Thursday, February 15, 2018

What I Watched In January

There are, of course, two basic types of Guillermo del Toro films. There is the giant, crowd-pleasing action / horror film (BLADE 2, PACIFIC RIM, HELLBOY) and then there is the thoughtful, creepy, atmospheric horror film (CRONOS, THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE, PAN'S LABYRINTH). The fact that all he really makes are horror films is one of the many things that endears him to me. I will go to my grave wondering what he could have done if allowed to film The Hobbit in the way that he wanted.

As it stands we only get a film from Guillermo once every three years or so, therefore it's best to just bide your time, go to the theater and enjoy yourself. This time out he's in the more serious thoughtful horror film mode which means that the movie centers on a single creature or horrific event and how it affects the people around it. I'll just add my voice to the choir and say that THE SHAPE OF WATER is one of the best films I saw from 2017 and one of del Toro's best films overall. I'm not ashamed to admit that the film hit me on many emotional levels and by the end I was weeping tears of joy. If I had one criticism of the film it's that I feel that our main character played by Sally Hawkins goes a little too quickly from 'Oh my God, it's a monster' to 'I'm intrigued - let's see if I can communicate with it'. But that's a minor problem in a film with so much beauty, so much grace and so much heart.

The List

FROM HELL IT CAME (1957)- 6 (rewatch) (I love this bad film!)
GET OUT (2017)- 9 (rewatch) 
THE SHAPE OF WATER (2017) - 9 
THE GHOST GALLEON (1974) - 5 (rewatch) 
ATTACK OF THE 50 FT. WOMAN (1993) - 5 (interesting remake) 
HOT CARS (1956) - 7 
DALEKS INVASION EARTH 2015 A.D. (1966) - 5 
BRINGING UP BABY (1944) -9 (rewatch) 
MR. MOTO'S GAMBLE (1938) - 5 
THE IRON SWORDSMAN (1949) - 7 (Freda knight tale) 
THE GREEN SLIME (1968) - 7 (rewatch) 
THE MYSTERIOUS RIDER (1948) - 8 (Freda's exciting tale of Casanova) 
JACK THE RIPPER (1959) - 6

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Trailer - MY BLOODY VALENTINE (1981)

I'd love to get in a viewing of this one this week! 

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Diana Rigg - The Definition of 1960's Beauty

Because you can never have enough of her in your life! 

Friday, February 09, 2018

Poster Art From Thailand - Part 2

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

GORATH (1962) - Where Is The Walrus?

Because of the conversation in Bloody Pit # 63 with Steve Sullivan I was persuaded to finally see GORATH (1962). He told me that the Doctor Who story we covered in that episode had a similar plot point to one in this Toho film and I was intrigued. Of course, the plot point he was talking about involves destroying or removing the core of the planet for some strange alien purpose - pure pulp science fiction madness! That turns out to not be exactly what happens in GORATH but it is just as insane and as scientifically implausible / impossible.

It seems GORATH is the name given to a small star or comet detected on the outer edge of our solar system on a collision course with Earth. Although it is only half the physical size of our planet it is 6000 times as dense ( an info tidbit the film beats to death!) so a way must be found to either divert it or get Earth out of its path. The rather innovative idea (and I'm being generous here) that the scientists come up with is to move our planet out of its orbit so as to avoid the collision with the fast approaching comet. That's right. Everyone intelligent person in the world decides that the right path forward is to shove our own planet closer to the Sun. Now, one might pause at the very idea and hold up a hand - perhaps like a petitioner student in a classroom - and point out that they are at least two major problems with this idea.

ONE - any force strong enough to actually divert something the size and mass of a planet from its orbit would be enough force to probably break it apart / destroy it.

TWO - moving the Earth closer to the Sun would completely change not just the weather patterns but the entire climate of the planet in such a way as to pretty much destroy all life on this muddy blue ball.

But hey - this is a Toho science-fiction film from the early 60s primarily aimed at a science fiction loving audience (i. e. kids) so it's best to just go along for the ride, I guess. Unfortunately, going along for the ride with this film was a little more difficult in the version I was watching. All I could find was the slightly shorter English dub version and I have to say the English dubbing does not help this film. Besides belaboring the density of Gorath it's also a very dumbed down translation of things and seems to be oversimplifying both events and relationships. All that would be terrible enough but after watching the film I learned from several friends that there was a giant monster trimmed from the English language version! What the Hell? A Toho SF epic from the 1960's complete with a rampaging giant creature and it was CUT OUT? What in the world were these idiots thinking?

Needless to say I was happy when a kind buddy linked me to the excised footage on YouTube -

- and now I just need to sit down and watch the Japanese version (with subtitles) and discover if the film plays better in it's original form WITH the giant walrus. Why would anyone want to deprive me of seeing a giant walrus destroying a polar base? 

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Poster Art From Thailand - Part 1

Sometimes the images chosen in Thailand to generate interest in a film are much more impressive than elsewhere! 

Friday, February 02, 2018

BATMAN AND HARLEY QUINN (2017) - Animated Film

I've been a big fan of DC's animated features for about 10 years now. I've found each and every one of them to be worth seeing and highly entertaining with the best of the lot being some of the among the most impressive animated superhero tales I've ever seen. Even the occasional misstep (such as inserting a salacious sexual angle into their animated adaptation of THE KILLING JOKE) wasn't enough for me to dislike the film.

So last night I finally caught up with last year's BATMAN AND HARLEY QUINN animated feature and was immediately happy to see that Bruce Timm was involved. Timm is the creator of Harley Quinn from back in the Batman the Animated Series days and to learn he was one of the guiding forces shepherding this tale to this screen made me confident it would be solid work. For my tastes, Mr. Timm could continue doing Batman the Animated Series sequel films like this for the next 40 to 60 years and I would be a happy man.

The first thing I noticed is that the title is a little off. In actuality this is a Batman, Nightwing and Harley Quinn story which for me makes it even more interesting. Continuing the dynamic from the animated series between Batman and the first Robin now grown into his 20s as Nightwing adds a large amount of fun to those already established characterizations that I really enjoyed revisiting. The humor in the story is well handled for the most part, with only the fart joke being out of place.

The choice of villains was well done as well with Poison Ivy and Jason Woodrow a.k.a. The Fluoronic Man working to turn the world into a planet inhabited only by plants. This eventually involves Swamp Thing but not the Swamp Thing most fans might be used to seeing. This is the Earth Elemental Swampy more concerned with communing with the Parliament of Trees than the mucky protector of the innocent forest travelers.

The PG-13 nature of things allows for some stronger than average language and an amusing (and inevitable) sexual encounter between Dick Grayson and Harley. Her comments about this lustful connection stimulate several memorable, very funny lines. And stick around through the credits to learn how a semi-reformed Harley will earn her place in society going forward.