Tag Archives: movies

Bad movie night

Some nights,  you just have to MST3K it.

My night started with Jason Bourne. I saw the first one – I’d read the book ages ago, of course, while I was in high school. And I think I saw pieces of The Bourne Ultimatum. But this. This was Tommy Lee Jones chewing through scenery, Matt Damon doing his killing machine thing, Julia Stiles dying for no good reason except as a whistleblower who for some unfathomable reason decided Bourne needed to see files, Vincent Cassel as “The Asset”, blowing away civilians left and right, and Alicia Vikander looking pretty useless and on the verge of tears most of the time. Apparently, she existed only for Tommy Lee Jones to give orders to through his clenched mouth so we know just how serious and pissed off he is, and for him to double cross her. Can’t give the protege any ideas now, can we?  For whatever reason, the director thought all the action scenes needed to be jerky, just to remind us that THIS IS AN ACTION SEQUENCE. And to give us motion sickness. Here’s a tip: if there are fires and gunfire and car chases and riots and hand to hand combat, that’s action enough. It doesn’t need any help if the action sequences are good. And mostly, they were not. Even the control room, which apparently no one left for very long, had weird camera angles and nausea-inducing transitions while they were hopping around, taking over other countries’ CCTVs, so they could find Bourne and send yet another kill team on a suicide mission to take him out. The plot, if you can call it that, was insipid, Vikander’s “remote deletion of unencrypted files on a laptop a world away from where she was” was so stupid that I actually laughed out loud, and the ending, of course, ambiguous. Where will Bourne go? Off the grid again, only to return later for revenge against the agency that took his entire life away? Let’s hope not.

The movie on after that, as it happened, was The Hunted, also a Tommy Lee Jones movie. I passed and went to The Mechanik (aka The Russian Specialist), with Dolph Lundgren as an ex-Spetnaz officer going after mobsters, revenge for the killing of his wife and child, yadda yadda. I had to look this one up, and discovered Lundgren has a degree in chemical engineering, received a Fulbright scholarship, and is in general an extremely intelligent dude. That read through of his bio was far more interesting than this dreck. It’s unfortunate his intelligence and talent were not for writing and/or directing, both of which he does here. The obligatory final standoff scene is on as I type this. Bad guys get shot but remarkably are able to stand again and fight one of the good guys, Lundgren goes off to hunt the mobster, etc. What a horrible, horrible movie this is.

It must be Dolph Lundgren night here on this channel, as the next movie up is Blood of Redemption which is about – you guessed it – a bad guy/gangster dude seeking revenge on someone who ruined his criminal empire and killed his father. Can’t wait for that one, seriously. Can’t wait. I’m sure it will be just as delightful and well-written/well-acted/well-directed as this one.

This is all background noise to maintenance I’m doing for work, along with troubleshooting peoples’ issues with apps that they can’t even give me the right username for so I can log in and see what the issue happens to be.

Until next time, peeps: be well.

Great news, sports fans!

If  you’ve seen Dodegball: A True Underdog Story – you haven’t? Hie thee to on demand or Amazon or somewhere and watch it! ESPN is finally bringing The Ocho to life. For one day. But what a day that’s going to be! If you don’t understand The Ocho and/or why this is so hilarious, see above re: hie thee. It’s going to be spectacular. No doubt there are things people will be unfamiliar with – I didn’t even know what they meant by the Championship of Bags until I looked it up. That is known pretty well down here in the South as cornhole (yes, yes, I know). I did, however, know what Kabaddi was – and let me tell you what a weird freaking game that is. They also have a rather unfortunate pictogram:

Need some privacy?

It should be a blast.

 

Letting the new year in, quietly

I’m not a fan of large crowds, and especially not large, drunk crowds, so I spend my New Year’s Eves at home, chilling out, reading, and watching football. This year was no different.

Redneck neighbor guy apparently scraped together some pennies this year to invest in fireworks, as there were random pops of things going off well before midnight. Loud noises like that are things that scare the big dog, so he winds up close to me, regardless of where I am (including in the bathroom).

The puppy ignores all that, but also is always by my side – he’s very loyal.

So, we plopped ourselves on the couch (and floor), watched some football, and then watched The Boondock Saints, recommended to me by my little brother. Not bad.

Beyond the random firework noise, which was minimal, we had a nice quiet entry into the new year. That’s the way I prefer it.

*I tried to post this last night, on the 2nd, to stay with my goal of posting every day, but naturally my ISP – a satellite company I will not name – crapped itself on the uplink side. Those images up there took eight and six tries, respectively, to upload, and I won’t even go into the timeouts all over the place. I finally sent them an email (via my phone, because even their customer page wouldn’t load) asking them WTF was going on, and this morning on the 3rd seems to be better – although it’s storming here at the moment, and they’re not very good about staying up during rain. Or fog. Or sunshine. Or anything. We’ll see if it stays that way after I return from my doctor’s visit and a run to the store.

Halloween 2012 Moviepalooza: Part 7

We’ve come to a classic of the horror genre: Frankenstein (1931), starring Boris Karloff as the monster – who is not, as it happens, named Frankenstein. That’s the doctor’s name, here played by Colin Clive. The monster is just the monster, or more technically, Frankenstein’s monster. Based, as anyone really should know, on the novel by Mary Shelley, and rather loosely at that, the story follows Dr. Frankenstein as he labors to create life from death, stitching together parts and then zapping the creation with juice from lightning. Having created this life, he finds that his creation is not what he anticipated: the monster is violent, nonverbal, and incapable of being human in the sense we know it. After the monster kills Frankenstein’s assistant, he and another doctor devise a plan to rid the world of it. The monster escapes, roaming about the countryside as the two doctors work to capture and destroy it. Under the steady directorial hand of James Whale, the film is terrific at creating the ominous aura that permeates the movie, lending it a creepiness that still stands up all these decades later. Karloff is brilliant as the monster, even able to convey a smidgen of a sympathetic character under the iconic makeup and in contrast to the raw, soulless nature of the creation brought to life by Frankenstein. Everyone should see it at least once. On a scale of 5, this classic rates a 5.

Halloween 2012 Moviepalooza: Part 6

Up next on our movie tour: The Body Snatcher (1945) starring Boris Karloff. The film also has Bela Lugosi in a lesser role, and this film would mark the last time the two worked together. The movie references Burke, Hare, and Knox, actual historical figures who engaged in murders to provide cadavers for medical study, and is very loosely based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s story of the same name, which is based on those foul deeds. There’s an element of that here as well, as Karloff plays Gray, a bad driver who dabbles on the side in “resurrections” – i.e., grave robbing to provide cadavers to Dr. MacFarlane so he can teach his students about anatomy. Gray and MacFarlane are two sides of the same self-loathing, with MacFarlane wanting to be free of Gray, but Gray telling him he never will be. The film is as much a psychological tussle between the two as it is a telling of the difficulties that medical schools had in getting enough cadavers to teach future doctors their trade. The final fight scene between Gray and MacFarlane really does represent everything that both binds the men together and demonstrate their equivalent hatred of one another, each knowing the other could not survive without the other half. Karloff is superb at inhabiting his Gray with a malevolence that comes through whether he speaks or not, but also shows a deadpan humor that may be overlooked. Lugosi is such a minor presence and clearly is sleepwalking through his few scenes, which is a shame . On a scale of 5, I’d rate this one a 3.5.

Halloween 2012 Moviepalooza: Part 5

And we continue with Halloween 2012 Moviepalooza with White Zombie (1932) starring Bela Lugosi. This is evil Lugosi, as “Murder” Legendre, and really he doesn’t have to act very much, just do a quasi Dracula act, complete with the piercing stare and Transylvania-like accent. Short version: Beaumont is in love with Madeline, who is set to marry Neil at Beaumont’s sugar plantation in Haiti. The plantation is worked by zombified locals, and in one rather amusing scene, one zombie stumbles into the cane crusher and gets chewed up therein. Beaumont wants to kidnap Madeline and then force her to love him, but Legendre has a better idea, and Madeline winds up zombified, then spirited away by Beaumont. He realizes she now has no soul and isn’t nearly as much fun or energetic as she used to be, and wants Legendre to turn her back. Instead, he slips Beaumont some zombie powder. Meanwhile, Neil has found his way to the castle to get Madeline, who somehow wakes up for a moment from zombie-ness. A plague of zombies arrives and surrounds them on a cliff, and another character punches Legendre, thus distracting the zombies, and off they go like lemmings over the edge. As Madeline wakes up fully, Legendre tries to escape, but zombie Beaumont bearhugs him and goes over the edge. Neil and Madeline embrace, and the end credits roll. This is another of the pre Night of the Living Dead movies, and while it isn’t a completely horrible movie, it’s one that most people these days would not be able to sit through from start to finish. On a scale of 5, I’d give this one a 2.

Halloween 2012 Moviepalooza: Part 4

Next up in our Moviepalooza: The Devil Bat (1941), starring Bela Lugosi. Where to begin? I suppose at the beginning: Lugosi plays Dr. Carruthers, some kind of fragrance genius who invents a killer (ha!) fragrance for a company and then accepts $5000 for his part instead of a share in the company, which becomes very successful. Convinced that the generic company owners screwed him, he develops an aftershave that attracts the giant devil bats he’s grown by zapping regular bats with lost of electricity. And them in true evil mad scientist fashion, he starts offing the guys he thinks have wronged him, by getting them to try the aftershave and then loosing his devil bat on them. A reporter and his photog sidekick show up to report on and solve the murders. Routine stuff follows and eventually Carruthers is suspected of and held to the murders. It isn’t a very good movie, and although the bat effects are not as atrocious as, say, the spaceships in Plan 9 from Outer Space, this probably would not have scared any adult back then (and possibly not even many children). It’s a straightforward telling, without any real twists to speak of, and is suitable for killing (ha!) some time waiting for the real classics to show up on the screen as dusk begins to fall on this spooky night. On a scale of 5, I’d give this a 1.

Moviepalooza 2012: Part 3

Moviepalooza continues: The Last Man on Earth, starring Vincent Price. This film, like Omega Man and I am Legend after it, is based on the story “I am Legend” by Richard Matheson, and (in my opinion) is vastly superior to both of those later films. This movie does have its drawbacks, of course: it is compressed from the story itself, and the zombie vampires are more zombie than vampire – George Romero credits this film as part of the inspiration for his “Night of the Living Dead” masterpiece – and the middle part is a bit muddled. Still, Price as Robert Morgan, the eponymous last man, gives a credible performance. The first third of the movie shows Morgan going about his daily routine as he has every day for three years since a plague wiped out the world’s population. The plague first sickens, then kills people, and then reanimates them as zombie vampires, shuffling around at night, looking to feast. Morgan goes out during the day when the vampires are sleeping, staking them through the heart and tossing them into a burning pit. The middle of the film is flashback material, showing his wife and child dying, and is the weakest link. The last of the film shows Morgan’s realization that at least some of the people he’s been staking are actually partially immune, rebuilding a world of sorts in which he is the ultimate monster. The ending I’ll save, as this really is a film you should watch. No one does creepy quite as well as Price, but he’s the Good Guy here instead of the baddie. Well worth the time to watch. On a scale of 5, this one rates a 4.

Halloween 2012 Moviepalooza

One of the best things about Halloween is the wall to wall oldie horror flicks on TMC. First up: Repulsion, with Catherine Deneuve playing a young woman with obvious mental issues that everyone around her blithely ignores. It’s a Roman Polanski film – the first one of his films that most English-speaking audiences had seen. Deneuve’s character slowly goes completely batshiat insane after her sister leaves her alone in favor of a vacation with her (married) lover. A young man who meets Deneuve’s character and, for whatever reason, thinks he’s attracted to her despite her almost zombified state, should have rethought that after he tracks her down and is bludgeoned to death by her while she’s suffering from hallucinations. There’s other blood and gore as well, but the movie is so slowly paced that it can be hard to sit through to the end. If you’re not a fan of Polanski in general or of psychological thrillers specifically, you probably won’t like this one. If you don’t mind the slow buildup of story and emotion that is the hallmark of almost any Polanski film, and can watch someone’s slow descent into a more hellish existence than she already inhabits, it isn’t a bad way to pass some time. On a scale of 5, I’d give it a 3.5.