Monday, March 20, 2017

My First 100 Movies Of This Year

So in early March of this year (2017), I saw my 100th movie since the year started.  The last few years I have hit between 400-500 or so movies in a calendar year, 99% of them seen in theaters.  My lofty and unrealistic goal of reviewing each movie as I see it has gone unrealized, as I would either have to make a decent living off writing reviews, or learn to speed write or form thoughts much more quickly.  Plus the more movies I see the less time I have to review them.

So here I am over 2 months into the year with only one review written.  So I decided to post a list of the first 100 movies I have seen this year just for the hell of it.  This will include the few things I watched online, plus some shorts as well, but most were feature length films.  There are all sorts of genres, from different decades, some well known, some not known at all, and some that were lost for long period of time.  While I wish I could review them all, I do have to somehow make a living and try and pay my bills!

1. Passengers (2016) in 3D
2. Punch Drunk Love (2002)
3. Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (1977)
4. Perfect (1985)
5. Underworld: Blood Wars (2016)in 3D
6. The Golden Voyage Of Sinbad (1973)
7. Re-Animator (1985)
8. The Candy Snatchers (1973)
9. Sixty Million Dollar Man (1995)
10. Heaven (1998)
11. Big Trouble In Little China (1986)
12. Portfolio (1983)
13. The Devils (1971)
14. The Ardennes (2015)
15. Hotel Dallas (2016)
16. The Bye Bye Man (2017)
17. Rocky (1976)
18. Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)
19. Monster Trucks (2016)
20. Minority Report (2002)
21. The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)
22. A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)
23. Report To The Commissioner (1975)
24. A Face In The Crowd (1957)
25. It Happened Here (1965)
26. Dreamscape (1984)
27. Jurassic Park III (2001)
28. The Axe Murders of Villisca (2016)
29. Punishment Park (1971)
30. Ice (1970)
31. Abuse Of Weakness (2013)
32. Julieta (2016)
33. One Dark Night (1982)
34. Puzzle Of A Downfall Child (1970)
35. Split (2016)
36. Purple Rain: Terror Beyond Belief (1984/2014)
37. Taking Off (1971)
38. Snowpiercer (2013)
39. Duel (1971)
40. Sadako V Kayako (2016)
41. The Ring (2002)
42. Frenzy (1972)
43. The Naked Ape (1973)
44. Popcorn (1991)
45. Dirty Dancing (1987)
46. Slapshot (1977)
47. Don't Knock Twice (2016)
48. Family Plot (1976)
49. The Comedian (2016)
50. Too Young, Too Immoral (1962)
51. Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2016) in 4DX
52. The Big Fix (1978)
53. Un Padre No Tan Padre (2016)
54. Journey To The West 2: The Demons Strike Back (2017) in 3D
55. Marriage Italian Style (1964)
56. The Decameron (1971)
57. Sex Doll (2016)
58. Fifty Shades Darker (2017)
59. The LEGO Batman Movie (2017) in 3D RPX
60. A New Leaf (1971)
61. Audition (1999)
62. Motorama (1991)
63. What's Up, Doc? (1972)
64. Fist Fight (2017)
65. XX (2017)
66. McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
67. Angel (1967)
68. Poen (1967)
69. Ladies And Gentlemen, Mr. Leonard Cohen (1966)
70. Urban Legend (1998)
71. A Cure For Wellness (2016)
72. Portrait D'une Jeune Fille De La Fin Des Années 60 à Bruxelles (1994)
73. Rings (2017)
74. Funny Games (1997)
75. Future-Kill (1985)
76. American Fable (2016)
77. Candyman (1992)
78. Final Destination (2000)
79. The Departed (2006)
80. Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)
81. The Silence Of The Lambs (1991)
82. Catfight (2016)
83. Punching Henry (2016)
84. Maniac (1980)
85. Atlantic City (1980)
86. Blood Relatives (1978)
87. The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane (1976)
88. The Brood (1979)
89. Heavy Metal (1981)
90. Ticket To Heaven (1981)
91. Rock & Rule (1983)
92. Black Christmas (1974)
93. A Tale Of Sorrow And Sadness (1977)
94. Class Of 1984 (1982)
95. Skip Tracer (1977)
96. Taking Shelter (2015)
97. The Oracle (1985)
98. Angel (1984)
99. Dirty Little Billy (1972)
100. Montreal Main (1974)

The movies on this list that I rated the highest were Re-Animator, Audition, The Silence Of The Lambs, Maniac and The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane.  They all received a 9 out of 10.  I had previously seen all of them either on the big screen or on video.

The lowest rated movie was XX, which I gave a 4 out of 10 rating.  I would also say this was my biggest disappointment of the year, I did have higher expectations for this one, and was pretty much disappointed all the way through.

I also rated a few movies a 5 out of 10, and those were Perfect, The Naked Ape, Fifty Shades Darker, and The Decameron.  Anything rated less than a 6 is pretty sub par in my book.

Of the 100 movies, 25 were new (within the past year or so) while 75 were older.  40 were probably big budget studio type movies, while 60 were more indie or uncategorizable.  About 27 were horror related, 3 were short films, and I only watched one of these 100 online (which was the American version of The Ring).  I had previously seen 22 of the 100.

30 were from the 2010s, 7 were from the 2000s, 11 from the 1990s, 17 from the 1980s, 28 from the 1970s, 6 from the 1960s, and 1 from the 1950s.

Of the larger budget new studio movies I actually really enjoyed Monster Trucks, Split and The Lego Batman Movie, all which were a bit of a surprise to me.

I also really enjoyed a few smaller budget new ones, like Julieta, The Comedian (which most people hated), American Fable and Catfight.

One note for horror fans, most of the new movies were not good, the one exception other than Split was Don't Knock Twice.  While I would only say this was good compared to many others that I saw, it did have a beginning, middle and end, and the plot holes were all filled.  That is rare in most modern horror movies.  Oh, and Rings was far better than I expected, but I guess I expected it to be horrible, so I was pleasantly surprised it was somewhat entertaining, though I wouldn't rave about it.

The one movie I saw from the 1950s was A Face In The Crowd, a film about an alcoholic drifter who gets interviewed on the radio and his charm propels him to fame and fortune.  While Donald Trump was never an alcoholic drifter, much of the plot revolves around the man's charm (and fame) taking him places he would never end up had he not had the opportunities surrounding him.  It is a fascinating movie to watch in our current political climate.

A revisiting of Dirty Dancing was a surprise to me as well, as not only did I enjoy it was more than I had previously, I also found the character of Baby to be much more well written than most parts for females, especially in the 1980s.  Although some of the plot is pretty cliched, it is handled well and does touch on some darker subjects, something I had forgotten about.

Another revisiting which took me by surprise was Candyman.  While I remember liking it the first time I saw it, I do not think I noticed what a well made, well acted film it was.  The direction was top notch, and there were some beautiful scenes within the horror on screen.

Lastly, a note about Jodie Foster.  While I have always loved Taxi Driver, she is a small part of the movie, though she does a great job.  I grew up watching The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane, and had relegated my love for it to nostalgia.  While watching it again, I realized how good of a job she does in that movie, when she was only 13.  I know she has a particular hatred towards it, but I am guessing her view of it is based on how she was treated on set rather than her own acting or the story.  On top of those two films, upon rewatching The Silence Of The Lambs it struck me how damned good she is in that one too.  I have never been particularly into her, and haven't seen a ton of her movies, but I did get to see Catchfire last year, a movie that was directed by Dennis Hopper of all people.  While some of it is a mess, the version I saw was really good, and once again she was great.  I am definitely going to make an effort to see some of her other films that I have skipped over the years, and see if my love for her acting skill grows.

All in all it was a decent first 100 movies, hopefully the next 100 are that good or better!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Too Young, Too Immoral (1962) movie review and The Death Of The IMDb Message Boards

Too Young, Too Immoral (1962)

This review is going to be a bit different.  Other than the review, I am going to include an essay on the closing down of the IMDb message boards.  Why am I doing this on this particular review?  Well, there is a reason, but I guess I will get to later.  First, the review.

Anthology Film Archives here in NYC runs a series called :


You can read a bit about it in the link, but it is basically a series of films that were independently made in NYC from 1945-1970.

Too Young, Too Immoral is an interesting movie, more so for its history than its subject matter.  Raymond Phelan is the director, writer and star of this film, so this baby is really his.  He was mostly a cinematographer for Doris Wishman, a director who is known in the low budget B movie genre.  He started making this movie in 1957, and it was a long hard road to get this released 5 years later.

The plot is simple and very much like many an exploitation movie.  A school kid is dealing drugs and suspects something is amiss.  He goes to do the pick up, and something goes wrong and he ends up dead.  His brother starts to investigate his murder, and slowly but surely he starts to pick up clues as to what happened.  There is a fair amount of plot in this small film, which is actually a good thing.  The film doesn't lag, and the twists and turns keep the film moving quickly and entertainingly.

So what took 5 years for this to be released?  And why didn't it get shown for 50 years?

Well it seems like once he made the film no one wanted it, or wanted to show it.  According to Michael Bowen, a Doris Wishman biographer, he found out that after the film garnered no interest, the director went and added a couple sex scenes to the film to spice it up.  Supposedly this is one of the first sexploitation scenes ever filmed, and predates the sexploitation genre by a year or two.  One of the two sex scenes in the movie was filmed with Brenda Denaut who just happens to be the mother of Roseanne and Patricia Arquette (and other Arquettes).  Her sex scene is with the character Scribbles, who in the film is a deaf mute heroin dealer.  The actor playing him is Warhol mainstay Taylor Mead, in his first ever acting role.

When the sex scenes failed to spark any interest, the director decided to take advantage of The Twist craze in 1960 (or the second Twist wave in 1961) and he threw a twist scene in the middle of the movie and changed the name to Twisted Morals.  Again, this failed to grab anyone and the film sat around for another year or two.

Finally, as the sexploitation craze started to get legs, he brought the film (now titled Too Young, Too Imoral) to the Rialto Theater on Broadway in NYC, and convinced them to show it.  It was finally a hit and played for 3-4 months before making a tour across the country for the next year or two.  After that, like many smaller films like this, it was retired and the director ended up with the only print.

At some point, Michael Bowen contacted the director while he was writing the Doris Wishman biography, and although the man was pleasant and answered his letters, he had no wish to talk about working with Doris Wishman or the film he worked so hard to get released.  Years went by, and every year or two Michael would contact the director to see if he was ready to talk about it.  Unfortunately, the director died without ever giving the world any further information on working with Doris nor working on his own film.  Thankfully, one of his family members bequeathed the film to Anthology Film Archives, and it was put back together and shown 50+ years after its last showing.

There are some VERY interesting things in this movie, other than the ones I have mentioned.  One, the filming of NYC in this is pretty amazing.  The beginning scenes start in Times Square, and even though it is in black and white, the neon is obvious and amazing.  You get to see people wandering around at night, stores and restaurants, and other establishments.  At some point one of the scenes takes place on a roof in Times Square, and the view is great.  Try doing that nowadays in a small indie film!

There are other NYC scenes in Little Italy during the San Gennaro Festival, the Thanksgiving Day Parade, 6th Avenue from 34th Street to Radio City Music Hall, the NYC subway, plus scenes on the East Side by the river, and even some scenes in Riverdale!  There's even some filming done on Fire Island.  What makes this film great, other than the beautiful shots of NYC, is the care and attention to detail the director obviously took shooting it.  Anyone who knows what it's like to shoot a movie knows that you can shoot a simple shot of something to get a point across, but most movies have multiple angles, reverse shots, close ups, etc etc.  Most smaller films did not have this luxury, as they were shot on a small budget, and costs were kept down.  But in one particular scene of a car pulling up to a toll booth, it is done very professionally.  The first time they shoot it there's a couple shots, then I noticed for the next scene at the same booth, they did a shot from the side of the road, then a closer shot, then a close up, then a shot from the other side of the road as well.  While you might not even notice this one way or another, since it flowed and looked fine, it dawned on me while watching it how much he put into this film.

The acting is good, but far from great, but very acceptable for a film like this.  The story is more than adequate, and the ending is well done and satisfying, which is more than I can say for many a film.  For a film that took 5 years to be released, had a short but profitable run, and was retired for over 50 years, this film has held up well.  Seeing it was a complete treat, and I feel honored to be one of the 100 or so people who saw it the two days it played at Anthology Film Archives.

Which brings me to...

The Death Of The IMDb Message Boards

Literally the day before this filmed screened the announcement was made by IMDb to shut down the message boards.  I could give you the official reasons (not many people use it and it has outlived its usefulness) or the rumors (IMDb can't figure out a way to monetize it, the trolls ruined it, they have wondrous new ideas planned), but no matter how you slice it, this is a disaster and a sad occasion.

I am not a typical movie watcher.  I watch movies in many genres, from every era, in all kinds of styles, from different countries, and I even watch movies that I have seen before and hated, just to see if I have changed my mind at all.  I have seen almost 2000 movies in the last 4 years.  Over the past 12+ years of being an IMDb member I have rated over 1700 films, and obviously seen countless more.  When I first found IMDb they were not an ordinary site.  They were special.  That had info, LOTS of info.  They had info I didn't know existed, info about things I didn't even care about!

I found out that regular people like me could add information.  I could even add movies that weren't listed!  I have added movies, trivia, actors, songs, and all sorts of other information.  This was a site for me.  Then I found the message boards.  Regular people talking about movies, plots, actors, and all sorts of other nonsense.  It was near perfect.  Then Amazon bought IMDb.  Although I wasn't jumping for joy, Amazon buying it made sense.  They could promote the sale of a movie, and I could even find movies that were not easy to find anymore.  Again, this was a good site, one of the best ever at this point.

Somewhere down the line I heard that a lot of message board posts were lost, or deleted.  I do not know why, nor do I know the reasons or details, but just the idea this happened one day was depressing.  But I didn't hear about it until years later, so I tried not to let it be a bother.

I slowly developed a pattern for using IMDb.  I would see a movie, log on to the site, rate the movie, then read, if available, trivia, goofs, awards, soundtrack, crazy credits, alternate versions, movie connections, FAQ, box office/business, release dates, filming locations, taglines, and lastly, but most importantly, the message boards.  What kind of stuff would I fin there?  I would read about alternate theories on what the movie was about, answer questions that people had, and generally just read all kinds of stuff about the movie or what people thought.  I would read questions from trolls about if they thought Saw was appropriate for their 10 year old niece.  Or read threads on how whatever character seemed gay in a movie.  Or what actress what hot or had nice boobs.  On more serious notes, I would read alternate opinions on real topics, ones I never even thought of.  I would watch fan videos cut from movies I loved.  I would see comedy videos that had vague connections to the movie I just watched.  I would find out some crazy movie I just saw had a podcast on it.  Many times it was Junk Food Dinner, but so many times it was some podcast I had never even heard of.

Sometimes someone would write a question or comment that spurred on an answer even I didn't expect from myself.  Someone wrote a thread about how Basket Case is just a bad movie.  I had just seen it again and felt compelled to answer them as to why I disagreed, normally an exercise in futility, but regardless I had some serious thoughts on it.  I wrote my answer, and what came out was nothing like what I expected to write, but did, when I thought about it, reflect how I felt towards the movie.  It was good enough to get a positive response from someone who actually didn't like the movie but understood where I was coming from.  We chatted about it and that was a nice feeling. In some ways I am sure my hundreds of posts helped teach me to write, especially about film.

I also connected with people on the message boards.  Sometimes it was just a few messages back and forth, but that was some of my movie social time.  Other times it was dozens of messages back and forth, including one that spilled over into emails, skype calls, IMs, and eventually phone calls.  Over 4 years later we still talk often and we plan on meeting this year.  That was on a Salo post I made that ended up with over 50 responses, which was something I could never have thought would happen.

You could also compare movie with other people who made their ratings public.  While I guess maybe we can still do that, who cares?  They become just a screen name and nothing more, no way to interact with them, just an anonymous, uncontactable person.  One or two people always had comments on whatever weird or crazy movie I just watched, as if they were following my movie patterns, or I was following theirs.  One such person was named WarpedRecord, and great name and someone who shares my tastes in terrible movies.  Another one mentioned a band I loved in their name, Polysics.  These people ALWAYS posted, they were there on so many movies I saw.

One time I got called a troll for suggesting there was a genre of comedy horror movies.  The guy sure I was a troll, until I pointed out my many non-troll posts about movies.  To him comedy and horror did not belong together, something I find unfathomable but hey, it's the internet.  I was using Jason Vs. Freddy as an example, and he just wasn't buying it!  It was amusing being called a troll when I wasn't trolling, something I rarely did, though I did make many a sarcastic and stupid post, as many did as well.

The trolls never bothered me in general, although I was told by many I movie person I talked to in real life and respected how horrible the message boards were and how toxic and useless.  Personally I have never felt this way, but I have always had a knack or ignoring trolls and spotting them a mile away.  The experience I had on the message boards was an amazing one.

I remember a couple years ago during the aforementioned Salo movie I saw, many members of the audience happened to be on Grindr, the gay Tinder site (Grindr was first, by the way).  It was Queer Night at the theater I went to, and it gave me an idea.  Us movie freaks needed our own Grindr, or Tinder, something that created an opportunity for those of us that see a lot of movies and want to connect with people near us.  In my mind, the idea of seeing movies with the same people, in the same room, creates a bond, almost like you have been on a date with them.  Therefore this seemed like a perfect fit for a site like IMDb, which had been stuck in the early 2000s since the early 2000s.  I contacted them with the idea, and of course they promptly ignored me.  But in my head, what IMDb needed was to be MORE social, not less, which is why this current move is a backwards one.

Over time I started reviewing movies on a site I write on, which is called Quora.  At some point I decided I would start a blog dedicated to the movies I see each day.  I tend to see a movie a day or so, mostly in theaters, so I figured this would be a challenge.  Obviously one I could not do, because writing a review on one movie a day is near impossible with seeing movies, reading about movies, and you know, trying to make a living.

So I start a blog, set everything up, start writing, and decide that I should promote the posts a bit.  So I start to add my reviews to the message boards, just a simple link under a new IMDb account, dedicated to only this blog.  A nice simple post linking my review, nothing more.  Amazingly, people click the link and read my blog.  I'm surprised this actually works, and I get about 10,000 views over a 6 month period on my blog.  This is no mind blowing amount, but it shows that the IMDb message board people actually DO read the posts, and even click through to other links (something IMDb should have taken advantage of as well, as they COULD have monetized the boards if they had a clue).

The closing of the boards came out of nowhere to me.  Every complaint ANYONE could have about these boards have been there forever.  NOTHING has changed.  The only thing that could change is how many people use it, and even if that ha dropped significantly, the system is already in place and it costs no money to run and upkeep.  But for some reason IMDb decided to do away with it, and not only that DELETE all the info listed there!  It's a sin!  There are posts from directors of movies, actors, people who were there at the filming, crew, and other people of importance.  Sometimes directors keep in touch with fans or answer questions, which is amazing.  IMDb is supposed to be the main hub for movie freaks like me, and they have left us in the dark.  So now we will lose all the info posted, the names, the facts that never made it to the trivia, or weren't exactly trivia.  I just saw What's, Up Doc? the other day, and someone had a post on whether or not you can follow the bags (you have to know the movie to know what I mean) throughout the movie.  They wrote a long post about where the bags go, and it was insane how much work they put in that.  The loss of this information is horrible, and this is akin to movie companies burning prints of films or erasing tapes to make room, these are things that need to be saved.

There were a couple of petitions to sign, and they got over 16,000 signatures between them, but since the boards are shutting down tomorrow and they will be gone forever, I do not think they matter anymore.  This is my eulogy, my wake, my funeral, and my burial of the IMDb message boards.  I am writing this review/eulogy as my way of saying goodbye, as I have no other way.  This will most likely be my final IMDb message board post, one that will be wiped away hours after I post it.

So what does this have to do with the movie I just reviewed?  Well, since this is a movie that hasn't screened in 50+ years, there was literally almost NO information on it.  Not even 5 people had rated it, and there were no message board posts at all.  Normally what would have happened is at the very least I would have rated it, and posted on the boards that I just got to see this.  Hopefully someone who has interest, or wants to know something about it, would message on the board and I would be alerted and let them know.  Now, this movie might be talked about somewhere, but the mail place where I would expect it to be mentioned will have no mention of it.  Sure, my blog post is here now, but I can't write a post for every movie I see.  I can't do more than 100 a year at most, probably less.  I can only imagine the lost info on movies I have yet to see, movies that are interesting and filled with vagueness that needs to be discussed.  No matter how much you love or hate the boards, losing valuable irreplaceable information which has no been saved anywhere is a bad thing.

As for me, I will definitely be using IMDb much less now.  Not only will I spend way less time there, I feel inclined to move on like many do, as everything else that is on the site is easily found other places.  Even if I do use it somewhat, it will never be the same.  It will be like hooking up with your ex and realizing it will never feel amazing again.

There are a few alternatives that exist, though I am not sure any will fill the lost void.  I have looked into LetterboxdRotten Tomatoes, and The Movie Database (TMDb).  So far only the last one seems to have a message board system like IMDb, though it is relatively empty and would take years to fill with information.  I guess the internet is splintering even more once again, and we are losing a valuable resource in the process.

So today I put you to rest, IMDb Message Boards.  I am glad we had the time together we did, it is unfortunate that we did not have more time, but you were killed by a company that has lost sight of what they were about, a place for people who love and worship movies.  I hope somehow someway you will be resurrected, but those kind of miracles only happen in the movies.

8 out of 10 stars.

Location : Anthology Film Archives, Courthouse Theater, NYC
Date and time : Sunday, February 5th, 2017 at 7:30 PM
Format : 35mm
Audience : 35 people

Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Devils (1971) and Mary Tyler Moore

The Devils (1971)

Mary Tyler Moore

This is not going to be a typical post for me.  Not that I expect anyone to read this, though I never really write anything expecting anyone to read it.  This is not a movie review.  This is not a tribute to Mary Tyler Moore.  This is just a document of what happened.

Recently I went to see Close Encounters Of The Third Kind at The Metrograph in NYC.  I went because I have only seen the movie once, my girlfriend had never seen it, and one of the actors from the movie, Bob Balaban, was going to be there to do a Q&A after.

During the Q&A he mentions that Ken Russell's widow was in the audience.  For those of you that don't know, Ken was a British director who directed many things, including commercials, TV shows, music videos, and some AMAZING movies, which include The Devils, Crimes Of Passion, Women In Love and many others.  He is best know for the movie adaptation of The Who's rock opera Tommy.

After the movie I go over to take a few pics of Bob Balaban and ask for an autograph.  He is a nice, pleasant, friendly guy, as are most of the celebrities I meet.  I tend to say snap a few pics while they are talking to others, say hi, ask for an autograph and get the hell out of the way, especially if others are waiting to meet someone.

After I do all that as I am leaving, I see a few of my friends talking to Lisi, who is Ken Russell's widow.  I stand there for a moment, enjoying the conversation they are having about Ken Russell, as he is one of the directors whose work I very much appreciate and admire.  Somehow, after a couple minutes, I am drawn into the conversation as well, and we are talking about one of my favorite movies of Ken's, Crimes Of Passion.

A bit about Lisi.  There is no way to describe her without sounding like I am kissing her ass, but this is not some piece I am getting paid to write, and like I said, I expect few to read this.  She is an extraordinary person.  She has a shine to her that draws people to her like the sun.  She is friendly, personable, approachable, smart, sexy, and all around just a good person.  The way she speaks about Ken is amazing, you can tell she truly loved him, no matter what, and that they were meant to be together.  She talks about his work, his personality, his being, with such honesty and love it is pretty amazing to watch.  She was an absolute joy to meet.

Just to make a point, I have met many a famous person and I am not easy to impress.  I've probably met well over 1000 movie stars, actors, musicians, and other random famous people.  I have only been star struck once or twice, the most being when I met Johnny Cash, but that's another story.  I just wanted to point out that before this night I didn't even know who this person was, and she impressed me as a human being, not as a star.

So while we are talking, up walks a friend of mine who obviously knows her well.  They hug and scream and he starts talking to her about me and some of the other people who are standing around, who happen to be the same motley crew of movie freaks I see at many of the same movies I go to.  I am one of these freaks as well, so I mean that as a compliment.  He then mentions that he lived with her and Ken for 6 weeks may years ago, which was a surprise to me!

At this point I realize I have left my girlfriend outside of the theater for an extended period, so I text her quick to let her know where I am and who I am with, so she comes over as well.  The talk among all of us turns to The Devils, a movie I have only seen once but really loved and was impressed by.  It stars Oliver Reed, who I have been getting more and more into, and it is a pretty fucked up movie, and a true story to boot.  As we are leaving Lisi asks us if we are coming to see The Devils.  We ask where and when, and although it is at a theater about 40 minutes away, we immediately agree.

A few days later we are in the car traveling up to the Yonkers, NY location of Alamo Drafthouse.  We walk in and are standing around chatting with some people I know, and I look up and a few feet away is Randy Jones, better known as the cowboy in The Village People.  Yes, YMCA, Macho Man, In The Navy, all those songs.  I am wondering what the hell he is doing there, and  I try (and fail) at taking some decent quality discreet pics.

We sit down to watch the movie and we are treated to a beautiful 35mm print of The Devils.  After it is done Lisi goes up to do a Q&A, joined by of all people Randy Jones!  She says he is one of her oldest friends, which is just such a funny, thinking of her being friends with one of The Village People. I can't help but to think of her in that moment as a real life Valerie Perrine in Can't Stop The Music.

The Q&A is amazing, they talk about all kinds of fun things, including the struggles with the movie, the company that released it, Oliver Reed, and all sorts of other Ken Russell information.  After the movie we go up to say goodnight to Lisi, and tell her what a great time we had.  We go to the lobby and Randy Jones is there taking pics with fans, which meant I actually got to take a couple decent shots of him.  I run to the bathroom and when I come out I find my girlfriend chatting with Randy.  I stop and tell him we got to see Can't Stop The Music recently and how it is such a fun film, and the most gay film ever made where none of the characters are confirmed as gay.  We also talk about the person who directed it, Nancy Walker, the 4'11" actress and director who played Rhoda's mother in the Mary Tyler Moore show and Rhoda.  Is this the connection to Mary Tyler Moore?  Nope, not really, in fact I just realized this was an additional connection.

As I am leaving, I find out that the people Randy Jones were taking pics with were also actors.  The guy, who I did not get a pic of, was the oldest brother in E.T.  The girl, whose pic I will include, was in Bad Lieutenant, which is a Harvey Keitel film.  So all in all a weird and wonderful night.

Now, if you have suffered through this overly long post I will tell you what any of this has to do with Mary Tyler Moore.  Right at the end of the Q&A, Lisi asks Randy if he will sing a song.  She suggests YMCA, but he laughs and instead does the theme from the Mary Tyler Moore show.  She sings along with him, and it is very sweet.  It is sad that less than a month later Mary Tyler Moore dies, but she lived a long and productive life and touched the hearts of many.

Enjoy the pics and video below!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Beauty And The Beast (2017) costume pics

So I wandered up to Cineapolis in Chelsea last night to see Why Him? purely because sometimes I see random shitty movies that may turn out to be slightly amusing.  What I didn't pay much attention to was a couple of costumes they had in the lobby.  On the way out I noticed it was costumes from the upcoming Beauty And The Beast live action movie starring Emma Watson. So for your viewing pleasure :

Live By Night (2016) costume pics

I was in a local multiplex the other day and saw this sitting in the lobby :

Posters like this are all over the place, it did not surprise me much to see this.  But sitting next to this poster was :

Although I am probably not seeing this movie, I figured others might enjoy the pics!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

La La Land costume pictures

While I was out recently at a multiplex theater, I ran across these costumes from the upcoming film La La Land, starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone.  I figured some people might like to see these!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Train To Busan (2016) movie review

Train To Busan (2016)

The funny thing about seeing an average of a movie a day or more is the fact that the more movies you see, the less you can write reviews about them!  In September alone I saw 50 movies in theaters, and since January 1st I have seen over 400 in theaters, and maybe a dozen online.  Trying to even write one review a day is hard, so unless I write shorter reviews, or learn to type much faster, I'm going to be lucky to do 100 reviews a year.  Oh well!  That's more than many people see in many years, so it will have to do.  Plus I do have older reviews I wrote on Quora that I haven't transferred here yet, so I can fill some pages with those.  Normally October is a ridiculous month for movies, as so many horror movies play, but this month it has been exceedingly quiet, both because I have seen most classic or popular horror movies, plus some places aren't showing nearly as much as in other years.  That being said, I am about to attend the FearNYC festival, which has a ton of both new and older horror movies, plus there is a Fulci retrospective happening as well, so I will be swamped the next two weeks.  Let's see if I can even get a review done in that time!

Train To Busan is the Korean zombies on a train (that should have been the title) mega hit which I saw a while back but is STILL playing around town.  Last I checked it grossed about 2 million dollars in the US alone, which is huge for a foreign film.  On top of that, it has been huge in many other countries as well, pulling in almost 90 million dollars worldwide.  For a simple zombie flick that's some major money!

Oddly enough, Train To Busan is actually a sequel to an animated film called Seoul Station directed by the same director as Train To Busan.  A nuclear plant, or some such place in Korea has a leak of some sort, and as we see in the opening scene a deer that is hit by a truck gets up and wanders away in a zombie like state.  We then meet a fund manager explaining to one of his clients that the rumors about some company are exaggerated, and he should hold on to his stock.  Meanwhile, he tells his co-worker to sell all the funds stocks in that company as soon as possible, showing everyone that he is a selfish dishonest kinda guy.  We then go home with him and see a bit about his family life, his mother, daughter, and ex-wife as well.  He decides to take his daughter to see his ex-wife in Busan, unaware of the zombie virus that has started.  He gets on the train with his daughter, and at the last minute a girl wanders on, having been bitten herself.

Now, we have all seen enough zombie movies to know that in a small confined area one zombie can take over the whole area in a short amount of time, depending on how quickly the infection spreads.  Needless to say, soon enough the train is filled with zombies, and it becomes a fight between the infected and non infected while they try to get to Busan, the only station that may be safe to stop in.

As it goes with most Asian movies, this movie is not just a zombie movie, but also a movie about honor, family, society and politics.  The characters are well formed, and interesting and watchable, and the acting is well done.  The effects are good, and it is gory enough for most horror fans, while not being too gory to bring your girlfriend.  There is enough plot to keep your interest, and although it is a long at almost 2 hours, it moves along well enough that it is not as boring as many films that are even shorter.

All in all I enjoyed this film, though I would not put this in the same category as Dawn Of The Dead, Night Of The Living Dead, or even 28 Days Later.  But it is better than most modern horror films I have seen in the past few years.

7 out of 10 stars.

Location : AMC Empire 25 , theater 5, NYC
Date and time : Wednesday, August 31st, 2016 at 10 PM
Format : DCP
Audience : about 40 people, many Korean