Saturday, March 28, 2015

February March 2015

(chunks from memory as the place I normally keep this list crashed taking most of March with it)

  1. Shadow Hours (2000) - Now here's a bit of serendipity. 12 years to the day since I had my last drink and swore off the demon booze for the rest of my life (dammit, I still miss red wine!) the first movie off the top of the Unwatched Pile is about a reformed alcoholic and drug addict's decent into hell under the guidance of a wonderfully seductive Peter Weller. Not a great film but it felt horribly real. 
  2. Superman Returns - a bit of a ponderous chore. That's Number One Son (aged 5) at the end of his Superman movie Friday Night boxset stint at last. 
  3. Chicago Cab (1997) - low budget, based on a play, film following a Chicago cabbie through a 14 hour long shift. Great cast, Gillian Anderson, John Cusack, John C Reilly, Julianne More etc., popping in and out of the back seat to deliver two minute character sketches. Not as big as the sum of its parts but it had its moments and kept me watching.
  4. Brick (2005) - well that was a major disappointment. I'd seen the trailers a couple of years ago and immediately put it on my 'must see list'. I bought it and never got round to watching it. As the end credits rolled tonight I remembered why. Brick was written/directed by Rian Johnson who directed the vastly overrated and fundamentally flawed Looper. Somewhen since I watched Looper in November 2013 and now I had forgotten that fact. So, another good reason why I won't be rushing out to watch the new Star Wars films - he's the writer director of episodes 8 and 9 - unless I forget.
  5. The Railway Children (TV remake) - I cried.
  6. The Brady Bunch Movie - with Number One Daughter. We laughed.
    R.O.T.O.R. (1987)- and...
  7. Death Machines (1976) - a double dose of cheese night with Number One Daughter. An evil Oriental Dragon Lady injects three martial arts fighters with a serum that turns them into zombie-like assassins, and she sends them out against her enemies.
  8. Fucking Åmål (aka Show Me Love) - teen gay romance which manages to be very real and very sweet at the same time. A gem of a film.
  9. Evil Brain From Outer Space - a fever dream of a Japanese superhero movie made by chopping together three shorter films: The Space Mutant Appears, The Devil's Incarnation and The Poison Moth Kingdom... 
     which were 45 minutes, 57 minutes, and 57 minutes in duration respectively. The total 159 minutes of the three films were edited into one 78-minute film. Since the three original films were self-contained stories, three different plots had to be edited together, and a considerable amount of all three films dropped. The result has been called, "an alternately mind-blowing and mind-numbing adventure... a non-ending cavalcade of characters, chases, captures, rescues and fight scenes. (Wikipedia:)
    All of which resulted in more 'What the hell is going on?' moments in just over an hour than David Lynch has managed in his entire career to date. 
  10. The Bat - No. 1 D and I both fell asleep.
  11. Tron (1982) - Friday night choice of Number One Daughter. Good girl. 
  12. Chicken Run - Friday night choice of Mrs JunkMonkey. A whole week since I watched a film! 
  13. Fuk sing go jiu (aka My Lucky Stars 1985) - Jackie Chan in a overly long comedy action film with some okay fight/chase sequences but weighed down with a heaviness of slapstick 'comedy' the Three Stooges would have found embarrassing. Why do Chinese film makers find the thought of mass diarrhoea so funny?
  14. Tron Legacy - my Friday Night Film choice. Depleted numbers in the audience: Number One Daughter, Number One Son, Number One Grandmother, and me. We all agreed the story was pants but it looked and sounded terrific. Just like the original really. 
  15. Red Sonja - "We must find the Talisman!" 
  16. Fletch - I didn't want to think for 90 minutes so I watched a Chevy Chase film.... It did its job. 
  17. Thunderbirds (2004) - I ignored my kids' advice.They did try to warn me.  "Don't watch it, dad, it's crap!"  Pah! I though, what what do they know?   Appaprently they know a crap film when they see one, it is fucking AWFUL! 
  18. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince - well that was confusing. after a long gap we continue the family HarryPotterthon and I am totally baffled. Can't remember who half the characters are or what happened in the last film. Subsequently I haven't got a scooby what is going on in this one. I don't even understand the title! I know Snape announces he is/was the 'Half-blood Prince' at the end of the show but why this was important or why it was a mystery in the first place (or even what one is!) passed me by. On the plus side Harry was slightly less annoyingly weedy this time, was only rendered unconscious once, and the only school rule he broke (and for which he was immediately forgiven) was half-killing another pupil in a fight in a bathroom. (The Potter films do like their bathrooms.) Timothy Spall's name appeared well up the cast list but he appeared on screen only once. Unless I blinked and missed him turning up again I remember him opening a door at one point and (maybe) closing another one. I don't recall him actually saying anything. I wonder how much he got paid. Some of the music was interesting. You can tell I was gripped.
    Coincidentally the second film in a row I've watched to feature a bridge over the Thames being destroyed. What are the chances?
  19. Epic (Friday Night with the kids rewatch choice of Number One Son.  Naff story, great design.)
  20. Fucking Amal ( aka Show Me Love 1998) - very wonderful coming of age movie that has grown on me a lot.
  21. Young Master - more of Jackie Chan's early Kung Fu capers.
  22. Timeline (2003) - another one of those films where the cast all shuffle about one nationality and play swap the accent.  Most of the lead 'Americans' are played by Brits.  The evil Englishman is played by a Welshman. The French heroine is played by an Englishwoman The  Scottish professor (Billy Connelly being even more unconvincingly dreadful than usual) has an American son  - and a couple of Canadians straddle the gaps.  The story is hacknied 1950s pulp with holes the size of small continents.  One of those films where hardened, well-trained, brutal, armoured warriors are easily defeated in hand to hand combat by studious academics thrown in the deep end.  This - as anyone who has fenced with anyone who has had any kind of training at all knows - is utter bollocks.
  23. X-Men - all American superheroics with two Brits and an Aussie playing the three main characters.


  1.  Aliens (1986) - I swithered for a few moments between watching the Special Edition and the Cinema Release - the memories of watching Cameron's Director's cut of The Abyss still hurt - but came down on the longer version. Glad I did. Felt like a good solid piece of work that didn't outstay its welcome - which the longer cut of The Abyss did in spades.
  2. The Lego Movie (2014) - fun Friday night with the kids choice of Number One Son who has been singing 'Everything is Awesome' for months now since he saw it in the cinema. I can see why. I loved it - a wee bit treacly at the end but forgiveable. The second film in a row to feature our hero saving the day in the last reel wearing a yellow exoskeleton. Basically the Matrix in Lego - but funnier and making more sense.
  3. William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet (1996) - long promised watch with Number One Daughter. I cried. She didn't.
  4. Mask of Zorro - a prequel which seemed to take an age to get going and then just turned into another Spielbergesque box-ticking rote 'Adventure'.
  5. Our Man Flint - after recommending it to a friend as a groovy spy spoof I thought I'd have another watch. It pays better in the memory than on the screen.
  6. Logan's Run (1976) - Pretty much ditto. And, totally coincidentally, from the same producer too.
  7. They Live ( 1988 ) - A rather superior little chiller from John Carpenter which lived up to expectations.
  8.  Krull (1983) - a rewatch with the family. I still think it's dull but it was less dull than I remembered partially I suspect because Daughter Number One was laughing at some of my occasional soto voce MST3K-type comments.



  1. Last Days on Mars (2013) - another in the almost inexhaustible (well, I can think of at least 10) films in which the First Manned Expedition to Mars goes Horribly Wrong. This time a long dormant pathogen turns the crew, one by one, into - go on guess... - that's right, unstoppable killer zombies! (Where do they get these crazy ideas?) Unusually the screenplay was based on a short story by an SF writer: Sidney J Bounds. Even in 1975 the idea must have been tired but the screenplay at least ends very bleakly. No happy ending. A British/Irish co production with Lottery Funding and a couple of Americans shipped in to make it sellable in the States. Looked good, the hardware was well done, and the usual mixed crew getting on each other nerves worked well. But like most films of this type I found the first half - the world building, everyday Joes and Jos doing their job stuff a lot more interesting than the second half's running around getting eaten by numbers stuff.
  2. The Lost World: Underground (2002) - not really a movie - not even a straight to DVD one - but just two episodes of a less than mediocre TV series glued together.
  3. Superman IV: The Quest for Peace - well, that was as bad as I had been lead to believe.
  4. 100 Million BC ( 2008 ) - Another Asylum POS which conformed to Rule 7 of all low budget time travel movies in that the second half was spent running round contemporary LA chasing a rubbishy CGI dinosaur. Shot late at night, and I suspect surreptitiously, the actors were often upstaged by locals walking around in shot in the background totally unaware that there was a film being made. Seriously destroys the credibility of life or death scenes with a rampaging dinosaur when there is some bloke on the other side of the street just shambling past on his way home from work.
  5. Thirst (2009) - 2.5 hour Korean film about a vampire priest and his nymphomaniac girlfriend. My first Chan-wook Park film and it's not going to be the last. I loved it. (I live in hope that the sequel will be called 'Thecond'.)
  6. Elf - our annual family watching of one of the better Hollywood Christmas Movies of the last couple of decades.
  7. TNT Jackson (1974) - limp piece of Filipino kung-fu blaxploitation in which everyone looked as bored as I was. It was short.
  8. Hudson Hawk (1991) - another of those much reviled films knocked off the list. Derided as a giant turkey, and total waste of time and money at the time Hudson Hawk turns out not to be as terrible as I was led to believe. When it was released most people were expecting Bruce Willis in another Die Hard like action film and instead got a long, not as as funny as it thinks it is, 'Road To' movie. They didn't 'get it'. I 'got it' but just thought it was all a bit meh rather than awful. Next on the list: Ishtar!