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

by Ack Tue Nov 20, 2018 5:28 pm

You fools didn't think I'd stopped watching movies just because I haven't been writing about them, have you?

Nope! I just chose not to share the last handful with you! Suck it, n00b5.

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Monster from a Prehistoric Planet

A pair of giant prehistoric bird beast Godzilla knock-offs attack Japan while also ripping off the plot of Britain's own giant monster movie, Gorgo. Fantastic, ain't it?

An unscrupulous magazine owner who wishes he was printing pornography (his magazine is called Playmate...) tries to open an amusement park by sending reporters and scientists to a South Pacific island to kidnap the animals. They find a giant prehistoric bird baby, so of course they piss off the natives by smuggling it back to Japan. Then the baby's parents show up to fuck up Japan. Meanwhile, a lady reporter argues with a male reporter about whether they should hook up, and a Japanese kid appears in blackface to represent that he is from the South Pacific.

Like all good kaiju movies, the plot of this one focuses on human beings being serious douchebags to the world around them. While so many of these movies focus on the unknown side effects of nuclear testing, this time it's about separating baby animals from their parents, animal smuggling, and showcasing the absolute worst kind of capitalists. It figures the big bird monsters known as Gappa would be commie animal rights activists!

Honestly, this movie is pretty dull for the first 50 minutes or so. It's all building up to giant monsters destroying cities, but it crawls on and on as we deal with people doing bad impersonations of native peoples, poor attempts at humor and flirtatious banter, and jerks being jerks. Then you get to minute 50, when the Gappa show up in Japan. And then you hit minute 55. Minute 55 is where a 10-minute long combat scene starts up, with the Gappa whooping the asses of cities, tanks, jet fighters, and shrugging off artillery rounds like champs. Japan then tries sonic weapons, and you know what happens? The Gappa get all pissed off and kick more ass! This is all the giant monster action you watch these kinds of movies to see, folks, and once it finally gets going, this movie gets it right.

Meanwhile, the douchebag magazine owner refuses to give up the baby Gappa and save Japan, solely because he doesn't want to get blamed or give up his stuff. Even his daughter insults him, and everyone agrees he's nuts, so they pretty much stop listening to him. That's actually refreshing. What's even more refreshing? The Gappa keep fucking up Japan by walking through power plants and destroying them just because they're there! It's like when an adult crushes a sand castle; it's fun as Hell, and we like making children cry.

I'm not gonna lie, there are much better giant monster movies. This one takes way longer to get going than I would like, considering I'm pretty much only watching this to see stuff get blown up by mutant birds and don't really care about the great emotional love story or the moral of "Don't be a jerk, humanity." Also, it ends with the woman journalist realizing that a woman's place is at home in the kitchen. Hahaha, sexism! But hey, it's still overall better than the dregs of kaiju cinema. Watch this once you're out of Godzillas and Gameras but before you get to the likes of Goliathon and the various King Kong rip-offs that came out in the 1970s. You know, like A*P*E...

That said, this movie definitely doesn't have the cult appeal of something like Frankenstein Conquers the World. Now THAT'S a kaiju movie.
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Re: What was the last movie you've seen?

by Jake Armitage Thu Nov 22, 2018 4:17 pm

Ack wrote:Image

Asylum

Woo, portmanteau movies! Only horror ever seems to do these. That's a shame, as they're a great way to convey a series of shorts together.

Asylum is one of these films. The framing story features a new doctor going through a job interview at a mental institution where one of the previous doctors went insane. The new doctor has to interview the patients and determine which is the previous doctor. Each patient's story becomes a brief vignette within the film, and while some go heavier on the mental illness angle, there is at least one that is quite inventive.

Of course, the framing story has its own small vignette for the fourth story, and it provides one of the most interesting angles, because it implies that at least some of the other stories could be true. The stories are: 1) A dismembered body attacks a woman, 2) A magic suit that can resurrect the dead brings a mannequin to life, 3) A sick woman believes her friend murdered her sister and nurse, and 4) A doctor believes he can transition his consciousness into a doll. The doll story proves to be shockingly real within the context of the film, which means the magic suit and dismembered body stories might also be real, though story 3 is revealed to definitely be a woman who is hallucinating another person.

The highlights for me were the 1st and 4th story. The 2nd story drags a little bit, though I greatly enjoy that Peter Cushing is in it. It's also a remake of an episode from Boris Karloff's TV show Thriller in the early '60s. I say adaptation, though it technically is an adaptation; the screenwriter, Robert Bloch, was also a writer on that show. Many of Bloch's stories have been turned into famous horror films and shorts, most notably Psycho.

Amicus Productions is the studio that released Asylum, and they did quite a few of these horror anthology movies around the time. In fact, the next picture they released after Asylum? 1972's Tales from the Crypt. If you're a fan of British horror of the era but have spent all your time with Hammer, it's time to move to Amicus.



Dead of Night (1945) by Ealing Studios is worth a look if you like anthology style films. The British cut has 5 vignettes whereas the US cut has only 4.

I just watched a movie called The Domestics - an odd post apocalyptic low budget affair with elements from The Warriors, the Mad Max movies, Vanishing Point and who knows what else. The type of movie that most people will either really like or just dismiss.

A really good companion piece to The Domestics would be The Day (2011) - another low budget post apocalypse effort that is very intense throughout much of the movie.
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Re: What was the last movie you've seen?

by REPO Man Sat Nov 24, 2018 3:10 am

Did I forget to mention that I saw Sleepaway Camp 2 a few weeks ago? I'm pretty sure I did.
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Re: What was the last movie you've seen?

by Jake Armitage Sat Nov 24, 2018 7:27 am

REPO Man wrote:Did I forget to mention that I saw Sleepaway Camp 2 a few weeks ago? I'm pretty sure I did.


I loved the whole series - the ,er, dead pan humor was just outta sight.
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Re: What was the last movie you've seen?

by samsonlonghair Sun Nov 25, 2018 2:23 pm

I caught up on a few modern horror movies lately.

IT (2017 version) I’m usually the typical hipster who thinks that a remake can’t possibly outshine the original. After all, how can we have Pennywise without Tim Curry? I was wrong. The remake of IT is better than the original made-for-tv miniseries. The acting is better, the script is more concise, and the production values reflect a modern theatrical release.

The entire first movie is set in an anachronistic time period that references the pop culture and aids epidemic of 1989 while simultaneously feeling an awful lot like Steven King’s 1960. The kids spend all day playing outside away from their parents on classic, American-made Schwin bicycles. One of the bicycles is named “Silver” after the Lone Ranger’s horse. I’m pretty sure that Ninja Turtles were more popular in 1989 than the Lone Ranger, but what do I know? Anachronisms aside, it feels authentic enough.

Splitting IT into two movies was a wise move. The earlier half is probably the stronger half of the story anyway. Still though, I’m looking forward to seeing part two.
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Re: What was the last movie you've seen?

by Ack Sun Nov 25, 2018 5:03 pm

For the record, in 1989, I was admittedly more into The Lone Ranger than Ninja Turtles. But I was a weird kid.
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Re: What was the last movie you've seen?

by Ack Mon Nov 26, 2018 4:59 pm

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Who Killed Captain Alex?

I've brought up Nollywood a few times here as well as its effect on the cinema of Ghana. But I recently discovered the low-budget cinema of Uganda, and I gotta say, I think I'm in love.

Who Killed Captain Alex? is held up as Uganda's first action movie. The plot focuses on the titular Captain Alex as he leads a team of Ugandan military commandos to take down the Tiger Mafia. Unfortunately, Captain Alex is assassinated halfway through the movie, and while the commandos continue their fight, neither side actually knows who assassinated the movie's hero. Meanwhile, Bruce U, a Kung Fu expert and Captain Alex's brother, wages his own revenge against the Tiger Mafia, who he blames for the death of Captain Alex. Eventually Uganda is placed under martial law as the fighting escalates until Richard, the leader of the Tiger Mafia is captured. But the assassin is never discovered.

Yes, that is a complicated and ridiculous plot. Yes, the movie is on YouTube in its entirety, though its a slightly different version from the original release, and it features both an intro and outro from the director as well as an element of the Ugandan cinematic viewing experience that is both hilarious and a cultural experience. And yes, the acting, special effects, pacing, editing, and cinematography are all sub-par. Yet this movie is spectacular. Why? Because of its heart.

First, this movie was made for around $200. You read that right, an action film was made for $200. For a quick comparison, The Milpitas Monster was a student film from a bunch of high schoolers in the 1970s, and it had a budget of $11,000. So Who Killed Captain Alex? was made for significantly less money than something a bunch of teenagers in America put together over 3 decades earlier. Second, whatever the cast didn't have, they implied with props that they made by hand. One guy sports a bandoleer with small sticks painted and carved to look like bullets. An automatic shotgun was actually two metal pipes and a can welded together. The special effects were done with a green blanket tied to a wall and then added in later on the director's computer that he built from scrap parts.

Above all else, this is a film that the director never expected to be seen out of his village. He made it for himself, his friends, and his neighbors. Hell, the master version of the film had to be deleted simply so he'd have the hard drive space to make a sequel! The only way we are able to see it now is that a special edited version with a Video Joker audio and subtitle track was uploaded to YouTube.

What do I mean by that? Well, Video Jokers (VJs) are a part of the cinematic experience in Uganda; they watch the film with the audience, make jokes about the movie, but also serve to translate the film so that people who speak only one of the roughly 45 languages in Uganda can understand. When a film shows in a village, a VJ will be part of the experience so locals don't miss too much and have a great time. It's like their very own MST3K, and it's an ingenious way to get past the language barrier so that cinema can be an art for all in a country that suffers from heavy poverty and corruption.

That's why I find myself adoring Who Killed Captain Alex?, because it's obviously a labor of love. It also helps that the only version available to view also shows scenes from the production and offers a special thank you at the end from the director for watching. He declares cinema is an art, and while his art is cheap, it is obviously made with energy and love.

Plus, everyone in Uganda knows Kung Fu. Thanks for letting me know, VJ.
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Re: What was the last movie you've seen?

by REPO Man Thu Nov 29, 2018 10:29 am

Recently I rewatched Jesus Christ Superstar.
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Re: What was the last movie you've seen?

by Pulsar_t Mon Dec 10, 2018 9:53 pm

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The Last Winter

Empathy with the land. This we learn in childhood. The land has changed. The biosphere turned; has become unfamiliar and erratic. I would say eventual, but nature is indifferent to us. We fight for our survival, not nature's. There's a fierceness in the world that we never felt before. Something is being unleashed in the softening permafrost. Why do we despise the world that gave us life? Why wouldn't the world survive us, like any organism survives a virus. The world that we grew up in is changed forever. There is no way home. Is there something beyond science that is happening out here? What if the very thing we were here to pull out of the ground were to rise willingly - confront us. What would that look like? What if this is the last winter, before the collapse? And hope dies.


This film worked better as a cautionary tale than horror, plus the weak CG towards the end felt unnecessary, but what's coming to this planet is probably going to be much worse than any horror conjured up by Hollywood. If the leader of the developed world's anecdotal beliefs are anything to go by, it's probably for the best.
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Re: What was the last movie you've seen?

by REPO Man Thu Jan 03, 2019 2:20 pm

Commando Ninja, a decent indie '80s throwback that's free on YouTube. I followed that with rewatched Kung Fury.

And first film of 2019...

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How have I waited so long to see this? I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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