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Re: What was the last movie you've seen?

by Ack Tue Nov 06, 2018 7:55 pm

What can I say? Good writers borrow, greater writers steal from other great writers.
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Re: What was the last movie you've seen?

by samsonlonghair Tue Nov 06, 2018 8:18 pm

Ack wrote:What can I say? Good writers borrow, greater writers steal from other great writers.

:D
That’s the best compliment I’ve heard in a while! Thanks Ack!
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Re: What was the last movie you've seen?

by REPO Man Thu Nov 08, 2018 11:01 am

Sleepaway Camp. Still great!

The Muppets Christmas Carol, Scrooged and A Diva's Christmas Carol are still amongst my fave Christmas films.
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Re: What was the last movie you've seen?

by Ack Thu Nov 08, 2018 12:58 pm

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The Relic

Hypothalamus. Say it with me. Hypothalamus.

Did you know eating part of the human brain can turn you into a freaky lizard thingy? No? Well, that's why we have The Relic, an adaptation of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child's book Relic. I was an enormous fan of the book when I read it several years ago; it reminded me of what I loved about Michael Crichton's work. In my opinion, the movie doesn't hold up, but that's probably because it crammed the whole thing into less than two hours and had to give up a lot of the science and terror in exchange for a pretty boiler plate monster movie and CGI that was impressive in its day but now looks horribly dated. That said, I don't want to knock the movie too much; most movies don't live up to their books. And this one still does an admirable job of using the same old formula well.

Michi watched this movie a few years ago and talked about how you probably won't get many surprises here, but the casting made for a superior product and Stan Winston's creature effects will amaze. I completely agree. When you do get to see the creature, the puppet is disgustingly impressive. The CGI version looks hokey, but in the mid-90s, it was still a relatively new thing. Throwing the likes of Tom Sizemore, Penelope Ann Miller, and Linda Hunt against it and making all of them feel both believable and capable makes this a generic monster movie that is actually better than one would think it should be. The science is also fascinating, mainly because it shows a period of time when what is now commonplace was still new. I love real world science fiction stories like this from this era, when DNA was being explained to the masses, and we hadn't yet figured out all of the software and tech to discover it that is considerably more commonplace now.

There is also a twist to the monster that unfortunately doesn't seem to carry as much weight in the movie, though in the book it was disturbingly impressive. I figure it was a limitation of time to try and keep things running and suspenseful, but man, when you find out what the monster is, in the book it's a big deal. It's a bit glossed over in the movie, which is a shame. But then, I'm here to see a giant monster decapitate people, and I definitely get that, so good for me!

Seriously, it's actually a pretty good generic monster movie. This is like something from the 1950s updated to reflect the '90s tech and sensibilities, with some strong characters. If you like the movie, go read the book too. It's worth tracking down.

One more time: hypothalamus.
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Re: What was the last movie you've seen?

by Ack Thu Nov 08, 2018 5:31 pm

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Terror in Beverly Hills

Frank Stallone is Sylvester Stallone's brother. He is an award-winning musician, including one Top 10 hit and a Grammy Award. He's worked on the music for several of his brother's films. And every now and again he acts. As for whether that's a good thing, I'll let you decide. But back to this film...

Palestinian terrorists kidnap the president's daughter! Is Frank Stallone a bad enough dude to save her? Yeah, that's pretty much it. Terrorists from Palestine kidnap the president's daughter to exchange for 55 of their fellows held in Israeli prisons. But one of the lead terrorists, Abdul, also secretly worked with an American special forces officer somewhere in the Middle East. That officer? Hack Stone. Seriously, Frank Stallone's character is named Hack Stone. No, I don't think the screenwriters were trying. Also, I'm racking my brain to think of why US special forces would be teaming up with Palestinian terrorists in the 1980s. Nothing is coming to me.

Anyway, Abdul blames Hack for getting his family killed way back when, so now he's back for revenge on top of this whole kidnapping plot. Then again, considering how the film shows folks treating them, I'm actually favoring them. They talk about how one guy was kicked out of a European university for his ethnicity, one woman goes to straight up racism against them, Abdul reveals the US government may have kinda-sorta murdered his family...not gonna lie, these guys have some reasons to have beef. Hell, even the Palestinians are played by Persian actors. These poor guys have nothing going for them. Not that what they do is defensible; they still shoot up a place and blow up a convertible. But that convertible had a shag interior, so you know what? I'm not really upset.

Seriously, a shag interior in a convertible. In that California heat, with ocean spray getting into the seats. Man, that's gotta be a bitch to clean. You know what? I bet that car was begging for death. The terrorists did it a favor.

Yes, the plot is bad, and the acting is bad, but how is the "movie" part of the movie? Well, it's bad too. The sound wavers in volume, suddenly getting quiet or loud for no reason. Voices don't sync up to mouths often. The choreography for shootouts is just plain bad. Even the exploding convertible was terrible; it's a stock explosion laid over the car. But hey, this movie is happy to show you BOOBS! In one completely unnecessary scene that has absolutely nothing to do with the film, there are strippers totally shaking it for the camera. Not in front of, I mean literally for the camera. I was suspicious that this had suddenly become a porn film, but then characters that had nothing to do with the movie started talking about selling watches or some crap that had nothing to do with the plot. I think I saw one of those characters again a couple of minutes later, and then he vanished forever.

Terror in Beverly Hills is not a total failure, however. It does have its moments of levity, such as a detective shooting a guy into the pool and then emptying his shotgun into the dead guy just because he's had a rough day. Cameron Mitchell is back from his weird cameo in Deadly Prey to play a foul-mouthed police captain who throws constant insults so off the wall I don't know if even he knows what he's talking about. He's one of the good guys, but man, he's gotta have some nasty hemorrhoids. And then there is Hack Stone, whose name is Hack Stone. I'm still struggling to get past that.

In the end, Abdul throws himself out a window to show Hack how to die for one's cause. Well all right then. Now if only the rest of this movie would follow suit.
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Re: What was the last movie you've seen?

by prfsnl_gmr Thu Nov 08, 2018 5:40 pm

Ack...excited to read that I’m not the only person in the world who read The Relic as a teenager and thought, “This is pretty good...if all a bit ridiculous.” I’ve always understood that the movie wasn’t very good, and I’ve never seen it. I think I’ll keep it that way to hold on to my generally high opinion of its source material.
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Re: What was the last movie you've seen?

by Ack Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:22 pm

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Wakey Wakey

Imagine you are narcoleptic. Now imagine your sister is a sensual goth lady with a thing for death photography, your parents are strangely absent, you can't tell whether you're awake or dreaming, and your world was imagined by David Lynch. Now...imagine you have the hots for your sister. That's Wakey Wakey, a bizarre yet alluring Australian film by Adrian Goodman. It's like if Eraserhead had a weird crossover with Flowers in the Attic while going through a goth phase. Yes, it's that good.

The thing that really makes Wakey Wakey work for me is the complete unreliability of the main character. We're seeing the world through her eyes, but she's so affected by her narcolepsy that she wears a helmet at all times to keep from hitting her head if she passes out, which she does repeatedly, sometimes in the worst situations. In one scene, she goes face first into her spaghetti. In another, she falls off a motorcycle and spends half of the film with road rash as a result. In some scenes she has a dog, while in another she's told she's never had one. Since the only person she has a connection to is her sister, well, things start getting weird as she obviously starts to develop feelings for her...or is she really? Could those scenes be just a part of a dream?

It is this developing sexuality that brings the film into erotic territory, though the lead's narcolepsy kicks in at all the wrong times, leaving the audience to occasionally wonder if what they were about to witness was simply misunderstood or completely hallucinated. The sister definitely has some secrets, and judging from the artwork, she really is into death a bit too much, leading to the main character to eventually suspect her sister of committing a terrible crime...but this could all just be in her head, and even when she escapes, she might not really be able to escape. The final image is of her passing out in a field, after all. What's to say she won't wake up back in bed, with previous events having all been a dream?

Wakey Wakey is a film where nothing can be trusted, even when we think it can be, because we are under the influence of another's sickness. Ultimately, none of it may be real at all. Halfway through, I wondered if the sister was real. I'm still not entirely sure which scenes were dreams. Maybe all, or maybe none, and the sister is playing some very sick games. For that, I love this movie. It's hard to tear my attention away from a well done nightmare, and this is definitely well done. Of course, that also means it's not going to be everyone's cup of tea.
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Re: What was the last movie you've seen?

by Ack Fri Nov 09, 2018 6:19 pm

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Lone Wolf

A bunch of college kids who look like they're in their 30s and act like their high school stereotypes fight a werewolf in Colorado. It's not particularly innovative, but it captures the style of late '80s America along with that newfangled sensation that's just a passing fad, computers!

The movie starts with a drunk guy trying to pressure his girlfriend into sex and then flying off the handle when she doesn't go for it. He then gets killed by a werewolf. I have no sympathy for him. Meanwhile, a generic rock band plays at a bar. Everyone then goes to computer class the next day to learn about DOS. Punk girls want to date the lead singer. Jocks, friends of the dead guy, pick on the nerd. The jocks and rock band guys get into a fight. The clean-cut girl complains about her now-dead boyfriend, not knowing he's dead. By the end of it, the clean-cut girl, nerd, punk girls, and lead singer will all team up, having tracked the werewolf down using the power of DOS while the police are inept and even potentially corrupt based on how the Police Captain acts towards the press.

In many ways, this is an awful movie. The editing is atrocious, with scene changes and cuts coming almost mid-sentence. Everything is painfully '80s, from the hair to the sets to the style. There's a lot of generic feel, and even the credits appear cheap. The dialogue is horrible, and often times the syncing is off even when a bad line is given well. All of the budget seems to have gone into the werewolf and his gory kills. This decision was totally worth it.

I'll be honest, I hated this movie at the start. It took me about half an hour before I started warming up to it, and even now I think it's pretty bad. But this movie showed me a werewolf rip a drunk guy's still beating heart out. In the big finale, the werewolf jumps on stage and rips a lady's face off. There is even a couple of transformation sequences that surprised me how well done they were. Yes, the look like they ripped off An American Werewolf in London, but why not rip off the best? It's obvious that actual money went into the creature though, and it's the highlight of the film, which is what I wanted it to be.

Look, it's not a good flick, not in the slightest bit. When it doesn't feel old hat, it's usually awful or relying heavily on cheesy stereotypes. A good chunk of the cast are douchebags, and the film doesn't always seem to know who it wants to be the main character. At the start it looks like it will be the lead rocker, but eventually it's the nerd and the clean-cut girl. It's a mess, and it's funny in how it embraces technology in a way that is blatantly obvious now, though I know better than to examine a film only through a modern lens. I don't think I like the movie, yet I still find elements of it entertaining and endearing considering the obvious low budget.

Plus, how often do we get horror movies involving werewolves attacking college kids in Colorado?

The band that performed all the music was actually a real band called Tyxe. They only released a demo tape in 1988 before breaking up, but they're still in the Encyclopaedia Metallum!
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Re: What was the last movie you've seen?

by REPO Man Sat Nov 10, 2018 9:12 pm

Recently watched Gremlins 2 (Gizmo is so adorable) and Ghostbusters.
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Re: What was the last movie you've seen?

by Ack Mon Nov 12, 2018 5:21 pm

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Spiders II: Breeding Ground

This is the Alien 4 of movies about giant spiders, only far worse.

Jason and Alexandra are a married couple who end up shipwrecked in the ocean. They get picked up by a cargo ship, only to discover that the ship is really a mobile aquatic laboratory for a mad scientist intent on genetically splicing humans with spider DNA. For some reason, this means he must first breed spider eggs in living human hosts. Also, these spiders aren't sure if they're puppets or bad CG, and they have no idea how big they're supposed to be.

Ok, first off, yes, this is an awful premise for a movie. However, I have seen worse. While the script is atrocious, it's also not the worst sin this movie commits. The thing that really kills it is that I can't tell if it wants to be a legit monster movie or a piece of made-for-tv SYFY trash. There is nudity, a little gore, a bit of blood, and a budget that could have been rolled up and stuck in the back of my shoe while I was wearing it. It's the effects that take this film from bad to laughably bad. Sure, hammy overacting and poor writer choices are one thing, but badly digitizing people to interact with CG spiders? Now that's unforgivable.

What's also unforgivable is just how stupid the Alexandra character appears to be. A strange doctor is repeatedly injecting her sick husband, but she's too busy getting seduced by the captain to notice that for some reason everything on board the dirty ship is in Russian, there is no cargo despite the large number of containers on deck, and they're hauling way more meat than they need to be considering the size of the crew. Also, they're going in circles. Jason gets it, and he's freaking zonked out on injectable candy shots from the evil scowling love doctor. How could Alexandra not? It literally takes the captain trying to seduce/rape her and her finding the remains of a burned-out ship she saw a couple of days before to realize that things aren't hunky-dory.

This does lead me to another point about this movie, though. It begins with a bunch of twenty-somethings being attacked by what must be the cargo ship's crew so they can be used for spider babies. Why did this mad scientist plan so poorly that they had to go kidnap people off boats to actually do any work? That seems like a bad plan.

Spiders 2 is painfully bad. I loathed it. I don't loathe everything about it, as the female lead actually gave it a pretty good showing of her ability to actually act, but everything else was just amateur hour.
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