Yes, it’s been a long time coming. Busy these last few weeks, with taxes (oh, the dread..) and building the shop a webstore at mabelscafe.com, something which I had never attempted before… This, and more, has kept me away from much movie watching and from much time for writings like this. Now though, those times are behind me. So free do we feel now that the wife and I decided to start doing some hiking lately and started off today by walking to to Angels Rest in the gorge. A grand walk it was, much different that my daily stroll to work, much more fulfilling. And it is surely worth going all the way up and out on the rest… Very nice. And it was actually a pretty involving walk for non-hikers such as ourselves.
here’s the view looking back down at part of the trail
here’s the view across the river from the top. 1600 feet up…
I Watched The Lurker in the Lobby, the old first compilation of shorts from the HPL Film Festival. Of course they are all interesting as renditions of Lovecraft’s stories, probably with more connection to the actual stories than the feature films that are made. I like the Hound most of all, though Necronomicon seems good, but it is soo short that it is really a bit hard to determine. Both of The Outsiders seem a bit too little. It is such a basic story and such a good one that I hope to see a version that seems to involve more than a blue filter on a camera watching someone walking through a house. Cthulhu Wore Tennis Shoes, as the name would imply, isn’t worth watching but The Music of Erich Zahn is good as is From Beyond. The Hound is really the one film worth having this collection for, well, that and the awesome Thickets
video for Worship Me Like a God! Though in reading reviews of the DVD collections now availible, I’m getting a bit tired of people always dissing the Thickets. They just don’t get it… I think maybe they haven’t heard enough of their songs. Nothings backs up a HPL day for me like listening to Cthulhu Strikes Back!
The stuff on this ol’ VHS is currently available on the hpl collection dvd’s from Lurker Films
Eyes Wide Shut. Okay, here’s another one. I had some idea about what this movie was about and, from day one, I had never any intention or interest in seeing it. I know how could I say that about a Kubrick film? Has he ever led me wrong. Well, no. But… 2 hours of artsie masked orgies and the dull duo of Cruise and Kidman sounded enough for me to leave this one out of my consideration. Of course, thanks to xmas we own it and, feeling open about films this day, I reluctantly agreed when Caitlin suggested it. Well, as always, I was wrong. The movie was nothing like what I had expected. It is soo not a slow boring artsie orgy film, instead it is a caprivating thriller that, while lead by two annoying actors, is engrossing, well-shot, nice to look at and well acted (TC and NK pull of their irritating characters fairly well). Yes, Cruise and Kidman were dull (though I don’t think I’ve ever seen her in a movie before), but they fit the parts pretty well. And it was just a good movie. All I had to do was close my cruise-eyes (like I do for Minority Report) and watch the plot unfold. A good mystery and another well-crafted film for Kubrick.
The worst movie this year crown is pulled off the head of Battle Beyond the Stars! Yes, I know that Jeff Conway is always a bad sign, but even he must have hated himself for signing onto Alien Intruder. Bad. Not even bad in the “okay, at least it’s corny” way, just plain, lame unwatchably terrible. Nothing else needs to be said. Not a single redeeming quality. Avoid it (and what? Billy Dee? It makes the Schlitz ad’s look like a highwater mark).
Another Masters of Horror came down the pike. I sat for a late nighter of Cigarette Burns. Easily of the better of the two MoH that I’ve seen. The lead guy wasn’t too engaging for me, and some of the scenes in France didn’t come across as all that believable, but all in all, a pretty good flick. A good idea, fun storyline, well made, good gore, Udo Kier, John Carpenter. I would recommended it if you are into the horror movie kind of thing and have an hour to spare. Also, some of the other MoH trailers seemed interesting. Especially Jenifer (by Dario Argento!) , it looks really good. And, obviously, they did a good job with “la fin absolue du monde”. It looks intriguing. yes, arty and “extreme”, but still, it looks like it may have made an interesting little film.
Yeah, for old times sake we watched Vacation. And I’m even bothering to mention it here because it’s been many a year since I had seen it all the way through. Of course, it was exactly how I remembered it but, I must again admit, this humor sort of fades with age. Or maybe fades with familiarity, or both. Still a classic though. The cousins are wonderful and the horrifying car is almost reason enough to watch the movie. Chevy Chase just gets a bit tiring after all these years.
And now we’ve watched Donnie Brasco. I’m not sure why I hadn’t seen this before. It was another good mob movie, more low key than most, which was nice and, of course, everything reminds me of the Sopranos… But this one didn’t have too many of the old Sopranos faces and it was a pretty good film. Good period job, good actors… Some top notch ones, including one of my old favorites, Bruno Kirby, and a job from Pacino that didn’t seem as much of a tired old thing as a lot of the roles I’ve seen him in. Of course the “basd ona ture story” aspect adds an element to the supense, and maybe a bit of remorse knowing thta things probably didn’t turn out too well for any of those guys. But a strong film.
And lastly, a repeat viewing of The Body Beneath. A movie truely only for fans of the old Something Weird style of movie. This on has it all: sex, violence, blood sucking, psychedelic feasts… But all done in a truly awful way. Bad acting, silly story with lots of contradictions, bad costumes, some odd characters like the vampires nymphet vampiress slave enforcer squad (no matter how low budget a film is, some of the money should be used for makeup), who sort of grew on me after a while, and the hunched-back mod, who never did grow on me… and that terrible terrible “i can’t believe they used that for blood” kind of blood that drips all over movies like this. It was a fun film though! And Gavin Reed is worth the price of rentals alone as the only actor who really tried to put anything into this film, his portayal of Algernon Ford was just perfect! I also liked the music played during the “feast”.
The time had come to watch Re-Animator. The wife actually sat through some of this! So that was fun… just one more fun thing about watching this timeless classic. Who can count how many times they’re seen it? Not I. The best of the HPL-based movies, filled with all sorts of visual and and conceptual delights! Great opening credits, great dialogue… Jeffery Combs. Need I say more? In terms of the “series”, watching this reminds me that I need to get a DVD of Bride of Re-Animator, a much lesser film yes, but not without merit. Unlike Beyond Re-Animator. Though I did see that at the HPL festival, it just didn’t seem to be all that. After the crafty gory glory of the first two, the CGI just doesn’t seem as engaging or worthwhile. But as for the first film? I just can’t say enough good things about it.
And then we tried out Big Fish. Caitlin had seen it already, but I hadn’t, or had much urge, since my Tim Burton thing ended after Sleepy Hollow. I didn’t really know anything about it but I liked it quite a bit. It was a fun interesting old movie. I really liked pretty much the whole darn thing. It looked nice, the story was fun and engaging and it came across as heartfelt. Personally, circus stuff doesn’t interest me but I really liked the Spectre parts. And the actors? Back in the Trainspotting days I liked Ewan McGregor but that faded with the drab role in the “Star Wars” movies (you know, like how even Samuel L. Jackson came across boring as cardboard in those), but hey he’s not bad after all! And Albert Finney, who I always like, did a really good job.
More classics here. For our monthly movies pals night we were scheduled to watch Colonel Blimp, but, when it got down to brass tacks, we watched Great Expectations. Yet, another really fine old classic. These movies seem to be just great all the way around. They look good, are well acted and are quality stories taken some some classic literature. I had forgotten completely what this one was about but, seeing it again, it is really a masterful film. I always like to have Alec Guinness show up, though this isn’t one of his most interesting characters, I always find him to be compelling.
Then, The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit. Well, not quite so classic. We didn’t like this one really at all. I like Gregory peck and the film has a nice title, but it was really dull. Though I realize that it is supposed to be some statement on the meaningless aspects of modern lives, just didn’t go anywhere, I kept waiting for the story to start. I do like Fredric March though and I felt like he was the high point for this one, but that’s about all.
It. Yes. Well, we tried this again. I don’t even remember if we finished it, but we got close. I just don’t get something about the Stephen king TV series. They are bad. bad bad. So lousy, I don’t even know what to say. They are hokey and cheap and the acting (even when done by passable actors) is atrocious… John Boy acts so terribly in this it’s hard to look at the screen. Yes, it’s terrible, plus the flashback scenes are basically a really terrible re-make of Stand By Me. But something else about these (we’ve seen a few too many of these things)... They sort of stick with you. This one, Rose Red, Kingdom Hospital… All so bad they should be jokes, but afterwards, I find my mind wandering towards them and remembering them. It’s unnerving..
A night out wandering? Where to go? Well, Caitlin suggested Voodoo Donut, where we’d never been. Since I do like donuts, I found the notion irresistible. So we went. Thoughts? The rotating case is filled with all sorts of vile temptations! Anyway. The wife got a maple cruller, which I thought was quite good, but she thought was not quite right. I, being the slave to decadence that I am, and an old time KLVS fan, opted for the Memphis Mafia. Wow. It certainly had it’s moments, and due to its decadent scope I don’t regret it at all, but I have learned that peanut butter and donut do not mix. If I could get it with no Peanut butter and more nuts, it would be more irresistable…
Lawrence, sorry, Larry, Fishburne was almost too much with his gold tooth antics, I can’t stand that David Caruso guy & some of the action scenes seemed a bit too clean, but I would give King of New York an a-ok! Lot’s of action, a cast chock full of odd familiar faces (wasn’t the groom the Frankenhooker fellow?) and, of course, Christopher Walken, classy as always. I thought the plot was full, the funeral scene classic and fulfilling(!), some of the writing was a bit corny but nothing to bad for an action flick and, surprisingly, lots of Schoolly D played throughout. Which was nice. I’d never have thought he would turn up in a movie soundtrack. Admittedly, though it was good to here him in a different venue, I got all excited about the Schoolly D Documentary(?!) that was on disc 2… Sadly, it wasn’t that interesting. And it went on and on (well, on and on until I stopped watching it).
After a brief trip through the back-yard to retrieve some Izze as part of my “rummy-up” this evening, I got to witness some of that which makes me love this place soo… The nearly always light (or not-so-light) raining out there. It makes me feel oh-so-cozy. If only we still had a fireplace…
But now, on to subjects regarding the modern home’s fireplace…
As an addendum to last week, maybe I need to rethink some things. I had forgotten that the Thickets do a House of Clocks song. Hearing that after watching the movie made me decide that maybe I should keep it after all. I think maybe I judge some of these horrors too harshly (either that or I will endlessly justify keeping any ol’ dvd). So we’ll see, I may end up pulling more things out of the toss-pile.. Who knows… For more words on this sickness, here is a nice article at Video WatchBlog.
Anyway, on to this week. I finally decided, after break of over a year, to try and finish my beloved Adventures of Tintin set. The next in line was Destination moon… Though, odd as it may seem, for it is a book that I am fond of, I find this one rather boring as an episode. Sadly, that’s only as far as I got this time around. I will finish the last two discs soon. In terms of things to say? Well, they seem to look pretty much exactly like the books and I find them lots of fun. Caitlin finds the Canadian accents troubling but, if you have a region-free (or like Asian boots) and like Tintin, I would oh-soo-highly suggest you pick these up!
Next in the endless series of great classics we are finally watching, we took in All About Eve. Yet, another wonderful film: great dialogue (chock full of wonderful one liners), I very much liked the critic character (well, maybe not the character, but the actor at least) and a great plot. Some parts of it (when one particular character was lying through her teeth) even made me uncomfortable. Eve’s pretentious accent I found very annoying, for someone who wasn’t intended to seem pretentious. The film carried lots of nice twists very well. All around a very fine film. Also, it was nice to see Marilyn in an early role, not yet the scene overwhelming star she became, just Marilyn Monroe grand in her gloriously silly way, acting the young starlet we all love to remember her fondly as. Classic and a highly recommended film.
This week, I also actually went out to a theater and watched a movie! Night Watch. The old “not quite what I expected” rang true here, but I found it very entertaining. It was very enjoyable to look at and had lots of action and crazy CGI all around the place. The lead character was a bit of a bore but the movie was a lot of fun with vampires and blood drinking and medieval knights. I hear that this version is 20 minutes shorter than the original russian cut (though I’m not convinced that’s true) and that the new subtitles change the story a bit, so I hope (quite futilely, I imagine) that there will be a DVD with both versions on it. But if you have any interest in CGI violence, comic-book style films, I would highly suggest checking this one out.
And since Brian hadn’t seen it, we watched Vertigo. One of those movies that I could easily watch once or twice a year without tiring of it in the slightest and one of the three greatest Hitchcock films in my mind. The story never weakens with time, following the treachery and decline is always a great pleasure to watch, wonderfully filmed (of course) with great, well-aged, but still wonderful, effects and a great cast! The story is captivating and a nice bit twisted as the films goes on (yes, not just twisting, but twisted).
Last night we watched Vanity Fair. I suppose it was fine. I am still getting adjusted to these English period dramas that we’ve been seeing lately since I’ve seen very few prior to these days. Of the ones I’ve taken in (mainly BBC related Dickens and Austen), this one easily seems the least of the lot. Strangely though, it seems that the source material could have been very strong, but a minimum of 45 minutes must have been cut out, throughout the whole film, it felt as if character and story building scenes had been removed and the story moved to fast to be a story… It was more just like speed reading through it. Too bad though because the story seemed strong and the characters were good, it made me feel compelled to either read the book or watch the earlier film. I’m not to sure of the casting either, but it was hard to tell with how undeveloped the story was (this, of course, doesn’t count Hoskins, he is always a pleasure to see… If only he always used his east accent…). I looked through the special features to watch the deleted scenes, again they seemed a weird batch of scenes, they wouldn’t have helped the film much. One can only hope that there are more deleted scenes lying about somewhere. Anyway, it was fine but it was a bit flat and rushed and that made it a bit hard to get absorbed into.
A Room with a View. One of the wife’s favorites and absolutely nothing like what I had thought it was, this was another very good movie. I really liked the casting: Julien Sands was great (and not in the movie too much to make it too creepy), Day-Lewis was great as Cecil and of course, Denholm Elliot always makes me feel at home. I was surprised, in IMDB’ing this movie, to learn that he passed on 14 years ago! I feel like I see him in movies all the time and I always like what he brings to the characters he plays! So that was sad. But the movie was fun and the story was engaging.
And since I happen to be the in the process or re-reading the Lovecraft stories and since, this week, Stewart Gordon’s segment of the Masters of Horror, Dreams in the Witch-House was released on DVD, the timing was not to be ignored! I read the story and then watched the movie. Yes, always a precarious situation, but I dared and lived! Well, it was alright…. I didn’t really like this Ezra Godden fellow in Dagon and I’m still not taken with him here. Though more on my mind was waiting to see what happened with things that I had just read… As with all of Gordon’s Lovecraft films, or at least the 4 that come to mind, he throws in the “nude girl and/or love interest” aspect… Of course, I am not opposed to such things in films but face it, Lovecraft didn’t really tend to utilize lady characters in his writings, being a sort of victorian men’s adventure/horror story kind of thing, so sometimes the story has to be changed around a bit to get this stuff in. It seemed very evident in this film, a little too evident throwing in the girl whenever he wished. More bothersome though is that the story itself is so visually heady (as are most HPL outings) that a film like this just doesn’t really do that aspect justice.
the dreams in the witch-house 0:31:59
Regardless, it was worth seeing, just to see…