Erik » Mon Jun 23, 2008 6:44 am

The Adams Chronicles Episode 1 - I"ve waited 27 years to watch this thing. We watched it in my 8th grade English class and I loved it. I've been wanting to see it ever since. So far it's every bit as good as I remembered. The script is great (with the exception that it jumps forward a lot - assuming that the viewer will fill in some of the blanks, and that just may be for the first episode as they skipped the more mundane aspects of John Adams' life), and the actors are really good. I can't wait to watch the rest of it.
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Re: The Incredible Happening WATCHING Thread!

Postby BrettCullum » Mon Jun 23, 2008 7:05 am

molly1216 wrote:
Zappakub wrote:Lust,Caution - Loved it, I think that the delibarate pacing totally worked for the movie. It reflects the patience and dedication of the character as well as mirroring hte pace of the society she lives in. Besides the amazing performance by the lead actress and the gorgeous cinematography I felt that it was it s biggest asset and must admit I was never bored with it. The slow pace and cautious actions of the characters also made the sex scenes even more startling and crucial. This is a rare case were I was drawn more by the actions of characters, the little touches than by the overall story.

agreed, i was fascinated by characters and their decisions. it was very intense.


I share the love for this film. It's a great portrait of the time and the characters. Really amazingly well done, and it continues the exploration of the themes Ang Lee loves most which is repression and passion exploding. Very good film, and a shame it was disqualified from an Academy Award for foreign film because Americans worked on the crew. This is the type of movie Ang Lee needs to make, and certainly not Hulk style fluff.
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Re: The Incredible Happening WATCHING Thread!

Postby BenSaylor » Mon Jun 23, 2008 7:50 am

molly1216 wrote:
Zappakub wrote:Lust,Caution - Loved it, I think that the delibarate pacing totally worked for the movie. It reflects the patience and dedication of the character as well as mirroring hte pace of the society she lives in. Besides the amazing performance by the lead actress and the gorgeous cinematography I felt that it was it s biggest asset and must admit I was never bored with it. The slow pace and cautious actions of the characters also made the sex scenes even more startling and crucial. This is a rare case were I was drawn more by the actions of characters, the little touches than by the overall story.

agreed, i was fascinated by characters and their decisions. it was very intense.


I just can't agree. Yes, the film is well shot, but to me the screenplay is an utter failure in terms of characterization because we never really get inside the Tang Wei character's head. Her motivations are never articulated, which makes her critical third act decision (spoilers to follow) come way out of left field. Also, her relationship with Mr. Yee, from what is depicted in the film, is entirely physical, so are we supposed to come away from this thinking that she sold out her friends just because Mr. Yee was a great lay? Generally, I don't mind deliberately paced films, but Lust, Caution tried my patience because after the pretty solid first half, the film slows to an excruciatingly slow grind that is made worse by the fact that the characters are never really developed, so that ultimately, the movie's length comes across as self-indulgent. I haven't seen that much of Ang Lee's work (Just Hulk, The Ice Storm, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and Brokeback Mountain) but so far the only film of his I've really admired has been Sense and Sensibility.
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Re: The Incredible Happening WATCHING Thread!

Postby J.M. Vargas » Mon Jun 23, 2008 7:57 am

Another crazy weekend trying to avoid going outside and spending money. Here's part 1 of what I watched, part 2 will come out later today when I have time to write (I'm at work!):

Tulsa (1949) on TCM. A kinder, gentler "There Will Be Blood" set in 1920's "Oklahoma" when the economic/environmental needs of cattle ranchers and oil barons collided. Susan Hayward is a fiery pistol as a cattle rancher's daughter that gets mixed up in the oil business, two suitors (Robert Preston and Lloyd Gough) and a local indian ("From Russia With Love's" Pedro Armendáriz) to avenge her father's death and loss of his cattle business. Its like the prototype for "Dallas," "Dynasty" and all those 80's primetime soaps in which the trappings of money and power seduce Hayward into becoming the very thing she hated. The exciting finale has above-average (for '49) special effects work as an oil field literally goes up in flames. The pro-environment tone of the picture (nature shots set to beautiful music while the oil scenes are bathed in darkness) seems oddly timely given recent events about oil prices and drilling offshore.

Alias Jesse James (1959) on TCM. By-the-numbers Bob Hope comedy in which he plays a bumbling (and desperate) insurance agent that has to buy back a life insurance policy he sold to Jesse James (get it?), whom Hope's character is tangled with. Naturally there's a pretty girl by Hope's side (Rhonda Fleming) as well as a small army of cameos (Bing Crosby, Gary Cooper, etc.) and more attempts at sight-gags that fall flat than hit the mark. The movie runs out of gags... I mean, gas ( :lol: :shock: ) long before its over but for patient Bob Hope fans there's some stuff worth sitting through the boring parts.

Lonely Are The Brave (1962) on TCM. Imagine "Rambo: First Blood" set 20 years earlier, in B&W and (most importantly) with Kirk Douglas and Walter Matthau in the Sylvester Stallone/Brian Dennehy roles, respectively. That's an oversimplification for the plot of this powerful Western in which Douglas' Jack Burns character represents the last breed of nomad cowboy left at a time when American society (its rules, means of transportation and law enforcement methods) has no room left for a man like him. Jack gets into mischief with the locals (he has reason to), runs away from jail with his horse Whiskey and has to contend with Sheriff Johnson (Matthau playing it tongue-in-cheek) and his hi-tech-for-'62 posse as the cowboy makes a run for the Mexican border. Though there are excellent supporting performances (Carroll O'Connor, George Kennedy, Gena Rowlands, an uncredited Bill Bixby, etc.) Kirk basically carries the movie on his shoulders. Its Douglas' favorite movie he ever worked on and, after seeing it, its no wonder why.

The Oscar (1966) on TCM. My thanks to Bill Maher for plucking this flick out of the closet its been gathering dust in when TCM recently allowed Maher to program an evening with movies of his choosing. Though its meant to be a drama (so was "Mommie Dearest") this is a howlingly-bad-in-a-good-way Hollywood rags-to-riches story about the dog-eat-dog world of showbusiness. The whole movie is the flashback of the life of fictitious Best Actor nominee Frank Fane ("Ben-Hur's" Stephen Boyd, mixing the looks of Richard Chamberlain with the on/off acting range of George Hamilton set to either 0 or 11 with no in-between range) as he sits at the Academy Awards ceremony awaiting for his name to be called. In his only dramatic role to date Tony Bennett plays Frank's Jewish friend Haymie Kelly, and its Hyme's recollection of events via voice-over that we hear/look at (please read that last line again!). Every cliché in the showbiz playbook is played to the tilt, right down to the long list of A-list cameos and/or supporting performers (Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Milton Berle, Peter Lawford, Merle Oberon, Ernest Borgnine, Jill St. John, co-screenwriter Harlan Ellison, etc.) cratering their careers a little bit by appearing here. Only Elke Sommer walks out of this disaster with her head (and other things :o) held high, but that's easy since her character is the only one constantly holding her nose at the antics Frank Fane engages in to win his Best Actor award and keep him from the indignity of... horror of horrors... appearing on his own network TV show as both the star and a spokesperson for the sponsor's product (shudder!!!). I watched better movies than "The Oscar" over the weekend but none had me laughing or smiling as much as this turkey of a train wrecked bomb (which, sadly, isn't available anywhere on DVD).

Machine Gun McCain (1970) on TCM. As I was watching this dull gangster movie all I could think was that line from Bob Evans book "The Kid Stays in the Picture" (also in the 2002 documentary of the same name) about all the mob movies before "The Godfather" sucking because they were all written/directed/cast by gentile and/or Jewish filmmakers, not Italians. Well here's a gangster flick written, produced and directed by Italians (even Ennio Morricone provides the forgettable score) that still sucks, and not for lack of acting talent (even though their non-Italian heritage still lends credence to Evan's quote) in front of the camera. John Cassavettes plays Hank, a just-released-from-jail thief hired indirectly by loose canon mobster Adamo (Peter Falk pretending he's Joe Pesci) to hit a Vegas casino that he's trying to take over behind the back from the bosses back in New York. Along for the job Hank picks up a young bride (Britt Ekland), turns the tables on Adamo and the pair are on the run from both Adamo and his bosses (who don't look kindly at Adamo expanding his territory) with the fruits of his casino heist. Think watered-down "The Getaway" meets "Casino." Only in the last half-hour, when Cassavettes regular Gena Rowlands shows up in a movie-stealing supporting role, does "Machine Gun McCain" come alive with a sense of purpose and excitement. Only interesting if you want to see the kind of work Cassavettes and Rowlands had to do to finance their great body of indie work together (or separately).
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Re: The Incredible Happening WATCHING Thread!

Postby Andrew Forbes » Mon Jun 23, 2008 8:56 am

The Thin Man. I can't say I found the mystery very compelling, but the chemistry between Nick and Nora was extremely enjoyable.

Fatal Contact. This one is hard to judge. The fight scenes were often well done, but occasionally extremely sloppy. Some poor editing, visible wires, unusually noticeable under-cranking and one particularly poor opponent drained some excitement from the choreography. And the surrounding drama is handled very poorly. The ending is ridiculous. Still, I can't say I wasn't entertained. I was just disappointed.

The 7th Voyage of Sinbad. Lots of fun, despite some awful acting and a terribly cast genie. Not as polished as some of Harryhausen's work, but entertaining nonetheless.

The Golden Voyage of Sinbad. This was even better. This is often ranked below 7th, but I found it to be far more successful--at least until the drawn-out anticlimax. Some fantastic creature work is on display in this, most notably the ship's figurehead come to life, and the many-armed statue of Kali. John Philip Law made a fine Sinbad, and Tom Baker was suitably menacing as the evil sorcerer.

Terminator 3. This story had so much potential. Too bad all tension and credibility is undermined at every turn by unfunny "comic" moments or unintentionally funny dramatic scenes.
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Re: The Incredible Happening WATCHING Thread!

Postby J.M. Vargas » Mon Jun 23, 2008 4:52 pm

Finally got off from work. Here's the rest of the crap (good and bad) I watched over the weekend:

The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976) on HDNet Movies. The first Eastwood western I saw as a kid when it premiered on local Spanish TV in 1984. Its basically Eastwood's 'Man With No Name' character from his 'Spaghetti Western' period but with a name (Josey Wales), a new setting (post-Civil War US frontier) and a motive for his revenge crusade (death of his family at the hands of a red-booted Union soldier). The movie is long but never dull and boring, plus Eastwood (or Philip Kaufman in whatever's left of his original footage) and cinematographer Bruce Surtees frame the movie beautifully, which shines in this new high-definition transfer. Love the first-person shooter perspective when Josey unloads his Colt Walker pistols on his pursuers. Eastwood speaks few lines but John Vernon's Fletcher, a character that should be a villain but in this movie comes across as the voice of reason compared with Josey's killing rampage, speaks plenty for both of them in their memorable few scenes together. It speaks volumes about Clint's body of work that an excellent movie like this gets lost in the middle of the pack as far as Eastwood westerns/directorial efforts/star vehicles is concerned.

Tobe Hooper's Eaten Alive (1977) on IFC. I'm not as fond of the original "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" as many horror fans (YMMV) but that movie is redneck Shakespeare compared with this dreary and joyless follow-up by Hopper and co-screenwriter Kim Henkel. Ugly-looking (mostly shot with a garish red hue over cheap-looking sets), mean-spirited and featuring a one-dimensional lead performance by Neville Brand as nutty Starlight Hotel owner Judd "Eaten Alive's" hook of a killer croc is compromised by how unconvincing the thing looks the few seconds we're allowed to see it. Only the wacky parade of soon-to-be-victims (including the just-departed Mel Ferrer, "Addams Family" veteran Carolyn Jones and a young Robert Englund) adds a smidgen of fun and variety to the deadly-dull pace at which this zero-budget flick unfolds. Hopper's electronic music score is also deserving of scorn (John Carpenter's "Halloween" it ain't).

Roller Boogie (1979) on TCM Underground. You can't take seriously any 70's movie in which a group of teens (i.e. twentysomething wannabe-actors pretending to be teens) in rollerskates gets into a fruit fight with leisure-suit dressed mobsters trying to shut down the Jammer Roller Rink the day before the Big Boogie Contest. Because, you know, that's the event in which rich Beverly Hills, Juilliard-bound teen Terry (baby-faced Linda Blair) and poor but talented local disco rollerskating phenom Bobby James (Jim Bray in his first and only film role) could ultimately earn each other's love/respect as equals, not to mention the approval of Terry's rich parents ("My Three Sons'" Beverly Garland and "The Facts of Life's" Roger Perry). Seriously though, if P.T. Anderson's "Boogie Nights" hasn't decimated your ability to take on truckloads of rollerskating dance montages set to cheesy disco music (the only Bee Gee's in this movie are the posters on Terry's room) then this is an almost-guaranteed hoot because of how deadly serious and straight the actors/story/direction play the exploitation angle (tons of gratuitous shots of Blair and the female rollerskaters' girations and lower attributes). I should have quit while I was ahead with the harmless dopiness of "Roller Boogie." Unfortunately I pushed my luck and wound up watching...

...The Apple (1980), also on TMC Underground right before "Roller Boogie" (watched them in reverse order the following morning). Son of a bitch! :shock: This is like the "Zardoz" of bad 70's/80's musicals, an unrelenting assault on the senses (aural, visual, emotional, etc.) that doesn't know when to dial down the noise because there's never a moment when awful mylar conceptions, OTT dance numbers and 'futuristic 1994' vehicles/outfits aren't making one question his/her own sanity for continuing to watch this trainwreck unfold for a painful 90 minutes of 'DEEEEP HURTING.' With German's West Berlin masquarading as New York City and Menahem Golan ("Enter the Ninja," "Delta Force," etc.) at the helm the story (what little there is on which to hang the unending dance/sing montages) deals with an evil music corporation dividing the loyalties of musical duo Bibi ("Night of the Comet's" Catherine Mary Stewart) and Alphie (George Gilmour in his first and only role). I actually had to rewind and watch the 'Hey, hey, hey, BIM's on the way' musical montage a second time because I couldn't believe a mainstream Hollywood musical would attempt to pass such decibel-shattering garbage as entertainment. Between "The Apple" and "Roller Boogie" I'm beginning to discover a newfound appreciation for "Xanadu" I didn't even know existed until I saw the first two! :roll:

Steven Soderbergh's remake of Solaris (2002) on Universal HD. While I admire Soderbergh's attempt at modernizing Stanislaw Lem's original book for an American audience (with James Cameron's Lightstorm Entertainment providing solid technical work for the space scenes) I simply prefer Tarkovsky's original movie interpretation of the source material. Not a knock on the dependable Clooney as the lead or the rest of the cast (which includes a pre-"Lost" Jeremy Davies looking daper) but something about Lem's story just fits better when the Russian characters seem an extra step removed from our American reality.

And, last but not least, saw Michael Winterbottom's A Mighty Heart (2007) on HD-DVD. Angelina Jolie got pre-Oscar buzz for her portrayal of the French wife of kidnapped Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl (Dan Futterman) Mariane, and rightly so (the overexposed star disappears into her role and totally embodies her character). For my money Irrfan Khan's Captain Javed Halip steals the movie though. His no-nonsense portrayal of an honest Pakistani police officer preoccupied in finding Daniel as much for his country's image as because its the right thing to do is riveting, as is most of the supporting performances (loved "Law & Order" veteran Denis O'Hare as Wall Street editor John Bussey). Since everybody already knows what happened to Daniel the last few scenes aren't as moving or sad as they'd be on a fictitious thriller, but the truthful attempt at recreating what took place in early 2002 are appreciated. This is one of the few 'Based on a True Story' Hollywood movies without a disclaimer that some of the events/characters were fictitious or changed for dramatic reasons. A modest success for all involved, and a nice chronicle for young Adam Pearl to learn about his father when the youngster grows up. :(
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Re: The Incredible Happening WATCHING Thread!

Postby BenShultz » Mon Jun 23, 2008 5:34 pm

J.M. Vargas wrote:Finally got off from work. Here's the rest of the crap (good and bad) I watched over the weekend:

The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976) on HDNet Movies. The first Eastwood western I saw as a kid when it premiered on local Spanish TV in 1984. Its basically Eastwood's 'Man With No Name' character from his 'Spaghetti Western' period but with a name (Josey Wales), a new setting (post-Civil War US frontier) and a motive for his revenge crusade (death of his family at the hands of a red-booted Union soldier). The movie is long but never dull and boring, plus Eastwood (or Philip Kaufman in whatever's left of his original footage) and cinematographer Bruce Surtees frame the movie beautifully, which shines in this new high-definition transfer. Love the first-person shooter perspective when Josey unloads his Colt Walker pistols on his pursuers. Eastwood speaks few lines but John Vernon's Fletcher, a character that should be a villain but in this movie comes across as the voice of reason compared with Josey's killing rampage, speaks plenty for both of them in their memorable few scenes together. It speaks volumes about Clint's body of work that an excellent movie like this gets lost in the middle of the pack as far as Eastwood westerns/directorial efforts/star vehicles is concerned.

Tobe Hooper's Eaten Alive (1977) on IFC. I'm not as fond of the original "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" as many horror fans (YMMV) but that movie is redneck Shakespeare compared with this dreary and joyless follow-up by Hopper and co-screenwriter Kim Henkel. Ugly-looking (mostly shot with a garish red hue over cheap-looking sets), mean-spirited and featuring a one-dimensional lead performance by Neville Brand as nutty Starlight Hotel owner Judd "Eaten Alive's" hook of a killer croc is compromised by how unconvincing the thing looks the few seconds we're allowed to see it. Only the wacky parade of soon-to-be-victims (including the just-departed Mel Ferrer, "Addams Family" veteran Carolyn Jones and a young Robert Englund) adds a smidgen of fun and variety to the deadly-dull pace at which this zero-budget flick unfolds. Hopper's electronic music score is also deserving of scorn (John Carpenter's "Halloween" it ain't).

Roller Boogie (1979) on TCM Underground. You can't take seriously any 70's movie in which a group of teens (i.e. twentysomething wannabe-actors pretending to be teens) in rollerskates gets into a fruit fight with leisure-suit dressed mobsters trying to shut down the Jammer Roller Rink the day before the Big Boogie Contest. Because, you know, that's the event in which rich Beverly Hills, Juilliard-bound teen Terry (baby-faced Linda Blair) and poor but talented local disco rollerskating phenom Bobby James (Jim Bray in his first and only film role) could ultimately earn each other's love/respect as equals, not to mention the approval of Terry's rich parents ("My Three Sons'" Beverly Garland and "The Facts of Life's" Roger Perry). Seriously though, if P.T. Anderson's "Boogie Nights" hasn't decimated your ability to take on truckloads of rollerskating dance montages set to cheesy disco music (the only Bee Gee's in this movie are the posters on Terry's room) then this is an almost-guaranteed hoot because of how deadly serious and straight the actors/story/direction play the exploitation angle (tons of gratuitous shots of Blair and the female rollerskaters' girations and lower attributes). I should have quit while I was ahead with the harmless dopiness of "Roller Boogie." Unfortunately I pushed my luck and wound up watching...

...The Apple (1980), also on TMC Underground right before "Roller Boogie" (watched them in reverse order the following morning). Son of a bitch! :shock: This is like the "Zardoz" of bad 70's/80's musicals, an unrelenting assault on the senses (aural, visual, emotional, etc.) that doesn't know when to dial down the noise because there's never a moment when awful mylar conceptions, OTT dance numbers and 'futuristic 1994' vehicles/outfits aren't making one question his/her own sanity for continuing to watch this trainwreck unfold for a painful 90 minutes of 'DEEEEP HURTING.' With German's West Berlin masquarading as New York City and Menahem Golan ("Enter the Ninja," "Delta Force," etc.) at the helm the story (what little there is on which to hang the unending dance/sing montages) deals with an evil music corporation dividing the loyalties of musical duo Bibi ("Night of the Comet's" Catherine Mary Stewart) and Alphie (George Gilmour in his first and only role). I actually had to rewind and watch the 'Hey, hey, hey, BIM's on the way' musical montage a second time because I couldn't believe a mainstream Hollywood musical would attempt to pass such decibel-shattering garbage as entertainment. Between "The Apple" and "Roller Boogie" I'm beginning to discover a newfound appreciation for "Xanadu" I didn't even know existed until I saw the first two! :roll:

Steven Soderbergh's remake of Solaris (2002) on Universal HD. While I admire Soderbergh's attempt at modernizing Stanislaw Lem's original book for an American audience (with James Cameron's Lightstorm Entertainment providing solid technical work for the space scenes) I simply prefer Tarkovsky's original movie interpretation of the source material. Not a knock on the dependable Clooney as the lead or the rest of the cast (which includes a pre-"Lost" Jeremy Davies looking daper) but something about Lem's story just fits better when the Russian characters seem an extra step removed from our American reality.

And, last but not least, saw Michael Winterbottom's A Mighty Heart (2007) on HD-DVD. Angelina Jolie got pre-Oscar buzz for her portrayal of the French wife of kidnapped Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl (Dan Futterman) Mariane, and rightly so (the overexposed star disappears into her role and totally embodies her character). For my money Irrfan Khan's Captain Javed Halip steals the movie though. His no-nonsense portrayal of an honest Pakistani police officer preoccupied in finding Daniel as much for his country's image as because its the right thing to do is riveting, as is most of the supporting performances (loved "Law & Order" veteran Denis O'Hare as Wall Street editor John Bussey). Since everybody already knows what happened to Daniel the last few scenes aren't as moving or sad as they'd be on a fictitious thriller, but the truthful attempt at recreating what took place in early 2002 are appreciated. This is one of the few 'Based on a True Story' Hollywood movies without a disclaimer that some of the events/characters were fictitious or changed for dramatic reasons. A modest success for all involved, and a nice chronicle for young Adam Pearl to learn about his father when the youngster grows up. :(


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Re: The Incredible Happening WATCHING Thread!

Postby J.M. Vargas » Mon Jun 23, 2008 5:38 pm

Lebowsky wrote:Why aren't you a Judge? Have you ever applied?


Image :(
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Re: The Incredible Happening WATCHING Thread!

Postby jcankerhuxley » Mon Jun 23, 2008 9:58 pm

I found a copy of The Goodies . . . At Last, A Second Helping. For those who remember this Brit comedy team and are interested, this is the DVD to get.
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Re: The Incredible Happening WATCHING Thread!

Postby J.M. Vargas » Tue Jun 24, 2008 9:31 am

Watched Dario Argento's Tenebre (1982) on Anchor Bay's new widescreen DVD twice, once to absorb the insanity for the first time and a second to listen to the (10-year old) commentary track. Argento racks up the body count (14), the music (good loud tracks from three ex-members of Goblin) and the stylish touches (the shots of a gloved hand shattering a light bulb with a razor blade and an unending peek outside a home from the killer's POV are pure Dario) to make this 'giallo' entry a treat only for fans of his previous work. As the poor American author stuck in Rome promoting the mystery book a crazy killer is using as his motivation for killing those around him Anthony Franciosa joins his mostly-Italian cast members in sleepwalking through his role (which isn't helped by the typically bad English dub) making it tough to care about who lives or (most likely) dies. The amount of nude female (!) sexuality on display can't hide the fact that, in trying to outdo his previous 'giallo' work (which he fails at since "Crystal Plummage" and "Deep Red" had tighter, better mysteries to string the audience along) Argento piles up the whodunit impossibilities almost to the breaking point (the whole dog scene). The once-shocking final twist(s) feels like the unrewarding conclusion to a mediocre episode of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit." Worth seeing for genre/Dario fans if only to see future Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi's wife Veronica Lario paint the town red, literally! 8)
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Re: The Incredible Happening WATCHING Thread!

Postby BenShultz » Tue Jun 24, 2008 11:11 am

In Bruges: I have to agree with Richard Roeper on this one; best movie of 2008 so far. Colin Farrell gives quite possibly a career -best performance, and Brendan Gleeson and Ralph Fiennes deliver the goods as well. The climax does hinge on a couple of coincidences, but to call those to attention is really just nitpicking.
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Re: The Incredible Happening WATCHING Thread!

Postby Andrew Forbes » Tue Jun 24, 2008 11:26 am

The Thief of Bagdad. Disappointing, to be honest. Something of a throw-everything-at-the-screen-and-see-what-sticks affair. Conrad Veidt is fantastic, but the rest of the cast did little for me, and I grew weary of the characters' stupidity before long. Also, for a film that is touted for its "eye-popping technical wizardry," I saw little that hadn't been done better in earlier films like King Kong. Even the Technicolor lacked vibrancy. I had more fun with The Golden Voyage of Sinbad. Hardly a waste, but I don't feel very well about having paid $30 for it.
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Re: The Incredible Happening WATCHING Thread!

Postby J.M. Vargas » Tue Jun 24, 2008 11:34 am

Lebowski wrote:In Bruges: I have to agree with Richard Roeper on this one; best movie of 2008 so far. Colin Farrell gives quite possibly a career -best performance, and Brendan Gleeson and Ralph Fiennes deliver the goods as well. The climax does hinge on a couple of coincidences, but to call those to attention is really just nitpicking.


Hopefully molly has put this at the top of her Netflix queue so she can abandon her idea that Farrell is coasting through his career (not that his imdb upcoming projects bio is anything to shake a snake at). I'm neither a fan or hater of Colin but from what little I've seen of his work (most recently in Stone's 3rd version of "Alexander") the dude doesn't strike me as the slacker type.
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Re: The Incredible Happening WATCHING Thread!

Postby Future Man » Tue Jun 24, 2008 11:44 am

chamucamel wrote:The Thief of Bagdad. Disappointing, to be honest. Something of a throw-everything-at-the-screen-and-see-what-sticks affair. Conrad Veidt is fantastic, but the rest of the cast did little for me, and I grew weary of the characters' stupidity before long. Also, for a film that is touted for its "eye-popping technical wizardry," I saw little that hadn't been done better in earlier films like King Kong. Even the Technicolor lacked vibrancy. I had more fun with The Golden Voyage of Sinbad. Hardly a waste, but I don't feel very well about having paid $30 for it.


Agreed. Many of the effects suffer from overreaching or just plain poor workmanship such as the shots of the little plastic genie in flight. This one may go right on ebay.
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Re: The Incredible Happening WATCHING Thread!

Postby J.M. Vargas » Wed Jun 25, 2008 5:57 am

Richard Rush's The Stunt Man (1980) on Anchor Bay DVD for the first time. Talk about a hidden-in-plain-sight gem about the joy and perils of filmmaking that tells an interesting story while also never taking itself too seriously (take that "The Oscar" :twisted: ). Peter O'Toole is enthralling as a movie director that protects the identity of a runaway Vietnam Vet ("Lifeforce's" Steve Railsback) that stumbles on his on-location movie set in exchange for the fugitive taking over the identity of an untimely killed stunt man. I found myself being seduced by O'Toole's charming BS, which made it easy for me to believe a simple man like Cameron (Railsback's character) could also be talked into doing the crazy things asked of him by the benevolent-but-also-tyranical director. The story takes leaps of logic that on lesser hands would derail the movie (why would they shoot close-ups of stunts on location, or throw Cameron in the middle of a series of dangerous stunts with only three days left with minimal preparation?) but writer/director/producer Richard Rush, like O'Toole's Eli Cross character, keeps the audience too entertained for them to notice the spell of what's real and what's not gradually taking over the story.

Dominic Frontiere's music score is also worth mentioning since it becomes a character of its own, especially during the vaudeville-like World War I action sequences. Wasn't crazy about Barbara Hershey's actress character falling in love with Cameron (she looks gorgeus though) but a small army of top-notch supporting performers poking fun at Hollywood stereotypes (Allen Garfield as Sam the writer, Charles Bail as the stunt coordinator, Alex Rocco as the local sheriff that wants to run the crew out of town ASAP, etc.) and an open-ended finale gives "The Stunt Man" ridiculous replayability. Can't wait to dig into the commentary track and documentary in this 2-Disc LE DVD set, or to share this flick with friends. Its a winner in my heart, even if the Academy Award didn't see fit to bestow any Oscar love on Rush (whose career pretty much died after this) or O'Toole (still winless after all these years... bastards!). :(
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Re: The Incredible Happening WATCHING Thread!

Postby BenShultz » Wed Jun 25, 2008 8:16 am

Hot Rod: I'm completely unashamed to say that I found this movie hilarious.
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Re: The Incredible Happening WATCHING Thread!

Postby J.M. Vargas » Wed Jun 25, 2008 8:33 am

Image :mrgreen:
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Re: The Incredible Happening WATCHING Thread!

Postby Andrew Forbes » Wed Jun 25, 2008 10:40 pm

Blade. Every time I revisit this, I find myself liking it more. Its effects are dated, its cinematography is oh-so 90's, it relies on contemporary music, and Blade's look and attitude are very much of their time, yet it holds up better than many other comic/fantasy flicks. The rich, glossy darkness of the movie is so pleasing, it's easy to ignore the occasional bad line (and, to be fair, the dialogue isn't nearly as bad as that of the sequel).
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Re: The Incredible Happening WATCHING Thread!

Postby Dunnyman » Thu Jun 26, 2008 1:19 am

Took my best friend to see Get Smart for her b-day. Loved it! They got the spirit of it just right, silly, goofy and just enough serious story to tie it together. Carell does a wonderful job of adding his own style to the Maxwelll Smart character without a blatant Don Adams ripoff. Hathaway is both gorgeous and funny as she deals with Max's bungling, she shows some good chemistry with Carell, and if they opt to go franchise, this could be a long running deal. (Her "Oh, Max!" had me scanning the film for Barbara Feldon) However, as much as the "stars" of the movie did well, Alan Arkin steals the show as the Chief. The Rock does what he's expected to do, look studly, kick some butt, and shows some of his comic chops. I wish someone would put him in an out and out comedy as the star. The guy's got what it takes.
Several cameos abound, but one of them just blew me away, I won't spoil it for fans of the show though.... :)
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Re: The Incredible Happening WATCHING Thread!

Postby BenSaylor » Thu Jun 26, 2008 7:30 am

After catching the documentary Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired (great doc, btw) on HBO the other day, I realized there's still more than a few films by Polanski that I haven't seen. Checked out Repulsion last week. Great movie, not so great DVD. (It's a cheapie with horrible video and sound quality) This one reminded me of David Lynch a la Eraserhead and even Inland Empire a bit. Last night was The Ninth Gate, of which I wasn't expecting much and got exactly that.
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Re: The Incredible Happening WATCHING Thread!

Postby hoytereden » Fri Jun 27, 2008 7:34 pm

Caught quite a few of the TCM ones J.M. mentioned. I like quite a few of the Linda Blair films from her "Queen of the B's" era. Had never seen Roller Boogie-man o' man, what a howler! I do wish someone would show or release a DVD of Savage Streets-Bad girl Blair from that same time frame. Even has Linnea Quigley as her "good" little sister. :o Also watched:
The Last Castle-Pretty good but I thought Gandolfini's villain was way too polite and so soft spoken. The prison take-over was cool.
The Peacemaker-A nice surprise! Good action sequences.
Syriana-Feeling in a Clooney mood I rewatched this one. Terrific film but even the second time around I had trouble keeping track of who did what and their relationship to this guy or that one. :?
Charlie Chan at the Opera-One of the best Chan's and the showdown between Karloff and Oland was good, if brief.
Charlie Chan at the Olympics-Not quite as good as Opera plot-wise I actually found myself more involved with this one because the relationship between Charlie and No.1 son (Keye Luke) was played up more in this film.
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Re: The Incredible Happening WATCHING Thread!

Postby azul017 » Fri Jun 27, 2008 9:33 pm

Wall-E: The best Pixar film since The Incredibles, paired with an equally-entertaining Pixar short. Just sheer perfection, with some nice nods to 2001: A Space Odyssey. And without much dialogue, Wall-E and EVE are the best on-screen couple thus far this year... way better than Stanton's previous Finding Nemo.
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Re: The Incredible Happening WATCHING Thread!

Postby Boba Fett » Fri Jun 27, 2008 11:52 pm

Fight Club: A film about purpose in life? A film about one f-ed up love story? I'd say both.
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Re: The Incredible Happening WATCHING Thread!

Postby Future Man » Sat Jun 28, 2008 6:57 pm

azul017 wrote:Wall-E: The best Pixar film since The Incredibles, paired with an equally-entertaining Pixar short. Just sheer perfection, with some nice nods to 2001: A Space Odyssey. And without much dialogue, Wall-E and EVE are the best on-screen couple thus far this year... way better than Stanton's previous Finding Nemo.


The first 10-15 minutes almost lost me because it is (of necessity) not pretty to look at, and the near-absence of dialogue became rather...suffocating, for some reason. But I settled in and was mostly captivated. I'd give it a B+.
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Re: The Incredible Happening WATCHING Thread!

Postby B5Erik » Sun Jun 29, 2008 6:54 am

Day of the Outlaw - Who would have thought that Burl Ives could make for such a hard nosed villain? Robert Ryan gives yet another really good performance in this top notch snow bound Western.

Foxy Brown - Obviously made VERY quickly and very cheaply, but the movie has a decent plot line, some familiar faces... and Pam Grier when she was just smokin' hot! (Then again, she was still pretty damned hot in the 90's in Mars Attacks and Jackie Brown!) It's VERY dated (and not for those who are easily offended - although I don't think there's anyone here that would apply to), but that's part of it's charm (although the gratuitous throwing around of the word, "Nigger," became a little disturbing after a while). The DVD's got an interesting commentary track by the director, and also includes the trailer.

Navajo Joe - Trying to recapture lightning in a bottle, Sergio Corbucci and Ermanno Donati bring in Burt Reynolds from an American TV Western to try to recreate the magic of A Fistful of Dollars. Like Eastwood, Reynolds was a bit stiff in his early years, but where Eastwood was pretty much over that by the time he made Fistful, Reynolds is still a bit wooden in Navajo Joe. He IS very athletic in the part, and gets to do a lot of his own stunts (along with a lot of running and jumping). His time as a football player clearly gave him an authenticity to doing all that physical stuff here. The big problem with the movie, unfortunately, is the script. A large percentage of Spaghetti Westerns had quickly written, and quite poor, scripts. This is one of the better poor scripts, if that makes sense. On a regular grading scale I'd give the script a D+, but on the Spaghetti Western scale (graded on a curve), I'd give it a C+. Corbucci did a nice job visually with the movie, but the actors are all fairly stiff, Reynolds being one of the worst offenders. The movie is carried by the action sequences (and there are a lot of them), so it is a little above average overall for a Spaghetti Western.

The Adams Chronicles - I'm now 5 episodes in, and it's still really, really good. I'd say that the 2nd through 4th episodes are the best so far, but they've all been impressive. George Grizzard is outstanding as John Adams. I'd like to see the HBO miniseries with Paul Giamatti, but I'd be willing to bet that Grizzard's take was stronger (and probably more historically accurate, as this series was based on a lot of historical sources - including the hundreds of surviving letters between John and Abigail Adams). For a low budget PBS produced mini series this series is really impressive. (Actually, it's impressive regardless of budget.)
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Re: The Incredible Happening WATCHING Thread!

Postby J.M. Vargas » Sun Jun 29, 2008 12:31 pm

In chronological (not viewing) order:

The Devil's Rain (1970) on IFC. You know you're in for a good time when your late 70's Hollywood Satanic flick (one of many trying to hop on the "Rosemary's Baby" critical/money bandwagon) lists Anton Szandor, High Priest of the Church of Satan, as a technical advisor right after the actors' credits (he and Mrs. Szandor also have on-camera bit parts). Ernest Borgnine seems to be having a ball playing Corbis, leader of a satanic cult of Arizona devil worshipers trying to get their hands of a book needed to complete their pact with the horned one. That book's been kept hidden from Corbis for generations by a family of runaway former devil worshipers, but its up to brothers Mark (William Shatner) and Tom (a young Tom Skerritt) to put an end to this centuries-long curse once and for all. Its a shirtless Kirk versus the Borg...nine (sorry, couldn't help myself :mrgreen: ) plus the conviniently-equipped-with-ESP-to-reveal-backstory wife of Tom's (Joan Prather), a colleague specializing in the occult (Eddie Albert) and a no-good local sheriff (Keenan Wynn) along for the ride. Throw in blink-and-you-miss-him John Travolta in his first movie and some dated special effects (including a prosthetic that makes Borgnine look like an evil goat!) and you've got a hell of an entertaining train wreck, right down to the cheating but pretty effective final scene (I jumped out of my seat!). I wish I had a portable soul carrier (i.e. small TV inside a round glass contraption) like the one the satanic cult members had when I was growing up! :)

Shivers (1975) on Showtime Beyond. When (a) a 'bizarre sexual' parasite (b) is passed around an apartment building by (c) a 19-year old slutty girl that (d) happens to be the guinea pig of (e) the snapped scientist that created the slug-like artificial vereneal disease... guess what? All hell breaks loose! As the slugs take over their victims they become sexually violent zombies, regardless of age (children, older people, etc.) or gender, with Dr. Roger St. Luc (Paul Hampton channeling Steve Railsback) trying to survive the night. The first and only time I saw "Shivers" before last night was at a David Cronenberg retrospective five years ago, where they accidentally switched reels toward the end of the movie with an earlier one that had been skipped without most people noticing. It's a testament to how entertainingly schlocky "Shivers" is that watching it in order or not doesn't affect one's reaction to it. The acting is pretty bad (although I'm fond of Joe Silver's Dr. Linskey), the slug effects crude and the lighting as flat and uninteresting as the dated 70's fashions/designs on display. Even with Cronenberg still learning how to use film language to articulate his interest with changing bodies and sex (Lynn Lowry's nurse Forsythe literally spells this out in a rather clumsy scene with Roger) the man sure knows how to shock with such unforgettable sights as the 'puppy kids' and the 'pool orgy.' The Romero-like apocalyptic finale is thoroughly earned despite the awful portrayal of two gay men as interchangeable with the sexually hungry zombies while Roger is running away. That offended me more than the kids or the elder people going down on their victims, go figure.

Dario Argento's The Stendahl Syndrome (1996) on Blue Underground DVD for the first time. Even though I could see the twist ending coming ten miles away and the conclusion felt sudden and unsatisfying I thoroughly enjoyed this Argento mixture of giallo, whodunit and psychological thriller. Asia Argento isn't as good here as she is in "Mother of Tears" (proof that she matured from the potential she showed 11 years prior) but her detective character Anna Manni does a competent job as both the hunted law enforcement hunter and troubled survivor of the brutal crime spree of suave psychopath Alfredo Grossi (an imposing Thomas Krestschman). Argento dials down the crazy camera angles and over-the-top brutality his best work is known for (though a few flights-of-fancy CG shots of bullets flying, paintings melting and girl-on-fish action are thrown in for good measure) and ups the psychological brutality. A handful of rape scenes have a way of being more perverse and punishing on the audience than "Suspiria's" supernatural witch pap. Argento exploits his experimental tale rather well until the 2nd half of the movie collapses under the too-obvious explanation for Anna's behavior. Great Ennio Morricone score though (which mirrors "Rosemary's Baby") and vastly superior to Dario's output in the 90's and Y2K decade until he regained his footing with "Mother of Tears."

Mystery Science Theater 3000: Space Mutiny (1997) on Rhino DVD. I've never sat down to make a list of favorite "MST3K" episodes because I haven't seen them all. Of the one's I've seen though "Space Mutiny" definitely ranks high up in both hilarity and replayability. The host segments are a little weak (dealing with the midpoint of Season 7's misguided attempt at an ongoing plot dealing with travel across time and space... lalala!) but the movie itself, a no-budget mid-80's space action flick with footage from the old "Battlestar Galactica" TV show masquarading as special effects, is an unending display of acting and storytelling hilarity. Characters die and then appear alive and well in the next scene. Our hero (Reb Brown) cannot act and sounds like a girl when his voice breaks out as he yells orders; bad guy Kalgan ("Diabolik" and "Barbarella" star John Philip Law) overacts and mugs the camera as if its an old lady with money sticking out her purse. The rest of the cast (including the hero's love interest Lea, who looks twice Reb's age) don't fare any better, with the forgettable plot about a rebellion inside the giant space ship (which looks like any abandoned factory in a "Robocop" movie or "Stargate" TV episode) not standing a chance against the buffet of cheese on parade begging the audience to dig in with their crack(er)s. The dozens of nicknames Mike and the bots give beefy hero Dave Ryder (Gristle McThornBody, Touch Rustrod, Big McLargeHuge, etc.) are my particular favorites, but this is that rare "MST3K" episode where every riff hits a bullseye on first, second, third, fifth and 55th viewing. Where else can you see "Debie Reynolds, Sting and God" on the same frame? :mrgreen:
Image

Smokin' Aces (2006) on HD-DVD. The more I watch this trashy movie the more I like it, especially with the disconnected-from-reality commentary tracks in which writer/director Joe Carnahan and his pals (in various states of either intoxication or unexplained euphoria) try to sell the listening audience on what a deep thinking-man's action his fast-food junk flick is. This is the reason why commentary tracks shouldn't be recorded until after a movie has been theatrically released. :?

And, last and certainly least, Darren Aronofsky's The Fountain (2006) on HD-DVD for the first time. I'll be the first to admit that this movie needs a couple of viewings in the right state of mind to truly appreciate what Aronofsky is trying to sell. Which is why I saw it last night when I felt in the right mood to see it even though I've owned the disc for over five months, yet I'm still unsure of whether I even liked what I just saw. This is how people must have felt back in 1968 after seeing Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey" for the very first time: in the presence of a flick that's either a masterpiece you can't yet appreciate or a piece of pretentious junk you feel compelled to like because others you respect say its great. The bonus features lean toward the technical aspects of how the film was made (special effects, set designs, lighting, shooting, etc.) so watching them didn't help me understand the movie any better except for the note that all the sets were designed so Hugh Jackman's characters would always be walking forward toward a light (I missed that entirely). File this as an incomplete opinion since I have to see "The Fountain" again to give it a fair shot, but on first impression Darren's movie came across to me as one supremely pretentious attempt to tell a simple story ("Love Story") as complicated and obtusely as humanly possible. I'd be more receptive of the 'bubble in space' parts of "The Fountain" if they were meant to represent a celestial ascension to Mayan heaven and not 'the future.' Great special effects though (with little-to-no CGI, thank you very much) plus Jackman and Rachel Weisz deserve props for throwing themselves into their roles. Neat ending credits too (love the letters fading in and out while a galaxy of stars gradally fades in the background).
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Re: The Incredible Happening WATCHING Thread!

Postby Gabriel Girard » Sun Jun 29, 2008 1:03 pm

J.M. Vargas wrote: The Fountain:I'd be more receptive of the 'bubble in space' parts of "The Fountain" if they were meant to represent a celestial ascension to Mayan heaven and not 'the future.

I admit having seen the movie only once but to me the ''bubble'' in space is definitely a metaphysical construct; an edenic purgatory into which Jackman is stuck until he can liberate his karma. This is vaguely buddhist interpretation based on the fact that we see him in the lotus position near the ending. This would also suggest that the book Weisz is writing is based on a previous life. Of course this isn't the only explanation and it might not even be my definitive view. I must say that I fell in love with the movie on first viewing because of its symbolic laden narrative and its photographic beauty - I'm nowhere near ambivalent about my love for it.

I rewatched Sweeney Todd : The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street : Still freaking awesome.

I watched about half of Ride With The Devil before I decided I didn't really care about the characters. The movie had some interesting themes, was beautifully shot and had decent acting but the characters are cyphers and their dialogue is too flowery for people who aren't supposed to be awfully literate.
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Re: The Incredible Happening WATCHING Thread!

Postby J.M. Vargas » Sun Jun 29, 2008 1:14 pm

^^^ I never read reviews here on the Verdict of movies I just watched for the first time when I write about them on the 'Watching' thread. As soon as I post my opinions I go read the reviews, and Judges Ryan Keefer Bill Gibron's opinions about "The Fountain" make valid points in their raves about the movie being a masterpiece. I just don't see it though, and have to rewatch "The Fountain" a couple of times to truly get it (or not). The judges' opinion that you'll get from the movie what you bring to it struck a chord with me since I'm Atheist and don't believe in any religious 'life after death' myths (and yet I have no trouble with the ending of "2001"). Maybe I should pretend there's a heaven (any heaven: Christian, Mayan, Mormon, etc.) or an afterlife while I watch "The Fountain" so that anything dealing with the 'bubble in space' portions of the movie (the one's I had the most trouble wrapping my head around) becomes at the very least possible within the movie's universe. It worked for "What Dreams May Come" (which I like). :)
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Re: The Incredible Happening WATCHING Thread!

Postby Bryan Pope » Sun Jun 29, 2008 2:10 pm

Finished seasons 3 and 4 of The Shield, and am two episodes into season 5. Forrest Whittaker kicks ass, just like the rest of the show.

Also watching Moonlighting S3. After two really good seasons, why did it suddenly forget it was a detective series?
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Re: The Incredible Happening WATCHING Thread!

Postby J.M. Vargas » Sun Jun 29, 2008 2:39 pm

Bryan Pope wrote:Also watching Moonlighting S3. After two really good seasons, why did it suddenly forget it was a detective series?


In my mind 'Dave and Maddie Did It' is better than 'Jump the Shark' in describing the pure essence of a TV show going into the suck tank.

The writer's strike of '88 and the constant delay for scripts (which were harder to write given how much dialogue the two leads had to memorize/film) kept pushing production schedules, which resulted in lots of repeats and new episodes airing later-than-advertised while the overworked actors and under-pressure network suits and producers were at each other's throats. Show creator Glenn Gordon Caron being fired didn't help things creatively. Basically a variety of elements conspired to make "Moonlighting" a production nightmare in which the toll of the off-screen troubles did show up on-screen, particularly in the last two seasons.
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Re: The Incredible Happening WATCHING Thread!

Postby Dunnyman » Sun Jun 29, 2008 6:29 pm

OK, I really enjoyed the movie Get Smart, but my meandering around cyberspace brought me Bruce & Lloyd: Out of Control, with the two techno nerds from the movie in starring roles as they try to recover some lost technology. In a word; genius. I imagine they simply had too much footage and had to make some cuts in Get Smart, and instead of leaving those interesting bits with these two on the cutting room floor, they realized they could assemble a short film out of it with a few additions. So we get some long exposition shots of buildings, some cut footage, and some new stuff to make a very funny, if a bit silly movie out of it. We even get an uncredited Anne Hathaway cameo! I hope Lloyd and Bruce get more to do in the inevitable sequel for Get Smart, but I hope they put a little extra effort into giving them both another starring role, 'cause this was fun!
Then, I popped in Frasier-Season Three, amazing how they'd already gotten this show purring like a finely tuned Mercedes in such a short time. Every episode hilarious, with razor sharp jokes, superb acting (David Hyde Pierce really starts showing his stuff here), some terrific guest stars, and amazing chemistry for all. I remember when they announced that the Cheers spin-off would feature Frasier and I seriously thought it wouldn't survive a season. What could they possibly do with a psychiatrist that hadn't been done better with Bob Newhart? 11 seasons worth, that's what.....
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