I've moved this site to http://wolfsothern.blogspot.com/. All new posts will be over there.
I've moved this site to http://wolfsothern.blogspot.com/. All new posts will be over there.
Westworld (Rewatch, 1973, Michael Crichton, 35mm, Castro) - 9.0
A couple guys go to a futuristic adult theme park where realistic robots help recreate a period of history (there’s Medieval World, Roman World, and Westworld). Yul Brynner creepily plays an android gunslinger who starts to malfunction and go after one of the guys for real. Then the rest of the theme park begins to break down, and there’s chaos. It’s very low-key stylistically, but never feels too slow, and yeah, it's fucking great.
The Terminator (Rewatch, 1984, James Cameron, 35mm, Castro) - 9.0
A robot from the future goes back in time to kill the mother of the woman who will eventually give birth to the man who will overthrow the technology-gone-evil of the future. Great concept, action, and performances. What a movie!
RoboCop (Rewatch, 1987, Paul Verhoeven, 35mm, Castro) - 10.0
A cop is violently murdered, and then his corpse is used to make a robot supercop. It’s insanely over-the-top and entertaining, and fucking crazy violent. When it comes to sci-fi action films, RoboCop definitely takes the prize for Most Terrific.
The Transformers: The Movie (Rewatch, 1986, Nelson Shin, 35mm, Castro) - 6.5
I have no fucking clue what this movie is about. A decepticon voiced by Orson Welles is trying to eat planets or something? Regardless, it’s still pretty entertaining, but it mostly gets points for an unexpected use of the word “shit” in a kid’s movie, and the incredible soundtrack. Though I prefer Michael Bay’s equally non-sensical attempts at Transformer Cinema, he has definitely missed an opportunity to include scenes of transformers dancing to “Weird Al” Yankovic’s Dare to Be Stupid, so this original cartoon version certainly deserves some credit.
Too Much (1987, Éric Rochat, 35mm, Castro) - 9.0
An adorable young girl (Bridgette Andersen, who apparently died young of a drug overdose, which added a horrible sense of tragedy to the movie while watching) goes to Japan with her parents, and one of their friends who works in electronics builds her a robot she cutely names Too Much. Her and the robot become best friends, and when she learns that she’s supposed to go back to America and leave Too Much behind, they run away together. They adventure through Japan, meeting up with a helpful young boy, and avoiding her family and a rival robot-builder who wants to steal the ideas of Too Much’s creation. It all ends with a robot revolution. This shit was Too Charming and Too Fucking Cute. Truly amazing.
Re-Animator (Rewatch, 1985, Stuart Gordon, 35mm, Balboa) - 10.0+
Dr. Herbert West moves in with a fellow medical student, and experiments with bringing the dead back to life. It’s bloody, hilarious, creative, smart, innovative, with amazing special effects and a naked Barbara Crampton, and Jeffrey Combs’ defining performance creates a legendary character in Herbert West. I don’t know how to write about a movie like Re-Animator. The film is intensely lovable. It’s flawless.
I saw the Musical recently, and it was also great, and completely pulls off all of the gore and everything else you can’t really imagine actually seeing live.
Dagon (Rewatch, 2001, Stuart Gordon, DVD) - 9.0
A couple goes to this island for a vacation, but something fishy is going on with the townsfolk. Specifically, they are all fish monsters who worship a horny fish god. Some good effects (including an excellent skinning scene), and an original, well-told story. You know what’s great about Stuart Gordon’s directing style? Everything.
If There Be Thorns by V.C. Andrews - 9.0
Cathy and her husband/brother are living their life, with their two kids, one of whom (Jory) is well-adjusted and on his way to being a ballet star, and the other (Bart) who is clumsy and angry and becomes severely influenced by the woman next door claiming to be his grandmother, and her hateful butler. The parts of the book about Jory are ok, but it’s Bart’s story that really steals all the focus. It’s a completely fucking disturbing portrait of how an innocent kid can transform into a misogynistic monster.
Day 8 - The Film You Can Quote Best
My favorite line of dialogue from any movie ever is "Must be weird not having anyone come on you." from Showgirls. It's not only the words, it's the way the character says them because it's an extremely sleazy man trying sincerely to display affection. And I don't ever quote movies in conversation, but if I thought people would get it, I would consistently use "everybody got AIDS and shit" as a way to describe people having sex. But I can't make Showgirls the answer to everything, and your Grandpa Seth is telling you that Troll 2 is equally deserving. Here are just a few excellent lines of dialogue:
Joshua: We NEED Grandpa Seth here!
Holly: But how do we get him to come? By having a seance maybe?
Joshua: You're a genius big sister!
Diana: Joshua, start singing. Come on, sing that song I like so much.
Joshua: I don't feel like singing, Mom!
Diana: Just sing.
Joshua: [singing] Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream...
Diana, Joshua: [both singing] Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily. Life is but a dream...
[I love that she can't remember the name of the song. She only knows it as "that song" she likes so much.]
OMG, you have to click this.
Michael: Do you see this writing? Do you know what it means? Hospitality. And you can't piss on hospitality! I won't allow it!
And this one's my favorite:
Elliott: I'm the victim of a nocturnal rapture. I have to release my lowest instincts with a woman.
Holly: [punches Elliott in the groin] Release your instincts in the bathroom.
Elliott: Are you nuts? You tryin' to turn me into a homo?
Holly: Wouldn't be too hard. If my father discovers you here, he'd cut off your little nuts and eat them. He can't stand you.
Day 9 - A Film With Your Favorite Actor
BAD VAMPIRE: PORT OF KISS NEW ORLEANS.
Choosing a favorite OF ALL TIME actor or actress is too hard, but my favorite actor consistently working today is Nicolas Cage. And one of my dreams is to program a double feature with his two finest performances, Vampire's Kiss and Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans.
Day 10 - A Film With Your Favorite Actress
Also still working (though not very much) is Jennifer Jason Leigh. Flesh+Blood isn't a type of movie I normally even like, but it's so squalid and vicious, I just love it. And JJL, who is amazing in every movie, is extra fucking amazing in it, and she completely blew me away. If I were to program this in a double feature that showcased her most underrated performances, I'd put it with Hudsucker Proxy.
Day 11 - A Film By Your Favorite Director
I don't have a single favorite director, so I'm just gonna completely indulge myself here and list my three favorite films from 12 of my favorite directors. The criteria for who makes the list is they need to have made at least one perfect film, and I need to have seen at least 5 of their films (or all of them if they've made less than 5).
2. The Hills Have Eyes
3. High Tension
2. The Brood
1. Blue Velvet
2. Lost Highway
1. Switchblade Sisters
3. Spider Baby
Joel Coen/Coen Brothers
1. A Serious Man
3. The Hudsucker Proxy
1. Pink Flamingos
2. Female Trouble
3. Desperate Living
1. Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead
2. The Toxic Avenger
3. Class of Nuke 'Em High
1. City of the Living Dead
3. New York Ripper
3. From Beyond
1. Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Part 2
2. Welcome to the Dollhouse
3. Fear, Anxiety and Depression
Day 12 - A Film By Your Least Favorite Director
There aren't a lot of directors I've completely dismissed, but when I do, it's usually because I find their films either boring (Antonioni) or somehow irritating (Fellini). I don't generally go through the entire filmography of these directors I dislike, but sometimes I'll see 3 or 4 just to make a fair judgment. And often, they'll have 1 film that I slightly like, or at least find watchable. Antonioni's Blow Up isn't that bad. Fellini's La Strada is pretty good. I will occasionally write off a director after watching just one film, and the only reason I'll do this is if their films are too fucking long. I hate Bela Tarr's Werckmeister Harmonies, and there's no fucking way I'm going to waste 7 and a half hours watching Satantango to find out what his other work is like. And I didn't even hate Lawrence of Arabia, but I'm very confident I never need to see another David Lean film ever again.
Mel Brooks is a director I've given 6 chances to throughout my whole life, from seeing Spaceballs when I was 7 or 8, to watching Blazing Saddles just a few years ago because I happened to have it on Betamax. And my opinion has remained exactly the same: I don't fucking get it. His films are not funny. I even like a lot of movies with similarly goofy and stupid senses of humor (80s sex comedies, specifically), but the way Brooks puts it all together just doesn't work. So he's my least favorite director primarily because I've hated his films the longest, and I've seen the most of his work. And also because he has an extended cameo in a horribly unfunny scene in The Muppet Movie, which is otherwise a great film.
But even Brooks has that one film that is not 100% repulsive, and that's Young Frankenstein. There may not be a single laugh in Young Frankenstein, but somehow it's watchable, and there's a scene with Gene Wilder and Peter Boyle (as Frankenstein's monster) performing "Puttin' On The Ritz" that is actually kinda great. So I'll give him some credit for that.
Day 13 - A Guilty Pleasure
Day 14 - The Film That No One Expected You To Like
I've been trying to think of the slowest movie I like. I know there's a bunch of extremely slowly-paced films that I totally love (ok, maybe not a bunch), but nothing is coming to mind right now. It doesn't matter, though, because people expect me to like everything. People used to recommend any movie to me that they didn't like. Like, "This movie was terrible, you'll love it." I think I've established my tastes enough now that this doesn't happen anymore. But what does still happen a bit is that people will ask me about any movie that's poorly reviewed, and compare it to Showgirls. That's not how it works! Not every critically panned flop is secretly amazing. Bad movies exist. More importantly, though, uninteresting movies exist. The fact is I probably would like the majority of movies that get terrible reviews, but I'm not fucking interested in every one of them because I'd rather watch something I think I might love.
This is all irrelevant. The point is movies are great and everyone knows I like everything. I think maybe someone could be surprised by how much I like something? Like Judy Garland or Gene Kelly movies? I fucking love Judy Garland.
Oh shit, I got one. STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE is a film no one expects anyone to like, AND it's slow. But I think it's fucking great. Not only that, I think it's better than The Wrath of Khan. So yeah, the first Star Trek movie.
There's this thing going around on Facebook called the 30 Day Film Challenge, where you just write about movies every day, with some kind of theme, and I've been doing that, and you're gonna love it. Here's the first week's worth.
Day 1 - Your Favorite Film
I've gone through a few different favorite films over the years, and I kinda feel like it's time for a new one. But it's tough because the simple, completely objective fact is that Showgirls is the BEST movie ever made. It is not possible for a film to be better; it is literally perfect. So even if something else took the place of my "favorite", Showgirls will always be a better film. And it's very hard for me reconcile "the best" and "my favorite" being different things.
Day 2 - Your Least Favorite Film
Yesterday, I posted a review of the movie Aerobicide, and mentioned that nearly half of the movie is footage of girls aerobicizing. And I fucking love it. It's not even because I think it's "hot" necessarily, I just love the idea of it. Fucking aerobicizing! Brightly colored spandex! Bela Tarr's Werckmeister Harmonies is similar in that more than half of the movie (like at least 80%), is footage of people walking around. Except nothing is interesting about that, and there never could be. Even if 30 years from now, we all travel around exclusively by segway, I can't imagine there being the same joyous, attractive novelty we can find in aerobicizing. Like, "Remember when walking was a trend? So endearing!"
I don't really remember what happens in the other 20% of Werckmeister Harmonies. It has something to do with a whale. The non-aerobicizing portions of Aerobicide consists of (and I'm basically just quoting my own review) blood, nudity, amazing acting, macho posturing, burn victim nudity, an attempt at mystery, and seriously fucking incredible music. That is how you make a fucking movie. Werckmeister Harmonies is, to me, a lesson in exactly how NOT to make a movie.
I heard a quote once that the worst movie you've ever seen is somebody's favorite movie. I'm fascinated by this because it's so true. I know Werckmeister Harmonies is someone's favorite film (maybe lots of people's). And I know there's some sad asshole out there who thinks Showgirls is the worst film they've ever seen (maybe lots of sad assholes?). I don't really know what to do with that, it's just interesting to me.
I've been using Aerobicide as the example of cinematic perfection as opposed to Showgirls, because it fits better as a literal antithesis to WH. But WH is the opposite of Showgirls, too. Another contender for my least favorite film is Two for the Road, which I hate in a completely different way. It's a film that filled with me rage and hatred, and I was disgusted that anyone could put together something so reprehensible. But the reason I chose Werckmeister Harmonies as the worst over the more infuriating Two for the Road is because Showgirls is a masterpiece of entertainment and WH is the exact opposite of entertaining.
Day 3 - A Film You Watch to Feel Good
ANY HORROR MOVIE.
Dream to Believe is certainly a great pick-me-up film that will make anyone feel totally good, but really, anytime I feel depressed or frustrated or sick or annoyed or tired or bored or hungry/thirsty, all I want is mean-spirited gore. I don't have a go-to movie, I'm more likely to try to find something new.
Day 4 - A Film You Watch to Feel Down
DEAR ZACHARY: A LETTER TO A SON ABOUT HIS FATHER.
If I'm ever in just too good of a mood, and I want to gain control before someone embarrassingly spots me with dry eyes, I suppose I would put on the heart-crushing documentary Dear Zachary.
Day 5 - A Film That Reminds You of Someone
STAR WARS (any of them).
It feels a little like cheating to go with something that reminds me of Erin, but I seriously cannot hear or see a reference to Star Wars without thinking about what a fucking nerd she is because it's her favorite movie/series of movies, and how much I love her for that.
To challenge myself with a movie that reminds me of someone I'm not already thinking about all the time anyway, I'll say Spice World reminds me of my friend Jennifer because we watched it together when it came out and it prompted me to completely reassess my view of pop culture. And Tokyo Decadence reminds me of my friend David from high school because he lost my VHS copy of it and I'm still mad at him like 12 years later.
Day 6 - A Film That Reminds You of Somewhere
This was really hard to come up with because I didn't want to just list that like Dirty Harry reminds me of San Francisco because it takes place here, or that Moon reminds me of the moon. And I've resisted listing The Virgin Suicides because it reminds me of the movie called Somewhere that is also directed by Sofia Coppola. I wanted something actually tied to a memory, or a film that is somehow strongly attached to the movie theater I saw it in. And once I thought of one thing, I thought of a few, so here a few:
Dazed & Confused reminds me of the Clay because Erin and I first got together after a midnight show of it, exactly 7 years ago.
The Garbage Pail Kids Movie reminds me of the 4 Star because it unexpectedly sold out, and was the first major success for Jesse Ficks' Midnites for Maniacs series, which has been an extremely important film series in my life. I've been waiting for The Garbage Pail Kids Movie to play at the Castro (where M4M has moved to), but so far it hasn't, and either way, it'll forever be associated with the 4 Star for me.
Pecker reminds me of Los Angeles/LACMA because I went to the premiere on my 15th birthday and got to meet John Waters, who I was completely obsessed with.
But my official choice is Bully, which is the first movie I saw when I moved to San Francisco (at the Lumiere), and I am soon moving out of San Francisco, so it's relevant to right now.
Day 7 - A Film That Reminds You of Your Past
KILLER CONDOM/SHOWGIRLS/FORBIDDEN ZONE.
In high school, I used to make copies of my favorite movies, from one VCR to another, so I wouldn't have to rent them over and over again. And I apparently didn't care much about quality, because I would record in EP Mode so I could get 3 movies on one tape. This wouldn't always work out because I was also taping stuff off HBO and Cinemax all the time, and so sometimes I'd end up with a really good movie at the beginning and end, but a mediocre one I never needed to see again in the middle. So then I would have to wait until a movie was on that was exactly the same length as the middle one so I could record over just that one. Anyway, there was one particular tape where I had compiled three incredible movies: Killer Condom, Showgirls, and Forbidden Zone, and I would watch this tape over and over again. Killer Condom is not of the caliber of Showgirls and Forbidden Zone, but it's still great and I watched it more than most other movies.
It was a nice tape to have because all three were movies I desperately wanted other people to see, so it was an easy choice for like, what to bring to someone's house. So yeah, it was very important, and even though I now own the movies on DVD and Blu-ray, I still have the tape in my collection.
And I just realized that it's only this specific VHS tape that reminds me of my past, and not any actual movie, so I'm changing my answer to Pink Flamingos. I've already written about why in the past, but the short version is that it catered to my interests and my humor more than I thought was possible in art, and it invigorated my love of movies, and essentially changed my life.
The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit (1998, Stuart Gordon, VHS) - 7.5
Five guys of roughly the same size each contribute to the purchase of a snazzy white suit, and then take turns wearing it out, and it brings them all luck. Pretty good. Very sweet and likable.
Nekromantik (Rewatch, 1987, Jörg Buttgereit, Projected DVD) - 9.0
A guy brings home a corpse for him and his girlfriend to have sex with, and they do a lot of that, but then she leaves him (taking the corpse with her) after he gets fired from his job. The movie’s a bit too slow and artsy to be as amazing as it should be, but there’s a whole lot of super gross stuff, and gore, and the music is fucking great, and it’s all about necrophilia, so it’s basically impossible not to love. The ending is fantastic as well.
Waxwork (1988, Anthony Hickox, DVD) - 8.5
Some teens visit a mysterious wax museum that appeared out of nowhere, and find themselves trapped within the depicted scenes and then killed, becoming part of the display themselves. Two of them escape and try to find out what the deal is with that place. Very entertaining, with some good bloody stuff.
Tamara Drewe (2010, Stephen Frears, 35mm, Opera Plaza) - 5.0
Tamara Drewe (Gemma Arteton) returns to her country home to sell her mother’s house, which is next to a writers’ retreat, and some people sleep with each other, and there’s a rock star around, and a couple of bored teen girls. There’s nothing not to like about it, but nothing, for me, to like about it, either. It was just kinda there. I’m sure it’s a perfectly good movie, but I gained nothing from seeing it.
Fortress (Rewatch, 1992, Stuart Gordon, Projected DVD) - 10.0
Christopher Lambert and his wife are trying to sneak across the border because she’s pregnant with their second child and that’s illegal in the future, even if your first-born dies, and they get caught and sent to future-prison, led by warden Kurtwood Smith. In future-prison, the inmates are controlled by “intestinators”, small devices in their intestinal system that can cause immense pain, or explode and kill the host. But Lambert, with the help of his cellmates, is determined to get out, saving his wife along the way (who Kurtwood has developed feelings for). It’s very violent and smart and fun, and just incredibly well put together. This is one of my favorite sci-fi movies ever. Stuart Gordon is fucking amazing.
Four Lions (2010, Christopher Morris, 35mm, Lumiere) - 7.5
Four Islamic, British terrorists are trying to figure out where to strike, but they’re mostly idiots, and they get into all kinds of mishaps and misadventures. I didn’t find it particularly hilarious, but I liked the concept a lot, and there were a few outstanding moments, like the scene with the crow, and the costumes they wear to cover up the bombs they’ve attached to themselves.
Childrens' Hospital Seasons 1 & 2 (Rob Corddry/Jonathan Stern/David Wain, Adult Swim) - 9.0
Hilarious show with a lot of great comedians playing the fuck-up staff of a children’s hospital.
Tiny Toons' Night Ghoulery (1995, Rich Arons/Michael Gerard/Rusty Mills/Greg Reyna, Youtube) - 9.0
Tiny Toons Halloween special with multiple stories spoofing Frankenstein, Twilight Zone, and even Spielberg’s Duel. Really funny and great.
Revenge of Frankenstein (1958, Terence Fisher, TCM) - 7.0
Dr. Frankenstein escapes the guillotine he was sentenced to in The Curse of Frankenstein, and moves to a new town, where he becomes a successful doctor for the poor. His experiments continue, however, and he transplants the brain of his deformed assistant into a new body, which appears to work at first, but before long, shit gets fucked. It’s a good story, but doesn’t feel much like a horror movie. It’s more of a straight drama about a mad scientist. That’s fine, but it could’ve been something more special.
The Blob (1988, Chuck Russell, DVD) - 9.0
Kevin Dillon and a young Shawnee Smith are on the run from an alien blob that consumes people in surprisingly gory ways, as well as some scientists who show up with ambiguous intentions. Lots of great kill scenes, including someone being sucked down a sink-drain, and people being attacked after talking during a movie in the movie theater. Great!
Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II (1987, Bruce Pittman, DVD) - 9.0
Prom Queen Mary Lou is killed by a jealous boyfriend, and 30 years later, her spirit is unleashed into a good girl, who starts hallucinating and acting up. Really funny and enjoyable, with good death scenes, and there’s a lot of just fucking crazy shit.
It's Kind of a Funny Story (2010, Ryan Fleck/Anne Boden, 35mm, Lumiere) - 7.5
A teenager thinks about committing suicide, but instead checks himself into a psychiatric ward for a few days. It’s sweet and funny, and it portrays depression well. At times, it’s overly cheesy, especially in the last third when he’s starting to get better (the final words of the movie are “Breathe. Live.” So gross.) The cast is good, and I was really into Eric Roberts’ daughter who had very attractive scars on her cheek.
11/4 and 4/10
Enter the Void (2010, Gaspar Noé, 35mm, Lumiere/Red Vic) - 6.5
After some incredible opening credits (without question, the best part of the movie), an American drug dealer (and user) in Tokyo, who has recently reconnected with his way too affectionate sister, gets shot and killed by the cops, and his spirit wanders around for awhile to check up on what’s going on with his friends and sister, and he occasionally enters the body of whoever is having sex with her. The characters couldn’t possibly be less interesting, and the story doesn’t add much either, so it’s pretty much up to the visuals to make it watchable. And they do exactly that. Make it watchable. I didn’t feel especially impressed by the visuals at first, but I have to give Noé some credit in that I was never bored, and I even viewed it a second time, and found it extremely easy to sit and watch all 2 and a half hours over again. It occasionally gets tiresome when it sticks with a style for too long, particularly the hour it spends with the back of the main character’s head center screen, which essentially recreates the experience of watching something with someone really tall sitting in front of you. But at least it’s different. It’s undoubtedly unlike any other film, and that too deserves some credit, especially once I realized that’s the exact same argument I use for why The Room is a good movie. There are too many dumb elements of Enter the Void to proclaim it a great film, but I certainly appreciate it.
Hereafter (2010, Clint Eastwood, 35mm, Balboa) - 7.5
Matt Damon is able to connect with the afterlife, and there’s a French woman who has a near-death experience, and a kid in London who loses his twin brother, and their stories eventually intersect as the movie explores how people are affected by death. Aside from some dark moments, and an impressive tsunami scene at the beginning, it doesn’t do anything extraordinary, but Eastwood keeps it intriguing enough to be pretty good.
Basket Case 3 (1992, Frank Henenlotter, DVD) - 9.0
The deformed Belial’s deformed girlfriend gives birth to a bunch of deformed babies. The babies are stolen by a couple corrupt cops, and so Granny Ruth gathers up the freaks to take revenge. Still lacks the gore and squalor of the original, but this one really makes up for it in insanity. A bewildering great time, with an amazing scene on a bus with all the freaks singing about Personality.
From Beyond (Rewatch, 1986, Stuart Gordon, DVD) - 9.5
Jeffrey Combs is a scientist's assistant, and they are working on a device that stimulates the pineal gland, and allows them to see, and become severely affected by, creatures from another dimension. The main scientist is taken to this other world, and Jeffrey Combs is put into a mental institution. Another scientist (Barbara Crampton looking fucking amazing in huge glasses) is intrigued by these experiments, and she takes Combs back to the house with a police escort (Ken Foree). Crampton becomes obsessed with the pineal-stimulator, and things get fucking crazy and disgusting and wonderful, and all of the special effects are phenomenal. Massively entertaining and perfect, with a performance from Crampton that seriously equals Combs’ Herbert West in Re-Animator. Great fucking movie.
Dolls (Rewatch, 1987, Stuart Gordon, Roku) - 9.0
A little girl and her terrible parents have to spend the night in the home of a couple elderly doll-makers, and the dolls turn out to be alive and creepy and homicidal. A brilliant fairy tale type story, with some gore, awesome special effects, dark humor, and vicious characters (as well as two insanely likable characters in the little girl and a young man still in touch with his inner child). Really fucking great.
Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever (2010, Ti West, DVD) - 7.0
The infected water from Cabin Fever makes it’s way to a high school with an upcoming prom. I don’t know what it was, but something about this felt really underdeveloped, and like it wasn’t even a real movie. I couldn’t place what was wrong with it. I know it was partly the interminable animated sequences at the beginning and end that seemed lazily tacked on to make up for not having enough story, but even beyond that, it felt incomplete. Giuseppe Andrews is alright in it, reprising his Deputy Winston role, though that too feels tacked on, and never really connects with the high school plot. The only reason I liked the movie at all is because the gore is phenomenal. Completely disgusting and graphic. If only the rest of the movie was better, this shit would be perfect.
Jeepers Creepers (2001, Victor Salva, DVD) - 8.0
A brother and sister are driving home and they have some issues with an asshole truck driver, who they happen to witness dumping dead bodies. Fun and tense movie, with a clever new villain. Very much appreciated the ending, too.
Corruption (1968, Robert Hartford-Davis, 35mm, Roxie) - 8.0
Peter Cushing plays a surgeon whose wife’s face gets fucked up, but he discovers he can revive her youthful skin by killing other women and extracting fluid from their pituitary gland. But it doesn’t last that long, so he has to keep up the killing. Not amazing, but pretty enjoyable, and there are some amazing close-up shots of Cushing all sweaty and intense while he’s doing his murdering.
April Fool's Day (1986, Fred Walton, DVD) - 8.0
Some college kids are staying at a friend’s resort house, and their host (Deborah Foreman) starts acting super weird (though nobody seems to actually notice), and everyone starts getting killed. It’s great, and Deborah Foreman is awesome.
Aerobicide (1986, David A. Prior, Download) - 10.0
Members of a gym are being killed off by someone with a giant safety pin, and it may have something to do with a girl who was burned up in a tanning bed incident. Normally, I don’t like it when movies are repetitive, and throwing things in excessively just to pad out the running time, but when the thing that the movie goes to every other scene is girls in spandex aerobicizing and humping the ground to 80s-tastic jams (I’d say there’s at least 40 minutes of this), I can’t help but be charmed and entertained. Then there’s blood, and nudity, and amazing acting and macho posturing, and burn victim nudity, and an attempt at mystery, and seriously fucking incredible music. Every second of this movie is perfect. I’ll definitely be watching it again, and I believe it’s a competitor for one of my Favorite Movies of ALL TIME.
Here's another poster (under the title Killer Workout), and here is a VHS I am extremely desperate to own.
The Office Season 6 (Greg Daniels, Roku) - 9.0
10/30 - The Brood (1979, David Cronenberg, 35mm, Roxie) - 10.0
October Top 10
2. I'm Feeling Scared
3. Suicide: It Doesn't Have to Happen
4. Dressed to Kill
5. Jackass 3D
6. Psycho II
7. Francesca, Baby
8. The Drug Scene
9. The Social Network
10. The Sweet House of Horrors
Also, just a quick life update: I did stand-up for the first time at an open mic the other night, and it went pretty well.
Happy Birthday to Me (1981, J. Lee Thompson, Projected DVD) - 8.0
A girl is part of a popular clique, and her birthday is coming up, and all her friends start to get murdered, and it’s probably the main girl, but maybe not. The movie sets itself up well with the who’s-the-killer mystery in that every single character has an out-of-nowhere moment where they suddenly act crazy and super suspicious. But the finale reveals something insane and basically amazing. Decent kills, a bit low on gore, but creative, and it’s plenty of fun. Good movie.
The Astro-Zombies (1968, Ted V. Mikels, DVD) - 3.5
There are some people in masks (superhuman astro-zombies, I guess) and some scenes in a science lab, and maybe some killing. I don’t know, it was really fucking boring. Too bad, because the poster is incredible.
The New York Ripper (Rewatch, 1982, Lucio Fulci, DVD) - 9.5
A serial killer with a creepy duck voice is killing women, and a detective is trying to catch him. I’m sorry I don’t have more to say about it, but it’s maybe the most stunningly sleazy and violent movie ever made. This one will make anyone feel a little gross; totally brilliant.
The Kids Are All Right (2010, Lisa Cholodenko, 35mm, Opera Plaza) - 8.0
The kids of a lesbian couple find out who their sperm donor was, and meet up with him, and the whole family builds a different relationship with him. There’s some drama when one of the lesbians fucks the dad (Julianne Moore in 1 of 2 movies from 2010 where she has an affair with someone outside of her preferred gender; the other being Chloe). A harmlessly watchable indie pleaser, it’s well-written and well-acted and charming and funny. And is it true that "alright" isn't a real word? That's fucked.
The House That Dripped Blood on Alex (Short, 2010, Brock LaBorde/Jared Richard, TV) - 9.0
Tommy Wiseau rents an apartment, and it has a blood-dripping problem. Kitschy and hilarious, relying primarily (and wisely) on Wiseau’s brilliance as an actor. Great fucking short. I think someone needs to start a Facebook petition for Tommy to host Saturday Night Live.
Jackass 3D (2010, Jeff Tremaine, RealD, Van Ness) - 9.0
Before I saw this movie, I had a dream that I downloaded it. I don't know why I would download a 3D movie, this dream was very unrealistic. The only part of the movie I really remember was The Entertainer from VH1 getting a handjob. I kept waiting for the girl to punch his dick or something, to make it a prank, but I woke up before that happened. Anyway, this was one of the Jackass movies, and of course it was fucking amazing.
At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul (1964, José Mojica Marins, DVD) - 8.0
A blasphemous undertaker named Coffin Joe wants to spread his seed into a perfect woman, and kills some people in the process. Intriguingly violent for a movie of it’s time (it’s apparently Brazil’s first horror film), and very entertaining.
House of Clocks (1989, Lucio Fulci, DVD) - 8.0
Three burglars murder the elderly couple whose house they’re robbing, but then time starts moving backwards, and the elderly couple comes back to life and terrorizes the burglars. About what you’d expect from Fulci trying to make a movie about time travel. It’s not perfect, and the gore is good but not especially memorable, but the story and the direction are certainly absurd enough to make it all work.
The Girl Who Played with Fire (2010, Daniel Alfredson, 35mm, Clay) - 8.0
The reporter (from the first movie!) and Lisbeth Salander are trying to crack down on an enslaved prostitution ring, and are also learning some shit about Lisbeth’s father, and there’s a supervillain involved who feels no pain. Not as intriguing as the first film, but still very good.
Luther the Geek (1990, Carlton J. Albright, Roku) - 8.5
A young boy named Luther witnesses a circus geek biting the head off a chicken, and is inspired later in life to try to bite the heads off people. He's sent to prison, but gets paroled for being a "model prisoner" despite the fact he can't even speak and only makes chicken noises. After his release, he immediately bites into the neck of an old woman at a grocery store, and from there, it rather disappointingly becomes a home invasion flick where he holds a mother, daughter, and daughter's boyfriend captive. I'd have much rather seen a spree of neck-chomping murder. There's still more than enough to like, though. Some good gore, a funny ending, and an excellently creepy lead performance from the guy playing Luther.
Tales from the Crapper (2004, Gabe Friedman/Chad Ferrin/Dave Paiko/Brian Spitz/Lloyd Kaufman, Roku) - 5.0
Two stories, one about a killer alien at a strip club and the other about a guy trying to pay for college with a stripper party, are bridged together by Lloyd Kaufman with a trash bag over his head calling himself the Crapkeeper. The movie feels like some intern at Troma blackmailed Kaufman into giving him a modest budget to shoot a flimsy tasteless movie full of gross gore and excessive nudity. Apparently, a few people directed it (all different segments, presumably), and apparently-er, the two main shorts were actually directed by India Allen, but Kaufman had some dispute with her, so Troma shot new footage to add in between, and re-dubbed a lot of dialogue to make people have lisp-y gay voices, and put in a farting sound effect every ten seconds (literally). It doesn't set out to be anything more than a gore and tits film, and to that degree, it's fantastic. Any movie so openly against a coherent plot, and instead devoted strictly to gore and tits is beyond fine by me. But this one goes for an unfortunate trifecta of gore, tits, and fart jokes, and with this, it ruins itself. I can handle one or two fart jokes in an otherwise good comedy, but here it became fucking excruciating. So no matter how much I wanted to like this movie, it just wouldn't let me. I'd be curious, though, to watch the original shorts, as it seems that every aspect of this that wasn't good was something that was dubbed in later by the new directors. Also, James Gunn and Eli Roth had some funny cameos.
Sensitive 70s (16mm, Oddball Cinema)
The 70s were really fucking sensitive. This program at Oddball Cinema was basically the sweetest, most sincere two hours of my life. Overwhelmingly so, and fucking amazing. Here's the lineup, all on 16mm.
Francesca, Baby (1976, Larry Elikann) - 9.0
The Drug Scene (1970, Justin Purchin) - 9.0
I'm Feeling Scared (Rewatch, 1974, Larry Klingman) - 10.0
Your Self Image (1971, Jim Gable & Jerry Greenman) - 9.0
Suicide: It Doesn't Have to Happen (1976, Peggi Chute) - 9.5
Francesca, Baby was a tv movie, about 45 minutes, and the others were shorts, from 8 minutes to 20. It's hard to rate them separately because even though they were much different, I basically liked them for the same reasons. Individually, I'd rate them each a 9.0, but together it was a 10.0. Actually, I'm Feeling Scared on it's own is a 10.0. It's a series of enactments of kids in situations that scare them, as they sing about their fears to a catchy tune. The message for kids being that it's ok to feel scared sometimes. And as an adult, there were things I still related to. Francesca, Baby was about a teenage girl and her little sister learning to deal with a frequently absent father and an alcoholic mother. The Drug Scene was a documentary, produced by Hanna/Barbera, where teens talked about their use of drugs, and the sense of hopelessness that led them there. Your Self Image had a little boy finding a mirror man in his closet, who showed him the importance of perceiving yourself positively. And Suicide: It Doesn't Have to Happen starred Marcel Marceau helping out a depressed girl, and getting her into a group to discuss the ways they all deal with thoughts of suicide. It was probably the most heartbreaking film of the night. All were excellent and extremely moving, and are described perfectly by the word "sensitive".
Psycho II (1983, Richard Franklin, DVD) - 9.0
It's been more than 20 years, and Norman Bates is deemed sane enough to return to life on the outside, back at the motel. But once he's there, he starts receiving notes and phone calls from his mother, and people start getting murdered. But is it Norman, or is someone trying to set him up and make him feel like a psycho again? It's a fucking awesome thriller, that continues the story of the original in a respectful and intriguing way. Anthony Perkins returns as Norman, and is excellent, as is Meg Tilly as the young waitress he befriends, and Dennis Franz shines as the sleazy motel manager. The story unravels really well and kept me guessing on who the real killer was throughout, and the resolution is amazing. It also had some great gore moments that were a bit more graphic than the original could be. The original is great, and I wouldn't say I prefer this one, but I definitely felt it to be worthy.
House on Sorority Row (1983, Mark Rosman, Roku) - 7.5
A group of recently-graduated sorority girls want to throw a final party before they move away, but the house mother won't let them. They decide to pull a prank on her, but accidentally kill her instead, and then the girls start getting killed. Is the house mother not actually dead, or is it her disfigured son, born through experimental means? The girls are good, the gore is so-so, there are some really amazing, creepy moments, and I loved the story, but somehow it doesn't quite gel into something great. More gore probably would've done it. It's good, though, and occasionally fantastic.
The Sweet House of Horrors (1989, Lucio Fulci, DVD) - 9.0
A couple comes home and finds a masked robber there. The husband attacks the robber, but the robber overpowers him and repeatedly smashes his head into the wall, leaving chunks of brain, hair, and blood. He then chases the woman into the kitchen, holds her down, and with some kind of weight, hits her in the face, knocking her eyeball out. He then hits the other side of her face, and her other eye kind of explodes. Then he smashes her forehead open. He goes back into the living room, where it turns out the husband is still alive, so the robber grabs a fire poker, and hits him repeatedly in the face with that. And then he drives their bodies off a cliff to look like a car accident. After that, it's a haunted house story about the couple returning as ghosts to get back at their murderer, prevent their house from being sold, and hang out with their kids. The opening ten minutes are fucking extraordinary, and the rest of the movie doesn't quite live up to that, but it's very funny (fairly sure it's intentionally so) and very sweet.
Patrick (1978, Richard Franklin, Roku) - 8.0
A new nurse is put in charge of a creepy patient named Patrick who has been comatose for three years, and has developed telekinetic powers. Patrick falls for the nurse, and uses his powers to jealously maim anyone who gets too close to her. Pretty good!
My Soul to Take (2010, Wes Craven, RealD, Van Ness) - 6.5
Seven kids are born on the day a serial killer is murdered, and on their sixteenth birthday, it’s believed that he’s gonna possess one of the kids and kill some people. I liked the story a lot, and found the characters endearing, but the kill scenes are mostly disappointing, and I don’t know, there’s kind of a blandness to it. It’s ok, though.
Let Me In (2010, Matt Reeves, 35mm, Van Ness) - 9.0
A meek kid (Kodi Smit-McPhee) who gets bullied a lot meets a vampire (Chloe Moretz), and they become close, and help each other deal with shit. Roughly the same as the original film, with minor differences. Aside from both of them having issues with terrible cgi taking you out of the film (though in different parts), this works out well, and both versions are equally good while remaining individual. I didn’t care much for McPhee here, whose facial expression never varied from “stressed”, and whenever he was up there alone, I found myself waiting for Moretz to return to the screen, but Moretz is compelling enough for both of them, and Richard Jenkins gives some depth to the small role of her caretaker. Like the original, it’s atmospherically brilliant and creepy, and the plot is fucking great.
Pet Sematary (Rewatch, 1989, Mary Lambert, Projected DVD) - 10.0
I'd seen this before, but holy shit, this fucking movie! A family moves into a new house near a dangerous road where trucks speed by a lot, and the young daughter's pet cat gets killed, and the dad is worried about breaking the news to her, so the kindly neighbor (a phenomenal Fred Gwynne) helps him bury it beyond the pet cemetery, and the cat comes back to life, but is not entirely normal, and after that, the dad is confronted with a choice on whether or not to bring back a person. This movie is fucking perfect, and just so entertaining and creepy and amazing for the entire running time. The story involves killings and zombies, but the way it unfolds is so unique, it really doesn't fit into any particular subgenre. It throws in all kinds of great shit, like a super creepy sister with spinal meningitis, and a ghost with a gaping head wound, and it all fits together in such a complete way. The effects and the makeup are flawless, too. It is seriously perfect. My favorite Stephen King adaptation, and possibly one of my Top 10 Favorite Horror Movies Ever.
Masters of Horror: The Damned Thing (2006, Tobe Hooper, Roku) - 6.0
A young kid witnesses his dad being eviscerated by an unseen force, and when the kid grows up to be the same age his dad was, the force starts coming after him, too. It has something to do with his grandfather causing an oil disaster, and at the end, the unseen force becomes seen and it's an oil monster. Kind of a boring story, with a slow pace, and uninteresting actors, but there were a couple great scenes of gore that made it more or less worth watching. The father's evisceration is excellent, and there's another scene of someone beating themselves to death with a hammer that's pretty good.
A Cat in the Brain (Rewatch, 1990, Lucio Fulci, DVD) - 8.0
Lucio Fulci plays Lucio Fulci, a gruesome horror director, who starts having visions that are similar to the scenes in his movies, and he worries he might actually be killing people. Not as good as I remembered it being, but it’s a decent watch, and looking through screencaps on GIS makes me start loving it again. Also, this bit of trivia is amazing: “The original script was 49 pages long and contained no dialogue. It consisted of descriptions of bodily mutilations/imagery and sound effects that would compliment them on screen.”
The Butcher (2007, Kim Jin-won, Roku) - 3.0
Brutally boring fake snuff movie where the victims have cameras attached to helmets to pick things up from all perspectives. If looking at walls and listening to loud, heavy breathing while someone else is getting chainsawed in another room sounds disturbing to you, then I don't know, I guess that means you're the target audience. Earns its 3 points for an intriguing premise (almost an anti-premise, really), some decent bloody aftermath footage, and a single shot where you actually see something happening (fingers being sawed off). I'm perfectly open to a plot-less fake snuff movie, but August Underground has already done it way more effectively.
What Have You Done to Solange? (1972, Massimo Dallamano, DVD) - 8.5
Some students at an all-girls school are being murdered via a knife to the cunt, and a teacher and student who are having an affair investigate. It was stylish and great, but I’ve kinda forgotten most of the movie. I could use a rewatch.
Castle Freak (Rewatch, 1995, Stuart Gordon, Projected DVD) - 9.0
Jeffrey Combs and Barbara Crampton, and their blind daughter, while still putting their lives back together after the loss of their son in a drunk driving incident, inherit a castle in Spain. It turns out the castle already has an inhabitant, a deformed freak, locked up in the basement, who escapes, eats a prostitute, and attacks the daughter. Wonderfully gross gore and makeup and a fun story. Fucking love this one.
Psycho (1960, Alfred Hitchcock, 35mm, Castro) - 9.0
Janet Leigh steals some money and flees town, ending up at a secluded motel run by a friendly seeming young man and his mother. I don't want to spoil the big twist for all those people who haven't seen it, but it turns out his mom is a sled made of people (this was meant as a Soylent Green reference, but I think it might read more like a Texas Chainsaw Massacre reference, and since both Psycho and Leatherface are based on Ed Gein, this stupid joke just. got. real). Anyway, I like this movie, and Anthony Perkins is awesome, and the score is truly fucking phenomenal.
Dressed to Kill (1980, Brian De Palma, 35mm, Castro) - 9.0
Angie Dickinson is having sexual issues with her husband, which she talks to her psychiatrist Michael Caine about, and then has a bizarre, sweeping, incredibly long seduction sequence with some guy in a museum, and they sleep with each other, but then she finds out he has VD, but it doesn’t matter because she’s killed a few minutes later. Dennis Franz is a detective who doesn’t do a good enough job investigating, so Dickinson’s son (Keith Gordon) and a prostitute who witnessed the murder (Nancy Allen) team up to figure out who the killer is. A very unique and strange thriller. De Palma is fucking crazy.
The Social Network (2010, David Fincher, 35mm, Balboa) - 9.0
Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) is a nerdy computer whiz at Harvard who takes inspiration from some people on an idea for an exclusive social networking site, leading them into believing he's helping them, but instead creates something better, so they sue him. He also ends up fucking over his best friend, who also sues him. The story is very compelling, very well-written and well-acted, but it impressed me the most with how watchable it makes unlikeable people. Zuckerberg is a dick, but you can't hate him. Maybe it's just me being easily seduced by Jesse Eisenberg adorably speaking technobabble gibberish about coding, but there seems to be something more than that there. A charming vulnerability under the surface. Timberlake too, as the Napster guy, is super scummy, but never annoying to watch.
Trent Reznor's score is also really great.
10/6 - Pieces (Rewatch, 1982, Juan Piquer Simón, Projected DVD) - 10.0
I Spit On Your Grave (2010, Steven R. Monroe, 35mm, Lumiere) - 9.5
A girl goes to a secluded cabin in the woods to get some writing done, but gets gang-raped and left for dead instead. She recovers, and takes insanely gory and creative revenge. Much glossier than the original, kind of meaner, and set up better as a stalker film where the protagonist is the hunter. Mostly, though, I loved it for the killing. Specifically, there's a thing with fish hooks and eyelids that got me totally wet.
Angela (1995, Rebecca Miller, DVD) - 2.0
Two sisters have a mentally ill mother and they’re into religion, and they occasionally have visions of Peter Facinelli as an angel. Feels like an extended version of a stereotypical student film. Pretty bad.
The Town (2010, Ben Affleck, 35mm, Balboa) - 7.5
Ben Affleck is a bank robber who falls for a woman he takes hostage (Rebecca Hall), and starts dating her without her knowing who he is, and he doesn’t want to rob banks anymore, but Jeremy Renner and Pete Postlethwaite pressure him into a last big score, and Jon Hamm is a vicious FBI agent out to get them all. I love heist movies, and this one is solid, but never does anything I found extraordinary. I don’t know why people were so in love with it. Chris Cooper has a bit part, and plays an asshole so effectively it made me hate him as a person. It was also in the back of my mind that he had turned down a role in Machete because he thought it was stupid or something, so god, what’s his fucking problem. Also, the ending of this movie is fairly terrible.
I rewatched parts of Fellini's 8½ because it was playing on my shift at the Red Vic. I will admit that it can be fun to disagree with most of the world on certain movies, and I enjoy arguing with people about why 8½ is a piece of shit and The Room is a masterpiece. But at the same time, there's part of me that is distressed by not liking every movie, especially ones that so many others tend to appreciate, and so I'll occasionally revisit something to find out if I'm just missing out. I watched about two 30 minute chunks of 8½, and even having seen it before, I know it's not entirely fair to judge based on random segments, but what I saw was annoying as fuck and completely boring. I hated the main character, I hated his interactions with people, I hated the music and the editing and the tone that it set. I caught about 30 seconds worth of Barbara Steele, and she was excellent. That's all I can give to this movie. The cinematography is ok.
Basket Case 2 (1990, Frank Henenlotter, DVD) - 8.0
Duane and his deformed, formerly attached twin brother Belial are taken to the hospital, and starting to make headlines, after their fate at the end of the first movie. A woman nicknamed Dr. Freak, and her granddaughter, are able to take them in, and make them comfortable in a household full of absurd-looking freaks. But when exposure and their safety is threatened by a reporter, they all have to band together to fight back. A bit goofier than the original, and far less squalid. But still a fun film, and a charming story, with lots of hilarious moments.
I Am Love (2010, Luca Guadagnino, 35mm, Red Vic) - 2.0
Dramatic drama about a family, and Tilda Swinton sleeps with her son's business partner in some almost amusingly unbearable artful sex scenes (in a field, lots of close-ups where you don't know what or whose body part you're looking at, and constant cuts to insects crawling on flowers). Toward the end of the movie, something tragic happens and it's kind of interesting, I guess. And the very ending has the most dramatic, epic, sweeping score I've ever heard, and it's just some people looking at each other, and then Swinton vanishes. It was kind of amazing, but would probably be less amazing if I understood what was going on. For the most part, I Am Love is I Am Terrible. (this doesn't make any sense, but I can't get it out of my head.) By chance, I saw the trailer like 4 days later, and had already forgotten I had even seen it. I like the poster, though.
Mad Men Season 2 (2008, Matthew Wiener, DVD) - 8.5
Starting to get more invested in the characters, and possibly even like them. Really picked up from the first season. Peggy is still my favorite.
September Top 10
3. I Spit on Your Grave (2010)
5. Deep Blue Sea
6. Resident Evil: Afterlife
7. I Spit On Your Grave (1978)
8. Peggy Sue Got Married
9. The Disappearance of Alice Creed
10. The Last Exorcism
Machete (2010, Robert Rodriguez/Ethan Maniquis, 35mm, Van Ness) - 9.0
Danny Trejo is hired to assassinate a corrupt senator, but it turns out to be a set-up, and I don’t really remember the plot because I’m writing this almost 6 months later. But I do remember it was a ton of fucking fun with some amazing scenes and awesome violence.
The Last Exorcism (2010, Daniel Stamm, 35mm, Van Ness) - 8.5
An exorcist who doesn’t actually believe in possession, but performs anyway because the theatrics of an exorcism still tends to work, is followed by a documentary crew on his final job. And the final job might be real, or it might not. Or it might be something else entirely. I really loved the main minister guy, and I was pretty pleased with the movie, though there wasn't really enough of the creepy stuff. The ending comes out of nowhere, and I liked it, but I wish it tied things up in a more pleasing way. Instead, I basically have no idea what happened at any point in the movie. That's interesting, I guess.
Peggy Sue Got Married (1986, Francis Ford Coppola, 35mm, Castro) - 9.0
Peggy Sue (Kathleen Turner) passes out at her high school reunion, and wakes up back in time where she’s actually in high school, and has the option of making different choices (mainly, getting together with a different boy) to give herself a happier future, but learns that ultimately may not be for the best. Nicolas Cage as the boyfriend/future ex-husband takes what could’ve been a fairly standard role, and makes it amazing by giving his character the voice of Pokey from the Gumby cartoons. Very funny and sweet, and plus, there’s time travel!
Zapped! (Rewatch, 1982, Robert J. Rosenthal, 35mm, Castro) - 8.5
This poster is really amazing. You should definitely click it to see the bigger version, just to see the look on George Washington's face.
Scott Baio is a science geek who ends up creating a formula that gives him telekinesis, which he uses to throw bullies in trees and blow girls’ clothes off. Very endearing 80’s fun. I do have a complaint, though. The girlfriend character has her glasses off for most of the latter half of the movie, which upset me not only because she, like every other person who exists, looks way hotter in glasses, but also because I found it distracting since, as a glasses-wearer myself, I couldn’t stop thinking about how she couldn’t fucking see. Baio would have to be constantly using his zapping powers just to keep her from bumping into shit. This happened with a smart nerd character in Peggy Sue Got Married, too. Every time he would pontificate on something, he’d take his glasses off, as if blurring your vision somehow clears your mind. That is not a thing! It’s a common dramatic gesture, but it makes no fucking sense.
Deep Blue Sea (1999, Renny Harlin, Projected Blu-ray, Balboa) - 9.0
Some scientists are working on a cure for Alzheimer’s by taking samples from shark brains, but their brains aren’t big enough, so the scientists figure out a way to enlarge them, but this makes the sharks too smart for humanity’s good, and they flood the facility and eat everyone. Thrilling and fun.
Pay Day (Rewatch, 1922, Charlie Chaplin, 35mm, Castro) - 8.5
The Tramp is a bricklayer, and hijinx surround him at work, and then he sneaks out on his wife for a night out, and has trouble getting home in the rain. Inventive as ever, with lots of great gags.
Modern Times (Rewatch, 1936, Charlie Chaplin, 35mm, Castro) - 9.5
The Tramp has a nervous breakdown working at a factory, is arrested when mistaken as a communist, and has some other struggles, but keeps it together with a new love (Paulette Goddard) and they struggle together. Brilliant imagery (traveling through a machine, blindfolded rollerskating), comedy that holds up, and an overwhelming sweetness. Great!
I Spit On Your Grave (1978, Meir Zachi, VHS) - 9.0
A girl is extensively gang-raped in the woods by four shitty dudes. The scene stretches on forever by having one guy rape her, then they all leave, and she scrambles to a new location, where it turns out they’re waiting for her, and then another guy rapes her, and they take off again in a speedboat, so she crawls home, but they’re there again, and then the other two guys (one of whom is mentally challenged and peer-pressured into the task) rape her, so every time it seems she’s escaped, she actually hasn’t. They finally leave her for good, thinking the mentally challenged guy has killed her, but after taking some time to recuperate, the girl seeks them all out and kills them. Harsh revenge story that’s still a bit campy. I liked it much.
Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010, Paul W.S. Anderson, RealD, Century 20) - 9.0
Milla Jovovich, and some clones, are fucking up everyone at the evil Umbrella corporation, who have turned the world into zombies, and then she meets up with a group of survivors, who have heard of some place in Alaska that is supposedly safe. This is maybe the most ridiculous movie I've ever seen. It was AMAZING. So many bullets flying, and sunglasses being thrown at the audience (in 3D!), and a classic over-the-top bad guy. I recommend it if you like anything at all in life.
9/17 - Back to the Future (1985, Robert Zemeckis, 35mm, Castro) - 10.0
The Oscars were tonight, which means it's finally time for me to stop putting off my own Best Of lists for the year. I've seen exactly 100 movies from 2010. Normally, I make a slightly bigger production out of my Year End list with a star-studded Awards show of my own, but this year I didn't. It's just some lists, with a few pictures. I still consider the #1s here Nomi winners, though, so if you're keeping track of every Winner and Nomi-nee there's ever been, and wondering every time you see a trailer why someone isn't being listed as "NOMI® AWARD WINNER" Nicolas Cage (for example), then go ahead and keep keeping track.
2010 was somewhat of a disappointing year after 2009, which was one of the like Top 3 Cinematic Years Ever. There were a lot of great movies I loved, but very few I'd say were extraordinary or perfect, and every year ought to have at least 5 of those. Lately, though, I've actually been coming around to 2010. Looking at my Top 5 right now, it's pretty solid, so I don't know, maybe I've been too harsh. And there were only 5 movies I saw that I didn't really care for, and only one I hated. Which leads to the first category.
Worst Fucking Movie
1. The White Ribbon (Michael Haneke)
2. I Am Love (Luca Guadagnino)
3. The Secret of Kells (Tomm Moore)
4. What I saw of White Material (Claire Denis) (I ended up missing the last 30 minutes, which is apparently where something actually happens, but I doubt it would've changed my opinion much)
5. Tamara Drewe (Stephen Frears)
Didn't see: The Illusionist
2-5 weren't enjoyable for me, but they are what they are and I hold nothing against them really. But White Ribbon is the Fucking Worst because Haneke is a perfectly capable director, and there are a couple of good scenes, so I ended up angry that it was so fucking boring. Rare Exports and Leap Year were also not-good movies, but they weren't too terrible, either.
Here's the stuff I liked.
1. A Serbian Film (Srdjan Spasojevic)
2. Inception (Christopher Nolan)
3. 127 Hours (Danny Boyle)
4. Black Swan (Darren Aronofsky)
5. Shutter Island (Martin Scorsese)
6. Frozen (Adam Green)
7. Toy Story 3 (Lee Unkrich)
8. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (David Yates)
9. Mother (Bong Joon-ho)
10. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Niels Arden Oplev)
Honorable Mentions: Burning Bright, The Ghost Writer
Didn't see: All Good Things
Best Family Film
1. Dogtooth (Giorgos Lanthimos)
2. Toy Story 3 (Lee Unkrich)
3. The Loved Ones (Sean Byrne)
4. Life During Wartime (Todd Solondz)
5. True Grit (Joel & Ethan Coen)
1. Birdemic: Shock and Terror (James Nguyen)
2. The Social Network (Aaron Sorkin)
Best Movie About Facebook
1. Catfish (Ariel Schulman/Henry Joost)
2. The Social Network (David Fincher)
1. The Sorceror's Apprentice (Jon Turteltaub)
Didn't see: How to Train Your Dragon
Best Short Film (these are the only 5 I saw, but they're all great)
1. Spider (Nash Edgerton)
2. Day & Night (Teddy Newton)
3. The House That Drips Blood on Alex (Brock LaBorde/Jared Richard)
4. A Very Gerry Christmas (Jay Cheel)
5. Cooking with Gerry 2 (Jay Cheel)
2. Step Up 3D
3. Fish Tank
1. Chloe (Atom Egoyan)
This wasn't a great movie, but oh my god, so fucking 90s!
Best Movie With an Animal In the Title That Wasn't Actually About That Animal
1. Catfish (Ariel Schulman/Henry Joost)
2. Dogtooth (Giorgos Lanthimos)
3. Black Swan (Darren Aronofsky)
4. Fish Tank (Andrea Arnold)
5. The Human Centipede (Tom Six) (inclusion in this category is perhaps debatable)
Honorable Mentions: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, Four Lions
Didn't see: Rabbit Hole, Animal Kingdom
1. Dogtooth (Giorgos Lanthimos)
2. The Social Network (David Fincher)
3. The Fighter (David O. Russell)
4. Fish Tank (Andrea Arnold)
5. My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done (Werner Herzog)
Honorable Mentions: Never Let Me Go, Greenberg
Didn't see: Please Give, Another Year
1. Jackass 3D (Jeff Tremaine)
2. Date Night (Shawn Levy)
3. Easy A (Will Gluck)
4. MacGruber (Jorma Taccone)
5. Youth In Revolt (Miguel Arteta)
Honorable Mention: The Other Guys
Didn't see: Due Date, Dinner for Schmucks
1. Trash Humpers (Harmony Korine)
2. Step Up 3D (Jon Chu)
3. Life During Wartime (Todd Solondz)
1. Piranha 3D (Alexandre Aja)
2. All About Evil (Joshua Grannell)
3. I Spit On Your Grave (Steven R. Monroe)
4. Hatchet II (Adam Green)
5. The Loved Ones (Sean Byrne)
6. Saw 3D (Kevin Greutert)
7. The Human Centipede (Tom Six)
8. Let Me In (Matt Reeves)
9. The Crazies (Brent Eisner)
10. The Last Exorcism (Daniel Stamm)
Didn't see: [REC]2, RoboGeisha, Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl, Puppet Master: Axis of Evil, 2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams
1. Piranha 3D (Gregory Nicotero/Howard Berger)
2. I Spit On Your Grave (Jason Collins)
3. Hatchet II (Robert Pendergraft)
4. 127 Hours (Tony Gardner)
5. Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever (Christian Beckman)
6. Saw 3D (Jon Campfens/Tom Turnbull/Wendy Whaley)
7. Black Swan (Dan Schrecker)
8. All About Evil (Aurora Bergere)
9. Frozen (Chris Hanson)
10. Machete (Robert Rodriguez)
Best Gore Involving Pulling Out Someone's Intestines
1. Tie: Machete/Hatchet II
Best Foreign Crime Trilogy
1. The Girl Who Did Stuff (Red Riding didn't do much for me)
1. Kick-Ass (Matthew Vaughn)
2. The Expendables (Sylvester Stallone)
3. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (Edgar Wright)
4. Machete (Robert Rodriguez/Ethan Maniquis)
5. Resident Evil: Afterlife (Paul W.S. Anderson)
Honorable Mention: Unstoppable
Didn't see: District B13: Ultimatum
1. Catfish (Ariel Schulman/Henry Joost)
2. Best Worst Movie (Michael Paul Stephenson)
3. Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work (Ricki Stern/Anne Sundberg)
4. Exit Through the Gift Shop (Banksy)
5. I Am Comic (Jordan Brady)
Didn't see: Winnebago Man
Best Movie About Being a Celebrity
1. Somewhere (Sofia Coppola)
2. I'm Still Here (Casey Affleck)
Best Hair (no contest)
1. Joaquin Phoenix in I'm Still Here
1. Date Night (Shawn Levy)
This may not have made my Top 10, but I felt like it was way better than people gave it credit for.
1. Tina Fey & Steve Carell in Date Night
2. Stanley Tucci & Patricia Clarkson in Easy A
3. John Travolta & Jonathan Rhys Meyers in From Paris with Love
4. Jim Carrey & Ewan MacGregor in I Love You Phillip Morris
5. Amy Adams & Adam Scott in Leap Year (can't say I cared much for how this movie played out)
Best Supporting Actress
1. Anne Hathaway in Alice in Wonderland
2. Patricia Clarkson in Easy A
3. Martiny in All About Evil
Best Supporting Actor
1. Christopher Lloyd in Piranha
2. Stanley Tucci in Easy A
3. Michael Keaton in The Other Guys
4. Noah Segan in All About Evil
5. Crispin Glover in Hot Tub Time Machine
Honorable Mention: Val Kilmer in MacGruber
Best Ensemble Cast
1. My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done (Michael Shannon, Willem Dafoe, Udo Kier, Grace Zabriskie, Brad Dourif, Chloe Sevigny)
1. Chloe Moretz in Kick-Ass
2. Tina Fey in Date Night
3. Robin McLeavy in The Loved Ones
4. Kristen Stewart in The Runaways
5. Natasha Lyonne in All About Evil
6. Kristen Wiig in MacGruber
7. Chloe Moretz in Let Me In
8. Elisabeth Shue in Piranha
9. Briana Evigan in Burning Bright
10. Dakota Fanning in The Runaways
1. Tommy Wiseau in The House That Drips Blood on Alex
2. Christian Bale in The Fighter
3. Dieter Laser in The Human Centipede
4. Jesse Eisenberg in The Social Network
5. Srdjan Todorovic in A Serbian Film
6. Nicolas Cage in The Sorceror's Apprentice
7. Jason Statham in The Expendables
8. Adam Scott in Piranha
9. James Franco in 127 Hours
10. Michael Fassbender in Fish Tank
Honorable Mentions: John Travolta in From Paris with Love, Jonah Hill in Cyrus
Best Fucking Film (Countdown!)
10. Tie: 127 Hours! (Danny Boyle)/I Spit On Your Grave! (Steven R. Monroe)
9. The Expendables! (Sylvester Stallone)
8. All About Evil! (Joshua Grannell)
7. Inception! (Christopher Nolan)
6. Best Worst Movie! (Michael Paul Stephenson)
5. Kick-Ass! (Matthew Vaughn)
4. Dogtooth! (Giorgos Lanthimos)
3. Catfish! (Ariel Schulman/Henry Joost)
2. A Serbian Film! (Srdjan Spasojevic)
1. Piranha 3D!!! (Alexandre Aja)
This is somewhat a companion piece to this post of the 50 Best Movies I Saw Last Year. I meant to post it a few days ago.
Top 15 Best Actors from Movies I Watched in 2010
1. Sylvester Stallone - Nighthawks
2. Richard Pryor - Blue Collar
3. Keanu Reeves - Bram Stoker's Dracula
4. Lon Chaney Jr. - The Wolf Man
5. Yaphet Kotto - Blue Collar
6. Lance Henriksen - Hard Target
7. Paul Rudd - Wet Hot American Summer
8. Sylvester Stallone - Tango & Cash
9. Kurt Russell - Tango & Cash
10. Harvey Keitel - Blue Collar
11. John Terlesky - Chopping Mall
12. Nicolas Cage - Peggy Sue Got Married
13. Michael Keaton - Mr. Mom
14. Thomas Ian Griffith - The Karate Kid, Part III
15. James Spader - Wolf
Top 15 Best Actresses from Movies I Watched in 2010
1. Judy Garland - A Star Is Born
2. Andrea Feldman - Andy Warhol's Heat
3. Barbara Stanwyck - Baby Face
4. Patty Mullen - Frankenhooker
5. Kim Darby - True Grit
6. Barbara Crampton - Chopping Mall
7. Kelli Maroney - Chopping Mall
8. Sue Lyon - Lolita
9. Deborah Foreman - April Fool's Day
10. Bridgette Andersen - Too Much
11. Anjelica Huston - The Witches
12. Teri Garr - Mr. Mom
13. Trini Alvarado - A Movie Star's Daughter & Rich Kids
14. Brooke Adams - Invasion of the Body Snatchers
15. Sybil Danning - The Howling II: Your Sister Is A Werewolf
Over at Kittysneezes, I posted reviews of my 50 favorite movies I saw in 2010 (not including movies from 2010). A lot of it I've already posted here, and there's one overlap in this very post, but there's a bunch of stuff I haven't put up yet.
Class of Nuke 'Em High (Rewatch, 1986, Lloyd Kaufman/Michael Herz/Richard W. Haines, DVD) - 9.0
Some high school kids are transformed into mutant punks after doing drugs grown at the nuclear power plant, and the high school’s water becomes contaminated as well, causing other students to mutate, and there’s also a giant mutant fetus to contend with. Ridiculous, hilarious, and gory. One of Troma’s best.
Tromeo & Juliet (Rewatch, 1996, Lloyd Kaufman/James Gunn, DVD) - 9.0
There are these two families that hate each other, but then a member of each family (the titular Tromeo and Juliet) fall in love, and have to find a way to be together against their families’ wishes. Horribly stupid at times, but mostly amazing and funny, and the ways in which it updates Shakespeare’s plot are gross and inspired. The gore is fucking incredible, and the ending is brilliant.
The Disappearance of Alice Creed (2010, J Blakeson, 35mm, Balboa) - 8.5
Two men kidnap a girl, and keep her tied to a bed until they can collect the ransom. The relationships between the three of them are more complicated than they initially appear, and there are tons of great twists and reveals. An excellent thriller.
Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead (Rewatch, 2008, Lloyd Kaufman, DVD) - 10.0
A guy gets a job at a fast-food chicken franchise built on a Native American burial ground, and people start turning into chicken zombies. It’s so fucking dumb, but somehow makes it all work by constantly pushing things farther than is expected and doing some extraordinary things with gore. Like, I am not a fan of fart jokes. I would say I am the opposite of a fan. I hate it not because it’s silly, but because there’s no variation to it. It’s just a fucking sound effect and it’s exactly the fucking same every fucking time. But Kaufman does something special with this film in that he makes a fart joke feel fresh. The joke may start with a fart, but then it evolves into a close-up of an obese man’s ass explosively shitting (unfortunately and bizarrely censored a bit, but still great), and that evolves into the obese man shitting himself inside out. Fucking amazing. The entire movie is like that. Super great.
Hausu (Rewatch, 1977, Nobuhiko Obayashi, 35mm, Red Vic) - 9.5
A group of girls with distinct character traits (one knows kung fu, one eats a lot, one plays music, etc.) all go to one of the girl’s Aunt’s house, but the house is haunted and starts killing the girls in various bizarre ways (like being eaten by a piano, or crushed by bedding). I had seen this previously under shitty circumstances, and was underwhelmed, but this time I saw it the right way (on 35mm, rather than ugly, poor digital projection) and I was able to get wrapped up in the delirious, hilarious, adorable, fun absurdity of this completely nuts horror ride. This movie should be an attraction at Disneyland.
Poultry in Motion: Truth is Stranger Than Chicken (2008, Andrew Deemer/Jason Foulke, DVD) - 8.0
A feature-length documentary on the making of Poultrygeist. It looks like a fucking nightmare, like there would be nothing in the world worse than making a movie for Troma. This is fascinating because most of the crew are unpaid volunteers, just doing it for the sake of independent art, and this doesn't exactly serve as an advertisement for anyone to join them for future movies. But they were going for something honest, so you know, great. It doesn't really explain how to do anything (the actual setup of special effects, for instance), but I know Troma's already put out a 5-disc set that gets into these kinds of details. So it was more of a portrayal of what it was like to be on set during production, and it's definitely an entertaining watch.
9/9 and 1/13
Dogtooth (2010, Giorgos Lanthimos, 35mm, Kabuki/Cinefamily) - 9.5
Three young-ish adults (I keep seeing synopses that list them as teenagers, but I'd say they're in their 20s) are kept within their parents' property, cut off from the outside world, which they believe can only be accessed within a car, for fear of attacks from killer cats. The parents also teach them incorrect definitions for words, as well as various other somewhat random fabrications, and the only non-family member they have access to is a prostitute who stops by periodically (but has to wear a blindfold on the trip over) to take care of the son's sexual needs. The kids are awkward and childish, often competing in dangerous games to entertain themselves. They are not necessarily miserable, not being aware that any other lifestyle exists, but they are obviously being deprived, and it can be a disturbing watch. It's also blackly humorous, and super fucking cute in it's own special way, and I completely ate it the fuck up. I loved every moment.
Mad Men Season 1 (2007, Matthew Wiener, DVD) - 7.5
Some people work in advertising in the early 60s. I wasn’t very interested in this show, because it sounded boring, but it’s pretty good. I liked the first episode because it made the 50s look like the most horrific, miserable time period ever, and I’ve always thought the 50s sounded like kind of a nightmare, so it’s nice to see it not being glamorized. It turned out it actually takes place in 1960, but whatever, close enough. I’m still not especially invested, and am I supposed to like any of the characters? I love Peggy, but everyone else is kind of an asshole. But still, yeah, somehow it’s pretty good.
9/11 - Piranha 3D (2010, Alexandre Aja, RealD, Metreon) - 10.0