Sunday, January 30, 2011

Shoot The Piano Player: A Good One #15

A piano player in a dive bar is visited by his brother who is trying to elude a couple of criminals. This brief encounter with his family forces the piano player to revisit his past, only now the criminals are after him. A lovely, sad and thoughtful film with excellent performances and cinematography. I found it to be a profound examination of time and the inevitable repetition of history. Classified as a thriller, it's more fitting to call it a noirish drama from the French New Wave. On Netflix Instant Streaming.

The Mystery Of The 13th Guest: Terrible Movies #51

The film opens with a young woman taking a taxi to a haunted house. There's plenty of furniture covered in sheets, light fixtures covered in cobwebs, a will is read, the number 13 is thrown around liberally, and someone ends up dead. Gumshoes stand around and say stuff like, "And it was moiduh!", pratfalls and double takes are in abundance, and if you think it seems very Abbott and Costello, you'd be right, except Abbott and Costello were known to be funny every once in a while. Cliched, corny and painful. On Netflix Instant Streaming.

Feed The Fish: A Good One #14

A childrens' book author with writer's block travels to Wisconsin to take a Polar Bear Plunge. Good acting, likable characters and nice cinematography manages to keep this indie romantic comedy from being merely average, however the overall vibe of scrambling quirkiness verges on the desperate. On Netflix Instant Streaming.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Under the weather...

Sorry, feeling flu-ish. Ten minutes just to type this, so if you're expecting me to actually watch 2-4 movies a day and bitch about it, you're asking a bit much my friend.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Apple: Terrible Movies #50

A boy and girl with an acoustic guitar from Moosejaw, Canada in the futuristic and glittery period of time known as 1994 enter a song contest; but they don't win because they don't have 30 dancers flailing behind them, don't play see-thru keytars, don't wear silver pants, don't wear golden helmets, or have sparkly eyebrow adornments. There's a lot of Biblical allusions and everyone spontaneously sings and dances in unison in an awkward, tone-deaf and ham-fisted kind of way. It's sort of like what would happen if Jesus Christ Superstar and Grease were hijacked by Starland Vocal Band after they rummaged through Patti Labelle's closet. Tuneless, excessive, outlandish and has way too many tap dancers and feather boas for its own good. On Netflix Instant Streaming.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Arena: Terrible Movies #49

Monsters and robots wrestle, only they look like a Muppet jumble sale of old Fozzie bear heads and beat-up pots and pans. A human is going to enter the competition for the first time in either 50 or 1000 years, but the script is somewhat vague on that. It's a lot like Rocky, if Rocky fought a huge drooling bug creature with 6 arms and pincers. It's also like Star Wars, only with a lot more musical numbers, one of which directly rips off Leia's hologram scene. Sadly, this movie is not like those movies because this movie sucks. On Netflix Instant Streaming.

The Eye Creatures: Terrible Movies #48

There's a UFO, and some teenagers run something over that looks like this:

only it looks even dumber than this and has more than one eye. Avoid. On Netflix Instant Streaming.

Journey To The Seventh Planet: Terrible Movies #47

A narrator says ridiculous things about how way in the future, like 2001, man will no longer be warlike and his only thirst will be for knowledge. Yeah, right. Anyway, a booster rocket flies past Saturn a couple of times on it's way to Uranus (everyone goes to great lengths in the film to not pronounce it "your anus"), then lands on it (which is just a rocket launch run in reverse to simulate a landing). This seems incredibly unlikely, but that's ok. So all the dudes on board the rocket jump out, and they don't need space suits because apparently they've either landed on Oregon or possibly a Christmas tree lot. A golden light hypnotizes them, and then there's space chicks, and then there's a one-eyed monster that looks like it's made out of old burlap and carpet remnants. It's a lot like Contact, sort of, if it was written by someone who doesn't know a lot about space and doesn't like you very much. On Netflix Instant Streaming.

The Thomas Beale Cipher: A Good One #13


The Thomas Beale Cipher from Andrew S Allen on Vimeo.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Arrival Of A Train: A Good One #12

It's exactly what the title promises. 2 minutes of footage shot by the Lumieres from 1899 of a train arriving and the passengers leaving it. Everyone has on the same coat, hat, and late-19th century facial hair. Fascinating. I watched it here:

UFO: Terrible Movies #46

The most up-to-date UFO information from 1956. Lots of shots of pilots and generals talking about lights in the sky. Partially scripted. Mind-numbingly boring. On Netflix Instant Streaming.

My Son The Vampire: Terrible Movies #45

A creaky vaudevillian film with Bela Lugosi doing that thing he always does. There's a song and dance number, and the lead ends up face-down in a barrel filled with flour. Every minute is agonizing. On Netflix Instant Streaming.

Flawless: Terrible Movie #44

Shrill stereotypes abound in this comedy-drama directed by Joel Schumacher. A strong performance by Phillip Seymour Hoffman doesn't save it. In the end, everyone learns a valuable lesson. On Netflix Instant Streaming.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Gor: Terrible Movies #43

It's beige. Very, very beige. On Netflix Instant Streaming.

Killers Three: Terrible Movie #42

It must be tough either being dick clark or working with dick clark. He is The World's Oldest Teenager and all, so I guess dick clark's typecast now, and that's why he hasn't been in more movies. Now, you're probably saying to yourself, why didn't he capitalize dick clark? Well, apparently, dick clark has his own font. And when your name shows up the the credits of the film you're starring in more than 5 or 10 times, well, I guess you're calling all the shots and you can now go around all high falutin' with a hit-or-miss southern accent and a dodgy mustache and not have your name in capital letters. Merle Haggard is in the movie, in fact, he plays a guitar and sits on a porch swing, and he doesn't get his own font. Mike Curb is also mentioned in the credits, and he doesn't get his own font. So I can imagine how that meeting went..."I'm freakin' dick freakin' clark, and all these nobodies need to be in that western style font, and I need my own font, and don't capitalize my name. Got it? And I need all brown M&Ms in my trailer". Anyway, so this movie's all about moonshinin' I guess, and dreaming about going to California, and driving old cars along red dirt roads real fast, and shootin' up the place. I'm not sure about moonshinin' protocol and communicating memos to your employees, but when you have 6 hand grenades nailed to a tree, do you need a large cardboard sign that says "For Emergencies Only"? I think that goes without saying, really. So, banjos are plucked, and slide guitars are strummed, and Merle Haggard's songs play throughout, and dick clark paddles a canoe, and this movie seriously never wants to end. Maudlin, slow-paced and an Appalachian nightmare. On Netflix Instant Streaming.

Zontar: The Thing from Venus: Terrible Movie #41

People in lab coats flip switches and twist knobs in a lame attempt to look scientific. An inflatable "UFO" dangles from a string in "space". Zontar miraculously lands his "satellite" in a cave, but you don't get to see that happen. There's stock footage of people working on a construction site of some sort, and trains coming and going, and people screaming and running, but you're never really sure why. Some guy in a suit talks to equipment stashed in a closet, and you're supposed to believe he's communicating with Zontar, but I don't think he knows how to work that equipment he built very well. Suddenly, people and generals are attacked by a lobster with wings dangling from a string, but it isn't very convincing. Then no one can start their cars or run their faucet, and it's all just awful. If you liked Curse Of The Swamp Creature (and Lord help you if you did), this was directed by the same guy. On Netflix Instant Streaming.

Day Of The Nightmare: Terrible Movies #40

A woman wearing sunglasses, lace gloves, and a huge hounds-tooth coat lurks and stalks another woman while tiptoeing through brush and spying through trees, because it's common knowledge amongst stalkers that that's the proper attire for such a thing and no one will ever notice you. People then drive cars, take buses, watch TV, and not much else happens. Then there's a fight, and a man drags a body-sized trunk to his station wagon, drives that around a while, and stashes it in his garage. Not much else happens after that. This would've been quite a thriller if something thrilling ever happened, filled with Hitchcockian suspense if expertly done and featured any suspense whatsoever, and could have had a twist ending if you hadn't seen it coming withing the first ten minutes. Awful. On Netflix Instant Streaming.

Dark Portals: The Chronicles Of Vidocq: Terrible Movies #40

Gerard Depardieu battles a villain in a golden helmet to Carl Orff's Carmina Burana in France just before the Revolution. Claustrophobic and frenetically shot on digital video with almost no sense of negative space, and directed by Pitof (Golden Raspberry winning director of Catwoman). The camera swoops, dives, twists and turns as if on a gyroscope. Meticulously CGI'd and art directed within an inch of its life, and every shot is crammed full of something. When the camera isn't artfully shooting through wagon wheels or swooping down from the ceiling or hovering mere inches from cobblestones, you get extreme closeups where you can count nostril hairs. No take lasts more than 15 seconds, and there's almost no room to breathe. Nonsensical. If you insist on watching, it's on Netflix Instant Streaming, but you should dose up on Dramamine first.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Mr. Hercules Against Karate: Terrible Movie #39

Girder slapstick. Petroleum based environmental disaster related slapstick. Sad muted trumpet. Bar-fight at Wang's Pub featuring 9 foot bologna sandwich slapstick. Airplane staircase dragged by suspenders slapstick. Rickshaw slapstick. Spontaneous ferryboat kung- fu. Spontaneous boiler room kung-fu with slide whistle. Drumstick/chopstick slapstick. Junky kung-fu aboard multiple junks. Features schizophrenic elevator/supermarket music and jazz flute. Features dialogue like, "A certain Wang brought us to Hong Kong.", "Hung Lo receives no visitors.", and "Hurray for USA al dente!". Also has terrible rear projection effects and a restaurant kissing scene where the camera bumps into a hanging lantern. Incredibly dumb. On Netflix Instant Streaming.

Slaughter Of The Vampires: Terrible Movie #38

It starts promising enough. An angry, torch-wielding mob of villagers hunts down a female vampire and stake her to death while she screams hysterically. Terrible dubbing and stilted dialogue follows. Almost a complete Dracula rip-off; it still has good atmosphere, creepy corridors, long shadows, theremin, and plunging nightgowns. Watch it with the sound down. On Netflix Instant Streaming.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Dinosaurus!: Terrible Movie #37

A Caribbean adventure (you can tell because all the extras wear Hawaiian shirts) filmed in Cinemascope where 1,000,000 year old dinosaurs are discovered frozen at the bottom of the ocean (or aquarium if you can't suspend disbelief) which are then accidentally revived via lightning storm. It could happen. Anyway, stagey dialogue follows, and a child actor shouts all his lines. Cruddy rear projection effects, wobbly split screen effects, Harryhausen-esque stop motion animation are all used poorly. Science is completely abandoned. A mercifully brief Duck Soup-like mirror scene with a caveman and an axe occurs, and this film is no Duck Soup. Moments later, the caveman throws a pie in someone's face. It could happen. On Netflix Instant Streaming.

A Touch Of Greatness: A Good One #11

An excellent documentary about a teacher from Rye, New York who taught children with the crazy idea you should creatively present challenging subject matter to kids. Features jaw-dropping footage of elementary school aged children performing Sophocles as if they were being filmed by Ingmar Bergman (actually, they were filmed by Robert Downey, Sr.). Why isn't this form of teaching more widespread? On Netflix Instant Streaming.

The Day The Earth Froze: Terrible Movie #36

Narration opens the film over idyllic shots of goats in a field, trees being felled, and a dude standing on a log who rides it down rushing rapids. Squirrels gambol and birds flit about on a tree branch. Villagers in long white beards stand around looking like a Santa Claus convention. Some chick in a headband is captured by a witch, so of course some dudes need to go rescue her. The witch is pretty kick ass, and the movie suffers when she's not around, but that's generally the way it is with villains in movies. There's fire and brimstone, and various spells are cast, usually involving some really long Finnish words they don't explain thoroughly. Some imaginative special effects are used, like when a road turns into a gigantic man, or when the witch steals the sun; but overall the film is overwrought and impenetrable like a Finnish J.R.R. Tolkein novel. On Netflix Instant Streaming.

D.I.Y. Or Die: Burn This DVD: Terrible #35

OK, maybe it wasn't terrible. A below average documentary of indie artists method of surviving as an independent artist. It was interesting, and featured interviews with Ian MacKaye, J. Mascis, Lydia Lunch, and many others. It wasn't much to look at, and could have featured a little more artwork. I was trying to figure out who a couple of those people were and what they did. On Netflix Instant Streaming.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Johnny Sokko And His Giant Robot: A Good One #10

Look, you don't have to tell me. I know it's not a movie, it's only a TV show. And I know it isn't much different from other "a giant thing attacks another giant thing and destroys Tokyo" movies/TV's all chroma-keying and forced perspective, rubber suited people wrestling and smashing miniature sets. But it's brief, action packed, loaded with nostalgia and has a jaunty theme song. I watched it here.

Return Of Dracula: Terrible Movies #34

A trench-coat is not a cape. Take the cape off Dracula, and you've got an ordinary (albeit undead) guy with dental problems and a distaste for garlic who never appears to actually bite anyone. Or worse yet, you've got those kids from Twilight who all look angsty and nauseous. None of those things are particularly frightening. Neither is small town America, bad wallpaper, the 1950's, convertibles, a day-for-night shot where a butterfly flutters by, or picket fences, and none of those things belong in a Dracula movie. I did like the very, very brief moment when the film goes from black and white to technicolor like the 1945 version of The Picture Of Dorian Gray, but it was literally 3 seconds. On Netflix Instant Streaming.

Message From Space: Terrible Movies #33

Some folks wearing plastic vines as headbands somehow throw 8 glowing walnuts into space, hoping the finders of these magical nuts will come rescue them from some sort of threat, which I can only assume is from the old woman wearing silver face-paint looking suspiciously like a Transformer and driving a Hover-round. Trying very hard not to get sued by George Lucas, Meia and her cohorts float around in space without any protective gear other than a breathing mask and silver lame trimmed in rick-rack while trying to catch "space fireflies" amidst special effects that Sid and Marty Krofft would've abandoned because they felt it looked too chintzy. Featuring Vic Morrow in a performance before Twilight Zone: the Movie. On Netflix Instant Streaming.

Smash His Camera: A Good One #9

A thought-provoking documentary about paparazzi. Love him or hate him, infamous photographer/celebrity stalker/gardener/rabbit enthusiast Ron Galella knows how to get the job done. On Netflix Instant Streaming.

War Of The Gargantuas: Terrible Movies #32

Before the credits roll, a ship is attacked by a gooey-tentacled giant squid, which is then attacked by a hairy not-so-jolly green giant, who then dunks the ship like a donut in a cup of coffee, chews up the normal-sized humans and spits out their clothes. There's a musical number for some reason, and a woman bleats out a shrill tune that grates. Thankfully, the gargantua attacks and puts an end to that. A cast of thousands scream and flee Tokyo being knocked down. Toy tanks are thrown and miniature cars are crushed. Sometimes gargantuas battle one another for the sole reason to leap into the air and demolish empty waist-high buildings. Watch a Godzilla movie instead. On Netflix Instant Streaming.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Valley Of The Zombies: Terrible Movies #31

An uber-creepy guy wearing a top hat and cape comes back from the dead to steal blood from a doctor. The film-makers confuse vampires with zombies and zombies with something that doesn't make sense and isn't very interesting and then completely leave out the zombies. I really liked the vampire/zombie guy, who seemed like a cross between Lon Chaney "London After Midnight" and an Americanized 1940's Coffin Joe, and the film dragged considerably when he had no screen time. I also liked the cinematography and sets, which seemed to borrow from the Val Lewton school of film-making. Tons of atmosphere, and great use of light and shadow. But the two leads were uninteresting, the middle dragged, and the ending had some continuity problems. Overall, it's a failure, but it has some good moments. On Netflix Instant Streaming.

The Parking Lot Movie: A Good One #8

I was on the fence about this one. It's a standard documentary. But I connected with this little Utopian college town parking lot, and could relate very well with the over-educated attendants who work there and their daily struggles with customers and ennui. Humorous, infuriating, and enlightening. On Netflix Instant Streaming.

Tales From The Script: Terrible Movies #30

A below average documentary where dozens of screenwriters talk (and talk and talk and talk) about their triumphs and failures for about an hour and a half. If you think you'd like to break into the movie business through screenwriting, I wouldn't recommend watching this film. Actually, if you are an optimist and have any interest in any career in movie-making, I wouldn't watch this. The screenwriters do not sugarcoat life in movies from their viewpoint...very few people can do it well, or make a living at it, or suffer through all the meetings and lunches with executives, or not be destroyed by rejection and almost continuous demands for rewrites, and you'll probably fail. Not only will you fail, but your soul might get ground down into a fine powder only to be blow away by a delightful California breeze. Illuminating, but could be seen as boring to anyone but writers or film students. However, if you must watch it, it's on Netflix Instant Streaming.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Ape: Terrible Movies #29

I've learned quite a bit from watching these bad old movies. For instance, I've learned to never visit small towns; especially the ones with wisecracking, slingshot carrying children who throw rocks through windows and say "Aw gee!", or where large groups of gossipy and conspiring townsfolk loiter in the drug store or on the street corner, or where the circus has recently come to town and a killer ape has gotten loose, or worst yet, where Boris Karloff lives, and he is the town doctor/mad scientist who practices medicine/experiments on people illuminated by a single dangling light bulb. These are valuable lessons to learn. On Netflix Instant Streaming.

Return Of The Ape Man: Terrible Movies #28

After scenes of boats cruising past icebergs, Bela Lugosi and John Carradine stand in front of a backdrop of the Himalayas and talk. Suddenly, there's stock footage of various avalanches. Inexplicably, the men have just made the discovery of a lifetime...a prehistoric man frozen in a block of ice. Bela defrosts him with a hair dryer, then the caveman goes on a rampage. Luckily, the lab is conveniently equipped with a bullwhip because that's extremely likely and Bela beats him with it. Then John Carradine plays Moonlight Serenade on a piano at a party because somber classical music drives party-goers wild and that's exactly what movie lovers clamor for in their Ape Man pictures. Completely science free. On Netflix Instant Streaming.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Banksy: Exit Through The Gift Shop: A Good One #7

In 1917, Marcel Duchamp supposedly purchased a urinal, signed his name on it, and submitted it to an art exhibition. It was never shown and created a huge controversy. A photo was taken of this groundbreaking piece of conceptual art, and then the piece itself was supposedly lost. Duchamp commissioned copies of this work of art known as "Fountain", and these are what you see in museums around the world. In the meantime, Duchamp created a few more conceptual artworks (at one point actually assuming the guise of a women known as Rrose Selavy) but he supposedly grew tired of art. The world believed he retired, and had become a world class chess master. In reality, he had been working for 25 years on his masterpiece, the room-sized installation known as Etant Donne, and it was not shown to the public until after his death. It is in the Philadelphia Museum Of Art, in a dim little room off the main Duchamp collection (the largest in the world), and if you don't know what you're looking for you very well might miss it. The Etant Donne is a pair of very large wooden doors with a peephole, and you should get very close and look at what lies beyond.

What does this have to do with Banksy: Exit Through The Gift Shop? Nothing, or possibly everything. On the surface, this is a very well crafted and entertaining documentary about street art. Or you could take my viewpoint, and see it as a much grander piece of conceptual artwork. I would say more, but what does it matter? Is truth what the documentarian chooses to present to us? Or is the truth what the documentarian chooses to leave out, or keeps hidden from view? Judge for yourself. On Netflix Instant Streaming.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Creature With The Blue Hand: Terrible Movie #27

Klaus Kinski stars in this mistaken identity whodunit. Dave and Richard are identical twins doing wacky stuff in a Gothic castle. One of them is a crazed killer, and of course it's hard to tell which one is which and who's murdering who, and it's always hard to tell who's crazy if Klaus Kinski is in your movie. Extremely groovy Mancini-esque music completely at odds with the material opens the film, and the horns blare and guitars twang at every opportunity. Suits of armor fill every nook and cranny and there's a random room filled with dangling mannequins, you know, because folks living in castles need such a thing. People eavesdrop, lurk, peep, and creep. Shrill, manic and campy throughout. The distracting dubbed dialogue makes it plays like a melodramatic and gothic Speed Racer cartoon without the kick ass car. Except for the box of rats, the laughing parrot, and the boa constrictors, this movie is almost 100% creature-free. On Netflix Instant Streaming.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Frozen: Terrible Movie #26

Let me reiterate. I'm no longer sure what is good or bad. I need to watch something excellent to cleanse my palate. The outlook on a thorough palate cleansing is not so good.

I watched Frozen. I have no idea why I would watch this considering the weather for the past 2 months has been cloudy, snowy, windy, and wintry. Also, I don't like heights. So the thought of watching a movie where 3 unlikeable snowboarding young people grift their way onto the last chairlift up a mountain only to be stranded confounds me. While it was fairly tense and gripping; was it merely because I dislike cold weather, physical activity, heights, and being near irritating people? I don't know. I am going to have to say that if we are basing a modern film on the prospect that 3 people under the age of 30 do not have a single working cell phone on their person somewhere, even while doing strenuous outdoor activity, and they didn't tell anyone where they were going or what they were doing in this world of narcissism and instant communication, I'm going to have to cry "Bullcrap!" and the entire plot unravels. Could it happen? Sure, if those kids were Amish. I completely understand not wanting to lose your phone or the possibility of breaking it; but how do your peers know you're doing something cool if you aren't continuously texting or taking action photos while you're doing it? Even I do that, and I'm nearly ancient. On Netflix Instant Streaming.

I Bury The Living: Terrible Movies #25

25 bad movies reviewed in 18 days. While I don't believe that's any sort of record, it is a test of endurance for most people, and I think I may be buckling under the strain. Don't get me wrong, I've seen more than my fair share of bad movies. However, with the bitter cold, the howling wind, and the never ending snow; cabin fever may be setting in. I'm not sure I can tell what is "good" and what is "bad".

Take for instance the film I Bury The Living; a story about a man thrust into the role of figurehead of a cemetery, and when he puts pins in a map of cemetery plots the owners of those plots suddenly die. I didn't see any obvious gaffes or continuity errors. The film was consistent in its editing, and seemed competently directed. The acting was average for a film of its era, although the makeup was a little dodgy and the caretaker's brogue was tough to understand and seemed a bit forced. I was impressed by the cinematography at the end, which had some very interesting and unusual pin and/or headstone imagery. However, the action throughout consists of little more than excessive sweating, telephoning, cartography, and pin insertion and extraction. Does this make a film bad? It makes a film not very entertaining, but not especially bad. While I question the wisdom of building a bonfire inside a shed after barricading oneself in from fear of potential zombie reprisals, I don't think that particular moment would tag it as being "bad". I question the likelihood of getting one's overcoat snagged on a headstone and not being able to easily free oneself from it, but again I don't think that spoils the whole film. Overall, a less than average effort. On Netflix Instant Streaming.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sometimes a good one sneaks in #6: Burden Of Dreams

An excellent and gripping documentary about the making of the film Fitzcarraldo, where film-maker Werner Herzog drags a 300-ton steamship over a hill in South America. For 4 years he battles illness, rapids, re-shoots, delays and star Klaus Kinski to get his film made. Check both out. Burden Of Dreams is available on Netflix Instant Streaming, Fitzcarraldo is available on DVD.

Neanderthal Man: Terrible Movies #24

A complex study of the delineation between academia and...who am I kidding? It's a pseudo-scientific Wolfman minus the mystique that includes a transformation scene they just run backwards and forwards as they see fit. The folksy yokels all say words like varmint, critter, feller, and chaw; and the uppity and stuffy scientists say words like forbade. A tiger skin rug with the head still on has a close-up while standing-in for a living tiger. A crackpot gives a scientific discussion with a diagram that includes Piltdown Man to a roomful of extravagantly bearded cigar smoking academics. Sadly, this film contains a lot more footage of the Neanderthal than is really needed, who is often beating picnickers senseless and dragging their women kicking and screaming into the brush. The makeup is awful, and the Neanderthal's rigid face looks like a Pleistocene Beethoven with a pompadour. Boring. On Netflix Instant Streaming.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sometimes a good one sneaks in #5: The Philosopher Kings

My wife is growing tired of watching bad movies. I don't blame her, but I will persevere. I'm almost to my 25th bad movie review in little more than 2 weeks, and I would like it to be special. It won't be, but one can always hope. Anyway, I recommend The Philosopher Kings; a lovely, noble and moving documentary about custodians working in Ivy League schools. Invisible and omnipresent, these people who have lived harrowing lives and persevering through hardships that would destroy most people, often are the unseen force allowing these venerated institutions to continue functioning and are rarely acknowledged for the extremely important role they play. Very inspiring, and you should watch it. On Netflix Instant Streaming.

Curse Of The Swamp Creature: Terrible Movies #23

A mad scientist throws a body into an enclosed swimming pool/alligator infested swamp (due to editing, it's hard to tell which is which), then he gets choked by some guy, who then gets stabbed by a completely different guy. Then the credits roll. A thumbnail sketch of a plot unfolds involving maps and oil and alligator/human hybridization. Sets seem to consist of heavily curtained motel rooms. Action seems to consist of walking along lengthy paths or through various backyards, although a man subdues another man 20 years younger, 6 inches taller, and 50 pounds heavier with the weakest karate chop ever filmed. Primary forms of communication consists of banging on oil drums or hollow logs, although earlier in the film someone answers a phone that isn't dialed and doesn't ring. Costumes consist of lab coats with pocket protectors and prescription sunglasses. Pastimes include whittling. There's voodoo for a minute with a poorly choreographed 'snake dance' that barely includes a snake, but that would be interesting and the film-makers discard it fairly quickly. The film goes completely off the rails during the last 20 minutes, when continuity is abandoned and I can only assume the script has been lost and everyone seems to just make up stuff on the spot to stretch for time and fill plot-holes; for instance, saying a lake is quicksand does not make it so, and the same has to be said for calling a clearly male alligator monster a woman. Seems months longer than an 81 minute run-time, and 95% swamp creature free. Amazingly bad in every way possible. On Netflix Instant Streaming.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Lady And The Monster: Terrible Movies #22

Have you ever wondered if you are in the presence of a Mad Scientist? It's sometimes hard to tell, and unlike the Bugs Bunny cartoon, they're probably not going to have a huge blinking neon sign advertising that fact. If you notice any of the following things, there's a pretty good chance you've got a Mad Scientist on your hands. Does he own a large Gothic castle in the middle of the desert? Does he have a monkey hidden under his cape? Does he sprinkle the word trepanation in everyday conversation? After the offscreen monkey trepanation, does he have a bottle of scotch next to a box with mysterious buttons all over it, and does that box have a 60 watt bulb whose only obvious function is to quickly blink on and off? Does he keep brains (monkey or otherwise) in large jars filled with murky liquids? Is he Erich Von Stroheim? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you're probably watching this movie too, and I feel very sorry for you. Completely devoid of monsters. On Netflix Instant Streaming.

Space Children: Terrible Movies #21

Children discover a huge glowing pulsating brain which causes them to stand around and stare blankly appearing as if they're going to vomit. Not much else happens. The Professor from Gilligan's Island behaves like a drunken boor. A truck skids off the road. Children eat Eskimo Pies and rarely blink. For a moment, you think something might explode. You hope and pray something does...the Professor, the truck, the unblinking children, the Eskimo Pies. Anything to break up the monotony. Now that would've been a movie! Sadly, they don't and it isn't. On Netflix Instant Streaming.

I watch terrible movies so you don't have to #20: The Beast With 1,000,000 Eyes

A boring family in the desert bitches at one another. The mother burns baked goods, chews scenery, and you half expect her to go on a tirade about wire hangers. The woman who plays the daughter wears a bow in her hair and pops her collar so you can tell she's a teenager. A strange sound destroys their fine furnishings and causes animals to run amuck. Someone says, "Con sarn that darn cow". The animal actors are more convincing than their human counterparts, but that's faint praise. There's a half-hearted German Shepherd attack. There's a confused cow attack. Chickens are thrown. Grouse are thrown. Ham-fisted conservative symbolism of common fears of the 1950's (fear of threats from "out there", fear of the "other", fear of technology and futurism, fear of revolutions, etc.) plus a "strength in family" message means everyone in the end learns a valuable lesson. Everyone but me, because I'll still end up watching drivel like this. 100% million-eyed beast free. On Netflix Instant Streaming.

Sometimes a good one sneaks in #4: Henri Langlois: Phantom of The Cinemateque

Above average documentary about film preservationist Henri Langlois. Many fine clips of classic films from the silent era through the Nouvelle Vague. Throughout I was reminded of all the films I have yet to see (Melies' shorts, L'Atalante) and the films I should see again (L'Age D'Or, The Blue Angel). The Melies' clips are especially good. It's shocking what early filmmakers were able to accomplish over 100 years ago. Entirely in French, and often using two sets of subtitles; one below to explain the dialogue and one above to describe the person speaking and why they are qualified to do so. You'll need to read very quickly. On Netflix Instant Streaming.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

I watch terrible movies so you don't have to #19: Beware! The Blob

A lost and frightened kitten cries pitifully in a field of wildflowers while demented calliope music plays for what seems like my entire life. The credits roll, and women scream, sometimes in sync with the kitten's plaintive cries. It's a pathetic spectacle, and it only gets worse. Cindy Williams carries a plate of brownies. Dick Van Patten leads a group of boy scouts. Mules and chickens get valuable screen time. Raspberry preserves and strawberry gelatin are abundant. Someone says, "Would you like a hair sculpt?". Larry Hagman directs ineptly, however I have to give him props for an auteur-like scene shot from floor level featuring a Russian wearing a fez and cuddling a dog while in a sudsy bathtub, and a tenacious bowling alley blob rampage finale. They were both terrible, but he can have the props anyway. On Netflix Instant Streaming.

Friday, January 7, 2011

I watch terrible movies so you don't have to #18: Invisible Invaders

A vague nuclear accident reanimates corpses, but it's not as fun as it sounds. These corpses knock on doors, appear overly Brylcreemed, yak-yak-yak in long conversations explaining destruction of the Earth in 24 hours, and seem slightly threatening in an insurance salesman kind of way. Most of the movie's plot is forwarded through narration over excessive use of stock footage or using that old chestnut of showing made-up newspaper headlines that say stuff like, "Charges Of Space Attack Branded Ridiculous" or "Boring Movie Causes Localized Narcolepsy". For the briefest of moments, a crowd of over-dressed men are seen shuffling around in large groups, but it's hard to discern if they are in fact zombies or a convention of assistant high school principals on a bender. On Netflix Instant Streaming.

I watch terrible movies so you don't have to #17: The Bat People

A couple have a picnic in the desert. Suddenly, a bat appears. OK, look, I'm going to have to stop this review right here. This is where everything goes wrong, and no one learns from it. When will people learn not to do stuff out in the wilderness far from the nearest pizza joint? Is freakin' potato salad at a picnic miles from nowhere going to taste that much better after you've fought ants and bees and bats for it? Does a dusty plaid blanket thrown on the ground in the middle of the desert elevate your bologna sandwich wrapped in aluminum foil to a Michelin 3-star meal? I don't get it. Nature is no place for humans and it should be avoided. Everyone knows Nature is where you're going to roll the ambulance you've stolen into a ravine after one of your sweaty bat attack induced fits and then you'll have to bandage up a grizzled prospector drinking hooch from a bottle in a paper bag, but forgive me for jumping ahead in the plot and criticizing folks' vacation choices. Anyway, after a vicious bat attack in a cave and dangling in a gondola high in the mountains heading for a ski adventure; dude's eyes roll back in his head and he gets a feverish vision of his girl running on an unseen treadmill fleeing a plastic bat suspended from a string, her arms flailing wildly. Seconds later, they're gliding down the mountainside smiling like they're pimping Chapstick. Maybe they should have taken a staycation and watched a movie instead. But not this one. BTW, contains very few actual bat-people. On Netflix Instant Streaming.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

I watch terrible movies so you don't have to #16: One Body Too Many

Do you remember the good old days; those days when doctors did house calls, and there were such things as milkmen, or for instance, when moviegoers were supposed to believe life insurance salesmen go to creepy mansions in the middle of the night to sell a dead guy life insurance? Nope, me neither. In this film, unusually chipper theme music for a murder mystery opens the film and it sounds like it should accompany deer cavorting in a meadow. Bela Lugosi plays Bela Lugosi, or in other words, Bela Lugosi plays a fangless vampire playing a butler. A will is read, dead bodies pile up, doors are constantly opened or closed, you expect Shaggy to say "Zoinks" at any moment, and it's all very tiresome. Are movies this old supposed to be this cliched? I don't know. I watched this film on the Mill Creek DVD called "50 Horror Classics", but you probably shouldn't.

I watch terrible movies so you don't have to #15: Born To Race

Boy sees girl at a race track during a pit-stop, she's kidnapped, a low-speed car chase ensues, and I seriously contemplate removing my own head to stop myself from watching this movie. Featuring more product placements, chambray shirts, denim jackets and bandana neckerchiefs than you should be legally allowed to show onscreen. Nearly every moment is filled with that generic mid-eighties synth and guitar laden soundtrack that makes John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band seem derivative; and as if that wasn't bad enough, includes two Richard Marx tunes to really ramp up the thrills. Curiously, contains two of the slowest car chases I've ever seen (one of which was foiled by outhouse), and they may have sped the film up to make it seem more exciting. If you're looking for a movie where men over-emote, the two women in the cast have 37 different hairstyles, where inconsistent accents drift in and out of the scene like an exotic perfume on the breeze, and dialogue consists of sparkling gems like "Let's go!" and "Do you find Italy different from America?", this Bud's for you. I can't be certain, but this may be what Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby was modeled after, only sans the humor and charm. Almost 65% racing free. On Netflix Instant Streaming.