Movie A Day! 021-025: “Gone, Really Gone, Girl!”

Here we are with two movies you might actually watch! Balanced with some filth and another Doctor Who.

021 01-15 Touch Me (1971) 3/5
Cracked open another one of Vinegar Syndromes PEEK-A-RAMA sets. This one features three films (CRY FOR CINDY, TOUCH ME and the previously lost ACT OF CONFESSION, 4 if you count an alternate version of CRY FOR CINDY. Those VS folks really know how to deliver the seedy goods) by Anthony Spinelli who did such good work on SEXWORLD. This first film pre-dates DEEP THROAT and is in the “classic”, for it’s time, educational style. A psychiatrist is introducing the viewer to the form of therapy known as “Encounter Groups” because the stress of the modern world and Vietnam has us all hung up man! It’s all an excuse to eventually getting around to showing people having sex, with the BS documentary form in place to try to give the film merit so the makers don’t get chucked in the clink for being dirty pornographers. Anyway, this was one of the best of this type that I’ve seen with the writing more sincere than these typically are (no “professors” telling their students to whack off to playboy like in the Ed Wood written one) and the Doctor, while a total quack (and not actually a real doctor of course) actually coming off as concerned for the mental health of the “patients”. It’s also in form with others from the era where it’s mostly a softcore picture with hardcore inserts, until the final reel or so anyway. So as a porn flick, you can do better on a tube site. As a relic of a forgotten era though, it’s a fun watch.

022 01-16 Gone Girl (2014) 4/5
Finally got my hands on the latest David Fincher film and it didn’t disappoint. Technically perfect like all his films, I loved this noir throwback. The less you know the better, go with the ride and you’re in for a real treat as this one could sit quite comfortable at the table with VERTIGO and LAURA. Affleck has never been better, we can stop shitting on him for PEARL HARBOR and ARMAGEDDON, he’s the real deal. Rosamund Pike is no slouch either, and I’ll leave it at that out of fear of spoilers.

023 01-17 Doctor Who S02E02 (6parts) – The Dalek Invasion of Earth (1964) 3.5/5
This is the story that should have been the season opener! The Doctor, FINALLY get’s the group back to contemporary London at their regular size, only to find London decimated by a Dalek invasion! The Daleks are enslaving humans, turning some of them into cyborg guards, to mine into the earths core so they can get their hands on the magnetism. I mean come on, how badass are the Daleks? Anyway, the Doctor solves everything, but the most notable aspect of this one is, he leaves his granddaughter Susan behind with only one shoe! She’s fallen for some guy, and he thinks it’s best for her to stay, even though she doesn’t want to! The Doctor is such an asshole! Looking forward to the next one now since I’m curious if they acknowledge the Dalek decimation of Earth as cannon or some dumb alternate dimension type thing.

024 01-17 Rush (2013) 3/5
This movie proves that even one of the most boring sports to watch, auto racing of any type, can make for an exciting movie. Or it’s just me oddly enjoying movies based on sports I hate. Anyway, this tells the true story James Hunt and Niki Lauda, sport rivals in the Formula 1 circuit in the 70’s. Ron Howard does a good job on his second car picture (GRAND THEFT AUTO was his first, it’s arguably better), and the actors are fine I guess. I mean, Thor plays the handsome Brit playboy Hunt and some guy no one’s heard of plays the miserable German, it’s about as base and stereotypical as two real people can be. Still, it’s a good one worth checking out, though admittedly I’d rather just watch an actual documentary.

025 01-17 Cry For Cindy (1976) 3/5
Anthony Spinelli goes for tragedy in this adult film from the porno chic era. It tells the story of Cindy, a girl who gets into hooking to help get her boyfriend through doctor school. It’s told as a remembrance from the people who knew her, since the film pretty much starts with her suicide. Hits all the plot points you would expect, but manages to hold your interest. Not for least the near constant queefing of Cindy on the soundtrack. Drinking game!

After a few days, if you think too hard about GONE GIRL it doesn’t make a lot of sense. But like Fincher’s THE GAME, it’s still a hell of a ride, plot issues or no. I’m already itching to watch it again. I also knocked half a star off RUSH. I really would rather just watch a documentary on the two racer guys. They lived a public life, their races were all taped. Just make a fucking documentary already!

That’s about it for this posting. I’m exhausted and can’t think of much to write.

Movie A Day! 011-020

So in typical fashion during the holidays, some dumb family stuff went down. I nearly made it through unscathed, but New Years day, people decided to get shitty for all the wrong reasons. I wont get into details since none of it really directly effects me, but it made me realize that I hated hearing the drama and I don’t really need to hear it. Which got me thinking about social media. Do I really need to be plugged into Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and whatever else all day and all night long via my cellphone? Especially since I spend all day on a PC at work, and more than a fair share at home. So I decided to pull the plug on social media on my cell phone. So when I’m away from the computer, I am away from the “noise”. Sounds good right?

It sucks. Twitter is pretty much “The News” now, if you follow the right feeds. I’m so use to being plugged in that my brain is all short circuited by not having all the feeds at my finger tips, and the convenience of instagram to look at cat pictures, or check out Vice news while standing in a line or on the bus. And this disconnected “What am I Missing?” panic is while still regularly checking in on all of it throughout the day. It’s weird right? This must be what addiction feels like. Have any of you tried cutting the computer cord as far as social media goes?

Movies! (and television specials)

011 01-05 Son Of Dracula (1943) 3/5
Okay, I’m giving this a three out of five which in my ratings means it’s pretty good and I’d probably watch it again. I’m going to watch it again because it’s from the Universal Monster cycle and I’m always watching these films at some point, but it really isn’t that good of a movie. Lon Chaney Jr. get’s a crack at playing a vampire, as he stars as Count Alucard, the son of Dracula. See what they did there? I told you it wasn’t that good of a movie. The thing is, it’s so wonky, it could have been a good movie but the casting stinks. Chaney Jr. is a terrible Dracula, but Universal wanted him to be a “Man of a Thousand Faces” like his old man so he got the push. Frank Craven (don’t worry, there’s no need for you to have heard of him, I had to look him up) as the Doctor that figures things out is so homespun and folksy that it doesn’t help any either. So you get a dopey, miscast vampire picture with a some good ideas (like DRACULA’S DAUGHTER, this one too has a women that ultimately takes control) and some cool effects that is fun but really just doesn’t work. So a good “bad” film it ends up being, but certainly not essential.

012 01-06 41st People’s Choice Awards (2015)1.5/5
Stumbled into watching this one. It was boring. A bunch of people I barely recognize from shows I don’t watch got awards. It was hosted by the stars of MOM, some sitcom I’ve never even heard of but one of them is Anna Faris from the SCARY MOVIE series. I like her, but she is a terrible host. Favourite movie was MALEFICENT, so that’s about enough said about this one.

013 01-08 Elvis (The ‘68 Comeback Special) (1968) 5/5
014 01-08 Elvis – 1st Sit Down Show (2004) 4/5
It was The King’s birthday, so we spun this one. The “Comeback Special” has to be one of the most electrifying things to have ever aired on TV. Elvis performs in front of a live audience for the first time in 8 years with everything to prove, and he completely succeeded in relaunching his career after becoming a parody of himself (not for the first time) making those dopey movies. The final performance of “If I Can Dream” completely holds up today message wise. Forget all the jokes, the jumpsuits and stories, and check out the link and see an artist perform with the type of complete conviction rarely seen.

The sit down show is one of many special features on the DVD set. Elvis recorded two “informal jam” sit down performances and two “Stand-up” solo performances in front of studio audiences while recording the special. This is the complete footage of the first sit-down show, finding Elvis reunited with DJ Fontana and Scotty Moore who he performed and recorded with in 1956. It’s raw, it’s messy, and it’s staggering to see Elvis stumble over stories and then effortlessly turn it on and nail a song.

015 01-09 The Raid 2 (2014) 4.5/5
So how do you top one of the best action films ever made? You don’t, you go “The Godfather Part II” route and create a film with more depth. It shouldn’t work in the action genre, but fuck me, these guys managed to add a twisty turny, noirish gangland plot without compromising all the kickassery that you can find in the first film. It’s pretty much the perfect martial arts movie and highly recommended.

016 01-10 August: Osage County (2013) 3/5
This one kept getting trailered at the start of blu-rays (new word alert! When a trailer for a film is constantly being shoved at the start of a DVD/Bluray, it’s getting “Trailered”. Someone write Webster!) and got me interested enough that I decided if I ever saw it on sale cheap I would pick it up. Mainly due to being a long time fan of Juliette Lewis. Anyway, it popped up for $5, which is as cheap as it gets these days. It’s good. It’s a southern drama based on a play that manages to not feel too much like a play while you watch it. It’s rather soapy and melodramatic, but everyone is really good in it, and I’m biased to think Lewis was really good in a smaller but complicated role as the little sister. Oh, it’s about a bunch of sisters reuniting with their bitch mum over a family tragedy. Juliette Lewis plays the little sister. Did I mention Juliette Lewis was in this? It was good and fan fave Benedict Cumberbatch is in it too.

017 01-11 Doctor Who S02E01-3 Planet of Giants (1964) 2.5/5
Since Who is so stand alone in it’s stories, and the BBC actually sell them as separate films instead of seasons, I figured I might as well count the classic Who as their own thing. This is the season 2 opener, and it was ambitious in scope but just didn’t work. The TARDIS futzes while landing on contemporary earth causing it and it’s passengers to arrive about ant size. This sets off a plot about someone who’s developed an insecticide that is capable of killing all insects. It’s just too much of a collision of two different plots and just never works.

Tina Fey, Margaret Cho, and Amy Poehler.

018 01-11 72nd Golden Globes (2015) 3/5
The only reason to watch this is for Amy Poehler and Tina Fey. They nailed the opening like no others have nailed an award show opening before. Sadly, as the show dragged on, they appeared less and less which made the show less fun to watch.

019 01-12 The Invisible Man’s Revenge (1944) 3/5
Yup, still watching the old Universal Horror films. Down to one a week, they’ve taken the place of my beloved Zatoichi. This one makes zero sense as far as the Invisible Man series goes since while the Invisible Man has the name “Griffin” like his predecessors, he is no scientist and ends up getting invisibility via a mad doctor played by John Carradine. If you can get past that, it’s pretty damned good. Griffin was ripped off, possibly thought killed by partners in a diamond mine deal gone wrong. It’s years later and he’s recovered his memory, and is looking for his cut. A very noirish plot for a horror film, that’s balanced by some really wonky comedic elements and the best special effects yet. Sadly, this is the last of the Invisible Man cycle, he’ll only show up on comedy bits now, which we’ll get to eventually.

020 01-13 Charlie Brooker’s 2014 Wipe (2014) 3/5
Pretty self explanatory this one. Charlie takes a look at the news year that was 2014. If you don’t know who Charlie is (if you’re outside of the UK you probably don’t, I learned of him from The Farwall.) you should acquaint yourself with his work since he’s arguably doing some of the best TV, period. Anyway, this one wasn’t as funny as past years, and frankly, that it was funny at all is a miracle when you consider the constant horrors that seemed to be coming weekly last year. So it’s worth a watch, plus Shitpeas and Chunk are back and brilliant, and the only misstep is the totally shit song he ends it with.

There it is. Instead of posting every Monday I thought I’d post every ten films. Ten seems too long though so I think I’ll do it every 5 films. Thoughts?

Star Who? 6 – Doomsday Machine Caretaker of Marinus

Right, another Wednesday, another blog about Doctor Who and Star Trek.

Doctor Who 2005 S08E06 – The Caretaker 3/5

Well, readers from last blog will recall my dread for this one. It might of been low expectations or pure dread, but it wasn’t as bad as I feared. It was far from great. This one focuses on Clara and her boyfriend, with the Doctor getting mixed up with them due to having to go undercover in the school that they both work in due to an alien threat. It’s genuinely funny, mostly due to Capaldi being a dick as the Doctor. Which is also a little bit of a problem since the line between him being teasing or flat out mean to Clara is getting a little blurry. At least this one didn’t sink into total romance garbage like I feared it might, so I guess I’ll keep watching.

Star Trek S02E06 – The Doomsday Machine 4/5

This one was another great one. The enterprise stumbles upon another federation ship, the USS Constellation, all shot to hell. Upon investigating, they discover only the Captain alive, and the cause is a planet destroying machine that is of course, on line to hit a populated galaxy. So there’s a lot going on, with the first third being a bit of a mystery as they figure things out, and the last two thirds being all action with Kirk and gang dealing both with the mad Captain survivor and trying to figure out how to stop the Doomsday Machine. About the only thing missing from this one is the over-moralizing and social commentary that usually is brewing with Trek, but it’s not really missed since this one doesn’t muck around and just drives forward. Great stuff, and well worth a watch.

Weird brain aliens!

Doctor Who S01E05 – The Keys of Marinus (6 episodes) 2/5

This one features the Doctor and companions arriving on a planet that has an acid lake and a glass beach. Weird eh? Anyway, ends up a bunch of strife is happening, and the Doctor is forced to retrieve the titled keys in order to free a cosmic consciousness that will prevent the baddies from taking over. The keys are hidden throughout the planet so the Doctor and group have to use pre-set “Time Dials” (watches) to travel about, which is kind of cool. As a result, each episode of the arc is a kind of a mini-story, from primitive action to court room drama. Which is neat. The problem with this though is that it’s so episodic that it doesn’t really gel narrative wise. Hell, the Doctor vanishes for two of the episodes, supposedly so Hartnell could go on vacation. So once again you get a story arc that revolves around Ian as much as anyone. Susan, the Doctor’s granddaughter. Remember her? She’s still around but barely does anything plot wise to keep things moving other than panic and make a lot of noise. Which is a shame since you would think they would at least try to incorporate her more into the episodes. Anyway, not the worst episode ever, but not a particularly remarkable one either.

And with this one I’m going to end Star Who. I have fun writing them, but I also realize that I’m partaking in a form of blogging that I hate to read myself. The episode recap. I skip by them on every site that posts them, so why am I doing the same thing? Really, my favourite part of Star Who is the blog titles that sound like terrible prog-rock albums.

So if you enjoyed this side blog, thank you and I appreciate it. I’ll keep going with my movie a day blog until the end of the year, and as I finish seasons of Doctor Who and Star Trek, I will post them there.

The End

 

 

Star Who? 5 – Time Apple Polo

We just had a long weekend so I nearly forgot to post this since I was thinking it was Tuesday instead of Wednesday. A real life time paradox, fitting of this stupid blog! Too bad the new Doctor Who was a bit shit…

Doctor Who 2005 S08E05 – Time Heist 2/5

I love a good heist movie. Even the bad ones I tend to at least like. So why did I find this one a bit crap? The Doctor and a team have to break into the universes most secure bank, and there’s a weird memory wipe bit so you’re discovering the reasons along with the Doctor. There’s lot to love. It just completely falls flat. I’m going to blame production. The design and everything is fine, the plot is a bit dodgy in execution, but what really bugged me was the look. I know it’s a cheap show, that’s not the problem. Well, it’s partly the problem. They attempted to make this episode “cool”, with slow motion bits to a “James Bond” style score. When the score is cheap synth music, the whole thing looks like it is trying too hard to be something it’s not and just falls apart. So many shows these days rely on a score that just undermines the whole thing. See CASTLE as an example. If they scrapped the score and the slo-mo, hip “Oceans 11” style stuff, it could of been great.

 

Star Trek S02 E05 – The Apple 3/5

Kirk and landing party are exploring a planet that appears to be not unlike biblical Eden except the flowers spit poison darts into your chest and the rocks explode like bombs. Just like Eden! They encounter a naive, never aging populace that survives via worship of a God personified by a giant mountain idol. So this is another one of those mystical Star Trek’s that seems to be pro-Christian living and freedom while shitting all over the idea of organized religion. It’s kind of bold stuff when you think it’s 1967 primetime TV, especially with Spock’s concerns that Kirk is the “Apple” of Eden, giving knowledge to the people who will be corrupted by it. It ends up being a pretty good episode, with the “God” putting a big whammy that threatens to destroy the Enterprise. Kirk claims a crew of just under 500 people if I recall correctly, seems small for a ship that size right? 400 of the crew must be janitors. Which reminds me, where’s the Star Trek show dealing with the janitors and people who are on the ship to earn a paycheck? I still think that would be a great Star Trek show! Someone make it happen. In the end, another solid Star Trek episode.

Doctor Who S01E04 – Marco Polo 3/5 (Seven Parts)

This one is a tough one to review since it’s the first “lost’ episode. At some point, the BBC decided it wasn’t worth keeping old shows, so they wiped their tapes. At this point in time, no video elements of this story arc are known to exist. The version I watched is a fan made restoration using still photos and the surviving audio elements. So it’s tricky to give this one a fair shake since it’s basically a two and half hour slide show. That said, plot and story wise, it’s a good one. This would be the first historical episode, and it has an educational feel to it that is a bit awkward. Was Doctor Who designed to be “Carmen Sandiego” style educational show? Anyway, after fixing the faulty switch from the last serial, the Doctor gets Ian and Barbara back to earth, only the early twelve hundreds where Marco Polo see’s being able to use the Doctor’s caravan (TARDIS) as a gift to Kublai Khan so as to get out of some obligation he has. There’s lots of intrigue, the Doctor himself is even more unlikable than before, and it’s pretty clear that the show should be called “The Adventures of Ian” at this point since he seems to be the real drive of these adventures and is constantly explaining and figuring out the plot points. It’s a shame this one is lost since based on the photos, the production design was a step up. In the end, if you can tolerate power point episodes, this one (probably) isn’t the worst you can do if you’re obsessively trying to watch the entire series.

So there we are. The first crap episode of the new Doctor Who. the preview for episode 6 showed the Doctor becoming a janitor at Cara’s school so he can keep an eye on her romantic interest. So the series might be heading strait to the shitter and become completely unwatchable. So next week should be interesting!