Rewatched François Truffaut's THE 400 BLOWS (1959) on Blu-ray
. Just keeps getting and better, Léaud was such a natural young actor. This time I was amused by how theatrical and mannered the performances of Claire Maurier and Albert Rémy came across as Doinel's feuding parents. And has a movie ever opened and closed with such a simple but powerful, intimate but epic theme song like the one Jean Constantine delivers here? I'm biased but I think B&W movies look better in anamorphic scope than color one's. -ducks- MST3K: POD PEOPLE (1991/1983) on Amazon On Demand Streaming
. I was busy at work all night a couple of days ago and wanted to test the wireless connectivity on my 10" Panasonic portable Blu-ray player. "MST3K: Pod People" was the test subject (also wanted to check battery life). Ten minutes into "Pod People" though and I forgot all about the connections and tests because it's just too much fun to watch Trumpy do stupid things.
The riffs ('Casio forest,' 'what pretentious crap!,' 'Huzzah!,' 'McCloud!,' etc.), scenes ('magic' telescope, music recording session, the 'pretentious student film,' etc.) and situations (egg poachers in movie A, young rocker & entourage in movie B, aliens & kid in movie C, etc.) add-up to a mini-major "MST3K" classic. The host segments rock and finishing off with 'A Clown in the Sky' leading into the movie's classic stinger, well, 'it' really 'stinks!'
Even though I've seen this one too many times to count I hadn't noticed before that (a) for all its attempted kidie charm it's a pretty violent flick (almost the entire cast dies) and (b) there's a lot of 'day for night' photography (I finally got the Truffaut joke!) masked by more fog than there ever was in John Carpenter's "The Fog." Speaking of John...ESCAPE FROM L.A. (1996) on Blu-ray
. I've seen this one a few times and I'm still not sure whether Carpenter, Debra Hill and Kurt Russell (who also co-wrote and produced the flick) set out to (a) deliberately do a sh***y movie, (b) it turned out to be a sh***y movie or (c) the means at their disposal were way below their ambition. It's probably a mix of all three but a more impressive cast of good actors on a weird-for-weirdness-sake action flick you will not see. For every scene that is an absolute knockout (the whole 'Surgeon of Beverly Hills' bit with Bruce Campbell, Pam Grier's digitally-altered voice, etc.) there's something so amateurish-looking and embarrassing (the 'ride the wave' scene, which would be almost-tolerable if the impossible coincidence of Bushemi driving on that exact road at that precise moment didn't completely ruin it) you have to talk yourself into thinking Carpenter/Hill/Russell knew all along they wanted to waste Paramount's millions at the expense of their careers. Between the bad actors (Georges Corraface, who sticks out amongst so many talented thesps), hilariously-horrid dialogue ('I was a Muslim in South Dakota'
), tributes (Cuervo's car looks an awful lot like a girl Carpenter knew in '82), crappy score (thank you Shirley Walker) and dated SFX (which even the bargain HD transfer on the barebones Paramount Blu-ray does no favors) "Escape from L.A." is a notorious spectacle you can't help but NOT
look away from. I woud kill for a special edition with commentary track/documentary in which Carpenter and Russell are hooked on truth serum IV's.PRIMEVAL SERIES 3 (2009) on Amazon On Demand Streaming
for the first time. While I still admire that this series isn't afraid to thin the main cast or change things radically on a regular basis (plus Helen Cutter is one of the most twisted TV baddies I've seen in a long time) this batch of 10 episodes just aren't as entertaining and inventive as the previous two series. Though we still get the occasional cool monster/anomaly, reliably-terse Ben Miller putdowns and geeky situations (Gigantosourus versus 747) this time it all feels like its threading water. It doesn't help that Jason Flemyng's Danny Quinn becomes part of the ARC project in the most ridiculous way (IMO), plus the chemistry of the revamped-midway cast isn't as tight as during the Doug Henshall episodes. While I still like it and look forward to seeing the just-aired Season 4 (when Amazon Prime has it for free) "Primeval" may already be past its prime