Well as you know I am always searching for straight to video movies that don’t suck. And even I sometimes forget why that is my mission, so let me put it down in writing here as a reminder. See, in the old days you had b-movies, you had exploitation movies, etc. And the idea of these movies was low budget, lowbrow, easy investment quickie moneymaker. Like squeezing out sausages. And there was alot of disposable garbage made, because that was the whole point. But within that world there were people like Roger Corman, William Castle, Jack Hill etc. who sometimes made movies that transcended just being a product, movies that some people still watch and hold dear today. Lots of directors like John Sayles, John Demme and maybe one or two other guys got their start working on cheapo Roger Corman movies about women in prison or giant alligators. Also unfortunately Ron Howard but that doesn’t count. And people like George Romero and Sam Raimi started with low budget independent movies made for the drive-ins, movies that nobody would expect to still be considered great all these years later. (read the rest of this shit…)
Archive for 2005
In the type of acting tour de la force that everybody loves unless they’re some kind of a dick, Philip Seymour Hoffman plays Truman Capote, the famous writer and weirdo. Although the use of only his last name as the movie’s title seems to imply that it will tell the entire story of his life and maybe even the entire story of the life of everybody with the last name Capote, this is actually not a full on biography. The story is narrowed down to the 4 or 5 years when he was working on his famous book IN COLD BLOOD, starring Robert Blake.
The movie starts out with a young girl discovering the dead bodies of a family murdered in a farmhouse. And before you know it Capote and his research assistant Harper Lee (author of the book TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, starring Gregory Peck) are nosing around asking everybody questions. So at first I thought this was gonna be kind of a LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN thing with famous authors going around solving crimes. I bet the Marquis De Sade did these murders. Or Edgar Alan Poe. (read the rest of this shit…)
SPOILER ALERT !!
Hey folks, Harry here… A couple of days ago, crazy Massawyrm began yapping about how much he liked LEGEND OF ZORRO and I pretty much wrote the film off, cuz… well Massa is a bit goofy in the head. He’s rooting for John McCain to be President in 2008 – so he’s not always to be trusted. But then I get this review from man-god Vern that says Zorro is essentially fighting Californian Neocon Christian Terrorist (C.N.C.T for short) and well, that’s the kind of goofy ass fantasy that I might be able to sign up for. Here ya go…
Legend of Zorro is an old fashioned cornball type of movie, just like the first one. It’s all about sword fights and horse chases and the need for California statehood. You got your swashbuckling, your derring-do, your flips, etc. Zorro is the type of guy who will add a flip into any plan whether it’s needed or not. In the opening scene he is chasing an ugly bad guy with wooden teeth, and at one point he does a flip that is actually counter-productive, it causes him to lag behind. But he still catches up. He’s fuckin Zorro, man, what did you think was gonna happen? (read the rest of this shit…)
For those of you out there who enjoy smart, politically relevant, historically based black and white newsroom dramas directed by charming movie stars who used to be on Roseanne, today’s your lucky day motherfucker. Mr. George Clooney is about to climb down your chimney.
GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK is the short and simple story of Edward R. Murrow getting disgusted with Senator McCarthy’s hearings and deciding to use his show to expose them. Some guy called David Straitharn is great playing Murrow, expressing pretty much everything through either facial expressions or the comments he makes on the air. The story is confined almost entirely to the newroom and the bar. It’s not a biography. The only home life is a subplot about a couple who have to hide the fact that they’re married because its not allowed in the workplace. (read the rest of this shit…)
It goes without saying that TODAY YOU DIE is Steven Seagal’s greatest movie title since at least OUT FOR A KILL. So I won’t bother to say it. Isn’t it awesome though? The movie itself is worth the time of any Seagalogist, but at least on my first viewing here it’s not one of the more crucial ones. It’s more competent than most straight to video movies (especially Seagal’s, lately) but not legitimately great. So, without anything really special or truly ludicrous, it ends up kind of forgettable. But it has its moments.
SUBMERGED flirted with being Seagal’s first monster movie (they cut out the CGI mutants before finishing the movie) and this one threatens to be a rare supernatural storyline. I won’t say his first because he did have some voodoo and shaolin magic in BELLY OF THE BEAST. There were also voodoo curses used by the villains in MARKED FOR DEATH, but it came off more like some cold mafia threat type shit than actual working magic. Anyway the opening scene here is a tarot card reading. I expected the card reader to say “Today you die,” but no dice. In fact, she had a surprisingly honest explanation of the DEATH card, which she said can mean different things. You gotta admire a straight shooting tarot card reader. (read the rest of this shit…)
I probaly never woulda known this if there wasn’t a movie, but it turns out Laurence Harvey, who is a guy in THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE (but not Frank Sinatra), had a daughter named Domino. But wait, there’s more. This daughter supposedly tried to follow in the footsteps of her super model mother, but then got bored and became a bounty hunter. Rich girl model becomes bounty hunter – sounds like a good story, and apparently director Tony Scott was friends with Domino and spent 12 years trying to bring “her story” to the screen. Tragically, she died of a drug overdose last summer having only seen parts of the unfinished movie. I just watched the whole god damn thing so believe me, I can relate. (read the rest of this shit…)
This review is for anybody out there who is a poor sucker, like me. If you are a poor sucker you might foolishly assume that this documentary about LORD OF THE RINGS fans is called RINGERS because it is like the movie TREKKIES. A horrifying look into the abyss. You stare at that fucker and it stares right back at you, or whatever. A freak show. A good time at the movies. A cultural document that gives you the fuckin creeps even thinking about it years later.
But you remember how TREKKIES seemed like it was trying to be respectful and non-exploitative of the fans, but the people they found were just so fuckin over the top that it didn’t work? You know, like halfway through the interview with the guy dressed as a woman that he says is the never shown on screen wife of a minor astrounaut character for one episode, they figured “Ah, fuck it, we can’t make a respectful documentary about these lunatics. Let the freak show begin.” Well this is not like that. This is more like a rejected VH-1 special. (read the rest of this shit…)
It’s all Laremy [name removed to protect the innocent*]’s fault. I know, sounds like a made up name, but this is apparently a real guy, a fellow Seattle movie reviewer who emails me all the time. As you know I am one of them lone wolfs they got, so I don’t want any part of no critical community or nothin. So I’ve made kind of a sport of dodging this guy’s kind offers to go to critic’s screenings with him. He sees alot of the same movies I do, but weeks early and for free. So I really oughta go but I told him look bud, I like to see the movies with my man Joe Public. (Joe Public actually is a made up name, it is symbolic of regular individuals such as you or I and not critics. Just to be clear. I think you knew that though sorry)
Anyway, Laremy gives me a heads up on alot of these, and he has a pretty good track record. He told me about 40 Year Old Virgin, he warned me that Lord of War was not as good as hoped, and a couple other ones. So I took him seriously when he said “SERENITY will be HUGE. Nice flick, nice laughs, nice action, well done all the way around. Summer Glau is highly doable as well.” When I asked him if that was that one space ship movie he got a little more thoughtful and warned not to get too excited because “it’s better with no expectations, like peyote.” (read the rest of this shit…)
SPOILER ALERT !!
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with our own Vern who tells ya’ straight about David Cronenberg’s A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE, a film I was scheduled to see last night, but I ended up sneaking into a test screening for a much anticipated horror flick instead. I figured I can see HISTORY OF VIOLENCE much sooner than I’d see this other film, so I ditched out of the screening. I’m dying to see it, though!
Now Vern’s review doesn’t go into any deep spoilers, but he talks about a little bit of stuff not in the trailer, so I went ahead and smacked a spoiler warning for the purists out there. As always, Vern did a bang-up job and wrote a piece that had me laughing along. Enjoy!
Harry and friends,
First of all Moriarty, to finish up that debate we were having over in your talkback, porn is not boring. At least not if you’re jerkin off to it. And if you’re not jerkin off to it you’re not giving the picture the respect it deserves. That’s like doing a crossword puzzle during a subtitled movie and then saying the movie didn’t make any sense. I know Alberto Gonzales recently declared a “war on porn” one of the administration’s highest priorities, but don’t write off the merits of hardcore porn without giving it a fair chance. Let’s show some class here, bud. That’s first of all. Second of all, I got a review of David (JASON X) Cronenberg’s excellent new picture A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE starring Viggo Mortensen. (read the rest of this shit…)
I’m not sure why but the other day I decided it was time to start The Great Asian Catch-Up Binge of 2005. You know how it is, some movie like HERO or something comes out in Asia, plays some big film festivals in the west, makes a big stir, comes out on region coded DVD and bootlegs, everybody goes nuts, I don’t get around to watching it, then it gets shelved by Miramax for a couple years, almost comes out cut and dubbed with a new soundtrack by R. Kelly, they change the title to MAXIMUM FORCE or something, then at the last second they change their mind and do an actual theatrical release, and a couple months later if it’s still playing that might be when I finally see it. But usually not.
Well people have been going ape shit for movies from pretty much every Asian country over these last couple years. I’m sure alot of them are good but I just can’t keep up. So what I have decided to do, I am going to try to watch some of the ones people just won’t shut their god damn yaps about. Get it over with so I know what they’re talking about. I’m planning to watch ICHI THE KILLER from Japan and the INFERNAL AFFAIRS trilogy from Hong Kong. But in honor of the six party talks with North Korea going on right now I’m going to start with Korea and that movie OLDBOY that everybody couldn’t stop talking about a year or two ago and then moved on leaving me in the dust. It finally came out on American DVD, so I rented the old region 3 import version.
No, this is not the red guy with the giant hand. THat’s Hellboy that’s a different movie. (read the rest of this shit…)