Scary Movie Challenge 2017: Part 5

Another 10 in the bag. After a days delay due to God smiting the power int he theatre, Dedfest X finally started last night. So BLUE titles are ones seen in the theatre.


337 10/17 Evil Ed (1995) 2.5/5   A meek film editor gets assigned to cut horror and it has an effect on him. It’s gooey and an excuse to have fun with horror tropes, it just didn’t work for me.


338 10/17 Madhouse (1981) 2.5/5   A teacher for deaf kids gets stalked by her evil twin sister. Or is it in her head? Pretty typical slasher for the era that adds in a killer dog but none of it is particularly interesting.


339 10/17 Re-Animator (1985) 4/5   First time watching the integral cut. Herbert West thinks he’s Baron Von Frankenstein. I prefer the shorter cut as I find the added bits in this kill the pacing a bit. Still worth a watch or three. This one is a classic deserving of all it’s cult fandom. It’s also the right way to have comedy in a horror film. Play the horror straight and the comedy comes from the situation. Makes this one a delight and the Arrow Blu-ray set is suitably gorgeous.


340 10/18 The Slayer (1982) 2.5/5   A woman appears to be cracking up from stress so her husband takes her with some friends on a vacation. Some nice gore can’t help this one, despite being more ambitious than the typical slashers of the era. It plays it pretty straight but I found it draggy.


341 10/18 Children of the Corn (1984) 3.5/5   Small town kids discover religion and the parents don’t like it. This one will never go down as the greatest Stephen King adaptation but it works. It’s been too long since I read the original short story so I can’t comment on how close it is, it simply works as one of the better creepy kids/Village of the Damned type movies.

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342 10/18 The Zodiac Killer (1971) 3.5/5   It’s absolutely bananas that prior to the Fincher film Zodiac, this was the best telling of the Zodiac story. It’s not actually a “good” picture, it’s cheap beyond belief, spends too much time on a red herring and then goes off on flights of fancy. When it does stick to the facts, it’s kind of effective. That expert Paul Avery backed it just shows how scared everyone was at the time, they producers thought it would help catch the actual killer. Viewing it now, it has a goofy charm.

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343 10/18 For A Good Time Call… (2017) 2.5/5   Short film about a douche-bag who secretly films a tryst and suffers the consequences in an extreme way. It’s good for what it is, but I tend to find that horror shorts tend to feel more like demo/audition reels than proper stories.

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344 10/18 Replace (2017) 3.5/5   A young woman deals with bad skin problems in a icky way. An interesting play on beauty expectations, and a great play on body horror. It goes for a bit of a wander in the last act but the stuff leading up to it is great.

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345 10/18 Hell Haunt (2017) 3/5   A short filmed in my hometown of Edmonton about a killer replicating murders at a horror movie premiere? Maybe? I have to admit, I couldn’t follow it. It was damned pretty and well executed which I guess makes it a success. Have I mentioned that I find horror shorts to feel like demo/audition reels?

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346 10/18 Fake Blood (2017) 3/5   Documentary about a pair of amateur filmmakers exploring if exploiting violence on screen can affect people to commit violence in real life. It’s well done in that it doesn’t feel like a fake documentary, but it’s also not as clever as it thinks it is.

 

 

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Scary Movie Challenge 2017: Part 4

As warned, now that I’m on staycation, there will be more of these posted since I’m doing nothing but movie watching. Lots of good stuff in this one, and some garbage. Business as usual despite the scary theme.


327 10/15 C.H.U.D. (1984) (Integral Cut) 3.5/5   First time watching this version, and having only seen the film once before, I couldn’t tell you if it’s an improvement or not. One of the most mocked titles of the 80’s, it’s actually not a bad film when you sit down with it. Homeless people are going missing, could it be cannibalistic humanoid underground dwellers? It’s obviously a low budget monster film, but every cent of that low budget is on the screen and they play it pretty straight as well. I’ve certainly seen worse.


328 10/15 C.H.U.D. II: Bud The C.H.U.D. (1989) 1.5/5   Everything done right in the first film is done wrong in this one. It appears to have a higher budget, but instead of monsters the C.H.U.D.’s are now just lazy make-up zombies played for laughs. It’s closer to a Return of the Living Dead sequel, and none of it works. I typically reserve scores less than 2 stars for films that are inept as far as craft, but this one rubbed me so wrong, I docking it half a star.


329 10/15 Wolf Guy (1975) 3.5/5   Sonny Chiba uses his moon driven werewolf powers to try to solve a mysterious crimes where guys are being torn apart by the spirit of a tiger. Sadly, there is no proper werewolf transformations in this one, but it is a blood soaked sleaze-fest of a cypto-crime film. Plus Chiba gets more than a few spots to show off his karate.

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330 10/15 Ghostbusters (2016) 3.5/5   Finally got around to this one and really enjoyed it. Rather than basically remake (see Star Wars: The Force Awakens) or mock (see the countless comedy reboots of TV shows) the original, they made a new Ghostbusters movie and it was a lot of fun. I liked the casting, I liked the set pieces, a bunch of jokes worked. It’s all you can ask for from movies like this. The Blu-ray weirded me out though, a bunch of CGI goes outside of the frame mattes. It’s weird and distracting more than neat. Stop doing that.  


331 10/15 We Are The Flesh (2016) 4/5   Mexican film that can be best described as “Jodorowsky takes a crack as Salo.” Not a horror film in the traditional sense, there’s a never ending sense of dread and by the end I was thinking the characters had created hell. Gorgeous and explicit, it won’t be for everyone. Images from this will be stuck in my brain for a while, and I’m sure being ignorant of Mexican history and culture means I’m missing out on many of the themes tackled.


332 10/16 Psychomania (1973) 2.5/5   British horror biker film, of all things. A gang leader figures out how to return from the dead and convinces his gang to follow him.  It’s not a bad film per say, and I can see how it has a cult following. I just didn’t find it all that interesting despite the gimmick. I can also see how if could have been problematic upon release since the returning from the dead bit is so simple, anyone could do it. I’m not one to cry about filmmakers being irresponsible, but this one could make a case if someone was stupid enough to try.

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333 10/16 House (1985) 3.5/5   Another one from back in the day that I seem to think was stupid but revisiting it I thoroughly enjoyed. A Vietnam vet horror writer returns to his late aunt’s house and encounters things that go bump in the night. It’s played light, but also pretty straight so the tone works in it’s favour as opposed to against it.  


334 10/16 House II: The Second Story (1987) 2.5/5   The sequel tells a brand new story about a guy who moves back into his ancestral house to discover his great grandfather stole an Aztec crystal skull that allows wishes. Played much more lightly than the first one, it simply doesn’t work. I found it tedious.


335 10/16 Wicked Wicked (1976) 2.5/5   The split screen Duo-Vision is unleashed onto the public, and it’s mostly just annoying. Sparingly, dePalma proved that it can be an effective technique. An entire film is split screen though ends up being annoying. Anyways, it’s a third rate thriller that isn’t heightened by the gimmick.


336 10/16 Brain Damage (1988) 4/5   Frank Henenlotter’s follow up to his cult classic Basket Case holds up fantastically. A young man become host to a psychedelic parasite that thrives on brains. It’s silly, but it works with some great, and considering the budget, ambitious effects.

Scary Movie Challenge 2017: Part 3

10 more movies down in the challenge. Another horrible week of real world news to live through. I feel befuddled.


317 10/10 At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul (1964) 3/5   The Coffin Joe myth starts here! Long whispered about, long desired by me, and I have to admit, it’s a bit of a let down. It’s not bad for what it is, more a case of not knowing what to expect. Coffin Joe the character is more of a prick than a macabre genius. The blasphemy I’m guessing plays better in 1960’s Brazil. That said, it’s fun and surprisingly graphic for the era so I’ll give it a three out of five.

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318 10/12 This Night I’ll Possess Your Corpse (1967) 4/5   This one was a huge improvement over the last. Coffin Joe still is looking to sire a son in order to achieve immortality. Joe’s main character trait is still mostly that of being a giant prick to everyone, but the film packs in more style and gimmick – including a genuinely brilliant colour sequence- to really put it over the top.

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319 10/12 Get Out (2017) 4/5   I loved this one, a perfect twist on paranoid thrillers. Others better versed than me can comment on a the racial politics. I’ll just say that if you took race out of the picture, it would still be damned fine. As it is, it’s fantastic.


320 10/13 Embodiment of Evil (2008) 3.5/5   40 years after the last picture, Coffin Joe is back and he is NOT messing around. Marins is back in the role and the director’s seat, and the character is still on his mission to have a son. Marins does not hold back though, amplifying the gore and ugliness like you would not expect. It works though, and I have to admit this ended up being a much stronger trilogy than I expected it to be.


321 10/13 Billy The Kid Versus Dracula (1966) 2.5/5   Exactly as advertised. Dracula is buzzing around the old west and ends up preying on Billy’s fiance. It’s ridiculous, John Carradine is awarded no favours as Dracula. It is “Fun-Bad” though, and we discover that while bullets won’t stop a vampire, a gun chucked to the face will drop one cold.


322 10/14 Waxwork (1988) 3.5/5   First time seeing this one since it came out and I know I enjoyed it a lot more than I did before. In my mind most of this era was garbage, but revisiting them I’m enjoying them a bit. There’s nothing really exceptional or scary, they’re just fun little movies. This one uses a wax museum as an excuse to use the exhibits as sketches of other horror tropes. It does it’s job and that’s all it needs to do.


323 10/14 Waxwork II: Lost In time (1992) 2.5/5   All the goodwill earned in the first film is lost on this one. Instead of playing with horror tropes, they attempt to spoof other films (In particular the Evil Dead series) and it makes for a terrible sequel to a film that was fun but no masterpiece in the first place. You’re in trouble when you cast Bruce Campbell is a small role in your comedic horror film and it brings no laughs.


324 10/14 Creepshow 2 (1987) 2.5/5   I’ve just never warmed to this one. It’s not terrible, it’s more a case of none of the stories being as interesting as those in the first one on top of what appears to be a significant budget cut so it doesn’t look that good either. First and last segments are fine for what they are, with THE RAFT being the weakest.


325 10/14 Kong: Skull Island (2017) 3.5/5   I had a little bit of trepidation going into this one after that last Godzilla movie that never wanted to show the monsters. Thankfully, they don’t mess around with this one and they get to the monster stuff quick. It makes for a fun picture and John C. Reilly is a gift to be treasured.


326 10/14 Dark Dreams (1971) 2.5/5   Young newlyweds get a flat tire and knock on the door of a witches coven in this early hardcore effort. Sadly nothing much happens. It manages to be both ambitious and not very good at the same time.

Scary Movie Challenge 2017 Part 2

I know I said I would post these every ten films and I’m over again. It was a long weekend, so it made sense to include a full day instead of half a day. It’s my blog, I do what I want!


304 10/07 Nightmare Honeymoon (1974) 2/5   A woman is assaulted on her honeymoon and her husband acts like a prick about it. This one looks like a vengeance thriller of the era, but it just plods along never really spooking or entertaining.


305 10/07 Kiss of the Tarantula (1976) 2/5   Another find from TCM Underground that is no great shakes. A young woman uses her beloved spiders to get even with those who would hurt her. Another one that isn’t really bad, just never gets really good despite adding in a little sleaze.


306 10/07 The Bad Seed (1956) 4/5   Really enjoyed this one. You know going in what to expect, so in lieu of surprises it’s more about watching things play out. And things do play out. Patty McCormack plays the most devious little shit ever seen on film, and it’s a heck of a lot of fun watching everyone twist around her. Despite knowing the premise, there are some surprises to be had and the film is surprisingly grim for the era. Worth checking out.


307 10/07 The Intrusion (1975) 3/5   Nasty hardcore feature about a wife assaulted by a home invader posing as a travelling salesman. This genre is sleazy enough without being hardcore so it really gets uncomfortable watching it. Which makes it a success.


308 10/08 Death Watch (1980) 3/5   Harvey Keitel stars as a reporter that has cameras implanted in his eyes so he can follow a woman as she goes through the stages of dying for reality TV in the near future. More Sci-Fi/Drama than the thriller it sounds like, but a pretty solid offering all the same that goes more into character examination than exploitation.


309 10/08 Alice Sweet Alice (1976) 3/5   This is one of those films that always kicked around the cheap bins so I always glossed over it despite the Brooke Shields being the draw. She’s barely in it as far as I can tell, and the whole thing is a pretty basic slasher that doesn’t offer up much.   


310 10/08 I Drink Your Blood (Theatrical Version) (1970) 3.5/5   The drive-in classic about satanic hippies infected by rabies is far better than it should be. I mean, it’s no great shakes, but it absolutely delivers on what it promises which is what makes these exploitation films a success. From limbs being hacked off to dead goats being dragged around, it’s not for everyone but for those of us that can enjoy a dumber, gorier Night Of The Living Dead ripoff, it’s pretty great.


311 10/08 The Swarm (1978) 4/5   First off, there is no such thing as an actually good killer bee movie. That said, this one is probably the best. A all star cast featuring Michael Cain and legends Henry Fonda, Richard Widmark, Olivia de Havilland among others, playing it straight and acting their asses off in a film that has billions of killer bees attacking the states, you have to respect it. It’s an Irwin Allen film, so things get absolutely bonkers by the end with the army lighting up everything with flame throwers. To fight killer bees. And it’s not the stupidest killer bee film since it doesn’t feature a scene where the bees plead to the United Nations for world peace. (That film would be the glorious The Bees.)

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312 10/09 I Eat Your Skin (1964) 2/5   This is the one that became notorious thanks to being billed with I Drink Your Blood, and I can just imagine how disappointed audiences where after viewing it. It’s an old school voodoo zombie picture with a scientist creating them as an after effect of his cancer research. Nothing exceptional at all.


313 10/09 Chopping Mall (1986) 3.5/5   In the realm of dopey 80’s horror films, you can do a lot worse than this one about a bunch of horny teens partying after hours in a mall. The new security robots go haywire and start attacking. This one is helped by its short running time, it gets to the goods quick and keep the energy going so you stay interested.


314 10/09 Blood Diner (1987) 4/5   A spiritual successor to Blood Feast, I’m rating this one a lot higher than I probably should. Two brothers grow up to follow their dead uncle’s wishes to resurrect the goddess Sheetar via a grand feast. I don’t typically like horror comedies like this, but they run absolutely wild with the dumb premise, pack it with gore and nudity and I managed to actually laugh out loud more than once at some of the jokes. It all ends up being fantastically entertaining.


315 10/09 The Driller Killer (1979) 4/5   First time watching the “Interpositive” cut, and I’m not expert enough to tell you what is added or missing. At any rate, this continues to be a favourite of mine. Abel Ferrara does not mess around, staring and playing the lead. Packed with grimy New York, from the punk music to the alleys, the whole thing simply works splendidly.


316 10/09 The Devil Rides Out (1968) 4/5   Incredibly strong Hammer offering with Christopher Lee starring as man schooled in the occult trying to save his friend from Satanic forces. Genuinely creepy and authentic feeling, even when things get spectacular. It’s great to see Lee in a hero role, and the whole thing is one of the more effective Hammer Horrors I’ve seen.

 

This bit from Blood Diner still has me laughing:

The greatest scene of all time.

A post shared by Ruz-El (@ruz_el) on

 

Scary Movie Challenge 2017 Part 1

As warned, the Scary Movie Challenge has started. I tend to post these when I get around 10 films, so you’ll have to deal with it I guess. This one is 12.

Started the challenge with a dip into Arrow Videos Hellraiser: The Scarlet Box set.


292 10/01 Hellraiser (1987) 4/5   Nice to see this one hold up so well. Uncle Frank gets his hand on a puzzle box and solving it opens the gates to hell. It’s icky and thought provoking in both it’s horror and sexuality. It’s a shame the sequels never capitalized on it.


293 10/01 Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988) 3.5/5   A direct sequel to the first one sees the characters return for more Cenobite action. This one goes quite big, with extended scenes in hell to keep it interesting despite a kind of dopey plot about a doctor investigating the goings on in the first film. Also features an origin story of sorts for Pinhead, so worth it for that too.


294 10/01 Hellraiser III: Hell On Earth (1992) 3/5   Pinhead is back, this time trapped in a rich kids gaudy statue and a news reporter gets caught up investigating the weird goings on. This one isn’t terrible, but it is a step down in that the LA rock club setting and quipping new Cenobites just don’t match with what was built in the first two.


295 10/01 Rattlers (1976) 3/5   Rattlesnakes are ganging up and killing people in the desert and it’s up to a snake professor to figure it out! Yes, the movie  is corny as hell but it manages to mostly work with it’s dopey premise. It’s a fun watch at any rate which is more than you can say for most of these goofy animal attack pictures.


296 10/02 Phenomena (1985) 3.5/5    A young girl sent to a boarding school gets wrapped up in a murder mystery with the help of her psychic connection to insects and a monkey. Dario Argento’s weird “Nancy Drew” is a bit of a mess both story wise and production wise with its shifting metal soundtrack. This was my first time watching the 116 minute cut, and while I’m no expert I did enjoy this one more than I did my first go round. Jennifer Connelly is great as the young girl despite being a bit stiff as an actress at this early young point of her career, but her detachment largely works in favour of the picture. Anyways, no one will mistake this one as a masterpiece, but it is interesting and worth a look.


297 10/02 The Bird With The Crystal Plumage (1970) 4.5/5   Revisted the film that put Dario Argento on the map and solidified the Giallo as a genre. An American writer in Italy witnesses a murder and gets wrapped up in the investigation. It’s got a huge Hitchcock stamp on it plot wise, but where in a Hitchcock film you would see Cary Grant swaggering through the posh part of town, this one has a more gritty look and feel with a ton of style. The whole thing simply works and is a genuine masterpiece.


298 10/03 Popcorn (1991) 3/5   This is one I recall kicking around the video shops for ages but I never bit on since at the time I was completely over the goofy comedy horror brought on by the Nightmare on Elm Street sequels. Ends up being a fun little film about a bunch of film students who put on a horror-thon in order to raise funds. Ends up one of the students has a past that’s about to catch up with her. Basically a rip on Phantom of the Opera to a degree, it manages to not get too annoying and the movies in the movie stuff from the marathon are fun.


299 10/05 Caltiki The Immortal Monster (1959) 4/5   I’m probably rating this one higher than I should, but I love a good monster movie and this one is a GREAT monster movie! A group are exploring Myan ruins and boy, do they ever discover something. All signs point to this being a Mummy movie, but it’s much worse. Lean, mean and nasty, it’s a ton of fun with some shockingly graphic effects for the time. I guess I should also mention that cinematographer and effects artist Mario Bava’s hand is all over this one, stylistically.


300 10/05 Pulse (2001) 3/5   Another Japanese ghost story, this time with ghosts using the internet to come through? Maybe? I’ll be honest, I had a hard time following this one. I don’t know if something’s lost in the translation or what, but it didn’t make a ton of sense. What saves it is the atmosphere. It manages to be beautiful and creepy, and since the characters get a little foggy as the film goes on I think we can excuse the story for being muddled.

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301 10/06 Shock (1977) 3/5   Mario Bava’s final film has budget issues that are apparent in it’s look, but aside from that ends up being a pretty good ghost story. A woman moves back to the house she shared with her late husband, and his ghost seems to be influencing her little boy. No one will mistake it for a masterpiece, but it manages to do the job and keep you interested which is more than you can say about most of these films.

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302 10/06 The Church (1989) 2.5/5   Dario Argento produces and his daughter has a role in this one about a church built on the site where crusaders killed a bunch of pagans back in the day. Now under renovations, they disturb the dead and you can just imagine how it goes. This was one of those pictures where if I wasn’t binge-ing films in October I might of gotten more out of it than I did. I also watched the version shown on TCM, so no idea if anything was cut or not, there was just nothing all that exceptional about it.


303 10/07 He Knows You’re Alone (1980) 2/5   Recorded this one off of TCM so I have no idea if it was edited. A run of the mill slasher short both on T&A and gore, it’s most noteworthy thing is a small bit part by Tom Hanks. Otherwise, you can find better.

Movie A Day: The Story of Wolverine

Woke up this morning to the news of the first terrorist attack to happen to my city of Edmonton. It was bound to happen, that’s the state of the world. I fear that this is exactly what the Nationalists needed to give them the edge for the elections. Yesterday when travelling downtown I saw armed security guards at the Jewish temple.

Hold your loved ones tight.

Wrapped up Bruce Lee’s films in this post and watched one of the best made Superhero films. Beginning next post is my start to the Scary Movie Challenge. You have been warned.


286 09/26 The Story Of Mankind (1957) 2/5   This wanna be epic has a great cast, including Vincent Price as the devil and the Marx Brothers in their final film (in which they do not appear in scenes together). The Devil and Mankind (represented by a posh old white guy, of course) are debating a tribunal on whether or not to allow the people of earth to destroy themselves with the H-Bomb. As such, we visit THE STORY OF MANKIND! From a American/European perspective of Napoleon (Dennis Hopper!), Cleopatra, Moses, you get the picture. It’s a neat idea that just plods along and tests your patience.


287 09/26 Game Of Death (1978) 2/5   Before shooting ENTER THE DRAGON, Bruce Lee had started on this one, and then died before ENTER came out. Years later, the director of ENTER took 20 minutes or so of the footage that Lee shot and cobbled together this completely unrelated film and it’s an absolute grotesque. Using a guy who does not look like Bruce Lee as a double, clips from previous Bruce Lee films that do not match the re-shoots, and even footage from Bruce’s funeral, the films is a horrendous. Which is a shame since the guy doubling isn’t bad at the fights, he’s just not Bruce Lee. The real shame is that the GAME OF DEATH footage that Lee shot is wasted. A 40 minute assembly of the bodega sequence can be found in the special features on some DVD’s as RETURN TO GAME OF DEATH or in the BRUCE LEE: A WARRIOR’S JOURNEY documentary and it is absolutely spellbinding stuff and well worth tracking down.


288 09/28 Bruce Lee: The Legend (1984) 3.5/5
289 09/28 Bruce Lee: The Man The Legend (1973) 2/5   Both of these are basically the same. The 1973 was made for China and features a rather poor narration and no subtitles for people not speaking English. The 1984 one is the one to watch. A better presentation and longer cut, it’s more thorough and more enjoyable giving you a pretty good idea of Bruce though it still feels a little empty.


290 09/30 I Am Bruce Lee (2012) 2.5/5   If you wondered how Rocky Marciano would of beat Bruce Lee in a fight, or wanted to hear a bunch of MMA fighters you’ve never heard of talk about Bruce Lee’s life, this is the doc for you. It does feature some contemporaries of Lee, including his family, and when they tell his story it’s great. There’s also some great footage of Lee himself. It’s padded with these MMA people and a guy from the Black Eyed Peas, and it annoys the shit of you every time they come on bleating about Lee.


291 09/30 Logan (2017) 4/5   Hugh Jackman comes back to Wolverine for one more time and ends up making on of the best superhero films. This one finds Wolverine and Professor X at the end of their ropes after an event. Mutants are no longer around, except maybe? It’s has a bleak feel that just works, and after the FX blowup that was the last X-Men film, this one really proves how good you can make a superhero action film if you allow the characters to breath.

 

As stated, today is October first and the start of me watching all the horror films I possibly can. There will be more posts this month.

Movie A Day! Snowden Beach-Fu

A full week for this post. Got in some newer films. Caught up on Beach pictures and took in most of Bruce Lee’s catalogue. Very satisfying despite being busy at work and catching another cold that wants to destroy my sinus cavities. Just read that North Korea is taking Trumps tweets as a declaration of war. Here’s hoping I get to have a horror movie challenge in October instead of Fallout 4: The Reality Show.

Here’s everything I watched.


277 09/17 Snowden (2016) 3.5/5   A bio-pic on epic whistle-blower Edward Snowden by Oliver Stone could have been a complete disaster. Stone plays it pretty straight considering the politics and it ends up being really good. On par with the Stone classics at any rate. I am a mark for Stone, jumping on and following his work since Platoon so I could be a little biased. Superb performances make this one a winner (Nicolas Cage in a character role!) It also helps that Stone presents the technical stuff in such a way that simpleton’s like me can understand it. I don’t know enough about the Snowden story to recognize if he’s as much of a perfect hero that Stone seems to be depicting, but the only real issue with this film is that there is simply no way to make computer stuff look exciting. You can juice up the soundtrack and use CGI all you want, but some twat typing on a PC is always going to look like a twat.


278 09/18 The Big Boss (1971) 3/5   Bruce Lee makes his starring debut in this one as a bumpkin that arrives at a slightly better town to work with some relatives. Seems he’s been getting into fighting trouble. Ends up the ice factory he works at is a front for heroin dealings. It’s almost frustrating how long they tease out Lee, I don’t think he throws a punch until nearly halfway through. When he does leap into action, he’s truly amazing. The difference between his style and those of the other actors, it’s apparent he’s the real deal. Which isn’t a knock on the other players. Golden Harvest mainstay James Tien does most of the heavy lifting in the first half, and he’s great. That said, the films a little rough around the edges. Directed by Wei Lo, he also did a few of the Jimmy Wang Yu films I reviewed the last couple of blogs, it’s pretty standard Golden Harvest stuff plotwise and the fights on the whole are no great shakes choreography wise. Lee makes everyone look better, including the direction, and the ample blood doesn’t hurt either to keep you interested. Ends up the minor Lee film is still well worth your time.


279 09/19 Muscle Beach Party (1964) 2.5/5   The second Frankie and Annette surf picture is plain terrible, and better than the first one. It’s terrible because Frankie and Annette are annoying. Frankie is a total douche-bag trying to play it cool and Annette is the most high maintenance girl friend I’ve ever see. It all smacks of Jersey Shore instead of California fun in the sun. It’s better than the last one because of the supporting cast. Don Rickles as a muscle man handler and Buddy Hackett as a countess’s business handler completely steal the movie from the main cast. Throw in a number from Little Stevie Wonder, and you forget how shit Frankie, Annette and their moronic friends are. Dick Dale deserved better.


280 09/20 Surf Party (1964) 2/5   Fox decided to get in on the Frankie and Annette craze by getting Bobby Vinton on a surfboard. The result is even worse than the other pictures. This is despite having actual surf instrumental music, better surfing scenes and an evil surf gang to contend with.


281 09/21 The Unfaithful (1947) 3/5   This one is a well done noir-ish tale about a woman who kills an attacker in self defense… or was it something more? Ann Sheridan stars and shows a quiet dignity in the type of role were actresses usually try to chew the scenery. Add in Lew Ayres as his typically high moral self as the lawyer/friends helping her and it’s a pretty casual film. It makes for a tight thriller and serviceable thriller.


282 09/22 Fist of Fury (The Chinese Connection) (1972) 4/5   The first great Bruce Lee picture finds the star returning to China to attend his Master’s funeral only to get mixed up in a feud with the Japanese government and systematic racism. Lee is simply fantastic in this one, starting with an epic fight at a rival Dojo to ever escalating fights throughout. Watch it.


283 09/23 Way Of The Dragon (Return of the Dragon) (1972) 4.5/5   For my money, this is the best picture Bruce Lee did, and one of the best Kung Fu films ever made. Lee steps in to write and direct as well as choreograph the fights and it all shows. Surprisingly, the first 20 minutes are played as a comedy, with Lee himself being the brunt of a series of what are essentially fart jokes. It all helps to add to the fights, and not a single scene is wasted. The climax against Chuck Norris is a classic and it all holds up perfectly.


284 09/24 X-Men Apocalypse (2016) 2.5/5   My rating feels low since when this is good, it’s really good. I just found it hard to connect to. Too much CGI spectacle distracted from this one. Which is a shame since the entire cast in this are great in every way. The constant need to up the ante in every superhero film is starting to kill the genre.


285 09/24 Enter The Dragon (1973) 4/5   Lee made all his movies in a two year period, which is insane. This one was his one Hollywood co-production, and it shows in its slickness. It gives Bruce a chance to be a bit more James Bond than he has been, and the fights for the most part are pretty good depending on who’s fighting. It reaches too high and is saddled with some non-martial artists that while they are made to look mostly good, just can’t compete against Lee and it shows. Despite that, still a fine action picture.