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Showing posts from June, 2007

Recently Rated Movies #51: Are We Not Men?

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Devo: The Complete Truth About De-Evolution
Directors: Chuck Statler, Gerald Casale, various // Rhino, 2004 [DVD]
Cinema 4 Rating: 7

Br'er Otis will tell you with great pride of the moment when my young nephew Aerin, then only five years old, looked up from his pile of toys and childhood ephemera and declared, "You know what, Poppa? I love Devo." Clearly, when you add his youthful devotion (no pun intended) to the Clash, the boy is being raised in the right environment. Aerin's joy in being a spud boy has also inspired me to concentrate on playing catch up with the band over the last year or so. Having the first five albums on vinyl would help me in that effort, except that my LPs are stuck in Idaho, as is my turntable. I was lucky in that I had two of those records on CD, but some of my favorite songs were on the albums far out of my reach. Even getting a greatest hits collection didn't help much, so I am going to have to do some digging to get the rest. Or wait un…

Major Studio Longs to Meet Quote Whore; Happy Ending at Box Office A Must

When you see a movie poster, do you really read any of the blurbs which might appear on it? I don't mean scanning the brief words that appear, such as "A thrilling ride!" or "Incredible!" I mean do you read the other words? Do you check out who may have said those words? Do you check to see if the review came from the pen of a credentialed and notable reviewer from the likes of The New York Times or Newsweek, or if it actually came from something like the Poughkeepsie Daily Shitbird, where the reviewers are so anxious that they will shill for even the worst piece of crap if it will get them more notice (and perhaps some fringe bennies). I'm not saying it's a form of critical payola -- I'm just saying... Amazingly, if a studio can't get a recognized big-time publication to give their flick a reach-around, they will find some tiny corner of the web or an obscure station in the middle of Ohio to do the dirty work. It's the magic of Hollywood.

Th…

The Shark Film Office: Shark Hunter (2001)

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Shark Hunter
Dir: Matt Codd // 2001 [DVD]
Cinema 4 Rating: 4

HOW TO (Attempt to) MAKE THE CASE FOR A FILM CALLED SHARK HUNTER THAT JUST HAPPENS TO STAR ANTONIO SABATO, JR.

1. First, WATCHShark Attack, Shark Attack 2, Blue Demon, Deep Blue Sea, Shark Attack 3: Megalodon, Jaws 2, Jaws 3, Jaws 4: The Revenge, Blood Surf, Megalodon, and Spring Break Shark Attack. In fact, watch just about any film released since Jaws, outside of Jaws, that has even the faintest trace, like blood in the water, of shark footage in it. Pay especial attention to Shark Attack 3: Megalodon. Then watch Jaws once again, not just to remind yourself of what a great shark movie is (as if you needed reminded that there is only one), but also because it is just that damn cool.

2. Then, SEEShark Hunter. Fight your way initially through the horribly produced "flashback" footage of the lead character's "happy" childhood (this footage occurs over the far too ponderous credit sequence; I'm not sure w…

Psychotronic Ketchup: The Voodoo Island of Lesbos (Shhh... don't tell your parents...)

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Voodoo Island
Dir: Reginald Le Borg // United Artists, 1957 (TCM)
Cinema 4 Rating: 3


Last week, Jen and I were flipping through the cable guide on the DVR to find out if there was anything worth recording over the next few days. Naturally, I stopped by TCM to see what was coming up, both that night and the next. To my surprise, I stumbled upon what I thought was a night full of generally excellent horror films: The Uninvited, The Haunting, The Seventh Victim and The Picture of Dorian Gray. But, in the middle of this decidedly higher-brow fright fare, there sat an odd title indeed: Voodoo Island, a Boris Karloff B-flick from 1957, which from all of the accounts that I have seen or read is not even good enough to be considered a middling attempt at zombie horror. Since I personally had never seen the film, I had no real choice but to record the film for a later viewing, but I was left wondering whether I had just heard wrong about the film, and that it did indeed merit its inclusion in thi…

Kael, Kael, Fire and Snow! (Part 2 of 2)

(Continued from yesterday...)

Her reaction to my beloved Star Wars? She trashed the thing. Savaged it. She dismissed the film as "the new cultural puritanism"; she mocked Lucas writing, saying he had the "tone of bad movies down pat"; she ridiculed the cardboard characters and cartoonish action. Like any reviewer, she was neither right nor wrong, merely opinionated. But, I didn't understand that then. I really didn't accept that people could have opinions that ran counter to my own personal beliefs, and I seriously believed that their inclusion within the same brain that bore my own would damage my psyche in some monumental fashion. I took her broadside against Star Wars as a both a personal attack and as a threat against all humanity. I railed against her. I threw the magazine across the room. And then I read her review again. I probably even threw it again before I returned it to Mr. Brooks. And then I asked him if I could have the copy, which he eventuall…

Kael, Kael, Fire and Snow! (Part 1 of 2)

Assume that I am just a guy mad for the movies, and one who just likes to write about movies, and you would find yourself with a negative mark. Assume from the usual subject matter of this site that I have regard only for a select pair of genres of film, and you would find yourself with yet another demerit. Think the next fourteen things you are thinking, and you will have a start on your fourth handful of incorrect assumptions.

By virtue of the fact that I have multiple blogs on movies and animation, some people have asked if I want to be a film critic when I grow up again (a qualifier that I throw in for free in the conversation), and I have laughed at them and told them "No" on every single occasion. I have defused the question normally by stating my usual case of the at of blogging as a mere writing exercise, which is mostly true. I explain my choice of material as simply being something at which I have a certain accumulated knowledge, "So, why not write about somet…

V For Voluminous: Book of the Dead

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Book of the Dead: The Complete History of Zombie Cinema (2005)
by Jamie Russell
FAB Press | 320 pages


I have umpteen books in my library detailing the histories of just about any genre -- OK, maybe not chick flicks or romance -- but otherwise, I am doing just fine. Even when it comes to sub-genres, I have a few select volumes on various subjects (kaiju, aliens, slapstick, German expressionism, etc.), but never before did I consider that I would require an entire volume detailing the history of zombies and the undead (sometimes two very different things) in my collection.

Hell, I never even considered that I would want an entire book on zombie cinema in my home. This is based on my perception of the people that I know who are deeply into zombie films. Outside of my pal Aaron -- aka The Working Dead, who does have considerable critical faculties (check his blog out by clicking here) -- most of my acquaintances who thrive on zombie flicks pretty much just outright love anything with a zombie…

Arrested By the Police (A Pun 27 Years in the Unmaking, Sad to Say...)

When I woke up at 6am Monday morning, I didn't even know that The Police -- yes, those The Police, currently in the middle of a monstrous reunion tour after not doing so for 23 years -- were coming to California, let alone playing in Anaheim. By 9:30am that morning, I did know, thanks to Jen calling me from work, informing me as to this detail. Following an affirmative to a certain question she asked of me, by 9:40am, we had tickets to go see them at the Honda Center at 7:30 on Thursday night. The only problem? Jen had to work until 8pm, so I would have to go there first and get our seats and wait for her to arrive, hopefully in time for Sting not to have started his hooligan-style shouting to the crowd. Whatever... there are buses to catch, and there was no way, now that I had tickets within reach, that I was going to miss this thing.

As it turned out, Jen switched out her day off with someone else at the Park, which meant we could now actually have a real date night on Thursday, …

Recently Rated Movies #50: My Own MTV (You Know, The Way MTV Should Be... If They Actually Played Decent Music)

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loudQUIETloud: A Film About the Pixies
Dir: Stephen Cantor & Matthew Galkin // 2006 [DVD]
Cinema 4 Rating: 7

The Pixies Sell Out: 2004 Reunion Tour
Cinema 4 Rating: 8

Bumping about loudly through Netflix, I realized that I really haven't seen many of the current string of live concert DVDs that have hit the shelves in the last few years. The thing is, I would have killed for this much band access back in the '80s and early '90s, but video releases were both somewhat haphazard and far more expensive back then in those rental-focused times. The disc changed everything, especially the buyer's market. Now, if I get one DVD about Wilco, there's likely another one around the corner. There also seems to be a cottage industry built around the reformation of the Pixies, with at least three titles that I have noticed bouncing around featuring footage from that surprising 2004 reunion. I clicked on one of these titles, adding it to the queue, and then felt instantly compelled …

Psychotronic Ketchup: Building Disasters Upon Disasters

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Beyond the Poseidon Adventure
Dir: Irwin Allen // 1979 [DVD]
Cinema 4 Rating: 4

I will leave it to a true fashion expert to take a gander at disaster-meister Irwin Allen's last feature-film directorial effort and tell me if the characters in this film would be wearing those clothes if they indeed had shown up the next day after the events which unfolded in the famous first Oscar-winning Poseidon film, made a full seven years earlier than this one. Yeah, I lived through that time, but I was too busy as a youth in that span trying to see people without clothes on to really pay attention to what they were wearing the rest of the time. I remember my brothers had some Garanimals clothing and I had some truly atrocious attire. That's about it.

Telly Savalas is in this one, and if you don't have him sized up as the heavy after the first scene in which he appears, then you have not been paying attention. Sure, he comes on all semi-nice to salvage tug captain Michael Caine (doing what …

Rixster on Flixster, Pt. 3: Abba Dabba Honeymourn

I hit the ratings board on Flixster a-runnin' and a clickin', and before twenty minutes had passed, I had rated on their little five-star scale over 204 films. As Jen and I were heading out the door to see Knocked Up, I had to force myself to stop. But, striding out to the car, the thought hit me, "Why am I rating all these movies again?" As I have mentioned, I have my main list of ratings preserved in IMDB, and something else that I have not mentioned, I even provide a link to my list of over 4,100 ratings on the Pylon. For the interested few in my latest discoveries or changes, they can read them directly on the Pylon, as well. So, there is little real purpose in my doing this movie-rating thing once more. As we sped towards our Knocked Up showing, I reflected on my decision to start clicking furiously on film after film.

I also spent the time before the previews, and the time in the car on the way home (when we weren't discussing the merits and minor disappoint…

Rixster on Flixster, Pt. 2: A Wooden Foot Up the Bum

Here's the deal... I already have a couple of other places where I put up my movie ratings: first, there is the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) where I have not only rated over 4,000 movies, but I have also invested a great amount of time in storing and constructing a database for all of the information regarding the 5,000 items in my movie and television collection (now purposefully depleted to a somewhat reasonable level). I also rate movies, once in a while, in my Netflix account, but the purpose there is merely either to get them to show me new movies in which I might be interested, or because I am trying to kill a few minutes of spare time. I also have my blogs, such as the very one you are reading right now, where I have implemented my own personal ratings system -- The Cinema 4 Rating, based on 1 through 9; there are rarely "10s" in my universe -- which is used not only throughout my various blogs, but also on my underused (to this point) website, Cinema for Space…

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