Showing posts with label interaction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label interaction. Show all posts

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Watch Party Watch: Highlander (1986)




Watched:  07/23/2021
Format:  Amazon Prime Watch Party
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1980's
Director: Russell Mulcahy


I hadn't watched The Highlander (1986) in years.  It was a movie I saw on VHS as a kid, loved it, and include it's mythology and catch-phrases as part of my Gen-X slang.  I mean, it did give us the phrase "there can be only one", which I think has leaked out into the popular consciousness, even if lots of folks don't know where the phrase came from.

But like The Beastmaster, The Highlander was part of the lingua franca of geek culture for Gen-X nerds.  It had a not-particularly charismatic lead, Connery chewing schenery, a woman throwing herself at the lead for absolutely no reason (and against all logic), swords, trenchcoats, a crazy-ass villain in the form of Clancy Brown as a mad Cossack, and a soundtrack by mid-80's Queen.

And sparks.  So many sparks.

Going in, I knew the movie wouldn't be what I remembered when I was 12, even if the movie was exactly what I remembered from when I was 12.  It's.... fine.  A little slim in the character department in favor of the plot and exposition departments.  And it's also a funny movie because it does feel like it should be the first installment in a series until you think about the plot and realize "nope, this is it."  Not that movie didn't generate three sequels and a TV show.  

I will never understand the idea behind casting Christopher Lambert as a Scotsman.  I will never understand casting Sean Connery as an Egyptian Spaniard.  And yet, I support both.  It's absurd.  And somehow just part of the fabric of the movie.  

I do like how the movie merges present with flashbacks to tell the story - this was not particularly common to sci-fi or fantasy at the time, and trying to imagine someone explaining all of this in realtime in the present would have been deadly.  Clancy Brown makes a hell of an impression as a badguy who has flipped his lid - maybe not new to cop thrillers by 1986, but new to fantasy.  And the bit with the girl MacCloud saved during WWII who is still with him is a brilliant little touch, even if she should have been introduced earlier and their relationship clarified.  I mean, there's a whole movie in that somewhere.

But it's also not something I think anyone should take particularly seriously.  Connery sets the right tone - this is crazy, and we should enjoy it.  The ending is telegraphed nonsense, but still fun.  

Now we'd be treated to someone's plans for a franchise, with massive world building and a wide array of characters.  Here, we get... four Immortals in the modern era?  And no women at that?  (So 1980's).  So I do appreciate that it's both semi-thoughtful, but smart enough to just tell the story and get out.  

Anyway. Highlander.  


Thursday, July 22, 2021

Friday Watch Party: Highlander - Friday night!




There can be only one movie where a Frenchman plays a Scotsman and a Scotsman plays a Spaniard and an American plays a Cossack.  And no one cares!

It's the 1980's fantasy favorite all the nerds loved back in the 1990's til the sequel came out and made it all seem ridiculous.  But the original is pretty good, has three great leads and music by Queen.  So...

Don't lose your head!  We're doing it 

Day:  Friday 07/23
Time:  9:00 Central/ 7:00 Pacific




Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Watch Party Watch: The Creeping Flesh (1973)




Watched:  07/12/2021
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1970's
Director:  Freddie Francis

I had no expectations whatsoever of this film, but figured it might be okay as it co-starred Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee.  Anyway, The Creeping Flesh (1973) is not a Hammer Horror film, but feels like a sister film to The Horror Express.  

Why, Signal Watch? you may ask.  Well, dear reader, this movie is about bringing the remains of an unknown being from New Guinea into someone's house and then shit gets weird/ scary.  That movie is about a scientist moving the remains of an unknown being from China to Europe via the Trans-Siberian Express and, in transit, shit gets weird/ scary.  

This one has a very different take - possibly including a form of evil that's a literal virus with very pronounced flagella.  Also, a crazy daughter.   Add in Lee as an amoral scientist/ custodian of an insane asylum, and a frazzled Cushing as a gentleman scientist, and...  there's nothing not to like.  

Monday, June 28, 2021

Watch Party Watch: From Justin to Kelly (2003)




Watched:  06/25/2021
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  First full and complete watch of the movie
Decade:  the worst of the 00's
Director:  Robert Iscove

what to say...?

Well, here is what I had to say about the movie before we watched it, having had once caught a good part of it on cable.  Maybe all of it.  I can't remember.

Back around 2002, a show debuted on American television that would introduce the nation to its first not-pleasant gameshow personality, Simon Cowell. That show was American Idol, a program which has left a string of forgettable personalities and the occasional dead body.
 
The two finalists of the first season got recording deals, and a movie. Why a movie? When you're plucking nobodies from nowheresville who were the third best singer in their high school choir and live in their parents' basement? I have no idea. But the end result will also have you saying: what the @#$% is this @#$%ing movie?

That @#$%ing movie is From Justin to Kelly (2003), a singularly terrible film-like-thing that manages to be bad in a way that is hard to describe/ quantify/ explain. It sets its bar as low as any fradulent cash-in, and yet, somehow, manages to dig below that bar and far into the Earth's mantle.

It's a musical! It's a horny college spring break film! It's shot entirely through filters! It's not even trying to hide the fact these people can't act. It has a script seemingly drafted by a man who is probably estranged from his adult children, but who still likes to hang out in places young women frequent so he can comment upon them to young males, like he's one of them, making the young men very uncomfortable.

Because no one ever leaves showbiz, Justin is now "Lil Sweet" in Diet Dr. Pepper Commercials, and somehow Kelly Clarkson simply continues to insist on being an incredibly successful fixture for people with tastes best described as "very basic".

All of this is true.

Friday, June 25, 2021

FRIDAY WATCH PARTY - "From Justin to Kelly"




Back around 2002, a show debuted on American television that would introduce the nation to its first not-pleasant gameshow personality, Simon Cowell.  That show was American Idol, a program which has left a string of forgettable personalities and the occasional dead body.  

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Horror Watch Party: Burnt Offerings (1976)




Watched:  06/01/2021
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1970's
Director:  Dan Curtis

I liked this one!  A haunted house movie filmed in the country house I'm familiar with from A View to a Kill.  But Burnt Offerings is in the mode of haunted house film I quite like, from The Haunting to The Shining.  But maybe a lot more indirect than those films?

The cast is small, but contains Burgess Meredith (briefly), Bette Davis, Karen Black, Oliver Reed and Anthony James.  Also, the kid who grew up to become Jeff in Girls Just Want to Have Fun.  

I have also realized talking about the movie any more will spoil it, so I'm gonna shut up.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Watch Party Watch: The Apple (1980) - @#$% this movie




Watched:  05/07/2021
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  First (and last)
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Menahem Golan

Well, I've now seen The Apple (1980), the sci-fi, near-future dystopian musical religious and political allegory.  And while watching, this is roughly how I felt:

Friday, May 7, 2021

Friday Night Watch Party - The Apple


We are going out on a high note!  By going for the lowest note.  Universally reviled, and from what I've seen, this looks truly, truly terrible - we're watching this sci-fi musical whatever it is.  

Anyway, this if the final Friday, so join us in the dark future of 1994 for a rock'n'roll fantasy that is sure to, uh... anyway.  It's a movie! 

Day:  05/07/2021
Time:  8:30 Central



Monday, May 3, 2021

Watch Party Watch: Teen Witch (1989)




Watched:  04/30/2021
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  Second
Decade:  1980's
Director:  I don't care


We're wrapping up our Friday Night Watch Parties this coming week, and maybe that's all for the best.  For - I may never top Teen Witch (1989) as an offering.  It's all downhill from here.  

It's one thing when people make a movie and try and it doesn't live up to expectations.  It's another when you can tell someone was pushing out garbage to take advantage of a place in the market and literally seemed to not care how the movie turned out.  And that's being generous, because the alternative with Teen Witch is to accept that adults made this film and this was their moonshot, and then we have to wonder: do you know how movies work?

Friday, April 30, 2021

Friday Night Movie: Teen Witch




Announcement:  

We'll be wrapping up Signal Watch curated Friday films soon - at least in a "you can expect Ryan to organize this every week" mode.  I will do a movie this week and next week.  After that, in the future, we'll do it again from time to time, maybe even monthly, but not every week.  Certainly we'll be back for Christmas and Halloween.

Keep your eyes on twitter or this blog.

I genuinely appreciate the Friday night movie club and y'all trusting me to curate a collection of often terrible, terrible films.  Y'all have gotten me through a really, honestly, difficult year, and I can't thank you enough.  I hope it's helped.

As the world re-opens and things shift around a bit, I kinda need to reclaim my evening time - even Friday evenings.  (I used to go to the gym!  I used to leave the house! I think we can all envision a world where these things can happen again!)  

SO, let's try and go out with some high quality films.

THIS WEEK:

A movie that always makes me think "I bet Heather would unconvincingly defend this movie", it's Teen Witch!  

What if a sort of unpopular girl who was picked on by teachers found out she had amazing magical powers and DIDN'T use them to burn prom to the ground - but instead made her friend rap?  Casually bent the laws of time and space and obliterated free will in others?

That's THIS movie.

(see, how much will you really miss me doing this to you?)


Day:  Friday  04/30/2021
Time:  8:30 Central


Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Watch Party Watch: Voodoo Woman (1957)




Watched:  04/26/2021
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1950's
Director:  Edward L. Cahn

So, Voodoo Woman (1957) is a low-budget picture released through API that's more or less a jungle horror adventure aimed at teens, I think.  

The plot gives us the ruthless Marilyn (Marla English) who wants GOLD in the jungle, I think.  Anyway, she dupes a local barkeep into funding her as she talks her would-be boyfriend (Lance Fuller) into going out there, along with a hired guide/ tough guy (Touch Connors).  But - whoops - they're headed for a village where voodoo magic is melding with mad science as colonialist scientician Dr. Roland Gerard (Tom Conway) is working with local tribes people who perform voodoo to (a) prove you can transform a person into a sort of Voodoo Monster, and (b) use science to keep them in that state.

I won't bother you with more details.  It's a movie that is rigidly against more than three set-ups per scene, doesn't make much sense, but has both an AMAZING monster suit for the titular Voodoo Woman and Marla English is terrific as the scheming evil-lady at the center of the picture.  

Go in expecting a movie-serial-level production and you'll be fine!  

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Watch Party Watch: Crawl (2019)




Watched:  04/23/2021
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  second!
Decade:  2010's
Director:  Alexandre Aja

This is the second time I saw this.  It was a good movie for a crowd with lots of go-to jokes about injuries minor and fatal.

SimonUK and I discussed my love of movies about animals eating people on a prior podcast about Crawl.  


Friday, April 23, 2021

Watch Party Watch: Yog - Monster from Space/ The Space Amoeba (1970)




Watched:  04/19/2021
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1970's
Director:  Ishirō Honda

This movie is not about an amoeba from space.  

I don't remember anyone calling the thing that does show up "Yog".  

It is about a sort of pile of glowing animated dots from space.  But that's not really an amoeba, is it, movie?

The blob of lights keeps infesting local beach creatures which turns them into rampaging kaiju, which creates a hard time for our friends who want to build a hotel on a remote island.  

Anyway, it's a lot of quality nonsense.  

Friday Night Watch Party: Crawl (2019) - let's watch alligators do what alligators do!



Well, we're back on the "let's watch animals eat people" thing, but a much newer movie!  And in Florida!

Let's watch people be somewhere they shouldn't and alligators looking at it as a buffet.

Day:  Friday - 04/23/2021
Time:  8:30 PM



(I believe you can actually hear Barry Pepper yell "My leg!" in the trailer around 1:04)

Friday, April 16, 2021

Friday Watch Party: Beautician and the Beast


Fran-Mania Friday!

Join us as we celebrate Fran Drescher taking her successful TV concept and doing basically the same thing as a movie.  I assume.  I've not seen this movie.  But I'm a late-arriving fan of The Nanny, and so why wouldn't this be just as good?  It's got Timothy Dalton, and I love that guy.

So, let's hope this movie is pretty good!  Even without CC, Niles, Maxwell, Sylvia, Yetta, Val and the kids.  Let's hope a repressive dictator is just as funny.

Day:  04/16/2021
Time:  8:30 Central

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Noir Watch Party: The Blue Gardenia (1953)




Watched:  04/13/2021
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  Second
Decade:  1950's
Director:  Fritz Lang

We'd watched The Blue Gardenia (1953) some time back, and this time I'm inclined to be kinder to the film.  It's still not my favorite, but with Anne Baxter, Ann Sothern, Richard Conte and Raymond Burr and Fritz Lang directing, you kind of expect a bit more.

Anne Baxter gets a Dear Jane letter from her solider-boy boyfriend who has met a nurse overseas, and tells her he's getting married.  She does as anyone might do, receives a call for her roommate (Ann Sothern) looking for a date, takes up the fellow on it, and meets up with Raymond Burr.  Because it's 1953, Burr is not a nice guy, and he gets Baxter drunk and takes her back to his place to take advantage of her.  

Baxter wakes up at home, unsure of what happened, but she's left her shoes at Burr's apartment, which is embarrassing enough, but also: he's been killed with a fire poker.  So.  She seems to have totally murdered a dude and left her shoes behind.

Conte plays a local reporter - a social crusading type in search of headlines, and he begins the search for the woman they dub "The Blue Gardenia".

Fritz Lang wasn't one to shy away from a good thriller, of course, and this film puts the audience in the curious spot of identifying with a woman who just killed someone, with pretty good reason, but by social mores of the 1950's - if she's arrested, who knows?  Could be the gas chamber.  And if she's acquitted for self-protection?  One can assume she'd be "ruined" by attacks on her character for having made the terrible decision to cozy up to Raymond Burr.  The film doesn't explicitly say anything about a woman's place in society in 1953, but it's not hard to understand what the assumed rules are, and how Lang and the writers used those notions to build a better mousetrap for our protagonist.  As the audience, we know it's unjust, but...

Unfortunately, Conte is written as a bit of a dingbat, apparently buying a whole lot of "I have a friend who may have done a thing" storytelling, that I'd assume anyone as old as 14 would recognize as "and I assume this friend is you?"  But it's not how it's played off.  

The movie generally *looks* great, with Nicholas Musuraca listed as Cinematographer, and who had plenty of prior experience he brought to bear in this film.  

Again, the movie is fine - it just wasn't one I'd had any particular penchant for the first time I saw it, and that was more or less how I felt on round 2.


Sunday, April 11, 2021

Watch Party Watch: Danger Diabolik (1968)




Watched 04/09/2021
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1960's
Director:  Bava

I mean, man, you had to be there

Friday, April 9, 2021

Watch Party This Friday - It's Gonna Cost Something - Danger Diabolik (1968)




Next Monday is my b-day, so I'm picking a movie for this Friday with no consideration for others, and all of y'all can deal with it.  

But I am a fair and just ruler of the Friday Watch Party, so I wanted to let people know in advance - it will cost a few bucks.  One does not simply stream Danger: Diabolik for no extra cost on Amazon Prime.  So, get your moneys together.

If you've not seen Danger: Diabolik, it's more or less the story of a super-villain in a world with no super-heroes.  So, it's just a whacked out dude with a secret HQ and a costume tearing shit up for about 100 minutes, and to a goofy score that will lodge in your head forever.

Directed by Mario Bava, and filmed in Europe doubling as maybe America? it's a super funky answer to the super spy craze and seems like something Amazon should be developing as a show.

Day:  04/09/2021
Time:  8:30 Central
Where:  Amazon Prime Watch Party




Sunday, April 4, 2021

Watch Party Watch: They Came From Beyond Space (1967)




Watched:  03/30/2021
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1960's
Director:  Freddie Francis


Meteors fall to Earth, specifically Britain.  Scientists are dispatched to check them out - minus an American who just happens to mention having a silver plate in his skull.  I *think* the story is that alien brain waves were living inside the rocks?  Anyway, the alien psychic waves transfer over to the brains of the science team and build a little fort from which they begin shuttling people to the moon to make more brain transfers with more aliens.  And there's a plague?

I fell asleep for part of this movie, but not much, and it's been a week, but I can't really piece it all back together.  I do know the heroes wind up wearing goofy helmets and going to the moon where a badly made-up Michael Gough awaits them (wearing a robe, because: alien).  

I can't recommend the movie as "good", I can recommend it as "this is whackadoodle".   It's Jenifer's selection from last week, so here's her words on the topic.

I will say - the poster promises something the movie absolutely refuses to deliver upon, but I have heard Amicus and Hammer both made the posters first to get financing, and then made the movies.  And, somewhere along the way, whatever they had in their heads about folks with sleek helmets, catsuits and space ray flamethrowers got turned into this.



Amazon Watch Party Watch: Piranha (1978)




Watched:  04/02/2021
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1970's
Director:  Joe Dante

You can't discuss Piranha (1978) without pointing out that it's the first film by director Joe Dante- and is already very Joe Dante.  And that it's also written by indie film director and writer John Sayles.  

Here in Central Texas, we also always mention "you know, they filmed this partially around San Marcos".  But I didn't know the final bit occurred at now-defunct water park Aquarena Springs, which was a feature of summer-time-life for the strip between Austin and San Antonio along I-35 for decades, and then - somewhat inexplicably, went belly up while I was in college as parents decided it was no longer hip, I guess.

But, yeah, the movie is about a skip tracer looking for some kids who went missing (the young lady who played Louisa in Sound of Music), and who winds up pairing up with an alcoholic to learn a mad scientist has been breeding particularly nasty fish in a tank near his house.  And, whoops, he and Louisa accidentally release them into the local river that people live on, contains summer camps, etc...

And, of course, this being a horror movie, things go poorly.  

The movie includes Kevin McCarthy, Keenan Wynn, Dick Miller, Paul Bartel, and for some reason, Barbara Steele.

Anyway, it's a lot of fun, the fish make buzz-saw/ bee sounds, and you see some pre-80's Texas.  

Here's a link to a trailer for a doc on Aquarena Springs, and they kinda talk about Ralph the Swimming Pig, which was something I desperately wanted to see in 4th grade, but didn't see til 7th.  You know what?  It lived up to the hype.