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


Film #24: Return of the Jedi (1983)

Plot - This movie is far better than I remember. It's easily the most family friendly of the original trilogy, but it's still got plenty of death and skin to flaunt. If anything, the deaths and bikini-clad women in Jabba's Palace are more graphic and abundant.

Form - The action scenes here are easily the best in the entire trilogy. Even the Ewok scenes are seamless.

F/X - Puppets! Give me more puppets!

Acting - Great!

Mise en scene - Not as good as the first two for sure. Starting to get a little old, but still great.

Quotables - Countless.

Cool stuff - Everything.


Film #23: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Plot - People are always saying this: "it's a dark film". It's got all the same bad stuff that happened in the first film, like arm mutilation and stuff, except now it's happening to the main characters more.

Form - Probably better than the first one.

F/X - Probably better than the first one.

Acting - More pulp stuff.

Mise en scene - Definitely better than the first one. Hoth and Dagobah are definitely the most compelling science fiction worlds on film.

Quotables - Countless.

Cool stuff - Everything.


Film #22: Star Wars (1977)

Plot - It's Star Wars.

Form - For such a pulpy seventies film, Star Wars manages to keep all the action exciting and well-paced.

F/X - Crazy! Models galore, stop-motion marvels, everything that makes special effects great rolled up into one.

Acting - There's a good reason why a lot of the actors from the original Star Wars trilogy never did anything with their career: they're only good in the ridiculous space opera schlock. Still, it's great schlock.

Mise en scene - Invents its own world masterfully, borrowing heavily from early sci-fi classics.

Quotables - Countless. "I've got a bad feeling about this", "Use the force Luke". Practically the whole script is one long, long quotable.

Cool stuff - Everything.


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Film #21: Short Circuit 2 (1988)

Plot - Some white guy passing as Indian, that dude from Spinal Tap, and Johnny Five get together to make a million toys in the big city while corporate big-wigs try to exploit them all in various ways.

Form -  Eh.

F/X - Johnny Five is one of the greatest special effects ever. Also he bleeds battery acid that sort of looks like..blood.

Acting - Solid all around. The henchmen of the aforementioned corporate big-wigs are so tongue-in-cheek it'll make your head spin.

Mise en scene - "Bustling big city" and "abandoned factory" are always good film fodder.

Quotables - Johnny Five tries way too hard with the one-liners this time around.

Cool stuff - This movie's sort of funny sometimes, though not because of Johnny Five. This is one of that guy from Spinal Tap's first big "I'm a total dick bad guy" roles, although he's not really a total dick bad guy this time around. The Indian guy also culls some laughs because 4eigners R FONEeE.


Film #20: What About Bob? (1991)

Plot - Could they have made the characters less likable? Why is Bob trying to ruin his new psychiatrist's life? And why am I supposed to think that's a good thing? Maybe they thought it'd be like Rain Man 2.

Form -  Frank Oz should stick to shoving his hand up puppets. He was pretty good as Yoda.

F/X - No.

Acting - Bill Murray's appeal is that he's a pricky guy, but in this one I'm supposed to be convinced that he's the most likable person on the planet. Talk about miscast.

Mise en scene - It's all light and bright fluffy crap held over from the '80s. We'll mark that a positive.

Quotables - No.

Cool stuff - Although it's probably better than most family friendly comedies, a garbage family friendly comedy is a garbage family friendly comedy.


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Film #19: Airheads (1994)

Plot - Some guys in a band inadvertently take a radio station hostage while trying to get their demo on the air. Carnage ensues. Except not really in any fun sort of way.

Form -  None.

F/X - No.

Acting - An all star cast, featuring Brendan Fraser, Adam Sandler, Chris Farley, Steve Buscemi, the black Ghostbuster, and a bunch of other famous people I can't remember the name of. It's at least fun to see all these '90s guys together, although it's the only real reason they played it on Comedy Central every ten minutes back in the early 2000s. Beavis and Butthead make a guest appearance.

Mise en scene - David Arquette's office has a KMFDM sticker in it. So '90s.

Quotables - Nope.

Cool stuff - Some cool stuff probably happens, but it's largely unmemorable. All the characters are goofy stereotypes, predictable in every way. Also, it's lame that the band's song is just a Reagan Youth cover.


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Film #18: Demons (1985)

Plot - A bunch of people see a movie and start turning into Demons®. Probably not a real registered trademark.

Form -  The film plays with the film-within-a-film concept to great effect. For about ten minutes, the camera swoops around a theater, showing people watching the film that we're also watching. It's stupid, but trippy. A motorcycle sequence functions as the films climax, featuring tons of jumping demons, quick cuts, and stylish shots. The ending is also genius, the same two shots over and over again until something horribly unexpected, yet totally inconsequential, happens.

F/X - Gore, gore, and gore. Excluding the amazing stunt work throughout and the occasional helicopter busting through ceilings.

Acting - Great to okay. A pimp with a particularly embarrassing dub job is cinema gold, but the relatively high production values and great effects just make you wish they hired some okay American actors.

Mise en scene - All of the props are very utilitarian: if there's a car, a motorcycle, an alley, a sword, a mask, or anything else, it winds up somehow being significant to the story. An interesting touch.

Quotables - Many. The aforementioned pimp is full of them, and so are a gaggle of punk rockers who stumble into the theater.

Cool stuff - Drug abuse, Evil Dead rip-off creatures, helicopters, and an all-action approach to storytelling. For many people, this is probably the high point of Italian horror. Not for me, but close.


Film #17: Conquest (1983)

Plot - Something about a naked woman with a C-3PO mask and an army of wookies at her side wanting to kill some kid. It's definitely threadbare, but it hits most of the high notes, throwing in countless gratuitous head crushes, decapitations, and body explosions for good measure. The only time it's bad is near the end, where the film is padded with redundant fight sequences and long scenes where people are running around.

Form -  The action sequences are well shot and edited despite the sloppiness of the actors. If these scenes were bad, the film would have absolutely fallen apart since a third of its running time is dedicated to fights. Many scenes toy with lighting and color in interesting ways, more so than most of Fulci's other films.

F/X - The real star of the show. People being torn in half, decapitations, general cudgels, bloody laser explosions, etc.

Acting - The best actors are all wearing crazy Chewbacca and robot outfits.

Mise en scene - Aside from giant open fields and desert landscapes, most of the actor's outfits and items are interesting enough. A lot of effort seems to get put into these swords and sandals films.

Quotables - There are these weird ice people that have the best voices ever.

Cool stuff - Naked people, blood, guts, and a general misanthropic approach to everything. Tons of cool stuff, but too much plodding around near the end. Scenes where people look around a lot, run around a lot, and stand around a lot for the sake of padding a film that should be around 80 minutes long.