Tag Archives: movies

Interstellar does not look stellar to me.

We saw a lot of movies in the theater this summer. An unusually high number (for us).

I quickly reached the point where I could only endure the trailer for Interstellar by imagining all of the characters who go into space (for no apparent reason) eventually crash land on a planet of apes.

If I see the trailer too many more times I may have a psychotic break, because there’s something about it that irritates me. A lot. I don’t know what the movie is about. I don’t care.

Husband’s plot summary is good enough for me. Granted, it’s also based on seeing the same trailer too many times. Everyone’s a critic these days.

According to Husband, the plot of Interstellar is this: “Matthew McConaughey loves his children but he hates wheat. He probably loved baseball, but not as much as he loves his old truck and his children. People play too much baseball which results in all of the old trucks in the world being covered with dust. This endangers humanity, and possibly the wheat, so Alfred must send Catwoman and Matthew McConaughey into space. McConaughey is sad to leave his children. How sad? Really fucking sad. But he’s got to go, because we need a new planet to play baseball on. But he’s really really sad anyway.”

Here – in case you’ve managed to miss it:

Bermuda Tentacles

Like all battleships that venture into the Bermuda triangle looking for the President of the United States, the heroes of Bermuda Tentacles have a worm scientist on board. This is useful when the convoy of ships are beset by giant worms reaching out of the water to menace them.

I’m making it sound an awful lot better than it is.

Admiral Linda Hamilton asks Dr. Worm Science Guy Played by Jamie Kennedy: “Do they seem hostile?”

He replies: “I don’t know…they’re worms. (dramatic pause) They do seem angry.”

Huh.

In addition to the questions I was forming about that scientific assessment of the situation, I wondered why a movie called Bermuda Tentacles would be about worms.

Later, I sort of got my answer, but by that point I was of the opinion: “Worms. Tentacles. Who the hell cares?”

Linda Hamilton makes a commanding Admiral, but each of her scenes ended with her looking like she was going to angrily turn her agent into a chew toy as soon as the camera stopped rolling. And well she should, this movie was more crap than craptacular.

Bermuda Tentacles

Godzilla Countdown

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I recently finished a draft of an article about Pacific Rim (2013) that required re-watching both Gojira (1954) and Godzilla: King of the Monsters! (1956), which I thought were permanently etched into my brain because I wrote numerous papers including them as an undergrad studying the Cold War and Nuclear Culture.

Criterion remastered both movies and put them together as a BluRay set (also available on some streaming services). It’s been a long time since I’ve seen Gojira, I was surprised how much I’d forgotten. This is probably because I’ve seen Godzilla so many times it’s pretty much over-written the other movie in my brain.

It’s fascinating to watch them back to back again. Both are melodramatic and slightly nonsensical, but Gojira is artistic and intensely political, while Godzilla is generally just silly and over-wrought.

More than 1/3 of Gojira’s scenes were cut to make room for the insertion of new scenes featuring American actors, and, to be fair, it’s impressive how well Godzilla works.

It’s always interesting to see how much of the story was changed, re-arranged, or simply obscured through the omission or lack of translation for some of the original dialogue.

Here are Criterion’s 3 Reasons to Watch Gojira:

After you watch those two movies, you’ll be ready to move on to Godzilla Raids Again (1955), which is a delightfully bonkers piece of movie-making. I’m certain the original movie must be wacky, but it’s the epic amount of narration added to the American version that truly elevates this movie to instant classic status.

Godzilla Raids Again makes a perfect double feature with King Kong versus Godzilla, which was re-edited to make a strange movie even stranger, although I’m not certain that was the intention.

The actor playing the American scientist doesn’t pronounce reptile properly. He keeps saying “reptull,” which is odd since he’s supposed to be a specialist in reptulls, er, I mean, reptiles.

The plot: someone decides it’s a swell idea to go get a giant gorilla and bring him to Tokyo to fight a giant prehistoric dinosaur. Sure, why not? And then there’s a whole pharmaceutical company subplot, the racist depiction of natives in the King Kong acquisition scenes, something involving hallucinogenic red berries, and a giant octopus attack.

Don’t miss the Interpretive Kong Dance Extravaganza!


Husband and I are definitely ready to see the new Godzilla Thursday. I’m going to be very sad if it sucks like the 1998 Godzilla did. It’s okay for a Godzilla movie to be Bad, but it should never be boring and stupid.

That movie was boring and stupid and let us never speak of it again.

Here’s the Official Godzilla (2014) Trailer:

If you want to know more about the evolution of the Godzilla movies, William Tsutsui’s Godzilla on My Mind: Fifty Years of the King of Monsters is an entertaining and informative read.

Abita

Abita is a haunting animated short that portrays the impact of the Fukushima tragedy on the children in the region.

Abita from Shoko Hara on Vimeo.

This film, which has such a clean and simple visual style, grows more haunting with repeated viewings. The sound design is particularly beautiful.

The filmmakers chose the dragonfly because it is symbolic of the island of Japan. They write, in answer to a viewer’s question about the symbolism, that the dragonfly “…symbolizes hope, perspective, dream, energy in Japan and it unites all the natural elements like water, earth and air….The Dragonfly represents the innerworld of the child, that it wants to be free in nature, but it can’t.”

Abita is a Graduate Thesis film by Shoko Hara and Paul Brenner.

New readers may be unaware of an incident in the Fall when “activists” (read: profiteers and hucksters) set their sights on my blog. Promoting fish farming in the Great Lakes with hysterical propaganda about the dangers of eating fish caught by indigenous commercial fisheries in the Pacific Northwest, making false or unverified health claims in an effort to sell affluent California parents anti-radiation pills for their children, and propagating a reframing of the nuclear disaster as an insidious plot to poison America topped the trolling topics hit parade.

In all of that noise, the plight of the vulnerable populations closest to the disaster are easily forgotten.

Christmas movies: a trio of terror. Or laughs. One of those.

AddamsSantas
If you’re looking for some holiday movies to go along with that bottle of bourbon Santa left under the tree, here’s a trio that will guarantee your whole family needs therapy for years to come.

Rare Exports (2010) is a 3 year old Finnish horror/comedy for the whole (Addams) family. It’s a really good movie.

The other two movies on this list? Not so much.

Santa Claus (1959) is the heartwarming tale of the year Santa fought the Devil. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964) features a young Pia Zadora. Enough said. Neither of those films should be viewed in their original form. Trust me, you’ll break your brain. Mystery Science Theatre 3000 (MST3K) versions of both are readily available on Netflix, Amazon, Youtube, etc.


Rare Exports trailer:

Bonus!
The Rare Exports Safety Video (a 10 minute short/sequel to the original movie):

Santa Claus (MST3K edition)

MSTK3K presents Santa Claus Versus the Martians (MST3K edition):


Merry Christmas!

image: The Addams Family Christmas episode (1965)