Review: CATS (2019)

CATS_MPSo I did something out of the ordinary (for me, as least). I went and saw a film I didn’t like the first time with hopes that the second time would me somewhat more enjoyable. It wasn’t, but at least what I saw was a bit more polished and I kind of got it a tad more. Yeah, I saw CATS again. Granted, the first time was a freebie, as a friend had planned to take his wife when the film opened. They went to see the last Star Wars film together and CATS was her pick for the next film they were to see, but she got sick, so I got called up as a last minute substitute player. I still haven’t seen that Star Wars movie yet, by the way.

Anyway, I was astounded by how very well-made but very off-putting this expensive film was and started writing a review in response, the opening paragraph which is below:

I was planning to save this one for when my writer’s block was slamming a book down on my fingers, but this review is practically writing itself for me as we speak. CATS is so very memorably atrocious that if we ever get visited by alien life in the future, I think those aliens will somehow unearth a print that’s been buried somewhere and may think we were ruled by a feline race that we made extinct because we got to see them as they really were.

There was more, but after looking at the finished review, I ended up trashing it it because it wasn’t constructive at all and even though I managed to make it a tidy 501 words, not too many of them were positive. So, I decided to chalk it up to the unfinished quality of the first run print’s unacceptable CG and yesterday afternoon, I flipped a coin and went to see it again, as the fixed version was out making the rounds. Mistake, meet blessing in disguise, as there was a blind person in front of me using a folding cane buying a pair of tickets to the showing.

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Random Film of the Week: Dracula/Horror of Dracula (1958)

dracula_01

Now, that’s a title screen, Isn’t it?

draculaAmusingly enough, I was wearing a Famous Monsters of Filmland T-shirt I got as a gift when I ran into an older neighbor in the supermarket last week who mentioned that as a kid, her parents took her to see Horror of Dracula back in 1958. She was only 8 years old, but was a big fan of sci-fi and horror movies, noting her parents were as well, and they’d make trips to the movies regularly. She noted she couldn’t sleep for about a month or so, but not because of Dracula, mind you, as (spoiler!) he’s as dead as a door nail at the end of the film (well, until his revival in the next films), but because of his brides.

She was convinced they were going to come after her for some reason and I noted that I’m sure many people who’ve seen this film sure as heck wanted a nibble on the neck from any of the lovely ladies in that film, vampires or not. Maybe even a few too many nibbles.

She laughed, and said “I know, but there was one in particular… what’s her name? The one that looked like a cat?” I thought for a few seconds and guessed correctly it was Andrée Melly, who indeed did look like a cat, and yes, briefly played that favorite bide of too many others as well. The neighbor let out a loud laugh. “Well that was fast! I guess she made an impression on you, too!”, which made me laugh as well, as there’s a pun in there she didn’t realize she was making. Anyway, we chatted a bit more and I helped her get a big aluminum baking pan off a high shelf for the ham she was making, as family was visiting that weekend. She paid for her groceries and left with a wave, thanking me for jogging her memory.

Dracula_05

Meow! Careful. I hear she bites…

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(Not So) Random Film(s) of The Week: The Thing (1982)

The Thing JB_RJ

With his trusty bottle of J&B to keep warm, R.J. MacReady (Kurt Russell) and Vance Norris (Charles Hallahan) try quite unsuccessfully to make snow angels.

THE THING sfSo, what did YOU do during last week’s too damn hot weather? Me, I dragged my slightly sickly self out in that nasty, unbearable heat to go sit in a nice, well-chilled home with seven other people with the express purpose of making some of them scream. No, I didn’t do my *legendary* crowd-pleasing Chippendale’s act, people (wait, I have a Chippendale’s act?). I simply put a very old plan into action I’d successfully executed a few times in the distant past in introducing a fine horror film to some friends who had either never seen it previously, have only seen a heavily edited for TV version or yes, just disliked scary movies.

Sharp-eyed readers may have noticed that I’ve actually previously reviewed an older DVD version of the 1982 John Carpenter film and I’ve also deconstructed the 2011 prequel which I found okay, but lacking in some respects (I think the studio meddled a bit too much with the film, turning it into less than what director Matthijs van Heijningen intended to be a more solid horror experience). Now, I didn’t just show up unannounced, tie seven people to assorted furniture and force them to watch the movie, so there. Nope, as a matter of fact, I was actually asked to host a little screening party by a friend who borrows movies from me on a semi-regular basis.

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Loving The Alien: E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

 

The best film directors are master manipulators who can magically transform an entire theater audience into a group of happy to sappy sapient lemmings or wide-eyed marionettes easily controlled from start to end credits. Their best films have the masses cheering the heroes, hissing at the bad ones, empathizing with the downtrodden and generally feeling whatever emotion a scene calls for. Yes, there are exceptions to this non-rule (too-likeable villains, swapping out all attempts at sympathy for more explosions and eyeball rolling plot twists you can see coming 20 minutes before they occur). But when you get right down to it, you know your cinematic needs are being taken care of when certain directors are at the helm.

Or, as an old friend once said:

(thanks, svofski!) 

In other words, this is a Spielberg film, folks.
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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

Jem and the Holograms Trailer: Welcome To The Blonder-dome

Jem and the Holograms MPNot being a fan at all of the old cartoon and spending time watching a few too many old episodes over the last week or so makes me an easy judge of how this film will do at the box office. The answer is “terribly or worse” for a few key reasons. Reasons one and two: Based on poking around the internet and reading a few too many “totally outrageous!” comments, the older fans didn’t ask for it and the younger ones don’t really exist. That is, unless they have parents trying too hard to be their best friends and think this is a gateway to that friendship.

Cue the future news stories of kids possibly bumping off those parents in their sleep after being taken to see this turd.

It’s also perhaps somewhat sadistic (or masochistic, depending on how you angle that shoe mirror) of them if those parents dragging their tweens to this think it’ll be as “cool” as the show was only to find out they’ve been unfriended before or during the end credit roll. That’s going to be one long, looooong drive home from the multiplex is all I’m saying. (THAT said, okay, okay. I kind of liked the writing in some of the episodes, so I’ll blame the great Christy Marx and the shows other writers for making me enjoy most of those episodes, grrrr!)

Um, where was I again? Oh, yeah…

Sorry, but the whole sappy dramatic movie of the week look of this unspecta-clueless trailer screams “Lifetime quickie flick!” more than something worth paying money to sit stupefied in front of. Hell, at least the live action Josie and the Pussycats flick didn’t go for schmaltzy “realism” at all. It wasn’t a good film at all either, but it at least went down in flames winking at itself. Anyway, Hollywood has been suffering from remake-itis for decades, but this cobbling of ancient cartoons and TV shows only boomers who haven’t grown out of them yet will recall with any sort of warm nostalgia (nope, that’s not a mild case of incontinence) is getting out of hand. Ah well. This one will pop up on cable within what, eight or nine months of its theatrical release? Probably. Will I watch it? Probably not. But curiosity has drawn many to many a train wreck, so as always… we shall see.

Music To Die For: Song of the New Wine

(thanks, LesbianVampireLover!)
 

Not to make today any extra gloomy (it’s not, but I know some of you are sensitive like that with some subjects), but we all have to go sometime. Although we can’t always pick the manner of our demise (er, under “normal” circumstances), it’s nice to have the time to really plan out everything one can in regards to how our friends and families celebrate our time spent here. Of course, this is just an excuse to play this clip from 1943’s awesome Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man which just so happens to be awesome thanks to that clip above. That said, I hope someone plays this at my funeral or at least hums it before things get all sappy. Everybody sing, now!

When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Stuff Stuff.

stuffed cabbage round two 002 (Large)
 

“My hobby is stuffing things. You know, taxidermy. And I guess I’d just rather stuff birds because I hate the look of beasts when they’re stuffed…”

(You Know Who as You Know Who from You Know What, You Know When)

stuffing thingsOkay, so it’s not perfectly rolled golabki at all (and YES, I added a bit to a lot more pureed tomato before popping both dishes in the oven). But that what I do when my brain is boiling over at stupid stuff others do. I cook something to relax or pretend I’m cooking my problem to relax or something. Nope, I’m not going to eat all that stuffed cabbage. Some will go to mother dear and I’ll probably freeze the rest. Given that it’s only the second time I’m making this dish (using bits of a few online recipes just to mix things up) I think it’ll turn out as well as the first time or even better. Results will appear in about an hour and a half or so. Maybe I’ll put up a second post… but don’t bet on it. I have a few fish to fry before the evening is over (and I’m not talking about actual fish).

Um, anyone else want to come over for dinner? Sixteen pieces of stuffed cabbage can serve about four more hungry folks and I put some potato slices in both dishes just because I had two spuds left and they do go well with cabbage…

stuffed cabbage round two 003 (Large)

Mezco’s Talking Mega Scale 15″ Chucky: “Best Friends Forever”… But Not One of the Good Guys

Chucky Says HiWell, now. Chucky’s back in action, this time in a new Mezco Toyz figure bound to scare up some sure sales among collectors when it ships out this September. Be very polite and don’t forget to wave and smile back, now. You really wouldn’t want to get Chucky angry with you, not even a little bit.

Mezco’s latest take on the classic horror villain from the Child’s Play and Chucky films stands 15″ tall and features real cloth Good Guys clothing, 11 points of articulation, a plastic knife and his trademark flaming orange hair. Did I mention he also talks, saying seven phrases from the movies? Well, he does. Nope, “I Can Talk” isn’t from any of the films, but seeing that in the image below made me immediately chuckle and think “Well, I can run away while you talk!” as well as “Exit, Stage Left!”

Mezco Talking Chucky Anyway, you can pre-order the Talking Mega Scale 15″ Chucky by clicking away on that handy link I’ve provided. It’s $94 worth of scares coming your way, but you knew that from the moment you laid eyes on him. Make some room for him, or he’ll be pretty upset when he arrives and has to lurk about in his shipping box while you clear out that space you should have beforehand. If he starts yapping away in that box before you get to opening it, that’s not a good sign at all…

Some Sunday Toy Fair Musings…

Let’s see now:

Jurassic World  Stuff
 

Expect to see a LOT of Jurassic World merchandise coming for the upcoming film. Yes, Universal ran the same old trailer fans have already seen, but there’s a nice amount of new toys on the way that were unseen until the event earlier today. Dinosaurs everywhere would be a problem in real life for sure. But it looks like the licensing agreements on this film will bring kids (and adults) into those walking future fossil fuel sources will get plenty of folks into the stores before and after they hit the theaters.

Jurassic World Stuff 1
 

As for those Minions, well, my bad poetry databank has been reactivated, so expect to read some ear curling stuff about that toy line shortly. That long trailer was pretty funny and it looks as if the third go-round with the little yellow guys may be the best yet. As for the merchandise, some items are returning from Despicable Me 2, but in updated form, there are new items that will make the kids (and parents) crack up, and yes, expect your disposable income to become a lot more disposable once the film hits.

Minions Stuff
 

More on both toy lines shortly. I’ve a lot of ground to cover over the next few weeks and two more days at the show in this stupidly lousy cold weather we’ve been socked with. It’s worth it, though…