Tuesday, April 15, 2014

At Last - 2014!

  1. Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead (1994) - Starting the year as I will more than likely go on despite my best intentions. So a shitty threquel to a surprisingly creepy little movie. I'd avoided the original for years for some reason I can't quite fathom but ended up really liking it when I did. I've not yet seen the sequel but number three is awful. Looks like an episode of the sort of drek you find on the Sci-Fi channel at 4am.

  2. Two Evil Eyes (1990) - Dario Argento and George Romero make a two-part movie based on a couple of Edgar Poe's stories. It had its moments.

  3. Hellbreeder (2004) - Amazing. Three movies in and I may have just watched the crappiest movie I will watch all year. It has to be uphill from here. Hellbreeder is a horrendous mishmash of Killer Klown slasher IT! knockoff mixed with endless arty-grainy stuff which makes very little narrative sense. The script is totally underwritten (Richard Driscoll's dialogue looks good in comparison) and leaves a strange assortment of actors flopping with nothing much to say to each other while having meetings in a hotel lobbies. (This is a sure sign that no one bothered to scout any locations. Hotels can be very accommodating to their guests if they look like they are going to pay their bill: "Hi, we're staying here and, as you know, we're shooting a film. We've had a bit of a snag with the location today - do you think we could shoot the scene here...?). In-between the pointless non-conversations, and some implied graphic violence, we get endless arty monochrome footage of motorways and dream sequences (one or two moments of which are almost interesting). Hellbreeders is a re-edit of a film called Alice made two years earlier. God knows what that was like if this is the improved version.

  4. One-Eyed Monster ( 2008 ) - Just in case anyone was in any doubt about the film's subject the film opens with a title card that reads:
    "In February 2007 ten people went into the remote mountains of Northern California to shoot an adult film...

    ...then something happened."
    Basically what does happens is a creature from outer space takes over porn legend Ron Jeremy's disembodied penis and start killing people. It's the surviving-in-a-cabin-in-a-blizzard-in-the-backwoods-while-something tries-to-get-in movie - but with a killer penis. It's played dead straight; no one hams it up and, I am really sorry to say, it's incredibly funny. The mockumentary extra on the DVD about "The Penis Wrangler" is even funnier.

  5. So Young, So Lovely, So Vicious (Peccati di gioventù 1975) - boring slice of Italian Eurosleaze in which a bored, spiteful rich bitch attempts the downfall of her potential stepmother; ultimately seducing her before discovering (too late) that the stepmom in waiting was not as bad as she thought (in or out of bed) and bonking attractive women is much more fun than bonking her sleezeball blackmail partner.

  6. Shark Attack II (2000) - Straight to vid piece of shit which plodded through the Jaws routine (including a clunking rack focus shot of our hero on the beach) set in a Cape Town totally populated by people with American accents. Sharks growl apparently, like lions, and roar when they attack. More evidence for my theory that all Nu Image films contain gratuitous helicopter shots in that it contains a gratuitous helicopter shot. And was made by Nu Image...

  7. Duel of the Dragons (aka Three Avengers 1979) - 97 minutes of Chinese people hitting each other for even less apparent reasons than usual. And fewer of them too.

  8. Strictly Ballroom (1992) - an old favourite for the first time on the big screen here at Junk Monkey Mansions and for the first time I notice what a lousy transfer the disc is. I'm sure the free-with-a-newspaper copy I have about somewhere looks better. I suspect I may have to shell out some spondoolicks and buy myself one of them new-fangled Blu Ray things.

  9. The Green Slime ( 1968 ) - stupid fun.

  10. The Brady Bunch Movie - again.

  11. Jungle Goddess ( 1948 ) - a stinkingly bad B picture in which, at one point, three separate bunches of people are supposed to be trying to find each other in the jungle and, because of incompetent editing (of a obviously limited number of shots), had all three parties simultaneously walking in front of the same tree. A good trick if you can do it. One of MST3K's funnier shows.

  12. The Circus of Horror (1960) - very dated horror film about plastic surgeon running a circus.

  13. Curse of the Crimson Altar ( 1968 ) - routine, plodding British, modern-day sub-Wheatley horror film with some seriously wonderful photography. Great lighting. And Barbara Steele painted green with giant golden ram's horns stuck on her head.

  14. Night of the Comet (1984) - a much better than expected piece of 1980's SF. A comet, which last passed the earth the time the dinosaurs became extinct, puts on a spectacular light show and vaporises the world population - apart from those who slept the night in lightproof steel boxes. After a bit of a shonky start getting a few characters into spending the night in lightproof steel boxes it settled down to be quite an interesting little film with some genuine plot twists, some decent writing, and eerie atmosphere.

  15. Women of the Prehistoric Planet - Another John Agar film ticked off the list, albeit in MST3K form. The only film I can remember seeing in which the inevitable prehistoric planet volcano at the climax of the film stops as soon as the white people leave. Just like someone had thrown a switch. The spaceship starts to take off and thegrips stop shaking the camera and wobbling bits of the set, and the stock footage just vanishes from the screen. Click, just like that. The title is a misnomer too. There is only one woman and the prehistoric, dinosaur- and caveman-ridden, volcano-filled planet upon which our hero and heroine are stranded at the end of the film turns out to be... Da! Da! Daaaah!.... the Planet Earth! (Would you Adam and Eve it?)

  16. Spy Kids: All the Time in the World - Number One Son and I are suffering from the Dreaded Lurghi this was his choice. I am really getting to loath Robert Rodreguez's films.

  17. X-Men - better than I remembered.

  18. X-Men 2 - meh sequel that seemed flop about all over the place. (X-meh?)

  19. Top Secret! (1984) - why have I never seen this before? I put it on my mental Must Take a Look list after reading a long raving article about it in a recent copy of Empire. I'm currently cataloguing my entire DVD, VHS, Laserdisc (1), VCD, and Stored on Hard Drive collection of films and last night I discovered I had owned a copy for several years in a box set of Zucker Brothers' movies. It is quite simply one of the funniest films I have seen in years.

  20. Days of Hell (1986) - A tedious Italian 'war' movie in which American mercenaries (sent into Afghanistan to rescue someone for some reason inadequately explained at the top of the film) machine gun everything that moves for 90 minutes.

    Some of the costuming in this POS is wonderful. Two dozen stunt men dressed in vaguely middle-easty clothing with cloth wrapped rounds their heads to disguise the fact that it's the same people endlessly and bloodlessly walking into our heroes' gunfire. The Islamic 'Holy Man' they rescue at one point has a shiny turban like an extra from an Arabian Nights movie.

    The only redeeming moment comes right near the end when the Voice Over Artists doing the English dub - having realised that no one is going to be watching the film by now - start to have a little fun while the director's back is turned. The 'heroes' lure a Russian helicopter down via end endless conversation by radio (in Russian with no subtitles).

    Once on the ground, and realising he has been captured, the pilot swears; like you would.

    Oh - Shit!

    Do you speak English?

    It would seem so since
    I said 'shit' perfectly.


  1. The Sword of Bushido (1990) - a better than average (for cheapo, straight to video, martial arts movies of the period) cheapo, straight to video, martial arts movie.

  2. Duck Soup (1933) - I introduce Daughter Number One (Goon Show fan that she is) to the joys of the Marx Brothers.

  3. Kill Me Tomorrow (2000) - low budget, would be arty horror which was the first feature for director and most of the cast alike. I think they thought they were paddling in Twin Peaks waters; they weren't. Most of the cast haven't appeared in anything since - for which the world should be grateful. Not bad enough to be worth keeping though. Another VHS straight out of my player and into the bin without a second glance. Next!

  4. Tremors (1990) - a fun film which played with all the killer lurking somethings terrorising a small isolated community ideas and played them all out in broad daylight and for the most part the open air. Pretty tough challenge for cast and crew alike.

  5. Nim's Island ( 2008 ) - kid's pizza night movie which (as usual) I enjoyed far more than I was expecting. But then I am just a big softy when it comes to "Daddy, oh my Daddy!" endings.

  6. The Ghost in the Shell (1995) - rewatch to see if it's suitable for my Anime obsesssed 11 year old.

  7. Voodoo Man (1944) - Bela Lugosi paying the rent doing his usual hypnotic bearded weirdo stuff as a deranged doctor determined to rescue his wife from a living death. Free from Archive.org

  8. From up on Poppy Hill (2011) Studio Ghibli stepping away from the fantastical for a moment and proving they can make bloody good films based in the real world - albeit a nostalgic 1960s real world. I loved it. I'm starting, however, to feel that alongside the warnings on the back of DVDs about: 'Some Fantasy Violence', 'Drug References', 'Moderate Sex' etc. there should be a warning about "Daddy, oh my Daddy!" moments.

    Us sentimental middle-aged old farts need to be warned so we can gird our loins and be prepared for the attacks of the snivels that come when children get reunited with their long lost dads - even if only in dream form. Gets me every time. I was a snotty wreck. Daughter Number One was happy that I liked it.

  9. Cloverfield (20xx) - Friends with monsters. I hate Friends. I was just on the point of turning off when it got interesting. By the end (which conformed to Hollywood Rule 78b by including 'that bridge' in Central Park in any foot chase that takes place in New York) I didn't really care.

  10. The Frightners (1996) - very meh.

  11. Orphee (1950) - my first Jean Cocteau. I think I liked it. Didn't understand it but I liked the dreaminess of it all.

  12. My Neighbour Totoro (1988 ) - another Studio Ghibli slighter than the others I have watched from them but it's not without charm.

  13. Three Colors: Red (1994) - Only 'Blue' to go (I think).

  14. Crash (1996) - Cronenberg's adaptation of the J G Ballard novel. I'd never seen it before - though I have dim memories of reading the book many years ago. It's one of those films where you need to go for a walk afterwards. (Like most of Cronenberg's films.) To de-ick your brain.

    I'm REALLY glad I didn't see it in a cinema and have to drive home afterwards.

    I think part of the weirdly fascinated compulsion/revulsion I had for the film is that seeing people fucking in cars is usually a pretty sure way to get me to turn a film off. I have nothing against cars - and sure as hell have nothing against watching people having sex on screen - but full-on frantic gropingly grunty sex-in-cars scenes usually occur in would-be 'gritty' films about how sodding hard it is being poor/working class/immigrant. I have nothing against being poor/working class/immigrant (I'd be pretty masochistic if I did) but it's one of those lazy shorthand clichés that just tells me it's time to go watch something else. It's a rule of thumb I have been applying to films since Rita, Sue and Bob Too (1987) and I last used a couple of weeks ago when Broken English ( 1988 ) joined the 'bin' pile.

    I'm not sure I'll want to watch Crash again any time soon but it's going on the shelves for when I do.
Abandoned in Feb: Get Real (1990) - after 30 minutes. Gay teen rom drama. A bit like a very long and limp episode of Grange Hill.
Broken English (1988 ) - Serbian exiles being arseholes in New Zealand.

March (of the Penguins)
  1. Gozilla (1955)- The original and best.

  2. Mothra Vs Godzilla (1964) - hilariously pants and thoroughly enjoyed by all the family - with the exception of Mrs JunkMonkey who was obviously extremely bemused/bored by the whole thing.

  3. Supervixens (1975) - another of Russ Meyer's epic adventures of weird sadism and cartoon sex. Large-breasted women and stupid men do sex and violence. A film held together with a plot that could be summed up in the single, very vague, sentence: 'some stuff happens to this guy'.

  4. Wild Wild West (1999) - meh.

  5. Inseminoid (1981) - post-Alien killer beasty in enclosed environment SF which has a very Eurosleezy look but was... Ta Da! British! (Britain is a part of Europe, you dunce! - oh yeah...) Still tripe though.

  6. Tintin (2011) I loved the books as a kid and as an adult am full of admiration of Herge's wonderful draughtsmanship and story-telling skills. The movie started off well, some nice dialogue and funny asides, but somewhere along the way it lost me. I think it was the endless camera movement. Every shot was full of swooshing and swooping and swirling about. By the time we got round to the over-excited chase sequences they had to raise the bar and pile on so much absurdity into the action that it became unbearably OTT stupid. One of the joyous thing about the books was - absurdly improbable coincidences aside - the action took place in a very real and recognisable world. A world where the laws of physics - if not exactly adhered to - were at least recognisably close by. The movie was just souped-up Hollywood bollocks. "More is not necessarily more." and "Just because you can doesn't mean you have to." are words that need to be tattooed on the inside of Steven Spielberg's eyelids.

  7. Planet on the Prowl (1966) - rewatch, with the kids,of an awful piece of Italian SF which provided much giggles.

  8. Land of the Lost (2009) - science fiction comedy nonsense which I enjoyed a lot more than I was expecting (though the bar was set pretty low seeing as it starred Will Ferrel, I'd never heard of it, and it was £2 in a bin by the checkouts in Morrison's).

  9. King Kong (the original - 1933) - a strange choice for the Friday night family ritual of Film and Pizza - but Number One daughter is a strange wee girl and it was her turn to pick. So Kong it was. For the umpteenth time I was bowled over by the technical wonderfulness of it all and noticed a continuity error I had never seen before (The 'husky' sailor with the stripy shirt's shirt mends itself between the raft sequence and the log over the chasm sequence.) When they'd all gone to bed I watched...

  10. Jeepers Creepers (2001) - which I had never seen before. I really liked it genuinely creepy - until the monster turned up appeared on screen. After that it all got a bit ho-hum.

  11. Restless Natives ( ) - an attempt to make a Bill Forsyth-like whimsical comedy without whatever it is that made Bill Forsyth's films work. The most fun I had with this film was trying to work out how the characters managed to get from Glencoe to Glen Nevis via Strontian? and Glen Orchy... And then back again - and knowing that if they were getting chased up that road, in that direction they would hit a dead end and the cops would get them but... No! suddenly they're twenty miles away and pulling away fast.


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