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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Movies At Dog Farm Presents The Diary Of A Movie Watchin' Madman

The Conjuring (2013) poster
     Here, at last, is my final dispatch for this year's Pre'Ween celebration.  I've long been in the habit of attempting to watch thirty-one movies in thirty-one days each October,  and though I failed this year, here's an annotated list of what I did watch.  Since I have such an aversion to writing proper movie reviews, you just may see this format of capsulized impressions again in the future.  It seems a good way to document my viewing habits without getting all hypercritical about it.  For what it's worth, I expect to watch both The Conjuring (2013) and Trick 'r Treat (2007) by Halloween night, as well.

     Happy Pre'Ween, everyone!  Have a safe and satisfying Halloween!

(10/1)  She (1965) - I've still got nothing but love for you, Peter Cushing, but She put me to sleep.  Yes, literally.  (First Watch)

(10/2) Sharknado (2013) - A shitstorm of dodgy CGI and groan inducing stupidity . . . Sharknado was every bit as cheerfully retarded as I'd hoped.  What were the odds that Ian Ziering would be swallowed whole in midair by the "right" shark in a sharknado full of 'em?  It's brain dead entertainment at its finest. (First Watch)

Bloody Moon (1981) decapitation
Bloody Moon (1981)
(10/2)  Bloody Moon (1981) - Best circular saw decapitation ever, followed quickly by a gratuitous child murder - just because.  Throw in some sleazy incestuous plot points and horrendous dubbing, and you've got yourself a modest winner.  (First Watch)

(10/6)  Rewind This! (2013) - Sure, this documentary about the rise and fall and rise again of the humble VHS tape isn't actually a genre movie, but how many of us saw our favorite genre movies for the first time by way of a grotty old rental VHS tape?  Great doc, and as an inveterate collector myself, I found it deeply inspiring.  Recommended.  (First Watch)

burnt Chucky from Child's Play (1988)
Child's Play (1988)
(10/8)  Child's Play (1988) - Why does Child's Play director Tom Holland not get more love from the genre community?  Seriously, check out Holland on IMDB - in both his directorial and screenwriting capacity.  I finally got to watch a lovely Blu Ray edition of this tonight, and I was reminded once again what an effective little piece of nonsense Child's Play is.  I hear the just released new Chucky movie goes back to basics and shoots for a similar, less comedic vibe, and I plan on watching that before the end of the month, too.  (Re-watch)

(10/9)  Pacific Rim (2013) -  How could my first viewing of a movie I'd been anticipating for so long turn into such a complete freakin' disaster?  Sadly, Pacific Rim was marred for me by a malfunctioning Blu-ray player that guaranteed I never watched more than about a ten minute stretch without having to reboot my media server.  I ultimately ended up having to watch the big conclusion on my laptop.  Grrrr.  Those ten minute clips were good, though.  I'll definitely have to give this one another shot under better circumstances.  (First Watch)

American Horror Story: Coven poster(10/10)  American Horror Story: Coven (2013) - Yeah, I'm counting this.  It's my sexy blog, I do what I want!  The first episode of American Horror Story: Coven was easily one of the best "horror movies" I've seen lately.  Though I thoroughly enjoyed the first two seasons, this slick and focused premiere seems to promise - at last - a slightly less grim and oppressive tone.  There's still plenty of sex, violence, and mayhem, but the principals (Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Sarah Paulson, Taissa Farmiga, et al.) are clearly having more campy fun with things this season.  (First Watch)

(10/12)  The House On Sorority Row (1983) - Who knows why, but Adrienne requested a slasher movie tonight.  Fortunately, I had a plenty of them on hand owing to this older post in which I prattled on about how I was going to start watching more golden era slasher movies.  This would be . . . let's see . . . the first slasher movie I've watched since writing that post.  The House On Sorority Row was more professionally crafted and slick than most of its ilk, but it otherwise brings little to the slasher party.  I felt for much of the film's run time - while the sorority sisters were struggling to conceal and / or dispose of Mrs. Slater's body - as though I was watching a teen comedy from the same era a la Weekend At Bernie's (1989).  You won't hear me say this often, but I actually think the remake Sorority Row (2009) was far more entertaining.  (First Watch)

(10/16)  One Million Years B.C. (1966)  . . . has a great poster.  Only the typically fine stop motion animation of the late Ray Harryhausen succeeds in breaking the tedium otherwise.  All these great Hammer movies to choose from.  What was I thinking? 

Friday the 13th The Final Chapter Jason's demise
Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)
(10/17)  Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter (1984) - This is the slasher movie Adrienne actually wanted to watch on the 12th, and she only slept through half of this one.  It's a personal fave (though it still doesn't top Part II), and I watched with renewed interest this time owing to a nifty little documentary that I'll mention here when I finally finish watching all seven plus hours of it.

(10/22)  Pacific Rim (2013) - Take two, and Adrienne watched it with me this time.  Much better experience on the second go round, but I was afforded the opportunity to note what a charisma free block of wood Charlie Hunnam is.  Also, one of the coolest things about giant monsters versus giant robots is a well delineated sense of scale in the action sequences.  Setting the entire end of the movie underwater with no reference points for scale (buildings, vehicles, boats, etc.) robbed the finale of some of its impact.  Still, those monsters and robots were pretty sweet.  By the way, if anyone can explain to me what might makes a Jaeger "analog" as opposed to "digital", I'd love to know.  Would anyone ever actually make an analog robot?  Could you?  I need an answer from a robotics engineer, like, right now.  (Re-watch)

(10/23)  Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History Of Friday The 13th (2013) -  It is, indeed, complete.  It's so complete I could literally have watched four or five other complete movies in the time it took me to watch this one documentary.  I regret nothing.  It's pretty tough to dig up fresh and compelling info on a franchise that's nearly thirty-five years old, and Crystal Lake Memories does so.  (First Watch)

An American Werewolf In London
An American Werewolf In London (1981)
(10/25)  An American Werewolf In London (1981) -  As I edge ever closer to the Big Day, I've come to realize I'm not going to watch anywhere near my typical thirty-one movies in thirty-one days this Pre'Ween.  I'll have to go for quality over quantity.  Adrienne recently reminded me that I'd yet to show her this one in its entirety, and this is about as good as a genre movie gets.  She was watching a show on Hulu titled Call The Midwife in which the name Jenny Agutter (Nurse Alex Price in AWIL) appeared in the credits, and I made a remark about how foxy Agutter had been in AWILWhat does the fox say?  Anyway, Adrienne fell asleep before David's first transformation, so I suppose she still hasn't really seen An American Werewolf In London in its entirety.  That just gives me an excuse to watch it again at some as yet unscheduled date in the future.  Adrienne did at least recognize a snippet of dialog from the movie that I'd used in my Halloween Monster Mix before she fell asleep, so there's that . . .  (Re-watch)

Room 237 poster(10/27)  Room 237 (2013) - Erin at Deep Red Rum (which is transforming into Seven Doors Of Cinema on November 1st) already made far more cogent observations about this documentary than I could ever muster, and I believe reading Erin's post put me in the proper frame of mind to enjoy Room 237 as an entertainment - and only an entertainment.  Arguably, Room 237 is a documentary about various theories that have evolved over the years as to what Stanley Kubrick's The Shining (1980) is really about.  I say arguably because, as Erin pointed out in her post, it seems by the sloppy nature of its construction and attribution (or lack thereof) that this documentary is actually about something other than what it's actually about.  Just like The Shining, right?  Now my head hurts.  Taken purely at face value, though, I enjoyed Room 237.  Again . . .  just like The Shining, right?  The snake continues to eat its own tail.  I'm glad Erin already did the hard thinkin' on this one.  Movies like this are precisely why I rarely ever write a proper review.  (First Watch)

Clancy Brown, just being badass in Hellbenders (2012)
(10/27)  Hellbenders (2012) - A writer / director with a slightly more mainstream sensibility than J.T. Petty could have really made hay with the notion of blasphemous hellbound ministers dragging demons back to Hell.  As it is, this is the fourth time - following Mimic: Sentinel (2003), S&man (2006), and The Burrowers (2008) - that I've seen Petty not quite deliver on the promise of  his own great ideas.  I'll give him the benefit of the doubt on this round, though, and say that I suspect most of Hellbenders shortcomings can be place squarely at the feet of an insufficient budget.  You just can't promise Hell on Earth throughout and then end the movie with a brawl in the middle of a field dotted with CGI fire pits.  Still, Hellbenders does have much to recommend it.  A fresh idea, a bawdy sense of humor, and a uniformly excellent cast all make it worth at least a rental.  In particular, the always fantastic Clancy Brown absolutely owns it as Angus, the group's foul mouthed and surly senior member.  Petty should make damn sure Brown is along for the ride if we get a Hellbenders II.  (First Watch)

Curse Of Chucky (2013)
Chucky brings the scary back!  Curse Of Chucky (2013)
(10/28)  Curse Of Chucky (2013) - It's fortunate that I happened to watch the original Child's Play (1988) again recently, because Curse Of Chucky is the only other film in the franchise that truly feels like a continuation of the original's narrative and tone.  The first and second sequels were both underwhelming and forgettable.  Bride Of Chucky (1998) worked brilliantly as a parodic reanimation of a moribund franchise, but there were no scares to be had.  Seed Of Chucky (2004) took that evolution a step further and was almost purely comedic.  Who would have thought the sixth in the series would so successfully return the franchise to its scary roots while retaining just enough of the winking self-awareness of Bride and Seed to make the whole affair a bit more than just a competent killer doll movie?  I sure didn't.  Curse Of Chucky undoubtedly benefited from my diminished expectations, so I wouldn't want to oversell it - hyperbole is almost always suspect - but Curse just may be the best of the franchise.  The bulk of the movie is better than you'll expect it to be, but it's the last twenty minutes or so that really swing for the fences.  Curse Of Chucky does a commendable job of bringing the franchise full circle.  This is a rare instance where a franchise entry actually feels like a worthy conclusion to a twenty-five year old series.  Perversely, that almost guarantees we'll see more entriesBe sure to stick around through the end credits for a genuinely funny, unexpected, and appropriate coda.  (First Watch)

     So long for now, dear diary.  I'll be watching you . . .

Posted by Brandon Early


Jeremy [Retro] said...

what a great list of watchables, i think i have seen most of the older ones and interested in the newer ones. thank you for taking the time to map out each listing!!

Brandon Early said...

Thanks, Jeremy. I realized when I posted this that it's clear my intent changed from beginning to end. I started off making entries assuming I would end with thirty-one. The entries were pithy and concise. As I came to realize there would be far fewer than thirty-one entries, each entry seemed to get progressively longer. I'm not a reviewer, so I like this format of capsulized impressions, and I'll probably make use of it again. I watch a lot of documentaries, don't I? lol