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A Magical Adventure that Charges Up the Franchise
The Last Jedi was an absolute thrill ride of a film, and really sets up an amazing finale for Episode 9. The movie was well cast, and the pacing and excitement builds and flows to its ultimate and legendary climax. The space battles were top-of-the-line Star Wars, and the addition of Laura Dern and Benicio Del Toro really gave the film that extra "kick" it needed. Kelly Marie Tran also surprised many in her heart-warming role as Rose Tico. The new planets were incredible, especially Crait...and I can't say enough about Adam Driver and Daisy Ridley. Their chemistry is amazing, and it will be a treat to see how their stories end up in the next chapter. Well done, Rian Johnson and Disney!
Ordinary People (1980)
A Deep, Dark Depression Brewing
WowOrdinary People (1980) is an eye-opener. The first time I viewed this film (on HBO in the 1980's) I was too young and naive to comprehend the depth of human suffering going on beneath the calm smirks and grins of Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore, and Timothy Hutton. The sound of the choir still gives me the creepsranked up there with the disturbing yawns of the Amityville Horror. Hutton plays a young teen named Conrad, who is coping with some "miscalculated" guilt over the death of his brother (during a sailing trip). Moore and Sutherland play his grief-stricken parents. If you suffer from bi-polar disorder or smoke a lot of pot DO NOT WATCH THIS FILM. The suicidal themes are well-portrayed and the background score only amplifies the extent of human depression. The highlight of this film is the stunning "Oscar-winning" performance by Mary Tyler Moore.
White Noise (2005)
White Noise is White Feces
Was White Noise (2005) thrown together in a week? The script seems very shallow, incomplete, and the overall plot and flow is pretty miserable. The ending is absolutely dreadful too. Michael Keaton is one of my favorite actors (he was the best Batman), and his savvy, poise and status as a "veteran actor" are the only things holding this train-wreck together.
The acting is dry and distant (like the script), and the pace and sequences seem to wander into misguided territories. There were plenty of inconsistencies and unanswered questions in this film. Why did the bookstore blonde try to commit suicide by jumping off the balcony? Was it the "spirits who do damage" responsible for the this? Why does Michael Keaton have to end up as a spirit in a monitor at the end? Why did he have to break his leg that way? How many times did they show his wife's arm break on the rock?
The only plus this film has to offer is the neat television and audio static which gets rarely interrupted by ghostly rantings and shapes. Michael Keaton's architect character becomes obsessed with listening to "the other side" and starts to awaken the darkest spirits who haunt the living. This is where his life starts to really suck!
It seemed to pick up steam towards the end, but the final half-baked ending just shatters any hopes that this thing is salvageable. It's fate lies in the musty confines of cheap video stores in odd towns with quirky names across America. Is this suppose to be horror? Well, those eery ghostly faces peaking throw the "Poltergeist" static can keep you somewhat intrigued. Rent this film for a "cheap whore" date.
This Jim Henson masterpiece will age like wine
Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas (1977) is pure television magic. It represents finely orchestrated character puppetry of the highest order. Never have animal puppets created so much human emotional pull. Ma Otter seemed so real to me as a young boy growing up in a small southern town. She still reminds me of this tender old lady who would come by and wash (and iron) our family clothes for $20. That's how real she was/is to me. Ma Otter was a symbol of comfort.
Her son Emmet Otter is young, naive, determined and the centerpiece of this Henson gem. Emmet is a problem solver and is willing to help his poor Ma out any way he can. You also get to meet his friends, one being an obese beaver who plays the washtub bass. You also get to experience an Otter family annual tradition; hunting for the precious Christmas Branch. But the ultimate highlight is the talent show at the end...where Emmet's fabulous Jug-Band battles Ma Otter (and her sad, sad song) and a surprise entry: The Riverbottom Nightmare Band.
Whoever invented the Riverbottom Nightmare Band (Henson?) needs to be rewarded. One might assume that the audience will root for Emmet's Band or Ma (in the end), but the reality is that you'll get surprisingly turned on by the throbbing, hypnotic drudge of the Riverbottom Nightmare Band. Not only was there sound explosive and imaginative, but they also buried the other competitors. The Nightmare Band had enough creative vision and foresight to create an ultra-savvy and alluring stage spectacle. They also had this awesomely large spitting fish that squirted from a large water tank. Ma and Emmet's Jug-band never stood a chance. They were too emotional and eager for 1st place bucks. In the end they were ultimately destroyed by the Riverbottom Nightmare Band.
Syd Barrett's First Trip (1966)
Syd Barrett's First Trip (1966) offers a fascinating glimpse into the early psychedelic world of Roger "Syd" Barrett (Pink Floyd's genius founder). It's a short, silent film (11 minutes) so feel free to play whatever Barrett masterpieces you wish. Dominoes (on repeat) is my personal favorite. Enjoy!
"It's an idea, someday...in my tears, my dreams...don't you want to see her proof? Life that comes of no harm...you and I, you and I and dominoes...the day goes by..."
-- from Dominoes by Syd Barrett
Rocky V (1990)
Worst Sequel in Movie History
Who's bright idea was this? Rocky V (arguably the worst film ever made), starred a washed up Rocky Balboa (Stallone) tutoring a needy Tommy "Machine" Gunn (Morrison). Boy was this script pitiful. Zero style, zero plot and zero meaning. It serves no tangible purpose in any way. It's literally a waste of human time. It looks like every scene was achieved in one "half-baked" take. Burt Young couldn't even save the day this time!
Very predictable stuff here. Rocky's idiot son gets in a fight with some middle school bullies...and surprise...wins the final confrontation! And then there is the awful final street fight scene between Stallone and Morrison (gee, who wins here?)...and then there's this "Don King" flavored character with no direction or meaning. A cringer from start to finish.
The Gumby Show (1956)
Classic Gumby Episodes are Second to None
The 1950's Gumby claymation series has always startled and amazed with its imaginative plots and characterizations. The playful worlds (and moods) created by the steady artistry of Art Clokey (Gumby's creator) continue to mesmerize the youthful hearts and minds of millions.
Gumby is cheerfully captivating - with episode titles like Chicken Feed, Hot Rod Granny, The Zoops, Moon Trip, and King for a Day. The adventures of Gumby (and his pals Pokey, Prickle & Goo) will forever be etched in your mind, so don't miss out. I'd advise all curious readers to purchase any original episodes flying around (for just a few dollars) and don't forget to share them with your kids!
King Ralph (1991)
King Ralph Falls Short
King Ralph (1991) is undeniably one of the top five worst films of the 1990's. The script was obviously and only written to cash in on the rise of John Goodman hype & hysteria in the early 90's. Goodman needs to stick to "Roseanne" comeback specials, Saturday Night Live appearances, and "Babe Ruth" type characters from now on. King Ralph falls short in every possible way because it lacks proper foresight and planning, and the whole title, plot, and idea is quite "outdated" even for early 90's standards. This is a cheap rental if you're really, really bored, or just love to watch John Goodman parading around as a goofy King with absolutely no direction in life. I'd recommend "Brewster's Millions" with Richard Pryor instead...now there's a comedy that ages gracefully with time...and with a much better cast, plot and vision.
Gorilla at Large (1954)
Stinker at Large
This movie was dusted off in the 1980's and used as a promotional gimmick for Channel 46 (in some areas). The 3-D glasses (distributed at local restaurants, stop-n-gos, and radio stations) had Channel 46 plastered across the center. And I also recall the commercials & promo spots (quite a few actually). The significance of all this over-hyped "Gorilla at Large-mania" was unknown to me as a young child...and still is today. Because to this day I can't recall any other spectacularly hammy 3-D movie promotions...especially movies that had died in the vault 30 years before! Does anybody out there in TV Land recall seeing this movie back in 1954? I'm quite curious to learn about their perspective on the whole thing. All I can remember was getting "very" bored about halfway through the film...and the 3-D effects were quite poor...and there was lots and lots of dreadful acting. There is nothing quite as pitiful as a grown man dressed in a gorilla costume parading around in front of a camera.
Children of the Feces
"Children of the Corn" was just another flaky horror series that was ruined by excessive sequel overkill. Was all of this nonsense necessary? Did the editors of Fangoria Magazine need something to fill up its pages during the lean years of horror? Yes, the 1990's didn't offer us much in the realm of horror, but this stinker was the turd on top of the cake. The "Children of the Corn" series should have ended after the first movie, which was actually worth watching.
Movies like this are made for people who have nothing else better to do than rent "Children of the Corn 666: Isaac's Return" at 3 in the morning. A complete and absolute waste of time and money! Only good for the "absolute cheapest" sleazy sofa dates.
Stepping Razor: Red X (1992)
He watereth the hills from his chambers and the earth is satisfied...
Along with Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer, Peter Tosh was a primary composer of "The Wailers" music catalog and played a major role in increasing reggae's popularity beyond the West Indies.
Tosh is an electrifying icon, a fierce force, and certainly didn't deserve the fate that was dealt to him in 1987. Who conspired to instigate such an evil act? Why did such an enormous revolutionary figure have to be submitted to such a sudden, misguided tragedy? These questions will be debated for centuries, and you can compile your own theories from the clues offered in Stepping Razor: Red X - (1992).
Tosh didn't deserve to die the way he did (brutally beaten & shot by members of the corrupt sector)...and his musical legacy is one that easily outlasts the reggae majority. His forceful speeches, magnetism, and divine activism aimed at social change led many to worship his very being (just as they did Marley). He was truly on his way to greatness...and should be remembered & honored always for not only his music, but also for his vision...to give the free world back to the people shackled by tyranny, deceit and diseased politics...
The Filth and the Fury (2000)
Good, unclean fun
The Sex Pistols redefined an era and became symbolic icons of a generation poised on either self destruction or spontaneous revolution. They were loud, verbally abusive and ungodly swift in their maneuvers, but most importantly they knew how to play the times. The Pistols captured the moment and ran with it.
The Filth and the Fury (2000) allows you to see this brilliant band from every angle, and virtually every scene is packed with pure energy, candid slapstick, sticky scenarios and good, unclean fun.
Johnny Rotten (John Lydon) was just as savvy & sharp-tongued in 1977 as he is today, and it's quite fascinating to study the band as they glide from early venues (like the famous St. Martins School of Art & Design gig) to an inevitable exclamation point in San Francisco, CA. The Sex Pistols were complete visionary free spirits, and could have continued for another few years if not for Malcolm McLaren's mismanaging, and the exploits of "unprepared" bass player Sid Vicious (too much, too fast) and his smacked to the bones girlfriend Nancy Spungeon (who had originally "road the coattails of the New York Dolls").
I'd advise you to rent this tantalizing rockumentary, and watch it alone...with proper lighting. Don't watch it with stupid, unrefined, misinformed, middle American knuckleheads who will comment every five seconds. You need to soak it in and inhale this fabulous film about a colorful place and time not too far away. It captures the moment...and runs with it.
White Water Summer (1987)
Watch the White Water dripping from the air conditioner!
This movie had potential, but unfortunately director's apathy, a mediocre script, and rushjob editing doomed this weak afterschool drama about boys coming of age in a campers' nightmare. Was it suppose to be funny? Who do we root for...Kevin Bacon as a drifting, needy, sex-deprived Vic, or a bunch of awkward Cub Scout rejects who all took the wrong turn at Albuquerque.
Kevin Bacon has produced finer results (Friday the 13th, Footloose, JFK), but every time I see "Hollowman" I'm always reminded of his twisted Vic character in White Water Summer. WWS did a stint on HBO a few years back, and that's where most people probably saw it. But it's usually eroding under a dripping air conditioner at your local flee market rent-a-flix. Did it ever show at a theatre?
The film: Vic wants to make men of boys, and yearns to school them the hard way...by assuming he is a higher order, and thinking he knows everything there is about wildlife, camping and adventure. There will be no knives, no radio, no weed and no softcore magazines on this journey. What is Vic's primary objective on this trip? It's clearly obvious that his only ambition is to traumatize the young, feeble minds of four teenage boys...and you can thank the parents for forking over their hard-earned dollars for the abuse.
What's so insane about WWS is that you can ALSO get the impression that Vic wants to make a positive impact on these kids' minds and souls. Sean Astin portrays Alan, a quiet, somewhat timid teenager who could've been picking his nose at any middle school in America. He's quite easy to relate to, and you can see clearly why he hates Vic. To Alan Vic is nothing more than your typical 30 year-old lowlife with no direction or purpose. Which is true.
If you want to know more about this oddball flick then just read the other comments by other users who cared more about this movie than I did. Oh yea, one more thing - the soundtrack isn't as great as some of you WWS fanatics make it out to be. Just your typical mid/late 80's "American Anthem-like" softrock. Nothing special or unique in there.
Garbage Pail Kids (1988)
Michelle Muck meets Patty Putty
The fact that the mythical "Garbage Pail Kids" Saturday morning cartoon never actually aired (in the United States) was a landmark error by CBS executives, who were pressured by letters and complaints from several anguished suburban soccer moms (and other assorted fruit cakes) whose only other primary concerns were piano recitals and choir practice.
Fortunately, a few episodes aired overseas and were taped, and can now be purchased via the internet. The cartoon featured several GPK characters including Liberty Libby, Clogged Duane, Elliot Mess, Michelle Muck and Trashed Tracy. The only thing that aired in the United States was a Saturday morning "teaser ad" that ran a few weeks before the original scheduled debut.
UPDATE! The mythical Garbage Pail Kids cartoon is now available on DVD! All 13 episodes will be available in April 2006Reserve your copy today!
So Wrong They're Right (1995)
Unforgettable 8-track fantasy documentary
"So Wrong They're Right (1999) delivers fascinating tales about 8-track tapes by the most die-hard collectors, including folks like Abigail Levine, James "Big Bucks" Burnette, and the nappy-haired Phil Millstein, who appears to have pulled off some sort of Frankenberry slurpin' hibernation feat in his parent's basement.
The highlight of this gem is its' raw, amateurish footage, and its' candid commentary, complete with titillating insights from some very offbeat collectors. Some of the bands and/or artists mentioned are Lou Reed, the Stooges, Roxy Music, Johns Children, the Sex Pistols, Yoko Ono, Mingus and many others. The film's rough & worn, homemade quality only adds to its brilliance, prompting some to think it was made in the 1970's and not the 1990's.
Extreme, Sadistic Japanese Sci-Fi Hardcore
If you've ever wanted to get rid of a roommate or end a marriage you could always use Tetsuo (the Iron Man), released in 1988, as your main weapon. Pop it into your VCR or DVD player & watch the room clear within a matter of seconds. It's a pure sadistic nightmare, and is complete "out-of-this-world" extreme sci-fi horror hardcore. It's packed with grainy, harsh, hyperdriven images of dark shock sexual torture, flesh melding with metal, metal fetishism, maggots, nerve-splitting trauma & tension, and many other passions & unpleasantries.
PARENTS WITH CHILDREN: DO NOT let your kids get their claws on this one! This is entirely an adult film, and can only be stomached by about 2% of the human population. I'm personally numb to this sort of thing because I really love Japanese shock horror, and I'm a sucker for any credits & titles that violently flow down the screen in Japanese!
Kids - An HIV Positive reality hits home
The most honest, exploitive and convincing film from the last ten years follows the path of young Telly (Leo Fitzpatrick) towards his destination of numb sexcapades. He is HIV positive and chooses to spread all of his germs all over New York City. This raise the question "Where the hell are the parents?!"
I'm going to limit my words on this critique because Kids is a film that doesn't need to be looked into that deeply...for it contains lots of disturbing imagery, dark subjects & touchy scenes. . People either appreciate the honesty of it or are repulsed by the "no rules" antics of young teenage cliques in lower Manhattan.
The message in this movie is clear -- Wrap it before you dunk it!
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Bolshy devotchkas love vellocet
Probably one of the most controversial "oscar-nominated" films ever (1971) - Because of copy-cat violence (that the film was blamed for) director Stanley Kubrick withdrew it from circulation in Britain a year after its release. A Clockwork Orange (based on the 1962 satiric novel by Anthony Burgess) startles, mesmerizes & hypnotizes with its unique brand of futurism, criminal posh, dehumanization, and higher moralities. It flows into unchartered territory with each passing scene, and can easily astonish the weakest of minds. The character development in this film is quite extraordinary because you really can't predict the eventual outcomes & relationships of the cast, most of which meet under bizarre circumstances to begin with.
My favorite scene is when Alex de Large (played by McDowell) is overcome with heavenly bliss while listening to Beethoven's 9th Symphony, and then trances out on his porcelain statues of dancing Jesuses, his pet snake Basil, and his own sadistic realm of erotic pop art & dementia. All of this represents the various conflicting elements of good vs. evil in his life. The pace of the film comes to a crashing halt when young Alex is sent off to a stripey hole (prison) after being convicted of murdering the female proprietor of a health farm - by bludgeoning her to death with a large sculpture of a rocking penis.
The film was defeated in four Academy Awards categories by William Friedkin's The French Connection, but has since grown into an international cult phenomenon. I had the luxury of viewing this masterful gem in London during a re-release in 1999 (not long after the passing of the great Kubrick). All I can say is that this movie is still as fresh, obscene & tantalizing as it was in 1971.
Be sure to pay close attention to the oblique synthesized electronic score by Walter Carlos, as it complements the frighteningly decadent cityscapes of a "very near" future. Some people might also find it difficult to follow this film which uses lots of foreign "Nadsat slang" language -- primarily used by Alex and his gang of Droogs. If you'd like to know the translations of these words and phrases be sure to check out any of the many Clockwork Orange dictionary or Nadsat websites.
The Legend of Billie Jean (1985)
Fair is Fair!
This movie must have played on HBO about 300 times during the late 1980's. All I can remember is Helen Slater (Billie Jean) yelling "Fair is Fair!" to a character named Mr. Pyatt...who, earlier in the film, tried to slip the middle-age pump post into the frosh, virginal rump roast.
Christian Slater makes one of his earliest starring appearances, and does a solid job of "making the most" out of the script...the only plus. The crazy nerd guy from Stephen King's Christine is also in the film, but this time he is sort of a good guy, who secretly wants to use his freedom & father's wealth to take advantage of young Billie Jean.
To finalize this critique I'd like to add that this movie ends in a very awkwardly predictable manner -- with the symbolic burning of a large Billie Jean effigy (Joan of Ark symbolism) constructed by horny old Pyatt. This is where she blurts the infamous "Fair is fair" line, and throws a wad of cash at Pyatt...who was starting to earn a handsome living as a peddler of Billie Jean memorabilia.
Midsummer Rock (1970)
Fantastic portrait of early 70's Stooges (with Iggy!)
This famous documentary broadcast featured several of the era's rowdiest bands. But it was the legendary Stooges who really blew me away the first time I viewed it. Grainy, harsh, intimidating & fun. If you want to learn where true hardcore punk originated you don't have to look any further than this...a timeless performance translated through raw metal mayhem. The first time I viewed the "Midsummer Rock Fest 1970" was in 1999 while visiting my girl in London. We were at a flat gathering on Upper Street, and I'll never forget walking into that little blue room & hearing the early roars & grinds of T.V. Eye (from the Stooges Funhouse album)...I'd tell you more, but that would spoil this tasty & tantalizing flick...especially if you're into proto-punk & the godfather Iggy Pop.
The Humanoid (1986)
Wow! Nice display box!
The only thing the Humanoid (1986) has going for it is its DVD/video display box. The neo-trippy artwork of a sleek, silvery, sexgoddess android immediately evoked images of Fritz Lang's Metropolis, and the bright orange background just topped it all off. The purchase was made.
When I returned home my anticipation soared as I tore open the plastic wrapper. Then I was shocked & horrified at how bad this film really was. The animation was quite shaky and amateurish compared to present day imports from Japan, and the overall plot was pointless and absurd. It was a stinker.
Humanoid then rested next to my television, summoning many comments from curious visitors, and I never had the nerve to tell them how much it sucked. So my guests would leave my apartment assuming that the Humanoid was probably a pretty cool film. My best friend now owns that old copy and keeps it next to his television...because it displays well in the box!
Robot Monster (1953)
Deny the rumors -- Robot Monster (1953) is fun!
Form your own unique and isolated opinion of the film Robot Monster (from 1953). Everybody says this is the worse movie ever made, and they are totally wrong. How do you gauge the worse possible films? Isn't everybody's viewpoint in reality different? Or is the world striving to be common & mundane? I've never heard this movie, because whenever I pop it into the VCR I always leave the volume down. This allows me to enjoy my european electronica, and fantasize about what Robot Monster would actually be like in a more refined society. To sum things up Robot Monster is a different movie every time I watch it...and it's the perfect backdrop projection to enhance your living quarters.
Awesome late-night date flick with sexy moniker
This poppy cheese classic from '86 is remembered by many through late night HBO and gas station rent-a-flix. The title of the film is appropriate, and it quickly lives up to that moniker during the opening credits. Watch out for lots of cool props like beds shaped like hamburgers, pickle torture chambers and Dick Butkus carrying a fly-swatter. There's also a deliciously slimy heap of farty 80's actors/actresses - Leigh McCloskey, Butkus, Randi Brooks, Sandy Hackett, as well as other various perverts. Worth mentioning is a quenching scene of an older heiress having her crotch orally massaged at a rib shack...Food for thought.
Street Trash (1987)
Most Notorious Melt Movie Must Be Viewed By All
Street Trash (1987) deserves 10+ stars for its movie poster art alone - a splashy and grossly exaggerated masterpiece of a poisoned wino melting and flushing himself down a crusty warehouse toilet. The movie itself is cheap, sleazy, vile, disgusting, florescent, stinky, slimy, perverse, insane, and retarded...which is why it must be viewed by everyone. You must watch this movie.
Street Trash personified the essence of crappy, late 80's horror slop, but also achieved legendary status within hip underground horror circles. What drew me to the movie were the colorful images of the make-up and special effects that gleamed from the pages of Fangoria and GoreZone Magazine. This is truly one-of-a-kind cinema and resides in the outer realms of art-house oddities/gore flicks. They certainly don't make 'em like this anymore!