Elevator (In)Action

(Thanks, HAMSTER Corporation!)

A few days ago, I got stuck in the elevator here with another guy who, after we let Security know of the issue via intercom and they said they were on it, started asking me about sports. Well, that was a dull, but enlightening (for him, I think) mercifully brief conversation. I told him I didn’t really watch sports except when I popped by a friend’s place and a sport of choice was on TV. If I’m asked who I like, I almost always counter ask “which team is winning?”, which by the way, has gotten me a few mean looks over the years, but quite a few more laughs. Like a perfect pitch, it’s all in the delivery, I guess. Well, and it depends on a good mix of catchers and not some folks who want to hit you hard with bats, as well.

give us that watch

It’s a mugging, I say!

Anyway, I think the guy looked at me as if I was a space alien visiting from somewhere, but my joke about the elevator being a busted TARDIS went a few feet above his head. It’s a good thing I made no jokes about needing a new companion in my travels, as if you don’t get one Doctor Who joke, you certainly won’t get a second one. I did mention that I have played some sports-themed video games and still do from time to time, so at least he was looking at me a lot less suspiciously after that information.

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Random Film of the Week: Brainstorm (1983)

brainstorm_03

What you really want to see when the nurses come for you…

brainstorm_MP1A few years back, The second thing I thought of when Facebook snapped up “virtual reality” headset maker Oculus was this flawed but still incredible 1983 sci-fi film directed by Douglas Trumbull. Unfortunately, Brainstorm slipped into theaters under the dark cloud of Natalie Wood’s mysterious off-set death as a work that some at the time debated should have been scrapped entirely. At the time, I liked Trumbull’s technical mastery more than the cast’s straightforward performances. Upon seeing the film again recently, I liked it more, but I also think it’s one of the few films where a modern remake would fix a few things such as sofa-sized and room-sized computers and those super-bulky tapes and that huge headset helmet prototype. Then again, that old tech is kind of what makes the film so effective, as it sure looks like all that wiring and doodads do something.

Despite some workman-like performances from its cast, Trumbull’s direction and his blending standard 35mm camerawork and outstanding widescreen shots of real life vistas and indoor locales plus assorted visual effects that predated IMAX in its use of dynamic screen ratio changes. The often stunning widescreen sequences were shot in Super Panavision 70 with an aspect ratio of 2.2:1 are the real stars here. Still, there’s an air of gloom that hangs over the entire film thanks to one character’s on-screen fate that makes you wish the thought-capturing device in the film actually existed, but had a ‘rewind life’ function added. As dry as the pedestrian plot is, the imagery is at times, some breathtaking stuff that mixes in mundane to high flying activities as the assorted fantasy to nightmare sequences play out.

(thanks, BreadCrustCouncil!)

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Happy Almost New Year (Burying The Hatchet With Haste Edition)


 

This year has been significantly… bumpy (to put it mildly). Here’s hoping 2017 gets off to a better start, although it’s going to be rough seas ahead in some important areas. I’m expecting mistakes to be made with either no or poor to unacceptable excuses made for each error that erases something that was just fine before the hammer fell on its foot hard. And that’s just here on the getting stuff done front, ha and ha-ha.

Or, to get real, let’s use Psycho II (a far better film than some give it little to no credit for) as a perfect analogy of just how crappy this year has been on some key fronts. That murderous old lady is 2016 and NormanBates is 2017. It’s your move, Norm:

(Thanks, IntgrScienceFilms3!)
 

Okay, let me shut up and go try to be a bit more productive. If I don’t post anything else today, Have a Happy New Year celebration, be safe and better yet, be prepared for the coming storm or at least, be ye not wholly surprised when wolfy promising yields rather sheepish results.

-GW

Random Film of the Week: Hundra

Hundra DVDIs Matt Cimber‘s 1983 sword and not an ounce of sorcery flick Hundra a “great” movie?  Well, that depends on one’s perspective on these sorts of fantasy movies. If you go in with “epic” level  expectations from what’s basically a very straightforward and competent “B” movie with a nice mix of action and humor, that answer might be “nope.”

On the other hand, it’s not bad at all if you bust out the popcorn and fizzy adult beverages and don’ forget to grab a few like-minded friends who enjoy stuff like Xena: Warrior Princess or other fun shows or films with strong female leads. In that case, you’re in for a pretty solid time in front of the TV, warts and all.

(Thanks, Cinema Epoch!)

Laurene Landon‘s striking looks and gung-ho athletic ability (she did her own stunts) outstrips her less than dynamic acting talents here. But her raw performance really works well for the film’s purposes because she’s playing a wild female warrior type in search of a man to impregnate her so she can restart her slain nomadic tribe’s lineage.

“Say whaaaaaat?” Continue reading

The Sword & Sandal Blogathon Kicks Sand in My Mojo-Stopper’s Face

ss7 

Stuff is still slightly bumpy here on a few key levels (I’m having the worst luck with tech in this crazy year of stuff breaking or vanishing), but from the heavens comes some inspiration. THANKS, Debs!. I’ll be doing covering Hundra, Matt Cimber’s underrated 1983 fantasy flick that features an exuberant performance from Laurene Landon in the title role. Keep an eye peeled… or I’ll do it for you, grrr!.

Back in a bit.

Sure, Computer! How About You Work Properly For The Next Week?

(Thanks, Technomage116!)
 

Whee. I finally figured out what was wrong with the laptop, and it was nothing I did but a driver going rogue and mucking up my work life. Boo. Ah, technology… you stink for us less brainy types. Anyway, it’s now a matter of getting somewhere with a speedier connection to fix the issue (albeit temporarily). Blue Screen o’ Death, you can’t stop me! But I’m still buying a new laptop in a few days just because I need to upgrade and this old thing is on its last legs and flaunting that fact HARD. Okay, let me post this before the stupid thing locks up or crashes again. I just did a registry cleaning after uninstalling a bunch of not-needed stuff in order to free up a bit of extra space on the HDD and that seems to be helping a tiny bit. Oh, the backing up of data and reinstalling stuff on the soon to be new computer will be “fun” for sure. Does anyone remember ALL their passwords these days? I thought not.

Blu-Ray Review: Blood Rage

Blood Rage AV018Just in thyme for your Thanksgiving film feast, Arrow Video via MVD Visual strikes again with the perfectly themed (and definitely NOT for the whole family!) horror flick, 1983’s Blood Rage. If you’re a horror film fan who’s scratching your head raw and thinking out loud “Hey, I never heard of this one before!”, well… you’re not incorrect there, pal. Actually, director John Grissmer’s film wasn’t released in that year or even with that particular title. It came in on the tail end of the slasher flick craze and seemed to be deemed too violent for a genre that had gotten “tamer” over the course of the early 80’s.

The film finally hit theaters in 1987 as a heavily edited but still “R” rated version with the more generic title NIGHTMARE AT SHADOW WOODS, which is thankfully included in this special edition package along with a third cut of the film that combines footage from both versions into a big, bloody meal. And if it’s special features you want, Arrow’s got you well covered with a slew of features including interviews with cast members (Louise Lasser, Mark Soper), visual effects artist Ed French, and producer/actress Marianne Kanter on how this one came together and how she ended up in the film as a victim of one of the more outrageously icky cinematic murders of that era. A high body count, an overall offbeat tone, plenty of cheesy synth tunes tickling your eardrums and some solid and yucky gore effects from Ed French make this one a real treat.
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Busy Bee-ing Busy. Results to Follow Shortly…

Up for air and still buried? How about that? Anyway, just a quickie note to note that I;m working on some content for this and another site today and into the coming week, so keep an eyeball peeled for updates. I suppose I could tell you what’s coming, but I like to toss a surprise or three at you and see if you can juggle a bit. Anyway, let me get back to knocking out what I need to knock out, and I don’t mean myself. It’s a wee bit warm in here and it’s a wee bit cold outside, which is normally a good thing. Except I’ve not been out all day thanks to my needing to catch up on stuff. Speaking of catching up, still no new kitchen ceiling and wall, which has gotten old already. I think they’re waiting until after the 19th when the wall in the home office gets taken care of to kick off phase two. I suppose I’ll need to take some before and after photos as a document of some sort, but I’m expecting these clowns to just make the place look exactly as it looked before they busted it up.

(Thanks, dodgybizkit!)
 

Well, with a fresh coat of paint on the new walls they’re putting in, of course.

You’d Think Reliability Was A Crime These Days…

VectrexThe nice thing about owning old stuff is finding it still works when new stuff no longer does. Case in point, my Vectrex console. I’ve had three of them over time and own one now, but not because I had to replace them at all. The first one I gave to some guy who was going through some hard times and needed something to do while recuperating from an operation. The second I sold off to someone who wanted it and paid me well for it and a bunch of boxed games. The third one (pictured) I bought about 14 years back and it gets some use every now and then, but not as much as I have time for. It’s heavy and built like a tank, unlike most of today’s consoles that break down from all sorts of stupid internal and external issues… Continue reading

Random Film of the Weekend: Under Fire

(Thanks, robatsea2009!)

Under Fire MPIf it were released today, Roger Spottiswoode’s excellent drama Under Fire would probably carry an unfortunate “inspired by a true story” label it really didn’t require. While the film is a fine work on its own right, it’s at least partly inspired by the 1979 killing of ABC News journalist Bill Stewart and his translator by Nicaraguan National Guard forces, a tragic event that was shot on the sly by his cameraman from a nearby van and televised worldwide.

In the film, this moment comes fairly late in its running time, is staged differently and happens to one of the three American reporters we get to see go through hell as they try to survive the upsurge in violence that sweeps the country and eventually targets them…

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