Film Thread VI
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Author:  Spiny Norman [ Thu Jul 19, 2018 11:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Film Thread VI



One of the forgotten heroes of low budget '80s cinema, Michael Sopkiw appeared from nowhere (well, prison and acting school), made four brilliant pieces of trash cinema, and disappeared just as quickly, turning his back on acting and going on to study medicinal plant science.

His first movie, Devouring Waves was a shabby Italian Jaws rip-off, his third was the epic Blastfighter, and his final movie, the phenomenally brilliant Massacre in Dinosaur Valley was basically Indiana Jones and the cannibals with added lesbians. A recent appearance in something called Bad Dog and Superhero aside, the only other film to feature our ruggedly good looking bargain basement Harrison Ford was this piece of post-apocalyptic nonsense.

Essentially a rip-off of John Carpenter's Escape From New York, 2019 has Sopkiw ordered to rescue the only fertile female in the world from a bunch of baddies, and bring her back to save the human race. Unfortunately, the "goodies" in this aren't much better than the baddies and send two chaps along with him on the mission "for back up" when you just know they're going to double cross him the moment he gets the girl.

Everything goes exactly as expected, apart from the arrival of some monkey people, their leader (George Eastman from Blastfighter) apparently being the only fertile male in the city or world or something. There's a big car chase, some cheap explosions, and some conveniently escapable road hazards. The desolate, post-apocalyptic New York cityscape looks like it was thrown together on Blue Peter, and the monkeymen (some with Poundland Planet of the Apes face appliances) look like they stuck their hairy bits on five minutes before shooting. Anyway, the fertile girl is inseminated by the fertile monkeyman, the monkeyman is burned to death by a laser, one of the double-crossers turns out to be a robot, and all the important survivors get into a toy spaceship and blast off to Alpha Centauri.

3 Fists

Author:  Tragic Idol [ Fri Jul 20, 2018 8:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Film Thread VI

Spiny Norman wrote:
10 Cloverfield Lane is great until the last fifteen minutes when it suddenly becomes massively shit.

Author:  Annihislater [ Sat Jul 21, 2018 10:01 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Film Thread VI

I've got 2019 sat in a pile of Martino Blu Rays I've been amassing recently. I swear I've only bought Itallian films for the last six months recently haha

Author:  Stat_Rad [ Sun Jul 22, 2018 5:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Film Thread VI

Gotti: The critics got it right: it's complete crap! 1/5

Tango and Cash: still fun, enjoyably braindead nonsense. Wish Sly and Kurt made another one. 3.5/5

Grizzly: Closer to Ed Wood than Spielberg, but it has its moments. The bear footage is so badly integrated though :lol: 2.5/5

The Last of The Knucklemen: old school Aussie machismo themed drama about ex con miners living in close quarters in the outback and getting on each other's nerves. It's based on a play, so it's better written than your average Australian new wave film, and it doesn't romanticise their vulgarity/stupidity. 3/5

Author:  Annihislater [ Sat Jul 28, 2018 9:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Film Thread VI

Since last listing I've done

Calamari Union
Death in a French Garden
Love Simon
American Drive-In
Lost In America
Out of Africa
A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge
Friday the 13th: A New Beginning
Hot Chili
The Falcon and the Snowman
Ewoks: The Battle for Endor
Last Flag Flying
The Florida Project
Solo: A Star Wars Story
Prizzi’s Honor
Fool for Love
Louie Bluie
Wonder Wheel
20th Century Women
Night Train to Terror
Yes, Madam
The Man with One Red Shoe
The Journey of Natty Gann
Thunder Alley
Taipei Story
The Protector

I've made it to 139 on my 1985 project.

According to my spreadsheet I've got another 54 to go that I've found.
That said I think I'm going to give it break soon.

I've got a pile of blu rays building up that I'm not getting round to. There's 9 by Sergio Martino, 6 by Mario Bava, 6 by Lamberto Bava, and a few other 'giallo' films I picked up. So I think as we head into autumn and towards Halloween it'd be a good point to transition to those.

Author:  Stat_Rad [ Sun Jul 29, 2018 12:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Film Thread VI

What's the end goal of this 'project'? What understanding do you hope to gain from it?

Author:  Annihislater [ Sun Jul 29, 2018 7:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Film Thread VI

Stat_Rad wrote:
What's the end goal of this 'project'? What understanding do you hope to gain from it?

At the end of sounding over simplistic, 'why not?' I've always been a fan of 80's movies, and the whole thing started as a bit of fun when a friend tried to argue 1985 was the best year for film. I realised I'd already seen 15 or so without trying, so I decided to see what's out there.

I also think I have a mild OCD. I can't do things half heartedly. It's all or nothing. Since getting into wrestling I've watched 5 straight years worth of WCW nitro, and when I finish I intend to go back to watch Mid Atlantic Wrestling, and work my way through the time line until I reach nitro. It's not enough for me just to watch the odd episode here and there.

With films though, when people at work ask I always quote Kierkegaard and tell them that Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom. I like having focus. There are so many thousands of films out there, I really struggle to decide what to watch. Wheras you narrow it down to a few hundred it's a lot easier.

In a lot of respects 1985 was kind of arbitrary, but I'm glad I've done it. For example I was never into horror. I actively avoided it. But then I did Re-animator, Demons, Phenomena, and Lifeforce and began to realise that I actually really liked horror. At least horror from this era. And it's through looking into that that I was lead to the aforementioned giallo.

Similarly Hong Kong/martial arts films. Before doing this I knew Jackie Chan as the guy in 'The Tuxedo.' Now I have so much respect and admiration for him as as an actor (or stuntamn) after seeing My Lucky Stars, Police Story, and The Protector. I never really appreciated just how much comedy was in those films. There's so much slapstick, that you feel you're watching as much Buster Keaton influence as you are Bruce Lee

Similarly there have been a lot of well respected films like Tampopo, Come and See, Ran, Mishima, A Room With A View and so on. Yes every year has films like that, but much like the above films, I just never get round to it. It's kind of forced me to focus and exposed me to things I'd not previously considered.

I also like the deep dive into something. Seeing the best and worst. I know you were critical of me doing every Fritz Lang film so maybe your mind just doesn't work like mine. But I feel like a bad film is just as interesting as a good one. It's been like a snapshot from history, at this point in time this is what films were like.

I've also found a tonne of films that you perhaps wouldn't usually see if you were to Google the best films of 1985. I've absolutely loved films like Restless Natives, American Flyers, Secret Admirer, Letter to Brehzhev, Starcrossed and so on.

There's nothing I want to 'gain' necessarily, in so much as this isn't like a dissertation whereby I learn something new at the end. But I love watching films, and I've been exposed to films and genres that I'd never even considered before. So I'd argue that I've actually gained more than I ever intended to, as it started out as a simple bit of fun to rank the films I'd seen from the year.

Author:  Stat_Rad [ Sun Jul 29, 2018 11:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Film Thread VI

Did u like Mishima? I rewatched it recently..Love it.

I go through obsessive phases too, but they are generally geared towards directors or movements.

I did go through a massive 80's nostalgia kick in late 17/early 18 though.

Author:  Annihislater [ Mon Jul 30, 2018 5:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Film Thread VI

I would say I appreciated Mishima more than enjoyed it.

I think I struggled with it, and keeping track of what was going on on given the multiple timelines. I definitely want to revisit it now I know more or less how the plot goes so I can focus less on that and more on the artistry of the film.

Author:  Stat_Rad [ Mon Jul 30, 2018 6:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Film Thread VI

Good idea. One viewing definitely isn't enough.

For me it's in the top 5 American films of the 80s along with Raging Bull, Blue Velvet, Heaven's Gate etc.

Author:  Spiny Norman [ Sat Aug 18, 2018 1:19 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Film Thread VI



I've lost track of the amount of killer shark/megalodon movies released in the last ten years or so. Sure, I've seen every last one of them but most are nothing but ridiculous and risible SyFy Channel or Asylum movies, with just a few such as Bait, Shark Night, The Shallows, and the soon to be sequelised 47 Metres Down being the only ones of note to receive cinema releases since Deep Blue Sea back in 1999. Oh, there was The Reef and Open Water too, but they were shit.

All the way back in 1997, author Steve Alten had a book called Meg published. A story about a 70ft prehistoric shark rising from the depths to munch on humans while a former navy diver called Jonas Taylor tries to stop it, the book spawned five sequels to date and the series is still going strong.

As a fan of the book, there was nothing I would have liked more than to have seen the novel played out on the big screen exactly as it was written. But having followed the on/off production of the movie for ten years or so, I realised pretty soon that was never going to happen. I made my peace with that disappointment a long time ago, readjusted my expectations accordingly, and since the project was officially greenlit and fast-tracked a couple of years ago, just hoped for an exciting movie with some plot similarities and familiar character names.

And to be fair, that's pretty much what I got. A monster shark film with a couple of the book's character names, and some decidedly sketchy science. In fact, the science aspect is probably the most disappointing thing about the film as the novel actually presents a pretty plausible hypothesis as to how a previously thought extinct prehistoric shark could be still alive miles below the surface in the depths of the Mariana Trench. With each novel expanding on that theory, the best the film could come up with was an explosion that makes a hole in a gas cloud thought to be the bottom of the ocean. A theory so daft and vague that it's not even mentioned again.

Keeping the basic premise the same, the film finds Jason Statham playing the Jonas Taylor character and giving him the same sort of scenario he had in the book - accidentally killing a couple of his crew when he panics after seeing something which looks to be a giant shark at the bottom of the Mariana Trench. From there on in, the film basically does its own thing. Two or three characters are given names from the book, and a couple of other characters are kept basically the same, but switched from Japanese to Chinese because that's where a lot of the movie's funding came from.

Statham plays a typical clichéd ex-forces tough guy - unshaven, borderline alcoholic with an attitude problem who is called back into service (aren't they always) when an old friend and a Chinese businessman tell him his ex-wife is trapped at the bottom of the ocean after being attacked by something big and nasty. Wanting to save his ex, and to also prove his sanity to the idiot doctor who recommended his dishonourable discharge (who, ever so coincidentally happens to be part of the rescue team), he flies out to a fancy underwater research facility where he meets a sexy Chinese lady, her sickeningly precocious daughter, the rich bloke who paid for the facility (Dwight from the US version of The Office), a fat funny beardy bloke, and a fat funny black bloke who spend most of their screen time trying to be the film's comic relief like LL Cool J from Deep Blue Sea.

In truth, most of the comedy fails to hit anywhere near the mark. Amusing but never really laugh out loud funny, the star of the show was always going to be the CGI shark. And to be honest, the prehistoric beast does looks excellent (as do the other underwater sea creatures). The action sequences are fast paced, exciting and well directed, which does help make up for the shabby script and ropey acting. In fairness, there are a few moments of quality in the script and from the actors, but most of the time it's not really up to much. But when you pay to see a film about a giant prehistoric shark, you just have to go with it and accept it. No point whining about realism, bad science and bad acting when there's a seventy foot monster heading towards you.

Statham basically plays himself in a wetsuit, Bingbing Li - apart from having a silly name, is beyond lovely, as is the underused Ruby Rose. Hiro from once popular teen show Heroes turns up for a short while, Rainn Wilson's rich guy character doesn't really work but is still quite fun, and you can pretty much guess the outcome of the peripheral characters the moment they appear on screen. There are moments lifted entirely from Jaws, it's not really gory enough even for a 12 certificate (okay, the ending is quite gruesome), and there's never really a sense of jeopardy present at any point, but it's still an engaging, if largely silly, film.

As an adaptation of the source material, it fails pretty much on every level, but seeing as the vast majority of people seeing it probably don't even realise it was based on a book in the first place, that really doesn't matter at all. What matters is if it stands a film in it's own right, and thankfully it just about does. It's not Jaws, or even Jaws 2, it's sort of Jaws 3D crossed with Deep Blue Sea so grab your popcorn, slurp your overpriced coke, and enjoy.

3 Fists

Author:  Stat_Rad [ Sat Aug 18, 2018 2:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Film Thread VI

Ruby Rose is cancer.

The Meg looks like a big budget sci-fi channel film.

Author:  Spiny Norman [ Sat Aug 18, 2018 9:58 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Film Thread VI

Stat_Rad wrote:
Ruby Rose is cancer.

You still would.

Author:  Stat_Rad [ Sat Aug 18, 2018 10:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Film Thread VI

^^Do you know why it took so long for The Meg to be made into a film? Apparently the film rights were bought over 20 years ago and the reason it didn't go into production in the late 90's is because Deep Blue Sea went into production first. It was then put on ice for a while and many different directors were attached, including Del Toro.

20 years is a long time to remain in various stages of development.

Author:  Annihislater [ Sun Sep 09, 2018 11:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Film Thread VI

I've recently done;

In a Lonely Place (Cinema)
Stagecoach (1939)
Mildred Pierce (Cinema)
The Maltese Falcon
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

I've decided to put the 85 stuff on the back burner for a while.

I think soon I'm going to work my way though the backlog of Giallo blu ray I've bought and not watched.

Author:  Stat_Rad [ Wed Sep 12, 2018 12:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Film Thread VI

Maltese and Valance are classics.

Better than any film made in 1985 :D

Author:  Triggmartyr [ Fri Sep 14, 2018 8:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Film Thread VI

Mad Max 1-3.

The first two are fucking great. Five Fists a piece.

The third one was doing ok until it turned into fucking Peter Pan...Three Fists as the fight with Blaster and the chase at the end are what save that film.

Author:  Stat_Rad [ Sat Sep 15, 2018 1:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Film Thread VI

Yeh first and last act of Thunderdome = quite good, especially the first act. The second act is bloody BS!

I liked it as a kid in the 80's, but it's dodgy now

Author:  Annihislater [ Sat Sep 15, 2018 11:36 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Film Thread VI

This last week I did

The Searchers
A Fistfull of Dollars
For a Few Dollars More.

My mate reckons The Searchers is the greatest western ever made, but I wasn't blown away or anything. It was good, but I found the tone a bit too inconsistent to be the greatest. Of the three John Ford films I've seen it was my least favourite.

I have the house to myself all day and tomorrow morning so the plan is catch up with films. This afternoon I'm planning The Devil Rides Out, Venus In Furs (Dallamano), and Black Sunday.

Author:  Stat_Rad [ Sat Sep 15, 2018 12:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Film Thread VI

There are at least 10 Ford films that I would put before The Searchers.

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