Tag: movie marathon

Coolidge Corner Horror Marathon, Part II

Seen: At the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline, on 35 mm.
But first, read
Part One!

Now on to the wee-er hours of the morning with the 12am-12pm Horrorthon at Coolidge Corner. Before everyone judges me for nodding off a few times, I’d like you to keep in mind that not only had I worked a 9-5 day on my feet beforehand, but also I’ve been taking sleep-inducing Benadryl all the time because of allergy problems. Also the seats at the Coolidge are so comfortable! Although I must say it was super cold in there, and the snowstorm outside wasn’t helping! Anyway, onwards to more thrills and chills and snoozes.

4 Dèmoni 2: L’incubo ritorna (Demons 2) (1986)
Yeah so I haven’t seen the first Demons and after struggling through the first half hour I pretty much chose this one as the movie I would sleep through. Directed by Mario Bava’s son Lamberto and co-written by Dario Argento, I imagine this film is decent if viewed in a non-exhausted mindset. The story has something to do with a lady’s birthday party and demons who come out of a tv show and possess unsuspecting viewers in a big apartment building. As far as I could tell it was super 80’s and a bit gory (lots of veins popping out everywhere), but I honestly don’t remember much else. Sorry.

5 Hardware (1990)
I was excited for this one because it’s referenced on an episode of The Office and it sounded AWESOME from the netflix description. Too bad it’s not actually that good. Drawing pretty liberally from films like The Terminator and Alien, the film sets up a crumbling post-apocalyptic future, then sort of forgets about it as a lady is trapped in her apartment with a killer robot. It seeks to be a futuristic horror movie and I applaud its efforts, but it doesn’t really mesh genres well. The setting and characters aren’t very well established and the effects/direction aren’t thoughtful enough to really make this robot monster situation terrifying. Plus it’s paced really badly and I definitely dozed off for a bit in the third act because I thought it was over. Still, I like the premise and Dylan McDermott is there with a robot hand. And the artist lady is pretty ok. There are a lot of good ideas in this movie, but nothing quite works the way it should. It’s watchable, though.

6 Hellraiser (1987)
I was also pretty convinced I’d be too grossed out/scared of this one to make it all the way through, but aside from some intermittent dozing during the opening scenes (I WAS TIRED OK), I was pretty into this movie. It manages to be both funny in a cheesy 80’s way and legitimately scary and interesting horror. The main lady is over-the-top British with a bad haircut and half the movie is her making sex-gasp noises, which is always hilarious. But then all the monsters and stuff that come out of hellworld or whatever to claim her gooey zombie boyfriend are freaky and imaginatively designed. Plus there’s mad amounts of sado-masochism, jeez. Clive Barker (in his directorial debut) utilizes the claustrophobic setting of the family’s house really well, managing to create tension and atmosphere in a seemingly banal location. Good stuff.

7 Rabid
So we were pretty far-gone at this point and since we had already seen Rabid at the Sci-Fi Marathon a few years ago, it seemed pointless to force ourselves to sit through it again when we were feeling like half-crazed zombie people anyway. This is Cronenberg’s second film, and it’s notable for starring porn actress Marilyn Chambers and working some body horror into a typical zombie premise. I thought it was ok, a little boring, and for more of my thoughts you can click the title which links to my ‘Thon review.

Well there you have it, another Halloween dominated by comfy seats, schlocky horror, and like-minded nerds and over-animated hipsters (it’s Brookline, they’re inescapable) to share it with. We’ll see what the Coolidge has to offer next year!

Coolidge Corner Horror Marathon, Part I

Seen: At the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline. Everything was 35mm, thank goodness.

Like last year, I stepped out for my annual Halloween shenanigans at the Coolidge Corner Theatre, which hosts a yearly all-night horror marathon for Boston’s more discerning moviegoers. There’s a costume contest, freaky video compilations from the Whore Church, and most importantly tons of awesome movies! Also I got to meet blogger/twitter buddy Adam in person, who stayed for the first two films. Nice to meet you, guy! Click ahead to HORRORRRRRR.

1 Suspiria (1977)
Though I had watched this fairly recently it was exciting to see it in a theater, with the whispery Goblin tunes and breathtaking color schemes felt more acutely than in a home viewing. I was able to take in more details, such as Argento’s high placement of doorknobs to make the girls seem smaller, and Udo Kier’s hilarious pronunciation of the word “occult” (although I think he was dubbed?). For my full thoughts, the title links to my original review. Also I’d like to remind you that my Suspiria ink painting is still available for sale.

2 The Return of the Living Dead (1985)
This was definitely my favorite of the films I saw at the marathon. One of two films directed by legendary sci-fi/horror writer Dan O’Bannon, it is a hilarious and often gruesome view of the zombie apocalypse as experienced by a bunch of teenage punks and the bumbling employees of a medical supply company when a deadly gas is released into the atmosphere and a nearby cemetery comes alive- LITERALLY LOL. Within zombie mythology it is notable in its inclusion of sentient zombies who are just overcome by pain and hunger, a sexy naked zombie, and an awesomely gung-ho solution to the problem. AND not only does the black guy not die first, he makes it to the end mostly! And his name is Spider! Basically: this movie rules. It’s funny and scary and imaginative and always exciting. Great effects, too.

3 The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
I was convinced this movie would be super gross and scary and I’d have to avert my eyes for most of the scenes, but actually it’s totally watchable and I liked it a lot! The story starts off slowly as five twentysomethings head out to an isolated and abandoned house in rural Texas that two of them used to vacation in as kids (they’re brother and sister and the house is owned by their family). They come across strange collections of bones and other unseemly hints at the horror awaiting them, but somehow they still walk right into the titular massacre as a nearby crazy person persists in picking them off one by one. The film really picks up in the last act as lone survivor Sally discovers the true extent of homicidal madness that this area has to offer. It’s pretty awesome.

All right stay tuned for Part II tomorrow, involving some vein-y demons, robot terror, gooey undead murderers, and indulgent British lady sex. Hurray!

Drive Stupid Marathon: The Fast and the Furious (2001), 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003), and The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)

Everyone in this movie is an assholeSeen: On HD-DVD (yes we have a player), on our big screen/projector set-up.

We’re making our way through America’s most perplexingly popular (and prolific) car series, which I’ll call collectively Fast/Furious. It is a gripping epic of muscular dudes with shitty hairstyles and the ladies who love them, of cars that drive fast and the drivers who drive them, of world-famous cities and the criminals who live in them. It is a grandiose tale of friendship, loyalty, and adrenaline. Oh, such depths of the human soul are explored and taken to even greater distances in this masterpiece of road cinema: Fast/Furious.

Also: I don’t really remember the plots of these movies so I’m going to sort of make it up as I go along here.

When bleach-haired and cocky-faced Brian (Paul Walker), a very-obvious undercover agent, tries to sneak into a gearhead gang run by Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), he finds he’s in for the RIDE of his LIFE. They go to a bunch of races together and become best friends but maybe Toretto is a bad guy because people are stealing stuff from trucks or something. But it doesn’t matter because Paul Walker and Vin Diesel totally mate for life and not even the stupid law enforcement that Paul Walker works for can come between them, right?

Right. Except in the next movie Vin isn’t even around anymore! He’s off gallivanting with Michelle Rodriguez or whatever and Paul Walker is all alone. So he teams up with Tyrese Gibson and Eva Mendes to take down an evil drug lord (I think). I barely watched the second one, I’ll be honest, it was hard to focus on the story line. Or maybe it didn’t have one? They drove some more cars, that much I remember. And Paul and Tyrese totally wanted to date. They even had a romantic sunset together that I kind of co-opted. Also maybe I had been drinking a little.

So flash forward to the future or something (right?) and also Japan for some reason, and none of the original cast except for one nice cameo. Asshole teenager Sean Boswell (Lucas “Chest Hair” Black) moves to Tokyo to live with his dad because he keeps fucking things up in the US. He loves driving. So he pals around with Bow Wow and joins the underground teenage racing circuit and never has to learn Japanese. And there are yakuza at some point. And a HULK car! Because there’s no space in urban Tokyo they have to learn how to “drift” on the sharp and windy turns. It’s a real-life thing.

I don’t know anything about cars, and to be honest I don’t really care to. I like seeing things go fast and/or explode, so I enjoy movies that focus on cars, but I don’t actually want to see something ABOUT cars. The first film features dialogue that is exclusively about driving or crime, and that’s it. It’s almost funny if it wasn’t so boring. Luckily it’s got a decent cast and solid enough action to make it mildly interesting. And a lot of fast cars! The other two are just sort of wasteful, with some ridiculously bad and entertaining moments but not enough to warrant anyone actually watching them. They all feel like time capsules of the early 2000’s, with very specific fashion styles and lingo that probably felt dated the moment they were released. Everyone is trying way too hard to be stylish and cool, it’s pathetic. Except for Michelle Rodriguez and Devon Aoki, obviously, but they don’t get to do much. Ladies can drive and stuff, but they can’t win the big races and they certainly can’t carry a film about cars.

2Fast 4FashionTokyo Drift is by far the worst, with a nonsensical script and wholly uncharismatic cast (except for Sung Kang, who plays “Asian Guy Who’s Always Eating”, aka “The Best Character”). It’s like no one actually thought about this movie as they were making it. Why does Sean go to a Japanese-speaking school? Where are all these kids’ parents and how do they have the money for souped-up cars and clubs and whatnot? Why is Sean the protagonist when he’s so boring? It does have better direction though, with better-shot racing and action scenes than its predecessors, so good to know Justin Lin is directing all the subsequent entries to the series.

Since I plan on seeing them all, for some reason.

1Fast 1Furious: 2.5/5
2Fast 2Furious: 2/5
3Fast 3Furious: Tok3o 3hrift: 1.5/5

Mustache Mayhem Triple Feature: Hooper (1978), Sharky’s Machine (1981), and Stroker Ace (1983)

Seen: On DVD on my tv (Hooper and Sharky’s Machine); On Netflix Instant on my tv (Stroker Ace).

Maybe it was just the Fourth of July spirit, but we had a real Burt Reynolds kind of week! First up was the stunt man comedy Hooper, a film that my boyfriend was convinced I’d seen even though we have had the “No you watched it without me years ago” discussion multiple times. Then we watched the Frisky Dingo episode that references Hooper, of course. Soon enough it was time for Sharky’s Machine, a favorite of a certain blogger I admire, and one that took us away from the light-hearted Reynolds we’re more familiar with. Lastly was Stroker Ace, a movie recommended by someone on twitter as the best Burt Reynolds movie. OVER SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT?! Naturally, we had to check it out.

Hooper (1978)
Frequent Reynolds collaborator Hal Needham (and former stuntman) directs this ode to stuntmen working through the 50’s-70’s. Reynolds plays the titular Sonny Hooper, a talented head stuntman working on an action picture directed by capricious and pig-headed Roger (Robert Klein, apparently channeling Peter Bogdanovich). He’s dealing with ever-worsening back pain but stubbornly presses on to more and more dangerous stunts (or “gags”, as I learned) to compete with an up-and-coming daredevil (Jan-Michael Vincent). This movie is a whole lot of fun, with silly industry jokes, impressive action scenes, and a definite respect for stuntpeople and what they go through for their work. Reynolds plays his usual lovable scamp, paired with the cutesy Sally Field. It has a few serious themes, which is fine, but they often feel melodramatic against the thrilling stunt stuff. Mostly it’s just a fun, uncomplicated time. Best of all, though: it’s got dueling Jimmy Stewart/Roy Rogers impersonations.

Sharky’s Machine (1981)
In this dark crime thriller, Reynolds directs as well as stars as the titular Tom Sharky, a dedicated Atlanta cop who’s downgraded to Vice after he fudges up a drug sting. With his new partners Papa (Brian Keith- also in Hooper) and Arch (Bernie Casey), he stumbles upon major corruption involving a popular candidate for governor. I haven’t really known Reynolds for dramatic roles, so it was cool to see him here as a tougher, darker character. He’s volatile and sort of becomes a stalker for a while, but you still root for him because everyone else is so evil. The story is a bit scattered, incorporating political scandal, drug rings, pimps, and even ninjas for a few scenes. The romantic subplot that crops up toward the end is absolutely ridiculous (and kind of steals from Laura), but I enjoyed the movie a lot up until that point, especially the interactions between the buddy cops Papa and Arch. Kickin’ intro song, too, seriously.

Stroker Ace (1983)
This features Burt Reynolds in a chicken suit for half the movie, so that’s a start. He plays the titular (there’s a word I’m using a lot today) cocky racer, who stupidly signs a binding and controlling contract with a fried chicken chain restaurant sponsor owned by the unscrupulous Clyde Torkle (Ned Beatty). Stroker and his bff/mechanic Lugs (Jim Nabors) play a series of pranks in an attempt to wiggle out of the contract, aided by Torkle’s assistant Pembrook (Loni Anderson), a devout Christian in fetching hot pants. The story is incredibly fluffy, but there are some wild racing scenes and entertaining jokes, and it sort of echoes the plot of Cars. I loved Jim Nabors as the aw-shucks sidekick, and Ned Beatty plays a great sleaze. It’s not especially engaging though, since it feels like a retread of Reynolds’ earlier films. Plus there’s a cringeworthy almost-rape scene that’s played for laughs. Yeesh.

The 2011 Boston Science-Fiction Marathon, Part III

Whew, it’s tired in here, what with the eight movies I’ve just watched in a row. I should probably just give up and go to sleep, right? No! Of course not! I must press on for the sake of science-fiction and also to get my money’s worth! I loaded up on tea and squirmed in my seat but admittedly had some trouble staying 100% conscious through the next two films, mainly because I’d seen them already. Also my cohorts were starting to get pretty sleepy and there’s less pressure to stay awake if everyone around you is lightly snoring. But never fear! I can bring very definite reports of the next movies shown! Partially by piecing together what I already knew about two of them!

9 Videodrome (1983) (title links to my original review)
As some of you may recall, I was completely bowled over by this movie when I first watched it in January. It is by far my favorite Cronenberg, and there was basically nothing I could name that was wrong with it. Needless to say I was excited to see it again, especially on a big screen, and while it is still a fantastic film- gritty, sexy, weird, intelligent, innovative- it’s not exactly the loudest of movies so I did nod off a few times. Luckily, I can accurately report that yes, Debbie Harry is still smoking hot and James Woods still has a gun hand and I still don’t really at all understand what’s going on. So all is well in Videodrome. Long live the new flesh.

10 Lady Terminator (1988) (title links to my original review)
I feel like I’ve raved about this enough around here, but OH WELL now you can hear once again how much I love it! Indonesia’s unsubtle ripoff of The Terminator features everything you need in a hilarious action b-movie: boobs, big hair, 80’s dance music, vagina snakes, boobs, machine guns, bad dubbing, campfire sex, and of course, boobs. There’s also a fair amount of legitimately cool action scenes, with many explosions, gunfights, and corpses. It’s a completely ludicrous movie that I’m fairly certain everyone in the world will like. So go see it already, sheesh! Also recall that I chatted it up in the so-bad-it’s-good episode of Some Cast It Hot, which you should be listening to!
4.5/5 (as entertainment)

11 Last Woman on Earth (1960)
I actually missed the first 5-10 minutes of this because I went to get some Dunkin’ Donuts, but luckily the story is easy enough to figure out. A lady, her wealthy husband, and their younger male friend go out scuba diving near their island vacation home and discover when they come up for air that all the oxygen has suddenly left the atmosphere. They keep their masks on for as long as they can, later finding that the oxygen has returned. Everyone around them is lying dead in the streets. The three hunker down and hone their survival skills, but eventually the husband’s macho assholery gets the better of his put-upon wife and everything gets all love-triangley. Despite being a very talky, so-so script, the film surprisingly kept my attention throughout. I give most of the credit to Robert Towne, who played the friend character Martin and also wrote the script. He essentially spent the whole time doing this adorable impression of Jimmy Stewart in The Philadelphia Story, and that is exactly the way to win my heart. Too bad the print we had was so pink, though.

12 Mothra (1961)
Ah yes, the age-old story of a Giant Moth Monster who attacks Japan as it tries to reclaim its miniscule singing fairy twins from a jerk pseudo-American opportunist (actual plot). I’d seen most of this on tv years ago but was excited to see it in its fully form. Oddly enough the ‘thon had a subtitled print, meaning the added hilarity of exaggerated dubbing is missing, and also that my crazed sleep-deprived mind had to work extra hard to read what was going on. I definitely drifted in and out a bit, but caught all the important parts: goofy chubby journalist, high-pitched twin singing, the three stages of mothra development, weird “island native” rituals, and the finale in “New Kirk City” (actual name). It’s entertaining at parts but unintelligible at others, with too much of the creepy twins warbling and not enough of Mothra tearing shit up. Oh well. I’m fucking tired, man.

So the last film screened was Zonad, which we’d seen two days prior and felt no need to see again. Especially when a warm, comfortable bed beckoned us scant blocks away. So that’s the end of the ‘thon for me! It was basically still 24 hours since we got there an hour early. I definitely did better than the past two years, and expect to improve exponentially at my staying-awake-and-lucid abilities! It was a good time, though I hope next year there’ll be more movies I haven’t seen before. And better shorts (there were some really good ones last year, so I was pretty let down by the skimpy selection this time around). Until then, I’ll continue to obsessively plan endless amounts of themed marathons of my own in my head! Yeah!