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April 19, 2024, 03:09:18 AM
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Badmovies.org Forum  |  Movies  |  Good Movies  |  Recent Viewings, Part 2 « previous next »
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Author Topic: Recent Viewings, Part 2  (Read 608394 times)
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« Reply #3660 on: April 03, 2024, 05:16:42 AM »

"Plastic Galaxy: The Story of Star Wars Toys" (2014)
In 1977 a small toy company called Kenner took a chance on the license for a new, upcoming science fiction movie called "Star Wars" that all of the big toy makers had passed on. When the movie became a phenomenon, Kenner suddenly became a major industry player overnight. A fun documentary featuring cool vintage clips and interviews with former Kenner employees as well as diehard toy collectors and fans. Guaranteed to bring back memories for children of the 70s and 80s.
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« Reply #3661 on: April 03, 2024, 09:32:50 PM »

"Phenomena" (aka "Creepers," 1985)
An American girl (teenaged Jennifer Connelly) arrives at an exclusive private school in Switzerland and soon learns that several of her classmates have been brutally murdered. Fortunately she has a psychic power that allows her to speak to and control insects, which comes in handy as she helps a criminologist (Donald Pleasance) track the murderer.
This truly odd mix of giallo murder mystery and straight up slasher horror from Spaghetti splatter icon Dario Argento is a very nice looking movie, but it's about as cohesive as a bag full of marbles, with typically Italian wooden acting, awkward dialogue, and random plot twists.
It's not one of Unca Dario's better movies, but it is weirdly watchable, even if I wouldn't exactly say it's "good."
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« Reply #3662 on: April 03, 2024, 09:34:52 PM »

Shock Treatment

The quasi-kinda-sorta-not really sequel to the Rocky Horror Picture Show.  It featured new actors as Brad and Janet and no Tim Curry, but quite a few of the other original cast members in new roles.  The movie itself suffered from a plot that wandered around aimlessly.  Brad and Janet go on a TV show that ends up with Brad being committed by character that may or may not be the same people as Magenta and Riff Raff from the first movie.  Janet is them pushed into being a star by Brad's Evil Twin Brother until the narrator (the guy with no neck from the first movie) ends up breaking Brad out.  Brad, Janet, and a friend people that sympathies with them then steal a car and drive away.  None of the villains get any kind of comeuppance.  

The movie satirizes TV stardom and mental health which isn't nearly as fun as parodying sci-fi and horror.  It also lacks the sexyness/perversion and general punk energy of the first.  
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« Reply #3663 on: April 04, 2024, 08:53:34 PM »

LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (1962):
Believe it or not, my first viewing, and it took me several forty-five minute sessions across three-plus months (I watched the first two-thirds around Christmas and just finished it up this morning).

I'm sure everything I could say has been said, though I've paid attention to none of it and basically disregarded this film for my entire movie-watching life. Mildly put, it surpassed all my expectations and earned a place w/ the first GODFATHER as a rare canonical classic that deserves its stature.

A few observations that maybe only I would make:

1.) That first stretch (through the intermission) is legitimately grueling at times. So much time is invested in watching a man or men cross expanses of desert very, very slowly. Indeed, I grew to appreciate the vastness and mind-bleaching emptiness of said desert. That said, I cut my teeth on Tarkovski and Bela Tarr in my teens and twenties, and I can sit through a lot of long takes of silent stoic traveling - I wonder how many 21st century viewers would tap out or have to hit that FF button. It also occurs to me that maybe there would or could be no Tarkovski as we know him if not for LAWRENCE's staggering international success (in spite of its longeurs).......

2.) Politically, LOA seems ahead of its time (pre-Vietnam) in its attitudes and very much topical today (maybe more now than ever). Nominally a WW2 movie, no white military besides Lawrence are seen fighting. Dressed as an Arab, Lawrence is sometimes an agent of his own design (often disastrously) and ultimately more an avatar for Claude Rains and Jack Hawkins, pulling strings and cleaning up messes while sitting in executive splendor; and also Alec Guinness as the self-acknowledged ultimate Arab beneficiary of Lawrence's misadventures. Guinness' comments to Lawrence in the final scene reflect a possibly timeless though strikingly cynical, Cold War-era philosophy on warfare: soldiers are monsters, victims, and pawns, while bureaucrats do all the real work. I did a series of double-takes throughout as Arab characters make myriad pronouncements about Arab proprietorship of and dominion over the Middle East, comments I've heard on the news all my life, while white characters perform hand-waving. Jews are never mentioned, but Israel is right around the corner at the film's conclusion, in spite of and in opposition to what Lawrence has helped wrought. The bargains struck in the penultimate scene set up the ongoing Middle Eastern conflict. Lean even forecasts Israel's untenable national security policy through Lawrence's justified yet disproportionate response to the Turks. This movie's a true history lesson.

3.) So, the brownface. Arabs are played by the profoundly Anglo Guinness (who is compelling though not convincing); by Irish career portrayer of ethnic characters Anthony Quinn (who is compelling and extremely convincing, if not quite sensitive); and by Latino Jose Ferrer, who's another story altogether. (...Also by Omar Sharif, who is excellent, and many supporting cast members of middle eastern origin.) Must we perform appropriate horror and then banish this film into anonymity for its sins? I was initially appalled, of course, but after a couple of hours a singular loophole presents itself: this is a film that is entirely concerned, sub-textually and textually, with appropriation and with drag. Lawrence himself is a white guy trying to incorporate himself into a world of brown guys, wearing their clothes and assuming their customs, and eventually being repeatedly mistaken as an Arab... all for nebulous, nefarious, or deeply ambivalent reasons (and to mostly dark ends). That's not even taking into account the dimensions of uncertain gender and sexuality that occasionally exert themselves, most unnervingly in Ferrer's one infamous scene, where he plays the "Turkish Bey" who, if he "were posted to the dark side of the moon... could not be more isolated". The fact that Ferrer, Quinn, Guinness, and even/often Peter O'Toole are assuming ethnic drag only illuminates the other potential performances that are layered into each characterization. (Sharif and Quinn are constantly fighting over who is the better or more faithful Arab, which is a horrible yet resonant gag, etc...) Again, how much of this did Lean intend? Well - at least some of it - and following the Death of the Author, the rest is for each viewer to acknowledge with respect or cast out.

5/5

Oh yeah, O'Toole! Also remarkable, easily must be the role of his career.  
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« Reply #3664 on: April 04, 2024, 09:01:00 PM »

Shock Treatment

The quasi-kinda-sorta-not really sequel to the Rocky Horror Picture Show.  It featured new actors as Brad and Janet and no Tim Curry, but quite a few of the other original cast members in new roles.  The movie itself suffered from a plot that wandered around aimlessly.  Brad and Janet go on a TV show that ends up with Brad being committed by character that may or may not be the same people as Magenta and Riff Raff from the first movie.  Janet is them pushed into being a star by Brad's Evil Twin Brother until the narrator (the guy with no neck from the first movie) ends up breaking Brad out.  Brad, Janet, and a friend people that sympathies with them then steal a car and drive away.  None of the villains get any kind of comeuppance.  

The movie satirizes TV stardom and mental health which isn't nearly as fun as parodying sci-fi and horror.  It also lacks the sexyness/perversion and general punk energy of the first.  

Cannot argue with you on some subjective regards. I'll say I enjoy and admire this film a great deal, and think it works perhaps better than RHPS as satire. Some of the songs are as good as or better than the best from RHPS, and it does have "new wave" energy, certainly, and definitely A LITTLE punk: "Breaking Out" has to be one of the best punk songs ever written, dammit. Jessica Harper is (!) yes, a much better Janet than Sarandon. Richard O'Brien and Patricia Quinn require no excuse nor defense.  Smile    You're right about the lack of comeuppance - it used to bother me as a kid. O'Brien's moral universe is a dark fun-house version of our own, though (RHPS ends on a complete quandary of justice) and as I look around my national reality I see all kinds of people who should have been behind bars long ago but aren't.  Cheers
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« Reply #3665 on: April 07, 2024, 03:03:07 AM »

Modesty Blaise (1966)

This one is so sixties it hurts. This is a high camp spoof of the James Bond style adventure movies of the period, essentially an episode of The Avengers filmed on a blockbuster budget.

The main weakness is Monica Viti, who is seriously miscast as Modesty Blaise. There is absolutely no chemistry between her and Terence Stamp or Dirk Bogarde, and she doesn't even look like the character (except briefly getting into a Modestly Blaise costume). Diana Rigg would have been so much better for the part, but at the time she wasn't a big film star yet. Also, whoever thought of adding musical scenes, sung by people who obviously can't sing (I assume Stamp and Viti)

If you can look past Monica Viti's performance (or lack of it), it is a lot of fun.
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« Reply #3666 on: April 07, 2024, 09:50:52 PM »

"Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S." (2003)
The Big Green Guy is back and he's pretty ticked off, unfortunately for the people of Tokyo. It may take the combined efforts of Mothra and a barely-functional Mecha-Godzilla to save the city from this latest rampage. Of course there's some additional drama involving the puny humans who are caught in the middle of all the monster mashin' action.
It's been a while since I've seen a Godzilla flick, so when I stumbled across this one on YouTube tonight I couldn't resist pressing "play." Sometimes, good ol' fashioned Japanese giant monster gibberish just hits the right spot.
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« Reply #3667 on: April 08, 2024, 08:54:58 AM »

BUBBLE BATH (1980): Anxious Zsolt visits Anni on his wedding day, asking her to call his bride and call the wedding off for him. A crazy psychedelic Hungarian animation with funky musical numbers; the drawing style shifts constantly, often several times within the same scene; it's can be thrilling or tiresome, depending on your outlook, but it's always unique. Director György Kovásznai's only feature film, as he died from leukemia three years after this was released. 3.5/5.
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« Reply #3668 on: April 08, 2024, 02:09:06 PM »

Sukima-onna aka Spirit Behind the Door (2014) - I was impressed with how cheap looking the trailer was, so I watched this low level Japanese horror thing. The spirits aren't behind the door they're in random crevices, it's a Japanese folk legend. Soap opera level production/ acting and every 10 minutes or so, someone looks at a crack in the wall or next to a desk and sees some spooky eyes with black metal makeup. Horror movies with sequels have been made with less substantial concepts, but not much effort was put in to the presentation and there are just way better Japanese horror movies out there. I don't know why this was made? I did like the concept and some of the ideas/ scenes

2.5 /5

no reviews on IMDB
« Last Edit: April 08, 2024, 02:30:10 PM by lester1/2jr » Logged
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« Reply #3669 on: April 09, 2024, 09:22:02 PM »

"Spirit Halloween: The Movie" (2022)
Three teens who've decided they're "too old" for trick-or-treating opt to celebrate Halloween by sneaking into their local Spirit Halloween store after closing time to spend the night. Unfortunately the store was built on cursed ground, and a malevolent ghost (Christopher Lloyd) uses the store's animatronics and monsters to try and possess one of the kids' bodies.
...I worked for Spirit Halloween when this movie came and went in about a week in 2022, and it was pretty much what I expected to see: a feature length commercial for the chain disguised as a low budget, family friendly "spooky" movie ala  "Goosebumps." It wasn't altogether terrible, but  I'll never sit through it again. It was fun to pick out all of the featured Spirit Halloween merch from my time working there, though. "Hey, I remember that mask! I remember that creature!"  TeddyR
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« Reply #3670 on: April 10, 2024, 02:45:30 PM »

XIII (2019) - underwhelming found footage horror. The guys are good at creating the FF/ quasi social media sort of mood but the story itself is just too basic. 2 guys find an ancient looking book which leads them to a spooky house. Not awful, but doesn't take things anywhere.

2.5 /5
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« Reply #3671 on: April 11, 2024, 06:32:14 AM »

"Robin Hood: Men in Tights" (1993)
Mel Brooks spoofs the legendary Robin Hood saga, with tons of sight gags and one liners delivered by a great cast that includes Cary Elwes, Dave Chappelle, Tracey Ullman, and even Sir Patrick Stewart!
"Men in Tights" is not a top drawer Mel flick, but it's more fun than the godawful Kevin Costner "R.H." movie that inspired it
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« Reply #3672 on: April 11, 2024, 06:41:50 AM »

ENEMY (2013)

A man seeks out his exact look-alike after spotting him in a movie.

What the f**k is this piece of s**t?

1/10. 91 minutes of my life, forever lost.
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« Reply #3673 on: April 11, 2024, 08:19:59 PM »

"This Is GWAR" (2022)
The Scumdogs of the Universe get their own documentary! An extremely thorough examination of the long and sometimes very bumpy career of everyone's favorite band of bloodthirsty punk rockin' heavy metal space mutants. Amidst all the blood-spewing live concert footage, interviews with band members past and present, and vintage pix, there's a surprising behind-the-scenes story about the friction between two of its founding members, the late Dave "Oderus" Brockie and Hunter "Techno Destructo" Jackson, who spent years in a constant battle for control over the band's vision and direction. An often hilarious, occasionally heartbreaking, metal-as-hell movie that's a must-see for all GWAR slaves. Hail GWAR!
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« Reply #3674 on: April 11, 2024, 08:57:33 PM »

SUCKER PUNCH (2011) - 13 years later, this movie still hits me on a deep, emotional level.  So many things going on, so many alternative realities wrapped within reality, so many deep sayings buried in a fantasy world. One of my favorite films of all time!  5/5

And here is the final soliloquy from SweetPea, the survivor of it all:

"Who honors those we love for the very life we live?
Who sends monsters to kill us, and at the same time sings that we will never die?
Who teaches us what's real and how to laugh at lies?
Who decides why we live and what we'll die to defend?
Who chains us? And who holds the key that can set us free...
It's you.
You have all the weapons you need.
Now fight!"
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