[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Wednesday, 2018-05-09

RiffTrax “The Last Jedi”

Filed under: Movies — bblackmoor @ 21:19

30 minutes into the RiffTrax of “The Last Jedi”. This is the second time I’ve seen the movie. It is even worse than I remember. It’s like a badly written satire of a Star Wars movie (and by that I mean the movie, not the RIffTrax commentary).

How could this have happened? “The Force Awakens” was SO GOOD. So they KNOW how to make a good Star Wars movie, yet they deliberately chose NOT to.

Ye gods. So very bad. And it just. Keeps. Getting. Worse. Holy crap.

Two hours in. Wow. It’s like they went into this saying, “Let’s make a movie that mocks everything Star Wars fans love.” And then someone else said, “Yes, good. But let’s do it so ineptly that people will be making fun of this movie’s obvious flaws long after we are all dead.” And the first person says, “Right, right. Not just bad writing, but the kind of overtly, impossibly bad writing that even high school students will be wondering what kind of idiots we are.” And the second person says, “Brilliant! But we need to make sure we piss on everything that makes Star Wars fun. We need to ruin it utterly. This will be a movie that only people who hate Star Wars will like, and then only in that hateful, ‘My ex-boyfriend lost his job’ kind of way.” And the first person was all laughing and saying, “Perfect!”

And then a third person comes in, overhears that, and says, “OMG, that is HILARIOUS. And I have an idea. Some time toward the end, we should have the Slowest Starship Chase In The Universe ®.” And then an old white guy in an expensive suit comes out of his office, and says, “I heard all of that, and I have only one thing to say…” And the three writers are all afraid they are going to be fired. But then the suit says, “The Slowest Starship Chase In The Universe ® … is the ENTIRE MOVIE.” And they all crack up laughing, because they all hate Star Wars SO MUCH.

Saturday, 2018-04-28

“The Pink Jungle” (1968)

Filed under: Movies — bblackmoor @ 16:29

This afternoon’s movie watching entertainment was “The Pink Jungle” (1968). I first saw this movie when I was staying at my grandparents in Virginia Beach, approximately 1975. The room I stayed in had a small color TV (12 inch, maybe a bit more). I watched a lot of movies on that TV, including all of the “Planet Of The Apes” movies. Those, of course, are easy to find now, but this one isn’t. As far as I can tell, it was only released on VHS, and only in pan-and-scan.

The version we watched was clearly digitized from a VHS source, but it was pretty entertaining despite the pan-and-scan. The film was originally released in Techniscope, which was an Italian cheapo widescreen process used in the 1960s. It may not be CinemaScope, but I’d still rather see the whole picture than a pan-and-scan version. Maybe some day.

“The Pink Jungle” (1968) features George Kennedy, who was already pretty well known by this time, James Garner, who at this point was best known for playing Maverick (Rockford Files was still a few years away), and Eva Renzi, who was still making movies until the 1990s, but who is probably best known for this and “Bird With The Crystal Plumage” (1970).

This is a fun film. I hope someone rediscovers it and gives it the widescreen DVD or Blu-ray release it deserves.

But what the hell is up with that poster?

Thursday, 2018-03-01

Cult Movie Night filmography

Filed under: Movies — bblackmoor @ 12:02

movie theater audience with 3d glasses

Date Movie Year   
2017-12-08 Chitty Chitty Bang Bang 1968
2017-12-08 The Assassination Bureau, Ltd. 1969
2017-10-20 Let’s Scare Jessica To Death 1971
2017-10-20 The Other 1972
2017-09-15 Coffy 1973
2017-09-15 Foxy Brown 1974
2017-08-18 Predator 1987
2017-08-18 Predator 2 1990
2017-07-21 Interview With The Vampire 1994
2017-07-21 Queen Of The Damned 2002
2017-06-16 Piranha 2010
2017-06-16 Piranha 1978
2017-05-19 The Crawling Eye 1958
2017-05-19 Fiend Without A Face 1958
2017-04-14 Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec 2010
2017-04-14 La Femme Nikita 1990
2017-03-17 Leprechaun 3 1995
2017-03-17 Darby O’Gill And The Little People 1959
2017-02-24 League of Extraordinary Gentlemen 2003
2017-02-24 Van Helsing 2004
2016-10-21 Stepford Wives 1975
2016-10-21 Invasion Of The Body Snatchers 1978
2016-09-23 The Lost Skeleton Of Cadavra Returns Again! 2009
2016-09-23 The Lost Skeleton Of Cadavra 2001
2016-08-19 Kill Bill, volumes 1 and 2 2004
2016-07-15 Sweeney Todd: Demon Barber of Fleet Street 1982
2016-05-13 Them! 1954
2016-05-13 Empire Of The Ants 1977
2016-04-15 Doomsday 2008
2016-04-15 Damnation Alley 1977
2016-03-11 Black Sunday 1960
2016-03-11 Nightmare Castle 1965
2016-02-19 Cabin Fever 2002
2016-02-19 Tucker And Dale vs. Evil 2010
2016-01-15 Hidden 1987
2016-01-15 Trancers 1984
2015-12-18 Hogfather 2006
2015-10-30 Dust Devil 1992
2015-10-30 Hardware 1990
2015-09-11 Timecop 1994
2015-09-11 Universal Soldier 1992
2015-07-17 Three Musketeers 1973
2015-07-17 Four Musketeers 1974
2015-06-19 Adventures Of Ford Fairlane 1990
2015-06-19 Cast A Deadly Spell 1991
2015-05-22 Primal Fear 1996
2015-05-22 Final Analysis 1992
2015-04-18 Highlander 1986
2015-04-18 Flash Gordon 1980
2015-03-20 Great Race 1965
2014-12-19 Batman Returns 1992
2014-12-19 Bad Santa 2003
2014-11-21 Into The Night 1985
2014-11-21 In-Laws 1979
2014-10-17 Ghostbusters 1984
2014-10-17 Frighteners 1996
2014-09-19 Catch-22 1970
2014-08-15 Fatherland 1994
2014-08-15 Split Second 1992
2014-07-18 Earth vs. The Flying Saucers 1956
2014-07-18 War Of The Worlds 1953
2014-05-16 Red Rock West 1993
2014-05-16 Raising Arizona 1987
2014-03-21 Evil Dead 2 1987
2014-03-21 My Name Is Bruce 2007
2014-03-14 Evil Dead 1981
2014-02-28 Kiss Kiss Bang Bang 2005
2014-02-28 Real Genius 1985
2013-12-13 Road House 1989
2013-11-15 Tank Girl 1995
2013-11-15 Johnny Mnemonic 1995
2013-10-18 Legend Of Hell House 1973
2013-10-18 Burnt Offerings 1976
2013-09-20 Mystery Men 1999
2013-09-20 Specials 2000
2013-08-09 Phantom Of The Paradise 1974
2013-08-09 Suck 2009
2013-07-12 Night Of The Demon 1957
2013-07-12 Shadow Of The Vampire 2000
2013-06-21 Planet Of The Apes 1968
2013-06-21 Touch Of Evil 1958
2013-05-24 Dark City 1998
2013-05-24 Thirteenth Floor 1999
2013-04-21 Shining 1980
2013-04-19 Last Man On Earth 1964
2013-04-19 Omega Man 1971
2013-03-15 Big Sleep 1946
2013-03-15 Maltese Falcon 1941
2013-02-15 Logan’s Run 1976
2013-02-15 Matrix 1999
2013-01-11 Big Trouble In Little China 1986
2013-01-11 Showdown In Little Tokyo 1991
2012-12-14 Gremlins 1984
2012-12-14 Planes, Trains, and Automobiles 1987
2012-11-30 Silent Night, Deadly Night 1984
2012-11-30 Santa Claus Conquers The Martians 1964
2012-11-16 Point Break 1991
2012-11-16 Repo Man 1984
2012-10-19 Near Dark 1987
2012-10-12 Island Of Terror 1966
2012-09-21 Equilibrium 2002
2012-08-17 Trail of the Screaming Forehead 2007
2012-07-20 Godzilla vs. Biollante 1989
2012-07-20 Dark and Stormy Night 2009
2012-06-21 Re-Animator 1985

Friday, 2018-02-09

Superhero fatigue

Filed under: Movies — bblackmoor @ 01:31

I have tried to avoid dumping on things other people are looking forward to… but yeah, I am tired of the Avengers, Spider-Man, Batman, [that’s not] Superman, Guardians Of The Galaxy…. The only superhero movie I am interested in at all is Black Panther (I am looking forward to that).

I am interested in Star Trek and Star Wars even less. Trek has become just … eh. And the last two Star Wars movies were so bad… just… SO bad… ecch. Barring something coming along as unexpectedly entertaining as Force Awakens, I think I’m done with that franchise (I never thought I’d say that).

I guess this is what getting old feels like.

Thursday, 2018-02-01

Godzilla Science

Filed under: Movies,Science — bblackmoor @ 14:47

I’ve been watching all of the Godzilla movies in order. I’m up to “Godzilla vs. Destoroyah” (1995). One of the wacky things about Godzilla movies is their … I guess I’d call it “alternative science”. Most Godzilla movies have at least one scene with people in a lab or around a table, explaining to each other the most nonsensical “science” behind whatever might be happening.

Godzilla vs Destoroyah (1995)

Saturday, 2018-01-13

Trainspotting, again

Filed under: Movies — bblackmoor @ 22:15

We watched “T2: Trainspotting” (2017) tonight. To put it in the vernacular of the film, it wasn’t shite. I enjoyed it. Quite a bit, actually.

And if you’ve not seen it recently, you really should see the original.

T2: Trainspotting

Saturday, 2018-01-06

Return Of The Force Awakens

Filed under: Movies — bblackmoor @ 22:47
The Force Awakens

We are re-watching “Star Wars 7: Episode 7 The Force Awakens” (which, fun fact, is the only Star Wars movie to have its “episode” number match its actual number). 20 minutes in, and I am reminded why I rank this as among the best of the Star Wars movies.

  1. The characters have fun with each other.
  2. The comedy works.
  3. We care about the characters, because we like the characters.
  4. The characters accomplish things.

You would think that people making Star Wars movies would remember these four simple things. But historically, 2/3 of them don’t.

Even the spaceship fights are amazing in this. Partly because the choreography of the spaceship fights is creative and interesting, but mainly because we care about the characters and what they are doing.

And in case you are wondering how to correctly use a recognizable veteran actor in a movie like this, Max Von Sydow’s character is a perfect example — that’s how you use a veteran actor in a movie like this. They come in, they provide gravitas, they pass on wisdom, and then they leave (probably by dying). They provide motivation and support for the protagonists — they definitely don’t upstage them.

Want to see how not to use a veteran actor in a movie like this? Laura Dern in “The Last Jedi” is a perfect example of what not to do: swoop in, derail the story, make the protagonists look incompetent, and grab all of the attention.

Friday, 2017-12-29

Star Wars and what it means

Filed under: Movies — bblackmoor @ 14:05

This guy says a number of insightful things. I don’t agree with everything he says, and I think he’s much too kind to “Star Wars 8: Rogue One”, but no one’s perfect.

Sunday, 2017-12-24

Star Wars movies rated

Filed under: Movies — bblackmoor @ 22:47

My opinion of the Star Wars movies so far, ranked from best to worst. The ranking is not exact: any two adjacent movies could be swapped, depending on my mood.

The Force Awakens

2nd Best
Star Wars 7: Episode 7 The Force Awakens (2015)

The Empire Strikes Back

3rd Best
Star Wars 2: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Return Of The Jedi

4th Best
Star Wars 3: Return Of The Jedi (1983)

Revenge Of The Sith

5th Best
Star Wars 6: Episode 3 Revenge Of The Sith (2005)

Everything Wrong With Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Attack Of The Clones

4th Worst
Star Wars 5: Episode 2 Attack Of The Clones (2002)

Everything Wrong With Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones

The Phantom Menace

Worst
Star Wars 4: Episode 1 The Phantom Menace (1999)

Star Wars: The Phantom Menace Review

Star Wars: The Lost Jedi

Filed under: Movies — bblackmoor @ 17:38

So… “Star Wars 9: Episode 8 The Last Jedi” (2017). I thought it was slow and dull and pointless. On the other hand, I don’t think it’s the abomination that some people seem to think it is. I’d put this movie about on par with “Star Wars 5: Episode 2 Attack Of The Clones” (2002): not “good”, by any measure, but middle of the road as far as Star Wars sequels go. Okay, it’s worse than average, but not as bad as “Star Wars 8: Rogue One” (2016), and quite a bit better than “Star Wars 4: Episode 1 The Phantom Menace” (1999). More than anything, it’s disappointing. “Star Wars 7: Episode 7 The Force Awakens” (2015) was so much fun, with great pacing and appealing characters, and then to follow it with this long, dull, pointless… thing.

To save myself the effort of having to type this up more than once, I will list here the various things I disliked about “Star Wars 9: Episode 8 The Last Jedi” (2017):

  1. Slapstick pratfalls and out-of-place comedy (I get it, comedy is hard).
  2. Endless stultifying exposition.
  3. Slow, awkward pacing: it’s like three or four slow, dull movies were shuffled together to make one longer, slower, duller movie.
  4. Pod racing — I mean space horse racing.
  5. Stuttering Benicio Del Toro.
  6. Super Leia flying through space (I was literally stifling laughter in the theater during the Super Leia scene: I didn’t want to laugh out loud, I’m not a jerk, but that was just ridiculous).
  7. Space hamsters.
  8. Space manatee breast milk.
  9. The Slowest Spaceship Chase In The UniverseTM.
  10. A completely unnecessary and pointless Rose Teacup subplot. Was she supposed to be a romantic interest for Finn? She just doesn’t fit into the movie at all. If this were fan-fiction, she’d be the obvious “Mary Sue” character. Perhaps she is.
  11. A completely unnecessary and pointless Laura Dern subplot. She was even more glaringly out of place than Rose Teacup.
  12. Abrupt and meaningless Snoke death, tossing into the trash any tension or interest built up about him.
  13. Abrupt and meaningless revelation about Rey’s parents, tossing into the trash any tension or interest built up about them.
  14. Everything the good guys tried to do during the movie … every. single. thing. … failed. They succeeded at nothing.

That final criticism is the most damning one. Rey’s trip to find Luke Skywalker? Pointless. The Slowest Spaceship Chase In The UniverseTM? Pointless. The entire side trip to Planet Vegas? Pointless. The entire “take out the sensor” caper? Pointless. The fight against the Imperial walkers on Red Salt Planet? Pointless. It’s a three hour movie in which nothing happens, and we have no reason to care about any of it or anyone in it.

Luke tells Rey to get out while she can

There is actually one character I care about: Rey. You can feel her frustration as she goes from scene to scene, trying to find a story arc or any purpose to this exercise, but never finding it. By the end of the movie, I felt great sympathy for her.

I suppose I should point out three things that I did not dislike.

  1. I do not mind that Luke Skywalker made a tragic error in judgement, and that his error became the motivation for Ben Solo becoming a villain. That was probably the most interesting thing in the movie. I think it was handled badly — Luke would not stand over Ben with a lit lightsaber, that’s just stupid. But the core idea is interesting
  2. I do not mind that the cast was a mixture of ethnicities and included both men and women. I have a hard time fathoming the mental state of someone who would object to that.
  3. I do not mind that Rey has miraculously become an Ultimate Force MasterTM without any real training. Yes, it contradicts pretty much the entirety of what we have seen and been told about the Force and the Jedi… but who cares? We didn’t know about laser swords and mind tricks before we met Ben Kenobi. There’s a first time for everything.

Incidentally, I think I may be the only person who doesn’t like Phasma (the chrome storm trooper). It irks me that we are supposed to think she’s interesting even though she does nothing interesting. She’s like the Boba Fett of this, dropped into scenes for no apparent reason. The difference, of course, is that Boba Fett was used because he had developed a fan following, while Phasma is just a “collectable chrome variant” storm trooper. Just having a name and a different outfit doesn’t make her interesting. There are at least a dozen nameless characters throughout the Star Wars films who say and do more interesting things than what Phasma has said and done. I also think there’s something wrong with Phasma’s armor itself. I’m not sure if it doesn’t fit right, or if the actor has weird posture, or what, but it just looks …. weirdly “off”, like a jacket that has been buttoned up wrong. As far as I can tell, the only reason the character exists is to sell an action figure.

P.S. Do you like that gif? I made it. 🙂

P.P.S. I think people are trying way too hard to reinterpret this terrible movie in a way that makes it laudable. Yes, it’s lovely that the cast is a mixture of ethnicities and men and women: it’s still a long, dull movie in which nothing happens, no one matters, and all the good will and story potential generated by “The Force Awakens” is wasted.

But wait, there’s more…

This won’t make a huge amount of sense to you unless you have seen the “The Last Jedi” video Jenny Nicholson made, but I spent a long time writing it, so I want to preserve it. (Also, if you aren’t her patron, you should be: she’s brilliant and funny.)

10) Snoke was wasted. That he died is not the problem: the problem is that the audience’s time and investment in the character was thrown away. It wasn’t a clever misdirection — it was bad filmmaking.

9) I don’t care much about Kylo Ren one way or the other. He’s underwhelming as an antagonist, but he’s got some depth as a character, so it balances out.

8) The movie was pointless because nothing was accomplished. Everything the protagonists attempted failed, utterly. In fact, the protagonists would be better off if Poe Dameron and Finn had slept through the movie.

7) Again, that Rey’s parents are no one special is not the problem: the problem is that the audience’s time and investment in the character’s backstory was thrown away. There are probably dozens of ways a competent filmmaker could have revealed that and made the revelation mean something to the audience — this was not one of them. It was bad filmmaking.

6) I have no problem with Luke making a catastrophic mistake that winds up creating the next Dark Lord. That was probably one of the more interesting things in the movie. The execution was handled badly (Luke standing over Ben Solo with a lit lightsaber is just stupid), but in comparison with the rest of the movie, it almost looks competent in comparison.

5) Super Leia was laughable. I literally laughed in the theater. Let’s ignore the fact that it made Carrie Fisher’s final appearance (as a living person — I wouldn’t be surprised if she shows up later as a grotesque CGI mannequin) into a joke (the filmmakers didn’t know she had months left to live, after all). It makes what should have been a tragic, character-building moment for the protagonists into a pointless digression. She should have been given the hero’s death that her character has earned over the past 40 years. Instead, that was given to the utterly superfluous Laura Dern character. Again, this is just bad filmmaking.

4) As for Holdo, the Laura Dern character … her existence and everything she does undermines the arc of the movie and the importance of the protagonists: that character shouldn’t have even been in the movie. Again, this is just bad filmmaking.

3) Broom kid is irrelevant. The entire pointless trip to Planet Vegas accomplished nothing for the story arc or the characters. Again, this is just bad filmmaking.

2) “The theme of ‘The Last Jedi’ was failure”. The theme of failure is part of a good movie if the characters return from that failure and then succeed. (There is a literary term for this, but it slips my mind at the moment.) The problem (again) is not that characters failed. The problem is that those failures were meaningless — there was no follow-up where the characters come back and succeed. They don’t even learn anything. What did Finn learn: to never take risks to help anyone else, because it’s doomed to failure and will, at best, get a lot of people killed who wouldn’t have otherwise been killed? What did Poe learn: to follow orders without question? What did Rey learn: that nothing matters, no one can be trusted, and even the people who ought to know better will just disappoint you, so why even try? They all just fail, the end. Whether that was intentional or not (I rather think it was), this is just bad filmmaking. I will direct you to Jenny Nicholson’s brilliant criticism of Rogue One, where she says that intentionally making a movie bad does not make it a good movie: it’s still bad.

1) The movie didn’t “challenge” me. It bored me. I started looking at my watch during the pod race — I mean space horse race. To be clear, I didn’t hate the movie. I thought it was marginally better than Rogue One (rather than caring nothing about the characters and what they were doing, I cared very little about the characters and what they were doing). But it’s no “Phantom Menace”. It’s not the worst Star Wars movie ever made (so far).

P.P.P.S. The Last Jedi is a Star Wars movie for people who don’t like Star Wars. Handful of individuals strike a decisive blow against a massive organization? Nope: the characters fail, utterly. Lightsaber fight? Nope: no lightsaber touches another lightsaber in the whole movie. Likeable characters? Nope: the movie goes out of its way to make the protagonists we loved in The Force Awakens into losers and incompetents. Dramatic death of a beloved character that ignites the resolve of the protagonists? Nope: Leia becomes a joke, a flying clown, an absurdity that will always be remembered as Carrie Fisher’s embarrassing final role. A character who made a tragic choice gets redemption? Nope: Luke betrays his student, does nothing useful, and then fades away.

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