Lake Michigan Monster (2018) is on Prime and man, it's a lot of nonsense fun. Low-budget as hell goofiness about a group of monster hunters outside of Milwaukee and then shit gets weird.
Happy Feb Y'all! Countdown to F This Moviefest commenceth! I adore great "making-of" documentaries and books. This week i was randomly looking around for interviews about Peter Sellers. While he made hilarious movies from my childhood, his off camera life was far from funny. In one interview I came across a reference to an unfinished/unreleased movie he worked on and was super excited to see someone made a documentary on it...from there the plot thickens.....The Ghost of Peter Sellers (2018 Tubi)In 1973 director Peter Medak headed to Cyprus to film a comedy pirate movie named "Ghost in the Noonday Sun" staring Peter Sellers as a wayword pirate cook named Dick Scratcher (feels like a Bart Simpson/Moe the bartender joke). Even more compelling, Peter Sellers counterpart from The Goon Show, Spike Milligan, was onboard as co-writer and also staring int he movie. 45 years later Medak returns to direct this documentary about the endless challenges and eventual failure to release the movie. I adored this documentary. I dont think its for everyone but for folks who may have grew up with Peter Sellers comedy its fascinating. The Goon Show was this incredibly wacky radio comedy show with three hilarious people doing silly voices and stories. Its oft referred to as a strong influence for Python. Having part of the core group behind a movie should be a recipe for success. Alas not. The documentary contains a ton of footage from the original film which taken in pieces shows that it wasnt really very funny. It reminded me a bit of Yellowbeard a film i similarly expected to be amazing and just didnt land. And given the DECADES between, its amazing to see how many key players they bring on board to interview (most in late 70s and early 80s) and share their experiences.(UPDATE: I went into the documentary thinking that the film fell apart early in production. Imagine my surprise when the director states he handed over a completed film and the studio shelved it. Imagine my HUGE surprise to find out days after watching the doc that Ghost in the Noonday Sun WAS released eventually on vhs and dvd. I think it will be terrible but i shall seek it out. )
A movie I’ve been cautious about revisiting after saying it was favourite of 2020 was Greyhound. Well, I was exactly on point; this movie is freaking awesome! It comes in at a sweet 91 minutes. So tight and effective. It’ll be remembered as one of those “could have been” pandemic movies. Too bad it never was in theatres, because the sound design is fantastic.Thank you Mashke! I watched After Hours and what a picture. It’s certainly a weird movie, but one I couldn’t tear my eyes away from. The only thing that threw me was when after smoking a joint he suddenly became a huge asshole. On the Screen Drafts podcast it ended up being 4th or 5th position! I actually thought it was played in the 10-20 round. I was super happy when Silence (excellent movie) got so high. I think I might rewatch that this afternoon.A Casual Listener, I’m sad you didn’t enjoy Benedetta more. I think it’s one of Verhoveven’s best. I particularly liked the power struggle depicted in it with the bishop (?) and the head nun. With a touch of the plague thrown in. You mentioned the score for The Age of Innocence which I’m listening to right now. It’s very good, indeed.
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I enjoyed Benedetta, Paul. Being accustomed to the 1970s nunsploitation films, it just felt a little... different. That is not a bad thing, though. There are also a lot of similarities with all of these nun films. Benedetta is one that I likely will re-visit at some point. The cast is really good. Maybe I was not in the right frame of mind for it, but I wanted to get the rental disc back.
If you are interested in seeing any of those earlier films, The Nun and The Devil (I watched it as The Nuns of Saint Archangel) has some of the same story elements as Benedetta. It is also one of the better made 1970s nunsploitation films.
Thanks for the recommendation. It's available to rent on Flix Fling, which I have never heard of before.
Poltergeist (1982): one of the rare scary movie that still has me on the edge of my sear the whole time. It's also very funnyThe Red Balloon (1956): heard of it on the Criterion Cast podcast and was immediately curious about it. There's a bunch of other shorts that i still need to watch on the discs, but this one is very cute and fun.
A few other movies I've seen:The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964, dir. Anthony Mann) was incredible. I could watch the legions of soldiers marching into cities endlessly and never stop loving it. The lead guy was a bit underwhelming. It's a very close cousin to Gladiator but he's sure no Russell Crowe.Forty Guns (1957, dir. Sam Fuller) was beautifully shot but I had a hard time focusing on the plot. I'm not sure if it was the movie that was a bit boring or maybe I was just off that evening. Perhaps a bit of both.My son was watching The Dark Knight and I sat down and caught the last hour of it. It's so good. I want to rewatch the whole trilogy.My son and I also watched Guardians of the Galaxy 3. It was ok. Leaning a lot on those needle drops. Chris Pratt is ok as Starman but terrible in everything else. But I thought the sadness of his lost love with the green woman was really well done. There was a lot of CGI nonsense with planets colliding that failed to excite me. Not to jump on the marvel hating bandwagon, but meh.
The "green woman" was Zoe Saldana, and I didn't mean to dismiss here. She's great in this (as in everything), and the major part of why their amnesiac love thing works.
Fuller and Mann are two directors i've seen stuff, but i need to watch moreI did watch Cross Of Iron a couple of weeks ago. That was an experience 😁
I think that might have been my first Mann movie. El Cid is on the docket. I've seen a couple of Fuller war movies that I really liked. I'm a little disappointed that I didn't like Forty Guns more, because it checked all my boxes.Cross of Iron is great! There are numerous bits with tanks driving over the trenches that must have been crazy dangerous to film. It maybe has the best movie poster ever. Reminder that I have only one Peckinpah movie left to see, and it's The Wild Bunch. I'm kind of apprehensive to see it. Save the best for last. "I'll show you where the Iron Crosses grow". I love Peckinpah.
The Wild Bunch is great. The true 'end of an era' for the western genre. Highly recommended
You should not be disappointed by a dive into Anthony Mann's filmography. From his wonderful noirs in the late 1940s to his many westerns with Jimmy Stewart in the '50, there is a lot to enjoy.
It was mainly a week of watching some things on the Mubi streaming service before they went off of it.BLESS THEIR LITTLE HEARTS (1983, dir. Billy Woodberry) – Charles Burnett, director of Killer of Sheep, scripted this kitchen sink indie drama about an African-American family struggling to get by in Los Angeles. Charley, the patriarch, has a hard time finding steady work, straining his relationship with his wife and testing his sense of manhood. It is an observational film, focusing on life's little moments. This being from Burnett, the conditions of the wider black community of the city also come into focus. It held my interest.CRUMB (1994, dir. Terry Zwigoff) – A great documentary. Robert Crumb is a different kind of person. Idiosyncratic to an extreme, he found a way to channel his eccentricities into the medium of comics. It must be admitted that some of those eccentricities are on the disturbing side. Crumb is a masterful presentation of different viewpoints on the subject, some praising the man and some condemning him. The dysfunctional family side of Robert Crumb is the most fascinating aspect of the doc, however. As weird as he is, his siblings emerged from that family far more damaged than he was from their upbringing.EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT (2015, dir. Ciro Guerra) – This is the other side of the story told in Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo. Karamakate is a shaman living an isolated existence in the Amazonian rain forest, fleeing the civilization of the white man and the exploitation of the rubber industry in the early 20th century. In spite his desire to live apart from the world, two white explorers at different times in Karamakate’s life seek out his knowledge to find a healing plant sacred to his people. Shot in lovely black and white in the rain forest, SERPENT is a meditation on the destruction of indigenous culture in the Amazon region. The journey sequences are frequently hypnotic, having a sense of time stopping.Furious jumping, indeed. I went to a theater tonight to watch POOR THINGS. It was an interesting experience. The only other Lanthimos film I have seen is his debut feature, Dogtooth. He has come a long way in budgets since then. There is so much to take in with Poor Things, from the politics of the story to the whimsical production design. It basically is a European arthouse movie with some genre elements thrown. And a Hollywood cast. Moreover, parts of Poor Things have a mix of titillation and sophistication that reminds me 1970s e-r-o-t-i-c cinema.
Oh, Embrace of the Serpent! I nearly watched that recently (It's only $1 to rent on Apple). Finally, I decided that I wasn't in the mood for a subtitled film, but I'm certainly interested in watching it soon.
The Michael Bay Transformers movies: I genuinely like the first movie. There’s issues obviously, but I think the military and robots stuff is great and actually well done (not talking about the politics and worldview here, just pure action and visuals). The parents stuff, not so much. Shia Labeouf is a good actor and everything wrong with his character comes from the writing. The same goes to Megan Fox (she’s not as good an actress as Shia, obviously) who does what she can with what she has, which is not a lot. The second movie is not as good, the problems of the first movie are even worse here, but it’s passable. After that, the sequels got weird, bordering on the unwatchable and I was barely able to stay conscious while they played on my tv (see Lindsay Ellis’ The Whole Plate series on youtube for more details), despite all the noise they’re making at all time. But why would i subject myself to such torture, you ask? I got the 4K blu-rays for cheap and like previously said, i like the first one. For some reasons, the boxset list the movies in reverse order, starting with the last. And the discs inside are ordered the same, which can be confusing when they don’t put numbers in the titles and you don’t know which one is next, having to go on IMDB between each one to make sure.
WEIRD: THE AL YANKOVIC STORY (2022). Not what I was expecting at all. Absolutely brilliant. SPY (2015) A movie at odds with itself. In some scenes, Melissa McCarthy is a fish out of water, bumbling her way through spy stuff, but in other scenes, she's highly competent and intelligent. And yet... I laughed a lot. McCarthy had some good goofs, and Jason Statham and Peter Serafinowicz are especially funny. ALICE IN WONDERLAND (2010) Everybody has their take. My opinion is that it all went wrong trying to map the classic hero's journey template on this story. This added a lot of fantasy lore and swordfights, but lost Carroll's fun characters and playful language. CHRISTINE (1983) John Carpenter goodness! QUEENPINS (2021) True-life crime caper about housewives and their illegal coupon scam. Interesting story with actors I like, but it's very algorithm-ish with cutesy voiceover, Marvel-like quips, and an unforgivable "You won't believe how I got in this situation" flash-forward opening.THE WOLF MAN (1941) What can I say? I was in a wolfy mood.
A always liked McCarthy. Even is some movies which are admittedly not great, she still manages to be consistently funny in them. Spy really showed that Statham has good comedy acting chops.
Nothing wrong with being in a wolfy mood.
GREAT EXPECTATIONS (1946)This odyssey is so beautiful. And I never knew it or read Great Expectations before. Or if I did, I forgot. Or the message was lost in the fog of all the weird, confusing Miss Havisham stuff. This version felt just right. Directed by David Lean (Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago)...what can I say? It seemed to get all the parts right. It felt perfectly simplified and emphasized the touching spiritual parts rather than the freaky characters.
I didn't realise Lean had made a Great Expectations movie. I've only seen his big epic late period movies. I remember really liking Great Expectation when I read it in the '90s (A Tale of Two Cities as well), but don't remember the story at all.
It's delightful, Paul! And easy to watch. I think that's what hits me - in the past I tried to watch other versions of GE so many times but it felt like big homework, and this one is easy, almost whimsical. I think you'd like it :)
Oh and Alec Guinness is in it. So young that I didn't recognize him for a long time.