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What did you watch this week?
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Michael Scrutchin
Studio President


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 832
Location: Pearland, TX

PostPosted: 11.01.2004 5:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From 10.10.04 to 10.31.04:



  • The American Nightmare (Simon, 2001) B+

  • The Old Dark House (Whale, 1932) A-

  • The Wicker Man (Hardy, 1973) B+

  • The Mummy (Freund, 1932) C+

  • The Mummy (Sommers, 1999) C+

  • Bram Stoker's The Mummy (Obrow, 1997) D+

  • The Eye (Pang Bros., 2002) A-

  • Dawn of the Dead (Snyder, 2004) B

  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Siegel, 1956) B+



I didn't plan on seeing three mummy flicks in a row. I requested the 1932 Universal pic from Netflix, but what I got in the mail was a sleeve for the 1959 Hammer film -- and inside was the DVD of the 1999 Universal blockbuster! Incidentally, the 1932 movie was playing on TCM that night, so I watched it and the 1999 version as a double bill. The next night, I decided to finally hunker down and watch the DVD of Bram Stoker's The Mummy that Ardustry had sent me for review. Hmm. Are there any good mummy flicks?



I posted about how much The Eye freaked me out here.



I also liked the Dawn remake -- as Romero said, it's a good action film. Really well-made and intense, but I could have done without the zombie-birth subplot. It has nothing on the original, but it's a pretty good movie in its own right.
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beltmann
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 2341
Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 11.01.2004 9:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I saw 42 separate programs at the Milwaukee International Film Festival, which closed yesterday, October 31. This schedule consisted of 36 features and 45 short films. That's 81 separate titles in 11 freakin' days! Five features were masterful or close to it: Death in Gaza, Head On, The Yes Men, The Middle of the World and Moolaade. I also found Incident at Loch Ness hilarious, and Infernal Affairs smarter than expected.



Eric
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Jim Harper
Director


Joined: 29 Feb 2004
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Location: Totnes, Devon, UK

PostPosted: 11.01.2004 10:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't often sat down and listed everything I've watched in a week, but here's this past week's viewing:



Dawn of the Dead (dir. Snyder, 2004) B

The Guardian (dir. Friedkin, 1990) B-

I Don't Want to be Born (dir. Sasdy, 1975) C-

The Invisible Man (dir. Whale, 1933) C+

The Wolf Man (dir. Waggner, 1941) B+

Bhoot (dir. Gopal Varma, 2003) B

The Haunting (dir. Wise, 1963) A

Ghost Ship (dir. Beck, 2002) D

Pursuit to Algiers (dir. Neill, 1945) B



Against the odds Dawn turned out to entertaining, even though it obviously can't compare to the original. The Guardian has been a favourite slice of trash for many years, and I'll take it over The Exorcist any day of the week. I was left somewhat cold by The Invisible Man, particularly the comedy aspects, but thoroughly enjoyed The Wolf Man. A fine tragic tale with at least one decent nod to German expressionist cinema. I've also developed a fondness for the 40s Sherlock Holmes stories, even if they're largely unrelated to Conan Doyle's work.
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the night watchman
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Joined: 27 Jun 2003
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PostPosted: 11.01.2004 11:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael B. Scrutchin wrote:


[*] The Mummy (Freund, 1932) C+



Hmm. Are there any good mummy flicks?





You really didn't care for the original Karloff one? Sad It's probably my favorite Universal Classic Monster movie, second only to Whale's Frankensteins. In fact, it's the only mummy movie I like at all.



Jim Harper wrote:
Against the odds Dawn turned out to entertaining, even though it obviously can't compare to the original.




I just watched the "European cut" of the original Dawn. I have to say that the replacement of the awful stock music in much of the Romero cut with more of the Goblin score was a welcome change, especially during the raid on the tenement building. But Argento's editing disjoints other scenes. (Does he try to hobble any kind of suspense intentionally?) I don't think it can replace Romero's, but it's certainly of interest to Dawn fans.



beltmann wrote:
I also found Incident at Loch Ness hilarious...




Man, I want to see this. Does Herzog get eaten? Wait, don't tell me...
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Danny Baldwin
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: 11.02.2004 3:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

10/12 - 11/1 (Three weeks)

I honestly don't think I've ever been this busy in my life, even though Eric's schedule clearly tops mine, in that area. No time to post!



Team America: World Police (Parker, 2004) - In all of its crudeness, I found it to be incredibly smart and rather hysterical.



Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (Gosnell, 2004) - Why I even wasted my time is beyond me. I used to like the show when I was little, and I suppose I was hoping the sequel would be better than the first, but no such luck prevailed.



Spartacus (Kubrick, 1960) - It's dated, yes, but still has some of the best action scenes to ever see the light of day, even if it does have a lot of filler.



Ladder 49 (Russell, 2004) - A great structure and some terrific performances (with the exception of Travolta) make this Hollywood drivel deliver, despire whatever conventions it may contain.



The Grudge (Shimuzu, 2004) - Nothing. Happens. The score reaches its crescendo, the camera becomes violent, but the plot never progresses. It's not even spooky. Blegh.



Latter Days (Cox, 2004) - Entirely offensive; both Mormons and gays should be fuming at this dispicable piece of trash.



Her Majesty (Gordon, 2004) - I'm glad I didn't waste my time on it at the Film Festival. Nice scenery and some pleasant moments, but the rest is just sugary drivel, disguised as a sophisticated independent film.



I Heart Huckabees (Russell, 2004) - Hysterical at times, with some terrific dialogue, but its existentialist backing is rarely explored in the way that it should be.



Shall We Dance (Chelsom, 2004) - I admired the fact that it didn't take an entirely conventional route, as most romances do, nowadays, but its too repetitive to be bearable, by the end.



Hero (Frears, 1992) - Melodramatic Hollywood fare in every way, shape, and form, with no sense of balance between comedy and drama, despite what my English teacher may think.



Ray (Hackford, 2004) - Other than some great music and an amazing Jamie Foxx performance, this biopic is as bland and by-the-numbers as they come.



Casper Meets Wendy (McNamara, 1996) - Fun, for a direct-to-video release, I suppose.



Surviving Christmas (Mitchell, 2004) - Honestly, I laughed quite a bit. There's something hilarious about Ben Affleck acting insane, even if that isn't exactly to his credit. Other than the few chuckles, though, it's a good-for-nothing, uninspired Holiday throwaway picture. Skip it.
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Michael Scrutchin
Studio President


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 832
Location: Pearland, TX

PostPosted: 11.02.2004 3:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:
You really didn't care for the original Karloff one? Sad It's probably my favorite Universal Classic Monster movie, second only to Whale's Frankensteins.




Despite a compelling performance by Karloff and a great opening sequence, I thought it was pretty bland. I think it's on the same level as Tod Browning's Dracula (beautifully photographed by Mummy director Karl Freund), which falters after a promising, atmospheric first act. For me, none of the other early Universal monster movies compare to Whale's Frankensteins, but The Wolf Man comes closest.
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Jim Harper
Director


Joined: 29 Feb 2004
Posts: 226
Location: Totnes, Devon, UK

PostPosted: 11.02.2004 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

At this point I shall put my head on the block and state my preference for Creature From The Black Lagoon over the early Universal monster films and for Hammer over Universal in general...I'll get me coat.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 11.02.2004 8:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thwack!



Kiddin'. Very Happy



The Gill-man is my favorite Universal monster (and remains one of my all time favorite movie monsters, and, for my money, is one of the greatest monster suits in cinema), but I've had a hard time returning to the Creature movies since my late teens. I just find them thumping bores now, without even the great black and white photography to provide interest. And I won't even go into their representation of biological evolution. Rolling Eyes What can I say?



As for Universal vs. Hammer...? The movies are so distinct I have a hard time comparing the two. I certainly love Peter Cushing, and Christopher Lee was Dracula in my childhood more than Lugosi ever was. (I have just recently learned to appreciate Browning's Dracula, anyway.) I suppose my preference depends on what I'm in the mood for at the time.
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Jim Harper
Director


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PostPosted: 11.02.2004 9:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:
I certainly love Peter Cushing, and Christopher Lee was Dracula in my childhood more than Lugosi ever was. (I have just recently learned to appreciate Browning's Dracula, anyway.) I suppose my preference depends on what I'm in the mood for at the time.




It's going to sound terrible, but I get such a thrill from seeing Cushing and Lee on screen together (finest 'duet' moment: the excellent Horror Express, which isn't Hammer but is still a great film). They're such a big part of my childhood; I've had a great time rediscovering them twenty years later. Even tosh like To the Devil A Daughter is great fun if you're in the right mood.



To be honest I'm only just now seriously 'discovering' the Universal monsters, so maybe my opinions will change over time. I'll still take the Gill-Man over Frankenstein's monster though (I do prefer Hammer's focus on the scientist instead of the monster, it must be said).



If only Universal had let John Carpenter do his remake of Creature. I reckon Guillermo Del Toro's version could have been pretty good too...
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 11.02.2004 9:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jim Harper wrote:
I get such a thrill from seeing Cushing and Lee on screen together (finest 'duet' moment: the excellent Horror Express, which isn't Hammer but is still a great film).




They are great together, and Horror Express is a great example of their chemistry.



My absolute favorite Hammer movies, however, are the ones outside the Dracula/Frankenstein/Mummy movies, especially the Quatermass movies, The Abominable Snowman, Captain Kronos, and The Gorgon (up until the last ten minutes.)



Jim Harper wrote:
If only Universal had let John Carpenter do his remake of Creature. I reckon Guillermo Del Toro's version could have been pretty good too...




Carpenter ain't dead yet. Very Happy
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Jim Harper
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PostPosted: 11.02.2004 9:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:
My absolute favorite Hammer movies, however, are the ones outside the Dracula/Frankenstein/Mummy movies, especially the Quatermass movies, The Abominable Snowman, Captain Kronos, and The Gorgon (up until the last ten minutes.)





A very good point, and one I can definitely agree with. I would also add X the Unknown and Plague of Zombies to your list.
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mfritschel
Cinematographer


Joined: 27 Jun 2003
Posts: 143
Location: Port Washington, WI

PostPosted: 11.07.2004 2:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself (Scherfig, 2004) - A solid put together movie, nothing special though. I found myself especially drawn to the older brother and how he acted as a martyr for all the characters in the story by turning everyones life around. It seemed that he was far more influential on the characters, then the sudden appearance of the lady, although she did return a sense of family. Along with being the kind of savior it was also intruging how he was the only one he seemed to possess any type of moral structure.



The Five Obsturctions (Von Trier, 2004) - In my opinion Von Trier has put together two great pictures this year, the other being Dogville. It was intersting to see the two directors interacting, especially how Von Trier almost seem to come off as condecending towards the other one, which really seemed odd since I thought we were lead to believe that this was his idle. I realize he was probably just trying to bring out the best, and his approach was very efficent and worked tremendously well, but I don't know how many other people could use that type of attitude when confronted with their idle.



Van Helsing (Sommers, 2004) - Even this movie is horrible, and I saw right through its superficiality I still found it largely entertaining and have to say it brought out the school boy in me.
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beltmann
Studio Exec


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PostPosted: 11.07.2004 3:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glad to have you back, mfritschel! I haven't seen Van Helsing yet, but I think Five Obstructions and Wilbur are two of the better pictures of the year. As you know, I liked Dogville, but I much prefer Obstructions. It's a movie about how obstacles can inspire an artist, but ultimately it's about how the solutions reveal a great deal about who the artist is. Most interesting is how Von Trier finally realizes that his own mission--to jar Leth into recognizing his own prejudices and limitations--has run into its own obstacle: The obstructions actually say far more about Von Trier than about Leth.



Eric
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 11.07.2004 6:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I enjoyed The Five Obstructions quite a bit, too. I especially liked the results of the first and the third; if the movie had no other purpose (it does, I think, and Eric aptly sums up what it is) it still boasts a handful of great short films.
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Jim Harper
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PostPosted: 11.07.2004 12:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This week I've watched:



Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon (dir. Neill, 1942) C+



Abandon (dir. Gaghan, 2002) B-

Horror of Dracula (dir. Fisher, 1958) B+

Dracula Prince of Darkness (dir. Fisher, 1966) B

Dracula Has Risen From the Grave (dir. Francis, 1968) B

Taste the Blood of Dracula (dir. Sasdy, 1970) C+

Lifeforce (dir. Hooper, 1985) C

Ed Gein (dir. Parello, 2000) C

Mark of the Vampire (dir. Browning, 1935) D



High point was my long Saturday watching back-to-back Hammer Dracula films. Pleasantly surprised that Abandon was actually worth watching; it wasn't perfect, but rarely am I even slightly entertained after taking a chance on a film in the TV guide. Lifeforce was fun even if it was out-of-date; it would have been cutting-edge sci-fi in the sixties. Even so it's one of Hooper's best 80s films. Mark of the Vampire was incredibly disappointing. Even before we got to that atrocious ending, I was bored to tears. Lionel Atwill was wasted and even Lugosi failed to entertain. Shame.
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