Wednesday, September 02, 2015


  1. Dark Crystal - a comfort watch after Daughter Number One and I realised (after 30 or so minutes) that both of us really weren't enjoying Pan's Labyrinth at all. So we turned to something familiar and undemanding to get the nasty taste out of our heads.
  2. Bride of the Monster - Ed Wood Jr's near masterpiece.
  3. Ed Wood - to my mind Tim Burton's best piece. It certainly feels the most honest and heartfelt. Daughter No 1's verdict? "What a sweet film!"
  4. Barbarosa - stultifyingly long 2 hour epic abut the formation of the Lombard League stuffed full of fascist symbolism and Rutger Hauer. Actually it was really stuffed full of horses. The script was a real clunker full of people telling each other historically important things the audience need to know but which they would have been fully aware - "Yes, these new taxes that the newly installed Pope Bendict the whateverth are really hurting the people..." Blah blah blah. Real local radio advertising dialogue. "Yes, June with the Lombardy League you get not one but two chances of fighting for.... " Blah blah blah. Mixed in with this guff there was a subplot about a woman who had visions, was due to be burned as a witch - but wasn't by order of the Empress (who burned someone else instead) and ended up, for some totally unexplained reason, in armour on the battlefield (though whose side she was on is anyone's guess). The only thing that kept me watching (apart from the insane hotness of the witchy woman Kasia Smutniak) was giggling with glee at every new interior. For some reason (maybe he had shares in a candle company) the director had his set designers stuff every interior full of candles. Inside a peasant's hut late at night as the occupants try to go to sleep there were at least a dozen candles alight in the room. A dungeon cell had another dozen and when the hero and heroine fall into bed at last - in daylight. In a ramshackle hut with sunlight streaming in through every crack and crevice - candles. (It rained on the funeral too. But only only round the grave itself. The people standing in the back were in brilliant sunshine and dry as bones.) Between the candle scenes we had the horse scenes. Horses filled up a lot of screen time. Some times they went this way sometimes they went that way, sometimes they were in slow motion (which usually meant there was a river, or at least a big puddle, coming up for them to splash through). I would guess a quarter of this film's running time was spent on shots of people riding across the screen. Gallumph gallumph gallumph. People appeared and disappeared from the narrative and then reappeared when you'd forgotten who they were. The whole thing looks like it was shot as a miniseries and they cut it down to a movie. And cut out the wrong bits. Another quid wasted in Poundland and another one off my 'Watch Rutger Hauer's Entire Career' list.
  5. Vertigo - for her turn in our nightly, while the rest of the family are away, turn and turn about movie watching binge Daughter Number One swithered between this and 2001: a Space Odyssey. (Getting very grown up tastes in movies for a 13 year old is No 1 Daughter). I'd never seen it before. I loved it. Not sure she was deeply in awe of Mr H's sure direction and weird sexual overtones as I was but she enjoyed it. Had some interesting things to say about the acting too.
  6. Cabaret - with No. 1 Daughter.
  7. District 9 - Better than I was expecting but not as good as I hoped. It started out well but just unravelled. I can't understand for instance how in the humans moved all the aliens down to the surface they allowed them to take vast quantities of heavy weaponry down with them. A couple of handguns slipped by the security I could buy but a heavily armed exoskeleton walking tank thing? Nope.
  8. Amateur (1994) - Expanding No 1 Daughter's movie horizons again with a strange liitle elliptic thriller. Her reaction was, "Wow! That was great!" - and it is too. I renew my biannual vow to search out more of Hal Hartley's films.
  9. Akira - again and I don't get it - again. (Japanese comic book 'meaningfulness'.) But I enjoy the lightshow and anime freak No 1 Daughter, who has been wanting to watch it for the last couple of years, is blown away.
  10. She Wolves of the Wasteland (aka Phoenix the Warrior) - another of the near inexhaustible supply of 1980s post Mad Max, post-apoc movies which ticked most of my post-apoc movie checklist: big hair, fingerless gloves, battered cars with excessive amounts of roll bars (but sadly no spikes this time), night scenes illuminated by pointless fires in old oil drums, an arena where our protagonist is expected to fight to the death, really crap acting etc. This time though the tedium was leavened with tits. Loads and loads of tits. It kept me watching. Whenever the scriptwriters ran out of idea (sic) they must have just pasted a page or two from Playboy into the script. (Actually there was one almost interesting scene in the film. - apart from the big breasted girl having the shower under the waterfall, and the dark-skinned naked girl doing the dance, and the.... okay, there was one almost interesting scene in the film that didn't rely on large breasted girls waving their norks at the camera: Our wandering fleeing heroes encounter a bunch of mutant types who worship the ancient ways and bury their dead in the open air, on hilltops, sat in recliner armchairs before an old television. An possibly novel idea which is allowed to fizzle out before it develops.) Did I mention the tits?
  11. Pirates of the Caribbean - better than I remember but still a little too long.
  12. Battlefield Earth - with daughter Number One who endeared herself to me for life (again) by muttering, at the 30 minute mark, "I'm rooting for the aliens".

    She also greeted every single one of the tatty wipes that transitioned between scenes with a cry of "Powerpoint!" - and then popped a cherry on by crying, after one of the Powerpoint wipes opened up on our hero being hosed down by prison guards, "Powerwash!"

    Great timing that kid.

    Her final verdict? "Well that was piece of shit!"

    I love her.
  13. Oblivion (2013) - which I really quite enjoyed in a 'I parked my brain' sort of way. (Which after all is the best way to watch films. Just surrender yourself to them.) Yes, I'm sure not a lot of it makes sense if you think about it for a few minutes but, while it was on, I happily surrendered to the seriously drop dead eye candy and the vaguely coherent story. (Ferrinstance: if Morgan Freeman's character had thought to write Tom Cruise's character a short note explaining what was going on things might have been sorted out a lot faster without him losing quite so many people to the baddies). Coincidentally the second SF film in a row with a leading Scientologist in the starring role about the human remnants of a devastated world being mined of its natural resources defeating their alien occupiers by means of a suicide bomber. Is this a Scientologist thing?
  14. The Chaser ( 2008 ) - long violent Korean serial killer thing 'based' on real events. I doubt if I shall watch it again.
  15. White Cargo (1973) - I have a horrible compulsion to watch bad films. It's like the fascination many people suddenly develop to slow down and look out their side windows when driving past a seventeen car pile-up. There are all sorts of bad films out there but there is nothing quite as bad as a 1970's British Sex Comedy (the most oxymoronic genre title in history given that they never funny and barely even titillating). White Cargo is a particularly naff example of its type. Notable only for starring David Jason who later went on to be a much loved British sitcom staple (Open All Hours and Porridge) and one of those much loved British irascible TV detectives (Frost) - but will be longest remembered as the voice of Dangermouse!

    In White Cargo, he plays a bumbling Walter Mitty type who stumbles on and foils a white slaver gang working out of a strip club. As our hero first enters the club we get the only decent joke in the whole film:

    Hero: (Looking in some confusion at the ticket he has just been given.) "Just a minute, it says 'welcome to Woburn Abbey' on this!"
    Sleazy Night Club Owner: "We're a large organisation..."

    I almost smiled.

    Once we get going the film descends into a series of set pieces where our hero escapes and rescues the girls who do little more than stand around in 'saucy' 70 lingerie and don't get any lines AT ALL because they would have to be paid more. None of them even say 'yes' or 'no' to direct questions but are only allowed to nod or shake their heads.

    The comedy grinds on as our hero imagines, time after time, his heroic alter ego (nicer shirt and an annoying habit of straightening his tie) performing long-winded minor heroics before the same series of shots shows us his real kack-handed attempt to do the same thing. (Using the exact same setups each time. Most of the day on set must have been spent waiting for Jason to change his shirt between shots).

    In the end our bearded menacing villain (who has the minciest little girl running style you will ever see) is pushed into a canal and the film ends.

    I lost count of the number of times characters did that stock sitcom acting tic of signalling their apprehension of someone else's misunderstanding by making a little 'tut' noise followed by a tiny sigh and an upward eyeball rolling glance. "Oh! you didn't think... " Whatever happened to that? You don't see that any more. It was a very 70s thing.

    How and why anyone bothered to 'digitally remaster' this is a mystery. Dave Prowse is in it so Darth Vader completest might find about 3 minutes of it essential viewing. Though the really sad thing is that it was only about 3/4 the way through that I realised I had actually watched it before.
  16. Pirates of the Caribbean III: World's End - bored the pants off me but the kids seemed to like it.

Abandoned in August: Pan's Labyrinth


  1. Starcrash (for the umpteenth time)
  2. Kiss me Monster - incomprehensible piece of spy caper stuff from Jesus Franco that makes even less sense than I remember.
  3. Six Days and Seven Nights - Anne Hesche plays a heterosexual, Harrison Ford plays old, David Schwimmer plays the same twat he played in Friends - and it's crap. Anne Hesche does have nice tits though.
  4. Fatal Deception: Mrs Lee Harvey Oswald - Helena Bonham Carter in a TV movie which felt a lot longer than its 87 minute run time. Some nice location work, nice costume, and set dressing but let down by a script that clanked along but ultimately went nowhere.
  5. Wild at heart - not one of Mr Lynch's better films.
  6. Confidential Report -
  7. Orlando (1992) - shared with Number One daughter - who now wants a copy.
  8. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 1 - only one more to go (huzzah!) and I'm pretty sure Dobby isn't coming back for it (double huzzah with sprinkles!). Christ! I was bored.
  9. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2 - ditto
  10. Elvira Mistress of the Dark - NORKS!
  11. The Two Towers - Which I enjoyed a lot more than number one .
  12. The Fifth Element - again.
  13. Lockout (2012) - overlong (it was 95 minutes and felt like two hours) violent piece of action shit which proved, yet again, that all futuristic prison movies are crap. As a measure of the overwhelming stupidity of the script I offer in evidence the fact that our heroes bosses', safe on-board an orbiting police station and closely monitoring the situation, only notice the gigantic orbiting space prison has deviated from its usual orbit and is plunging towards the earth after it has collided with, and totalled, the International Space Station.... Later the hero and heroine jump out of the plummeting space prison (wearing space suits) and start to fall to earth faster than it is falling. (Huh? I'm really not sure how that works but the script writers obviously couldn't think of another way to get our protagonists out of the way of the cataclysmic explosion about to occur - the usual bomb with a digital display timer on the outside - YAWN!). After entering the atmosphere (and not burning to a frazzle) our heroes discard their suits - a matter of snapping a couple of toggles and off it pops (death by accidental space suit toggle snappage while in a vacuum must be pretty common in this operation if they all come off that easily) and, as a cherry on the stupidity trifle, they parachute to the ground. All space suits come with internal parachutes apparently. Just in case.
  14. Brokeback Mountain -
  15. Car Wash (1976) - I like Car Wash. One of those cracking little films that just cheers me up.
 Abandoned in July: The Idiots after twenty minutes. Lars von Trier does the Dogma thing (the cinematic version of finger-painting) and it's shit.


  1. Journey to the Center of the Earth ( 2008 ) - the Brendon Fraser one. Again. Number One Son's Movie Night choice. My heart fell but I had forgotten how hot the lead female was - so not a totally wasted 90 minutes.
  2. Barbarella - As part of her whistle stop tour of Great 60s Trash (Last week it was Danger Diabolik) I introduce Number One Daughter to Barbarella. She loved it. This is the film that Starcrash - another of my favourite all time SF films - wanted to be. No 1 Daughter likes Starcrash too. Chip of the old block is my daughter, gladdens my heart it does.
  3. Happily N'Ever After (2006)- not very good kids' movie aiming for the Shrek target market and failing. I fell asleep.
  4. Forbidden Kingdom (2006) - I'm getting to like Jackie Chan films. Even the later CGI Wire-Fu stuffed ones. (Though anything with Chris Rock in it still gets a body swerve)
  5. The Scorpion King - Conan in all but name.
  6. Fritz the Cat (1972) - pointless, unpleasant, and boring.
  7. Lord of the Rings - for a second time and which I didn't hate as much as I did last time mainly due to having fun formulating several new (possibly libellous) reasons why I think LotR is crap.
  8. The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec (2010) - this almost worked but just didn't gell for me. I love the comic books - what I understand of them, my French is very rusty - but the film just missed somehow.



  1. Frozen - Friday night choice of Number One Son (aged 6) - who has seen it before so has no excuse. Not as bad as I was dreading but the SONGS! Dear Gods! (Probably - almost certainly!- the first use of Fractals in a Disney movie in the lyrics to Let it Go: "My soul is spiralling in frozen fractals all around...") A couple of non Disney moments struck me as I watched it. For though this looks feels and sounds like a 'Classic' Disney fairy tale there is a great chunk of 21st Century feminist subtext going on here: the sudden sexualisation of Elsa as she builds her Fortress of Solitude was remarkable. And the Act of True Love that makes everything better in the end is not the expected heterosexual kiss but the heroine sacrificing herself for her sister. Very modern; almost interesting. If only it wasn't stuffed full of bloody awful songs!
  2. Voyage of the Rock Aliens - as bad as that title sounds the reality is worse.
  3. Humanity's End (2009) - About 5 minutes in I remembered where I had seen the director's name, Neil Johnson, before. He'd directed a piece of shit called Demon's in my Head which (it turns out after a bit of poking about in my diary and the IMDb) I watched some ten years ago.* As it happens Johnson made Humanity's End, a zero budget Battlestar Galactica wannabe, ten years after he made Demon's in my Head. He hasn't improved as a director or scriptwriter. The story is confused and doesn't make any sense, is badly told; the characters, not even paper thin, do stupid things and swap sides for no apparent reason, and have rambling, 'WTF is this all about?' inducing conversations at the drop of a hat. It's just a bunch of ideas and lines from other films piled up together in the hope that something will gel. It doesn't. A (very naff) self-published novel made flesh.
  4. Saint (2010) - stupidly gory Dutch horror film about a demonic Saint Nicholas who, every 32 years when a full moon falls upon December 5th, terrorises Amsterdam. Not often you see a film in which our hero is rescued from police custody by a horse falling from a rooftop onto a police car and then rescued from the horse's demonic owner by someone waving a flame thrower. I almost enjoyed it.
  5. Headspace (2005) - urban horror that started well but slowly slipped into very familiar territory and lost it when they finally showed the monsters - which looked very like the Creature from the Black Lagoon with horns.
  6. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006) - overlong but entertaining enough.
  7. Terrornauts (1967) - very dull piece of British SF which suffered the indignity of having TWO comic reliefs in the shape of Charles Hawtree and Patricia Hayes.
  8. Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva (2009) - an anime based on a puzzle game my 13 year old Number One Daughter plays on her DS. A confusing opening had multiple layers of flashback (which probably meant something to people who knew the games but left me sitting there in the dark for 15 minutes waiting for the film to start) the middle was like Scooby-do on acid and the last five minutes were an agony of 'don't know how to end the movie' flopping about - with a post credit sting that I don't think got get us back up through all the layers of flashback. Number One Daughter enjoyed it.
  9. Death Note (2006) - another Japanese film that starts with a weird disjointed flashback opening just like Professor Layton. After a few minutes I came to the conclusion the central character was an unmitigated arsehole and couldn't wait for him to get his comeuppance - it didn't happen. And it didn't happen very slowly. With lots of slow zooms and dolly shots to cover up the fact that not a lot was happening. Number One Daughter (who has read a couple of the books) enjoyed it.
  10. Beyond the Rising Moon (1984) - dull sf film which aimed, at times, for meaningfulness and missed.
  11. Twelve to the Moon (1960) - probably the dullest 'first men on the moon' film I have yet seen, though it does garner a few brownie points for having a mixed ethnicity crew (the non Caucasian members of which actually survive till the end of the film!) and messages about world peace and forgiveness. (The bad guy turns out to be the snarky French member of the crew who is thwarted by the snarky Russian member of the crew and the angry Israeli member of the crew dies in a Noble Act of Self Sacrifice with tortured German member of the crew, who is the son of the Nazi commander responsible for the extermination of the angry Israeli member of the crew's family etc. etc.). But, by golly, it was a grind getting to the end. There were, as was obligatory in space films of this period, unexpected meteor showers along the way which did nothing to alleviate the boredom. The end (the aforementioned Noble Act of Self Sacrifice) involved our heroes knocking up an atomic bomb out of bits lying about their spaceship and dropping it down the Popocatepetl volcano which will, somehow, by the magic of WTF 1950's movie science, unfreeze the whole of North America which has been plunged into an instant ice age by moon people.
  12. Starship (aka Lorca and the Outlaws 1984) - six years before making his masterwork, Battlefield Earth, ("This! This is the one I will be remembered for!") director Roger Christian made this flaccid, tedious piece of SF poo. I think it was about an evil corporation wanting to massacre all its employees and replace them with robots and the only people who can stop them are three, young, unemployable actors and a robot. Leaden-paced but with sudden out-of-nowhere bursts of confused, badly-staged action which made the film both boring and baffling at the same time - an interesting combination. The show culminated in a superb piece of Ed Wood like stock footage abuse when a couple of (very) long shots of quarry blasting were meant to stand in for the cataclysmic explosions bringing the down the evil guys' base - or something. I was too bored and baffled to be bothered working out what was going on at the end apart from noting that our hero couldn't even pull a lever convincingly. Apparently 1980's pop sensations Toyah Wilcox and Peter Gabrielle were in it but I must have blinked and missed them.
  13. Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey (1991)
  14. Danger Diabolik (1968 )
  15. The Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - not as bad as I remember it, but not good.
  16. Cry Baby - again. I have no idea how many times I have watched this silly little film. This time I watched it with Number One Daughter who seemed to find it as funny as I did consequently I found it even funnier because I was watching it with her. Most movies improve with communal viewing.
Abandonised during May:

Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus. I managed to get to the point where our three maverick marine biologists - trying to solve the problem how to contain a thawed-out Giant Prehistoric Shark, capable of leaping clean out of the sea and biting chunks out of long-haul passenger jets cruising at several thousand feet - took it in turns to peer down a small microscope for a few seconds. Crap, even by the Asylums's low standards.