Apr 2, 2012

Monthly Movie Recap - March 2012

As always, clicking on a title link will take you to Amazon where you can purchase the movie and possibly put some coins in my pocket too! 

TILT: The Battle to Save Pinball (2006)
This documentary delves more into the dying pinball industry, where last month's Special When Lit only touches on it. Pretty interesting to see how Williams Electronics tried to rejuvenate pinball with the Pin2000 project.

Cool: The idea of combining traditional pinball and video game elements sounded like a good idea
Lame: It's sad that this form of entertainment is slowly dying
Rating: 8/10

Gnomeo & Juliet (2011)
I usually enjoy these new CG animated features and this one's no exception. It's bright and fun with lots of wink-wink Shakespeare jokes if you pay attention.

Cool: Very impressed with the attention to detail in the character models and sounds
Lame: Don't really have anything here!
Rating:  7/10

Circus of Fear (1966)
You would think with a name like Circus of Fear, or Psycho Circus in the US, and starring Christopher Lee you'd be in for an interesting ride. It is interesting but it's not a horror movie, it's more of a crime/whodunit. This is what happens when you grab movies based on titles, posters and stars.

Cool: There's enough twists in the plot to keep you guessing to the end
Lame: Lee is under a hood for most of the movie
Rating: 6/10, was expecting more circus-ness and fear-iness

Mr. Sardonicus (1961) The William Castle Film Collection
If you're not familiar with William Castle, I urge you to change that! Castle was the PT Barnum of B-movies. For The Tingler, he rigged random theater seats with mild electric shocks. For this film, the gimmick was the audience being given a voting card to display near the end of the movie to decide the main character's fate. Despite the two options, there has never been any evidence found of the alternate "mercy" ending.

Cool: Almost Hammer-like in atmosphere; the big reveal (assuming you don't know what it is)
Lame: Sardonicus' wife's greed caused his disfigurement. I ain't saying she a gold digger...
Rating: 8/10, it totally sucked me in from the start. My favorite Castle film not starring Vincent Price

House of Fears (2007)
Teens go into a haunted house for a sneak peek before it opens. Unknown to them, an evil statue has found its way to the house and attacks them with their worst fears come to life.

Cool: Some good ideas and effects
Lame: Because the kids are all being attacked by their own fears, it sometimes feels like a blender the writers tossed a bunch of their ideas into. Also, the "house" seems like something you'd see at a major amusement park because it is huge inside!
Rating: 6.5/10, definitely have seen worse teen horror movies

Message From Space (1978)
Often called a Japanese rip-off of Star Wars, this movie is just a load of fun! There's plenty of times you'll get a Star Wars vibe from it but that's not a bad thing, think of it like Star Wars with Japanese mythology inspiration.

Cool: The Japanese model work is as much fun as ever here
Lame: There are some scenes of civilians being shot by the bad guys that keeps me from recommending this for younger kids
Rating: 7.5/10, a fun space adventure, if silly at times

In Like Flint (1967) Ultimate Flint Collection
I didn't realize until I finished watching this that it was the second Flint movie but I don't think it mattered as everything was pretty clear to me. Flint has to save the day when a cabal of women try to take over the world.

Cool: James Coburn pulls off a great character between Bond and Austin Powers. Lots and lots of ladies to look at including Yvonne Craig, TV's Batgirl.
Lame: For a spy comedy, it's pretty light on the laughs which mostly come during fight scenes
Rating: 5/10, if you want laughs, maybe pop in Top Secret instead

She Freak (1967)
If you like carnivals, this is your movie! Seriously...stretches of the movie are just footage of a carnival not really related to anything else. What it comes down to is a white trash remake of Todd Browning's Freaks.

Cool: I did enjoy some of the carnival footage but it gets old
Lame: What kind of carnival has a burlesque dancer? These scenes are especially hilarious because it's obvious the "crowd" watching her were edited in and nowhere near her.
Rating: 2/10, watch the original Freaks, it's a million times better

Corman's World (2011)
Whether you know it or not, you've probably seen a movie Roger Corman had a hand in making. And no matter if you love or hate his movies, the King of the B's has given a number of Hollywood notables their start and they're all here to reminisce about working with him.

Cool: It doesn't get much better than this for me. I love Corman's work
Lame: Doesn't focus so much on the movies but that's ok
Rating: 8.5/10, if you get nothing else from this you'll probably unearth a movie or two to check out

Rock 'N' Roll High School (1979)
What better way to follow up Corman's World than with one of his movies? It's pretty standard teenagers vs the system stuff but with The Ramones! PJ Soles' Riff Randal is absolutely adorable.

Cool: It's just a fun time watching the kids thwart The Man (or Woman in this case)
Lame: It's a good thing The Ramones went into music and not acting! If you're not even a passing fan, the concert scene will probably bore you to tears.
Rating: 6.5/10

The Wizard (1989)

Might shock some of you but I'd never seen this before. I wasn't really part of the Nintendo generation and maybe that's why I think the movie is just ok. There were a few times where I felt like the kids were just using Jimmy and he wasn't a character.

Cool: Kids on a road trip to play video games, fun! Good soundtrack.
Lame: Blatant "hit you over the head" product placement for Nintendo, Universal Studios and Vision Street Wear
Rating: 6.5/10
Fun Fact: Little Haley grew up to be a singer/songwriter (and she's just as cute)

21 Jump Street (2012): The Complete Series
I've never seen an episode of the show so I had nothing influencing how I'd feel about this. and I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised to have a good time! It's done a bit tongue in cheek and they poke fun at themselves for making the movie. This self-awareness makes it a lot easier to go along with than it would otherwise be.

Cool: TV series cameos, running explosion joke and plenty of TV comedy actors rounding out supporting roles
Lame: The your lady next to me must have checked her phone/texted at least 5 times during the movie. She needed to be slapped!
Rating: 7/10

Moon Zero Two (1969) SciFi Classics 50 Movie Pack Collection
I couldn't find a trailer, but the trippy intro is better than any trailer! From Hammer films comes something billed as a "space western." They somewhat succeed with the frontier flavor only the frontier is the Moon in 2021.

Cool: Low-G barfight, groovy 60s sci-fi look
Lame: The theme song will stick in your head; too much talking and not enough action
Rating:  5.5/10

New: 13
Rewatch: 0
To-Date Total: 25 New, 5 Rewatch


  1. I actually watched Tilt at the Midwest Gaming Classic a few years ago and it was a extremely insightful and sad to watch because nothing i feel will ever replace the feel of playing a pinball games or something machinical like those gun games of old.

    1. I saw a video somewhere that showed the most amazing pinball emulator. It was built into a full sized pinball cabinet and had screens in the backglass and play field areas so it could look like any pinball machine. It also had internal gadgets to replicate the "feel" (thunks, etc) of real pinball.
      Hopefully that wasn't in Tilt because otherwise my memory is reeeeally going!