Monday, December 31, 2012

Day #22,293

Walk km 12,570-12,580: through Piedmont Park again

Movie #2178: Ruthless (1948, Edgar G Ulmer)

Here's a bit of cinematic history. A poverty row studio taking the big gamble on an "A" picture. Since Eagle-Lion studios are no longer with us I guess we can assume that this was a failure.
I've only seen Ulmer's shoestring budget pictures so this is quite a change. I think he does quite a good job here. Unfortunately, the plot of a ruthless man doing whatever it takes to claw his way to the top of a financial empire doesn't really appeal to me.

Movie rewatch: Night Of The Comet (Thom E Eberhardt, 1984)

I remember liking this back in the day when I had the movie channel on cable TV (about 25 years ago). I guess I was desperate for good movies. It's OK. The plot is "last people on earth" - one of my favourites. Some nice comedy bits too.
But those 80s fashions and music: yuck! Except for Cyndi Lauper of course.

TV Episode #42: Rebound: The Witness (1952, Bernard Girard)

About as grimy as they come. Twobit burglars who live in a fleabag hotel decide they have to murder a witness to their latest heist in order to preserve their freedom. Looks like life in the state pen would be more luxurious. Lee Marvin is the cop. Directed by Bernard "The Party Crashers" Girard.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Day #22,292

Walk km 12,557-12,570: 5 Points via Piedmont Park
Lake Clara Meer
approx km 12,560 Piedmont Park

Movie #2177: Les Bonnes Femmes (1960, Claude Chabrol)

This appears to be a kind of love letter to women. All the women here are charming and all the men are louts. The problem is: the women are still attracted to the men. The big tip off is the older salesclerk Louise who keeps her handkerchief from when she was a little girl which was soaked in the blood of a guillotined serial rapist/murderer.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Day #22,291

Walk km 12,550-12,557: to PeachTree at Ponce De Leon via Georgia Tech
street scene
approx km 12,554 Snyder Street

Movie rewatch: Artists And Models (1955, Frank Tashlin)

Tashlin's epic! I watched this so long ago that I'd forgotten that this was a musical. Obviously, my favourite musical of all time. Dazzling colour. Perky Shirley MacLaine. Goofy Jerry. Dean croons. Oodles of gags and one-liners (loved the "Rear Window" gag). Plotline concerns evil Murdoch publishing empire! This Murdoch publishing empire was rotting kids minds with comic books. The current Murdoch rots the minds of much older children.

Movie #2175: Smart Blonde (1937, Frank McDonald)

First of the Torchy Blane series. Just a regular whodunit with added bonus of sassy Glenda Farrell as Torchy.

Movie #2176: Monkey On My Back (1957, Andre De Toth)

Another superior directing job by Andre DeToth. However, this one is only a biopic so nothing to write home about.

Movie Rewatch: Monsieur Hire (1989, Patrice Leconte)
This is the remake of Duvivier's "Panique" so I thought I'd watch it again to see how it compares. Not well. Whereas the original was a tale that pitted ignorance against intelligence, this version is just a love triangle. 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Day #22,289-290

Walk km 12,537-12,539: MARTA station at Arts Center to 25th Street
Walk km 12,539-12,541: to the drug store on PeachTree
Walk km 12,541-12,550: to Civic Center
approx 12,543 corner of PeachTree and PeachTree (Atlanta)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Day #22,288

TV Episode #39: Alfred Hitchcock Presents: The Derelicts (Robert Stevenson, 1956)
I think they missed a good plot turn here. A businessman murders the man who holds his IOU because he needs all this money for his high maintenance wife. A bum sees him do it and starts blackmailing him. He even starts to live in the other guy's house. The guy tells his wife that the bum is a cousin. The wife wants him thrown out. The wife finds out about the murder and that the bum is a blackmailer. She turns on the charm to get the IOU off the bum. Bum says he may look like a bum but he's got 10 large (plus the blackmail money). Right here, the wife should have dumped her husband and taken up with the bum/blackmailer. A bum with a trophy wife! Great twist. However, the story plays out according to Hoyle.

TV Episode #40: Thriller:Rose's Last Summer (1960, Arthur Hiller)

From a story by Margaret "Mrs Ross MacDonald" Millar! Starring faded screen queen Mary Astor! And it's actually good. This was a few years before Bette Davis and Joan Crawford tossed their pride away and played batty old faded screen queens for the big screen.

Movie #2174: The Crazy Family (1984, Gakuryu Ishii)

More silly than crazy. Family antics aren't really that funny.

TV Episode #40:  Thriller: The Twisted Image (1960, Arthur Hiller)

All stops pulled out for season #1 episode #1 of Thriller. Leslie Neilson must put up with 2 loonies in his company. One wants to marry him (he's already married) and the other one wants to be him. Mayhem ensues.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Day #22,287

Walk km 12,530-12,533: to Denman at Davie
Walk km 12,533-12,536: to Kathy's

Movie rewatch: The Killers (1964, Don Seigel)

I guess Christmas is for nostalgia so here's another favourite from the distant past. Lee Marvin is relentless when he's on the trail of $1M. Angie Dickenson can twist any man around her little finger. What will happen when Angie and Lee collide? Yikes!
As with the Siodmak original, it's the opening sequence that's the best part. Siodmak had the diner and Siegel has the school for the blind.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Day #22,286

Walk km 12,527-12,530 (9756 to go): running errands

Book #442: The Word For World Is Forest (1972, Ursula K Le Guin)

I picked these 2 (the other was Red Planet) at the library to try a little SiFi. As it turns out, neither of these were SiFi novels. They were only disguised as SiFi. Red Planet was about American history and this one is about Vietnam. I'm thinking that you could get away with saying a lot more if you hid your ideas under the screen of SiFi.
This one is definitely pro-Vietnamese and anti-American. The humans invade a forested planet and enslave the natives while destroying the forest. The natives must resort to guerrilla style tactics to save their planet.

Movie rewatch: Susan Slept Here (1954, Frank Tashlin)

I thought that this was a regular Christmas tradition but my movie database says that it's been 5 years since I saw it last. One of the very best Christmas sex comedies.
50 year old Dick Powell (playing a guy who's 35!) hooks up with 22 year old Debbie Reynolds (who plays the part of a 17 year old JD!). Frank Tashlin pretty much invented this type of movie. 

TV Episode #38: Thriller: Pigeons From Hell (1961, John Newland)
Creepy old house tale. Brandon De Wilde is quite annoying.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Day #22,285

Walk km 12,504-12,526: Meetup walk around Stanley Park
Walk km 12,526-12,527: running errands

Movie #2173: Qui? (1970, Leonard Keigel)
The soundtrack LP - this must have been a big seller!

Ham handed suspenser. Avoid. The worst part is the incredibly crappy music which plays over every scene without dialogue.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Day #22,284

Walk km 12,501-12,504: running errands

Movie #2171: Breakfast For Two (1937, Alfred Santell)

Fairly amusing comedy with one big problem: why would Barbara Stanwyck care about Herbert "Mr Dull" Marshall. Babs spends the whole 90 minutes chasing Mr Marshall for no apparent reason.
NOTE: This is the first TCM movie I've seen after axing the TV Guide. Media Center was taking almost all week to download the weekly TV Guide and blocking me from recording or watching any recorded shows (and blocking me from saying I didn't want the TV Guide). But, they let down their guard today so I snuck in and axed the guide. Hope it works.

Movie #2172: Tarantula (1955, Jack Arnold)

Giant insect movie. Plus: a much bigger budget than later giant insect movies so everything looks great. Minus: There's only one giant tarantula. Later movies realized that just one bug was not enough. You needed a whole swarm and they had to threaten the entire world not just one little dinky town in the desert.  

Friday, December 21, 2012

Day #22,283

Walk km 12,495-12,498: to T&T
Walk km 12,498-12,501 (9782 to go): Coal Harbour

Movie #2169: The Ruined Map (1968, Hiroshi Teshigahara)

I read the book a long time ago. It's quite surreal and so it's very hard to follow the plot. I really don't think that this works as a film. The visual clues cannot be as precise as written ones. Weird but meaningless.

Movie #2170: The Night The World Exploded (1957, Fred F Sears)

The anti-Monolith Monsters! You remember The Monolith Monsters right? Rocks that expanded when exposed to water. Here we have rocks that expand when exposed to air but stop if exposed to water.
I looked these two up on IMDB - they were both released in 1957 - would have made a swell double feature.
A really nice looking copy here from YouTube. However, I'm no longer 13 so I don't get any kicks from this sort of movie but they're kinda fun anyway.

Day #22,282

Walk km 12,488-12,490: to Safeway
Walk km 12,490-12,495 (9787 to go): to Denny's

Book #441: Red Planet (1949, Robert A Heinlein)

Always wanted to take a foray into SiFi. This one is a children's book. It's the adventures of Jim and Frank on Mars. The whole thing is an allegory.
Mars is really the United States. Earth is England. The Martians are the Indians. I think Jim and Frank are probably Tom and Huck. In this version the Martians/Indians help the colonists rid themselves of the opressive rule of Earth/England. In fact in this version the Martians/Indians allow them to settle but once they see the evil ways of the Earthlings, they tell them to go back where they came from. Only through negotiation do they get to stay. Not much like what happened in the real world.
I did find this quite enjoyable. It was more fun in the first part with just Jim & Frank - once the adults got involved, the story lost steam.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Day #22,281

Walk km 12,486-12,488: to T&T

Movie #2168: The Set (1970, Frank Brittain)

Movies this bad are always kinda fun to watch for a while (like watching a train wreck). But eventually the steady stream of awfulness begins to wear on you. And then you just pray it will end.
For some strange reason, IMDB rates this a 68. There must be another film with the same title and they got the two confused because this one is mind-numbingly god-awful.

TV series episode #37: The Avengers - The Hour That Never Was (1966, Gerry O'Hara)

I missed adding Season #1 Episode #1 of "Corner Gas" that I watched a few days back. That would be #36.
This one is the old "where is everyone" plot. It's pulled off with style here but I don't think the denouement really explained what had happened. But does anyone really care? Nope.   

Day #22,280

Walk km 12,482-12,486 (9794 to go): every block walk 50th, 51st and 52nd Avenue

Movie #2167: Eve And The Handyman (1961, Russ Meyer)

We have a bit of skinflick history here. This was Russ Meyer's 2nd film after "The Immoral Mr. Tees". This film looks nothing like his black & white dramas that he is most famous for: "Mudhoney" and "Lorna".
Instead we get a colour production that has the feel of a 2nd rate Benny Hill episode. I hate Benny Hill.
Pluses: lots of great scenery (1961 San Francisco and Russ's wife Eve).  

Monday, December 17, 2012

Day #22,279

Walk km 12,465-12,470 (9809 to go): every block walk (Elgin)
Walk km 12,470-12,482 (9797 to go): Meetup walk along False Creek

Movie #2166: The World's Greatest Sinner (1962, Timothy Carey)
Timothy Carey first step to becoming God: he's got the guitar but that business suit has got to go

Well, I didn't see that coming. World's freakiest movie turns out to be just another advert for organized religion.
It starts out well. Insurance salesman (Timothy Carey) thinks he's wasting his time selling insurance so he decides to be God instead. He sees a bunch of kids swarming a rock'n'roll singer so he decides that's how he'll get through to people. He turns into a composite of Jerry Lee Lewis and his cousin Jimmy Swaggart. He goes crazy on stage like Jerry Lee (including Jerry Lee's patented hair over the face move) but preaches like Jimmy. Everything is going great until a huckster talks him into dropping his quest for God and gets him to run for president of the USA instead. Everything is going great except that he's already changed his name from Clarence to God and so the masses don't want to vote for him because they already have a God and they're quite happy with the one they've already got. Carey's not too sure about this. Is there really a God? He asks God to show himself so he'll know for sure. God obliges and Carey is won over.
The first half of this movie is super freaky and oodles of fun. The second half which concerns itself with is there a God or not is pretty dull. And naturally the ending is a real downer.  

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Day #22,278

Walk km 12,463-12,465: running errands

Movie #2163: Panique (1946, Julien Duvivier)

First, the movie: Great. One of the very best. Murderer plants evidence of his crime in the room of the one person in the neighbourhood who is different (M. Hire). Whereas, almost everyone here is stupid and cowardly, M Hire is intelligent and even owns books! The idiots find the planted evidence and form a mob to attack M. Hire. The inevitable happens. Based on a Simenon book. Remade many years later as Monsieur Hire (with Michel Blanc as M. Hire). 
Secondly, the source: VEEHD. You can download and watch movies from this website. You can watch without revealing your email address if you download their spyware or just join (by giving them your email address) and watch without having to download the spyware. If you have a good spam blocker with your email, joining should not be a problem. Not sure how much stuff is there since this is the first one I watched. The copy they had was the wrong aspect ratio (they tried to turn a 4/3 into a widescreen). I played it back with VLC which allowed me to correct the aspect ratio. This print also had the laziest subtitlers ever. About half the dialogue was missing. It looks like they translated only the dialogue that was important to the plot. Hope Veehd has more like this one.

Movie #2164: Chungking Express (1994, Kar Wai Wong)

It's a darn good thing we have IMDB. I didn't realize that the policeman was really two policemen. They just frequented the same chip shop and had the same romantic difficulties. I figured that the second story was really a flashback because the policeman changed from plain clothes to in uniform. So, I thought that the goofy chip shop worker was really "May". But then on IMDB the most recent post was from someone who also didn't realize that these were two different policemen.
I think my way of watching it would be better - it makes everything much stranger than the filmmaker intended. Strange is good.
This was another one from Veehd.

Movie #2165: Jeunes Filles Impudiques (1973, Jean Rollin)

Another one from Veehd. Here we have a skin flick from a director who has been touted as one whose output far exceeds the norm for this genre of film. However, there's not much talent on display here. The first half is extremely tedious as the plot tries to find reasons for the two lead actresses to disrobe. The second half is better. The shootout is very goofy: kind of half Ed Wood and half Jean-Luc Godard. The plot is so stupid that you might get a chuckle out of the idiotic twists and turns it takes. And the only thing at all erotic about the film is  Marie Hélène Règne and she is the only female cast member to keep her clothes on at all times.
BTW, this is the USA version renamed "Schoolgirl Hitchhikers" (there are no schoolgirls here and nobody hitchhikes) which has 7 minutes missing from the French original.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Day #22,277

Walk km 12,452-12,463 (9,814 to go): Christmas meetup

Movie 2,162: The Boxer And Death (1963, Peter Solan)

Only on YouTube. You're not likely to find many 1960s Slovakian movies on Netflix.
Here we have a concentration camp inmate who is given a reprieve when the camp commander (an avid boxer) finds out that he has boxing abilities. He will be used as a sparing partner.
Excellent in every way. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Day #22,276

Walk km 12,444-12-446: to T&T
Walk km 12,446-12,452 (9,824 to go): False Creek walk

TV series episode #35: Thriller: Knock Three-One-Two (1960, Herman Hoffman)

While browsing the YouTube contents, I happened across this item. I recognized the name right away as a Fredric Brown novel that I read many years ago.
It turns out that Thriller was a rip-off of Alfred Hitchcock presents with Boris Karloff doing the intros. The story was the Fredric Brown one but I didn't remember it at all (too long ago). The cast included Beverly Garland and Warren Oates. Maxwell Shane was the producer. Music by Pete Rugolo. The direction was OK except for a fight scene that was poorly staged.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Day #22,275

Walk km 12,442-12,444: to the library

Book #440: Fire Lake (1987, Jonathan Valin)

Ah, it's good to be back to paper again. And as an added bonus: one of the very best of the PI crime novelists, Jonathan Valin.
As usual, PI Harry Stoner is up to his neck in a world so corrupt and dirty (they don't call it SinSinNaughty for nothing) that no matter where you live, it'll seem like Disneyland by comparison. Violence, drugs, murder, sex, filth and vomit abound.

Movie #2161: Illicit (1931, Archie Mayo)
Barbara Stanwyck is a modern gal with new fangled ideas about love and marriage.
By the end of the movie she's learned her lesson: the idiotic old ways are better!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Day #22,273-274

Walk km 12,423-12,429: every block along Boundary
Walk km 12,429-12,432: Dollarama & T&T
Walk km 12,432-12,442 (9,832 to go): Meetup walk in North Vancouver

Movie #2160: To Joy (1950, Ingmar Bergman)

Guy is a jerk through 90% of the movie then has an epiphany and turns into a nice guy. I'm not buyin' it.
It looks like the complete set of Bergmans are available on YouTube (StarratEnterprise). Probably won't last long as they must be breaking some copyright or other.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Day #22,272

Walk km 12,412-12,414: to Safeway
Walk km 12,414-12,423: test walk in North Vancouver

Book #439: The Queen Of Hearts (1859, Wilkie Collins)

A rip-off. I wanted a novel but got a bunch of short stories instead. Collins has taken 10 short stories and built a flimsy plot structure around them and called it a novel. The stories aren't bad but this just wasn't what I was looking for.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Day #22,269-271

Walk km 12,389-12,398: Meetup walk (Ambleside)
Walk km 12,398-12,409 (9,861 to go): Meetup (12 cities)
Walk km 12,409-12,412: to T&T

Movie #2158: Persona (1966, Ingmar Bergman)

Nurse and patient retire to the seaside to recover. But which one is the patient and which one is the nurse?
More fun and games from those jolly Swedes.

Movie #2159: 84 Charing Cross Road (1987, David Hugh Jones)

Here's another one that Netflix is about to dump in the dustbin. I should have hated it. It's a total celebration of nostalgia. It's nostalgia wrapped in nostalgia. And we know that nostalgia is evil: it keeps people from looking ahead to new experiences. Instead, they're stuck in the past as if their life had already come to an end and can only repeat itself.
However, the 90 minutes here passed like 30. So, I may hate it but I'm obviously still a fan. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Day #22,268

Walk km 12,377-12,378: to Dollarama
Walk km 12,378-12,389: Meetup walk in New Westminster

Movie #2157: The Candy Snatchers (1973, Guerdon Trueblood)

I've seen this one before. And it must have been quite a while ago because there's one scene that Quentin Tarantino used in Reservoir Dogs but since I didn't remember that scene then I must have seen Reservoir Dogs at a later date.
Anyway, the movie is super goofy. The makers of this thing must have been laughing themselves silly the whole time they were making it. Guerdon Trueblood was never allowed to direct another picture.For the next 10 years he made his living writing television scripts. 

Day #22,267

Walk km 12,374-12,377 (9890 to go): to T&T

Movie #2156: Night Of The Big Heat (1967, Terence Fisher)

Another random YouTube movie and this is one of my favourite genres: aliens from outer space. I guess "Plan Nine From Outer Space" was more inept than this but that was different: Ed Wood had no talent. I've seen some of Terence Fisher's 1950s crime dramas so I know he had some talent. What happened? How could he make something this bad? He must have been behind with his rent.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Day #22,264-266

Walk km 12,334-12,355: Michael's meetup walk
Walk km 12,355-12,367: Pandora's meetup walk
Walk km 12,367-12,374: every block walk (25th & 26th Ave)

Movie #2155: Absurd (1981, Joe D'Amato)
roasted head scene

I picked this one at random from YouTube. Turns out to be an Italian splatter picture. Because I never watch Italian splatter movies (or splatter movies of any nationality), I kinda enjoyed it even though I knew it was crap.
This appeared to be the sub-genre of head injury splatter movies. We had the drill through the head, the saw into the head, pickaxe through the head, battle axe severing a head and my favourite, the roasted head.
As with the spaghetti westerns all the Italians gave themselves anglo-saxon names so that nobody would know it was made in Italy not Hollywood. However, they did give themselves away in one crucial scene: all the action takes place while everyone is watching the SuperBowl on TV (Rams vs Steelers) - but instead of everyone eating pizza and beer, they're all eating spaghetti!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Day #22,263

Walk km 12,332-12,334 (9929 to go): to T&T

Movie #2154: War Of The Worlds (2005, Steven Speilberg)
Netflix has decided to add a few new movies.
For Speilberg, the aliens are back but now they're not so friendly. Movie keeps things moving along at a frantic pace with oodles of special effects to wow the kids and lots of heart-warming family bonding stuff to satisfy the oldsters.
It was interesting to contemplate while listening to the final music over the end credits that the visuals were all made using the latest 21st century technology but the sound used centuries old musical instruments.