Thursday, May 14, 2020
Watched: I actually am not sure. Roughly 05/05/2020
Director: Ron Howard
I don't remember seeing Cocoon (1985) after about 1989 or so, but it was a surprise how much of the movie stayed with me on a rewatch. It's also amazing to think that this sort of thing, which was a huge hit when it came out, would now be pitched as a stunt or aimed only at the Boomer crowd (and would certainly be derided as a fantasy meant to hurt Millennials somehow).
Tuesday, May 12, 2020
Format: Criterion BluRay
Viewing: First all the way through
Director: Jun Fukuda
We're in that part of the Showa era of Godzilla where it's kinda for kids and every once in a while there's a bunch of samurai blood shooting out of a kaiju. Godzilla v Gigan (1972) features about 30 minutes of WWE-style monster fighting at the end of the movie, so it's light on plot and eager to deliver what you paid to see.
Format: Criterion BluRay
Viewing: First as an adult
Director: Jun Fukuda
This movie is straight nonsense.
That's not exactly a criticism, but it is remarkable how, in a short couple of decades, Godzilla went from "manifestation of faults and failures of a nation coming back in the form of an unstoppable behemoth" to "giant friend to the children who likes a good bit of wrasslin' with other giant monsters". As I said elsewhere, any time you see one of these movies and it stars a kid in shorts and a long-sleeve shirt, you know you're often getting a particular flavor of Godzilla that is knowingly goofy.
Monday, May 11, 2020
Director: Boris Sagal
More Ways To Listen
We're in quarantine, and there's one sci-fi movie that's been on our minds. Join us as we talk about being the last man on Earth! At least the last sane man on Earth. Except for those other people out there living in the 'burbs. Anyway, it'd be nice to just drive cars off the lot without having to haggle.
The Omega Man Theme - Ron Grainer
What a career this guy had. If you're going to set out to be a comedic actor, you can't do much better than the lifetime of work Jerry Stiller turned into gold. I can't begin to count the number of times he made me laugh til I cried.
Heck, I watched TV shows I had no real interest in just to see him. But he also popped up in one of the best movies of the 70's, Taking of Pelham One Two Three.
We'll miss you, sir.
Every once in a while you read a comic that you know is just going to stick with you for a long, long time.
Novelist Neil Gaiman of course broke into the public consciousness through Sandman, the perennially popular comic series that, frankly, got me back into comics when I'd wandered off to spend my money elsewhere. What we don't talk about nearly enough is that, in addition to Gaiman's scripts and plots, he was paired with some of the finest artists to grace the business (you can thank editor Karen Berger), among them Colleen Doran.
Format: Tweet-a-long on Amazon Prime
Director: Tonjia Atomic
I don't know. I don't know what I expected.
Somehow a return to "Manos"- The Hands of Fate, the 1966 zero-budget horror indie out of El Paso, TX, which had neither synced sound nor coherent narrative, and arrived in 2018'ish as a shot-on-video-but-not-great-video and featured simply too much dialog - was kinda just right.
Manos Returns (2018) features - and I want to get this out there, because I missed this prior to watching - the original actor who played The Master and the former little girl who played Debbie, now a grown lady-person still playing Debbie! Take that, David Lynch and your 25 years later!
Much like the original, I don't understand the movie or what it is trying to do. At times it seems like it wants to be a parody, and at other times, a straight sequel with some enhancements thanks to the power of video editing. There's genuinely more story to this movie, but with similar outcomes. And more red bras. Lots of red bras.
I dunno. I didn't *not* enjoy seeing the movie, and it is definitely a worthy successor to Manos, whatever that means. But, you know, beware something striving to be a sequel to Manos.
BTW - seeing this also told me there's a mini-market of Manos ancillary media being produced. Debbie is going on to make a TV series, there's a Rise of Torgo movie out there, too. And seemingly other things. Anyway, proceed with due caution.
Saturday, May 9, 2020
Format: Noir Alley on TCM on DVR
Director: Otto Preminger
This movie sort of felt like it was all over the place, or like parts of a few movies crammed together and held together by the twin powers of Dana Andrews and Linda Darnell. Which is a shame, because Alice Faye, with whom I am not familiar, is good in this movie as well, but her plotline feels like it's sliced and diced til it leaves what looks like an interesting role as a sort of bystander on the sideline of her own story.
Is it a Nightmare Alley look at carnival people and illusion? Is it a Postman Always Rings Twice story of a girl stuck in a rut of her own making and wanting out, making a sap of a guy to do so? It is a small town drama about spinsters and a travelling huckster? It's got all of these elements, and you can see the lines where the stories are fused, but it does stick together.
Wednesday, May 6, 2020
God help us, we're going back for more.
- Movie: Manos Returns
- Day: Friday May 8th
- Time: 8:30 Central
- Place to watch: Streaming on Amazon Prime
- hashtag: #manosdos
Start at: 00:00:08 - you'll see a lady with blonde hair and her eyes closed. Just pause there. We'll say "GO" with the #manosdos hashtag when we're all set.
Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966) is widely considered one of the worst films of all time.
Accordingly, I have seen Manos at least six times - at least once as part of an Elvira episode, along with Mystery Science Theater 3000, live broadcast with RiffTrax and at least once just by itself.
It's the kind of bad that leaves you feeling queasy and weird at the end of the movie, like you just listened to a madman rant for 90 minutes or accidentally drank some laudanum and are just coming back around.
I'm not a Masters-Level viewer of bad cinema, but I get around. This movie, Monster a Go-Go, Birdemic and a handful of others were so bad, so inept in every facet of their production that they take on a quality of surreal outsider art. There's no accounting for what went so incredibly wrong, but you have to admire that someone finished the thing and then said "yeah, the world needs to see this."
If you haven't seen Manos: The Hands of Fate and you've never heard of it, you move in better circles than I do, I guess. If you haven't seen it and *have* heard of it - well, you're a goddamn coward.
I had planned to never rewatch Manos: The Hands of Fate in this lifetime or any other, and God willing, I will never sit down and re-watch the movie.
In the mid-2010's, some intrepid film fans decided Manos could and would not rest easy.
This Friday, we're watching the sequel. I know nothing about it. Here's to embracing the lovecraftian madness waiting on the other side.
I'd tell you that you need to watch the original, but (a) if you haven;t by now, you won't, (b) I doubt it's useful and (c) I can only punish you people so much.
Here's the original trailer, anyway
Monday, May 4, 2020
Director: Masaaki Tezuka
This movie kind of kicked ass.
Sure, it's from the Millennium Series which is kind of confusing as the movies don't work in any shared continuity, but since we learn "all you need to know is Gojira from 1954", it's pretty dang easy to play catch-up.
Here's your plot: 1999, a series of monsters have been arriving in/ attacking Japan since Godzilla's first arrival in 1954. A squad has been put together with advanced weaponry to take these monsters on, and has been pretty successful to date. No more rampages like those of '54 (Toho also uses footage from Showa-era films as "documentary" footage).
But, whoops. Here's a Godzilla again, with atomic breath and a terrible attitude about people.