Sunday, August 31, 2014

Film #73: The Social Network (2010)

Plot - The one and only fact I learned from The Social Network: Mark Zuckerburg is a fucking asshole, and anyone who thought his life was interesting is a bigger asshole.

Form - Why is everything yellow? Real life isn't fucking yellow all the time.

F/X - No.

Acting - No.

Mise en scene - "What am I going to use to design my set? Let me think...oh, I know: yellow."

Quotables - No.

Cool stuff - If this category was boring shit, it'd be a 7/7. I've never seen a film so difficult to enjoy.


Film #72: Game Changer (2012)

Plot - A truly ridiculous ensemble plays in the most confusing film about politics ever. It's all about them randomly picking Sarah Palin to be John McCain's running mate, but from there it sort of gets confusing. Do candidates really sit around watching MS-NBC to gauge what the media thinks of them? Is Palin supposed to be brave for running for vice-president or a total fool for not knowing anything about foreign policy? Did Palin actually give great speeches like every character in the film tells me? It's propaganda to be sure, but who does this serve?

Form - Eh.

F/X - No.

Acting - Everybody's great, and Moore proves herself to be the ultimate Sarah Palin clone.

Mise en scene - Not really anything cool. This is "reality" after all.

Quotables - Eh.

Cool stuff - I dunno. The whole film is really muddled and unfocused, and I'm not sure who's version of history it's presenting. Perhaps that's an honorable accomplishment in and of itself.


Film #71: 24 Hour Party People (2002)

Plot - Lock a bunch of hipster-ass post-punk people from England in a movie and you get this shit.

Form - Half the movie I'm staring at the main actor talking about how film blurs the lines between reality and fiction. Thanks for spoon-feeding me hipster though.

F/X - CG pigeons suck/

Acting - Hipster shit.

Mise en scene - Hipster shit.

Quotables - "I'm so glad we made a movie about my life, it blurs the lines between reality and fiction blah blah blah blah oh god I just took a huge hipster shit mid-sentence, but anway the club was costing us money and blah blah blah."

Cool stuff - No.


Film #70: Rudy (1993)

Plot - Pauly Shore's best friend stars as Rudy, a short and stupid guy who wants to play college football. Sentimental shit, but it's sort of funny because Sean Atstin's in it.

Form - It's a lot like those Lifetime movies if they were shot on real film.

F/X - No.

Acting - For a confused and aimless short person, you can't do better than casting Sean Astin.

Mise en scene - Bright as shit.

Quotables - "I'm short and stupid and I want to play football" is Rudy's mantra.

Cool stuff - No.


Film #69: Lock Up (1989)

Plot - Stallone's locked up, forced the finish the last of his minimum security prison sentence in a maximum security prison all because he pissed off the wrong warden. Psychological torture ensues in the most entertaining way.

Form - The warden confrontation scenes are pretty phenomenal. I love the first meeting, where the warden's shrouded in a haze of red lights.

F/X - No.

Acting - Stallone and Sutherland killin' it.

Mise en scene - Grimy prison cells. Atmospheric stuff.

Quotables - No.

Cool stuff - I love the scene where Stallone's friend steals the warden's car and somehow survives getting shot at for five minutes, and the final showdown is legit intense.


Film #68: Honey, I Blew Up The Kid (1992)

Plot - It's the reverse of Honey I Shrunk the Kids. Very little of the original cast returns, making the story feel a little barren compared to the original.

Form - This film inhabits a strange space between late '80s and early '90s comedy, although it makes you think there wasn't that much of a difference anyway.

F/X - The baby effects look awful. I'm surprised I thought this film was good when I was five.

Acting - Everybody sucks.

Mise en scene - No.

Quotables - No.

Cool stuff - Giant baby.


Film #67: 48 Hrs. (1982)

Plot - Buddy cop bullshit. It's probably because it's one of the first, but there's not a whole lot to set it apart now from all the garbage it helped create.

Form - No.

F/X - No.

Acting - Isn't it kind of creepy that Eddie Murphy tries to look the same now as he did thirty plus years ago? Everybody's good.

Mise en scene - This doesn't even have all the cool neon lighting that makes most eighties cop films great.

Quotables - There's supposed to be, but nah.

Cool stuff - Not as much as there should be.


Film #67: Romancing the Stone (1984)

Plot - Ghetto Raiders of the Lost Ark with a better cast. The last half hour is truly action-packed, with gators biting off peoples arms and everything!

Form - Ghetto Lucas.

F/X - The crocs are great, and gotta love that graphic arm bite.

Acting - Douglas is a much more believable Indiana Jones than Ford will ever be, and Turner is always great.

Mise en scene - Dense jungles. Dense, dense jungles and dirty villages.

Quotables - Not really.

Cool stuff - Tons! Falling down mudholes, tense confrontations, and wacky croc antics. One downside: it's absurd to even have guns in a movie where the baddies always miss. It's like an episode of the A-Team.


Film #66: Look Who's Talking Too (1990)

Plot - After pushing out Bruce Willis a year before, Kirstie Alley squeezes out Rosanne. The non-baby stuff is better than the first film, although a little random. Alley and Travolta randomly start fighting and break up, leaving the babies to cry a lot and not really understand anything.

Form - Same as the first.

F/X - The baby effects are actually better than the first one!

Acting - Travolta does a ridiculous dance routine with some five-year-olds while Gilbert Godfried runs around.

Mise en scene - The womb has great mise en scene again.

Quotables - Aside from the usual diaper jokes, there's a scary toilet that wants to eat your poop and a lot of discussion about the frustrations of not being able to walk.

Cool stuff - Even better than the first!


Film #65: Look Who's Talking (1989)

Plot - Kirstie Alley conceives Bruce Willis, who has some really cute scenes rolling about in the womb. Travolta and Alley's romantic comedy parts aren't nearly as entertaining as Travolta and baby's.

Form - Good.

F/X - The womb effects are startling and clinical, clashing with the comedic nature of the film. It's great!

Acting - Bruce Willis steals the show as the baby and everybody else sucks.

Mise en scene - The womb has great mise en scene.

Quotables - Lots of gags about poop and diapeys and stuff.

Cool stuff - Babies running around in the streets, Kirstie Alley constantly foaming at the mouth for some sort of father figure, some great stuff.


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Film #64: South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999)

Plot - As the US of A continues to hike back towards conservative entertainment, it's kind of depressing revisiting the un-PC South Park film. I laughed, but y'know. Sad.

Form - It's like the show!

F/X - It's like the show!

Acting - It's like the show!

Mise en scene - It's like the show!

Quotables - Dozens, with countless catchy songs.

Cool stuff - It's like the show!


Film #63: King of New York (1990)

Plot - Christopher Walken plays the titular King of New York, and everybody else either wants to kil him or give him a kiss.

Form - Action sequences aren't as quick-cutty or frenetic as most films, giving them an interesting flavor.

F/X - Gun blood.

Acting - Wesley Snipes, Lawrence Fishburne, Steve Buscemi, and a variety of other famous/pre-famous actors are featured. Walken scares children with his version of hip hop dance/

Mise en scene - '80s in a rather timid way.

Quotables - Lots, although surprisingly I can remember more about Lawrence Fishburn's character than anything else.

Cool stuff - One weird ass gangster film, punctuated with the goofiest ensemble cast imaginable.


Friday, August 22, 2014

Film #62: The Last Stand (2013)

Plot - If I had realized Johnny Knoxville was one of the film's stars, I wouldn't have put it on. There's barely any character motivation behind anything, with simple things like a quick handshake signifying that two guys are BEST OF FRIENDS. The reason they don't have time to make anything meaningful is because there are tons of shitty CGI action scenes that evidently needed more screen time.

Form - Crappy. The action scenes have that weird shakey camera effect that action films do nowadays. Shaking a camera doesn't make things look real, it makes it look like the camera guy has problems.

F/X - CG and all around bad.

Acting - Most of Arnold's action scenes involve him driving a car. Why? Because he can barely move!

Mise en scene - Brown.

Quotables - Here's Arnold's new catchphrase for the 2010s: "I'm the sheriff." That just goes to show how generic and diluted entertainment has become. Nobody would have given a shit if the Terminator ran around saying "I'm the Terminator." Or all these other great potential phrases: "I'm the barbarian." "I'm the Quaid." "I'm the cop." "I'm the twin." "I'm the dad." Whoever wrote that dialogue is an asshole.

Cool stuff - No.


Film #61: Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1997)

Plot - The illuminati tells Leatherface and pals to kill people, although the reason isn't very clear. Or interesting.

Form - Some great cutting back and forth, especially in the kitchen wife battery scene. Otherwise, mostly dumb.

F/X - Three people get killed on screen in this massacre. Stupid.

Acting - Matthew McConahahagfay is pretty crazy as the main killer, who isn't Leatherface.

Mise en scene - For a scary Texas Chainsaw Massacre style film, you'd figure there'd be more spooky arifacts. But there isn't.

Quotables - No.

Cool stuff - A boob and a half? Lame.


Monday, August 18, 2014

Film #60: Bleed (2002)

Plot - I can't believe it's not Scream, it just really sucks. Bad dialogue, bad ending, bad everything.

Form - It sucks, like all 2000s digitally-shot films.

F/X - Two good kills in the beginning, one head smash and one organ removal, but it's followed by 80 minutes of shit.

Acting - Putrid.

Mise en scene - Not at all.

Quotables - Nothing.

Cool stuff - No!


Film #59: Big (1988)

Plot - Tom Hanks is a little guy turned big, who then acts like a kid and makes everyone really happy.

Form - Simple in a good way.

F/X - No.

Acting - Tom Hanks is pretty infantile, so he fits right in.

Mise en scene - There's a lot of really, really cool stuff in Big. Old computers, old toys, old trampolines, old stuff that's cool in general.

Quotables - Don't remember, but I wrote a song for the sequel: "Big 2/Big Twwwwwwooo/It's big enough for me/then it's big enough for you"

Cool stuff - Everything. Piano dancing and all kinds of stuff.


Film #58: See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989)

Plot - Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder witness a murder and because one of them picks up a gun, they are instantly held suspect and run around blowing up stuff to prove themselves innocent. Dumbish. Oh, and they're deaf and blind.

Form - No.

F/X - No.

Acting - Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder have a weird screen chemistry that works really well. They're adorable!

Mise en scene - No.

Quotables - Plenty, mostly involving Wilder going "I'M DEAF!" and Pryor going "I'M BLIND!" a lot.

Cool stuff - There's plenty, including a blind guy/deaf guy car chase that's pretty great.


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Film #57: Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)

Plot - Mike Myers is back, and he's killing people again. Thankfully, Donald Pleasence is back to spread a very end-of-days string of psychology to prepare everyone. It's quite suspenseful, and somehow gets me excited to see Michael Myers break out and return.

Form - Not a whole lot of cool.

F/X - There's one gory shot where Mike Myers tears a guys neck to pieces. The end.

Acting - Donald Pleasence is great, and considering he's on screen forty percent of the film, we've got a winner.

Mise en scene - Not really.

Quotables - There's a really good discussion between a hitchhiking Pleasence and a doomsday preacher.

Cool stuff - The build-up to the kills is frequently great, although the pay-off is always going to be some crappy cutaway kill.


Film #56: The Burning Moon (1992)

Plot - A very confusing and incredibly interesting approach. An anthology movie with a needlessly descriptive framing narrative, the film oscillates between actually being a decent film to gorehoundery.

Form - Well shot, especially for the German underground horror movement and shot-on-tape horror films in general. Sometimes the editing is incredibly confusing, but that has more to do with the technological limitations.

F/X - Insane! The last fifteen minutes in particular is probably the craziest gore effect sequence of all time. Five severed heads, tons of organ removals, etc. My favorite effect: an inside the mouth and esophagus shot of a girl eating an eyeball.

Acting - Olaf Ittenbach isn't just a great director and special effects artist, he's also a great 26-year-old teenager who shoots up and karate kicks gang members.

Mise en scene - Some great fog, and the second story in particular, set in the '50s, has a really great German village look to it. Probably because it was shot in one of their Dorfs.

Quotables - As in most German movies, everybody says shit a lot. Most of the killers also talk about death as a cathartic release, which is probably the closest thing to a message this film conveys.

Cool stuff - Everything. One of the best car accident effects ever, inner eye eating, and a pretty radical gang fight. This film has a much grander feel than Ittenbach's first release, Black Past, largely because it takes a lot more creative risks.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Film #55: Some Kind of Monster (2004)

Plot - This documentary is about four middle-aged men who will spend the rest of their lives grasping for some sense of adolescent rebellion and individuality despite the fact that they're millionaire recording artists who need a psychiatrist with them at all times.

Form - Lots of close-ups of ugly old guys and big wide shots of their fucking awful paintings that somehow sell for millions of dollars.

F/X - No.

Acting - Dave Mustaine gives the performance of his life as a former member of the world's most popular metal band.

Mise en scene - They build this idiotic recording studio out of an old apartment. You can't make this shit up.

Quotables - Mis-quoted, but: "This is my two year anniversary of surfing", "We don't want this to be a cliche"x100, etc.

Cool stuff - These guys are awful human beings. Hilarious.


Film #54: The Great Outdoors (1988)

Plot - John Candy and Dan Aykroyd are somehow related, leading to Dan coming to John's cottage and ruining his life in various ways. Unfortunately, the ways he ruins his life aren't nearly as funny as you want them to be, and any sort of emotion is squandered on a hopelessly predictable plot.

Form - Shot like any self-respecting family comedy, although it lacks those horrible sped up shots of people running away from bears. This one has normal speed bear chases, so I'll give it a point.

F/X - There's a really cool shaved bear that runs around. I don't know if they actually shaved a bear's ass in preparation for the film, but it looks like they did.

Acting - Eh, yet Aykroyd's really good as an annoying guy that you don't want to ever talk to.

Mise en scene - No.

Quotables - No.

Cool stuff - Not really. I really hope I'm not supposed to fondly remember John Candy for films like this. His greatest performance: Cool Runnings.


Saturday, August 2, 2014

Film #53: Violent Shit (1987)

Plot - There is no structure to this 72-minute tour-de-force. A serial slaughterer named K. The Butcher Shitter randomly kills various people in the forests of Germany. He falls down a lot for no apparent reason, and frequently has strange religious hallucinations, including crawling into Jesus Christ.

Form - Shot-on-tape films frequently attempt to replicate the style of mainstream cinema, but Violent Shit makes no attempts to do so. Most scenes are poorly framed around the glorious kill shots, a conscious decision that elevates the film to the highest state of garbage.

F/X - Very, very awesome and very, very anti-mimetic. A man gets ripped in half by a hedge-trimmer, a woman's entire body is slowly pried open like a giant clam, and waves of gore shoot out of everything. Punk as fuck.

Acting - Whoever plays K is really good at hobbling around with reckless abandon, and the other actors and actresses' dialogue is barely audible due to the awful sound quality.

Mise en scene - While most of the film is in the woods, there are some really great artifacts. There's a really creepy two minute sequence where the interior of a church is scanned over home movies style.

Quotables - Aside from people shouting shit all the time and loud grunting, there's not a whole lot of dialogue in the film. Thankfully, they're shouting shit in German, so it's still vaguely quotable.

Cool stuff - There is nothing not cool about this film. The soundtrack is also worth noting, a collection of off-time synth sounds and drum blasts. At certain points, popular songs will creep in, featuring WASP's "The Torture Never Stops" accompanied by a long, long take of someone driving a car in the woods. Few films are so chaotic. Even its director, Andreas Schnass, never made a film quite like it. The Violent Shit got more offensive and gross in terms of story, but they never again had such an utter disregard for viewer's expectations of what makes a horror film.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Film #52: Night Patrol (1984)

Plot - A comedy film of the lowest brow, Night Patrol is pretty fun. Lots and lots of gay jokes and more screwball humor than you can handle.

Form - Wacky and brutish.

F/X - There's a ridiculous "cop flies motorcycle into a tree" bit at the beginning. Otherwise, no.

Acting - Lots of good cheese. Murray Langston, aka the Unknown Comic, is great, as are Linda Blair, Pat Paulsen, and Andrew Dice Clay.

Mise en scene - Some really good gags involving setting make the mise en scene occasionally come to life.

Quotables - Tons and tons and tons. Gay/lesbian jokes, cop jokes, sexist jokes against both genders, pedophile jokes. For the PC '80s, this film is beyond risque. Tasteless to the core.

Cool stuff - Everything. Good actors, funny jokes, great look. It's a real hidden gem that'll put your favorite National Lampoons garbage from the time to shame.


Film #51: Munchies (1987)

Plot - Finally, I get to see the first entry in the Munchie trilogy. This film has nothing to do with it's sequels, focusing instead on a whole group of Munchies that are like hornier, angrier, hungrier, and more vocal Gremlins.

Form - Pretty direct, which works in such a silly direct-to-video film.

F/X - The Munchies are some of the worst puppets I've ever seen, which is probably part of the charm.

Acting - It's all over-the-top stuff.

Mise en scene - Sleazy B-movie shit with great sleazy B-movie locations, including but not limited to a miniature golf course, a slimy beach, and a meat-packaging plant.

Quotables - "I got things to do man, I'm going to the Berkeley tie dye and hacky sack festival".

Cool stuff - It's the first good Gremlins clone I've seen. Ghoulies and Critters were both big disappointments despite their better looking puppets. It goes to show one thing: New Line Cinema and Empire Pictures aren't as good as Roger Corman's studio.


Film #50: Ghoulies (1985)

Plot - This movie sucks. I figured it was going to be a Gremlins clone with all sorts of ghoulies running around. Instead, it's a movie about a guy's obsession with his dead dad's evil activities.

Form - Gotta love those extreme close-ups of the ghoulies. You can tell that they knew how bad the puppets looked.

F/X - Some really good ghoulie activity. One ghoulie materializes randomly right before your eyes, while others are jumping out of turkeys in spectacular fashion.

Acting - Bad.

Mise en scene - Ghoulies! Other than them, the haunted castle setting isn't really all that great.

Quotables - No.

Cool stuff - There should have been more ghoulies.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Film #49: The Amityville Horror (1979)

Plot - Josh Brolin's dad and John Heard's ex-wife move into a haunted house. The house begins to drive them to the brink of madness and generally just ruin their day.

Form - Not really anything good, although the final escape and the babysitter locked in the closet scenes are pretty striking.

F/X - Mostly relegated to the end, where the house starts bleeding and everything.

Acting - James Brolin and Margot Kidder make everything more believable than your average horror film.

Mise en scene - The house!!! I love all the shots where the front windows of the house are flashing over and over.

Quotables - My personal favorite is the scene where the priest mentions he's a psychologist, to which his superior chastises him for mentioning his "secular education".

Cool stuff - A lot of the occurrences, much like the book, are menial at best. Losing your money, babysitter being locked in closet, these portions aren't nearly as crazy as coming at your kids with an ax or falling into a hole filled with green sludge. Gives the film some character.


(I really don't like this film THAT much, so I'm surprised it scored so high)

Film #48: Scrooged (1988)

Plot - It's Christmas Carol for the '80s crowd. There's some good gags, especially the intro five minutes where Murray fills a commercial with nuclear war, terrorism, and muggings to get people scared into watching his Christmas special.

Form - Nothing.

F/X - Some cool stuff. The ghost of Christmas future has a bunch of demon's chilling in his belly, the ghost of Christmas past has some truly absurd make-up.

Acting - Bobcat Goldwaith, David Johansen, and Alfre Woodard make for a great supporting cast.

Mise en scene - Eh.

Quotables - I remember laughing at some stuff.

Cool stuff - Not really.


Film #47: The Thing From Another World (1951)

Plot - A silly film that can't determine whether it wants to be classic Hollywood fodder or true blue sci-fi flick. The romance angle is just ridiculous, while the UFO discovery scene is pure genius.

Form - Lots of long takes of conversations for some reason.

F/X - Pretty great, especially the big fire sequence that John Carpenter's remake didn't get right.

Acting - Awful. I wouldn't be able to tell that any of these people were scared of anything.

Mise en scene - Nice sets and some good locations.

Quotables - No.

Cool stuff - Aliens, aliens catching fire, UFOs, UFOs being frozen.


Monday, July 28, 2014

Film #46: Robot Jox (1990)

Plot - This film is (sometimes) awesome! The screenplay was penned by multiple Hugo award-winner Joe Haldeman, but it's story was conceived by Stuart Gordon, director of Re-Animator and story-conception guy for Honey, I Shrunk The Kids. By the film alone, you can tell that something terrible happened. Allegedly weighty issues and ideas are presented in the silliest form. I'm supposed to really care about these people, yet they feel paper-thin Saturday morning cartoon characters. The robot fights are great, but I wouldn't really count them as part of the story.

Form - Ranging from snappy to okay, the film tries to be a special effect joyride when only half the special effects even hit their mark.

F/X - Robot fights. This is the stuff dreams are made of, with models and stop-motion taking precedence over any fancy computer wizardry. The final battle is absolutely spectacular, and the first one is nothing to scoff at. My eyes widened when one mech fell and crushed an entire audience of spectators.

Acting - Ugh. Stuart Gordon was obviously going for a light tone here, with stereotypes being played up for what he thought would be dollar signs. Jeffery Combs has a cute cameo as a gambling idiot.

Mise en scene - Bright and anime-like. I wish there were more films like this.

Quotables - Not really. The main character drops off some stale one-liners.

Cool stuff - Robot fights! On land, in space, the visual effects are awe-inspiring. I'm excited to check out the two films marketed as sequels, Robot Wars and Crash and Burn.


Film #45: Critters (1986)

Plot - I was hoping this would be a good Gremlins rip-off, especially considering it's usual comedy-horror label. The actual critter scenes are great, but everything else sucks!

Form - Only nice during the critters scenes.

F/X - The critters are cool, rolling all around the floor and nibbling on people occasionally.

Acting - No.

Mise en scene - Very dark.

Quotables - At one point, a critter grabs an ET toy, says "who the hell are you?", and starts eating it. If only they stretched that joke out for 90 minutes, you'd have a good film.

Cool stuff - The critters! The sad thing is, the critters are a no-show for the first half. Aliens who are seeking the creatures are the real stars of the show, and they suck, too.


Film #44: The Karate Kid Part 2 (1986)

Plot - This really ought to be subtitled Mr. Miyagi's Family Reunion. They go to Japan, have some fun, and get into a fight to the death over a very stereotypical ideal of "HONOR". They even threw in one of those renowned Japanese hurricanes.

Form - Good! A lot more action than the first one, so a lot more cool sequences to break up the generally straight-forward approach.

F/X - More kicks!

Acting - Most of the actors are "Japanese", which means they all can speak fluent English. It gets a little tedious.

Mise en scene - Japan must be the greenest place on Earth. Sometimes they really need to relax on giving the sets that island feel.

Quotables - Whoever wrote Mr. Miyagi's dialogue should write self-help books.

Cool stuff - Most of the film's over-the-top silly, sort of like the Rocky IV of the Karate Kid series. Unlike Rocky IV, the original actually IS better.


Film #43: Sister Act (1992)

Plot - This film's actually a lot worse than I remember. Whoopi has to become nun because she witnesses crime. Everybody thinks she's such a great nun that they save her in the end.

Form - Boring. Every scene feels like its constantly switching between the same two shots.

F/X - None.

Acting - Harvey Keitel is great. I don't think I'll ever be convinced that Whoopi's the right person to play a "girl of sin". Also, why is it so sinful to sing at a hotel? She should have been a hooker.

Mise en scene - The church is very bright and the bars have worse lighting.

Quotables - There's a lot of gags about how Whoopi likes sex, much to the other nuns confusion.

Cool stuff - Disappointing. It's sort of like Gremlins, attempting to target both adult and children audiences, but without anything enjoyable for either unless you really, really love Whoopi.


Film #42: L.A. Confidential (1997)

Plot - Like every good drama based on a book, it's layered plot and character relationships are actually interesting.

Form - Action film zazz with barely any action, although it makes the actual transitions into violence less jarring.

F/X - Kim Bassinger doesn't look a million years old, which is probably a special effect in and of itself.

Acting - Everybody's good. I wish they would have picked somebody besides Danny DeVito.

Mise en scene - The '50s damn it. Good looking '50s at that.

Quotables - Probably, but I can't recall any goodies.

Cool stuff - Aside from what's already mentioned, no.


Film #41: Don't Look Now (1973)

Plot - Really weird. Plodding and subtle even for the time, which is reflected by the form. I didn't know whether to be on the edge of my seat or fall asleep.

Form - The film relies heavily on striking visuals to keep things going, including a really ridiculous sex scene that's as close to a Donald Sutherland sex tape as we'll ever get.

F/X - There's some blood, but it's that bright red crap that looks awful.

Acting - Donald Sutherland is cool.

Mise en scene - I'm not even going to lie, I wasn't paying that close attention. I'll give it half a point.

Quotables - Donald Sutherland says "I'm looking for my wife I swear she's here I saw her" eighty times.

Cool stuff - It would be cool if it wasn't so boring half the time.


Film #40: What Lies Beneath (2000)

Plot - This film tries to be clever by using non-linear tactics, but it only serves to highlight the crappy story.

Form - Thriller crap, although everything gets pretty exciting in the final twenty minute stretch. Check out those gratuitously long bath tub and chase sequences.

F/X - Awful CG ghosts.

Acting - Harrison Ford obviously isn't enjoying himself, although Ms. Pfeiffer probably is a crazy person in real life.

Mise en scene - Everything's either dull looking or all the lights are turned off.

Quotables - No.

Cool stuff - There's nothing cool about spousal abuse, whether it's in Michelle Pfeiffer's head or actually happening to Michelle Pfeiffer.


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Film #39: The Karate Kid (1984)

Plot - Teenage Rocky gets karate training from Asian maintenance worker who happens to own ten classic cars. Brilliant!

Form - Sometimes plodding, but the action-packed finish (clocks in at about two minutes) is nuts.

F/X - Cool kicks!

Acting - The leads, minus the girlfriend, are all great. Lovable heroes, intense villains, everybody knows their role and plays it well.

Mise en scene - I love Miyagi's run down "oriental" shack.

Quotables - Mr. Miyagi steals the show with the obvious famous lines.

Cool stuff - The soundtrack is absolutely fabulous! I can't think of a better collection of random '80s trash, and where else would I hear these songs but in this classic film?


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Film #38: Muppet Treasure Island (1996)

Plot - Quite possibly the greatest pirate film ever made, featuring song, dance, and lots of morbid humor. Some pretty grim jokes from the Muppets, although I do remember characters dying pretty frequently when I watched Muppet Show re-runs on Nick At Nite.

Form - It's hard to make shots too complicated when seven-eighths of the cast are puppets.

F/X - All the special effects in this film talk, which is a good thing.

Acting - Tim Curry is great as an over-the-top chef-cum-villainous pirate. The Muppets are okay, too.

Mise en scene - It looks like every '90s pirate film: really bright.

Quotables - Plenty. My personal favorite regarding a trio of dishwashers: "I'll wash." "I'll dry." "I'll break."

Cool stuff - The humor's definitely aged better than the first Muppet film, although this film does fall into the "so 90s it hurts" category at times.


Film #37: The Invisible Man's Revenge (1944)

Plot - "Suggested by The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells", this film shows just how perverted a good suggestion can get. Guy wants to blackmail millionaires who owe him money, becomes invisible to get what he wants, chaos reigns.

Form - Boring.

F/X - He's an invisible kinda man! While the effects are corny and had already been seen in several prior Invisible Men, they still do the trick.

Acting - Boring.

Mise en scene - Boring. I think there's some well-used fog early on in the film.

Quotables - No.

Cool stuff - Sorry.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Film #36: Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

Plot - Bwar-har-har it's looney! The Monty Python troop is punk as ffff, playing with story structure in ways that actually can make you laugh.

Form - Probably more well-done than most '70s films. Quick cuts for the action, long takes for the absurdly long dialogue gags. They know what they're doing.

F/X - Gore gore gore! I love that this movie has so much gore!

Acting - They're kooky and they're hooky. John Cleese is actually one of the worst performers in the Python trope, at least in this film. Still, any film where 90% of the characters are played by six guys can't ever be bad.

Mise en scene - Not really any. The whole thing is sort of just in the woods most of the time.

Quotables - Obnoxiously quoted into oblivion, the quotable parts make me roll my eyes just because I've heard them so many times.

Cool stuff - Better than I remember, but the obnoxious fanbase makes some parts hard to stomach. It's like trying to listen to Mindless Self-Indulgence or watch Adult Swim: you just know that there's millions of awful people out there ruining it for everyone.


Film #35: Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989)

Plot - Probably some of the greatest low fantasy/sci-fi stuff a kid could ask for. Kids get shrunk, befriend giant ants, get saved by parents.

Form - Eh.

F/X - So many ridiculous stop-motion creatures and blue screen sequences.

Acting - Rick Moranis is killin' it. Everybody else is sort of just from the '80s.

Mise en scene - Gotta love the enormous backyard scenes.

Quotables - I don't no.

Cool stuff - Good lord the giant scorpion battle is awesome. And I laughed sometimes!


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Film #34: The Conspiracy (2012)

Plot - A silly horror film disguised as one of those random conspiracy documentaries on Netflix. Watchable to awful.

Form - Found footage trash.

F/X - None.

Acting - The acting is on par with a typical reality TV show, which is pretty funny in this setting.

Mise en scene - None.

Quotables - No.

Cool stuff - I really liked the twist ending, but only because of the deadpan way it was presented.


Film #33: Zombie 4: After Death (1987)

Plot - Alright for a Fragasso film. A group of scientists piss off a voodoo priest, who opens the gates of hell to unleash a band of ninja zombies on the world. It's no Troll 2, but it's better than Monster Dog.

Form - Ridiculous. The same shot of twenty zombies standing around outside is used over and over and over and over again. Charming.

F/X - Half the special effects budget is wasted in the first five minutes, but there's enough gory treats to keep the viewer interested. The ending is grotesque in the cheapest way possible, but who ever said that was bad.

Acting - Some stellar performances, especially when the main actors make the zombie change.

Mise en scene - Ridiculous. The neon green lights in various scenes and glued-to-the-table candle set-ups are pure Fragasso.

Quotables - No.

Cool stuff - Everything's awesome except the dull dialogue.


Film #32: Macabre (1980)

Plot - According to director Lamberto Bava, the title is pronounced "Muh-cah-bray". It's so predictably dull that half the characters being crazy/homicidal doesn't really help.

Form - Dull. Recycles the same set-ups for shots in many parts of the film. I think I saw the main actress
walk out of her house at least six times in the exact same manner.

F/X - The decapitated head is pretty gorgeous, although the rest aren't particularly great.

Acting - No. The dub voice actors frequently change their bad regional accents.

Mise en scene - Nothing interesting.

Quotables - A few crazy cackles out of nowhere by the lead actress.

Cool stuff - Necrophilia and a great twist finale keep this from being a total waste of time.

2/7 (Also, why does the original theatrical poster mention Dario Argento?)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Film #31: Hell of the Living Dead (1980)

Plot - This movie has no interest in actually being good. If anything, it desperately wants to be like Dawn of the Dead, but it gets so hung up on being a trashy Italian horror film that it gets all mixed up. Throwing in a bunch of garbage about cannibals and a bunch of random stock footage of Africa makes it feel like it wanted to combine the zombie and cannibal craze as Zombie Holocaust did a year prior, but the loving spoonful of facile sociopolitical commentary is all Romero clone. All the nonsense that unfolds is pretty funny, but it did make me want to turn the film off on more than one occasion.

Form - The film's all over the god damn place. I wouldn't be surprised if five different people directed half the film.

F/X - There are a lot of great gore effects, including heads popping off, eyeballs falling out, and organs being removed.

Acting - I don't know if the actors can be blamed for how terrible their performances are. I mean, Bruno Mattei could have fired them once he noticed how ridiculous half of them were. There seems to be a huge focus on actors with terribly exaggerated mouth movements, which is sort of fun.

Mise en scene - Nothing terribly unique, especially considering the over-the-top "you've never seen anything like this before!" quality the film desperately reaches for.

Quotables - At one point, one of the film's characters suggests that a tall black zombie might be a leprechaun.

Cool stuff - Great effects, idiotic writing, editing, and everything else. My favorite long take: after schooling all the zombies throughout the film and being totally on his A-game killing them all, one character randomly starts  playing with a broom like it's a guitar and singing dumb songs. Out of nowhere, four zombies randomly walk into the frame and start eating him.


Film #30: Delirium (1987)

Plot - A strange and surreal slasher film that only makes sense when it feels like it. The lack of coherence makes the films whodunnit atmosphere really shine; my friends and I had six different guesses for who the killer really was. Also, the sleaze quotient is unusually high due to the film's female lead being a porn industry mogul.

Form - Bava made a concerted effort to make this film good. The "sexy", violent, tense, and surreal sections blend together in some really interesting ways, making it not only a very distinct giallo, but a remarkably singular viewing experience.

F/X - Two of the women become random eyeball and bee monsters. The effects are very cool, and while the gore never gets all that good, there's one crazy bee death scene complete with real bees! Actually, the gore is pretty phenomenal in the film's finale.

Acting - The lead female is talked about amongst horror fans and on the DVDs extra features like she's this great actress, but she just has big boobs. George Eastman saves the day as the random friend who randomly has sex with people.

Mise en scene - Lots of crazy red lighting. There's a lot of bare breasts.

Quotables - Not really.

Cool stuff - Lots and lots of big boobs, eyeball women, bee death, and a general sleaziness that the film never manages to shake off despite how hard it tries. A near perfect 6.5!


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Film #29: Unbreakable (2000)

Plot - Bruce Willis is a guy with overtly high bone density who can see the bad things that people do when he touches them. It tries to take a realistic look at what would happen if your average guy became a superhero, which is better than some crappy psychological thriller Sixth Sense crap.

Form - Pretty subtle for a film about a superhero. Don't know whether that's a good thing or not.

F/X - None

Acting - Bruce Willis sort of just acts like it's the Sixth Sense again and Sammy J does his thing, which is pretty cool.

Mise en scene - It tries to make everything look like "the real world" circa 2000, which looks vaguely similar to "the real world" circa now.

Quotables - No.

Cool stuff - Not really at all, but it's still an okay, watchable film.


Film #28: The Forgotten (2004)

Plot - This film sucks. Evidently I missed the only part where somebody gets abducted because I went to get a glass of water.

Form - It's like an episode of the X-Files if it were mind-numbingly boring.

F/X - I missed them because I was thirsty.

Acting - Julianne Moore is like ghetto Jodie Foster, which is sort of cool but not really.

Mise en scene - See form.

Quotables - It's similar to Willow. People keep going "gimmie back my bay-bay!" the entire duration of the film.

Cool stuff - The internet went out, so we couldn't watch it on Netflix anymore.


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Film #27: City of the Living Dead (1980)

Plot - The first of Fulci's '80s classics, it's definitely comparable to The Beyond in theme, motif, scoop, etc. For the uninitiated, that means the film is barely sensical film that relies wholly on atmosphere and imagery, so no plots allowed. This excuse for a story is effective enough for me.

Form - Lots of gloriously atmospheric shots. My favorites are when the zombies mystically teleport in and out of shots. The copious amounts of fog also help.

F/X - Not as good as The Beyond, although it definitely has a nice bag of tricks. Drills through the face, spitting up random flesh and organs, etc.

Acting - Everyone just talks like they're scared the whole movie, which makes sense to me. Teleporting zombies are scary as hell.

Mise en scene - Good. The placement of the maggots in the maggot wind sequence are phenomenal.

Quotables - They talk a lot about the Book of Enoch if you're into that sort of thing.

Cool stuff - The soundtrack is absolutely phenomenal, and the gruesome scenes are all on point. No silly spider sequences from the Beyond, no obnoxious bat squealing death from House by the Cemetery. I get sucked into this film like no other Fulci film because it manages to never break the atmosphere. Easily my favorite Fulci.


Monday, July 7, 2014

Film #26: Attack of the Clones (2002)

Plot - This film has got to have the worst screenplay in the history of sci-fi. It's plodding, stiff, and barely comprehensible. Lucas was too busy making deals with Taco Bell and Pepsico to notice this movie was doomed from the moment they started filming.

Form - The action sequences in this film are absolutely ridiculous. Everyone's flopping all over the place, jumping off cliffs, running around giant arenas, it's hard to even keep track of what's going on.

F/X - Shitty CG. With a story this bad, who cares about the visual wows?

Acting - No one acts in the entire movie, expressionless and emotionless throughout. All of these famous people might as well be made of wood.

Mise en scene - Everything looks like shit.

Quotables - Everything is stupid.

Cool stuff - Disney could make a better fucking Star Wars movie.


Film #25: The Phantom Menace (1999)

Plot - Everything that happens in this film is so highly improbable that it's disgusting. Darth Vader built C-3PO? A little kid can blow up an entire enemy space station? Scratch that: if it's not improbable, it's Natalie Portman saying stupid things.

Form - Alright. The Darth Maul battle at the end is probably the most exciting Jedi stuff in the entire series, although all the other scenes are straight up total garbitch.

F/X - How could they fill this with so much CG garbage? Some of it looks great, some looks passable, and some shots look like they would have been great back in 1985.

Acting - Liam Neeson is the only person even trying to act in this movie. Everybody else is very, very stiff.

Mise en scene - With all the CG, it's hard to give a shit about how anything really looks.

Quotables - Mostly rehashed from the original trilogy.

Cool stuff - Darth Maul fight period