|DVRfest 2007 (11.09.07 - 11.10.07, 10 movies)|
|11.09.07||Stagecoach||John Ford||Well lookie what time it is! Another year of fanatical film "journal"ing (it's not a blog!) down, another self-indulgent junk food-fueled weekend of personal film festival is upon us! Well, upon me. And I'm already running late. If this was AFF I'd be pissed.|
So last year DVRfest kind of exploded into a four-day bonanza of lonly excess but this year I'm scaling back to basics. 10 movies, 2 nights, I've only seen one of them before, wish me luck. I wont give much of the schedule away (I don't even know what one of the movies is) but I will say it's starting with John Ford and ending with Zombies fighting Hitler. I can't imagine that reading along is fun for anyone but apparently a few people do it anyway so feel free to check back here every two hours or so for ongoing coverage of the fest.
I saw Stagecoach in a film course years ago and I've been curious to revisit it again and see if my curiouisly mixed response to Ford's films have changed any, So I figure this is a good place to start. Be back in a few hours!
Well it's still quite like I remember. I hadn't realized that John Carradine was in it though (in a relatively early role for him... only 60 previous credits!). I remember my film prof telling us how many ways Ford tells us that the brothers John Wayne's up against are gonna lose before they actually start the fight and it's still funny to see. It's actually so blatant and Wayne is now such an Icon that it's completely unbelievable that he has any chance of losing at all, but still... it's a great shot when he drops to the ground shooting and it's a great introductory shot as well. I'm painfully aware of how far away I am from the first person to be saying this stuff... Everybody knows it's a classic film and all that. I like it to be sure. I'm not sure I love it on a visceral emotional watch-every-week level but I definitely see why it's talked about.
Since I'm running late I wont go on about it. Next up is another Ford picture... which one is it? Find out in a few hours!
|11.09.07||She Wore A Yellow Ribbon||John Ford||When I hear the list of "great" John Ford movies, I've seen a lot but still have plenty to explore. This seems to be one of the titles thrown in many peoples' hats so I figured it was about time I saw it. John Wayne plays older and it suits him very well. Again I'm aware of how much has been said about that guy but the scene toward the end when he's been called back to his post and a whole room full of people are there to applaud him, he vaults his eyebrows into super puppy dog mode and is at once sad and lonesome and vulnerable but at the same time still macho and masculine. I think that's what made him such a hit with pretty much everyone.|
So... I liked this one although I totally thought it was going to end a half hour before it did. That's ok though because the last half hour had some of the best stuff in it. In particular I liked seeing Ben Johnson in his prime (that guy could ride), Wayne's comic chemistry with Victor McLaglen (the barroom brawl/toast with him was pretty great), and the beautiful photography. There's a scene with a lightning storm rolling in that at first I thought had to be an optical or something. I still think the lightning bolts are because they are too big and too perfect but just the clouds and lighting in that scene are amazing. It actually reminded me of a shot in No Country for Old Men... I bet if you're on set on days like that you just have to thank whoever's responsible out there and not dwell on it too much. Special moments.
And although the movie's not similar in any sort of stylistic way, just the fact that Wayne called his troops dogfaces reminded me a lot of Sam Fuller. I really need to see Steel Helmet and Fixed Bayonets.
Oh, I also loved when Wayne has his little powwow with the old Indian guy and the Indian's saying that they're too old for war and should go hunt buffalo and smoke a lot... the way he says "We get drunk all the time!" was great.
So... this next movie is truly a mystery. A while back, my Time Warner DVR was wigging out and lost all the guide information so there was no data available for any show on any channel. So I was flipping around and caught the beginning of some movie that must have piqued my interest. I remember seeing the director credit and the star and looking it up on imdb and thinking I wanted to see it so I recorded for two hours and it's been listed as "instant recording" ever since. Of course I've forgotten what the movie was and anything about it and the recording starts after the beginning titles so... all I know after queueing it up is that Dennis Quaid's in it. Intrigued? me too!
|11.09.07||Dreamscape||Joseph Ruben||Dennis Quaid plays a psychic using his powers to make money at the track. Max von Sydow plays a scientist who's managed to project psychics into the dreams of others and is doing research to help people with chronic nightmares. Christopher Plummer is the shady government intelligence agent who's funding the project with the secret agenda to assassinate the president through his dreams and David Patrick "warrrriors come out and play" Kelly plays the rogue psychic psychopath. The movie is Dreamscape, a 1984 alternate of Nightmare on Elm Street (according to imdb this made it to theaters 3 months before Craven's film) with some Matrix and some Coma and Dennis Quaid's abs thrown in. Joseph Ruben (The Stepfather) directs with some wonderfully pre-digital effects work and there's even George Wendt playing a Stephen King-esque horror writer (named Charlie Prince) who somehow knows about the secret experiments thanks to research for an upcoming book. Oh and you get a quick shot of Kate Capshaw's boob and that's 1984 Capshaw so... nothing to shake a stick at.|
(looking at imdb comments, it looks like the Image R1 DVD of this is cut and does not include either the Capshaw side boob or an earlier cheating wife boob shot. suck!)
Considering I knew nothing about this movie going in, I was pretty blown away by what I saw. I can't believe I haven't known about this since I was a kid. Due to the dream aspect of it, it can be funny sometimes then sexy then scary (with an awesome Snakeman that looks just like a He-Man toy I used to have). All those actors, such an interesting and out-there premise, so many ideas going on... I just can't believe I haven't heard of this. I think maybe Elm Street overshadowed this or something like how Sixth Sense ruins Stir of Echoes but that's a shame. This movie is pretty damn good!
I mean, it's still a 1984 movie. The music's horrible, all the green screen is terrible and Quaid's pretty boy bit doesn't really fit, but I love that he uses his power to pick up chicks! Love it! If it wasn't Hollywood, they should've gotten a pretty ugly dude for the part since Quaid probably had no problem getting chicks psychic or no (especially if he has an excuse to take his shirt off or smile or do both) but whatever... that's movies. Scientist women probably don't look like Kate Capshaw either but you don't see me complaining about that.
So yeah, awesome times watching this movie. I feel like the fest is really kicking in. What's up next? Well, even though it's already 1:15, it's time for a midnight movie. What did I pick???
|11.09.07||The Wild Angels||Roger Corman||So yeah, I've never seen this. The Alamo played it one or two years ago and I never got around to getting out for it so it's been a pretty big hole in my biker movie exposure. My current understanding is that this is the movie that kicked off the whole biker movies craze of the 60s and 70s and I can definitely see that. It's interesting how instead of the usual 45 minute interlude of partying, raping, and fighting... this kind of split it up into several smaller sequences culminating in the batshit crazy funeral party. I really liked Corman's cutting and his handheld here... It's so raw and kinetic and everyone is clearly trying to play cooler than everyone else. Plus there's the names... Blues, The Loser, Frankenstein, Pygmy... cool biker names.|
I have to admit though. I'm tired. I kinda hazed in and out for a few parts of this and think it enhanced my overall experience. It's already pretty late though so I won't go on. Instead I have one more movie to see and from what I know about it, it'll make the perfect exhausto-capper for my first night. what is it? stay up late and see.
|11.09.07||Forbidden Zone||Richard Elfman||whewy. I am so tired. The last half of this movie I can't really tell what I saw and what I dreamed. Were there talking chickens in this? Were those two guys also in UHF? What an onslaught of grandiose weirdness! Somehow I think I saw this in the perfect way.|
And now I have to sleep. To those who stayed up till 4:45 with me, you sleep too. See you tomorrow.
|11.10.07||Gotcha!||Jeff Kanew||Back for more!? Good! Today we're starting off with Gotcha! I never saw this but loved the whole laser Tag/Gotcha/Photon fad what with the Brian Bosworth commercials and whatnot and always wondered what Jeff Kanew did right after his monster Revenge of the Nerds success. Be back in a few hours!|
Huh. I guess I didn't think the whole movie would be Anthony Edwards running around his college campus playing paintball with people but I didn't really expect him running aroudn East Berlin with Linda Fiorentino either. I'm not surprised though... this falls perfectly in the Cloak & Dagger Little Nikita kids espionage fad of the 80s. Plus it makes sense that after doing a movie about nerds, going off to europe sounds like a nice change of pace.
I loved Alex Rocco as the dad more concerned about his Nikon than his son. Alex Rocco's just great, isn't he?
So are Linda Fiorentino's breasts. You don't see those as much as you used to.
Anyway, this was a fun little intro to the night. I can't help but think how impossible any sort of Gotcha-esque game is today... yeah, guns on campuses. sounds like a laugh riot!. The Alamo showed this and tried their own Gotcha game a while back but I live too far north to qualify. I never really heard how well or poorly it did but there hasn't been another one so I could take a guess. It's nice to imagine yourself with some next-level agenda whenever you're doing something mundane like grocery shopping or going to class though. Oh, excuse me one second. I have to pull out this gun and shoot that guy who's getting a coke over there. I'll be right back. Not for real though, of course.
So one last thing I thought was interesting about this movie. When they're in Paris looking for women, Edwards' latino friend masquerades as an Algerian terrorist named Carlos to pick up chicks. I totally had no clue that was in there but guess which movie I'm watching next!!!
|11.10.07||The Day of the Jackal||Fred Zinnemann||OK so it's not the same Jackal but still! close enough!|
I stayed away from this movie for the longest time because I was so bored by the 90s remake with Bruce Willis and Richard Gere but it turns out I should've seen it much sooner. Despite its length, I thought this was pretty damn good. I loved how huge it was and how Zinneman wasn't afraid to bring in new characters just for one scene or to go wherever he needed to go in order to tell the story. Plus I love the main investigator guy although I only remember him from Munich.
I actually thought a lot about The Boston Strangler while watching due to the way that every lead is systematically followed step-by-step and how much grunt work was involved in the days before computers and databases. I really liked the documentary aspect of the film and how it casually switches from talky procedural scenes to silent Hitchcockian tense stuff. Liked it a lot. Even if all the Frenchman did have English accents.
We're well over the hump now. It's time to settle into a nice dark noir before our final double feature of the fest. This next one is, again, something I haven't seen before but something that looks pretty great.
|11.10.07||His Kind of Woman||John Farrow||Robert Mitchum agrees to go down to Baja and get paid for doing nothing until he finds out it's all a plot for a deported mob boss to steal his identity and get back into the states, stranding Mitchum on a permanent Vacation. Jane Russell's the girl, Raymond Burr's the mob boss, Charles McGraw's the thug, and my favorite part of the movie: Vincent Price is an Errol Flynn-esque actor/cad on vacation.|
I wish there was more narration. There was only like three and a half lines but McGraw delivers them perfectly, like a narrator who really can't be bothered to tell the story he's telling. I also wish there was more newscaster voice-over. In the very beginning you hear a tidbit that I quite like, something about a senator claiming to be quote "misquoted" unquote. heh heh heh.
So... yeah, toward the end Vincent Price goes nuts and starts killing people. The movie's probably not like how it sounds when I type that... he goes nuts in a comedic way spouting actor-y Shakespeare lines while discovering vitality in being a man, but I chose to see it as somewhat more sinister. He just cracks and finds out that he enjoys killing. It's awesome. He also says stuff like "this is man's work, women are for weeping!"
Unfortunately, the movie's not nearly perfect. Mitchum is ineffectual as ever and I spent more time wondering how Russell got into her dresses than paying attention to whatever she was saying... something about being a millionaire but not really. The movie's also about 40 minutes too long and killed my energy. By the end I was dozing a bit and kind of glad because it seemed like the fight on the boat went on forever alternating between genuine shoot-out scenes and light comedy like Price's rowboat sinking with him standing at the helm like George Washington crossing the Potomac. I'm 90% sure I wouldn't be into that mixture of tones if this was the only movie I was seeing tonight but... whatever. I just rested my eyes for a few minutes and let it pass.
And now I finish this year's DVRfest with a double feature from Monogram pictures. Both are pretty short and both sound completely bizarre and un-missable. Check back later to see what they are.
|11.10.07||King of the Zombies||Joean Yarbrough||This is what TCM's website had to say about this movie:|
"A mad scientist raises the dead to fight for Hitler in World War II."
Now how can you pass that up!?
Well... I sort of did. I think I was actually out for about 15 minutes of this and hazing in and out for about 20 more. Not good considering the movie's only 67 minutes long. I didn't quite get an explicit mention of Hitler either. At the very end someone explained that the mad doctor had half the island under hypnosis but... never actually heard the plan about how zombies were actually useful to the Third Reich. Oh well.
What I did hear was some awesome 40s lingo (mostly from the black guy who plays the two white guys' servant but actually has like the biggest part in the movie). Stuff like "marble orchard" for graveyard, "fugitives from the undertaker" for zombies, and the phrase "my feet took up root" for I'm scared and can't move. I want to talk like that although if I did it'd probably be annoying in most everyday circumstances.
So... yeah, there was a mad doctor on a remote island and these guys crash land their plane but then the black guy follows the creepy butler down to the kitchen and all the help is like "yeah theys zombies everywhere, just clap and you'll see em." Awfully casual I must say. Then toward the end I swear I saw all these zombies hopping up and down and singing along to the tribal drums. Bizarre.
|11.10.07||Revenge of the Zombies||Steve Sekely||So what's a better way to end this fest than with a movie about nazi zombies? TWO MOVIES ABOUT NAZI ZOMBIES! And this one starring John Carradine! Who was in Stagecoach! Which was the first film of the fest! FULL CIRCLE, PEOPLE. You won't get this at BNAT.|
I tried really really hard to stay awake for this and even rewound the ending a couple times because as far as I can tell this is the same movie as KotZ except with John Carradine instead of the Bela Lugosi-looking mad doctor in the first one and less of the black driver dude (although he was still in it). No plane crash this time but otherwise it's damn similar. I did catch the speech about the power of an undead army but again no explicit Hitler name-dropping and.... and the end is pretty foggy. Actually in the harsh light of noontime (as I write this) I can't really remember much of the movie... I suppose that's for the best though because it was a Monogram picture and only 60-something minutes long and was about zombies for Hitler without even saying Hitler!
So that's that! DVRfest 3 is over. What did I learn this year? Well, first off I learned my programming skills are awesome. Actually that's not true. I already knew that so it's not something new. I learned that when I get up relatively early and do things during the day, I have a problem laying on my couch and watching 5 movies in a row without me falling asleep. Next year's DVRfest might very well be 4-movie nights instead of 5. Whatever, it was fun falling asleep to weird movies.
so... 548 movies in the past year, 1606 films seen 1714 times in the last 3 years, 50 in the past month and 17 this week. Top directors are Oliver Stone with 11, Werner Herzog with 11, and Blake Edwards with 10. Top genres are drama with 157, Comedy with 155, and documentary with 155 (followed by horror with 149 but that's unfair since so many horror subgenres split this number up. the genre system on this site is the next thing i'd re-work if i go under the hood again, it's a mess). Snakes on a Plane is still the top movie with 11 views, Sin City and Napoleon Dynamite have 4, and Knocked Up, Danger: Diabolik, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, The 40 year-Old Virgin and The Big Lebowski are all at 3. Netflix is the top venue with 296 followed by 212 at the Alamo Downtown, 167 at Alamo South Lamar, 160 on DVR and 156 on DVD (I'm also up to 92 Weird Wednesdays! I wonder what will be my 100th?).
I really hope I keep this up. The format seems to suit me and I love browsing through my stats and getting awesome comments from people who worked on forgotten movies and reading my old posts and seeing how many typos and bad grammar there are. It's almost like I write for AICN huh (oooooh burn!) Will I make it another 11 years like Peter Bogdanovich? Will I see nearly as many movies once I get a full-time job? Will I ever finish that short with Jarrette? I am trying not to say no to any of those questions. I guess I can check back on this a year from now and see!