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John Byrne
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Joined: 11 May 2005
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Posted: 03 November 2019 at 5:15pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

THE WAR OF THE WORLDS (1953)

Not a big favorite, but I was just in the mood. WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE is on the same disk. Probably watch that, too.

HD sure doesn’t do any favors for the couple of dozen wires supporting the Martian “flying machines”.

Love the stock footage of the flying wings!

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Byron Graham
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Posted: 04 November 2019 at 9:41am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

I love the '53 War of the Worlds, though I admit that's mostly nostalgia. As a young 'un in the '70s I would thumb through the TV movie listings hoping some channel was showing it. I was suitably impressed by the effects. In the '90s when I bough a Laserdisc player, I added War of the Worlds to my collection.
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 04 November 2019 at 10:58am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Halloween Resurrection (2002).

First time I have seen this, and I now realise I was not missing anything good. The original Halloween was excellent. Its first sequel, directed by Rick Rosenthal, was terrible, as were many of the other sequels.Somehow Rosenthal got himself back into the director's chair for Resurrection.

Director Steve Miner and scribe Kevin Williamson combined their efforts in 1997 to create H20, which I thought was that rare thing: a Halloween sequel that was a worthy follow up to the original. It ended with what seemed like proper closure, at last.

Of course, this piece of merde spits on that ending within its opening minutes. Then proceeds to make a mockery of the promotional poster which features Jamie Leigh Curtis front and centre, before jumping into its main story. Which in concept is dumb but not unappealing. The execution, however, is poor. And Michael Myers is soooo boring. No motivation to what he does. Inexplicably immortal. Always a lumbering step ahead of everyone, even though the whole house is wired with cameras. Always undefeatable, until enough minutes have passed for him to come a cropper. The remarkable thing is that Carpenter made it work so well in the first thing. Even more remarkable that Miner/Williamson got it to work again in H20.

Anyway, this film is very, very far from recommended.
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Petter Myhr Ness
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Posted: 04 November 2019 at 12:23pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

WIDOWS (2018)

A thriller with depth and some really great perfomances. Viola Davis is excellent. 
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Tyler Kloster
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Posted: 06 November 2019 at 11:15am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Had a Rob Zombie double feature based on a couple Halloween-week purchases I made at an FYE store on vacation last month, his 2 most recent films, 31 and 3 From Hell, neither of which I had seen before. By way of disclaimer, I would say that I would not consider myself a fan of Zombie per se, but think he has made a handful of good (if unpleasant) films, although I absolutely loathe his Halloween remake. Did he finally make the leap and make an honest to goodness *great* movie?

31 (2016, DVD)

Not here, he didn't. This is complete and utter trash in almost every way. 

Sometime in the mid-70s (as many of Zombie's films are set), a group of travelling carnies are kidnapped on Halloween and forced to participate in a sadistic survival game called "31" set in a torture-maze where they have to evade and/or kill a group of psycho-clowns hunting them down. They "win" by surviving until morning (the "31" of the title apparently comes from the game only being played on Oct. 31 every year---otherwise, the significance is lost on me). The game is being played for the amusement of a small group of wealthy aristocrats, including one played by Malcom McDowell.

Despite the mildly interesting if cliched premise, the film contains not a single ounce of suspense. The fights/battles are all filmed with nausea-inducing shaky-cam that prevent you from following much of what's happening. There are no story surprises...everything you predict will happen based on the premise does, and nothing more. Any social commentary is only surface-deep...it's all just an excuse for Zombie to do what he really wants, which is put a whole ton of gruesomeness and awfulness on the screen. Which he does.

The one bright spot is a genuinely terrific performance from relatively new Zombie-repertory performer Richard Brake, whom comic fans may remember from his brief appearance as Joe Chill in BATMAN BEGINS. Brake plays the main psycho-clown, Doom-Head, and he is by far the best thing about the film. An electric performance.

But the film is still trash, Zombie's worst film. It may not anger me as much as HALLOWEEN did/does, but it has even less redeeming value.

************

3 FROM HELL (2019, Blu-Ray)

I think the previous Zombie movies about the loathesome but iconic Firefly family, HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES and THE DEVIL'S REJECTS were very good and memorable, with some truly great elements, even if neither ever completely came together (Zombie's best film to date, for my money, is THE LORDS OF SALEM). The finale of Rejects seemed to provide a pretty definitive ending to the Firefly clan, and a memorable one at that, so the announcement that Zombie was making a follow-up film 14 years later with the same cast raised the inevitable questions of "how?" 

But all the same, I was intrigued. Sid Haig as Captain Spaulding was a revelation in those movies and just commanded the screen. Bill Moseley was Otis P. Driftwood was a chilling evil. And Sheri Moon Zombie as Baby was definitely the director's wife.

So how do they come back? Well, I kind of give Zombie points here...he knows how ridiculous it is to even suggest that the Fireflys could have survived the end of DEVIL'S REJECTS, so he almost literally just waves it off and tells you to go with it. I kind of admire the sort of shamelessness of it. He even plays it up with fake newscaster footage of people saying how unlikely it is that anyone could have survived what they did. But they do, and somehow none of them has a single scar or scratch.

Unfortunately, those looking for a true follow-up to the earlier films will be somewhat disappointed. Despite what some of the advertising I saw implied, it is not a real reunion film for the 3 main characters of the earlier films. One of them (you can probably guess who if you are aware of the real-life circumstances surrounding the film with regards to one actor's health) is limited to a single scene and then written out. 

In order for us to still have our titular "3", the Fireflys get Coy-and-Vanced with the sudden addition of a never-before-revealed family member, Winslow, played by the aforementioned Richard Brake, who is good but not as memorable as the character he replaced. 

The most interesting part of the movie is the first 15-20 minutes, which is largely made up of fake newscasts and documentary footage of the Fireflys after they have been captured, examining the effects they have had on the culture. There was some good stuff here, and I wish the whole movie had been this. Instead, the movie jumps the timeline ahead to the late 1980s for no discernible reason other than to accommodate the actors' ages, I think. With Winslow's help, two of the Fireflys escape prison after a decade in which they somehow, despite being incarcerated, have acquired thousands of dollars worth of tattoos, and head to Mexico to hang out. And from there the movie just becomes a remake of DEVIL'S REJECTS. The story contains no unexpected twists or turns...you will successfully predict everything that happens.

So it just makes me wonder why Zombie bothered. The ending of the previous film was so good and memorable (IMO) and definitive, why undo it if you have nothing new to say with the characters? Maybe Zombie just wanted to set the record for most uses of the word "motherf***er" in a film, I don't know. Another bit of ugliness is that I don't think there is a single female character in the film who isn't directly called or referred to as "b*tch", or both.

The acting is mostly fine to good, a lot better than 31, thanks to Mosely, Haig, and Brake. Sheri Moon continues to be the director's wife, although her Baby seems to be channeling Harley Quinn a lot early on.

I don't know, I may just be done with Zombie's films. I'm tired of the white trash aesthetic (I hate that term, but I use it because it's clearly what he's going for). I'm tired of his trope in his films that there basically are no good people, just some less awful and degenerate than others. Goodness and beauty are only to be torn down. Zombie as a horror filmmaker has been a lot more about "horror" than "terror" or suspense, and that's his right, but at this point he's only about nihilism.

Perhaps worse, I think it's inarguable by now that he is only paying lip service to the idea that these awful, awful people are monsters...at least, I don't think he sees them that way anymore, if he ever did.

I don't regret watching it, like I do 31, but it's an ultimately pointless movie, other than, I guess, for Zombie to retreat to his comfort zone after the financial misfires of his previous 2 films.




Edited by Tyler Kloster on 06 November 2019 at 11:16am
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Shaun Barry
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Posted: 09 November 2019 at 8:51am | IP Logged | 6 post reply


THREE KINGS (1999)

A long-time favorite, since the moment I caught it in theaters 20 years ago.  Clooney is Clooney, but this features arguably a career-best performance from Mark Wahlberg, and Ice Cube is surprisingly solid.

Very dark at times, but also bitingly funny.  It juggles a lot of different tones and subplots, but it all holds together.  Probably a full-on Top 10 favorite of mine from the '90s.



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John Byrne
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Joined: 11 May 2005
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Posted: 09 November 2019 at 9:24am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

M*A*S*H (1970)

Mentioning it in another thread put me in the mood. Given its vintage--almost 50 years old!--it's interesting to note how many of the main actors are still alive.*

Something I had not noticed in any previous viewings is that Hawkeye does not, in fact, "score" with Lt. Dish.

___________________

* Roger Bowen, aka Henry Blake, actually died the day after McLean Stevenson.

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Brandon Frye
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Posted: 09 November 2019 at 11:58am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

I've been in an old-school Disney mood lately, so I watched Darby O'Gill & the Little People last night and Bedknobs & Broomsticks* today. Thoroughly enjoyed both as I always do. 

The old saying is true.. they just don't make em' like that anymore!

The Love Bug is next. 

*The version I have has the extended Portobello Road sequence. While fun, I can understand why it was shortened. 
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John Byrne
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Posted: 09 November 2019 at 1:22pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Watched DARBY O’GILL last St. Paddy’s Day, and was delighted at how well it had held up.
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David Miller
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Posted: 09 November 2019 at 3:12pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply


 QUOTE:
Something I had not noticed in any previous viewings is that Hawkeye does not, in fact, "score" with Lt. Dish.

Huh. I thought they had a relationship, but forwent sleeping together her last night in country. I always like a good excuse to watch MASH again.


 QUOTE:
DARBY O’GILL

One of the scariest and most disturbing movies I've ever seen. I will never find a good excuse to watch it again.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 09 November 2019 at 4:18pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

THE LEGO MOVIE 2 (2019)

Cute and clever, but like the first one betrays its own concept by trying to be TOY STORY.

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Brian Miller
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Posted: 09 November 2019 at 6:07pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

CHRIS CLAREMONT'S X-MEN (2018)

The documentarian(s) totally discount the artists' hand in conception of characters. Except for Cockrum's new X-Men. If this documentary was the only knowledge one had, one would think Chris was the only one that had a hand in stories or characters. Totally gives him complete credit for Days of Future Past. Totally gives him credit for Kitty. I don't want to downplay his contribution, but it doesn't need to be overplayed, either  

Love Weezie. She's such a joy to see in this. Never seen or heard Ann Nocenti before this. She was enjoyable, as well. Probably the best part of the whole thing was them describing how fun it was to work in the Marvel offices back in the early 80s. 

Very interesting how he only read comics when he was a kid at the barbershop. It was never any kind of lifelong passion for him. Until he got into the field. 

All in all, it was a nice reminiscence on some great comics. If you're looking for pure fidelity to how the comics were really created, don't watch it. Or, just watch it to see Weezie and Nocenti. 

ECHO IN THE CANYON (2019)

A fantastic documentary covering the music created by musicians that seemed to flock to LA's Laurel Canyon back in the mid-60s. It covers the years 1965-67, I believe, and a LOT of acts. The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, The Beach Boys and more. Includes interviews with Brian Wilson, Eric Clapton, Tom Petty and many, many more. Produced by Jacob Dylan, he serves as the lynchpin throughout. Nice piece. Not as good as THE WRECKING CREW, but still a wonderful film. Highly recommended. 


Edited by Brian Miller on 10 November 2019 at 12:47pm
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