• Picnic at Hanging Rock

    Picnic at Hanging Rock

    Did not finish.

    Had a high concept double-feature planned, following up The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre with this, but the side effects from the methotrexate I take for lupus symptoms kicked in and I became too loopy/cranky to follow through.

    The movie:

    (opening title card)

    On Saturday 14th February 1900 a party of schoolgirls from Appleyard College picknicked at Hanging Rock near Mt. Macedon in the state of Victoria.

    Me: Hey, Boo Boo, Let’s Go Get Us A Pic-A-Knick Basket…

  • The St. Valentine's Day Massacre

    The St. Valentine's Day Massacre

    Neither Cult Status Corman nor Surprisingly Good, Actually Corman but Mainstream Journeyman Corman. Hardly extraordinary but has more than a few interesting touches.

    At 6:45 on the last morning of his life, John May takes an early bus to work. He has been promised a $10 bonus if he can replace the transmission on one of the gang’s cars before noon.

    Gangs as corporations chaired by unstable narcissists who are alternately enabled and stymied by their handpicked underlings, who themselves…

  • Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

    Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

    This installment sees the glorious return of didactic Star Trek: the fall of the Space Berlin Wall looms over Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise when Space Chernobyl forces the Space Mongol Evil Empire to seek Space Detente. Will Kirk overcome his Space Racism to become a Space Centrist?

    Plummer’s Chang shouldn’t work (for one thing, the over-the-top, literature-quoting, viewscreen-based antagonist is too close to Khan for comfort) but his abnormally calm demeanor makes him scary. Chang is the…

  • Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

    Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

    I see at least some of what Shatner is going for here, I really do. I don’t think he’s able to pull it off. In a sense, the difference between The Motion Picture and The Final Frontier is that Wise had more technical experience and resources to throw at a production cursed from the start than Shatner did.

    It does help that this film steals from the greats: the prologue that mashes up Lawrence of Arabia and Mad Max is…

  • Groundhog Day

    Groundhog Day

    It's been long enough since I'd seen this last that it was enjoyable, although fittingly I remembered nearly all of the beats. (I was, however, floored to realize Michael Shannon is in this; in my memories he springs to life fully formed in Tigerland.)

    I've disliked Bill Murray since I was a kid: the bully playing at being an underdog. I dislike his characters even more in middle age, partly in acknowledgement of how much of my own cynical humor…

  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars

    Star Wars: The Clone Wars

    I watched this because I started listening to a Clone Wars rewatch podcast, even though I’ve never seen any of Clone Wars. I like other stuff the same people have done, and I guess I am more susceptible to suggestion than I might like to admit, particularly since nearly everything I’ve written about Star Wars that isn’t The Last Jedi is mixed-to-negative at best but I keep doing this to myself.

    Anyway, I have now seen this "movie," which serves as setup for the Clone Wars series. Having done so, I don’t wanna watch Clone Wars. I wanna go home and rethink my life.

  • End of the World

    End of the World

    This is a weird movie, with two major things working in its favor: the beginning, and the ending. The cold open establishes that we’re going to be dealing with odd and violent events, possibly but not necessarily of a supernatural nature, with Christopher Lee in a prominent role. Good stuff. The climax poses a moral/ethical dilemma familiar to science fiction of a certain type, but in a comparatively effective and grim (if budget friendly) way that actually commits to the…

  • Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

    Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

    This feels like it wants to be (and perhaps should have been) not just the finale for the “Khan trilogy,” but the valedictory installment for the original series cast. The tone is irreverent, the stakes are irrelevant, and the tipping point into unintentional self-parody is imminent. As a habitual killjoy I should be haughtily adjusting my horn-rimmed glasses while cast and crew refuse to act their age on shore leave in San Francisco, but the mere sight of a Star…

  • Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

    Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

    The Motion Picture was the first movie I was taken to see in a theater. Wrath of Khan was the first movie I actually remember seeing in a theater. Although Phase I of my fandom would last another decade, Search for Spock was the last Star Trek movie I saw in a theater until the Abrams reboot. (I’m in the cohort The Next Generation was aimed at, but gradually became an original series diehard, abandoning TNG before the finale and…

  • Room 237

    Room 237

    Followed up The Beginning with another long-avoided cult following (in multiple senses) doc. In this one the on-camera subjects, and not just the audience, are the sort of obsessives who have been primed to trap themselves in mental hedge mazes of their own making. This is extremely Not Fun to watch and almost makes me feel a twinge of sympathy for Kubrick, which I would have doubted beforehand. (I can separate the artist from the art in Kubrick's case, but am not a fan of either.) I'm ambivalent on just how exploitative this film is, but am certain it's depressing either way.

  • The Beginning: Making 'Episode I'

    The Beginning: Making 'Episode I'

    Have heard about this for years: a fly-on-the-wall making-of that doubles as Exhibit A in the case against the prequel trilogy. Finally got around to watching it after listening to the first episode of A More Civilized Age: A Clone Wars Podcast. Despite knowing what I was going to see, and my antipathy to behind-the-scenes stuff generally (most creative people are vastly less interesting than their work), this really worked for me. The continuous officially-sanctioned availability of this might be the single greatest act of (unintentional?) integrity in the history of the Star Wars franchise.

  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

    Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

    The Motion Picture was the first film I was taken to (but am too young to remember). Wrath of Khan is the first movie I remember going to, but I can't remember watching the movie at all, just the overstimulation: the sudden hush as the house lights went down; emerging from a cavern of red velvet into the twinkling lights of midtown Manhattan after dark; the—shit, god damn it I miss going to the movies—

    OK. Better now.