Monday, November 15, 2010

The Quixotic Foibles: Act Two

For the uninitiated, this foolish project’s origins are discussed here. Long story short: I am trying to get through all the DVDs I purchased by have yet to watch. And failing miserably.

Look, it says quixotic right there in the title. A drunk knows their boundaries: don’t go into bars. But for the avid collector it’s not so simple. Don’t leave the house is one potential mantra...but damn even the internet offers such sweet sweet discounted DVDs and Blu-Rays within the confines of your domicile. And as such, I had a major relapse this month.

While the last post was still in the works I was actually waiting on four titles I ordered from the Cultcine website. Then I went to the bay area where some free time on a Friday morning led me to two dangerous pit stops: Fry’s Electronics and the home of misfit movies, Big Lots. And then to Streetlight. The month concluded with one more danger zone, a trip to the Pasadena City College Flea Market. All said I regressed majorly. I would like to confidentially say that next month will be better, but Barnes and Noble are having their twice annual 50% off Criterion titles, and, well, I already indulged. On a positive note, I did watch a fair share of stuff, much of which I already reviewed for the site.

The totals and brief discussion of titles watched:

Number of Titles at the Start of the Project (9/7/2010): 444

Total as of last update (9/23/2010): 439

# of New Titles added to Collection between posts: 25!

# of Titles Watched between posts: 14

Total # of Titles remaining: 450

If you want to see the specific titles I need to watch, check out my Rate Your Music page here.

What I did watch:

Stagecoach (1939, John Ford/Blu-Ray): This was the Criterion version, and what a great transfer for an older film. As for the film itself, I totally fell in love with it on this my second viewing. Ford’s direction is peerless and so many archetypes and tropes that would become commonplace not only in Westerns but cinema period were initiated here. Ford also subversively injects a rebellious streak that finds us rooting for the outlaw and the prostitute and thumbing or noses at the aristocratic citizens. (2nd viewing)

The Fog (1980, John Carpenter/DVD): My review (3rd viewing)

Psycho III (1986, Anthony Perkins/DVD): My review (approx. 5th viewing)

Twisted Nerve (1968, Roy Boulting/DVD): My MIA on DVD write-up (if you’re wondering how I watched the DVD of an MIA on DVD film, it’s explained in the write-up). (1st viewing)

The Thing (1982, John Carpenter/Blu-Ray): As you can tell by the 24 Frames feature I did here, the DVD I had was non-anamorphic and just generally too dark (I can’t screen grab Blu-Ray on my laptop). But the Blu-Ray is an optimal presentation that really does justice to Carpenter’s remake of the Howard Hawks desolate horror classic. Imbibing it with a sense of updated dread (the transference between blood during the first real wave of AIDS) and the incredible effects from Rob Bottin make this the consensus response when people say not all remakes suck. (Probably 6th viewing)

Fade to Black (1980, Vernon Zimmerman/DVD): My review (2nd viewing)

The Descent (2005, Neil Marshall/DVD): This was my first viewing since the theatrical experience, and while some nits are to be picked on closer examinations the overall visceral experience is still one of the most effectively dreadful horror films, definitely of at least the last decade. (2nd viewing)

Death Ship (1980, Alvin Rakoff/DVD): My review (1st viewing)

Bad Ronald (1974, Buzz Kulik/DVD): An impulse buy based on reputation, this TV movie from the seventies tells the tale of a teenage boy with a bright future who accidentally kills a girl and is hid between the walls of his mother’s house. When the mom dies and new owners move in, Ronald begins losing his grip on reality and becomes obsessed with one of the young girls of the buyers. What struck me most is how films of the 1970s were unafraid of having films with teenage protagonists that were a bit dour. It’s a welcome change from the modern bubble gummy vibe that we associate with teenage centric films/television. Due to the length of time (the film runs about 70 minutes) some short hand is applied, which speeds along, to a small determinant, the unraveling of the character a little too much. (1st viewing)

A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989, Stephen Hopkins/DVD): After the success of part 4, this was rushed into theatres within a year and was a major disappointment from a financial and critical standpoint. And cinematic standpoint too, but since part 4 was no great shakes, I was surprised that this, while worse than the Renny Harlin film, is not as awful as my memory served (not that it’s good, it’s definitely bad, but I remember this being nigh unwatchable). The jokey and ironic dream sequences are even more ramped up while the body count is much lower than any other of the sequels. Having Freddy Krueger return via the dreams of an unborn baby had potential, but like everything in this rushed affair, the execution is half-assed. (Approximately 4th or 5th viewing, last time was on VHS).

Raging Bull (1980, Martin Scorsese/Blu-Ray): I am going to withhold talking about this one until I do my 1980 wrap up post in December. (3rd viewing)

Bates Motel (1987, Richard Rothstein): My review (2nd viewing).

Desperately Seeking Susan (1985, Susan Seidelman): The other mid-1980's Orion yuppie discovers their inner freak via a blonde in the New York underground holds up execeptionally well thanks to Rosanna Arquette's charming performance and Seidelman's quirky but not gratingly so script and well nuanced location shooting. Many soon to be familar faces are sprinkled through the film's supporting cast including John Turturro, John Lurie, Steven Wright, Richard Edson, Ann Magnuson and Giancarlo Esposito.

Carny (1980, Robert Kaylor): review forthcoming

See you next month!


le0pard13 said...

What a fantastic batch of films! I'm jealous. But I, too, am a partaker in B&N's Criterion sale. Fun post, Colonel.

Mummbles said...

You have watched a lot! But of course there is always more to see, you can do it! Take a week off work!

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