3 years ago
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
So, I just saw HOT TUB TIME MACHINE, which I thought would be fun and it is. But... while they're spot on in some respects, there are far too many inaccuracies here for a time-traveling comedy. I know, I should let this stuff slide a bit and if I pick and prod too much, I might not enjoy it.
But, it's a bit distracting when there's a poster for RAMBO III on the wall in '86, or characters from that era referencing 21 JUMP STREET. Especially annoying when you consider that, in some instances, royalty fees could have been avoided had the filmmakers done their research. (i.e. Paying for the inclusion of "I Just Died In Your Arms" by The Cutting Crew, a 1987 song that is heard playing on an '86-era radio.)
There's more mistakes, but I can't remember or perhaps didn't notice them. Not a huge deal, but it's a bit lazy and it seems to be a constant issue with period films. (AMERICAN GRAFFITI had a couple post 1962 songs on it's soundtrack.) The worst or, I should say, best example of this is AUSTIN POWERS: GOLDMEMBER. A film which bases itself in 1975 shouldn't include a Viagra joke from anyone who isn't privy to the future. Wait, the inconsistent honor really should go to BEOWULF with Christopher Lambert. Sure, it's a fantasy film, but it amazes me how many times I've had to point out to viewers that PA systems and jacket zippers were actually quite uncommon in the middle ages. Oy.
I don't get it. With HOT TUB TIME MACHINE, if it's not inaccuracy, it's missed opportunity. How can you pay homage to one John Cusack film, SIXTEEN CANDLES, and completely miss the boat on a nod to ...BETTER OFF DEAD? After all, this is a ski resort. I guess they didn't get the K-12 memo? Or, since this is an MGM/UA film, why not reference the most obvious '80s sex-on-the-slopes comedy, HOT DOG... THE MOVIE, which MGM/UA already owns? Double oy.
Aside from all that, while it may not be epic or ground-breaking, HOT TUB TIME MACHINE is a fun concept which makes for a fun ride. Besides, any film starring both Chevy Chase and Crispin Glover can't be all bad!
"Hello, 1988? We were wondering if you had any posters to help dress our 1986 set with..."
For added fun, check out these online games based on the film:
NICK'S STRIP QUIZ
(Adult content. Age verification required.)
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
I love PIRANHA, PART TWO: THE SPAWNING.
There. I said it. And, I don't care what people think.
I had the DVD rotating in the disc changer and awakened to it at around 2am last night. I should have been gathering winks for my next day at work, but I found myself watching the entire film for the umpteenth time.
This is, of course, James Cameron's first film as director, and certainly the most lambasted. So many stories as to why. The production, alone, is the stuff of legend, so I won't get into any of that here.
For years, horror nuts like me only had the truncated U.S. version to watch on home video, via Embassy Home Entertainment, which was fine, until I saw the film on television with additional scenes and others in the correct order. A revelation for sure and it made for a stronger storyline, making sense where it didn't completely make sense before. Perhaps the truncated version is the one everyone has seen and hates. I dunno. But, even in that crude 84 minute version, I still love it. Not nearly as much as Joe Dante's original, which I spent many summer days and nights watching.
Fast forward to 2002, when Columbia TriStar decided to release it to DVD... I was stoked! Of course, I despised the horrible DVD cover art, but nonetheless, I had to have it. To my surprise, Columbia TriStar managed to unearth the complete, unedited international version with all those missing scenes (and the nude diver sequence presented as a prologue to the main credits). Goodbye 84 minutes and hello 93!
It puzzles me why people hate the film as much as they do. Perhaps, it's simply the comparison of these humble beginnings to what Cameron would later do in his career. This film delivers the goods and has "exploitation good time" written all over it. Flying piranha, folks! How could you hate any film with flying piranha?! Some say the concept is absurd, I say it's genius. And, why not? The first PIRANHA already introduced the idea of scientifically-engineered fresh water beasties.
The performances aren't too shabby, either. You've got the always awesome Lance Henriksen as chief of police. Nearly all his scenes are hilarious whenever he patronizes someone, particularly the captain who simply won't turn on his damned radio. "Turn on your radio, you jackass!" Priceless.
Tricia O'Neil is the true lead here and I always hoped she would do more, of course, PIRANHA II doesn't exactly scream street cred. She reminds me of a cross between Kay Lenz and Adrienne Barbeau. Can't go wrong there! (Note: Cameron later gave her a small role in TITANIC.)
And, the score by "Steve Powder" ...er, uh... Stelvio Cipriani is superb. An original score that doesn't borrow from Pino Donaggio's PIRANHA score, yet exists on it's own, beautifully. A nice companion piece to his earlier score for TENTACLES, by the way.
Henriksen will be attending this year's Texas Frightmare Weekend, and I'll be bringing my soundtrack album along for him to sign.
I hope he appreciates my geekdom!
(The sinister sounding German trailer)
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
The other day, a friend and I were discussing '70s disco act Cerrone. He told me how he had been catching up on some of Cerrone's current work and how the artist had been chooglin' along ever since his career-defining single, "Supernature" from his third album, hit huge back in 1978.
Well, I had no idea. None at all. In fact, all this time, having not researched Cerrone, I thought he was another one hit wonder.
I first discovered "Supernature" on one of those bargain bin disco compilation cassettes (you know, the $3.99 specials) in the late '80s. I instantly dug the track for it's Goblin-esque driving synth sound and, more importantly, it's macabre storyline: mutated creatures (the supernature crowd), evolving throughout time and eventually rising from the contaminated muck to exact revenge on the cause, mankind. Now, why this wasn't tied to a film, is beyond me. Very Dr. Moreau-ish. Reminds me of THE TWILIGHT PEOPLE and especially the army test site sequence from Joe Dante's PIRANHA.
Anyhow, I finally got around to looking up the original promotional video on YouTube and here it is:
Total cheese and ultimately a disappointment compared to one's imaginative visions inspired by the lyrics. Seems to be a frequent problem with videos, although nowadays, they're all too literal and not in a good way.
Of course, I wouldn't want to see "Supernature" adapted to film today. The concept would have worked well in it's time, but a current attempt, I think, would fall flat. It certainly wouldn't feature practical creature effects. Also, it would probably be too preachy, hence dispensing of any exploitable aspects.
But, since this is all "what if?" fodder, I thought I'd throw together a little mock movie poster of my own for the movie that should have been. (You like?)
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
If you've read this blog before, you know that I'm an avid JAWS fan. And, I also love the films influenced by it's success. One of the earliest and most interesting efforts in that sub-genre is William Grefé's THE JAWS OF DEATH (a.k.a. MAKO: THE JAWS OF DEATH). I love this film. Maybe it's because I'm a fan of William Grefé and his other classics (DEATH CURSE OF TARTU, STANLEY and IMPULSE, to name a few). Maybe it's because Richard Jaeckel is consistently great in every film he made (maybe also, because my uncle got to hang out with him on the set of SOMETIMES A GREAT NOTION) or, maybe, just maybe, I'm just a sucker for this type of entertainment. Answer: All of the above.
Having just watched THE JAWS OF DEATH for the umpteenth time, I decided to search YouTube for anything related ...and, I done found me some treasure!
First, a review from "adorKable" YT user PiperDork, who not only loves the film, but was lucky enough to discuss it's production with producer/director Grefé himself!
Next up, is a promo from the film's showcase on The CBS Late Movie. (I truly miss those late nite treats!)
And, finally, the Super 8 version, which I've always wanted to see. It may not be top notch quality, but it is super rare (and, it includes some alternate footage and music). Enjoy!
(Note: Quite annoying, the video cuts out at the 4:15 mark and restarts, not resumes, at the 4:45 mark, so my advice is to pause the video initially allowing it to fully load, then forward to 4:45.)
Sunday, March 14, 2010
So, I recently befriended... er, uh... beFacebooked comedian Frank Conniff (TV's Frank of MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000, CARTOON DUMP and CINEMATIC TITANIC fame) and over the past couple of weeks, I've been constantly amused by Frank's daily statuses. And, today's is particularly great.
Frank Conniff "is sad to report that due to a combination of daylight savings time and last night's airing on cable of the movie version of THE MOD SQUAD, I lost three hours."
See? I told you.
Friday, March 12, 2010
...featuring the films of Clint Eastwood!
I'm no mathematics whiz, but this collection boasts 35 films spanning 35 years of Eastwood's career.
Films included in this set:
- WHERE EAGLES DARE (1968)
- KELLY'S HEROES (1970)
- DIRTY HARRY (1971)
- MAGNUM FORCE (1973)
- THE ENFORCER (1976)
- THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES (1976)
- THE GAUNTLET (1977)
- EVERY WHICH WAY BUT LOOSE (1978)
- BRONCO BILLY (1980)
- ANY WHICH WAY YOU CAN (1980)
- HONKYTONK MAN (1982)
- FIREFOX (1982)
- SUDDEN IMPACT (1983)
- CITY HEAT (1984)
- TIGHTROPE (1984)
- PALE RIDER (1985)
- HEARTBREAK RIDGE (1986)
- BIRD (1988)
- THE DEAD POOL (1988)
- PINK CADILLAC (1989)
- WHITE HUNTER, BLACK HEART (1990)
- THE ROOKIE (1990)
- UNFORGIVEN (1992)
- A PERFECT WORLD (1993)
- THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY (1995)
- ABSOLUTE POWER (1997)
- MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL (1997)
- TRUE CRIME (1999)
- SPACE COWBOYS (2000)
- BLOOD WORK (2002)
- MYSTIC RIVER (2003)
- MILLION DOLLAR BABY (2004)
- LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA (2006)
- GRAN TORINO (2008)
Plus, an all-new documentary exclusive to this set:
- THE EASTWOOD FACTOR (2010)
In actuality, there are only 34 films here, with THE EASTWOOD FACTOR being a straight-to-DVD documentary on Eastwood's career, which they seem to consider the 35th film. Sorry, that doesn't count.
And, if you were paying attention, from WHERE EAGLES DARE to GRAN TORINO is a span of 40 years. Even if you consider the documentary, that puts us at 42 years.
I'm demanding a recount here, WB, with an expected re-issue to follow.
Suggested collection titles...
CLINT EASTWOOD: 34 FILMS, 40 YEARS
CLINT EASTWOOD: 34 FILMS, 1 MORE COBBLED-TOGETHER CAREER RETROSPECTIVE, 42 YEARS
CLINT EASTWOOD: YET ANOTHER EASTWOOD-RELATED BOX SET FROM WARNER
CLINT EASTWOOD: THE "PERFECT LAST MINUTE FATHER'S DAY GIFT" COLLECTION
CLINT EASTWOOD: A SET OF FILMS THAT YOU SHOULD ALREADY OWN INDIVIDUALLY, SINCE YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF SUCH AN EASTWOOD COMPLETIST (BUY IT NOW BEFORE ANYONE FINDS OUT THAT YOU'RE NOTHING MORE THAN AN EASTWOOD POSER!)
CLINT EASTWOOD: NATHAN'S CHANCE TO AGAIN PURCHASE ALL THE FILMS HE'S ALREADY PURCHASED + A SLEW OF BONUS FEATURES (i.e. EASTWOOD'S LESSER FILMS THAT NATHAN DIDN'T CHOOSE TO PURCHASE INTENTIONALLY THE FIRST TIME... PINK CADILLAC, ANYONE?)
While I'm thinking about it, I'm imagining that if this set was ever presented to a group of people in a "Hey, let's watch an Eastwood flick" scenario, I highly doubt anyone would pipe up with "Dude, put in MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL!"
Tuesday, March 09, 2010
It's one thing when someone doesn't know what they're selling and it's an entirely different set of circumstances when the seller knows damn well that their item is not 100% authentic. Such is the case with eBay seller "glamore451".
This seller has listed a photo reprint of a cast signed laserdisc of JAWS. The following is their brief description:
A FABULOUS REPRINT. GUARANTEED NOT TO BE A FORGERY.
My message to the seller:
"GUARANTEED NOT TO BE A FORGERY." Interesting, considering the photo is of a 1987 pressed laserdisc and Robert Shaw died in 1978. Oh, and Murray Hamilton, he died in 1986.
Such a shame to see this type of thing going on and sadly, I've seen it a lot with JAWS-related memorabilia. I'll never forget the JAWS THE REVENGE poster signed posthumously by Robert Shaw. Which is worse: the fact that he didn't appear in the fourth film in the franchise because his character died in the first film, or... the fact that he wouldn't have appeared in the film anyhow since he passed away nine years before it was made?
Yes, I reported that one.
Someone call the Warlocksmith!
1989 "WARLOCK" MOVIE STILL PHOTO JULIAN SANDS?
WOW! WHAT A FIND!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HERE IS A 1989 MOVIE STILL PHOTO OF "WARLOCK" WITH JULIAN SANDS (I THINK)!! IT IS IN EXCELLENT CONDITION, HOWEVER, PLEASE LOOK AT THE SCAN TO DETERMINE THE CONDITION FOR YOURSELF. PLEASE NOTE THAT EVEN THOUGH THE TITLE MAY APPEAR SIMILAR TO OTHER TITLES, IT IS A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT AUCTION ALL TOGETHER. THIS CAN BE A GREAT GIFT FOR ALL FANS AND COLLECTORS!!!
Of course, that's not Julian Sands, rather HENRY FONDA(!!!) from another film entitled WARLOCK. How can one specialize in selling movie memorabilia and NOT KNOW what Henry Fonda looks like?! Not to mention, if one were to understand Roman numerals, the year is printed on the still... which translates as 1959, not 1989.
"Ugh" to the "Duh".
Monday, March 08, 2010
No, I haven't sold out and joined the dark side. I feel the need to comment, in written form this time, on the best dressed vs. worst dressed crap. Honestly, who cares about these things? It's all about status and "who" are you wearing. Many moons ago, Conan O'Brien was asked this question at a red carpet event, by Joan Rivers, to which he replied, "I'm wearing Sears, Joan." Perfect.
Anyhow, my point is, as much as I say I don't care about any of it, whenever I see these lists, I nearly always disagree with something or someone. Critics love to bash on celebs, but they always seem to make the pity play when it comes to people who probably aren't used to this sort of thing. I don't mean to be a jerk, but let's be brutally honest: Does Oscar nominee Gabourey Sidibe truly belong on the "best dressed" list? I think not. I know that's harsh and I would have left her alone had it not been for her making it a point to continually flaunt herself any chance the camera focused on her. It was seriously cringe-inducing at the beginning of the show, when the best actress and actor nominees stood on stage together. Everyone kept it cool and smiled when the camera got to them, but not Sidibe. Someone needs to tell this girl that this is not an audition for America's Next Top Model. Unless she's trying to secure a spokesperson gig with the Michelin Tire Co., I'd suggest a little more... make that a lot more restraint and elegance. Real women may have curves, but this one needs a reality check. That is all.
Thursday, March 04, 2010
January 9th, 2010:
I enjoyed this one, but mostly because of the company I had to see it with. And, poking smot can be quite entertaining.
THE LOVELY BONES
I really wanted to like this film, but ultimately there was no satisfaction, particularly with the climax. Felt like a '70s-era hybrid of WHAT DREAMS MAY COME and STIR OF ECHOES. An interesting concept at first, proving tedious along the way, and afterwards, I wondered why I cared about these characters for two hours. Good to see Michael Imperioli in a period film, though. I couldn't quite place what '70s film I could see him in, but DOG DAY AFTERNOON continually went through my mind.
YOUTH IN REVOLT
Fun and highly inventive coming-of-age story. This one deserves another chance, simply because of the non-perky mood I was in that day and the carbon-copy lame duck sitting a few seats away (decked in an oversized suit, David Byrne-wannabe style) who seemed to chuckle annoyingly at nearly every screen direction. Takes the wind out of the sails a bit when I legitimately think something is funny and want to laugh aloud.
EDGE OF DARKNESS
Mel Gibson makes a welcome return to form in this slow burn of an action drama, which could easily round out an unofficial Gibson trilogy with RANSOM and PAYBACK. I was excited about this film once I saw the leaked trailer months ago. With Martin Campbell directing, Gibson's return to the screen couldn't have been in better hands. The opportunist at heart makes me wish there had been a tie-in "got milk" ad campaign featuring Danny Huston.
Traditionally, every Super Bowl Sunday, I take in a showing of some film, knowing the crowd will be virtually non-existent, and also because I care nothing about sports. (Someone asked me that day who I was rooting for, to which I replied, "The Who.") Anyhow, I've always admired Jeff Bridges and I enjoyed this film as much as I thought I would. Bridges gives off that Kristofferson vibe and through all of his character's hang-ups, shines as someone you truly care about. The soundtrack is no slouch either and definitely worth picking up.
FROM PARIS WITH LOVE
When I initially saw the trailer for this film, and later the poster and T.V. spots, I wasn't impressed at all. The title didn't win me over, either. But, for some reason, I felt like seeing it. Maybe because I was in the mood for some type of John Travolta fix or maybe it was because I also like Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, or, maybe, just maybe, it had more to do with the fact that I was willing to switch my mind off and settle in for a balls-to-the-wall action film. I'm glad I decided to see this film. I really enjoyed it, perhaps because I truly didn't have big expectations for it. In any case, the film works due to Travolta's performance. He's having so much fun on-screen that the vibe seems infectious. The blink-and-you-might-miss-it pseudo-cameo of Kelly Preston sitting in the background in one scene and, also, Travolta's PULP FICTION reference (think Europe) were nice touches.
February 12th (and 17th):
THE WOLFMAN (2010)
Anyone who knows me knows I've always been obsessed by movie monsters and it all started with the Universal monsters of yesteryear. While I'm not generally a fan of remakes, films like this make me giddy like a 5-year-old kid. Once I read an interview with Rick Baker mentioning how he signed on because it was important to him that the werewolf not be some CG-rendered creature, I was already sold. AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON is one of my all-time faves and this felt like a nod in that direction, in addition to paying tribute to the original WOLF MAN. Of course, I'm a bit biased when it comes to werewolf fare (the practical effects variety) and it doesn't take much more to persuade me once I know that Baker is in his element and two actors that I'm obsessed with (Benecio Del Toro and the growl-inducing Emily Blunt) are in tow. I will admit that I wasn't crazy with the plot changes from the original, sort of takes the focus away from THE wolf man that this film is about, but I really can't complain. The film reminded me a lot of John Badham's DRACULA, including Danny Elfman's music, which seemed to echo the underrated John Williams score. Nice also to catch Baker's cameo in addition to a brief appearance by another AMERICAN WEREWOLF alum, David Schofield. Hugo Weaving brought great scene-chewing flair to his role and he came off here reminding me very much of Sam Neill (and that's a good thing). It took a long time getting here but, to me, THE WOLFMAN was worth the wait.
When James Cameron made the speech at the Golden Globes, something to the effect of "If you haven't seen AVATAR already, you must be the only one," I felt as if he was speaking directly to me. Okay, so I waited to see this one for a good while, simply because it didn't interest me. But, after learning more about the film (i.e. Giovanni Ribisi is in it), I felt like maybe I was missing out. The mystery was there and it seemed like anyone who told me about it, spouted nothing other than "You've just got to see it. It's amazing." I usually don't lean towards the hype, in fact, such constant accolade makes me wait even longer to see something, and also, an empty theater never hurts. On the eve of another big-scale 3-D film's release (Tim Burton's ALICE IN WONDERLAND), I figured I should finally see AVATAR in 3-D before it's too late. I'm not one to bash films, at least in review form, since I feel it's a waste of my time to speak about something I don't care for, but I really tried to like AVATAR. Honest, I did. But, I just couldn't. Maybe it's because I'm so anti-CG, but with Cameron's films, that has never been a problem since his work has always been devoted to furthering the creative form. I really like Sam Worthington and I found the human story intriguing, but I couldn't sustain my interest beyond that. I'd liken it to a fireworks display. Most people love them, because of the "ooh and ahhh" factor, but I've never been big on flash alone. The film is certainly a visual feast, which is beautiful to look at, but after a while, I just didn't care anymore. And, if I don't care about that story, then it's going to be a long, long road to closing in on that approximate 160 minute running time. No disrespect to Cameron as the film is obviously well-made, but it just wasn't my bag. I made it to the 2-hour mark, went to the restroom and never went back. Sorry, folks. I realize it's me against the world on this one, but I'm quite used to that.
Wednesday, March 03, 2010
I'm constantly entertained by the inane observations of IMDB user "fistoffury". Whether he's trolling threads and spouting filth about any actor named Jessica or Kristen, simply because he doesn't like "Jessicas" or "Kristens," or coming up with ridiculous crossovers like how he could take Michael Myers if he were a Ghostbuster or simply talking up Ferris Bueller whenever it's irrelevant to do so. This fool is beyond ridiculous.
I have his history bookmarked, so I can chime in on whatever moronic threads he might be posting. Here are some of my recent jabs. Enjoy!
fistoffury on Kristen Alderson:
Ordinarily I would say that Kristen Alderson is great, the problem is, though, I don't like Kristens. From my own observations I can say that Kristens are messed up.
Yet another immature, unintelligent, unfounded and completely misguided observation from "fistoffury," ladies and gentlemen. It's as if you have a "Generate Idiocy" button on your keyboard. Truly amazing.
fistoffury on General George S. Patton:
Patton was one of the best generals in the history of the USA. It was Patton who struck fear into the Nazis and stopped them cold. People need to stop putting Patton down, he was one of the best military leaders you could ask for. If he was a bit over the top, thats what war is all about. This is the U.S military we're talking about, not a daycare service. We were fighting the Nazis, a ruthless opponent. Its times like this when we must fight fire with fire. To stop an Adolf Hitler, you need a General Patton.
At first, I thought you were talking about a daycare service, but now I realize where you're going. Don't forget how Patton Oswalt stood up against Blue Collar comedy!
fistoffury on A CHRISTMAS CAROL (1984):
So who makes a better Mr. Scrooge, General Patton (George C. Scott) or Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart). Both actors played the role in different versions of A CHRISTMAS CAROL, so who was better?
That's a tough one. I think there should be a battle royale of all the Ebenezers in one ring. Last Scrooge standing towers over all. A ninth plan is in the works to resurrect the dead, so that no gravestone will be left unturned and no Ebenezer left out. Will Albert Finney be able to defeat a zombified, flesh-eating Seymour Hicks? Will Kelsey Grammer pass the preliminaries? Will Scrooge McDuck's Irishness reign supreme? Will Rich Little be billed as himself or W.C. Fields? Will the final round impress the Dickens out of me? I can't wait to find out!
fistoffury on HUMONGOUS (1982):
They should make a remake of this movie. This is who should play the various roles.
Sandy- Kristen Stewart
Eric- Robert Pattenson
Donna- Scout-Taylor Compton
Nick- Dyllan Christopher
Carla- Dakota Fanning
Bert- Jesse Eisenburg
The Killer- Paul Donald Wight, Jr