Wooley & Torgo's September Excite-o-rama!

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Edit: I am pleased to announce that I have been able to partner with Torgo for an even better thread! More content! More juicy, delicious movie reviews! More discussion than you can shake a stick at!

So, welcome all and thank you, Torgo, for partnering with me on this pre-October journey of cinematic excitement.

For my part:
On past forums, I have done a Horrorthon thread for the past 14 years (and I have watched a Horrorthon for the past 16), which consists of at least 31 Horror Movies over the 31 days of October.
However, a few years ago, I started a new thread. Partly this was due to my issues over what I feel actually qualifies as Horror (yes, I'm that guy) but more specifically my strong feelings about what I think counts as October/Halloween Horror. So there were a lot of movies that may be tense or scary or otherwise could get lumped in (slashers and giallos and thrillers, maybe even some sci-fi, and certainly some grindhousey kinda stuff) - films that I have come to think of as Horror Adjacent - that I could never watch during that time and so they just always got skipped. And then partly because I came to like a little ramp-up where I watch some things to get me in the mood for the Horror to come. Thus the new thread began in September and is now my "traditional" Pre-Horrorthon.


So that is what I will do here. I will watch movies that get me in the mood and generate that... SPARK (reference)... which will hopefully catch fire at the beginning of October. These films, as I say, will include Thrillers of various ilks (giallos and murders mysteries and maybe even edgier Spy Thrillers), Slashers (which don't contain any supernatural and therefore don't qualify for October), Grindhouse flicks, edgier or darker Sci-Fi/Fantasy, and the generally Weird.


Hopefully, there will be a few things that people enjoy and, regardless, it will get my juices flowing for what I hope will be a wonderful Horrorthon next month.
Hope y'all join in and get warmed up with me.

(I will have a first write-up momentarily).



We actually do that here as well...


https://www.movieforums.com/communit...ad.php?t=62388
https://www.movieforums.com/communit...ight=halloween


I will be doing the Challenge again this year and I'm putting a lot of thought into the categories to give people like you the option to contribute while still following with your specific ethos.



One of the things this year that has me pumped is release schedule is packed...

September 10th - Malignant (HBOMAX)
September 24th - Midnight Mass (Netflix) (Series)
October 6th - VHS/94 (Shudder)
October 8th - Lamb(Theaters)
October 15th - Halloween Kills(Theaters)
October 29th - Last Night in Soho (Theaters)
October 29th - Antlers (Theaters)



A system of cells interlinked
I will be attempting, and probably failing, to balance ramping up my horror watching for the next couple of months, while also catching up on flicks for the 2000s countdown.
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"There’s absolutely no doubt you can be slightly better tomorrow than you are today." - JBP



The trick is not minding
One of the things this year that has me pumped is release schedule is packed...

September 10th - Malignant (HBOMAX)
September 24th - Midnight Mass (Netflix) (Series)
October 6th - VHS/94 (Shudder)
October 8th - Lamb(Theaters)
October 15th - Halloween Kills(Theaters)
October 29th - Last Night in Soho (Theaters)
October 29th - Antlers (Theaters)
Antlers, Lamb and Last Night in Soho are high on my must see list.
I’m particularly hopeful that Antlers and Lamb are shown in one of my local cinemas.

Also, I’m very happy to hear you’re doing the Halloween Challenge again!



One of the things this year that has me pumped is release schedule is packed...

September 10th - Malignant (HBOMAX)
September 24th - Midnight Mass (Netflix) (Series)
October 6th - VHS/94 (Shudder)
October 8th - Lamb(Theaters)
October 15th - Halloween Kills(Theaters)
October 29th - Last Night in Soho (Theaters)
October 29th - Antlers (Theaters)
That'll be interesting, I'll certainly be getting Halloween Kills and hopefully Last Night In Soho. I'll have to do some homework on the others.




"They're all gonna die." - Hooper

(I did already talk about this some in the 'cram but it was intended for this thread... I just couldn't help myself.)

Here is a movie that always gives me a conundrum on placement, since I am the Horror Police, ultimate arbiter (to myself) of what is and is not Horror. I have generally always conceded that it was a Horror movie, warmly and willingly actually because I love the movie so much, and because it is when it is, but this most recent viewing certainly reminded me why sometimes it feels like it isn't. And that something is John Williams' score. But more on that later.
If there is anyone on god's green Earth that doesn't know what this movie is about, it is the story of a small New England town that is suddenly visited by a rogue Great White. The town depends on the Summer tourist business to survive and the new Chief Of Police, former New York police-officer Martin Brody must navigate economic tensions, his worry for his family, and his own fear of the water to protect the people of Amity (as you know, Amity means friendship!) from a toothy death.
You may notice from my synopsis that the movie is not really about shark attacks. That is because it is a good, nay, great movie. Spielberg understands that to care about the MacGuffin, there must be more than the MacGuffin. There must actually be a story about people and you must care about that story and those people if you're to really care about the film. And just to get in my "get off my lawn" for the day, that is what is missing from most contemporary theatrical-release films, regardless of genre.
As many unflattering things as I have said about Spielberg, I have never questioned his ability and this has to be about as good a sophomore effort as one can submit. Despite it's troubled production, a masterpiece emerged. Some of it is a great understanding of storytelling by the director, which would continue to be his greatest strength. Some of it, to be sure, is a fantastic ensemble performance and a compelling, very human lead by Roy Scheider. Some of it is arguably the most famous score in cinema history. Some of it is great technical work from the cinematography to the editing to the special effects. And some of it is simply that getting eaten by a Great White shark is a ****ing terrifying prospect.
And then some of it is just phenomenal luck. I am going to lump casting in here because none of the principals were the first choice. Scheider was second (at best) for , Shaw was third for Quint, and Richard Dreyfuss was way down the list for Hooper. And yet I cannot imagine the film without even one of them, much less all three. Re-cast this film, in your mind, with Robert DuVall, Lee Marvin, and Jon Voigt. I'm sure it wouldn't be a bad film, but it wouldn't be this film.
And then of course there is the good bad-luck of Bruce, the shark, not functioning. I'm sure everyone knows the story so I won't belabor it, but how do you make a Hitchcock movie about a killer shark? Have the shark not work and be forced to come up with creative ways to suggest its presence without ever showing it. As Spielberg said in interview, "I wanted to show the shark in the first scene." And this, of course, is why Jaws is better than most of his films. Because at the end of the day, for all his talents, he's the "I wanted to show the shark in the first scene" Guy.
And then there's the score. This isn't luck, this is more trust, but reportedly, when Williams initially played Spielberg the shark's main theme, Spielberg thought it was a joke. But Williams had struck on something and he knew it. There is so much dread in that theme, from its flat-second interval to its deep orchestration (with a tuba playing the part that would normally be played by a French horn). But this is also where the movie blurs the line between Horror and something else. If Williams sticks to dark and foreboding and frightening throughout, then Jaws is a great Horror movie, without a doubt, and likely still just as good a film. But when he applies the more Adventure-oriented themes suggesting pirate movies and open-sea adventures, the film, for better or worse, blurs and transcends the genre or really genre-placement period. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing is perhaps up to each viewer.
Finally, I would like to end at the beginning with something I don't hear enough of. When discussions of the best opening scenes in movies or the best opening scenes in Horror are undertaken, the opening scene of Jaws, honestly, needs to be at the top of the genre and near the top of all films. Spielberg terrifies the audience within just a few minutes with a very naturalistic scene of people on a beach (I mean, the beach part of the scene really reminds me of Robert Altman more than anything Spielberg has done) and then a sudden, totally unexpected, and rather brutal death. There's real shock and then desperation to cling to life and then the knowledge that it didn't matter. Whatever death was under that water was far too great to overcome and the audience still had 2 hours to go.
Thank god he didn't show the shark.



Happy to be aboard! Like I said in Rate Your Last Movie You Watched, I'm doing a sci-fi/fantasy September. Here's my thoughts on Solaris (2002) in case you missed them in that thread:



Even though I enjoyed Soderbergh's adaptation of Stanislaw Lem's novel much less than Tarkovsky's, I still consider it to be a great movie. Not to discount the performances in the 1972 one, but what the 2002 one lacks in flair, it makes up for in the strength of its performances. Clooney gives one of his best as psychologist Chris Kelvin for how he makes his regrets about lost love Rheya (the also great Natascha McElhone) and his dilemma about Solaris's seemingly too good to be true chance to cope with them believable and palpable. I also like Jeremy Davies' neurotic, Crispin Glover-adjacent performance that he could probably do in his sleep by now as the space station's more right-brained officer as well as Viola Davis' as the all-business left-brained one. I prefer the look and feel of the 1972 movie, but I can’t say anything bad about this one’s visuals, which manage to ride a fine line between looking contemporary and futuristic at the same time. As for the scenes with Chris and Rheya, they're just as resonant as those in the original, and while I'm not the biggest fan of flashbacks in general, the accompanying ones that show the evolution of their relationship are efficient and well-timed enough to enhance these scenes rather than detract. While the movie is more exposition heavy than I remember Tarkovsky's being, it's hard for me to criticize this difference since I already know the story. I prefer how the 1972 movie describes the science behind Solaris, but would its approach mesh with this movie's? Maybe not. Again, even though it's leaner, more efficient and not as much of a visual marvel as Tarkovsky's version, Soderbergh's is also bound to make you stare at the screen in awe and devastation as the credits roll.
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Last Great Movie Seen
Black Sunday (Bava, 1960)





If '80s cinema is - or should be - known for anything, it's how many quality sword and sorcery movies it has, with this movie being no exception. Love and romance figures into the plot of many of them, most notably Krull and The Princess Bride, and it's also essential to this one. Its central conceit involves a couple who, thanks to a curse, are always together yet always apart at the same time, with Navarre (Rutger Hauer) having to live as a wolf by night and partner Isabeau (Michelle Pfeiffer) living as the titular bird by day. While questing to break this curse, they are aided by an unlikely new member to their party: Mouse (Matthew Broderick in one of his first roles), a hapless pickpocket and recent prison breaker.

This is one of the best looking '80 fantasy movies, which is not hard to do when legendary cinematographer Vittorio Storaro is composing the shots and the Italian countryside is at your disposal. There are scenes that I wanted to go on a little bit longer - the ones in the woods in particular - just so I could take in the scenery. Action is also this movie's strong suit, with each fight scene making the excitement last until there's no more to be had. This is especially true of the cathedral grand finale, which not only succeeds thanks the visuals and editing, but also because of over the top yet adorable sound flourishes like making the sword clangs echo. As for the performances, while Hauer, Broderick, Leo McKern’s devoted ally and John Wood’s annoyingly confident villain are as good as you would expect, Pfeiffer is the movie's secret weapon. Unlike Navarre, Isabeau is in animal form more than she is in human form, but she makes her human scenes count. I of course wanted to see the curse lifted for Navarre and Isabeau's sake, but I admit to being more invested in the chance to see Pfeiffer again!

While I have more good to say about the movie than bad, I wouldn't rank it near the top of '80s fantasy, but it's far from the worst. Despite its romance and clever premise, it is not nearly as quotable or timeless as its subgenre's classics and lacks qualities that make it one, whether it’s the commentary on adolescence in Labyrinth or the uniquely sly self-awareness in The Princess Bride. Plus, there's the cheesy soundtrack, which I can't imagine even the most extreme ‘80s aficionado being nostalgic about. There is, of course, still enough about this movie for me to recommend it. Just expect something light, fun and that would be a good way to spend an afternoon than something that will also leave a deep impression.





If '80s cinema is - or should be - known for anything, it's how many quality sword and sorcery movies it has, with this movie being no exception. Love and romance figures into the plot of many of them, most notably Krull and The Princess Bride, and it's also essential to this one. Its central conceit involves a couple who, thanks to a curse, are always together yet always apart at the same time, with Navarre (Rutger Hauer) having to live as a wolf by night and partner Isabeau (Michelle Pfeiffer) living as the titular bird by day. While questing to break this curse, they are aided by an unlikely new member to their party: Mouse (Matthew Broderick in one of his first roles), a hapless pickpocket and recent prison breaker.

This is one of the best looking '80 fantasy movies, which is not hard to do when legendary cinematographer Vittorio Storaro is composing the shots and the Italian countryside is at your disposal. There are scenes that I wanted to go on a little bit longer - the ones in the woods in particular - just so I could take in the scenery. Action is also this movie's strong suit, with each fight scene making the excitement last until there's no more to be had. This is especially true of the cathedral grand finale, which not only succeeds thanks the visuals and editing, but also because of over the top yet adorable sound flourishes like making the sword clangs echo. As for the performances, while Hauer, Broderick, Leo McKern’s devoted ally and John Wood’s annoyingly confident villain are as good as you would expect, Pfeiffer is the movie's secret weapon. Unlike Navarre, Isabeau is in animal form more than she is in human form, but she makes her human scenes count. I of course wanted to see the curse lifted for Navarre and Isabeau's sake, but I admit to being more invested in the chance to see Pfeiffer again!

While I have more good to say about the movie than bad, I wouldn't rank it near the top of '80s fantasy, but it's far from the worst. Despite its romance and clever premise, it is not nearly as quotable or timeless as its subgenre's classics and lacks qualities that make it one, whether it’s the commentary on adolescence in Labyrinth or the uniquely sly self-awareness in The Princess Bride. Plus, there's the cheesy soundtrack, which I can't imagine even the most extreme ‘80s aficionado being nostalgic about. There is, of course, still enough about this movie for me to recommend it. Just expect something light, fun and that would be a good way to spend an afternoon than something that will also leave a deep impression.
(As I replied elsewhere...)
I think I'm inclined to agree with you on all counts. Which is to say that I started to take exception with the notion that it didn't belong at the top but the more I thought about it, the more I thought, wellll... and then you mentioned the soundtrack and I'm like, "Oh yeah, I forgot, that dated the hell out of it."
But when I went back and watched this a few years ago (having first seen it once or twice int theater and then maybe another dozen times on HBO when I was a kid), I have to say I thought it held up a lot better than I expected. Not as juvenile as I was expecting. It's a shame Rutger Hauer wasn't a bigger star on my side of the pond, he was a really compelling actor. And I think you're right, Pfeiffer, and the way the director and cinematographer handle her, creates a haunting yet luminescent presence.
All in all, I thought it was a well put-together fantasy. Which is one of my favorite genres.



Turned it off after five minutes. Felt slow.



Two Jaws related things that happened today:

1) Re: the film itself
I was reading the book The Jumbies to my class, and there's a sequence where a Jumbie (like a forest spirit) makes herself invisible and goes down to a river bed where she can look up at some children swimming in the river above. She decides to attack them and the chapter ends with her hand reaching for one of the kids. "Ooh!" said one of my students. "It's like that scene in Jaws!" A few other students nodded. These children were born in 2011.

2) Re: that ridiculous conversation about masculinity and Jaws
I was watching a Western today, and an injured boy is being cared for by a doctor, but refuses to cry out. He tells the doctor "Men don't cry." The doctor replies, "I reckon men do cry. Real men. It's the greenhorns who aren't so sure they're men who are afraid to." Anyway, swap out "asking for help" with "crying" and that pretty much sums up my feelings on it.



Two Jaws related things that happened today:

1) Re: the film itself
I was reading the book The Jumbies to my class, and there's a sequence where a Jumbie (like a forest spirit) makes herself invisible and goes down to a river bed where she can look up at some children swimming in the river above. She decides to attack them and the chapter ends with her hand reaching for one of the kids. "Ooh!" said one of my students. "It's like that scene in Jaws!" A few other students nodded. These children were born in 2011.

2) Re: that ridiculous conversation about masculinity and Jaws
I was watching a Western today, and an injured boy is being cared for by a doctor, but refuses to cry out. He tells the doctor "Men don't cry." The doctor replies, "I reckon men do cry. Real men. It's the greenhorns who aren't so sure they're men who are afraid to." Anyway, swap out "asking for help" with "crying" and that pretty much sums up my feelings on it.
Damn, 9 and 10 years olds watching Jaws? I mean, I guess I did, but I was a bit rogue.
And man, I can't agree with you more. If there even is such a thing as "being a man", being comfortable enough in your own skin to show emotion and ask for help would be way up on my list of what that means. And I'm actually kind of an old-schooler, having been a child in the 70s.



Damn, 9 and 10 years olds watching Jaws? I mean, I guess I did, but I was a bit rogue.
My sister and her best friend watched Jaws every Friday night for two years, starting in like 4th or 5th grade.



Jaws played on TV constantly when I was of school age, so I first saw it pretty young as well. (Maybe 7 or 8.)


Now if Tak's students were referring to the sequels, that would be something else.



Happy to be aboard! Like I said in Rate Your Last Movie You Watched, I'm doing a sci-fi/fantasy September. Here's my thoughts on Solaris (2002) in case you missed them in that thread:



Even though I enjoyed Soderbergh's adaptation of Stanislaw Lem's novel much less than Tarkovsky's, I still consider it to be a great movie. Not to discount the performances in the 1972 one, but what the 2002 one lacks in flair, it makes up for in the strength of its performances. Clooney gives one of his best as psychologist Chris Kelvin for how he makes his regrets about lost love Rheya (the also great Natascha McElhone) and his dilemma about Solaris's seemingly too good to be true chance to cope with them believable and palpable. I also like Jeremy Davies' neurotic, Crispin Glover-adjacent performance that he could probably do in his sleep by now as the space station's more right-brained officer as well as Viola Davis' as the all-business left-brained one. I prefer the look and feel of the 1972 movie, but I can’t say anything bad about this one’s visuals, which manage to ride a fine line between looking contemporary and futuristic at the same time. As for the scenes with Chris and Rheya, they're just as resonant as those in the original, and while I'm not the biggest fan of flashbacks in general, the accompanying ones that show the evolution of their relationship are efficient and well-timed enough to enhance these scenes rather than detract. While the movie is more exposition heavy than I remember Tarkovsky's being, it's hard for me to criticize this difference since I already know the story. I prefer how the 1972 movie describes the science behind Solaris, but would its approach mesh with this movie's? Maybe not. Again, even though it's leaner, more efficient and not as much of a visual marvel as Tarkovsky's version, Soderbergh's is also bound to make you stare at the screen in awe and devastation as the credits roll.
This is a movie I saw in the theater because I was a big fan of Soderbergh's Out Of Sight and I love Sci-Fi. Had no idea what to expect back in '98. But I absolutely loved it. I found it incredibly moving, like I may have cried in the theater.



This is a movie I saw in the theater because I was a big fan of Soderbergh's Out Of Sight and I love Sci-Fi. Had no idea what to expect back in '98. But I absolutely loved it. I found it incredibly moving, like I may have cried in the theater.
I saw the '72 movie first, but I had a similar reaction and I think I prefer how this movie's ending made me feel, which was an odd mix of joy and sorrow. I mean, what would you do? If I also had nothing else to live for and felt like an alien on my home planet, I doubt if I would care if what I was experiencing is real or not.

The cost of paradise does make for good sci-fi. These movies, parts of The Matrix and the Star Trek: TOS episode "This Side of Paradise" also do a good job of exploring that theme.