two bits…

Yes, I know it’s been too long, but there’s been a lot of stuff going on that I won’t bother to mention here, but there are some less exciting things that I will mention… Finally…

So I watched Much ado About Nothing. Silly, yes, but very cute. Branagh was easily the high point. He was soo enthusiastic you could feel it through the screen and most of the characters were well played. of course, the exception? Keanu was the low point. He’s basically had two good roles, Ted “theodore” Logan and Matt. Everything else stinks. No, not the movies he’s been in… The job he’s done in those. He’s been in some darn fine movies, but whenever he’s on the screen I don’t think anyone can think anything except, why’d they get this guy to stumble through this role, just pray that he doesn’t say anything! So aside from his crippling scenes, it’s a fun film!

Then, probably for the first time, I witnessed Goodfellas in the theater. I’m sure we’ve all seen this (though, while I was watching it I couldn’t help but wonder if anyone there had never seen it before). Anyway, it was what it is: probably Scorsese’s finest film (though that point could be argued with about a half dozen other movies), a cornucopia of Sopranos actors, brilliant lines, great (truish) story, the peak of Pesci’s tough guy roles, one of De Niro’s 6 great roles of the last twenty years, Ray Liotto’s awesome breakthrough role (though that should have been Something Wild)… Really, it is just a great film: beautiful, well cast, great script, music utilized to perfection… A flawless movie and one of the best gangster films ever.

Sword and the Sorcerer. One of the favorites from the old days. I recall how strangely the scene on tomb island lodged itself in my head! Yes, all these years later, of course, the effects and sets and costumes seem shoddy for how I remembered them when I was 14 but… It is a grand film. Maybe it looks abit hokey, but they certainly tried for a grand scope storyline, with narration and everything. A must watch classic for folks into these things! Non-stop & crazy action, like an old pirate movie. Oh yeah, the swords are ridiculous (especially the three bladed sword but also the baddie’s sword), even silly. But It’s the best movie of it’s ilk. Well, excepting the Harryhausen’s.

But where’s the promised sequel? Tales of the Ancient Empire? It’s about the longest wait for a sequel, even longer than Doctor Detroit‘s!

this really stayed with me…
sword & the sorcerer 04:54
Well, Paul hadn’t seen any of the RM films, so I started him off with the best. Mudhoney is the classic small town derring-do movie, and a perfect Russ Meyer film. It’s got it all, grainy black and white, the girls, the dialogue, the action, the sleazy rough’n’tumble story, good guys and bad guys, good girls and bad girls, great actors in fact, the same actors as a good deal of his other films… I suppose one either likes RM or doesn’t but this “knight in shining armor” story just takes the cake. A classic, 40 years running!

now who’s mister nice guy…
mudhoney 14:07

look who’s bogarting that jug…
mudhoney 24:45
Of course, a showing of Get Shorty was in order. One of the guilty pleasures that the wife hadn’t seen. Boy, but talk about a guilty pleasure! I never get tired of this thing and I probably sit down to it about once a year. At this point it’s funny to see James Gandolfini pre-Sopranos and it features Travolta rehashing his Pulp Fiction role, Gene Hackman being awesome as always, Danny Devito having lots of fun, obviously. It’s basically, as one should expect from Elmore Leonard, nothing to take seriously but certainly lot’s of fun, with lots of action and yet another great supporting role from Dennis Farina!

Love Actually. Was this a film? It seemed more like a half dozen or so unrelated vignettes all tied together in a vague fashion. Sort of like a long & “serious” & British “Love American Style”. Okay, maybe I’m being a bit harsh. It certainly lacked any form of substance, but it had some charming moments… I just can’t stand Hugh Grant and it seemed such a terrible waste of Alan Rickman’s talents.

U-Turn. Ok. Well, this is one unpleasant film filled with unpleasant people. But, it’s another guilty pleasure I had the wife watch… I like it! I don’t like Nick Nolte, Sean Penn or Jennifer Lopez, and the badly overdone Billy Bob, and all their characters were horrible people, but they played horrible people soo well! It’s probably my favorite Nolte role, he’s alot of fun in this. And I love the old, “one thing goes wrong, and then everything goes wrong” story. And city slickers getting taken by a bunch of small town hicks is always fun to watch! It keeps us from taking too many rural roadtrips! Anyway, my only big complaint is, of course, Oliver Stone… His dopey (artsie?) cinematography style is tiring and dumb. Why shoot a shot from the roof and then a close up on their mouth? Then maybe a close up of an earlobe and then… Well, you get the picture. Dumb cinematography, irritating editing, but some nice bright colors!

Then I went out on the town and took in Celtic Frost. Okay, somehow, I’d never heard them before. And though they weren’t bad at what they do, I’m not really into it. Twenty years ago I may have had a different story but now? They were good at it though, I thought of them as sort of an 80’s hard rock act with some death metal edges. The singer fellow was another problem. Just didn’t dig him at all, bad look (black suit? black shirt? Black around his eyes and a black stocking cap pulled down to his eyes? What?) The goth guitar player who barely moved? Well, the rhythm section was good: the drummer seemed fine, immersed as he was in a cloud of fog, but the high point was the bass player. Great “rasputin” look, tons of enthusiasm, really the star of the show. Though I didn’t generally dig the vocals alot of the music was good, the stage setup was good (I haven’t seen a show with fancies like fog and lights moving around for a long time). More to my speed was 1349. Skinny pants, big black boots, corpse paint and all (though only one guitarist had the spikes, he had a gnarly enough set to make up for the rest). They had that evil energy and were a blast to see, though the sound could have been mixed clearer… Sagh opened the show. I was expecting good things, what with the bands strong pedigree, but instead it was just old style hard rock. Well played, but nothing at all to get excited about.

The Descent. Yes, maybe by now you’re sick of hearing me talk about this one. Well, two things, this was the first time that I’d seen the US version and the first time I’d seen it in a theater… I have to say that on both counts it was a step down. Aside from the, of course, truncated ending I think that some of the film from the car accident has been removed. In terms of the theater experience, well… It didn’t seem as scary. Now one might say that it’s because it’s the third time I’ve seen it but, I feel that it had more to do with projection. I think that watching it on a TV, where it’s smaller and darker, alot of it is more indistinct, which make it a bit creepier. On the big screen, everything is bigger and brighter so it looks clearer and becomes less scary… And the sets don’t look quite as convincing.

Still it’s a darn good horror movie… Maybe just watch the UK edition at home.

Lastly, led on by exciting previews, we watched Secret Window. Well, I don’t want to give too much away, though you’ll probably figure it out yourself quickly enough. Yes a “thriller” but a quite predictable one… And another Stephen King story on film. For a movie version of a King story, it wasn’t bad… But it doesn’t have much to hold out. As Caitlin said, 15 years ago it might have been something.

2 Responses to “two bits…”

  1. Reel Fanatic on October 7, 2006 04:52

    Poor Ray Liotta .. he was so great in “Something Wild,” and now he’s stuck making crap TV shows just to pay the bills . oh well, it’s better to have once been great than to never have been great at all

  2. state parks on October 7, 2006 20:18

    I’ve been waffling on whether I should buy The Sword and the Sorcerer for some time now. It had a profound efffect on my young mind as well, especially when the bad-guy peels himself like a banana and turns into Richard Moll …

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