Friday, August 24, 2012

A New Fave: “God Bless America”—If Jonathan Swift can do it, so can Bobcat Goldthwaite! (And then we’ve got reality TV zombies with “Dead Set”)

God Bless America (2011; Bobcat Goldthwaite) may not be a perfect movie, but as far as I’m concerned it is certainly a great film: a pure, undiluted rant; a 200-proof “scream from the heart”—incredibly personal filmmaking that isn’t about navel-gazing or suburban ennui.

In gentler times, this film would have been an Ealing Studio comedy, with a dour Charles Laughton sneaking poison into the tea of various boors and louts.
But since these are the days we live in, Goldthwaite’s movie is a blood-splattered, sick-humor black comedy that smashes over the head with a brick because subtlety is no longer appreciated. God Bless America is a violent, angry satire lambasting the current non-existent state of civil discourse in the US—and I loved it.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

LIE # 42: No Guilt! (And “Bad Movies I Love”: Michael Bay’s “The Island” and “Army Medicine in Vietnam”)

Before we look at this week’s “Bad Movies I Love”—one of which happens to be almost a snuff flick, and the other being Michael Bay’s 2005 clone conspiracy sci-fi shoot-’em-up The Island (no relation to Michael Ritchie’s 1980 pirate gorefest)—let’s look at that very same phrase, and why it is preferable to “guilty pleasures.”

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

LIE # 41: Shakespeare Goes to War—Ralph Fiennes’ “Coriolanus” (2011)

An aggressive and intense adaptation of an obscure William Shakespeare play, Coriolanus (2011), is actor Ralph Fiennes’ directorial debut, and—aside from Shakespeare buffs, the film’s most obvious potential fanbase—is best for, interestingly enough, science fiction and/or war movie fans.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Today’s Bad Movie I Love: Clint Eastwood’s “Magnum Force”

A financial success that received a critical drubbing, Magnum Force (1973; Ted Post) just doesn’t get the .44-calibre love it deserves, even from Fans of Clint.

Monday, August 13, 2012

More “Bad Movies I Love”—with 2002’s “Scooby Doo” and 1967’s “Hurry, Sundown”

“I'm fuzzy on the whole good/bad thing. What do you mean, "bad"?”
—Dr. Peter Venkman (Bill Murray) in Ghostbusters

“East, West…Mere points of the compass…”
—Dr. No (Joseph Wiseman) in Dr. No

You ask me, honey
What it was all about
Ya even asked me where the light went
When it went out
I'm B-A-D
I'm bad
Don't mess with me
—Bo Diddley, “I’m Bad”

LERNER INTERNATIONAL was lucky enough to be given the chance to contribute to the very popular, and highly recommended guest-blogger “Bad Movies I Love” series at the excellent film site Rupert Pupkin Speaks.

Of course, “Bad” in this sense means “What other people, blinded by their own lack of imagination, consider bad.”

At Rupert Pupkin Speaks, my list of “Bad Movies I Love” includes
Will Ferrell’s Land of the Lost (2009),
The Island (1980), directed by Michael Ritchie
Johnny Knoxville’s The Ringer (2005),
The Legend of Lylah Clare (1968) directed by Robert Aldrich
John Waters’ A Dirty Shame (2004)
Zardoz (1974), directed by John Boorman—BTW, I forgot to mention in my commentary that Zardoz’s Big Stone Head and the Exterminator Masks (pictured above and below) were based on director Boorman’s own face! Groovy!

Meanwhile, in the wake of writing up my “Bad Movies I Love,” I kept coming up with more and more films that I was kicking myself really hard for forgetting to include—mainly because I never think of films I like as genuinely bad.
One film like this is Apollo 18 (already thoroughly commented about HERE), and two others are 2002’s Scooby Doo, and 1967’s Hurry, Sundown.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

“Apollo 18,” and the Spiderz From the South Pole of the Moon, a “Bad Movie I Love”

Sometimes I think that maybe at some time or another, nearly every movie I love (or at least like a lot) has been HATED by some major critic—usually upon its initial release.

DVDs of Skidoo, Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Todd Killings and gorehound-“found footage” pioneer Cannibal Holocaust all sit proudly on my shelf—and they were all treated poorly (by most “respectable” reviewers, if not all) when released, completely misinterpreted by their narrow-minded critics, but so unique in conception that audiences were unfamiliar with what they were facing and needed guidance—
But none was forthcoming…even to this day, some of those films are still ill-regarded.

Only time will tell if the critically-reviled Apollo 18 (2011; Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego) will end up on my shelf, but I just finished watching it again a few days ago, and dang! Even on a second viewing, it’s still a tense sci-fi/horror thriller-mystery, with plenty of effective—and well-earned—shocks, and some of the niftiest monsters I’ve seen in a while.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

LIE #37: “My First Movie” Caused a Great Sickness: Robert Wise’s “The Andromeda Strain”

“Andromeda is perfect for existence in outer space: it consumes everything, it wastes nothing.”

If you stick with it, by its conclusion The Andromeda Strain (1971; Robert Wise) is so exciting that you forget that the story is being told in quasi-documentary flashback.
From the beginning, we know the world doesn’t end—and are reminded routinely with flash-forwards that act like a Greek chorus, but we end up biting our nails nonetheless.
In preparation for this blogathon, I screened the film again (via Nflix Streaming), and it was still exciting.
Director Robert Wise was that good.

The Andromeda Strain is LERNER INTERNATIONAL’s entry into the “My First Movie” blogathon, sponsored by the wonderful film blog Forgotten Classics of Yesteryear.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

INDEX: Got Them End of July Blues…

July is over, and it’s time to huff some scorpion and round up what’s being watched.
While a high proportion of films were screened as a result of the aftermath of the Best Films Alfred Hitchcock Never Made blogathon, and several on-line-only films were watched as part of “crossing off the list,” the rest were almost all seen via our good friends at the New York Public Library.
Most of the “classic” movies watched, for instance, were “holds” that all seemed to arrive at the same time. Not that I’m complaining….
Reviews and INDEX below—