Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Fool's Views (12/27 – 12/31)

My friends...that is that is that.

Thanks for hanging with the doc for the year, through highs, lows, joys, blues, haikus, etc. - looking forward to more of the same in 2011. As always, feel free to leave your two cents worth - we'll make sure you get some change back.

Next up: Dr. AC's Year End Roundup Extravaganza.


Cookers (2001)
(1st viewing) d. Mintz, Dan
Equal parts meth-head drama and horror flick, but what’s really impressive is the gusto with which the filmmakers overcome their obviously miniscule budget. Shooting on obviously consumer-grade video, Mintz conceives and executes a flurry of ambitious camera angles and stunts, elevating what could have been a single-camera amateur effort into an exhilarating showcase for himself and his three lead performers.

Deep Blue Sea (1999) (2nd viewing) d. Harlin, Renny
Speedy super smart sharks chomp chewy chumps into chilled chowder. First flick I watched on the new hi-def TV, and man, did those cartoon sharks look mean.

eXistenZ (1999) (2nd viewing) d. Cronenberg, David
I liked this movie a lot better when it was called Videodrome and didn’t have Jude Law stinking up the joint. Revisited to confirm what I thought the first time: ‘S okay, but ain’t no Cronenclassick.

Lake Mungo (2008) (1st viewing) d. Anderson, Joel
A very well made faux Australian documentary...but too long...and completely unscary – a definite conundrum when making a horror film. All the authenticity in the world can’t overcome the fact that this ghost story has all the chill factor of an A&E special, which it very much resembles (and probably should have been kept under 60 minutes in keeping with the format).

Rare Exports (2010) (2nd viewing) d. Helander, Jelmari
Yep, so good that when it screened at the Music Box, I scurried over to experience the holiday wonder of nightmarish bearded naked old men all over again.

S&Man (2006) (1st viewing) d. Petty, J.T.
Another impressive outing from Mr. Petty (Soft for Digging, The Burrowers), this time in the guise of a documentary about snuff films and the underground horror filmmakers who use the “found footage” milieu as their preferred form of expression. Petty visits horror conventions, chatting with folks like Carol Clover, Bill Zebub and Fred Vogel of August Underground, as well as a upcoming young filmmaker (Eric Marcisak) whose S&Man video series seems to be just a little too authentic. Wonderful blurring of the line between art and artist, fact and fiction.

Suck (2009) (1st viewing) d. Stefaniuk, Rob
Holy Shinola, I think I’m more pleasantly surprised than anything else. A legitimately funny flick about a hard luck band of Canadian rock n’ rollers who, after luscious bass player Jennifer Pare gets chomped by a bloodsucker, become overnight sensations. Meanwhile, sour puss vampire killer Malcolm McDowell (best thing he’s done in years!) tracks them throughout their northeastern tour. Writer/director Stefaniuak pulls triple duty as the band’s befuddled front man, displaying expert comic chops alongside his superb cast. Also features a bevy of amusing cameos from Alice Cooper, Iggy Pop, Henry Rollins and Rush’s Alex Lifeson.

Them! (1954) (3rd viewing) d. Douglas, Gordon
I needed a film from 1954 to continue my streak of seeing a movie from each year, and what better choice could I have made than the original Big Bug Movie? Answer? None. None better choice.

What Have They Done to Your Daughters? (1974) (1st viewing) d. Dallamano, Massimo
Tense giallo/police procedural investigating a ring of extortionist running an underage prostitution ring. Unsavory subject matter, no doubt, but also cultivates a fair amount of suspense and release.

Cannonball Run II, The (1984)
(1st viewing) d. Needham, Hal
Hard to believe that ex-stuntman Needham would turn out to be one of my most-viewed directors for the year, but in examining Burt Reynolds’ filmography earlier this year, I realized that I had ignored his entire “goofy car chase” period in the ’80s and well, I felt obliged to remedy said oversight. This oft-maligned sequel is just as much fun as the original TCR, filled with lowbrow comedy as doled out by a massive Hollywood cast. Shirley MacLaine (yes, the year after winning the Oscar for Terms of Endearment) and Marilu Henner are particularly funny as a pair of habit-wearing fugitives from a touring production of Sound of Music. And Catherine Bach, where did you go, gal? That smile, that hair, that figure…sigh.

Code 46 (2003) (1st viewing) d. Winterbottom, Michael
This poli-sci-fi outing had been sitting in my queue for ages, but having recently caught the Michael Winterbottom bug (9 Songs, The Killer Inside Me), I figured I’d bust it out. Sadly, while the overall concept is intriguing (government steps are implemented to determine who may breed with whom), one gets the impression that it might have worked better as a literary piece. Tim Robbins and Samantha Morton so underplay their roles as the gene-crossed lovers that one wonders what film they would rather have been doing.

Ghost Writer, The (2010) (1st viewing) d. Polanski, Roman
Dizzying political thriller with Ewan McGregor employed to polish up a former British Prime Minister’s (Pierce Brosnan, wonderfully cagey) memoirs, only to find himself caught up in a tangled web of secrets, lies and deceit. Polanski pulls few punches, but viewers need to pay sharp attention to keep up with the characters’ frequently shifting alliances and double-crosses.

One False Move (1992) (2nd viewing) d. Franklin, Carl
With the assistance of two Los Angeles Police Department detectives, police chief Bill Paxton prepares to take on a trio of criminals heading towards his small Arkansas town. Remember seeing it when it first came out and thought, “Wow, this Billy Bob Thornton looks and talks like a total hick, yet he wrote this amazing script. Better keep an eye on him.” Fast forward to 1996 and Sling Blade, when everyone else (who weren't watching the John Ritter/Markie Post sitcom Hearts Afire) went, “Who is this Billy Bob Thornton guy?”

2010 Totals: 364 films, 252 1st time views, 242 horrors, 45 cinema


  1. I caught One False Move when it played on cable and was blown away by it. Like you, I was more than primed for Sling Blade when it came out.

  2. Even so, SLING BLADE was such a revelation - I still watch it and can't see Billy Bob in there. Only Karl Childers. Kind of amazing.