Showing posts from February, 2007

Oscar Mayer in a Blanket... or a nutshell...

Scorcese finally won.
Pan's Labyrinth took 3 out of 6.
Alan Arkin stole one and Sunshine took screenplay.
Monster House did not win, but Al Gore did (again).

I am cool with all of this.

Recently Rated Movies #40: Failing to Catch Up to the Oscars

Another Oscar ceremony, and I've somehow, barely, seen anything nominated.

This post has been awhile in the making, but only because I was trying to get in as many Oscar-nominated films in before the ceremony tonight as I could. Unfortunately, Jen has been in rehearsals for a show at Disney over the past few weeks, so our time to see movies together has been drastically decreased. Add to that my exhaustion in getting preparations together for my company's convention and putting out our publications, and you might well see why I just stay home once I get home, instead of having to trek out to the theatres, which takes a bit more for me than someone who actually drives. In Alaska, I lived about a mile away from many of our theatres, but here, it is not so. As such, the nominated films I did see on the list below were all when Jen and I could go together, and all within the over-three-weeks-ago or longer range, and some at the beginning of January.

The result is that I really have …

Recently Rated Movies #39: Psychotronic Ketchup "Catch-Up" Part A

Variety -- it is both a blessing and a curse. I don't mean the Hollywood business rag (though I suppose I could for those who have actually read it); no, I mean merely the wide range of choice available to one who pursues a DVD-watching project such as the one that I have undertaken. By crawling through the debris left in the wake of The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film (i.e. watching all of the movies contained within its pages that I have not seen previously, or have only seen partially, or saw so long ago that I have decided, with some reticence, to view them again), I have found myself surrounded by a vast selection of genres. Even if it seems to the casual observer that, because I am gathering films from what seems to be a rather select guide on wigged out movies, I am merely watching a lot of junk films in a row, I am actually finding that the guide itself has far more depth than one might imagine.

This is the blessing. In the pages of this book are pure and true schlock --…

Psychotronic Ketchup: The Alien Dead (1980)

Is success in the motion picture industry truly only to be measured in dollars earned at the box office or in awards gathered in one's arms? Or should success also include the ability to hang about the fringes of the movie industry for over 30 years, and getting the chance to direct almost a hundred features in that time, even if the quality of those features ranges variably from OK time-wasters to the truly inept?

In a world where a film is generally considered to be a "bomb" if it hasn't earned a $100 million at the box office, people like to heap abuse on those like Edward D. Wood, Jr., filmmakers who pour their souls and every ort of art within them, no matter how lacking in actual talent, to make their movies their way. Wood gave us Plan 9 From Outer Space and Glen or Glenda, and all he has gotten for the past fifty years is some rather savage mockery. He has also pretty much been declared, by much of the western world it seems, as the "The Worst Filmmaker …

Rixflix A to Z: Badlands (1973)

Badlands (Warner Bros., 1973)
Dir./Wr./Prod.: Terrence Malick
Crew Notables: Jack Fisk (Art Direction); Tak Fujimoto, Stevan Larner and Brian Probyn (cinematography)
Cast Notables: Martin Sheen (Kit), Sissy Spacek (Holly), Warren Oates, Gary Littlejohn, Alan Vint, Ramon Bieri, John Carter, Terrence Malick (cameo)
TC4P Rating: 9/9

"I saw her standin' on her front lawn just a-twirlin' her baton
Me and her went for a ride, sir, and ten innocent people died

From the town of Lincoln, Nebraska with a sawed-off .410 on my lap
Through to the Badlands of Wyoming, I killed everything in my path

I can't say that I am sorry for the things that we done
At least for a little while, sir, me and her we had us some fun"

To say that Charles Starkweather's murderous rampage through the Midwest in the winter of 1957-58 caught the nation's attention would be a severe understatement. Not only did his desperate flight from Nebraska to Wyoming with his girlfriend Caril Ann Fugate, five y…

Rixflix A to Z: Baby Snakes (1979)

Director: Frank Zappa (also Writer, Producer, Music, Co-Editor) // Intercontinental Absurdities; 2:46; color
Crew Notables: Richard Pearce & Phil Parmet (cinematography), Bruce Bickford (clay animation)
Cast Notables: Frank Zappa, Adrian Belew, Dale Bozzio, Terry Bozzio, Vinnie Colaiuta, Warren Cuccurullo, Roy Estrada, Jennifer James, Phil Kaufman, Ed Mann, Tommy Mars, Patrick O'Hearn, John Smothers, Peter Wolf, Ron Delsener, Johnny Psychotic, Donna U. Wanna, Diva Zappa
Cinema 4 Rating: 8

Look, you are either going to get Zappa, or you are not. I am proud to be counted amongst his legion of admirers. These people have many reasons for loving the man: as a virtuoso guitar god; a master satirist who spit our social mores and popular culture back out at us with a sly grin; or as a groundbreaking composer of avant-garde music. Many, far too many, see him simply as a guy who wrote some outrageously funny, dirty and shocking novelty songs. I tend to go with the second and third reaso…

Rixflix A to Z: Babe: Pig In the City (1998)

Director/Co-Writer: George Miller // Kennedy-Miller & Universal; 1:37; color
Crew Notables: Dick King-Smith (characters); Paddy Moloney (song); Randy Newman (song, AAN) & Peter Gabriel (vocals)
Cast Notables: James Cromwell, Magda Szubanski, Mickey Rooney; Voices: Elizabeth Daily, Glenne Headly, Steven Wright, Adam Goldberg, Miriam Margolyes, Hugo Weaving, Roscoe Lee Browne (narrator), Naomi Watts, Jim Cummings
Cinema 4 Rating: 6

I'm not sure, but this might be the first G-rated film that mentions the phrase "serial killer" in it. It's a reference that Ferdinand the duck makes regarding the rather plump Mrs. Hoggett and her smooth way of doing away with any number of his relatives for dinner, but it's probably more indicative of the maturation of the Babe franchise itself. The pig indeed goes to the Big City, and he finds out quickly that he has to grow up just a little bit, and so its no surprise that the film gets a slightly harder edge to it. The city, wh…

Rixflix A to Z: Babe (1995)

Director/Co-Screenplay: Chris Noonan (AAN) // Kennedy-Miller & Universal; 1:29; color
Crew Notables: George Miller (co-screenplay, AAN); Dick King-Smith (book); Jim Henson's Creature Shop
Cast Notables: James Cromwell (AAN - Best Supporting Actor), Magda Szubanski; Voices: Christine Cavanaugh, Miriam Margolyes, Danny Mann, Hugo Weaving, Miriam Flynn, Russi Taylor, Roscoe Lee Browne (narrator)

Subtitled: How I Destroyed My Fake Vegetarianism
(Only to Linger In Self-Doubt Forever More...)

I have said more than once before that films cannot change your life. I say this because when a person declares such a ridiculous thing like "That book changed my life", or a film or whatever, what they are doing is what most of our society mistakenly does: places the credit (or the blame) on an outside force rather on the only people who can make that change (or bungle it): themselves.

I saw Babe and that deeply hidden animal rights activist deep within me said "How the hell are you g…

The Man Who Had to Sing About "The Man Who Had to Sing"

When I first got the "series of tubes" (Ted Stevens, bless your technological acumen!) hooked up in April of 2005, just after I moved to Anaheim, before I even thought of starting up a blog, or even multiple blogs, I had a mission. Inspired by a small, obscure animated short that I had not seen for over a quarter century, but whose presence in my brain had stuck with me that entire time, I made my way to IMDB to start researching the film's whereabouts. Not only did the film appear to not have been released on DVD or VHS, at least in the English-speaking world as presented on the "BUY" section of the website, but the entry for this film didn't even have the minimum number of votes required (a mere 5) to qualify to have a rating on the site (it still doesn't, which seems to speak to its current obscurity). And because this lonely little film titled The Man Who Had to Sing, which seemed to me still like the scraggly, unloved Christmas tree in the Charlie …

Rixflix A to Z: Austin Powers, International Man of Mystery (1997)

Director: Jay Roach // New Line; 1:34; color
Crew Notables: Demi Moore (producer)
Cast Notables: Mike Myers (Austin Powers/Dr. Evil; screenplay, producer), Elizabeth Hurley (Vanessa Kensington), Michael York (Basil Exposition), Mimi Rogers (Mrs. Kensington), Robert Wagner (Number Two), Seth Green (Scott Evil), Fabiana Udenio (Alotta Fagina), Mindy Sterling (Frau Farbissina), Paul Dillon (Patty O'Brien), Charles Napier (Commander Gilmour), Will Ferrell (Mustafa), Clint Howard (Johnson Ritter), Cindy Margolis (Fembot), Burt Bacharach (himself) // cameos: Tom Arnold, Lois Chiles, Carrie Fisher, Susanna Hoffs, Rob Lowe, Mike Judge, Michael McDonald, Cheri Oteri, Christian Slater, Matthew Sweet, Patricia Tallman
Cinema 4 Rating: 7

I don't have a need to balance my movies out like my girlfriend does. When we left Babel the other night, and I posed an option for the following night of seeing The Last King of Scotland and, perhaps, Letters from Iwo Jima, she professed a desire that one of…