Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Devil Girl From Mars

A meteor lands behind a Scottish pub and everyone talks about it but that oddly doesn't have much to do with the plot in this talky devil-girl film. Then suddenly a rather impressive flying saucer lands and a chick wearing a hat she might have borrowed from Grace Jones and a shiny black cape struts out, and since she has an impressive flying saucer, a killer fetish wardrobe, a condescending devil-girl attitude, and a disintegrator ray-gun you'd think she would have something better to do than give a half-a-dozen boring folks hanging around a Scottish pub a hard time and be a tough-ass bitch. She doesn't and I love her for it. The film suffers when The Devil Girl From Mars isn't on screen being a bitch in a shiny black cape and telling everybody how much they suck and how awesome she is; because then you have to watch people carry logs for the fire, make tea, eat soup, be boring, and have some sort of yawn-inducing relationship troubles and no one should want to watch that. I watched The Devil Girl From Mars on Youtube because I just loaded up my Netflix queue with crappy stuff and that makes a lot of sense, and I'm ready for our invading devil-girl overlords from Mars because they'd really liven up this puny, boring planet. Here's a trailer which needs a lot more devil girl in it but it'll do for now:

These Amazing Shadows: The Movies That Make America

People attempt to save America's film heritage in this excellent documentary. Featuring many clips of the films added to The National Film Registry, many interviews with folks who have something to do with movies, but sadly little footage of actual restoration (They probably thought that would be boring. It's not.); it was tons better than the 84th Annual Academy Awards. It made me want to watch a bunch of good films for a change, but I try not to. What good is that going to do me? A huge pile of nothin', that's what. Everyone talks about the good stuff, but who is talking about Devil Girl from Mars? Nobody, that's who. I watched it on Netflix so I can get it out of my queue because they just added a bunch of crap which I then added to my queue and didn't watch because that seems to make perfect sense. Here's a trailer:

Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure

Two unscrupulous young people record the drunken bickering of their tragic next door neighbors, the tapes become a worldwide 'phenomenon', and then everyone argues over the copyright in this well-made but creepy and stalkeriffic documentary. What begins with an intriguing premise soon descends into a dismal replay of the same clip of someone shouting "Shut up little man!" over and over again, the people on screen laugh at that, the shouting neighbors Pete and Ray drink themselves to death, we ultimately fail to learn anything substantial about them, and I scratch my head wondering what's funny about it. I learned more than I need to know about the uninteresting tapers who offer the last surviving neighbor a six-pack in halfhearted retribution in this unsympathetic, vain and joyless film, and became more and more angry as the film progressed. Maybe I have to listen to the tapes to get it? No, I'm pretty sure I get it, thanks. It's awful people doing awful things and everyone watches; sort of like Intervention, Hoarders, or 16 And Pregnant but no one's saved and it has higher production values. I watched Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure on Netflix and I feel bad about it, sort of, but it's always difficult to tell with me. Here's a trailer:

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Oscar Picks

My Oscar Picks: Picture: The Artist, Actor: Jean Dejardin, Actress: Viola Davis, Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer, Supporting Actress: Melissa McCarthy (but it will probably go to Octavia Spencer), Director: Michel Hazanavicius, Original Screenplay: Bridesmaids (but it will probably go to Midnight In Paris), Previously Published Screenplay: Hugo, Animated Film: Rango, Foreign Film: A Separation, Cinematography: Tree Of Life, Editing: The Artist, Best Song: Muppets, Best Live Action Short: Tuba Atlantic.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Attack Of The Crab Monsters

Attack Of The Crab Monsters is a film about attacking telepathic nocturnal negatively charged liquid crab monsters with French accents, but a title like Attack Of The Telepathic Nocturnal Negatively Charged Liquid Crab Monsters With French Accents would never fit on a theater marquee and frankly doesn't make a lot of sense. After many scenes of stock footage of atomic bomb blasts, a tsunami strikes an island. Then, some rowboats land on a beach, and somehow a guy standing in 18 inch deep water on the beach is attacked by a crab monster deep in the ocean, and when he's dragged up to the surface he's missing his head. I don't know why. Then the Professor from Gilligan's Island carries around obvious plot device dynamite, and sometimes people look down into a precipice in an attempt to act. Not much else happens. Sometimes you see a giant crab claw, but it's nothing to get excited about. I watched Attack Of The Crab Monsters and it was dreadful and poorly lit. Here's a trailer:

The Mole People

John Agar and Ward Cleaver star in this film where some dudes accidentally fall into an underground world where men dressed like Keebler elves whip Zoidberg-esque creatures and, well, I'm not sure what else happens. The film opens with a guy who gestures awkwardly at a globe in front of books in an attempt to look scientific while he talks about globes within globes and I wonder what the heck he's talking about. Then after much avalanche footage, somehow John and Ward are cornered by the Keeblers and have an unconvincing sword-fight deep underground in front of terrible matte paintings and I wish I never started this movie. People walk around in caves waving flashlights and sometimes people are dragged underground by Zoidberg monsters and it's very, very boring. I'm not sure if the movie's title is describing the Keeblers or the Zoidbergs but it doesn't matter. I watched The Mole People on Youtube and you shouldn't. Here's a trailer:

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tuba Atlantic (Oscar Nominated Short Film)

An elderly man with a pathological hatred of seagulls only has 6 days to live when he's visited by a motorcycle riding teenaged Angel Of Death wearing braces in this very funny short film. A startling number of seagulls are killed by machine gun, blown up by dynamite, and crushed by a washing machine. It has beautiful cinematography and it's my pick as winner of the Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film. Here's a link to the trailer:


Time Freak (Oscar Nominated Short Film)

A neurotic travels back in time to make things right in this funny short film. The effects are nicely done, the script is LOL-worthy, but the acting is a little dodgy. I enjoyed it, though. Here's a trailer:

The Shore (Oscar Nominated Short Film)

A man returns home to Belfast in this lushly photographed short film. Sweet, funny, and nostalgic; it features many lovely shots of a quaint village. It slowly unfolds, but seems unfinished at the end. Here's a trailer:

Raju (Oscar Nominated Short Film)

A German couple adopts a young Indian boy and are faced with a moral dilemma in this tense film. Grainy cinematography adds a touch of realism, but I found it to be somewhat predictable. It was well shot and acted, though. Here's a clip:

Pentacost (Oscar Nominated Short Film)

A young football fan is a last minute substitution at an important mass in this well shot, well acted, and funny film. Someone in the script mentions angel dust, and someone else says 'liturgical roulette'. I laughed. The end titles features The Undertones. Here's a trailer:

Sunday, February 19, 2012


Did Shakespeare write his own plays, or was there a complicated 130-minute long conspiracy? Anonymous attempts to solve the mystery. However, everything is so dim and torchlit if there were clues lying around everyone would probably stumble over them. Art directed and CGI'd within an inch of its life, Anonymous also features that style of ACTING! that requires all caps and an exclamation point. Not that I didn't enjoy it, but the whole thing may be a little too complicated for those that are unfamiliar with Shakespeare's plays, the large cast of characters with royal titles, and the intricate machinations of Elizabethan England. The plot is convoluted, there are way too many ruffled collars, and the film jumps around in time; so somepeople may find themselves checking Wikipedia. I did. tl;dr.

I pay-per-viewed it. Here's a trailer featuring Radiohead for some reason:

Village Of The Giants

Like it says in the poster above, teenagers (debatable) zoom to supersize (decades before McDonald's) and terrorize (debatable) a town in this cheddar-filled film. After some go-go dancing during the credits, someone crashes a perfectly good Thunderbird into a telephone pole and dances in the mud because it's in the script and it's the '60s. Then Tommy Kirk appears, and a precocious Ron Howard pretends he's a scientist, and I wish I'd never started watching this movie. Then a cat eats a pink substance and grows to enormous size thanks to forced perspective, split screen and rear projection. Then someone says 'groovy' and someone else says 'nitty gritty', the Beau Brummels lip sync, and no one in a nightclub is concerned that there is a pair of gigantic ducks being held up by strings like marionettes. There's some avocado colored carpeting, lots of test tubes and beakers, bad acting, a terrible script, problems with scale, several hot rods, and someone rides a gigantic plastic woman's bosoms while clinging precariously to her homemade satin bikini top. It's just awful. I watched it on Netflix. Here's an inexplicable clip featuring a bewildered and giant-sized Beau Bridges whose unnervingly plastic legs have some meticulously applied hair:

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Atomic Rulers Of The World

If I had known this was another of the Japanese Starman films, I wouldn't have watched it. Nah, who am I kidding? I would have.

After some atomic bomb footage and voiceover narration, the planet Saturn dangles from a string slowly drifting back and forth in the breeze in front of a painted backdrop of space as several people with robot heads raise their arms up and down. Suddenly, Starman appears on the tail of an airplane filled with people who look at one another suspiciously, and he fixes the rudder in the rain. Then he does a backflip and instantly changes into a suit and tie, because that sort of behavior often happens in these films. I'm not sure why.

There are several unconvincing fight scenes, several unconvincing flying scenes, an unlikely escape in a barrel, and an unconvincing fencing scene. It's all very confusing, has a creepy vibe, and doesn't make much sense. It's cheaply done and crudely executed, but kids in Japan in the distant past probably didn't mind that much. I watched The Atomic Rulers Of The World on Youtube.

The Incredible Petrified World

Deep sea divers descend to the bottom of the ocean in a diving bell that's mysteriously bigger on the inside than the outside and become trapped in a cave, I think, in this confusing film. There's stock ocean footage, stock octopus footage, aquarium footage where the film crew's lights are reflected in the aquarium glass, voiceover narration, boom shadows, finger sandwiches and John Carradine. There's also some dodgy science, stalactites and stalagmites, an underwater cave-dwelling grizzled old man in ragged clothing, a script that doesn't make much sense, and lots of scenes featuring actors walking around in an underground underwater cave. I watched The Incredible Petrified World on Youtube and it was less than incredible. Here's a trailer:

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Haunting In Salem

An unconvincing sheriff comes home to his unconvincingly 300-year old haunted mansion in Salem, Massachusetts or Pasadena to find his son drowned and his wife suffocated with an accidental smile on her face by SaranWrap when he's suddenly thrown out the window in this film that doesn't seem to understand the Salem Witch Trials very well. There are lots of cardboard boxes, a scary hat-rack, a dead crow with glass in it, continuity errors, unconvincing CGI, a lack of character development, long black hair from the shower drain tied to a molar, a couple of 'homages' to Ringu, and a baffling lack of ghosts. It's as though the film-makers lost several pages of script, confused ghosts with witches and witches with curses and curses with hauntings and hauntings with possession and possession with murder and confused this movie with something interesting. It's one of the better films The Asylum has released, but that's not saying much. Here's an effective trailer, so maybe you should just watch this instead:


I'm very sorry I watched this film. I won't let it happen again. A self-aware revisionist WWII vampire comedy; Blubberella is racist, homophobic, offensive, infantile, repulsive and worst of all, laugh-free. There are Segways, sub sandwiches, thrown lunch meat, cotton candy, IKEA shopping bags, and various sausages. You'll also encounter blackface, unconvincing fight sequences, unconvincing accents, unconvincing CGI, shaky camerawork, and 'homages' to The Matrix, Precious, Inglourious Basterds and several other better films. Oh yeah, and slide whistle. Can't forget that. Scenes just seem to happen, and the script seems like it's missing several pages. It has a loose, improvised, one-take feel. There was a scene with a female vampire in a cage that was actually intriguing featuring cult favorite Clint Howard, but the film itself called it 'the boring part'. I'm assuming that was a joke, but it failed and made me sad. Was this the worst film I've ever seen? Not by a long shot, but that doesn't make it ok. I watched Blubberella (and just typing that makes me ill) on Netflix, and no one should.

There's no way I'm posting a clip.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls

The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls is a well-shot and funny documentary about the beloved New Zealand yodeling cowgirl lesbian activist comic musicians. That's a lot of descriptors, even for me. Only one drawback, I was often looking for the subtitles. There are none. I watched it on Netflix. Here's a trailer:


Taking an interesting walk down a well-worn path, Strigoi is an enigmatic take on the Romanian vampire myth. Vlad returns home to his village, people begin dying, and vampires (strigoi) may be responsible. It's darkly humorous and well photographed, but the script is pretty oblique. I looked up strigoi on Wikipedia. It's very complicated, and I'm not going to explain it. The soundtrack is very good, and features several songs by the group Beirut. I enjoyed it. I watched it on Netflix. Here's a trailer:

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Santo Vs. The Martian Invasion

Luchadores who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Martian wrestlers sporting peroxide mullets while wearing metallic capes, magical belts that make Earthlings disappear with a "boi-yoi-yoing" sound, and metal helmets with an Astral Eye in the center of them have the gall to criticize Santo for his bedazzled cape in this confusing wrestling film. Santo wrestles Martians at a soccer match, in a wrestling club, in a wrestling ring, at the park, and sometimes the wrestling holds make me wonder if I'm watching a fight or a love story. Sometimes people look at one another for an uncomfortably long period of time, sometimes they watch a lot of television, and sometimes Astral Eyes cause them to disappear to the sound of a slide whistle. The Martians become concerned their appearance scares non-Martians so they all step into a foggy room that magically makes them all wear togas which is a costume Earthlings under threat of being incinerated or kidnapped to Mars often find reassuring. Interplanetary spacecraft usually have rooms like that as standard equipment because that's a thing invading forces are often worried about and you never know when you need to change everyone's gold lame outfit at once. That's seems reasonable, I guess, dedicating an entire foggy toga costume changing room to your spaceship when from the outside it looks like two metal bowls Scotch taped together dangling from a string. That's fine. I watched Santo Vs. The Martian Invasion on Youtube. Here's a clip that has only a minuscule amount of wrestling in it:

The Curse Of The Faceless Man

Steve Austin's boss from The Six Million Dollar Man stars in this film about a murdering statue, I guess. There's suspect science, voice-over narration, stock volcano footage, and lots and lots of murderous statue-man lumbering. It has a "magically reanimated dead body buried long ago from an exotic far-away land shuffles around exacting its revenge and carrying the fainting lady who resembles his ancient booty call" sort of vibe about it, but I can't quite figure out why. That plot doesn't sound familiar. I watched The Curse Of the Faceless Man on Youtube, but I'm going to try to stay mum about it so that Universal and Hammer Studios don't find out.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Brain From Planet Arous

Scientists with pith helmets carrying Geiger counters explore a newly formed cave in Mystery Mountain because it's in the script when they suddenly encounter a rape-y brain with eyes dangling from a string in this sci-fi film. There's scenery chewing, stock nuclear bomb test footage, several extremely creepy near-rapes, metallic contact lenses, and an airplane dangling from a string unconvincingly explodes while the parts get jumbled up in the strings and just sort of hover in the sky for a second. How can you not love a film where someone attacks a string-dangling brain with glowing eyes with an ax? Well, you can't because everyone loves that sort of nonsense. I watched it on Youtube. Here's a trailer:

The Brain Eaters

A silver cone-like craft appears in Illinois while men who have pulsating Brain Eaters attached to their necks walk around town clutching mysterious glowing orbs and throttling innocent bystanders in this talky sci-fi film. There's voice-over narration, a couple become unconvincing locked in an unconvincingly tiny shed while it's unconvincingly on fire for some reason, and while being attacked by a Brain Eater someone shouts, "It's breaking open the skin!" because that's a thing people often say when being unconvincingly attacked by unconvincingly photographed and unconvincingly hamster-like Brain Eaters. There is an interesting "Brain Eater crawling in the bedroom" POV shot that I liked a lot, but the film on the whole has a certain "invading body snatcher" sort of vibe about it that I can't put my finger on and that was done more effectively about 3 years earlier from an unrelated film whose name escapes me. I watched The Brain Eaters on Youtube. Here's a trailer:

Monday, February 6, 2012

Avengers Super Bowl commercial

So, there was a Super Bowl commercial. Here's a clip, and a link to some of the photos I took of the set when I was in Cleveland that USA Today's Pop Candy was kind enough to feature.


The Creeping Terror

I've seen The Creeping Terror before, but I forgot I had. That's strange. Maybe it was such a traumatic experience I suppressed that information? Possibly. Let's break it down. A couple drive in a car and awkwardly line read when voice-over narration explains why we suddenly see backwards stock footage of a rocket liftoff. Then we see a completely different rocket-ship unconvincingly obscured by weeds with a hatch hack-sawed into the side of it, when suddenly an unconvincing creature crawls out that appears to have been fashioned from carpet backing, craft store fabric remnants, excelsior and vacuum cleaner hoses. We hear futuristic boop-boop-beep noises and the sound of jungle cats roaring, but you're unsure why. The creature attacks and engulfs its intended victim, and by "attack" I mean "slowly lumber toward the intended victim, and the victim them climbs into the creature's disturbingly suggestive and flappy orifice". People seem to talk and act, but you can't really tell because of the bad editing and voice-over narration that doesn't always sync up with the action onscreen. Actors enter the spaceship, and by "enter the spaceship", I mean the actor crawls under what seems like a fence covered in rough nailed-together tin because you can see daylight underneath while you hear screams and jungle cats roar and you're unsure why. Inside this craft every surface is covered in buttons and knobs and gauges, and they're all in English because English is the common language of lumbering carpet sample monsters. Some time later, the monster attacks teenagers necking in the woods, folks in the woods having a hootenanny, and someone tries to save themselves from being suggestively engulfed by fending the beast off with an acoustic guitar; and because it seems to like music and uncomfortable-looking Twisting, it crawls toward a dance of some sort causing a slow stampede of Twisters heading for the exit and mildly upsetting some card tables. More Twisters become suggestively engulfed exposing several stocking-covered legs, and this part is somewhat Tarantino-esque if Quentin Tarantino made crappy carpet sample Twister engulfing card table carnage monster movies. The whole thing is totally amazing, and by "totally amazing" I mean it's just awful, and it's highly recommended if you like stuff that sucks. I watched The Creeping Terror on the DVD set 32 Drive-In Cult Classics because the line at the Redbox was ridiculous and the selection on Netflix still sucks. Here's the dance hall sequence, and it's fantastic and spoilerific:

The Artist

Yesterday was Super Bowl Sunday. I did what every big football fan does. I went to the movies and watched a silent film and I overheard all the theater employees complain about missing the Super Bowl. Anyway, The Artist pulls out all the stops. It accurately and lovingly recreates an authentic silent film using all the appropriate techniques. It's beautifully filmed in shimmering black and white and in the correct aspect ratio for the time period, is expertly acted with all the broadness and nuance silent film demands, and has many homages and metaphors. It's absolutely wonderful, and deserves to win all the awards. Here's a trailer:

Thursday, February 2, 2012


After their drunk boat captain takes a little nap and by "little nap" I mean "unconvincingly pass out and flop around on the deck", 4 thirty-something teenagers pilot their dinghy to a mysterious island where corsets wash up on the beach, and then they're hunted by a crossbow wielding dude with a Van Dyke beard. There's quicksand, boom shadows, gooey severed body parts, a vat of acid, and lumbering henchmen. Bloodlust is vaguely reminiscent of The Most Dangerous Game and by "vaguely reminiscent" I mean "complete ripoff"...and if The Most Dangerous Game had capris and ponytails, and if the dialogue of The Most Dangerous Game consisted of 'what gives?' and 'far-out', and if The Most Dangerous Game starred the dad from The Brady Bunch, and if The Most Dangerous Game sucked. I watched Bloodlust on the DVD set 32 Drive-In Cult Classics. Here's a trailer:

Eames: The Architect And The Painter

Eames: The Architect And The Painter is an excellent documentary about the iconic design team that is in tune with the duo's creative and aesthetic ideals. James Franco seems a little out of place as narrator, though. Features many clips of their beautifully shot short films and lots of images of "the chair". I watched it on Netflix, and you should, too. Here's a trailer: