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Showing posts from May, 2007

That Familiar TV Buzz: The Addams Family (1964-66)

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As a kid, even one growing up watching the shows only in reruns, you were either an Addams or a Munster. We were too young to really understand the difference between the shows. At a certain point, both The Addams Family and The Munsters were in reruns on weekday afternoons, and given that both shows ran for only two seasons each (and almost perfectly simultaneously), it didn’t take us long to become very well-versed in both of the seemingly similar but worlds apart universes. While one might surmise that I would identify with a family of monsters who didn’t really understand that they ran a little incongruously from the rest of the neighbors, as it was with Herman Munster and family, my loyalties actually ran the other way.

The Addamses were well aware of their displacement from the rest of society, and they relished it. In fact, it seemed they often went to great trouble to rub other people’s noses in the messes they left behind. They didn’t long to be liked like the Munsters did, no…

Uncle Croc Bites "It": Charles Nelson Reilly (1931-2007)

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Charles Nelson Reilly apparently once said "When I die, it's going to read, "Game Show Fixture Passes Away". Nothing about the theater, or Tony Awards, or Emmys. But it doesn't bother me." Was he truly prescient in his catty dismissal of "it" -- which I take to mean the headlines as they will appear across the vastness of the media ocean? Depending on where one looked, he certainly called "it."

On IMDB, who should have known better since that is where I gathered the above quote, they decided to laugh off his prediction, and announced on Monday morning, following Reilly's death confirmation by his partner on Friday, "GAME SHOW STAR REILLY DIES." CNN.com and MSNBC.com, however, since they apparently don't hire their own reporters, placed up on their respective websites the very direct and unadorned "CHARLES NELSON REILLY DEAD AT 76", running with the official Associated Press piece that seems to have popped up e…

Godzilla Raids Again... Free At Last!

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Having gone to the new Pirates flick twice in four days over Memorial Day weekend (and this is not intended as any sort of criticism of the film itself), I came to a realization. Jen's passion for pirate flicks (which existed far before the Depp trilogy) is all-encompassing, and rather than skip what seems to be a rote attempt at seafaring action, she will watch it like the swashbuckling-mad buccaneer zombie that she is. It's Automatic Watching instead of Writing. Despite a couple days at work where her equally Disney-faithful co-workers complained about what was wrong with the new Pirates, she maintained a passion to see it again on Monday, and the night after Friday's inaugural viewing, she was sitting on our couch, rocking her feet against the coffee table, bouncing up and down to the music playing only in her head, and anything I said was drowned out by the movie's sword-clanging finale that she maintained was still crashing behind her eyes.

One could think, "Y…

Recently Rated Movies #48

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Edmond
Dir: Stuart Gordon // 2005 [IFC]
Cinema 4 Rating: 7
Not that my rating can (or needs to) be bought by any means, but one can certainly earn an extra notch on that rating for their film by taking out Julia Stiles. I don't mean out on a date; I mean having her character (and thus her maddeningly overrated acting) dispatched from the story altogether. Perhaps this isn't what the filmmakers meant by having what happens in Edmond happen to her, but it works for me. I hate to spoil anything for someone who hasn't seen it -- because it is entirely a worthwhile work to catch -- I just can't stand Julia Stiles that much. It's the one downside to The Bourne Ultimatum coming out this summer: knowing she will be in it. But lest you think I am harshing on Ms. Stiles, Denise Richards shows up briefly to show her not what bad acting can truly be, but to display what a total lack of acting talent is. Stiles doesn't know how lucky she has it. But don't let my disdain fo…

Shock Show Update: Macabre Theatre (KHIZ-TV/DT, Barstow/LA)

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Despite the fact that I own most of the movies that could possibly be shown on a syndicated public access matinee show, my deeply ingrained craving to see such movies weirdly encumbered by a zillion crappy, local commercials led me to KHIZ-TV last Saturday night to check out the last five minutes of The Mad Monster.
Sure enough, the title that I had seen in the cable listings was indeed the George Zucco PRC cheapie from 1942, though I was horrified at the thought of just how many minutes of ads they would have had to add to the two-hour time slot, since the film itself only runs a scant 77 minutes in its entirety. At the close of the film, a computer-generated moon appeared through a cloud of animated bats, with the words Macabre Theatre superimposed over the glowing celestial orb. A jaunty and eerie little tune, punctuated with sharp little synth jabs showed me, that at the very least, someone had put a modicum of effort into the time slot, and didn't just throw up any old movie a…

Psychotronic Ketchup: Once This Bell Tolled, I Found My Purpose Again...

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A couple of weekends ago, I developed a true annoyance at the rote giallo entry from Maestro Bava's son Lamberto, Blade in the Dark, which left me practically banging my head against the wall in ennui. I also spent much of its length yelling at its incompetence in the dubbing department, which instead of at least illuminating me to some of the more obscure story elements, left me seething with rage over what could only be described as a hack job for a hack job. Saturday afternoon, the next day, I watched the third Spider-Man film and also watched my enthusiasm for the franchise wane to levels I never expected it to dip, even if I ended up enjoying the film overall.

Not that this would be enough to make even a cinema nut with the weakest of constitutions swear off films for a while, but it could have at least been enough to move my cynicism-meter up a notch or two. (Some who have known me for eons would call this an impossible feat.) However, my frustration after the junior Bava ef…

Psychotronic Ketchup: Blood Creatures or Male Terrors?

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Terror is a Manaka Blood Creature (1959)
Dir.: Gerardo de Leon and Eddie Romero TC4P Rating: 5/9
Sure, a lot of very good work has been done in alerting everyone to the death and destruction that land mines, laid down from the wars of previous or even current generations, cause around the world. But, no one – I repeat, NO ONE – has lifted one finger (at least, one of those fingers that they have left) to rid the world of alternate video titles. 
There you are, clicking innocently on a title on your Netflix queue, happily zipping through your list and adding a title which you believe you have never seen before. Sure, it sounds familiar – exceedingly so – but you click on it anyway. When the DVD arrives, you pop it in your player, and when the opening credits splat up on the screen, you still don't know what you are about to see, because the title matches the one on the case (and the one on the website). And then, once the movie kicks in, the slow, creeping suspicion builds inside your …

Uh... Where Was I?

Just one of those moments, mind you, where I have to reset my head and forge on anew. I have been busy at work the last couple of weeks -- not just at work, but also extending into the last pair of weekends -- and though I rarely actually think about my job on my off-time, what it does is hit me with an exacting sort of weariness that I can't seem to shake after a while. Add to this the fact that my head has been pounding with headaches for those same two weeks -- non-stop, really -- and it really starts to break you down mentally. Add to this a family situation last week that served to make me lose a triple-dose of evenings' sleep, and it becomes apparent that this builds up physically on a person, especially one in the throes of a fit of extreme busyness at work. And even though I have posted off and on in these two weeks, my heart hasn't really been in it in the frenzied way that I normally post. So, it becomes necessary for me to break the format once in a while and po…

Recently Rated Movies #47: A Saturday Spent In Hell (If I Believed In That Crap...)

Even when you know deep inside that a movie is going to suck, sometimes you have higher hopes for it. Witness below three flicks that, due to the subject matter or the original source material, I had reason to believe that they might get turned around into something surprisingly good. In all three cases, I wasn't so much disappointed in their outcomes, as I was disappointed in myself that I expected more of them. Read my tales of woe and take the walk of shame with me...

The List:
Faust: Love of the Damned
Dir: Brian Yuzna // 2001 [Showtime]
Cinema 4 Rating: 4
A film version of a much-touted “graphic novel” from a few years back. There was a point in time where I really wanted this book to appear at my comic shop because it was one of those "unrated" comics, was reportedly very adult in nature, and loaded with equal amounts of sex and gore. Once upon a time, dirty comics were very important to me, not so much because they were dirty, but because they upset people. In a comic …

Recently Rated Movies #46

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Last post, I hinted that I had watched a couple of the cult classics from the 1970's in my buildup to going to Grindhouse. Well, I didn't just watch a couple -- I watched a whole slew of them, in a solid two weeks of sometimes sublime, but mostly cheesy goodness. Raw Meat, the film that I have discussed in relation to my frustrations with broken Netflix discs, was originally to be one of these films, but alas, it has proven not to be. (Some of the films from my Psychotronic trek counted as part of this marathon, but they are reviewed in other posts.) Blaxploitation, kung-fu, car crashes, blood, gore, sex, monsters, nudity (not necessarily the same thing as sex): every thing that made the movies from that era incredible at the time, and still amazing to see today. Not all of them hold up all that well, but sometimes, even the worst ones are some of the best times to watch.

The List:
Switchblade Sisters
Dir: Jack Hill // 1975 [DVD]
Cinema 4 Rating: 6
It had been about 20 years since …

Recently Rated Movies #45

Kontroll
Dir: Nimród Antal // 2003 [Showtime]
Cinema 4 Rating: 7
One of those movies that periodically renews my interest in filmmaking, Kontroll takes place entirely in the Budapest Underground, and even opens with a sharply pronounced disclaimer to not mistake what happens in the film with the real subway system in that city. That's good, because in the film there is a serial killer who goes about pushing lonely riders onto the tracks in front of the trains at the last surprising second. The real surprise here is that not only is the serial killer angle, which is so overdone in movies now it's ridiculous, not all that interesting, it's really not even necessary to the film. I'm certain some other conflict could have been derived to allow the hero to tackle his own personal problems through solving the mystery, but, that said, the killer storyline doesn't really detract all that much from what is really almost an Altmanesque crazy-quilt of characters -- the majority …

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