Join Date: Dec 1999
Scaled on 1 to 5 stars
, first viewings are underlined, theatrical screenings are in red
* vomit stew
** bad film
*** good film
**** excellent film
***** a grand artistic achievement... the 'anti-vomit stew'
- 1/1 The Kids Are Alright, **** One of the best rock and roll movies ever made. Plenty of video and live footage along with great interview pieces, all culled from various points in the Who's history.
- 1/2 Lifestyles of the Ramones, ***1/2 A goldmine of Ramones videos lightly interspersed with interview snippets from industry personnel and talent. Would love to see the unedited interviews, but just having all the videos makes this a must have for Ramones fans.
- 1/3 Curse of the Werewolf, ***1/2 A young Oliver Reed does a fine job in this Hammer production. An involved backstory is given in the first half hour, grounding the movie solidly for what is to come. I personally think this is a plus but can see also how it compromised pace, and that some viewers might get a little restless.
- 1/3 Black Hawk Down, ****
- 1/3 Mutiny on the Bounty (1935), ****
- 1/7 Star Wars Holiday Special, * Exceptionally horrible production. I remember watching this when it first aired (1978) and not being too impressed with it even then, but watching it now through adult eyes verifies that it was indeed an attrocious effort. Still, it's fun to see most of the original cast present and making fools of themselves, not to mention, here is the first appearance of Boba Fett. Must be seen at least once to be believed.
- 1/16 Blood Simple, **** A lyrically visual masterpiece. The story itself is quite simple which is odd coming from the Brothers' Coen, but therein lies the beauty; you could literally watch this with no dialogue and it would still be a great film for the linear, cohesive storytelling the photography alone conveys. There are scenes reminiscent of the best suspense moments in film from Hitchcock to Carpenter. Really enjoyed this one.
- 1/29 Network, **** Profound.
- 1/30 Little Caesar, ***1/2 Edward G. Robinson's landmark breakout role. The pace is a bit stunted and the acting for the most part is only decent, but Robinson is terrific.
- 2/2 The Incredible Mr. Limpet, ***1/2 A childhood favorite which still succeeds in giving me a good chuckle.
- 2/5 42nd Street Forever, **** Fucking excellent collection of trailers for trash, exploitation, and other such fucked up flicks from the '60s and 70's.
- 2/6 Venus Beauty Institute, ***1/2 If anything will get me to watch a chick-flick, it's Audrey Tautou; unfortunately for me, she doesn't factor into this one much. Quite the contrary, the primary focus of the movie is on Nathalie Baye's character who has, out of spite, turned her back on love and is now content with stringing along a collection of noncommittal flings when this one dude (incidentally, the lead actor from Brotherhood of the Wolf) comes along and has the unfortunate luck to fall head over heals for her. Said dude subsequently suffers much abuse in helping Nathalie's character find her way back to a meaningful relationship. Okay, not really my scene, right? But I must say, the script was well written and the story was pretty engaging. Don't let the copy on the dvd cover fool you either; this one isn't so lovey-dovey as it would have you believe and it's actually pretty trashy at times. The movie was shot well, with excellent lighting and even a few eyebrow raising (if not exactly eye-popping) erotic scenes, including one with Audrey steaming it up in black lace. Definitely worth a view in my book.
- 2/19 Marty, ***1/2 Borgnine rocks.
- 2/20 Good to See You Again, Alice Cooper, **** Excellent vintage footage of the '73 Billion Dollar Babies tour and the legendary lineup. I watched this as it was originally produced, and the only drawback is the scripted scenes they cut away to, interrupting the concert for horribly droll 'comedy' bits, often not even involving any of the group members (thankfully?). There is an option to watch the concert uninterrupted, which I will certainly do the next time I watch this gem.
- 2/21 Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, **** Can't go wrong with Capra and Stewart.
- 3/12 On the Waterfront, **** Excellent character study exceptionally delivered by Brando. Lee J. Cobb is great here too as the corrupt union boss. In regard to the photography, here is beautiful use of contrast, deftly utilizing the multitude of objects and textures found in the urban jungle.
- 3/15 Five Easy Pieces, ***1/2 Nicholson's turn to perform a first-rate character study. The story itself isn't the most intriguing, but Nicholson keeps you in it. Karen Black turns out a pretty good performance too as the pathetically clingy, manic depressed girlfriend. None of her horror movies have anything on her creepy performance here.
- 3/15 It Happened One Night, **** Capra does romantic comedy and it works well. Gable and Colbert have chemistry nearing the level of Powell and Loys from The Thin Man (incidentally, both movies came out the same year, 1934).
- 3/19 The French Connection, **** Great stuff. Very gritty looking film, with matching subject matter. Hackman and Scheider are great, as well as the cinematography and Friedkin's direction. I love these 70's urban actioners, and this is one of the best of 'em.
- 3/19 Serenity, ***
- 3/21 Cabaret, **** Excellent production, recreating '30s Berlin very well. I remember seeing some of this on TV as a kid, but of course couldn't really understand all of the Nazi stuff back then. Watching it now, I think the movie subtly illustrates how individual lives were affected by the rise of the Nazis quite well. A very bleak musical.
- 3/21 The Greatest Story Ever Told, **** Although I really like Max Von Sydow, I wasn't quite sold on him as Christ. Still, he did well enough and this was a terrific production. It handled the continuity of the tale very well and the look of the film was top notch. The cast list was simply insane, with very well known character actors just around every corner and in every nook and cranny. I mean, come on; Telly Savalas as Pontius Pilate? "Who loves ya, baby? Baby Jesus, that is."
- 3/26 Superfly, **** A classic. The soundtrack alone is worth four stars, and the plot has the feel of Greek tragedy.
- 3/27 Cape Fear (1961), ***** Superb depravity. Excellent score, photography and execution of plot. Acting is good by all the cast, but Mitchum steals the show.
- 4/4 Gimme Shelter, ****
- 4/9 In the Heat of the Night, ****
- 4/16 Masada - Live at Tonic, 1999, ***1/2 Catches the jazz quartet in a very small, intimate setting (John Zorn's own NY club), giving us a close-up look at the band dynamics and interplay. The music sounds great, and the mood, both of the band and of the crowd, is playful and exhilarated. You can't help but get caught up in it.
- 4/16 AC/DC - Live at Donnington, ***1/2 Great value dvd, with two hours worth of material hammered out with all the energy and force one could expect.
- 4/23 Ministry - Sphinctour, ***1/2 The music is great, but the constant editing of different footage from several shows for the same song really fucks up any feeling of continuity. Still, a pretty powerful and representative document of the mayhem that is a Ministry show.
- 5/2 Shadow of a Doubt, **** One of the few Hitchcocks I've never seen. Excellent treatment of the 'wolf in sheeps clothing' theme.
- 5/2 From Here To Eternity, **** Fine acting all around by a terrific ensemble cast. Hell, it's even got Superman George Reeves in it.
- 5/23 Very Bad Things, ***
- 5/29 A Bridge Too Far, ****
- 5/29 Hell's Angels (1930), **** No, not a biker movie, but rather a WWI actioner. Great aerial scenes of biplane dogfights and even an attack on a zeppelin warship with a magnificent climax. Some good miniature model f/x too in one major sequence. There is some cornball humor and hammy acting along the way, but that hardly takes away from the marvelous action the film provides. This one really is a spectacle, especially considering the year it was made.
- 5/30 Eye of the Needle, **** Tight little suspense thriller which gets real claustrophobic at the end with a one on one stand-off for the fate of WWII. Good work by the two leads, plus it's also cool to see a pre-Young Ones Rik Mayall here in a small cameo.
- 5/31 The Thomas Crown Affair (1968), *** The slightly disjointed pacing knocks this one down a peg, but McQueen and Dunaway are good together, and it's a pretty good caper. Worth watching, just not stellar.
- 6/10 The Demons, **** Medieval torture, witch burnings, and naughty nuns, all brought to you by the stylistic eye of Jess Franco. I unfortunately watched a horribly cropped and edited American release version, a vhs port no less, but the movie gets high marks for visual content and for a few unintentional laughs along the way as well.
- 6/13 Spirited Away, **** Story is done well and has a good pace, but it's the visuals and characterization here that really makes the movie. They did an excellent job on the lead, Chihiro, giving her facial and body movements that told more about her than any dialogue could. Also, the movie is full of detail, movement and outlandish beings. A feast for the eyes.
- 6/13 Torn Curtain, ***1/2 Mid-60s Hitchcock espionage pic. Slightly disjointed and a bit surface deep, but still good.
- 6/17 Hellboy, ***1/2
- 6/20 Corpse Bride, ****1/2
- 6/24 He Loves Me... He Loves Me Not, **** Very creepy character study on obsessive behavior. Good use of alternate perspective, the film stopping midway to back up and tell the same story from another character's point of view. As always, Audrey Tautou does an excellent job... but she's certainly no Amelie in this one.
- 6/26 Three... Extremes, ****
- 7/6 Waiting for Guffman, ****
- 7/12 21 Grams, ***1/2
- 7/15 Before Sunrise, ***1/2
- 7/24 God's Gun, **1/2 Lee Van Cleef, Jack Palance, and Sybil Danning... what could go wrong? Well, maybe droll pacing and uninspired direction, for starters. And then there's Leif Garrett. There is however a modicum of near-decent action and plot to keep you in.
- 7/24 Kid Vengeance, ** Van Cleef and Garret again in this reallll loose sequel to the above mentioned flick. Jim Brown shows up to lend a hand, but the movie just can't be helped. The same problems as above exist. And again, the action can be entertaining at times, but in this one the plot just crawls.
- 8/7 House of Fury, **** Saw this at the Asian Film Festival of Dallas today. Very fun action pic choreographed by the legendary Yuen Woo-Ping. Stars Anthony Wong (bad guy from John Woo's Hard Boiled) as a widower having trouble relating to his two teenage kids... *mild spoiler follows* oh, and he's a secret agent assigned to protect another secret agent with a price on his head. Of course, his kids don't believe him until they all get caught up in a big revenge/kidnapping drama that the kids ultimately have to figure out how to resolve on their own. Good action, fine pace, and decent acting with some good laughs make this one a winner.
- 8/7 Caveman, *** Good, not so clean fun.
- 8/14 Alien Resurrection, extended cut, ***
- 8/15 Clan of the Cave Bear, ***1/2
- 8/20 The Skeleton Key, ***1/2 Surprisingly good. Only one actor, the lawyer, took me a bit out of the movie. Other than that, the pace, plot progression and overall vibe kept me in it.
- 8/22 The Ring Two, ****
- 8/23 Beerfest, ***1/2
- 8/25 Pumping Iron, *** Pretty good docudrama about weightlifting competitors holds up well after 25 years. A must see for any self-respecting Arnie fan.
- 8/26 Taoism Drunkard, ***1/2 Fucked up Asian action/fantasy chopsocky flick from '84. Would get four stars but it gets a little chatty at times getting in the way of the trippy action. Dueling devils, a drunken bum fighter, and a monster who resembles a big, black Pacman with razor sharp teeth who attacks, well, below the belt, as well as other twisted shit makes this a must see.
- 8/28 Rasputin, the Mad Monk, ********** That's right, ten stars. One of my absolute favorite, if not my utmost favorite of Hammer's films. Chris Lee is wonderful as the mystic man of opportunity and intrigue, and the supporting cast, dialogue/writing and plot/pace move this sucker right along. Not the best set pieces, and certainly not high art, but just a damn well put together spectacle. Grab a bottle of wine ("Boris! Pay the man!"), throw out 'proper history', and enjoy.
- 8/28 Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger, ***1/2 Interesting if a bit one dimensional plot, great Harryhausen f/x work, and it's always nice to have Jane 'may we' Seymour in attendance. Saw this one in the theater when it came out in '77, and it was great to revisit it.
- 9/6 The Protector, ****
- 9/16 Kiss Me Quick, *** Back when the humor was corny and the boobs were real. Super-bare plot only serves as excuse to deliver numerous softcore strip-teases. Fun!
- 9/16 House On Bare Mountain, ***1/2 See above, but this one actually has an involved if sloppy plot about a granny moonshining operation under the guise of a girlschool. We get a drunken costume party run amok, and a werewolf is thrown in to boot! Crazy shit.
- 9/20 Red Eye, ***1/2 Was pleasantly surprised.
- 9/21 Appleseed, *** Lots of action, decent animation.
- 9/26 Borat, **** Extremely vile... and hilarious. The audience was laughing their asses off and so was I.
- 10/01 Renaissance, **** Very much like the late 80s Heavy Metal mags. Good action and story. Character animation is a little lackluster but the backgrounds are great, stylistically speaking.
- 10/05 Major Dundee, ***1/2 Host of rogues from the Civil War era are thrown together to accomplish a non-political mission in attempt to reclaim Apache kidnap victims. Movie has a great cast and some good action scenes. Decent script often touches on various social frictions between yankees, confederates and blacks during, yet outside of, the Civil War.
- 10/10 Key Largo, ****
- 10/10 Night Creatures (a.k.a. Captain Clegg), ***1/2
- 10/11 The Evil of Frankenstein, ***1/2
- 10/13 House of Sand and Fog **** Pretty damned depressing and grim, but very well done and Connelly and Kingsley turn in excellent performances.
T.V. sets completed in 2006
Prime Suspect, 3
Prime Suspect, 4
Prime Suspect, 5
Prime Suspect, 6
- 11/23 Oedipus Rex (1957), **** Basically a filmed stage play with a minimalistic but eerie set. It is very stylistic in that all the characters wear these fantastic, grotesque masks. All very Rod Serling-ish. The acting was fine if a little over the top (which is to be expected in stage plays).
"When I go to confession, I don't offer God small sins - petty squables, jealousies - I offer him sins worth forgiving!"
Movies seen; 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011