Last week I was busy as hell editing/posting content for a new YouTube channel (ES para TO2) I launched last February. It's in Spanish, very specific to the country I'm originally from and has nothing to do with movies. But damn, it took the wind out of me to finish the special week of videos I just posted. Hell, I had "Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madnesss" IMAX tickets for 1AM Friday but couldn't use them because had to spend all night finishing the last batch of videos. :'( But I'm free now, even though the crop of movies I saw was not worth getting up at 3AM to write about... which I'm doing right now anyway. :-PAMC Thrillers was streaming RETURN TO HORROR HIGH (1987), which I had seen on a previous Junesploitation! Such a delightfully silly, fourth-wall breaking love letter to cheesy 80's horror. He has little screen time and "dies" too soo, but Alex Rocco is such a perfect 'B' movie producer I wanted him around longer. The present day scene acting from the cops is a little too over the top, but most of the young unknown cast (save for George Clooney in an early role) don't overstay their cliché roles. A delightful, fun little time waster.Ditto for BARBARIANS AT THE GATE (1993, YouTube), a theatrical feature that wound up as an HBO made-for-TV movie featuring James Garner as colorful, foul-mouthed Nabisco CEO F. Ross Johnson. Based on the 1990 book (which I read) about a real business transaction that happened in 1988, the witty screenplay by Larry Gelbart (TV's "M*A*S*H") simplifies a complex situation and characters down to relatable 'likable assholes versus evil assholes' satirical movie tropes. It's "Wall Street: The Sitcom," but always character-driven and entertaining as all get even if it feels as dated as an 80's relic now as 40's movies felt to those of us who grew up in the 80's then. Tremendous supporting work by Jonathan Pryce (excellent as Henry Kravis), Joanna Cassidy, Fred Thompson, Jeffrey DeMunn, Tom Aldredge, etc., even though Garner carries the film on his charm alone. :-D Highly recommended, but it's not for everybody.Made it 30 minutes into Neveldine/Taylor's CRANK (2006) and couldn't take it anymore, so can't review a movie I bailed out on. It feels like these directors used Tony Scott's "Domino" as their starting point, and that's never a good thing. It's only the second or third movie in my life I've stopped watching halfway through... and I sat through "Jerry Springer: Ringmaster" in a movie theater on Thanksgiving Day in '98! :-ORewatched Gareth Edwards' THE RAID: REDEMPTION (2011, Blu-ray) as a Jury Room 4.0 watch along. Maybe I've seen it too many times or its sequel has spoiled me, but it felt a little too staged and choreographed this time instead of the visceral experience it came across before. Yayan Ruhian (Mad Dog) and Iko Uwais (Rama) remain compelling archetypes of cool evil versus determined good, though, and the writer/director/editor sure knows how to stretch his limited resources. Any low-budget martial arts action movie with a hidden rusty blade underneath a random table can't be less than decent. Still worth seeing, but make sure to watch "The Raid 2" afterwards for the genuine article.
I love action movies, but somehow have never seen The Raid. Either of them. I'm going to rectify that this Junesploitation!I mean, I could watch it right now. But I'm going to try to get through some less genre stuff before going into the deep end in June.
[CONTINUES FROM ABOVE]There's a moment in Martin Campbell's MEMORY (2022, theater), Liam Neeson's latest, when his hired assassin characters looks at an innocent civilian shot by his handler in a parking garage... and the burst of righteous anger and mayhem that ensues for the next two minutes are worthy of OG "Terminator" comparison. Sadly that's it for the Liam Neeson film I wanted to see, because most of "Memory" feels like watered-down "Taken" meets "Sicario" lite transplanted to El Paso, Texas. The gimmick that Liam's character is suffering from Alzheimer's doesn't really come into play until the very end, when the film has played its cards as a cat and mouse game between the righteous and the powerful elites... yawn. It's a step-up from Campbell's last couple of duds (Jackie Chan's "The Foreigner" and last year's "The Protégé"), but Neeson is stuck in a predictable formula in dire need of a creative shake-up. "Memory" is at least worth a rental for the supporting cast (Guy Pearce, Monica Bellucci, Ray Stevenson, etc.) keeping a straight face through their line readings.HATCHING (2022, theater), a first-time dramatic horror feature by Finnish director Hanna Bergholm, has a lot of fun with puppets early on. It's rare for a contemporary movie to rely on puppetry (CG-enhanced and augmented , but clearly an on-set thing) to enhance emotion and accentuate a leading character's bruised psyche. Sadly the plot dictates the creature (which I'm jumping through hoops to avoid spoiling here) changes shape, which cracks open a Finnish family's David Lynchian rotten core underneath its shiny family friendly blog exterior (yep, it's one of those). Great flick if you're into the yucky stuff, but it's the psychological bruises of what mothers can do to their young impressionable daughters that makes "Hatching" worth seeking. Recommended.Takayuki Hirao's POMPO THE CINEPHILE (2022, theater) has a lot of profound things to say and show about movies affecting the people that make them... wrapped in the most candy-colored, sugary-overload 'kawaii' anime exterior imaginable. The titular character is a Chibi cute little girl, but for most of the narrative she behaves and acts like an older, mature veteran ̶H̶o̶l̶l̶y̶w̶o̶o̶d̶ Nyallywood producer. Pompo's assistant Gene (the audience surrogate) is such an unlikable cipher I was ready to hate the whole thing, but to the filmmakers' credit the most expected and cliche plot line imaginable (a director falling in love with his leading lady) is avoided. "Pompo" makes the "Sing" movies look subtle and deep, but the handful of times it reaches a high creative and emotional note (a relationship with a cinephile grandparent, a simple edit changing a movie's entire emotional core, etc.) it's tremendous. You'll have to sit through anime montages of unlikable Gene cutting through come-to-life film reel monsters and what not, but it's worth it for the very final moment/scene in "Pompo" being a gigantic FUCK YOU! to Michael Bay bloat. Recommended with reservations, because it's a perfect movie for F This Movie fans to dig into the Hollywood movie-making tropes but the anime pace/visuals might be off-putting. YMMV. :-)
[COTINUES FROM ABOVE... PART DEUX]Last and certainly least, which surprises me given its pedigree and anticipation it generated (though I never even saw a trailer), I HATED, HATED, HATED THE UNBEARABLE WEIGHT OF MASSIVE TALENT (2022, theater). It tries to pass an inferior, low-budget action comedy (a Tiffany Haddish one!) as the equivalent of the top-notch 90's action vehicles it constantly pays lip service homage to. It assumes (probably rightly so) that audiences are so stupid as to assume an action movie starring Nic Cage is excellent and/or memorable because he stars in it, ignoring such little things as good writing, good directing, supporting actors, production values, etc. Worse, Cage appears to be on auto pilot delivering the absolute minimum OTT fire (mostly in fantasy conversations with his younger de-aged self) to fill an imaginary quota. Except for a brief drugged-out trip with Pedro Pascal in a villa involving a wall, "Massive Talent" just played without getting a laugh, a shrug, anger... anything out of me. A Nic Cage vehicle can be many things, but boring and detached from itself wasn't what I expected from the man's most mainstream theatrical release in ages. A-FUCKING-VOID!
As much as I love that some Fthismovie people dig Cage, I really don't like him at all, and this would be the last movie I ever wanted to watch. I'm saddened that this movie, which seems to be targeted towards his fans, doesn't quite deliver (going from your comments, a couple people I know who have seen it, and Patrick's comments this week on the podcast).
Good weekend to everyone.I am hoping I to get to more movies in the weeks ahead, but I am satisfied with two this week. I will probably watch something tonight. My plan to go to the Mahoning Drive-In this weekend was spoiled by a lot of rain and cold weather.L’AMOUR BRAQUE (1985, dir. Andrej Zulawski) – The fascinating POSSESSION is the only Zulawski film I have watched before this. While L’Amour Braque shares that films energy and bizarre style, I found this to be harder to penetrate than Possession. (Possession is not an easy film to comprehend, either.) More of a film concerned with artistic expression than narrative, you have to be willing to go on the journey Zulawski takes. What begins as a zany and violent bank robbery evolves into a strange web of criminal rivalries, sexual jealousy, and theater scenes. I was worn out by it.GAMERA VS. BARUGON (1966) on Prime – Watching the monster fights and number of scale models destroyed, it is evident Daiei Studios pumped a lot more money into the sequel to Gamera: The Giant Monster. Another major difference with the first film is that BARUGON is shot in vibrant color. The version on Prime is beautiful. Mixing the kaiju action with a jungle adventure subplot makes for a very entertaining B-movie. I love how government and military leaders follow the plans of complete strangers in these kind of films: “Oh well, we tried everything else.”
I watched The Hunted (2003, dir. Friedkin), and it was a pretty great "Man hunting Man" movie. Not super great, but worth watching. For me, the think that was lacking was T.L. Jones was kind of slow when running. And he was running A LOT in this. I get the point that he's supposed to be an older mentor type figure, but a lot of the action scenes lacked a bit of punch, mostly because it was unbelievable with him doing it. Pretty entertaining though, and I'm looking forward to exploring more of Friedkin's filmography. Another Friedkin movie I watched several months ago, but didn't mention here (I don't think), was Sorcerer. That was fantastic! I think I'm going to watch To Live and Die in LA next, which is on Netflix.
I also watch The Croods: A New Age (2020). I never see the original getting much love, but it's pretty great with the themes of "letting kids go" while still being a good dad. And very funny too with nice animation. I think it just struck a chord with me because it exactly corresponded with my life situation (minus being in the stone age). So....the 2nd one is pretty good too. Pretty funny, but doesn't have much to add in the way of theme (although maybe it doesn't need to). Worth watching though if you liked the first.
I think you are in for a treat with To Live And Die In L.A. The performances of Willem Dafoe and William Peterson give that film a lot of energy. Being a big fan of 1970s American cinema, Sorcerer is one of those films I have intended to watch for years. One of these days.
Also watched 13 Hours (2016). As Michael Scott said on the last podcast, it's a badass action movie. Butttttttttt, gawd does Sir Michael Bay like to lean into tropes. Not just lean into them, but drive them into the ground repeatedly until you're not sure what is left. I know these guys are the Baddest Badass unBeatable soldiers ever (cut to American flag flapping), but they're indestructible in this. And everyone else is an evil looking hoard, slinking about in the shadows.Still, pretty entertaining, with lots of tense action, and damn can he direct a good action scene. I really enjoyed this despite (or perhaps because of) how Sir Michael Bay it felt. I'm not entirely sold on how The Office guy is an action guy, but he was tasked with carrying much of the emotional stuff and did it well (even though "soldier missing family" is a prerequisite at acting school.) Tropes and cliches abound, but still entertaining.
I had been hearing a lot of buzz about Sorcerer in the past few years. I believe because there was only a crappy version available for years, and finally a better version had become available. I'm not sure. I rented it off of Itunes, and it looked great. I just have a 720 34" TV, so most films look good, and upgrading to a 4k blu isn't going to improve the experience. Maybe someday I'll upgrade to a bigger TV. And maybe a bigger apartment to fit the TV haha. At this point, I'm just happy to have wonderful movies to entertain me, without worrying too much about whether they're the best quality possible.I really loved Sorcerer though, and will probably buy a physical copy eventually.
My son is really grown up. He made his own way to the cinema and watched Dr. Strange: The World Of Wackiness, with friends. He didn't even invite me! That's ok, they were bound to grow up eventually. He said it's pretty Wacky.
"pretty wacky" is a perfect review!
To Live and Die in LA is a fantastic movie. There's a little bit of the same DNA that also spawned Michael Mann's "Heat" in it, and, of course, any Willem Dafoe villain is good villain.
I'm more excited to see it than ever! Thanks !
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F-This TV...and Videogame...hear me out!!Horror fans are relatively united in their love of one director...who has a new independent flick dropping this weekend i think...and his movies. Im speaking of Rami and the Evil Dead trilogy. And for decades we clamored for more. Campbell stated for a long time Ash was done. However in one of the most unexpected turn of events ever, we got him back, not for a movie, but for an unrated (thank goodness) TV series that ran 3 seasons. After its conclusion Campbell, again, stated he was done with Ash......with one recent exception...a delayed new video Game "Evil Dead" due to drop next week. And while i am NOT a modern era gamer, i AM very stoked to play the game. so much so i decided to revisit the Ash v Evil Dead pilot which was written and directed by Rami....Ash V Evil Dead S1E1 (blu)Holy crap. Its amazing. Seriously. I must have thought this back when i watched the show. And for the most part i recall very much liking the show bunches (i think it had great moments and ideas but equal filler-ish stuff) but not loving it. I think the series could be whittled down some to a great couple mini movies. Anyhoo..the pilot is phenom and very much feels like a nice little stand alone bonus Evil Dead mini-movie. You can tell Rami is having a blast revisiting the unique style and tone and camera work. Plus awesome deadites! Highly recommend....if i had to give it a grade? Hrmm....G. G for Groovy.
I've never seen Ash Vs Evil Dead. Is it a TV show?After re-watching the Evil Dead trilogy (and army of darkness for the first time), I think I like the first one best. 2 is pretty great, but I found myself mentally saying "settle down now". Army of Darkness just made me want to watch The Holy Grail instead. I like them to be more scary, and the original really nails the mix of humorous and scary.
It is s TV show. Meh, I like my TV to be short and perfunctory. So much TV nowadays (since a while) is just long series that is all filler. Let's take what would be s great 100 minute movie and expand it to 12 one hour episodes! I don't have time for this. I like short episodic sitcoms. Like Seinfeld, which is recently on Netflix, and hadn't seen since the 90's. It's funny, quick, in and out, perfect.
And more specifically, seeing the "comedy" aspects of Evil Dead 2 didn't really strike a chord with me, I have little motivation to watch the show.My gaming amounts to playing red dead redemption on an old Xbox 360. I don't even play missions. I just walk around and hunt rabbits and collect valuable plants.
Howdy Paul...totally get where you are coming from. I consider Evil Dead 2 to be one of, if not THE, greatest examples of Comedy/Horror or Horror/Comedy. Army pushed that into slapstick comedy..which i love..but get your comment about Grail (a top 10 all time flick for me). And...yea....as for the show...there's a bunch to dig within but there's also a lot of filler-ish and characters/stories that i connected with some to not much. Im STOKED we got it but also fine with it having 3 seasons total. My only regret...and its a doosy...is that the series does have a bit of a decent ending but doesnt feel like they were given the time and notice to really create a conclusive 3rd season.
THE GENTLEMEN (2019)I watched this for Colin Farrell. He delivers as a very (*very*) cute coach. And I love watching Jeremy Strong - he’s just so entertaining. But the rest is eye-roll worthy. I’m OK when they try to make marijuana businesses funny or stupid in movies (like in Pineapple Express), but please, no matter how big they are they can’t be glamorized at all, they are so gross and lame. And the jokes were lame. Guy Richie casts some fine men, but ?? we don’t really vibe.
A personal story is following, sorry for oversharing:It’s been a while (like two weeks) since I’ve written here, and boy – those weren’t my best weeks. Basically, I’ve decided to not follow through with my thesis and therefore will not achieve my Ph.D. anytime soon – or ever, and that is something that really bugs me. I knew before that I don’t want to be a scientist, so why bother, right? Well, sure, but it still hurts, since I really like science – I just don’t like it to do myself, or at least I’m not very good working within the scientific system with all those free structures, deadlines far away (and suddenly coming closer, like, too close), projects I’m not really interested in and so on. I need work that forces itself upon me, that demands constantly to be made, better now than later, so this system just wasn’t the right thing for me. Yet, I’ve been in the system for like 5 years, and it really feels like I was defeated, worn down by the constant self-loath, self-hate and pressure. I’m done. Maybe this job is one of the reasons why I really get the kicks out of movies where people really are into their jobs, like really burning for their jobs, because I’ve never had that.That being said, I don’t really like to write about movies, even if I’ve seen a few very good ones that kept my mood up most of the time. I’ve seen PULP FICTION for the first time in the cinema, and it was a great experience, even if I’ve to say that I’m growing to be annoyed by Tarantino’s performance. It’s just okay in an overall great film (it’s a quibble). I’ve also seen 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, which is just an all-time great and still looks fabulous. Same as THE LAST LAUGH, which is nearly 100 years old but has some effects that I found stunning until today. It’s a German film with just 3 text cards, and you can find it in a stunning quality on YouTube. If you want to watch it, I can translate the cards for you. Another movie that looks good, but fits even more in the kind of “people really like their job” film I’ve described earlier is L.A. CONFIDENTIAL, which is just a banger of a movie. I don’t like to stress it out, but man, but Kevin Spacey’s performance is just great in this. The last movie that I personally count into the great category is INTERSTELLAR. I know that this movie wasn’t that much beloved within the respective episode, but it had me sobbing like three times. Maybe it was because I was an emotional wreck watching it, but I dig Matthew McConaughey’s performance, the visuals and the space-fantasy story it is telling. I also saw THE NORTHMAN, which I thought was okay. I would have liked it more if it had doubled down even more on the fantastic elements, which looked stunning. Less dialogue, maybe less downtime in the middle of the movie and probably a little different direction at the end… but it’s still good to have a movie like this in 2022. Another movie (and first-time watch) that went into the “ok” category has been BARRY LYNDON. I had problems reading the tone of it, since I didn’t know how to take this whiny, proud, selfish human sack that is portrayed by Ryan O’Neal. After I found out that this movie isn’t about a hero per se, but a deeply twisted character-study, it suddenly became better. Right now, I don’t want to see it again, but I’m sure that this is a movie that will grow on me over time and that will become better with every rewatch I’ll have in the future. I do see why people think it’s great, it just hasn’t clicked for me, yet.Thank you for your patience, have a great weekend!
I'm sorry to hear that Derk, and I understand what a difficult decision it must have been. I went through something similar, when I withdrew from my Master program. I was 3 years into what was supposed to be a 2 year program. And my greatest achievement was showing that the equipment we were using was giving false results. It didn't matter that 2 people had just graduated with PhD's using results from the same equipment. I would have had to start all over. I had a grant from the university that covered my tution, but that was finished. I was looking at a year+ minimum to complete it, and as a single dad with only a small amount of savings, I just couldn't justify spending that small amount to survive while I finished what seemed like a unending project.My biggest regret was attempting the degree in the first place. I has a undergraduate degree in Physics and Math, and could have easily jumped right to a job. Instead I wasted 3 years and most of my money on something I didn't end up finishing. Having an uncompleted degree on my resume has certainly not been kind to my career in the aftermath either. And there's a certain amount of shame too. I've lied to friends/family and said I actually finished it :/I wish you all the best. It'll take some time to recover from it, and switching from a scholarly research occupation to employment is challenging at best. You put a great deal of time and money into it. 5 year is no joke. I don't know what else to say. At least we have movies to distract us from the drudgery of life!
The Fthismovie crew was entirely too harsh on Interstellar! I agree. I've listened to that episode multiple times, maybe subconsciously hoping their opinions will shift slightly, but of course they don't. It's a pretty great movie with a lot of heart (the most of any of Nolan's movies imo), and I can't watch without tearing up in sections too. The outer space visuals in it are stunningly beautiful.
Yo Derk...thanks for sharing your story. Thanks too to Paul for his awesome insights and own personal story. Not sure if it makes a difference, but i have a LOT of friends and coworkers who have decided to make substantial changes in their lifes in the last year...so you arent alone. And..as Paul stated....we F This folks often take solace in our love of movies and the community we have here. So take care dude and good luck with the new directions that life's a taking you!!!!!!!
Derk, you are certainly not the only one who has gone down an academic path in life and come out disappointed with it. In my case, I finished a master's degree but had no motivation left by the end of the program to pursue the career. Coming to terms with these situations can take a while, but life will inevitably push you toward to something different and, hopefully, satisfying. BARRY LYNDON is a film that has grown on me over the years. Though devoting three hours to following the life of a hotheaded scoundrel is not always entertaining, the details of the production have always captivated me. The lighting, costumes, locations, and props are beautiful to look at. THE LAST LAUGH is a wonderful film, Derk. F.W. Murnau was a master at visually telling stories, and the camerawork (that lobby shot!) was well ahead of its time.
Thank you all for those kind words! Sometimes we tend to believe that we are alone with our struggles, because nobody around you experience it openly (or we are not willing to see it), but once you ask people online you'll see how many has been there and that is very helpful. So I feel you, Paul, and thank you to be that openly about it here. I've already told my friends and parents, so the felt (not real) pressure from that side is gone.
My Saturday night watch was PHANTASM III: LORD OF THE DEAD (1993). It is a Netflix DVD that has been sitting around my room for too long. Don Coscarelli’s third entry in the franchise mixes elements of the first two films (each very different) for a watchable but unsatisfying film. The emotional earnestness clashes with the over-the-top action scenes, and there is a randomness in the narrative that frequently left me frustrated. It was still interesting to see the original cast back, and there is a lot more of The Tall Man here. He is a unique horror villain. Watching parts II and III shows how much Coscarelli improved as a filmmaker. Having a bigger budget helps, too.
I'm slowly getting in the Junesploitation frame of mind by taking care of some huge blind spots. Over the weekend I watched Mad Max, I Spit on Your Grave, Hellraiser and Smokey and the Bandit, all first time watches (I know). It was a good weekend.
That is a good warm-up for next month, Adam. The first SMOKEY is great entertainment. I watched I Spit On Your Grave once and have never desired a re-watch. For May, I generally avoid watching a lot of the types of films suitable for Junesploitation. It helps to keep my mind fresh for the challenge of watching at least a movie a day. (I will see if there is time for that this year.)
The original Mad Max is somewhat underrated when it comes to the MM-series. I do fully understand why people especially like part 2 more, considering its full devotion to the post apocalyptic wasteland and the big action set pieces. At the same time, I really like this stunning nearly-no-budget action-drama presented in the first installment, somewhat set in a near future where not everything went to shit yet, but most of it. We see Australia, we see civilization, but humans will tear it down until we arrive in the world Mad Max 2 has established.