Thursday, February 3, 2011

Fool's Views (1/1 – 1/9)

Hey kids,

A month behind, but give me a solid snowstorm like the one we just had and I'll remedy things.

The first week (or so) of 2011 was one of utter randomness, perhaps to presage the mixmaster year to come. I certainly hope so. At first glance, I wouldn't be able to pin down my "tastes," and that's the kind of cinephile I'd like to be.

As always, feel free to leave your two cents worth - we'll make sure you get some change back.


Predator (1987)
(2nd viewing) d. McTiernan, John
Having recently gotten PREDATORS from Netflix, as well as our 47” hi def TV, it seemed like the perfect occasion to break out everyone’s favorite musclemen vs. dreadlocked aliens epic. Hard to believe I’d only seen this once before, and that 20 years ago. Felt like more, as I was able to remember every scene with total recall (you like that, Arnie fans?) First film of 2011.

Green Slime, The (1968)
(2nd viewing) d. Fukasaku, Kinji
Fun and goofy, with a totally rockin’ theme song. Fun to watch with friends. Recently acquired by Mr. Kitley via Warner Archives, and it seemed like a perfect flick to kick off the first StS of 2011.

Embodiment of Evil (2008) (2nd viewing) d. Marins, Jose Mojica
Coffin Joe is back and he is AWESOME. Bloody, twisted, heretical and stylish beyond measure.

Phasma ex Machina (2010) (1st viewing) d. Osterman, Matt
Reductive reviews have called this “PRIMER…with ghosts,” which is a fairly apt description for this story of a young genius trying to construct a device to allow him to speak to the dead. For a microbudget SOV effort, the script, cinematography and acting are surprisingly solid.

Seytan aka Turkish Exorcist (1974) (2nd viewing) d. Erksan, Metin
One of the highlights of last year’s October Horror Movie Challenge, and one that was a no-brainer to share with the group. Quite literally a shot-for-shot remake of William Friedkin’s classic, minus the budget and any mention of Catholicism, with a heaping helping of bonkers.

Slayer, The (1982) (1st viewing) d. Cardone, J. S.
Atmospheric as heck, but slooooooow early 80s chiller about two couples on a gloomy island New England island holiday menaced by a mysterious killer. Solid gore sequences broken up by long stretches of people wandering around calling each other’s names.

Fitzcarraldo (1982)
(2nd viewing) d. Herzog, Werner
The movie where Herzog dragged an actual steamship over a mountain because he was making a movie about a guy who dragged an actual steamship over a mountain. Gorgeously shot, acted and realized, but all of that fades alongside Herzog’s fanatical accomplishment. In keeping with the movie’s theme, it took us nearly a year to make this movie date happen with our pals Gianine and Kurt.

Grissom Gang, The (1971) (1st viewing) d. Aldrich, Robert
AC’s ongoing Aldrich festival leads us to this Depression-era kidnapping yarn, with Kim Darby as a spoiled young heiress and the gang of rustic hoodlums who snatch her, only to have one of them fall for her. From there, it’s blood vs. love, and it don’t end pretty.

Hollywoodland (2006) (1st viewing) d. Coulter, Alan
Ben Affleck, the actor, returns. As George Reeves, TV’s Superman from the 50s, Affleck is wonderfully pathetic, ambitious and sad. The film wants to be an expose of “Did he or didn’t he commit suicide,” but that’s all far less interesting than watching a man reach for his Tinseltown dreams only to come up wearing baggy tights and cape. Watched this while donating platelets, and ended up sticking around after the donation to see how it ended.

Proposal, The (2009) (1st viewing) d. Fletcher, Anne
Hollywood formula, starring possibly the two most likeable screen personalities working today (Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds), survives on their winning chemistry, as well as surrounding them with a top notch supporting cast. This was on Netflix streaming, and while I felt a little guilty for watching it, I feel satisfied having filled my rom-com quota for the year.

This year, one of my cinematic projects is to see a similarly-titled double feature every week, be they remakes, sequels or just two flicks with the same moniker. While rolling through my NF queue, I saw both of these listed and decided to bump them both to the top to kick things off.

Seeing Double #1: ROUND AND ROUND:

Revolver (1973) (1st viewing) d. Sollima, Sergio

Revolver (2005) (1st viewing) d. Ritchie, Guy

In the first, Oliver Reed’s wife gets kidnapped and Fabio Testi is the con who might hold the secret to who’s got her. Lot of testosterone, but never really takes off. Meanwhile, Guy Ritchie’s flick (not a remake) features Jason Statham in a really horrible long-haired wig, Ray Liotta looking old and puffy, Andre Benjamin sounding cool and dapper while the director pulls out every trick in the book to punch things up. In the end, it’s a heist film that only manages to steal 2 hours that you’ll never get back.

2011 totals to date: 12 films, 7 1st time views, 6 horror, 0 cinema


  1. Wow, you're right. That is a completely random set of films. Of course, I was all over the map during the same time period. I went from a Lon Chaney silent to a Douglas Sirk anti-Nazi screed to a William Castle joint to Fassbinder's first feature and so on.

    One question about Fitzcarraldo: Have you watched it with Herzog's commentary yet? If not, it's a must.

  2. Not yet seen FITZ with the commentary. I showed the femalien the BURDEN OF DREAMS documentary last year, and then it took us over six months to get around to seeing FITZ (I had seen it before, about 10 years ago.)