Thursday, January 7, 2010

Here we are with more movie catch-up. I'll try to knock out another seven flicks like yesterday, then I'll almost be up to speed. On with the show...

Swing Time - 1936 - Dir: George Stevens
Location: The Comfort of My House

In my goal to watch all of the movies on the American Film Institute's list of top 100 from a couple years ago, I have not made it very far. I had Sophie's Choice sitting on the shelf for months before I finally watched it. Now I will try and hammer them out a little more quickly. This is a Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dancing musical, and, from what I've read, the best one. I don't really have a lot of knowledge on their films together but I did love this one. Despite being a bit of an odd looking man, Astaire could dance like a madman and his fame was well deserved. The two make a fantastic pair and their co-stars are hilarious. There is a scene with a tribute to Bojangles where Astaire does appear in blackface, which is still kind of weird to see. Once you get past the uneasy feeling it is a wonderful scene. The print on the DVD is not the best, but what do you expect from an over sixty-year-old movie? I actually like a less than stellar print sometimes, it feels more authentic.

Pick up the DVD for under $6 here.

Frat Party - 2009 - Dir: Robert Bennett
Location: The Comfort of My House

One of the best things about doing reviews for a website (Pop Syndicate) is that I get free DVDs. Unfortunately a lot of them are not winners and are things I would not want to watch. When Frat Party came up I thought, "how bad could it be?" It's a sex comedy in a frat house with a porn star playing hersef (Jesse Jane), that sounds like it could be a few laughs. Wrong. Dead wrong. The story tries way too hard with no pay off and then tries to switch to a serious love story in the last act. The result is failure. One scene attempts the over-the-top gross-out type of gag with a guy getting a happy ending massage that ends with an inhuman amount of "liquid" covering the masseuse. I didn't even smirk.

No link for purchasing because it's not worth your time, much less your money.

Martyrs - 2008 - Dir: Pascal Laugier
Location: The Comfort of My House

This is one of those horror films I heard a ton of good things about, but knew very little. For as much time as I spend online reading about movies I try to stay as much in the dark as possible. I'll watch a trailer, but not any clips that studios post. When there was a big write-up in my favorite horror magazine, Rue Morgue, I even skipped the article because I didn't want to spoil anything (that reminds me, I need to go read that now). For this same reason I don't really want to say too much about this movie other than it's awesome, violent and awesomely violent. With all of the "torture porn" titles coming out these days, and the ridiculous turn the Saw franchise has taken, I can't believe such a visceral, unrelenting movie could exist with an interesting enough story to not just be another in the lame list.

This one is HIGHLY recommended, but only for those who can withstand some hard gore. Buy it here if you dare.

G-Force - 2009 - Dir: Hoyt Yeatman
Location: The Comfort of My House - Blu-Ray

Here is another film I had to review. While seeing a number of animated films in theaters last year I was inundated with this movie's trailer, and it never looked appealing. To my surprise it wasn't as bad as I feared. This does not mean I will be adding this to my collection or watching it over and over, but kids will probably really dig these super spy guinea pigs. Since the director is a visual effects person the CG is top notch and the rodents are beautiful on Blu. It's a little weird that the likes of Zach Galifianakis, Will Arnett and Bill Nighy would be in a film like this, but I guess everyone needs a paycheck.

Make your kids happy with the Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack here.

Waxwork II: Lost in Time - 1992 - Dir: Anthony Hickox
Location: The Comfort of My House

Recently I realized that though I have seen Waxwork many times I have never taken the time to watch the sequel. Now that I have I can say that once is enough. The first film has an array of wax displays that transport you into that scene when the velvet rope barrier is crossed. In the second movie it's just moving through time with no wax figures. It's like they took the fun little vignettes from the original and thought they could expand them to make them twenty minutes instead of five. The whole thing comes off weird. Zach Galligan (Billy from Gremlins) reprises his role, but his friend Sarah is played by a different actress and they are both cheesier versions of their original characters. One plus, Bruce Campbell is in one of the time periods!

While this flick isn't so great the first one is and they are on the same disc. Get it here.

Deadline - 2009 - Dir: Sean McConville
Location: The Comfort of My House - Blu-Ray

Another review disc, and this one comes with some controversy. This film went straight to DVD not long before Brittany Murphy's death, she starred in the film and appears dead-like on the cover. Especially creepy when you consider she was found unresponsive in the bathroom. Since her passing the copies have been sort of recalled in an effort to change the image. Because of all this, and it being one of her last films, many more people than normal will be watching this and they shouldn't. The majority of the film is Murphy walking around in an old, dark house and that gets pretty boring. The plot concerns her as a writer working to meet her deadline - natch - and finds some mini-DV tapes in an old trunk in the attic (as we all do from time to time) that show the dysfunctional life of a married couple. There is a bit of atmosphere to be had at times, but it's not enough to save this by-the-numbers film. The acting, including Murphy and Thora Birch, is the best part and it's way better than this movie deserves.

The Girl Who Knew Too Much - 1963 - Dir: Mario Bava
Location: The Comfort of My House

I have had both volumes of the awesome Bava boxsets for some time now and still have not managed to see all of the films. This I will rectify in 2010! To start this off I went with this film because it is widely credited as the first giallo film. I love the genre and never took the time to see the grandfather of it all. Bava's film isn't what you think of when you think giallo, with the black gloves, but it does have many of the great aspects - red herrings, shadowed figures, death by stabbing and tons of stylish camera work. This was his last film to be shot in black & white, and while I love expressive color, there is something glorious about the look of a film without any. I really enjoyed watching Nora search for a killer like the characters in the mystery novels she loves to read, but this is not my favorite giallo, nor is it Bava's best. Still, fans of the genre should seek this out. It's got John Saxon!

Get the film as part of the Bava, Vol 1 set.

Alright, that's it for today. Tomorrow I should be all caught up and ready for, hopefully, more in depth and fun filled thoughts.


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