Saturday, November 7, 2020

Weekend Open Thread


  1. Saw my first non horror movie since October started, twas 'The Net'. I have to caught me.

  2. Good weekend to everyone! Hope the Scary Movie Month binge did not exhaust the desire to watch movies. I did not see a difference with the end of October and got around to seeing a good variety this week.

    THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY (1978, dir. Michael Crichton) – Of course, I had to get around to a Sean Connery film this week for a tribute. The film is at heart pure entertainment. Connery is at his charming best as the organizer of a gold robbery from a train in 1850s England. He is ably assisted by Donald Sutherland and Leslie-Anne Down. The cast, more than any other aspect, makes the film work.

    I also watched a couple of Peter Sellers’ more obscure films.

    WALTZ OF THE TOREADORS (1962) - A period film that awkwardly veers between sex farce and dark drama. Sellers’ character is an insufferable hypocrite and a predatory womanizer throughout the film, rendering any empathy with him almost impossible.

    THE BOBO (1967) – This is a comedy full of 1960s charm. Peter Sellers plays an aspiring entertainer in Barcelona desperate for a job. With the promise of work, he is roped into a scheme to humiliate a cold-blooded gold digger. The Bobo may not be the best vehicle for Sellers' style of comedy. He does frequently get upstaged by the female lead, Britt Ekland, and a couple of the supporting roles.

    PITFALL (1948) – A good noir tale about an insurance investigator drawn into a brief adulterous relationship that leads to some complications. Raymond Burr’s role as the quietly menacing and cunning heavy stands out.

    THE LOST HONOR OF KATHARINA BLUM (1975, dirs. Volker Schlöndorf and Margarethe von Trotta) – As far away from Scary Movie Month as one can get. I have intended to watch this German film for many years, so I was thrilled to see it airing on TCM last weekend. Since the story is rooted to such a specific historical moment, it is probably not the best film to start an exploration of New German Cinema with.

    HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD (1961, dir. Mario Bava) – A re-watch that was an excuse to go through the extras on the Kino Lorber blu-ray. I still marvel at the colors that were achieved. Listening to Tim Lucas’ commentary made me appreciate the film more. Mario Bava was a master at getting films made with limited resources. More Bava blu-rays are on the way from Kino.

    TICKLING (2016) – Truly a documentary that defies expectations. If there is a moral to Tickling, it could be the importance of not drawing attention to yourself. The most fascinating part of the story for me is that it is driven by the stubbornness of both sides.

    BORN IN FLAMES (1983, dir. Lizzie Borden) – An underground feminist sci-fi film that amazed me by the relevance of the issues it addresses. In a country celebrating the tenth anniversary of a revolution, women revolt against a system that has not adequately dealt with harassment, job discrimination, class, race, and poverty. There is a punk do-it-yourself energy to the whole production that makes it very watchable. With all of the stolen street shots, Born in Flames is also inadvertently a documentary of early ‘80s New York City.

  3. Message for Patrick and other #HeavyAction fans, have you been watching Scott Adkins' Youtube show The Art of Action? He interviews action filmmakers and walks through clips and highlights from their careers. He has had the likes of Tony Jaa, Mark Dacascos, Dolph Lundgren, Jeff Speakman, Cynthia Rothrock, Steven Seagal, and many other legends. It's a great love letter to action movies and I've learned a lot watching it; plus Adkins is a great host, truly humble and warm and in genuine awe of his peers. Highly recommended!

    1. Yes this is such a great series. As you said Scott is humble about his success and can genuinely empathise with his guests which I think gets them to lower their guard and be completely honest about the films they've done. It's really nice to hear some of these people like Philip Rhee, Gary Daniels, Mark Dacascos and... hell even Steven Seagal talk about their training and techniques. So glad it's still going - there's plenty more DTV action heroes for him to interview.

  4. Replies
    1. Now I can watch Aaron Sorkin's The Trial of the Chicago 7! Because watching it before would have been too stressful, and watching it had the other thing happened would have been completely unbearable. :P

      Aaaand, that's probably the most trivial thing anyone's said on the subject all day. :D

    2. Best Saturday of 2020, that's for sure. Too bad the passing of Alex Trebek (R.I.P.) on Sunday ruined the perfect weekend. :'(

  5. i think i mentioned it before, but i watched Ils (Them, France, 2006) again. i wanted to show it to a friend. it's so good, simple and efficient. at under 80 minutes, it doesn't waste any time and doesn't get bogged down in frivolities like elaborate action scene or super gory kills, which i find kinda refreshing. if you can find it, try it. there's an american remake, but i don't remember if it's good

  6. I get a stupid amount of glee hearing my own name read out for seven word reviews. Everyone's are so good. I don't think I used to make a whole horror month out of october until I started listening to F This Movie 6 or so years ago. Thanks, as ever, for making it a wonderful month of podcasts especially since I am still in mourning over Shock Waves and was in mourning over Mick Garris' Post Mortem (so glad that's back.) Also can't believe I didn't know until your most recent podcast that Elrich and Rebecca had a new podcast - so now you've successfully introduced me to 4 Elrich Kane podcasts.

    Inspired by Patrick's spot on Pure Cinema, me and my friend Will did a 6 movie marathon with themed trailers. It was surprisingly not as exhausting as I thought.

    We did some pre-movie shorts as well with the theme of "horror movie PSAs". I screened a wonderful German horror satire called Fork Lift Driver Klaus which feels like a lost Sam Raimi film. I had never heard of it but I brought it up to a german friend of mine and he was like "oh ja, everyone in Germany loves Klaus." The next PSA was a horror short produced by Colgate called The Haunted Mouth where the ghost of plaque is voiced by Cesar Romero! Very uncomfortable, weird watch. Then lastly we watched a film by the British Transport Authority called The Finishing Line which start with a school principal announcing a reminder not to play on the railway tracks - then it cuts to a boy thinking "but what if all sports were played on the train tracks?" - cut to a horrifying 20 minute sequence of school sports in which children are regularly mowed down by trains. It's so grotesque that it's almost comical.

    My absolute highlight of the month was Alone in the Dark which finally has a 1080p release. I'd avoided seeing it because I wasn't willing to fork out for the OOP DVD. I feel like it's an absolute horror classic and even though it's not set during Halloween it has a very Halloween, autumn feel to it.

    Other highlights include A Cold Night's Death and Dying Room Only, two TV horror movies recommended on Pure Cinema. Also John Hyams' Alone is probably my favourite 2020 horror movie of the year so far. The first movie in "The Woman" trilogy, Offspring, was surprisingly great - one of the few movies of the 2000s that really feels like one of the savage survival horror movies of the 70s. And for my Birthday I did a Girdler-thon - Grizzly, The Manitou and Abby. Absolute blast with those.

    So all in all a pretty fantastic Scary Movie Month.

    Also congrats to America for getting rid of Pennywise from the Whitehouse!

  7. Hello all. Glad to be back from Scary Movie Month and to be watching non-horror flicks again. Here are a few a got to during this fraught week:

    End of Sentence (2019)

    An indie drama starring John Hawkes about a father/son reconciliation after the death of the wife/mother. It's a road movie, taking place mostly in Ireland, and it hits all the beats with a few surprises. Solid drama, and the ending really made me tear up. I've been very emotionally raw lately (for obvious reasons), but this film's sentimentalism really worked on me.

    Pee Wee's Big Holiday (2016)

    I don't know why I kept putting this one off, but what can I say? If you love Pee Wee Herman, if you're looking for something wholesome, and if you want to watch something light and pleasant during a time of emotional turbulence, you can do a whole lot worse. De-aged Paul Ruben is weird, not as weird as The Irishman. Big ups to Joe Manganiello still trying to work off his penance for his contribution to the incomprehensibly awful "Sabotage" (top of my list for worst movie of the 2010s)

    J'Accuse [An Officer and a Spy] (2019)

    Roman Polanski's latest, a period thriller about the French secret service at the end of the 19th century. Jean Dujardin plays the titular officer, a young bachelor suddenly tasked with helming France's espionage game while trying to vindicate an innocent man. It's a political thriller, a detective story and an historical epic all rolled into one. It's slow and a bit sterile, but a totally serviceable spy movie. Also starring Damien Bonnard, hot property nowadays (the lead from 2019's Les Miserables), and my vote for the French Steve Buschemi.

  8. ENOLA HOLMES on Netflix is so awesome! I loved and appreciated every bit of it.

    I'll get out of the way first of all - if they want to make Sherlock Holmes into a supportive, hot hunky Superman (Henry Cavill) instead of a quirky drug addict - UH YES PLEASE, THANK YOU. Thank you for catering to a female audience, I appreciate this choice very much.

    Also one of the best thing about modern feminist movies is they create the best boyfriends. This kid - Louis Partridge - his boyfriend-like character is perfection. And why wouldn't it be? It was written by a woman, for girls! I LOVE THIS! SO. MUCH. I think these new, better dynamics and EQUAL PARTNERSHIPS are so important to show onscreen. They are a breath of fresh air!

    Enola is guided to find herself and her personal freedom by her mother through the film. Amazing relationship, full of tenderness, fun, sadness and hope. Somehow I feel strongly that "tenderness" is an important part of women's stories.

    The movie reminded me that, dare I say...the future is female!

    1. I loved it too. I also liked that Sherlock was not a self centered maniac, but a helpful and nice brother

    2. HEY, cool, Kunider! Can't wait to see these relationships play out in the sequels!

    3. Since you liked the movie so much you might want to give the Nancy Springer "Enola Holmes" novel series the movie is based on a try. Since you got the actors/characterizations from the Netflix movie fresh on your minds, it'll make reading the rest of their written adventures a pleasant movie-of-your-mind experience. Just sayin' :-)

    4. Ah I might, thanks JM! It was a great group of characters. With no MACHO MACHO men ;) (PERFECT song choice in that SNL skit this weekend!)

  9. Kind-of decompressed after Scary Movie Month ended, only for the extended week-long election drama to set me back on edge. Guess escapism of all kinds was the name of the game.

    CAMPUS CODE (2015, Amazon Prime) is a pretty low-rent college campus sci-fi flick whose ambitions are far beyond the talents of its young filmmakers. But when one of the co-directors is Catherine Scorsese she gets to ask daddy Martin and pal Ray Liotta to appear on stick-in-the-mud cameos. How on Earth is "Campus Code" the first collaboration between Scorsese and Liotta since "Goodfellas" 25 years prior? Not even worth seeing to fast-forward to the "doctor" and "bartender" scenes.

    Philip Noyce's BLIND FURY (1990, Amazon Prime) was a pleasant surprise during last week's Jury Room Party Watch on Facebook. It's an homage to the Zatoichi blind samurai movie series, but also a late 80's American action flick that squeezes its dumb plot (straight out of "Hunter" or "The A-Team") and goofy performance by a game Rutger Hauer for all their worth. A lot of jokes and action scenes fall flat, but some killer Reno, NV set-pieces (half-expected to see the kids from "The Wizard" in the background) and an above-average supporting cast (Randall 'Tex' Cobb, Terry O'Quinn, Meg Foster, etc.) make "Blind Fury" a rare creature: the bad movie you genuinely enjoy because it's entertaining, not because of so-bad-it's-good mocking. Try to see it with friends or in a group setting to bring out the most "Blind Fury" can offer.

    In honor of Sean Connery's passing I did the most obvious tribute watch: MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 #508: OPERATION KID BROTHER (1993/1967, DVD). This shameless Italian ripoff of the James Bond franchise, directed by Alberto Di Martino (of "Blood Link" and "The Pumaman" fame), casts Sean's baby brother Neil as a "civilian" British agent that uses his particular set of skills (lip reading, hypnotism, etc.) to stop the 'Thanatos' crime syndicate from conquering the world. Lots of EON regulars (Bernard "M" Lee, Lois "Moneypenny" Maxwell, Adolfo "Largo" Celi, etc.) sell their dignity for a paycheck to appear in this dull and boring trainwreck. Joel and the bots go to town on this flick, but even if watched on its own (it's streaming on Amazon Prime) "Operation Kid Brother" is a jaw-dropping sample of just how Bond-crazy pop culture had become throughout the 60's.

    Gordon Douglas' THEM! (1954, TCM) holds remarkably well because it takes its goofy premise (New Mexico atomic test turns normal-sized ants into giant killer ones) as seriously as latter imitators did not. If it wasn't for its Hollywood-mandated happy ending the implications of its destruction would reach "War of the World"-caliber terror. B&W photography and rear projection effects are primitive, but I'll take them over "Sharknado" CG overkill any day.

    Rewatched IshirĂ´ Honda's GODZILLA (1954) and Masaki Kobayashi's KWAIDAN (1964), both Criterion releases, with their respective Blu-ray commentary tracks. The former was informative, and the latter was both informative and the perfect excuse to soak in the gorgeous widescreen cinematography. "Kwaidan" is such a pretty picture I hope Criterion releases it remastered in 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray... fingers crossed. :-)

  10. "Answer: his nightly embodiment of class, professionalism, and just a dollop of kindness made him a well-deserved icon nationwide for over three decades."