"I take orders from the Octoboss."

Vern on the 2nd ‘Reel’ CINERAMA Film Festival in Seattle!

Hey folks, Harry here with Vern… he’s our magical little friend from up in Seattle and he doesn’t like KRULL! What sort of soulless mutherfucker doesn’t dig on KRULL! KRULL is the film that introduced the GLAVE and THE GLAVE is the fucking weapon of choice in my D&D household! And the Spider sequence… the sand in the hand… Ancient bitter love… FIRESTEEDS! Oh absolutely it’s got levels of funk 4 feet deep all about, but I love all sorts of crazy shit in that movie, and would love to see it in 70mm. ENVY! Ok, here’s Vern, who I still like, even if he’s too backwoods to get KRULL!

Boys –

Every once in a while – or once a year, I guess – Seattle’s landmark Cinerama (Cinerama.Com) theater has a film festival where they show a bunch of archival 70mm prints and a couple in actual 3-projector Cinerama. And then a bunch of people watch the movies, etc.

This year some of the films shown include LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, HOW THE WEST WAS WON (in 3-strip Cinerama), THIS IS CINERAMA, OKLAHOMA and IT’S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD. I forgot to go to those but I saw GHOSTBUSTERS, TOTAL RECALL and KRULL instead. All in 70mm.

I know what you are thinking. 70 millimeters? That’s only like 7 centimeters. Actually, 70 mm is the size of the film they are projecting from. But they are projecting it onto a huge 90 foot by 30 foot curved screen. The screen they normally have at the Cinerama is huge, but this is its big, intimidating cousin and it blew me away when I first saw it. I neglected to mention that the first picture I saw was actually an honest to god, only Pauline Kael is allowed to hate this movie without being an asshole masterpiece, and that is:

Stan Kubrick’s 2001: A GOD DAMN SPACE ODYSSEY THAT WILL BLOW YOUR FUCKIN MIND (alternate title).

I’m going to trust that you boys have all seen this movie at least twice so you will remember the audacious type opening with the eclipse and that Zarathustra guy going “dun… duuuun… duuuuuuuuuuuuuun…”

And imagine as you watch that the curtains are opening, and opening, and opening and you can’t fuckin believe that they are still opening and there is still more screen behind them.

“…DUH DUH!!!”

Fuckin incredible. 2001 is a movie that seems like it’s told from God’s point of view, so it’s only fitting to see it on a screen as ig as God’s merciful all-hanging nutsack.

If you haven’t seen 2001, it’s Kubrick’s movie about some monkeys, a cheetah, and then some stuff in space. There may or may not be a baby involved, but I don’t wanna give away the ending. To this day it is awe inspiring in its approach, the way it combines music and movement like some kind of space ballet. It’s a good guess at what the future will be like, with lots of creepy situations and great special effects. If you think about it this movie has had the shit imitated out of it and still there’s nothing remotely like it. The only thing I think comes close is ALIEN, but that’s going off in a completely different direction. You just feel like you are in the hands of a filmatist who threw the rule book out the window, and it landed in a pile of dog shit, and you are able to follow him with full confidence that he will bring you to places that movies have never gone before and aren’t likely to go again soon. Can you imagine the balls on this guy to say okay, my movie opens millions of years ago with a bunch of monkeys eating meat, and then after that goes on for a while it moves to a space station. And he KNEW it would work.

(Full review at my web sight.)

I thought the print was a little scratchy, but then I realized the curved screen has vertical grooves in it that you can sometimes see. But once I got past that it looked great. There was a web site at the end of the credits so it must’ve been a print from a re-release. Some guy in line said he saw it 70mm in 2001, “the year this film takes place.”

Next up was


This picture came out in the 1980s or so and is about ghosts. It was a popular combination of comedy and horror type special effects and it also put the red circle with a slash through it on the map. That shape was HUGE for a while. They had shirts with whatever-busters on them. And also you would go, “he slimed me” and that was HILARIOUS at the time. Now, I don’t know, I think it’s over my head now.

Anyway this was a fun picture to watch, but I don’t think it stands the test of time as well as, say, the various Harrison Ford pictures that you boys love. Bill Murray and occasionally Rick Moranis are the only funny parts, but there really aren’t THAT many laughs. Mr. Murray gets way more laughs even in his supporting roles these days. The highlights are definitely the cartoony special effects characters like the giant marshmallow man and the green slimy ghost, but as memorable as they are they really aren’t in there too much. And some of the music is terrible! But I have to admit I forgot how hot Sigourney Weaver used to be.


Total Recallwas next and that was the second best movie I saw in the festival. I have to admit I have not even seen T PART 3 because I have been avoiding Schwarzenegger ever since he decided to sell the empty space where his soul would be and become corporate evil’s shiny new model teleprompter-reading monkey. I’m still kind of in shock that we actually live in a world where this really happened. I guess Greg Palast said it best on a talk show where he was asked what we should tell kids who are trying to learn about democracy and he said, “Tell them that Spider-man wasn’t on the ballot.” I still think somebody should’ve made political ads using the footage from PUMPING IRON where Schwarzenegger laughs and enjoys his breakfast in apartheid era South Africa, completely oblivious to the misery of the black waiters standing behind him. I think that says everything you need to know about this musclebound asshole. That and JINGLE ALL THE WAY, I guess.

In other words he’s not my favorite guy in the world. Let’s face it, he had still not mastered the craft of acting. I was not yet convinced he was qualified. He should’ve kept at it. But I went to see TOTAL RECALL regardless because it’s Paul Verhoeven, everybody’s favorite perverted dutchman. And I’m so glad I went because I forgot how great this picture is.

The story I guess comes loosely from Philip Dick, and its got a bunch of “mindfuck” type business. Schwarzenegger is your average everyday working man, a futuristic construction worker who happens to look like Mr. Universe and lives happily with his wife (ABOVE THE LAW’s Sharon Stone). But he keeps dreaming about Mars. So he goes to a service that gives you memory implants in place of a vacation, paying for a fantasy about being a secret agent on Mars. But he flips out during the implanting and it turns out that actually his memory has been erased – he saw something he shouldn’t have on the real Mars, and his wife and co-workers are all fakes put there to spy on him. So he escapes and heads for the colony on Mars with Michael Ironside and a bunch of other psychos on his tail.

Basically the first 2/3 of the movie are one long chase, until they finally catch him and then things twist in a different direction. There are a couple pull-the-carpet-out-from-under-you type moments where you find out that things are not as they seem, which I guess is what you get from Phil Dick. But what’s even more fun is all the freaky Verhoevian gimmicks. The special effects are great, including an animatronic cab driver and lots of great Rob Bottin makeup effects. He does a great job with the mutated humans on Mars and horrible violence like the climactic scene where Schwarzenegger and his love interest are thrown out onto the surface with no helmets and their eyes start to pop out of their skulls.

That’s the other thing about this movie, it’s so fuckin violent! I remember they made a big deal about it at the time but I forgot that it really was pretty brutal. Nobody just gets shot, they have to get horribly impaled or drilled or explode or something. This is one of them spoilers, but the best part is when Schwarzenegger throws away both of Michael Ironside’s bloody severed arms and says, “See you at the pah-ty, Richter.” I swear, they only mentioned a party earlier to set up that oneliner.

Schwarzenegger is completely stiff and unconvincing, but it’s okay because it gets some laughs. Verhoeven is master of the ironic casting – see the entire cast of STARSHIP TROOPERS, for example. There were also some laughs coming from the whole “governator” thing, dialogue that almost sounds like he’s talking about going into politics.

And only Verhoeven would have a hooker with three titties. STARSHIP TROOPERS had the co-ed showers, TOTAL RECALL has the hooker with three titties. This makes a good trilogy with ROBOCOP and STARSHIP TROOPERS, the horribly violent sci-fi action movies with subversive political undertones. In this one Schwarzenegger is fighting AGAINST the corrupt corporation that’s bilking people for needed resources (air in this case) instead of helping them getting away with defrauding everybody like he does in California. Anyway I hope Mr. Verhoeven makes more movies like this. Does he really want to make a ROBOCOP sequel and call it ROBOCOP 2? That would be the best. Remember, the first one was made before even Rodney King, let alone the Patriot Act. There is so much more to work with now.

Finally I saw this movie called


KrullAnd I think some of you motherfuckers owe me an apology. Every time you newsies in the talkbacks aren’t criticizing me for pointing out the high quality of BLADE II, or calling Harry a fat fuck, you’re talking about fucking KRULL. KRULL this and KRULL that. I love KRULL. KRULL is the great movie blah blah blah etc.

I thought with this kind of buzz maybe there was something to it. After all, you nerds were right about LORD OF THE RINGS, weren’t you? You even called it years ago when FELLOWSHIP OF THE RINGS only won a couple Oscars, and not all of them, and not every award from the Cable Ace to the Car and Driver Automobile of the Year. Some of you were outraged and then the wise ones spoke and said RETURN OF THE KING is the emotional payoff of the story. It will be the one that will get best picture. And possibly ten other Oscars, tying with TITANIC and BEN-HUR.

You were right about RETURN OF THE KING. But you were NOT right about KRULL. Unless you were being sarcastic. Were you playing a joke on an old man? Shame on you. A man only has so many hours left in his life, you give him this shit for two hours. It’s a crying shame.

This is a story about a planet called Krull where a magic space mountain lands. So a guy who looks like Peter Pan with a beard marries some lady so that he can be king and fight off “the slayers” and “the beast.” But the lady gets kidnapped. So an old man tells him to climb a mountain. Then he walks around. There are trees and fields. At the end he fights one lousy monster. Using a magic throwing star that does all the work for him.

This is the dullest fantasy I’ve seen in a long time, almost giving FINAL FANTASY and WING COMMANDER a run for their money. Because for a fantasy, there’s really not a whole lot of fantastical shit in it. It’s like an adventure with no ewoks. Or a clash with no titans. It’s like returning, only to find that there is no Oz. There is one funny looking cyclops, and the guy who played the teacher in WILLY WONKA occasionally turns himself into animals. You can tell that guy is supposed to be the comic relief, because the hero smiles every time he looks at him. The only real appealing special effect in the whole thing is a stop motion spider. Liam Neeson (SCHINDLER’S LIST, DARKMAN) is in it, but he just rides a horse.

This was the deadest screening I saw at the festival. I don’t know, they also showed SILVERADO so that’s the only one that could have possibly been deader. But there was no cheering and no laughing until the last ten minutes. The crowd finally woke up when one of the good guys got shot by a laser and screamed “AAAAAHHH!” as he fell off a bridge. Then it was kind of funny when the hero was fighting the monster, because he just stood there smiling while his magic blade did all the fighting. Then he looked confused when it didn’t finish the job. But he found out he could shoot fire out of his hand using the magic of love or some stupid shit like that.

So yeah, real funny guys. You tricked me into seeing KRULL. You should be ashamed of yourselves picking on an old man who never did nothing to nobody, at least not since I did my bid. Grow up, in my opinion. We gotta come together in these times.

Anyway, despite that, I gotta say this was a good festival. Too often now people only watch old movies (or movies at all!) on dvd. I’m not one of those nuts like in the documentary CINEMANIA who will only watch movies on film, but man it’s great to be able to see 2001 or even TOTAL RECALL with an audience, on a screen, and not digital. Especially a gigantic screen like this, and without ads. It’s just like the old days, only you appreciate it more now. Thank you Cinerama for doing this and shame on all theaters that don’t do this. Fuck you motherfuckers.

anyway thanks boys, have a good one,


p.s. I am a uniter, not a divider, that’s why I did not mention how much BLADE II rules in this review. So stay cool talkbackers, everything’s cool man, peace.

Originally posted at Ain’t-It-Cool-News: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/17160


View the archived Ain't-It-Cool-News Talkback
This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 10th, 2004 at 5:02 pm and is filed under Action, AICN, Fantasy/Swords, Reviews, Science Fiction and Space Shit. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

7 Responses to “Vern on the 2nd ‘Reel’ CINERAMA Film Festival in Seattle!”

  1. Is this a good place to discuss the Total Recall remake? (if there is such a place) There’s surprisingly alot to like about it – a lot of neat world-building, tons of cool gadgets and set designs, the decency to entirely overhaul the original’s plot. (Instead of Mars, Earth is split into the haves and have-nots – and the haves keep everybody down with patrolling androids- it’s basically the Elysium setup!) This is a huge, expensive, ambitious movie (as ambitious as a remake can get, I guess). Colin Farrell is obviously more convincing as an “everyman” than Arnold could ever be, and is great in the first 20 minutes or so when he’s playing a normal guy. Kate Beckinsale (who I’ve never really cared about) is actually kind of awesome here – her gratuitous flips and martial arts poses that seemed kind of forced and lame in the Underworld movies actually come across as badass now that she’s playing a villain. I can’t explain why but she really clicks here in a way that I’ve never seen her before – I was actively rooting for her not to die simply because she’s the best thing on screen and we all know what happened to her character in the first one.

    But unfortunately there’s a ton to dislike – once Farrell enters Jason Bourne mode he becomes less and less likable, the action sequences aren’t executed as well as they should be -it really seems like Wiseman is about to have an awesome, iconic shot, and then cuts one second too soon – that happens over and over again in this movie, like he’s doing it on purpose. There’s so many lens flares in this, it’s comical. JJ Abrams would say “dude, that’s too much”. There’s way too many video-gamey sequences that make no sense on any level (like the Contra-esque factory scene in Episode II but worse) and Jessica Biel is flat and lifeless as the heroine (she was pretty amazing in The Tall Man, I have no idea what happened to her here). Tons of scenes like the “removing the bug”/security checkpoint/”swallow the pill” scene from the original are re-done here with a “let’s just hurry up and get it over with” arbitrariness. The 3rd act isn’t just a mess from a storyline standpoint, where the villain’s plan is really dumb and makes no sense, but also doesn’t work at all from an action standpoint – I literally didn’t know where characters were, who was inside the ship, who was on top of the ship, etc…I do admire them for having the balls to have a climax involving Bryan Cranston having a fistfight with Colin Farrell and beating him for most of it.

    Still, Beckinsale and the world-building make this worth a Redbox/cable watch. Or if you’re around kids too young to watch the real Total Recall.

  2. It’s like they took every idea that was interesting about TOTAL RECALL and stripped it out leaving only the action, which has a lot of obvious CGI running and jumping, a bastardization of the BLADE II technique. Even when they do scenes like the swallow the pill/remove the bug, it’s like they didn’t even get what those scenes were about and just copied the dialogue.

    Did you watch the extended cut where a different actor plays Quaid in the flashbacks? So now it’s not even the mindfuck of the same body with opposing personalities. He was a completely different person before.

    I would have loved a new Total Recall to be great and make it a new series of Rekall mind warp adventures, but Total Remake was really everything I could have worried it would be. And they should’ve cast Cranston as Quaid. That would be an Everyman.

    Oh, and Quaid dissatisfied with his boring humdrum life? He works in a fucking robot factory. That’s more exciting than being a spy. They didn’t even get that right.

    And the three tits look faker because they’re suppose to be real, as in not a mutant Martian this time. On the DVD extras the FX guys are so proud of the improvements in the three tits effect, and they’re deluded. It’s faker than ever. Not that it should be real. It’s a joke. Nobody wants to see a realistic three breasted woman. It’s not hot. If a woman really had that she’d have corrective surgery.

  3. Vern, I was horrified to read your review of Ghostbusters here, it happens to be one my my favourite movies of all time. The young Analog would have given anything to become a ghostbuster, it’s sad how we give up on our dreams as we grow older.

    I know you don’t care to review comedies often because of the subjective nature of humour (I find Will Ferrell like chalk on a blackboard but am firmly in the minority there) but I do wonder whether you still hold the same opinion about there not being that many laughs and the effects being dated?

    I am really interested to know what you think, if anything, of Paul Feig’s reboot. It appears to be aping the aesthetic of, and if rumours are true, rehashing plot lines in, the first two movies, just this time with an all female cast. It doesn’t make much sense as a concept to me.

  4. This was back when Vern was all like “The nineties and seventies are where it’s at, son, the eighties are for babies, everybody knows this.” I’m sure he’s become more enlightened now.

  5. Yeah he’s altogether a bit more rounded since those heady days back in ’04. Me too as it happens, though that’s more down to my love of beer and bacon (not necessarily at the same time).

  6. Well, first of all I wrote that not-really-review 11 years ago, and with the intended audience of Ain’t It Cool, whose buttons I liked to push. I always liked GHOSTBUSTERS but yes, as I say in the review, I don’t feel it’s on the same level of other worshiped ’80s movies like STAR WARS and RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. Or for that matter THE BLUES BROTHERS, if we’re looking at it as a Dan Ayckroyd creation. I feel that way about BACK TO THE FUTURE too, another movie that is treated as holy scripture by that generation. But I like them both more than GOONIES.

    I don’t believe I said the effects were dated, I said they were the best part of the movie, along with Murray.

    As for the remake, I don’t really like the idea of remaking it, but I like the cast and thought BRIDESMAIDS, THE HEAT and SPY were all funny, so of course I will see it. At least they’re doing that and not Max Landis’s origin story for the fat guy who became Slimer.

  7. Thanks for the response Vern. I’m not sure why I thought you had said the effects were dated, something of a brain fart there.

    It’s interesting you should reference THE GOONIES; my wife seems to have grown up in some kind of cultural vacuum, missing many movies from her childhoodm which is fantastic because I get to rediscover them as an adult with someone who has never seen them before.

    Not having seen it since I was a kid, we sit down to watch it and I realise that this movie is much worse than I remember it. The tone is all over the place, the kids are incredibly obnoxious and seem to have been directed to shout at and over each other and essentially everyone in the movie is a moron. Coupled with the slight undercurrent of racism (both the Spanish maid and the character of Data) and the troubling portrayal of the Sloth character – even whilst admiring the fact that the character with special needs, initially presented as terrifying, is in fact the hero of the movie – it was quite an eye opener watching this movie again without the veneer of nostalgia.

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