I realized at the end of last year that I watch a good amount of movies. I'll be doing monthly posts to keep track of what I've seen and to give a micro-review. Then at the end of the year, we can all laugh at how much of my life I've wasted. All movies are first time viewings unless the title is preceded by an asterisk.
Understand that I purposely seek out bad and/or cheesy movies and I rate them on how much enjoyment I get out of watching them, not necessarily on how "good" the actors, effects or movie itself may be. With that warning in place, here's January's recap...
The Wizard of Mars (1965, aka: Horrors of the Red Planet)
A spaceship crew (3 men and a woman named Dorothy) "crash" on Mars. They end up following a golden road where they meet the title character who is a projection of a disembodied head. Sound familiar? It's loosely based on the novel The Wizard of Oz. This is without a doubt the most boring and least entertaining sci-fi movie I've ever seen. Ever. The only thing that could save it would be an MST3k treatment and even then, I wouldn't wish that on the people that have to watch it multiple times to write the jokes.
Cool: Zee-ro, none, nada, zilch
Lame: This movie
Rating: 1/10, burn it!
A childhood staple on cable. First time I've seen it in a long time and I still really enjoyed it despite the dated effects. Something I don't quite get is that it seems to be a typical fantasy world but The Beast arrives from space and there's no question raised about the enemy being from off planet. And there's also the prophecy that Lyssa and Colwyn's son will rule the galaxy. It's an odd juxtaposition of fantasy and sci-fi concepts that don't really quite gel in the film's universe, or maybe that's just how life is in the Krull-verse.
Cool: James Horner score; the Glaive; young Liam Neeson; crystal spider; cutie princess
Lame: the Cyclops is killed by a door, a door!; the effects can be a product of their time
Rating: 7/10, a must see of 80s fantasy
Planet of Dinosaurs (1978)
A human crewed spaceship crashes into a lake on an alien world that's millions of years behind Earth in evolution...hence, the title. Eventually the nine crew are whittled down to five by the dinosaurs. The remaining three men and two women start building a new life on the planet. Not the ending I was expecting.
Cool: 70s space uniforms & 'staches; Harryhausen-esque dinosaurs; the female Comm officer strips to her skivvies (hubba-hubba) 5 minutes in to get a piece of equipment from the sinking ship
Lame: Said Comm officer is quickly eaten by an aquatic beast; no name actors & low budget
Rating: 5.5/10, The acting isn't great but between the conflicts among the characters and dinosaurs, it's watchable.
Batman Year One (2011)
While Marvel has mostly been killing DC at the box office, DC has been ahead in Direct to DVD animation. This is an adaptation of the Frank Miller 1987 comic story. I've never read the comics but from what I hear this is pretty much right off the page and it's a piece of fantastic story telling.
Cool: Start to finish, this is a more adult, grittier Gotham
Lame: This is more James Gordon: Year One but that's not so bad; you'll miss Kevin Conroy
Rating: 8.5/10, Recommended even for casual Bat-fans
Hausu (aka House, 1977)
Does it matter that the trailer is in Japanese? No. In fact you could probably watch this movie without the subtitles and it would make almost as much sense. It's sort of a horror/comedy/mystery and a definite contender for the WTF of the 20th Century award. There are times when I see a bad movie that I recommend people watch it with friends and have a few drinks or other mind altering substances. In this case, I would beg you not to do so. Adding any kind of brain chemistry alteration to the images in this movie will likely give you some kind of permanent psychosis.
Cool: Bugnuts crazy!
Lame: It's not always sure if it wants to be a comedy or horror but it's always bugnuts crazy!
Rating: 6/10, recommended viewing for the experience alone.
*Beauty and the Beast 3D (1991, 2012)
I only saw this once when it came out so I don't know if anything was changed for the 3D release.
Cool: At times it looks like a layered storybook come to life; saw the trailer for The Phantom Menace in 3D
Lame: At times the 3D makes character movement appear jerky; animation is showing its age
*Tron: Legacy (2010)
Watched both Disney films the same weekend, so I saw one that was originally 2D in 3D and one that I saw originally in 3D in 2D . Just picked this up on Blu finally so I had to watch it again. Sort of like Phantom Menace, this was a long time coming sequel with a lot of expectations riding on it. Unlike TPM, I didn't leave the theater wondering what I'd just seen and why it didn't feel like the original.
Cool: Daft Punk's soundtrack; feels like a natural evolution of the original; bonus features add in story details on the "real world" events between the movies
Lame: Tron got shafted in this movie! If he's back in the sequel he needs something to do; would like to have seen Dillinger (Sr or Jr) involved; ending didn't feel like an ending but a bridge for a sequel (which I'm ok with as long as they do it!)
Rating: 8/10, seeing it IMAX 3D was amazing, still like it as much watching from my couch
The Change-Up (2011)
It's just another Freaky Friday, ohhh-oh-whoa. No wait, that's Manic Monday. You know how these go: Two people are leading totally different lives and wish they could swap. Abracadabra, they switch bodies and learn something about themselves and each other along the way. Reynolds and Bateman are funny but it feels like they're major leaguers in the minors, neither of them need to be doing this type of movie.
Cool: Olivia Wilde; Reynolds is the perfect person to play his character
Lame: it's one of those comedies where they use crude humor and language to get laughs (I'm not saying it doesn't work!); same ol body swap story
Rating: 6.5/10, brainless fun if you can handle the crudeness
1 The Wizard of Mars (1965, aka: Horrors of the Red Planet) 1/10
2 *Krull (1983) 7/10
3 Planet of Dinosaurs (1978) 5.5/10
4 Batman: Year One (2011) 8.5/10
5 Hausu (aka House, 1977) 6/10
6 *Disney's Beauty and the Beast 3D (1991, 2012) 7/10
7 *Tron: Legacy (2010) 8/10
8 The Change-Up (2011) 6.5/10
To-Date Total: 8