Besides reviews for the recently released Cloverfield and There Will Be Blood, there are plenty more to check out, including my take on Jess Franco's Vampyros Lesbos (gotta love lesbian vampires!), Count Yorga, Vampire, and the aptly named Something Weird. I also revisit Bite Me!, featuring Misty Mundae as a stripper facing off against mutant spiders. Yowza!
Disclosure: I was asked by the folks at Wild Eye if I’d like some screeners to watch, and if I felt so inclined, they’d apprecieate it if I posted reviews of their offerings. My answer to them was “Hell yeah!”, and in a surprisingly short time I had two of their movies in my grubby hands.
These guys are starting to release old made-for-TV thrillers and horror flicks. This is the Rocket Jones review of the second one, in my own informal style (the first, Crawlspace, can be found here). As an added bonus, Wildside Cinema has asked me to post reviews there as well (in their own format). So the astute businessmen at Wild Eye are getting a two-fer, which should be a lesson to all, Rocket Jones is an efficient use of your resources and you should all send me free screeners to review. End disclosure and shameless self-promotion.
When you or I hear someone ask, "who's yer daddy?", we chuckle (or pant, depending on the situation I suppose). Yet when Diane hears it, the correct answer is "SATAN", although she doesn't know it yet.
The Devil's Daughter (1973), tells the story of a young woman who has one helluva pedigree. Rosemary's Baby introduced us to the idea of the Dark Lord's child being born, and this movie (airing a few years later, and three years before The Omen), runs with the concept.
After Diane was born, her mother had misgivings about the agreement, so she found a loophole that kept the coven out of their lives for 21 years. Mom also found religion. This makes me wonder if the Devil is such a lousy lover that he drives women into the arms of Jesus.
So after mom dies, Diane returns home for the funeral and meets Lilith, an old family friend (translation: member of the coven). Lilith is played by Shelley Winters, who is one of Hollywood's most underappreciated actresses. Before you know it, Diane has moved into a spare room in Lilith's huge home, and is being introduced to more of her mom's circle of friends (translation: rest of the coven). More and more, Lilith tries to take control of Diane's life while Diane pushes back, trying to maintain her independence.
Besides the aforementioned Shelley Winters, Jonathan Frid (Dark Shadows) gives a fine performance and Abe Vigoda (Barney Miller) also makes an appearance. The acting from everyone is excellent, especially the sisters next door, who manage to be kooky eccentric and blood-chillingly creepy all at the same time.
Once again, this is a made-for-tv movie, so don't expect lots of action. Smart dialog rules here, and it works well to move the story along. Instead of scares, you get tension and edgy suspense. I honestly didn't see the twist ending coming.
The beginning of the movie shows a fair amount of damage from the original source. It clears up soon enough and the rest of the film looks good.
This movie was a lot of fun. I'm a sucker for most anything Shelley Winters appears in and you'll enjoy spotting many familiar faces in the cast.
After watching Crawlspace (which I liked) and now The Devil's Daughter (which I liked more), I think Wild Eye Releasing is off to a great start. I'm looking forward to seeing more of their stuff in the future.
After 11am and I'm the only one at home awake. The dog just wandered out after checking on me, no doubt he's headed back to the warmth and comfort of the bed, cuddled up against Liz, who's sleeping soundly. Even the rabbits are all dozing. I had quietly gone in a short bit ago, thinking that I'd get their morning feeding/cage tidying done, but all was quiet and still, so I crept back out and pulled the door to.
Our son was out very late. I have no idea what time he got home, because he beat us by a few hours at least. Yesterday, on a whim, I told Liz that if she let me nap from 6pm until 8 or so, I'd take her across the state line and she could spend some time playing the slots in West Virginia. We left the house around nine-ish and had dinner at an excellent 24-hour diner across from the Charlestown race track. The kind of place where the menu is about 15 pages of indecision-inducing variety including a full two pages of specials. It didn't hurt that our waitress was cute as a button and had that West Virginia country drawl. She also didn't hesitate to recommend that I stay away from the chili, since "I don't know who made it today, but it doesn't look good at all". It was busy, we had to wait a few minutes for a table, and when dinner arrived it came with an apology because there were nothing better than butter knives available. That last turned out not to be a problem because my pork chops (breaded with cracker meal) were fork tender and Liz's chicken parmesan was the same. We topped off our late dinner by sharing an enormous slice of heavenly cheesecake, easily big enough for two. A few weeks ago at some upscale eatery, Liz paid almost seven bucks for a slice of the same. This was half the price, twice the size and easily twice the quality.
Fat, dumb (me) and happy (Liz), we made the short run to the parking garage at the casino. Midnight on a Saturday is still prime gambling hours, but we found a space right next to the front entrance. Turned out to be the best luck of the night. I had brought a good book, and I settled in at the food court with a tall cuppa while Liz headed out to defy the odds.
A few hours later she pulled up in her power chair to check up on me. I'd gotten up a time or two for a quick stroll to stretch my legs, but mostly I'd been lost in my book. Neither of us had realized that it was after 3am, but Liz was ready to call it a night. The odds won as usual, but that's ok since she had fun and that was the main idea. Winning is gravy as far as I'm concerned.
Right down the street from the track was 24-hour super WalMart, and we had a short list of things we needed. We were going to have to go in the next few days anyways, so we made a quick shopping stop. Sharing the store with basically no one else except the stockers is different, dodging and weaving through the pallets and boxes stacked everywhere in organized chaos. The bunnies needed food, and the produce guy was kind enough to bring out the morning's freshest offerings early when he saw me picking through what was already out. After dealing with the surly drones at our local-est store, it was a little weird to have employees go out of their way to actually be, you know, helpful. I could get used to that.
Car loaded up again, we headed for home. Made one stop so I could get out and stretch and let the cold, cold morning air clear my sleepy head. I half expected a local cop to pull up to find out why we were parked in the darkened parking lot of a small-town strip mall. Got home about 6am, and Liz headed upstairs while I unloaded the groceries and got things put away. I whipped up a light breakfast and we were both asleep by 7:30.
The dog woke me up an hour ago to go out, and I just stayed up so my sleep cycle isn't completely out of whack. While typing this he came back and is curled up beside me, sharing the blanket I've got over my legs. It's Sunday noon now, and I've still got half a day left of a so-far excellent weekend. Hope yours was the same.
Check out this incredible video.
Now follow this link to get an explanation for what the hell it was you just watched.
Thanks to Mad William for the pointer. And yes, I could embed the video. I choose not to. Just because. I'm contrary that way.
Don't get caught without something unique for your sweetie!
Or for those who prefer that "homemade" touch...
Here's another alternative for those crafty types. Who knows, maybe you did this as a kid?
* Remember the old adage: buy low, sell high. Right now, prices are going down. You can afford more, and when the value increases, so will the return on your investments. And in the long run, the market always goes higher.
** I am not a professional financial analyst. I don't play one on TV. I didn't even sleep in a Holiday Inn last night.
If you get pulled over for speeding by a cop, you can try to talk him out of a ticket. But if he looks in your back seat and sees this, you might as well not even try.
Last night I watched Ran (translation: Chaos), which is another Japanese retelling of a Shakespeare story. This time, it's King Lear, and it's a dark and beautiful epic set (once again) in feudal Japan.
Storyline: A Great Lord decides to divide his kingdom into three, one for each son, with the oldest becoming the new Great Lord. When his youngest objects and calls his father naive, he is banished. Soon enough, intrigue and politics between the two older sons strip the old man of his standing and begin tearing the kingdom apart.
Like I said, dark and beautiful. There is no happy ending, and there are many disturbing scenes. The battles are frequent and huge, involving armies and castles. Even so, the very human story is never overwhelmed by the scope of the action. The entire film is heavily influenced by Noh theater, most noticable by the old man himself, who's face gradually changes from one mask-like visage to another during the course of the story.
The cinematography is gorgeous, as is the area of Japan that it was filmed in. It's not a quickie at 2 hours and 40 minutes, and there's not many chances to fast forward through the filler. All subtitles.
Like I said over at the Wildside Cinema forums, I think I'm Japanese'd out for a while. This one was wonderful but draining.
Her name is Butterscotch, and she's a one year old doe (picture to come later). We're fostering her for now, but our single rabbit Ozzie has been showing signs of loneliness lately, so we've decided to try to pair them up. It doesn't always work, and it doesn't always go as smoothly as it did with our other pair, Fred and Java, but we'll give this a shot and if it doesn't work out, then we have other young ladies to try.
The rabbit rescue we work with is Bunny Lu. Give 'em a visit and hit their donation jar if you feel so inclined.
But rather than making you refresh repeatedly to find it and driving up my site stats and inflating my ego, I'll just post it here too.
I've got another one in mind, but it involves some tricky photography and I just haven't felt ambitious enough to take it on.
By the way, there are now 42 Rocket Jones banners, plus three special occasion ones that I trot out for Christmas, Halloween and my birthday. Thanks again to all the folks who sent entries into the banner contest. If you like a banner, odds are good that it wasn't my work.
Thanks to the Queen of Slack for the pointer.
That's my title. It's a four minute video that is absolutely amazing.
This year, my beloved San Jose Sharks updated their logo.
Here's the old version (which I liked a lot):
And here's the new (which I also like a lot):
Solid update, says I.
I was just sitting here thinking about something and my eyes kinda went out of focus. The retro-style background on Rocket Jones works just like one of those magic eye pictures and if you're looking at it the right way, it goes 3-D!
Would you believe that I did that on purpose?
If you've ever wondered why the Libertarian party never caught on, you can get a clear picture over at Q&O. Let me explain.
A week or so ago one of the authors, Dale Franks, served on a jury where the bustee was caught smuggling over 1100 pounds of dope over the border from Mexico. Said gentleman was duly found guilty and sentenced to 10 years.
Seems pretty clear cut to me. Took a chance, did the crime, got caught, do the time.
I had no idea that that post would stir up an absolute whirlwind of batshit crazy. If you want to read the comments to that post, plus the followup posts here, here and here, it will prove to be an education.
For those not so inclined, my version reads thus (and I am *not* overstating this for effect):
A "true" libertarian wouldn't have allowed that conviction since the man was not doing anything morally wrong. He wasn't being aggressive, and no one was going to be hurt, therefore Dale Franks is personally responsible for that poor man being raped in prison for the next 10 years.
The only moral recourse for Dale Franks is to kill himself for the high crime of falsely claiming to be libertarian.
Dale Franks is also guilty of not thinking exactly like all the rest of the superior individualists who collectively call themselves libertarians.
I'm sure they'll be pleased to hear it, but after that display of utter nitwittery, there's no way in hell I would ever vote for a candidate who attracts support from that crowd.
Please note that I'm not slamming the guys at Q&O. They're a daily read, and I find them to be reasonable and interesting. They also managed to stay above the slime, despite the dreadful behavior of the swarm that descended and attempted to drag all down to their level.
Update: Dale Franks asks the question that bothered me most about the whole thing. Namely, what makes the smuggler "morally innocent"? Like Dale says, it's probably just going to stir it up again, but I think that it's an important question and needed to be asked.
See my take on Throne of Blood. Also, I reworked my review of Onibaba into the new format, so if you didn't catch it the first time around, now's your chance.
Wildside Cinema has branched out from pure horror and exploitation movies, so drop by and check it out. The forums are fun too.
Thanks to Owlish, who's feeling a bit under the weather, to put it mildly.
I've been on a Japanese classic movie kick lately. I watched Rashomon last week, which is a story about four eye-witnesses to a brutal rape and murder. None of the accounts agree with each other, and in most ways are mutually exclusive. It's a very powerful look at perception.
Next up was Throne of Blood, an amazing retelling of Shakespeare's Macbeth set in fuedal Japan. This one is now on my "to buy" list.
Right now, I have Ran, another Japanese retelling of Shakespeare. This time, it's King Lear.
If you cannot deal with subtitles, then you're missing out on some amazing movies. I've probably said that before.
Or maybe I'll just forego the heavy stuff and just enjoy some mindless breastacular hixploitation fun. I've got a double feature to watch: The Pigkeeper's Daughter and Sassy Sue.
I'm sure that when the time comes, I'll do the right thing.
I was making mashed potatoes the other night from scratch (I don't mind instant, but real ones are a treat). I went into the fridge and grabbed the carton of half&half and noted that it was almost empty, but there might've been enough.
Potatoes done, I tossed in some butter and dumped the half&half in... damn. Way too much. So I wound up adding instant mashed potatoes to the overly soupy mash to thicken it up. Kinda defeats the purpose, you know?
I've done that twice now.
Note: for those thinking, "well, that was a waste of time" I'd suggest enjoying the idea that I'm making light of myself and ignore the fact that you did, indeed, just waste your time reading about me screwing up mashed potatoes.
Note: not to mention the above note. Or this one, for that matter.
I received a new harmonica for Christmas and have been dutifully practicing. Not that it's a chore or anything, because making music - any kind of music - is fun and I've been doing it all my life. And though some people might find this video discouraging, I find it nothing but inspirational.
Thanks to Jimbo for the pointer.
First man to stand atop Mt. Everest, he died in hospital on Friday in Auckland, New Zealand. He was 88 years old.
Sir Edmund wrote of his and Tenzing's final push to the roof of the world: "Another few weary steps and there was nothing above us but the sky. There was no false cornice, no final pinnacle. We were standing together on the summit. There was enough space for about six people. We had conquered Everest."
They stayed about 15 minutes, taking pictures as proof, before descending again. He later greeted a fellow expedition member with the words:
Well, George, we've knocked the bastard off.
He will be given a New Zealand state funeral on January 22. Read more about this remarkable man and his equally remarkable life here (for a start).
God is male. We know this because boobs come in pairs.
I had no idea, but bald eagles are excellent swimmers:
Q. Can a Bald Eagle swim?
A. Great question. Absolutely. They are very good swimmers, and I've even seen older nestlings who can't fly yet swim. It's not uncommon for an eagle to "misjudge" and latch into a fish too heavy/large for it to fly with, so they then may swim quite a distance to shore (wouldn't want to let go of lunch now would we), drag the fish up on shore and then eat it.
This page has more swimming eagle stories, plus more links.
Zoe Brain points out this interesting article about mission patches for rockets carrying classified payloads, and what can be deduced from them.
Alternate title: A politician is a politician is a politician...
While the Democrats try to figure out whether it's more about "change" to nominate a woman or a black man, let's not forget that Republicans can also do serious damage to our freedoms.
For instance, in California (land of Ahhhnold) there's a little plan afoot.
Title 24, California's state-mandated energy regulatory code is about to be revised to implement a requirement that will allow the state to take control of the thermostat in every new home and office in the state.
You like it a little cooler in the summer? Willing to pay for the higher electric usage? Too bad, sucka. The state now controls the amount of heating and cooling in your house (I say heating because heat pumps do both jobs). Oh, and as written, it's not just new construction, it's also any "change" to an existing home's heating and a/c system. Betcha that "change" will be defined to include annual maintenance checkups too. Any takers?
Meanwhile, all the way across the country in Massachusetts (you know, where Mitt Romney used to be guv'ner), their state-mandated universal health care plan is showing signs of being in serious trouble. After it's first year of operation, costs are running 150 million dollars above projections, and non-participants are being fined up to $1,800.00.
One year. $150,000,000 over budget.
They want you to believe that they know better than you how to spend your money.
See those QandO links for quotes and more.
From McQ over at Q&O:
I was depressed last night so I called Lifeline.
Got a call center in Pakistan.
I told them I was suicidal.
They got all excited and asked if I could drive a truck.
Via YouTube. Not me, for those who were worried about that.
The Mets just signed outfielder Angel Pagan.
Fido is a sweet, funny, heartwarming and nostalgic look at the world back in the 1950's, just after the zombies attacked.
Think of this as a cross between Night of the Living Dead and Leave It To Beaver to get a general feel for the movie. As for the look, it's reminiscent of Edward Scissorhands, although greatly toned down from the pastel hell that Ed was.
The Robinson's are the only family on their block that don't own their own zombie, and status-conscious Mrs. Robinson is bound and determined to do something about that. When she finally orders one, Timmy and the zombie (whom he names Fido) become fast friends.
Of course, even the most domesticated zombie can still be dangerous, and that's where the problems begin. Through it all, we're treated to a family becoming closer than ever thanks to love, acceptance and the undead.
Ok, that's enough dancing around the plot. Despite the fact that in a very real way this is a family movie, Fido also features some blood and mild gore. It is, after all, a movie about zombies. There are disturbing scenes and some parts of these people's lives that are genuinely scary, but it's perfectly balanced by some of the most delightful situations and funniest writing I've experienced in a long time. We actually had to stop the movie once because we were laughing our asses off.
Believe it or not, actor Billy Connolly manages to give Fido a full range of emotions and motivations, making you care for him despite the fact that he never falls out of his zombie persona.
If you've ever wanted to introduce someone to horror movies, this is about the most gentle way I can imagine. It's what the Donna Reed Show would've been like if they added all the classic horror elements, and that, my friends, is excellence. Good enough to go straight to the top of my "to buy" list.
Fido. See it. Seriously.
Something or other is happening in Iowa today, and that's the only thing I can think of that I might possibly care about.
Mookie adores it, so she found a place nearby that got rave reviews and treated me to dinner. She says the food there was really, really good.
I tried several things, but I discovered that I just don't like Thai food.
I've mentioned before that Ozzie, one of our house rabbits, "thumps" with his back legs when he's not happy about something. He's thumping away right now in his cage.
Liz and daughter Robyn are in Florida to visit Mom and Dad. Apparently Ozzie is feeling neglected because nobody is in the sewing room with him. I put the stereo on in there, but he's used to Liz sitting in there where he can see her.
This is going to get old real quick.
As promised yesterday, here's what you can expect from Rocket Jones for the next year (or eternity).
This one amuses me greatly, boys and girls. Expect to see it again.