The Last Movie You Watched? ver.2.0

(Asa) #303

Three days ago: Ghost in the Shell (Sanders, 2017)

The much-ballyhooed live-action remake of the wildly popular 1995 anime is in fact a somewhat different story which nevertheless covers similar ground and which does so via a number of set-pieces lifted straight from the source movie (although often presented in a different order). Scarlett Johansson plays Mira Killian, a refugee to Japan and victim of a terrorist attack which killed her parents and almost killed her, leaving only her brain intact. However, cybernetic augmented tech is all the rage these days - everyone has at least some form of cybernetic enhancement - and Hanka Robotics are able to make Mira a test case: The first brain implant into an entirely augmented body (or “shell”), ostensibly utilising her as a weapon for the government’s “Section 9” anti-terrorist division. Flash forward one year and Mira (now known as “Major”) and her Section 9 buddies are on the trail of Kuze (Michael Pitt, Boardwalk Empire), a cyber-terrorist hell-bent on murdering the Hanka Robotics top brass, which puts Dr. Ouelet (Juliette Binoche, Trois couleurs: Bleu), Mira’s designer and closest thing she had to a “mother”, in the firing line.

The dialogue is a little clunky and it’s way overpacked with CGI spectacle but, on the whole, Ghost in the Shell is an enjoyable romp which comes in at just a shade over 90 minutes; a rarity for big blockbuster titles these days, and a welcome one at that. It’s not as good as its predecessor - it’s just more convoluted and crowded than the 1995 picture - but it’s different enough to have been worthwhile, I think. Scarlett Johansson is very good indeed despite the “whitewashing” furore (the role should really have gone to an Asian actor but Hollywood still insists on going for big-name casting over ethnically correct casting when it comes to marquee titles) and “Beat” Takeshi Kitano was fun as always in his role as the Section 9 chief.

(Asa) #304

I’m having an Easter weekend of dystopian entertainment. A d-EASTER-pia! Got at least five films in mind for each of today, tomorrow, Sunday and Monday. Whether I’ll get to watch twenty bloody films in four days with the family here, friends due over, relatives due for Sunday dinner and reasonably nice weather which might just coax me out into the world, we shall see. But I’ve kicked things off already anyway and I’m presently tucking into a big bowl of Soylent Green (Fleischer, 1973). Yum!

(Toscano) #305

‘Soylent Green’ has always been one of my favourites.
Along with another favourite, ‘The Omega Man’, it makes for a thrilling Chuck Heston double-bill.



(Asa) #307

So far today I’ve watched Soylent Green, The Warriors (Hill, 1979) and I’m currently most of the way through Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (Miller, 1981).

(Asa) #308

Ah, I forgot one! Late last Saturday: The Void (Kostanski/Gillespie, 2016)

A remote, soon-to-be-closed hospital and its tiny smattering of remaining doctors, nurses, patients and visitors - including a local deputy sheriff - find themselves under seige by a horde of strange, hooded, machete-wielding cult members. Meanwhile, the folk inside the hospital begin experiencing other-wordly visions. A nurse peels her own face off with a scalpel; corpses in the hospital re-animate, mutated into hellish abominations; and a gaping rent in the space/time continuum opens up down in the morgue. Turns out one of the doctors, bereaved of his daughter, has been dallying with pan-dimensional forces in order to acquire the power to revive her. It’s not exactly gone without a hitch, and the doc’s gone stark staring mad in the process. What to do? Let’s do the monster mash! It was a graveyard smash!

While it’s pleasing to see such an unbridled adoration of John Carpenter on display in a movie with such a Lovecraft-inspired premise, I can’t help but feel disappointed with the muddled result. The Void feels less like a cohesive, rounded movie and more like a show-reel for the directors’ undoubted talents with practical horror effects. It’s an unabashed attempt to marry The Thing to Assault on Precinct 13 with a drop of In the Mouth of Madness and a fat dollop of Prince of Darkness thrown in, whilst featuring guest appearances by Frank from Hellraiser and Dr. Channard from Hellbound: Hellraiser II. I mean, on paper that sounds fanf*ckingtastic and I truly applaud the efforts of writer/directors Steven Kostanski and Jeremy Gillespie but I just think they gave themselves too much to achieve with too little time and WAY too little money. The admittedly terrific practical effects gave the movie a wonderfully eighties feel but even then, I’ve seen deliberate nostalgia done better elsewhere. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a movie wearing its influences on its sleeve but if all your movie is doing is reminding the audience how much better those older movies were in achieving the same aims, well, you’re maybe doing something wrong.

I haven’t seen much else by these guys besides a segment in The ABCs of Death 2. Their segment was called W is for Wish and I said of it at the time:

Oddball and overambitious entry in which two lads get to experience just how horrifying their toys’ fantasy world can be. From Steven Kostanski, primarily a make-up effects artist (notably on TV show Hannibal), and it shows. I found it rather dull, I’m afraid.

That’s how I felt with The Void, too. They need to stop throwing the kitchen sink at everything. Pick their moments, pare them down, ration them out.

It sounds like I’m really caning them but in truth there is good reason here to keep an eye on what these filmmakers do next. Reading up on them, I see they’ve made a couple of comedy-tinged horror/sci-film flicks under their “Astron-6” collective banner name which may well suit their overcrowded aesthetic better (Father’s Day, which I’ve heard of, and Manborg, which I haven’t).

I’ll say this though: There was a creature in The Void doing some sort of bent-over-backwards crab walk like Bray Wyatt in WWE which looked fantastic, standing out even amongst all of those impressive effects. Also the pan-dimensional other world they kept going to was very effective and creepy and really caught the Lovecraftian tone excellently, particularly in the final scene.

(Asa) #309

Just finished watching The Book of Eli (Hughes/Hughes, 2010), and should hopefully be finishing off day one of my dystopian Easter weekend with The Road (Hillcoat, 2009).

(Asa) #310

Didn’t manage to see The Road in the end. :worried: Maybe I’ll try to catch it later in the week.

Day 2 of my dystopian Easter weekend and so far I’ve watched Silent Running (Trumbull, 1972), Minority Report (Spielberg, 2002) and I’m maybe halfway through The Matrix (Wachowski/Wachowski, 1999). There is no spoon.

(Asa) #311

I finished last night’s dystopian viewing with The Terminator (Cameron, 1984). I was going to follow that up with Blade Runner (Scott, 1982) but we watched a @MazzyStar pic instead: Sully (2016), the Clint Eastwood movie starring Tom Hanks as Captain Chesley Sullenberger, the airline pilot who landed US Airways flight 1549 in the Hudson river after a flock of geese took out both engines of the plane minutes after take-off. The movie tells the tale of this true story which made news around the world in 2009 in flashback, concentrating mostly on the post-incident investigation which sought to establish whether Capt. Sullenberger could’ve flown the stricken Airbus back to LaGuardia airport from whence it departed or even to the smaller but closer airstrip at Teterboro in New Jersey. It also depicts Sully’s reticence in being described as a “hero” and his trauma following the splashdown, which saved the lives of all 155 people on board the aeroplane. It’s not a bad movie by any means but it’s not one of Clint’s more riveting efforts either and, without wishing for a second to lessen the value of what the real Captain Sullenberger achieved that day, from a purely cinematic viewpoint Tom Hanks has trodden this true-story-of-hero-just-doin’-his-job-ma’am path before and to greater effect in both Apollo 13 (Howard, 1995) and Captain Phillips (Greengrass, 2013).

I’ve started day 3 of my dystopian Easter weekend by sticking Blade Runner on early. It’s just about to end. Wake up! Time to die!


Watched these two classics last night, it’s been long overdue!

The Ten Commandments (1956)

Ben-Hur (1959)

(Toscano) #313

Two excellent epics. It must have been a very long night…:slight_smile:

(Stanton) #314

Really? :wink:


Yeah it was, but I was well prepared… And I’m following that up tonight with two more classics, (Spartacus (1960) and the (The Robe (1953).:slight_smile:


(Asa) #316

Watched WALL-E (Stanton, 2008) earlier, and just finished watching Escape From New York (Carpenter, 1981). Next up: V For Vendetta (McTeigue, 2005).

(scherpschutter) #317

Watched that too, a couple of days ago.

Still a good movie, but I remeber that I was more impressed when I first saw the movie, not in cinema (the large screen has of course always a certain impact), but on VHS. Maybe it’s Arnie, maybe the sequels (none of them really impressed me and turning the terminator of the first movie into a good time traveller wasn’t a good idea). But, as said, it’s still very watchable and I still love those final moments.

(Asa) #318

I quite like Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (Mostow, 2003) and I used to like Terminator 2: Judgment Day (Cameron, 1991) a lot more than I do nowadays but I’ve not seen any of the other films or shows beyond those first three and I agree with you: None of it is a patch on the original movie and the constant time travelling only served to weaken each new entry into the franchise (and often, weaken the existing entries too). One time machine, through which Kyle Reese and a single terminator went (back to 1984 to respectively save or kill Sarah Connor), moments before the time machine was destroyed. That was good and strong, and how it really should’ve stayed.

And, for all his accomplishments, I don’t think Arnie was ever better, either. Not for my tastes, anyway.

(The Man With a Name) #319

It’s better on VHS because it has the original sound effects. There is, however, a region 0 DVD from Image Entertainment that has the original soundtrack and it’s the only version I’ll watch.

(scherpschutter) #320

Quite a difference, yes

(Stanton) #321

Hey, yeah, one of my best so far. Stay tuned for more to follow.


I have the region 1 DVD with the mono track. That 5.1 mix gets my vote for the absolute worst. Followed by Jaws.