Movie A Day!: Master Falstaff Peaks

Last night I had a dream that I went to the secret Chinese food restaurant at West Edmonton Mall. Secret because it’s where the old China Town part of the mall used to be. Just down from Bourbon Street, and to get to it you had to go through double delivery doors beside the Fuji Banana Frosty stand. The restaurant is much nicer than it sounds, with classy, modern decor. This is the third time in about 16 years I’ve gone to the restaurant. The same guy is running it and pulling customers through the delivery doors like a club hawker, leading them down the maintenance hall to the restaurant proper. The food is good, though I can tell they are on hard times. The visibility is terrible after all. You have to look for it. The wait staff were sneaking pieces off of my plate. I left without paying. None of this is real, none of this existed in the past, but I have strong memory of it. My brain takes this as “Happened”, not “Dreamed”.

Thin on the movies this week, for reasons apparent in the reviews.


167 06/09 Twin Peaks Season 2 (1991) 4/5   People consider this one as going downhill compared to the first season but I really enjoyed it this time round. It’s true, it goes for a bit of a wander once the Laura Palmer stuff winds up, but once the Windom Earl plot ramps up it’s just as good as that as what came before. The final episode is one of the best in the entire series that absolutely drips in an almost Lovecraftian horror.


168 06/10 Chimes at Midnight (1965) 3/5   I’m really torn with this one. I’ve been wanting to see it for ages, one of the final fictional films Orson Welle’s completed and a Shakespeare adaptation to boot. Technically it’s wonderful, the acting it perfect, Welles is fantastic in the lead as Falstaff. The look of the film, shots, editing, all what would expect from Welles and not hurting from a limited budget. Halfway through the film is one of the best medieval battles I’ve ever seen. The problem is I couldn’t understand it. It took me three sessions of watching, backing the film up to re-watch, I just couldn’t follow the plot. I don’t know if it’s the time of night I was watching or I’m just too dumb about Shakespeare but I couldn’t tell you anything about it plot wise. I’m giving it three stars since I think it’s better than I found it and I will give it a second chance some day.


169 06/10 Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992) 4/5   Time has been kind to this one. I remember how hated it was when it came out and looking at it now, I’m guessing it’s due to not being fun. Instead it’s a terrifying look at the last days of someone suffering from serial abuse from a parent and the film looks at it while asking “What if the evil that men do was an actual entity that could control us?” It’s more horror film than anything else and the only sour note I have is Chris Isaak is way over his head in the opening scenes.

170 06/11 MasterChef Canada Season 4 (2017) 2.5/5   More of the same. The nice guys finished first.

My Letterboxd profile is currently caught up and reviews appear their first now. I’ll probably shutter this blog. Be sure to follow there if you are interested in movies.

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Movie A Day! 397-407: Last Christmas To The Head

We have nearly made it, only a few days left and 2014 is put to rest. Everyone making out okay? This time of year can feel like survival sometimes. My holidays are going okay, so far. It’s been mostly quiet and low key, which is what I wanted. It’s the first Christmas without dad, and mum and I are accepting it quietly while cracking the odd joke about how dad wouldn’t be impressed with us and our celebration since we’re going small.

I passed 400 titles this past week. Not bad. Watched some great, classic films, and some not so great films. As per usual. Here they are!

397 12-21 Christmas Evil (1980) 4/5
My (and John Waters) favourite Christmas movie looking fantastic on Blu-ray via Vinegar Syndrome! This one came out in the midst of slasher mania and was obviously designed to be the Christmas version of HALLOWEEN. Surprisingly, they went more psychological, so the first half plays more like a TAXI DRIVER style character study before going completely loopy. Believe me, it gets deliriously loopy, so check it out.

398 12-23 Kelly Clarkson’s Cautionary Christmas Music Tale (2013) 3/5
Yup, still watching Christmas specials. This one was one of the better ones mainly because Clarkson can sing anything in a way that doesn’t drive you up the walls. The sketches aren’t as good as the performances, but the performances are all good and Clarkson has a fun personality.

399 12-23 Masterchef Canada Holiday Special (2014) 3/5
Stumbled on this one. They brought back 5 contestants from Season one, who along with their families compete in cooking challenges with the winning family getting $10,000 for their favourite charity. It was surprisingly fun, and since it’s Canadian, everyone was happy, working together and having a good joyous cry instead of baiting and trying to screw everyone over like the American version.

400 12-24 Hot & Saucy Pizza Girls (1979) 4/5
This is one of the porno chic titles that gets tossed around as being a classic so it was nice to finally view it via Vinegar Syndrome’s release. Directed by Bob Chinn, this one fits right in with the teen sex comedies that were popular at the time. Think of PORKY’S or ANIMAL HOUSE type comedies, except with hardcore sex. John Holmes starts as an owner of a pizza shop who has a gang of sexy, skateboarding delivery girls who deliver pizzas throughout San Francisco on their skateboard as a cover for hooking. There is a mysterious “Chicken Rapist” out to get them, run by a fried chicken group who want to put the Pizza Girls out of business. Desiree Cousteau is back playing her naive dumbbell persona that she did so well in PRETTY PEACHES, and future feminist porn director Candida Royalle is memorable as well as one of the Pizza Girls. Cut out the porn, and it would still be a fun and funny little film.

401 12-25 2014 Disney Parks Christmas ‘Frozen’ Parade (2014) 2.5/5
This was on Christmas morning and was probably your last chance to see Ariana Grande soullessly warble out a Christmas song. Seriously, if it was a variety type special from this year, Grande was part of it. I guess she won the magic ticket.

402 12-25 All Is Lost (2013) 3/5
This one has Robert Redford as a guy dealing with sail boat that has a hole in it. In a twist, that it all this movie is about. All of it. No kidding. A guy on a boat, by himself. So your enjoyment will be based on if you don’t mind watching a guy on a boat with a hole in it for ninety minutes. I liked it, and I thought Redford did a really good job. That said, I don’t think I’m going to be spinning it a ton. It’s a neat experiment and change of pace, but not completely successful. I have a sneaky feeling that this one was made as Oscar bait to get Redford a statue.

403 12-26 The Green Mile (1999) 4.5/5
This is the best of Frank Darabont’s Stephen King prison novel adaptations, which is saying something since the other one he did was THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION. I like this one better though, since it has gruesome executions and Tom Hanks pissing all over the place to balance the sentimentality that is borderline over-sentimental. Plus it has that god damned mouse!

404 12-27 Doctor Who Christmas Special – Last Christmas (2014) 2/5
405 12-27 Black Mirror – White Christmas (2014) 4/5
These should be the last of the Christmas specials for me. Doctor Who had Nick Frost as Santa, sorry, as Father Christmas since it’s British. Anyway, he was a great Father Christmas but the episode dealt with Jenna and her dumb boyfriend. For fuck sakes, that shit was wrapped up in the season finale! I thought we were done with her and her horseshit. I’ll give next season a chance, but I’m far from excited for it.

I never did watch BLACK MIRROR SEASON 2, and I’m going to rectify that toot-sweet since this Christmas special was excellent. John Hamm and some other guy are working at some unexplained job on Christmas, and Hamm is telling stories of what brought him to the isolated outpost. It’s smart and cynical, Brooker has a dead tight script and Hamm has never been better. I want more Black Mirror please, even though season two is supposed to be a bit dodgy.

406 12-27 Bullet To The Head (2012) 2/5
Walter Hill finally gets a new movie out, and it sucked. Walking human Growth hormone experiment Sylvester Stallone is a hitman who gets set-up on a bad job and has to work with a cop to sort things out. It hits every dumb cliche there is to hit. The cop is Korean, so there is way too many Asian jokes at his expense to get a pass in this day and age, and 90% of the dialogue seems to be exposition to explain what the characters are doing, and why they are defying all common sense and logic. So skip this one.

407 12-27 Oui, Girls (1981) 2/5
A detective goes undercover at a swingers ranch to solve a murder. I think that’s the plot. This one was spoken of pretty highly in the book THE OTHER SIDE OF HOLLYWOOD, and was considered to be director F.J. Lincoln’s best film. As a porno, it’s not bad, but as a movie it just didn’t make any sense with way too many plot holes. I know, it’s a porn, but I expected more. Pizza Girls delivered a plot, no reason this one shouldn’t have. F.J. Lincoln is also mostly known for his role as one of the attackers in Wes Cravin’s LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, so between that and the hype from the book, this one was a let down.

That’s it for now. There will be one more post, The wrap up for 2014! I’ll try to post it this week anyway.

I’m on the fence with continuing this blog into 2015. It’s actually a bit of work writing these dumb mini-reviews and finding the posters and math. Ugh. Feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Movie a Day! : 94-103 And The End Of April

Yet another blog! I’m sure my ones of readers thought that I had abandoned the project or died due to it’s lateness. Both being perfectly valid reasons based on my history of blogs. Abandoning them, not dying. I’m not some weirdo who’s constantly killing myself for short periods of time like those goofs in “Flatliners”. Anyway, last week really shit the bed on a personal level, I decided to wait until April was over before posting, then work completely blocked my blog due to the title. So I changed the title as a compromise. Don’t let it be thought that I am precious or have any principles with this blog. I CAN BE BOUGHT! BUY ME PLEASE! Next week will probably be a short blog since it will cover May 1st to 4th.

So here’s the last films I watched in April. There are some amazingly good ones here. In that I watched another Zatoichi film and I just love those goddamn Samurai!

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094 04-23 Adventures of Zatoichi (1964) 3.5/5

Plot wise, this isn’t much different from the previous films. Zatoichi arrives in a town to celebrate New Years, only to get mixed up with corrupt officials and the Yakuza. That said, I could watch these movies all day. There’s a subplot that elaborates more on Zatoichi’s childhood that is interesting, but the main draw is still Katsu in the leading role who is perfect as the blind swordsman. The subtlety of going from childlike naivete to threatening, scary killer primarily through body language never fails to send chills down my spine.

 

095 04-26 Game of Thrones Season 3 (2013) 2.5/5

***Why can I not copy and paste an image of a poster for this fucking series and have the link remain unbroken? How does this image stuff work? I’ve had it happen on other images too. But this GOT bullshit is ridiculous. Anyway, enough May 2nd bitching about WordPress/internet/my ignorance.****

Decided to get caught up on Game of Thrones since on social media people are creaming their jeans right off their bodies over whatever is currently happening in the currently airing season 4. I still don’t like this show! Season 3 was supposed to be amazing with a capital “A”, but after season 2, I didn’t quite believe it hence I never watched it until now. Ends up Season 3 is better than season 2, but it’s still a lot of walking and talking with little action. Which is actually an odd complaint since one of my favourite shows is “The Wire” which is very walking/talking over action heavy. I guess it’s a case that when it comes to medieval fantasy, I don’t give a shit about the Kings banking situation (a stirring conversation featured in episode 3). I do like the performances (periodic nudity and gore), so I will keep on watching. Is Dinklage’s accent the worst or the best? It’s not real right? Discuss.

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096 04-27 Ginger (1971) 2/5

097 04-27 The Abductors (1972) 3.5/5

098 04-27 Girls Are For Loving (1973) 3/5

So once upon a time Cheri Caffaro married Don Schain and Don loved Cheri so much he decided that he had to make her a big movie star. It was decided that she should be a female “James Bond”, and this trio of films were the result. Where James Bond is the epitome of male fantasy and class (IE: a classy asshole), “Ginger” is decidedly not that. Schain chose to feature his wife in nearly constant situations of nudity with her either being the aggressor or the victim. This is total sleaze-ville.

The first film, “Ginger”, introduces the character, obviously, with the plot being that she’s needed to infiltrate a Jersey Shore gang (of at least 6 people) that is running drugs and prostitutes during the tourist season. So already the series is starting out cheap and sleazy compared to the Bonds. “The Abductors” is a similar plot, except this time it’s a white slavery ring abducting women and forcing them into sex slaves. This one was the grimiest of the bunch, which means it was the most entertaining. The last film, “Girls Are For Loving” was unashamedly shot in the Philippines, which means it kind of looks like a Bond film with an international flavour. The plot is similar, Ginger has to fuck her way through a gang. The head of this gang though is another women, so it’s like Ginger is going against someone similar to herself except bad. So that’s interesting? Ginger also starts off undercover as a lounge singer/stripper, and if Caffaro is actually singing, it’s truly sad because she is not a good singer. Anyway, the third film is still sleazy as hell, but has better production values than the first film so I’m rating it higher.

So why did I watch all these Ginger films? A year or more ago I bought a DVD set that featured Caffaro in the last film she made with her husband, “Too Hot To Handle”, and I couldn’t bring myself to start that DVD set of 3 films (all unrelated) until I watched her in the unconnected Ginger movies. It’s a special movie loving sickness that I have…

099 04-27 Thief (1981) 3.5/5

This one is director Michael Mann’s feature film debut. It stars James Caan as an asshole, ex-con safe-cracker who gets mixed up with the mob while trying to do that last heist so he can retire to the family life he always wanted. It has a nice balance of 70’s character piece while setting the stage for the 80’s stylish gloss that Mann will become known for with “Miami Vice” and what not. So in the end it works, the heist stuff is pretty cool, and it’s got James Belushi in it from before he someone transmogrified into a total dick.

100 04-28 Masterchef Canada Season 1 (2014) 3/5

So this cooking show finally wrapped up. I had sworn off the Masterchef series last year, but then they announced a Canadian version so I had to watch it to see how they did it. I was curious if the judges would be total assholes like the American one, or polite and Canadian. They were mostly assholes, and the sad thing was you could tell they were TRYING to be assholes but were actually good guys, as opposed to being total, true assholes. So that’s it. Some guy won and no one cares.

101 04-29 99 and 44/100% Dead (1975) 2/5

This is the second half of a double feature DVD set I have, paired with “The Nickel Ride” which I watched I think last year but forgot to list. How many lost films have I watched and forgotten to list due to laziness? Anyway, this one I remember hearing about for ages and thought it was maybe a cult classic. It features Richard Harris as a hit-man who is hired out by gangster Edmond O’Brien to help quell a gang war. The problem with the film is that it plays like a dopey, slapstick satire at first, but then tries to get a bit serious and action film-y. So it never really works as a spoof or a satire or an action film, it’s just annoying and bad. So watch “The Nickel Ride” and skip this one.

102 04-29 Too Hot To Handle (1977) 3/5

So having watched all the “Ginger” films, it was time to watch this one. Produced by Roger Corman, this is a pretty typical 70’s cheap action film shot in the Philippines. It might as well be a Ginger movie since Caffaro is essentially playing the same character. Instead of a secret agent, she’s an assassin who’s hired to take out some guys. That’s really all you need to know. It’s not as sleazy as the “Ginger” pictures, but still pretty good since the assassination set-ups are a nice change of pace (though she still fucks her way through most of it). Plus there is a remarkably shit Kung-Fu fight on a boat that is worth the $5 this cost seeing as the set of three films was $15. I’ll review the other two next month.

103 04-30 Louis Theroux’s LA Stories (2014) 4/5

Been a fan of Theroux since discovering him on the old “TV Nation” series. Anyone remember that show? Remember when Michael Moore used to be fun instead of a self righteous asshole? No? It was a long time ago. Anyway, this is Thoureux’s latest series and it was as good as any of his other stuff. It’s 3 episodes, the first one is on stray dogs in LA, the second about end of life care and the last about registered sex offenders. So these ones are more serious than some of Thoureux’s shows. So while they may not be as fun as watching him wrestle or act in a gay porn, they are interesting and well worth your time. Theroux has really mastered his journalism style of appearing kind of idiotic in order to get people to open up.

So there it is, April all done! Let’s look at my numbers.

31 Watched    31 First Timers   0 In Theaters

So for the first time since January, I watched more movies than days in a month. I also broke the 100 film mark, but sadly with a stupid cooking show since I never plan my viewing properly to make it special. I believe this is also the first month since I started keeping track where I had no repeat viewings. Everything watched was a first timer. That said, I’m still down from last year where at this point I had watched 135 movies. So I’m 32 films behind from last year. I need to get bed ridden for a week! Is that wrong to hope to be bed ridden so you have an excuse to do nothing but watch movies?

We shall see what next week brings, so far it’s not much. I realized I should probably do a “Best/Worst of the month type of thing. Maybe I’ll do that next time.

The End