(NOT) THE (...Horror, The Horror...) OCTOBER WATCHING THREAD

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(NOT) THE (...Horror, The Horror...) OCTOBER WATCHING THREAD

Postby J.M. Vargas » Thu Sep 30, 2010 8:12 pm

Since Joyce has a 'Halloween Horror Watching' thread going feel free to post here any non-horror (or cross-post your horror viewing) in this thread.

Rewatched Alfred Hitchcock's YOUNG AND INNOCENT (1937) on DVD with the Stephen Rebello/Bill Krohn commentary track on. This one turned out a lot funnier on repeat viewing than the first time (when seeing the plot unfold and Hitch's set-pieces took my complete attention), plus Pilbeam and De Marney make an impossibly cute couple. Can't believe (per the commentators) that the birthday scene was removed from the original American release, that's one of the hihglights of the movie! :o

Rewatched Powell & Pressburger's THE SMALL BACK ROOM (1949) on Criterion DVD with the Charles Barr commentary track on. I totally overlooked on my first viewing that Renée Asherson (a) is one of the few other women in the picture besides Kathleen Byron, (b) her emotional tears when reading Capt. Stuart's (Michael Gough) notes indicates they had a relationship, and that (c) this couple mirrored the complicated work-love arrangements of Sammy and Susan. David Farrar's acting also felt a lot more commanding and his wit more cutting on this repeat viewing. Great little B&W flick.

Rewatched Kenji Mizoguchi's SANSHO THE BAILIFF (1954) on Criterion DVD with the Jeffrey Angles commentary track on. This movie has one of the most powerful, uplifting and heart-breaking movie endings I've ever seen, one in which the sight of a guy arranging seaweed on the beach (unaware or not caring about the scene taking place a few feet away) along with a view of land (beach, tree), air (the sky) and water (the sea) come together to give the whole enterprise a seal-of-masterpiece-approval exclamation point. "Ugetsu" is awesome but "Sansho the Bailiff" rulz!

MST3K KTMA-12: FUGITIVE ALIEN (1987/1989) on DVD for the first time. Fully aware there’s an even better-riffed version out there (the Season 3 Comedy Central version regarded by many MisTies as an all-time classic) I found myself enjoying this low-wattage "Fugitive Alien" KTMA version on its own merits. Joel and Josh/Servo (Trace/Crow is MIA but we're thankfully spared the 'freezing' stock footage :D) are practically running over each other in their zeal to talk back at the movie, and it works. The ‘gravel pit’ jokes had me laughing and even the riffs that land with thuds (the whole ‘___ing’ exchange) have the charm of them trying to not let the absence of Trace/Crow slow them down. "Fugitive Alien" is goofy (content and dubbing) and fast-paced but, because its a “Star Wars/Star Trek” wannabe (Joe is supposed to be a Japanese Capt. Kirk, right?), it feels less ridiculous and childish than Sandy Frank’s man-in-rubber-suit imports. I mean, this sucker moves lightning-fast! And, though dated and obvious (the use of mirrors/split-screen to make it seem there were more space ships), the TV SFX of the space scenes had me grinning from ear to ear. I grew up in a third-world country where they showed American, Japanese and European shows. “Fugitive Alien” took me back to what it was like to see Japanese men in space talking a foreign language (Spanish in my case) and you being young and naive-enough to buy it. Capt. Joe even looks like the father of Ken/Mark in the old “Gatchaman/Battle of the Planets” cartoon, an inside-baseball observation that the Brains from the KTMA era weren't ready to make or delve into... yet!

MST3K KTMA-13: SST DEATH FLIGHT (1977/1989) on DVD for the first time. A made-for-TV ripoff of Arthur Hailey’s “Airport”/Irwin Allen’s disaster-movie formulas (minus the latter's production values) I couldn't help but join Joel and the Bots in marveling at the number of recognizable faces in this flick. From Bert Convy, Regis Philbin, Tina Louise and Billy Crystal (already practicing the gay schtick for his "Soap" role) to a pre-"Airplane!" Peter Graves, Robert Reed, Lorne Green, Burgess Meredith and many other 'hey, it's that guy/gal from that TV show' faces, they're all here. And, fitting the perception of KTMA being the tryout era of the show’s simpler ideas, there’s a child-like innocence from Joel, Josh and Trace acting overwhelmed at the amount of celebrities in “SST Death Flight” that would have felt beneath the Brain’s seen-it-all attitude from the show’s national run. The movie is as fun to rip apart as the "Airport" movies and, in-between the pointing out of recognizable faces (which gets old toward the end), J&TB's score a few hilarious riffs ('Fantasy Island' guest stars line here, 'Love Boat' guest stars line-up over there'). The moralistic plot toward the end about whether to go to the London airport or an African one reminded me of the boat scenes in “The Dark Knight” with the passengers and the prisoners holding each other’s lives in their hand (except, you know, it’s more believable in the ’77 movie than on the 2008 one! ;-)). My favorite KTMA episode to date, one I wish the "Cinematic Titanic" crew would tackle again with the 20+ years of riffing experience they've accumulated since elevating the experience to new comedic heights.

MST3K KTMA-14: MIGHTY JACK (1968-87/1989) on DVD for the first time. Haven’t seen the Season 3 version yet but, even with a longer version of the ‘movie’ in this KTMA version (i.e. two episodes from a Japanese TV series), this thing doesn’t make a lick of sense. I’ve seen “Rocket Robin Hood” cartoons with plots more believable and coherent than “Mighty Jack.” This is a case where the Sandy Frank crew’s editing/dubbing have truly made sour lemons of what seems to be a decent “Gatchaman”-type live-action adventure show. But does it make sense to make a submarine (for which the same stock footage shots over and over again) the star of your show? It’s weird that the “movie” constantly flirts between sci-fi fantasy and James Bond-type spy action without settling on either. The ‘Q’ villains were neither threatening nor amusing to watch, just stock baddies that the American actors made sound even more ridiculous than they already were. Except for a handful of hilarious ‘German son of Japanese ancestry’ riffs and scattershot jokes (‘Really Hot Flashes’) this thing's a dud. Between that meta riffs (jokes about Frank Conniff, plugs for the newsletter, a host segment recycled almost verbatum for Season One's "The Crawling Eye," etc.) this is one of the most ‘inside baseball’ fourth-wall breaking “MST3K” episodes I’ve ever seen. Shame that, humor wise, KTMA "Mighty Jack" comes up snake eyes.

MST3K: MANOS THE HANDS OF FATE (1966/1993) on DVD. Like with "Eegah!" a few weeks back, seeing too many KTMA-era "MST3K" (i.e. amateur hour with emotional baggage for MisTie diehards) just made me want to experience the masters of bad movie riffing at the peak of their game. Having seen this one too many times (my most watched "MST3K" episode by far) "Manos" and the equally-hilarious "Hired! Part II" short have ceased to be funny for me as an MST3K TV episode/short. It's now more of a 92 min. exercise in constant bemusement at the sight of an ineptly-done movie's DNA completely melding with those of the TV show that both points accusatory fingers at its badness ('every frame of this movie looks like someone's last-known photograph') while winking appreciatively at it for personifying the very essence of what the show's very existence is all about (Torgo and his 'haunting' theme song, the gifts that keep on giving). Like Lucy with the candy line, K.I.T.T.'s battles with nemesis K.A.R.R. and the never-seen-again Russian from "The Sopranos," "Manos: The Hands of Fate" is that rare episode with truckloads of scenes/lines/characters (like Forrester and TV's Frank apologizing to J&TB's for how awful the movie is) that take permanent residence in one's brain as a TV show's defining moment. Look for a future episode of Elvira's new weekend late night show to bring "Manos" back to national prominence. :shock:

Rewatched John Woo's HARD BOILED (1992) on Criterion DVD with the group commentary track on. I had no idea that the movie's writer (Barry Wong) passed away during production, and that Woo practically improvised the movie's entire third act on the fly. Considering we're talking about an almost hour-long hospital topper scene that topped an earlier topper (the warehouse gunfight) that had already topped a previous topper (the tea room shootout) this is pretty effin' amazing, and further proof that (a) Woo's da man but (b) nothing he's done since will ever be able to live up to his Hong Kong action period.

Rewatched Bryan Singer's THE USUAL SUSPECTS (1995) on DVD with the John Ottman commentary track on. Since I love the editing rhythms of this twisted movie and its dreamy soundtrack is on my MP3 player it was fun to listen to the guy that did both of them share his (and Singer's) war stories. The flick itself remains that rare treat that doesn't get old and can still entertain me even though I know everything that's coming.

The Wachowski Brothers' SPEED RACER (2008) on Blu-ray for the first time. I don't recall ever watching a 2-hour plus movie with my mouth just wide open and hanging the entire time, but that's how I caught myself when I spun this psychodelic display of high-definition VFX wizardry and anti-capitalist children's empowerment tale on my 1080p LCD (Blu-ray is the only way to go with this one). The winks and nods to videogame culture ('ghost racing,' the Racer's neighborhood looking like a "Sims" polygon world, etc.) and manga enthusiasts (Racer X looking like Capcom's Strider character during the ninja assault, the "Street Fighter"-like battle midway through the second race, etc.) are as knowing as the racing segments barely-restrained displays of kinetic CGI excess. Even quiet scenes with forced conversations between the deliberately two-dimensional characters left me amazed that I was watching the likes of Matthew Fox, John Goodman (who looks like a live-action Mario from the Nintendo games), Emile Hirsch and Susan Sarandon getting away with breathing personality into cardboard ciphers from a decades-old cartoon show nobody remembers as fondly as these filmmakers with $120 million of Warner's money to play around with. Other than too much Chimp Chimp and Spritle (a little bit of these two could have gone a long way but, ironically, their constant presence ties well with the movie's many other unrestrained excesses) I really think the Wachowski's succeeded better with "Speed Racer" at achieving a succesful execution of their vision than the uneven "Matrix" trilogy. The opening minutes distill an awful lot of exposition backstory without a hint it's doing that in a visually-stimulating display of wipes, fades and slides (both past and present) that is one of the most amazing openings I've ever seen. "Speed Racer" isn't for everybody (plus you really need to see it in HD to be sucked into its visual vortex) but this non-fan of the old show loved almost every minute of it and can't wait to go back.
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Re: (NOT) THE (...Horror, The Horror...) OCTOBER WATCHING THREAD

Postby Dunnyman » Thu Sep 30, 2010 8:24 pm

J.M. Vargas wrote:The Wachowski Brothers' SPEED RACER (2008) on Blu-ray for the first time. I don't recall ever watching a 2-hour plus movie with my mouth just wide open and hanging the entire time, but that's how I caught myself when I spun this psychodelic display of high-definition VFX wizardry and anti-capitalist children's empowerment tale on my 1080p LCD (Blu-ray is the only way to go with this one). The winks and nods to videogame culture ('ghost racing,' the Racer's neighborhood looking like a "Sims" polygon world, etc.) and manga enthusiasts (Racer X looking like Capcom's Strider character during the ninja assault, the "Street Fighter"-like battle midway through the second race, etc.) are as knowing as the racing segments barely-restrained displays of kinetic CGI excess. Even quiet scenes with forced conversations between the deliberately two-dimensional characters left me amazed that I was watching the likes of Matthew Fox, John Goodman (who looks like a live-action Mario from the Nintendo games), Emile Hirsch and Susan Sarandon getting away with breathing personality into cardboard ciphers from a decades-old cartoon show nobody remembers as fondly as these filmmakers with $120 million of Warner's money to play around with. Other than too much Chimp Chimp and Spritle (a little bit of these two could have gone a long way but, ironically, their constant presence ties well with the movie's many other unrestrained excesses) I really think the Wachowski's succeeded better with "Speed Racer" at achieving a succesful execution of their vision than the uneven "Matrix" trilogy. The opening minutes distill an awful lot of exposition backstory without a hint it's doing that in a visually-stimulating display of wipes, fades and slides (both past and present) that is one of the most amazing openings I've ever seen. "Speed Racer" isn't for everybody (plus you really need to see it in HD to be sucked into its visual vortex) but this non-fan of the old show loved almost every minute of it and can't wait to go back.

"What are you doing?"
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"But it's in German."
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Tremendously underrated. Pointing out John Goodman looking like Mario is pretty funny, when the first time I ever played Super Mario Brothers, my brother pointed out that he looked like Pops from Speed Racer. If you were a fan of the show, they freaking nailed it. Too bad we'll never see the sequel, Speed Racer & The Great Pineapple Race.
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Re: (NOT) THE (...Horror, The Horror...) OCTOBER WATCHING THREAD

Postby hoytereden » Fri Oct 01, 2010 11:37 am

I have two Blu-ray discs that I use for demos in the store:
Video-Speed Racer
Audio-War of the Worlds
"You can lead a horse to water but a pencil must be lead"-Stan Laurel
Moe-"Were you scared?" Larry-"No, just apprehensive." Moe-"Apprehensive, that's a pretty big word.What's it mean?" Larry-"That's scared with a college education!"
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Re: (NOT) THE (...Horror, The Horror...) OCTOBER WATCHING THREAD

Postby molly1216 » Fri Oct 01, 2010 1:59 pm

i made it 10 minutes into G I JOE Rise of Cobra and then my brain started to bleed.
i made it about 20 minutes into The Joneses and I just didn't care anymore.
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Re: (NOT) THE (...Horror, The Horror...) OCTOBER WATCHING THREAD

Postby mavrach » Fri Oct 01, 2010 2:56 pm

I swear it's a coincidence that Mark Strong is in all of these:


Sherlock Holmes - Good but I think it loses a lot by trying to be an in-your-face summer blockbluster. When you have a movie about an incredibly intelligent person, they try to cater it to ADD teenagers, something gets lost. It's trying to capture the Iron Man crowd instead of the literary crowd. The mystery wasn't anything you could try to solve with Holmes, you just watched him go through his motions.It did do a good job of portraying Holmes as a great thinker, and I thought it was interesting how they showed him thinking his way through fights beforehand.

Kick Ass - This movie has taken some heat around these parts, but I just love this movie. It doesn't consistently deliver on it's promise to satirize comics, but I like where it goes. The blood and swearing are a reassurrance that not every action movie out there needs to be turned into a toned down PG-13 wholesome clean fun for the whole family. I mentioned last month how action movies don't do much for me anymore and I usually start zoning out after a short while. But this movies fight sequences and soundtrack are everything I want in a popcorn movie. And any movie that makes me want to be a 12-year old girl certianly has something special going for it.

Sunshine - [SOME SPOILERS] - Kick Ass's borrowing from Sunshine's score got me in the mood for it. I love Danny Boyle's dark style, and it's so perfect that he did a horror movie with 28 Days Later and now a sci-fi movie here. Sunshine can get a little dreary at times, and the original captain's return feels tacked to in order to try to give the movie a villain. But I love that the entire crew knows that they're going to die for their mission and they're no hope for survival. But the movie is still incredibly hopeful because they're unified that they're serving a greater purpose. Even doing something like choosing if and who to kill in order to preserve oxygen is done so well that you still empathize with the characters because there's something more important.
+1. this is very interesting.
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Re: (NOT) THE (...Horror, The Horror...) OCTOBER WATCHING THREAD

Postby Future Man » Fri Oct 01, 2010 8:22 pm

Forbidden Planet on Blu-ray
As excellent as it looks on the 52", I really, really wish I could see this on the big screen. About halfway through the movie really gripped me and like a tractor beam pulled me in (and that's about the only sci-fi innovation the movie seemingly didn't originate).
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Re: (NOT) THE (...Horror, The Horror...) OCTOBER WATCHING THREAD

Postby mavrach » Sat Oct 02, 2010 2:51 am

Enemy Mine for the first time in a long while. This movie has both incredible strengths and incredible weakness as far as special effects go. The alien animals look silly (that armadillo thing is clearly on wheels) and the human space station and ships looked tacked on. That all looks badly dated.

But on the other hand, Jerriga's makeup is just plain stunning. And I was floored by the effect of Zammis as a baby. I had to remind myself that it had to be a puppet because it really looked like they threw a baby in the makeup chair for 6 hours and put it onscreen.

Storywise, it's a bit predictable as an allegory for racism and war, which has been done to death. But Gossett and Quaid had great chemistry and that's the reason to watch this movie.
+1. this is very interesting.
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Re: (NOT) THE (...Horror, The Horror...) OCTOBER WATCHING THREAD

Postby BenShultz » Sun Oct 03, 2010 9:56 am

The Social Network: Tied with Zodiac as my favorite Fincher film. After one viewing I'm thinking this movie's pretty damn close to perfect, with one of the best screenplays in years, revelatory performances pretty much all around (I can't wait to see what's in store for Armie Hammer), and fascinatingly subdued direction by Fincher. This is NOT, I repeat, NOT, just the "Facebook movie" at all. The quicker that unfortunate branding goes away, the better.
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Re: (NOT) THE (...Horror, The Horror...) OCTOBER WATCHING THREAD

Postby BenShultz » Sun Oct 03, 2010 9:59 am

mavrach wrote:I swear it's a coincidence that Mark Strong is in all of these:


Sherlock Holmes

Kick Ass

Sunshine


And that he always plays the bad guy! Actually, that's probably not a coincidence. Dude is getting typecast fast.
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Re: (NOT) THE (...Horror, The Horror...) OCTOBER WATCHING THREAD

Postby molly1216 » Sun Oct 03, 2010 6:33 pm

BenShultz wrote:
mavrach wrote:I swear it's a coincidence that Mark Strong is in all of these:
Sherlock Holmes
Kick Ass
Sunshine

And that he always plays the bad guy! Actually, that's probably not a coincidence. Dude is getting typecast fast.

it's the english thing...
i got a kick out of how Guy Ritchie played up his snagletooth to make him more evil..if he wants to be taken as a hero character in the US he needs to have that fixed.
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Re: (NOT) THE (...Horror, The Horror...) OCTOBER WATCHING THREAD

Postby Future Man » Mon Oct 04, 2010 11:19 am

Nights of Cabiria
The title character is as real as a fictional character can get--by the time of those moving final moments you just want to hug her.
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Re: (NOT) THE (...Horror, The Horror...) OCTOBER WATCHING THREAD

Postby Dunnyman » Mon Oct 04, 2010 8:17 pm

Future Man wrote:Forbidden Planet on Blu-ray
As excellent as it looks on the 52", I really, really wish I could see this on the big screen. About halfway through the movie Anne Francis' hotness really gripped me and like a tractor beam pulled me in (and that's about the only sci-fi innovation the movie seemingly didn't originate).

Fixed.
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Re: (NOT) THE (...Horror, The Horror...) OCTOBER WATCHING THREAD

Postby J.M. Vargas » Thu Oct 07, 2010 9:16 pm

Howard Hawks' RIO BRAVO (1959) on HD-DVD for the first time. My first Hawks' movie (not counting the unofficial remakes that were many of John Carpenter's movies) and it was a blast. Walter Brennan steals every scene in which Stumpy says or does anything (which is often) and he's the only reason I'm dying to see Hawks' "Red River." John Wayne transitions into 'older' John Wayne mode with grace and movie-star charisma (Wayne's always been wooden but he always commands the screen), Dean Martin makes for a believable-in-Western-flicks struggling drunk (research?) and Angie Dickinson is a firecracker beaut that catches Sheriff Chance's eye (loved when Wayne just lifts Angie and carries her up the stairs, "Gone With The Wind" style). Claude Akins and John Russell make for hiss-worthy but not cartoony villains. What surprised me most is that, even with Ricky freaking Nelson as the skilled new young gun and a scene in which our gang of heroes sings (except Wayne, thank Goodness, although Brennan belting a tune seems like a gag), "Rio Bravo" doesn't feel like a studio movie taking advantage of two popular singers in the cast to score a few easy song hits. At every turn you can feel Hawks in complete control of his movie as Peckinpah was of his own brand of 'tough man' cinema. Great introduction to a filmmaker's potentially interesting body of work.

Ray Dennis Steckler's WILD GUITAR (1962) on TCM-HD for the first time. Bud Eagle (Arch Hall, Jr.) comes to Hollywood with dreams of becoming a singing star, gets discovered on a local TV talent show (aren't they all? ;-)), falls in love with girl-next-door Vickie (Nancy Czar) and immediately falls prey to a record producer (Arch Hall, Sr.) and his scumbag henchman (Cash Flagg AKA director RDS) that have every intention of squeezing Bud dry (!). Did I mention there's a gang of no-good goons looking to score some easy money by kidnapping Bud and asking his manager for ransom? As the "MST3K" gang would often say (and no, I have no idea how they didn't get around to roasting this turkey during their 10-year run), the awkward combination of Arch Hall, Sr. producing a movie starring his son ("Eegah!") and R.D. Steckler directing ("The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies!!?") sets "Wild Guitar" for a collision course with wackiness that doesn't disappoint. Even though the Halls reigned-in Stckler's propensity for delving into quirky weirdness there's still enough of his signature obsessions (beyond-horrible acting from the kidnapping goons, the uncomfortable leggy/dance stripteases, the weird beach credits with the bike, etc.) and odd on-camera mannerisms (Steckler looks like a demented alternate universe version of Pee-Wee Herman) to make Papa Hall's attempt to turn his son into a wholesome star (complete with a semi-redemptive magnanomous ending) an unintentionally-hilarious debacle. Bring your own sense of humor ("Wild Guitar" doesn't have one) and you'll be golden.

Richard Donner's SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE (1978) and Richard Lester's SUPERMAN II (1980) on DVD. It's been more than 15 years since I've seen the theatrical cuts of the Salkinds' first two "Superman" flicks back-to-back (the Donner cuts of both flicks I've owned and seen often since their mid-2000's releases). Color me surprised but, despite the well-chronicled production turmoil and Lester's slapstick tendencies (particularly in the big Metropolis battle scenes of "Superman II"), both movies flow pretty well as far as comic book adaptations are concerned. Only the inconsistency of "Superman II's" photography (lots of Geoffrey Unsworth-shot scenes mixed with Robert Paynter one's) and Gene Hackman body/voice doubles reveals signs of production disruption. The additional/changed scenes from Donner's preferred cuts are noticeable but they're not deal-breakers to enjoying the theatrical versions as leaner, meaner comic book action beasts. For my money Supes' memory-wiping kiss at the end of "Part II" is the highlight of both movies, easily Margot Kidder's best on-screen moments as Lois Lane in the series. Donner and his crew (especially Tom Makiewicz 'creative consulting' and Chris Reeves' complete embodiment of the lead character) laid such a solid foundation with the '78 movie that the second flick (a lot of it Donner's uncredited work) feels looser and freer to let the fantastic action overwhelm the audience. It still packs a punch of child-like enthusiasm to see filmmakers use real people, sets, miniatures and optical effects to bring Supes' adventures to life, although a few of the effects (like the 'moving' Metropolis sidewalk people when the Krypton villains blow kisses that make cars fly off) show their age. Terence Stamp, of course, steals the movie as the most kneeled-in-front-of General of a non-existent Army since the last time the Pope welcomed a group of visitors. ;-)

Afterwards I rewatched both movies with the Ilya Salkind/Pierre Spengler commentary tracks on. Since Donner and Mankiewicz have had plenty of chances to present their side of the "Superman" story in documentaries, interviews and commentary tracks (which boils down to the Salkinds being greedy producers that put money ahead of creativity by firing Donner between films) I was curious to hear the Salkinds' version of history. Spengler and Salkind, recorded separately, couldn't be more different. Pierre is calm, cool, collected, courteous (doesn't take a shot at Donner when he could have) and says very little while Ilya is all over the place, laughs at his own (bad) jokes and comes across as a Joel Silver wannabe. The truth is somewhere between the two extremes but, IMHO, the Donner-Mankiewicz commentaries sound like the recollections of people who had first-hand involvement working with actors and crafting scenes while the Salkind-Spengler one's feel like recollections of people looking from a distance at filmmakers trying to save their reputations. Ilya brings up Ned Beatty's portrayal of Otis as proof that Donner's "Superman" was as slapstick-prone as Lester's work in the sequel (a valid point) and insists that Mario Puzo's original treatment that kick-started the production was a lot more integral to the finished movies than Mankiewicz (who takes credit for basically re-writing most of both flicks from scratch before Donner got sacked) lets know. Most interesting 'fact' brought forth by Salkind: the movie had to be shot in the UK because Italy, the first chosen location (back when Terence Young was attached to direct), would have arrested Brando for his work with Bertolucci's "Last Tango in Paris."

MST3K KTMA-15: SUPERDOME (1989/1978) on DVD for the first time. Another made-for-TV 70′s disaster movie packed with recognizable faces (David Janssen), fairly mediocre riffing from Joel & the Bots ('Magnum Deep Fried') and memorable host segments poking fun at 'flashback' sitcom episodes. It’s no “SST Death Flight” (the Bert Convy magic is MIA baby!) but “Superdome” packs a sea of pretty faces (Tom Selleck, Donna Mills, Susan Howard, Dick Butkas :shock:, etc.) along with character actors (Michael Pataki, Van Johnson, M. Emmet Walsh, etc.) into a dull ‘whodunit’ sports thriller that (a) reveals its McGuffin (the identity of an assassin on the loose) too soon and (b) uses lots of New Orleans-location footage to hide the fact very little of interest is happening before the big game. Unlike Season 2's "The Hellcats" episode that also went heavy on flashbacks “Superdome” actually features original content within it's 'flashbacks' (‘evil Joel’ smoking a cigar and being mean to the bots had me rolling! :D) making this a rare KTMA-era experiment that could be compared favorably to one from the national run of the show. I actually was moved to almost-tears by the montage showing those primitive-by-our-removed-from-its-original-time-and-place images of a young Joel and barely-held-together puppets frolicking about the Satellite of Love having a good time. I’m a sucker for any well put-together montage that uses Armstrong’s ‘What a Wonderful World’ as musical backdrop. Remember the ending of “12 Monkeys”? :cry:

Joel calls "Superdome" ‘a football movie for the football illiterate.' Amen.

Lasse Hallström's HACHI: A DOG'S TALE on Hallmark Channel for the first time. A minor international hit that found no theatrical distribution in the US (hence its direct-to-video release earlier this year and stealth premiere on American TV last September), "Hachi: A Dog's Tale" is a predictable by-the-numbers Americanization of a real-life canine's unwavering loyalty to his master (Richard Gere in this adaptation) that feels like the most lavishly put-together 'Hallmark Movie' tribute to dog loyalty ever made. Like Susannah York in the aforementioned "Superman" movies though, Joan Allen is given little to do put play token housewife/mother and take a backseat to the Gere-dog relationship. A boatload of talented actors (Gere, Allen, Jason Alexander, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Erick Avari, etc.) play second fiddle to the trained Akita dogs that carry the movie but everybody seem to relish their handful of scenes with their four-legged co-stars. Except for a few harmless-but-lame tricks (the dog's POV B&W shots, a changing-of-the-seasons SFX shot) Hallström is smart to let the dogs and Jan Kaczmarek's piano score carry most of the emotion. The last 30 minutes of "Hachi: A Dog's Tale" will bring tears out of anyone that has ever loved a dog or has a heart (I know I was, and I am now as I type this) so animal lovers that suffered through "Marley & Me" beware!
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Re: (NOT) THE (...Horror, The Horror...) OCTOBER WATCHING THREAD

Postby Andrew Forbes » Fri Oct 08, 2010 7:17 am

J.M. Vargas wrote:What surprised me most is that, even with Ricky freaking Nelson as the skilled new young gun and a scene in which our gang of heroes sings (except Wayne, thank Goodness, although Brennan belting a tune seems like a gag), "Rio Bravo" doesn't feel like a studio movie taking advantage of two popular singers in the cast to score a few easy song hits.

The film has been criticized for doing just that, but I think it's one of the film's key scenes. Here are four men stuck in a tiny jail, trying to pass hours of tedium with the knowledge that they may not live to see many more days. The scene solidifies the bonds between the men, emphasizing Hawks' theme of professionalism and deepening our awareness of the humanity behind the badges. Wayne's expression conveys a paternal pride and an appreciation for moments of simple pleasure that raise the emotional stakes of the movie to even greater heights.
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Re: (NOT) THE (...Horror, The Horror...) OCTOBER WATCHING THREAD

Postby J.M. Vargas » Fri Oct 08, 2010 7:43 am

^^^ That's what I was saying (though not as well-written as you put it Andrew). Even though it could and SHOULD have come across as tacky to have Dean and Ricky singing a couple of songs (one of them sounding too contemporary for the time period) Hawks doesn't let it come across as pandering to the Bobby Sox crowd pinning for Nelson's good looks or to their parents' fandom of Dino. It feels like what it is: four men about to put their necks on the line bonding. I guess this is why Brennan singing along with Martin and Nelson (for both comedic effect but also to get Wayne to join the foursome in spirit at least) both feels like a gag but also a Hawks trick to soften the artificiality of the well-known singers belting out a tune in the middle of a standoff.
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Re: (NOT) THE (...Horror, The Horror...) OCTOBER WATCHING THREAD

Postby hoytereden » Fri Oct 08, 2010 6:27 pm

Sorry, but after all these years and upteen times trying to enjoy RB it still disappoints. Brennan acts like Hawks told him "Just do a parody of every old codger you ever played." It would be more appropriate in a Blazing Saddles type film. Angie Dickinson, great legs and all, can't act a lick and sleepy-eyed Nelson as a fast gun?
By all means do see Red River. One of my top 5 westerns and light years ahead of Bravo IMO.
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Re: (NOT) THE (...Horror, The Horror...) OCTOBER WATCHING THREAD

Postby tucco » Fri Oct 08, 2010 6:50 pm

By all means do see Red River. One of my top 5 westerns and light years ahead of Bravo IMO.-hoytereden

agreed....Red River is the stuff.
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Re: (NOT) THE (...Horror, The Horror...) OCTOBER WATCHING THREAD

Postby molly1216 » Sun Oct 10, 2010 2:50 pm

trolling around Netflix new arrivals I Found 1954's Mad About Men which is a sequel to 1948 Miranda which has still not surfaced. A charming UK film with Glynis Johns as a terribly flirtatious mermaid who likes to vacation on land in a wheelchair with the fabulous Margaret Rutherford as her nurse. Mad About Men has her swapping places with her lookalike cousin a la Patty Duke, to land her a better husband. Its racy for its time and very endearing. Too bad it is unavailable on dvd in any country cept Greece for some reason.

Invasion of the Star Creatures which i cannot in good conscience put in the Halloween viewing list...it's monsters are of the leotard papermache head variety. You may find this film on the worst films list.. however I don't agree...obviously the film IS a comedy..hence the R.I. Diculous presents title card and instead of starring a cast it is "committed by" and so forth. I think this is one of those films that could be improved easily by anyone with an editing bay...speed it up and add a kick ass Benny Hill type soundtrack. With the addition of these two things, this COULD have been 1962s version of Airplane!.

Invasion of the Bee Girls written by....wait for it...Nicholas Meyer. 1973....a little boobie fest...where homely horny men are sexed to death..unfortunately William Smith spends the entire film clothed. :( target audience for this film is obviously the teenage male who had never seen breasts and have to sit through this thing to get to the scene where a naked woman is slathered in latex and bees.
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Re: (NOT) THE (...Horror, The Horror...) OCTOBER WATCHING THREAD

Postby Future Man » Mon Oct 11, 2010 2:33 pm

I Know Where I'm Going!
This proto-romantic comedy from the 1940s sports creative visuals, especially early on, but overall is a bit overpraised. Suffers from the "What's There To Like About Her Anyway" syndrome. Plus, the small-boat-in-peril scene goes on way, way too long and seems more like filler after awhile. Does have a mildly stirring ending but it all could have been so much better with more a likeable leading character.
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Re: (NOT) THE (...Horror, The Horror...) OCTOBER WATCHING THREAD

Postby Gabriel Girard » Mon Oct 11, 2010 3:12 pm

Bill And Teds Excellent Adventure - Charming goofy fun. No wonder it''s become a cult classic.

Bill And Ted's Bogus Journey- And it's no wonder this one's been relegated to obscurity. It's too weird and too 80ish to really succeed, I really could have done without the ''Station'' character. Only worth seeing for the part where they challenge Death to a game of battleship. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3gFIDiBq0E
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Re: (NOT) THE (...Horror, The Horror...) OCTOBER WATCHING THREAD

Postby Gabriel Girard » Mon Oct 11, 2010 8:33 pm

The Hurt Locker - Definitely a major achievement for Bigelow and a great perfromance by Renner. I was impressed by how she created suspense with almost nothing. I still think that Inglourious Basterds was the best film of 2009 though. Did anyone else have a Full Metal Jacket flashback during that scene with the orange smoke about 30 mins before the end?
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Re: (NOT) THE (...Horror, The Horror...) OCTOBER WATCHING THREAD

Postby molly1216 » Mon Oct 11, 2010 8:36 pm

Gabriel Girard wrote:Bill And Teds Excellent Adventure - Charming goofy fun. No wonder it''s become a cult classic.

Bill And Ted's Bogus Journey- And it's no wonder this one's been relegated to obscurity. It's too weird and too 80ish to really succeed, I really could have done without the ''Station'' character. Only worth seeing for the part where they challenge Death to a game of battleship. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3gFIDiBq0E


i guess i am the only one who prefers Bogus Journey...but then i can't get enough of Sadler's Death.
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Re: (NOT) THE (...Horror, The Horror...) OCTOBER WATCHING THREAD

Postby Gabriel Girard » Mon Oct 11, 2010 8:44 pm

molly1216 wrote:
Gabriel Girard wrote:Bill And Teds Excellent Adventure - Charming goofy fun. No wonder it''s become a cult classic.

Bill And Ted's Bogus Journey- And it's no wonder this one's been relegated to obscurity. It's too weird and too 80ish to really succeed, I really could have done without the ''Station'' character. Only worth seeing for the part where they challenge Death to a game of battleship. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3gFIDiBq0E


i guess i am the only one who prefers Bogus Journey...but then i can't get enough of Sadler's Death.


He's definitely the best thing about the movie...
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Re: (NOT) THE (...Horror, The Horror...) OCTOBER WATCHING THREAD

Postby J.M. Vargas » Mon Oct 11, 2010 10:30 pm

Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack's KING KONG (1933) on DVD for the first time. Having grown with the 1976 remake as my childhood standard bearer and not really caring for Peter Jackson's 2005 remake (great popcorn flick though), I enjoyed how the original "King Kong" doesn't have the weight of an homage dragging it down (the main flaw in Jackson's meandering remake). It's just a lean, mean action/monster flick that feels like a serial done right starring a SFX ape that is a lot more savage (those poor natives!) and sexualized (Kong sniffing his fingers after touching Ann's bod made me go :shock: ) than I expected for '33. I was surprised that the original Ann Darrow (Fay Wray) didn't show any affection or seemed to have any feelings for Kong; I had assumed, based on the sequels, that there has always been a beauty-beast relationship between Kong and the object of his affection. Between Ann's 'f*** off' attitude toward Kong, the square-jawed heroics of Jack Driscoll (Bruce Cabot), the showbiz bravado of Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong, whose excellent performance Jack Black really screwed-up in the 2005 remake) and the SFX technicians bringing Kong and the other creatures from Skull Island to life this thing is a barrel of old-school fun. "Kong '76" remains my favorite (is the one I grew up with and has the coolest Kong scream ever) but now I understand why the '33 original is so beloved and far superior (if you truly love cinema) to the more technologically-advanced version. Bonus special features here I come. :)

Rewatched Howard Hawks' RIO BRAVO (1959) on DVD with the John Carpetner/Richard Schickel commentary track on. These two (recorded separately) speak so infrequently and sporadically I was mostly rewatching the movie than hearing many new insights about how it was made. Agree with Schickel's observation that, on hindsight, Walter Brennan plays the equivalent of a wife on a sitcom that is constantly put upon by everybody else in his immediate 'family.' Loved to rewatch the wordplay and chemistry between John Wayne and Angie Dickinson as the movie unfolds. And I screwed up in my previous post by saying "Rio Bravo" was my first Howard Hawks movie! "Bringing Up Baby" was the first movie of his I saw, but for some reason it never stuck in my brain as a Hawks movie.

Rewatched Joseph L. Mankiewicz' CLEOPATRA (1963) on DVD with the group commentary track on. Went to see my five-month old niece in Poughkeepsie, which is a two-hour train ride away from Gotham. Going one way I watched the first half (Disc 1) and coming back I watched the second half (Disc 2) on my laptop computer. Despite lots of 'dead' spots and repetition of the same known stories (particularly when Martin Landau is speaking) it was a delight to hear from the Mankiewicz brothers (Tom and Chris) as well as publicist Jack Brodsky about some first-hand eyewitness accounts about the behind-the-scenes shenanigans and goings on during the "Cleopatra" shoot. The flick itself remains a mixed-bag of awesome (Rex Harrison's and Roddy McDowall's performances, John DeCuir's stunning sets, etc.) and low-brow kisch (that unintentionally-hilarious-but-awe-inspiring entrance of Cleo into Rome) that is simultaneously Hollywood at its best and worst.

Richard Lester's SUPERMAN III (1983) on DVD. Without Dick Donner to kick around the Salkinds have no one to blame but themselves (and Lester) for this one. From the opening slapstick-loaded stunts around Metropolis involving mimes, toy penguins on fire and a man drowning in his own car (!) to a final duel with a super-computer that can manufacture Kryptonite (?!?!) you can tell the wheels have come off the previous two movie's (and Donner's) 'Verosimilitude' approach at the "Superman" saga. While Chris Reeves' performance as Supes is still awesome and the scene of Supes battling himself in the junkyard a highlight of the series (an island of comic book movie heaven in a sea of rank mediocrity) having Richard Pryor and Robert Vaughn as antagonists (or, in the inexplicable case of Pryor's character, co-star status with Reeves) is a poor substitute for either comic book villains or the star power of Hackman's Lex Luthor. Maybe I've grown soft at my old age (37) but this time I found the Smallville/Metropolis scenes with Lana Lang (Annette O'Toole) more touching and joyful to watch than I remembered then. Or maybe these bland scenes of Clark Kent/Supes reliving his repressed affections for Lana (a substitute for Margot Kidder being reduced to cameo status) feel like "Masterpiece Theater" contrasted with the shameless (and unfunny) on-camera mugging Pryor does in every single scene he's in. In fairness to Pryor though, the whole movie attempts to be funny and it (along with Richard) fails miserably at it.

After finishing "Superman III" I felt like torturing myself. So I rewatched the DVD with the Pierre Spengler (producer) and Ilya Salkind (executive producer, son of Alexander) commentary track on, and it was a surreal experience. Spengler remains a gentle voice of reason, but Ilya is borderline insufferable as he tries to cast "Superman III" as a misunderstood good superhero movie; 'it's funny', 'it made money' and 'it's just an episode' (within a series of films) are some of the golden nuggets that the Joel Silver-soundalike keeps hammering as proof the flick is any good. A handful of behind-the-scenes anecdotes will be interesting for fans of the series (like how Frank Langella would have been a better choice than Vaughn to play Webster) but putting up with Ilya's delusions about "Superman III" being better than what it is (a mediocre-at-best superhero movie that's not as good as its predecessors) is a tall order.

MST3K KTMA-16: CITY ON FIRE (1989/1979) on DVD for the first time. Having tried their hand at two made-for-TV disaster movies (the hilarious "SST Death Flight" and the underwhelming "Superdome") the yet-to-go-national Brains tackled a big-budget theatrical disaster movie that, while not as bad as others in the genre (it's better than "Earthquake!," "The Swarm" and "Beyond the Poseidon Adventure" IMHO), is still cheesy-enough to generate an insane momentum of its own. How a psychotic man (Jonathan Welsh) causes an entire city to blow-up by turning a few valves in a chemical factory is too ridiculous to describe, almost as silly as the fact Barry Newman ("Vanishing Point") is the movie's unlikely hero. Despite few memorable riffs (many of them lost to bad audio mixing that makes it impossible to hear Joel & the Bots over the sound of the movie, an early KTMA-era technical faux pas) the sight of Henry Fonda, Ava Gardner (as a washed-up alcoholic news anchor), Leslie Nielsen, Shelley Winters (reunited after kick-starting the disaster genre with "The Poseidon Adventure") and more fire than ten "Towering Inferno" movies put together is enough to make "City on Fire" a standout KTMA episode. Just don't expect the funny to come from J&TB's, but from the sight of Leslie literally hosing the crowd (with water that is).

Christopher Nolan's INCEPTION (2010) in theaters for the first time. While I couldn't help to admire the technical, visual and storytelling conviction with which Nolan unfolds his tale of 'mind thieves' (a premise that could have easily gone wrong if Nolan hadn't laid down ground rules that are easy-enough for an audience to follow) I was disappointed that the levels of the subconscious minds he chose to represent on-screen look like the mind of an XBox Live user playing an action shooter game in 'GOD' mode with unlimmited ammo. Seriously, a "Ghost Recon"-like snow-covered Russian bunker full of misfiring soldiers (where only Tom Hardy seems to be able to hit anything) as the place to store the most important memory? Even with the explanation that Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphy in yet another Nolan movie that forces him to wear a bag over his head :)) has a military background fueling the subconscious army of foes going after Cobb and his crew, the 'bad guys firing guns and missing the good guys' quota for "Inception" is off the charts. Wasn't crazy about Marion Cotillard's Mal character (the use of Édith Piaf's 'Non, je ne regrette rien' was cute though) and Ariadne (Ellen Page) seems to get the right answers too easily for a rookie. Minor issues aside this is an exceptional movie, and a rumored sequel-in-the-works would be even better if it were to focus on Joseph Gordon-Levitt's Arthur character. Nothing against Leo (he's predictably excellent as the reckless team leader with personal issues) but for my money Gordon-Levitt stole the movie with his impersonation of Keanu Reeves acting all serious. More Arthur in the sequel Nolan, make it happen. 8)
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Re: (NOT) THE (...Horror, The Horror...) OCTOBER WATCHING THREAD

Postby molly1216 » Tue Oct 12, 2010 7:39 am

J.M. Vargas wrote:Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack's KING KONG (1933) on DVD for the first time. .... "Kong '76" remains my favorite (is the one I grew up with and has the coolest Kong scream ever) but now I understand why the '33 original is so beloved and far superior (if you truly love cinema) to the more technologically-advanced version.

I take issue with your assumption that the later version is technologically superior. i find rick baker's kong and the fake head/hand...to be technologically inferior to the '33. The more i rewatch the '33. the more i think that is is probably the best technically made film prior to 1939.
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Re: (NOT) THE (...Horror, The Horror...) OCTOBER WATCHING THREAD

Postby Gabriel Girard » Wed Oct 13, 2010 7:21 am

Iron Man 2 - I have to go with the consensus here : The filmmaking, pacing and script are better this time around even if we gettoo many characters, the embarassing party scene and the unnecessary ''Tony Stark is dying'' arc. The actors are all winners with a special mention to Garry Shandling as the slimy senator. Now bringonnumber 3 and hire somebody to polish the screenplay. David Goyer going once...going twice... sold!
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Re: (NOT) THE (...Horror, The Horror...) OCTOBER WATCHING THREAD

Postby mavrach » Mon Oct 18, 2010 11:02 pm

Heat - This was only my third time ever seeing this, which I think is a shame. I feel like I should watch it a few times and start memorizing lines. This is such an incredible movie, and it's the proof you need that action sequences mean so much more when you take a little time to get to know each of the characters. The firefight in the middle of the movie would have been much dumber in a lesser movie. But the fact that you've seen the background on everybody involved, good or bad, makes it all more meaningful. Take a look at Dennis Haysbert's character, who in any other movie would have been a random henchmen added to the body count. But he had his own buildup, so even the capped driver has an effect on you. Just about a perfect movie.
+1. this is very interesting.
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Re: (NOT) THE (...Horror, The Horror...) OCTOBER WATCHING THREAD

Postby Gabriel Girard » Wed Oct 20, 2010 11:50 am

Funny People - Definitely Apatow's most mature movie yet due to the themes he examines of course, but I also feel like he's growing as a filmmaker and is learning to rely less on shock value. He still need a better editor though. The performances were great, even Jonah Hill was good!

Miami Blues - A pretty fun,disposable way of spending 90 mins,the characters are quirky and there are a few memorable sequences but it can't reach the level of producer Jonathan Demme's Something Wild.
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Re: (NOT) THE (...Horror, The Horror...) OCTOBER WATCHING THREAD

Postby J.M. Vargas » Fri Oct 22, 2010 10:33 pm

Rewatched KING KONG (1933) on DVD with the commentary track on. Hilarious how Merian C. Cooper and Fay Wray get a handful of lines (extracted from God knows what old filmed interviews) while guest commentators Ray Harryhausen and Ken Ralston are allowed to babble endlessly from a fanatic's POV about stuff they don't have first-hand knowledge of. Since Ray has a considerable and respected body of work directly inspired by his experience of watching "King Kong" as a youngster though (unlike, for example, Roger Avary's 'why was he invited to talk about this?' commentary for Romero's "Day of the Dead") you roll with it and I learned to appreciate the movie's influence and stature a little bit more than before.

Fritz Lang's SECRET BEYOND THE DOOR (1948) on TCM-HD for the first time. Fritz does the Hollywood melodrama/thriller mechanisms justice and twists them with just enough personal touches (cinematography, music and camera composition are all aces) that, despite the disappointing ending (the payoff doesn't match the slow burn of a build-up that is the entire narrative), I enjoyed the ride because it was fun to hang out with these troubled well-to-do characters. Joan Bennett's inner-monologue of self-doubt about the things she thinks may or may not anger the man he just met and married (Michael Redgrave, restrained until a decent tour-de-force final act), along with the latter revelations of Mark's obsessions with 'collecting rooms,' are both dated but revealing glimpses about the protagonists' damaged psyche. Barbara O'Neill and Paul Cavanagh give creepy little supporting performances but it's Lang's total control of sight/sound/emotion that is the movie's real star. Again though, crap ending (spoiled by "Dexter" I guess).

Rewatched SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE (1978/2000) on HD-DVD with the Richard Donner/Tom Mankiewicz commentary track on. Even though it doesn't look leaps and bounds better than DVD (too many optical and second-pass shots on top of Geoffrey Unsworth's soft photography) the colors just pop out in high-def; Christopher Reeve's peepers have never looked bluer, or Supes' suit more yellow/red/blue pretty. And listening to Donner and Mankiewicz (R.I.P.) defend their version of events about what took place during the turbelent, lengthy and protracted shoot of the first (and most of the second) "Superman" movie remains one of my favorite 'go to' commentary tracks ever released.

John Carpenter's THE FOG (1980) on DVD with the commentary track on. This would be almost mandotary October 31st viewing if Carpenter and producer Debra Hill (R.I.P.) hadn't given the holiday its own self-titled horror classic. Gorgeously framed and dripping with atmosphere, "The Fog" perfectly captures the cinematic appeal of being scared by unexplained supernatural events that kept us at night when we were young and innocent (perfectly captured by John Houseman setting up the movie's premise at the start). Even though the low-key ghost tale of Antonio Bay's 100th anniversary coming back to haunt its residents had to be reshot to up the gore/violence quota (curse you "Scanners"!) Carpenter always keeps the mood firmly anchored in the realm of fantasy. And, by following adults instead of oversexed teenagers and making the descendants of the local residents the targets of the fog's deadly revenge, "The Fog" captures a 'sins of the father passed along to the heirs' universality (a destiny of fate type-of vibe) that separates it from most early 80's horror flicks. And I don't know what's more scary: Jamie Lee Curtis' hairdo or that, back in '79, Tom Atkins would pick hitchhiking chicks that would actually sleep with him! :o

Rewatched SUPERMAN II: THE RICHARD DONNER CUT (1981/2006) on HD-DVD twice, once by itself and second time with a second heaping of Donner/Mankiewicz commentary goodness. With the Lester cut of the movie fresh in my mind the many differences (big and small) in Donner's version stand out for doing a lot of things right (bringing Jor-El back into the narrative with restored never-before-seen Brando footage, making Zod more evil by showing the joy in his face as he shoots a rifle inside the White House, less campy performances, diminished slapstick, Supes and Lois Lane at their most romantic, etc.) while also needlessly complicating the narrative (butchering of the needed-because-they're-the-only-existing-version Lester-shot scenes, adding/removing slow-motion, altering music cues, removing the 'effect' from the Super Villains' voices, etc.). Also, brief scenes and/or extensions of existing scenes that would have probably ended in the cutting room floor if Donner had been allowed to finish "Superman II" (examples: Jimmy Olsen bringing Perry a drink and Lex Luthor snatching it for himself, Supes' 'freedom of the press' line outside the Daily Planet, etc.) have been used by Donner at the expense of not using the better footage/scenes shot by Lester because of the decades-long dispute between the director and the Salkinds. Shoot, there are even alternate takes from shots of the first "Superman" movie that don't seem to belong to any other previous version of any previously-released version.

It's a miracle a Donner version of "Superman II" even exists at all, but the final product would have benefited from an impartial third-party picking and choosing the best scenes from both Lester and Donner for a definite version of "Superman II" that, sadly, will never exist because it wasn't properly shot back in the late 70's. I'll take Lester's 'kiss' over Donner's 'world turning' ending for "Superman II" any day, but I also prefer to have Brando and not Susannah York hanging out at the Fortress of Solitude. Highlight of the Donner cut: Jor-El giving Lois Lane the 'evil eye' when Kal-El chooses to become human. :D Reunited for another commentary track Dick Donner and Tom 'Creative Consultant' Mankiewicz are looser and more fun to listen to than in the first "Superman" commentary (even though they repeat a couple of the same stories); when Mankiewicz lets loose a 'yahoo' scream (you have to listen to the context to understand why) the laughter from these two old friends is as contageous as listening to a John Carpenter/Kurt Russell track. Also, considering its been stored in cannisters locked in warehouse over in the UK for decades, the restored footage looks surprisingly sharp and colorful in high-definition except in scenes with modern CG plates replacing backgrounds that were never shot (very prevalent in the big Metropolis fight between Supes and the Super Villains).

Jeannot Szwarc's SUPERGIRL: INTERNATIONAL AND DIRECTOR'S CUT (1984) on DVD for the first time. See a trend? Available a decade ago in an Anchor Bay two-disc set with the International Version (124 min.) that has since been released separately, the Director's Cut (138 min.) of "Supergirl" is no undiscovered masterpiece. The additional 14 minutes add a mix of unmissed-when-trimmed time cuts (Argo's educational system, Kara reading her bracelet, etc.), Marc McClure romancing Maureen Teefy (yes, more on-screen time for Jimmy Olsen and Lucy Lane! :() plus some extra time in the Phantom Zone with pretend-drunk Peter O'Toole (Zaltar). I watched this back-to-back with the International Version (commentary track on) and this is an instance in which the director's cut doesn't live up to its reputation. Then again, when your director is the man behind "Jaws 2" and half-a-dozen "Smallville" episodes it's not like there's a visionary mind behind the lens. As in previous viewings the glaring flaw in David Odell's screenplay is plain to see: Supergirl doesn't do anything heroic for crowds of people to gawk at and look in amazement. A grand total of EIGHT Earth characters in the movie see "Supergirl" in action (some of them never even make the connection she's also Linda Lee), and none of them show any amazement or incredulity at what they're seeing except for Hart Bochner (his quiet scenes with Helen Slater are a delight). Compared to how Donner introduced Superman to the world in the helicopter scene of the original "Superman" movie it's clear the decision to keep Kara's mission on Earth (recover the missing Omegaheadron) a stealth operation robbed the movie's anti-climactic action sequences from much needed cinematic punch. It doesn't help that Jerry Goldsmith contributes a shitty score that gently lifts from John Williams' "Superman" score.

The more I think about it though, "Supergirl" is the perfect Halloween movie (along with Carpenter's aforementioned "The Fog"). You've got the action template of a comic book movie adaptation (one that cost $35 million in 1984 dollars, and looks it) mixed with the fantasy elements of "Wizard of Oz" personified by human witches (Faye Dunaway in dialed-a-notch "Mommie Dearest" mode with Brenda Vaccaro tagging along as sidekick) and a warlock (Peter Cook, whose scene wearing an 80's leisure suit had me in stitches :D) using the heroine's source of power to bring to life their twisted dark fantasies. It's a hoot-and-a-half in the right state of mind (i.e. the holiday where people dress-up as superheroes, witches and what-not), just not a good movie any way you care to look at it. The International Version DVD comes with SUPERGIRL: THE MAKING OF THE MOVIE (1984), a vintage 50 min. making-of featurette that makes it clear the Salkinds thought they had another "Superman"-sized hit on their hands. Highlights include a "Candid Camera"-like reveal to Helen Slater that she got the part, an old-fashioned training montage set to bad 80's synth music, the building of an American town set in Pinewood's giant backlot and Peter O'Toole's grinning comment (which was innocent but doesn't sounds like it given his womanizing reputation) that Slater has 'lots of stamina.' :shock: Next on my live-action "Superman" viewing tour: Singer's "Superman Returns" and the unwatched-by-me "Superman IV: The Quest For Peace."

Jackie Chan's MIRACLES (1989) on DVD for the first time. An odd flick even by Chan's anything-goes Hong Kong period standards, one that emphasizes dated farce and slapstick (much of it coming across as mannered and stagey) over the handful of OK-but-not-great action sequences (which look and feel old-school even for '89). Set in the 1930's and 'inspired' by Capra's "Pocketful of Miracles," Jackie appears to be in over his head trying to patch together something barely-cohesive that's also entertaining. If I hadn't been given the DVD as a gift I wouldn't have watched it, but then again I don't own any Jackie Chan movies on DVD anyway. Worth a Netflix queue spot if you're bored silly.

Tsui Hark's ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA (1991) on DVD with the Ric Meyers' commentary track on. Even though you want to reach through the screen and strangle Meyers (his tone of voice inspires homicidal thoughts) he provides enough behind-the-scenes anecdotes and background on the actors backing-up Jet Li that the commentary qualifies, reluctantly, as a must-listen. More than the incredible display or martial arts artistry at work here (the ladder scene alone is worth owning this DVD for) the sight of Caucasian actors with limited (Jonathan Isgar) to very limited (Steve 'Tiger' Tartalia) to no acting range whatsoever (the British/American 'gaijin' soldiers that wreck havoc with mainland China's culture) is a constant source of unintentional amusement. I'd be curious to check out other Wong Fei-Hung movies besides this one because, until I do, Jet Li is the only actor I associate with this popular Asian character/personality.
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Re: (NOT) THE (...Horror, The Horror...) OCTOBER WATCHING THREAD

Postby Future Man » Sat Oct 23, 2010 8:45 am

Le Trou
Best prison escape movie I've ever seen.
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Re: (NOT) THE (...Horror, The Horror...) OCTOBER WATCHING THREAD

Postby hoytereden » Sat Oct 23, 2010 3:16 pm

J.M.-It's sad that with all the prep time it took to get King Kong to DVD that Fay Wray wasn't more involved in the finished product. The old girl was still around and; by all accounts, lucid so I'm disappointed that her only comments are archived ones.
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Re: (NOT) THE (...Horror, The Horror...) OCTOBER WATCHING THREAD

Postby Gabriel Girard » Mon Oct 25, 2010 8:46 am

Prozac Nation - An interesting portrayal of a person with Borderline Personality Disorder that mainly succeeds because of Christina Ricci's performance.

The Insider - This might just be my favorite Michael Mann film. Low-key, yet gripping, with excellent characterization all across the board- great cast! Definitely one of Crowe's top performances. I really enjoyed the score too.
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Re: (NOT) THE (...Horror, The Horror...) OCTOBER WATCHING THREAD

Postby Jim_Thomas » Mon Oct 25, 2010 10:44 am

J.M. Vargas wrote:Next on my live-action "Superman" viewing tour: ... the unwatched-by-me "Superman IV: The Quest For Peace."
I tell you now: Don't. It makes Superman III almost good by comparison.
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Re: (NOT) THE (...Horror, The Horror...) OCTOBER WATCHING THREAD

Postby Andrew Forbes » Mon Oct 25, 2010 11:05 am

The Magician. A masterpiece of illusions and humiliation, featuring stunning photography from Gunnar Fischer. This hasn't unseated Sawdust and Tinsel as my favorite Bergman, but it's damn close, and feels very much like a companion piece to the earlier film.
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Re: (NOT) THE (...Horror, The Horror...) OCTOBER WATCHING THREAD

Postby Andrew Forbes » Mon Oct 25, 2010 12:07 pm

And to counter that snobby for'n flick, Last Action Hero for the second time in a month or so. Not without its flaws, but incredibly fun and probably the last really good movie McTiernan made (and no, I haven't forgotten about Die Hard with a Vengeance).
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Re: (NOT) THE (...Horror, The Horror...) OCTOBER WATCHING THREAD

Postby Steve T Power » Mon Oct 25, 2010 12:26 pm

Andrew Forbes wrote:And to counter that snobby for'n flick, Last Action Hero for the second time in a month or so. Not without its flaws, but incredibly fun and probably the last really good movie McTiernan made (and no, I haven't forgotten about Die Hard with a Vengeance).


Why can't I quit you Forbes?
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Re: (NOT) THE (...Horror, The Horror...) OCTOBER WATCHING THREAD

Postby Jim_Thomas » Mon Oct 25, 2010 1:39 pm

Andrew Forbes wrote:And to counter that snobby for'n flick, Last Action Hero for the second time in a month or so. Not without its flaws, but incredibly fun and probably the last really good movie McTiernan made (and no, I haven't forgotten about Die Hard with a Vengeance).
It really does have its moments...Charles Dance makes for a good villain, and the Hamlet trailer is priceless.
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Re: (NOT) THE (...Horror, The Horror...) OCTOBER WATCHING THREAD

Postby Andrew Forbes » Mon Oct 25, 2010 2:02 pm

Steve T Power wrote:
Andrew Forbes wrote:And to counter that snobby for'n flick, Last Action Hero for the second time in a month or so. Not without its flaws, but incredibly fun and probably the last really good movie McTiernan made (and no, I haven't forgotten about Die Hard with a Vengeance).

Why can't I quit you Forbes?

You can only go so far before you come crawling back for another taste of sweet, sweet candy... BAM!

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Re: (NOT) THE (...Horror, The Horror...) OCTOBER WATCHING THREAD

Postby Steve T Power » Mon Oct 25, 2010 2:20 pm

I still love the yelling police chief who sneaks "Chicken McNuggetts" into his unintelligible rant.
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Re: (NOT) THE (...Horror, The Horror...) OCTOBER WATCHING THREAD

Postby BenSaylor » Tue Oct 26, 2010 5:11 am

Fritz Lang's Rancho Notorious--This would make a great double bill with The Big Heat; despite the different genres, the setup of each is similar. Arthur Kennedy is very intense in the lead role, and Marlene Dietrich and Mel Ferrer are also good. The supporting cast includes Jack Elam and George "Superman" Reeves. The songs used (unnecessarily) to fill in the story haven't aged well, but this is still one of the best Westerns I've seen in a while.
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Re: (NOT) THE (...Horror, The Horror...) OCTOBER WATCHING THREAD

Postby Dunnyman » Tue Oct 26, 2010 10:48 am

Went with some oddball stuff this week, as I've been flying through the entire run of Dexter, btw, incredible show.... and I started with Dr. Syn-The Scarecrow Of Romney Marsh, which is one odd duck as Disney flicks go, hangings? Killing traitors? Maniacally laughing madmen attacking the King's men? A tangled mess of re-releases in theaters, a botched home video release, and finally a proper DVD which got cancelled after the initial run sold out. It's also a rollicking good time as adventure yarns go, so thank god for torrents...then the ladyfriend wanted to see just how awesome Blu-Ray was, so I popped in North By Northwest, and Master And Commander-Far Side of the World for her. Suitably impressed, she wanted to know when Lawrence of Arabia would be out, and I don't know, does anyone else know when we'll see that? Of course, Sunday afternoon was dedicated to my Raiders beating the Broncos within an inch of their lives, what a wonderful weekend!
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Re: (NOT) THE (...Horror, The Horror...) OCTOBER WATCHING THREAD

Postby Future Man » Tue Oct 26, 2010 2:41 pm

Blow Out
Quite suspenseful at times but the conspiracy at play sure seems understaffed and ill-planned. And did it all have to be so sordid? The final 'tribute' bestowed by Travolta's character on another character is downright creepy.
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Re: (NOT) THE (...Horror, The Horror...) OCTOBER WATCHING THREAD

Postby mavrach » Tue Oct 26, 2010 7:51 pm

Finished up David Tennant's last Doctor Who specials. They really were a waste, even the Christmas specials that ran at the start of each series. They barely had anything significant, and the few good moments were weakened by the overall stories. Looking back on the four series that I've seen and the specials, every episode worth revisiting is part of the main series. I realize that the specials were all meant to stand alone and maybe reel in some new viewers, but I wish the stories would have been a bit meatier.

The only one that I enjoyed was The Waters of Mars. Generally, it was just an average episode, but it had some interesting points and one hell of an ending. I found it interesting that they created a historical event, but set that in the future to allow the Doctor to work with time. The show of course goes into human historical events and treats it as such, but you have to remember that the Doctor is from the future, so the future episodes should be history to him as well! This was the first I've seen treat the future as such. And the ending asked a lot of questions, which is what sci-fi does best, but none of the other specials had me so intrigued.

I had good hopes for The End of TIme 1 & 2, but instead we get a cartoon for a villain. If you want proof that these specials aren't anything close to the series' quality, just compare the Master's appearance here to his prior appearance in the Series 3 finale, which is a favorite. Now we have him jumping into the sky and shooting lighting out of his hands. The whole thing feels cheap and any epicness is lost as a result. I appreciated the Return of the King-style ending where Tennant said goodbye to everybody, but some of it was shoehorned in (come on, an alien cantina???).


In the end, I wish they would have just let Tennant end with Series 4, which would have been totally appropriate since all of his freinds were there already. It's awkward for them to bring everybody back again for the last 10 minutes of this special again. And I don't know if I'd want to sit through all of these specials again, but for continuity I'd lose the regenertion if I did that.

Oh well, I'm very much looking forward to Series 5 on DVD, which I haven't seen yet.
+1. this is very interesting.
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Re: (NOT) THE (...Horror, The Horror...) OCTOBER WATCHING THREAD

Postby Gabriel Girard » Thu Oct 28, 2010 4:04 am

A Good Year - Like a good 15 dollar wine this is a pleasant, charming affair that you drink easily. You enjoy it while it lasts but it doesn't leave much of an after-taste. It's familiar yet different and all of the ingredients mix beautifully. Not a Grand Cru but not Piquette either...
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Re: (NOT) THE (...Horror, The Horror...) OCTOBER WATCHING THREAD

Postby J.M. Vargas » Thu Oct 28, 2010 2:41 pm

PSYCHOMANIA (1972) on DVD for the first time. I picked this up solely on Judge Ike Oden's positive review (http://www.dvdverdict.com/reviews/psychomania.php) and it absolutely lives up to expectations. Scares and gore are minimal but it's a testament to the movie's effectiveness that they're not missed. The genre mash-ups on display (50's biker gang mentality, 60's psychodelic mindset, early 70's punk vibe, horror/sorcery motifs inspired by the post "Rosemary's Baby" success, etc.) coated with a healthy dose of tongue-in-cheek humor (how can one not smile at the sight of a dead biker turbo boosting out of a tomb in his bike, "Knight Rider" style) and casual attitude toward coming back to life make for a refreshing change of pace from the Romero/Boyle school of the living dead. Nicky Henson makes for an appealing lead as a "Clockwork Orange"-ish bloke that wants his gal Abby (Mary Larkin) and 'Living Dead' gang to crossover, leading up to a montage of suicide attempts that is both hilarious and disturbing. Throw in some spectacular motorcycle stunt work (for '72) and heartfelt scenes between Abby and Tom (unlike Judge Oden I found Abby's passivity a normal non-reaction to the incredible things happening around her) and "Psychomania" is the perfect cult flick to celebrate Halloween with.

Woody Allen's ANNIE HALL (1977) on MGM-HD. Even though I haven't seen it in well over a decade (some scenes are too close to some of my own real-life experiences to be anything other than a tear-jerker to me) "Annie Hall" remains my second favorite Woody Allen movie. "Manhattan Murder Mystery" is my favorite one, so I want to think of Alvy and Annie as the couple that met on "Annie Hall," eventually married (somewhere between '78 and '93) and we met-up again years later in "MMM" (it helps that a good chunk of the plot from the original "Annie Hall" script wound up in "MMM"). Do girls from Chippewa Falls get more out-of-fashion pretty than Diane Keaton's tie-and-shirt outfit when she meets Alvy after their tennis match? I fell in love with Keaton the moment I saw her in this movie. While some of Allen's jokes/lines of dialogue land with the thud of repetition (not the flick's fault) some sequences (the 'Christmas in Beverly Hills' song montage, Woody's 7th grade classroom, the classic 'masturbation' line, the brief animated "Snow White" scene, the subtitled first-courtship dialogue, Christopher Walken's cameo, Annie's soul leaving her body, etc.) are still laugh-outloud funny. How can anybody that's been in love not smile when Alvy goes back to Annie's apartment and pictures of him with the lobster are framed on the wall? :lol: The poignant ending (the montage leading up to the final shot and silent credits) pulls everything into perspective and places the movie (and Allen) into filmmaking immortality. The high-def transfer is underwhelming but is miles better than the non-anamorphic DVD we've been stuck with for a decade. :(

MST3K KTMA-18: THE MILLION EYES OF SUMURU (1989/1967) on DVD for the first time. An (unintentional?) "Austin Powers"-type parody of 60's spy movies starring George Nader and Frankie Avalon (this movie's low-rent equivalents of James Bond and Felix Leiter) pitted against an all-female terrorist group trying to take over the world one seduced leader at a time (led by gorgeous Shirley Eaton as the title character). And, probably because he owed producer Harry Alan Towers a favor or two, Wilfrid Hyde-White pops up regularly as an exposition-spewing elder agent that moves the "plot" along. Joel and the Bots run into the same problem here that they would run into in Season 2's "Catalina Caper": how do you riff something that's already silly, goofy and self-aware to begin with? Avalon is particularly horrid as the comic relief sidekick that breaks the fourth wall (“I wonder if this is where I’m supposed to sing…nah.”) and carries the assault on Sumuru's island lair (the movie's best... I mean, only action scene) by himself because Nader's too busy... uhh, 'acting.' ;-) Even Servo bails midway through the movie but Joel and Crow get through "Sumuru" by concentrating on the endless amount of gorgeous women ('midriff village'), implied (but never shown) sex and complete lack of anything resembling coherence in the plot. Shame the PQ is half-ass (lousy pan-and-scan copy) but the riffing, all things considered, is slightly-above average for KTMA-era "MST3K." Blink and you'll miss an OTT Klaus Kinski cameo as President Boong, easily the highlight of the movie.

SUBURBAN GIRL (2007) on Showtime-HD for the first time. Predictable but harmless romantic comedy in which miscast Sarah Michelle Gellar (she's supposed to be a spunky rising star in the NYC literary community but SMG wearing glasses/clothes to seem smart just doesn't cut it) falls in love with Alec Baldwin (excellent as the publishing equivalent of a smoother version of the same character he plays on TV's "30 Rock"). Maybe this would have worked better as either a straight drama or romantic movie because the constant need for the characters to bicker and argue for the sake of moving the plot along (a) gets old fast and (b) isn't really funny. A couple of great supporting performances (James Naughton as Brett's father, Maggie Grace's Chloe, etc.) and the Gotham location shoot make this worth a look if it's playing on TV on a lazy Saturday afternoon (which is how/when I caught it), where it'll be as quickly forgotten as the infomercials its competing against.
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Re: (NOT) THE (...Horror, The Horror...) OCTOBER WATCHING THREAD

Postby OperaGal » Mon Nov 01, 2010 1:51 pm

This past week:

Jane Eyre (1944)
Charlie the Lonesome Cougar

...and over the weekend...

The Wiz - my but it does have it's slow moments...yet I love the movie nonetheless.
Unfaithfully Yours (1984)- even tho' it takes place around halloween, it doesn't really classify as 'horror', but always watch it this time of year.
;)
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