Wednesday, April 16, 2014

You Know What Happens When You Assume...

Yeah, what I wanted to watch on that Encore channel was again in fullscreen (i.e. black bars going vertical on the right and left of the screen) even though it's a classic 70's film... that made me pretty pissed.

I decided to watch something on Blu-Ray instead; it relates to what I hope to start watching soon. I rewatched Baraka. I talked about it before and you can read that review here. It's still an awesome film and it's better seen than described, and the picture quality is by a good amount the best I've ever seen on a home television. You should get the disc if you want to show off the best of what your home theatre can be.

To make up for last night's snafu, I will return tomorrow night.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

My Schedule For The Next Week

I know that when I do these they're not always accurate (I didn't go to the Florida Film Festival because of reasons... and me being annoyed or outright disgusted at humanity in general during last weekend) but for the upcoming week, I plan on watching something late tonight and then I'll be back tomorrow night to review that. In order to get ready for attending a live UFC show on Saturday, for the next few days I'd like to watch various matches from the "best-of" Blu-Rays I have, so that'll occupy my time. After tomorrow night I don't plan on posting here again until Sunday night.

By the way, I was expecting to watch something on an Encore channel last night and review it for tonight. I tune in and see that the print looks terrible and it wasn't even in widescreen on the HD channel (i.e. there were black bars on the sides) so I said "forget it". For what I plan on watching tonight on an Encore channel, I shouldn't have that problem.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Disco Godfather

Disco Godfather (1979)

Runtime: 98 minutes

Directed by: J. Robert Wagoner

Starring: Rudy Ray Moore, Julius Carry, Hawthorne James, Jimmy Lynch, Jerry Jones

From: Generation International

Due to time reasons, I'll copy and paste what I wrote about the movie on Letterboxd, along with some additional info.

This is a film I had seen before, but that was back like 11 or 12 years ago and I only remembered small bits and pieces of it. When I saw that TCM Underground would be showing it late at night Saturday night, I figured it was the perfect time to revisit that film.

To copy and paste part of the plot description from the IMDb: "A retired cop becomes a DJ/celebrity at the Blueberry Hill disco-- he's the "Disco Godfather!" All is well until his nephew flips out on a strange new drug that's sweeping the streets, called "angel dust," or PCP. Disco Godfather vows "to personally come down on the suckers that's producing this shit!" He takes to the streets, slaps drug dealers and even exposes a crooked cop that is covering for the dealers. In between, he still finds time to manage the Blueberry Hill and perform. "Put a little slide in yo' glide," he pleads to the patrons, "Put some weight on it!" (a phrase he says at least 2 dozen times).

It's a typical Rudy Ray Moore movie, both good and bad. The production was pretty low-rent and had plenty of mistakes. The acting can be pretty putrid. Yet, it is also fun to laugh at and with and enjoy the wacky things Moore said or marvel at his over the top outfits... or guffaw at the awfulness of the "martial arts" skills of Rudy.

While there are some slow moments, some things stand out, that being most loud and clear the disco theme; heck, Moore's character owns a disco club so you see people dancing, even on roller skates in one scene. What groovy music it has. There's also them trying to present a genuine warning about the dangers of PCP, which at the time was seen as a big threat. Sure, this movie ended up being goofy with a lot of unintentional humor, but at least they tried. How can you hate a movie with characters named SWEETMEAT and STINGER RAY? Stinger Ray is the villain, at that.

The real highlight is when you get to see the visions that invade the minds of those who are trippin' balls on PCP. They are wacky surreal and tickled me pink. Wait until you see Rudy Ray Moore trippin' balls, to give out a spoiler.

I know that not everyone can tolerate Rudy Ray Moore being loud and crazy Rudy Ray Moore. But, if you can and you laugh at how bad and yet how funny Dolemite is, then you definitely should see this out and enjoy its unique aspects... and put your weight on it.

I'll be back tomorrow night.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

I'll Be Back Tomorrow Afternoon

I don't want to do this but in a half hour I want to watch something on TV (not movie-related) and between Friday being crappy in general and today having some nice moments but also some bad (being out in Florida traffic, dealing with rude disgusting women who constantly dropped F-bombs) and it'd be best if I do a review real late at night instead of now and just post it tomorrow afternoon. At least I do have an interesting older movie to talk about.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Raid 2

The Raid 2 (Serbuan Maut 2: Berendal) (2014)

80% on Rotten Tomatoes (out of 128 reviews)

Runtime: 150 minutes (no, not a misprint)

Directed by: Gareth Evans

Starring: Iko Uwais, Yayan Ruhian, Arifin Putra, Donny Alamsyah

From: Sony Pictures Classics

Here's a review from me that I copied and pasted from Letterboxd, only I have to take some stuff out along with adding it in. It's too long to explain why, as it's already going to be a lengthy review. I do have to spoil one thing in the review, but for me it's for good reason. I think it says a lot about what sort of movie this is.

To steal the plot description from the IMDb: "Only a short time after the first raid, Rama goes undercover with the thugs of Jakarta and plans to bring down the syndicate and uncover the corruption within his police force."

I loved The Raid; I saw it twice on the big screen and thought it was incredible; as a means of comparison, I gave it 5 stars at Letterboxd. I knew that the sequel would have en entirely different sort of plot and I was OK with that, as more of the same would just be repetitive.

I eagerly anticipated seeing this movie after all the extremely strong praise I've seen for it pretty much everywhere as it was released elsewhere before it finally got a wide release in the U.S. this weekend; I thought there was no way I wouldn't dislike this movie. I just presumed it would be something else I'd give 5 stars to and it'd be a strong candidate for my top movie of the entire year.

Unfortunately, I then saw the film. On Letterboxd I gave it 2 1/2 stars, mainly because of its action scenes.

As for the action, a lot of it is really great and some of it is simply incredible. Unfortunately, some of it is overkill to the point of me rolling my eyes, and while the first movie had one setpiece involving shaky-cam BS, this movie noticeably had more of that, which I found to be greatly disappointing.

But, the reason why I'm down on the film is the story. To me, this movie is just too damn long for the tale it's telling and I just thought it was never interesting. It's a bunch of sh*tty characters acting sh*tty and I was never given a reason to care about them. I still tried to follow along but the plot was too confused and too full of nonsense and dumb situations and too many moments where things just made zero sense. There are plenty of other crime dramas/gangster dramas which try to do a similar thing a lot better than it's done here.

Then, there's some side characters which are seemingly introduced only to fill out the long runtime and don't really matter too much in the thick of things. Some other characters are just too cartoony and preposterous for what otherwise is a crime drama you can almost believe could actually happen. Hammer Girl has some sweet moments, but is in no way what you'd encounter in real life.

Then, there's how the violence at times comes off as being repellent, as if everyone's trying to top themselves from what was done in the first movie. It unfortunately reminded me of the really repellent violence in Only God Forgives, a movie I downright hated and thought was pretentious douchy garbage. However, with the violence at times and there being a few "colorful" scenes I couldn't help but think that.

Also, there are a few times where I was wondering if I'm watching a dream sequence but it was never identified as such. The biggest example is the scene that starts off at a dance club with throbbing music from a DJ.

That scene starts off well, then it just gets... strange, to the point that I am questioning the setting of the film. Most of the time it looks to be set in Indonesia but that scene greatly puzzled me once I realized it made zero logical sense and all I can figure is that it was totally pretentious horsesh*t only done to make things "look cool", and in this sort of movie it stood out in an awful way and I think that was a turning point for me... 

The movie was disappointing to me to a point but once that scene happened and it left me at first puzzled and then angry, I don't think there was any turning back. But I guess most other people are happy with or are willing to accept there being SNOW in INDONESIA in September... or at any month of the year in that tropical country and a scene set in a large city instead of a mountaintop or what have you...

Really, if it wasn't for the action scenes I'd rate this lower, that's how much I didn't care for the story and how it played out. It's a massive disappointment to me and I can NOT believe such a thing ended up happening, but I am being 100% honest here. I wish I could love it like almost everyone else.

While I am crushed this motion picture did not work for me, at least I still have the first movie to watch and enjoy; my memories of this movie won't taint the original.

I thought I'd be going out Saturday night to see another film but now that likely won't happen. There were idiots at the screening of this movie; that and this day being crappy in general... I likely will stay in for the weekend and I can just watch one of a plethora of films at home. Either way, I'll be back Sunday night.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Dragon Missile

Dragon Missile (Fei Long Zhan) (1976)

Runtime: 82 minutes

Directed by: Meng Hua Ho

Starring: Lo Lieh, Tony Liu, Nancy Yen, Han Chen Wang, Terry Liu

From: Shaw Brothers

I did not discover this until early yesterday, but my local cable provider now has the El Rey Network, i.e. the network started up by Robert Rodriguez and as of now it regularly shows either old TV shows, that From Dusk to Dawn TV show, or old movies of the grindhouse style, including Shaw Brothers films. I was able to watch one of the two movies on the channel tonight, which was this one.

The rest of this review is from what I wrote on Letterboxd, but expanded upon. Note that the dragon missiles referenced in the title of this film has nothing to do with anything lewd. Rather, it's a pair of bladed boomerangs that I will call magical, as they spark whenever they hit anything, even if it's wood. Goofy.

This tale is about an assassin (Lo Lieh) who has to retrieve a special medicine to treat the wacky-looking skin cancer his corrupt Governor has acquired, or the Governor will soon die. He is accompanied by some fellow assassins (of course this is done for the sake of a double cross), including one lady who has blades that extend from her fingertips as if she's a distaff Wolverine. Stuff like that was also wacky... or how the medicine is a root that can't get wet, as if it's a Mogwai, only that it won't work instead of it turning into a dangerous creature.

It's only about 82 minutes long and there is a lot that happens so it's never boring. There are plenty of double-crosses and people turning against each other, and the interesting aspect to me is that Lieh's character always follows orders, even if it's from some A-hole characters, so you can question whether he's the guy you want to root for or not.

Sure, his boomerangs (the weapons that provide the title of this movie) are pretty cool but he flat out murders some people just because he's told to and they didn't really deserve it. I mean, the main thing that happens with the boomerangs... decapitations. You see plenty of that (the network shows movies uncut; sure there's commercials but if that allows for such an alpha male network to be on, I won't be complain); the movie even briefly has bare breasts on display. Anyhow, those looking for revenge against Lo Lieh's character may be the ones you want to root for instead, but it's up to you.

There's a wide variety of different scenery/settings to see, including action at a beach and several different villages. That makes things colorful. While things may be nonsensical at times, it's just a fun movie to watch. I am glad the El Rey Network exists, and I now am able to watch it.

I'll be back around this time the next night (i.e. 24 hours from now) as I already know what I'll be watching Friday evening.

Friday, April 4, 2014

My Schedule For The Next Month

No, I did not see anything so no review. I won't be back until a week from today. This weekend I'll be in Tampa for several hours on Saturday, and as Wrestlemania is on Sunday, I'll be watching old shows on the WWE Network (I've been putting that off when I shouldn't have) so I'll be doing that... and I'll watch some old favorites so I can write about it on Letterboxd.

In terms of seeing movies in the theatre, next weekend The Raid 2 is supposed to be wide release (how wide, I have zero idea; I have no doubt I'll be able to see it, at least) and I'll be there with bells on as it's among my most anticipated movies of the entire year. There's also the Florida Film Festival and I'd like to see at least one of those films. And, some old movies will be on the big screen the second part of this month and the first part of next month; getting to see one or two of them would be interesting; they'd also be amongst the longest motion pictures I've seen on the big screen.

Like I said, I'll be back Friday night, April 11.