31 October 2007

SWH07: Week 6 (twelfth)

Six Weeks of HalloweenSix Weeks of Halloween 2007
Week 6 (twelfth)

Tales from the Crypt: "Deadline" (1991)
The only thing of interest here is the out-of-nowhere expressionist set in the framing scenes. (5/10)

d. Walter Hill

29 October 2007

SWH07: Week 6 (eleventh)

Six Weeks of HalloweenSix Weeks of Halloween 2007
Week 6 (eleventh)

Masters of Horror: "We All Scream for Ice Cream" (2007)
Surprisingly well-executed despite the ridiculous premise. (7/10)

d. Tom Holland

Tales from the Crypt: "Mournin' Mess" (1991)
Mrs. Tom Hanks, no! (6/10)

d. Manny Coto

Tales from the Crypt: "Split Second" (1991)
I don't think this was supposed to be about gay lumberjacks, but it's fun to look at it that way. (7/10)

d. Russell Mulcahy

28 October 2007

SWH07: Week 6 (tenth)

Six Weeks of HalloweenSix Weeks of Halloween 2007
Week 6 (tenth)

28 Weeks Later (2007)
Though there are several excellent horror movies scenes, the movie overall is plagued by people making unnaturally stupid decisions. (6/10)

d. Juan Carlos Fresnadillo

Guest: Bond, James Bond (1967)

1967 - Casino Royale - Detroit Free Press’s blurb ‘A spoof to end all spy spoofs!’ on the DVD cover is a bit misleading. Spoof implies that there is some humor to be found here. There isn’t. Trust me there isn’t. In fact, the only part of it that I find truthful is that it salts the earth in the ‘let’s make fun of spy movies’ garden, at least until the ZAZ crew makes it big.

A Russian character at the beginning of the film says, while surrounded by hungry lions, “I did not come here to be devoured by symbols of monarchy!” which by my account should make me laugh. Changing every 00 agent to 007 to protect the agency, as well as the MI-6 training program consisting of femme fatale resistance should be laugh-worthy. Figure out why they’re not and you’ve figured out what makes Casino Royale so insultingly terrible. With the exception of Woody Allen’s performance, there’s the feeling of ‘funny on paper, not funny here.’

A bunch of time, money, energy etc. could have been saved by not filming the worthless introductory dialogue and the destruction of Bond’s mansion. It also would have shaved ten minutes off the run time. We don’t even see McTarry die, so there isn’t even a need for Bond’s visit to his widow. That’s another half hour shaved off right there, no suffering through the unfunniest series of skits I’ve ever seen in my life (Scottish rituals sure is wacky take that Scotland). Where was the editor during this? Did one even exist?

Magic tricks, Orson Welles? Really? Fine, whatever, thanks for the contribution.

The actor playing (the real) Bond doesn’t help in the slightest. The stammering, a “joke” I guess, was a terrible idea. Why wasn’t this caught at the offset? And John Huston directed the first two chapters? Sheesh, someone was on drugs. I wish I was.

The conclusion I have come to is that the viewer should be the editor: skip watching the film entirely, bringing the runtime down to a nice, sexy 0:00. Never have I seen such a criminal misuse of a lucrative franchise, a studio budget, and a talented cast. A note to super villains: next time you capture 007, make him watch this. It is torture to the edge of madness.

“I have a very low threshold of death. My doctor says I can’t have bullets enter my body at any time.” (2.5/10)
d. John Huston, Ken Hughes, Val Guest, Robert Parrish, Joe McGrath

1967 - You Only Live Twice - Heheh, “Bond rises in the East.” I get it.

So let me get this straight… Bond pretends to be a corpse for as long as it takes for his burial at sea to be arranged in order to allow his overly planned fake death? Fair enough, but the sea-faring motif was perfectly executed in Thunderball. You’ll need something to make it seem fresh… Japan! Of course! Shoot Bond out of a torpedo bay until he arrives in Tokyo! No he can’t use the bloody door, just do it! Sigh, I miss Terence Young already. He certainly wouldn’t have stood for this approximation of the Bond universe. Who the hell does this Gilbert guy think he is, anyhow?

Connery still owns the attitude, but either it has outgrown him or he has outgrown it. Apparently two years is enough time to make him look too old for this. Probably why he decided to “retire” from playing the role; he won’t even go down a slide (28 sec) anymore! It is a bit understandable, considering what transpires in this film, i.e. mostly insipid bullshit. Evidence suggests that Connery is only believable as Bond when Young is directing (unless Irvine Kershner pulls through).

You Only Live Twice has an all right line going for a bit, wasting no time introducing several allies and staging a fight scene and an escape sequence. Sure, Japan’s equivalent of Her Majesty’s Secret Service is made to be quite the cuckold when Bond points out that all they need to do is ENLARGE THE PICTURE in order to generate some leads, but it’s fine… for a bit.

No, it’s slow to realizing that the film is going to be a low point in the series. The real killer is when they turn Bond Asian and suspension of disbelief takes a well-placed ninja knife to the spine. No point in doing the disguise at all, really, as assassins seem to have no trouble recognizing him. Bond stumbles across the secret volcano base completely by accident afterwards, and the disguise inexplicably disappears.

Where Thunderball was a wonderfully believable dream, this installment is a shock back to illogical reality. The villains decide that shooting at Bond right outside of one of their buildings in broad daylight with hundreds of witnesses would be a good way to get rid of him. Not the most ingenious of plots. Neither is kidnapping both Russian and American astronauts in order to… you know what, I’m not even sure. Play both sides, I guess. World domination, whatever. Go hunt Michael Myers, Pleasance, you aren’t helping.

I have been foolish in thinking that I knew what thin was. Lesson learned. Thin is interrupting a torture scene to get implied sex out of the way before Bond is once again attempted to be done away with in a less-than-totally-diabolical fashion. Thin is forcing a wife on him so his sexy sidekick can be killed with no one noticing.

It’s barely anything beyond one stupid scene after another. Ninja Training School, bird-no-make-nest-in-bare-tree my ass. I wondered where the sharp gradient into pitiable action set-piece territory would occur. Here it is: elegant Bond in the throes of death.

“Mr. Osato believes in a healthy chest.” (4.5/10)
d. Lewis Gilbert

27 October 2007

SWH07: Week 6 (ninth)

Six Weeks of HalloweenSix Weeks of Halloween 2007
Week 6 (ninth)

The Munsters: "Herman the Rookie" (1965)
I theorize that the movies for Frankenstein and Dracula never came out in The Munsters' universe, which is why everyone just thinks they're accident victims and mutants. (6/10)

d. Jerry Paris

28 Days Later (2002)
Though I'll never be a huge fan of fast zombies, they make for effective scary monsters (judging from the wife's constant covering of her eyes). (8/10)

d. Danny Boyle

26 October 2007

SWH07: Week 6 (eighth)

Six Weeks of HalloweenSix Weeks of Halloween 2007
Week 6 (eighth)

Terror Train
What nice old man the conductor was, not minding a frat party on his train and making smart decisions when the bodies start to pile up. (6/10)

d. Roger Spottiswoode

25 October 2007

SWH07: Week 6 (seventh)

Six Weeks of HalloweenSix Weeks of Halloween 2007
Week 6 (seventh)

Masters of Horror: "Valerie on the Stairs" (2006)
I loved the Barkerian Valerie and the Beast (played by Candyman himself) and I'm impressed that Clive's story got Garris to finally grow a pair, but everything else from the acting to the story was subpar. (6/10)

d. Mick Garris

Tales from the Crypt: "Undertaking Palor" (1991)
I had a lot of fun with this perfectly casted Goonies-esque horror adventure. (8/10)

d. Michael Thau

Guest: Bond, James Bond (1964-1965)

1964 - Goldfinger - Right out of the gate, director Guy Hamilton shows us that he isn’t quite as talented as director Terence Young. Thin plot isn’t something that can look like it was shot on MGM’s backlot, which this entry looks consistency like it does (with such liberal use of projection screen cutaways, it’s no wonder green screen is as widely used as it is today; why even go to locations anymore). Look at it in the wrong way and it all falls apart, and I guess I’m looking at it the wrong way. Who’s idea was it to frame an opposite angle of Goldfinger in a way that makes it look like Bond can see him from the binoculars? Honestly, that’s insane.

Technical aspects do improve in other areas. There’s a nicely timed helicopter shot circling around a hotel and zooming in on a swimmer jumping off a high dive, an effective cutaway of a random soldier flying out of the Aston Marten DB-5 via ejector seat, and a genuinely suspenseful laser slab torture sequence.

Not fifteen minutes in and Bond uses his animal magnetism no less than four times on the way to sloppily meeting the movie’s villain. Bond is clumsy throughout, his survival dependent not on his skill but everyone else’s lack thereof. Turns out his biggest weakness (besides inordinate amounts of Pussy Galore and a high-powered laser to the junk) is a mirror. Pullin the ol’ elevator in the floor trick to get out of a jail cell, now that’s some good spy work, jack. I fear these are the origins of the sit-com type setups, ones that permeate the Roger Moore films and signify that a lead actor change is extremely nigh. Also, did Bond just badmouth the Beatles? Yes, yes he did.

For such a famous car, the Aston Martin DB-5’s debut was disappointing, certainly no trick suitcase. Bond uses most of the car’s tricks in one blow and then it’s all over. Thanks for pioneering the ejector seat, you may now go home.

Compared to the last two, little actually transpires; opening credits, villain introduction, obligatory briefing, golf game, action scene, beginning of third act/all information given, climax. Sprinkle one-liners throughout, and boom, there’s the movie. No better example exists for the Bond formula, but better executions certainly do. Yes, the final showdown at Fort Knox is very nice, however, I am simply not invested. Bond barely makes it through alive and I barely make it through without turning on the subtitles and pressing fast-forward. Why this is the most widely seen film in the series is beyond me.

And what a poor casting choice for Felix Leiter. What happened to the dreamboat?

"You can turn off the charm. I’m immune." (5.0/10)
d. Guy Hamilton

1965 - Thunderball - After taking a break from the series to direct a non-Bond picture (snob), Terence Young makes a triumphant return, reminding us how it’s done.

They must have gotten my complaints back in ‘65; Thunderball doesn’t skimp on the plot. It’s forty-five minutes of setup before Bond officially gets his assignment. The entire British Secret Service is involved this time. OO Agents are everywhere, helping to uncover SPECTRE’s newest sinister scheme: hijack a nuclear warhead and hold the world hostage. It’s personal, and it’s also better than ever.

What results is a near-perfect balance of Bond picking his battles versus directly saving the day. No scale tipping here, everyone gets their fair share of success and failure. This is probably the best example of imperceptible flow, villain’s scenes coming in just when they are needed, motives on the table and in the open, while remaining mysterious enough to be interesting. A superb return to form for everyone. This is what being a spy is all about. Did Bond just punch a woman in the face? Ye- well, kinda.

Young takes the entire series to school, never-minding the adrenaline and instead wrapping his hand around the heart of the pacing and never unclenching the fist. Bond is quick, but he has to be because the moment he lets up, he’s dead. This is proved at the very beginning when he put through a slightly comical but somewhat disturbing torture sequence. He doesn’t appear to get over this slipup, his wrath continuing for most of the picture. Don’t do that you never do that to Bond again, random henchman.

The spear jihad at the climax is just about the most spectacular action sequence ever. People get harpooned! It’s underwater! It’s epic, dammit!

Connery’s finest hour as 007.

"This bed feels like a cage. All these bars. Do you think I’ll be… safe?" (7.0/10)
d. Terence Young

22 October 2007

OLR: Alien Nation: The Udara Legacy (1997)

They ran out of time and had to wrap things up far too quickly; whatever, I'll miss the adventures of George and Matt all the same (but, what the hell happened to Vessna?). (7/10)

d. Kenneth Johnson

OLR: Alien Nation: The Enemy Within (1996)

One has imagine the hydrofluoric acid mutants as zombies rather than deformed Newcomers in order for this show not to end in happy genocide. (6/10)

d. Kenneth Johnson

20 October 2007

Guest: Bond, James Bond (1962-1963)

1962 - Dr. No - You’re a filmmaker and you’re told to grab the audience at the offset with a good opening, and since you’re Terence Young and you’re awesome, you take that to mean making kickass opening credits. So you call up Maurice Binder and let him work the magic. The result: you, yeah you, wait until those weird 50’s sci-fi noises finally stop and then it’s time for ROCKING, a loud orchestral climax followed by flashing colors and an early Romanek iPod commercial. Sweet.

We’re off to a great start for a series that is more or less in the experimental stages, in a film which sets about breaking rules in the action genre, the spy genre, and the noir genre. Combining old Hollywood shooting style with a hip, exuberant editing style. A story that while told in a meaty adult tone, is pure candy at the core.

There is an inherent quickness; Bond accomplishes goals almost faster than the camera can catch him, quipping at times when it is most damaging to those in proximity and only expounding on the plot when another character needs to hear it. Not much handholding going on until the title villain’s speech towards the end, and by then, it’s like, fifteen minutes before the fadeout.

Connery truly was born to play this role. Every action looks calculated and professional, even when he is caught off guard by kinky dames playing golf in his hotel room. And does he sidestep danger? Hell no, he meets it foolishly head on, making sure he sleeps with Miss Taro first before he turns her in, what any good OO agent would do.

So okay, enjoyable as it is, I’m finding it hard to accurately explain how I feel about this film; it’s a miracle that it works, that it was pulled off at all. It’s got bulls-eyed style supplemented with confident camerawork, brutal killings, and appropriate humor, enough to balance it all out and distract from how ridiculously thin and dreamlike this stuff is. Did Bond just fight a tarantula? Yes. Yes he did.

Honey Ryder’s iconic introduction is the most unnecessary moment in the film, but it’s a marvelous addition to the rich tapestry. By the time all motives are revealed and the showdown above the radioactive isotope finally occurs, it doesn’t even matter that Dr. No Hands is obviously not Chinese. It is an inexplicably good ride.

Oh, and Felix Leiter, now properly named, is yet again, a badass.

“You’ll be sorry! You’ll all be sorry, you rats!” (6.5/10)
d. Terence Young

1963 - From Russia With Love - Why did SPECTRE feel the need to dress up a human target as Bond? Because they knew that he wouldn’t appear for another fifteen minutes or so? I suppose more ridiculous things have happened, and I’ll be getting to those soon.

Take Dr. No’s political intrigue and ratchet it up about 100 percent and you have this film. The complicated chess match between SPECTRE and Her Majesty’s Secret Service is what sets this apart from its predecessor(s). SPECTRE uses an unwitting Russian agent to play an undercover role in defecting and offering a decoding device to England, which really is a front operation in itself, but England knows at least half the story and all the while Bond plays it oblivious, never believing for a second that Russia would ever betray its allies. What gets better than that? Not destroying America’s space program with radiation or bankrupting an organization in a card game, that’s for sure.

It’s still by-the-numbers spyness, and whether or not it is enjoyable comes down to taste. I found the bits of information even more unnecessary, as it didn’t amount to anything substantial beyond making the universe easier to swallow. The film veers off on a tangent somewhere in the middle, where 007 follows around his Russian contact and learns ‘the gypsy way,’ which is nothing but two girls rolling around in the dirt. Honestly, even with the amount of intrigue, the film feels even thinner than Dr. No. Only when it goes behind the curtain does it really interest me, and thus the prime advantage: the villains aren’t silly-dangerous but actually-dangerous, and wouldn’t hesitate to stick you in the throat with a shoeknife.

Speaking of gadgets, I am doing my best to appreciate their inventiveness now before they deteriorate into screenplay exits and deus ex machinas. Q Branch’s suitcase kit is neat, and is very nicely utilized. Amazing how many situations call for a one-shot sniper rifle.

Still a good film. I would have married the hell out of Miss Moneypenny.

“Twelve seconds… One day we must invent a faster working venom.” (6.0/10)
d. Terence Young

19 October 2007

SWH07: Week 5 (sixth)

Six Weeks of HalloweenSix Weeks of Halloween 2007
Week 5 (sixth)

Beneath Still Waters (2005)
The orgy at the town's anniversary showed small signs of old school Yuzna, who was barely detectable in the dull and poorly plotted remainder. (5/10)

d. Brian Yuzna

Masters of Horror: "The Black Cat" (2006)
An excellent adaption, capturing the spirit of Poe and his work near-perfectly. (9/10)

d. Stuart Gordon

Baby shower 2/2 was the main focus of this weekend, again, rather than Halloween. Though, driving through Michigan at this precise time of year is incredibly beautiful.

I gave two Jones Soda flavors a day in court: Strawberry Slime and Gruesome Grape. They taste almost exactly like their equivalent Faygo flavors (which, I'd like to state, was good drinkin' long before utter idjits started promoting it). What this means to me is that they're completely drinkable. Unbelievably, I found all 4 of the half-can Halloween flavors to be tasty this year. Jones is getting better at this. Of course, next weekend I will be experimenting with their new licorice-flavored drinks. That may change my opinion.

Silent Hill 4: The Room was about as bad as I was expecting. A dull game full of bad choices. One of the worst ideas from the Resident Evil series -- the item box -- was imported and made even more annoying. Rather than multiple boxes that magically teleport your items between each other, there's only one box with which to manage your limited inventory. Accidentally pick up too many bullets and have no room for that key item? You'll have to make a trip all the way back to the apartment, dump some stuff in the box, and walk all the way back. There's no way to simply drop items where you stand. In the universe I live in, this is not remotely close to fun.

About half of the game is an escort mission, essentially. Making sure that a dumb AI-controlled character doesn't get itself killed is rarely more than frustrating (though I did get into it in the excellent Dead Rising). Herding Eileen through levels isn't too bad. You can run faster than her, making it easy to trap her in a room by exiting it before she's close to the door (the AI being too stupid to using doorknobs). Still, during my playthrough, she got wounded enough to get me the worst of the four endings.

There are no bosses, really, to speak of until the end of the game. There aren't really any puzzles outside of collecting items. The areas are the same old stuff: the requisite hospital, a subway, a prison, a forest, an apartment building. To play the game, you shuffle from area to area, occasionally batting down a mutant dog (also a requisite) while picking up items to unlock the path ahead. That's about it. It's as tedious as it sounds.

Play mechanics were never the series' strong suit. The storyline is supposed to be where SH shines. Not so much, here. A serial killer -- who happens to come from Silent Hill, though the game takes place in a different town altogether -- everyone thinks is dead isn't really and he's trying to finish a black magic ritual by killing 21 people. Also, he thinks your apartment is his literal mother. Outside of that bit of psychosis, SH's trademarked psychological horror is largely absent here. You're the hero: you save your pretty neighbor and the world from a bad guy. The end. It's a complete disappointment. I hope the Americans making the next two games can rescue the series from this low point.

18 October 2007

OLR: Alien Nation: Millenium (1996)

Lacking scope and more like a double-length episode, but acceptable enough. (7/10)

d. Kenneth Johnson

15 October 2007

OLR: Alien Nation: Body and Soul (1995)

George and Matt going commando and raiding a secret government facility, kidnapping their experiment and destroying first their weapon and then their entire building is pushing things a tad too far. (6/10)

d. Kenneth Johnson

14 October 2007

SWH07: Week 4 (fifth)

Six Weeks of HalloweenSix Weeks of Halloween 2007
Week 4 (fifth)

Masters of Horror: "The Screwfly Solution" (2006)
I'm a sucker for a post-apocalyptic movie and, wow, Jason Priestley lives in town? (7/10)

d. Joe Dante

An even more barebones Halloween this weekend. Real life is pushing my normal non-stop horror movie fest to the side this year. Ah well, that'll happen. Others are picking up the slack for me, and I appreciate it.

I did manage to read a pair of horror-themed graphic novels over the weekend. My advice is that you stay as far away as possible from Papercutz's Tales from the Crypt #1: Ghouls Gone Wild. I haven't read such a pathetic horror anthology comic since the disappointing days of Flinch. This book does not contain reprints from the classic '50s series. It's all new material with modern-style art in a digest-sized book. None of this is the problem. The problem is that the writing is awful. The stories all follow the same pattern: asshole does something evil, something supernatural punishes him. Granted, the original series was the creator of this pattern, but, 50 years later, it's tiring to see it resurrected. Why can't anyone do horror anthology comics right these days?

I had exactly the opposite reaction to The Walking Dead, Vol 7: The Calm Before. This series never fails to blow me away. What would real people -- not people trapped in a 90-minute movie -- do if the dead came back to life? How would they interact with other survivors? What problems, both internal and external, would they face? Which problems would they conquer and which would best them? The Walking Dead lays it all out in a stark, realistic, humanistic terms. Vol 7 was no exception. It's telling of the series that the "calm" of the subtitle of this volume involves a doctor-free birth, an amputation, an exploding building and a suicide. For a Walking Dead book, this was all practically relaxing. I'm actually afraid of what terrors volume 8 will visit upon the characters within.

As for what occupied me all weekend, I'll say that if all goes well, next year I'll be Six-Weekin' from here:

13 October 2007

OLR: Alone in the Wilderness (2003)

Something I knew my father-in-law would love. (9/10)

d. Bob Swerer Jr. & Dick Proenneke

Guest: Bond, James Bond (1954)

1954 - Climax!: "Casino Royale" - Certainly gets the series started with a couple of bangs, and gets me all geared up for some suave spy action.

I honestly wasn’t expecting much out of this, but it ends up being surprisingly watchable, like they adapted the most exciting part of the novel and sewed in the necessary information. "Climax!" Oh, I get it.

It’s fairly well-executed for a live broadcast, full of atmosphere and neat set design. It looks like a casino, it feels like a casino. However, the restraints do bring it down in the long run, as a large portion of Act II is spent playing a suspense-less Baccarat game and running back and forth across the same locations. And what can Bond do to someone holding a cane-gun to his back but flail wildly backwards? I’ll have to remember that one.

Disregarding wardrobe, Eisenhower hairstyle and lack of absolute suave confidence, Barry Nelson’s performance was adequate. I can only imagine how audiences were reacting to this first portrayal of 007, especially if they were oblivious to the novels. Within the context of the rest of the series, it might seem like blasphemy to see James Bond acting like an insecure Rock Hudson, his character constantly referred to as "Jimmy." At times his performance goes a bit too far, getting all tv-frantic and overacty. Act III is the shining point, where his obvious vulnerability works for the hot water the character is in, pitted against the always frightening Peter Lorre.

It’s a bit of a shame, but Clarence Leiter steals the show, fooling henchmen left and right, flawlessly wearing his cover while protecting 007’s interests and being an all around badass. He’ll do what he damn well pleases, he will.

Most of the common elements are present: intrigue, listening devices, mysterious dames, supervillain on high, double crosses, torture to the edge of madness… There is no sex but to tell you the truth, I didn’t miss it. Hell, I even got a small kick out of what looks like tv’s most unconvincing Baccarat dealer ever.

Worth a view for those curious to see another version that is better than 1967’s spoof.

"My cane is in your back, but it is a gun, not a cane, and can blow the base of your spine without a sound." (5.5/10)
d. William H. Brown

12 October 2007

OLR: Alien Nation: Dark Horizon (1994)

The intensity has been amped up rather well compared to the TV series. (7/10)

d. Kenneth Johnson

10 October 2007

SWH07: Week 3 (fourth)

Six Weeks of HalloweenSix Weeks of Halloween 2007
Week 3 (fourth)

Prom Night (1980)
Ah, that's what every other slasher movie I'd ever seen has been missing: tons and tons of disco music. (7/10)

d. Paul Lynch

08 October 2007

SWH07: Week 3 (third)

Six Weeks of HalloweenSix Weeks of Halloween 2007
Week 3 (third)

Vampire Wars: Battle for the Universe (trailer)
Werewolves on Wheels (trailer)
The Simpsons: "Treehouse of Horror IX: Hell Toupée"

From Beyond (1986)
Though somewhat flawed in its execution, I've always loved the idea behind the story. (7/10)

d. Stuart Gordon

A busy couple of days squeezed the weekend Halloween celebrating down to barebones. Did you know that people will give you stuff just for deciding to breed? It's true. To be honest -- rather than attempt to wrangle people into some horror movie watching amongst the post-shower litter of tiny, pink outfits, stuffed animals and books made of thick cardboard -- I decided to play a massive amount of legendary co-op Halo 3 with the brother-in-law. For shame: not very seasonal, I know.

Upon returning home, Mrs. K. and I watched the above. I gave Jones Soda Lemon Drop Dead a day in court as the movie unfolded. This is another repeat flavor from last year, though it has received a demotion. Previously, it was one of the "prestige" glass bottle flavors; now it's relegated to the kid-friendly mini-cans. The shape of the container isn't the only difference: it now tastes a helluva lot like its namesake candy. Last year, its flavor was more like that cheap, powdered lemonade elementary schools tend to serve at lunch. It wasn't worth the glass it was bottled in. This year's version tastes like a can full of pure citric acid. Interesting. Not something you'd drink after running a mile in the desert, but kind of a fun thing to try.

Speaking of H.P. Lovecraft, I've only reached 1916 in my chronological reading of his stories and poems. So far, he's an arrogant racist whose poetry is mostly stiff and tedious. He's not a likable guy in the least. Hopefully, he'll mellow as he ages. I haven't even gotten to his first adult short story, "The Tomb," yet. Judging by his impressive skills in this area at the age of 15, I'm expecting it to be a much-welcomed relief from the unending onslaught of poetry he wrote preceding it.

Guest: Bond, James Bond (opening thoughts)

Happy Birthday. 45 years since the release of the first official entry in the James Bond film series. This calls for consecutive viewing, it does. The way I figure, if it’s good enough for TBS to marathon once a year, it has to be good enough for me, right? Right.

This will be useful, since I have trouble recalling the details of some of the earlier films in the series. Outside of my overall rating, events, characters and plot points bleed together, and I’m not entirely certain what happens in Octopussy; it's quite possible that I have never seen it.

Atonement of this inexcusable laziness consists of purchasing all four volumes of the James Bond series, as well as the separately packaged 21st film, viewing unofficial entries, and resolving not only to watch everything in order but to follow up every film with the corresponding extras on the discs (yes, that includes full-length commentary). I expect to be the nerdy Pai Mei of Bond films after this is all over. If not, I will at least stop getting Bond wrong.

Afterwards, I can tally my intellect with the Bond Scene-It DVD mini-game included in Volumes 1 and 2. It’s the only way I can reconcile the spending of so much money. Second most profitable franchise indeed.

Nobody does it better, eh? Well, we'll see about that.

06 October 2007

OLR: 3:10 to Yuma (2007)

This was my escape during baby shower 1/2; it worked well. (7/10)

d. James Mangold

Guest OLR: Munich (2005)

Remember: assassins have feelings too... and those feelings are awesome. (8/10)

d. Steven Spielberg

03 October 2007

Guest OLR: War of the Worlds (2005)

Being that the aliens were responsible for awe-inspiring visuals and the humans were responsible for irritating me to no end with their constant unnecessary bitching, I would have offered the CG terrestrials some penicillin. (6/10)

d. Steven Spielberg

Guest OLR: The Terminal (2004)

Andrew Niccol isn't going to write something as good as The Truman Show ever again, is he? (6/10)

d. Steven Spielberg

Guest OLR: Catch Me If You Can (2002)

Sign me up for crime, then, if it really is that much fun. (7/10)

d. Steven Spielberg