Sunday, February 22, 2015

Film #96: Eraserhead (1977)

Plot - Good. It does some weird stuff.

Form - Good. It does some weird stuff.

F/X - Nice baby, organ removal, having sex in craters, moon's exploding, fun.

Acting - Jack Nance is absolutely amazing. I like watching David Lynch films just because he's in them.

Mise en scene - The main focus of the production. Gorgeous decaying sets.

Quotables - A really great song in the middle.

Cool stuff - Some scenes are just too artsy for their own good, but you never get the feeling it's malicious or attempting to insult the viewer like future Lynch "epics" Wild At Heart and Lost Highway.


Film #95: The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai (1984)

Plot - Buckaroo Banzai: neurosurgeon, particle physicist, and rock star.

Form - No.

F/X - Some great Star Wars stuff, especially during inter-dimensional travel.

Acting - Peter Weller, John Lithgow, Jeff Goldblum, and Christopher Lloyd put in great performances. Jeff Goldblum's inexplicably dressed as a cowboy half the film.

Mise en scene - Groovy sci-fi stuff.

Quotables - Probably a ton.

Cool stuff - Copious amounts. Great aliens, great heroes, ridiculously absurd plot.


Film #94: Rose Red (2002)

Plot - Spooky house problems, except the first hour and a half are needless exposition. Despite the 4+ hour run length, they still rush the ending.

Form - Some cool horror stuff.

F/X - Cool decaying ghosts, although they all just look like the Crypt Keeper.

Acting - The manchild is good, everyone else is whatever.

Mise en scene - Nice house.

Quotables - No.

Cool stuff - Bad CG does not cool stuff make.


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Film #93: The Postman (1997)

Plot - Overtly patriotic to a fault, yet not in the same way as the boneheaded Rambo IIIs and Rocky IVs of the previous decade. There's an honesty to the whole thing, no matter how backwards it is: even in a world torn by apocalyptic Mad Maxianisms that the film initially throws at us, there's still hope to find in the little things. The whole package evokes much of the fun found in Field of Dreams and Dances With Wolves if you're into that sort of thing.

Form - Good.

F/X - Lots of big budget sets and such.

Acting - Easily the weakest point, but I can believe Costner as a post-apocalyptic postman more than Costner as an Indian or a Robin Hood.

Mise en scene - See F/X.

Quotables - There's a running thing where the main villains quote Shakespeare a bunch, I thought it was cute.

Cool stuff - A ton. I don't think there was one sequence I felt was unnecessary or unappealing, a marvelous feat considering the film's three hour run time. The whole thing's just plain simple fun.


Film #92: The Dark Half (1991)

Plot - Based on the Stephen King novel that I simply had to put down due to the obnoxious father character in the first fifty pages of the novel. The film's far more concise, but still runs a little long.

Form - Straightforward.

F/X - A little cool gore, something absent in most King adaptations.

Acting - Michael Rooker is well cast, something that almost never happens.

Mise en scene - No.

Quotables - "He was castrated and had his penis stuck in his mouth."

Cool stuff - The best special effects are literally in the first and last five minutes of the film.


Film #91: Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)

Plot - Hot off the success of the charming Dances With Wolves, this Kevin Costner vehicle tries to go for the same general pacing and tone. Too bad the story of Robin Hood sucked in the first place.

Form - Irreverent and fun.

F/X - Sure. There's some bows and arrows and stuff?

Acting - Truly a ridiculous ensemble cast, Kevin Costner, Christian Slater, Morgan Freeman, and Alan Rickman put in some of the most out of place performances ever: Costner is his usual "am I actually acting?" self, Slater is his usual coked out self, Rickman is Hans Gruber Two. Freeman, oddly enough, totally screws up his character, switching between some weird Moor accent and his usual soothing croon. Sean Connery even makes a totally useless cameo in the end.

Mise en scene - Pretty locales.

Quotables - Rickman keeps talking about ripping people's hearts out with a spoon.

Cool stuff - The fight sequences would be cool, but they're all twenty seconds long. Puh.


Film #90: The Tommyknockers (1993)

Plot - Two part mini-series, evidently I only saw the second half. It was easy to follow anyway. Twin Peaks vibe with a Body Snatchers plot.

Form - Like the Twin Peaks of TV movies.

F/X - Alien decapitations, explosions, good stuff.

Acting - Okay.

Mise en scene - Nice spaceship areas.

Quotables - No.

Cool stuff - Very crazy and very influenced by trends of the time, Tommyknockers is pretty awesome. Like the X-Files/Twin Peaks/good TV movies? Check it out!


Film #89: The Search for John Gissing (2001)

Plot - Lengthy black comedy in a world filled with them, Gissing doesn't really have a whole lot to say outside of the occasional raunchy situation.

Form - Eh.

F/X - None.

Acting - Plenty of who-cares actors and actresses in here playing themselves: Janeane Garofalo, Alan Rickman, etc.

Mise en scene - No.

Quotables - Stuff about having sex with a nun.

Cool stuff - Depends on if you have a very '90s definition of cool stuff, which I do.


Film #88: Dark Harbor (1998)

Plot - Utter garbage about a couple who randomly meet an obnoxious teenager who thinks he's the sexiest man alive. Film is terribly undeveloped, with different character motivations seeming trivial. Rickman goes from being a loving husband to abusive in three minutes at one point, and Walker decides she wants to leave him because of it. Should have tacked on an extra half hour to make any of that sensible. Terrible twist ending makes the entire affair LGBT.

Form - Yuck. Long takes of crap.

F/X - None.

Acting - Everybody sucks. Alan Rickman goes back and forth constantly between bad American accent and his native British.

Mise en scene - No. Lots of swamp and water.

Quotables - No.

Cool stuff - None at all.


Friday, February 20, 2015

Film #87: The Shining (1980)

Plot - Mushy, all over the place, overtly post-modern. Sometimes it's cool, but it often stumbles into something lame right after.

Form - Occasional greatness.

F/X - Some cool stuff, blood, dead people, decaying.

Acting - Nicholson is okay, but Shelley Duvall is annoying.

Mise en scene - Maybe the film's strongest point. Everything is set up in a way to accentuate just how bleak this film is.

Quotables - If you like the obnoxious pop culture iconic kind.

Cool stuff - I finally realized why I don't like this film: it's a forced "statement", a pretentious slab of creativity that I'm supposed to acknowledge for it's artistry. I'd rather watch Jason take Manhattan.


FIlm #86: Mazes and Monsters (1982)

Plot - Based on the D&D shaming book, Tom Hanks goes into a psychological trance via his pen and paper RPG addiction. Full of good stuff, like an utterly ridiculous ending that resolves very little.

Form - TV Movie style.

F/X - Some pretty ridiculous dream sequences and fun makeshift demons for LARPing are just phenomenal.

Acting - Tom Hanks is absurd, everyone else doesn't know what to do.

Mise en scene - Some really great New York/cave stuff going on in here.

Quotables - Not really.

Cool stuff - Murder, hobos, and attempted suicide all make this film a crazy ride.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Film #85: Ghost World (2001)

Plot - Adaptation of classic Gen X comic, except the film missed the generational bandwagon.

Form - Indie.

F/X - No.

Acting - Birch and Buscemi totally nail their parts.

Mise en scene - Indie.

Quotables - Yes!

Cool stuff - Sends up just enough bits of American culture to be amusing and feels sincere enough.


Film #84: The Parent Trap (1961)

Plot - Interesting three part story structure, feels like a super long episode of some bad sitcom. Guess that's a positive thing.

Form - Eh.

F/X - Hayley Mills plays two people who are on screen all dah time! I didn't even realize they were the same girl at first.

Acting - Hamming it up 1961 style.

Mise en scene - No.

Quotables - No.

Cool stuff - Hijinx with dad's fiancee, general tomfoolery.


Film #83: Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)

Plot - Jason torments a senior class trip to Manhattan, then torments Manhattan for five minutes before being killed by the toxic waste that drains every night in the New York City sewers. Awesome.

Form - Stupid with some really cool kills, including a stylish point-of-view guitar to the face.

F/X - Jason one-hit decapitates somebody with a punch.

Acting - Not even funny.

Mise en scene - Not enough spooky artifacts.

Quotables - None that I can recall.

Cool stuff - Jason melting in the New York City toxic sewer sludge would have been a great way to end the series.


Film #82: In & Out (1997)

Plot - Cute, overtly sentimental at times and totally zany at others.

Form - No.

F/X - No.

Acting - Kevin Kline made me laugh like, eighty times.

Mise en scene - It all looks like a high class drama film in terms of the neat and tidy sets.

Quotables - The talking hetero-propagating motivational tape steals the show in this category.

Cool stuff - Big long gay man kiss.


Film #81: The Sure Thing (1985)

Plot - Sophomoric, but not quite fun. Bogged down with feelings and romance.

Form - Nothing exciting.

F/X - No.

Acting - Now Cusack is like teen Woody Allen, which is pretty cool.

Mise en scene - Whatever.

Quotables - I don't remember.

Cool stuff - Some general tomfoolery.


Film #80: One Crazy Summer (1986)

Plot - Sophomoric fun. Wacky things happen just to make you laugh, and that's a good thing.

Form - Very utilitarian, usually in a good way.

F/X - A really cool Godzilla outfit is used.

Acting - Bobcat Goldwaith should annoy me, but he's kind of cool. Like Better off Dead, Cusack is a good straight man amidst the zany.

Mise en scene - Pretty cool, with plenty of slimy sets that bring out the film's totally alternative attitude.

Quotables - Yeah!

Cool stuff - Tons. Evidently this was also written and directed by the guy who wrote and directed Better off Dead, but I like this film more.


Film #79: Never Been Kissed (1999)

Plot - Drew Barrymore and David Arquette star in the most 1999 film ever. It's dumb.

Form - Nobody really cared.

F/X - Not applicable.

Acting - Everyone's annoying.

Mise en scene - Bright and annoying.

Quotables - No.

Cool stuff - It's better than Harry Potter.


Film #78: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (2009)

Plot - A bunch of people die, although I'd only be convinced to give this a point if everyone died.

Form - Same as the fifth one.

F/X - See previous comment.

Acting - Too whimsical.

Mise en scene - Eh.

Quotables - No.

Cool stuff - This movie is still suck. How can you make a film about wizards and such so generic and boring?


Film #77: Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix (2007)

Plot - Utterly absurd and overtly didactic, this film is obsessed with allegorically demonizing the modern education system. Whoever writes these films should concern themselves less with annoying messages and more with actually making an enjoyable film.

Form - Same as the second one, but darker.

F/X - See previous comment.

Acting - Too whimsical.

Mise en scene - Eh.

Quotables - No.

Cool stuff - These movies all suck. How can you make a film about wizards and such so generic and boring?


Film #76: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)

Plot - The best one yet, this one has Harry actually do stuff like fight dragons and such. Still too long and generally dull.

Form - Same as the second one.

F/X - See previous comment.

Acting - Too whimsical.

Mise en scene - Eh.

Quotables - No.

Cool stuff - This movie yet again sucks. How can you make a film about wizards and such so generic and boring?


Film #75: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)

Plot - Better than the last one, but still stupid.

Form - Same as the second one.

F/X - See previous comment.

Acting - Too whimsical.

Mise en scene - Eh.

Quotables - No.

Cool stuff - This movie also sucks. How can you make a film about wizards and such so generic and boring?


Film #74: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)

Plot - Crappy excuse to do all sorts of wizard crap. Compulsory Quidditch match is worst example: throw a bunch of junk in for the kiddies and hope no one with any brain notices.

Form - The only people who'd be impressed with the film are those would couldn't even spell CGI.

F/X - See previous comment.

Acting - Too whimsical.

Mise en scene - Eh.

Quotables - No.

Cool stuff - This movie sucks. How can you make a film about wizards and such so generic and boring?