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The Taking of Pelham 123 (1974) - 8/10

This a fun 70's thriller, lighter and more humorous than I was expecting but honest enough to be taken serious where it doesn't undercut the tension.



You’re the disease, and I’m the cure.
Friday The 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988):
10/10
Friday The 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989):
9.5/10
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“I really have to feel that I could make a difference in the movie, or I shouldn't be doing it.“
Joe Dante



Friday The 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989):
9.5/10
I think we disagree a bit


FRIDAY THE 13TH, PART VIII: JASON TAKES MANHATTAN (2016)
A film with the words "Black" or "Friday" in its title



I grew up with this franchise, so I always have a soft spot for it, flaws and all. That said, there's little that could've saved this trainwreck. I remember I saw this in theaters back in the day, and even though I hadn't seen it since, I always remembered it being pretty ****ty... and boy, was I right. Thin story, bad characters, worst dialogue, boring kills, little gore, weak humor... and he's barely in Manhattan for half an hour! There's some non-sensical attempts to tie the main character to a young Jason that don't really work and are ultimately irrelevant. From the start, the film hammers down the theme that New York is a cesspool of decadence and rottenness. If anything, the film succeeds in emulating that.

Grade:
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Scum (Alan Clarke, 1979)

Turned out the BBC were the biggest offenders really
In what sense? Not being confrontational but surely you have to back that up?



In what sense? Not being confrontational but surely you have to back that up?
They filmed the screenplay in 1977 but bottled airing it, so the writer and director remade it. For the record try not to take my one-liners overly seriously (or even at face value at times), I often merely like to work a playful connection to either the title or content into the words. Had the BBC aired their version it's highly unlikely this version would have ever been made and I'm quite glad it was.
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Fashionably late to every party since 1473!




The Grudge, 2020 (F)

Absolutely terrible. Absolutely nothing to see here. The whole thing would seem outdated if it came out in 2006.
Also, at this point, Lin Shaye takes me out of every movie she's in.



You’re the disease, and I’m the cure.
I think we disagree a bit
Friday The 13th Part 8: Jason Takes Manhattan
Grade:
Respect your opinion, but we all like and dislike different things.



It's funny, after going back and kinda watching them all through, starting with the first drop-off one, Part III, I basically thought they were all pretty much the same level of silly, and Manhattan was no worse than The Final Chapter than The New Blood than anything else. From III on, let's be honest, none of them are actually good movies, they're all completely ridiculous, not at all scary, just kinda silly drunk-fun, so as far as I'm concerned, if we're not watching the original or the superlative Part II (the only one that's actually scary), then we might as well just pick one at random. And I ain't mad about that either.



What great descriptions! I found Howie's visit to the castle of Lord Summerisle absurd, hilarious and profound......crazy movie.
That was a great scene and Lee really sold it. His Lord Summerisle may well have been considered a loon by societal standards but he was charismatic and certainly a true believer. That's what I liked about it.
WARNING: "denouement" spoilers below
They set the viewer up to think that Howie was the uptight antagonist and the islanders these uncomplicated hippie types. Then they pulled the rug out from under us and revealed it was all a setup from the get go. It was only then that they sucker punched our expectations of a neat deus ex machina ending and let Sgt. Howie die in a horrific manner. All while the islanders are gaily singing away. "The Citizen Kane of horror movies" indeed.



The Thing - The 2011 prequel to John Carpenter's superior-in-all-ways version. This just never comes close to achieving the overriding tension that Carpenter conjured up. It's simply one of those additions that should never have been attempted. And he did more with any one of his practical effects than all the CGI combined in this one. 40/100



You’re the disease, and I’m the cure.
It's funny, after going back and kinda watching them all through, starting with the first drop-off one, Part III, I basically thought they were all pretty much the same level of silly, and Manhattan was no worse than The Final Chapter than The New Blood than anything else. From III on, let's be honest, none of them are actually good movies, they're all completely ridiculous, not at all scary, just kinda silly drunk-fun, so as far as I'm concerned, if we're not watching the original or the superlative Part II (the only one that's actually scary), then we might as well just pick one at random. And I ain't mad about that either.
Blasphemy!



The Thing - The 2011 prequel to John Carpenter's superior-in-all-ways version. This just never comes close to achieving the overriding tension that Carpenter conjured up. It's simply one of those additions that should never have been attempted. And he did more with any one of his practical effects than all the CGI combined in this one. 40/100
I thought it was alright, but yeah, it doesn't hold a candle to Carpenter's film. Both films are my go-to examples of how much better practical effects are than cgi. Despite the fact that the prequel was released nearly 30 years later, the practical effects in Carpenter's film have aged much better.



House of Wax - The 1953 Vincent Price version not the 2005 Paris Hilton one. It's good old fashioned fun. That's the best way to put it. A gruesomely (by 50's standards) disfigured wretch stalking a beautiful young girl. Body snatching. Fog shrouded and dimly lit streets. There's even a mute assistant named Igor. He's played by a youthful Charles Buchinsky, who later changed his last name to Bronson. There's also a young Carolyn Jones who went on to play Morticia Addams in The Addams Family TV show. It was also filmed in 3-D which leads to a few "Dr. Tongue's 3D House of Stewardesses" moments. But it's all in good fun. 85/100



Manhattan was no worse than The Final Chapter than The New Blood than anything else. .

I'm not great champion of the series, but Final Chapter is leagues better than those two. Not that it is a special movie, it's not, but the other two are some of the most paint by number nothings of the genre. At least IV makes some attempt at depicting real characters with some honest sense of motivational depth.



And 6, even though I'm not a big fan of it's mix of horror and comedy, is easily the best made film of the whole lot. While I may prefer the rough aesthetics of 2, 6 actually has some more classical moviemaking skill at hand. And is legitimately clever.





Rocky Horror Picture Show, 2016

How do you make a version of Rocky Horror Picture Show that's appropriate to air on Fox from 8-10pm?

Yes, you're correct, it's a trick question. You can't.

After rewatching the original, I decided to check out the 2016 television remake, a film that reveals through its polish that it's not coming anywhere near the soul of the original, but rather staging a high-budget sing-along of sorts.

There are some things to praise about this ill-fated remake. I was excited to see Adam Lambert's name in the credits, and he turns his powerhouse voice to great use as Eddie the biker. Annaleigh Ashford (who I was not familiar with) is one of very few actors involved who seems willing to put her own spin on her character, channeling some of the vibe of the original but making certain line readings her own. Laverne Cox also seems to be having fun with her lead role of Frank.

HOWEVER. This whole film is like someone took the original and sanded off all of those rough edges that make it such a gem in the first place. I don't even know where to begin. Rocky wears board shorts instead of a speedo---does that register? Frank tells Janet that a mind "game" can be nice--yikes. The whole thing is lip synched and choreographed to a fault. The party-goers at this castle are all the same height and approximate age and have sexy Hollywood dancer bodies. And while Cox has a good time in her role, within the universe of the film there's not much freaky about her. Cox is a stunningly beautiful transgender woman, and there's nothing that alarming or edgy about the presentation of her character. A female Frank could easily work--that's not the problem. The problem is that from her makeup to her wardrobe to her dance moves it all reads as polished and glamorous, not edgy or outsider. This lack of grunge or spontaneity extends to the whole cast, and the whole film feels safe.





Ad Astra, 2019

I'm still mulling over how well I feel that the gorgeous visuals cohere with the central character story of a man searching for his long-lost father and grappling with his own sense of self.

Those visuals, by the way, are amazing. I recently watched ]B]The Lost City of Z[/b], and everything that I loved about the way that Gray portrayed the South American jungle applies to the way that he portrays outer space. It's a lovely balance of understanding how something can be beautiful and seductive and yet deadly at the same time.

Brad Pitt's central performance is incredibly strong. I have nothing against Brad Pitt, but to me he has always been an actor where I've never felt him vanish into a character. Even in roles I enjoy, I've always felt, "There is Brad Pitt, pretending to be _____." In this film, that dropped away and it felt very immersive to me. (I actually had a hard time with the supporting cast in this regard: "Hey! It's Loren Dean!" "Hey! It's Ruth Negga!" "Hey! It's Natasha Lyonne!") It's a nuanced performance from Pitt, in which every encounter seems to have both an external result and an internal one for the character.

I was definitely anticipating more of an action/thriller. And don't get me wrong: there are some heart-pounding, memorable action sequences. But the plot itself (energy surges and anti-matter pulses and secret missions) isn't what counts here. The search is really a man trying to find meaning in the world and understand his place in the universe. My only complaint was that I felt that the character's endpoint was a bit too evidence. But at the same time I can concede that it's not evident to the character himself, and watching him come to those realizations is rewarding.




Ad Astra, 2019

I'm still mulling over how well I feel that the gorgeous visuals cohere with the central character story of a man searching for his long-lost father and grappling with his own sense of self.

Those visuals, by the way, are amazing. I recently watched ]B]The Lost City of Z[/b], and everything that I loved about the way that Gray portrayed the South American jungle applies to the way that he portrays outer space. It's a lovely balance of understanding how something can be beautiful and seductive and yet deadly at the same time.

Brad Pitt's central performance is incredibly strong. I have nothing against Brad Pitt, but to me he has always been an actor where I've never felt him vanish into a character. Even in roles I enjoy, I've always felt, "There is Brad Pitt, pretending to be _____." In this film, that dropped away and it felt very immersive to me. (I actually had a hard time with the supporting cast in this regard: "Hey! It's Loren Dean!" "Hey! It's Ruth Negga!" "Hey! It's Natasha Lyonne!") It's a nuanced performance from Pitt, in which every encounter seems to have both an external result and an internal one for the character.

I was definitely anticipating more of an action/thriller. And don't get me wrong: there are some heart-pounding, memorable action sequences. But the plot itself (energy surges and anti-matter pulses and secret missions) isn't what counts here. The search is really a man trying to find meaning in the world and understand his place in the universe. My only complaint was that I felt that the character's endpoint was a bit too evidence. But at the same time I can concede that it's not evident to the character himself, and watching him come to those realizations is rewarding.

Made me want to watch it! I never got around to it, partly because I’ve been anticipating the tension between action and psychodrama. Someone also compared it to Solaris, felt a bit far-fetched.



It felt like secretly made porn for women, Brad Pitt does narration in a DJ voice, pretty pictures, and there are multiple scenes with his shirt off.