Friday, November 17, 2017

The Hunt for Gollum (2009)

Director: Chris Bouchard

Writer: Chris Bouchard

Composers: Adam Langston, Andrew Skrabutenas, Chris Bouchard

Starring: Adrian Webster, Arin Alldridge, Patrick O'Connor, Rita Ramnani, Gareth Brough, Jason Perino, Christopher Dingli, Matthew Cunningham, Max Bracey, Dan Styles

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Not all who wander are lost...

Plot: Strider must hunt down Gollum to keep the Ring secret.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again?  No.

Technically, this is very impressive.  From the score to the acting, makeup effects, editing, fight choreography and so on.   Story-wise, it does what it set out to do.  I could be completely wrong about this but this seems to be at odds with the LOTR Jackson pictures.  I wasn't sure exactly when this fit in but then I'm not so deep into the books and whatnot that I can challenge superfans to a duel.  I've seen the movies many times but that doesn't qualify me for much of anything.  Anyway, this is a remarkably well made fan film that shouldn't be avoided by fans of the Jackson films. 

Confessions of a Teenage Peanut Butter Freak (1975)

Director: Zachary Strong

Writers: Zachary Strong, Jerry Abrams

Starring: Zachary Strong, Helen Madigan, John Holmes, Jacque Hanson, Veronica Taylor, Constance Money, Karen Reed, Malcolm Healy, Charles Swanson, Jo Ann McClure, Kandi Johnson

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Chunky or Creamy - No Salt Added

Plot: Sexual awakening of Billy, an inept teenager who undergoes a series of humiliating, but nevertheless arousing experiences. His peculiar traumatic experiences cause him to develop an insecurity about his ability to have a sexual relationship with a woman, as well as a fetish for peanut butter.

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again?  No.

Here's something different with your 70s porn.  This is bizarre from the title on down.  It's obvious Billy is a shy guy from the start but he does loves him some peanut butter.   Billy's date gets cut short because of his awkwardness and inability to tell when a chick is hot for his cock.  He stops for gas at a full service station and the gas girl, Priscilla, gets him to take her home a few minutes later when she gets off work.  At her place, over drinks and peanut butter, Billy opens up about his awkwardness being due to some unusual sexual experiences.  It's flashback time when his Aunt Opel catches him masturbating.  Minutes later she's giving him the Cliff notes rundown of how to fuck and she's easily frustrated.

Everything he does is clunky but she powers through the basics.  She blows him and when it's his turn, he has no idea.  She reaches for the peanut butter, dabs her finger in the jar and slathers it on her hairy meat flaps.  I'd show you a picture but it's not easy to unsee it.  He recounts another story about seeing his female cousin having sex with another college age girl.  They catch him spying so they make him john in.  Not knowing any different, Billy cums inside his cousin and she flips her shit because she's not on birth control.  Later on we find out that he never saw her again so I guess we can assume she got rid of it.  Now it's Priscilla's turn and she recalls how, in her younger days of innocence, she was chased by these two young men in the wild of hill country.  At first she's afraid and runs but she soon makes a game out of it and she eventually stops running so the boys/young men can bang her.  After that one, Billy tells another story about how his friend, Jeff, hooked him up with a chick that was ready to go but Billy is Billy so he needs some confidence.  Jeff (played by monster dick John Holmes) gets her started and let's Billy take over.  What a tough act to follow, right?

Anyway, The last fuck scene is Billy and Priscilla finally having at it (which naturally includes peanut butter play) and they're both in love.  Cut to their wedding for the last few minutes of the movie in one of the most bizarre ceremonies ever.  Billy has flashbacks like his life is flying before his eyes, strange music, editing and visuals.  The end.  The only reason why I watched this was for the title.  That's just too wild to pass up. If you've seen any porn made in the last few years then there's nothing special about the fuck scenes in this picture.  You might get an occasional unintentional laugh sometimes but that's it.  It's kind of a different way to tell a porn story but it has some entertainment value when you consider the peanut butter angle and Billy banging his aunt and later not pulling his dick out of his cousin.  If you want to watch it you can easily finding it online in a goggle search under videos.  It's also longer than a typical 70s porno by about a half hour.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Lifeboat (1944)

Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Writers: John Steinbeck, Jo Swerling

Composer: Hugo Friedhofer

Starring: Tallulah Bankhead, William Bendix, Walter Slezak, Mary Anderson, John Hodiak, Henry Hull, Heather Angel, Hume Cronyn, Canada Lee, William Yetter Jr.

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Who goes Primitive first...A man...Or a woman...adrift in an open boat?

Plot: Several survivors of a torpedoed ship find themselves in the same boat with one of the men who sunk it.

My rating: 7.5/10

Will I watch it again?  Probably.

I interviewed film composer David Raksin, whose score credits go back to the mid-thirties, and he told me the story of when he inquired about scoring this picture.  Hitch said that he wouldn't use a composer as the audience would wonder where the orchestra came from since the movie was entirely set on a lifeboat at sea to which Raksin shot back something like, "the same place they'll wonder where the camera is coming from."  It's a good picture and it's striking in that it literally takes place on a lifeboat with a small handful of characters.  That can't be an easy thing to pull of but Hitchcock does it and does it well.  You do have to forgive a little bit of the dialogue and perhaps some acting as this was made before the War's end but it works.  There's a little romance, some intrigue and suspension.  What surprises me most of all is that ending.  It should get some emotional response from just about anyone.  It's different, I'll say that much.

Extras (2005) TV series

Directors: Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant

Writers: Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant

Starring: Ricky Gervais, Ashley Jensen, Stephen Merchant, Shaun Williamson, Shaun Pye, Sarah Moyle, Andrew Buckley, Jamie Chapman

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Once in a great while a man really has a chance to shine. This is not that man.

Plot: Andy Millman is an actor with ambition and a script. Reduced to working as an extra with a useless agent, Andy's attempts to boost his career invariably end in failure and embarrassment.

My rating: 7.5/10

Will I watch it again?  Yes.

This is the show Gervais made after his phenomenal success with THE OFFICE (2001) and like that series, this one lasted two seasons.  It's often funny but Gervais & co. interject more heart/emotion/drama this time out.  They do have a lot of fun with the guest stars hilariously playing themselves (Jonathan Ross, David Bowie, Daniel Radcliffe, Samuel L. Jackson, Ross Kemp, Patrick Stewart, Ben Stiller, Kate Winslet, Diana Rigg, Clive Owen, Les Dennis, Vinnie Jones, Warwick Davis, Robert De Niro, George Michael, Orlando Bloom, Ronnie Corbett, Ian McKellen, Gordon Ramsay, David Tennant, Stephen Fry and many more).  My favorite episode is from season one with Kate Winslet.  She was fucking hilarious.  The first series dealt with Gervais et al as extras and the second sees him finding success in a horrible but popular sitcom and how he struggles with being taken seriously as an actor.  It's a fun show and it's often hilarious but it has more drama than you'd expect based on Gervais' previous work but I like it just the same.  It was a pleasant short run of 13 half hour episodes.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Fritz Lang Interviewed by William Friedkin (1975)

AKA Conversation with Fritz Lang

Director: William Friedkin

Starring: Fritz Lang, William Friedkin

More info: IMDb

Plot: William Friedkin interviews Fritz Lang.

My rating: 8/10

Will I watch it again?  Yes.

Sit down with these two film greats  for ninety minutes to hear Lang talk about making movies, from his start in pictures to his narrow escape from Nazi Germany after his meeting with Josef Goebbels to discussing his prolific and masterful catalog of films.  Fans of movies in general will get a kick out of this.  For the most part Friedkin does a fine job but he is often impatient with Lang who takes his time in answering but also rebukes Friedkin's assertions.  For example, Friedkin wants to impose hidden meaning into some of Lang's films but Lang shrugs them off as coincidences.  Friedkin clearly reads more into Lang's films than the man who made them.  Outside of that it's a wonderful time spent with one of film's most celebrated artists.  Lang died the following year at the age of 85.

Wrasslin' She Babes Of The 1950s Volume 0

More info: Something Weird Video

My rating: 5/10

Will I watch it again?  No.

This is the first in a series of 19 video releases from Something Weird Video that features women's professional wrestling.  The 5 matches on this disc are from the early 50s and feature such stars as Betty "The Atlanta Peach" Hawkins, Violet Vian, Clara Mortensen, Gorgeous Lenzi, Carol Cook, Ruth "Texas Cyclone" Kelly, Lily Bitter, Laraine Johnson, Cora Combs and June Beyers.

The 5 bouts last for a total of an hour and twenty minutes.  The half hour that follows is a collection of short titillating vintage films of scantily clad women wrestling of a different kind.

Unfortunately only one of the films ends with anything like that.  Those were more fun than real wrasslin' pictures not only because they're wearing less clothing but because they smile and look like they're having fun.   The real wrestling stuff is mildly entertaining.  I'm not a wrestling fan and this is the most of that kind of thing I've ever seen in total throughout my life.  I thought it would be more fun but I guess not.  It's obvious that it's staged but it's still somewhat entertaining.  A few minutes here and there would've been preferable instead of 80 minutes worth but then that's a good amount for fans.  The announcer that calls it is also reasonably entertaining but it gets old after a while.  I was curious. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Happy Death Day (2017)

Director: Christopher Landon

Writer: Scott Lobdell

Composer: Bear McCreary

Starring: Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Ruby Modine, Charles Aitken, Laura Clifton, Jason Bayle, Rob Mello, Rachel Matthews, Ramsey Anderson, Brady Lewis, Phi Vu

More info:  IMDb

Tagline: Get Up. Live Your Day. Get Killed. Again.

Plot: A college student must relive the day of her murder over and over again, in a loop that will end only when she discovers her killer's identity.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again?  Yes.

I almost can't believe I went to the theater to see it.  I have a good excuse in that it practically didn't cost anything. but that doesn't matter.  I liked it.  This isn't the kind of thing I would normally watch, a teenie bopper, PG-13 horror movie (especially in the theater) but the reviews were good so what the hell.  I'm surprised as hell that it's as good as it is.  It has every right to suck based on the premise and the rating (which meant no nudity and little gore).  But it's a good horror/thriller.  It smacks of GROUNDHOG DAY (1993) but it just borrows that one gimmick.  They even have fun acknowledging it.  The tone shifts a couple of times from horror to comedy to horror to comedy and back to horror.  It was weird when it first happened but I went along with it pretty quickly and had fun.  Jessica Roth is the lead and she's fantastic.  For as good as the writing and direction is, she's one of the main reason the film works as well as it does.  The rest of the cast does fine, too, but she really stands out.  It's a much more complicated role than your typical horror heroine.  A lot more.  For as good as this is, it's got a major problem.  All of the "scares" are jump scares and they're fucking horrible.  Loud noises and something flashing on screen are the easiest and cheapest way to get a viewer to startle.  While I expected this picture to go the idiotic and cheap route for trying to scare people, it's a good movie on its own that didn't need to do such a pathetic trick.  I don't know if it was director Landon's fault they're in there or if there was meddling from the producers or the studio but it hurts an otherwise good film.