Saturday, March 2, 2024

Weekend Open Thread


  1. The Shallows (2016): this movie is very good. They use Blake Lively just the right way. Because let's face it, she's not the best actress around. There's a bit of cheezyness to start and end the movie, but I'll allow it just to give some background to her character

    Freeway (1996): found the 4k disc at the used dvd store downtown. I hesitated a bit, because even second hand, these boutique labels are not always cheap, and it was a blind buy. This is a cool and weird movie just the way I like them. Full of good actors that were way younger. Kiefer Sutherland plays a total creep way too perfectly. Bokeem Woodbine is in it, and it's time to give him a starring role in a good movie. Stuff like this are the reason why boutique labels like Vinegar Syndrome and Arrow exist. They need to be saved.

    Against The Grain (2023): speaking of Vinegar Syndrome, this is a very interesting documentary about the restauration and preservation of B movies, mostly low-budget, unknown, exploitation movies (they do show a lot of sexploitation bits). It features a lot of the VS people working on finding and restoring the stuff, but also other folks. It's not too long and I was glued to my tv the whole time. And now I have an even longer list I have to watch, just out of morbid curiosity

    The Doors (1991): from what I read, this is a biopic in the loosest sense of the word. I don't know much about Jim Morrison and The Doors, but I know this is a very good movie with cool music. I watched the Final Cut, which I didn't know existed until I got my 4k blu-ray. Oliver Stone removed one scene and from what I hear, nobody cares about that scene. The main attraction here, beside the music, is Val Kilmer performance as Jim Morrison. Oliver Stone was an awesome filmmaker back then, making a few masterpieces in a row, I miss that part of him.

  2. DUNE PART TWO (2024) We have worm-sign!

    TMNT: MUTANT MAYHEM (2023) Gave this a rewatch. The changes to the Turtles' origin still rankle me, and Genghis Frog should be cool and not a joke, but this is still some fun Turtle action overall.

    BIG EYES (2014) Burton dials down the CGI histrionics and does a more character-focused movie. Really enjoyed this one.

    ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS (2016) This is a better and more consistent attempt to do "what if Alice in Wonderland was an action-adventure movie" than the 2010 movie, but it's still kind of forgettable.

    NON-STOP (2014) Liam Neeson is a beleaguered air marshal who takes on a killer during an overnight flight. It got a little too "real world politics" for my tastes, but there was some sweet Neeson close-quarters fist fighting.

    JABBERWOCKY (1977) Lots of people love this one, but it doesn't quite work for me. I'll admit it's interesting to see ideas and visuals that Terry Gilliam would further explore in his later films.

    DRIVE-AWAY DOLLS (2024) I was expecting BOTTOMS 2, but this goes a lot raunchier. Lots of big laughs, though.

    CONAN THE BARBARIAN (1982) By Crom, what a movie!

    1. So you liked Drive-Away Dolls? I haven't seen many good reviews about it so far. I'll see it anyway because it's a Coen movie (i know, only one of the bros) and the cast ladies are awesome

    2. a MST3K reference for Dune part two?! {standing ovation}

    3. (Not sure if I'm hitting the right msg with my reply, but...)

      I saw Drive-Away Dolls this weekend and thought it was quite fun. It's not Fargo or Lebowski or anything, but it's a consistently funny, quick, light road movie. I went in with pretty middling expectations due to the same lukewarm reviews you noted, and I'm honestly pretty baffled as to why it's gotten such a tepid response. It's good!

    4. Drive-Away Dolls wasn't perfect, in how the tone varies wildly from ribald comedy to quirky romance to violent gangster stuff. But all I wanted was a cheeky crime caper, and in that sense it delivered.

  3. Amazing job by yall tweeting thru F This Movie Fest last weekend!!!!

    no review today but maybe just some quick ramblings on the subject of physical media. i think its already well established that we are in the final death throws of physical medias presence in brick and mortar locations. the midwest US has seen places like target and best buy slowly shrink their supplies. these days the most you'll find is an endcap section or slightly larger. AND switching from purchase to rental, alas Redbox appears to be nearing the finish line as it has had no new movies for months and is facing legal woes. but not all is lost. for at least boutique labels continue to invest in reallllllly impressive high quality discs for obscure genre and occasional big budget flicks. who knows what the future holds but i have never regretted, nor will i ever regret, having physical media of the movies i love. streaming is a wonderful luxury, but it is controlled by others. and those others are NOT going to tell me when i can or cant watch Hudson Hawk. no sir.

    Peace .n. Swingin on a Star


    1. Funny, i'm actually waiting for my blu-ray of Hudson Hawk. I never understood why it failed

    2. NICE! that movie is special for me...many years ago i referred to it as my "guilty pleasure" movie when asked about a movie i like that many dont. since then i dropped the guilty pleasure and just reference it as a movie i love. its part heist, part musical, part cartoon, part action, and pure silly.

    3. The future of physical media seems to be hotly debated. It most likely will not disappear, but the more niche the physical media market becomes, the more expensive it will be. It is not uncommon for the 4k boutique releases now to be $40 to $50 U.S. dollars MSRP.

      I was going through my collection recently, mentally tallying up the discs I have not watched already. I can keep myself busy for a long time just going through those.

    4. That's the annoying part of the physical media being handled by boutique labels. They all cost way too much for no reasons most of the times. And there's no more combo pack.

      I'll keep buying them anyway 😎

  4. I had a big saturday :o)

    Gun Crazy (1950): a proto Bonnie & Clyde, this is a classic Noir that I never saw before, but always heard about in various pieces about the genre. It's very good with all the cliché that we love about these movies. The blu-ray also has a documentary about Film Noir that's pretty interesting, if only to get more titles to watch

    Alien Covenant (2017): I saw a video on YouTube the other day saying the movie was not that bad, definitely better than Prometheus. And yeah, the guy was kinda right. It's better, has some good stuff, but it doesn't make it a great movie. I also forgot James Franco had a small cameo at the beginning

    Marathon Man (1976): I forgot how weird the opening scene was: The two angry old guys racing through the streets shouting at each other, then crashing in an oil delivery truck. Then you have the introduction of Dustin Hoffman jogging in a park, then starting to race with another guy because he made a snarky joke. Lots of angry stuff to start a movie. This is an angry movie, but then again it is about a guy being tortured for part of the movie. One of the best paranoid thriller that could only come out of the 70s

    Blue Velvet (1986): what a picture. The ultimate fuck noir, on acid. This is a trip like only David Lynch can make, and this is the most normal film he'll make apart from Straight Story

    Brazil (1985): I always loved that movie, but after not seeing it for a few years, while still think it's good, it didn't play as well this time. But the imagination and set design that goes with it is still unmatched, especially nowadays

    1. Gun Crazy is a great noir and very transgressive for the era. The idea of a real-time robbery that you do not see was simple but effective.

  5. Couldn't make it to F This Movie Fest, but was inspired to give CABIN BOY a try after the post-fest podcast.

    It's one of the weirder movies I've seen in a while, if only because I feel bad for Adam Resnick. Tim Burton goes off to make what is probably the best Tim Burton movie and Resnick is left to make sense of it all, (JB is right, the cut between the town and the dock is Madame Web levels of INSANE.) With a script this wacky and a lead character this unlikeable, it's a tall task.

    It feels like a parody, but I'm not sure what it's parodying. It feels like an homage, but I'm not sure what it's homaging. Chris Elliott is wholeheartedly committing to not giving a shit if you like him or not, the whole thing kinda ends up feeling that way. The commitment is impressive, but that's why it's divisive. I'm probably one of the few people 50/50 on it.

  6. From what I was able to see on X/Twitter, a lot of fun was had with FThisMovieFest. Sadly, work kept me from participating this year. Many of the films would have been first-time watches, too.

    Over the past two weeks, there has not been a lot of time for movies.

    THE TASTE OF THINGS (2023, dir. Tran Anh Hung) – Having the opportunity to get out of work early one day, I found this French film playing at the local independent theater. I knew what I was getting into: lots of dialogue, long takes, sometimes overbearing period details. The story is about a chef and his assistant/lover in early 20th century France. As someone interested in food, the long cooking sequences were very enjoyable. The drama is treated with the usual French seriousness. Beyond the the film, getting back to a theatrical screening was the big thing for me. I am looking forward to having a night at a drive-in again.

    Apocalypse After, from 2018, is a French short film that is hard to describe. A woman makes weird, artsy genre films while having an affair with one of the actressess? Maybe. Is it pretentious? Maybe. The sets and lighting are very colorful, and references to filmmakers and filmmaking abound.

    I also re-watched a compelling 1965 short film made by Andy Milligan, Vapors. Set in a New York City gay bathhouse, the film (shot in an apartment) is about encounters during one night. Though it could not be explicit, it is frank about what those establishments were about.

    My most recent rental is a Warner Archive collection of cartoons from an animator named Tex Avery. All of the cartoons in the set were made for MGM, mainly during World War II. They are quite zany.

  7. With FThisMovieFest over, Junesploitation is only a few months away. These are some ideas for categories:

    David Carradine!
    Pam Grier!
    Lance Henrikson!

    Any other ideas that you all may have?

    1. Tarantino just dedicated the new snack shop at his Vista Theater in LA: it’s called Pam’s Coffy.

    2. My category suggestion: Movies About Movies!

      That could include both movies about making movies (from Sunset Boulevard to Shadow of the Vampire and Ed Wood to Who Framed Roger Rabbit) and about watching movies (from Matinee to Scream and Cinema Paradiso to Demons).