Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Fog / Just Before Dawn

I got lucky with these two movies. Both were very good and I will likely want to watch them again sometime.

The Fog, a John Carpenter movie from 1980, is one that for some reason, I always assumed would be bad. It just never looked like my kinda movie, despite being directed by John Carpenter and the presence of the lovely Jamie Lee Curtis. But Stacie Ponder at Final Girl always raves about it and to be honest, all of the movies I've put on my netflix list for this week are movies that she's mentioned. Anyhoo, all that blather aside, I discovered that The Fog is actually a quite good horror movie.

One of the things I found most effective in this movie is the unhurried aspect. It takes its time building up to the evil fog and the evil denizens lurking therein. It takes time to let you actually start to care about the characters and root for them. (As opposed to some really bad slashers where you're just waiting for them all to die already) Also, when the evil denizens show up, they're kind of vaguely unseen. You never really get a good look at them, and sometimes that makes the monsters much scarier.

In our world of CGI monsters and such, sometimes the more you can see, the more you can see just how fake it all is. When it's left up to the imagination more, you don't see just how bad the computer work is or how suddenly it's a dummy and not an actual person.

Also: Tom Atkins! Adrienne Barbeau!! Hal Fucking Holbrook!! Jamie Lee!! Oh, and Nancy Loomis!! (aka Annie from Halloween) Nancy Loomis is a terrible actress, but dammit, I don't care. And another thing about this movie: After starting the movie, I didn't even look at the clock until it was almost an hour in. Normally when I watch movies on a weeknight, and I'm planning to watch something on the telly at a certain time, I can't help but glance frequently at the clock. The last time I remember that happening was when I watched Thirst, the Korean movie by Chan-Wook Park. There's something hypnotic about the movie, the slow build and the real tension.

So, yeah. Awesome movie. Too bad I didn't see earlier in my horror movie watching career, cuz I think it would have scared the shit outta me. It's harder for a movie to really get under my skin now, although this one tried.

Just Before Dawn (1981)

I dunno, I get the feeling that this one must have gotten lost in the shuffle of early '80's slasher movies, cuz why the hell didn't I know about it? It's a kind of mixture of such movies as Wrong Turn and Texas Chainsaw Massacre (freaks in the woods) and standard Friday the 13th slasher movies. It features a very young Gregg Henry, who I think I first saw in the Mel Gibson movie Payback, and more recently from the F/X TV show The Riches. Also featured was George Kennedy, a park ranger who kinda wants to let these stoopid teenagers die from their stoopidity, but just can't do it.

I don't really want to say more than that, because this is just a really good movie. The bad guy quite creeped me out because he kind of looks like Casey from the Tim and Eric show:

*shudder* I'm sure the killer dude didn't really look that much like Casey, but it still creeped me out cuz Casey and his Brother are always one of my least favorite Tim and Eric bits. Actually, after finding a cover image for the DVD, the killer looks more like Casey's brother. He kind of looks like a mixture of Tim and Eric.

Anyway, good flick! And if you're in the woods and George Kennedy tells you to not go any further into the woods, you might want to listen to him!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Oh, Glee...

I ... I just don't know what to do with you. One week you're funny and almost subtle, the next...sigh.

SO I watched the Rocky Horror Glee thingie on Hulu, and well. It's not really that bad. My main complaint with it going in was that a fucking feminine female person was going to be Dr Frank-N-Furter, but after seeing it, it wasn't as bad as I'd feared. They wisely stayed away from doing a faithful re-presentation of the Almighty Curry and had Amber Riley give it some different phrasing, and yeah, it wasn't the same, but at least it wasn't trying to be. That said, I don't see myself watching it ever again. I had to go youtubing just to fully let the awesome Curry wash over me. I mean, I dunno. Brave choice to do something different, but I kinda would've rather seen Mike Chang or The Stamos brave it. I'd rather go watch Giles from Buffy singing "Sweet Transvestite" than watch the Glee version again. No offense to Ms. Riley, but she just did not bring the sexy, and that song needs to be sexy. Dripping with sex and innuendo.

Now. That brings me to Emma Pillsbury singing "Toucha-Toucha-Touch Me" or however many touchas is in that damn title. Now. She brought the sexy. She really needed to be stripped down a bit, but when you can be that ultra-sexy with all your clothes on, I guess that's okay. It's just too damn bad she had to be singing it to ... shudder ... Mr. Shoe. UGH. I kinda thought he was cute when I first started watching the show and now I just cringe when I see him. The best episodes are the ones that keep his douchiness mostly in the background where you can tune him out. And yes. The bod? Definitely sexy. The face?? Punchable.

And I seriously, seriously am sick of Rachel Berry. Sick of Lea Michele. Her Janet was beyond Hammy. Then again, who can live up to the wonder of the Sarandon? One of my all-time favorite lines is when she says, "I'm cold and tired and just plain scared!" cuz she sounds like all those things! She's actually cold and wet and tired and scared, and she manages to parody the damsel-in-distress while actually sounding in distress. I know it's just one line, but it's so good the way she said it. And Rachel just sounded hammy, damsel-in-distress Ham. HAM!!!!!

And the whole Sue Sylvester thing just went way over my head. Didn't understand it. Don't care to. Of course, when you watch a show on Hulu while you're working, sometimes the subtleties can elude one.

I know I'm blathering, but I do have to also shout out to Brittany and Santana, my heroes. They always make the show better in every way. Never change.

So. Glee is still on notice, I suppose, but at this point it seems kinda pointless. I'll probably keep watching until there are three bad episodes in a row. I mean, the show is what it is. A big fat incoherent mess that occasionally fixes itself enough to make you realize why you liked it in the first place. And then next week, the suckage is back. And all you can do is say, "Oh, Glee..."

The Funhouse

I netflixed this movie before I decided to make it "watch horror movies" week, but yay! It's a horror movie so it fit. One of the bloggers I read, Stacie Ponder, does a monthly film club at her Final Girl blog, and this month she chose The Funhouse.

So. About the only thing I knew about this movie was that Elizabeth Berridge is in it. Who is that, you ask? What? Are you stoopid??? Sigh. She was Mrs. Amadeus in the movie Amadeus. Why do I know her name? I really couldn't tell you. Maybe cuz she's cute? Odd name? The cute kind of lisp she has? I DO NOT KNOW THE WORKINGS OF MY OWN BRAIN. All I know is that I'd never seen the movie but I knew Mrs Amadeus was in it. And that it was an '80's horror movie. Which can be iffy, especially if you didn't see them in the ignorance of youth.

And unfortunately, this movie? UGH. I didn't give a crap about the characters. There was little to no real tension in the movie. It wasn't funny and it had the problem common to most horror movies with stoopid teenagers in them -- the teenagers look like they're 30. Now, the worst case of this was in the dreadful Slaughter High. I think they really were 30 in that movie. Now, the same can be said of Halloween, the Greatest Horror Movie of All Time. Jamie Lee does NOT look like a teenager at all. But she's a good actress and it's a good character and therefore it doesn't matter so much that she's too old. Shit, Stockard Channing was pushing 30 when she played Rizzo in Grease, and damn, do I not care, I love Rizzo that much. But when the characters are bad and the movie is bad (I'm looking again at you, Slaughter High!) then it's much more noticeable and annoying.

I guess the novelty of this movie is the whole "real freak at the freak show" vibe. I've never really cared much for "freak" movies, so that didn't really draw me in. And about 45 minutes in I realized just how tired I was and how much I didn't care about anything regarding the movie, so I bailed. I forwarded through it just to see how it all came out in the end. The funny thing is that I bailed before any of the stoopid teenagers got killed, which is basically the main reason for watching a slasher movie. I mean, really, it is.

Oh, and I didn't even mention the creepy opening scene. Mrs. Amadeus (technically, I suppose that should be Mrs. Mozart, but shut up, it's already stuck in my brain) is taking a shower and her creepy brother, her little brother, puts on a mask and grabs a rubber knife from his wall and then goes into the bathroom, pulls back the shower curtain and pretends to stab her. Uh, yeah. For one, it was a total ripoff of the beginning of Halloween, the way they shot it so that you're seeing everything from his point of view, and he puts the mask on like, over the camera and you're seeing through the eyes of the mask. For another, it was just kinda squicky. Maybe it was the way it was shot, I dunno, but the little brother pretending to stab his sister while she's all nekkid and wet is just icky. Icky AND squicky!! So, points for aping both Pyscho and Halloween and not doing a very good job of it.

I should mention that they tried to make you think it was someone else with the mask. You don't know who's picking up the knife or putting on the mask and walking towards the bathroom to make with the stabby-stabby. Now. Knowing that Mrs Amadeus is like the main character, it's pretty obvious that she's not about to die, so any tension they might've built up is non-existent here. Plus, I assumed it was a stoopid boyfriend or something, so when it turned out to be a little boy, yah, squicky. I suppose if I hadn't known that the girl we were watching shower was the main character, it could've worked, but still. I've seen so many horror movies, good and bad, that I was already assuming it was a fake-out.

So. Two stars for The Funhouse. I think if I had seen this as a younger horror fan I might have liked it. The best thing about having seen it is now I can cross it off my list! I do so love that...

Oh, and I found this image, and it might explain why I remembered Mrs. Amadeus:

Unfortunately, the bountiful cleavage is cropped off, but damn, gurl. I think that's from the beginning of the movie when Amadeus is feeding her suggestive desserts of some kind. YUM. So, uh yeah. Boo Funhouse, Yay Amadeus!!

Laid to Rest / Dead and Breakfast

Laid to Rest (2008)

I watched this cuz the dude at My New Plaid Pants did one of his Thursday's Ways Not to Die posts and featured this movie. I saw that it was airing on Saturday night on one of our pay cable networks, and I was in the mood for a good slasher movie, so I watched it. And it was okay. Way bloodier than I expected, and it was actually fairly good gore. The slasher dude liked to cut heads off with a big hunting knife, so there was a lot of sawing back and forth and it was a bit squicky.

And the fact that all I can remember is the gore implies to me that the story was kinda meh. And it was. As Jason noted in his post, the characters seemed to just be going back and forth from one location to another, then back again, and so forth. And there wasn't a lot of tension in the movie, which needs to be there for me to be scared that the slasher dude might be coming up behind me in the dark. I don't really have much more to say about it other than the lead actress sure had big fake tits. And she looked like Julie Costello from Murder One.

Dead and Breakfast (2004)

This is one I'd heard of, and just never got around to seeing, and when I saw that is was one of the other pay cable channels immediately after Laid to Rest, I saw that opportunity and went with it. And, yeah. There was that. I saw it. I need never see it again.

Okay, it wasn't that bad. The best part of it was Ever Carradine, who I looked up on imdb and discovered that she's Robert Carradine's daughter, and also, she's Martha Plimpton's cousin, and Martha is Keith Carradine's daughter!! Who knew? Well, um, besides the Carradine family, that is. Anyhoo, Ever Carradine was pretty funny and I quite liked her. She's also on Eureka, which I stopped watching a while ago, but I remember her being cute and funny on that show.

As to what I didn't like...well, early on Deidrich Bader showed up doing this HORRID French accent, and I dunno, that just annoyed me unduly and made me not want to watch anymore. He was dispatched fairly quickly, though, so yay, but then came the really worse part of the movie. The musical interludes. Every so often this stoopid dude would come on and start singing, I dunno, about the plot? He was so annoying I had to mute him. And that was quite often.

So, I didn't really like it, but for some reason I sat through the whole thing and I dunno. It was okay.

Halloween stuff

I decided that this week would be Horror Movie week for me. I love horror movies. I'm also a librarian, and I love organizing things, so my initial idea for my blog was to compartmentalize all the weird and varied things going on in my head. I could have a horror blog, a TV blog, a book blog, a politics blog, etc. But even I'm not that lame, and even if I were, I'm just too damn lazy. So my blog is a big mess of all the different stuff I like and I'm fine with that. Especially since no one but me is reading it!! Fuck all you nonexistent readers, I didn't need ya anyways.

Anyhoo, I sometimes like to do what I think of as "pop culture education." That means that I'll see multiple references to a movie I've never seen on five different blogs in one week and I'll decide to put that movie on my netflix queue and then bump it to the top of the list. Cuz I have a powerful need to "get" all of the pop culture references! Except as they pertain to new, stoopid shit like the Beiber guy and the Miley Montana person. I'm fine being ign'ant of stoopid shit like that.

Usually these pop culture references are to '80's movies I never saw. Sometimes these educational trips work and sometimes they don't. The Goonies turned out to be all right, but without the nostalgia, I suspect I missed something. Monster Squad I couldn't even get through half of. But Big Trouble in Little China was a lot of fun, and I'm glad to have seen it.

What I'm leading up to here is that I've already watched some horror movies I'd never seen and I'm gonna do brief reviews of them. I discovered I don't really like writing proper reviews, like Ebert would do, cuz I really hate summarizing the plot to a movie when all you have to do is go to or something and get a plot summary. So my reviews will probably be brief and stoopid, but I'm okay with that.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Tim Minchin is awesome

Okay, I don't believe in god. But I do believe in the power of listening to music that can take you to another plane and make your soul sing. And yeah, I'm certainly not being literal there. I don't really believe in other planes and I'm not sure I believe in the soul. But if it exists, Tim Minchin makes my soul sing.

Here's one of my favorite songs of his, "White Wine in the Sun."

Off Notice: Castle

So, after I put Castle on notice, I still kept watching, and decided I can live with it. As long as it's funny I'll keep watching. But Glee? I'm looking at YOU. Maybe Mercedes will make a really good and awesome Dr. Frank-N-Furter, but ya know? I don't really think that will happen. You need a MAN to play that role. I guess I should just be happy Mr Shoe isn't doing it. *shudder* I could buy a woman doing the role if she were a bit more masculine than Amber Riley, but a feminine woman singing "Sweet Transvestite?" No. DOES NOT COMPUTE.

Okay, I started off talking about Castle and ended up talking about Glee. That's just how I roll.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Quote of the Day

"I don't even believe in God, but I love me some Abed."

--Britta, from last night's episode of Community

Sunday, October 3, 2010

On Notice: Castle

Oh, Nathan Fillion, I love you so. Why can the TV not find you an awesome thing for you to be in??? Oh, I forgot. They already did and Fox cancelled it. BOO.

Castle is a show that took a few episodes for me to really get into it. I don't normally watch silly mystery shows (which is a COMPLETE lie, I love Psych and if that's not a silly mystery show, then I don't know what is), that is I don't watch shows with what I like to call "busybody detectives." Mrs Marple is a busybody detective. She's a bored old lady who likes to solve crimes. Kinsey Millhone is a private detective. She gets paid to do what she does, and ultimately, I enjoy those kinds of mysteries more than the ones who do it out of boredom. I think it's because ultimately the busybody detective strains credulity to the point of breaking, and usually it breaks fairly quickly for me. If someone's getting paid, it makes sense them for them to be sneaking around in rose bushes. If they're not, I eventually want them to get a life and stop sneaking around in rose bushes. And of course there's the old joke about Jessica Fletcher (Murder, She Wrote) about how after a while you'd think people would want to avoid her. After all, everywhere she goes, someone ends up dead!

The thing with Castle is that it made sense for a while. Famous millionaire novelist, friends with the mayor, wants to shadow a cop to get information for a new novel. Fine. But once that novel is written? Weird. Okay, he wants to write another novel so somehow they get permission for him to stay on indefinitely. But like I said, credulity is beginning to Strain. Quite strenuously. But as long as everything else was fun to watch, I was still in. Until the season 2 finale.

This is a show that insists on having a "the two leads are so hot they really need to get together but we can't actually do that for whatever reason so we're going to tease it as much as possible and then plotblock* them whenever we can." I don't mind so much if there's just some flirting and teasing and mild jealousy, but when they decide to move further and actually almost get them together, then don't follow through, it's seriously annoying. Hence "plotblock." The season 2 finale had Beckett all set to finally declare her love/lust for Castle and go away with him somewhere, but Oh Noes! He invited his ex-wife instead! So when the show came back, they had to do the obligatory Beckett makes puppydog faces and gets upset that he didn't call all summer or some High School crap. And by the end of the episode a reset button was pushed and now it's business as usual.

Except now that they did that, I'm just annoyed going forth. Now I know they'll do it again, because they can't help themselves. Bones had this same problem and I'm done with it as well. I didn't do an RIP because I was pretty much done a few seasons ago but still kept watching, until about 3/4 of the way through last season. And their season finale was even worse than the Castle finale, so I was done and won't watch again.

So, Castle, you are On Notice. Give me the funny, give me Nathan Fillion in silly outfits and being adorable, and Stana Katic in short dresses and heels, and all will be fine. Until you pull out the plotblock again. And then I'm OUT!

*I stole the term plotblock from someone at the AV Club. It's just so perfect.