Sunday, July 30, 2006

Miami Vice

I can't say I have any idea why one would cast Colin Farrell as Don Johnson and then make him look like George Clooney. It makes no particular sense.

I actually had a brief glimmer of hope a long way back when I first heard the rumor that Michael Mann was making Miami Vice.

As someone with the minority opinion that Thief, Manhunter and the original Miami Vice series are the only things Mann has done that aren't tedious and heavy-handed, it would have been nice to see him return to that feel.

The casting was the first bad sign. Farrell is wrong in so many ways, I don't even know where to begin. Jamie Foxx is off, but could've worked with a well-cast Crockett. He ultimately seems too hard and overtly tough for the role.

I'm not specifically endorsing it, but casting the perpetually over-cast Brad Pitt and Will Smith is the roles would have shown a general understanding of what the characters had been and that we'd be in to see an update of those characters.

And then there's the color scheme. I know the excuse. It's not the '80s.

Of course, that's stupid!

"Miami Vice" wasn't pastel because it was the '80s, it was pastel because it was Miami! Pastel became a '80s phenomenon because of "Miami Vice"! Nothing I've seen has suggested that people in Miami have stopped dressing in pastels. I'd be tremendously surprised to learn if they have.

I'll have real thoughts on the movie after it comes out on DVD, but this was bugging me.

Mel Gibson

It seems Gibson has been taking public relations lessons from Tom Cruise and once again proving to be the master.

Arrested Gibson rants about Jews by David Nason.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Big Bad Mama


I watched Big Bad Mama last night. Oddly, I rented it Monday afternoon, then read Marty McKee's blog entry on Evil Andy, in which briefly references it.

I must say, I didn't enjoy it as much as I did in the past. The tone is terribly uneven.

I'd like to put the blame on director Steve Carver, who was coming off The Arena, a movie Martin Scorsese says he was offered as his follow-up to Boxcar Bertha. Unfortunately, I think the blame goes on producer and my idol (evidenced by my tribute, Roger Corman, my idol).

There's a story I believe I heard Joe Dante tell, but I could be mistaken on that detail. In it, Paul Bartel delivered an hilarious first cut of Death Race 2000 that Corman cut to the still hilarious, but more action-oriented version we all know and love, or at least I do. I've always wanted to see that original cut, though.

Big Bad Mama seems very much to suffer the opposite treatment. Obviously inspired by the success of movies such as Corman's Bloody Mama and Scorsese's Boxcar Bertha, this seems to have been shot with the intention of being a fun but basically grounded action movie, even character study, and having been cut and scored to have more of a wild comedic romp feeling.

The performances are mostly excellent. Stars Angie Dickinson and William Shatner give excellent performances that would probably be more often recognized if the film as a whole were stronger. Robbie Lee is more stilted than preferable as Dickinson's slow daughter Polly, but she has such a charming energy, it's more than a little forgivable. Tom Skerritt, however, seems to sleepwalk aimlessly through the movie, and the nearly always reliable Dick Miller just seems out of place somehow, like his part was just tacked on in editing, although it's a little too integral for that to seem plausible.

There is a way to take that balance between fun and serious, but this doesn't achieve it. It seems like the two sides are at odds or, at least, unaware of one another.

In the interview with Leonard Maltin on the DVD, Corman acknowledges that Carver went on to make one more movie with New World, but can't recall which - it was Capone - and some success within the studio system - quite a few minor films, my favorite of which would be Lone Wolf McQuade, although nothing that makes it unforgivable that Corman can't himself remember. It is odd that Maltin makes note of his "research" in regard to the year Big Bad Mama II was released, but can't despite making a point of asking, point out any of Carver's films himself.

I've given an usual amount of technical and background information here, which, I guess, relates to the fact that this is exactly the kind of I should love. Dickinson and Shatner, Dick Miller, tommy guns, a hot chick whose boobs keep accidentally falling out, a mother/daughter/daughter love... uh... pentagon, I suppose. But instead of loving it, I find it merely passable and vaguely boring, which was disappointing.

The Rise and Fall of Sockthulu

Ryan Allred, beloved former production manager / current effects makeup guy for Lakeside, has made a one-minute movie, "The Rise and Fall of Sockthulu", along with Justin Minich, who deserves a better credit than we've ever given him, and starring Rory Isbell and Doug McCreary.

But enough credits, it's a really cute movie, and apparently a much longer version is still to come.

Friday, July 21, 2006

More random notes

There was a woman yesterday on the bus talking to the bus driver about the weather. She was sure the fact that it was 90 degrees was proof of global warming.

It was July 20! Now, I'm not a global warming doubter, but you can call up Al Gore and ask why it was 90 degrees in Seattle yesterday and he'll say, "Because it was the middle of summer!"

Whatever.


A convergence of events led me to Clerks II this afternoon. Odd, since I went alone and it certainly wasn't my number one movie to go to in a theater.

I think I'll have to live with it a bit before I'm sure how much I like it. Certainly vastly more than I enjoyed any of the trailers.

I thought the actors were all solid. Brian and Jeff have really improved all around. The energy was good. There was certainly plenty to be found to infer autobiographical details about Kevin Smith from.

That said, I thought overreliance on musical montage sequences that made Jersey Girl absolutely painful to watch, while muted, was still a bit much for me. And somehow, I walked away having wished for something more somehow. I'm not sure what.

I did enjoy it, however, and it did get me thinking on how the issues involved are relevant to my own life, so I'm glad, in whatever way, that I went.


Also, here's a discussion of the specs for the Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut DVD that's coming out in November. I'm totally psyched for it. I'm glad it's coming on a stand-alone disk, because it seems that set is going to be fourteen disks... of Superman. I can't even imagine what's going to be on them all.

It seems by the timing that they'll be releasing it on a schedule with the Superman Returns DVD. To my mind, common sense dictates this would have been better to release at the time the new movie was in the theater. Have the old movies available new and shiny to psych people up for the movie or the movie in the theater to psych people up to run to the video store and buy up the DVDs.

Common sense can be off, they're doing the same thing with the much anticipated, by me at least, Mission: Impossible first season DVD, so maybe their research and experience contradicts common sense.

Who knows?


Monday, July 17, 2006

Ultimate Avengers


Ultimate Avengers: The Movie suffers from mostly from being incredibly boring.

Based on the first arc of The Ultimates by Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch, this ought to have been a stone cinch. That series is hardly a benchmark for great Superhero storytelling, but it's a lot of fun, which is exactly what I hoped for from this surprisingly dry retelling of the first storyline, Super-Human.

What bugs me the most, however, is the "Based on The Ultimates by Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch" credit at the beginning. Not because it's inappropriate, but because there's no corresponding "In turn based on The Avengers by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby" credit. There's not even a buried "thank you" credit like, as in The X-Men. Even the "Captain America created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby" credit is buried in the small print at the end.

There's no excuse at all for this.

The thank you credit at the end of The X-Men should have gone to Neal Adams, Len Wein, Dave Cockrum, Chris Claremont and John Byrne, with Stan and Jack getting their rightful creator credit. That would have been perfect.

I'm sure the official stand has something to do with not wanting any credit that could imply that those guys should get money for or power over the continued use of the characters. I'm not sure how the new credit for Lee and Steve Ditko on the Spider-Man movies works, however, in that case. But if we take that for granted, there's still no reason that the thank you credit can't be more prominent for the people we all know are the creators.

Hey. Stan Lee gets boatloads of cash and an executive producer credit on all of these things, so he's got nothing to complain about, but how about someone just put a prominent credit that says "Dedicated to Jack Kirby, the King of Comics"?

Mickey Spillane, RIP


Mike Hammer creator Mickey Spillane dies by Bruce Jones.

Like many American males, I discovered Mickey Spillane around age 12 and have remained a fan off and on over the years. His writing style is simple and his stories move forward like a speeding truck. He wasn't a closet stylist, like Raymond Chandler, but a pulp writer in the truest sense.

I'm actually in the middle of reading Me, Hood right now and enjoying it a lot.

Good-bye, Mickey!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Masters of Horror

I'm behind in reviewing episodes of Masters of Horror.

I saw Deer Woman by John Landis. This one got pretty bad buzz. In fact, I'd been watching them about up until this episode and the resounding lack of enthusiasm for this one kind of stopped me up. I think that's odd, since I found the episode quite charming and funny.

Partly I just have some leftover affection for Brian Benben, but mostly I just enjoyed it. It's more comedy-heavy than An American Werewolf in London, which was refreshing in its way. Not to mention the fact that Cinthia Moura is incredibly hot and really captures a certain strange animal presence in her performance.

Pick Me Up by Larry Cohen, from a script by David J. Schow, was a delight from start until... nearly the finish. I'm not sure I'm sold on the ending. The story is about a trucker who picks up hitchhikers and kills them meeting up with a hitchhiker who gets rides from people and kills them. Their credited names are Wheeler and Walker. The woman they meet is credited as being named Stacia, which I assume is some kind of play on staying.

Michael Moriarty is utterly brilliant in his role as Wheeler. He chews up the scenery but not in a hammy way, just playing a big, big character. I'm less sure on Fairuza Balk, who I love, and what her characters overall meaning is. And I guess that's where I am on the episode. It was a really fun, and occasionally genuinely disturbing, ride, but I wasn't sure it added up to as much as it wanted to.

Mind you, I'm still thinking about it and what it could mean, so there's definitely more there than just a cheap hack and slash.

I wrote quite a bit about Homecoming when it came out, but at that time I was still mostly focused on the politics. It certainly is a bold and unapologetic political statement that should be hollered from every rooftop. Check out And The Dead Shall Vote: Part One and Part Two by Stephen Bissette for more of that.

What I found remarkable in watching it again was how nice the character arcs are and how as the story itself become more extreme and absurd, the characters actually get more reality and gravity to them. It's a remarkably deft bit of writing/acting/filmmaking and one that it not only didn't get credit for, but was largely charged with lacking.

Next month is going to be Jenifer by Dario Argento, which remains my favorite episode I've seen.

I'm not unconcerned that the rental double-feature disks have started having a second feature that is not available on its own disk with its own special features. Yes, I do want to see the "Working with Larry Cohen" documentary, thank you very much!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Final Peril


Many of you are, I'm sure, plenty finished hearing about Gwendoline, my obsession of the week.

I did watch the new DVD of the 106 minute version of the movie and I liked it. I liked it a lot. I had some anticipation in the hopes that the longer cut and lovely transfer would make it what I'd hoped all those years ago... aside from having a plentiful supply of naked women.

The problem with many of these multi-national co-productions is that put a lot of effort into trying to make their movies seem to be something that they're not. In this case, this movie is definitely a European movie by a European filmmaker, no amount of cutting was ever going to make it feel American.

I watched it this time in French. Director Just Jaekin does note in the commentary that this was shot without direct sound, like many European movies including nearly all Italian movie until very recently, and so the French track wouldn't be any more correct than the English language track, however, in comparing them, I found it less heavy-handed. I can't say if this was because it really is or I'm just unable to recognize wooden dialogue readings in French.

The rhythm is slower this way, but funnier. Jaekin himself complains that the intentional humor was one of the things the US distributor specifically cut out. It's also smarter and sexier.

Ok. I'm not making a real comparison here. I'm comparing a very recent experience to a memory that's certainly well over a decade past and part of the difference could simply be my much greater understanding and appreciation of European genre movies has developed quite a bit in the ensuing years.

Honestly, aside from some weird and abrupt transitions from desert to jungle back to desert and such, I didn't find anything here I found poor. I was even impressed at the lack of the usually inevidible kookaburra laughter in the jungle scenes.

The Yik Yak of the American title, The Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of the Yik Yak, is written as "Yek Yeik" in the subtitles and is clearly pronounced that way on both the English and French tracks. It's a subtle difference, but does seem a much more plausible lost Asian land. And, yes, it's "The Land of Yek Yeik", another of those ill-placed definite articles that change the meaning significantly... at least most people should see this difference, unlike that one at the beginning of Frank Darabont's The Shawshank Redemption that I hate with such a firey vengeance and everyone else shrugs and refuses to understand how it changes the meaning and... Oh, I'm offtrack, huh?


It's not the type of movie you're likely to enjoy if you don't think "Cool!" when you see a guy get his ears cut off by being abruptly yanked through jail bars or "That's an interesting touch" when the captain of the guard in the mysterious land of S&M women is identified with one exposed boob. I know there is a contingency of people, with whom I have absolutely no common ground nor do I even per se respect, who consider things stupid in themselves.

Basic Instinct 2


I wish I had anything compelling to say about Basic Instinct 2.

With a cover that says little aside from "Rent this and see Sharon Stone's vagina" and an early reputation as trashy, I had some hope for a nice trash fest. Sadly, this was not to be. Sharon Stone seems to have tremendous fun reprising her rather juicy star-making role. Nothing else in this was particularly compelling enough to be good or even really bad.

When a big story - Lie? Revelation? - is made about a character late in the movie, I was inclined to think it was a lie because of the way she told it, but not because I had connection enough to the character it was being told about in order for it to strike me as plausible or implausible. Nor did I see any particularly see any reason for the character it was told to to believe or disbelieve it.

That's the kind of movie it is. Just kind of... whatever...

I did enjoy David Morrissey's performance in the last scene. That was a bit too little, too late, however.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

More Perils


Elayne, the producer for Lakeside, managed to plant a seed in my memory, causing me to have something of a realization. I think The Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of the Yik Yak may have ruined my life.

Depending on future events, it may have also done wonderful things for the career I'd like to have, but for most of my life it, or the idea created by it, has haunted my dreams.

I can't recall where I first heard about it, although my mind's eye I imagine it as Cinefantastique, but the idea that someone was making something like Raiders of the Lost Ark with nudity was revelatory. I can't point to an earlier point in my life where the idea that movies should be both good as well as trashy. Then it played a midnight screening at the Seattle International Film Festival and I wanted desperately to go, but couldn't.

When I finally saw it on tape, months later as I recall, its was somewhat disappointing. I suppose it should have been a profound disappointment, but really. I was thirteen, Tawny Kitaen is naked a lot and, while I recognized it as not good, it was still trashy.


The entire experience did leave me with my constant quest for good trash and/or trashy art. A quest that I've found limited success at. Mind you, I've had better luck now that I've begun to look outside of American product, but nevertheless... I think this was the beginning.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Perils

I got an email from Video Universe, informing that the unrated version of The Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of the Yik Yak was being released tomorrow.

I've seen this movie, in its 88 minute US version, three or four times over the years, although probably not in at least a decade. It's based on the comic strip The Adventures of Sweet Gwendoline by John Willie and stars the infamous Tawny Kitaen, of Whitesnake video fame.

The movie itself is kind of an S&M version Raiders of the Lost Ark, albeit, as I recall, without the smarts and are to detail.

Looking at it, I notice that it's indeed 106 minutes. That's nearly 20 minutes more material. Not to mention being in the original French, rather than cheaply dubbed. I'm definitely getting this off the Netflix.

If I were buying it, however, this right here would bug me -


The cover art on the left is much better, but represents the 88 minute US version that doesn't include a commentary. The cover art on the right is just damn cheap looking and yet represents the better package on disk.

I guess this is a reason to feel better that I don't have the money to have this be a problem. My Netflix envelope will look essentially the saw either way.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

World 3-D Film Expo II

There are no words to express how much I'd like to go to the World 3-D Film Expo II.

"No anaglyphic (red/blue) here. All golden age films will be run as they were intended to be seen: In 35mm double interlock, Polaroid system, on the huge screen at the world famous Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood!"

If you've never seen a 3-D movie in the theater with polaroid glasses instead of those crappy red and blue anaglyph glasses then you have no idea what an amazing joy you're missing.


Taza, Son of Cochise, a 3-D Western by Douglas Sirk and starring Rock Hudson. By the way, I've actually seen Gun Fury by Raoul Walsh, also starring Rock Hudson, in the theater, in 3-D, at the Ballard Bay.

Those Redheads From Seattle with Popeye, the Ace of Space in which "Popeye is abducted by Martians who conduct a series of hideous experiments on him, but thanks to his copious spinach supply, all the experiments fail."

The original I, The Jury, The Stranger Wore a Gun, as well as The Stewardesses.

French Line. As the poster notes, Jane Russell in 3-D, "need we say more?"

Thrillers like Glass Web, Inferno and the quite interesting looking Diamond Web. The classic House of Wax and Stranger Wore a Gun, both by Andre DeToth.

Creature From The Black Lagoon and Revenge Of The Creature both... and both in 3-D, along with the Three Stooges in Spooks. Three Stooges in three dimensions, the mind boggles.

Kiss Me Kate, Hitchcock's classic Dial M For Murder and Flesh For Frankenstein, not to mention Gog, Gorilla At Large (which I saw long ago on one of those 3-D on TV experiments), It Came From Outer Space, Robot Monster and Casper the Friendly Ghost in Boo Moon.

And that's not even all of the movies booked that I'd love to see.

I could die happily at this festival. Why, oh, why do I even need to know it exists?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Superman Returns


Roger Ebert had a rather noteworthy turn of phrase in his review of North. "I hated this movie," he wrote, "Hated hated hated hated hated this movie. Hated it."

By the way, get well soon, Roger. And you can all see how Roger's doing after his surgery.

I never saw North. But I hated Superman Returns. Hated hated hated hated hated it.

Seriously. I hated it.

It's the most joyless Superman movie ever.

I'll tell you first the three things I did like. I liked Sam Huntington's Jimmy Olsen. I liked that Richard White's airplane had a call number that didn't have a "bravo", an "echo", a "foxtrot", a "tango", a "yankee" or, most especially, a "niner" in it. I liked the moment that Frank Langella as Perry White says "Great Caesar's ghost!"

The latter of those is most important. It wasn't so much the nod to John Hamilton's Perry White from The Adventures of Superman, or wherever in comic books, comic strips or radio that Perry White exclaimed that prior to that series. No, that exclamation was the only time in the movie where anyone seemed genuinely in awe of Superman. The rest of the movie is people kind of generally pleased with "moderately neato guy". Bleh!

I don't believe I went in with an attitude that set me up. I went with guarded optimism on Independence Day, to celebrate "Truth, justice and the American Way", a phrase this movie didn't have the courage to speak fully, even when couched specifically in terms of Superman's politics, and found nothing worth celebrating.

In a matter of months, I've seen two generally well-received geek extravaganzas, with only moderate sprinklings of bad reviews and hated them (for those out of the loop, the first was King Kong). Apparently I also liked X-Men: The Last Stand better than most. I guess I'm getting out of step.

Whatever...

This movie begins with the premise that Superman left suddenly after the events of Superman II to seek the remains of his homeworld of Krypton. This is a stupid plot point and seems to be held over from J.J. Abrams's notorious screenplay (read Moriarty's review of it) for no compelling reason except to put a distance between Lois Lane and Supes. He doesn't bring back Kandor in a bottle. He doesn't accidentally bring home any interesting new kinds of Kryptonite.

But this isn't just about the far away hopes of a big Silver Age geek. Jor-El doesn't still live on Krypton and Lex Luthor isn't secretly Kryptonian or whatever bullshit was in that Abrams script, which would've at least made a kind of internal sense, even if not within the history of Superman stories. Nope. This goes absolutely nowhere.

So, he's been gone for five years. I'm not entirely sure what those five years represent. He apparently used the spacecraft that he came in as a baby, presumably because away from the light of the yellow sun he wouldn't be able to fly and survive without oxygen, etc. Cool, cool.

However, in Superman: The Movie, which this is clearly intended as a sequel to, Jor-El says... No. Strike that!

In this very movie, Jor-El says, "My son. You do not remember me. I am Jor-El. I am your father. By now you will have reached your eighteenth year, as it is measured on Earth. By that reckoning, I will have been dead for many thousands of your years."

Ok. If you can get from Earth to Krypton and back in five years in that ship, why did it take baby Kal-El thousands of years to make it from Krypton to Earth and then come of age? Dumb.

So, Clark Kent and Superman both go on five year sabbaticals, presumably starting at the same time, and both return on the exact same day. Now, I've been following a long time and I'm happy with a wink to explain why no one thinks Clark is really Superman, but to have no one even raise an eyebrow at this stretches even that credulity well past the breaking point for me. Dumb.

Luthor's plot, well, as Marty McKee wrote in It's A Bird, It's A Plane, It's A... Dud, "Luthor’s plan is idiotic. He could have at least created his ugly, rocky, Kryptonite-beached new land mass near the equator where it would be warm. The plot makes no sense, and while Luthor might be a megalomaniac, he ain’t crazy and he sure ain’t dumb."

This movie is, however.

Compound that with a subplot involving a Supercreepy Superstalker Blue Boy Scout and you've not got much to go with.

Then there's the issue of the child, Roger Ebert, in his review, wrote, "Now about Lois' kid. We know who his father is, and Lois knows, and I guess the kid knows, although he calls Richard his daddy. But why is nothing done with this character? He sends a piano flying across a room, but otherwise he just stares with big, solemn eyes [like a beta version of Damien]. It would have been fun to give Superman a bright, sassy child, like one of the Spy Kids, and make him a part of the plot."

Yep. Pretty much.

In Up, up and anyway..., Paul Dini also wrote, "Given Superman's history in comics, movies, radio, television and a dozen other places, I was disappointed that the filmmakers looked only as far as the two movies made in the late 70's for their inspiration."

Yep, the Lex Luthor land scheme. The "daffy henchmoll", as Dini wrote, who is rescued by Superman as part of the scheme against him and ends up falling for him. The rooftop scene with Superman wisking Lois off into the night. The scene of Luthor taking down the big guy with Kryptonite. Yawn! We've seen all of this before! It's not even a sequel to those but the slightest of retreads.

The thing that Richard Donner, Mario Puzo, et al knew, too, was that you need to expand. Superman: The Movie had Luthor. Superman II added the three Kryptonian criminals. The natural extention to the third would be to have him face a phoned-in performance by Robert Vaughn... No, I mean... Something even greater.

How about Brainiac? The Ultra-Humanite? How about Mongul? Ok, maybe Metallo? I'm not even going to The Kryptonite Kid, Bizarro, Mr. Mxyzptlk or even Composite Superman!

(Not to mention that I assume that Darkseid has his rights tied up in some other corner of Warner Brothers.)

Anything but boring old Lex and a boring old land scheme, just one that makes vastly less sense! What is this?

Brandon Routh's performance has been praised, although I can't much say why. He's so tied to the exact rhythm and cadence of Christopher Reeve's performance, I suspect by director Bryan Singer, that he can't own the part at all. Kate Bosworth's Lois Lane is rather bland and remarkably incompetent, although that's the script. I can't fault either of them specifically, but the biggest flaw is that they have no chemistry whatsoever. Reeve and Margot Kidder smoked onscreen together and these two don't quite seem to have met or be in any way compelled by each other.

And then there's Kevin Spacey as Luthor. His performance sums up the movie for me. He neither seems to have fun with the role (as Gene Hackman did) nor did he take it seriously (and bring something like a live-action version of the Clancy Brown animated characterization). He just sort of sits in between, phoning it in. When does this wrap?

That's the whole movie for me. It could have been just as dumb, hell, even dumber, as long as it wanted to have some fun and take me along. I suggested a whole bunch of really fun, geeky things they could have played with. The thing the two Donner movies knew was to take it to the very edge of the comics version and then pull back just a tiny notch so you don't seem too silly in live action. They knew they took place in a world that had the bottle city of Kandor and Mr. Mxyzptlk even if it was just showing you the most plausible segment of that world.

This movie wants to be smarter than all of that. Smarter than the comics, smarter even than the movies it copies so diligently. It fails on all accounts, however.

They could instead have been actually smart. Put together a story that made sense within an interior logic. Render the characters motivations as logical and within our reasonable expectations from what we've seen previously. They could have told a really thoughtful story that explored the meaning of Superman in the world.

But doing neither? That's just sloppy.

I'm sorry, the stupidest moment in X-Men: The Last Stand was smarter than the smartest moment in Superman Returns. By a good distance.

And it at least wanted to have some fun. This movie seems to despise fun.

Roger Ebert noted that "even the big effects sequences seem dutiful instead of exhilarating." I couldn't agree more.

There was one moment where it came close to having me. It was way too far in for me to have recommended it anymore, but it started. Superman is pushing the Kryptonite continent up into the sky. He's struggling with all he has, the original John Williams theme rises up and I started to feel a tingle, the tiniest amount of the excitement I felt as a kid watching the first two movies... and then... the music is covered over - not, mind you, wholly replaced - by some awful tuneless choral music, once again pushing the Superman is Jesus button as hard as possible... after the fall to Earth in a Jesus Christ Pose and the haloed moment where he flies up to absorb God's Love, I mean, the light of the yellow sun.

Yes, I know. I saw the entertaining two hour commercial for Warner Brothers DVD and movie products, Look, Up in the Sky, and I know the writers defend their Jeso-Supes connection as being an existing part of the story. And I certainly agree. I just think people as smart as they seem to think they are should have heard of subtlety.

Did I ever hate this movie!

I'm going to sit down to a double feature of Supergirl and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace one of these days, just to remind myself of some better takes on the Superman mythos.


Saturday, July 01, 2006

Camp Blood: The Musical


I got a copy of Camp Blood: The Musical written and directed by Tanner Barklow, Jefferson Craig and Thomas Hughes. I can't quite recall how Lakeside and Camp Blood become friends, but I was intrigued as soon as I read about it.

I am a total geek over musicals, as I occasionally note, and while I'm not, as an adult, a big fan of the slasher genre, I do have a warm sense of nostalgia for the slasher movies of the '80s and the hours I whiled away with my friends watching whatever trashy video we found on the shelf.

This idea particularly resonated with me, since I had toyed for a short time with what would be required, creatively as well as legally, to make a musical version of Dan O'Bannon's wonderful Return of the Living Dead. I haven't, as it happens, completely written off the idea.

Anyway, reading the Horror Talk review written by DJ Benz, which includes some pictures (not all safe for work) that give a good impression of the feel of the movie, and Retro Slashers review written by John Klyza. Both made me even more anxious to check this out.

The DVD came with a note explaining that the movie was made in mere days for $200, but they are re-writing the songs and developing a feature length script.

Now, having watched the short movie, it's about half an hour, I can't say I'm sure how I feel about that either way. The cheap sets, cheesy lights, etc. all lead it to having the feel of the best musical your high school didn't put on. A version that moved too high above that would lose some of the intrinsic charm, although I suspect something around the standard of Trey Parker's Cannibal: The Musical would be good. Certainly the story could be expanded upon without much trouble.

Aside from the sets, the highlights were the stoners enormous bags of drugs, the "Tops Come Off" number and especially the chase sequence number. In fact, in an expanded version, I'd like to see the chase number reprised a time or two. I'd also like to see the climax worked out a little stronger.

But I do generally disagree with Klyza regarding the kills. There's a wonderful kill with an oar that comes to an hilarious conclusion and and nice play on the famous Twitch of the Death Nerve/Friday the 13th, part 2 death that made me smile quite a bit. I suppose some work could be put into the others, as it goes, though.

I won't give away more. It's a fun little show. I'm very glad I got a chance to check it out.

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