Big Trouble At Butt-Numb-A-Thon 9 12/8-9/07
“At last! My arm is complete again!”
What do you do when you’re the biggest movie geek in the known universe? (And I do mean size here.) Well, you call together about 250 of your “closest friends” and watch movies at the greatest theatre in the world for 24 hours.
This year the theme was Big Trouble In Little China…although the theme means nothing to anyone. Except when we saw the opening of the movie with Harry inserted into Kurt Russell’s place. Funny what you can do when you have friends in high places.
The day opened with the usual slew of old previews including…STUNT ROCK!!!
You know, after actually seeing this movie, I’m really over the trailer. It was so fucking boring that the trailer just lost all of its impact on me. But Tim League, owner and manager of the Alamo Downtown, made it fun again! Near the end when the wizard comes onstage, he came onto the Alamo’s stage dressed as the wizard and had explosions and shit! It was actually pretty awesome. Especially when he had to apologize to Lucy In Disguise for breaking their staff.
The first movie that Harry had for us this year was Preston Sturges’ first movie.
Directed by: Preston Sturges
Written by: Preston Sturges
It’s the story of Dan McGinty (Brian Donlevy) and his rise and fall from grace. He was a bum on the streets until he met a gangster. Then, the longer he worked for him, the higher he rose until he finally became governor of the state. But now he’s a bartender telling his story to a poor sap who tried to kill himself in the bathroom.
I haven’t seen a whole lot of Sturges’ films (in fact, I think I’ve only seen The Lady Eve and it was a LONG time ago), so when Harry said that this wasn’t his best film I didn’t really know what that meant. Fortunately, when you say something isn’t Preston Sturges’ best film, it still means that it’s better than a lot of peoples’ best films. This was very funny with some great characters. It maybe had a few slow bits and the relationship between McGinty and his wife was a bit stilted, but it still ranks pretty far up there on the classic comedy list.
And I LOVE the suit that got him.
From a guy who had political power and lost it to a guy who gained lots of political power and then wondered why.
Directed by: Mike Nichols
Written by: Aaron Sorkin
Based on book by: George Crile
Back in the late 70s Afghanistan was losing their war with the Soviet Union. Constant bombings and technical disadvantages kept them from being able to do anything against their aggressors.
That’s where Charlie Wilson (Tom Hanks) comes in. He was a Texas senator whose only real concerns at the time were getting laid and being drunk. He would occasionally do some work, but his position afforded him a LOT of pussy. So why not take advantage?
When he happened to see a news story about the war in Afghanistan, he decided that it was time to do something. But what really changed his mind was a trip to Pakistan where thousands of refugees were living. He visited their camp and saw what the war was doing to them. This and his ties to Houston rich bitch Joanne Herring (Julia Roberts) make him get involved in a big way.
Charlie starts to petition other Washington types to figure out what’s going on and why we weren’t helping the Afghanis in their war against our only true enemy. He finally started getting help from nearly-failed FBI man Gust Avrakotos (Philip Seymour Hoffman).
Director Mike Nichols has handled this sort of political territory before with Primary Colors. This time, though, he has the help of Aaron Sorkin writing the screenplay. And his dialogue is, of course, great. The man has a way with witty dialogue and interesting characters. Which, of course, is why hardly any of his tv shows make it.
The acting is pretty brilliant all the way across. Hell, even Julia is really good here. But Hoffman is the man here, stealing all of his scenes.
Charlie Wilson is an interesting character. He helped to end the Cold War, but he was still a good ol’ boy who just wanted to get laid. He surrounded himself with beautiful young women in his office (one of which he calls “Jailbait”) and hardly ever doesn’t have a drink in his hand. And then, just as he’s actually getting somewhere, he is stopped.
And that’s what makes this film so relevant today. Everything that’s going on in the Middle East now was pretty much started by Charlie Wilson…but that’s not what he meant to happen. He wanted to help more, but the government wouldn’t allow him to. So, here we sit with a mess over there.
Oh well. That’s the way the government works. Do a little good and then pull back and watch it all go to shit.
This is a very good movie. Check it out.
Directed by: Samuel Fuller
Written by: Samuel Fuller/Dwight Taylor
Samuel Fuller was a man’s director. His films tended towards war, westerns and gangsters and the men in them were Men. And the women, very often, were kind of window dressing.
That’s certainly the case with Pickup On South Street, a latter-day film noir about a pickpocket named Skip McCoy (Richard Widmark) who picked the wrong pocket. It was the pocket of Candy (Jean Peters), who was carrying a microfilm with military secrets on it to some Communist sympathizers. She didn’t know exactly what was going on, but she was being followed by US spies.
Of course, things get complicated for both of them. And, of course, they fall in some form of love. Although it’s a Samuel Fuller kind of love that consists mainly of kissing, pushing away and slapping.
This has to be Fuller’s male fantasy on screen. Candy is the kind of female character that would be protested today. She seems strong at times, but she’s actually kind of weak-willed. She falls for Skip almost at first sight and then is never the same. He kisses her just to get information then pushes her away, yelling at her for kissing him. And it makes her love him all the more.
It was pretty hard for me to believe her character, but it didn’t stop me from enjoying the movie. In fact, I thought it was great. Widmark is cool as hell and Thelma Ritter plays a great stoolie. And one character has one of the best death scenes ever put on film.
Next up were some clips from movies that Harry really wanted to show us, but they’re just not finished yet.
THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: PRINCE CASPIAN trailer and montage
Same cast. Same director. Same writers. Totally different movie.
They showed us a new trailer and a pretty long clip show from the new Narnia movie and it made me really want to see it. I liked the first one alright, but there was something missing from it. Maybe a certain life that should have been there. But this one looks darker and more interesting.
Of course, that seems about right. The book is darker and more interesting. It’s my favorite of the series and the character of Prince Caspian is awesome.
Here’s my problem with the casting: Caspian is too old! He’s about 26! He looks like early 20s, but that’s STILL too old. He’s supposed to be about the same age as Peter, maybe even between Peter and Edmond’s ages. Making him older than all of them kind of defeats the purpose a bit.
Oh well. They didn’t consult me. I’ll go see the movie and see how it turns out. The trailer didn’t give me the shivers that the first movie’s trailer did, but that’s probably because my expectations have gone down quite a bit.
Speaking of no expectations.
I’ll get this out in the open right now: I hate Rambo. I think all three movies were pretty awful with almost no redeeming qualities at all. I’m all for mindless action, but make it at least a LITTLE bit plausible. And make the lead character at least a LITTLE bit interesting and intelligible. As it is, John Rambo is a dude bent on revenge for something that ‘those damn liberals” did to him.
Ok. So he never actually says that. (I don’t think. You can’t understand a damn word he says in that last speech.) But the Rambo movies are the height of right-wing, kill-em all and ask questions later propaganda. And, even as a teenager I was just plain bored with them.
This looks kind of like more of the same. Rambo is helping a bunch of bleeding hearts go through a river in Vietnam to help out some refugees. But he has to teach them that killing is right. In the scene we saw he dispatches six pirate seemingly with one bullet. Or he shoots six bullets in a split second. Either way, fuck that.
In the written intro that Sly wrote for us BNATateers, he said that if we don’t like it, “John Rambo will come into our houses at night and lovingly cut our throats.”
I guess I should prepare myself.
Directed by: Sergey Bodrov
Written by: Sergey Bodrov/Arif Aliyev
Ready for another Russian epic trilogy? Well, you’d better be.
This one tells the story of a young Mongolian warrior named Temudjin who became a slave. Then he became Genghis Kahn.
The story is long and complex, but revolves around two relationships: Temudjin and his brother, Jamukha and Temudjin and his wife, Borte.
Jamukha believes that all Mongols should be free to begin wars with whomever they want to and be in separate tribes whereas Temudjin knows that Mongolia will be stronger if they band together and become one nation. In this way, Temudjin, who is actually just a modest farm boy who has greatness thrust upon him, is kind of the Abraham Lincoln of Mongolia. He wants to unite the tribes into an actual country and help the people. All of which was pretty confusing considering the fact that Genghis Kahn has always been portrayed as a ruthless murderer who conquered half the world in bloody battles and was unconcerned with human life. It was really interesting to see a more human side to him.
The other relationship was less strained, but almost less happy. Temudjin and Borte spent very little time together. She was always being carted off by someone else and impregnated by her captors or he was being enslaved for years in tiny boxes. Their love always shined through, but it was very hard to see them constantly be torn apart by awful circumstances. I think they probably spent about one in every five years together.
I have no clue how historically accurate the film is or how well the actors were speaking Mongolian. According to one guy on IMDb, it wasn’t and they couldn’t. It was as if a Mexican who could hardly speak English was playing Lincoln and they added the 9/11 attacks into the story. From an outsider’s point of view, though, it was a very good movie with epic battles and real characters. Maybe a bit long (it seemed longer than the two hours that IMDb gives it), but definitely worth checking out in June when it finally comes out.
This is supposed to be the first part of a trilogy, so we’ll see if the others ever come out. This is something that I probably never would have watched otherwise and now I can’t wait to see the next two installments.
When Pixar makes a new movie, it’s a time for celebration. Even their failures (Cars is about the only one I can think of) are pretty good and fun to watch. So, even though it’s not finished and they couldn’t show us the whole thing, Pixar decided to send a couple of producers of WALL-E down here to show us some slightly unfinished clips.
And, omigod, they were awesome. I want to see this movie SO badly now. WALL-E may be the best character they’ve ever created and he doesn’t even really speak! (They say it’s not a silent film because the characters talk, just not in any way we can understand. Although you could understand EVE a little bit.)
I won’t say too much about the clips except that we met three characters that everyone fell in love with. And one of them is a roach. So that’s really saying something.
I already love this movie and I haven’t even seen it yet.
Directed by: Robert Fuest
Written by: James Whiton/William Goldstein
This is a lot of peoples’ favorite Vincent Price movie. Some people even claim that it’s their favorite horror movie.
Sigh. I can’t say that I can see why, honestly.
Dr. Phibes (Price) is a bit of a freak. He was supposedly killed in a car accident four years before, but now he is killing doctors using the Ten Plagues as his guide. And who else but Joseph Cotton is on his death list!
But the movie almost seems to not be about the killings. What it’s really about is Dr. Phibes and his weird/hot assistant, Vulnavia (the beautiful Virginia North who was never heard from again after this movie), skulking about and dancing to music made by Dr. Phibes’ Clockwork Orchestra.
The sets are pretty amazing, especially Dr. Phibes’ lair. It’s full of psychedelic stage drops (literally, Vulnavia drops them from the ceiling) and a huge organ that Phibes plays pretty constantly.
The cops are completely inept as they run around London trying to catch the deadly doctor, often times getting there just after the person is murdered. (In one hilarious case, they get there just before.)
Vincent Price is actually probably at his best here. Dr. Phibes is a strange creature who can’t speak unless he is hooked up to a phonograph machine. then he speaks without moving his lips. And he is pretty creepy with the strange makeup and costumes. It’s campy as hell and Vincent gets to do a lot of BIG acting…even if he doesn’t actually get to speak.
Some of the deaths are pretty nice, too. I especially liked the Plague Of Locusts.
What Joseph Cotton is doing here, I don’t know.
It’s still a pretty enjoyable movie, especially with an audience like this. I don’t think it would have the same effect on video, though.
Harry said that he’s sure that someone at some point will insist on remaking this. I don’t really see why, though. The whole point is the psychedelia and that won’t fly these days. And we’ve seen this kind of story so many times just in the last ten years that doing it again would seem completely redundant. But Hollywood has been dumber, so we’ll see.
Directed by: Tim Burton
Written by: John Logan/Christopher Bond
Based on musical by: Stephen Sondheim/Hugh Wheeler
Tim Burton was born to direct this movie, I think. The musical was already Goth, dark, funny and bloody. Burton just needed a push to do it.
For those of you who don’t know the story of the Demon Barber Of Fleet Street, Sweeney Todd (Johnny Depp) is a man bent on revenge. He was once Benjamin Barker. He was in love (“and she was beautiful”) and had a perfect life. (“And he was naive.”) Then a judge (Alan Rickman) came along who wanted what Todd had. So he sent Barker to prison on false charges and took the life that he wanted so badly.
Now, 15 years later, Barker is back. He’s changed his name and has no more remorse. He wants to kill the judge and his creepy little assistant (Timothy Spall who is SO FREAKIN’ GOOD at being creepy). He just needs the means to do it.
Enter Mrs. Lovett (Helena Bonham-Carter), the maker of the worst meat pies in London.
Now, how can they make his urge to kill pay off with her meat pies? Hmmm.
Yes, this is an incredibly bloody affair. No, they didn’t cut out all of the cannibalism. Yes, it’s pretty faithful to the play (although, it’s shorter…the play is apparently about three hours long). And, yes, everyone is a fairly decent singer. Fairly. I wouldn’t run out and buy a Johnny Depp album or anything, but he’s not horrible. Rickman was probably the worst and even he was passable.
Not surprisingly, the main cast is amazing. Johnny is at his best with Burton and vice versa, as is Helena. And I don’t think Rickman has put in a bad performance in years.
The supporting cast is less pronounced, but decent. Sacha Baron Cohen seems to be doing an Opera Man impression, but he’s funny, so it works. Jayne Wisener as Todd’s young daughter, Johanna, doesn’t have a lot to do. In fact, I almost didn’t notice her (except that her boobs are a bit big for a 15 year old) until the end. And Jamie Campbell Bower as the young sailor that Johanna has fallen for is…well, androgynous. I really didn’t know if he was a boy or a girl for a while. He’s alright, though.
The kid who plays Toby, Ed Sanders, was quite good, though. He gets a few songs here and there and becomes the sympathetic center of the story. And he carries it well.
This was probably my favorite new film of the day (although there were surprisingly few of them this year). I know it’s my favorite musical that I’ve seen at BNAT and Burton’s best since Big Fish.
Go see it. It’s a great way to kill some Christmas time.
Directed by: David Miller
Written by: Dalton Trumbo
Based on book by: Edward Abbey
Harry said that this one was supposed to be played right after we saw the Rambo clips because the character of Rambo was so heavily influenced by this film.
Honestly, I don’t see it. Except for the whole “man out of time” thing, the two films are nothing alike. The first difference, of course, being that Lonely Are The Brave is good. Very good.
Jack Burns (Kirk Douglas) is the last cowboy. So “last” that the first scene is a shot of him laying in a desert field. He looks up and sees jets flying. “Well, Whiskey. I guess it’s time for us to be going, too.”
He goes to visit an old friend, Jerry Bondi (Gena Rowlands looking hotter than I ever knew she was) and finds out that her husband, Paul (Michael Kane), is in jail for four years just for helping Mexicans who had already made it across the border. Jack decides that he has to get thrown into jail so that he can help Paul break out. Unfortunately for him, Paul doesn’t want to break out. He’s “grown up.”
So, of course, Jack breaks out of jail and the rest of the film consists of the cops chasing Jack up a mountain, led by Sheriff Morey Johnson (Walter Matthau channeling Andy Taylor) and Harry (William Schallert channeling Barney Fife).
Carroll O’Connor and George Kennedy also show up in small but pivotal roles. And George looks bigger than he EVER did later. He looks like he could actually kick some ass. Watch for Bill Raisch, the one-armed man from “The Fugitive.” Oh, and Bill Bixby is one of the guys in the helicopter.
This is one of those movies that it makes absolutely no sense why it’s so hard to find. It’s a great film (and Kirk’s favorite that he made) and pretty much is a high point in the careers of both Douglas and screenwriter Douglas Trumbo.
Speaking of Trumbo, this is the last film that he and Douglas worked on together (the first two being Spartacus and The Last Sunset) and you can tell that Trumbo was still writing about his stint on the Hollywood blacklist. And, to me, that’s when he was at his best.
I loved this film and its depiction of the end of the West. Everything just came together beautifully and formed a film that should not be forgotten. Start petitioning Universal for some kind of release of this film.
Directed by: John Erick Dowdle
Written by: John Erick Dowdle/Drew Dowdle
And this is where things start to go downhill.
A killer stalks people in Jersey and Pennsylvania. He basically has no MO. Every murder is completely different from the last. When the cops finally start to track him down, they find hundreds of video tapes of the murders and events leading to the murders. Many of them show one girl who the killer turned into his slave, Cheryl Dempsey.
In the intro, Moriarty from Ain’t It Cool said that this was one of the creepiest documentaries that he had ever seen and that’s why it’s playing BNAT. Of course, one of my friends is on the selection committee for SXSW and knew that it was actually a mockumentary.
Then again, just watching the movie tells you that. Most of the FBI agents are clueless and unprofessional. (One of them said that he took a tape home and his wife watched it. “She wouldn’t touch me for a year.”) The killer’s tapes go from hilarious (a girl bouncing on a balloon constantly saying, “Like this?”) to creepy (“I don’t think either of us want you alive for what I’m going to do to you.”) and back to hilarious (the killer dressed like an old French bird-like character trying his best to be scary, but just failing). It just kind of seemed like the movie didn’t know where it wanted to go or how it wanted us to feel.
A disappointment the whole way because there is so much potential in the idea.
This movie is never going to come out. We’ve been seeing clips from it for two years now and they keep saying that it’s coming…and then it never does. Apparently, the only reason they couldn’t show it today was because they were refilming the “Harry Knowles scene.”
HURRY UP, DAMMIT!!!
So, instead of showing us the whole movie, they showed us one scene that won’t be in the movie. Fun, huh?
The scene was kind of funny. It was set up like the scene where Lando betrayed our heroes, but this time with one of Lucas’ security guards being Vader. He got each of the kids in the room alone to question them to find out just how deep their fandom goes. He ended each interrogation with a question about sex. Of course, the girl was the only one who could answer it. There are a lot of references to obscure (and, most likely, made up) sexual positions.
Like I said, kind of funny, but nothing to write home about. I’ll still see the movie, though.
The next movie, we were told, was going to be Phantom Menace, because that’s what the Fanboys were going to see in the movie. Perfect double feature, right?
Heh. LIES! ALL LIES!!!
Instead, Tim said that he was going to make amends for screwing his buddy out of watching Teen Wolf last year. He had intentionally burned his own copy of Teen Wolf just to pull a joke on this guy and now he felt sorry about it. So, we were going to watch Teen Wolf.
The movie started exactly where we stopped watching the year before, got about two minutes in and then burned again.
“Oh no! Man! I’m so sorry! What?! We can’t watch it? Ok. Well, we’ll keep trying. And I have a copy of Teen Wolf, Too up there, too. We should get to that at BNAT 64. Let’s watch the backup backup, then.”
“Fuck you, Tim!”
Directed by: James Hong
Written by: anonymous (go figure)
And somewhere in the middle of this movie, we were all saying that very same thing.
Teen Lust is about a bunch of kids trying to get laid. For some reason, the girls are all in some program that allows them to ride along with the cops and actually participate in the breaking up of crime. (Hence, the alternate title Police Academy Girls.) The boys are all stereotypical high school boys. They want it from anyone they can get it from. “DeeDee, no! I love Carol!” And then they try to fuck. There’s a drunk-ass mom who is screwing the plumber and a dad who may or may not be a virgin.
There’s no story here at all. None. There’s just one stupid scene after another with the occasional boob thrown in for good measure. And those didn’t come often enough to save this one.
For those of us out there who are Friday The 13th fans, Kristen Baker is in this one playing Carol, the main girl. (She’s in Friday II.)
Otherwise, this is the movie Better Off Dead would have been if Better Off Dead had sucked horribly. Maybe Savage Steve Holland saw this and figured out that all it needed to save it was John Cusack and a dancing hamburger.
Directed by: Joseph Pevney
Written by: Harlan Ellison/others who meddled
Harry said that there were two reasons why we were watching this episode. The first was because the new Star Trek movie that is being released sometime this next year supposedly has something to do with it. And, in order to gear up all of his fellow BNATateers for JJ Abrams’ opus, he would show it.
(Harry kind of hinted that the new movie may be at next year’s BNAT. I can only hope.)
The other reason is because, according to him, seeing Star Trek in HD blown up to movie screen proportions is pretty amazing.
If you have no clue what I’m talking about here (which about a third of the people in the theatre had never seen this episode, which is fuckin’ weird), this is the best episode of the original series. It’s one of the few that doesn’t have very many accidentally laughable moments.
Basically, Bones accidentally injects himself with too much of some miracle drug and goes insane. He beams himself down to a planet and a landing party follows him. They get there and find a giant ring that is a machine and a living being. It’s The Guardian and it tells them that it controls all of time. Bones runs through it and Spock and Kirk follow to fix what Bones apparently messed up.
Where they end up is Depression era New York City. They meet Edith Keeler (Joan Collins looking amazing), who helps homeless people and advocates peace. Kirk falls in love and Spock finds out that Edith may in fact be the deciding factor. Bones either saved her or killed her and it changed the history of the Earth.
Written by sci-fi legend, er, sorry…”fantasist” Harlan Ellison, this is one of the staples of sci-fi television. It does everything a good sci-fi story is supposed to do. It is relevant for its time. (Peace was hard to come by in the 60s, but were we ready?) It has interesting characters. (Edith is one of the best side characters of the entire franchise.) And it expands on thoughts that we have all had. (If you could go back in time and do one thing, would it be a good thing in the long run? Or did time unravel as it was supposed to?)
It’s hard for me to say enough good things about City On The Edge Of Forever. If you’ve seen it, you know what I mean. If you haven’t, then go find a copy of it and watch it today. Even if you’re not a Star Trek fan, this is just great sci-fi.
As for the digital transfer…well, I guess this is the “new version” that has been a bit Lucased. They’ve gone through and replaced all of the old planets with new digital planets and redone the opening credits sequence with all new digital effects. And they’re decent, I guess. What’s weird is that all of the diagonal lines are blocky. I don’t know if that was the projector or the player or if they were supposed to be that way. I’m guessing that they probably weren’t supposed to look like that, but I can’t be completely sure. And besides that the Enterprise looked VERY digital. Could they not afford a real special effects guy? This looks like something that some Apple employee did on his days off. I mean, it’s not bad, but it’s not great, either.
I’m not running out to buy the new HD transfer of Star Trek anytime soon. Not that I’m buying ANY Star Trek seasons anytime soon. I can’t fucking afford them. Paramount charges WAY too much for one season of this show. Yeah, it’s great. We get it. But it’s not worth nearly $100 per season. Fuck that.
FEELS SO GOOD (2007, short)
Matt Dentler introduced the next short to us with the director. This guy had a short in SXSW a couple of years ago and Matt wanted to help him out by programing his new one at BNAT. They chatted a little bit before it started.
What was strange was that a buddy of mine said that he had seen Matt and the director standing outside talking about the Q&A that they were going to do. The guy was telling Matt exactly what to say and what he was going to say to him. The whole thing was scripted.
Weird. Why would they do that?
Well, as soon as the guy said that Feels So Good was kind of like the birthing of a new director and that he was glad that we were all here to witness that birth…well, I was a little bit afraid.
Sure enough, this was an old video of someone colonoscopy set to Chuck Mangione’s “Feels So Good.”
Fuck you, Matt Dentler. Fuck you.
Directed by: Gualtiero Jacopetti/Franco Prosperi
Written by: Gualtiero Jacopetti/Franco Prosperi
Now, after THAT debacle comes another one.
Back in the 60s, Gualtiero Jacopetti and Franco Prosperi were known around the world as the creators of Mondo Movies. These were “documentaries” with no real plot, just images of something shocking. The first film, Mondo Cane (1962), traveled around the world looking for random shocking footage. Most of it is pretty tame by today’s standards, but audiences at the time were absolutely astounded.
Years went by and their films got more and more gruesome to shock an increasingly jaded audience. Their final feature was this, their nadir.
The title actually pretty much tells it all. This is about the slave trade. Not just any slave trade, but the American slave trade before the Civil War. The directors “go back in time” to show us the horrors of slavery and how brutal it really was.
I’m sure they were trying to show us the error of our ancestor’s ways. Show us the truth about slavery. Show us that black people were treated like animals being sold on auction blocks. And what better way to do that than to treat black people like animals being sold on auction blocks?
Maybe Jacopetti and Prosperi were actually trying to make a humanitarian documentary. Maybe they actually did feel for the black experience in America. This could all very well be true. But what they ended up making was a horribly exploitive movie that just showed white people beating on and sexually abusing black people. There were scenes with a slave auctioneer greasing up female slaves before an auction. He was rubbing their breasts like a champ. And all of the scenes of the black dudes walking around naked with shit all over them? Yeah, that’s really helping the plight of the black man.
What these guys actually made is probably the most racist film ever made. It not only exploits slavery, but it insults the fuck out of every black person on Earth. Even the final scene (which was shown to us on video because it was cut out of the film version we were watching) was pure exploitation. It showed a modern black man reading The Confessions Of Nat Turner and getting really pissed off about all of the obnoxious white people on the beach with him. He daydreams about killing them. At one point he picks up a baby and bashes it against a wall, leaving a huge red blood stain.
Farewell Uncle Tom was hard to watch even from a grindhouse type point of view. Hell, even the folks on The Deuce were walking out on this one when it was shown in NYC back in the day. That’s how bad it is. Fight For Your Life was NOTHING compared to this.
If you want to see how bad a film can get in its depiction of racism through the ages, check this out. I think the DVD is heavily edited, though. The version we saw was an American version, so it was pretty heavily edited, but I think the new DVD is a “director’s cut” where they tried their best to clean up their original vision.
Heh. I guess even they were repulsed by themselves after a while.
Directed by: Michael Dougherty
Written by: Michael Dougherty
And now it’s time for the Big Finale. The one that we’ll all remember after leaving the theatre from a long 24 hours of sitting with smelly geeks.
And, honestly, I hardly remember it.
I think I had heard of this movie before, but I wasn’t very interested in seeing it. And, to be honest, I was glad to hear that it was a slasher type movie only because I knew it would be pretty short.
It’s an anthology film with four stories intertwined to tell about one Halloween night in a small New England town. One story is about a group of young girls (one of which is Anna Paquin) who seem to just want to get laid. Another is about a group of kids who are collecting Jack-o-lanterns for a scavenger hunt. Or are they? One is about a man (Dylan Baker) who seems to despise children. And the last one is about an old man (Brian Cox) who is tormented by a small ghost in a creepy costume.
The movie actually opens with a pretty good scene. Two people (Leslie Bibb and Tahmoh Penikett) get home from a Halloween party and the woman starts to take down all of the decorations because she hates Halloween. The guy goes inside and “puts on the tape” ifyaknowhatimean. Unfortunately, someone doesn’t want the woman to take anything down because Halloween isn’t over yet. The scene is suspenseful and kind of gory. So, in other words, pretty good!
The impish little sprite who does some of the killing is also pretty cool. His name is Sam. He’s a little boy in dirty footed pajamas and a burlap bag over his HUGE head. He’s almost cute in a creepy sort of way. Unfortunately, they make the mistake of unmasking him in the Brian Cox sequence and he just looks silly under there.
The rest of the stories just never moved me. They were almost clever, but never clever enough to engage. And certainly never scary enough to make me think anything but, “THIS is our last movie?! What the fuck?!”
And then there’s just the mean-spiritedness of it. Say what you will about movies like Hostel, but they never kill little kids. This one does…quite a few of them, too. And don’t try to tell me, “Well, only the bad ones died!” ‘Cause they didn’t. Some of them were actually pretty sympathetic. I would actually say that this is the most mean-spirited “light” horror movie to come out in a LONG time.
Writer/director Michael Dougherty (co-writer of X-Men 2 and Superman Returns) was in attendance and talked to us a little bit after the movie. But, by that time, I had no interest in what he was going to say. This is his directorial debut and it’s been pushed back for a LONG time. It’s done now and, in fact, I think it was done THIS Halloween. But it’s not being released until next Halloween. I can’t imagine why.
After this it was all over but the cryin’. Harry had told us at the beginning of the day that we were all walking out of there with free HD DVD players. I kind of felt like he was trying his best to be Oprah for a second. Kind of a larger, slightly less annoying Oprah. Everybody screamed for about five minutes.
They even did a demo for us using the 300 and Miami Vice discs. 300 looked fucking amazing. There’s a feature on there where you can watch the movie with a picture in picture of how it was actually shot, green screen and all. Awesome.
The Miami Vice disc on the other hand, was just stupid. You can click on something to tell you exactly why drug runners use this specific kind of plane, the shortest route from whatever island they were on to Miami and the entire history of the mojito. At that point I thought, “Wow. They’ve jumped the shark. I no longer care about these special features.
But everyone cheered the demo, too.
What they didn’t realize is that we were given these for a reason. You see, HD DVD is most likely the loser in the format wars. This is one last ditch effort to get the geek vote. Bluray has most of the titles and studios. Only two of them are going pure HD and that’s because HD paid them. So, if we do buy any HD discs, we’re throwing money down a well.
I think a few people are selling theirs. I might keep mine to rent some movies and check out the possibilities of the more condensed format. But even my buddy who has had his HD for a long time is kind of losing faith.
Maybe if HD had latched onto some video game platform like Bluray did it would still be a contender. As it is, it looks as if it may be joining 8-track, Beta and Laserdisc in the great media heap in the sky.
Thus endeth BNAT 9. It was kind of a disappointing year, actually. But still a lot of fun. I’m glad I went and I will, of course, continue to go. But the ratio of great : terrible wasn’t as good this year. The only “foregone conclusion” movie on the list was Sweeney Todd. Other than that there were NO movies that anyone probably put on their “What do you want to see this year” list. I don’t think anyone could have guessed that we were seeing Trick ‘r Treat or The Poughkeepsie Tapes, but that’s only because no one had ever heard of the fuckin’ movies. And I don’t think anyone really cared to hear about them after they saw them.
Next year will be kick ass, though. I can feel it. Right?
One thing I haven’t mentioned is the new Alamo. This was the first time I had ever stepped foot in it.
And I gotta say, it’s fuckin’ beautiful. The lobby is small, but elegant and the theatre itself is pretty nice. It looks a lot like the South Lamar theatres, but it feels a bit more grindhousy if only because of its location.
But I could still hear the club next door. Sorry, Tim.
Can’t wait to go back, though.