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Author Topic: What was the last movie you watched?  (Read 1587885 times)

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Offline Kete

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18015 on: April 20, 2018, 01:55:49 PM »
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
Except for the turning the helicopter 90 degrees. Even by video game logic that's absurd.

That is one moment that struck me as well, even for the magical world they were in they held the 90 degree position way too long, it is possible to fly a helicopter upside down, so you can flip one over, you just can't hold it on it's side.  Using the mass of the heli you could probably go a little past 90 and ease off on the collective, and momentum would keep it there for a fraction of a second, but that's it.

Not sure all helicopters have enough negative pitch and power to fly upside down, and you need an engine that can keep running upside down, but it has been done.  It's common to do it with RC helis, I never got good enough to hold one upside down, but did do some rolls.

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Offline Pastor of Muppets

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18016 on: April 20, 2018, 06:45:44 PM »
Watched Star Trek: First Contact a few hours ago.  Great movie.  Trek at its best.
That's still my favorite Trek movie. I don't love Wrath of Khan as much as everyone else seems to.

I didn't really like Wrath of Khan either.  I first saw it back in high school after my friend kept hyping it.  I guess it couldn't live up to the hype, so I have been perpetually disappointed since then.  I didn't find the story very engaging, and I thought it was brought down by poor production values.  They were probably good for their time, but original Trek just looks so cheesy.
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Offline RoninFox

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18017 on: April 20, 2018, 07:34:19 PM »
Watched Star Trek: First Contact a few hours ago.  Great movie.  Trek at its best.
That's still my favorite Trek movie. I don't love Wrath of Khan as much as everyone else seems to.

I didn't really like Wrath of Khan either.  I first saw it back in high school after my friend kept hyping it.  I guess it couldn't live up to the hype, so I have been perpetually disappointed since then.  I didn't find the story very engaging, and I thought it was brought down by poor production values.  They were probably good for their time, but original Trek just looks so cheesy.

I've been trying to accept opinions of objective art forms more often as long as they're not presented in a dickish way, because I find nerd-battles of what is or isn't awesome tiring and annoying.

This is a major test.

...


(deep breath)

...

Okay.

Wrath of Khan will likely always be my favorite Trek, but I can accept this alternate opinion and move on with my life.

(twitch)
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Offline Johnny Unusual

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18018 on: April 20, 2018, 07:52:12 PM »
I literally just finished watching Night of the Hunter. I liked it even better this time around (for some reason, I found the last act "tonally weird" on initial viewing and I was fucking wrong). It is one of the most powerful, engrossing and unsettling thrillers of all time and deservedly so. Robert Mitchum is both terrifying and weirdly funny as Harry Powell. There's a definite cartoonishness to the performance, but it never takes away from his absolute loathsomeness, a true villain you love to hate that poisons everything around him.

Of course, there's also an indictment of the world that would let him get away with the shit that he does and the representative of this, in the end, it full of righteous anger but likely very little introspection or belief that she was anyway in the wrong.

Lillian Gish is wonderful in the movie, too. Way back when we were doing a Top 50 heroines list, I wish I thought of her.

My only complaint is Pearl. I know she's supposed to be a naive kid, but it feels like she's written so that she's more of a friggin' burden than a character to love and it is frustrating.


Offline Russoguru

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18019 on: April 20, 2018, 07:52:47 PM »
If you don't like Wrath of khan, well, I don't know what to tell you because in all honesty... you'll never find anything better in the universe of Star Trek.


Offline Edward J Grug III

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18020 on: April 20, 2018, 10:32:28 PM »
I literally just finished watching Night of the Hunter. I liked it even better this time around (for some reason, I found the last act "tonally weird" on initial viewing and I was fucking wrong). It is one of the most powerful, engrossing and unsettling thrillers of all time and deservedly so. Robert Mitchum is both terrifying and weirdly funny as Harry Powell. There's a definite cartoonishness to the performance, but it never takes away from his absolute loathsomeness, a true villain you love to hate that poisons everything around him.

Of course, there's also an indictment of the world that would let him get away with the shit that he does and the representative of this, in the end, it full of righteous anger but likely very little introspection or belief that she was anyway in the wrong.

Lillian Gish is wonderful in the movie, too. Way back when we were doing a Top 50 heroines list, I wish I thought of her.

My only complaint is Pearl. I know she's supposed to be a naive kid, but it feels like she's written so that she's more of a friggin' burden than a character to love and it is frustrating.

This was the movie that got my wife and I addicted to the Criterion Collection when my son was born. It's one of my favourite films.
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Offline Lesbunny

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18021 on: April 20, 2018, 10:45:21 PM »
If you don't like Wrath of khan, well, I don't know what to tell you because in all honesty... you'll never find anything better in the universe of Star Trek.

I've not seen it because TOS and it's films gives me the willies to watch, but I'm going to go with DS9 s06e13, "Far Beyond the Stars" as the best Trek piece of celluloid. Episode had me crying, and I'm in an end of semester emotional dead zone.


Offline Jesse412

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18022 on: April 21, 2018, 07:09:50 AM »
The War of the Gargantuas (1966)



From the original director of Godzilla and Rodan as well as a sequel to his previous film Frankenstein Conquers the World (1965).  This movie opens with a very Ray Harryhausen inspired giant octopus although this one isn't stop motion.  It attacks a ship but is stopped by another kaiju the green Gaira who defeats the giant octopus and then destroys the ship.  Gaira thought to be the Frankenstein gargantua from the previous movie attacks villages along the coastline.  It's eventually confronted by the army as well as the gargantua from the previous film now known as Sanda.  The action is exciting and the pacing is never dull which keeps the film interesting throughout.  Overall this was pretty fun and I definitely want to go back and check out the previous movie.
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Offline Russoguru

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18023 on: April 21, 2018, 10:32:43 AM »
If you don't like Wrath of khan, well, I don't know what to tell you because in all honesty... you'll never find anything better in the universe of Star Trek.
I've not seen it because TOS and it's films gives me the willies to watch, but I'm going to go with DS9 s06e13, "Far Beyond the Stars" as the best Trek piece of celluloid. Episode had me crying, and I'm in an end of semester emotional dead zone.
Now don't get me wrong, I love DS9 and Far Beyond the Stars is nothing short of amazing... but Wrath of Khan has everything you could ever want in a Star Trek movie. I highly recommend putting aside the willies and give it a chance because I think you're really missing out. There will probably never be a better Trek movie. That's how good it is.


Offline MartyS (Gromit)

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18024 on: April 22, 2018, 07:34:49 PM »
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

With better dialog this could have been a good movie, the plot ends up being pretty good, but getting there you've got to endure some really horrible dialog, and they guy playing Valerian is terrible.

At least there are some beautiful computer generated scenery to look at.


Offline Charles Castle

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18025 on: April 22, 2018, 11:12:03 PM »
I'll not sugarcoat this one. Movies like Necrosis (2009, directed by Jason Robert Stephens) are demoralizing. It's the kind of movie that reminds me of those leech branches that grow around the trunks of large trees, leeching the vitality of the tree, only the tree is the horror genre.

The story here is your standard young people in a cabin Evil Dead rip-off, only our trio of bickering couples are haunted by the ghosts of the Donner Party, who, having turned on each other with axes, opened the gates of hell. (Those of you familiar with the tragic history of the Donner Party are probably saying "wait...what?" And you would be right. This would have been better off inventing a fictional history). Having framed this story, for good or for ill, it then loses the plot and veers off into Alfred Packer territory, or, more to the point, The Shining territory. It also occasionally loses track of where its characters are within the geography of the frame.

The weird thing is, this has a veneer of professionalism. If anyone involved with this movie deserves to go on to better projects, it's cinematographer Deanna Esmaeel, who clearly knows how to light a scene and shoot it. Individual frames of the film look great. It's not her fault that her collaborators don't know what they're doing. This goes double for the actors. They are uniformly awful, though I'm not inclined to blame them, given the screenplay they've been handed and the indifferent way the director views their performances. The big "star" of the movie is eighties teen pop idol Tiffany, who seems a little long in the tooth for this movie, quite frankly. Her line readings are so stilted that I'm almost sure her dialogue was post-dubbed. Hell, it sounds like most of the actors were post dubbed. It's kind of distracting. Oddly enough, James Kyson-Lee has a more familiar face than Tiffany these days after a long career in television. You also get character bits by Michael Berryman and Mickey Jones as the locals, and they at least have interesting faces. From a structural viewpoint, this has one trick--visions that turn out to be dreams that end in abrupt waking--and it works it for all it's worth. After a while it becomes redundant. There's not much in the way of connective tissue between these scenes.

This is a hard film for me to write about, because I mostly want to jump up and down and scream "This sucks!" which is, I think, a perfectly valid reaction. I mean, there's nothing to argue here, no subtext to explore, no social commentary. There's only the echoes of other, better films and the vague unease of watching a movie make trivial a historical tragedy.
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Offline Charles Castle

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18026 on: April 22, 2018, 11:26:18 PM »
I saw The Swarm (1978, Irwin Allen) at a double feature with Hangar 18(Man, what a double bill! This is what no cable or home video of any kind did to us sad creatures back then) when I was a kid, and even then, I knew it pretty much sucked. It's the epitome of the "box" movie, in which the producers, having assembled an all-star cast, put a row of headshots of their actors along the bottom of the poster, with the name of the actor annotated with the name of their character or role (George Kennedy as The Cop! Maximillian Schell as The Commandant!). The more "names" the producers assemble, the more likely it is that the movie is going to cut corners on everything else. The Swarm has a once in a lifetime cast: Michael Caine, Richard Widmark, Bradford Dillman, Olivia De Havilland, Katherine Ross, Richard Chamberlain, Slim Pickens, and Henry Fonda, to name just a few. And I'll admit, there's a certain amount of cheap fun to be had watching the cast abase themselves in this, but that's only good for about an hour. All-star disaster movies tended to bloat, after all, because, having paid for the stars, they need to showcase them. The Swarm runs something like 160 minutes.

The story here is a rerun of any given big bug movie from the 1950s, even though the bugs in this movie are normal-sized insects. They're still freaks: Africanized honeybees whose stings have become inexplicably lethal and inexplicably directed. The first hint that something is amiss is found by the military, who break into a missile silo in the movie's opening only to find everyone there dead, except for the convenient entomologist and the lady doctor who has managed to rescue enough GI's to confirm the entomologist's cockamamie story. The bees are on the move, next attacking archetypal small town, Marysville, who are conveniently holding their annual flower festival (what are the odds?).

I need to pause for a second here to note the elegant construction of the story here. Seriously, everything is arranged for a worst-case scenario. The movie bends over backwards and sideways, yanking any tendons of credibility completely out of their connections.

The next target on the map is Houston, but in between are a number of other disaster opportunities, including an exploding nuclear plant and an exploding train, neither of which is particularly explicable. The train in particular begs the question of whether all of the passenger cars were loaded with tons of gasoline, because they each go up in a fireball when they hit the bottom of the gorge where they crash (taking several of our actors with it).

The entomologist, for his part, warns of the ecological disaster that would result from the military's plan for poisoning the bees--honeybees, he quite rightly notes, are essential to agriculture. His alternative? Lure the bees over a man-made oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico and burn them to death. Well, that's certainly much more eco friendly.

Irwin Allen is horrible with actors, though in the early goings, he shows a crude awareness of movie stars. He gives every one of his name stars an "entrance," though I'm baffled as to describe the mechanisms for many of these. Some are obvious. A door slides open and Michael Caine is just there, in all his Michael Caine-ness. Richard Widmark gets a jump cut in which the audience gets to say "Hey! It's Richard Widmark!" While others just walk onscreen, often to an ineffable pause in the flow of the action so the audience can note their presence. Then they start to talk and the whole gig is up. Caine and Widmark mostly shout at each other. No subtlety. Olivia De Havilland gets an anguished scream at the sight of the film's surprising body count of small children. Most emotion is conveyed in terms broad enough to be featured in kabuki. The one exception to this is Katherine Ross, who is a complete cipher, whose huge eyes are total blanks, even in the scenes where she's under huge duress. And has there ever been a more mis-matched romantic couple in movies than Michael Caine and Katherine Ross in The Swarm? I submit that there has not.



Stars aside, the movie just looks cheap. The bee swarm is a particularly risible special effect, obviously superimposed on the frame and not really interacting with the environment at all. The sets all remind me of the TV movies of the day, or, indeed, of The Six Million Dollar Man. This movie came out after Star Wars and, after the James Bond movies, so the standards of production design were already well beyond what shows up here. For that matter, I've built more convincing architectural models myself than the one blown up during the nuclear plant scene.

Anyway, this one was a tough slog for me. I still have a major appetite for really rotten movies, and even though I can see the appeal this movie has as an entertainingly bad movie, I can't believe I wasted two and a half hours watching this in the name of writing about it.
You know, if the space man puma thing turns out to be the correct religion, I for one will be very surprised.


Offline Charles Castle

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18027 on: April 22, 2018, 11:39:23 PM »
The variations on Rio Bravo as filtered through Night of the Living Dead continue to spread through pop culture like a virus, which is interesting, given that "infection" is the chosen vector for most zombie movies and their close cousins. Personally, I think the fever has run its course, but that doesn't stop other people from continuing to make zombie movies, and I'm still occasionally surprised by them. Case in point is Pontypool (2008, Bruce McDonald), which has an interesting infection vector and an agreeably creepy cinematic structure.

The story follows down on his luck DJ Grant Mazzy through his workday at a flyspeck talk radio station in the basement of a church in Pontypool, a flyspeck town in rural Ontario. He's obviously used to a bigger market than rural Ontario, because he chokes on the podunk local interest stuff that makes up his show. One hilarious example is a family of faux Middle Eastern singers who come on the show to perform, but he also has a man in the air doing traffic that is faking the helicopter sounds from his car and lost pet reports. As the movie opens, and just before the film strikes its first uncanny note, he's bitching to his agent on his drive to work. On this particular day, something weird is afoot, as reports from his man on the street describe outbreaks of riots and murder. As the day progresses, Mazzy and his two-person staff find themselves increasingly isolated from news, and increasingly alarmed at the information that is coming in. As the film enters its last act, as a doctor who is an eyewitness to the mayhem makes his way to the station to provide Mazzy with information, it becomes increasingly clear that it is elements of language that are the infection vector, that "infected" words are driving people into a homicidal frenzy.

It comes as no surprise that Pontypool is based on a play. You have, essentially, four characters, a limited set, and a conservation of time and place. This follows Aristotle's unities faithfully, which intensifies the tension during the film's first couple of acts quite nicely. The unity of place in particular emphasizes the claustrophobic sense of being trapped by a universe gone mad, and here, Pontypool is a true descendant of Night of the Living Dead. It even samples some of its imagery even though, for the most part, the "zombies" are a threat described at second hand and kept off-screen.

Because this is essentially theater, it has to rely on its performances, a potentially fatal flaw for a movie from this sector. Fortunately, it has a couple of corkers in Stephen McHattie as Mazzy, and Lisa Houle as his impatient producer, Sydney Briar. This is a rare horror movie in which the characters--and importantly, the sound of their voices--is more compelling than the monster or the gore. Indeed, it's a rare horror movie in so far as big chunks of it consist of McHattie talking to a microphone without boring the audience. Kudos to him. The nature of this film's infection vector (and the quality of its actors) allows the film to indulge in some delirious verbal gymnastics towards the end, particularly when Mazzy convinces Sydney that the word "kill", which has infected her, is really "kiss." When she ultimately says "kill me," is about as startling a moment that has ever been put in a horror movie using that line. On the whole, the movie makes dazzling use of its sound design. Parts of it are an arresting sound collage, and the whole thing is a showcase for McHattie's voice. I've seen McHattie in a lot of things, but I never noticed how smooth his voice is. Has it always been like that? If so, I don't remember it. The film's play on languages is suggestive, too, of why this could not have been set in the United States, given that part of its plot turns on both of its lead characters being bilingual. Also appropriate: it ends with a voice-over collage of news snippets that function as an audio analogue of Night of the Living Dead's closing photo montage.

Zombie movies mostly act as metaphors, and this one functions as one, too, if you're sensitive to that kind of thing. Without actually lampooning talk radio, it suggests that it is an incitement to violence, which is an obvious conclusion. More interesting is its flight into semiotics and how language as a symbology is inherently dangerous. The metaphor for an infection is particularly apt. Heady stuff, really, and not the sort of thing you expect from a movie like this. It makes it a lot better than it might otherwise be with a different Maguffin.

But, of course, it's not perfect. Once the movie gets into its third act, it becomes pretty clunky. The arrival of Dr. Mendez at the 50 minute mark or thereabouts is a deus ex machina. His only function is to deliver exposition and theory to point the leads out of their predicament, and just like the gods from the machine of old, he's yanked off-stage just as soon as his function is complete. The "talking cure" that Mazzy develops seems absurd on the face of it, regardless of the scenes it allows to happen. The shift in relationship dynamics between Mazzy and Sydney at the end of the movie seems contrived, too, but it's not cringe-worthy (I think the doctor's entrance and exit probably are cringe-worthy, but be that as it may...).

In any event, Pontypool is evidence that, however tired I'm becoming of zombie movies, they aren't anywhere near played-out. While this is partially an academic exercise (which is a sign that the whole sub-genre is nearing the end), it functions just fine as a horror movie even if you don't care about the deeper levels, and not a bad horror movie, either.
You know, if the space man puma thing turns out to be the correct religion, I for one will be very surprised.


Offline stethacantus

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18028 on: April 23, 2018, 12:59:29 AM »
Outlaw Brothers ( 1990 )
When I dismissed some of the Dragon Dynasty releases as nothing more than the company burning off the films they were forced to pay the rights for because they were packaged in with the films they were trying to get the rights for, I was schooled by Asian cinema enthusiasts that all of the Dragon Dynasty releases were major films back in their country of origin. So far that has seemed to be true. Except for this film.

This is no major release. It was not a box office hit. It isn't a cult classic. It doesn't have any major Asian stars, nor any important producer or director.  It is not brought to you by anyone responsible for anything important. The only notable person associated with the film was script writer Barry Wong who had written scripts for many classic Golden Harvest action comedies, and would go on to write the script for John Woo's Hard Boiled before his untimely death in 1992.  It was the final film released by Dragon Dynasty, but with an asterisk. The Chinese Odyssey set should have been last. Each Dragon Dynasty release had a number on the spine of the box. Outlaw Brothers was #57 and A Chinese Odyssey was #58. For some reason #58 was released a week earlier than #57.

Dragon Dynasty always included extras, both ported from the original foreign release of the film, and original content they produced themselves, and often as two disc sets. And they always included a commentary track, if not from anyone who worked on the film, then from a film expert. That suddenly came to an end in 2010 after the two disc release of The Killer ( 1989 ). The next fifteen release were martial arts films from the Shaw Brothers studio without any extras, followed by both Chinese Odyssey films in a double set, also without extras. And of course, Outlaw Brothers had no extras. By this time Dragon Dynasty was  under new management, and they were no longer willing to spend any extra money on their releases.  So it is very possible they wanted to balance the books by releasing  all the films they paid for. My guess is that Outlaw Brothers was packaged by media Asia in with the Infernal Affairs trilogy. While their was no call for releasing the movie in the United States, the advantage was that Dragon Dynasty already owned the distribution rights to the film, and aside from costing nothing to release, was certain to be bought by everyone already collecting Dragon Dynasty releases.

This appears to have been the only time Dragon Dynasty did something like this. My only real complaint is that they could have released another one of the Shaw Brothers films instead of this.  Currently Dragon Dynasty holds the North American copyrights to about 30 Shaw Brothers films they haven't released, including Fists of the White Lotis and Boxer from Shangtung. They are also hoarding the rights to a lot of other important Asian films including Bride With White Hair and the A Better Tomorrow trilogy.  It is very likely Dragon Dynasty had no idea that Outlaw Brothers would be their final release. Had not someone at the Weinstein company discontinued releasing new Dragon Dynasty titles, who knows how many more potboilers they acquired from Media Asia or any other film packages would have been released. ( Dragon Dynasty is not officially defunct, as they continues to repress and distribute their previous releases, excluding the titles licenced under Fortune Star since their deal with that company has lapsed and they no longer hold the copyrights to those films. )

But definitely Outlaw Brothers has no business being released under the Dragon Dynasty label.  As I said, it doesent have any Major stars. The lead is Frankie Chan, who also produced and directed.  Frankie had spent most of his film career as a composer for martial arts films.  ( He was responsible for my all time favorite Asian movie scores for the film Five Masters of Death, and was also responsible for the film scores to several other martial arts classics. ) In 1980 he decided to move into acting, getting a break when Sammo Hung cast him as the villain in Prodigal Son ( 1981 ) ( with a script written by Barry Wong ), But instead of accepting roles in other major martial arts films, he insisted on being in films that he produced and often directed, which doomed him to independent film companies and low budget films.  His co-star Max Mok came from Shaw Brothers studios,  who cast him as the leading man in his first two films for the studio ( one of them being the fantasy classic Holy Flame of the Martial World ( 1983 ) ) but was gradually demoted to supporting characters and eventually bit parts. Outside of Shaw Brothers he landed in a few classic action films, but always as supporting characters. The leading lady is Oshima Yukari who seems to have a minor cult following, but her career has mostly been playing henchwomen.

The plot for this film is all formula, which leads me to suspect Barry Wong initially wrote the script expecting to sell it to Jackie Chan. Frankie Chan and Max Mok are brothers who  are car thieves, specializing in stealing  expensive sports cars. A mob boss attempts to force the brothers to work for him, so they retaliate by tipping off the police the location of his chop shop. Oshima Yukari plays the lead police detective  raiding the chop shop named Tequila ( a name Barry Wong also gave to Chow Yun Fat's character in Hard Boiled ).  After being arrested, the crime boss tells her about the car thieves who set him up, and she decides to go after them via a sting operation. But during it Tequila  and Frankie fall in love. So she ends up abandoning the sting and becoming Frankie's girlfriend.  Things get complicated when Frankie and his brother steal a race car that has smuggled drugs stashed in it, resulting in the drug gang kidnapping Frankie's sister to get the drugs back. This all leads to a showdown between Frankie, his brother and Tequila and the drug gang in a warehouse.

Oh, and it is a comedy. Something that Dragon Dynasty tried to hide. ( the Dragon Dynasty box makes the film look like a thriller. )  One thing writer Barry Wong was notorious for was stealing gags from other films. This is very evident in the Lucky Stars series where Wong shamelessly stole memorable gags from  the films of Mel Brooks, The Three Stooges and others. In this movie Wong steals gags from A Fish Called Wanda. As with most Hong Kong comedies, most of the humor falls flat, and the forced romance does not work, leading to large portions of the film being boring. The film only comes alive during the fighting and action scenes, which were reportedly choreographed by Jackie Chan himself.  Although it is more likely that Jackie Chan's stunt team choreographed the stunts as Chan himself would have been too busy with his own movies to take the time to work on someone else's film. While the action is top notch, there is just not enough of it. And the climatic battle in the warehouse is ruined due to the real death and mutilations of chickens, who are blown up, squished and run over by a car. No need to explain why the warehouse is filled with chickens, just that real live chickens were needlessly put in harms way, and in many instances injured bloody chickens are seen crawling around the floor next to the bodies of the chickens that didn't survive. PeTA would never approve of this film.


The Heart of Midnight ( 1988 )
Thanks to MST3K season 11, I have eaten up most of this months entertainment budget, which means it will be a few weeks before I can get some fresh superhero or fantasy films. Which means Saturday nights will be spent watching movies that have been sitting on my shelf for months, unopened and waiting to be watched.

For those of you old enough to remember the days of renting VHS tapes from Blockbuster or any other video rental store will remember The Heart of Midnight from it's box. A very sexy photo of Jennifer Jason Leigh  that looked like...... well, let me show you.

I am sure this box was responsible for  millions of rentals, almost entirely by young males between the ages of 12 and 28 expecting this movie to be something they could pleasure themselves to. The problem is that the box was missleading. When this low budget independent film was picked up by The Samuel Goldwyn Company for theatrical distribution, they brought back Leigh for a photo shoot where this was one of the pictures taken and turned into the film's poster, and later the home video box for both the VHS and Laserdisc, as it would be used for all later releases.  But she does not play a sexy vixen in the film, but rather the victim of multiple rapes. Not something that puts you in the mood for pleasuring yourself. Me and my friends rented this back in the early 90s, admittedly fast forwarding through most of the film to get to the juicy stuff we thought would be in it, and ultimately felt ripped off.

Last year a co-worker dumped the Blu-ray for this film on my desk and said "Here, you can have this!" It was a good 20 years since the first time this movie was released on VHS, and the same image, now on the cover of a Blu-ray, was still tricking  men into buying it.  Of course my co-worker never admitted he bought the movie because of the box. Just that for some reason he bought an obscure art film from the 80s and didn't like it.  He has his own small office which he spends most of company time watching movies, and hopefully doing nothing else. But occasionally when he buys a film he does not like,  he immediately gives it away to the first co-worker he sees.  Normally I don't accept films from him, as he either offers me something I am not interested in, or a film I already own. This time I accepted, because I wanted to give the film the chance I didn't back in the 90s.

I can't really summarize this film without giving away spoilers. But basically Jennifer Jason Leigh is a girl recovering from a mental breakdown who inherits a sex club from her creepy uncle. Determined to renovate the club into a swanky 1930s style nightclub, she moves into her late uncle's apartment in the club so she can oversee the workmen. But then strange things begin happening, which could either be pervert ghosts, or her having another mental breakdown. I should point out that the Blu-ray, which was released by Kino Lorber under license from MGM and 20th Century Fox ( not quite sure how those two studios ended up owning the film ), is shorter than the version I had rented back in the 90s. One scene I remembered involving a character tied to a post while elderly perverts molest her is missing, although is shown on the trailer.  And I recall Brenda Vaccaro's role being much longer than it was. I am not sure what else has been cut due to me and my friends fast forwarding much of the movie the last time I had watched it.


It is a very decent film, although with the unimportant feel of a television movie. It was definitely one of those low budget films with a cast of well known actors who only turn up for a couple of scenes, but still get top billing above the actors who are there for most of the film.  As always, Jennifer Jason Leigh gives a brilliant performance. I do take issue with the casting of Peter Coyote, who seemed much too old to play Leigh's love interest. Jennifer had broken her leg just prior to filming this, and  instead of postponing for a couple of months , the director wrote  the leg in the cast into the script. There is an awkward scene at the very end of the film, which is suppose to take place months later, where Jennifer walks down the stairs  of her renovated club without the cast on. However, it is pretty evident they are cutting away to a double for that scene. But it passed the most important test.  I wasn't bored. Of course considering the really bad films I have been seeing lately, I am having a lot more respect for mediocre films. 

The Ape Man ( 1943 )
Once again Saturday Night Live is taking a two week break. What is it with these breaks? You would think the month long Christmas hiatus and month long Olympics hiatus would be enough. What ever happened to the days when SNL's season began in September and it soldiered on until the end of the season, with only three weeks off for Christmas, New Year's and Easter?  Anyway, whenever SNL is a rerun I watch a movie instead, which means finishing off the last two films in the Son's of Kong movie set. Both star Bela Lugosi, an actor who I will admit I had till this year  only seen in the Universal horror films, the Ed Wood films, and the few odd chapters of Phantom Creeps shown on MST3K.

Since Bela Lugosi would do any film he was offered, there is no way of judging the quality of this film by the cast ( the rest of which were Monogram contract players ) so I will turn to the director. Much like most of the directors who worked for Monogram, William Beaudine  directed hundreds of films before his eventual retirement. He had a remarkable career, which ranged from assistant director for Mack Sennett ( including the film's Birth of a Nation and Intolerance ), working for Walt Disney ( he directed the Spin and Marty serials that aired on Mickey Mouse Club ) and directing Bruce Lee ( he directed many of The Green Hornet episodes, and even got a posthumous directing credit when the episodes were edited into feature films, making his last feature film Fury of the Dragon ( 1976 ), released six years after his death, and three years after Bruce Lee's death. ) While at Monogram, Beaudine directed half of the Bowery Boys films, giving him the record for most films directed in a single franchise. Another of his records was longest career span for anyone working in the film industry.

I have seen a few of his films before. There was Voodoo Man ( 1944 ), which was one of the Rifftrax DVDs. And one of my all time favorite films, Sparrows ( 1926 ), in which Mary Pickford was the eldest of a group of orphans being held prisoner in a work camp locate in the middle of a swampy jungle. Finally having enough of their abuse, Mary and the orphans make a daring escape back to civilization, with the criminals running the camp in pursuit. The filming of this movie lead to one of the silent era's most memorable incidents. Mary's husband at the time was the actor Douglas Fairbanks. ( Know as Pickfair, they were the world's first celebrity power couple. ) Douglas was shown a daily from the film where Mary and the other children we're crossing a pond via a fallen tree. Just inches below them were live alligators, snapping  at the children above and waiting for one to slip. The whole time Mary and the kids just barely keeping balance and occasionally nearly falling. Fairbanks was furious, not just because his wife was needlessly put in danger, but that children were endangered as well. He marched straight to the Sparrows set, walled right up to Beaudine, and without saying a word, knocked him out with a single punch. Once the crew had Fairbanks restrained, they explained to him that the footage was the result of a very clever visual effect using a split screen. The children had been filmed first, then the alligators brought in and  filmed after they left the set. 

The two other William Beaudine films I have seen,  the Old Fashioned Way ( 1934 ) with WC Fields, and the film he will be remembered for, Billy The Kid vs Dracula ( 1966 ), which he shot for Embassy pictures back to back with Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter ( 1966 ), both which were distributed as a double feature. ( It would be his final feature film, not counting the re-edited Green Hornet footage. )

So, Beaudine seems like a competent enough director. Which is good news considering he also directed the film I will be watching next week. So what it all comes down to is the person who wrote the script, and he is.... Aw crap. Barney Sareky  who also wrote Radar Secret Service ( 1950 ). To be fair, he also wrote Superman and the Mole-Men ( 1951 ), the snooze fest that qualifies as the first feature length superhero film. 

Unfortunately the copy of this film used for this DVD release is nearly inaudible, and I had to strain to hear what the characters were saying, and much of the time not being able to make out some of the dialog. Bela Lugosi plays a scientist who, as far as the press is concerned, has mysteriously disappeared.  His sister is summonsed back from Europe to his home where his co-worker informs her that an experiment he was working on went terribly bad. Apparently Bela was working on some sort of formula and decided to test it on himself. But the end result was that it turned him into a half human, half ape. And now he spends most of the day in a cage in the basement with a gorilla. Bela is convinced the only thing that can cure him is human spinal fluid. But obtaining it would kill the person it is being removed from, which is why his co-worker refuses to get it for him. Not wanting to spend the rest of his life as an apeman, Bela sneaks out of his basement with his gorilla friend and kills the co-worker's butler, then removes his spinal fluid. The co-worker reluctantly injects Bela with the fluid, and it seems to begin to work. But soon after Bela reverts back into an apeman. So he decides to go on a citywide killing spree with his gorilla friend in order to obtain gallons of spinal fluid.  I am sure I would have enjoyed this more if only I could make out all of the dialog. But it seemed no more dumber than the dumbest of the Universal horror movies.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2018, 09:39:07 AM by stethacantus »


Offline wihogfan

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18029 on: April 23, 2018, 07:28:49 PM »
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

With better dialog this could have been a good movie, the plot ends up being pretty good, but getting there you've got to endure some really horrible dialog, and they guy playing Valerian is terrible.

At least there are some beautiful computer generated scenery to look at.
Loved the first 15 minutes of the movie. And then the 2 leads were introduced. Would have been willing to overlook the silly hats and maybe even some of the bad dialog and obvious villainy of the obvious villain if the 2 leads hadn't been so bad at portraying humans.