Thursday, July 1, 2010

Short Movie Reviews

Unless noted by "(DVD)" these were watched streaming.

Spice World is a movie I watched as a lark. Judge me if you like, but I enjoyed it. I was never big on their music, but often found comfort in the gentle sway of Scary Spice's unbrassiered frame... Where was I? Oh. This movie is only as stupid as any other of its type. It is at least as good as Help! and has a number of big stars. Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry have cameos. Roger Moore, Jules Holland, Johnathan Ross, Bob Hoskins. I swear I saw Michael Caine for a moment. The movie is fun and cheesey.

Verdict: Go ahead and watch it if you get the chance.

Dune does indeed go with the previous film, as it is another Spice world. ;-) I will not say much, as much has been said over the years. I like it, and think it is a great accomplishment. The book is so inner dialogue driven that it does not transfer easily to the screen, but David Lynch and company do a fine job. It is a lot like a gritty, unpolished Flash Gordon with a steampunk edge. It can be slow, but it is interesting.

Verdict: If you are into sci-fi you should watch this one if only to notch your belt.

The Hebrew Hammer is a blaxploitation parody along the lines of I'm Gonna Get You, Sucka save that the hero is a "certified circumcised dick" out to save Chanukah from the new, anti-Semitic Santa Claus. With the help of the Kwanzaa Liberation Front and the Jewish Justice League, Mordecai Jefferson Carver, The Hammer, is out to take the Gentile down. He's "the baddest Heeb, this side of Tel Aviv."

Verdict: Funny, but not for those with culturally sensitive natures.

The Adventures of Pluto Nash was watched for two reason: Rosario Dawson and Pam Grier. I was surprised at how good this was, for not being all that good. It's not funny enough to funny, and not action-y enough to be action, but somehow it works. It's a watchable film if a) you have cheap/easy access to it, and b) are a little bored on a Sunday afternoon. There are a lot of big stars in this film, and I seem to remember it being a huge flop. Oh well.

Verdict: Not as bad as it could have been.

Shutter Island I am on the fence about. At the end I felt there were some things missing, and some things addressed that had no place in the film. Some of the confusion over who-was-who was necessary for the mystery aspect. It had Max von Sydow (second film in this post, though I am surprised he's not in all of them) as a bad guy, so how bad could it be? I have seen worse. It was interesting. Kind of a fun whodunit. (DVD)

Verdict: Worth a watch.

Doctor Who: Pyramids of Mars - I watched this because it was recommended by my wonderful readers, and also because it had intrepid reporter Sarah Jane Smith. Oddly, this is one of the few 4th Doctor stories I actually remember from my youth. The Doctor and Sarah Jane, aided by the oddly named and rather incompetent Dr. Warlock battle the Egyptian god Set, or Sutekh as he is known here, to prevent him from destroying life throughout the universe.

Verdict: Sarah Jane Smith. Kraftwerk costumes. Fake Egyptians. Watchable old-school fun.

Flesh for Frankenstein is a Paul Morrissey film, "presented" by Andy Warhol, staring Udo Kier as the Doctor. This really demands a full review, but I have no idea where to start. Think of a film made by Hammer and written by Ed Wood after his conversion to being a Serbian racial supremacist. Kill everyone by pulling their chicken livers out. Make the Monster gay... I mean, where would you start? I'll leave it to my more talented movie blogging colleagues to discuss this one in depth. I will say it was ridiculously fun to watch. If you don't mind a goofy, bloody, dirty film with questionable English language skills, you should enjoy it.

Verdict: Zanny

Salon Kitty is the story of a brothel set up by the S.S. in Nazi Germany to spy on their own officers. All the prostitutes are S.S. Auxiliary and keep track of the officers' intentions. In many places it is quite brutal, and if you are afraid of penises, turn away. Helmut Berger stars as a power hungry S.S. officer looking to gain greater influence. He is put in charge of the brothel, but begins using the secrets he gains to benefit his own position. Ultimately, he pisses off the wrong madame (Kitty) and prostitute. They beat him at his own game. (DVD)

Verdict: You probably have to enjoy Nazi movies. As I have said before, I hate Nazis, but they make great villains.


Rick Bman said...

I am going to try to watch Flesh for Frankenstein pretty soon. I'll let you know what I think.

I just started reading Dune so I will check out the movie as soon as I finish the book.

Darius Whiteplume said...

I think they handled Dune well, you've probably noticed how non-film-friendly the book is already.

BTW: There are some Dune prequel books by Herbert's son that are pretty good. I had them as audiobooks and Tim Curry reads them. Pretty cool stuff. Good look at the Harkonens in particular.

Flesh for Frankenstein is weird and wild. I have a bit more about it coming Monday.

Mickey Glitter said...

OMG. I just left The Best Comment Ever and the internets ate it. The jist of the comment was how much I love Sarah! Jane! in this serial (though as time goes by, I'm not a big fan of the Fourth Doctor) and how wonderful she was in it, from handling a gun pretty well (or so it seemed) to her witty comment about hoping Albert had not worn her dress to the lacy thing she draped on her head to her telling the Doctor to get over being middle aged. I just love her so much, it's not funny. Also, I am only familiar with Spice World (SCARY SPIRCE FTW!), Shutter Island (not what I expected), and Dune (has never interested me overly, except for Francesca Annis being in it), but the others you mention may be worth checking out. I think I may have to sign up for Netflix one of these days!

Dr. MVM said...

I love the Spice Girls, specifically Scary Spice. Thanks for those pics of her on your Tumblr, I enjoyed the heck out of them.

Darius Whiteplume said...

@MG - Sarah Jane was the best part of it. I get the feeling this ep was from the "we are campy and we know it" period.

@DMVM - Glad you like. I have a new appreciation for the SGs after seeing the film.

Nathan said...

I also liked Spice World. Sure, it was cheesy, but no more than most other band-based movies that aren't documentaries, and the Spice Girls were in on the joke. Mind you, I probably never would have watched it if it weren't for my wife, who also convinced me to see the Spice Girls live on their reunion tour.

Darius Whiteplume said...

@Nathan - The scenes when they were making fun of themselves, either as old or when they were impersonating each other, were good, but maybe also indicative of the break up?

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