Saturday, May 22, 2021

Weekend Open Thread


  1. Netflix originals seem to be very hit or miss but I thought The Woman in the Window was a pretty cool flick. I thought Amy Adams was really good.

    I also recently watched Greenland on Hbo Max and I found myself enjoying it much more than I thought I would. I'm usually not a big fan of disaster movies and while Greenland was pretty standard disaster movie, it had enough suspense to keep me entertained all the way through.

    1. Shoot! Didn't know "Greenland" was now streaming "free" on HBO Max (for those that have it through AT&T... for now! :-P). Thanks for the heads-up!

  2. Good weekend to everyone.

    With the end of the tax filing season, I had more time for everything this week. It shows in my watches.

    TOTAL RECALL (1990) – The temptation to watch the blu-ray I recently picked up was too much to resist. I watched this last year for FThisMovie Fest, and I tend not to re-watch anything that quickly. Even with the film being so fresh in my mind, it was still a blast to watch. With the multiple ways to interpret it, Total Recall holds up well. Schwarzenegger’s best film? I have the 4k disc for it now if I ever get the right player for it.

    FAT GIRL (2001, dir. Catherine Breillat) – I was surprised to see this aired on Turner Classic Movies this week. General cable channels tend to shy away from showing films with this sort of explicit sexual content, but the new management of the channel seems bolder than before. With ten years between my first watch and this viewing, it almost felt like a brand-new film. The French title, which translates as To My Sister, is far more appropriate as a description of the film. The film is complicated, and I am still not sure what to think about the conclusion. As Breillat movies go, Fat Girl is more accessible than others I have seen.

    ME ME LAI BITES BACK (2018) – If the Italian cannibal films are your thing, this documentary might be of interest to you. I discovered it while exploring the Tubi streaming site. Me Me Lai is an actress who is most famous for her roles in Italian cannibal films in the 1970s. She is one of those people who disappeared for decades, so I was curious about her story. After watching the doc, I would not say there is anything special about her life. Her reaction to her fame within exploitation fandom is interesting, though. With the filmmakers being behind a documentary about the cannibal genre, it is no surprise that there is an in-depth discussion of the genre. The commercials on Tubi are annoying, but I still might go there for some Junesploitation watches. (There are many Fulci options there.)

    Many things coming up, particularly preparations for Junesploitation. I am getting my DVDS and Blu-rays together now. I will be relying on my collection and the films on my DVR for most watches next month. Once again there are far more candidates than I will have time to see.

  3. Knocked out two of my Junesploitation pre-game watches:

    Iron Fists and Kung Fu Kicks:

    A Martial Arts movie document that goes over the genre's history in very broad strokes. First there was Shaw Bros., then there was Golden Harvest. Here's a section about Bruce Lee followed by Brucesploitation, here's some stuff on Jackie Chan, that sort of thing. It's a good overview though and at a 1hr 47min runtime I think the length works for the depth and scope they're going for.

    In Search of Darkness II:

    However on the other end of the spectrum, we have In Search of Darkness II. Now to be fair, I went in knowing what to expect having seen the first one, and I do think this is at least a slight improvement. It has the same big problem the original has though. Who is on a horror streaming service, watching a 4+ hour horror documentary, who will benefit from such a surface level look at one decade in horror? There are some bits where they take a slightly deeper dive into certain people or topics, but whereas it's maybe interesting to hear Savini talk about himself a little, other sections like the one on horror video games meander a bit. Ok as something to have on in the background but I just can't help but wonder who is this really for?

  4. It's been busy lately and I've been watching more Star Trek Voyager than movies, but there's a couple that stand out:

    Atonement (2007) as a "Oscar bait" romance wouldn't be genre that I normally seek out, but I'm glad I did in this case. It's just gorgeous to watch, and the cast were (nearly) all stellar. What stood out the most was the great score, which I bought immediately after finishing the movie. I liked how the movie focused on the woman in the war (as nurses) as much, or more so, than they did the men fighting.

    Raya and the Last Dragon (2021) was really enjoyable and I kind of want to watch it again already. It was beautifully animated and I wish I had gotten to see it in the theaters, which looks like they'll be closed here until August.

    However, neighboring province Quebec, which is literally 10 minutes drive away is relaxing their rules quicker. Hopefully soon enough that we'll get to see Demon Slayer: Mugan Train in the theater. My kids have been anticipating it coming to theaters since Christmas. I haven't seen a single episode of the anime yet. Every evening it boils down "Well, I'd rather watch Star Trek. Maybe tomorrow."

    Lastly, Junesploitation just around the corner! Yay! Last year my kids participated in about 1/3 of the days, and I think we'll aim for the same thing this year.

  5. The theaters reopened this week, and I'm pretty hyped about seeing Promising Young Woman tonight, my first time in a theater this year. (They were open last summer and fall so it hasn't been as long as most of the US, but still, I've been getting pretty heavy withdrawal symptoms.)

    In other news, Shaft in Africa is a fun, silly sequel that goes full Bond, and John Singleton's Shaft remake is pretty great. And being a Monty Python fan, I enjoyed An Accidental Studio, a documentary about HandMade Films, the studio George Harrison set up to produce Life of Brian, and which became a major British studio for a decade.

    I've also been rewatching the Fast & Furious movies (halfway thru, only my second time seeing them), and 2 Fast and Tokyo Drift are pretty fun, the fourth one not that much. But I really liked 5-7 on my first go around, so I'm eager to get to those.

  6. TOTAL RECALL (1990)
    What can I possibly say that hasn't been said already? The movie is a bona fide blockbuster, with fun performances, thrilling action, eye-popping effects, and a nice twisty-turny plot. And MAYBE the best acting Arnold has done? Just wait until Disney buys this and starts marketing Baby Quato everywhere.

    DAISES (1966)
    A delightful oddity. Two girls run around causing chaos and craziness, and that's the whole movie. What's maddening is trying to read all the conflicting opinions about why the movie was made and what it all means. How you interpret the movie depends on what you personally bring to it, it seems. BUT, the movie remains fun and engaging no matter the interpretation. You keep watching to see what will happen next.

    Cool action anime! The plot is pretty basic, about a Ronin who becomes a reluctant father figure to a little kid (and a corgi!), but the swordfights are excellently animated and brutally violent. Definitely recommended if you like the whole Samurai vibe.

    [the Scottish play] (2015)
    I really, really wanted to like this, as it had one of the greatest trailers I'd ever seen. It's frustrating because there are so many times it almost becomes the [Scottish play] movie I'd always wanted to see, but the ways they rewrite and delete stuff from the original text are really frustrating. Worse, every single line of dialogue is delivered in that "intense hushed whisper" way, and the result is two hours of incomprehensible mumbling. Oh well, we'll always have the trailer...

    1. With the watch of Total Recall this week, I would rate it above almost every other Schwarzenegger film I can think. (I have not seen Terminator 2 in a long time.) Great work from him and the rest of the cast with the Verhoeven touch that makes it more than a mindless blockbuster.

      Yes, Daisies is a delightful film, Mac. Cinematic anarchy at its finest. The sequence with the table full of food is nothing like I have seen before.

  7. Army of the Dead was cool. Lots of (to me) unknowns that I really liked.